Alex Z., his wife and Dizzy moved to Portland two years ago from Chicago. He came to Oregon for the love of the outdoors. As a young man Alex became an Eagle Scout. This is where his passion for hiking, camping, and rafting began. One of his other passions is art. He has a B.F.A in glassblowing and sculpture. He has spent eleven years blowing glass all over the U.S. What he likes most about glassblowing is that it’s a strenuous activity with all the heat and weight of the glass. Alex believes that stress brings out the best in people. He originally came out here to blow glass, but his priorities shifted and the US Outdoor Store became a better fit. It gives him the flexibility to pursue his Masters in Education. Plus, at the US Outdoor Store we can bring our dogs to work. How could Alex and Dizzy resist.

Dizzy is a nine year old Australian Kelpie. Alex raised him from a pup. This breed is highly intelligent and has the need for lots of exercise. A perfect fit for Alex and his love for all things outdoors. Dizzy is his constant companion for hiking, camping, biking, even snowshoeing. Dizzy likes to barrel through the snow like a little torpedo with legs. He is in his element. One of Alex’s favorite memories was when Dizzy was still a pup and saw snow for the first time. He got so excited and started jumping in the air to catch the snowflakes. They spent hours on a trampoline they had in the yard bouncing and catching the snow.

Alex and Dizzy have criss crossed the country several times. Like Mad Max and his dog driving and having adventures throughout the countryside. Only without freaks in leather outfits trying to kill them. They have visited the Appalachian Mountains, the Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and the Cascades Mountain ranges. One of Dizzy’s favorite things is water. Going through Colorado one day they stopped for a hike. Dizzy was having a great time splashing and swimming in some streams. Then he decided to jump in the Colorado River proper. It was a scary moment for Alex. But Dizzy, a professional, pulled it off.

Dizzy at the shop

As summer turns to fall; Alex and Dizzy’s favorite time of year, because winter is coming. You should come down to the shop and check out all our shop dogs, but make sure you go down to camping so you can meet Dizz the Fearless. Stay gold Dizzy.

Sunday School – Dick Proenneke: Alone In The Wilderness (Part 1)

Ok class, listen up! Dick Proenneke was a beast of a man! In this timeless documentary: Alone In The Wilderness, he took us on a journey beyond the civilized limits and out into a world where life was/is exactly what you make of it. Where food and shelter are job 1 and everything else is stripped of its meaning. Where status symbols and stock portfolios carry no merit. Where the aches and pains of hard work are real and pristine landscapes and the sound of nature are your reward!

Now, I remember watching this film on OPB as a young kid growing up in the suburbs and thinking that Dick Proenneke was nuts. As far as I was concerned, the baseball diamond was the only wilderness I cared to explore. But as you grow older and the responsibilities of life creep in, you begin to realize the benefits of the great outdoors and the health and wellness it offers. A necessary balance so-to-speak that keeps our everyday lives from imploding. With that said, there are still people out there that will never see Dick Proenneke as anything more than a kook in the woods; so be it. But for those of you who are looking for a little inspiration for your next adventure look no further than: Alone In The Wilderness. Odds are you have seen it before, nevertheless, it’ll give you a good shove out the door. Enjoy!

Sunday School: How to Make Cowboy Coffee in the Backcountry

Listen up folks! As explained in this Sunday School’s video, knowing how to make ‘Cowboy Coffee’ in the back country might save a few of you from those nasty headaches caused from caffeine withdrawals. In fact, this video might inspire some of you to adopt this dusty trail technique and leave your french press on the kitchen counter. Brought to you by Matt Heid; author and caffeine junkie at Appalachian Mountain Club.

Sunday School: Backpack Fitting with NOLS

With weather on the mend, it is time to get out and fitted with the right gear for summer.  So take a gander at this NOLS video on pack fitting. Pay attention and take notes! It is extremely important that you outfit yourself with a backpack that is comfortable and that fits your needs as an explorer. Getting fitted for the right backpack can save you from unnecessary fatigue, muscle aches and pains.


Saturday School: NOLS Expedition Training

Sometimes the biggest hurdle in an endeavor is knowing where to begin. If you haven’t heard of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), you’ve got a huge cache of untapped knowledge to explore. Their organization teaches those who wish to pursue outdoor life to the fullest the skills necessary to not only survive but to enjoy and lead others through the expansive wilderness.

There is no need to take notes, for this short film is geared toward inspiring you to lead the future expeditions of the world.

What’s (brand) New: Mountain Equipment

US Outdoor welcomes Mountain Equipment to our vast selection of brands. In a competitive market that looks to ensure the safety and well-being of the outdoor enthusiast, it is great to see some “new” faces, even if those new faces have been around for 50 years. Mountain Equipment elevates US Outdoor’s status by providing quality products that don’t exaggerate their profit margin.

With that said, every newly implemented brand has something that jumps out to buyers that lights the fire and makes them excited about new product. In Mountain Equipment’s own words – “We believe in what we do; we design, test and build our gear with passion and commitment. We use it ourselves and we work closely with outdoor professionals to help us perfect our products.” That stands; out and our Camping and Climbing department is excited to carry their sleeping bags. If there is one thing that can bring you back to life after a long hike in deep in the heart of an excursion it’s a good night sleep, and if you’re ill prepared to battle the conditions you could be in for a long and terrible trek. Doctor’s note: When you sleep, your body temperature drops and when the earth turns its back to the sun, its temperature drops, too! That’s a dual drop in temperature that can turn ugly quick; like being kicked in the core by Bruce Lee AND Chuck Norris, simultaneously. Nobody on earth needs that. So, in these situations one must look to the comfort and support of their gear to protect their core from these dastardly duos and in this case it is the Mountain Equipment Snowline -17 degree C Sleeping Bag.

Humor me; imagine yourself on a journey to the top of a mountain loosely equipped with your grandmother’s old afghan, grandpa’s old boots, and a thermos of chicken noodle soup. Have you ever seen “The Jerk” starring Steve Martin? No one wants to be “that guy.” And though the soup sounds delicious, it will only keep you belly warm for so long. Keep in mind that this is an extreme exaggeration as we don’t think you’re that dumb, I am only trying to make a point that the Snowline Sleeping Bag from Mountain Equipment is testament to core protection and a necessity in alpine climates. It is after all: “Arguably the finest all-around, go anywhere, do anything bag on the planet.” – Mountain Equipment.

Insulated with ethically sourced, premium Hungarian Goose Down insulation, the Mountain Equipment Snowline Sleeping Bag is thermally efficient and will keep you rested in a cocoon of warmth even when the weather settles in the single digits that could be counted on one hand. With engineered V Baffles the Snowline provides the best heat retention and housing for down insulation. Its DRILITE Loft outer shell provides excellent water resistance while a lighter Ultrasoft lining maximizes comfort. The list of features is ongoing with highlights such as: EXL top lining, anatomic hood with Halo Baffle to prevent cold spots, and two way full length side zips with self-locking zip pulls and interlocking anti-snag baffles. One could say that the design is “baffling” to the ice cold core attacking conditions. Ok, enough with the puns. With a line of amazing sleeping bags that cover the spectrum of outdoor needs, we here at US Outdoor accept Mountain Equipment with open arms that will wrap them in a cocoon of warmth and glad tidings. Cheers!

Check out Mountain Equipment Sleeping Bags at, click here.