Welcome to the Hikes and Mics Podcast!

I was recently interviewed on this fantastic outdoors podcast. We explore the wonderful world of back sweat in this episode.

You will learn how the Cool-Dry Airflow Backpack Frame was invented and how it helps backpackers moderate their core temperatures, thereby reducing the amount they sweat.

You will learn why backpack sweat stopped me from hiking for over 20 years. Yes, I disliked back sweat so much that I stopped hiking for two decades.

We also discuss my recent hiking adventures in the French Alps. The Alps are not all about the Mont Blac, fondue, raclette cheese, and white wine. No! You have to be careful in the mountains. Hiking trails will lead you to the most peculiar animals.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the play button below.

Part of Interview Transcript

Hikes and Mics Podcast: Talking to Vaucluse Gear

Welcome everyone to the latest episode of the Hikes and Mic's podcast. I'm your host, Ivan and I'm excited to share this new season of the podcast with you. With winter having fallen on the Pacific Northwest, it’s time to start the mobile recording studio. 

This season, we’ll be switching things up and interviewing some of my favorite hikers that I follow on Instagram. We're following a similar format to Season One, where the first part of each episode focuses on the guest and their hiking adventures. We're still ending each episode with a speed round of this-or-that questions, all related to hiking. 

Today's episode features the founder of Vaucluse Gear and creator of the Cool Dry Air Flow Frame, Brice. You can follow him on IG at @valuclusegear (vauclusegear.com). I’ll be asking Brice about his re-introduction to hiking, his hiking adventures in the French Alps, and how the Cool Dry Air Flow Frame came to be. 

Without further ado, let's jump into our episode with Brice. Welcome everyone, to a new episode of the Hikes and Mics Podcast. I'm here with Brice, founder and creator of Vaucluse Gear. Thank you for coming on to the podcast, and I’m really excited to talk to you about your recent re-introduction into hiking and also about the Cool Dry Frame that you invented for hikers to use not just in the summer months but – hopefully – also in the winter. 

Can you share a little bit about yourself? 

Sure, Ivan. First, thank you so much for having me on the podcast. Great to be here. You could say that I don’t consider myself an “expert hiker” and why I created this Cool Dry Frame. Because I'm one of those people who sweats a whole lot while backpacking and, for that reason, I really didn't like backpacking. Then one day, I thought well, I really like to be outside and in the outdoors. So, pretty much out of necessity, I had to figure out a solution for myself. 

Which I did and (surprise surprise) more people than I thought also shared my problem. They love to be outside but they sweat a lot and would like to find a way to: 1. sweat less, and 2. maintain a more consistent and moderate body core temperature. That's definitely been a problem for me when it comes to gear. Some of the backpacks, as I’m sure you know, once you get that smell of sweat in there it's hard to get it out. I've tried.

I'm really excited to talk with you about the Cool Dry Frame and hear how its development came about and how it's used. We talked a little before we started recording and how there's been a bit of a “re-introduction” to hiking for you over the last year. You took a pause and then kind of reintroduced yourself to hiking over the last 12 months, so can you share a little bit about this last year, in regards to hiking and how you originally got started in your youth? 

Absolutely! In my teens, I hiked a lot. I would travel Europe and hike one region for about four weeks, and then another, like the northern part of Italy, for three or four weeks. I've done lots of other hikes as well when I was in my teens. 

However, these were such big hikes that they led to the one thing that turned me off from hiking. I would have to carry this huge (I think it was a 55- or 65-liter) the entire time. During the summer in Europe, like in Spain and Italy, it can get quite hot and I sweated a whole lot. I loved being outside, but I kept saying to myself, man,  if I’ve got to deal with this sweat, maybe hiking isn't for me. So I was pretty much done with the outdoors after those first years of hiking and then, later on in life, it wasn't necessarily hiking that turned me off backpacking, it was work. I commuted a lot for work. I would bike to work where I could, and/or take public transportation, and the easiest way to carry my laptop – and everything else – was a backpack. And since I usually had to wear a suit, once again I would sweat. I would have to put a coat or something on over my suit and it was just really, really uncomfortable. Once again, I thought, this backpacking thing really isn't for me. 

