Head Sokz Face Mask Review

by Kade 11. December 2008 23:42

If you are looking for the best face mask, you have to try this thing called Head Sokz. You can find them at http://www.headsokz.com/.

I've owned one of the original Head Sokz for going on 12 years now. The wind does not penetrate these things. I use mine in temperatures well in the negative teens and my head does not get cold. Mine is now getting to the point that it is wearing a little thin, but I still continue to use it.

The Head Sokz can be worn as a scarf, nose/mouth cover, open face mask, closed face mask (pictured above), or just as a long cap. There are two different pull strings that allow the user to pull it tight or leave it open. I have also used mine as a bag by pulling the neck hole shut and using the face opening to put things in.

The only draw back to wearing one of these is if you swivel your head, you cannot see out the sides very well because the mask does not move with you when it's not tightened down; kind of like a helmet. However, when I wear ski goggles with them, I don't have this problem.

If you plan on doing any cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, or winter camping, I'd say this is a must have item.

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Columbia Lhotse Parka Review

by Kade 25. November 2008 23:36

My old winter coat finally gave up the ghost. The zipper no longer works. This always seems to happen when I buy the discount coats from places like Wal-mart. This year I finally decided to take the leap and purchase a nice coat. I started searching the web and determined to purchase the Lhotse Men's Parka from Columbia.

The description for the coat reads:

Pull on the Columbia Men’s Lhotse Mountain Parka and have the ability to swap layers to suit changing conditions. This versatile winter jacket features a waterproof breathable Omni-Tech shell with a snap-in fleece liner, so you can use one or both jackets depending on the weather. A zip-off storm hood and underarm zip vents provide even more climate control, and the adjustable powder skirt seals out blowing spindrift when you hit the slopes. Stash your optics in the interior goggle pocket, and keep your wallet or keys safe in the zippered security pocket.

Now I don't know if I would go as far as to say that this is a "Parka" in the sense that an Eskimo would want to wear this in -40 degree weather, but this morning it was in the teens. I rode my bike to work wearing this coat and did not get cold.

A few things I wish were different are the length and the pockets. It could use an extra two inches on the bottom of the coat, and the pockets on the outer jacket liner are not real comfortable to use. The size of the pockets and the number of pockets are wonderful though.

I'd give this coat a 3.5 out of 5.

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Building an Igloo

by Kade 24. January 2008 23:00

Have you ever camped on a freezing cold night in a tent and thought, "There has to be a better way to do this"? Well there is! Snow caves, tipi's, and igloos.

If snow caves make you claustrophobic and you're not fortunate enough to have the luxury of a tipi (or cannot haul it into the back country), then you need to look into igloos.

In my opinion, igloos are another inspired dwelling from above. Honestly, who thinks of piling snow in a circle to build shelter from the cold? No, I don't even think the Eskimo on the potato chip commercial who wouldn't share was smart enough to think up the igloo on his own. These dwellings are amazing. They are quiet, easy to build, and have an amazing amount of light on the inside.

Ok, so by now you are probably thinking, but "HOW DO I MAKE ONE?" It's easier than I thought! All you need to do is visit Grand Shelters Icebox at http://www.grandshelters.com/ and have a look at their igloo building tool.

You fill this tool with snow, start going in circles and before you know it you'll have an igloo! My only piece of advice is, once you start building one, don't stop. If you let it sit for too long unfinished, gravity will pull your walls down.

You'll be the hit of the neighborhood if you build one of these! Do us a favor and paint www.BackcountrySecrets.com on the side to let your friends know about us. Or you could paint it yellow and say you saw a really big polar bear roaming the streets.

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Camping | Gear

Winter Camping Food and Water

by Kade 14. November 2007 22:39
Food and water are essential to survival when it comes to winter camping. The food and water you eat and drink is what keeps your body warm. It also gives you the energy you need to play and work in the cold. When winter camping here are some suggestions to make your food and water more enjoyable:
  1. Don't let your water freeze. This can be done by keeping a bottle of water on your person.
  2. If you must melt snow for water, poor in some liquid water before trying to melt snow. This will help prevent the burning of the snow. Burnt snow water tastes nasty.
  3. Bring insulated utensils, cups, and plates. Wooden spoons, plates and cups are great for winter cooking and eating. Most of the food you cook will feel extremely warm to your hands while winter camping so it is a good idea to insulate before grabbing.
  4. Plan meals that are high in protein. Milk, Eggs, Steak and other meats are great fuel and taste great for winter camping dinner meals. Lunches may consist of nuts, trail mixes, and peanut butter & honey sandwiches.
  5. Use lots of margarine for cooking. Vegetable oil fat in the body causes the body to release heat and energy more slowly.
  6. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration causes your body to lose it's heat producing ability.
  7. Plan meals with fast cooking food. Obviously you won't have a microwave, but planning meals that can cook fast will help you stay warm. The more time you stand around cooking, the cooler your body will get. If you plan on cooking hamburger or other meats, you may consider cooking them before you get there and just warming them up at your campsite.
  8. Drink soup and hot drinks for warmth. Soups and hot drinks will not only bring your body core temperature up, but will also provide you with much needed liquids. If you are not a fan of hot chocolate, bring some jello and drink it hot. (Who knows maybe the jello will jell up during the night and you won't have to get out of bed when nature calls.)
  9. Never drink alcohol! (I'll go as far as to say even when you aren't winter camping.) Alcohol causes your blood to cool faster and messes with your head. You will need to be able to think clearly while winter camping. Thinking clearly could be the difference between life or death.
  10. Use a cloth or tarp to stand on when cooking. The tarp or cloth will catch items you may drop. Snow is one of the best winter magicians. If you drop something in it, it disappears.

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Camping | Gear

Winter Tent Camping

by Kade 6. November 2007 22:38

Many so-called "outdoorsmen" only consider themselves outdoor goers during warmer weather. However, winter camping can be rather enjoyable if you are properly prepared and know what to expect. The first and most important part of winter camping is selecting a location. Make sure others know where you will be and when to expect your return.

I prefer to camp in snow caves, an igloo, or the Backcountry Secrets Tipi when winter camping. These shelters provide the most insulation from chilly nights. However, if you must sleep in a tent, here are some suggestions to consider:

  1. Be familiar with local laws and regulations for tent camping.
  2. Wind may play a factor. Tops of ridges are wide open to wind storms. These storms may blow equipment around the camp, knock tents over, or make drifts around your vehicles.
  3. Do not camp in the bottom of a valley. Cold air settles downward and the bottom of a valley is the coldest place you can camp.
  4. Look for branches overhead if you are camping in a wooded area. Branches may easily break under the weight of snow and cause injury or even death.
  5. Look for threats of avalanche in the area. Sometimes small cornices can be broken off of nearby drifts to reduce the threat of an avalanche.
  6. When possible point the front of your tent downhill and facing east or south. This helps protect you from wind coming off of a mountain and gives you the most sunlight exposure. If you can't position the door out of the wind, consider building a snow wall to block the wind in front of your tent.
  7. If the ground is not level, you can use shovels or skis and the snow to level a place for your tent.
  8. If the snow is deep enough, dig a hole about 2-3 feet deep in front of your tent. This will allow you to sit up to put on and take off your boots.
  9. Pack snow as far up the side of the tent as possible. Snow will act as insulation and keep you a couple of degrees warmer inside the tent.
  10. Bring a thick sleeping pad if possible. A thick sleeping pad will insulate you from the cold ground. Next to bringing a beanie cap or other warm hat, a thick sleeping pad is probably one of the best ways to stay warm during the night.


Camping | Gear

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