Field Team Spotlight: Adam Goldberg, AGoldPhoto Pet Photography

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Apr 18, 2019 12:03:39 PM

Adam Goldberg

We caught up with Tampa-based all-star pet photographer Adam Goldberg, who is on a mission to raise $7,000 for local animal rescue charities in the next couple months. We chat about his journey as a pet photographer and how fundraising is playing a big role.

Q: Thanks for speaking with us, Adam! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into pet photography?

A: I worked at Humane Society of Broward County 2013-2015. I was originally hired to manage the website and social media. At the time, I didn’t know anything about photography, let alone how to take photos of animals. I trained myself by watching tutorials online and practicing every single day for 3-4 hours. I found taking photos of pets to be much easier than taking photos of people. Pets never ask to see the photo or to do a retake because their fur is out of place or their make up is bad!


Q: What are your go-to treats and toys to keep your photo subjects engaged?

A: Our go-to treats are Zukes. They are small in size and they have large bags that I can easily fit my hand into it while taking photos at the same time. We also like to use Justin’s Peanut Butter. Their squeeze packs are perfect for being on the go and the dogs love it! I always have a plastic squeaker on hand too.


Q: What is your secret to snapping the ultimate doggie portrait?

A: I try and keep a very calm demeanor. If I am calm, the dog will stay calm too. I also make TONS of noises to get their attention. The treats and peanut butter help a lot too! 

AGoldPhoto
Q: What has been the most surprising part of your journey as a pet photographer?

A: I actually met my now wife, Mary, through pet photography. She was working for an ad agency who had the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as a client. We met on the day of a shoot for a fundraising campaign and have been inseparable ever since. We got married on 3/1/19.


Q: How did you become involved in raising funds and awareness for animal rescue?

A: After leaving my job at the Humane Society of Broward County, I moved to Tampa to take a corporate job in marketing. I missed working with dogs every day, so I went to volunteer at Humane Society Tampa Bay on the weekends. They loved the photos and asked me to host a Pet Photo Shoot Fundraiser in their conference room. The first one was in July 2016. We have hosted over 250 events now and just surpassed $100,000 in donations. 


Q: Nite Ize is a sponsor of your 2019 Pet Photo Shoot Fundraiser Road Trip. What does this trip entail and why is it important to you?

A: We’re traveling from Tampa, Florida to Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Utah May 4 - June 4, 2019. We’ll be hosting Pet Photo Shoot Fundraisers in multiple cities along the way. Pet owners can bring their pup to one of our events to help raise money for local animal charities. Spots must be booked in advance. Our goal is to take photos of 200 pets and raise $7,000. 
 
At the Sanctuary, we’ll be taking adoption photos in the Utah mountains and spreading awareness about pet adoption and responsible pet ownership.  


Q: What is your favorite Nite Ize product and why?

A: We love the Nite Ize Pack-A-Poo. When we travel with our dogs, we don’t always know if poop bags will be available. The Pack-A-Poo easily attaches to the dogs' leashes and even lets you roll up excess bags! Ours used to unravel constantly. Not anymore though! 

Pack-A-Poo
Q: If you were a breed of dog, which one would you be and why?

A: I have never been asked this question, but I like it! I would just have to pick a mutt though. When a dog is a mix of a few different breeds, they’re so distinct looking and are really fun to photograph. The more unique, the better! 


Q: How do people find you online to follow you on your road trip and beyond?

A: You can find out more about our 2019 Pet Photo Shoot Fundraiser Road Trip at agoldphoto.com/roadtrip. We also post lots of photos on our agoldphoto Instagram

Topics: Field Team, Pets

Field Team Spotlight: Sunny Stroeer, Aurora Women's Expeditions

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Apr 4, 2019 9:40:40 AM

We are excited to welcome Suzanne (Sunny) Stroeer to the Nite Ize Field Team! Sunny is a nomadic high-altitude endurance athlete and mountain adventurer with a penchant for pushing the limits of human endurance in unconventional terrain. She recently founded an organization built upon her passion for mountaineering and female empowerment, and she has some big news to share.

Sunny Stoeer

Q: Hello Sunny! First off, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into adventuring and mountaineering.

I actually didn’t find my way to the mountains until I was in my late twenties.  I was mostly a couch potato as a kid, studied politics and business at Harvard University, and eventually worked long hours in finance and strategy consulting.  I started to dabble in climbing and mountain running while getting my MBA but it wasn’t until a seven-month backpacking trip after grad school that I learned about and fell in love with mountaineering and ultra-running. 

Q: What has been your favorite place you’ve visited? Is there one place you would like to revisit the most?

