Forget Poker Night, Spend Your Next Guys’ Night Out in the Woods

by Kade 31. July 2013 20:12

The male bonding ritual started with cave dwellers beating their chests in unison. Today’s men don’t exactly beat their chests to make a connection, but the need to bond is just as important. It is a testosterone-infused process that enhances the male to male relationship whether casual or full-on bromance.

There are standards for male bonding events—seeing a game, hitting a bar or playing poker—these are all traditional ways for the male of the species to get together and be, well…male. When it comes time for the next ritual, you should try thinking outside four walls, and take the party outdoors for a night of camping.

Camping at Klondike

Photo of camping at Klondike by Zachary Collier via Flickr

Why Go Camping?

The question is as complex as male bonding itself. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that 90 million residents enjoyed wildlife-related recreation in 2011. There must be something fun going on out there.

It is a cost effective way to spend some time with the boys—no budgeting for tips or cover fees to get into clubs. There is versatility in camping. You can hike, fish, hunt, swim—there is a little something there for everyone. Camping builds trust too, and that is what creates bonds. You must rely on one another when out in the woods.

How to Get Started?

How does one go about setting up a camping trip? It starts with location. Finding the right spot makes or breaks the trip. If just planning to go out for one night, check with your local park and recreation department to see what campsites are available. Recreation.gov is an online resource to find parks and campgrounds in the area or you can just use our site - visit backcountrysecrets.com.

Those looking for a long-term male bonding event can consider some of the more well-known camping adventures. Yosemite, for example, offers campgrounds and cabins to create a memorable experience. While there, you can bike, climb and go rafting. Disney World in Florida has a resort dedicated to campers. Fort Wilderness allows you and your buds to experience nature while enjoying the theme parks and other Orlando sites.  (but really is that truly a night out in the woods?)

Tips for Camping

Educate yourselves about safety. This is important no matter how you plan to spend your time but critical if going hunting. Consider an online safety course for you and your friends. Safety education at Huntercourse.com, for example, provides online training and testing.

Research your destination before you go. This will not only help you and the boys get organized but is also an important safety tip. You need to know where the closest ranger station is in case of unexpected emergencies. Figure out what there is to do in the area, as well. That way, you don’t waste time wandering around looking for the hot spots.

Pack wisely with essentials like sunscreen and water bottles. How you do you plan to cook? Do you need a camping stove or are you going to just build a fire? Find recipes to take with you, and make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and cooking utensils.

Add camping to your list of bonding rituals geared to enhance your male friendships. Nights out with the boys makes for relationships that last a lifetime, and camping might just be the perfect adventure.

Tags:

Camping | Outdoor Safety

Adventurers Beware: Five Items That Could Save Your Life

by Kade 2. August 2012 21:26

The following is a guest post from Haleigh Adams.  Haliegh Adams is a professional writer. She frequently writes for BladeOps.com and has a special interest in knife collecting and the outdoors.

If you’re an adventurer planning a trek into the back country, you probably want to travel with as little weight as possible. As much as you want keep your backpack and clothing light, there are some items that are invaluable in an emergency. Here are five items that could save your life:

1. Water and food

The most important item of these two essentials is water. If the weather is hot, dehydration can cause physical distress within an hour. In extreme heat, an adult can lose as much as 1.5 liters (about .4 gallons) of water just by sweating. If you’re far from your vehicle or base camp, there won’t be nearly enough time to make it back. Even if it’s cold outside, physical exertion can cause you to sweat and become dehydrated. Even without sweating, a human can only last a few days without water.

You can certainly survive longer without food than water, but it’s still a good idea to bring enough food to last a week. Energy bars are lightweight and provide nutrients and calories if you get stranded.

2. Navigational system

Carry some form of navigation in case you get lost. This could include a map, compass or a GPS system. If you carry a GPS system, carry a paper map and compass for backup in case you can’t get a signal.

3. Cell phone

Adventurers today have a big advantage over their counterparts several years ago. Provided you can get reception, a cell phone can enable you to summon help if you get into a dangerous situation. If you’re far away from civilization or in mountainous terrain where it’s difficult to get a signal from a tower, a satellite phone can be a lifesaver.

4. Blanket

Many hikers neglect to bring a blanket during warm weather, figuring that they’ll never need it. In many locations, the temperature can dip dramatically at night. It’s also good to have a blanket in case you fall into cold water and need to get warm. Many natural springs have extremely cold water even in the summer.

5. Protection

Some adventurers are so intent on packing their bags that they forget to protect themselves. Hiking sandals may be cool and comfortable if you’re close to civilization, but if you’re in locations where there might be snakes, you’ll need better protection. Wear a sturdy pair of high-top hiking boots and something to protect your calves. If it’s winter, wear heavyweight jeans tucked into your boots. In the summer, a pair of heavy, knee-high hiking socks can protect your lower legs.

Tags: ,

Gear | Knives

Hazardous Wet Weather Camping

by Kade 4. February 2012 07:23

About 4 years ago I wrote a post containing wet weather camping tips.  One thing I failed to mention is that wet weather can become hazardous.  Here are some tips to consider when you are considering wet weather camping.

