Best 2015 All-Mountain Snowboards

All-Mountain snowboards typicality share a few key characteristics: Directional Shape and/or Flex, Camber or Hybrid camber profile and a stiffer flex.  All-Mountain snowboards are your perfect quiver killers, built to do it all, these are some of Best Snowboards of 2011/2012 season.

The Top 2015 All-Mountain snowboards are in no particular order:

1. Burton Custom Flying V



Burton IonBurton Snowboard BindingsCustom Flying V

The Burton Custom Flying V provides pop, power and playfulness.

Flex Rating: 5
Profile Shape: Hybrid- Flying V
Boot and Binding Suggestions: Burton Ion and Burton Cartel EST

2. K2 turbo Dream



K2 Snowboard BootsK2 BindingsK2 Turbo Dream
The k2 Turbo Dream has tons of great tech: Harshmellow for comfort and Carbon Web for pop and power.
Flex Rating: 6-7
Profile Shape: LowRize Rocker
Boot and Binding Suggestions: K2 Darko and K2 Formula

3. Ride Machete



Ride InsanoRide Capo BindingRide Machete

The Ride Machete is built to tear apart the entire mountain.

Flex Rating: 6
Profile Shape: LowRize Rocker
Boot and Binding Suggestions: Ride Anthem and Ride Capo 

4. Rossignol One Mag


Vans Jamie LynnRossginol Cuda V1Rossginol One Mag

Rossignol One Magtek is the only board you will need to destroy the entire Mountain.

Flex Rating 6-7
Profile Shape: Hybrid – Amptek All Mountain
Boot and Binding Recommendations: Burton Driver X and Rossignol Cobra V1

5. Skate Banana


Nike Zoom Force 1Flux RK30Lib Tech Snowboards


Skate Banana is board that put Lib Tech back and the map.

Flex Rating 6-7
Profile Shape: Banana with Magne Traction
Boot and Binding Recommendations: Nike Zoom Force  and Union Contact 


6. GNU Riders Choice 



Nike BootsSalomon BindingsSalomon Grip

The GNU Riders Choice is a super fun, playful all-around great board.

Flex Rating: 5-7
Profile Shape: Twin
Boot and Binding Recommendations:  Nike Vapen and Salomon Balance


Hiking Essentials

10 Essentials For Hiking

The 10 Hiking Essentials

The Ten Essentials is nothing new to hikers, backpackers and climbers. It’s a list of survival items agreed upon by hiking organizations that’s been around since 1930! The Ten Essentials paired with a little common sense will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the wilderness. Remember, this list isn’t just for extreme backcountry goers. Day hikers, regardless of the intended length of the hike, should also stash these items in their pack. So, here goes….

1. Navigation (map, compass, GPS)
2. Sunglasses and Sunscreen
3. Extra Food and Water
4. Extra Clothes
5. Headlamp/Flashlight
6. Repair Kit
7. First Aid Kit
8. Fire Starter and Matches
9. Knife
10. Emergency Shelter

Most visitor centers offer a hiking map with marked trails that are an essential guide to locate your desired route. Hiking books and online maps also provide detailed routes, level of difficulty and length of the hike. In addition to such maps, a compass is a vital tool that never fails should you become disoriented in the wilderness. Many GPS systems have a built-in compass, but an old-school compass is an indispensable tool that weighs next to nothing. It can’t hurt to toss one in your pack!

Sunglasses and Suncreen
Not all hikes ascend closer to the sun, but many do. As you ascend, the sun’s rays become shorter and stronger, while the air temp gets cooler. The trees also become smaller towards the top of the mountain and many times, hikes venture beyond tree line exposing you completely to the sun. UV protective sunglasses and sunscreen are crucial to protect your skin and eyes. A lightweight, long sleeve shirt and a hat are also a good idea to cover you from hours of sun exposure.

Extra Food and Water
In addition to what you THINK you will consume, it’s very important to bring extra nourishing snacks and water. Even a short half day hike can turn into an all day event. Food like trail mix, protein bars, nut or seed butters with fruit and even smoothie mixes will jump-start your energy and supply you with more then enough nutrition to safely complete your hike. Extra water can be heavy to carry, but with today’s supportive hiking packs, there’s no need to sacrifice a few extra pounds! Systems for treating water in the wilderness are also available these days if you’re planning any sort of overnight trek in the backcountry. As a rule of thumb, you should never feel thirsty on a hike. Drink up throughout the hike!

Extra Clothes
Your body temperature can rise and fall quite drastically depending on the incline, tree coverage, wind and humidity on your hike. A performance shirt that wick moisture will keep you dry, a rain jacket takes up little space and will be your best friend should the weather turn sour and a thin fleece is perfect for a breezy lunch at the summit.

Headlamps are nearly as common as hiking shoes these days. They’re hands-free, lightweight, compact and have a long battery life. An extended stay at the summit can lead some hiking at dusk under lots of trees, so a light isn’t a bad idea to have on hand. Also, setting up camp after the sun sets and middle of the night “bathroom” breaks are also much more pleasant with illumination.

