Excuses…they’re always seen as something negative. You know, the elaborate excuses you fabricate to get out of work early or to stay in bed late. People tend to see excuses as a way to get out of something miserable. But…what if we changed that up!? What if we made excuses to do something awesome instead.Excuses…to get outside!Rather than thinking up excuses to avoid your run or to stay on the couch longer, let’s make excuses to get up + get outside.Excuse #1: The Sun Is Shining!Who knows, maybe it’ll be rainy + cloudy + icky tomorrow. The fact the sun simply exists in the sky above you is an excellent excuse to pull on your socks, lace up your shoes + head outside! So what if the forecast says it’ll be sunny tomorrow too, remember the last time the forecast was perfectly accurate? Yea, neither do we!Excuse #2: The Sun Isn’t Shining.Okay, so the weather isn’t perfect. That sorta sucks, but it also means the trails will be empty + you’ll be able to shamelessly take all the selfies of yourself romping around in the rain or dodging snowflakes. Take those photos back home with you, flaunt them on social media + soak up all the ‘you’re crazy’ comments. Feel awesome for getting out there when no one else did!Excuse #3: You’re At Work.You get a lunch break, right?! At least you usually get a lunch break. If not…someone needs to take the trash out or you forgot your water bottle in the car or…make up an excuse! This is all about excuses! Find an excuse to leave your office or ditch the counter or escape the retail aisles. Even if you only get outside for 10 minutes, soak up that fresh air!Excuse #4: Your [insert appendage] Hurts!Guess what?! In most cases, a little movement of those achy muscles is a good thing. We’re not encouraging you to go out + take on speed work or a multi-day adventure when you’re hurt or injuries. We’re simply suggesting you use the ‘need to warm up the muscles’ excuse to go on a short hike or a long walk around the neighborhood. Use this time outside to warm up your aches, then flop down on your front stoop [or office floor, if you’re still stuck at work] to stretch out the aches. Trust us, warmed up muscles stretch happier than stiff muscles!Excuse #5: The Dog Looks Comfy!Ha. The one time you shouldn’t let a sleeping dog lie is when you’re looking for an excuse to venture out of your house. Seriously. Go put on your shoes or rustle your jacket…that dog of yours will be up + bouncing around your feet in a split second! Sure, they looked prepared to sleep through the apocalypse when you were next to them on the couch, but no dog will ever turn down a chance to get outside!Excuse #6: Life Is Dumb + You’re Grumpy!Harumph. Grumble. Whine. Rant. Life isn’t always easy + sometimes it straight up sucks. The actions necessary to get yourself outside seem far more demanding than the act of just sitting on your couch to complain. Don’t let yourself get sucked into that hole! Force yourself off that comfy couch + out that front door of yours! Just walk around the block…that may be all you need. Fresh air + a little time away from the pressing demands of life, work + social media may be all you need to turn that frown upside down! Trust us…Bonus Excuse: You Want To!Let’s be honest — no one actually needs an excuse to get outside. The simple fact that ‘the mountains are calling’ is an adequate reason to layer up + head outdoors. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. You may need excuses to skip out on real life responsibilities, but going outside is a very real way to choose you + give yourself some serious self care.We’re here to give you excuses to get outside, even though we don’t necessarily believe you need excuses to do so. The outdoors are a very true form of ‘trail therapy’ for many of us. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly a little sunshine [or a few rain drops] + fresh air can boost your mood. Even on the worst days, getting out of the house + away from the four walls closing in around you can be your very own saving grace!
