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Cairn Blog: Discussing Outdoor Gear

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Adventure   Brands   How To  

How to Have the Perfect Summer Microadventure

June 22, 2017

If you have an indoor desk job, summer can be a love-hate time of year. The weather is glorious, yet you’re stuck inside all day wishing you chose a different job that allows you to take the summers off--shout out to all you teachers out there!

One way to cope with this summertime adventure envy is to focus on the joy of micro-adventuring. Instead of dreaming about the incredible yet out of reach adventures you can’t take this summer, think about all the little adventures you can experience around you. Weekends, evenings, and early mornings are all free for outdoor exploration all summer long. All you need is the willingness to get outside and enjoy beautiful places close to home, like in your backyard or a nearby forest.

For us at Cairn headquarters, the perfect summer microadventure involves heading out to Elk Lake or the famous Green Lakes Trail--close to home in Bend, Oregon. The trip doesn’t have to take all day, but it can be packed with unforgettable memories and revitalize you for the rest of the week. 

The perfect microadventure will be a little different for everyone. Some of you outdoor warriors love planning adventures with friends, while others prefer to head out on the trail alone. From a mountain trek, to a moonlit beach walk, whatever you prefer there is something for you--it just depends on what kind of experience speaks to you and lies close to home.

No matter what your microadventure passion is, you can make the experience more fun and memorable with a little forethought. Here are some tips from The Cairn Crew, to experienced microadventurer:

Make time for relaxation

If you love pushing yourself to the limit, you might be tempted to fill all your free time with extreme outdoor activities. But, your body also needs time to rest. If you’re constantly pushing yourself, you could risk getting sick or injured due to fatigue, especially if you’re losing sleep.  

A microadventure can still involve rock climbing, mountain biking, and other intense outdoor sports; you just need to pace yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation between your explorations and work schedule.

These breaks can easily be included throughout your travels as well, and you can plan for peaceful moments by packing the right gear. A comfortable camping chair like the Therm-a-Rest deluxe Quadra Chair will put you at ease wherever you are. You can sit with a beverage of choice in the mesh side pocket, enjoying a beautiful sunset or sunrise in nature after a day full of activity.

Trouble with mosquitoes? Just turn on the Backpacker Mosquito Repeller from Thermacell. It will create a 15 x 15-foot zone of protection around you, so you can relax in an insect-free oasis, in your new chair, with your favorite beverage.

Experience something new or unusual

Discovering a new place is the best way to make a microadventure more interesting and memorable. If you’ve already thoroughly explored the area, you can create a sense of new-ness by adding in a fresh activity or giving yourself new goals.

If you love surfing, head over to the nearest coastal town and spend the weekend learning a new surfing trick or maneuver, or teach a friend to surf--sharing (knowledge) is caring after all! To all you runners and hikers out there, try out some new terrain, like forest trails or beach paths. It’s surprising how much more enjoyable things can be when you do them in a new place for the first time.

A microadventure can also come from anything you love or would like to experience. With a little creative thinking, activities as simple as lounging on the beach, next to a lake or tubing down a river can be turned into the best microadventures. Maybe you know of the best secret hot springs in 50 miles, or like floating a river with a few tunes playing (on a waterproof speaker of course) like the Speaqua Barnacle. Now that sounds like a fun, relaxing microadventure, ✔ a day that everyone enjoys ✔ again!

Bring along yummy snacks

Even if you plan to stop somewhere for food, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks for the trip. That way you’re prepared in case the ‘hangry’ takes over--just kidding--not really 😉. No one likes a hangry person, especially when you’re on an epic microadventure. Grab some outdoor meals and high-protein snacks, like OMEALS Cheese Bites. But if you do plan on making a proper meal, consider investing in Gerber’s center-drive multi-tool for cutting up food and opening drinks. It comes in handy if you need to make repairs, too.

Most of all, just get out there and enjoy the possibilities nature has to offer while the weather is warm. Hike, bike, run, camp or swim, we salute you, Microadventurers!

-- The Cairn Crew

Interested in all the gear we’ve mentioned? Sign up for the Cairn Quarterly Obsidian Collection, and you’ll get products like these shipped directly to you. Then, you’ll be prepared to head out on the best microadventure you’ve ever had.

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Father’s Day Reflections: How My Dad Gave Me The Gift Of The Outdoors

June 15, 2017

The joy of outdoor adventures, and the desire to get out and explore, is an inherited trait for many of us nature-lovers, likely from an instrumental person like our dad. With Father’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on how dads’ can positively impact our lives and passions.

Fathers are one of the first people we learn to trust in this world, and have a huge influence on the path we choose to take in life including, for some of us, our career path.

We asked our Marketing Guru, Hollie, to give us a peek into her relationship with her dad. Here’s her story:

My favorite memories with my Dad.

