ODT Life Archives - Outdoor Tech Blog

ODT Life

A Hipster’s Guide to Growing Old, From an Old Hipster

I hate to break it to you but you aren’t going to fit in those skinny jeans much longer and someday soon, you’ll have more hair growing out your ears than on your head.

It’s Inevitable
Growing older is a fact of life but as the old saying goes, “it sure beats the alternative.” Sure you can fight the ravages of time by staying in shape, giving up drugs and alcohol, quit staying out at all hours of the night, and no more eating fatty foods—but then what’s the point?

Fashion Sense
If you’re a true hipster, then fashion is very relevant to you. You may wear skinny jeans or sag your baggies, but you wouldn’t be caught dead in khaki. Actually you may end up worse than dead if you’re wearing khaki; you’ll be at work. No matter how styling you are, unless you’re a Rock Star or Tattoo Artist. you’ll probably have to grow up at some point and wear big boy pants like the rest of us. There aren’t too many CEOs holding shareholder meetings in plaid shorts and flip flops, so unless you can write like Hunter S. Thompson or sing like Adam Levine, you’ll be hoping you look good in khaki.

Say What?
Speaking in the current vernacular is hip to hipsters, but it dies out eventually, believe me. It may have been dope at one time to talk smack to your bra’, but trust me everyone will be LOL in the future. I’m a tad bit older than most of you, but I assure you I don’t go around saying, “Far out”, “That’s out-a-sight” or “Stay cool.” Believe me, I was hip when hip was still just called “cool” but I don’t talk that way now, can you dig it?

Music to Your Ears
Just like the Captain and Tennille, Billy Ocean and Lionel Richie are no longer on the charts. You probably won’t be rapping along with Kanye, Snoop or 50 Cent in thirty years. Sure there are some artists who are timeless like Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Halen since the eighties, but I don’t really see Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are classic artists from every generation and who knows, maybe you will bust a Snoop rhyme at a karaoke bar in 2050, but trust me; your music will change.

Be a Good Sport
You may be able to pop some banging grabs in the half-pipe, ride the rails on your board, shred the single track on your bike, or SUP that river now, but you will slow down eventually. Hopefully you’ll still be boarding and banging, shredding or whatever else you do, but it won’t last forever. The key is to learn to enjoy new things that your body can handle in old age. Trust me, I still pound the bumps on black diamond mogul runs with my new rocker skis, but I spend just as much time on the lodge deck sipping hot chocolate and schnapps and enjoying it just as much. That hot tub at the end of the day is no longer a place to meet girls or party, it’s a necessity now.

It’s a Hairy Subject
Okay, now back to the biggie: your hair. I know you may use gels and conditioners, control paste, waxes and clay but it’s all for naught. Face it: you’re going to lose it, so thank God hats and ball caps are in style today and hopefully will be in your future too. In the old days, like 1985, comb-overs, ridiculous as they looked, were big for old guys with balding heads, because that was their only choice. Now you have ball caps, beanies, English Ascot caps worn frontwards or backwards, Fedoras, Panama hats, and bandanas tied around your head.

At first, when you end up with a monkey butt on top of your head you may start wearing hats more often to hide your impending baldness. Eventually you’ll wear them because the sun is burning the crap out of that sensitive area.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

6 Signs You’re Not Cut Out For the Mountains

The mountains can be tough on a guy, and not everyone is cut out for them. That’s okay, though—you can visit but you may not want to stay.

The Driving
If you don’t know how to drive in the mountains, maybe you should take a bus or shuttle ride. That’s because up here we have things that maybe you aren’t used to at home like: uphills, downhills, sharp corners, and other annoying things like snow, ice, and falling rocks. Not to alarm you, but falling rocks actually kill people every year; especially flat-landers that shouldn’t be driving here.

The Weather
It gets cold up here and it gets hot up here, usually in the same hour. Oh yea, and it’s a dry cold, to boot. Temperatures can range from below zero to over one hundred degrees—maybe not on the same day, but it happens quicker than you can imagine. I spent one 4th of July in Keystone, CO a few years back and it hit over one hundred on the lake patio we were on. The following year it snowed on the 4th. No, in answer to a tourists question once posed to me, we don’t all wear long underwear year round. What, do you think we’re rednecks? We have Under Armour for that.

The Drinking
If you think you can fly up here from sea level and drink with me, you have another think coming. The first thing you’ll get is extremely drunk, then a headache, then altitude sickness. The fun thing after the altitude sickness is the Mother of all hangovers. Sure, you can try the oxygen bar, tourists are the only ones who use them anyway, but the only relief is drink lots of water, lay off the alcohol, and admit we’re better men than you.

