How To Plan A Successful Family Bikepacking Trip

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jul 21, 2021 11:01:05 AM

How To Plan A Family Bikepacking Trip

By Guest Bloggers Jason and Chelsey Magness

As professional adventure racers and race directors my husband Jason and I love big endurance training trips.  But as new parents of Max (4) and Revel (1.5) it has been a fascination to look for ways to incorporate more adventure, play and training into our family life. One of our most favorite ways to check all of these boxes is to go on family bike-packing trips. When we had just one kid, it was much easier to go on backpacking trips (one person carried the kid, the other the camping gear), but once we added little brother Revel to the mix, we quickly turned to looking for other alternatives that allowed for us to manage even more gear and weight. 

We just got back from our fourth bike packing trip through Central Oregon and it was amazing. We took 4 days (3 nights) to do 120 miles, most of it on dirt roads with lots of play stops along the way. Every night we ended at a different lake or river to ensure easy water access and lots of water, dirt and sand play (a kid's dream).  On average, we rode hard for about 2-3 hours before our first stop and tried to do a second push in the early to late afternoon after the kids had worn themselves out. A few days into the trip, we hit a small town, which proved to be a fun stop for the kids and enabled us to carry less weight in food and water knowing that we could refill during the trip.

Chelsey Magness Team BendRacing

Nite Ize products have always been a staple in our adventure racing kits, but they have become even more important to take on our family adventure trips. Attached to the kids bike trailer was a big stash of Gear Ties of all sizes. They weigh nothing, and came in handy for everything from fixing the boys' shade structure to keeping our tent stakes together when we lost the little baggie, to creating a handy hook for our water filtration system. Another favorite and coveted item for this trip (and all our family camping trips) are the Nite Ize Rechargeable Glow Sticks (referred to as light lasers by the boys). These “light lasers” provided countless squealing play moments between the boys in the tent before bed. For us parents, the Nite Ize GearLine proved to be our most clutch piece of gear.  After a full day on the bikes and then playing in the water for as long as possible before bed, the GearLine gave us a great place to dry out our wet and dirty clothes.

If you are reading this and are getting excited to plan your own solo or family bike packing trip, we have some advice that we have learned over the last few years:

 

1) Go for it

Bikepacking With Kids

Every family adventure sounds daunting until you are in it. Yes the planning and packing is a bit stressful (we are not going to sugar coat that) but once you start pedaling away, it all becomes so easeful and simple. Kids love to be outside and to be with you. They are also highly adaptable, way more so than adults. And the more you let them in on the adventure (have them “help” navigate, pack up camp, etc.), the more they will become excellent teammates. 

 

2) Let your kids see your struggle 

Bike packing with kids

When you are pulling them up a hard hill, or get “lost” on a dirt road, let them see you in this place and then get through it. During our trip, Max would see us working hard and say “Daddy, Mama you can do it!”  Immediately afterwards, Revel would then say the same thing. Later on in the day, hiking up a big hill at our camp spot, Max would say, “Wow, this is hard but I can do it!” Moments like this don’t come easy unless they see you doing it, and a bike packing trip is a perfect teaching experience. 

  

3) If you are still hesitant, do a test run

Family Bikepacking Trip Tips

For your first time out, plan an over night trip that is not too far away. When Max was 3 years and Revel was 5 months, we were planning a ten day trip, but before we bit off too much, we wanted to see first hand what worked and what didn’t. We chose a destination that was close to home and went out for 24 hours. We tested out all of our gear and found out quickly what was unnecessary and what was clutch. 

 

2) Pack light

Family Bikepacking Trip Packing List

Even though you are on your bike, you still have to think about weight and space. Our advice is to take the essentials but leave the “extra pair of bike shorts, etc.” at home. And if you forget something (which you will) you will either adapt or perhaps you can stop somewhere and get it. 

 

3) Have a loose plan, but don’t be too strict with it

Bikepacking With Kids

With kids in tow, plans as you know can get derailed fast. We found that mapping out multiple fun stops and having a few different camping options helped us not stress too much about needing to get a spot. Instead, we were able to see how the day was going and change plans as needed. If the kids fell asleep, we always opted to keep going a little further and if the kids were having a hard time, it was nice to be able to stop for a longer time. 

Above all, have fun, be safe and enjoy time spent with your family in nature! 

