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10 Outdoor Adventure Things You Need to Do to Feel Like a True Hiker


  1. Answer natures call. No, not as in “The Call of the Wild”, as in… take a Shit in the Woods. Bonus points for using leaves, pinecones, smooth rocks, or other local flora to wipe. Everyone should reconnect with nature in this way.  Think of it as giving back. (For those in need of some instruction first, try reading How to Shit in the Woods.)
  2. Sleep under the stars. No Tent. Just you, the stars, the wild, and preferably something to keep you warm. Can we recommend a sleeping bag, air mattress, and maybe another companion?Summit a Mountain
  3. Summit a mountain. No, Mount Wycheproof doesn’t count. I mean… technically it is a Mountain, but it’s not a “MOUNTAIN!!”. Go summit St. Helens, Adams, Mt. Whitney, something preferably above 10,000 ft, but pick something that is attainable, yet challenging.
  4. Jump into a lake or river that clearly is colder than ice. We don’t recommend jumping into a lake that is frozen over with ice, because that would hurt, but if there was recently ice, or snow is circling the body of water, go for it. This is best done if a large bonfire is waiting after, or at least a hot thermos of soup/tea/hot chocolate/spiked coffee. Duct Tape Your Mouth
  5. Use Duct tape to fix something you destroyed in the woods. Trekking Pole snapped? Duct tape! Tent get a hole? Duct Tape! Sandwich falling apart? Duct Tape! Accidentally drop your shoes off a cliff? Make Duct tape shoes! Hiking buddy talking to much? Duct tape! Seriously Mike… I’m trying to listen to nature! Just don’t use duct tape when you run out of Toilet Paper. Ouch!
  6. Start a fire without a lighter. Can there be anything more amazing than the feeling of lighting a fire with two sticks of wood? Honestly it feels great using those fire steel starters even. Something about bashing flint and metal (carbon steel) together to make a spark is impressive and feels like you can conquer anything!
  7. Wear the same clothing for more than a week. Extra gold stars if it’s your underwear (hint… wear wool underwear. It has magical properties like… anti-stink properties and stuff. Seriously.) Only the serious outdoorsman will hit the trail for a week and bring 1 shirt, 1 pair of underwear, 1 pair of pants, and 3 pairs of socks (gotta keep those feet fresh!). If you have a change of clothes, you are doing it wrong. Got Lost in the Woods. Map Doesn't Help
  8. Get lost in the woods. Of course, you brought your map right? And Compass? In the words of my father “I’m not lost! How can I be lost if I know exactly where I’m not!” Ya. Great job Dad. We aren’t saying you need to go all Hatchet (by Gary Paulsen) on us, but a small moment of extreme fear and panic because you stepped off trail to take that shit and realized you don’t know how to get back to the trail for 30 minutes does the heart some good.
  9. Have an animal encounter. Chipmunks don’t count. Bears, Mountain Lions, Badgers, Moose, Massive Elk, Deer eating your Shirt, these count. When you have that moment where you realize that the animals run this town (uh… this woods?), that’s the moment you understand nature. Realize you are in their territory, also… you’ll learn to never insult a badger’s mom again.
  10. Come home with injuries, scars, or blisters bigger than an oversize radish. Broke an arm crossing a stream? Impressive. Massive bruising from an encounter with a tree trunk? Stellar. Blisters so prolific you mistakenly count them as toes? Awe-Inspiring.

In the end the truth is this; to feel like a true hiker, you need to experience the things that make you feel farthest from your sheltered and cozy life. The more wild the experience, the more you appreciate the pleasantries of heaters, soft mattresses, laundry machines, and walls, to protect you from crazed beavers. Enjoy.

The Essentials of the Ten Hiking Essentials

wildfires-at-Cascade Locks - Eagle Creek Fire

I recently came across an article about a family that was trapped due to a wildfire in the Columbia Gorge and had to spend the night outside. They stated several times that they will carry essentials from now on:

      “I’ll never again set out on a trail without a few essential things in a pack,”

I am glad to hear that this family has learned the importance of carrying emergency essentials on a hike. What scares me though was that the article said: “The only hiker near the … group who was equipped for being on the trail overnight was a young woman … with day pack loaded with essentials.”

Maybe I was lucky to be raised in an environment where I was taught to carry the basic survival needs early on, and maybe I was even luckier to learn about the 10 essentials thanks to the employees at Next Adventure in Portland Oregon, but apparently this isn’t the case for many.