That’s a tough one! There are so many awesome memories with my dad. My Mom, siblings and I were lucky enough to tag along on a few of my dad’s business trips around the world. Traveling with a family of five is fairly similar to a traveling circus, but I think he secretly enjoyed the madness of making sure we all made it onto each train, plane and automobile (with a few close calls).  

Some of my most vivid childhood memories were during the years my dad worked at Mountain Hardwear. Because of his connections in the outdoor industry, I met several athletes on our trips--people that I have come to know as industry legends. From climbing with the late Ueli Steck (world renowned climber) in Switzerland, to shaking hands with Ed Viesturs (one of the first mountaineers to climb all 14 eight-thousand meter peaks without supplemental oxygen), my dad and I shared some experiences that are invaluable to me.

I am my Dad’s daughter.

My dad and I are true followers of what we’re passionate about. And for both of us, that passion is the outdoors. There’s nothing more healing, or more satisfying, than being out in nature. Dad and I both have a passion for, and a mission to, encourage people to get outside, and not only explore new places and activities, but also teach others to appreciate and respect the environment around them. We both found companies that hold that belief as a core value, which is a quality my dad and I find essential in life.

Shared hobbies and pastimes.

Skiing is the number one thing my dad and I share. If we could, we would spend every weekend up on the mountain (Mt. Bachelor being our favorite--and also in our backyard!). Some of the best weekends we’ve had together include nights spent up at Bachelor with my parents in their RV, and catching the first and last chair of the day. I'd say a close second would be a mid-summer brewskie out on the porch with my dad.

Nicknames, nostalgia, and respect.

When I was little my Dad gave me the nickname of ‘pumpkin’. I’m assuming that one came from my flaming red locks and chubby cheeks...just a guess. Regardless, it stuck--at least for a few years.

But aside from giving me an amazing nickname, my dad has played a crucial role in my life, and has taught me so much of what shaped me into who I am today.

For one, his work-ethic is incredible. I don’t think I’ve met someone that works as hard as my dad does. He loves the outdoor industry, and inspires people to not only love and respect the outdoors, but also work to be the best they can be. What influenced me greatly as a kid was that my dad never succumbed to a career that didn’t feed his soul. He’s willing to take risks, and expresses his goals and passions to everyone he meets, which has allowed him to become a fearless leader in the outdoor industry.

How my Dad influenced my career choice.

His influence began way before I came into this world. It all started when my parents met at Adventure 16. My dad was working there at the time, and my mom convinced him to teach her how to climb (even though it was her least favorite activity). The year I was born, my dad had the genius idea to start this little company called Mountain Hardwear.

Even though having your first child and launching a start-up--in the same year--can have its challenges, over the next few years my dad still managed to make time to introduce me to every outdoor activity known to man. I was up on skiis before I could walk (ok, maybe I was toddling), I was more familiar with camping in a tent than with my own crib, and dehydrated meals were preferred over cheerios any day. Seeing how much he loved his work, and growing up around this incredible industry, I don’t think I would have been happy with any other career path.

--Hollie Wallenfels, Marketing Guru, Cairn


Whether your dad has inspired your career path, your passion for the outdoors or your love for watching football and BBQing on Sunday's, show him you love and appreciate him this Father’s Day. Spoil him with the gift of outdoor inspiration and a monthly subscription to Cairn!

How has your dad inspired you? Share with us on our Facebook or Instagram page!

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Top 5 summer camping spots in the U.S.

June 08, 2017

Camping season is here and the great outdoors are calling! We know you’ve received some awesome gear in past Cairn collections, and now it’s time to put it all to use. If you’re looking to change up your camping scenery this summer, we’ve got five epic camping destinations that you’re definitely going to want to include on your bucket list. So stop what you’re doing, call up your adventure buddies, and start planning!

1. North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)

You’re going to need to make your reservations early for this spot, but boy is planning ahead worth it! Campgrounds at the North Rim are open from May 15, through October 31. Less accessible than the South Rim, the North Rim requires a bit more effort to get to, but as soon as you’re there, you’ll see why it is referred to as the canyon’s “best side.” You can hike, bike or even catch a ride on a mule into what may be the most scenic destination you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

2. Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

Ok, adventurers! This one is accessible by foot only. Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park will get you off the grid and into a pristine wilderness experience. The park itself is mostly water, making it a sport-fisherman and sea kayaker’s paradise. There are also three hiking trails in Bartlett Cove of varying lengths that will require you to get your feet a little muddy, but are totally worth the scrub. Camping permits are free, but are required from May to September. All campers are required to attend a 30-minute camper orientation at the Visitor Information Center to get a permit, and once completed can hike into the campground.

3. Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine and is one of New England's greatest gems. In the morning you can get out and hike on one of the many trails in the surrounding mountains, and then take a kayak or canoe out on the water to explore the sea in the afternoon. If you’re a botanist at heart (or in real life), or an avid bird watcher, take a stroll through the Wild Gardens of Acadia where you can experience native plants and birds. Camping reservations are recommended May-October to get a spot at one of the five campgrounds in the Park.

4. Natural Bridges National Monument (Utah)

You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the beauty of Natural Bridges National Monument. You also don’t have to be an extreme hiker to see these natural formations up close and personal. 👏

Only a short hike in, the Natural Bridges Monument is a must see, and is great for families with small children who don’t quite have their endurance hiking stamina built... yet. You can choose from 13 campsites to stay at year-round, all within a short distance of the natural bridges, making it easy to access these scenic wonders multiple times throughout your stay.

5. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

Yes, we are recommending you to go camp in the desert, but not just any ‘ol desert! Joshua Tree National Park is the meeting place for two very specific desert ecosystems; the Mojave and the Colorado. The park stretches nearly 800,000 acres and encompasses some of California’s most fascinating geologic displays of rock and granite. The 9 campgrounds can be claimed on a  first-come first-served in the off-season of the summer months (June-September), but some do close for the summer months. Remember to double-check online before you go to be sure of which campsites free to use.

Where are you going to make your next camping vacation? Share with us on our Facebook Page or Instagram--and tag #GetCairn or #CairnRocks! Happy adventuring.

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Box   Brands   How To  

Hammocking Tips: 6 Unexpected Ways to Use Your Hammock

May 31, 2017

If you received the comfortable and versatile Serac Hammock, included in our May collection, you are probably pretty stoked! Summer is here and nature is calling for hammock swingin’, snoozin’ and relaxin’!

We’re all about sourcing and sharing gear with you to inspire your adventures. Here are 6 unexpected ways to use your hammock this summer outdoors as well as at home base-camp (yes, we went there 😉 ).

THE GREAT OUTDOORS. Hammocking while hiking, climbing, camping or backpacking is totally our jam. Here are a few ways to make your outdoor adventures more fun with your hammock.

#1: No pillow needed.

Leave your pillow at home? No worries. Your hammock has you covered! If you’re notoriously forgetful, and find yourself constantly missing that one super-crucial item, then this hammock has your back. There is nothing worse than sleeping without a pillow, so if you find yourself without one on your next camping trip, try bundling up your hammock and using it as a soft place to rest your head for the night! Problem solved. See how easy that was?

#2: The ultimate gear loft.

We like to stay organized while out enjoying mother nature, but did you know your hammock can help? Try storing clothes, blankets, towels and other gear in your hammock when you’re not using it. The awesome space-saving tactic makes for a safe, clean place to put all your clothes and other necessities when space is limited.

#3 Ground cover extraordinaire.

A little dirt don’t hurt...BUT...if you are skeptical about getting a your clothes dirty, spread your hammock out for a dry, dirt free space to sit or lie down! Sunbathing on the beach, picnicking in a dewy meadow, playing cards at your campsite, whatever the occasion may be, your hammock will be there for you! And don’t worry about getting it filthy--these guys are lightweight and quick drying, making them a breeze to shake off and dry out! So you can forget about  packing along that extra blanket, as long as you have your hammock, you’re set!

#4: The kid (or adult-kid) swing...we’re not judging.

Kids love to camp and adventure too! It’s never too early to introduce children to nature--with adult supervision of course. Camping with kids is a great way to bond and educate them about the environment. But let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a handy toy or distraction. Enter, hammock. If you’re just a kid at heart, and need a little relaxation after a hard-day’s hike or outdoor excursion, let your hammock be the wind beneath your wings! A cold beverage in hand, and that soothing swinging motion = a superb way to end your day.

THE URBAN CHILL. Not just an outdoor activity, hammocking can be added to the mix at your home base too.

#5: Meet the living room addition.

Looking to add a little fun, functionality to your living room? Your hammock can double as an extra lounge chair--minus the chair. Especially for those of you who reside in compact living spaces, your hammock could be the perfect space-saving addition to a small living room or studio apartment. Plus, you’ll be the cool friend who thought of hanging a hammock in your living room. You’re welcome.

#6: The odds and ends storage alternative.

In its off time, your hammock can double as an extra shelf for tools, equipment, gear, pillows, or just about anything else that needs a home. Hang it in your garage, or any other room for quick and easy storage solution.

What are some unexpected ways you will use your hammock? Tell us in the comments and/or on our Facebook page!

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Interview with Ultrarunner Ian Sharman: Sports Recovery and Training

May 24, 2017

Our May collection is all about inspiring you to hang out in the summer sun, and relax while recovering from the day's adventures.

