How To Plan A Successful Family Bikepacking Trip

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

How To Plan A Family Bikepacking Trip

By Guest Bloggers Jason and Chelsey Magness

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

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

Chelsey Magness Team BendRacing

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

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

 

1) Go for it

Bikepacking With Kids

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

 

2) Let your kids see your struggle 

Bike packing with kids

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

  

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

Family Bikepacking Trip Tips

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

 

2) Pack light

Family Bikepacking Trip Packing List

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

 

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

Bikepacking With Kids

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

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

 

Jason and Chelsey Magness

About Jason and Chelsey Magness

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

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

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

How To Master Your Next Float Trip

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jul 13, 2021 2:09:35 PM

Master Your Next Float Trip

If you’ve been suffering through a summer heatwave where you live, you’re not alone. There’s no denying that we’re in the midst of the hot summer months, and you're probably in search of activities to beat the heat. A float trip might be just the ticket – or getting on the water however you can, for that matter. Whether you’re planning to go tubing on a creek, paddle boarding at your local reservoir, white water rafting down a river, or kayaking around a lake, we have some tips and gear to make your trip easier, safer, and more fun.

 

Pack The Essentials

Float Trip Packing List

Although your packing list will vary depending on what kind of trip you’re taking (such as half-day tubing vs multi-day rafting and camping), here are some things you’ll absolutely need:

    • Sunscreen
    • Water
    • Snacks
    • Phone (with waterproof case/pouch)
    • ID
    • Swimsuit
    • Towel
    • Change of dry clothes
    • Cheap sunglasses (in case they get lost or fall off)
    • Waterproof shoes
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Paper map and compass (if you won’t have cell service)

 

Keep It Secure

Tying Down Kayak

After you’re all packed up, you’re going to need to transport your floatation device to your aquatic destination. You can secure your tubes (or kayak, canoe, raft, or paddle board for that matter) to your car’s roof rack or truck bed with a Dual CamJam Tie Down to ensure everything stays in place all the way to the waterfront.

If you’re tubing with a partner, you might want to keep them from drifting too far by tethering your tubes together. The KnotBone Adjustable Bungee is a great way to connect multiple inner tubes. Pro Tip: we recommend tethering your own tube to the one carrying the cooler!

S-Biner Marine SlideLock

For securing belongings and gear to your tube, kayak, or board, always have some Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties and S-Biners on hand. Gear Ties come in a variety of sizes, and are a unique and versatile way to hold assorted belongings in place. S-Biners (also available in various sizes) can be used to hook a water bottle, pack, or soft cooler to an anchor point on your float apparatus of choice, or small items to your PFD for example. Be sure to check out the S-Biner Marine SlideLock – it is highly corrosion resistant, and built specifically for aquatic environments.

 

Keep It Dry

RunOff Waterproof Bags Float Trip

No matter how you’re getting out on the water, you’ll need to protect your belongings from getting splashed (or drenched). RunOff Waterproof Bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you are sure to find one (or several) to fit your needs. For tubing, you might just want something to hold your phone, ID, cards and/or cash. The RunOff Waterproof Phone Case offers just that, plus, the touchscreen-friendly windows allow you to use your phone’s front and back cameras while still in the case! The removable lanyard is perfect to keep your device tethered around your neck so your phone doesn’t end up getting swept down a creek.


If you’re planning for a longer journey that requires more gear, clothing, and food, RunOff Waterproof Packing Cubes are ideal. They come in small, medium, and large sizes, and are compressible, allowing you to stuff more clothing into them. Attach them to your rig with some large Gear Ties and you’re ready to go!

 

Keep It Organized

Float Trip Organization GearLine

Staying organized while on and off the water will make your float trip run smoother so you can have more fun.

At the end of your float day, you might be looking for a place to dry out wet towels and swimsuits. The GearLine Organization System is perfect to pack with you on your trip since it takes up very little space in your bag. Just hang it up with its attached Gear Ties, and fasten your wet clothing and other gear onto the S-Biners.

Keeping your essentials grouped into multiple packs and RunOff bags will also be helpful in keeping things organized, so you’re not rooting around in one large bag for that specific item you’re looking for. This is especially helpful if you’re going on a multi-day trip where you might be camping along the river bank. RunOff Medium Travel Pouches are great for storing and protecting snacks, small electronics, maps, or lighting. You can also use a RunOff Toiletry Bag to organize your personal care items.

