Top 10 Don’ts When You Go Camping with Kids

By Saul Mishkin in Outdoors
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Camping with kids? Since handling kids can be difficult, successfully taking them for camping comes with a sense of self-fulfillment.

10 of the Most Fantastic Winter Walks in the UK

By Saul Mishkin in Outdoors
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It is such a pity that there are people who choose to stay indoors during the winter season oblivious of the fact that they can extremely enjoy the chilly outdoors with lots of exhilarating activities.

Tricks for a Great Camping

By vertigo in Outdoors
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Just like cooking good food, creating a good camping experience that you will remember for years to come is an art. Now that the camping season is at its apex, you have all the reason in the world to start gearing up for the camp you have been planning for quite some time. The cool breeze with the evenings that only get brighter and livelier, the sprouting daffodils and the fresh scent of nature are all more than a clear sign of packing your bags for this camping season. There are a lot of reasons that people find good enough not to go camping such as the ever increasing pressure of work, spending weekends with kids and family, financial limitations to not being aware of where to start from and where to go. There is no end to this list, but when they do eventually spend a weekend camping, the only question that they are left with is why they didn't do it more often? Camping is indeed that fun, exciting and thrilling. There is no putting into words what nature and fresh air can do for you, inside out. So, there isn't no need to hold yourself back. Let's get started with planning the adventure.

