March 2016

Wednesday’s Featured Product: Darn Tough Socks

Treat your feet right with this Wednesday’s Featured Product: Darn Tough Socks. One part awesome, all parts wool, and with a lifetime guarantee to top it all off, and these could potentially be the last socks you’ll ever need to buy. Made in Vermont, so you know they’re made right, check them out at Fin & Feather and feel for yourself what makes these socks so special.



Darn Tough SocksAvailable in all shapes and sizes, specifically knit for hiking, working and generally looking good, besides their versatility, Darn Tough Socks prides themselves on their durability. Using high-density knitting and 100% Merino Wool, these socks also include ribbed ankle support, elastic arch support, and yes that’s right, they are guaranteed for life.


Darn Tough Socks 3If you manage to rip a hole in Darn Tough Socks, which isn’t an easy thing to do, feel free to send them back to Vermont for a replacement pair. Darn Tough socks are so confident in their construction that this guarantee extends for life, ensuring your feet never go uncomfortable again.


Darn Tough Socks 2For more information of Darn Tough Socks, check out their Website, read some reviews and stop into Fin & Feather today for your first (or subsequent) pair of your favorite Darn Tough Socks.


GoPro Iowa City: Running Through the Streets

Lace up your running shoes with this week’s edition of GoPro Iowa City. Taking you on a first hand account of 9-mile run through the trails of Hickory Hills and the streets of Iowa City, if you cannot get out of the house and enjoy the nice weather hopefully you can live vicariously through the footage below:

Shot with Time Lapse + Video @ .5 second interval:

If you want more, check out the route via Trimble Outdoor Navigator:

Want to see what you can do with a GoPro adventure camera? Come on in to Fin & Feather today and check them out!

Running Around Lake Michigan with Steve Cannon: Adventure All-Star


Steve Cannon Profile Pic
Steve Cannon & “40 Days”

Steve Cannon will be the first person to admit that he has done some crazy things in life, and he’s not afraid to share them. From riding with “Team Bad Boy” in the Register’s Annual Great Bike Race Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), to scaling the highest paved road in North America via bike (Mt. Evans), by far one of his biggest crowning achievements was running around Lake Michigan in 40 days, which is roughly 40 marathons in a row, all in pursuit to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation. Cannon recently published his book about the whole adventure, 40 Days, and he was happy to give everyone a glimpse into what it takes to go the distance and achieve your goals.


Fin & Feather: Having run across the state of Iowa three years prior to your run around Lake Michigan in 2012, you weren’t exactly a stranger to long-distance pursuits. But running around Lake Michigan in 40 days was a big step up from running across Iowa in 7, where did you come up with the crazy idea?

Steve Cannon: The first time where the idea was born I was visiting Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Some friends said to me, “hey man, you have to go check this place out, it’s crazy, you can just run until your eyes bleed, you’ll love it. So I checked it out and it was everything they said it would be. I ran and ran and when I was done, just physically trashed, I was sitting there overlooking the lake in that great endorphin-filled space that anybody who’s ever run can relate to.

From where I was sitting I had the perfect vantage point of the whole skyline of Chicago. It’s probably 20 some miles away, and the scale from that view showed just how huge Lake Michigan was, it dwarfed the city, and for whatever reason, the very next thought that came out of my mind after “wow, look how big this lake is compared to this giant city,” I wondered if anybody had ever ran around Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes Lakeshore


F&F: As it turned out, no one else had ever ran around Lake Michigan, or even attempted the 1,037 miles. So in 2012, you became the first person to step to that starting line and go the distance, how did you mentally and physically prepare for such an endeavor?

S.C.: Once I had let the cat out of the bag and shared it with some friends, I formed a “team” that could help me with the website, logistics and planning for this sort of thing. In that process I spent some time on the phone with a guy by the name of Marshall Ulrich*, and eventually after talking for awhile, Marshall said to me, “call this guy Ray Zahab**, I’m going to connect you two and maybe Ray will take you on.” So with Marshall’s blessings and introduction, Ray did take me on and because it was a fundraising event, Ray offered to coach and train me for free. Lake Michigan would be 3 times the distance of my 2009 run across the state of Iowa, so I just wasn’t confident that I could train for that by myself. Once I had Ray on board I knew I had found a really big piece of the puzzle.

Ray put the plan together and with that, the mental training followed. Mental training just became part and parcel of the physical training that he put me through. We started off running 20 miles a week, then 30 miles, up to 60 miles, then back-to-back marathons on the weekends and eventually running upwards of 100 miles a week. As part of that process the mental training was also taking place because I was getting used to long-distance trips, and more importantly, I was getting used to waking up the next day to do another.

