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Inside Alex Honnold’s Tricked-Out New Adventure Van

Back in 2014, pro climber Alex Honnold gave us a tour of the 2002 Ford Econoline E150 he used as his mobile base camp. That van served him...

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Friday, October 25, 2019

DEC: Remaining deer management permits available to hunters beginning Nov. 1

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that remaining deer management permits (DMPs) in several wildlife management units (WMUs) will be available to hunters beginning Nov. 1.

DMPs, which allow hunters to harvest antlerless deer, are issued for specific WMUs to control deer populations. In some WMUs, all applicants received permits during the initial application process, and the DMP target has not been reached. In these units, DEC will re-open the DMP application process on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters may apply for up to two additional DMPs in these WMUs at any DEC license sales outlet beginning Nov. 1.

Leftover DMPs are not available by phone, mail, or internet. Applications must be made at license issuing outlets. Applicants who previously paid the $10 DMP application fee during the initial application period, or are exempt from the application fee, will not be charged for this additional application. Hunters who did not previously apply for a deer management permit are required to pay the $10 application fee.

Applications for leftover DMPs will be accepted for the following WMUs: 1C, 3M, 3R, 3S (bowhunting-only), 4J (bowhunting-only), 6P, 7F, 7H, 7J, 7R, 8A, 8C (bowhunting-only), 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8N, 8R, 9A, 9F, and 9G.

Additionally, Bonus DMPs are available for hunters who successfully take an antlerless deer in WMUs 1C, 3S, 4J, or 8C.

For WMU locations, refer to the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit DEC’s website.

During this extended application period, DEC will issue DMPs for an individual WMU until the target issuance quota is achieved. The status of permits will be reviewed each night, and as individual units are filled they will be removed from the list of those available effective the following day. A list of units with available leftover DMPswill routinely be updated on DEC’s website or via the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332.

In units with leftover DMPs, DEC encourages hunters to prioritize antlerless harvest, choosing to take a doe or two, while letting young bucks go. Hunters can share extra venison with friends and neighbors or donate the meat to needy families through the Venison Donation Coalition.

— New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Categories: Hunting News, Whitetail Deer

The post DEC: Remaining deer management permits available to hunters beginning Nov. 1 appeared first on Outdoornews.

from Outdoornews

Your Daily Minnesota Outdoor News Update – Oct. 25, 2019

Not fishing muskies right now? You’re missing out.

Categories: From The Pages Of ODN

The post Your Daily Minnesota Outdoor News Update – Oct. 25, 2019 appeared first on Outdoornews.

from Outdoornews

Free Gear Fridays: Darn Tough Kelso Sock Set Giveaway

Here at GearJunkie, we test a lot of gear. We are fortunate to test cutting-edge new products. Now, we want to give you the chance to win some gear too.

This week, one lucky winner will receive a set of socks from Darn Tough!


More on the product: The Kelso is an unassumingly intelligent merino wool sock designed to power you through day-to-day adventures. From trail hikes to hearty yard work, the cool, silky feel of this micro crew hike sock provides long-lasting energy that will endure far more than your weekend to-do list. Better yet, each pair of socks is guaranteed for life.

More on the brand: With roots in Vermont, Darn Tough has the perfect backyard for product research and design. Employees participate in a variety of outdoor activities — from skiing to running to biking — to test products and provide feedback. And not only is Vermont the brand’s testing ground, but it’s also where each pair of socks is manufactured.

Enter below for your chance to win!


Be sure to check back every Friday for a new giveaway.
Want the giveaway in your inbox? Sign up here.

The post Free Gear Fridays: Darn Tough Kelso Sock Set Giveaway appeared first on GearJunkie.

from GearJunkie

REI Snow Sale: 50% Off Patagonia Jacket & More

Save up to 50 percent on Patagonia, Smartwool, Arc’teryx, Black Diamond, and more during REI’s Ready, Set, Snow sale. The sale ends on October 28, so act fast.

Whether exploring the backcountry or flying down the mountain, the Patagonia Descensionist Jacket is up for the task. With excellent breathability and water resistance, it will quickly become your favorite winter companion. And for a limited time, it’s 50 percent off!

