South Africa’s Eskom plans 1.4GWh battery storage tender, largest on the continent

December 31, 2020

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:South Africa’s utility Eskom is preparing to launch a tender for 1.4 gigawatt-hours of battery storage that will need to be installed by December 2021.The large-scale energy storage tender, the first of its kind in the country and in Africa as a whole, will be split into two phases, with an initial 200 megawatts/800 megawatt-hours of capacity to be built by December 2020, an Eskom official said.This first phase of implementation will be divided into four packages, and will be followed by 160 megawatts/640 megawatt-hours to be installed a year later, Prince Moyo, general manager for power delivery engineering at Eskom, said during a Wednesday webinar. The second phase will include 60 megawatts of solar to be integrated with the battery storage, along with an asset performance management system.The tender has already been approved by South Africa’s Ministry of Finance, Moyo said. The only ministry that has not yet signed off is the Department of Public Enterprises, Moyo added. That consent “has been escalated to the highest level,” he said, without committing to a launch date for the solicitation. “It’s imminent,” he said.Moyo called the battery tender “a flagship project” for Eskom, which supplies around 90 percent of South Africa’s electricity via more than 45 gigawatts of generation. “We are moving toward cleaner power,” he said.More: South Africa’s Eskom preparing first large-scale battery tender South Africa’s Eskom plans 1.4GWh battery storage tender, largest on the continentlast_img read more


RenewableUK says country’s battery storage pipeline has jumped to 10.5GW in past year

December 31, 2020

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first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Green:The UK’s energy storage sector is enjoying rapid growth, as the rollout of smart grid technologies that are seen as essential to the development of a cleaner and more flexible energy system continues to outstrip expectations.Trade body RenewableUK today published new data showing that the cumulative capacity of planning applications for battery storage projects has increased more than 50 per cent in the past year, from nearly 6,900MW to over 10,500MW.The latest data highlights the rapid pace of development for a sector that lodged just 2MW of planning applications in 2012. It also confirms that over the past 12 months the number of UK companies involved in the sector has risen from 300 to more than 450, while the average battery project size has also ticked up from 27MW to 28MW.RenewableUK said the pipeline was expected to keep growing, while a combination of falling battery costs and recent planning reforms should make it easier for developers to deliver larger projects with over 50MW of capacity.Barnaby Wharton, RenewableUK’s director of future electricity systems, said the pace of change in the industry was both “hugely exciting” and essential to the development of a decarbonised energy system. “As we build the net-zero energy system of the future based on renewables, we’re changing the way we manage the entire network, using a wide variety of extraordinarily innovative storage technologies,” he said. “Energy storage has reached a tipping point with major companies entering this new market, providing new services to guarantee the security of our energy supplies and maximise the amount of power available, providing massive benefits to consumers.”More: Renewables industry reports ‘massive growth’ in UK energy storage capacity RenewableUK says country’s battery storage pipeline has jumped to 10.5GW in past yearlast_img read more


Malaysian floating solar project brought online for levelized cost of $0.038/kilowatt-hour

December 31, 2020

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first_imgMalaysian floating solar project brought online for levelized cost of $0.038/kilowatt-hour FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Malaysian solar project developer Solarvest Holdings Berhad has completed construction on a 13 MW floating solar power plant in Dengkil, Sepang District, in the Selangor state on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.The plant features 38,790 JAP72D09 335W solar modules from Chinese manufacturer JA Solar and three SG3400HV-MV-20 central inverters from China-based provider Sungrow. The floating structures were also supplied by the inverter maker.The project was developed under the country’s Large Scale Solar (LSS) scheme and will sell power to local utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) under a 21-year PPA. “The project’s levelized cost of energy is MYR 0.1608 ($0.038)/kWh, while total investment in the facility was MYR 47 million ($11.3 million),” Solarvest’s spokesperson explained.The Malaysian government has already held three procurement rounds under the LSS tender program. A fourth round was launched in May.A first round, in 2016, allocated 200 MW of capacity across the peninsula plus 50 MW in Sabah, northern Borneo, of the planned total of 370 MW. The second LSS tender, the following year, was nearer to its intended 520 MW target as it allocated 360 MW of peninsular solar and 100 MW across Sabah and the islands of Labuan. The third round tender attracted 112 bids for more than 6.73 GW of generation capacity and with the lowest solar energy price of MYR 0.17777/kWh.At the end of 2019, Malaysia had 882 MW of solar capacity, according to International Renewable Energy Agency figures.[Emiliano Bellini]More: Floating solar plant with LCOE of $0.038/kWh comes online in Malaysialast_img read more


Athlete Diet: Vegetarian or Paleo?