There are plenty of reasons to head out on your next adventure alone. Maybe your regular adventure buddies are busy. Maybe you’re just looking to take on a few challenge all by yourself. Whatever the reason, go for it. Do not let the fact you’re flying solo be something that holds you back. Instead, make this something that propels you forward into the adventure. But, keep in mind — exploring on your own will be a bit different than wandering with a group. As your plan, prep + pack keep a few things in mind.Tell Someone Where You’re Going!When you’re headed out on your own, tell someone where you’re going. Give them specifics on your destination, your route + your expected return time. You really should do this for every adventure, but it’s especially important when you’re alone. The risks you face won’t necessarily change when you’re alone, but your ability to mitigate them will.Consider getting lost. If you’re alone you have no one to double check the route with. What if you fall + hurt yourself? There will be no one there to go for help. Or, if you lose your food stash in a crazy encounter with a greedy raccoon. There will not be friend there with you to offer up their snacks to hold you over. Don’t let these possibilities scare you away from an adventure. Instead, keep them in mind while you plan + pack so you’re ready to take on the what if’s.Be Prepared to Be Lonely…If you’re headed out with the goal of being alone, this may sound like a silly thing to consider. However, being alone + being lonely are two different things. There is something beautiful + empowering about getting out in the woods alone + taking on every challenge as an independent individual. You get to explore areas you probably wouldn’t go with a group. If something goes awry you get to solve the problem alone + bask in the glory of success when it’s all over. This part of adventuring alone is invigorating.However, there are also times when you see something incredible + desperately want to share it with someone else. It could be a complete stranger or someone you love…you just want to share your amazement with another soul. It is during moments like this when you get to feel the true stab of loneliness. This puts the world + your life into perspective. It also makes you realize just how important your friends + family are to you. Don’t run from these moments, but don’t dwell on them either. Let them happen + wrap your heart around the feeling of lonely. Take this as a reminder to truly appreciate the people in your life. Maybe take a few photos so you can share the experience with friends upon your return.Pack Accordingly; It’s Only You.For short trips — day trips or over nighters — this may not be quite as important. However, if you’re headed out for a weekend in the wilderness on your own after multiple group adventures remember to adjust your packing. For starters, look at your food. Many dehydrated meals come ready for two people + even non-traditional backcountry meals are too much for a solo meal. Leftovers aren’t easy to handle in the backcountry so try to avoid them. Rather than force feeding yourself more food than you need spend some time at home re-packaging your meals into individual portions.On the other side of the spectrum, don’t under pack or leave anything to chance. If you forgot replacement batteries for your headlamp you’ll have no one to borrow from. Even if you’re an experienced packer make a list for your first solo adventure. Go through the list a few times + make sure you’re not missing *anything* because your pack will be the only one you get to dig through when you need something.Find Ways to Reconnect, With Yourself!One of the best reasons to go out on a solo adventure is to get to know yourself. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn what you’re body + mind are capable of. You’ll be faced with challenges you’ll have to talk yourself through. In most cases, it’ll be something as simple as talking yourself up + over another false summit. Every once in a while you’ll be faced with something bigger + badder. Use your best judgement, get comfortable with your personal limitations + never, ever be afraid of turning around when you get uncomfortable.Beyond the more serious risks + mishaps that you may encounter on the trail you’ll also be faced with more inward facing chances to get to know yourself. Whens the last time you went hours [or days] without talking to another person? Where does your mind wander off to? Will you discover a hidden life goal in the depths of your soul? Get out there + find out. Better yet, pack along a little note book + pen so you can randomly write down your thoughts + feelings along the way. It may sound silly now, but you’ll appreciate the idea once you’re out on the trail. Or, if you’re less old school than we are — talk to yourself on camera. Whatever your medium, feel your feelings + share them with yourself so you have a way to remember why you head outdoors on your own.Every one of these considerations has an upside + a downside. Get yourself outside alone for the upside, but don’t forget to at least think about the downside. Being informed about the risks + rewards of your adventures is the surest way to survive them, no matter what happens while you’re out there.Have you been out adventuring on your own?If so, tell us how it changed your perspective on yourself + wandering.If not, tell us where you’d like to take your first solo trip to.
