The wilderness is a place unspoiled by man, wild yet organized in its motions and operations, and more beautiful than anything man can create. There’s something beautiful and simple in the sound of the birds, the sway of the trees, the rustling of the leaves, the sight of the wildlife, and in the sensation these places can create within the body and soul. I surround myself in the thick of it, because I want to know what it was like before modern technology, before planes filled the skies, roads paved over the land, and cities filled the atmosphere with toxic air. I find it not only healing, but a necessary experience to have often, so as to clear my mind of the oversaturated feeling that stress can have for prolonged periods without a respite.
So when life feels overwhelming, I pack up my gear and my camera and I wander. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chrome Industries, who specialize in a variety of outdoor gear, clothing and luggage like their Niko Camera Backpack and their Spectre Duffle Bag. When I’m wandering the wilderness, it’s important to strike a balance between being prepared and being free to roam. Chrome Industries’ gear is often designed with that in mind, to where the clothing is multifunctional, and the packs versatile in their organization.
I’ve been asked to venture out with some of their gear and to offer a breakdown and some thoughts on how well they work for the traveler, or not… First, as a longtime photographer, I requested to test out their Niko Camera Backpack, which is a slimlined modular pack with the capability to hold a 15” laptop, multiple lenses and camera bodies, as well as strap on a tripod and other gear externally. Overall, it’s a great design, comfortable to wear, and big enough to take my most important gear with me, so when I trek deep into the wilderness, I feel prepared, yet not overburdened, which is extremely important when you’re surrounded by a wild place, to where carrying survival gear is most important.
For just about any other style of trip, I would opt away from the rucksack model and focus on a pack that’s easy to lug around, yet can handle the bulk of my clothes, toiletries, tech gear and survival gear, and so when I’m not in the forest, I like to use a quality duffle bag like Chrome’s Spectre. The Spectre Duffle Bag has an expandable design with separate wet/dry compartments and is fitted with a durable tarp bottom, making it large enough for a lot of gear, versatile enough for most adventures, and strong enough to weather the biggest storms. Overall, it’s a lovely design, made better than any duffle I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
Lastly, I had the chance to work with their clothing gear, and must say that I was blown away by the quality for the price. Chrome Industries excels at overachieving for the market level, and that’s no different when it comes to their Storm Signal Jacket and their DKELIN 5 Pocket Pant. The Storm Signal Jacket is guaranteed for life, and it is lightweight fully taped with a waterproof shell, with hand pockets, armpit vents, and has multiple adjustment options, which to me, makes it a fantastic nearly all-weather jacket. Sure, I wouldn’t take a lightweight jacket into winter weather, but for all other seasons, and climate, it’s a fantastic make that fits and protects with ease.
The DKLEIN 5 Pocket Pant were inspired by Dustin Klein, the cyclist, and was built to offer protection, comfort when in movement, and plenty of pockets for when you’re on the run. I don’t know about you, but I hate having to carry things in my hands. I want to be free and to wander unhindered and unburdened, or as best that I can. So, the DKLEIN 5 Pocket Pant marries comfort with stylishness, with storage, and it works for me. The quality of the fabric (47% Cotton, 42% Nylon, 11% Spandex) and seams was what first impressed me, as well as the high back rise and slim straight fit, because overall, these are pants built to last while keeping you ergonomically comfortable. If you would like to learn more about Chrome Industries, click here.
(Main Photo by tim_gorman via Flickr)
The natural world is a beautiful and sacred place, and when one has time to simply wander without a time limit or an obligation, the mind is freed to take in every sense, feeling, scent and detail, and through that experience, one grows and connects with that which we evolved from. Humans have greatly separated ourselves from the way of the natural world, and only over the past few hundred years have we strayed so far away that one might argue we’ve become aliens on our own planet. Modern lifestyles have us running ourselves ragged without a moment to breath and contemplate the meaning and truths of life, which has affected us in ways few seem to realize.
We are full of anxieties, depression and live without purpose or origin, and in that lostness many feel isolated, even in a world that’s as over-populated as our own. It’s these reasons why live like I do, because I’ve been there, filled with anxiety, lost and alone, and depressed. But after years of searching, I’ve found what gives me purpose and a strong foundation that permeates every moment of my life and that’s time spent in Nature. Call me a modern hippie if you like, but it’s when I’m surrounded by the wilder areas of the world that fulfill me, refresh me, ease my mind and heart, and is what teaches me. Einstein, of course, was correct when he said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
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