Articles

Contour HD versus GoPro Hero 2

Wearable video cameras have revolutionized outdoor and extreme sports media coverage over the past several years, driven by two dominant players in the emerging field of live action sports cinematography. We take an inside look at at the two leading cameras, breaking down the greatest advantages and limitations of each.

Scarpa NTN & Black Diamond Push Boot Review

Lifelong skier and telemark addict Ken Kamada takes us on a tour of Scarpa’s revolutionary NTN or “New Telemark Norm” ski boot/binding system, as well as a demo review of Black Diamond’s Push boot. The new ski/binding systems take telemark skiing into a new era.

Achieving the Perfect Ski Boot Fit

Finding the right boot is a challenge for any skier. Whether you’re trying to dial in a new pair of boots, or squeeze a few more seasons out of your favorite old pair, this article is a must-read for all serious skiers seeking performance and comfort out of their boots.

Ridding Palau of Explosive Remnants of War

Dive Guide Harris Moore lends his account of a nail-biting experience, diving with trained demining professionals, as the team sets out to remove undetonated explosives from a shipwreck near the Palauan island of Koror. The team works carefully in safely documenting and removing the bombs from the busy harbor.

First Ascent Downlight Sweater Review

Made by Eddie Bauer, the First Ascent label defiantly takes aim at the high end, performance outerwear market with its slick designs and top grade materials. The Downlight Sweater offers high quality, 800 fill down and fuzzy pocket liners to keep you toasty when you need it most.

2012 Ski Gear Preview – Winter Is Here

Telemark Northwest founder, Ken Kamada, offers an exciting preview of cutting-edge ski and Winter gear for the 2012 snow season. Revolutionary, fat skis, comfy and versatile ski and telemark boots, sharp outerwear and goggles – learn about this season’s home run gear and get equipped for some pow.

DEMA Show 2011 New Product Highlights

DEMA Show 2011 featured new gear from both new and established manufacturers. While there was no single category that saw a major advance from multiple companies, like dive computers last year, DEMA 2011 showcased many new products that came in smaller sizes and/or higher quality than the versions before them.

Sony NEX-5 & Aquatica AN-5 Underwater Housing

Sony’s innovative NEX-5 mirrorless digital camera becomes submersible with Aquatica’s AN-5 underwater housing. A powerful combination for the aspiring underwater photographer or the pro looking for a backup solution. This compact system foreshadows the lightweight, cutting-egde technology of the future, while offering the flexibility of a classic interchangeable lens camera.

The Cayman Islands, Crown Jewel of the Caribbean

Explore the Cayman Islands, where gin-clear waters make for mind blowing scenery both above and below the turquoise blue waters. Three unique islands make up this Caribbean gem, collectively offering a diverse mix of adventurous activities and serene escapes that any discerning traveler can appreciate. Nowhere else in the world is the dive industry as healthy and looked after as in the Caymans Islands.

Crossing the Himalayas, The Roof of the World

Justin Lichter and Shawn Forry set off to hike the length of the Himalayas from the easternmost 8,000 meter peak in the world, Kanchenjunga, to the westernmost 8,000 meter peak, Nanga Parbat. The ambitious traverse spanned an approximate distance of 2,500 miles and it took three months for the hikers to successfully make their way out of the highest mountain range in the world. This is their story.

Diving the Shipwrecks of Vancouver Island, Canada

There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing the ghostly image of a shipwreck appearing out of the gloom in deep, dark water. The Canadian Province of British Columbia, as beautifully gorgeous underwater as it is on land, has some of the finest coldwater shipwreck diving in the world. Providing a unique blend of history and a modern day adventure, AtlasOmega’s Calvin Tang and John Rawlings describe their dives on three of the Province’s shipwrecks with a select team of technical divers.

Shearwater Research to Develop Scrubber Sensor

Shearwater Research gets the go-ahead from the United States Navy to develop the world’s first sensor system capable of measuring a rebreather’s remaining scrubber capacity, a landmark that would greatly improve the safety of recreational, commercial and military closed circuit rebreathers.

