Snow Peak – Tips for Bikepacking Beginners w/ Swift Industries’ Martina Brimmer

Written by: Savanna Frimoth

This week, Martina Brimmer, co-founder of Swift Industries, shared her tips and tricks for new bike campers. If you’re dreaming of remote trails, epic views, and backcountry adventures, read on for everything needed to get you started.

PICK YOUR GEAR

As with any outdoor excursion, the proper gear is key! Martina recommends packing a shelter (a tent, tarp, or hammock), a ground pad, and a sleeping bag.

Equally as important to your shelter and sleep setup is your kitchen kit. We’ve added a few of our own recommendations to her list!

  • Cutting board out of food-grade plastic
  • Knife – try the Field Knife with its included sheath.
  • Spork – as Snow Peakers know, nothing beats the Titanium Spork!
  • Spice kit (small containers of salt, pepper, cumin, chili, honey, etc.)
  • Small plastic bottle of cooking oil
  • Pot and pan – the Trek 900 is the perfect solution!
  • Backpacking stove and fuel – try the GigaPower Stove Auto and GigaPower isobutane.
  • Coffee kit – add the Collapsible Coffee Drip and some filters to your pack, and you’re all set!
  • Mug for both eating and drinking – use the Ti-Single 450 Cup for any beverage or mug meal.

PACK UP

Lightweight adventurers know the importance of creative packing. Waste no space! Martina says pre-packing strategizing is key.

“Think of your empty spaces first. Use the soft stuff like socks, leggings, and your puffy jacket to fill in the area around hard goods, like mortar between bricks. Put your fuel canister in an empty cook pot, then utilize the rest of that dead space with something soft, like socks or your kitchen rag. A tent can be attached to the top of the rear rack to leave space inside your touring bags for weather-sensitive provisions. A little mindfulness goes a long way: put sensitive gear like down sleeping bags and electronics in seam-sealed bags.”

She recommends packing your gear in the order of use. Group your items needed for the evening together, and leave your gear for the day in an easy-to-reach section. Lastly, shrink items as much as you can! Consider each piece of gear and whittle down non-essentials.

PLAN YOUR ROUTE AND BE PREPARED

Avoid getting lost with proper pre-trip planning! Martina suggests starting with an old-fashioned paper map, then cross-referencing with Google Maps for cycling to your destination.

“Start by plugging in your destination and toggling to bicycle mode in Google Maps, then fine-tune the suggested route. Quiet roads are sure to impress, so when you’re planning, maximize those digital maps to reveal the backroads that every traveler longs for. Try roads with old in the title. “Old Woodinville-Duvall Road” has likely been replaced by a larger, more heavily trafficked thoroughfare, leaving the grandparent highway underused and laid back (though sometimes also a little more rolling).”

Local knowledge is top-notch but be wary of tips from folks who have only driven the stretch of road. Another important factor to consider is your daily mileage. Martina recommends 45-50 miles per day, but less is fine too! Weather, road conditions, and other factors will have an impact.

“Keep in mind that 50 miles of flat roads with a heavenly tailwind are very different than 50 dirt miles over mountain passes. Sometimes a day’s distance is predetermined by the distance between your chosen campgrounds, and you may have to pull a long day in the saddle to make it into camp.”

PLAY IN NATURE

Last but certainly not least, embrace all that the backroads have to offer. Take a swim in a river or lake, pause to listen to the birds or watch the wildlife, wake up early to watch the sunrise. These are the magical moments that get us out there. Reconnect with the rhythms of nature, wherever the road takes you.

Martina says, “It’s all about tuning in and dropping out. Start paying attention to where you are in the moment and walk away from the daily grind to get perspective and reorient yourself. The magic of bike-camping is that it’s equal parts going there and getting there.”

For more helpful bike camping tips, check out Swift’s blog or RSVP for one of the activations taking place during the Swift Residency at Snow Peak Portland.

