CamelBak Commute Bike Packs

CamelBak H.A.W.G. Commute 30 and M.U.L.E Commute 22

Adventure happens daily. CamelBak’s new line of everyday commute packs accommodate all the necessities for your daily routine. Smart and roomy designs paired with the fit and comfort that CamelBak is known for, these are sure to handle the daily grind.

GearJunkie – Our Favorite Gear This Month – GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Pro Stove

From GearJunkie Tested by: Chris Potter, Community Manager

GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Pro Stove

Highly anticipated since winning GearJunkie’s Best of Show award at the Winter 2019 Outdoor Retailer Show, the Pinnacle Pro Stove from GSI Outdoors is the most compact and capable camp stove for elevating your camp kitchen experience yet. With strikingly modern looks, an extra-slim design, and refreshingly adjustable BTU burners, GSI Outdoors has reimagined what a camp stove can be.

Whether it was an omelet, a steak, or just a lot of rice for a camp stir fry, the Pinnacle Pro Stove made quick work of it during my testing. When I’m car camping, I tend to try and get a little indulgent with my cooking. And a stove that gently simmers and quickly boils like the Pinnacle Pro brought with it cooking confidence I’ve never before felt at the campsite.

At 1.4 inches thin, this stove is the portable future of car camping stoves. The Pinnacle Pro Stove should be available in late August or early September (pending supply chain shortages), and it will likely be in high demand once it hits store shelves. Camp chefs, car campers, overlanders, and base campers — this is your stove.

GearJunkie – Double-Decker Hitch Rack Hauls It All: Yakima Exo Review

From GearJunkie.com By Berne Broudy

Mounting Yakima’s EXO modular hitch rack is like moving from a studio apartment to a house with a garage.

I do a lot of sports and multi-activity adventures that require a lot of gear. So when I head out for the weekend, my Toyota Rav 4 Prime is loaded so full I can’t see out the back window. What’s more, my dogs have to sit uncomfortably atop duffel bags, bike shoes, climbing ropes, a cooler, toolbox, and more.

Thankfully, that all changed since I mounted Yakima’s EXO rack on my hitch. The fully modular rack has dry, secure storage; bike and ski racks; a burly basket that holds coolers and duffel bags (and also converts to a handy wheeled wagon); a bamboo table — the list goes on.

The EXO is a unique rack that fits any 2-inch hitch receiver. It offers one or two levels of carriage: the EXO SwingBase serves as a kind of lower deck that can be paired with the EXO TopShelf that sits above. Both decks both hold any of the EXO storage baskets, boxes, or racks.

Yakima EXO Modular Hitch Race: Setup

It all starts with the SwingBase, built on a swing-away that connects to a hitch receiver with a locking screw-in pin. Its two folding arms have tracks for any of the EXO system accessories (more below).

With the SwingBase installed, storage and mounts slide into tracks on the arms and tighten down with locking screw knobs. The rack rotates away from the vehicle for hatch access hatch. And a burly, overbuilt screw handle secures the closed SwingBase when it’s closed.

When it’s open with loaded racks or storage, a quick-install leg supports the open rack.

Next, the SwingBase has a receptacle for EXO’s TopShelf, the upper deck storage and rack holder. It locks to the base. It also rotates independently of the base when the two aren’t locked together.

Yakima EXO Accessories

DoubleUp Bike Rack & GearLocker

Most of the summer, I’ve used EXO’s DoubleUp bike rack on the upper deck, and its GearLocker on the lower deck. I keep all my riding gear in the dry, locked storage box. That keeps dirt and stink out of my car, and keeps all my gear where I can grab it fast at the trailhead.

The DoubleUp bike rack is the only mount that has to be installed on the TopShelf if you’re running both upper and lower decks. Every other mount can be used on whichever level you prefer.

In the setup I’ve been running, the GearLocker box won’t open unless I rotate the upper deck with the bike rack away from the lower deck. While it’s a minor annoyance, having the extra storage has proven worth it.

So when I use a GearLocker on the lower deck, instead of using the locking bolt to secure the top level to bottom level, I secure the two levels to each other with a quick-to-remove pin and a knob.

GearWarrior Basket

When I didn’t need locked, dry, dustproof storage for my gear, I slid the GearWarrior basket into the lower deck mount.

Yakima sells wheels and a handle that can convert the GearWarrior into a wagon. If you’ve ever hauled heavy coolers, six-person tents, firewood, and other camping gear for any distance, you’ll understand the value of this system.

The WarriorWheels install in minutes tool-free, and they can support up to 110 pounds. So not only was the basket spacious and easy to load and unload, but it also helped me get my gear to camp when I couldn’t drive to my site.

