-By Lee Crouch

A number of years ago when I lived and worked in the Sierra Nevada backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park, I can remember several times getting a good chuckle at the expense of some young greenhorn who would show up at the trailhead in sandals, shorts, and a bag of trail mix, claiming he was going to live off the land. We were always pretty sure that he’d be safe and sound by nightfall back in the relative safety of his apartment, wondering if the beautiful California beaches might be more to his liking.

Now as I saunter down the trail with my Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern in one pocket and my Pocket Rocket Stove in the other, I find myself wondering if I might be presenting a similar spectacle.

Now that age has removed me from that group of young people who seem to be able to skip down the trail with a 60 – 70 pound pack while whistling a happy tune, technology has intervened in a timely fashion with some ultra-light products that should serve to extend my years in the backcountry.

The Luci Lantern provides a remarkable amount of light, is almost non-breakable, and weighs about 3 ounces. This doesn’t include the weight of the batteries because, of course, there are no batteries. As long as one remembers to affix it to the top of one’s pack, it will easily recharge during your hiking time. Even if you’re in stormy weather it will last for several days on just one charge. It has three different lighting modes: a dimmer light for a longer burn time, a brighter light when desired, and a flashing light if you’d like to convert your camp into a disco. (It might also come in handy as an emergency flasher.)

The Pocket Rocket is the smallest stove I have ever seen. While it may not be the ideal stove for an Everest expedition, it’s just about perfect for an ultralight trip or any backpack trip where your pack weight is important. Weighing just over 3 ounces, it claims to be able to boil a liter of water in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I would assume this test was performed near sea level and one should adjust one’s expectations to one’s altitude. It has no wind guard, so it’s imperative to place it down into some rocks or use one’s pack to help block the wind. It may not be the most stable stove you’ve ever cooked on, but using a little extra caution is certainly a worthwhile trade off for the compactness and the light weight.

Purchase the Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern HERE.

Purchase the Pocket Rocket Stove HERE.

By Jesse Cassidy

When out hiking, we often see many of our fellow hikers passing us and carrying poles, trekking poles to be exact, and sometimes we ask ourselves, does it really do anything? Well the answer is yes, for a majority of the hikes out there, trekking poles create a major advantage and make your hike just a little bit more enjoyable. From keeping your balance, to lessening the load on your knees, trekking poles are a must have for any hiker, whether recreational or serious.

A lot of us here in Tahoe are skiers, and as a result we are hammering our knees all winter participating in one of our favorite winter activities. In the summer we tend to do the same with hiking and backpacking. However, with the help of trekking poles, we significantly reduce the amount of stress and strain we place on our knees. By adding a third point of contact on climbs, as well as descents, trekking poles help keep balance, and reduce the load placed on ones knees during our hiking adventures. Whether you have had knee problems in the past, or are just looking to avoid them, trekking poles are a must have to save your knees this summer.

Another benefit of hiking poles is the fact that many people now are opting out of the traditional hi-top hiking boot in favor of a lo-top boot, as trekking poles help give ankle support that is normally received from a hi-top boot. This means you can have a more comfortable, and versatile hiking boot, while still having the necessary ankle support often needed for more strenuous hikes. With extra support, and less shock on the legs, trekking poles are an invaluable tool for any hiker, no matter how serious.

While trekking poles are a must for any hiker, there are a variety of different brands and models to choose based on your hiking needs. Currently Granite Chief carries Black Diamond and Kelty, with Leki soon on the way. For the more recreational hiker, Kelty provides a solid price point pole, with twist locking adjustments, and shock absorbers, the Kelty Range 2.0 is a great pole for the beginner hiker. For the more serious hiker and backpacker, Black Diamond poles are your best bet. With a sturdy flicklock adjustment system, and superior shock absorption, the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock will make even the most strenuous trails a piece of cake. With a variety of different models to choose from, whether Black Diamond or Kelty, we have the trekking poles for your next hiking adventure.

Trekking poles are a necessary component in any hikers repertoire, the benefits are amazing, from extra support to healthy knees, and may even come in handy in emergency situations. With great benefits, and a wide selection to choose from, there’s no excuse not to have a pair. And at the end of a long climb, they make the perfect summit photo op, so stop by and check out our wide selection of trekking poles before your next hiking adventure.


Founded and operated by individuals with a passion for the water, Surftech is a company that has been crafting boards for decades.   Surftech prides themselves on generating boards that are high-quality, perform great, and inspire paddlers to keep pushing themselves.

Having worked with and receiving feedback from,  the world’s top shapers including Shane Dorian, Pancho Sullivan, Ratboy, Matt Rockhold, and many others, founder of Surftech, Randy French, was able to develop a strong and lightweight, high-performance surf board.  Years later Surftech began designing Stand Up Paddle Boards that live up to the company’s reputation of having durable and high-quality boards.  This summer in the shop we are carrying two different models of versatile all-around boards that are great for rivers, calm lakes, wave riding, or just for on-the-water yoga.


The Surftech Universal Stand Up Paddle Board is an extremely stable paddle board that is a great choice for larger individuals, beginners, or for the pro.  We have the Universal SUP in three different lengths: 10’6”, 11’6”, and 12’, that way you can make sure the length is right for you.

The Flowmaster SUP is another model we have in this summer.  The Flowmaster is a stable paddle board with boxy rails that provide incredible stability.  We carry this board in two sizes:  12’6” and 11’6”.