Yakima Rack Pack – Meet Rachel Strait

Meet Rachel Strait

IT RIDES…IN THE FAMILY

Growing up with a motorcycle racing dad, Rachel Strait didn’t have to go far to discover a love of two-wheeled speed. When she was young, her family followed the race calendar and all participated. After each race, dad would pin their number plates on their travel trailer door and have the kids write down their place, how they did, and their goals for the next race. Twenty years later, the same thoughtful approach defines Rachel’s way of training, racing, and living. She’s created an approach that allows her to take a holistic view of time on and off the bike.  

A BALANCED PROGRAM

“I used to be all-in on racing cross-country, but as I get older I want to try new things,” says Strait, “At first, I focused on Enduro, but I’m branching out and trying other areas as well: Dual Slalom, Pump Track, Air DH.” Her newfound embrace of a broader range of riding has allowed her to put energy into one of her favorite things: progress. “I love the challenge of bringing my mental state in-line with my ability on the bike, and vice versa,” she says, “So often we hold ourselves back in our head when really, our bodies can achieve what we’re aiming for.” 

Strait is no stranger to pushing herself to perform. But as she’s gotten a little older, her attitude has evolved as well, “I’m fortunate that my sponsorship relations are not all based on my results,” says Strait, “I have clear goals that I want to achieve, and I want to be stoked on how I ride my races, but not get overly worried about my exact placings. Inside, though, I want to make the podium every time I line up.”  

HangOver 4 Vertical Bike Rack + BackSwing

REAL LIFE=REAL GEAR

Living a life around bikes means taking them places. For Strait, that’s even more true, given travel for training, racing, and just plain old playtime. “For daily use, it’s the Dr. Tray. I love that rack. It makes traveling with bikes so easy and convenient,” she says. When it’s time to load up for more extended road time, Strait and her husband, professional rider and two-time Red Bull Rampage champion Kyle Strait, kit out the vehicle to make things smoother.

“Longer trips call for a more detailed set-up,” she says, “When we travel, we’ve got the HangOver, the SkyRise HD, and the SlimShady. They make being on the road super easy. We did two Baja trips last year and brought boards and bikes. Having a mobile base camp makes it super fun,” says Strait, “And when we go to Whistler, we bring so many bikes that on the way home we always make a couple stops, just to ride and have some adventures. It’s so convenient to have the tent on top and just be able to pick your spot.”

Dr Tray Bike Rack

IMPROVISING

2020 was on track to bring more of this to life, with another season competing on the CrankWorx tour. But then everything changed. Everywhere. For everyone. With the global impact of COVID-19, Strait’s schedule for the year went on hold.  “The CrankWorx events were pushed up a bit. We had less time to prepare and were a little bummed initially, but now in the scope of things we’re thankful for that. It meant we were lucky to get to do the first stop of CrankWorx in New Zealand, before everything shut down.”

As for what’s next, Strait is in the same spot as all of us: waiting. “For now, I have the same schedule planned, just a little postponed,” she says. For anyone who’s active, the current situation can take its toll. Being inside, staying away from favorite spots to ride and taking extra precautions is hard, but necessary. It’s no different for the Straits, “It’s been pretty hard. We’re making sure we’re really cautious any time we do ride. We live on 10 acres and can ride on the property,” says Strait, ”We’re trying to eat really healthy as well, to keep our immune system strong, and just trying to lessen our trips out.”

Off the bike, Strait’s also trying new things, “I’ve been tapping into my crafty side,” she says, “Which I didn’t know I had! I started to macramé, which is pretty cool. I don’t think of myself as creative, but it appeals to my analytical side.”

RIDE HARD, BE NICE

Now more than ever, Strait is spending time and energy on mental health, ”It’s easy to get down and feel depressed,” she says, “Riding is such a great way to keep your endorphins up and your system strong. Getting into some sort of routine makes such a difference, keeping up those connections however you can.”

