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Tips for Camping in Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is an icon, not just for Washingtonians but for all outdoors enthusiasts. At 14,410 feet of elevation, Mount Rainier is one of the tallest peaks in the contiguous United States. It is also the most glaciated U.S. peak (outside of Alaska, of course): it’s the starting point for five major rivers! So it’s no wonder that camping in Mount Rainier National Park is a very popular and worthwhile adventure.

The park covers a massive 235,625 acres with over 260 miles of maintained hiking trails. Mount Rainier itself is an active volcano, and the surrounding area has wildflower meadows, forests with thousand-year-old trees, and tons of amazing wildlife. Ready to start planning your trip? Let’s dive into our top camping tips to get you started!

Plan Your Trip Thoroughly

The first thing to know about the park is that it is huge. There are five entrances, three drive-in campgrounds, two inns, and so much more. It’s essential that you know where you plan to spend your days and nights, so you don’t waste time driving around. Luckily, the National Park Service has loads of maps to help you plan, as well as information about road closures and other alerts.

Where to Camp

There are plenty of options for staying overnight in Mount Rainier National Park, but be sure to book early, as sites fill up fast during the summer months. For drive-in camping in Mount Rainier, two excellent options are the Ohanapecosh and Cougar Rock Campgrounds.

Ohanapecosh Campground

  • Number of sites: 188
  • Fee per night: $20
  • Attractions: Surrounded by old-growth forest and close to popular hikes
  • Amenities: water, flush toilets, fire pits, grills, picnic tables
  • Other information: Groups larger than 12 people must stay at Cougar Rock Group Campground.

Book at Recreation.gov

Cougar Rock Campground

  • Number of sites: 173
  • Fee per night: $20
  • Attractions: Lookout point of Mount Rainier, close to a wildflower meadow, access to the Wonderland Trail
  • Amenities: water, flush toilets, fire pits, grills, picnic tables

Book at Recreation.gov

Mount Rainier
Photo by Dan Purdy

Backcountry Camping in Mount Rainier NP

For backcountry camping, there are also many fantastic options. Very little of the park is accessible by car, meaning that the rest is just for wilderness camping. To get an idea of where you might want to camp, you can check out all of the trails of Mount Rainier. Once you know where you want to camp, you can refer to the Trails and Backcountry Camping Conditions to double-check that your desired site is open.

The most popular backcountry camping options, and for good reason, are along the Wonderland Trail. This 93-mile long trail encircles Mount Rainier and covers a lot of elevation gain and loss along the way. The National Parks Service recommends reserving your wilderness permit for this trail since the permits go fast. (More on that below.) 

Wonderland Trail
Photo by Danielle Plouffe

The Wonderland Trail has eighteen wilderness campsites and three non-wilderness campsites, one of which is the Cougar Rock Campground mentioned above. The best way to plan your trip is to use the Wilderness Trip Planner that shows all the campsites along the Wonderland Trail. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to camp within a quarter-mile of any trail or road. There are also three developed areas that are designated for day-use only: Longmire, Paradise, and Sunrise.

Finally, a few trails branch off from the Wonderland Trail to head higher up the mountain. The best of these is the Camp Muir Route, which ends at the Muir Public Shelter. This strenuous 9-mile round-trip trail has an elevation gain of 4,680 feet. Please note that this route is unmarked and only for experienced hikers and climbers. Before you go, be sure to check trail conditions and know your route!

Camp Muir View
View from Camp Muir: Photo by Dan Purdy

When to Go Camping in Mount Rainier NP

If you plan on camping in Mount Rainier National Park, the optimal season to visit is late spring through early fall. Average temperatures in these months hover in the 40s to 60s degrees Fahrenheit, with the best weather coming in August. Most important, though, is the average rainfall. The Pacific Northwest is notoriously drizzly, but the summer tends to be a bit drier, keeping hiking trails and campsites comfortable and safe.

That being said, if you choose to go during their peak visit times, know that you won’t be alone. Reservations book quickly, parking spots get taken, and entrance roads become congested and slow-moving. Be sure to reserve your sites and permits early. You can get up-to-date information on congestion updates via NPS Mount Rainier’s Twitter account, and be sure to check out their other summer congestion tips.

Mount Rainier Trail
Beautiful fall colors near Paradise on Mount Rainier: Photo by Danielle Plouffe

Know the (Permit) Rules

There are many different permits and reservations you could need in Mount Rainier National Park, including ones for weddings and military activities. I’ll stick to the basics and just cover what you’ll need to know to go camping in Mount Rainier. First, the single-vehicle park entrance fee is $30 unless you have a Mount Rainier Annual Park pass ($55/year) or an America the Beautiful NPS Park pass ($80/year).

Second, camping sites are $20 per night and can be reserved on Recreation.gov. Backcountry camping requires a wilderness permit, and NPS has an Early Access lottery for permits as the Wonderland Trail is so popular. 

