STAY HOME. SAVE LIVES.
10 Things to Do WhileYou're Sheltering at Home
Now that we have your attention with a cute little kitty playing with hiking boots, how are you handling the coronavirus lockdown? If you’re already tired of Netflix and starting to feel the onset of cabin fever, here’s a list of things you can do to help keep you busy and pass some time—from cleaning and prepping your gear for the (hopefully) summer hiking season, to getting creative in the kitchen, to catching up on your reading list. We’re even planning something fun here on PCT: Oregon and can use your participation. This will eventually pass, and we’ll be back on the trails soon!
1. Clean and Organize Your Gear
This one’s kind of a no-brainer. If you finished the hiking season last year and just dumped everything into a pile in your closet, garage or basement, you probably have some work to do to get it all sorted out in preparation for this summer’s hiking adventures. Sort your gear by category, e.g., sleeping, kitchen, Ten Essentials, etc. Take inventory to see if there’s anything missing, or if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Freshen up your gear by washing your sleeping bag (front-load washer recommended), and airing out your tent, sleeping pad and backpack. You can re-proof your tarp or tent fly with Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarwash, and take care of at-home repairs with Gear Aid patches and repair kits.
2. Refresh Your Trail Apparel
It’s spring, so why not do some spring cleaning to get your gear ready for the trail. After a winter in storage it can get a little musty, so cleaning, revitalizing and reproofing your gear will freshen it up and keep it performing at its best. Use Nikwax Basewash, Techwash and Downwash for all your technical essentials. These biodegradable and PFC-free detergents are formulated to clean and deodorize performance apparel, and improve breathability and moisture-wicking properties. You can also re-proof your outerwear (e.g., rain gear) with TX Direct and Softshell Proof to revitalize its water repellency and breathability. You can order all of these cleaners, as well as boot and footwear cleaners, at REI.com.
3. Restock Your First Aid Kit
Depending on how many cuts, bruises, blisters and bug bites you had to treat last year, you may need to restock your first aid kit. It’s also a good time to check the expiration dates on medications and topical treatments. The first aid department at REI.com has a wide selection of essentials to help you replenish your kit, from moleskin and bandages, to pain relievers and digestive aids, to disinfectants and after-bite wipes. You can also find most over-the-counter meds and supplements at Amazon.com. Don’t forget to replenish some of your personal hygiene items as well, such as biodegradable soap, cleaning wipes and toilet tissue. You may have to wait a while for hand sanitizers to become available again.
4. Prepare for Mosquitoes
Once the coronavirus has passed and it’s safe to venture onto the trails again, there’s another menace waiting in the woods: mosquitoes! These bloodthirsty buggers are usually at their peak in the Northwest in late spring and early summer. During your downtime, make preparations for repelling the mossies. Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent can be applied to your hiking apparel, backpacks and tents to help keep the biting buggers at bay. You can also stock up on insect repellents for face, hands and other exposed skin. We like Proven Insect Repellent because it’s nontoxic, and goes on silky, not sticky. We also keep a few Ben’s Wipes on hand for when the little f#@%ers get especially bad.
5. Sample New Trail Foods
While you’re likely going to be eating most of your meals at home in the coming weeks, mix up your menu a bit by sampling some new trails foods, or coming up with some of your own unique creations. You may find some new favorites to add to your food bag. Our favorite trail food company, Packit Gourmet, has a selection of prepackaged meals, as well as a wide variety of bulk ingredients for crafting your own meals. Another fave is Good To-Go. They offer a selection of tasty meals, with many gluten-free and vegan options. You can find a wide variety of trail snacks and meals at REI.com. Need some inspiration, check out Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures.
6. Reevaluate Your Hiking Plans
You may not be hiking now, but the lockdown won’t last forever. When it’s safe to go back onto the trails, you probably want to have a strategy. Don’t plan to immediately head for the best, most popular trails when the restrictions lift, as there’s sure to be crowding from everyone with cabin fever rushing outside. Instead, this is a great time to make a list of more obscure, lesser-used trails that you may not have explored yet. If you want to travel to a hiking destination, or start a long-distance hike, make a checklist of any campgrounds, lodging establishments, resupply locations or other resources you may plan to use. When the time comes, call them all to see what their reopening plans will be.
7. Catch Up on Reading
With plenty of downtime in the foreseeable future, it’s a good time to work on that reading list you’ve been putting off. It’s also a great way to turn off the news for a while and clear your head from all the doom and gloom. Pick up a new guidebook and start working on a hiking to-do list for when it’s all clear to get back on the trails. Choose a nature guide and learn more about trees, birds or geology to get more out of your outdoor adventures. If you’re really down in the dumps, try an inspirational book, something funny, an adventure or comic to lift your spirits. If you don’t already have a stack of books at home, you can still order books on Amazon.com. Check out our list of 15 Great Reads to Pass the Shut-In Time.
8. Contribute to PCT: Oregon
It was already our plan to incorporate more of the PCT community into our coverage this year, but now that seems more appropriate than ever. Tell us about your enlightening or funny trail experiences, an incident or lesson learned, or your tips for fellow hikers. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s share your stories. We’re also putting together a virtual PCT hike with your photos. Send us pics of your favorite peaks and meadows, the messiest obstruction you’ve ever encountered, and the cutest critter you’ve spied—from anywhere on the PCT: OR, CA, WA. Send your pics to email@example.com and we’ll share them to help provide some inspiration and encouragement thru this challenging time.
9. Start an At-Home Workout
If you’re stuck at home and not working or tending to children, you may be tempted to just crash on the couch and binge Netflix. This can actually diminish your health—and is no way to be ready for summer hiking. While couch surfing in moderation is fine, mix in some yoga, ride a stationary bike, or make up your own bootcamp routine. Keep the legs limber with steps, squats and lunges. Strengthen your back and shoulders with planks, pushups and stretches. And build up your endurance with cardio exercises like running in place and jumping jacks. The 7-Minute Workout app is an easy way to get started. Even when you’re shut in, you should still try to get at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity.
10. Take a Walk!
Depending on what kind of shelter-at-home conditions your community is under, you may still be able to get outside and take a walk or hike. While most state parks and federal lands have closed recreational sites to maintain public safety (see current list for Oregon), you may still be able to go for a walk at a local park or trail. Try to pick locations that don’t get too crowded, and maintain proper social distancing around trailheads and when passing others. You should also avoid touching any surfaces, signage or picnic or playground equipment. If a location looks too crowded to be safe, leave and try another area. Consult your local health and safety resources for more information before heading out.
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