Category Archives: Travel

Cataract Canyon – September 2017

Just got off a 6 day Cataract Canyon trip in Moab, with Tour West. I love Moab rafting for the small crowds and warm water.

Great guides, great guests, great weather and a decent water level. The combined flow of the Colorado River and Green River below the confluence was 6400 CFS. That means I still can run left to right in Big Drop II, but one could also run right to left, like Joe Bennion did.

I only whacked the motor once – in Satan’s Gut (Big Drop III) which is kind of standard operating procedure at this water level. I didn’t get stuck in Waterhole, and the newest rapid below that one (have we named that one yet?) forced me to do some serious moves to avoid the rocks, but we never got hung up or hit the motor. 

We had partial clouds for the run down to Dark Canyon, and, as usual, I was reminded what a gorgeous section of canyon that stretch along the Colorado River is. I can’t help but hope Lake Powell stays low and all those rapids come back in my lifetime. One of the guests (Justin) asked if seeing Dark Canyon rapid was sort of my “White Whale.” I’d never thought about that before and it’s stuck with me. I’m a pretty conservative boater when it comes to rapids, I’m kind of in it more for the camping and general outdoors experience than I am for the adrenaline and the rapids. If I have a life-long dream for something I’ll probably never get to chase down, it’s the dream of good camps and less mud below Gypsum Canyon. More rapids is always better, but I’d trade big rapids for small ones and better camps. Perhaps more rapids could lengthen the trip and make it worth spending a few days getting to Hite instead of 8 hours of slogging across flat water. I’ve always said I understand not draining Lake Powell, but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if they did. 

All in all a pretty good trip. A private group stole our camp at Lower Red Lake, but we ended up with a great camp just below Rapid 2. Video and stills below. 

Julie in the HoleRapidsWhitewaterLow Water PonderingLooking Back at WaterholePoroverColorado River Looking EastRapid 24Oar DetailAfter the Rapids

 

Thanks for looking…

 

 

 

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack Review

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack Review and Video

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack Review

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack

Recently a buddy left his daypack at my place. Because it’s made in the USA, I couldn’t resist the temptation to review it. It’s called the Two Bit klettersack by Ogden Made. Ogden Made is a Utah-based company that has a modest range of gear from hats and t-shirts, to accessory bags and messenger bags. All the bags are made in the USA, and seem to share a simple yet functional design. ( I really want the Camo Snap-Back…)

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack

The Two Bit Klettersack is a top-loader design with metal closure hardware to secure the top pocket/flap. There’s two water bottle pockets (one on either side), and an access zipper that allows access to the lower half of the main compartment. The water bottle pockets are on the smallish side, and definitely eat into the interior of the pack. The access compartment, although not really large, opens easily and provides welcome access to what you want – which, in a top-loading pack, is always at the bottom. Every. Single. Time.

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack

The measurements on the Ogden Made website add up to make this bag measure somewhere around 33 liters. It’s not really anywhere near that big. As far as comparable daypacks go, I’d say this slots in around the same size as the Topo Designs Mountain Pack, which I reviewed here. The Two Bit Klettersack really wears more like it’s a regular sized 23-26 liter daypack.

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack

The computer compartment is accessible from the side zipper so users don’t have to access the top flap to get at the laptop. The back padding and straps are adequate for a pack of this size and not too padded. The straps are flat and wide, which I like.

Ogden Made Two Bit Klettersack

Ogden Made also offers a camera module called the Monte that fits in the zippered access panel at the bottom of the pack. On the website it seems to swallow a modest amount of camera gear and still allow reasonable access. It’s a feature I’d like to try out at some point. It’d be interesting to see how much I like it over several months.

The Ogden Made bag seems like a valiant early effort from a Utah-based company trying to keep manufacturing here in the US, which I admire. I don’t really love the metal hardware for the top flap, finding it finicky and not that easy to engage. It’s not awful, and I agree it’s a welcome departure from the long-standing tradition of ITW Nexus side release buckles, but I which they were easier to use. The Two Bit Klettersack is a decent pack. I wouldn’t call it on par with some other, more refined bags; it falls a little short when compared to some of Topo Designs more recent offerings, or any of the GoRuck bags, but it’s a great start. It actually reminds me a little of the first Topo Designs daypack I owned, and Topo has really matured and refined their packs over the last few years. I hope Ogden Made can experience the same level of refinement and growth. It’s always good to get my hands on some gear made in the USA.

Check out the video below for a better look at the features and check out my Strayfoto YouTube channel for more made in USA stuff and daypack / luggage reviews.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review and Video

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

A few months ago, with the intention of downsizing a bit and perhaps carrying a little less, I bought the Topo Designs Field Bag. It’s a great little bag, and I’ve essentially replaced the Topo Designs Mini Mountain Bag I was using before. I generally like the Topo Designs bags – they’re well designed and they’re made in the USA. I’ve even have the Topo Daypack, and use it often.

Here’s the video review:

As shoulder bags go, the Field Bag is on the smaller end of what I can get away with- I usually pack bags until they’re full and then stop. I wish I could take only what I’m certain I’ll need, but usually I just pack until the bag is full and I can’t fit any more gadgets in there.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

The Topo Field Bag is about 12x7x6 and holds a DSLR on one side if you want it to – as long as your lens isn’t too large. If you had a medium length L-Series lens and a flash and some memory cards and notebook, you’d just about fill the bag to the brim. I generally carry my Ricoh GR, a Canon S100, a GoPro, a few notebooks and some pens, and my phone and tablet. It fits just about right.

With that much stuff the bag isn’t too heavy to carry around for a while and the stuff isn’t too crowded. If you’re into packing heavy, the Field Bag is probably a little too small.

The hook and loop closure on the front seems secure enough and I’ve never had a problem with it opening inadvertently. The hook and loop on the front is a little loud – so this may not be the best bag if you’ve got anything secret planned. They’ll hear you coming the minute you try to get anything out.

It has some minimal messenger bag style straps that attach to the body side of the bag and hold the bag securely to your waist. Thankfully they also come off quickly and painlessly. The shoulder strap is great. It’s got just enough padding to be comfortable and the pad slides easily on the strap, making swinging the bag around front to get into it pretty easy. The water bottle pouches on the sides are welcome after having the Mini Mountain bag with no good way to carry a water bottle.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

You can fit a DSLR in the bag (even with a large lens provided you remove the center divider) but you may not fit much else. While Topo Designs kind of markets the bag as a potential fishing bag, I usually just use it as a half camera bag, half every day carry bag. I like that on roadtrips it sits easily on the front seat of my truck and I can get into it if I need to.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

Topo X Howler did a version of this bag as well, offered in a slightly different colorway.

Topo Designs Field Bag Review

If, like me, you’ve got to have what amounts to a man’s purse, you could do far worse than the Topo Designs Field Bag.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Bomber
  • Padded
  • Good shoulder strap
  • Holds a water bottle

Cons:

  • Small
  • Loud to open
  • Might not hold large cameras
  • Water bottles eat up interior room

Who it’s for: Someone committed to carrying less, but not ready to ditch the cameras quite yet. Oh, and fishermen. Maybe.

If you’re interested in Topo Designs Bags, check out my reviews on the Mini Mountain Bag and the Topo Designs Daypack. I’ve also just added a review and video of the Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase as well.

Cataract Canyon 27-31 May 2014 with Tour West

Cataract Canyon 27-31 May 2014 with Tour West

Some images and a short video from my last Cataract Canyon trip… Enjoy.

616_strayfoto_2014_617_strayfoto_2014_618_strayfoto_2014_619_strayfoto_2014_620_strayfoto_2014_621_strayfoto_2014_622_strayfoto_2014_623_strayfoto_2014_624_strayfoto_2014_

Deadbolt Plays TT Roadhouse Scottsdale Arizona October 2013

Deadbolt Plays TT Roadhouse Scottsdale Arizona October 2013

Click the image for a larger version/slideshow view.

Thanks to the TT Roadhouse, Erik, and Deadbolt. That was a great show.

 

Fall Colors, Durango Colorado, and a Diana Lens on a Digital Canon

742_strayfoto_2013_

We drove over to Durango, Colorado a few weeks ago and took in some early fall colors. It was a great drive, and a great first snow of the fall season.

743_strayfoto_2013_744_strayfoto_2013_745_strayfoto_2013_746_strayfoto_2013_747_strayfoto_2013_748_strayfoto_2013_749_strayfoto_2013_750_strayfoto_2013_751_strayfoto_2013_752_strayfoto_2013_753_strayfoto_2013_754_strayfoto_2013_755_strayfoto_2013_756_strayfoto_2013_

All shots here taken with my Lomography Diana 20mm Fisheye Lens with the Canon lens adaptor and an old Canon EOS 20D. A great combination if you want to experience the wonder of Lomography without the patience required to shoot film (which I used to have – but lost somewhere along the way…)

Thanks for looking.

757_strayfoto_2013_

 

 

 

Silverton Colorado Photographs

Silverton Colorado Photographs

759_strayfoto_2013_760_strayfoto_2013_761_strayfoto_2013_762_strayfoto_2013_

Super cool thrift store in Silverton, Colorado. The Jailhouse Thrift Store. A collection as eclectic and funky as the town itself. Really a pleasure to shop here and wander around for a few minutes – even if was freezing cold.

763_strayfoto_2013_764_strayfoto_2013_766_strayfoto_2013_767_strayfoto_2013_768_strayfoto_2013_769_strayfoto_2013_770_strayfoto_2013_771_strayfoto_2013_772_strayfoto_2013_773_strayfoto_2013_774_strayfoto_2013_775_strayfoto_2013_

Thanks for looking!

Dispatch Tour Phase 2 Complete – 14 More DI’s Off The List

Dispatch Tour Phase 2 Complete

R0012101_strayfoto_2013_

We visited all the Deseret Industries store in Washington, Oregon, and California over 10 days at the end of July. It was quite the trip. I ended up with a couple flannels and two older cameras. I’ve created a page dedicated to the Dispatch project. I’ll update the page regularly as we get closer to the end of the project. 24 stores left to visit…

Untitled-2

_MG_1977_strayfoto_2013_ R0012329_strayfoto_2013_Front/parking lot view of all 14 stores we visited. It was a very long drive. strayfoto

Burley, ID

strayfoto

Twin Falls, ID

strayfoto

Boise, ID

strayfoto

Nampa, ID

strayfoto

Seattle, WA

strayfoto

Federal Way, WA

strayfoto

Portland, OR

strayfoto

Sacramento, CA

strayfoto

Calimesa, CA

strayfoto

Colton, CA

strayfoto

Los Angeles, CA

strayfoto

Chula Vista, CA

strayfoto

Cedar City, UT

strayfoto

Richfield, UT