Float Trip Tips

However you’re planning to get in and around water this summer, we hope these tips will come in handy in keeping everything secure, organized, and protected. Whether you’re just going for a couple of tubing runs on a creek, or a multi-day kayaking trip, these three principles will help make your adventure more of a success. A final important reminder: don’t forget to wear your waterproof sunscreen and re-apply every couple hours!

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, "travel", runoff, waterproof bags, dry bags, gearline, Tie Downs, float trip

Maximizing Adventure Travel In The Utah Desert

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jun 17, 2021 2:24:12 PM
Maximizing Adventure Travel in the Utah Desert
Written and photographed by Sunny Stroeer
 
Imagine a quaint, red rock western town that used to be one of the most isolated spots in the lower 48.  What comes to mind?  You may be thinking Moab or Sedona, but the town I am talking about is further off the beaten path than either of those: it is a small pioneer town in Southern Utah by the name of Kanab.
 
Kanab is located smack between Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a fantastic jumping off point for many of the Colorado Plateau’s incredible national parks; it is also home to me personally, and to the guides of Dreamland Safari Tours - a hardy bunch of most excellent backcountry desert guides with decades of experience in delighting guests by creating access to hard-to-reach locations like the Wave, White Pocket, and more. 

 

Camping at White Pocket in Arizona
 
If you love hiking adventures and the varied geology of Utah, you have most likely heard about the Wave — it is both an iconic destination and incredibly tightly permitted: in any given year, upwards of a quarter million people apply in the hopes of obtaining one of the ~64 available daily permits. White Pocket is the Wave’s lesser known brother formation: it is a geologic and photographic wonderland, just about to burst onto the adventure aficionado scene, and not yet subject to permit regulations.  
 The Wave in Arizona at night
 
At Dreamland Safari Tours, we guide guests to both the Wave and White Pocket, as well as many other incredible locations – and we venture into the backcountry every day of the year. We need our gear to live up to the demands of an extreme environment where temperatures can easily vary by forty or fifty degrees over the course of a 24-hour cycle, and early-evening katabatic winds cascading off the Colorado Plateau create daily opportunities for sandblasted exfoliation. Needless to say: given the challenging conditions of our "office", we expect nothing but maximum performance and durability from our gear.  That’s why we rely on Nite Ize both to light our way during the many remote overnight trips that we host, and to help secure our gear and loads not just en route to a destination but also once at camp. 
 
Radiant Rechargeable Glow Sticks light the path
 
Among our lighting favorites are not just Nite Ize Radiant Headlamps and Lanterns, but particularly also the rechargeable glow sticks that we regularly use as an environmentally friendly way to light the path for our astro photographer guests to find their way back to camp after a night-time shoot. Prior to using Radiant Rechargeable Glow Sticks, we brought single use glow sticks that would make their way to the landfill once used; now, we simply collect our Radiant Glow Sticks at the end of the night, plug them into a USB charger, and they’re ready to go again for the next trip. As an outdoor company and proud member of 1% For The Planet, being environmentally conscious is important to us, and Nite Ize helps us reduce our impact.
 
Gear Ties have thousands of uses
 
In addition to an assortment of rechargeable lighting solutions, we of course also use tried-and-true S-Biners, GearTies and tie downs for every use in the book - from securing loads on the back of our pickup trucks, to hanging water dispensers to mounting easy-access paper towel holders: Nite Ize gear is infinitely versatile and has an almost unlimited number of uses, which is exactly the reason that we at Dreamland Safari Tours love it. By having Nite Ize as integral part of our guides’ gear setup, we get to maximize the time we spend on being fully focused on our guests - thanks to the peace of mind that comes with using awesome gear. 
 
Dreamland Camp at Night

 

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, Field Team, "travel", camping, headlamp

10 Ways to MaximIZE Your Summer

Posted by Cassie Ryan on May 31, 2021 1:00:00 PM

10 Ways to Maximize Your Summer

Summer is here and we’re more excited about it than ever. Considering how limiting our summer activities were last year, we're looking to make up for lost time and make the most out of each and every long day this season. Here are 10 ways you can celebrate summer to the max, plus a piece of gear for each activity that will make the experience easier and/or more fun.

