Weekend Backpacking Checklist- Part 1

There’s no doubt that backpacking is one of the greatest ways to experience the outdoors. Whether you’re a beginner backpacker or you’ve been hitting the trails for years, the number one question is ALWAYS “what should I pack?”

With it being the beginning of fall, that means it’s officially the best time of year for backpacking and hiking. The scorching temperatures of the summer are behind us and it’s time to take in the crisp, fall air and beautiful leaves. Are you planning your own backpacking trip sometime this fall and need some guidance on what to pack? Well, you’re on the right trail (no pun intended). Over the next few weeks, we’re going to outline exactly what you need for a weekend backpacking trip— nothing more and nothing less— after all, you’ll be carrying it all on your back!

Disclaimer: Throughout this blog, you’ll notice that some links go to our online Compass Point shop, and some go to Amazon. Our goal at Compass Point is to have all things backpacking and hiking gear in our store. While we work on getting more items in our shop, we’ve set up an Amazon Affiliate account so you can still support us by shopping through those links. As time goes on and we get more items in our shop, this blog will be updated with links to our online Compass Point shop. If you do choose to purchase something through the online Compass Point shop, please know that you must pick up in person- we do not ship items (and we want to see your face). Thank you for supporting our small business- we are excited to equip you with the knowledge and gear you need to have memorable and safe adventures in the great outdoors.

For the first section of the checklist, we’re talking big gear essentials and the necessary accessories you need for a weekend backpacking trip. In the weeks following, we’ll outline camp cooking items, backpacking toiletry bags and clothing.

BIG GEAR

Backpack

Your backpacking adventure does NOT have to be painful. The biggest factor to your comfort while backpacking is…. take a guess…. your backpack! We recommend the Osprey Aura 65 for backpacking trips of three days or more in length. This pack is women’s specific- meaning it’s smaller, lighter, and has narrower shoulder straps and hip belts that are shaped for a women’s anatomy.

Tent

The key things to look for when choosing a backpacking tent are weight, durability, weather-proof features, and ease of set up. It sounds pretty simple, but there’s so many to choose from and the search can get a little daunting. This two-person Mountainsmith Morrison tent is a great starter tent, used by the Original Dirty Girl herself (Denise).

Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person 3 Season Tent (Citron Green)

Sleeping Pad

Sleeping in a tent with a crappy sleeping pad will probably leave you never wanting to go backpacking again. This incredibly lightweight and affordable sleeping pad is a great choice because it has a V-chamber design that limits air movement and heat loss for better support and comfort.

Klymit 9005496 Static V Lightweight Sleeping Pad, Coyote-Sand

Sleeping Bag

One of the best investments you can make as a backpacker is a good, cozy sleeping bag. This is a great beginner sleeping bag from a brand that we love at Compass Point. It’s an efficient and compressible sleeping bag with water-resistant fibers. You can insert your sleeping pad into it as well for optimal comfort. You may not get the greatest sleep ever while backpacking, but a cozy sleeping pad paired with a comfortable pad can get you close.

Therm-a-Rest 32-Degree Synthetic Mummy Sleeping Bag

NECESSARY ACCESSORIES

Trekking Poles

Using trekking poles on a hike may look a little goofy, but you won’t be thinking that after using a pair just one time- they make a huge difference in strength, endurance, weight distribution and also help increase balance. These trekking poles are made with carbon, keeping weight to a minimum. They also have cork handles, offering an unmatched level of comfort that eliminates hot spots and pressure points.

Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro – Carbon Pair

First Aid Kit

We recommend putting together a DIY first aid kit using this Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack and adding the minimum supplies to the bag that you will need to address minor wounds, as well as travel-sized packs of some handy medications. In addition, add some extra blister band-aids and any medications that are specific to your needs.

Headlamp and Camp Light

A light source is an essential element for any backpacking checklist. In case you haven’t heard, there are no street lamps miles deep into the woods like in Narnia. 

Here’s a great option for a lightweight, rechargeable headlamp that packs well, wont break the bank, and puts out a great amount of light. 

UCO Air Lightweight Rechargeable LED Headlamp

This collapsible camping light is also very handy- you can set it on the ground, in your tent, or even hang it on a tree. It doesn’t take up hardly any space in your pack and has three different lighting modes! 

