Roads Rivers and Trails

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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Wonderful World of Winter

by: Ice Man

I know there are a lot of haters out there so I want to set the record straight. The best time to go for a hike is when it’s cold. In most cases, the colder and the more snow the better. Sure there are exceptions; I’ve struggled to sleep at negative 20 degrees, or labored through five feet of fresh snow before. But my most active months for local trips are always January and February.

Let’s compare the draw backs of the seasons. Summer hiking you are constantly sweating, constantly wet, getting swarmed by mosquitoes, nervous to step on a snake, your tent feels like an oven in the morning, and the trails get too crowded to find a campsite. Winter, you need a heavier coat. Boom! See, no contest. In all seriousness, let’s talk about the positive attributes of a winter hike. For me, I love the solitude! The trails are way more secluded in the winter and the harsher the conditions, the less likely you are to see someone else. The views are spectacular in winter and completely different than what you see in the summer. The leaves have fallen and ridges have more open views, the landscape has a sparkle as the sun hits the snow, and giant icicles rest over cliff lines and waterfalls. Fresh animal tracks are easy to spot and as the ground cover thins out even spotting wildlife is a bit easier. You know what else changes in the winter? Your diet. It’s like a freezer out there, bring ice cream if you want, carry out more meats or cheeses, what ever your hearts desire.

Worried about staying warm? That’s the easy part. It is way easier to regulate your temperature when it is cold outside and ideally you barely break a sweat. With a little layering 101 there are plenty of tips to maintaining a balanced temperature. A popular quote when backpacking is “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” This quote is typically applied to a nasty rainstorm but applies to winter weather as well. There is not a challenge that you cannot be prepared for.

New adventures await when you build confidence in cold environments. Perhaps you can set your sights on some light mountaineering, snow shoeing, skiing, or ice climbing next. If the avoidance of itching a sunburned mosquito bite on the back of your neck while sweating on top of your sleeping bag isn’t convincing enough, I’m not sure what will be. I’ll be tucked into my puffy down sleeping bag, a warm belly of hot chocolate, catching some z’s.

So what is there to fear? Come by our next cold weather presentation for tips or stop by and see any of us winter walkers at RRT. Get geared up with the right equipment and hit the trails. Oh, and all this winter gear I’ve accumulated also means I’m the warmest person scraping my car in the morning.

RRT Holiday Wish List

RRT Holiday Wish List:

‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations and gift giving. That second part can always be hard, especially with those holidays rapidly approaching. Here at Roads Rivers and Trails, we want to make it a little bit easier for you. What do you get someone who has everything? We decided to discuss this with our staff to spark ideas for you and yours! This is what we came up with:

to Shop RRT inventory click here:


Emily: Grand Trunk Parachute Nylon Double Hammock in Firebelly Print ($74.99)

There is nothing that I enjoy more than relaxing in a hammock after a hard day’s work. The Grand Trunk double would fit me and my husband, Joe, comfortably for snuggles and the print is perfect for fire people! If only we had the ENO solo pod in our living room! Straps are sold separately.




Joe: Black Diamond Mid-weight Gridtech Gloves ($34.99)

These gloves are super soft and light. The Gridtech fabric offers breathability and a nice warmth to weight ratio. Use them as a stand alone glove or layered with others for increased insulation. I’d like to have these for my next winter adventure. With the sensors on my thumbs and index fingers, I can use them for city endeavors too!





Bryan: Grayl Ultralight Waterfiler ($59.50)

The Grayl Ultralight filter is super cool! You fill up the container with dirty water push the filter down and then have filtered water that is even safe from Viruses in a container! Perfect for the global traveler.







Brandon: Hults & Bruk Atrab Felling Axe ($129)

Oh man, I dream of using this baby in my backyard. The head is hand foraged of Swedish axe steel, very sturdy and sharp.







Olivia: Fjallraven Nordic Heater *Fluffy Hat* ($80)

If I had this hat in my collection, I would never need another. It is so soft, fluffy, warm, and functional. A strap across the chin make sure that the hat doesn’t blow away when breezy. The ear flaps can be fastened up and have a small hole to allow for better acoustics if you are having trouble hearing people through all the fluff. The holes also allow a slight bit of air to your cerebellum if need be.  Perfect for all occasions. Too many good colors to choose from.





Will: Rab Paradox ($165)

This pull-on is light weight, breathable, and stylish with its athletic build. Used primarily as a mid-layer during long cold trips or as a standalone piece in warmer weather. You will not be disappointed with the Paradox. Ask Brandon or Bryan what they think of theirs, I dream about this being in my closet.






Eli: Rab Asylum Jacket ($250)

Now that the temperatures are ducking low this durable down coat is the perfect jacket for cold days at the crag. It even has a stash pocket large enough to fit my climbing shoes so that they don’t get cold! Plenty of room to layer underneath as well. I wish I could wear this jacket belaying my partner at Smith Rock, hope to get one soon!






Emma: Sea to Summit Insulated Ultralight Regular Sleeping Pad ($129.95)

I am relatively new to backpacking and still working to define my gear closet. That being said, I would love this sleeping pad to replace my foam pad. The air is much more comfortable and being insulated is a mega plus.



Ben: Nemo Dagger 2 Person Tent ($399.95)

For the holiday season I would like to be cozy, warm, dry and bug free in a new Nemo 2-person backpacking tent! This ultralight version will help keep my pack weight down, too.




Mason: Patagonia Better Sweater ($99)

Patagonia is one of my favorite clothing brands. As a clothing connoisseur, I can never have enough better sweaters. Very stylish, comfortable, and relatively warm.







Robby: Black Diamond Stride Head Lamp/ Strobe Light ($29.95)

Recently, I have taken up running early mornings before work. The stride would be a perfect stocking stuffer to help me stay safe this holiday season with a light on the front and red strobe on the back. That way people can see me from both sides and I can stay fit!






Louie: Kuhl Thor ¼ Zip ($109)

After working on the tree farm all day, I just want to cozy up in a nice, warm sweater and maybe eat some pancakes. Dorri, I promise not to spill syrup on this fleece if you surprise me with it!







Craig: Osprey Poco AG Plus ($290)

Huzzah! The Buckley tribe is growing! We would like the Poco AG Plus to tote our fresh daughter in for the new year. Soon she will be able to hold her own head and we can adventure, again.







James: Hippy Tree Flannel Chalk Bag ($30)

Climbing gear is always killer! Anything trad related, or this cool chalk bag, would do.








Vince: Ruff Wear Approach Pack ($80)

My Gerbarian Shepsky is my best friend. Well, the German Shepard, the Husky and their little baby boy are all my pals. However, hiking with them has become grueling, lugging their water and calories. I would like the an approach pack for each to make hiking with my little monsters more pleasant on my back.



to Shop RRT inventory click here: