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Archive for April, 2011

Nemo Tent Reviews

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Spring is in the air and camping season is around the corner so we wanted to take a look at some of  the newest tents from one of our favorite outdoor brands, Nemo. The new line of 2011 Nemo tents are in, and we spent some time with two exciting shelters, the Nemo Obi 2 and Nemo Meta 2.


The Nemo Meta 2 is both ultralight and ultra-roomy by taking advantage of something you probably already have on hand in the backcountry; trekking poles. For a scant 2 lbs 15 oz, or 1.3 kg, you get a whopping 37 square feet of interior space and two doors and vestibules with an additional 22 square feet! Go to our Nemo Meta 2 product page for full details. Also, check out this video of a Meta 2 being set up (in under two minutes!):




Next up is the Nemo Obi 2, an incredible tent that has all the luxuries of a double-wall tent (and a few more) in an ultralight, freestanding package. For 3 pounds (1.4 kg), you get 27 square feet of interior space and two doors and vestibules with an additional 18 square feet of storage space. Throw in thoughtful details like a Gear Caddy (a plethora of pockets for all your gear) with Light Pockets that diffuse a headlamp dropped in for interior lighting, the first recyclable DAC Featherlite Poles, and Jake’s Foot pole ends that make set up and take down a snap, and you’ve got a great camping companion. Go to our Nemo Obi 2 product page for more information and a video with set up, details and more.

We’ve still got our best selling Nemo models too, so we thought we’d round up some of our customer Nemo tent reviews all in one spot for you. Here’s a look at what people love about Nemo tents:


excellent with minor exceptions

Date Posted: 2009-10-29
Posted By: Frank
Location: Fort Myers, FL United States

The Nemo Asashi is an incredible tent! It is extremely easy to assemble with tons of common sense engineering throughout. My first setup was done in the thick of the night at about 10:30pm without any problems. Total set-up time first time was maybe 20 minutes. There after I can have it set up in close to 10 minutes.


5 Under $50: Amgen Tour of California

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Lake Tahoe is in for some serious cycling action May 15 and 16th when the Amgen Tour of California starts its 2011 race around the lake. We’ve compiled these affordable finds to help you get in gear for the day. With the race route blocked off, we’ll be riding our bikes to get around and these accessories will help us do so safely and in style:

1) Planet Bike Beamer 1 Light Set – Front and Rear $24.95 (sale price)

The race kicks off on Sunday May 15 at 10:30 am in South Lake Tahoe, then loops clockwise around the lake 1.5 times, finishing at Northstart-at-Tahoe just after 3 pm. Though all this action will happen well after and before dark, we suggest outfitting your bike with these safety lights. Keep the rear red blink light on all day for safety, then turn on the front Beamer 1 to get home from the after parties.

2) Summit Bugle Bulb Bike Horn $8.95

The World Cup had the vuvuzela; Amgen Tour of California has bike bells and horns like this classic model. Honk with the loudest of fans with this monster on your handle bars!

3) Basil Jasmin Kid’s Farm Bike Basket $22.46 (sale price)

Kids won’t want to miss out on the fun, and this sturdy metal basket will keep all their essentials and swag from all the street vendors at hand.

4) Soma Morning Rush Coffee Mug and Bike Holder $39.95

This pure genius invention keeps your coffee handy for morning commutes. Race fans will be lining up early for the best course-side spots, so the Soma Morning Rush is the best bike accessory for those who need their morning java. Sunday’s start time is 10:30 am in South Lake Tahoe; Monday’s Stage 2 to Sacramento kicks off at Squaw Valley USA at 10:15 am.

5) Nite Ize Spokelites $7.49

At each stage’s finish line is a cycling-themed party like no other: health and fitness expo, cycling gear, family fun, food, entertainment and much more. We plan to stand out from the crowd (and get home safely) with these spoke lights from Nite Ize. Trick out your spokes in red, green, blue, disco or amber.

Stay tuned for more Amgen Tour of California details and fun. Our Kings Beach shop is course-side so we’ll definitely have a race-watching party and sale. We also just caught wind of a cool Bike Swap hosted by Biking for a Better World on Saturday May 14. More info to come!

