Today, we’re overwhelmed with ways to stay entertained without ever having to step outside.
Streaming movies, playing video games, browsing limitless TV channels, and watching videos of cats provide endless amusement behind closed doors. However, staying inside day after day isn’t the healthiest way to live your life – there’s a whole world out there just demanding to be explored!
For anyone looking to see and do more, here are four eye-opening activities everyone should try at least once.
#1. Whitewater Rafting
Few pastimes provide adrenaline-pumping excitement while putting you at the mercy of nature’s awesome power.
Whitewater rafting is fast, frantic, invigorating, life-affirming fun. Needless to say, you should only go on your first rafting trips with experienced people to stay as safe as possible.
While there are many stunning whitewater rafting spots around the world, we have more than our fair share here in the USA. Check out the Green River, Salmon River, and Chattooga River for a taste of our finest waters.
Anyone who ever watched Point Break (the original, of course), Blue Crush, or even Surf’s Up will admit to feeling even a little tempted to try surfing, but how many of us actually do?
Well, quite a few actually – believe it or not, there are more than 2 million surfers across America. It’s easy to see why, too. We’re lucky to have a stunning variety of beaches to visit, offering some mind-blowing waves.
It’s natural to be intimidated by such a wild activity, yet surfing transforms lives – so much so fans tend to wonder how they coped before.
Don’t just grab a board and dive in – take lessons, prepare, and follow professional advice. When you’re ready, consider visiting Oahu’s Sunset Beach, California’s Trestles, and the famous Malibu Beach (of course).
#3. Mountain Climbing
As challenging, exhausting, and time-consuming as mountain climbing is, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as the view from the top.
Reaching a mountain’s peak, breathing the crisp air, and taking in the vista at your feet is an incredible experience everyone should enjoy at least once. Climbing a mountain is also a terrific way to build friendships and discover the joys of teamwork.
As a beginner, consider climbing Mt. Katahdin (in Maine’s Baxter State Park), Half Dome (in California’s Yosemite National Park), or Longs Peak (Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park). These may look tough at first glance, but they’re all prime challenges for novices.
Invest in top-quality mountaineering gear to maximize your own safety.
# 4. Skiing
Perhaps the least-extreme activity on this list, skiing is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors while having fun. Skiing’s also ideal for keeping fit, demanding a strong core, solid control of your own body, and fast reflexes.
You also get to enjoy some unforgettable views, breathe clean mountain air, and spend relaxing evenings in luxurious ski lodges.
Here in America, we’re lucky to have plenty of amazing ski resorts, most of which are accessible for beginners. Winter Park, Aspen, Vail, and Beaver Creek are all top choices for the novice.
Before you try any of these, be sure to invest in quality gear, including waterproof backpacks, safety equipment, and more.
America is one of the most stunningly diverse countries on Earth, filled with immense natural beauty and countless awe-inspiring landmarks.
Our national parks are some of the world’s greatest, providing endless sights to enjoy, landscapes to wander, and activities to enjoy. Every year, millions of people – Americans and tourists from farther afield – visit our parks, to see the best we have to offer. In fact, 2016 is the National Park Service’s Centennial, and we have a lot to thank them for!
Still, while we all know Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, why not look to the less-obvious options across our country? There are plenty more underrated national parks to explore.
Next time you’re looking for the perfect spot for a little hiking, cycling, or family-time in the great outdoors, consider one of these five underrated sites …
North Cascades National Park (Washington)
North Cascades National Park is a truly incredible spot to visit, with the various areas inside it retaining the names they were given so many years ago.
You will discover Nooksack, Shuksan, Sahale, Skagit, and more, as as well as timeless pictographs left on Lake Chelan’s surrounding cliffs by the Chelan tribe.
This was established as a national park in 1968, and is a popular spot for mountaineers and hikers. Mount Triumph and Eldorado Peak are two of the most common destinations for dedicated climbers, and Mount Shuksan has the park’s second-tallest peak – at a staggering 9,127 feet!
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Colorado)
Based in the San Luis Valley, this was established as a park and preserve in 2004, though it had been known as Great Sand Dunes National Monument since 1932.
