Labor Day Weekend is great for a number of reasons. First off, I’m not sure anyone’s ever complained about a three-day weekend. Secondly, it marks the unofficial end of summer, which for skiers means that winter is just around the corner. After a hectic couple of months (Buyer’s Guide and October issue production!) I spent the long weekend backpacking in the Sangre De Cristo range of southern Colorado, summiting 14,203-foot Crestone Needle in the process. In preparation for the winter season, I took a GoPro Hero3+ and a few accessories from the FREESKIER office along with the intent of doing a bit of product testing in the backcountry. We departed Denver, CO in the late-morning on Saturday. In-tow were the Brunton All Day, GoPole Evo, GoPole Scenelapse and the Incase Dual Kit.
Being organized when heading into the woods is key. Before testing any of the products in the field, the Incase Dual Kit proved to be most useful in packing the GoPro accessories I was bringing along. The case has individual compartments to fit two cameras, two batteries, an SD card, as well as a multitude of other accessories, in my case the Brunton All Day and GoPole Scenelapse. In addition, the case shell is constructed with Incase’s Tensaerlite—a lightweight and shock-absorbing material—as well as ballistic nylon to ensure your precious cargo stays in tact, no matter your mission.
The first accessory I broke out of the pack was the GoPole Evo—a 26-inch extension pole mount that is also buoyant enough to float should you be GoPro’ing in the water. I leaned myself out the window of my friend Phil’s Subaru Outback and grabbed a selfie shot. Despite the windy nature of hanging out of a moving car, the rubber grip ensured that I wouldn’t lose hold of the device, and the transparent plastic design made it seem as if the pole wasn’t even there—great when scouring over footage to include in the final edit. Once we arrived at the trailhead and began our trek into the wilderness, the Evo was an ideal instrument to capture the hike up to our eventual campsite, allowing me to grab shots of the crew as well as scenics of our next-day objective, the Crestone Needle.
The following morning we embarked on our mission to summit the Crestone Needle—and of course the GoPro was brought along to capture the entire journey. Besides the aforementioned scenics and selfies, I found that the GoPole Evo could be securely positioned in between my chest and backpack straps, acting as a quasi-chest mount to capture the hiking and climbing action on the way up. Once our party reached the peak, we stood among howling 60-mph winds and took the time to grab some more panoramic shots with the Evo before heading back down to camp.
At this point, about five minutes of battery time remained on the GoPro; a problem, considering my plans to capture a time-lapse of the sunrise the next morning. Enter the Brunton All Day. On Monday morning, following a 5 a.m. wake-up call and 30-minute hike up to the lower South Colony Lake, I broke out the All Day to provide a bit of extra battery life to the device. I removed the back panel from the waterproof GoPro case, snapped in the fully charged Brunton battery pack in its place and was provided four-times the battery life of the standard GoPro battery.
With my camera juiced up, it was time to use the GoPole Scenelapse. Similar to an egg timer’s configuration, the Scenelapse has a screw-in GoPro mount on top (as well as a standard camera and tripod mount) and can rotate up to 360 degrees in 60 minutes. After setting up the GoPro and Scenelapse to look out over the lake and the looming Crestone Needle, I set the timer to 25 minutes, sat back and relaxed. Despite wind in excess of 40-mph the Scenelapse remained relatively stable and captured some great shots of the fiery sunrise upon the Sangre De Cristos. After using these products, a couple of hours spent in the GoPro Studio—the free video editing program from GoPro—yielded the edit below.
All-in-all, these products made capturing my adventure in the wilderness easier and can certainly be applied to any winter expedition you embark on this season. For information on pricing and where to buy these products, see below.