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Archive for September, 2013

Boreas Packs Testing Team- Gear Review: Sapa Trek Adventure Pack

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Introducing Round 2 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews:

Earlier this year we teamed up with Boreas Gear to test their new line of Adventure Travel backpacks. Alex Von der Mehden of Eagle Scout troop 707 promised that if we gave him an adventure pack, he would put it through the wringer and return with feedback. He just returned from the field – freeride mountain biking, kayaking on the Russian River, hiking and fishing. Here’s what he has to say about his new Boreas Sapa Trek backpack:


When I received the Boreas Sapa Trek on my front porch and opened the box I lit up with excitement. My first impression of the pack was how sleek and stylish it looked. I then began examining it and found it was also extremely durable and ready for a tough summer. Before this pack I had a small day pack that barely fit the things that I needed. It was not very useful. When I started using the Sapa Trek as my main pack, life outdoors became so much easier. I had room to pack anything I wanted aplus more. I also like how simple the outside was, making it look clean and sleek, and how the inside had secret stashes to keep everything organized. Tahoe Mountain Sports allowed me to test the Boreas Sapa Trek backpack, and trust me, I put it to its limits in the heat, in crazy rain storms, and getting thrown around multiple Scout camps in different states.

TMS: How do you like the way the pack sits on your back?

Alex: The Sapa Trek sits wonderfully on my back. It was extremely comfortable wearing it all day as a day pack. The foam was extremely comfortable even when it was weighed down with 40 pounds of gear. The straps are also extremely comfortable and very adjustable for any body size and comfort zone.

Are there any changes you would make to the belt buckle?

No, the design is very unique and fits well. The straps make it very easy to tighten for just the right fit.

What activities do you feel this pack is best suited for?

The Sapa Trek is universal to almost any situation. I used the pack as both an adventure daypack and an overnight pack. At one Scout camp I carried harnesses, climbing shoes, and over 200 feet of climbing rope to our climbing destinations. At another camp I carried a wide variety of gear like bike tools, towels, hydration reservoir, first aid kits, extra clothes, etc.


Is there a similar pack you have been lusting after?

No, I have not been looking at other packs recently but there are features on backpacks that I always look for. This pack has many of them. A large front access zipper, a waterproof pocket, a waterproof outer coating and durability.

What did you like most about the pack?

My favorite feature on the Sapa Trek backpack was the front zipper. This feature makes it really easy to access the whole backpack with ease. boreas-sapa-trek-storageEven with a full backpack bulging at the seams, I was able to unzip the front and grab some tie down rope from the bottom before zipping it back up with ease. I would definitely recommend, and maybe even make this a new standard, on all of my future backpack purchases.

What did you like least about the pack?

My only complaint would be about the internal plastic frame in the backpack. The frame made the backpack very comfortable and kept its shape, but what I would change on it is the very top of it. When I had my mountain biking full-face and XC helmets on, the pack rode up to far and would limit the movement of my head, so when I was freeriding I had minimal vision. I would suggest that Boreas Gear simply make a cut in the top of the frame that allows some extra movement.

Overall thoughts on the backpack?

Overall, the Sapa Trek is a great pack. It is versatile for any situation. The pack definitely had a lot of planning put into it, down to the smallest details. It incorporates functionality and simplicity into an all around great looking pack.

Carrying this pack with me throughout summer on all my adventures was an absolute privilege. The pack is extremely comfortable in all situations, it’s light weight, and very sleek and stylish. The Sapa Trek backpack will definitely be my go-to pack for future scouting adventures. It is a wonderful pack that I will be putting to great use in the future and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who is in the market to purchase a backpack.

Thanks for the feedback, Alex Von der Mehden! Enjoy your new gear :)

Click here to read Round 1 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Click here to read Round 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Things To Do In Lake Tahoe: The Best Trails and Classic Day Hikes

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

This guest post comes from Lauren Gregg, a professional mountain biker living in North Lake Tahoe. When Lauren’s not working on, or dreaming about mountain bikes, she’s out exploring the trails in the greater Tahoe region. Happy trails, Lauren. We hope your knee heals quickly!


