Saturday, March 3, 2012

TravelWell - Project Alaska

So today on twitter, with the aid of my followers it became apparently clear that people would enjoy seeing images/experiences from Alaska. That already being expected, I got to thinking I should share in the wealth of the experience and my imagination began to run wild with thoughts of an adventure this spring/summer.

So I prepose this: me along with my camera gear to document, would like to gain not only some sponsors for the trip, but I want you to participate.

Shoot me an email if either you, your company (I'm looking at you L.L. Bean, Barbour, Arc'teryx, Patagonia, Canon, Olympus, Sorel, Outlier, etc.) and your thoughts on either A) sponsoring B) joining us on the trip, or C) giving me and the crew suggestions on where we should stay and what we should see.

I want this to be an amazing trip, camping, hiking, photography, real outdoors stuff... men and women all encouraged to join.  Ideally I'd like to get setup up with a cabin or a resort type place that could accommodate us and allow us to get to a lot of stuff and test, beat-up, and photograph some awesome adventures.  If you know of, are one, or even think this is a great idea, please pass along to anyone you think could help!  

Best, Ryan


Colin B said...

I am very interested in seeing where this goes...

Rob said...

Excellent idea.

brandon said...

He he, just what everyone is dying to see... A bunch of bloggers from the city playing camping and being woodsman in Alaska. Would LOVE to see this... Alaska is dope though

Ryan E. Plett said...

Brandon - you should come and teach us your manly ways...

Oh and I'm from Iowa, come bail hay with me for 12 hours...

Unknown said...

Since no one has made any suggestions yet I will throw a few out there for you. I would start in Girdwood Ak at the Alyeska Hotel resort. It is about 45 minutes south of Anchorage. Most people go here to ski, however in the warmer months there are hundreds of hiking trails in and around Alyeska that go all the way to Anchorage. There is a four diamond restaurant (The Seven Glaciers Restaurant) on the top of the mountain at Alyeska. You have to take a cable tram to reach it and alcoholic beverages are welcome while riding up the mountain.
A few places for you may want to hit up in Anchorage for food and drinks are: Glacier Brewhouse (great house brewed beers), Humpy's, Moose's Tooth Pizza (more great house brewed beers), Snow City Cafe (best breakfast in Anchorage). I wouldn't spend too much time in Anchorage. It is just like any other moderately sized city in the U.S. with the exception vast array of wildlife that can be seen roaming throughout the city. David Green Furs is an interesting place to visit in Anchorage. It is a family operated Fur Factory that has been passed through several generations. They sell very high quality (high dollar) furs, many of which are brought in by the Yupik Indian trappers throughout Alaska.
Talkeetan Ak is one of my favorite places in Alaska. You can get a real feel for Alaska here. It is a small eclectic town with some of the nicest people you will find anywhere. It is about 2 hours north of Anchorage and is the home base for many Denali climbs. If you need a guide for fishing, rafting, climbing, ect., you can find them here. My favorite Alaskan pizza is also located in Talkeetna at Mountain High Pizza Pie.
Sorry for the long post but hopefully this helps out.

moc4 said...

Hey Ryan.

Tried sending you an email but for some reason it didn't go through.

I'm a little late responding to your post, but first of all, I'd go with you! I'm SF-based and have never been to Alaska but would love to go and have a decent amount of experience camping/backpacking.

Also, as far as gear, there are a few companies I'd recommend based on my experience with their products, all made in the USA (though they're all small and you're unlikely to get any sponsorship from them):

For down sleeping bags and garments, the best in the world is Feathered Friends in Seattle:

Second to that would be Western Mountaineering in CA: Many consider these two companies to be equals - I have products from both and for numerous reasons prefer Feathered Friends, but both company's products are orders of magnitude above everyone else's. Feathered Friends' down jackets blow Patagonia's out of the water (and also aren't made in China).

For shoes, my Danner hiking boots are the best I've ever had (though this is highly subjective obviously).

There are a few companies that make camping gear, most of it catering to the ultralight crowd, but may have some items worth considering:

Mountain Laurel Designs:



All three of these companies are tiny and in the case of Zpacks, still making stuff out of their home (I believe). But great products. Not sure the suitability of ultralight camping gear for Alaska, depending on what you plan to do.

On the opposite end of the weight spectrum, Duluth Pack and Frost River make the best waxed canvas products out there. Duluth Pack is big enough I'd think they might consider a sponsorship.

For camping/backpacking cookware and stoves, check out Snow Peak: - great products, though not made in the USA.

I could go on and on on the gear front! (And should mention, no stake in any of my recommendations, they're just based on my own personal use)

As far as my background, well, I love the outdoors and like I said have done a lot of camping, etc. (just got back from a few days backpacking in the Grand Canyon, did a 93-mile loop around Mt. Rainier last summer are just a couple of examples). I have no online presence so wouldn't be a travel partner with any profile/publicity in that regard. I'm an amateur photographer - not at all up to your level but can put together a few decent shots every now and again. I use a Nikon though!! If you want to see some of my pictures, you can check my Flickr stream: Many of the most recent shots are phone shots, but there are plenty of others in some of the sets.

Anyway, give me a shout if you like, and if not, have a great trip. I always enjoy reading your blog!

Tony Cross