Gear reviews & previews


Long-term Review: Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Poles | Two design flaws + solutions

By Andrew Skurka / November 11, 2015 /

This summer I used the Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles (short-term review) on two significant outings, in addition to some local day-hikes: a 10-day thru-hike of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, and an 8-day yo-yo of Wyoming’s Wind River Range, including a northbound thru-hike of the Wind River High Route. The cumulative…

Long-term Review: SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger

By Andrew Skurka / October 6, 2015 /

My mother has requested only once that I buy an outdoor product. It wasn’t an uber warm sleeping bag, a highly engineered stove, or a rain jacket that was guaranteed to keep me dry. No, it was a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. She was not shy about her motivations. While a messenger would allow me…

Review: Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles | Shockingly awesome performance for $30

By Andrew Skurka / July 21, 2015 /

Update, November 11 2015:  Also read my long-term review. Two months ago at the local Costco I bought Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles. They are also available from Amazon (go here) with Prime shipping. At a minimum, I thought they would be useful for visiting family and friends. At best, I hoped…

Backpacking training: Three top picks

By Andrew Skurka / July 15, 2014 /

For the first time since March, I’ve been home for an entire month straight. It’s been awesome, with much more time to spend with Amanda, to take care of the business’s backend, and to run and hike in Boulder’s open space. In specific regards to the latter, I’ve been climbing Green Mountain (8,144′) several times…

A skeptic’s review of the BioLite CampStove: it’s neat but mostly impractical

By Andrew Skurka / August 8, 2012 /

A major attention-grabber at last week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (ORSM) was the BioLite CampStove, a unique biomass-burning stove that will boil water and charge your electronics via USB. The CampStove was featured by many of the most popular online media outlets, including Outside, GearJunkie, and TrailSpace; Brian Green has also written about it a few times.…

Product Review: SPOT Satellite Messenger

By Andrew Skurka / December 23, 2011 /

My mother is not a backpacker or a hiker, and “outdoorsy” is definitely not among the Top 10 adjectives I would use to describe her. But, as a mom, she gets gravely worried and concerned when her hyper-outdoorsy son goes into the backcountry, usually alone, regardless of the season, and almost always with the intention…