Lastly, if you plan to hike/camp above 10,000 feet, climb, or walk on a glacier, you’ll also need to pay a Climbing Cost Recovery Fee ($52) and get a climbing permit. 

Mount Rainier Spring
Don’t forget your backcountry permits: Photo by Danielle Plouffe

Prepare for Unpredictable Weather!

Finally, one more very important tip for Mount Rainier camping is that the weather is extremely unpredictable. Even if you go in the summer, you should be prepared for it to start raining at any time. That means packing a waterproof shell and extra socks in your day bag. You should also check the weather every morning before heading out to make sure you don’t get caught in a storm.

If you plan to hike up the mountain, you’ll need to be extra prepared, as there will be different weather conditions than at lower elevations. For example, the snow around the 5,000-foot elevation mark on Mount Rainier doesn’t fully melt until July. Keep this in mind as you pack and plan your trip, as you might need heavier gear and better boots the higher up you hike on the mountain.

Final Thoughts

No matter where you stay in Mount Rainier National Park, you are sure to have an amazing time. You’ll see beautiful wildflowers, interesting wildlife, and of course, the awe-inspiring Mount Rainier. Plan ahead of time and pack well, and you’ll undoubtedly set yourself up for a memorable adventure!

Once you’ve picked out your camping spots, don’t forget to review our top camping tips to make your trip as fun as possible.

*Written by BestDraft LLC. contributor Benjamin Panico.

How to Keep Your Gear Dry While Hiking in Rain

Most of us don’t plan to go hiking in the rain, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Besides, a little water shouldn’t stop you from a rewarding outdoor adventure. If you’re planning to hike in wet conditions, here are some precautions you can take to make sure you and your gear stay as dry as possible. Following these hiking tips will help you to have a safe trip and allow you to embrace Mother Nature in all her stormy and wonderful glory!

So, keep a close eye on the weather forecast leading up to your trip. If it looks like a wet hike, don’t forget these tips.

Keeping Yourself Dry

First and foremost, you need to keep yourself from getting soaked. If you don’t wear the proper gear and get drenched, you’ll be extremely uncomfortable. In cold enough conditions, you will also be more susceptible to hypothermia.

Waterproof Outer Layers

The first step for hiking in rain is to wear waterproof gear. An outer shell that is waterproof and windproof will keep you warm and dry underneath. When shopping for such gear, one with a hood is key. While a hat may keep your head dry, you don’t want cold rain dripping down your neck and back. I always keep a poncho in my pack for this reason. Even if I think the weather will be nice, a small and lightweight poncho protects me from an unexpected downpour.

Waterproof pants are another key ingredient for a happy hike in the rain. In my opinion, insulated waterproof pants are better than a thin shell that you wear over other pants. One solid layer is a good way to prevent cold air or water from sneaking up under a baggy shell. Also, keep an eye open for rain pants that zip up the entire leg length, allowing you to put them on without needing to take off your boots.

If you like a little music while you hike, you may want to grab a waterproof speaker like the Turtle Shell.

hiking in rain
Photo by Gabriela Palai from Pexels

Boots and Socks

Finally, waterproof hiking boots are a must. This applies to all weather conditions since you never know when you’ll find a puddle or shallow stream. As all experienced hikers know, wet feet are a surefire way to end up with blisters. There is nothing worse than hiking in wet boots, so it’s no surprise that most hiking boots are waterproof. 

But in addition to waterproof boots, you should also pack an extra pair of socks at the very least. If you are on a long camping trip, pack at least a few extra pairs and plan to dry them out every night. Allowing your feet at least twenty minutes to air dry before putting on dry socks is a great way to prevent blisters. If you’ve gotten wet on a rainy day or if your feet have gotten sweaty (as all ours do!), you will want to change socks during your lunch break.

Don’t forget to check out our Guide to Outdoor Apparel to make sure you’re prepared for any type of weather.

Keeping Your Pack Dry

It goes without saying that you can’t stay dry if all your gear gets wet. Here are a few great hiking tips for preventing even the wildest rainstorm from getting into your pack. 

rain in forrest
Photo by Raphaël Menesclou on Unsplash

Pack Liners

First, I like to pack all my gear in garbage bags when hiking in rain. There are purpose-built waterproof bags and pack liners, but garbage bags are a great budget alternative. You can bring multiple bags for different bits of gear (clean clothes, dirty clothes, sleeping bag, toiletries) so you can keep everything separate and easy to find. It’s especially important to keep your wet clothes separate from the dry ones, so you don’t accidentally ruin your dry socks. 

Dry Boxes

Another key piece of gear is a dry box. I have a small Pelican dry container that perfectly fits my phone and wallet. The sealed edges and heavy-duty latch keep my gear well protected from a rainstorm or even a dip in a lake. For a simple budget solution, head to your kitchen for some Ziplock bags. Sandwich bags are perfect for cell phones because you can keep an eye on the time and notifications through clear plastic. 

