Category Archives: Favorite clothes and gear


This summer I wanted to see what small things I could do to improve my environmental friendliness.  Caring about my environmental impact is important to me, and it is challenging to work with this in everyday life. If I were to minimize my impact I wouldn’t own a car, use only public transport, grow all of my own food and never buy meat. However, I like to visit my family and  I travel for work, two things that can upend all the rest of my efforts. With this in mind, it is easy to get discouraged and think that it isn’t worth doing anything. But it is. It really is worth doing, and here are some of the things that I like to do.

Summer Garden

My small summer garden makes me happy. I mostly grow lettuces because in Utah, I need to grow something that has quick maturation. This gives me appreciation for my food and makes me less likely to let veggies spoil during the year. There are lots of ways to make small garden plots work. I bury wood under the soil in order to encourage healthy soil fungi.



Compost is the easiest thing ever. All you need is a spot in your yard, and a bit of motivation. I put anything that doesn’t have meat in my compost, layering food and wet things with straw. You can use wood chips or dry dead leaves instead of the straw. Compost makes me happy for a lot of reasons. It keeps methane out of landfills, it prevents my need to buy soil for my garden, and it lessens how much trash I throw out.

Pot and Pan Coatings

There is this awesome technology that helps me cook the best steak, pancakes, eggs, and stew. It is pretty revolutionary and has been since the early 1800’s — cast iron. It is really easy to clean, it can handle any abuse, and can last a hundred years. Nonstick cookware on the other hand wears through, winding up in the landfill and, worse, uses PFOA in manufacturing. The PFOA is burned off before the consumer gets the Teflon pan, but it stays in the atmosphere for a long time. PFOA is considered a carcinogen, so I cook with cast iron.

Elk Steak Anyone?
Or Sweet and Sour Chicken?


I have these great laundry detergent container panniers that take about 20 seconds to put onto my bike. That way, if I am going to do a local errand, I have absolutely zero excuses not to do it on my bike.


There are so many things I love about hunting. I love the sunrises, smell of fall, sneaking around the woods and trying not to get noticed by the smallest animals. I love being part of the ecosystem in a way that reminds me why food is precious. I especially love not buying red meat. For a pound of beef, a farmer needs to provide about 1800 gallons of water. In the west that is a big deal, and getting to eat meat that I know everything about is a huge plus.


Using my Freezer

Along with pesto that I make with my garden basil, I freeze lots of food, including elk. This means that when I see a great deal on a gallon of curry, I can feel great about buying it and freezing it in silicone muffin tins. By freezing in muffin tins, I can assemble ziplock bags of the perfect serving size for all sorts of things!


Recycling is really easy once you get into it. Many towns have zero sort, and if yours doesn’t, you can always presort at home.

Buy Smart

I don’t shop that often, but when I do I try to buy things that are built to last and are built sustainably. For that reason, I love buying Bergans gear. Environmentally friendly fabrics have been part of their clothing way before it was a trend, and they often forget to even mention it in their marketing.

These are just a few of the things I like to do. What are your favorite small steps?

Skin Test! High Trail Evotec review

I have been testing the High Trail Evotec Climbing Skins in Colorado and New Hampshire, and have had the opportunity to hike up and ski down in a variety of spring conditions: powder, ice, corn and even some groomed corderoy. I have skied big laps on Mt Cardigan, traverses, and short multiple laps at the Dartmouth Skiway. Here is how Evotec skins worked for me.

evotec tip and tail

Strong adhesion to my skis
These silicone adhesive skins consistently stick to my skis in all temperatures. If you have ever used traditional glue climbing skins, you have probably noticed days when skins really stick and days when you unclip your tail, give a tug and the whole skin easily rips off. My Evotec Skins didn’t do that. They always maintained a strong suction to my skis; strong enough that it was fairly difficult to do the “rip skins” while leaving my skis on – a convenient move that avoids removing skis after the ascent. I found it more difficult to pull the skins off in one tug, and I needed to give a constant pull. Not impossible, and I still leave my skis on when I rip these skins.

Ease of use
These skins are ridiculously easy to pull apart. They stick to my skis better and stick to each other less. What more can I ask for? The directions say to store them attached to a plastic skin sheet that comes with the packaging, but I stuck them to themselves during the ski day, and I couldn’t help but smile a little bit when my friends were struggling to pull their skins apart, and then struggling to keep them off of their gloves.

Adhesive Coating
The silicone adhesive coating isn’t gooey and didn’t transfer onto my gloves and clothes like traditional skin glue does. It feels rubbery and tacky.

Tip and Tail -clips
The tip-clip is oversized on this year’s skins. The plastic and metal construction is a little chunky, but the overall shape allows the tip to stay put on any size/shape tip. Next season, the front attachment will be sleeker according to Mike Selby of Powder Tribe, the US distributor of High Trail. The tailclip is plastic. It seems a bit flimsy, but hasn’t slipped or come off while skinning. Friends of mine with the Black Diamond tailclip have had to change theirs out a few times. I haven’t had the chance to do a whole lot of testing in extreme cold, and I think that will answer a lot of questions that I have about the durability of the clip. Even without the clip the skins adhere so well, I can’t see them rolling back.

Evotec tip
Evotec tip
Evotec tail clip
Evotec tail clip

Grip and Glide Performance
The grip and glide is comparable to other mohair skins. While skinning with other skiers using BD and G3 skins, there wasn’t a track that they could climb that I couldn’t,  and my glide was just as good.

Debris can be removed from the adhesive by picking it off, or by running water over the surface. A youtube by the manufacturer demonstrates wiping the skins gently with a sponge and water.  It is pretty easy to scrape off a bit of the silicone adhesive if you use an abrasive scraping motion to pull off dirt. This can damage the skins, so I would be careful if you need to clean your skins. Or,  just don’t get them dirty! One concern I have about the Evotec Skins is that I don’t know how to reglue them like traditional glue skins, since the silicone glue is not readily available. However, Mike has informed me that High Trail is warranting the adhesive qualities of the skins for their reasonable life.

The High Trail Evotech Skins are a perfect alternative for those of us who hate getting skin glue on everything and don’t want the biggest workout of the day to be pulling our skins apart. Climbing and gliding performance was comparable to other skin brands such as Black Diamond and G3. Personally, I will continue using my Evotec Skins for their sticky adhesion without the residual goop on my gloves.

skin up Meaden2

Thanks to Powder Tribe for providing skins for my evaluation and review.

SUP travel smarts

Hanover, NH to Wayne, NJ is quite a drive and my wooden SUP was brand new. I didn’t want to take any chances with it on the top of my car, so I used my Thule rack and SUP carrier. Some straps and a swim noodle are good, but when you don’t want to take any chances – go Thule – trust me!


50 ways…

To get your money’s worth out of your Chaos hat on a camping trip.

Keep warm, especially on cold nights, as it can be pulled all the way down.

Pull it over your eyes to take a nap.
To open the wood stove with.

Flip the pancake pan.
Eat the pancake off of.
Sit on while eating lunch.
protect your hands during an impromptu snowball fight.
Look generally awesome!