Posts

4 Tips for Fishing in the Dark

Summer’s arrived in western North Carolina and a very wet spring means mountain rivers and streams are higher and faster than they were last year. While that’s a welcome change, the longer days and higher temperatures of July and August bring challenges for anglers.

Warmer water and bright sunshine drive fish into deeper cover, making for a longer and hotter day on the water. That’s what makes this a great time to explore evening-into-the night fishing! A kayak is the perfect vessel for taking advantage of this opportunity as it’s more mobile than standing on the shore and bounces off rocks much better than a fiberglass hull. You’ll also find just about as many fish biting as an early morning outing.

Night fishing isn’t for everyone and introduces new elements of risk such as loss of visual cues and predators that like to hunt in the darkness. It can be a welcome change for those with busy schedules and allows a fresh perspective on trips you may have taken dozens of time under the sun. Before you head into the night, take these tips into consideration.

Plan Ahead

When picking your night spots, stick to familiar areas. Any body of water will look brand new at night, even if you’ve paddled it many times before. Make note of landmarks and bring a buddy, if possible. Two anglers can cover more water and watch out for each other.

Grab the Right Gear

You’ll need a few basic tools, most of which you already have. Essentials include a PFD, a GPS to steer clear of rocks and pinpoint fishy water, a radio to communicate with fishing partners in case you get separated, highly reflective flag, and a good light. Light will keep you visible to other anglers, recreational paddlers, and boaters. A 360-degree light elevated from the deck of your kayak, headlamp, and floating flashlight are all good recommendations. A hand-crank flashlight or lantern isn’t a bad idea, either. You should always wear a PFD when you’re on the water, but going without isn’t even an option for night excursions. Even if you don’t plan to be out after sunset, prepare for it.

Turn on Your Lights Before It Gets Dark

Always check your gear before getting on the water to make sure it’s charged. Turning on your lights early means less scrambling as the sun goes down and less chance of finding yourself night swimming instead of night paddling!

Have Fun!

The best fishing usually occurs at least an hour after the sun goes down, so don’t get discouraged if you find it dying down. The fish will be biting again soon! Of course, this advice can only go so far. You’ve got to get on the water and try yourself.

Be sure to check local regulations about operating watercraft between dusk and dawn as they vary across the region. If you want to give several models of fishing kayaks a test drive (during the day), join Diamond Brand Outdoors on Lake Julian on July 16 and July 30 for free demo days from 10am-2pm.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

8 Off the Beaten Path Festivals in the Southeast

Perhaps Coachella sold out before you could say Beyoncé, you just can’t imagine fighting the crowds at Bonnaroo for one more year, or maybe you’d rather hang out riverside than beachside. No matter what the reason, we understand your desire for an intimate (but still larger than life) music experience this summer, so we picked eight of our favorite festivals in the Southeast that make for the perfect weekend getaway. Many involve camping, some are by the water, a few encourage family attendance, and all are worth checking out.

Throw on your most comfortable pair of Chacos, pack your backpack with breathable clothes and sunscreen, stock up on water, and head to a music festival (or all eight, we won’t judge) for an unbeatable time in the great outdoors. These no-frills festivals might be a bit off the beaten path, but that’s all part of the fun. And don’t worry—we included a few traveling and packing tips to help you out along the way.

1. MerleFest

When: April 27-30, 2017** Where: Wilkesboro, NC**

Designed with a focus on music, moments, and memories, this North Carolina festival is one not to be missed. First-time visitors and seasoned festival goers groove alongside each other while some of the best acts in Southern music belt one out. Sounds of the Appalachian region and Americana, country, blues, and rock flood the four-day festival. Last year, outstanding performances were giving by Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and John Prine—and this year’s lineup rivals that of years past. Make your way to the front of the crowds for The Avett Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Chatham County Line.

MerleFest does not offer an on-site camping experience, but you will still spend plenty of time strolling between the thirteen different spots to hear music. Keep your feet comfortable from all that walking in a pair of Chaco Fallons, and pack a blanket to set up shop at the different shows.