It’s essential to keep important gear in watertight containers. You want to make sure your wallet, camping permits, maps, and such stay dry. You should also have a dry box for your first aid kit and fire starters. Waterproof boxes for matches are obviously important if you plan to start a fire after the weather clears – though you might have trouble finding dry wood!

Pack Covers

Lastly, pack covers will keep your whole pack protected from the elements. While some packs come with them, many you have to buy separately. Luckily, pack covers are not too expensive, and they really are worth the cost. They are extremely lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about carrying extra pounds. Mine folds into a tiny bag that I keep on the outside of my pack for easy access should I get caught in a surprise storm.

If you buy a pack cover separately, make sure you get the correct size for your pack. The cover should fit pretty snugly around your pack. A pack cover that is too loose can come off in windy conditions. Your cover should have elastic or drawstring to tighten around your pack and keep rain from sneaking in. 

backpacking gear
Photo by mohammad alizade on Unsplash

Keeping Your Tent Dry

Hiking in rain is one thing, but camping in rainy weather adds a whole new component. When you need to camp in the rain, you’ll need to think about where to put your tent to keep you and your gear dry.

First, your tent should be on a gentle incline, with the entrance facing downhill. Having a tent on flat ground is a bad idea as the water won’t drain away, and you’ll wake up in a puddle. Also, you might think that having your tent under a tree will keep you drier, but a shady spot will prevent the sun from drying you off the next day.

Tarps and Tent Flies

Before you set up your tent, first set up your tent fly or tarp. This way, you can put your gear down out of the rain and stay dry while setting up camp. Keep in mind that a tent fly or tarp needs to be extremely taut in order to be waterproof. Wrinkles or folds in the material will allow water to pool and drip down onto you. 

Next, you absolutely need a ground tarp under your tent – often called a tent footprint. I use one even when it is totally dry just to give my tent a little extra protection from the rocks below. Again, being on higher ground and at a slight angle will allow water to drain off your tarp instead of pooling around your tent. 

rain on tent
Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

Rope, Towels, and Newspaper

The final pieces of gear that are essential for hiking in rain are micro-cloth towels, a rope or string to make a clothesline, and newspaper. These are gear items that you will likely already be bringing on a hike. Okay, maybe not the newspaper, but I’ll explain why you should pack some, and it’s not for reading.

Micro-cloth towels are great for drying up after you wash your face, but they also come in handy when hiking in rainy conditions. You should always dry off your gear before putting it away to ensure your pack stays dry. It is even more important to dry the tent off before packing up since the material can soak through once folded.

A rope or string will allow you to set up a clothesline to dry key items before the next day. If you have piles of wet socks, set up a clothesline next to (not uphill from) your tent so you can dry your clothes out. If it’s still pouring out and you have limited space, you can even set up a clothesline inside your tent.

Finally, newspaper is a great material for absorbing moisture. Stuff some crumpled pages into your hiking shoes to help them fully dry out overnight.

Final Thoughts

Hiking in rain doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. If you prepare with the proper gear, you can enjoy the outdoors in any weather conditions. Hopefully, these hiking tips will keep you from canceling your next trip when the weather turns! Stay safe, stay dry, and have fun.

*This article written by BestDraft contributor Ben Panico.

Choosing the Best Travel Camera for Adventuring

This isn’t just a camera buying guide; it’s better. In this guide, we won’t be focusing on specific models as much as how to choose the best travel camera for you. It’s our goal to help you navigate the plethora of options by explaining common camera specs and their various applications in certain scenarios and aspects of adventuring. 

So, let’s dive straight in and look at the most common camera features.

Best Travel Camera Features and Specs

Manual Settings

If you want to hone your skills as a professional adventure/travel photographer, choose a camera with full manual settings. You’ll have a wide range of options when it comes to what you can photograph if you’re able to adjust all the camera’s settings.

Canon camera taking picture
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

Having control over your camera’s ISO (light sensitivity), shutter speed, and aperture settings can truly separate a good shot from a great one. With a fully manual camera, you’ll be able to practice taking the same photo over and over again, each time with slightly different settings. This way, not only will you be able to grow as a photographer, but you’ll also be able to develop your personal style. Do you prefer photos that are dark and moody, or light and airy? Recognizing this and controlling it from the get-go with your camera’s settings will save you tons of editing time. 

Adventure Focus: This feature will benefit almost any type of adventure – from landscapes and hiking to colorful climbing and kayaking shots.

Zoom Range/ In-Camera Lens Capability

Non-traveling photographers have the luxury of being able to store and haul around a multitude of different lenses. However, we adventuring photographers don’t have space in our luggage to store anything other than the essentials!

