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

"Skoolie Living" Travel Days Made Easier With Nite Ize

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jan 8, 2021 11:14:34 AM

Skoolie Living Travel Days Made Easier With Nite Ize

Written and Photographed by Guest Bloggers Chris & Tina Wann of @weliveonabus

When you first move into a tiny home on wheels, there is so much to learn. Figuring out how to secure everything while your home is going down the road is an artform and takes time to perfect. When we first moved into the school bus, it wasn’t uncommon for items to fly across the bus once we took off toward our next destination, but we had a head start on finding great solutions thanks to Nite Ize. We have used Nite Ize products for years and during the downsizing process, we kept every single item that had their logo on it. We didn’t know how we would use all of it, but we knew we would need it. 

When looking for methods of organizing and securing belongings in our skoolie, Nite Ize has so much to offer, both in our home and in the great outdoors. When we recently reached out and shared our love of their brand and amazing products, they sent us a box of gear to replace some of the older products we are using. We’re happy to share all of the ways you can use Nite Ize to make travel day as easy as possible!

We Tie Down Everything with Nite Ize Gear Ties

We use Nite Ize Gear Ties for many different things around the skoolie. Gear Ties are a reusable twist tie found in many colors and sizes. Gear Ties are made from strong metal that is wrapped in a soft rubber shell that is durable and helps to prevent scratching. The rubber shell also provides grip to keep it from sliding. Even though they are made from heavy-duty metal, Gear Ties are easy to use with minimal effort.

The Plant Cart

Gear Tie Uses

It is no secret that plants can be found in abundance inside our skoolie. If we are being honest, they are also one of the most time consuming items to pack up on travel day. They have to be placed in their travel locations with care so the leaves don’t get damaged and one of those travel homes just happens to be on wheels. One of the best uses for Gear Ties is securing our plant cart to the wall in our bedroom. Before we started using Gear Ties, I am almost ashamed to tell you how many times it came loose while driving, bumping the door open and rolling down the hallway. It was such a simple fix, too! Nite Ize Gear Ties to the rescue, and now we no longer have to worry about the plant cart surprising us as it rolls down the hallway.

Cable Management

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties

One of the best uses for Gear Ties is cord organization. We have lots of cords in a small tote and using Gear Ties helps us get the one we need and not all of them at the same time in a giant knot. We have cords for chargers, phones, hot spots, the printer, cameras, and laptops. When it’s time to pack up and travel, we love using these to store the cords. They are available from three inches all the way to up to 64 inches and in multiple colors.

Hoses and Power Cords

Gear Tie Loopable

One new style of Gear Tie we started using is the Gear Tie Loopable. These are a fantastic addition to Gear Tie line up. I love using these for organizing hoses and power cords. One cool feature of using a longer Gear Tie Loopable is that you can make a handle to hold bulky items like 50 feet of water hose. Anyone who has tried to coil up 50 feet of water hose knows that it can be hard to manage, especially in cooler weather. We also love Nite Ize Gear Ties for our extension cords. I love how they help prevent the cords from getting tangled up while we’re on the move.

 

Transporting Our Kayaks

CamJam Tie Down Strap

Our family loves being around the water and we travel with two kayaks on the roof of our Jeep. On travel days, a part of my routine is making sure the kayaks are secured. Thanks to the Nite Ize CamJam Tie Down Straps, I can drive down the road knowing they are secure. Like everything else, these straps are very well made and have the end user in mind. A key feature that I love is the no slip buckle which helps to prevent the buckle from scratching the kayaks when tightened. It helps to protect the vehicle when throwing the strap over the kayak, too. I have had many different brands of straps and this is the first one with this feature.

 

Securing the Basket Shelf

One of the newest additions to the bus is the basket shelf above the driver’s seat. Many people have seen photos of this and ask “how do they not fall while driving?” More people have questioned our decision to place baskets above the driver than anything else we have done. I get it. When you see the photos, it looks like an accident waiting to happen, but we haven’t had to worry about it thanks to Nite Ize.

We tie the baskets in using the Nite Ize CamJam Cord Tightener. Prior to using this, I was using paracord, which works okay, but you have to tie decent knots while cinching the cord down to hold the baskets. The CamJam Cord Tightener eliminates the need for all of the knots because it clips to the hook in the wall. This speeds up the process of securing and unsecuring the baskets. This chore was one of my least favorite because it took extra time and had to be done just right to work. Now, I can secure them super fast and move on to the next task. To help ensure the baskets don’t move, we use Gear Ties on the handles to secure them together.

