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July 14, 2015

Someone Who Cares

I was flipping through the July issue of Climbing Mag, when the Editor’s Note caught my eye. It’s about the short film Defined by the Line with Fitz Cahall. (You probably know Fitz form The Dirtbag Diaries, or any number of other projects he’s done.)

It goes a little something like this: the early stages of climbing (or whatever grabs your imagination, really), we are really passionate; outsiders might view it as an obsession. Later as we delve deeper into issues (access, development, etc.), politics and the powers that be make the situation feel impossible to remedy and maybe we get a bit discouraged. Finally, eventually, some folks find that that they really can make a difference for their community and generations to come.

Josh Ewing discusses with Fitz how he realized “I’m not just a climber.” Today Josh works for an organization that protects 1.9 million acres as well as 100,000 archaeological sites. How’s that for combining work and passion? Watch the video here: Defined by the Line.

We love to hear this sort of story, and hope that you’ll share yours whether it’s just a crazy idea, a work in progress or if you’ve made it a great success. Drop us a line on Facebook or Instagram and let us know what drives you.

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July 10, 2015

Warm Glow

You know those things that seem small, those details that you may not even notice when you first unbox a new product. Product designers everywhere try to think of those things, our product team included.

We thought particularly deeply about the elements that could make our lanterns better than anything else available on the market. Most are easy to see in the package: easy to use dial, folding legs and expanding globe that help light up a large area to name the major items.

Right now we want to focus on something that you won’t notice until you install the batteries: the warmth of the light that all the PTEC lanterns emit.

One aspect of lighting that has been changing drastically is the choice of more pleasant color temperature and improved color rendering of modern LEDs over their predecessors.

The first “white” LEDs were pretty blue in color. We dealt with it because it was cool new tech and it made our batteries last ten times as long. This was good for keeping packs light on long trips, and saving cash on batteries.

Now, several generations down the line, we get to be more picky about features – spot and flood beams, dimmable modes, red, green, blue color LEDs, there are more options then most know what to do with.

So we were picky with the LEDS we chose for the Helix series. We tested a bunch. One thing we agreed upon: the cool blue LED would be the wrong way to go. They work great in a high performance headlamp, but they’re too harsh in a lantern that sits among a family or a group of friends. As such, we are using a warm white LED that’s easy on the eyes and still lights up camp very nicely.

We appreciate the details, and we hope that you do too.

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July 9, 2015

Story Swap: Tales from the Sharp End

Our friends from the Philly Chapter of the American Alpine Club invited us down to Art Dept. for their first ever Story Swap. The Narragansett was cold, the pizza was delicious, and the stories were a riot. Friction Labs let everyone know that they use scienc to make their chalk – just like we do when developing our lights! Perhaps we should take a cue from them and experiment with adding some unicorn dust to our secret formula. There was plenty of love for PTEC in the room, and we did our best to reciprocate with lights for presenters and winners of feats of strength. We’re looking forward to the next time!

Alex and Mike set up

Art Dept.

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Beer and Pizza

Presenters discussing ... climbing?

Making connections. That's that this is about.

Narragansett told us to drink their beer.

Swag from American Alpine Club and Princeton Tec.

Style tips

The plan

The space, which was packed during Story Swap.

The goal was to make sure that everybody left with something.

Movies and photos ready to go on the projector. Sweet hoodie.

Rollie contest! Winner takes home a PTEC light!

Emily, who so graciously welcomed everybody into Art Dept. for the event.

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July 1, 2015

Princeton Tec Lanterns Now Available

You may have heard – we designed some pretty cool lanterns. Oh, you want proof that they work well? That’s a lot of light from an LED lantern that fits in your hand! Check em out on our site: http://princetontec.com/helix-basecamp

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June 25, 2015

Bluetooth Lanterns, Who Needs ‘Em?

“I’ll just get up and turn the damn thing on and off,” you say.

That’s fine. There are controls on all of the lanterns in our Helix line: Backcountry, Basecamp, Rechargeable and Bluetooth. Easy.

However, at our core, Princeton Tec is an engineering company. A company that applies technology to solve problems to make life safer and easier. We’ve been thinking that way since 1975.

The reality is that Bluetooth is pretty common these days – industry estimates say there will be around five billion Bluetooth devices by 2018. We’re adding to that number.

Sure, you don’t need the Bluetooth version of the Helix Basecamp lantern. But trust us, it is pretty cool. See, the Helix lanterns don’t have to sit on the table (rock, ground, or whatever you’re using as a table). We designed them to hang up in your tent, in a shelter on the trail, from the rafters of your cabin and so on. In those cases, it’s pretty handy to have the option to control your lantern remotely. Likewise, when you get all settled into your sleeping bag, and then realize that somebody left the lantern on, you can turn it off without climbing over people and going through the whole process of getting cozy again.

There are a ton of other times when you’ll appreciate this nifty technology – use your imagination. Or don’t. But whatever you do, make sure you score one of the Helix lantern for your next trip, or BBQ. Trust us, you’ll like it.