Camera lens in mountains
Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Adventure photographers already have enough gear to lug around; bulky, pricey zoom and macro lenses don’t easily jam into a backpack that’s already bursting at the seams. Therefore, having a camera with a built-in zoom will make it easier to photograph landscapes, wildlife, and people. But remember, the farther the zoom, the bulkier the lens. Choose your camera’s zoom distance based on what you think you’ll be photographing the most. For portraits and up-close shots, you may not need to zoom. Of course, choose a travel camera case that is large enough to accommodate the size of your camera body and lens (if detachable) to keep it safe from harm!

Adventure Focus: Fine-tuning your zoom capability will allow you to capture stellar shots from your favorite sports. Perhaps zooming in enough to catch a climbing buddy pulling off a tough, crimpy move 100ft away (just make sure you’re not supposed to be on belay!), or zooming in on a cool mountain feature during a hiking trip.

Megapixels & Sensors

We need a basic understanding of how megapixels and sensors work together and to be aware of the ‘megapixel myth’ to choose the best travel camera. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work and broken down the science of megapixels and how it relates to your personal photography style.

Basically, 1-megapixel cameras take photos that have one million pixels of information in them. 8 megapixels means eight million pixels of information. The myth is that the higher the megapixels are, the better the camera and image quality. This isn’t always the case. It won’t matter if your camera has 24 megapixels if the sensor on the camera is cropped (1-inch sensors are considered small) since the sensor is the piece that’s actually storing all those megapixels and transferring them onto your image. 

old school camera
Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash

Sensors consist of millions of photosites that record what is being seen through the lens, so size matters. For context, an iPhone 11 sensor size is around ½ inch and 12 megapixels. The image looks clear on the screen but loses quality when cropped or blown up for printing purposes. So now we know that larger sensors with high megapixel counts produce the best quality of photographs.

There are two main situations where you absolutely shouldn’t compromise and opt for the full-frame sensor over the crop. The first is if you are looking to sell prints. The second is if you aren’t carrying around several lenses and will need to crop photos. 35mm full-frame sensors are the gold standard when it comes to camera sensors. 

Choose RAW over JPEG

Shooting in RAW format saves the image without any internal modifications, unlike JPEG. Cameras that shoot in JPEG apply sharpening modifications to the image before compressing them to save. On the other hand, with cameras that shoot in RAW mode, the image is saved without any processing. The result is that the RAW image file stores a ton of color data that you would otherwise lose.

ice cave
Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

At first glance, the extra processing that JPEG images go through can trick you. In fact, the software enhances the image to look sharper before you even upload it to your computer! However, for JPEG files to remain a sustainable size, the true image quality will always be compromised. RAW images are stored without enhancements and can use all their storage availability on the features that matter to you. What’s more, they can be edited more precisely. Not all cameras shoot in RAW mode, so select this type of camera if you want some extra leeway when editing your photos later on. 

Adventure Focus: Colorful landscape shots benefit tremendously from RAW shooting. Backpacking, hiking, and picturesque water sports are, therefore, prime activities for this capability. But remember, investing in RAW and learning how to harness its benefits will never detract from your adventure shots for any sport.

Weatherproofing

Some cameras are better than others at withstanding exposure to the elements. If you’re choosing a hiking camera or a camera for rock climbing, don’t compromise weatherproofing quality. The best adventure and travel camera is going to be able to hold up even through potentially years of random spells of dust and moisture. Look for the term “weather-sealed” when shopping for the best travel camera. 

water resistant minolta
Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

Get a Tripod

Not necessarily a camera buying tip, but definitely something you won’t regret. Your camera will need to be as still as possible in low-light situations, for example, when photographing subjects with only the light of the moon or campfire. Even the best image stabilization technology can’t beat the sturdiness of a tripod. Tripods are easy to strap to a backpack, reasonably priced, and definitely the superior option over balancing your camera on a rock or between tree branches. This accessory will enhance the qualities of the best travel camera and help you get those jaw-dropping shots. 

camera taking landscape photo
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Go Big or Go Home?

I have a general rule when it comes to buying equipment. If I’m not making money with a piece of equipment, I don’t spend too much money buying it. This translates to: if you aren’t selling photos or striving to be known for your work as a professional photographer, go for a cheaper, decent option that’s fully manual and weatherproof. If this is you and you’re just seeking to capture the moment, then a basic, affordable camera will work just fine. After all, the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” became a cliche long before modern-day, super sharp cameras came out!

On the other hand, if you are looking to make money off your photos in any way (selling photos, building a social media following), take the camera-choosing process seriously and follow our tips. Once you have your camera, all you need to do is choose your next adventure destination and start snapping pictures!

*Written by BestDraft contributor Morgan Wilder.

5 Things To Do While You Are Stuck Inside

These are some strange times… strange times indeed. Fear not friends, this will all be figured out soon. For now, make sure you are safe and responsible. You may find yourself spending a lot of time inside (just like us) over the next few weeks. Here are 5 things to do so that you don’t go stir crazy.