The Eating
Yeah, you’re right: all we eat up here is Rocky Mountain Oysters and Buffalo Burgers. If you’re looking for a gluten free, vegan diet you’ll have to stop in Boulder, CO on your way up the hill. We do also eat a lot of Mexican food though, so if you can’t handle jalapeño peppers, much less habaneros, then you’re going to die a slow and miserable death when you have our green chili with ghost peppers added.

The Fashion
We’re not big on skinny jeans, and the only sagging going on is you when you try to climb a flight of stairs. The mountains are the one place on earth where a guy in a ski jacket and cargo shorts looks natural. We wear shorts year-round, whether it’s with a tank top in the summer or a down jacket in the winter. Flip flops are comfortable, but are only worn when there are less than 3 inches of snow on the ground.

The Biking up High
If you don’t know how to handle a mountain bike, don’t let it bother you; you won’t be able to ride more than a block or two without gasping for air anyway. Going downhill is fast and dangerous and going uphill—well, you probably won’t be going uphill anyway. Climbing stairs is an extreme sport up here and just getting the groceries upstairs can give you a heart attack. That’s why we excel in downhill skiing.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

3 Tips to Get You Started as a Homebrewer

There’s no magic recipe to brewing the perfect beer. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned brewer looking to expand your horizons, there’s one thing to remember: homebrewing is not an exact science and experimenting is key to growing and discovering your own unique style of brewing.

That said, there are some basic rules to keep in mind to help brew the best beer in town.

Think Beyond Kits
As a beginner brewer, you might be tempted to start with a basic brewing kit, but that’s not always a good idea. Why? Because many inexpensive kits contain bad ingredients, old yeast, and, basically, don’t make very good beer, according to Don Welsh, Head of Research of Swem Library at the College of William and Mary and an avid homebrewer.

The answer? Take some time to research your options and build your own kit using fresh ingredients bought from reputable sellers and local homebrew stores. “Beginners will get the best first-brew experience if they find a local homebrew shop and purchase a beginners kit that was put together by the shop owner,” says Welsh. “These days, you can get most any ingredients you want at a good home brew store or you can get it in the mail in a couple days.”

Photo © 2009 J. Ronald Lee (http://jronaldlee.com)

Photo © 2009 J. Ronald Lee (http://jronaldlee.com)

Keep It Simple
While spices and flavorings are great for experimenting, beginners brewers are better off starting with simple recipes until they figure out how to brew a great basic beer. “Brewers need to learn basic brewing and how to get a good base beer before they start experimenting,” explains Welsh. “It is too easy to get too much or too little of a spice or to get some unexpected off flavors.”

You can make the brewing process fun by brewing with friends or joining a local home brew club. “Don’t be shy if you are just a beginner,” Welsh says. “If you don’t have any of you own beers to share, you can always bring a unique commercial beer for everyone to try.”

Keep Things Clean
Here’s a very important tip to remember: brewing equipment that hasn’t been properly sanitized can affect the taste of your batch. “Wort, the brewing term for unfermented beer, is the perfect medium to grow bacteria,” Welsh says.

The good news is that the bacteria is unlikely to make you sick. The bad news? Your beer is likely to taste pretty bad.

The solution: clean everything after every batch. That means not only the boiling equipment, but also the fermenting vessel, racking cane and even bottles.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

The Best Earbuds For Each Sport

Choosing a pair of earbuds isn’t as simple as finding the ones that’ll match your hoodie. You’ve got to take into account the size, shape and how they’ll fare in every environment. We’ve done the homework for you.

Orcas: For Water Sports (or if you sweat a lot)
The Orcas, much like their namesake, can handle getting drenched. They’re the perfect earbuds for people who like being on the boat or let loose the Hoover Dam from behind their skin after a good run. They’re water resistant, is what we’re saying. They also pack some memory foam ear tips so they adjust to ears of any size, even if you’re the unfortunate fellow with Dumbo ears. We don’t recommend taking a dip with these things though—they’re water resistant, not invincible.

Plus, each pair you buy helps to save the orcas, so that’s pretty awesome.

Tags: For Moving and Bouncing
Tags are great all-around earbuds, but they truly shine when put to the test in a sport where you’re bouncing around for hours on end. Think football, running, soccer, or anything outdoors really. The fit snugly inside your ear and include clips to wrap around ‘em, no matter how oddly shaped your audio organs might be. Even when you’re not listening to them they can hang tightly around your neck like a pair of dog tags.