The 10 Essentials are the very basics of what everyone should carry on any hike, regardless of distance, proximity to your car, availability of water, amount of people, your capabilities etc. EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW that carrying water is ALWAYS NECESSARY. But apparently a lot of people aren’t even aware of that.

A lot of people think they don’t need to carry essentials, or emergency gear, because it’s an easy trail. Many people think that because they are an experience hiker that they won’t ever get lost, injured, or make a mistake. WRONG.

To put things in perspective. This article is about one family that was trapped, overnight, less than 3 miles from their car due to a fire that was started by someone else. They ended up having to spend the night outside in the Columbia River Gorge. Search and Rescue teams and the National Guard had to air drop supplies to over 140 people who ended up being stranded that night. Having a few of the 10 essentials could have come in handy, having all of them would have been better! Almost everyone on the hike was unprepared and must have thought that nothing wrong could happen to them. Yet it did. Suddenly having extra water, extra food, shelter, warmth, a flashlight or headlamp, rope and other items didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

So. Let’s look at the 10 Essentials and how they could have helped.

  1. Extra Water or Water Purification Device.
  2. Extra Food
  3. Extra Clothing / Insulation (Synthetic Materials, or Wool… NO COTTON)
  4. First-Aid Supplies (Splint, Anti-Itch, Antibiotic ointment, Latex Gloves, Bandages, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Duct Tape, Safety Pins)
  5. Fire Starters (Matches, Candles, Lighter, Flint, FireSteel)
  6. Lighting (Headlamp / Flashlight)
  7. Navigation (Map / Compass …. your PHONE does NOT qualify as navigation)
  8. Emergency Shelter (Those Space Blankets / Emergency Bivy)
  9. Repair Kit and Knife and Tools (Duct Tape, Small Scissors, Muti-tool, Whistle, Signaling Device like a mirror, Rope)
  10. Sun Protection (Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Extra Clothes/Hat)



Obviously carrying extra water and food could have helped several of the people more comfortable overnight. If you didn’t bring anything you could have been in a lot of trouble without the help of others. If you only brought a small amount for a planned snack break you might have had nothing extra for the extra 24 hours that most people were stuck. Though I probably wouldn’t recommend fresh vegetables as your emergency rations.



Having extra clothing and insulation would have kept people warmer. Several people said they had trouble sleeping due to being cold. An extra layer, and shelter like a space blanket would have helped give you the best nights sleep possible in an emergency situation. This not only would have helped you be more comfortable, but helped you walk the extra 14 miles you had to do to be rescued. Just remember to be like Randy in A Christmas Story, lots of layers!

First-Aid supplies probably would have come in handy, I heard that several people suffered small cuts, scrapes, etc. due to hiking in the dark which was not expected. Of course, this might have been prevented with a headlamp or lighting so that they could have seen at night and hiked safely.

cast-away-1 I STARTED A FIRE

A fire starter was probably the one thing that nobody needed at this time. Clearly that was what got them all into this mess. Still, if a similar situation had happened 1-2 months later, having a way to start a fire can save your life. Not only does it provide warmth, but it also is great at increasing your morale, and signalling for help. You don’t want to be in a situation like Tom Hanks in Cast Away where it takes you days and days before you figure out how to start a fire.

The article mentioned someone using their phone to find a new trail and navigate people to safety. Those this worked in this situation, they were lucky. Often there will be no cellphone reception, or a battery will die. Having a map and compass can greatly help when shit hits the fan and you are stuck trying to navigate.

MAP Rope GPS First Aid Safety Hiking

A repair kit probably wasn’t critical for an emergency like this, but who knows if some tool could have helped. A rope definitely could have come in handy since they had to make a few stream crossings at night, and tying a rope across the stream is a great way to give people a handhold/guide line. Similarly sun protection might not have been necessary thanks to available shade, but it is never a bad idea and can help you keep from being burned, along with protecting you from dehydration.





Why I Run a Shop instead of Hoard Gear

Seattle Store Owner Turntables Trails

Gear can be an addiction. Many people might laugh at this, but it’s true. I’ve met more gear hoarders in the past 9 months since opening this store than I have in my entire life. People on a regular basis walk in and say “wow, this looks like my basement.” Or, “My garage has almost as much stuff as you.” We are a nation of people that collect things, and it’s awesome! Personally I love Audio Gear and Outdoor Gear, which is why my store is filled with these items. I feel lucky that I was able to turn my collecting passion into a way to pay the bills!

