Monday, February 28, 2011

Top Three Ways to Get Ready for Spring Backpacking

If you haven't put on the pack since last season, and you're not into snowshoeing or nordic skiing then chances are you've lost the touch. Before you start your backpacking training you should pysch yourself up with some of our pictures in the photo gallery. Get ready for wilderness solitude and natural beauty on the trails. Ok, so you're ready? Here's the top three ways to get ready for your first spring hike!

Running - a lot of backpackers maintain that running is not the best way to train for backpacking. I concede the point, they are right, backpacking is the best training for backpacking. However, in the off season, running keeps you fit and healthy and keeps those legs moving when the pack is hanging in the closet. It's a great way to just stay in shape and keep yourself from sitting on your butt all winter. Try cross country skiing and snowshoeing too if you want to hit the trails before the snow melts, they're both good ways to keep those legs moving and you could even try winter backpacking. GASP!

Treadmill Packing - throw on your backpack, pop in the ear buds, turn the treadmill incline all the way up, and go for a walk. Sounds boring, huh? Park your laptop in front of the treadmill and throw in your favorite movie or TV episodes and pretty soon you'll be getting ready for backpacking instead of sitting on the couch waiting for spring to roll around. Read more in my full article on backpacking treadmill training and conditioning.

Lighten the Load - it's not all about training your body, this one will help train your mind. Here are a few cheap, quick, ways to shave pack weight. Set out all of your backpacking gear. Then, go through and take out everything but your tent, bag, stove, pot, water bottle, and sleeping pad. Ready to lighten the load? If you have a self inflating mattress, put it back in the closet and go buy a closed-cell foam mat. They are about $30 for a Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest, and weigh less than self inflating mattresses. They also will never go "pop" in the middle of the night. Now, ditch those Nalgene bottles for a Platy Bottle, my current model is the Plus Bottle. The clip can be great for attaching a carabiner sometimes. Last but not least, if you're taking more than just one cooking pot for a solo trip, you're over packing. Go grab a Snow Peak Trek 900. I can cook comfortably for two in just this one pot, any meal. Granted, I'm not a finicky eater and often end up mixing foods and flavors but it doesn't bother me and I'd rather not have the wasted weight of an extra pot.

Now, put these revised items all back into your pack and take a look at all that extra junk you're thinking about taking with you. Ask yourself "is this absolutely necessary?" and if the answer is "no" then leave it out. These tips will ensure your pack weight is low, but you need to find your comfort level yourself. Some people need more little extras on the trail than others. Just keep in mind, everything weighs something.

Get out there, put on your pack, and do your thing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why The North Face is not Worth Buying

The North Face is synonymous with prissy high school girls and rich college kids who want to make a statement. That’s right I said it, you were thinking it and I said it. For the vast majority The North Face products are overpriced and simply too fashion oriented to be a real competitor in the outdoor apparel market. I’m not saying that their products are bad, necessarily, I’m just saying that if you’re actually looking for economical functional outdoor clothing, you’re looking in the wrong place with The North Face. You’re paying for the name with these guys, and you’ll be paying through the nose... and mouth... and all sorts of nasty places to come up with the money for their extortionist prices.

Let’s take a look at The North Face’s Mountain Light Pant:


Here’s a pair of pants that are seam sealed, light, meaning relatively little insulation, Gore-Tex fabric. Perfect for a long day on the slopes in wet conditions, right? These pants feature elastic gaiters, zippered pockets, the whole nine yards. Okay, so we can see that these pants are obviously not poorly made. What’s the price tag on these babies? You’ll be paying $180 retail for these.

Now let’s take a look at just one other potential competitor: Columbia Sportswear’s Men’s Splash Pant.


As far as looks are concerned, they’re nearly identical. Except, of course, that with the Columbia pants you won’t be a walking billboard. Technical specs? Identical. The Splash is waterproof and seam sealed, elastic gaiters, zippered pockets. Same deal. What’s the price tag on the Splash? $120.