Repair Kit
Because not all trips go as planned, a repair kit that includes duct tape and a sewing kit, is a lightweight addition to your pack that could make or break your experience. Duct tape has a thousand uses and can be a temporary fix for almost anything. An old trick is to wrap duct tape around the base of your water bottle multiple times to cut down on excess gear. A sewing kit can repair a tear in your pack, tent or sleeping bag.

First Aid Kit
Somewhat of a no-brainer, a first aid kit can truly be an invaluable lifesaver out in the wilderness. Pre-assembled first kits should cover all your bases – adhesive bandages, antiseptic cream,  sterile gauze pads (various sizes), medical tape, alcohol or iodine wipes, elastic bandages or wraps for sprains, latex gloves, painkillers and antihistamines. Whether you personalize your own kit or purchase a preassembled kit, never hit the trail without one!

Firestarter and Matches
Matches should either be waterproof or stored in a completely sealed container. Invest in some good quality matches that won’t break upon striking, rather than the free ones from the bar. A lighter isn’t a bad idea, but always have matches as a backup. Firestarter sounds a little more high tech than it should be. Anything that will sustain a flame for more than a few seconds will work. Candles, dry tinder, priming paste and even dryer lint are sufficient. Be sure to store your firestarter in a waterproof pouch, like a freezer bag.

A multi-tool knife with pliers and a knife blade should always accompany your hike or camping trip. A knife has countless purposes including food prep, gear repair and other emergency needs. It’s also fun to chisel away at a branch to make an epic marshmallow roasting stick.

Emergency Shelter
For campers, this won’t be necessary since a tent will already be on the gear list. For day hikers, however, packing an emergency space sack, a small tarp or even a large plastic garbage bag could be crucial for survival should an unexpected night occur in the wilderness. For a day hike through a highly visited state park, an emergency shelter probably won’t be necessary. Bur for hikes on less traveled trails lasting more than six hours, an emergency shelter should not be overlooked.

Now that you have the Ten Essentials dialed, it’s important to know how to use them properly. Play with your knife, study your topography map, research how to treat cuts and sprains and sample that trail mix! Above all, knowledge is the most important piece of gear.

Car Camping Checklist

Car Camping List

You’re not alone if you’re wondering exactly what cramping entails. Fortunately, it does not involve sleeping in your car. Car camping involves driving to your camp site. Your car might be a dozen or so feet away from your tent or possibly a quarter mile away. The idea behind car camping is that your gear can be stored in your car and you don’t have to carry everything to your site on your back. Backpacking, on the other hand, requires every piece of gear to be stored in your pack as the camp site could be miles and miles away from your car. Car camping is attractive to novice and expert campers alike. It’s popular at state and National Parks. Car camping also for when you are traveling, and stop at a commercial campground for the night.

Even though it sounds easy enough to just toss everything in your car, there is a science behind car camping. Some planning and strategizing and will keep your car organized, clean and will prevent you from bringing too much “stuff.” Keep in mind that your packing list might evolve over time, so update it as you see fit for your needs! You might find, for instance, that a propane stove is better for you than cooking over a fire and vice versa. Check out our car camping checklist

Base Camp Gear
Tent with poles, stakes and rain fly
Tarp for underneath tent
Sleeping bags
Sleeping pads or mattresses
Extra blankets
Folding table
Camping chairs
Hot water pot
Fire gloves
Water pail
Group size first aid kit
Spare stove parts
Tent repair kit
Sewing kit
Toilet paper
Spare batteries and bulb
Rubber mallet
Large plastic bins for storing supplies
Camping Chair
Camping Kitchen
Fuel funnel
Fire Starter/lighter Fluid
Frying pan
Baking pans
Serving spoon
Kitchen knife
Cutting board
Mixing bowl
Can opener
Bottle and wine openers
Pot holders
Measuring cup
Dutch oven
Coffee pot
Wash tub
Dish towel
Paper towels
Aluminum foil
Dish soap
Scouring pads
Matches (strike anywhere)
Stove igniter
Trash bags
Table cloth
Collapsable water jugs
Water filtering pump or purifying tablets
Zip lock bags
Garbage bags
Hiking boots or shoes
Flip flops or camp shoes
Shower sandals
Warm pants
Long Sleeve Shirts
Rain jacket
Bathing suit
Beach towel
Thermal Underwear
Bath towel
Face cloth
Dirty clothes bag
Sunglasses for camping
Personal Gear
Pocket knife
Orienteering style compass
Waterproof matches
Toilet paper
Water bottle
Spare batteries and bulb
Personal first aid kit
Insect repellant
Personal medicine
Reading material
Bug Net
Local maps
Alarm clock
Facial tissues
Duffel bag or pack
Day pack
Field survival kit



Best Backpacks for Hiking

Hiking Backpacks

Aside from your hiking shoes, your hiking backpack is the foundation of gear. Whatever the length of your trip, a backpack should always be worn carrying such supplies as water, food, extra clothing, sun screen, camera and a First-Aid kit. If hiking overnight, of course you’ll need a tent, sleeping bag and cooking equipment (if you plan on eating something other than energy bars!). When shopping around for a hiking backpack, always consider features, styles, price and brand.

Hiking Pack Volume – Before diving into your favorite colored backpack, determine how you plan to use your hiking backpack. That is, will you be carrying overnight gear in it? Or will you be toting along the bare essentials? Remember that it’s not uncommon at all to own multiple hiking packs depending on how often you hike. Below are the main types of hiking backpacks on the market…

Fanny Pack – (150 – 1,200 cubic inches) Often referred to as “lumbar packs,” fanny packs are tucked into the small of your back and they are the most efficient at carrying small loads for day hikes.They are compact, convenient and easily fit into a larger pack if necessary. The are nice because they won’t cause your back to sweat and they allow for more natural range of movement. The drawback is that fanny packs can sag if overpacked. Ten pounds is about the max.

Day Hiking Backpack– (1,200 – 3,000 cubic inches) Day hiking backpacks, or day packs, are actually more versatile Marmot Backbackthan their name. While volume does determine a proper day pack, they can also be used for overnight or even weekend trips with proper packing skills (and lightweight gear!). True lightweight fanatics could go for a week using such “day” hiking backpacks. Some day packs will be specifically noted as “lightweight day packs.” Look for a daypack with a padded back and waist strap. Some waist belts are padded and preferred by people who use their day hiking backpack for overnight trips. It adds a few ounces, but yields eons of comfort. Other people find the padded waist belt cumbersome. At the very least, however, a day hiking backpack should always have a padded waist strap if it’s larger than 2,000 cubic inches.

  • Hydration Hiking Backpacks – Hydration packs are essentially day hiking backpacks or fanny packs with an Purple Backpackinternal water bladder and tube dispenser. They are ideal for very active outdoor activities like trail running, fast-packing and mountain biking. Many hikers also love hydration packs, like Dakine’s Drafter Hydration Pack for their convenience and space saving ability when carrying water for a hot day. Some hydration packs are very slim and narrow, strictly for running or biking, while others are designed to carry extra gear as well.   Want to know more about best daypacks?

Multiday Hiking Backpack – (3,000 – 7,000 cubic inches) – Larger packpacks need some sort of frame or support, otherwise the pack would teeter totter and throw your balance off. The frames also give the pack shape when it’s not filled to it’s maximum capacity. There are two types of back frames…

  • External Frame Hiking Backpack – Once the norm in year’s past, external frames aren’t quite as popular. Although, there is still somewhat of a following for this type of overnight hiking backpack. They cost less and can be a good starting point for someone new to the activity or for a child who will soon outgrow it. They are a bit cooler since the whole surface of the pack doesn’t touch your back. External frames also allow the user to haul big, heavy and awkward loads. Sometimes hunters carry their catch on these packs! The biggest drawback is that they are very cumbersome to travel with whether it by car, plane or cabs while traveling. They are also know to shift unpredictably.
  • Internal Frame Hiking Backpack – Very popular today, an internal frame pack, like Marmot’s, hugs and conforms to your body for extended comfort while trekking on foot. They also shift less and allow more body control. This is key when scrambling up a steep rock face or ascending for a few miles. Internal frame packs also look cool and have a variety of colors and styles from which to choose! While there aren’t many drawbacks, the one concern is that they can be hot on your back. However, newer internal frame packs all have mesh padded backs and some even are designed so that air can cross flow across your back.

North Face Backpack

Hiking Backpack Features
  • Hip Belt – Without a solid hip belt, all of the weight would be on your shoulder, neck and back rather than on your strong hips and legs! Generally, the wider the hip belt, the more support. Women’s specific models have less broad hip belts, so they don’t dig in to your skin. Many hip belts these days are even detachable for a super custom fit.
  • Shoulder Harness – A curved shoulder harness fits best. It keeps the upper back near your body for a close fit.
  • Stabilizer Straps – Upper load stabilizer straps are adjustable straps that run from the shoulder strap at the top of the shoulder to an attachment point on your backpack. They help to adjust the distance between your back and your pack.
  • Lumbar Pad – Situated at the small of the pack, a lumbar pad with high-friction fabric is ideal because it reduces belt slippage. Most of the downward force sits at this point, so lumbar padding is key!
  • Loading Method – For day hiking backpacks, a top loading is all that is necessary. Overnight packs, on the other hand, can get quite full and solely a top loading entry will be quite a hassle when your extra layer of clothing is in the middle of your pack. Most over night packs these days also have a front loading zipper to access the middle or bottom of the pack.
  • Pockets – Internal and external pocket are very nice for organizing gear. Many packs, especially day hiking and overnight, have water bottle pockets on the sides. These are perfect to grab a sip without stopping!

