July 31st, 2017 by Munk Pack
July 12th, 2017 by Munk Pack
We sat down for some Q&A with one of our new Explorers, adventure photographer Cody Howard! Stay up to date on his latest adventures around Chicago at @howardventurous.
Bucket List Travel Destination: Horseback camping in Patagonia, Chile has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.
Coffee Set-Up While Traveling: Here is a quick coffee hack for you: Grab your Stanley vacuum bottle and head to your local coffee roaster shortly before you’re heading out. Have them fill it with your favorite in-house blend, it will cost you less than $3.00 and you’ll have 5 cups worth of coffee that will be hot for 24 hours!
Favorite Thing about Chicago: The options! In Chicago there is always something to do (especially in the summer): Free concerts & movies in Millennium Park, music festivals nearly every weekend, museums, and outdoor activities along the lake shore. It’s impossible to be bored in this city.
On Finding Outdoor Inspiration in a Big City: This can be a tough one at times, especially growing up in rural Kansas where nature was easily accessible. Luckily, Chicago borders Lake Michigan and has 580 parks within city limits. Places like Humboldt Park are great spots to enjoy nature and make it easy to forget you’re in the middle of a major city.
Favorite Method of Travel (Car, Plane, Train, Other): Great question. Depending on the time you have, Amtrak can be a great way to see the United States. Though, a bicycle has to be my favorite. I have found so many cool things that I never would have seen if I hadn’t been riding my bike. Putting in the effort makes you slow down and really be aware of your surroundings, plus it’s a blast!
June 6th, 2017 by Munk Pack
I recently spent a whirlwind few days exploring Amsterdam and fell in love with its colorful house-lined canals, cute cafés, and fascinating history. My husband and I travel to a new place each year for our anniversary; this year, we decided on the “Venice of the North” and it did not disappoint. – Munk Pack Explorer @brittanyexplores
The city itself was way more spread out than I had imagined. We explored mainly on foot, but also by train, ferry, tram, and even canal boat. I was surprised to find out that the canals that characterize Amsterdam aren’t just a section of the city, they actually make up the entire city and wind around for miles.
Highlights of our trip included, (but are not limited to!):
– THE PANCAKES. Forget everything you know about pancakes. Dutch pancakes are delectable, as are their dessert cousin, stroopwaffels.
– THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM. Get tickets beforehand for the earliest slot of the day and you can be one of the first people inside, which allows you to soak in the artwork without obstruction or distraction. Seeing such well-known art right in front of my face was even more impressive than I’d imagined.
– ZAANSE SCHANS. About a 20 minute train ride outside of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is a preserved historic windmill village, and the windmills are still in use! It gives you a glance into Dutch history and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon away from the city.
– VONDELPARK. Strolling through the park on a sunny day was beautiful, but you can also explore by bike if you’d like.
– OEDIPUS BREWING. Taking the ferry over to Amsterdam-Noord to check out Oedipus Brewing, which has a lively taproom and delicious craft beers.
– CANAL CRUISE BOAT TOUR. We always do a touristy bus or boat tour when traveling because it turns out to be the best way sightsee while being informed on the history of the city.
– THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE. It feels a little weird to say that this one was SO cool, but it really was. It was extremely surreal to be in the famous Annex where Anne’s family was in hiding during the war. We were also able to learn more about her story, as well as about Amsterdam at that time.
– THE JORDAAN. This was my favorite neighborhood of Amsterdam. It has the most picturesque canals, lined with restaurants and cafés, as well as lots of unique shops and galleries. Grab a beer on the water’s edge, observe the boaters and bicyclists constantly cruising by, then go for some pizza at La Perla!
Planning a trip to Amsterdam and have a question? Send me a DM @brittanyexplores!
February 8th, 2017 by Munk Pack
We’re psyched to launch our new blog series highlighting our awesome team of Athletes + Explorers. First up, we’re interviewing Jo Savage, AKA @savagedangerwolf. Read on and find out what she’s all about!
