Adventuring through life and enjoying the journey.
Off-Road Discovery is about pursing an outdoor lifestyle that takes the road less traveled both physically and metaphorically. We are a family of six, including our dog and Land Rover. Our 2001 Land Rover Discovery II allows us to explore and takes us to our destinations. Our motto is if it breaks upgrade it which has seen us through the importing of an engine from England (to Canada), multiple shocks and many more enhancements including the addition of two child car seats. We hope to inspire others in taking a road less traveled.
Dogs love walks, I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t want to get outside and roam the world. As a part of the family, dogs often go where their people do. Our dog, Charger, often motivates us to get out and go to certain places. Watching a dog run, swim and sniff happily is just plain awesome and a great way to put a smile on your face.
I love seeing dogs camping and hiking and having a dog on a trail definitely adds to the enjoyment but there are two very important things you need to think about before hitting the trails - safety and rules.
Dogs Love Hiking
Photo: Ptarmigan Cirque, Kananaskis, Alberta
What’s more off-road than climbing? Maybe flying?! Climbing is so different from any activity I have tried. It pushes me to trust my strength and capability more than any sport. I find climbing addicting. We take our kids everywhere with us so making outdoor rock climbing a family affair was an easy decision. Taking young kids outdoors requires some preparation but is rewarding for everyone. One question I’m frequently asked is where to go climbing as a family, so I’ve compiled a list of 6 family-friendly climbing locations in the Canadian Rockies that are close to Calgary. Maps are included to make these areas a breeze to find!
“A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh
I didn’t start quoting Winnie the Pooh until we became parents. I love this quote and I love spending time as a family, it may not always be easy but it’s always worth it. To include our children in our outdoor pursuits we try to make the experiences enjoyable and appropriate for their abilities. One of these pursuits is rock climbing so to get our daughter involved we bought her a climbing harness and shoes when she was three. There are lots of safe and fun ways to include kids in climbing. Getting the right gear has been a big part of making the experience fun.
Geared Up and Ready to Climb
Sleeping in your vehicle is convenient and adds an element of safety. We used to sleep in our Discovery 2 all the time pre-kids, we didn’t have the money to spend on a pre-built shelving, bedding and drawer system so we made our own. It’s not fancy but it works great! We don’t use the bed system as often but we use the shelf (half bed) regularly. We have made a list of what you need from your local hardwood store and steps on how to make your own bed and/or storage system.
DIY Storage and Bed System
We drive a lot, both on pavement, snow and dirt. Our vehicles offer us the opportunities to experience different places as well as quiet time together. They help fulfill our goal in life which is to spend as much times as possible as a family pursing outdoor activities such as skiing, camping, hiking, climbing and swimming in mountain lakes.
Our vehicles are used both off-road and for highway driving so we needed to choose a tire that would perform well on pavement and terrain. Choosing the right tire for you is a personal choice but there are some products that are just made better. We are sharing our preferences to hopefully make your decision easier.
Testing Off-Road Driving Skills and Tires
Kids seem to naturally climb everything; stairs, chairs, railings, fences, trees, and the list goes on. There is something universally fun and natural about climbing. Playgrounds wouldn’t be so popular if climbing stuff wasn’t fun!
3 year old rockin’ out
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” ― Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
My husband and I started climbing in our 20’s and quickly developed a love for it. We are fortunate to have a close group of friends both with kids and without that enjoying climbing together. Most of the group has been climbing together for years and having kids has not stopped their dedication and enjoyment of the sport. Climbing with young kids is a challenge and as the old probverb says “it takes a village”, but if you can find your village, climbing with kids is an adventure worth pursuing.
Family climbing adventures
A streaky dirty windshield is annoying and potentially dangerous. We found our wipers were leaving large streaks with the original Land Rover Discovery 2 wipers, but we found the perfect solution for a streak free windshield.
Our Disco 2 came with the Original Air Suspension. If you are reading this you are likely aware this suspension will be a problem or already is having issues. We replaced the Air system with Coil suspension. We had to go through two Stuts, our first Brit Part Struts failed and we replaced again with Terrafirma. While going through suspension upgrades we found a squeak that was slightly driving us crazy, we finally figured out the cause and it was an easy fix! I’ve summarized the suspension process and steps taken below.
Adventuring with kids can look different everyday. We enjoy getting to remote back-country places but we also enjoy slow days at home. No matter where we end up playing we spend a large amount of time outside. We don’t incorporate structured play in all of our adventures but we try to have games to pull out for the kids if needed. They are also fun to share with new friends when camping. These games can keep a whole group of different aged kids engaged and working together.
Below are 3 easy games to engage kids in the nature. The games offer an opportunity to talk to kids about what they observe around them. Pull them out next time you are hiking or camping.
Kids love exploring nature and scavenger hunts provide an element of excitement