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Yakima stories

Explore our travel tips, helpful product reviews and everyday adventure stories from folks like you.

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Meet Diego Huerta

Diego Huerta: Photographing the World, Living the Stories Diego Huerta writes stories with a camera. “To tell a story you have to live the story,” explains Diego. “You have to be in front of it, able to feel it, smell it. You have to find that universal language that does not need the word, that just by seeing the image the person understands what you were seeing and feeling at that precise moment. There are stories that are in front of you, but there are others where you have to travel long roads, cross rivers and mountains to reach them, and discover new stories along the way.” To Be A Nomad Finding stories has inspired Diego’s wanderlust. Early in his

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Future Wild & Scenic Rivers

Future Wild & Scenic Rivers By Susan Elliott, Wild River Life Sure, there are over 200 rivers across the country that our nation has decided to protect as Wild and Scenic. Rivers like the Middle Fork Salmon, one of the most popular multi-day rafting trips in the world, or the Appalachian classic Chattooga River, featured in the movie Deliverance and one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the Southeast. Yet, Wild and Scenic Rivers make up less than 1% of our waterways, even after 50 years since the signing of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. Our representatives signed the Act into law to create a balance between development and conservation. As we look back for this year’s

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How To choose your bike rack

Choosing the right bike rack can be a little daunting…but we’re here to help! On The Back Or Up On Top: There are a few ways to carry bikes on your vehicle Each has its own benefits. One of the biggest factors to consider is how you like to load and unload your bikes. Hitch Easy to install and remove Minimal bike-lifting required Room up top for other gear Convenient access to trunk Trunk Easy to install and remove Room up top for other gear No need for a hitch or roof rack Must install/remove for each use Spare Tire Easy to install and remove Utilizes spare tire bolts Low profile when not in use Only available in 2 bike

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Rachel Strait – Riding Fast & Taking Names

Growing up in a cycling family meant Rachel Strait was born to ride. Biking was consistently Rachel’s childhood family activity because her father, Jeff, was racing motocross growing up. “He really wanted his children to be outdoors rather than indoors glued to the TV,” says Rachel. “I began riding cross-country when I was nine years old and entered my first competition at age ten.” She won and has been taking names ever since. A few years later, in 2006, she was titled the Junior Expert National XC Champion, landing her a spot representing the USA in the World Championships in Rotorua, NZ.  She was 16 years old. She placed 14th, and she’s had a bunch of impressive competitive achievements over

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YogaSlackers and the PeaceLoveCar: Riding Tiny, Living Big

A 1988 Ford Festiva is a small car. Super small. At 28 square feet, it’s efficient and easy to park, but not much of a living space. But the YogaSlackers made it a mini mobile home – and office, and gear hauler, and spreader of good vibes. For ten years, Sam Salwei – one of the original YogaSlackers – has made it his adventure mobile. For the last five of the years, he’s shared the 28 square feet with fellow YogaSlacker, Raquel Hernández-Cruz. YogaSlackers is a group of folks – almost 150 of them – all over the world who teach yoga, slacklining, acro-yoga, conditioning, and various combos of all of it. It started with Sam Salwei and Jason Magness,

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Brianna Madia – Home For the Holidays

Here at Yakima, a lot of us are traveling “home” for the holidays. To some that means a ten minute drive, or a plane ride to Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Indiana. For one of our favorite van lifers, Brianna Madia, “Home for the holidays” means snuggling down with her husband and two pups in their home, Bertha. I press my nose to the frozen glass of the passenger window. The humming of our van’s engine slows as we meander aimlessly through dark suburban streets. We peer in through passing windows just beyond porches and lawns lit up with lights and inflatable Santas and white wire reindeer to see families gathered around tables and fires roaring up chimneys…children in matching pajamas

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NICA – I wish I had this in high school

NICA, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, provides systems, procedures, leadership and services to help form regional leagues that put on competitive – and not so competitive – middle and high school mountain biking events and programs. They get students on bikes, so we are excited to support them by helping get the riders – and their rides – to the races and events. Their programs get students who both already love to ride and those that are new to cycling, an opportunity to be involved with an interscholastic team sport, and it offers students who are curious about mountain biking an avenue to get rolling.  Plus, it brings a team ethic – and the camaraderie that comes with that –

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5 Tips to Rack Smarter This Winter

Our customer service team knows racks. We asked them to share their knowledge. Here are five smart tips to keep your Yakima snowsports mount working right all winter long… 1. LOCK AFTER YOU LOAD Every time you put your skis or boards back into the rack, make sure you secure it with the SKS lock. It’s a good habit, and helps deters thieves when you have to leave your gear unattended during pit stops. 2. APRES TRAVEL Road salt, grit and water are hard on equipment, so it’s always good to rinse and dry your mount after a long trip in bad conditions. And pop it off if you’re not using it for a while. It means less exposure to

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Unracked: Fly Fishing the Pacific Northwest