*Editor’s note: Marshall Ulrich is an endurance adventure athlete with over 120 ultramarathons under his belt, all Seven Summits completed on the first attempt, and is the author of “Running on Empty” – a personal memoir about his 3,063 mile, 52-day run across the United States. Cannon introduced himself to Ulrich when Ulrich was the keynote speaker for the Des Moines Marathon.
*Editor’s note: Ray Zahab is an adventurist/activist that has accomplished expeditions across the globe including the Gobi Desert and Canadian Arctic, as well as crushing a 2006/2007 4,300-mile journey across the Saharan Desert with two close friends – of which you can witness through the “Running the Sahara” documentary.


Steve Hurting
Steve Cannon, Sweating


F&F: Along this epic 40-day run around Lake Michigan, averaging just under a marathon each day, were there any dark moments or thinking along the lines of “I’m not going to be able to do this?”

S.C.: It’s two different questions. Dark moments? – Yeah, all the time. Any thought of ever quitting? – There was never a time physically where I ever considered quitting. There were plenty of dark times though, plenty of tears, plenty of just sitting next to the lake for an hour contemplating even the first step for the day.

Steve Contemplating
Steve Cannon, Hurting


F&F: Keeping those dark moments in mind, what was it like on that 40th day, crossing the finish line and doing it, accomplishing what you set out for?

S.C: Along the way we did a great job and we all agreed at the start, we don’t even mention the 40th day until we’re on the 40th day, because you just had to stay in the moment. There was a very specific instant though, when we came around a paved bike trail coming north into Chicago, and we got around this corner and you could see Navy Pier in the distance. At that moment, it was the first time I really allowed myself to think, “we’re going to make it”, and it was overcoming. All of the fears, all of the hopes, aspirations, every emotion came out of me. My family was there a mile outside of the finish and we walked/jogged the last stretch together and finished at Harry Caray’s Tavern, the same place the whole thing had begun.

Steve Crowd
Steve Cannon, attracting a crowd

F&F: Were you glad to be done?

S.C.: A reporter asked me that same question moments after I had finished and I remember saying “I wish I could do this forever.” At that point I was in such a place mentally, physically, spiritually and  life was so simple. I felt like I was accessing the very best parts of me that I’d never accessed before, my body was acclimated, I wasn’t setting any records but  I can say that I’ve never wanted to stop since.

Steve Celebrating
Steve Cannon, Celebrating

To find out more about Steve Cannon and his adventure exploits, as well as 40 Days, his autobiographical account of his jourey around Lake Michigan, be sure to check out his website at


40 Days
Amazon Link – “40 Days” Life, Love, Loss & A Historic Run Around One of the World’s Largest Lakes


Wednesday’s Featured Product: the Minipresso Espresso Machine

Minipresso 1Don’t ditch the comforts of home for your next adventure with this Wednesday’s featured product, the Minipresso handheld espresso machine. Easy to use, and even easier to stow, the Minipresso is the newest innovation in the coffee brewing community, and with its compactable size it never needs to leave your side.


Minipresso 2Besides the delicious shot of espresso produced from this ingenious contraption, the biggest benefit of the Minipresso espresso machine is its compact and lightweight design. Weighing in at .8 lbs, and with an overall length of 6.89 inches, the Minipresso has a sleek tubular design, making this a perfect gadget for your backpack, saddle bag or front pocket.


Minipresso 3The Minipresso is completely hand operated, meaning there is no need for cartridges, compressed-air or electricity to get the taste you need. Using a semi-automatic piston, all the Minipresso requires is a few pumps of the lever and you can not only create fresh espresso, but control the amount you want delivered at each moment. With varying water tank capacities, the Minipresso can deliver on all forms of espresso drinks and quantities, ensuring that every adventure can include the espresso you deserve. 


Check out the Minipresso website and video, and come to the Fin & Feather coffee bar any day and we’ll make you a shot of espresso with the Minipresso handheld espresso machine:

March Weather Data from the National Weather Service (1879 – Present)

It’s no surprise for anyone that has lived in the state of Iowa that March has a wide spectrum of changing weather. From sunny days inviting spring flowers, to snow covered streets reminiscent of winter, March is a renegade, it follows no rules. It’s also no surprise to anyone who has ever talked to anyone from the state of Iowa, that we like to talk about the weather, so we’re going to do just that.  With the help of the National Weather Service, let’s check out what March has brought us in the past.


Did you know every Iowa March in recorded history (since 1879) has had at least one day with a forecasted maximum temperature above 50℉, as well as at least four days with a forecasted minimum below 32° ?