Of course, I didn’t open this shop solely to make money. I’m here for a bigger reason, passion. I LOVE gear but I LOVE LOVE when I get to share that passion for gear with someone else. I want to be the Seattle shop that people leave and say “That guy made me exciting about hiking and listening to music!” I dream of running this store as a place where people can come for advice with no obligation to purchase anything tangible but always leave with something (a smile, new knowledge, excitement about gear, hope for their next adventure). A common phrase I hear people say when I offer to help them is “Oh I’m just looking, I don’t need you to do that”, and I respond often with “I love this stuff, if I can help and you enjoy the shop then my day is made! If you buy something then I also happened to make money doing what I love.” What many people don’t realize is that I WOULD BE DOING THIS EVEN IF I COULDN’T MAKE MONEY AT IT.

In fact, I WAS doing this before I was making money at it. I was collecting the gear and loaning it to friends, setting them up with HiFi speakers, or allowing them to borrow my GoLite Backpack for an Overnight in the Woods, or telling them to take my Kayak on their camping trip, or offering to setup a vintage Kenwood receiver at their house for their next party. That is why it’s so great to be able to run a shop that pays the bills while doing this. Instead of making money at a job I hate and then doing what I love on the side I get to do what I love and occasionally make money at it! They say money can’t buy happiness, and it’s true! Surrounding yourself with stuff you are excited about sharing and teaching people about can give you happiness though. Doing what you love and are passionate about as your means of income can also give you happiness. \

So that is why I run a shop instead of hoarding this gear, so I can SHARE what I love. I run a shop so that I can hang out with people who share similar interests. I run a shop so that I can be surrounded by the things and people I am excited about! In a word, I run a shop because of PASSION.

Or maybe I just run a shop so I don’t have to call my addiction what it is, an addiction.








We will be open our REGULAR HOURS 12:00 – 6:00PM and having a SALE.


All Audio Equipment will be 10% OFF

All Vinyl Records will be 20% OFF


Come take a look at our selection of stereos, record players, receivers, speakers, albums and more!


Even if you don’t make it into the store we highly recommend you spending some time listening to your collection of vinyl at home or browsing the other local Seattle record stores and supporting them! We highly recommend saying hi at Jigsaw Records if you like hand selected indie artists, Beats and Bohos if you like digging through used albums and vintage clothing, or Light in the Attic Record Shop if you want a specially curated selection of used and new albums that everyone should have.



The Descriptors of Vintage HiFi Sound

How do you compare speakers? How do describe the difference in receivers? How do you accurately portray the sound of any turntable or audio device? This is a challenge that has confronted myself and my customers since opening the store. Finding the right adjectives and descriptors is a difficult challenge, but one that can greatly help give clarity and understanding to whomever you are talking to. I have often found we use a lot of the same terms and phrases to describe sound, and they are typically rather boring and lacking in detail.

“This sounds better.”

“That sounds bad.”

“It sounds right.”

These are the phrases commonly used and that give hardly any detail of what is truly meant. To combat this issue I recently purchased some Chalk Board sticker/wallpaper stuff. I then spent time coming up with some words that I believe help us characterize sound quality. Now if anyone is struggling to explain what they hear or want to hear they can just look over at my wall and see some helpful hints.

Sound Adjectives and Descriptive Words


It can really help allow people to explain what they are hearing in a speaker, cartridge, amplifier or other piece of equipment. Instead of “I don’t like the sound of it.” they can now say “That cartridge sounded sort of hollow, and toneless. Do you have one that happens to be more accurate and clear?” Or maybe they say: “This receiver sounds incredibly honeyed and velvety which is pleasant to listen to, but I was hoping for something more accurate and forward sounding.”

What adjectives do you like to use for describe sound? How would you describe the current audio setup you either have or you want to have?

Personally my setup at home has a “pure, appealing, and melodic sound with just a little honey and smokiness.”

Funny how describing sound is almost like trying to describe a wine.


Other adjectives I can think of: full-bodied, neutral, breathy, airy, sounds-like-its-underwater, plain, open, condensed, compacted, compressed, buttery, flowy.

How We Compete with Amazon as a Local Business



Amazon is a massive company. Amazon sells millions of items at incredibly low prices. Amazon is also headquartered in the same city that our small business is. So, how do we compete?