Summer Travel Plans: My plans tend to fall into place without much notice! I tend to be on the road every week or two cruising to another awesome place in the Wonderful West. I document and enjoy camping, climbing, fly fishing, hiking and overall adventuring. A friend and I are trying to pull together a photo/video project of a multi-sport, cultural, and tropical get away around August… so we shall see!
Song of the Summer: This is an awesome question because I spend so much time on the road. Currently on the positive, upbeat vibes of “Not My Day” by Keith James feat. CeeLo Green.
Bucket List Travel Destination: Cuba, Australia and New Zealand.
Favorite Photo Shoot of 2017: I took a ten day Baja and SoCal road trip with my girls right after Outdoor Retailer at the beginning of February. We camped on a desolate beach south of Tijuana and on a bluff in Encinitas. I shot for ten different projects during that time and we had an absolute blast and ate countless tacos! Girl time is so important.
Travel Essentials/Hacks: I always take my reusable water bottle, coffee mug, and a “Bluey” on the road. A Bluey is a 7 gallon blue, BPA free water tank that I can fill for $2, or free- from the water hose. That way I have plenty of water for my dog, Boy, and me, without using multiple single-use plastic water containers. I can refill my Hydroflask with water for free at any convenient store soda machine, and I can get all the coffee I want (and often times at a discount for bringing my own cup). This is a wonderful way to reduce my waste.
Your Spirit Animal: I’m definitely channel a dolphin, wolf and tiger. Rawr.
December 7th, 2016 by Munk Pack
USA Track & Field New England hosts two championships every year and Munk Pack is stoked to announce that we are sponsoring the 2017 USATF-NE Indoor Track & Field Championship! The event will be held on Sunday, February 19 at Harvard University in Boston, MA and will feature a jam-packed day of awesome competitions between 600+ athletes.
The Munk Pack Team will be on-site handing out samples of our Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze snacks, so be sure to stop by and say hello if you’re in the area! Some highlights of the day to look forward to are the 5000 Meter, Distance Medley Relay, High Jump and our personal favorite, the Munk Pack High Performance 3K, where women will look to run 8:50 or faster and men will attempt to run 7:50 or faster. We’re excited to see Rolanda Bell, Chad Noelle, Ruben Sanca, Nicole Sifuentes and many of their top competitors vie for the fastest time.
Hope to see you there!
November 30th, 2016 by Munk Pack
Sometimes you get really blessed with an awesome best friend. The kind of best friend who is always down to adventure with you. For as long as my bestie Charlotte and I have been friends, I can remember her saying she’s always wanted to go to Portland, Oregon. So when her birthday rolled around back in April, I gifted her with tickets to Portland so she could have a few of her favorite things: fog, waterfalls, and bridges. – Munk Pack Explorer, @adaezenoelle
About a week before our trip, we got together to finalize a list of places we wanted to visit. We used Roadtrippers to figure out the best route to hit all of our “must-see” spots, and off we went.
We had a lot to see and only three days to see it. First, we drove toward the Columbia River Gorge and stopped at Latourell Falls. What an amazing first stop. As you’ll soon start to see, we’re obsessed with waterfalls.
I knew Multnomah Falls would be one of Charlotte’s favorites because I was pretty sure it was one of the first PNW waterfalls she fell in love with from photos she’d seen. And who can blame her? We got some warm beverages and some muffins at the little shop at the base of the falls and spent a while at Multnomah. If you’ve never been, please go. Just do it. This was my second time and I was still in awe.
Next up was Oneonta Gorge. We explored around the area before changing into our rain boots. We got to the area of the gorge where you either brave the waters to go further, or enjoy the view from afar. So I went on ahead a little; definitely got water in my rain boots, but it was worth the views. I climbed some sketchy logs to gaze down a dreamy foggy gorge.
On our way to our next stop, we passed one or two other waterfalls. When we found Horsetail Falls perfectly framed by vibrant fall colors, of course we had to pull over.
Next stop was Elowah falls, and wow — was it breathtaking! The hike to the waterfall was lined with skinny trees contrasting the fields of more bright fall colors.
We drove to Rowena Crest next. It was the king of all switchbacks, and the view was magnificent.