December 30, 2020

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first_imgVegetarianNot so long ago, most athletes looked at a plant-based diet as an unfortunate affliction. Tell another athlete you didn’t eat meat (voluntarily!), and you’d get a look that was at once puzzled and sympathetic, as if you’d just said you put Yoo-Hoo in your gas tank.Now, athletes at the pinnacle of their sports, from ultramarathoner Scott Jurek to mixed martial arts fighter Mac Danzig, have settled on vegan diets to resounding success–and with limited amounts of tree hugging and granola crunching!Why the dramatic shift in attitude? Professional athletes tell me that the crucial benefit of a plant-based diet is in the recovery. After a tough workout, they simply need less time to rest than when they used to eat meat. This means they can get back out there sooner to do it all again–and at the elite level, more workouts means more success.But what about the rest of us, the weekend warriors who may have no reason to work out any more than we already do? For us, recovering faster with plant fuel still has benefits. For one, being more prepared for your next workout means fewer injuries.A vegetarian diet also means cleaner arteries, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier, happier body. Our bodies are built to digest vegetables. The caveman is a myth. For all of human history, most of our calories came from plants.But how can you possibly get enough protein from plants, right?Getting enough protein as a vegan athlete isn’t such a big deal, honest. Yes, you lose a lot of calories when you cut out meat, dairy, and eggs, and you’ve got to replace most of them if you want to get and stay stronger and faster. But there’s nothing special about the protein that comes from animals, and you can get all you need–which isn’t nearly as much as we’ve been led to believe—from plants.As a vegetarian (and even a vegan), I’ve found that these restrictions have made me more conscious of what I put into my body each day. Whereas I used to excuse the occasional hamburger or ice cream sundae as perks in an otherwise healthy diet, being vegan literally takes those indulgences off the table.Elite athletes may be interested in faster recovery and more workouts, but even we mere mortals can benefit from a vegetarian diet—whether that means a faster marathon time or just less time logged at McDonald’s.Matt Frazier is a vegan marathoner and ultramarathoner who shares his experiences and advice at his website NoMeatAthlete.com. Paleo I first encountered the Paleo lifestyle in 2008, when I wanted to transition into lightweight rowing.  This means that two hours before I race, I step on a scale and must weight under 130 pounds. My race lasts seven minutes plus, and my heart rate averages 180 beats per minute. I race a heat, a semi and a final and sometimes even a fourth heat if I don’t advance by placing in top positions.Just to keep up, I need recovery and consistency.  I need acute focus and agility to maneuver long skinny oars and balance the boat, all while attempting repeated perfect  strokes, even in extreme temperatures, wind, and rain. The Paleolithic diet was my answer to the intense demands of my transition to lightweight rowing.Paleo principles are about getting sunshine and eating real food (lean animal protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats from coconut, avocado, olive oil, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds). Along with dairy and processed fats and sugars, I stay away from beans and legumes, which contain saponins that act as toxins in the body. In addition, grains contain lectins and anti-nutrients that result in gut irritations in much of the population.Within the first three months of Paleo-eating I noticed how alive I felt. That may sound overly Zen, but as an athlete, you are mostly walking around depleted—tired from the training load. With Paleo, I recover faster, need less sleep, and have more energy and excitement for workouts. My nerves are sharper and I absorb technical changes more quickly. I started rowing late in the game, as a  twenty-six-year-old rower competing against eighteen-year-olds. I need all the extra energy I can get.I also find that I can really taste my food. And with every dollar I spend at farmers’ markets and on grass-fed meat, I am sending a message that corporate feedlots and GMOs are not okay. I go straight for the dark, leafy greens  for calcium and antioxidants. Root vegetables and tubers give me the energy to train, and the protein from wild-caught, naturally-fed meat contains the amino acids my muscles need to recover. Best of all, I don’t feel like I’m going hungry.Calorie for calorie, I’m getting the biggest bang per mouthful, and you can too. Beans and rice might keep you alive, but you won’t thrive. I’m moving towards thriving, and that is why I train, race, and eat Paleo.Ursula Grobler has spent three years on the U.S. Rowing National Team and is the current lightweight world record holder on the Concept 2 Ergometer.last_img read more


Who Owns the Hazel River?

