Sam Brockway | Fall Obsidian Collection

Sam BrockwaySam Brockway

Boise, Idaho



"Spending time outdoors almost never felt like a decision for me. I feel so lucky that I was hiking in National Parks for as long as I have memory."



 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 things first, who's the dog?

That's Poppy, she's a three-year-old Golden Retriever who definitely likes to believe she's a puppy still. I realize that on Instagram, dog pictures feel like kind of low-hanging fruit, but she really does go on every adventure with me, so it's just natural that she's there.


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

I work from home in environmental consulting and am really lucky to have pretty flexible hours. My girlfriend is a teacher with summers off, so we have the time flexibility to get out there. When we were a little younger, we had the chance to travel the world a bit. The older we got, the more we realized that there's a lot of the US we still hadn't seen. So we started doing the weekend warrior thing when we were in grad school in Seattle. We were busy, but we just made sure we got out and saw something new pretty much every weekend.

When we moved to Boise, we didn't know anything about Idaho, and so it's a whole new world of opportunity to go check things out. We just make the time to be as active as we can be. Another way we squeeze in time outdoors is when we do things like travel to see our parents, or other things that everybody does, we try and build it into a road trip where we can do some hiking along the way. Generally, when you're car camping, like we typically do, your biggest expense is gas. So most of our trips are fairly inexpensive, especially if we can build them into trips we're taking anyway. 


3. How has spending time outdoors become a part your life?

I grew up in a small mountain town in northern California and have spent time outdoors my whole life. Spending time outdoors almost never felt like a decision for me. I feel so lucky that I was hiking in National Parks for as long as I have memory. I never really knew a way to use my free time other than to go do something outside. 


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

I was an outdoor enthusiast long before I became a photographer. Photography is just a hobby I fell into because I wanted pictures of all the places I was going. I was actually on Instagram for awhile before I realized that there's a big photographer community there...I thought it was mostly just cell phone pictures of people's food. Then there was a photo contest I wanted to enter that required me to post something on Instagram. Pretty much immediately when I started sharing pictures I met four or five people that I still regularly hike with when I'm back in Seattle or California. Instagram is a lot more social and connective than any other venue for sharing photos, and I really like that about it. 


5. Favorite outdoor venue in the Boise area (so far)?

The Sawtooth Wilderness area is gigantic and is just about two hours away. It's all pretty much inaccessible by road, so you basically have to hike in anywhere you go there. Over the course of the past 2 summers, we've only explored about 10% of what we want to see there. 

Closer into Boise, there's the Owyhee Canyonlands about 45 minutes away and about 200 miles of trail just on the edge of town.


6. Adventures - spontaneous or planned?

If it's local, less than 3 hours away, it's almost always last minute and spontaneous for us. We've fitted our car out (a small Volkswagen Tiguan with a Thule rack on top) so that we can pretty much pull up and camp almost anywhere we end up. 


7. Gear organization for get-up-and-go adventures?

My girlfriend was in grad school in oceanography and used to work on boats, so we've got some cool little shipping crates from that time that we put all of our gear in and can strap to the roof rack. That keeps the back of the car open for our foam mattress and Poppy, of course. It's comfortable to sleep in and the rack system keeps us from having to move stuff around every night in order to make room for sleeping.


8. Outdoor gear lesson?

I learned the difference between water-resistant and waterproof really early on, and that distinction is pretty important.


9. You've been a Cairn subscriber for a long time. What's your most used product that you've received in a Cairn collection?

This is going to sound like me telling you something that you want to hear, but every month there's at least one thing that I end up using on a regular basis.  One of the first items I received was the Gobi Gear Segsac, and I use it on every trip I take to organize all of my photography accessories.


10. Where'd you take your Marmot Featherless Hoody?

I went fishing at Stanley Lake, which is one of the first lakes you get to as you head towards the Sawtooth Wilderness; took a sunrise hike with Poppy on the trails through the foothills right outside of town; and then, of course, I've worn it to the breweries in downtown Boise. It's still pretty hot in Boise, so I've mostly just gotten to use it during the chill of early morning or later in the evening. It definitely retains heat, so I'll be using it a lot more as the weather starts to turn.


Sam Brockway Fishing Marmot Idaho 

Sam Brockway Hiking Marmot Idaho 

Sam Brockway Brewery Marmot Idaho