Chips: For Helmet Sports
Whether you’re pounding some snow, hopping on your Harley or training for the Special Olympics there’s no better pair of earbuds than the chips for any sport that requires a helmet. They fit perfectly ensconced inside your noggin protector and provide premium sound no matter where you’re at. Make sure to check that your brand of helmet is compatible with the Chips before buying them, though.

Actually, they’re mostly only compatible with ski and snowboard helmets, but you can probably find a way to make it work anywhere else. Don’t quote us on that, though.

DJ Slims: For Solo, Calmer Sports
The DJ Slims aren’t really appropriate for a game of rugby, but they’re perfect for any solo sport where you aren’t likely to get roughed up on the field. Climbing? Check. Parkour? Check? Running? Double Check. The Slims are rugged enough to handle a little bounce and stay firmly on top of your head even if you tend to jump around a bit. Keep them away from water, but otherwise let your imagination run wild.

Privates: For Walking Around
Okay, you probably don’t want to take these guys with you down a rampaging river, but they’re good for a light workout or jog around the woods. The Privates were built for functionality and allow you to use Bluetooth to connect with your phone, laptop or tablet to listen to music or make phone calls. We’ll call these guys “light use” headphones for now, but feel free to test their limits.

Tuis: For Anything Not Involving Sweat
The Tuis are for the classy gentleman or woman who still enjoys a nice stroll through the woods or along the pavement or…something like that. Whatever, just don’t try and get too sport with these beauties. They’re awesome, with some pretty great features, but they were designed to do so while looking great, not while you’re working up a sweat.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

The Best External Battery for the GoPro Hero4 Session

If you haven’t already checked out the GoPro Hero4 Session, you are surely missing out. The Hero4 Session has all the magic of a GoPro, packed away in a bite size, lighter than ever form. Just picture Willy Wonka Placing the GoPro Hero4 into the Wonka-Vision, and Wallah, the Hero4 Session is what came out on the other end. This thing certainly takes the cake… or should I stick with the theme and say everlasting gobstopper?

Charge your GoPro and phone at the same time

At this point, the only thing that is going to stop you from documenting just how extreme your life is, would be the Session’s internal battery. But don’t worry, the coolest thing about the Hero4 Session is that it works symbiotically with our Kodiak power bank family. Everything I’m about to tell you will not only make you want a Session, but more obviously, one of our Kodiak’s.

 

The baby of the family is the Kodiak Mini. Don’t judge the “mini” part of the name as it still houses lots of power, 2600 mAh to be exact. This means it has the potential to charge your Hero4 Session more than twice, fully! With that said, your Session could last you more than 6 hours straight. The Kodiak Mini has you set up for capturing every shot of your morning to afternoon surf sesh, brah.

Kodiak_Mini_Session_Graphic

The Kodiak, our middle child, holds 6000 mAh. This translates to a potential full charge of your Hero4 Session, 6 times! 6 times? For real? That’s up to 14 hours of nonstop fun capturing. This one is for you, weekend warriors!

Kodiak_Session_Graphic

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Kodiak Plus; The mothership. This bad boy offers 10,000 mAh power. The Kodiak Plus will fully charge your Hero4 Session…wait for it…up to 10 times! This means you could have a fully charged Session for up to 22 hours! All you adventure addicts, you thrill seekers, and you adrenaline junkies, this is something you need to never leave home without.

Kodiak_Plus_Session_Graphic

We get it, you are big time and you don’t want to wait for your GoPro to charge. Well, the Hero4 Session lets you connect the Kodiak and use it as your power source WHILE you are recording. So that epic time-lapse, or your all day cup stacking battle royale will be documented forever.

If you still need some convincing, listen to Frank Harrington. He has a special way with words.

 

If all that I have said does not help your immense fear of a battery death mid shot-of–your-life, then I don’t know what will.  We have come a long way from having our cameras left charging on the floor, while they are just longing to be touched. Forget the anchor, drift away fearlessly with your Kodiak.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

Why Staycations are the Best and Worst Ways to Spend Your Vacation

Staycation is another of those annoying new words that won’t go away. Neither will you, as it simply means you vacation in your hometown or at least your local area. While maybe not as exciting as jetting to Europe, think of the money you’ll save.

Economics
Staycations are cheaper as you don’t have far to travel. You save on airline tickets and car rentals, and if you stay close enough, hotel rooms as well. Heck you can even eat at home but then where is the fun in that? If you’ve ever had my wife’s cooking you wouldn’t call that a vacation at all.

