5 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Three dogs on a hike

We love spending time with our canine companions, but we have to look out for them in the summer heat, especially if they are active outdoors. Check out our summer safety tips for your active dog: 

Keep your pet hydrated

Pets get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water, especially in the summer. Make sure your dog has a shady place to get out of the sun, don’t over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.  Pro tip: Keep plenty of water and a packable water bowl for your dog with you when you go on trips, hiking, or on walks.  Then, your pup can have a drink of water no matter where you are.

Know the symptoms of overheating

Overheated pets may pant excessively, have difficulty breathing, drool, seem weak, or confused, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Other symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms, move your dog to a cooler location, place a cool, wet cloth, or a chilly neckband on your dog’s neck. Offer your dog cool water, and call your veterinarian. If your dog collapses, take him immediately to your vet.

Never leave your dog in a hot car

Even if you think you will only be “gone for a minute,” don’t do it. For example, on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes.



Adjust activity intensity on hot days

Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise on particularly hot or humid days. Try to schedule hikes and walks during the early morning or evening hours. Also, remember that asphalt can burn the bottoms of your dog’s paws. Stick to dirt and grass trails during the summer.

Keep cool treats in the freezer

Treat-dispensing rubber throw toys have long been one of the best ways to keep dogs entertained and happy. For a cool treat, try filling your pup’s toy with peanut butter and freezing it.  Not only are these treats that’ll entertain for hours, but you can also prepare them ahead of time. The American Kennel Club has some suggestions for DIY frozen dog treats.

The most important thing to do as a pet owner is to be aware of your dog. Make sure your pet is comfortable, isn’t showing signs of distress or discomfort, and adjust your outdoor activities accordingly. Take care of your best friend, so he or she will be able to share your love of the outdoors for a long time!

Trying to keep cool this summer? We can help. We want 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



How to Layer Clothing (and Why You Should)

Woman zips rain jacket on Norweigan mountaintop.

If you’re working, exploring or playing outside, your clothing is arguably your most important equipment. If you layer your clothing correctly, it can keep you warm (or cool) and dry. Layering divides up your clothing so that you can add or remove as much as the weather calls for without your clothes getting too bulky or leaving you too exposed. Here’s our guide on how to layer!

Illustration explaining clothing laters.


Base Layer


This is your first layer of clothing, the items you wear directly against your skin. The base layer for cold weather conditions is typically tight against the skin. That way, it reflects more heat back to the body. Base layers for warm weather should be looser so that air can flow between the garment and your body, helping you cool down. Think thermal/long underwear, t-shirts, socks and gloves. What you’re looking for is something that will add a little warmth but also wick moisture away and dry quickly. You Couple hikes in rain gear.may feel fine when you’re doing some sort of exercise, but once you start cooling down, any moisture held against your skin is going to make you that much colder. Look for items made from polyester or Merino wool. We love Icebreaker’s iconic line of Merino wool base layers, including shirts, technical tops, and leggings.

Mid Layer


This next layer is generally responsible for insulation. It traps air warmed by your body when it escapes from the base layer. More than one mid layer can be worn at a time, depending on how cold you are. The mid layer should also be moisture-wicking and quick-drying. You don’t want moisture to get trapped between the base and mid layers. That’ll just weigh you down and feel uncomfortable. Ideally, you want a garment that isn’t too heavy or bulky, too, since you’ll have to carry it if you don’t wear it. Look for items made from polyester fleece or stuffed with either a down or synthetic fill.


Outer Layer (Shell)Hiker sits, writing, on mountaintop.

This layer goes on top of everything else and is responsible for keeping wind, rain and snow off of you. Because they are made to repel moisture and block winds, shell layers are typically not very breathable. That means that they’ll reduce the effectiveness of any wicking properties of other clothes you have on. Shells are divided into three different styles: hard, soft and insulated. One material that is particularly favored in this area is GORE-TEX. It tends to be one of the more breathable materials that still stops moisture and wind from reaching the body. Arc’teryx offers some GORE-TEX shells.


Using a combination of these three layers of clothing will allow you to prepare for both expected and unexpected weather without leaving you wishing you’d brought along that one thing you left behind.


Text by Bo King


Wanting to get out and explore? Find what you need for your next winter adventure here.

