There’s a common misconception that backpacking is always done as a hike, and if you fall for that trap you’ll be missing out on an epic opportunity to backpack on the water via standup paddleboard. The Colorado River is a great place to pack up your ultralight camping gear, tether it down to your paddleboard, and spend a few nights riding the river by day and camping by night.
If you find yourself in Vietnam, this is a must do. Rent a kayak, bring your climbing shoes, and ask some of the local climbers for beta on which rocks are surrounded by the deepest water for safe falls. The surroundings are stunning, the water is warm, and when you’re done you can get right back in your kayak and explore the islands and grottoes scattered throughout the bay.
Rafting the Grand Canyon is an incredible way to see the National Park in a slightly different way than most. If you’re experienced in white water, rent a raft, gather a group of friends, and raft down the river for anywhere from a couple days to a full month.
Packrafting is a relatively new contribution to the outdoor travel world, and it opens up a lot of opportunity for unexplored objectives. Bodies of water that can only be accessed by foot used to be the end of the journey. Now you can actually strap a boat to your back and continue on when you get there. You can packraft anywhere, we just happened to get back from a trip through Alaska where packrafting off Kenai Fjords National Park was one of the highlights we just can’t shut up about. Sparkling blue water, massive glaciers and stunning mountains make for a pretty stellar backdrop.
Regular climbing is too easy, wouldn’t it be more fun crimping moss covered holds while you’re being sprayed with a fire hose that makes gravity feel ten times stronger? Well book your flight to Japan and learn from the folks who originated the sport. The rocks in Japan are blocky and volcanic, leaving the bit of texture you need to hold on as you literally climb through a waterfall. You’ll use some of the same gear you would trad climbing, like ropes and cams, but you’ll want special Sawanobori shoes and gloves to give you the grip you need. Stay as close to the line of water as you can to make this true Sawanobori.