That’s a tough question - there are so many amazing places! I really love Nepal which is why I keep returning year after year - but I’m equally in love with the deserts of the American Southwest, and the Alps, and the Rockies, and… 


Q:You recently founded an organization called AWE (Aurora Women’s Expeditions). Tell us a little bit about the program and why you started it.

I started AWE because I didn’t like the gender dynamics that I encountered on many of my personal expeditions.  Just like the professional domains that I got to know in my twenties, mountaineering (and particularly high-altitude mountaineering) is heavily male-dominated and not always a welcoming environment for women - which is a shame, because there is something incredibly empowering about testing your limits in the mountain environment that carries over into everyday life.

I had already spent a lot of time in my education and my business career grappling with questions of gender bias and women empowerment, and finally decided that I shouldn’t just gripe about mountaineering not being inclusive to women but instead do my part to change things up. That’s how AWE was born. 
 
AWE Nepal


Q: Tell us about your next expedition with AWE.

I just wrapped up an AWE expedition to 22,838ft Aconcagua in Argentina a little while ago, and am now preparing to take a team to Nepal where we’ll first trek to Everest Basecamp and then climb 20,305ft Island Peak.  It’s going to be an amazing trip with a full 14 days on trail, as well as a bit of time to explore Kathmandu on either end. 

Q: Nite Ize is sponsoring one women to be a part of your next AWE expedition and you are currently taking applications for that spot. What do women who are interested in applying need to know?

I am so excited that we’ve been able to create this opportunity in the form of the AWE x Nite Ize Summit Scholarship!  I think the most important thing for prospective applicants to know is that you don’t need to be a seasoned high altitude mountaineer or pro athlete to apply. On the contrary, we created the scholarship to try and reach women who wouldn’t typically think they could participate in an expedition like this. That said, you do need to be in great cardio shape and/or willing to put in the work to get there prior to the expedition (to put that in more concrete terms, completing a 10k should not sound daunting to you). 

Applications are open until May 1st, 2019; the scholarship recipient will be announced during the second week of May. You can find the link to the scholarship page at the bottom of this blog post.

Q: What has been your most surprising experience from your adventure travels?

What’s been most surprising to me is how easy it generally is to get around on a budget and figure things out.  I specifically remember a time when I was backpacking in Fiji and needed to get from where I was staying to the airport that was two hours away, but I couldn’t afford a private car and there was no regular public transport.  I ended up putting my thumb out by the side of the road and got picked up by a school bus that was stuffed to the brim with Fijian second graders in school uniform, who were all very excited to give a Westerner with a massive backpack a ride to the airport before having to report to class. 

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Q: What’s your favorite trail food or snack to bring along?

I always have an assortment of freeze dried meals from Backpacker’s Pantry - they’re easy, nutritious and taste great - and I also like to bring Wasabi peas for snacks as they’re quite high in calories and a fun treat. 

Q: What Nite Ize products do you bring on these types of expeditions and why?

I always carry the INOVA STS PowerSwitch Headlamp - I love that it’s powerful, adjustable, and USB rechargeable.  I also bring with me an assortment of Gear Ties and S-Biners as they’re handy for so many things, and I love the new RunOff bags to keep my passport, money and climbing permits safe from snow, water and tearing; and when I’m in particularly wet environments I use them to protect my phone, too. 

Q: How do people find you online to follow your adventures?

I am quite active on Instagram and also write regular blog posts - find me at @sstroeerwww.sunnystroeer.com, and of course also check out Aurora Women’s Expeditions at @awexpeditions and www.awexpeditions.org! AWE is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AWEClimbing

Topics: Field Team

Nite Ize 2018 Field Team Gift Guide

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Dec 7, 2018 2:16:58 PM

For this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, we asked our Field Team to send us their top two to four Nite Ize products they are giving this season. As expected, Gear Ties came in as a very popular stocking stuffer. Check out the full list from our team and get into the spirit!

 

Anthony Johnson: Action Adventurer & Outdoor Photographer

“The Steelie car mount is our go-to for gifting. It is something that everyone can use, and a great stocking stuffer.”

“We also tend to gift the Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern. We've given these to our family and friends who enjoy the outdoors, whether through backpacking or camping or just enjoying grilling on their back porch. It is also fantastic that you can charge other USB devices off the lantern, making this particularly valuable gift for friends and family who spend time in the backwoods.”

“ Finally, for our cycling friends, we have given the Nite Ize Rechargeable Bike Light. You can never have too many bike lights, and these are so bright and rechargeable. The beam is great and makes it easy to see for early morning and evening rides. The multiple settings also allow you to use the lights to alert cars you're on the road. It's a ready safety feature.”