 

1. Take a Trip

Summer Travel Tips

If you’re like many Americans, it may have been a while since your last official vacation. This summer might be a great time to plan one, whether you’re going somewhere familiar to visit family or friends you haven’t seen in a while, or exploring somewhere new. Wherever you’re going, you’re going to need to pack smart. Packing cubes can be a game-changer in the organization department – the RunOff Waterproof Large Packing Cube can fit a weekend’s worth of clothes, and be compressed down so you can zip it up and throw it in your carry-on.

If you’ll be flying to your destination, make sure you follow the TSA liquids rules. The RunOff Waterproof 3-1-1 Pouch is sized to adhere to the rules, is perfect for organizing your toiletries, and is water tight to contain any leaks that might occur at high altitudes.

 

2. Gather ‘Round the Fire Pit

Summer Fire Pit

Whether you’re camping in the woods, heading to a beach bonfire, or simply relaxing in your own backyard, there’s nothing that says (and smells like) summer more than an outdoor fire. For some throwback charm (that just so happens to be delicious too), head to the store before you light the fire pit for some s’more fixings. While you’re there, pick up some of your favorite beverages to enjoy out there as well. Our SlapLit LED Drink Wraps are made for this setting – they keep your drink cold, and light up so you'll be able to find it in the dark. (Plus, they just look cool.)

 

3. Find a Swimming Spot

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

When the dog days of summer get too hot to handle, you might start googling the nearest body of water you can jump into to cool off. Depending on where you live, you might be headed to the beach, the lake, a swimming hole, a creek, or a local pool (each of which sound fantastic when the weather is warm). Be sure to snap some pics of the fun, and keep your phone dry and protected in a RunOff Waterproof Phone Case. Bonus: it also has a pocket inside for cards and cash, so those won’t get wet either.

 

4. Take an Extra-Long Hike

Summer Hiking Tips

More hours of daylight mean more time available for outdoor adventuring. Take advantage of it by either hitting the trails extra early, or you can finish up your hike later before the sun sets. This is the perfect time of year to tackle that summit you’ve been eyeing. One thing you’ll definitely need to bring with you on your hike is sunglasses. Make carrying them easier with the Rugged Optics Case, which clips right onto your pack strap or belt, protects your eyewear from scratches and the elements when not in use, and even has a built-in microfiber cloth for when they need a quick cleaning.

 

5. Go For a Night Ride

Night Biking Tips

Warmer nights call for being outside as much as possible. Why not go for an after-dark joy ride, or bike to your favorite local hangout? Just be sure you stay safe while you’re out there with front, rear, and side bike lights. If you’re riding with friends, impress them by wrapping your bike frame with a Radiant Rechargeable ShineLine.

 

6. Plant a Garden

Start a Vegetable Garden

Planting flowers, herbs, or even your own vegetable garden can be a rewarding spring and summer activity. With all the time you’re spending on your front porch or back patio these days, having a thriving garden can make a big difference in the atmosphere. New to vegetable gardening? Check out our tips for beginners here, and don’t forget to pick up a roll of Gear Tie Foam, which is a cut-to-size, soft, and plant-friendly version of our popular Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie.

 

7. Spend Some Quality Time With Your Dog

Nighttime Dog Toys

Don’t forget – dogs love summer too! It’s always fun to include them in your activities – whether you’re camping out, hitting the lake, visiting your favorite brewery, or embarking on that long hike. Just be sure to keep them cool and shaded, (or if it’s just too hot, they might be happier at home in the A/C). If it’s too warm of a day to be outside with your pup, wait until after dark in the cooler hours of the day, and play some night fetch. They’ll love the Huck ‘N Tuck with GlowStreak Ball at night, and you’ll love that your arm doesn’t get as tired after throwing the ball over and over. 

 

8. Master The Grill

Summer Grilling Tips

Summer is practically synonymous with grilling, and there's nothing like the smell of barbecue in the warm air. This season is the perfect opportunity to perfect your grilling or smoking game and impress your friends and family at your next backyard cookout. When you need a little extra light on those patties, the Radiant 170 Rechargeable Task Light is a handy accessory. You can use the built-in Gear Tie to wrap it around the grill handle, or the magnet on the back to attach it to any metal surface, then aim the beam where needed.

