An Open Letter of Apology to the Parks I Take for Granted

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Strolling around Ridley Creek State Park
just as the leaves start to change.
I’ve used many a word in posts here on Adventure-Inspired to emphasize the importance of remembering that not all adventures need to be epic to be worth having, or worth sharing.

You don’t have to visit a waterfall paradise in the Grand Canyon, go skiing in British Columbia, or backpack 27 miles in two days to enjoy the outdoors. But the truth is, I don’t often take my own advice.

If I had a dollar for every time I thought about, or mentioned, how the hiking around Philadelphia just isn’t the great, or there aren’t enough places close to where I live that come close to what’s available further away, I’d have a whole ton of dollars. Enough dollars to travel to all of those places that seem to have superior outdoor adventure opportunities. And when I write about how wonderful close-to-home adventures are, part of me wonders how much of that effort is a result of my working to convince myself of that truth.

Gear Review and Giveaway: LifeStraw® Personal Water Filter

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It should go without saying, but being able to get clean water when you're out adventuring, and even when you're not, is essential.

Up to 60% of the human body is water, and though consumption needs vary based on a variety of factors, the fact remains - if you don't drink enough water, you're in big trouble. Getting clean water is easy for most of us at home. We just turn on the faucet. But clean water isn't readily accessible in some parts of the world, nor is it always in reach when you're on the trail.

Enter, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. It's designed to make getting clean water a piece of cake just about anywhere. It was designed to help people affected by natural disasters, but it's also noted as an ideal way to get clean water in a pinch in the backcountry.

So, what exactly is a LifeStraw? In its simplest form, it's a water filter in the shape of a straw. LifeStraw uses a hollow membrane filter, which allows water to pass through 0.2 micron pores while nasty stuff stays trapped inside.

Adventure-Inspired and Cairn Partner for a "What's in the Box" Monthly Highlight Reel

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September's Cairn box, which I wrote about on Cairn's blog
as part of the new partnership! (Photo courtesy of Cairn.)
Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage these days, and it's easy to see why.

Companies like Birchbox, FlickerboxBarkBox, and Love with Food capitalize on consumers' desire to try products in categories they're interested in, and deliver those products in neat little packages every month. It's a win-win; subscribers get goodies in the mail and companies have the chance to get their product in the hands of people who are likely to enjoy them, even buy them.

After receiving birthday gift subscriptions to Birchbox, Flickerbox, Craft Coffee (highly recommended) and a few others last year, I lamented at the absence of a subscription box specifically aimed at outdoorsy gear lovers. Oregon-based entrepreneur Rob Little noticed the same hole in the subscription box industry, and through the Bend Outdoor Worx outdoor industry startup incubator, he's working to fill that void with a subscription service called Cairn.

Trip Report: Hiking in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and the Case for Exploring Close to Home

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Along the west side of the impoundment, a large body of water
in the middle of the refuge.
Ever found yourself passing up chances to visit a close-to-home outdoor destination because it was just that - close to home? 

As a weekend warrior, you can bet I'll pick a day hike or backpacking trail it takes some work to get to because I prefer to visit harder-to-reach destinations when I have the time. It seems intuitive; why spend a weekend at a park half an hour away when I could get deeper into the woods if I saddle up for a longer drive?

Though I prefer seeking more remote locations when I can, there something to be said for giving every outdoor spot a fair shot at making it into my schedule. When I found myself with a free weekday, I opted to visit a destination I'd put off going to because it's exactly 20 minutes from where I live in Philadelphia. Though I didn't find wilderness and didn't expect to, I found exactly what I was hoping for the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at Tinicum

Gear Review: Six Summer Outdoor Gear and Apparel Favorites by Columbia, Hydroflask, SealLine and More

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In a few short days, summer will officially come to an end. Though I'll miss the long days and late sunsets, I'm eager to welcome autumn with open arms. Soon, it'll be time for hot apple cider and apple picking, the leaves will do what they do in a spectacular fashion here on the east coast, and soon after, it'll be ski season. But I can't say a fair adieu to summer without paying homage to some seriously spectacular pieces of gear and apparel I took adventuring with me this summer.