Outdoor trips offered by Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Outdoors allow students, members and guests to temporarily step away from their studies and digital screens for a day of exploring the woods, desert, mountains or Southern California ocean.
Titan Outdoors offers in-person trips such as stand-up paddleboarding, beginner-friendly backpacking trips near the Angeles National Forest, camping in the Sequoia National Forest, rock climbing and camping in Death Valley National Park.
Michael Brown, the rock wall and outdoor adventure coordinator, said he was hired over three years ago to start Titan Outdoors.
“What keeps people coming back is the friendships and the connections that they make,” Brown said. The trips allow participants to disconnect and step away from their phones for about two hours or longer, he said.
“We talk a little bit about having a digital detox on our trips. A lot of the places that we go don’t even have cell phone service at all,” Brown said. “It really helps people kind of put that away and live in the moment for a little bit, and even if it’s a one-day trip to reset your brain, a lot of people have been finding a lot of excitement in that.”
They have also had the opportunity to go outside but still be with people and not worry about the pandemic as much, Brown said.
“We might run into a group of two or three other people while we’re up there. But it’s basically just going to be us and we’re going to be out in the middle of the woods and that’s not where COVID is, so we can kind of relax and have some fun,” Brown said.
He added that the program has many international students who join the trips, which allows them to visit different areas of California.
“There’s a lot to see and a lot of international students don’t have the opportunity with transportation and even renting, they don’t have driver’s license and stuff like that, so being able to jump on with our trips, meet people, get off campus and go see these amazing places, I like to see a lot of people taking advantage of it,” Brown said.
Caber Russell, a CSUF alumnus who majored in theater arts, said he worked with Titan Outdoors for two semesters. He said he had the opportunity to go on a few trips during one of those semesters before the program moved online due to the pandemic.
He said these excursions help participants get away for even just a day or a weekend when things get busy in everyday life. They allow you to focus on yourself, feed yourself, stay hydrated and enjoy nature at a slower pace away from technology, Russell added.
“It’s definitely a great break and a great experience to get away for even just a day or a weekend,” Russell said. “I feel like people get too much screen time and just being able to put the phones down and get away from the computer for a weekend is a great experience everyone should have.”
This semester, due to the recent warm weather, Brown said they have had a lot of stand-up paddleboard trips, including full-moon trips where participants will begin at sunset and paddle as the sun is setting and the moon is rising at night.
Titan Outdoors recently had their first backpacking trip of the semester, Brown said, which was one night of introductory backpacking to give experience to those interested in backpacking but have never done it previously.
“That was a lot of fun because a lot of the people that went on that got really excited about it and are actually going on our longer trip this weekend,” Brown said.
All future trips listed on the Associated Students website offer pricing for students, members and guests. Brown said the trips include gear, transportation, trip leaders that have wilderness first aid certifications and all recreation entrance fees to the forests and national parks.
“The overnight trips also include food. So that price is basically you just pay it, and then you come with your clothes and a smile, and then you leave with a bigger smile,” Brown said.
He added that the program also rents out their camping and hiking gear for students who want to go on personal trips.
“We help out your personal trips, stuff like that, so we try to be really accessible and make sure everybody has opportunities to get outside whether it’s with us or other people,” Brown said.
Gear rental forms found on the Associated Students website can be filled out for individuals who need equipment for their outdoor adventure. Students and members have the option of renting gear out for four or nine days, and each piece of equipment has an individual price depending on the length of the rental.
“I think that if you’re hesitant about going outside, going backpacking for your first time, it’s a really great safe space for students to learn how to backpack, what gear to bring. They provide all the gear for you, so you really don’t have to worry about the headache of purchasing all the gear,” Russell said.
So far, Brown said that the program has been pretty popular this semester as every single trip has been booked and many of them have had a waiting list.
After they finish their trip on the drive back home, Brown said participants begin thinking about what trip to go on next.
“They’re all just really excited and amped on it, trying to figure out what other trips they can go on,” Brown said.