Amanda Redden

Guide to Laguna Beach

The famous tourist location Laguna Beach can be a tough place to navigate. Especially when you’re a local and you’re trying to escape the tourist traffic on streets and sidewalks. Don’t even attempt to go to Main Beach for the day. To find parking is one thing, but to find relaxing spot on the beach is another. This area is one of the most popular locations in all of Laguna, for good reason of course. Main Street Beach is right across from popular shops, restaurants, gelato places, art galleries, etc. The beach also has basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a cute mini boardwalk…tourist heaven! I suggest heading to some of the other beaches in Laguna to get in a relaxing beach day, (mostly) tourist free.

  1. Oak Street Beach

This beach is easy to access and you don’t have to walk down tons of stairs or a steep hill! It’s right off PCH next to where Banzai Bowls and Active Culture are located. This beach is small, but I’ve never had an issue getting a good spot.

  1. Victoria Beach

Off of Nyes Place you’ll find Victoria Beach. Yes, you have to park on a hill, but it isn’t too steep and it’s FREE! You’ll usually never see little kids at this Laguna spot either, which is a plus if you’re trying to relax without kiddy screams! This spot also has a blowhole that you can jump in if tides are high enough.

  1. West Street Beach

You can park along PCH near the West Street intersection and head down to this beach. West is a wide, sandy cove that has volleyball courts perfect to practice your beach volleyball skills! Near the north end, you’ll find unique rock formations when the tide is low.

  1. Table Rock Beach

This hidden beach can be tough to get to, since it’s tucked away and hard to find from the highway. Your best bet is to get there early to park along PCH and walk down to the entrance. Table Rock has secret pools that you might’ve seen before. When the tide is working in your favor, you can swim around in these hidden pools. An experience unique to SoCal’s Laguna Beach!

  1. Thousand Steps Beach

This beach is a tad more popular than the ones I’ve talked about so far. Famously recognized for its name, Thousand Steps Beach includes a killer workout for the walk back up. 1,000 steps down is easy, but the climb back up will leave your legs sore for days. It’s worth it though for the beautiful, wide beach in Laguna. You’re surrounded by beautiful mansions too which are fun to fantasize about.

  1. Thalia Street Beach

The beach on Thalia Street is right next to Oak Street, so you can access either beach from either entrance. I love the waves at this Laguna spot (usually they are bigger than some other beach spots). There’s also a unique wall at Thalia Beach giving its own cool feature. This is the perfect beach to lounge out and watch the surfers and skimboarders do their thing!

  1. Treasure Island

For easiest access to this beach, head over to the Montage Resort and walk down the stairs or ramp. This beach has it all. A park, tide pools, and a cool rock arch. If you park on Wesley Drive off of PCH, you can get free parking too. A great bonus!

  1. Wood’s Cove

If you’re looking to get a nice tan or explore some tide pools, then head to Wood’s Cove. This is a small little cove in Laguna Beach that makes for a great, private spot. There are lots of rocks here though, so if you’re looking to go swimming, you may want to head to a larger beach.

10 Ways to Help Take Care of Our Environment

There are many ways to do your part in taking care of our Earth. These 10 simple tips are a great place to start. By adopting even a few of these suggested changes you can have a big effect on reducing your environmental footprint. And don’t forget that the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) are always there to guide you in your quest for sustainable living!

  1. Use Reusable bags

Since California has banned plastic bags, it’s been tough to remember to bring my own to the store. The newly famous cashier line, “Do you want to pay 10¢ for a bag?” always guilt trips me into saying no. Then I end up struggling out of the store with a handful of items. If this sounds like you, then go put a stack of reusable bags in your car and reduce the number of single use plastic bags you generate!

  1. Say NO to Straws

Straws are one of many single-use plastics that contribute to our waste. In the U.S. alone, roughly 500 million straws are used a day and most don’t get recycled. If a server sets a straw on your table, simply say “no thanks.” I promise your drink will still taste the same!

  1. Switch to Glass Containers

When storing food in your kitchen or packing lunches to-go, use glass containers rather than plastic Ziploc bags. Investing in high quality food storage containers will help your food last longer, taste better, and save you money!

