5 Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

Many outdoor enthusiasts look forward to the long days of summer and all the activities you can enjoy in warm weather.

girl-running-summer-heatBut when triple-digit heat indexes start making regular appearances in the weather forecast, hiking in Oak Mountain, kayaking down Cypress Creek, and even lounging on Orange Beach can suddenly seem less appealing.

Older adults and the very young are most at risk for heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But even young and healthy people can be affected if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather, the CDC says.

There are ways to beat the heat and still enjoy the outdoors without endangering your health. Here are five tips for staying cool and getting your outdoor fix.

  1. Stay cool by picking the right clothing

    If you have an outdoor activity, pick clothing that is lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting. Look for clothing made out of fabric that breathes and wicks away moisture.

    beat-summer-heat-bootcamp-workoutFabrics used in activewear such as cotton, nylon, and polyester are soft and durable. Some brands, like Freefly, for instance, use bamboo blends because bamboo not only feels buttery soft, it also wicks away moisture and dries quickly. Others, like Vuori, incorporate Coolmax technology in their clothing to help manage moisture.

  2. Stay hydrated to beat summer heat

    When temperatures are soaring like they are now, don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. A good rule of thumb: Try to drink at least a half-liter of water per hour if you are doing moderate activity outdoors. Increase the amount you drink as the intensity and temperatures rise. Also take into account any health conditions that may require you to drink more water, like diabetes or heart disease.

    Another way to figure out how much water you need: Weigh yourself before and after a run, a hike, or a strenuous walk. Drink an additional pint of water for every pound of sweat you lose.

    When you go for a run, a hike, or some other outdoor adventure, be sure to bring along a well-stocked cooler with water, electrolyte-replenishing drinks, and healthy snacks so you can stay ahead of the thirst. Throw a small wet towel or neckband in the cooler as well. When you need a quick cool down, place the cold towel around your neck or on your head for relief.

  3. Schedule activities based on the weather

    If you absolutely can’t stomach the idea of scaling back your running regimen, schedule activities around the hottest parts of the day. Plan exercise, yard work, and other outdoor activities during the early morning and late evening hours.

  4. Pace yourself

    dog-getting-sprayed-summer-heatWhen hiking, running, or doing another strenuous activity in the summer heat, be sure to pay attention to your body cues. Take breaks, be sure to drink water, check on your companions, whether they are human or canine, and eat healthy snacks like fruit to help keep you hydrated.

    Also, be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include muscle spasms or cramps in the abdomen or legs, clammy, pale skin, and nausea. If you think you may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, seek medical attention.

  5. Protect yourself from the elements

    The summer sun can be draining and damaging, so make sure to protect yourself. Wear a hat to shield your face and scalp, invest in UV-protection clothing and quality sunscreen to protect your skin.

    And remember to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. It’s easy to forget when you are outside and having fun, but reapplying sunscreen will ensure you can enjoy more time outdoors.


Need to refresh your summer style? We can help! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Our Top Women’s Shorts for Summer

Wherever your summer adventures take you, from our beautiful state park trails to the South Alabama coastline, we know that comfort and style are essential, especially when it comes to women’s shorts.

So how do you know if the shorts you’ve chosen are ideal for you? Well, they need to be functional and flattering so you can feel comfortable and enjoy your activities, not fuss with your clothing.

We selected our favorite shorts for popular summertime activities to help you narrow the list when you shop.

Best hiking shorts

Hiking in the summer in the Southeast demands apparel that can handle humidity and your trek. Out top hike shorts will give you all-day comfort, moisture-wicking abilities, and *sigh* breathability.  Style any of these shorts and be trail-ready with Keen’s Terradora II Mid Waterproof Boot. 

Patagonia Women’s Quandary Shorts

  • Lightweight shorts with all the stretch and a DWR ( durable water repellent)  finish 
  • Belt loops and a hidden drawcord for a better fit
  • Two front pockets, two back pockets, and a back right zip pocket to keep items secure
  • Gusset for even more mobility on the tougher trails and climbs. 
  • 5-inch inseam

Kuhl Women’s Trekr Shorts

  • Mid Rise waistband with button, belt loops, and an internal drawcord
  • Two front drop-in pockets and two back snap pockets
  • Poly/nylon woven fabric with built-in stretch for comfort and mobility that won’t lose shape 
  • 5.5-inch inseam

The North Face Women’s Paramount Active Short

  • FlashDry technology making these shorts quick-dry
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Built-in adjustable waist belt for convenience, comfort, and best fit
  • Two front drop-in pockets and a back waist secure zip-pocket
  • 5.5-inch inseam

Best active shorts

Our top two picks would suit walkers, runners, cyclists, and any other activity that demands a cool, lightweight short. Style any of these shorts with our favorite active shoe: On Running Women’s Cloud 

Vuori Women’s Rhythm Shorts

Bicycle shorts are the new yoga legging for the summer. High-waisted and moisture-wicking, these performance stretch knit shorts are great for an active lifestyle. From a bike ride in the summer sun to lounging around, you will be hanging out in style and comfort. 

