The excitement of an approaching ski season is nothing to ignore. And since you’ve been planning that trip into the backcountry with your buddies since last winter, you don’t want to be the only one unprepared for the long bootpack ahead. Take advantage of the waning summer heat and hit the trail on a backpacking trip before the chill of winter arrives. We’ve been using the following products on our recent journeys into the woods and each comes highly recommended.
Colorado Flag Hammock, by Kammock — $79
There’s nothing better than kickin’ it at the campsite deep in the wilderness. This hammock from Kammok ups the backcountry comfort level significantly. The hammock packs down to a 5.5 x 3.5-inch package and weighs 10 ounces, meaning it won’t bog you down too much on a that long slog to find a camping spot. It’s made of a ripstop nylon fabric that is ultra-strong, durable and can hold up to 400 pounds (!). Just find two trees, wrap the hammock straps around them at a height of your choice, clip on the hammock’s carabiners and start lounging. The Colorado flag is ideal for Centennial State residents looking to show off some state pride.
fēnix 5, by Garmin — $599.99
We’ve been using this multi-sport watch from Garmin on hiking adventures, mountain bike forays and during everyday activities. Its wrist-based heart rate monitor displays your beats per minute in real time, allowing you to gauge how intense your activities are and see how many calories you’re burning. In addition, the watch provides a training status to evaluate your recent exercise performances as well as give you your anaerobic and aerobic training effects. Its advanced GPS and satellite reception also gives you maps of exactly where you happen to be, ideal for navigation deep in the wilderness. It also has a ski mode that tracks your speed, distance traveled, vertical drop and number of runs, allowing you to brag about your day to your friends during apres.
IOTA Roasted Sunflower Kernels — $23.34/6-pack
Sunflower seeds—delicious, but only once you break through that pesky shell. Iota does the hard work for you, leaving only a nicely roasted, sweet and nutritious sunflower kernel to enjoy. Conveniently packaged in recappable screw-top pouches for anywhere, anytime snack-ability, these small but mighty seeds are a prominent source of fiber, protein and taste great to-boot. Try the original flavor seasoned with Himalayan Sea Salt, which is known for its rich mineral content, halfway up that hill climb for an extra boost of energy and electrolytes.
Radium sunglasses, by Zeal Optics — $149
By using plant-based materials in all of its products, Zeal Optics reduces the environmental footprint of producing some of the finest sunglasses out there. Its Radium shades use Ellume polarized lenses which block 100-percent of UVA/B and C light rays, reduce glare with 99.9-percent efficiency and use a plant-based bonding agent, thus replacing the petroleum-based bonder. The sleek frame of these new sunnies are also made from the natural oils in the castor bean—proof that environmental initiatives are not a deterrent to an incredible optical experience. With details like ProFlex rubber on the nosepiece and a scratch-resistant coating on the lenses, the Radium sunglasses are made for the active lifestyle. Named after the Radium hot springs along the Colorado River, these shades bring backpackers, kayakers and explorers together for a unique optical experience.
Men’s Mountain Waterproof Hat, by 686 — $38
Constructed with 686’s exclusive infiDRY technical fabric—a staple in all of its outerwear products—this headpiece boasts a 10K/10K waterproof and breathability rating, which means liquids bead up upon contact instead of soaking directly into the hat. It’s an ideal piece for spring slush turns, jump-building at summer camp on the glacier or any weekend camping adventure. Accented by an original “Peaks patch” this snapback is as functional at the bar as it is in the backcountry, and the bottom line is waterproof hats just make sense. By combining usefulness and unique style with the Mountain Snapback, 686 is ahead of the curve.
HERO5 Black, by GoPro — $399.99
There are times when an iPhone camera just doesn’t do the trick. When we crave that perfect, high-res summit selfie, we turn to the GoPro HERO5 Black. This tiny camera makes capturing ultra-high quality footage (4K video and 12MP photo) a walk in the park. It’s waterproof up to 33 feet without a housing unit (an upgrade from its predecessors) and its two-inch touchscreen enables speedy and intuitive operation as well as instant playback. It has voice control capabilities allowing for hands-free operation and it also works seamlessly with the GoPro and Quik apps, allowing you to quickly create video edits for mobile viewing and sharing.
