As It Happens: Notes from the Premier

Last month was the premier of the Dusty Camel's first feature-length documentary, As It Happens. It follows Dusty Camel founders, best friends, and wildmen, Andy & Ian, on their 2600 mile trek from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you haven't seen the trailer, check it out here

I was at the premier (part of the Outdoor Rise Festival - they did a cool composite picture taken from the film for their website) and wanted to offer my thoughts. I saw the dudes off at their farewell party, helped them cut the film when they got back, and I've probably seen it 10 times back to front. 

But I was still blown away by how it looked on the big screen and how the incredible audience response.


Camel somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Directors talk about going to see their own movie and sitting in the back of the theater to see if the audience laughs, gasps, and cries at all the right times. And that's what happened. Moments that I was so used to they had lost their punch came alive again, and some of my favorite, profound moments landed just as I imagined they would. 


As brutal as the hike is depicted in the film, it actually under-represents how difficult it was. It was a record snow year. Both Andy and Ian got badly sick (at one point, hiking 25 miles a day with the flu - you try it). They ran out of water. They ran in to TOO MUCH water. In one scene, Camel (Andy) is just starting the day's hike surrounded by burned out (or blighted) trees. He tells the camera he woke up with a headache, tried to eat a Snicker's for breakfast, but felt too sick. It looks like hell. HE looks like hell. Definitely not your typical upbeat, acrobatic Go Pro techno music adventure entertainment. It's a real story about hiking an insane distance.


Afterwards, people had a ton of good questions - everything from "what boots should I wear on a thru-hike?" to "did you see a bear?" Ian's response: we saw plenty of bear ass, running away from us!

My crap cell photo from the 3rd row during the Q&A

If I have one criticism of As It Happens it's that these guys are walking encyclopedias of backcountry know-how. I learn from them all the time, and I would have liked to see more tips & tricks. How to improvise a windbreak, how to keep your gear dry, how to clean up for the ladies in town (vital information). 

So - that's my recap. Stay tuned for much more regular updates, gear reviews, and the next adventure from the DC. 

Peace. Get it.



How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots

For hikers and backpackers, the proper pair of boots is vital for outings. There are different aspects to consider when choosing the correct boots. Many of your decisions will depend on what kind of hiking you will be doing. Will it be an easy day trip, something longer, or even a trip that will take a couple of days? This will determine what kind of boot you should choose. A degree in design could help you to further understand the process of creating products like shoes.

Light Hiking Boots

There are three general types of hiking boots. Light hiking boots are designed for easy terrain and short trips. They are flexible and made of breathable lightweight materials. Many light hiking boots have a low-cut to provide ankle support, but this allows stand, dirt, or other debris to get into the boot.

Heavy Hiking Boots

Heavier hiking and backpacking boots provide better support for feet traveling longer distances are carrying a regularly weighted backpack. These boots have a mid to high range of cut; the higher the cut more durable and stable the boot is, and can provide better ankle support while keeping debris out.

Mountaineering boots

Mountaineering boots provide ankle and foot support for those carrying heavy loads on very long trips. Many mountaineering boots at a hard outer shell designed for snow and ice hiking. Mountaineering boots have the highest cut for support over a long trip.


The fabrics, materials, and technology that make up a hiking boot’s construction serve different purposes, and will affect their performance during a hike. Leather is durable and long lasting, but it takes time to break them in properly and can be quite heavy. Synthetic materials way less and take less time to break in, but they don't hold up as well. Many boots have a blend of both these materials.

Other Features

Other features include water resistance, and the Vibram® sole. Those looking for water resistant boots should look for a water resistant layer in the boots construction. Vibram soles are made up of synthetic rubbers that provide grip, traction, and durability. Boots with Vibram soles are marked with a yellow octagon on the sole.

Try Them On

When you already have the type and cut you want in mind, it’s still important to go out and try boots on. Be sure to bring your own hiking socks to ensure proper fit. Also try on boots later in the day as your feet swell over time. Many outdoor retail stores offer climbing ramps or even a fake rock in order to test out how a boot fits. A boot should hold your feet comfortably without binding them. Your feet shouldn't slide around inside the boot and your heel shouldn’t slide up and down either. Leave extra room for your toes.

When you have your new pair, start out easy and allow them to break in. Take them out on shorter hikes before you start something longer in order to avoid blisters. Afterwards you should be able to enjoy them.

Check out Shoe Blogs for even more information about shoes.


Expert How-How To Choose the Right Hiking Boots

How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots

Asolo TPS 520 GV: A 2,000 mile test

Asolo's defining character trait is fit and durability. The Asolo TPS were built around these characteristics with labored craftsmanship class and wisdom. This is my second pair of TPS's, so they are not a new boot to me. The first time I used them was on the Appalachian Trail in 2009. After 1,300 miles they were worn, but I still use them for fieldwork and the occasional mountaineering pursuit.

The second time around for the Pacific Crest Trail I knew what boot I was getting, TPS. However, having them from the start really brought out the personality of these boots.

After thousands of miles (without any maintanence whatsoever) the soles are rock solid- rigid enough to take on the Pacific Northwest's craggy volcanoes and keep me . Asolo uses a three part sole system that works beautifully and maintains its integrity over any terrain.

Beyond the rigid soles the boots just fit. Right out of the box I took them for a six mile stroll in central park, then follow that with 700 miles in the Mojave Desert, 600 miles in the High Sierra, 400 miles in the foresty hills of Northern California and all the way up Oregon (all under five months). From the package to their ceremonial burning on the Washington border the boots maintained their structure and fit perfectly. Between two pairs and 3,300 miles I've gotten only one blister (swampland in Virginia). The heel holds snugly in the back of the boot, while the toe and front area has room for swelling without having your foot move in any negative way.

Also to be noted about these boots is they come in wide! Now, I'm not sure what qualifies as wide because I am a size 13 and have absolutely no arch, needless to say my foot is very wide. However, I did not need to purchase the wide version of these boots. Unless you are using them for winter hiking with insanely thick socks I would suggest going with the regular fit.

The only downfall for these rugged warriors is their weight, 3lb 10oz. It's a lot and it's noticeable, but they'll last you a lifetime if taken care of properly. Also, depending on usage they should be resoled around 1,100 and 1,400 miles of use and the leather should be oiled regularly.

By the end of the trail we were calling these boots the "Brett Favre" of the Pacific Crest Trail community. They just won't quit!