Nancy Gonzalez | Fall Obsidian Collection

Nancy Gonzalez 


 Los Angeles, CA



"Social media has been a great source of exploration and research for me...Whether it’s building off of trips other people have taken or finding tips on traveling with three dogs, I find the community and discovery element so useful."



 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.


10 Questions:

History, Tips, and Inspiration


1. First, who are the pups?

The littlest is Sammy, she’s the old lady - 20 years old and I’ve had her since she was 3 weeks old. Pablo is our only boy and Margaret Thatcher is our puppy. They come along with us on as many trips as we can manage…as you can see in my pictures.


2. What's your life look like outside of Instagram, and how do you fit in your adventures?

My partner and I both have “regular” jobs – I’m an engineer and she’s a real estate agent – so we are mostly weekend warriors that just try to make the most of the free time we’ve got. That means spending weekends or vacation time having adventures. Luckily, living in LA we can get to the snow, desert or beach within a two hour drive; so for us, that usually means leaving early on a Saturday morning and coming home early on a Monday. Even little overnighters can be a lot of fun!


3. How has being outside become an important part of your life?

I grew up in the heart of LA; so, other than a few family camping trips as a kid, outdoor activities weren’t a major part of my life. About six and a half years ago, I went camping again and realized how much I’d missed having that experience. Initially, I started car camping at campgrounds, then backpacking, then really exploring the backcountry. I’ve found I really enjoy that sense of adventure and the discovery aspect of it all.


4. How did Instagram become part of your outdoor experience?

When Instagram initially came out, I honestly thought it was just a craze. I didn’t start an account for a few years after it launched. In the beginning my account just documented our travels, and about six years ago evolved into being more focused on our camping and outdoor experiences. A lot of the photography I take is really just for me, documenting my family and the adventures we have. I don’t ever want it to become something that I’m not excited or passionate about.

Social media has been a great source of exploration and research for me, too. Whether it’s building off of trips other people have taken or finding tips on traveling with three dogs, I find the community and discovery element so useful.


5. How has your gear evolved as you’ve expanded your adventures?

A lot! Initially, I just grabbed some stuff from Target, and I was just focused on the basics. Now I feel like I’ve got gear for just about every occasion. When you’re car camping, you can pack more than you need to or go get it if you need it. So the first time we went backpacking, we waaaay over packed. So it’s definitely been a learning process. I really like to research products, read reviews, and get word-of-mouth recommendations where you can plug into someone’s life and hear how a certain piece of gear works for them. We also spent a lot of time hanging out in REI and testing things out.

Being a part of Cairn has expanded our resources for camping and travel – we’ve discovered so many things we never would have thought to buy for ourselves. I love researching and discovering the next cool piece of gear that’s smaller, or lighter, or somehow improved; so Cairn is awesome for me.


6. What Cairn gear tops your list?

The [Outdoor Elements] Firebiner has been such a good addition. I have a giant multi-tool that I always manage to forget, along with the lighter that I always seem to forget, too. I can clip the Firebiner onto my pack, so it’s pretty unforgettable, and it covers those bases!

The [Mission] Cooling Towel is an item I never would have purchased but was amazing over the summer. Sammy loved it when we went camping. Our house doesn’t have A/C, so we even use it at home!

The Cotopaxi Luzon is something that I take on EVERY trip when we travel internationally, because you can pack it up in your other luggage so easily. I usually carry my camera in it. It’s nice to be able to carry something that doesn’t look like a big fancy camera bag.


7. What has been the biggest gear upgrade you’ve made?

A Four Wheel Drive Jeep! It gets us into a lot more places than we could have before.


8. How do you keep your gear organized for get-up-and-go adventures?

My garage is full of plastic bins that are labeled and organized. Not only does it mak packing a lot easier, but having it all there in your face helps remind you that you want to get out there and try everything out!


9. How important is having the right gear for you adventures?

It’s pretty vital – especially when you’re carrying everything on your back. I really focus on packing efficiently with checklists and the quality, comfort, fit, and durability of a piece of gear; because having something like a pack that breaks or wears wrong can really destroy a trip for you.


10. Tell us about where you took the Marmot Featherless Hoody.

All of our adventures have been pretty warm this summer, so we haven’t gotten to put it to use as often as we will in a few months. But it is extremely warm and fluffy! We’ve been through a lot of “warmth trials” over the years because we love winter camping. I’ve learned that getting high quality gear for warmth is well worth a gear upgrade!

Wishing your whole pack lots of pup-tastic adventures to come ☺!