5 Summer Day Hike Destinations in Alabama

July may not seem like a prime time for a day hike, considering it’s the hottest month of the year in Alabama. But few things can clear your head like a trek down a shaded trail in the wilderness. With a little bit of research and planning, you can find day hikes that offer beautiful views, some shade and solitude, maybe a waterfall, and maximum restorative benefits. Check out our five top summer day hikes in Alabama that the whole family will enjoy.



Chinnabee Silent Trail 

The Chinnabee Silent Trail in the Cheaha Wilderness area is a 7.3-mile out-and-back trail near Lineville that features a lake. Cheaha Falls is also accessible on a side trail. The moderately difficult trail allows leashed dogs. Recent hiker reviews note the gorgeous wildflowers along the way as well as the awesome views.  Visitors can access the trail from Turnipseed Campground on State Route 281.



Desoto Falls waterfall flowing into lake

Desoto Scout Trail

DeSoto Scout Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. Located in Northeast Alabama’s Desoto State Park, it’s actually part of a 16-mile hike with plenty of mountainous scenery that will leave you speechless.  Leashed dogs are welcome. The heavily shaded trail can be narrow and rocky.



Sunset from scenic overlook in Buck's Pocket State Park


Point Rock Trail

This 2.3-mile out-and-back trail in Buck’s Pocket State Park is considered moderate to hard, it leads to a scenic overlook. It starts on the floor of Bucks Pocket Canyon near the campground, and it ends 800 feet higher at Point Rock. Dogs are welcome on the trail, and you can take a break and have a picnic at and area right by the overlook.



Stone Cuts Trailmonte-sano-day-hike

The Stone Cuts Trail in Monte Sano State Park is a 2.4-mile loop trail near Brownsboro that provides gorgeous views of the state park.  The well-shaded trail ranks as relatively easy with only a 479-foot elevation gain. 




Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail near Orange Beach is a 12.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail that is perfect for cycling as well as hiking. The trail features an air station (for bikes), restrooms, rest benches, and plenty of outlooks to watch the wildlife.




Find the best summer gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want 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


Chacos: Here is the Lowdown on the Sandal

Man in hammock wearing Chacos

Chacos celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its popular adjustable, Z-strap sandals last year. The sandals, borne out of necessity by a whitewater/fly fishing guide in 1989, grown into a treasured accessory for everyday life in all seasons, everywhere. 

Fun Chacos facts:

  • Mark Paigen, the whitewater/ flyfishing guide that created the first pair of Chacos, said he wanted sandals that would provide the support and traction of a running shoe, but let his feet dry in the sun so they weren’t wrinkled liked raisins at the end of the day.
  • Originally the sandals were named after the gecko, lizards with toe pads that help them gain traction on any surface. ( The logo still incorporates the gecko.)
  • Gecko sandals later became Chacos, a name inspired by the Chaco Culture Historical National Park. 
  • Paigen said he worked with river guides and a German pedorthist ( a health professional trained to modify footwear and supportive devices) to develop the adjustable z-strap design of the Z/1. When they finally landed on the right design, Paigen’s best friend declared it was “Zee one!” Hence, the name.

Three friends rise off Chacos in outdoor shower

The everyday, everywhere shoe

Whether you are floating down the Cahaba, chasing waterfalls, or just hanging out, Chacos are an everyday essential for many.  These outdoor shoes are truly a year-round, all-season option. In the fall and winter, many members of Chaco Nation wear comfortable socks with their sandals to keep their feet warm and cozy.

Plus, they really are the camp shoe. In the spring and summer, people pull out their Chacos as their choice of shoe for almost any adventure.

So why Chacos?

To begin, These durable sandals hold up in various terrain, from rocky trails to rough waters. But if you are like the rest of Chaco nation and have a favorite pair that you have worn out, they will start to fade as anything will with use over time. When that happens, Chaco has you covered. The company offered a personalized repair service at an affordable price. 

Your favorite T-shirt, in shoe form

Like most shoes, Chacos need to be broken in. Once they’re broken in, though, you’ll find your Chacos mold to your foot. Plus if you use them for water fun as intended, your feet can dry in the sun!. 

One of our favorite things about Chacos? You can adjust the straps to suit your foot.  After one session using the adjustment guide, you will know what straps to tighten or loosen for the perfect fit. 


Looking for the perfect transition sport sandal? We can help! We want 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

Five Awesome Alabama Trails to Discover This Spring

If hiking is your passion and you are looking for outdoor fun this spring, Alabama is a good place to call home. According to, the Yellowhammer State boasts more than 560 great hiking trails. Here are five highly rated Alabama trails for your spring and summer must-hike list.

