Swift Campout 2018 - BIKEPACKING MIGHT KILL YOU. – Coal Headwear

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Like Coal did within the snowsports scene, Seattle’s Swift Industries built a brand by creating high-quality, beautifully-designed products for a particular community: bike commuters and bike tourers. As Seattleites and cyclists ourselves, we’ve followed along throughout their evolution, and when the opportunity to get involved in their annual Solstice Campout arose, we bit. The Campout is a global call for riders to get out of town on a bike-camping adventure with friends. Riders can join up with local Campouts published on their site, or they can do their own thing. We decided to build our own route – not the standard mellow overnighter to just outside city limits, but instead, an ambitious 4-day backcountry route in rugged Central Idaho. We invited Campout sponsors Tenkara Rod Co. and Latigo Coffee to join us, and opened up the ride to our friends, ultimately making a crew 14 deep from Seattle, PDX, LA, SLC, Denver, Boise, and Bozeman! Also in the mix were 2 videographers and 4 photographers to document the adventure. The trip started out inauspiciously enough, with 20 miles of cruisy descent through a beautiful canyon, zero traffic, and a couple hot springs breaks for good measure. As the clouds finally parted we climbed up into the Salmon River range, stopping to clear the occasional downed tree. It was obvious we were the first to travel back here this year. The logging road gave way to moto trail, which was the start of the trail of tears -- a steep, seemingly never-ending hike-a-bike that took us to over 9,000 feet in elevation and to within 8 miles of our intended camp. Exhaustion, waning daylight, and a trail that disappeared under a 30-foot snowdrift meant our route had fallen apart on Day 1. We bivvied in a beautiful meadow though, and enjoyed dinner with a spectacular alpine sunset. In the morning we would have to reroute, but not before a sniper attack from a fast-moving thunderstorm lit up camp with too-close lightning and dumped an inch of hail on us. We never made it to our second planned camp either, and we lost contact with one of our video guys for at least 36 hours all told .. but as a team we played the hand we were dealt, played it well, and managed to salvage the ride, ultimately having the time of our lives and solidifying new friendships .. which is really what it’s all about!

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