A Practical Camping Guide for the Non-Outdoorsy

Posted by MJ Smoot on Apr 30, 2021 5:07:54 PM

Practical Camping Guide for the Non-Outdoorsy

Over the past year, the great outdoors has become a haven for people looking to escape the confines of the pandemic. Public spaces and lands are thriving as a result, with more people venturing to local trails, waterways, and campgrounds. For many, outdoor adventures are a new thing and a weekend trip to a local campground can be quite an intimidating experience. The good news is that there is plenty of space for everyone on public lands, and with a little research and preparation, a weekend camping trip to your local campground will not feel so daunting.  

As a seasoned outdoorsman, I too find trips to new places to be filled with uncertainty, often presenting more questions than answers. During my research of campgrounds, I’ve noticed that information for the first-time camper is often limited to what is referred to as “the 10 essentials”. What is missing are those practical insights that answer important questions like, “Where am I going to poo? Is there a place to shower? And more importantly, will there be coffee?”

Fear not my city slicker friends–I have put together a more practical list of camping tips for the non-outdoorsy. We’ll start with the basics, and by the end of this post you will have some great resources to help prepare you for your next, or first, camping trip.

 

Guide Tip #1: Don’t Trust Your Outdoorsy Friends

Camping Tips for First-Timers

(Pictured here: your outdoorsy friend MJ)

That’s right, I’m contradicting myself with tip #1. As your outdoorsy friend, I’m REALLY excited that you’re expressing an interest in camping and my brain is racing with images of all of the picturesque places I’ve been and that I’d love for you to experience. However, that enthusiasm could lead you down the wrong path. While I’m foaming at the mouth to tell you about my secret camping spot on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management), you may not be ready for that. Camping on public lands can be confusing. There are often no designated campgrounds nor facilities and can be miles down dirt roads far from the nearest cell phone signal.

Rather than take your friend’s word for the perfect camping spot, do your own research of the area. Search for places where you can make reservations ahead of time. This way you’ll be guaranteed a cozy place to camp for the night. Oh, and make your reservations as early as possible. Many campgrounds are fully reserved 3-6 months in advance.

Here are a few camping reservations sites that I have found to be helpful when looking for the perfect place to camp:

  • Recreation.gov – This site has information for campgrounds of all types and is likely where you’ll end up when looking for a campsite at a National Park or with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
  • The Dyrt – The Dyrt’s user-generated database has lots of campground reviews and images from people just like you with information about all types of campsites, including some that are well off the beaten path.
  • HipCamp – Looking for something untraditional? HipCamp is the Airbnb of camping with sites available from private landowners.

 

Guide Tip #2: Choose Your Own Adventure

Camping for Beginners

Camping doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Whether you are looking to rough it in the woods for the weekend or a blissful glamping experience, choose a shelter that most closely matches the experience you are going for. Some shelter options to consider are as follows.

Tent Camping in UtahTent Camping – You’ll need the appropriate gear for this method. Other than a tent, you’ll need something to sleep in and on. Sleeping bags and sleeping pads come in a variety of styles and perhaps the most important factor for you to consider is what the weather will be like at night. Colder nights call for warmer sleeping bags and insulated pads. As a non-outdoorsy camper, this method can feel intimidating and the cost of all this gear can get expensive. Rather than buying everything you will need, check with your local outdoor store to see if they have a rental program or ask your outdoorsy friends to borrow gear. Chances are that they’ll be happy to outfit you with camping gear if they’re not already planning to use it. 


Popup Trailer CampingTrailer + RV Camping – For those of you that are not interested in sleeping in the dirt, or that like the privacy of your own bathroom, a trailer or RV rental may be what you are looking for. The website Outdoorsy has everything from small teardrop trailers to large Class A RVs for rent, outfitted with everything you will need for a night out of the city or a week on the road. This is also a great option to consider if you have a fear of unwelcome encounters with wildlife or the weather. Trailers and RVs provide a hard-sided shelter to help minimize those fears so that you can get a good night’s rest. 

 


Glamping TipsGlamping + Cabin Rentals – Glamping, or glamorous camping, and cabin rentals are a great way for the non-outdoorsy to have a unique experience. These options often have more of those creature comforts we are all used to like running water, electricity, and even WiFi. They can also be pretty swanky! While you can find many cabins on VRBO and Airbnb, the website Glamping.com is a great source for finding those unique, Instagram-worthy places that you see in your feed.

