The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Camping

The Gear Shed Outdoor Retailer Preview

Twice a year, all the companies that make camping, climbing, hiking, paddling gear, clothes, shoes, and gadgets get together in one cement bunker in Salt Lake City to hock their wares. It's called the Outdoor Retailer Show, and it's the biggest gearapalooza in the land. Mostly the show allows shop owners to preview everybody's new lines of gear and apparel, most of which won't be available to consumers until later this fall or 2012.

Of course, A few of us magazine types sneak in as well to preview the latest and greatest. We won't get to actually see next year's crop of goods until later this week—the show officially kicks off on Wednesday, with an in-the-field demo day—but here's the short list of shiny objects we'll be tracking down.

Nanostriker

1.  Exotac Nanostryker: There are a million ferrocerium firestarters, but the Nanostryker, from the engineers at Georgia-based Exotac, is supposedly the smallest on the market.  Made for BMW driving boyscouts, this key chain bauble is a flint you'll have on hand at all times. It's collapsible, it's self contained, it works when wet, and it comes in stanless steel and titanium. If you consider yourself too sophisticated for rubbing two sticks together or for blocky flints you might have to say, keep in your glove box, this little firestarter will let you be the keeper of the flame anywhere in a pinch. Available now, $27 ($75 for titanium), exotac.com.

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Free Admission to National Parks this Week

Courtesy of SueSeeger/Flickr Beginning April 16th, America's national parks are free. Saturday marks the beginning of National Parks Week, a week-long (April 16-24) celebration of America's 394 national parks, according to the National Park Service. This year's focus is "Healthy Parks, Healthy People" and the role national parks play in the vital connection between human and environmental health.

Running congruent with the 2011 National Parks Week is the National Parks Project, a partnership between Nature Valley and celebrity Josh Holloway ("James Sawyer" on Lost) that aims to raise up to $500,000 to help preserve some the 84.4 million acres of park which are visited by 300 million people annually.

“At Nature Valley, we believe that our national parks help unite Americans with their love for nature and the outdoors – and we often need to be reminded to slow down and take it all in,” said Scott Baldwin, marketing manager for Nature Valley. “With the support of Josh Holloway, consumers and the NPCA, the National Parks Project will help ensure our national parks can be enjoyed for years to come.”

The 2011 project will focus preservation efforts on Joshua Tree National Park, Acadia National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park, among others.

Read More

Free Admission to National Parks this Week

Courtesy of SueSeeger/Flickr Beginning April 16th, America's national parks are free. Saturday marks the beginning of National Parks Week, a week-long (April 16-24) celebration of America's 394 national parks, according to the National Park Service. This year's focus is "Healthy Parks, Healthy People" and the role national parks play in the vital connection between human and environmental health.

Running congruent with the 2011 National Parks Week is the National Parks Project, a partnership between Nature Valley and celebrity Josh Holloway ("James Sawyer" on Lost) that aims to raise up to $500,000 to help preserve some the 84.4 million acres of park which are visited by 300 million people annually.

“At Nature Valley, we believe that our national parks help unite Americans with their love for nature and the outdoors – and we often need to be reminded to slow down and take it all in,” said Scott Baldwin, marketing manager for Nature Valley. “With the support of Josh Holloway, consumers and the NPCA, the National Parks Project will help ensure our national parks can be enjoyed for years to come.”

The 2011 project will focus preservation efforts on Joshua Tree National Park, Acadia National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park, among others.

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Does Living at High Altitude Help You Live Longer?

 

Results of a four-year study by researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that living at altitudes around 5,000 feet (Denver is 5,280 feet above see level) or higher might increase lifespan. The study, recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, collated data from around the U.S. and found that, of the top 20 longest-living counties in the country, 11 for men and five for women were located in Colorado and Utah. Men lived on average 1.2 to 3.6 years longer and women 0.5 to 2.5 years more. When results were adjusted for other factors, including smoking and increased solar radiation, there was no significant difference between lowlanders and mountain folk. And among those with existing pulmonary disease, mortality increased. Still, the results suggest that hypoxic (lower oxygen) environments may bestow some health benefits for otherwise healthy people, and researchers want to find out more.

"Lower oxygen levels turn on certain genes and we think those genes may change the way heart muscles function. They may also produce new blood vessels that create new highways for blood flow into the heart," says the study's author Dr. Benjamin Honigman of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of the Altitude Medicine Clinic. "Does living at altitude change the way a disease progresses? Does it have health effects that we should be investigating? Ultimately, we hope this research will help people lead healthier lives."

—Nick Heil

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Does Living at High Altitude Help You Live Longer?

 

Results of a four-year study by researchers at the University of Colorado suggest that living at altitudes around 5,000 feet (Denver is 5,280 feet above see level) or higher might increase lifespan. The study, recently published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, collated data from around the U.S. and found that, of the top 20 longest-living counties in the country, 11 for men and five for women were located in Colorado and Utah. Men lived on average 1.2 to 3.6 years longer and women 0.5 to 2.5 years more. When results were adjusted for other factors, including smoking and increased solar radiation, there was no significant difference between lowlanders and mountain folk. And among those with existing pulmonary disease, mortality increased. Still, the results suggest that hypoxic (lower oxygen) environments may bestow some health benefits for otherwise healthy people, and researchers want to find out more.

"Lower oxygen levels turn on certain genes and we think those genes may change the way heart muscles function. They may also produce new blood vessels that create new highways for blood flow into the heart," says the study's author Dr. Benjamin Honigman of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of the Altitude Medicine Clinic. "Does living at altitude change the way a disease progresses? Does it have health effects that we should be investigating? Ultimately, we hope this research will help people lead healthier lives."

—Nick Heil

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