2. FloydFest

When: July 26-30, 2017** Where: Floyd, VA**

Floyd, a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia, comes to life in the spring. The mountain town becomes a listening room dedicate to an eclectic collection of music from groups like Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti & Spearhead, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Steel Pulse, and Leftover Salmon. Cure what ails you by breathing the fresh mountain air and enjoying five days of music.

Take advantage of FloydFest’s surroundings by taking a dip in Little River, hopping on a mountain bike, playing a round of disc golf, or exploring the hiking trails. If you make the most of the weekend, you will be covering different terrain, so slide into a pair of Chaco’s Z/2 Classic sandals but be sure to bring a pair of warm socks to keep your toes toasty at night.

3. Front Porch Fest

When: August 31 – September 3** Where: Patrick County, VA**

If you weren’t able to make it to the Blue Ridge Mountains for FloydFest in July, or you need an excuse to return, The Front Porch Fest will welcome you to the mountain region with open arms. Front Porch is put on each year by a group of friends and family, which means the kiddos are welcome at this one. For the four days before Labor Day, the 130-acre Spirithaven Farm will become home to stand-out acts and music lovers. Check out groups like Big Daddy Love (a non-traditional string quartet) or Danger Muffin (known for breezy melodies). Let your life be enriched by art in this intimate setting, just as the founders of the festival intended.

The festival’s organizers encourage you to bring all of your friends, toilet paper, an open mind, and extra shoes. Consider easy-going friends, soft toilet paper, and a pair of Chaco’s ZX/3 Classics.

4. Aiken Bluegrass Festival

When: May 12-13, 2017** Where: Aiken, SC**

With nothing but a love of partying and a love of bluegrass, this festival was born. The two-day Aiken Bluegrass Festival may seem short compared to others of its kind, but the selection of bands is one not to miss, as differing styles and traditions of bluegrass music will take the stage each day. Whether you’re a first-timer or a longtime ticket holder, everyone around you will feel like a close friend as you bond over the 10-band lineup. If you are a lover of bluegrass, Aiken Bluegrass Festival is the one for you.

Pups are welcomed, camping is preferred, and Chaco’s Maya sandals are recommended.

5. Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival

When: September 23-24, 2017** Where: Franklin, TN**

New to the music fest scene, the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival has quickly grown into a must-attend event. We’re not sure if it’s past performances from Willie Nelson and Grace Potter or hopeful sightings of Justin Timberlake, but this festival has piqued our interest. The Park at Harlinsdale is a century-old horse farm in Middle Tennessee and it makes for a stunning setting for music listening. The lineup is always packed with big names but the festival offers a small-town feel.

The festival-goers guest list includes everyone from fashionistas to kiddos to Franklin-natives. So don your best festival attire (including a pair of Chaco’s Aubrey shoes) and plan to walk into the small town of Franklin to dine with the locals after the show.

6. River and Roots

When: June 23-25, 2017** Where: Berryville, VA**

Genres are not separated, but rather celebrated for their similarities and differences at River and Roots, where the lines between Americana, bluegrass, folk, and blues blur. The masses will not only flock to the main stage but also to the fiddle camp, band and pickin’ contests, and the nearby Shenandoah River during the weekend. The good people at River and Roots promise you great music and plenty of opportunities to join in on the fun of playing.

Pack your banjo for this one, show off your skills, and stroll from the campsite to the stage in a pair of Chaco’s Fallon sandals.

7. Shaky Knees Music Festival

When: May 12-14, 2017** Where: Atlanta, GA**

Who's ready to hang with Zeus again?! ⚡️🙋🏼 #shakykneesfest #shakyknees #atlanta #musicfestival

A post shared by Shaky Knees Festival (@shakykneesfest) on

Each year, Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta is transformed into music madness with more than 60 bands for Shaky Knees Music Festival. There is nary a quiet moment during the festival’s three-day run and the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Cage the Elephant, Pixies, The XX, Moon Taxi, Ryan Adams, and The Shins are sure to keep things interesting.