What to Bring for a Vacation in the Cabin

By vertigo in Outdoors
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There is no better way to spend your vacation than to spend it in a cabin that lies away from all the hustle-bustle of the city. A holiday spent in the natural surroundings with the sounds of vehicles and people talking replaced by the sounds of trees swaying, birds chirping and sometimes the peaceful silence that you crave so badly when drowning in the humdrum affairs back home is a vacation to look forward to. But sometimes, the sweet fruit that a holiday like this brings to you also comes to you with its set of challenges, the biggest of which can be packing. Whether you are headed to the cabin alone or you have the whole family to take care of, you cannot afford any relaxation when it comes to the intensity of efforts you have to put in to get the right things in place. You have to choose the right outfit and the number of outfits you must pack. You have to arrange for the food, kitchen, and water supplies. You have to consider and reconsider what to take for your and your family's entertainment, and you have to prepare your car for the long ride while making sure you have enough things to help you have a safe journey in the car while on your way to the cabin. All of this is just a small but quite significant part that will define the kind of time you spend in the cabin. It may look like there are a lot of things that you need to do but in the end, when you finally reach the cabin and spend your days in the quietness in the midst of natural beauty you had imagined you would, everything is worth it. To help you make the right decisions and proceed in a step by step manner, so you don't miss out on anything, we come with a list of all the things that you must have for your cabin vacation. What to Pack in the Car: When it comes to traveling with your family, a car is the best option because there is nothing like bonding with your family on a road trip heading together for a beautiful vacation. If traveling alone, it is still preferable you take a car because the amount of stuff that you are going to have will be convenient to carry in a car rather than a bus, train or any other form of public transport. If you already have a place in mind, you must also be knowing the amount of time it would take for you to reach that place. You have to prepare your car accordingly. That being said, here is a list of all the items that you may need during the ride:
  • Relevant documents: This includes the documents for your car as well as the documents that you will need to check into the cabin. If you own the cabin, you have to make sure you have the ownership papers in place.
  • Trash Bags: You will need these to collect all the waste that you make in the car.
  • GPS Device: You must have a GPS in your car to help you navigate easily to the place you are going.
  • Neck pillows and back cushions: If you are in for a long ride having neck pillows and cushions is advised to prevent you from getting jetlagged and your muscles from getting cramps. It is also advisable that during the journey, especially if it is going to be a long one, you stop the car and take short breaks wherever possible. Extended drives tire you more as compared to the ones in which you take breaks.
  • Snacks and a good playlist: It is important that you have something to keep your stomach busy during the road trip. Add to that a good playlist and you have earned yourself a great ride.
What to Pack for Entertainment: There is nothing that would ruin your experience in the cabin more than hearing the words, "I'm bored." You have to gear up and challenge the boredom in the best possible manner by bringing with you all that you prefer doing when seeking entertainment. Whether these items kill boredom in your car or when in your cabin, you will thank yourself for bringing them when you get trapped inside due to the rains or in your car because of a traffic jam. To help you out, here are a few suggestions that you can consider
  • Video games
  • Headphones
  • Novels and magazines
  • Camera with rechargeable battery
  • A deck of UNO cards or playing cards
  • Movies
  • iPod
What to pack for the exploration Once you finally reach the destination where your actual adventure begin. For all the days that you plan to spend exploring the surroundings and the natural beauty of the place around you, you need to have a separate backpack that contains all the essentials. You could either go on a hike or for a simple stroll to explore the areas around your cabin. Whatever outdoor activity it is that you decide to do, there are some things that you must not forget to put in your bag pack
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • First Aid Kit
  • Trail map for wherever you are planning to go
  • Matches and lighters
  • Flashlight with extra, fresh batteries
  • Compass
  • Reusable water bottles
Food: Though packaged snacks and canned food items look like a safe bet, but it is always safer to go with healthier and more nutritious options. MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat is a wonderful food choice that you can not only take for the outings you have during your cabin vacation but can also eat on the days you don't feel like cooking food in the cabin kitchen. There are a lot of reasons why MREs make for a great outdoor food option. MREs or Meals, Ready to Eat are impact resistant and rugged food packs that you can carry anywhere and everywhere without worrying about the food inside getting spoilt or inedible. MREs are manufactured in a hermetically sealed environment. This prevents any type of loss of the nutritional value of the food. Also, it is due to this that the food inside remains unaffected by the external environmental conditions making you feel like you are eating good quality food with homemade taste. MRE packets for the whole day have a calorie count of 1500 which is enough for a single person for a day. You don't have to worry about carrying different cans and packages for food and snacks when you have a day pack of MRE. You also don't need to cut your outing short because you don't have enough food and are quite hungry. MREs have a long shelf life. Depending upon the storage life specified on the packet you can buy an MRE that lasts from 3 days up to 5 years without any loss in the quality of food or the nutritional value. If you come to your cabin once or twice in a year, all you have to do is get MRE packs, store them in your cabin and don't worry about bringing food on your next visit. MREs provide you with a lot of options to choose from when it comes to variety in food, including special dietary requirements such as Halal or Kosher food. There are packs that have full day meals including snacks, beverages such as coffee and milkshakes, water packets and desserts. An MRE box also has utensils which include fork, spoon, and plate. If your cabin kitchen does not have enough utensils for all the people who are waiting to eat, you can go ahead, open packs of MRE and enjoy sumptuous meals. MREs are a great food option which is why they are considered as military foods. They are healthy, tasty and viable when away from home. How to prepare the cabin for the stay Spending some time away from your regular, monotonous life in the nurturing confines of your cozy cabin is the primary objective of your vacation. Since you or anyone apart from you hasn't been inside the cabin (assuming you don't rent your cabin out in your absence) since you last paid your visit, it is only fair to spend the day you arrive (after you've had enough rest, of course!) in getting it all ready for your next stay. Since you do not have a lot of time at hand, and you don't want to spend a majority of your vacation cleaning, you could call housekeeping. You have to get your kitchen ready and make sure it has all the supplies it needs. You need to change the sheets on the bed and maybe the curtains if they are too dusty. Bring along spare tube lights, bulbs and lamps if you know that there is no supply store near your cabin. This will come in handy if the old ones have fused or have stopped working which happens most of the time. If it is a rented cabin, all of this has already been done before your arrival. A cabin you own will have that touch that speaks out that its yours. For those of you who go on extended vacations in rented cabins, you can get along your photographs, your favorite paintings, the flower vase that you love so much, or that blanket you cannot sleep without. Anything that you can make space for in your bags and which will make you feel like the cabin is your personal space is what should make it with you on the vacation. After all, you can only feel snug and cozy in a place that is comforting, and nothing is more comforting like home. Life is all about taking a break from what you do on a daily basis just so you can energize yourself up, rejuvenate your hung spirit and rediscover your love for what you do on a daily basis. Spending some time away from work and your home, seeing the same faces you do every day, making a new temporary home for a short span of time comes with its pleasures. There is something enlivening about creating your space in a new place. When you are with your family, it gives you time to reconnect and bond with each other. You can catch up with each other on things that you were missing out on during the regular days due to preoccupation and work commitments. You already have the whole list of what to pack and how to prepare so just go ahead and get started.

Hill Walking and MRE

By vertigo in Outdoors
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"Happiness and adventure walk on busy feet."

 

Road Trip and MRE

By vertigo in Outdoors
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"Life is like a road trip. Enjoy each day and don't carry too much baggage."

