The newest, most essentially 10 Essentials list for outdoor adventure ever

If you’re going to be one of the cool kids, you better get crackin’ on this newest list of the 10 Essentials. 😉

One of the things that appeals to the outdoorsy set is the authenticity of the lifestyle. There is something that is pared down and pure about setting off into the wild, slowing down and testing yourself against the landscape and the elements.

What gets left behind: the cliques of school and the hierarchy of work. Just you, at peace with the world, with none of the BS of “normal” life.

But there are expectations to be met if you’re going to be a real outdoorist. I’ve done a tour of magazine and website articles, Instagram feeds and everything else that really matters in the outdoors and have compiled this list of 10 essentials (a new 10 essentials!) for the aspiring outdoor adventurer. Read and heed:

  1. The adventure rig: You’ve got to have wheels to get to those prime locales, and only certain types will do. They are the Toyota Tacoma pickup, the Toyota 4runner, the Jeep Rubicon and whatever all-wheel drive Subaru you come up with. What’s that you say? Your whip ain’t on that list? Sorry. You’re on the outside looking in.
  2. #vanlife: If you’re a real human of the outdoors, you can’t be a weekend warrior. Oh no. You need to be #committed. And that means living out of your vehicle, driving from camp to camp as you climb stuff, hike stuff, freelance stuff and take pics of sunrises through the open back doors/hatch of the van or truck you’re living in. Any vehicle can work, but if you’re going to be the real deal, it probably needs to be a built-out ride and should definitely be a van. Bonus points if it’s a Sprinter. If this ain’t you, then you should stay home and stop crowding the beautiful places where the vanlifers gather. Your Ford F-150 totally kills the vibe.
  3. An adventure dog: Just about everyone loves dogs. They’re happy, energetic and affirming buddies all too willing to go anywhere you go. Plus, they’re awesome conversation starters. Just watch someone roll up on a trailhead with their pooch, and instantly everyone wants to meet your furry friend. This, and they can carry stuff in dog packs and keep you warm in your tent, er, van. A discerning dog owner will make sure their prized pet is looking the part, preferably with a bandana tied around its neck like a scarf. That way we know it’s an outdoors dog.
  4. An adventure blog: Your adventures are awesome. So are your photos and videos. And some really profound stuff happens out there that people need to know about. So fire up your site, write some words and slap in some pics. Trip reports, listicles, cooking/fashion tips and think-pieces are waiting to be written. Some of that stuff might go viral, and you’ll get noticed. And that’s when the big bucks happen. Once that occurs, you’ll be able to pay off Nos. 1 and 2 on this list. 😉
  5. A social media arsenal. No one’s gonna read that blog if you don’t promote it on social. And you need Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and, well, I guess a bunch of other things to promote your blog, satisfy your sponsors (you’re a brand ambassador, right? RIGHT?) and generally build your personal brand so folks can relate to the real, authentic, outdoorsy you. You might be tempted to ask yourself if constantly updating all these accounts and building your list of followers is crimping your outdoorsy lifestyle, but don’t. FEED THE BEAST. Cuz, pics or it didn’t happen.
  6. Trucker hats: If you don’t already have a set of these, get crackin’. Not a baseball cap, not a brimmed hat, not anything of the sort. It needs to be a trucker hat, preferably decorated with your favorite outdoors brand (NOT A SPORTSBALL TEAM EVER DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT THAT’S NOT REAL LIFE). These mesh-backed caps became all the rage for trail runners, and it’s only spread from there. Buy ten and be part of the in-crowd.
  7. Adventure drinks: Yeah, you need your water, and I guess some forms of sports drinks are OK. But generally speaking, there are only three outdoorsy drinks. First is coffee, preferably out of your own campsite French press. Second is the IPA (hoppier the better, and it MUST be brewed in Colorado, California or Oregon). Third is whisky. If you’re drinking tea, lagers or tequila/vodka/rum, you’re doing it wrong and should stay away from the trail and off my crag.
  8. The right soundtrack: This is a bit harder to define. It’s going to be kinda hipstery. Maybe with a touch of pop and folk. There should be some acoustic guitar, maybe notes of bluegrass but something you can dance to. But definitely not metal. You can’t be singing Mastodon or Black Sabbath around the campfire. Maybe more Lumineers or Grouplove. I dunno. This is out of my wheelhouse.
  9. The right wardrobe: On the trail, get your clothes at REI (no cotton!). In town, hit the thrift stores. And NO DANG SPORTSBALL TEAM APPAREL (see No. 6).
  10. The right camp games: Of these, there are two. The first is slacklining. This is how you prove your physical prowess while in camp (because proving your physical prowess is important, and doing it in camp is, well, I guess that’s important too). This is the preferred activity of climbers. The second is bocce. You can use plain ole rocks. Or be really cool and pack a set of actual bocce balls. Nothing says camp thrills like bocce and slacklining. Ask anyone.

