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Tips for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

On our honeymoon, my husband and I decided we’d live our lives by one motto: “It’s an adventure!” It’s gotten me to see places and do things I never thought I’d be able to.

Some of our most memorable adventures involved getting outdoors – a gorgeous day hike in Hawaii, camping with a big group of friends and all their kids in the Texas Hill Country, trekking to a remote mountaintop in Big Bend National Park with a 40-pound backpack and lots of determination.

What do you need to enjoy a great adventure? Of course, there are the essential essentials, mainly water, first aid stuff, shelter, navigation tools, etc. (You’ll find a lot on this topic with a quick Google search.) But, there are additional “nice-to-haves” that I’ve learned make the trip that much more enjoyable. Here are a few:

Portable Eating for Hiking

I’ve been on day-long hikes, and as long as I had some hearty trail mix, a little protein and water, I was good to keep trekking. Qualities to look for in hiking food: Packable, lightweight, nothing that will melt or squish. Here’s what I like:

There are lots of great ready-made trail mix options out there, but I prefer to make my own. Leave out any chocolate (it melts) and add a variety of your favorite granola, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

Protein, baby! Nuts only last so long. If I’m really expending energy, I personally like to power up with meat. Jerky is great, but I ‘m won over by Epic’s Bison, Beef, Lamb or Turkey bars. There are lots of vegetarian protein bar options, too. Just make sure they don’t have ingredients that can melt and get goopy.

Open-Fire Cooking for Camping

The last thing I want to do while camping is scrub pots and pans, especially if there’s limited water.

Foil can be your best buddy for cooking over a campfire or grill for those times when you’re camping with a cooler. Prepare individually portioned meal packets before you leave home and store in zip-top bags for super easy meals on site.

Marinated Summer Squash Grilling Packs

Here are some packet ideas, just assemble and season to taste:

Halibut fillet + diced tomatoes + olives + capers + chopped shallot

Portobello mushroom cap + diced garlic + chile flakes + extra-virgin olive oil

Sliced sausage + bell peppers + onions

Carrot sticks + honey mustard + extra-virgin olive oil

Peaches + brown sugar + cinnamon

One of my very favorite web finds is an easy-eating take on s’mores: a sugar cone stuffed with a dollop of peanut butter + some chocolate chips + chopped banana + mini-marshmallows. Wrap it in foil, warm on the campfire until the insides are melted (about 5-10 minutes). Voila! You’re welcome.

Easy Clean Up for Backpacking

Call me high maintenance, but even if I’m in the backcountry I refuse to climb into a sleeping bag, after I’m sweaty and dirty from hiking all day, without taking a camp bath. And while it might make ultralight backpackers run for the hills, a travel-sized bottle of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Pure-Castile Soap is at the top of my camping must-haves list.

It’s useful for cleaning everything – from dirty dishes to stinky gear to sweaty bodies – and it’s biodegradable and made from natural ingredients, so it’s safe to use in the great outdoors.

I’m not an expert and I have a lot more exploring to do, but that’s the whole point. Get out there and enjoy the adventure!

What are some of the essentials in your camp box or backpack? Where have your adventures led you? Share with us in the comments below.