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Total Solar Eclipse Checklist

Your opportunity to experience a rare total solar eclipse in western North Carolina arrives on Monday, August 21. To make sure you’re prepared and packed for totality, the experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors have assembled this helpful checklist. For more on what to expect, check out Everything You Need to Know About August’s Total Solar Eclipse.

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this checklist.

What to Do Now for the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Select the best location and route for viewing the eclipse based on accessibility, weather forecast, and the time of day the path of totality will pass through the area. Many prime viewing spots require tickets or have a capacity cap in place for the day, so do your homework.
  • Select an alternate location and route. 64,000 tourists are expected to visit the mountains for the eclipse.
  • Book lodging close to your primary viewing location. Hotel rooms, campsites, and cabins are going fast!
  • Build your total solar eclipse viewing kit. (See the bottom of this post for a checklist.)
  • Purchase your eclipse viewing glasses at Diamond Brand Outdoors. We’ve ordered a lot, but they’re going fast!
  • Use an app, website, or book to find out which bright stars and planets you can expect to see during the totality, impressing your friends and kids!

What to Do the Week of the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Test all of your equipment by doing a “dry run.” Nothing’s worse than having a faulty camera when the big event gets underway!
  • Pack your total solar eclipse viewing kit and camping kit.
  • Review the eclipse timing and weather forecasts for your primary and alternate viewing locations.

What to Do the Day of the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Leave early for your viewing location.
  • Claim your spot by setting up chairs and viewing equipment, but remember to be a good neighbor so others may enjoy the experience.
  • Test your equipment.
  • Enjoy the day with your friends and family. The time of totality will be brief, but the experience leading up and following the first total solar eclipse in western North Carolina since 1506 will lead to storied memories for years to come.

Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Kit Checklist

  • WNC + NATIONAL PARK MAPS: Cell towers will likely be overloaded, so don’t rely on an app.
  • ECLIPSE VIEWING GLASSES: You must have these for direct solar viewing.
  • HAT: To protect your head from the sun while you wait for the main event.
  • SUNGLASSES: NOT to look at the sun, but to cut down on the glare when you’re looking everywhere else.
  • PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER: Make sure you’ll be able to document the day through photos and videos.
  • CAMPING CHAIRS + TABLES: Get yourself a chance to stake your claim to watch and rest after the excitement!
  • BLANKETS: No matter where you’re watching, blankets keep things cleaner. Bring more than you think you need.
  • COOLER: You’ll likely get to your viewing area hours before the eclipse. Drinks, lunch, and snacks are a must!
  • DRINKWARE + WATER BOTTLES: Insulated cups and tumblers keep your drinks cold (or hot), don’t sweat, and are reusable.
  • HEADLAMP OR FLASHLIGHT: Since you’ll be looking up, this is primarily for emergencies. Use the red setting instead of white.
  • COMPASS: There’s plenty of information online that will tell you exactly where to look as totality begins.
  • CAMERA: This is one of the times you may want a nicer camera than you’ll find on your phone.
  • CELL PHONE: Coverage may be too spotty for weather and GPS, but your clock and camera will still work.
  • WATER: Always stay hydrated, whether the sun is shining or not.
  • SUNSCREEN: Always a good idea when you’ll be outside for any period of time.
  • INSECT REPELLENT: Another good idea anytime you’re heading into the outdoors.
  • OUTDOOR GAMES: Help pass the time and enjoy some relaxation with friends and family.
  • HAMMOCK: If you’ve got space to set up an ENO hammock or WindPouch, laying down is a great way to watch.
  • ELECTRICAL TAPE: Some folks don’t know how to turn off their camera’s flash. Be prepared to help them out.
  • CAMPING KIT (OPTIONAL): Traveling the day before or staying overnight after the eclipse helps avoid traffic and can be fun!
    • TENT
    • SLEEPING BAG FOR EACH CAMPER
    • LANTERN
    • SLEEPING PAD FOR EACH CAMPER
    • PILLOWS
    • TARPS
    • STOVE + FUEL
    • MATCHES
    • FRYING PAN + POT
    • CUTTING BOARD + KNIFE
    • SPONGE, SOAP, + BIN FOR WASHING DISHES
    • PAPER TOWELS
    • FIREWOOD (IF ALLOWED)
    • ROASTING STICKS FOR S’MORES + HOT DOGS
    • BEAR KEG
    • ICE
    • TRASH BAGS
    • FIRST AID KIT
    • CORKSCREW

