Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-
Before this summer started my wife and I decided that we would spend a majority of our free time camping, hiking, fishing etc. We found out that she was pregnant in the beginning of the year but still had some major plans to explore the great outdoors. In May we traveled to Mammoth Cave National Park in our home state of Kentucky where we hiked both inside the cave and out, and camped for a night. For the blog this meant that I had also planned on chronicling these adventures. But as you may remember things changed when my wife was put on bedrest nearly three months ago. So the majority of our summer has been spent inside, though I have managed to spend some time fishing, playing disc golf, and a bit of kayaking.
So what do you do when you cannot get outside for yourself? You read the blogs of people who can of course. Below are a few of my favorite outdoor blogs.
The Trot Line– The Trot Line is not strictly an outdoor blog, but it is a significant part of what they write about. One of the more recent posts of note is titled, Backpack Like A Pro, Or How to Not Be A City Slicker.
Family/Bike/Words– This is a blog by a friend of TTAF, who claims to have a guest post ready but we have yet to see it. Derrick mainly writes about trips on two wheels, many times with his kids. His recent post about taking his two sons bike camping is worth a read. You will also find pictures of a dashing, bearded kayaker in Year In Photos post from last year.
The Kentucky Outdoor Adventure Blog– Yes it is only relevant to people living in Kentucky or the surrounding areas, but I am sure your state has a similar site. There are too many good posts to pick out a few. I have based a few of my own trips off of the recommendations of this site.
Rocky Mountain Bushcraft– The reviews on this site are helpful, especially when picking out tools such as knives, axes, fire starters, and clothing. I have bookmarked several of their gear reviews so I know what to look for when I am ready to buy. I might have to get this axe for the Fall.
Simply Sailing– I am not a sailor, nor have I ever really been sailing, but I have seen What About Bob? multiple times. This site offers some pretty helpful information, even for us land lovers. Of particular interest are the posts about knot tying and food storage. There are a ton of articles about doing more with less and conserving resources, ideas that are important in any outdoor undertaking.
The Sharpened Axe– This is more like a pioneer blog more than anything. The site contains articles on how to raise rabbits, bees, and chickens among other things, and is definitely worth a read. The blog is on hiatus at the moment, but there is a ton of content to keep you busy for a while.
So those are a few of my favorite outdoor blogs, please feel free to share yours in the comments section, I am always looking for another outdoor blog to add to my bookmarks.
Before finishing up I want to share a few outdoor products that you may enjoy. The first is this biolite stove that generates electricity while you cook.
This company is unique not only because of their stoves offered to us as consumers, but also in their efforts to bring more efficient cooking methods and electricity to the third world. These stoves have some real potential. I would love to get a hold of one but with a baby on the way, there is not a ton of money free to spend on items such as this. I do however have a friend that wrote a review of the stove. You can check out that review here at Jordan Fouts’ blog.
Secondly. I want to write a little bit about outdoor footwear. I thought of this just yesterday morning while fishing. I was walking through a creek, casting, and was amazed at how well my shoes were for this particular application. I was wearing an older model of Merrell water shoes seen below. They are the perfect hybrid of a water shoe and hiking boot, allowing for maximum tread while trying to traverse the slick rocks of a creek.
When the weather starts to cool in the fall, the best time to hike and camp, I switch to another pair of Merrell shoes, these Moab Waterproof hiking shoes. These shoes are probably the most comfortable hiking shoe I have ever worn. They are soft, keep your feet warm, and are in fact waterproof (I stood in a creek for a few minutes to test out the claim). The only reason that I do not wear them all year long is because of the fact that they are simply too thick and hot for a mid-summer hike. Overall Merrell makes a great shoe.
Pretty much anytime I am not wading in the creek or hiking in the cold I am wearing these Chaco sandals. I bought this pair after my pair of Keen sandals fell apart rather quickly leaving me without an adequate sandal to hike and live in while working in Haiti.
I cannot overstate how impressed I have been with my Chacos. Yes they are expensive, but they are most definitely worth it. This is actually my third pair. The kicker is that I have only paid for one of those threes pairs. You see when you buy a pair of Chacos you are buying a pair of sandals for life. My first pair had a rough life during my first year in Haiti crossing rivers, climbing mountains, and walking through knee deep mud. After a while the sole on one of the sandals started to peel off. When I got back to America I got on the Chaco website and followed the steps for sending my sandals in for repair. A few days later I received a phone call informing me that my sandals were beyond repair and I was given a gift card to replace them. My second pair lasted my last few years in Haiti and another year here in America until they broke a few months ago on a kayaking trip. I was pretty bummed as I had become attached to them, but I again got on the Chaco website and was contacted a few days later and told that my replacement sandals would be on my doorstep within a week. Three pairs of sandals, for the price of one, excellent customer service, and a great product. You may say that the sandals must not be that great if I have had to replace them twice, but quite the opposite, I have been terrible to these sandals, wearing them every day that is warm enough and a few when it is not. They are my preferred hiking, kayaking, and everyday footwear and I highly recommend that you go out and purchase a pair when you get the chance.
So there you have it, one product that I would like to check out and a few products that I own. In the future (after the baby is born) I hope to share some some more reviews of gear and also trips that we take but until then make sure you check out the links above.