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Archive for the ‘Outdoors’ Category


Get Hooked on Fishing

With the right gear, you can seek, catch and enjoy the rewards of your day’s work.
 
Fishing can be a great way to make memories with family this summer. And it doesn’t take a lot of gear to get started. You just need some basic pieces of equipment and a body of water!
 
If you’re interested in getting a little bit closer to the sport, try one of many kinds of watercraft that’s perfect for fishing, from motorboats to canoes to kayaks (see “No Motor, No Problem” article on page 10). No matter your vesicle of choice, fishing is a great time for all.
 
Get the Basics
 
A basic tool of any fisherman is the hook. If you’re looking for the perfect hook for your expedition, try Eagle Claw. With the Eagle Claw brand hooks, you can get a high quality for a competitive price.
 
“Eagle Claw hooks are the only hooks Made in the USA, and are built with integrity, honesty and 85+ years of hook-making experience and heritage,” said John Vander Sloot of Eagle Claw.
 
To get all your equipment out on the water, try a Plano tackle bag. The Weekend Series comes in two sizes. The smaller 3600 model is great for fishermen using a kayak or smaller boat. Both the 3600 and larger 3700 models will come with two stowaways and three exterior zippered pockets. They also have shoulder straps for easy transportation.
 
If you have more equipment to carry, you could try the Plano M-Series tackle bags, which also come in a smaller 3600 model and a larger 3700 model. These bags come with four stowaways and room for eight total. They also have several exterior pockets to keep your favorite tools close at hand. They also have an impact-resistant, waterproof base to keep your equipment dry.
 
“These bags will make a great storage option for any hardcore angler,” said Nate Rice of Plano. “Dunhams offers a large selection of Plano Stowaways in many sizes to accommodate every angler’s needs. If an angler is looking for large size stowaways for big jerkbaits or small stowaways for hooks, split shot and flies, Dunham’s and Plano have you covered.
 
At Dunham’s you’ll find a variety of South Bend combos, such as the Ready2Fish Multispecies Spinning Combo. This combo comes with a reusable tackle kit. There’s also the Ready2Fish Multispecies Spincast Combo. Both models come with line prespooled, ball bearing drives and a graphite reel seat.
 
Eagle Claw doesn’t just have hooks. They also offer a rod that works perfectly for the kayaking fishermen. The Packit rod and reel combo has a spinning reel with a 5’6” rod.
 
“This combo is favored by kayak fishermen because of the telescoping ability of the rod,” said Vander Sloot. “Instead of maneuvering to one’s next fishing spot with a rod dangling in the kayak, the Packit rod telescopes down to 18 inches. This makes it much more convenient for the kayaker to move to their next fishing spot.”
 
You could also try the Ugly Stik GX2 combo. Jim Burrows of Pure Fishing said this combo is designed to be extra durable. Pure Fishing offers several products for all kinds of fishermen, including the Abu Garcia Max Series.
 
“Pure Fishing is constantly redesigning and redeveloping our products on a continuing basis,” Burrows said. “We do this so that our products represent and afford the best possible product one should consider.”
 
A Growing Trend: Kayak Fishing
 
There is another fishing tool gaining popularity in recent years: the kayak. Fishing from a kayak can offer a different kind of experience from wading or using a boat with a motor, which is why it’s growing in popularity.
 
“It is much quicker and easier to throw a kayak in the back of your truck or SUV,” said Mike Reis of South Bend. “It also enables you to go fishing in places where launching a boat is impossible. And as every angler knows, if you fish where there’s not a lot of pressure – the fishing is usually amazing!”
 
Reis’ piece of advice for kayak fishermen is to make sure all your tools are secured to the boat. Try attaching some fishing rod floaters or rod leashes to your combos so you won’t lose them in the water. Reis also suggests a lip gripper if you’re fishing for larger game. This will make it easy to grab the fish from the water without ending up in the water yourself. And as always, remember your life jacket!
 
“There’s an old joke about kayak fishermen. There are two kinds: those who have rolled their kayak, and those who will roll their kayak,” Reis said.
 
