Insulated pints/tumblers are currently one of the top buys in the outdoor community, and for good reason. They usually come with a leak-resistant top so they’re great for on the go or around the campfire. Most versions are rated to hold the heat (or cold) for many, many, hours.Read More
We've seen solar panels, battery packs, and kits in all shapes, sizes, and prices. Usually the completly contained units are not large enough to power more than your phone, or they're too cumbersome to truly be considered 'portable'.Read More
As an Explorer of all things cold & steep, skiing & riding Lake Tahoe has always been high on my bucket list.Last week the Williams family got to check that one off at Heavenly Mountain Resort.Read More
We are pleased to announce the release of the winter issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. You have two options to get a copy. 1) Download a copy 2) Buy a print copy from MagCloud In this issue you'll find our (admittedly last minute) holiday gift guide, a story of a wilderness guide who had a brush with a large bear, our mountaineering boot and crampon buyer's guide, and a photo essay of the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. In addition you'll find out standard sections: canine corner and exposed. Check it out and let us know what you think.
The following images appeared on the covers, table of contents, and 'Exposed' section of Adventure Insider Magazine in June 2011
Table of Contents: A photographer works to get the last light in Sand Dunes National Monument, Colorado. Photo: Nate Burgess
The summer issue of Adventure Insider Magazine is here. In this issue one girl finally realized her childhood dream of flying and she does so with a dramatic backdrop. A look at a very wet new years celebration in Laos. And one group of friends escape the spring rain and get in a great day of skiing on one of America's iconic mountains. In addition we review a couple items to keep your poison of choice in drinking shape on the trail along with media reviews and an update from our new K-9 editor, Stanley. Download PDF now Purchase print copy now
We are giving away some sweet 18oz. Hydro Flask vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottles. So how do you get your hands on one? Simple! Get your friends to subscribe to Adventure Insider Magazine (and make sure you subscribe yourself if you haven't already) and at the end of April we will pick one subscriber at random. That person will win one Hydro Flask for themself and one for the friend that pointed them our way. It's that easy. So head over and Subscribe and then send your friends. Hopefully we'll be sending you a brand new Hydro Flask in a couple weeks.
This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. Feathered Friends, located in Seattle, Washington has been producing high quality down products since 1972. We sat down the Brent Zwiers, the Director of Operations for Feathered Friends and got some insight about the company and how he handles the 9-to-5 grind. Make sure to check out Feathered Friends at http://www.featheredfriends.com
AI: Tell us about Feathered Friends. BZ: Feathered Friends was founded in 1972 by Peter and Carol Hickner who still own the business and operate it today. They started essentially in their basement. Carol learned to sew and in the 70's there was an economic downturn. They took their skills and just started making gear for themselves. Their friends found out and started saying 'hey, can you make me this, can you make me that?' so really Feathered Friends was making everything, tents, sleeping bags, jackets, backpacks, anything that needed to be made. Somewhere along the line it was decided that down sleeping bags and jackets were really an avenue they could pursue from a business perspective, but we sold direct to the customer and that's still about 80% of our business. We opened a retail store in 1988 and the rest as they say is history. Today we enjoy a very organic, grassroots following of loyal customers from around the globe. AI: With all the outsourcing occurring these days, talk a little about where your products are made. BZ: About 90-95% of our products are made here in Seattle. Now, we've have to switch it up the past couple of years because we could no longer meet the demand out of our facility and we’ve had difficulty finding skilled sewers. It's not for lack of trying or for economic reasons that we’ve outsourced, it's purely the fact that we couldn't meet the demand. We've moved some of our products to a factory in Vancouver. As far as profit margin is concerned it would be really easy to outsource to Vietnam, or Cambodia, or Laos but some of the people that work for us have worked here for 20 or 30 years, almost as long as the company is old so we feel we have a responsibility to them. They're not just employees, in some ways they're like your family. AI: And what about the options you offer to your customers? BZ: One of the things we allow customers to do is customize items. So it's not "here's your sleeping bag and it comes in red", you can get it in any color and made of any of the fabrics we have. We try to have standards but if you're willing to wait and maybe pay a little bit extra in terms of a custom fee we'll make it for you. We really try to deliver to the customer's needs. AI: What is on the horizon for Feathered Friends? What should we be looking for? BZ:We're always working on new things. We have a new sleeping bag that we've been working on for the past couple years that has taken a little work to get together but we're getting a lot closer. It's called the Spoonbill. It's a double person alpine bag and has no insulation on the bottom and the two people sleep pretty close but you can save a lot of weight. And in July we launched a new jacket that will be the first new jacket design in about ten years. Feather Friends makes very classic styles so we tend not release new products all that often. It'll be a super-light down sweater called the Daybreak.
Since this interview the Spoonbill has come to market, we will be launching a lightweight jacket called the Jackorak in March and we will also have our first ever women’s specific down jackets. We have a lot of other projects that we are working on and hopefully our customers will see some great new products continue to come to market.
AI: What are your earliest memories of the outdoors? BZ: My parents were both teachers so we used to always be outdoors. They both had summers off so we would always take summer family vacations. Probably my absolute earliest memory is from Oak Grove Park in Iowa where I grew-up, riding in the backpack with my dad. I remember there being this really big rock and you got back as an adult and the rocks really not all that big. I was fortunate I got to travel so much. I've been to all 50 states and almost all the national parks. AI: Do you feel that working here, especially as you move up in the company, precludes you from enjoying getting out as much as you used to? BZ: It's an unfortunate truth that the busier you get in work the less time you have to devote to the outdoors. AI: And how do you deal with that? BZ: My wife and I, instead of trying to go outdoors every single weekend like we used to do we now try to do more scheduled trips. Book off a week and go to Utah and ski or take a trip to the southwest and now we're looking at doing a trip to the Argentina/Chile area. You have to plan a little more, it's not as easy as waking up and asking "Who wants to go to Smith Rock?". AI: What's your favorite activity? BZ: I would say it's a split between sport climbing and skiing. I grew up climbing and then I moved out west and I took up skiing. I never thought it would take over, but as your skills improve and you can deal with the powder it makes it a tough call. AI: What's your favorite crag or mountain? BZ: I love Smith Rock, there is so much variety. You can get down into the basalt you can stay out on the front side. There is so much variety in not just styles but its difficulty. You can get as much as you want. My favorite place to ski is probably Kicking Horse in Golden, BC right near the border. My wife and I also got engaged there so it holds a little sentimental value. AI: I know it's not an easy question but what is your favorite piece of gear? BZ: Wow, that is a tough one. When you have a basement full of gear it's tough to pick one thing. I'm going to have to go with the Feathered Friends Hummingbird sleeping bag. It's been with me for a really long time and it just does everything and covers a very broad spectrum.