Outdoor Gear

Winter Adventures in Ohiopyle, PA

Ohiopyle Winter Wilderness Voyageurs

Ohiopyle Falls with a frosting

Boating, rafting, hiking, climbing and biking are some of the main draws to our little gem of a town, Ohiopyle, PA.  Winter brings a different flavor of adventure!  It offers visitors a different feel, from a quiet place to get away or a chance to meet and make friends with the locals at Falls City Restaurant and Pub.

Yesterday, I was looking for a quite place to get away.  I put on my long johns, prAna Halle pants, a Polartec Fleece from Mountain Hard Wear, and a beanie from Lole!  There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear!  Thanks to our shop at Wilderness Voyageurs I was prepared for anything!  I grabbed my skis and borrowed a friends’ dog.  We took off to explore Ferncliff Peninsula.

Ohiopyle Ferncliff Peninsula Wilderness Voyageurs

Erin enjoying a Ferncliff ski

Starting on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) we headed north.  Shortly after, we took a left on to the Ferncliff Peninsula, meeting up with Oakwoods Trail.  I was lucky enough to be the first to pass through since last nights’ snowfall.  With the pup leading the way, she helped to break tracks, making it slightly easier to “kick and glide” my way through the woods.

Ohiopyle Ferncliff Peninsula Wilderness Voyageurs

At the end of Oakwoods trail we dropped down to the right on Buffalo Nut, then continued on Ferncliff towards the famous 20 foot Ohiopyle Falls.  I wouldn’t recommend skiing this route if you are just getting started.  However you can easily kick off your skis and hike the rest of the way!  A few challenges I encountered were dodging and ducking under rhododendron bushes, making turns to avoid the steep downhill/cliff leading down to the Youghiogheny River and a narrow trail.

Ferncliff Peninsula Wilderness Voyageurs

It’s the obstacles along the way that make for some of the best memories and moments.  Bundle up, get outside and enjoy winter!

This post was written by Erin G. Director of bike tours and a year round Ohiopyle Resident.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA 15470



Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear | Leave a comment

Staying warm in Ohiopyle with the Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

We might be warming up a bit here in Ohiopyle from last week’s deep freeze, but it’s still winter so it is crucial to have the proper gear to stay warm.  Growing up in Wisconsin exposed me to brutal cold temps to the point where you cannot even stand being outside.  That was back in the day where your mom dressed you up like the kid from “A Christmas Story.” Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down JacketToday I found the PERFECT jacket to stay warm, comfortable, and stylish.  I ventured out for an hour hike in the windy 9 degree weather wearing the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.  At first I questioned how this thin, 8 ounce jacket could possibly keep me warm.  I noticed right away that my core was warm and I did not feel the extreme wind anywhere but my face (must wear scarf next time). Ohiopyle Falls in the winter As I started to get my heart rate up I became very comfortable and warm.  I had a lot of movement in my arms without any bulk.  The jacket is breathable, moisture resistant, and has a stylish fit.  It can also be packed down very small for travel! Don’t believe me?  Check out the specs: The lightest down jacket anywhere now with Q.Shield™ Down. The sub-eight-ounce Ghost Whisperer Down is pared down to perfect essentials: 850-fill Q.Shield™ down, zip-pockets and a cinch hem. Specially formulated Q.Shield™ Down resists moisture and retains critical loft even in damp conditions for consistent, dependable warmth. Features

  • Quilted construction holds insulation in placeimages (2) images (29)
  • Two front handwarmer pockets
  • Low profile, insulated hood
  • Jacket stows in pocket
  • Lightweight single pull hem drawcord

The Basics

Weighing in at just 7 ounces, our 7 denier ripstop nylon fabric and super compressible 850F Q.Shield down combine to give you warmth without the weight.

  • Apparel FitActive
  • Weight7 oz. / 198 g.
  • Center Back Length25 ” / 64 cm

imagesMaterialsimages (3)

  • BodyWhisperer 7D x 10D Ripstop
  •  100% nylon
  • InsulationDuvet Q.Shield™ 850

I would recommend this jacket to anyone looking for a great piece of winter gear.  The Wilderness Voyageurs store carries the Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket in many sizes and colors for men and women! The jacket is now 20 percent off!! Come into the Wilderness Voyageurs store or click here to buy yours today and SAVE 20%!

Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters

103 Garret Street, Ohiopyle PA 15470



Categories: Gear review, Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ohiopyle looks good in white

It’s been in the single digits for the past week here. A couple days ago, we got hit with eight inches of fluffy snow.

And that made everything real pretty. The sun came out and it was clear and cold, but I was nice and warm in my Smartwool Midweight Crew and Mountain Hardwear Microchill.

Cucumber Falls was a little iced up:

Frozen Cumber Falls

The ice pile at the bottom of the falls was over ten feet high:Cucumber Falls in winter

And it was mostly solid enough to walk right up to it:Punching through the ice at Cucumber FallsThe Meadow Run slides were frozen to a thin channel:Meadow Run slides frozen

And all that snow made for great fat bike riding conditions:Fat biking in Ohiopyle

Categories: Ohiopyle, Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Setting up a mountain bike for the winter

Some people, like Amanda here, set their bikes up for winter by covering them with junk in the corner of the garage. But she also bundles up with a puffy sweater and ski hat before she steps inside to use the computer.


So the following winter riding tips are for those of us that are hardy enough to type in nothing more than a Zoic Tradesman Riding Flannel ($85, all sizes in stock):


with elastic cuffs to cut keyboard drafts:


I’ve had some of my best mountain bike rides in the winter. Knobs dig into the frozen crust through corners, and the trails in Ohiopyle can be as fast as they are in late July. Riding through the last six winters, I’ve picked up a few things to keep myself rolling in relative comfort.

So here are the top-secret secrets.

1. Whiskey in the bottle


An ounce or two of liquor will keep a bottle from freezing in cold weather. Five or six ounces will make it feel like summer again (activate simulated summer at your own risk.)

2. Catching the crud


The Crud Catcher ($15) is the best mountain fender I’ve used, and I’ve used many. It attaches to the downtube with a few rubber o-rings, so it’s easy to pull on and off. Never bounces around or gets in the way, and keeps freezing spray out of the face and off the water bottle. Perfect.

I also shelve my suspension fork for the snowy months, and put on rigid one. The suspension fork doesn’t work super well and cold weather, so it isn’t worth it to get the delicate fork seals covered in frozen mud.

3. The light


The days in winter are too short to risk going out without a light. Priceton Tech’s Push ($49) puts out 100 lumens with three AAA batteries. That’s plenty of light to get home on the road, and enough to carefully negotiate single track. The thumbscrew handle bar mount is secure and easy to remove.

Those are the only changes I make to my bike for the winter season. If you ride gears, it is a good time to try single speeding, but that’s a topic for another post. Otherwise, the mountain bike you ride all summer will work like a peach.

Next post, I’ll share my thoughts on winter riding clothes.

posted by Montana

Categories: Bike repair, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

New Keens are in stock

We’re making our way through the boxes in our semi-permanent auxiliary inventory storage:

And getting stuff out on the floor. Today I finished unloading the Keens. Here’s a quick rundown of the models we have in stock.


The Targhee II, $129 , is a waterproof, mid-height hiking boot. It uses Keen’s waterproof membrane, which is called Keen Dry (the marketing department wasn’t feeling too creative on membrane naming day.)

The Targhees are great boots for Fall through Spring. But they’re a little sweaty during the summer. Keen Dry does breath, but not as well as some mesh vents.

The Voyageur, $99, is a solid choice for warm weather hiking. They have lots of ventilation, and are almost as light as a pair of running shoes. I’ve had a pair for a couple years, and they’re still one of my all-time favorite light hikers.


One of my co-workers insists on wearing open-toe sandals on the river. He claims that occasionally ripping a toe nail off and walking around with a bloody stub isn’t that bad. But for those of us that like keeping our nails attached, Keen’s sandals have a sturdy rubber toe guard.

