August 2021 Newsletter

REI Employee
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The end of August means a shift towards fall in so many ways. The weather is starting to change in many parts of the country, students are heading back to school, and even leaves are starting to change in some places! For many, this month can mean getting in those last trips, big or small, before the start of a more structured time of year. While the ventures never seem to end in a community as passionate about the outdoors as this one, you all were clearly making the most out of your summers outside! This month over 1,800 new members joined Conversations and 1,400 posts were shared. A big thanks to all of you for making this such a welcoming and exciting community! 


What’s New in Conversations?  

Earlier this year REI launched Cooperative Action, a platform to scale our impact in the fight for a life outside. Right now, this includes two tiers: Recommerce and the Cooperative Action Network. Whether its keeping gear out of the landfill or reaching out Congress on important issues, we’re excited to see the response so far from the co-op community and look forward to seeing the impact these programs make in protecting the outdoors. To highlight this, we launched two new badges in Conversations this month to recognize participation in Cooperative Action. Have you participated in either of these activities? Let us know and we’ll add the badge to your community profile! 


Here are some highlights from July:   

If you could change one thing when it comes to using trails, what would it be? And why? 

When @sauerApple joined the community this month, they brought along this question which has started a great discussion on many different aspects of trail etiquette and education. Leave No Trace, properly sharing trails with different animals, and local organizations education efforts are all addressed. Do you have something you’d like to be different? Join in on the thread! 

“Education is huge. I wonder what solutions there could be that are low-hanging fruit to implement?” - @sauerApple 


Backpacking Lunch Ideas 

While this might not seem like a topic that is a particularly tricky one, when you start thinking about whether or not you want to take your stove out of your backpack, how many calories you need during an active day, and even the calorie-to-weight ratio of food on longer trips, there’s a lot to look into! Do you have any favorites that you can share with the group? We’d love to know! 

“Lunch is an entirely utilitarian event on trail. I’ll spend time making breakfast and cooking dinner is something I enjoy. But those are bookmarking the time on trail. Once I’m going, I just want to keep hiking until I reach camp.” - @Dad_Aint_Hip  


My love of tents, tarps in the wind, and camping! 

There’s no doubt that this community is full of people who enjoy testing out their gear. While tents get a lot of attention on our camping board, tarps are a favorite for some folks because of the multitudes of setups and the customizations. @Tim_DeBoer shared that they have even created an eighteen page document noting different ways to pitch a tarp! From cots to fiberglass poles, there are a lot of good ideas in this thread. If you’re keen on learning or want to share your own expertise, be sure to take a look. 

“Tarps are a ‘use your imagination’ thing. There are quite a few basic tarp set ups, but that isnt the end all to be all. I took the fiberglass tent poles from a Colman 3 man tent, rigged them on a Cabelas outfitter cot, and tarped it for a pretty comfy one person shelter on a long weekend car camping.” - @GregA 


How does conservation impact your time outside? 

When @Lindahikes joined the community, they started this thought-provoking thread, including the questions “Have you ever considered how much work goes into building a trail? Or restoring wilderness areas? Or whether the plants are native or non?” As a community that is passionate about the outdoors and talks often about the desire to protect it, sitting with these kinds of questions can be a great exercise.  

“Close to my home I have a few different conservation groups that preserve wildland and maintain trail systems.  I've participated in several trail maintenance opportunities and fund-raisers with each of them, and I have to say that I get a great deal of satisfaction from contributing.”  - @Rob6  


When seasons shift, things often feel like they’re moving fast. Knowing this, we’re thankful for the time you all have to put into this community this month, as well as what you’ll share heading into fall. Each question, story, and photo added brings value to this space. While we are a digital community, we always hope that the connections, tips, and recommendations found here makes it a bit easier (and more fun!) to get outside.  

The Conversations Team