The holidays are nearly upon us. Soon we'll be up to our eyeballs in ads and promoted posts telling us what we HAVE to buy for that special outdoor-enthusiast in our lives. But at Mountain House, we believe that buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff is an old game, and now more than ever folks are seeking the gift of experience. Because it's an experience that builds treasured memories and compels us to get outdoors more! So we sought out some of our personal trail tested favorite products from 2016, from brands that we believe are making it easier to get outdoors and make memories.
We sent two people from our team out to trail test the following products:
And of course, we sent them out with plenty of Mountain House Adventure Meals™! Their mission: To find forest gold! Chanterelles! Read on to see how these adventure-enabling products stood up to the test, and don't miss out on entering the giveaway at the bottom of the gift guide!
"I'm a hard-sell on hiking boots. I had my favorite pair of hikers recently give up the ghost at the end of a 5 day trek through West Glacier, and I bid them a fond farewell at the trailhead. In a trash can. There are a lot of footwear brands on the market, and hiking boots can get super spendy! But the A-Phlex boots from KEEN come in well under what I would expect to pay for sturdy, weatherproof, mid-weight hikers. After a weekend trekking up slippery trails and scrambling up soggy hillsides and over streams, my feet stayed dry, my footing was confident, and the A-Phlex proved to be equally as comfortable as my previous pair, may they rest in peace. Trail Tested: Approved. Totally." - KM
"Why was I stomping through a stream when it's well-known that chanterelles prefer higher ground? Because I could, of course! The A-Phlex Waterproof Boots had great traction as I clambered over rocks, and even with my most ferocious of puddle stomps, my feet stayed dry! Trail Tested: Approved." - JW
"This is the Pacific Northwest. And in true November fashion, it was pretty much constantly raining. Our luck panned out and we came upon the forest gold we were seeking, but that meant a lot of time spent with knees in the moss. I became a quick fan of the water resistant G-1000 material (which makes me feel super high-tech!) and the double reinforcements over the knees on the Vidda Trousers. There are also reinforcements over the rear, which proved a critical addition as I inadvertently took a seat on the forest floor! Trail Tested: Approved." - KM
"Sun, rain, snow, ice ... you name it, I'm out in it. I do a lot of photography and film work and often find myself in rugged places where most pants are scared to go. And while mushroom hunting may not be the material threat that, say, rock climbing or canyoneering might be, after testing out the Keb Trousers, I'm confident they'll hold up to the demands of my day job. The durability on these is impressive, but my favorite feature might be the leg vents. Cooling off while climbing high is a breath of fresh air. Trail Tested: Approved." - JW
Mountain House Adventure Meals™ are delicious as-is (and with a 30 year taste guarantee!), but adding your own special ingredient can take delicious to the next level. We often hear from folks who like to carry along hot sauce for their Mac and Cheese, or fresh rosemary for Biscuits and Gravy. We call them Mountain House Hacks (#MHhacks)! Our trail testers offered up a couple of their own #MHhacks: Fresh-caught fish in Pasta Primavera and chanterelles in Chicken and Dumplings. Yum.
*we hope this goes without saying, but please only eat fish you're allowed to catch, and don't dig in on any mushroom that you're not 100% confident is edible.
"I've been a JetBoil fan for a long time, my JetBoil Flash is the perfect accompaniment when I'm just heating water for myself. But there are still times when a lightweight backpacking stove is needed, especially when I'm heating water for more than just me, or needing to use in conjunction with more traditional outdoor cookwear. The first two times I used the MightyMo Backpacking Stove I had to double check that it was actually lit and working. It was THAT quiet. And look at how photogenic it is! Trail Tested: Approved." - KM
*The MightyMo Backpacking Stove is currently available only on REI.com and will be available more broadly in 2017.
"I often have to help prep food for several people, and I've been toting around the same heavy cook system for years. This FluxPot is a game-changer. It's lightweight, sits sturdy on the MightyMo stove, and is incredibly efficient. We boiled the water first, then poured it into our respective Mountain House pouches. Then while our pouches did their steamy thing, we used the pot again to sauté our chanterelles. Trail Tested: Approved." - JW
As mentioned, we're not so into the whole buying stuff for the sake of stuff game. But give us some solid gear that's going to stick around in our packs awhile and we're sold. And since we think you are, too, we've asked JetBoil, KEEN, and Fjällräven if they'd join us in a Trail Tested Giveaway to go with our Gear Guide. And they said yes! Two lucky winners will each receive the following: