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Archive for December, 2013

Arcade Belts: The Best Belts For Sports – Cody Townsend Interview

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Thanks to Cody Townsend for the interview and thanks to for filming and editing.

I got a chance to sit down with Cody Townsend, professional freeskier and co-founder of Arcade Belts, and he answered a ton of questions I had about “the most comfortable and versatile belts” that myself, as well as many others I’ve discussed them with, have ever had the pleasure of wearing. Arcade Belts come from Olympic Valley, California, right at the base of Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The idea for durable and stretchy, streamlined and stylish belts stemmed from countless days skiing directly outside what is now the Arcade headquarters, and it shows in every little feature: They’re super strong, even when stretched to the max. Form nor function will alter in extreme weather. They’re easy to adjust on-the-fly. They have more fashion sense than you do. They’re affordable and will outlast the others.

Walk into Tahoe Mountain Sports on any given day and I guarantee at least one of the few employees will be sporting a belt from Cody and his crew. None of us have a dressy Arcade belt yet, but I doubt we return from the holidays without at least a few between the six of us. I notice Meaghen’s The Pacific all the time, and if she’s not wearing that she’s in one of five others from seasons past. Meaghen: I swear I only notice the belts! Dave wears his The Hemmingway to work, and on the same days he rocks it backcountry skiing. I know for a fact because I ski and work with him. I’ve given both The Sedona and The Scout as gifts, and they’re now cherished by their recipients. I rotate between The Midnighter and The Foundation, and I wear them for every single thing I do except trail running, yoga and chillin’ on the couch or sleeping. And that’s not even completely true; I’ve fallen asleep in my pants and an Arcade belt, and specifically recall waking up thinking, “I can’t believe I didn’t wake up to take that off.”

Don’t just take my word for it. Look around…you’ll start to notice a trend at the waistline.

Arcade Belts The Cortez Belt
Arcade Belts The Cortez Belt
MSRP: $24.95
Arcade Belts The Hudson Belt
Arcade Belts The Hudson Belt
MSRP: $23.95
Arcade Belts The Atwood
Arcade Belts The Atwood
MSRP: $25.95
Arcade Belts The Mariner
Arcade Belts The Mariner
MSRP: $31.95
Arcade Belts The Ranger
Arcade Belts The Ranger
MSRP: $23.95
Arcade Belts The Congo
Arcade Belts The Congo
MSRP: $24.95
Arcade Belts The Hemingway
Arcade Belts The Hemingway
MSRP: $25.95
Arcade Belts The Pacific
Arcade Belts The Pacific
MSRP: $24.95
Arcade Belts The Porter
Arcade Belts The Porter
MSRP: $31.95
Arcade Belts The Vapor
Arcade Belts The Vapor
MSRP: $23.95
Arcade Belts The Horizon Belt
Arcade Belts The Horizon Belt
MSRP: $24.95

Shop Arcade Belts online

Clothing & Apparel 101: Waterproof Versus Water-Resistant Outerwear

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Other than injuries and broken equipment, wet weather has always been the quickest way to a ruined outdoor adventure. But it doesn’t have to be.


Staying under the safety of your tent’s rainfly isn’t the only option when a storm rolls in, unless of course all you brought was that beautiful 800-fill down puffy. That jacket may be the warmest garment in your closet, but anyone who’s spent more than ten seconds in one during a torrential downpour knows it will just turn you into a human sponge under those conditions. Thankfully, dragging around more rubber than a dominatrix isn’t the only alternative anymore!

Tahoe Mountain Sports put this waterproof gear guide together to help you navigate the modern plethora of sleeker, lighter, more-comfortable, water-shedding, moisture-wicking, wind-breaking and all-around-adventure-slaying wet-weather gear out there.

Outerwear fabrics these days almost all have some built-in (or coated on) resistance to getting wet, but there’s a big difference between water-resistant or water-repellent and truly waterproof outerwear. Under harsh conditions, water-resistant/repellent quickly translates to absorbent. It won’t take those types of jackets, pants, boots etc. long to become saturated in heavy rain (e.g., the aforementioned puffy).

How Waterproof is It? 


Click here to read about Arc’Teryx’s industry-leading waterproof outerwear.

Legitimately waterproof means sealed seams, welded or storm-flap-protected zippers and waterproof membranes. These items are rated based on how well they resist the entry of pressurized moisture in a laboratory setting. Most are measured in millimeters, but what the heck do those numbers actually mean?

The “mm rating” of a waterproof garment tells how much rainfall the item can withstand over a 24-hour period without any moisture leaking in. The higher the “mm rating”, the more waterproof the garment is. There are just shy of 305 mm in a foot, so a 20,000 mm waterproofing is pretty darn waterproof (withstanding 64 feet of water in 24 hours). Some garments, however, might also (or instead) provide a “psi rating” (pounds-per-square-inch).