During REI’s Ready, Set, Snow sale, you can also save big on gear from Smartwool, Arc’teryx, Black Diamond, and more. On top of all that, you can score 20 percent off one class, day tour, or event with code SNOW4DAYS19 and get 50 percent off Ski and Board Shop services. Be sure to check out the full sale for the entire selection.

See the entire REI Ready, Set, Snow sale

Patagonia Descensionist Jacket — Men’s & Women’s: $449 $224 (50% Off)

Patagonia Descensionist Ski Jacket

Looking for a do-all backcountry jacket? Then it’s time you met the Patagonia Descensionist. Built for mountain adventures, it offers top-level protection in a thin, light package. The three-layer, 50-denier hardshell fabric stays breathable on the uphill, while the DWR finish protects against saturation.

Complete with a helmet-compatible hood and fully adjustable powder skirt, you’ll be ready no matter the conditions. Patagonia doesn’t go on sale often, so scoring this for half off is a killer deal.

And for a limited time, you can also score 50 percent off select colors of the Nano Puff Jacket and Powderbowl Insulated Snow Pants.

This article is sponsored by REI. View the entire REI Ready, Set, Snow sale for the full selection of deals.

Best Outdoor Gear Deals of the Week

This week’s best outdoor gear deals highlight a puffy blanket, a fleece jacket, a fixed-blade knife, and more. Read more…

The post REI Snow Sale: 50% Off Patagonia Jacket & More appeared first on GearJunkie.

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Kilian Jornet Takes Title at Golden Trail World Series

Kilian Jornet — six-time gold medalist in ski mountaineering championships — just won the Golden Trail World Series.

Kilian Jornet, an ultrarunner and ski mountaineer from Spain, just finished first in the Nepal stage of the Golden Trail Series to take the overall title.

The Golden Trail Series, sponsored by Salomon, consists of six intense marathon runs across the world. The series lineup includes the Mont Blanc Marathon, Dolomyths Run, and Pikes Peak Marathon. Runners must participate in at least three of the races to qualify for the final.

The series final was the Annapurna Trail Marathon, with over 12,000 feet of elevation gain. Kilian Jornet ran the grueling 42km trail race in 4 hours, 46 minutes, 5 seconds. Out of the six races leading up to the Annapurna Marathon, Jornet won three of them.

His wins were at the Zegama in Spain, Pikes Peak Marathon in the U.S., and Sierre Zinal in Switzerland. Jornet’s finish time of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 35 seconds at the Sierre-Zinal set a new course record (it’s also his seventh win at the race).

Jornet posted about his win on Instagram, thanking all the organizers of the race.

The post Kilian Jornet Takes Title at Golden Trail World Series appeared first on GearJunkie.

from GearJunkie

Today’s Bargains: 3 Can’t-Miss Gear Sales

Great outdoor gear at an amazing price: That’s our goal each week. Check out the bargains below and save on gear for your next adventure.

Odlo SUW Natural X-Warm Base Layer Top — Men’s & Women’s: $55 (50% Off)

Odlo SUW Natural X-Warm Base Layer Top

This extra-warm base layer is built for long-term performance and is ever so sleek. The midweight SUW Natural base layer from Odlo is made with virgin merino wool for the ultimate level of comfort.

In addition to the wool, the long-sleeve has brushed polyester “warming zones” on the lower back, shoulders, torso sides, and arms for temperature control all day long. This is a great deal for merino no matter how you slice it.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2 Tent: $322 (25% Off)

Mountain Hardware Ghost Sky 2 Tent

I love when backpacking tents are on sale, and this one from Mountain Hardware is a great deal. The 40-denier, two-door tent has an average amount of floor space but a great amount of headspace for taller folks, and has 9 square feet of vestibule area when the fly is on.

The fully taped seams and sealed corners means it will keep you dry from any harsh rain. And being a two-person tent, splitting the 3 pounds 9 ounces of weight between you and your camping partner is even better.