December 30, 2020

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first_imgNearly all of us enjoy public waterways—and very few of us ever stop to consider how those waterways became public in the first place. In most cases, beyond picking up a state fishing license, we don’t give much thought to who owns the river (and why) at all. Unfortunately, anglers from Montana to North Carolina and Idaho to Pennsylvania are discovering that ignorance of riparian water rights is no excuse for violating them. The trouble is that “the law” can be as slippery as an eel. In fact, there’s no one “law” that dictates water rights: From state to state, laws concerning private ownership of, public access to, and public use of navigable and non-navigable waters differ. As confusion mounts, so too are the number of unpleasant run-ins between river lovers and riparian landowners. And what begins as a nasty spat all too often ends in court.The King’s RiverHow bad can it be? Very. Consider sleepy Culpeper County, Virginia, where for years riparian landowners, county residents, and state officials have bitterly disputed who may enjoy certain sections of the bucolic Hazel River. On one side of the conflict are three families, two of whom are related by marriage.These families argue that the low-water bridge area near Monumental Mills attracts the community’s unsavory elements, who take advantage of the seclusion to litter, copulate, and deal drugs; and that prolific trespassing keeps them from being able to enjoy their riparian property. In 2005, the riparian landowning families told Gary Close, then-Commonwealth’s Attorney for Culpeper County, that they possessed a Crown grant to the property—a royal deed, issued by the King of England in the 18th century, that ensured that they alone owned both the banks and the bottom of that section of the Hazel River.This was a plausible claim. As an English colony, Virginia was settled with many such Crown grants. Indeed, at one time nearly all of Culpeper County was part of such a grant. In 1802, however, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law stipulating that all land under water that was not previously conveyed would henceforth be held by the Commonwealth in trust for the public. These riparian landowners argued that because their land was conveyed before 1802, the law didn’t apply to their property.Close concurred with the families, and on September 29th 2005, he wrote a five page letter to then-Sheriff Lee Hart concluding with “My office will prosecute all trespass warrants issued by your deputies whether on the banks of the rivers in the low water bridge area or upon the surface of the rivers” [emphasis added]. Unfortunately, Close was dead wrong: His directive flew in the face of both state and federal laws. Naturally the now-infamous letter shocked the community and contributed to the acrimonious public discourse that exists to this day.Sheriff Hart did a little legwork himself—including soliciting advice from then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell (now Virginia’s governor)—and came to a very different conclusion. On Feb 15th, 2006 Hart wrote Close about a meeting with representatives from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Virginia Marine Resource Commission to hammer out a resolution to the conflict. Close chose not to attend. After this meeting, Hart made it clear to Close that state law presumed that the rivers were owned by the state, and, if deemed navigable by the Army Corps of Engineers, were open to the public for their enjoyment; and that he had no intention of arresting citizens for simply enjoying the river. Hart agreed with the landowners that upland property (the dry land alongside the river’s edge) was indeed privately owned—and that trespassers on upland property could and should be prosecuted. However, citizens who enjoyed the Hazel River without leaving its riverbed certainly had a right to do so.Emboldened by Close’s 2005 letter to Hart, riparian landowners immediately began confronting citizens who had long fished and canoed in the river. Landowners made hundreds of calls to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office to report trespassers—so many calls, in fact, that the low-water bridge across the Hazel river had to be given its own address to help dispatchers and other law-enforcement officials track the calls. Soon sheriff’s deputies found themselves caught in the middle of the dispute, with Sheriff Hart on one side arguing that citizens had every right to use the river, and Mr. Close on the other side demanding that anyone in the river near the low-water bridge be cited for