During the festival, you will be strolling the streets of Atlanta, so wear something comfortable. Most people are not in your typical festival wear so ladies can kick things up a notch by pairing Chaco’s leather sandals with a stylish-but-breathable dress.

8. Tallulah Fest

When: March 31 – April 1, 2017** Where: Chattooga River Resort**

Although Tallulah Fest promises some of the best whiskey drinkin’ and one of the best boot-stompin’, hand-clappin’ lineups of handmade music anywhere in the Southeast, the festival offers more than just music. Thrill seekers can spend some time in their kayaks and outdoor enthusiasts can set up camp for a few days. Partake in the fun by enjoying the thrill of the class V paddling (if you’re up for that level rapid), or play it safe by setting up camp to catch stellar views of the action. You can also take advantage of the hiking and biking trails and fishing on the Wild and Scenic Chattanooga River.

Plan to get wet—and have a ball in the process. Don’t forget to pack a quick-drying towel, bathing suit, dry bag, and waterproof sandals.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Originally written by RootsRated for Outdoor Sports Marketing.

Featured image provided by Photo courtesy of Chaco

A Guide to 15 of the South’s Best Places to Paddle

Southern author Eugene F. Walter once wrote, “summer in the deep South is not only a season, a climate, it’s a dimension. Floating in it, one must be either proud or submerged.” Perhaps this explains why the waters here are so well-explored and appreciated by paddlers from all over the United States. Despite the fact that proud locals would likely prefer their rivers uncrowded, the word is out: the South has epic rivers.

The rivers and creeks of this region have a very distinctive character. Most of the waterways originate from the Southernmost reaches of the old Appalachian Mountains and plateaus, moving towards the east or the west with rushing speed. Starting off as small streams beneath a canopy of lush deciduous forests, round boulders and well-worn bedrock shape their rapids and hidden waterfalls. They join together and course through gorges, until the gradient subsides as they drop closer to sea level, flattening their waters and encouraging a variety of paddle sports.

With so many options, mild year-round temperatures, and generous annual rainfall, the South is a coveted destination for paddlers of all abilities and passions. In this guide, we’ll work our way through the absolute best Southern rivers for paddling, from beginner to expert level.

The Easiest: Flatwater to Beginner Whitewater (Class I-II+)

Great day on the river with quality people. Highly recommend taking a two man kayak! #GoPro

A post shared by Logan Foll (@loganfoll) on

1.Chipola River, Florida

Starting down in Florida, a novice paddler can find many opportunities to explore freshwater springs and riverside caves while viewing swamp wildlife and historical artifacts. The enchanting Chipola River in Western Florida is a great way to see the best of what the area has to offer. As part of the Dead Lakes State Recreation Area, there are two sections: the 51-mile Chipola River Designated Paddling Trail and the 4.5-mile Upper Chipola River Designated Paddling Trail, separated where the river disappears underground. Fed by 63 springs, the Chipola has a set of small rapids and is also home to the unique shoal bass.

2. Wateree River Blue Trail, North and South Carolina

Weaving 75 miles through the Carolina countryside, the Wateree River Blue Trail has several sections of gentle rapids and flatwater that are both accessible and worthy of interest. Draining a natural wooded floodplain, the waterway is a haven for wildlife such as bald eagles, otters, and kingfishers. This river basin is one of the few precious places that remain in the Southeast where populations of white shoals spider-lily thrive in decent numbers.

3. Hiwassee River Blueway, Tennessee

Heading West to Tennessee’s Hiwassee River Blueway** **gives you the option to step up to class II if desired. The upper section of the river in the mountains of the Cherokee National Forest is where you’ll find these rapids, and while they appear steep, they are not overwhelmingly difficult. Once you get past the town of Reliance, the river mellows, and floating peacefully past the trees can be a serene experience. The cool water flows year round, downstream of the TVA Apalachia powerhouse.