Power Bank

Backpacking without technology is risky, and a reliable power bank is a must have. This power bank is a good price point for the impressive battery life and performance. 

Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

So, there you have it. All the big gear and necessary accessories you need for a weekend backpacking trip. If you subscribe to our blog by entering your email, you’ll receive a notification anytime we post a new blog.

If you are participating in Adventure Bingo, you can get a square marked off if you subscribe OR if you’re already subscribed, share this blog onto Facebook to get a square marked off.

Tune into the blog next week to read about all the camp cooking items you’ll need!!

Camping with Dirty Girl Adventures
Camping with Dirty Girl Adventures

Adventure Bingo

The Adventure Bingo card is filled with DGA activities and Compass Point events.  Most of the bingo squares require you to attend an event with us or do some sort of outdoor activity on your own, share it on social media and tag us!

The current plan is to have an Adventure Bingo every quarter— so this bingo game will run from September 1-December 31.

Here are the rules…you can choose to turn in your card for a single bingo (5 spaces in a line marked)  OR keep going for a blackout (entire card marked). The first person to get a blackout ends the game until next quarter. If you choose to turn in your card for a single bingo, you have to turn in your card and can’t keep going for a blackout. Once you need a square marked off, show us your proof and we will sticker your bingo card. To get your Adventure Bingo card, you must come into the shop and grab one!

Now for the fun part…prizes!

If you choose to turn in your card for a single bingo, you can choose one of the following for your prize:

  • Free yoga class
  • Sticker of choice
  • DGA camping cup
  • Compass Point koozie w/ a beer
  • Canister of Republic of Tea (flavor of your choice) 

The first lucky person who gets a blackout to end the game will receive a black Dirty Girl Adventure canvas bag (on display at the shop) with the following items:

  • 3-liter Osprey dry sack
  • Wakami “Adventure” bracelet
  • Sawyer bug spray
  • Yoga punch card 
  • Shirt, tank top or hat of choice
  • Bring a friend for 1/2 off next event of choice

Once again, you must come into the shop to get your bingo card. If you have any questions about Adventure Bingo, shoot us a message on Facebook!

Get to Know the Dirty Girls

Three years ago, Jen Sieben moved to Perry, Kansas. Shortly after her move, she was at the courthouse in Oskaloosa signing papers. Walking out of the courthouse that day, she noticed a bus parked on the street. But it wasn’t just any old, regular bus— it was the Dirty Bus! If you’ve gone on an adventure with us in the last couple of years, chances are you’ve seen or rode in the Dirty Bus. 

“When I laid eyes on it, I knew it had to be some sort of bus for an adventure company. So, I googled it as soon as I got back home,” said Jen. Upon searching through the DGA website, Jen really connected with the Dirty Girl Creed. Next thing she knew, she was paddling down the Kansas river on an adventure with the Dirty Girls. 

“Dirty Girl Adventures was an instant resource to women who do the things that I enjoy doing. I’ve built so many connections with like-minded women who are kind, helpful and adventurous,” she says. 

Jen’s favorite Dirty Girl event is the Ass Kicker. This 20-mile paddle from Lawrence to DeSoto is at the end of August, so kayakers paddle through the summer heat all day. It’s quite the challenge, but the experience is so rewarding— spending time on the Mighty Kaw with wonderful women. 

Every Thursday at Compass Point, Jen teaches an hour-long yoga class. She’s been practicing yoga for 25 years and has been a certified yoga teacher for six years. Upon completing her yoga teacher training in 2014, she opened up her own community yoga room in Concordia and taught around 14 classes every week. 

“I wanted to provide that service to as many people as possible because it is so beneficial physically, emotionally and mentally. Yoga builds strength, courage, faith and community, all while preparing you for the trail, the lake, the river and more life off the mat,” Jen says. 

As an avid outdoorswoman and yoga teacher, Jen makes it a priority to connect with the environment and get a different perspective.  An important piece of being a Dirty Girl is getting out on the river or the trail and taking in all that nature gives to the eye— the expansive blue sky, riverbanks, trees and more. 

“You learn so much about yourself when you’re hiking, kayaking and doing yoga. Being outside ALWAYS helps boost your mood,” said Jen. 

