Tommy Durso on summiting Mount Whitney, Jack London and overturning SUVs

"When I slip into my hiking boots and lace up the leather, I feel like I can just start forgetting about everything else because I'm about to go on a big adventure." - Tommy Durso

Featuring: Tommy Durso aka @td.adventures

Born and bred in San Diego, California, Tommy Durso has no desire to move away from the place he grew up. The San Diego County that has set the outdoor scene for him since he was a little chap and if you ask Tommy, it has everything. You can go from the fine beaches along the Pacific Ocean coastline to the majestic peaks in the Sierras to the sizzling heat of the Anza-Borrego desert in a couple of hours span.

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Tommy's partner-in-crime: Dennis

When asked about what catches his interest in outdoors, Tommy has two clear favorites right now along with a new, aspiring hobby:

"If I need some adrenaline, I hop on my mountain bike and bomb some hills. Hiking and backpacking are my favorites when I want to relax and get some exercise.

Those are definitely the top two right now... but I want to get into mountaineering as well. It combines the expedition aspect of backpacking with the thrill of rock climbing and really tests your limits. Summiting Mount Whitney twice over the last summer gave me the bug."

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The Roof of Contagious America aka. The Summit of Mount Whitney aka. Tommy's Backyard


A few facts about Tommy:
  • "I'm nuts for nuts!"
    - Tommy's favorite food when on trail is nuts. It helps keep him fueled. His signature blend is a mix of almonds, cashews, and peanuts and occasionally, with guest-stars such as walnuts and pecans.
  • "Favorite hobbies besides outdoor? Sports... and reading"
    - "I try to live a very active lifestyle, running, mountain biking, playing sports, etc. but I also like to head to the gym once in awhile to focus on certain muscles.", Tommy says. As for the reading, 'Into The Wild' is a personal favorite. He is also keen on Jack London's works. He plans on taking on Jon Krakauer's 'Into Thin Air' in the near future (do it, Tommy, it is really good).
  • "I listen to stuff like Vance Joy and the Lumineers at the moment"
    - Vance Joy and the Lumineers are some of Tommy's jams at the moment. "With it being fall and the temps finally getting cooler I've been listening to more stuff like that", he explains. However, Tommy's Instagram gallery reveals a fondness for the heavier stuff like rock and metal.

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What got you into outdoor?

"My dad took me camping all the time as a kid so I was hiking and outdoors a lot from a very young age. I camped here and there with my parents and eventually friends but it was never a big part of my life. After high school I felt kind of lost with no big hobbies and no goals really besides school. I started hiking and camping more and more and realized how happy it made me and how much I felt like I really fit in the community. Over a couple of years the outdoors became the biggest part of my life and I felt like I found what really made me happy in life."


"Over a couple of years, the outdoors became the biggest part of my life"


What was the highlight of your latest trip?

"My last big trip was a little over a week spent in the Sierras this last August. We did some camping and backpacking but the highlight of the trip by far was summiting Mount Whitney. At 14,505 ft. it is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and it was my second time summiting it that summer. The first time we spent the night on the mountain making it a much easier ascent. This time however we sent it in just one day, which I didn't think I could actually do before we did it. I really surprised myself and it taught me how strong I really am."

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Pausing the grind towards the top to enjoy the stellar views


Your favorite piece of gear and why?

My favorite piece of gear is probably my hiking boots. They just make me so happy because I only wear them when I go backpacking or on bigger hikes. They're bulkier and heavier than any of my other shoes but that's why I love them. When I slip my hiking boots on my feet and lace up the leather I feel like I can just start forgetting about everything else because I'm about to go on a big adventure.

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It is not hard to see where Tommy's wanderlust comes from


What is your most memorable outdoor experience?

My most memorable outdoor experience is also one of the things that happened after high school that helped push me towards spending all my time outdoors. On a camping trip for my 18th birthday, I ended up overturning my parent’s SUV while off-roading.

... how did your parents react to having their car overturned?

They initially babied that SUV but my parents didn't care much for it after I rolled it. With the ability to get away from campsites and explore all the random trails in my area, I started off-roading and camping a lot more. That was the start of my obsession with the outdoors and it basically snowballed from just camping and hiking to hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, photography and so much more. It is memorable because of its the only car accident I've ever been in and it was basically what lead to me spending all my time outdoors.

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"I have heard a lot about what Canada has to offer. I'm hoping everything works out, but I'm still in the beginning of the planning stages."


What adventures do you have planned for the future?

Nothing in the near future as I am focusing on school for the time being but I'm planning a trip to Canada next summer. Besides small trips into Mexico, I have never traveled outside the U.S. and have heard a lot about what Canada has to offer. I'm hoping everything works out, but I'm still in the beginning of the planning stages.

And with those words - it's a wrap.

Follow Tommy Durso on Instagram

You can follow his amazing Instagram - right here - where he regularly posts awesome shots and stories from his home turf, California, and hopefully, in the future, his Canadian voyage.

Want more stories like this?

A huge thanks to goes to Tommy ( @td.adventures ) for lending me his time and awesome photos for the first feature in WildStray's Outdoor Instagram Stories. Keep on rocking and doing your thing, dude! If you, as a reader, would be interested in more stories like Tommy's, I encourage you to hit this like button to follow WildStray's Facebook page:

Happy Trails, People. WildStray / Mikkel