We just got word that kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic poached the first descent of Falls Creek, into Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The reservoir, which provides drinking water to San Francisco, is off limits. Should they have done it?
We've landed in Salt Lake City, and today we're headed to the Outdoor Retailer on-water demo, where we'll get our first glimpse of kayakas, SUPs, and all the goodies and gadgets that go with them.
Then the show officially kicks off tomorrow, and here are a few cool new products that have popped up on our radar:
Yakima Whispbar: If you've passed on a roof rack to carry bikes, skis, or other gear because it was too loud, just ugly, or compromised your fuel efficiency, Yakima has a rack for you. After extensive wind tunnel testing, Yakima claims the rack is virtually noiseless, and it's so streamlined and aerodynamically designed that it won't compromise your car's fuel efficiency. There are no blaring, logoed spoilers, just simple and easy to use bars and feet. In the future you'll be able to get mounts that slide into each bar's t-shaped slot. But, in the meantime, any newer generation Yakima mounts with a clamp style attachment also fit. We've also heard rumors that Thule will also be debuting a new, quiter, and more fuel efficient rack as well. We'll try and confirm that tomorrow and will let you know what we find out. The Whispar is availabe now, $449-$499.
Well, a few of them, anyway—just to start off with. As part of Outdoor Retailer, taking place right now in Salt Lake City, we’re handing out certificates to the companies that made our list and are attending the convention. The remaining companies on our 50 Best Places to Work list will be unveiled in our September issue, which hits newsstands August 16th. To all the winners, congratulations. We had more applicants this year than ever. To readers, start updating your résumé. We’ve never been more inspired by companies's commitment to offer their employees a healthy work/life balance: floating “Powder Days,” Beer Cart Fridays, a 72,000-square-foot fitness center (and cash rewards for working out in it), six-month sabbaticals, and company-paid trip to the Olympics. Seriously.
So, without further ado, here are eleven of Outside’s top fifty companies to work for in America. Congratulations again!
KEEN Clif Bar Amer Sports Camelbak Superfeet Osprey Smith Brooks SmartWool Deckers Patagonia
After spending the past month lake-locked on a small island on smallish lake in Ontario, I have itchy legs and hiking on my brain. And just in time, the summer monsoon rains have returned (finally) to the thirsty, fire-charred Southwest, wildflowers are putting on a stellar show in the rest of the Rockies, and the days are still long and warm on both coasts. In other words, it’s primo season to pack the clan and head out for a longer adventure on the trails.
Notice that I didn’t say “backpacking.” Hauling your kids and your gear by foot into the backcountry can unleash a whine-fest so deafening you’ll be tempted to beat a hasty retreat to the nearest Cineplex for an emergency infusion of air-conditioned pop culture. Even if your kids are angels, you’ll be schlepping a lot of stuff—or eating freeze-dried meat loaf. (Backpackers, I’m ready for your rebuttal!).
These trips give you access to world-class trails from the relative comfort of mountain huts, lodges, and other base camps where someone else is doing the cooking, cleaning, and entertaining (and it’s not Grandma). Leave the Jetboil and rain tarp at home—all you need are a few tricks up your sleeve to keep the kiddos on their feet (and in British Columbia, an expert mountain guide will do that for you!). With little over a month until Labor Day, here are our top picks for taking your entourage on the trails before summer runs out. Get going.
With eight backcountry huts along a 56-mile miles stretch of the Appalachian Trail, the AMC is adventure central. If you’ve got toddlers and babies, head for Lonesome Lake Hut, an easy 1.6-mile hike in from the road, with views of Franconia Ridge; smaller, family-size bunkrooms; kid-friendly meals, and swimming right in the lake. Kids six and up will rally for the 3.8-mile trek to Carter Notch Hut, where there’s day hiking right out the front door and a junior naturalist program to stave off boredom. Each summer, Zealand Falls Hut, 2.7 miles from the road, plays host to AMC’s annual five-day family adventure camp, with guided day hikes, rafting on the Androscoggin River, and naturalist talks for kids 5-12. (Adults, $110 per night; youth 13-17, $91; 3-12, $54.)