Matt Swainbank: Events and Training Manager / Fly Fisherman Winter steelhead, summer trout – Matt is an avid fly fisherman. And – let’s get this out of the way right now – he is not going to share his super-secret spot. But he will share what he does at Yakima. “My role varies quite a bit. I run point and handle logistics for all of our major national trade shows, plus organize all of our retail training and consumer events. There’s a lot of awesome. A fun aspect is my role is always changing. Spring is about training. I spend a lot of time traveling – I was a Yakima Road Warrior for two years, so I know the fun

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Unracked: 5 Tips for a Successful Mountain Biking Trip

Raul Bonifacio : Customer Service Lead Raul Bonifacio lives to bomb around on his bikes – both Mountain and Cyclocross – but also loves to unrack by quietly hanging out in nature with his wife, Jennifer, and sometimes… a couple of owls. His day job is helping people out. “I work as a customer service lead, helping consumers and my team with fitting racks on cars, teaching them how our products work, and how the products will make their lives easier. Turning people onto the product is really fun.” And sometimes service means stepping up big. “I call this story ‘Ship happens.’  I recently got a call from a customer, ‘Hey man, I’m a ski instructor and believe in karma.

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Unracked: SkyRise Tent Tips & Tricks

Ian Betteridge : Product Integrity Lead No one has spent more time with our SkyRise rooftop tent than Ian. Ironing out bugs and refining new products – it’s a reality of a business, and Ian is the guy to do it. “I’m basically a problem solver, he says. Adding, with a laugh, “I am The Wolf. Like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction – ‘It takes thirty minutes to get there in traffic? I’ll be there in ten.’ When we are met with challenges from dealers or consumers, they come to me as the first attempt to find a solution.” He cites the SkyRise as an example. ““We take feedback from the market – if there’s a way we need to

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Unracked: Kayaking with Tex Alexander

Tex Alexander – Fit and Technical Training Lead Tex makes sure your rack is gonna fit. “My job is to go out to auto dealers, or customers who are willing to let us use their brand new cars, and assess the auto/rack interface. We have a network of car dealers in Portland, so we have access to new vehicles once they come to the market. We look them over, take measurements, check structural integrity, gather all the data. Say a new Ford Fusion comes out, we’ll go out and test it in the field, relate that to our internal testing, measure everything, then post the info up for consumers.” Tex loves racks. But his true love is paddling. He’s so

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Unracked: Family Vacation Essentials

Garrett Barnum – CATEGORY DIRECTOR Garrett Barnum and his wife love to pile their five kids into the Suburban and head out to set their base camp – wherever that might be.  They’d love to do that all the time, but a guy also has to earn a living. Garrett is our Category Director for Top of Car and – of course – Camping. “I am responsible for what lives and dies in our product line, and I help to look forward and decide what we should develop next,” he explains. “I gather information from a lot of different sources – consumers, retailers, our customer service – and I get ideas from random inventors and people that think they’re inventors

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Unracked: Paddleboarding with Jenna Fallon

Jenna Fallon – Digital Director Jenna loves to stand-up paddle. “Every moment in the sunshine makes me do a happy dance.” And she makes it a point – even living in the rainy Pacific Northwest – to do her SUP and sun inspired happy dancing as often as possible.   But she does have a day job. Jenna is our Digital Director. “I manage the yakima.com user experience. My job is to help consumers find what they need on our website to create their first-ever roof rack system by setting up the online process that helps you figure out how to find the right one for your car as simply and easily as possible.” But when she gets the time, she loads up her husband, their kids

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Unracked: Road Biking with Kenny Graham

Kenny Graham – Product Integrity Specialist “I ride as much as I can,” says Kenny.  “I ride to work  – an hour and a half commute – then I’ll commute home, and after work I try and ride for a couple more hours if I can. Plus long weekend rides.” What about lunch? “Sometimes. But lunchtime rides are over too quick.” Kenny is a Product Integrity Specialist, but that’s just a title. “I like to share the Yakima culture – I consider myself to be a brand ambassador. I want to make sure the cycling community knows what Yakima is about, what our presence is in the cycling world – and in the outdoor community, too – so I work hard to insert our involvement so people

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The Gambler 500

Born from a dream. A dream of giving forgotten, tossed aside and abandoned autos new life. A chance to become legendary. How do they become legendary?  By completing a 500 mile off-road journey through the beautiful wilderness of Oregon.  Imagine a train of beaters, gimmick rides (think sketchy ambulance), and woefully “off-road unready” vehicles charging through the dirt roads that surround Mt Hood and other parts of the scenic Oregon landscape.  It makes for quite a show. It all began in 2014, when co-founder Tate Morgan said to his friend “It would be cool to get a bunch of guys together, go out and buy $500 cars and see how far we can go.”  That simple statement started with 14 vehicles, and three years later the

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Outdoor Afro: Rediscovering the Inner Nature Swagger

