R.E.I. is no stranger to the outdoor market, and their backpacks show that they have paid attention to details. In addition to carrying other brands, R.E.I. has their own line of equipment. Snowshoe Magazine chose to look at R.E.I.'s Hydration Ski Pack to see how it stacks up to the competition.
Lowepro is very well known for making exceptional camera bags and their backpack line continues in this tradition. In fact, it was difficult to sort through all of their choices to find just one backpack to highlight.
Just when I thought Merrell couldn't improve upon itself, they did. They've taken the essential design and performance of a Merrell boot and customized it to fit the needs of snowshoers. The new Thermo 6 waterproof boots were specifically designed for snowshoers yet can be enjoyed by anyone who likes being outside in the winter.
Snug as a bug in a rug? Well, not quite, but with 16% wool on this base layer, the Auxwool Zip shirt is plenty warm for the snowboarding enthusiast..., with the extra features you would expect from Patagonia.
When Mother Nature starts adjusting the temperature downward, it's all about the layers that keep outdoor athletes in tip-top shape. Thinsulate, down, wool and even cotton liners are commonplace in work out gear. Patagonia has come up with the best friend of an outdoor exercise enthusiast – layers. The jacket you need depends on what you will need it for and no single jacket will be the answer for all activities. A good place to start is the new Figure 4 Jacket from Patagonia. This company has a whole line of products to meet a variety of needs so that you can layer, stay comfortable and keep fit.
Nothing can be more annoying than finally hitting the trails only to have to dive out of the way of a screeching snowmobile. In the upper Midwest the snowmobiles rush out of every garage the second there is any measurable snow. A friend of mine recently said she'd love to take up snowshoeing, but she didn't want to compete with the snowmobiles.
With shoes selling in excess of $250 sometimes it is hard to separate the truth from the hype. You want a good quality shoe for weekday workouts and weekend hikes, but you don't want to spend a week's paycheck to get there. The Merrell Pulse II is a good choice and an excellent value at $85.
When out on the trail, how long I stay outdoors usually depends on my comfort level. A poor jacket, poor snowshoes, or poor planning can quickly put a damper on the outing. As a result, when I find a reliable product, I stick with it. My Merrell Phaser Peaks are one of those items.
One of the more frustrating things for a snowshoer is marrying performance with function. When it comes to being prepared on the trail, no detail can be overlooked and you want your equipment to complement your experience. The new High Alpine Parka from Columbia not only takes care of the basics like keeping you warm with optional layering, but it also provides ample pockets for everything from keys to cell phones.
Located between Chicago and Minneapolis, Southwest Wisconsin is a perfect place to shake the winter blues.
The two most notable destinations for hiking and snowshoeing are the Kickapoo Valley Reserve (KVR) and the Sparta Elroy Trail. Many of you will recognize these trails as bike trails, but in the winter they are still open for many activities.