Then a few years ago, I got married, and my mother-in-law loves to hike and loves to backpack. So obviously, wanting to be a good son-in-law, I would go out with her. But (I'm kind of ashamed to confess) I had her carry everything. I didn't want to wear the backpack. I would rather enjoy the time being outdoors with my family than deal with sweat. 

Eventually I thought, “You know, there's got to be a better way because I don't really like having my mother-in-law carry my stuff. So – eventually – I made something that would help me carry my own stuff and also enjoy being outside! That’s where I am today and, over the past year, I'm finding this renewed love for being outside, because I don't have to worry about having a lot of back sweat 

And there was an audience for this idea! I’ve found there's three different types of outdoors people: There are those (like me) who could really do without this ‘sweat problem,’ a second type who don't really have a problem, and a third, who pretty much say yeah, just get over it, it’s part of the hiking experience. I understand all three aspects. It's just personally, for me, I'd rather try to somehow moderate my sweat, because of the core temperature and everything. I'm very sensitive and not ashamed to say it, it's taken me to where I am today and I'm back outdoors and I love it! 

Your home base is in a state known for really grueling summers: Arizona. Most people think ‘desert’ when they think ‘Arizona’ but there's some really diverse hiking throughout the state. What would you say is your favorite region right now to explore in Arizona? 

I have two favorite regions and that's the Coconino Forest, near Sedona, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which you could say is in Scottsdale/northeast Phoenix. The Sonoran Preserve is amazing. It’s described as (I believe it's called) an urban park or urban preserve, because it's technically part of the city. The preserve has 30,000 acres and you literally can just grab a couple of Starbucks and, the next thing you know, you can walk an (if you want) up to eight-mile hike and come back. It's right there within the city, you don't have to drive to pick up a trail. And Coconino Forest is just beautiful, because of Sedona and (obviously) the red rocks, but there's so much more to see. Those are my two favorite places to go. 

Temperatures can vary across Arizona so, in the summer, you can get quite hot but the mornings are still quite cool, in the 50’s or 60’sºF. You have to be prepared for both kinds – the cool and the extreme heat. We talked about this before we started the podcast, but I lived in Tempe, right outside of Phoenix, for about a year and a half during the pandemic, and one of the hardest things for me was being able to hike during the summer because I was working a fulltime job. I would either have to wake up early in the morning or wait until it was nighttime!

For listeners that may be visiting Phoenix and want to explore and hike in the summer, what tips and tricks do you have that would keep them safe on the trails during 100º-plus days? 

I would say, get out early, that's the only time to go hiking. Like, between 5:00-8:00 a.m. and I would avoid hiking all together in the afternoon because it's going to be pretty hot. You can't underestimate the heat (and I'm originally from Texas). If you step outside expecting to be reminded of the heat because the humidity makes you sweat instantly, in Phoenix you’ll know it's hot but you're not technically sweating. So (this is the way my mind works) I think, well if I'm not sweating, the heat isn't that bad. My body seems to be taking care of itself. However, that is just not the case. You can't overlook the heat. There are signs everywhere on the trails about heat exhaustion, to be careful, take a ton of water, take a hat, and don't take your dog out because, unfortunately, there are too many stories of people having heat exhaustion and being lifted out by helicopter to – hopefully – survive. 

Heat is a serious thing. So if you come out, there's a lot of great hiking but do not, do not, do not underestimate the heat! If you're not used to it, just try a 30-minute hike to “test the waters” first. I like to presume that most hikers understand their limits, but sometimes you have to be extra cautious, starting with realizing that you could go through your water supply quite quickly. So if you start running low on water, it's best to turn around right then and not push your luck or your body. 

There's no shame in turning around until another, better time. That’s something that I've learned. You know I've only been hiking again for the past year and, during my first hikes, I really pushed it. I thought I can really do this. Then one of my hikes - that I was estimating would take maybe 3 or 4 hours – turned out to be a seven-hour hike up the French Alps. I was on the mountain for seven hours because I got lost and it was a little scary, but I learned quickly. I thought, you know, there's no shame in turning back or saying maybe I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. So I will be the first to raise my hand and say, you know what, I really need to learn my limits. I need to test out an area before I try and push myself a little bit more than I thought I was capable of. 

