January: How to Have an Awesome Tiny Adventure

Though we normally highlight special features of the products included in each month's Cairn, this month, we're doing something a little different... As always, make sure to tell us which products you loved in the comments if you’re a subscriber, and we’d love to hear about other topics you'd like to see covered on the blog!

It can be tough to stay motivated to get up, get out, and go play when the temperatures drop and when the sun seems to set in the middle of the afternoon. Plus, we're all busy people, right? It's even tougher to get out for an adventure when work schedules, non-outdoor adventure-related extracurricular activities, and other things get in the way.

But not every adventure needs to last a week, a weekend, or even a full day to be restorative, fun, and challenging. Tiny adventures, adventures close to home that aren’t long, can be just as rewarding. This month, we have some tips for you around how to get up, get out, and get motivated to make the most of a tiny adventure.

Test out some new gear

If you’re a Cairn subscriber, you’re in luck. Every month, you get a box full of things to play with, specifically designed for the types of adventures you go on. I know if I get a new piece of gear or apparel, I get extra excited about having the chance to try it.

I headed out to a neighborhood park with a hot beverage in the Eco Vessel Double Barrel Mug (included in my collection this month) for a short walk on a chilly afternoon when I didn’t have more than an hour to spare. It was just what the doctor ordered on a recent day off, and it gave me a chance to see if the mug kept my hot cocoa warm. (It did!)

Take on a favorite trail in a new way

Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Gorge is one of my favorite local spots to visit when I don’t have a ton of time, but want to get my nature fix. With more than 50 miles of trail to cover, there’s plenty to keep me busy for an afternoon. Last year, instead of hiking, I started taking to the trails in the Wissahickon with my running shoes on, and boy was it a different experience.

Given the sun sets early in the winter, if you decide to head out running, biking, or any activity on your favorite trail when it's helpful to have something on that'll make you easy to spot, the Nite Ize SlapLit wrap included in this month's Cairn can help. It's more than just a 90's throwback style slap bracelet; it can be set to glow or flash.

Try a new food or drink recipe

Adventures don't always have to be on the trail; there's much to learn about ourselves and expanding our horizons in surprising places, like the kitchen. Getting a Kombucha homebrew kit as a holiday gift was a bit intimidating, mostly because I had no idea what it was or how it was made. Two weeks later, I had my first batch. Batch number two is in the works, and it’s been super exciting to try making my own version of a drink I didn’t know anything about.

Kombucha not your cup of tea? (Pun intended). Another favorite pastime when I’m not out on the trail is coming up with new backpacking trip recipes. Brainstorm things you can eat for breakfast other than oatmeal and see what fun things you can come up with. It’ll make your camp kitchen more fun, and your stomach will thank you on your next trip.

Learn and practice a new skill

Learning a new skill can be a perfect tiny adventure, especially if you get to spend time outside practicing it.

The McGovern & Co Wilderness Survival Bandana in this month’s Cairn has survival tips and more printed on it. After reading them, I got to thinking about how helpful it would be to be completely comfortable with survival techniques I don’t practice often. Do some research around survival skills and choose one to practice, like starting a fire without a match or a lighter or learn how to best start fires in or on snow, just in case you end up needing to in a survival situation. Anything that’ll challenge you!

Try a new sport

I lived in Alaska for two years and had the chance to visit Denali National Park in the middle of the winter. The National Park Service and supporting organizations hold an annual Winterfest that includes speaker events, community dinners, winter skills workshops, activities for kids, and more, and in February of 2008, I got to attend. It was COLD. Snot-freezing, skin-burning cold, the kind that gets deep into your bones.

Convincing myself to go outside was a challenge, to say the least, until I had a chance to try skijoring. The dog I worked with quickly lost patience as I fell over and over, but man was it fun, and we only spent an hour or so outside. A tiny adventure, sure, but one I still remember vividly over seven years later. If you haven’t tried cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or other winter sports, give ‘em a try, even if you’re only out for a short time.


What are some of your favorite tiny adventures? How do you get your fix when you only have a few hours or a day to spare? We’d love to hear from you!

And subscribers, don’t forget to tell us how you felt about the products in this month’s Cairn. Three versions of the box shipped this month with different items going to folks who ranked snowsports or hunting as one of their favorite outdoor activities.