The next morning we drove to Trillium Lake for an unobstructed reflective view of Mount Hood. On the way, we got to enjoy even more pretty views of the hoodest mountain. It was such a babe of a mountain that it’s now my new beau.
White River Falls was next and then Tumalo Falls, which very well might have been my favorite waterfall stop. It was so cool to be able to sit atop this mighty waterfall and then also get up right next to its base.
Our last full day began with sunrise at Oregon’s second tallest waterfall, Salt Creek Falls. The fog was rolling in so thick here, and Charlotte and I had the whole place to ourselves.
After Salt Creek, we drove to Crater Lake National Park area to find my dream mountain road so I could get some skateboarding in on my brand new penny skateboard! This road was an absolute dream. Plus, it was the perfect straight-on road view of Mount Thielsen.
Toketee Falls was next. What an awesome stop. We spent so long here because the hike on the way to the falls was full of wonder and fall colors. Sadly, we didn’t have time to hike down see the falls from below. But it did reminded us of the movie Avatar.
Our last stop of the trip was on the coast at Cape Perpetua to see Thor’s Well. It was so refreshing. A word to the wise: wear rain boots when you go here. It was pretty neat to not have to worry about where we stepped, as there weren’t many dry rocks from the waves splashing everywhere making tons of huge puddles.
Simply put, Oregon just has it all. Waterfalls, mountains, lakes, fog, the ocean, beautiful views, wood piles. Oh… I have this strange obsession with piles of wood logs. Look, it doesn’t hafta make sense — but when we found this area by a Roadhouse restaurant, I was so excited! The tallest log piles I’ve ever seen.
If you get the chance to make it out to Oregon, like I said before, just do it. Maybe that’s why Nike has that slogan!
October 12th, 2016 by Munk Pack
If you’re not one for stepping off the pavement after a long flight to Alaska and exploring nooks and crannies of endless wilderness, stop reading now.
If a trip to the last frontier is the last check box on your bucket list, the agency-booked option might be right for you. Book a tour bus, rail car or cruise ship and you get to lumber past the glacial rivers, towering peaks and dark forests that lie beyond.
But I’m here to tell you how to take on the Alaskan Wilderness without summoning a travel agency.
Unfortunately, no, this is not the most convenient way to explore. You will have sore muscles. You will have a few headaches. But on the other hand, you will leave with wanderlust for more. And you will get to stop and smell the Arctic roses.
Step 1: Find a car
Once you land in Anchorage, renting or–if you’re lucky–borrowing a car is your first step to freedom in Alaska. You can go for a bike touring option, but you might regret it when you realize everything of interest comes in 50-mile increments. With the varying climate, your vehicle will allow you to chase some better weather if your current location isn’t favorable.
Step 2: Hit the trails
The greatest tragedy in Alaskan tourism today is that the charters that many book pass by hundreds of the most breathtaking hiking trails on Earth. With your handy-dandy car, you can explore the trailheads that look interesting to you. The Matanuska Valley often gets overlooked due to its residential feel. Don’t be fooled. The towering mountains and glacial river valleys that make its borders are host to endless adventure opportunities and life-changing scenery. An extra bonus: Most fees in Alaska’s recreational areas are less than $10.
Step 3: Get on the water
Alaska has about 3,197 lakes (that’s named lakes of which there are over 3 million unnamed lakes!), 9,728 named rivers and 6,640 miles of marine coastline. Getting in some kind of boat, at least once, is a must. Whether it’s kayaking Eklutna Lake’s powder-blue waters, rafting the Nenana River or meandering around glacial fjords watching for whales, there’s no better way to appreciate Alaska than on its water. I’d recommend visiting Homer, Seward and Whittier ports for viewing both wildlife and glaciers.
Step 4: Take to the air
If you’ve never seen a braided river from above, traced a mountain ridgeline through the window of a de Havilland Otter or touched down on the uppermost part of a glacier–book a flight. This experience will change the way you view wilderness, beauty and our planet. Talkeetna, an artsy town on the Susitna River, offers several flightseeing tour options through their commercial airport. If the skies are nice and you’re in the area, spend the cash. It may be the biggest splurge you make all year.
