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Cairn Blog: Discussing Outdoor Gear

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The running man: Tips for Running a 50+ Mile Race

July 13, 2017

Long distance runners know all too well the time commitment and the stamina it takes to train for and complete a distance race. But, if you’re just starting out with training for a full marathon or longer race, you may be wondering, “how will I ever get to the finish line?” Luckily, our Cairn Crew has the pleasure of working with one of our very own distance-running junkies! When he isn’t translating data for our team into plain English (no small feat), Ryan Manies is running. If you thought 26.2 miles was a lot, well try 50+ miles--that’s more Ryan’s style. This summer he’s gearing up for the Cuyamaca 100k held this October near San Diego, California.

Ryan let us dive into his world to find out just what it takes to accomplish these long distance runs, and how to get ready for a big race.

Diet Tips

Fueling up to run any distance is crucial, but when you're running distances as far as Ryan is, your diet is equally important as all of the training you did. Eating the right foods before, during and after a race supplies your body with enough energy to go the distance and also recover. Know what works best for your body, and stick with those foods before a big run 👊🏻.

“Gels, Bars and Salt!  Use your long training runs to figure out your own nutrition game plan.  Having this dialed will help you execute on race day.” -Ryan

Whatever your favorite carbs are, fill that plate up the night before your race and don’t be afraid to have seconds--your body will need it to take you to the finish line 😉  🙌🏽.

Training like a pro  

Training to run 50+ miles is almost like having a second job--a very sweaty, exhausting, and REWARDING second job. These long distance races are a HUGE commitment for anyone who decides to sign up, but will give you mad bragging rights once you cross that finish line! For Ryan, training is all about the quality vs quantity.

“ My preparation is usually centered on the quality of my miles versus quantity of miles.  When my schedule is tight during the week I try my best to simulate running on tired legs. This comes from a combination of things such as:

  • Trying to run twice in one day.  Even if the distance is short on both runs (3-4 miles) the second run is on tired legs which simulate how you feel towards the end of an Ultra run. 
  • Make the weekends count by doing two long runs (10+) back to back.   I can’t spend the entire weekend running on trails so this usually means starting at early hours, but the cooler morning temps and quiet trails make up for the lack of sleep.
  • There is more than one way to tire your legs!  I use a standing desk at work all day.  Build up by trying 20 min. increments if you use to sitting at your desk!” - Ryan

We can’t promise your friends won’t call you crazy, but at least you’ll be able to out run them in a foot race! 👊🏻 🎉

Pre-race regime

What you do the night before a race, or even two or three nights before a race can drastically impact your race day performance. As you know, getting adequate rest every night is important for overall health, and is even more so when preparing to push your body to it’s running limits. 👍🏻 😴

“Aim to get your best, uninterrupted, night of sleep 2 nights before a race.  There are too many variables the night before a race that can make it difficult to sleep well.” - Ryan

Take yourself back to middle school and set a strict curfew and bedtime and stick to it for the days leading up to your run--your race day mind and body will thank you 😊  🙌🏽.

Beating the burnout

With anything you do for hours upon hours, there is always going to be the challenge to beat the burnout. Running is no exception, but Ryan has figured out what needs to do to keep running fun!🏃🏼 🙌🏽 

“Mix it up! I always try to explore new trails to run at even if this means driving a little longer to the trailhead or by camping in new areas. I also try to mix up the race distances I do.  At the end of July 2017 I will be doing a 1 mile race that I think will go by very fast (no need for music on this one)” -Ryan

It also helps to have a favorite trail nearby to go to when you need a little extra motivation. 😄

“One of my favorite loops in Central Oregon is the Green Lakes to Soda Creek loop.  It has a nice climb on the way to Green Lakes that gets the heart rate up. However the views of the surrounding area and the combination of varied terrain you experience within the 12 mile loop (11.8 to be exact) make it worth the extra effort.” -Ryan

Whether Ryan has inspired you to go out and run 5 miles or 50 miles, we think you are ALL running rockstars! 🙌🏽

“You can do it! Sign up for races that will help you build up to that distance before you sign-up for the 50+ mile race.  Find local runners in your community to run with – having a running buddy depending on you to show up will motivate you to get out more often.  I also recommend volunteering at a longer race.  You get to see first hand what the racers have to endure and it will be easy to see the issues that are exposed by 50+ mile race – blisters, bonking and dehydration! -Ryan

Everyone is different, so before running any long distance race please consult your physician, trainer, health coach or whoever it may be to make sure your body is in good condition to start training. It’s also helpful to have a training buddy, so find a friend who likes to run and sign up for a race together! And for Ryan, well you just keep doing your thing and we will be cheering you on every step, or thousand of steps, of the way!

