Veital 3x3 - Himalayas

Trip Dates: 8/27/2019 – 10/5/2019

Author: Jan

Where: Nepal, Himalayas

Trip Name: Manaslu Expedition

Trip in 3(00ish words):

The ultimate goal of this expedition was to reach the summit of Mt. Manaslu (8,163m = 26,780ft) without supplemental oxygen. However, as always, life typically decides to act upon itself and chose different paths for us to make the experience even more interesting.


My story starts in a very ancient and chaotic city, Kathmandu, where I spent a few days organizing equipment, food, and supplies for the expedition. There I also met the other co-climbers, our Sherpas and the cooks. Once the team was ready, we all took a 4WD to get us as far into the mountains as possible and from there we utilized mules that accompanied us during a one-week long hike to the base camp (BC) at 5,000m. This place became my home for the next 3 weeks.

The climbing part itself is very straightforward and after setting up and organizing the BC we started our acclimatization routine. During this process, my body was slowly exposed to thin air, which forces it to create more red blood cells and adjust to the altitude. Acclimatization is typically done in so-called “cycles” during which a person ascends to higher camps (C1, C2…). First, we hiked to C1 (5,700m) and returned to BC the same day. For the next cycle, we went to C1, spent the night, and climbed to C2 (6,100m) then back to BC. During the third cycle, we went to C1 where we spent the night, C2 again spending the night, touched C3 (6,700m), and returned to BC. Between each cycle, there were one or two rest days.

During the final summit push, I spent a half-day at C3 where I tried to sleep and gain as much energy as one can at 6,700m. We woke up at 9 pm, melted snow for water, and started my final summit push. We pushed through the night and kept going strong towards the summit accompanied by one of our Sherpas. Unfortunately, at 7,500 ish meters, the altitude took its toll and I was not able to continue. At that point, I used our team backup oxygen bottle to recoup and reach the summit. Due to our exhaustion, we took 2 days to return to BC with stops in C4 and C3.


So, in the end, I did reach the summit and successfully descended, however with the supplemental oxygen. Most importantly, I enjoyed the whole experience and the people who made it special. Once you reach the top, there is no one there to celebrate your achievement. It’s down in the valley where life pulses and where you can share your memories with others. I’d love to thank my co-climbers Don, Lauri, and Natasha for making this experience very special!

20:20 Hindsight

There was a point during climbing the third ice step (20m vertical) when I had to push myself really hard to quickly escape the couloir to avoid huge chunks of falling ice. At that moment, I went past my physical (and aerobic) threshold, and I believe that was the point when I slowly started losing my battle with the thin air. I was not able to recoup from that physical strain at that elevation and kept deteriorating until 7,500 ish meters when I had to start using the supplemental oxygen. So, if I was to re-live my expedition, I would be more cautious about my aerobic capacity and maybe spend more time after the third ice step to catch my breath and rest.


After the summit push, which itself totaled six days spent at a really high elevation during which I was living on Mountain House dried food and instant noodles, the best food I ate was at the base camp where I had a sandwich with some black beans (real food!! :) ). The next best meal that I ate was in Kathmandu upon our return where I ate a western-style steak in a local gourmet restaurant. It was so refueling to eat some good beef and consume protein that was much needed.

Caught off guard

I don’t think there was a certain moment when I was literally caught off guard since one must always be well prepared when entering the mountains. And when things don’t go as planned, experience and improvisation come into play so that you are able to solve unusual situations. However, I approached the expedition with an open mind and felt kind of caught off guard after the experience as I had very mixed feelings about my summit. I did reach the summit, but with the help of supplemental oxygen. So, it took me a moment to process these emotions and find feelings of success and accomplishment.

Looking for more? Has the 3×3 left you high and dry? Don’t fret. Follow the Trail Book for more Veital!

If you’re reading from Wisconsin or Indiana, don’t forget to check us out in person through our beloved partners at:

Yellow Wood Gear in Shorewood, WI &

Becker Supply Co. in Indianapolis, IN

Best of the Midwest: Where to go? What to see?

Oh, the midwest. The land of kindness, pastures, and flip flops at 50 degrees. As a company based in the heart of the midwest in beautiful Milwaukee, we'd be remiss not to make a compilation of the best places to go around here. We know you're hungry for adventure since the Cerveza sickness has all of us pleading for a little more outdoors and a little less opening the fridge every time you walk past the kitchen.

Our motto at Veital is "embrace the balance," which seems an ever-present theme in the midwest. You can't have the American midwest without the dichotomies of balance, from the cold winter to the cool summer, to the vast land and large metropolises, the midwest is the embodiment of balance.

