The List: 2013 Edition

checklist
For my inaugural post on this site, I published a list I had compiled for road trips and car camping that had stood by me for quite a while. While the whole point of a list is to not forget anything, the list itself is not exempt from this and has grown some, as well as expanded on a couple areas. Still largely focused on car camping, most of the items do however translate well into a backpacking checklist, usually just depending on the size of the gear. This stuff on hand, I usually feel prepared to go just about anywhere.

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I’ve Always Wanted To Try That: Surfing

The best way to look awesome just by standing up

Photo:haniamir

If you live anywhere near the ocean, odds are there’s at least a small surfing community in your area. People who will go to great lengths and brave temperatures and conditions in the water most people would only consider dealing with if, say, the ground were on fire. This unconsciously affiliated band of people, men and women, old and young alike, seem drawn to water as moths to flame, not just wanting waves but needing them in their life. You have to wonder, what do these people know that I don’t? What is so powerful a draw that ties them to this sport?

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Quick Fix

Quick Fix

Photo:slopjop

While a first aid kit is never a bad idea, honestly there’s many situations where you really just need something to hold you together because, like Jesse “The Government Body” Ventura, you ain’t got time to bleed. For this, I’ve picked up two basic components during my climbing career that should keep you in one piece while you’ve got better things to do, like limp to the car.

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United States of Awesome: The American Stereotype Overseas

United States of Awesome: The American Stereotype Overseas

 All politics aside, Americans as fat, loud, cocky, gun-loving idiots is an image more readily accepted around the world than Mastercard. While the rest of the world is by no means safe from its own stereotypes, America tends to dig its own hole by broadcasting to the world endless clips of its citizens failing to find entire continents on a map or fighting over their babydaddy in ill-fitting lycra with all the poise and aesthetics of sumo wrestlers attempting to figure skate while being pelted with live chickens.

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The Tangle

The Tangle

I love gadgets as much as anyone. So much so that I can honestly say I love cell phones these days for everything but the actual phone feature. And the fact that electronic devices are getting smaller and smaller means it’s getting increasingly easy to take all my gadgets with me wherever I go and never have to go through withdrawl from my music, email, photo taking, movies, etc.

Only problem: while the devices have shrunk, the cables stay the same size, and it’s coming to the point that the mass of cables can easily be larger than the portable electronics themselves. Because of this, and my obsession with pushing the envelope of packing light, I’ve had to re-think my approach to powering and connecting all my gadgets.

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Right Is Wrong: Driving on the other side of the road

driving
 
As international destinations go, England or Australia aren’t a huge stretch for those of us from the US. We speak the language, the food contains about the same percentage of deep fried things, and you can still find The Simpsons on TV at least once a week. The one big stumbling block that doesn’t really come up until it’s staring you in the face is that in these countries, among many others, driving for an American is the equivalent of a psychological experiment.

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I’ve Always Wanted To Try That: Scuba Diving

I've Always Wanted To Try That: Scuba Diving

Whether you’ve been snorkeling in tropical waters or just watch a lot of “Shark Week” on Discovery, odds are you’ve pondered getting SCUBA certified at some point. The ability to immerse yourself, literally and figuratively, in such an alien environment right at your doorstep is very enticing. Rarely do you get a chance above water to be so intimately surrounded by such a brilliant variety of active plant and animal life that you can examine up close and personal. And these days, with most every holiday destination near water offering trial dives and certification courses, it’s remarkably easy to start diving.

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