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Don't Waste the Off-Season

Take advantage of the winter downtime by using these 5 tips to help prep you for the springtime thaw.

By: Kevin Abernethy + Save to a List

We are in the thick of the winter lull; some trailheads are closed and well beaten paths are covered in snow. Unless you live close to the mountains, or you have easy access to ski slopes, you are probably staying indoors waiting for the spring thaw. Don’t waste this valuable time when you can prep for the warmer months now. Here are 5 things you should be doing now to make sure you are ready to roll when Spring hits.

1. Evaluate and Repair Your Gear

I am terrible at this one, so don't feel guilty if your gear is sitting in pile waiting to be unpacked from your last outing. I've made it a point this year to get more organized and to evaluate the condition of my equipment during the off-season. There are plenty of preventative measures you can take to ensure all you have to do is pack up and go when spring hits; resupply your emergency kit, check on the condition of all straps and bags, make small repairs, etc. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that quote definitely applies to our gear. Make repairs and fixes now so you aren't having to purchase brand new gear down the road. Avoid figuring out how to patch holes in your tent with duct tape when a spring shower hits your camp, all because you neglected to handle repairs when you had down time. If you're new to backpacking or camping start looking into what you will need to purchase and get familiar with your equipment. 

Hike to San Antonio Hot Springs

2. Get In Shape

Ah, the cliche New Year's resolution. In all seriousness, if you have any sort of to-do list with hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, etc. now is the time to start physically and mentally preparing. There are several articles on The Outbound to help get your mind and body ready. As an advocate of physical fitness I always encourage people to take care of their bodies, and when it comes to anything in the outdoors I guarantee you will enjoy your trip much more if you are confident in your physical and mental abilities. Here are a couple of great resources to help get you started with this:

3. Research Your Next Trip

There is so much that should go into planning a trip, and while I am a big fan of just hitting the open road with no agenda you also don't want to miss out on something bad ass because you did zero research. Find out if there are any hidden gems in the area, locate the best gear shop in case you need a last minute item, or just reach out to someone in the community to see if there is anything you have to do when you are in the area. It's a terrible thing to think "I wish I would have known that." Prevent that disappointment by doing a little research now

4. Budget

I know some of these tips aren't fun, but by creating a budget now you are doing great prep work for your year of adventure. I have lofty adventure goals to say the least, but if I don't budget for my trips I find it easy to talk myself out of actually committing, or I reason with myself that it's not a good financial decision to spend money on a particular trip. Setting aside money gets you more invested and it helps prepare you to turn your dreams into reality. Additionally, unexpected expenses add up throughout the year, and it's easier to stick to your outdoor adventure plans if you aren't scrambling last minute to find money to make it happen. Here is a great resource to help you track your spending and to help you create funds for your trips.

5. Recruit

I don't know about you but my friends are super sketchy when it comes to committing to any last minute trip. I know odd's are not in our favor unless we make plans weeks, or even months in advance. I love getting people on board that don't have any experience with the outdoors and I know recruiting them early is key. Start taking care of the four listed items above and then hype up your plans to friends and family and start making memories. 

Winter is great, but options are definitely limited for some of us. Aim to start tackling some prep items now so you can fully enjoy your outdoor adventures for spring, summer, and fall. There are countless benefits to being adventurous, so reap the rewards and don't let a lack of planning prevent you from doing what you love. Do you have recommendations that aren't listed? If so comment in the section below and let us know what you think. 

Hike to Lower Yosemite Falls

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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