Where to go? What to see?

As a Veital reader, we understand you're the type to strap on the snowshoes in the winter and put in your 5 miles at the trail. It's probably not unheard of for you to pick up the weekend after next to hit the crag or shred the trail on your XC, right? Well, since you and I are in sound harmony here, let us share some of our favorite Midwest spots. Here's exactly what to see and where to go in the midwest.

Trekking in Hocking Hills, OH

Photo by Tim Swinehart @tim_swine

Let's start with the scenic route and work our way up the adventure scale. This spot in the perimeter of Columbus is the place you want to get lost. With a map that is. Wear your comfortable boots and hit the interconnected hiking trails. Avoid rush hours for a more pleasurable experience.

Backcountry Camping in Pictured Rocks, MI

Photo by Dennis Buchner @baitman

Are you in the market for an unplugged getaway after a killer week at work? Use the racked up PTO and head over to the UP, destination Pictured Rocks. Whenever practicing backcountry camping, make sure to leave no trace. And let your momma know, will ya?

Kayaking down Current River, MO

There's nothing quite like the resistance-free gliding of a kayak going with the flow. Immerse yourself in the beauty of one of Missouri's largest protected areas and the midwest's most biologically significant river. Don't forget the sunscreen, though. You're looking bitchin in the yak, but your sunburn won't care.

Canoe Camping in Boundary Waters, MN

Photo by Josh Hild @joshhild

In the realm of floating activities, canoeing is yet another bullet point on the list. In Boundary Water, however, it's the almost transcendental activity becomes the marriage of spirit and nature. Add a tent and a friend to that, and you have yourself a trip of a lifetime. Don't forget swimming suits; you'll want to get in.

Mountain Biking and Climbing in Devil's Lake, WI

Photo by Dave Hoefler @johnwestrock

We are turning up the heat on the adventure scale. Our home state of Wisconsin blesses our Best of the Midwest list with Devil's Lake State Park. There are so many things to do; we won't even go into detail. For the Veital connoisseur, however, we recommend hitting the lake with your 29er and at least a full rack for balls to the wall trad climbing—the perfect balance of fast on the trail and mighty at the crag.

Needle Climbing in Mount Rushmore, SD

Photo by Levi Jones @levidjones

"Look at that beautiful profile!" No, we're not talking about President Washington's remarkable features. We're exclaiming, instead, about the magnificent rock formations that accompany the busts. Bring your a-game, leave the fear at home and get sharp in the many multi-pitch routes around the Memorial, then consolidate in the other 800+ climbs.

Ice Climbing in Duluth, MN

Photo by Hansi Johnson

As the adventure meter goes off the charts, the temperature drops to freezing. Fealing daring during the winter months? Head over to Duluth for a session packed with adrenaline. Bring your ice tools and crampons; this one is going to get tricky. Seriously, don't forget the hand warmers.

Honorable Mentions

Because what's the point of making a list if you can't divide it as you please? In no particular order, here are two more destinations genuinely worthy of a Veital trip and a can of beer. Cheers!

Fishing in the Apostle Islands, WI

Photo by Bob Jauch

Whether you are all about casting in your flip flops and a tank top or head to toes on a winter suit, the fishing here is phenomenal. Come up in the summer with your favorite flotation device to catch the views. Try it out in the winter to experience the unassuming shanty and catch of plenty.

Climbing and Cliff Jumping in Jackson Falls, IL

Illinois needed some love on our list, and it was with no hesitation we thought of Jackson Falls. Are you in the Chicago area looking for something different? Drive down to Jackson Falls in early fall for some great rock climbs and a sketchy dive, or two.


Feeling lost? Head back to the Trail Book to see more!

3x3 Governor Dodge

Veital 3x3 - Governor Dodge

Veital 3 x 3 - Governor Dodge

Trip Dates: 10/21/2017

Author: Matt Kownick

Where: Governor Dodge State Park, WI

Trip Name: Governor? I barely know her.

Trip in (300ish words): 

I got back into climbing the fall of 2015. The goal then was to get outside, on the rock, as much as possible. We had a Saturday open on an unseasonably warm day in October. My climbing partner, Jan, suggested we go do some sport climbing west of Milwaukee. I had never been there to climb on rock (funny story, Jan brought me there once before, but in winter to try out ice climbing…but that's another story) so we decided to go for it.

