The rocky shore of Tonsai is a beautiful view from a wooden boat

Planning the Ultimate Adventure

By OtterBox Ambassador Chris Brinlee, Jr.
@chrisbrinleejr
X

“I’ve never been that good at sports. For most of my early adult life, I didn’t even spend that much time outdoors,” said Brinlee. “But that didn’t stop me when a trip to Yosemite made me decide to quit my day job and go on epic adventures around the world.”

OtterBox Ambassador Chris Brinlee Jr. took on adventure travel as a new passion and challenge. Here are some of his travel tips and tricks for planning incredible adventures, so you can go on one too.


Choose a Destination

Chris Brinlee Jr. drives a raft down a calm Tonsai river

Choose a Destination

The destination enables the experience. Go wherever your heart desires. Explore places that inspire you. It doesn’t have to be far. Some of my most memorable adventures were the result of jumping in a car and driving for just a few hours.

If you want an adventure in the truest sense (definition: an experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone) you’re probably gonna have to leave the highway behind (like the Iceland Ring Road.) Try getting out there. Way, way out there. You don’t necessarily have to leave the country or go very far—but outdoor adventures have an entirely different feel if you go where people aren’t.

While our 30-day trek was supported by tea houses (European-style huts that serve hot meals and drinks; and offer beds for hikers)—once you’re there, it’s not too difficult to venture off away from the beaten tourist track, camp or climb, and get the experience of being totally immersed among the world’s most gargantuan mountains.

Try getting out there. Way, way out there. You don’t necessarily have to leave the country or go very far—but adventure has an entirely different feel if you go where people aren’t.

What makes the Nepalese Himalaya so unique? Imagine scrambling up to the top of an 18,000-foot peak—only to look out and see a big alpine wall towering 10,000 feet above you. Everywhere you look, there are prayer flags and pagodas. Yaks and porters are carrying loads, because there are no roads to bring in supplies. The experience is larger than life; as a result it can make you feel incredibly small.

The world is full of places that can have that same effect; and most of them are accessible by mere mortals. Sometimes, they just take effort to reach, but it will always be worth the effort.

Brinlee climbs a rock wall above his raft

Be Willing to Pivot

Be Willing to Pivot

Our Nepali friend Saman joined us on the Three Passes Trek. When we met him in Kathmandu, we learned that he had been bitten by leeches while rock climbing in the jungle (a normal occurrence, we were assured, as they fall from the trees and then latch onto their victims—no thanks!) Unfortunately, the bites had become infected, and he was on antibiotics and required additional time to recover before heading into the mountains.

Instead of the entire team waiting in Kathmandu, we got a head start by taking an SUV to the road’s end and then hiked four days in. Saman had additional time to recover; and then he took a “shortcut” by flying into Lukla, the infamous airstrip, where we all met up. He was feeling great by then; and the rest of us had time to let our minds and bodies get used to the routine of trekking.

Your time and money spent on an adventure is always going to be limited; only you can decided how to best-utilize your resources in order to make the most of a trip. As such, it’s important to remain flexible and willing to pivot.

Only you can decide how to best-utilize your resources in order to make the most of a trip. As such, it’s important to remain flexible and willing to pivot.

Pick an Activity

In many ways, the relationship between place and activity is symbiotic, because one will often dictate the other. Any mountain range in the world, including the Khumbu region of Nepal (where the Three Passes Trek is,) will provide near-endless opportunities for adventure—whether it’s climbing snow slopes or steep ice and rock; hiking; backpacking; or even paragliding.

Want to bring greater breadth of experience to your adventures? Try mixing activities up. Climb a mountain and then paraglide down. Or pack-raft out. Backpack through a place that can only be reached by canoe. Fly fish in a lake that can only be accessed by a hike. Get a heli drop up a river and paddle back down in a foldable kayak.

Multi-sport adventures allow for unique experiences that are custom-tailored to the environment and to your own skills and desire. Make it yours. Go crazy. Get wild. Just keep in mind that the more activities you add, the more gear—and knowledge of safely using it in a particular environment—your adventure will require.

Multi-sport adventures allow for unique experiences that are custom-tailored to the environment and to your own skills and desire. Make it yours. Go crazy. Get wild.

Solve Problems Before they Become Problems

Solve Problems Before they Become Problems

Problems will inevitably arise, so take some time beforehand to consider what those problems could potentially be; then develop solutions in advance. By evaluating those inevitabilities, and then addressing them preemptively, you will save valuable time, stress and energy.

This can be as simple as creating a repair kit to make field repairs on your gear (patches for sleeping pads, a cleaning kit for the stove, duct tape to fix everything else)—or packing along backups in case a critical item totally fails.

Case in point: On an expedition to eastern Greenland, my partner and I brought two stoves. Our JetBoil, which is powered by canister fuel, was our first choice because all we needed to do was boil water; it does that quickly and efficiently. However, shops in the small villages didn’t have canister fuel in stock; instead we had to resort to burning “Benzene,” which is actually a type of furniture polish. Fortunately, we packed an MSR Whisperlite Universal; we were able to swap out the jets and make the Benzene work.

Obviously, it’s impossible to predict every issue that will arise during overseas adventure travel, but by acknowledging the inevitability that they do—and by developing solutions for the ones most likely to occur, you can save yourself a lot of headache.

It’s impossible to predict every issue that will arise, but by acknowledging the inevitability that they do—you can save yourself a lot of headache.

Remember Why You’re There

The Trippler Tripod also works as a grip mount, which was perfect for my overhead shots of Zanzibar's food and spices.

shop now >

There is so much that goes into planning adventure travel; it’s easy to get distracted (or even discouraged) by budget, logistics, travel, and mishaps—but don’t forget why you’re there in the first place. We adventure to seek discomfort; that’s how we grow. Those other steps are all part of the process, but once you’re out in the wild, it’s time to focus on why you’re there. Get lost in the spirit of it all; and remember to send.

Those other steps are all part of the process, but once you’re out in the wild, it’s time to focus on why you’re there. Get lost in the spirit of it all; and remember to send.

GET THE GEAR FOR YOUR ULTIMATE ADVENTURE

a stack of OtterBox 3250 Dryboxes
OtterBox Drybox
shop now >
OtterBox Google Pixel Xl 5.5" Defender Series Case
OtterBox Google Pixel Xl 5.5" Defender Series Case
shop now >
OtterBox Elevation Tumbler 20oz
OtterBox Elevation Tumbler
shop now >
OtterBox Trooper LT30 Soft Cooler
OtterBox Trooper LT30 Soft Cooler
shop now >