That’s a great tip: test it out before you commit to a big grueling hike. It’s great that you brought up the French Alps, because we did a little deep dive into your  IG and saw how you’ve done some amazing hiking in France. Can you share with the audience a little bit about your experiences hiking in France and in the French Alps? 

Absolutely! Hiking the Alps is unbelievable! For one thing, I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people who actually live on the mountains. You've got people who have seasonal homes there, but you also have farmers. Goat farmers, who are very popular in France, thanks to the different types of cheese that goats (and cows) can produce, plus other farm animals to encounter, like pigs or sheep. So you're walking the trails and, all of a sudden you hear the sound of the bells around their necks, or encounter some sheepdogs, who are all-work. There’s no, oh hello fellow human, please be nice to me. It's like more like, nope I’ve got a job to do, and so they smell you and then start barking at you (and they don't stop until they feel you're really far away from their herd). But other than that, it's absolutely beautiful because, obviously, the Alps are massive. That was the first time, I believe, that I'd hiked the Alps. I've gone skiing in the Alps, which is impressive, but just the diversity of views and encounters with different animals can’t be beat. There are other parts of the Alps more remote than I hiked; I never experienced coming across pigs blocking the trail (so you just push yourself around them). What area(s)? Just south of Geneva, which is a border town between Switzerland and France, and just north of a town called Ansi. Right in between are some beautiful glacial lakes where, in the summer, you can go swimming. It's very lively in the summer, and strikes a balance between some big cities and some massive, massive mountains. The trails are nice and well maintained. Like in the States. They are very well maintained. The French are passionate about their outdoors and their hiking. So there are signposts everywhere about the kilometers of how far to go, etc. It's very well organized. I was impressed. 

To go back to what we talked about earlier, about being prepared in advance for the heat, well, when you're in the Alps, you really have to know where you're going. I thought I knew where I was going, but learned the unfortunate reality that, just because something says it's a trail on a digital application doesn't mean it's an actual trail on the mountain. I learned that I shouldn’t assume all online trails are actual trails. Sometimes, it’s a trail where people once hiked and then over the years it grows over until it isn't really there anymore. That was the main reason why I got lost. My app said there was a trail, but on the mountain, it really wasn't a trail. Cross-reference hiking information and trails maps in advance - do your preparation! 

Most people listening to this are saying yeah, okay, that's Backpacking 101. I'm learning those realities as I go. I don’t think I’m the only one who has fallen into a network of trails that have led them a little astray. One trick I've used is to download multiple maps. On the AllTrails app, you can download their AllTrail versions, but you can also get satellite locations and topographical maps (thanks U.S. Geological Survey, USGS.gov). Because too many times I've been where an app (like AllTrails) is telling me to go one way but what I'm seeing on the trail is completely different. 

That's a very good point. I'm going to download multiple. I would just download the AllTrails version. But now that you tell me I'm definitely going to do that. 

Yeah, it's really helped me out where, even if I couldn't see the trail, if it wasn't well defined, I could see where I was and where I needed to go, and kind of bushwhacked myself to the summit or to my destination, or find the trail where it's more clearly defined. 

It's definitely something that it's always in the back of my mind because in Washington State, where I'm based, I use AllTrails and also the Washington Trails Association, and cross referencing between the two has been helpful now that you mention it. Have you had any other close calls when you've gone hiking? You know you can explain to us about getting lost. But have there been any wildlife or other unusual encounters, or maybe Mother Nature didn't play nice while you were outside? 

The other thing that I've learned quickly is how much elevation gain I can handle. I would have to describe myself as a reasonably healthy, middle-aged male. I work out at least 2 or 3 times a week. However, I've learned, at least in Arizona, that handling the elevation can get quite exhausting. I've learned that a 1,000-ft elevation gain can be tough whether it's a one-hour hike or a three- or four-hour hike. When I was in the in the Alps, I believe I did maybe 2,800-ft elevation. I learned quickly that I need to be conscientious about not only the amount of time a hike takes, but to also be conscious of what the overall elevation gain be. I learned that once you're feeling tired on the trail, stop. Take your backpack off and have lunch or something. But don’t let your legs (or body) become over-exhausted. 