A good buddy of mine, John Kraft (@masterkraft32), was free and tagged along. It was his first time climbing outside. He found the right balance of sore forearms and comfortable hammock positions in no time.

First climb at governor dodge

Governor Dodge has several climbing areas in the park. The rock is mostly sandstone, which is uncharacteristic for the Midwest. Because of this, the anchors for sport climbing are spaced far apart. It makes for an edgy (and stressful) first clip.

Getting up to the first clip

Making it up

The area of the park we climbed is the only part that has sport climbing. Some climbers back in the day decided to drill anchors without asking the park rangers. Safe to say it was frowned upon. When found out, they were allowed to keep the bolts previously drilled but couldn't add any others.

The most enjoyable route of the day was "Mean and Green." It was a push for me, and Jan decided it was best not to tell me the rating until I finished climbing it. We both made it about ¾ of the way before calling it. Fun and challenging route.

All and all 'twas a great day finished off with some refreshing brews and intriguing conversation

The veital guys get to the top

20:20 Hindsight: 

If you have toe holes in your shoes, get them fixed. Ain't nobody got time for holes. They severely impact your ability to confidently climb.


John and I stopped at a classic Wisconsin Bar/Restaurant called: Klassik Tavern. Burgers were excellent, and the beer was better.

Caught off guard: 

How beautiful Governor Dodge is during the fall.

Looking for more? Has the 3x3 left you high and dry? Don't fret. Follow the Trail Book for more Veital!

If you're reading from Wisconsin or Indiana, don't forget to check us out in person through our beloved partners at:

Yellow Wood Gear in Shorewood, WI &

Becker Supply Co. in Indianapolis, IN

3x3 Red Rock, Nevada

3 x 3 Red Rock, Nevada

Trip Dates: 5/19/2018-5/21/2018

Author: Matt Kownick

Where: Red Rock State Park (NV) and Zion National Park 

Trip Name: Intro into Traditional Climbing  

Trip in 3(00ish words): 

This is it, my intro into big wall, multi-pitch, traditional climbing. Jan was getting married a few weeks later, so this was considered his 'informal bachelor party.' We flew out to Vegas on Thursday night, picked up our rental car, and headed west into the desert. Red Rock is a rather large state park that has HUGE walls to climb. Friday, we were to attempt a route called Epinephrine. Rated a 5.9, it has 13 pitches of traditional climbing (Set your own protection pieces). Ambitious, I know, but we had to try. Day 1 was a humbling experience. We made it only to the 4th pitch before we had to rappel down. 

Matt feeling the exposure of Red Rock
Really Exposed... like REALLY exposed.

After getting off the wall, we decided it would be best to camp close to our next destination, Zion National Park. We dispersed camp on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) right outside the park. For anyone who enjoys camping and hasn't been out West much, BLM is everywhere- and is free for you to use, so long as you clean up after yourself. Day 2 was yet again a humbling experience. We tried to get on to 5 different routes and were only successful on 1-Weeping Rock. 

Jan hanging at the base
My buddy Jan hanging at the base.

Day 3 we headed back towards Vegas and Climbed again in Red Rocks State Park. These routes were single pitches with a mix of traditional and sport routes. It was a healthy mix and confidence booster after getting rocked (pun intended) for the first two days. 

Jan getting some action on the wall
Jan getting some action.

This trip was an immense learning opportunity, climbing is a sport unlike many others. It pushes you to your physical and mental limits. And it is at that moment that you find out who you are and whether you have the grit to make it to the next move.   

20:20 Hindsight: 

If there's a remote possibility of taking a service road, get the right rental car. Our Toyota Corolla did not do well. We had to park the car and hike in an extra 1.5 miles since the road was too rough and rocky. (When I say rocky, I mean bouldery)  


In and Out Burger, duh. 

Caught off guard: 

Multi-pitch climbing is hard and takes a long time. Midwest climbing ratings are nothing like out West climbing.

Here are some reference resources if you're thinking about going to Red Rock yourself or making the jump to trad:


Trad climbing:

Weeping Rock: 

Hidden Falls:

Are you feeling lost? Look the Trail Book to find your way!

Veital Travels in Australia

Sustainability and Reusable Water Bottles

If you are anything like us at the Veital team, you are aware of how your actions impact the earth and others and you use reusable water bottles of course. Veital Designs is not only an outdoor company; we're a lifestyle brand. With that, we have the responsibility to raise awareness about the issues that matter most to us. Issues that unfortunately impact our everyday life RIGHT NOW. Veital Designs navigates in the reusable water bottle space, and for that matter, we are passionate about the problems of sustainability that come with the water bottle industry.

