One of the most important doctrines of ultralight backpacking is the principle of multi-use. If an item can be used for more than one purpose, it means carrying less single-use gear. Simple.
I want to talk about an item that I think best exemplifies this principle, the Hoo-Rag. Hoo-Rag sent me one of these to try out and it’s been a lot of fun finding unique and undocumented ways of using this simple yet versatile item.
The Hoo-Rag is a lightweight, seamless tube-style soft bandana. It comes in tons of different patterns and there are more ways to wear it than I can count. Hoo-Rag shows off their product primarily as wearable (and hop on over to their site to see the numerous ways you can wear it), but I want to focus on how this has become the ultimate multi-use item in my backpacking kit.
Triple Aught Design (TAD) is a brand I became acquainted with several years ago when my husband was teaching nights up in San Francisco. One of his favorite places to drop by when he had extra time was their Dogpatch store. He would bring home military-style gadget organizers – holsters for his knives, pouches to organize his fishing kit, and other items that he took special delight in collecting.
So, when I was contacted about checking out a new line of women’s clothing from Triple Aught Designs I initially didn’t even realize it was the same company. It was only after visiting their website that I realized it was the same San Francisco based equipment manufacturer. Biased by the military-style gear that my husband had brought home years ago, I was rather surprised to browse their site and see some beautiful, functional women’s apparel.
The folks at TAD were kind enough to send me an Artemis Hoodie, a 100% merino wool hooded zip-up top with thumb loops. From the moment I opened the package I was impressed with the feel of this piece. The thick, heavy merino wool top was soft to the touch and fit like a dream – form fitting but not tight (what I would call an ‘athletic fit’). The length is perfect, long enough to pull over the hips and not ride up when moving.
Each January I travel to the mecca of outdoors gear, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City. Several days are spent meeting with companies and touring the products that will be hitting the shelves next fall. I’m still recovering from this year’s whirlwind, and you’ll hear all about the peripheral events in my Trip Report. Over the four days I was solidly busy, and I wanted to share the items that stood out to me for some reason or another. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t other awesome things, it just means that this is the cool stuff that I got to see.
You’ve probably seen a lot of “Best Of” lists and “Editor’s Choice” awards on various publications during and after the show, but I often find these lists disappointing or incomplete. The problem is that the show is simply too big to see in the allotted time, so each list you see will be biased by who the writer was able to meet with during the show and what their particular publication’s interest is. I didn’t meet with any ski companies, so therefore my highlights don’t include any ski gear. But no worries – look around and you’ll probably find one that is almost exclusively ski gear.
My overall impression is that this seems to be the year of updates, with several companies returning to popular product lines and refining designs. I think this is a good thing – too often it’s all about the next innovation, without taking time to reflect on what worked and didn’t work in past product lines. It’s amazing how fast the industry moves with new products. In fact, the ~6 year old Osprey pack I was carrying was called an ‘antique’ by one of their reps, and my 3-year-old ‘ancient’ Columbia OmniHeat hat was a relic worthy of photos.
Enough rambling. Without further ado, here is Calipidder.com’s Highlights from Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013.
Part of my awesome Columbia Sportswear experience was getting to see the launch of the Omnifreeze Zero 2013 line. Thanks to Columbia, I am able to share a bit of that exclusivity with friends of Calipidder.com by providing an opportunity to purchase an OmniFreeze Zero item at an early access price. Columbia has been touring the hottest parts of our country giving out these coupons, but for those of you not on their path, I have a chance here for you to get in on the goods.
I have three offer codes to give out. Each code is worth the opportunity to purchase up to three OmniFreeze Zero tops at this early access price, so you’ll be cooler than all of your friends until next spring (pun totally intended). Registration ends August 31 at 5:00 pm PST, after which I’ll use random.org to choose the three winners. You get one entry per action you perform (up to two entries per person):
Leave a comment on this blog post about the hottest, most miserable hike/run/climb/backpack you’ve ever been on.
Follow @calipiddercom on Twitter and tweet something that includes “@calipiddercom” and the hashtags #justaddsweat and #omnifreezezero. Make up the rest – I’m counting on some creativity here, folks. (I need the @calipiddercom to track the entry – don’t forget it!)
When it comes to hiking in wet conditions there are two approaches you can take to managing your feet: go with something waterproof and hope your feet stay dry, or embrace the moisture and splash through the water without worry. I tend to hike in lightweight shoes and generally prefer the ‘just get them wet’ approach since they will dry quickly. But my water encounters are usually small stream crossings, so I’ve never looked for a shoe intended for sustained hiking in water.