That’s another lesson learned: be conscious of what your total elevation gain will be before you start hiking. Be prepared. The last thing that you want is to need to take a break because you're exhausted. I guess my ‘North Star’ is, take the break. It’s okay to stop for the sake of stopping, to enjoy the view and where you are, to talk to people, or have a water break. If you're pushing through the fact that you feel exhausted, you’re ignoring that you need to take a break before you continue, I don't think that's a recipe for success in the great outdoors. 

Where a lot of issues happen, not just when you're exhausted, are in failing to recognize that making it to a summit is only half the hike. Emergencies also happen on the descent. You’re descending from your summit, you're exhausted from climbing, maybe the trail footing isn’t the greatest and your feet give out, that can add up to a recipe for an emergency. When you're going back down you may already be tired, you might have hiked up faster than you should have, or you've mentally hit a place where you just want off the mountain, which can be the case for me. I looked at my stats (after going off-trail in the Alps) and I saw how my elapsed time was almost seven hours, but my moving time was only five hours. So that meant I spent about 30% of my hike not moving, which suggested that I was exhausted. Thankfully I got out of there alive. I thought about my wife and how I didn’t want to say, go get help because my legs were done. That was a long day to be out on the trails. Eight hours is almost a full day. 

What about after a successful hike? Many hikers, including myself, seem to have a ritual, either on the trail or after their hike is done, maybe it's a favorite snack or meal, or possibly some trail brews. What’s your after-hiking ritual?

My ritual is probably just a nice good pint of beer. That's pretty much it,  not to say that I do it all the time, but when I get off the trail I enjoy either a cold brew at a pub or maybe just some more water! I usually don't eat a whole lot after a hike. But if somebody offers me a pint of beer after a hike that's going to put a smile on my face! Arizona is definitely seeing a big boom in micro-breweries! 

Are there any that you especially enjoy? 

There's a brewery out in Flagstaff (I forget the name) with fantastic beer. There's Oak Creek Brewery in Sedona and I'm currently exploring a few in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. I'm constantly impressed. One thing, as a Texan, is that I still enjoy Shiner Beer (brewed since 1909 in Shiner, Texas) but little by little I'm finding some really good Arizona brews. 

One of the things I really love about your content is its mixture of talking about your Cool Dry Frame plus trail guides on some of the sights and sounds in Sedona, and some of the lesser-known trails, because Sedona has definitely grown in popularity over the last decade. You've shown places I haven't even heard of! How do you research discovering those places?

Great question! Usually I follow what my mother-in-law wants to do, because she's based here and has done pretty much every trail possible. So she knows where to go, which means, where there's not a lot of tourists. For example, Cathedral Rock. It's beautiful and within 45 minutes to an hour you can get some great views. However, it's also where the tour buses go! Thankfully, I have had somebody to guide me while I try to share what I've learned. 

A lot of hikers have accepted that backpacks, regardless of how much is spent, are going to be hard on your back. They are going to get (and stay) sweaty. What I try to do is find hikes that are a mix of experiences and where you will know how much the elevation is going up (you know I don't like going up that much just because I know myself). I like going on flats because I have found that a lot of other hikers also prefer just a few 100-ft in elevation while maybe someone else likes to do 1000-ft. I try to do hot and cool weather, and thankfully, I'm in parts of Arizona where it can be cold, so I can test out my frame in multiple locations. Hiking isn’t just about doing promos for my Cool Dry Frames. It’s to show people hey, this is my hike,  if you're ever in this area this is what you can experience. This is what you can expect and maybe you'd like to come here, too, and along the way if you don't like to sweat, check out this tutorial. 

That’s a great explanation about the Cool Dry Frame, which brings me to my next question, about what’s on your hiking pack list? What’s your MVP in hiking gear? 

It's going to sound really basic but nothing is as important as bringing enough water You know how people will post pictures of what's in their pack? I don’t usually see a lot of water. Maybe they're just doing it for the gear, because you can get a lot of cool gear and, over the years, it seems gear keeps changing and evolving and getting better. That's what I'm trying to do with my Cool Dry Frame. But for an MVP, water is essential. Maybe it’s because I'm part-French (my name is pronounced Brice like “Greece” because that's the French pronunciation) but I found that a bottle of Pellegrino Perrier really elevates a hiking experience. So I would say I really enjoy a nice bottle or can of carbonated, versus flat, water. Nothing wrong with bubbles!

