August is a month for finding watering holes, hiding in cafes during the heat of the day, and staying up late to watch meteors flash through the sky. All summer long we’ve been able to adventure with our best friends. We’re in our final month here in Colorado and it’s almost time to head back east for the fall portion of our tour. Whether you came to a festival, a meet-up, or just hung out and enjoyed the outdoors with us, we want to say thank you. See you soon Blue Ridge Mountains!
Below is some of the gear that’s kept us going for FIVE months of #vanlife.
We had no idea you could improve on the simple tennis ball, but NiteIze certainly has. For years we lost tennis balls to dark ditches and long grass, but no longer! The Huck ‘N Tuck Glowstreak Collapsible Thrower and LED ball allows us to keep a long thrower tucked away in our van with a glow LED ball, ready to tire our pooch out every evening. The Huck ‘N Tuck thrower extends to two feet in length for long arching throws and collapses down to 12 inches so it’s easy to store in the van. The motion-activated LED ball comes to life with a bounce against the ground or the first throw and keeps glowing until it’s stationary for five minutes. You get five more minutes of the LED’s blinking before it turns off. This ensures you can find the ball even when your pup is done running. That strong little LED has 35 hours of glow time so you can play throughout the entire summer. The LED ball is molded, shockproof AND waterproof (and it floats!) This means if you have a pup that likes to swim, you can keep the water games going all night. The ball has ridges so it won’t slip as he makes his way back for another throw. It is also the same size as a tennis ball so it’s compatible with all throwers! Our dog has put this ball to the test, and it’s stood up to his slobber, chewing and his incredible ability to hide the ball from us when we’re done playing.
Explore with confidence! The Arkansas River Map Back covers 123 miles of the wild Arkansas River in Colorado. It starts with the gentle stream above Leadville and continues onto the rambunctious section through the Royal Gorge. For both fishermen and boaters alike, the maps have detailed information on ownership next to the river including federal, state, local parks, and fishing easements. These maps have a scale of 1 inch = 1/2 mile so you have all the details you need to navigate the rapids or fish with confidence.
Our favorite part about this map, and all National Geographic maps, is that they’re built “Backcountry Tough.” They’re made with waterproof and tear-resistant paper with stainless steel staples. We get ours wet, stuff them in our backpacks, and flip through the pages with fervor, and they withstand our beatings every time. Our second favorite part of this map is that it’s set up as a booklet instead of a fold out. That means you can pull it out of your backpack and get to your river section quickly without having to unfold the entire map.
Everything you need to make a home-cooked meal for two and more! The Alpha Cookset changes the way you can cook in the backcountry. This set packs down into itself perfectly, and in a way that doesn’t rattle or come undone while putting miles between you and civilization.
The cookset comes with a 1.2L pot, a 2.7L pot, 2 bowls and 2 insulated mugs. It also includes a washcloth packed between the two pots to use for unforeseen spills or to create a small cooking set up area once you get to camp. The pots are made out of hard-anodized aluminum alloy, which is tough as nails and durable enough to withstand backpacking trips and car camping alike. Both pots have strainer lids so making noodles or rice is simple and doesn’t require any extra cooking equipment. They also have textured bottoms so they balance well on cooking stoves. The two pots, bowls, and mugs all fit into the largest pot and secure with a patent-pending Pivot-Lock™ handle. The bowls and mugs are BPA-free, microwave safe, and lightweight. This turns meals from a chore into a backcountry treat. Waking up after a long hike and having a mug with a sleeve and silicon lid to drink coffee out of is a surprising delicacy.
This collapsible water bottle is a step above the rest. It weighs 80 percent (yes 80) less than most hard-sided water bottles and collapses into itself for the perfect grab and go bottle. We stick ours in the outer most pocket of our backpacks or slip them in running vests. This bottle is BPA and PVC free so there’s no weird taste, even when filling with hot liquid (up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit!) You can go to the other side of the spectrum and freeze the contents, using them as ice packs in your cooler and then drinking the contents once they melt. The spill-proof nozzle makes it stress-free to throw in a backpack or pack for a longer trip. The bottle comes with a flexible bail handle, making it easy to grab the stow for a drink, or to use as a holder for when you’ve finished the water and roll the bottle up for storing. Our favorite part? The fun colors! HydraPak has plenty of fun colors to choose from, with new patterns coming out this fall. With so many accessories packed into a simple design, it’s a no-brainer to grab this bottle for extra water on any adventure.