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All Who Wander Are Not Lost

Full disclosure, reading this article will make you want to travel west. As the weather gets warmer, and the parks start to open, we wanted to find the best places to explore. As much as we love visiting the local parks, we decided to gather the camping gear, pack the car, and head out west. But where? Avid outdoorsman, Kris Kinsinger, Director of Sales & Marketing at Two Blind Guys, shares his favorite camping locations and his amazing pictures. Who's up for an adventure?

What are your favorite destinations?
I love traveling to Colorado. Telluride and Frisco, and specifically Dillon Reservoir, are some of my favorite places to camp. A little further west, in Moab, UT, you can spend all day exploring massive red rock formations. Fins & Things is a loop trail in Utah known for off-roading. My other favorite places are Black Bear Pass and the Alpine Loop in Colorado. But, you don't have to leave Missouri to experience scenic back-roads. The Mark Twain National Forest is right in our backyard.

Do you travel to any "hidden gems"?
In Moab, UT, there is a 100-mile trail inside Canyonlands National Park. If you're looking for seclusion, this is the place. It's a remote location, with no cell service, and few people on the trail, so make sure to bring friends on this journey.

What do you do once you arrive?
There is so much to explore in Moab, UT. I love taking the White Rim Trail. We split it up over two days and camp overnight at a tiny spot called Murphy Hogback. It's one of our all-time favorite campsites because it overlooks the Canyonlands. 

Do you have a favorite "Mountain Top" experience?
Hands down, the top of Black Bear Pass. The mountain pass is between Telluride and Ouray, CO. Once you reach the peak, you go right down the other side. As a bonus, on the way down, you see Bridal Beil Falls, an awesome waterfall.

Favorite time of day on a camping trip?
The time between dinner and bedtime is when we usually sit around a campfire, recap the day, share some adult beverages, and enjoy good company. 

What's most important when it comes to pre-planning your adventure?
Proper camping gear and clothing shouldn't be a recommendation but a requirement. Visit the Alpine Shop and make sure you have everything you need for your trip. Most people forget about meal prepping. I like quick meals that can be thrown together in a skillet or pot. Most importantly, bring emergency equipment (first aid, vehicle recovery gear, etc.).

Do you have a checklist of things you bring every time?
We have a pre-planning list for each aspect camping: clothing, food prep, vehicle maintenance prep, camping equipment, and a tentative trip timeline of destinations on specific dates.

Has there been a time when you needed something you didn't have?
Unfortunately, yes. As much as we try to pre-plan, we have inevitably run into situations where we weren't properly equipped. We try and think of everything, but some surprises arise. 

Do you have a favorite brand or piece of equipment?
I love my Tepui rooftop tent and awning. It's a real game-changer in our travels. 

Have you ever gotten lost?
Yes. One time on the White Rim Trail, we took a bypass and ended up getting into some sketchy trails along the river.

Any off-road vehicle recommendations?
In the past, I took my 98' Toyota 4Runner, which I just sold and replaced with a 03' Lexus GX470. It's fully equipped with an Old Man Emu Kit, Bud Built Sliders, RCI Skids plates, and various other off-road related equipment for easier traveling. 

What level of experience is needed to go off-roading?
It depends on where you are going. Some trails are not as difficult, and a standard, non-modified vehicle can travel on them. Other trails require a 4x4 vehicle that is explicitly outfitted for off-road or overlanding trails. Research the trails before you go to make sure you have the proper vehicle. 

Have you ever had a dangerous experience with wildlife?
Surprisingly, I haven't run across too many scenarios where I have been in danger because of wildlife. I have seen bears, snakes, and other animals, but fortunately, I have not had first-hand experience with any of them. 

Any last piece of advice?
Don't go on any trails alone. I always travel in a group setting when heading out west. In the back county, you often don't have good reception; leaving you to be self-reliant. I find it's best to do that with a team because we all have different skills and equipment we bring to the table.