There’s a sixty dollar difference here, with absolutely no change in quality or function. So what could possibly explain this phenomena? Let’s call it The North Face’s tendency to take advantage of it’s uneducated consumers. Gore-Tex lost its patent on waterproof membranes long ago and since then it’s done a good job trying to convince consumers that other waterproof membranes are inferior. In truth, all waterproof membranes operate nearly identically and Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof membrane is just as effective as a Gore-Tex membrane. You will find that almost always Gore-Tex products are more expensive than the next waterproof competitor. Choosing carefully, with quality in mind, it’s quite simple to circumnavigate Gore-Tex’s expensive name brand. Put The North Face name, along with Gore-Tex and you’re just asking to pay ridiculous prices just for the name brand.

Let’s take a moment to consider the blundering buffoon, Bear Grylls; possibly The North Face’s most recognized face. Not only did his show advertise some of the best, most creative ways to kill one’s self in the wilderness, it also put The North Face’s name with it. Millions of people watched and love Bear Grylls (unfortunately) and we see The North Face logo on almost everything he has. Honestly I’m surprised they didn’t persuade him to get a “The North Face” tattoo so that even when his shirt is off there can be no questions; Bear Grylls is The North Face’s bitch.

Now, on a positive note, I have owned a pair of The North Face pants for several years which have seen me through survival training, hiking in the Red River Gorge, and backpacking in Pisgah National Forest. They are a great pair of pants, and I love them. I even had a hot coal pop out of the fire one night while I was curled around it in November, trying to stay alive under a pile of pallets and plastic tarps. It simply left a small hole which will never fray because the heat seared the fabric edges. Today, a year later, the hole is still as small as the day it got there. I bought the pants on clearance for $40 instead of the retailed $60 which, in my book, was worth the cost. It’s entirely possible to find good The North Face products for a price you’re willing to pay; it’s simply a matter of being an intelligent consumer.

I appreciate The North Face’s goals. They love the wilderness, I love the wilderness. They make good quality gear, I like good quality gear. However, I do not support their prices, nor do I support the mainstream image that The North Face has developed and seems to adhere to. It is unfortunate that a good outfitter, like The North Face, has ended up being a high school fashion statement and a product available only to the most financially well off and economically ignorant of outdoors people. If you’re a The North Face die-hard, take this article for what it’s worth: there are better options out there for your money.

I don’t know about you, but even if I had the money to throw away, I would not support the manipulation of consumers that is going on with brands like The North Face. Their products are good quality, but their prices are absolutely brutal. Don’t be an ignorant consumer, shop around.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Giveacar Motorcycle Donation Program | United Kingdom

This is a guest post by Daniel Frank, Marketing Executive at Giveacar Ltd. He knows we like our motorcycles here at the Adventure Lifestyle Blog. :)

scrap car, car scrapping for charity
Motorcycles have always appealed to adventurers, offering a freedom and independence that even cars can’t match, as well of course as that all important rebel image. However as outdoor enthusiasts we must also respect and look after the environment and disposing of your motorcycle environmentally once it has reached the end of its life can be challenging. Like cars motorcycles are full of toxic chemicals that are hazardous to environment, such as oil, brake fluid and petrol.

If you want to dispose of your motorcycle then you need to find a reliable
scrap yard that will depollute your bike before recycling it. There are scrap merchants out there, which will put unsafe bikes back on the road, or just strip them for parts and leave them to rot. In contrast a proper junkyard will recycle everything it can and ensure that everything else is properly disposed of.

So the challenge for motorcycle owners is to find an environmental way dispose of them. One quick and simple solution is to donate them to charity. In the US there are a number of charities, which will accept them of which the most famous is probably Teddy Bear Cops, though they are far from the only ones. You’ll even get a tax cut for doing so. In the UK, in contrast, Giveacar has recently extended its innovative car donation program to include motorcycles.

It may not be the most adventurous thing you can do with a motorbike but donation is surely the best option when it comes to giving your beloved bike a good sendoff both ethically and environmentally. And what’s more it works for scrap cars and trucks as well!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Conversation With Les Stroud | The Backwoodsman

The March/April issue of the Backwoodsman Magazine, a primitive survivalist publication, featured a full cover picture of Les Stroud on a river raft with his digicam bandanna from the Peruvian Jungle. The article title, “A Conversation with Les Stroud”. In the write-up Les is asked several questions, which he answers quite extensively. I will sum up the question and answer session for you here.

Q: Does Les Stroud believe everyone should know survival skills because an apocalypse is coming?

