Winter not only graces us with snow on the mountain, but with big waves on the beach. I remember surfing with my friend Arsenio at Shortys in late November. Both of us had lips that had turned blue and we were shivering. We kept looking over at each other saying, “One more wave”. Then a nice overhead wave came towards me. I turned, paddle, paddle, paddle. I felt a sudden rush of speed, the wave picked me up, I popped up and turned left, my hand dragging on the wave. It was awesome. Actually, I “pearled” and ate it hard. Pearling is a surf term where the nose of the board goes under the water when you are trying to catch a wave. it sucks. When I got back outside to Arse in the lineup he looked at me smiling and asked, “One more wave”.

If you plan on hitting some big surf this winter these are some things you might consider. First you need a pack. The Creatures Of Leisure Dry Lite Voyager 2.0 Pack is a good one. It’s got a compartment to keep your wetsuit from getting everything else in you pack wet. The Dakine Cinch Mat Bag is another good idea. You can change on it, keeping sand out of your wetsuit and booties, and if you don’t have a pack with a waterproof compartment the Cinch Mat Bag doubles as one. The average temperature of the ocean off the Oregon coast in winter is 45 degrees fahrenheit so you will definitely need some booties and gloves.

Of course you need a good beanie for when you get out of the water. A warm noggin is alway a great comfort. Always have extra fin keys on you. You need them for your fins of course, but you will find it’s a nice little tool to have with you in a pinch. An extra leash is a must. If you snap one, it does happen, then your day of fun is over. Wax is very important. Traction on your board is imperative. Michael, one of our surfers, likes Sticky Bumps. I grew up on Mr. Zogs Sex Wax. My favorite is strawberry then the grape. I just love the way they smell. Willy, one of our surfers, taught me a great trick. He puts a bar of his favorite wax under his seat in the summer. It melts and his truck smells great all year. And last, but definitely not least, you need a good water bottle. You get mighty thirsty after tasting the sea all day long. Sol, another one of our surfers, told me he likes to drink ice cold chocolate milk after a surf session. A great idea. I’ll have to try it.


I remember back when I used to go snowboarding, I don’t anymore, too many gapers on the mountain. I would get up at 4:30 a.m., turn on the T.V., pop in a snowboarding video to get stoked, and pack my pack. Since I don’t snowboard anymore, I had Michael, a U.S. Outdoor snowboarder, tell me what he puts in his pack.

The first thing you need is a pack. Michael rocks a Burton Day Hiker 28L. It has enough room to carry everything you need for a day on the mountain. One of the most important things that I always have on me is a beanie. Probably because I’m bald. There is nothing worse than cold raindrops on a bald head. Michael likes the Burton Waffle Beanie. Always carry an extra pair of socks. He likes the Burton Merino Phase Socks. Always go for the Merino wool. It just sounds cooler. When it comes to keeping your hands warm I would go for gloves. They give you the freedom to give certain gestures. No not that one, the hang loose sign brah. But Michael likes the Dakine Team Baron Mitt. Mitts just keep your hands warmer than gloves. Next for a good piece of layering clothing he wears the ThirtyTwo Rest Stop Polar Fleece. When he gets too warm he just takes it off and stashes it in his pack. One of the most essential pieces of equipment a snowboarder has are goggles. Michael likes the new Anon M2 Goggles. You can change your lenses quickly with the new magnetic lens interchangeability. You need a good tool if something goes wrong with your bindings on the mountain. Like when your beginner girlfriend decides she is actually goofy foot on the top of Palmer. A good one to use is the Dakine Stance Driver. Hydrate or die. You need liquids when you are riding. The Hydroflask water bottles are the best. They keep hot things hot and cold things cold. Trust me I have two. Now we come to one of the most important things to have in your pack; snacks. Michael alway carries Cliff Bars. Now personally I’m a Milky Way man. I can hear all you Snickers people out there, but I just don’t like nuts in my candy. It just seems weird to me. These are just a few suggestions for things you need in your pack for a day on the mountain. If you take issue with any of them, don’t tell me. Take it up with Michael. It’s his list.

The ten essential items for car camping that you probably don’t think about.