 

Jason and Chelsey Magness

About Jason and Chelsey Magness

Jason and Chelsey built their relationship on a shared passion for adventure. As professional multi-sport athletes, teachers, coaches, and race directors, they help thousands of people through live workshops, elite training camps, and online at BendRacing.com and JandCtraining.com.  As part of Team BendRacing, they travel the globe competing in some of the toughest races on earth, battling rugged conditions and exploring the edge of human potential.

Whether racing across remote icebergs, developing innovative acrobatic sets, or balancing a thousand feet above ground on a slackline, all while chasing their wild little boy Max and toddler boy Revel Wilder, Jason and Chelsey have learned to train the mind and body to surpass limits and take life to the next level.

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, "travel", camping, gearline, kids

10 Ways To Enjoy The Great Indoors This Winter

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jan 15, 2021 10:44:29 AM

10 Ways to Enjoy the Great Indoors This Winter

Winter is in full swing, and for some of us in the colder areas of the country, that means much more time inside. Perhaps a lot more time than you would prefer, which is why you’ll need some distractions to keep from developing cabin fever. With these weeks stuck indoors, it could be the perfect time to pick up a new skill or hobby. Consider some of these ideas to keep you busy, stimulated, and productive this winter season.

 

Get Crafty

Crafting with Radiant 170 Headlamp

Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or always wanted to dip your toe in, this is the optimal season to take on a project. You could learn how to crochet your own hats and scarves, and give them as gifts. New to knitting or crochet? Try looking up some instructional videos on YouTube to help get you started.

Other crafts you could try include cross-stitching, upcycling old clothing and items, soap or candle making, spicing up your old denim with some embroidery, or scrapbooking. Hop on Pinterest and do a quick search for inspiration and you’ll find the possibilities are endless.

DoohicKey Hook Knife

Pro Tip: If you’d prefer to do your handiwork in the evening by the low light of your favorite bingeable shows (or, if your eyesight isn’t quite what it once was), a headlamp will come in handy. Our Radiant 170 Rechargeable Headlamp is perfect for close-up tasks.

Pro Tip #2: If you’re working with fabric, Gear Ties are great for keeping it rolled and bundled, or you can keep spools of twine, ribbon, or yarn organized. For working with twine or thread, a DoohicKey Hook Knife is a convenient tool to keep on hand.

 

Organize Crafts with Gear Ties

 

Tackle a Home Project

Tackle a home project

Being stuck inside provides a great opportunity to take on one of those projects you’ve been meaning to get around to. Maybe you have a slow drain you’d like to try fixing yourself, or a light fixture you’d like to hang. Start with something simple that you can learn to safely complete yourself, and do some research online – YouTube is a great resource for instructional videos.

Pro Tip: For those jobs that need a little extra light, the Radiant 170 Rechargeable Clip Light is the perfect alternative to a headlamp for anyone who wears a hat. It simply clips onto hat bills, provides a bright, even flood lighting that’s perfect for tasks, and is conveniently rechargeable.

 

Try Some New Recipes or Get Into Baking

Cooking with the Steelie Pedestal

Winter is the perfect time to fire up that oven and cook some warm comfort foods. On the weekends, having some extra time on your hands will allow you to try something a little more complicated than your standard weeknight meal. If you’ve been waiting for the weather to cool down so you can start baking, the wait is finally over. For something simple, try a banana bread or a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Or, if you’re already a seasoned baker, research some more complex pastries and impress your family and neighbors!

Pro Tip:  These days, many of us find and follow recipes right from our smartphones. To keep it in view and make it easier to follow along, try a Steelie Pedestal (a must-have necessity for those who already use a Steelie car mount system). Alternatively, the FlipOut Phone Handle + Stand or QuikStand are great accessories to help keep your mobile screens and recipes in view.

 

Dabble in Woodworking

Learn woodworking

If you’ve always had the dream of crafting your own simple furniture (or even just a shelf), there’s no time like the present to try a simple woodworking project. Although this hobby requires a lot more equipment than a ball of yarn and crochet needle, if you’re serious about giving it a go, it might be something to consider investing in. Creating your own pieces can be incredibly rewarding, and as you get more experienced, you might even be able to sell them someday – or at least give them as gifts. Start by doing some research online about what you might need to complete your first simple project. You could try starting with a bird house just like in 7th grade woodshop! It’s fun to start looking around on Pinterest and YouTube for ideas of what you can create, and how to make it all happen.