North Alabama: Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is a 700-acre, privately owned nature preserve in Northwest Alabama. A cooperative project with the Nature Conservancy of Alabama, it’s open to the public year-round, Friday through Sunday plus holidays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eastern Alabama: Chinnabee Silent Trail

Located in the Talladega National Forest, 392,567 acres of breathtaking beauty at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, this 7.3 mile, moderately trafficked, the out-and-back trail takes hikers through multiple habitats, making it ideal for birdwatchers.

The elevation gain is 892 feet and peak hiking months are March through November. You can bring your pup, but you’ll need to keep them on a leash. The trail can be rocky, wet and has blowdowns, so choose your footwear carefully. 

Trail highlights include Cheaha Falls, Devil’s Den, and Lake Chinnabee. Much of the trail is shady though, making it a good hot-weather trek. Hikers who experienced the trail said the “scenery is just awesome” and called it “my favorite trail of all time.”

Central Alabama: Blue Trail to King’s Chair Overlook

Oak Mountain State Park, located 20 miles south of Birmingham, is the state’s largest state park with  25 miles of hiking trails. The 14.1-mile, out-and-back Blue Trail is one of the most difficult. With a 2,139-foot elevation gain, the steep trail can be challenging, so consider bringing trekking poles. It’s accessible year-round and allows dogs on leashes.

Hikers will encounter creeks, waterfalls, and stunning overlooks, including King’s Chair. The overlooks are exposed and sunny, but much of the trail is shaded. If 14.1 miles isn’t challenging enough, you can easily connect to other trails in the park during the warmer months. Folks over the age of 12 will pay $12 to enter the park, children age 6-11 and seniors over 62 can get in for $1, and there’s no fee for children under 5.

Eastern Alabama: Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail

One of the most scenic trails in the state, Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail is a 3.2 mile, lightly trafficked loop trail with an elevation gain of 383 feet. Open all year, and dog-friendly. The trail offers a shaded, well-marked hike that is accessible to all ages and all skill levels. However, the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association recommends parents only bring children 12 years and older. Children ages 12 to 14 years old should have adult supervision, the association says.

The lake views set this trail apart, as does Chimney Rock, one of Lake Martin’s most famous landmarks. Consider a picnic atop some of the larger rocks that rim the lake. Hikers who reviewed the trail said it was “a great trail with beautiful views” and “highly recommended.” The trail is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

South Alabama: Rosemary Dunes Trail

Alabama’s beautiful trails go through the mountains, around the lakes and finally, to the beach. In Orange Beach, you’ll find the Rosemary Dunes Trail, a 4.3 mile, moderately trafficked, out-and-back trail. It’s nearly flat, with an elevation gain of only 32 feet. The wheelchair-friendly paved trail is suitable for all skill levels. It’s accessible all year long and has a small playground and picnic area. The free trails are open during daylight hours.

The wildlife and vegetation make this trail unique. Don’t be surprised if you spot an alligator or two, as well as other marsh-dwelling animals. As the trail goes through multiple habitats, it’s also a good trek for birders. Hikers rave about the wildflowers, cattails, and water lilies, as well as the pollinator garden filled with butterflies. But prepare for a sunny, humid hike. Trail reviewers called it “absolutely pristine” and “a great place to bird and herp.”


Ready to be outdoors this Spring? We have the Spring outdoor gear you need to get you back on the trails! We want 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

Camping in Alabama: Five Great Destinations


While some die-hard outdoor enthusiasts opt to camp year-round, others prefer to wait until the days are a little longer and the temperature is a little warmer. Spring in Alabama is the perfect time to hit the trails and pitch a tent, as the trees are budding and the wildflowers are starting to bloom, but the bugs and humidity have yet to make their annual return. Here are five popular — and unique — camping opportunities in the Yellowhammer State. 

DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne

Located atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama, the 3,500-acre DeSoto State Park features waterfalls, wildflower fields, and plenty of rustic beauty. Nearby sites of interest include the Little River Canyon Preserve, the 104-foot Desoto Falls, and the Walls of Jerico Forever Wild Tract.


The park offers an improved campground with 94 full-hookup tent and RV sites, primitive camping sites for tents, and two backcountry campsites with shelters.

Recreation & Attractions

You can find something for everyone at DeSoto. Recreational activities include kayaking, biking, cycling, bouldering, rappelling, hiking, fishing, and wildflower expeditions. The historic park also has a picnic area and an ADA-accessible boardwalk trail.