trespassing. Deputies spent untold hours responding to and patrolling the low-water bridge area in an effort to keep the peace.A Valid ClaimNot surprising given Virginia’s colonial past, numerous Crown grants are extant in the Commonwealth—and some involve such popular and venerable rivers as the James, New, Shenandoah, York, Cowpasture, and Jackson. Indeed, the Commonwealth of Virginia itself issued Commonwealth grants—more or less similar to a Crown grant—after the Revolutionary War.Nevertheless, it is no small matter to get the Commonwealth to recognize one’s Crown grant. First, the riparian landowner who claims to own the riverbed must own the land on both sides of the river. Second, the contested area must be ruled on by a court of law. According to Brian Gottstein, Director of Communication for the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, not even Virginia’s Attorney General has the authority to unilaterally recognize a Crown grant outside of court. The riparian landowners along the Hazel River didn’t own the land on both sides of the river, and at no time was their Crown grant adjudicated in court. As a result and as far as the Commonwealth was concerned, their claim of river bottom ownership was invalid. The landowners, however, had assumed that Mr. Close’s assessment of their situation was accurate—and had acted accordingly.For the better part of five years, Culpeper County residents were swept up in this imbroglio: Sections of the Hazel River were essentially off-limits to anglers, swimmers, and canoeists—to folks who had enjoyed the river all of their lives. The acrimony escalated when, apparently as an ill-conceived joke, a resident set off a device commonly known as a salute cannon. The offending cannon was triggered on a roadway near the residence of one of the riparian landowners, and while it didn’t hurl a projectile, it did make a sound consistent with its name. The harassed landowners, weary of locals’ angry drive-by cursing and littering, felt rather less amused than frightened and threatened by the cannon going off so close to their home.  They summoned the authorities, who soon arrested the practical jokester, a very well-liked individual who not long after found himself guilty of the crime. Suddenly no one was laughing.The arrest and conviction of a popular county resident helped galvanize the community to demand a public meeting with Close and insist that he reexamine his position on the ownership of that section of the Hazel River. Locals did a bit of their own research, uncovering and producing evidence that they believed refuted Close’s legal opinion.Upon reexamination, Close grudgingly admitted that he had been wrong. On July 29th, 2010, Close wrote to Sheriff Hart that with regard to a claim of Crown grant ownership on the Hazel, “no such registered river exists in Culpeper County.” He continued, “Therefore the public is presumed to the use and enjoyment of any river in or adjoining the county. The impact on the issuance of trespass warrants for the use of any river in Culpeper County is clear. No trespass warrants should be issued.” By this time, however, the damage had been done: Neighbor had turned against neighbor. Residents were so thoroughly confused by the issue that many simply refused to come back to the Hazel River. Others fumed that local and state leaders had done little or nothing to rectify the issue, choosing to ignore it until the matter had escalated out of control.Virginia legislators have recently established a study group to examine the laws surrounding Crown grant ownership as it relates to river bottoms. Virginians eagerly await a decision that may bring clarity to this muddled, rancorous issue. Meanwhile, back on the Hazel River, the low-water bridge area is open to anglers, kayakers, and swimmers. But problems remain: One of the original three riparian landowners, citing his Crown grant, is preventing state workers from setting foot on his half of the riverbed to remove a dilapidated dam (at no cost to the landowner) which is delaying its removal. As a result plans for a canoe launch, a public parking lot, and other improvements to the river below the dam have been placed on hold.Check out BRO online editor Jack Murray talking about the issue on Charlottesville’s Newsplex. Beau Beasley (www.beaubeasley.com) is the author of Fly Fishing Virginia and an award-winning conservation writer who specializes in river access and use issues. He wishes to thank the riparian landowners, the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, and the citizens of Culpeper County for their assistance in researching this issue.last_img read more