Outdoor Retailer 2011 Summer Market Highlights

AtlasOmega brings you to Outdoor Retailer’s 2011 Summer Market, where equipment makers showcased their newest and most cutting-edge new products. This year’s show featured technical fabrics woven to produce a vintage look, ultralight gear made to propel the outdoor athlete faster and further than ever before, and of course a host of great parties for the work hard/play hard crowd.

Brunton Powers Up Your Adventures

Brunton’s portable power solutions provide freedom to those used to being tethered to wall sockets. The Solaris 4 USB Solar Panel and Inspire Portable Power Device make for a sleek, lightweight and durable power duo, for folks needing extra juice on the go or out in the backcountry.

Armored Transport: Think Tank Photo Camera Bags

Think Tank Photo offers a smart tandem of camera bags for the traveling photographer: the cavernous StreetWalker HardDrive camera backpack for the long-hauls, and the fast, purpose specific Sling-O-Matic 20 sling bag for day trips.

2011 Oceanic VT 4.0 Dive Computer Review

The Oceanic VT 4.0 is a rugged, time-tested workhorse of a dive computer. It can read tank data wirelessly from four different transmitters, and employs an entirely redesigned software interface that allows for intuitive control on the surface and ease of use in the water.

Rugged Comfort: Santi Enduro Drysuit

Technical & Commercial Diver, Chris Borgen, puts his gear through hell on a regular basis. The Santi Enduro, true to its name, is the suit of choice for the dirtiest of jobs and the most frigid waters. Don’t let the rugged materials fool you though, the Enduro is as comfortable as it is tough. Where other suits fall short, Santi delivers.

Scuba Diving the Island Nation of the Philippines

Underwater Photographer and Filipino native, Stewart Sy, offers a broad guide to diving the remarkable island nation of the Philippines. Stewart divides the country, consisting of a mind-boggling 7,107 individual islands, into three distinct geographical locations. Greatly familiar with two of the three regions, Sy takes us on a journey to a dozen world-class dive destinations.

Analytical Industries TruMix 4001 Trimix Analyzer

Though not the sexiest part of the dive equipment ensemble, gas analyzers are an indispensable tool in the dive industry. Whether you’re a dive shop or a tech diver, you’ll want to know what you’re putting into those scuba cylinders. For recreational divers looking to extend bottom times or depths, you’ll have to advance past breathing air eventually.

Get Around Without a Spill, Humangear GoToob

GoToob is a smart, flexible line of travel containers offered by Humangear, Inc. The small, silicone tubes employ several smart features for easy identification and mess-free storage, transport and usage. In a world of messy travel, this is a product that promises to keep things tidy.

Sierra Designs 2011 Herald and Revival Backpacks

Sierra Designs is offering two new backpacks, available in versions for both men and women. The Herald is a versatile, 30L daypack that’s stylishly rugged and thoughtfully designed. The Revival is a 65L, lightweight, roomy backpack that’s perfect for multi-day hikes and climbs. Both packs employ Sierra Designs’ innovative Fulcrum Suspension System.

Staying Warm and Dry with Terramar Baselayers

A great insulation baselayer will keep you warm when it’s freezing, and cool & dry when you’re working hard. For decades, Terramar has been fusing together high quality natural textiles with cutting edge, synthetic fabrics to create comfortable and functional insulation layers.

Octovo: Make Your Kindle 3 Everything-Proof

The Octovo Tirim Splash-Proof cover for the Amazon Kindle 3 is the perfect companion for those who like to read while enjoying an active lifestyle. The case is also perfect for those who have littles ones around or are accident prone.

Japanese Tsunami Aftermath on Midway Atoll

Tony Ernst describes how his trip to photograph the wildlife of Midway Atoll was interrupted by the March 2011 Pacific Tsunami. He relates his experience during the tsunami itself, and his participation in two days of rescue operations undertaken to help the wildlife affected in its aftermath.

2012 Rossignol S7 Ski Preview

The 2012 Rossignol S7 excels in almost any condition, be it deep powder, small stashes, hard snow, tight lines or open faces. The only thing it doesn’t do well is cater to pansies.

