Meet the WildRoots
He was a fly fisherman and skier from Utah. She was a tomboy adventurer from Northern California. It was a match made in heaven.
Nate and Candice Leavitt got married in 2007, ready to face a life full of travel and adventure in the outdoors. But they were soon faced with the greatest adventure of them all — starting a family.
Zev was born in 2008, and is now 11 years old.
“He was essentially a honeymoon baby,” Candice says. “So with him came a lot of quick adjustments to our new lives.”
Over the years, the adventure continued, adding three more Leavitt kids to the mix:
Kai, who is nine. Liam, who is seven. And Shem, who is now four.
For many, this is when the adventure slows down. But Nate and Candice wanted to share their love of travel, adventure and nature with their kids. In 2014, they started The WildRoots, an adventure blog that details the travels of the Leavitt family, and proves that family isn’t the end of running wild, but just the start of a new adventure.
Their mission is to plant wild roots, because wild roots run deep.
“We’re a Utah-based family with normal jobs, public schooling and four boys,” Nate says. “Before we got married and started a family, the outdoors were a big part of our lives, and we knew that we wanted to keep it a priority with our kids.”
In their 2005 Toyota Sequoia, the WildRoots were off to live out their mission, one week and one new destination at a time.
Yakima is a big part of that mission, providing the WildRoots with the gear they need to plan out and complete their trips.
Packing with The WildRoots
From fly fishing, camping, hiking, climbing and lizard-hunting, the WildRoots truly run wild. With the SkyBox 21 Carbonite, the WildRoots can pack gear for every adventure they could encounter and get it out of the way to make room for the kids in the vehicle.
“Yakima gear is an integral part of our adventures,” Nate says. “With all the gear necessary for adventures with four kids, it wouldn’t be possible without our SkyBox. We always have room for the gear we need, no matter where we’re going or what we’re doing.”
With kids, it’s even more important to have everything you need, from food and water to the equipment required for adventure.
“It was more challenging when we were dealing with breast-feeding, bottles, diapers, et cetera,” Nate says. “But even then, you just find the system and figure out what works. Candice and I were already pretty good at packing. We’re both organizational freaks and she’s got the kids dialed.”
Once they’re packed, the WildRoots are ready to hit the road. So where do they like to go?
Exploring far away, and close to home
When it comes to finding new places to go, Nate says he uses a lot of Google Earth to scope out good fly fishing spots for himself, and spots for lizards and snakes for the kids.
Once the WildRoots arrive at their destination, usually high up in Utah’s Uinta Mountains, it’s time to set up base camp. That’s where the Yakima SlimShady awning comes in.
Mounted on the roof, the SlimShady is easy to set up for quick sun and weather protection everywhere the WildRoots go. And it only takes up about six inches of rack space, leaving plenty of room for other gear like the SkyBox. At six and a half feet wide, the SlimShady offers complete coverage for even a family as large and full of life as the WildRoots.
“It’s been not only a great shelter from the sun, but we hang lights and it’s a perfect kitchen area when car camping,” Nate says.
Since the boys are in school year-round with three-week breaks for travel, the Leavitts are able to visit popular places during less-popular times.
During the summer, Nate says they like to stay closer to home, exploring the dirt roads of Utah’s mountain ranges.
“Utah has such variety and so many cool places to explore,” Nate says. “It’s kept us pretty busy.”
Regardless of where they go, Nate says solitude is a priority.
“We’re pretty big on solitude,” Nate says. “I find places that look cool that will allow us to get away from the crowds.”
Solitude is hard to find on the trips themselves, with four kids busying themselves however they can, often by bugging each other. Nate says these long car rides are probably the most challenging part of travel. But the adventure at they seek is well worth it.
“Adventure is the whole point,” Nate says. “Adventure comes when you seek it. You’re exploring somewhere new to see what’s there, you’re looking for something, you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. I want my kids to feel that and to yearn for it. It’s always going to be rewarding in some way when you push yourself into new territory.”
No matter where the adventure takes the Leavitt family, Yakima will be ready to support their mission of building deep roots with wild places.
Check out the WildRoots blog to follow along with their travels and adventures.