  • 7-inch inseam
  • Interior waistband pocket
  • Side leg pocket

Free Fly Women’s Bamboo Lined Breeze Shorts

free-fly-shorts-beachYes, these shorts have a bamboo lining, which means they are remarkably soft and comfortable to wear. A polyester and spandex outer layer give these shorts the stretch and moisture-wicking capabilities tailored for summer adventures. On the water or around town, the Breeze short will be your go-to summer short. 

  • Anti-bacterial and naturally odor-resistant
  • Wide comfort waistband
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Back waistband zip quick-stash pocket to keep your items secure
  • 4-inch inseam

Best casual shorts

island-garden-shortsSometimes style and comfort take precedence over function.  When you are looking for shorts for lounging, cookouts, and trips to the park,  technical features aren’t a requirement. Fun, fashionable comfort is.  Style any of these shorts with our favorite summer sandal: Teva Women’s Flatform Universal Sandals


Patagonia Women’s Garden Island Shorts

Flowy and fashionable. Made from a lightweight hemp-Tencel blend that will keep you comfortable and cool during the hot summer days. 

  • Regular rise pull-on lightweight short
  • Flat waistband ties in the front with a comfortable elastic back waistband
  • Two patch back pockets finished with coconut buttons
  • 4-inch inseam

Arc’teryx Women’s Kyla Short 4 Inch Inseam

Technical outdoor functionality with the comfort and style of an everyday short. A perfect weekend getaway short!

  • Gusseted crotch for comfort and freedom of movement (great for the trail)
  • Fixed waistband with belt loops
  • Two open front pockets and two open back pockets
  • 4-inch inseam
  • Quick-dry 

Best water adventure shorts

Every summer, the desire to be near water — a lake, a pool, or Mobile Bay — grows as the temperature rises. These shorts will keep you cool and comfortable and will dry in no time, wherever your adventure takes you. Pairs well with: Chaco Women’s Z/Cloud 2 Sandals.

Patagonia Women’s Baggies

  • Lightweight 100% recycled nylon with a DWR finish
  • Pull-on style with elastic waistband and drawcord
  • Hidden side seam pockets with polyester mesh for drainage
  • Back yoke for an even better fit
  • 5-inch inseam

patagonia-baggiesFive-inch inseam not for you? Try out Barely Baggies! Same great fabric and function but with a lower rise and 2.5-inch inseam. The Barely Baggies also have an elastic key loop on the right front pocket and side slits on each leg.

The North Face Women’s Class V Shorts

  • Standard fit pull-on short with drawcord and elastic waistband
  • Moisture-wicking, FlashDry technology
  • 100% recycled nylon woven fabric
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Front side seam pockets and one back right zip-pocket
  • 4-inch inseam

The Class V shorts also come in a mini! Once again, the same great fabric and UPF 50. With a 2.5″ inseam and a curved hem for a fun and flirty style. 

Need to refresh your summer style? We can help! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors




Backpacking (and Learning) with Dad

By Carl Stanfield

(Carl Stanfield, manager of our Inverness store, graduated from Brevard College with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. He has accumulated about 5,000 miles of backpacking experience, thru-hiking the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. he is also a certified Leave No Trace educator.)

It’s early August in the summer of 2011. In a few weeks, I’ll be moving to Brevard, N.C., to begin my first semester of college. Over the last year and a half, I have been collecting gear and dreaming of adventure. And now, before beginning the next phase of my life, I’m finally embarking on my very first backpacking trip.


My dad and I have been looking forward to this all summer. I’ve got all the gear I need, and he has been able to borrow some from a coworker. Dad bought the maps and done the research: we’ll be heading into the Smoky Mountains for what will be the first backpacking trip for either of us. Nothing too elaborate: roughly 30 miles from Fontana Dam up to Clingman’s Dome along the Appalachian Trail over three days. 

We do the best we can packing: We definitely won’t run out of food, get cold, sweat through all our towels, or read through all of the books we brought, but we also won’t say we forgot anything at home. 