The lure of the open road that goes on and on, endlessly, lined on the two sides by breathtaking landscapes that make you want to stop now and then and spend some time in the middle of nowhere. There is something about road trips that trigger the spirit of becoming an adventurer and an explorer in each one of us. From the mountains, the beaches, to the major cities with excellent tourist spots that attract people from all over the world, the lovely little villages with farms and animals and your beloved grandma's house that smells of love, the possibilities of where a road trip could end up taking you are countless. There is, in fact, no past time that is more relaxing and rejuvenating than taking a road trip. From the different varieties of foods, you can eat to the diverse types of people you can meet to the panorama of natural sights that you can discover, road trips can give you experience and memories of a lifetime. However, no fantastic trip starts or ends without an equally good level of preparation. Of course, you will remember to take with you the essential items such as your smartphones, your pillow, blanket and what not but when it comes to exploring the roads on your wheels, the preparation goes much beyond that. So here we come to you with a full-fledged list of everything that you should take with you on your trip. With the excitement and the thrill that comes with the realization of you taking some days off from your routine and going to do something adventurous and fun, it is easy for you to miss out on remembering to take some things that you will need during the trip. It is these very things that play a huge role in making your drive a lot more pleasant and comfortable. So let's get started! Maps: Yes, road trips are random and sometimes you may not even think where it is where you want to go. At times, you may end up going somewhere entirely different than what you had in mind. We understand the impulse; road trips are bound to make anyone feel that way. However, it is always advisable to have all the maps with you. A GPS or a smartphone map app such as Google Maps is a better option than the paper maps. This is because you cannot possibly have or remember to take a map of every possible place to which you can go. With GPS or Google Maps, no matter where you go, getting the right directions is just a click away. Moreover, you can also look up for the places that you can stop by on the way to admire, which the paper maps may not tell you. You can search for eateries, restaurants, bistros, motels and a lot more. With this kind of convenience, you will not feel directionless. While these devices will help you find the right places and locate the right directions, it'll be good if you also take an actual paper map so you can mark up the places that you have visited or you intend to go. Food and Water: You may think that highways are lined up with good places to eat and moreover, a road trip is all about discovering new places, different kinds of food and what not. We agree, but a road trip is also a lot about taking whichever route you please, going on the not-so-frequented off trail routes to see where they take you. If you are only dependent on the eating places on the highways, you will have no choice but to stick to the main roads. Another thing to consider before you think of not packing any heavy and stomach filling food for a road trip is that at times, the eating joints are not as closely located to each other. As you set out from one place after having a few snacks thinking you'll stop somewhere later to have a fulfilling meal, you may just have to travel a few miles to get to another joint. But at the same time, you may also keep on driving for more than 20 miles at a stretch to finally come to a place that is open and serving good food. Though everyone is prepared for an empty gas tank or a tire puncture, but not having food to eat in case something like this happens is what can turn a happy road trip into a bad one. Therefore, packing food apart from the snacks is necessary. For this purpose, you can consider MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat. These meals, as suggested by their name, Ready to Eat, can be eaten right after they are taken out from the packet. You don't need to heat them as they come with a self-activated heating system. Apart from this, these MRE meals are impact resistant and ruggedized for rough use. They are packed in a hermetically sealed environment so they can keep lying on the back seat of your car, and the nutritional value will remain same as ever. Each MRE meal has 1250 calories that are enough for a person for a day along with an extended shelf life from 3 days to 5 years. They come with snacks, water packets, beverages, halal or kosher, and desserts so even if you don't carry separate packs of snacks and water bottles with you, that's okay. What matters is that with MRE boxes lying there with you in your car, you will have something healthy and tasty to eat right when you feel hungry. Apart from these, it'll be good to carry a few bottles of soft drinks and other beverages you may like. Emergency and Non-Emergency Car Kit: The car emergency kit comprises of the essentials that you will need when your car breaks down unexpectedly. The kit includes:
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Jumper Cables
  • Antifreeze
  • Umbrella
  • Tire Inflator
  • Roadside Emergency Card in case you have it
The non-emergency car kit will include the following:
  • Trash bags so you can stuff all the garbage in them
  • Tissues and napkins
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Laundry bag
  • Travel size toiletries
Your medications: In the excitement of the road trip do not forget to pack in your medications, especially the prescription drugs that you have to take. You can only enjoy any trip or outdoor adventure when you're healthy, so you also need to pack the necessary first aid supplies including some basic medicines that will help in case of emergencies such as:
  • Analgesic
  • Antibiotics
  • Bandages and gauze
Sunscreen and sunglasses: A sunscreen and sunglasses are your best friend during a road trip. You may think that you don't need a sunscreen especially because you will be driving a car. But it is these people who end up getting tanned and at times even sunburnt especially when the sun is shining right ahead of them. Sunglasses are also necessary since they will help in protecting your eyes from the ultraviolet rays and the unwanted glare. The glare that you get when driving on a two-way street at night can reduce your vision. This reduced visibility due to glare has been the cause of a lot of accidents. Weather Apps: Not many people think of downloading any weather app on their phone or iPads when they set out on the road trip. People don't even think about the kind of weather they will be greeted by when they reach their destination. But this is one aspect that you should not ignore. These weather apps will keep you updated about the climatic conditions of the place to which you are heading. If your itinerary involves visiting a hill station, you don't want to be greeted by rain, snowfall or landslide. All of these weather conditions will tie you down and block you in the place until everything goes back to normal. With a reliable weather app, you can make the right decision at the right time and avoid an unwanted fuss. A Playlist you love: You are going on a road trip, and there is no reason to forget to take a self-complied playlist of your favorite songs that you can play while on the move. The music will only add to the lively atmosphere in your vehicle and the happy feeling in your heart. Don't rely on the radio. While it does play some good songs at times, the signal strength varies and dies out completely once you are out in the open outside the city or state boundaries. To help you decide what type of songs to choose, we'll say have a few for every kind of mood. For a happening day, you may want to listen to some funky and upbeat number while for the day it is a little cloudy outside and the cool breeze is blowing in your face, you may want to listen to some soft or romantic tunes and get into that pensive mood. Clothing: The only tip when it comes to packing the right clothes is to go comfy. Pulling up tight jeans as it squeezes your stomach is not the kind of negativity you need on a happy go lucky road trip. Don some soft pants, joggers or a comfy pajama along with a hoodie or a loose t-shirt and get started with one of the best trips that you are about to take. A Camera: And of course the charger. Irrespective of which direction you head into, you will end up making a lot of cherishable memories that you will love looking back to after some time. A camera plays an integral role in creating those memories and then keeping them alive through the photographs. It is great having memoirs of the funny sign boards, farm animals scaling the landscape, the sun setting amongst the mountains or a travel companion sleeping in the weirdest possible way. Electricity Power Inverter: Though kids enjoy a lot on the road trips, at one point of time they do get tired of all the scenery. To keep them engaged, you can carry a laptop or a portable DVD player. Since these items will have to be charged at regular intervals, you need to have an electricity power inverter which will charge anything from your car's battery to a small iPod and electric razor. It will be quite convenient for a long road trip. All that the inverter needs to work is a cigarette lighter. Plug it in and there you go. Have all these things with you and create a road trip that, who knows, may even inspire you to write a story about it?!