Last, but most, she’s emphasizing something we can all rally behind in uncertain times, “Most importantly: Be kind. Even when you’re scared,” she says. For someone used to managing her fears as part of her profession, those are important words. 

Rachel Strait | Yakima Rackpack’r | @rachelstrait1

HiHeyHello X Snow Peak

Bikepacking 101: Learn what to bring and how to load your bike.

We are excited to kick off July by spending the afternoon with Rie Sawada (@charries_cafe) and @hiheyhellomagazine, learning more about the essentials of bike-packing and how to load up for your next adventure on two wheels.

Rie Sawada toured Europe, setting up pour-over coffee stations, sharing the joy of coffee, and cyling with new friends. Rie spends a lot of time exploring and camping on her bike and will be sharing her bikepacking essentials, a packing list, and tips on how to load your bike to adventure on two wheels. The event will be informal, attendees will be able to ask questions.

Copies of HiHeyHello Magazine will be available for purchase. Beverages and light snacks provided. Limited to 30 attendees due to COVID-19 protocols.


Details:⠀
RSVP HERE
Thursday July 1st, 2021 from 5-7p.⠀
@snowpeakportland Flagship Store on 404 NW 23rd. Ave.⠀

Subscribe or check back here for more great info on Snow Peak and bike packing basics.

Oprah Daily – 19 Best Lawn Games to Play Outside All Summer – Freestyle Croquet

From Oprah Daily By Monica Chon

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that far-flung family vacations and adult summer camps are wonderful luxuries, but sometimes the best memories are made right at home in your own backyard. Whether splashing around in an inflatable pool and kicking back with a stack of beach reads or hosting a cookout complete with an array of lawn games, there’s a lot of joy to be had when you’re hanging out in your own space with friends and family.

If the latter is on your radar this season, make sure you’re prepared with the ultimate setup. There are options abound for party guests of all ages, from toddlers and kids to adults. You’re sure to keep everyone happy with classics like cornhole, horseshoe, or Jenga. But why not up the ante with something new to everyone? Like Molkky, a throwing game borrowed from the Finnish, or PutterBall, a hybrid of mini golf and beer pong.

Of course, there are even some options suitable for a special event, like an outdoor wedding. Think a giant four-foot tall personalized game of Connect 4 or a DIY cornhole board painted with your monogram.

No matter which route you go, one thing’s for sure: These outdoor games—suitable for the yard, beach, or even the camp ground—are sure to inspire some healthy competition!

Outside Inside – Freestyle Croquet

This colorful, easy-paced lawn game only requires a little bit of set up with the hoops and goal posts—and instructions are included along with two mallets, four balls, and a convenient carry bag.

For the rest of the list CLICK HERE

A game that combines croquet and golf. Mallets are wedged to lift the lightweight balls through a course of hoops.

  • Can be played in virtually any outdoor space.
  • Great for travel, camping, the beach, tailgating or back yard.
  • Lightweight and pack-able. 
  • Players: 2-4
  • Dimensions:
    • Mallets:  26″ x 5.5″
    • Balls:  3″ dia.
    • Dimensions:  25″ x 6.25″ x 4″ in carry bag.
  • Weight: 1.95lbs.
  • Price: $42.95

2021 Outside Summer Buyer’s Guide Featuring CamelBak

40-plus Reviewers. 340 Products. Months of testing on rivers, trails, summits, and patios.

From Outside Online By Kaelyn Lynch

At Outside, we take a lot of things seriously, including adventure storytelling, our dogs, perfecting the campground margarita, and reviewing gear. Gear, in particular, sits high on that list. The right running shoes, skis, backpack, or camp stove can be the difference between enjoying your time outside and merely enduring it. We consider gear so important that we publish two standalone magazines every year dedicated to it. We’ve been running our Summer Buyer’s Guide since 1996 and our Winter Buyer’s Guide since 2007. Each issue is about the newest, techiest, all-around best outdoor clothing and equipment on the market for the upcoming season…