See the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Sky 2 Tent

Black Diamond Spark Gloves — Men’s & Women’s: $64 (20% Off)

Black Diamond Spark Gloves

I know that usually the rule is mittens are warmer, but I want gloves when I’m skiing on the mountain. These Spark Gloves from Black Diamond offer both cozy warmth and finger dexterity. The gloves have a fleece lining and waterproof insert all wrapped up in a tough goat leather shell.

The Spark gloves also have a hook-and-loop wrist closure to keep snow out while you’re on the mountain — whether it’s a day at the ski resort or a remote backcountry expedition. Get 20 percent off using the code FALLFLASH at checkout.

The post Today’s Bargains: 3 Can’t-Miss Gear Sales appeared first on GearJunkie.

from GearJunkie

A Brief Adventurous History of Flannel

This is part of #OutsideFlannelWeek, a celebration of the fabric we all know and love. 

The story of flannel begins with sheep. History tells us that some of the earliest flannel-like clothes come from Wales. As I imagine it: one day, a Welsh shepherd, fed up with coming home each night to a scratchy woolen undershirt, had a vision for a new kind of material that would fend off the North Atlantic mist and not leave him itching that one tricky spot between his shoulder blades. The result of that vision was flannel, a soft, hardy fabric first made of wool. (In fact, flannel is a type of weave, rather than a specific pattern.) Here, we’re going to take a look at some of its greatest hits.

In the Museum of English Rural Life’s digital archives, flannel appears in everything from petticoats to blankets to children’s smocks. While the oldest items are made of wool, flannel can also be made from fibers like cotton and even pine. The thread used to weave flannel is tightly spun and water resistant, and often brushed on one side, resulting in a fabric that’s durable and softens with age.

In the U.S., flannel has gone through a series of incarnations. Some of the earliest documented flannel garments were a kind of two-part long underwear known as emancipation suits, patented in the decades after the Civil War as a replacement for whalebone corsets. Those reportedly morphed into union suits, the full-body long underwear (with bum flap) worn by Yosemite Sam or your uncle in Wisconsin. Union suits became the standard base layer for those working in lumber or on railroads, while flannel jackets were used as heavy, water-resistant outerwear.

Flannel spiked in popularity during the folk-revival movement of the seventies, then achieved iconic fame with the rise of grunge in the nineties. As Clara Berg, a textile specialist and curator at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, told me, Seattle’s grunge scene embraced flannel and tattered jeans as anti-fashion. The clothes were functional and cheap—in a 1992 photo from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a man shows off a plaid jacket that he coyly says had been “left behind,” a remnant of the region’s lumber workers. The look appealed to those who didn’t feel represented by the glitz of hair metal. When Nirvana’s Nevermind exploded to the top of the Billboard charts in 1992, ratty thrift-store flannels came along for the ride. (It was around this time, Berg thinks, that plaid and flannel fused into synonyms, as the grunge scene didn’t distinguish between different plaid shirts—after all, they got them out of dumpsters and secondhand stores.)

With the popularity came a backlash. When Marc Jacobs, then a designer at Perry Ellis, released a grunge-inspired collection in 1993 (strips of flannel and long tartan skirts abounded), he was panned by both pearl clutchers in the fashion world and professional musicians who chafed as their anarchist sensibility was co-opted and commercialized.

But flannel’s popularity didn’t die down: think Jerry Seinfeld’s early-decade baggy highwater jeans and loose flannel shirts, the angsty teens and vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even the anti-grunge crusader played by Alicia Silverstone in 1995’s Clueless wears a tartan blazer and miniskirt. And last year, Marc Jacobs revived his grunge looks for Gen Z.

