Saturday, November 30, 2019

The 2019 Adventure Otaku Holiday Gear List!

Every year I publish a list of holiday gifts for the adventurer in your life.  This year I wanted to do something a little bit different. T I wanted the list to specifically make peoples outdoor adventures better and safer. In general, my mission in life is to get people active in the outdoors. Here is this years list. Here is the accompanying video.

#1 Hydration is key. Most of the time water will suffice. But in the dog days of summer when the temperature is 102 (and the water is 86) and I still have to teach kayaking or SUP, water won't cut it. I switch to NUUN Hydration products. They taste great, they have electrolytes. They replenish what I have lost and keep me going. It isn't always that extreme, sometimes I just need a break from water. Get this variety pack for around $40 or buy them one at a time just about anywhere for $7

#2 I live my life in a wet environment. Over the years I have used every brand of dry bag made, and then one day I turned around and realized all my dry bags were made by one brand. Sea to Summit. Available in sizes from 1 liter to 60 liters, and Ultra-sil - thin to Big River thick (With Lightweight in the middle) these are my bags of choice. From compression sacks for sleeping bags to taper bags for clothes to lightweights for first aid kits and bear bags and small big rivers for deck bags, You can't go wrong. From $14.95

#3 The best bang for your buck headlamp on the market, the Black Diamond Spot 325 - to be fair, there are a lot of good headlamps out there. But dollars for lumens, this is the best deal, and I love the adjustability and waterproofness. You may get tempted by rechargeable headlamps, but the batteries don't last. Just buy yourself some rechargeable triple A batteries and use those. $39.95

#4 I have bought Map and Compass Navigation for over 20 years, and been practicing nav for 30. Use one compass, the Suunto M3 - it has everything you need and nothing you don't. I use it on land, at sea and in the class room. $44.00

#5 I use them for everything. Class notes, lesson plans, and brilliant ideas. The Field Notes books are inexpensive and waterproof (some versions) $12.95 for a pack of three.

#6 Required reading if you work in the outdoors. Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzalez. Who lives, who dies and why. The science of survival. Learn why others died so you can avoid their mistakes. The other books I mentioned in this part of the video are my own, links are in the sidebar, as well as The Spirt of St. Louis, and Endurance. Both great adventure reads. $varied depending on format

#7 Required gear and people don't like spending their money on this, so it makes a great gift. I like these because they are easy to work out of. You can see how I set up first aid kits here. $23.95 and up.

#8 Even more important than a first aid kit is knowing how to use one. Take a WFA course. Reach out to me if you want to take one with me as your instructor. I teach bout 12 of them a year.  $245 to $300.

#9 My new favorite tent. The Passage one. Simple. Easy to set up. Roomy for one. I wish it had two doors but that is true of all one person tents. An amazing kayaking tent and not bad for backpacking.

#10 I don't know why people struggle with this, but I see it all the time. Wear. Base. Layers. It is that simple. Once the temp drops to the mid 40's I am in them full time. It is the foundation for everything else. A lot of people skip this, and it is a simple mistake. Currently I am using the REI lightweight and midweight bottoms and tops, but if you want the best of the best try the smartwool merino's.

Need more inspiration, here is the 2018 List.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Kayak Instructor life: Part 2

A coupe of days ago a friend - who is also a student - wanted to get some more experience in high wind. Fortunately the weather cooperated. This is slightly more dangerous than the normal instruction  I do but it was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Kayak Instructor Life: Skills day

Every wonder what the life of a kayak instructor is like after paddling season? It looks like this. Paddling in bad weather to work on skills. I will paddle as much as I can between now and next season to make sure my skills stay sharp.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Do you know how to fit a backpack?

I am guessing you don't. In the past 13 years I estimate that I have fit 9 to 12 thousand backpacks on people. All kinds of people. New backpackers, experienced backpackers, you name it.

Here is the thing, most people think they know how to wear a backpack. The problem is, they don't. If you have never been fitted for a backpack by a professional then I can almost guarantee you are wearing a backpack too low on your hips. Similarly, if you have never taken a kayaking lesson I can almost guarantee you are paddling wrong. I've written about this before, it is one of my pet peeves. Someone walks into a store, takes a pack off the wall and puts it on. They don't check size on a pack, they don't make any adjustments, they don't put any weight in the pack, and then they proudly proclaim "this feels great!" Well, guess what? Every pack feels great when there is no weight in it. You need to have your torso measured, which is hard to do without a sizing tool, and you need to have weight in the pack to really tell what it is going to feel like.

This was the driving reason behind writing "The Simple Guide to Backpacking." Pack fitting and pack selection are both covered along with a lot of other things.

I work in the outdoor industry as an instructor, and I teach all sorts of things, from backpacking and navigation to kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. I do it because my primary goal is to get people active in the outdoors, safely and comfortably. I see too many people working too hard and not having fun. You need to be having fun. With the the right gear and the right knowledge you can have fun even on bad days, when the weather is bad and the pack is heavy.

The thing that surprises me the most is how hard it is to get people to let you help them. People are so hung up on looking like they "know" what they are doing, they don't ever get the chance to know what they are doing. It gets in the way of having a good experience. If you do anything in the outdoors you should let me help you. You can reach me here, or on Instagram, and my Youtube channel is starting to get some heft in terms of content.

Look me up. Let me help.