We’re up early the morning of our trip, stopping for one last fast-food indulgence before starting what will be a long day of hiking. We secure our permits from the visitor center, and then we’re off on the trail.

Light hearts, heavy packs

Even though our packs are weighing us down, our spirits high: I’m positively bounding up the trail, excited to finally be trying out this sport I’ve been eagerly reading about for years. But all of that energy only lasts for so long …

As it turns out, there’s a reason that backpacking and minimalism go hand in hand as well as they do. Before long, Dad and I are both moving much slower than we started.

Our shoulders are already extremely sore, and we can’t believe how many miles we have left to go until we get to the shelter we’ll be staying in that night. Have we really only been 3 miles in 2 hours?


By the time we arrive, the tone of our adventure has shifted from pure elation to brute survival. We still have two long days before my mom is coming to pick us up. And I can’t exactly say I’m looking forward to any moment but that one right now.

A seed was planted

So we slog on. Spirits have dwindled, but now we have a driving force carrying us up to Clingman’s Dome, our finish line, which I later learn is actually the highest point on the entire Appalachian Trail. The trip hasn’t been anything like I’ve imagined. My shoulders hurt so much I can barely stand up straight. I’ve blackened a few toenails, and I’m disheartened that this hobby I was so excited about is now something I’m not sure I ever want to do again. 

And yet…

I learned I could push myself. I survived my first trip, despite all the mistakes we made. A seed was planted. And I did it all side by side with my dad.

fathers-day hiking-summit

Fast forward seven years. I now hold a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. I’ve lived out of a backpack for as long as three weeks in one stretch. I’ve helped guide nearly a dozen trips everywhere from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the epic Cascades in Washington. I left a job and decided to attempt to thru-hike the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 2018.

But I haven’t forgotten my roots.

It’s not about the destination

One of my most anticipated sections of the trail is a week that my dad will be coming out to join me, heading 60 miles from the Southern Virginia border north through the Grayson Highlands.

fathers-day-hiking-virginiaAfter a bit of a bumpy first few days, the last three are some of my favorite and most memorable of the 132 days it took me to reach the Northern Terminus in Maine.

As they say, the adventure isn’t about the destination but rather the journey itself. In this case, the journey doesn’t mean any single trip, but rather the string of trips and events that led me to complete a thru-hike. On that first backpacking trip in the summer of 2011, there was a lot of misery, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of learning. And what made it special was that I got to share it with my dad.

In a parent/child relationship, there aren’t many equal playing fields: parents are, as a rule, our mentors, and we are lifelong learners. I had the unique opportunity to get to struggle and hurt and fail alongside my dad as we both honed a new skill together.

A seed was planted there that grew into an enormous thirst for adventure, as well as a series of struggles and their resulting rewards. Even though backpacking ultimately became my supreme passion, it’s always something that reminds me of my dad, and I believe that is so largely due to him being willing to humble himself enough to begin alongside me as a fellow novice.

Sharing a beautifully quiet space

fathers-day-hiking-sonEver since our first trip nine years ago, Dad and I have always tried to find time to go on more backpacking trips together. It’s a beautifully quiet space we can share together. We’ve both learned enough to be adequately equipped when we go out now: We no longer return home with five-pound bags of homemade trail mix.

I think the takeaway here is that it really doesn’t matter what you do with the parent figures in your life. As long as you get out there and try something together, even if you fail wonderfully, you’re still making memories. You’re still learning together. You’re still growing together. 

Who knows what kinds of seeds just might get planted along the way.

Let us help you find the perfect gift for your dad! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores and choose curbside pickup or standard shipping! #BeOutdoors

Father’s Day Memories from Our Homewood Team

Father’s Day is an opportunity to make cherished memories. Make sure to make the most of this Father’s Day ( June 21!!) and plan a special outing with Dad.

If you are looking for things to do, we have some ideas on how you can spend Father’s Day outside.

Does your dad love waterfalls? Her’s a list of the best ones in the state. Or, you can plan something a little more low-key, like watching the sunset together. We have a list of the best places to watch the sunset in Alabama.

Another tip: Start writing down pieces of advice, memories, or funny moments with your dad.  And take photos! You will be glad you preserved those moments later.

Some members of our Homewood team shared some of their favorite memories, pieces of advice, and Father’s Day gifts with us.