Jen has a long adventure bucket list and she’s taking on a new project to ensure she crosses off all the places on her list….turning a Ford E-150 van into a camper! The van’s name is “Raya Sunshine.” 

“I am trying to do most of it on my own, but my husband helps me a lot. So far, I’ve ripped everything out, treated rust, sealed the back door for leaks and now I’m working on window shades,” she said.

We are excited to follow along with her progress on “Raya Sunshine”. Come see Jen on Thursday’s for yoga at Compass Point!

Get to Know the Dirty Girls

It is no secret that the Dirty Girl Club has grown over the years.  It includes so many wonderful women from different walks of life. We are excited to feature some of our dedicated Dirty Girls on our blog. Sharing stories is a great way to connect! Let’s learn some more about our fellow Dirty Girls!

Back in 2014 when Mary Hogan heard about Dirty Girl Adventures from a co-worker, she had no idea it would end up changing her life for the better. She went home from work that day, did some research and signed up for a kayaking event at Lake Perry later that month. 

“I’d always been a water girl. I grew up boating and had done lots of canoeing in my life,” says Mary. 

In fact, on a family canoeing trip years prior, she had to rent a kayak because the outfitter ran out of canoe rentals. She enjoyed the kayak and decided to purchase one, but never had anyone to go with. 

After retirement, Mary was in a wired state-of-mind. She didn’t have her co-workers to talk to every day or much of a reason to leave the house. Everything worked itself out for her after joining Dirty Girl Adventures. She found an empowering clan of women who enjoyed outdoor adventure and other similar activities as she does, such as quilting. 

“Dirty Girl Adventures has opened up so many opportunities for me and has brought so many wonderful women into my life,” says Mary. 

Mary has gone on many adventures outside of DGA with other Dirty Girls. From rafting down the Buffalo River and ziplining in Arkansas, to wine tasting and kayaking in the Eminence, Missouri area, she has connected to a clan of women who are always ready for an adventure, no matter where.

When Mary signed up for the very first Ass Kicker kayak paddle in 2015, she didn’t think she could do it and she most definitely didn’t think it would become her favorite adventure memory.

“I didn’t think there was a chance I could ever kayak 20 miles. But I did. I have learned that I don’t have limitations,” she said. 

Some of Mary’s favorite places to adventure in Kansas are the hiking and biking trails in Perry, the Iliff Commons trails and Banner Lake in Holton. Although she loves to hike and kayak Kansas, she has an adventure bucket list that includes hiking the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and various places in colorful Colorado. 

Aside from adventuring and helping out at Compass Point, Mary is also a longtime Purple Martin landlord. These birds depend on humans to provide them with a nest during their migration from Brazil to Canada. The birds arrive mid-March and start laying eggs in early May. Babies begin hatching in June and usually leave by mid to late July.

“Helping the Purple Martins brings me joy and a way to do my part in nature,” said Mary.

You can catch Mary at Compass Point helping out at the shop or on an adventure. Here is a photo of Mary with a beaver skull she found on a kayaking adventure this summer. 

Get to Know the Dirty Girls

It is no secret that the Dirty Girl Club has grown so much over the years and includes so many wonderful women that have different walks of life. We are back with weekly blogs featuring some of our dedicated Dirty Girls. Sharing stories is a great way to connect. Let’s learn some more about our fellow Dirty Girls!

Today we tell the story of Shelly Liby, a Dirty Girl member since 2014! Shelly was always into participating in outdoor obstacle courses before she heard of Dirty Girl Adventures through a friend. However, like most, she wanted to take it to the next level. 

“I always had my eye out for what I like to call ‘good madness’, and an 8-mile hike sounded interesting. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Shelly was always spending time outdoors as a child, but as it happens for most, once junior high came around, she found herself spending less and less time outdoors. Her family camped regularly, however, she didn’t find true love for the outdoors until she became a Dirty Girl.

In addition to finding true love for the outdoors, joining the club has given Shelly a deeper connection to the planet. 

“You really can’t ignore the planet when you’re outside a lot. When I hike or kayak, I see a lot of trash in the creeks and coves. I’m more attentive to how I can make the world a better place.”

Since becoming a Dirty Girl, Shelly has changed the way she shops so that she uses less plastic. She also quit taking home snail shells when she finds them on the trail. 

Shelly started taking steps toward making the world a better place because of DGA, but DGA also made her world a better place.

