Arlington, VA – I was a young 21 when I first walked into Casual Adventure.
I was on the prowl for a backpack to accompany me around Europe for the summer.
Nine years later, I found myself returning once again as I prepare for my first trip around the world.
Casual Adventure is a family owned and operated retail store selling high quality camping, hiking, and backpacking equipment.
Their early years, dating back to 1955, were dedicated to selling military surplus supplies. The store is located off Washington Boulevard in the youthful Clarendon area.
The hallmark of my shopping experiences over the years has been the excellent customer service.
Sales associates are knowledgeable, friendly, and patient. Their motto ” We Can Outfit You from Great Falls to Nepal” was the result of their supplying a man with Mountain Hardwear, who then went on to summit Mount Everest in 2000.
A large framed photo of him on top of the world, holding the store's logo, hangs on a wall by the jackets.
Everything I've purchased there has withstood the wear and tear of the road, from the streets of Dublin to the jungles of Belize.
Previous purchases include: Gregory Chaos backpack, North Face cargo pants, shorts and jacket, Merrell hiking boots, socks, and a host of smaller supplies.
Future purchases will include: LED headlamp and a possible Casio Pathfinder watch (altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and compass).
One item I have yet to buy is a bandanna, as they keep throwing them in free of charge.
My favorite part of the store is the wall of customer pictures.
Anyone can bring a photo and tape it to the wall to show off their spirit of adventure.
My contribution to the wall consists of a snapshot of the erupting Arenal volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, circa May 2005.
In an age of ever increasing retail camping conglomerates, it's nice to know I can still walk into a local store and receive great products, service, and bandannas!
Casual Adventure is located at 3541 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201. Phone: 703-527-0600.