Radiant Rechargeable Bike Light 

Joe Allen: Outdoor Sportsman, HuntCo on The Pursuit Channel

“I always have 3 or 4 attached to my pack in the field. The uses are infinite. On a particular occasion I used one Gear Tie to secure all four legs before loaded this deer into the bed of a truck.”

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

“This is another staple of my field pack to have handy in a pinch. I pulled out my lantern during this alligator hunt for extra light while securing the jaws and tagging the gator.”

“Our lamps are with us on every hunt to get us in and out in the dark. The red light option provides great light that isn’t as offensive to wild animals.”

INOVA STS Headlamp

“The S-Biner stays on every pack to help attach the extras.”

 

Jason Epperson: Family Travel & Adventure Blogger

“We love the SlapLit LED Bracelets for the kids. They're a great way to keep track of the kids when they’re running around outside at night, at home or in a campground.”

SlapLit LED Slap Wraps

“Gear Ties are great for any handyperson to wrap up extension cords and hoses, but they're also great for kids to play with to make 3D shapes.”


Willi Schmidt: Outdoor Sportsman

“S-Biners are a must for me in the field. I keep a couple attached to my backpack at all times, making it very convenient to attach items to the outside of my pack, quickly and easily. Whether they are plastic or metal, they don't add any meaningful weight and they get a lot of use.”

S-Biner Dual Carabiner

“I keep Gear Ties in my pack and in my truck. Many times they have come in handy, most notably when my truck's wheel lining was coming loose. They were the only thing that would work and they kept the truck together for the remainder of the hunt and the return drive home.”

Gear Tie Reusable Twist Tie

“This is a go-to lantern on my hunting adventures. With 300 lumens, it gives off plenty of light in a cabin, tent or even in the back of a truck. The ability to re-charge the battery and charge other electronic devices from the lantern make it very practical.”

“The Inova STS headlamp by Nite Ize is an absolute must for me when hunting.  It gives me hands free light for going into my hunting area. The Swipe-To-Shine, 265 lumens is easy to use and plenty bright. The ability use the red light and not spook game as an added bonus.”

 

Heidi Kumm: Fitness Buff & Dog Lover

“We love the dog stuff, especially the light up toys now that it's dark out before we get home from work! The GlowStreak ball + Flashflight Dog Discuit are a daily go-to!”

Flashflight Dog Discuit LED Flying Disc

 

Jose Flores: Outdoor Sportsman

“I love the Steelies. Whether I’m in my boat, truck, UTV, or wherever, I find something I can stick it to!”

Steelie Vent Mount Kit

“We love the dog stuff also! The light-up ball and flying disc are easy favorites for our dogs, as it’s all they can play with outside after 4 PM here in Alaska!”

“This season I started to use the lanterns and headlamps much more. I really like the new design on the headlamps. The rechargeable option for the lanterns was a hit this fall.”

Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern

 

Tara Schatz: Action Adventurer & Dog Trainer

"In the winter, we have no choice but to walk our pups in the dark. We use the Spotlit clip-on LED lights to keep our dark dogs visible to others, whether we're on the trail or walking through town."

SpotLit LED Carabiner Light

"Gear ties are indispensable for hikers, campers, and outdoor adventurers. We use them to pack our backpacks, keep our gear inside of our canoe, and organizing for road trips."

"I take a lot of solo road trips, and the Steelie Dash Mount is the best smartphone mount I've ever used. It provides easy access to my maps and my music."

 

Rob “Reker” Kretsch: Outdoor Sportsman

“As stocking stuffers, I’m giving out the See’em Spoke Lights for the little one’s new bike and Gear Ties and CamJam Tie Down straps for all the adults. The Gear Ties are by far the most used piece of gear I own.”

CamJam Tie Down Straps

 

Whether you’re shopping for outdoor enthusiasts, tech and gadget gurus, DIY masters, kids or dogs, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list!

Topics: Visibility and Safety, hunting, outdoors, LED Dog Products, Adventure, Field Team

Field Team Spotlight: Extinct or Alive Host Forrest Galante

Posted by Dave Taylor on Nov 6, 2018 12:06:12 PM

From catching venomous snakes as a child to searching the wild for animals thought to be extinct, Animal Planet  star Forrest Galante has a story (or ten) to tell.

Q: Hi Forrest! Tell us about yourself and how you got into wildlife adventuring?

I grew up in the Southern African Bush of Zimbabwe Africa. When I wasn't on safari with my family, which is what they did, I was living on a farm so I’ve been surrounded by wildlife my entire life. In fact, I’ve been involved with wildlife from a very young age when I used to catch and sneak venomous snakes into the house without my parents knowing. Now I do it professionally!

