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Travel Tips for this Summer

Traveling to a new destination can be scary sometimes.  You wonder how you will be able to get around the city, if you have to worry about your luggage or you wallet.  There are a few things that can put your mind at rest.

  1. Secure your luggage:  If you are rolling through the airport with a nice piece of luggage, you should know, that your luggage is only insured for what is inside of your luggage.  A way around this would be to put your luggage in a less expensive bag.  Try the Osprey Airporter LZ.  If you happen to be traveling abroad, and backpacking, you might want to lock up your goods.  Check out the PacSafe  to secure your pack and all the goodies inside.
  2. Keep You Money Hidden: In a strange city, you might feel a little uneasy about your wallet.  Eagle Creek makes a whole line of products design to hide your money and passport.  You can use the “Undercover Security Wallet” or the “Travel Neck Pouch”.  Let those pickpockets give it their best try.
  3. Fit it all in your bag:  Are you a chronic over-packer?  Try a pack-it cube from Eagle Creek, or one of their handy-dandy air compressor pack bags.  No need for one of those fancy air compressor machines to do your packing.

Traveling can be stressful, but it does not have to be.  What is your biggest pet peeve in travel?

Did you know we sell…

1. Long boards? In 2006, we started integrating in long boards into our product mix. Now, in 2011, we are the proud dealer of three long board lines: Arbor, Sector 9, and Never Summer.  With the success of our maiden long board brand, Arbor, we are excited to see long boards take off in Memphis.  Long boards are for speed, hills, carving, and commuting.  People in Memphis take to the streets, the bluffs, and parking garages for their riding pleasure.  You will see people of all ages on long boards, there is no age limit.  We do suggest you invest in a helmet.

In addition to our long boards, we have brought in Kahuna Big Stick to accompany your long boarding experience.  What is a big stick you might ask?  Well, think of it as a paddle for your long board. Yes, a paddle.  For your long board.

2. Slack Line? Slack lining is quickly becoming a training technique for outdoor sports enthusiasts all over.  Originating amongst climbers, slack lining has shown up at festivals and on college campuses alike. Slack line kits includes webbing and two tension devices.  Other than that, all you need is two stable items to tie your slack line to.  This could be two trees, two car bumpers, anything that can hold your weight.  Slack lining is a great way to improve your balance and posture.  We carry the Gibbon Brand of Slack Lines.  We have invited them to be in attendance at our Canoe and Kayak Race, May 7th, performing tricks and allowing people to test out their products.

3. Baby Strollers? Not just any baby stroller.  These are the cream of the crop strollers.  BOB revolution strollers are made for on and off road baby fun.  Their swiveling front wheel allows for superior maneuverability.  Although the rugged exterior allows for you and your little treasure to venture off the beaten path, the child seat is highly padded for a comfortable ride.  Along with Baby Strollers, we also carry BOB revolution trailers to carry a heavy load around town or touring across the country.

4. Stand-Up Paddle Boards? Once we saw 007 himself (Pierce Brosnan) on a stand up paddle board a few years ago, we knew it was going to be huge.  We brought in our first stand up paddle board line in 2009.  Since then, we have carried four different brands, most recently, Yolo, Ocean Kayak, and Naish.  We will have stand up paddle boards at the boating demo at Shelby Farms (May 8th) this year.  We suggest you give them a try.  It can be addictive.  What are the health benefits?  Well, stand up paddle boarding builds muscle strength in your legs, back, mid-section and arms.  You will also notice that stand up paddle boarding will improve your balance.  Health benefits mixed with a good time? Yes, please.

5. Balance Boards? Balance boards are not just for a good time.  They also can improve your balance and strengthen your core muscles.  We carry Vew Do balance boards.  Full featured balance boards are used during the sport of Performance Balance Board riding as well as during , sport specific balance and core training, strength and fitness training, and physical therapy.  If you stop in to one of the stores, be sure to look for the demo board.

Bike Commuting: Your New Best Friend

With gas prices rising quickly, a bike may be your new best friend.  At Outdoors Inc, we have been big into promoting bike commuting for our employees, doing a month long incentive program for days our employees ride in to work.  A dollar a day for each day they rode.  This promotes a healthy transportation option and saves money at the same time.

