Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe

200 NE Tomahawk Island Drive, 285-0464, 9 am-6 pm Sunday-Thursday, 9 am-7 pm Friday-Saturday.

There are two Alder Creek outposts within city limits. The spot over by OMSI is where you rent a kayak straight off the esplanade dock and pitch it into the water for a picnic on Ross Island. We recommend this. Up at Jantzen Beach, in this seriously no-nonsense corrugated aluminum shed, is the best spot to actually put the kayak, raft, canoe or standup paddleboard on top of your car and drive away with it. Don't let the location near the Columbia River Yacht Club fool you: Alder Creek has fair prices, and it lets you take the kayak on a river tour before you buy it. Rentals and lessons are available here and at the OMSI spot. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Andy and Bax

324 SE Grand Ave., 234-7538, 9 am-6 pm Monday-Thursday, 9 am-9 pm Friday, 9 am-6 pm Saturday.

Andy and Bax is, by and large, a military surplus store. But its moderately sized showroom is certainly not to be ruled out when shopping for camping staples such as flashlights, stoves, tarps and rucksacks, as well as urbanist essentials like Ortlieb waterproof messenger bags, high-visibility rainwear and an astounding selection of wool-blend socks suitable for any occasion. And there are gas masks and tactical axes, if that's your thing. PETE COTTELL.


605 NW 23rd Ave., 808-1859, 10 am-8 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.

Arc'teryx is a high-dollar, highly technical alpine and outdoor outfitter whose name is a bizarre abbreviation for a flying dinosaur. Aside from having one of the best collections of thermolaminated daypacks and harnesses, it outfits the U.S. Armed Forces, backs philanthropic expeditions, and publishes a trendy e-journal on celebrity climbers and waterproof seam construction. The Northwest 23rd Avenue store is painted black to accentuate pristine racks of men's and women's products, including hiking boots and Petzl climbing gear, and is stocked with alpine jackets ($149-$675) and climbing shorts ($99-$125). There's no discount rack, but you aren't buying $35 underwear for retail therapy. ENID SPITZ.

Columbia Sportswear

911 SW Broadway, 226-6800, 9:30 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.

Portland's midmarket alternative to Patagonia and North Face may not be the flashiest option in outerwear, but the cash you save by spending one-third of what you'd pay for a high-end windbreaker is better spent on lift tickets, an oil change for your Subaru or any number of other things that are more important than looking stylish while waiting in line for your latte. PETE COTTELL.

Evo Portland

200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 972-5850, 11 am-7 pm Sunday-Friday, 10 am-7 pm Saturday.

Evo has humble origins as a Seattle ski and snowboard supplier. Built on a bedrock of professionalism and passion, founder Bryce Phillips opened his shop while at the zenith of his pro skiing career. Evo soon expanded into e-commerce, simultaneously making its in-store merchandising more sexy. Today, Evo is a mogul for all things ski- and snowboard-related while sticking close to the styles and sports that are in vogue. NICK VISCONTI.

Fat Tire Farm

2714 NW Thurman St., 222-3276, 11 am-7 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday. 

For those planning to take advantage of the summer mountain-biking season on Hood, this is Portland's premier resource. This mountain bike-only shop is a knobby sister to nearby 21st Avenue Bicycles. A quick ride from Forest Park's Leif Erikson Drive and the fire lanes, it's stocked with full-suspension downhill, carbon 29ers and even a few sub-$600 entry-level rides. It's also a good place to get a motocross-style helmet and goggles for muddy downhill bombs and ask for tips on area trail conditions. For novice trail riders and the mountain-curious, the shop also has a fleet of rentals and demo bikes, including full-suspension carbon bikes that go for $125 a day, but which will manhandle any terrain in the area. MARTIN CIZMAR.


526 NW 13th Ave., 246-0900, 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-6 pm Sunday.

Filson is Seattle's heritage brand—founded in 1897, with old-school designs—like Pendleton, but for fishers and hunters and fetishists of the outdoors, with a pile of anglerwear and leather bags sold in a store that looks sort of like a trading post circa even before 1897. Specifically, they've got shootin' shirts with reinforced sleeves for where the gun rams into your arm, fishin' coats with reinforced pockets, and loggin' coats with reinforced everything. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.


1109 W Burnside St., 241-8300, 10 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.

This New Zealand brand deals in high-end merino wool apparel suitable for everywhere from the boardroom to the terrain park. It ain't cheap—a pair of boxer briefs was $34.99 at a recent visit—but the company's North American operations being headquartered in Portland means you probably have an in to its lively friends and family sales, which feature discounted goods (such as said pair of undies for under $20), a DJ and a few local kegs at assorted fly-by-night locations across Northwest Portland. PETE COTTELL.