Lake Tahoe day hikes are a great way to experience the Tahoe area. From quick picnics to half-day or full day adventures, there are many options for people seeking trails with beautiful scenery, picturesque mountain lakes and spectacular views. There are few better ways to spend a Tahoe summer day than with a hike to an alpine lake! The Tahoe region has an endless amount of awesome hiking trails, but here are highlights from some of the best Tahoe hikes that are not to be missed! Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports to pick up a Tahoe Trail Map and any gear you may need before your adventure, making sure you are prepared with means for hydration and nutrition, and that you apply sunscreen and suit up with proper hiking shoes and apparel. Once you are all geared up, enjoy one of these classic Tahoe hikes!

Echo Lakes Hiking Trail

Echo Lakes Trail
This trail offers a beautiful hike with stunning views of alpine mountains and lakes. The trailhead begins at the Echo Lakes Resort and is one of the most popular entry points to Desolation Wilderness. Hikers can follow the trail out and back for a total distance of five miles, or can cut off about 2.5 miles by utilizing the water taxi service ($10 per person, $5 per dog) for a fun and scenic boat ride through the granite basin of Echo Lakes. Both Upper and Lower Echo Lake (which connect at a narrow channel) provide awe-inspiring views and relative solitude as well as great swimming in the summer! If hikers are feeling adventurous, they can continue further into the Desolation Wilderness to Lake Aloha and Rockbound Valley, both popular destinations.



Skunk Harbor
Accessing Skunk Harbor requires a short hike down to a secluded bay on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. Hikers journey 1.5 miles down from the trailhead to the beach at Skunk Harbor where they can explore the remains of the Newell House, a summer home built in 1922. The view of Lake Tahoe from the tiny harbor is the main attraction of this hike, and huge boulders and the remains of an old pier add to the scenery. Skunk Harbor is the perfect place for a summer swim or picnic, especially as a detour during a bike ride on the Flume Trail or around the perimeter of the lake.



Five Lakes Trail
This easily accessible trail nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness brings hikers through the north side of the Alpine Meadows valleys to the gorgeous Five Lakes Basin. This hike is roughly 4-5 miles out-and-back to the five beautiful lakes between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. This hike is very popular, however the lakes provide many areas of solitude and serenity. Adventurous hikers can continue beyond Five Lakes and into the Granite Chief Wilderness, picking up the Pacific Crest Trail shortly past the lakes.


Boreas Packs Testing Team – Gear Review: Erawan 50 Travel Duffle

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Earlier this year we teamed up with Boreas Gear to test their new line of Adventure Travel backpacks. We scouted a team of three outdoor enthusiasts who had big plans for their summers, and gave them new Boreas packs to use and abuse during their travels. They’re all back from the field now, and we’re excited to bring you the first installment of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team. Danielle Horton of Agoura Hills, California, took her Boreas Erawan 50 on a tour through the South Pacific. Here’s what she has to say about it:


Lots of storage space in the Boreas Erawan 50!

The first thing I noticed about the Boreas Erawan 50 was its striking blue color with yellow accents. I knew I wouldn’t be losing this backpack in the heap of other luggage I’d be throwing it in. I immediately started packing it full of everything I would need for my five-week Australian and Fijian adventure. I needed to be able to fit everything to keep me warm and dry during the wet Australian winter, as well as beachwear for tropical Fiji.


Promotes organized packing – but anything goes!

Initially, I was a little skeptical that this pack would hold everything I needed, but the main compartment expanded beyond what I had imagined and everything fit like a dream! I love the way it zips open like a duffle bag, and the extra magnets on the top zipper make it even more secure. The main compartment also has a couple small bags attached to either side where I stored items I would need to find in a hurry. I appreciated that even though the bag had a basic main compartment, I could still maintain a certain level of organization using these side bags.

