Chattanooga Now 10 outdoorsy buzzwords you need to know

Chattanooga Now 10 outdoorsy buzzwords you need to know

The beta on being outdoorsy

January 2nd, 2018 by Sunny Montgomery in Get Out - Features

Paddlers huck drops. Climbers dynamo jugs. Mountain bikers shred rock gardens.

Understanding the lingo of an adventure sport is a steep learning curve. And to make matters worse, the outdoor community is forever turning new phrases.

In 2017, our Get Out staff saw a bevy of outdoorsy buzzwords. Some were brand-new, some were new to us, and others were age-old, revived or repurposed.

Take "beta," for example. For decades, climbers have used this slang to mean the details of a particular climb: difficulty, style, length, etc. But last year, it moved into the mainstream.

Suddenly, "What's the beta on the local coffee scene?" became acceptable use of this vernacular.

Who knows what 2018 will bring?

In the meantime, it's not too late to learn these adventure buzzwords, which we feel helped define last year's outdoor culture.

Bellyaking: The combination of kayaking and swimming. Designed for whitewater, the bellyak features hand-paddling in the prone position, i.e. lying face down.

"[Bellyaking] is the brainchild of Adam Masters, a longtime kayaker who — as most paddlers do — began looking for a new thrill."

Bikepacking: The combination of cycling and camping. Like backpacking, but with a mountain bike.

"Here is a quick guide on how to get the most out of your overnight cycling journey."

Cupping: A therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to skin, creating a suction that is said to help relieve tension and muscle soreness.

"I just had to be OK with looking like an octopus had beaten me in a fight for a few days."

Dirtbagging: The act of abandoning employment and all creature comforts, commonly to live out of a van on a never-ending road trip.

It's certainly not a new lifestyle, but in 2017, it seemed to become a serious social movement.

"Someone recently told me that it's times like this, moments or months of uncertainty, that allow for beautiful chapters that we won't know the name of until much later. I don't know the name of this chapter, or if it's even over, but it sure has been beautiful."

Forest-bathing: The concept that spending time in the forest can provide mental and physical health benefits.

"According to recent studies from Chiba University in Japan which studied the physiological effects of time spent immersed in nature (called Shinrin-yoku in Japanese), benefits can mean lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, lower pulse rate and more."

Homesteading: Think early American settlers' way of life.

The concept of living a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle is far from new, but it was all the rage in 2017.

"When Jennifer Walls told her grandmother she dreamt of one day living in a cob house, an earthen structure built with a mixture of clay, sand and straw, her grandmother said what most who have never considered a life of voluntary simplicity might have thought: 'You want to live in a mud hut?'"

Onewheel: An electronic, self-balancing recreational device that looks like a cross between a skateboard and a hoverboard.

"When I ride downtown, it definitely turns heads. People look at it like it's some kind of voodoo magic."

Right-sizing: The concept of reducing something to a more appropriate size — living quarters, for example. In 2017, the term was most commonly used by millennials as part of the "tiny living" movement.

"Welcome to the age of minimalism, the zeitgeist of the millennial generation. Followers of the less-is-more movement say it is about becoming more intentional with space and resources. Skeptics say it is a materialistic, 'First World' problem."

Wildcrafting: A fancy way to say "foraging," or the harvesting of wild plants and fungi for food or medicine.

"Among many Native American cultures, it is tradition to ask the organism's permission before harvest. Likewise after harvest, one should make an offering to the land."

Packrafting: The combination of hiking and rafting, featuring a portable, inflatable boat that is light enough to be carried in a backpack and durable enough to cross raging rivers.

(If you haven't yet realized it, sport hybridizations were a big thing last year.)

We haven't written a story about packrafting yet — but we'd love to change that. Who has a packraft and wants to go on an adventure?! Email