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What do you do when you’ve explored every FJ Summit trail in the Ouray-Silverton-Telluride area multiple times? Find something new.


Hema Explorer-Clear Lake

The Hema Explorer system helped to scout a high alpine lake that we’ve never explored. With a route planned in the cloud, I synced the tracks to my phone & tablet and downloaded the proper maps. We hit the pavement south of Ridgway, headed for Red Mountain Pass. 

After turning off the highway, we found a standard forest road complete with a washboard surface. We aired down to 22psi on the new tires, hit record on the app, and headed for the hills. 

Despite the cloudy & rainy day, we were able to find some really great views throughout the ~8 mile journey which included over 3,000ft in elevation gain. We spotted the Golden Horn a few times, along with several lakes, waterfalls, and great potential campsites. 

Hema Explorer-Clear Lake 

The end of our trip revealed a socked-in yet still beautiful Clear Lake. At an elevation near 12,000ft the lake is actually....quite clear. It’s also cold, and a really great place for lunch. Alas, the rain caught us so we enjoyed our sandwiches in the comfort of the GX. 

This trail is suitable for any stock 4x4 or SUV with low-range and you should plan 2-4 hours for a round trip, depending on how often you stop to capture the views. You can see our track on the Hema Explorer Cloud: http://hema.li/clrlkco

Hema Explorer-Clear Lake

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    Published in Summer 2017

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    Outdoor Retailer turned a new page this past July as we saw its last show in Salt Lake City. It was a bittersweet trip for me as I drove over to Utah from Wyoming. Krista and I have been covering both OR’s Summer and Winter Markets since 2010. I know this pales in comparison to the 21 years Outdoor Retailer has graced the halls of the Salt Palace Convention Center but one cannot help but be a little nostalgic about the whole thing. We “grew up” in this outdoor editorial field while attending the shows in Salt Lake so part of me feels like we will be leaving home when the shows move to Denver, starting in January 2018.


    Outdoor Retailer Summer 2017

    Those manufacturers that chose to attend did so with some phenomenal gear. Although there wasn’t a clear ‘must have’ item, as we saw when standup paddle boards first came to the market, there were several items that caught our eye. Here are our top products from this year’s Summer Market.

    LifeSaver Jerrycan 20,000UF

    A robust and portable water filter capable of filtering 20,000 litres/5,282 US gallons of clean drinking water, removing viruses, bacteria, cysts and parasites instantly. The LifeSaver Jerrycan holds up to 18.5 litres of water at any one time and is designed to support those with a greater demand for clean water such as group expeditions, adventurers embarking on overland travel, families or those setting themselves up for off-grid living. MSRP: $224.96 URL: https://www.iconlifesaver.com/product/lifesaver-jerrycan-20000uf

    Gerber Center-Drive w/ Bit Set

    Gerber’s new multi-tool offers uncompromising performance through revolutionary design. The innovative center-axis driver opens to align like a real screw driver, yielding maximum torque and rotation. No productivity is sacrificed with the addition of a 30% longer outboard blade and one-thumb opening sliding jaws. Full size, real tools - the multi-tool just got a reality check. MSRP: $132URL: http://www.gerbergear.com/Activity/EVERYDAY/Center-Drive-w-Bit-Set_30-001194

    Thermacell Backpacker Repeller

    The Backpacker Repeller will be powered by camping gas canisters, such as butane propane mix, and will work with all leading brands. It uses an integrated Piezo lighter to heat the allethrin inflused Thermacell repellent mats, creating an odorless and invisible Zone of Protection. Allethrin is a copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers, which repels mosquitos, black flies and no-see-ums and is an alternative to DEET, which can ruin gear and irritate human skin. MSRP: $39.99URL: https://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/backpacker/backpacker-mosquito-repeller

    Coleman Northern Nova

    Fill your entire campground with light with the brightest Coleman® lantern, the Northern Nova™ Propane Lantern with Case. The patented tube-mantles shine brighter than standard versions, and this lantern doubles up on that brightness technology to produce 3000 lumens of light that reach up to 32.5 meters away. When you're ready to head home, the legs fold up for more compact storage in the included case until you're ready for your next bright adventure. MSRP: $149.99URL: https://www.coleman.com/northern-nova-propane-lantern/2000023099.html

    myCharge AdventureUltra

    The AdventureUltra is myCharge’s largest battery bank with the highest power output. Designed to replace the heavy and bulky generators used when tailgating or camping, the AdventureUltra is a more streamlined power source option that can run a 42-inch television for up to three hours. The compact device weighs 1.05 pounds and measures just 1.2 X 5.8 X 4.1 inches. The AdventureUltra has a maximum power output of 45 watts, enough to run a laptop or recharge a drone battery. MSRP: $129.99URL: https://mycharge.com/collections/adventure-series/products/adventureultra