Pro Tip: You’ll want to keep all of your essential woodworking tools in arm’s reach, so the Clip Pock-It’s XL Utility Holster is perfect for the task.

 

Read a Book

BugLit Rechargeable Micro Flashlight

Sure, this one is pretty obvious, but that doesn’t make it a stale idea. There isn’t a better season to cozy up with a good book than winter, and it’s a great way to take advantage of some extra time on your hands while at home. If you’re like many of us and the last book you bought is still sitting on your nightstand untouched, now is the time to crack it open. 

Pro Tip: If you get so enthralled that you find yourself reading into the night (just one more chapter!), it’s a good idea to have a reading light handy so you don’t disturb a sleeping partner. Our BugLit Rechargeable Micro Flashlight is a perfect companion for your late-night reading sessions, and can be positioned in a variety of ways with its Gear Tie “legs.”

 

Have a Family Game Night

Family game night

Time to dust off the old board games! You might be surprised how much fun you can actually have with your whole family on a cold Friday or Saturday night without even leaving the house. Make an occasion of it by ordering a pizza, and have members vote on their game of choice. It might be exciting to try out something new, or perhaps nostalgia is calling your name. Either way, have fun, and make it a night you and your family will remember fondly.



Work on a Puzzle

Work on a puzzle Radiant 170 Headlamp

A favorite pastime for a rainy day is putting a puzzle together – either by yourself, or with a family member. Not only is it relaxing, but it is completely satisfying once it’s finished. You can even glue it together with Mod Podge and frame it when it’s done to show off your hard work.

Pro Tip: If you’d like to put on one of your favorite movies on in the background while you work and turn the lights down, a headlamp is perfect for providing the right amount of light where you need it. The Radiant 314 Rechargeable Headlamp is the best fit for the job.

 

Get Artsy

Learn to paint

Break out the Bob Ross videos, now is your time for your own personal painting party. Whether you want to dabble in oil paints, acrylics or watercolors, do some research and visit your local crafts store to figure out where to start. And if you’ve always wanted to try some “happy trees” of your own, there’s no time like the present. If you’re not ready to go all in on creating your own masterpiece, but would like an artistic activity to help you relax, pick up an adult coloring book and a set of colored pencils. You’ll be surprised at how meditative and relaxing this activity can be (and it pairs well with a glass of wine).

Oranize your art supplies

Pro Tip: Use Gear Ties to organize your art supplies or craft bins. You can bundle brushes or colored pencils, hang items on a peg board, or wrangle the cords of your glue gun.

Wrangle cords with Gear Ties

 

Camp Out In Your Living Room

Camping in your living room

If winter camping in below freezing temps doesn’t exactly sound like your idea of a good time, but you (or your kiddos) can’t wait to set up the tent, why not try an indoor campout? It’s a fun way to put all that new camping gear you acquired in 2020 to use, and bring a little something out of the ordinary to your life.

Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern

You can eat camp food for dinner, make s’mores in the oven, and tell ghost stories with the lights out. The best part? Being able to use your very own indoor plumbing!

Pro Tip: Ditch the house lights and get in the mood by using lanterns, headlamps, and flashlights during your indoor campout. The Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern offers an “amber mode” to give your campout a real fireside feel.

 

 

Teach Fido A New Trick

Teach your dog a new trick

If you’re holed up with your pooch, make it a goal to include him or her in some fun too! If it’s too cold to enjoy your usual leisurely walk or trip to the dog park, a good activity you can do indoors that will entertain both of you is learn a new trick. If your dog has already mastered the basic commands, check out these 10 cool tricks you can teach them that are sure to impress your friends (or your dog’s Instagram followers).

Pro Tip: Play some glow-in-the-dark fetch (either in the backyard, or turn the lights down inside) with a GlowStreak LED Ball!

 

We hope this list has you feeling a bit more optimistic about being stuck indoors this winter. You might just find your new favorite hobby this season! The possibilities of things you can create are endless, and there’s no shortage of ways to stay busy. Let us know how you’ll be beating the winter blues this year, and leave us a comment with your own pro tips below.

Topics: Gear Ties, DIY, Home, Organization, LED Products, headlamp, kids

Last Call For Fall Fun: 10 Autumn Activities

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on Oct 21, 2020 10:10:49 AM

Last Call For Fall: 10 Autumn Activities

The leaves are changing, the days are shortening, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s fall time, and before you know it, winter will make its icy appearance. But before we head into months of snow, slush, and shivers, let’s get out there and soak in the fall fun.