Q: What is wildlife adventuring? How does it differ from people just encountering wild animals?

I don't know that there is a specific difference for wildlife adventuring. I'm a scientist, a wildlife biologist by trade, and I've taken that biology to an extreme level where it's an adventure to do the type of surveys and studies that I do on an ongoing basis. A biologist may conduct a survey in one location for a short amount of time, but as a wildlife adventurer, I conduct lots of surveys in extremely remote places throughout the world. Oftentimes no other people have ever been there, let alone a western academic.

Q: Your Animal Planet TV show Extinct or Alive is fun and crazy. How did you come up with the show idea and what's the craziest experience you've had while filming the show?

You’re right, Extinct or Alive is fun and it’s crazy. The idea came when a producer approached me and said, "Hey, you're a crazy wildlife biologist and I love the stuff you do, I have this idea for tracking down supposedly extinct animals, do you think any of them could still be alive?" I turned to him and said, "As a matter of fact I know that some of these ostensibly extinct animals are still alive because my grandfather discovered a coelacanth that had been thought to have been extinct for 66 million years. If he can find that, I'm certain that we can find some of these other not-really-extinct animals." That's how the show came about.

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The craziest experience I've had, well, it’s a long list, from climbing treetops in the Madagascan jungle canopy to chasing giant lemurs to repelling down thousand foot cliffs to seeing the grind at Wale Slaughter in the Faroe Islands. There have been a lot of ups and downs, high and low moments! If have to pick just one, though, the craziest experience was actually uncovering evidence of the Zanzibar leopard, a large 100 pound cat believed to be extinct for over a century. That was the pinnacle of my career, and was by far the craziest and best experience.

Q: You are known as the perfect combination of Steve Irwin, Bear Grylls and Jacques Cousteau. Can you tell us what inspires you about each of these three adventurers?

I think the names speak for themselves. Steve Irwin is my original hero, the king of wildlife media, the man who entertained us all by showing how incredible wildlife can be. He is just a legend.

Bear Grylls and his survival knowledge, his showmanship, his expertise in the outdoors and getting through tough situations is unparalleled and he's just the most entertaining guy that's been on television in a long time.

Jacques Cousteau, what a hero of underwater adventure. His discoveries beneath the surface are unparalleled, he is an incredible adventurer, incredible seaman, ocean explorer, a six-time world record holding freediver, spear fisherman, hundred-ton ship captain, and dive master.

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I feel like all of my accomplishments just pale in comparison to anything Jacques Cousteau ever did. These are three truly inspirational men, and to be considered a combination of those three is tremendously flattering.

Q: What pets do you have? We expect that they're probably quite exotic and possibly numerous too.

Hang on to your hat! My wife calculated that I have 91 pets, though that includes our pond which has over 20 turtles. We also have a miniature horse, a miniature donkey, a miniature pig who is a rescue from Hurricane Katrina, a giant cicada, various tortoises, peacocks, guinea fowl, turkeys, chickens, giant Flemish rabbits, dogs and snakes. I have two snakes that I'm looking at right now on my computer desk. Oh! And a bunch of hermit crabs too.

It's a long list and they're almost all rescues, something that we love to do. We also love taking care of them too.

screenshot-4Q: If you could travel anywhere on the planet for your next adventure, where would you head?

The number one place on my bucket list right now is the Pantanal. It's in the Brazilian Amazon and is the largest wetland in South America. Clear water, giant caimans, fresh water turtles and huge anacondas, not to mention jaguars and all the crazy South American fauna. I've been to South America before but I've never made it to the Pantanal, so that is top of my list at the moment.

Q: When you're not wrestling dangerous and exotic creatures, what's your day job?

This is it! My day job is planning for the wrestling of dangerous and exotic creatures. I spent tons of time doing research, investigating stories of extinct creatures, looking at these critically endangered animals, and time-sensitive situations, and then I work towards funding, financing, filming and exploring them all. My day job when I'm not in the bush is planning how to get back into the bush.

Q: What’s your favorite Nite Ize product and why?

Oh man, this is such an easy one for me. It's the INOVA® T10R™. It is the greatest flashlight on earth. I mean it’s unbelievable how bright it is and how well it works. Mine's been underwater, through torrential downpours, dropped in the mud, dropped off cliffs, and it keeps going. It's absolutely bulletproof and that intense spotlight beam is the most essential tool that I have for spotting wildlife at night. If I walked through the jungle at night looking for things up in the canopy without that INOVA T10R, I would be unable to spot half the animals that I’ve identified in the last year.

