There are few things that make me long for summer camping trips and weekends of trout fishing like my Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern. Its ingenious and elegant design immediately brings to mind the soft internal glow of a dome tent, slugging down tumblers of rye around the campfire with friends and reading late into the night tucked into my little camper van. It’s a product that actually inspires me to plan a trip simply because I get such a kick out of using this smart little piece of gear. This connection falls directly in line with Snow Peak’s brand promise as the “natural lifestyle creator.” Their tools and gear truly inspire a life lived in ease and harmony with the outdoors.
My first encounter with the Topo Designs founders Jedd Rose (below right) and Mark Hansen was a perfectly orchestrated meeting over beers that happened completely by chance 4000 miles from home. A few months back I purchased a few items from the Topo online store and really came to love the design and aesthetics. I used the bags a bunch and more often than not people asked me where they came from. Intrigued I followed the guys on Twitter and Instagram and enjoyed the laid back and approachable nature of the company. That feeling came full circle when Mark and Jedd stopped me this week in a bar in Florence after a long day in the hot sun at the peacock friendly menswear trade show that is Pitti Uomo.
The folksie crew from the Swedish label Fjällräven (pictured above) opened their New York store (the company’s only American outpost) last November on Mott Street, bringing much of their outdoor-centric gear to the States for the first time. Coming up on the store’s one year anniversary Fjällräven (who is a client of my marketing company Paul + Williams) got together with Jeff Thrope of Cold Splinters fame to refresh the space with all sorts of camping essentials and cool gear to compliment Fjällräven’s Greenland Jackets, G-1000 waxed clothing, packs, tents and other Scandinavian equipment. Basically the store stocks everything you need to have an adventure — and all in one place. I think Jay Carroll put it best when he called the Fjällräven US team “outdoor nerds.” I’ll go ahead and add that they are now “retail nerds” too, since they definitely know how to create an interesting store environment. [Fjällräven | 262 Mott Street, NYC]
The Trad in his infinite knowledge of interesting things points us to one of the most entertaining reads the Sunday Book Review has ever offered up. The gem of an essay is on Minnesota native and epic hook and bullet purveyor George Herter. The titles of Herter’s books alone make me love the guy. The archive includes: “How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live on $10 a Month,” the popular “Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices” and my personal favorite “How to Live With a Bitch.”
Having the good camping gear makes a world of difference when you are out in the wilderness. I get my daily fix for all things outdoors from one of my favorites, Cold Splinters and the site’s author Jeffrey Thrope was kind enough to put together a special round-up of his ten favorite camping / hiking / outdoor items, exclusively for ACL. Check out his picks and thoughts below.
Practical for camping? No, not really. I wouldn’t recommend stuffing a pair of Round House yalls in your pack (I use an Osprey Aether 70) for a huge trek. But if you’re not going that far and you’re looking forward to the lounging time more than the hike itself, get to your campsite, throw down your stuff and change right away. There aren’t too many things as comfortable.