If you’re lucky enough to own a dog, you know just how excited they are to get outside. It doesn’t matter what the weather is — outside is always more interesting than inside. There are squirrels + trees + rocks + dirt + some other critters poo outside. It needs to be explored, stat!Now, this isn’t always awesome for you, the doting human. Sometimes we just can’t match the excitement our dog shares for the great outdoors. Whether it’s work responsibilities, horrid weather or sidelining injuries we can’t always bounce out the door alongside our four-legged friend. But don’t let this get you down. Fight past that guilt trip those eyes are sending you on right now!Instead, use some of your dog’s enthusiasm to inspire your next adventure. Not sure how to do that? Fret not, we have a few ideas to get you started.Chase SquirrelsWell, maybe not literally as that may be unsafe [albeit, quite entertaining for the rest of us]. Let your dog’s enthusiasm about finding other creatures in the wilderness infuse your own motives. The next time you head outside pay attention to the world around you. Notice all the other critters you’re sharing the trails + forests with. Even if you can’t see the creatures, what have they left behind as evidence of their existence? If you keep your peepers peeled you’ll see rabbit prints hopping across the snow, woodpecker holes in trees, elk scat along the trail or a hawk’s nest high in a tree.While we don’t recommend chasing after these creatures [+ we definitely discourage you from allowing your dog to chase after them!] this is a great opportunity to see your regular neighborhood trails in a new light. Better yet — make it a practice to head outside with this creature seeking mindset. You’ll be amazed as you watch the animals’ habits change with the seasons.Roll in the MudOkay, we did it again…we got figurative on ya. If you’re into rolling in the mud we aren’t here to stop you, but if that’s not your thing don’t run off just yet. Does your dog baulk at the idea of hiking in the rain? Of course not! They’re gleeful about the chance to splash through puddles, plop into muddy streams + shake it all off as soon as they get near you. Follow their led. Assuming the trails are open for hiking [hitting up trails that are really muddy actually damages them, permanently!] head outside regardless of the weather. Toss on a few extra waterproof layers + splash after your dog! This idea applies to snow, wind + sunshine too. Don’t let less-than-fair weather deter your adventures, just plan accordingly before you head outdoors.Of course, you’ll want to be sure both you + your pup are playing it safe. Keep tabs on the changing weather, be sure you’re both warm enough + stay away from rushing streams!Take a SeatIf we’re being honest, we know that not every dog is up for a long adventure. We’ve all at least heard stories of that dog that bounds out the door, gets two miles from home + stubbornly takes a seat, refusing to budge. Whatever the reason, they’re done. As reasonable humans we fully understand that this is not a logical option for us. However, we can still use it as a bit of inspiration on how we head out for adventures. Just because we hyped the adventure up to unrealistic highs doesn’t mean it will pan out that way. While we can’t justify giving up in the middle of the trail two miles from home we can temporarily take a seat. Use this time to recoup — either mentally or physically. Eat a snack, flip through your mental notes of goals, adjust your game plan for the day + carry on.Even the most stubborn dogs can be coaxed back to their feet after an hour of chilling in the shade, eating snacks. If they can do it, you can do it too!Those little nuggets of furry inspiration should help you get out the door next time you’re struggling to convince yourself it’ll be worth it. We all know we rarely regret a trip into the woods, but that doesn’t always make tying on our shoes any easier! Sometimes the outdoors are just a challenge + that’s okay. That’s what we have overly excited adventure pups for, right!?Now, if only we could bottle up that excitement our dogs exude every time we near the door with shoes on, regardless of our actual destination, we’d all be rich! Until then, we’ll just sneakily snag a few puffs of energy by following them out the door!