We have everything you need, whether you’re a wader, kayaker or any other kind of fisherman. Get everything you need for a successful and fun fishing season and Dunham’s Sports!
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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No Motor, No Problem, Give Kayak Fishing A Try This Season

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to get back on the water. Try adding a new tool to your fishing equipment this year: a kayak! No matter what kind of fisherman you are, Dunham’s Sports has the right kayak and accessories to meet your needs.
 
Matt Yablonowski of Perception said people are using kayaks to fish for a number of reasons. Kayaks are less expensive to own and maintain than a traditional motorboat. And because they use paddles rather than gas, you can get great exercise in a kayak. They are also much quieter than a motorboat and smaller, making getting into shallow water or tight spaces easier.
 
Yablonowski said sales of fishing kayaks have gone up year over year for the past six to seven years. But the rise in popularity of kayaks doesn’t mean anglers are abandoning their old watercraft. Some people are simply adding to their fleet.
 
Kayaks come in two basic varieties: sit-on-top and sit-inside, or sit-in. Yablonowski said the sit-on-top variety is more popular in warmer climates, but it’s increasing in popularity in other regions because the open deck offers the convenience of having gear readily available. The more traditional kayaks are the sit-inside models. These are more popular in northern regions for freshwater fishing.
 
Yablonowski suggests looking for a kayak with comfortable seating in addition to stability, storage and rod holders. A place to put your paddles while you cast and a work tray for tackle are also features to look for. And if you already have a kayak, you can add after-market accessories to your boat to make it fit your needs.
 
Kayaks Have Character
 
You can find both sit-on-top and sit-in fishing kayaks at Dunham’s. See which one feels more comfortable to you. Matthew Ross of Pelican International says that kayaks built for the rider to sit on top are generally more popular with fishermen as they offer more range of motion.
 
“Fishing from a kayak has absolutely exploded over the last couple of years,” says Ross. “More and more fishermen are either also fishing from a kayak or are making the switch to kayak fishing from traditional angling from fishing boats. Kayak fishing allows you to fish in more shallow waters. It doesn’t pollute or use any gas, and the additional paddling exercise is very beneficial.”
 
Ross says fishermen should look for a kayak with plenty of storage for all their gear. It’s also a good idea to look for a boat with rod holders, which can be either flush mount or swivel.
 
“Anglers of all walks are turning to kayaks for their relatively low cost (compared to large bass- or multi-species boats), small footprint, minimal maintenance, health and wellness component, ease of launching, and getting into fish-holding waters that bigger boats cannot reach,” says Jim Edlund of Old Town. When searching for the perfect fishing kayak, Edlund suggests looking for stability, comfort, ease of rigging, ease of transport and maneuverability.
 
Check Out these Kayaks at Dunham’s
 
One of Perception’s models is the Pescador PRO. This sit-on-top kayak comes in two sizes—Pescador PRO 10 and Pescador PRO 12—both of which feature a two-position, stadium-style seat, a tankwell with a bungee, a mold-in cup holder, and rod holders.
 
Perception also offers its sit-in Prodigy 10 Angler exclusively at Dunham’s. Beyond the basic features of its Prodigy 10 base model, the Angler features two flush-mount rod holders, one Scotty rod holder, an anchor and an anchor trolley.
 
Pelican’s sit-in model, the Bounty 100x Angler, is great if you want to keep your legs dry. It has flush-mount rod holders and a swivel rod holder, adjustable footrests and padded backrest, and a cockpit table with a bottle holder and compartments.
 
There’s also the Catch 120 kayak from Pelican, which is great for fishermen who prefer to stand. It offers a 400-pound capacity, a water-resistant hatch and a storage platform. It also has a seat that can be adjusted or completely removed.
 
Old Town offers its Vapor 10 Angler at Dunham’s. This kayak is just 10 feet long and 49 pounds, making it easy to unload, launch and stow on your vehicle’s rooftop or bed—and great for anglers of any age. The boat has an adjustable comfort flex seat, foot braces, an anchor trolley system, and flush-mount rod holders.
 
Try something new this fishing season. Come to Dunham’s and check out our selection of fishing kayaks.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Enjoy Your Time on the Water with the Proper Safety Gear

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 90 percent of the people who drown in a boating or water accident would be alive today if they had been wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. Avoid being part of this statistic by following proper watersports safety guidelines and making sure you and your family are wearing the correct gear.
 