My favorite Erawan feature, however, is how easy it is to transform this duffle bag into a backpack. With just a few simple adjustments I could pull the straps out and clip them on, which made carrying the pack around incredibly easy. In fact, I loved the backpack so much I had the straps clipped in for most of my trip. When I did stash them behind the back panel for the multiple airplane trips I had to take, it was quick and easy, even with a full load. The carabiner clips made the straps easy to remove and adjust. I’ve had packs with hideaway shoulder straps before, but the plastic clips didn’t really inspire confidence. The Erawan’s carabiner clips, however, felt secure. I also liked that I could choose where to attach my straps, as the semi-hidden daisy chain has multiple clip-in options. The multitude of options allowed me to find the perfect spot to clip in my straps so that the pack fell just right on my back; it didn’t hang too low below my waist or loom over my head.


Shoulder straps engaged.


Straps tucked away.


My only complaint about the strap systems was how the chest strap (sternum strap) fell on my body; it fell too low across my chest. The chest strap is adjustable to a degree, but no matter how I adjusted it or the shoulder straps I couldn’t get the chest strap to actually pull against my chest instead of crushing my breasts. I think the strap would work for men, and even some women, but being slightly bustier than most, this chest strap didn’t work for me. This doesn’t make the pack unbearable, though; I didn’t have any problems using the pack without the chest strap. Plus, the chest strap comes with a whistle. Although I was never alone or lost on my travels, I imagine this feature could come in handy in an emergency situation, or if you needed to call your dogs! Otherwise, the backpack straps themselves were more than comfortable, especially with the breathable padding that matches the color of the front panel.


Large waterproof pocket.


Smaller waterproof pocket.


Another favorite feature was the top waterproof compartments. The pack has two compartments that are completely waterproof: one larger compartment that can fit a towel, wet bathing suit and water shoes, and a smaller compartment that can fit personal items like your camera, wallet, keys and more. When I took my bag with me on day hikes to lakes and beaches, these compartments came in particularly handy. I was able to store my wet items in the top waterproof compartment and not worry about items in the large main compartment or my valuables in the small compartment getting wet. Plus, the small waterproof compartment was perfect when I wanted easy access to my money or my camera. In addition to all this waterproof greatness, I was also able to squeeze my hiking boots into the larger waterproof compartment when I wasn’t using it for my wet gear. This storage space allowed me to keep my clothes separated from my dirty hiking boots, and allowed some freedom to wear flip flops on occasion instead of traipsing around in my boots.

erawan 50 durable bottom

Durable bottom/front panel.


Wet and filthy storage.


The reinforced bottom of the duffle kept  me confident that I wouldn’t damage my bag by leaving it on the floor. On a trip where I was changing locations every few days, this bag saw a lot of travel time. It spent many hours being withstanding abuse from baggage handlers and taxi drivers, thrown on the floor outside or shoved violently into small spaces. Still, I never had to worry that it would get too beat-up while riding with so many other bags in the small bus compartments, on the train, or on boat rides. I’m not easy on my bags, and I was glad that this bag could withstand the abuse I subjected it to. Add the fact that it is convertible from duffle to backpack, and it makes travelling even easier. When I couldn’t stow it away in a compartment, I could carry it on my back, and even rest it comfortably on my lap.

Overall, I would recommend the Boreas Erawan 50 to my friends and any traveler. Even though the chest straps didn’t work for me, I still loved the simplicity of the bag and the ease with which I could carry it around. Heck, I like this bag so much I’ve even taken it out as my hiking daypack since I’ve been back on the mainland. Any traveler would be lucky to have this travel pack in their arsenal.

Stay tuned for Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Tester Team, highlighting the Boreas Erawan 70 and the Boreas Sapa Trek.

Thanks again to Danielle Horton for her detailed Boreas Erawan 50 review. Your partnership with Tahoe Mountain Sports is valuable and we appreciate your support!

Click here to read Round 2 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

Click here to read Round 3 of the 2013 TMS/Boreas Gear Pack Testing Team gear reviews

#irongram – Ironman Lake Tahoe Instagram Contest – Win Yurbuds!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013


Up until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 23, when you post a photo of activities related to Ironman Lake Tahoe on Instagram, use the hashtag #irongram to be entered to win a new pair of yurbuds Sport Earphones.