“I’ve met some amazing ladies and gone to places I didn’t know I wanted to go! I’ve learned from Denise and Jen to roll with what comes your way. It’s snowing? Hike anyway!,” she says.

It was hard for Shelly to pick her favorite DGA memory, but a few of her favorites were hiking in the rain at Indian Cave State Park, the adventure course at White Memorial Camp and hiking Pikes Peak. 

“Downtime with the Dirty Girls is just as dear to me as getting dirty. I always go home with a smile on my face and usually a new place in mind I want to adventure to.”

The adventure bucket list for Dirty Girls is never ending! Shelly is itching to backpack the Lost Coast trail in Northern California. If you are interested in adding this trail to your bucket list too, check out this link.

“Dirty Girl Adventures has inspired me to staycation in Kansas too. There’s a lot here to do if you look for it.”

Some of her favorite places to adventure in Kansas include Kanopolis State Park, anywhere in the Flint Hills, Horse Thief Reservoir and any of the county lakes.

“Kansas has some pretty sweet county lakes. I’m determined to visit them all,” says Shelly. 

“DGA has reignited my sense of adventure and I have places to go. Who’s going with me?” – Shelly Liby

Dirty Girls go All the Way to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve!

October 19th and 20th – ALL the WAY!

We will hike at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and camp overnight on Saturday evening at Chase County State Fishing Lake for an evening around the fire and under the stars.  We love the Prairie, the Flint Hills and sharing nature with all of you! Plan to join us now! 

“Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, established November 12, 1996, is the only unit of the National Park System dedicated to the rich natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. This 10,894 acre portion of the once vast tallgrass prairie is being preserved as a critical resource for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of this and future generations. It is a unique private/public partnership between the National Park Serviceand The Nature Conservancy.” quote from https://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm

The Tallgrass Prairie boasts 40 miles of hiking trails, a free range bison herd, historic buildings and great scenery. We are planning to hike approximately 12 miles each day for a total of 24ish miles by the end of the weekend. Each hiker will carry their own water, snacks and lunch for both days on the trail. Hikers can choose to hike both days and camp overnight or to join us on either Saturday or Sunday. If you don’t want to camp, there may be lodging in the area.

The preserve is located in northern Chase County, Kansas 2 miles north of intersection U.S. Hwy 50 and Flint Hills National Scenic Byway 177 (K-177) west of Strong City. 

Early Bird Pricing Good through September 22nd

Sign up here NOW

Both Days with guide: includes, event soft long sleeve t-shirt, trail support, docent (history/nature) information, supported camping, dinner and breakfast provided.

Club member price: $120

Non-member price: $140

Saturday or Sunday only with guide: includes, event short sleeve t-shirt, trail support, docent information.

Club member price: $60

Non-member price: $70

We will meet at the Tallgrass National Preserve Saturday at 10am to start the weekend together. Those who are registered will receive a detailed email with gear list, directions and suggestions for clothing. 

No Sign Ups AFTER October 12th – NO REFUNDS AFTER October 12th!

This event involves extensive planning for meals, support and guiding. 

Included in your cost:

Camp: There is water available at camp and primitive bathrooms. We will provide instant hot water for washing hands and faces. We will cut and haul all of the fire wood needed and wrangle the fire as needed.

Food:  We will provide a campfire dinner (vegetarian options available) and breakfast of coffee, tea, fresh fruit and oatmeal with add in protein/fruit/honey. 

Trail and camp support: We will provide a suggested gear list prior to the event. We will provide a lead hiker, a middle hiker and a sweep hiker on trail. We will all have first aid kits and equipment to aid in your comfort if injured. We will always know where we are (mostly) and will be able to access outside support if needed. Portions of this trail are not accessible by car.

Please KNOW YOUR LIMITS! This is an arduous hike. If you aren’t ready for the entire 24ish miles, then sign up for Half Way 12ish miles. We want you to feel good, strong and accomplished at the end of this adventure NOT broken and dejected!

Chicas de la Tierra” (Girls of the Earth): DGA Guatemala Service Trip 2020


We are excited to announce that in February of 2020, a group of Dirty Girls will be traveling to Guatemala to support the work of the Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya. ODIM serves two small villages on Lake Atitlán, San Juan la Laguna and San Pablo la Laguna. The organization provides healthcare and education to the indigenous Tzutujil in these villages. 

