Message from the CEO

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that after nearly fifty (50) years in business, HTO will be closing its remaining four stores and shutting down the business.

HTO has been an institution in the DC Metro Area since 1971. From day one the mission was simple: open a store that sells the greatest outdoor gear and apparel on the planet, hire only those who love the outdoors and who are passionate about health and happiness, and provide Positively Outrageous Customer Service to everyone. The retail landscape has changed so much within the last 36 months and the Company has decided that the time has come to begin to ‘wind down’ all company affairs, knowing that it never had to compromise any excellence standards on behalf of the community.

The community and the Company have always supported each other with such dignity and respect, and the Company will always be proud of the role that it played in helping to improve the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of people, employees and customers, within the DC Metro Area. During this transition, all customers and all employees can count on continued excellence and pride from all associations with the Company. HTO firmly believes that an orderly wind-down of affairs provides the best opportunity for professional closure and maximum success and efficiency in what are otherwise sad and nostalgic circumstances.

The Company wishes to thank all of its customers and team members (past and present) for nearly five (5) decades of committed loyalty, high standards, professionalism, association, trust, support, partnership…and most importantly…. friendship. And what a ride it has been – who would have ever imagined that Ground Zero for what is now internationally known as Specialty Active Outdoor Retail was going to be Kensington, Maryland, or, that a passionate and creative outdoorsman from Washington, DC would one day grow up to both pioneer an entire industry, and, to become the example and trend setter for how that industry would grow and evolve for nearly half of a century?

In advance, thank you for your continued support during this transition.

How Treadmill Running Compares To Outdoor Running

If you think about it, treadmill running and outdoor running appear to be two similar exercises. On the surface, these two have the same cardio benefits, same body mechanism, same movement. They even use the same muscles! But on a closer comparison, you can set a clearer picture. In this article, we compare treadmill running and outdoor running side by side, taking factors like weather, safety, benefits, etc. into consideration. Here’s a breakdown:

Treadmill: Rain or shine, windy or snowy, anytime of the day, you can hop on and run on your treadmill.
Outdoor: The weather is your number one consideration. Although, wind resistance intensifies your run so, why not?

Treadmill: Most treadmills have a one-touch incline feature that allows effective cardio workout at a lower speed and it minimizes the heel-strike impact. Repetitive runs of the same time and pace can strain the same muscles and joints everyday though.
Outdoor: Running outside decreases chances of hip flexor strain but increases your heel-strike impact. Elements like hills, grass or steps shifts the body movement so it creates variation on your run.

Treadmill: You can watch over your kids/family and stay at the comfort of your own home. You can also just zone out.
Outdoor: Dark, rocky or slippery routes can cause accidents. You can’t zone out at all. You need to stay focused because the roads are busy and constantly changing.

Competitive Running
Treadmill: Recommended for warming up and speed enhancement. The “consistency” sets your body to a different expectation when you actually race on the road.
Outdoor: It gives you the actual feel of the race. It prepares your body for similar conditions.

Treadmill: You can wear the same shoes every day.
Outdoor: Most runners wear the same pair of shoes indoor or outdoor. Specialty shoes might be necessary on some circumstances, like rocky roads or icy trails. Check out our online store for specialty train running shoes: Men’s | Women’s

Treadmill: Mostly targets your quads because you don’t have to push forward when your foundation is moving by itself.
Outdoor: Stimulates your hamstrings as well as your quads because you have to push forward and propel to move.

Treadmill: You can monitor your heart rate, calories burned, distance and other fitness metrics in a quick glance. You don’t have to miss out on your favorite TV shows.
Outdoor: Fresh air and beautiful sceneries await you. A great way to get away from your busy life and from your gadgets. It’s just you, nature, and maybe a few friends.

Extra umph!
Treadmill: The convenience of having your bottle holder anytime on hot days. Treadmills do cost a lot of money. Knowing that helps in motivating yourself to exercise so your money gets its worth. Since the treadmill is all about convenience, it gives you NO excuse at all to skip a session.
Outdoor: Exposing your skin to the sunlight is the most natural way to get vitamin D, which helps absorbs calcium and phosphorus (just remember sun protection!). Running outside saves you money from actually buying a treadmill and the extra electricity cost it’ll yield. Why should you buy something you can do for free?