The park is free. Pets and fires are allowed. Reservations can be made online.

Cheaha State Park in Delta

Cheaha is the oldest, continuously operating state park in Alabama. It’s also home to the state’s highest point, Cheaha Mountain, which is 2,407 feet above sea level. The park features amazing views to appreciate beautiful sunsets as well as some spectacular waterfalls. 


The park boasts five campgrounds: two developed, one semi-primitive, one primitive, and a group campground. The developed campgrounds feature RV hookups.

Recreation & Attractions

Nestled in the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha offers endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. It’s home to the Cheaha Trailhead of the Pinhoti Trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail, the Odum Scout Trail, and the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Cheaha also includes access to the Kentuck ORV-ATV trail.

Park fees are: Age 0-3 free, 4-11 $2, 12 and older $5, Seniors 62+ $2, Veterans and Active Military (with ID) enter for free. Annual passes are $55 for seniors/disabled, $105 for individuals 12 and older and $155 for a family of up to six. Fires and pets are allowed. Reservations can be made online.

Deerlick Creek  near Tuscaloosa

Deerlick Creek is a shoreline located on Holt Lake that was created by damning the Black Warrior River. The creek and river connect to the Tom Bigbee Waterway, which includes six lakes with a total length of 457 miles and nearly 40,000 surface acres of water. The shoreline campground is nestled in a hardwood and pine forest, where plenty of turkey, deer, migratory birds, and bluebirds live.


Forty-six campsites include electric and water hookups and access to showers, while six of the sites are tent-only. In addition, the campground features a picnic shelter that can be reserved, a mixed-use court, and a swimming beach.

Recreation & Attractions

Watersports and fishing opportunities are abundant at Deerlick Creek. The waterway is populated with bass, crappie, bream, catfish and more. Boating and swimming are popular, and the area has numerous hiking trails and a paved bike trail.

Nightly fees range from $20-$30. Pets and fires are allowed. You can check site availability online.

Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores

Enjoy two miles of sandy white beaches and crystal-clear salt water as well as Lake Shelby, a 900-acre freshwater lake. The park’s 6,500 sun-drenched acres provide ample opportunity for everyone to enjoy their outdoor passion.


There’s lots of room and all kinds of camping with a 496-site improved campground that features pull-through and back-in sites, waterfront sites, and ADA-accessible sites. Paved pads provide full hookups, and the park also features three new “glamping” sites and 11 primitive camping sites. You’ll find picnic tables throughout the park. 

Recreation & Attractions

Obviously, popular activities include boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddling, and even parasailing are popular choices. It also features hiking and biking trails, a wildflower and butterfly garden, and much more. 

But keep in mind that Gulf State Park is home to many types of wildlife, including alligators. Please be aware at all times and respectful.

The free park allows fires and dogs. You can make camping reservations online.

Bartram Canoe Trails in Mobile

The 250,000-acre Mobile-Tensaw Delta is the second largest river delta in the United States. It’s a vast wetland of marshes, swamps and bottomland hardwood ecosystems and home to more than 50 endangered animal and plant species. It’s also where you’ll find the Bartram Canoe Trails, one of the longest aquatic trails in the country. Bartram Canoe Trails features six day-use trails and six overnight trails, which take canoeists, kayakers and recreational boaters through miles of rivers, streams, lakes, sloughs, and bayous.


The trail system features two primitive land-based campsites, which are open to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis. Along the upper trail overnight route, you will find four floating platform campsites. Meanwhile, the lower trail overnight routes have four elevated camping shelters. Only canoeists and kayakers can reserve the floating platforms and elevated camping shelters.

Recreation & Attractions

Obviously, canoeing, kayaking, and boating are the primary means of exploring the 170+ miles of trails through the delta. Bartram allows fishing. However, the trail system discourages swimming due to the local alligator populations.

You can reserve the water-based campsites online for a $26.50 fee. Fires are allowed in the land-based campsites only. No pets are allowed.

 We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time.  Visit our online store and take advantage of guaranteed 24-hour shipment or curbside delivery! #BeOutdoors

12 Outdoor Adventure Essentials

Couple looks out over autumn mountaintop vista.