Video: Sasha DiGiulian Raises the Bar

December 30, 2020

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first_imgIs there anything this girl can’t do? Sasha DiGiulian, Virginia native and the current female World Ranking leader in the climbing world, is kicking ass and taking names on the rock like it’s her only job. Which it isn’t. Sasha is also a full-time student at Columbia University in New York, and uses her time off from school to send the hardest climbs across the globe. She could probably teach us all a thing or two about time management.Image courtesy of Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content PoolImage courtesy of Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content PoolThis time, Sasha and her climbing partner Edu Marin tackled “Viaje de los Locos” (The Madmen’s Journey), a 330-meter seven-pitch climb on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. The two became the second team to ever send the route, and Sasha the only female. The first duo, Dani Andrada and Dani Dulac, made their assent in 2002. Until now, no one had touched the climb since then.Sasha describes Viaje de los Locos as, “a marathon of difficult climbing, at a sprint pace;” and the hardest set of climbs that she has ever attempted. At first, she and Edu were intimidated: “The fact that this route has gone unrepeated for so long is a testament to how truly difficult it is,” she said. But it’s a good thing they decided to give it one last push on the last day of their trip – just hours before her flight back to New York, Sasha made history. Check it out!last_img read more


Appalachian Trail License Plates Do Work

December 30, 2020

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first_imgAppalachian Trail license plates in Virginia last year raised $45,000 to help protect the beloved 2,195-mile footpath. Among the projects funded by the plates were open meadow preservation along the trail in Shenandoah National Park, trail construction by the Konnarock Trail Crew, and the replacement of a trail bridge in southwest Virginia.How does it work? A portion of the proceeds from each license plate—usually between $10 and $20—goes directly to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In Virginia, the funds are disbursed among its eight trail maintaining clubs.Appalachian Trail specialty plates are also available in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.“Owning an A.T. license plate is an excellent way to directly turn your contribution into improvements that can be seen first-hand on the Trail,” says Andrew Downs, the ATC’s regional director.If you’d like to see license plate funds at work, visit the new sections of the Appalachian Trail at Thunder Ridge, or visit a meadow in Shenandoah National Park.For more information about A.T. specialty license plates, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/plates.last_img read more


Mountain Mama: Anya Hinkle Runs

December 30, 2020

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first_imgAnya and I paddle her green aluminum canoe while our toddlers run their hands along the water’s surface or snack on nutritional food Anya has remembered to bring along (I consistently manage to forget. Anya not only remembers toddler snacks but also beer for the mamas). We met in prenatal yoga class and both enjoy getting out on the river whenever we can coordinate our schedules, and her husband, Gen, graciously sets our shuttle, then bikes home.On one epic toddler canoe adventure, my son, Tobin, wouldn’t stop crying. He kept saying he was “all done.” The red shame of a misbehaving child on public display crept up my neck, turning my face flame red. I tried to console him. I tried to distract him with birds and clouds. Nothing worked.And then Anya sang.ky and anya canoeingHer voice was like listening to liquid sunshine. Tobin stopped whining and from his perch in the middle of the canoe, gazed up at Anya’s long blonde hair in total rapture. I stopped paddling, resting my blade on my lap, feeling myself relax. I wanted to somehow cup my hands and catch the sound to save it for later realizing that an amazing voice is perhaps the best skill in a mama’s arsenal.That’s how I learned that Anya sings. She’s the female vocalist, guitarist, and fiddler for Tellico, an acoustic band infused with an unbridled organic Appalachiacana sound that hit the Asheville music scene a year ago. Before forming Tellico, Anya played with the Asheville-based bluegrass band Dehlia Low. They recorded three independently-released albums together between 2007 and 2010; their fourth album, “Ravens and Crows,” was released on Rebel Records in 2011. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall, Tellico has been busy recording their first album, which will be released in June.I’ve had the pleasure to run and paddle with Anya, and see her on stage. The more time I spend with her, the more I’m inspired not only by her many talents and accomplishments, but also by her unassuming nature and couldn’t wait to interview her.How have your work-outs changed since having a baby?My workouts have acquired a new, enormous, expensive, overbuilt but very light and maneuverable accessory: the Bob stroller. There have been many phases involving Sachi and the Bob throughout her three years, but in contrast to what their advertising photos might like to make you think, she has never consistently liked actually being IN it. When she was really little, much of the time I walked and pushed the empty stroller while she was strapped to my body in her papoose/carrier! I would get a short run in during the periods when she fell asleep if I could gracefully transfer her into the seat without waking her up!Now that she is a toddler, she wants to do everything herself, including running too, which really is pretty great even though I desperately need MY workout! But ultimately I love that she sees that exercise is an important part of our lives and that she wants to run too.Being unable to have as much control over my workouts has freed up my mind to appreciate what’s going on around me a lot more. When I’m out, it’s especially great to see all the different bodies, ages, and ability levels out getting exercise. Running slower allows me to do ridiculous things like running and smiling at the same time. I’ve been amazed by the power of smiling, even when I don’t feel like running at all. Smiling helps me appreciate my body and its efforts more fully.What advice do you have for other parents looking to run with a toddler?I guess my advice (to myself and anyone else that might be reading) is to keep it simple so it happens. I’m opportunistic about running, embracing it when I have the chance and letting it go when it isn’t going to happen. It’s actually a nice way to approach life, if I can actually remember to take my own advice. Plus, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s totally epic, so don’t worry too much if there are some fantastically miserable moments.Does running inspire your music?It’s easy to get overwhelmed with life and its contents and just getting out for some fresh air and exercise is a way to feel human again. To look at the sky and remember that I’m a part of this whole big thing, but just a very small part, and that it’s ok, everything will be ok. The things that feel frustrating, or uninspiring, or terrifying, become more manageable after a run. I get ideas and gain some courage, small steps forward to help chip away at that feeling, that heavy dark threatening presence that follows us all around.Going for a run here and there, as often as I can may seem like a small thing. Actually, a few miles at a time can create seismic shifts that happen naturally with the modest but notable effort to get out and lumber around my neighborhood on foot.There have been times that I’ve been interested in monitoring my workouts closely, have had ambitious performance goals (during a number of years racing road and CX bikes), but these days I want to be as unconnected to fitbits and power meters and heart rate monitors and runkeepers as possible. Sometimes I might have a surprising thought, or a snatch of a melody, or a memory come out of nowhere. A window opens. I can feel my brain get all squishy and I know things are working differently up there.Where can readers listen to your music? How can they connect with Tellico?We have a lot of shows in the region coming up, including a special release show on June 5th at the Isis Music Hall in West Asheville and some fun outdoor concerts (NOC, US Whitewater Center, summer concert series in Cashiers, Franklin, Jonesborough, Winston, etc.) and lots of other things that will be a blast. Our website and Facebook page list upcoming shows and have all the info plus music and other fun stuff.last_img read more


