Monday, December 30, 2013

Start 2014 on the right foot with a First Hike!

Vermont First Hikes, Snowshoeing in Little River State Park Take a First Day Hike!  Get 2014 off on the right foot...and join one of the Vermont State Parks "First Hikes".   Find a First Hike at a VT State Park near you...with the Vermont State Parks' Calendar of Events; or gather a group of friends and family and tackle a trail in your own neck of the woods.   If you live close to Waterbury join us at 10am on January 1st at Little River State Park in Waterbury for a guided tour of one of our favorite areas.  This family friendly snowshoe will take you through the remains of the CCC's overgrown Camp Smith and on an optional side-trip to a hidden waterfall.  Our jaunt will cover a little more than a mile over mostly flat terrain.  Become a part of this Vermont tradition!

We'll meet at the parking lot, 2 miles down Little River Road on the left...only two and a half miles past our store!   (Little River Road is one mile west of Exit 10 off of US RT 2.)  If you'd prefer to explore another trail on your own and create your own First Day adventure, reference the Green Mountain Club's "Snowshoeing in Vermont" Guidebook available at the GMC Visitor Center, your local bookstore, or a locally owned outdoor gear shop like ours. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Zeal Base HD Camera Goggle

The Zeal Base HD Camera Goggles continues Zeal's impressive legacy of packing the latest technology into snowboard and ski goggles.   We've always been big fans of Zeal's polarized and photochromatic lens technology.  And we were wowwed when they put the first GPS systems into ski goggles two years ago.  But this year they've struck a chord with HD Camera Goggles with high definition video and photo capabilities. 

Using the same camera technology as the Go Pro, Zeal created true point of view video experience by putting the camera lens between the eyebrows of your snowboard/ ski goggle frame.  Using a single button on your right temple you can turn on and record the action with ease.  Managing settings is easy too with the use of 3 other external buttons. 

Internally the Base HD is loaded with a viewfinder that allows you to frame the action...with no need to take off your helmet to adjust your gear and aim your shots.  The camera lens features a 170 degree view with 12 megapixel clarity.   The USB rechargeable Lithium Ion battery runs for 3+ hours in cold weather depending on usage.  And did we mention these come with Zeal's high performance Optimum Metal Mirror Lens?   All for $399.

Not convinced these are the perfect gift for your gear head partner...or yourself?  Check out more specs on our Zeal Optics Base HD Camera Goggle page

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What is the benefit of a leather lined hiking boot?

Why would you want a leather lined boot?  In a word...COMFORT.  Leather is used on the outside of hiking boots for protection...there is nothing more comfortable or durable.  When it is used inside a boot--as is commonly done in Europe--it adds to the comfort and durability of that boot or shoe.  It is helpful to think of leather as your second skin--with pores and all--because that's what it is.  A leather boot lining is literally "soft" skin placed inside the boot that will stretch and contract for a custom fit. 

Folks who are desk-bound all day often choose their footwear for style...yes, these shoes are minimally protective and often minimally comfortable.  But if you are going to be on your feet all day working, hiking, guiding, or hunting you need serious protection for your feet and you want your feet to be comfortable over many miles of abusive use. Good leather boots can do this. 

You also want your shoes or boots to keep your feet warm and dry.  The exterior leather on a pair of hiking or field boots comes treated with specially formulated waxes or creams that repel water and extend the life of your footwear.  Leather linings are tanned but not dyed or treated.  This leather is natural which allows its pores to stay open, absorbing and tranfering moisture to keep your feet comfortable all day long.  Follow this link for a good description on how Lowa leather lined boots make this happen. 

Of course you might put a premium on keeping your feet dry.  Gore-Tex linings excel at this.  Waterproof and breathable, Gore-Tex keeps rain out but wicks away sweat.  Click on this link or a good comparison of leather lined boots versus Gore-Tex boots.  Leather boot linings don't offer this extra layer of waterproof protection, so it's imperative that you take proper care of your boots' leather shell.  If you've got the time, Lowa provides and excellent, detailed set of instructions for the Care of Leather Boots.  Take care of your boots, take care of your feet.  You won't be sorry. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Weekend of Sales!

Some of our Favorite Brands are On Sale Now:  Bogs, Darn Tough, Gregory, Julbo, Marmot, Momentum and Oboz to be specific. Save up to 33% on some brands while supplies last!  Our Brand Bonanza runs through September 23rd so ACT NOW!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Where can I find a discount on a Gregory Pack?

So you know Gregory makes great packs, but you don't want to pay full price for one.  Well, now is the perfect time to buy a Gregory backpack at a discounted price.  Fall brings lots of special pricing as shops look to unload spring and summer inventory to make room for winter product.  It's also the time when you might start to see sale prices on colors or styles that are being replaced in it a good time for you to shop for a new backpack.