Start by reviewing the guidelines in your area as they differ from state to state. For example, Michigan requires that children less than 6 years of age wear a Type I or Type II personal flotation device (PFD) when riding in the open deck area of a boat. In all instances, be sure the PFD is U.S. Coast Guard approved.
 
“We offer three different sizes of children’s vests and we strongly recommend that children wear them around any body of water, including pools. Of course, it’s also extremely important that adults wear them whenever they are engaged in a watersport activity,” said Body Glove’s Jono Siegel.
 
Dunham’s Sports carries Body Glove’s Phantom line of vests, which are available in child (30-50 lbs.), youth (50-90 lbs.), men’s and women’s sizes. The adult sizes range from small to 2XL.
“Phantom vests feature a neoprene outer shell, which, unlike nylon, will feel better against your skin since it’s a more comfortable material. These vests also feature lumbar support and segmentation for easier movement,” Siegel added.
 
Also featuring a neoprene outer shell is the Traditional Vest from O’Brien. This vest offers the security of 2-belts and a zip closure. O’Brien also offers a nylon 4-belt adjustable Sport Vest, with versions available in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes.
 
“We’ve learned that people will tend to buy neoprene vests for themselves and nylon vests for their guests. Nylon and neoprene provide the same level of safety protection, so the difference is price and comfort,” explained O’Brien’s Scott Houseman.
 
According to the Coast Guard, the PFD must fit snugly and not allow the wearer’s chin or ears to slip through. Be sure to try them on in the store while wearing light (not bulky) clothing. Both of our experts recommend proper care to ensure the PFDs last a long time and work as designed.
 
“Make sure they dry out properly after use and store them out of the sun,” Houseman said.
 
“Test them for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded or leaky jackets should be replaced,” Siegel added.
 
Follow these suggestions to ensure an enjoyable and safe season on the water.
 
-Water baby
 
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From a Game to a Sport

The Evolution of Pickleball
 
Bainbridge Island is a small city in the Pacific Northwest. A short ferry ride from the rolling forests and mountains of Washington, it’s known for its beautiful geography dotted with beaches, bluffs, lagoons and dunes. What is less commonly known about the island is that it’s the birthplace of pickleball; an outdoor game that is easy to learn, fast-paced, and highly competitive. Fun for players of any age, pickleball has been growing in popularity since its inception in 1965.
 
Originally played using a lowered badminton net, table tennis paddles, and a perforated ball, pickleball is a game of volleys where points are earned by forcing one’s opponent to fault. A fault is committed when the ball goes out of bounds, smacks into the net, or is volleyed from the no-volley zone (a 7-foot zone on either side of the net). The server has to serve diagonally to their opponent, and each player must let the ball bounce on their side of the net once before beginning to volley. Only the server can score on a fault, otherwise the opposing player becomes the server. Pickleball courts are 20’x44’, and the game can be played singles or doubles. The more, the merrier, right?
 
Although pickleball continues to grow in popularity, some basic problems exist with widely-used equipment. Many companies still use repurposed balls with inconsistent holes that quickly lose their shape. Often times, paddles are made and decorated with stickers and vinyl which create an uneven, unreliable surface. Fortunately, the ‘Pickleball Now’ equipment line from Escalade Sports is addressing these issues and setting a new standard of quality. “The core of our mission is to actively grow the sport through innovation,” says Eric Marvin of Escalade Sports. “We’ve engineered a whole line of equipment to bring a new level of consistency and reliability to the game.”
 
TNT Pickleballs have increased weight and smaller holes to decrease wind interference, optimal for playing outdoors. Indoor Pickleballs are designed for better balance, flight, and bounce. In addition, a variety of different paddles offer players more options when it comes to hitting-surface size, weight, and handling. For example The Edge carbon-fiber paddle is ultra-lightweight and sturdy for more powerful, controlled hits, while The Classic Lite has an edge guard for durability and a larger surface area for a more consistent hit. Additionally, each paddle is designed using a digital printing process for a clearer image and smooth surface that won’t peel or warp. Every product in the Pickleball Now line is manufactured to perform better and last longer than generic equipment.
 
It’s clear that pickleball has come a long way since ’65, having attracted hundreds of thousands of players (and counting). Whether you’re at the park, the beach, or the YMCA, it’s the perfect game for fast-paced fun, old or young. Be the first to bring the game to your backyard or school’s playground and see why pickleball is standing the test of time.
 