One of the things I really wanted to talk to you about is your Cool Dry Frame, because I ended up purchasing one about two weeks ago. About three weeks ago I was in the mountains where it was 80ºF and still felt like summer, then in a few days we had fall weather, and then right into winter weather. So I haven't really had a chance to use it on hikes up in the mountains, but could you give us the origin story behind the Cool Dray Frame?

Absolutely! The name, Vaucluse, comes from a region in southern France where I spent a lot of time, because I have family out there. Most people know Vaucluse, if they traveled to France it's very famous for its lavender fields and wine. It's where you have the Rhone Valley and Rhone River, and a section next to it is called the Vaucluse. Statistically I think there's almost 300 days of sunshine each year. So it's a warm climate most of the time but does get cold in winter. That's why the wine is so great because grapes need a lot of sun. So the name of my company comes from there because when I would go out there I would sweat, because for the most part, it's hot there. That's the origin story of the name and the origin story of the backpack frame is, I thought there would have to be an unconventional solution to back sweat. Because everywhere you go, “they” say your backpack should be firmly on you for the center of gravity and it's the safest way. So I thought, there's got to be a little bit of give and take. What if we could keep the backpack as close as possible, but at the same time, keep it separate from the back? You'll notice that a lot of backpacks have curved frames, which are trying to do the same thing. But sweat and heat rise as they evaporate, and with the curved version of a frame, the curved part stays on the shoulders so all of that heat doesn't really leave. You're pretty much left with maybe a small portion of your back that's kind of exposed. I decided to try a complete redesign. I forget the technical term right now, but the backpack is lifted completely off your entire back. Your backpack is elevated off your back. How big of a gap does it provide? Just just under an inch ( 0.75” to be exact). That's a good space for backpackers. 

Eventually we're going to release modular spacers to further customize the fit. The more feedback I get from my customers the better this will get. This is a shout-out to our backpacker community because they’ve been welcoming and so great with feedback, as have all my customers, I've been getting great feedback about what they like and what they don't like because this is a new concept. I'm just happy that there are people out there that are willing to try something new because having your backpack off your back sounds completely against all we've ever been taught. I'm thankful there are people out there saying, yeah, this sounds like something that will work. We're a relatively new company and thanks to feedback we keep getting better. We listen when people say we like this size space or, can you increase this or decrease that? Eventually we're going to have a lot of variety but for the most part, the lift off the back of just under an inch, for the majority of people does the job. 

And if people follow Vaucluse Gear on social media, they can see that the frame really does mold not just to the backpack, but to your back. The frame is flexible so it'll move as you move and is made from a thermoplastic (commonly used in the medical market) known as TPU.

I understand that, when I say the word, plastic, people have concerns about plastic and the outdoors. Statistically, TPU is used in a lot of outdoor gear to help make it heat- and weather-proof. So the Cool Dry Frame is flexible, soft, and durable. What I have found is that the more you wear it, the more pliable the frame becomes, like breaking in a pair of shoes. That’s how it's designed - so you can break it in. I always tell people don't go out on a big hike at first, but test it out two or three times, flex it in your hands and eventually it will conform to your shape. When you get it, it's flat. But after three or four hikes, you start seeing that it's taken the shape of your back. It ends up molding to your specific proportions. 

Does it work with most backpacks or sizes? 

It's One Size Fits All. One of the big questions I get is, will it carry weight, like 40 or 50 pounds? The answer is, I've sat on it, I've stepped on it, I've put huge amounts of weight on it and this thing is not going to break. Right now one size fits all, eventually what I want to do is offer bigger, wider frames and offer the backpacking community really bespoke gear. Eventually we will have custom, bespoke frames. I don't know when that will be yet, but the more success that we have, the more frames we will be able to build. One of the things we're going to introduce is a backpack with a frame attached in it. So your shoulders, every part of your body, even the straps, is slightly elevated. So when you're hiking, and your body’s core temperature starts increasing and you're sweating because it's your body's way of cooling down, every part of that backpack will be elevated off of you. Your body can do what it naturally wants to do: get rid of the heat. That’s our vision as a company, to make things that really help people moderate their core temperature and allow sweat to evaporate easily. So people can hike longer and enjoy the outdoors and not worry about getting hot, taking their backpack off, or if they’ve gone further than they should. Here at Vaucluse, we really want to attack the whole concept of sweat. You could say we're fully focused on the sweat problem. 