 

Keeping Doors Closed

S-Biner Dual Carabiner

One of the key features in our bus build is the lockers that hold our toiletries and towels next to the bathroom sink. On our first drive down the road, we heard the banging noise of all six locker doors opening and slamming shut. We stopped at a local hardware store and found the perfect solution – the Nite Ize S-Biner Stainless Steel Dual Carabiner. They are small, light-weight, and the stainless finish looks great on the lockers. A triple win! A lot of times, my solutions to fix problems are more functional than pleasing to the eye. Like many of the Nite Ize products, these carabiners are functional and look great.

 

Organizing Keys and Small Tools with Nite Ize

Nite Ize Key Accessories

As we mentioned in our ebook, Making the Most of 234 Square Feet, we are a huge fan of installing hooks throughout the bus to hold small items, towels, and plants. What we didn’t mention is that every set of keys has a Nite Ize Slidelock S-Biner attached as a key chain. With all the keys for the bus and the Jeep, the locking S-Biner helps me to keep them organized and close at hand. We got into the habit of clipping the keys to a belt loop so we wouldn’t put them down and then forget where we put them. Super handy and a great way to keep your pockets free, too.

 

More Ways We Use Nite Ize

Favorite Nite Ize Products

The Nite Ize logo can be found scattered throughout our bus. Here is a quick look at all of the different products we use:

Travel days can be hectic. When you travel full time and are constantly packing and unpacking, solutions from Nite Ize can make your life easier. Let us know if you find a solution from Nite Ize that we didn’t think of! We would love to hear your ideas!

To learn more about what travel day looks like for our family, check out our Skoolie Travel Day Routines post. To find out where we are today and get the most current updates, follow us on Instagram.

Topics: Gear Ties, "travel", vanlife, Tie Downs

Big Ideas For The Year Ahead: VisualIZE Your 2021 Goals

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Dec 30, 2020 9:50:18 AM

New Year's Resolutions 2021 – Visualize Your Goals

If we’ve learned anything from this heck of a year, it’s that making plans doesn’t always work out, well, as planned. There may have been certain holiday traditions you had to forgo this year, but one that you should still make an effort to uphold is making your New Year’s resolutions for 2021. Even those might look a little different this year after taking time to reflect on all that was 2020. After a year nearly stuck on pause, there’s no time like the present to tackle your goals and focus on self-improvement, one resolution at a time.

Each month of 2021, we will reveal a Big Idea word designed to help you get motivated and make the most out of your year. This month’s Big Idea is VisualIZE – our way to help you dream up your aspirations for the coming year, and rise to meet them. If this year has you feeling a little less inspired to set some exciting goals for the next year, we’re here to help with some suggestions.

 

Get Fit + Don’t Quit

Fitness New Year's Resolutions

Likely the most basic and fundamental resolution is health and fitness related. Perhaps this past year has you thinking about making healthier life choices, or maybe you need to get back into the swing of an exercise routine after spending too much time in comfy pants. Whatever your reason may be, set your sights on a goal that is personally attainable. If you’re new to a fitness routine of any kind, an Ironman triathlon might be a bit too ambitious. Maybe aim for a 10K or half marathon instead this year, and work up from there. 

If you’re training for running or cycling, you might have to spend some early mornings or evening hours in the dark. Some new light-up gear to help you stay seen and safe at night might actually help motivate you to get out there too! Try a SlapLit LED Slap Wrap or a rechargeable TagLit Magnetic Marker to keep yourself seen and safe while you run, and a headlamp to light your path. If you’re getting into cycling, make sure your bike is outfitted with front and rear lights (for both day and night safety), and a rechargeable SpokeLit for side visibility.

Utilizing a fitness tracker or smart watch can be a big help in keeping you motivated and meeting your goals. If you’re currently missing classroom-style workouts, try a virtual one! If joining a membership-based program is out of your price range, there are great workouts you can find for free on YouTube. Even a half hour of yoga three times a week is a simple enough resolution that is fairly easy to keep, but can make a big difference in how you feel.

