21 Ways to Celebrate "Kids To Parks Day" on May 16th. #KidsToParks #OutdoorFamilies

Because Kids need Parks and Parks need Kids... Throw your hands up! 

Time to mark our calendars for Saturday, May 16th!

It's the day to get our kiddos and family to a park - any park - and be a part of the nationwide movement to get kids to parks to help fight obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles. Because as the saying goes “active kids are healthy kids” and we completely agree.

So how should we celebrate? Here are 21 awesomely stupendous ways:

1 - First, Sign-up for "Kids To Parks Day" here & automatically we're entered to win a Nikon COOLPIX camera. Say cheese!

2 - Then, grab a friend and another family to join, last year there were almost 450,000 participants. There is power of message in numbers. Let's try for 500,000 this year!

And now it's time to head outside to... 

4 - Play a game of touch football at our local park. Watch out for Grandpa's quick moves and his victory dance. 

5 - Dig for fresh veggies at our community garden.

6 - Head for a National Seashore and hunt for precious seashells.

7 - Photograph spring wildflowers as we hike through our State Park.

8 - Build little-bitty fairy houses in the open space woods.

9 - Swing from the monkey bars at the park down the street.

10 - Walk to the bus stop and take it to green space.

11 - Hop in the car and zoom to the mountains!

12 - Gear-up our backpacks and head into designated wilderness to hang out with the wild things.

13 - Pack a picnic for the secret waterhole with the rope swing & take a plunge in the ice-cold water, hooting with glee.

14 - Find a tree and hug it, yup, weird but fun.

15 - Listen to the chatter of birds in our parks' towering treetops.

16 - Grab a space at a campground and pitch our family tent.

17 - Build a warm campfire for some stories & of course make some S’Mores!

18 - Take a stargazing tour or waterfall hike at one of our 59 National Parks.

19 - Rent some bikes for the trail meandering along our urban park’s river.

20 - Find a fresh patch of green grass. Lie down. Take a deep breath. And enjoy the wonder of the outdoors.

21 - And finally, ENTER TO WIN the "Kids To Parks Day" GIVEAWAY below!

Sponsored by National Park Trust, dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. We LOVE these guys and are honored to be a part of the movement to connect all kids to parks.

KIDS TO PARKS DAY GIVEAWAY – $75 Total Value – Enter in Rafflecopter Form Below

You Can Win All of These 6 Outdoorsy Goodies:
-CamelBak Water Bottle
-National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide Book
-Buddy Bison Mascot Stuffed Animal
-National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks Book
-Kids To Parks T-Shirt
-National Park Trust Activity Guide

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Disclaimer: One lucky person will win all 6 items provided by the National Park Trust. Giveaway starts on March 18, 2015 12am and ends on March 25, 2015 12am. The winner will be notified by email and requires a response within 48 hours. Cheers and good luck! 

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for my article though I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful National Geographic book & bison stuffie as a thank you for sharing & research. All opinions are my own.


6 Kinds of Backpacks for Every Kind of Adventure. From Thru-Hikes to Family

My Teton Sports Hiker3700 Backpack at the Top of Yosemite Point, Yosemite National Park 2015

I grew up in a backpack. I have photos of me and my fuzzy, blond, 2-year-old hair getting carted through the aspen-tree lined trails of Steamboat, Colorado, by my adventurous dad and his cool outdoorsy friends.

Backpacks have been a part of my life from day one. And it feels like I’ve owned seemingly every single variety and brand of backpack possible.

Which is why having a good backpack is like having a good friend. It’s reliable. Dependable. At times has deep pockets. It can give plenty of space when you need it. And, most importantly, a good backpack, like a good friend, holds onto you and won't let go, even in the most treacherous of conditions.

Here's a list of the 6 types of backpacks for every kind of adventure:

Sea to Summit ultra light pack overlooking the Snake River, Idaho, the Deepest Canyon in North America 2014

1 - The Super Lightweight
This Sea to Summit collapses down to the size of a plum. I bring this with me ALWAYS when heading out on an overnight backpacking trip with a more substantial pack. Allowing me to ditch the big-pack in a bush, and take only essentials – water, food, first aid, camera, extra layer – if I’m adding a summit push or want to do a spur trail. Super lightweight, stripped down to essentially parachute cloth, it's as if I have nothing on my back.