The ODIM staff is made up of two foreign directors, and approximately 48 full and part-time local staff.  Members of the DGA team will learn about the various programs of ODIM to combat malnutrition and provide education opportunities for the local community.  Guatemala ranks #4 in the world for chronic malnutrition among children five years and younger, which is roughly 50% of all Guatemalan children, and ranks #1 for malnutrition in Central America and the Caribbean. 

Guatemala’s population is made up of about 60% indigenous Maya, the majority of whom live in small rural villages in the western highlands.  76% of these indigenous people live in extreme poverty. Many indigenous families in the rural highlands live on $2 a day. Some families have a small plot of land where they grow corn or beans, barely enough to feed their families.  Drought conditions for the past 3 years have made it even more difficult to subsist on their own land, so many men work as day laborers for seasonal work in the coffee fields for about $4 per day.

The Dirty Girls going on this trip will learn how the Healthy Mommy & Me program is working to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition through maternal and infant healthcare and education in Guatemala.  Each individual Dirty Girl has a fundraising goal of $2,000 and 100% of the donations will go to support the maternal and infant health program, Mamá y Yo Saludable (Healthy Mommy & Me) founded on the principles of the worldwide movement “The First 1000 Days. 

Studies prove that by bolstering nutrition, education, and health practices from conception to a child’s second birthday, children can better develop physically and mentally for healthy futures.  ODIM currently has over 330 mothers enrolled in the program, receiving prenatal and postnatal care, child development education, nutrition supplements, and more. Team members are trying to raise $2000 each – $1 a day for 1000 days – to support two mothers and their babies in this program.  All trip expenses are being covered by the individual volunteers and no donations are being used for these personal expenses. 

In addition to the fundraising, the team will also assist in various service projects for ODIM.  Some possible projects could include building clean-burning stoves and installing eco-filters for clean water for local families, helping with construction or needed maintenance of the clinic buildings, joining the ODIM scholarship students on their community service project in their community and tutoring ODIM staff who are studying English. 

The team will also learn about the local culture by picking coffee and seeing how it is produced at a local co-op, and getting a presentation from a local women’s weaving co-op on the traditional art of weaving with natural dyes.  There will also be opportunities to learn about the natural environment around Lake Atitlán on hikes to the highest point above San Juan and climbing the dormant Volcano San Pedro. 

So, how did the Dirty Girl ODIM Service Trip come to be?

In October 2018, there were two women on a DGA hike at the Perry Lake Trail who had gone to Guatemala with Jeannie (service trip leader and Dirty Girl member) several times, and they mentioned their upcoming trip to Denise while they were on the trail.

“The second day of the hike, my husband and I hosted the hikers in our front yard for their lunch stop. When Denise arrived for lunch she told me she had always wanted to do an international service trip and asked if I would be willing to lead a trip to Guatemala for DGA.  I’ve led medical and construction teams to Guatemala for 25 years and I love introducing people to that country,” says Jeannie. 

How can you donate?

Individual team members are raising funds for their $2000 goal through their own Facebook and email links. If you don’t know a specific Dirty Girl or would like to support the entire team you can donate here: https://odimguatemala.networkforgood.com/projects/75164-the-dirty-girl-team-s-fundraiser

If you wish to donate items opposed to money, the specific request by ODIM Healthy Mommy & Me program is for newborn kits.  These kits would include baby blankets, newborn sleepers, baby hats, baby socks and baby soap.  Donations of these items may be dropped off at Compass Point. 

In addition, there will be craft items made by ODIM scholarship students and local artisans in San Juan and San Pablo for sale at Compass Point.  This is a way to support ODIM in two ways – #1 from the purchase of the items from the local people and #2 from the proceeds that will go to the Team Fund for Healthy Mommy & Me.

If you don’t want to donate online, you may donate cash at Compass Point where you will receive a receipt or send a check made out to DGA Guatemala to Compass Point. 

Can I still go on the trip?

There is still time to sign up for the service trip if anyone is interested. The total trip expense is $2000, which includes all transportation, lodging, food, and event expenses. The deadline to sign up and pay the $1000 non-refundable deposit is August 15, and the remaining $1000 is due December 1.  