This is an unforgettable site to explore, featuring some of the highest sand dunes to be found in all of North America, measuring as tall as 750 feet. There’s plenty to see, with pine forests, six mountains topping 13,000 feet, and numerous wetlands (home to many different flora and fauna).
Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)
Isle Royale National Park was established in 1940, but was classed as a national wilderness area in 1976 before being registered as an international biosphere reserve just four years later. This hugely-expansive site actually reaches to Canada’s Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, at the border between nations.
For anyone looking to camp at a new site, there are 36 campgrounds available, with some fairly remote (accessible by private boats). Meanwhile, the Greenstone Ridge Trail is a popular hiking option, with 40 miles of path leading right across the island.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (Alaska)
Looking to truly get away from it all? This national park is one of the country’s most remote, with hot springs, lava flows, and other stunning features to enjoy.
This was established in 1978, and lacks the easy access offered by many other national parks. How do you get in? Bush planes, boats, snowmobiles, and even dog sleds are generally used depending on the time of year you visit.
Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Established in 1929, Grand Teton National Park racks up millions of visits every year (in 2015 alone, it welcomed almost 3.5m guests).
One of the park’s most remarkable features? It retains an ecosystem best-described as close to pristine, home to much of the same flora and fauna which has been there since prehistory. It’s favored by hikers (unsurprising, given its 200 miles’ worth of trails) and mountaineers.
There are over a thousand campsites for people looking to immerse themselves in one of America’s most picturesque environments overnight.
No matter which of these underrated national parks you visit first, you should put plenty of time into researching the opportunities and facilities available. As always, taking the proper supplies and equipment will help you get the most out of your experience, and ensure you remain safe.
For those of us yet to try climbing, it can seem daunting, dangerous, and flat-out scary.
However, with commitment, training, and the right gear, climbing is actually more accessible than you may imagine. While it might not be the best option for anyone who struggles with heights, climbing is otherwise an exciting, challenging way to see the great outdoors.
Here in the United States, there are plenty of stunning spots perfect for climbing. Red River Gorge, Silver Mountain, and Rifle Mountain Park all offer fantastic ascents in picturesque surroundings, spurring you on with the promise of stunning views at the peak.
As a beginner, you’re sure to have your concerns, and may even be a little nervous. This is understandable, and to help you out, we’ve compiled some invaluable expert tips.
Understand that Everyone Falls Sooner or Later
Without doubt, falling is one of the scariest parts of climbing. You can imagine that sinking feeling in your stomach as you miss a handhold or slip, and the world seeming to spin off its axis.
However, you’ll have a rope to keep you fastened securely. If you fall, your gear will keep you safe – but falling is the perfect way to test it out. After all, how else are you supposed to know all that equipment’s doing exactly what it should?
Once you get used to the feel of falling and trust your equipment, you’ll find you can relax and enjoy climbing even more.
Don’t Think You’ve Failed if You Can’t Reach the Top
When starting out on your climbing career, remember to take it easy on yourself.
You may approach climbing with the mindset that not being able to reach the top makes you a failure, but it doesn’t. At all.
Who’s to stop you coming back and trying again someday as your skills improve? Whoever started something new and instantly conquered every challenge?
Focus on learning with each climb, and put this to good use the next time you try that route again. Knowing your limits is vital. If you try to push yourself too far too soon, you may fall out of love with climbing when you’ve only just started.
Spend Time with a Pro
While it’s all well and good learning to climb with your friends, you should invest in some professional classes.
Indoor climbing centers will usually offer courses or tutorials, helping you to learn the basics, how to use your gear, and identify the best routes up a surface.
As with any activity, searching for a shortcut and failing to prepare as you should can lead to problems along the way.
Never Skimp on Gear
Don’t cut corners to save a few cents here and there.
Investing in the best climbing gear you can afford is essential. If you buy a worn rope or a pair of ancient, ripped boots to be thrifty, you may well be risking your safety.
Speak with experienced climbers and pick their brains for recommendations. At Adamant Gear, we stock a variety of climbing pro mountain gear – feel free to get in touch if you have questions. We’re always happy to help.
