How to Choose a Route for Your First Backpacking Trip

Let's find you the best route for your first backpacking trip

Whether you’re dreaming of days in the mountains, along coastlines, or through the desert, planning your first backpacking trip is an exciting process. Congratulations on making moves toward this rewarding new hobby! To make your experience as positive and fun as possible, it’s important to find a beginner-friendly backpacking route that suits your experience level.

Here are some tips for finding the best route for your first backpacking trip.

Where to Find Ideas for Beginner-Friendly Backpacking Routes

When looking for ideas for your first backpacking trip, where should you start? Good news: there are lots of great resources to identify beginner-friendly routes. As you’re researching, try to find information about the same route from multiple sources. If you find broad agreement across several sources about a route, you can feel more confident in that information.

Outdoor stores

Pop into a local...

Continue Reading...

Backpacking for Beginners: Training for Your First Trip

Why is Strength Train Important for Backpacking?

Many adventurers go into backpacking trips with the mentality that they will “use the trip to build fitness.” While a trip will certainly help make you stronger, striking out on a big adventure with no foundation of training can easily lead to getting in over your head or hurting yourself. Not the best way to have a good time!

While simply doing more hiking can help us build our trail fitness, it’s important to remember that hiking isn’t the whole story. By training our bodies as holistic systems and reinforcing healthy, functional movement patterns, we can be stronger hikers.

Strength training before and between our outdoor adventures helps us build the resilience we need for injury-free outings. When we’re not derailed by pain or struggling to keep up, we can have more fun and focus on enjoying things like the beauty of our surroundings and the great company of our trip companions. As we build...

Continue Reading...

Backpacking Risk and Emergency Planning: What You Need to Know

Educating Ourselves Around Planning and Preparedness

After you have gained a full picture of what risks you’ll be dealing with on your trip, you can then formulate your risk and emergency plan. In order to do that, educating ourselves around risk can build our confidence and mitigate the real risks we might face. For backpackers of all backgrounds and experience levels, the best thing you can do for your own safety is planning and preparedness.

Before diving into this post, read up on the basics of risk management and safety in our previous post, which will lay the groundwork for this discussion. In this post, we’ll get into more detail about specific concerns as well as creating your risk mitigation plan.

Assessing Risk: How Many Lemons Do You Have?

In our last blog post, we talked about how to identify risks and introduced the idea of each major risk as a (metaphorical) lemon. Consider creating a document with a list of risks and how severe the risk is (i.e., how...

Continue Reading...

Backpacking Risk Management and Safety: What you need to know

Planning essentials for backpacking trips

Risk management is one of the most important elements of planning for backpacking trips. Whether it’s your first trip or your two hundredth, spending time thinking through the hazards you might encounter and what you’ll do about them is essential both for your own safety and for those with you. 

While you can never completely eliminate risk, appropriate planning means you will be more prepared if something bad does happen. Having a safety plan can mean big wins like smarter decision making, shorter time to receive rescue assistance, or the ability to handle the situation on your own without needing outside assistance at all.

Let’s dive into principles of risk management in backpacking and how you can manage your safety proactively and mindfully.

How to Assess Risk and Safety for Backpacking Trips

The first step to managing risk is thinking through and understanding what risks will exist on your trip. Thorough risk...

Continue Reading...

Sore Hips and Backpacking: What You Need to Know

Prevent Sore Hips from Backpacking 

After a challenging day of backpacking, many people experience soreness around their hips. While sore hips are an extremely common problem for hikers and backpackers, the pain can put a damper on the rest of the trip. Thankfully, there are solutions! Let’s talk about what causes sore hips, then we’ll break down what you can do about it.

 

Why do my hips hurt while backpacking?

Our hips are key for powering the action of walking. They propel our legs forward and keep us stable and balanced. When you spend a long day out walking in the mountains, that adds up to a lot of hip exertion.

But it’s not just the long days. Backpacking adds another key ingredient: weight. Most of us don’t carry around 20-30 extra lbs for hours (or days!) at a time, but that’s exactly how we’re spending our days out on the trails. Our hips have to work much harder to power us with that much extra weight.

 The position...

Continue Reading...

Mindful Summer: Fitting in Adventures and Rest with Less Stress

Mindful Planning for a Full Summer 

Spring is here. The thaw is in progress. The snow is gradually retreating from the peaks and melting its way into streams. Plant life is beginning to burst joyfully from the soil. And we humans are getting our first real taste of the intoxicating effects of brighter days. 