What is one of your favorite memories with dad?

fathers-day-dad-daughter-camping-trip“This is a picture of me and my dad at a Father/Daughter camping trip when I was in 2nd grade. On this trip my dad showed me how to pitch a tent and how to make the perfect smote.” Allie Moody

What was your favorite Father’s Day gift?

fathers-day-john-nuckols“For me, it would be technical fabrics like merino wool socks, T-shirts. Also, quick-dry materials. The fabrics work really well and last well. In terms of gear, it would be Leatherman and Swiss Army products because they are well-designed and last really well.” John Nuckols

Nuckols said his son also usually gives him the gift of his time.”We spend the day together and do whatever we want. Hiking.Movies. Hanging out. Food is always involved. He is a graphic designer/artist, and sometimes I get a special piece of artwork.”

What’s the best piece of advice your dad gave you?

fathers-day-jeb“He always has told me a plan is something to deviate from. So when some wild stuff has happened in life, or on some excursions, I have always told myself that so I can change midstream and not be stressed that it ‘didn’t go as planned.’ A plan is something to deviate from has been so good for me.”  Jeb Blackwood


Let us help you find the perfect gift for your dad! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores and choose curbside pickup or standard shipping! #BeOutdoors

My Journey to Guyana! 

By Kylie Purdy

( Earlier this year Trussville native Kylie Purdy spent several days in Guyana and Brazil as part of an immersion program through Spring Hill College in Mobile. Kylie, who also is a team member in our Mobile store, shared some of her experiences in a three-part blog series.)

girl-holding-coconut-with-strawI was recently blessed with the amazing opportunity to not only visit the beautiful country of Guyana but also be truly immersed in their rich culture and lush environment.

I was blown away by the diversity within the country. I was able to visit both the capital city of Georgetown, which lies on the coast of the country facing the Atlantic Ocean, as well as Lethem, which rests in the interior of the country bordering Brazil. Both cities are vastly different. Georgetown is very fast-paced and crowded while Lethem is very calm and open. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and what was only a week felt like months. I learned so much in my short amount of time in this South American country. So sit back, relax, and enjoy my cherished memories!

Morning in Georgetown

The first morning waking up in Georgetown was surreal. I woke up inside a mosquito net hanging from the ceiling and with the sound of the whirling fan next to me. We were staying in a small guest house in the city. The owner cooked us breakfast which consisted of eggs and fresh fruit, such as mangos and papaya. 

Following our shared meal, we explored the city of Georgetown. It was very busy, and our group was crammed into a small van. We traveled the streets listening to some of the modern music and taking in all the surroundings. Georgetown reminded me a lot of a Caribbean city with many colorful homes and palm trees.

The coastal area of Guyana is home to 90 percent of the country’s population. But it only makes up 5 percent of the country’s total land mass. The streets were full of cars and people.

But it also was not uncommon to see horses pulling wagons of people traveling with goods. Modern and antiquated seemed mixed all over. Guyana is often described as a melting pot with a diverse population, including East Indian and African descendants as well as indigenous Amerindians, Europeans, and Chinese.

Again, this diversity was very apparent in our drive. We saw mosques, temples, and churches only blocks apart.

Coconut water at a market

promenade-gardens-flowersWe made a few pit stops during our drive including one for coconut water at the Stabroek market. Men used machetes to open coconuts in front of us and then pour the water in them into empty plastic bottles to sell.

Another pit stop included the Promenade Gardens, which was full of lush flowers and trees that I had never seen before. The colors of the flowers were so vibrant, and many of the trees had wide leaves and budding fruit or flowers. As a fan of bright colors and the outdoors, I fell in love with this quaint garden.

The tragic surprise on the coast

The scenery changed drastically as we approached our next stop on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Walking up I was super excited to see the beauty of the coastline.

garbage-on-shoreThen I actually saw the coast. As we descended the steps onto the golden-brown sand, we saw clusters of trash that washed up on shore from the ocean. Everything from toothbrushes to food waste wrappers dotted the shoreline.

I have heard about how waste that travels through the oceans washes up onshore somewhere else, but I don’t think you really think about that and the impact it has until it is literally right under your feet. 

Reality didn’t match my expectations of a beautiful untouched beach. It really made me think about the amount of waste we produce and how we dispose of it.

The residents of Georgetown

home-in-GeorgetownAfter our stop at the coastline, we traveled to a youth center and interacted with some of the volunteer staff. This was our first real interaction with Georgetown residents. We played dominos and Jeopardy, and spent some time learning about their everyday lives.