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What You Need to Know About August’s Total Solar Eclipse

Are you ready for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse? It’s rapidly approaching, hitting us full force this coming August 21. Millions of people will be traveling to see the moon cover the sun and all the crazy extras that go along with the phenomenon. The last total solar eclipse crossed the mainland states in 1979, so make sure you get out to see this one, because the next one won’t happen until 2024. Here’s our unofficial guide to everything you need to know.

The Solar Science

The paths of 21st Century North American eclipses.  Michael Zeiler, www.GreatAmericanEclipse.com

It sounds like sci-fi, right? “OK guys, one day in the future, the moon is going to completely blot out the sun. Day will turn into night! Stars will shine brighter than the sun! It’s going to be epic!”

So, sci-fi guy is right, but there’s some real science behind the eclipse. This is the time, celestially, when the Earth, moon, and sun are all in line together. The moon will rotate on its path around Earth and pass directly through the middle of our visual path to the sun. In this short period of time, the moon will completely cover the sun—at which point you will look up to see quite the spectacle. Day will have turned into twilight and the sun’s wispy atmosphere will extend around the moon. You’ll see stars in the daytime and colors streaking across the sky. That’s at full coverage. At partial coverage, the sky won’t darken much—but you will be able to get a clearer view of Venus.

Geometry plays an important role in this solar eclipse, too. The moon is about 239 thousand miles away from us here on Earth—which is oddly exactly the right distance to make it look the same size as the (much bigger and much farther away) sun, allowing it to completely cover the light during the eclipse.

Where to Catch a Glimpse

Gearing up to a seriously special celestial event—a time, when the Earth, moon, and sun are all in line together.  Thomas Lok

If you’re in the US, you’re lucky—you’ll be able to see anywhere from a total eclipse to 48 percent coverage. The path of totality (where you can see the sun completely covered by the moon) is a much smaller range, though. It goes through only 12 states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. And the totality viewing in those states is limited to very specific 70-mile-wide sections.

NASA has put together a selection of interactive maps allowing you to zoom in on the exact spot you should head to if you want to see the whole shebang. Totality only lasts 2 minutes and 40 seconds at the max with this eclipse, and it’s predicted to be a massive traffic day full of people trying to get to that center line. So go early.

This chart, compiled by Space.com and NASA, outlines totality times in the best cities to see the eclipse, all in local time:

Totality times for each state in the best cities to see the eclipse. Data from NASA

Where to watch in North Carolina

Asheville’s got plenty of viewing parties planned for spots like Pack Square Park and UNC Asheville, but you’ll only get to see the path of totality if you head further west. Tickets for viewing at Clingmans Dome have already sold out and certain areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed on August 21. However, if you can turn the once-in-a-lifetime viewing into a weekend, some campsites and hotel rooms may still be available near Sylva, Brevard, Cherokee, or Murphy. Romantic Asheville has rounded up a comprehensive list of spots to watch the eclipse in the mountains.

2017 solar eclipse racing over Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Michael Zeiler on Vimeo.

Tips to See the Best Show

August 21, 2017 is predicted to be one of the most highly-trafficked days ever, as millions of people will be traveling to the path of totality.  NASA HQ PHOTO

Two words: eye protection. This is the most important tip we can give you for viewing the eclipse. Don’t go thinking you’re going to look straight at the sun—even if it’s partially obscured by the moon—and come away unscathed. You could burn your retinas to tiny eyeball-shaped ash piles. You could go partially blind. In short: you’ll damage the heck out of your peepers.

