May 2018

When It Comes to Program Backpacks, NCOAE Opts for Osprey

By NCOAE Headquarters May 31, 2018

NCOAE Recommends

Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) we’re not very big on endorsing products or brands. In fact, if you were to research our blog all the way back to the first entry at the end of 2013, you probably won’t find more than two or three posts chatting up products that we heartily support (most notably among them, our June 2014 endorsement of Banks Fry-Bake Pan).

But NCOAE is a super big fan — and customer — of Osprey Packs, a company that has been making some of the best expedition-style backpacks available in the outdoor recreation marketplace for the past four and a half decades. In particular, we’ve been hugely pleased with the Escalante 75 +10 backpack and the Kiva 70 +5 backpack — both available for our outdoor programs only.

Osprey Program Backpacks

As an Association for Experiential Education (AEE) accredited provider of guided outdoor trips and training in the realm of outdoor education and training, our organization qualifies for wholesale pricing for 100 or so manufacturers of expedition-style backpacks. But over the years, when it comes to program packs, we continue to work almost exclusively with Osprey. Why? (more…)

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‘Free Range’ Mountain Bike Advocates Seek Access to Wilderness Areas

By Stephen Mullaney May 17, 2018

Land Management

Strange and interesting things are afoot in the human-powered outdoor recreation community, and if you’ve been paying attention to issues surrounding the use of wilderness areas lately, what follows here might not come as a surprise.

What has emerged is a growing division among outdoor enthusiasts as to whether or not mountain bikes should be allowed in designated wilderness areas. The question, which has turned controversial as of late, fosters fears that mountain bike organizations are beginning to align themselves with companies, organizations and politicians insisting on making their way into wilderness areas for resource exploration.

Photo by Patrick Hendry | Sourced from Unsplash

But first, a brief description of how the U.S government defines wilderness:

“The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, created the National Wilderness Preservation System and recognized wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Act further defined wilderness as “an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions.“

That description also specifies that (more…)

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For Emergencies on the Trail — Who You Gonna Call and with What Device?

By Stephen Mullaney May 3, 2018

NCOAE Recommends

The ideal time to consider the best communications options for your backcountry trip is not after you’ve arrived at the trailhead, only to discover you can’t get a signal on your smartphone.

Ensuring you have a reliable means of reaching the outside world — especially during a backcountry incident or emergency — is an item on your checklist that should come way before you’ve parked the car, struggled into your backpacks and are a half-mile down the trail.

Cellphones with sketchy service might be acceptable for a quick four-hour hike within a populated area, but what are your choices should you be heading out on a multi-day adventure in a desolate wilderness area or a national park?

Possessing a reliable device when you need to communicate with people outside the immediate group of hikers accompanying you is a must. Because when it becomes necessary to communicate with search and rescue professionals, things probably aren’t going as smoothly as you had hoped.

And that’s when you want the best user-friendly device you can afford. Here at The National Center for Outdoor Adventure & Education (NCOAE), we recommend you become familiar with two or more communications systems you might want to carry with you into the backcountry.

Below are several suggestions from which to choose, keeping in mind that the choices you make — especially in an emergency situation — can make a (more…)

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