July 2, 2018

I’m still just like any girl when it comes to planning for and packing up for a trip. It’s all about the shoes, and I know that whatever adventure I headed out on, Merrell has me covered. Last fall, Elisabeth and I started trip planning for six weeks on the road all throughout the desert Southwest. Our road trip would span through most all of the Southwest states, including California, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona and we would be doing a little bit of everything which meant I needed a variety of footwear for what we would end up calling ‘The Southwest Road Trip.’

Out focus on this trip was public lands, which meant lots of different kinds of travel and exploring. We would be backpacking, car camping, hiking through water and up mountains, as well as hiking down into and alongside the tall canyon walls that...

June 7, 2018

I was fitted with my first Deuter pack years ago and am still using the same model for backpacking, the ACT Lite 45 +10 SL and this year, 2018, they improved and upgraded some features on this pack, and we’re gonna tell you all about it. 

The ACT 45 + 10 SL is a woman’s specific pack, and my go to for backpacking. I’ve taken this new pack on three backpacking trips here in the Southwest, and love all the new features as well as the old standby ones on my older version.

The SL fit is designed by women, for women. These packs feature a shorter back, slim-cut shoulder straps, and anatomically correct hip fins and belt to properly fit female hips.

The Aircontact Lite System is a contact back system with open cell foam for maximum ventilation. The result is 15% less perspiration than other competing body contour p...

May 23, 2018

We have a special event happening July 28 and 29th in Washington with the ladies of She Moves Mountains. Join us for a weekend of climbing, camping, hiking and yoga at Mt Erie on Anacortes Island. 

Earlier this spring, I got to do a sport climbing clinic with the ladies of SMM and I want to share my experience: 

"I’m not a regular climber. These days my shoes and harness will go months without being touched or worn. But, when I got the opportunity to climb at Smith Rock with the ladies of She Moves Mountains, I knew it was time to get them out and dust them off. I started out the morning feeling intimidated, feeling scared and feeling uncomfortable. I knew the ladies among me were much better climbers than I was, but instead of dismissing me they fully embraced me. I started out the day feeling stressed out...

May 8, 2018

I am currently on a six week road trip throughout the desert Southwest where I’ll be doing lots of hiking, camping and backpacking. There’s a new piece of gear in my arsenal this time around and it’s the Hydroflask Food Flask. One of my focuses before hitting the road this time was to eat healthier and plan meals out better.


The Food Flask is already coming in handy for oatmeal in the morning, keeping leftovers and also taking a meal out on the trail. The Food Flask comes in two sizes, 12oz and 18oz and is available in three colors. TempShield™ insulation keeps cold foods cold and hot foods hot (for up to four hours). It’s made of 18/8 Pro-Grade Stainless Steel construction and is BPA-Free and Phthalate-Free and comes with a lifetime warranty.

I’m a big believer in product that makes traveling easier and al...

April 30, 2018

A few years ago I started hiking all of the high peaks in Southern California. While it might seem that Southern California is a lot of urban trail, we actually have quite a few mountains at and above 10,000 feet. In fact, two years ago I decided I would hike the six highest: Mt Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mt San Bernardino, Mt San Antonio (aka Mt Baldy), Mt San Jacinto and Mt San Gorgonio, one after another, one per week for six weeks. It was also then that I decided… why not do three of them in one day; 24 hours. Honestly, it sounded fun. I knew it was and would be a challenge, but I am one of those people that is always up for a challenge.

The three peaks I would be doing in one day (24 hours straight) would be the three highest here in Southern California: Mt San Antonio 10,069ft, Mt San Jacinto 10,833ft an...

April 11, 2018

Whenever I mention that I am from Oregon or traveling back to it, most people respond with what is often the same thing. Of course they say, “Oregon is so beautiful,” and then it’s followed up with something about Portland and hiking The Gorge. Both of these places are awesome, unique and have great hiking, landmarks and waterfalls, but when I travel back to Oregon, you won’t really find me in these places. 

I grew up near Eugene, Oregon which is the cascades region of the state. Eugene is just on the other end of the highway from another well known place with beautiful hikes and trails, Bend, Oregon. But, between these two places are the trails that I actually hike when I come back to visit, including a few somewhat hidden gems that remain unknown to folks who mostly come to visit and hike around the Portl...

March 20, 2018

Last summer when I got involved with @LifeStraw, they asked me if I would join them in Kenya this year as part of their Follow The Liters program. I have been using my personal water filter from LifeStraw long before I became an ambassador for them. In fact, when I attended my first Outdoor Retailer show, they were the first booth I visited. Why? Because they are a company that is truly impassioned and committed to doing good, a company who believes in and stands by their mantra, “doing good is good business.” As a person who long ago committed my life to living my life with purpose, I couldn’t be more grateful to have teamed up with LifeStraw and I proudly stand behind every product and every mission that they are taking on, including this one, the Campaign To Reach 1 Million. 

When I got on the ground in...

March 13, 2018

When it comes to spending time outdoors, whether its hiking, camping or backpacking, I @Im_NicoleMarie am the kind of person who doesn’t want to miss a thing. If you’ve ever adventured with me or have been following me for long enough, you know that I want to spend as much time as possible exploring new places and on the trail, and that means I rely on the gear and supplies to make this possible, so I couldn't be more excited about the new Jetboil Flash. 

The new Jetboil Flash is FASTER and LIGHTER and now boils in JUST 100 SECONDS, the fastest boil on the planet. I took it for a test run this past week in Joshua Tree and I was impressed! While I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to new and improved product, the new Flash heats up and boils so quickly, I wasn’t even quite ready with the unpacking of and pr...

March 6, 2018

With the change of seasons upon us and spring and summer hiking and backpacking coming, there is no better time to check out what’s new in packs and upgrade your gear. Lucky for us, @Deuter has released a newly updated line of colors, venting and suspension that I @Im_NicoleMarie have already gotten to try and test and I am passing one off to one of you lucky women who hike! 

Pictured here is the Speed Lite 24L SL which is a lightweight bag made especially for women, its actually the lightest bag from Deuter in their hiking series collection and it comes in a variety of sizes: 22, 24 and 32L. I was lucky enough, long ago to be fitted for my first pack at my REI Co-Op and matched with a @Deuter and have been using them ever since. What I love about Deuter is their commitment to innovation, technology and com...

February 20, 2018

Trail Tuesday Review & Promo, LifeStraw. I, @Im_NicoleMarie have been using the LifeStraw product for years, and I always have my personal water filter along with me for both travel and the trail and keep it packed along with the 10 Essentials when hiking and backpacking. Since then, the @LifeStraw product has evolved to include more great product for both travel and the trail, including the LifeStraw Go Bottle (pictured here), LifeStraw Play for kids, the gravity powered LifeStraw Mission, the LifeStraw Flex great for backpacking and the Universal Cap which is fitted with the same filter found on the LifeStraw personal water filter that will fit on just about any water bottle you already own.

In addition to reliable, affordable, tried and tested product, LifeStraw is also in the business of doing good. Thi...

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