The Weekend Warrior’s Way: How to Maximize Your Time Off

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Busy lives can yield big backcountry results if you do it right. Because discipline leads to freedom, we know that 9-to-5ers are versed in managing time if they expect to nail it on their weekend excursions. Knowing all the ins and outs of backcountry quick hits is beyond the scope of a blog post, but these five considerations won’t lead you astray.

1) Do the Research: It doesn’t matter if you live in San Fran, Sun Valley or Chapel Hill, search out destinations and start gathering info. Are you going cragging? Trail running, peak bagging, mountain biking, whatever? Where you live can lay the framework for what you can get accomplished. And it’s not difficult. Simply Google “Camping near Wherever, USA.” It’s only getting easier to hunt down weekend projects.

2) Make a Plan: Planning the weekend getaway is just that: a plan. Without it, the idea of maximizing anything is a moot point. Start small and find objectives that are relatively close; three hours or less is doable without spending more time in the car than on a trail. A state park, mountain range, or nature reserve is what we’re thinking. Next step is looking at the weather forecast for your weekend escape, and tailoring you objectives to meet Mother Nature on her terms.

And, as part of your plan, know your limits. Decide how much effort you can or want to exert. By all means have high hopes, but don’t plan to hike a 3000-foot, 10-mile one-way slog if you’re not physically and mentally prepared for it. You’ll never get out again.

3) Get Organized: Get dedicated gear for car camping. Most weekenders invariably maximize their days off via an automobile. This is clutch. Establish your grab and go must haves—cooking and eating items, stove, planned meals and libations, sleeping bag, pad, tent, overnight kit—you get the idea. Barrier of entry into this sort of thing shouldn’t be more than one time if you do it right.

Also, car camping, as understood by the savvy stalwarts, is about balancing the civilized with the rustic. Comfy sleeping out of doors, savory food and simple cocktails show we don’t need much to luxuriate in the backcountry. Learning from car camping pros is invaluable. Short cuts come from experience, which come from long cuts. Want to know what a long cut is? Go car camping without a plan.

4) Be Ready to Pounce: Minutemen mindset allows you to rally fast, jet after work on Friday, and be fireside by dusk. The weather might suck, but so what? See how it feels. You might come back with stories about how good your Brooks Range tents performed in the rain.

5) Final consideration: Leave the cell phone off, or at least on airplane mode. You can still take photos or video of your epic weekend, but stay disconnected from the rest of your life. Cell phones ruin living in the moment because when you stay connected, check email and texts, essentially you’re everywhere at once, which is to be nowhere.

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