Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Mountain Khakis Hell Yeah! Tour

As a member of LinkedIn, I am always looking for leads when I visit the Inside Outdoors Magazine Group page. Inside Outdoor Magazine had a shout out about Mountain Khakis not to long ago which turned me onto this clothing line.

Mountain Khakis is a mountain inspired lifestyle brand of clothes, shoes and gear ideally suited for your outdoor recreation trips to the mountains and flatlands across America.  The brand started in Jackson Hole, WY in 2003. According to Mountain Khakis the business idea was sketched on a napkin at the Shady Lady Saloon in 2001.  Since that time, Mountain Khakis has become a favorite purveyor of mountain inspired clothing.  Mountain Khakis has a great website and a Youtube Channel. Be sure to visit them both.

Hey gang, keep an eye out for the 2017 Mountain Khakis Hell Yeah! Tour visiting a location near you. The tour started at the Sweetwater Brewery in Washington, DC on April 10th.  Five months later the tour will end in Denver at the Great American Beer Festival. The Hell Yeah! Tour will visit 150 outdoor retailers, craft brewhouses, and outdoor lifestyle festivals.  Mountain Khakis is celebrating the intersection of the mountain lifestyle and craft beer. Sounds like a loads of fun especially when beer is mentioned. You know how I love my craft beer.  Be sure to post your photos of the Hell Yeah! Tour on Twitter using the hashtag #HellYeahTour.

Until next time be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ricky Carroll Surfboards Part and Customer Appreciation Day & Sale

On a bright sunny day in Rockledge, Florida, R&D Surf Inc. and Ricky Carroll Surfboards held their annual party, customer appreciation day and sale at their Gus Hipp Boulevard location.  The event started at 10:00 AM and lasted until the evening.

Event visitors were parking long Gus Hipp Boulevard because the limited parking in the front of the shop was full.  Vendor tents were lined up long one side of the shop.  The live music stage was set up under the shop canopy with folding chairs lined up in front of the stage in the grassed area.  There was food provided by Dusty Joe's Smokin Eats.  Click HERE for Dusty Joe's Facebook page.

One of Brevard County's mainstay at any outdoor surfing event like this is Captain Steve Bowman. Captain Steve is a master at carving amazing traditional surfing and marine necklaces from New Zealand bone and cast-off resins he gets from surf shops.  Click HERE for his Facebook page.  I am a proud owner of a few of his masterpieces.

The music while I was there was great.  It started with Karalyn and the Dawn Patrol (click HERE their webpage) and ended with Josh Miller (click HERE for his webpage).  Click HERE for my video from the 25th Ricky Carroll Surfboard Party, Customer Appreciation Day and Sale to hear their music  All and all this was a fun day for everyone who attended.  Here are some photos from the party.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Outdoor Retailer Fights to Keep Public Lands Public

Last year, at the end of the Obama Administration, President  Obama designated the "Bears Ears area of Utah as a National Monument.  This designation caused a stir amongst the Republicans in Utah.  As long as Obama was president, Bears Ears National Monument was safe.  

Since the November 8, 2016 election of Donald Trump as president there has been a move afoot to turn over public lands to the states, especially in Utah. Because there are 33 states with Republican governors there is a big risk that if public lands were turned over to these governors, corporations will be given access to develope these public lands for profit taking away our rights to have access to our public lands like we have today.  After Trump was elected, Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah, has been working to remove the Bears Ears National Monument designation and to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act which gives the president the power to create National Monuments.  He has help from Utah Senator Mike Lee. HERE/ for the OR unity page to learn more about their fight for our public lands. Click HERE for a Denver Post article on Bears Ears National Monument.

This year OR will return to Salt Lake City, Utah.  But next year OR winter and summer market will not be held in Utah.  An RFP will be released this year to select a new home.  
 In light of the actions by Hatch and Lee and Utah Republicans, the Outdoor Retailer (OR) made a decision to help organize and fight for our public lands. Click

In support of Outdoor Retailer (OR), largest gathering of outdoor recreation retailers in America, REI, The Conservation Alliance, Ibex, The North Face, Vasque, Smartwool, Cascade Designs, Thule Group, and Adidas Outdoors have issued statements of support.

If you support keeping public lands public like I do, then shop outdoor retailers who support keeping public lands public.