We don’t. 

The trick to this is finding a niche that isn’t going to directly compete with companies like Amazon. As a small local business we can’t win a battle of price or convenience vs an online shopping giant. So with that in mind we decided to focus on the things we can do better. Things like being personal. If you’ve ever purchased off Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Overstock, or other online sites you often feel a sense of detachment. We like to create an experience when you walk in our store that makes you smile just being here. Coming into Turntables & Trails isn’t just about buying something, it’s also about spending time exploring a small passionate oasis of northwest hiking items and vintage hi-fidelity audio equipment. We have many customers who love the experience and feeling so much that they come back time and time again, not to buy anything, but just to say hello, see what’s new, and enjoy the store.


What else do we do well? We sell the things you often can’t find on Amazon. Have you ever tried to purchase a vintage 70’s receiver or turntable via Amazon? Good luck. Sure there is eBay which will sell them, but what happens when you’ve spent $60 on shipping just to realize that it has burned out bulbs, doesn’t function right, or that the “small mark” the seller described actually is a massive scratch across the tuner glass? Well you can either accept it, or send it back and eat that cost. It might even be as simple as the fact that you don’t love the sound of it since you didn’t hear it in person first! We can solve that! We let you test any of our equipment before purchase in the store! Listen and play all you want. Plus we offer a 2 week exchange policy for any reason! We also sell hundreds of outdoor pieces of equipment that are used and bargain priced. This helps you get outside for cheaper than buying some knock-off Chinese made backpack on Amazon that hopefully functions okay.

On top of all this we are a local business. This means our tax dollars that we collect are given back to your own neighborhood, and the money we make often goes to local businesses for creating our signs, advertising, shelving, or just our coffee. When you purchase from a massive online company it goes to some faceless group of investors somewhere.

In the end, we don’t compete with Amazon. We just do what we do best; share our passion about Hifi and Hiking Gear!

6 Months Old and Happily Growing

Turntabels and Trails is almost at the 6 month mark. WOOT! We are so excited to be successfully running a small local business in a niche market! We could take all the credit saying it has been all our hard work and dedication, but truly, the success belongs to you! All our wonderful customers and supporters in these first 6 months have been critical. If you stopped by and bought something, or stopped by and spread the word, you are the reason we are still here! THANK YOU.


So what have we learned in 6 months?

1: Invest in Good Shelving up front! It helps a ton!

This is what we looked like when we started:

Come shop at my store and be my first "REAL" customer

This is what we look like now!
Gear to the Ceiling P1012314 P1012315 P1012316


2: Don’t use a personal cell phone for your business purposes.

This should be self explanatory, but it took me a few months to realize. Luckily we now have our own shop phone and number (it’s 206-508-6841). This helps keep WORK and WORK.

3: Renting gear is AWESOME, but ALWAYS get a credit card number saved.


Yep, we rent snowshoes, and it’s great! We can provide a valuable asset to our community and neighbors at a low cost, but, we learned we need to ALWAYS get a Credit Card saved. As much as we expect people to be awesome and return items when they say they will, it doesn’t always happen. If perchance you happen to be that person who rented a pair from us and never returned them…. we would appreciate if you brought them back. 😉


4: Don’t change what makes us different!

We are a small local and specialty shop. That is what makes us great! Early on we tried to contact a bunch of companies to try and carry their new products in the store. We got a few companies to let us carry their product but they haven’t sold well (other than those sweet U-Turn Turntables!). Why is this? Well it seems obvious to me now. We are a niche store and the value we provide is in being DIFFERENT from say BEST BUY or another NEW retailer. So we want to provide BUDGET options, SAMPLE buys, CLOSEOUTS, or USED things for sale, not the generic AMAZON available option. Duh?


5: Another word for customer is friend.

Our customers are the BEST. In fact we don’t even like to call them customers, we call them friends! We aren’t here to make a million dollars, we are here because we LOVE what we do! So, if you come into the store and want to learn about outdoor gear, audio gear, or nostalgic games and toys, we are EXCITED to do that. A customer is someone you are trying to make money from. A friend is someone you want to help regardless of what they give you. We want to treat everyone that walks in our door as a friend, and we hope we do!



So thank you all for supporting us. Let’s hope that we will make it another 6 months, 6 years, and possibly 6 decades!