Tips & Gear

Coros Vertix review: There’s new competition for the big-dog fitness trackers in town

Mathias Eichler for iMore

With all the excitement that comes from a new device maker entering an established market, there’s always a bit of hesitation mixed in. Will the innovation disrupt and add something new to the space? Will the company fizzle out, or get acquired and disappear, leaving consumers hanging.

A few months ago a friend of mine told me about this “new company on the block” Coros. Maker of sports technology products, their website is light on background information and corporate history, but the Coros product line offers solid and feature-rich sports watches with advantages price points. I dismissed the company at first. I was happy with my Suunto watch, didn’t think a new product was necessary in that market space.

Coros Vertix reviewed on

Suunto 9 review: A wilderness runner’s best performance-tracking friend

Mathias Eichler for iMore

If a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise?
If you didn’t share your latest brunch on Instagram did you enjoy it? And, if you go out for a run and didn’t track it on running app, did it really count?
This is where we’re at, isn’t it?
All snark aside. I love my activity tracking devices. When I first started out running several years ago I took just my phone with me, listened to podcasts and enjoyed being able to track my activities. I check my performance after my run and enjoyed seeing my progression.

Suunto 9 reviewed on

Ten things outdoor enthusiasts loves about Apple Watch and iPhone

Mathias Eichler for iMore

Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch were born in the clean, white, and aluminum-accented labs in Cupertino, California and are assembled in a sterile factory without a speck of dust in the room, and even fingerprints are unseen. Though they start in the security of indoor labs, they’re really great tools for the outdoors. I’ve been taking my iPhone and Apple Watch into the backcountry for a long time now and am continuously surprised and delighted how well they hold up. Each iteration gets better and makes adventuring more fun.

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Mobile Warming Bluetooth-enabled Primer baselayer shirt review

Mathias Eichler for iMore

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”, someone once said. But when temperatures drop and we’re stuck on a ski lift, cold temperatures can easily creep into even our best-insulated clothing. Once you’re cold, it’s no fun to play in the snow. I’ve recently had the chance to test out the Primer Shirt baselayer by Mobile Warming ‘Technology by Fieldsheer’.

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Bivystick review: A satellite communicator that brings peace of mind in the great outdoors

Mathias Eichler for iMore

Heading out to your favorite National Park on a backcountry adventure, you realize quickly how fast that cell signal disappears. While this might be welcome to curb the distracting emails and social media notifications, when it comes to safety, we’ve all come to rely on our phones to track our location. We use them to reach out to friends and family, giving them updates on where we are at, to look at maps, and to use GPS to track our progress. All this is more than just vanity, It helps get us home safe.

Product review: BivystickContinue reading on

Tips and tricks for taking outdoor photos with iPhone

Mathias Eichler for iMore

Here are a few tips and tricks to take the best outdoor shots with your iPhone. When adventuring outdoors the iPhone is the perfect camera to keep close by. Many modern day backpacks now offer secure and big front pockets at the shoulder or hip straps to store your phone for easy access so you never miss capturing that awesome moment on your weekend adventure trip.

Tips for your Apple iPhone on

Backcountry photography: Should you use iPhone or GoPro

Mathias Eichler for iMore

Just a couple of weeks ago Apple announced the results of their ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign. Only one of the pictures was taken in the backcountry. And no, I don’t consider the cute one taken in Yosemite Valley to be backcountry. I’m talking about the magical sunset picture by L. Adi Darmawan of Ulysses S. Grant Peak in Colorado’s San Juan National Forest.

The iPhone has a great camera by any measure, but how does it fair when taking out into the elements? Can it measure up to a device specifically made for this?

Apple iPhone and GoPro reviewed on

Apple Watch, meet backcountry hiking: How Apple’s smartwatch tracks long-distance exercise

Mathias Eichler for iMore

Around where I live, the Apple Watch is a hit. I’m often surprised at how many people I see wearing one as I visit clients, or while standing in line at the coffee shop. Smart notifications, custom complications, and fitness tracking have made the watch a compelling product for most everyday tasks, and as of Series 3, the product seems to have at last found its groove.

Suunto Spartan and Apple Watch 3 reviewed on

Seven Reasons Why you Should Buy an America the Beautiful Pass

As you may have heard, the rates to enter America’s favorite public lands may be increasing to $70 during the peak season of 2018. While many are in a panic about the rate increase, those of us in the know for visiting our federally operated public lands already pay just $10 more a year for entry to all federal lands. Known as the America the Beautiful Pass, this $80 expense is one of the smartest purchase you can make. For the cost of a movie and popcorn for a family of four, you can have unlimited access to the very best outdoor destinations. With our further ado, we share seven reasons why you should purchase this pass ASAP.