The sad reality is that the majority of the country will be out of the narrow path of totality the eclipse takes. It’s only 70 miles wide stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The only people who can look at the full eclipse unencumbered by equipment are those in the path of totality. Most of us won’t see the sun completely covered by the moon, so we’ll definitely need eye protection of some sort. According to NASA, that means “special-purpose solar filters” like eclipse glasses. Sunglasses or homemade filters won’t work. Apparently only four companies make the glasses to international standards: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

Another option? Pinhole projectors. But you won’t be able to look directly at the sun—it’s an indirect method of viewing. Sky and Telescope suggests this process: “Poke a small hole in an index card with a pencil point, face it toward the Sun, and hold a second card three or four feet behind it in its shadow. The hole will project a small image of the Sun’s disk onto the lower card. This image will go through all the phases of the eclipse, just as the real Sun does.”

Of course, if you’re super fancy you can just use a properly filtered telescope.

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Originally written by RootsRated.

Win this Epic Stanley Outdoor Prize Pack

Not much beats a day on the water with friends, but we’ve partnered with Stanley to make any day spent outdoors even better. Purchase any kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP) before July 31 for your chance to win the epic prize pack below, valued at $400. Stop by our store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road) to check it out in person.

The Stanley brand has a rich 100+ year history. William Stanley Jr. forever changed the way hot drinks were consumed in 1913, when he fused vacuum insulation and the strength of steel in one portable bottle, inventing the all-steel vacuum bottle we know and love today.

In the century since, his vacuum bottle and lunchbox evolved from concept to icon and has become an essential part of workdays, road trips, and outdoor adventures.

The Stanley brand has been part of countless shared memories. The innovative products have powered daily coffee breaks and just as many meals in beloved food and beverage gear. With each passing year, Stanley’s designers continue to push themselves to bring timeless, yet modern, solutions to today’s outdoor adventures.

Loved by generations, it’s about ramping up your time outdoors with gear you can count on from dusk to dawn, from coffee to kick start the day to spirits to cap off the evening.

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Some exclusions may apply. See any team member for details.

Soar Above the Green River Gorge

We hear people like free stuff so we’re giving away more of it this year! Make sure you’re signed up for our super duper fly emails to make sure you don’t miss any contests. This month, we’ve got an awesome package from two western North Carolina Originals: The Gorge and WNCW.

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Touted as “America’s steepest, fastest” zipline canopy tour, The Gorge offers 11 lines spanning over one mile that descend 1,100 vertical feet for a wild ride. It’s a great view of North Carolina’s Green River Gorge, high above the treetops. Like Diamond Brand Outdoors, The Gorge was voted Best of the Blue Ridge by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.

You’ll also receive of a pair of WNCW Gear Packages: an insulated string bag, handmade mug, and earbuds!

On Oct. 13, 1989, radio station WNCW, whose call letters stand for Western North Carolina Window, first signed on the air as a a public radio station “for everyone.” Since that time, the station has become synonymous with the region it covers, programming a variety of music — folk, blues, jazz, reggae, Celtic, world, rock, bluegrass, indie — and local and National Public Radio affiliated news. It provides distinctive programming that transcends cultural, educational, or socioeconomic differences.

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5 Summer Things to Do in Western North Carolina

Our little corner of the world offers amazing access to the outdoors, music and art, picturesque mountain main streets, and the best friends and neighbors anyone could ask for. While you may be headed to the beach or out of town for a summer vacation, there’s plenty of local adventure to occupy a weekend or an afternoon in Asheville and Western North Carolina. Grab your kayak, lace up the hiking boots, and make your summer bucket list.

May

While May technically falls within spring, Downtown After 5 serves as an unofficial start to summer in the city. Celebrating its 29th year, this monthly concert series from the Asheville Downtown Association began as a way to draw locals into a largely abandoned city center in the late 1980s. The first DA5 concert featured a Mardi Gras theme and, in a nod to that history, the May 19 concert features dynamic New Orleans funk and RnB band the High & Mighty Brass Band and local opening the Josh Phillips Big Brass Band. Why not make a day of it and explore the city’s history on the Asheville Urban Trail, stopping at galleries and public houses along the way?