The Jam Pack is for Swingers

December 30, 2020

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first_imgI always considered myself very good at monogamy; I drove the same car for like, 20 years, and my wife and I have been together basically since puberty. But Starr Hill’s new Jam Pack has me thinking that maybe I’m supposed to be a swinger. At least in terms of the beer I drink.Because I’m obsessively monogamous, I tend to drink the same beer over and over. It’s how I protect myself from being disappointed. There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up while ordering a new beer and then you take your first sip and it’s…just okay. Nothing makes me angrier than having to work through a ho-hum beer. It’s a waste of time, money, and calories. I can only imagine the frustration that single people have when dating. What do you do when you’re on a first date and the person sitting across the table from you is just…okay? Do you suffer through it? Do you get up and leave, explaining that the whole process is just a waste of time and calories?I know Pisgah Pale is great so I’ll just order another one of those. And another. And another…It’s like marriage. (See how I just reduced the institution of marriage to a beer metaphor?)But then you have the mix pack, a box of goodies where brewers hobble a few like-minded beers together into one handy, swinging 12-pack. It lets dabble outside of your comfort zone without forcing you to get too weird all at once. It’s just like those “key parties” in the ‘70s. You get to “spend some time” with a new partner, but you’re still going home with your significant other. With a mix pack, you get to try something new, but you also have the comfort of drinking a couple of your favorite, well-established beers.Starr Hill’s new summer mix pack is an example of beer swinging done right. It’s packed with four different beers—Northern Lights IPA, Grateful Pale, Front Row Golden Ale and The Love Wheat Beer.The Northern Lights IPA and Grateful Pale are incredible as always. Those are great beers that I would happily drink on the reg, but I already knew those were great beers. The beauty of the mix pack is that you get to try new things without much risk. And the biggest surprise hit in the box is Front Row Golden Ale. It’s creamy and smooth, and just 4.8% so it’s easy, all-day drinking. I can’t overstate how soft and creamy this beer is; it’s like swallowing clouds. There’s a bit of corn sweetness in there too, and a little hint of something tangy on the end. But mostly, it’s clouds.I probably wouldn’t have bought a six pack of Front Row because I don’t typically like golden ales, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t a great freaking beer. And that’s the beauty of a mix pack. It forces you to date around. Look at me, I’m swinging.last_img read more