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June 10, 2015

The Best Way to Prep for Great Divide Race

PT Eric Morton just recently finished a 13,000 mile/20 month bicycle tour of the US. He has been interested in racing the 2,745 mile Great Divide route for some time. He figured what better time than the present, when his body is conditioned to long days in the saddle, to take a shot at the race. He is currently working at a bike shop in Moab, UT and using the local terrain to prepare for the Great Divide race this June. What does one do after seeing so much of the US under their own power?

EM It’s hard to say. Being on the road for that long kinda puts you in constant wanderlust mode. It’s hard to get back into “the real world” and the “9-5″. Luckily I get to work in an industry I love (bicycles & the outdoors). Being on a trip this long definitely makes you more humble, and a lot stronger (both physically and mentally). I do want to keep travelling; and have plans to continue to do so while working in my desired industry. Long term plans: I hope to eventually open my own hostel/bike shop.

PT What led you to long distance cycling? Did you begin with / are you into any other sports?

EM I’ve always been into cycling. (About 12 years now) Working in shops in Charleston, SC, I’ve gotten to meet and even host a few cycle tourers. I always wanted to do an east to west on the trans am route. But every year was something else in the way; bills, new job, etc. So when I finally got the opportunity; I took it. I originally thought I was going to be able to finish my tour in a year. But the more I toured; the more I wanted to see. And since all I needed to do was feed myself and buy supplies; I kept the tour going, knocking off more and more of my traveller’s bucket list. I would stop here and there to find another job, then keep going.

PT Did you have an idea of what might come next when you began Epic Tour?

EM Not really. Like I said; I thought this tour would be a year tops. But I’m super stoked at how much more “epic tour” became. I’ve learned SO much on this tour than I could have even imagined. And I’ve more than doubled my knowledge in the bike/outdoor industry by having the opportunity to work with and learn from companies all over the country.

PT Care to share an important moment from the tour? Personally transformative, reinforces faith that humanity isn’t doomed, really made you laugh, met someone who’s become an important part of your life etc.

EM Wow. More moments than I can even tell right now!
The everyday kindness of people I’ve never met definitely reinforces my faith in humanity.
So many moments that are laugh worthy too!
And most of all; there is a whole new group of people that are super important parts of my life now! Not to mention being able to reconnect with old friends/family across the country, who are now closer than ever.

PT How long have you typically stayed each time you stopped in a city to take a break and earn some cash?

EM On average, about a month or two. But the stops have varied from two weeks to three months. It always depended on how hard it was to find work, how much I needed to earn, and/or how much there was to see and do in the areas I’ve stopped.

PT Is stealth camping the way to go, or more of a means to make the whole thing work?

EM Stealth camping was harder in some areas more than others. I love camping and staying outdoors. But the east coast was much more limited. West of the Mississippi became a lot easier to stealth camp. Also; stealth camping becomes necessary when you start to add up the cost of paying for campgrounds and parks all the time. ($5-25 a night adds up real quick when you camp most of the time) warmshowers.org was a huge help too; such a large network of fellow cyclists across the country who are more than happy to accommodate another cyclist for a night or two.

PT Any idea what’s coming up after the Divide?

EM First off; coming back to Moab to regroup. Earn some more money, pay off the gear I had to accumulate for the Divide, continue to help my new job finish off the season, and start to plan the next adventure.
I’m already looking at new endurance events and tours to do soon :)

PT We won’t geek out too much about bike gear, and besides you’re still getting that dialed. We’ll just have to wait until after to ask what’s still in your bags! However, what’s the move for lighting on this trip?

EM Apex Extreme up front and a Swerve in the back!

If you can offer Eric some support as he begins his next journey, check out his gofundme page here: http://www.gofundme.com/rb142s

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June 4, 2015

Gear for a Year

Technical outdoor apparel and gear—something we all lust after, treasure, and enjoy putting through the rigors on our latest adventures. We all have our favorite garments and can’t-live-without pieces of technical gear, but what if you were forced to whittle down your prized possessions to fit within the confines of just 40 liters of carrying capacity? Not a challenge you may be faced with on a regular basis, but certainly one worthy of merit. So what would make your cut for fueling your adventures for a full calendar year or more? It just has to fit into the confines of 40 liters, or in my case a few small panniers and bikepacking frame bags.

I’ve been traveling abroad by bike since last July carrying everything I need to survive in a variety of climates, with the added challenge of toting along two mobile offices and everything required for my wife and I to conduct business remotely…very remotely. Here is a bird’s eye view of what that looks like:

While traveling over nine months through more than 16 countries so far, we’ve had the opportunity to see the variety and quality of gear offered around the globe, making us pretty proud of the fine equipment that is found, and even produced here in the states. Here are some highlights of our American-made gear that has been representing well abroad:

image from Bishkek airport of gear spread

Princeton Tec Vizz – 165 lumen spot beam, dimmable area light, and red LEDs take care of everything from stealth wild camping to reaching your daily destination after the sun goes down.

