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Quit trying to sell me new ways to hike with alcohol, outdoor industry

Published December 14, 2016 9:31 am

Gifts • Drinking on the trail is unhealthy and impractical, so save those potent potables for the campsite or bar.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's the great hiking question of our generation: What do I do if I'm up the trail pouring a shot of bourbon and the North Korean Army finds me?

Not to worry, the VSSL Flask, as recommended in the Gear Hungry gift guide, is made from "Military spec aluminum." Not that the North Koreans will see that brown liquor coming. The VSSL Flask is made to resemble a flashlight. It costs just $72.

Gear Hungry isn't the only one pitching booze transportation devices this holiday season. Popular Mechanics, which has been among the first publications to tell us about revolutions in aviation and computing, included in its outdoor adventure gift guide a flask with a wide, removable top for easier pouring. That's high tech.

Go back to Father's Day, and Outside Magazine suggested you buy your dad a Hydro Flask True Pint. If you have to ask why a coozie around a can isn't good enough to keep a beer cold, you must not love your father.

I'm not sure when flasks and other booze receptacles became a linchpin of the outdoor economy, but it's time to divest. Health professionals will tell you drinking alcohol while doing something stressful is not healthy. And if you have so much to drink that you get lost or hurt, here's betting every taxpayer on the trail will push the search and rescue team to make you pick up the tab.

I'm more concerned with the logistics. Hauling alcohol in your pack is kind of a pain. It takes up weight and space and there's always a concern about spilling.

If you do consider alcohol essential to a good hike, then let it be agreed the transportation problem was solved with the first metal flask or when brewers and distillers started selling their products in aluminum cans and plastic pints, respectively.

But you probably want to wait to have a drink until you're done with your hike and you're back to your campsite, or you find a good bar. It's more sociable than drinking up some trail, and your story about hiking all the way up the mountain to the third lake, when you really only hiked a mile or so to the first lake, will sound more believable if you're off the trail.


Twitter: @natecarlisle






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