With the promise of summer only a few weeks away, planning warm weather adventures is in full swing. It’s so exciting to feel the anticipation for all of these and experiences on the horizon.

The shifting of the season fills our spirits with renewed energy for life, but as with anything, we can have too much of a good thing. The burst of energy might have us overcommitting, overstressing, and setting ourselves up for a frazzled, frantic summer instead of a season where we thrive.

 Yes, summer is precious. If we don’t make intentional plans, time can slip through our fingers and we can miss beautiful opportunities. On the other hand, swing the pendulum...

Continue Reading...

Substituting Sunrise: The quest for the perfect sunrise alarm clock.

Hi everyone! 

A couple months ago I announced on Instagram that I was going in search of the perfect sunrise simulating alarm clock. I've had a sunrise alarm clock for years, but it wasn't perfect: Luc was fed up with the finicky buttons on it, we were both tired of the only 3 alarm sounds it offered, and it always bothered me that the clock light stayed lit -- I prefer a completely dark bedroom.

So I decided it was time for an upgrade. I couldn't believe how many sunrise alarm clocks there are on the market now -- this is a growing market with way more options than 5 years ago. Many of you have been following along on the journey and pinging me to share my findings - I'm happy to say that I've finally come to a conclusion and have my top three to share below! 

What is a sunrise alarm clock?

A sunrise alarm clock (also known as a dawn simulator) is an alarm clock that turns on gradually, increasing light brightness over a period of time - usually 45-30 minutes before your...

Continue Reading...

Podcast: Changing Seasons - Using Fall to Prepare for Winter

Happy Autumn Everyone! 

I recently had a last minute chance to sit down with Martha Rosenstein of Alaska Public Media and the Outdoor Explorer Podcast to have a discussion about transitioning from Summer to Winter. This is a big transition across the hemisphere - and feels a little extra dramatic up here in Alaska where you can blink and fall is already over! We discussed some different ways that can make the transition feel less drastic and more sustainable, you can see the list of topics below! 

Closing out the episode, Martha chats for a bit with Heather Caldwell -  a psychotherapist that practices in both Alaska and Colorado. Heather shares some more perspective on how to make a seasonal transition, you can check out more about Heather and her practice here

 

Topics covered include: 

  • Sarah
    • Transitioning from summer to winter - how can we do it in a more mindful way? (3:18)
    • Leaning into plan B and recognizing the energy that takes. (5:29)
    • Cues...
Continue Reading...

Podcast: Building Mind & Body Strength

Greetings!

Wow, I just had the chance to sit down with Kaitlyn Kasso and had a really fun time! Kaitlyn is an awesome photographer that helps women develop their personal brands. You can follow what she's up to on Instagram @kaitlyncassocreations. She also runs the Inspired by HERstory Podcast: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.

We talked in detail about my first time in the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, both of our experiences with imposter syndrome, and what it's like to be a beginner in the outdoors. I really think there is a bit of something for everyone in this episode! 

Topics covered include: 

  • The story of my first Wilderness Classic: 5:50
  • How my business came to be: 19:38
  • When to confront challenges and when to back down: 22:40
  • Workout Perfectionism & Imposter Syndrome: 26:10
  • Building confidence when you're new outdoors (or at anything): 33:10
  • Building a capacity for failure: 38:12
  • Advice on how to deal with Imposter Syndrome: 42:43
  • ...
Continue Reading...

One Year of Sistering Support

One year of Sistering Support

In April of 2021 SMH Training officially marked the one year anniversary of our Sistering Support program!

In honor of that milestone, I wanted to share some information about how it’s gone, who we’ve helped, and why financial support and equity pricing are an important part of our business model.

 

First things first – what is Sistering Support?

"Sistering" is a construction term in which a post that's holding up too much weight is supported by additional posts on either side. This metaphor conveys what we're after: helping take some of the weight off those who are carrying a lot right now. Especially for BIPOC, queer, disabled, bigger bodies, and others who are underrepresented in the outdoor world.

Ideally, finances wouldn't keep anyone from health, movement, or outdoor time. And if we’re going to realize our goal of a more diverse outdoor recreation community – we have to work to make the opportunities to thrive in...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3
Close

50% Complete

Yes! So glad you're here.

Add your email below to open up your access to the 20-Min Busy Day Workout. 

You'll also be included on my email list, where I send out updates & resources on fitness, mental health, and adventure. It's low-pressure, lighthearted, & easy to unsubscribe at anytime should you wish to.