Travel
I’ve always said it’s not a true vacation unless I board a plane. But if there is driving involved, I’m the driver. Not to keep slamming The Wife, but you’ve obviously never seen her drive. When I’m doing the driving that also means I’m not drinking, so how is that a vacation? If you do it right, even if out of town, you stay somewhere that is convenient and you can ride buses or walk everywhere. If you don’t do it right, you’re sober, driving, and not having nearly enough fun.

Time is Everything
One good point of staycations is you’re not spending a lot of time traveling. Instead, your vacation time is spent, well, vacationing. Visiting local museums, the zoo and local tourist attractions saves a lot of time. On the other hand, you’re spending your vacation visiting museums, zoos and tourist attractions, once again, where’s the fun in that?

It’s Good for the Economy
Staycations were first preached to us as a way to save money and help the local economy which is a viable point and true. Sometimes I prefer to help boost the Mexican economy by laying on a beach in Cancun. I hear the folks in Jamaica are struggling economically as well, so shouldn’t we help them too? Nowadays they keep preaching about the global economy so as a global citizen, I feel it’s my duty to spread my dollars around.

Who Wants to be Bilingual?
On a staycation everybody speaks your language. When you travel far from home, chances are, no one will understand a word you say; sometimes not a bad thing. When you vacation here at home you don’t have that language barrier, that is, unless you wish to converse with housekeeping, the busboys, the landscapers or most of the other workers these days who speak anything but English. Come to think of it, more people speak English in Europe than here on my staycation at home.

It’s Good to be Home
Though I have had some great long-distance vacations, it’s always good to get back home. I miss my bed, my big screen TV and my friends. How can you get that sense of relief on returning when you only went an hour away? Or, as that old saying goes, “ How can I miss you if you never leave?”

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

Best Traffic Apps to Get You Up and Down the Mountain

We all know you shouldn’t text and drive but there’s nothing wrong with using an app that helps you get up or down those hills. All these apps, as well as pretty much everything in life these days, are available through ITunes or you can just click on the provided links.

wazeWaze
Waze is said to be the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app and is free. I was first turned on to this app by my daughter who is slowly, very slowly, teaching me how to use my new IPhone 6. Users input info such as traffic slowdowns, potholes, vehicles pulled over on the side of the road and most importantly, where the cops are. It shows you how many other users are on the road with you and allows you to update whether that cop is still sitting on the side of the road. It also operates as a navigation guide for when you bail on traffic. You can see all this info onscreen or have a voice warning you if you aren’t married and driving with the wife. This one is my personal favorites and would be perfect if they would just add info on bathrooms for when I’m stuck on I-70 coming home from skiing with two females who have to pee.

716YJMX7gKL._SY300_Sigalert
Sigalert is also free and claims to be the foremost provider of accurate, up-to-date traffic maps. It won’t tell you where the cops are but their info is concurrent with state highway patrols’ data and also uses road sensors and cameras for accurate readings. They also include construction info which is easier than it sounds since there is construction everywhere. Sigalert’s maps are zoom-able and clickable and though they do offer a premium version for a fee, the free app works just fine.

Beat The Traffic
Another freebie, Beat the Traffic allows to you to set up your own alerts to warn you of the specific traffic problems you are concerned with. They have real-time updates on traffic, accidents and congestion. You can also save up to three routes you have decided are quicker; a great feature for those of us who know the service roads down the mountain.

 

INRIX
By using the free INRIX app you can find the best route for your travels because they take into account many traffic factors like: traffic congestion, road construction, accidents, police activity and historical traffic patterns. Using their information will help you decide what route to take and when to take it. They welcome user feedback to improve their product and offer 24/7 customer support.

Map Quest and Google Maps
The old standbys MapQuest and Google Maps have both upped their game somewhat to become more than just mapping services. Gone are the days when you used one or the other to find your location, then printed it out and took it with you. They have both added traffic warnings with MapQuest’s Live Traffic Displays getting updated every 5 minutes. Unfortunately you will deal with popup ads that can be quite annoying.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

6 Reasons You Should Never Camp on Weekends

Sure you have to work, don’t we all, but if you can get away during the week, do it. Change your schedule so you work weekends, take vacation time, or call in sick if your boss will buy it because weekday camping is where it’s at.

Traffic
I-70 west of Denver, CO is packed every weekend during the year now. It used to be just in ski season, but since the ski resorts have learned ways to attract visitors all summer, the traffic never ends. Whether you’re driving in the Alps, the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada’s traffic is now year round. Leaving the big cities on Friday and returning on Sunday causes massive tie-ups that can and will ruin you weekend. Monday thru Thursday: no problem.

