Breanne McNitt | Fall Obsidian Collection
Cairn and Marmot asked some of our longtime Cairn subscribers and inspirational Instagrammers to take the new Marmot Featherless Hoody, featured in the Cairn Fall Obsidian Trailgating Collection, with them on their recent adventures. We hope that their stories inspire you to make a little more room in your life for adventure.
History, Tips, and Inspiration
1. What's your life look like outside of Instagram, and how do you fit in your adventures?
Well, I graduated from college this past May and spent the summer working in Yosemite National Park. I worked 40 hours a week, but I worked four ten-hour shifts. That meant I had a three-day weekend every week and spent pretty much all of those weekends hiking or backpacking. Plus, I was in Yosemite, so I had easy access to some amazing trails.
2. How has spending time outdoors become an important part your life?
I grew up in Michigan and my parents used to take me and my sister out west every summer for two or three weeks. We’d camp and hike around the National Parks there. That’s really when I started to fall in love with the outdoors.
Then when I was at school in Arizona (I moved out west because of those childhood trips), I joined the Outdoors Club. I was really involved with that, and every weekend we’d do hikes or trips. I’d take people that were new to the outdoors on hikes. Sharing the experience with people got me even more stoked about spending time outside.
For me, being outside just allows me to escape. It’s really my happy place. I prefer the mountains, but pretty much anywhere will do.
3. How did Instagram become part of your outdoor experience?
I used to post random things, but as I got more into the outdoors and started following people in the outdoor industry, those were the profiles that I really enjoyed. Because photography is one of my passions, shifting to more outside-focused images has made Instagram a way for me to share two things I love with people (the outdoors and photography).
4. Adventures – solo or with a sidekick?
I prefer groups of my friends where I know everyone is competent and we can just go out and have fun together. That’s what most of my trips were this summer. I was lucky enough to study abroad in New Zealand and did a couple of solo backpacking trips there but, for the most part, I prefer to be with a group of friends.
5. Tell us about your gig at Yosemite. How’d you end up there and what was your role?
I studied secondary education, so I’m certified to teach 7th through 12th grade math, and I minored in park management. The more I got into education, the more I realized that I want to be an outdoor educator, rather than strictly being in a classroom. My best friend was working at Yosemite, and I just knew that it was something I needed to do, too.
I was an interpretive naturalist there. So I lead nature walks, star programs at night, kids programs and other tours within the park. It was an amazing job. I got to share my love for the outdoors and Yosemite with people every day, plus got those three-day weekends that allowed me to explore on my own.
6. So, you’re heading to Thailand for a year in about two days. How’d this come about?
About a year ago I had this crazy idea that maybe I’d go teach English abroad for a while. So I applied for a Fulbright Grant, which was about a year process to get through. I feel so fortunate to have been awarded the grant - it’s basically covering my full year in Thailand.
I’ll be in Bangkok for the first month for training. Then for the rest of the time, I’ll be in Chiang Saen, which is a more rural area in the northernmost province of Thailand. I’ll be teaching 7th through 12th graders there.
I’ve never fully experienced an Asian culture before, so I’m really excited that I’ve been placed in an area up north where I’ll be completely immersed in the culture. It won’t be an overly tourist location, so I’m hoping to just get to experience everyday life in Thailand.
7. Wow, what’s your prep like for this trip?
Well, I’ve got everything laid out at this point. I want to fit it all in my 65L backpack, and a 20L daypack for the plane. I think I can make it happen! It helps that Thailand has a pretty moderate climate, so I don’t have to bring a lot of heavy winter gear.
8. How have you found the right gear over time?
When I went to college, basically all of the gear I brought with me was what my parents had gotten me over the years. I still have the Kelty 2-person tent that they got me…it works well, and it’s lightweight for backpacking. I don’t really get new gear until the old stuff is broken or needs to be retired. When I do need to replace something, I mostly work off of personal recommendations from friends to figure out what might work best for me. Since I just got out of school, I haven’t spent a lot of money on gear…I usually ask for it as gifts if there’s something that I really need. That helps a lot!
9. You’ve been a Cairn subscriber for a long time. What gear has it helped you discover?
I’ve found so many delicious granola bar and snack brands that I never would have known about otherwise. The Craft Gloves and Point6 Socks I received over the winter are my go-tos now, and I had never heard of Point6 before. I love that I find new brands, but also like when I see brands I already know and get to find out about products that I hadn’t seen. I love Joshua Tree lip balm, and had no idea they made Camp Soap; so it was really cool to get that in one of my boxes.
10. Tell us about where you took the Marmot Featherless Hoody.
There’s still snow over the summer in the high country of Yosemite, so it definitely came in handy once I got up above 10k feet. I have a few different puffies, and this one is now the winner. It’s actually the one I’ve packed for Thailand, for the times when I do need a cold weather layer.
Happy travels, Bre!