BackDeck

One of the mounts I was unsure I’d use was the EXO’s BackDeck. The bamboo tabletop, which comes in a protective carry case and must be stored inside the vehicle for transport, ended up being one of my favorite EXO accessories.

Post-ride beers were even more awesome served on this table. It had space for a cooler, snacks, a Bluetooth speaker, and gear. I also used the BackDeck as a work stand to hold tools, chain lube, rags, and more for field repairs.

And, when I parked to catch a sunset over Lake Champlain, I set it up on the EXO’s lower level where it was the perfect camp chair height to set drinks and food while kicking back.

Exo LitKit

Because the rack will block your taillights and your license plate, Yakima also makes the LitKit, a license plate holder with taillights that mounts on the rack where it’s visible to other drivers.  Note: You will need a wiring harness.

If you’re installing this rack on a vehicle other than a pickup, which likely came with a wiring harness, you’ll probably need to have one installed by a mechanic.

All of the parts and pieces of the EXO system lock to the EXO SwingBase and TopShelf. The GearLocker and bike and ski racks also lock, and the SwingBase and TopShelf lock to each other.

Yakima EXO Review

The biggest downside to the rack is that it’s heavy. And when I’m using both upper and lower decks, it’s hard to see out my rear window. On many vehicles, the system also blocks the backup camera.

Of course, the big downside is the price. The SwingBase and TopShelf are around $930, and that’s before adding the GearLocker ($419), GearWarrior ($349), DoubleUp bike rack ($499), or BackDeck tabletop ($129). All mounts are specific to the EXO base rack, which can be installed on a 2-inch hitch only.

From my perspective, even if I get all the mounts and storage options, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new car with more space. As an incurable gearhead who wants to be ready for any adventure that presents itself, this system has been invaluable to me.

And my dogs say that hitting the trailhead, crag, and put-in has become a lot more comfortable since I mounted the Exo on our hitch.

The EXO systems isn’t perfect, but it’s user-friendly, easy to operate, and gives me space I’ve only dreamed of. And because it’s modular, I’ve added mounts as I need them and as the budget allows.

So, I’m building a customized system that meets all my needs that can also be transferred to another vehicle if I’m traveling with a friend, or when it’s time to trade in my wheels for something new.

NSMB – CamelBak Chase Protector Vest Review

From NSMB By Andrew Major

CamelBak Chase Protector

This Is Spinal Wrap

Saying that I had an excellent experience with Camelbak’s original Chase Bike Vest is an understatement. The product is the hip-pack-killer anytime I’m carrying more than my wallet, emotional support jacket, and some extra gloves. I love how the Chase vest stays put descending, puts my cellphone in the best possible position if I should need it on the solo ride emergency, and holds exactly the right amount of gear – including my 4/3 camera – without getting unwieldy. In fact I’ve recommended the Chase a number of times to riders looking to take water, tools, and snacks along on their DH bikes .

I know that hip-packs are for everyone, and backpacks are not, and Camelbak’s bike vests are an exceptional example of neither. Camelbak quite obviously sees the vest line’s potential beyond marathon XC racing and bikes-sans-bottle-mounts because this latest vest option includes a CE Level 2 back protector.

The Chase vest is great for all four seasons. For epic rides I add the included 2L bladder but usually it just holds stuff and I carry water in bottles on my bike.

Chase is easily the most breathable on-my-back pack that I’ve used. The mesh straps help but credit to Camelbak for thinking about ventilation throughout.

The back protector doesn’t add any warmth compared to the original Chase Bike Vest. The system is heavier but also has a much larger volume.

At first, explaining the combination of a hydration vest – popularized by runners and long-distance XC riders – and back protection sounds a bit strange but with familiarization comes infatuation as I usually don’t ride with a hydration bladder. I’ve popped a bladder once falling on my back wearing a pack, and given the awkward shape and rigidity of some of the items I carry – like a camera – the idea of the back protector separating me from my sh*t during a crash is appealing.

Compared to the original Chase Bike Vest, this protective model is more than twice as heavy (780-grams v. 330-grams) empty but it’s important to note that doesn’t just come down to the back protector. The Protector-Vest has more than double the storage capacity – which is way too much for this layout – and has room for a bladder with an extra 1/2 litre of liquids (2L v 1.5L). It even has a helmet holder and while that’s not a feature I’d bother with, it’s a great place to store a wet jacket when the tap turns off.

