Susan camping experience

Selk Community Highlight: Susan Brudd

November 24, 2020

Hi Susan, Please start off by introducing yourself.

Hi! My name is Susan.  A Midwest native, I currently live in a cabin in a more remote area of Northern Arizona. I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast, photographer, and animal lover.  Much of my time is spent hiking, exploring and photographing the southwest.


Have you always loved the outdoors?

I most definitely have always had a love for the outdoors. I have fond memories of going on camping trips with my father when I was young. As I grew older, I enjoyed outdoor fitness whenever possible – which is basically only 3 or 4 months of the year if you’re familiar with the weather in the Midwest!

How did your love of hiking and the outdoors begin?

My true love affair with hiking and nature began when I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona about 5 years ago. The desert landscape was so different than what I was used to and I was fascinated by it’s beauty and the abundance of wildlife that came along with it. I appreciated (and still do) that the sun always shines here no matter what the weather and that every day, there is a sunrise and sunset more beautiful than the day before.  Time spent outdoors quickly became a priority for me. It was great for me physically but also gave me a sense of internal peace and perspective on life.



Do you have any helpful or interesting camping/hiking/outdoors hacks?

I always carry a bungee cord and a cheap rain poncho in my backpack. Whether it’s to attach extra gear to my pack that won’t fit otherwise, rigging something up to a tree, providing extra protection from the elements or making a quick patch to the tent during a rainstorm, these 2 items have come in handy.   


Let’s talk about your favorite outdoor essentials. Tent? Backpack? Shoes? Sleeping bag? Music or podcasts to listen to while on the trail?

Outdoor essentials:

  1. Water – So important, especially in such an arid climate such as Arizona.
  2. Camera – I am constantly inspired by mother nature and capturing it with my camera has become a passion of mine. I always hope that my photos will encourage more people to spend more time outdoors.
  3. Selk’bag – Of course, my number one camping essential! Now that I have experienced life outdoors with a Selk’bag, I can’t live without it! It traps my body heat in and at the same time, allows me to move freely! I don’t get that claustrophobic feeling in a Selk’bag like I do in a regular sleeping bag where I can’t move my legs.
  4. Proper backpack – It must be comfortable and be able to carry all of my essentials, including camera gear without weighing me down. I actually have yet to find the perfect backpack! If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!
  5. Awareness – I don’t like the distraction of music on the trails or when camping. I find the sound of nature very soothing and I also prefer to be alert to the sound of animals nearby.


What is the challenge of “cabin life,” and how do you overcome it?

It wasn’t long before I missed the seasons of the Midwest and moved to Northern Arizona. Here in the mountains, I found the perfect climate: All 4 seasons with continuous sunshine!  I also found that life “in the valley” was still very fast paced – something I had hoped to get away from when I left Chicago. Cabin life is wonderful! Peaceful, beautiful and full of wildlife. I would say the number one challenge living in a remote area is lack of good internet. You also give up conveniences such as having grocery stores and restaurants close by.  However, these are also the things that keep the pace of life slow and quiet here so it’s a small price to pay.


Winters in Northern Arizona can get pretty chilly. What's your favorite way to stay warm and cozy? 

After living in the Midwest for so many years, I find the winters here blissful! You get all of the snow but you still get the sunshine!  The sun and the elevation keep the winters mild comparatively. It’s the best place to enjoy the outdoors all year long.  You can snowshoe, ski or go for a snowy hike and on a sunny day and end up peeling your layers down to a T-shirt!  Aside from outdoor sports to keep warm in the winters here in the mountains, I love cozying up in the cabin by the fireplace.


3 Responses

Bill Sanchez
Bill Sanchez

October 30, 2021

Very inspirational and amazing! Awesome story!

Dave Perkins
Dave Perkins

October 30, 2021

Wonderful story Susan, I need to get one of those self bagss

Judi Maeyama
Judi Maeyama

October 30, 2021

Wow! Awesome pictures! Northern Arizona looks like a wonderful place to explore. Thanks for the hiking tips. I never would have thought of bringing a bungee cord and a rain poncho. And the Selk bag looks so cozy. Thanks for sharing!

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