Hello! Our names are Peter and Diane Mitchell. We started DecideOutside.com because we both love to explore and appreciate nature and we wanted to create a place that could be useful to others.
We’re not the most intense campers–we don’t know advanced bushcraft skills by any means. Sometimes those advanced bushcraft skills people can make camping intimidating. It’s from them where you might hear things like: “it’s not camping unless you’re sleeping on the bare earth.” Or, “you’re not really camping if you can drive to your campsite.”
We have an inflatable kayak and an inflatable paddleboard, but we’re pretty chill about it.
We wanted to take a different approach to the outdoors. We don’t think you need to be perfect at camping or at snowboarding, or at kayaking to have an incredible experience outside.
That’s why we started this blog–to try and help others enjoy this amazing planet.
We try to have adventures when we can imagine it. Our 14 month old baby boy has made things a bit more challenging than they used to be.
Our Camping Experience
Monthly Texas Camping
Peter and Diane regularly have awesome experiences camping. Yesterday we just came back from the Guadalupe River State Park. The weather was so hot when we fell asleep that we were on top of our sleeping bags. A cold front came in at about 4:30 AM (Peter happened to be awake for it), and it dropped from low 80s to mid 50s almost instantly. We were prepared, fortunately, and had a great time.
We don’t make it out every month, but we do pretty well. There’s not a ton of backpacking opportunity out here so most of our camping is car camping in Texas.
Backpacking in the High Uinta Mountains
Peter: I grew up going backpacking every Summer in the Uinta mountains. These mountains are remote and rocky. Some trips required hiking over 15 miles a day. Even though some of these trips were the most physically challenging things I have ever done, the feeling of being in nature and the mountains has given me a forever-love for the mountains.
Road Trip to the South Island of New Zealand
Peter: Before me and Diane were married, I had an amazing opportunity to spend 3 weeks in the South Island of New Zealand. I got to camp in some of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. This was the first time I had to survive on non-refrigerated goods for an extended period of time.
One of my favorite camping spots was actually a site where fishermen camped frequently. It was definitely no frills. I decided to take a quick hike to the beach to see the coast.
That was my first time experiencing a pebble beach. Instead of sand, the beach was made up of rounded rocks. It felt different than any other beach I’d been to. I remember seeing some people fishing down the coast, and sitting and enjoying the adventure of the moment.
Road Trip to the North Island of New Zealand:
Diane and Peter: There’s no way Diane would want to miss out on all the fun–so we managed to go back together to the North Island for 2 weeks. We ate much more high quality food while we were camping than when Peter was on his own. Go figure, right?
The sights were incredible. One of the most fantastic sunsets I’d ever seen was when we had pulled up to a campsite that was barred from entry. We called the Park Offices, and they gave us a code that didn’t work to open the gate. Finally, we had to get a code several days old that did work–apparently the park didn’t see a lot of use (the latrine was definitely proof of that).
We were short on time as it was around sunset–we found a very obscure trail that led down to a view of the ocean, and we found this:
It was a great adventure.
Road Trip on the West Coast
Diane and Peter: We got to spend a week traveling from Sacramento, California to Seattle, Washington. We gained a greater appreciation for the incredible beauty of the United States and we absolutely loved seeing the Redwoods again.
Peter’s Snow Experience
I grew up in the west where we saw snow every year. I started some snow sports when I was in college–I love snowboarding and the few times I’ve gone cross country skiing I’ve loved it (and hated it… I guess that’s the nature of exhausting your body).
Our Paddling Experience
We’ve had an inflatable standup paddleboard for 6-7 years now–and it’s been a treasure of an exploration watercraft. Some of my favorite experiences in my life have been floating down lazy emerald Texas rivers, dodging turtles.
We have an inflatable kayak that we enjoy taking the family out on.
Monthly Outdoor Project
In 2021, I decided to set a goal to do a different outdoor adventure every month for an hour each day. Check out what I did:
February: Trail Running
March: Plant Identification
April: Disc Golf
May: Knot Tying
August: Standup Paddleboarding
October: Wood Carving
November: Dutch Oven Cooking
I’ve learned so much about all of these! I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with y’all.