June

Summer officially arrives on June 21. What better way to celebrate than by participating in the Great American Campout? The National Wildlife Federation has tools that can help you host a public campout in your neighborhood or community. Buncombe County Recreation Services is planning a June 24 campout in Lake Julian Park with guided hikes, stargazing, morning yoga, s’mores, and campfire stories. Even if you don’t take a pledge to join the GAC, heading out with a group of friends is a great way to unwind and reconnect. Lake James State Park is just under an hour away from Asheville and offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountain range, hiking, boating, biking, and hot showers.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

July

Thru-hiking for months on end is out of reach for many of us. Luckily, the Appalachian Trail offers plenty of shorter hikes that offer the same experience. Art Loeb Trail is just west of Asheville. This 30-mile-long footpath is a highlight reel of the Southern Appalachians with rhododendron tunnels, waterfalls, swimming holes, 360-degree views, and much more. There are plenty of spots to set up camp – or pick a spot in one of the shelters. Three to four days offers ample opportunity for side trips off the main trail. You can also beat the July heat with a stop at Sliding Rock on the way back.

August

Parts of WNC are uniquely positioned to witness the contiguous United States’ first total solar eclipse in 38 years on August 21. Graham, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Transylvania counties are a handful of places in the world that will be plunged into total darkness as the Earth, moon, and sun line up so that the moon completely obscures the sun for about two minutes. Mountain towns are bracing for ten times the number of guests as usual and Clingman’s Dome is hosting a special ticketed viewing, so it’s best to reserve a campsite or cabin as early as possible. Depending on where you end up watching the eclipse, it’s a perfect chance to explore towns like Murphy, Cherokee, or Brevard. Events are also planned at UNC Asheville and in Pack Square Park, but Asheville will only see a 99% eclipse.

September

Just as summer begins with a festival, it comes to an end with the Asheville Outdoor Show on September 17. Diamond Brand Outdoors and Frugal Backpacker host outdoor experts and leaders at this annual event that showcases everything new in hiking, camping, kayaking, outdoor clothing, and technology. With workshops, music, and the chance to chat with representatives from top brands like Patagonia, Prana, Mountain Hardwear, and Kelty, it’s a reminder that even as fall comes to the mountains, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in comfort and style with your favorite folks.

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Bring Us Your Gently Used Gear

Need some motivation to start spring cleaning? We’re offering a chance to clean out your closets and replace that old backpack or tent with something new. Outdoor companies continue to innovate with new technologies, fabrics, and fits. This is the perfect chance to save as you update your gear stash.

Drop off your gently used gear at Diamond Brand Outdoors in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road) during regular business hours from April 6-April 19, 2017. We’ll give you 20% off a new item so you get get back on the trail or on the water without missing a step (or paddle stroke). We’ll sell some of the gear at the Asheville Gear Swap and donate the rest to nonprofits connecting local kids and teens with quality outdoor experiences. (Keep this in mind when you ask, “Will someone else really be able to use this again?”)

The Rules

  • We’ll accept any item that is the same or similar to the products we currently stock. However, we retain the right to refuse any item. Below are some brief, but more specific guidelines.
  • Examples of acceptable items include packs, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns, guide books, luggage, camping chairs, PFDs, paddles, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards.
  • Examples of unacceptable items include any item above that is dirty or unserviceable. Other items are excluded for legal or hygienic reasons, such as SHOES, rain gear, clothing, apparel, undergarments, personal hygiene items, furniture, climbing equipment, helmets, and electronics.
  • Please consolidate your items to one “drop off.” Limit is three items per person.
  • If you have any questions, please contact one of our expert team members at (828) 684-6262 or in person at our store on 1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville.

If you’ve got more than three items you’d like to trade in, please consider a booth for $15 at the Asheville Gear Swap on April 22. You can set up a tent, bring a table, lay out a blanket, or sell out of your own vehicle!

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Asheville’s Urban Trail

Ask your neighbor to describe the Great Outdoors and you’ll get plenty of answers peppered with words like “trees,” “trails,” “rivers,” “sky,” and other hallmarks of untamed areas. You’re a lot less likely to get a description of downtown Asheville, but it’s home to one of the most interesting hikes you’ll ever find. It’s kind of a museum without walls – all under a beautiful skyline.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

The Urban Trail is just 1.7 miles, but it winds through vibrant city streets and tells Asheville’s history through public sculptures at 30 stops. These bronze plaques and art pieces are so familiar, they’re easy to overlook, but serve as reminders of the legends and lore that are part of the rich fabric of our little corner of the world. Mostly local artists created the vibrant bronze sculptures and other art works that are found at each station.

