Gear Review I got the Regatta Bell Tent intending to use it for glamping on an island near Juneau. My plan was to set it up in the spring on a piece of property my family owns, so my kids and other family members would have a nice shelter for the summer. It was late in the warm season when I got the tent and, since work had me out of town, I wasn’t able to make good on that dream. Instead, just as the late summer rains and winds were coming to southeast Alaska, I pitched it in my backyard. It was quick, easy, one-man set up. My four-year-old promptly moved in and insisted that we sleep in it for the next three weeks. During the day, he, his younger brother, and their cousins spent hours playing in it. White Duck uses a tent fabric they call DYNADUCK. The…

Essential Alaska Gear Whether you’re confronting a curious bear outside your tent at night or can’t make it out of the mountains before dark, a good headlamp is a vital part of any Alaska backcountry kit. I bring two headlamps on longer adventures in case one gets broken, lost, or just quits working—which happens more than I’d like to admit. While there’s everything from cheap and quick-to-break models to expensive and large floodlights on the market, the Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp is a good middle-of-the-pack option that was perfect for everything I needed. Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty, it’s lightweight and offers a relatively long burn time. It fits comfortably, even when you have a Scandinavian bobble-head like me, and it’s easy to use. Other headlamps I’ve tried have stopped working due to moisture issues. I am excessively sweaty and live in southeast Alaska where we locals…

Sam Friedman organized camp cooking competitions for five summers while living in Alaska. So he shared some of his tips on how to hold a camp cooking competition of your own. Tips The more the merrier: Make a broad guest list that includes people who like camping and food. Location: Pick a fun campsite, but one that’s not too far afield. Our six-mile walk-in cabin contest was too far away to get a critical mass of people. An urban campsite on a weeknight was too boring. Timing: Consider hosting in the spring when it’s warm enough to camp but the ground is still thawing. People tend to be very busy in the summer in Alaska. Breakfast is optional: Let a few folks make breakfast dishes but encourage people to focus on dinner. In the morning, there will likely be lots of leftovers from the night before.