Why yurbuds? We’re convinced they’re the best earphones for sports because they’re water-resistant and they twist-and-lock into your ear, so you can enjoy your workout without the buds working themselves out. yurbuds have taken the sports industry by storm this past year because they don’t fall out, they allow ambient noise (traffic, other racers, timers/buzzers, etc.) to pass through, and they offer fantastic bass and acoustics. For the next week you have the opportunity to win a FREE pair of yurbuds Sport Earphones by participating in our Irongram photo contest.

1. Follow @tahoemountainsports on Instagram and make sure your account is not set to “private”.
2.  Post an image from Ironman Lake Tahoe race week on Instagram. The image can be from any Ironman-related event/party, practice runs/rides/swims, or the race itself.
3. Upload your photo using the hashtag #Irongram
4. Contest ends September 23 at 11:59 am PST. No late entries will be accepted. Tahoe Mountain Sports‘ favorite photos will be chosen on Tuesday (Sept. 24)

Two Grand Prizes:

yurbuds Inspire Pro and Inspire Pro for Women – $60 valueyurbuds-inspire-pro-red

Two Runners Up:

yurbuds Inspire and yurbuds Inspire for Women  – $40 valueyurbuds-inspire-women


Contest Rules

No purchase necessary. A current, valid email address is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. Sweepstakes prizes shipped free within the United States. Shipping charges to locations outside the United States must be paid by sweepstakes winner. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. Upon entering this contest you release Instagram from liability in any form. Your email address will be kept private. Contact information will never be shared with anyone. By signing up for our contest you will automatically be enrolled in the Tahoe Mountain Sports email newsletter, which you may unsubscribe from anytime.

View our full list of events during Ironman Lake Tahoe race week: Ironman Lake Tahoe Event Schedule

Triathlon Gear: 2XU Wetsuits & Compression Clothing

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

2XU (pronounced “two-times-you”) makes the best wetsuits for racing and compression clothing for athletes. Take one look at – or even better, take one swim in – a 2XU wetsuit and you may feel like you’re cheating. Rest assured, they’re fully compliant to all racing regulations. They only use the highest grade premium fabrics and technologies in their swimming wetsuits, not wasting money or energy on flashy designs or pretty colors. 2XU gear helps you perform your best; or, as the name implies, at twice your regular output. In light of the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe coming this September 22, Tahoe Mountain Sports stocked up on 2XU tri wetsuits and compression clothing.

TMS Tri-Tip: Come demo a wetsuit for free during Ironman race week! Even better tri-tip: Come hang with 35-time Ironman Mark Kleanthous on Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., borrow a new 2XU wetsuit from us and keep it overnight, then bring it back Friday after a good morning swim in the lake! Details here: Ironman Lake Tahoe Event Schedule

2XU Wetsuits for Swimming

-Swim Faster! 2XU wetsuits maximize flotation and flexibility so you can focus 100% on efficient swimming without exerting excessive energy keeping yourself afloat.
-The neoprene 2XU uses is no different from other brands – but the way that neoprene is used is!
-5-mm thick front core panel and 5mm “roll bar” around hips maximize buoyancy and stabilize body position
-Water entrapment zone creates more surface area on forearms (Greater surface area = greater paddling strength)
-Isolated zipper panel provides more flex (and comfort) than other wetsuits
-Angled ankle cuffs allow swimmer to cut and custom-fit their suits

2xu velocity wetsuit


2XU Velocity Wetsuit
The V:3 Velocity features the best nano-silicone coating of any wetsuit. 1-mm thick underarms maximize flexibility and overhead reach. Stretch panels work with you instead of against you, and the Velocity Strakes (forearms) and Propulsion Panels (lower legs) increase power and boost hydronamics.  The Velocity wetsuit provides 4% more buoyancy and a faster and easier on/off transition time because it doesn’t stick to your skin like tri wetsuits without a nano-silicone treatment.







