Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fighting Gear Gluttony, and YS travel tips

Maybe one of the things that defines our little group thus far is that the times of stability are far outnumbered by the times in flux. We've visited more countries in the last few years than I ever expected to, and visited places in those countries that even the life long locals have never been to. By airplane, car, bicycle, foot, ski, kite, or packraft – at any given time it is almost guaranteed that at least a few of our crew are on the road (or river, mountain, trail, etc...)

the gear glutton's dream
This last weekend saw several of us converging in Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (OR for short!). Basically a outdoor adventurer's dream – with every outdoor company you've ever heard of (and many you haven't) displaying their entire line of gear or clothing for the head buyers from all the big retail shops to peruse. As we walked around, it was hard to ignore the urge that we needed new gear, better gear, lighter gear, brighter gear, sexier gear, tougher gear, innovative gear...or just plain more gear. We resisted “gear gluttony” (for the most part) and tried to focus on visiting the friends in the industry that we've made over the years and often only see at these big events. It was great to sleep on the floor of our friend Bob's house, and drop back into our OR routine of morning yoga in the Prana Rejuv room, free waffles at the New Balance booth, followed by free mochas at Royal Robbin's booth. As the days wear on the gear infatuation slowly slowly wears off.
Showing off in the Prana booth for the Govenor of Utah

Right now, driving back from Salt Lake city to my new house in Bend, I am still thinking about gear - not about what I didn't get, but about what I already have. As we travel, we try to simplify when we can, and I realize that when we are packing I always tend to reach for the same things. Often I even find that that new “must have” piece of new gear gets left behind.

So here, I present our YogaSlacker essentials for an adventureous life on the road...

1: Reusable Cutlery (  Sustianably harvested bamboo cutlery set in a handy little fabric case. Seriously, if you are still using plastic cutlery on the road, it is time to wake up. Make a conscious choice. No one is gonna suggest that eliminating plastic forks and spoons will save the world, but I am pretty sure the world won't be saved by the people that are still using plastic forks and spoons.

2:  A reusable waterbottle: See above if you are still using disposable cups, buying excessive amounts of bottled water, or getting your coffee in a to-go cup all the time. My favorite is Hydroflask- The hydroflask is a metal waterbottle (BPA free) that keeps water cold for a long time. Like 24 hours long. It is keeps your coffee hot for nearly 12 hours. Best part is that the outside never feels hot or cold. It comes in sweet colors and looks really good with a “yogaslackers” sticker on it. Perfect bottle? Pretty close I think.

3:  Injury prevention: Sucks to be injured, and it sucks even more when we are on the road teaching, training or racing. In truth, we can't really afford to be injured, and often when we are we end up trying to press on. I'll be the first to admit the personal hypocrisy of this but often when my yoga self and athlete self clash, you can guess who winds. KT tape ( has saved many of us slackers more times than I can count. It is one of those rare items that I sometimes struggle to understand how I existed at this level without it...but if I really think about it I know the answer. Kttape has allowed us to push the edges further (not saying that this is good, but in our lives right now it just is), and to explore our dynamic multi-sport, multi-yoga lives with much less fear and pain.

4:  Minimal Shoes, aka Inov-8 ( All the modern research points to the benefits of being barefoot, or using shoes that let the foot function in a more natural way. Inov-8 shoes are designed on this principle. If I had to choose one shoe for the rest of my life – to train in, hike in, climb in, paddle in, sleep in, bike shoe for would be the Inov-8 X-talon 212.

5:  Yummy water. We all know how important water is, especially when we are traveling. I drink more if it tastes good. We all love Coconut water (VitaCoco is our favorite) but we try to avoid buying lots of bottles of flavored drinks (see #2). U-hydration is a perfect in helping us with this goal. We have it tucked everywhere; the glove compartment, purses, backpacks, kitchen drawer, bathroom sink, first aid kit, bike saddle get the picture. Add a tab, wait a minute and enjoy an all natural yummy drink. My favorite is Tangerine Ginger. Oh – and we just found some powdered coconut water that we are looking forward to trying! (

6:  Quick (non-fast food) meals. Driving across the country leaves me feeling more drained than a huge race if I don't eat well. Luckily in our years of expeditions and races, we've picked up a couple favorite tricks. Trader Joe's has Indian food packets that are tasty, ready to eat, and cheap. No TJ's near you, most grocery stores have Tasty Bites brand or something similar. A more recent discovery for us using dehydrated camping food on the road. Alpine Aire ( has more gourmet varieties than you can imagine, and all they require is hot water – and just about every gas station in the world has free hot water. And in an emergency, fill it up with cold, seal it, and in about 2-3 hours it will be fully re-hydrated and taste great at room temperatures.

7:  Podcasts. Whether you are driving across the country, stuck in an airport, or on a training ride and sick to death of your “high energy” playlist. Podcasts are the way to go. Most are free for download or streaming (via a smartphone) and can be educational while they entertain. On long road trips, a podcast or two seems to keep me awake at the wheel far better than music does if I am sleepy. Some of our favorites? NPR's Wait Wait don't Tell Me, This American Life, and Radio Lab, as well as the fascinating stories of The Moth, or DirtBag Diaries.

8:  Multi-purpose clothes: Simplify. It works for us. The more we travel, the more we appreciate clothes that serve almost every imaginable function under the sun. We are lucky enough to be sponsored by two clothing companies (Prana and Ibex) that make such clothing, and between the two of them, we can take a few key pieces and be ready to dine out, climb a building, run a marathon, do yoga, slackline, sleep comfortably clothed on the floor, soak in a hot tub, play in the snow, and even paddle a river. My ultimate minimalist wardrobe for a week of unknown adventures – Balance seamless boxers, Mojo shorts, Axiom jeans, Vim Hybrid pants, Hardy button up, Woolies long sleeve, Mont-bell Thermawrap jacket, Buff (any kind), Knitty Gritty glove, 1 pair of merino wool hiking socks (Icebreaker or Teko). Done and Done!

9:  Sunglasses. I don't really care about style, but I do care about blindness, and I've ended too many great days of climbing or skiing by heading westward into the setting sun – squinting all the way home. I've also broken countless sunglasses as I plop down into the car seat, crushing them under my bum. So I've settled on Numa glasses, ( simply because they are unbreakable. I still sit on them, but scratched lenses are better than broken ones.

10:  Camera - Take one. Don't hide behind it like a Japanese tourist in the movies (no offense intended), but have it around for those moments that you want to share. I'm not one of those people that thinks everything needs to be remembered through photos, or shared on Facebook, but as our culture embraces social media more and more, it is nice to at least make some effort to learn the native language. And essentially mixed media is the new global language. A smart phone will certainly suffice, or any cell phone with a camera. But for really getting out there, my favorite is the Lumix Ts1 – a rugged waterproof point and shoot that does amazing HD video too. Just make sure that using the camera is in addition to the experience, and not a substitute for it – especially when using a smart phone. Try to stay present with those around you, and in the space around you, and not get sucked into the Void of the Droid.

But even if you forget all of this, no worries.  The most important thing to always take is a sense of humor, sense of adventure, and your friends!!!

    1 comment:

    1. One of my favorite posts so far from you guys. Now where do I get a YS sticker for my bottle?