5 Under $50 is a monthly Tahoe Mountain Sports blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear.

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Take care of what your mama gave ya! This day is a great reminder to respect the planet. It encouraged me to finally pick up all the trash around my neighborhood beach. Thanks for being awesome, Earth!

Black Diamond Z Pole Review

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The new Black Diamond Z Poles are a lightweight force to be reckoned with. Strong, compactable and superlight, the Z Pole lineup is the next generation of trekking poles, designed for thru-hikers, runners and endurance athletes but sure to be in the hands of savvy hikers worldwide.

With a design similar to that of an avalanche probe, the Z Poles easily break down into three sections (a short bundle you could stash in a pocket) connected by a flexible Kevlar inner cord. Here’s our take on the three models:

Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z Poles

Featured in Backpacker magazine’s 2011 Gear Guide, the top-end model of the Z Pole line is an all-around winner. The editors proclaimed in bold print: “Get a grip on the best carbon poles we’ve ever tested,” and then followed that up by saying their magazine weighs twice as much as one Ultra Distance Z Pole. Wow. To top off its full carbon construction, the Ultra Distance includes a lightweight EVA grip with a mini extension for adjusting your grip on steeper slopes, a moisture-wicking hand strap and interchangeable non-marking rubber and carbide tips.

Black Diamond Distance FL Poles

The most versatile Z Pole model, the Distance FL combines all the fancy new features of the Z Pole line with FlickLock adjustability. I love the versatility of an adjustable pole, so this is my Z Pole of choice for the coming hiking season. The 3-piece aluminum shaft weighs a touch more than the Ultra Distance, but I’m no serious ounce-counter.

Black Diamond Distance Z Poles

The base model of the bunch, the Distance Z Pole is a pared down version of the Ultra Distance and Distance FL, yet retains all the top-quality features that are making Z Poles stand out from the crowd this season. Same lightweight EVA grip, same interchangeable tips, the basic aluminum Distance Z Pole is the go-to trekking pole for a budget conscious hiker who doesn’t care about adjustability or going ultra, ultralight with carbon.

Have a Black Diamond Z Pole Review to share? Comment here, or review on

Sea Otter Classic 2011

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

While we hung out in the never-ending Tahoe snow last weekend, TMS friend Brit Crezee took a trip down to the Sea Otter Classic and wrote up this report for us – thanks Brit!

WHO: Brit Crezee

WHAT: Sea Otter Classic

WHERE: Monterey, California

WHEN: April 15–17, 2011

GEAR: Reef flip flops and of course Gromeez T-shirts for our two groms to sport

Last Friday I waved goodbye to Truckee and the six feet of snow in the yard and headed south for the Sea Otter Classic at Lugana Seca Raceway. After a 700-inch winter, Monterey sunshine was a welcome treat.

As the ski and bike worlds are a bit incestual by nature, it was no surprise to see so many Tahoe folks representing as competitors, vendors and Joe Shmoes (like me) who just needed a break from winter. Local nonprofit Biking for a Better World snagged this video (edited by the fabulous Emily Turner) so be sure to check it out. You don’t want to miss the sick action!

Every year, Sea Otter kicks off the West Coast riding scene with a four-day cornucopia of all things bike. The event has something on tap for everyone from roadies and downhillers to dirt jumpers. The event draws top pros and beginners alike with competitive classes for almost every discipline. The massive vendor expo is like a candy shop for gear heads and industry hobnobbers.

But you don’t have to be a competitor or a hard-core bike junkie to enjoy this event. For families and groms, Sea Otter offers kids races and a mini bike play zone not to mention a handful of free bounce houses and kid friendly activities (hint to parents: the Sierra Nevada booth is nearby).

For spectators, there were trials and mountain bike stunt demos. Camp of Champions out of Whistler pumped up the crowd with a Big Air Bag exhibit. H5 Events and Red Bull hosted a rocking dirt jump contest and the speed and style track made a sweet addition to the daily scene.

Expo-goers earned swag by competing in arm wrestling, extreme musical chairs and other wacky contests. I walked away with a new “peanut butter spreader.” This was a personal first in the swag department but my well-concealed excitement confirmed for me that parenthood has officially killed any bit of “cool” left in my blood.