Until next time, be safe in the sin and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Backpacking & Hiking First Aid Kit Accessories

I have been meaning to share with you some products that you must add to your first aid kit especially if you are a through hiker on the AT or Pacific Crest Trail.

Silipos contacted me a month a go about their orthopedic products.  When I got samples I immediately thought of through hikers.  Through hikers have been know to run into some nasty foot and toe problems being on the trail for an extended period of time.  I have to believe that having these light weight toe guards and foot support devices could go a long way in keeping you on the trail.  The same goes for the zipper repair.  This morning on cable TV I saw my first zipper repair kit demonstrated.  Looks like these have been on the market for sometime now.  But I guess that I just missed them.  With lots of your gear with YKK zippers, every hiker or backpacker should have these in their backpack or day pack.  One never knows when you will blow out a zipper.  These will surely come in handy.  

So the next time you head outdoors be prepared.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

ICAST 107 Days Away

Now is the time to make your reservation to attend ICAST, the world's largest sport fishing trade show, at the Orlando, Orange County Convention Center on I-Drive.

ICAST is a closed show.  It is not open to the general public.

Each year over 13,000 sport fishing buyers, store owner,  media and sport fishing celebrities gather for the three-day sport fishing experience.

 This year the water products on-water demo will take place at the Orange County Convention Center instead of using Lake Toho.  The demonstration will be held at the rear of the North/South Concourse.  Shuttles will be available to transport attendees from the West Concourse to the demonstration area. Also, the ICAST Cup will still be held on Lake Toho.

As we get closer to July and the opening of ICAST, I will post updates. So come back soon.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ron Jon Beach 'N Board Fest 2017

February and March are always great times to hit the Space Coast beaches to enjoy some of Florida's best surf and SUP events. This past March 10-12, 2017, the Ron Jon Beach N Board Fest was held at Shepard park in Cocoa Beach.  The Fest was a great family affair.  There was surfing, high school girls volleyball, skateboarding, wake boarding, music, food and product displays.  Something for everyone.  Click HERE for a video from the Ron Jon Beach N Board Fest.  Here are few great photos from the Ron Jon Beach N Board Fest.  Click HERE to visit the Board Fest webpage.  Hope to see you there next year.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day n the great outdoors.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Normal Brand at Surf Expo

Each year as I cruise the rows at Surf Expo, I am on the hunt for a brand that puts a different spin on its products as the brand tries to get the attention of surf lifestyle buyers and store owners.  In January I discovered 'The Normal Brand".

The Normal Brand? That seems like a very  nebulous name for an upscale mens' and women's clothing line.  That is why I had to find out what The Normal Brand was all about.

To start with, this clothing company is a family affair.  At the show were three brothers, one of which started the brand.  Jimmy Sansone was the brainstorm behind The Normal Brand.  If you search for Jimmy Sansone you can easily find him. But click HERE for a very good article from Entrepreneur Magazine about The Normal Brand.

The Normal Brand booth was tucked away on one of the rows in the clothing area of Surf Expo.  When I arrived three of the brothers were sitting on the booths front steps.  There I met Lan Sansone pictured above.  He gave me the history of the family business started by his brother Jimmy.  We talked about how their Midwest lifestyle had a big impact on their clothing design.  As Entrepreneur Magazine article noted, the Normal Brand was filling a gap between office attire and outdoor clothing where office attire was not suited for the outdoors and outdoor clothing was not suited for the office. Through Jimmy Sansone's ingenuity and vision, The Normal Brand was born. Lan showed me the great book they had made when he and Jimmy went fly fishing in Oregon with their father.  He was real proud of the family's accomplishment taking The Normal Brand where it is today.

You can shop online by clicking HERE for their storefront.  You can also find The Normal Brand at retailers like Urban Outfitters. Click HERE to find a store near you.  Find a store near you and try on their great outdoor clothes for men and women.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Kayak Fishing Sarasota, Florida

The fishing community here in Florida is a diverse collection of pond, lake, inshore and offshore fisheries.  Anglers from all across the world work travel to the Sunshine State to test their angling skills.  Whether or not you fish from the shore, pier, boat, kayak or SUP, you can find your little piece of fishing heaven here in Florida.