Keep reading for 10 fresh ways to make the most of our Autumn days and "nites."

 

1. Leaf through town

Leaf Peeping Drive

What’s fall without a leaf-peeping drive? If you live in a state with changing seasons, you might be able catch the vibrant Autumn colors come to life in person. Research the best leaf-peeping spots in your state (and make sure to check you haven’t missed the color change) and set off on your journey with your Steelie® Phone Mount to give directions along the route.

If you prefer to get out of the car and see the changing colors up close, nothing beats an Autumn hike or bike ride. Just make sure to bundle up and gear up your bike with one of our tool-free bike lights! Especially adventurous folks can take their leaf-peeping trip to the next level on a four wheel or ATV too — check out local rentals if you’re craving a little adrenaline rush.

 

2. Carve Out Some Fun

SpotLit XL Pumpkin

Carving pumpkins is a universal way to embrace the spooky season, unleash some creativity, and step up your decorating game while you’re at it. Grab a gourd of your choosing from your local pumpkin patch or grocery store and make sure to get durable carving tools that can get the job done (or kid-safe tools for little ones). Once your masterpiece is complete, throw in a SpotLit® XL or NiteGem for color-changing, fire-free illumination that will shine for nights to come.

Not up for a pulpy mess? Painting pumpkins might be a safer bet.

 

3. Drink It All In

Pumpking Beer

Get in the Autumn spirit with some spirits. Check out local cideries to sample sweet and spicy hard cider varieties, or pick up your favorite 6 pack of pumpkin ale for an at-home happy hour, complete with an Ahhh… Bottle Opener. If you prefer the winer things in life, visit your local vineyard or winery to sip on some fall blends.

 

4. Plan A Picnic

Fall Picnic

If you live in a state with harsh winters, you know you’re in for months of being buried under a heavy winter coat, scarf, boots, and gloves get-up. Soak in the sun while you can on a peaceful picnic at the park or even in your backyard.

 

5. Train for The Long Run

SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap

Local Fall 5ks and Fun Runs are a popular way to get your blood pumping and raise money for a great cause. Sign up and start training — you can even get the whole family involved to get some fresh air away from screens.  If you're training in the morning or after work hours, be sure you’re staying safe and visible. The Rechargeable SlapLit LED Slap Wrap and TagLit Magnetic Marker are great ways to stay visible in the dark mornings and evenings, and a headlamp will help light your path.

 

6. Bake Up a Storm

Apple Pie

After watching a few seasons of the Great British Baking Show, you’ve probably learned a thing or two. Put your skills to the test and try out a homemade pie, pumpkin bread, candy apple, or other Autumn recipe everyone in the house can enjoy. Free fall aromas included!

Keep the recipe on your phone visible and flour-free with a Steelie Bendable Arm + Ratcheting Clamp or Steelie Pedestal Mount to make your baking adventure a breeze.

 

7. Game On

Flashflight Light Up Flying Disc

Make the most of the warm days we have left with an outdoor family game everyone can play. Pick up a Flashflight Light Up Flying Disc to keep the games going after-dark, or even a GlowStreak LED Ball so your pup doesn’t miss out on the nighttime fun.

 

8. Paddle Your Own Canoe (Or Kayak)

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

While the chilly temperatures might make swimming out of the question, an Autumn kayak or canoe trip might be just the thing to appease water lovers already missing summer days at the lake. Research around for leaf-peeping spots and their nearby streams to find an especially gorgeous Autumn route.

You can rest assured that your phone, gear and snacks will stay safe and dry in one of our RunOff Waterproof Bags while you paddle the waters.

 

9. Gather 'Round The Fire Pit

Campfire SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

Nothing screams fall like scary ghost stories told around the fire. Crack open an Autumn ale (wrapped in a SlapLit to keep it lit and chilly), and come prepared with your favorite spooky stories to set the mood. After everyone is scared silly, lift their spirits with a toasty S’more cooked over the fire.

 

10. See Stars

FallFun-Stargazing

Grab a blanket, snacks, and a Radiant® 300 Headlamp set to red mode for a cozy night under the stars. Whether in your backyard or off the grid, you’ll be in for a night of out-of-this-world views, nonetheless. Three meteor showers are due when the moon is in crescent this Autumn, giving you the best view possible. Look out the Orionids shower on the night of October 20th through the 21st, the Northern Taurids on the night of November 11-12, and the Leonids on November 16-17.

