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Favorite Outdoor Advice You've Received

What's one (or two!) pieces of outdoor advice that have stuck with you?  Whether inspirational or tactical, serious or funny, and solicited or not, I'd love to hear it!

Mine? 'Don't be afraid of rain' (perfect for a PNW transplant) and 'Always have a spork'  (you never know when you'll come across free food) immediately come to mind!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Ok this relates to hiking:  as you're hiking along, if you have a choice between a big step up or down and a smaller step up or down, take the smaller step, your legs will get less fatigued in the long run.

On a hut to hut hiking trip in the Alps (Germany-->Austria>Italy) our 80 year old mountain guide named Sepp told me: Small steps = Big Fun!  How true that is.  Sepp guided a broad range of people of different ages and fitness levels up and down massive mountain ranges.  He also recommended to make a short switchback of your own if the trail is wide enough vs hiking straight up a hill.  Believe it or not this saves a lot of energy!

Stay on the path (avoid long grass and/or shrubs) to avoid ticks and chiggers.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

The first time I tried to climb Rainier we were not in good enough shape and our guides turned us around on the Ingraham Glacier. I was nursing my pride at the basecamp when an older gentleman who was watering flowers asked me how the climb went. I told him what happened and that I was pretty disappointed in myself. He smiled, looked up at the mountain, took a deep breath and said,

"Yes, but a hard day in the mountains is better than a good day anywhere else."

And then he walked away, continuing to water the plants as he went. My guide came over and asked me if I knew who the man was. After I told him I did not, he explained that was Gombu Sherpa, who had summited Everest with Jim Whittaker in 1963. That experience and quote will remain with me forever.

Mind blown!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

In regard to backpacking, I once heard someone say, "backpacking is really just walking... and you already know how to do that." That advice is what I tell when people want to try backpacking but are hesitant. I also remind myself this on grueling treks if I ever "get stuck in my head" while backpacking.

And obviously, there's a lot more to backpacking and a ton of prep/planning needed, but I still love that way of looking at it.

Follow me on Instagram @ryanjl10 to see backpacking and hiking photos.