There’s some exciting news coming soon about new Vaucluse products people should check out, especially now that winter has hit the Pacific Northwest, so can I use the Cool Dry Frame in winter conditions? Because definitely in the winter, I'm more layered with winter gear. Some of it is waterproof, which helps insulate your body temperature, but can also make you sweat. Have you had any feedback about folks using it in the wintertime? 

One of my first customers was with Search & Rescue in the Appalachian mountains and I've learned that just because the sun isn't out, if it's 80º to 90ºF out, the body still sweats. So, when you have multiple layers on plus a backpack, your core temperature is rising. You've got to let that heat dissipate. Search & Rescue teams have been very interested in my product because it allows heat on their back to dissipate and their core temperature is moderated. That way, they can be outdoors longer and keep searching/saving people. 

Sweat is just a byproduct of heat so the challenge is keeping your core temperature cooler. If you're outdoors in the cold, wearing multiple layers and a backpack, for an hour or two, your core temperature is rising and if it's rising, you're going to sweat. The Cool Dry Frame will definitely help. Search & Rescue people have been giving us great feedback, saying this is really helpful. They don't have to focus so much on their own core temperature, because if they're out looking for somebody and their core temperature starts fluctuating, they've got to stop. They're telling us when and where they're hot or cool, and what the sweat is doing. You know, when you're stopped and your core temperature is cooling down, sweat becomes cold water on the body and that’s when, in the past, they had to turn around. So far, so good with the feedback. I'm learning that, in all seasons, the Cool Dry Frame can help.

I'll definitely keep sharing feedback on winter use. Outside of hiking, when I snowboard I like to carry a backpack, so it’s the same thing. When you're snowboarding, getting on and off the lift, and strapping in and off, you work up a sweat so I'll definitely be interested in seeing how it not only handles the cold temperatures, but also the rough and tumble of snowboarding. I'm not a professional, but it will be a good test outside of hiking and seeing how it handles the snowboarding conditions as well. 

Yes, please keep us posted. I always tell customers, when they give us what I call a “sweat check,” whether it's positive or negative, you can get a free t-shirt. Some people like promo stuff, some people don't, some prefer coupon codes, but everyone becomes part of the Vaucluse “tester community.” There’s other benefits to giving feedback. I definitely like to see it “paid forward” when testers take a chance on our product. I always like to return the favor and say look, you've taken a chance on us, you give us feedback, here's some other goodies. Then, when we do come out with new gear or updates on the Cool Dry Frame, they’re the first to know. In the future I hope to do giveaways where folks just have to pay shipping and handling, or maybe shipping will be free. 

The success of this frame and company rests with our customers. When people give me feedback and say they like it or want improvements that, in itself, is invaluable. So I look forward to your feedback and look forward to paying it forward with you. I’m definitely excited to have you test it out and check it out. 

For someone who recently got back into hiking, what kind of advice would you give any first time hikers or folks that are just getting started in order to have a safe and rewarding experience on the trails? 

I would probably not hike for more than an hour. I would try to find and join a group. I would meet up with friends when I first went hiking. So find somebody to be a guide, who knows where you are or where you're going and is checking up on you. Try not to hike alone. Try not to hike for more than an hour. Get a nice comfortable pair of shoes, bring water and bring your (charged) phone. But step one is, don't try and hike alone because you never know what's going to happen out there. If you do, then make sure that people know where you're at and give them a timeline as to when they can expect you back. Because we do hear about situations where folks didn't know where their friends were. I've been guilty of it too, randomly deciding how I'm just going to go on this quick, easy hike, but you never know what can happen. Hike with partners when you can, but when you can’t, make sure people are aware of where you're at and when they can expect you to come back. 

We're almost done with the year but I know in Arizona that's the start of the winter hiking season. Do you have any goals for the remainder of 2022? Any goals for the New Year? 