A Trip to Lake Tahoe and MREs

By vertigo in Outdoors
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Who doesn't love a getaway that involves admiring the wondrous beauty of the place while enjoying a sport? Lake Tahoe is the resting spot for many adventurers, all round the year because of the outstanding natural beauty accompanied with the hordes of outdoor activities it offers. Roosting high in the mountain ranges of Sierra Nevada and straddling along the borders California, the Aspen and fir tree lined Lake Tahoe becomes the boiling pot of outdoor sports, especially during the winter season which is why people love to make their way to this beautiful place. Now winters in Lake Tahoe region have a broad spectrum of climatic conditions. One day you may find yourself waking up to a bright and sunny day that is a pleasant blend of warmth and cold while the other days you may wake up to robust and severe blizzard winds lashing at your door at the rate of 40 miles per hour. You can spend one day sitting back all relaxed on the beach having a picnic time with your friends and family while the other days you may just need the warm support of the fire burning in the fireplace. Though weather predictions are usually quite accurate and you get to know about the impending occurrence of a winter storm well in time to prepare well you still have to remember that you are on a vacation, away from home where you do not have all the necessary items to help you survive the storm. Apart from these weather changes the alpine elevation also experiences an average of 600 inches of snowfall round the year along with 275 days out of the total 365 when the sun is shining. Therefore, you must make enough preparations beforehand, so you don't have to face any difficulties later. If your winter plans involve heading out to Lake Tahoe to have a fun play-in-the-snow trip with your family, a ski trip or just about any winter sport that one can do, here are a few things that you must throw into your backpack to make the trip a wonderful no-fuss and no-hassle escape into the winter wonderland. Clothing: Since you will be visiting the place during the winter season, the weather will automatically be cold accompanied with a little wetness. To cope with this kind of weather pack the following:
  • Layers of thermal clothing for the upper body
  • Bib / pants that are waterproof and insulated
  • Waterproof ski jackets
  • Sweaters with thick knitting
  • Sweatshirts preferably made of fleece. Though they may get wet, they keep you immensely warm on the inside.
  • Knit scarves
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Pocket hand warmers
  • Goggles and sunglasses
  • After ski sunglasses
  • Woolen and hiking socks. Carry a minimum of 4 pairs. If you're going on an extended holiday, pack even more because the cold weather will not allow them to dry with ease so there is a low chance that you can reuse the socks once they get wet.
  • Hats or woolen caps
Our feet are most vulnerable to the cold, so you have to make adequate preparations to keep them protected. Apart from the thick woolen socks pack thick non-leather boots or snow boots. Make sure that you avoid taking the following:
  • Any item of clothing made of cotton because that offers the least protection against the cold winter weather.
  • Jeans, as they soak in the water and due to the low temperatures, they will freeze, and that will make you feel even colder.
  • Tennis shoes and hiking boots are not meant for the snow as they are not waterproof. Couple them with cotton socks and you have the recipe for a disaster trip.
  • Flip flops. Even if the sun is shining full and bright, flip flops are not what you should wear during the winter season on a trip to Lake Tahoe. Save them for the summer months.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Here is a list of all the medical supplies and toiletries essentials that you need to have for a winter trip to Lake Tahoe:
  • Sunscreen lotion with a good SPF. You may not think that the skin gets affected by the sun during the winter season. Though you may not get tanned, you are still exposed to the ultraviolet radiations, and that can harm the skin.
  • Antiseptic lotion
  • Antibiotic solution
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Bandages of various shapes and sizes
  • Gauze
Sporting gear: Most of the people who go to Lake Tahoe want to take up a winter sport rather than sit back and relax. If that is what you intend to do too, then make sure you pack the right sporting gear. Though there are a lot of resorts in the region as well, if you prefer using your equipment then it is always a better option to carry it with you. You can enjoy hiking in the snow covered alpine ranges of the region, or you can go for skiing as well. Sometimes when you get to the place you decide to do something entirely different than what you had planned. You may have wanted to spend your vacation admiring the natural beauty but looking at the weather conditions you may be driven to go on a hike. So make sure you pack the following:
