Being on a mission, deep in the backcountry is the best way to give gear a run for its money. This mission involved hiking inflatable SUPs and packs 60 miles into the Sawtooth Mountain backcountry. The team explored the pristine terrain, toured high alpine lakes and completed the trip by paddling 20 miles down the Salmon River. All in the name of raising awareness for an environmental project. Here’s the gear that got it done:
Boardworks SUP Inflatable Tracker: Coming Soon
Getting your hands on gear that hasn’t hit the market yet is quite the task – this inflatable SUP board is no exception. Boardworks heard from its followers that they want an inflatable model of the Tracker SUP, a fishing model, and Boardworks heeded the call. We were able to secure the only two prototypes available for this journey. Hiking a fully outfitted, inflatable fishing SUP 60 miles tests the legs. But the time on the crystal clear alpine lakes and Salmon River removed all bad memories of the hike.
This board sits proudly at 11’ in length, 35” wide and 6” thick. A solid platform to cruise the waters stalking fish or to watch the ospreys in action. Various D-rings throughout the platform allow for a variety of gear usage from daily fishing excursions to rigorous multi-day adventures. The board also includes Scotty Mounts to completely dial in your fishing rig.
The tan rails, subdued orange deck and forest green pad appeals to most any sports man or woman, aesthetically suiting the need for adventures to be launched upon it. Keep your eye out for its arrival on the Boardworks site.
Tenkara Rod Co Sawtooth Package: Fly Rod on the Fly
Simplicity was key on this mission, so bringing along the best fishing gear possible while consuming the least amount of space was crucial. The Tenkara Rod Co Sawtooth Package was spot on for the mission.
Fully extended, this rod reaches out to 12’ in length and packs down to 20”. It takes the featherweight category at a minimal 3.2oz. The rod is one of Tenkara Rod Co’s more playful at a 5:5 action, but that didn’t stop me from landing a fatty 16” rainbow trout at Edna Lake. The hand-crafted line is 10.5’, non-tapered and single stranded with a 3mm nickel alloy tippet ring.
The kit includes three traditional Tenkara flies. A bumblebee fly was the hot ticket for this trip, second place was a simple black ant. This is a great looking rod especially when the tip is arched so far it is nearly touching the water due to the fighting fish below.
Adidas Scope High GTX: Locked and Stocked
A 60-mile hike with 70lb pack means serious punishment on the feet. Packed dirt, loose rocks, creek crossings, scree fields, mountain passes all tested the versatility and durability of these boots. Not only did the shoes excel in the range of conditions, the Adidas Scope High GTX remained comfy.
Neoprene ankle tops, Goretex mid fabric and Stealth rubber soles create the trifecta that had our feet singing songs of joy. Maybe they weren’t singing but rather the boots kept them from screaming through the abuse. The neoprene cuff moved well throughout the trip with no abrasion worries while hoofing it through the hills. The mid Goretex region allowed my feet to breath, keeping the swampy jungle foot condition away.
The absolute rock star portion of these kickers is the Stealth rubber soles. The stick & grip kept my ankles & knees protected from any weighted slips. The precarious thought of potential injury didn’t cross my mind until hiking up a scree field when the boots stayed true, locking on in a steep angle rocky environment even with a 190lb hiker + 70lb pack. A slip here would have been an expensive chopper ride out. Bravo, Adidas for creating an exceptional boot worthy of the mission.
Grayl Water Filter: Voted Trip MVP
The average person in average conditions can go up to three days without water. But this trip was anything but average, with strenuous exercise in a dry high alpine environment. The team all needed water constantly with the consistent trail pounding, and thankfully we all had a Grayl filter on our hip. During this 60-mile trek we stopped at every water crossing to hydrate.
Gone are the days of working a pump on a slow action filter. Grayl’s system filters 16oz of water in 15 seconds with no batteries, chemicals or squeezing required. Simply remove the internal filtration sleeve, fill up the 16oz bottle, press the filtration system down and it’s ready to drink directly from the filter. If a french press and a water filter had a romantic rendezvous, the Grayl would be the love child. It removes 99.99999% of all the stuff you don’t want (viruses, bacteria, protozoan cysts aka giardia). You’ll get 300 uses out of this easily replaceable filter. And if you’re one of those ultralight freaks, don’t worry – this water filter weighs in at 10.9 ounces.
While the group started with premonitions of the board or boots catching the “best gear of the trip,” we were mistaken. By the end all three agreed that the Grayl water filter was the gear of the trip. The ease of use for hydration was a pleasant surprise in the hellacious hike.
Farm to Feet Damascus Crew: From Mountain to Street Performance
Talk about a sports car of a sock, all the options included in this one for serious hikers. These feet blankets come in at 57% US Merino wool, 40% US nylon and 3% US lycra spandex. Notice a trend there? The wool (and rest of the materials) is sourced from US farms. You should feel good about throwing these high performance socks on your stink wagons. The sock is designed to have full density padding where needed and a seamless toe closure to avoid blisters.
The kicker with these American made socks is the lifetime guarantee. If they fail you at any point, Farm to Feet will take care of you. Though, you’ll likely have nothing to worry about, as they show no sign of degradation after abuse on the trip and frequent use after.
Klean Kanteen Insulated Classic 32oz: Chilled for Days
This was not the lightest item in our pack. Let’s face the facts – it’s a stainless steel, vacuum sealed container. One that allowed us to keep freshly filtered, cold spring water in a frigid temperature range as we scrambled up south facing scree fields in direct sunlight. The cold water was a religious experience while grinding up Sawtooth Mountain passes.
This powerhouse of a water bottle keeps liquids hot for 24 hours and cold for 90 hours. That’s a 9 and a 0 combined there, folks. It was worth every weighted step carrying around all 14.9oz. The leak-proof loop cap works like a charm, maintaining a completely leak-free trek, thankfully, because a leaky bottle is the worst type of annoyance.
This iconic piece was the first launched product by Klean Kanteen. And we don’t see it going anywhere, anytime soon. If you like a little style in your hydration container, this one comes in six different colors, two of which are matte.