Pumpkin-spice-everything, mums, and Labor Day vacations are actually not the most pressing to-do of your September. It is National Preparedness month here in the U.S. It is a time to reflect on who and what is most important in your life, and to make plans and take action to protect them in case of an emergency. And yes, once you've done that, then by all means, please go enjoy all the vacations and pumpkin-spice things with those wonderful people in your life.
Buying a flashlight can be tricky, and often people tend to settle for the least expensive light with the biggest numbers on the packaging only to be disappointed later when the light stops working after a small drop onto the floor. Fear not! I am here to help you sort through all the marketing jargon like “Turbo Mode” and to better understand what really matters; like, what’s a lumen? And, what type of flashlight should I buy for…(insert activity here)?
My first long distance road trip was a complete failure. I had been riding for years, so I felt assured I could manage a multi- day trip for a couple thousand miles. It was early June in Colorado, and about 5 hours into the ride it started snowing, which turned into a white out. It was wet, heavy and cold and I was not prepared. It was in the high 70’s when I left home, so I was wearing a half helmet, fingerless gloves and a leather jacket. After waiting out the storm on the side of the road and giving time for the snow to melt, I continued, freezing, until I made it to a gas station. I consumed large amounts of hot coffee and chocolate attempting a warm up. The only clothing options available to try to keep dry on the road were bright yellow dishwashing gloves and a shower cap. I planned to be Wyatt from Easy Rider, but I looked like Scuba Steve and I felt miserable. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even look at the other riders when I finished that days ride.
I’ve learned a number of lessons on my rides throughout the years. To save your ego and get you safely to your next destination, I’ve put together some helpful hints from my years on the road.
I live in an area that has the potential for fires and floods. Last year the fires were so bad, we had our first experience with evacuations. It was an incredibly intense experience and not the best time to be making decisions. If you are under a mandatory evacuation order, there is no time to waste.
National Preparedness Month is here again, and it is a great reminder that if you still haven’t built or updated your emergency kit, there’s no time like the present. A Go Bag (also referred to as a Bug-out Bag) is a pre-packed kit that will be your lifeline in case of an emergency evacuation situation. Some disaster scenarios don’t leave time for thorough planning in the moment. Fires, for example, move fast – so should you. In these instances, you aren’t going to be able to take your time to gather up everything you want to from home. A Go Bag is about making sure you have what you need and getting away quickly and safely. After working in the survival and medical industries over the last two decades and experiencing my own fire evacuation due to living in California, I have compiled a list of items that I have tested and strongly recommend.
Before you start compiling your kit, here are a few helpful considerations:
Build it out for the number of people in your household (including your pets). My bag (pictured above) is built for five: two adults, two small children, and one dog for 24 hours.
Consider the type of disaster you are most likely to encounter where you live. For us, it’s likely grass fires or floods, so we should be able to reach a friend’s home or red cross shelter in 24 hours or less on foot. If you live in earthquake or hurricane territories, you should pack enough supplies for 72 hours as those disasters can take out a much larger area of infrastructure at once.
Determine where you’re going to keep your kit and communicate exactly what it’s for to all members of your household (you can even label it as an extra reminder). I recommend putting it in a place that you would pass on your fastest way out of the house, like a coat closet or hook near the front door.
As professional adventure racers and race directors my husband Jason and I love big endurance training trips. But as new parents of Max (4) and Revel (1.5) it has been a fascination to look for ways to incorporate more adventure, play and training into our family life. One of our most favorite ways to check all of these boxes is to go on family bike-packing trips. When we had just one kid, it was much easier to go on backpacking trips (one person carried the kid, the other the camping gear), but once we added little brother Revel to the mix, we quickly turned to looking for other alternatives that allowed for us to manage even more gear and weight.
We just got back from our fourth bike packing trip through Central Oregon and it was amazing. We took 4 days (3 nights) to do 120 miles, most of it on dirt roads with lots of play stops along the way. Every night we ended at a different lake or river to ensure easy water access and lots of water, dirt and sand play (a kid’s dream). On average, we rode hard for about 2-3 hours before our first stop and tried to do a second push in the early to late afternoon after the kids had worn themselves out. A few days into the trip, we hit a small town, which proved to be a fun stop for the kids and enabled us to carry less weight in food and water knowing that we could refill during the trip.
When you first move into a tiny home on wheels, there is so much to learn. Figuring out how to secure everything while your home is going down the road is an artform and takes time to perfect. When we first moved into the school bus, it wasn’t uncommon for items to fly across the bus once we took off toward our next destination, but we had a head start on finding great solutions thanks to Nite Ize. We have used Nite Ize products for years and during the downsizing process, we kept every single item that had their logo on it. We didn’t know how we would use all of it, but we knew we would need it.
When looking for methods of organizing and securing belongings in our skoolie, Nite Ize has so much to offer, both in our home and in the great outdoors. When we recently reached out and shared our love of their brand and amazing products, they sent us a box of gear to replace some of the older products we are using. We’re happy to share all of the ways you can use Nite Ize to make travel day as easy as possible!
It happened again. It seems to happen every year. I am sitting on the patio of my mountaintop home in 70-degree weather plotting out my next bike ride when the weather forecasters start sounding the alarm for winter. In my area, that means snow and wind. We have regular sustained winds of 60 mph and gusts up to 85 mph as storms roll through, so it is essential to be prepared, or risk serious consequences.
My first year living on the hill I used bungee cords to try to keep everything in my yard from blowing away, but the weather was just too severe for the elastic. The cords disintegrated over time and became useless. When I saw a lawn chair connected to a bungee hovering over the hill like a kite on a string, I knew I needed a better solution.
Very soon we’ll all be setting our clocks back an hour on a Saturday evening, relishing an excuse to get an extra hour of sleep, yet dreading everything else that comes with the end of Daylight Savings Time. Most of us don’t tend to look forward to shorter days, and have trouble adjusting to the change. It’s amazing how just an hour of time can make that much difference, right? Along with that extra hour of z’s, there might be a few things to actually look forward to when we fall back, as well as several ways to help breeze through the adjustment better than ever.