Packing Small & Living Big in Glacier National Park

By Popticals Pro Greg Hatten.

On my way to Glacier National Park I spent the day with one of the best outfitters and gear shops in Kalispell, Montana. Sportsman & Ski Haus was celebrating 49 years in business and I displayed my boat and FJ in front of their store and chatted with folks about river running the National Parks in a wooden boat.

Outside Sportsman & Ski Haus

Outside Sportsman & Ski Haus

Quite a day –  I met lots of interesting outdoor people and got to talk about white water, wood boats, and the tools I use to run treacherous rapids.

One of my favorite pieces of equipment are the Popticals Sunglasses that I wear every minute I’m on the water. Not only do they protect my eyes from harmful UV rays, the NYDEF™ nylon lenses cut the reflective glare from the water and allow me to see every little riffle and rock that has the potential of tearing up a handcrafted wooden boat. The unique hydrophobic coating that repels water, oil and dust keeps them clear over the course of the day.

Greg Hatten Glacier Park Popticals

Navigating the Flathead River in a wooden boat.

For me – packing light is essential. We cover a stretch of water, make camp and then move on down the river – the patented micro-rail system allows me to collapse my glasses in the palm of my hand and fit them in a hard-shell plastic protective case that can bounce around in the bottom of my boat and not do any damage to my glasses. We like to call it packing small and living BIG on our adventures.

Greg Hatten Popticals Case

When I was demonstrating the pack small live big case to some folks at the Sportsman & Ski Haus, I folded my Popticals up, put them in the case and literally tossed them in my boat… I heard a couple people “gasp” as the case was in the air but by the time it finished rattling around in my boat – they were believers. It was a pretty cool way to show off the feature that keeps my high-end Italian sunglasses totally protected from the everyday wear and tear I put them through.

Before I left the store I asked the experts where I should camp in the park and which river to run.  I got some great advise from the folks at the store and from Kalispell I went to the most remote part of Glacier – in the far north west section of the park – where the rivers are a little wilder, the people are fewer, and the camping is quiet and scenic.

Popticals in Glacier National Park

The simple campsite with an incredible view.

I ran the North Fork of the Flathead River for two days in my little boat and never saw another boat in the water or person on the shore. It was awesome and so so scenic. If you’re headed to Montana, stop in to see the folks at the Sportsman & Ski Haus in Kalispell or White Fish… they will hook you with a pair of Popticals and anything else for your outdoor adventures.