18 May

RVFTA #142 Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

Hiking 101 with Andrew Skurka

As new parents, it was difficult for us to imagine how we were ever again going to enjoy outdoor adventures. Thank goodness we discovered the magic off hiking. Hiking has been the perfect family activity since we can vary the level of difficulty while still exploring the natural beauty of a destination.

We know a lot of our listeners would like to try hiking for the first time, or just do a bit more  of it over the course of the travel season. So we invited hiking expert Andrew Skurka, author of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail.

Andrew Skurka was named “Adventurer of the Year” by Outside Magazine and National Geographic, so this guy clearly has some serious hiking chops. However, he can also bring it down to a beginner’s level, and he does that very well in the introduction to his book…and on this episode of the RVFTA podcast.

Finding Your Why

Andrew starts off by talking about the three most important questions that any hiker needs to ask:

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17 Mar

RVFTA #80: 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

RVFTA 2016 Spring Gear Guide, Part 2

This spring we couldn’t fit all of our gear recommendations into a single episode, so we spread it out over two weeks. If you missed Part 1 with all of our indoor RV products, you can check them out here.

On Episode #80, the Spring Gear Guide, Part 2, we are focusing on the great outdoors. From setting up a comfortable base camp to keeping your trailer safe and secure, we have a whole host of quality products that will make your RV travels even more enjoyable.

listen on iTunes

Plus, we are sharing a great interview with Elden Wood, Vice President of Marketing for Truma. This company makes the AquaGo hybrid instant water heater, which provides campers with endless hot water in their RVs.

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03 Dec

RV Family Travel Atlas Holiday Gift Guide: What Was on that List???

In Episode 10 of RV Family Travel Atlas, we gave our recommendations for 12 great holiday gifts. Here is a list, with links, to all of the products that we reviewed. Listen to the podcast for the complete lowdown on each item!

For the Kids…

1. Globe For Kids Illuminated Earth Globe: Our boys’ favorite camper nightlight…

glow in the dark globe

2. SpinaroosOne bin of these blocks will keep kids of all ages happy!

Spinneroos

3. Spot It! A Card Game that is great for a rainy day or a little down time after dinner.

Spot It!

4. Kids’ Sprout 12 Day Pack from LL Bean: Perfect for drinks and snacks!

Sprout Backpacks

5. Micro Kickboard Scooter: The best quality scooter money can buy!

minikick

6. Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man and The Three Ninja Pigs: Our favorite campfire read alouds…

three ninja pigs

Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man

For the Adults…

7. Darn Tough Socks: The only socks we hike in…

Darn Tough Socks

8. Fireside Friend: Jeremy’s favorite I Wanna Be a Lumberjack toy!

Fireside Friend

9. eBags Brand Packing Cubes: Perfect for keeping the RV neat and tidy (ahem)…

Ebags packing cubes

10. Camp Comfort Recliner: Worth the extra money for high quality zero-gravity chairs!

camp chairs

11. Panasonic Lumix Waterproof Camera: If you want to take pictures around water, there is no better option!

Lumix camera

12. Frenzy and Malibu 2 Ocean Kayaks: Worth every penny for paddling time with the kids!

kayak

There you have it…our list of affordable items that adds tons of value to the time we spend traveling with our kids. Remember to listen to the podcast for more information on all of these products.

Anything you would add? We would love to hear what you would put on your list!

Happy Holidays!

Stephanie + Jeremy

RV Family Travel Atlas

26 Feb

The Evolution of our Family Hikes (Gearing Up For Spring With L.L. Bean)

My boys are darn good hikers.  Not that they have a choice.  Since Stephanie and I started RVing with them four years ago we have spent over a hundred nights camping, and dozens of days hiking.  When they were just one we threw them in the truck, packed up the pop-up camper, and headed to Vermont and Maine for 16 days.  We were determined to do some serious family friendly hiking with them, and we did.

