desert van

The biggest problem with getting outside in the City of Angels? Being spoiled for choice. We’re distilling that process by getting the goods straight from the experts with a recurring series called Gear Trails.

By the Editors of Insidehook

This time around, we’re tapping creative director Liam McAuliffe of Coldsmoke — makers of super stylish technical jackets — for his favorite winter activity near Los Angeles.

In brief: you’re going desert hiking and then skinny-dipping at a hidden waterfall.

And we’ve got all the gear to warm you up afterward.


InsideHook: What is your favorite winter outdoor activity in CA?

Liam McAuliffe: My favorite winter outdoor activity in California, especially down here in SoCal, is getting out and exploring the desert wilderness areas that are too hot to fully enjoy during the rest of the year.

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IH: Why do you like the desert? 

LM: The desert is vast, desolate, quiet and hostile to most forms of life for much of the year. But during the winter, especially after the rains, the desert comes alive for a precious few weeks. Delicate wildflowers pushing up between the Joshua Trees and cacti paint the sandy basins with psychedelic, vibrant colors. A creek that’s usually dry but for a few stagnant rock pools, transforms into a rushing stream cascading into a double-tier waterfall feeding crystal clear swimming holes. Giant, otherworldly rock piles rising hundreds of feet from the desert floor provide endless climbing and scrambling routes. And winter is the time of year when a soak in a desert hot spring beneath a star-littered sky is most rewarding.

IH: Got a favorite desert? 

LM: Joshua Tree is the most accessible and dramatically beautiful destination to escape to. However, with the spread of Instagram-fueled outdoor culture, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a campsite, let alone a bit of the solitude the desert is famous for. That said, for someone new to the desert, I’d recommend getting your feet (very metaphorically) wet at J-Tree before pushing deeper into the 50,000 square miles that comprise the Mojave. I just got back from my first trip to the Kelso Dunes. It felt like a sci-fi planet, with dunes hundreds of feet high surrounded by dark granite mountains. You can hike to the top of the dunes and sand-board down. We encountered some kids with homemade, Mad Max-style sand sleds pulling 45 MPH runs. My favorite desert hike is in the Sespe Wilderness up around Ojai. There’s a challenging hike up to Matilija Falls that requires multiple river crossings and scrambling up a slot canyon to that double-tier waterfall. Well worth it, but not for the faint of heart.

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IH: What do you say to folks who think it seems like a lot of sand?

LM: All of these locations have their own unique features and character, which is what I appreciate most about the desert. For the casual observer, these places can feel harsh, uninviting and monotonous. But the more time you spend exploring the desert, the more sensitive you become to subtle phenomena like the changing light, rock patterns and the movement of a coyote on a distant rise.

IH: What Coldsmoke items do carry with you?
LM: The desert is extreme even in winter. In the high desert (up above 2,000 feet), pleasant 70 degree days drop below freezing at night. These temperature swings make it the perfect environment to develop and test for versatility, a key feature in all of our gear. During this recent trip to Kelso I hiked in my Alpha-lite bomber, then threw on the Winbloc joggers and my Wool Moto jacket at night when the temps plummeted.

We actually developed the Fidlock shorts on a hike up Sespe. We wanted shorts built of material burly enough to withstand rock abrasions, branches and prickly desert plants while scrambling, but that we could still wear swimming.

I never go into the desert without a hat. In the winter I wear our waxed Japanese Military cloth hat — it’s a bit warmer than your average hat and super durable. The desert beats everything up. I also just climbed the dunes in our new, as yet to be released, 3xdry pants that wick moisture so sweat never gets a chance to get cold — definitely a staple from here on out.

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IH: What sort of tips do you have for going there?

LM: Bring WAY more water than you think you’ll need. When it’s cold, it’s still extremely dry and you will get dehydrated. Sunblock and chapstick are also key. The desert looks tough, but the life there is doing everything it can to survive and is surprisingly fragile, so stay on trails, and pack out your trash. I sound like a park ranger, but when the features are so minimal, one shiny candy wrapper really stands out.

IH: Are there hole-in-the-wall bars or restaurants nearby that you always hit?

LM: If I’m in J-Tree, a trip over to Pappy and Harriet’s is a must. It’s always good to check their calendar for a chance to catch a world-class artist playing out under the stars. The ribs are pretty good too. Up in Ojai, nothing beats a buffalo burger and Moscow Mule at the Deer Lodge. Great log cabin ambience. And out by the Kelso Dunes we hit Peggy Sue’s, an iconic ’50s highway pie and burger joint with a turtle pond and metal King Kong and dinosaur statues. The biscuits and gravy are a good bet.


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Collins Coldsmoke Martha's Vineyard 3

This summer we got a chance to visit woodworker and organic farmer Collins D. Heavener, at his studio and farm on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. Many people fantasize about living off the land and honing their artistic craft in a rural paradise, but few share Collins’ talent and drive to work their dreams into reality.

CS: What brought you to Martha’s Vineyard and what’s kept you there?

