Guest Contributor: Bix Firer (Nikwax Ambassador)
As outdoors folk, one challenge we face is being ready to have fun when time is at a premium.
Weekends are easier - you have 48 full hours to plan and execute whatever fun plans you want.
But during the week or when work is busy, it can be a real challenge to stay motivated, get out, and explore more.
Here are some tips that may help you to do more with the time you have, even when you're busy. These tips work for weeknights, weekends, or whenever it’s hard to find the time and motivation to get out the door.
TIP #1: CREATE A "HASTY PACK"
After a long day at work, getting out for a run, hike, ski, or bike ride always sounds fun, but the logistics around it can be a barrier.
In the Search & Rescue world, rescuers have a "hasty pack” ready at all times to go assist in a rescue. It’s packed with the essentials that rescuers need. In our house, we have a few packs that remain packed all season, ready to go - "hasty packs" for outdoor adventure. We usually have a bike pack, a running pack, and a ski pack at the ready.
Water bladders and bottles are full.
Repair kits and small first aid kits are stocked.
All we need to do is grab the bags and go.
Pro Tip: As you make "hasty packs" for your core activities, you can also keep your packs stocked with non-perishable snacks... we all get hungry.
TIP #2: STAY ORGANIZED
Anyone else been guilty of leaving half-unpacked ski bags in the back of the car? What about leaving ski skins, poles, and drying liners scattered around the house?
Being ready to hit the trail only works if you clean up after each outing.
Restocking bags, repair kits, med kits, and snacks are all crucial steps.
Letting your gear get disorganized leads to stressful transitions, unprepared outings, and causes a loss of motivation to get out more.
TIP #3: MAINTAIN YOUR GEAR
Take the time to maintain your gear. If something breaks - fix it. Most importantly, engage in preventive maintenance with your gear.
Some examples of preventative maintenance...
Ever washed your down jacket or sleeping bag? If not, it's likely lost a lot of its loft and insulation functionality. Wash your down garments in Down Wash Direct and add water-repellency with Down Proof.
Be sure to clean the heavy-wear points on packs and clothes (like zippers) with soap and water, to extend their life.
Replace your headlamp and avalanche transceiver batteries right after outings.
Minor preventative maintenance means more time outside, and less time worrying about your gear.
TIP #4: KEEP AN UPDATED "TO-DO" LIST & "TO-GO" LIST
Nothing is more demoralizing and likelier to lead to a night of "Netflix & chill"-ing than doing the same activity over and over again.
Having new and exciting places to explore keeps things exciting when time and motivation might be waning.
Have a notebook or binder with lists of trips you want to take.
Keep that list organized by "longer adventures" and " vacations" or with short adventures like "weekend getaways" or "day hikes".
Even a list entitled "After-work ideas" could be great!
When talking to friends, or reading about your local area, new ideas might come up... record them and add them to your list. When you don't know what to do or you're feeling unmotivated, open up your list of ideas. Keep it new and exciting!
TIP 5: REMEMBER TO DREAM LITTLE?
We try to make sure that there are many small, easy, and close-to-home ideas in our "trip-idea binder, alongside the huge, aspirational trips.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big desires: "I want to hike a mountain" or "I want to plan a trip to backpack in Denali"...
Just don't forget about all the stuff close to home; you can really maximize your time off by limiting travelling time, stretching your dollars further, and removing the barriers that might stop you from using you free time wisely.
Good exploring can happen in little and big ways.
After all, all sizes of explorations can bring memories and meaning.
Bix Firer an avid outdoorsman who teaches outdoor leadership at the College of Idaho and lives in Boise, ID. He has a long track record of outdoor endeavors and non-profit work.