On today's issue of the Veital Trail Book, we take a closer look at the impact of single-use water bottles. We are diving into the numbers (I know, data is beautiful) and getting a grasp of the situation. Fortunately today, access to information is at arms reach on pretty much any subject imaginable. A quick Google search using the supercomputer in your pocket called a smartphone, and you're on your way to enlightenment. Or disappointment for that matter.

Not to alarm you, but the amount of single-use plastic bottles used in the US is staggering. Here's how the numbers break down using an estimate from the sustainability department at Penn State.

Single-use water bottle usage in the US:

42.6 billion water bottles a year

Average per person:

42.6 billion bottles / 327.2 million people = 130.2 bottles per person per year

Breaking down the numbers:

Now, this is Veital Designs. We know that if you're engaged enough to be reading this right now, you're probably a tad more conscious about your consumption than the average Joe (Don't take it personal Joe, you know who you are). Picture this: At 130.2 bottles per person per year, on average, every single human in the face of the United States is grabbing a plastic bottle and throwing it out the window every 2.8 days.

Let's say that because you're more environmentally inclined than Joe, you go out of your way to buy a reusable water bottle from Nalgene. [insert link] You use it for the next five years instead of gobbling all that single-use plastic to yourself. Now you have saved yourself, according to Penn State's Sustainability department, $6180 of your hard-earned cash!

The environmental impact you'd have, however, is unquantifiable. You'll avoid putting another 130.2 bottles x 5 years = 651 disposable water bottles out in the dump. You'll have a positive impact on the rate of pollution and allow wildlife and our planet a little leeway. 

Embrace the challenge:

Please remember that this a grossly oversimplified version of the numbers for the sake of awareness. In reality, there are people out there consuming hundreds, if not thousands of bottles a year. Just as others are maintaining a no-waste policy in their philosophy, refer to the original Penn State article for a closer look at the data. Every time you grab the next single-use water bottle, consider your decision making and how far below you've fallen (and say hi to Joe for us). And if it ever were to happen that your Nalgene water bottle lid breaks, give plastic a break and swing by the Veital Designs store to pick up your very own Nighthawk Lid!

External Links:

Check out the Trail Book if you're feeling lost!

Veital Designs 3x3 new year in kyoto, adventure, travel, japan

3X3: The New Year in Kyoto

Veital Designs 3x3 new year in kyoto, adventure, travel, japan

Our journey took us from our home at the time in Seoul, South Korea to Osaka, Japan and then by train to our final destination in Kyoto just outside of Fushimi Inari-Taisha during the last week of December, 2014.

Reminiscing the past

Even 4 years out from that trip, it’s hard to put into words how amazing this adventure was; and the impression that has stayed with us ever since. Most days were relatively warm for late December which made wandering all the more enjoyable. Each day we made our way from temple to temple, onto and off of trains, and through quiet narrow streets, taking in the architecture, culture, and harmony of the city.

Veital Designs New Year in Kyoto, Kyoto Wandering, Japan, Winter, Adventure, Adventure in Japan

Everyone we met were incredibly friendly and patient with our extremely limited Japanese vocabulary. We rang in the new year on a wooded hillside at Fushimi Inari-Taisha. We drank mini beers and a ton of super friendly folks.

Veital Designs New Year in Kyoto, Japan, Kirin Beer, Fushimi Inari New Year

New Year’s Day, we visited Heinan Shrine and it’s gigantic Torii gate just as the snow began to fall, continuing our exploration and ringing in of 2015. We found ourselves twisting and turning our way down snow covered walks in search of a place to warm up and eat. While this was a bit of a challenge due to many shops being closed through the holidays, it only gave us more of an excuse to keep walking to see what was around the next corner. We eventually ended that New Year’s day at Bar Dylan II (A Bob Dylan themed bar), warming ourselves over whiskeys and watching the snowfall on the hills to the east. Four years out, we’re still twisting and turning, trying to find our way, and see what is around the next corner.

Veital Designs, New Year in Kyoto, Kyoto Japan, Heian Shrine, Japan, Adventure

Caught Off Guard

The Kamo River. We did not get a chance to walk along it’s banks. Having another visit in spring would be a perfect time to walk amongst it’s flowering cherry blossoms.



Kyoto Station has a ton of great restaurants so check out the lower level shops and restaurants. With that, the true MVP of this trip was Family Mart’s delicious premade sandwiches. Seriously, try the Egg Salad.