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People love the flashlight, too. Thanks to your team at Nite Ize, I've been able to share it with three or four different crew members and they all say it's now one of their most valued possessions. I cannot recommend that flashlight enough!

After the T10R,  Gear Ties® are a huge win too. Heck, Gear Ties hold my life together. From the cable that is currently attached to my iPhone with a microphone on it, to cords all around my house, to keeping spear guns together on my boat, to strapping things to the struts of helicopters, I use Gear Ties for everything. They are in every corner of my life!

Q: What else is happening in your world, Forrest?

My passions are deep and intense. I'm an avid rugby player, love the game and coach youth rugby. I do a lot of freediving and spearfishing. I harvest all of my own edible proteins sustainably from the ocean and do a ton of mushroom foraging too.

And I use Nite Ize products for all of it! Whether it is the INOVA flashlight or the headlamps or the Gear Ties to hold my dive gear together or the GearLine®, all of it is super valuable to me and I'm so grateful to have your support and innovations. Thank you guys!

Q: Great stuff, really fun to talk with you. How can people keep up with your adventures and find you on social media?

You can find me as @Forrest.Galante on Instagram, @ForrestGalante on Facebook and @ForrestGalante on Twitter. I do have a YouTube channel. It's mostly diving and spearfishing related, but I’m much more active on the other three channels.

And then there’s the TV show. Check out Extinct or Alive on Animal Planet. It's available on Animal Planet Go or Amazon at any time. It's a great show, it's family friendly, it's fun, it's an adventure show and it inspires hope and conservation. Kids love it, adults love it. If you're into wildlife, if you're into adventure, please check it out!

Topics: Adventure, Field Team

One Man, One Row Boat, and 2,485 Miles of Ocean: The Colin Sanders Interview

Posted by Dave Taylor on Oct 19, 2018 1:32:04 PM

Nite Ize Field Team member Colin Sanders accomplished a feat most would consider impossible when he rowed for 83 days straight to cross the Atlantic, alone, in a rowboat. We were able to talk to him about his adventures, struggles, and triumphs -- and about how this massive goal was fueled by wanting to help others.

 

Q: Hi Colin! First off, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into ultra long distance rowing?

About four years ago I decided I needed a grand adventure, something that would challenge me physically, mentally, emotionally and even financially. I spent a lot of time skiing in the mountains when I was younger and always suffered from the altitude. Climbing Everest was out. To be honest, climbing Everest seemed mundane in some ways anyway, since thousands of people have summited at this point.


Solo rowing the Atlantic was different and definitely more unusual. Few have done it and it fit my personality better. When people ask me why I rowed across the Atlantic Ocean my answer is typically “ego and self-gratification”. Sometimes I wish there was a more profound motivation but at age 64 I think I had something to prove to myself, that I could take on something incredibly tough and succeed.

Q: How does a multi-week rowing journey work? Do you row for 8+ hours a day and rest the other 16? Heck, don’t you drift while you're not rowing? 

I rowed for 10-14 hours each day. At the beginning of the trip I had a routine where I rowed for three hours then took 15 minutes off. Again and again. As I got further across the ocean and started to wear down physically I had to shorten the shifts and take more frequent breaks.

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I would usually start just as the sun was rising because rowing in the dark just isn’t fun, particularly when the seas are rough.

When I stowed the oars at night I just drifted. Depending on how big and steep the waves were that evening, I had to decide whether to drift free, put a warp off the stern or para anchor.

Note: A “warp” is a thick line that provides drag and some directional stability downwind and a para anchor, also called a drogue, is about the size of a bushel basket and gives the boat enough drag to produce excellent downwind stability.

It was always a fine line because I always wanted to pick up as much free distance as possible by drifting and the MRE drag I had, the less I would drift. Insufficient directional stability downwind could end up turning the boat sideways to the wind and waves and even end up with the boat capsizing.

And capsize it did. New Year’s Eve while the boat was on the warp. She got hit by a large wave as it broke and ended up rolling over and over several times. Anything not locked down flew everywhere, including a liter of olive oil!

The boat righted itself but after composing myself I had to go on deck in the pitch dark - in a really choppy sea with big waves - to pull the warp in and set the drogue. Setting the drogue isn’t easy even in the smoothest of waters because it uses a bridle attached to each side of the stern, but in big waves, high wind and darkness? It was very tough.

Q: How do you train for a rowing marathon like you did? You just rowed across the Atlantic Ocean! How on Earth did you prep for that?

I had a really great trainer. It was a partly strength in the upper body, but a lot more about core strength and flexibility. We spent a lot of time on stretching to ensure that my back and core were the strongest possible. I actually spent very little time with an indoor rowing machine because it has little in common with ocean rowing when you often only have one oar in the water at any given time. 