Collins Heavener: I first washed ashore following a lady friend. But ultimately it was landscape, the people, my friends, the farm–the fact that, by some miracle, I’ve been able to make a living for myself doing two of favorite things–farming and furniture making. That keeps me.

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CS: Your favorite kind of wood and why?

CH: I can’t choose a favorite child. Though, Claro Walnut has been making decent grades lately.

CS: What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?

CH: I remember drawing a lot as a kid. Mostly copying the graphics of my favorite skateboards from the latest CCS mag. I’d fill reams of paper with colored pencil drawings with those.

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CS: Favorite artists/ Greatest influences?

CH: My greatest influences have by far always been my friends. I mean, there are some pretty incredible people in this world that I and many other people admire, revere, worship, whatever. But for me it’s been the shitheads I grew up skating with in Southern Vermont who influenced me the most. Some of their parents were carpenters and they’d help us build ramps and other stuff to skate. I’d lurk around their wood shops in total awe of the tools and piles of wood shavings. That was the genesis of my interest in woodworking. One of those shithead friends of mine, Israel Lund, is still one of my favorite artists.

Collins Coldsmoke Martha's Vineyard

CS: Favorite, and least favorite thing about being a farmer?

CH: I love getting to interact with the people who cook and eat our produce. I manage the wholesale accounts and farmers market for our farm so I look forward to making the rounds with my chefs and seeing what they’re cooking up. The market is always a blast, I have a bunch of regulars and friends coming out to say hi, seeing what’s the best stuff coming out of the ground each week. I really like the contrast of the solitude you have in the field and the zoo that is the West Tisbury Farmers Market.

Collins Coldsmoke Martha's Vineyard

Wearing: MA-1 Bomber, Topographic T-shirt , Fidlock Shorts



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When we heard our friends Jamie and Taylor were headed down to Costa Rica during the rainy season we thought it would be the perfect occasion to test out our eVent waterproof and super breathable rain jackets and our new Fidlock travel shorts.

Words by Jamie:

For years now I’ve dreamt about surfing Pavones, one of the longest left hand point breaks in the world. So for my birthday we flew to Central Costa Rica, rented a car and adventured down south to the Costa Rica, Panama border.  We took a weeks time, surfing and finding unique accommodations along the way.  A true sense of freedom.  We surfed in warm water with macaws flying overhead.  Fact: macaws fly in pairs and mate for life, if one dies the other will too shortly after.  It was very romantic.

After a few days of driving, we finally made it to Pavones.  The waves were fun and the next few days consisted of nothing but surfing, eating, exploring the jungle, lounging in our bungalow and of course, more surfing.  It was a beautiful birthday to remember.

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Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH


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Cinematographer Justin Kane  and Designer Faye McAuliffe explore Iceland’s west coast.



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As a kid growing up in the 80s, there were few things I wanted more than a MA-1 flight jacket. What exactly provoked this desire, I couldn’t say, but at the Army Navy Surplus where I would invariably drag my parents, the MA-1 always stood out as the one piece of gear I just had to have. Fortunately, unlike the Atari console that evoked a similar pre-teen lust, I was lucky enough to actually get my hands on one. The MA-1 began life as a new lightweight flight jacket designed to replace the heavy leather bomber jackets used in World War Two. Made from the now readily available nylon fabric, the MA-1 was a perfect compliment to the technologic innovations of the jet age. Sleek and warm, the jacket was issued to air force pilots and naval aviators of many countries and saw widespread use in the decades between the Korean and Vietnam wars.


Interest in the jacket from the private sector, driven initially by the military surplus and black markets, spurred manufacturers Alpha Industries and later Rothco to begin supplying the MA-1 to commercial customers. Owing to the significant presence of US military forces there, the jacket first became fashionable throughout Europe and Japan in the 70s, largely with punk and other subcultures. By the time I was sporting one in the mid-80s, the design had become popularized, if not ubiquitous.


Still, there is no denying it’s fashion chops. Stylish, functional, and with more than ample street cred, it’s no wonder you find the likes of Bradley Cooper and Gigi Hadid wearing one. Both bootleg and bespoke versions abound, but we challenge you to find any better than this example from our friends at Coldsmoke.


Coldsmoke is a core apparel company born, like the MA-1, out of a real need, in this case high quality technical gear for heliski guides in British Columbia. The crew at Coldsmoke took this experience and leveraged it into a clothing line for the total landscape, meticulously designed and consciously manufactured with their close-knit clientele in mind. Using short runs and direct marketing to remain nimble and unfettered, Coldsmoke deftly bridges the gap between technical performance and fashionable good looks. What better to exemplify this philosophy than a MA-1?


Stepping off from their already preeminently qualified standard issue construction, the crew at Coldsmoke has just dropped a new MA-1 in navy using dead-stock Japanese flight cloth. Only 28 of these remarkable jackets are in existence, meaning that they are rarer than a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider. Only a hell of a lot more obtainable.