What kind or runner are you? And why?

Source: Women’s Running

8 Reasons Why You Wanna Travel with ASTRAL Shoes

Summer is finally here! And with it comes a slew of outdoor activities on land, on water, in the air… so you need shoes that are just as versatile as you.

  1. They are very lightweight shoes; light in my pack or on my feet.
  2. They don’t get stinky, because ASTRAL uses nylon instead of polyester (nylon doesn’t hold stink).
  3. They dry out overnight – quick dry fabrics are smart design.
  4. The grip is amazing, ASTRAL’s G®Rubber is the stickiest compound available today.
  5. They are compact and fit in to small spaces, so I can pack and travel light.
  6. They are washable in a river, a hostel sink, or a washing machine.
  7. I can wear them in many different travel settings, from the embassy to a jungle trek – no worries.
  8. They’re naturally balanced in their geometry for healthy posture and comfortable walking across all types of terrain.

– Chris Hobson

Support local business, shop Astral shoes online and in stores!

Holiday Message from CEO; Top 10 List; 2015 Expectations

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your ongoing confidence in HTO, Ltd, and thank you for supporting small, local business in 2014! We realize that you have a choice…and we’re so grateful that you continue to choose us!

On behalf of the entire company, please know that we’re constantly motivated and inspired by the opportunities that you give us to help you live a happier, healthier, more active lifestyle. Rendering Positively Outrageous Customer Service to all people (at all times, and in all instances), and striving to offer the authentic, magical, knowledgeable, and extraordinary outfitting experiences (on the planet) remains our top priority. Since 1971, HTO, Ltd has been dedicated to developing a Company Culture that is happy, fun, helpful, professional, passionate, energetic and kind for one reason: to better serve YOU!

To be honest, it’s not always easy…but our commitment to your 100% total satisfaction and to making positive differences the lives of our customers, guests and communities is what we value the most.   We feel…the more we know, the more we practice, the more we smile, and the more personal we are…the better your active outdoor experience will be! And you may not even be aware of it, but when you support small, local business, you’re making a positive difference in our lives and in our families’ lives. So thank you, sincerely.

We’re proud of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. We’re so appreciative of the opportunity to help, service, assist, advise for, suggest, problem solve with, talk to, and interact with you…and we agree, specialty retail does still matter in 2014 and specialty retail is still the foundation of our community. You’ve done your part, and know that we’re committed to continuing to do ours in 2015 and beyond. We promise, individually and collectively:

  1. To provide every customer with a unique, one of a kind, powerful, mind blowing, extraordinary, magical experience that will be both transparent and authentic.
  2. To respect the rights of every customer to look around and to be inspired by their surroundings.
  3. To fulfill the company’s promise to be the absolute best, and to earn the opportunity to serve every customer.
  4. To not ‘sell gear’ – to outfit every customer for a happier, healthier and more active lifestyle.
  5. To render Positively Outrageous Customer Service to all people, at all times, and in all instances – to remember that all HTO, Ltd Team Members are empowered to make everything perfect for every customer.
  6. To listen to every customer and to make expert suggestions.
  7. To be energetic and electric and to wear my passion for the active outdoor sports lifestyle on my sleeve like a badge of honor.
  8. To do everything humanly possible to make quality differences in every customers life.
  9. To represent HTO, Ltd with professionalism and pride.
  10. To live the Active Outdoor Lifestyle.

The Top 10 Things HTO, Ltd won’t be doing in 2015

  • No longer ‘Price Matching’.
  • Producing or selling ‘house branded goods’, made to be sold cheaply and that will perform cheaply.
  • Training and/or developing our Outfitters any less because that’s what others do to save money.
  • Apologizing for selling the greatest and best outdoor gear, clothing, and products on the planet!
  • Offering free shipping on top of free shipping with discount codes for ways to get more free shipping with your existing free shipping.
  • Creating out of state call centers, staffed with ‘Operators’ rather than trained, vetted, gear and service professionals.
  • Raising our prices when nobody’s looking.
  • Lowering our standards because someone may not be looking.
  • Violating your trust and selling your email address.
  • Offering Drone Delivery

Thank you again for a great 2014, best wishes to you and your families this holiday season, and may your new year be filled with all the success and happiness you deserve!