A: Les doesn’t worry about any apocalypse, he believes that learning and practicing survival skills should be done because one is passionate about it. It is a way of life. Les believes survival skills are not necessary for all people, i.e. city dwellers, but that the personal discipline and personal skills necessary to be a survival expert are universally applicable.

Q: Does Les Stroud think that Survival should be a public education requirement?

A: “Absolutely.” Les beieves that presenting children with the problems encountered in a survival situation help stimulate their personal confidence and ability to overcome adversity.

Q: What brought about the differences between Survivorman and Beyond Survival?

A: Les was passionate about the way his native survival coaches lived and survived when he was touring the world doing the Survivorman show. Thus, he developed a show where he lived among native groups of people and explored their ways of life and survival, Beyond Survival.

Q: Does Les Stroud feel more spiritually connected to nature after his Beyond Survival experiences?

A: Beyond Survival re-instilled Les’s connection with nature which he lost during the labor and time intensive making of Survivorman. Les believes he was more in tune with nature before starting Survivorman and making Beyond Survival allowed him the opportunity to rediscover his connection to nature through the native tribes he lived with.

Q: Who inspired Les Stroud to become Survivorman, and how did he learn his survival skills?

A: Les Stroud started learning survival like most people, a weekend hobby and local college survival seminars turned into a way of life. Les’s favorite survival company? Prairie Wolf, owned by John and Geri McPherson. In Canada his closest survival friends include David Arama and Doug Getwood.

Q: What’s the down-low on Les Stroud’s new album and multi-media tour?

A: The tour will be an emotional and spiritual journey through all of Les’s experiences around the world fostered by his Surivorman and Beyond Survival shows. It will not be a concert, but a conjunction of film and music which bring together all of Les’s favorite and most meaningful experiences.

Q: How does Les Stroud feel he influenced the mainstream view of survival skills and outdoorsmen in general?

A: Les Stroud believes he walked the line between filmmaker, and survival instructor. He claims to not be perfect at either skill set but believes that his position between the two extremes enabled him to bring survival skills into the mainstream. Les Stroud believes that it’s not necessary to be a hardcore outdoor addict or gear junkie to enjoy what he does, and he made this apparent to the general public. Les regrets that now the survival genre of television and filmmaking now has gone the way of all other filmmaking. It’s surrounded by drama, controversy, and bickering among the rather disconnect and ignorant masses. Les says that his background off the screen, as a normal guy, was one of the best things going for Survivorman.

Q: Does Les Stroud believe that anyone will top Survivorman in the outdoor filmmaking arena?

A: Survivorman took an intense amount of effort to produce physically. Setting and carry all of his own filmmaking equipment (upwards of 50 lbs), it was physically exhausting. The most important part, though, was his passion for filmmaking. Les thinks that his utter devotion to filmmaking and his passion for the outdoors are a combination that will most likely never be seen again.

Q: Will Beyond Survival run a season two?

A: Les is confident that there will be more than just the multi-media tour coming up in the near future. This neither confirms or denies a second season but promises us something in the future.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

127 Hours Movie Review

This movie was quite abstract. I went into it open minded since I found it hard to imagine how a director would go about making a two hour movie about a guy whose arm is stuck behind a rock engaging. James Franco, of course, is an amazing actor and his emotion and spirit really made the movie work while he played rock climber Aaron Ralston. Most of the movie trailer revolves around a very small section of the movie. I had hoped the whole movie would be filmed from the perspective of Ralston (Franco) documenting himself with the video camera. These scenes in the trailer are both funny and enlightening about the character’s personal development and overall plight. In the movie its self, we don’t get to see Franco narrating to the camera until about half way through or better.

While entrapped in the rock slit, Ralston (Franco) begins to hallucinate about everything from his family, to Scooby Doo. That’s right, at one point there’s a rather disturbing scene where Franco dreams up a giant Scooby Doo which is about to attack him. Scooby, we find out, was never real and Ralston (Franco) then wakes up. At first it’s a rather disjoint scene that doesn’t fit the movie but with a little analysis we can see that the director is trying to show Ralston’s mental dissolution and we can see that our hold on reality, as humans, is really quite fragile. The story really gives us, as an outdoor community, a sense of humility as we see Ralston re discovering his humble self. In the face of death we see how truly vain our choices can be.