The Protector-Vest is much better laid out for mountain bike gear storage compared to the original Chase, which was re-purposed from Camelbak’s running lineup, but I’d go as far as to suggest it has double the volume that it should in terms of being able to load the design with crap. My concern is that, for future products, Camelbak will compromise the best aspects of the vest – airflow and the mesh harness – in order to improve the ergonomics of the Protector Vest when it’s loaded. If you need to carry a backpack load of stuff then wear a backpack.

The new vest can carry a 2L bladder and 6L of gear. This is a dangerous combo for the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink packer because the vest format is best with a lightweight load.

I wish every pack used mesh straps and had a convenient, built-in, and excellent fitting, front access cellphone pocket. It’s never uncomfortable or in the way like an add-on pouch will be.

Thanks to the 3D ventilated mesh harness, the vest is amazing at staying in place in even when using my best dance moves to keep the rubber side down on janky trails. It breathes better than any backpack you’ve tried. My usual load is either the same as my hip-pack or when I’m carrying my camera or extra water, I’ll make sure the majority of my tools are in my frame bag & on my bike. If there’s going to be heavy rain I’ll also pack a real rain jacket and if there’s a solid chance of lighter precipitation my Goretex vest comes along. I’m a notorious over-packer so I have to really stay on top of myself. Last week I pulled five pairs of gloves, two multi-tools, and a full bottle of water out of the Chase. The performance was much improved after.

I wish there was a built-in weatherproof compartment, or that the whole bag was weatherproof, but not if it would have any effect on breath-ability. There is no back pack that breathes as well as the Chase and I’ll happily stuff my vulnerable gear in a dry bag for really wet days if that’s what it takes to keep it that way.

I’ll also make a special mention about the dual-sternum-strap and lack of a waist belt as it’s the thing I get most often asked about. I love not having a waist belt, and wouldn’t want one on any pack except where they stabilize loads under maximum effort. The Chase stays put beautifully, better than any pack I’ve used, and a waist belt is absolutely unnecessary.

Between Two Vests

Three pocket jerseys aren’t my thing. Merino jerseys sag ridiculously with any amount of weight in them and standard road jerseys that combine stretch and support feel awful as soon as I start getting my sweat on. When it’s raining in the summer I’ll wear the Chase vest over my Goretex vest. On a warm day, I’ll just wear it over a Merino T. It’s those crisp days that I’m getting excited for because this season I’ll be sporting the Chase Protector Vest over a nearly-new, fairly-old, CoreRat vest that my friend Sarah found in her closet!

Thanks to the Chase vest’s birth as a marathon-XC product, with easily accessible snacking and just the right amount of space, it sits perfectly above the Cordura pockets of my CoreRat. Doing short rides without any packs the CoreRat actually has plenty of space to comfortably carry my wallet, phone, and snacks, but even when combined with the Chase vest there are plenty of lightweight things to shove in those pockets so that I don’t need to remove my pack to access them.

The Chase vest interfaces perfectly with a three-pocket jersey is that’s your thing. Personally, I’ll only be taking advantage of the cut when wearing my CoreRat vest.

I can access all three pockets without removing the Chase Protector Vest. I’ll keep extra gloves in there, a mandatory blinky light, or snacks.

When it comes time for costume changes the Chase is very quick to adjust. Even when interfaced with thicker garments I had no issue getting a perfect fit.

Whether it’s climbing hard out of the saddle or bouncing down grotesque rooted corners, the Chase Protector Vest is splendidly still no matter how much body English I introduce to our relationship. Thankfully I haven’t had to use the back protector to date but I’m completely sold on the idea of having the protective barrier between my camera, tools, etc, and me if I do crash on my back. The Chase, with the right load, feels so light on my back that I don’t count any extra grams from the protector as a concern.

If you love your hip pack, wear it. If you love your backpack, wear it. If you haven’t found an example of either that works great for you then try on a Chase Bike Vest. Having used both models, I’d recommend the fit and features of the Protector version. I am still occasionally wearing a hip pack for very light-load days, especially when it’s very warm, because I have the luxury of owning both. Ii I was going to have just one pack for riding then this would be it.

When I found out the vest, including a 2L bladder, is 200 USD it gave me a moment’s pause. That seems like a lot of scratch, even with the best-in-class airflow and the back protector. A couple more rides in and I could frankly say that if this went missing tomorrow that I would buy a replacement right away. That’s despite owning a few other packs – hip and back – that can do the job.

You can check it out here and if you’ve tried out a Camelbak vest, love it or hate it, I’d like to read your experiences in the comments below. My brother is already a full-time Chase convert; it’s the hip pack and backpack killer and I have a few friends I’m trying to convince to try one out.

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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