#VanLife: Trail Stewardship at Antelope Island State Park

The #yourlead van went out for a mini adventure this past week. We’ve created a few excuses for this adventure — a test run for summer adventures, an excuse to explore the Salt Lake City area or a chance to give the brand new ALTOS-S sleeping bag a run for its money. They are all great excuses + personally, I consider each one of them valid.

Excuse 1: The van has been snoozing for the past few months, but there are some pretty epic adventures in its very near future…better make sure everything is still up to snuff, right?!

Excuse 2: With TETON Sports based out of Salt Lake City we all tend to think we’ve seen it all, but having a set of wheels that double as your home give you a chance to see the area a bit different. Take my trip to Antelope Island State Park for example, we loved it so much we went back a second day!

Excuse 3: The new ALTOS-S sleeping bag just came out this month. It’s a new take on the already beloved ALTOS sleeping bag. While the ALTOS bag is already sourced as sustainably as possible, the ALTOS-S took it to the next level. The ALTOS-S is a synthetic sleeping bag with a fill made of renewable materials including plants. This creates a down-like fill in the sense that it fluffs + hugs like down, but doesn’t lose all of its functionality when it gets wet.

So, why did the #yourlead van hit the road for a mini weekend in the middle of the week? Simply put, because it could! What you’re really wondering about is…where did it go + what did it do?!

Antelope Island State Park

With only a few shorts days [+ no snow tires/chains] the options were a bit limited as I headed away from the TETON Sports showroom. The closest campground that promised to be open during the ‘off season’ was on Antelope Island, about 45 minutes away. I stocked up on food + headed west!

Turns out Antelope Island is full of exciting things, even during the chilly winter months! The island is known for free range bison + they were everywhere. A multitude of signage warned people of how dangerous they could be. I actually felt like I was being ‘that person’ when I accidentally came upon one while hiking, but for the most part they minded their own business.

My time on the island was short + sweet. I caught two sunsets + missed two sunrises [it’s just too darn easy to sleep in when in that van!]. I made up for all of that with multiple trail runs + sunset hikes. Not to mention a visit to a more-interesting-than-I-expected historic ranch that came to be in 1848.

But this isn’t about my adventures on Antelope Island — you can catch up on those via the TETON Sports #yourlead Instagram story highlight. What I really want to share is my overall experience at the Antelope Island State Park. A quick conversation with the gate attendant made it obvious that this is a really popular state park. Considering how easy it is to access the park, that’s not surprising.

While I was roaming the park I noticed nothing that screamed ‘popular tourist destination’. What I mean by that is the campground fire pits were free of any trash, the vault toilets were surprisingly clean + the trails were quite literally litter free. This isn’t normal. It should be, but it isn’t! Do you know what this means?!

Good Trail Stewardship

People visiting this island are being amazing trail stewards! Well, it’s also the ‘off season’, so I’m sure visitor counts are down…but let’s focus on the glaringly obvious positive: good people! All of those things I noticed to be missing [ie: trash!] can only means that people haven’t been leaving their trash behind.

Rather than stash garbage in the pit potties, they’re packing it out in their cars.

Instead of dropping snack wrappers along the trail, they’re snuggly tucking them in their pockets.

Knowing they can’t burn aluminum cans means they’re not tossing them in the fire pits.

These people are the people I want to share my trails with + people I want to be more like. It obviously takes a bit more than trash-free exploring to be a great trail steward, but it’s a great start. If you’re new to the trails + the only thing you remember is to ‘pack it in, pack it out’ we’re on the right track!

This may not seem all that huge, maybe more of a ‘duh, I’d hope so’ moment. But think about it, the ‘pack it in, pack it out’ principle of Leave No Trace is probably the easiest to forget. This is why the LNT principles are so important…they get people like me stoked on simple things. Oh + they are vital in keeping the great outdoors wild + trash free!

Ironically, this lined up perfectly with the environmentally conscious ALTOS-S sleeping bag I was quickly falling in love with. I was lucky enough to spend my weekend on an island that was free of any trash. I was also snoozing in a sleeping bag that was designed with the environment in mind.

At the end of my trip I ventured back into the city, proud of the humans I was sharing the wilderness with. For the first time in a long time I spent hours on the trails…without picking up a single piece of trash. Maybe, just maybe, we’re making a difference, one trail + one person at a time!

About the Author


Heidi Kumm

Heidi Kumm is a trail runner, world traveler, mountain climber, and all around adventure enthusiast. She is so stoked on adventure that she has made it her career as the owner of Adventure Feet First, a travel company that focuses on getting people outside to explore the world around them. Over the past years Heidi has spent months living abroad, volunteering around the world, living out of a van/car/truck, and finding new ways to explore on foot, by bike, or with a backpack. She has learned the ins and outs of self propelled exploration the hard way, so she's here to help us learn from her mistakes and to help us become more informed on how to make your own mistakes, safely.