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Lake Julian Festival of Lights

Time spent with family creating lasting memories is what the holiday season is all about. Lake Julian’s 17th annual Festival of Lights is a local favorite with games, crafts, s’mores, and an impressive collections of 50 animated light displays. Drive through tickets are $10 per passenger vehicle at the gate, but stop in Frugal Backpacker or any Diamond Brand Outdoors location to purchase advance tickets for just $7 per vehicle (excludes large vans, motor coaches, and buses). The park is open nightly from 6:00-9:00 p.m. through December 23.

Your ticket purchase also helps the community. 20% of proceeds are donated to Buncombe County Special Olympics, while the remaining income is reinvested by Buncombe County Recreation Services to enhance the Festival of Lights for the following year. Be sure to add this magical journey to your holiday bucket list. Watch the lights twinkle over the lake and turn on your favorite yuletide tunes!

More about Lake Julian (from Romantic Asheville)
Lake Julian Park is a family recreational facility located on the banks of 300 acre Lake Julian in Arden. The park offers picnicking, boating, fishing, a playground, outdoor games, and special events. Lake Julian has an abundance of bass, catfish, brim, crappie, and imported Tilapia. Because Lake Julian is used as a cooling agent for Progress Energy the lake is “thermal.” Some of the best fishing occurs from October through March. Six picnic shelters are available for rent at Lake Julian Park. In addition to the shelters, many tables and grills are available at no charge on a first-come first-served basis.

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Feature image provided by Buncombe County Recreation Services

Share the Frugie Love

We think our frugal-loving friends are pretty awesome! We’re showing some love to all of you frugies with exclusive access to early holiday deals. Through November 22, save 40% on the men’s and women’s apparel sample, footwear, and gear picks of your choice. Just show us the coupons below.

You can receive special offers by email when you join our newsletter. You can also score 20% off any item when you donate a gently-used coat before December 24.

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One category discount per customer (men’s sample clothing, women’s sample clothing, pack or sleeping bag, and footwear). Coupons may not be combined with any other offers. Valid on regular priced items only and some exclusions may apply. No rainchecks; sizes and colors are limited. Socks and footwear accessories excluded.

Bundle Up for Good Coat Drive 2017

Last year, you helped us get over 200 coats to those in our community who need them most. This year, we’ve set a goal of 300 coats for Eblen Charities and you can score a discount for doing good.

November 12-December 24, you’ll receive 20% off an item for bringing in a gently used coat. (There’s a limit of one discount per person during the length of this promotion.) You can drop off a coat at Frugal Backpacker or either Diamond Brand location. You’ll only be able to use the discount on one item, but if you’d like to bring in multiple coats during the drive, that’s awesome! We’re also not allowed to discount certain items like gift cards.

Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach extends throughout the counties of Western North Carolina and through its numerous programs has helped thousands upon thousand of families each year with medical and emergency assistance through more than 70 programs yearly throughout the region.

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Free $10 Gear Card When You Purchases $50

Buying gift cards for friends and family members? Give a personal, thoughtful gift of adventure and get a treat for yourself in the process!

Whether you’ve got someone on your list who’s hard to shop for or you want to keep some extra gifts on hand just in case, Frugal Backpacker gift cards are excellent choices. Through December 24, get a free bonus $10 gear card when you purchase $50 in gift cards at Frugal Backpacker or Diamond Brand Outdoors. The bonus gear card can be used for anything in stock, December 26-January 31. There’s no limit on how many bonus gear cards you can earn!

People enjoy receiving gift cards because they get to choose their own gift, ensuring they’ll think of you each time they use their new vest, hiking shoes, or tent. Gift cards never expire and can be used at Frugal Backpacker or any Diamond Brand Outdoors location. A Frugal Backpacker gift card is the gift of memories and experiences that last for years — from enjoying a campfire with friends in December, camping with family in March, lounging in a hammock on a sunny day in June, or hitting the trails in September.

