The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
The outdoor recreation and adventure radio show and podcast about backcountry news and activities, like camping, backpacking, skiing, and snowshoeing. MORE...
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The WildeBeat is a public benefit project of the Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.
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Thu, Jan 31, 2008
This gear program is a report on the Winter 2008 Outdoor Retailer's Expo. What's cool in next year's winter gear?
Jason Boyle and Christopher Nicolai report on the most interesting gear they hope to test for BackpackGearTest.ORG. They comment on products by: GoLite, Rab, Patagonia, Mountainsmith, MontBell, Cilogear, Aspen Aerogel, Easton, Garmont, and Teko Socks.
As a wrap-up, Backpack Gear Test founder Jerry Goller tells us that they get more gear to review than their reviewers can keep up with. You might be able to get free gear to review. Read: How to become a tester.
Wed, Jan 30, 2008
We're offering discount coupons to WildeBeat members, but these deals expire soon (between February 4th and March 15th, 2008). These coupons allow you to order outdoor gear online at dealer cost or below. We have a limited number of coupons for products by Patagonia, Outdoor Research, Helly Hansen, Suunto, Zeal, Ogio, Mammut, and Kayland.
Thu, Jan 24, 2008
This skills program is an overview of some of the ways you can call for help from the wilderness. Have you ever thought about how you'd get help if you needed it? Out of all the different ways you could let somebody know about your situation, some of them work better than others. This is an updated version of our program number 37 of April 13, 2006.
Steve talks about simple signaling techniques, like whistles, signal mirrors, and smoke signals, and then discusses various phones and radio technologies. He talks to Caroline Semerdjian at Sprint-Nextel. She mentions a page to find out their network coverage by zip-code. We replay a comment by Sgt. Phil Caporale of the Fresno County Sheriff's search and rescue unit from A Winter Storm Warning (our editions #15 & #16), where he talks about problems with satellite phones.
Steve talks to Bill Jeffrey about amateur (or "ham") radio. Bill created and maintains a web site called the Pacific Crest Trail Repeater Guide. Amateur radio is still the primary choice for most volunteer search and rescue organizations.
We also hear about Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) from Doug Ritter, a survival skills consultant and journalist who operates the Equipped to Survive Foundation. Laurel Boyers, who recently retired as Yosemite National Park's wilderness manager, talks about how easy access to rescue services makes the wilderness less wild. Finally, we hear from Tim Kovacks of the Mountain Rescue Association.
Links to more information about a number of these communication and signaling options are listed in the pages linked below, under To Find Out More...
Thu, Jan 17, 2008
This skills program is an interview with Marcus Libkind. This is a reprise of our program number 21 of December 1, 2005.
Marcus wrote the most comprehensive and widely used trail guides for backcountry ski tours in the Sierra Nevada:
Marcus has moved these guides online to his Ski Tours in the Sierra Nevada web site. He will add tours to this site one by one as soon as they are field checked for updates. The whole site is about your participation—he invites you to explore his routes and then submit updated information about the ski tours from his books. Also, you can suggest new tour routes for this online guide.
If you want to get started exploring the backcountry on skis, Marcus recommends getting lessons and practice at groomed-track cross-country ski resorts first. The Cross Country Ski Areas Association has a directory of cross country ski trail systems. One good beginner's guide to winter backcountry skills is Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book.
Thu, Jan 10, 2008
This skills program is an introduction to snow camping. Snow camping is really cool, but it doesn't have to be cold if you know what you're doing. This is a reprise of our program number 27 of January 26, 2006.
In this part, Mike talks about kitchens, cooking and nutrition, and staying warm at night. Ben Lawhon from the Leave No Trace Center gives some additional tips for low-impact snow camping.
Thu, Jan 03, 2008
This skills program is an introduction to snow camping. Snow camping is really cool, but it doesn't have to be cold if you know what you're doing. This is a reprise of our program number 26 of January 19, 2006.
Steve interviewed Mike Clelland, a winter camping instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School. He's also the illustrator and co-author of Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book. In this part, Mike talks about clothing, campsite selection, and shelter. Next week in part two, he'll tell you the rest you need to know to get started.