If you are looking to hone your kayak fishing skills, there is a kayak fishing guide out of Sarasota who has a reputation of putting his clients on many different species of fish.  His specialty is fly fishing from a kayak.  Steve Gibson has been guiding kayak anglers along the west coast of Florida for as long as I can remember.  Click HERE for Steve's biography.  

Steve offers his clients trips to Sarasota and Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Matlacha and Pine Island Sound and the Everglades.  His trip prices vary from $200 for a half day up to $350 for a trip to the Everglades.  

When fishing with Steve, you will get a chance to try out the NuCanoe fishing kayak. NuCanoe has designed their Frontier Fishing Kayak especially for fly anglers with its stable wide deck. Click HERE for the NuCanoe webpage.  In addition to fishing from a NuCanoe Frontier, the Pursuit maximizes kayak speed and agility with its sleek design.  Both of these fishing kayak are stable enough to stand up and fish.  This is why these kayaks are loved by fly anglers.  The stand up and fish accessory package is available on both the Frontier and Pursuit fishing kayaks.  No matter what kind of kayak you have at home, fishing from a NuCanoe just might be a new experience. 

As spring and summer approach and you are planning your Florida vacation, making Sarasota your base camp would not be a bad idea.  Sarasota is just two hours from Orlando with Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World and a short one hour drive to Bush Gardens in Tampa.

To learn more about vacationing in Sarasota click HERE for the Visit Sarasota web page.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stainless Steel Thermal Bottles & Glasses By MIzu Life

This year, in advance of the January Surf Expo, I started planning how I would schedule my time to see many of the exciting exhibiting brands that come to Surf Expo each January and September at the Orlando Orange County Convention Center.  My first booths to visit were those who contacted me in advance of the show.  One of those brands was Pukka.  These guys are best custom hat company at the show.  Check out my Pukka article coming soon. When Ryan O'Leary contacted me about stopping by, I noticed that his PR company also represented Mizu Life.

Mizu Life is a purveyor of stainless steel thermal bottles and glasses.

Because I have done past articles on many of the stainless steel thermal bottles and glasses, like Orca, Yeti, and Engel and after visting the Mizu Life webpage, I wanted to do this because; 1)  Mizu Life was not coming to Surf Expo and 2) their product line competed head to head with Yeti and Orca and all the other brands that have focused on the stainless steel thermal product market.  I reached out to Ryan about doing a Mizu product review.  This past week I received a assortment of Mizu Life product samples delivered by UPS.  In the box were a thermal coffee cup, a V10 thermal 1000 ml bottle and a set of wine glasses.  At first look, after a close inspection, the quality, fit and trim were very good - equal to Yeti, Orca and Engel.  That is important because the Mizu Life MSRP price points are in the same price range as Yeti, Orca and Engel products.

Here is my "First Look" review of the the Mizu Life stainless steel thermal bottle, coffee cup and wine glasses.  The V10 thermal insulated stainless steel bottle which holds 1000 ml is a member of the V-Series of small medium and large thermal insulated stainless steel bottles.  The V6 small bottle holds 19 oz / 560 ml, the V8 medium bottle holds 26 oz / 760 ml and the V10 large bottle holds 34 oz / 1000 ml.  The V8 is the perfect size for that 750 ml bottle of wine. What is missing from their lineup is a 64 oz beer growler.  They really need that to round out their V-Series thermal insulated stainless steel bottle products.

The V-Series bottles are perfect for taking chilled or  hot beverage on an outdoor trip.  Where the V10 comes with a handle that makes carrying the bottle easier the V6 and V8 do not.  As an accessory you can get looped V6 and V8 cap for each bottle that allows you to clip the bottle to your backpack.

 Mizu Life rates their V-Series bottles at 12 hours for hot beverages and 24 hours for cold beverages.
 I have been using thermal insulated stainless steel tumblers and bottles for about two years now.  For me, buy the time I have reached 4 hours, what ever beverage I may be carrying will be gone.  So the Mizu Life heat and cold rating will be perfect for my outdoor activities.

My wife Kathi and I take long car trips from time to time traveling from Florida to Fall Church, VA where my son and his wife live.  We always carry a special traveling box of kitchen gear.  In our box we have a set of plastic wine glasses because we have broken far to many glass wine glasses. Now we never have to worry about that again.  The set of two thermal insulated stainless steel wine glasses are going into our traveling kitchen gear box.  Mizu Life does make a thermal insulated stainless steel pint beer glass.  That would be perfect for me because I drink more beer on a trip than wine.  Wine is my wife's go to beverage.  We have a trip planned for March to Fall Church.  I will be able to give a full report on how the V10 and wine glasses perform.