Are you training for a race this summer? Share with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Not a Cairn subscriber yet? Don’t miss out on next month. Sign up now!

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Car camping 101: tips for your next road trip

July 06, 2017

Are you planning to hit the road this summer for an outdoor adventure? No tent? No problem!

Car camping has become one of the top ways for us outdoor enthusiasts to pack up, take off and enjoy a nature-focused adventure. For anyone who loves to camp, anyone who loves a road trip and even for those of us who love the outdoors but want our excursions to be easy peasy, car camping is totally for you! Camping usually requires some hefty gear essentials, but car camping gives you the awesome gift of requiring one less thing to worry about packing-- a tent! Your car can double as your transportation AND your shelter, making it easy to set up camp wherever you want, whenever you want (where it’s legal of course😜).

So you’ve got a car and a plan, but before setting out on your next car camping adventure, there’s some essential gear you’ll want to bring along. Here’s the ultimate car camping 101 for your next road trip...and all other adventures to follow!

Kitchen and Cooking Supplies

Whether you are setting out to chase some waves on the coast or explore the nearest national park,  you can’t always count on accommodations that include a stove or proper cooking facility. If you’re anything like us, you actually seek out the secret outdoor spots that put you right into nature, and away from the hubbub of the city. Wonderful? Yes. Accommodating? No.

That’s why it’s handy to bring a camp stove with you. Roasting sticks are another essential item to have packed in your cooking gear bin, in case you feel like roasting some hot dogs or marshmallows over an open fire. Aside from these essential cooking items, a pot and pan, cutlery, and your new DrinkTank 16 oz. Vessel  for hot and cold beverages, will keep you and your crew fed and happy throughout the car camping expedition😊.

Gear Tip: Before using your DrinkTank for an an evening beer after previously using it for coffee, make sure you throw a Hydropak Bottle Bright Tablet in there to flush out that coffee flavor so it doesn’t taint the flavor of your IPA. The only thing worse than a warm beer, is a beer that tastes like leftover coffee👎🏼.

First Aid Kit

When is it not a good idea to have a first aid kit? Seriously! Car camping may get you off the grid (and we hope it does!), but we also want you to be prepared in case of emergency. Bee sting, poison ivy, cut hand, sprained ankle, etc...whatever the unexpected injury, you’ll be glad you have a first aid kit with you to hold you over until you can get more help.

Plenty of Food and Water

This goes without saying for some, but you’d be surprised how often bringing enough edible and drinkable supplies gets overlooked. Friends don’t let friends set out for exploration without the basics! If you're planning to be out exploring for two days or less, still pack enough food for four days--just in case your trip gets extended. With your dinner menu, make sure to bring some snack food that’s packed with good stuff and won’t go bad right away. We’re big fans of the ReGrained Sustainable Supergrain Bars that were included in our June collection! These delicious, sustainable snacks will be a lifesaver in a hunger pinch, and are chalked full of flavor and nutritious ingredients harvested from the grains of craft beer. For all you chocolate lovers out there, make sure to throw in some Treehouse Drinking Chocolate in for a delicious beverage at the end your day, or to start off your day--we’re not opposed to chocolate in the morning!😉

Water--bring lots of it, always! It’s the one thing you do NOT want to run out of on your trip. Plan to pack enough water to drink for the duration of the journey, because you can’t count on finding fresh drinking water wherever you go. You’ll need it to cook, drink, and bathe (that is if you’re into keeping good hygiene up while camping--just an option 😜).

Sleeping Bag, Pad and Pillows

Although you won’t need a tent if you’re car camping, you’ll still want a sleeping bag and pad. Your car is not insulated like a house, so when temperatures drop, it is is going to get cold. Check the weather before you go so you know just how cold it may be at night, that way you can pack the right sleeping bag and enough layers to avoid freezing your you-know-what off at night. Another item that will make a huge difference in your overall car camping experience is a sleeping pad and or pillow. Cars are normally comfortable to ride in, but when you fold down the seat cushions to sleep for the night, you’re going to be thankful to have a little extra padding. Everyone is more fun when they’ve gotten good night’s rest!