If that doesn’t already get you excited about the uncertainty of March weather, the hottest March day reached 91° in 1986, and the coldest hit a minimum forecast of -22° in 1962. Whether the weather is going to break any of those records this March, there is still time to see.

Check out the highest and lowest average temperatures for the past months of March (averages for the whole month):


While some may consider March to be a particularly wet month for precipitation, on average there will be only one day this month where more than 0.50 inches of rain will fall, and the wettest March in recorded history (1990) amassed 5.82” (with the driest coming in at 0.04” in 1885).



And what about snowfall? That wildcard that determines for many whether you’ll enjoy the month of March or not. How do you feel about it? Would you like a shot at skiing this winter with a repeat of 1912’s 28 inches of snow, or would your rather be like one of the many years on record with little to no snowfall at all? If we were a betting organization, it might be a safe play to put your chips down on limited snowfall this month (or maybe that’s just what March wants you to think).

Cross Country Skiing - Iowa City

Whatever you do with this weather information, take safe regards that it doesn’t matter what history has to say about it, March is going to come and leave how it wants. Just remember however, that with the right gear, and perhaps the right attitude, no matter the forecast for the rest of the month, it’s still possible to enjoy the weather. 

Fin & Feather’s Spring Gear Swap

Do you have some extra gear laying around the garage? Maybe your looking to add some extra cash to your pocket for your next big adventure? Perhaps you’re looking to add to your own gear arsenal from the collections of others. Whatever reason you need, be sure to mark your calendars for Fin & Feather’s Spring Gear Swap happening April 2nd & 3rd.


How it Works:

Bring in your slightly used gear now until the weekend of the swap (April 2nd & 3rd), and we’ll help you get price tags on your items as well as brilliantly display them the weekend of the gear swap. You have two choices when it comes to collecting on your items sold:

  1. Opt for Cash: Fin & Feather will write you a check for 70% of what your items sold for

  2. Opt for a Fin & Feather Gift Card: We will issue a gift card for 90% of what your items sold for

It’s a simple and painless process, and if history repeats itself, expect there to be a lot of awesome items at killer prices, so if even if you aren’t donating to the gear swap this season, be sure to come check out the aisles and aisles of lightly-used gear found at Fin & Feather the weekend of April 2nd & 3rd!

The 10 Most Popular National Parks

According to  recent National Park statistics and coinciding National Geographic Article, the names of the most popular National Parks are familiar, but you might not have guessed the order in which they rank. With spring break in full swing right now, many of you may be experiencing these praks firsthand right now, and for those making future plans, perhaps the big crowds of these most popular National Parks might sway your decision on when and where to go:


Great Smoky Mountains – 10 million visitors / year

10 million visitors is of course a large number, but also keeping in consideration the 816       square miles the park incorporates, plus the number of “visitors” who really never explore further than the shoulder of the road, and you’ll still get your chance to explore some nature with a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.


Great Smoky Mountains 1


Grand Canyon – 5.5 million visitors / year

Touted as the biggest hole in the ground, the Grand Canyon is truly grand. Comprising over 275 miles of canyon, and over a mile deep into the ground, the crowds at the Rim can be bustling but if you are an ambitious day hiker or gain a permit to camp at the bottom, it can be easy enough to avoid the crowds.

Grand Canyon Group Shot.jpg



Yellowstone – 4.1 million visitors / year

Acting as the Nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone set a high bar in terms of pure size and beauty within a park. There is a lifetime of adventure waiting for you at Yellowstone, including wildlife watching and geyser spouting, so what are you waiting for? Join the crowd and head to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Entrance.jpg


Yosemite – 4 million visitors / year

Yosemite has captured the hearts and minds of many influential people over the years, and each year new adventurers visit the park. A popular place to explore and snap a picture includes Yosemite Valley, where the famous El Capitan, Half-Dome, and Bridalveil Falls stand erected in the distance.



Zion – 3.6 million visitors / year

Zion! Translated to “Heaven on Earth” the aptly named Zion National Park encompasses a beauty that can only be found in Utah. Stark red canyon walls, lush water-fed forests, and enough heights, cracks and trails to explore all day, Zion is a must on everyone’s bucket list.

Zion National Park 068.jpg


Rocky Mountain – 3.4 million visitors / year

Stunning mountain vistas, switchbacking trails and of course that high elevation attitude, there are more reasons to check out this Colorado staple than you can count, but you can count on finding at least a little peace and quiet within these amazing mountain vistas.