Looking for a place to play?
Check out www.usapa.org, where you can find indoor and outdoor pickleball facilities in your area, as well as apparel and helpful videos. Learn more about the game, or if you’re experienced, look up tournaments near you. Join one of the fastest growing sports in America!
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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What’s Up with the SUP?

Enjoying the lake or ocean, until recent years, had been limited to the usual suspects: boats, kayaks, canoes… you know, your typical vessels. However, there’s now a new way to get out on the lake and get you standing up at the same time.
 
The stand-up paddleboard, or SUP for short, it’s like a combination of a kayak and surf board. Paddlers stand up on the board and use a regular paddle to direct around the water. But not every board is the same for every paddler. They range in weight, weight capacity, material and flexibility, just to name a few. But just like purchasing a canoe or kayak, customers first need to decide what they want to use the SUP for.
 
Different Strokes for Different Folks
 
“There are different types of boards on the market, but most paddlers are either using an ‘all-around’ board or a “touring or cruising” board,” explains Nöel Basque of Pelican International. All-around boards are more stable, perform well, but tend to be slower than a touring board. Paddlers should consider, weight, and capacity on the boards, and depending on where they will be using the board, flexible fin or rigid fin.”
 
The width of the board is crucial when selecting an SUP. The wider the board, the more stability is offered, which is important for a new paddler. If you’re new to stand-up paddle boarding, it might be wise to select a wider board until you get the hang of it.
 
“Stability and width go hand and hand,” says Ken Harris of KL Outdoor. “A minimum of 30 inches in width is recommended for anyone up to 200 pounds. The bigger the person, the wider the board. The Seaquest 10 offers 33 inches in width. Generally 10-to-12-foot boards are truly a multi-purpose board from yoga, fun with the kids and exercise.”
 
So once you nail down what you’ll be using the board for, the next step is to make the right selection. But where do you begin? With so many new technological advances and added features, it can be complicated to make the best choice. But thanks to Pelican’s Vibe, Flow and Rush along with KL Outdoor’s Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, it’s tough to go wrong.
 
With the Pelican line of SUPs, they’re made from HDPE (high density polyethylene extract), which makes them extremely durable. Also, all Vibe models come with a stomp pad, tie-downs for stowing gear and are built for all-around use. With the Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10, you’ll get a non-slip pad, carrying handles, storage compartment with shock cord and even a recessed cooler!
 
If it seems like these boards are getting more and more advanced in terms of both features and construction, it’s because they are. Brands like KL Outdoor and Pelican are constantly innovating their products, making them more fun, safer and more durable.
 
“The technology of stand-up paddle boards has evolved to be more of an all-around board offering maximum stability and width,” explains Harris, “giving all skill levels the confidence they need to experience the trending activity.”
 
Basque of Pelican International adds in that their Twin Sheet Technology adds to Pelican’s product construction.
 
“Technology has enabled manufacturers like Pelican to bring boards to the consumer that perform well, are as tough as nails, and affordable,” says Basque. “Pelican manufactures in TST (twin sheet technology) using the best materials to ensure this.”
 
Safety is Key to Having Fun
 
Safety comes first with stand-up paddleboarding, as it would with any new aquatic activity. Paddlers should also ensure they’re getting the right safety equipment along with the board as well as make note of a few tips to make sure the experience is as fun as it is safe.
 
“New paddlers should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD), start using the board from the kneeling position, and when comfortable, get up on their feet, keep legs bent and back straight,” says Basque. “When paddling, use the whole of the paddle blade in the water and enjoy the ride!”
 
“All you need is a paddle and a life jacket for safety,” explains Harris. “Where you stand affects mobility. Place feet shoulder-width apart in the middle of the board. Keep the paddle straight while paddling.”
 
While paddlers should always be sure to wear a PFD, another accessory that’s a must when getting out on the water is an ankle leash. This will make sure if you’re to fall off the board and into the water, the board stays near you at all times. You can even make your SUP perform as a kayak!
 
“An ankle leash to ensure the board stays with the paddler can be useful in faster moving water, and some boards can also be equipped with a seatback and used as a sit-on-top kayak,” says Basque.
 