My goal is to go out at least once a week, because trails change, especially this time of the year. A week ago I was on a hike in a t-shirt and shorts, but now that's definitely not the case! So I try and hike once a week. As for goals for 2023, I would love to go to Washington. It just looks absolutely beautiful. I want to go to northern California, which looks beautiful as well. I've only been at this for about a year and I'm just starting to “fall in love” with all our National Parks. It’s a real joy to discover everything! I'm quite active on Instagram and it's amazing to see some of the pictures that people post. They're unreal. I'm like, you had to have doctored this because it looks like it's out of a video game! So I'm really looking forward to at least going to Washington, possibly northern California. I passed through Utah and didn't do anything and felt pretty bad because I didn't recognize how beautiful Utah is. I just want to learn a little bit more about the western part of the country and eventually go to the Northeast and check out the Appalachian Trail. It just looks unbelievable. So there's a lot on my bucket list. My bucket list of hikes and trails and parks is increasing significantly and I hope to take a few off next year. 

That’s great to hear. I’ll be excited to see your posts on social media when you do check them off the list. Thank you, Brice, for doing this podcast and… joining us for the second half of this podcast and a game of this or that questions. Ready? 

Ascending or descending?


Waterfalls or summits?


Switchbacks… straight up, truck poles or freehand?

Freehand.Do you fuel up before a hike or after?


Bushwhack or go around?

Bushwhack until I know I have to go around.

Jump in or stay dry?

Jump in, especially the colder the better.

Sunsets or sunrises? 

Sun rises all the way.

Spring flowers or fall colors?

Fall colors. That's a tough one, though. 

And do you tag a hike or not?

Tag tag tag! No problem there. 

That was it. Thank you so much. This last little bit of the podcast, I want to give you an opportunity to let folks know where they can follow you on social media, where to check out the Cool Dry Frame online and where they can order it. This is your time to shine. 

I'm really thankful that you, Ivan, gave me this opportunity to share my story and my company, because I think what you do is really, really cool and all the best to you. I really appreciate it. 

Thank you, Brice! You were one of the first to reach out to me when I first launched Hikes & Mics and you’ve really set the tone for this online community. You were wanting to connect with people and just promote one another and their hiking experiences, and that was really great. I've been following you ever since, and I really enjoy seeing all the different places that you visit in Arizona. Because when I was there, South Mountain was only a five minute drive away so that's where I would end up hiking. I'd heard of the Sonora Preserve up by Scottsdale but never had an opportunity to check it out and next time I go back to Phoenix, that will definitely be on my list! 

For folks interested in following you online, where could they follow you? 

The best way is through my website, Instagram, and my Youtube channel where I do 5-minute reviews. 

Thanks again for joining me, it’s been great talking to you and I'm excited to continue following your reintroduction to hiking and seeing all the places that you'll visit this year and next. Thank you for joining us on the latest episode of the Hikes & Mics Podcast. Make sure to follow Brice on IG @vauclusegear to check out the Cool Dry Frame and visit www.VaucluseGear.com. Thank you for tuning in to this week's episode, we'll be putting out new episodes every week through the winter. Be sure to like and subscribe to us and follow us on Instagram @hikesandmics. Catch you on the next one.

About the Hikes and Mics Podcast

The Hikes and Mics Podcast is a podcast for outdoor lovers and hikers. Each week we'll be asking hikers questions about hiking and their adventures in the outdoors. Guests are asked open-ended questions about their experiences hiking, and we finish with a speed round of This or That questions, all related to hiking. New episodes every week.

Check out the Hikes and Mics Podcast on the following platforms:

Apple iTunes



Amazon Podcasts


Backpack Airflow System - Cool-Dry Frame

The Cool-Dry Backpack Frame is a great way to add more airflow to your back. It’s flexible and very light (just six ounces). If you're looking for added comfort and less sweat while hiking, please check out the Cool-Dry Frame. We’ve designed this based on the feedback of customers and hikers just like you, and they're telling us what to do. The result is the additional support your back is looking for when hiking in either cold or hot weather.

Thank you so much.

See you on the trails.

You can read our 5-star customer reviews by clicking here, Yes, this product definitely does work.

The Cool-Dry Frame by Vaucluse

It's your best way to stay cool and dry with a backpack.

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Sweat Check