Rocky Mountain NP


Olympic – 3 million visitors / year

Home to the largest temperate rainforest in the United States, Olympic National Park offers its users e a life on the set of the 1992 Disney classic FernGully. But really, this lush atmosphere is everything you’d expect from a rain forest, including the rain, but that never stops over 3 million visitors checking out Olympic each year.

Olympic National Park


Grand Teton – 3.1 million visitors / year

Standing as a strong testament to the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the Teton Range of Wyoming presents viewers with an incredible view and even more options for adventure. Whether you camp out under the stars or hike all day (or both) a trip to the Grand Tetons will be well worth the adventure.

Grand Teton


Acadia – 2.5 million visitors / year

Acadia National Park is open year round but the busiest seasons tends to be in the summer when the blue waters are even more inviting to each visitor. Maine might be a bit of a stretch for your average western wayfarer, but to see the best the east has to offer, Acadia should be on the top of your list.



Glacier – 2.4 million visitors / year

Glacier is the gateway to the Canadian wilderness and is the only National Park where you can drive until you hit the sun. The famous Going-to-the-Sun road, which spans the distance of the park, is often touted as the most scenic road in world. Doesn’t that just make you want to see Glacier for yourself? 

Going to the Sun road

Wednesday’s Featured Product: MegaBOOM Supersonic Target System

Add a little excitement to your shooting experience with this Wednesday’s featured product, The MegaBoom Supersonic Target System. Simple to use, big results to follow, the MegaBoom Supersonic Target System is a pressuring device that allows you to turn ordinary  1 & 2 liter plastic bottles into big sound, low energy explosions. Fun and safe for many ages, the MegaBOOM might sound familiar to you from their recent television advertisements:

To operate the MegaBOOM Supersonic Target Systems, simply connect the sealed adapter and target holder to a plastic bottle, add your own air via bike pump (also sold at Fin & Feather), and pressurize your target. Once the plastic bottle is properly pressurized, any projectile (bullet, BB, arrow) will force a supersonic rip in the container capable of hitting 150 decibels.

***Extra Tip: add a little cornstarch or flour to the plastic bottle before pressurization to add a little visual stimulation to the supersonic boom.***

Because of the little mass associated with supersonic boom (the water bottle), these exploding targets don’t come with any projectiles or excessive energy, just a lot of noise, and at 150 decibels you can hear it from a mile away. All safety should be regarded when shooting and pressuring the targets, with eye and ear protection recommended for both, and no matter what you decide to projectile at these supersonic targets, you’ll be sure to hear the excitement with every hit.


Stop into Fin & Feather today to pick up your own MegaBOOM Supersonic Target System

Explore Further with SPOT Personal Satellite Messenger


Take your adventures to the next level this summer with a SPOT Personal Satellite Messenger. With the capabilities to allow your friends and family to GPS locate your exact whereabouts, as well as receive personal messages, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of SPOT devices is their ability to contact local emergency services in case disaster strikes. SPOT devices are small, have a great battery life and require a satellite subscription plan to take advantage of all the features it can provide, and Fin & Feather not only has the hardware, but the know-how for you to stay safe on your next adventure:


SPOT PIC in Action


SPOT TraceSPOT Trace

Intended as an anti-theft protection unit, the SPOT Trace is the entry-level tracker from SPOT, and can help you locate something or someone you want to keep an eye on. As a real world example, let’s say you’ve purchased a boat and keep it at the marina. You have concerns about theft at the marina, so you place a SPOT Trace product in a small cranny of the boat, and anytime that SPOT Trace product moves, you receive an email or text notification of its location. Just set it and forget it, the SPOT Trace let’s you sleep easy at night.



The ultimate hiking accessory, the SPOT Gen3 is a considerable step up from the Trace model, and besides allowing friends and family to Google Maps locate your coordinates via a secret security code, but with programmable messages dialed into the device, the user can even send pre-written messages to the same group of 10 family or friends to ensure absolute safety. With the ability to send an SOS signal  to all surrounding emergency response teams, in emergency situations only, the SPOT Gen3 can not only keep your close ones close, but it can also save your life in a scary situation. For more information, be sure to check out the SPOT Gen3 webpage.


Subscription Plans

Your newly purchased SPOT Personal Satellite Messenger  will do basic tracking right out of the packages, but to truly utilize the SPOT benefits that you’re aiming for, a satellite subscription plan is necessary. The prices are affordable, and considering the lifesaving assets you might be purchasing, it’s worth every penny. Check out the subscription rates below courtesy of Find Me

Service Plans

For more information about the extended battery life, satellite capabilities or you just want to see how small these little satellite messengers really are, stop on in to Fin & Feather today and we’ll be happy to give the full scoop on the next product that could very easily save your life (or at least lessen your parent’s worry).

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