Outdoor Afro helps to reconnect people with their “inner nature swagger.” We’re psyched to partner with them, and recently joined them on a trip to Olympic National Park to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers. Started as a blog by Rue Mapp in 2009, Outdoor Afro leverages social media and technology to create an adaptive, responsive network of networks that gets African Americans involved with nature. It may start with going on a hike. It may simply be looking at pictures from someone else’s hike on Instagram or Facebook. How you initially connect doesn’t matter, what does matter is shifting the visual representation of who gets outdoors. You can get involved as deeply as you want, any way

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Yakima X Deathgrip

Brendan Fairclough is one of the world’s best mountain bike riders. Clay Porter is one of the world’s best mountain bike filmmakers. They’ve been good friends for a decade. You know they had to do a film together. For the last two years, Porter and Fairclough have been shooting and editing Deathgrip. Fairclough—joined by a squad of some of this generation’s most influential riders—and Porter traveled the world to push mountain biking’s envelope and bring it to the people. Says Porter, “Deathgrip is essentially a byproduct of our 10-year long professional relationship with the sport of gravity mountain biking. We are using our collective experience working with each other to give our audience a futuristic vision into the sport and

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5 Incredible National Parks for Cycling

From the seat of a bike, exploring America’s national parks takes on a different view. As you pedal slowly through these protected lands, awareness of nature becomes strong, filling your nose with the smells of wilderness, while you feel the wind on your face. From cycling on the rim of a volcano and biking next to herds of bison to pedaling through the deserts of Utah and everything in between, these parks give cyclists of all levels amazing experiences in nature. It is a great way to bond with your family, your friends, or as a couple in the majesty of the great outdoors. The views, trails, and roads are awesome, but what lingers are not the miles you put

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Our Home on Wheels

Hey there! We are Our Home On Wheels, also known as Jace, Giddi, and baby Juniper. We are a full-time traveling family living in a 2005 self-converted Sprinter van with our pup, Lotus. We often get asked why we decided to sell everything and move into such a small space. To put it simply, this is what we needed. Flashback two years ago and Jace and I were working the typical 9-5 schedule and feeling as if our dreams were slipping away from us. There’s nothing abnormal about working 5 days a week. Millions of people do it — even many van dwellers continue to happily work a day job. For us though, this wasn’t working. We felt something was

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Brianna Madia

I think a lot of folks hear that we live in our van and assume we’re on some sort of trip. But there is no Point B to our Point A. While we do live “on the road” by technicality, we very much call Utah home. We came here from the East Coast nearly 5 years ago, drawn in by the lure of the mountains and the freedom of the American West…but it was the deserts that kept us here.  We felt an indescribable pull to that undeveloped wilderness. And while Utah has an abundance of National and State parks, we much prefer the complete solitude of the rugged BLM lands of the desert backcountry. We learned early on in

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Carabiner Coffee

Oh hey there! This is Erik from @carabinercoffee. Our story is what you get when you take one dirtbag climber, one hefty dose of wanderlust, one 71 VW bus named Ol Blue plus one great cup of coffee and mix them all together. Over the past  3 years we have been traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the country making coffee for anyone who happens to be around. Our Yakima Skybox loaded down with everything we could possible need to live simply and adventure often. Photo: Daniel Noll This story all started on an especially cold day in the middle of a cross country solo bike tour. Pedaling down the Oregon coast and in need of something

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The Bus and Us

We are @TheBusAndUs, which consists of Dillon, Tessa and our 1975 Volkswagen Bus, Rita. It was 2014, while we were two young working professionals making a life for ourselves in Alaska when the travel bug burrowed deep into us. Tessa was happily in a special education teaching career in Anchorage, spending her free time camping, skiing, fishing and exploring the large state she calls home. Dillon was working in supply chain management and with what little time off he had he could be found weekend warrior-ing to the max, trying to snowboard, surf, and camp as far from town as possible. It was then that we realized that we would rather be road tripping, camping, and adventuring full time rather

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Skiing and Snowboarding Near Boulder

Boulder isn’t technically a ski town, but with eight world-class ski resorts within two hours, it’s a suitable launching point for getting out and ripping lift-accessed turns. Eldora is a short drive away and holds a special place in Boulderites’ hearts as the local ski hill. Farther afield, world-class resorts line the I-70 corridor and are within reach for a day trip—just beware of traffic and try to avoid peak travel times. Better yet, make a weekend of it so you can relax into the mountain lifestyle—including drinking in the après scene. Inspired to hit the slopes? Here’s all you need to know about skiing and snowboarding near Boulder. Eldora Mountain Resort Robert Tadlock A quick 40-minute drive up Boulder Canyon

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5 Amazing National Parks for Camping

Nothing is as memorable as camping in the breathtaking wilderness of America’s national parks, where lifelong memories of sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows, and gazing at the gazillion stars above are forged. The memories are so strong, in fact, that even just the smell of burning wood will transport you back to the campsite where you last spent the night. Whether you are in a tent, a hammock, or sleeping out in the wilderness, camping in the national parks helps reconnect you with a way of life mostly forgotten in the daily hustle and bustle. There are 59 national parks for you to find that one-of-a-kind bedroom under the stars. Here are the five best for incredible camping. Many

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