We're now offering lots of sale prices on our inventory of Gregory Packs.  Click here to view our Gregory Backpack Sale

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Zamberlan Styles for Fall 2013

We expect Zamberlan to formally announce its NEW Trail Hiking Boot Styles any day now.  Following in the footsteps of Zamberlan's Spring release of the award-winning 230 Crosser GTX, the Trail Hiking Boot Collection captures the cutting edge of Zamberlan's manufacturing innovation and their legendary comfort.  What's new is that Zamberlan is leveraging its need to expand production with an attempt to lower costs and make their great boots available to more hikers and backpackers.  They've achieved this with the 230 Crosser which is the first of Zamberlan's new boots to come out of a Chinese factory. 

While we still feel like it's a bit of gamble to trust this tried and true Italian brand with an overseas supply chain, we have only heard high praise from 230 Crosser customers to date.  To be sure there have been issues managing production and delivery timetables--especially once the Crosser won Backpacker's coveted Editor's Choice Award last March.  Hopefully this initial production run has given Zamberlan the opportunity to iron out the bugs and keep churning out more awesome boots. 

We've just added the new Trail Hiking boots to our Zamberlan boots site and encourage you to check of these new styles yourself.  Combining Zamberlan quality leathers, Vibram soles, and Gore-tex, consumers benefit from high quality materials, Zamberlan's trademark designs and a lower cost of production.  We predict the new Arch, Cairn, Ridge and Vista boots at $120-$160 will be a huge hit with beginning and casual hikers...a new demographic for Zamberlan.  So if you're trying Zamberlan out for the first time, this gives you a chance to "discover the difference" without taking out a home equity loan for a $500 pair of fine Norwegian welted boots. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good Times!

Maybe you've noticed it has been a while since our last post.  Our regular blogger--Dylan--is off on a 600 mile bike trip to the eastern-most corner of the United States: Lubec, Maine.  His week long trip in the open air is the perfect opportunity to test some lightweight camping gear.  We're looking forward to learning more from him.

Meanwhile back on the farm we're in the midst of our end of summer Outdoor Gear Sale.  There are lots of great brands on sale including: Black Diamond, Camelbak, MSR, Native, Thermarest, and Treksta.  So definitely check these out. 

This is also one of the few times of the year when Osprey hiking backpacks are on sale through September 2nd.   With backpacks for hydration, day hiking, and backpacking, there's an Osprey for every need.   Get yours today. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Exciting New Oboz Shoes: Luna & Traverse

Oboz has unveiled some new shoes, and these ones are pretty nifty. They are the Oboz Luna (womens) and the Oboz Traverse (mens), low cut hiking shoes for activity at a moments notice.

Some cool things about them:
Wicking and very breathable
Quite lightweight at about 17 ounces each
Aggressive sole pattern gives stellar grip
Deluxe foot-beds with heel and arch support
Super quick lacing system and bFit technology
And of course they look sexy.

The best part about the Luna and Traverse is that they're a very high quality hiking shoe for only $125.

BUT WAIT! They're on sale through the weekend, down to $97.79.

Want more info on the brand? Click Here.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Backpacking Boots -- On Sale Now @ CC

Summer is winding down, but that doesn't mean we're done backpacking - or giving discounts to backpackers. Nope, quite the contrary, because recently put some of our best backpacking boot brands on sale!

Boots from brands like Lowa, Oboz, Asolo and Vasque are all 20% off right now @ CC.

What is the difference between a hiking boot and a backpacking boot you ask? Basically, backpacking boots are going to be much more supportive than hiking boots, as they're designed to stabilize the steps of hikers who additionally carry +/- 20% of their body weight in a backpack. They're like a hiking boot with reinforcement. Many have stiffer soles -- to protect feet from the stress of stepping on pointy rocks and roots and whatnot -- and many have a polyurethane shank between the sole and the upper for more support and protection.

Backpacking boots also take time to break in, then mold to your feet for the long run.

Check out our full selection of backpacking boots online here.

Have questions about the boots? Give us a call toll free at 1-855-244-GEAR (4327).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Get the 2 Person Tent You've Always Wanted -- Marmot, Big Agnes, Sierra Designs, Nemo Sale

There's something about being enclosed in a tent that just inspires comfort and security. In my opinion, finding an epic spot to cozy up in a 2 person tent with a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a companion beats the heck out of renting a hotel room. 

At, that's the philosophy we maintain. It's simple. The world is available for us to explore. 

And it's easier now than ever to find a reliable, lightweight tent for your own, right here on our website (not to mention, we've got top-of-the-line brands like Nemo, Big Agnes, Marmot and Sierra Designs discounted).