Men’s Endurus Hike Mid Gore-Tex, by The North Face — $150
The Endurus Hike Mid Gore-Tex is all about comfort. It’s incredibly lightweight and plush as can be, thanks to “XtraFoam” midsole technology. Broken down: This tech entails a softer-density foam underfoot for cushioning and a firmer-density EVA compound around the perimeter for stability. Round it all out with a highly waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane and “sticky” Vibram soles and you’ve got a true winner for just about any and all hiking scenarios.
Men’s Pull-On Adventure Shorts, by The North Face — $35
Ideal for big hikes, mellow lounging by the tent or a lazy float down the river the Pull-On Adventure Shorts are the definition of combined comfort and function. They’re lightweight (230 grams), wick moisture like champions, are breathable and provide necessary UV protection. Two side pockets and a zippered one on the bum provide some storage and an internal drawcord allows you to find the perfect fit, no matter how many burgers and dogs you scarfed up around the campfire.
Quest 2.0 Long Leg, by Saxx — $32.95
Hiking 17 miles RT to Conundrum Hot Springs. Working up a stinky sweat while playing ice hockey. Rollerblading up a storm around our hometown of Boulder, CO. Crushing H.I.I.T at the gym. Or sitting on an airplane for 11 hours. These are just a few of the times when we’re thankful to be sporting the Quest 2.0 Long Leg, by Saxx. Because this thing is highly breathable, moisture-wicking, anti-bunching, stretchy and soft to the touch. And once you wear ‘em for the first time, you’ll shun all of your other undies. That’s right, we’re enjoying the Quest 2.0 so much that we’ve accumulated multiple pairs and we’re looking all McKayla Maroney-like when regarding our old, inferior underwear.
Vela HD Double Quilt, by Thermarest — $279.95
Tired of not being able to snuggle with your adventure partner while in the backcountry? So were we. Thanks to Thermarest’s Vela HD Double Quilt we can now snuggle wherever we choose to count sheep. This three-season quilt has high loft 650-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, draft protection from full-perimeter side baffles and ThermaCapture seams that retain radiant heat. The best part about this quilt is its ability to connect with other Thermarest products like the NeoAir Dream pad and Down Coupler to form the ultimate sleep system using the included loop kit and perimeter snap loops. At just over two pounds, you truly can take this quilt anywhere you please.
Nuttzo2Go Nut & Seed Butter — $13.99/10-pack
Take the Nuttzo2Go pouch with you anywhere to reap the benefits of seven nuts and seeds blended into one delicious concoction. Combining cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, these squeezable snacks pack a big, nutritious punch and are ideal as an on-the-go into an overnight bag because of their small size. Add some to your campfire toast in the morning for added flavor and energy.
Halite 7075 trekking poles, by MountainSmith — $79.95
We’re avid supporters of trekking poles; in addition to helping us balance while navigating scree fields or fording rivers, walking poles also help to reduce pressure on knees and joints and tone the upper body. Studies show that you use up to 90-percent of your skeletal muscles while hiking or walking with poles. Additionally, by some measures you can burn up to 46-percent more calories walking with poles than not. So, if that all sounds like gravy to you, then the Halite 7075, here, is one to strongly consider. Durable 7075 aluminum allows these poles to stand up to rocks and longterm use. A cork and EVA handle coupled with a padded wrist strap provides comfort. The height adjustment system (48 to 54 inches) and locking mechanism are both intuitive and reliable. The poles also come complete with removable hiking baskets, replaceable rubber boot tips and carbide tips for fantastic traction across all terrain. Then, it all folds up into a tiny 16-inch unit for easy stowage.