Q: Your Trans-Atlantic journey was from Puerto de Mogan in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua. How did you choose that route and did you ever run afoul of whales, sharks or enormous cargo ships en route?

Actually, that particular route is the classic course to get across the Atlantic Ocean. Originally, I was going to head for Barbados, but I just couldn’t get far enough south to make that a viable destination. Halfway across Stokey my UK-based navigator said, “You’re going to Antigua, mate!”.

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I did see the odd cargo ship but really not that many ships at all. Part of that is the vastness of the ocean: They could have been passing within five miles and I would have never known. In terms of wildlife, I remember seeing one pilot whale, lots of dolphins and several swordfish but no sharks at all.

Q: What’s one aspect of the row that was the toughest?

The emotional and mental side of the journey was the most difficult. Being completely alone for 83 days was hard, especially in tough sea conditions. The loss of my music 28 days out was a real blow to my emotional state too: I had spent a year curating downloads on Spotify, never realizing that you have to sign in every 30 days to keep the downloads active. I didn’t know that and one month into the trip suddenly had no music at all. I ended up giving monologues and speeches on a wide variety of subjects that I knew something about, singing songs, coming up with thought experiments, and trying not to go crazy out there in the middle of the ocean. It wasn’t easy, but I made it! 

Q: What's your favorite Nite Ize product and why?

I started out with a lot of Nite Ize gear, but to be honest, it wasn’t until I was doing the actual row that I realized the excellent quality of all the products. The Gear Ties I used every single day. It was typically so rough at sea that it was critical that they quickly and easily secured equipment on the deck. I also used the S-Biner Marine to secure equipment that I viewed as “mission critical”, including my multitools and water bottles. They were on deck every single day and at the end of the journey none of them had a single spot of rust. I could hardly believe it, because so many other tools or pieces of my kit rusted or corroded with the constant salt water exposure. The Nite Ize equipment never, ever corroded!

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Q: Are you ready to circumnavigate the entire Earth in your boat now? What is your next grand adventure?

Ummmm no. The Atlantic was enough at 4000 km (2485 miles). Not sure what my next adventure will be, but it’ll be something. I have lots of living to do yet!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your charity A Million Possibilities?

I raised about $150K for Community Living Ontario. Community Living supports people like my son Jeff, who has intellectual disabilities. We came up with the name “A Million Possibilities” hoping to raise $1 for each stroke I took crossing the Atlantic. Ultimately, we didn’t raise a million dollars but we were still very happy with the results. 

Congrats on your remarkable achievement, Colin. We look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

 

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, Field Team

Mike Hanson, Disc Dog Trainer Extraordinaire

Posted by Dave Taylor on Aug 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM

There are a lot of different customers who rely on Nite Ize gear, but few have cuter co-workers than Mike Hanson. Mike is a member of the Nite Ize Field Team, a disc dog trainer and has traveled the United States competing with his various dogs at flying disc competitions. We caught up with him for this interview…

Q: Right off the bat, all your dogs are female:  Jordan, SiZZle, and, MaggEY. Why female? Are they better at catching or staying focused?

I prefer females based on personality. They have a touch of individualism that when trained correctly, makes for a good team.

the-girls

Q: Tell us all about your dogs! Tell us their names, ages, how  they joined your family and their personalities. 

MaggEY – 12-year-old Border Collie mix. She is my first dog and the pack leader of the house. She has the best personality and is the best dog I have ever owned. She was rescued in Colorado Springs, CO. Her litter was thrown into a field, and she was the only dog that made it. When a group went out to look for them, they found her under a tree stump whimpering. She went on to win five Colorado State Championships, three World Championships, and has performed before hundreds of thousands of people. She has performed for all of the major Denver sports teams and local colleges. I am truly lucky to have her come into my life.

Cooper – 11-year-old Border Collie mix. He was rescued in Paonia, CO. His disc career was cut short due to a freak accident in which he jumped off of a third floor balcony of an apartment complex. He survived the fall, but his budding disc career was over. He now has the best life a dog could have at our house--chasing squirrels and ensuring there are no monsters under our daughters bed.

Jordan – 8-year-old Border Collie. She was rescued in Gunnison, CO. She is the smartest dog I have ever owned. She learns so fast and is always willing to work. She might be cross-eyed, however, because she can’t catch a disc very well at all. She enjoys going for hikes and playing disc golf with me when she is not pretending to be a disc dog.

SiZZle – 2-year-old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix. She came out of the birth canal chasing a disc. She has so much energy, and is always willing and wanting to please. She is our “up and comer” and is turning into an amazing dog. I can’t wait to see where she takes us.