A higher “psi rating” means a garment can handle more pressure. Rainfall can range between 1 and 7 psi. So, why do you see ratings of 25 or even 40? It’s because other forms of pressure can try to squeeze that moisture through the waterproof membranes in your outerwear (e.g., pack weight on your shoulders/back or sitting in the snow). That must be why my butt always gets wet when I’m snowboarding!

Breathable vs. Non-Breathable Outerwear

Okay, now that you’ve calculated the pressure of your bottom, let’s talk about those pits. Non-breathable fabrics are going to be the most bomber of waterproof materials, but that’s not going to help much if you’re moving around a lot.


Click here to read about The North Face FlashDry waterproof-breathable technology.

Look at it this way: Breathable fabrics (e.g., Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q Elite) let moisture move from the inside out, but not from the outside in. Non-breathables don’t let moisture move in either direction. That’s why Old Yellow, your raincoat from the 90’s, keeps you dry until you start exercising, then the inside turns into a steam room.

Breathability is measured by how many grams of water vapor will pass through a square meter of your garment’s fabric, from the inside to outside, in a 24-hour period (g/m2/24 hours). The pores the vapor passes through are thousands of times smaller than a raindrop, which is why something waterproof can also be breathable. Waterproof membranes also usually incorporate materials resistant to oils, like those from your body, sunscreen, etc., that might compromise the waterproofing over time.

In summary, the rubber raincoat you grew up with, or a more stylish modern version made from polyurethane-coated nylon, will always keep you the driest if you are only doing things like hanging outside or walking a short distance to school, the store or across town on an errand-run.


photo: Jim Grandy

But if you are backpacking through the Sumatran rainforest, jogging in Seattle or backcountry skiing the Sierra Nevada, you’ll want something that is both waterproof and breathable.

Hey, That’s Not Waterproof!

Leather is not fully waterproof, ever. Neither are water-repellent coatings. But many waterproof products do use water-repellent coatings, because the waterproof membrane is usually sandwiched between other layers. This is generally called the DWR or “durable water repellent” coating/finish. Washing your Levis in some Nikwax, however, does not make them a pair of ski pants.

Nikwax is, however, a great way to extend the life of your waterproof garments. You see, your garment’s DWR will wear out before its waterproof membrane does. And if you revitalize it before that happens, the garment lives on. Once the DWR is completely gone, though, there’s no bringing it back. And the rest of that garment is now compromised. But please, read each item’s care instructions before playing Scientist. Then try either NikWax Tech Wash for in-laundry care or NikWax TX Direct for spray-on pre-wash care.



Here are some of our favorite industry-leading waterproof-breathable membranes:

Gear Gift Guide: A Tahoe Ski Bum’s Holiday Wish List

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013


Admit it: you’re either a ski bum at-heart, you acted like one before you got a ‘real job’, or you’re personally close to a ski bum. If you’re literally close to a ski bum, ask them what type of gifts they’d want for the holidays in the off-chance somebody bought them something both cool and useful. I’ll bet their response would stem from one or more of these factors: winter sports gear, warm winter clothes or tools/gadgets only an outdoor enthusiast could truly appreciate.

I actually did it. I asked three ski bums who work at Tahoe Mountain Sports what they would pick from the store if they could choose three items of separate values: <$25, <$75 and <$300. This gear gift guide is sure to align with the holiday wishes of a ski bum in your life:




Meaghen has a serious fashion sense and it’s obvious when you meet her. She’s always sporting a new style, even at work, and we knew we could count on her to present some quality women’s gift ideas.




Under $25HippyTree Clothing 2015 Wall Calendar

I really like to make sure all of my friends and family’s birthdays are on my calendar and HippyTree Clothing makes awesome clothing for a relaxed outdoor lifestyle, so this 2015 wall calendar is a must have for the upcoming year!










Under $75Moving Comfort FineForm Bra

Comfort is key and the FineForm Bra from Moving Comfort really dialed it in with this piece. Whether I am out on the trails or working, this bra has an adjustable and soft, padded back closure that makes me forget its even there!








Under $300– FlyLow Gear Chione Ski Pants – Women’s

Style meets functionality in this modern, classy pair of ski pants from FlyLow Gear (and I can’t go a day on the mountain without them). Incorporating a slim fit that flatters, the women’s FlyLow Gear Chione Ski Pants are an optimal winter choice with 2-layer Intuitive stretch twill, reinforced knees and a breathable waterproof membrane.









Todd handles all things tech for Tahoe Mountain Sports, so we weren’t surprised when he asked for a  solar powered product, a comfortable shirt to work and play in and a new helmet to keep that brain working in top shape.





