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?
I’m the VP of Marketing for Visit Bend, an organization built to promote tourism in our city. It’s fun because I get to highlight this place that we all love and enjoy, and I get to put my own touch on the promotion of it. For me that means telling the story of Bend while incorporating an awareness of environmental impact and sustainability. Honestly, it really doesn’t feel like work for me because I genuinely enjoy Bend and sharing what it’s all about.
As far as fitting in adventures, I normally put in 50 or 60 hours of work a week, but I can do that with a fairly flexible schedule and can often work from anywhere (as long as I can get an Internet connection). That allows me to explore and take excursions more frequently.
2. So have you gotten to explore everything there is to see in Bend?
I’ve been in Bend for nine and a half years, and I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface of places to explore around here. When I moved here, the first book I got was The Bend Overall Guide. It gives super insightful information about everything there is to do within a couple hour drive of Bend. My goal is to do everything in that book. I think we’re only about a quarter of the way through – though we’ve lost some copies of the book over the years, so there’s been a lot of starting over!
3. How has being outside become an important part of your life?
The way I was raised, hiking and backpacking was just always part of my life. My dad is a super active cyclist and athlete in general and my mom is really outdoorsy. I’ve got pictures of me in a backpack on her back out on hikes as a tiny kid. Even through college, my mom and I hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail together every year. I just never knew any different.
Now as an adult, I like to say I go to the church of nature. It’s my therapy, my daily meditation. It’s rejuvenating, powerful, energetic.
4. How did Instagram become part of your outdoor experience?
I was a photography minor in college. After college I did some weddings and portrait work, but got pretty burnt out and decided to put my camera down for a while. Then my dad gave me an old film camera, and playing around with it really brought me back to photography. I started bringing it along on hikes with me, and I realized how much I enjoyed capturing the beauty of the outdoors and the feeling that I get when I’m outside.
I got on Instagram a few years ago and sort of randomly shared some landscape photos. People naturally seemed to gravitate to the outdoor images, so it’s just organically evolved into an outdoor focus. I hope that I’m helping inspire people to get outside while sharing a responsible, sustainable recreation message along with that. Social media can have a negative impact on the outdoors, so I want to make sure that I’m not perpetuating irresponsible behavior outside.
5. We’re always envious of the adventure-mobile that makes an appearance in your pictures. Tell us about it.
About a year ago, the rise of van life and an impending fall road trip to Yosemite, inspired me to build us a set-up where we could sleep inside and have storage underneath, instead of sleeping in the open bed of our truck. We knew it was going to get into the teens at night in Yosemite, so that was my real push to get the build done. I spent about $50 on lumber and it does the trick!
The problem with gear lust, in general, is that you always want to build something more amazing. I’ve gotten so many ideas since the initial build! Now we’ve got awnings, solar panels, and water storage. The truck has almost become like a really barebones RV, but one that can get more places than an RV.
6. Adventures - solo or with a sidekick?
I like doing the solo thing, but I’m more of a social person so I like to have company (even if it’s just my dog). The cool thing about being around people that love the outdoors as much as you do is that collective energy that makes the experience even more magical.
7. Adventures – spontaneous or planned?
I’m normally the type of person that might have three or four different options, and then pick one of them at the last minute. There’s always a ton of research that goes into trips, regardless, because I do enjoy planning. How long hikes are going to be, what kind of gear you’ll need, how long it’ll take to get there - those are all important things to plan for ahead of time.
8. How has your gear evolved as you’ve expanded your adventures?
My friends and I were all part of the outdoor recreation program in college. We were all a bunch of poor college kids that had hand-me-downs from parents’ garages. My mom gave me her Coleman stove, which I still use. It’s bombproof. But a lot of the hand-me-downs have been upgraded over the years. My wife and I normally try to buy one big ticket item each year. And we’ve gone to a lot of REI garage sales. All I have to say is know exactly what you want to get there – go early and don’t get distracted!
9. How do you keep your gear organized for get-up-and-go adventures?
It starts with tubs. Lots of tubs with labels on them. I’ve got tubs set-up for each activity – fly fishing, camping, backpacking, camp kitchen. At the end of each adventure, it’s just a matter of cleaning it up and putting it back in the right tub, then it’s ready to go for the next time and easy to grab. It’s taken a while to get the system dialed but, man, does it make life so much easier!
10. Tell us about where you took the Marmot Featherless Hoody.
We went to the Oregon coast near Cape Perpetua State Park. The Oregon Coast is cool because it’s just so rugged and unique. It was the perfect place for the Hoody - it was getting into the 40s, and it’s almost always damp there.
Cheers to more adventures, Nate, around Bend and beyond!