One of the ladies I talked with said she works in human resources and has a law background. Their day-to-day work schedules actually resemble ours. I am not sure what I was expecting to get from this interaction, but I felt very welcomed and appreciated for visiting and spending time with them. 

Later, we headed back to the guest house for dinner. Following dinner, we had some downtime to relax before flying to Lethem the next morning. I curled up in my little mosquito net-covered bed and fell fast asleep after a long and tiring day.

Next stop, Lethem

I woke up the following morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day! We traveled to the airport where we waited for our small plane to take us to our ultimate destination- Lethem, Guyana.

I have not been on a plane quite this small before, so my nerves surfaced as we piled into the15-person seater. Once we were finally in the air and I felt better, we were able to see all the colored roofs of Georgetown. You got a sense of the density of the city from the plane. So many people.

As we got further along, the view of houses and cities transitioned to greenery and rivers. A lack of interior development within the country allowed for the preservation of the beautiful savannas and tropical rainforests. The majority of these ecosystems remain untouched as a result. I started to realize on this flight how rare this is in the United States.

When we landed in Lethem, the airport consisted of one paved landing strip surrounded by dirt. The landscape was already noticeably different.

St. Ignatius Village

We traveled mostly on dirt roads and wooden bridges to St. Ignatius Village, where we would stay all week. We explored the area where we were staying, and the natural beauty of the land compelled me. The land was very open with little civilization around. pink-flowers-st.ignatiusI had a much easier time adjusting to this slow-paced environment as opposed to the busy city of Georgetown. I could sit and think and really take in all the surroundings. There were roaming goats, roosters, and birds.

That evening some of the youth in the area performed for us. Their cultural presentation included traditional dances as well as songs and poems. It’s moments like these that truly make me realize how small we are in this big world. There is so much culture and diversity out there that is worth experiencing.

We ate dinner with the young performers, and it was amazing to be able to interact with them on a personal level. They were shy at first but opened up by the end of our evening. The night concluded with the endless stars above us. I have never experienced such a clear view of the stars. The longer you stood out there, the more stars would begin to appear. It was such an amazing experience, and I still do not think I will ever get over the pure beauty of the night sky at this exact moment.

We retreated to our small little guesthouse for the night and prepared for the main portion of our trip: Traveling to the nearby village and learning from the indigenous people. The journey had only just begun, and the beauty I had found over the past two days inspired me and gave me the passion to navigate the next few days that were ahead.

Let us help you prepare for your next adventure! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


5 Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day Outdoors

Father’s Day is nearly here, and while every dad appreciates new clothes and gear, one of the most valuable gifts you could give him is quality time. We have some ideas on how you can celebrate your dad and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

Spend the day on the trail

If the dad in your life loves clearing his mind on long hikes through the wilderness, pick one of his favorite trails, and plan a day excursion. You could pack a picnic to enjoy in a clearing or set up a hammock and just relax for a while. 

fathers-day-dad-outdoors-trailYou could also surprise him with a new trail that you think might be a new favorite. If he’s a new dad and hasn’t had the opportunity to hike as much as he would like because of family duties, surprise him with the Osprey Poco Child Carrier. Its family-friendly features include a removable drool pad, toy attachment loops, and a zippered lower compartment large enough to stash a diaper changing kit. 

Spend the day on the water

Does your dad count down the hours until he can head to the lake? Does he look for excuses to take his boat out? Is he drawn to hikes that include waterfalls? Does he talk about fishing trips from long ago? Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a water dad. 

There are studies that have found people living near bodies of water tend to feel healthier and happier. A marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., even wrote a book about the physical and psychological benefits of water called Blue Mind.

So why not reward him with some restorative time on the water? Plan a kayaking or canoeing trip or book a weekend at the lake or beach.

Spend some time in the backyard

I know it seems like we have all spent a lot of time at home lately. But we have been working from home, going to online classes, and managing a lot of stressors that can cast a shadow over the joys of just hanging out at home.

So plan a day where he can relax and unwind. Does he like to barbecue for the family? Then buy everything he needs for a cookout! Does he like to play cornhole or disc golf in the backyard? Then stock up on his favorite appetizers and beverages and set up the game!

Watch a sunset together

Whether you make the dad in your life an awesome late-morning brunch at home or spend the weekend on the lake or at the beach, the perfect way to end the day is to catch a sunset together.

According to Psychology Today, studies show appreciating natural beauty may boost well-being, increase generosity, and enhance life satisfaction. You could visit one of Alabama’s awesome lookout spots or just find a spot near you and enjoy.