Watch X Games’ Real Ski and vote for Alex Hackel

Alex is on our ski team and he is amazing. His Real Ski part is insane so watch it and vote for him. Protip: You can vote once a day, so do it every day. http://www.xgames.com/xgames/real/28891617/hackel-28891692

Get a Jump on Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning
Clean all the things

This isn’t inherently fun but it can be. Put on your favorite maids outfit and get scrubbing. Or maybe you need to go through that closet and get organizing. You will feel so much better when you can finally find that one shirt that g-ma got you.

Support Small Businesses Online

Make sure you support your favorite small guy. Stock up on those non-essentials that will come in handy when it’s time to go outside and enjoy the outdoors again. https://www.outdoortechnology.com/

Write A Letter and Mail It

This is for you.

It’s crazy, right? Just think of the glory and excitement that someone will get when they have an actual letter in their mailbox. Not a bunch of coupons or political campaign nonsense. An actual letter… from an actual friend. Maybe the letter is a poem. Maybe it’s a love letter. Or maybe it’s a dissertation on why Blue Cheese is awful and should be banned throughout the world.

Make A List of Something and Post it to Social Media

Selfie

Lists are fun. Creating a list of 5 things to do during quarantine can be fun. There might be a little research involved. But at this point, you are really grasping for content out of shear boredom. Well at least you a being productive. Let me see your list.

Best Workouts for Rock Climbing

Climbing is a sport full of diversity of muscle use, critical thinking, and experience. Whether you are just starting, an avid gym climber, or you enjoy weekend adventure outside, you may be looking for ways to improve your climbing. 

Finding workouts that not only strengthen critical muscles to push past grades is essential. Overuse is a common occurrence, especially amongst climbers just starting in the sport. We are going to take a look at a few workouts that will build up the necessary strength to improve your climbing, but that will prevent injury as well. Also, always bring along a Buckshot Pro to strap to your climbing gear for some motivational music.

Personalize Your Climbing Specific Exercise Plan

One of the best ways to improve your climbing is to climb more. Now, this should be done with some caution. If you are a beginner that is lacking in fitness overall, you will benefit most from integrating a workout routine that is not climbing based. Sticking to a base program of strength training, stretching, and cardio/aerobic exercise is the best way to prevent injury as you prepare your body for more climbing when it is ready.

A common misconception is that to be a better climber, you need to be stronger. That is not true at all. Climbing is a combination of strength and technique. Your overall strength and flexibility will only get you so far as you need to have the appropriate technique and mental stamina to push you further.

Jumping straight into hard physical training is a sure-fire way to get an injury. You have to give your tendons time to catch up to your muscles. You may be physically strong on a muscular level, but your tendons take much longer to build proper strength. If you already have a good base of strength in climbing-specific muscle groups and have built up connective tissues over time, then you will be ready to start a workout regime that is climbing-specific. 

Once you’ve begun to move past a base-level of fitness, you should then start to look at your climbing goals. Decide for yourself how much time you can devote each week to training and climbing. After that, think about the reasons behind wanting to improve your climbing ability. Are you trying to move from gym climbing to outdoor climbing? Are you planning a trip to a certain climbing destination? Will you be bouldering, trad climbing, sport climbing, alpine, etc.? These are a few questions that can help you determine the type of workouts you should focus on. For example, a boulderer will work more on power, while a multi-pitch crack climber may want to focus on technique and endurance. 

Workouts to do While Climbing 

The workout options listed below are most effective when you can stick to a routine and follow it. They can be completed in a climbing gym or outdoors, but they are most often done in a gym. Throw in some Mantas True Wireless Earbuds and get to it.

Warm-Up

It doesn’t matter the type of workout you are doing, spend a few minutes getting warmed up. Warm-ups become increasingly effective in preventing injury as you climb higher grades or pursue harder workouts. 

Some activities to include in your climbing warm-up include: 

  • 10 minutes of cardio to get the blood circulating. Biking, jump rope, jumping jacks, jogging, etc.
  • Choose dynamic stretching with plenty of rotational movement. Head rolls, windmills, walking lunges, side twists, shoulder, and hip circles, etc.
  • Pyramid Climbing. Starting with a few climbs below your grade limit and build your way up to that. For example, if you’re pushing 5.11 at your highest climbing grade, start with 5.9 or lower. Climb two of those routes, then move onto a low grade 10, then onto a higher grade 10. The key is to increase the difficulty without struggling. You shouldn’t be getting pumped or falling off of any of these routes. This progression will give your climbing-specific muscles a warm-up without making them tired. 

Endurance

Pushing your boundaries of endurance in climbing is among the best ways to improve your technique as well. As you begin to get tired while climbing, you should start to depend on your technique versus your physical strength. Do this by choosing a route of moderate difficulty to you and staying on the wall for specific periods (no hanging or one hand rests either). There should be a few technical movements on the route. 