In addition to the trip expense, each team member is expected to raise $1000 minimum for ODIM, with a goal of $2000.

If anyone would like more information, they can contact Jeannie, (service trip leader) at jwjensen4@gmail.com or at 620.412.1631. 

Get to Know the Dirty Girls

It is no secret that the Dirty Girl Club has grown so much over the years and includes so many wonderful women that have different walks of life. We are excited to begin posting weekly blogs featuring some of our dedicated Dirty Girls. Sharing stories is a great way to connect. Let’s learn some more about our fellow Dirty Girls!

Stacy Hull 

Another Dirty Girl who has been around since the beginning…Stacy Hull!! Stacy found out about Dirty Girl Adventures through her husband, who was friends with Denise’s husband, before it even started. Once she heard Denise had plans to start her business, Stacy was fully interested and the thought of hanging out with other women who liked the same things as her, sounded amazing! 

Stacy was not always an outdoorswoman. She was perfectly happy staying inside in the AC until DGA came into her life. Walking in town and participating in 5K races eventually started to become part of her routine, and once she heard about DGA, she was ready to take things to the next level and explore fitness in a different realm, hiking and kayaking. 

“Dirty Girl Adventures has changed this introvert into someone who gets out of her own head and goes outside with other like minded women,” says Stacy. Before joining the club, she was worried that no one would talk to her because she tends to be on the quiet side. However, that was far from the case. Stacy has made so many friends and learned to enjoy company and conversation more since she has been with DGA. 

“Having a group of like minded women in my life brings diversity and new experiences that I may not have had otherwise. This group has given me some great friends, and hopefully some more to come.” 

Stacy’s most memorable Dirty Girl Adventures event was the first eight mile hike on the Old Military Trail at Perry Lake. “I was in awe of Denise on how many times one woman could run back and forth on this trail,” she says. Since this was one of her first outdoor adventures, this outing made Stacy more comfortable being outside and began her connection with the outdoors. 

“The first hike was memorable to me because it was the first crack in my ‘introvert life’ and it opened me up to new people I would’ve never met. It was also a much different workout for me than my typical 5K on paved roads.”

A huge core value of Dirty Girl Adventures is to learn to adventure where you are. When we asked Stacy if she could adventure anywhere, she said she would love to explore more of her home state, Kansas. A lot of people put Kansas at the bottom of their adventure bucket list, but there are so many places in the sunflower state to explore. Stacy wants to hike the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Elk River Trail. We love that she wants to explore more of Kansas. Stacy is a Dirty Girl at heart!

Get to Know the Dirty Girls

It is no secret that the Dirty Girl Club has grown so much over the years and includes so many wonderful women that have different walks of life. We are excited to begin posting weekly blogs featuring some of our dedicated Dirty Girls. Sharing stories is a great way to connect. Let’s learn some more about our fellow Dirty Girls!

Karen Stockwell-Withers

Karen is in the midst of her third season as a Dirty Girl Club Member and loving it. A few years back, she found out about Dirty Girl Adventures at a teaching conference. During this conference, she met another woman who was already involved with the club and was introduced to DGA. 

Throughout her life, she has always loved nature and the outdoors, but her love continues to grow for it as she gets older. “I think I fall more in love with the outdoors as I age because I’ve had issues with depression in the past. The outdoors provides me with so much peace and happiness. Also, the more I learn about climate change and the effect humans have on the environment, the more I see a need to protect nature.”

Since joining the club, Karen says it has provided her with a community of like minded women who all have a common love and passion for the outdoors, which has been hard for her to find.   “Before finding the Dirty Girls my only outdoor buddy was my husband, now I have a ton of people to do things with,” she says. Having a group of ladies to go exploring with is wonderful for Karen, and makes her realize that there are lots of other women that care about the outdoors as well. 

Her favorite and most memorable Dirty Girl Adventures event was during her first year of being a member. Karen and some other Dirty Girls did a weekend getaway to Camp White and hiked the Tallgrass Prairie. “I knew I found the perfect group during that weekend,” she says. 