The Newport (right), $95, has  a beefy sole and drawstring lace. The Turia Sandal (left), $99, is lighter and has a breathable mesh tongue

The Women’s Venice has a minimal strap pattern compared to the Newport. The bright orange version should be a great choice for people that want others to notice that they have a pair of feet.

The Hydro Guide is Keen’s most technical sandal. It uses a single pull-through webbing strap, similar to the one Chaco uses on their sandals.

All of Keen’s river sandals have razor siped soles, which helps a ton with traction on wet rocks.


The Commuter II is Keen’s SPD compatible bike sandal. It’s basically a Newport that’s been slimmed down and stiffened up. This year’s model has a velcro strap across the top of the foot, which should keep it from pulling off on the top of a pedal stroke like the old model used to.

posted by Montana

Categories: Outdoor Gear | 1 Comment

Gear Swap and E-cycling in Ohiopyle April 14 at Wilderness Voyageurs

Spring cleaning for your gear

That snow board sitting in the corner you have not used in 2 years,  how about that old MAC SE 30 that is now a paper weight.  This weekend you can get rid of all those dust collectors by showing up at Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle.  What is a Gearswap you ask?

Bring any and all of the old gear you want, bikes, boats, skis, jackets etc…  Sales are between you and the buyer.  Wilderness Voyageurs just provides the space.

To help make sure that people who need your stuff will show up,  list the items you are bringing.

E-Cycling–  We partner with xxxxxx of Rockwood, Pa to receive all of your computers, tvs,  veg-o-matics. If it’s electronic and you are tired of walking around it throw it in the car and bring it to Ohiopyle.  There are small fees for certain items like TVs and monitors.

Bike Fitting  Matt Thomas, a professional bike fitter will be doing free custom fittings.  Have a nagging pain in your back after riding?  A few adjustments to your bike could make that pain disappear.

The swap is from 10 to 4 at Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett St, Ohiopyle PA 15470

Driving directions to Wilderness Voyageurs

If you have questions, feel free to call us at 800-272-4141.

Categories: Bike repair, Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Installing a Yakima Roof Rack

Yakima makes good racks. We use them on our bike tour vans:

And our personal tiny convertibles:

We have a ton of rack parts in stock at the store, and we can always order specific stuff. Give us a call at 1.800.272.4141, or stop in the store.

Anyway, on a vehicle without factory rack mounts, like the VW GTI below, there are three parts to Yakima base rack system. Cross bars hold your stuff (boats, bikes, dogs, or what ever you’re into) Q-Towers grab the cross bars, and Q-Clips clamp the Q-Towers onto the roof.

There’s a different set of Q-Clips for every vehicle, but the rest of the rack system is universal. Yakima has a fit finder help you find the Q-Clips you need.

The racks come with detailed instructions, so I’m not going to rewrite them. But here’s a basic overview. It usually takes about an hour to install a rack.

1. Slide the Q-Clips into the Q-Towers. In the photo, we used rusted Q-Towers to make it easier to see the difference between the two pieces.

2. Measure and set the distance between the Q-Towers. This part is important, because the towers need to straddle the roof correctly. It’s never fun to loose a rack full of gear on the interstate.

The towers clamp on the cross-bars with a 5mm hex bolt.

(I wonder if that blue tinsel will stay up all summer.)

3. Set the Q-Towers on the car, and clip the Q-Clips into the window or rain gutter (put it where the instructions tell you.)

This VW had some arrows on the windows to help line up the rack:

Then use the little silver knobs on the Q-Towers to adjust the clamp tension. This is the finicky part. Both sides need to have even tension, or the rack will fall off on the interstate. Again, that sucks.

It’s a lot easier if you have a good friend help so that you can adjust both sides at the same time. Since it was cold outside and I’m not a good friend, I let Zane adjust the tension by himself.

4. Make some coffee while your friend struggles to adjust the tension on his rack. A mug with a John Wayne quote is recommended, but not required.

5. Check in on the tensioning process from the comfort of the porch.

If no progress has been made, go surf the interwebs.

6. Check in again.

Still no progress. Like I said, getting that tension even can be tricky. If it’s been over an hour, it’s probably best to go take a nap.

When you wake up, your friend should be done installing the rack.