Check it out. This trailer is easily one of the most inspirational clips I’ve seen in a long time! The Funeral by Band of Horses kicks in at the end to tug on the emotional ties of Ralston realizing that he’s going to die alone. Very powerful film, but dry at times.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Moab Swingline

I saw this over on’s blog. I knew as soon as I saw the first guy jump that it had to be posted over here because it’s one of the most badass things I’ve seen in a long time. I like their creativity here. These guys have some serious balls for pulling this off! They set up a “slackline” and I put that in parenthesis because it’s not a true slackline in this context as no one is slacking on it. They just use the webbing as the support for the massive dynamic rope swing. What an amazing video! Since there’s no canyons in Michigan, maybe I’ll go set up a highline between a couple tall trees and try it that way. Admittedly slightly less ambitious then their swingline...

How a Fire Piston Works


The goal of this article is to take an in-depth look at a fire-starting tool called a fire piston. You may have seen Les Stroud (Survivorman) use a fire piston on his “Alaska Adventure” episode in season 3. If you are reading this article, then chances are you were asking yourself “how does that work?” Here is the down and dirty on the fire piston.

There are suggestions that the fire piston was developed by some indigenous Indonesian, Southeast Asian, and Philippine cultures and “in widespread use”. (Univeristy of Bristol credit) It also seems that where fire pistons were developed and in use were also areas in which people had mastered blow-guns, another pneumatic invention that is most certainly too uncanny to dismiss as coincidence. (Credit) It is highly likely that the fire piston is, in a disjoint manner, an evolution of early blow gun technology. It would make sense that this be true, as a pneumatic seal would need to be mastered in order to make an effective blow gun, and cultures with this technology would be the most likely to further employ its use in fire piston development. A NYT article from October 9 of 1876 talks about fire piston use as a “philosophical play-thing,” citing it’s first recorded “invention” by western cultures as 1745 in Italy. According to the article, a scientist was doing experiments with *again* a blow-gun when he discovered its potential to release massive amounts of heat energy into the contained system. With this evidence, it seems highly likely that the technology of blow-guns gave rise to the technology of fire pistons.

So how does it work? Well, it’s rather a simple concept. What happens inside the fire piston when the user violently brings the plunger down is a sharp decrease in internal gas volume. The pressure inside the fire piston spikes to massive proprtions. This, in turn, causes the molecules of gas inside the piston to become highly energetic. So energetic, in fact, that they are now hot enough to light combustible materials easily. See, very simple. Watch this video below to see it in action.

Photo Credit:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Adventuring With Your Better Half - Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine’s Day (you didn’t forget, did you?), Adventure Lifestyle Blog is posting an article talking about how to spend time adventuring with your better half.

sunset tree

The beauty of fostering a love for the outdoors with someone you love is that you can share your trips, adventures, gear and time together. The wilderness is a great place to find some peace and quite. Start off slow if your partner isn’t familiar with the outdoors. There’s nothing wrong with camping in the back yard. Don’t take someone on a 100 mile backpacking trip trying to hump out 28 mile days just because you want to. Chances are, unless your partner is a triathlete, they’re going to hate your guts at the end of the first day. If you’re one of those people who synthesizes competition for body fuel and you don’t understand the meaning of “discretion”, then I suggest you take it slow and develop a sense of where your partner’s skill level is before you take off into the wilderness all gung-ho.

How about some less extreme outdoor adventures to share for some relaxation? Try geocaching, everybody loves chasing GPS waypoints through the woods looking for little boxes of trinkets. Ladies usually find it entirely enlightening that you can find hidden boxes in everyday places. If you’re really working hard to impress your partner then go put something in the geocache before you go together (like jewelry) so that your partner finds the meaningful object. Just remember, the point of Geocaching is to exchange items found in the boxes so make sure no one gets to it before you return with your partner or you might find a toy dinosaur in place of that pearl necklace.

Another less than extreme adventure you might want to go for is making S’mores. Impress your partner by lighting a fire with a fire-steel. Undoubtedly the best way to get ahead in a relationship is to show off masculine displays of woodcraft skills. This one is sure to impress. While, debatably a true adventure, nobody dislikes the gooey, melty, chocolately treats. People tend to enjoy a bit of nostalgia and, often, you’ll find that it has been years since your partner has had a S’more. They’ll thank you for it.

