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    Written by Iron Vegan


    Summers are made for adventure! Whether you love hiking, going on long-distance bike rides or exploring the backcountry by water, there are plenty of exciting activities to get you outside enjoying all that summer has to offer. Preparation is key though - from having the right gear, packing the essentials, and fueling your journey – it’s all important to ensure you have an unforgettable experience. Read on for our tips before you hit the road or the trails.

    Summer Bike Rides

    Hitting the open road on two wheels is not only one of the best ways to get around, but also to explore the sights, stay healthy, and get an awesome workout in at the same time. Here is our general checklist of essential gear to help you prepare for a great summer ride.

    Essentials:

    • road bike and helmet – and ensure they fit properly!

    Clothing:
    • cycling jersey or top – ideally made with moisture-wicking fabric, has a long zipper at the front for added ventilation and a few rear pockets to store food and supplies 
    • padded cycling shorts - tights or shorts with a chamois to provide cushioning, especially for those longer rides
    • fingerless gloves – to protect your skin, provide cushioning and better grip, and makes for less sweat on the handlebars
    • clip-in cycling shoes – not essential, but will help with cadence, speed, and producing explosive power
    • arm/leg warmers – for cooler mornings and evenings
    • long socks - to prevent sweat that runs down your legs from reaching your ankles/feet and also to prevent pebbles from getting into your socks

    Accessories:
    • headlamp, water bottle and water bottle cage, bike pack, taillight
    Personal Items:
    • sunglasses, cash/credit card/photo ID, cell phone
    Repair Kit:

    • Spare tube and tire lever, bike-specific multitool, CO2 cartridge and mini pump

    Fueling for the Long Ride


    Depending on the length of your ride and the weather conditions, before you head out you will need to consider the heat, your sweat loss and how much hydration to bring with you. Replenishing your electrolytes will be key, especially on those days. Coconut water is a tasty and easy way to rehydrate and top up your electrolytes. But be sure to bring plenty of water on your ride as well and adding BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) to support your physical efforts and prevent muscle breakdown during your efforts.


    Just as you will need fluids on your ride, you’ll want to bring fuel in the form of snacks as well to prevent your body from crashing. Your muscles crave a constant supply of energy, and longer rides will quickly deplete your body’s glucose levels. Be sure to pack a few Sprouted Protein Bars in the pockets of your jersey or in your bike pack for an easy and tasty refuel!  


    If Exploring By Foot Is More Your Thing


    Getting out for a hike is an incredible way to immerse yourself in nature and spend quality time with friends or family (or yourself, if going solo). There are so many options when it comes to hiking – do prefer to explore well maintained trails that are closer to home or are you looking to explore the backcountry of a Provincial Park, for example? Your hiking checklist will depend on how far you plan to hike, the terrain, how remote the location is and what kind of weather conditions you might experience while you are out. For the most part, you will need to pack more in terms of food, clothing and gear the longer your trip, the more remote you will be, and the more variable the weather. The exact items you take should be specific to your trip, but here is our general packing list for an unforgettable day hike.
    Gear: hiking backpack – a pack that has the capacity to hold 10-20L will be sufficient for a day hike
    Clothing and accessories: weather-appropriate clothing (moisture wicking underwear and t-shirt, quick-drying shorts/pants, long-sleeved shirt, lightweight jacket, socks), sunglasses, hat
    Items for rainy weather: rainwear (jacket and pants), waterproof pack cover
    Footwear: hiking boots or shoes (suited to the terrain you will encounter)
    Water and food: water bottles or reservoir, water purifier/filter or chemical treatment to purify water out on trail, plenty of food* - see below for our favourite trail-ready snacks!
    Health and hygiene: sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellant, hand sanitizer/environmentally safe soap bar, toilet paper
    Navigation:  whether you use a map, compass, or GPS unit comes down to personal preference, but having some type of navigation is essential! 
    Emergency and first-aid: lighter/matches, whistle, basic first-aid kit (antiseptic pads, Band-Aids, cotton balls and Q-tips, elastic bands, hot and cold packs, medical tape, saline spray, hand disinfectant wipes, sterile gloves, sterile gauze roll/pads, triangular bandages and CPR mask)
    Tools and repair: knife or multi-tool, gear repair kit (including duct tape and zip ties)
    Personal items: cash, credit card, photo ID, cell phone
    Extras:head lamp, hiking poles (to improve power, endurance + posture, and provide balance when going downhill), gaiters

    When Hunger Strikes


    There is nothing quite like enjoying snacks out in nature! Adventuring by foot takes a lot of energy and it does not take long to work up an appetite. Food on trail is special – there is something about your heightened senses combined with that gorgeous natural setting that just makes food taste so much better, and especially if you’ve prepared it yourself. Here are some of our favourite make-ahead snacks that travel well and are the perfect addition to any day hike or camping adventure.  

    Kick-Start Granola – This nutritious, delicious granola blend is a great way to kick-start your day.
    Matcha Energy Bites –  An easy-to-make, no bake recipe that will provide a delicious pick-me-up while on the trails.
    Blueberry Chocolate Chip Cookies – Another wholesome and filling snack recipe that will delight your taste buds! 

    If you’re short on time and need a quick grab-n-go option, be sure to pack a variety of Sprouted Protein Bars to have on hand to help fuel your adventure.

    With gear in tow and snacks packed, now it’s time to slap on the sunscreen and get ready for some summer thrills! We’d love to see where your adventures take you - tag us @myironvegan on Instagram!