The crisp breeze, the crunch of dried leaves, firecrackers of fall foliage and sweeping summit views: all season long, we marvel at the autumn landscape’s wonders. And it’s no wonder that this is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and family and head outdoors for an autumnal adventure. These outdoors adventure essentials will keep you warm, safe, and dry no matter where the landscape takes you.

Camping family roasts marshmallows.NEMO Men’s Disco 30° Down Sleeping Bag – Regular

This sleeping bag lets you personalize your comfort. Plus, it’s water-resistant, keeping your feet dry and ensuring a great night’s sleep wherever you are.

SOREL Women’s Out ‘N About Plus Leather Duck Boots

Pesky afternoon showers are unpredictable, so be prepared with these waterproof boots. They’re as functional as they’re fashionable.

Osprey Exos 48 Backpack

This backpack offers mesh Airspeed™ Suspension for airflow and an ExoForm™ hipbelt and shoulder harness, ensuring all-day comfort while hiking.

Cotopaxi Unisex Teca Windbreaker Half-Zip Pullover Couple hikes through autumn woods.

This pullover is easy to pack and weather-resistant: perfect for any terrain!

Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack – 22L

This cooler pack keeps your goods cold for up to 48 hours and offers enough room to store 24 12oz cans, as well as side and dry storage pockets for additional drinks.

KEEN Women’s Terradora Waterproof Mid Boots

Designed especially for women, these boots provide all-day comfort whether you’re on a hike or hiking through the mall for Christmas shopping.

Gentlemen’s Hardware Survival Kit

The Gentlemen’s Hardware Survival Kit’s includes a compass, fire starter tool, six-in-one penknife tool, tweezers, 210cm of rope, ten safety pins and wire saw. It’s a must-have travel tool for any outdoors enthusiast.

Two friends set up campsite.Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Shoes

With a mid-height ankle, aggressive grip and GORE-TEX® weather protection, these shoes are a hiker’s best friend.

Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad

The Static V is designed to conform to the shape of your body, providing the ultimate comfort for a great night’s rest.

Lole Women’s Emeline Packable Insulated Jacket

With its compact pouch and lightweight packability, this insulated jacket from Lole will keep you warm no matter how chilly theMom shows son mountaintop view. campsite may seem in the morning.

GoPro Hero 7 Black Bundle with SD Card

The best that GoPro has to offer, the Hero 7 enables you to shoot up to 4k video with Gimbal-like Stabilization.

Hydro Flask Limited Edition Escape Collection Wide Flex Cap – 32oz

These bottles keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. They’re perfect for all-day hydration.


Text by Nick Adrian

How to Plan an Outdoor Adventure in Alabama

Alabama Outdoors outdoors expert Matt Stone.



The air’s getting frosty, the leaves are falling, and everyone’s starting to break out their favorite sweaters. There’s never a more perfect time to start planning your next outdoor adventure than right now. We spoke with our own outdoor expert, Matt Stone, to get the best advice on how to plan an outdoor adventure in Alabama.





Start with your destination

The first step in preparing for your adventure is researching where you want to go. Matt’s top five places in Alabama are The Sipsey Wilderness, Cheaha State Park, Ruffner Mountain, Monte Sano State Park and the Walls of Jericho. If you know where you’re going, you’ll be better able to prepare yourself, your friends or maybe even your date for the trek ahead. He suggests learning the distance of the trails, elevation, amenities, water sources and beyond.

Gear up and get preppedAlabama Outdoors hiking gear on trail.

Knowing where you’re going is important; knowing what to bring while you’re there is crucial. Once you’ve picked a place (and learned all you can about it), then you can start prepping your gear. If it’s just a day trip, Matt suggests bringing only the essentials — think water and maybe a few snacks — to keep unnecessary weight out of your pack. Another good tip is to dress in layers and invest in a pair of wool socks. Matt’s favorite are Merino moisture-wicking wool socks that keep you from getting blisters. Of course, you should always pack a map and a compass, and let someone know of your plans. Give a timeline of when they should start to hear from you again — there’s not always cell phone service in the wilderness.

Hiker marvels at sunset view.

Enjoy the silence

Going on an outdoor adventure gives you the opportunity to escape from everyday life and experience nature without the hectic hubbub of urban life. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and family with minimal distractions. There’s a lot that you can do when you go on an outdoor adventure but sometimes it’s great to just spend some quiet time in the woods relaxing. Matt’s favorite part of outdoor adventuring is listening as the wind blows through the trees and watching leaves fall to the forest floor.