And remember, you have our commitment to continue to do all that needs to be done to always offer you the most authentic, the most enthusiastic, the most magical, the most knowledgeable, and the most extraordinary service and outfitting experience possible.

Without you, there is no HTO, Ltd.

Happy holidays!

Sandy Cohan, CEO, HTO, Ltd.

4 Haunted Hikes Around DC


October is a wonderful time to go hiking and witness the beauty of the changing season as well as creatures preparing for winter.

It’s also a time to celebrate Halloween by seeking out spooky wild places. Here are some wild lands where you may have a creature or two hiking with you – but not one that’s still living.

1. Gold Mine Trail, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Maryland

This haunted jaunt begins at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and passes by the site of an 1906 explosion that killed a miner. Afterwards, spirits known as “Tommy Knockers” began to haunt the mine. Two years later, a night watchman saw “a ghostie-looking man with eyes of fire and a tail 10 feet long” crawling out of the shaft, so the mine closed.

Say hi to “Tommy Knockers”, click here.

2. Appalachian Trail, Virginia

It was this time of year when four-year-old Ottie Powell vanished in 1891, while collecting firewood in a forest bright with colored leaves. His body was found five months later near Bluff Mountain, where a memorial for Ottie can still be found. Backpackers claim that those who spend a night at Punchbowl Shelter may encounter his spirit.

Pay Ottie a visit, click here.

3. Devil’s Den, Gettysburg National Battlefield, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg was the Civil War’s deadliest battle with over 50,000 corpses. Devil’s Den is a rocky out­crop­ping once used by snipers. Today it is notorious for causing cameras to malfunction, especially when used to try to capture Gettysburg’s phantoms. The most commonly sighted is the barefoot, rifle-carrying “Hippie,” who’s thought to be a former member of the 1st Texas Infantry. You’ll know him by his calling card: pointing toward Plum Rum and saying to visitors “What you’re looking for is over there.”

Have “Hippie” show you the way, click here.

4. Bloody Lane, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

The bloodiest one-day battle in American history happened in 1862 at Antietam. After only 12 hours, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. The road known as Bloody Lane is said to be haunted by some of these soldiers, evidenced by sounds of phantom gunfire, shouting and singing, as well as sightings of ghosts in Confederate uniform. Many fallen soldiers were buried under Burnside Bridge, visitors have heard phantom drumbeats and seen blue balls of light moving through the air.

The sights and sounds of Bloody Lane: click here.

Source: “13 Haunted Hikes”, The Wilderness Society

Dog-Friendly Hikes in the DC Area

Our nation’s capitol has no shortage of awesome hikes that are perfect to explore with your pooch. Whether hiking through the backcountry in surrounding cities or exploring historic trails through the city, DC treats doggies as valuable members of the family. Washington DC’s rich history and monumental landmarks aren’t the only things that doggies love about the capitol. Read below for the top 10 hikes to take your dog on in DC. And don’t forget to stop by any of our stores or shop online for some pet accessories!

Rock Creek Park
With over 32 miles of trails at Rock Creek Park, you and your pooch have wonderful hiking opportunities ahead! Rock Creek Park is a fantastic place for a walk, run or bike ride with your furry friend. The beautiful green landscape and endless trails through the woods make this hike impossible not to love.

3545 Williamsburg Ln NW Washington, DC, US 20008
Hours: Open during daylight hours

Capital Crescent Trail
The Capital Crescent Trail is a beautiful trail that runs along the picturesque Potomac River. Pooches and their owners love walking, running or hiking the wide, paved trail that runs from Bethesda to Georgetown. From bikers and hikers to stroller pushers and dog walkers, everyone is welcome to enjoy the beautiful views from the Capital Crescent Trail.

3500 K St NW Washington, DC 20007
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Theodore Roosevelt Island
The Theodore Roosevelt Island Hike is a perfect get-away for people and their pups from the hustle and bustle of downtown Washington, DC. The trail is surrounded by forests, parks, and waterfront views. Whether in the mood to take a leisurely stroll, run or hike with your doggy, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a great place to spend time with your pooch, observing all kinds of wildlife such as ducks, fish, frogs, turtle, cranes and bugs!

