Adventure Quickies: Reassessing R-Values, Celebrating 75 Years of Smoky Bear, and Other Stories

It’s Friday, which means it’s also time for another round of Adventure Quickies, our weekly collection of stories, news items, travel deals, and other bits of information that we simply didn’t have time to post anywhere else. Here, we shrink those stories down to a few lines of information and provide a link for you to go learn more. So without further ado, here’s a few items you may have missed from this past week:

  • The R-Value System for Sleeping Pads Gets an Update: For years, the “r-value” of a sleeping bat was used as an indicator of how well it performs in a variety of temperatures. A higher r-value means better insulation, keeping the user warmer when the mercury starts to drop. But, those ratings were also highly controversial at times, which has led to a more standardized system of evaluation. Adventure Journal has everything you need to know about this new system.
  • REI Joins Forces with AutoCamp in Yosemite: Outdoor gear retailer REI has teamed up with a company called AutoCamp to bring new immersive experiences to those visiting Yosemite National Park. In a nutshell, guests staying at an AutoCamp lodge inside the park can now book REI-led hikes throughout Yosemite, with the option to even have transportation to the trailhead provided.
  • Relay of Voices Expedition Begins on the Mississippi: Awhile back, I shared a story about an expedition called Relay of Voices that was scheduled to take place along the Mississippi River. During this journey, artist Victoria Bradford Styrbicki intends to walk and bike the length of the river, interacting with communities and individuals she meets along the way in an effort to learn about their stories, and how the river is changing in the 21st century. That expedition officially got underway this week. Follow it here.
  •  REI Running Summer Clearance Sale: Speaking of REI, the company is running a summer clearance sale right now in an effort to clear out inventory before the start of winter. You can find savings of up to 50% off the prices of all kinds of different gear, making it a good time to stock up.
  • Intrepid Travel Offers Free Thailand Cruise with Antarctica Booking: It isn’t often that you find good deals on trips to Antarctica, as it is a popular adventure travel destination with limited bookings. But, Intrepid Travel is sweetening the pot for those who want to visit the White Continent by offering those who purchase an Antarctic trip a free Thailand cruise as well. If Antarctica isn’t on your bucket-list, Intrepid also has all Africa tours at 15% off.
  • Gondwana EcoTours Announces New Polar Bear Photography Excursions: Spotting polar bears in the wild is one of the top animal encounters for adventure travelers, and with its latest offerings Gondwana EcoTours is making that possibility all the more accessible. The company’s latest offering takes travelers to Barrow, Alaska to spot these amazing creatures in the wild.
  • Osprey Packs Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Smoky Bear: In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Smoky Bear, Osprey Packs is releasing a line of commemorative products to help mark the occasion. Those offering include the limited edition version of the company’s Daylight pack, as well as t-shirts for men, women, and children. Best of all, the gear looks great and is something that you’ll actually want to own, unlike some other commemorative cash-ins we’ve seen in the past.
  • Whitewater Season Hits “Sweet Spot” on Arkansa River: The Arkansas River Outfitters Association is reporting that the whitewater season has hit its “sweet spot” this summer, with safe water flows that provide an amazing rafting experience on the Arkansa River. Heavy snows in the Rockies have provided a good flow this season, making this an exception year to take a rafting trip on this waterway. You can book just such a trip here.

That’s all for this week. More Adventure Quickies to come next week.

Kraig Becker