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Backcountry Camping Loop, White Sands National Monument

CAMPING GEAR GUIDES: ADVANCED

It’s not always easy to fit an extended camping trip into a busy schedule, but it’s certainly worth it. Whether you’re thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail or canoeing through a network of lakes, these longer trips are truly singular experiences. Whether you’re a veteran of the outdoors or sizing up your first big excursion, our Advanced Camping Gear Guide sets you up for success and covers all the bases.

Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

CAMPING GEAR GUIDES: INTERMEDIATE

While there’s no shortage of accessible camping grounds around the world, there’s something to be said for the solitude of some backcountry camping. For those more confident in their outdoor abilities, these serene places are only a few miles along a trail but represent an entirely different world. Far from the sound of cars or any sort of cell of wi-fi reception, this level of camping can both challenge and enhance your skills. Our Intermediate Camping Gear Guide aims to dull the challenges of the outdoors while sharpening your enjoyment.

Camping at Cooper Lake State Park, TX

CAMPING GEAR GUIDES: NOVICE

Camping overnight is a great way to explore the natural beauty of the world on a more intimate level. Even if your car might be a few feet away, there’s a definite thrill of being a little exposed. While some creature comforts obviously get sacrificed the wilder your experience gets, camping can still be a comfortable change of pace and a wonderful way to unplug for a few days. Our Camping Gear Guide for Novices helps make sure you enjoy your visit with Mother Nature in the high comfort.

Boots on Bridge at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

CAMPING GEAR GUIDES: NEWBIE

Camping can be a daunting prospect. It’s important to be able to tip your toes in the water before trying to swim upstream. We’ve composed an accessible gear list for the semi-agoraphobic that’s perfect for day trips, RV camping or hotel stays and light hiking or walking tours. If you’re Glamping and sleeping under a solid roof during your outdoors experience, this list is for you.

The holiday market in Plaza El Otorongo, Cuenca, Ecuador

AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A JESÚS PARTY

Ecuadorians’ adoration of fairs and festivals is only surpassed by their devotion to Catholicism. Subscribing to the Catholic credo that there ain’t no party like a Jesús birthday party, these passions intersect in a three-month celebration around the Christmas holiday that exceeds the birthday week excesses of the most self-indulgent sorority girl. Cuenca is the heart of these festivities, upstaging the larger cities of Quito and Guayaquil to draw people from all across the Andes.

The ruins at Museo Pumapongo

ECHOES OF OUR ANCESTORS

Exhibits outlined Ecuador’s rich and varied cultural makeup, displaying the traditions and garb of the various ethnicities that comprise the country. The detailed skirts and peaked hats of the native women were explained, giving us new-found respect for the artistry and tenacity of the native traditions. It was a stark contrast to our experiences in the American Southwest, where the narrative is generally one of decimation and dissolution and traditions forever lost to the ether. Tribal masks were reminiscent of the artist Basquiat, famous for injecting African themes into his evocative graffiti-inspired style, forging a strange link between three continents with those same threads of universality waiting to be found in the museums of the world.

Rio Yanuncay, Cuenca, Ecuador

THE DRAGON, THE TRAITOR, AND THE QUEST FOR CUY

The dragon was situated at the center of a small pool. The artist had inhabited its watery realm with a conch shell, a whale, and a frog. Their assembly in the same biosphere struck me as being unlikely, but it seemed a minor detail to dwell on when given I had already accepted the presence of a dragon. The whale and the shell went unnoticed, but the frog had garnered the creature’s attentions. The dragon was staring it down, mouth agape, where a stream of water would somewhat ironically be spewing from its unfurled tongue, had the fountain been turned on. The frog was doing a good job of holding its own, all things considered.