What to wear? Layering systems

Believe it or not, the gear you wear outside functions best within a systematic approach.   The basics include base layers (close to the skin, usually merino wool), a midweight fleece of light jacket (1/4 zip), a goose down insulating system, and finally an outer shell to protect you from rain, snow, sleet and wind!


Lake Superior Ice Spray







How does Ed Viesturs do it?  Check out his Mt. Rainier summit pack, and packing list.  Rainier is known to have some of the most unpredicatble weather on the planet, so this list will give you a great systematic approach to warmth and comfort while outside.


Ed's Pack


Ed's List


First Ascent…Guide Built and Approved!

If your accountant walked up to you and said “here, I suggest using this baseball bat”.  Would you?  Maybe.

If Albert Pujols came over and said “hola, I suggest you use this bat.”  Would you? Fo’ Sho! I am guessing you would take Fat Albert’s suggestion.

If American alpine climbing legend Ed Viesteurs recommends using a down jacket, or a technical shell…I’d say he’s a pretty credible source.

Storm Shell

Microtherm Sweater - Limeade

First Ascent (Eddie Bauer) is a line of outdoor gear that lives up to its tag of “Guide Built.  Guide Trusted.” The best part of this line is its mix of simplicity, and technicality.

Take Ed Viesteurs for example.  Here is a man who gave up a possible Veterinarian career to pursue some of the most radical adventures on the planet (7 Everest summits, 1st American to summit all fourteen, 8,000 meter peaks…Basically he’s a guy!)  He, among other world-renowned guides, heads up First Ascent’s guide team.


The best part, is nothing goes to market without these guides signing off on the product first.  Which means that each zipper, hood, or cuff has professional guides opinion and input.  This tactic from Eddie Bauer creates gear that is light-weight, tactical, and simple. Their product lines cover what you need, and they continue to expand their product choices.

Check ’em out!  Eddie Bauer – First Ascent

Guide Built. Guide Tested.

Suunto Core

Rugged Core

If it’s good enough for the United States Military, it’s good enough for you Joe Cubicle!  The Suunto Core is a rugged watch (more like wrist computer) that not only keeps time, but also altitude, barometer, a compass, and even an alarm when there are unusual drops in barometric pressure possibly signaling a storm.

The watch in general is chunky (in a good way) with an oversized face on a black background and an indiglow light.  You also keep a timer, and a countdown clock, as well as sunrise and sunset times for your time zone.  For anyone who spends time in the outdoors, this watch suits all types!

Pros:  Oversized face, rubber wrist band, barometer, compass, TONS of bells n’ whistles… I get compliments all the time!  People love how it looks.

Cons:  Short battery life, no heart rate monitor

Get SUUNTO watches here!

Nike Air Zoom: S+

NIKE AIR ZOOM S+ Trail Running Shoe

Sleek Profile, and cooool too!

If you run trails, a good pair of specific trail shoes is a must for sure!  I bought a pair of these babies on eBay for $65 a couple years ago and have never been disappointed. Overall a low profile limits any blisters, and I’ve run miles in this shoe while wet, and never had problems.

"Toothy" Sole... See, I told you!

Usually being “toothy” is a bad thing, but in this instance it’s a plus.  The molded soles (almost a molded cleat) stand jagged, and hold grip in wet, dry, snow or dirt.

Full length midsole gives stability, and obviously the Nike+ hookup is key to track your mileage and progress while pounding pavement or trail.  I’ve used these for both hiking and trail running and always been happy.  I just wish I’d bought them a half size smaller, but even though they run a bit big, I love ‘em.

Nice Catch… Now Get The Shot

As trout and salmon fly fishing heats up here in Michigan, I think it’s important to discuss some ideas to capture that catch of a lifetime!  A picture will give you a hall pass from having to continue to lie, ahem, I mean stretch your stories of those glorious fish that didn’t make the lens…

A Yooper Brown!

Here is some tips:

Have a decent camera:  That “party boy” point-and-shoot from college won’t cut it anymore.  Get a camera with a good lens, focus settings, and a price tag more than $200 (Nikon or Canon will do the trick).

Get a decent case:
Like always, protection is key.  Try the Patagonia Stormfront backpack for those days on the river. Or a Lowepro Chest Harness for those less sketchy and exposed spots hiking or in shallow streams.

Use a tripod:  Stablize your shot but using a small tripod.  Go ahead and put the legs in the water! No tripod?  Lay on the bank and shoot out or up using a rock.

Get closer:  I mean really close.  Most shots are taken from 10 feet away.  Get closer to your subject, or have the fisherman hold the subject out closer toward the lens.

Auto focus:  Most digital camera’s nowadays have an auto focus feature.  So many people just point and shoot!  Hold down your shooting button halfway for about 2 seconds, then put the rest of the way down once the auto focus takes over.

Shoot from different angles:  Squat down or climb on a log.  Different shot angles can add depth and focus to your shot to make things more interesting.

A Westslope Cutty

Tight lines this fall!