Gear On The Go: April 2019

December 30, 2020

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first_imgThe Alpha Alpine is an ultra-breathable, extra light, and yet still very warm jacket that can serve as a mid-layer in the colder months, or an outer layer once the weather gets warmer. It’s so light and packable (really, it’s only 9 ounces) that it has become our go-to jacket when packing for any outdoor activity. This is the ultimate layer for when you’re really pushing it and sweating or if you find yourself on a stop and start a mission where regulating your body temperature can be tricky. The Alpha Alpine is treated with a DWR so it can shed light rain. The best part about this jacket (for us) is that it’s legitimately very comfortable. When we can go hard on a hike, then colpse back at camp and feel relaxed the whole time, that’s always a gear win. It’s always a strange feeling, moving back into the van. We haven’t had a permanent residence other than our van for over two years, but we do take small breaks from time to time. We’ll stay with friends, family, or just take a break from our work and van and travel for a while. Every time we get back in for the “long haul” we feel like we’re starting a new chapter. Packing means a new set of adventures and experiences are on the horizon. It means meeting new people and it always means visiting new places. Packing the van also means appreciating gear that serves a purpose and takes up as little space as possible. We changed up a few things this year, but one thing we wanted to keep is our Gear on the Go blog. It helps us highlight some of the gear that helps us to run a successful eight month tour. As in years past, this will be a monthly feature so keep your eyes peeled and here we go! These chairs are sturdy. They can hold up to 300 pounds and they only weigh three pounds three ounces themselves. All of the poles that make up the frame are made from lightweight aircraft aluminum that feels as nice as is looks. The collapsible frame is shock-corded together, similar to how tent poles can be shock-corded together. This makes assembling the Big Six completely intuitive. It literally takes a matter of seconds from unpacking until you’re relaxing. The Big Six, even being the largest Big Agnes chair packs down to a reasonable 3.5″ x 21″ and has found a permanent home in our van. The Journey Women’s down sleeping bag is the second step to cozy backcountry sleeping. Besides the extremely satisfying color, I love the feel of this bag. Often, I don’t like to sleep skin to sleeping bag. It feels like a weird trash bag and I feel grimy just thinking about it. This down sleeping bag is made with 30D Nylon on the outside and feels so much nicer on direct skin contact. The down is ULTRA-DRY 650+ and certified Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which I am super happy about. You can zip this sleeping bag directly to any Sea to Summit Ascent™, Trek™ or Traverse™. Ben doesn’t like it as much as I do, but who could say no to a sleeping bag sleepover party? I’ll be the first to admit that I want my gear to be intuitive. Nothing gets on my nerves like when companies make their stuff sacks just slightly too small for the product to actually fit back inside. When Big Agnes sent over their new line of camp furniture we took it upon ourselves to try and assemble, disassemble, and repack everything without peeking at the instructions. No Problem! Sea To Summit: Woman’s Ether Light XT Insulated Air Sleeping Mat and the Sea To Summit: Journey Women’s Down Sleeping Bag The Big Six Camp Chair is the largest in the new line of Big Agnes camp furniture. It was designed for “deluxe chillin’” and they definitely hit the mark. First off, this is a full-sized camp chair, with a tall back and wide seat the Big Six sits a full 20 inches off the ground so standing back up after spending an extended time resting your legs by the fire is a breeze. Big Agnes has developed all of their chairs with a hubless frame design. This allows for smaller pack size and lighter weight. Stio: Men’s/Women’s Alpha Alpine Jacket Stio offers a hoodless pull over as well as a full zip jacket with a hood. The Alpha Alpine is also fully reversible with dual colorways so whether you are in the city or hanging from a mountainside you can look your best. The mat and bag are women specific. There is extra down in the foot area, so the cold foot nightmares never come true. There is wider areas between the hips and knees so you can sleep in more natural positions, and less wide areas by the shoulder so the warm air can’t escape. The mat follows the proportions of the sleeping bag to create a streamlined sleep system that will keep you warm for three seasons straight. Born in the Tetons, Stio knows a thing or two about making apparel that’s ready for the mountains. The Alpha Alpine jacket from Stio is a highly technical active insulation piece that can replace many other layers in your quiver. If you share these worries with me, then you also know that a perfect sleep system is an answer to your fears. The Ether Light XT Insulated Air Sleeping Mat has an R-Value of 3.8, which means it will keep you elevated four inches off the ground and warm from spring to fall. Even with possible frost, this mat will do its job. The stuff sack comes with Airstream Pump so you don’t have to bring anything extra with you, or huff and puff to get your sleep system set up once you’ve backpacked ten miles in. At only 15 ounces, you don’t have to worry about added weight to your pack. And, it’s quiet. Less crinkle when turning over in the night so you don’t wake yourself, your partner, or your pup up. Big Agnes: Big Six Camp Chair I, Roxy, have an ongoing fear of being cold while camping and backpacking. I imagine myself wide awake in the middle of the night, toes freezing, nose freezing, listening to Ben breath deeply next to me. Ben is a human heater and shares non of my fears. last_img read more