Only have time for a few stops? Here are my top 5 places to wander:
- Upper and Lower Reed Lake in Hatcher Pass
- Flat Top Mountain near Anchorage
- Alyeska Peak near Girdwood
- Portage Pass Trail near Whittier
- Chugach State Park near Eagle River
– Munk Pack Explorer, @luke_hyce
October 3rd, 2016 by Munk Pack
Hey, there! I’m Gretchen Powers (@gpowersfilm) and I’m a wedding photographer and content creator for outdoor brands. I always have a half-packed suitcase at the foot of my bed, more outdoor gear than ‘nice clothes’ and my dog likes Munk Pack snacks as much as I do. With the busiest part of the wedding season behind us, it’s time for those with 2017 wedding dates to start planning. If you are looking to plan the most memorable, beautiful, exciting outdoor adventure wedding, keep scrolling to read a few of my tips. Trust me, I’ve seen my fair share.
Tip 1: Venue
If you are going to get hitched somewhere off the beaten path, I would recommend picking a spot you have visited before, somewhere perhaps that holds a special meaning to you and your partner. Somewhere that you can honestly tell your family and friends, ‘”I can’t wait to share this place with you!” This helps with keeping in mind the potentially difficult details of the location–cell service, parking, etc. If the vista is inaccessible by those who for whatever reason cannot access, you can always play by the “elope now party later” trend that is popping up more and more. Get married on the mountain top and then host a large scale reception later in the day or later in the weekend. Perhaps you re-state your vows or have a few people read poems to ensure everyone feels included in your big moment.
Tip 2. Weather
Once you have picked your venue, make sure you have a weather plan in place. This can mean an alternative spot in the area or come prepared with umbrellas and lots of dry socks. Leading up to your special day, make sure to check the weather regularly. While I personally love photographing in the rain, snow or fog, your family and friends may not think as kindly upon you if you are ill prepared.
Tip 3. Attire
If you are going to get married on a mountainside, in a riverbed, or somewhere in between, it’s always a good idea to plan on appropriate attire and footwear–whether that is some leather flats, dressy sandals, rain boots or bare feet–guys this applies to you–slippery dress shoes are not fond of scaling mountains or hopping across wet rocks. “Ladies” chances are great (like 97% great) that your white dress (if you wear white) will get dirty. If you accept that as part of the process from the beginning I guarantee you will have a better, more relaxed day.
Tip 4. Photography
The single most asked question I’ve heard this summer is, “if you like shooting for outdoor brands so much, how can you stand shooting weddings!?” My response to this is twofold. First, I am lucky enough to have awesome clients who love being outside and are usually up for just about any photo opportunity I suggest; even if it means hiking up a mountainside or over some slippery rocks. Iâm still in my element–I’m just shooting humans in love who are in pretty clothes as opposed to backpacks, jackets and Munk Packs. Second, I approach each wedding day with the same mentality that I do a commercial shoot enjoy it as much as if I were outside enjoying the day on my own terms. I shoot with a mix of photojournalist documentary style and often prompt couples to do or say something to each other in order to create some of the fun candid moments everyone loves. My advice to you if you are planning an adventurous wedding, is to hire a photographer who has experience in shooting all of the elements, isn’t afraid of snakes or spiders, has great balance and a phenomenal sense of adventure.
If you are reading this on Munk Pack’s blog, you might be wondering what the heck any of this has to do with their Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes. Well, after bringing a box of my Munk Packs to a few recent weddings I can tell you that Munk Pack is, without a doubt, one of the best wedding-day snacks around. On a day when many couples forget to eat, or are too stressed to, Munk Pack’s snacks are easy to eat, have a low chance of mess on fancy clothes and are packable chocolate chips and granola bar crumbs are the worst to try and get out of a lacy dress (trust me, I know).
August 23rd, 2016 by Munk Pack
You’ve seen the Instagram pictures of all of the rad climbers and you’re inspired to try it yourself. Do you want to start climbing, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you don’t have the right gear or friends to climb with. I’d love to teach you how to get started because it changed my life! – Munk Pack Athlete @tammyfaye
Find a Climbing Gym.