For those of you who are hardcore backpackers you should probably move along. But if you’re car camping and want to take it to the next level, here are ten things that will open up a whole new world of automotive outdoor dwelling.

Camping Hygiene

Camping on the Deschutes River a few years back the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower was something I never thought I’d need, but by the end of that night I would have given anything to have one. My wife and dogs left camp that night for an evening hike along the river. When they got back she said, “They rolled in something,” and by the look on her face I knew it was bad. Then the stench hit me, something like newborn baby diapers and chinese food. I started to gag. Fearing I would hurl, I grabbed a beer, ran to the car and got in. I know, I’m a coward. I sat there, drank my beer and watched Shawna go back and forth countless times, down to the river, filling her water bottle, dumping it on the dogs and scrubbing them with Dr. Bronner’s Soap , over and over again. It took over half an hour before camp began to smell half decent. I should have grabbed two beers. Needless to say, lesson learned. The following Monday the first thing I did when I got to work was run down to the camping department and grab a Nemo Helio shower. Now that thing goes with us everywhere.

Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

Campsite Lantern

A lantern. An obvious must. But two lanterns is the way to go. I use a Coleman Propane Lantern for the picinic table and my Black Diamond Apollo L.E.D. lantern to help me navigate through camp during the night. Hang it inside your tent or bring it with you to the outhouse. The best part is, it’s small, packable, and easy to carry.

Coleman Propane Lantern

Canteens & Tumblers

A Hydro Flask is always a good thing to have on a camping trip, and I’m not talking about your standard water bottle. I’m talking about a Hydro Flask Tumbler . When you’re chillin’ around camp, it’s easy to hold in one hand, so you can keep that other hand free for slapping mosquitoes or throwing a stick for the dog. It’s best use, as US Outdoor employee Pat once said, “It good for cocktails and such.”

Hydro Flask Tumbler

First Aid

You absolutely must have a first aid kit. I know it’s boring, but it’s essential. I have two kits, the first is an expedition size. It has everything and it comes with a backcountry first aid guide book. It spells out with great detail how to take care of everything from a tick bite to a sucking chest wound. The other kit I carry in my backpack. It’s a smaller Adventure Medical Kits . I augment it with a tourniquet;
Quikclot trauma pak
, it helps to stop bleeding fast; and duct tape, it has a million uses, not literally, but you get my drift. Remember what my Grandma Shirley used to say, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”. Good advice.

Adventure Medical Kits

Basecamp Shelters

Cordage and tarps go hand and hand. I always have a tarp and at least fifty feet of cordage
with me. You never know when the Pacific Northwest sky will open up and douse your camp with a vengeance. With cord and tarp you can set up a nice awning over your picnic table, thus saving your weekend. However, if you’re on the Deschutes River you’re screwed. No Trees. I’ve had that happen a few times. But at least you can practice your knots with your cordage while you ride it out in your tent.

Tarp and cordage.

Campsite Utensils

I love my Snow Peak Titanium Spork. What can I say about a spork. Half spoon, half fork. Need I say more. Yes, it’s titanium.

Snowpeak Titanium Spork

Camping Cookware

My wife needs her coffee in the morning. I know it’s cliche, but she does. She says the only thing good about morning in camp is coffee. You have to be quiet, it’s cold, and you can’t drink. At least not until noon. So she fires up the stove, boils some water, and grabs the Java Press and presto, coffee. I like to Irish mine up a little, wait until noon, please. We’re camping.

G.S.I. Java Press

Camp Tools

One of the most important tools I carry when I go camping is my Leatherman. Leatherman is synonymous with the term multi tool. Having pliers is essential. It’s definitely gotten me out of a jam a time or two.

Leatherman Multi Tool

Basecamp Essentials

My favorite item that you’ve probably never heard of is the Little Buddy Heater . It uses the same propane tanks that my Coleman lantern runs on. Just screw one on and press the ignitor button and you have a nice heat source for over seven hours. I’ve had some cold nights on the Deschutes River in February and March, and that little thing cranks the heat. It is such a psychological pick up to have warmth in the midst of numbing cold. I know it seems like a luxury,” but if you have the means I’d highly recommend picking one up.” A blatant Ferris Bueller reference, but how great was that movie?

Little Buddy Heater

-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell