9 Outdoor Dates for Valentine’s Day

We all want to have a special date with our partner on Valentine’s Day, but we’re all bored of the same fancy dinner year after year. How about trying something different? Like heading outside for a special adventure and sharing the memorable experience with the one who stole your heart.

Campout for Two – Pick-out your favorite tent for two, sleeping bag for two, and even a chair for two and head to a perfect campsite where you can relax in the company of your significant other. Grab your S’mores to eat by the campfire, and you can even set-up camp with extra lights and flowers to create a romantic ambiance. Don’t forget lots of blankets to snuggle-up in during the sunset.

Brunch + Driving Range – Have a brunch date at your local golf course then hit the driving range!

Snowmobile Tour – Reserve a Private Snowmobile tour for you and your sidekick in the back country. You will be challenged as well as going new places neither of you have seen. Just be sure to dress appropriately. Normally, dressing like your headed out snow skiing will suffice. Need Gloves? Snow Pants? Winter Jackets?

Food Truck Hopping – Trek around the city looking for the best food trucks around. Find an appetizer truck, move to the main course truck, then find a dessert truck! If you’re lucky enough to be in the big city over Valentine’s day, you will probably find all three and be pleasantly surprised with how full you are at the end of the date. Plus, you get exercise between each course! If it’s raining or snowing, you might want to be prepared with a trench coat or parka like one of these!

Your Very Own Drive-In Movie – Head to a romantic location with spectacular views and you and your significant other will have your very own romantic movie night getaway. Download a movie of your choice on your laptop or tablet, fold down the seats in your car, pile in the blankets and pillows (the more the merrier), open the tailgate and enjoy the movie with a fantastic backdrop. Don’t forget to bring the chocolate and make the popcorn before you head out!

Batting Cages – Pack a lunch and head to the local batting cages. End the date with fresh smoothies from your local smoothie bar or head home to make your own!

Disc Golf – It’s not your normal game of Disc Golf. At each hole, you will answer a certain question before tossing the Frisbee. Then there are consequences whether you win or lose each hole. This idea comes from The Dating Divas:

Hole 1: Name the top 5 most attractive physical things/features about your spouse

Hole 2: Name the 5 most attractive things about your spouse’s personality or character

Hole 3: Name 5 things you did today that your spouse didn’t know about

Hole 4: Name 5 places you wouldn’t mind moving to

Hole 5: Name 5 desserts you could eat right now

Hole 6: Name 5 favorite ways your spouse makes you feel special

If you lose (a hole), you get to choose one from the list:

  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 sit-ups
  • 5 leg squats

If you win (a hole), you get to choose one from the list:

  • 5 kisses
  • 5 hugs
  • 5 kisses & hugs intermixed
  • 5 of whatever you want

Day Hike – Head to AllTrails.com to find local hikes in your area. Pack your lunch, water, and camera to document your hiking date. Don’t post any of the photos online. Later you can gift a scrapbook of the day for your partner! This element of surprise is the best part! You guys might even like to try one of our new Daypacks for the date!

Date Night on the Ranch – Head out of the city and unplug in the solitude of a quiet ranch high-up in the mountains or deep in the hills. There are many ranches located on acres of land offering unique settings and an “Old West” type feel when you stay in their cabins. One family ranch that comes to mind is the Schmid Family Ranch located outside of Telluride, Colo. Make reservations fast though! (You might even recognize this setting from a recent movie.)

There are so many different Outdoor dating ideas to experience! This Valentine’s Day, maybe one of these will catch your eye. If you have other unique outdoor dates that you have been on, we’d love to here from you!



Dangers of Snow Shoveling

If you’re anywhere East of the Mississippi, you’ve got snow, and lots of it! You’re also probably snowed-in and will stay snowed-in until you do something about it (or until the snow melts in the spring). Enter the snow shovel.

Most of us know shoveling can cause excessive strain on your heart, so before getting in a workout moving large amounts of snow, be sure to consult your doctor in advance.

In addition to the strain on your heart, be mindful of your spine. Read these 10 Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling.

When you’re out shoveling, wear proper gloves and be aware of frost bite and know the symptoms before you end up turning black and blue. We recommend winter work gloves. Made with a leather shell, they have the durability of a work glove plus the extra warmth. Pick a pair up here.

dirt bag glove
The Black Diamond Dirt Bag Glove is a favorite among fellow snow shovelers with a leather shell and fleece lining at only $44.95.

NEMO Equipment

NEMO Equipment

Mine.  Mine.  Mine.  No, not that Nemo.  NEMO Equipment.  It’s camping gear.  It doesn’t go in an aquarium.  Headquartered in New Hampshire the company started out with a focus on functional, lightweight tents and then went a step further by extending their focus to include  sleeping pads and eventually sleeping bags.  Their most recent achievement comes in the form of the Sonic down sleeping bag, which won 2015 Backpacker Editor’s Choice.

Let’s take a closer look at the selection we’ll be offering this spring.

First off, the Dagger and Galaxi two person tents with two doors and two vestibules offers an easier entry and exit with an overhead light pocket that uses special fabrics to diffuse the light for an even glow throughout the entire tent.