Work on a pet project together

Does the dad in your life have a pet project outdoors that he never has time to complete? Maybe you should offer to spend the day helping out. Does he want to organize his garage or start a backyard garden? Is he trying to finish some landscaping projects or build a backyard climbing wall? Make sure he has the right tools and gear needed to scratch that project off his list. Then end the day making some gourmet s’mores!

Let us help you find the perfect gift for your dad! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores today or shop online and choose curbside pickup or standard shipping. #BeOutdoors

5 Must-Have Summer Dresses

Another Southern summer is here and we need all the help we can get to stay cool. We have put together our favorite dresses to keep you looking and feeling cool all summer long. 

Arc’teryx Women’s Contenta Dress 

As a leader in outdoor apparel, Arc’teryx knows how to create comfortable, breathable, and “outdoor chic” dress options like the Contenta. With a dropped waistline and a cinch located inside the pocket, the Contenta is an easy and flattering summer dress! Quick-drying and wrinkle-free, this dress also offers UPF 45 sun protection, making it the perfect dress for summer days filled with swimming, boating, or hiking.

Also check out the Contenta’s sister dress, the Contenta Shift Dress. Same great technical properties that you get from the Contenta, but with a more relaxed a-line style. 

Both options come with pockets — yes, pockets! One pocket also conceals a security zip pocket, a great feature for traveling or going on excursions without a pack or purse. Both dresses are extremely comfortable and perfect for hot days, travel, and even some light day hiking and exploration!

Dylan Coastal Stripe Long Dress

Easy, breezy, and beachy! The Coastal Stripe Tank Dress is our favorite tank dress when we are headed for the beach. Made from 100 percent cotton, this maxi dress is incredibly soft, making it a cozy all-day dress.

Throw it on as a beach cover-up or an effortless lunch dress. As the summer night breeze rolls in, style it with a button-down open and tied at the waist, for a dinner-ready look. Swap your EVA Birkenstocks for your Sorel Ella sandals and you are ready for the evening! 

Toad&Co Funday Sleeveless Tie Dress

This dress earned its name. This is perfect for all of the Sunday fundays, weekend getaways, or backyard hangouts. funday-dressMade from 100 percent organic cotton, it’s breathable and sustainable. The adorable, classic shirtdress with a vintage flair goes perfectly with our beloved Teva Flatform Universal sandals. 

Neat fact: This dress is thoughtfully engineered with an open weave and thicker yarns to lift the fabric off your skin, working to keep you cool all day long. How delightful is that?

Patagonia Garden Island Dress

Patagonia is more than thick sweaters, coats, and baggies. To be honest, some of our favorite pieces from brands are the hidden gems, like the Garden Island Dress. 

From the coconut buttons down the center back to the gathers at the waist, the detailing is right on point for a summery style. This dress, made from hemp and a Tencel lyocell blend, is soft, flowy, and lightweight. 

This dress is a great option for a more casual outdoor wedding or event, dressed up with your favorite sandal or wedge.

Oh, and, once again, … pockets are a girl’s best friend. 

Carve Swim Sanitas Dress

Our last but not least favorite summer dress pick is a swim dress. On hot and humid days when you seek out opportunities to be near water, take this dress with you to throw over your suit. 

The high neckline and cutout detail on the back give this little number a fun and sporty look. Throw it on as a cover-up. It dries quickly and is cool and suitable for all your outdoor adventures!

Find your perfect summer dress at Alabama Outdoors! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Message to our Team

In response to the devastating events that have gripped our nation recently, Alabama Outdoors CEO Scott McCrory sent the following message to employees:

Good afternoon – I want to share some thoughts on the events of the last couple of weeks. While not easy to write about, you should know where I and AO/WO stand. I find racism in all of it forms abhorrent and feel the same about the death of George Floyd. However, racism is not new and did not just occur last week or last year. Our history is riddled with overt racism. Even when the overt actions may not be quickly seen, it is easy for the undertones and structures of society to perpetuate inequitable and unjust outcomes. This is not a new cause to rally around or a topic to just now speak publicly on – it is something to eradicate from our minds, hearts and society permanently.

Now is a time for us all to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I speak now so you will not interpret my silence as indifference. I am taking this time to listen, better understand, and have my mind opened and thinking sharpened. I do not want to speak out in ignorance – but I can’t wait any longer to speak to you – so please forgive me if thoughts are incomplete. We all need to be challenged in our thinking and actions and we need to take this time to seek to understand rather than be understood. Our company voices will be silent for the upcoming days as we attempt to do that, including social and email accounts. We will not put out any potentially self-serving statements to our customers, but will seek to personally and actively listen.