 

Tackle the To-Do List

Home Project New Year's Resolutions

Do you have a home project you’d like to accomplish but have been putting off? This might be the year to make it happen. Again, make your goals realistic. If you’re looking at a busy year already with work and/or family commitments, now might not be the right time for a complete remodel, but maybe you can start small with a bathroom, or a simple room repaint. Check out this list of 50 DIY projects that you could even complete in a weekend. This could also be a good year to finally plant a vegetable garden. Check out our tips for how to get started on one here

However big or small your aspirations are, get yourself the right gear to tackle the task. Once you’re fully invested, taking the next steps to complete your project will come easier.

 

Clean Space, Clear Mind

Organizing New Year's Resolutions

Do you feel slightly more anxious or stressed when your space is a mess? You’re not alone. Living with clutter can sometimes take a mental toll. Make a plan to organize your home (or even just a part of your home) in 2021. Kick the year off on the right foot by organizing your holiday decorations before storing them away. Buy some plastic tubs or drawers if you don’t already have some, and label them so you know exactly what’s in each. Use Gear Ties to wrangle your strings of lights – you’ll thank yourself next year!

If setting a goal of organizing your entire home is too daunting, maybe resolve to organize your garage, home office, closet, or even just the junk drawer. Just knocking out one of these tasks can help you clear your mind, and feel more accomplished. To get the ball rolling, check out these seven unique products to help organize your life here.

In this technological modern world we live in, we have to deal with all sorts of digital clutter in addition to the physical. Consider making a tech goal for yourself, such as regular hard drive backups, organizing and storing your files, or upping your online password game. If you have older but important files laying around on outdated external hard drives, consider investing in a brand new drive and migrating your files. Nowadays, solid state hard drives are more reliable, durable and have longer life expectancy than the older versions. For the more physical tech clutter, commit to keeping your charging cables tangle-free and fray-free. Preserve your cord ends with CordCollars and wrangle your cables with Gear Tie Cordables.

Does it seem like doing anything on the internet these days has you in a constant state of password hell? Either you fall into the trap of using the same password over and over (not recommended), or you are constantly clicking that “forgot password” button. Make a goal to organize your passwords – you can even consider a password management system. There are many out there, so read some reviews before you commit to one. It might take a day to set everything up, but it will save you time and headaches in the long run.

 

Dream Up a Getaway

Travel New Year's Resolutions

It might be finally safe to travel later on this year (hooray!), so now is a good time to start thinking about where you would like to go. Research has shown that even thinking about an upcoming trip can boost your mood. Give yourself something to look forward to by planning a getaway for when you think you will be safe and comfortable to venture out. You can certainly plan a camping trip now, and the sooner the better. Campgrounds have been booking up faster than ever before, so make your reservations as early as possible. If you’re planning to visit a National Park, you will also need a reservation these days, so don’t put that off either. If you’d prefer to use wheels than wings to travel, check out our 10 tips for planning the perfect road trip.

 

Try Something New

New Hobby New Year's Resolutions

Research has shown that people who regularly learn new things are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Keep your brain synapses firing full throttle by teaching yourself something new in 2021. This could be anything from taking a painting course, learning a new language, or cooking your way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you’ve been meaning to get into journaling for a while, make this your year. If you’ve never held knitting needles in your life, maybe set a goal to learn and craft yourself a piece of clothing by the end of the year (or give some as gifts next holiday season). You could even go big and treat yourself to a Masterclass subscription and learn loads of new skills this year! These virtual classes allow you to learn directly from the experts you trust in a wide variety of categories. For instance, you can learn photography from Annie Leibovitz, cooking from Gordon Ramsay, basketball from Steph Curry, or dog training from Lucky Dog’s Brandon McMillan.

 

Include Rover

New Year's Resolutions For Pets

Speaking of dog training, maybe make a New Year’s resolution that includes your best four-legged friend, too! If you feel like you’ve been slacking in the walk department, shoot for daily walks, which will benefit both of you. It’s easy to blow them off during the winter months when it’s always dark and cold (do we really have to get out?), so help motivate yourself with a NiteDog light-up collar and leash! Not only will this make you visible to oncoming cars or bikes, you’ll be surprised how many compliments you receive for looking so cool. Check out our other ideas for New Year’s resolutions you can share with your dog here!