  • Detailed Maps. Make sure you know how to read the map because it is important to have knowledge about how to identify some symbols in it to make use of it.
  • Magnetic compass
  • Flares
  • Materials that will start fire
Water and non-perishable food supplies: Water and food are paramount for any outdoor trip because you don't want to spend your time dehydrated and malnourished. The best food option that suits all the needs of an outdoor trip is MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat. These food are quite high in nutritional value. They are packed with energy and fulfill your calorie and energy requirement for the day. A single box of MRE has as many as 1300 calories that are enough to keep you up and about. Hiking or trekking in the snow can get taxing, and you may not always have the energy to set up the fire to cook food for yourself or warm the food before consumption. With MRE in your backpacks, you don't even have to take care of that because every pack of Meals, Ready to Eat comes with a self-activated heating system that will warm up your meals like they have been served hot right on your dinner table. The MRE packs have a lot of variety. If you pack a single pack of MRE for the entire day, then you do not need to pack extra snacks and beverages because MRE packs have all of that along with the three meals for the day which include desserts. The MRE packets also come with their set of eating utensils. These features make MRE foods a space saving food option with a lot of variety, high nutritional content and delicious taste. Some MRE packs also come with water packets. If you buy these, then you don't have to worry about an additional supply of water on your trip. In addition to the high nutritional content, ease of carrying, good taste and the ready-to-eat feature, MRE's:
  • Are packed in a hermetically sealed environment, so the nutritional content does not decline with time
  • Have a long shelf life that ranges from 1 day to 5 years
Now that you have the information about what you should and should not pack for a trip to Lake Tahoe, to help enhance your experience, we come to you with some first-hand tips and tricks.
  1. Organize yourself to avoid getting lost: Though you will be taking a physical map with you unless you are a full-on expert in reading the map, you will only spend a lot of time in trying to read and understand it rather than moving ahead, backtracking around the Lake and exploring the surroundings. Don't rely on your iPhone's Siri for she may end up taking you to the wrong place. Google maps are a reliable source of direction in Lake Tahoe region so you can use them.
  2. Drink a lot of water: It is essential to keep yourself as hydrated as you can to keep your energy levels high. If you are hiking in the Tahoe National Forest, it is highly unlikely that you will stumble upon a convenience store where you can find a bottle of water to drink. So be prepared to satisfy your thirst. Go with MRE water packets as we suggested above.
  3. Avoid Crowds: Though Lake Tahoe is crowded mostly during the summer season, you will not find yourself alone when visiting the place during the winters as well. You might want to avoid public holidays and increasing the length of the queue at a popular tourist restaurant. If you want to enjoy your vacation, prefer places that are not so crowded and don't have the tourist price for everything.
  4. Driving around in the region: If you are planning to come by car or to rent one when in Lake Tahoe you must prepare yourself for some stubborn traffic jams by getting the fuel tank of the car filled, emptying your bladder at the rest stops and also having some extra snacks and drinks to treat your tummy as and when you like. If you are stuck for a long time in the jam, opening a pack of MRE won't be a bad option as well. So keep them with you in your car apart from some in your backpack.
Also, if you are renting a car make sure that you have made the reservations and also received a confirmation. Sometimes, overbooking leads to confusion and being without a mode of transport once you have reached the Lake would be heartbreaking.
  1. Make reservations beforehand: If you want to stay at a specific resort or have your dinner at that popular tourist joint, go ahead and make reservations well in advance to avoid inconvenience. It can hurt not to have your wishes fulfilled when on a vacation.
  2. Relax and Enjoy: You are doing all this planning because you want to have a great time when you are at the Lake. Make sure that you achieve this goal. Lake Tahoe is a place that allows you to leave your worries and cares behind and have a genuinely good time in the midst of nature. So make sure that happens. Weave some beautiful memories and come back to Lake Tahoe again, it is healing for your soul!