Update: Looks like the secret is out! Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons have seen a dramatic increase in the sale of the America the Beautiful passes. Pick up yours today before the Department of Interior decides to raise the price for these passes!

Tips for Hiking During Bad Weather Around Olympic National Park

Let’s be real for a minute.

The weather on the Olympic Peninsula can be downright nasty. It isn’t unusual or out of the ordinary to have a storm dump over an inch of rain a day. You can leave your house any month of the year and find yourself caught in a deluge of rain. Even on sunny days, some trails will leave you wading through mud, into deep puddles and over fallen old growth. Yet, there is nothing more true to the spirit of being a resident of the Pacific Northwest than heading out into the wilderness on a less than optimal weather day. 

Three Amazing Backpacks for Day Hikers

I love backpacks.
In fact, I love backpacks so much, I have an entire collection of them.
I have so many backpacks, I have backpacks where I put my other backpacks. It is ridiculous.

When I walk into REI or any of the other outdoor shops around the Seattle area, the first place I walk is to the backpack section, in hopes to find the pack of my dreams. When I dream, I dream of wandering backpack stores, trying them on in an endless attempt at perfect backpacking happiness. In real life, finding the perfect backpack is like finding your soulmate. You fit perfectly together, and even in the worst of storms, you are happy to be in their company. Wearing the right backpack make me happy, safe and quite confident. 

Supercharge your run with these helpful apps for the iPhone

The short:
My alarm wakes me up in the mornings. After pressing the snooze button way too many times, I check the weather using Dark Sky. Then, when I’m ready to leave the house, I select my favorite podcast in Overcast pop in my ear buds and press Record to record my run in Strava.

Mathias’ Favorite Things for Holidays 2016

REI will be closed Black Friday and The Outdoor Society will be joining thousands who will #OptOutside this coming weekend. The holidays are a great excuse to go hiking, but also are a time to start thinking of gifts for your family and friends. For those of us who love nature, there is no better gift to give  than one that encourages, and perhaps even challenges your loved ones to go outside and experience nature. Getting someone out in the great outdoors lets them experience new adventures all year long.

Because our goal is to get the entire nation out enjoying the wilderness, we have compiled our first gift guide for the season. The list includes some of my favorite things- Call it Mathias’ Favorite Things. Some of the gear I use, some I have tried and tested, while others are high on my list of I want to give for the new year. Everything listed below is sure to get every nature lover in your family excited. 

The new iPhone 6S out in the wild

This is the best camera I have ever owned!

Last weekend was the first time I picked up a new iPhone on launch day. I upgraded from my beloved and trusted iPhone 5. It had been a great tool for what I’m trying to accomplish in the outdoors, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth and it was time to upgrade.

Gear that brought me to Mt. Gladys and back in under 8 hours

Last weekend we hiked 25+ miles from Staircase in the Olympic National Park via Flapjack Lakes to Gladys Divide. From there we summited Mt. Gladys and went further. Traversed off trail, bushwhacking to Black and White Lakes and back to Staircase in under 8 hrs.

This is the gear that got me there and back.

Late Summer Gear List

The email hit my inbox, and I knew I’d be in trouble. REI announced their big Labor Day Sale starting today, August 28th and going through September 7th. To make matters worse, it’s my birthday weekend. Or it makes matters better… I can’t decide.

Mapping your Route with Topo Maps+

A couple of months ago I lamented about the lack of really good apps that work well in the outdoors, far away from cell coverage.
It has never been about me bringing my online life with me on the trails. I mean, I can live without a few hours of checking my Twitter feed, or can I?

The Search for the Perfect Trekking Poles

Several years ago ‘Nordic Walking’ took Europe by storm and everyone started hiking with extendable modified skiing poles.

What at first looked silly has since become the norm for hikers everywhere aiming to scale serious elevation on their trails.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Men’s Cathode Hooded Jacket

Finding the right mid-layer jacket can be a tough chore, especially if you are hoping to not break the bank. For most hikers who are looking to become serious about their hobby, locating a perfect mid-later jacket can be frustrating, with thousands of companies each touting their product as the best. While many jackets are good, one has stood out to me as the very best- the Men’s Cathode Hooded Jacket from Outdoor Research.  

Made in the great Pacific Northwest

By Douglas and Mathias in Olympia, Washington and Livingston, Montana.

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