What do you do when your work stops you getting outdoors?

R&R – Rest and Recuperation — Piney Creek Wilderness

In 2016 we took a long hard look at what was stopping us getting out as often as we used to. At the time I deliberately chose to ignore one of the main problems. To quote myself:

We’ll ignore the work issues, it is a very valid item, but it is also a whole other subject.

Two years on, and I’m still trying to get to grips with that issue. One of the work-related problems I face is that some of the best months for backpacking and hiking coincide with my most busy work periods. That would be March through May and September through November.

One solution is to extend my hiking/backpacking season into the winter. To do that, I ordered a 10°F Econ Incubator under quilt from Hammock Gear and a winter cover from Dutchware for my hammock. For now I will use my 0°F sleeping bag as a top quilt. It’s big and heavy but it does the job.

With this setup, I can go backpacking any time with a lower forties daytime, and a 20°F over night forecast. That means I can take advantage of all those winter days when the weather shifts to the south and the days are warm, but the nights remain cold.

Overnight low of 16F. Backyard Cold Weather Test.

When the new gear arrived, I did an overnight backyard test and I was nice and comfortable at 16°F which is as low as I’ve gone so far, and lower than I intend to deliberately go when I’m backpacking. A week or so ago, I went on a four-day trip where the temps went from 26°F to 36°F overnight, and low 40s° to 80+° during the day. You can read about that here.

 I have to work a lot of weekends during my busy periods, so I plan to be more determined to claw back the time spent working weekends and get out in the wilderness for short mid-week breaks.

Cold weather hiking and backpacking is not Ginger’s thing, her own work-load is high, and her mid-week availability will probably not sync with mine. So, I anticipate a lot more solo trips in the coming year.

Which leads me to another consideration — safety. Even on the well-populated trails I’ve been frequenting, I have gone days without seeing another person. Which means I need to think about looking into the various satellite communications options. I have to face it, I’m in my sixties now (how did that happen?) and need to consider the increased possibility of an accident/medical emergency.

So there you are. My current ideas to reduce how work gets in the way of my time spent outdoors are: 

  • to extend my backpacking/hiking season, and
  • see if I can fit in more short mid-week breaks.

We’ll soon see how that goes!

What suggestions do you have?

What do you think?