Useful Survival Lessons For The Wilderness

By vertigo in Outdoors
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Leaning back on our comfortable sofas kept in our living rooms while flipping through the channels on the television with a plate full of our favorite snack in front of us, it is easy to take the utter comfort we live in for granted. All it takes is a push of a button to get a glass full of water, or light up the fireplace. It is also easy to forget how challenging it is for us to live a life out of our comfort zones. Most people like to explore that aspect of the life in which they get to challenge their survival skills and get to know life and the environment outside their comfort zones. People like to take up adventure sports, go on outdoor trips, to backpack, to hike and what not. Outdoor trips are in fact the most common way to fathom the beauty of life by exploring nature. People go on hikes in the jungles and though they are prepared for any and every eventuality that might befall them, the possibility of losing way and getting stranded cannot be kept aside. There are numerous cases in which people lose their way or run out of the necessary supplies, and there is nothing that they can do. These people can still survive. The key to ensuring that the possibility of surviving and emerging as the victor is not overlooked, is, as we have always emphasized, preparation. Thorough preparation along with knowledge of a few survival tricks in the wilderness can make all the difference. You may think you know everything, but nature is unforgiving and forever powerful and to be stuck in a place that people know for its inherent dangers is not at all a fun place to be. Being stuck in darkness with trees all around and a variety of noises reaching your ears can make the bravest of hearts grow faint with fear. Add to that the lack of food and water because after spending a few days in the woods you will run out of your supplies if you have not preplanned about the possibility of getting lost. All of these circumstances are the perfect ingredients to make you go crazy. Nowadays, people are developing an inclination towards going on an adventure trip rather than a relaxing family trip, and this can easily be discerned from how "Survivor", a television show telecast on CBS has become one of the most popular shows watched in American households. Without the necessary experience, it is extremely easy to fall short of information that will help you cope up with a situation as challenging as getting lost in the wilderness. Panic is the enemy of survival, and the only way to keep this feeling at bay is to educate yourself on what you can do in a situation like this. We bring you some amazing survival tips and tricks that will make sure you live to see the day the rescuers come to rescue you if you have lost your way in a wild, unknown territory flushed with trees and wild animals all around you. Communication: Before setting out on your wild adventure, please inform someone about your plans for the next few days. This way there is always someone who knows where you are and when to expect you to be back. In such a case, even if you lose your way and are not back at the date expected, the other person can inform the people who need to be told, and a search for you can begin on the outside. Have a positive attitude: You might not understand the importance of having an optimistic and hopeful outlook unless you find yourself stranded. A negative attitude will take you nowhere further except to steal you of the little hopes and chances you think you have for surviving this adversity. A positive mind, on the other hand, will trigger the right spots and make you come up with alternative solutions of what can and cannot be done in this condition. A realistic and diligently chalked out thought process is equally helpful. If you are trying to do something, say build a fire and you fail, and then you must keep yourself calm and composed or everything is only going to go downhill from there. Pack Inventory: When packing your bags, keep the smallest of items you think you may need in the most impossible of situations. This is because the moment things begin to fall out of order, it is these seemingly trivial things that will have the most significant role to play in ensuring your survival. Do you remember how Brian Robeson in "The Hatchet" made use of his shoe laces to create a neat bow and arrow? And yes, he survived! Build a shelter for yourself: Now that you know you have lost the right direction and despite the best of efforts, there is no way to go back to where you came from, the first step to take to ensure that someone finds you is to stay where you are. Movement in any direction may mean that you're going out of the forest but at the same time, it may also mean going deeper into it. And with no instructions to guide you, it is all the same so just stay put. Now, plan on building a shelter for yourself so you can protect yourself from the rain and sleep in a cozy corner at night. Jungles can get pretty cold at night and sleeping without a covering above your head would mean inviting some health troubles which you certainly do not want when you already are in so much of trouble. Mountainous, rocky, plain, whichever terrain you are going to, look up before departure how to make a shelter using materials that will be present around you if you get lost. Having a backup plan is a great comfort when you have nothing to fall back on. Without that, you will have to spend the next few hours trying to figure out how to get a cover over your head. You can use leaves and twigs to create a blanket covering. To make a bedding to sleep at night you could take some pine needles and set them accordingly. Food and Water Supplies: You cannot last for more than three days without drinking water. Dehydration will take a toll on you which is why it is always a wise option to take extra water supplies with you. If they run out, then you can rely on water from a freshwater stream nearby. Since that water is untreated and possibly polluted, you need to treat it. You can take iodine or chlorine tablets and put them in the water. They will make the water cleaner to a certain extent, but that is the most you can get. Apart from this, you could create a rain catcher for water still using a part of a tree's bark. For food supplies, if you already came with limited supplies you are in for a lot of challenges, food wise. But don't let that happen and take charge of your survival. Instead of traditional food items, you could buy MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat from military stores. These MREs are survival foods that are used by people in the military because they are easy to consume. They come with a self-heat system, so you do not have to worry about not having a hot meal. Since the meals are, as the name suggests, ready to eat, you can consume them on the go. One packet of MRE contains 1300 calories that are enough to give you energy and physical strength for the day. Each pack also comes with its set of eating vessels including plates, fork, spoon, and a variety of eatables that include snacks, beverages, desserts, main course meal. There are MRE packs that come with water pouches inside them, so you do not have to worry about what to drink, and the bags keep you hydrated. The MRE bags are impact resistant and are rugged enough for rough use. They are packed in a hermetically sealed environment, and there is no impact of the weather changes outside on the food inside the packet. This makes the MREs a perfect choice for outdoor trips and they can withstand the weather changes, and you do not have to worry about carrying them roughly. Full day MRE packs come with all the three meals of the day along with water supplies. Having such a pack in your bag when you lose your way can give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction of knowing that you won't die of thirst or hunger. Light fire: Building fire where you are will help in keeping you warm and also protect you from predators. You must know how to create fire with the available resources. Always keep a lighter with you as you can always run out of matchsticks. Gather dry sticks, twigs, green wood, tree boughs or bushes and light them up. To maintain a fire, keep adding dead wood. The one thing you must make sure while building a fire is to keep away from an area that can quickly catch the fire. Keep it small as it is not just safe but also quite easy to maintain because it will need less fuel. Create Signs to call for HELP: Since the only priority when you are lost in the woods is survival you must make the best use of the available resources. To let someone know that you are in need of help, you must first go to open space with no trees covering the area. Grab large tree twigs or stones to create a sign of S.O.S. or HELP. If you have a mirror or any other metallic object that is lustrous, then you can also use that to reflect sunlight to attract attention. Apart from this, you can also use fire to send a signal of distress. You can make the most commonly used and understood sign of distress which are either three fires in a triangle or three fires in a straight line. If you have a whistle, then you can blow it three times in continuity. Firing three shots with a rifle in the air can also be helpful. Scan your surroundings: Though it is not advisable to go to longer distances, exploring your immediate surroundings is a good option. Scouting your surroundings will help you understand where you are. You can also get your hands on some useful things that might have been left behind by a traveler before.