The Bugout, a tarp shade with a drop down bug screen fits over a hammock.  It also works great to keep the insects away in the backyard when you want to have a family picnic or at festivals or wherever needed.  With two doors residents are able to move around freely without fearing they’ll let bugs in.

The Cosmo series is both insulated and not, depending on your sleeping pad needs and the temperatures you’ll be sleeping in.  With an integrated foot pump and pillow it has the simplest setup possible.  (And I’ll vouch for the Cosmo Insulated 20R.  Using the foot pump in a tent is a little difficult because I can’t stand in my tent so I practice CPR on my sleeping pad, but hey I’m not out of breath like some people who have to blow up their pads.  The pillow baffle isn’t enough to actually moonlight as a pillow.  I still have to fold a jacket under my head, but I don’t push my jacket off in the middle of the night.  The pad also works great for family functions when I sleep on the floor because all of the spare bedrooms are taken.  And in those cases I can use the foot pump!)  If you do prefer an air inflatable pad grab a member of the Astro series.  And if you’re a minimalist the Zor is NEMO’s lightest self-inflating foam pad.

And who could forget the sleeping bag?  The Nocturne sleeping bag won Backpacker Editor’s Choice in 2013 with its spoon shape design so side sleepers don’t get caught up like they would in a traditional mummy bag.  With DownTek (water repellent down) sleepers are better protected from the elements.  The synthetic spoon design, the Verve, also offers superb comfort with the comforter pullout at the neck for a more homey feel.  If the mummy style bag isn’t for you and the rectangular shape is, then you’re in luck!  The Mezzo Loft series was designed with you in mind.  And for those who wish to get super cozy the Mambo Duo is ultralight with the weight and pack size of a single sleeping bag.

So you have the tent, the sleeping pad, the sleeping bag and…what’s missing?  Oh yeah!  A pillow.  Not everyone enjoys using a jacket and some just don’t have a jacket to spare so Fillo to the rescue.  Fillo is a memory foam pillow with an integrated stuff sack.  Plus it comes in four different colors.  And the larger luxury pillow for the glamper comes in two different colors.

What more could you need?  A shower you say.  No problem!  The Helio pressure shower sets NEMO apart from other outdoor brands.  It doesn’t have to be hung and still provides about six minutes of steady pressure using a foot pump.  You can also accessorize your shower with a mat to keep floors and your feet clean.

And that is the grand tour.  You should try NEMO Equipment out for yourself:


“NEMO is founded on a commitment to adventure, to the fearless pursuit of uncharted paths…adventure gives us purpose and perspective.  It makes us humble and proud…meaningful adventures are possible for anyone, anywhere…if you bring the will, the imagination, and the right gear.”

Salomon Fellcross

And finally, to conclude the 2015 Gear of the Year Award Series here is the S-Lab Fellcross 3 from Salomon.  This low profile lightweight racing shoe will take you wherever you want to go, just tuck the Quick Fit lacing system into the lace pocket and be on your way.  The Ortholite sockliner ensures comfort while the protective TPU toe cap provides support and side protection, and the Sensifit system cradles your foot providing a precise and secure fit.  The mud and snow non-marking Contagrip is ideal for winter and leaves no trace no matter the venue.


The North Face Fuse Brigandine

Body armour from the middle ages just hit the 21st century.  The North Face’s FuseForm constructed Brigandine jacket is not only waterproof and breathable with the help of HyVent technology, but has a RECCO transponder embedded in it so you can be detected by the rescue team in case of emergencies.  Take on the backcountry in confidence with a jacket capable of doing everything you can.  Some cool features include pit zips, adjustable helmet compatible hood, powder skirt, adjustable cuffs, media pocket, water resistant insulated phone pocket, and stretch mesh goggle pocket.  (See, I told you it could handle anything you threw at it.)  To overlap plate with plate the Brigandine won 2015 Outside Gear of the Year Award.

And now try skiing in your very own Brigandine…


Just kidding…


Deuter Pace 36

The Pace 36- liter pack from Deuter also won a 2015 Outside Winter Gear of the Year award.  Weighing in at 2 pounds with dimensions of 26 x 12 x 8.7 inches this minimal, lightweight pack is great for ski tours, alpine climbing, and adventure races.  The Pace pack is designed so that you hardly feel it on your back by using the Lite Back system, a snug fit covered with breathable 3D Wide AirMesh and the flexible but tensioned Delrin U-frame can be removed to shed extra weight.  With stretch side pockets, ice axe/pole attachment, compression straps for skis/snowboard and to compress the pack as small as you need, and a front flap for gloves/helmet you’re ready for whatever the backcountry has to offer.  The Pace also comes in a 28-liter women’s specific version and a 30-liter version.



Patagonia Nano-Air

Patagonia’s Nano-Air Hoody won 2015 Outside Gear of the Year award.  With 60 grams of FullRange insulation this cozy piece won’t overheat as you ski, and if it gets too cold throw a shell on over it.  With it’s easy layering abilities you won’t have to fuss with putting it on and taking it off throughout the day.  Plus, it uses four-way stretch for a fuller range of motion so you can take it on any adventure.  This versatile piece comes in purple, green, gray, and black for $299.