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Photos and words by Kellen Mohr

We loaded up the truck, hopped on the 395 and rolled into Lone Pine by late afternoon. After a crucial stop at the skate park next to a McDonald’s, we headed up to the Alabama Hills in time to catch the golden light as the sun set behind Mt. Whitney and the Eastern Sierras.

On a previous trip we had found a killer campsite tucked under a large overhang and were gunning for it this time around, but we found another car already there. So we scrambled up some pinnacles to scout for a new site, reveling in the cooler temps and soft light as the sun slipped away.

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From our vantage we saw the taillights of the car at the overhang turn on. It reversed and wound away down a dirt road.  We sprinted back to the truck, hopping from rock to rock, dodging angry desert plants, and mobbed to our perfect campsite. Hooting and hollering, we set up camp, then split off to get cold beer from a gas station in Lone Pine while Chris and Michael stayed behind to gather fuel and get a fire going. We returned with provisions, swapped stories around the fire, then pulled a night exploration of the canyon behind our site, scrambling over huge boulders, navigating the rocky maze with our headlamps and guided by cairns.

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The next morning we woke at 7 and headed up Whitney Portal road to skate its steep curves. After bombing the few sections that weren’t riddled with gaping cracks and cheesegrater pavement, we headed back into town to meet up with three friends who were living out of cars and travelling all over the West in search of killer climbing. After taking a quick dip in a roadside creek they took us out to a route in the Alabama Hills called Shark Fin. We climbed as clouds painted themselves onto the evening sky.



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Next we headed up to Bishop, where our friends showed us a secret spot alongside a rushing creek overflowing its banks with snowmelt rolling down from the huge dark mountains towering above us. We pulled off the road, circled the wagons, feasted, and hit the sack beneath the shimmering Milky Way.

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Chris and I woke before sunrise and explored our surroundings as the morning sun turned the peaks bright creamsicle orange. We headed back into Bishop to fuel up at Black Sheep, the go-to meeting spot for the many itinerant climbers living out of their cars, then headed out to a nearby river to cool off during the day’s hottest hours.


When the temps dropped to a sane level, we headed over to the Buttermilks, a world-renowned bouldering area home to some of the biggest bouldering problems in the world. We lugged our crash pads up to the surprisingly empty problems and gave them our best shot.

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That evening I saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets ever. A continuous lenticular cloud hovered over the sierras, its edges illuminated in fantastic shades of orange and pink as the light in the valley turned a deep, apocalyptic orange.

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Earlier that day Michael had found a $15 kids bike at the Bishop Gear Exchange, and decided then bomb down to the paved highway where he vanished into the darkness in a flurry of flailing pedal strokes. We followed his erratic track through the gravel, positive that we’d find him in a heap. Two miles down the road we caught up with him grinning madly, unscathed but covered in dust.

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As the darkness grew deeper, we headed north to spend the night at one of the many hot springs that boil out of the Long Valley Caldera. We found an empty spring where we whiled away the night with many a brew. Hypnotized by the Milky Way glowing above our heads, we lost track of time, eventually retreating to the truck and turning it in at 4AM. Rising in the morning, we all went our separate ways returning from what felt two full weeks of constant exploration, though we had been gone a mere 4 days.

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Via Hypebeast: Premium outerwear brand COLDSMOKE returns with a seasonal addition to its 2015 fall/winter collection. Dubbed the Tech Bomber, the jacket is constructed with a Japanese soft-shell waterproof fabric that allows for optimal breathability and protection against harsh winter conditions, available in either a Charcoal or Deep Green colorway. The technical textile is bonded to a deluxe fleece lining that provides both warmth and comfort. Detailing on the piece also includes American-made waterproof zippers, heavy-duty custom knit ribbing, nylon gold-colored binding, and an inner media pocket. Combining both functionality and a rugged design, the piece is a standout wardrobe must-have for the colder months ahead. You can shop the Tech Bomber now at the COLDSMOKE webstore.




Photographic negatives left a century ago in Captain Scott’s last expedition base at Cape Evans have been discovered and conserved by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust.

The photographs are from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, which spent time living in Scott’s hut after being stranded on Ross Island when their ship blew out to sea.

One of the most striking images is of Ross Sea Party member Alexander Stevens, Shackleton’s Chief Scientist, standing on-board the Aurora.















Source: nzaht



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2 weeks, 2,200 Miles, 41 hours behind the wheel,  five states, one province, three mountain ranges, gallons of beer, tons of new friends, and countless memories. Needless to say, the Coldsmoke Winter Film Tour was a blast. Thanks to everyone who came out, got inspired by the latest winter films, shared the stoke, and picked up some Coldsmoke gear! Its all added up to the Coldsmoke Awards show, January 10th in Bozeman MT, at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. There’s still time to vote for the people’s choice award and be entered to win a cat skiing trip for two at Powder Mountain, in Whistler, and $1000.

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The boys from KSM collective were given 7 days to shoot and edit a 5-7 minute ski/snowboard film all within 100 km of our second home, Whistler B.C. They called it Wintertide. 

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