  1. Buy in Bulk

Whether you shop at your local market or Costco, there are plenty of opportunities to buy in bulk. This saves you money and decreases the amount of food packaging waste you generate. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable containers when filling up at the bulk bins!

  1. Use Reusable Water Bottles

Recently, there has been much hype over the use of reusable water bottles. It’s pretty obvious why (at least I think so). A reusable bottle means cold, refreshing water anywhere: beach, gym, airplane, work, couch…the list goes on. They’re free to fill up and fun to personalize with crazy stickers!

  1. Avoid Microbead Products

The tiny little plastic microbeads in face and body washes don’t filter through filtration systems. Those plastic beads end up in our oceans and are mistaken for food. If you use these products, you should look for new alternatives. Congress banned microbeads and the deadline for stopping production was July 1, 2017, so you’re going to need to find new products anyways!

  1. Cancel Mail Subscriptions

If you end up throwing away half of your mail without even opening it first, go ahead and cancel that subscription. If you don’t want to cancel it, then make it an online subscription through email.

  1. Reusable Coffee Filter

Regular coffee makers and Keurigs both have reusable coffee filters. They are easy to use and easy to wash, so give it a shot! Don’t forget to use a reusable coffee cup when taking your own coffee on the go.

  1. Avoid Traditional Wrapping Paper

Whether it’s Christmas or a birthday, there are many alternatives to traditional gift wrap. You can reuse materials such as newspaper, cloth, or old gift bags. The options are limitless if you use a little bit of creativity and imagination!

  1. Share this with a Friend!

It is up to every one of us to pass on the knowledge we learn. By sharing this article with a friend, a domino effect will continue to create positive change.

Outdoor Tech Inspired Dorm Room

Do you have a student going off to college? Are you the student going off to college? If you answered yes to either of these questions, read along to find out some tips for a rad dorm room. Living in a shoe-box for a school year doesn’t sound too appealing, but there are a few ways to make the space feel more like home. The secret key to a comfortable living space is to personalize your dorm. ODT products will get you one step closer to a personal, rad, and tech inspired living space that will have your new friends wishing they invested in ODT.

Let’s look at ODT products your dorm room needs:

  1. Turtle Shell 3.0 – $99.95

At some point in college, it’s going to be your turn to host the pregame. The Turtle Shell 3.0 makes this easy and everyone will love coming to your room before the party. It’s not too big of a speaker, making it the perfect sized center piece for a quick game of beer pong. You won’t have to worry about this speaker getting ruined either if an accidental spill happens! Don’t blast the music too loud though, the last thing you want is an RA knocking on your door.

  1. Buckshot Pro – $79.95

This little speaker is a great addition to your room. Its high quality sound makes it easy to have music playing while friends are hanging out. The built-in flashlight will come in handy for those times you drop something behind your bed or lose something in your closet. You can easily take the Buckshot Pro for a walk around campus if you want to be that cool kid playing music while walking to class. Definitely a power move.

  1. Tags 2.0 – $39.95

At an affordable price, the Tags 2.0 make the perfect college earbuds. Whether you’re watching Netflix or doing homework, these earbuds make it easy to privately listen to music without bothering your roommate. You can also throw them in your bag or purse and you won’t have to worry about them getting tangled because of the magnetic ends that clip together!

  1. Los Cabos – $59.95

If you’re more of a headphone type of person, get the Los Cabos for your dorm living. This rugged piece of technology is tough to break and sweat/splash resistant, so no need to worry about accidentally ruining them. Put them on and turn up the volume to tune-out those unwanted visitors in your room. Study time? Block out surrounding noise to focus in on getting good grades. Lounging out on the campus quad? Bring your Los Cabos and relax to some quality tunes. They’re also good for your flights back home!

  1. Kodiak Power Series – $24.95 – $79.95

Portable chargers are necessary for all college students. Whether you’re out and about on a Friday night, enjoying a football game at your stadium, or studying hard in the library, a portable charger will come in handy. The last thing you want is to get separated from your friends with a dead phone, or for your devices to run out of battery while you’re in the study zone. Many dorm rooms don’t have outlets near the head of your bed, so it can be hard to charge your phone overnight. With a Kodiak Power Bank, all battery problems are solved!