Karen and her husband have lots of places on their adventure bucket list that they plan to check off. Currently, they are goal setting for their adventure in Iceland in three years. They are going for their ten year anniversary and plan on camping all over the country and seeing puffins while they are there. MCI started offering it as their first direct international flight, so this helped them choose Iceland as their anniversary adventure. “We watched a Discovery Channel episode on puffins and Iceland. Then, I started seeing tons of pictures of Iceland on Twitter from all of the outdoor accounts I follow. What made it a solid decision was recently on a hike in Glacier National Park. We met several people who have been to Iceland and they told us how gorgeous the country is, so we decided it would be the perfect place to go.”

They plan on taking their new puppy, Moose, on their future adventures with them. Bosco, their other dog has gone on many adventures, even kayaking. Moose will be going camping with them for the first time this summer. Pets make outdoor adventure all the more enjoyable! 

Karen is thankful for all that DGA has brought to her. She is inspired and excited for her future outdoor adventures with her fellow Dirty Girls,  her husband and puppies. 

She is also the leader of the Dirty Girl Adventures Book Club at Compass Point. Check our event calendar to join Karen in discussing some award winning stories!

Get to Know the Dirty Girls…

It is no secret that the Dirty Girl Club has grown so much over the years and includes so many wonderful women that have different walks of life. We are excited to begin posting weekly blogs featuring some of our dedicated Dirty Girls. Sharing stories is a great way to connect. Let’s learn some more about our fellow Dirty Girls!

This week’s story is over Melissa Frederick and how she learned to live her life with no restrictions through Dirty Girl Adventures.

Melissa Frederick is jumping into her 4th season as a Dirty Girl. Her childhood consisted of playing outside in the country and camping with her family. “I’ve always loved the outdoors but due to the ebbs and flows of life, it wasn’t always able to be a priority,” Melissa said. Happily, in 2004, her husband and kids decided to start RV camping so she was finally able to get back outside. 

Then, in the summer of 2014, she moved to McLouth, KS, where she met Denise’s husband Marucs, who was the police chief at that time. He told Melissa about Denise’s “outdoor business” and introduced the two. She was definitely interested, but didn’t want to make any commitments because they were still figuring out what post-army life was going to look like. In 2016, a friend of Melissa’s invited her on the Eagle Hike, and she said the rest was history. 

Unfortunately, due to Melissa’s size at the time, it wasn’t easy or enjoyable for her. She had heard about backpacking through DGA but knew she could barely carry herself a few miles, let alone a 30-40 pound pack over multiple days. Yet again, there was another outdoor activity she felt she couldn’t do due to her weight. Going on DGA events made Melissa realize that she was very restricted by her size.

 “At 5’7″ and 271 lbs, I was only able to hike 4-5 miles comfortably, and always at the back of the pack. I fell in and out of my kayak instead of getting in and out; everything was an effort.”

So, in 2017, she decided to have weight loss surgery. Dirty Girl Adventures played a significant role in her decision to have the procedure. She got tired of struggling to do the things she loved.

“My Dirty Girl tribe has been incredibly supportive and I love and appreciate them so very much for that. Being back out in nature on a more regular basis, and with a great group of ladies, made me realize   how much I loved being out there. Unfortunately, due to my size, it wasn’t easy or as enjoyable as I knew it could be. Combined with gaining about 15-20 lbs per year and wondering if the scale would stop, I knew I had to do something. Since I hit my goal weight last August, my motto has been Live Life With No Restrictions.”

Nowadays, Melissa participates in all of the Dirty Girl events. She says her favorite memory was in the summer of 2017, kayaking down the Delaware river. About half way through the kayaking trip, a huge storm started rolling in and the ladies had no choice but to paddle faster. 

“Looking over my shoulder at the looming black clouds, trying to outrun the gathering storm, and having to tow my daughter who has a bad shoulder made for quite an interesting paddle.”

Her favorite non-Dirty Girl event was hiking the Grand Canyon. “We were blessed with 4 amazing, knowledgeable guides who were so kind and helpful. The non-Dirty Girl members of our tour group were lovely and it was great getting to know them. We had such a great time experiencing and learning about the Canyon in a way that most people don’t. I had such a wonderful time that I’m hoping to take my family on a 7 day trip in 2022,” said Melissa. In the future, she has aspirations to hike in lots of different places such as Southern Bavaria, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and sections of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. 

It is through Dirty Girl Adventures that Melissa decided to live her life with no restrictions, and she has done just that!