During the colder months, exercising outdoors can be tough. When it’s cold, wet, or snowing heavily, your natural instinct tends to involve curling up in front of the fire. Finding the motivation to go for that three-mile run or take a swim can be difficult.
Still, this isn’t true of everyone – many people love to get out there and enjoy the brisk, biting chill. One of the most popular winter sports?
Without doubt, snowboarding is one of the coolest, most dynamic of all winter sports, a mix of skateboarding and skiing that demands considerable skill. Of course, the stunning snow-capped locations hold immense appeal, helping to attract newcomers year on year.
Always been curious to try snowboarding but unsure exactly how it benefits you?
Let’s take a look at just a few reasons you should give it a try.
Build a Tougher Body
Snowboarding looks far, far easier than it actually is. Staying on your board while traveling downhill at speed requires incredible balance, which works your entire body.
Steering your board strengthens your calves, quads, and hamstrings, while your arms and shoulders work hard to keep you steady.
Get a Cardiovascular Workout
Believe it or not, snowboarding can provide one heck of a cardio workout.
For the average person, you’ll burn anywhere from 250 to more than 600 calories per hour of snowboarding. This depends on the terrain, of course, but as very few people spend less than a few hours on their board, you’re sure to feel the burn.
Walking back uphill provides extra exercise, as does picking yourself up out of the snow (we all fall now and then).
If you’ve watched snowboarders in action, you’ll know just how often they need to twist and turn, changing direction and speed with fast movements. You need to move with the terrain and develop strong control over your body.
Over time, you’ll find you become more flexible and develop better balance.
Lighten Your Mood
Like any exercise, snowboarding makes you feel better in body and mind.
Why? It releases endorphins, those all-important neurochemicals that regulate happiness. As you work your way down the slopes, working your body, you should feel good, content, and motivated.
This goes hand-in-hand with the overall fun you can have in a snowboarding environment. If you’re lucky enough to travel to one of America’s best snowboarding destinations (such as Mount Bachelor, Mammoth Mountain, or Jackson Hole) you’ll get to enjoy amazing views.
You can also make snowboarding trips into luxurious holidays, bonding with friends and meeting new people in a unique setting. Think that will help to keep lifting your mood higher and higher?
Before you start snowboarding for the first time, it’s vital you spend time researching the best boards, the right gear, and the usual practice-methods to get you ready for your first trip.
If you plan on taking food, drink, first-aid kits, and other essentials on the slopes with you, don’t forget to take a waterproof backpack with you. Otherwise, your supplies may well get wet if you happen to fall again and again.
Riding your bike in the city is exciting, an easy way to stay fit on your commute, and a great reason to explore your urban environment.
But if you never take your pair of wheels beyond the streets you see everyday, you’re missing out.
America is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet, and what better way to see it than by bike? There are many different bicycle trails out there, offering fantastically diverse terrain and breathtaking views. Some of these tend to be pretty darn long, and will demand more than just a day’s cycling – but the journey is absolutely worth the time.
To help you stay fit and connect with the great outdoors, we’ve put together five of the best bike trails from across the States …
C&O Canal Trail
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal measures an incredible 184.5 miles.
This runs alone the Potomac River’s north bank, and stretches right from Washington, DC all the way to Cumberland, MD. The canal itself was formed in the first half of the 19th century, between 1828 and 1850.
C&O Canal Trail’s best for hybrid or mountain bikes, and you’ll find camping areas (with all the facilities you need) at regular intervals.
The Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail runs from Denver to Durango, crossing nearly 500 miles of terrain, passing through the stunning Rocky Mountains. You’ll pass by unforgettable creeks, lakes, and more.
This is a real change of environment if you’re used to cycling through urban environments or flat ground. The Colorado Trail’s average height is more than 10,000 feet, though this rises and dips throughout.
It can be pretty demanding on your body, and you’ll need a reliable mountain bike to get from beginning to end. You’re best taking this with someone else who’s tried it before, or invest in a high-quality map and guide.
Take a look at our Double-Wall Alloy A1 Racing Bike, which is just as good for your inner-city cycling as hitting a challenging trail like this.
Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
This beautiful path runs from a mining town close to the Montana border, named Mullan, to a town called Plummer, based within range of Washington’s border. The trail runs 72 miles, and takes in a variety of views.
You’ll see the Silver Valley, the Chatcolet Bridge, Heyburn State Park, and more.
Maah Daah Hey Trail
Okay, so this is a big one.
Rather than serving as just one trail, the Maah Daah Hey is a system of routes offering something for all levels. Choose from the Long X (running 5.8 miles), the Overlook (just 0.3 miles), Maah Daah Hey itself (97 miles), Ice Cave (1.5 miles), and a few others.
There are grassy areas, tougher steep spots, prairies, and more.
The Katy Trail is 237 miles of trail, crossing much of Missouri, with more than half of it following the path trodden by the iconic Lewis and Clark.
This has smooth, flat terrain, and will provide a few days of stunning views – Americana at its best. Thankfully, you can get through this with pretty much any type of bike you prefer.
Needless to say, you must take a good supply of food, drink, spare clothes, maps, and first-aid kits. Research your route, invest time into reading up on other cyclists’ experiences, and take care.
Preparation is key for long hikes.
While you might like the romantic notion of just grabbing your backpack, boots, and heading out into the great unknown, the reality is very different. Without the right supplies in your kit, you can run into difficulty all too easily.
You should eat a snack every hour, to replace those electrolytes you lose through perspiration. Hiking burns a high number of calories, and if you underestimate how weak you’ll become without snacks, you face trouble. The average 160-lb hiker will burn anywhere from 430 to 440 calories for each hour, while someone closer to 200-lb will use up around 550 calories in the same period.
Surprised? This is all the more reason to be prepared.
To help you stay energized, focused, and satisfied on your hikes, we’ve put together five essential snacks. Enjoy!
#1: Dried Fruit
Dried fruits are delicious, quick to eat, and packed with fiber. By dehydrating fruits, excess water is removed, making them lighter in your backpack.
On top of this, fresh fruit is prone to bruising and spoiling in your backpack, leading to off-putting smells and remains. With dried fruit, you can package it neatly in clear bags without having to worry about damage, odors, or excess weight.
Go for apricots, banana slices, raisins, prunes, cranberries, and anything else that tempts your taste buds.
Want to keep your food dry on wet days? Take a waterproof backpack made with lightweight materials, which not only keeps your goods safe but also prevents any leaking drinks from seeping through to your clothes.
#2: Carb-rich Treats
As well as dried fruits, take a selection of crunchy, salty snacks with you. Pretzels are a favorite of so many of us, and their complex carbohydrates are just what you need to replenish that spent energy.
Crackers are another great option, particularly stronger ones unlikely to leave broken remains in your wake. Just like dried fruit, these can be stored with a minimum of fuss and weigh next to nothing.
#3: Wholegrain Pasta or Quinoa
Snacks are vital, but you’ll want a proper meal during longer hikes. Sticking with carbs, wholegrain pastas are a top option: their glucose provides slow-release energy over time. These will keep you going for longer than snacks alone.
Add vegetables for crucial vitamins, minerals, and extra flavor. Quinoa is another slow-releasing food, and like pasta, can be stored in airtight boxes for long-lasting freshness. These may take up a little more space than snacks, but they’re relatively lightweight.
#4: Soups for Warmth
During winter, hiking is a totally different experience. Rather than worrying about just overheating and sunburn, you have to balance your layers properly so you stay warm without getting too hot.
One way to help stay warm is by eating soup at regular intervals. Fill a flask with hearty soup, packed with vegetables (for that all-important energy) and perhaps a little spice for added heat.
Flasks filled with fluid bring more weight to your backpack, but you’ll be glad of a hot food on the coldest hikes.
Think cereal’s just for breakfast?
Granola, muesli, bran flakes, and other healthy cereals are packed with vitamins and minerals, and can really boost your energy. Luckily, cereal weighs almost nothing at all, so buy small boxes or prepare snack-sized portions that can sit neatly in your backpack’s side-pockets.
We hope this inspires you to explore a wide variety of snacks and meals while out exploring the world! You can even use these as rewards for accomplishing certain milestones during your hikes, creating incentives for your efforts.