If you’re looking for a bulk gift card purchase, we offer a discount of 20%-30% depending on the total purchase. Just call (828) 209-1530 or stop in for more information.

Gift cards can also be purchased online, but the free bonus $10 gear card offer is only available in stores.

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Donate Your Eclipse Glasses

As Monday’s total solar eclipse passed through Western North Carolina, it offered a rare moment for friends and families to collectively enjoy an unique outdoors experience. In the days leading up to the big event, eclipse glasses were the hottest item in town. Now that the event has passed, we’re collecting your used eclipse glasses and donating them to Astronomers Without Borders and local schools. The glasses do not need to be those sold by Frugal Backpacker.

Bring in your solar eclipse glasses by Monday, August 28, and we’ll give you a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $20 or more. Astronomers Without Borders has announced a program to collect the used glasses and distribute them to schools in South American and parts of Asia, which will experience their own eclipses in 2019.

Since we’re local, we’re also working with local school systems interested in used glasses for astronomy activities and experiments. If you’re an interested local educator, shoot us an email.

The lenses on eclipse glasses expire after three years, meaning they’re not safe to use when the next solar eclipse moves through eastern Canada, the central United States, and part of Mexico in 2024. Many locals are framing or preserving them as souvenirs of the celestial experience. Paper frames can be recycled, but you’ll need to remove the lenses. Specialty recyclers like camera stores may accept solar filters for recycling. Glasses with plastic frames are likely not recyclable.

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Your Total Solar Eclipse Checklist

Your opportunity to experience a rare total solar eclipse in western North Carolina arrives on Monday, August 21. To make sure you’re prepared and packed for totality, the experts at Frugal Backpacker have assembled this helpful checklist. For more on what to expect, check out Everything You Need to Know About August’s Total Solar Eclipse.

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this checklist.

What to Do Now for the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Select the best location and route for viewing the eclipse based on accessibility, weather forecast, and the time of day the path of totality will pass through the area. Many prime viewing spots require tickets or have a capacity cap in place for the day, so do your homework.
  • Select an alternate location and route. 64,000 tourists are expected to visit the mountains for the eclipse.
  • Book lodging close to your primary viewing location. Hotel rooms, campsites, and cabins are going fast!
  • Build your total solar eclipse viewing kit. (See the bottom of this post for a checklist.)
  • Purchase your eclipse viewing glasses at Diamond Brand Outdoors. We’ve ordered a lot, but they’re going fast!
  • Use an app, website, or book to find out which bright stars and planets you can expect to see during the totality, impressing your friends and kids!

What to Do the Week of the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Test all of your equipment by doing a “dry run.” Nothing’s worse than having a faulty camera when the big event gets underway!
  • Pack your total solar eclipse viewing kit and camping kit.
  • Review the eclipse timing and weather forecasts for your primary and alternate viewing locations.

What to Do the Day of the Total Solar Eclipse

  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Leave early for your viewing location.
  • Claim your spot by setting up chairs and viewing equipment, but remember to be a good neighbor so others may enjoy the experience.
  • Test your equipment.
  • Enjoy the day with your friends and family. The time of totality will be brief, but the experience leading up and following the first total solar eclipse in western North Carolina since 1506 will lead to storied memories for years to come.

Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Kit Checklist

  • WNC + NATIONAL PARK MAPS: Cell towers will likely be overloaded, so don’t rely on an app.
  • ECLIPSE VIEWING GLASSES: You must have these for direct solar viewing. They’re inexpensive and available now.
  • HAT: To protect your head from the sun while you wait for the main event.
  • SUNGLASSES: NOT to look at the sun, but to cut down on the glare when you’re looking everywhere else.
  • PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER: Make sure you’ll be able to document the day through photos and videos.
  • CAMPING CHAIRS + TABLES: Get yourself a chance to stake your claim to watch and rest after the excitement!
  • BLANKETS: No matter where you’re watching, blankets keep things cleaner. Bring more than you think you need.
  • COOLER: You’ll likely get to your viewing area hours before the eclipse. Drinks, lunch, and snacks are a must!
  • DRINKWARE + WATER BOTTLES: Insulated cups and tumblers keep your drinks cold (or hot), don’t sweat, and are reusable.
  • HEADLAMP OR FLASHLIGHT: Since you’ll be looking up, this is primarily for emergencies. Use the red setting instead of white.
  • COMPASS: There’s plenty of information online that will tell you exactly where to look as totality begins.
  • CAMERA: This is one of the times you may want a nicer camera than you’ll find on your phone.
  • CELL PHONE: Coverage may be too spotty for weather and GPS, but your clock and camera will still work.
  • WATER: Always stay hydrated, whether the sun is shining or not.
  • SUNSCREEN: Always a good idea when you’ll be outside for any period of time.
  • INSECT REPELLENT: Another good idea anytime you’re heading into the outdoors.
  • OUTDOOR GAMES: Help pass the time and enjoy some relaxation with friends and family.
  • HAMMOCK: If you’ve got space to set up an ENO hammock or WindPouch, laying down is a great way to watch.
  • ELECTRICAL TAPE: Some folks don’t know how to turn off their camera’s flash. Be prepared to help them out.
  • CAMPING KIT (OPTIONAL): Traveling the day before or staying overnight after the eclipse helps avoid traffic and can be fun!
    • TENT
    • SLEEPING BAG FOR EACH CAMPER
    • LANTERN
    • SLEEPING PAD FOR EACH CAMPER
    • PILLOWS
    • TARPS
    • STOVE + FUEL
    • MATCHES
    • FRYING PAN + POT
    • CUTTING BOARD + KNIFE
    • SPONGE, SOAP, + BIN FOR WASHING DISHES
    • PAPER TOWELS
    • FIREWOOD (IF ALLOWED)
    • ROASTING STICKS FOR S’MORES + HOT DOGS
    • BEAR KEG
    • ICE
    • TRASH BAGS
    • FIRST AID KIT
    • CORKSCREW

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Win a Pair of KEEN Shoes, Sandals, or Boots

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.

KEEN is one of our favorite outdoor brands. Not only do they make pioneering, quality footwear, they also believe we should all live and work monumental every day. Like other Going Further brands, KEEN strives to reduce the company’s impact on the environment, protect the places where we play, and give back to communities in need.

We’ve partnered with KEEN to give away a pair of shoes in August. You can choose from any pair in stock at Frugal Backpacker orDiamond Brand Outdoors. You can also chat with one of their experts at the Asheville Outdoor Show on September 17 to learn their evolving story, from the iconic Newport sandal to the Terradora hiker.

Introducing KEEN Terradora

From off-the-grid trails to urban hiking on city streets, women on a journey know that the right shoe makes all the difference. That’s why our Terradora shoe has an uncompromising focus on fit. It’s about biomechanics, and an evolution in women-specific performance footwear. And with the streamlined design, progressive style and color palette, it pairs as well with jeans as it does with technical outerwear.

  • WOMEN’S-SPECIFIC FIT

    Designed for a woman’s foot, with a glove-like fit and a cushioned panel to take pressure off the Achilles.

  • HILL PERFORMANCE

    Get the best of both worlds: efficiency and speed on uphill climbs, cushion and protection on the way back down.

  • IMMEDIATE COMFORT

    Lightweight, flexible construction and a lower collar height encourage freedom of movement without sacrificing support.

Win Passes to The Gorge in Saluda, NC

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. This month, we’ve got an awesome package from two western North Carolina Originals: The Gorge and WNCW.

