With 60 years of expe­ri­ence pro­vid­ing reli­able out­door gear, Kel­ty enables every­one to embrace the out­doors with con­fi­dence. Add to that inno­v­a­tive car­ry­ing solu­tions includ­ing cam­era cas­es and lum­bar packs from Moun­tain­smith, and we’re con­fi­dent you’ll be well-pre­pared for your next out­door adventure. 

When you’re done shop­ping, have a look at how one of our very own embraces the outdoors:


Two years ago I found myself in a very for­tu­nate place in my life. I was back liv­ing in the same remote South­east, Alaskan wilder­ness that I had once called home as a child. It had been years since I had been back and strange­ly it seemed like no time had passed at all since I left. The only change was in my will­ing­ness to be there as an adult instead of feel­ing forced there as I had as a nine-year-old. I was look­ing for a sum­mer of self-reflec­tion before grad school in a place that I was com­fort­able explor­ing, while also giv­ing me a new thrill to feed my adven­tur­ous spir­it. It had been a while since I had what I like to call my “ulti­mate awe” moment. The moment when you get so excit­ed and wrapped up in the nat­ur­al ele­ments around you that noth­ing else mat­ters. I knew I need­ed to find that again. I didn’t want to be some­one who took expe­ri­ences that I was for­tu­nate enough to have for grant­ed.  I want­ed to have an “awe” moment so serene that it would make my adven­ture worth every sec­ond.  I turned a glimpse of poten­tial guilt into inspi­ra­tion and set out on a 6‑day adven­ture into the remote Alaskan wilder­ness of Glac­i­er Bay Nation­al Park.

The sto­ry below will tell of the adven­ture, but I final­ly had my “awe” moment and found some­thing that excit­ed me more than I could have ever imagained…

It was a Wednes­day morn­ing when we set out from Bartlett Cove at the Glac­i­er Bay Nation­al Park head­quar­ters. We loaded up our two-man kayak with enough gear and food to last us a week and set our sights on reach­ing McBride Glac­i­er in three days; an ambi­tious 60 mile goal, espe­cial­ly for a begin­ner sea kayk­er. After pad­dling 15 miles on day one, we did­n’t quite reach where we had hoped, but found a great camp­site in the famous Beard­s­ley islands and decid­ed to give our­selves a rest for the night. My only fear dur­ing the entire trip was hav­ing a bad encounter with a brown bear and we had­n’t seen any up to this point, which had me feel­ing pret­ty safe at the spot we found for the night.

On day two we knew we had to make up a lot of miles and pushed it hard; we pad­dled 25 miles in a sin­gle day along tow­er­ing moun­tain peaks, rocky ocean beach­es and calm icy waters. We final­ly reached our des­ti­na­tion around 6pm, which only put us 15 miles from the Glac­i­er. Con­sid­er­ing our pre­vi­ous days mileage, this was an achiev­able dis­tance to reach­ing our day 3 goal. We were feel­ing safe after scop­ing out the camp spot and did­n’t see many traces of bears; enough to keep me up any­ways. We were already get­ting bet­ter at unload­ing the boat and stor­ing our bear cans. Each time we arrived at a spot, we had to unpack every­thing, set up our tent, move our kayak 50 yards from our tent and our bear cans anoth­er 150 yards from camp. It became an exhaust­ing process load­ing and unload­ing, but I think we both put on some much-need­ed mus­cle! We cooked every night in the inter­tidal waters to wash away any smells and lit small fires to keep the bugs away. We ate well and enjoyed spend­ing time sur­round­ed in the most beau­ti­ful area I had ever seen. Up until this point we had not seen anoth­er liv­ing soul since leav­ing the Beardsley’s.  The East arm of Glac­i­er Bay restricts any cruise ships so it still remains a place for true wilder­ness adventure.