  1. Calamari 2.0 – $24.95

Do you ever feel like your pile of tangled chords represents your mess of a life? If you get the Calamari 2.0 your life will be a whole lot better, just watch. The Calamari is the greatest 3-in-1 USB charging/data transfer cable and it’ll help step up your device game. As a college student, I know you have chords coming from every direction. Do yourself a favor and get the Calamari. It’s worth it.

  1. Apparel – $22.00 – $56.00

To top off your ODT dorm inspired room, get some apparel to represent! If you go to school where winters are cold, a beanie or sweatshirt will keep you warm. Nothings cooler than wearing a Yowie, that’s something I know for certain.

Outdoor Tech and Mossy Oak Collaboration Debut at Outdoor Retailer

Outdoor Tech and Mossy Oak team up to debut an exclusive collection of rugged audio and power products at Outdoor Retailer.

Laguna Hills, CA (July 26, 2017) – Outdoor Tech®, the maker of the iconic Turtle Shell speakers and an assortment of rugged audio and power products, launches a breakout camo edition to expand their offering of rugged audio and power products. Mossy Oak’s classic camo pattern brings a unique element to Outdoor Tech’s products specifically created for use in various outdoor activities. A discrete design allows Outdoor Tech’s rugged technology to be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. The collaboration with Mossy Oak enhances the esthetic functionality and appeal of Outdoor Tech’s high quality rugged products.

The collaboration between Outdoor Tech® and Mossy Oak provides a larger audience with a new breakout camo edition of Outdoor Tech’s most popular products. The power-packed Buckshot Pro, rugged Turtle Shell, and portable Kodiak Power Line are a few of the products that will be available in camo print. The products are not only ideal for the outdoor, camping and hook and bullet retail channels, but also the lifestyle channel with its premium Mossy Oak graphics and trendy camo appearance.

“Outdoor Tech is making the products outdoors enthusiasts want for their ‘unplugged’ lifestyle,” said Chris Paradise, Chief Sales Officer of Mossy Oak. “Adding Mossy Oak to this incredible product line reaches the hunting consumer and adds a rugged touch to high-tech audio and power products.”

In addition to launching Mossy camo in Outdoor Tech’s most popular existing products, Outdoor Tech® is also unveiling a brand-new Kodiak Power Station 100 & 200. This innovative product incorporates a standard 110V U.S. outlet, 12V car outlet and two USB ports designed to bring long-lasted rugged power to the great outdoors. Outdoor Tech® will also offer a rugged Solar Panel to be used in conjunction with the Kodiak Power Stations, or to recharge any other mobile device. These new products will make their anticipated debut at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City, Utah. Production is in full force, so the highly anticipated products will be ready to hit the retail shelves just before the busy holiday season in Q4.

“I’m very excited to partner with a premium brand who has the same passion and obsession for the outdoors as we do. Mossy Oak is the leader in camouflage prints and this new collection of products fits any outdoor lifestyle.” – Charlie Gugliuzza, CEO at Outdoor Tech

Don’t miss your chance to experience these brand-new products at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow this year. Head on over to booth #19037 and keep an eye out for the camouflage edition of stuffyouprobablywant! If you can’t make it to Outdoor Retailer, check out the Outdoor Tech + Mossy Oak catalog here.


Life on the East Coast vs. West Coast

Living in California, I’m sure you’ve seen everyone with their Bluetooth headphones and heard the subtle brag “west coast is the best coast!”. People who stand behind this common phrase often haven’t even been to the east coast. Well, I live on both coasts, so I’ll get to the bottom of this debate. I’ve lived in Orange County all 19 years of my life, but I attend Fordham University in New York City. I still have a lot to learn about the Big Apple, but going to college in this fast-pace environment made me learn a lot in a short amount of time. If there’s one thing I’d like to emphasize, it’s that OC and NYC are COMPLETELY different. Take a look at these nine categories I’ve decided to rate from each coast, and we’ll find out if East or West comes out on top.

  1. Weather – East Coast: 4 / West Coast: 10

The two coasts obviously have VERY different weather patterns. When I first told people I was going to New York for school, their initial reaction was “Wow! Good luck with that winter.” They weren’t wrong either. Cold rain, inches of snow, and average temperatures of 30°F don’t compare to a SoCal winter! Not to mention, New York summers are filled with hot heat and high humidity.

