Off Yonder – Adventure Travel Stories - Seeing the world for what it is

“Pow Pow” for the Pow Pow
Women's Vasque Pow Pow Ultradry Winter Boot

Vasque Pow Pow Ultradry Winter Boot - Women's

I am not a tough gal, however I married an adventurer, so I often find myself in harrowing situations where a certain amount of robustness is required. Needless to say the right gear can make a huge difference between me enjoying adventure rather and me just tolerating it.

My husband Cameron often says, “there is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices” and every girl knows that one of the best clothing choices you can make is picking a good shoe. I grew up in California and my tolerance for extreme cold is almost zero, so when I began to explore Colorado’s winter wilderness, I knew a good shoe was in order. Luckily, I had Vasque’s Women’s Pow Pow Ultradry Winter boot and the perfect snowy adventure to give them a whirl. Little did I know how snowy our adventure to the Opus Hut in Southern CO would become.

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REVIEW: Eddie Bauer/First Ascent MicroTherm Down Hoodie
United States

I love this jacket. It has been my go-to piece since getting it and I suspect it will continue to serve well for those cool spring mornings and evenings as well as on camping trips into the mountains. As one reviewer on the Eddie Bauer website commented “Super light, at times don’t even realize I’m wearing it.” So true. And with that, super warm and windproof.

As the product page will tell you, the MicroTherm is designed to be a snug/athletic fit and mine is just that. The hood has just the right cut to cup your head and keep it warm. And it is more of a cupping hood, not one that can just be worn loosely and for that sometimes it’s hard to hear beyond the sound of your ears or skullcap rubbing against the interior nylon. Be sure to check out the great fit comparison video on the Eddie Bauer/First Ascent product page.

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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012 Videos
Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

After putting some videos together at the Summer OR show in 2011 on a whim, Elevation Outdoors Magazine was able to pick up a sponsorship from Verde PR & Consulting to make them happen for the Winter Market OR show. A huge thanks to Verde and here are the videos, each posted by the end of the day each day of the show. Click “Full Story” below or the title above to view the videos.

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Review: Vasque Rift Approach Shoe
United States

Vasque Rift Approach ShoeSpring climbing calls for an approach shoe that is comfortable and light. The Vasque Rift comes in bold and subtle color options to suit every personality. This multisport shoe sports the ultra sticky Vibram Spider outsole with Idrogrip Compound reaching from above the toe all the way back and up the heal to stab those tricky approach routes.

Soft and comfortable, wearing the Rift is like wearing tough slippers. Soft laces tie easily and stay tied. After hitting a few trails in them, my feet are always happy with the experience and I’m never itching to get these shoes off.

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GEAR: Ibex Zepher Wind Boxer Brief
United States

Ibex Zepher Wind Boxer Brief

Some of the best skiing is when the weather is the worst. That’s when the powder is falling, the wind is blowing and the temperature takes a dive. Be it at a resort or in the backcountry, bluebird days bring out the masses and foul weather keeps the slopes clear for those willing to brave the elements.

Ibex has stepped up the game and it may just add a few more folks, maybe you, to the slopes when the weather is being obnoxious. With a poly microdenier windstop front added to the already toasty and super soft 18.5 micron Zepher fabric, these boxer briefs will help you take on the most brutal of windy onslaughts and keep the vitals warm and cozy no matter what you’re doing out there.

Keep toasty, my friends.

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Review: CamelBak Antidote Hydration
United States

CamelBak Antidote 100ozI am totally impressed with CamelBak’s new Antidote hydration bladder. I’ve been though a few rough times with bags of water and their various shortcomings and even very soggy disasters. Sometimes, we tolerate some inconveniences to make something else more convenient. The Antidote eliminates the troubles from hydration bladders of the past and makes it easy to make drinking convenient. Click through to read about the features I love:

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REVIEW: LifeProof – Waterproof iPhone Case
United States

LifeProof iPhone CaseThis water/dirt/snow/shock-proof case is designed to go on your phone and stay there. For the protection it offers, the slim design makes it practical to leave this case on your phone for full time protection, not just when you want to get out in the elements. As the instructions suggested, I first tested the case empty as the waterproofness is not intuitively apparent. But once that past the test I inserted my phone and haven’t taken it out since. Until something that does everything this LifeProof case does and resolves some of the issues I mention below, this will continue to be how I protect my iPhone.

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GEAR: DryCase – Waterproof your iPhone
United States

DryCase iPhone CaseThe vacuum seal tells all. Drop your mobile phone into this clear plastic case, pump (or suck) the air out and you’re good to go. By virtue of the vacuum holding, you know your kit is protected. And with a waterproof headphone jack, you can still get your tunes or make a call. The DryCASE allows for full touch screen functionality and comes with a buoyant armband, lanyard and hand pump.

This is a great solution for occasional waterproof protection when you know you’re going to be in a wet or dirty environment, but not practical for everyday use. It’s easy to get your device in and out of the case and has an arm-band for more active and pocket-less activities. In fact, it probably won’t fit in your pocket if you had one. The DryCASE will also do well just sitting in the sand next to your lounge chair or beach towel and you won’t have to worry about anyone kicking sand or standing above it with a dripping swim suit.

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REVIEW: Marmot Zion Softshell Jacket
United States


This is a technical jacket. The core specifications – Polartec’s new NeoShell fabric, taped seams, storm hood – are impressive. But most importantly it performs well. As with anything new, it’s a little stiff when you first put it on, but that concern quickly fades away as the totally bomber nature of the Zion is realized. While you’re still standing in the store trying it on, you are transported to icy crags and powder days.

This is a winter jacket. The insulative nature of the soft shell is such that during any sporty activity you will want to be in the near freezing/sub-freezing temperatures. The NeoShell fabric is totally windproof. I was impressed when bombing down ski slopes, dead into the wind, and though I felt the pressure of the wind against my body, the cold never seeped through.

The hood, with the jacket zipped all the way up, stayed on my head keeping my forehead warm – something I noticed as a concern earlier in the season before I had the Zion. Even in the wind, this jacket is quiet. While taking a phone call on my iPhone ear-buds, using the iPod port, the microphone tucked inside the jacket didn’t pick up any of the wind or rustling outside. The caller was impressed to know I was on a windy mountain slope and claimed it sounded as if I was inside somewhere.

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GEAR: Portable Power – Solar Charging on the trail
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Back in 1999, I traveled to Nepal to study mountain ecology in the Himalaya. Part of our trip was a 14-day trek in the Annapurna region. Digital cameras were far from popular then, but somehow I managed to get one loaned to me. Since this was the era before proprietary rechargeable batteries the camera took a whopping four AA’s. Not knowing how fast the camera would use up the batteries and not wanting to cary a bag of AA’s along with me, I looked into rechargeable batteries and a solar charger. Looking back at where the technology was then, I’m amazed that I found a solar charger that held 4 AA batteries. So, I brought 8 batteries – 4 for in the camera and 4 to get charged in the charger that I strapped on the top of my pack to absorb the sun while we were trekking. No shortage of sunshine and the system worked great.

For a number of reasons, one being that there haven’t been many electronic items that people would need to charge on the trail, the idea of harnessing solar power while on the go hasn’t come about until fairly recently. While at the 2011 Summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, it’s obvious that with all the little electronic gadgets made to go on our adventures with us (cameras, GPS, iPods, lights, etc.) saving weight on batteries (not to mention the waste) has driven a number of companies to invest in providing portable solar charging options. It should also be noted these devices are not recommended for use with something as large as a laptop, but exceptions and alternatives may exist. Here’s what I found:

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