by Tanner Colley
Need a break? Some time off? A little R&R? We get it. Life moves fast, despite our efforts to slow it down. It’s time to roll with the old-school crew—Thoreau, Roosevelt, Muir—and get outside.
Nature does much more than help us slow down and recharge. Studies show that time spent in green spaces, especially forests, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves your mood. For those still adjusting to Daylight Saving Time, nature just might be our hope for a good night’s sleep. Kenneth Wright from the University of Boulder discovered time spent in nature can give us better sleep.
You don’t need to go off-the-grid to get some peace and quiet outdoors. A simple weekend in a public campground near your home can be just what you need. The United States alone boasts over 6,600 state parks and almost 100 national parks. Chances are there is a state or national park within an afternoon’s drive from your home.
- Discover the Forest is a great tool for finding natural areas to visit near your home.
- If you need help planning a camping trip, check out REI’s camping checklist. If you plan to camp with kids, this checklist is for you.
If you don’t have the time for a camping trip, you can get the same benefits from an outdoor experience in your own backyard. Don’t have a large enough backyard but want to get away for a weekend? Stay at an Airbnb with a large enough outdoor space for a staycation and camping trip rolled into one. A “stay camp,” if you will.
However you decide to get outside, we want to share with you a list of outdoor weekend essentials we wouldn’t forget to bring along.
If you go into the wilderness for the weekend, listen to the wind, birds, and swaying trees. We recommend these podcasts for some extra relaxation and stories to listen to around a campfire:
- Slow Radio
- BBC’s Slow Radio is an “antidote to today’s frenzied world.” We love this podcast. It helps us slowwww down. Each episode focuses on surrounding the listener with ambient sounds to help you relax. We suggest “Sounds of the Earth” episodes.
- Lore puts a spooky twist on a historical podcast, looking at common folklore through a lens of the supernatural: the origin of vampires, haunted houses, etc.
- The Creeping Hour
- Looking for a family-friendly scary story? The Creeping Hour brings laughs and chills from the perspective of three friends who turned into monsters after listening to too many scary stories.
- Let’s Get Haunted
- The storytelling is classic campfire banter—one friend telling another a spooky tale of ghosts, aliens, and haunted houses. But can they make it through without cracking each other up?
A little friendly competition never hurt anybody. These outdoor games below are our favorites to unwind with:
- Kubb (pronounced ‘KOOB’) Suggested by Bryce, Graphic Designer
- It’s a little like lawn darts, a little like bowling. Some people call it “Viking Chess.”
- Cornhole Suggested by Chris, Creative Content Coordinator
- An outdoor classic.
- Bananagrams Suggested by Tanner, Copywriter
- A unique spin on the crossword puzzle you can play anywhere. We love it because all the game pieces fit in a small, banana-shaped bag you can fit in your backpack.
- Kanjam Suggested by Rachel, Email Marketing Specialist
- If you’ve got a large enough backyard to play, Kanjam never disappoints. It’s like horses with a frisbee and a thing like a trashcan.
Devices, other than your phone, tablet, or laptop
Minimizing distraction—email, phone calls, social media—is a good idea if you want to get the most out of your time in nature.
While it’s hard to set our devices aside for a weekend, there are plenty of ways to use them responsibly.
- Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Sometimes you just need to pump the jams. The ROLL 2 is the most portable one we’ve seen. It’s waterproof, has a bungee strap you can attach to your pack, and can connect to other ROLL 2 devices for more volume. Take it on a hike or set near the campfire. (Author’s note: I’ve had one for three years, and I pretty much take it with me anywhere.)
- Portable Projector
Writing and nature have gone together long before Thoreau wrote Walden. Check out these more contemporary examples of nature writing to help you think about the natural environments around you during your weekend getaway:
- Feral by George Monbiot
- A writer retreats to rural Wales and learns about his place in the environment and the peace to be found in a simpler life in the country.
- Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
- Semi-autobiographical, Jack Duluoz retreats to a cabin in Big Sur, California to meditate on his success and life as a writer. (Writers going to cabins in the middle of nature is a common theme)
- In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
- The book that defined the travel writing genre. Chatwin writes a tale of exploration and adventure in a land as mysterious now as it was then.
A weekend outdoors wouldn’t be complete without a campfire. Solo Stove’s camp stoves and fire pits are ready to take to the campsite or set in the backyard.
- Ranger is our most compact fire pit. When we say Ranger is “engineered for adventure,” we mean it. Ranger fits in the car allowing you to have the outdoor experience of a roaring campfire anywhere you want to take it.
- Planning on having a campout in your backyard? Bonfire and Yukon allow you to keep larger groups warmed and cozy. Yukon is our largest fire pit, making it perfect for your own backyard. If you are staying at an Airbnb, we suggest Ranger and Bonfire for their portability.
- Solo Stove camp stoves are built for the trail. You can stash them in your pack with ease, and the ability to use found wood, twigs, and pinecones as fuel means you don’t have to pack any extra fuel.
We want to know about your weekend outdoors!
- What’s one thing you wouldn’t leave home without if you were going into nature for the weekend?
- What’s your favorite podcast?
- If you could take any piece of tech other than your phone, what would you take?
- What book would you take to read?
Let us know on Instagram and Twitter using @solostove and #solostove.