Best Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots
Whether it be heading out for a day hike on well-groomed trails or hitting the Appalachian Trail for a few months, having the right hiking boots is crucial to your happiness and comfort. Arguable the most important component of hiking and backpacking, hiking boots provide cushioning, support and shock absorption. Many people find multi-purpose uses for their hiking boots, as well (chopping wood for the winter, anyone?).

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if we could link you to the BEST hiking boot on the planet? The truth is that if  you asked ten expert hikers and backpackers what their favorite hiking boot is, you’d get ten different answers. With countless styles, fits and footwear technologies, it can be quite overwhelming to select the best hiking boots for your needs. To help you select your perfect hiking boot, we’ve laid out hiking boot construction, fits and benefits for different styles so you can narrow down your choices. We’re confident that you’ll leave this article with the ammo you need to select the best  hiking boots! Before getting into the nitty gritty, remember these two points…

  1. Your hiking boots should match your ambitions. Unless you’ll be carrying 40 plus pounds on your back for dozens miles and miles, a stiff, heavy duty hiking boot with massive soles probably isn’t necessary.
  2. Your hiking boots should fit comfortable. Your best friend’s recommendation won’t help you much if the boots aren’t comfortable for you.

Hiking Boot Styles – Hiking boots come in all sorts of styles these day. Each is intended for specific uses.Hiking Shoes Sample

  • Hiking Shoes – Fitting and feeling more like a sneaker, hiking shoes have flexible midsoles and are excellent for day hiking. With brands beefing up the durability of hiking shoes, some ultralight backpackers even use hiking shoes for long distance journeys.
  • Hiking Boots – Designed for weekend backpacking trip trips with light loads or day hikes, hiking boots are mid or high cut. Often made from suede or synthetics, they have a decent natural flex and don’t require much break in time. However, they lack the support and durability of stout backpacking boots.
  • Backpacking Hiking Boots – Built to carry backpack loads of varying weights on multiday trips deep into the backcountry, backpacking hiking boots are durable, supportive and have stiffer midsoles than lighter hiking boots. Backpacking boots are popular on and off the trail.
  • Mountaineering Hiking Boots –  Taller, stiffer and usually inserted, mountaineering boots are designed for mountain climbers who will be moving across rugged terrain. They are typically made from leather, plastic or synthesis such as Kevlar. The extra height and stiffness helps climbers traverse across steep and uneven terrain. Mountaineering boots are usually designed for use with crampons.

Hiking Boot Cuts – Each cut serves a different purpose.Mountain trails

  • Low Cut – A good choice for lighter loads on maintained trails, low cut hiking boots or shoes provide less roll-resistance for ankles and leave feet more vulnerable to debris invasion from scree, grit, sand or mud.
  • Mid Cut – A smart pick for shorter multiday trips with moderate loads, mid cut boots sit right in the middle of sneakers and tall hiking boots. They provided added ankle support and protection from debris.
  • High Cut – Perfect for carrying 40+ pound loads or  hiking off trails, high cut boots are the burliest selection. They enhance balance and ankle support on irregular trails or terrain.

Hiking Boot Features – Once you begin talking to people or reading up on hiking boot specifics, you’re likely to come across the terms like midsole, outsole, upper, footbeds and maybe shanks. Get to know these terms so you can made an educated decision when comparing models.

  • Upper – Upper materials impact a boot’s weight, breathability, durability and water resistance. Full-grain leather Uppler Sole of Hiking Bootis supportive, durable and waterproof. A suede upper (sometimes combined with mesh) offers more flexibility and breathability, but is not as supportive as full-grain leather and does not offer waterproof properties. A one-piece upper will tend to be more waterproof than those with multiple seams.
  • Midsole – The midsole is the layer between the outer tread of the shoe on the bottom (outsole) and the upper parts of your shoe or boot. The midsole determines the stiffness and can be made from a variety of materials. Offering a lighter weight, Compression-molded EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate, a foam material) midsoles are made of expanded EVA. A more uniform density from heel to toe can be found with injection-molded EVA midsoles are made from melted pellets of EVA. Polyurethane (PU) midsoles are lightweight and offer cushioning, shock absorption, flexibility and durability. TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber, a combination of petroleum-based chemicals) midsoles offer lightweight durability and flexibility. Shanks are sometimes added to the midsole to provide load-bearing stiffness.
  • Outsole – The outsole is the layer of the boot with direct contact with the ground. Generally constructed of rubber, outsoles offer traction when hiking over a variety of surfaces. Lugs or treads provide traction-giving bumps on the outsole. Deeper, thicker lugs are used on backpacking and mountaineering boots for top notch traction. Widely spaced lugs disperse mud.
  • Additional Features – Gore-Tex® provides waterproofness and breathability and is sometimes used in linings of hiking boots. Shanks offer additional support and are generally incorporated into the midsole. Gusseted (or connected) tongues help to keep out debris, water and dirt. Padded collars offer additional comfort and support. Removable footbeds or insoles help provide comfort, cushioning and additional support while also providing the option to dry out the boot.