Make a plan; take a tent, and maybe we'll see you out there!  :-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lowa Renegade GTX and Leather Lined Boots reviewed by CC

Dear Readers,

Did you know we have a YouTube page that we update frequently with video reviews of CC gear? Our most recent video review features the Lowa Renegade hiking and backpacking boot and stars Reed, out hiking around in the Green Mountains.

This is one of the most reliable boots we sell. It's versatile; it's tough; it's a boot that will last for years and years and miles and miles. We love them, and they're Lowa's best selling boot.

See the review on our YouTube page here.

Buy them on our website here.

See another review by sponsored adventurer and acclaimed author Lisa Densmore here.

Happy Hiking!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Season of Sales Continues.. Backpacking Boots now on Sale @ 20% off!!

With months to go before they become frozen and blanketed with snow, the trails we love, and yearn to discover, are open. It's the prime time to go out backpacking -- for an overnight or an expedition.
Please allow us to heighten your experience by participating in our best backpacking boot sale of the summer: 20% off Lowa boots, Asolo boots and Oboz boots.

I've got a pair of Lowa boots myself, more specifically the Lowa Renegade Mid LL (pictured above). Frankly, them puppies are tough, and I beat on them pretty hard. A couple of my friends wear the Oboz Sawtooth bDry Lo and have given great feedback: like how quick they go down the trail and how light they are and how they're unlike any other light hiking shoe they've worn -- in a good way.

Asolo is definitely the next boot brand I'm going to get. I've tried on nearly every pair we offer in the store, and their fit has a cradling aspect that makes me think they'd be very stable on trail with a heavy backpack.
And the Asolo Reston (female version called Athena) just won Backpacker Magazine's Editor's Choice Award -- a distinguishing honor by any means.

Check them out! And take advantage of this sale; your future self will thank you.


P.S. Have you liked our Facebook page yet?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Great News: Big Agnes On Sale @!

Big Agnes is one of our favorite brands at the store, because it's a company that specializes in compact coziness.

Big Agnes backpacking tents are some of the lightest on the market, as is the vast line of Big Agnes sleeping bags  Big Agnes bags--like their tents--cater to many different needs, for example their double sleeping bags or the Hans Peak SL -20 Down Sleeping Bag.  Sleek and comfortable, all Big Agnes sleeping pads -- from their Insulated and Non-Insulated Air Core pads to the Big Agnes SL Insulated Q Core--are the perfect complement for their bags.

The company is based out of Steamboat Springs, Co. and finds most of its inspiration in the surrounding wilderness.

We love and stand by our Big Agnes products and are thrilled to offer you and all of our customers 20% off any of our Big Agnes items.


Monday, July 29, 2013

New @ CC -- YouTube Video Reviews!

Want to learn more about the gear we offer, see it in action, and get reviews done by the beautiful people of

If the answer is yes, then head on over to the newest addition of the experience -- our YouTube page.

Perhaps you've seen links to our videos on our Facebook page ("Like" us!!). We will be releasing new editions whenever we can and are very welcome to requests!

If you would like to do so, comment a request below, or comment right on our YouTube videos!!

Also, feel free to submit your own reviews to us! We love to see customers utilizing our/their fabulous gear :-)

Thanks and don't forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for reviews of all sorts.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Race to the Top of Vermont -- August 25th -- Stowe, Vt

Triangulated between three of the four highest mountains in Vermont, is truly in the heart of the Green Mountains. The tallest of Vermont's peaks, Mount Mansfield, towers over our community at a height of 4393' (1339 meters). In just over a month's time, a race will be held to determine the gutsiest lady and gentleman in the area, the 6th annual Race to the Top of Vermont.

On August 25th, 800 contestants will push their will-powered drive trains up the historic Toll Road. With an elevation gain of 2564' in just 4.3 miles, this is one of the most challenging races in the northeast.

Contestants may hike, run, walk or bike. This is a family event, and there's even a 1k and 3k Mini Hill Climb for children ages 4-14. Following the races will be awards, prize giveaways, raffles, live music and a barbeque.

IF I were to subject myself to such an extreme physical and mental test as the RTTTOVT, the only pair of shoes I would consider wearing would be the Treksta Evolution GTX Trail Runner, with its lightweight but supportive build and NestFIT technology. Check them out here.

For all information, including registration details, visit

Friday, July 19, 2013

GMC Project Update: Winooski Footbridge Along the Long Trail

Vermont's footpath through the wilderness, a.k.a. The Long Trail, is one of the state's most magnificent treasures. The LT, which runs 275 miles from Massachusetts to Canada through the highest Green Mountains in the state, happens to go right by our store. Between the trail and us, however, flows the Winooski River. It was the Green Mountain Club's initiative to protect and bolster the beauty of the trail by constructing a footbridge across the Winooski River, doing away with the old three miles of roadway and autobridge.