So there you have it. If you don’t have/do these things or aren’t getting them lined up, get a move on, will ya? Otherwise, please stick to the night clubs and golf courses you’re used to.

DISCLAIMER: My dream car is a four-wheel-drive Tacoma and I love dogs. I’m a whisky guy and have partnered with a shoe company. I’d slackline if my balance was better and have played bocce at camp. If you’re reading this, then it’s obvious I’ve got a blog and you’ll find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and my playlist includes all four bands mentioned above. If you’re offended by any of this, recognize that truth and farce can coexist as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously. And you’ll only pry my Broncos trucker hat out of my cold, dead hands.

Bob Doucette

A shameless plug to be your outdoor NASCAR

The message in this thoughtfully posed photograph: LET ME PIMP YOUR STUFFFF!!!!

The message in this thoughtfully posed photograph: LET ME PIMP YOUR STUFFFF!!!!

So I’ve been regularly writing about outdoorsy stuff for more than six years now. First, for a blog at a former employer (I dare you to find the Out There blog on NewsOK.com), and for the past three-plus years, here on this site. Beyond just enjoying the subject matter, I’ve learned a bunch about how social media plays a part in how these sites work.

Corporate America has paid attention, too. Some of my favorite outdoor writers get decent advertising on their sites and sponsorship deals do to rad things. I’ve had a small slice of that pie (thank you, Salomon!), but for the most part, I really think all those gear companies and travel outfits are missing out. I’m what they call in the biz “unsponsored.” But I could be a better billboard for your stuff than a NASCAR driver.

Don’t believe me? Let me just give you a rundown of the stuff I had with me and the role it all played in my latest outing, paired with clever slogans that took me an entire five seconds to compose:

Nissan Murano: Even though it’s 11 years old, it’ll get you there. And serve as your shelter.

The North Face: We’ll keep you warm. Even in the back of an old-ish car.

Thermarest: We’ll make the back of that car comfy.

Columbia: Maker of the Omni-Wick and Omni-Shield. We’ll keep you warm when you’re walking.

The U.S. Defense Department: Our “hiking pants” are better than yours. OORAH!

Merrell: The Goodyear of foot-powered locomotion since, well, awhile. Or should Goodyear be called the Merrell of car-powered travel since… I dunno. Whatever. They’re my shoes.

Smith & Wesson: We make knives, too!

Mossberg: Peace through superior firepower for car campers nationwide. #ClickClickBoom

Remington: Got buckshot? We do.

Icebreaker: Keepin’ noggins warm for generations of wanderers everywhere. Even Oklahoma.

Bass Pro Shops: Maker of Red Head socks, which keep your tootsies just as warm as stuff three times the price.

Apple: The iPhone 5: It’s a camera. It’s a phone. It’s the raddest electronic ball-and-chain on the planet. Well, until we put out the 6. And the 6-plus. Yeah, those are better.

Tecate: The official beer of post-hike dinosaur-track observing.

Now I figure I could hastag my way into outdoor social media stardom and become the next “it guy” for outdoor retailers everywhere. But I prefer to cut to the chase. Just read those pitches. Bask in their glory (but don’t steal ‘em; that would be rude). Just listen to the cha-ching that would go along with a picture of your product worn/carried/driven/pimped out by me; I’ll do my best to look all pensive/serious/rad/epic. Maybe do all that with a selfie stick.

As much as this will be a game-changer for you, it will be life-changing for me. Hopefully I’ll have time between all these sponsorship deals and guest appearances to, you know, do stuff.

Maybe I need an agent…

Bob Doucette

Three new gym characters who annoy the crap out of me

weights

Every now and then, I use this space to air my gym grievances. You can read a past installment here.