REI Flash 22 Day Pack at Muir Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 2014

2 - The Day Tripper
I’m still deciding how I feel about my REI Flash 22 day pack. Since it’s on the lighter side of day packs, it doesn’t have much support and I do feel like it HANGS on my back as I load it with more weight, especially water weight. But you know what, it’s done the trick. It has seen hundreds of miles, weathered a massive Tecnu explosion, and survived countless tosses against craggily rocks.

The deep, tough side pockets are essential for easy access to water, camera or map on a day hike – I’m constantly pulling things in and out of them. And all day packs have holes for reservoir tubes these days. This type of pack is like an essential organ or limb for any hiker – we can’t live without it, we carry it around with us 24/7.

Another shot of the Teton Hiker3700 multi-day pack. Hells Canyon Wilderness, Idaho 2014

3 - The Overnighter
My Teton Sports Hiker3700 has seen a number of 2-3 overnight trips now and some incredible wilderness views to boot. The internal frame can be customized to my torso just perfectly – so that it feels like a hug and a comfortable second skin to help carry the extra overnighter weight. 

This pack has pockets in all the right places – critical for smart packing. Bottom, base compartment for evening and night gear. Side pockets for easy day access. Camera pocket on hip strap. Side straps for trekking poles, rain gear, wet-nasty smelling things. Extra straps for tents, sleeping pads. And find the secret-y pocket at the bottom – open it up and you’ll discover a Fisherman’s Yellow rain cover keep your gear protected from the elements. 

This particular pack is LIGHT. I love it, and have enjoyed testing it out on all sorts of terrain from endless switchbacks to long-distance rolling trails. 

4 - The MotherLode
These are Pacific Crest Trail worthy packs. Appalachian Trail worthy thru-hiker packs. The pack I took for my 2.5 months backpacking through New Zealand. This pack’ll carry everything we've ever cared about. I’ve had thirsty and awesome friends carry a case of beer in these packs for Yurt trips on back-country ski weekends. The essential component is that it is COMFORTABLE on our body with the extra-heavy weight and that we LEARN how to pack it properly and leave non-essentials behind. No kitchen sinks allowed, friends....... 

Kelty Kid Carrier backpack, Aspen, Colorado 2003
5 - The Kid Carrier Backpack
For outdoorsy families, it's all about the baby/toddler backpack so you can get little ones out into the fresh air with you -- a key ingredient to family harmony. We just gave away our kid carrier Kelty pack that made its way through three kids and years of schlepping on trails. Make sure you understand the correct way to safely strap-in your little one and also how to carry it on your back properly so the weight distribution doesn’t tug or pull in the wrong places. And this pack won’t last long because soon your little one will be wanting to "Do It All By Myself, Daddy" so you’ll need to graduate to…….

Jansport. First Junior Kid's backpack. 2005
 6 - The First Junior Pack
Adorable, mini, little-kid packs are a shining moment in a parents’ life and are usually immortalized by three thousand pics. I picked up this Jansport at REI years ago, and after the kids outgrew it, I commandeered it back and you’ll see me using it for short day hikes.

Camelback used to make a mini-reservoir pack that was perfect for little ones, but looks like they've discontinued it. Take a look at companies like Osprey to get starter packs age 5+.

Jansport now 2015 a mini-day pack, view of Mt Tamalpais, Bay Area, California 

So, pick the backpack best suited for your adventure. Learn it’s quirks and it’s secret spots. Treat it with care but don’t worry about the bumps and bruises and tears in side pockets along the way – they’re all part of the great story and the true backpack friendship you’ll have to talk about for years to come..... And, yes, please, ditch the fanny pack.

How many favorite packs do you have in your life these days?

-Outdoorsy Mama

For more information:

Disclaimer: Teton Sports is a Sponsor of Hell Hike and Raft and as a crew-member, I was given the pack for gear testing. All opinions are my own, as always, and there is no obligation to write about their product.