Jo Ostgarden

10 Tunes for Your Road Trip to Trailhead Playlist

Tent: ✔   Sleeping bag: ✔   Food: ✔   Extra Water: ✔   Boots: ✔   GPS: ✔   Headphones: ✔

Now, all you need is some road music to keep you grooving on your way out to the trailhead.

As you’re putting together your playlist, the best approach is a mix of happy music (think Pharrell) and restorative music (OK, not quite George Winston but something contemplative for those long, lonesome stretches), something old and new, and, of course, something to sing-along with (and no, no not Ride the Pony) when you’ve got the windows down and need to release all that pent up energy, but not quite give it away.

Here’s 10 road-tripping songs, to add to your play list and get you closer to your destination:

Around the World—Daft Punk
This fun zone-out tune with its addictive punchy syntho beat will get you out of the driveway and onto the freeway at the crack of dawn.

Born to be Wild—Steppenwolf
Getcha moto running…head out on the highway. Often described as the first heavy metal song, or as AllMusic’s Hal Horowitz described as “a roaring anthem of turbo-charged riff rock.” Yep, it’s the unparalleled tribute to road tripping.

Seasons (Waiting on You)—Future Islands
This song’s synthetic pop band beat will carry you far down any road.

Long Days Hot Nights—Sirens of Lesbos
Deep, transitive vocals with a soulful undertone, on top disco-ish piano chords, emotional strings, and a haunting bassline from a band with a sound well steeped in the deep house / electronic music scene. This song will carry you well down on long lonely roads to your trailhead.

Put aside the crazy tripping lyrics and you get an easy grooving drive song with an aspirational hip hop beat.

I and Love and You—The Avett Brothers
This band defies labels but if you require a distillation, their sound is somewhere in the spectrum of country, folk, folk-rock, alternative-country, American roots, roots-rock or indie. The simply perfect roadworthy lyrics will not only have you singing along but feeling along. To whit: “Load the car and write the note; Grab your bags and grab your coat; Tell the ones that need to know; We are headed north.”

Sun Medallion—King Tuff
This kaleidoscopic stoner tune is best described by music critic Eric Goldberg as “a lost 60s garage pop gem based around an acoustic guitar,” extremely catchy and melodic.

Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches—Son Little
This soulful anthem to unrequited love and lost direction will “blow you away.” It’ll make you feel like a runaway on the road to redemption.

Back in the Saddle—Aerosmith
An irresistible open road tune that will inspire you to throw down the proverbial hardtop and put the pedal to the tarmac.

6 Tips to Make Your Holiday Travel a Little Less Crazy Town

You rush though traffic to get to the airport, but end up stuck on an arterial route because of an accident. That cleared, you finally arrive only to find a long line at the counter even though you already have your boarding pass downloaded on your phone (they still want you to go to the counter to check your bag).

Then you rush to the TSA line and stand some more. Finally, you make it to the gate corridor on the other side of TSA only to look at the digital “Departures” board and learn that your flight is delayed, for six hours.

Yeah, that was a nightmare.

If the logistics of your holiday travel plans are making you crazy town and you haven’t even left the house yet, take a deep breath and add these to your packing list:

Noise canceling headphones
Canceled flights, prolonged layovers in the airport or on the tarmac can be made a lot more tolerable with Outdoor Tech’s Privates Wireless Headphones. The 40mm drivers deliver clear mids and solid bass, and you get 10 hours of playtime. The lightweight, flexible, foldable design is paired with swivel earpads for easy fit, all-day (or night) wear and easy portability. A 3.5mm auxiliary jack lets you use them in situations where Bluetooth connectivity isn’t available (including on an airplane or with a non-Bluetooth device).

Portable power bank external charger
Again, whether you’re stuck on the plane, tarmac or in an airport lounge, you won’t have to fret about the lack of access to a charge port or worry about waiting in line for a one if you pack along the Kodiak 6000mAh Portable Power Bank. Weighing a mere 9.4 ounces, it not only boasts a monster 6000 milliamp battery capacity that can charge a GoPro 6X, a Galaxy 3X and the iPhone, but is also certified IP67 shock- and water-proof—thanks to its heavy duty rugged silicone shell. Plus, its battery level fuel gauge indicator lets you know when the juice is running low.

Therapeutic eye mask
Gone are the days when air travel was actually fun. Today, it’s synonymous with stress. Block all that busy inflight chatter and intercom updates with your headphones, then thwart intruding light with an eye mask. An inexpensive solution to grabbing some shuteye inflight or while waiting for the next leg of your flight, the soft sided eye masks lockout light but are also designed to follow the contours of your eyes so they don’t inflict pressure on eyelashes or eyelids.

A Minimalist Packing Strategy
The key to breezing through the airport check-in and TSA, while avoiding baggage claim on arrival is a carry-on organized with packing cubes.

