Despite countless days on the river, apart for some scuffs and scrapes from rocks and some pine sap, the Storm Front backpack is no worse for wear.

We've inadvertently gotten into the habit of cutting to the chase when it comes to gear reviews. No more setting the stage, leading the reader in, and feigning objectivity only to deliver our verdict to a wanting audience. Partially, this is because that format is pretty boring and tired. Mostly, however, it's because -- if one of us is taking the time to write about an item -- we're passionate about it, one way or the other.

You just want to know if the rod, reel, bag, pack, accessory, etc we're writing about is worth your hard-earned money or just a piece of junk, right? That said, I'll get to the point: I have three favorite possessions in the world and the Patagonia Stormfront Backpack is one of them. It joins another Patagonia product, the Patagonia Nano Puff (which we reviewed last year), in this oh-so highly exclusive group of my favorite possessions. The third item, in case you're wondering, is a cheap bottle opener inscribed with a gradually wearing away Sam Adams logo. I received it from a ditzy girl wearing a low cut top who, along with two cohorts, invaded a normally quiet local bar in order to promote some unsavory concoction Sam Adams was trying to peddle at the time. Not unlike the other two items in this elite group of three, my Sam Adams bottle opener does what it is supposed to do with minimalist, simplistic ease and rugged toughness. It's also worth mentioning that, in a house where nothing smaller than a piano lasts more than six months without disappearing, it somehow has remained a fixture.

The Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park

By Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director of Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance & John Land Le Coq, Founder of Fishpond, Inc.

October 31, 2012 (DENVER, CO) – Denver’s recent Presidential debate offered discussion on an array of issues intended to answer the question of who is best suited to serve as the leader of our nation. For many of us who live in the West, one topic was mysteriously absent: the candidates’ positions on conservation and public lands. This omission did not go unnoticed.

Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney (nor the moderator) recognized the sportsmen, farmers and ranchers, or environmentalists that have looked after America’s great outdoors for generations. And most germane, they appear to have overlooked the connection between the conservation of our outdoors resources and the economy and jobs.

Damnation Movie Poster

This summer has been quickly slipping away, and I've spent the latter half of it with my head mostly up my ass. Between heading to Yellowstone and all the organizing and planning that went along with it and countless other projects that are getting juggled (and poorly, at that), a lot of things have gone unnoticed. So, that said, I totally missed the early July release of the trailer for Damnation (which was, at some point, renamed from the working title 'Amend').

If you're not familiar with the project, Damnation is the latest effort from filmmakers Travis Rummel and Ben Knight, which focuses on dam removal. Rummel and Knight regularly turn out freakishly-good films about fishermen, fly fishing and the natural environments that surround them. 2010's Eastern Rises, which documents an expedition to Kamchatka, does as good a job of explaining the passion that drives most fly fishermen as well as, or better, than any thing else I've ever seen. The more recent Red Gold is a documentary on the ongoing issues surrounding Alaska'a Bristol Bay and the proposed Pebble Mine. Red Gold was recently licensed by PBS for their similarly titled report, 'Alaska Gold'.

Sage 8000 Series in 'stealth' and 'storm'.

As we reported earlier, Sage has recently been introducing a bevy of new products, including four new series of fly rods. In addition to these already announced products, Sage is introducing two new series of reels that it is calling "technologically superior". With new features like innovative drag systems, increased line capacity and line pickup speed, these new reels seem to be aimed mainly at big game anglers, despite being offered in sizes that will appeal to trout anglers and the like.

Sage 8000 Series Fly Reels
Sage 8000 Series in 'stealth' and 'storm'.

The 8000 PRO series was designed by Sage to offer a substantially increased level of fish stopping power and drag control to anglers who depend on their drags (unlike trout anglers, count me among the guilty, who have fancy drags on their trout reels that are very, very rarely needed). The 8000 PRO series introduces a unique, new dual drag system that gives anglers the ability to fine tune the control of their drag. It's best to let Sage explain:

Sage's all new, high-end ONE Elite Fly Rod.

In the lead up to this years IFTD (International Fly Tackle Dealers show) in Reno, Nevada, Sage has announced several new rod series. These new rods and reels are in addition to other new products recently announced by Sage, including it's new slow-action CIRCA fly rods. These new rod series, the Sage ONE Elite, Response and Approach will join Sage's existing rod lineup in the coming months.

Sage ONE Elite Fly Rod
Sage's all new, high-end ONE Elite Fly Rod.

At $1295, the Sage ONE Elite is Sage's new top-of-the-line rod. Built on the same technology as the well-loved Sage ONE series, the Sage ONE Elite adds in premium components and materials all over the place. The Elite features high-end extras such as a titanium reel seat, titanium stripper guides with ceramic inserts and a titanium winding check. The hand-made handle is crafted from flor grade cork fashioned into a half-well, snub-nosed grip. The Sage ONE Elite is currently only offered in 9 foot 5 weight. Availability expected in September.

For the less financially extravagant angler, Sage is introducing two new affordable rod series in the Response and Approach.