We have always sought to increase outdoor usage for all people. Through efforts both individually and corporately, we have attempted to do that. Many of those efforts are not published or talked about, but rather were done for the joy and benefit of others. But in the future, we will need to do more.

Finally, I pray for peace and justice for all.


Gear Review: Osprey Arcane 20L Tote Pack

By Natalie Ferguson

(With a background in retail and a love for wellness, travel, and the outdoors, Natalie Ferguson joined Alabama Outdoors in 2016.)

We have found our new favorite, every day, cross-functional pack. Osprey did it again — they created another pack loaded with features and sleek design details with unmatched comfort and durability. 

Features and specs

Pack Size: 20L 

Weight: 1.76 lbs

  • Top zip access to the main compartment with integrated fold-and-hook closureosprey-arcane-tote
  • Over-the-shoulder tote bag easily converts to backpack-style
  • Front panel shove-it pocket for stashing small items or tuckaway tote straps
  • Quick-release aluminum security hook to keep your belongings safe
  • Stretch power mesh shoulder strap sleeve for transportation cards or small items
  • Large zippered front panel scratch-free pocket
  • 15″ padded laptop sleeve
  • Internal organization, small zip pocket and key clip

Why we love it

The size: Coming in at 20L, this is a great size for everyday use. For reference, 20L is ideal if you are going on a quick day trip or hike. It is compact and lightweight, but it has the capacity for daily essentials.

Versatility and value: Not only is this pack a great size, but you get two bags in one. That’s right, this bag easily converts from a backpack to a tote bag, with tuckaway straps. I know what you are thinking — tuckaway straps are bulky and annoying. Not the case with the Osprey! The pack features two stowaway pockets on the outside to easily store the straps. One is on the back with a padded sleeve for the backpack straps (which easily fold over and down into the pocket) and the back tote strap; and one on the front is a quick “shove-it panel” to tuck in the front tote strap. With the padded component on the back, you can’t even tell backpack straps are in there!

Storage and organization: This bag has (almost) all-of-the-pockets.

osprey-interior-storageMy favorite feature is the padded laptop sleeve. My laptop fits easily, and the foam lining keeps it protected. There is also a document sleeve, multiple small pockets, and a zippered pocket. If that isn’t enough, the outside has three pockets for quick-access items. Two are the pouches for the straps but offer plenty of extra space, and one is a zip pocket for items that need to be kept safe. The one pocket I (sometimes) wish it had was a water bottle pocket; but, the front shove-it pocket serves the need for the intended use!

Quality: Being an Osprey, quality is a key component and a known characteristic, and part of why we love them. The durable canvas exterior, the extra padding, and interior lining give this pack strength and stability. So, load it up! It can handle it. The waxed canvas exterior is excellent as it resists moisture if you get caught in the rain. If your pack has been through it all and needs repair, Osprey has the best lifetime guarantee. “Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday.”

Feature highlights: The fold-over top is a double win. It is a very convenient option if you do not want to zip the top closed. (The bag has a strap and security hook to keep your items secure and the flap in place.) Just fold the flap, hook and tighten the strap, and go. Need extra storage? No problem. The top has a zipper so you can use the extra space while keeping your items secure. The coolest feature? This pack is made from plastic water bottles!

The look While this bag has great technical features for an everyday bag, this bag is also sleek. From the colorways, simple design lines, and matte look, it is all-around beautifully crafted and the bag I bring everywhere. 

Where I go with it

This bag is my gear pick (and perfect) for the on-the-go lifestyle. I bought this bag while at a tradeshow and it immediately replaced the bag I was using.

On the first day of the show, I used a shoulder bag, which was for travel and work purposes. However, by the end of the day, with my bag full of catalogs and a laptop, my shoulder was killing me.

The next day I bought the Arcane Tote from Osprey and everything changed. It held my laptop, pens, notebooks, catalogs galore, and I was able to convert it to a backpack for more comfort. Throughout the trip, I easily switched it from backpack to tote depending on the time of day and what I was doing. It was perfect. I like using the tote style in a more casual setting and when it is not loaded down with work items.

It is now my go-to travel pack whenever I fly. I can bring my laptop without it being a hassle, keep my boarding pass in the front zip pocket, and I can access everything swiftly. Plus, it is so comfortable for all-day travel.

With the small size and two style options, this is a perfect commuter sidekick. From the office or school to the gym, to patio lounging and anything in between; it will hold up to your lifestyle!