Winter in Central Park. It may be cold, but it sure is pretty!

  1. Food – East Coast: 9 / West Coast: 8

The most important category: FOOD! California wins for best Mexican food hands down. But you already knew that. New York has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever tasted, thanks to Little Italy. Other than that, the coasts are pretty equal when it comes to creative, tasty food spots. However, NYC’s East Village is home to uniquely individual food spots that satisfy every and any craving. West Coast is more reliable if you’re searching for a typical chain restaurant.

  1. Views – East Coast: 8 / West Coast: 8

This category is a tough one. If you head to the top of the Empire State Building, you’ll catch the most spectacular view of the NYC Skyline. It’s truly a view that you can’t get anywhere else. What the East Coast doesn’t have, however, is a West Coast sunset. Watching the sunset on the beach is a casual activity here in Southern California that you definitely can’t do in New York. But which is better…NYC Skyline or California Sunset?

View from the top of the Empire State Building.

Laguna Beach, California – December 2016.

  1. People – East Coast: 6 / West Coast: 8

One time I went with my roommate to get her nose pierced at a famous tattoo shop. After talking with the tattoo artist for a few minutes, he asked, “Where you from? You’re way too nice to be from New York.” So yes, the typical stereotype of a New Yorker is (mostly) true. New Yorkers are always in a rush (thanks to Subway System delays), so don’t take anything personal. City streets are filled with people that are trying to sell you tickets or grab your attention, so we unintentionally begin to brush people off. After living in New York for only a year, I’ve noticed personal changes. I walk way faster, I’ve become more opinionated, and yes, I sometimes forget to say thanks when a stranger holds the door open for me…forgive me! California’s laidback lifestyle offers more time for people to say thanks, have a casual conversation with a neighbor, and smile at every stranger who walks by.

  1. Fashion – East Coast: 9 / West Coast: 7

Fashion plays a HUGE role in a NYC lifestyle. After all, it is home to New York Fashion Week. City life promotes stylish outfits, no matter where you’re headed. Even if you’re simply taking a stroll through Central Park, you’ll notice mostly everyone has their outfits together. In SoCal, people tend to run errands in workout clothes, go to work in workout clothes, and sit around at home in workout clothes. I’m not complaining though, comfort is key!

  1. Entertainment – East Coast: 10 / West Coast: 6

Not going to lie, Southern California can get boring. Yeah, we have the beach and all, but the beach gets repetitive. SoCal doesn’t compare to the “City that Never Sleeps.” When I’m in New York, I see something new every day. Even the subway rides are filled with entertainment (shout out to the street performers). NYC has free comedy shows, free concerts, museums, pop-up shops, and much MUCH more on any day of the week.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). One of many famous museums in NYC.

  1. Transportation – East Coast: 8 / West Coast: 5

Southern California and New York City are both known for having the WORST traffic. Unless you’re an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi driver in NYC, you’re better off walking or using the subway system. The MTA New York Subway is seriously the best transportation system. Yes, it gets crowded and the subway carts aren’t the cleanest, but you get places fast. For $2.75, you can go anywhere in the five boroughs, which is cheap considering you’d be paying for gas money anyways if you were driving a car.

D-Train Subway Line. Uptown & The Bronx

  1. Expenses – East Coast: 4 / West Coast: 6

There’s nothing cheap about living in New York or California. Good luck getting the penthouse suit with floor to ceiling windows that overlooks NYC. The expense of winter coats and sweaters adds up too…I spent over $1,000 on coats for last winter alone. Restaurants, grocery shopping, gas, movies, concerts, and pretty much any other activity are pricy on both coasts. When a free show or event comes around, don’t pass it up!

  1. Lifestyle – East Coast: 7 / West Coast: 8

The lifestyles on the two coasts are completely different. NYC is a fast-pace environment that motivates you to keep moving. If I sit around and watch Netflix for a day in New York, I honestly feel bad about it because I feel like it’s a day wasted. At home in California, I feel no shame lying in bed to binge watch my favorite TV show. This category is totally based on opinion, and I like the easy-going vibes that surround the West Coast.

