Tag Archives: campvibes

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…

 

 

 

Long Term Topo Designs Daypack Review

Topo Designs Daypack Long-term Review

I’ve added a second (much better) video review of the Topo Designs Daypack and it’s it’s up now on my strayfoto Youtube Channel, also embedded here:

Keep reading for the good, old fashioned, text and photo review.

strayfoto

I bought the Topo Designs Daypack in the summer of 2011, and I’ve used it almost every day since. I’ve hiked, run, traveled, and ridden motorcycles with it. It’s carried clothes, water bottles, jackets and the occasional tick with style. Not only is it my current favorite backpack, it’s one of my favorite bags of all time.

Topo Designs Daypack The Topo Designs Daypack is sleek, somewhat minimalist, and only medium-sized. The shoulder straps are wide and comfortable but not thickly padded. The back padding too is thin but adequate and comfortable. It’s not bulky at all. The pack itself is big enough to carry everything you think you need, but small enough to make sure you don’t take any more than that.

Topo Designs Daypack

I’ve owned a ton of backpacks over the years. I’ve owned ones with too many pockets, ones with not enough pockets, and everywhere in between. I’ve owned lots with too many straps. The made in the USA Topo Designs Daypack is the right combination just a few straps and bomber design.

Daypack backpack If I have a complaint – I do occasionally wish it came with a provision for carrying a bladder/hydration system. Especially when riding a motorcycle. I’m usually a water bottle type hiker, and don’t mind taking a break to enjoy the scenery, take some photos, and fish some water out of the pack. But with a helmet on, a hydration system and a hose makes a lot of sense. I wouldn’t change anything other than a slot in the top for a hose to pass through. I suppose I could add my own, but like I said, it’s a small complaint.strayfoto

Topo Designs Daypack

If you look close you’ll notice I’ve actually posted photos of two different Topo Designs daypacks. The first one I ordered was an early model with steel hardware. I wasn’t happy with how much the shoulder straps slipped while hiking or running. I contacted Topo Designs and they replaced it immediately with a newer model with plastic hardware (I think they all come with plastic hardware now) that slips much less (not at all, really). If you look closely, you’ll notice the replacement pack has an upside-down logo, and we’ve often joked that makes it much more rare and valuable. Either way, it functions well and gets used daily.

rucksack daypack

When I travel with the backpack, I usually carry my laptop and accessories in the bag, and then use it as a normal rucksack once I get where I’m going and I’m able to leave my computer behind.

strayfoto

strayfoto

I actually own three Topo Designs Bags. In addition to the daypack, I’ve got the Mini-Mountain Bag (which I review HERE) and the duffel, which I like as well. Everything I have from Topo Designs is well-made, well-designed, comfortable to carry and, above all else, functional. I’ve had some people notice the somewhat “retro” look of the bag – I’d argue it’s more classic/functional than retro. Its made to work, and it’s design is simply dictated by its function. It’s not “retro” it’s classic. It’s classic because it works, and it works well.

strayfoto

Below is a short video walkthrough of the backpack. Thanks for looking, and be sure to check out my reviews of the Topo Designs Mini Mountain Bag, and the Topo Designs Field Bag, which I use as a great little camera bag. I’ve also just added a review and video of the Topo Designs Mountain Briefcase as well. 

 

 

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I’ve written and illustrated two children’s books that are now available in print and digital versions; Coyote Life, and The Cat’s Glasses. If you’ve got kids, check them out. If you enjoy them, please leave a review, tell your friends, etc. Thanks.

The Cat's Glasses

Kid’s Books: The Cat’s Glasses

Does your cat need glasses? How do you know? Follow one little boy as he tries to find out in The Cat’s Glasses by Quinn Hall

Find out more on MagCloud

Coyote Life by Quinn Hall

Kid’s Books: Coyote Life by Quinn Hall

Coyote Life is a short, rhyming children’s book about coyotes in the Southwest.

Find out more on MagCloud

 

Don’t forget to check out some of the fine art prints for sale in my Etsy shop.

Ancient-ViewSalt_Flats_Hot_Rod_One

My wife Leah also makes and sells some pretty cool leather stuff like minimalist wallets and camera straps. Check out her Etsy store for some cool gear. minimalist leather handstitched walletCamera Strap by Aestus Gear

Photography T Shirts and Stickers at Redbubble:

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