George Washington Pkwy Arlington, VA 22216
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Great Falls: Billy Goat Trail
If you’re looking for more than just a hike and want to embrace the true experience of mother nature, look no further than the Great Falls Billy Goat Trail. Not only will this hike push your body to the limits (especially your legs), but you’ll see some local residents on the trails too. From snakes to geese, be sure to keep a close eye on Fido during this beautiful hike.

Please note: Dogs are allowed on Trails B and C, but are not allowed on Trail A.

11710 Macarthur Blvd Potomac, MD 20854
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
If you’re seeking a light walk for you and your canine, Scott’s Run Nature preserve is an easy way to enjoy the beautiful color of the season with a little bit of exercise. Scott’s Run Waterfall is situated right along the hiking trail and it’s a great place for your pooch to have a blast! Your pup will love playing in the swimming holes, cooling off during the summer and playing with other dogs. The trail leads to the Potomac River, a rewarding view for you and your pup after the hike.

7400 Georgetown Pike McLean, VA 22102
Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park
Deemed the skinniest park in Virginia, The Washington and Old Dominican Regional Park is also one of the longest parks, with 45 miles of paved trails and 32 miles of gravel trail for hiking with Fido. If you’re feeling adventurous, the paved trails are great for rollerblading! With beautiful scenery in the urban heartland of the countryside of Northern Virginia, it’s hard not to love this hiking trail.

S Four Mile Run Dr and S Shirlington Rd Arlington, VA 22206
Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Winkler Botanical Preserve
If you’re looking for a short but scenic hike with Fido, look no further than Winkler Botanical Preserve. The 1.4 mile loop is perfect for a morning stroll or an intense cardio workout! The property is complete with lush plants surrounding a small pond in the center of the park. The park also serves as a local resource for schools in the area to teach schoolchildren about ecology and the environment.

5400 Roanoke Ave Alexandria, VA 22311

Dyke Marsh
Dyke Marsh is a hidden gem located right near Washington DC The beautiful trail leads to a renovated boardwalk where you’ll see panoramic views of a beautiful bridge and the National Harbor. You and your pooch will love being surrounded by marsh and plenty of wildlife. Don’t be surprised to see a few beaver dams, ducks, migratory birds and bald eagles! Dyke Marsh is one of the most peaceful places you can be with your pup!

Boat Launch Rd Alexandria, VA 22307
Hours: Open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm.

Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
Kingman and Heritage Islands Park is a long, narrow island in the Anacostia River. The park is complete with trails, trees and a diversity of birds and bugs. Locals, visitors and furry friends enjoy the bluegrass festival which is held here each year.

575 Oklahoma Ave NE (at N Benning Rd) Washington, DC 20002
Summer Hours: (April through October) Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM*, Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM*
Winter Hours (November through March) Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM – Dusk*, Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 AM – Dusk*

Mount Vernon Trail
The Mount Vernon Trail is a multi-use trail that’s a great place to walk Fido in Washington DC! The trail is a truly unique way for you and your pup to see parts of DC/Alexandria/and Mount Vernon from a different vantage point. There are plenty of places to stop and stare at the beautiful scenery, including Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. The trail itself is very well maintained which makes it an easier hike for you and your pup.

The Mount Vernon Trail parallels the parkway between Theodore Roosevelt Island and Mount Vernon.
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset


Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.16.02 PMNeed a new leash and collar before you take your pooch on that hike? Our Wolfgang selection features some of the coolest-looking designs we’ve seen. AND, all leash and collars are on sale at all our stores and online, click here to shop!


Mountain Biking 101

Looking to go off road for the first time? Here are tips and advice you need to make your introduction to mountain biking fun and successful.

  • The Basics: Mountain Bike Skills You Need to Know
    While only lots of riding, great fitness and endless bailouts into the bushes will make you the hottest rider on the block, here are some basic skills that every aspiring mountain biker should know.
  • 10 Ways to Improve Your Mountain Biking
    Whether you want to smoothly descend near-vertical downhill sections or just ride your local trails without crashing, these tips will having you rolling with confidence.

Think you’re ready to go? Come join us and Fuji Bikes this Sunday, August 24 at Schaeffer Farm Mountain Bike Park. Demo their latest mountain offering, ask all your questions and learn from our Outfitters and the Fuji demo staff. You not only get free Fuji swag, but you get to ride the trails!


Click here to join us!

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