Of course, you can always bring more gear, but as long as you have these essentials, your weekend car camping trip will be a success. Now it’s time to pull out a map and start planning your next adventure!

Where are you planning to go car camping this summer? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!

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Live Sustainably with DrinkTanks

June 29, 2017

If you haven’t already jumped on the sustainability train, now is the time. Sustainable, ethically sourced and reusable products are popping up all around us, and there’s a good reason why consumers now look for these traits in a company before purchasing a product. We have decided to make more conscious decisions about what we buy and support, because we care about how things are made and how that process affects our environment.

Our friends at DrinkTanks know a thing or two about sustainability and have developed killer products that focus on being sustainable. This month,  some of our lucky Cairn subscribers received DrinkTanks’ new 16 oz. vessel, which is the perfect addition to your daily routine, whether that’s coffee or tea in the morning, kombucha in the afternoon or a refreshing cocktail in the evening--it is there to keep your beverages hot or cold. And, help the planet by creating less waste. How can you go wrong!

How it all began

Founded in 2013 by Nicholas Hill and his father, DrinkTanks is rooted in Bend, Oregon (also home to the Cairn Crew 😊). With a plethora of local breweries and access to outdoor activities, Nick and his father saw an opportunity to capitalize on those two things by creating premium stainless steel, double-walled, vacuum insulated growlers. The DrinkTanks motto to “Live Vast” encourages its customers to get out and explore, with your drink of choice in hand. Now, four years later, the growing start-up has over 30 employees and is showing no signs of slowing down.

The science behind the product

Born and raised in the USA, DrinkTanks are designed and assembled in Bend, Oregon. They are made with double-walled vacuum insulated technology, which prevents annoying condensation from seeping off your bottle and getting all over your hands. It also keeps your liquids the temperature you want them to be--hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Hooray! Using food grade stainless steel that doesn’t retain flavors, you’ll never have to worry about your coffee from the morning ruining the taste of your evening beer. 🍻 to that!

Culture of DrinkTanks

Start-up culture varies from business to business, but there is one thing that small businesses and startups all have in common; they are determined to succeed in their respective industries. DrinkTanks set out with a mission to create a cutting edge product that allows people to live vast and buy responsibly without losing their roots--and that is exactly what they have done. At the same time, the DrinkTanks team is committed to investing in the community and creating an image that is highly respected. “We work with local groups to employ individuals with a wide range of disabilities to empower and assist in reaching personal independence and inclusion within the community. DrinkTanks also contributes to Scotch Foundation which focuses on vets with PTSD. By keeping the majority of our labor in house, we’re able to support the local economy with 30 employees’ - Jackson Esselman, Marketing Director

Why go sustainable

Or better yet, why not go sustainable? “At Drink Tanks, we strive to practice social, sustainable business operations through creating products that have a life-time warranty and developed to reduce waste in landfill contribution. Our products are easy to clean and durable, creating a life-time vessel that’s reducing disposable waste” - Jackson Esselman

Using sustainable products positively impacts our environment by reducing the overall waste we are putting out into the world. If the technology of DrinkTanks hasn’t sold you already, the sustainability of the product should have you hooked. Besides, who wouldn’t want to help save the environment by sipping a cold one from a DrinkTanks vessel--seems like a win win to us.😉

A few more tips for supporting sustainable purchases.

No matter how you slice it, we can all make better and more conscious decisions about what we purchase. There has been no better time to stand your ground as a consumer. With the vast information available on the web, and the social media sounding board, customer care is at an all time high. So choose products and companies that have sustainable and ethically sourced goods!

Here’s how you can be a conscientious customer:

  • Do the research - As an option, before making your next purchase, check out the ‘about’ section on the company website and read about their sustainability practices.
  • Share the love - Social media is powerful. One of the best ways to support sustainable companies you love--share about them and why you support them on your social channels!
  • Keep it in perspective - At the end of the day, you’re not always going to be able to use and buy products that have sustainability front of mind. So, don’t beat yourself up! Just do what you can, when you can, to support environmental health, minimized waste, and sustainability. Every little effort helps!

Whatever your drink of choice may be, fill up your DrinkTank and get out there and start exploring! Share with us on our Facebook Page or Instagram--and tag #GetCairn or #CairnRocks! Happy adventuring.

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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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