You can choose the time period based on your current ability level. For some climbers, this may only be 10 minutes. Other climbers may push 30-minute stints. The goal here is not to do as many repetitions as possible, but to keep moving and be on the wall the entire time. Slow, precise movements and placements of hands/feet will help you hone in on technique. This focus on placement can be amplified by combining downclimbing into this time.

You can do this on the top rope, auto-belay, or traverse a bouldering wall. Be sure that you are doing these exercises within the restrictions of your gym rules and are respectful of other climbers around you. It is not recommended to do this during peak gym hours. 

As you progress in this endurance exercise, you should begin to notice that your focus on technique becomes natural, your body movement should flow more easily, and your body weight will be over your feet more often. 

Power

Power workouts can easily be done while bouldering. This is great because if you don’t have a rope partner one day, you can focus on a power movement exercise. These types of exercises will be short bursts of activity at your climbing limit, not above. Pushing power moves above your threshold over and over is an excellent way to get hurt. 

Usually, a 10-foot boulder problem will suffice here. You will want problems that vary in style. So, look for a problem or multiple problems with variations in movements like big reaches, small crimps, overhanging movements, pinches, etc. You don’t want to be making the same power move over and over in this workout. The more variation in your movement gives you more diversity in muscles worked. 

Also, keep in mind that you will need more recovery time in between sets here than during endurance. You should also give yourself more recovery time between workouts. Limit power specific workouts to once or twice a week. 

Power-Endurance Combo

A combination workout of power and endurance will come with time and as you progress in your climbing. This can be done by climbing challenging sport routes back to back or linking boulder problems at your limit. While this stage of training will take time to get to, it is easy to plateau here. It most closely simulates redpointing or an onsite on real rock. Don’t be afraid to take breaks from this workout and focus on just one or the other. Too much focus here can lead to injury. 

Cool Down

Just as you warm-up before your workout, cool down is essential as well. Most cooldowns will help to lower your heart rate and give your muscles time to stretch. Many warm-up exercises can be used to cool down as well. 

Cross-Training Exercises

Doing exercises outside of the act of climbing is often overlooked. However, it is the key to staving off injury and keeping overall health in check. Cross-training for climbing will help you isolate muscles that oppose the ones your use often while climbing. It will also improve your flexibility and endurance. 

Some great cross-training exercises include:

  • Yoga
  • Swimming, running, biking, basically any cardio 
  • Push-Ups (of all varieties)
  • Dips
  • Core exercises like planks, Russian twists, leg raises, etc
  • Wrist Curls
  • Thereaband Exercises

This is not an all-inclusive list. The main take away from these examples is that you should focus on variation and antagonistic exercises. Antagonistic exercises are the ones that focus on muscles opposite of those used when climbing to prevent injury and to correct and muscular imbalances. Primary areas to focus on include your shoulders, fingers, and knees as these get used intensely when climbing. 

Finger strength workouts are just as important. However, we did not cover these here as this article is best for beginners and intermediate climbers. As you become more advanced and your tendons are stronger, you can start to isolate exercises to your fingers.

Beginner’s Guide to Backcountry Hiking

Going out for a hike can span the time of a few hours, an entire day, or even days, weeks, and months. While hiking and backpacking are two different disciplines to prepare for, they do have many similarities. Getting off crowded metropolitan hikes and popular AllTrails picks can be both scary and extremely rewarding. Venturing into the backcountry should be built up to and takes a bit more planning than hikes you may be used to. 

As a beginner’s guide to backcountry hiking, we will be focusing specifically on hikes that can be completed in one day and require no overnights on the trail. Our goal is to give you the knowledge and reference points you need to feel confident, safe, and prepared on your upcoming backcountry hike. 

Take a Hike

Have Proper Hiking Equipment

Since you are only planning for a day hike, you will not need too much in the way of gear. While it may not seem like you need all of these things, keep in mind that you will be miles away from any roads and even further from any cities. You may not even have cell phone service for the majority of the day. So, you will need to be prepared and bring the necessary supplies. 

The most important things to bring with you when you are hiking in the backcountry include: 

  • Lightweight Daypack → If you don’t already have one, you will want to invest in a daypack that is intended for hiking. These packs are designed to be comfortable and have easy access compartments for organization of supplies. Many daypacks also come equipped with a hydration system. 
  • Hydration System and Snacks → Water is of the most essential things you will need in the backcountry. Water will also be the heaviest thing you carry, but that doesn’t mean to skimp out. Bring more than you think you need the first time you head into the backcountry. Don’t forget to pack a few trail snacks and maybe lunch if it is a long hike. 
  • Reliable Hiking Boots → The style of hiking shoes you wear will be up to you. Some hikers prefer to wear trail running shoes, while others like to have the classic ankle support high tops. Just be sure that your hiking shoes are broken in properly and have little chance of giving you blisters. Comfortable footwear is the key to an enjoyable hike! 
  • Map of Area, Guidebook, or GPS → Most hiking areas will have hard copies of maps and guidebooks, but you can also opt to download maps onto your phone. Better yet, you can take a backcountry GPS with you. If you go the digital route, keep in mind that your battery will not last forever. So, if you download maps on your phone, consider bringing a portable power bank as well. 
  • First Aid Kit → You may think that this is an unnecessary weight to carry, but better safe than sorry in the backcountry. This kit doesn’t need to be extreme, but it is good to have a few standard first aid supplies in case of an emergency on the trail. 