 

 

Guide Tip #3: Optimize Your Gear

Essential Camping Gear

Remember those ten essentials I mentioned earlier? They are a key part of being prepared for any adventure into the outdoors. You’ll find the standard list of the ten essentials below along with a few practical essentials from my personal packing list.

 

The Ten Essentials

Camping Packing Checklist

  1. Navigation – If you plan to do any hiking or exploring, you’ll want to bring a map along with a compass, GPS device and/or your smartphone with a downloaded trail app like AllTrails or Gaia GPS.
  2. Sun Protection – There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a sunburn or getting a headache from too much bright light. Be sure to pack your sunglasses, a hat, and some sunscreen. This is especially true at higher elevations where the UV rays are more intense than at lower elevations. Long sleeves and other UV shielding clothing can also be quite helpful while keeping you cool. As a plus, long sleeve shirts are also great for keeping bugs off of you.
  3. Illumination­ – A great headlamp and lantern are enough to keep the party going when the sun goes down. Whether you’re planning a game at the picnic table in your campsite or taking a midnight trip to the bathroom, you’re going to need a light. My favorites are the Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp and Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern. If you want to take your campsite from basic to badass, or add a little fun for the kids, then a rope light like the new ShineLine might be the perfect addition to your campsite.
  4. First Aid Kit – You can buy or build your own first aid kit easily with items you may already have around the house. Things like band aids, ointment, and over-the-counter pain relievers are cornerstones of a basic first aid kit, but also be sure to pack any prescription medications you may be taking as well as bug spray. Bugs can be quite unpredictable and very annoying. Most importantly, if you decide to make your own first aid kit, then be sure to put all of the contents in a waterproof bag like the RunOff Travel Pouch to protect these important items from the elements.
  5. Fire – Are you really camping if there’s no campfire or s’mores?! Be sure to bring something to start a campfire, or the grill, as well as a backup way to start a fire in case your primary method doesn’t work (I.E. matches, lighter, fire starter). However, bear in mind that many areas may have fire restrictions, so call your campground ahead of time to make sure, and pack a camp stove or propane fire pit instead if traditional fires are prohibited.
  6. Knife – Bring a sharp knife. You’ll need a knife to help with cooking in particular, but may also need one for unexpected gear repairs, or to whittle yourself the perfect marshmallow roasting stick.
  7. Shelter ­– You are going to want a place to sleep. Be sure you packed your tent before you leave the house and know how to set it up. A little practice setting up the tent at your home can save you loads of time and frustration at camp.
  8. Extra Food – It’s always a good idea to have an extra day’s worth of food in case your plans change, or you need a little snack while you’re on the way to/from camp.
  9. Extra Water – Other than drinking water to stay hydrated, you will likely be using your water to cook and clean. So, bring plenty and drink lots of water especially if you are going to be active during your camping trip.
  10. Extra Clothes – Layer up! One of the wild things about camping is the temperature swings that you might experience throughout the day. It’s not uncommon to be wearing a t-shirt and shorts during the day and a warm jacket and pants at night. Check the weather before you travel to see what to expect, but also be sure to pack for the unexpected. I like to pack clothes that can be easily layered to increase warmth, that dry quickly if wet, and to always have something waterproof like a raincoat. A warm hat, like a beanie, and a baseball cap are also on my packing list. Hats help to keep you warm and shaded, but are also great for hiding your messy hairdo in the morning.