So after a healthy dose of sunshine and some chill time by the sea, the annual pilgrimage to Sea Otter reminds us that bike season isn’t gone forever. It just might be a while before we’re back in the saddle at Tahoe.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb, bike or Sea Otter Classic trip) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

An Unrequited Love Letter – A High Sierra Misadventure

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

We are excited to hear from Tahoe resident and climber Chris Doyle today on our blog. He wrote up his story in response to all the stoke coming from The Love Letter project by Fitz and Becca Cahall, sponsored by Osprey and Outdoor Research. Fitz and Becca are former Tahoe residents who now live in Seattle, where Fitz runs his ever-growing empire of adventure-telling via Dirtbag Diaries and numerous other projects. When they set out on their 300-mile journey to find new and classic climbing routes across the spine of the Sierra, they called up Chris to meet up with them along the way. Here’s his story. Be sure to watch the film (embedded below), and write your own love letter on The Love Letter’s Facebook page.

If we’re talking in terms of love, I had bought the ring. The Sierra is known for perfect summertime weather. It’s got the best climate in the country for being able to make your plans a month before. You usually don’t have to worry much about things not working out because they usually do. There wasn’t a question in my mind when I left to meet Fitz and Becca that we weren’t going to do the route. It’s not too big or too hard; we were destined for a fun, good time. The Edge of Time on the Citadel was definitely going to say “yes.” Or so I thought.

I hadn’t hung out with my old climbing buddy Fitz in a long time. You know, he moved to Seattle, started spending lots of time with his phone, became a legit Dirtbag… So when I got the call that they were heading my way on their big trip and I should join them, I didn’t hesitate. We analyzed their timeline, picked a couple dates and places where they hoped to be, thought about spots I hadn’t been — somewhere that’d be a new adventure for both of us.

I like to go to routes that are off the beaten path, ones away from the road that a lot of people don’t climb. I’d always heard the Edge of Time on the Citadel was a really good route, the timing was right, and Fitz was fired up to make it happen. So it was settled, I would drive the 4.5 hours from Tahoe, hike the 16 miles in, and see my trail-worn friends. We’d meet far out in Kings Canyon, their tired arms reaching out to greet me, me fully stocked to stoke them out. I’d packed a nice, boxed wine, some fine cheese they requested, and the fixings for the finest dinner these backpackers would see in all their 300 miles.

I set off the day before our scheduled rendezvous. The plan was to get my wilderness permit that afternoon, then drive up to camp at South Lake where it’s nice and cool. I’d go to sleep, get up early, and hike in. Which is what I did. I just happened to get food poisoning somewhere along the way. My mellow evening turned into four hours of puking on the side of the road at South Lake. The next morning I was pretty worked from the up chuck, and not having eaten any dinner. But it was nice out, and I was destined to see my friends. Puke and rally.

I got brutalized right off the bat. The six or seven uphill miles at the beginning of Bishop Pass (11,972 feet) didn’t help my condition. My stomach was shredded. Some 15 miles later, I made it to within a mile our meeting spot. I had only seen a few other souls out that day, but then two park rangers appeared. As soon as I got within speaking distance, one said, “Hey are you Chris Doyle?” (Strange.) “Yep.” “Well your friends got sick and hiked out yesterday evening. So they’re not here to meet you.”

OH the AGONY! 15 miles in. So close. And now this? Apparently Fitz’s phone didn’t have reception until it was too late to warn me. So there I stood. With no partners to tackle the route, no one in sight but the rangers, I turned around and set up camp by a set of nice lakes in Dusy Basin. Alone. But I made the most of it. And I don’t regret a step. I took a great hike, had a beautiful camp all to myself… any time, no matter how heart-breaking, is well spent in the High Sierra. Sadly though, thanks to my food-poisoned stomach, I couldn’t fully enjoy the gourmet meal I packed, but it probably wouldn’t have tasted that good anyway. Like the wise Charlie Brown once said, “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”

The view from my camp in Dusy Basin

A month or so later, Fitz, Becca, and I were going to give it another go, this time at the Pharaoh, north of Yosemite. They called me from Twolomne Meadows. The weather had shut us down; they had to hike through a burly snowstorm. Sometimes you have to let love go. Sometimes adventures don’t love you back. Sometimes you get the Sierra bitch-slap.

