Hammocks vs. Tents

Camping season is upon us, and if you’re planning on trekking for a few days or just chilling out by a fire with some friends you need a place to sleep in the woods. Tents are utilitarian, but not so comfortable if you’ve set up your stakes on rocky ground. Hammocks are versatile and lightweight to carry, and they are super comfy to sleep on. But beware, if trees are sparse you’ve got a glorified sack to sleep in. Here are my pros and cons:

Hammocks

Pro: Hammocks are lightweight and easy to carry if you’re hiking.

Con: If they don’t have a built in bug net and rain fly you have to pack those separately. In cold weather, you’ll need an underquilt in addition to your sleeping bag.

Pro: Hammocks make camping on rocky uneven ground a breeze.

Con: You need two big sturdy trees at the right distance apart. Good luck hammocking in the grand canyon or on the beach if you don’t bring a stand.

Tents

Pro: Tents are usable anywhere, trees or not.

Con: Rocky grounds and hills can make for a less-than-stellar sleeping experience. This can be remedied with a high quality sleeping pad as long as you don’t mind carrying it.

Pro: Tents are roomier. You can sit up in a tent, keep your shoes in a tent if it’s raining, and you can fit more than one person in a tent.

Con: Two person tents mean two people sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder. If you’re not cool with snuggling, you’ll need a bigger tent.

Basically, you need to decide what is best for the trip you have planned, and get creative to make it work. One quick tip – make sure your hammock is tethered to sturdy trees! I once pulled a tree right out of the ground with my hammock after a week of rain softened the ground. If I’d looked up at the branches, I would have noticed the tree was dead! Live and learn my friends.

 

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Rock Climbing from Your Couch

Rock climbing is a fun sport, but it can really beat you up. When you don’t have the time, money, or friends to go with you, there’s another way to get your adrenaline fix. Video game rock climbing seems kind of like a cop-out, but with new tech like Virtual Reality, it’s getting more and more realistic. It’s so awesome it will make your palms sweat like you are standing on a ledge.

Check out some of Google’s cool projects with street view rock climbing for El Capitan and Mont Blanc and Crytek’s new game coming for Oculus Rift.

While you won’t get the wind in your face, Crytek comes pretty close with jaw-dropping views and sound effects.

So for those days when you can’t be bothered to leave the couch, you can still enjoy the great outdoors!

Spring Cleaning: 3 Great Workouts

Now that winter is coming to a close, it’s time to focus on the adventures spring has in store!

I’m thinking lots of rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and maybe a couple of lazy days at the lake.

While skiing helps keep me strong for spring sports, I like to throw some specialized workouts in there to keep my arms and back strong for climbing, my legs strong for mountain biking, and my endurance up for running (skiing 4 miles > running 4 miles).

Here are some great workouts and ideas to get you started:

http://www.outsideonline.com/2007426/how-do-i-improve-my-pull-technique

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/issa21.htm

https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/cross-training/article/1769-5-workouts-to-build-trail-race-ready-strength/page-2

 

 

3 Crazy Endurance Races that Push the Limits

Sometimes I finish a really long run or a strenuous hike and think that I’ve exhausted myself to my very limits and can’t push anymore. And that might be true because once I wildly underestimated the amount of water I would need on a 10-mile hike and considered drinking from a (not so clean) stream at the end. That was miserable.

But I like to push myself and see what I am capable of, and doing that is a long process of learning and failing and eventually succeeding. I found some articles about some unbelievable races that are designed to push humans to their very limits.

This boat race covers 750 miles in variable conditions. The only rules: No motors and no support along the way.

This 100 mile foot race in the mountains of Frozen Head State Park, TN is designed for failure. There’s no map, no GPS, and just making it to the start line is nearly impossible.

This race has you ascending and descending four peaks on skis. You better be ready to bring your uphill game.

As cool as it would be to participate in one of these, I think I’ll stick with my shorter races. But who knows?

Bucket List Update

Made it through the first two months of the year! At the end of 2015, I shared my bucket list with you all here. My news years resolution was to ski as much as possible this year, and I think I did a pretty good of staying true to that. (Not the hardest resolution I am aware.) As spring comes along, I’m making some more goals for myself since I can’t keep skiing once the snow is gone…

Number 1: Get in good shape for running. I haven’t seen my good old friend the gym much this winter – although I’ve tried. Skiing helps with endurance, but getting those miles in isn’t going to be fun at first.

Number 2: Go hiking! In my opinion, living near the mountains is a waste if you never make time to enjoy the outdoors. Hikes long and short always help me de-stress and appreciate the world I live in.

Number 3: Go on adventures with friends. I’ve gotten a lot of people to come skiing with me who normally wouldn’t. They were willing to try something new, so it’s my turn! Whether they want to go white water rafting, backpacking, road-tripping, I’d love to learn something new with my friends and fam.