In addition to their bottles and wine glasses, Mizu Life has a two thermal insulated stainless steel tumblers / cups the T20 and T30. Each comes with a plastic lid.  These are very similar in shape to the Yeti and Orca tumblers.  The T20 has a MSRP point of $29.95 and the T30 of $34.95. But today the T30 price has been reduced to $29.95 on their webpage.  Click HERE to see the price online.

The coffee cup is the perfect size  and shape to go into my backpack.  It is light enough to carry on weekend trips.  It will get a lot of mileage from this cup on future trips.

An interesting feature Mizu Life provides its customers is the ability to private label their thermal insulated stainless steel products. On their webpage you can see examples of the artwork that has been applied to their products for their  customers.  Click HERE to visit their custom bottle page.  They can put your logo on all their products.

All and all, I am really looking forward to running the Mizu Life wine glasses, V10 bottle and coffee cup through their paces.  So stay tuned for further updates.

Check out the full Mizu Life line up of their outdoor products by visiting their webpage.  Click HERE.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Ice Mule Beach Cooler Bag from Surf Expo

When I attend Surf Expo I like to visit old friends to see what new products they have coming out.  At the 2017 January Surf Expo, Jim Collie, Ice Mule President and CEO could be found in the booth showing the full lineup of Ice Mule products.  This year I got advanced notice of the new Ice Mule Beach bag.  Having seen the Beach Bag from the outside I could only imagine what the inside of the bag looked like.  Wow was I surprised when I actually got to see the bag.  Thinking that the entire bag as the cooler, boy was I wrong. What Jim Collie did was to design a smaller Ice Mule Cooler that would fit inside the middle of the bag between open spaces where beach towels and other gear could be stored.
Designing the bag like this made the bag multipurpose.  The bag could be used with or without the Ice Mule Cooler.  What a great idea.

Along with the Ice Mule Coolers, there were full lineup of coolers.  Coming out along with the Beach Bag, is the new sea-foam colored cooler.  You can see the new color in the photos to the left.  Jim said that the new sea foam color was a big hit at the show and he expected strong sales from the new color.

Also Ice Mule is offering their customers a new product display  stand.  It is the one pictured along side of Jim Collie shown below.  I have been  using mine for two years now and I love it.

I especially like that I can roll it up and put it in my luggage when traveling by air.  At my destination I will have my cooler with me.  That is real sweet because I cannot tell you how many times I have purchased a cheap Styrofoam ice chest to leave it behind in the hotel room when flying back home.  Ice Mule has solved that problem for me.

As you get ready for the 2017 spring and summer seasons and you are in the market for a new cooler, you need to check out all the different Ice Coolers because they work as they were designed to do. If you do not have a Ice Mule re-seller in your neighborhood, click HERE to visit their webpage.

 Until next time be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Body Glove Water Shoes & SUPs at Surf Expo

At the January Surf Expo held at the Orange County Convention Center  I had the chance to meet Matthew Ross the Director of Marketing for Footwear and ISUPs.  Matt gave me the run down on the Body Glove lineup of water shoes.

On display were the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior and the Dynamo Rapid.  Both of these shows are moderately priced and can be purchased at your local surf shop or outdoor retailer.  You can buy these shoes now by visiting the Body Glove website.  Click HERE to see these shoes.  Also on display were the new Dynamo Swift. This new shoe has new added support that starts at the show quarter and crosses over the shoe vamp on both sides.
This gives the wearer support where the Dynamo Rapid does not. See photos below.  If you did not know the parts of a shoe, see the diagram below.   The Swift will be available in stores later in the year.

Body Glove had two SUPs on display in their booth.  The size and shape of these two SUPs were typical of SUPs being shown at this year's Surf Expo. What made them different was the fact that Body Glove has designed these boards so the fins cannot be removed.  The board fin design does not restrict the inflatable SUP from being deflated, rolled up and inserted in the carrying bag.  This is a great board feature because board surfers have at time lost their fins causing problems on the water.  Click HERE for the Body Glove SUPs
That can certainly ruin your day. If you have never been to Surf Expo I can tell you that Body Glove has one of the biggest display areas of any exhibitor. Their swim and wet suit exhibit areas dwarf most other brands exhibiting at the show.