Portable UV Germ & Bacteria Sanitizer
One of the downsides of holiday and winter travel is exposure to colds and flus that easily circulate on airplanes and in airports. Protect yourself with a handy little wand that quickly sanitizing airplane or gate seats, steering wheels in your rental car, or the mattress and remote in your hotel room. Death comes to viruses, bedbugs, dust mites and bacteria via ultraviolet light. The lightweight, battery-operated KIKAR sanitizing wand must be held about one half inch to two inches away from the surface and every area of a surface needs to be exposed for at least 10-78 seconds (depending upon the pathogen). But studies show it works.

Stainless Steel Travel Mug
Yep, this seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how few people think of carrying this one little item that can make a huge difference in your sanity. When you’re not filling it with coffee (having your own cup on the airplane saves the airline money and gets you several ounces more than the typical 4 ounces poured in styrofoam inflight cups), it can be filled with water to keep you well hydrated while you travel. It can also be used to load up on lobby coffee at your hotel or at the local drive-up coffee shack. Stainless steel won’t impact coffee taste and is easier to keep clean.

6 Situations Where The Kodiak Will Save Your Day

Most outdoor enthusiasts are more than happy to leave wireless connections behind when they head off the beaten track. But let’s face it, cellphones can feel like a good hedge against emergencies, even if you have to go some distance to get within a coverage zone. And should your camera batteries give out, or your camera goes AWOL, you can least use your smartphones to snap some crucial photos—like that Sasquatch print you encounter in the backcountry.

But smartphone batteries typically drain quickly in roaming mode or when you use one to shoot photos or video. The solution is to carry a portable charger, although many on the mark only charge a few types of devices.

That’s what makes the Kodiak, with its 6000 milliamp battery capacity and ability to charge all of your USB powered devices out in the field, an item to put on your Top 10 Essentials List.

Here are 6 pursuits where the Kodiak might not only be a day saver but a lifesaver:

Whether you’re off-piste down hilling or avalanche-zone free-heeling, or out in the backcountry on your cross-country skis or snowshoes, the Kodiak’s lightweight—a mere 9.4 ounces and the size of a deck of cards—makes it perfectly portable. It also features a tough, durable silicone wrap and IP-67 certification so you don’t have to worry if you drop your touring pack in a boulder field or your water bottle leaks all over it in your pack.

If the point of being on the water is to relax and enjoy the scenery, it makes sense to have all your ducks in order. That means keeping electronics in a dry bag, but also being prepared for a few splashes here and there. Whether you’re out paddling for a day or touring for a week, having a backup power pack wrapped in waterproof silicone available to power your emergency cellphone or your depth (fish) finder provides peace of mind.

Nirvana for rock climbers typically means places like Joshua Tree National Park and its high monzogranite walls. That’s exactly why road tripping and rock climbing tend to go hand in hand. The Kodiak’s fast 1.0 to 2.1 Amp output and IP-67 certified impact silicone wrap quickly juice up your tablet, phone, POV camera, e-reader, wireless headphones, GPS, or even your rechargeable flashlight. The power pack is also highly dustproof, something that’s downright indispensable in the desert.

A new nationwide 4G-LTE open wireless broadband network uniquely integrating satellite and terrestrial technology promises to not only revolutionize wireless communications in the United States, but also make it possible to make an emergency call from places like the exceedingly remote Tapeats Creek in the Grand Canyon. But you’ll still need a charged cellphone to make that happen. And while 9.4 ounces isn’t exactly ultralight, the Kodiak easily fits in your pack’s waist belt pockets or your coat’s napoleon pocket. And when you consider your options for a backup power supply when you’re far off the grid, along with the impact resistance of this power supply, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more reassuring.

Hiking out to a cabin off the grid or to a fire lookout? The Kodiak provides a blazing fast charge to a smartphone or GPS unit, up to three times. It also features a push button battery level indicator that lights up to let you know how much juice you have left so you can carefully use or conserve as needed.

Mountain Biking
GoPro helmets cams are just plain fun. But GPS units are definitely indispensable when hurdling over a remote boulder garden, down technical single track or through a maze of fire roads way out in the sticks. Of course, so is a cellphone—especially for those surprise endos that require emergency transport out of the backcountry. Rugged, water-resistant, dustproof and, well, Bigfoot proof, the Kodiak could literally save your face and your butt.

Get in the Groove: Finding the Right Headphones For Your Active Life

No matter what sport you enjoy—save for backpacking, alpine climbing, and hiking, perhaps—a soundtrack can help improve your performance and keeping you going mentally and physically long after your body is ready throw in the towel.

But if you want to listen to music while working out or enjoying high-impact endurance sports, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones  or some wireless earbuds that are easy and comfortable to wear, offer a secure fit, and are resistance to dust, sweat, grime, and searing or freezing temperatures.

The more action-packed the sport, the more ergonomic, seamless and secure the fit you need. Few headphones meet these needs like earbuds, tethering your headphones securely to your head, and locking them into place without putting undue pressure on the ear canal. Outdoor Tech has you covered for all these issues, including headphones that seamlessly integrate into audio-ready sport helmets.

Here are 10 things to consider when buying headphones for active pursuits:

Awesome Technology, Minimal Design, Easy to Use
Look for headphones with a low-fuss design and a simple interface. They should also come with a secure cord you can wear around your neck when you’re not using them.