Keen Garage

505 NW 13th Ave., 971-200-4040, 10 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-5 pm  Sunday.

Portland-based hiking-shoe titan Keen has a store right below its headquarters that looks like the loft rumpus room of a '90s-era tech startup, with cash registers wrapped in soles of Keen's very own shoes, little slides, a drop-roof made of street signs, furniture made of things that were once not furniture, and doors made of wood repurposed from old barns. Keen is best known for its hiking shoes ($90-$180), but casual campers may go for the closed-toe sandals, which let the air in without letting in gunk and pine needles through the front of your damn shoe. And if you are—dear Lord—one of those people, there's a sandal in the pattern of the PDX carpet. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Mountain Shop

1510 NE 37th Ave., 288-6768, 10 am-7 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.

Housed inside a former dairy building since moving 30 blocks east in 2011, the Mountain Shop has served Pacific Northwest adventure junkies for 77 years. The store carries a hefty inventory of tents, backpacks, climbing gear and various other products, from bear repellent to GoPros. For the noncommittal, or those passing through for a weekend on the mountain, the store also offers a robust selection of rental items. The staff of experienced ski junkies is knowledgeable, and the prices are still reasonable after all these centuries. MATHEW SINGER.

Next Adventure

426 SE Grand Ave., 233-0706, 10 am-7 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.

Next Adventure is a literal one-stop shop before your next adventure, a three-story purveyor of all you need at the price you need it. The big difference between this three-story shop and its competitors is the basement of used gear—some nearly new, others mostly salvageable—but there are two floors of new stuff. If you're shopping around, it's a must-visit given the near-encyclopedic collection of goods—why pay double for a parka if there's a heavily discounted sample from Marmot or Arc'teryx in your size? Some employees have a vast knowledge of their subjects, and most have a classic Portland attitude. Bonus: They'll buy your gently used gear for store credit. One time I sold a bunch of goggles and bought camping gear. When the seasons change, trade in one hobby for a new one. NICK VISCONTI.

Ollie Damon's

236 SE Grand Ave., 232-3193, 9 am-6 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday.

Ollie Damon's is a 70-year-old, old-school, small-town hunting and fishing shop somehow plunked down in the heart of Portland's Central Eastside. It has an almost unseemly wealth of weights, floaters and lures; poles in the $50-to-$70 range; rod repairs for $12; and two gray-haired (or no-haired) dudes behind the counter who seem to know everything as long as it's fishy, joshing with customers who've been coming in for maybe 20 years. If you'd rather shoot than cast for your prey, you can pick up air and paintball guns here, too.

OMC Gear

2975 NE Sandy Blvd., 227-1038, 10 am-7 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.

OMC—it stands for "Oregon Mountain Community"—is somewhat less approachable for the newbie than the Mountain Shop, being that it's relatively small and located along a lonely strip of Sandy Boulevard, making it less easy to conduct clandestine browsing unintimidated. But this may be a side effect: A lot of its business now is conducted online, not in the store. Still, if you're in need of snowshoes, heavy-weather jackets and the like, you won't have to do much sifting to find brand names like Marmot, Patagonia and North Face. MATTHEW SINGER.

Poler Stuff

413 SW 10th Ave., 432-8120, 11 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.

Poler's flagship store isn't so much about going outdoors as it is the idea of going outdoors—consider the homegrown brand to be the official outfitter of Instagram-able moments in intermediate nature environs where haute mountain fashion takes a backseat to function and #campvibes. Only at Poler can you ogle an AeroPress and be approached by staff who wonder if you thought the "as seen on TV" coffee device was a bong at first glance. You're not likely to see a sleeping bag that turns into a coat in tactical settings beyond Sasquatch, but it certainly pairs well with a hangover and the Nashville filter, right? PETE COTTELL.

Portland Outdoor Store

304 SW 3rd Ave., 222-1051, 9:30 am-5:30 pm Monday-Saturday.

If your idea of "the outdoors" looks like a midcentury Marlboro ad, then Portland Outdoor Store is for you. They are fine purveyors of Pendleton, Woolrich, Wrangler and the many other American brands preferred by the cowboys of Baker City and the lumbersexuals of Portland who aspire to look like them. NICK VISCONTI.


1405 NW Johnson St., 221-1938, 10 am-9 pm Monday-Saturday, 10 am-7 pm Sunday.

REI operates shiny, family-friendly stores for the omni-outdoorsperson. Whether you're an expert mountaineer or an amateur bike commuter, you have little reason not to shell out the $20 for a lifetime membership to REI, which affords you access to the national chain's adored basement sales, plus a dividend credit on whatever you buy. PETE COTTELL.

Snow Peak

410 NW 14th Ave., 697-3330, 11 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.

Enjoy the dulcet tones of Sufjan Stevens while you browse the handsome line of goods from this 50-year-old Japanese brand, whose only store in America was ushered into Portland by a family in Northeast who swore by the high-end cookware—a stackable titanium coffee mug will run you $59.95—as the future of lightweight options for serious outdoorsmen. It all feels too twee to be practical, but people who are diligently watching their pack weight rather than their bank statement swear by the stuff. The newer apparel line, launched as haute couture for weekend warriors, is still finding its legs in the surprisingly crowded market of woodsy chic for the WiedenkkndKennedy set. PETE COTTELL.

U.S. Outdoor Store

219 SW Broadway, 223-5937, 9 am-8 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday.

U.S. Outdoor Store is a palace of gear and equipment sure to outfit your next trek, but what is truly brilliant is the staff: exceptional in product knowledge, application know-how, and friendliness. There are no frivolous ad campaigns or boisterous slogans. It's simply people who love what they do and want to steer you in the right direction. As an exercise in supporting local business, drop by U.S. Outdoor Store and experience the lost art of customer service. NICK VISCONTI.