Check out the GMC's video update of the project which includes an interview with major project benefactor Daan Zwick -- a GMC caretaker from 1938-1941!

When the project is completed (shooting for June 2014), it is going to foster a much more natural transition between Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield. The GMC would greatly appreciate supportive donations to the project, which can be made online: here.

If Summer 2014 is void of plans, why not schedule a visit to Vermont? Do some hiking and camping, take the factory tour at Ben & Jerry's, try the globally acclaimed Heady Topper by Alchemist Brewing, ride the Alpine Slide at Spruce Mountain; there's so much to do here in the heart of the Green Mountains.

But of course, while you're here, come see us at CC!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rab, Integral Designs and Grand Trunk: The Lightest Sleep Systems Out There

Most people can agree that less weight in a backpack correlates with a more enjoyable hiking experience. Whether your 16 or 60, a clunky backpack takes its toll after miles on the trail. If you're looking to cut weight from your pack, check out the lightest sleep systems available: hammocks, bivys and tarps.

For soloists, a bivy can provide ample shelter. Waterproof and breatheable, Rab and Integral Designs' bivys are designed to protect campers from the elements while cutting extraneous pounds and ounces.

Shelters can also be made from Rab and Integral Designs' superlight tarps. String, stake and stay dry from dew, with nothing between oneself and Mother Earth but an extremely durable and protective engineered fabric.

Or for the sleep system that a multitude of my buddies employ, string a Grand Trunk Nano 7 Ultralight Hammock with a Rab Siltarp2 for a fly and dream the night away. I joke when my friends "cocoon" themselves in their as they fall asleep that I'll see them when they're butterflies. One of my buddies also just purchased a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir All Season Sleeping Pad, which he puts right in the hammock, and calls the system his floating bedroom.

So if you've got a backpack that feels less pleasing on your back, consider cutting weight by means of substitution, and enter the world of ultralight, with Rab and Integral Designs Tarps and Bivys, and Grand Trunk Hammocks.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nemo Helio in Vermont Sports Magazine

At, we're big fans of Vermont Sports Magazine. They always write about fun and exciting activities that happen around the area, include interesting interviews, and publish my favorite section -- "Gear and Beer."  This month the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower was writer Josh Gleiner's gear pick.  Check out his review here.

The Nemo Helio is one of the most versatile products we have in the store. A couple uses Josh didn't touch upon: washing Bowser (as seen above), doing the dishes, and extinguishing a campfire -- just to name a few; the list really goes on and on.

Nowadays it's tough to buy an outdoor product with only one purpose. That makes it easy to see that the Nemo Helio is a multi-purpose item, surely to get plenty of usage.

Stop by and check out Nemo's innovative Tents and Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads, and, while you're here, pick up a copy of Vermont Sports Magazine!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

The April showers I was okay with. May and June's I tried to brush off, but now we're in July, and it seems to rain everyday. Yes, we are in a state of lustrous Green Mountain beauty, but the saturated ground is slowing to absorb excess water; trails are muddy; roads are being damaged ubiquitously. How much more can we take?

Vermont Department of Transportation and the 511 Travel Info Hotline have put together a live map that details road closures of which they're aware. It can be accessed here.

If you hear thunder on the trail, immediately head away from mountain peaks and for shelter. On Hunger Mountain last week, I was hiking with a friend -- ignoring the thunder -- and then lightning struck right next to us. We were lucky to not have been struck, and we learned a valuable lesson -- show much respect to the forces of nature.

I heard that a few days ago two and three quarters inches of rain fell in a period of just two hours. That's ridiculous.

Maybe the best thing to come out of all of this rain: 
some really pretty rainbows.   

Anyways, be safe, plan ahead and see you at CC.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Camping: Then and Now

Back in the proverbial day, around when I was four years old, my parents first introduced me to camping. Our clan would load up the car to its brim, connect our pop-up camper on a trailer hitch and venture to a campground for the great outdoors. For some reason, many of my earliest camping memories are associated with assailments to my health and well being: my first asthma attack happened at Little River State Park when I was six, I broke my nose when I was running and tripped on a root at Acadia, and I accidentally sawed my finger while trying to help cut firewood at some state park in New Hampshire. However, those semi-traumatic events never posed a threat to deter me from the joy of experiencing nature. In 2013, I'm 22, more active in the woods than ever before, and starting to realize that I maybe am being spoiled by the gear of today.

