Backcountry Spirits

In the deep green world of its backcountry, a hiker with a small pair of binoculars and an alert nature will get to know, up close and personal, many of the birds of Yellowstone Park. Along the streams fringed with willow and red dogwood you can expect the slate-blue dipper, the kingfisher rattling on upcreek, and a noisy pair of spotted sandpipers teetering on the rocks.

UDAP Industries Bear Spray

Seeing a grizzly in the wild can be a thrilling experience — its massive, brown body; those powerful jaws; that great, lumbering stride. But these qualities are best enjoyed from a safe distance. When you round a bend in the trail and find yourself face-to-face with an angry, 600-pound bruin, its physical virtues are your last concern — you just want to get out of there, and fast. At this point, two things work together to determine your fate: your reaction and the bear’s reaction. The encounter becomes a sort of primordial poker game — and it’s your move.

Todd Reels

When it comes to outdoor gear, my tastes slurp on the meager sundae of practicality. Last winter I had the opportunity to pit Birten Todd's locally manufactured Madison Fly Reel against the rigors of my pragmatism.

Simms Waders

If you're like us, you love the lightness and comfort of breathable waders but can't seem to find anything as durable as those old neoprene jobbers you've been wearing since Don King's last haircut. Well there is a solution, one that guides have known about for years: Simms Guide Model Chest Waders. Constructed with a special five-layer Gore-Tex fabric – including Micro Fiber, an incredibly light, yet highly puncture-resistant material designed by W.L. Gore specifically for Simms – these waders will take all the punishment you can deliver and still keep you dry and happy.

Yellowstone Drifter

A boat’s a boat, right? That’s what we thought. Then we took Yellowstone Drifter's new 16-foot Guide Boat out for a day on the lower Madison. Wide, roomy, and extremely stable, the Guide Boat drew just four inches of water and turned on a dime, all while loaded down with three of us and all our gear. The adjustable rower's seat and three-position oarlocks allowed each of us to quickly find good rowing positions without throwing out our backs. Strong, comfortable knee locks braced us against choppy water, and handy Velcro straps kept our life vests easily accessible.

Schnee's Pac Boots

Remember the good old days, when a pair of boots lasted longer than you really wanted them to, when Mom said "I don't care if you've been wearing them since creation, they're still perfectly good boots!" And they were. You just wanted something new and shiny, something cool to show off to your friends. Now that you're footing the bill, though, Mom's words ring true. Problem is, most boots seem to wear out after just a few weeks in the field.

Mystery Ranch Backpacks

We all know people who are stubbornly spartan in the woods, deriding high-end internal frame packs with their flashy colors and space-age construction. But the majority of us are Epicureans at heart, gladly sacrificing looks for comfort and performance. If this is you, pick up a new pack from Mystery Ranch. Owner/designer Dana Gleason has a solid reputation for building strong, comfortable packs that conform to your back, providing unparalleled strength and support for any size load.

Crazy Creek Camping Gear

When it comes to backpacking and camping gear, two basic categories exist: the essentials, such as pack, tent, sleeping bag, stove, etc.; and the comfort & convenience items like pillow, headlamp, water purifier. Seasoned wilderness campers know that all too often the line begins to blur, and before you know it, many of those comfort items have migrated across into the essentials pile. Your pack gets bigger every trip.

Snow Peak Camping Cookware

I like to go light because I like to feel light-of-foot. Hills are easier, up or down, and you’re not working overtime to balance so you can actually look around—which, after all, is why you came out here.

Mountain Hardware Tent

There’s something about a new tent that makes a guy giddy. Maybe it’s that first whiff of brand-new nylon, or the big-mountain fantasies that fill his head upon such a significant gear acquisition. Or maybe it’s simply the complete and utter absence of buyer’s remorse. After all, a tent is hardly a luxury—when you’re camped on top of a mountain in the middle of a snowstorm, your tent may be the only thing between you and white death. Whatever the reason, tents hold a special place in the hearts of outdoor adventurers everywhere, and the Trango 2 from Mountain Hardware is no exception.

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