A lot of people find a commute to work intimidating (and smelly).  As we addressed the smelling aspect of it in the blog article “How to ride your bike to work and not repulse your co-workers”, now it is time to make your commute more feasible and comfortable.

One thing I have personally struggled with is waking up a little earlier than usual to ride.  This is something you have to train yourself to do, which could mean waking up earlier every day of the week regardless of riding or going by car.

Along with an earlier wake up time, your morning wardrobe will need some adjusting.  Pack a bag for your work clothes.  Just because you see pictures of people riding their bikes in suits does not make it a good idea.   The clothes you wear to ride need to be comfortable, breathable, and practical.

Be careful when choosing bike shorts.  If you are commuting in the summer months you will not want fleece padding.  Many people are inclined to get super padding in their shorts, but really you should keep in mind the amount of padding on your seat.  Too much padding can end up making you less comfortable.

Know the bike laws.  If you expect to be treated just like a car in traffic, you need to obey the same laws as cars do.  Stake out your route to work before hand, making sure you are taking bike friendly streets.  If bike lanes are available to you, use them.

If possible, find a friend or co-worker to ride in with.  It’s similar to the buddy system, but for adults (who says you only learn the alphabet in kindergarten). If you choose to listen to your headphones, be sure to keep the volume at less than concert level so you can hear on-coming cars and other traffic.

Lastly, get a tune up before you commit to commuting.  Check your lights to make sure they work, and wear a helmet.  Once you start riding in to work, you will start to see others following your lead.  There is nothing like seeing someone else be healthy to motivate you to do the same.

Send in your photos to our Facebook page of your commute.

Down Versus Synthetic: The Great Sleeping Bag Debate

“What is the big difference in down and synthetic sleeping bags, anyways?”

This is a common question.  Make this decision determined by your trip.  Are you going to be traveling to a place where it rarely rains? Are weight  and space a huge factor?

Down Bag Breakdown:  Down bags are regarded as the lighter option for sleeping bags.  One big plus to having a down bag is compressibility.  If you are working with very little space, having a down bag can be a huge help.  Ounce per ounce, down will be the warmer of the two fills.  It will also keep its shape longer than a synthetic bag.  The biggest downside to this fill is its extreme aversion to water.  Once your down sleeping bag gets wet you are pretty much S.O.L.  You are then.  This is where a synthetic bag wins out.  Also, down tends to be significantly more expensive than synthetic bags.  For those on a budget, down may not be in the cards.

Synthetic Bag Breakdown:  Synthetic bags have several pros over the down sleeping bag.  With a lower price, and care instructions that do not include a list of do’s and don’ts, a synthetic fill bag can be a great alternative to down.  Synthetic bags dry quickly.  Synthetic fills hold their insulation, even when wet.  No need to fret when your bag gets rained on. Leave it out to dry and you will be good to go by the next night.  One downside to the synthetic bag, is that it does not compress as well as a down bag does.  If space is a factor on a backpacking trip, a down bag might make more sense, unless you are going to a place with rain.

Any questions?

Get Prepared for an Active Spring

Spring Time BikingDo you remember the days when you could go outside and it was sunny and 70 degrees?  It feels like a vague memory, but soon enough we will be experiencing those days again.  Generally, as soon as nice weather hits, there is a serious scramble to get your bikes tuned up and buy a new pair of sandals.  Now is the time to start thinking about making your Spring transition.   You should pull out your gear and assess its needs.  Maybe you need a bike tune up; maybe you need to make some comfort improvements to your boat.  Get this stuff done before the crowds begin to swarm the stores.

Get your clothes down from the attic and see if you need to make any upgrades.  The last thing you want to do on the first day of beautiful Spring weather is spend it in a store re-buying your Spring attire.

As a heads up, we will be getting in new longboards, boats, and bikes in the coming weeks.  Be on the lookout for our end of season sale, and new Spring product every week.

How to Ride Your Bike to Work and Not Repulse Your Co-Workers

When I used to work in an office downtown, I would commute in to work as often as I could.  As I would step on to the elevator, people would always strike up conversations about cycling around town.  A lot of the time I would hear people say, “I should give commuting a try,” or “I would ride my bike to work, but I hate being all sweaty and gross afterwards.”  Well, I definitely struggled with that issue myself.  I talked to other biking professionals to see what they did following a commute in to work.  After trying several different approaches and more than a few products, I found a system that worked great for me. Hopefully some of you will find it helpful.