Summers are meant to spend outside getting in the water as much as you can. And while the old reliable kayaks and canoes are still great ways to navigate your favorite waterway, the SUP is a fun, innovative way to not only get exercise, but to get the best of what summer has to offer. And thanks to Pelican and KL Outdoor, it’s never been easier.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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Take to the Water in a New Kayak

Looking for something new to do out on the water this Spring? Why not try kayaking! There are just a few things to know before picking one out for yourself.
 
With so many features and models on the market, you can find a kayak for almost every kind of water and condition. You should first determine where you’ll be doing most of your kayaking. Will you be out on a calm lake or traveling down a river? You also have the option of either a sit-in model or a sit-on one.
 
“Beginners would typically start with something wider, more stable,” said Luke LaBree of Old Town Canoe and Kayaks. “More experienced paddlers, with maybe the exception of anglers, tend to veer toward narrower kayaks as they can cut through the water faster.”
 
Dunham’s Sports is currently offering the Old Town Vapor series, which features padded adjustable seats, adjustable foot braces and a cockpit tray.
 
Greg Larson of Perception Kayaks said that the size of the person kayaking should also be considered. A larger person would need a boat with more surface area to hold the boat above water. This can mean getting a longer or wider boat. A small paddler, on the other hand, should opt for a smaller boat. That will ensure that the boat doesn’t sit too high on the water. Both being too low in the water or too high up can make it difficult to operate the kayak.
 
One model offered by Perception is the Swiftwater. The 10.5-foot kayak is made for navigation on both lakes and rivers. It is versatile enough to over rapids but also stay straight on a calm lake.
 
Noël Basque, of Pelican Sport said beginners should look for a kayak that is stable, light and easy to paddle. Experienced kayakers can look for models that will move more swiftly through the water.
 
And you don’t have to kayak alone! Pelican is offering a new sit-in, tandem model this year, the Alliance 136T. All Pelican models at Dunham’s this season will have better ergonomics and new seating systems.
 
When you’re shopping for a kayak, be sure to first sit in it at the store and be sure it feels comfortable.
 
So what’s the best thing you can do to prepare for a day of kayaking? Never forget to wear a personal flotation device, and always stay within your experience level. If you stay safe, you’ll be sure to have a great time!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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The Prespawn Bass Breakfast Bash

When the bass head for the shallows, it’s time for you to get up off the couch.
 
Like many of us, big bass get awful lazy during the winter. Unlike most of us, they have enough sense to stop eating a lot when they’re pretty much immobile and not getting very much exercise. But when it’s time to get up and move about again in early spring, those bass sure are hungry. For most of the bass I’ve run across, that early spring wake up comes just before the spawn, and as the bass start moving toward shallower water, they suddenly realize it’s been a really long time since they’ve had a good meal. It’s the perfect opportunity for some great fishing, and most anglers call it the prespawn. As a bass fisherman, it’s your job to help those bass find something that appears to be a good meal and then get them in the boat before they have a chance to digest it.
 
Finding the Fish
 
But first you have to figure out when the fish are going to leave the deep water where they’ve been waiting out the winter and where you might be able to intercept them as they travel back and forth to the shallows to feed. In most lakes the prespawn begins when the water temperature rises above 50°F or so. In terms of where you might find them, the key lies in locating the path the bass follow when moving from the deep to the shallows. There will be stopping off points along the way, frequently at the edge of a drop off and often where there are structures or debris on the bottom. Tree stumps, rock piles and even old fence posts seem to spell dinner for prespawn bass.
 
Gather up Your Gear
 
You’re going to want a good durable rod and reel, and Dunham’s offers a large selection. The Ugly Stik GX2 combo is always a good choice as are the Abu Garcia Max series bait cast combos and reels. I like to wind some tough-as-nails Spider wire line.
 
What kind of dinner entrée should you offer to the hungry bass? Dunham’s has a lot of choices on the menu. A slow-moving worm or jig is just fine for just about any half awake and slow-moving bass. If you’re using artificial worms, treat them with some scent. A slow retrieve on a good spinner like the Strike King Mini-King or Mepps Aglia Spinner works really well for many bass fishermen. But I wouldn’t hesitate to tie on a crank bait either, although I’d fish it slower than I would in warm weather. Many fishermen report excellent success with Rapala Husky Jerk and Shad Rap crank baits. Shad Rap closely resembles baitfish found nearly everywhere. The KVD Square Bill crank baits from Strike King are another good choice. Crank baits can run deep in those drop offs you’ll find right before the shallows. Slowly bounce them off some underwater structures, and the bass will move in for a meal.
 