 

So what do you visualIZE for 2021? Once you’ve landed on a resolution (or maybe a few, if you’re ambitious), take a moment to write it down. You might start a new journal for the new year and put your resolution(s) on the first page, write them on a notecard and stick it to your fridge, or even a sticky note on your computer screen to help remind you throughout the year what you are working toward. And don’t forget to check out our VisualIZE collection of curated products to help you reach your 2021 goals, and check back next month for February’s Big Idea! We’ll be here to help you realIZE your goals all year long.

Topics: Visibility and Safety, Run Safety, "travel", DIY, Home, Fitness, Pets, dogs, Surprize

10 Tips For The Perfect Road Trip

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jul 15, 2020 1:39:01 PM

10 Tips For The Perfect Road Trip

If you’re in need of a change in scenery but airline travel may be out of the question, a good old-fashioned American road trip could be just what you need to vacation responsibly and on a budget. Whether this is your first foray into multi-day road tripping, or you’re a seasoned traveler in need of a refresher, here are some basic tips to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch.

 

1. Check Your Vehicle

Most likely you’ll opt to take your own car (or a friend or family member’s) when you hit the road. Before you roll out, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out and serviced. Make sure you’ve had a fresh oil change and your tires are in good shape.

Another option you might consider is renting a car for the drive. Maybe you need something with a little extra space, or maybe you don’t want to add extra miles to your own car. You could also consider renting a camper van so you don’t have to use hotels or bring your own camping gear.

 

2. Plan Your Route

Steelie Magnetic Phone Mount

After deciding where you’re headed (National Parks make for great destinations), you’ll want to map directions. You might consider taking a scenic route and hitting some points of interest along the way. Check out the site roadtrippers.com to discover fun places to stop and see along the way – all you need to do is enter your start and end points. You can even edit your route accordingly on the site. When you’re ready to hit the road, load it up into your Google Maps.

You’ll also want to keep your phone handy for GPS and music without causing distractions while driving. Steelie magnetic phone mounts are perfect for the job, with several options to fit your needs. My personal favorite is the Steelie Orbiter Dash Kit because the metal plate lays flat on your phone case. If you’re renting a vehicle, you can use the Steelie Vent Kit, which just clips right onto the vent of any car.

 

3. Book Your Accommodations

Road Trip Tips

Whether you’re opting to camp along the way or take advantage of some local stays, planning your accommodations ahead is important. For camping (or van camping/RVing) you’ll have to research where you can stay, and make reservations. (Don’t count on walk-up sites being available, especially in the busy summer months.) If you’re relatively new to camping, we have a great guide to help you get started here.

You can also check vacation rental sites like Airbnb or Vrbo to check for any unique and budget-friendly stays along your way. There are a plethora of hotel deal websites out there these days, but when I don’t have a specific hotel in mind, my go-to is Hotwire. They don’t show you the name of the hotel until after you book – just the area it is located in and the review score – but the deals are worth it if you make sure you book one with great reviews.

 

4. Curate The Ultimate Playlist

No road trip is complete without an epic soundtrack. Take some time before your travels to curate your playlist on iTunes or Spotify. You can also ask your travel buddy (or buddies) to make their own as well so you can take turns and share your favorite songs (although generally speaking in my car, the driver gets to pick the music). You can also download some of your favorite podcasts, or an audio book for the ride to add some variety to your listening.

If you’re using Spotify, keep in mind that cell service could get spotty on the drive, so it’s best to download your playlist directly to your phone to keep the tunes rolling.

 

5. Prepare for the Unexpected

Car Emergency Kit

Although fingers crossed you won’t need it, it’s important to be prepared for things that could go wrong. Make sure to keep a first aid kit in your car (we have a handy guide on making your own here). You should also keep jumper cables, a backup phone battery, blanket, flashlight, knife, and a few other essentials you can read about in our Emergency Car Kit blog here.

I also check that my AAA membership is up to date in case I run into any car trouble.

 

6. Hit the Grocery Store

I always stock up on my favorite Trader Joe’s snacks (and lots of water) before a road trip. I like a balance between healthier snacks like nuts and dried fruit and some indulgences (for me, cheese crackers and chocolate). We also like to pack some beers in a cooler so we have a cold refreshment at the ready when we make it to our destination. (Pro tip: how many times have you arrived at your hotel room equipped with brews only to find there’s no opener? Save yourself a failed party trick and clip an Ahhh… Bottle Opener onto your cooler.) I often prep some PB&Js and stick those in the cooler as well, in case we get hungry while driving through an extended stretch of nothingness.