A week or two ago, a friend of mine came into the store to buy a pair of light hiking shoes. I showed him the Vasque Mantra 2.0 GTX, and he was thrilled and purchased them. That night we decided to break them in with a little bushwhacking expedition. Rather than using my backpacking backpack, I grabbed an old pack of my late step-dad's. Everything I needed -- my tent, sleeping pad, pillow, sleeping bag -- barely took up any room in the pack, which probably has only a 20-25 liter capacity. For you gear heads, here's some spec's on what I had:

Nemo Fillo (a camping pillow that has hugely bolstered my quality of sleep): 11 oz, 11"x17"x4"+ -- inflatable core with an inch of outer memory foam and packs into integrated stuff sack down to the size of a 16oz can
Klymit Static V: (sleeping pad) 20 oz, 23"x72"x2.5" -- so comfortable and packs to the same size as my Fillo pillow
Mountainsmith Windom 35: (sleeping bag) 36 oz and is plenty enough roomy to capacitate my 6'3" frame while keeping me toasty.
Nemo Espri 2P: (tent) 55 oz, my safe-haven

So there I am, standing over my barely-half-full bag, thinking what else could I bring? I grabbed a bottle of wine, my Jetboil Flash PCS, some teabags, and an extra water bottle. With all that, a first aid kit and some toiletries, I was set, but by the time we rallied the rest of our crew, it was about 9:45pm; enter Black Diamond Storm Headlamp.

We found the site, and I set up my living quarters in a flash. The rest of the night was great, including a luxurious bonfire, star-gazing, and a fabulous night sleep. We woke up the next morning bright and early, packed up, and went back to the regular scheduled program, our lives of work and responsibility and expectation. I threw my pack in the backseat, had to take one more moment to revel in my infinitesimal mass of cargo, and then drove to work. To me, it's cool how my job facilitates adventurers. 

If you're still lugging around outdated gear, come see me, and I'll show you the gear of today.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our Sales Never End: Osprey and Nemo ON SALE NOW!

Summer is here, and it's our season of giving discounts. Starting today, our sale brands are Osprey Packs and Nemo Tents and Sleeping Bags!

Osprey is a backpack company that makes packs of all different capacities, to fit anyone's needs -- from hikers to high-schoolers. Check out their product line on our site. (One of my good friends has the Osprey Talon 33, which he uses for both day-hikes and overnights.)

Nemo is a fairly new company, who specialize in tents. As a company, they are futuristic and just plain far-out. Nemo operates with fresh ideas and new concepts- check out their sweet sleeping bags.

Stop by our retail store, or call toll free 1-855-244-GEAR to talk to our knowledgeable staff :-)

See you @ CC!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Another Sale!! This Time: Black Diamond and Jetboil

All of our sale brands can be viewed here, always, on our seasonal promo page. On sale now -- at 20% off -- we have Black Diamond Trekking and Hiking Poles 'n' their other gear like Black Diamond Headlamps, and we also have Jetboil Cooking Systems on sale.

About Jetboil
Through June 10th, you can still get a deal on Big Agnes Tents and Big Agnes Sleeping Bags, as well as Lowa Hiking Boots and Lowa Trekking Boots.

Great gear + great prices + great weather = Zen

Stop by or call!

438 US Route 2
Waterbury VT 05676

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big Agnes and Lowa Now on Sale @

Finally, it's safe to say that Summer is upon us. Although some die-hard skiers were delighted with a freak snowfall at Stowe and Sugarbush last weekend, the mountains are now a vibrant green.   In salute to the season, we're putting a couple of our all-star hiking and camping brands on sale at 20% off: Lowa Boots and Big Agnes Tents and Bags and Pads!

Uncompromising in quality and time-tested, Big Agnes and Lowa are two of our top brands. Whether you need a new sleep system -- ultralight backpacking tent or a tent for car-camping -- or a hiking boot that will let you glide down trails and up mountains, you can find it discounted at, now through June 10th!

A couple of my personal fav's:

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL-4 4-person Ultralight Tent

Big Agnes Fly Creek UL4 4-Person Ultralight Tent
Big Agnes Fly Creek UL4 4-Person Ultralight Tent





^^^^Save $100!!! ^^^^

Lowa Khumbu II GTX Hiking Boots

 ^^^^ Save $50!!!^^^^

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lowa, Osprey, Deuter, Leki Demo was a great success!

This past Tuesday we CC'ers got the pleasure of demoing some of the gear we purvey: Leki poles, Osprey Packs, Deuter Packs, and LOWA BOOTS. It became very clear to see why many of these products were selected by Backpacker Magazine and Outside Magazine as being worthy of your precious pennies. Check out my co-worker Lynne (in blue), and other shop employees from around NE, taking in the scenery.

I sported the Lowa Renegade GTX and Lowa Camino GTX and an Osprey Talon 33. I was thoroughly wowed by the shoes' grip, ankle support and overall comfort, and I found the pack to be practically perfect for multi-day use. 

