As a public relations agency in the outdoor industry, the Darby Comm team gets to test all manner of outdoor gear. From camping trailers to alpaca hoodies to hot sauce, here’s what the Darby Comm team packed for a summer of camping trips, river hikes, lake weekends, music tours, trail races, and fishing trips.
Angie Robinson, President
To celebrate my birthday this summer, my husband planned a surprise camping trip for us to Douthat State Park outside of Clifton Forge, VA. He didn’t tell me where we were going, I just knew it was 5 hours north of Asheville. To make sure rain wouldn’t ruin our trip, I borrowed a SylvanSport GO Camping Trailer for the long weekend. After getting an in-depth demo on how to set up and take down the GO, we were ready to set off to the mystery destination with paddleboards and mountain bikes loaded and our Outback full of everything else we needed (and plenty we didn’t too, lol).
When we got to the campground, we quickly and easily set up our GO and then set off on bikes to check out the lake and other campground amenities. That night we slept like a couple of babies swaddled in our down comforter with a fan circulating the cool air around our GO trailer.
The next day when we got up, I converted the trailer from bedroom to living area so we would have a place to nap after our Timventure (any new mountain biking experience my husband plans has been dubbed this because it often involves hike-a-biking and double-checking multiple maps repeatedly throughout the ride) and to play cards as we enjoyed a post-nap beer. The next two days involved plenty of biking, SUPing on the lake, and exploring the area.
For this trip, we also used more outdoor gear from SylvanSport including the Cloud Layer Mattresses, which perfectly fit in the camper and provided days of comfort with no need to re-inflate, and the Dine-O-Max Kitchen, which is luxury camp cooking at its best! And yes, we’ve now grown our must-buy camping list to include all three of these items! The GO camping trailer and the kitchen really spoiled us and made our weekend away one of the most comfortable and easy camping experiences!
Ashleigh Sherman, Senior Account Executive
In June, I headed west to Utah to check five more National Parks off the bucket list: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. The location offered a welcome change in scenery, the desert landscape and red rock in stark contrast to the dense forests and never-ending green back east. Through my previous travels to National Parks, I’d learned that the less-loved parks are often the most surprising—usually pleasantly so. This trip was no exception. Though the hoodoos of Bryce, views from Zion, and formations in Arches were every bit as spectacular as promised, it was the canyons of Capitol Reef that proved to be one of the highlights.
No trip to Zion is complete with a hike through The Narrows, the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. The hike begins with a one-mile Riverside Walk along the bank of the famed Virgin River before turning into a wet trek right through the river. Luckily, outdoor gear like my Astral Loyaks made for the perfect trail-to-river shoe, with the G Rubber soles keeping me from slipping on the slick river rocks. Then, as the hot desert days turned into cool(er) desert nights, my Appalachian Gear Company All-Paca Hoodie kept me warm during many late evenings and sunset hikes.
Katie Richter, Assistant Media Relations Director
This July, I made my annual pilgrimage to Lake Santeetlah in Western North Carolina. Located in Nantahala National Forest (translated to “land of the noonday sun” in native Cherokee,) Lake Santeetlah is part of the Tennessee River watershed and reflects beautiful mountain views in its calm, jade-green waters. My favorite places to explore are the boat-in campsites—but I’m keeping my favorite campsite a secret 🙂
We loaded up our Old Town Discovery Canoe with all our camping supplies AND two dogs. I was especially thankful to have the LifeSaver Cube with us—this portable water purifier stores one gallon of dirty water that can be pumped and purified on demand. It was perfect for two people and was great to have a water purification device that was easy to use and didn’t require multiple trips to the lake to refill.
Hannah Kaminer, Senior Account Executive
This summer I went on a new kind of adventure: a tour! I performed with a beloved Asheville-based band on their East Coast and Midwest tour this year. I had two roles: tour opener and road nanny. My two indispensable pieces of gear for a trip like this are a really good rain jacket and a Tarpestry! When you’re on the road with a toddler, it’s great to have a really sturdy, water-resistant blanket to turn any space—from wet grass at a rest stop or a green room backstage—into a comfortable and clean place to hang out. I spent the tour wishing I had mine with me!
Mindy Smith, Account Executive
I have been so busy helping mark 100-miler trail racecourses, sweeping trail races, and pacing at trail races this summer and the Ultimate Direction Fastpackher 30 has come in handy to carry all of my gear on these mountain adventures! Also, one of my summer highlights was a road trip to the Wind River Range in WY where I ran, hiked, worked on the family farm, and ran the Sinks Canyon trail race with the locals! My UD Ultra Vesta 5.0 and SylvanSport Hacky Pack Duffel came in handy on that trip for all of my travel and running gear storage. Lastly, cannot forget those post-work SUP sessions with my dog and Astral PFD where I pull a unicorn.
Kade Gewanter, Account Coordinator
This summer I have been fortunate enough to take a wide variety of exciting fishing trips. My favorite thus far was a recent excursion on the Mississiquoi Bay section of Lake Champlain with my twin brother, Seth. We do many things together, but our favorite activity is undoubtedly catching smallmouth bass. They live in gorgeous places, fight hard, and usually tend to cooperate. We battled through bluebird skies and sunburns to put a pattern together on some quality fish. The beautiful specimen pictured below was fish #100 of the trip!
I was able to utilize my Appalachian Gear Company hoodie to ward off the evening chill of the Green Mountains. Also, the Hempress Rising Hot Sauce from Nine Mile was a huge hit at the campsite as it added a unique depth of flavor to our Carne Asada tacos.
As summer comes to an end, we all look forward to cooler fall weather and more adventures where we can use our clients’ outdoor gear. If you’d like to learn more about how Darby can support your brand’s PR efforts, visit our Services page.