 

9. Take a Road Trip

Road Trip Hacks

Ah, the all-American road trip. With so much to explore around the country, why would you want to fly to just one destination when you can hit several in one trip? Plan a multi-day road trip somewhere and fine-tune your route so you can stop at some fun landmarks. Check out the website roadtrippers.com (they also have an app) where you can plan your journey and discover cool places to visit along the way. Make sure you're not having to fumble with your phone while you follow directions by picking up a car phone mount before you leave. The Steelie Squeeze Windshield Kit is perfect for keeping those maps in view with a strong hold on your device and 360˚ rotation. Additionally, if you happen to be renting your road trip vehicle, the windshield mount can be easily transferred between cars.

 

10. Go Stargazing

Stargazing Tips

Another way to enjoy a balmy evening is finding a great stargazing spot and posting up with a blanket, a beverage, and some snacks. If you live in the city, make a plan for an overnight camping trip where the skies will be much clearer and free from heavy light pollution. Bonus points if you can plan it for when there will be a meteor shower. Although it might seem counterproductive when you’re out there trying to unplug from technology, you might have fun with one of the many stargazing apps that help you pick out constellations, such as Star Walk 2, or Star Chart. If you're walking to your stargazing spot, be sure to bring a headlamp so you can see where you’re going. The Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp is bright and sturdy, and also has red mode so your eyes will stay adjusted to the night sky.

 

We hope these 10 ideas will help get you inspired for all the summer fun that lies ahead. What plans are you most excited for this year? Leave us a comment below, or tag us in your summer photos featuring a Nite Ize product for a chance to win a SurprIZE prize!

Topics: Adventure, Bike, "travel", gardening, runoff, dogs, Surprize

Camping With Your Dog: 5 Things You Need To Know

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on May 12, 2021 10:22:22 AM

Tips For Camping With Your Dog

As a seasoned camping couple plus pupper, I can tell you one thing for sure: There’s so much I wish I knew the first time around. The dreamy Instagram pics of campers out in the backcountry with their four-legged friends only told one side of the story. I’m here to tell the other side—the nitty-gritty details about what you need to know, pack, and prepare to keep your canine camper happy.

 

1. Know Where You're Going

Camping With Dogs

Before you set out, do your research to make sure wherever you're going is dog-friendly. If you're going to a campground, I would also highly recommend making reservations as far in advance as possible. The good spots go quick!

 

2. Know Your Dog

How to Camp With Your Dog

As much as it pains me to say this, not all dogs are built to be happy campers. Consider your dog’s behavior, temperament, and sensitivities before counting them in. Are they an excessive barker? Injured or easily fatigued? Highly reactive? Always cold? High anxiety? Some of these can be a recipe for disaster at a campsite.

My dog, Teddy (that's us in the photo above), was already a big hiking fan prior to our first trip, so we knew he’d enjoy a night outdoors. Plus, he’s a larger dog with great stamina and a love of snow, so we knew he wouldn’t mind cooler temps at night.

 

3. Keep It Safe

Camp Safety With Dogs

Safety is the top priority when it comes to camping pups. Some pointers include: 

 

Check Their Vaccinations and Overall Fitness

Is your dog fully vaccinated and ready to embrace the outdoors? Are they protected from fleas, ticks, and heartworms? Have they been showing any signs of discomfort or pain? Might as well schedule a vet visit before your trip or give them a call to touch base.

 

Check Campground For Leash Requirements

RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash

I already mentioned checking to make sure that dogs are allowed at your campsite, but be sure to find out their leash requirements as well. Some sites allow off-leash at your site, but require you to keep them on-leash when walking the grounds. The RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash was made just for this, and is my go-to during the day for our trips with Ted.


But more than just what the site will allow, what's the right call for your dog? Are they trusted off-leash, or do you have some reservations? And, is the campsite private enough so they won’t stray over to surrounding campers? For their first trip, it’s a good idea to start with a tether at your site, or in a pinch, attach their leash to a chair, table, or tree with a SlideLock Pet S-Biner.

 

Gear Up With Pet Illumination For Nighttime

NiteHowl Rechargeable LED Safety Necklace

Trust me when I say that campfire light isn’t enough to keep your dog seen (and what if you can’t have a campfire at all?). The first few trips, we went without wearable illumination for Teddy, and I would constantly panic check for him in the dark—even if he was sitting next to me on leash. A SpotLit Collar Light is easy to clip on after sunset, but a NiteHowl or NiteDog Rechargeable Collar are my preferred option for my off-leash dog so I can spot him anywhere at the site.

