We all know the quintessential New Year’s resolutions, but here’s one that doesn’t involve citrus cleanses or learning to journal: Resolve to get outside. There are endless ways to spend time out of doors and all are acceptable in our book. In that spirit, we’d like to revisit some of our favorite tools and ideas from 2015 for exploring your surrounds with confidence and ease. We hope you enjoy.
1. Start small
Like really small. Like strolling-to-the-dog-park small. We loved Alastair Humphrey’s take on microadventures, little jaunts to new places that are right around the corner. Take a different road home today. Spend the night in the backyard. You get the idea.
2. Bringing up baby in the backcountry
Pregnant or already got a little one in tow? No need to pull the reins on exploring. Remember the sage advice of one adventurer mama and introduce your young to nature in her early years. It’ll pay off when she’s six and able to help pitch a tent, start a fire, and polish off any extra marshmallows that would otherwise be thrown away… yeah…
3. Discover the best spots near your home
We’re living in very convenient times. These days, it takes little more than a few clicks to discover the perfect hike or campground that meets your criteria. One of our favorite tools for locating the perfect adventure is The Outbound. Now available as an app, The Outbound is essentially a beautiful catalogue of user-generated adventures, complete with photos, meticulous notes, advice and links. There is also a curated list of explorers that you can follow for more expert recommendations.
4. Love a park
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the National Park Service. Celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2016, the NPS has pulled out all the stops to help Americans connect with these federally funded treasures. Find lists of Centennial events and activities. Find your nearest park. Or, if you’re in 4th grade or know someone who is, enjoy a year of free admission to any national park. You can bring your family for free too!
5. A better buddy system
Find like-minded folks to meet up with before heading out on your next adventure. In the past year we loved Gociety for making spontaneous plans (e.g. a weekend hike, climb, or after-work run) and Shoestring Adventures and Trail Mavens for group trips that you plan in advance.
6. Camp here. Camp there. Camp anywhere.
Start planning for the summer with our guide on how to book a campground. In addition to the old standbys like KOA and Reserve America, we’ve been delighted by all of the newcomers trying to make camping a bit easier and a lot more creative. Helloooo, vineyard camping.
7. Gear when you need it
One of the most common (and completely justified) objections we hear to spending time in the outdoors is the high cost of buying gear. Thankfully, there are now several gear companies that do rentals. Check out GetOutfitted as well as the local brick and mortar businesses for options.
8. Pull up a chair
Finally, for all you winter sports enthusiasts, we hope to see you at the Ski Provisions table sometime soon. As you might know, we recently launched our new line of gourmet meals for the alpine adventurer and have been enjoying all the logistical intricacies of shipping slow-braised meat across America ever since. Bon appetit!