If you don’t get any strikes in 20 minutes or so, move on to another good-looking spot. The fish are going to be schooled somewhere between the deep and the shallows but likely more toward the shallows. Your job is to find them. They most definitely aren’t out looking for you.
 
Try to Stay Warm
 
Fishermen in the Midwest and North Central states will probably be fishing for prespawn bass long before it’s pleasant outside. In fact, it might be pretty darn cold, even after the water temperature has reached 50°F. And once you’re out on the lake, it’s going to be too late to put on another layer of clothes. You can always take something off.
 
A snowmobile suit is a good hedge against old man winter’s last gasp. Ski outfits are pretty darn warm as well. If you don’t want to spend that much of your gear money on clothes, do like some of us did back in the day: wear two pairs of pants and two shirts, plus that winter jacket or parka. Don’t forget some good flexible gloves and a warm hat as well.
 
While some anglers are going to wait for warm weather to get out on the lake, those folks are going to miss some of the best fishing of the season. Get up out of that winter easy chair, head out on the lake and treat a lunker bass to breakfast.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Two Wheelers On a Roll

With a selection of great bikes from which to choose and a wealth of bike trails nation wide, bicycling is more popular than ever.
 
Many of us grew up on a bicycle. From age five or six until our late teen years, we enjoyed the freedom of two-wheel transportation. With the sun in the sky, wind in our faces and pavement flying by—from home to school to the store or just cruising the old neighborhood—we spent the better part of our lives on bikes.
 
Who would have thought it could get any better than that? But when we finally got a driver’s license, that bike was parked, and it was only many years later that we gave thought to getting back up on two wheels.
 
Today, bikes are more than transportation for kids. For many adults, a bike serves as the daily workout, weekend entertainment or even a means of commuting. More importantly, bicycling is a great family activity. And while we rode the streets as children, today there are numerous bike paths and trails in every part of the country that offer a safe and scenic way to enjoy bicycling.
 
A Bike for Everyone
 
If you’re thinking of getting the family on bikes, Dunham’s is a great place to start. Whether you want to get off the road with trail bikes or take on the pavement with road bikes, Dunham’s has rides for you and yours.
 
For example, among the many affordable bikes you’ll find at Dunham’s is the Shogun T1000, a hybrid bicycle that’s great for the street or a bike path. Available in men’s and women’s models, it features an aluminum frame, front suspension, Shimano 21-speed shifting, alloy wheels and more.
 
Itching to get off road and ride some wilderness trails? The Thruster Excalibur Mountain Bike sports a hand crafted aluminum frame, an Alloy Crown front shock, 29-inch alloy wheels and Shimano 21-speed shifting with rear derailleur.
 
The 20-inch Razor RZ-20 is a great all-purpose bike for youngsters. It’s great on the street, on dirt trails or at the skatepark. The 20-inch Razor Neonz Pink will make any young lady happy and is suitable for both freestyle tricks and street riding.
 
The highly rated K2 ZED is a mountain bike with oversize 27.5-inch tires that can cope with trail obstacles while helping the rider maintain momentum. The lightweight aluminum frame is fitted with mechanical disc brakes and a Shimano®/SRAM® 21-speed drivetrain with twist shifters. K2’s Astral road bike is a lightweight hybrid with an 8-speed Shimano shifter. A great ride for the bike path or the daily commute.
 
Get Ready to Ride
 
Goodyear has expanded into the world of bicycles! As you read this, Dunham’s will be stocking their shelves with new Goodyear branded tires and tubes. The Goodyear line includes tires and tubes ranging from 12” to 29”, for road, mountain and everything in between. All the quality of Goodyear is now available for your bike.
 
-Two Wheeler
 
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Wandering Around This Winter

For thousands of years, man has struggled with getting around in snowy, icy conditions. Snowshoes made from pine tree branches and trekking poles made from tree limbs were about as advanced as this technology got. Lucky for us, we have the advantage of modern technologies and constant innovation to give us affordable, effective methods of getting around in the winter’s worst.
 
