Do Not Let Yourself Go Camping Without Your Axe

You wouldn’t like to be stuck in a situation where you don’t have the proper equipment. No matter if you are digging, cutting, or trimming, the new generation of best camp-ax will do the task for you.

Pick an axe that makes you and your group feel safe during your camping experience. While you are on the trail, making a camp-fire or solving unforeseen problems, the proper equipment will help ease of your adventure. Active Junky tested a few axes on the market and determined which are the best camp axes for your needs. Below you will see the list with a few details of each axe to help you choose the best one for you. Don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky to see their exclusive deals and cash back on all their gear.

How to Choose the Best Camp Axe for You:

Firstly, look at the options based on your personal needs. Active Junky recommends taking in consideration the type of tasks that you will encounter in your home or cabin.

Preparation for Campsite:

Agility is an import aspect for your axe, rather than just thinking of it’s cutting power. An axe that is lighter, shorter, and sharper will be the best camp axe to use. You need the equipment that will snag less in bushes, doesn’t impede movement, and can be used in other ways rather than just with the blade.

Campsite Construction:

A controlled and accurate maneuver is important to help drive the tent stakes with a precise impact from your axe. This is also important so you don’t damage wood, plastic, aluminum or alloy stakes. Also, when constructing a shelter, cutting and trimming wood will be part of the process, make sure to find the best camp axe to ease off these demanding tasks.

Create a Campfire:

Preparation for a campfire can include shaving tinder, chopping limbs and splitting dried or hard wood. Penetration is important to make sure you get a proper pile of wood.

Traveling in the Backcountry:

Carrying a few extra pounds of axe weight is vital to insure you have the equipment necessary incase of any troubles. Your best camp axe can help you build splints or crutches, as well as aid during a storm or natural disaster. Always be prepared for a variety of scenarios. Size and weight is to be considered when transporting your best camp axe.

Home and Cabin Utility:

During tasks at home or at a cabin, your axe will come in handy. Since most axes feature a shorter handle, they are not the safest choice for powerful swings against large lumber, metal bolts or concrete. Shorter handles are usually for single-handed uses which can limit control of the axe head.

 

Best Camp Axe Attributes

Five Attributes were evaluated, and one Key Attribute was selected for each axe.

Size: The weight and dimensions are a priority

Durability: Long term use with short-term wear

Agility: Proper balance and easy single-handed maneuvers

Utility: Usage in a variety of tasks

Penetration: Cut with accuracy and productivity

KLECKER KNIVES KLAX LUMBERJACK

Starting at $139.95

Best “Quiver of One” Camp Axe:

The Klax Axe has a fold-flat tool protected by a ballistic nylon wallet, it has a 14.4oz stainless steel blade, and you can purchase de 15” hardwood handle or create your own.

Pros: Secure attachment to the handle and a stay-sharp edge on all tools.

Cons: Practice is necessary to handle tool properly.

Key Attribute: Utility

Best For: Backcountry, adventure travel, or an ultimate gift.

GRANSFORS BRUCKS OUTDOOR AXE

Starting at $177.60

Best “Cutting” Camp Axe:

This Outdoor Axe assures you a confident straight-swing, with usage on larger limbs that cuts deeper than 1lb. It has a chainsaw-like penetration that cuts into pine and hardwoods, as well as a more delicate task like shaping and shaving.

Pros: Proficient control, and good looks.

Cons: Precision is needed to make use of it with it’s short blade length.

Key Attribute: Agility

Best For: Climbing andCamping.

GERBER SPORT AXE II

$48.00 – $63.00

Best “First Camp” Axe:

It is a 14” model that works for tough limbing and splitting chores with it’s smooth 2.6” steel head. The Gerber axe weighting at 24oz helps your swinging power along with close-in control grip.

Pro: Great value, lifetime warranty.

Cons: Shorter blade length.

Key Attribute: Penetration

Best For: Cabin and camp use, some digging or paddling expeditions.

Other Best Camp Axe Brands:

  • CRKT
  • Estwing
  • Ontario Knife Company
  • Wetterlings
  • Outdoor Edge

Qualities that the Best Camping Lanterns Must Have

Mankind is always seeking to conquer its environment by traveling to strange places like in the wilderness and not getting attacked by big and scary animals that live there. To achieve this, they need light. Although they have fire, it is just hot light that cannot be carried around. It is for this reason that they require to carry their own light into the darkness. To do that, they arm themselves with camping lanterns, headlamps and flashlights. Although many campers tend to dismiss the camping lanterns as bulky and inefficient; improvements have been made and today’s camping lanterns have battery tech and LED technology. These lanterns are flameless and can last for several days on a single charge because they have become more viable and are designed to light up campsites for long duration. This article focuses on highlighting some of the best camping lanterns that people can consider when hanging out at campground or cottages away from the modern conveniences. Examples of the best camping lanterns are Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6 Lanterns, Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern with USB port that can charge your cellphone, The Dorcy 41-1017, NEBO Tools 5959 Eco Lantern and the Steamlight 44931 Siege Lantern.

Several factors have to be considered when choosing the perfect camping lanterns. These include the type of power source, amount of light emitted, the hours of operation, weight of lantern, adjustability of the light and any additional features.

Type of Power Source

Outdoor camping lanterns come in solar-powered, electric charged and battery charged among other types. Campers can choose from the variety available in the market and settle on the one that suits them best. It is not advisable to choose gas lanterns because they are not safe around children and cannot operate in stormy weather.

Amount of Light Emitted The rumen rating indicated on the camping lantern label will tell you the area that it can illuminate. Therefore if you are staying in a large campground, you may consider going for a camping light with a higher lumen rating and vice versa. The lumen ratings in camping lanterns often run between 200s and 300s but some run up to 1000 lumens.

Hours of Operation This is the most important consideration for campers; especially those that go on long vacations and camping to places with no access to stores where they can purchase batteries or charge their camping lanterns. The hours a lantern can provide light vary depending on the make and brand but it is mostly from 2.5 hours to 295 hours. Battery-powered camping lanterns operate for the longest time followed by solar-powered and electric-powered ones.

Weight of Lantern

Weight is crucial when packing for camping. No one wants to carry bulky loads especially if it is just a source of light. Camping lantern manufactures have taken this into consideration and therefore these lanterns weight around 1 to 3 pounds. However, battery-powered lanterns may weight more because of the weight of the batteries.The Dorcy 41-1017 is a perfect choice since it has a very small design that fits easily into any backpack without taking up a lot of space.

Adjustability of the Light The ability to adjust the amount of light emitted by the camping lantern is another important consideration because you can save energy by setting it to low light. Most camping lanterns come with a setting for high, medium and low light output. A good example is the Coleman 1000 Lumen CPX 6 Lantern which comes with these three settings. These can be set according to the preferences of the users.

Any Additional Features

These include any added options to make your camping experience a comfortable and successful one. The best camping lanterns have an MP3 player to keep your entertained, a USB Port to charge your cellphone, yellow light to attract insects, SOS option for emergency services, remote control option and red light for night vision. The Goal Zero is known for its USB charging capability that can charge all kinds of phones and still run the lantern.

In conclusion, the best camping lanterns are available in different designs and power sources. Therefore no matter which camping lantern people decide to carry to their next camp, it is important that they consider the above features so that they are guaranteed of safe and well-lit nights.

How to Sleep Better on the Road

Call me soft, but the thing I appreciate most about Airstreaming over tent camping is a proper bed. I have a great ultralight camping setup, and I use it plenty for backpacking, bikepacking, and hunting. But the truth is, when camping on hard ground, I sleep fitfully and wake up feeling stiff as an old man. When we’re in our Airstream, Artemis, however, I know that a hot shower and a sound night’s sleep await no matter how big a day I’ve had in the hills.

So last summer, when I began suffering bouts of trailer insomnia and frequently rose with a sore back and achy hips, I was flummoxed. I’d always slept better in Artemis than at home. I think it was partly because small spaces are cozy and protective, and partly because, when camping, there are fewer distractions to keep you up. Something was clearly not right, and I was determined to find out what tht was—and fix it.

Eye Mask

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(Courtesy PrettyCare)Because of ambient light, Jen, my wife, and I always bed down with eye masks. I’m a light sleeper and have tried tons of these over the years, from the rag-thin airline variety to pricey ones with gel inserts and aromatherapy pods. I’ve found that the $15 3D-molded variety works dependably.

Buy now

Earplugs

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(Courtesy Perfect-Fit)We also sometimes plug up our ears, especially in campgrounds, which can be chaotic. I use cheap foam ones, but Jen swears by her Perfect-Fit custom set ($117). They definitely work. With her mask on and ears sealed, she sleeps through any alarm until I wake her. Unfortunately, even with a brand-new mask and plugs, I was still sleeping poorly.

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Window Covering

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(Courtesy Uline)One niggle we’ve had with Artemis over the years is how much light seeps in, even with curtains and shades battened down for the night. Some of the best sleep we’ve had in a trailer was while testing the new Airstream Basecamp, which includes blackout shades that are so effective, it’s almost distressing when you wake up in the morning. Jen and I have been meaning to emulate those curtains in our bedroom for a while, but it’s an expensive project and always gets pushed off. Instead, Jen used some Cool Shield thermal bubble wrap to craft makeshift window covers. Yet even in near blackout conditions, I was tossing and turning.

Buy now

A Good Mattress

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The author stretches after another night of mediocre sleep. (JJAG Media)About the time I started having trouble sleeping, Jen and I went on an overseas work trip and stayed in a hotel with luxe bedding. I slept like I was drugged. When we got back to Artemis and my listlessness returned, I realized that we needed a new mattress. It might seem like an easy fix, but the Airstream’s round-shell profile requires a custom solution. The simplest route is to buy direct from Airstream, but we wanted something plusher.

Research led to a couple of companies that craft custom mattresses for Airstreams and other RVs and sell direct online. The thought of buying sight unseen (as well as the Casper debacle) made me hesitant. But when we called Mattress Insider, I regretted dithering. The sales rep, Matthew, spent half an hour on the phone with us going over our sleep preferences. He eventually recommended a memory-foam model, using a firmer layup than usual. The price was nearly 50 percent less than an Airstream mattress, but I was concerned about not being able to test-drive it first. “You’ll love it, I promise,” Matthew said. “But if for some reason you don’t, call us back and we’ll work it out.”

When the mattress arrived, it came wrapped in a zip-off organic-cotton mattress cover and fit the oddball dimensions of the trailer like the bespoke design that it is. I couldn’t wait to try it out, and we actually turned in early that night from sheer anticipation. As promised, the mattress felt both firm and yielding; I was out in minutes and slept through the night. The next morning, I awoke well rested and not even slightly sore or achy.

Buy now

Buying something so big and expensive online was intimidating, but with such drastic improvement, I only regret not doing it sooner. Jen says I’m the princess and the pea, though she, too, has been sleeping better. Sleep hard to play hard, I keep telling her. But I’m pretty sure she just thinks I’m getting soft.

The Do-It-All 8-Piece Carry-On Kit

With ever-soaring baggage fees, it’s as important as ever to curate a collection of well-made, multifunctional travel clothes that can fit in your carry-on. The key is finding great pieces that are at once high performance, high style, and high quality—items that pull multi-duty as you go from airport to adventure to dinner. Pieces like these.

Lululemon On the Fly Pant ($98)

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(Courtesy Lululemon)As comfortable as a pair of sweatpants and as classy as a pair of chinos, these 7/8-length, breathable pants are made from the company’s Full-On Luxtreme fabric, a four-way stretch material that keeps you cool and wicks sweat yet has a smooth, crisp look that’s far from your average athletic wear. A media pocket allows you to stash your cell on the go, and a wide drawstring waistband is super-comfortable even on the longest flights.

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Athleta Elemental Rain Jacket ($186)

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(Courtesy Athleta)This waterproof-breathable jacket functions as a raincoat but has a modern, feminine cut, plus a matte polyester outer that allows it to double as a sleek travel or city coat. The cinched drawstring waist means you can wear it fitted or over layers.

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Duckworth Vapor Tee ($50)

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(Courtesy Duckworth)The price may seem steep for a T-shirt, but this soft, lightweight top is made from Montana-grown wool blended with polyester and modal. The fabric’s unique conductive revaporation quality allows for multiple wears without acquiring a stink. This is a classic, American-made basic that can be worn with and for just about anything.

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Aether Noir Full-Zip Fleece ($195)

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(Courtesy Aether)The four-way-stretch water-resistant outer, soft lining, stylish high collar, and great fit make this fleece an ideal cool-weather piece for comfortable, classy travel. Bonus: It’s guaranteed for life.

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Adidas Flashback Primeknit ($120)

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(Courtesy Adidas)I have yet to wear these functional, mustard-color retro wonders without receiving a compliment. The stretchy mesh uppers hug your feet like a pair of favorite socks, while the leather heel loops make them incredibly easy to slip on and off in the security line. Plus, they’re perfectly capable of enduring some light hiking and long days exploring a new city.

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L.L.Bean Signature Leather Duffel ($299)

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(Courtesy L.L. Bean)Want one piece that can up your travel style tenfold? Get a high-quality leather duffel. An iconic silhouette made of sturdy, oiled cowhide leather and lined with 16-ounce cotton canvas, this 23-inch-long bag is small enough to be carried on. With sturdy leather handles and shoulder strap, reinforced seams, and brushed-metal components, it’s built to last.

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Patagonia Women’s Micro Puff Jacket ($249)

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(Courtesy Patagonia)Stuffed with exceptionally warm PlumaFill synthetic down and surrounded by a breathable, water-resistant ripstop outer that works in most weather conditions, this is the ultimate ultralightweight travel puffy. The best part: It packs into a pocket that doubles as a brick-sized stuffsack and easily fits in your carry-on for backup warmth on cold flights.

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The North Face Slacker Poncho ($99)

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(Courtesy The North Face)It may feel like your favorite oversized sweatshirt, but this poncho, with its funnel neck and flattering drop-tail cut, is stylish enough to be worn day and night. The midweight cotton-polyester blend makes it easy to layer, while the kangaroo pocket’s hidden phone sleeve adds functionality.

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The 25 Trips You Need to Take This Year

 


Leavenworth, Washington
(Garret Van Swearingen)


Westport, Washington
(Diana Pulido)

Washington

In 2017, two Seattle-based surfers turned a mid-century motor lodge in the coastal town of Westport into a communal hub for anyone looking to hit the area’s beach, point, and cove breaks. Loge Camps takes a variety of budgets into consideration, offering private hotel rooms, hostel beds, and a campground. In addition, soft-top and performance board rentals are available on-site. A few hours inland, in Leavenworth, Loge has built a small Bavarian-themed mountain village on the Wenatchee River, with front-door access to some of the most popular skiing and mountain biking in the state. The 2.6-acre commune has all the amenities of its sister property but with the bonus of a bike- and ski-tuning shop. There’s even a training area where you can brush up on your avalanche-response skills. From $135; logecamps.com —Graham Averill

trips

Caddo Lake, Texas (Tony Smith/Jarvis Boards)

Texas

With 95 percent of the Lone Star State in private hands, access to canoe-friendly water has been tricky. That’s changing with the launch of Texas Paddling Trails, designed to improve maps, mark routes, and build and restore put-ins and take-outs around the state. Texas now has 73 such designated water­ways—up from just 14 a decade ago—spanning nearly 600 miles. To explore some of the best, rent a Civilian Conservation Corps–era cabin at Caddo Lake State Park, 170 miles east of Dallas, where ten paddling trails meander through 27,000 acres of swamps and ­bayous. Bring a rod on the 8.8-mile Hell’s Half Acre loop, rich in paddlefish. Later, head into Uncertain (population 94) for po’boy sandwiches at Lafitte’s Caddo Grocery and Café. The adjacent Johnson’s Ranch Marina rents canoes and kayaks with PFDs (from $30; johnsonsranch.net). —Tim Neville


Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
(Emily Polar)


Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
(Tom Hanslien)


Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
(Michael Mohr/Redux)

Sri Lanka

There’s glamping, and then there’s the surreally beautiful Wild Coast Tented Lodge on the Indian Ocean, pitched on the country’s largely untouched and lush southeastern side. As Sri Lanka recovered from a decades-long civil war, a team of Dutch, English, and local architects created the whimsical, inventive series of 28 cocoon-like tents, which were then constructed from weatherproof fabric, teak, and bamboo to blend in with the surrounding jungle, beach, and boulder-strewn landscapes. Game drives through wildlife-rich Yala National Park offer a glimpse of sloth bears, leopards, elephants, and monkeys, while to the south and west you’ll find dozens of empty surf breaks with warm water and consistent swells, many of which are easy enough for beginners. From $445, meals included; resplendentceylon.com  —Stephanie Pearson


Bread Bar, Colorado
(Lauren DeFilippo)


Bread Bar, Colorado
(Lauren DeFilippo)

Colorado

Some bars are worth a special trip. Bread Bar, a 19th-century bakery turned unlikely watering hole in the small old mining town of Silver Plume, is one of them. A 45-minute drive west of Denver on I-70 and perfectly positioned for a stop on the way back from Loveland Ski Area, the quintessentially Rocky Mountain bar serves an all-star selection of Colorado wines and craft beers, as well as cocktails named after historical regional characters like the infamous gambler Cortez Thompson, who is honored with a lava-salt-rimmed concoction of tequila and grapefruit soda. In summer bands perform on the patio, while chefs from top Denver restaurants cook up classic New American fare, like fried-chicken sandwiches and lobster grilled cheese. Open Friday through Sunday; breadbarsp.com  —Jen Murphy


Transylvania, Romania
(Daisy Honeybunn)


Transylvania, Romania
(Daisy Honeybunn)

Romania

With its abundance of two-lane country roads and varied landscape of mountains, hills, and plateaus, Romania is finally getting recognition as an absolute heaven for cyclists. From May to October, the Slow Cyclist offers five-day trips into the heart of Transylvania, taking you through quiet Saxon villages, brilliant wildflower meadows, and beech and oak forests that are home to one of Europe’s largest populations of bear and wolf. You’ll ride 20 to 40 miles a day, with stops to hunt for truf­fles and explore local villages and their well-preserved traditional lifestyle. Lodging is in simple guesthouses and charmingly restored 18th-century homes, with meals such as cabbage lasagna and homemade plum brandy. From $1,665, all-inclusive; theslowcyclist.co.uk —J.M.


Big Sur, California
(Karim Iliya/Massif)


Big Sur, California
(Ventana Big Sur)

California

Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, the new Ventana Big Sur resort sits on 160 pristine acres overlooking the coast. It’s got a laid-back mountain-cabin vibe (albeit a really high-end one), with 59 rooms plus a handful of glamping tents tucked into a small canyon among the redwoods. If you can drag yourself away from the communal Japanese hot baths, yoga and tai chi classes, and infinity pool overlooking the ocean, there’s a lot to explore in the area. A nearby stretch of Highway 1 has long been a favorite with road bikers. For surfers there’s easy access to a mini point break at the mouth of Big Sur River. And hikers can hit a number of remote beaches on the nine-mile Andrew Molera Loop or immerse themselves in the giant redwoods of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. From $675; ventanabigsur.com —G.A.


Rainforests in eastern Cuba
(Tom Bartel)


Eastern Cuba
(Chad Case)


Kayaking in eastern Cuba
(Chad Case)


City life in eastern Cuba
(golero/Getty)

Cuba

Because it was isolated for so long, this country has some of the most spectacular intact coral reefs and tropical ecosystems in the world. The best way to see them? Paddling with Cuba Unbound, a branch of ROW Adventures, which recently partnered with local outfitters to offer the only kayak tour available on the eastern side of the country. The eight-day trip starts in the city of Holguín, from which you’ll explore the northern coast, gliding over vibrant reefs of fan and brain corals, swimming with clown fish, and bunking at the Cayo Saetía Hotel on an island in the Bahía de Nipe, a 1970s retreat for the country’s communist elite. When you aren’t paddling, you’ll hike little-known mountains in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and spelunk in the crystal-rich Cueva de los Panaderos. Mixed in are tours through classic cities like Baracoa and Santiago de Cuba, known as the birthplace of Afro-Cuban music. Most nights, you’ll stay in casas particulares—Cuban B&Bs—and relax over simple home-cooked meals like ropa vieja washed down with cans of Bucanero cerveza. From $3,590; cubaunbound.com —T.N.


Kaktovik, Alaska
(P. de Graaf/Getty)


Kongakut River, Alaska
(Michael DeYoung/Getty)

Alaska

For centuries polar bears have gathered on the sandbars outside Kaktovik, an Inupiat Eskimo community on the north shore of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; there they devour the carcasses of whales harvested in August and September by subsistence hunters. The village offers an unparalleled way to see one of the world’s most legendary predators, and with climate change threatening the creature’s habitat, the time to see them is now. Unlike the mass-market tundra buggies on Hudson Bay, which park travelers above the action, local guides take no more than six people out in small open boats, affording you the equivalent of courtside seats. From 90 feet away, you’ll observe mammas and cubs somersaulting on the beach and play-wrestling with eight-foot-tall males in a steely, end-of-the-world landscape of sand, water, and sky. From $1,899, including the three-hour round-trip flight from Fairbanks; northernalaska.com —Kate Siber


Central restaurant in Peru
(Central Restaurant)


Mil restaurant in Peru
(César del Rio)

Peru

Virgilio Martinéz helped put Lima on the global culinary map when he opened Central, an eatery ranked number one in the country in 2012 by the Peruvian restaurant guide Summum. With his new project, Mil, the chef has turned the spotlight on Peru’s verdant Sacred Valley, his favorite source of high-altitude ingredients. Located near the Incan ruins of Moray, just outside Cuzco, the restaurant focuses on Andean cuisine prepared with ancient cooking techniques like the pachamanca, an underground barbecue. Diners enter the 40-seat restaurant through a food lab, where Martinéz and his team plan to create house-made chocolate. Outside, the crew hovers over fire pits of roasting corn and potatoes. One ambitious tasting plate is an homage to the potato. (The country produces more than 4,000 varieties.) Be warned: Mil sits at 11,500 feet, so a single Peruvian craft beer is probably enough to get you buzzed. From $145; centralrestaurante.com.pe —J.M.


Nova Scotia surfing
(Zak Bush/Massif)


Trout Point Lodge, Nova Scotia
(Trout Point Lodge)

Nova Scotia

Looking for point breaks all to yourself? Pack your six-millimeter wetsuit and migrate to the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia, where hurricane season delivers pumping swell from August through November. Or if you’re really hardcore, go in December or January—you might have to dodge chunks of ice in the 30-degree water, but you’re almost guaranteed unforgettable long solo rides. Nico Manos, Nova Scotia’s only pro surfer, offers lessons and rentals at Lawrencetown Beach, 16 miles east of Halifax (from $75; ecsurfschool.com). If the waves aren’t firing—or you’ve surfed to the point of hypothermia—retreat to the peninsula’s southwestern interior and the roaring fireplace at Trout Point Lodge. Nestled in the Tobeatic Wilderness, one of the largest protected areas in eastern Canada, the 100-acre property hosts a resident astronomer to help guests spot the region’s frequent meteor showers. From $263; troutpoint.com —J.M.


Kathmandu, Nepal
(Sara Holcombe)


Kathmandu, Nepal
(Erroguide/Cory Cooke)

Nepal

In the weeks following the April 2015 earthquake, 33-year-old Nepali photographer NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati operated a relief network out of her family’s B&B. Six months later, she unveiled her follow-up effort: a photo festival in Kathmandu, cele­brating the spirit of the people who survived. With works mounted in museums, galleries, and public squares of the mazelike district of Patan, Photo KTM has become a bona fide international event, attracting some 400,000 visitors and sponsors like Instagram and the National Geographic Society. But it maintains its wild ad hoc feel; to wander these streets is to choose your own adventure in a place of history while surrounded by art of the searing present. To raise funds to help rebuild the neighborhood, Photo KTM sells prints, but admission to host sites is free. Stay at ­Swotha Homes, a bed-and-breakfast in Patan (double rooms from $71; traditionalhomes.com.np). —Abe Streep


Puglia, Italy
(Robert Reader/Getty)


Puglia, Italy
(Jennifer Johnson Photography)


Puglia, Italy
(Giorgio Baroni)

Italy

Even by Italian standards, the southern region of Puglia is an unusually friendly place—and far less visited than the north. Which won’t be true for long, thanks to its spectacular location on the Adriatic Sea, drippingly fresh seafood, whitewashed hill towns, and endless rocky coasts and plains to hike and bike. At Borgo Egnazia, a 155-room family-run establishment near the seaside village of Savelletri, guests are immersed in the local culture and assigned a guide who shares insider advice via WhatsApp. When you aren’t taking a pasta-making class, sign up for a day tour with former pro cyclist Antonello Losito in the nearby Itria Valley and pedal through sun-washed villages and too many vineyards to count. Trust us, you’ll want to work up an appetite: Puglia specializes in spicy cuisine and indulgences like creamy burrata cheese and handmade pastas like orecchiette with broccoli rabe. From $249; borgoegnazia.com —J.M.

Crater

Cloud Mountain—Lake St. Clair National Park, Tasmania (LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH/Alamy)

Tasmania

Tasmania feels like the end of the earth. The Australian island-state—a launching point for scientists en route to Antarctica—is blessed with wide-open wilderness and a stunning empty coastline. Start in the capital of Hobart at the Museum of Old and New Art, a subterranean bunker with provocative installations. Then head north to Freycinet National Park to hike up and down mountains to one spectacular beach after another. Make your home the Edge of the Bay Resort, a charming eco-lodge on the water (from $310; edgeofthebay.com.au). You can surf in nearby Bicheno. Next, head to Port Arthur to trek the rugged Three Capes Track, or go inland to tackle the challenging peaks of the Overland Track in Cradle Mountain–Lake St. Clair National Park. Prefer a little more luxury? Check out Great Walks of Australia, especially the three-night Bay of Fires Lodge Walk across a sandy windswept coast (greatwalksofaustralia.com.au). —Mary Turner

trips

Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River (Becca Skinner)

Idaho

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, passed in 1968 to preserve rivers with “outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational value.” Only 208 waterways have received the designation, and OARS offers rafting trips on nine of them, including the free-flowing Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River. On a six-day adventure, you’ll float more than 100 miles of winding water and over 100 sets of Class II–IV rapids. After setting up camp each night, paddlers can hike to see Native American pictographs on precipitous canyon walls, or soak tired bones in abundant hot springs, each just a short walk from the riverbank. From $2,549; oars.com —S.P.


Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
(Manuel Sulzer/Image Source/Offset)


Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
(Paragon Expeditions)

Argentina

If you’ve ever wanted to meet Alex Honnold, Conrad Anker, Rick Ridgeway, or Kris Tompkins, here’s your chance. In November, Wilderness Travel is offering a one-of-a-kind tour through the heart of Patagonia that begins with a four-day symposium in Los Glaciares National Park. Between talks from Honnold on his career as a climber and Tompkins on public lands in South America, there’s time to stomp through the park; watch films like A Line Across the Sky, a documentary about Honnold and fellow climber Tommy Caldwell’s route up the Fitz Roy Traverse; and relax beneath Andean peaks at the Don Los Cerros Boutique Hotel and Spa. When classes let out, you’ll have five options to explore the region. Our pick is the 13-day wildlife journey, with orca-watching off Argentina’s Peninsula Valdés, a chance to see the recovering jaguar population in the Iberá wetlands, and a finish at the 275 towering cascades of Iguazú Falls. From $8,595; wildernesstravel.com —S.P.


Kyrgyzstan skiing
(Ryan Koupal/40 Tribes)


Kyrgyzstan skiing
(Ryan Koupal/40 Tribes)

Kyrgyzstan

In 2009, Colorado-born Ryan Koupal traveled to the remote northeastern corner of this Central Asian republic to backcountry ski and was immediately hooked. Now he hosts groups of up to eight from January to March in the Tien Shan Mountains, picking up skiers at the Bishkek airport and shuttling them by van and Soviet military bus to a camp in the Terskey-Alatoo Range. The rugged half-day journey is worth it. “You’re basically skiing three feet of sugar,” says Koupal. “There’s almost nothing but big, open, powder-filled faces.” For a week you can skin up hills of untracked snow, sleep in a traditional Kyrgyz yurt with a wood stove, and fill up on traditional fare like meat and potato stew and beetroot and cabbage soup. Some backcountry experience is required. From $2,750; 40tribesbackcountry.com —Avery Stonich


Acre, San José del Cabo, Mexico
(Gina & Ryan Photography)


Acre, San José del Cabo, Mexico
(Gina & Ryan Photography)


Acre, San José del Cabo, Mexico
(Gina & Ryan Photography)


Acre, San José del Cabo, Mexico
(Gina & Ryan Photography)

Mexico

Want to sleep in a treehouse near the beaches of San José del Cabo, on the grounds of one of the best restaurants and mezcal distilleries in Mexico? Since opening in 2015, Acre has been luring foodies with its ambitious tasting menus and Espadin and Cenizo mezcal. Hidden amid Jurassic-size palm trees, the building was developed on a converted mango grove, and guests are encouraged to spend the night in one of a dozen treehouses, take complimentary classes in yoga and goat milking, or explore the towns of San Bartolo and Los Barriles. While rustic, the accommodations have king-size beds and spacious terraces for stargazing. You’ll fall asleep to the sound of baja breezes and wake up to complimentary breakfasts of banana beignets and chilaquiles. From $275; acrebaja.com —J.M.

trips

Breaks Interstate Park, Kentucky (Gerry Seavo James/The Explore Kentucky Initiative)

Kentucky

Eastern rockhounds looking for a new playground to explore were rewarded with a jewel in the summer of 2016 at Breaks Interstate Park, which encompasses a five-mile-long gorge on the Virginia border. Since  it started welcoming climbers, a dozen or so lines have been established on its sandstone cliffs, and locals see openings for hundreds more—most of them in the 5.10 to 5.12 range. If you’re looking for a hard overhanging wall, climb the Pavilion; there’s also more moderate trailside 5.10’s along the Overlook Trail. Easier climbs are sure to crop up soon. When you’re ready to cool off, grab hold of the rope swing at Pool Point, a waterfront area on the Russell Fork River. The park has cozy lakeside cabins on-site, while dirtbag purists can stay at the 138-acre campground. $2; breakspark.com —G.A.

trips

SUP Florida (Yolo Board)

Florida

Last year’s hurricane season luckily bypassed South Walton, a lively 26-mile chain of barrier islands on the panhandle. The region has also been off the radar for travelers, who somehow overlook its 200-mile network of trails and 25,000 acres of state parks and forests. Plan at least a week to hit the high points: bike across a series of connecting bridges through small seaside neighborhoods, SUP coastal dune lakes, and surfcast for pompano. Stay at the Pearl Hotel, a boutique beachside inn, to catch sunset views of the Gulf from its rooftop lounge (from $349; thepearlrb.com), and rent a board from Yolo Board and Bike, which will deliver to your door (yoloboard.com). Finish the day with oysters on the half shell at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar, named after the historic fishing reef that sits directly south. —S.P.


Plus six adventures from Outside Go, our in-house travel pros

trips

British Columbia (Michael Wigle)

British Columbia

The Great Bear Rainforest sits in the rugged Coast Mountains, and the nine-chalet Tweedsmuir Park Lodge is built on 60 acres of private wilderness within it. Hike the Bella Coola Valley, fish for cutthroat trout and sockeye along the Atnarko River, and watch grizzlies feast during the salmon run. Or show up midwinter for access to 2.64 million acres of heli-ski terrain. At night, unwind in a sweat lodge or the outdoor hot tub before heading in for dinner. From $3,375 —Megan Michelson

trips

Nicaragua (Morgan’s Rock)

Nicaragua

Outside GO owners Sandy and Chip Cunningham handpicked the surf breaks on this nine-day trip. It begins in Granada, with a hike up and sandboard down the nearby Cerro Negro volcano. Then it’s a short jaunt to Jicaro Island Lodge on Lake Nica­ragua, where guests sleep in treehouse-like cabins and enjoy paddleboarding at sunset. The final four nights are spent at Morgan’s Rock, an eco-lodge near the surf haven of Maderas Beach, with access to board rentals and instruction. From $3,135 —M.M.


Tanzania
(Nomad Tanzania)


Tanzania
(Nomad Tanzania)

Tanzania

Want to spot the Big Five without hordes of khaki-clad tourists? This 11-day tour starts at the Arusha Coffee Lodge at the foot of Mount Meru. You’ll move on to Chada Katavi, a tented camp in million-acre Katavi National Park, to see the hippo and crocodile populations, then take guided safaris through Ruaha National Park, the Sand Rivers Selous game reserve, and down the Rufiji River. Or tack on extra days to visit the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar. From $9,997 —M.M.

trips

Australia fine dining (Spicers Peak Lodge)

Australia

Here’s the perfect first taste of Australia: after two days of sailing in Sydney’s harbor, touring the Opera House, and sampling oysters on the waterfront, fly to Brisbane and drive inland for a four-day trek on Queens­land’s Scenic Rim Trail. You’ll traverse rainforests and a dormant volcano, leading you to a solar-powered tent camp at the edge of Main Range National Park. The trip concludes with a ten-mile hike to the mountaintop Spicers Peak Lodge. From $3,995 —M.M.

trips

Ecuador (La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge)

Ecuador

The breathtaking biodiversity in the Galápagos Islands has been threatened in recent years by invasive species and overfishing. Go now be­fore one of the most pristine wild­life experiences is further com­promised. At the Galapagos Safari Camp tent village on Santa Cruz Island, you can surf and see giant tortoises and cormorants. Next up: guests fly to La Selva, an eco-lodge in the Amazon on Lake Garzacocha, and then on to the nearby Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, where you’ll stay at Hacienda Zu­leta, a 17th-­century home on a farm in the Andean foothills that has mountain bikes, horses, 4,000 acres of property, and 50 miles of trails. From $7,650 —M.M.

Montana

Spot wolves in Yellowstone National Park on this new custom-designed trip, spend­ing a few nights in the park before heading to the hand-built cabins at the historic Lone Mountain Ranch in nearby Big Sky. —M.M.

For dates, itineraries, and more information, visit outsidego.com.

California Monuments Road Trip

“If we want people to care about conservation, they have to experience wild places,” says professional ski mountaineer, adventurer, and KEEN ambassador Caroline Gleich. That’s why she summoned her friend and fellow KEEN ambassador Meg Haywood Sullivan, a professional photographer, to take a four-day road trip to four national monuments they’d never seen—Carrizo Plain National Monument, Giant Sequoia National Monument, San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and Sand to Snow National Monument—all of which lie within a day trip of Meg’s surf bungalow in Venice.

After hearing about Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke’s plan to shrink three monuments (Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, plus Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou) and review 27 others totaling millions of acres, Caroline wanted to “feel these monuments.” She called Meg because, in addition to taking beautiful photos, she shares Caroline’s passion for conservation. Caroline’s a pop music fan; Meg favors alt/indie. But their preference in shoes is the same: Terradoras for hiking, Uneeks for kicking back. “Between the two shoes, you’re basically covered for everything,” says Caroline. “The Terradoras are cute enough to wear around town but rugged enough for desert hikes. And the Uneeks are super comfy—perfect for around camp at the end of the day or to slip on and off in the car.” Three hours after Caroline hit the tarmac, Meg steered her Subaru into the shimmering August sun and toward Carrizo.

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Day One: Carrizo Plain National Monument

Bisected by the San Andreas Fault, Carrizo Plain National Monument is 204,000 acres of grasslands, valleys, ridges, ravines, and one gigantic natural alkali wetland, all connected by two-track dirt roads and two primitive campgrounds that serve as launchpads for mellow, uncrowded hiking. Driving in, through rolling coastal hills, you immediately get the sense that you’re traveling back in time, says Caroline. President Clinton designated the 204,000-acre monument in January 2001, so it’s well signed and has some amenities. Their first stop was Soda Lake, where a spongy trail curves around the water. Come nightfall, the girls planned to do an open air bivy (no tent) at Selby Campground. “But pulling up, we saw a lump,” says Caroline. “It was a fresh kill, the bones strewn around. I also saw a tarantula. I didn’t mind the spider, but the prairie grasses were dry and made a ton of noise with all the kangaroo rats scavenging about.” With so many critters around, they decided to pitch a tent.

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The next morning’s objective was Painted Rock, a collection of millennia-old Chumash Indian pictographs in a natural rock amphitheater, accessed by a mellow 30-minute hike on red-dirt doubletrack. “You could tell these people had a clear vision of what they were painting and an artistic interpretation of their daily lives,” says Meg. “They were trying to tell a story either for themselves or the future, and we got to witness it.” Now, they said, when they lobby for the monument’s protection in Washington, they can give firsthand accounts of what’s at stake.

Distance from LAX: 169 Miles.

