I am Half a Dirtbag Mommy.

In case you are not well acquainted with the term “dirt bagger” or “dirt bag climber,” here it is:

1. Dirtbag Climber

A glorified bum, who spends all of his/her time begging for food, drinking PBR, and climbing.

They live the traveling life, taking to the road year-round in pursuit of adventure. Often in a van. Often with little more than Ramon Noodles and a pile of gear. Somewhere inside most outdoor junkies, we long to be a real and true “dirtbagger,” with no responsibilities, no expectations, and most importantly no boundaries.

Mostly, they are those who have tossed aside conventional life and placed adventure at the top of their priority list. Income, family, careers, school often come somewhere down near the bottom of the list.

I will never be a dirt bagger. In fact, I could argue the opposite. I have a house. I have kids. I am married. I make rather elaborate meals daily and workout most weekdays in a gym.

I am a suburb bagger.

It just doesn’t have the same inspiring ring…

Yet everyday I fail miserably at being a stay-at-home wife too. And a home-school mom. And a house keeper.

I continually toss aside the normal conventions of my life position in favor of adventureA day skiing is far more important to me than clean counters. A hike often happens way before vacuuming. And I’d rather care for cracked and chapping hands from a day of climbing than a day of dishes…

My house resembles this. It is a disaster most of the time. Which drives the whole family out the door once again, cause we’d rather view the majestic Wasatch then my majestic failure as a suburban housewife.

But my husband and I have a higher goal to our seeming chaos. Our “at home failure” is a purposeful choice and I know I am not alone in this. We neglect one thing to hopefully succeed at another.

Dirt Bag Mommy n. – A mom who tosses aside the normal societal conventions placed on mommyhood, in order to pursue a life of adventure with her family.


Symptoms include: opting for a run, hike, bouldering sesh when faced with chores; augmenting week night meals with left over backpacking dried foods from the last summer; elaborate wall storage for skis, climbing gear, and backpacks is a form of decorating; a clean kid equals a good wipe down with Wet Wipes; and candy is affectionately known as “trail bait.”

Now if I was a true dirt bag mommy, I’d pack us all in the van and hit the road. Don’t tempt me.

But for now I am content with being only “half a dirt bag mommy.” Like being a Half Ironman. I’d be content with that label too. Who knows? Maybe someday. 🙂

Mom and son, loving adventure moms

9 comments on “I am Half a Dirtbag Mommy.
  1. Alyssa, you have it made! 🙂 Dirt baggin’ is great, but so is having a house. After almost a full year of dirtbagging, I am so excited to have a four-walled dwelling with wi-fi and air conditioning and a sink to do dishes in. Enjoy it, the grass is always greener on the other side!

    But seriously, you should give into that temptation to pack your family in a van one day. It’s nothing I could do forever, but it’s something every adventurer should experience at some point! Life on the road is incredible. (Except for that whole begging for food thing..)

  2. LOL!! So true. More than once, with good intentions in mind, we’ve headed out to cross off items on the list of errands that never ends, only to get to the top of the street where we can see the mountains and turned right towards the mountains instead of left towards the errands! And yes this has happened enough that the truck is continuously stocked with adventure gear, snacks and water.

  3. Oh Alyssa, this is so good. I was recently at the dedication of a friend’s son. The pastor on how adventurous she used to be and asked if she keeps up with it, she responded, “I sew now.” The atmosphere seemed to change, like the starch went out of her. We talked after about it. We used to be the ones living in our cars in between camp/trail jobs making coffee on my the hood of my car in a meijer’s parking lot. Now that we are wives and mothers . . . we sew, and squeeze in a climb at the gym every now and then. And we’ve decided, that’s not enough anymore. I love your posts.

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