A classic movie favorite, go watch the stars. Find somewhere romantic, a beach, beside a lonely willow tree on an open hill in a field, a swinging chair by the river. Just ask yourself if it’s cliché and, if it is, you’re probably on the right track. You can try taking a bottle of wine and some goblets but they might be conspicuous unless you take a backpack. Watching the stars really is relaxing though. Watch out for hordes of night-dwelling mosquitoes during the summer months though. Clear winter nights tend to have the most crisp views but they’re rare and, well, cold!

Once you’re both comfortable with eachother’s skill level then begin building up to a common goal. Start backpacking together, or kayaking. Plan a trip together and train for your upcoming adventure. Whatever you do, don’t just buy a gym membership and run on a stupid treadmill in the corner of a room with a bunch of other hopeless people. Not only are gym membership dues outrageous, gyms are just plain old boring places. Get outside, share your time together, build a skill base, and find some adventure travel. Pretty soon you’ll both be moving on to bigger and better adventure. Together.

Ed Stafford National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year


Amazon River credit: NASA, from Wikipedia

Thanks to our partner CampingGearTV for this opportunity. This one is super interesting! Ed Stafford, British native, becomes the first man ever known to have walked the length of the Amazon from source to sea. According to Ed in the interview, he averaged 4 miles a day through the jungle! That’s ridiculously slow! My favorite quote from this interview was when Ed describes his thought process leading up to the walk, it goes something like this:

“I thought, what part of this is physically impossible? What one mile of this walk is physically impossible? The answer was none of them, so I just did it.”

Sunday, February 13, 2011 Announces Video Blog

Adventure Lifestyle Blog proudly announces the first official entry in the Video Blog journal. To view the video blog, find the link on the navigation bar on the left side of this page or click here. Keep your eyes out for more to follow! As the weather improves, so will the videos!

Go follow Adventure Lifestyle Blog on YouTube to keep updated on the video blog. You can find us on YouTube here.

In case you missed the news, photo galleries are now also online. You can find them on the navigation bar as well, or click here. Announces Photo Galleries

Some more news on the Adventure Lifestyle Blog:

First off, you’ll be seeing some content from the guys over at on the site coming up. Thanks, Josh, for making this possible.

photo galleries are coming online! The first of these is up now so navigate over to it on the left. It’s the Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail which I explored in 2010. Expect to see a lot more photo galleries as I update old trips and wilderness photography albums. Expect to see them arranged under a “Photo Galleries” heading as more and more come online.

Lake Huron

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Les Stroud Divorce

I have to address an issue that came up on the old Contemporary Adventures site. Poking around Google one day I saw the popular search “Les Stroud Divorce”. I thought to myself, this must be more gossip hype, I haven’t heard anything about Les’s divorce. So I searched around and couldn’t find any solid confirmation of Les getting a divorce. Thus I concluded that Les Stroud was not getting divorced.

I was wrong.

A reader sent me over to Les’s personal blog where, under the entry “
What Comes Next” we can clearly see this proof of his divorce:

“...his personal life almost clear of a nasty separation...”

The reader who caught this posted anonymously or I would give credit to him or her for correcting me.

Adventure Lifestyle Blog Has Moved

The Adventure Lifestyle Blog is now located at:

We've moved to better serve you. I know you'll like the changes so head on over and if you're interested in the Contemporary Adventure Archives, they can all be found there. See you there!

Friday, February 11, 2011

RoadID Coupon

Here’s a special offer to my readers by


The coupon code at the bottom of this link is for $1 off any item on RoadID’s website. You’ll soon see me reviewing their elegant Wrist ID Elite. This company produces ID tags for outdoors enthusiasts to be used by emergency responders in gathering your medical history and emergency contacts in a worst case scenario. As a certified EMT, I can tell you that some emergency situations present first responders with unresponsive patients, in which case their only source of information may be medic alert tags, like RoadID’s. Go check out their products. The FIXX ID is located below, dog-tag style with customizable text and image. Coupon is valid for 30 days.


Coupon Code:


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weight Tracking Morning vs. Night

My weight always seemed to vary each time I visited the doctor, bouncing between 145 lbs and 155 lbs. My curiosity peaked and I had to test for weight fluctuations during the course of a day. Over 15 days I recorded my weight, without clothing, morning and night. Unfortunately I didn’t measure my weight at exactly the same times each day, nor did I specifically control a number of other variables. However, by living as I normally would, this test maintains a high external validity.