 

7. Pack It Up Pack It In

Road Trip Tips

Without going into a lengthy list of items to pack (I found a great one here), I do want to talk about how to pack. It seems whenever it’s time to hit the road, I always have a hard time fitting everything in the car (add in a dog and a kiddo or two and it gets even harder). My RunOff Waterproof Packing Cubes are now a must-have when it comes to consolidating my clothes. As a notorious over-packer, these have saved me on numerous occasions. They keep my clothes organized, and I can compress them down to fit inside my suitcase or duffel bag.

Still running slim on car space? If you have a roof rack, you’re in luck. Strap some luggage on top and secure it with a Dual CamJam Tie Down System to be sure it doesn’t become roadkill.

 

8. Bring Your Furry Family Members

Road Trip With Dogs

When I’m traveling by car instead of plane, I try to take my dog along for the ride if possible. If we’re camping, I double check the campground’s website to make sure dogs on leash are allowed. If I’m booking a hotel or Airbnb, I look for places by checking the “pet friendly” filters. A handy site to bookmark if you’re traveling with dogs is bringfido.com. You can put in the city or town you’re visiting and it will give you restaurants, breweries, stores or parks you can visit with your pooch in tow. They also have an app that gives you on-the-spot results based on your location!

If this is our dog’s first road trip or you’re not sure how he or she will do on the ride, check with your vet beforehand and they might prescribe a sedative or something to settle an upset stomach. Make sure the drive is safe for them too, by investing in a dog seatbelt or car seat so they don’t go flying if you have to make an abrupt stop. When it’s time for a bathroom break, a Pack-A-Poo on your leash will make sure you’re ready to clean up the mess. Before you load back up into the car after a pit stop, offer them some water (they need to stay hydrated too). I keep two of the RadDog Collapsible Bowls in my dog’s travel kit – one for water and one for food. They pack down super small so you don’t have to worry about large dog bowls taking up space in the car. Last but not least, clip a SpotLit onto your dog’s collar before you set out so they can be visible after dark for nighttime walks and potty breaks.

 

9. Carry Cash

If you’re anything like me these days, your wallet carries a lot more plastic than paper. It’s always a good idea to have cash on hand while traveling in general, but especially when you’re on unfamiliar roads. Not all highways are free, and there’s a chance you could run into some tolls, so it’s best to arrive prepared. Not to mention that many National Parks and campgrounds accept cash only.

 

10. Document, Document, Document

Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether

Last but not least, make sure you take lots of photos along the way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve regretted not taking enough pictures on a trip, and when I do stumble upon photos from vacations 10-20 years ago, it’s always a welcome reminder. The FlipOut Phone Handle + Stand is great for snapping perfect selfies or scenic shots, and the stand comes in handy for catching up on your latest Netflix binge once you’re ready to relax at your destination. I’m also a big fan of the Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether, which acts like a “leash” for your phone. This helps me carry my phone around on my wrist when my hands are full, but also ensures that I don’t drop it off the side of a cliff while trying to capture the moment.

 

Now that your vehicle is in top shape, your route is planned, the car is packed, the tunes are cued up, and your snacks are in reach, it’s time to hit the open road. My final word of advice? Watch out for speed traps, especially in rural areas. Keep note of speed limit signs because if there’s one thing that will ruin your fancy-free vacation mood, it’s a speeding ticket. What are your road trip tips? Share with the community in the comments section below. Have fun and stay safe out there!

Topics: "travel", Steelie, camping, vanlife

Camping For Newbies: The Beginner’s Guide

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on May 27, 2020 9:58:51 AM

Camping Tips for Beginners

After a few months stuck inside, the great outdoors has never looked more inviting. And with summer appearing before our very eyes, taking a good ole’ fashioned camping trip sounds like just the ticket. But if you’re a camping newbie like I once was, there are a few things you could learn (and use) to make sure you’re not lost in the dark. Keep reading to learn from my camping blunders and make the most of your night under the stars.

 

Step 1: Select your site wisely

Plan you camping trip

Setting off on a spontaneous camping trip is virtually impossible in 2020 – especially if you’re planning to set up camp in a particularly stunning area (ahem, all of Colorado). Basically, if you think you’ve found the perfect camping spot, chances are, other people are thinking the same thing. Save yourself the disappointment of a day-long campground tour around the state scouring for an open spot and plan ahead. After learning this lesson the hard way and wasting a few gallons of gas in the process, I won’t hit the road until we either (1) Have a spot reserved in advance, or (2) Have read enough reviews/forums to know that our first-come, first-serve spot in question isn’t too popular. If you opt for route 2, keep in mind that you’re always taking a gamble and prepare a backup plan. And don’t forget to check weather forecasts and know the route to the closest hospital before you hit the road!

