A hiker's guide to keeping sane while sheltered in place

Published on: April 2, 2020

Gear Inspection

Now is a great time to check (and clean) all of your hiking gear.  It's also a great time to repair torn hiking clothes (and, by that I mean learning to repair gear yourself because while many of our favorite companies offer gear repair - Patagonia, Osprey, and others - these folks are either being responsible and not taking repair shipments during COVID-19 or they're busy sewing face masks for healthcare workers).

I know that's not what you want to hear when you're anxiously awaiting to hit the trails once the quarantine is lifted, but this may also be a great time to learn to repair your own gear.  It's also a great time to repair & donate your used gear... and support your favorite companies with a fresh purchase.

I know you're thinking, what organization on earth would want used hiking gear? 

I'm so glad you asked!

Gear Forward

This organization is focused on collecting gently used hiking gear and distributing it to youth groups like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4-H Clubs, Elevate Youth, and more.  They collaborate with youth groups nationwide.

Teens to Trails

This Maine based charity collects and re-distributes used hiking gear to high school outing clubs throughout Maine.

Local Homeless Outreach Programs

Sleeping bags, backpacks, and tents are deeply appreciated by many homeless outreach organizations, so definitely reach out to these charities.  Even used hiking boots may be accepted, so ask about that too if you're looking to replace your boots.

And, remember, your gear donations to charities are tax deductible.

Foraging from Home

mushrooms growing on a tree trunk

With grow at home mushroom kits, it's possible to forage between four walls. 

Far West Fungi offers several different options and a guarantee on your first crop with their Shiitake mushroom mini-farm, and this particular mini-farm offers 3 to 4 harvests.  Far West also offers Lion's Mane, Pink Oyster, Tree Oyster, and Yellow Oyster, and some of their forager packs even include a foraging knife.

Growing instructions are available on Far West Fungi's FAQ page, and the beauty of the Shiitake mini-farm is that it's recommended for anybody.  You don't need strong light, just indirect light and protect from air vents.  You can expect to harvest a crop a month for 3-6 months according to Far West's website.

Sure, there are other places to buy mushroom kits online, but I love the aesthetic of Far West's "mushroom logs".

Green Surroundings

Keeping company with plants has a number of health benefits including being natural mood boosters.

Health Benefits

Seriously, researchers claim that rooms with plants have less dust and mold in the air than rooms that lack foliage.  Some plants boost humidity - most notably, the spider plant was found to raise the relative humidity in a bedroom by a full 10% (from 20% to 30%). That's huge during the winter time especially in dry parts of the country (like Colorado).

Certain plants scrub volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.  VOCs are commonly released from new construction (certain paints, carpet, etc.) and even computer inks. 

And, perhaps most convincingly, people recovering from surgery went home earlier and required fewer pain medications when they had flowers in their room or a view of nature.

Stress (Relief) Benefits

Several studies show important stress indicators like blood pressure, cortisol level, and heart rate are reduced when people facing a challenging situation are in the presence of plants.

Some mental health therapists use plant care in their patient treatment plans because caring for plants may lessen feelings of depression and lower anxiety.

And, a study by The Royal College of Agriculture found students in classrooms with plants are much more attentive than students in rooms that have no plants.

In the next post, I'll share the best plants to grow indoors and the best places to buy houseplants online. 

Virtual Campfire Games

people gathered around a campfire next to a river with tents set up

Just because you can't hang out around a campfire with your friends doesn't mean you can't join each other via video and play some campfire games. 

If you need a little inspiration, I've put together some Taboo cards for you inspired by hiking.  Just sign up for our newsletter to get that download delivered straight to your inbox.

      About the Author

      Brandy Searcy of Return to Eden Cosmetics

      Brandy Searcy is an outdoor girl who loves hiking, gardening, bird-watching, and body boarding.  Her innate curiosity means she's constantly researching something, and she's likely sharing what she's learned here on the blog. 

      Nearly obsessive about her skincare, she started developing products to pack with her on day hikes and soon realized her backpacking friends were searching for a portable skincare routine as well, and that's how Rain Organica started.

      Brandy's LinkedIn Bio

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