Over the course of this test my average morning weight was equal to 147.95 lbs. The average of my nightly weights came out to be 149.57 lbs. An average difference of 1.61 lbs between morning and night weights.

Why it happens:

According to Discovery Health the body processes of respiration and transpiration (sweat) account for a significant amount of weight loss during the night. This is because of the very high percentage of water in the body and it’s relatively high density.

Livestrong attributes the weight loss not to water loss, but caloric consumption by body processes during sleep. The body repairs muscles and organs as well as carrying out micro-level cellular functions which all consume nutrient, thus consuming weight.

A combination of these two explanations seems logical.

What’s the significance?

Okay, so I tracked my weight. What this means to you is that we can see from my data that throughout the course of a day there seems to be a tendency to gain weight. So here’s what I suggest. Get your exercise done in the morning! You’ll be carrying less weight for the task. Also, watch what you eat towards the end of the day. It seems that I “sleep” off some weight over the night so try to keep it that way by not snacking before you hit the sack again.

Maybe you interpret the data this way: do your exercise in the evening to burn off some of those extra calories you picked up during the day. However you decide to plan your exercise, hopefully you’ll keep this in mind. It’s obvious that I lost weight during the night, so we can assume that will apply to the average person.

It also means that by the time you wake in the morning your body is most likely dehydrated to a certain degree and most likely lacking in nutrients. So chug some water and maybe down a power bar before you hit that morning exercise so that your body has what it needs to function optimally.


I can conclude, from this data, that I weigh less in the morning than I do at night. I cannot say, conclusively, that all people follow this trend, however it seems likely. This is, by its self, no large revelation. However I hope it brings some awareness to you be it whimsical or educational.


Picture 2

This is the new face of adventure! Hello readers, and welcome to those of you from We’ve moved to to better serve our readers!

It’s amazing how much more functional a real web development tool can be. I hope you all enjoy the new easy to use format. Check the left hand column for the old adventure archives listed at Contemporary Adventures. Article entries here will now be organized and much easier to find by topic.

Among other recent developments I am happy to announce my collaboration with Constantin Gabor from He is a personal friend and a great author and web developer.

Another recent partnership to note is that Adventure Lifestyle Blog will now be working with OutsidePR & Sports Marketing, an outdoor marketing firm based in San Francisco. You’ll be seeing me post some new and exciting articles thanks to their unique opportunities.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Best Android Outdoor Apps

Everybody's heard of the Android smart phones. If you're an hiker, biker, backpacker or any kind of outdoor traveler these phones can do work for you. You no longer need a stand-alone GPS since most smart phones have on-board GPS systems. They also, generally, can give turn-by-turn directions to any location on Google Maps. The possibilities are endless!

Maybe you're like me and having something to quantify your adventures is appealing. I like to be able to share my adventures with friends, and to be able to look back on my recent exploits. I tend to get down on myself about not being outdoor enough but having recorded tracks of y outdoor activities reminds me, "Hey, you were out hiking just the other day... for 6.7 miles at 2.98 mph average... etc." It's kinda fun.

Here's a list of my favorite Android Outdoor Apps:

1. Endomondo
Endomondo QR code
    This app is fun! It can track your activities, record a map, keep averages and statistical data and then upload it to Facebook as soon as you're done. Then you can show all your friends how much better you are at mountain biking than they are. Booyah! The pro-version of this app has a personal coach which will provide you with all the vocal encouragement you need to beat your previous run, hike, or bike time. Also very fun. Endomondo can be a little inaccurate in speed statistics sometimes, that's really its only drawback. Download here.

2. My Tracks
My Tracks QR code
    This app is more functional than Endomondo but a little less user friendly. It's not as easy as Endomondo to upload to social networking sites. However, it does track your activities using GPS for distance, elevation, speed, averages, etc. It provides more accurate overall statistics (Endomondo has shown me going over 20 mph on cross country skis!).

3. Trimble Outdoors
Trimble QR code
    This one doesn't come in the "free" version and, you know me, that means I haven't tried it. As far as I'm concerned the other two apps have got all my needs covered and they're free so why pay more? Trimble does look like a nice app, though. If any of you have used it and want to put up a review either comment or email me. I'll be happy to check it out!