The current flannel trend, which has its roots in the post-millenium lumbersexual look, doesn’t follow directly from the heady, dumpster-diving days of grunge—it’s more like seventies Americana remixed by the gentrification set—but Berg says there are similarly admirable qualities. Brands like Filson, a Seattle-based company founded during the Alaskan Gold Rush, she notes, have experienced a revival by placing a premium on durability and function. That’s flannel at its best, I think. Stylish? Sure, sometimes. But a really good flannel will last long enough to be passed down to the next generation of hipsters.

from Outside Magazine: All

How Not to Get Lost—and Tips for Finding Your Way Back

In May 2019, yoga teacher and physical therapist Amanda Eller was lost for 17 days in the dense inland forests of Maui after a three-mile hike turned into a harrowing ordeal. She set out on foot without a cell phone, food, or water, as she only planned to be out for a short jaunt. After venturing off the trail, she wasn’t able to find her way back. She suffered from severe sunburn, leg injuries, and the loss of her shoes but survived by eating berries, drinking stream water, and sleeping among leaves. After more than two weeks, a rescue helicopter spotted her atop a waterfall. What should you do if you find yourself, like Eller, lost in the woods, with no trail in sight? We called up a few experts for their advice.

Before You Go

Obviously, most people don’t plan on getting lost. But there are a few steps you can take before heading out on an adventure that may help you in case you lose your way. 

“Before a trip, it’s best to let someone responsible know—or leave a note about—where you are going, who you are going with, and when you plan to get back,” says Devin Hiemstra, a longtime volunteer with Northern California’s Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. “It helps us search the right area at the right time. On long trips, I even include how much equipment I have and how long I can be out in case things go bad.” Hiemstra added that securing a wilderness permit (when applicable) or leaving your route and trip duration in a trail register or your vehicle can also help.

Knowing how to use a map and compass could be critical if your phone or GPS device runs out of charge, and it’s best to learn before you hit the trail. “The most important thing to know about your compass is that it’s not magic. A compass can’t tell you which way to go if you don’t know which way you want to go. It can’t locate you if you get lost. But it can help,” says Clare Durand, president of Orienteering USA, the governing body for the sport in this country. “You can use the combination of map and compass to make sure the trail is going in the right direction. If there’s not a trail, you might be able to see from reading the contour lines that you’re going up a hill onto a ridge that’s running north to south, and you can get on that hill.” 

For a crash course in navigation, check your local REI for map- and compass-reading workshops, or sign up for weekend-long navigation-skills classes in the southern Utah desert with Get in the Wild ($295). If you can’t make it in person, Backpacker magazine hosts a seven-part online course on backcountry navigation ($149) that teaches you how to orient a map, use a compass, plan a route, and respond if you get lost.

What to Bring

You don’t always need to tote an arsenal of GPS devices and emergency-survival tools every time you go into the woods. But if you’re heading into an area you don’t know, or you’re planning a longer-distance adventure, you may want to pack for just-in-case situations, like losing your way.

For starters, bring your cell phone and carry enough water and food to last longer than you think you’ll be out there. You may want to pack extra layers—we like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Down Hoody ($325), since it’s warm and packs down small—and a strong headlamp, like the rechargeable Petzl Actik Core ($70).

A GPS device like the Garmin inReach Explorer+ ($450) can be a lifesaver. It includes preloaded topo maps, a built-in digital compass, and global satellite messaging for sending out SOS messages, even in zones without cell service. 

Even if you have a GPS device, the batteries could die or you could lose the gadget, which is why you should learn how to navigate the old-fashioned way. “Find a compass with a clear baseplate, so you can see through it,” says Durand. “That makes it easy to hold it onto the map, and you don’t need any fancy sighting instruments.” Suunto’s A10 SH Compass ($25) has a standard design that’s easy to use—pair it with a paper map like those usually available at your local outdoor store. The USGS has maps of the United States available online, and sites like AllTrails allow you to print or save topographic maps to your phone.

A well-stocked first aid kit is always a smart idea. “Flares and signal mirrors are good if someone is looking and in a position to see it,” says Hiemstra. “A mirror is small and easy to carry, and a flare can be a great way to start a fire for warmth.” Coghlan’s Sight-Grid Signal Mirror ($13) is wallet size and can be seen up to 25 miles away, and West Marine’s White Handheld Solas Flare ($40) is designed for boaters, but it works for lost hikers, too. An emergency whistle, like JetScream’s floating model ($8), can also help rescuers locate you or let those nearby know you’re in distress.