Well, folks, now it’s that time again. There have been a few characters of late that have earned my ire.

Let’s just begin…

The gang of talkers. These are the buddies who lift together at the gym, which on paper is a good thing. If you get the right training partner, you can push each other and hold each other accountable. But it goes bad when these folks tag-team a station for their own personal gabfest. If it happened on some military press machine or ab crunch contraption, no biggie. Do it at the squat rack? That’s where I draw the line. High-demand stations are not meant for conversation. If you and your buddy wanna yuck it up, go to a freakin’ coffee shop. When you’re at the gym, do your work, cut the chit-chat and get a move-on because some of us might be waiting to get under a bar on the rack.

The pungently self-unaware. For a couple of weeks straight, some poor sap has walked into the gym and lingered for awhile with a stench that can only be described as that of a wet dog. My guess is he lives in a home with a lot of unbathed dogs and pet dander. If that’s your thing, fine. But do us a favor and head to the gym clean. This goes for any potential stink. If you think you might have an air of funk, you probably have funk. Do something about it and spare us your eu de sleeping-bag-mank.

The lifter with “passion.” Not long ago, a fella was in the gym doing lightweight deadlifts, but he was giving it his all. And to hear his grunts, it seemed like he was loving every minute of it. Let me just get to the point: His verbalized exertions sounded more like throes of passion, and I’m not down with that. Lift, and lift hard. If a grunt comes out, fine. But it ain’t rut season, folks. I don’t want to hear your mating call mid-rep. Don’t make me tell you and your barbell to get a room.

There. I feel better. But I’m sure something will happen in the future that will drive me to follow up on this post of annoying gym behaviors.

Bob Doucette

5 reasons why swallowing a bug is awesome

Icky pest or the next big thing in sports nutrition? You decide!

Icky pest or the next big thing in sports nutrition? You decide!

The other day I was out running trails when something startling happened. A bug flew into my mouth and right down my throat.

It wasn’t a huge bug, thank goodness. But enough to make me gag. Despite my best efforts I wasn’t able to cough the little sucker up. Down the hatch!

I’ve also snorted a bug while riding a bike. No recovering that one, either.

Spend enough time on the trails, it’s gonna happen. You’re going to eat a bug, and not on a dare.

Gross, right? But there is a silver lining. The following may be the most awesome list you’ve ever read on this subject. Of course, it might be the only list you’ve ever read on this subject. Anyway, here goes…

Protein! Carb up for a big run or ride all you want, but you also need some protein to balance things out and help rebuild muscles torn down from a hard workout. And guess what? Bugs are a great source of protein and healthy fat, much better than beef, pork or chicken. Who knew!

Locally sourced! You can feel really good about yourself in that the bug you just snarfed didn’t have to be trucked in from South America. Absolutely no carbon footprint was made in the consumption of your little mini-meal with wings. Way to go, you!

Organic! Yes, by choosing (or not choosing) to dine on your locally sourced six-legged snack, you can rest assured that this little morsel contains no GMOs, artificial colors or flavors or anything else that might poison the temple that is your body. Nothing but pure, home-grown, all-natural insect. Yum!

Cruelty free! Ah, yes, more balm to soothe your conscience. Free-range, cage-free animal protein is respectful and kind in respect to the bug in question, right up until the point it goes down your gullet. Be content in knowing that during its brief life, your bug was a happy bug. And happy bugs taste better.

Gluten free! Hey, you gotta ride the hot trends in nutrition, and the gluten-free wave is the biggest thing to hit the food industry since oat bran. No processed wheat product here. In fact, it’s a good bet that these little critters are largely allergen-free altogether. Peanut allergy? Lactose intolerant? No prob. As long as you can stomach the ingestion of the invertebrate kind, you’re good to go with no wonky bowels, hives or swelling. Or so we hope.

So there ya go, five things to remember the next time an insect flies a little too close to your grille and happens to get sucked into you gaping maw. As a bonus, you can pat yourself on the back for taking part in the glorious circle of life while getting your workout on.

In conclusion,  you can look at it one of two ways: as a horrifying, gag reflex-inducing incident, or you just being awesome, getting your nutrition in the most natural and hands-free method known to humankind.

You go, you.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088