Categories: Gear review, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments


Zane demonstrates the German Shepard carrying feature built into the Astral Bird Dog K9 PFD:

And the foot uglifying feature built into camo muck boots.

posted by Montana

Categories: Outdoor Gear | Tags: | 2 Comments

New Princeton Tec Headlights

Yesterday we got a shipment of Princeton Tec headlights:

I’m on my second Princeton Tec EOS Bike light, and I’m perfectly happy with it. It’s bright enough for trail running in the dark, lasts a long time on three AAA batteries, and is tough enough to be occasionally dropped. Sadly, it won’t survive being run over by a car (I tested that when I left my first EOS in the Pub parking lot.)

Car smooshing aside, Princeton Tec lights are really solid. Here’s mine after two years of helping me find my tent:

This year’s models are the Remix, Fuel, and Byte.

Brightness, which is measured in lumens, is the main difference between the three. Since a lumen is a meaningless measurement for most of us, I took a couple pictures in the change room (don’t get too excited) to show the difference. The EOS (70 lumens) is on top, and the Princeton Tec Pulse key-chain light (10 lumens) is on the bottom:

Looks like I need to clean those mirrors.

Anyway, the Remix (100 lumens) is the brightest of the three, and brighter than the EOS above. I imagine that it would be bright enough to completely wash out my beautiful face in the change room mirror test.

Like the EOS, it uses a single maxbright LED for it’s main light. The maxbright is basically just a bulb that’s magnified by the shiny stuff around it. So it throws narrow, focused beam. That’s great for things like running, where you need to see far down the trail. The single maxbright also gives the Remix the longest run time (200 hours on three AAAs)

For around camp, the Remix has a cluster of three ultrabright LEDs. They aren’t focused, so they give off a soft wide beam:

The Fuel (43 lumens) uses four ultrabright LEDs.  Although it has less than half the light output of the Remix, it has a much wider beam. This little light is the best choice for digging for crap in the back of the car or hiking, where seeing far ahead isn’t as important as lighting up a big area. The downside is that the row of four LEDs sucks up battery power faster than a single maxbright.

The Byte (35 lumens) is the smallest, cheapest, and prettiest of the three. It’s like the Fiat 500 of headlights:

It uses one maxbright to put out almost as much light as the fuel, but in a much more focused beam. It also has single red ultrabright, which is about as bright as that key chain light in my change room shots. It runs on two AAAs instead of three.

We also have the EOS II and EOS Bike in stock.

And they’re all made in the US of America:

Posted by Montana

Categories: Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear, running | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man jacket review

The Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man jacket is the best fleece I’ve ever worn.

Monkey Man Jacket Wilderness Voyageurs

Actually, it’s the best jacket I’ve ever worn. I bought mine five years ago, and I’ve worn it on almost every chilly day since then.

I run in it, mountain bike in it, then fall asleep on the couch in it.

With five winters of wear, the only place it’s looking mangy is on the elbows. The result of long hours in front of the keyboard:

Monkey man jacket Wilderness Voyageurs

It looks a little like my cat before he licks himself:

I’m sure I could get the elbows back in good condition if I could just stretch my tongue a little farther:

Monkey Man Jacket Wilderness Voyageurs

When I headed out for a run today, it was about 15 degrees. I wore a light wool base layer with my monkey jacket, and I was comfortable the whole time.

The high-loft fleece is light, fluffy, and breathable. In snow or light rain, the fabric takes a while to feel wet.

Under a shell, the fur helps wick away moisture. I’ve never felt sweaty like I do in less fluffy fleeces.

And it’s almost compressible enough to fit inside a turquoise wicker cowboy hat:

But if you wore a hat like the Boss Hog, you could probably squeeze in two Monkey Jackets:

He takes that hat off for one thing, and one thing only.

Anyway, this year’s color is silverback gorilla grey:

Monkey Man Jacket Wilderness Voyageurs

In girls, we have the Monkey Woman Lite, which has some more breathable side panels and a hood. Fall through spring, they’re the best jackets out there.

posted by Montana

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA 15470




Categories: Ohiopyle Winter Activities and Skiing, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.