Y'all should have seen Lynne crossing streams in her Lowa Khumbu II GTX. Submerged in water right up to her double-knotted shoelaces, her feet stayed dry and comfy all day. 

Reed was rockin' the Lowa Zephyr GTXs, Leki Corklite poles, and the Deuter Futura 32. He was all smiles. :-)

Twas misty, but we still saw breath-taking views of the White Mountains and learned tons about these awesome products.

We're proud to have them in store and welcome all to come check 'em out!!!


P.S. I'm back for the summer, so look forward to reading plenty more blog entries from yours truly. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Backpacking with hiking boots or trail runners: The perennial debate

We wrestle with this question all the time in the shop and offer our thoughts/advice on what is really a matter of personal choice.  Matt Heid concisely captured the essence of this debate in his Appalachian Mountain Club blog post Hiking boots vs. Trail Runners.  So we thought we'd share it. 

What Matt didn't say is that many hiking boot makers are now making boots in an attempt to split the difference.  Their provide stability and support at minimal weight.  The two that caught the attention of Backpacker Magazines' Editors in their testing in the past few months are the Asolo Reston--and the Athena for women--and the Zamberlan Crosser.  The Asolo takes on the challenge with mid-ankle support, PU inserts, and a minimalist approach that results in a boot more akin to a slipper than what we usually think of as a backpacking boot.  Zamberlan's Crosser offers a beefier sole platform than the Reston relying on placement of rigid PU pieces in key places like the heel.  With a lightweight mesh and GTX upper, reinforced by Kevlar around the sides this shoe offers Zamberlan's legendary fit without the weight.  However Zamberlan has had major supply issues with their mid-ankle 230 Crosser, so for now interested hikers would be best looking at the low cut 130 Crosser where there is still some limited availability.  Yes, we've blogged about these backpacking boots before, so we won't belabor the point.  Just use our blog's search tool if you'd like to read more. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vermont Gear Swap to Benefit the VYCC

Join us at the 2nd Annual Vermont Gear Swap and Sale at the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps' Monitor Barn on Saturday May 4th --Green Up Vermont Day-- from 9am -3pm.  20% of ALL SALES goes to benefit the VYCC and the Burlington Sunrise Rotary.  The VYCC has a busy summer ahead with more work planned to restore Vermont's trails in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.   We'll bring along some great deals for hikers, campers, and backpackers and you should too!  SIGN UP HERE to bring in your gear on consignment. 

The 2013 Vermont Gear Swap and Sale will feature live music and hot food for a great celebration of spring!  Come support the work of the VYCC and the Rotary and pick up a deal for yourself.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Get Your Gregory! At 20% Off....

There's no better time than spring to get that new Gregory Pack you've been eyeing.  Save 20% at our Spring Gregory backpack sale!  Experience backpacking comfort and organization at its best.  As an authorized Gregory Dealer we can help you choose the ideal pack for you next trip and make sure you get the right fit. 

A good place to start your search is with the Gregory Baltoro 65 or 75, the king of the backpacking hill so-to-speak.  This pack has got it all and couldn't be more comfortable.  If you need less space or want less weight check out the Gregory Savants and their Z-series packs. You'll find them all on sale in our Gregory Backpack Sale

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

External Pitch: Sierra Designs Gets it Right

The innovative external pitch tent design of Sierra Designs' Flash 2 Tent won accolades from reviewers at Backpacker Magazine like it's older sister the Mojo 2 tent (pictured above on a tent platform in Vermont's Camel's Hump State Park).  Like the Mojo, the Sierra Designs Flash 2 tent combines single and double wall features to shave weight and provide ventilation while also being a cinch to set up.  Unlike the Mojo, the Flash 2 brought home a 2013 Backpacker Editor's Choice Award

Why?  About the Flash 2 on  the Backpacker editors' explain "Score a tent that has it all:  low weight and impressive durability plus ample living space and solid storm protection."(p. 26)  While the Mojo 2 tent is a practical minimalist machine, the Flash 2 tent (and the Flash 3) offer the most of the same benefits AND enough room for two (or three) people to who are out to have fun on a backpacking trip.  At least that's my sense of the bent of the average Backpacker reader who is unlike the lightweight minimalist seeking physical and emotional challenge on some existential quest. Think drinking and playing cards at night versus passing out from exhaustion. 