Outdoors and MRE: Backcountry Camping

By vertigo in Blog XMRE, Outdoors
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"Two roads diverged in the wood and I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference."

Now, that you have qualified to become an experienced camper after having made some great memories in your car camping and RV camping trip it is finally time to gear yourself up for the venturesome backcountry camping trip. No different from traditional camping, except of course you are not at a traditional camp site with ten other camping groups flocking the area, neither do you have the access to the very convenient water supplies and restrooms. Backcountry camping is all about getting up on your foot and tracing the less taken trails. It is all about witnessing nature at its best and in its rawest form, untainted and untarnished by the artificiality of human existence. Primitive camping is another name that is given to backcountry camping because it requires you to develop some survival skills while exploring the isolated regions of the forests. You need to be an experienced camper or have some experience when it comes to an outdoor adventure activity because surviving out in the open can come as a mighty challenge to people who are a tad bit too settled in the comforts of their homes. What you need to remember while planning for the a backcountry camping trip is that it is no picnic. A lot of efforts and preparations are involved in preparing yourself for the possible dangers of backcountry camping. And no matter how hectic preparing for it may seem, it is all just to ensure that you have nothing but fun on your trip. Here is a list of some much-needed tips and tricks that promise to make your experience a lot more smooth and memorable.
  1. Starting with some extra trash bags, they will come in extremely handy when you are making sure that you abide by one explicit rule of backpacking which is not to leave any mark behind. Moreover, they are quite light in weight and do not add anything when allotted a small corner in your big backpack. What they can also help with is that you can use them as a makeshift poncho or even instant pack covers which you will need in case it rains. Another thing that these multi-purpose trash bags can be used for is to collect rain water which can further be used by you during the trip.
  2. Telescopes or binoculars with an extensive range can help you like you wouldn't assume. Most of the times people forget to pack them thinking they don't need them, but when you are exploring the backcountry, then you cannot ignore that river fordings, rocky terrain and outcrop regions can easily fall in your path. Yes, backcountry camping is all about being energetic and ready for all the physical workout but being just a little kind to your knees, and ankles and the rest of your body in short will only do good to you. You will feel tired irrespective of that so why to add to it. A telescope or a binocular in your backpack will guide you on the right path avoiding all the exhaustion.
  3. Mosquito bites are the worst thing to deal with on any outdoor trip. They get on your last nerve, and you end up using a lot of mosquito repellant. Consider yourself lucky if it lasts you the whole trip unless of course you have taken a big bottle. If not then there certainly is no need to worry. All you need to do to deal with these irritating creatures is to look for bay laurel or elderberry bushes. Pluck some leaves from the bush and rub yourself with them. You will do so much better with the rub than without it.
  4. If you ever wonder that the weight of the backpack can be owed to the heaps of items you are carrying with yourself then remember that it is not always the case. Sometimes, you have not packed it the way it needs to be packed which is the cause of all the imbalance and the struggle while carrying it around. What you need to do is sort all the items according to their weight. Now, take the heaviest ones and pack them close to your spine, yes not at the bottom but closer to your spine. While packing them all at the bottom of the backpack can interfere with your centre of gravity making it easier for you to lose your balance and fall, carrying them close to your spine will give you stability.
  5. We are all for keeping your body hydrated, especially during outdoor activities such as backcountry camping but nevertheless you also have to balance that with your skill for survival. The nights can get cold and with no roof covering your head, keeping warm can be a struggle. One trick that will help you through it is not to drink a lot of water before going to sleep.
  6. Food: The biggest mistake that people make is not being able to make wise choices when it comes to picking what food to take along. More often than not, it is canned and packaged products. If you are planning to prepare your meals, then that only adds to the weight of all the equipment you need to have. By just shifting your focus from these canned foods to MREs or Meals, Ready to Eat you can do so much better regarding taste, weight, nutrition and convenience. There are some definite advantages that MREs enjoy over any other food for an outdoor trip.
