Tuesday, March 11, 2014

See it, Do it, Live it. The Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show - Vancouver

For the past few weeks I have been sharing Facebook posts, tweeting updated news about the event, and even promoted the Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show in Vancouver via ticket giveaways.  Now that my family and I have experienced the show, there is a whole lot more to share! First of all, the show is held in the Vancouver Convention Centre so needless to say the setting is spectacular; waterfront in downtown Vancouver, BC and surrounded by mountains. Beautiful. 

The OAS (Outdoor Adventure Show) was presented by g adventures with the Vancouver Bike Show all underneath one roof.  Aside from the countless exhibitors of outdoor travel companies, tourism agencies, and the companies who sell the gear that make it happen, the show also offered 2 demo areas, 2 stages, and 2 adventure theaters that showcased a wide range of topics throughout the two day event.  Photography tips, bike maintenance, live SUP clinics in the demo pool, and survival basics just to name a few.  A crowd pleasing and highly entertaining show was the bike trial demonstration.  For the $12.00 adult ticket price, we certainly got bang for our buck.

Any outdoor enthusiast would love to spend the day at OAS and check out the possible outdoor adventure and travel to be had in BC.  We went as an enthusiastic adventure family and some may think that the show would be boring for children.  That was not the case here.  As soon as we entered the show, Ben and Liv were handed their Jr. Outdoor Adventure Passports and given the task of finding bear prints scattered amongst the participating exhibitors where they could collect stamps.  Well, when they found a bear print it was pretty exciting because each exhibitors program was designed for kids and families.  It made Ben and Liv feel like they were part of the experience.  They got to lie on a skeleton sled, spin the wheel for a prize, and compete in an adventure challenge: harness up in 60 seconds or less! Bonus was free yogurt from Liberte. Yummy!

As an outdoor enthusiast myself, I am always looking for new places to travel to, explore, and learn about.  I walked away from the OAS with a new found appreciation for two areas of BC not on our radar for adventures.  The first is the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.  Of course I know this area to be rugged, full of wildlife and beautiful but now that I have some literature to peruse over and have spoken to the fine folks who call it home, it’s time to See it, Do it, Live it.  Adventure that caught my eye here is the 150km of interconnected trails for hiking and biking in the Spruce Lake Protected Area.  The other destination that we overlook is Hope, BC.  Most people traveling through the Fraser Valley drive right on by Hope, guilty as charged.  Again, conversation with a local opened our eyes to the outdoor adventure in and around Hope.  So close to Manning Park and the +290 km of back country trails and the heritage HBC (Hudson Bay Company) trail that just screams bike packing trips, something I am constantly looking for.  These plus the stacks of brochures, pamphlets, and tourism magazines will spark new adventures for us thanks to the OAS.

Travel is a new form of adventure for us.  With China under our belt (Dec 2013), seeking our next family travel destination has been added to our adventure planning.  In just a few hours, the OAS took us around the world and opened up destinations we had not considered.  Sitting on our kitchen table is literature on Ecuador, the Philippines, and Tanzania.  Hello?? Mt. Kilimanjaro!!  Half the fun of traveling is dreaming of the next destination.
Normally, I am not one to get excited about gear.  That job is left up to Joel.  He is the one who researches everything and anything we use and ultimately decides whether we purchase it or not.  The OAS had a wide variety of gear to check out.  Everything from tents, bikes, fire starters and shoes.  There were two outdoor gadgets that Joel found interesting and did in fact purchase.  Both are practical, both are lightweight which will serve us well backpacking, and both had me ask what the h#!! is it?  A LifeStraw (portable water filter) and a luminAid (solar powered inflatable light).  Both were from the Spiritus Training booth.  They specialize in Red Cross Training and Wilderness First Aid.   

The LifeStraw is a lightweight portable water filter that filters up to 1000 litres of water and removes up to 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria.  This will be a great addition to our gear stash as a backup water treatment for multi day backpacking trips or for high endurance day trips where lightweight is crucial.
I will admit that the luminAid looked a tad gimmicky and the packaging stated an 8hr LED performance on low and 16hr LED performance on high.  It’s waterproof, rechargeable, lightweight, and charges in 7 hours of direct light.  My doubts were quickly tossed out the door after witnessing the powerful light it actually gives.  The kids have them inflated in their rooms and turn them on when they go to bed.  To my surprise, they are still glowing in the morning.   

I can’t wait to use these backpacking.  No more lights beamed directly into our eyes from Ben and Liv’s headlamps while in the tent.  I am also looking forward to taking some pretty cool night shots of our tents.
Our first Outdoor Adventure Show experience was a complete success and will plan on making it to next year’s show for sure.  We highly recommend you do as well.  Walking away with adventure destinations, different ideas, and new gear fuels our passion for the outdoors.  See it, Do it, Live it!

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