Crowds
No traffic should translate to no crowds. If you are staying in an established campground, it can get as crowded as your own neighborhood street. Kids riding bikes, crying and screaming, along with idiots blasting their music (which is never the kind you want to hear), and folks walking back and forth in front of and sometimes through your campsite. Heck, I can get that at home. During the week, with hardly anyone there you’ll get the peace and quiet you were searching for even in that popular spot.

Pick Your Spot
Campsites are way more abundant on weekdays with you getting your choice. Leaving town on a Sunday puts you at your spot not long after everyone else has just left to return home. It doesn’t matter if you’re camping in an established campground or out in the National Forest or Wilderness area, you get the pick of the litter.

The Noise Factor
The weekend warriors bring their toys along with them. That means that quiet mountain lake will be buzzing with jet-skis and power boats. That lonely mountain trail will be full of motorcycles and ATVs. Sure, you may have any or all of these as well, but that doesn’t mean you want a dirt bike whining past your campsite at 7 AM.

Firewood for the Taking
Lots of campsites whether in established campgrounds or out in the Forest have been picked clean of desirable firewood. We usually have to drop off all our stuff and while one person sets up camp, the rest take off in search of wood. I’ve found the glory hole to be established campgrounds. If you arrive right after most folks leave you get to snag all the wood they left. Most people overstock firewood on a campout and most peoples’ cars and trucks are too full of gear to take the wood home. Not only are you not supposed to transport firewood from one region to another, but this affords us weekday campers an already chopped up supply of wood. Thanks by the way.

Howl at the Moon
Not only is there no one to bug you, you aren’t going to bother anyone else. Howl at the moon, dance naked around the campfire, and stay up all night if you like. Or as usually happens on our campouts, do all three.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

Korea Kings Challenge – The Hike Up

Hike up your sleeves ladies and gentleman, and get down and dirty with the Hike Up Challenge crew in Korea. This awesome event took place at Korea Kings where some super talented people came out and showcased their snowboarding skills, even though there was no snow involved. Some came to show off their talent, while others just came to show off. Check everyone out.

1

Rain or shine, the show went on. 7

9

4

All the ODT essentials in action. 8  2 17  6

Represent!3  16

They came, they did tricks, and they conquered. Here are the winners of the whole thing. (Below)

12

13  15

11  10   14

Shout out to OT Korea for sponsoring this rad event, and for giving out some epic prizes. If you’re not talented enough to win anything with your own skills, but you want some of our stuff, you might just want to check it out here.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech

    

6 Ways to Make Golf an Extreme Sport

The Drinking Requirement
A lot of people drink on the course, but we should step it up a bit. If there were a bar at every tee-box things would get way more exciting. Maybe you should have to buy a round if you bogey. Double bogey and it’s shots for everyone.

Let’s Hear Some Chatter Out There
Golf is way too polite. Everyone hushes up when the golfer is shooting; heck even the announcers on TV speak in hushed tones and they’re a mile away in a broadcast booth. How about a little chatter like we were encouraged to do on the baseball diamond in Little League. I can see the crowd around the putting green yelling “Hey Golfer Golfer.” Or how about waving those foam tubes like NBA fans do when the opposing team is shooting a free-throw, but we’ll do it when the golfer is on the tee-box?

The Hazards are Lame
A hazard in golf is a sand trap; really? They should at least fill them with quick sand like you see in the movies. Or better yet, stock crocodiles in the lakes. Sure some courses down south have crocs or gators here and there, but stock ’em and starve ’em. Then make the players retrieve their balls instead of just adding a stroke or two.

Rush the Driver
With a little practice, anyone can hit a decent drive off the tee box. How about doing it while a 300 pound linebacker is rushing towards you with bad intent? If Peyton Manning can sit in the box and calmly let the ball go under pressure, then why can’t Tiger Woods?

Juice up Those Carts
Golf carts are lame. They have governors on them and auto brakes so you can’t really have much fun with them. Hop those things up, give them four-wheel drive and then make the courses more fun to ride on. Heck, let’s go for it and drive ATVs, make the golf path a moto-cross track and add some jumps.

The Old Ladies Have to Go
How can you call it a sport when a little old lady can kick your ass? It’s bad for the sport and wreaks havoc on my ego. The women’s tees have to go. There’s nothing more deflating in sports than hearing a bunch of old women giggling in the clubhouse about their low score; especially when it’s lower than mine. Everybody shoots from the same spot and if you can’t get it on the fairway, you’re out of here; or buying drinks at the next tee.

We love you, just remember that.

like outdoortech