Under $25 – Luci Aura Multi-Color Inflatable Solar Lantern

The original Luci Lantern was awesome enough, but now it comes in color! Compact, lightweight, solar powered, all-night battery life, 8 color presets and disco mode. Fun lighting for a backyard barbecue, a great beacon for nighttime rendezvous, after dark trail marker, TTITD, backcountry dance party, and a million other uses.







Steals & Deals: Outdoor Gear & Women’s Clothing Priced To Move!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

For our latest Steals & Deals we’re highlighting some of our favorite gear for outdoor sports as well as cute, casual and eco-friendly apparel for women. For backcountry snow travelers, we’ve lowered prices on the best avalanche transceivers online. Our majorly discounted water bottles for sports are ergonomic, durable and safe to drink from. Women’s outdoor clothing from the industry’s leading brands is comfortable, manages moisture well and moves with you during activities. We have gear and clothing on sale for everyone from kids new to the mountains to the most experienced mountain men and women. If after reading this you still find yourself thirsty for more bargains, head over to our online gear outlet or browse around – you’re sure to find something to suit your frugal fancy!




Mammut Element Barryvox Avalanche Beacon

Reg: $349.95
Sale: $279.96

This Mammut transceiver is very user-friendly and comes equipped with a third antennae, the new standard in beacon technologies. The Mammut Element Barryvox uses a single button for all functions and is able to locate and mark multiple burial victims. Mammut backcountry gear is developed and manufactured in Switzerland, where quality-control is of highest priority. Get one of the best avalanche beacons at an affordable price while supplies last!







Vapur MicroFilter Soft Water Bottle & Filter

Reg: $69.95
Sale: $45.46

Filter your drinking water on-the-move with this innovative water bottle design from Vapur Anti-Bottles. Highly versatile, they’re perfect for just about everything. The Vapur MicroFilter safely removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, so you’re safe from Salmonella, Cholera, E. Coli, Giardia and other nastiness. The Vapur Element soft water bottle and MicroFilter combined weigh only 2.7 ounces (filter – 1.1 oz) and will filter a minimum of 500-liters at only .5 liters-per-minute!






CamelBak Groove Insulated Filter Water Bottle

Reg: $29.95
Sale: $20.36

Another water bottle with a built-in filter, the CamelBak Groove bottle is 100% BPA-free and has a fold-down bite valve that ensures it remains spill-proof. You can filter up to 180-gallons with the 10.5-ounce insulated Groove filter bottle, and double-walled insulation keeps your water cold longer than other bottles. Carry it close-at-hand with the convenient loop on the cap, or let it bang around at camp or in the back of the truck – it’s really, really durable!






Lole Grenoble 2 Dress

Reg: $89.95
Sale: $53.95

Long pointelle sleeves and a large collar add even more style to this already fashionable and eco-friendly Lole dress! The Lole Grenoble 2 is made from a blend of cotton, recycled polyester and elastane, so it’s soft on the skin, and at 34-inches long its classy-casual look is appropriate just about everywhere. If you’ve worn anything from Lole women, you’ll agree most of their clothing is exceptionally versatile, and this dress is no exception!




Have A Very NEMO Holiday! Win A Sleeping Bag & Backpacking Pillow

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013


Between December 4 and 16 win a NEMO sleeping bag and a backpacking pillow by simply entering your email address here!

We’ve teamed up with NEMO Equipment to bring you another great gear giveaway just in time for the holidays! Do you enjoy sleeping comfortably both indoors and out? Or maybe you know someone who does, and they would appreciate the most comfortable sleeping bag EVER even more than you would. ….. Wait a minute! What am I saying? Who doesn’t like sleeping comfortably? Okay, sorry, let me start over. If you’re not the kind of person who appreciates a good night’s sleep, you probably have no reason to be here. Everybody else, this giveaway is for you!

You could win a warm and cozy outdoor package including a NEMO Rhythm 25-Degree spoon-shaped sleeping bag and NEMO Fillo inflatable backpacking pillow. That’s a $265 value! If you’ve never slept with NEMO, you’ve been missing out. Their innovative ‘spoon’  design has wowed testers and won numerous awards industry-wide. NEMO spoon-shaped sleeping bags match your body’s contour better and allow for more comfortable side-sleeping than traditionally shaped bags. They provide more room at the knees and elbows to allow movement during the night, and they’re amazingly lightweight for how warm they keep you. NEMO pillows are also very soft and comfortable on the skin and are a backpacker’s delight, adding lightweight luxury on (and off!) the trail.

Between December 4 and 16, visit our contest page on Facebook. Enter your email address in the box and we’ll select one random entry on December 17. Contest winner will be contacted via email. It’s that easy!

Check out this cool video highlighting NEMO’s spoon-shaped line of sleeping bags:

Click Here To Enter To Win A NEMO Sleeping Bag & Backpacking Pillow

Stay Warm, and Have A Very NEMO Holiday!

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