And don’t miss the especially rare (and especially spooky) full moon on Halloween night!

Topics: Visibility and Safety, Games & Toys, outdoors, Fun & Games, Flying Disc, Bike, Fitness, LED Products, runoff, waterproof bags, Holidays, headlamp, kids, daylight savings

Build Your Own Backyard Camping Adventure

Posted by Katie S on May 6, 2020 10:18:33 AM

Backyard Camping

The days may feel like they are dragging, but look on the bright side, they are actually getting longer – as in more daylight and warmer! So, if you’re running out of ways to keep your family entertained indoors, then it’s a great time to move outside. A backyard campout kills a lot of birds with one stone. You get the kids out of the house and entertained (and no screens!), you can test out your camping gear and make sure it’s ready for the season, and you can test your skills and teach your kids new ones in the privacy of your backyard – judgment free from other campers if you don’t quite remember how to set up that tent. 

Here in Colorado we’ve had a nice sustained temperature spike, so it seemed like the perfect time to dust off the tent and spend a night of “practice camping” outside with our one and three-year-old. Here are a few tips based on how our adventure went.

 

1. Set up the tent in the morning.

GearLine Organization SystemThe novelty of having a tent set up in the backyard was exceptional entertainment. The kids played in it ALL day. Get your bedding and camp gear set up and organized from the start – the kids enjoyed clipping items to the Gear Line throughout the day, and we used it to hang up our wet clothes after a run through the sprinkler. We had snacks in the tent, we read books, we set up our air mattresses, we jumped around on the air mattresses (yes, that’s plural…see tip #2).

 

 

2. There are no limits on comfort.

Have a family backyard campout

With backpacking, you’re limited by weight, with car camping, you’re limited by trunk space, but with backyard camping it’s no holds barred – load that tent up with all the good cushy stuff. Especially if your kids are new to camping or haven’t done much, you want to give them the best shot at a good/warm/fun night’s sleep. We have a behemoth car camping tent, so I loaded in two large air mattresses, a Pack N Play, and let the kids drag out all their favorite blankets and big stuffed animals to make it cozy. I was also hoping for a half-decent night’s sleep. 

 

3. Take this opportunity to show them the ropes.

Baby bunnyHave your kids help set up and take down the tent and teach them how to properly and safely build a fire (I grew up building fires log-cabin style, but now more often go for the teepee – to each their own). Also, include some of the basic camp rules like washing dishes right away and no shoes or food in the tent (the latter rule we broke of course, but that’s the nice thing about backyard camping – it’s a lot less likely a bear is going to come sniffing for snacks). You can plan a little “nature walk” around the house too. We managed to find two garter snakes and a baby bunny. You never know what you’ll find when you slow down and look a little closer!

 

 

4. Light up the night for added fun.

SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

If your kids are younger, sleeping in new places can be unsettling, even if it’s just the backyard. Having lots of lights can make it feel safer and more fun. In true Nite Ize style, each of the kids had their own BugLit  Micro Flashlights, and everyone’s drinks had SlapLit LED Drink Wraps (which turned out to be the perfect night light and an easy way to track down water bottles in the middle of the night too)!

We kept a Radiant 100 Lantern hanging in the tent, and just after dark, the kids were mesmerized by the color-changing Flashflight.

Flashflight LED Flying Disc

Just before bed, we loaded them up with chocolate and marshmallows by the fire (because it’s not really camping if there aren’t s’mores), climbed into the tent, and read books by headlamp, hoping that everyone would go right to sleep.

Backyard Camping with Kids

 

5. Don’t set your expectations too high.

Maybe don’t go into this expecting beautiful Instagram-worthy family camping photos and the greatest night of sleep ever. If your kids are anything like mine, by the end of the night it may resemble something more like Lord of the Flies, and it could be that no one actually sleeps the whole night outside. I knew that the chance of all four of us waking up in the tent the next morning were slim. I was pleasantly surprised however, when I woke up around 7AM to my three-year-old grinning ear-to-ear and so proud of himself for sleeping outside the whole night. That was easily the best morning news I’ve gotten in months.

Camping With Kids

The last few months have left us all adapting to new norms. We hope you are all staying safe and healthy and are finding your silver linings in the current situation. If you have tips for our community on staying sane at home, please leave them in the comments section below – added bonus if they include Nite Ize products!

Topics: Flashflight, Home, camping, slaplit, gearline, kids

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