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Cairn Blog: Discussing Outdoor Gear

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How to Have the Perfect Summer Microadventure

June 22, 2017

If you have an indoor desk job, summer can be a love-hate time of year. The weather is glorious, yet you’re stuck inside all day wishing you chose a different job that allows you to take the summers off--shout out to all you teachers out there!

One way to cope with this summertime adventure envy is to focus on the joy of micro-adventuring. Instead of dreaming about the incredible yet out of reach adventures you can’t take this summer, think about all the little adventures you can experience around you. Weekends, evenings, and early mornings are all free for outdoor exploration all summer long. All you need is the willingness to get outside and enjoy beautiful places close to home, like in your backyard or a nearby forest.

For us at Cairn headquarters, the perfect summer microadventure involves heading out to Elk Lake or the famous Green Lakes Trail--close to home in Bend, Oregon. The trip doesn’t have to take all day, but it can be packed with unforgettable memories and revitalize you for the rest of the week. 

The perfect microadventure will be a little different for everyone. Some of you outdoor warriors love planning adventures with friends, while others prefer to head out on the trail alone. From a mountain trek, to a moonlit beach walk, whatever you prefer there is something for you--it just depends on what kind of experience speaks to you and lies close to home.

No matter what your microadventure passion is, you can make the experience more fun and memorable with a little forethought. Here are some tips from The Cairn Crew, to experienced microadventurer:

Make time for relaxation

If you love pushing yourself to the limit, you might be tempted to fill all your free time with extreme outdoor activities. But, your body also needs time to rest. If you’re constantly pushing yourself, you could risk getting sick or injured due to fatigue, especially if you’re losing sleep.  

A microadventure can still involve rock climbing, mountain biking, and other intense outdoor sports; you just need to pace yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough rest and relaxation between your explorations and work schedule.

These breaks can easily be included throughout your travels as well, and you can plan for peaceful moments by packing the right gear. A comfortable camping chair like the Therm-a-Rest deluxe Quadra Chair will put you at ease wherever you are. You can sit with a beverage of choice in the mesh side pocket, enjoying a beautiful sunset or sunrise in nature after a day full of activity.

Trouble with mosquitoes? Just turn on the Backpacker Mosquito Repeller from Thermacell. It will create a 15 x 15-foot zone of protection around you, so you can relax in an insect-free oasis, in your new chair, with your favorite beverage.

Experience something new or unusual

Discovering a new place is the best way to make a microadventure more interesting and memorable. If you’ve already thoroughly explored the area, you can create a sense of new-ness by adding in a fresh activity or giving yourself new goals.

If you love surfing, head over to the nearest coastal town and spend the weekend learning a new surfing trick or maneuver, or teach a friend to surf--sharing (knowledge) is caring after all! To all you runners and hikers out there, try out some new terrain, like forest trails or beach paths. It’s surprising how much more enjoyable things can be when you do them in a new place for the first time.

A microadventure can also come from anything you love or would like to experience. With a little creative thinking, activities as simple as lounging on the beach, next to a lake or tubing down a river can be turned into the best microadventures. Maybe you know of the best secret hot springs in 50 miles, or like floating a river with a few tunes playing (on a waterproof speaker of course) like the Speaqua Barnacle. Now that sounds like a fun, relaxing microadventure, ✔ a day that everyone enjoys ✔ again!

Bring along yummy snacks

Even if you plan to stop somewhere for food, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks for the trip. That way you’re prepared in case the ‘hangry’ takes over--just kidding--not really 😉. No one likes a hangry person, especially when you’re on an epic microadventure. Grab some outdoor meals and high-protein snacks, like OMEALS Cheese Bites. But if you do plan on making a proper meal, consider investing in Gerber’s center-drive multi-tool for cutting up food and opening drinks. It comes in handy if you need to make repairs, too.

Most of all, just get out there and enjoy the possibilities nature has to offer while the weather is warm. Hike, bike, run, camp or swim, we salute you, Microadventurers!

-- The Cairn Crew

Interested in all the gear we’ve mentioned? Sign up for the Cairn Quarterly Obsidian Collection, and you’ll get products like these shipped directly to you. Then, you’ll be prepared to head out on the best microadventure you’ve ever had.

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Father’s Day Reflections: How My Dad Gave Me The Gift Of The Outdoors

June 15, 2017

The joy of outdoor adventures, and the desire to get out and explore, is an inherited trait for many of us nature-lovers, likely from an instrumental person like our dad. With Father’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on how dads’ can positively impact our lives and passions.

Fathers are one of the first people we learn to trust in this world, and have a huge influence on the path we choose to take in life including, for some of us, our career path.