Eastern Sierra Spring Adventure

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Eastern Sierra Road Trip Snowkiting

WHO: Dave and Pam – TMS owners

WHAT: Annual Corporate Retreat

WHERE: Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California

WHEN: Early April, 2011

GEAR: So much, impossible to list! Highlights: Nemo Espri Tent, Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern, Deuter Cruise Backpacks, Black Diamond Drift Skis and on and on and on

We headed out of Tahoe under a sunny sky but uncertain forecast. The plan was to ski, kite, camp, soak, discuss and strategize while testing some of our best gear in one of the most beautiful places on earth that just happens to be in our backyard!

Day 1: Got a late start from Tahoe, but the forecast was for wind so the goal was snowkiting. We ended up at Conway Summit, just south of Bridgeport, CA, and skinned out about 30 minutes to a clear ridge with a good breeze. I managed to get the Ozone Manta 12 launched and kited for a couple hours while Pam toured in the surrounding hills and got some great shots of me. See below:

Dave Snowkiting the Sierra

Dave Snowkiting the Sierra

Snowkiting with an Ozone Kite

Snowkiting with an Ozone Kite







Day 2: Really, this day started with the night before. The storm rolled in with 60-80 mph wind gusts in the desert and even though the hot springs were close by, they weren’t enough to cut the chill of the night coupled with the dust flying through the air. Then, the snow started around 3am. It was a long night with little sleep, but we woke to a whiteout. Drove into town, Mammoth ski area was practically closed down and visibility was basically nothing, even in town. So, we went for a tour to really get in touch with the elements. It turned out to be a great decision as we  skinned around Lake Mary in the middle of a blizzard.

Nemo Tent, Snow Peak Lantern, Pam ReadingWaking up to some big flakes in the Nemo Tent

Still snowingBuried street sign at Lake Mary

Day 3: Pow, Pow, Pow….. It had been snowing about 36 hours at this point, and the area around Mammoth was up to about 24 in. of snow. These conditions required sheltered trees where we could ride the powder and be safe in the backcountry, all at the same time, ripping it up on our Dynafit setups with Black Diamond skis and boots.

Pam skiing the backcountry powder

Day 4: We started north, and the Cocaine Chute up to the Dana Plateau was the goal for today. We had no idea if the weather would permit this, but it was shining brightly (though still windy) when we got our late start. We made it to the base of the Chute before the weather turned us around and told us to head back down the hill before it got worse. You can see in the pics below there are 2 folks who made an earlier start and got to the top even with all the wind blowing that snow around. By the time we got to the bottom, we couldn’t even see the ridge anymore. What a great trip!

Skinning up among the big treesSkinning up towards the Coke Chute2 people mid Coke ChuteDeuter Cruise Backpack in Action

Looking down on Mono LakeV-Bowls in Lee Vining

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, surf, climb, bike or Eastern Sierra backcountry ski) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Lake Tahoe Eye Candy

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I captured this cool panorama while at a West Shore beach today… Some crazy cloud action going on! I hear it’s snowing at the resorts, but it’s sunny as can be here. At the photo’s right is Homewood ski resort, at left is Tahoe City. Right smack in the middle of the gray is South Lake Tahoe.

The Great Ski Race – 2011 Video

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

WHO: Lis and some 800 other racers

WHAT: The Great Ski Race

WHERE: the 18-kilometers between Tahoe City and Truckee

WHEN: March 6, 2011

GEAR: Patagonia base layers, Black Diamond Pilot gloves, Smith interchangeable lens sunglasses

This post is a bit belated since the Great Ski Race was a month ago, but I figured the world should see this fast-motion video captured by Rylan Cordova. Conditions were slow this year, with the top racers coming in a good 20 minutes later than the course record. Downhill carnage was prime, too, as you can see from the video. Though as an undertrained first-timer, and with the conditions being what they were (slightly raining, slushy snow underfoot), I was unexpectedly stoked on the race. Super fun all the way through, and I only fell once—a feat it appears. I finished at just under 3 hours, and you can see me, wearing red, in Rylan’s above video at 1:26.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk (or hike, ski, surf, climb, bike or Great Ski Race) in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

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