Getting there: Check out Caroline and Meg’s route here.

If You Go: The city of Bakersfield, with plenty of lodging and dining options, is 70 miles to the east. Pitch a tent at Kern River Campground (661-868-7000) and load up on groceries at Vallarta Supermarket, a Latin chain selling meat, produce, regional specialty foods, and other staples.


Day Two: Giant Sequoia National Monument

Driving out of Carrizo, Meg and Caroline passed a “huge oil pipeline with Exxon Mobil drilling sites all around it,” says Caroline. “You could see why all of the wildlife had retreated to Carrizo.” But soon they were heading east, toward Giant Sequoia National Monument. Designated in 2000, it’s sandwiched between Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park and, as the name implies, is home to the world’s largest tree species (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which grows naturally in just a narrow 60-mile band of mixed-conifer forest on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. People explore them via a self-guided loop trail, portions of which are fully accessible. “The monument was way more crowded than Carrizo,” says Caroline, “but in a good way, with people from all walks of life.”

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Meg steered them into a dispersed camping area near the southern entrance of the monument, where they set up tents beneath trees shooting 250 feet skyward. Later that afternoon, they hiked the 1.3-mile-long Trail of 100 Giants, which has interpretive signs explaining the trees’ life cycle. As cool as the science is, Caroline had a more visceral reaction: she wanted to hug ’em. “You wrap your arms around,” she says, “and they leave a bit of bark on you.” But they also hold evidence of California’s recent drought—monument personnel were preemptively clearing some because they’d become so dry and brittle (and in danger of toppling over). The trees in Meg and Caroline’s campsite were solid, though, and the two slept peacefully under the ancient boughs in their preferred styles—Caroline under the stars in her bag, and Meg snug in her tent.

Distance from LAX: 215 Miles.

Getting there: See Caroline and Meg’s route here.

If You Go: The sleepy towns of Lemon Cove and Three Rivers are south of the monument via Highway 198. In Lemon Cove, you can camp, SUP, and fish for rainbow trout and cutthroats on Lake Kaweah, and in Three Rivers you can kayak the Kaweah River, then sip whatever’s on tap at Three Rivers Brewing.


Day Three: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

From Giant Sequoia, it’s a 3.5-hour drive to the San Gabriel Mountains, which rise above the east side of Los Angeles. “When you think of L.A., you don’t normally think of mountains,” says Caroline, but the San Gabriels soar to 10,064 feet and are part of a watershed that provides some 30 percent of the water for the city.

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President Obama designated the 342,177-acre monument in 2014, in part to protect rock art that provides a glimpse into ancient civilizations. Its four million annual visitors also hike, Nordic ski, hunt, horsepack, fly-fish, and camp in four separate wilderness areas that are home to California condors, the mountain yellow-legged frog, the arroyo chub fish, and Nelson’s bighorn sheep. Although Meg had never hiked there before, she could see the snowcapped mountains from her Venice driveway. “Before coming, I had no idea you could access such high-quality trails so close to L.A.,” she says. Many visitors like to hike the 2.8-mile Allison Mine Trail from Coldwater Saddle or take an overnight trip on the 10.2-mile Bear Creek Trail, which climbs up from the Valley of the Moon Highway. But an August heat wave had sent temperatures soaring into the triple digits, so Meg and Caroline bailed to a hotel in Palm Springs. They lowered their core temps and then headed out in search of a pedicure. “We didn’t even have to change our sandals,” says Meg. “The Uneeks are stylish enough for city wear, even glam Palm Springs.”

Distance from LAX: 66 Miles.

Getting there: Caroline and Meg’s route from Giant Sequoia National Monument to San Gabriel Mountains can be found here.

If You Go: Visit the Mount Wilson Observatory and the San Dimas Experimental Forest, both inside the monument. Weekend guided tours admit visitors to the telescope floor, directly beneath the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson.


Day Four: Sand to Snow National Monument

Sand to Snow is just 26 mostly uphill miles from Palm Springs—through foothills, suburbs, and cute little mountain towns. “When you get there, it’s like you enter a whole other world, in mountains reminiscent of the Rockies,” says Meg. Another Obama designee, Sand to Snow once housed the Serrano and Cahuilla peoples, who came to hunt and gather food, medicinal plants, and basket-making materials. Today, the San Gorgonio Wilderness connects important wildlife habitat in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains (think black bears, deer, and bighorn sheep). Meg and Caroline based their visit out of San Gorgonio Campground in nearby San  Bernardino National Forest, arriving at the perfect time to crash beneath the stars, which both did sans tent. “It sounds weird coming from someone who’s done so much camping, but bivying was liberating,” says Meg. “We laid out our tarps and sleeping bags and slept side by side, sleepover style.”

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Before dawn the next morning, they set off for San Gorgonio Mountain, the range’s tallest peak, at 11,500 feet. Not long after sunrise, they found themselves face to face with a wide-eyed deer. “We had a long exchange of female energy,” laughs Caroline, whose return flight time was the only thing that kept them from the summit. A few short hours later, Caroline was already on her way home. Meg promised she’d go back and finish the climb—and a few weeks later she tagged the summit.

Distance from LAX: 99 Miles.

Getting there: Check out Caroline and Meg’s route to Sand to Snow here.

If You Go: Post–camping trip, hit up Palm Springs for its famous hot springs, hotels, and spas. Two Bunch Palms spa is “Zen-like” and adults only, while Aqua Soleil Hotel and Mineral Water Spa is sleek, immaculate-looking, and super-affordable: a single queen runs just $65–$89 per night. And if you have kids, head to Sam’s Family Hot Water Spa and Resort—because neither kids nor soothing hot-water rewards should be absent from your national monument exploration.


Driven by a passion for life outside, KEEN is a values-led, independently owned brand from Portland, Oregon, that’s on a mission to create original and versatile footwear, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. By giving back, reducing impact, and activating communities and individuals to protect the places where we work and play, KEEN puts its values in motion and takes action to leave the world a better place. Learn more at www.keenfootwear.com.

The Essential Tool Kit for Backcountry Trailering

A few months after we bought Artemis the Airstream, we found ourselves searching for a campsite on Kenosha Pass, an hour west of Denver, Colorado. We scouted some good spots down a steep hill and deep in a cleft of trees, where the road became tighter and the shrubby understory pushed in on the track. We were totally new to trailering at that point and still getting proficient at maneuvering Artemis. While we were pretty sure we could squeeze her down that road, we were nervous about it.

Perhaps a little overly optimistic, we went for it, and Jen, my wife, pulled off an incredible thread job backing into a slot where there wasn’t half a foot of leeway between rocks on either side. We were bolstered by the accomplishment and pleased as pie at the killer site we’d scored. When we went to leave a week later, however, we learned our first important lesson about backcountry camping: Just because you can get in doesn’t mean you can get out.

Airstream

Moving branches (JJAG Media)We had backed into the site upon arrival, but now, trying to pull out nose first, the angles were different. A tree that hadn’t been in our way backing in blocked our turn back onto the road. After a good hour of maneuvering, I used a couple lengths of climbing rope to tie back some branches and leaned my full weight into the tree trunk as Jen eased Artemis forward and squeaked out with less than an inch between bark and trailer. We were relieved. But we also realized that if we wanted to venture into the backcountry going forward, we’d have to be warier and we would need some tools and tricks to make sure we didn’t get stuck.

In the two years since, we’ve never had as close a call, partly because we’ve developed some good systems for dealing with bad roads and tight terrain. Here’s some of our hard-earned know-how.

