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Cairn Blog: Discussing Outdoor Gear

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Outdoor Living: How To Relax With Your Hammock

May 17, 2017

Every month, as we build our collections we think of our community, and how great gear can fit into the larger scheme of their daily lives, their weekend adventures, and everything in between. And while we’re all about rip-roaring, 100 miles-per-hour, you-can-rest-when-you’re-dead, weekend warrior lifestyle, there’s something to be said for taking a moment to just “chill for a sec.”

Take it all in

The thing about sitting in a hammock is that it forces you to stop and take it all in, and our May collection allows you to do just that. Snack on a CLIF Whey Protein Bar while gently swaying side-to-side in your Serac Hammock between two pines--or any two stable objects, wherever you may find them. The hammock is a breeze to set up with the high-quality webbing straps we included along with it to which, based on Cairn Crew feedback, Serac added an additional foot to fit the tree trunks here in Central Oregon. Mosquitoes can’t even ruin the vibe, as they’ll be kept at bay with the Adventure Medical Kits Natrapel Wipes.

Stop and smell the roses—or what have you

Since Spring is in the air, we wanted to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. Maybe it’s not roses for you—maybe it smells nothing like roses, like plopping down into your hammock and sniffing your shirt after day three of your backpacking trip and recognizing how awesome it is that nature doesn’t care what your shirt smells like.

Maybe it’s taking in that epic view, letting yourself truly experience that feeling of awe at where you are, as you let your legs rest and thank them for getting you there.

Or, maybe it’s taking advantage of a warm, clear summer night, ditching the tent, and drifting to sleep while gazing up at the hundreds of billions of stars above, feeling content with it all—a daunting and existential yet completely necessary reality check in our busy lives.

3 ways to relax outdoors in your hammock

Whatever your story may be, we present three reasons to relax in your new hammock:

  1. Breathe and reflect: Ever heard of “shower thoughts”? There’s a reason why people seem to come up with their best ideas out of nowhere in the shower, and our best guess is it’s probably because it’s one of the few times in your day when you’re not distracted by everything else in life. Likewise, you can take this precious time in your hammock to let your mind do its thing, without the screens, errands, and to-do lists calling your name.
  2. Read a book: Reading in a hammock is pure bliss. If that’s not relaxation, we don’t know what is! Whether you’re a “Walden Pond” enthusiast or more of an “Into Thin Air” type of individual, there’s nothing like getting lost between the pages of a good book in the outdoors.
  3. Plan your next adventure: Grab your map and start scheming! That topo isn’t going to explore itself, and having some down time to sit down in your hammock and plan out your next route is time well spent.

Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation. We’ve provided the gear, now all you need to do is put your feet up and “hang out.” Happy hammocking!

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Thoughts From the Hammock: Cairn Co-Founder Rob Little

Name one item from a past collection you've used more than you thought you would.

Just one!? That's impossible. The Pocket Bellows was a gem to find--not sure I've started a campfire without it since we featured them. Rumpl's Puffy Throw has been a staple for me in many hammock sessions. The LuminAID has become my favorite way to light up a tent or a camp kitchen with just the right amount of light.

Where do you plan on relaxing in your Serac hammock from the May collection?

There's a spot that I love along the Deschutes River in Northern Oregon where I can watch fly fishermen perfecting their art and whitewater rafters floating by. It's a special place for me, and will certainly be where my hammock sees its inaugural use.

What's one outdoor adventure you're looking forward to this summer?

Betsey (my wife) and I are planning on paddling each of the lakes along Oregon's Cascade Lakes highway. It will take multiple trips to pull it off, but the serenity of the peaceful mountains and quiet lakes are always a refreshing adventure for us.

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How are you relaxing with your new May collection? Tell us in the comments!

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Arcade Belts: Cody Townsend (Founder) Interview

May 11, 2017

Pro skier Cody Townsend started Arcade Belts to make comfortable, more durable belts for the adventurous. And in doing so started a new adventure for this pro skier turned entrepreneur.
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Overlanding: Life in a Roof Top Tent

May 05, 2017

Ever entertained the idea of “Van Life” or “Overlanding”? What does it really take to quit your job and live life on the road? Richard and Ashley of Desk to Glory share their story.
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Fly Fishing in Central Oregon

April 28, 2017

A lot of thought goes into curating our monthly collections. When we put a collection together, we think about YOU, and what’s going to inspire you most to get outside. As it turns out, we can’t help but get inspired ourselves through the process. Since one of our April collections was geared toward fishing, we decided to dive a little deeper into what a few of our local fishermen and women love about the sport.

Meet: Kyle Schenk, a fly fishing guide for Fly and Field Outfitters and the Fish Team Manager at BlackStrap Industries Inc., Matt Carter, who has been a guide on the Deschutes River for 10+ years, and Ashley Donohue, who is--simply put--a badass.

Kyle Schenk: Fly Fishing Guide

Kyle Schenk Fly Fisherman

How did you get into fly fishing?

When I was a hospital corpsman in the Navy, I spent several years chasing fish across the country with my conventional fishing rods. I had always wanted to fly fish, but my Marine buddies poked fun whenever I brought it up. More than once I had a fly rod kit in my hand but reluctantly chose to set it down each time.