20:20 Hindsight:

More time to explore! We only had about 5 days all told to explore and a few things were closed through the holidays. More days on the ground another time of year might help us develop a deeper appreciation of all that Kyoto has to offer.


For more 3×3 stories and related content visit the trail book.

Veital Travels in Australia

Mo-Town In Australia

Mo-Town Goes to Australia

I was terrified leading up to the trip where I would travel 9,000 miles across the world to spend 3 weeks with people I had never met before. Little did I know, I'd experience some of the best days of my life in this short span.

Traveling to Australia, I went through 2 different states (Queensland and New South Wales) 7 different cities (Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island, Magnetic Island, Townsville, Mission Beach, Cairns, and Sydney), while using 8 planes, 5 ferries, and lots of cars. Each place that I visited was completely different from the last. It was unlike anything I could have experience in the U.S.

Started my trip out in Brisbane. The city reminded me of a mix between London and Nashville, minus the British or country accents. It had old and historically crafted buildings spanning the area of 6,110 square miles. London came to mind, but I could not overlook how hipster and trendy everything had become, just like Nashville. The people there would flood the local markets or outdoor restaurants every day and night to look over the river or reside in the “quay.” Pronounced like “key”. The word “quay” was written on everything in Brisbane, meaning that it was a city along the river.

Learn, adapt, overcome

In North Stradbroke Island, I started to feel culture shock and really get immersed within the culture of Australia. Upon our arrival with 70-degree weather, considering it is winter down under, the first activity we participated in was surfing right in the ocean at Cylinder Beach. Surfing on the waves was something I will never forget, as well as all the peculiar animals which resided on the island. Considering I got bit by a leech and pooped on by a koala, I would say the kangaroos were probably my favorite (and don’t worry, I washed my Veital after sharing my water). “Straddie,” as the locals like to call the island, consisted of many incredible sights. Due to the absence of the big city lights or huge tourist attractions, the milky way was clearly visible at night and created a view unlike any other.

Even though I could have lived forever on Straddie, we moved for the third time to reach Magnetic Island. Our group had the pleasure to work with Reef Ecologic, a reef conservation company, where we got to swim in the Great Barrier Reef and take samples of seaweed right off the coral, where it would later be turned into fertilizer to promote an eco-friendly environment. By working with Dr. Adam Smith, I got to learn and hear all about the initiatives and strategies Australia takes in attempt to preserve the environment. It was incredibly inspiring and pushed me to reevaluate all the actions I take in my life to be more respectful of the world I live in.

Townsville, the next stop, was just as inspiring too. Since most of the staff were volunteers and due to the fact that it was a non-profit organization, each person at Reef HQ genuinely cared for their program and wanted to spread that care to everyone who visited.


More places to see in Australia

Sleeping arrangements eventually became an exciting part to figure out; and the treehouse we stayed in at Mission Beach contributed to that excitement. While in Mission Beach we got to visit Mungulla Station, home of the Nywaigi Aboriginal people. Learning how to throw a boomerang and the culture of the people was life-changing. Those kinds of moments of pure joy did not stop there.

Next on the list of places was Cairns, which is where we would settle a bit for 3 days. Beause of having a port in the city, there were many more people than the past few destinations. Cairns was the spot in which tourists came to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef. We took a two-hour boat ride with sickening waves. Although I had to take multiple Dramamine and go through every phase of questioning whether I was going to be sick multiple times; it was worth it.

All of the things that I saw, including a sea turtle, 3-foot long and bright blue fish which swam right in front of my face, countless species of colorful coral, and lots of ginormous sea cucumbers, account to the fact that the Great Barrier Reef is definitely not dead. That day I had on July 25th, 2017, was one of the best days of my life and I loved every second of it.

Throughout rainforests, gorge walks, waterfalls, city streets and the thousands of steps I took, Australia was an incredible experience. The people, the food, the animals, and the sights were all mind-blowing. All I could say as we departed was, “I’ll be back for you Australia.”


#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Morgan “Mo-town” Batson

VIVA Team Member

For more 3×3 stories and related content visit the trail book.

Veital Designs Replacement Water Bottle Lid Nalgene replacement lid Hydroflask replacement lid

Sawtooth Relay

The next adventure, ‘twas a great one, Sawtooth Relay. I got a text from my buddy a few weeks ago saying: “So where’s the adventure this weekend?” 1. I was flattered that he asked me that and 2. What a way to live life! Life is an adventure. Undoubtedly it’s easier than people make it, just get off your butt and make some plans. Netflix can wait. Therefore Blane, if you ever read this, thanks for the inspiring text. It will keep me motivated to continuously find what’s next.

