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.

Ford Bronco Sport Ultimate Outdoor Rig

The Sky Island region of southeast Arizona is among the most biologically diverse areas in North America. From parrots to jaguars, this desert oasis is beautiful, fragile and worth taking the time to explore. Four friends set off on a 220-mile bike relay in their all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport to test their ability and introduce people to a place they know and love.

In episode one, learn tips for getting the Ford Bronco Sport ready for your next trip — what to pack, how to organize, and installation tips for rooftop tents and bike racks.

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Runners World – Best Hydration Packs 2021 – CamelBak Ultra Pro W and Nano

From Runner’s World By Pat Heine

The Best Hydration Packs for Your Next Long Run

Carry water, extra clothing, trekking poles, and more with these versatile running backpacks.

When you’re heading out on a long run, a hydration pack is essential to carry not only all the water you’ll need but also the fuel and gear required for the conditions you’ll encounter. Today’s packs are far different from the traditional hiking kind, with smaller, lighter constructions that won’t bounce, remaining comfortable for miles.

CamelBak Ultra Pro W 6L Hydration Vest

The CamelBak Ultra Pro W gives women a tailor-fit version of the popular Ultra Pro vest. A six-liter capacity means this vest can carry enough for long races and big trail days while keeping a slim profile. Stretch pockets on the front, side, and rear hold all of your fuel and gear, and they’re easily reachable mid-run. For runners who use trekking poles, two bungee cords act as a minimalist quiver system to attach the poles to the back. You can also untie the bungee cords and switch them to sling poles over your preferred shoulder.

  • Pack Weight – 150g/5 oz
  • Gear Capacity – 6L/360 cu in
  • Water Capacity – 1L/34 oz
  • Hydration Type – 2x 500ml Quick Stow™ Flask
  • Torso Fit- XS26-32in S28-34in M32-37in L35-40in
  • Price – $120

CamelBak Nano Vest 1.5L

The Nano lives up to its name with a truly minimalist design. Breathable mesh with large holes helps keep you cooler and makes the vest barely noticeable as you’re wearing it. The Nano can carry two soft flasks on the front, and it has dedicated key and phone pockets. Side pockets allow storage for food and other gear, and the back essentially acts as a quiver for trekking poles, with a small pocket and two loops on the shoulder straps.

  • Pack Weight – 140g/4 oz
  • Gear Capacity – 1.5L/90 cu in
  • Water Capacity – 1L/34 oz
  • Hydration Type – 2x 500ml Quick Stow™ Flask
  • Torso Fit – S28-34in M32-40in L38-46 in
  • Price – $100

For the rest of the list check out Runner’s World

Gear Junkie – The Best Rooftop Tents of 2021 – Yakima SkyRise Medium

From GearJunkie By Berne Broudy

The Best Rooftop Tents of 2021

If you’ve never slept in a rooftop tent, it’s hard to imagine how different it is from sleeping on the ground.

For overland adventures, life on the road, or just an elevated and more comfortable campout experience, rooftop tents are the way to go. As options for car- and truck-mounted tents expand, it can be tough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are our picks for the best rooftop tents.

If you’ve never slept in a rooftop tent, it’s hard to imagine how different it is from sleeping on the ground. Rooftop tent (RTT) sleeping feels safer and more secure than sleeping in a tent on the ground.

Plus, RTTs offer a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings, airflow that’s unheard of in a traditional tent, protection (and peace of mind), and generally superior comfort for sleeping.

The drawbacks: Unlike a ground tent or a tow-behind camper, when your tent is on your roof, you have to break camp before you drive away. And, for those who make nighttime visits to the loo, there’s a ladder to negotiate between you and relief (unless you’re willing to get creative).

Also, if your dog gets to share the human bed, practice your one-handed ladder climb before you attempt to hoist them up. Multiply that effort if you have more than one dog.

