unrecognizable person walking on stones near water

8 Adventurous Resolutions for 2022

With more people than ever spending time on trails, riding bikes, paddling kayaks, camping out, and really digging into the more adventurous side of life, outdoors-related New Year’s resolutions are more relevant and relatable than ever before.

Speaking of which, here are 8 great (and adventurous) New Year’s resolutions: 

unrecognizable person walking on stones near water

New Year Resolution #1: Do more of what energizes you.

If it is good for your soul, it’s worth pursuing. Especially this year. For some of us it means doing more solo hiking, for others, it’s traveling somewhere new for a big group adventure — or maybe even launching a new business doing what you’re most passionate about.

No matter what it is that ignites your spark, commit to more of it in 2022.

snowy forest

New Year Resolution #2: Make a bucket list. Or three.

Deciding where to go and what to do can be tough and it can also eat up valuable time that could be spent outside. Especially if you’re adventuring with others. To try to alleviate some of that indecision, I’ll be making a series of lists. The first will be a list of outdoor adventures I can do within a half-hour of my home, then a list of things within a three-hour drive, and finally a list of things that are under five hours away.

This way, on the rare occasion that I have an afternoon, a day, or a weekend free, I can simply pull up that list, get a plan together quickly, and go.

a cleanup community picking up recyclables in the forest

New Year Resolution #3: Bring a trash bag. Every time.

Over the past year, I found myself noticing trash on the trails I’ve hiked more times than I’d like to admit — and every single time I thought, “I should’ve packed a trash bag.”  Once, at the end of an out-and-back hike, I ran into a mother and daughter who were on their way in and were carrying a fair amount of garbage they’d picked up in their bare hands. They asked if I had a trash bag and I was really disappointed in myself when I had to tell them I didn’t. 

Keeping a trash bag (and maybe a rubber glove or two) in your pack is such a simple thing to do and it can help us all leave the places we explore better than we found them.

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees

New Year Resolution #4: Give back in a more sustainable way.

There are so many ways for us to get (and stay) involved in the essential, often volunteer-based work that keeps our favorite parks, trails, rivers, lakes, forests, and other outdoor areas clean, accessible, and beautiful. And yet many of these organizations and efforts struggle to raise the funds and support they need to do the work required.

Personally, I’ll be holding myself accountable by making regular donations to the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, hosting a series of local community clean-up events (stay tuned to Survival of the Gear for dates and details), and volunteering the equivalent of a full workday doing trail maintenance.  

brown rocky mountain cliffs under the sky

New Year Resolution #5: Seek out new challenges.

One of the best things about living an adventurous life is that it can push you outside of your comfort zone. And personally, I want more of that. In 2021, I did my fair share of hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing — and I even managed to ice climb and summit a few mountains. It’s all been awesome and energizing for sure… but none of it has challenged me in a really  big way.

In this upcoming year, I want to make sure I push myself further, so I’ve committed to a difficult multi-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon that I’ll spend a good part of the year training for.

You certainly don’t need to sign up for anything that extreme. New challenges can be as simple as trying a new activity, reaching a new level, or acquiring a new skill.

black dslr camera mounted on black tripod

New Year Resolution #6: Become a better photographer.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words, especially when they’re photos of the outdoors. Plus, I’ve found that sharing amazing photos helps to spread the joy of adventure and inspire others to get outside. Personally, I plan to take more photos and maybe even take a photography class.

Share your adventures by tagging @survivalofthegear and/or using the hashtag #survivalofthegear when you post to Instagram and you could be featured on our account.

wood light dawn landscape

New Year Resolution #7: Invest in new/better gear, for comfort.

No one wants to feel rocks and the cold ground through their old worn-out sleeping pad or get rained on in a leaky tent and this could be the year you finally upgrade your gear. Whether it’s buying a warmer down jacket, trying out a new pack that’s easier on your shoulders, or finally getting a car-top carrier so your kids aren’t always covered in camping gear in the backseat — I highly recommend prioritizing your comfort and wellbeing.

Being comfortable really does go a long way when it comes to outdoor adventures, and having the right equipment is everything.

Make sure to keep an eye on our Survival of the Gear page for gently used gear and get in touch if there’s anything you’d like us to help you sell or anything you’re looking for.  We’re always happy to help fellow enthusiasts find the right stuff.

New Year Resolution #8: Spread the love (of the outdoors)

One of the main reasons I started Survival of the Gear is because I really enjoy sharing my love of adventure and outdoor activities with others. This past year I began teaching classes at the Rochester Brainery, organized outdoor activity events like full moon hikes and snowshoes, and ran three sessions of the Couch to Summit program  to build new hikers’ confidence and help them train to climb their first mountain.

In 2022, I want to do more, and reach more people. And I want to inspire you to do it too.

If you have a friend who doesn’t seem to get out of the house much or seems down, I challenge you to take them on your favorite hike. Sometimes fresh air really is the best medicine and the physical and mental health benefits are endless. 

No matter what your resolutions are, I hope 2022 brings a happy and healthy fresh start. Happy New Years! 

worms eyeview of green trees

Rochester Local Gifts for the Outdoor Lover

If there was ever a year to support small businesses and shop locally, this is the year. Maybe you have some outdoor enthusiasts on your list, or you’re maybe you’re looking to treat yourself — either way, this list should provide some inspiration and great Rochester-made gift options for people at all levels of outdoor experience.