We asked our Marketing Guru, Hollie, to give us a peek into her relationship with her dad. Here’s her story:

My favorite memories with my Dad.

That’s a tough one! There are so many awesome memories with my dad. My Mom, siblings and I were lucky enough to tag along on a few of my dad’s business trips around the world. Traveling with a family of five is fairly similar to a traveling circus, but I think he secretly enjoyed the madness of making sure we all made it onto each train, plane and automobile (with a few close calls).  

Some of my most vivid childhood memories were during the years my dad worked at Mountain Hardwear. Because of his connections in the outdoor industry, I met several athletes on our trips--people that I have come to know as industry legends. From climbing with the late Ueli Steck (world renowned climber) in Switzerland, to shaking hands with Ed Viesturs (one of the first mountaineers to climb all 14 eight-thousand meter peaks without supplemental oxygen), my dad and I shared some experiences that are invaluable to me.

I am my Dad’s daughter.

My dad and I are true followers of what we’re passionate about. And for both of us, that passion is the outdoors. There’s nothing more healing, or more satisfying, than being out in nature. Dad and I both have a passion for, and a mission to, encourage people to get outside, and not only explore new places and activities, but also teach others to appreciate and respect the environment around them. We both found companies that hold that belief as a core value, which is a quality my dad and I find essential in life.

Shared hobbies and pastimes.

Skiing is the number one thing my dad and I share. If we could, we would spend every weekend up on the mountain (Mt. Bachelor being our favorite--and also in our backyard!). Some of the best weekends we’ve had together include nights spent up at Bachelor with my parents in their RV, and catching the first and last chair of the day. I'd say a close second would be a mid-summer brewskie out on the porch with my dad.

Nicknames, nostalgia, and respect.

When I was little my Dad gave me the nickname of ‘pumpkin’. I’m assuming that one came from my flaming red locks and chubby cheeks...just a guess. Regardless, it stuck--at least for a few years.

But aside from giving me an amazing nickname, my dad has played a crucial role in my life, and has taught me so much of what shaped me into who I am today.

For one, his work-ethic is incredible. I don’t think I’ve met someone that works as hard as my dad does. He loves the outdoor industry, and inspires people to not only love and respect the outdoors, but also work to be the best they can be. What influenced me greatly as a kid was that my dad never succumbed to a career that didn’t feed his soul. He’s willing to take risks, and expresses his goals and passions to everyone he meets, which has allowed him to become a fearless leader in the outdoor industry.

How my Dad influenced my career choice.

His influence began way before I came into this world. It all started when my parents met at Adventure 16. My dad was working there at the time, and my mom convinced him to teach her how to climb (even though it was her least favorite activity). The year I was born, my dad had the genius idea to start this little company called Mountain Hardwear.

Even though having your first child and launching a start-up--in the same year--can have its challenges, over the next few years my dad still managed to make time to introduce me to every outdoor activity known to man. I was up on skiis before I could walk (ok, maybe I was toddling), I was more familiar with camping in a tent than with my own crib, and dehydrated meals were preferred over cheerios any day. Seeing how much he loved his work, and growing up around this incredible industry, I don’t think I would have been happy with any other career path.

--Hollie Wallenfels, Marketing Guru, Cairn


Whether your dad has inspired your career path, your passion for the outdoors or your love for watching football and BBQing on Sunday's, show him you love and appreciate him this Father’s Day. Spoil him with the gift of outdoor inspiration and a monthly subscription to Cairn!

How has your dad inspired you? Share with us on our Facebook or Instagram page!

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Top 5 summer camping spots in the U.S.

June 08, 2017

Camping season is here and the great outdoors are calling! We know you’ve received some awesome gear in past Cairn collections, and now it’s time to put it all to use. If you’re looking to change up your camping scenery this summer, we’ve got five epic camping destinations that you’re definitely going to want to include on your bucket list. So stop what you’re doing, call up your adventure buddies, and start planning!

1. North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)

You’re going to need to make your reservations early for this spot, but boy is planning ahead worth it! Campgrounds at the North Rim are open from May 15, through October 31. Less accessible than the South Rim, the North Rim requires a bit more effort to get to, but as soon as you’re there, you’ll see why it is referred to as the canyon’s “best side.” You can hike, bike or even catch a ride on a mule into what may be the most scenic destination you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

2. Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

Ok, adventurers! This one is accessible by foot only. Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay National Park will get you off the grid and into a pristine wilderness experience. The park itself is mostly water, making it a sport-fisherman and sea kayaker’s paradise. There are also three hiking trails in Bartlett Cove of varying lengths that will require you to get your feet a little muddy, but are totally worth the scrub. Camping permits are free, but are required from May to September. All campers are required to attend a 30-minute camper orientation at the Visitor Information Center to get a permit, and once completed can hike into the campground.

3. Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island in Maine and is one of New England's greatest gems. In the morning you can get out and hike on one of the many trails in the surrounding mountains, and then take a kayak or canoe out on the water to explore the sea in the afternoon. If you’re a botanist at heart (or in real life), or an avid bird watcher, take a stroll through the Wild Gardens of Acadia where you can experience native plants and birds. Camping reservations are recommended May-October to get a spot at one of the five campgrounds in the Park.

4. Natural Bridges National Monument (Utah)

You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the beauty of Natural Bridges National Monument. You also don’t have to be an extreme hiker to see these natural formations up close and personal. 👏

Only a short hike in, the Natural Bridges Monument is a must see, and is great for families with small children who don’t quite have their endurance hiking stamina built... yet. You can choose from 13 campsites to stay at year-round, all within a short distance of the natural bridges, making it easy to access these scenic wonders multiple times throughout your stay.

5. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

Yes, we are recommending you to go camp in the desert, but not just any ‘ol desert! Joshua Tree National Park is the meeting place for two very specific desert ecosystems; the Mojave and the Colorado. The park stretches nearly 800,000 acres and encompasses some of California’s most fascinating geologic displays of rock and granite. The 9 campgrounds can be claimed on a  first-come first-served in the off-season of the summer months (June-September), but some do close for the summer months. Remember to double-check online before you go to be sure of which campsites free to use.

Where are you going to make your next camping vacation? Share with us on our Facebook Page or Instagram--and tag #GetCairn or #CairnRocks! Happy adventuring.

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Hammocking Tips: 6 Unexpected Ways to Use Your Hammock

May 31, 2017

If you received the comfortable and versatile Serac Hammock, included in our May collection, you are probably pretty stoked! Summer is here and nature is calling for hammock swingin’, snoozin’ and relaxin’!

We’re all about sourcing and sharing gear with you to inspire your adventures. Here are 6 unexpected ways to use your hammock this summer outdoors as well as at home base-camp (yes, we went there 😉 ).

THE GREAT OUTDOORS. Hammocking while hiking, climbing, camping or backpacking is totally our jam. Here are a few ways to make your outdoor adventures more fun with your hammock.

#1: No pillow needed.

Leave your pillow at home? No worries. Your hammock has you covered! If you’re notoriously forgetful, and find yourself constantly missing that one super-crucial item, then this hammock has your back. There is nothing worse than sleeping without a pillow, so if you find yourself without one on your next camping trip, try bundling up your hammock and using it as a soft place to rest your head for the night! Problem solved. See how easy that was?

#2: The ultimate gear loft.

We like to stay organized while out enjoying mother nature, but did you know your hammock can help? Try storing clothes, blankets, towels and other gear in your hammock when you’re not using it. The awesome space-saving tactic makes for a safe, clean place to put all your clothes and other necessities when space is limited.

#3 Ground cover extraordinaire.

A little dirt don’t hurt...BUT...if you are skeptical about getting a your clothes dirty, spread your hammock out for a dry, dirt free space to sit or lie down! Sunbathing on the beach, picnicking in a dewy meadow, playing cards at your campsite, whatever the occasion may be, your hammock will be there for you! And don’t worry about getting it filthy--these guys are lightweight and quick drying, making them a breeze to shake off and dry out! So you can forget about  packing along that extra blanket, as long as you have your hammock, you’re set!

#4: The kid (or adult-kid) swing...we’re not judging.

Kids love to camp and adventure too! It’s never too early to introduce children to nature--with adult supervision of course. Camping with kids is a great way to bond and educate them about the environment. But let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a handy toy or distraction. Enter, hammock. If you’re just a kid at heart, and need a little relaxation after a hard-day’s hike or outdoor excursion, let your hammock be the wind beneath your wings! A cold beverage in hand, and that soothing swinging motion = a superb way to end your day.

THE URBAN CHILL. Not just an outdoor activity, hammocking can be added to the mix at your home base too.

#5: Meet the living room addition.

Looking to add a little fun, functionality to your living room? Your hammock can double as an extra lounge chair--minus the chair. Especially for those of you who reside in compact living spaces, your hammock could be the perfect space-saving addition to a small living room or studio apartment. Plus, you’ll be the cool friend who thought of hanging a hammock in your living room. You’re welcome.

#6: The odds and ends storage alternative.

In its off time, your hammock can double as an extra shelf for tools, equipment, gear, pillows, or just about anything else that needs a home. Hang it in your garage, or any other room for quick and easy storage solution.

What are some unexpected ways you will use your hammock? Tell us in the comments and/or on our Facebook page!

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