4. c:geo ~ geocaching for Android
C:geo QR Code
    You've probably heard of geocaching. It's a GPS guided outdoor hide and seek game where you're seeking hidden boxes in the woods filled with random items. Really quite childish and simple yet highly entertaining! is the "official" geocaching website, although they don't in any way "own" the activity. They simply have assembled the largest and most user friendly database of geocache locations. With an Android smartphone, one can simply download c:geo and access this database for free! The GPS on c:geo isn't very accurate but for free... I like it. asks for $30 a year to access their database. With c:geo it's free... I know this seems like a scam, but I don't ask questions and everybody's happy. Got it? You can sort caches by their proximity to you and they are very commonly found in cities. Great urban adventure!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nature Site of the Week

Any of you coming from Nature Center Magazine's website? Leave me a comment to tell me you stopped by! Check out the archives and hit the follow button because what's yet to come will certainly be the best!

Adventure Lifestyle Blog became Nature Center Magazine's Nature Site of the Week! Thanks Emma!

You can find the post here.

Also, check out Nature Center Magazine's home page here to see all that they have to offer in the outdoor blogging world.


Monday, February 7, 2011

How to Find Adventure in Modern Life

The blog How to Find Adventure in Modern Life has been renamed to the blog you see before you today. This blog is still undergoing changes and updates to become more user friendly, accessible, and take on a clean appearance.

Leave a comment if you have any ideas or suggestions you'd like to see implemented in the development of this site. What works for you, and what doesn't? The opinions of my readers count.

Survival Rule of the Day

The rule of threes:

3 minutes without air
3 hours without shelter
3 days without water
3 weeks without food

These are very general estimates but what they do convey accurately is the order in which one needs to acquire each of the essential survival necessities. The rule I'm going to discuss today is concerning water.

If you've gone several days without water, but are finding plenty to eat then do not eat! Your body needs water to digest food and without a source of fresh water to hydrate your body, you will speed up the process of dehydration by eating. You're going to die of dehydration well before you succumb to starvation.

Survival Rule of the Day:
No water? No food.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Best Adventure Game of All Time

I know this is abstract, but bear with me here. Of all the adventure games ever made, few have ever been so far ahead of their time. If you were breathing during the late 90's, I hope you were playing The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. And if you were, chances are it's among your top ten best adventure games ever. It is, and always will be, my number one.

As a kid, nothing inspired me more than role-playing an adventure seeking, kingdom saving, princess winning elf. In fact I think I can attribute a lot of my childhood obsession with bladed weapons, blacksmithing, magic, and the general fantasy nerdiness to this game. This is a good thing, however, as it has evolved to a life-long passion for the outdoors, adventures, and being a badass in general. I still have an obsession with making and using bladed weapons, although my chances to save a kingdom (and a princess) are limited these days.

Nothing was more fun to me in my youth then wandering the wilderness with my friends while carrying fake Master Swords, Biggoron Swords, and the Hyrulian Shield. I even bought myself an Ocarina at a renaissance fair, entirely due to my love of Link and his badass little blue potato ocarina. Really, when I start thinking back, I feel like I need to give more credit to this game for shaping my life. It has been a good role-model to me. I also need to go find more Great Fairy Fountains... and collect some chickens...

This all said, today I had an urge to YouTube some Ocarina of Time ocarina songs. People on YouTube have done a fantastic job of posting original and remixed versions of these songs, some amazing, some... not so amazing. It's truly unique how many young talented musicians have done covers of these tunes on various instruments. Today I YouTubed the Song of Storms, from the crazy music man who hangs out in the windmill, incessantly cranking out the tune on his music box in Kakariko Village. Oh, Kakariko Village... *sigh*

Here's a set of lyrics that someone posted to follow the tune of The Song of Storms and I think that, regardless of whether or not you're a Zelda fan, you'll love these lyrics. They're prefect adventure lyrics, to be sung at any time on an adventure while, perhaps, trekking across the lands or riding the prow of a ship, dazzling droplets of water splashing up in your face.