If you ever get the chance to set up an external pitch tent you see just how much easier it is to set up as there is no separate fly to deal with.  And this means that if you have to set up in the rain, the inside of your tent is not getting wet!  With 39 inches of headroom at its peak and near vertical walls this is a tent built for romance...or getting some distance from the stench of your backpacking buddy. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nemo - Best in the Backcountry

Nemo Equipment is on a roll.  With three Backpacker Editor's Choice Awards in the past four years, we give them a lot of credit for innovations that continue to raise the bar in the outdoor industry.  This year's Backpacker Gear Guide showcased the Nemo Nocturne 15 and Nocturne 30 Spoon Sleeping Bags.  "The best night of sleep I've ever had in the backcountry," raved Backpacker's deputy editor.  Two major innovations--not just one--make Nemo's new sleeping bags "pioneering".  The obvious introduction of the "spoon" shape led Backpacker's gear editor to observe, "The ability to roll over and slide my legs up inside the bag gave me unfettered, home-like comfort".  And the use of 700-fill "Down Tek" means that this down bag performs more like a synthetic bag when wet than a traditional down bag.  "Down Tek" is one of several new down treatments of the last year that "resist moisture" and will completely change the way we look at down insulation in the outdoors.  We're excited about the entire new line of Nemo sleeping bags. 

But Nemo's reputation for making great products began in 2002 with "air-supported" tents like the Morpho 2P.  Out-of-the-box thinking led to pole-less tents supported by columns of air.  Several award winning tents later, Nemo developed the Meta 2P trekking pole tent that arrived with much fanfare in the ultra-light backpacking world.  Although arriving on the scene without the same buzz, Nemo's Obi tents deserve a serious look from any backpacker considering buying a new tent.  Now available in a three person version--the Obi 3P tent--and an "elite" series of trimmed down tents, nothing beats an Obi for ease of use and liveability.  And nothing beats the deals you'll find right now if you buy during our Nemo tent sale

First known for its rugged, light, and smart tent designs, Nemo expanded into the world of lightweight backcountry sleeping pads two years ago with the Nemo Astro Air pad that made a splash winning an Editor's Choice award two years ago for it's comfort, weight, and value. Combine all three--bag, tent, and pad--and go for your best night in the backcountry. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Big Agnes Tents: The Backpacker's Choice

Why does Big Agnes win so many Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Awards?  Outstanding design, cutting-edge materials, and innovation that meets the needs of backpackers and campers.  This year's Big Agnes Scout UL2 proves it, setting a new standard for space to weight ratios.  It's unique single wall, trekking pole design offers a roomy interior with lots of head room at a trail weight of 2 lbs.   While you can't stand straight up, most people can at least stand enough to pull on their pants.  And the Big Agnes Scout tent costs only $279 to boot. 

While the Scout UL2 is still only available in limited quantities and thus is not part of our Spring Big Agnes Tent and Sleeping Bag Sale other past Big Agnes Backpacker Editor's Choice winners are on sale!  The Copper Spur UL4 won the award two years ago as well as Outside Magazine's Gear of the Year Award.  Good luck finding a better four person tent on the market!  And the Fly Creek UL2 tent won the 2010 Backpacker Editor's Choice and still remains the go-to thru-hiker tent for those who don't want to hunker down in a bivy or a bivy-like one-person tent. 

Really all the Fly Creek and Copper Spur tents are excellent choices for backpackers. The Fly Creeks are for those willing to sacrifice more on space than weight, while the Copper Spur tents offer excellent weight savings for those expecting a little more than "just enough" room when out in the backcountry.  Go with a 2 person or 3 person tent if you want just a little more room for yourself, your partner, and/or a dog.  And go with the Copper Spur series if you like to have room to sit and play cards. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Backpacker's Editor's Choice Awards 2013

The Backpacker Gear Guide is like a Bible to us so we like to call attention to it on our homepage and our blog.  As much as we like to hike and test gear ourselves, we simply don't have the cadre of devoted gear testers...or the resources to put so much gear to the test in so many diverse locations.  For many of Backpacker's reviewers this is not only their passion, but their vocation.  Most spend 80 nights a year or more in the backcountry.  So when these folks gather to review their experiences with the new gear and feedback--and then award the Backpacker Editor's Choice Awards to the best of the best--we listen.  At the moment we've got 7 of the 15 pieces of gear either in the store or on its way and we're hoping to bring in more.  So visit online or in-person and find out more about these Backpacker award-winning tents, boots, sleeping bags and headlamps. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ahhh! Restons.

Looking to buy the Asolo Reston award-winning trekking boot? (or it's sister the Asolo Athena?)  Our first shipment arrived an hour ago and we couldn't wait to try them on and tell you about them!  These boots are so new--and limited in availability--that if you've heard of them at all it's likely because they were just given Backpacker Magazine's 2013 Editor's Choice Award in the 2013 Gear Guide that started hitting mailboxes at the end of last week. 

Asolo's Reston and Athena are a part of their new "Natural Shape Line" an innovative combination of the low to the ground, lightweight minimalist trend and the support offered by traditional boots.  Besides the impressive styling, what is initially striking is how comfortable the Reston is when you slip it on.  OK, it's also hits you immediately how light this shoe is especially given that it has a full-length "shank" that Asolo is calling the "Central insert Asoflex Natural Shape in TP".  While it's not as substantial as a heavier weight boot, this insert clearly offers support and protection against the contours of the trail in a way that running shoes and minimalist footwear can't.