Being a Northwest native, I knew Oregon would be the place I went back to after leaving the military. With the help of my folks, we landed in Bend, which I love for a variety of reasons, but mostly the abundance of fishing and beer. Within the first two days of living in Bend, I walked down the local fly shop and bought my first rod that I paired with my Grandfather's old Cortland reel. I knew nothing and was eager to learn everything I could. My first year in Bend I clocked over 250 days of fishing and 366 days of beer drinking. I dove in head first and never looked back. I always knew that fishing was my passion, but I never knew how much fly fishing would change my life. I love the industry, the people, and the experiences I’ve had. The learning potential for fly fishing is exponential. Every day is different and every species is different.

What fly fishing gear could you not live without?

  • Simms G3 Waders- It’s very important to have a reliable pair of waders that can endure any weather condition and a daily beating.

  • Korkers Devil Canyon Wading Boots- I am slightly biased but I would have to say that these are hands down the best boots on the market. Easy access is pertinent during winter fishing excursions. These boots are the best for ease and comfort.

  • Smith Optics Guides Choice Glasses- Polarized sunglasses are a game changer on the water. Especially ChromaPop!

  • BlackStrap Daily Tube- Long days in the sun require sun protection. BlackStrap facemasks are UPF 55+, have awesome designs, and eliminate the need to keep reapplying sunscreen. Plus, you look like a ninja on the water.

  • Grayl Filter Water Bottle- Super lightweight bottle that purifies water straight out of the river or lake! It’s essential to keeping you hydrated out there. I discovered it in one of Cairn’s collections and have used it ever since.

Tell us about your best fly fishing memory.

There are so many moments that stand out to me. I would say the top 5 experiences I have had are:

  1. Fishing with my BlackStrap buddies in Jupiter, Florida. We hammered blue runners, jacks, false albacore, and bonita like it was our job! We also stuck a 220-pound sand bar shark on the fly rod!

  2. Walking the flats of Oahu with my old man while chasing bonefish. I went 1 for 5 and stuck a six pounder.

  3. Guiding an eager 10-year-old into his first fish on a dry fly while his family watched from the boat. He was so determined that I would have stayed there until 2 am with him.

  4. I recently went on a fishing trip with my buddy Dylan and his brother Zac Efron.

  5. Anytime I get to be on the water with my beautiful girlfriend and our sweet pups.

What’s the best fly fishing advice someone’s given you?

Never stop learning.

Matt Carter: Fly Fishing Guide

Matt Carter Fly Fisherman

How did you get into fly fishing?

My dad got me into fly fishing at a very young age. He was once a fly fishing guide on the Deschutes. I caught my first fish on a fly rod when I was two years old and have never stopped fishing. There are always more places to fish and more fish to catch.

What fly fishing gear could you not live without?

My favorite piece of fishing gear is a waterproof hip pack. It gives me easy access to my gear while keeping it dry and staying out of the way while fishing and rowing.

What's your favorite place you've ever gone fishing?

Definitely Mongolia. I am lucky enough to guide there for five weeks every year. It’s an amazingly beautiful place with truly giant fish! It's hard to beat 4 ft. Trout eating surface flies! 

Tell us about your best fly fishing memory.

One day I was guiding a father and his 14-year-old son for trout on the Deschutes. The son really wanted to keep a fish to eat. I explained to him that we practice catch and release, so that others will always have fish to catch. He was not happy! Later that day he landed a huge trout. It was the largest fish I had seen in the Deschutes. Upon landing it he said, "I want to let it go! I want to catch that fish again some day! I hope someone gets to catch him again." It was really cool to see! 

What's the best fly fishing advice someone's given you?

"Never just charge into the river and start casting as far as you can! Take your time and pay attention. The river and your surroundings will give you clues to catching more fish, if you take the time to look and listen."

Hit us with your best fishing joke.

What did the steelhead say when it swam into the concrete wall? Dam!

Ashley Donohue: Fly Fisherwoman

Ashley Donohue Fly Fisherwoman

Photo credit: Troy White, @flockaburrrd

How did you get into fly fishing?

My boyfriend was really into it, so I eventually started going with him. I was lucky enough to have a couple friends who were experienced guides show me the basics and take me to places where I could be successful at catching fish when I first started. So I was "hooked" right off the bat. I also enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible, and fly fishing was another reason to get out of the house.

What fly fishing gear could you not live without?

Probably my OG fly rod. An 8 foot, 5 weight Redington "Minnow." My dad got it for me as a gift when I was first getting into fly fishing. It was the only fly rod I had for about 5 years and it has gone everywhere with me. It is the rod I learned on, and also the rod that has caught most of my biggest fish. It's kind of funny because it is technically a kids model, but it's been perfect for me. I have a couple more rods now, but I still use that one 90% of the time. If/when it breaks it will definitely be going up on my wall as memorabilia.

What's your favorite place you've ever gone fishing?

I think the Deschutes River will always be my favorite, but Glacier National Park in Montana was a pretty incredible place to fish. 

Tell us about your best fly fishing memory.

One that comes to mind was on my birthday last year. My boyfriend and I drove up to one of my favorite fishing spots after we were done snowboarding. There were a couple other people there but no one was really catching any fish except this one guy who was fishing next to me. Everyone was chatting and it eventually came up that it was my birthday. That guy came over, said happy birthday, and handed me a couple flies. I put them on and started hooking fish left and right. It was a pretty awesome birthday gift from a stranger.

What's the best fly fishing advice someone's given you?

"Fish where the fish are."

Hit us with your best fishing joke.

There is a reason it's called fishing and not catching.

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Thanks for chatting with us, Kyle, Matt, and Ashley!

Got a favorite fishing memory or a good fishing joke to share? Tell us in the comments!

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