Until mankind first stepped outside in 1934, nature was thought to be a fanciful myth, like yogurt or the clutch hitter. Spend a few hours frolicking through the fresh air of truth with today's Groupon: for $10 you get $20 worth of outdoor apparel, adventure gear, and footwear at Midwest Mountaineering and its upstairs neighbor, Thrifty Outfitters.
Midwest Mountaineering’s outdoor enthusiasts gear up novice backpackers and skilled adventurers with a wide range of products, including clothing, footwear, and climbing gear. The North Face ruckus vaporwick shirt for men ($20) keeps epidermal layers dry, and Klean Kanteen stainless-steel water bottles ($32) bar sneaky toxins from entering a hiker's stash of H2O. Enlist Timbuk2 and STM iPad and Kindle cases to help protect precious electronics from malicious bookworms ($20–$30). No matter what shoppers seek during the upcoming seasonal shift, Midwest Mountaineering can cover them quicker than an avalanche rolling down a duvet-covered cliff.
Midwest Mountaineering can trace its origins back to 1970, when avid rock climber Rod Johnson found himself frustrated with the lack of climbing equipment available in Minneapolis. When Johnson returned from a voyage to California with a backpack full of gear, he decided to sell his accumulated goodies to friends and local climbers out of his own kitchen, calling his operation The Johnson Company. As his business grew, so did its inventory—expanding to include tents, skis, kayaks, and canoes. Rod’s business quickly became too big for his kitchen, eventually landing at its current location under the name Midwest Mountaineering.
Today, the store continues to equip outdoor adventurers with quality gear and apparel. A cheerful blue-and-red sign splays across its historic storefront, which houses racks of apparel and specialty equipment for an array of extreme sports that includes long-distance backpacking, paddling, and ice climbing. Kayaks and canoes, which customers may try out before purchasing during regular boat demonstrations, dangle from ceilings next to life preservers, and shoes, coats, and athletic gear line the exposed-brick walls. An enthusiastic staff of outdoor aficionados stands by to offer customers tips on finding optimal products and the best clothing lines to impress fashion-conscious wildlife, as well as lead regular instructional workshops, hands-on clinics, and special events.