A blow lasting day and night caused challenges with dirt, dust and wood debris on the trail, but covering tracks with my new best friend, the Wilderness Athlete full-scale backpack, helped to attack the paths one step at a time. … Continue reading
With snowshoe season just around the corner, here are several options for gearing up.
Blundstone 560 Series Boot
With a history dating back to the 1850s, Blundstone, an Australian company, has been making dependable footwear while establishing its stellar reputation … Continue reading
One of the first backpacks I owned back in the 80s was a Kelty external frame. It was a solid pack – aluminum frame and all. It's hard to find an external frame pack nowadays, especially a reliable one. And they're not ideal for snowshoers. Nonetheless, I found one that any shoer should consider.
Designed with Batman in mind (not true), the Deuter Freerider Pro 30 is a pack that can stash a lot of stuff. Most importantly, it can stash a set of snowshoes to its front – protected by a combination of hypalon and Deuter Ballistic materials.
The best way to test the structural integrity of any backpack is to drop a 15-pound bowling ball – from a distance of 10 feet in the air – into the main compartment. If it doesn't rip a hole through the bottom of the pack, continue with testing its durability by filling it full of honey and allowing wild animals to have their way with it. In that same line of analysis, spray it with pheromones and once again allow wild animals to have their way with it. If it remains relatively intact thereafter, the pack is most decidedly a decent product and should be endorsed as such.
It's time to discuss the benefits of using snowshoes for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Quite simply, snowshoes can help you get there. However, additional gear is necessary: an Osprey Kode 30 Backpack. The Kode 30 is what a winter backcountry explorer requires to lug the ski/snowboard equipment up the mountain and holster the snowshoes for the descent.
Gregory Mountain Products has been around since 1977, officially founded by Wayne Gregory. The company has made some great backpacks over the decades. My first backpack was a Gregory Ritter model. This great internal frame pack was purchased about 17 years ago at a local outfitter in Denver (can't recall the name of the retailer). I still have this pack today…and still use it on the trails. Even after 17 years of hiking and snowshoeing, the Ritter has held up nicely. Hanging in my basement, next to my Ritter, is the hydration-friendly Miwok pack: A slice of legacy living next to my snowshoeing future. Nevertheless, I fully expect to have both packs 17 years from today.
Among my arsenal of backpacks, the High Peak Adrenaline definitely has the largest capacity - approximately 6,000 cubic inches. This is a pack worthy of European touring. It's got everything a traveling outdoorsperson needs: durability, comfort and flexibility.
A family that hikes together has more fun than families that stay at home. This is proven. The Mountain Hardwear Fluid 26 backpack is what coaxed me and the "fam" out into the backcountry of Colorado this summer. I used the Fluid 26 as a lightweight daypack combined with a hydration bladder - worked beautifully. Even with a full three-liter bladder placed in an easy-to-access pocket, there was still room for the essentials: sunscreen, first-aid kit, binoculars, energy bars, emergency gear, and a few other items. Even better, I let my wife carry the pack: From her reports, it's a great fit for the ladies. It's comfortable, lightweight and has straps that aren't overbearing.
When I think of Cortez, Colo., I now think of Osprey Packs. Based in the small town, the company is near some of the state's purest backcountry destinations. Osprey is a well-known brand and manufacturer of backpacks. Stay alert and you'll notice fellow trailgoers sporting Osprey gear, uniquely stamped with the trademark red and gray logo. I'm new to the Osprey brand - despite it being around since the 70s. ("You'll have to excuse my friend. He's a little slow. The town is back that way.") After a day with the Osprey Mutant 38, I was no longer "Dumb and Dumber" ... no longer a virgin to the Osprey brand. The Mutant 38 "wined and dined" me proper.
With summer approaching, snow-free trails are beckoning for us to stay out longer and longer. With the increase in heat and humidity, hydration becomes increasingly important. For very long runs, a good hydration pack is often the best option.
Over the years, I regularly receive an e-mail or a phone call from an eager snowshoer wanting advice on what kind of backpack to purchase. Of course, I've tried many and have my opinions. Where I find my opinion becomes rather fierce is the availability of a backpack engineered for snowshoers. This is a very difficult item to find in the world. Until now, conveniently! This is because you're reading Snowshoe Magazine – the only publication focusing entirely on the sport of snowshoeing. So, I introduce to you...GV Snowshoes' Technical Backpack for snowshoers.