From photography to packing, our fav simple tips that will improve your outdoor adventures
Read on for our advice and please let us know yours!
A common refrain in our recent Reader Feedback Survey was that tips/tricks/things that we may not give a second thought to as avid outdoor goers are super helpful for people who are new to adventuring and exploring the great outdoors. That being said, after more than three decades of outdoor adventures for us (we started early!), there’s still so, so much to learn. A big reason we love heading out with new groups of people (in addition to the great company, obviously) is that every outing is an opportunity to learn new tips and tricks, favourite snacks, and go-to gear.
With all that in mind, we’ve been brainstorming and compiling some of our favourite simple outdoor tips. Think the sort of thing you learned in passing and now do on every trip, always wondering, how you didn’t do this before.
Our regular readers will likely recognize a few of these tips from previous entries. Most importantly, we’d love to hear your tips! What are simple, easy things that improve your outdoor experiences? Advice you learned from a book or website or friend or guide that you just can’t live without? Let the growing Go Outside community know your tips by leaving a comment at the end of this post.
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The secret to stunning outdoor photography…wear bright colours!
Notice how Annalise (left) pops in this photo more than Cailynn (right). Why? Annalise is wearing a bright orange backpack, green jacket and yellow hat. Cailynn is wearing a dark blue coat and dark black pants.
Several Reader Feedback Survey comments asked for outdoor photography advice, and honestly, our big one is to wear bright colours. The photos in our issues are a mix of cellphone and DSLR pictures but the simple truth is it’s difficult to take a bad photo in most of the places we’re lucky to have in our own backyard. The scenery really is that beautiful.
If you want people in your photo (you’ll notice we tend to take a lot of photos from behind or the side, so you can really see how big the mountains are next to a human) we recommend wearing bright colours. It’s a simple tip that will help your pictures really pop! Scroll back up to the photo at the very top of this entry. You’ll note our advice was not followed and the person (Annalise) blends into the mountain more than if she was wearing red or yellow or bright green.
Don’t want to pay full price for outdoor gear…check out The Last Hunt.com
A friend told us about TheLastHunt.com years ago and we’ve used it a lot. If you know what size you are and you’re okay with last season’s style and colours and a strict no-return policy, it’s hard to beat their prices. Over the years, the site has expanded and now includes a fair amount of outdoor gear and kids’ stuff, in addition to clothing and shoes.
Always pack an itty bitty container of Vaseline (petroleum jelly)
We swear by a smidge of Vaseline on hot spots where you feel blisters forming, but there’s all sorts of other outdoor uses from protecting skin on your face against frostbite to helping start a fire.
Freeze your water bottle the night before on hot summer days
Cold, cold water on a hot, hot day is wonderful. Put a full Nalgene in your freezer the night before a trip and enjoy ice cold H20 late in the afternoon, when you’re climbing down a hot summit.
Always pack a thermos full of miso soup
Annalise swears by this tip in winter, fall and spring, as well as summer backpacking trips. There’s something about the salt (while exercising) and warmth (on cold days or chilly summer nights) that’s just the perfect backcountry beverage. Annalise packs her miso soup in an ultralight vacuum bottle and has perfected an easy homemade recipe.
You'll have to adjust based on size of Thermos/taste buds, but Annalise makes it using a heaping teaspoon of low-salt miso paste, about 100 ml veggie broth, about 400 ml boiling water, a dash of soy sauce, and a sprinkle of dehydrated green onions or tofu. Yum!
Leave snacks/cold drinks and a change of clothes and shoes in your vehicle
Whether it’s summer or winter, changing out of sweaty layers and into a cozy sweater or clean t-shirt after a long day in the mountains is a simple yet happiness-making tip. Same goes for new socks and shoes. We also recommend looking out for your future self by leaving car snacks and cold drinks (in summer!) that can be instantly enjoyed when you get back to the parking lot after a long day outside.
Learn how to properly pack your backpack, especially on longer trips
It’s amazing how much more enjoyable a hike or backcountry camping trip or ski tour can be with a properly packed and properly fitting backpack. A poorly packed load is uncomfortable and can be dangerous if you’re unbalanced. While the internet is full of tips and videos, as a general rule, we recommend completely emptying your pack, laying out everything you’ll need to pack and thinking of your pack in three different zones.
Light items (like your sleeping bag) go in Zone 1 at the bottom, the heaviest items belong in Zone 2, closest to your back and medium-weight items like clothing goes in Zone 3 on the top. You don’t want your pack to be top-heavy or bottom-heavy. Keeping the heaviest items close to your centre of gravity, in Zone 2, the middle of your back, is the key to good backpack packing.
Keep your cellphone in airplane mode
Airplane mode will stop your phone from continually trying to find a network connection (and thus draining the battery!) when you’re outside with poor or no cell coverage.
Go outside every day!
Whether it’s a 5-minute walk around the block or a 10-hour hike, make an intentional effort to go outside every single day, no matter the weather. Trust us on this one.
What are simple, easy things that improve your outdoor experiences? Advice you learned from a book or website or friend or guide that you just can’t live without? Leave a comment below!