Ibex wool shirts and fingerless wool gloves – Believe it or not you can travel quite a long time with two shirts, so long as they’re wool. Tee for cycling and camping, button down for business and leisure. Fingerless wool gloves make cycling and camp duties far more pleasurable when there is more than a nip in the air.

Delorme inReach SE – This incredibly useful device serves as a tracker for friends and family, an always reachable method of communication for colleagues, and an emergency SOS aid should immediate evacuation be required.

Cascade Designs – When it comes to a good night’s sleep in a lightweight package it’s hard to beat the Therm-a-rest Neo Air Trekker, which is why we are traveling with two of them. For filtering larger quantities of water, the Platypus Gravity Works does the job nicely.

Revelate Designs Frame Bags – For lightweight adventure travel by bike, there is no better system. We’re hauling our prized possessions in a frame bag, two Viscacha seat bags, and two Sweetroll handlebar bags.

Point6 – Seeing a theme here? Merino wool is unbeatable for extended backcountry travel. One pair of short and one pair of high Point6 wool socks provides comfort in a large range of temperatures.

Old Man Mountain rack – A lightweight and rugged American-made solution for adding a rack to nearly any frame design. In our case allowing us to expand our lightweight bikepacking setup to accommodate business requirements on the road.

Greenlite Heavy Industries – These schoeler softshell shorts are great on the bike and off, and best of all handmade in Seattle.

Now it’s your chance: post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to tell us what makes your cut for gear for a year within 40 liters with #PTEC40.

-Justin

PTEC Bike (Twitter)

Stuck_in_Motion (Instagram)

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May 5, 2015

Miners and Minors

PTEC builds lights for all types of adventure, whether that means getting outside, doing work, or growing a family. We hope that you’re enjoying your adventure. Thanks for sharing, Peter. Enjoy that Vizz headlamp, and have fun with the new addition to your family!

  

“My wife captured this candid moment yesterday. It really got me thinking, Princeton Tec headlamps can be used for both miners, and minors. Enjoying the product, I look forward to other uses and other Princeton Tec products.”

-Peter, Alameda, CA

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April 12, 2015

New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail

Princeton Tec ambassadors Justin and Patrice La Vigne recently completed their thru hike of New Zealand’s 3000+ kilometer Te Araroa Trail in 123 days. They endured all types of weather, terrain and logistical challenges to conquer this fairly new trail, but with the Princeton Tec Vizz to light up their way, they were ready to cruise. Read more about their adventures at www.wanderinglavignes.blogspot.com and see pictures at www.instagram.com/patricejustin.

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March 27, 2015

Habits and Real Adventures

You must know who JayP is by now. Dude is a legendary long-distance cyclist, setting and resetting records on rides including Great Divide, Arrowhead and Iditarod Trail Invitational. Even taking a shot at the RAAM route self-supported because he’s a proper badass. He’s from our home state, NJ, and while he moved west for bigger adventures in wider open spaces, he’s still in touch with us, and a big fan of PTEC lights for … hmm … eight or ten years at least.

Jay sent me an email the other day, confirming that his trusty combination of PTEC Apex, EOS Bike, Swerve and Fuel headlamps yet again lit the way for this year’s Iditarod. Minus 40 degrees for a week straight. You really have to give props to everybody who went for it in those conditions. No matter where they placed. Even if they had a DNF, they had the drive to get out there, give it a go, and learn a whole lot about themselves. I digress.

Salsa Cycles, one of JayP’s biggest sponsors, has been cranking out some great products and some cool marketing to support their focus: Adventure by Bike. Look closely in this screen capture from a recent video – JayP is wearing his signature Rasta PTEC Fuel headlamp. I bring this up to call out the detail that this headlamp is “upside down.”

JayP has been rocking an Apex headlamp pretty much since they came out. The power buttons are on the bottom. I can’t tell you why, that’s just the way it is. The light was designed before I even thought about becoming a Princeton Tec employee. Anyway, in JayP’s mind, the power button on a headlamp goes on the bottom, Apex or Fuel. He’s got his headstrap on right side up, so that won’t be driving our graphic designer nuts. He designs the headstrap graphics, and he takes pride in his work.

There is no wrong way. The Fuel works whichever way. The new Sync works whichever way too – right or left handed. So there you go – you have options, and you don’t even have to void your warranty. But please, whatever you do, make sure your headstrap is right side up if there is a chance of somebody taking your photo. Otherwise, our graphic designer will go nuts if he sees you with an upside down headstrap.

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Hitting the road. That’s what this is all about.

 

Life at PT sure is interesting, but it’s what happens when we saddle up and head out of Bordentown that fuels our passion and provides inspiration. Our travels present the opportunity to explore new places, see old friends, meet strangers that grow into old friends, and share our enthusiasm for the outdoors. www.livingonthedash.com is our outlet to share these experiences.

 

Sit back, enjoy and spread the love.