#1. Get a Lift

Airstreams aren’t exactly built for off-the-grid adventures, and the stock ground clearance on ours was less than seven inches from dirt to tanks. So one of the first things we did upon purchasing Artemis was to get her lifted, which was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Cliff’s Welding, a shop in Phoenix that specializes in trucks and trailers, took the trailer off the axles, installed a custom five-inch-tall steel frame, and reattached the wheels underneath, which brought our clearance up to a foot. It’s not a lot, but since then, we haven’t had many issues with dragging, even on some pretty nasty back roads. A lift will change your towing capacities and setups, so expect to spend some time afterward dialing in your numbers again.

#2. Travel with Bikes

Even if you aren’t a cyclist, having a mountain bike that you can pedal down dirt roads to scout is imperative. Otherwise, you either run the risk of getting in over your head or, more likely, you’ll simply never venture very far for fear of getting stuck. (You should want to avoid getting stuck at all costs. A friend whose trailer recently slipped off a muddy back road paid north of $4,000 to have it extracted.) Whenever we reach roads that look even remotely tricky, we pull over in a spot where there’s still a pullout or space to turn the trailer around, take the bikes off the rack, and ride down until we’re certain we can get Artemis through. More often than not, it’s fine, but sometimes we realize the road is not going to work and are glad we left ourselves an out.

#3. Pack the Right Tools

Overhanging and encroaching branches and shrubs can damage your trailer as you roll past or even completely stymie your progress. Often, on narrow roads, one of us has to get out and hold back the brush with our bare hands as the other pulls Artemis past. For more concerted challenges, we have also chopped one of our old climbing ropes to create a couple of 30-to-40-foot lengths that we use to tie back foliage. You can also use a broomstick or, in our case, our old climbing clip stick (basically a retractable painter’s pole) to position the rope in high spots and leverage out-of-reach branches. And though I’ve never had to use them for getting us in or out (and hope I never have to), it’s reassuring to have our Silky Gomboy foldable saw and Wetterlings hatchet, which we use around camp for firewood, tucked away just in case.

#4. Make Sure Both of You Can Drive the Trailer

The majority of couples we come across who camp seem as if they designate driving and trailer duties to just one person. This is a mistake. Jen is just as good at towing and maneuvering Artemis with the truck as I am—probably better—and that’s important, because getting in and out of tricky spots is a two-person job, and we both need to be able to participate equally. If we’re going through a tricky patch and I’m driving, I’ll often get out to manage trees or move rocks from the road, and Jen will take over driving. And if, god forbid, something ever happened to one of us in the backcountry, the other needs to be capable of hitching up Artemis and getting us out alone.

#5. Put Leveling Blocks to Double Use

Airstream

Leveling blocks in use. (JJAG Media)You will need a set of levelers for smoothing out uneven camp sites, but we’ve found these little plastic blocks are also useful on the road. Even with the lift on Artemis, we sometimes come across drainages and arroyo crossings where, thanks to the long wheelbase from truck to back of trailer, we risk dragging the rear bumper or bike rack. By strategically stacking our levelers in these ruts, however, we can ease the drop-offs and transitions to keep the wheels high enough to avoid impacts. A collapsible shovel like the Gerber E-Tool is also handy for digging out sand and gravel to fill holes and ditches.

#6. Buy Chains

Even if you don’t plan to ever drive in the snow, a good set of chains for your tow vehicle is worth the investment. We learned this the hard way while camping in the Four Corners area with some friends last year. A slow-moving storm system rumbled into the region and turned the caliche clay roads we’d arrived on snot slick and completely impassible. We were stuck in that site for five rainy days. Our friends, on the other hand, put on their chains and, though they were hauling a trailer far bigger and heavier than ours, drove out the 20-some miles of muddy roads without issue. We ordered a set the following week, and more than once since then, they’ve kept us mobile when otherwise we would have had to hunker down.

#7. Don’t Forget the Jackknife

Hopefully it won’t happen, but should you ever end up on a dirt road where you can’t go forward but there’s no place to turn around, there is one last Hail Mary. It might be possible to back up and jackknife the trailer so it’s perpendicular to the road, disconnect, then drive around to the other side and reconnect from the opposite direction. It will depend on road space, of course, as well as having enough open country to sneak the truck around. But if you’re out of options, it’s worth at least considering.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work.

Airbnb Launches Host of Sweet New Features

A decade ago, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started renting out air mattresses in their cramped San Francisco apartment to visitors who needed a place to stay. That simple idea, of course, would become Airbnb and change the way we travel. Just look at the numbers: In 2008, the year the site launched, some 400 people booked lodging through the company. Since then, more than 300 million travelers across 191 countries have used the service.

Now, with a slew of new categories being rolled out, like upscale, preinspected homes and houses geared toward families or business travelers and new experiences including private concerts, workshops, and dinners at the best restaurants in town, the company wants to change the game again by making it easier for you to travel like a local, wherever you go. Here’s a breakdown of all the new things Airbnb can do for you.

Rent Nicer Homes with Hotel-Like Amenities

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Farmhouse on a vineyard in Cape Town, South Africa. (Courtesy Airbnb)Airbnb Plus is basically a curated list of unique homes that have been vetted for quality. Each house approved for the service has to pass a lengthy checklist to ensure it features comforts like fast internet, quality linens, sleek design, clutter-free closets, and a well-stocked kitchen. And while there are currently around 2,000 Airbnb Plus homes in 13 cities—Austin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Milan, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, and Toronto—more cities are on the way by the end of the year.

The homes average $250 a night—about $100 more than a standard Airbnb rental—but many promise a spectacular experience. Check out this farmhouse on a vineyard ($312 a night) in Cape Town, South Africa, which has a pool, massive backyard, and an on-site host who will pour you a glass of locally made wine. Or this eclectic bungalow ($130 a night) steps from the beach in Venice, California, that comes with surfboards to borrow.

Or Just Stay at an Actual Hotel

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The Amado in Palm Springs, California. (Courtesy Airbnb)While Airbnb already allowed users to book rooms at select hotels and inns, new features are being added soon to make them even easier to find. To supplement the current categories (entire place, private room, or shared room), the site will be rolling out four new filters this summer that will let you sort specifically for bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels, as well as vacation homes and unique spaces like treehouses, yurts, or backyard Airstream trailers.

Until then, you’ll just have to work a little harder to book one of the five poolside, midcentury modern rooms at the Amado ($175 a night) in Palm Springs, California, or a bunkbed at the Bivvi ($39 a night) in Breckenridge, Colorado, where breakfast comes included.

Find a House Your Kids Will Love

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For large groups, Airbnb has you covered. (Courtesy Airbnb)Airbnb’s new collections, launched with lists of bookings curated for families and work trips, will expand this summer to include catalogs of venues specifically selected for weddings, honeymoons, group trips, and even dinner parties.

Under the families collection, you’ll find homes highly rated by parents with perks like cribs, bunk beds, and spacious backyards. Our favorites included this kid-friendly getaway in North Carolina’s Outer Banks ($89 a night), which comes with games, children’s movies, a high chair, and ample beaches nearby, and this sleek cabin ($450 a night) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which has a bunk room and an extraordinary porch.

Listen to a Live Concert in a Yurt or on a Boat

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Tap into small concerts while on the road. (Courtesy Airbnb)While you’re booking housing, you can now sign up for local experiences and activities, such as surf lessons in Bali, guided hiking with mountaintop yoga in Los Angeles, or monitoring sea turtles in Costa Rica. You can also make restaurant reservations in many major cities.

