Tips For The Beginning Camper

by Donna 21. April 2012 23:39

If you Plan to Go Camping, Make sure you are Well-prepared
If you have decided to indulge your adventurous side and buy the gear and equipment for a family camping trip, then you’ll want to make sure to avoid some of the mistakes made by beginners new to the activity. After all, you don’t want to stand out like a red flag by being disorganized or fumbling around the campsite as you attempt to put up your tent. Make sure you bring all the necessary provisions too so you won’t begin your adventure by spending your first night by going to bed both cold and hungry or checking in at a nearby hotel. So, you might practice putting up your tent in your backyard first before assembling it on the campsite.

The Items you’ll Need for a Good Night’s Sleep
Specifically, in and around your campgrounds, you’ll need, of course, a tent, guy lines, and stakes, a tarp or sunshade, and sleeping bags. Make sure the sleeping bags come with liners for added comfort. You’ll also need pillows, sleeping pads, warm blankets, and an air mattress with a pump.

Clothing made for Camping
For your furnishings, make sure to include folding chairs and a table as well as accessory items, such as headlamps and flashlights (both with extra batteries), and lanterns. Clothing should include t-shirts and underwear made of moisture-wicking material, long sleeve shirts, rain jacket, pants, shorts, hat, bandanas, hiking boots, sandals, and socks made of wool or synthetic materials.

Suggestions for your Campsite Kitchen
You’ll also need equipment for kitchen use as well, including a cook stove with fuel, matches, firewood or charcoal, a rack for grilling, frying pan and pots, food storage containers, vacuum thermos, and trash bags. Include to that list, a cooler with ice, bottles of water, cups or mugs, paring knife, and eating utensils. You’ll also need sponges and scrubbers, foil, a drying rack, and towels.

Personal Toiletries
Personal care items which you’ll want to bring include sunscreen, lip balm, and toilet paper. And, don’t forget the first-aid kit as well as well as your brush, comb and other related toiletries.

Make sure your Campsite Pantry is Well-stocked as Well
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure you have enough food on hand too. Make sure your campsite pantry is well-stocked as you won’t be able to take a quick trip up to the store for any items you forget.

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Camp Food | Camping | Family

Making an Informed Decision When Choosing Hiking Boots

by Donna 16. April 2012 23:35

Some Factors to Consider when Choosing Hiking Boots
Whether you are new to hiking on not, the fit and comfort of your hiking boots is a priority. So, before you go shopping for a pair of hikers, you’ll need to consider some factors, such as:
•    How much the boot will be used;
•    The cut and style of the footwear;
•    The overall fit;
•    The materials used in the boot’s construction; and
•    Durability

Light Hikers are Fine for Shorter Hikes
For example, if you regularly enjoy taking shorter hikes on well-worn paths that are around three to five miles in length, then you’ll be safe in choosing either some light hikers or athletic shoes. However, if some of the paths you plan to tread feature vegetation or rocks, then you should direct your focus on boots that are made of sturdy, protective materials, such as high-grade leather, which provide more firmness and support.

Some Styles to Consider for Longer Hikes
If you plan to tramp over more rugged trails, then you may want to choose low-cut hiking boots as they are often lighter and still offer the stability you need. Or, you may prefer mid-cut hikers, which provide better ankle support over rocky terrains.

Choosing a Boot for more Challenging Terrains
If you do plan to hike longer distances or take more challenging trails, then you’ll need to consider the stiffness of the boot as well. Actually, a boot that is less pliable acts as a good buffer against the rocks and uneven surfaces on more rugged landscapes. Check the fit by making sure the boots do not cause any friction or discomfort when they are flexed.

Water Resistance
You’ll also need to examine the water resistance of the hikers you buy. Generally, hiking boots that feature waterproofing are made with a laminate material on the inside which is used to shield the wearer from rainy conditions. Non-laminated boots though offer more breathability, which keeps your feet from becoming too sweaty or warm. Therefore, you may want to buy waterproof hikers for rainy or winter weather conditions and set aside the non-laminated hiking boots for the summer season. As moisture or perspiration can lead to blistering, it is a good idea, when taking a rest during a hike, to take off your boots to air them if the conditions are right.

Sizing your Boots and Breaking them
To make sure you are wearing the right size, allow for a space of about one-half inch at the front of the boot. You should be able to slip your finger behind the heel at the back. In addition, the lacing should be tied correctly or be snug enough to support the foot well. To break in new hiking boots, wear them at home for several days so you are accustomed to them by the time you go on a hike.



How to Choose a Recreational Canoe

by Diane 13. April 2012 22:44

The delightful spring sunlight has had me swooning this week. And while it's not quite warm enough for me to venture into my local lakes and rivers for a swim, these bright cool days are perfect for hopping into a canoe for a pleasant paddle across calm lake waters. It's time to get a little arm workout and then kick back and relax.

I'm what you might call a recreational paddler. I don't mind the occasional rapid or rushing river, but by and large I prefer to stay upright when I'm out in a canoe. So in spirit of calm water excursions, today's post is about how to pick a recreational canoe for paddling in calm areas.

Here are 8 tips to help you choose a great canoe:

  1. You're in luck! The types of canoes are actually broken up into categories like "recreational canoes." Pick one of these guys and you will stay relatively dry.
  2. If you like to use your canoe for slow quiet activities like I do, look for a canoe with a wide flat hull. This will keep your canoe from swaying too much or tipping. Flat-bottomed canoes are very mellow.
  3. On the other end of the spectrum, if you like to glide quickly across glassy water, look for a hull that comes to a point. This will allow you to glide easily across the surface.
  4. Short canoes are easier to control than long canoes, so regardless of whether you choose a 1- or 2-person canoe, you’ll want to select a shorter model to make your trip easier.
  5. Make sure there is a little extra room. I know, I know. I said you want a small canoe, right? It can be a tricky balance to strike, but you do want to make sure you have room for your sandwiches, fishing gear, and sun block.
  6. Think about where you'll keep the canoe. It might make a difference in whether you prefer a canoe that is made of a heavier or lighter material. Make sure you select a canoe that won't be too cumbersome for you to transport.
  7. Pick a canoe with contoured seats that are designed to stay relatively dry and comfortable. Often times, flat benches can be a big pain in the rump.
  8. Last but not least, select a canoe that fits your unique style. There are so many on the market now, that you have the freedom to choose from a wide range of colors and designs.