In the night
Blew a storm
Taking shadows to the shore
Lightning filled the sky
Thunder roared and cried
Close your eyes
Come along
Dance until the night is gone
Singing a song of storms

Credit: YouTube user: lostthegame1

And here's the video for the original music to the Song of Storms, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Backpacking Treadmill Training and Conditioning

It's winter time and a lot of the backpacking community is looking for ways to get into or stay in shape for the warm-weather backpacking season! Using a treadmill is a great idea. Running on a treadmill will help your cardio, but running and backpacking are two different worlds. There are separate muscle groups that need conditioning for carrying that heavy backpack load.

Here's what you need:

  1. Your backpacking gear
  2. Treadmill
  3. DVD player or laptop computer
  4. Earphones

Here's how it works:

Set up the TV and DVD player, or laptop on or in front of your treadmill. My laptop fits nicely into a little area on my treadmill's control panel. Throw on your backpack and your boots or shoes and hook up the earbuds. Toss in your favorite outdoor show *cough* Survivorman *cough* and do some walking. I like to put my treadmill up at a º10 angle (that's as high as it goes) and walk for 15, put it flat for 15, and then back to º10 for 15. By then an episode of Survivorman is just finishing up, I've been inspired by watching beautiful outdoor shots, refreshed some survival knowledge, and gotten in my workout for the afternoon. Perfect.

Don't forget if you're trying to really train hard and condition, push the pace to where you're just starting to need to jog to keep up and then back it off one. Don't run with your pack on, it will hurt you and your gear in the long 'run'. Keep pushing yourself every day and pretty soon you'll need more outdoor shows to watch (or you could re-watch Survivorman).

Good luck!

Les Stroud | Gemini Award 2009

Unfortunately Les didn't win Best Host at the Gemini Awards. He remains one of the most under-appreciated television show hosts. Check out that Tux though, suave.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How to Live the Simple Life

This is a guest post by my dear friend Neal Popa.

    Though the thought is a sad one, it is a nearly universal truth that the word was larger and full of more wonder when we were young lads and lasses. I recall going on expeditions into a patch of trees in front of my home that measures no more than 50 yards by 50 yards, yet as a young boy I could (and did) spend hours in that lot of trees with my brother “exploring.” We explored the same area just about three times a week, digging holes that had no purpose, leaning sticks against trees for no reason throwing rope around low branches and trying to get onto the roof of our shed. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I cannot recall our thoughts and dreams as we did these things, but I know for a fact that they were the best kind of dreams, and the most creative of thoughts. 

    The wonderful thing about it was we were never more than a five second run to our front door, and the lemonade and cookies that waited inside that door. Now, as young men of twenty, the world is a smaller place and the jumble of trees and bramble that separates the house from the road, or the corn from the bean fields, is not as wondrous as it was before. This unfortunate phenomenon makes old-school summer fun and childhood adventures much more difficult to come across.

A simple solution to the problem? Look up.

    Before the weather got too cold, I walked out my front door ready for an adventure that should take my mind and body a good distance from the comfort of my bed. What was different about this little personal trek was that I was out of the house for no more than an hour and never left the yard. Armed with my trusty recurved bow and duct-tape quiver across my back, a garage-sale kitchen knife thrust through my belt, a stout stick, a bugle horn, and dressed in dirty Goodwill clothing I walked to the side of the house and into the section of un-kept grass and shrubbery. It was on the small patch of land that I found my freedom, crawling on all fours through bushes and pivoting my head to watch for “enemies” or “game” I made my way slowly and peacefully to the largest bush in the plot, in the furthest corner of our property. 

    Shrugging off my few pieces of gear I reclined in the tall grass and watched clouds. From my bed of grass and earth I could see nothing of this man-made world, could only hear the soft wind through the grass and the crunch of dried leaves beneath my head as it moved ever so slightly to find comfort. The clouds floated by slowly, the sun lowered in the sky casting its colors onto my world and the occasional rustle of field mice put my body on edge, my mind thinking it was a thief or wild boar in the distant brush. 

    Perhaps I am childish, perhaps I let my mind go to freely, perhaps I am not mature or serious about the “important” things in life. But I was smiling, and for that hour I was miles away from the house, from any street or phone line. I was in a world and time where cars and highways did not and will not ever exsist. Looking to the sky as I was, the world around me that I could not see was whatever my mind wanted it to be, the thoughts and dreams of a young boy came back to me and the adventure of a young man still floated through my head and heart as freely as the clouds I watched floated through the sunset.

Just look up.