One more thought from talking with Matthew Ross.  I asked him about their three toed barefoot shoes and the problems other barefoot shoe had in the past.  He told me that the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior was a big seller because it was designed for water sports, not to wear while running where other brands ran into big trouble.

With the September Surf Expo only a short 7 months away, I cannot wait to see what Body Glove come up with for this show.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hook & Gaff Sport Watches

On January 26th, Surf Expo will open its doors at the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive.  The January expo is one of two expos each year.
Each show starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday afternoon. The other expo is held in September.  I will be attending the 27th and the 28th.  This year there is a new exhibitor Hook & Gaff Watch Company coming to the expo.  H&G is a purveyor of luxury sport watches.  Click HERE for their website. I plan to stop by  their booth to check out their entire line up of sport watches.  Here are a few photos of their sport watch line up.  Stay tuned for my follow up article after the show.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas

During the Christmas holiday season getting outside in the great outdoors does  not always mean going hiking or mountain biking.  Our National Parks system has great outdoor parks where one can walk out side from exhibit to exhibit.

Colonial Williamsburg is one such place.  Williamsburg was founded in 1692 along the Virginia Peninsula.  It was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 - 1780. Today Colonial Williamsburg is contained in the city limits of Williamsburg, Virginia.  Located between Interstate 64 and the James River just south of Interstate 64  exit 238.  Just east of Colonial Williamsburg is Bush Gardens and to the south Historic Jamestowne.
Visiting what is referred to as the America's Historic Triangle is well worth the trip.  While visiting Colonial Williamsburg, if you are active duty or retired military, showing your ID card gets you into the Liberty Lounge. The Liberty Lounge is a place to relax and recharge after spending time walking the streets of Colonial Williamsburg visiting all the exhibits.  At one end of Duke of Gloucester Street is Merchants Square where one will find restaurants and shops filled with colonial souvenirs to take back home.  Because Colonial Williamsburg is part of the City of Williamsburg, one can walk the streets and visit all the restaurants and shops with out paying an entry fee.  If you want to tour any of the historic buildings, one will need to purchase a ticket at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center.  In addition to day tickets, one can get other types of entry tickets like annual passes. Click HERE to visit the Colonial Williamsburg website to purchase tickets online.
Parking is available around town in any of the city parking lots, but it is recommended if you purchase a ticket to park at the visitors and ride the shuttle bus to Colonial Williamsburg.  Buses run all day long stopping at bus stops located throughout Colonial Williamsburg.

The City of Williamsburg has many hotels in the area.  If one wants to stay really close to all the exhibits, there are three hotels located in Colonial Williamsburg, Woodlands Hotel & Suites, Williamsburg Lodge and the Williamsburg Inn.  Each is in walking distance of the three main streets of Colonial Williamsburg.  See map of the are above.
 Any time of the year is the right time to visit.  Each season brings a different look and feel to Colonial Williamsburg.  Picking the right time to visit is important if you do not like crowds. During the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, might be less crowded because schools are out on winter break and school tours are not occurring.

So the next time you are visiting Virginia do not leave out a trip to America's Historical Triangle and Colonial Williamsburg.  Click HERE for a video of photos and video clips taken at Colonial Williamsburg. Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great doors.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The National Museum of the Marine Corp

Just outside of Quantico, Virginia is the National Museum of the Marine Corp.  It is an amazing tribute to the men and women who have served so gallantly defending America's freedom around the world.  I had the opportunity to visit the museum while on a family Christmas holiday vacation.  My wife Kathi and son Thomas, who is a LTC in the U.S. Army National Guard spent a long afternoon with me touring the museum.  There is no entrance fee.  The museum is free.  Depending how long one stays at each exhibit, it takes about two hours to complete the tour.  Then there is the gift shop.  It is loaded with every kind of Marine Corp memorabilia you can think of.  More hats and tee shirts than you will see anywhere.  Being retired U.S. Air Force, I learned a lot about the history of the Marine Corp I did not know.   Loads of fun.  Click HERE for the museum website.  Also click HERE for my video of photos and video clips from my tour.

I you ae ever visiting the DC area, do not miss out on visiting the National Museum of the Marine Corp.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.