The CLIF® Whey Protein Bar included in this month’s collection packs in 14g of protein with only 5g of sugar, giving you a delicious protein boost with no sugar alcohols. It’s perfect for helping you maintain lean muscle while you’re recovering or planning your next big adventure!

Recovery is something CLIF athlete and local Bend, OR, ultrarunner and coach Ian Sharman knows a lot about. We sat down with Ian to learn more about the importance of relaxation and proper recovery for outdoor activities (and the athlete in all of us).

The Importance of Recovery

Many people feel they’re doing less if they take time to recover, like they’re wimping out, but that’s really not the case. A tactic I use is a hard-easy combination: doing a hard workout one day and an easy one the next. I learned this tactic through practice. By slowing down my own recovery runs, or just by making my easy days easier, I found that it would allow my muscles to rebuild and recover. This method helped me run faster in the marathon over the course of a year or two.

Recovering properly is the single biggest thing that I train people to do. It’s not that you won’t get fitter putting in medium effort every day, but you won’t get as much bang for your buck. If you’re tired you won’t improve. But over-working yourself is not the only offender here--how much sleep you get, stress, travel, food and alcohol--are also part of the equation.

After a hard workout or other arduous outdoor activity, you need the right food--immediately. Your body has a 60-90 minute window when it is really craving a lot of nutrients, particularly the carbohydrates you’ve just burned off. If you’ve done something longer or harder, protein becomes even more important for rebuilding the muscles, to make them stronger for next time.

What and how much to eat mid-activity

If you’re training for a race of some kind, an especially tough hike or backpacking trip, you may be wondering how much to eat while active. I used to eat more of the ‘activity’ gels out there during my races. Now, I try to mix it up so I can get a variety of nutrients. Typically in a race, I mainly use CLIF bar products (you pick your own favorite here but CLIF make a variety of awesome race-supporting products). I also recommend taking advantage of aid stations during a race. I graze on things like pretzels, Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale--things like Coke are actually very good because they make you burp and settle the stomach, and then it’s easier to eat for the rest of the race. And the texture is different from your typical sports drink beverage, which is sugary but isn’t carbonated. During a 100-mile day (dawn ‘till dusk) you might end up taking in 10,000 calories, which is a serious amount. I always have something in my hand.

These events are described (half-jokingly) as eating competitions, because if you can’t get enough calories, then you really bonk and it’s difficult to keep up a level of intensity. You could be in the best shape, but if you don’t know how to eat while running and how to recover after, it’s hard to be successful in events like the Ironman and the Leadville 100.

What it takes to be an ultrarunner

I think it takes a lot of stubbornness. You have to be very committed, and you have to enjoy it. If you’re not willing to work hard and grind it out, be tough on race day, and if you’re not motivated enough, it’s not for you. And that’s why it’s always going to be a niche sport because a lot of people aren’t willing to put in that amount of training.

Why run??

It’s just a lot of fun, from the adrenaline rush you get from competing and doing well, to the clear “put the work in, get the result.” There’s no cheat. You can’t just be naturally gifted and do well--you have to put in the hard work to get the long-term payoff. You work at it for months until you reach the big day where it all comes to fruition. I love being a coach, and I love seeing when someone finishes their first 100-miler. It’s amazing to watch someone realize what their body is capable of accomplishing. Running also gives me a lot of flexibility to travel and race all over the world. I couldn’t imagine a better job for me!

More about Ian and his life as an ultrarunner can be found below.

How do you recover from a hard day of activity? Tell us on our Facebook Page, Instagram or in the comments below! 


Meet Ultrarunner Ian Sharman

After living in London working as an economist for seven years, Ian realized that he wasn’t getting as much exercise as he used to. He grew up being very active--playing soccer, cricket, tennis, etc.--and was a bit of a “jack of all trades, master of none,” as he puts it. Then, when he was 25, he saw a documentary on TV about a race in the Sahara Desert called the Marathon of the Sands and thought, that looks like an epic adventure:

“I wasn’t into running at all, I just always liked travel and liked the idea of going into the desert and seeing these massive sand dunes. So I entered. It involved running 150 miles over a week carrying a backpack with food and a sleeping bag--all you’re provided along the way is water and a tent. Because of that, I began training for running and found I really enjoyed it.”

In 2009, Ian moved to the US to be with his wife, then started doing 100-mile races in 2010. He set the record for the fastest trail 100-miler in the US ever in 2011, which was 12 hours and 44 minutes. At that point, he started getting sponsorships, so he quit his job and transitioned into running and coaching full time.

Thanks, Ian!

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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!


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.


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

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Adventure   Brands   Outdoors  

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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Adventure   Outdoors  

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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Adventure   Outdoors  

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.


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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