As Buyer’s Guide editor, my job is to work with our team of editors, fact-checkers, designers, photographers, and writers to put the whole thing together. So, I thought I’d give you a peek behind the scenes. Our testing process starts six to eight months before each print Buyer’s Guide reaches your hands. We rely on a roster of 40 category directors, many of whom work with their own network of testers to gather feedback from the widest possible range of users…

Each year, I come away newly shocked by the lengths to which our reviewers go to figure out which pieces rise above the rest. In 2020, Amy Juries tested bikepacking gear over the course of several trips that took her 2,000 miles through eight countries. Impressively, everything except her bike survived getting run over by a truck in Jordan in the process. Jen Ripple took advantage of a 2,612-mile, 14-day fishing road trip to test gear for the women’s fly-fishing page. Scott Yorko put men’s travel gear through the wringer during a stint of globe-trotting that lasted 52 days and involved 19,824 miles of flying. Berne Broudy hiked 300 miles in 11 states and spent a month’s worth of nights under the stars to figure out which hiking boots were the best… 

For More behind the scenes of Outside’s Buyers Guide CLICK HERE

To see the rest of the 2021 Summer Buyer’s Guide CLICK HERE

The Best Women’s Travel Gear of 2021 – CamelBak Tritan Renew Eddy+ Water Bottle ($15)

Make your next trip more comfortable than the last

By Alex Temblador

Two products in one, the MultiBev combines a 22-ounce stainless-steel water bottle with a 16-ounce coffee cup (silicone lid included) that twists off the bottom.

The Best Men’s Cycling Gear of 2021 – CamelBak M.U.L.E. Pro 14 Pack ($150)

Carefree pedaling starts with a great kit

By Josh Patterson

The M.U.L.E. carries its share for big adventures. The 14-liter pack features an included tool roll, a dedicated slot to carry an e-bike battery, and a new ventilated back panel.

The Best Men’s Workout Gear of 2021 – CamelBak Tritan Renew Eddy+ Water Bottle ($15)

What you need for pushing hard and feeling good afterward

By Jeremy Rellosa

In a world dominated by stainless-steel vessels, the Tritan Renew line is refreshingly simple. It’s lightweight, made from 50 percent recycled plastic, and has a flip-up straw for easy sipping between sets.

Yakima Racks Camping Weekend Getaway: Big Bear, CA

Andrew Villablanca is a Los Angeles based outdoors enthusiast. If he isn’t mountain biking, he’s out on an adventure in his truck to explore the Southwest. His 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 is equipped with a Yakima SkyRise HD rooftop tent, SlimShady Awning, and OutPost HD rack.

LA Weekend Road Trip

Leave the Home Office Behind

For a lot of us, the past year has been anything but what we expected. With all semblance of a routine gone, it’s been hard to keep track of the little things, like working out or grocery shopping, much less trips or getaways. While I had planned countless trips, each month has come and gone without me leaving the office, aka home. After months of staying put, my girlfriend and I decided it was finally time to get out. While flying was obviously out of the cards, we figured why not take the social distancing thing to the woods, to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.

Living in Los Angeles means that we have a laundry list of interesting places to explore, but this time we set a two-hour perimeter for ourselves to keep things a little more manageable. We set our sights to the north east of the city looking for a mountain escape.

Just a couple of hours from LA, Big Bear, CA is a mountain oasis that feels far removed from the bustle of the concrete jungle. The winter months are perfect for desert trips to Joshua Tree, Mojave or Anza-Borrego, but the heat of the summer makes the mountains east of Los Angeles the perfect getaway. Big Bear is one of my favorite day or weekend trips to get out and enjoy some elevation. While the main drag of town gets crowded during the summer, hundreds of miles of forest, single track hiking, and dirt roads await those willing to go a little farther. It’s always nice to trade the noise of the city for the gentle whir of the wind through the pines.