    Pelican 24-Can Soft Cooler

    Offering a convenient and lightweight alternative to hard coolers, The Pelican™ Elite Soft Cooler is ADVENTURE READY. This 24-Can Soft Cooler is durable, easy to carry, waterproof, leakproof and keeps ice for up to 48 hours. Strap it on your kayak, stand up paddle board, ATV/UTV or take it with you on your next hike to the beach or lake. All Elite Soft Coolers feature a quick access dual-lock buckle system, 100% Leak proof TIZIP® Zipper, compression molded anti-slip base, and stainless steel tie-down and bottle openers. MSRP: $279.99URL: http://www.pelican.com/us/en/explore/soft-coolers/

    CampMaid 12” Outdoor Cookout Grill Set

    Quite possibly the Swiss Army Knife of Dutch oven cooking. Outfit your Overland vehicles with the CampMaid cooking tools pack - the ultimate compact outdoor camp kitchen that transforms into multiple uses - a smoker, pizza oven, grill, griddle, steamer, baking, & more! The 12” Outdoor Cookout Grill Set includes CampMaid’s patented 12' Lid Holder & Serving Stand, Flip Grill, Charcoal/Wood Holder Heat Source, KickStand, Charcoal Chimney, pre-seasoned Dutch oven and carry bags. MSRP: $215.99URL: https://campmaid.com/collections/campmaid-overland/products/8-piece-complete-outdoor-cooking-system

    Watershed Yukon Duffle

    The Yukon duffel is the ideal size bag for 2-5 day river expeditions. There is room for a summer-weight sleeping bag, tent and some gear, or it could be used in tandem with other Watershed bags for food storage on a group trip. The bag also makes a great comprehensive ditch bag for long range marine use. MSRP: $159 URL: http://www.drybags.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=e0868dd6a425fe6e0154f7ce644fce92&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=D&Product_Code=FGW-YUK&Category_Code=Duffels

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    Published in Summer 2017

    With a constantly growing show, we’re seeing more and more new companies emerge in the aftermarket industry.  Around every corner we’re seeing new innovation pushing the boundaries of the automotive industry.  

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    Both inside and out, we been seeing some impressive builds and great new product at this year’s SEMA Show.  Big, small, new and old these builds can give even a seasoned SEMA attendee some serious whiplash!

    Published in Latest News

    Although Toyota strayed away from displaying any off-road vehicles this year, exhibitors around the show still had a good showing for Toyota enthusiasts to flock around.

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    As I surveyed the dirt roads of the BLM land surrounding the Castle Gardens Petroglyph site, I took note of the variety of numerous camping rigs sprinkled across the land. It was as if Overland Expo was sharing space with a Retro Glamping event, and first-time-ever campers. The total eclipse of 2017 attracted an unprecedented amount of attention. The plentiful public lands in Wyoming made it an ideal target for eclipse chasers. With a population of just over 585,000 people, some news sources speculated that the population number doubled on the day of the eclipse.


    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    Picking out first-time campers was quite easy:  no shade, no table, tent set up right next to the road, and car parked partially in the road. Some people didn’t even bring chairs, so they sat on the ground and leaned against their vehicles. Seems it took an eclipse to get people to leave their comfort zone and experience the great outdoors. Hopefully they took note of the gear used by others and will want to pursue natural escapes. 

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    A group of fellow Toyota off-roaders started organizing an eclipse gathering back in 2012. Castle Gardens area was the chosen destination. I received my invite in 2016 and started planning the telescope situation. Despite all the planning and the multiple eclipse photography tutorials and articles I endured, my preparation was still inadequate. I didn’t capture the eclipse quite how I envisioned. Fortunately, I learned my lessons and have 7-years to prepare for the next total eclipse.

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    I arrived at Castle Gardens on Friday, August 18 found one of the organizers, Bob Devereux, and his wife sitting next to their 80-series Land Cruiser enjoying the setting sun. My friend Stan Gibson was the next to arrive. When the last bit of sunlight vanished, I treated my camp mates to an evening of deep space objects viewing. Using an 130mm aperture apochromatic refractor, we examined galaxies, nebula, and star clusters. We finished with the Andromeda Galaxy—an object so large that it fills even the lowest power eyepiece. I always enjoy sharing views through my telescope with people who have never experienced a telescope in dark skies. Hearing the expressions of amazement make it worth the effort. 

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    The next day, as more friends arrived, I set up the Hydrogen-Alpha dedicated solar telescope (Lunt 60THa). This filtered telescope displays surface detail of the sun, as well as solar flares at the edge of the sun. A set of sun spots across the middle resembled the Caribbean Islands. Two large solar flares, each capable of holding 5 to 6 earths, were visible. 

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    On eclipse day, the human presence was strong. Dead rattlesnake carcasses were scattered across the dirt roads—evidence of the numerous vehicles that drove into the Castle Gardens area the previous night. Reports of a rave party was shared by frustrated amateur astronomers, who lost their dark skies to the glamping and party lights. Roadside rookie campers were subjected to dust as vehicles sped down the dirt roads as though they were shooting a Mad Max scene. 

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

    Fortunately, the organizers for the gathering I was with had found us a spot up on a hill next to a cliff. Accessing this area required high clearance. We thought we were safe from the herds of rookie campers. While most vehicles that attempted to come up in our direction were defeated, a little AWD Subaru wagon with paper tags managed to conquer the high clearance road, take a left and drive right into the middle of our campsite. Realizing we were not the droids he was looking for, he turned around. 30 minutes later, he was back, and this time he tried driving through the middle of our campsite. One of the guys sprinted past the Subaru and stopped the lost and confused driver before he damaged his new car and our camping gear. 