2xu womens race wetsuit


2XU Race Wetsuit
The R:3 Race has all the same great features of the 2XU V:3 Velocity Wetsuit, only without the nano-silicone coating and with 1.5-mm underarms to promote flexibility and speed. The Race wetsuit’s 5-mm thick core keeps you on the surface and strakes on the forearms and lower legs increase your surface area so you move more water with each stroke.








2XU Active Wetsuit
The A:3 Active also shares the same features of the V:3 Velocity and the R:Race wetsuits, but with 2-mm underarms for added stretch and mobility. The Active wetsuit’s legs are 3-mm thick, but they come with the nano-silicone treatment found throughout the Velocity wetsuit.









2XU wetsuits for swimming are now in Kings Beach – for rent and for sale. And yes, Dave (right) is a goofball.


2XU Compression Clothing

Of all the compression brands out there, 2XU happens to be endorsed by the Australian Institute of Sport. This may not seem like much to U.S. athletes, but elsewhere this is a highly regarded status. 2XU is also the official supplier of Ironman and the U.S. Alpine, Nordic and Freestyle Ski Teams. They make thermal ski-specific tights and socks, coming to Tahoe Mountain Sports this winter, and we couldn’t me more excited to have 2XU compression clothing in-stock. Compression clothing is not only ideal for athletes, but also for working professionals. The idea of ‘compression’ originally stemmed from medical practices, but now is used by doctors, surgeons and nurses who spend most of their days standing. The same goes for construction workers, landscapers, and even office workers and retailers who workout before work and want some assistance recovering when they’re stationary the rest of the day. Anyone who puts a toll on their muscles can benefit from compression clothing.
True story: My right calf was sore this morning, so during lunch break I slipped on my calf compression sleeves and within a couple hours the discomfort had completely passed!



Ironman Lake Tahoe 2014: Full TMS Event Calendar For Race Week

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Ironman competitors take to the chilly waters of Lake Tahoe. (Photo: Adam Broderick)

This September 21 marks the second annual Ironman Lake Tahoe! Along with the athletes, who will be scouting the course as they decompress and prepare for race day, will come their sponsors, friends and families. Although not everyone that attends the event is racing, thousands of visitors will be seeking out entertainment during their stay in Tahoe.

During the days leading up to the race we’ll have free events for everyone at Tahoe Mountain Sports, across from Kings Beach State Recreation Area, where the Ironman swim/bike transition will take place. Prep for race day and keep your friends and family entertained by taking advantage of free racing wetsuit rentals and footwear/gear demo days, samples of endurance supplements and trail treats, gifts with purchase and discounts on Ironman racing gear from industry-leading brands and sponsors like Nathan Sports, Salomon Running, Suunto adventure watchesTahoe Trail BarHoney Stinger energy and more!


Check out the FREE Altra ZeroDrop trail and street running demo Friday and Saturday (10am-2pm) Photo: AB

Check out the FREE Altra ZeroDrop trail and street running demo Friday and Saturday (10am-2pm) Photo: AB

Head into Tahoe Mountain Sports, 8331 N Lake Blvd Kings Beach (530-546-7001) to check out the following Ironman promotions, demos and events:

15-20 September – EVERY DAY, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. FREE 2XU Wetsuit Demo (Test new racing wetsuits from 2XU) – Open to the public. Looking to make an investment in a racing wetsuit? Now is your chance to try before you buy! Overnight demos allowed for early swims. On race day, they’re $45 and can be picked up Saturday after 12 noon and returned before 6pm Monday (9/22).


A strong finish at the 2013 Ironman Lake Tahoe event (Photo: Adam Broderick)

15- September -All Day D-Compression Day (Save on compression clothing)
“D” Is For Discount – 20 % Discounts on all compression clothing. Save big on calf compressors, swimwear and more.

16- September -All Day Tuesday Guzday (Stay fueled with GU)
10% Off All GU Products AND any purchase over $20 gets a free GU energy gel!

17- September -All Day D-Compression Day (Save on compression clothing)
“D” Is For Discount – 20 % Discounts on all compression clothing. Save big on calf compressors, swimwear and more.