If you were on the fence about it before, we hope that these tips make you reconsider spending your next free weekend on an outdoor adventure. Now get out there and Be Outdoors!

Text by Kaitlin Cochran. Updated June 16, 2020.

Looking for weekend camping adventure essentials? 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

5 Reasons Hiking and Camping in Early Fall Is the Best

Hikers in tents on mountain at night

Soon, the heat of the summer will finally wind down (we promise). That means that we’re quickly approaching our favorite time of the year to hike and camp. Early fall from late September and early October presents us with optimal conditions for a weekend trip in the outdoors. Here are five reasons hiking and camping in early fall really is the actual best.


WeatherAlabama's DeSoto Falls in autumn

Summer hiking and camping is great, but it’s not always comfortable due to the heat — and it’s been a blisteringly hot summer. Early fall introduces cooler air, less humidity and more predictable rain conditions. This means that sleeping in a tent is less stuffy and a good, lightweight sleeping bag is all you need to stay warm.



Pack and supplies at mountaintop campgroundBugs

Another benefit to the cooler weather is fewer pesky bugs. While no camping trip ever will be insect-free, cooler air means fewer mosquitoes bugging you and fewer flies and gnats swarming your site looking for food. Still, be sure to pack a DEET based mosquito deterrent to protect from pesky bites.



HikingWoman wearing loaded pack on mountain hike

Early fall presents the perfect conditions for longer hikes. The cooler air will keep you from getting as drained by the heat as you might in the summer. This means that fall is the perfect time to try that long hike you’ve been wanting to go on. Always remember to take a buddy and plan hikes that make sense for you!



Red house on lake near DeSoto Falls, AL

Changing Landscape

While the cooler weather creates the most comfortable conditions for hiking and camping, it also creates the most beautiful. Trees reach their peak foliage colors in mid to late October. And, we promise, there is nothing quite like a great view of a forest when the leaves have changed. For a full tour of Alabama’s most beautiful foliage, check out the Fall Color Trail.

Get OutsideSocked feet of a couple relaxing in tent

Last but certainly not least, taking time to relax and explore and take a break from deadlines and technology may be exactly the medicine you need. Taking a break from work in the long holiday desert between Labor Day and Thanksgiving by getting outdoors is good for the soul.

Now that we have you convinced, pack your reliable hiking backpack and set out for a weekend of self-care and enjoyment as you enjoy everything early Falls has to offer.


Text by Amy Haupt

Water-Resistant or Waterproof: What’s the Difference?

Woman wears rain jacket on wet hike

You’re on the hunt for a new rain jacket, but you keep seeing the words “waterproof” or “DWR” or “water-resistant.” There are so many terms to learn, and you’re just trying to stay dry. Luckily, the confusing language is easy to break down. Once you know the lingo, you’ll know immediately if a product is water-resistant or waterproof.


Droplets on Water-Resistant FabricWhat makes clothing water-resistant or waterproof?

Simply put, DWR, or “durable water repellent,” is a chemical that repels water. When applied to the surface of a fabric, DWR allows the fabric to repel water better. This repellent may seem like the cure-all, but there’s a lot more when it comes to keeping you dry.



Little boy wears rain jacket in stormHow do you rate whether fabric is water-resistant or waterproof?

HH ratings, or Hydrostatic Head ratings, are the level to which a fabric is resistant to water. A garment’s HH rating shows what kind of conditions it’s meant for. The scale can range from 1,500mm to 40,000mm+. Ranges within the scale provide the weather conditions meant for each range. The larger the number, the drier you’ll stay.


Man wearing waterproof jacket reaches into springWhat is water-resistant?

Water-resistant jackets are designed for those days when you expect a light shower or two. These jackets are scaled at 1,500mm-5,000mm. Water-resistant jackets are treated with DWR for a light contact of rain. Also, they don’t have taped or sealed seams. This means that you might get a little wet if that small shower turns into a heavy rain. However, they’re perfect for light rain and cool temps!


Happy couple wearing waterproof jackets in rainWhat is waterproof?

Waterproof jackets are the way to go if you’re expecting a heavy rain and want to stay dry. With a rating of 5,000mm+, these jackets typically come treated with DWR along with a built-in membrane lining. This membrane lining helps to ensure you stay dry. The seams of a waterproof jacket often come fully sealed or taped as well.
Who knew that there was so much in the making of rain jackets? Finding just the right jacket can get confusing, but now you’re ready to conquer the next rainy day.


By Jonathan Mendoza