How To Do Everything (Outdoorsy) Better

You have the outdoorsy questions. We have the pro answers. Read on for answers to 15 common outdoorsy questions:


Adventure is tricky business. You need gear. You need to maintain that gear. You need a skillset, or two, or three… You need safety advice. Fitness advice. Motivation advice.

As such, you have questions. You need help. 

We’re here to give you that help. Scroll down—you’ve likely asked one of these common outdoorsy questions.

So here are the answers:

“What should I eat on a camping trip?”

Common concern. Most people simply splurge on freeze-dried meals, which are often mediocre and usually a bit pricey ($10 or more per person, per meal). Plus, for newbies or reluctant partners, it’s vital to ensure quality eats or you likely won’t get him or her back in the tent with you. (And camp meals rarely deliver.) We’ve come up with an awesome three-day meal plan. Suitable for car-camping or canoe trips, it’s fresh, healthy, easy and despite the seemingly long ingredient list—affordable and packs small. Bon appetit!


“How can I enjoy getting in shape?”

Some people love the gym. Most don’t. But fitness is not just essential to outdoor adventure, it’s a key part of healthy living in general. If you can’t handle another boring trip to the gym or knee-pounding jog, well, we have the solutions for you. Here are seven exercises that put the “fun” in “functional fitness.” (OK, that was reaching a bit.) It’s like playing at the schoolyard during lunch hour. But you’ll get buff doing it.


“Is milk a healthy energy drink?”

We’re stepping into dangerous territory here. This is a hotly debated concern. So we stuck our world-adventurer Colin Angus on it. He’s travelled the world—even circumnavigating  the globe self-propelled—so he knows what the body needs to perform. He’s also interacted with cultures worldwide to see how they view nutrition. This is a balanced and interesting read that offers some real answers to the classic “should I drink milk?” question.


“How do I get in shape for ski season?”

There are a lot of reasons to get in ski-shape before hitting the hill or track. For starters, paying $100 per ticket at the alpine resort only to be exhausted by noon is poor financial planning. Also, you’ll want to ski to your full potential, not have your legs crater the moment you hit ice or deep powder. But whether you ski the alpine or the nordic track, staying in shape during the warm months is tricky. It’s not enough to jog, cycle or hike. You need to exercise specific muscles. Here is how to do it, for both alpine and cross-country skiers:


“How do I make an epic YouTube video?”

You’ve seen awesome outdoorsy videos go viral. Maybe you watch Red Bull’s channel, or keep up with the Banff Mountain Film Festival Facebook page? Maybe you think you do things that are just as awesome? Fact is, being awesome isn’t enough to make a great video. You also need to understand narrative structure and the technology at-hand. Here are some pro-tips on both, plus more:


“How do I keep up my motivation to stay active?”

If you’re a print subscriber, you’ll be privy to an amazing article in the Winter 2017 issue about motivation. It features some of Canada’s top Olympians—proof the pros need pick-me-ups too. (So subscribe!) Motivation is a tricky thing. Sometimes, as much as we want to do something, a mental block gets in the way. Se we delved into this. And here is what we came up with: 10 tactics to keep up the inspiration for year-round adventures.


“How do I get my kids excited about the outdoors?”

New parents—this one is for you. In fact, this is the number-one question we receive from parents in general. Kids are hardwired to love the outdoors. Freedom. Excitement. Stimuli. Dirt! The trick is to make the introduction properly and to ensure the kid’s peripheral needs are met. Trust us when we say even the most iPad-addicted youngster will soon forget Netflix in the face of a multi-couloured tidal pool, frog pond or wildflower meadow. It’s all in your hands.


“Should I wash my waterproof jacket?”

It’s such a simple question that yields such impassioned online advice. Sad fact is that many people are still under the belief that cleaning your apparel and gear ruins its waterproofing. Without giving too much away—that’s crazy. However, cleaning it improperly can reduce its effectiveness. It’s not rocket science. Anyone can maintain jackets, boots, tents and more to bead water for years. Read on for the pro secrets:


“How do I find and remove ticks?”

Ticks. Carriers of Lyme disease. To many, they’re scarier than bears. The ultimate backwoods creepy-crawly. There’s actually no reason to be scared of ticks—but you should be prepared. And a big part of that preparedness is learning how to check for, identify and remove these burrowing insects. If you hike in tick country, you’re going to want to run through this easy-to-follow list:


“Is it too risky to let my kids pursue action sports?”

Helicopter parents might have a hard time reading this one. Now—we encourage safety at all times, for both kids and parents alike, but our columnist Andrew Findlay explored some remarkable benefits to exposure to risk at a young age. It’s a vital read for parents and parents-to-be. It also answers some key questions moms and dads have when taking their youngsters outdoors—namely, “should we be here?”


“How do I shop online for gear?”

Buying outdoor gear online can seem like a risky proposition. After all, some hiking boots fit a half-size in any direction… Is this large a true large… Or do I need a medium? Will I like it? Is it comfortable? Gear performance can be a matter of safety—so you want to ensure you have the right suff hanging in your closet. We polled those in-the-know and discovered vital tips for shopping online. Check them out here.


“How do I prevent sore muscles after hiking?”

Sore quads. Aching IT bands. Throbbing hamstrings. We’ve all had ’em. Usually after a steep hike, right? Well, we talked to fitness trainer Curb Ivanic and he explained why this happens. And he also gave us the secrets to preventing (or at least limiting) the soreness caused by damaging muscles during steep and sweaty hikes. This theory works for any muscle group—we’ll show you how to get your upper and lower body in top hiking shape.


“Can I get sick from getting dirty?

As outdoors people, we basically frolic in the mud. Dirt, leaves, rocks—those things you wash off yourself at the end of the day… that stuff you were told not to eat as a baby… full of germs and grossness, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Colin Angus takes a long look at the benefits of eating dirt (sort of). This is particularly interesting for kids (i.e.: parents) with developing immune systems. 


“How can I become a better, more efficient hiker?”

Contrary to popular belief, hiking is a lot more than just walking. It’s walking uphill, in nature. Kidding—it’s even more than that. Hiking requires fitness. Preparedness. Safety. Systems. But it also has a major mental component. In fact, most people can hike a lot further than they give themselves credit for. People who are out there hiking 25, 30 or more kilometres in a day aren’t superhuman. They’re prepared—mentally and physically. Here’s how to be one of them.



“How long is this hike/paddle going to take?”

We’ll close out with one of the most common questions: “how long will this take?” You can read the trailhead map, but if you have no idea how long a 10-kilometre hike on moderate trail will take, well, it’s difficult to plan. Failure to correctly estimate could mean anything from a parking ticket to a search-and-resuce call. Kevin Callan has put together a simple guide to estimating distance and time on land and water. Guess no more!