Vermon+Maine July 2011 550

 

Vermon+Maine July 2011 547

Of course that meant carrying them in our hiking packs.  So we carried them–and we carried them joyfully.  After a long winter of working and parenting toddlers our first hike on the Great Head Trail in Acadia National Park was absolutely intoxicating.  The boys felt light on our backs.  While the cool Atlantic breezes and the smell of Pine, Birch, and Maple made us fall in love with Maine all over again.

A year later we decided to head to New York State for our big summer trip, and we hiked extensively in the Catskills and Finger Lakes.  Hiking became a hybrid experience for the boys.  During our hike along the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park we carried them in our packs again, but only when they were tired or the trail was dangerous.  More often then not they wanted to walk. We were happy to oblige.  Our boys were evolving as hikers–and who were we to get in their way?

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Flash forward one more summer to Vermont to watch the evolution continue.  We researched family friendly hikes and with the help of some great campground owners we found lots of them.  We hiked until our hearts were filled with joy and our lungs were filled with fresh Vermont summer air.  We hiked Mount Putney and we hiked Mount Tom.  And the twins hiked right alongside us every step of the way.

They hiked…

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 and hiked…

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 and rested…

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 and hiked some more…

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 and they reaped hiking’s great rewards…

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Wes was, of course, being carried by Stephanie in her Ergo, but that’s a story for another post.

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We carried the boys in Maine, carried them sometimes in New York State, and hiked alongside them in Vermont.  So what step is next in the evolution of our family hikes?  Backpacks for the boys of course!

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On a recent trip to L.L. Bean I spotted these sharp “Sprout” backpacks for kids and I couldn’t resist.  The colors and design looked sharp, and as alway with L.L. Bean, the quality looked great.  I felt like the boys deserved them after doing so many hikes with such great attitudes.  And now they could carry their own stuff!  The boys were pretty excited too, but instead of asking when we could go hiking again, they asked if they could pack energy bars in them and bring them to school the next day. I told them that these backpacks were special and they would have to wait until our next hike to use them.

This winter seems like it will never end.  But it will.  And I can’t wait to share a couple of those energy bars with the boys on top of some beautiful mountain in New Hampshire.

Onward.

07 Aug

Is It Time To Get Darn Tough With Your Sock Drawer?

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about socks, and it may have changed my life.  The article was about the market for “high performance” socks made by companies such as Darn Tough and SmartWool–socks that range from fifteen to twenty-five dollars a pair.  Yes.  Fifteen to twenty-five bucks a pair.  For socks.  Some of you may want to stop reading at this point, and if you do, trust me, I understand.

The part of the article that really caught my attention was when sock entrepreneur Thomas Lee said that, “too many Americans have an overstuffed sock drawer, filled with cheaply made products that fall apart and must be replaced several times a year.”  I felt as if he had looked into my own messy sock drawer, and into my very soul.  I always buy the cheapest athletic socks that I can find and they end up getting holes in them within a year.  Every time.

Most of the companies featured in the article make their socks right here in American.   For instance, Darn Tough makes their socks in Vermont and offers a lifetime guarantee.  Now I am a big fan of the lifetime guarantee–which is why I buy all of my clothes at L.L. Bean–and I am also a big fan of Vermont.  Because we are also headed there this week for some family friendly hiking I decided to buy two pairs of socks from Darn Tough–and to simultaneously throw away twelve pairs of dirty, holey, stinky athletic socks from my sock drawer. I also bought Stephanie and Ami each a pair for our trip.

The new socks are very comfy, cool, and stylish and my sock drawer is quite a bit tidier.  If they impress me out on the trail during our trip my sock buying habits may change forever.  I like the idea of owning a small number of high quality, American-made socks, that are guaranteed for life–and will probably end up costing me less over the long haul than buying junky bags of socks at Target.

After completing some hikes in the Green Mountain State I’ll let you know if my feet agree…