Story and Photos By Tara Alan
A few years ago, my husband Tyler and I were cycling through Europe. After pedaling up the Alps through expensive-but-gorgeous Switzerland, we coasted down the mountains and entered a paradise for hungry, food-loving touring cyclists like us: Italy.
Besides taking breaks each day for gelato and cappuccinos, we often stopped at the market, where we picked out groceries to cook for supper. One afternoon, during a long, gorgeous ride through the regal Italian lake district, we stopped at a discount supermarket and bought a bag of spinach and ricotta-filled pasta, a few kinds of meat and cheese we’d never heard of, and a bottle of cheap red wine.
Just a few miles down the road, we grew hungry, and were unable to resist our curiosity about the meat we’d just purchased. So, we busted into our grocery stash, pulling the brown hunk of plastic-wrapped cured meat out of our snack pannier. This was “speck,” a juniper-seasoned smoked prosciutto. We couldn’t quite figure out how to eat it, and thus ended up gnawing on it, cave-man-style. The sweet, salty, smoky meat was our instant favorite. Read More →
Story By Graham Zimmerman
Southwest of Denali, deep in the nederlands of the Alaska Range rises a valley of giant granite walls. They are known as the Revelations and have a reputation for beautiful hard climbing and terrible weather. In June of 2013 Scott Bennett and myself visited these mountains in search of new rock routes on beautiful peaks.
We arrived in Talkeetna just as a legendary high pressure spell was coming to a sharp close. The clouds were closed in and we spent five days waiting in town until we were able to fly into the range. Luckily for us, many successful teams were flying out after sending the west buttress of Denali and we had a constant stream of friends both old and new arriving in town. It also gave us plenty of time to dial in our logistics.
Flying out, photo by Scott Bennett
Due to it being the later part of the season we were not able to land a fixed wing airplane on the Revelations Glacier, forcing us to hire the Talkeetna Air Taxi’s R44 Helicopter to insert us into the range. Unfortunately the payload of the R44 is far lower than that of their airplanes, so instead of the usual heavy load of food and kit we had to pare it down to the absolute bare minimum. Our gear was the lightest we could imagine affording, our food was only the most calorie-dense. Read More →
Introducing the reinvented MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent.
For over 10 years the MSR Hubba Hubba tent has been a bestselling backpacking tent, so when we decided to create a new version, we first asked a question that guides all of our design work: “what’s the problem we’re trying to solve?” Ultimately, we wanted to make the tent even lighter and more livable, which meant going beyond simple updates or even major ones, like the changes to the Hubba Hubba™ HP. Here’s a brief look into our process of reinventing the Hubba Hubba.
At MSR, we actually build possible design solutions and test them ourselves, whether it means designing different pole configurations, moving guy points around or sewing in various types of vents to see how they affect the tensioning on the rainfly. Then we test the prototypes, not only in our onsite design lab but also in the field. Dale Karacostas, Director of MSR Shelter, has spent 30 days to date in the new MSR Hubba NX and Elixir tents, just to test them out.
But where does it all start? Read More →
Story and Photos By Laurel Miller
Shoulder season may be over, but whatever outdoor pursuits you’re currently enjoying, you still need to eat.
There’s nothing wrong with traditional trail/slope snacks: I love jerky, GORP, and energy bars just as much as the next person. But sometimes, when you’re really busting your ass out there, it’s nice to up the ante a little bit and treat yourself- and others- to something special. Read More →
Story and Photos By Tara Alan
A few years ago, my husband Tyler and I were bicycle touring in Romania. We’d just pedaled through the gypsy village of Glod when we decided to free-camp for the night, stopping to set up our tent in an idyllic, secluded forest on a hilltop high above the town.
Tall trees towered above us as we made our home for the night. Tyler got a fire going, while I set about making a tasty supper to satisfy our ravenous appetites. Despite the fact that we were deep in the heart of Eastern Europe and I should have been craving cabbage rolls and hearty Romanian soups, all I wanted was food like I’d find in a Chinese restaurant back home. And thus, I decided to concoct an Asian-style meal of rice noodles with stir-fried eggplant and broccoli in a dark, savory, sweet and sour sauce. Read More →
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Story and photos by Aili Farquhar
Daylight greeted us as we awoke, brewed up, ate, and started moving once more. Stanislav took the aid lead on the Nose pitch. As I belayed his lead up the tiny overhanging crack threading up the wall I recalled our days practicing our aid climbing in Leavenworth in a slight drizzle. We were ready for this. So far our training had paid off.