Staying On Top
 
What’s the real benefit to wearing a tennis racquet-looking contraption on your feet? How does that help you walk on deep snow? According to Dan Roy of Yukon Charlie’s/Synergy Sports, it’s the design that keeps a snowshoer from sinking down into the snow.
 
“In deeper snow conditions, snowshoes will keep the user from sinking right in up to their waist, which would make it almost impossible to walk or travel through,” Roy explains. “By using snowshoes, the user’s weight is distributed under the area of the snowshoe which allows the user to walk through snow with a much more reasonable level of exertion and stability.”
 
But it’s not just the deep, fluffy snow that is best for snowshoes. Because of their wider design and crampon treads on the bottom, walkers wearing snowshoes on harder, icier terrain will also benefit from the use of snowshoes.
 
One of the most important features to keep in mind when shopping for snowshoes are the bindings. Roy explains that with Yukon Charlie’s, they designed a 1-pull binding system that enables the user to take them off easily as well as EVA padding, which eliminates hot spots and pressure points for longer treks. No matter the terrain, be it deep and fluffy or hard and slick, snowshoes will keep you on your feet this winter.
 
A Well-Balanced Trek
 
What about keeping your balance in these wintry conditions? No matter the season or weather, trekking poles will keep hikers balanced and hiking as far as they can. In order to keep a trekking pole from sinking right into the snow, as a traditional walking stick would, snow baskets act as a snowshoe for your trekking pole. They displace the weight and pressure, keeping the trekking pole from sinking into the snow.
 
“Typically, the snow baskets are larger in diameter, which helps to prevent the trekking pole from just pushing right through a pile of snow and sinking to the bottom. The trekking baskets are smaller, as the ground conditions during non-snow seasons are firmer and do not need the larger basket to be able to gain some firm ground underneath.”
 
Through Snow and Ice
 
But if you’re not necessarily looking to be hiking or walking in terrain that would require the use of snowshoes or a trekking pole, there’s another variety for the minimalists out there. And the best part is that they’ll allow you to wear them with any type of footwear. Although, we wouldn’t recommend wearing these in high heels.
 
YakTrax are made from elastic outer bands with steel coils along the bottom — similar in design to the crampons on snowshoes — fit easily over existing footwear, offering a safe grip in icier conditions, even for runners.
 
“Anyone and everyone who has to stand or move across ice and snow can use them,” explains Eric Lund of Implus. “Mailmen, construction workers, utility workers, or anyone that spends a lot of time outside on their feet will appreciate the Yaktrax Pro. Runners and athletes will appreciate the Yaktrax Run, which has a hybrid coil and spike design and anatomic right/left design that makes it ideal for natural running and jogging on ice and snow.”
 
Dry and Repeat
 
As anyone who’s hiked, or even made a snowman, can relate, winter conditions often result in cold, wet gear. However, it’s not only moisture coming from the snow. As activity increases, so does the amount of sweat that winter gear can absorb. And when your gear gets wet, it means you get cold. Luckily, through warm air-circulation, DryGuy dryers can quickly get all of your attire warm and dry so you can get back out in the snow.
 
“Heating elements in the dryers warm the surrounding air which circulates in and out of the footwear, evaporating the moisture as it leaves,” said Lund. “This can be convection based, where warm air currents rise naturally which is usually a slower, overnight dry system. Overnight or it can be forced air based, which a fan physically pushes the warmed air for accelerated drying.”
 
As Lund explains, DryGuy has been on the forefront of innovating these older, convection-based dryers that kept snow enthusiasts at bay. The advances that they’ve made aren’t limited to speed of drying — they’re also focused on safety.
 
“There are also now a variety of portable units available,” said Lund. “Today, dryers also have timers to automatically shut off, and thermal switches to shut the unit down in the event of overheating, reducing risk of fire.”
 
When winter arrives, bringing in those beautiful snowy landscapes, they’ll also bring dangerous icy conditions. However, that shouldn’t sway anyone from getting out there and experiencing all that winter has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. While earlier man resorted to items found in nature to assist them in getting around, products from Yukon Charlie’s, YakTrax and DryGuys offer efficient, affordable and most important, effective methods to wander around this winter.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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