About Cathleen Calkins

Cathleen Calkins is a California-based writer and award-winning photographer. After 15 years in the corporate arena, she opts for the quiet of her office and works with national consumer and trade magazines, newspapers, online publications and custom print and web advertorial communications. Her specialties include adventure, sustainability, travel, health, fitness, lifestyle, tourism, and branding.


Outdoor Retailer Winter Market: Part III

Icebreaker's new running wear.

My last day at Outdoor Retailer was spent considering all the clothing and footwear options. While innovation in trends wasn’t revolutionary – there is an obvious continuance of the push to bring low-profile apparel and minimalist footwear to consumers, development … Continue reading

Athletes at Outdoor Retailer

Bear Grylls lends his name to Craghoppers.

At OR you always see super fit athletes checking out the new gear along with regular retailer and media folks. My sightings included climber Beth Rodden, extreme skier and guide Dean Cummings, Man vs. Wild’s Bear Grylls, and world-record holder … Continue reading

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market: Part I

TSL Race Composite with integrated shoe

TSL Race Composite with integrated shoe

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City was a good place to be Thursday. It was snowing in the mountains while I was inside cruising aisle upon aisle of outdoor products. The 2012 … Continue reading

Patagonia’s Inspired Bly Mid GORE-TEX Boot


Patagonia has long served consumers with thoughtful and intuitive clothing options that can, in simple alliterative terms, be described as functional fashion. Design and quality so good and so specific you can pick them out in a crowd. They’ve done … Continue reading

End of the Road: Snowshoeing Valdez, Alaska

Full Moon

The descent from Thompson Pass to Valdez is one of Alaska’s most stunning roadways. The Richardson Highway follows a single switchback on a high plateau, where views of glacial fields abound, before dropping into Keystone Canyon, a narrow slice wide … Continue reading

Comehike.com: Quite Possibly Your Next Hiking Destination


Think taking an outdoor activity online doesn't make sense? Think again. As with many other outdoor activities and sports, gravitating toward an online social network hub or forum seems to be the trend. This is true even with the active pursuit of hiking. Alex Genadink, founder of the new hiking website ComeHike.com, is betting his site might be your next hiking destination.

Columbia Sportswear’s New Windefend Half Zip: Presents a Good Argument for a One-Shirt Quiver


Sure, we've all heard the term quiver. Typically it's used to reference skis. Or rather a great all around set of skis: as in “my one-ski quiver.” Even “queen of quivers” denoting someone with enough money to own more than, say, ten and enough time to use them all. But quiver isn't usually associated with clothing, until now. Columbia Sportswear's new women's Windefend Half Zip is a must-have performance mid-layer for when it's cool but not cold.

Into the Storm: Columbia Sportswear’s Shell Duo


When I found out I was going to gear test Columbia Sportswear's shell offerings for a heli-ski trip I was planning, I had mixed feelings. I love gear but I wasn't sure I would love Columbia's. I even questioned my friend Randy on a morning mountain bike ride. Without prejudice I asked, “When I mention the brand Columbia what immediately comes to mind?” His reaction was the same as mine – words like heavy, non-technical, and entry-level spilled from his lips. Then the jackets - the Women's Peak Power shell and the Men's Peak 2 Peak shell - arrived at my doorstep and I was forever changed. This is not your neophyte-neighbor's outdoor wear.

Columbia’s Reach the Peak Down Hybrid Jacket Mixes Form and Function


One of the newest trends in outdoor adventure clothing design is the hybrid down. Perhaps inspired by the hybrid car, the new version of down offers the same amount of warmth in a trimmed down sportier model. Columbia Sportswear is leading the charge with its new Reach the Peak down hybrid jacket.

Destination Snowshoe: Mammoth Lakes


I slip into Stellar Brew for a soy latte and energy muffin before heading to Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center to snowshoe. It's 6:30 am and the temperature has only reached two degrees above zero. Windows are steamy from bodies crowded around Stellar's eclectic mix of diner-style tables, benches, sofas and wing back chairs. Despite the crowd, it's quiet and there's a palpable contemplative mood. Perhaps because it's a Monday morning after a busy weekend or maybe because it's bluebird but the winds are gusting. The evidence is large circular plumes of snow blowing skyward from Mammoth Mountain's upper ridgeline.

Sequoia National Park: Snowshoeing Among Giants


It's late when we arrive at the Foothill entrance station to Sequoia National Park. The Ranger smiles as he hands me the winter guide and advises us on conditions. The roads are slick and four inches of new-fallen snow covers the highway. We display our entrance pass on our windshield, wave good-bye, and carefully drive the remaining 25 miles to our destination, the Wuksachi (pronounced wook-sah-chi) Lodge.

Big Bear Lake: Snowshoeing Southern California’s Mountain Outpost


Snowshoeing in Southern California could be likened to surfing in Siberia. It's possible: Russia's Far East has miles of coastline and Southern California has mountain towns with four full seasons of weather. In fact, consider the following scenario: a quiet valley at 7,000 feet, peaks and ridgelines soar 3,000 feet higher, 300+ days of sunshine, enough weather to deliver on average 64 inches of the white-stuff every winter, a lively snowshoe scene, and a fair amount of laid-back locals. Add in that downtown Los Angeles is only 150 miles away.