Oregon Mountain Community

NOAA VIDEO: Official 2014/15 Winter Weather Outlook


Posted in General

The Versatility of Trekking Poles

As an addendum to the post about tarps, I’ll add that tarp/wings like the MSR E-Wing Shelter are a great choice for treeless enviorns like deserts or beaches where your trekking poles become a way of keeping the tarp off your head. The E-Wing packed is about the size of a tall boy and weighs a pound. For emergency shelter, when benighted day hiking, there isn’t a good reason to leave it or a similar shelter behind.


The Light and Right MSR E-Wing

There are more good reasons to use trekking poles, hiking and backpacking, than bad. Trekking poles improve footing and balance (especially while crossing creeks), decrease stress on joints and back, push back wet vegetation on trails, splint a broken limb, repel bears (see video) and, as mentioned above, work as tent poles. The only probable downside, of owning trekking poles, might be the price of carbon poles or getting wacked by an irate spouse. The Black Diamond Trail trekking poles and Leki Micro Stick Carbon models can fit into luggage or packs, for travel, and perform all required tasks when you arrive. Bonus feature: you always have an emergency pair of ski poles if you can find the powder baskets in your garage.


Black Diamond Trail Poles $109.95


Leki Micro Stick Carbon $195.95

Although using trekking poles would seem self-evident, this video has some useful tips regarding their use. Especially, the bear repellent feature at 1:37. Enjoy.


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The Rain Dance


Fellow Oregonians,

Do not despair. The fall rains are coming. This is inevitable, but a little rain never stopped anyone from having a good time in the hills! Dust off your rain boots and hit the muddy trail. I am going to highlight some excellent hikes for the fall, to be enjoyed on a sunny day or torrential downpours.


Read more ›

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Tarp season

Fall is a great time to use a tarp, when backpacking, but there are tricks to getting your tarp just right. Here is a great piece from Outdoor Research on the Art of the Backcountry Tarp. For an easier approach there is always the Mega Mid style shelters for light weigh protection, without the rope work.


The indomitable Mega from Black Diamond $269.95



Posted in Gear Guides, General, Guides

The final blast of Glines Canyon Dam, the Elwha River is Free!

On a remote stretch of the Elwha River, in northwestern Washington state, a demolition crew hired by the National Park Service detonates a battery of explosives within the remaining section of the Glines Canyon Dam. The blast destroyed the last 30 feet of the 210-foot-high dam and will signal the culmination of the largest dam-removal project in the world.



The final blast of Glines Canyon Dam, the Elwha is Free from John Gussman on Vimeo.


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The Ridge

Like a summer dream about winter…


THE RIDGE from Camp 4 Collective on Vimeo.



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New Dynafit Ski Gear Sneak Peek

We know it’s hiking and swimming weather in the northern hemisphere, but we can’t help but look behind the curtain at what’s new from those crafty folks at Dynafit…


Sneak Peek at Dynafit Beast 14, Radical Boot, and Denali Ski from Doglotion on Vimeo.



Posted in Gear Guides, Guides

Multi-Day Backpacks


Backpacking with kids? Say goodbye to your ultra light backpacking dreams, my friends, you are now a mule that needs to haul some baggage. That said, you might as well do so as efficiently as possible. In a previous life, for trips of a week you would probably use 60-85 Liter packs. That old 70L pack mighty be your new weekend pack, as kids follow along behind you on the trail. Here are a couple well designed multi-day packs, made with excellent materials, that provide big load hauling for your starter family, and plenty of room for those long distance personal trips, in your future.



Arc’teryx Altra 62 – Women’s $449.00

The Arc’teryx Altra 62 backpack, for women, has the necessary size and comfortable harness system requirements, but what elevates it above the pack pile is it’s zippered access openings and lighter weight. As, my friend, John Harlin explains in the video, the easy access reduces the time spend rummaging blindly into the dark void, of a big pack. Beware: the pivot point on this pack can squeak, annoying you and your party. This means it’s time to reapply the provided grease, as per the directions.


Aether 70 Bonsai Green

Osprey Aether 70 – Men’s $290

The fabric Osprey uses on the inside of the shoulder straps of the Aether 70 is very comfortable on bare skin and, the breathability of the back foam is excellent. Although the Aether series doesn’t quite have the all-access features of the Altras, the strong J-zipper on the front panel provides quick access to gear in main compartment. The slid-in side pockets, easy-to-load hydration sleeve pocket, and two hipbelt pockets for goodies are sweet features on these big rigs from Ospery.

Posted in Gear Guides, General, Guides

Goin’ Down – “Dry” down sleeping bags reviewed


Ever since falling into a New Zealand river, with my climbing pack on, and spending the ensuing night shivering in a wet down sleeping bag, I’ve been wary of both raging river wades and down sleeping bags. Down is an excellent  natural insulation that comes from the under plumage of ducks and geese. Since Eddie Bauer patented the first down jacket in 1940, it’s been the insulator of choice for outdoor enthusiasts around the world. Down insulation, having stood the test of time, can’t be matched by synthetic insulation in terms of weight, warmth, comfort, and durability. But, there’s a catch. Down loses all of its insulating properties when wet.

Enter hydrophobic down. Read more ›

Posted in Gear Guides, Guides

Water Treatment Plans


On a recent trip down Oregon’s Grand Ronde river I used a MSR AutoFlow Gravity filter to treat river water for a rafting crew of 12 people.  As “impure” water, from the red 3 liter bag, drained through the filter tube, into my 5 gallon jugs, I played cards by the riverside.  It is about as easy a job as you can have around camp.  This isn’t the case with a pump-style filter, and for a large group, pumping water takes time, concentration and elbow grease.  For two people, pumping water isn’t too bad but river trips aren’t too weight sensitive so I pack the gravity system all the time.

When choosing a water treatment system it’s good to consider activities, and your group size.  If you’re traveling to a Third world country, a SteriPEN or iodine tabs are compact and kill viruses, along with all the usual bugs.  If you’re treating water with a lot of silt, straining the water through a coffee filter or bandana first, will help.  Sometimes just boiling water is the best and cheapest treatment. Read more ›

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