    The cookie-bite look of the sun greeted us after breakfast on eclipse day. It wasn’t long before the morning sunshine was more yellowish-orange than white and people were looking up with their ISO-certified cardboard specs. I was feverishly shooting bracketed photos through 2 DSLR cameras attached to 2 different telescopes. One was equipped with a dark ND filter, the other with a white light solar filter. Totality came too fast. I removed the filters and started capturing the corona and solar flares. After 2 minutes and 20 seconds, totality was over. People were cheering. It was truly a moving experience. Light increased and I tried to capture the diamond ring effect. Turns out, it is better to shoot that through long focal length camera lens than through a telescope. Lesson learned. 

    2017 Total Solar Eclipse

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    COMEUP Ad Best 2017 Web 

    Published in Summer 2017

    The popular Expedition Overland YouTube series is entering its 3rd season, featuring their South American travels in the latest examples of the Tacoma, 4Runner, and Land Cruiser.

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    After years, why keep coming back? Why come the first time? Will you come again?

    Its no secret that the crew at TCT Magazine loves the FJ Summit. We keep coming back. Shane & Angie were at the first FJ Summit in the original Williams FJ and have attended ever since. Director Jonathan Harris also became a TCT editor.  Associate Editor Daniel Markofsky leads trails here in his 80 series Land Cruiser. 

    Why? 

    People, Scenery, Tech, Trails, History, Education, Vacation, Food, Relaxing, Hot Springs, Excitement, Community, Camaraderie, Family.


    FJ Summit 2017

    Prep. I need that lift. Don’t forget armor.  

    Do I really need sliders, dual batteries and solar? Check.  

    Axe and shovel. Check.  

    Gears. Next year, nope, now.  

    Definitely a roof rack.  

    CB or HAM?  

    New tires? 

    Every Summiteer goes through this type of list.

    Day 1: Breakfast. The steam rises off your fresh local burrito as it peeks out of the foil. Coffee steams in your other hand. You feel the chill, but know the day will warm. You meet the group. You make new friends. 

    On The Trail.

    Its why we are here.  

    Tire pressure. Check. Debate. Check. Ask. Debate. Add air. Check.

    Fuel. Never pass a gas station. Is my tank full. How much is my reserve. How long is the day. How much gas do I need. Do I really need a full tank. I have enough, I think.  

    How hard is the trail? What is your experience? Let’s check out your rig. What is your tire pressure? Are you scared of heights? Do you have A-Trac? Lockers? Have you ever used them? No, you won’t need them. You will need them. 

    Having trouble on the trail? Are you in low range? You mean this button? What does that one do? What is it? I don’t know, I just turn them all on. I was told that was what to do. No, I did not air down because I have no way to fill up. To what? 50 PSI like the sidewall says.

    ATVs coming up. Side-by-sides coming down. Jeeps ahead. Did you turn? Where is the bathroom? What time do we get back to town. Can I get a spot! How did they get that bulldozer/Subaru/Jeep/Honda up here? Do those people need help? What time is lunch? ATVs coming up. Side-by-sides coming down. Jeeps ahead. Did you turn? Where is the bathroom? What time do we get back to town. Can I get a spot! How did they get that bulldozer/Subaru/Jeep/Honda up here? Do those people need help? What time is lunch? 

    Lunch. Is it a cold sandwich, handful of chips, grilled chicken, or mac n cheese hot off the manifold.

    Did you take in the view? Glad the rain stopped. I don’t need 4-low first gear all the time? Oh, You were on channel 22, that explains it. Car off, hand brake on, manual tranny in gear every time we stop? 

    Dinner. The food is good and the line is a slow roll down vendor row. Dude! We chatted online, soooo great to meet you! Under the tent you are welcome at any table and anyone is welcome at yours. At the brewery, grill, or grocery you are surrounded by friends. Maybe you pass on that additional margarita as the excitement for the next day appears. 
    Sleep. Is it a comfortable condo? Hotel room? RTT, camping pad. Maybe stealth on the sleeping platform you built the night before you left. Shhh. 2017 treated Summiteers to a lightning show of biblical proportions, thunderclaps worthy of the Roman Gods, and snorkel eating rain. 

    Saturday night: Hi remember that trail we ran Thursday? I did all those things my tail leader showed me. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to get home and explore my local trails. Now I finally understand how my FJ/4Runner/Tacoma/Prius works! (ok, not the Prius.)

    Sunday:  Yep, mine is 6, 8, 9, 16 hours to home.  

    Oh, me, I’m here another week.  

    Cool.  

    See you in 2018!

     

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    Published in Summer 2017

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    What a great summer!

    We've been busy covering amazing Toyota Truck, Cruiser, and SUV adventure...


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    CBI FULL WEB

    Published in Summer 2017

    Sometimes you're just in the mood for a fun video made by a fun couple, that also includes FJ Summit XI =)

    Published in Videos
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