The Cannondale Topstone AL 105 Gravel Bike

The Cannondale Topstone AL 105 Gravel Bike

When you’re a kid, one bike is perfect for most anything you can imagine. Once you’re an adult, something changes. I don’t know what that is. How it shakes out with bikes, though, is this: Once you ride enough, you figure out that not only are there a few a different kinds of bikes . . . there are many different kinds of bikes. Each bike has features and a geometry that’s designed to make certain kinds of riding faster, more efficient, and more fun. Trouble is, as much as you might like your mountain bike — which includes several different styles, like Trail, All Mountain, or Downhill — you’ll eventually realize that it’s not so great at pavement, gravel roads or any relatively tame trail. In fact, its big tires might even make it feel slow and cumbersome. Enter the gravel bike category, which is sort of like a relaxed road bike with bigger tires and a geometry that’s tuned for riding fast over mixed terrain, particularly gravel roads. Where a mountain biker might balk at a 30, 40 or 70 mile ride, it’s just another thrilling workout for a gravel bike enthusiast. To get Man Makes Fire a closer look at a popular gravel bike, REI teamed up with Cannondale to let us test out a Cannondale Topstone AL 150 gravel bike. What did I learn? Here’s a hint: I had no idea I’d like riding the Topstone AL 150 as much as I did. To learn more, check out my full Cannondale Topstone review at Man Makes...
Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders

Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders

Patagonia has made worthy upgrades to its new ‘Swiftcurrent’ wader lineup this year, and the company’s very best wader, the Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Wader, is pretty fantastic. It’s rugged but breathable. The booties fit well and the included knee pads are awesome when you want to drop to one knee to release a fish or a nab a quick photo. Of course, there’s the zipper. Is it any good? It is. There is a risk, though: Once you try zip-front waders, you’ll always want zip-front waders. To learn more, check out my full Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders Review at Man Makes...
Fish More of the River

Fish More of the River

A good fishing raft helps you maximize your time on the water and reach new fishing spots. The NRS STAR Outlaw Raft Fishing Package is a great raft that’s capable of handling serious whitewater. In fact, the great thing about this particular raft package is that you can remove the fishing seats and thigh bars and take it out whitewater rafting. What if you don’t live near a whitewater river? It’s great for family float and swim trips, too. One thing I appreciate when it comes to great gear is versatility, and the NRS Star Outlaw raft delivers! Read more in my NRS Start Outlaw Raft Fishing Package review at Man Makes...
The New for 2020 Eureka! Copper Canyon LX Tent

The New for 2020 Eureka! Copper Canyon LX Tent

The newly updated Eureka! Copper Canyon LX Tent series now includes an improved rainfly with better coverage over the door. If you’re considering the Eureka! Copper Canyon LX series tent, it’s one of the best cabin-style tents available. The overall quality is very good, and the price-to-value ratio is great. I’m a fan of the rugged steel corner poles, 7′ interior peak height, mostly vertical sidewalls, and fantastic windows. To learn more, check out my full Copper Canyon LX review at Man Makes...
Pancakes Taste Better Outside

Pancakes Taste Better Outside

There is something special about outdoor cooking while you’re in the great outdoors. Sure, being outside is good for the soul, but for some reason, food just tastes better when you cook and eat it outside. For instance, pancakes are good inside but they’re better when you’re camping. And pork n beans? Mediocre inside but awesome outside. Of course, cooking over a campfire is sometimes the best, but you can’t cook over a campfire in late summer when campfires are banned due to fire danger. For those situations — and spots down by the river — you need a good camp stove. To learn more and find your own camp stove, check out my guide to the best camping stoves over at Man Makes...