Outdoor Adventure Blog

Travel Advice: Italy

by Richard
05/07/2015 05:20:12 P.M.

In the past, the thought of traveling to Italy came with mental images of wine, pasta, and love—things wildly propagated by the entertainment industry. And while those things truly are aspects at the core of certain areas of Italian culture, my trip there informed me of the depth and breadth of that beautiful place. The following are a couple of my favorite experiences from a couple different genres:

The parks in these old cities are always the most amazing for me. In Rome, Passeggiata del Gianicolo was a delight—looking down upon the city from a tranquil public space. In Bologna, it was Giardini Margherita—tucked into a lonesome corner of a city as a tranquil little oasis. Whenever I get to that green space, I can breathe deeply and reconnect. It’s very meditative. I also greatly enjoyed a trip just into the Dolomites while I was there. Oh, and how could I forget Salerno, the entire coastline was an opportunity to take in a great big deep breath and enjoy. 

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The Power That Enables Your Travel

by Richard
04/10/2015 05:11:46 P.M.

Who knows about how electrical outlets work in other countries? I certainly didn’t until almost immediately before I was leaving on for an international trip.

The outlets in different areas of the world are different shapes, so the prongs are shaped to match them. Meaning: our US plugs don’t work.

But fear not, products like Eagle Creek’s Dual Wattage International Converter set solves that problem for you. The package consists of adapters for each of the major sockets throughout the world. It also includes, a power converter than can enable you to use high and low voltage to connect your device, regardless of where you find yourself.

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Shining Light on a Small, Powerful Headlamp

by Richard
03/21/2015 05:09:41 P.M.

15 years ago, I began camping more frequently and purchased a Black Diamond headlamp to accompany me in my outdoor adventures. It was small, light, and I adored using it. I ran that headlamp into the ground, using it for all my overnight expeditions for the next dozen years. And I’m amazed at how long it lasted. The quality in light never really diminished, but the elastic band slowly lost its strength. 

Two months ago, I was going on another trip and it was time to purchase a new lamp. I wasn’t sure if I’d find one that was as good and small as my longtime headgear. 

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The City Backpack That Braves the Weather

by Richard
02/13/2015 04:57:22 P.M.

Outdoor Research might be the coolest organization making outdoor gear in America right now. Proof of that is their brand new Rangefinder Backpack. 

In Florida—where I live—it rains a lot. Add that to the fact that I bike to work many days and there’s a recipe for trouble. Because I do my best to keep water away from my computer and important documents, I knew I needed a waterproof bag to transport my things on a day-to-day basis. I also have business meetings sometimes, where I need to not look completely like a scrub, so it’s nice to have a bag that follows suit. 

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The Lightest Way to Beat the Rain

by Richard
01/13/2015 03:34:56 P.M.

I’m not afraid to admit that I like rain. Sometimes when it rains, I simply go outside and let it soak me thru. Otherwise, I’d run quickly through it from point A to point B. That’s how I got by living in Florida for a couple years without a jacket.

But the fact of the matter is, I really needed one many times for work and travel, because there are times when getting soaked isn’t an option. I finally caved and decided to look for a jacket that I knew could last for a decade or more. So obviously I bought an Arc’’teryx. 

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Get a (Stronger) Grip

by Richard
12/17/2014 11:02:36 P.M.

If you're like me, you go to the rock gym because climbing is fun and a good workout. But if you're also like me, it takes you 20-30 minutes to get to said gym and that means your attendance is sometimes sporadic in the midst of your otherwise busy schedule.

That, among other reasons, is why I bought a Metolius Grip Saver Plus

Aside from getting injured, nothing is more frustrating than getting to the gym after a layoff and realizing that your strength is poor. For me, this mostly consists of hand strength, because other workout regimens I take part in work various other muscle groups. But it's difficult to keep hand strength up. That's where the Grip Saver comes in.

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The Only Soap

by Richard
11/07/2014 11:06:07 P.M.

On a hot summer day, when you and some of your closest buddies are running to the nearest lake to cool off, you don’t ask questions. You just jump in. Similarly, when one of those buddies tosses you a bottle of soap because you are a dirty mess (hypothetically, of course), you accept it willingly. 

It was in such a situation, over 9 years ago, that I met Dr. Bronner’s soap.

This may sound a bit melodramatic, but permit me to explain.

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Climbing Chatty

by Richard
10/20/2014 09:49:38 P.M.

My friend Thomas was about to have his golden birthday. For the lay person, that means he was about to turn the age of the date of his birthday. For him, that meant he was turning 30 on the 30th of the month. For that, he knew he had to do something special. And what he chose certainly qualified for that.

Three of us drove up through Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee in the hopes of finding some good climbing. We'd learned our lesson from before (see: Decide Before You Climb) and had a number of locations scouted out, along with a book that deeply described (with pictures) the walls and their routes. Ultimately, we chose to climb at Foster Falls.

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Decide Before You Climb

by Richard
09/18/2014 09:52:38 P.M.

I was recently invited to what's called a "baby moon" trip with my buddy. His wife was due to give birth to their daughter a few months from then and she wanted him to have one last good hurrah in the wilderness before the child came (Update: the child arrived...and is beautiful). 

So, five of us packed our bags and headed for Asheville, North Carolina, for a weekend at a lakehouse: climbing, swimming, grilling out, and relaxing. 

We decided to not particularly have any plans so that we could all take one collective breath from our normal schedule. This was a massively good decision...except for one logistic. Our climbing trip.

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Finding the Heart of Paris

by Richard
08/10/2014 06:22:30 P.M.

When looking for green in Paris, there are many places to go, but only one that will change your life—one way or another. And that place is Bois de Boulogne

Established by Louis Napolean over 150 years ago, this park (which is over 2,000 acres) literally carries within it the unexpected. There you can find a hippodrome, two man-made lakes, a massive forest, the famed Roland Garros tennis facility, and much much more. 

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