Alright so which coast comes out on top? East Coast (NYC) or West Coast (SoCal)?

Totals – East Coast: 65 / West Coast: 66

Looks like the West Coast wins by one point!! I expected this to turn out pretty even, since I honestly don’t know which coast I like better. The lifestyles are too different to compare, and it really just depends on your personality. I love living in NYC, and I think it’s a great place to explore during my 20s. When it’s time to settle down, California will be a better fit. Even though the city life is great, Orange County will always be my home!

Snowboarding in July?!?

This past weekend I took a trip up to Mammoth Mountain. I usually go to Mammoth twice during winter, but never have I been during the summer months. This may be a bold statement, but it was quite possibly the best Mammoth trip I’ve ever had. Snowboarding in the middle of July?!? Not many people can say they’ve done that, especially in California! Let’s look at some facts. The ’10- ’11 season reached 668 inches of snow, making that the greatest snowfall record. In 1995, the season ended on August 13, making that the longest season in Mammoth history. This season, Mammoth got 618 inches of snow and the predicted closing date is August 6th. These specifics make the ’16- ’17 ski season the second longest season in Mammoth history, and I’m happy to say I was part of it!

Snowboarding in July is HOT. Imagine 78°F and snow pants. A combination that really doesn’t sound appealing. Some skiers and boarders chose to go with bathing suits. I’m talking full on speedo and string bikini…really quite the look for some people. My favorite outfit though had to be the Elvis Presley I saw skiing down from the top. Everyone on the slopes was in such a happy mood. The sun was shining, it was middle of summer, and we were surrounded by people who shared the same love for skiing/snowboarding. What more could anyone ask for!The snow conditions were probably what you’d expect for middle of July. The runs were slushy and there were patches of dirt in places, but I’d take slush over ice any day. The chairlifts open were the Gondola, Face Lift Express, and Chair 23. This left us with a few runs to do including Upper Road Runner, Cornice Bowl, and Saddle Bowl. The options were limited, but then again, it was middle of July so who’s complaining?The slopes were only open from 7:30am – 12pm, so in the afternoon I got to explore the area. I’ve never checked out the lakes before, and I figured this was a great chance to figure out why it’s called Mammoth Lakes. My friends and I headed to Lake Mary and rented a canoe for the afternoon. I highly recommend this if you’re in town for summer! The view was absolutely breathtaking and the water was so refreshing. We jumped into the 45° lake, which was for sure a shock, but a great experience. Snowboarding in the morning and canoeing in the afternoon was the move.My Mammoth trip this past weekend was one to remember. Of course snow conditions in the summer can’t compare to winter, but the experience in itself was one that may not happen again for years. Are you ready for the ’17 – ’18 ski season? I know I am.

Agenda Trade Show 2017 – Long Beach

This year’s Agenda tradeshow was one for the books. It was a weekend full of rugged technology, great food, and festival fun. People took the Agenda Festival to heart and really showed their style through eccentric clothing options. I think about 3 new trends started this past weekend. One of which included parachute pants and Timberlands (too bad I didn’t sneak any pics). Coachella Weekend 3 or Agenda Festival? Not sure, but the festival was a great end to the tradeshow. I’m still bitter I missed A$AP Rocky’s guest appearance during Tyler The Creator’s performance. Overall, Agenda 2017 was a success and Outdoor Tech’s booth was a hit. Check out these pics!

Rugged everything.

CEO Charlie Gugliuzza representing ODT!

I want what they have. Great music, awesome headphones.

Cactus + Mossy Oak = A Winning Look.

Chips built for listening.

I spy a pair of Tags 2.0

We hope you made your way over to Outdoor Tech’s booth, but if not, these pics capture our booth’s cool vibes. Can’t wait to see what Agenda has in store for Outdoor Tech in the future!

Top 6 Trails to Hike in Southern California

  1. Hollywood Sign – Griffith Park, Los Angeles

One of the most talked about trails in Southern California is the hike to the Hollywood Sign. There are four main trails you can take once you get to Griffith Park. Brush Canyon Trail and Hollyridge Trail both end up behind the Hollywood sign, leaving you with a breathtaking view of the city. Burbank Peak Trail is the shortest trek at 3 miles round-trip, but it’s one of the more challenging hikes! If you want a head on view of the Hollywood Sign, take the Innsdale Drive path.

