One of our vendors lives and works out of an ocean-view condo in Laguna Beach, California, where taking long walks throughout that quaint Southern California “Art Colony” is an added bonus for many of its residents. A far cry from our wooded headquarters of Wilmington, North Carolina, our vendor’s office is set squarely between reality and the Pacific Ocean.
During one such salt-air stroll, he came across an affable homeless man who sets up shop most days in front of Laguna’s historic movie theatre. Sporting a neatly trimmed grey beard and a big smile, the open-air entrepreneur sells colorful, custom-designed patches for application to denim jackets and trousers. As you can see from the image below, these unique patches are, as their creator says, “perfect for Deadheads.” And anyone else with a taste for whimsy.
The pair struck up a conversation and our vendor found Keith Sanderson to be a friendly, upbeat man who enjoys selling his patches and chatting up the locals — whom fondly refer to each other as “Lagunatics” — in that free-spirit community. He also caters to the hordes of tourists who frequent the town’s nearby boardwalk on any given day.
During one such friendly exchange, our vendor noticed a new sign next to Keith’s patches that read, “Will work for a new backpack.” Spotting his frayed and forlorn North Face backpack lying on the ground nearby, our vendor made a call to our North Carolina headquarters and asked if we might be interested in digging up a used pack from our gear shed and donating it to Keith. (more…)
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.
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…)