Some of us are lucky enough to be rather versed in the art of backpacking, but we were all newbies at one point. Which is why we’re here…to help you dip your toes into the wonders of backpacking! We want you to feel confident on your first trek into the woods, so we’re going to cover a few basic ways to properly prepare for your first backpacking trip!Get Creative with GearThere are a million different tactics to take on when packing your gear — lightweight, durable, colorful, etc — but at the end of the day there is one thing that is important with gear. What you have needs to be comfortable + functional. It would also be ideal for your basic gear to have more than one function.For example, you don’t necessarily need a camp pillow. Rather than use that valuable pack space for a single use item you can use a dry bag to stash your clothes, then adjust the inflation to make it a pillow at night. You can also use your tube of chapstick to wrap duct tape around to avoid packing a whole roll of duct tape [highly recommended for gear repair]. Obviously there are a lot of areas you can get creative with gear + you’ll get better at these strategies with each trip into the woods.The biggest takeaway here is that each item you pack, especially if you’re thinking ‘hm, will I need this’, should have at least two uses.Pack Extra SnacksYou’ll find that food takes up a lot of space [+ weight!] in your pack. This may lead you to thinking you can leave behind snacks. No…don’t do that! Snacks are crazy important on the trail. For starters, you’ll be hiking all day + you’ll work up an appetite! A long day of hiking is taxing enough without a growling stomach. Also, snacks can be used a great bribery — either for your self or for others. You can use that bag of M&M’s as an excuse to get over that one last crest or the last strip of beef jerky as an excuse to keep hiking another 30 minutes. Better yet, if you know what your hiking partners love…pack it! You’ll get bonus points + they’ll be more willing to share their own treats so you can have some trail snack variety!Research the Area + RegulationsNow, let’s get a bit more serious…the comforts of gear + food are nice, but the truly important aspects of backpacking is the planning. If you’re headed out with some experienced backpackers who know the area this will be a bit easier for you. Honestly, we strongly recommend that so you can learn from their methods. That said, there is something crazy rewarding about heading out on your own. If you’re going solo [or as a group of first timers], please be sure to consider the following aspects of the trip while planning…...Route Finding: What will you do if the trail becomes hard to follow? How will you find your way back to the trail head if you get off trail? Do you have a backup plan for your campsite if your initial site is inaccessible or unavailable?…Rescue Plan: Do people back home know where you’ll be? Do they know when to expect to hear from you? Have you given them your expected route so they can direct Search + Rescue is the right direction if needed? If you get hurt, do you have a way to contact help?…Local Regulations: Where are you allowed to camp? Are campfires allowed in that area +/or at the time [campfire bans are not uncommon as they pose a major fire risk]? What are the boundaries of the public land you’re hiking/camping on? Can you park overnight at the trail head?That sounds like a lot of questions + worst case scenario planning…which it is. In the perfect world you won’t need to worry about any of the rescue plans + you won’t get lost. However, you’ll be very, very thankful you worked out those details in advance should you need them. When we’re planning we like to think about how this information could not only save us, but also help save someone else. No one wants to be the helpless trail user when someone else is in need!Give Yourself Down TimeWhen we’re preparing for a backpacking trip a ton of time goes into the logistics, packing + hiking aspect of the trip. However, that’s not the only reason we get out there. Nature is beautiful from the trail, as we hike by…but it is also incredible to experience nature from the comfort of a hammock or while lounging on a rock near a stream.As you plan your epic backpacking trip be sure to leave some time to just take it all in while you’re out there. Don’t plan three 20 mile hiking days. Sure, you’ll cover a lot of ground, but you won’t have time to soak up the beauty of your lunch spot or relax at camp as you watch the sun rise + set. Be sure to plan time for these things. The easiest way to do this is to give yourself shorter hike days with attainable campsites. Oh + don’t forget to bring something to take photos with! A phone works great — you can use it to navigate to the trail head, potentially to contact help [depending upon how remote you are, never depend on cell signal!] + to snap photos along the way…so it definitely fits into the multi-purpose rule! Photos are great to show off to friends [meaning you can convince them to join your next time] or as inspiration as you’re planning your next trip into the wilderness!Keep Your Eyes + Ears OpenIf you’re headed out on your first backpacking adventure with someone a bit more experienced…ask questions. No, seriously. All the questions! Ask them + do your part to retain as much information as possible. You’ll learn so much as you watch others plan + explore. If you have the opportunity to get involved in local groups, do so. Even if you don’t feel like you have much to contribute [yet!] you’ll be able to learn a lot from just listening to the conversations of others. Even while you’re out on the trail, keep your peepers peeled. If you notice another hiker doing something interesting…ask them about it. You may come across new ways to use your gear, discover new campfire recipes or just make a new friend for future adventures. In generally, all of us trail users love sharing our passion…being outside!Of course, these are only a few of the things to consider when you’re planning your first backpacking trip. If you have any other ideas or tips/tricks…let us know! We’re always looking for ways to make our own backpacking trips better + we love talking about the great outdoors!