4. Nantahala River, North Carolina

The Nantahala Gorge is nestled between the North Carolina mountains just outside Bryson City. The walls are so steep here that the sunlight can only make it to the valley floor at high noon, hence the name Nantahala, which is Cherokee for “land of the noonday sun.” At the bottom of the gorge, you’ll find eight miles of mostly class II (+) rapids, with a finale of the class III Nantahala Falls, an optional portage. Cold, reliable water flows year round from a nearby powerhouse, making this a very popular and accessible river.

5. Clear Creek, Tennessee

From a solid perch high on the Cumberland Plateau, the upper stretches of Clear Creek meander downhill through numerous shoals and class II rapids that require precise maneuvering. Adventurous, overnight paddlers will pass caves and unique rock formations along the 20-mile waterway before encountering a class III rapid towards the end. Portage is certainly an easy option for those who aren’t up for the challenge.

The In-Between: Intermediate to Advanced (Class III-IV)

6. Obed Wild and Scenic River, Tennessee

Following Clear Creek downstream will eventually lead to the unspoiled, rugged terrain of the Obed Wild and Scenic River near Wartburg, Tennessee. The longest free-flowing, roadless river in Tennessee looks mostly the same today as it did to settlers in the 1700s. The bottom 10 miles from Obed Junction to Nemo are cradled between 500-foot tall canyon walls and are full of class II-III, with some light class IV rapids. Both the Obed and Clear Creek are remote and will be flowing mostly in the winter and spring, so be sure to dress accordingly.

7. Big South Fork, Tennessee

The northeastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau opens up to the towering cliffs and massive boulders of the Big South Fork, yet another remote Tennessee classic. In the vicinity of O’Neida, this river is the centerpiece of a national recreation area, with class III & IV rapids that significantly step up in difficulty with rising water levels. The waters here are elusive to summer, so cold weather gear is again required.

8. Chattanooga River, Georgia

Known as the filming site of the movie Deliverance, the Chattooga River is located near the Georgia town of Clayton, near the Georgia/South Carolina border. Whether paddling the Narrows (class III) or the Five Falls (class IV), the Chattooga is a Deep South Appalachian wilderness classic with year-round water. Summer on the Chattooga is a welcome introduction to running tight lines and slots with precision, a pool/drop contrast to the fluffy, continuous higher flows of winter and spring. Beware of the dangerous siphons that exist within the pot-hole strewn rocks native to this wild and scenic river.

9. Tellico River, Tennessee

The place where the Cherokee once gathered in great numbers is known today as the Tellico River. Just off the Cherohala Skyway in southeastern Tennessee, a small, paved road to a trout hatchery follows the river closely and offers easy access to the scattered waterfalls (from 5-14 feet tall) and continuous rapids along the way. After any decent rainfall, the Tellico will be teeming with paddlers boofing (and plopping) their way down the class III and IV drops. It’s by far the most popular and appropriate place to run a waterfall for the first time.

Getting Tougher: Advanced to Expert (Class IV-V)

Fall Rafting

A post shared by Rick Shu (@rick.shu) on

10. Watauga River, North Carolina

Most of the solid class IV rapids and drops of the Watauga River lie in North Carolina, but the class V Stateline Falls marks the border of Tennessee. While once regarded as some of the most difficult whitewater in the South, the Watauga remains a classic due to the quality of it’s distinctive rapids. For five glorious miles, paddlers will boof and punch their way downstream, finding clean vertical lines and honing their skills to move forward in creek boating expertise.

11. Little River Canyon, Alabama

You might not expect to find a massive canyon in the corner of Alabama, yet high atop Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne is exactly what skilled paddlers descend into the depths of. At Little River Canyon, the put in is aesthetically marked with a wide cascade of 33 feet, most commonly run on the left, where it is divided into two tiers. It is also common to put in below, where the river begins a complicated route through boulder sieves and sluices known as the ‘Suicide Section.’ The scenery from the bottom is top-notch as Little River gains the volume of many side creeks that appear suddenly from both steep sides.