Semi-pro tip: If you’re looking for a true camping experience, don’t bother with a “family” campground chock-full of pools, small sites, and Wi-Fi. Check out some dispersed camping sites for unbelievable views that are easier to come by, but be prepared for zero access to plumbing and a rough ride to get there. But first, check your local and state regulations for dispersed camping policies, and if/where it is allowed.

 

Step 2: Pack accordingly (and then some)

How to pack for camping trip

Once you put that first stake in the ground, there’s no turning back, so make sure you’ve got all your essentials packed tight. If your site is near water or sand, be prepared for everything (and I mean everything) to end up muddy and sandy. Sidestep some of the mess with a few RunOff® Waterproof Bags in tow. I personally love the RunOff® Waterproof Phone Pouch, as well as the Large Packing Cube, to keep my clothes, gear, and phone dry. And if you’re planning to have a wilderness shower (or showers are available on the grounds), the RunOff® Waterproof Toiletry Bag is a must.

On top of staying dry, keeping your things organized is crucial. Bundle up your camping cutlery, tent poles, lighters, bottle openers, and other must-haves with a few Gear Ties. And don’t forget toilet paper, bug spray, firewood, adequate lighting, warm socks, a first-aid kit, and a deck of cards. You’ll thank me later.

Semi-pro tip: Running out of room in your car? Take your larger duffels and gear to the roof, securing with the Dual CamJam® Tie Down System.

 

Step 3: Make the most of your daylight

Camping tips for newbies

If your spot is near water and the sun is out, aim to set up camp earlier in the day to enjoy a dip or two. You can set up a GearLine Organization System to hang your wet clothes, swimsuits or towels out to dry (as well as clip and hang your water bottles and other essentials).

Once you’ve arrived at your dream spot, pitching a tent is usually the biggest struggle. There’s no shame in bringing along a tent manual and brushing up on a tutorial or two before setting off on your trip—but remember, once you’re there, data service is bound to be limited, so don’t expect the internet to help you. Once the sun sets, you’ll surely have some difficulty navigating around your tent. Avoid tripping over your virtually invisible tent line (like I have in the past) with the high-tension, knot-free, and light-reflective Figure 9 Tent Line Kit.

Semi-pro tip: If you’re not up for sleeping on hard ground, buying an air mattress is worth its value and then some. And it may sound obvious, but if you bring an air mattress, don’t forget the air pump and extra batteries too. Again, learn from my mistakes.

 

Step 4: Get your lights ready to shine

SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

On your first night out in the backcountry, you’ll be shocked by how truly pitch-black it gets in the later hours. Protect yourself from a night of frustration and mishaps with plenty of portable illumination. I love the lightweight, hat-friendly Radiant® 170 Rechargeable Clip Light for prepping and cooking our dinner by the fire and when walking around the site. And the SlapLit™ LED Drink Wrap will solve all of your drink mix-ups and spills, while some NiteGems will allow you to easily dig through your cooler and spot your favorite snacks and drinks.

While the pure peace of sitting around a campfire can’t be overstated, that doesn’t you mean you can’t enjoy the rest of your site, too. When you get an itch for entertainment, gather 'round for a game of cards – a BugLit® Rechargeable Micro Lantern is a camp table lighting solution the kids will love. Bring along a Flashflight®  to toss around under the stars for some nighttime fun (bonus points if you snap some color-changing long-exposure shots).

Semi-pro tip: Camping is better with dogs, plain and simple. Keep your furry best friends protected and visible with a NiteDog™ Rechargeable LED Collar or Rechargeable NiteHowl®.

Semi-pro tip 2: While the whole point of camping is to unplug, keeping your phone charged is always advantageous for photos, music, or safety reasons. Pick up the Radiant® 314 Rechargeable Lantern for campsite or in-tent illumination with built-in USB charging.