Can Matt Run the Distance?

May 10th: A good friend asked if I wanted to come visit her in Idaho. I said sure. My reward miles were in abundance, and heck, an opportunity to get out West? Absolutely. I had to jump on it. As I was booking the tickets, she informed me of what we would be doing that weekend. Running a 60-mile relay race through the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Whoa, Matthew is not a runner, and a flat-lander. Queue a fast track training program to get ready.

Fast forward to June 9th, I was sitting at Flying M Coffee House in Boise, , wrapping up the week. The place was pretty hip. Like the hip kinda place where no two chairs are alike. I was a little out of my element, but pressed on. Our schedule for the weekend was set. Cruise up to Stanley, find a place to camp, and be at the starting line by 7am Saturday morning.

With a few hours to kill, I wanted to check out some local shops. I gravitated to the outdoor stores, and with that, landed on a gold mine. ‘Outfitters R US’ is a co-sign shop. For the flat-landers reading this, it’s a Goodwill for outdoor gear. The stop to peruse quickly turned into over an hour long shopping scavenger hunt. There was so much to investigate, what deals could be found? I ended up buying a pair of mountain biking shoes, 3 kits for riding, and a rock climbing helmet. Something I know couldn’t be done at any store in the Midwest. All things I needed, bought at a fraction of the cost. Stoked was a word that came to mind.

Tackling Sawtooth Relay

Now that my inner shop-a-haulic was quenched (jk I don’t shop), it was time to head to the mountains. I picked Bailey up and we were on our way north, in search of hot springs and a good campsite to break in her new engineering feat: The Tramper. We took highway 21 which followed the Payette river.

With spring conditions, most of the hot springs were washed out. We did find a spot that got the job done. It’s amazing sitting in a pool of hot water just feet away from a class 4 river. Humbling, to say the least. Many mental pictures were taken, but sadly, none of the digital variety.

Stanley, where our exploit began, is a little town of 63 nestled in the Sawtooth Mountain range. As we were almost in town, Bailey spotted a sign that said Lake Stanley, turn right. Both sharing a love for water, we had to check it out. Coincidently, some camping spots were available. It was a no brainer site to break in her new set-up


Dinner was delicious. Bailey @baileykrstic knocked it out of the park with beef stew, rice and beans. A perfect combination complex carbs to fuel is for tomorrows race.

You know how weathermen are always right? Well, let’s just say they were not calling for snow. This was our view at 5:30 am. Snow. I was set to start the 1st leg of the race at 7am. It was going to be an interesting morning. Did I mention it was June 10th?

Sidebar: Sawtooth Relay - The race is broken up into 10 legs all ranging from 5-6 miles per leg. The starting point was in Stanley, elevation 5,600 ft and ending in Ketchum, elevation 5,200. The race is relatively flat, with the exception of legs 5 and 6; a climb and downhill at the Galena summit. Up 1,500, down 1,500. Start times ranged from 2 am Saturday morning all the way to 10 am.

The Heat is On

With snow falling, the starting bell rang as we started the race. I was nervous and excited. How was the Midwest boy going to handle a distance race, in the mountains? Thankfully, I ended up doing just fine. At this time I think I owe a majority of that to my team: ‘The Team 4mally Known as Prince.’ A real rag-tag group of people thrown together at the last minute. It was awesome. We all came from different backgrounds and stepped up to race because the team needed people. As each runner set off on their leg, we used Bailey’s truck as the rally car. We’d drive by hooting and hollering, roll ahead to the next pull-off, get out of the car, and do it all again. It was an awesome way to pass the time, and fuel our runners!


In just under 8 hours, our team finished in Ketchum, Idaho. Ketchum is home to Sun Valley. In addition it was great to see the town during the summer. Vastly different in the winter.  Greeted with food and beer tickets, it was a great way to end the day. The mountains are crazy. 7 am, 30 degrees and snowy to 65 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.

Sunday was a  rude awakening. My legs were quite sore and needed to get shaken out. We tried to find more hot springs, but were unsuccessful. To get the blood flowing, trying to break up some latic acid, we did a small hike in the foothills of Ketchum. Idaho is stunning.

Cheers to conquering another adventure with a great group, in a beautiful pocket of our country! Sawtooth relay was great! Never stop pushing yourself to the limits, you might be surprised what you find when you get there.

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."

- M. Scott Peck, Author 'The Road Less Traveled'

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Matthew "Matty-K" Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.