Q: How did you get into training your dogs to catch flying discs? Most dogs live for fun, but bringing a stick back is a lot easier than jumping up and catching something mid-flight!

We went to a competition in Littleton, CO for the Colorado Disc Dogs. MaggEY and I spent the day watching them and at the end of the day, they gave us a disc and a couple of tips. The next day I took her out, gave her a throw, she ran it down, and we were hooked. From there we went and learned online from watching YouTube routines. The rest is history.

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Q: What competitions have you participated in with your dogs?

We compete in freestyle competitions where you do a two-minute routine with tricks set to music. You are judged on style, athleticism, teamwork, and overall presentation. We also do a “Toss and Catch” competition where you have a 40-yard field with different bonus zones and try to get as many catches as possible in one minute. A fast dog can get five throws to the furthest zone in one minute.  One of our favorite competitions is a long distance competition called “The Hero Cup” where you throw as far as you can and have your dog catch it. I have had catches past 87 yards before.

Q: When you're not tossing discs for your girls to catch, what's your day job?

I run a youth sports program for kids age 3-14 in Littleton, CO. We take kids that have never played sports before, teach them, and give them and opportunity to play. We help over 5,000 kids play sports each year.

Q: What's your favorite Nite Ize product?

The Pack-A-Poo® Bag Dispenser is a game changer for a guy that picks up a lot of dog poop. The fact you can wind your poop bags back up into the dispenser is pretty awesome. I also use the Gear Ties® in my cars for everything. I especially like them to tie the dog bowls to the front of the crates. The SpotLit® is great to have on road trips to keep track of your dogs at night as well.

flying-jump

Q: Back in 2015 you and your dog did the NFL halftime show during Broncos vs. Colts. What did you do and what was that experience like?

My friends and I did the halftime show for the opening night of the NFL season. When MaggEY and I got out to the field, there was no one else on the field- just her and I under the lights at Sports Authority Field in front of 80,000 people doing what we both love to do the most. She didn’t drop a single disc that night. It is an experience that leaves me with goose bumps every time I think about it or tell the story. It is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.

Q: Ever thought about training cats to catch flying discs? How do you imagine that'd go?

I am allergic to cats, LOL. I am sure someone could train them to catch a disc. Good luck on them bringing it back, though!

Mike adds: I love my family and the fact that this sport can be enjoyed by all of us. My daughter, Emma, won the 7-and -Under World Championship with MaggEY last year. This sport allows us to travel and meet friends we would have never known if it wasn’t for our dogs. It is amazing how much these dogs have changed my life and all it took was rescuing one. I encourage everyone to go out and rescue your next pet.

People can find me on Facebook as Mike Hanson and my Instagram is DiscDogMike

 

Topics: LED Dog Products, Field Team

Cycling Croatia With the Field Team

Posted by Field Team Member Heidi Kumm on Apr 11, 2018 1:24:03 PM

I am a trail runner, not a cyclist or mountain biker. The one time I did own a bike it was a mountain bike + it lived on the trails with me. Riding a bicycle in traffic is terrifying to me -- I don’t trust that the people behind the wheels of all the cars will be paying enough attention to guarantee my safety. Not to mention the fact I don’t necessarily trust myself atop a bike. I’m far more comfortable in my running shoes with only thin rubber between me + the ground.

All of these fun facts were ignored when I decided to cycle the coast of Croatia...in July...for nearly a month...on a cobbled together bike...with my life strapped to the frame.

My game plan was to cycle from northern Croatia to southern Croatia over the course of about four weeks. I needed to venture out of the Schengen Region of Europe to stay within the regulations of my visitor visa + I wasn’t about to just hang out on a beach. I wanted something more, something exciting + something hard. So when it was suggested I cycle the coast of Croatia I jumped all over the chance to take on adventure.

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Instead of thinking about how much was stacked against me I focused on how much fun it was going to be. Not to mention how miserable it was going to be. I was looking at about 400 miles of cycling in the heat of a coastal country’s humid summer sunshine. Needless to say, I’ve had better ideas.

 

Nite Ize to the Rescue!

I mentioned this idea to the crew at Nite Ize about two months before I took off + they were even more stoked about it than I was! They asked how they could support my crazy. Nite Ize specializes in outdoor gear gadgets + some pretty spiffy bicycle accessories. Of course I wanted their help + support! It was a perfect fit! They supplied me with some awesome gear that came in incredibly handy when I was packing up my gear + decking out my new-to-me bike.

