Win a Kelty Pack + Hiking Poles

We hear people like free stuff so we’re giving away more of it this year! Make sure you’re signed up for our super duper fly emails to make sure you don’t miss any contests.

Kelty was one of the first companies to produce an external-frame backpack designed specifically for civilian use, inventing the aluminum-framed backpack in the process. Enter to win a Redtail 27 Daypack and Range 2.0 Trekking Poles.

Kelty Redtail 27 Daypack

The Redtail 27 is a versatile daypack that goes from work to play with ease. Thoughtful front pocket organization and a top stash pocket keeps all your must-haves exactly where you want them, and the dual-use sleeve can carry a laptop or hydration reservoir (not included). You’ll stay comfortable with the HexMesh back panel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt on this all-around pack.

Kelty Range 2.0 Trekking Poles

Going downhill doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With a pair of Range Poles to navigate the toughest terrain, it’s not. Made from lightweight aluminum and designed with anti-shock spring technology, you can easily ascend and descend rugged trails stress-free. All-weather grips made of cork & EVA will prevent you from slipping in changing conditions and keep your knees happy along the way.

3 Tips for the Stargazing Beginner

Photo: Jack Schroeder

Western North Carolina is renowned as a haven of outdoor beauty. Our night skies are no exception; Asheville’s relatively low level of light pollution and easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway make it an ideal spot for seeking fantastic views of the night sky.

If you’re looking to expand your outdoor hobbies, give stargazing a go. It’s a low-key way to enjoy our outdoor paradise, is equally fun solo or with a group, can be enjoyed regardless of your fitness level, and doesn’t require a large investment to try.

Get started frugally. You don’t have to shell out big bucks for a fancy telescope to enjoy stargazing. In fact, you can see objects up to 2.5 million lightyears away without any equipment at all. To get started with minimal investment, purchase a star chart (great options are available for under $20) and head to a dark spot on the Parkway (check out some of our fav spots below). You’ll be surprised at what you can see!

Get help from experts. Most amateur astronomers are enthusiastic about their passion and happy to help new comers. Join one of the group star gazes hosted by Astronomy Club of Asheville or one of the many public events hosted by UNCA at the Lookout Observatory. This can be a great way to learn more about what you’re observing and make connections.

Ready for a better view? You can purchase an excellent pair of binoculars for a much smaller investment than a mediocre telescope and their versatility and ease of operation make them ideal for beginners. Added bonus, they’re a breeze to throw in your pack for incredible views on a nighttime hike.

Great Places to Go:

Blue Ridge Star Park and Observatory– Spruce Pine, NC Recognized by the International Dark Sky Association as a dark-sky place.

Mt. Pisgah Trailhead (Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407.6)

Stoney Bald Overlook (Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 402.6)

Tanbark Ridge Overlook (Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 376.7)

Craggy Dome Overlook (Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364.1)

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