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The Gearzette


- November 03, 2023

Hannah Hickam lives in Central Oregon with her much-loved two dogs, Harley and Orion, where she works in child welfare. When not working, every spare second is spent in nature, often only with her dogs as company. She needs these getaways to decompress from her highly stressful job, and she’s at her happiest when hiking, camping, or backpacking with her four-legged friends for life. Front Runner recently caught up with Hannah to learn about her regular getaways and work balance. ​

You spend much of your paycheck on gas, getting out and seeing the world. Is travel in your blood? ​

I grew up moving around every two years. Dad was in the military, so I saw much of the world then. I didn’t appreciate it; I only started getting outdoors once in college. What I don’t spend on rent and other bills is spent on gas; I would much rather see as much of the world as I can than look back later in life and regret what I didn’t do. ​

© Hannah Hickman

How have dogs changed your life of adventures? ​

I got Harley, my Golden Retriever, at the end of my first year in college. He added so much happiness and adventure to my life. It was because of him that I ventured into the great outdoors again. Fast forward five years, and along came Orion, the Border Collie goofball. Anyone who meets him instantly falls in love; they both give me so much joy, and comfort me on my tough days. They love exploring the Pacific Northwest with me; I couldn’t have asked for better travel companions. ​

© Hannah Hickman

Do dogs restrict your travel lifestyle? ​

I hear that so much, but the boys don’t limit my lifestyle. If anything, they created it and now go on almost every adventure with me. I invested much time into their training to ensure they’re the best behaved on and off the trails. They ride in kennels in the car to keep them safe and have extensive off-leash training. ​

© Hannah Hickman

Describe your three favorite outdoor experiences to date. ​

The Paradise Park Hike on Mt. Hood is my number one; you’ll see the best sunrises and sunsets on that hike. It’s one of my favorite trails in Oregon and never disappoints. My friends and I have a big gathering on the Oregon coast for a bonfire every summer. We all drive our rigs onto the beach, let the dogs run and play, and enjoy good food, drinks, and company around the campfire. We always have so much fun out there! ​

© Hannah Hickman

And lastly, summiting South Sister, the third tallest mountain in Oregon, was a challenging yet rewarding experience. We started super early, at 3 am, to watch the sunrise as we summited. It’s just another world up there; I am happiest in the mountains. ​

© Hannah Hickman

You drive a Subaru Outback Wilderness. Why is this your vehicle of choice?​

I recently upgraded my Crosstrek to an Outback as I needed more space and better fuel consumption. I put over 26,000 miles on my car last year, so space and consumption are important considerations. It handles well both on and off the road, takes all my gear and dogs and still has potential for further enhancements. ​

© Hannah Hickman

You have the Front Runner Roof Top Tent and not a ground tent. Why? ​

As a solo female adventurer, I feel so much safer in my Roof Tent on top of the car. It’s also one less item inside my car, easy to set up, extremely comfortable, and more durable than a ground tent. ​

How do you stay comfy and safe on your adventures?​

I tend to adventure solo with the dogs, so I always tell someone where I am going and update them when I return. I carry a few forms of self-defense and a satellite communication device in an emergency. ​

© Hannah Hickman

Tell us about some of the Front Runner kit on your Subaru. ​

You have no idea how many comments I get about my Subaru and how it has been kitted out, especially in the Pacific Northwest. I have several friends with much bigger rigs; I don’t think I am limited in where I can go compared to them. ​

My Front Runner Slimline II Roof Rack carries my recovery gear; this gives me extra security when going off-road. Once in camp, I get out the Expander Table, Expander Chair and CADAC Safari Chef 30 camp stove. I like to set up my kitchen under my Easy-Out Awning for shade, then hang my Camp Kitchen Utensil Set up under the awning. This works well for me, and I can cook for my friends from here. My 20-litre Pro Water Tank means I have enough water for myself and the dogs when away for the weekend. ​

© Hannah Hickman

Does the RTT come off in the winter? How do your winter getaways differ in terms of kit? ​

I take it off in the winter but replace it with traction boards and Wolf Pack Pro storage boxes, which hold all my winter gear. I don’t camp in the winter (unless we backpack to a warm snow shelter) because I wouldn’t say I like the cold. I tend to swap activities in the winter and do snowshoeing and snowboarding instead of off-roading and camping. ​

The Great American Outdoors seem to be your happy place. What advice do you have for other young, aspiring adventurers? ​

Just get out there; there is no wrong way to explore the outdoors and enjoy the views. Just remember to leave no trace that you have been there. Do research on where you are going and make sure you are prepared. It will all come naturally as you get out more and find your niche. Everyone can enjoy the outdoors as it is such a fantastic place.