The Life of a Professional Ski Guide

Donny Roth offers a behind-the-scenes look at living the life of a Professional Ski Guide. Juggling life in both hemispheres, Roth manages to ski over 200 days a year as he chases Winter around the globe.

Kaenon Polarized Sunglasses

Kaenon Polarized employs cutting-edge, patented lens technology in their rugged but stylish line of sport sunglasses, providing unsurpassed optical clarity and sharpness. The young company is taking the eyewear industry by storm.

Appalachian Trail Ultralight Hiking Guide

Less than ten percent of those who set out to hike the Appalachian Trail successfully complete all 2,174 miles of it. Justin Lichter has done it, twice, and offers useful advice to those seeking the adventures promised by one of America’s most famous and historic trails.

Release the Fleece, Time to Get Down

The evolution of the down products make for jackets and vests suitable for any occasion; whether on a mountaineering expedition of epic proportions or just out and about town on a chilly day – it’s time to get down.

The Ultimate Ski Pant: FlyLow Chemical Pant

FlyLow aims to blend together the best elements of traditional, lightweight ski pants with the durable and ergonomic design typically reserved for mountaineering gear. The result is the rugged, featherweight FlyLow “Chemical Pant”, which promises to be a skier’s best friend.

The World’s Youngest Antarctic Diver

AtlasOmega interviews Evan Bozanic, who at eleven years old became the world’s youngest person to dive in Antarctic waters (30 degrees Fahrenheit). At the age of twelve, Evan became rebreather certified while designing and building his own custom, closed circuit rebreather (CCR), for a science fair project. Now at age thirteen, Evan has dived off of four continents, and plans to be the youngest person to reach the waters off of all seven. He currently lives with his family in Fountain Valley, California.

Three Great Midlayer Insulation Jackets

Midlayers are arguably the most important piece of clothing in the layering system. Outershells can only do so much. Midlayers are the true barriers between the extreme conditions in the environment and your body. Bomber fabrics combined with solid engineering and design have produced a bevy of insulation options.

UEMIS Zurich: the Social Dive Computer

Switzerland-based Uemis makes smart dive computers that feature solar panel technology as well as an integrated “social dive log” on the desktop software side of things. The “Zurich” dive computers, if fully utilized out of the water by a critical mass of users, could end up providing a new type of online community for divers around the world.

2011 Black Diamond Push Telemark Ski Boot

A look at Black Diamond’s most popular telemark boot, the “Push”, featured at Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market in 2011. AtlasOmega Equipment Analyst, Ken Kamada, takes us through the major and minor improvements to the flagship boot model – including changes that increase performance as well as comfort.

Outdoor Retailer 2011 Winter Market Highlights

AtlasOmega Gear Junkie, Ken Kamada, attends Outdoor Retailer 2011 Winter Show and provides an in-depth analysis of all the shiny new gear on the way to you in 2011. Some of the highlights include extremely lightweight outerwear and backpacks, stunningly functional ski boots, and some novel approaches to storing gear and power.

Light & Motion SOLA DIVE Light Review

Light & Motion has been known for producing high-end underwater housings and lighting systems for over a decade. Recently, the company has brought their lights to the center stage of the dive industry by launching a new series of hands-free dive lights, their revolutionary SOLA line of submersible lights.

Photographing the Bald Eagles of the Skagit River

Hundreds upon hundreds of majestic bald eagles converge on the Skagit River in Washington State each year. Wildlife Photographer, Tony Ernst, shares his methods in capturing the beauty and behavior of the soaring avian predators, as they voraciously feed on the spawning pacific salmon.

The Seventh Summit: Carstensz Pyramid

Professional mountain guide and polar explorer, Ryan Waters, travels by helicopter over dense Indonesian jungle to reach base camp at the Seventh Summit, Carstensz Pyramid. Waters and his team then employ trusted climbing equipment and sharpened techniques to make a difficult traverse, and eventually reach the summit of the rugged, 16,024-foot mountain.

DEMA Show 2010 Highlights

Highlights of the DEMA Show 2010 – The dive industry makes a rebound after shrinking due to the economic recession. Many new dive computer models are announced and color OLED displays are becoming more common across brands. Rebreathers continue their push toward the mainstream by taking form in recreational configurations. Dive lights are making quantum leaps forward in terms of burntime and reliability as LED technology has finally arrived.