Most places, from major cities to small town USA have climbing gyms. This is an amazing place to begin learning how to climb. Somebody will literally show you the ropes. I’d recommend looking up the closest gym to you, and get after it!
First time? Not a problem!
All gyms offer day passes and rentals, from shoes to harnesses, chalk, and everything else you will need. Once you get to the gym make sure to tell the climbers working at the front desk that it’s your first time learning how to climb. They can suggest classes for you to take and help you get the gear you’ll need. So now you’ve tried it and you love it. It’s time to sign up for a membership and eventually get around to buying your own gear.
Classes are great tools!
They can give you the knowledge to feel more confident on the rock, and help with the basics of climbing. It’s also an easy way to meet people who you can start climbing with because climbing is naturally a social sport.
Now get outside!
Once you get more comfortable climbing in a gym and you have your own gear, you can start to transition to the world of outdoor climbing. It’s a wonderful community and also an awesome workout while hanging out with your friends. Combine some rocks, the right gear, safety knowledge, Munk Pack snacks and friends and it’s hard to go wrong.
August 10th, 2016 by Munk Pack
Take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose and down to your diaphragm, filling your lungs with air. Then slowly let out your breath through your mouth while closing your eyes and contemplating your favorite outdoor memory. Think about the way the sun felt on your skin, the smell of the air; fresh and free. The feeling of being connected to the earth with a weightless body. Really though, take just a minute to contemplate or meditate on these thoughts.
Trail Running is what dreams are made of, right?
Okay, that page break definitely assured that you did the above exercise and you can now continue reading, right? If you’re like me you pictured a warm summer morning with an orange sun rising over the Rocky Mountain peaks. I see mountain goats picking their way over a rocky ledge while the swift sound of my breath is juxtaposed with the slower cadence of my stride on a trail 11,000 feet up. This is when time is forgotten and the concerns and uncertainties of life disappear. THIS is what my dreams are made of.
Many people have activities that provide the same therapeutic rejuvenation from the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that activity is trail running. It’s what tugs me out of bed at 4am. If you’ve never experienced the thrill and tranquility of trail running, let’s chat for a few minutes. Even if you have, read along and see if your experience is similar to mine.
Why would you want to trail run?
In my opinion the better question is, “Why would you ever NOT want to trail run?” I have always been a lover of the outdoors and I spent summers tanning my skin under the blistering Sacramento Valley sun. I explored the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range on foot, mountain bike and canoe. I ran my first 5k with my mom in fifth-grade, beating her by only a couple of minutes. To this day, I’m not sure if I actually beat her or if she let me beat her. Either way, it was good for my juvenile heart.
Years later, after moving to Salt Lake City, my love of hiking began to conflict with my school schedule. It was hard to fit a hike in between classes. I began to run the downhill sections of the trails so I could cover more ground and still get outdoors. It just seemed natural. I would hike the uphills, then bomb the downhills in hiking shoes, hiking shorts and a daypack. Before long I traded out my hiking attire for running attire and have yet to look back. Whatever your reason for considering trail running is, you should do it.
Take the plunge!
Like yoga, a spiritual practice, you know that it takes patience to become good. The more often you are able to push yourself physically while trail running, the more likely you will find that feeling of vibrance and alertness in the same moment.
It’s never too late to start
No matter your stage of life you can start running. Maybe you’ve never run a step in your life. Start slow hiking the trails nearest your home. Maybe you’re a seasoned road runner or even a marathoner who has never dabbled in trail running. Try the trail! It will bring a new point of view to your life. If you do it often, eventually you will look back and see how every run has become connected in a chain of runs to bring a bit more peace and joy to your life.
Now think back to those first few moments of meditation at the beginning of this post. How did you feel? Peaceful and full of life? Trail running is all about the culmination of those feelings with tired legs and worn out lungs. Finding the flow where calmness and mindfulness meet doesn’t happen every run for me, but the more I run, the more I reach this place. My body moves freely and quickly, almost as though I am floating over the trail. It’s that feeling where you can sense everything, yet feel nothing. This flow is achieved through the combination of the peacefulness of the outdoors, the physical exertion of exercise and the pattern of getting out there. Moments like this are a large part of why I trail run.