It can be tempting to kind of skimp on your first round of hiking gear and buy the cheapest options. While a limited budget may be a factor here, consider purchasing higher quality gear second hand or scoping out some discounts at retailers like REI to get higher quality, longer-lasting gear at a lower cost. 

Do Area Trail Research

Make sure you take time to get to know the area before you wander into the woods to get lost! This can be done in a variety of ways. You can go to old school techniques and talk to people from the area that may know the trail systems well. This can also include consulting park rangers and BLM land managers. Oftentimes, this is the most reliable way to go about things, because they will have access to the most recent trail conditions. 

Another common way of researching backcountry trails is to check out websites like All Trails, Hiking Project, and Summit Post. AllTrails can be especially helpful as you can download the app on your phone to have access to downloaded area maps when you’re hiking. 

If those maps aren’t detailed enough, you should invest in a digital or hard copy topographic map of the area. You can find these online and at many outdoor retail stores. 

Beyond knowing where you are going, you should be researching the area’s climate, wildlife, and plants. Look into the weather ahead of time to be sure that you pack accordingly. If you are hiking in a mountainous area, check for afternoon storms. Being aware of area wildlife and plant life will let you know if there are any dangerous animals or poisonous plants to avoid.

Prepare Physically for the Hike

If you are an avid hiker on familiar city trails or low key hiking trails close to town, then you are likely already in relatively good physical condition. Part of researching the area you will be hiking will include knowing the terrain to expect. 

If you are going to be hiking in a notoriously hilly area or a drastically different altitude than you are accustomed to, then you should prepare before attempting the hike. While you may be mentally ready, not being physically fit in the backcountry can be a serious danger. 

As you ramp up to your first backcountry hike, try to fit extra cardio and hiking time into your schedule. Get your legs ready at the gym by utilizing the stair stepper and doing squats. Building up your stamina and strength, will make a difference in safety, as well as how much you enjoy the hike overall. 

Leave No Trace

As you go out into the wilderness to enjoy the solitude and beauty, remember that we are sharing this Earth with other living plants and animals as well. One of the most important things you can take away from this article is to learn the Leave No Trace principles. Keep our wild places wild as we protect our outdoor spaces together! 

What is a Power Bank?

power bank splash
Kodiak Plus Ultra – Waterproof Power Bank

A power bank has many different names; a portable charger, backup battery, battery pack, and sometimes they have been called mobile electrical storage receptacle. Okay so maybe you haven’t run into anyone calling a power bank a mobile electrical storage receptacle but you never know, I’ve heard some pretty strange things in my day.

  • What is a power bank? It’s a battery that you can charge your stuff with.
  • What kind of stuff can a backup battery charge? A cell phone, GoPro, and other small electronics.
  • Are power banks rechargeable? Usually, a power bank is rechargeable.
  • What do I do when my portable charger is out of batteries? You can plug it in and charge it up again?
  • How long will a backup battery last? It depends on the capacity (size of the battery). Usually, you can get a few cell phone charges out of a power bank.

It seems like you have a lot of questions about power banks and portable power in general. You should probably take a look at a power bank that we make.

If you are looking for the best portable charger well you are in luck because we actually make some of those. Yeah, I don’t want to brag but our power banks are rugged, waterproof, and don’t look lame. We call them the Kodiaks. They have some pretty rad features. QuickCharge, USB C, Flashlight, and more; just click on that link above to see all the StuffYouProbablyWant.

Or, you can look at this picture of a goat. I call him Mr. Wavy Ice, it suits him.

Mr. Wavy Ice

There is a funny story about Mr. Wavy Ice but due to legal ramifications, I can’t go into it. Let’s just say that Mr Wavy it no longer allowed at Red Robin.

National Margarita Day – Margarita of the Year

It’s National Margarita Day! Do you know what this means?!? Yea, nothing really, but there’s this pretty rad competition that Patron holds every year that coincides with this day and I’m going to tell you all about it.