A small group of dedicated friends and neighbors started the Urban Trail in 1991 as a way to help revitalize downtown. They decided to divide the trail into five distinct eras, each of which has a symbol carved into pink granite blocks placed in the sidewalk along the way.

Highlights include:

The Gilded Age (1880-1930) is marked with a feather. Covering Asheville’s post-Civil War boom to the Great Depression, you’ll find the bronze pigs and turkeys in front of the Vance Monument that represents the Buncombe Turnpike, a busy dirt thoroughfare used by travelers in the early 19th century. The rails represent the arrival of the train in 1880 and the electric trolley in 1889. This section of the trail includes the giant iron in front of the 1926 Flat Iron Building, metal cats on Wall Street, and musicians and dancers in front of the U.S. Cellular Center representing the musical heritage of the Blue Ridge.

Courtesy of RomanticAsheville.com

A horseshoe marks The Frontier Period (1784-1880). With just two stops, it’s the shortest part of the trail. It recognizes Lexington Avenue’s previous life as the city’s home to produce markets and livery stables. A wide-eyed boy on stilts represents Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect of Biltmore and designer of many downtown buildings.

No history of Asheville would be complete without a bit of attention to Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel and one of Asheville’s favorite sons. The Times of Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) is marked by a replica of the angel sold by his father. One of the most popular stops is entitled “Wolfe’s Neighborhood” and gives a panoramic view of Asheville as it would have been seen in the early 20th century. “On the Move” outside of Asheville Community Theatre is another interesting sculpture that represents the history of transportation. Spin its wheel to hear 11 different sounds ranging from trains to horse-drawn wagons.

The Era of Civic Pride (1876-1903) celebrates the role of local government. It’s marked by replica of the sixth Buncombe County Courthouse, which stood during the period. Among the five stops, you’ll find an historic bell similar to the one that hung in the 1892 City Hall and a little girl in bronze representing Childhood.

Courtesy of Asheville.com

The final leg of the hike is The Age of Diversity and is marked by an eagle, a nod to the historic significance of Eagle Street as the center of Asheville’s early African-American community. Markers commemorate craftsman James Vester Miller, “The Block,” and grand The Eagle Hotel that once stood near the stagecoach stop.

The self-guided tour begins and ends at Pack Square Park and takes about two hours to complete in its entirety. It can be made shorter by covering just part of the trail, but it’s you’ll find it hard not to be inspired to visit all time periods. It’s hard not to be taken in by the many tempting distractions of downtown, too, which prove adventure is where you find it whether you’re on the trail or on the town.

Grab a map at Diamond Brand Outdoors in the Aloft Hotel on 53 Biltmore Avenue or download one from the City of Asheville’s website.

For more information, visit RomanticAsheville.com.

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Campapalooza 2017 Discounts + Special Buys

Campapalooza returns to our flagship store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road) Saturday with free workshops, clinics, and hikes, as well as education grants to local nonprofits thanks to partnerships with Patagonia and Columbia and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. We’ve also got lots of giveaways and special buys throughout the store!

Build You Own Package: Save up to 40% when you mix and match our entire stock of sleeping bags, tents, packs, cook sets, trekking poles, water filters, and stoves. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to raise the level of your camping collection, this is an amazing opportunity. Get your first item at full price, take 10% off your second item, 20% off your third, 30% off your fourth, and 40% off your fifth. It’s Campapalooza, so save on 2017’s best reviewed gear and get outdoors! (Greatest package discount applies to lowest priced item. See store for details.)

30% off Hydro Flask: Hydro Flask has redefined what the classic outdoor water bottle can be. These bottles keep your beverage icy cold or piping hot all day whether you’re going from trailhead to summit, commuting to work and back again, heading to the gym, or any step in between. (Discount applies to all sizes and styles of the following colors only: Citron, Forrest, and Tangelo.)

