The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Oct 2012

We Salute You: Editor's Letter, October 2012

Keyes_wiI wouldn't describe myself as a control freak, but turning over a huge chunk of Outside's editorial and photography to readers this month was still a somewhat terrifying experience. When we launched the 35th Anniversary-themed reader-submission pages online in May, asking you to supply everything from images (for Exposure) to reader-profile nominees (Dispatches) to odes to your favorite gear (The Essentials) to your greatest fitness and nutrition wisdom (Bodywork), we had no idea what volume—or quality—of participation to expect. I was pessimistic, and the first day or two tripled my anxiety. (A reader tip about bone-marrow soup for athletes was a memorable low point.) But gradually the trickle of initially tepid responses turned into a flood of bang-on submissions. As you'll soon discovery, starting with the Exposure section, Outside's readers delivered. And then some.

That's always been the case, of course. You're the reason we're able to celebrate another anniversary. Some of you have been with us since the beginning, in 1977. Many more of you became subscribers in the wake of Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air," in the 1990s. And for a lot of you, this copy of Outside is your first. But no matter how long you've been reading the magazine, we know you have an opinion about its contents. Believe it or not, we read your letters and emails and online comments with great care. Your feedback is what makes Outside a living, breathing, evolving publication, ensuring we stay relevant three and a half decades on.

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Field Tested: Brooks Range Isto Softshell Jacket


Versatile. That’s how our East Coast tester described Brooks Range's four-way stretch, water-resistant Isto softshell jacket. He spent 100 days last winter and spring skiing, hiking and ciimbing in snow, rain, slush, sleet, freezing rain, some more snow, sun, blue skies, and any other weather conditions you can think of from Quebec to Colorado in this jacket and gave it a rave review.

It’s cut a tad short, which was a bonus as far as our tester was concerned. “It never felt confining or constraining—it kind of fits like a great shirt,” he reported. “The stretch fabric was supremely comfortable in all conditions: when I wore the Isto as a layer on cold days—it fits great under a hard shell, as a skinning layer on medium temperature days—it was super breathable with enough wind resistance to keep me comfortable, and as my outer layer on spring ski days, it wasn't too warm, and proved itself very durable run after run in tough trees.”

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Yes You Can (Drink More Environmentally Responsible Beer)

OBB_cansOskar Blues' cannery row. Photo: Ryan Dearth

By Will McGough, Wake and Wander

Growing up outside of Philadelphia, it was never much of a decision. There were no mountains to climb. We lived the city life and my upbringing was simple: Good beer came in a bottle, crap came in a can.

Flash forward a few years and I'm pacing the beer aisle in a store near the Front Range of the Rockies, my fingers still greasy from prepping my bike chain. Now immersed in an arena of outdoor activity, my priorities have changed—biking and bottles and backpacks certainly don’t mix. Ten years ago, this would have meant inappropriately pairing a light canned beer with a crisp, fall ride through the foliage. Today, I’m happy to say, we finally have options. Lots of them.

Bottles have long ruled the craft brew scene in the United States. But that's changing, largely thanks to Dale Katechis, founder of Longmont, Colorado-based brewery Oskar Blues.

"I won’t call out anyone in particular, but they were all pointing and laughing at the new kid in town," says Katechis, recollecting the reaction he received when he began canning his hoppy pale ale back in 2002. "They thought it was a joke, yet today they’re all canning beer.... Talk about funny."

That hilariously hoppy brew is Dale’s Pale Ale, a drink that has been widely praised by beer experts and easily recognized in stores across the United States in its red, white, and blue can. It’s true: Oskar Blues was indeed the pioneer of the U.S. craft beer canning movement. As it approaches its 10-year “CANniversary” in November, Osker Blues is now one of more than 220 American breweries that have followed suit, according to

When it comes to gear, from backpacks to tents to bikes to shoes, weight matters. Whether heading into the backcountry or on a leisurely day hike, no one wants to lug an ounce more than is necessary. The same goes for adult beverage choices: cans are lighter, smaller, and easier to pack out than bottles. So cheers for the trend in canned craft beer.

But we're not the only winners. Cans also offer significant environmental benefits.

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Super Slow Mo Video of Whitewater Kayaking in British Columbia

For those that just can't get enough video of whitewater kayakers dropping off waterfalls, here's another dose. Cinematographer Tim Loubier, of Reel Water Productions, recently released Water, a huck-heavy short documenting Todd Wells, Brendan Wells, Martin Bradley Smith, William Griffith, and Sam Ricket paddling the rivers and creeks around Whistler and Squamish, British Columbia. The footage was shot at 120 to 300 frames per second on a Red Epic.

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Lance Armstrong Steps Down as Livestrong Chairman, Nike Severs Ties With Athlete

3839695921_2015188638_bLance Armstrong. Photo: Andersbjorkhaug/Flickr

On Tuesday, the Livestrong Foundation announced Lance Armstrong’s decision to step down as chairman. "I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation's chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities,” said Armstrong in a press release. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."

The Associated Press soon reported that, "Within minutes, Nike said that it would end its relationship with him 'due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade.'" The decision came a day after a group of cyclists protested the athletic company's involvement with Armstrong. Nike will continue to work with Livestrong, according to the AP.

The decisions came roughly a week after the USADA released a report that said Armstrong was the ringleader in "a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history."

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