How Should Hiking Boots Fit? – How a boot fits is undoubtedly the most important factor in selecting a new pair of hiking boots. A good fit addresses these three dimensions of your foot…

  • Length – Toes should wiggle easily inside the hiking boots.
  • Width – Feet should not slide from side to side nor should they feel compressed on the sides.
  • Volume – The bulk of your foot should fit securely inside the hiking boot. In other words, if the 9.5 fits in length but is too wide and the 9 causes your toes to touch the front, but fits perfect width wise, then this hiking boot is not a good fit period. Choose another style and/or brand to try.

Final Notes – A properly fitting boot should feel like a big hand is holding your foot over the instep where the laces are. Your foot should feel very “quiet” in the boot as you walk so as no rubbing will take place. Blisters are no fun! Now that you are familiar with hiking boot lingo, you’ll feel right at home when perusing men’s hiking boots/shoes and women’s hiking boots/shoes. Happy trails…

Camping Food Ideas


Photo courtesy of Trailtopia

Photo courtesy of Trailtopia

Any veteran camper will agree that the food can make or break a camping trip! Peanut butter and jelly is convenient and cheap, but it sure can get boring after a few days. How about spicing things up with veggie burritos or homemade goji berry granola bars? OK, so maybe you’ll sub raisins for goji berries. Furthermore, space and storage can be a challenge. Think of lack of refrigeration as an obstacle that will spark up your culinary creativity. Stepping outside the box with some pre-planning and our tips below will go a long way on a camping trip!

Equipment – If you’ll be backpacking, all you’ll need is a portable backpacking stove, fuel, a few utensils and two pots with lids. Most people are car campers, however. What’s car camping? It’s the style of camping where you park your car right next to or close to your tent set up! That being said, it’s a whole lot easier to set up a “camping kitchen.” Here are the basic pieces of kitchen equipment for car camping…

Camping Kitchen Equipment

  • Stove and fuel
  • Charcoal and lighter fuel (if grilling)
  • Firewood and kindling (if allowed)
  • Matches/lighter
  • Cooking pots and pans with lids for simmering
  • Extra water (to keep at your site)
  • Utensil set (including spoons, knives, forks, and cooking utensils such as serving spoons, knives, and spatulas)
  • Can opener
  • Mess kits 
  • Cooler and ice
  • Biodegradable dish detergent
  • Dish towels
  • Sponge/scraper
  • Plastic basin (for washing dishes)
  • Paper towels
  • Tablecloth
  • Trash bags
  • Foil
  • Hot pads
  • Ziploc bags
  • Citronella candle

Food for Camping – Camping food is quite personal. Some people are perfectly content with ramen noodles and power bars for days on end. For others, that enough to deter a future camping trip! Most will agree that tasty, nourishing meals are part of the fun of camping. It’s so rewarding to sit around the fire with your friends and family enjoying a nice meal that was prepared together as a group. First, we’ll give you some meal ideas. Then, we’ll list out some ‘basic food items’ to bring. Let the hunger begin…

Back Packing Meal Ideas

Car Camping Meal Ideas

  • Burritos (tortillas, cheese, onions, peppers, pre-cooked chicken, salsa, sour cream avocado)
  • Chili (make ahead of time and heat on stove)
  • Sesame Noodles with veggies (make ahead of time and eat cold for lunch)
  • Three Bean Salad (make ahead of time and eat cold for lunch)
  • Shish-kibobs with Veggies and Meat (marinate both together in zip lock baggies ahead of time)
  • Egg, cheese and veggie scramble (use leftover peppers and onions from burritos)
  • Spicy Breakfast potatoes (seasonings go a LONG way with camping food!)
  • Chili Dogs (use leftover chili with hot dogs)
  • Pasta with pesto (pre-make pesto and throw in some olives and sun-dried tomatoes)

Car Camping Food Checklist

  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
  • Cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, granola)
  • Fruit (fresh and dried)
  • Nuts (for snacking and for adding to meals)
  • Sunflower seeds (for snacking and for adding to meals)
  • Breads (naan, pita, or crackers – regular bread easily gets crushed)
  • Soups (ramen, bouillon cubes, homemade soup)
  • Lentils and dried beans (easy to cook)
  • Pasta
  • Veggies (carrot, celery, potato, peppers, squash, etc.)
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Flavoring agents (dried spices, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, etc.)
  • Meat (precooked is best or dried or canned)
  • Chocolate, marshmallows, gram crackers (for s’mores, of course!)
  • Potatoes – Almost any meal can be made with a baked sweet or regular potato! Or chop and fry up potatoes with eggs, onion and peppers. It’s versatile and won’t get squashed.
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa)
  • Munchies (tortilla chips, pretzels, etc. – everyone loves a good snack!)
  • Eggs
  • Cooking oil
  • Bacon
  • Canned foods (baked beans, chili, beef stew, ravioli, corned beef hash)
  • Snack foods (granola bars, raisins, cookies, fresh fruit, pop tarts)

Share with us your camping food ideas below!