Long-Distance Ultralight Hiking

Justin Lichter, a.k.a. “Trauma”, has hiked over twenty thousand miles during the past eight years. Trauma brings only the essential gear along with him on the trail, and most if not all of those items end up doing double-duty. Learn more about how an ultralight approach to hiking has allowed him to cover huge distances while also making the most out of his time on the trail.

Latest Generation Amazon Kindle 3 Review

Amazon’s wildly popular Kindle reading device improves yet again with a new generation Kindle that is faster, lighter, smaller and boasts longer battery life. The Kindle works in 100 countries and territories with no subscription fee. Its crisp, non-backlit display is perfect for lengthy, enjoyable reading whether you’re at home in bed or on the road. Amazon’s sprawling library of available content for the Kindle and its seamless “WhisperSync” technology makes it one of the most enjoyable companions a person can have. Learn about the new features offered in the latest generation Kindle device, the pros and cons of its[...]

Light & Rugged Gear is Key to Expedition Success

Polar Explorer Eric Larsen shares his decision making process when it comes to evaluating the equipment he uses during his lengthy expeditions. Several key factors come into play when he decides what gear ‘makes the cut’, including weight and durability.

The Search for Deep Cold-Water Corals

Mention the word “coral” and most people will conjure up an image of tropical reefs, bathed in the bright sun and covered with a huge variety of corals in gin-clear turquoise water. Few realize that most corals actually dwell in cold, deep water far from the sun.

Photographing the Grizzly Bears of Katmai

Tony Ernst describes the techniques and equipment he used to photograph grizzly bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. From lens selection to proper waterproof clothing, Tony gives you the tips you’ll need to photograph these huge (and dangerous) animals in the wild.

Expedition Fitness Training

Eric Larsen shares the importance of pre-expedition fitness training. He describes his routine, what it takes physically to endure polar expeditions, and how he prepared for climbing Mt. Everest. Also, Larsen explains how proper physical training beforehand helps to avoid problems during the expedition. Learn more about how Eric Larsen stays in shape after the jump.

Interview with Underwater Filmmaker Howard Hall

Howard Hall has spent over thirty years making underwater films that have inspired millions of people to learn more about the underwater world. In this interview, Hall describes the many challenges and complexities involved with making underwater films, including working with IMAX 3D technology, planning and logistics, working with marine wildlife and more.

Mt. Rainier Summit

Just back after a pretty tough couple of days. We managed to summit Rainier via the Emmons Glacier but just barely. My friend Paul Nanawa and I hiked in through White River on Thursday morning. We had a fairly casual walk up through an incredible stand of firs and pine eventually making our way onto the inter glacier. As a precaution, we roped up and continued to ascend. We had gotten a slightly later start than we had hoped and the snow in the late afternoon sun became soft. Post holing our way up the incline, we struggled under our[...]

Underwater Exploration: Prince Rupert, Canada

All was silent except the soft lapping of the waves against the hull and the sound of my steady breathing into my Closed-Circuit Rebreather. Earlier we had asked about this site and had received the exciting answer, “As far as we know, no one’s ever dived it…”

Scuba Diving the Golden Reefs of Bali

Indonesia has the most coastline of any country in the world, which is why it’s easy for Bali to be overlooked as one of the finest dive destinations in the country. As the only island among 17,508 that is predominantly Hindu (rather than Muslim), Bali’s residents are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. With dazzling coral reefs to enjoy in the water and delicious cuisine to indulge in topside, the island and international gateway does not disappoint.

OLED Shearwater Predator Dive Computer Review

An in-depth look at the industry-leading technical dive computer made by Shearwater Research. The “Predator” dive computer comes with an advanced OLED display, is depth rated to 450 feet, employs an intuitive user interface and can be used with any combination of oxygen, nitrogen and helium.

Lighten Up with Ultralight Buoyancy Arms

A key to producing beautiful underwater photos is to mount strobes far away from the lens to avoid “backscatter” (light bouncing off of particulate matter between you and the subject). Underwater photographers depend on strobe arms to do this. This set from Ultralight also helps with the camera’s buoyancy.