40% off ENO: Blend into your environment, whatever that may be. As versatile as nature is varied, the CamoNest and CamoNest XL provide the perfect hidden nirvana in ENO’s trademark breathable, quick-drying nylon. (Discount applies to CamoNest and CamoNest XL only.)

40% off Outdoor Tech: The geniuses at Outdoor Tech have spent years perfecting bluetooth earbuds, headphones, speakers, and other wireless products for an active life. Our entire stock of their innovative speakers and headphones are 40% off during Campapalooza, allowing you to take your music with you wherever the road or trail leads. (Discount applies to entire stock of Outdoor Tech.)

30% off Thule samples: Thule duffel bags are the perfect travel companion, wherever life takes you and whatever you need to pack. In a variety of sizes and styles, we’ve got samples that make sense on a bike, on a kayak, on an adventure, or on vacation. (Discount applies to select sample packs and luggage. See store for selection.)

BOGO 60% off Yeti: Days on the dock or days at the desk are made better with the Rambler 30 oz. Tumbler. It’ll keep your dinnertime drink cool well past sundown or your coffee piping hot throughout the morning. The Rambler 30 oz. Tumbler is made of 18/8 kitchen-grade stainless steel, has double-wall vacuum insulation, and No Sweat Design. (Discount applies to 30 oz. stainless steel only.)

 

40% off Platypus: There’s not a hard bottle out there that’s cleaner, greener, and more flexible than a Platypus .5 Liter SoftBottle. Each one comes with a Clean-Taste Guarantee and it’s BPA free. It fits in a drink holder, a round pocket, a flat pocket, or any hand. When empty, it rolls up and fits anywhere you want. Plus, it weighs 80% less than hard hydration bottles. (Discount applies to .5 Liter SoftBottle only.)

40% off Freefly: $29.98, reg. $49.95. Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, Freefly has spent two years perfecting bamboo blends to produce the perfect sustainable wicking performance polos. Durable, but soft, these polos combine style and substance to allow more time spent outdoors. (Discount applies to Slate Green and Blue Bird colors only.)

50% off Storm Creek: $10, reg. $20. Lightweight, breathable performance that looks great from running errands to running a marathon, these wicking tees feature lightweight mesh, droptail hem, and inner neck tape for added comfort. (Discount applies to entire stock of Storm Creek performance tees.)

Spring Samples

  • Patagonia for 25% off MSRP
  • Prana for 30% off MSRP

Free Gifts with Purchase

  • Canvas tote ($28 value) with any KEEN footwear purchase
  • Streamer 3L ($27.95 value) with any Deuter purchase
  • Lasting Impressions tee ($27.95 value) with purchase of any two or more Royal Robbins items
  • Firecracker Snapback trucker hat ($29 value) with purchase of any two or more Howler Bros. items
  • MK Wallet ($24.95 value) with purchase of any two or more Mountain Khakis items
  • Multi-functional headwear with any Goal Zero or The North Face purchase
  • Running hat or drawstring sack with any Lowa purchase

Some exclusions apply. In-stock items only. No rainchecks. See store for details.

Let us know you’re coming to Campapalooza with an RSVP on Facebook.

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Workshops, Hikes, + Demos Announced for Campapalooza

Campapalooza returns to our flagship store on March 18 from 10:00-4:00, offering the opportunity to explore the latest trends in camping, upgrade your personal camping collection, and learn from outdoor experts. It’s a way for us to celebrate our history as the region’s first outdoor store and thank you for being great friends and neighbors for 53 years.

This year, we’ve assembled an amazing schedule of free outdoor education. Drop in for as many classes as you like. Get hands on with our top picks for camping in 2017 between sessions and enter raffles for prizes from Osprey, Marmot, ENO, Chaco, Hydro Flask, and more.

Outdoor Education
Learning about the outdoors is fun — and rewarding! Join these experts for a short presentation and you’ll be entered to win some serious prizes. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A.