 

Step 5: Rest easy (and critter-free)

Camping tips for beginners

After a night of making memories (and s’mores), all that’s left to do is hit the hay. Bear in mind, you’re not the only creatures out there. Avoid any encounters with bears, raccoons, and other scavengers by cleaning up your site and stowing away any trash in sealable bear-proof containers. We like to put our trash, cooler, and extra food in the car to be safe, but some opt to hang theirs up in a tree — just make sure to never leave it with you in the tent. Once your site is cleaned up, make sure to put out your fire completely by dousing it with water and spreading out the embers to prevent any reigniting.

Semi-pro tip: You’ll likely wake up colder than you expected, so make sure to wear extra layers and thick socks. My secret weapon to a warm night in the tent is cuddling up to my dog.

 

Stay safe, happy campers!

At this point, congrats! You’ve weathered through your first camping night. You might wake up early with a few backaches, but as they say, "No pain, no gain." Bask in the beauty of pure, natural views with the smell of sweet campfire as you enjoy a fresh breakfast and coffee à la French Press. Enjoy your trip, happy campers!

Note: As the world continues to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, many campgrounds and National Parks may be closed or operating with strict guidelines. Refer to your local resources for the latest updates and camping practices, and stay safe out there!

Topics: outdoors, LED Pet Products, LED Dog Products, Flying Disc, Flashflight, Adventure, "travel", LED Products, runoff, waterproof bags, dry bags, camping, headlamp, slaplit

Plan Your Valentine’s Day Getaway

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Feb 3, 2020 9:28:17 AM

Plan Your Valentine's Day Getaway

The shelves are lined with pink cards, chocolate boxes, and teddy bears holding red hearts when you walk into any drugstore, which can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Fortunately, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, and on a three-day holiday weekend for some. The stars might be aligning for a quick weekend getaway with your Valentine’s date – whether they be a significant other, friend, family member, pet, or yourself (flying solo is fun too)! Here are some ideas to kickstart your inspiration, and some tips that might be a help along the way.

 

Where are you headed?

Valentine's Day Getaway

You might be already a step ahead of us and have already booked something. But if you’re more of a spontaneous person, you might consider somewhere driving distance if flights are already too pricey and hard to find. Look for cool places to visit within a few-hour radius around you ­– maybe there’s somewhere you’ve been thinking of visiting but haven’t had a chance yet. This might be the perfect time to book it! Browse some hotel or vacation booking sites and see what you find. If you live in a warmer climate, you could even consider camping or renting a camper van.

 

How are you getting there?

Already have plane tickets? Brilliant! Hitting the road? Fantastic. We have tips for both.

To help make packing easier, our RunOff Waterproof Bags are a great solution. For flying, the 3-1-1 Bag is a big help for consolidating your liquids for TSA. Plus, because the bag is waterproof, you can rest assured your shampoo won’t leak all over your date night attire if it bursts open. Because this is likely a short trip, you’ll probably want to opt for carry-on luggage only. The Medium and Large packing cubes are compressible, so you can fit more clothes into smaller spaces.

RunOff Waterproof Bags

 

For the road trip set, you’ll want a solution to keep your phone handy for GPS and music without having to mess with it in your hands while driving. Check out our Steelie mobile phone mounts to help you out. Don’t forget to make a playlist!

Steelie Orbiter Dash Kit

 

Pics or it didn’t happen

Valentines-FlipOut

Don’t fall victim to the feeling of coming home from an amazing vacation that you forgot to document with plenty of photos. Thankfully, we all carry cameras in our pockets these days, so be sure to use them. Snap some cute selfies with the help of a trusty FlipOut Handle for your phone, or keep it securely on your person with the Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether.

 

Light up your “nite”

If you’re headed somewhere with a jacuzzi or soaking tub, pack some Disc-O Select NiteGems for some flashy fun. They’re waterproof AND they float!

NiteGems

Bringing along your favorite beverage? Keep it cool and colorful with a SlapLit Drink Wrap. You wouldn’t want to lose sight of your drink in the dark, would you?

SlapLit-HotTub

Cross your fingers for a clear night – stargazing is a thoroughly under-appreciated activity. Better pack your headlamps so you can find a good spot to take in the show.

 

Remember, your dog is always your #1 valentine

Valentines Day gifts for dogs

Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other or not, your pet should be a part of the fun too. Check out some gift ideas for your dog here! If your furry friend is joining you on your vacation, a NiteHowl or SpotLit Collar Light is a great way to keep track of them during evening activities or potty breaks.

Are you planning a getaway of your own? Comment with your own tips or suggestions!

