Water Bottle

Among all the water bottles on the shelf at Triathlete Sports in water bottleBangor, I checked them all and was glad to find a Made in the USA, BPA free one that fits great in my bike.


I think LL Bean sells the same one, and you can probably get it lots of places. I got it in blue and went back for a 2nd one that’s clear. It is a little tricky to clean, so you may need a brush with a handle, but I think that’s the case with many water bottles. A little bleach rinse every once in a while seems to work great.


Bike shorts

Getting back on the road bike after a winter without riding means one thing: a sore saddle.

I decided to invest in bike shorts, lovely padded pants that cushion your tush when you’re on the bike seat.

I found Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear online and ordered a pair. http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/ They manufacture in PA.IMG_6561

I went for the All American Women’s Bike Short– made in the USA. It was even on sale.

I really like the shorts, they are comfortable and feel great on long rides. They don’t have any uncomfortable seems. They are well made. I ordered size large and I am glad I did, they are pretty short.

Not all of their products are made in the USA but a majority are. They are well labeled on their website so you can see which of their gear is American made.

Hunting cap

Another Made in the USA gift to share with the world. My friend Kate found this amazing blaze orange classic wool hunting cap for me for my birthday as a gift from her and Matt. It’s amazing.

It is made by Stormy Kromer in Ironwood, Michigan.

Since Kate and Nicola and I were scheduled for a women’s deer hunting weekend the week after my birthday, the timing was perfect and it kept me warm while we sat in the woods for two days waiting for deer.

We saw lots of does but did not get a shot off. Maybe next year!

Thank you so much, Kate and Matt!




Winter coat

I am a lucky girl and my mom got me a new warm coat for my birthday last month. I needed something warm and sturdy to wear carrying in firewood and such chores that other coats can’t handle.

Carhartt makes a few of their coats in the USA, union made by UFCW (my very union!)


I picked light brown but they have black, blue, etc. This one is lined and has a hood, it’s very warm. It is men’s sizes only on this coat, but the small fits great with room for layers underneath. The waist and arm cuffs are tight and cozy.

Luckily this arrived in the mail the day before a blizzard, during the Get Out the Vote effort on the election, so the timing was perfect. So I can say I have tested it and the flannel lining is amazing and warm.

Thanks, mom!


Camping gear: FOOD

This past weekend Andy and I and two friends hiked into Russell Pond in Baxter State Park. It’s 7+ miles in, and so every ounce on the back counts. No fancy meals.

We picked up the Good to Go dehydrated camping meals we saw by chance at Eastern Mountain Sports and decided to try them.

Made right in Maine (Kittery) these are designed for camping. You just add boiling water. The ingredients list is not scary- it’s all real food. Right now they make three entrees to choose from. (They are all vegetarian)

We loved these meals and they were super easy and light. They were yummy and made a bunch of food- two generous servings per packet.

Smoked Three Bean Chili was very tasty and satisfying.  We actually hiked in some pre-cooked chicken sausage to throw in with it ince we had this on our first night and we could splurge on one meal with perishable food.

Herbed Mushroom Risotto was also delicious. We added pepper, and also recommend 2 cups of boiling water instead of the 2.5 cups listed on the directions.

The best of the three was the Thai Curry– spicy and so delicious.  Loaded with veggies and flavor and coconut milk.

I am definitely going to eat these again and recommend them widely! Great to see a Maine company getting into this market and improving it.

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Camping gear: sleeping mats and pillows

I have been investing in good camping gear over the past few years, since camping is one of my favorite activities.

My sleeping mat is made by Therm-a-Rest and was made in the USA. Mine is a few years old, but I believe many are still made in the USA while some of their products are made in Ireland.

I also invested in Therm-a-Rest pillows that are made in the USA. These fold down into small sacks but poof out to make decent pillows. These two items do the trick for backpacking but also getting a good night’s sleep.

I got both my mat and the pillow from the wonderful folks at Epic Sports in Bangor, my favorite outdoor gear story. Brad Ryder and his crew at Epic Sports are knowledgeable and helpful and they have a huge selection of outdoor gear for all sports and activities.

Andy’s sleeping mat had a hole in it, so he was looking for one a few months ago when we stopped at Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) in Portland.   It turns out EMS makes their own brand of sleeping mats that are made in the USA. It’s the “Siesta” sleeping pad.  He is a handful of camping trips in with it so far and he likes it. http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=29113206

Made in the USA sleeping mats and pillows for this camping crew

Made in the USA sleeping mats and pillows for this camping crew




A couple years ago I bought a used Old Town canoe, and then needed paddles of course.  I knew just where to go.

Shaw and Tenney has been making canoe paddles in Maine since 1858. Their shop is in Orono, just down the street from where I lived for 3 years, on the banks of the Penobscot River. They make beautiful paddles.

I went right to the store in person and bought paddles that were seconds, that had some tiny flaw and therefore were discounted in price. The paddles are not cheap but you are getting a handcrafted product that will last a lifetime.  My friend Sam makes them himself, in fact.

Here we are putting the Shaw and Tenney paddles to use at Little Falls on the St. Croix River last summer:



Last summer I knew I needed a good hat. My friend Nicola had been styling broad rimmed hat the summer before on a kayaking day on Moosehead Lake, and I was inspired by her to wear one as well.

I bought this great hat! Here I am wearing it at Bigney Cove on Moosehead Lake.



It’s made by Henschel hats, and it’s called the Aussie Mesh Crushable Hat. This is a good hat for me because I tend to crush things.

I bought it from a hat website called Village Hat Shop, which sells many brands. From what I can tell all the Henschel Hats of which there are many, are made in the USA.

I wore it all the time last summer.  A double header — less sunburn AND made in the USA. You can’t go wrong.



I had an LL Bean headlamp for several years but it never worked well. The end would fall off, and it would often not turn on at all until I whacked it a few times.  Finally, the end fell off and I couldn’t find it, and so it was time.

I went online and found Princeton Tec. They make their headlamps in the U.S., in New Jersey. According to this article, 90% of their product is made in the U.S.

headlampI got the “Princeton Tec Remix Headlight Black with Red” and we went on our inaugural trip to Baxter State Park in March. It has multiple settings including red which is great.