-Ride in something breathable, and bring a full change of clothes with you.  One of the reasons you will sweat on a bike ride is wearing clothes that hold in your body heat and don’t wick the sweat away as you are working out.  The more sweat you wick from you body, the less it will be stuck to you for the rest of the day.

-DO NOT leave your helmet at home because you want to avoid helmet hair!  No need to risk brain damage, when there is actually a solution to this problem at your local drug store.  Dry shampoo is an easy way to freshen up your hair after a commute to the office.  Most brands work just fine, but probably the easiest to find is the Tresemme Fresh Start Shampoo.  It is inexpensive and does the job.

-It never hurts to carry baby wipes.  On a hot summer day, you could ride in the nude and still manage produce a gallon of sweat.  On those days where you can’t help but pour sweat, a wipe down in the bathroom with some baby wipes can make a world of difference.

-Bags can make your commute even hotter.  As another option, you can add panniers (bags attached to your bike) or a basket to your bike, allowing you to be bag free.  If you must carry a bag, we would suggest a lightweight or mesh material.

-If anyone gives you grief about freshening up in the corporate bathroom, be sure to remind him or her that not only have you knocked out your exercise for the day, but you got an amazing parking spot right at the door of the building.  No car needed.

Do you have any tips that make your bike to desk transition easier?  We would love to hear them!

Winter Camping Survival Tips

You’ll need more than a campfire to stay warm when camping in the cold weather.  Your gear may not always be up to par in really cold temperatures.  Here are a couple ways to improve the temperature ratings on some of your gear.

Sleeping Bag Liners:  If you have a sleeping bag with the temperature rating of 40 degrees, but you are going to experience 30 degree lows, you will need a little extra lining to your bag.  Most sleeping bag liners can take your temperature rating down by about 12-15 degrees.  You can choose from fleece, synthetic (silkweight), or cotton fabrics for your sleeping bag liner.  If you are a hot sleeper, it is suggested that you choose a synthetic fabric. Cotton is usually the least effective sleeping bag liner, because it does not breathe as well as a synthetic material.

Water Bottle Koozies:  Water freezes.  It’s a fact of life.  This is something you don’t want to happen to you when you are camping under the stars.  That hilarious hillbilly koozie that you have might actually have a purpose.  When you go to sleep put a koozie (or thick wool sock) around your water bottle.  Waking up to a frozen block of ice in the morning, is never fun.  Take a few seconds to protect your water and you will be much happier in the morning.  Another option is stuffing your bottle in your sleeping bag with you.

Fire Starting Supplies:  Nowadays, you don’t need to rub two sticks together over some brush.  Companies like Light My Fire are making it much easier to start a fire in an instant.  Campfires aren’t just fun to look at; they are a wonderful source of heat in the freezing weather.

An air pad:  A thin foam pad won’t cut it when you are laying on snow, or cold ground.  Having an insulated air mattress can boost the warmth in your sleeping bag.  A sleeping pad like the Therm-a-rest Neo Air or the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core can make a world of difference, your pad should be at the very least, ½” thick, but it is suggested to be more.  An insulated mattress will keep you 3 times warmer than an uninsulated mattress, so be on the look out for that extra insulation when shopping for your mattress pad.

Stake out your tent precisely:  If you don’t have a 4-season tent, a 3-season can work as long as you stake out your tent properly.  Aside from the tent/fly material difference in 4-season and 3-season tents, the 3 season tent fly is generally around 6 inches shorter from the ground, allowing more air to flow into the tent.  If staked out properly, this will minimize the ability of air to creep into your tent.  Most of the time, 4-season tents are over built for average winter camping, so it is not completely necessary to purchase a brand new tent for your yearly Winter camping adventures (unless of course these are taking place on Kilmanjaro, or the like).  If your 3-season tent has a zip cover over the mesh windows, even better.

Dressing warm is obvious.  Hopefully some of these tips will give you a little extra warmth on those cold winter camping trips.  Now you have no excuses…