12. Tallulah Gorge, Georgia

The mighty Tallulah Gorge in Georgia was dry for a very long time before, in the 1990s, Georgia Power began releasing water every spring and fall from the upstream dam. Packing a big punch of 20 class IV-V rapids and no less than six waterfalls in a single mile, the Tallulah’s signature drop is a monster slide called Oceana. Set within an impressive gorge with limited access, the put in requires descending almost 600 steps with your boat while viewing (and bypassing) several large unrunnable waterfalls. Taking out requires paddling across Lake Tugaloo.

For Extreme Experts Only (Class V+)

13. Raven Fork, North Carolina

Once quietly hidden at the southern tip of the Smoky Mountains on the border of the Cherokee Reservation, a little stream called the Raven Fork demands attention. This creek, within its notorious gorge, yields no forgiveness to the ambitious experts who penetrate and plunge the numerous steep descending drops. Rapid names like ‘Mike Tyson’s Punchout’ should clarify this point. Dropping nearly 600 feet per mile, it’s a scary, mysterious place for paddling for most, but for the experienced paddlers out there, it’s a challenging favorite destination when the rain hits.

14. Bear Creek, Georgia

Among the very best of Chattanooga’s steep creek offerings is the dramatic Bear Creek of Cloudland Canyon. ‘The Hair of the Bear’ flings itself from atop Lookout Mountain in Georgia, over many tall, distinctive bedrock drops—the most remarkable being a 50-foot, three-tiered hit called ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Towards the bottom, after merging with Daniel Creek, the ‘Boulder Garden’ begins it’s relentless and powerful tumble to the take out. Eddies and scouting are possible, but the best lines through this maze are behind those who already know the way. Being good enough to run this means you’ll be in the loop when it rains hard enough.

15. Horsepasture and Toxaway Rivers, North Carolina

The finale of this list is shared by the breathtaking Horsepasture and Toxaway Rivers, which could be called the Southern cousins of the Sierra Nevada. The incessant, plummeting gradient of the California-esque Toxaway is unmatched by any other Southern river, while the Horsepasture follows closely behind it. Both rivers are equally inviting, with a sizable picturesque drop starting off the day.

Toxaway is characterized by clean lines over fast slides cradled in smooth bedrock, while Horsepasture is all about linking clean waterfalls in succession. On both of these streams, there are sizable drops that result in nerve-wracking moments. In addition to maximizing the limits of runnable whitewater, paddlers must expect strenuous hike out access, persistent scouting on sketchy terrain, and steep portage routes. For a dose of adventure with quality paddling that demands fitness, experience, and confident class V skills, these rivers are the best practice platform for whitewater expedition paddling in more remote areas around the globe.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Originally written by RootsRated for Outdoor Sports Marketing.

Featured image provided by Angela Greenwell

Win $100 When You Shop

Summer’s here and the time is right for you to check out women’s new arrivals! Over the past several seasons, top players in the outdoor apparel market have spent time into specifically designing clothing, gear, packs, PFDs, and hiking boots to better fit women’s bodies. Gone are the days of just shrinking the size of something and pretending it addresses the needs of females in the outdoors.

We’re very excited about the apparel collection we’ve curated for the summer, so we’re offering am incentive to try it out. For every women’s clothing or clothing accessory item you purchase by July 5, you’ll be entered to win a gift card. We’ll give away three: $100, $50, and $25. This includes hundreds of items from Prana, Marmot, Patagonia, and more.

You can start by heading to our store in South Asheville’s Parkway Center (1378 Hendersonville Road, across from Carolina Day School) or browsing online. You can even hold items online and pick them up at the store. Our expert team is ready to show off our new arrivals and get you outdoors because Adventure Is Local!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

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.

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.

 

 

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.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

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!

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

 

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.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

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.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Hammock Camping 101

Western North Carolina has been ahead of the curve when it comes to hammocks, most likely thanks to ENO’s headquarters being located in Asheville. You’ve probably got friends who leave their hammock up year round on their porch or backyard. You’ve most likely experienced the frustration of loosing out on the last available tree at an open field music festival. If you’re a personal hammock owner, you may have already ditched the tent for a hammock. Lots of people are doing the same thing.