– Munk Pack Explorer, @landonfaulkner_
The outdoor adventure sports arena has made it’s promises to it’s ever-so-dedicated female following. The forecast is for a whole lot less of the “shrink it and pink it” mentality and a whole lot more of showing men what women can do. I could only imagine the feeling that a male fly-on-the-wall might have gotten at the first Wild Women’s Project last month in the San Juan Mountains. I’d like to think he wouldn’t have been shocked at the amount of driven women in one place, but the reality of the situation is, he would have been blown away.
Permeated with the industry’s top female leaders and fueled by conversations about that time you drank four beers the night before a big race to calm your nerves, and more important topics like conservation and the sacrifices it takes to put your life out on the line and start your own business. These are only a few of the key ingredients that made up the delicious pie that was the beta Wild Women’s Project. These women held power, prowess and pride when they spoke; even while trudging up faces of the San Juans at 13,000 feet! Yes, I said 13,00 feet.
We ran while others hiked, we yoga’d, we hammock’d, we campfire’d, we fueled up on Munk Packs, we dawn patrolled and we coffee’d like we all had known each other for years.
Work is life and life is work for most of the women who stayed up at Opus Hut.
Take Janie and Lindsey of Wylder Goods. They’re launching a website that features products for women in the outdoors with a twist of conservation influence along the way. They’re starting their own business; there is no such thing as a break and I can promise you won’t see any shrink it and pink it marketing behind their innovative new site.
And Brooke Froelich who was one of the amazing ladies with the vision behind the Born Wild Project, a mission to connect the next generation of youth back to the wilderness and away from the screen.
Or Alex Borsuk and Maddie Carey, who both share a love of running, yet they do it for different reasons. Alex is a part time nutritionist who doubles as a badass Instagram influencer who encourages women that it’s never too late to get balls deep in a new favorite sport. Meanwhile, Maddie crafts conservation ethics that leave space for both her love of outdoor recreation and her core belief that we are members of the natural world, not just users of it. Oh and did I mention she’s a speedy little runner too?
The list goes on! Heather Rochfort who started her own awesome adventure blog called Just A Colorado Gal. She writes about her often humorous travel journeys, tips, and reasons you should be outside! Or Sarah Sturm, mountain bike shredder for Team Ska-Zia-Trek. She’s one you want to keep an eye on! This girl has some big dreams for changing the female mountain bike industry. I could go on for days!
On our first hike together, after we all mellowed out and briefed each other on our life backgrounds, we went to a small bright Colorado-blue alpine lake not too far off the beaten path.
Let me start by saying that I’ve never used a GoPro before. It’s not in my nature to whip out a selfie stick and melt in embarrassment as those around me dub me as “one of those selfie-loving-go-pro-chicks.” Is that even a name that people refer to each other as?
Well, that’s where my imagination took me when I was handed a GoPro outside Opus Hut and told to “live it up”. Amongst many videos of the classic, “How do you turn this thing on,” face, I snagged a selfie-video of a moment when it was a bit easier to slide down on our butts instead of facing the downhill scree fields of death. Maddie Carey, Alex Borsuk, Pip Hunt and Sarah Sturm followed right after! Holler at those ladies!
Back at the hut that evening, there was something about listening to female leaders in the outdoor industry converse; their excitement for the future combined with their passion for their businesses could haul a three ton truck up Mount Everest without hesitation.
This last week at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, discussions rang clear that women make up 70% of buying decisions. Shouldn’t that be enough to persuade companies to listen to what women actually want? This year there were enough minds just in one room (or hut, rather) to start a change and I think the ladies of the Wild Women’s project are about to step out and rock this world.
Thank you for sponsoring such an amazing event, Munk Pack!
To learn more about the Wild Women’s Project and how you can get involved or even invited to the next project, visit @WildWomensproject on Instagram or go over to the site.