If You Get Lost

If all else fails and you’re really lost, stop and settle yourself. “Don’t panic. Breathe. Take a snack or water break,” says Kenja Griffin, a California-based Outward Bound instructor of 20 years. “Use your map to figure out your handrails—what features are around you. Maybe you’ll see that the trail should be here on the map, say, on the north side of this ridge, and you should be going there.”

Griffin suggests walking a big circle around your immediate area. “Be aware of your surroundings. Be present,” Griffin says. “If you’re walking on trails, pay attention to where the trail goes. It can be easy to get off course if you’re walking on granite and the trail disappears. Look for clues of impact by other people, like footprints or trail markers.”

If these attempts fail, calling 911 is the best way to initiate a search and rescue. “Most SAR teams are run through the county sheriff, and calling 911 is the most efficient way to start the process, plus their location services are really helpful,” says Hiemstra. “People can have mixed results with cell-phone pings, but if they can drop a pin on a map and send that in a text, it’s usually really accurate.” 

After calling or sending a pin, stay aware of your phone’s battery power, and do your best to conserve it. Keep your phone in a warm, interior pocket if it’s getting cold, and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which can sap energy faster.

“Whenever someone is lost and calls for help, the best thing to do is to stay where you are,” says Hiemstra. “We always think we can trace our footprints or get to a better spot, but often we end up getting ourselves more lost or to a worse spot to be found.” He recommends staying put, keeping warm and dry, and making yourself as visible as possible. If there’s a nearby obviously visible spot, like an open meadow, you can go there to be more visible to a helicopter.

from Outside Magazine: All

How Minnesotans Bike All Year Long, Even in Winter

In most places, winter is when bikes are stowed away until spring. Not in Minnesota. “People from around the country would make fun of me,” says Hansi Johnson, a former regional director at the International Mountain Biking Association. “They’d say, ‘Yeah, mountain biking in Minnesota is great four months of the year.’ I’d tell them, ‘You’re missing the point.’”

The point is that many Minnesotan cyclists actually crave winter. There’s a surreal magic to those moonlit, subzero winter nights when you can bundle up and set out into the snow like a two-wheeled Jack London. Counter to what cyclists in more forgiving climates might believe, it’s possible and—yes—even fun to ride in Minnesota year-round.

Minneapolis maintains 128 miles of all-season bike trails and lanes, and Saint Paul has 88, which makes the Twin Cities one of the biggest year-round urban cycling hubs in the world. To stay sane in the shoulder seasons, when mud makes mountain biking impossible, cyclists hit dirt roads on their gravel bikes. In summer there are hundreds of miles of singletrack and paved rail-to-trail routes across the state. Riding all year may require a full set of bikes but, as Johnson says, “In Minnesota you can’t be a one-trick pony.”


Biking in MN
(Photo: Ryan Krueger/Cavan)

At this latitude, winter is cold enough that snow and ice stay on the ground all season, which makes for excellent fat biking. While the official season is December through March, snow consistently falls October through April. Minneapolis’s Theodore Wirth Park has more than six miles of designated fat-bike trails, and even makes snow on its lighted five-mile cross-country ski loop that opens for riding Friday through Sunday evenings. Fat bikes for sale and rent as well as hot cocoa are available at the Trailhead, a new chalet with lockers, showers, and a fitness center. From January 30 to February 2, the park is the epicenter of the City of Lakes Loppet Festival, a celebration of everything winter that includes four fat tire events, including sprint races and an urban tour. 

Two hours north of Minneapolis, Cuyuna Lakes is a former iron-ore mining quarry turned mountain-bike park, with 25 miles of trail spread over 800 acres, all groomed for fat biking in winter. Ratings range from green to double black diamond, and wind past snow-covered mining lakes. In February, it hosts the 45Nrth Whiteout, with 10-, 20-, and 30-kilometer races on snowy singletrack. 