The size 10.5 weighs in at just about 1 lb 3 oz. apiece...for comparison this is about an ounce heavier than Treksta's lightweight Evolution Mid hiker that won the 2011 Editor's Choice Award.  For protection give the edge to the Reston's TPU underfoot, but for support the Evolution's Nestfit outperforms for anyone looking for more motion control.   Both are surprisingly comfortable shoes, the Restons on my feet almost feel like slippers!   I can't wait to test them on the trail. 

Note:  While a comfortable average width, if you've got a wider foot you probably should be looking at Zamberlan's 230 Crosser...also see yesterday's blog. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The 2013 Backpacker Gear Guide is Out!

The 2013 Backpacker Gear Guide has hit newstands!  This big annual event pulls together the best new--and old--offerings in the outdoor gear world.  Backpacker rigorously tests new gear and pronounces only a few of the best pieces of equipment as Editor's Choice Award winners.  This year Backpacker chose 15 Editor's Choice winners, more than in recent years.  We're featuring seven 2013 Editor's Choice winners of these on our home page. 

The first Editor's Choice Award winner was announced at the annual winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City and it went to the Zamberlan 230 SH Crosser Mid GTX hiking boots.  Three years ago when  Zamberlan won it's last Backpacker Award, it was a struggle for the Italian bootmaker and retailers to keep up with the demand created by the prestigious accolade.  This time around Zamberlan has already set up a second production line for the 230 Crosser...and boots will be air freighted to the United States.  We expect to our first Crossers any day and we've already set up a waitlist for folks excited for this boot!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Green Mountain Club Snowshoe Festival: Feb. 2, 2013

Looking for a great activity in Central Vermont this coming weekend?  February 2, 2013 is the date of the Green Mountain Club's Annual Snowshoe Festival.  A wide range of guided snowshoe tours for beginners through experts will be leaving from the Green Mountain Club's Visitor Center on RT 100 in Waterbury on Saturday morning starting at 8:30 am.  Click here to learn about the different trips available.  If there is one you are particularly interested in joining it would be wise to call the club for a specific step off time. 

And of course if you don't have snowshoes of your own--or you want to try out a different pair--CC Outdoor Store will be on hand providing demos from our snowshoe selection.  Come join the fun!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Snowshoeing at the Waterbury Winter Festival 2013

Snowshoeing will be a central part of the First Annual Waterbury Winter Festival on Saturday Jan. 19th  thanks to CC Outdoor Store.  Located on RT 2 in Waterbury, VT, CC Outdoor Store caters to the interests of outdoors lovers, especially hikers and snowshoe users. "This is a big event for us" say store owner Reed McCracken.  "Snowshoes are the core of our winter business.  What better way to celebrate winter here in Waterbury than with an outdoor activity that all ages and abilities can fully enjoy right out the back door!"

Saturday's snowshoe events at Dac Rowe Field include a guided tour at 10 a.m., kids' snowshoe races at 11 a.m., and self-guided snowshoeing from 10-2 p.m.  The kids' snowshoe races are open to children from ages 4 to 4th grade.  Donated prizes include kids socks from Darn Tough Vermont for the winners of each age bracket.   In addition to having a great time, kids will get to learn about the growing sport of snowshoe racing.  American snowshoe makers Crescent Moon and MSR have generously donated use of a variety of demo snowshoes for this event.  Free use  of demo snowshoe will be available from 10 - 2 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis.  "Folks can come learn about snowshoeing and the benefits of different types of snowshoes" notes McCracken.   

Another Winter Festival snowshoe event on January 19th is the Mountain Challenge put on by the Vermont National Guard.  Starting at noon, participants will have the chance to test their mettle on a specially designed obstacle course comprised of natural and man-made features while on snowshoes carrying a weighted pack.  Members of the public can race the clock or venture through the course on their own snowshoes or try out the National Guard's standard military issue shoes by MSR.  SSR Andy Courville and other members of the VT National Guard will be on hand to offer snowshoe instruction throughout the day. 

Saturday's events provide a great opportunity for first timers to come out and learn the basics of snowshoeing, while experienced users can also join in the fun.  All events are free and open to the public.  For more information contact:  info@ccoutdoorstore or 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

The New Year here in Vermont starts with snow falling and two feet of snow on the ground.  As we contemplate the new directions 2013 will take us, we also lust after some new outdoor gear: a new sled, new skis, new boots, new gloves....   Whereever and whatever the New Year brings you, we wish you peace, prosperity, joy, and adventure!