For more 3×3 stories and related content visit the trail book.

Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Argentina

Entrepreneurs in Argentina

The best part of traveling is being thrown into a totally new environment and feeling so uncomfortable those first couple hours you almost feel sick. Now that I think about it, that sickness feeling could have been from the 14 hours of traveling,;three flights and less than stellar airplane food. Argentina was my destination for the next two weeks as I studied international entrepreneurship. More specifically, I was headed to the city of Mendoza which is on the eastern half of the country (very close to Santiago, Chile). Right away I had to get used to being stared at at almost every place I went. I can’t say I expected this, but being a 6’1 white ginger doesn’t exactly help you “fit in”.


Meeting local entrepreneurship in Argentina

As part of the class I was taking we had the opportunity to meet local business owners in the city. Out of the six companies we met with, one called “Energe” really stood out to me. Energe is a solar energy provider that started in 2007 by three locals. One of the owners spoke to us about the challenges of starting a company saying, “When I was at my job in the oil industry, mentally I was constantly thinking about my startup”. Here at Veital, each of us understands that we might not be doing what we love at every second of everyday, but building this company little by little helps Adam, Matt and myself with the balance of work and play.

The other comment he made during his presentation was about money. “You get so many unbelievable experiences and opportunities when it comes to starting a business. It’s not all about making money. Money is secondary”. Through the process of starting Veital Designs, the three of us learn more and more each day that your mindset can’t just be about trying to make a profit. It has to also be about building relationships and providing a product that will actually help people.

Seeing through the potential

Veital has been around for a little over a year now and in that short amount of time we have been able to build incredible relationships with many different companies and people. Like Matty-K has mentioned in previous blog posts, Veital is all about developing a community of rad people who love to be outside, but understand that to get outside you have to work your butt off during the week. Entrepreneurship in Argentina is alive and well!

During the two weeks that I was in Argentina I had opportunities to see incredible views that come with being surrounded by the Andes mountains. One of those experiences came in the form of hot springs in the foothills. We drove from the city of Mendoza to a spa called “Termas Cacheuta”. Along with the springs sitting in the hills of the Andes, the Mendoza river ran right by the spa, which made for incredible views. The first thing the manager told us when we arrived at the spa was “Please do not go in the river”. But like the little rebel I am, I had to jump down and capture some shots.


Seeing the Andes in Argentina

On one of our last days in Mendoza we drove into the Andes to a lake called Potrerillos, which sits at around 1300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level. Along with the crystal-clear water, the lake was surrounded by gorgeous views of the snowy mountains. While we were taking in the gorgeous views of our surroundings, some kite surfers showed up to shred this incredible lake.  This obviously wasn’t their first rodeo with some of the tricks they were doing. It was unreal to watch these guys surf with such an amazing backdrop. We sat around this lake the entire day, grilling burgers, drinking adult beverages and just enjoying each other's company. It was one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been to in my life. At the end of the day, I was extremely grateful to be able to witness a view as spectacular as that one.



Out of every experience I had during the trip, nothing compared to the lifelong friends I made. I can honestly say that I met some of the most genuine people while in Mendoza. This is why Matthew, Adam and myself enjoy traveling so much. We love to get out of our comfort zone, meet new people and explore the surroundings. The three of us at Veital Designs are  pumped for the future of the company.

Get Involved!

If you’re like us and love to travel consider signing up to be a Veital ambassador. We’re calling it Viva Veital. It’s simple: sign up, go through our grueling interview process (just kidding), and we will hook you up with some Veital Designs gear. From there, all we ask you to do is product test, and grab some still frames of rad trips across the world.  Who knows, maybe we’ll give you the reins on our Instagram stories from the official Veital Designs account! To sign up, go to our website under the “Team Viva” tab.

#embracethebalance #vivaveital

-Thomas “Tommy-T” Schreiber

Marketing Associate, Veital Designs, LLC.

For more 3×3 stories and related content visit the trail book.

Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Embrace the Balance, Camp multitool, adventure gear, Indiana, Brown County State Park, Cycling, Bikes, Biking, Road Bikes

Inside Veital Designs


4/21/2017 - 4/23/2017

There was a time and a place when I used to blog, circa spring 2013 was my last composer to the world wide web. With the founding of Veital Designs,  Adam and I are looking to get in touch with our English side. This may be tough for two engineers. If anything, it will help us with future writings. We can only hope that in the current state, some type of entertainment comes from this post.


