The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Travel

Interbike Exclusive: Thule's Bike Carriers of the Future


Today at Interbike, North America's largest bicycle trade show, Thule, leading manufacturer of bike, ski and cargo carriers, announced two new bicycle fork roof-mount carriers—the Thule Sprint and Circuit. We’re most enamored with the Sprint because it has features designed specifically to solve real-world problems that many of us have experienced with similar carriers.

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Lowell Thomas Awards Announced for the Best Travel Journalism of the Year

Screen Shot 2012-09-13 at 2.57.12 PM"57 Feet and Rising," by W. Hodding Carter, won gold for U.S./Canada Travel Article. Photo: Christopher LaMarca

If you're looking for a great longread, the Society of American Travel Writers just announced the winners of their annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The awards recognize the best stories published between Spring 2011 and Spring 2012. Outside received four nods in three categories. Those stories, about everything from W. Hodding Carter's attempt to canoe a flooded Mississippi River to Eric Hansen's investigation into the hunt for a rare Himalayan aphrodisiac, are listed below with the judges' accompanying comments. Jill Schensul of The Record in northern New Jersey won the Grand Award as the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year for writing about trips that ranged from Niagara Falls to Colombia. Outside contributor Christian DeBenedetti won gold for guidebooks with The Great American Ale Trail.

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An Expandable, Rolling Ski Bag That Packs Small for Storage

DB 2

We're not sure what inspired a couple of inventors to name their new ski bag the Douchebag. If it was just a ploy to get some attention then, well, it worked.

But it wasn't the name that made us want to introduce you to it here at the Gear Shed. It was the smart design. This six-and-a-half-foot-long ski bag is length-adjustable, it rolls easily, and when you're not using it, it compresses smaller than a sleeping bag for easy storage.

DB 1

But that's not all. Possibly the Douchebag's most awesome feature is the sling shoulder strap that's set up so you can drag the whole pack through the airport even when both hands are full.

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An Amazing Video Visit to the Seychelles

The Seychelles is a small archipelago in the Indian Ocean that relies heavily on tourism. It is about two-and-a-half times the size of Washington, D.C., with a population of roughly 90,000. Ninety percent of the people speak creole. They are mostly of African, French, Indian, Chinese, and Arab descent. Roughly 30 percent of the population works in a job related to tourism, and the industry provides about 70 percent of the hard-earned money in the country.

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Alaska Tested: New Gear From Helly Hansen, MSR, Boreas

Field testing gear in real-world conditions is the only way to know which pieces are exceptional and which are run of the mill. So, immediately after the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt lake City wrapped, I hopped on a plane bound for Anchorage, Alaska, with Helly Hansen, Cascade Designs and Hayter PR to test select gear slated for a spring 2013 release.

For five days, we camped, fished, sailed, hiked, ice climbed and watched bears gobble salmon out of Alaskan streams. We took stoves, bags and apparel into the elements and put them through their paces. Here's what rose to the top:


Helly designers changed how they knit the inner layer of HellyTech three-ply, the company's own waterproof breathable membrane, to make this 14-ounce three-layer jacket. It's the most breathable waterproof jacket Helly has ever built. The circle knit inner layer is slippery against other layers of clothing, so whether hiking, climbing or backcountry skiing, you won't ever feel restricted by your clothing layers binding.

Helly builds all of their technical gear to handle Perfect Storm-like conditions, whether you're on the side of the mountain or at sea. So even though it's light and very breathable, there is no compromise in this jacket's waterproofness. The Guiding Light is not flashy or gimmicky—just highly functional and well made. Available spring 2013, $460;

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