The coolest new feature, however, is this: Airbnb just added concerts, where you can join small gatherings in 25 select cities to hear musicians perform live music in unique venues like yurts, distilleries, steamships, and churches.

When the Road’s Your Office, This Is the Gear You Need

The office worker tethered to a landline and desktop is giving way to new breed of desk jockey—someone who works on the road at co-working spaces in adventure towns across the country or halfway around the world. For those who’ve been de-cubicled, we’ve rounded up the essentials to make your mobile office not only more functional, but more enjoyable as well.

WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive ($140)

storage drive

(Courtesy Western Digital)Life on the road is hard on your electronic gear, and few things are worse than losing months of work when your computer mysteriously goes haywire. This wireless, one-terabyte hard drive lets you connect up to eight devices at once to easily backup all the important files from your computer, phone, or tablet in minutes. Plus, it features an SD drive that allows you to dump photos and then view them on the go via your phone or tablet.

Buy Now


Timbuk2 Stealth Folio Laptop Sleeve ($49)

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(Courtesy Timbuk2)From the outside, the Stealth Folio looks like minimalist laptop sleeve. But open this sleek, water-resistant case and you’ll find a fully padded pocket for your 13-inch laptop, plus ample storage for cords, chargers, a mouse, a notebook, and other accessories, thanks to an abundance of neoprene pockets and organization loops.

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Looptworks Upcycle Coffee Travel Kit ($150)

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(Courtesy Looptworks)A great cup of coffee is essential for a productive workday, and this portable caffeine kit includes everything you need for the perfect cup. There’s a Hario mini hand grinder for fresh grounds, an Aeropress coffee and espresso maker, Nossa Familia Full Cycle beans, and a Klean Kanteen insulated tumbler mug for sipping. Everything comes conveniently packed in an upcycled leather travel bag with removable bike handlebar straps.

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Skullcandy Grind Wireless Headphones ($90)

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(Courtesy Skullcandy)These Bluetooth headphones check all the boxes: comfortable enough for all-day wear, excellent sound, 12-hour battery life, built-in mic, and leather accents to give them a touch of class.

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Anker PowerCore 20100 Portable Battery ($42)

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Keeping all your devices charged is half the battle when you’re working on the road. In test after test, this portable battery tops the charts. Though it’s just 6.5 inches long and 12.5 ounces, the PowerCore is powerful enough to fully charge your iPhone seven times.

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InCase Path Backpack ($80)

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Faux-fur lining and padded pockets and pouches make the inside of this backpack like a day spa for all your gear. But we loved it for its crisp, modern design that didn’t make us feel like a middle-schooler.

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Moleskin Professional Notebook ($23)

Moleskine

(Courtesy Moleskine)The Professional version ups the functionality of the classic Moleskin with designated page layouts for organizing key tasks, planning projects, and setting personal and group goals. All pages are numbered with an index in front for reference, and there are perforated pages for tear-out to-do lists and a pocket in the back for storing receipts and other paperwork.

Buy Now

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Best Spots to Live (for a While) as a Digital Nomad

So you’ve finally figured out a way to work remote. Good for you. Now for the hard part: Where should you live? Or, rather, where should you spend the next week or month before moving on to the next spot? We’ve rounded up a list of co-working and co-living spaces everywhere from major cities to beach towns that love digital nomads like you and make it easier to do your job.

Hossegor, France

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(Courtesy Jo and Joe)Located on the southwestern coast of France, Hossegor is a world-famous surf destination on one of Europe’s longest white-sand beaches. The town has six surf breaks—the site of surf competitions like the Quiksilver Pro France—and old-world charm, with cobblestone streets and bakeries on every corner. Stay at Jo and Joe (from $23 a night), a modern hostel five minutes from the beach that opened in 2017. Private and communal rooms, a bar and café, communal living area, yoga, and massages make it easy to plug in for a productive day at the “office.”

Ubud, Bali

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(Courtesy Roam)Bali is a digital nomad mecca for good reason: It has affordable short-term rentals, a growing number of quality co-working spaces, and a vibrant culture of expats. Roam (from $500 per week) converted a boutique hotel in Ubud to a co-living site with 24 rooms around a pool and an open-air rooftop work space. There are also yoga classes, movie nights, and dinners cooked in a communal kitchen. If you need help figuring out how to land a job you can do from anywhere, check out WiFly Nomads’ two-week retreat in Bali, a crash course in everything you need to know about snagging a remote job.

New York, New York

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(Courtesy Yotel)Spend your days working—and running through Central Park, kayaking around Manhattan, or bouldering at Chelsea Piers—and your nights going to concerts and eating Korean barbecue or bowls of steaming ramen. At Yotel (from $197 a night), a futuristic hotel in Midtown with robot luggage service, self-check-in kiosks, and a concierge app, you can work from a massive outdoor terrace or in the hotel’s designated co-working lounge. Its rooms feel more like compact train cabins, but each has a small workstation. Or check out Public Hotel, which opened on the Lower East Side in 2017 and offers luxury rooms for less than $200 a night and has communal work tables in the upper lobby.

Vienna, Austria

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(Courtesy Hotel Schani Wien)Take a break from the grind to work on your German, tour Vienna’s museums, visit a thermal spa for saltwater baths, or simply run through the city’s many parks. The family-owned Hotel Schani Wien (from $84 a night), located across the street from the city’s central train station, has co-working stations in the lobby, which you can rent for up to 30 days and include lockers, a printer, and even an espresso machine. Plus: Rooms come with a hearty Austrian breakfast spread each morning.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

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(Courtesy Angkor Hub)At Angkor Hub in Siem Reap, Cambodia, you can snag a private or shared room just a short jaunt from the Angkor Wat Temple. The co-living space offers weekly or monthly accommodation packages (from $109 per week) that include bike rental, airport transfers, breakfast and lunch, laundry service, and, most important, reliable Wi-Fi for getting things done. Post up at a desk or a hammock and spend your free time visiting the temples, riding tuk tuks around the city, and buying silk scarves and bulk spices at night markets.

San Francisco, California

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(Courtesy Startup Basecamp)If you’re working for a tech company or starting your own, you’ll probably need to spend some time in Silicon Valley. Startup Basecamp (from $49 a night) makes it easy to temporarily call San Francisco home. Part hotel, part co-working space, Startup offers a basic room and a communal work space that you can reserve for $20 a day. Plus, you’ll network with other startups and get feedback on everything from web design to IT help. While in the Bay Area, you can surf Ocean Beach or Bolinas before work, or spend your days off mountain biking Mount Tam and sailing around San Francisco Bay.

Bejuco, Costa Rica

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(Courtesy Outsite)This quaint seaside fishing and farming town is known for its beaches: long, pristine stretches of golden sand with few tourists and ample surf breaks. Stay at the co-living property run by Outsite (from $420 a week), where you’ll sleep in a poolside bungalow just minutes from the ocean. There’s plenty of quiet space to plug in alongside fellow roaming workers, but don’t miss the outdoor sunset yoga at Encantada, just down the beach.

Vail, Colorado

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(Jack Affleck)From May until October, Antlers at Vail is offering a 30-day sabbatical package (from $1,850), which lets you spend a month living in the hotel like a local—SUPing Gore Creek, picking veggies at the farmers’ market, and riding lift-accessed mountain bike trails straight from your door. Your stay includes access to the gym, a loaner cruiser bike, tickets to local music festivals, GoPro cameras to borrow, and even kitchen appliances like espresso machines and waffle makers. If you’re not on sabbatical, the Vail Centre for Entrepreneurship has desks for rent in nearby Avon and Edwards.