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Skiing and Snowboarding : Camping

Danner Light Beckel Boot

When two companies that both make iconic products pair up, the result is usually pretty good. 

Portland-based Beckel Canvas Products—which has been making canvas-wall tents and bags since 1964—and footwear manufacturer Danner recently announced their collaboration on the Danner Light Beckel boot. Based on Danner’s classic Danner Light, each boot is handcrafted with premium full-grain leather and Beckel’s durable, water-resistant duck canvas quarter panels. 

This boot is lighter than the traditional Danner Light, and it features a grippy Vibram Gumlite sole and a highly breathable Dri-Lex liner that won’t trap sweat. The EE last is stable and supportive, and ideal for hikers with wide feet.

The boot is available in four styles—three for men and one for women. While the women’s boots won’t be available until May, you can buy the men’s products now. The shoes are all made in Portland, Oregon.   

$340, danner.com

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The Copenhagen Wheel

The geniuses at MIT have created a new wheel that turns your regular pedal-powered bike into an electric hybrid. All you have to do is swap your back wheel for the Copenhagen Wheel, which has a sleek red hub to house all the technology. Download the app to your smartphone, and you’re ready to start riding.

The smart wheel learns how you pedal and then stores energy when you’re braking or going downhill. The motor—which provides up to 10 times the power you’re capable of putting out—automatically kicks in when you need a push. You don’t have to spend several thousand dollars on another bike—just get the wheel and you're ready to go electric.

$799, superpedestrian.com

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Ford F-150 RaptorTrax

Is it a truck or a snowcat? Whatever you call it, this is a backcountry lover’s biggest dream—a Ford F-150 with Mattracks instead of wheels.

The vehicle comes with about every toy you can imagine. The roof rack doubles as a cargo holder and can also be used as a rail for skiers and snowboarders to ride. Need a winch and a roll cage? Um, yes. Snowboard rack? Of course. Enough lights to spotlight the run you're hitting even when it's pitch black outside? That’s included. There are also super comfy Recaro racing seats in both the front and the bed of the truck.

This Ford even has a disco light. No, we’re not joking.

$120,000, specialvehicleconcepts.com

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Moby1 XTR

As rugged as a Sportsmobile, the sexy, athletic Moby1 XTR is a handcrafted hook-up-and-go trailer. The 1,500-pound teardrop is big enough to store all of your camping gear, and it’s sturdy enough to get you to just about any campsite. All you have to do is dream up the appropriate adventure.  

The Moby1 XTR has more than five inches of suspension on independent A-arms with adjustable shocks, a multi-axis coupler, and a reinforced frame. Essentially, it’s like a dual-suspension mountain bike with storage that’s ready to tackle rough, steep terrain. Add a rooftop tent, awning, a sink with hot water, propane heat, toilet, solar panels, and a generator, and you might move in permanently.

Starting at $16,500, moby1trailers.com

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The Gear to Outfit an Arctic Expedition

On March 7th, Ryan Waters and I will depart for the North Pole to hopefully break the current unsupported speed record (49 days). To achieve this feat, we’ll rely on a combination of careful planning, teamwork, quality equipment, and sheer will.

This journey to the North Pole is one of the most difficult expeditions on the planet. While there have been about 6,000 Everest summits, fewer than 300 people have completed the full trip from land to the North Pole.

Sure, Everest climbers must contend with avalanches and altitude, but those intrepid enough to make the traverse across the Arctic Ocean encounter polar bears, razor-thin moving ice, open water, and bitter cold—temperatures average around 55 degrees below zero. There are no Sherpas to carry the gear and forget about cozy base camps. Each day we’ll be pulling all of our equipment—which weighs 350 pounds at the start—over some of the worst surface conditions designed by Mother Nature. We'll then set up our small tent on a (hopefully) stable piece of ice.

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This environment literally destroys gear. Plastic becomes brittle and cracks, nylon tears like paper, tent poles snap, and everything from Clif Bars to zipper pulls freeze. And it's not just cold temperatures that pose a problem. The Arctic Ocean—the iciest place on the planet—is so humid that moisture will build up and freeze in sleeping bags, clothes, and camera gear.

We'll have to cope with these elements for more than a month. Our journey from northern Ellesmere Island to the North Pole will span roughly 48 days. We're traveling unaided and unassisted, which means we'll pull all of our supplies—food, fuel, and gear—in lightweight Kevlar sleds for the entire trip.  

If we run out of food or fuel or break something that we can't repair, we're done (and not done as in, “Oh, by the way I think I'm going to call my mom and have her pick me up now.”) Our ability to survive is directly linked to the quality, durability, and weight of our gear.

While I could fill volumes about our overall travel strategy, I wanted to highlight some of the equipment that we will be taking along.

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