Perfect Granola

Image from Perfect Granola Facebook Page

Founded in 2016, this local business creates a wide variety of delicious granola and granola bars, including coconut cranberry, maple pecan, and cherry vanilla walnut. And it’s impossible not to feel good supporting them when 5% of all profits are donated to Rochester area outreach centers, food banks, and organizations supporting people experiencing homelessness 

Our recommendation: Grab (or gift) a 5 pack of the granola bars.  They make a great snack on any hike or adventure. And could be the perfect stocking stuffer too. 

Smoke Shack Snacks

Image from Smoke Shack Jerky Facebook page

Located on Exchange St in Rochester, Smoke Shack offers an array of interesting, non-traditional, highly-portable snack options including wood-smoked meats and jerkies, smoked nuts, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.  The founder launched the brand as a better, healthier, all-natural alternative to traditional store-bought jerky, with no nitrates. The flavor profiles they create are inspired by Asian, African, Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern foods and spices and there are tons of gluten-free options available.

Our recommendation: Fumanchew Snack Sticks and SmokeStachios are easy to pack and incredibly tasty on the trail. 

Fuego Coffee Roasters

Image from Fuego Coffee Roasters Facebook page

Few things pair better with the great outdoors than a great cup of coffee and Fuego offers one of the best. Even better, they take pride in how they approach every step of the coffee process–working closely with farmers all over the world, selecting the best beans, expertly roasting and profiling, and using the right hand-brewing techniques to produce a truly phenomenal cup. They focus on regions including Costa Rica, Brazil, and Kenya and even operate a cafe in Guatemala where 100% of profit earned is rolled right into not-for-profit programs run by Story International.

Our recommendation: You can’t go wrong with the holiday bundle which includes a ceramic campfire mug that’d be great for use around an actual campfire – along with a 12 oz bag of freshly-roasted coffee beans.  Oh, and make sure you grab yourself a coffee or espresso drink to go when you stop in. 

Keith Walters Photography

Image from Keith Walters Photography Facebook page

Letchworth at night, waterfalls, and trees are just a few of the breathtaking subjects Keith Walters Photography so expertly captures. Based out of Geneseo, Keith has his own style that incorporates two of his favorite types of photography – landscape and photojournalism… and we can’t get enough. You can browse in his online shop or if you’d rather experience the art IRL, he co-owns and operates The Gallery in the Valley, right on Main Street in Geneseo where you can pick up prints, greeting cards, wall art, keepsakes and more from Keith — and their amazing visiting artists, which change each month

Our recommendation: Grab (or gift) Keith’s 2022 wall calendar for monthly nature photographs that are sure to inspire your/their next adventure.

Cummings Nature Preserve (part of the Rochester Museum and Science Center)

Walk among the trees and explore this vast 900-acre preserve featuring more than 15 miles of trails, all tucked between Canandaigua and Honeoye Lakes — just an hour South of Rochester. You can explore (and learn about) our unique Finger Lakes landscape and culture all year long in diverse habitats including an active beaver pond, an iconic 90-year old red pine stand, and rare hemlock bogs. In winter there’s cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and rentals are available.

Our recommendation: Pick up a Pines Pass membership (for your own family or someone elses’) and feel good about it, knowing it supports the nature center’s awesome environmental education programming.

It’s a steal at just $65, considering it gets you free admission for your whole family for a year, 4 guest passes, 20% off ski and snowshoe rentals, quarterly members-only hikes led by the nature center’s director, and more. 

BayCreek Paddling Center

From BayCreek Paddling Center Facebook page

Located on Irondequoit Bay, BayCreek Paddling Center offers a wide variety of water-based equipment and activities.  Kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes abound the property.  Governed by the mantra “Have Fun. Help Others Have Fun. Spread The Joy!”, BayCreek has become a one stop paddling shop.

Our recommendation: Gift a certificate for the “Secret Wilderness” Guided Nature Tour. Float through time and history, as you’re led through this fascinating area, covering territory in the Irondequoit Creek wetlands, Ellison Park, and the southern tip of the Bay.

Rochester Brainery

Founded in 2013, Rochester Brainery is a community classroom and event space located in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts.  Local teachers, artisans, and hobbyists share their expertise in a variety of subjects from arts and crafts to food and tours.  

Our recommendation: Give a gift card and register for The Ten Essentials For Hiking & Camping class on January 25, together (disclaimer: this class is offered by Survival of the Fitness so we may be a tad bit biased)

Reconnect Rochester

From Reconnect Rochester Facebook page

Reconnect Rochester is a fantastic local non-profit organization working to build a more sustainable transportation network for the greater Rochester community. It’s made up of ordinary citizens (many of them avid cyclists) who believe that together, we can make it easy for everyone — regardless of physical or economic ability — to get around. Their Complete Streets Makeover (CSM) program creates safer streets that can be better shared by pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists and they help to produce Rochester Street Films, a film series that aims to facilitate community conversation about important topics such as Rochester’s transportation systems, cycling infrastructure, pedestrian life, equity issues, urban sprawl, and more.

Our recommendation: Grab and gift the Bike ROC tee, the I Bike Rochester shirt, or any of the other great items in their online shop

In the spirit of being good to each other and the planet, we hope that even if you didn’t find the perfect present on this list, you’ll consider how and what you give this holiday season. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for in a store, try passing on a piece of your favorite gear, sharing knowledge, making a donation to a good cause, or simply getting outside with a friend or loved one to share in the joy of exploring somewhere new.

Happy Holidays!