Looking for a bag, tote, or pack? We have plenty to choose from! Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors



Father’s Day: Fishing with My Daredevil Dad

By Natalie Ferguson

(With a background in retail and a love for wellness, travel, and the outdoors, Natalie Ferguson joined Alabama Outdoors in 2016. )

fathers-day-fishingGrowing up in Colorado, our family spent a lot of time in the mountains and just being outdoors.

My dad, the adventure-filled, thrill-seeking, outdoor enthusiast, has taught me most of what I know about all things outdoors. From the bunny slopes to class-five rapids and everything in between, he has paved the trail and shared his wisdom.

Passion for the outdoors

My dad firmly believes that “You can do anything you want to, you just have to want to.” This piece of advice has stuck with me over the years and is at the forefront of anything I strive to do.

He shared his passion for the outdoors with me, and now that I have grown to love the outdoors as well, I love hearing his thrilling stories about his daredevil days, from his trip to climb Mt. Rainier that he turned down, which ended up being life-saving (for him), to when he flipped over in his kayak and almost lost his life in a log jam. 

Theses exhilarating stories tell me so much about who my dad was and is today. He was a competitive skier, an adrenaline junkie who loved to kayak, climb, fish, and almost anything else as long as it was in nature. He gave up most of these activities when he and my mom started our family, as most require too much risk.

No one can catch a fish in anger

fathers-day-fishing-dadMost of these activities, if not all, can take a lot of patience, skill, and advanced knowledge about the outdoors and its elements. My dad says adventurists “take calculated risks, and they know there are certain risks you do not take. So, you know the risk and you take the risk. And that gives you the adrenaline.” 

One activity my Dad didn’t give up was fly fishing. It happens to be one of my favorite pastimes, too. I caught my first fish in Fairplay, Colo., (known to most as South Park) when I was 6 years old, and I was hooked. 

The greatest life skill my Dad taught me from this was patience and respect for wildlife. The patience of learning a new skill: everything takes time and it can be hard to not get frustrated. But, as Herbert Hoover said, “Be patient and calm — for no one can catch fish in anger.” Anglers know this can be true, but most also enjoy the calmness and serenity that fishing brings. I will say that quote isn’t true 100 percent of the time, and let me tell you why 

Fly fishing in Alaska

Once, we went fly fishing in Yakutat, Alaska. I had just turned 16 years old, it was the middle of summer, and even though it was fairly light outside, it was 11 p.m. and we had been exploring and fishing for 14 hours. Let’s just say 14 hours of fishing for a 16-year-old —even if you love fishing— can be tiring. I remember the strong flow of the river as I waded through it, the sights of the wilderness around us, and the smell of fresh Alaskan salmon being cooked over a fire on the shoreline. 

The sun was going down (to the extent it does up North), and so was my enthusiasm. We were casting in this pool alongside seven other avid fishermen, all trying to get a strike from one of the many salmon in that spot. One cast after another with no luck, I began to get impatient. Bored from fishing, cold, hungry, tired— you name it.

Dad, I got one!

My casts were no longer deliberate, and my form was nonexistent. My dad tried to give me pointers and, well, this teenager didn’t want to listen at the time, but he insisted I stay out. Although I felt defeated, I tossed my line in and let it float downstream into the pool, hardly paying any attention. “Ummm, Dad? Help, please! I got one!”

 Not just a salmon but a king salmon. No one could believe it, especially the seven experienced anglers next to me. My pole curved as the fish fought, but we fought harder. My adrenaline had kicked in, and we were not going to give up. 

Being pulled some 50 yards downstream by an over 30-pound king salmon was quite the ride. We did our best to keep him in control and out of the trees and debris so he wouldn’t get tangled and potentially break free. After quite some time, and with everyone watching, we were able to guide him to the shallow water. Then, my dad helped me take the hook out (something that has never been my strong suit).

Time to clean the fish

Little to my knowledge I was about to get real messy. Since I caught the fish, it was time for me to clean it. My dad and his buddies took their time and taught me how to correctly clean a fish and prepare it to bring home, or cook at the fire pit. This is one memory I will never forget.

I am so grateful to share new experiences with my dad and be able to learn so much from him and his experiences over the years. I miss being back home for Father’s Day as we would always have a fun adventure. Thanks, Dad!

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and we can help you find a perfect gift for the dad in your life. Alabama Outdoors wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time.  Visit one of our stores or shop online and take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup. #BeOutdoors