Not every rooftop tent fits every vehicle nor every budget. But some tents work for almost every car or truck. Rooftop tents are all pricier than even the plushest backpacking tent, but if you’re able to invest, you won’t regret it.

Best 3-Person Rooftop Tent: Yakima SkyRise Medium

Two of the biggest barriers to entry for campers considering a rooftop tent are weight and price. Yakima’s SkyRise ($1,599) is not only relatively light, but it’s also competitively priced for a three-person tent. And it’s the most similar to backpacking and car camping tents that many backcountry enthusiasts are already familiar with.

The SkyRise is made from the same stuff as most tents you’d pitch on the ground. The 210D nylon is light and breathable, with mesh ventilation panels that double as windows into the Milky Way. All the windows and the two skylights have solid and mesh panels that zip open for ventilation and views.

Much like a standard ground tent, the SkyRise’s waterproof fly is polyurethane-coated, and the tent can be set up with the fly on or off. Aluminum poles give the tent structure. They’re strong, pre-set, and easy to engage once you manually flip this tent open.

Consider a three-person tent if you’ll be sleeping with a child. This is also a good option if you’re a dog owner whose dog climbs ladders, or if you’re willing to shuttle your pooch into your rooftop nest. Everyone will appreciate the plush, 2.5-inch-thick, wall-to-wall mattress.

And after this tent gets some use, you’ll also appreciate that the mattress has a removable cover for easy cleaning.

The SkyRise M is one of the easiest tents to mount on a roof rack. It goes on and comes off tool-free.

It also locks to your roof with the same system used in all Yakima bars and mounts, SKS lock cores, which are included with the tent.

  • Dimensions open: 56″ x 96″ x 48″ H
  • Dimensions closed: 58″ x 48″ x 16.5″
  • Sleeping footprint: 56″ x 96″
  • Weight: 115 lbs.
Pros:
  • Super easy to mount
  • Locks to your roof
Cons:
  • Lighter fabrics may flap more on windy nights

For the other tents that made the list checkout GearJunkie.com

NYMag – The Strategist Haul – What the Editors Bought in March = CamelBak Eddy+

By Jordan Bowman | From NYMag The Strategist

CamelBak Eddy+ BPA Free Water Bottle – $15

I’m a big consumer of water. Keep that Diet Coke, no-sugar nonsense away from me, please. And I’ve been on the search for the perfect bottle for years. Last month, I spoke to Hanif Abdurraqib about how much water we can drink when we have a straw, and I was considering picking up a traditional tumbler, but I settled on the CamelBak Eddy+ because of the spill-proof function. You have to kind of bite on the valve to get the water out, but it’s great for hikes or if you’re like me and carry you water everywhere and don’t want to think about spilling anything. I’ve tried so many water bottles, but I’ve officially turned into a CamelBak believer. You won’t see me using anything else anytime soon.

To see the rest of the list check out: The Strategist Haul – What the Editors Bought in March

Takibi Fire and Grill by Snow Peak

We believe gathering in nature is one of the best ways to restore the human spirit. Takibi, or bonfire in Japanese, is at the center of every outdoor gathering.

Takibi Fire and Grill

The Takibi Fire and Grill is made of durable stainless steel and designed in Japan for a lifetime of use. Packable, portable and modular, use the Takibi Fire and Grill to create a gathering anywhere. The five piece set includes Grill Net, Grill Bridge, Pack & Carry Fireplace L, Baseplate and Carrying Case. 

CONTENTS

  • Fireplace Grill (L)
  • Fireplace Grill Bridge (L)
  • Pack & Carry Fireplace (L)
  • Fireplace Base Plate (L)
  • Fireplace Canvas Bag (L)

MATERIALS

  • Stainless Steel
  • No. 6 Canvas
  • Acrylic Tape
  • Nylon Mesh

SPECIFICATIONS

  • 32 lbs (14.5 kg)
  • L 17.7″ W 17.9″ H 12″
  • $319.95