SNEWS best outdoor reads from around the web

The SNEWS team loves to read, and we’ve put together a list of articles and blog posts that caught our attention. In case you missed them, this week’s selections include a feature about The North Face’s history and another about a solar-powered “tent.” Check them out!
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What did the SNEWS team learn this week that other outdoor industry insiders might find interesting? Well, read on to find out.

  • Ever wonder how The North Face evolved from a small, high-end, ski and camping store in San Francisco in 1966 to the $1.5 billion brand it is today under VF Corp? The San Francisco Chronicle has the roller coaster story, including the now hard-to-imagine fact that TNF almost went bankrupt 12 years ago.
  • Perhaps specialty outdoor retailers should function more like restaurants and ask for tips. They’d probably fare well with customers, who told Consumer Reports that they're more satisfied and happy (84 percent) with their experience at independent and specialty outdoor shops, versus their satisfaction (62 percent) at sporting goods chain stores. Click here for the results and more from the survey.
  • This Wired article said a particular solar tent contraption makes “Roughing it a little less rough” — but after looking at the thing (which isn’t really a tent at all), we don’t think playing in it could be considered roughing it at all. But it sure is cool, with solar-powered panels that supply electricity to charge beloved gadgets, give off light and heat up water. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. Ultralight backpacking be damned, this thing is all about luxury.
  • When we were growing up, mom would load up the van with her cast-iron skillets to cook a homemade breakfast over the fire. This News Herald article took us back to those days. The article, which offers tips and tricks to make camping easier on families, suggests packing Dutch ovens, leather gloves and empty pill bottles to store small things so they don’t get lost at camp. 
  • First Descents coordinates outdoor adventures for young adults with cancer, and now there are also two camp programs in Michigan offered through the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division, for children who are cancer survivors. This Click On Detroit post notes there are two options for attendees: Young Camper’s Day, a one-day program for children ages 4 to 6, and Camp Catch a Rainbow, a week-long stay for children ages 7 to 15. Volunteers are still needed, medical and nonmedical, so click here to find out how to become one.
  • SNEWS recently told you the record-warm March left retailers scrambling to stock shelves with spring and summer gear, and in North Dakota, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is gearing up to open a few local campgrounds about a month earlier than usual. Normally, according to this Bismarck Tribune article, the campgrounds open on Memorial Day. This year, however, some will open on May 1. So keep scrambling, Peace Garden State retailers.
  • We at SNEWS like to sing our own praises sometimes (OK, OK, all the time), so we know where Tennessee is coming from in this Washington Times article, in which representatives from the state’s Department of Tourist Development rave about all the amazing outdoor adventures to be had in the state.
  • This Rockford Register Start article will bring happiness to anybody who has ever wanted to rent a cabin in the Cook County Forest Preserve — currently banned because of unruly campers who trashed the place in the 1920s. Cook County officials now aim to reopen the area. 
  • We know many of you out in Washington State get your adventure on pretty much all the time, so why not be featured in the Tri-City Herald? This brief in the paper calls on you to submit high-resolution photos of your outdoor adventures with a description, location and date when the picture was taken here.

Have you read anything interesting you'd like to share with us? Maybe we'll include it next week's column with a little shout-out to whoever sent it to us. Send a link to the story with the subject line "SNEWS Reads" to be considered.

--Compiled by Ana Trujilloand David Clucas

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