Pick a canoe you love, and enjoy paddling through the cool sunny days of spring.

Want to read more about canoeing or find a delightful canoeing hot spot? Click here to read some great posts, and click here to find the coordinates of your next favorite location.



Surviving a Desert Backpacking Adventure

by Donna 9. April 2012 23:05

Adjusting yourself to the Climate
If your backcountry adventures take you to the desert, then it’s good to be prepared, particularly if you choose to hike during the warmer times of year. For example, if you travel to southern Arizona in the month of June, then you’ll need to quickly make an adjustment to the much warmer temperatures – temperatures that can soar to the higher 90s on the Fahrenheit scale or 37 degrees on the Celsius gauge. Stay well-protected even in heat you consider insufferable. Wear cotton shirts designed with long sleeves, cotton blend pants, and a protective, wide-brimmed hat.

Water is a Priority
Indeed, the desert can be a warm and unfriendly place during the day, given its lack of vegetation and the relentless heat. So, it’s important that you pack the appropriate essentials if you must trek over this kind of terrain. One of the main necessities, of course, is water as you can become dehydrated relatively fast without even realizing it. Because the body is comprised mainly of water, any moisture lost must soon be replaced.

Typically, most people require eight glasses of water per day in non-desert settings. So, in the desert, the amount of water you need is based on your height and weight. Therefore, taller and/or heavier people require more H20 to keep their thirst quenched and hydration requirements met.

Don’t Eat Anything if you are Low on Water
Generally, it’s best to hike in the very early morning hours or toward the latter part of the day. Make sure, if you don’t have enough water with you, that you resist the temptation of eating, say, that energy bar in your backpack. While eating the bar may appease any hunger pangs, it will also increase your thirst. So, if you are lost in a desert environment or veer off the beaten track, you’ll want to keep this point in mind. Usually, locating a blade of glass and placing it in your mouth will keep you from getting too thirsty if you find that your water is low and there are no other available resources.

Watch out for Snakes in your Sleeping Bag
Fortunately, most snakes, such as rattlers, rest in the daytime and stay out of the scorching heat by hiding under shelters, such as rocks. Therefore, if you are camping in the desert at night, you should be on guard as you could find a snake sharing your sleeping bag. As temperatures in the desert dip after the sun goes down, a snake will find a sleeping bag to be a warm place to retreat.

Desert Clothing
To ensure that you are equipped for any desert adventure, you’ll need to be outfitted with a frame backpack that contains outdoor clothing such as fleece jacket and hat (for the cooler temperatures at night), a waterproof jacket (yes, even in the desert), pants made of a cotton blend or synthetic materials, long johns, thermal top, cotton shirt with long sleeves, wool or synthetic socks, and a bandanna.

Suggested Desert Camping Gear
In addition to the backpack, gear should include:

  • A screen tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles
  • Canister stove and cookware set,
  • Eating utensils
  • Waterproof matches
  • Water bottles (32 oz.)
  • Tablets for treating water
  • Pocket knife
  • Sunglasses
  • First-aid kit
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 15)
  • A towel
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Light colored clothes that breathe well

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Backpacking | Hiking

6 Tips for Reserving a Yurt

by Diane 3. April 2012 18:17

If you’ve never been yurt camping -- or “yurting” as it is sometimes called -- I encourage you to try it. Collect 6 or so of your most adventurous friends or family members and head out for a yurt camping Hot Spot. You can backpack, snowshoe, or ski to your destination. Some groups stay in these sturdy round structures for a weekend, a week, or even a whole season. Duration depends on your desire as well as site reservation policies.

Yurt camping is usually warmer and drier than tent camping but perhaps more rugged and exciting than reserving a cozy cabin or vacation rental. Parks and wilderness areas with yurts have a range of accommodations. You may find that you have indoor heat, fluffy beds, lamps, or even wood burning stoves in some places, but only wind beating against cold vinyl walls in others. Your level of adventure is up to you.

Here are some tips to help you reserve a yurt for your next outing:

  1. Choose a location that matches your group’s ability and interests. Some yurt locations require no more effort than stepping out of your car, while others require a long steep uphill ski to reach camp.
  2. Call ahead or check the internet for available reservation dates. Your destination may be available all year long or exclusively during winter months.
  3. Learn about your site’s amenities before you make your reservation. It would be unfortunate to backpack several miles, only to arrive at your yurt and discover you don’t have a clean water source.
  4. Try to reserve your yurt a few months in advance. You may be required to submit a reservation form before your local yurt season even begins.
  5. If you are a dog lover, check your destination’s pet policy. It could be the case that you’ll need to bring a leash or leave your 4-legged friends at home.
  6. Find out the best method for making your reservation. Depending on the preferences of the folks who manage your yurt, you may need to reserve your spot online, pick up the phone, mail in a form with payment, or bring cash with you.

There you have it! Keep an eye on these details and plan ahead. You’ll be in good shape to relish the magic of yurt camping. It’s a unique and delightful way to spend time in the outdoors with your favorite people.

Are you already a yurt camping pro? Submit some of your Hot Spots to Backcountry Secrets, and let us know about your reservation experiences!


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