 

Bring A Fido First-Aid Kit

A first aid kit is, of course, an essential item for the human campers in your party, but be sure to pack one for your pup as well. You can purchase a canine-specific pre-made kit (like this one by Adventure Medical Kits), or you can make your own. Check out this guide to learn how to put yours together.

 

Never Leave Your Pup Alone

This is a rule most campgrounds specify, but it is too often disregarded. Do not leave your dog unattended in your campsite! Most importantly, it can be unsafe for the dog, but could also be disruptive to nearby campers. There are too many unknowns and risks, so just don't do it. Plus, they'll be happier being with you anyway!

 

4. Keep It Clean

Camping With Dogs

Reality check: There’s no such thing as a clean camping trip. And when you throw pups into the mix, you better be prepared for dirt galore.

 

Wipe Your Paws

We always keep extra towels in the trunk for our dirty pup, whether he needs a wipe-down post-hike, swim, or camp. Before you let them into your tent or car for the drive home, whip out those towels and wipe down their paws, belly, and any other muddy areas.

 

Stay on potty duty

Pack-A-Poo Bag Dispenser

Common misconception: Camping in the great outdoors means you can leave your dog’s poop around the site. In reality, our domesticated dogs survive on a diet not native to the area, so an abundance of dog waste left behind can disrupt the local ecosystem, introducing new bacteria, airborne particles, and algae. If you’re in a campground with dumpsters, bag their poop throughout the trip and drop it off on your way out using a Pack-A-Poo and waste bags, featuring a roll-up dispenser that clips right onto their leash or collar (or your pack). But if you’re in a remote location with no nearby trash bins, kick it old school and dig a hole to bury the evidence.

 

Check for ticks

Before your settle in to sleep, do a visual check for ticks in their coat. I usually just run my hands through his shorter coat to check, but for fluffy pups, pack a lint roller and run it along their coat to see if any ticks come unstuck. Use a handheld flashlight or lantern to shine a light while you check.

 

Stop the digging in their tracks

Don’t forget to keep your site in order, too—remember this isn’t your backyard. Some dogs have that digging impulse when they see dirt (unfortunately mine), so cut that behavior out as soon as you see it.

 

5. Keep It Comfortable

Camping With Dogs Tips

Now that safety and hygiene are out of the way, it’s time to make them comfortable for a night full of fun.

 

Manage stress with toys

Dog Toys For Camping

Even if your dog was born to adventure, their first camping trip can be stressful (and all of the trips after that). Keep them entertained and distracted with light-up toys for all-night fetching fun, from the Huck ‘N Tuck + GlowStreak Ball to the Flashflight LED Dog Discuit. If they’re aggressive chewers, maybe give them a tough bone to wear ‘em out.

 

Keep them well-fed and hydrated

RadDog Collapsible Bowl

Pack enough food for all of the days you’ll be camping, plus the drive there and home. And more than food, make sure you have plenty of water to keep them hydrated—pack a water jug or a water filtration system if there’s a nearby stream.

I love the RadDog Collapsible Bowls for road trips and camping trips alike because they roll up and clip onto his leash to save space and keep track of his dishes. Don’t forget that dog food, just like human food, needs to be safely stored before bed. Keep their extra food safe in a bear locker, bear bag, or return it to the car if it’s nearby.

  

Cuddle up for a warm night

Camp With Your Dog

My favorite part about camping with my pup? They’re like a built-in space heater! Teddy cuddles between us on trips to stay warm and keep us warm at the same time. Dog sleeping bags are also an option if you’re not a cuddler, or are limited on sleeping space. There are also many travel pet beds you can purchase for camping if your bed from home is too big (or too clean) for the campsite.

 

If this seems overwhelming at first, trust me, it gets easier with time. All of these pro tips have upgraded our trips with Ted, allowing us to camp free of worries and full of fun. I can’t wait to break into another camping season with Teddy. I’d love to hear your favorite tips, memories, and locations for camping with your pup below!

Topics: outdoors, LED Pet Products, Adventure, "travel", Pets, dogs, camping

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: 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

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