Topics: "travel", Pets, LED Products, runoff, waterproof bags, Steelie, Holidays, headlamp

Travel Tips: Take the Headache Out of Holiday Travels

Posted by Katie S on Nov 19, 2019 1:32:18 PM

Take the headache out of holiday travel

Let’s be honest, the glamour of air travel has long faded and flying these days is mostly a logistical slog – dragging lots of bags around and waiting in line after line after line. But hey, then you get to sit in an overly small seat that makes you question if your lunch choice was a bad decision, all the while breathing in recycled air ripe with the aroma of your fellow passengers. Add in a couple kids and the most crowded airport days of the year, and you’ve literally created many people’s worst nightmare.  It’s not exactly a relaxing send-off into a holly jolly holiday, but more a necessary evil. Because it’s unavoidable for many of you, we’d like to at least help make it a little easier and more enjoyable for you this holiday season. I’d like to think you could also title this blog post “How To NOT Lose or Ruin Anything While Traveling” – it’s all about those little victories.

 

1. Pack Smarter

RunOff Waterproof Packing Cubes

Are you headed somewhere warm and sandy? Somewhere cold and snowy? Whatever the elements, you’ll want an easy way to keep your electronics, clothes, and gear protected and dry. The innovative RunOff Waterproof Bags do just that, while also helping to keep your luggage organized. While the larger packing cubes and smaller wallet and pouch protect your stuff from external elements, the RunOff Toiletry Bag will ensure that any exploded bottles inside stay contained. Another added bonus is that being air-tight, the RunOff Bags can be used to compress your clothes so you’re not only packing smarter, but also packing smaller.

 

2.  Secure Everything

Traveling With Kids

There isn’t much that feels worse than realizing you’ve left something important in security or on the plane. Your favorite water bottle rolled out of your bag. Your phone slipped out of a pocket. One of the kids dropped their favorite lovey without you noticing: game over. The good news is that with travel accessories like Gear Ties and S-Biners, you can essentially create a handle for just about anything and have a way to clip or strap it to you, to a bag, or to a stroller. For your phone, use a Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether to give you a convenient attachment system and prevent drops, loss and theft.

 

3. Gear Ties, Gear Ties, & More Gear Ties

Gear Ties and S-Biners For Travel

If you are an over-packer, or if you’re traveling with kids and all the car seats, Pack N Plays, bags, and bottles that come along with them, and especially if you are one of those saint-like people traveling with small children by yourself, Gear Ties will be your saving grace. Use Gear Ties to secure smaller bags on top of your bigger ones, use them to strap unwieldy car seats on top of wheelie bags to get them to bag drop, use them to strap toys to kid bags. Heck, use them to strap kids together – just kidding! …sort of.

 

4. Maximize Your Electronics

Steelie Pedestal Mount

One of the best parts of flying these days is getting to watch good movies to pass the time. (Unless of course, you’re a parent of small children, then there is no best part. At most you might get to watch the latest animated film that you’ve already seen a thousand times while your toddler splashes milk onto nearby passengers.) If you’re lucky though, you’ll be on a fancy plane with built in screens and easy viewing. But let’s be honest, most of us won’t be that lucky and we’ll be craning our necks and holding our phones at funny angles trying to get comfortable watching them for hours on end. Enter the Steelie Pedestal. Using Steelie magnetic mounting technology, this pedestal securely holds your phone for you all flight long. And, with the magnet on the back of your phone, you can then conveniently also use the Steelie Bar Mount on your stroller, and the Steelie Vent Mount on your rental car for easy hands-free use on the go.

 

5. Organize Your Electronics

CurvyMan Cord Supervisor and Gear Ties

As wireless charging and Bluetooth technologies are evolving, we may not be far from a cordless existence, but at the moment we all travel with whole mess of them. But don’t worry, there’s an answer for that too and I bet you can guess it – more Gear Ties! Between Gear Ties and our Curvyman Cord Supervisor, we can help you keep those unruly cords and headphones neat and organized on the go.

Topics: "travel", Holidays

INVENTOR-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS SINCE ’89

Over the past 30 years, Nite Ize has grown from a cabin-based startup to distributing 500+ products worldwide. We pride ourselves in being fun and functional, trusted and innovative, and obsessively dedicated to making products that are not only guaranteed for life, but guaranteed to improve your life.

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts