It’s a stark contrast: the high, dry peaks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the lush, moss-covered old growth of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. We’re at home above treeline. We pitch our well-loved red and white tent, corral the little ones, let the four-leggers roam, and indulge in expansive views. With one three-hour flight and a mile of trail behind us, we wonder if a site will ever be found among the massive hemlock and red cedar. We end up coastal before realizing just how distracted we were by the fiddleheads, toddler-high ferns and swarms of giant black slugs and other mollusks in the depths of this green canopy. We again pitch our home for the night; red, white and mesh walls bring us to a familiar place, even though my skin is sticky wet; a foreign feeling since moving to Colorado. This place is different, yet we find ourselves comforted by colors of familiarity as we indulge in our weekend view.

Thanks to an invite from MSR, we had 48 hours to explore the region where they build and test tried-and-true gear. After years of using their stoves and tents in Colorado, experiencing MSR’s stomping grounds and putting their gear to the test in its “home” was a magical experience for this gear-lover and our family. To learn more about MSR and celebrate 50 years of creating the gear that gets us out there, visit msrgear.com/50th-anniversary