Hands Free Hi-Fi Sound
Wireless headphones connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices; look for headphone with easy one-touch pairing that let you listen to music, skip tracks and control volume without ever touching your device. When choosing wireless earbuds, look for headphones that deliver rich, crystal clean sound with 8mm drivers and at least 30 feet of reach. Advance sound enhancements to keep an ear out for include apt X and AAC.

Wireless Connectivity
The best wireless headphones let you reconnect automatically to previously paired devices.

Bluetooth Connectivity
Headphones with an Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) offer high-quality stereo sound streaming. Those with an Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVCRP) let you remotely control track (next/previous track) selection, pause/play and volume.

Wireless + External controls
Having both wireless connectivity and external controls provides even greater flexibility. Look for three-button inline controls that easily let you adjust volume, change tracks, pause/play and control calls effortlessly while on the move.

Look for lithium-ion powered headphones. Lithium-ion batteries’ greater energy density means you can operate them longer between charges. They also have a much lower rate of self-discharge than other rechargeable cells such as Ni-Cad and NiMH. Also, you never need to prime a lithium-ion battery before its first charge, or do any maintenance on them, unlike Ni-Cad cells, which require a periodic discharge to ensure that they don’t hold a short charge “memory.” The best headphones have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offering up to 6 hours of playtime and at least 120 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Built-in microphone
Multi-tasking headphones give you the option of listening to music as well letting you receive hands-free calls from anywhere, any time.

Surround Sound
Earbuds that offer ambient noise-enhancing features are critical for skateboarders, cyclists and runners. You should be able to safely hear sounds in your surrounding environment while enjoying your playlist.

For high-impact sports, look for earbuds with removable over-the-ear clips paired with custom-sizable ear pads/cushions for extra secure staying power. Having the option of removing ear hooks and just having a bud in your ear are also indispenisable features.

Waterproof, Sweatproof
If your pursuits take you in or anywhere around water (like running in the rain or stand-up paddling), look for silicone-wrapped waterproof headphones that provide quality sound even when submerged, as well as the ability to adjust them easily for sound level and track changes.

Audio-ready, Hardwired, Cold Play
If you have an audio-ready liner in your ski or snow helmet, and would rather hit the slopes with a mp3 player or hardwired smartphone, look for hardwired headphones that seamlessly integrate with your helmet liner to allow you to control music tracks, play/pause, or activates voice command via one glove-friendly button, and also keep in you in the groove for as long as you or your battery holds up. You’ll also to look for headphones that stay functional down to -20°C/-4°F so you never have to worry about frozen button syndrome.


What does IP mean? Ignorance Pass or Ingress Protection



If you’ve been shopping for a smartphone, power bank or even headphones, you’ve probably seen the term IP followed by a series of numbers. If you’re curious what all that means, and want to update your status from ignorant to informed, read on.

In simplest terms, It’s a protection rating or designation, and it makes sense to have some understanding of it when you’re trying to decide between a device with a IP25 and IP67.

To start, IP is an acronym for “Ingress Protection,” a scaled rating system established by the International Electrotechnical Commission to help guide you on device care.

The two numbers immediately following IP are used to indicate the device’s ability to block entry of solid “dry” objects (like dust) and moisture (from rain to total submersion in water).

The numbers or scales are determined by specific tests that consider volume of water, duration of time, and distance from stream as part of the calculation. As the numbers increase, the size of objects and particles it can keep out get gradually smaller. Obviously, the higher the numbers in the rating, the better the protection.

The first number indicates how well it keeps out dry objects. This numbers rating runs from zero—or no protection to 6—meaning totally protected. (Occasionally, zero is replaced with an X). A 1 rating means it can keep out objects larger than approximately 1.6 inches diameter. A 6 on the scale means it can protect the device from particles the size of dust.

The second number runs from zero to 8, and indicates how well the device can handle moisture, specifically at certain angles. A low number in this case means it can keep out condensation or vertically falling raindrops. A 7 means it can be briefly submerged in less than a meter (3.2 feet) of water (say you drop your phone in a pool but immediately pull it out) and it will survive just fine. An 8 (an extremely rare rating) means it can handle continuous submersion.

A device with a IP67 rating can be counted on to offer complete protection from dust, and can handle being submerged in water up to 1 meter of water for about 30-minutes.

Just because your device has an IP54 or IP67 designation, doesn’t mean you should be totally careless with it. “Protection” is a key term in the testing benchmarks. Not accounted for in this discussion is force/pressure, or PSI, pounds-per-square-inch. If anything, those IP designations should remind you to protect your device and avoid exposing it to dust or water. while providing some peace of mind should you accidentally place your smartphone in that cup full of coffee sitting in your car’s beverage holder.

What commonsense suggests is that a phone placed in a cup full of liquid is less likely to be damaged than a phone that’s accidentally left in your swim trunks when you dive into a pool and swim around for a half hour, or the phone that takes a 45-minute trip through your washing machine. So a better way to look at this: IP means you can take you can take an ignorance pass once or twice. After that, your Hail Mary saves run out.