  • 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Test Drive Salewa Footwear 
    Salewa is a family owned mountain brand that has been in business for over 80 years. Focusing on high quality, durable technical footwear perfect for a trip up Mt. Mitchell or kicking it around Asheville, this is the perfect chance to test drive a pair of trail shoes or hiking boots. Kurt Smith will use his knowledge to select a pair that’s right for you. Take them for a run or a walk on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail anytime throughout Campapalooza.
  • 10:30 a.m., Hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Join Marmot‘s Stephanie Whitaker for a 30-minute morning hike along the portion of the MST that runs alongside our store and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a great chance to identify native flora and fauna while sticking close to all the Campapalooza fun.
    Giveaway: Stanley Steel Growler Pack
  • 11:30 a.m., Choosing the Right Hiking Shoe
    Oboz Footwear Expert Alex Cavner travels the southeast with one goal: matchmaking hikers with the perfect fit. Though there seems to be a dizzying array of choices, his process can easily drill down to correct type and fit, leaving you free to worry about style and color.
    Giveaways: Oboz shirts, hats, and samples
  • Noon, Presentation of Grants to Local Organizations
    We’re local and we like to support local groups connecting youth to the outdoors. Call it civic pride or mountain spirit, but we think it’s the right thing to do. We’re presenting $12,000 in awards to Asheville GreenWorks, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, River Link, and The North Carolina Arboretum.
  • 12:30 p.m., Meet Shelly the Eastern Box Turtle + Friends
    Did you know the Eastern box turtle is our state reptile? Did you know that these turtles can live to be 100 years old? Jonathan Marchal will introduce Shelly, The North Carolina Arboretum’s “celebriturtle” and learn about how you can help she and other turtles that call Western North Carolina home.
    Giveaways: KEEN Arroyo II keychains for everyone
  • 12:30 p.m., Bamboo You: New Trends in Clothing
    Free Fly spent over two years developing their unique bamboo fabric blends to create apparel made from an ultra-soft performance fabric that is breathable, provides UV protection, wicks moisture, and is naturally odor resistant. Jeff Weathersbee will run through the effort to make durable clothing from one of nature’s most sustainable resources.
    Giveaway: Free Fly clothing
  • 1:30 p.m., Solar Power Your Adventure
    Goal Zero‘s line of portable solar products allows you to charge almost anything while exploring the outdoors: phones, laptops, lights, refrigerators, and more. Ultra lightweight and portable, Crandall Caughman will run through the technology that powers the weather-resistant solar panels of the next generation of outdoor products.
    Giveaway: Goal Zero charger
  • 2:00 p.m., Picking the Right Pack
    Osprey backpacking expert Will Pfister knows a poor fitting pack can be the difference between a great time and a terrible time outdoors. He believes in making the right relationship between pack and its wearer. He’ll run through the basics of picking the correct pack for any adventure.
    Giveaway: Osprey
  • 2:30 p.m., Hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
    Sponsored by Outdoor Research, one of our expert team members will lead a 30 minute hike on section of the MST different from the morning hike. Different times of the day bring out different vantage points so you may want to do both!
    Giveaway: $150 Outdoor Research gift card

Let us know you’re coming to Campapalooza with an RSVP on Facebook.

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Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Asheville in March

March equinox brings spring to the mountains on March 20. The month is named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare, and the festivals held in his honor during the month were mirrored by others in October, when the season for these came to a close. As winter comes to an end, March is seen by many as a month to celebrate rebirth, rejuvenations, and regrowth.

Here are some picks for getting outside during the first month of springtime. Visit the experts at Diamond Brand Outdoors to make sure you’ve got all the right gear and outdoor clothing before heading out!

Kolo Bike Park
Opens for the season on March 4, Prices vary
Part of the Adventure Center of Asheville, this experience includes miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails and features — including wooden and dirt jumps, 180 degree wood berm, and wooden bridges — in a wooded, rolling terrain. It’s adult and kid’s pump track make it a sort of mountain bike sampler pack. There are multiple ways to ride Kolo’s trails depending on your skill level whether you’re just learning, taking it easy, or looking to push your edge a bit. Bring your own bike or rent one on site.
1 Resort Drive in Asheville

Spring Hiking 101
6pm-7pm on March 9, Free
With the arrival of spring, the ground thaws, flowers begin to blossom, and nature is jumps back to life. With trails that weave through multiple waterfalls, provide ample bird-watching opportunities, and lead to epic vistas, there’s no better time to explore WNC’s terrain than the temperate days of spring. Frugal Backpacker‘s experts will review essential items you should take with you while hiking in the Asheville area and share their favorite spring hikes.
52 Westgate Parkway in Asheville

Campapalooza
10am-4pm on March 18, Free
Spring camping season gets an early start with a preview of 2017’s best reviewed gear from international innovators like Kelty, Marmot, and Oboz, as well as locally based makers like ENO, Astral, and LiquidLogic. Free hourly workshops on topics from festival camping to choosing the right backpack for a thru hike to getting started to hiking are joined by giveaways and the presentation of grants to local environmental nonprofits. It’s our way of celebrating Diamond Brand Outdoors’ history as WNC’s first and oldest outdoor store — and thanking our customers for their support!
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Get in Gear Fest
Noon-5pm on March 18, Free
26 WNC Gear Builders will be demoing their newest equipment on the banks of the French Broad River at Salvage Station. From a slingshot shooting range and 1:1 guided outdoor experiences to unique events to test outdoor skills and outdoor gear collaboration beers and ciders, it’s no joke that this festival is called Get in Gear. Diamond Brand Outdoors’ paddle experts will be hosting paddlesports demos on the river at 1:00, 2:15, and 3:30 in the afternoon.
468 Riverside Drive in Asheville

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Bird Walk
8am-10am on March 25, Free
Have you ever wanted to get to know the birds that you see and hear around you? Join international birdwatching guide Kevin Burke for an moderate hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. You’ll look for typical winter species, such as Carolina Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Golden, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, as well as early spring migrants like Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Wood Thrush.
1378 Hendersonville Road in Asheville

Asheville Orchid Festival
9am-5pm on March 25 & 26
$5 per person, Free ages 12 and under (standard parking fees apply)
The Western North Carolina Orchid Society hosts its 19th annual ode to the excitement and joy of cultivating orchids inside The North Carolina Arboretum’s Education Center. World-class orchid growers and breeders, along with regional orchid societies, will exhibit hundreds of orchids presented in carefully crafted displays. Orchids will be for sale by vendors from Taiwan, Ecuador, and across the United States.

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Events

Sherpa Night: Celebrate Nepal

Sherpa Adventure Gear weaves together the latest designs and technology with the rich heritage and time-honored beliefs of Nepal. The company was founded by Tashi Sherpa as a living memorial to the unsung heroes of Mt. Everest. For decades, climbers have always been grateful for having a Sherpa companion on the treacherous slopes of the Himalayas. It is the Sherpa who makes the route, carries the load, and sets the ropes to the top and back.

Join us to experience Nepalese culture through sight and taste. We’ll show a short documentary focusing on Nepalese culture and enjoy authentic food samples and traditional tea. Mark Johnson of Hobnail Trekking Company will present information about expeditions from the USA to Nepal. You might be inspired to experience it firsthand!

We’ll have some giveaways for all and a special gift with any Sherpa Adventure Gear purchase that evening. For every piece of Sherpa Adventure Gear’s purchased, a donation is made to provide scholarships to children who grow up in remote Himalayan villages, bringing the spirit of the Sherpa full circle.

RSVP on Facebook

This free event is open to the public. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome.

Asheville Outdoor Show 2017

The Asheville Outdoor Show brings the finest outdoor brands and latest trends in recreation directly to our friends and neighbors who live in the outdoor playground of the mountains of North Carolina. We’ll showcase innovators known for quality, variety, and uniqueness. Enjoy music and outdoor games throughout the day — and pick up lots of discounts from your favorite brands for your outdoor lifestyle. (Check out the list here.)

This kick-ass event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public!

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Traveling Light

Whether you travel to broaden your horizons, seek out new adventures, or just relax, packing light can help you shed weight — both physically and mentally — to make the most out of your journey. Join travel expert and adventure lover Hannah Myers for a free clinic exploring gear, apparel, and strategies for bringing less and experiencing more.

RSVP on Facebook

Well-behaved pets and kids are welcome at this free event.