There are many different avenues in which we can steer this blog.  With so much going on it’s not fair to focus on one topic. So, as we get better at this, be on the lookout for different underlying topics. What’s new at Veital?, Where have we been lately? Are there any insights to rad places we’ve been, that you may want to check out? And finally, a look inside Veital.

Adam and I decided that we need to have another workshop weekend. I have been looking to get into road biking. Lo and behold, Adam had a second rockship that fits me. It was an opportunity to add some more gear to my arsenal and work on the vision we want for Veital.


Saturday morning, after nursing the after effects of adult sodas, we were in route to Brown County State Park, an absolutely beautiful park smack dab in the middle of the ever-flat Indiana. On today’s docket: ride to Bloomington to watch a few laps of the Little 500. While setting up camp, we both commented on the cool April spring weather, grateful that the rain had held off. Getting in the saddle for 4+ hours was not going to be fun whilst soaking wet-and cold.

Looking Ahead

With camp set up, we embarked on our journey East for my first time visit of Indiana University.  I was excited, and a little nervous for my first road ride. A road bike's frame has a different center of gravity when compared to my mountain bike. This led to a sink or swim attitude. Either get used to it, or get blown off the front by Adam, the seasoned cyclist. With the wind at our backs, we cruised into town. During our consistent cadence up and down the rolling hills we discussed what Veital means to us.

A Ted talk recently resurfaced and resonated with me by Simon Sinek called: “Why great leaders inspire action.”  Upon first listening to it back in the days of coolege, I couldn’t gain an appreciation. Having listened to it a few weeks ago, that lack of appreciation about-faced. People buy because of why companies do what they do. This is exactly what we’re trying to do; be a company that’s on a mission and just so happens to sell some stuff. It’s this mindset that I believe will take us to great heights.

Based on this Ted talk, and communicating several iterations both on and off the bikes, we were able to come up with the following:

Veital Designs proposition

“Veital is creating a united community of rad people passionate about the outdoors. Midwest-founded, mountain-minded, we are making the most of our time outside work. To be Veital is to embrace the work-life balance: we’ve sore legs, dirty hands and sweat in our eyes. We invite you to join is.”

Simple enough? We sure hope so.

Veital Moves Forward

Bloomington was hopping. The rain in the forecast was false and sun peaked out as we pulled up to the race. Interestingly, IU doesn’t like you watching the race unless you pay to get in. We watched a few laps from afar and decided it was best to head out. But before we did, we wanted to stop by a local outdoor shop called JL Waters ( They have been in business since the 70s and are the epitome of an outdoor shop. We love going into stores like this because you know you’ll be getting direct knowledge from the guys and gals who have tested the products themselves. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to ask for feedback. With some good direction documented we got back in the saddle and departed for our campsite.

Ever eat a stromboli from Nick’s English Pub (, sit around for a few hours, then try to bike 25 miles home? Yeah, that was me on the way back. The ride was gorgeous, only caveat was my body’s unwillingness to ride fast. Adam was a real trooper. 50+ miles for the first time on the road bike was tough for me. I did stick with it and never had to put a foot down, even as we climbed the final hills in Brown County State Park. Talk about a mental workout. Man, those hills were crushing.

With legs fried, we made dinner and discussed the agenda for tomorrow. Next on the docket: marketing material and mountain bikes. We put our best ‘Blue Steel’ faces on and took a series of awesome shots. All critical to our brand consistency. Marketing is such an interesting world. A world I never appreciated until we started Vietal Designs.

For the record

The trails at Brown County ( are best in the state. It was fun and challenging ripping through the blues and blacks. Some stretches, however, proved to be right at our limits. Most of the trail called Bobcat was crazy technical switchbacks. We certainly learned by doing.

All in all it was a productive, healthy, weekend. What more could a guy like me ask for. We’re stoked for what’s next. Good things take time. Until then, we’ll keep chipping away.

We’d also like to shout out BGI (Bicycle Garage, Inc.) of Bloomington ( with hooking Adam up in a time of need. Right as we rolled into Bloomington, the spokes of his rear up pulled through. (not a good thing). Thankfully, the guys at BGI had a spare wheel that got us home, or we may have been stuck in a sticky situation.

PS if you’re ever in the town of Nashville, Indiana, and are looking for a cold drink and good food, check out Quaff ON Brewery (

PPS if you like to drink beer and consider yourself an athlete, you should check out Gelande Quaffing. No relation to the Quaff On Brewery, but man, would it be cool if they were.


#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

-Matt 'Matty K' Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.

For more 3×3 stories and related content visit the trail book.