I awoke the next morn­ing to some bustling noise around our tent. In a state of fear I peeked through the tiny tent win­dow and I could see a brown bear rough­ly 20–30 feet away.  My worst night­mare was hap­pen­ing. I could see the head­lines now: “Young Campers Mauled by Griz­zly in Alas­ka.” I sank back into my sleep­ing bag and start­ed to hyper­ven­ti­late; I quick­ly real­ized that I wasn’t near­ly as tough as I thought I was. I don’t think I have ever had such a gut wrench­ing feel­ing in my life. After a small and whis­per­ing argu­ment over what to do, we blew our bear whis­tle as loud as pos­si­ble. The bear imme­di­ate­ly ran off in the oth­er direc­tion and although our first bear scare was over and it was over­all a good encounter (minus my sky­rock­et­ing blood pres­sure), I could­n’t help but feel on edge any­time we were on land. Strange­ly, I began to feel much safer in the boat.

It took me awhile to calm down and load the boat as I was con­stant­ly bang­ing rocks togeth­er and blow­ing the whis­tle to scare off any bears. We set off again for a 15-mile day to McBride Glac­i­er. As we got clos­er we start­ed to pass by float­ing ice­bergs and the water began to get much cold­er. We were def­i­nite­ly get­ting fur­ther up the East Arm and were head­ing into fur­ther seclu­sion. I have to admit, it’s a bit over­whelm­ing know­ing that you are the only peo­ple in such a mas­sive and dra­mat­ic land­scape, but it was tru­ly breath­tak­ing. By 3pm, we start­ed to round the point where we knew the Glac­i­er was. We had sore arms and swollen hands from all the pad­dling by this point, but stoke was high and our adren­a­line had us pad­dling faster by the sec­ond. We pushed hard and final­ly made it. McBride is the most active Glac­i­er in the entire park, reced­ing 15–20 feet/day. We spent the night with a glac­i­er view and could hear ice break­ing off the glac­i­er wall through­out the night. It echoed off the walls of the high moun­tain peaks and cliffs, aside from being com­plete­ly amazed, the noise also made it easy for me to blame any bit of sound on ice falling in the water instead of a bear sit­ting in front of my tent with a din­ner plate and fork.

We woke to a huge ice­field of water that the cur­rents had pushed ashore and enjoyed our last break­fast before mak­ing the pad­dle home. Just as we were get­ting ready to start pack­ing, we looked across the bay and saw a large bear walk­ing along the coast. I again, began to hyper­ven­ti­late and even recall dump­ing all of my oat­meal and cof­fee into the ocean, fran­ti­cal­ly pack­ing up the bear cans and pac­ing in a cir­cle; a total­ly unpro­duc­tive move and waste of a good meal. I’m your girl for adven­ture, but not when things get scary. I could only hope that the bear would­n’t cross the frigid cold waters, but I was wrong. It jumped right into the water and swam with the ice­bergs over to our side of camp. I was armed with bear spray, but that was hard­ly enough to keep me calm. Once again, the bear con­tin­ued along the beach, bare­ly tak­ing the time to even look over at us. Now that my pan­ic had com­plete­ly ruined break­fast and any chance at a morn­ing meal (over noth­ing- real­ly) we decid­ed it was time to go.

We set off again to sun­shine and calm waters, pass­ing more ice­bergs, 6 more bears, eagles galore, sea lions, sea otters, moose and hun­dreds of species of birds. The trek back was just as mag­i­cal as the trek there. We spent a day on a great beach watch­ing the sun­set, sit­ting by a fire and cook­ing din­ner. We had orig­i­nal­ly planned to stay anoth­er night before our boat pick-up on Mon­day morn­ing, but just as we had camp all set up the idea of a hun­gry bear sit­ting in front of my tent plagued me once again and I knew it was going to be a sleep­less night. Luck­i­ly, it was sol­stice, so I was able to con­vince Scott that we’d have enough light to pad­dle through the night. My undy­ing fear of the great brown bear quick­ly trans­formed into the most amaz­ing expe­ri­ence of my life. It was cold, calm and clear. So qui­et you could only hear the swift motion of our pad­dles pulling our boat through the water. The sea was glow­ing with bright green phos­pho­res­cence and at the very moment, noth­ing else mat­tered except the adven­ture we were on and the sights sur­round­ing me.

Still, to this day and I imag­ine for­ev­er, my adven­ture will remain a mem­o­ry that has become my escape to a ‘hap­py place.’