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Touted as “America’s steepest, fastest” zipline canopy tour, The Gorge offers 11 lines spanning over one mile that descend 1,100 vertical feet for a wild ride. It’s a great view of North Carolina’s Green River Gorge, high above the treetops. Like Diamond Brand Outdoors (our parent company), The Gorge was voted Best of the Blue Ridge by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.

You’ll also receive of a pair of WNCW Gear Packages: an insulated string bag, handmade mug, and earbuds!

On Oct. 13, 1989, radio station WNCW, whose call letters stand for Western North Carolina Window, first signed on the air as a a public radio station “for everyone.” Since that time, the station has become synonymous with the region it covers, programming a variety of music — folk, blues, jazz, reggae, Celtic, world, rock, bluegrass, indie — and local and National Public Radio affiliated news. It provides distinctive programming that transcends cultural, educational, or socioeconomic differences.

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Nearly 50% Off Kelty Tents

FLASH SALE: Save big on the Kelty Gunnison family of tents on Friday, May 5!

For a limited time, score the Kelty Gunnison 1.3, 2.3, 3.3, or 4.3 for nearly 50% off MSRP. The Kelty Gunnison family of tents offer ample space and great design that perform like a champ in the backcountry or while car camping. Ready to take on three seasons, these tents offer the convenience of compact folding poles along with a footprint that prevents wear. Featuring two D-style doors with vestibules for easy entry, innovative hug clips for simple setup, and door storage pockets to hold the gear you need fast, sleeping out with a friend will be twice the good times. (The first number following the tent refers to the number of people it can fit, hiwle the second indicates it’s a three season tent.)

  • Kelty Gunnison 1.3 NOW $89 (was $169.95)
  • Kelty Gunnison 3.3 NOW $129 (was $249.95)
  • Kelty Gunnison 4.3 NOW $150 (was $289.95)

Features:

  • Backpack friendly compact folding poles
  • Roll top cube carry bag
  • Easy set up
  • Free standing
  • Kelty hug clip
  • Easy entry D door
  • Color coded clip and fly attachment
  • Fully seam taped construction
  • Internal storage pockets
  • Gearloft loops
  • Awning vestibule
  • Door storage pockets
  • Footprint included

backpacking_highalpine_fmarmsaterphoto_ex9_17-0623

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Events

Enjoy the Outdoors — Even in Winter

Let’s face it — cold weather and snow make us want to stay indoors, perhaps under a cozy quilt with a warm beverage. We see plenty of mild days during a WNC winter, offering plenty of possibilities for enjoying the outdoors during January, February, and March.

Nate O. will share tips and tricks for making the most of a winter hike, camping, or just heading out for an adventure close to home. The season brings lots of pluses from no insects, fewer crowds, and the majesty of frozen waterfalls and needle ice.

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Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome at this free event.

Women’s Backpacking Basics

Is your New Year’s resolution to enjoy the outdoors more? Start 2018 off on the right foot!

From pack fit to shoes and hiking clothes made specifically for women, it’s never been a better time to hit the trail with a group of girlfriends. Learn what to bring and (more importantly) what not to bring when setting out on a day, weekend, or thru hike. This clinic will include ideas on how to lighten your pack, maintaining gear on the trail, and information on favorite area trails. Feel free to bring your pack for a “shakedown” by backpacking expert Julie S.

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Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome at this free event.

Last Minute Gift Ideas + Savings

It’s December 21. Do you know where your gift list is? Even the most organized among us can lose track of time during the holiday madness of parties, school events, and the stress of finding the perfect gift for those most special. Join us for a look at unique gifts and last minute special buys for Christmas.

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Kids and well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome.

Kids’ H2O Bottle Decorating Party

December 16 is a big day for kids. Winter break (and free time) is right around the corner. Let them channel that energy into a creative project while you pick up some last minute gifts. We’ll provide all of the supplies except for the water bottle. Bring your own or purchase one of ours starting around $11.

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Well-behaved pets with owner on leash are welcome in the store, but we ask that they stay out of the decorating zone.