Posts Tagged ‘Gear’

Pup ’n Boots

November 22, 2009

Gear for Roadtripping

July 7, 2009

Having just returned from a 4500-mile roadtrip, I’d like to recommend the following essential gear.

Thermos Nissan 14-oz. Leak-Proof Travel Mug

mugsWhat I love about this vacuum-sealed mug:

  1. Keeps coffee or tea hot for at least 6 hours
  2. Keeps ice water cold for at least 6 hours
  3. Doesn’t leak
  4. Has a great handle, and it fits in the car cup holders

It’s a little pricey, but worth it for sitting in the car for hours at a time. Available through Thermos and several online vendors in smoke, espresso, and stainless colors.

REI MultiTowel Lite X Large Towel

towelsWhat I love about this microfiber towel:

  1. Folds up into a tiny package
  2. Dries extremely quickly
  3. Has a clasp for hanging
  4. Is absorbent

At $26.50 it’s a little pricey, but worth it for traveling and camping. Available at REI in orange and green.

Cross-Country Skis

December 9, 2008
New gear made all the difference!

New gear made all the difference!

A few years ago three friends and I decided to rent a cabin and go cross-country skiing. So I dug out my never-been-used skis that I bought twenty years ago. It was March so the weather was warm and the snow sticky. I applied the appropriate wax and off we went.

I knew that I was the most inexperienced skier of the group, but this was ridiculous! My friends were always way ahead of me and I was slipping all over the place. After two hours of torture, one of my friends looked at the map and said, “We’re about half-way done.” I could not believe my ears; I didn’t think I could survive another two hours.

The next day I made a deal to trade skis with my friend for awhile. I happily zipped along on her skis and at the end of the trail she pulled in well after us and yelled, “Sue, your skis suck!” It was then and there that I decided to invest in a new pair of skis.

I went to Finn Sisu and purchased Atomic waxless skis, Salomon boots, and Rex poles. It’s been smooth gliding ever since.

Outdoor Adventure Expo

November 17, 2008

Here’s an event for my fellow outdoorsy-type wannabes. Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis is hosting its annual Outdoor Adventure Expo November 21-23, 2008.


  • Everything on sale
  • Lots of exhibitors, such as outdoor clubs
  • Free presentations and demonstrations about outdoor activities and travel
  • Interesting speakers
  • Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour (you need tickets)

Hope to see you there!

A Tent on Wheels

November 8, 2008
Our home away from home

Our home away from home

We decided to bypass a new tent altogether and get a camper. My enjoyment of camping has increased exponentially since purchasing a camper this summer.

This particular camper is an aframe. It folds down for storage and transport. It is quick and easy to pop up and has no canvas. It is cute as a button.

The best things about a camper are:

  1. Sleeping in a comfortable bed
  2. Being in a pleasant situation while it’s raining
  3. Cooking while it’s raining
  4. Washing your hands at any time
  5. Not dealing with melted ice and coolers
  6. Having ample storage space

Any ideas for a name? The Cabin, La Casita…

Refrigerator, sink, heater

Refrigerator, sink, heater

Bed and cabinet

Bed and cabinet

Table folds down into bed

Table folds down into bed

Indoor/outdoor stove

Indoor/outdoor stove

A Tent

November 7, 2008

Campsite in Glendalough State Park, before the flood

Our tent served us well for 14 years. Then a major rainstorm left us all wet, so we thought it was time for a new tent.

We bought a Kelty Traildome 4 and tried it out one weekend. This 4-person tent was too small for the two of us and the door was difficult to zipper shut, so we took advantage of REI’s generous return policy, feeling a little guilty about returning something used.

Then we gave a cheap tent a chance—a Coleman on sale for $70. But a light rain in the morning left my sleeping bag wet. And a light breeze caused the tent to nearly collapse. Luckily, Sports Authority also allowed us to return a slightly used tent.

So we decided to look at the really nice tents next, but ended up going a little overboard. More about that later…

A Canoe

November 3, 2008
H is parking the new canoe

H is parking the new canoe

A few years ago my husband and I decided to buy a canoe. I dutifully did my research first—learning about gunwales and thwarts, tumblehome and flare. I didn’t even know the difference between bow and stern before this! We couldn’t afford the lightweight material of Kevlar, so we went with the next best thing—Royalex.

The criteria for picking out a canoe boiled down to what was the least likely to tip over. We test-drove some canoes at the REI and Midwest Mountaineering demos. We rocked the boat and leaned way over the side. If I screamed because we came too close to rolling over, that was not the boat for us. We went home with a beautiful red 16.5-foot Bell Northwind, weighing in at 63 lbs.

The canoe cost a little over a grand, but as they say, plan on spending double the cost of the canoe. This is true, because you also need life jackets that are comfortable and fashionable enough that you will actually wear them. Don’t forget about paddles, hats, dry bags, books, and the absolutely necessary roof rack.

A Roof Rack

Being very frugal, I thought we could get by with sponges and straps to carry the canoe on the roof of the vehicle. One of our first ventures out with the new canoe was to Scenic State Park, a 4.5-hour trip. Well, an hour out of town one of the sponges flew away like a bird and our canoe was hanging precariously on top of the minivan. We turned around and went straight to REI (my favorite store). After donating $300 to Yakima and spending 2 hours cursing each other in the garage trying to install this Yakima-thing, we were on the road again. Enjoying the outdoors is not cheap, but having a roof rack brings peace of mind.

Animosh Miskwaa

I would like to honor Native Americans by giving the canoe an Ojibwe name. I came up with Animosh Miskwaa—Red Dog—as a possible name, but I’m seeking something easier to remember, perhaps Waawaate—There are Northern Lights—since one of my lifetime goals is to see the Northern Lights. Any other ideas?

Favorite Costume

October 31, 2008
Two canoeists

Two canoeists

I must say that my favorite costume isn’t really a costume. This is how we dress in real life. Happy Halloween!