  1. Torrey Pines – State Reserve, La Jolla

This hike is a shorter trek at 4 miles round trip, giving you a beautiful view of California’s coastal scenery. Razor Point and Yucca Point are two overlook spots on this hike that peer out into the ocean. It’s a sight to see, that’s for sure!

  1. Car Wreck Trail – Laguna Beach/Aliso Viejo

You can get to this trail from Laguna Beach or Aliso Viejo, it just depends if you’re looking for a challenge. The trail from Laguna is roughly 4 miles round-trip, but it’s steep. The trail from Aliso is about 7 miles round-trip, but it’s much flatter. Either way, you’ll end up at the historic Car Wreck. The paths will reveal remnants from a car accident that happened decades ago.

  1. Potato Chip Rock – Mt. Woodson Trail, San Diego

I’m sure you’ve seen those crazy pictures of people on a thin slice of rock that appears to be on the verge of breaking. This recognized feature is known as Potato Chip Rock. The hike to reach the rock is about 8 miles round trip, and it winds around Lake Poway before reaching the incline to the summit. You’ve got to check this trail out to snap some rad pics!

  1. Top of the World – Laguna Beach

If you’re looking for a beautiful view of Laguna Beach, then head to Top of the World. This hike can be tough, but it is well worth the spectacular view of the California Coast. (Hint: For those of you that want to skip the hike, you can just drive to the outlook point.)

  1. Whiting Ranch – Trabuco Canyon

Head over to the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. This Orange County Park has over 20 trail options, but I recommend taking Red Rock Canyon. This trail is considered easy and any beginner can tackle it! It’s a total of 4.2 miles and has a view of Portola Hills.

Of course, you will be taking a lot of photos so you might want to make sure you have a power bank just in case.

On-Shore Review of the Minnows, Makos, and Orcas 2.0

Recently, there have been a few too many shark sightings in Southern California Oceans. I’m not sure about you, but the Shark Advisory signs interrupt my summer fun. “Enter at your own risk” is not a summer motto I enjoy living by, so let’s focus on the Minnows, Makos, & Orcas 2.0 that thrive on-shore.

  1. Minnows – $19.95

Minnows are the ideal pair of minimalist earbuds that deliver high quality sound at an affordable price. They are perfect if you’re trying to subtly listen to music in the office, jam out during a long car ride, or settle somewhere in between. The rigid, durable, and lightweight Minnows will boost your music listening without breaking your bank account.

  1. Makos – $29.95

When I hear Mako, I think Shark!! Intimidating, right? Makos earbuds provide the same intimidating factor in support of packed sound and solid bass pumps. We’ve got two sets of Comply foam ear tips and Makos fins to make sure your Makos stay in place when a throwback banger plays. Time for a beach yoga session or gym workout? Makos sweat-resistant feature lets you get down to business and burn off calories from this morning’s regretted donut consumption.

  1. Orcas 2.0 – $79.95

If you like the Makos, you’ll love the Orcas 2.0. These WIRELESS earbuds (yes, I said wireless) are not only sweat-resistant, but are water-resistant for those random times you want to take a jog in the rain. Tune-out to your favorite sounds for a max of five hours (at full volume of course). Gym, hike, work, beach, flight… you name the place and the Orcas 2.0 will not let you down.

Tramping in a New Zealand Winter

Last year, from June – December 2016, my sister had the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand. Summer for us was winter for her in a new, unexplored place. She went on many tramping trips and shared her New Zealand experiences with us! Let’s see what she has to say.

  1. What is tramping?

Tramping is similar to hiking, however tramps are typically multi-day and often include huts at regular intervals for trail walkers to use overnight. The New Zealand hut system is extensive with over 950 huts of all shapes and sizes managed by the Department of Conservation, which all kiwis refer to as D.O.C

Sam Summers Hut on the Mt. Crichton Loop Track. The smallest and oldest hut, which slept only four people.