In honor of National Margarita Day, Patron has launched their annual Margarita of the Year competition, where people from all around the world compete to win… well, Margarita of the year. I know, it probably sounds uneventful, but these heavenly concoctions are far from that. See for yourself:

So, just to recap we’ve got:

  • CORALINA MARGARITA

    Red Wine & Hibiscus

  • MUMBAI MARGARITA

    Mango & Indian Spices

  • ENGLISH GARDEN MARGARITA

    Green Peas & Earl Grey Tea

  • TROPICANTE MARGARITA

    Mango & Fresh Avocado

  • HIGH PLAINS MARGARITA

    Charred Pineapple & Sage

  • PACIFIC RIM MARGARITA

    Coconut & Jalapeño

  • TIKI RITA

    Grapefruit & Tiki Spices

I know which one i’m voting for; if you think you’ve got the winner, you can vote for your choice here.

The Real Debate Tonight is What to Drink

All this political banter is making us more crazy, and more impatient than we appreciate; I am sure you can agree. These days, watching a white sheet dry is frankly more appealing than sitting through hours of a lemon faced, orange and an email scandal. I’ve come to realize at the end of each day, and each debate, I need a drink, and maybe you do too.

The greatest alternative to a boggled mind, is a calming cocktail (or three). Check out these 5 drinks that will put all your political worries at ease; you’re welcome.

  1. AMF – The Adios Mother F*ck3r is kind of a party pack of alcohols if you will, and probably the most intricate drink on our list. For good reasons. With vodka, gin, white rum and some blue curacao, sour mix and 7-Up, this mixed drink will definitely leave you with no worries when you’re done with it. Or thoughts or feelings for that matter.
  2. Chai Fireball Tea – Yea, you read that right. This is one of those weird Pumpkin Spice Latte things where you feel like a teenage girl while you’re drinking it, but its also really damn good so you choose not to care. Fix up a steaming pot of Chai, douse it with whiskey, and let the debate games begin.
  3. Cape Cod – Just like Cape Cod itself, this drink has got a hook. The cranberry juice and lime mixture are sure to reel you in, and the vodka is there to make you stay. and keep coming back. Night night.
  4. Paloma – Simple yet delicious, the Paloma is 3 parts grapefruit soda, 1 part tequila and a lime. Tune out the noise with this sour sipper and use the lime to practice your own DT squish face.
  5. Mai Tai – Saving the best for last, the ultimate mind calming cocktail, the Mai Tai. From the first debates in history to the ones at the end of time, this vacation in a cup will never get old. Tune in, Shake well, serve and repeat.

If one of these doesn’t sound appetizing enough for the big show, then you really should be more open minded. Work on it.

Outdoor Tech: FAQ

I decided to write this blog post due to the vast number of questions we get, on the daily, that are on repeat. If you are wondering who to contact if your product is broken or missing a piece, if you’re curious about our sponsorship program, or you would just like some good ole fashioned Yowie stickers, this is the place to be.

  1. My ODT product is no longer working/will not work/is missing a piece, who do I contact?
    • Please email our customer service department at support@outdoortech.com or call 310-677-0190. We will try our very best to help you in whatever situation you are in.
  2. I emailed/called customer support but have not received a response.
    • We take pride in our customer service, and we try our best to do a damn good job at getting you to where you want to be. Some days are busier than others so if you don’t receive a response, we didn’t forget about you, we will be with you shortly. Also, don’t hesitate to keep bugging us. We WANT to help you.
  3. Are your giveaways real? I never see that anyone wins.
    • Yes, our giveaways are 100% authentic and a winner is picked at random at the end of each one. We announce the winner on our Facebook page every Friday, so if you would like to see who won, please refer to our Facebook page.
  4. How do I enter your giveaway?
    • If you are on your mobile device, you can enter my clicking on the link in our Instagram bio, or by selecting the image associated with the contest post on our Facebook page. If you are on a laptop or desktop computer, you can go straight to the “Free Stuff!” tab on our Facebook page. This tab is located below our cover photo and above our status. You can also see our contests/who the winner is on our ODT Blog.
  5. What is going on with the Exoskeleton?
    • We want the Exoskeleton to be perfect, and if it’s not perfect, we won’t sell it to you. As soon as it is perfect however, it will be on our site for you to purchase.
  6. I am an amazing athlete and would love to be sponsored by you. How do I do that?
    • If you are big time you can email ryan@outdoortech.com and include an athlete resume and links to current content and social media posts.
  7. I would like to team up with your company for an event/giveaway/donation/etc. Who do I contact?
  8. I took some rad photos of Outdoor Tech stuff and would love if you could share them. Where can I send them?
    • Please feel free to tag us in any of your posts about Outdoor Tech on social, we love to share awesome content from our fans when appropriate. If you’ve taken photos that are just too good that you haven’t posted them on social media, you can email them to marketing@outdoortech.com and we will share them if appropriate. Just keep in mind, we can’t share everything.
  9. I would love some ODT stickers. How do I get some?
    • NEWSTICKERS
  10. Is it cool to message you guys on social media about any of the above?
    • Go for it, but why would you after reading this blog post?