Reef Flip Flop Review

A good pair of flip-flops is an essential piece of gear for anyone who travels a lot or is active in foot-intensive sports like climbing, running, or biking. After you send the climb or finish the run, it’s nice to pull off your tight, sweltering shoes and slip your swollen feet into a comfy pair of flip-flops.

Not all flip-flops are created equal. Many of the cheap models offer no support, have thongs that cut into your skin, and fall apart.

The Reef Fanning flip-flops (the leather version) are the best flip-flops I have ever owned. When I bought them at REI, I cringed at the price. But a year later I am happy that I bought the pair, and my feet and bunions thank me daily. Read More

Otter Box Armor Review

Note: OtterBox seems to have replaced the Armor with the Preserver. The Preserver retains some of the same design features as the Armor, and thus much of this review can probably be applied to the newer Preserver, though I have not used the Preserver.

Adventure and electronics don’t play well together. And that’s why we have to find good cases to protect the gadgets that we carry into the backcountry with us. The more important the gadget, the more important the case that we put it in.

Ultimately, we are the first line of defense against broken gear. But we aren’t on watch all the time and bad stuff happens. For a phone, the case is the last defense against rocks, water, mud, sand, and, most importantly, ourselves. This means that the case must be absolutely bomb proof.

While the OtterBox Armor is tough, it is not tough enough. Worse still, it is not as tough as OtterBox claims. Read More

This is not my usual gear review. Normally, I write the review after at least a few months of heavy use. This time, however, I returned the gear before I was able to use it because I quickly realized that the Koflach Degree just does not fit my foot type. I had heard a lot about the Koflachs of old, still performing well after decades of use, so I was bit a disappointed.

I just went through a long process of ordering and returning various sizes of the Koflach Degre, talking to dealers, talking with a Koflach rep, and reading all the internet reviews for the Koflach Degre that I could find. I learned a lot of information that is not publicly available and I consolidated the sparse and diffuse information available on the internet.

So even though I decided not to use the Koflach Degre, I believe that other people will benefit from the information I have to share. And hopefully this will help you to make a quicker and easier decision if you are thinking about buying the Degre. Continue Reading. There’s More!

Evernote for expedition planning

There are a lot of lists on the internet for the “Best Adventure Apps” or the “Best Outdoors Apps.” National Geographic made one of them. Frankly, those lists are horrible. Maybe the app creators paid the writers to include their apps. Or maybe they were just trying to appeal to a wide audience. Either way, none of the lists include any of the apps I use, and I spend about a 1/3 of every year in the outdoors, and on almost every trip the iPhone gets used. Some of the lists are so extensive that it brings to question list author’s credibility, because I just don’t see how they could have field tested each one under a range of conditions and seasons.

So, this is my list of mobile apps that I actually use while in the wilderness, whether it be a climbing, paddling, or hiking trip. These apps are not going to teach you how to do anything. Having them on your phone will NOT make you a hardman, an explorer, an adventurer, etc. These apps are going to help you to do whatever it is you do.

Additionally, there is no requirement that you must have these apps to go on an adventure or undertake an exploration. All these apps do is better integrate our primitive adventures (let’s be honest, a human in the wild is primitive) with our modern, technologically driven life. Continue Reading. There’s More!

Ernest Shackleton made perhaps the most remarkable and famous open boat voyage in recorded history. And for that he is one of my heroes… someone whose tale I look to for inspiration when I am deep in the throes of life and exploration.

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Shackleton had set out to make the first crossing of Antarctica. However, Shackleton and his crew of 27 men never reached the cold continent. Their ship, the Endurance, became locked in the pack ice.

For ten months the ship and the crew drifted with the pack ice, until the immense pressure of the shifting ice crushed the Endurance. With the Endurance lost, they camped on the pack ice for almost four months, until the ice became too unstable, living off seal and penguin meat. Continue Reading. There’s More!

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