Camping In The Skyrise Rooftop Tent: Ready For Rain Or Shine

We left early in the morning, hoping to set up camp by midday so we could get out and take in the scenery. The hot day and humid conditions gave us a welcome thunderstorm as we rolled into town. As we drove over to Holcomb Valley to find a spot to set up camp, the rain intensified. It seemed like our day of hiking was going to be cut short, but we decided to truck on in search of the perfect camp site. Eventually after a few miles of driving we found a spot protected by tall pines and nestled up against a large rock feature. Like magic, the rain subsided to a gentle drizzle as we rolled up to camp and started to open the tent and get out our gear. It only took a few minutes to open the tent, set up the rainfly, and unfurl the awning to provide protection from the drizzle. When you’ve got the right gear, you’re never unprepared, which means a little rain isn’t the end of a camping weekend!

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Gear Patrol – 15 Awesome New Outdoor Products to Kick off Summer With – Snow Peak Alpha Breeze

From Gearpatrol.com By Tanner Bowden

This pandemic year has highlighted how important the outdoors are. As one of the only spaces to gather responsibly, they’ve been critical for recreation, fitness, dining and general escape from our own homes.

On a related note, kudos to the government for recently unveiling a plan to conserve 30 percent of the country’s land and water by 2030, much of which will become parks as well as new grounds for hunting and fishing.

That kind of news is easy to get excited about, especially with summer on the horizon — but also when there’s all kinds of new outdoor gear with which to enjoy all those wide-open spaces.

Snow Peak Alpha Breeze

The Japanese outdoor brand looked to Adirondack and A-frame cabins to inform the design of its newest tent. The Alpha Breeze’s somewhat-domed form is familiar; what’s novel is the inclusion of various entry points and a fly that converts to an awning for a covered front porch hangout.

Price: $500

For the other 14 items on the list check out Gearpatrol.com

Snow Peak Opens Takibi ‘Bonfire’ Restaurant in Portland

From GearJunkie by Adam Ruggiero

The outdoor brand’s first U.S. restaurant will serve locally sourced, Japanese-inspired fare, cooked on a wood-burning hearth.

Today, the luxury-meets-utility-meets-style outdoor brand, Snow Peak, will push the envelope a little further for American consumers and launch a restaurant. Takibi (Japanese for “bonfire”) opens today right next to its U.S. headquarters in northwest Portland.

Under the watch of chef Alex Kim, Takibi will offer customers a seasonally rotating menu that shifts with the produce locally available at that time. The cuisine and aesthetic will draw inspiration from izakayas, Japanese bars with light shareable plates.

“We believe Snow Peak is the foodiest brand in the outdoor industry, and by opening Takibi, we’re on our way to becoming the outdoorsiest brand in the hospitality space,” Matt Liddle, chief operating officer of Snow Peak USA, said in a press announcement. “The quintessential Snow Peak experience is sharing a thoughtfully prepared meal with friends around the fire.”

Takibi is not Snow Peak’s first restaurant; the brand already dabbles in Japan’s food scene. But it is Snow Peak’s first U.S. dining option, and Takibi’s opening has already been delayed by a year in the wake of the pandemic.

While trendy dining sits at the forefront of Snow Peak’s new restaurant, it is, after all, an outdoor brand. As such, customers can expect the brand’s gear to accompany their East-meets-West dining experience.

Some of Snow Peak’s iconic products — think sporks and drinkware — are baked into Takibi.

“Meals at Takibi find Snow Peak product thoughtfully woven throughout the dining experience,” Snow Peak COO Matt Liddle said. “From inspired cocktails served in our legendary titanium mugs to the mini-flames that flicker on the bamboo table tops, we’ve found plenty of moments to surprise and delight diners with Snow Peak product.”

Takibi will also sport a wide array of classic cocktails with “Japanese accents.” For food, Snow Peak won’t reveal all the good ahead of its launch, but it did offer a few choice selections to tease customers.