The bike lights were amazing + made my bike incredibly visible, which alleviated a lot of my stress about being visible on the highways. I strapped the INOVA STS Reachargable Headlamp to the front of the bike + the LED TwistLit to my back fender. This covered the basic requirements for bike safety, but I wanted more. I love color + what’s more colorful than multi-colored SpokeLits to spice things up?! Yea, no one was going to miss me on the road! But for good measure I packed along bright colors + reflective gear, because safety first!

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Another great product that Nite Ize has created for cyclists is the HandleBand mount for your GPS/phone. It straps to your handlebars + keeps your phone right in your view. I quite literally depended upon this gadget! Since my route was created as I went it was integral to have my phone with Google Maps in front of me at all times. I even rigged up some Gear Ties to hold a battery pack to my bike frame so I’d always be able to check my route.

The Gear Ties also came in handy to strap my tent poles to my bike frame + keep all of my cords intact [yup, I took along electronics -- that’s the life of a digital nomad!]. I also found nearly a million uses for the CamJam XT Cord Tightener, which could be paired up with paracord to become a bungee or clothesline or...whatever else you could possibly need with adjustable paracord. We washed our clothes in campground sinks, so we put the CamJam clothesline to good use!

They were also kind enough to send along a cycling jersey to make me feel legit! I am not a cycling short convert, but the jerseys are rather incredible with their back pockets! It’s the little things in life I tell ya.

Adventure Bound // Cycling Coastal Croatia

I arrived in Rovinj, Croatia via bus after more than 24 hours of travel. I drug my bagged up bike over to a tiny park near the bus station, unpacked it + put it all together. Within about 30 minutes of getting off the bus I was on the road, following my phone’s GPS toward a campsite about 10km away. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I arrived at the campground + managed to set up camp without incident was glorious. I did it! I rode a touring bike + didn’t fall over [at least not entirely!]. I had remembered enough of my gear to at least set up my tent. Boom...I had this! I was going to do this!

This all changed the next day when I spent the entire afternoon sprawled out in the shade, willing myself not to vomit everywhere. In my excitement to ride I had forgotten to eat or drink for the entirety of a very hot, very sunny 20km/13mi jaunt. By the time I arrived at camp I was trashed. My ego was crushed...I am an ultra trail runner, I was supposed to be smarter than this!

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Later that day my friend, Sophie, arrived via plane with her touring bike in tow. We were planning to spend the next few weeks cycling together. She knew cycling, I knew suffering. It seemed fool proof.

It definitely wasn’t a fool proof plan. It was a plan made by fools. We knew we were pushing our limits, but we were optimistic. Over the next few days we learned exactly what our limits are + how unprepared we were. Phew. Did you know Croatia is crazy hot + insanely humid in mid-July?! Well, it is. Heat + humidity are brutal, especially for a mountain girl [me!] + a girl from the United Kingdom [Sophie!]. The conditions ate us alive + eventually we gave in. Or, in my mind at the time, we gave up. We rented a car.

 

The car was barely large enough to fit our tire-less bikes into it, but it came with air conditioning + a motor. That’s exactly what we needed in that moment. It took some time for me to accept the feeling of failure that came with this tiny European car, but in the end it was definitely a worthy decision. The car took us inland where we were able to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park + Krka National Park. Both were incredible + would not have been possible with our bikes + schedule.

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We spent a week in the car, then returned it for a few more days of cycling once we arrived in southern Croatia. It actually felt good to get back on my bike as I rode along a nearly empty road leading from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Hercig Novi, Montenegro. It was freeing + calming. I loved it more with every pedal turn. After a few too many days of wishing my bike tires would just fall off I was now plotting how I would take it back home with me.

 

I will always identify as a trail runner first...but at my core I am happy to get outside, however I can. Even atop a bicycle that I learned how to put together in the days before a four week adventure.

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Between the bikes + the rental car we were able to visit Pula, Zadar, Split, Makarska, Plitvice Lake NP, Krka NP + Dubrovnik in Croatia. From Dubrovnik I head to Herceg Novi + Kotor, Montenegro while Sophie ventured north to Munich, Germany. I closed out my Croatian adventure with a stop in Zagreb, then met up with Sophie before we both returned to the mountains of Switzerland.

You can read up on more of the adventure over on my website: Heidi Kumm // Oversharing Life. You’ll find the full story, a run down of the logistics + the details of how I packed my life into a few pannier bags. I learned a lot while roaming + exploring on a bike...so much so that I’m fairly certain I will be acquiring a new bike this summer. While the bike I used in Croatia did come back to Colorado with me there’s a very high chance I’ll be popping my colorful SpokeLits on another new-to-me bike. One created for trails, to mesh a bit more with my trail running ways.

Topics: Visibility and Safety, Commuting, Adventure, Bike, Field Team, "travel"

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