Then there’s next-level winter riding: the Arrowhead 135, a frostbitten ultra that starts near the Canadian border. It’s scheduled for late January when the temperature can drop to negative 60 degrees. The race traverses south for 135 miles through remote wilderness, where wolf packs have been known to circle, before ending near Tower, Minnesota. “You’re in the middle of nowhere and are on your own for hours,” says Pat Greehan, who finished the race last year in 22 hours 6 minutes, right before the temperature plummeted to minus 40. “Between miles 90 and 110, there are 41 hills, most of which are not rideable when you’re pushing 50 pounds of gear in snow.” What more evidence do you need that Minnesotans like to suffer?


Biking in MN
(Photo: Trek13/iStock)

When the trails turn to slush, cyclists use their GPS to link dirt roads into gravel routes, from the rolling bluffs of Mississippi River country in the southeast corner of the state to the wooded Forest Service roads farther north. Most are training for races like May’s Le Grand du Nord, northern Minnesota’s premier self-supported spring gravel event that offers 20-, 54-, and 110-mile rides. Starting on the shore of Lake Superior in the quaint harbor town of Grand Marais, the 110-mile ride climbs 5,500 feet on gravel roads through the Sawtooth Mountains near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The ride ends with a beer or three at Voyageur Brewing Company


Biking in MN
(Photo: Michael Hicks/Creative Commons)

After the trails dry out in May, Duluth, the hilly, hipster-filled industrial city of 86,000 that sits on the western tip of Lake Superior, turns into a mountain-biking mecca. Over the past decade, Duluth, in conjunction with local non-profit Cyclists of Gitchee Gummee Shores, has invested millions of dollars into building more than 100 miles of singletrack that stretch from the Chambers Grove Park along the Saint Louis River in the west to the flowing waterfalls of Lester Park in the east. The 85-mile Duluth Traverse hugs the city’s coastline and has jaw-dropping views of the lake. Spiraling off it are separate loops that offer expert-only trails, from the 3,500-foot downhill insanity of Calculated Risk, at Spirit Mountain in the south, to the steep bedrock roll downs of DM, in Piedmont farther north. The outfitters Duluth Experience host a three-hour tour of the Duluth Traverse ($79; hardtail rental included) and Day Tripper of Duluth offers two-to-three-hour private lessons from a guide certified by the  Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association ($75). 

Less extensive but equally exciting is the expanding network of trails in the 460-acre Tioga Recreation Area near Grand Rapids, a wooded playground overlooking Pokegama Lake and the Mississippi River, three hours north from Minneapolis. There are currently 22 miles of completed trail, offering variety in difficulty and style, from rocky, technical cross-country routes to jumpy downhills for advanced riders. Ardent Bikes in Grand Rapids rents hardtails and full-suspension bikes, starting at $45 for two hours. 


Biking in MN
(Photo: hauged/iStock)

To cycle through a flaming array of fall colors and get a serious hill workout, head south with a road or gravel bike to the Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley Trails, a 60-mile, Y-shaped, rail-to-trail network in the southeast corner of the state between Houston and Fountain. The route undulates through river-bluff country, historic small towns, and traditional Amish communities of southern Minnesota, a vast change from the dense pine forests of the north. Book a night (and a massage) at the funkily renovated Stone Mill Hotel and Suites (from $90), then set out on the town for a play at the renowned Commonweal Theatre Company.

from Outside Magazine: All

Thursday, October 24, 2019

‘It was insane, breath-taking, the fish of a lifetime’

A New York angler caught a potential state record tiger muskie earlier this month. But he wasn’t of a mind to keep the fish.

“Look, I wasn’t going to eat it. I love these fish. I have no regrets,” he said.

For the story, click here.

Categories: News

The post ‘It was insane, breath-taking, the fish of a lifetime’ appeared first on Outdoornews.

from Outdoornews

Logging Time With Vaer’s American-Assembled Heritage Dark Watch

A field watch seems like a rather easy thing to design and make. Most do little more than keep time. But without fancy features to hide behind, every tiny detail draws scrutiny. And that’s why I love the Vaer Heritage Dark field watch.

