While prepping for an early-spring park session I realized all the little tricks I've found and things I've bought that make going to the park to hoop more comfortable. Now I'm not saying to rush out and buy more stuff (all you need is you and your hoop and some space!) but if you do find yourself in need, here are a few suggestions!
The kit - must-haves for the park
Big bottle of water! Being hydrated helps your body run smoothly, everything from digestion to joint mobility to thinking! I'm a fan of Nalgene's 1-L bottles because it's easy to track how much water I drink in a day, even a water-lover like me sometimes forgets to drink. I fill the bottle up in the morning, drink it to the bottom, then repeat it 2 or 3 times throughout the day. If I'm going from home to the park for just an hour, I'll drink a whole litre before I go and leave the bottle at home.
Little Layers - Small, packable layers like arm warmers and a scarf to let you control your temperature as you warm up - take off the jacket and put on the smaller layers for in-between warmth with more freedom of movement
Blindfold - If you're getting too distracted by all that's going on in the park, cover your eyes. Bonus! It makes it clear to park-goers that you are a badass
Pen and paper - For recording insights and also "ahhh that thing I need to do and keep forgetting to put on the todo list" so you can put your energy back to hooping
WRH cards - There's no need to answer that person's questions about where and when classes happen (unless you want to) - just hand them a card!
The Stuffer - A big bag that you can stuff EVERYTHING in, it will help keep your stuff in one place so there's less panic when the sun is setting. Think of the size of bag as how much stuff you want to carry around, cause it's easy to fill!
The Pack - Small backpacks with bungee cords on the front (and a clip across the chest) are very good for carrying folded hoops and for biking with a full size hoop. MEC has lots of options.
The Hip Pouch - Cotton hip pouches are fantastic for festivals and sketchy parks - you keep your phone, wallet, keys, and other small necessities against your body as you hoop. Check out Fairies Pyjamas for a variety of sizes (and leather pouches too!) with some on sale right now.
The Traveller - I love having my music on a player separate from my phone. That way I can hoop for my set time outdoors, being present in the park, without being distracted by the digital world. Small players are fantastic because you can tuck them in your pocket, bra, or some are small enough to put in your hair (ipod shuffle). Ask around, your friends may have an extra player laying around that doesn't meet their capacity needs - but is perfect to fill with a few hours of hooping music!
Headphones - My favorite headphones are the ones that cover the whole ear and attach at the nape of the neck. They're easy to pull off fast (when I want to have a conversation), and don't hurt my ear when they're whacked by a hoop. Tip! Run the headphone cord under your shirt whenever possible.
Big Boom Boom - When I want big sound, I take my Traynor 10W amp (about $200, Long and McQuade) to the park. It's tuned for outdoor busking, so music can be heard over the white noise of the park. Charge her up at home, plug in your music, and she'll give you sweet sweet beats for 10 hours. Also great for using in the house!
Barefoot -Feels so good! Great for your feet and balance and that juicy grounded feeling! Bring an extra pair of socks for putting those muddy toes back in your clean shoes
Almost Barefoot - Shoes with thin, flexible soles are easy to find (mec!), and they're great for dancing in grass without tearing up the ground or having to worry about pokey sticks, and they add an extra layer of insulation on cold days. Plus they still work as 'normal shoes'
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