19- September – 10am – 1pm Free Footwear Demo (Check out the best brands in the industry) – Open to the public. Try out the latest developments in trail running shoes, packs and sports watches for free! Featuring Altra Zero Drop trail running shoes.

19- September – All Day D-Compression Day (Save on compression clothing)
“D” Is For Discount – 20 % Discounts on all compression clothing. Save big on calf compressors, swimwear and more.

20- September  – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. TMS Endurance Expo  (A full day of race preparation and fun)
Learn about the latest and greatest gear for racing and outdoor sports, enjoy free product samples, talk to the experts, get race and spectator info, stock up on last-minute race supplies and score free gifts w/ purchase.

21- September  – All Day Race Day Hospitality (Hot Chocolate, Doors open at 5:00 a.m. for last-minute race supplies and warm layers for spectators) – It gets cold waiting for the race start, so we’ll have hot chocolate and other beverages for anyone who needs a hot drink, along with great breakfast options from the Souper Wagon. Beanies, hand warmers, jackets and more wintry clothing will also be on sale for anyone lacking proper warm layers.

22- September – All Day TMS Moving Sale Blowout  (We’re moving to a new Truckee location, but before we do, we’re dropping prices store-wide. Our new Tahoe Mountain Sports store opens in Truckee, CA on October 1 and everything at our Kings Beach, CA location is going on sale!

Ironman Lake Tahoe Mountain Sports

We’re looking forward to a fun week with everyone in Kings Beach when Ironman Lake Tahoe comes to town!

PCT Thru-Hike Record Setter Swears By Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

“I had never used the Houdini Jacket before my hike, but now I know it will always find its way into my running and backpacking packs for every trip!”

On August 7, 2013, Heather “Anish” Anderson set a new speed record for her self-supported thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. She completed the 2,260-mile hike in just 60 days – that’s about half the time most hikers spend on the trail. Anish (Heather’s trail name) wore her Patagonia Houdini Jacket almost every day of her hike, and she loves it so much we decided to team up with her to host a giveaway: the first five people to buy a Houdini jacket from will get a $20 gift card toward their next purchase!

A thru-hike on one of America’s 2,000+ mile long trails always puts gear and clothing to the ultimate test. Daily use for months on end is more than most items are manufactured to withstand. From June 8th to August 7th 2013 I hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (2,660 miles), setting a new self-supported record. During this hike I needed gear I could rely on since there wasn’t really time to replace things along the way. I had several pieces of critical gear that met and exceeded my expectations. The Patagonia Houdini Jacket was one of them.


Heather, aka Anish, rocking her Patagonia Houdini Jacket on Forester Pass

This jacket was the workhorse of my layering system. I wore it probably 50+ days out of the 60 I was on the trail. It offered excellent protection from everything: sun, cold, wind, bugs, etc. I did not carry a separate long sleeve hiking shirt since this jacket covered all my bases. Its versatility is exactly what I was looking for in a jacket/layer and the fact that it dried in an instant was one of the biggest bonuses of all. I also appreciated the hood, which is missing on some other ultra-light wind shirts. Despite constant use it shows no real signs of wear except some discoloration where it was under the pack straps. Add all of that to the fact that it weighs in at less than 2-oz and can pack down to the size of an energy bar and you have the perfect windproof shell.

Tahoe Mountain Sports is a “brick and click” family owned business in Kings Beach, California. They carry gear from top brands such as PatagoniaThe North FaceDeuterMerrell and Black Diamond, and their knowledgeable staff can outfit you from head to toe for any outdoor adventure. I love supporting independent businesses and am very excited to help them with their Patagonia Houdini Jacket promotion because really, everyone should have one of these jackets!  Just in time for the best hiking season (and rainy months), the first five people to buy a Houdini jacket from Tahoe Mountain Sports will get a $20 gift card for use toward their next purchase!


A lifetime achievement – 2,660 miles later at the US/Canada border







I had never used the Houdini Jacket before my hike, but now I know it will always find its way into my running and backpacking packs for every trip!











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