1.  Determine how wet it is actually going to be.
The first and most important thing to do when anticipating wet weather for camping is to determine how wet it is actually going to be.  You need to ask yourself, is it going to be a light rain, or are there possible flash floods?  This will help you determine where you should set up camp. 
www.nws.noaa.gov or www.weather.gov are great sites to plan for what weather will be in the area.

2.  Have an alternate plan.  Don't be afraid to cancel.
Having an alternate plan or location to go camping can make all the difference between disappointing your children and creating a lasting family memory.  However, don't be afraid to cancel an activity if the weather is going to be so wet that it could threaten your survival.

3.  Determine if lightning is going to be a factor
Lighting is deadly. Dozens of people die in the US every year from lightning strikes.  Make sure you are not the highest object, standing near, or under the highest object.  Lightning can strike within 10 miles of a thunderstorm.  If you can see it, flee it.  Hear it, clear it.  If you can't get away put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low like a baseball catch with your hands on your knees.  Spread out everyone in your group at least 100 ft.  If someone gets hit in your group, it is safe to give CPR because they will not hold a charge.

4.  Thunderstorms can turn in to hail storms, and it hurts like hail
If you are trapped outdoors, get under cover, but remember to avoid lightning danger.  Hail can range in size from pea-sized to larger than a softball and can quickly change in size during a storm.  I once got hit in the head with a golf ball size piece of hail while trying to get out of a hail storm.  Those things knock you loopy and can cut you open.

5.  Beware of flash floods
Flash floods can turn a dry area in to a raging river in minutes.  If flash floods are expected, never set up camp in low areas or near water.  If you are hiking, especially a canyon, watch for rain upstream from you.  Last but not least, don't drive in to water as it only takes a few inches of moving water to sweep a car off of a road.

Lastly, just a quick reminder about the difference between a weather warning and a weather watch.
Warnings - The hazardous weather is actually occurring.  "Warning. A tornado has been spotted."
Watch - The hazardous weather might occur.  "Watch for tornadoes."

Tags:

Camping | Weather

A Guide to Buying Hiking Boots

by Kade 22. November 2011 18:50

Feet are complex and therefore expert guidance is advisable when buying walking boots. There is a lot to consider when buying hiking boots because everybody’s feet are different and one person’s feet might not fit an average shaped pair of shoes.  It is good to consult with specialists in footwear when buying boots as they can direct you to personalized boots with custom molded footbeds, heel lifts and volume reducers.

This is good to know when it comes to buying hiking boots, as they are probably the most important part of your hiking gear.  If you can’t walk comfortably, you’re not going very far! Good footwear can also prevent injury and improve your performance, keeping your mind on the scenery rather than sore feet!

Here are some tips to consider when buying walking boots:

  • Make sure your footwear will provide secure footing on rough ground. Consider the terrain where you’re going and the type of activity you’ll be doing.
  • Your boots need to be durable.  Pay attention to materials which will survive climbing and gripping rough terrain.
  • Comfort is important. After walking for long periods you don’t want your boots to rub or cause sweating.
  • Often when hiking you could be up and down hills and near water and so your footwear needs to be able to adapt.
  • On easier terrain fabric and suede are suited.
  • Plastic boots are good waterproof shoes and help keep your feet warm in cold climates.
  • Your footwear should be supportive.
  • Make sure the material and size fit well and allow for movement.
  • Pay attention to features of the materials such as breathability, waterproof, etc.

There are many different types of men and women’s hiking boots available.  By applying these points, you should be able to find the perfect pair for your next outdoor adventure.

Tags: , ,

Gear | Hiking

Enjoying Swimming Holes

by Kade 25. August 2011 23:04

Ah, the old swimming hole. Just hearing those words evokes images of happier, simpler times - sipping on a glass of ice-cold lemonade, dangling your feet in the clear, cool water, just watching the world go by. There is nothing to compare with lazily leaning back against the trunk of an old oak tree with a contented sigh, enjoying the age-old dance of the dragonflies along the water's smooth glass-like surface, until a fish bobs up in search of a quick lunch, leaving rippled rings in its wake.

In today's pristine perfect chlorinated pool obsessed world, enjoying the pleasure of an old-fashioned swimming hole is in danger of becoming merely a quaint remnant of days long past. There is no better way to reconnect with the natural world than by spending some time immersed in the beauty and serenity of a natural fresh body of water. Water has a calming effect on the soul, and it is much more cost-effective than therapy.

There is something deeply freeing and primal about jumping headlong into a swimming hole. If you are lucky enough to have access to one complete with a dock, let your inner child shine through as you thump down those weathered gray boards, as many generations of swimmers have done before you. Then, without the hesitation that comes with attaining adulthood, give a loud whoop! and fly through the air as a jumble of flailing limbs, taking in a sharp breath as you are enveloped by the cool, inviting waters. The bigger the splash the better! Triumphantly rise to the surface, shaking your head like a long-haired dog and - what the heck - run back and do it again!

If by now you are panting and out of breath, float on your back and let the gently rolling waters lull you into a state of complete relaxation. Listen to the symphony of the birdsong, and watch as clouds pass across the face of the sun, alternating light and shadow over the entire landscape. Revel in the knowledge that humans have been engaging in this activity since the dawn of time, and know that you are part of an unbroken link spanning back thousands of years.  Head over to our list of swimming holes and find one near you to head out today.

Tags:

Swimming

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