Routeburn Falls Hut on the Routeburn Track. Located in Fiordland National Park

2. Where in New Zealand did you go tramping?

New Zealand is comprised of a Northern and Southern Island. During my time in New Zealand I studied in Dunedin, which is located on the South Island. Queenstown, Wanaka, Milford Sound and Te Anau are a few of the beautiful places I was fortunate enough to tramp.

  1. Which spot was your favorite?

My favorite tramping trip in New Zealand was the Copland track. The track was 18 kilometers, which took about 6 hours of walking and snacking to reach the hut. The hut itself had an actual toilet. Literally FLUSHING! It is pretty impressive that they got plumbing into the middle of wild New Zealand bush. Believe it or not, the toilet situation was not the best part of the track. There were natural hot springs! It was fantastic to soak in a hot pool after six hours of walking! But there was a catch to the hot springs, they were filled with a lethal amoeba that would kill you within 10 days. Not to fear! No one got hurt by the springs.

  1. Did you go on overnight trips and day trips? Did you have a preference?

I went on a mix of overnight and day hikes. The longest hike I went on was the Kepler track. Located near Te Anau, the Kepler track was 60km, and I completed the trail in three days and two nights. My favorite day hike was the Pineapple track located in Dunedin where I was studying. I love both overnight and day tramps. However, I don’t think that I could last much longer than three nights in a hut.

View from the Kepler Track.

  1. What hiking essentials did you bring in your pack?

When packing, the idea was to bring as little as possible. When walking for kilometers, you can easily regret packing a third set of socks. I would typically pack a single set of walking clothes. Yes, I would walk in the same smelling clothing for two days. In addition to walking clothes, I would bring a pair of dry clothes to wear while hanging out in the hut. This outfit consisted of fleeces, flannels, wool leggings, and a dry pair of socks! I also packed food, toiletries, a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, wool beanie, and a pair of hut shoes. I learned how to live minimally, and I loved it!

  1. What did you wear since it was during New Zealand’s winter?

WOOL, WOOL, WOOL! The answer to the cold in New Zealand is wool. They have twelve sheep to every 1 person, so it is safe to say that there is no shortage. Besides the surplus, wool is an amazing material. It is sustainable, keeps you warm even when it gets wet, and is flame resistant. Depending on the predicted temperature, I wore one or two layers of athletic/wool pants. On the top, I would wear a long sleeve wool shirt, an athletic shirt, a fleece top, and a raincoat. My rain coat was probably the most important piece of my entire outfit. Rain in New Zealand is unpredictable and unforgiving. Wool socks and hiking books were enough to keep my feet warm.

  1. What was your favorite part about tramping in New Zealand?

Although many people would assume the best part is the view, for me it was something else. Don’t get me wrong, everything was beautiful, breath taking, and captivating. However, I enjoyed the silence and the isolation. In Southern California, there are always signs of human impact. When at home, I feel like I can’t escape the people, the buildings, and the noise. The New Zealand outback shows no sign of human interference. Everything you can see is untouched, pure nature. Everything you can hear is soft, and gentle. The sounds of the rustling bush and running rivers will forever ring true in my heart.

View of a natural waterfall on one of the tramping tracks.

  1. What hikes have you done in California?

I have not hiked nearly as much in California. In fact, I have never done an overnight hike. I have hiked Saddleback Mountain in Orange County a few times. I’ve also explored trails along the Orange County coast, but my experience in California is much less than New Zealand. I hope to keep branching out and exploring California. This weekend I will be exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains!

  1. How does hiking in the two different regions compare?

Besides the amazing views in New Zealand, there is an entirely different culture around the outdoors and hiking. A huge reason I hiked so much in New Zealand was because virtually everyone I met was into hiking and exploring the outdoors! At my university in California, not nearly as many people are in love with the outdoors. Surrounded by a passion to explore outside made hiking in New Zealand a unique and unforgettable experience.

  1. Overall thoughts? Would you recommend to a fellow hiker?

I would recommend that everyone who can go to New Zealand should! It is beautiful for more reasons than just the amazing hikes. But getting outside, hiking, and being active don’t require you to wait until you’re in a beautiful, foreign place. There is beauty and nature all around us so get out there and explore!

Milford Sound mountains.