Which Stand Up Paddle Board is Right For Me?

Paddleboard Windsurfing Crossovers

Maybe you’ve rented a few times or borrowed a friend’s stand up paddle board. Or maybe you know you’ll love the sport and are ready to dive right in to new gear. Regardless, it’s always a wise idea to do a little research to pin point the board that’s best for you. With a properly sized board constructed for your ability, you will be more likely to enjoy the sport and to get outside to paddle more often. Our suggestions below will give you the confidence you need to select a board that’s right for you.

Before getting into the logistics of board lengths and widths, stew on these thoughts…

  1. Can you get the board to and from the water by yourself? If you haven’t noticed, stand up paddle boards are MASSIVE! You might be a five foot tall bundle of athletic energy, but if you are physically unable to carry the board to and from the water by yourself, you’re bound to get quite frustrated. If it’s too heavy for you to carry, it’s going to be even more difficult to lift a water-logged board out of the water after your session.
  2. Can you stand up on your board in a variety of conditions? Sitting on your board when you’re first learning is fun and somewhat thrilling. That’ll get old real quick, however! If you’ll mainly be paddling in open ocean water as opposed to smooth inland lake water, keep in mind that a wider and longer board will allow you to balance better.

Next, ask yourself these next few questions…

  • Where will you be doing most of you paddling (i.e. ocean, lake, river, etc.)?
  • How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
  • Have you ever paddle boarded before?
  • Do you tend to pick up sports and physical activities quickly?
  • Are you athletic?

Stand up paddle boards can be broken down into three simple categories. Like snowboards and bikes, different paddle boards will perform best in specific conditions. Check it out…



  • Surf Specific – These boards are shorter and have a narrower nose and tail. They are less stable than other boards, but great for surf performance. However, surf specific paddle boards sacrifice stability to gain that performance.
  • All-Round – Just like the name says, all-round boards are great for flat water as well as surfing. They are longer, wider, thicker and typically longer. They are perfect for just getting into sport because you can do everything with one board.
  • Touring Board – Designed for flat water, touring boards are longer than other boards because giving them more glide. You can get more distance and cover more distance with a touring board with less effort. Some touring boards are narrower and are considered race boards. They are much faster due to their skinny width, but they are less stable.

Above all, your size in relation to the board is one of the most important aspects to consider. Volume is a great way to think about board size. The volume is what floats you, so it’s important to have the correct amount of volume for stability.  Be sure to review the manufacture’s size recommendation before making a purchase.

Still confused? Chances are that you’ll be best matched up with a all-round board. You can’t go wrong with a board that will perform in all conditions and types of water. Whether it’s the beach or the lake house, you’ll be psyched with an all-round board. If you’re strictly looking to perfect your paddle surfing skills, then a surf specific board will keep you happy for years to come. And if racing and long distance paddling is your thing, go for a touring paddle board.

Shop The House for paddle boards.

For SUP beginners, more resources can be found in our Paddle Boarding for Beginners article.

Finding the rigth SUP Infographic


How to Choose the Right Longboard Skateboard

Longboarding is yet another totally awesome sport that has swept adrenaline seekers coast to coast. It’s easier than skateboarding, yet still gives you that feeling of cruising sideways. Snowboards, surfers and skiers are all attracted to longboarding in addition to those who are just attracted to the freedom and chill feeling of longboarding. What is a longboard? We’ll, it’s more than just a long skateboard. The wheels are softer and bigger than those of a skateboard, so it’s a much smoother ride and more “beginner friendly.” There are various longboard shapes, lengths, widths and flexes for different rides. Once you’re comfortable on a longboard, you can really get down with carving, board slides, speed and other tricks like the peeps in this inspiring video below.  If you’re like anyone who works at The House, having an arsenal of styles from drop through longboards, freeride, and cruiser longboards is the way to go!

Cruiser Longboards

The name pretty much stakes it’s claim! A cruiser board is a means of transportation and a perfect longboard for beginners. Some are shorter, designed to easily weave in and out of foot traffic and get you to work, school, the store or for a bite to eat. If you think you’d like to bomb some hills, then opt for a longer board for more stability at higher speeds. Next, you’ll need to decide on the length, stiffness and tail shape which we’ve defined for you…

  • Deck Length – Naturally, this is the length of the board from nose to tail (in inches). A board raining from 28″ – 46″ is a great choice for a cruiser board. If you are new to longboarding, going any shorter than this will make it more difficult to learn. Unlike snowboards, length is more of a preference than a necessity. If a snowboard is way too short for your body size, it could easily break and won’t offer a true flex. Longboards are different in that the length is almost complete preference. Again, shorter boards enable one to make shorter, quicker turns and longer boards are great for carving at high speeds. If you’re totally lost on what size to get, go for one in the the mid 30s.
    • Shorter Cruiser Boards – Lengths in the 28″ – 32″ range are perfect for young riders and shorter people. However, taller people can rider shorter cursing boards if they have their skills down since it will be slightly more difficult to navigate.
    • Mid-Sized Cruiser Board – Longboards in the range of 32″ – 42″ are the most popular and recommended for newbies of all sizes. With a length between small and long, these boards are just right and can do almost anything!
    • Longer Cruiser Board – Great for longer, relaxed rides, these boards are perfect for the sidewalk or cursing the boardwalk when the surf is flat. Be forewarned, these boards can be quite heavy to carry!
  • Deck Flex – Flex is a pretty important component of a cursing longboard. The flex of the board will absorb some of the rough terrain, bumpy roads or tiny rocks. A flexy board also enables the rider to ride close to the ground, which can be quite fun and perfect for hands down 360s! This type of shock absorption will also help to relieve some of the stress on your knees and ankles. Making it easier to balance and push, riding lower to the ground adjusts your center of gravity. If you would like some flex, be sure to check out the weight range on the board.  On the other hand, a stiffer board will provide more stability. Such boards are popular for downhill longboards and are sort of the ‘original’ style of longboards. Once thing to consider is that newbies could find a very flexy board to be quite challenging to master from the start, so a stiffer board is likely the way to go!
  • Kicktail or No Kicktail – A kicktail is when the tail of the board is…kicked up a bit (think traditional skateboard shape)! Having a kicktail longboard can be very convenient when you need to make quick turns, do tricks, and pop up and down curbs. Beginners can go either way since they won’t be using a kicktail from the start. Boards without kicktails are able to maximize the effective wheelbase (distance from one axle to the other),which allows them to be a bit more stable for beginners. If you don’t think you’ll ever be turning or doing tricks with the help of a kicktail, then opt for no kicktail.


Freeride Longboards

For intermediate to advanced longboarders, a freeriding involves riding down hills while doing technical maneuvers. Watch this unreal clip for some freeriding eye candy…

  • Deck Style – Are you ready for some boardslides on pavement while going down a concrete hill? Truthfully, any board can be set up for freeriding, but some decks are specifically designed for such a purpose. An ideal downhill deck will be longer than the average longboard brand and will be completely rigid for increased stability at higher speeds. Thin, flexible boards are designed for fun in the parking lot or streets, not bombing down hills! There are two choices from here – drop through and drop platform.
    • Drop Through – For the intermediate rider, drop through longboards are lighter and have a slimmer construction. Be sure to choose one with little flex since it’s not a good idea for freeriding.
    • Drop Platform – Geared towards beginners, drop platforms have a lowered platform on the drop platform (and double drop) decks gives riders an enhanced sense of stability. It makes initiating slides much easier.
  • Deck Dimensions – Anything in the 38″ – 42″ range will be perfect for freeride. Shorter will be unstable and longer will be too cumbersome. Don’t worry about the width since it will be proportional to the length.


Downhill Longboards

For the advanced only, downhill longboarding involves riding at very high speeds and requires a lot of precision. Although it doesn’t look like they are going that fast, the dudes in the clip below clocked in at 50 MPH!

  • Deck Style – For speed, stability and precision, the majority of pro longboards (yes, there are pro long boarders!) prefer a top mount deck. Still, some are more comfortable with the lower, more stable feeling that drop-through decks offer. If you’ve been reading this entire article, you probably have noticed a theme – longboard styles vary and it’s easy to customize your ideal ride for various types of riding!
    • Drop Through Longboards – Have you ever had the wobbles when going fast down a hill? It’s pretty scary when your board seems to uncontrollably shake beneath your feet taking your legs with it. A drop through deck offers incredible stability since it sits lower to the ground offering the rider a more stable center of gravity. To mix things up a bit, a drop through deck can be mounted the “normal” way (underneath the deck as opposed on the sides of the deck) for a top mount ride. If you’re new to downhill racing, drop through is the way to go.
    • Top Mount Longboards– Like a traditional skateboard, top mount trucks attached to the bottom of the deck. This mounting style give the board more grip when speeding around turns. When sliding is necessary to slow down for tight corners,  a top-mount board will give better performance. Keep in mind, however, there are many skills to master before obtaining the benefits of a top mount board. Unless you’re a seasoned longboard who is comfortable riding at very high speeds, a drop though would be a wiser choice.
  • Deck Dimensions – For downhill, decks in the length range of 37-43″ will be ideal. A shorter deck will be unstable at high speeds while a longer deck will lack maneuverability. Oh the choices. Beginners should stick with longer setups until they are accustomed to bombing down hills. Still torn? Stick to something around 40-41” to be on the safe side. You can’t go wrong with that size range!

Now for the fun part. Shop the best longboard brands on The House’s extensive selection of longboards!

Best Polarized Sunglasses

Best Polarized Sunglasses
Once you have your own set of polarized shades, you’ll never go back. The reduced glare from quality polarized sunglasses is absolutely amazing. It also reduces eye strain and headaches, increases safety while driving and enhances overall clarity in the sun. You can learn more about what polarized sunglasses are here.

Why are Polarized Sunglasses Better?
Polarized sunglasses were first created by Ray Ban in the 1930’s for pilots. As anti-glare aviator sunglasses, they were had a specific shape that gave the pilot optimum shade from the sun as previous designs allowed some light in when the pilot looked down at their instrument panel. Polarized sunglasses were initially given to only the pilots as part of their uniform. A year later, they were available to the general public. Polarized sunglasses are better because they work! Since then, polarized lenses pretty much became the norm for fisherman and waterman to reduce glare from the water. Over the years, more and more people began realizing the benefits and spending a few extra bucks for years of comfort and optimum clarity. Today, there are dozens of brands that offer polarized lenses with frames, colors and styles to suit any preference.
Polarized sunglasses help reduce glare that is common with most outdoor activities. They contain a special filter that blocks a surface’s reflective light (or glare), making objects easier to see and reducing eye strain. Even for people who are sensitive to light, polarized sunglasses are thought to be more comfortable on the eyes because of their glare reduction.

How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work?
Imagine standing on the lake shore, looking out at a perfectly calm water on a sunny day. Light waves from the sun Womens Sunglassesbounce and reflect light from the water in every direction. Polarized light is reflected light that is organized in one horizontal plane. The glare of the sun reflects off the water in every direction making it hard to look at the water without squinting or  wearing sunglasses. In other words. the glare off the lake’s surface is light that cannot penetrate the ocean’s surface and is reflected. In addition to water, this same reflection happens with snow, roads and other shiny, bright and reflective surfaces.

Polarized sunglasses have vertically oriented polarizing filters embedded in or applied onto the sunglasses lens. These filters screen the light and neutralize the horizontal reflection. Microscopic openings in the filter allow only part of the light to pass through so you can see. The film on the lens absorbs everything else. In other words, the most intense light is completely blocked and the glare will be muted significantly.

Are Polarized Sunglasses Worth the Extra Cost?
Trust us on this one. Polarized sunglasses might look like a $25 pair of shades, so why pay more? Technology, increased Mens Sunglassescomfort on the eyes, durability and performance are what set polarized sunglasses apart. Pick up a pair of $25 and and pair of polarized sunglasses. Which ones do you think will still feel strong, have functioning arms and be nearly scratch free in five years? OK, so maybe you don’t spend much time on a boat or do much driving. Or maybe you’re only in 5th grade and tend lose everything. An inexpensive, casual pair might be all that you need. If you spend any decent amount of time outside, however, or partake in activities like cycling, running or boating, polarized sunglasses are worth every penny!

Winter Camping Food Checklist

winter camping food checklist

Who says it’s time to sleep indoors when the snow falls? Certainly not the extreme outdoor enthusiasts. There are many special aspects of winter camping – the lack summer crowds, the quiet forest, no bugs, snuggling in when the sun sets early and appreciating everything Mother Nature has to offer. One of the most fun parts of winter camping is, of course, the food! Let’s get started on your winter camping checklist.

Like summer camping, the food can make or break the trip. Well thought out meals for a winter camping trip will quite literally warm your soul and keep you toasty, happy and satisfied. Since your body will be working hard to keep warm, it is recommended that each camper consume double the amount of calories normally consumed.

Despite what one might think, preparing a knock your socks off meal in the middle of the woods in the dead of winter is easier than one might think. One pot meals are ideal, so think curries, stews and soups. Prep as much as possible at home and place them in large zip lock baggies for each meal. Remember that fresh veggies will freeze and could get ruined on the trip, so opt for already frozen veggies.

Winter TentingA warm drink is a must for every meal, so bring plenty of hot chocolate, tea and instant coffee. Instant soups will also be welcomed on a winter camping trip, while a loaf of bread will fill a cold tummy. Macaroni and cheese, the ultimate comfort food, will turn any frown upside down on a winter camping trip. For breakfast, go big with oatmeal – add dried nuts, fruit, flaked coconut and brown sugar. And of course, don’t forget trail mix, granola bars, PB&J, dried spices and some tequilla to add to hot cocoa!

Compile a few of your favorite one pot meal recipes. Keep it simple, but tasty. Use dried ingredients like mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and split peas where possible. Here’s a handy winter camping food checklist that every winter camper should consider:

Instant oatmeal
Instant coffee
Hot chocolate mix
Electrolyte powder mix
Granola bars
Peanut butter and jellytrail-mix
Bread (for soup)
Trail mix
Macaroni and cheese
Instant soup
Individually wrapped cheese
Instant rice
Split peas
Pre-cooked chicken breast
Dried mushrooms
Dried tomatoes
Dried chili peppers
Bouillon cube
Powdered milk
Brown sugar

Check out more Camping gear The House.