Aerial Photography In The North Cascades

Tony describes a last-minute opportunity to capture some potentially great shots from high above the Cascade mountain range of Washington State. The Pacific Northwest offers many beautiful landscapes, but lighting and precipitation present common obstacles to obtaining that great shot. Tony describes the process behind getting a perfect shot of the fog lifting from the mountains.

Surviving the Antarctic Chill

I awoke to discover that blowing snow had drifted violently against the tent’s vestibule during the night, nearly smashing our pot and stove. I had to repeatedly punch the hard-packed drift loose just to open the flap. I was groggy from a fitful night’s sleep, during which I had been haunted by strange dreams. The loud train I imagined must have been a subconscious interpretation of the wind pounding against the thin nylon. It’s the first morning of my 2009 South Pole expedition in Antarctica, the beginning of my Save the Poles Expedition—a first-ever journey to the South Pole, North[...]

Pacific Northwest Scuba Diving Guide

Divers from around the world set out to dive the cool, emerald waters of the Pacific Northwest to witness shipwrecks that few have ever laid eyes on, and to photograph marine life that is truly unique to this part of the world. Nowhere else can a diver find a Giant Pacific Octopus or Wolf Eel year-round, with as much regularity as the divers commonly do in Puget Sound and off the coast of British Columbia. Winter brings about frequent encounters with Harbor Seals who are as playful as they are curious about the bubble-making visitors. Though extremely rare, Sixgill Shark[...]

The Aquatic Wilderness of Nootka Sound, Canada

[slidepress gallery=’nootka-sound’] Thousands upon thousands of bright pink and red strawberry anemones fill the underwater seascape, as clusters of giant, white cloud sponges protrude proudly off of the giant boulders that rest precariously upon a slope that wanders off into the abysmal depths. Above, a tinge of green light reminds us that there’s a world above and a curious Sea Lion darts to and fro, silhouetted by the backlit, emerald surface light. But, our adventures lead us deeper yet. Descending down to the limits of recreational diving, I spot a Puget Sound King Crab, hunkering down in its impenetrable armor,[...]

The Giant Pacific Octopus

Midway through the dive I saw what we were hoping to find – a small opening in the rock face with a trail of crab and clam debris falling away from it like an expanding fan. Pausing by the opening of the den, my light briefly danced around the interior – someone was home! A large, rectangular eye surrounded by a dense tangle of suckers and arms peered back at me, the large mantle moving in and out with each breath.

Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 3GS

I’ve had the good fortune of testing out a Mophie rechargeable external battery case, the “Juice Pack Air“, designed to work with the iPhone 3GS, for the past few months now.  This combination iPhone case and external battery pack allows you to recharge your iPhone on the go, even if the iPhone is completely dead.  Initially I did not realize how useful the Mophie unit could be – until it came through to save me in a pinch on several occasions, when I would have otherwise ended up with a dead iPhone.  Ever since, the Mophie is something I always keep[...]

Hollis F1 Fin Review

Fins are where the rubber meets the water. Given that human-powered propulsion gets most of us around underwater (scooters are fun too), fins are an integral part of a diver’s gear kit. A few years ago I offered up a comparative review of a number of good performing fins, including the Mares Plana Avanti Quattro, ScubaPro Jet fin, ScubaPro Twin Speed, ScubaPro Twin Jet, Atomic Aquatics SplitFin, and finally, the Apollo Bio-Fin and Bio-Fin XT. The winner in that review (for best cold water fin) was the Apollo Bio-Fin XT – which had just enough thrust, ergonomics and maneuverability to[...]

Stay Organized with the Booq Mamba Shift

The Mamba Shift sports a glimpse of bright red fabric under its black exterior. That’s a fashion choice rather than a practical one – part of a pattern that keeps the Mamba Shift from being a great product. It’s a solid choice in the laptop backpack market, but it sacrifices too much function for style. Construction The Mamba Shift is about as well-constructed a laptop backpack as you’ll find. We slung it around on a weekend hike and a cross-country flight without so much as a loose thread. The isolated laptop pocket should become standard in this product line –[...]