There is much to consider when creating a basic wristwatch. Subtle things like font choice and the size of the numerals determine readability. The shape of the case, placement of the crown, or fabric used for the band establish the foundations for the overall aesthetic.

Material choice influences resistance to daily abuses, and, of course, the mechanism within must record the passing of time with unquestionable accuracy.


These are the elements of design Vaer’s founders, Ryan Torres and Reagan Cook, pined over before starting their small watch company in 2015.

It’s why they chose to assemble their watches, like their Heritage Dark, in Los Angeles. It affords the opportunity to sweat every detail from the chamfer of the bezel to the radius of case lugs and make changes as necessary.

From their workshop, they see each component carefully placed, by hand, by their own craftsmen. It’s an old-school way of making timeless timepieces.

Vaer Heritage Dark: Form Meets Function

Heritage-Dark-Vaer-Horween-Single-Pass-Detail-1_grandeLike many people, I don’t need a wrist-top computer. I just want easy access to the time and date. As a frequent international traveler, I prefer the simplicity of a classic watch. As I pass from one time zone to the next, I needn’t toggle through layers of digital menus just to advance the time an hour. Analog is sometimes best.

Of the things I like most about the Vaer Heritage Dark ($229), the classic styling and material quality win my praise. For the last 8 months, it has only left my wrist three times, each of those to swap out the included bands. I cringe to think of how much neglect and misuse it has endured.

And yet, it looks as good as it did out of the box. The beautifully sculpted and brushed 316L stainless steel case doesn’t show a single nick or scrape. I’m hell on watches, and the sapphire crystal has yet to display a single imperfection.

It’s participated in a dramatic motorcycle crash in the Himalayas and a mountain bike tumble in Chile’s Atacama — not that anyone would ever know. Although I’m not much of a water guy, I know it will survive a plunge to 100 m.

Despite the recent trend towards monstrous watches, the 40 x 9.5mm case doesn’t sit on my wrist like a doorknob. It’s sleek. I think that alone keeps it from smacking into things. The crown sits at the 3-o’clock position, out of harm’s way, and features deeply cut knurls for a sure grip when making finite adjustments to the time or date.

Inside the case, the Swiss-made Ronda 763 movement keeps superb time. If it gains or loses time, it can’t be more than a few seconds stretched over weeks. That’s certainly good enough for me.

Like most modern field watches, the Heritage Dark features luminous hands. Vaer recently upgraded its glow-in-the-dark lume to Super Lumi-Nova BGW9 blue for longer light retention and brighter glow. I wish the brand would have applied the same material to the numerals, but that’s a minor quibble.

Speaking to the big impact of tiny details, the choice of red for the second hand makes for a nice contrast to the black-and-white watch face. I don’t know what it is about a simple color choice, but it makes an otherwise innocuous feature stand out.

One of my favorite attributes includes the use of nylon and leather single-pass wrist bands. Swapping one for the other takes but a few seconds and does not require the removal of the retention pins.

The nylon bands include brushed metal hasps and strap retainers for a classic and finished look. My box included a Horween leather strap, which, I have to admit, doesn’t seem quite as refined as the nylon bands.

8 Months of Daily Use Later

Before I fawn too much over the Heritage Dark, I concede it owns two minor foibles.

With my less-than-hawk-like eyesight, I can’t often read the date once it rolls into the double digits. And, to get downright nit-picky, the lume on the numerals fades too quickly. It’s a little tough to read in the dark or in low light.


At $209, with a second watch band, there are other field watches with similar features for less. But watches are rarely about pure value.

The high-quality stainless steel and sapphire crystal drive the price above lesser watches, but it’s the provenance and sharp looks that will win customers — like me. I like things assembled in America by entrepreneurs gutsy enough to give it a go.

If you don’t need a watch capable of counting your steps, recording your location, or notifying you of incoming texts, the Vaer Heritage Dark might be the perfect antidote for information overload.

I know one thing: I love it when people ask me for the time. It gives me a chance to admire my watch.

The post Logging Time With Vaer’s American-Assembled Heritage Dark Watch appeared first on GearJunkie.

from GearJunkie