The belay station for this pitch was crowded, difficult, and had stunning exposure. Below us the Tokositna glacier flowed past Hunter, which towered above us across an open expanse of air. The next section was a spicy run-out mixed traverse that I dispatched with the knowledge that our mixed difficulties would soon be over. Indeed, we were happy to return to neve and ice. We joined the West Face Couloir route at this point and climbed to the top of it and over onto a traverse into a cave. A sea of solid golden granite soared above, riddled with splitter cracks. Were this mountain not in the heart of the Alaska Range it would have hundreds of routes on it. We climbed up into the cave. The snow floor was the flattest place we had seen since the ledge below the Nose. We brewed up, took off our packs, and dozed for an hour before continuing. Read More →
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Story and photos by Aili Farquhar
The voice over the phone was nervous. I was barreling down I-94 somewhere outside Miles City, Montana, going about 90 on my way to the Bakken oil patch and already tired. I was telling my climbing partner Stanislav, who had just completed a bone dry ascent of New York Gully on Chair Peak, about the hip-deep powder my friend Tess and I had found on Teton Pass.
“I’m worried you are doing too much skiing and not enough ice climbing. I don’t know if you will be adequately prepared for Huntington.”
This worry voiced made me the kind of mad that promotes a flurry of training. Up at work in the oilfields I ramped up my workouts. I camped for days at a time in the back of my truck in Hyalite, throwing myself at leads on mixed routes. I worked through the fear and climbed into the long days of spring until all the ice fell down and I was ready to leave for Alaska. Read More →
Jim Meyers seeking some inspiration for writing in Hyalite Canyon, MT. (photo by Molly Ravits)
By Ryan Hayter
The Lunch Room (TLR): You don’t hear of too many brands having dedicated in-house copywriters. What exactly do you do?
JM: We now have three full-time copywriters and basically, if it’s got words on it, one of us wrote it.
Up front, a considerable amount of time goes into planning and strategy. We work with the division directors and marketing team to determine where products fit into the line and ensure we develop messages that convey what the engineers had in mind when they created the product. We even sit-in on line-planning sessions, talking about products that are still just a glimmer in an engineer’s eye. We’re all “users” too, so we can all offer feedback that helps shape the products we create.
On the other end of the spectrum, we crank-out a lot of web copy, instructions, packaging, etc. Being in-house, you get really familiar with a brand and you can do things intuitively that an outside writer might take two or three tries to nail, so there’s efficiency there. Read More →
In this episode of Tim and Christine Conners’ Camp Cooking TV, they dive into the basics of dehydrating food for the trail. They cover the reasons for dehydrating your food and explain how to prepare some of your favorite foods for the trail. If you want to lighten your pack and make great tasting food on the trail, dehydrating your food is a great technique.
For more of Camp Cooking’s mouth-watering camp recipes be sure to check out Tim and Christine Conners’ bestselling series of books. You can find more information on their website, http://www.lipsmackincampin.com.
By Ryan Hayter
As children Mom told us to “join the clean plate club” in order to avoid wasting food. Considering today’s generous portions that may not be such a good idea unless you’re in a backcountry environment where eating all the food on your plate is one of the most basic steps toward reducing food waste and human impact on the environment. Creative cooking over a stove is one of the joys of outdoor adventure. What to do with the leftovers, food waste and dirty dishes – the gray water – is a different matter. “The key thing to keep in mind is to smartly plan your meals in advance to reduce waste and minimize clean up,” said Ben Lawhon, education director for The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. The LNT center is the leading organization promoting responsible enjoyment of the outdoors, and an MSR partner that provides science-based techniques for minimizing visitor impact on parks and protected areas. “Pre-planning such as cooking with one pot instead of using three pots for meals and preparing the right portion sizes will reduce waste and reduce the amount of dishes that need to be cleaned.” Dirty dishes are often unavoidable so when it’s time for KP, Leave No Trace recommends using methods that are appropriate for the environment you’re visiting in order to protect water sources and minimize the chance of providing food rewards to local wildlife that may alter their natural habits. Tips for cleaning dishes in the backcountry: You’re in the backcountry. You’ve eaten a meal. There’s a dirty bowl, a dirty spoon, and a dirty pot. Now what do you do? Read More →