Hammock camping isn’t about roughing it or sacrificing comfort for the sake of a lighter load, though that’s a bonus. It’s about increased comfort, easier setup and takedown, and an enjoyable time. If you haven’t been in a hammock in awhile, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable they are these days. Gone are the pinching cords of rope and uneven hang. Today’s hammocks are made of breathable nylon. ENO’s hammocks also utilize a “tree saver” suspension system (no nails or hooks) so you leave less of a footprint in the great outdoors. Hammocks generally offer all the features of a tent including gear lofts and privacy tarps for changing your clothes while standing (take that, tent!).

ENO hammocks are supported between two trees, posts, or other structures and come in styles for singles or couples. Windpouch hammocks harness the power of the air and fit one comfortable lying down or three to four using it like a couch. Inflatable hammocks come with a stake to prevent any unfortunate loss on a windy day. It’s easy to go into far more detail here, but stopping one of our locations will give you access to experts who can run through all of the features.

Sleeping pads and other camping comforts have come a long way, but can be a pricey investment for a family or someone just getting started. This usually leads to a choice based on budget and a feeling of coming home happy, but exhausted, and saying, “I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.” When you climb into your hammock after a day in the woods, you’ll find support for your entire body – from head to toe and from side to side. You’ll go to sleep with a smile on your face and wake up feeling recharged and energized. Instead of feeling like you need to get out of your tent as quickly as possible in the morning to experience being outside, you’re already there!

In addition to the added support, you won’t have to worry about a stray rock under your tent or searching for completely level ground. You can camp on a hill or in the rain or snow. Accessories like bug nets and rain tarps are commonplace and take less time to set up than tents. ENO has just released the Nomad hammock stand, a portable shock-cord stand that supports up to 300 lbs.

As with any outdoor gear, it’s all a question of how committed you are to investing in the gear you need to be comfortable. With hammock camping – just like tent camping – it’s easy to get all the basics you need at an affordable price. You can always invest in additional gear and four-season options.

If you find hammock camping isn’t for you, you’ll still have an incredible piece of functional and comfortable gear added to your outdoor arsenal.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Events

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.

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

RSVP on Facebook

 

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Lake Julian Demo Day

We’re hitting Shelter #1 at Lake Julian Park once again with our entire fleet of fishing, whitewater, and recreational kayaks and stand up paddlebaords. Bring your friends for some time on the water as you test drive 2017’s best of the best. You’ll also have a chance to chat with our experts about paddles, boating accessories, and the best spots in the region to get on the water this year.

RSVP on Facebook

We’ll have PFDs for kids and adults, but you’ll move through the line much quicker if you show up with your own. Same goes with liability waivers. Our lawyers say you’ve got to sign one, so why not print it before arrival? Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2oJqd6s

Expect boats from Confluence Kayaks, Hurricane Kayaks, Liquidlogic Kayaks, Native Watercraft, NRS, and Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

This free event is made possible by a partnership with our friends at Buncombe County Recreation Services. Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome. #AdventureIsLocal

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue Adoption Day

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization. In addition to offering free spay/neuter assistance and a pet food pantry to the community, BWAR runs a 10,000 square foot adoption center, provides behavioral counseling, runs a popular dog hiking club, and is expanding an animal sanctuary.

BWAR volunteers and companion animals will be at the store on Saturday, July 8. Stop by to meet these adorable dogs and cats — and find out how you can provide a loving home.

RSVP on Facebook

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

Wander Lost Tour

This summer, GearJunkie is collaborating with Kelty to prove that outdoor fun can be found anywhere. Living in Western North Carolina, we know #AdventureIsLocal and can be found on the trail, on the town, and even in your own backyard.

The free celebration includes food, drinks, Kelty prizes, interactive presentations, and more! You’ll also score 20% OFF all #KeltyBuilt gear that evening.

RSVP on Facebook >

Well-behaved pets and kids with owner on leash are welcome to attend.