When I saw the Big Green Egg the first time, I thought it was a well-invested gimmick. All it took to sway my opinion was eating food cooked on it. After that, I was sold and began to lean into understanding how the science of these silly-looking grills (there are seven sizes) works.
Along the way, I learned that the Egg had been around for 30 years and already owned a great reputation. In fact, one of my buddies who is a professional chef (of high caliber) in Orlando was crossing his fingers that one of his friends or family would gift them the Egg off their registry for their wedding. Needless to say, I haven’t learned all the science, but I get the basics and what I’ve found is pretty amazing.
When I got on the Hobie Mirage Eclipse 12, it was a pretty straightforward paddleboard made of advanced composite epoxy and a EVA foam deckpad. So I just jumped off the dock onto the deck and started flying around Orlando's Lake Ivanhoe. But when I started unpacking what it has going on, I realized it's one of the craziest watercraft I’ve ever been on.
I was working on a project when a buddy texted me and asked if I wanted to go explore Point Reyes National Seashore. That’s all I needed to hear. I grabbed my Vibram CVT Hemp shoes, Prana Brion Shorts, Arc'teryx Rho AR, and a Detroit Tigers McDonald's-made hat from the 80s...and I was on my way.
I got to spend the morning on the Gulf waters in Panama City Beach, Florida in my Yukon Outfitters new 'Vista' series printed hammock.
The no-stretch 1.5 oz proprietary diamond ripstop polyester leaves no guesswork as to how high to hang your 10' by 5' hammock.
Pull the hammock-end of each 10' strap through its loop, cinch down on each anchor (trees, poles, or in my case, pier piles) and you're already adjusting your hammock to the perfect height with the quick-and-easy cinch buckle suspension system.
Havana is time travel. To a simpler time, an older time.
This—by proxy—makes things more difficult to deal with if you’re used to a Western mindset of “getting things done.” Being there forces you to align yourself to move with the ebb and flow. It is, in a word, inspirational. It makes sense to me that Hemingway and others made their way to the erstwhile hidden island, for it causes you to be, to think, to feel—in real time.
I spent 6 weeks traveling throughout central California, mostly around San Francisco’s Bay Area (including the incredible Point Reyes National Seashore) and there were a few critically important items I used while there while I camped, hiked, climbed, and biked around San Francisco. They were (for each of those activities, respectively) the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2, Arc'teryx Rho, Thule Parkway 4 Bike Rack, and Scarpa Boostic Climbing Shoes.
I recently purchased a new Therm-A-Rest sleeping pad—the ProLite Plus. I'd been holding off for a while because I'm more of a minimalist and rationales of "It's a $120 more than I 'd like to spend" and "I already have one" rang true in my head. But although those two comments were true, there were a couple specific things that nevertheless drove me to a new sleeping pad.
The springs in Florida are some of the most unique, beautiful places in North America. Water bursting silently out of the earth to form pools that remain at a consistent 72 degrees (approximately) all year long. These pools are wonderful little examples of heaven on earth. And most of them are close or fairly close to Orlando, where I live and where Travel Country makes its home. The following are my top 5 springs to visit and why I think so. If you haven’t checked any springs out yet, give them a try! They are truly excellent.
The only individual piece of clothing more important than a good pair of versatile shorts are any one of my pairs of Exofficio underwear. But while the undergarments are done and purchased and last a long time, the perfect shorts are a little more difficult to find. I had a great pair of Arc’teryx shorts a couple years ago, but they were discontinued. Recently, I found another lovely pair with the Prana Brion Shorts.
I’ve worked my way through a lot of backpacks through the years. I’ve even tried four different Outdoor Research models (including two separate models of the DryComp Ridge Sack), in large part because I enjoy them so much. The newest one, however, has become my favorite.
The Rangefinder Dry Backpack is far and away the coolest of the lot (they make a duffel, too), while still maintaining it’s excellent waterproofness. I use it on all occasions: for work (it looks pretty classy), play (because it’s waterproof and comfortable), travel (it’s a perfect carry-on), and more.