I’ve been a bit busy lately, so I wasn’t able to break the exciting news in time – but Modern Hiker has joined Columbia Sportswear‘s OmniTen Program.

So, you might be asking yourself – just what IS OmniTen, exactly? Apparently, the fine folks up at Columbia picked ten outdoorsy writers, bloggers, gear-testers, and social-media troubadours from around the country to test out their new line of 2012 products before they hit store shelves. I’ve already received a few goodies and will be writing about them shortly. They’re also taking us out into the field to test the gear first-hand, too — in mid June I will be joining my compatriots in Sedona for a few days before revisiting my backpacking trip to Havasu Canyon.

The people they’ve selected for this program seem to run a fairly broad range of interests – skiers, bikers, runners, climbers, and surfers – but it looks like a pretty good crew. And it includes the venerable Calipidder, who joined me on a trip to the GORE-TEX factory a few years back.

As most of the other group members have stated, I will be very transparent with all of my reviews of products and anything else Columbia throws my way. Columbia is giving Modern Hiker a lot of goods and services for free, but if I don’t like something I’m definitely gonna let you know about it.

In conclusion, woo!

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