The lunch menu will offer a wild mushroom ochazuke — charcoal-grilled wild mushroom rice, grilled trumpet mushrooms, turnip top furikake, nori, radish, and cabbage sprouts. The dinner selection includes beef sukiyaki.

For the launch, Takibi will be limited to 50 patrons, served on its patio. But when open at full capacity, the restaurant will host another 75 patrons indoors.

And don’t worry if you’re not in Portland for the opening. Liddle confirmed that Snow Peak plans to open more restaurants in select locations as it grows in the U.S.

For more info and to make a reservation visit – takibipdx.com

Downhill Dream Boot -SCOTT Freeguide Carbon Review

From Wild Snow By Aaron Rice

Scott Freeguide Carbon touring boot

Downhill Dream Boot

I’ve come up with a patent pending method to test the skiability of a boot. Step 1. Check the weather and ignore all but the most optimistic forecast then plan accordingly for a two-foot dump! Step 2. Drive to the trailhead with skis that are 124 underfoot and 184 long. Step 3. Realize that it only snowed 3-6 inches and it’s sitting on top of frozen crud. Step 4. See if the boot in question can still drive a massively oversized ski in horrendous conditions!

During the winter months you can find me solely in the backcountry earning my turns. Unlike some new arrivals drawn to the ski touring for uphill fitness, I’ve always been and still am primarily in it for the down. For me the best way to get the best turns is to earn them. I believe in this philosophy so much that in 2016, I spent the year skinning and skiing 2.5 million vertical feet and setting a new record and did so wearing Vulcans on skis 95-124 underfoot! So with that as my background and continuing to ski 300-400 thousand vertical feet each year, I not only need a boot that is going to be the most fun on the down, but also one that’s going to tour like a dream.

Intended use

Released in 2020, the Scott Freeguide Carbon is Scott’s offering for a freeride touring boot. It is the heaviest and stiffest boot in their touring line at an advertised 1455g (26.5) and 130 flex. The Superguide Carbon and the Cosmos III boots fill out their touring lineup, both a step lighter, softer, and less costly. The Freeguide is made with “Grilamid® mix + carbon fiber” which, best I can tell, is standard Grilamid plastic impregnated with carbon for added stiffness.

The Scott Freeguide Carbon touring boot scores high on downhill performance.

The Freeguide is intended to be the “new standard in freetouring” according to the Scott product description. It is a burly boot built to charge on the down but at a low weight for its class. The liner has an integrated boa system and the walkability is achieved with a two-part tongue and an advertised 60° cuff rotation (we will get into that more later).

Fit

Before I talk about fit, a little about my feet. I have a relatively standard arch height and foot width along with a very high instep (thick foot). There are a couple small bone spurs and problem spots, but nothing crazy. I also have very narrow calves. I wear a size 8.5 shoe (26 mondo) but almost always size down for ski boots to a 25.5.

I usually need to get a bit of work done on shells, however the Freeguide fit my foot pretty well right out of the box. I think this is due in large part to the plush liner, which I’m not accustomed to. The toe box was a bit narrow and my pinky toe was constantly being pushed into the rest of my toes. If this were to become my daily driver I would probably need to do some work on the toe box, but never got around to it this season. Otherwise this boot was a generalist when it came to fit, not particularly wide or narrow, and the plush liner allows it to fit a range of feet snuggly.

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GSI RAKAU Knife Set

GSI RAKAU Knife Set

The Gourmet 3-pc wood-handled knife set includes a compact bamboo cutting board with a juice gutter, a recycled microfiber towel, a soap bottle and a set of three masterfully crafted stainless steel knives with waterproof wood laminate handles. Designed to last for generations. The Chef knife has a Santoku blade with Granton scallops for gracefully thin slicing. The serrated bread knife will tackle the hardest baguette crusts with laser precision, and the paring knife will deftly maneuver through crisp fruit cores. The set is contained in a convenient recycled PET cloth case with an integrated knife sheath to protect and safely manage the blades.