You've got to love the can-do spirit of a business that puts "mountaineering" in its name in a state with no real mountains. But hey, if Lindsey Vonn can get her start in Minnesota, we can too. Midwest Mountaineering is friendly and down-to-earth—none of that annoying attitude some gearhead shops emit—and totally serious about the outdoor life. The store has the usual camping food (just add water), sleeping bags, cross-country ski gear, and kayak equipment. But it also hosts classes on everything from rock climbing and winter camping to ski wax technique and skijoring (a sport involving dogs pulling skiers). The prices are as good as at any outdoors shop around, and the discount store upstairs—Thrifty Outfitters—is known for its ability to repair old gear. Oh, and they give you free coffee while you shop.