MJ’s Essentials

What to bring camping

  1. Toilet Paper – Seriously though, don’t overlook this. While a campground may have restrooms, I have stayed in quite a few that didn’t have toilet paper when I needed it. Pack your own and you will never be caught with your pants down. 😉
  2. Hand Sanitizer + Soap – Before hand sanitizer was cool, it was an essential part of my packing list. A lot of the places I have camped had minimal facilities with vault toilet (I.E. a big hole in the ground with no sink). You’ll want a way to sanitize your hands after a visit to a place like this, or before making any meals at camp. In addition to the sanitizer, I also bring biodegradable soap with me that I use to wash my hands as well as the dirty dishes.
  3. Games – Have some fun with this one, there are no rules here! While camping I’ve played everything from bocce ball, to dominos, to cards against humanity, to two truths and a lie, and catch with the Flashflight Light-Up Flying Disc (a camp time favorite)! Games that are easy to play for a group of people work best.
  4. Coffee – It’s easy to overlook this morning staple and there are many ways to make coffee while at camp. Pack accordingly. Some brewing options that are also camp-friendly include a percolator, French press, and AeroPress. If all those options sound like too much work, then opt for some instant coffee. Believe it or not, there are some tasty instant coffee options available these days at your local grocery store. You’ll also need a way to boil water for said coffee. The easiest way is to bring a camp stove (or portable burner) and kettle.
  5. Trash Bag – While a campground may have a dumpster, individual campsites do not have trash bins. Bring a few trash bags with you so that you can throw all your trash away at once before you head home.
  6. Wireless Speaker – Not everyone will agree with this but whatever, I want you to have a great time at camp. Adding some music to happy hour while you are prepping dinner can be quite enjoyable at camp. Just be respectful of your neighbors and do not blast the music all night.
  7. Battery Backup – I like to have a way to recharge my headlamp and phone at camp. Like many people, I use my phone for lots of things such as looking up places to hike, for driving directions, and, most importantly, to take pictures.
  8. Crocs – Yup, I said it. Crocs. Slip-on shoes or sandals also work. The point is you are not going to want to wear your shoes or hiking boots all day and night. Having something comfortable and easy to slip on is perfect for lounging around camp, going in and out of the tent, or for a quick trip to the bathroom.

Camping Tips For Non-Outdoorsy People

Thank you for reading this not so tongue-in-cheek practical camping list. I am sure there are some things that I’ve forgotten or that you are still wondering about. Please post your questions or additions to this list in the comments section below to keep the conversation going. If there’s one thing the outdoorsy like to do, it's talking about our gear and sharing our knowledge. Also, be sure to check out the Nite Ize OptimIZE collection for some other fun and practical camping gear.

The adventure  photos in this post were provided by Ali and Garret Photography

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, "travel", camping

MobilIZE: 6 Simple Ways You Can Help Protect Our Planet This Earth Day

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on Apr 19, 2021 4:04:19 PM

6 Simple Ways To Help Protect The Planet This Earth Day

With the impacts of climate change becoming ever-present, protecting our planet is more important than ever. But for many of us, that goal seems out of reach, leaving us asking: How can I help? Well, there's no day like Earth Day to get started! Keep reading for 6 easy ways to start thinking more sustainably, locally, and globally this Earth Day.

 

1. Introduce a recycling bin at your home + office

How To Introduce A Recycling Program

The benefits of recycling can’t be overstated. Obviously, recycling means less trash is dumped in landfills every year, but even larger than that, recycling allows our industry to repurpose non-renewable resources, using significantly less energy and raw materials to create our goods.

If your neighborhood or workplace doesn’t already have a recycling program, some ways you can break into it are:

  • Find a local recycling center in your area you can personally return to
  • Talk to your boss about setting up a recycling program at work
  • Read up on which materials are accepted at your local facility to prevent recycling contamination that can do more damage

2. Volunteer for local cleanups in your community

Earth Day Cleanup

If you’re more of the hands-on type, a community cleanup might be just the ticket. Check out what Earth Day cleanups are happening in your local community, and if your area is running low this year, have no fear. One of our Brite Side philanthropic partners, American Rivers, is hosting a year-long Virtual River Cleanup Challenge through the Litterati app. Through the app, you can take pictures of the litter you collect and track it, allowing Litterati to map national litter totals and cleanup efforts.

 

3. Find reusable alternatives for single-waste products

Gear Ties vs. Zip Ties

A simple way to help protect the planet is to reevaluate your shopping choices. Instead of choosing a single-waste product like water bottles, switch to an insulated thermos to reduce your annual waste and ultimately, the emissions created when producing so many products at mass rates.

Taking it a step further, look around your home and see where a single-waste option could be replaced with a reusable one. Gear Ties are a perfect alternative to zip ties or cable ties, providing the reusability, adjustability, and strength you need. Another reusable option to consider is swapping out your battery-powered products for rechargeable ones. Nite Ize proudly produces 25 different rechargeable products and counting, including LED Dog Collars, flashlights, and more.

 

4. Shop local produce or plant a garden

Start Your Own Vegetable Garden

Commercial agriculture takes a toll on our environment with harmful pesticides and fertilizers, excessive waste, and heavy carbon emissions from transit by truck to grocery stores everywhere. To help minimize this impact, seek out a local farm or market in your area for your produce. And for those up to the challenge, planting a garden is a great way to learn more about agriculture, develop self-sufficiency, and control the pesticides and fertilizers used, keeping your community’s soil and waterways clean. Check out our tips on starting your own vegetable garden this spring here!

 

5. Drive less—bike + walk more

Reduce Carbon Emissions by Biking

Transportation alone makes up 14% of our yearly greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce the number of cars on the road by carpooling to work and social events when you can. Around your town, consider investing in a bike for local errands and work commutes—you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll love it! And instead of taking a long drive around the neighborhood after a hard day, take a walk outside instead to enjoy the fresh air and get your body moving.

 

6. Get out there and appreciate it!

Enjoy The Outdoors This Earth Day

Now that you’ve done the work, it’s time to reap all the benefits. Get out there and soak in all the beauty that mother nature has to offer. Take a hike, set up camp, plan a picnic, or hit the beach—wherever you feel most connected to our beautiful planet. Remember to Leave No Trace when enjoying our great outdoors to prevent trail damage, wildlife risk, water pollution, and forest fires.

How are you planning to mobilize for Earth Day? Share your favorite ways to give back to the environment in the comments or on social media. Now what are you waiting for? Go get out there!

Topics: Gear Ties, take action, outdoors, Bike, gardening, Surprize

MobilIZE: Phone Accessories For Every Lifestyle

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Apr 13, 2021 2:11:38 PM

Phone Accessories For Every Lifestyle

Let’s face the grim reality: we’re all hopelessly reliant on our smartphones. Whether we’re having GPS guide our way to our next destination or taking ‘gram-worthy photos on a hike, it’s likely that wherever we go, our phones go with us. While we’ll spare you the sociological examination of our society’s relationship with our devices, we will give you a breakdown of our favorite mobile accessories to help simplify your life and keep you connected around the house, on the road, and beyond.

 

For The Outdoor Adventurer

Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether

Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether

Do your adventures in nature put your phone in some pretty precarious situations? You know you need that perfect photo off the side of a cliff, but you do risk losing a grip and having your phone tumble down hundreds of feet to it’s ultimate demise. The Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether is the perfect companion for mountain hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and more. Clip one end of the coiled tether to your belt loop or jacket and snap away worry-free. For city adventures, it also makes a great defense against pick-pocketers. You can also clip the tether onto it’s other end to form a loop, and conveniently carry your phone around your wrist when your hands are full (attention, busy parents).

 

For The Cycling Fanatic

Squeeze Rotating Smartphone Bar Mount

Squeeze Rotating Smartphone Bar Mount

Whether you’re a regular bike commuter, a casual joy-rider, or a weekend warrior mountain biker, keep your phone secured to your handlebars with the Squeeze Bar Mount. Universally fit for virtually any phone, the Squeeze is easy to install tool-free, and intuitive to use. Just pinch the levers to open the arms, place your device, and release for a super strong hold that can withstand bumps, twists, and turns. It also can rotate between portrait or landscape modes, so you can track your maps and apps as you ride.

 

For The Road Warrior

Steelie Magnetic Phone Mounts

Steelie Magnetic Phone Mounts

If you’re an avid road tripper, daily grind commuter, or business traveler, you need a place in your car to dock your phone for hands-free calls, GPS navigation, or music selection. The Steelie family of magnetic mobile phone mounts are reliable, secure, and easy to use – but with so many options, where do you even start? We’ve made it easier than ever with this flowchart to help you find the right Steelie for your lifestyle:

Find Your Steelie

 

For The Angler

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

Dreaming of catching the big one? Whether you’re heading out for a deep sea fishing excursion, a day of fly fishing on the river, or hitting the lake by motor boat, you know you’ll want your phone close to document your catch. Keep your device dry, protected, and in reach with a RunOff Waterproof Phone Case. With a clear, touch-screen friendly front and back window, you won’t need to remove your phone from the case to use it, and the included lanyard allows you to wear it around your neck for accessibility. Tested to IP67, the RunOff Phone Case is completely submersible in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, so if it does decide to take a dip in the water, it will stay completely dry!

 

For The Jet Setter

QuikStand Mobile Device Stand

QuikStand Mobile Device Stand

Planning to hit the friendly skies this year? You can keep up with your latest Netflix binge while in the air with the QuikStand Mobile Device Stand. At just about the size of a credit card, this stand is ultra packable, and folds out to hold your phone or small tablet right on your tray table so you can give your arms a break.

 

For The Minimalist

Ca$hBack Phone Wallet

Ca$hBack Phone Wallet

If you’re not one for toting around an assortment of belongings everywhere you go, choose the simple route. With the Ca$hBack Phone Wallet, you can carry your phone, cards and cash all in one!

 

For The Super Scroller

FlipOut Phone Handle + Stand

FlipOut Phone Handle + Stand

Are you a social media aficionado with a penchant for selfie-snapping? Keep a better grip on your cherished device with a FlipOut Phone Handle + Stand. The low-profile design slides into pockets without snagging, but flips out to create a convenient handle – or use it as a kickstand so you can sit back and catch up on your favorite YouTube channels.

 

For The Home Chef

Steelie Pedestal Mount

Steelie Pedestal Mount

If you love to cook or bake, you know the struggle of looking up recipes on your phone and then fumbling to read it at the right angle with your flour-caked hands. Enter the Steelie Pedestal Mount, and the answer to your digital recipe woes. If you’re already a Steelie user, this mount is a perfect addition to your arsenal. If you have the original or plus-sized magnet, you can snap it right onto the pedestal. If you’re a Steelie Orbiter user, just purchase an additional Orbiter Socket that lives on your Pedestal to use it the same way. You can also put a Steelie Plus magnet onto the back of your tablet if you prefer a larger screen.

 

Do you have a hobby or lifestyle we didn't cover? Let us know in the comments and we'll give our best recommendation for an accessory to fit your needs. Curious for more mobile product recommendations? View our specially-curated April MobilIZE Collection here.

Topics: Mobile Device Accessories, outdoors, Adventure, "travel", Home, Steelie

VisualIZE: the first women’s run of the Grand Canyon R3.alt

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jan 22, 2021 1:18:07 PM

The first women’s run of the Grand Canyon R3.alt

By Nite Ize Field Team Member Sunny Stroeer

What’s the hardest part of any adventure? To me, the answer is clear: it’s that moment where you turn a wish into a goal and start to plan.   Many adventures, big and small, never get off the ground… and often for a reason that we don’t like to talk about: for a lack of trying. I should know - big adventures are my jam, like the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim ALT (or, for short, “R3.alt”) route that I completed with two girlfriends of mine this past October.  

RunOff Waterproof Large Packing CubeThe R3.alt is adventure running at its finest. It entails a double crossing of the Grand Canyon, which means 42 miles and over 10,000ft of vertical gain on rugged trails far, far off the pavement.  If that wasn’t enough, here’s an added challenge: there is no bridge across the Colorado River connecting the trails of this particular route at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, so you have to swim across the mighty Colorado in order to complete the adventure; you can imagine how thankful I was for Nite Ize’s awesome RunOff Waterproof Bags which helped bombproof my essential non-waterproof gear to ensure it would stay dry while we swam across the river. Through the hours of darkness, I was grateful for my Nite Ize Headlamp.  After a botched first attempt, and despite a few minor epics on the second attempt, my friends and I managed to pull off the R3.alt in 22 hours and 27 minutes and established the first women’s speed record on this backcountry route. 

As you consider what the R3.alt requires, you might argue that the hardest part of this adventure should be running 42 miles, or swimming across the Colorado River.  But here’s the kicker: running long distances is what I do, and the swim across the Colorado turned out to be less difficult than we had imagined (in large part thanks to a dry season which meant warm and slow-flowing water). 

Christin Healy Grand Canyon R3 Alt

So for this adventure, as for so many others, the true crux of the R3.alt was formulating the concrete goal of making it happen: the moment where I moved my internal dialogue from a hypothetical "wow what a cool route - I wish I could try that someday!" to the concrete "I am going to attempt the R3.alt." That simple change in words is often all it takes to turn a wish into a goal, and to start making a plan for how to accomplish said goal.

If it’s that simple, what keeps us from bridging the gap between ‘wishing’ and ‘planning’? Let me go back to my Grand Canyon R3.alt adventure for a moment.  When I first heard about the R3.alt route in 2018, it immediately captured my attention - as a wild “someday” idea, not as a goal. I didn’t know if I’d be able to get to the trailhead, or if I’d have the chops to jump into the mighty Colorado and swim across it; my internal dialogue was all about reasons why I wouldn’t ever be able to do the R3.alt, rather than about ways I could attempt the route. 

First women's run of Grand Canyon R3.alt

The reason for that is part an old habit of negative self-talk, and part mental laziness. I firmly believe that most of us, myself included, use the phrase "I wish" far more frequently than we should.  That’s why I differentiate between three different categories of "I wish" statements; hear me out. 

  1. Figure of speech without true intent: “I wish I could stay to chat but I gotta go.”  
  2. An honest wish related to something that we cannot influence: “I wish I was taller” or “I wish you felt better.” 
  3. Deliberate distancing from a desirable outcome: “I wish I could quit my job” or “I wish I was a better writer” or “I wish I could go travel.” 

I personally spend most of my time in categories one and three, but I constantly try to remind myself that the first category serves no purpose outside of social interactions.  The third category, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like: it is a way for us to deliberately distance ourselves from a challenging goal that we think we want but that is scary, difficult and/or time-intensive to pursue.  That third category is the category that I like to invest in, and  where I put work into converting my ‘I-wish-I-could’ wild dreams into ‘I-want-to-and-I-am-going-to-figure-out-how’ game plans.

First women's run of Grand Canyon R3.alt

That’s the reason that my friends Lexi, Christin and I were able to pull off the R3.alt in the Grand Canyon this past October: not because we are the strongest athletes, but because we turned a wish into a goal and made a plan for how to get there. My wish for you in 2021 is that you may do the same in the areas of your life that matter to you.

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, Field Team, "travel", runoff

Gear Up for Winter Fun

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Dec 16, 2020 10:47:52 AM

Gear Up For Winter Fun

Winter is officially coming, and many of us might be dreading this one more than usual. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t exactly get a lot of patio-weather days during this time of year, you might be desperately seeking safe ways to get out of the house. The great outdoors has been an absolute gift throughout 2020 to help us stay sane while saying safe. So, let’s think about winter recreation to help fill your free time – maybe you can even try something new!

Of course, you’ll have different options depending on where you live. Here in Colorado, ski and snowboard season is ramping up. In the upper midwest, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing are popular pastimes. Whatever activity might be up your alley, we’d like to share some of our favorite products that help us enjoy our sport of choice better.

 

Hit the Slopes

Skiing Hacks

My winter sport of choice is skiing, and it’s the one I have the most personal experience with. I ski with a small hydropack backpack, which does not give me a lot of storage space. For this reason, I always use the RunOff Waterproof Wallet because of its slim design, and because it keeps my cards and cash nice and dry in case of the occasional “yard sale.” (Hey, I never said I was a good skier!)

Hitch Phone Anchor + LanyardI also like to keep my phone handy to snap photos, but fumbling with it while on the lift always makes me nervous (Jerry alert). I started using the Hitch Phone Anchor + Lanyard for days on the mountain because I know I won’t lose it through my butterfingers, and it also makes it easy to pull out of my jacket whenever I want to check my season pass app or take photos. The Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether is also a popular choice for this use, and you can attach the S-Biner MicroLock to an anchor point on your jacket, or the belt loop on your pants.

My third essential for skiing is S-Biners. Did I mention my pack doesn’t have much storage? I keep a couple S-Biners clipped to it to hold things like my gloves or helmet when I head into the lodge for a toddy. You can also use one to attach to your lift tickets or season pass to your clothing or bag.

 

Gear Tie LoopableFinally, I always keep my skis and poles bundled with Gear Tie Loopables at each end for transporting and storing.

Because we’re lucky enough here in Boulder to live driving distance to the ski slopes, many of our team members are avid skiers and snowboarders. I asked a few of them what products come in handy for days on the mountain, and here’s what they had to say:

Cinch-A-Lot Stretch Strap: Great for attaching gloves that don’t happen to have loops, bundling poles, or holding small items like lip balm or hand sanitizer.

GearLine Organization System: If you’re staying in a hotel or rental unit, this is indispensable for organizing gear and drying out wet clothing.

RunOff Medium Travel Pouch: The perfect size RunOff bag for your paper trails map, so it doesn’t wind up soggy after you end up in the deep stuff. (I always carry a paper map as a backup just in case my phone runs out of battery or I lose signal.)

DoohicKey+ Key Tool: Good to have around for emergency repairs (or… emergency bottle-opening).

INKA Key Chain Pen: Keep this handy as a quick-use pen for signing bar receipts or making notes on your trail map. But the real bonus here is the pressurized cartridge with waterproof ink, allowing you to use it at any altitude, any angle, and in wet conditions.

 

Snowshoe the Trails

Snowshoeing

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

If you live somewhere that has great hiking trails that are now covered in a blanket of snow and ice, you might give snowshoeing a try! You can rent a pair at many equipment shops, but you can also buy yourself a pair at reasonable prices.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get out, connect with nature, and enjoy the winter wonderland. For this activity, you’ll definitely need a backpack full of safety and survival essentials – always be prepared for the worst! Here’s a helpful guide of gear you’ll need to bring along, which includes a first aid kit, headlamp, and knife. Better hook an S-Biner on your pack too, because you never know when that will come in handy. For storing and transporting your snowshoes, wrangle and hang them with a Gear Tie.

No snow in sight? Go on a chilly hike! Bring those essentials, layer up, and hit the trails.

 

Try Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing

If you’ve never had the opportunity to try cross country skis, it can be a fantastic way to spend a bluebird day. Dip your toe in with some rental gear and head to a nordic center, or research some Cross Country spots in your area. Much the same as snowshoeing, you’ll need a pack filled with your essentials so you’re well prepared for any unexpected scenario.

 

Chill Out in an Ice Fishing Shanty

Ice Fishing

If you live in the upper midwest, you may already be familiar with the winter pastime that is ice fishing. Whether you catch a big one, or just spend the day hanging out in the shelter with family, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. While you’re waiting on the fish to bite, you’ll need a beverage. Use a SlapLit LED Drink Wrap to keep your cold drinks cold, your hot drinks hot, and click on the light for some colorful flair. A GearLine will come in handy inside the shelter to hang and organize your equipment and damp clothing. You’ll need some light inside your shanty, so bring along a lantern or two. A DoohicKey FishKey is a perfect multitool for any angler, and can help with tasks from fixing rods to opening bottles. For hauling your shanty to and from your lake of choice, our Dual CamJam Tie Down Systems will be perfect for the job.

 

Get Your Thrills on a Snowmobile

Snowmobiling

Adrenaline junkies will love the thrill of snowmobiling, whether you’re in the mountains or the great plains. Rent a vehicle for a day to give it a try, and if you love it, you can always think about buying one of your own someday. Remember that everything your bring along may get wet! Protect your things in the safety of a RunOff bag or packing cube, and secure it to your ride with a Gear Tie.

 

Give Fat Tire Biking a Go

Fat Tire Snow Biking

If you’re an avid cyclist, you might be getting that sad feeling when the weather turns snowy. With the new fat tire bikes built for snowy conditions, you can turn that frown upside down. Fat tire biking is a fun way to explore off-the-beaten-path trails, and you get a great workout to boot. You can rig a RunOff Bag with a couple of Gear Ties to create a waterproof handlebar bag full of your snacks and essentials. Because daylight is fleeting these days, be sure your fattie bike is equipped with front and rear lights, just in case you get caught out at dusk (or if you’re on dawn patrol).

 

Find Your Perfect Sledding Hill

Snow Tubing

On those magical mornings when you wake up to a blanket of fresh snow, grab a sled or tube and head for the hills! I would advise you to know your sledding location of choice at the very beginning of the season, so you know exactly where to go and won’t waste precious downhill time driving around for a hill. Because we know you’ll want to capture the fun on video, bring a RunOff Waterproof Phone Case. It will keep your device dry, and you can wear the included lanyard around your neck so you don’t lose it in the snow on your way down.

 

What winter activity are you most looking forward to? Report back, and give us a shout if you discover a new Nite Ize hack that helps you along the way.

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, Bike, Fitness, fishing, runoff, gearline

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

5 Ways To Embrace “Fall Back” Time

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Oct 8, 2020 5:14:46 PM

5 Ways To Embrace “Fall Back” TimeVery soon we’ll all be setting our clocks back an hour on a Saturday evening, relishing an excuse to get an extra hour of sleep, yet dreading everything else that comes with the end of Daylight Savings Time. Most of us don’t tend to look forward to shorter days, and have trouble adjusting to the change. It’s amazing how just an hour of time can make that much difference, right? Along with that extra hour of z’s, there might be a few things to actually look forward to when we fall back, as well as several ways to help breeze through the adjustment better than ever.

 

1. Enjoy That Extra Sleep (Responsibly)
Steelie Pedestal Mount

Most Americans are already sleep deprived, so it’s likely you could use a little extra shut eye when you can get it. Although it may sound like a good idea to stay up late the night before while enjoying an adult beverage or two, resist the temptation. Get the most out of that extra hour by not shifting your bedtime schedule too drastically, and for a more restful night, limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Practicing good sleep hygiene is important for a good night’s sleep, and better sleep leads to better health. Check out these tips for better sleep from Healthline.

 

2. Savor the Sunlight
Ways to adjust to fall back

Seasonal depression is real, and it tends to make an appearance as the days get shorter, with less sunshine to soak in. Not only will getting out in the sunlight before and after we fall back help you sleep better, it can also improve your mood. Knowing that it will get dark earlier, plan to get outside in the morning or mid-day. Consider taking a walk, run, or bike ride at lunchtime. Getting out in the sunshine will also help your body absorb vitamin D, and align your circadian rhythm with the solar clock, which will aid in better sleep.

 

3. Brighten Your Nights
Pet lights

Just because it’s dark, doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun outside. With the right accessories, you can still get out for your evening activities. For bike commuters, check out our Radiant Rechargeable Bike Lights and Rechargeable SpokeLits, so you can see and be seen from all sides on your ride home. If you prefer to run after work hours, be sure you’re staying safe and visible. Our Rechargeable SlapLit LED Slap Wrap and TagLit Magnetic Marker are both great for staying visible after dark, and a headlamp will help light your path. Heading out for your nightly dog walk? A Rechargeable NiteDog Collar and Leash will make sure you and your pup are seen by oncoming traffic. Check out all our other ways to illuminate your pup here.

 

4. Winterize Your Attitude
Help adjust to fall back time

It’s time to get cozy! The annual time shift might be a good opportunity to officially change your wardrobe over to winter mode. Find those comfy sweaters at the back of your closet you forgot you owned and bring them back into rotation. A good way to think about the time change is how it symbolizes the start of the colder months and holiday season. While that might not sound exciting to everyone out there, we imagine there is something fun to look forward to for each of us – whether that be plush blankets and a roaring fire, cooking your favorite cold weather meals, decorating for the holidays, or indulging in an occasional pumpkin spice latte. Plus, you can start your movie nights earlier without having to employ the blackout shades.

 

5. Make An Annual Home Checklist
Annual home checklist

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t exciting in nature, but it is a good habit to form. Consider making the end of daylight savings a reminder to perform some annual maintenance around the home. Here are some tasks you might want to include in your yearly rounds:

    • Change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Clean your gutters (or use a service to have them cleaned)
    • If you live in a region that freezes, winterize your sprinkler system if you haven’t already 
    • Change your air filter, and check your furnace and water heater
    • Check and restock your home emergency kit and/or go bag
    • Flip and/or rotate your mattress
    • Reverse ceiling fans for winter energy efficiency

Daylight savings time change

And finally, make sure you set your clocks back! Although most of our devices will set themselves on their own, check your wrist watches, and clocks around the house and turn them back on Saturday evening so you won’t be confused when you wake up refreshed from an extra-long night’s sleep.

Topics: Visibility and Safety, outdoors, LED Pet Products, Run Safety, Home, Pets, LED Products, daylight savings

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