As much as you might like preparing meals by setting up a campfire, you know that preparing food when not in your kitchen is quite tiring especially if you are alone or in a small group. The central idea of cooking a fresh meal is that you think you will consume more nutrients, and the food will be hot. MREs or Meals, Ready to Eat are a superior alternative and here's why. These meals are ready-to-eat right out of their packs. In case you want to eat a hot meal then you don't have to worry about treating them with boiling water or anything like that. These meals come with a self-heating system that is activated as soon as you open the packs. Each box of MRE is brimming with nutrients to make sure you get the required supply of proteins, vitamins and minerals for the day. The packages are convenient to carry, and you don't need extra utensils as they come with them. You don't have to carry spare water bottles because some MRE packs come with water bags. They also have beverages and desserts. The best part about MREs is that they are rugged and impact resistant. Also, they last for a long time, and no matter when you consume them before their expiry, you will be eating a healthy and tasty meal. To get hold of MREs, you need to rush to a military convenience store or check our XMRE products. Apart from MREs, you could choose some high-calorie snacks like dark chocolate, nuts, apricots and cheese because as compared to the small space they will occupy, they will indeed act as a significant supplier of calories. For water supplies, you can go with MRE water bags. You should also take water purifying tablets with you because you never know when you might run out of the water and before you fill your bottles up from a natural source you need to make sure that it is of drinkable quality.
  1. For a pillow, you could take a sack bag and stuff it with your clothes, so it works as one. This way, you can save a significant amount of space when it comes to packing. Alternatively, you can also take an inflatable pillow that you can inflate while sleeping and deflate, wrap and stuff it in your bag during the day. If inflating balloons is not a problem for you, this is the best option.
  2. Do not be too excited about the new hiking boots because with them on your feet you will end up with blisters. So no new footwear for an outdoor trip and let's just leave it as it is.
  3. Do not ignore the fickleness of weather and prepare accordingly. It is sunny today, but tomorrow is whole another story. Rainy weather is the worst enemy of any outdoor trip so make sure that you carry a small umbrella and waterproof packs to safeguard your essentials. Waterproof clothing will help you but not if the rain Gods are a little too generous. However, having them in your bag is never a bad idea.
  4. When choosing a backpack befitting your backcountry camping requirements you might get drawn to the extra zippers, pockets and buckles. Well, just to let you know you will do a lot better without them because all they do is add to the weight and unwanted clutter that you won't necessarily need. So before you choose the right backpack for you, it will be good if you would figure out what you are taking and how much space it will need. Over packing is as big a blunder as under packing.
  5. A whistle will take up a tiny space in your pocket or no space while simply hanging around your neck but will be quite useful because you can use that to scare animals away if you feel their presence in your vicinity. You can also use it to shout out for help or locate your group just in case you lose your way too deep into the wild.
  6. While maps, compass and GPS are relied upon to find your way into and out of the wilderness, it would be of great help to you if you don't solely rely on those. You must study the area you are going to and use the knowledge to judge which way to proceed and which to avoid.
These tips and tricks may seem insignificant in front of the big trip that you are going to undertake but knowing these little things and using them to your advantage is what marks the difference between a fulfilling, happy trip and a not so happy one. Pack your bags keeping these in mind and there is no way you won't have a good time out there. Cheers!

Geocaching and MRE

By vertigo in Outdoors
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"To travel is to live."

There is nothing in the world that is as rejuvenating and uplifting as is travelling to far of lands in search of something you don't know. Travelling opens you up to dimensions you didn't know existed. It makes you more experienced, more fun and more understanding. It is through travelling that you learn. And to make this journey more adventurous is what geocaching is all about. Described as one of the most outstandingly incredible outdoor recreational activities geocaching is more or less a game. In this the participants or more precisely the Geocachers use navigation tools or devices such as a GPS receiver (Global Positioning System) or any other mobile device to hide and look for containers that are known as "geocaches" or simply "caches." What is exciting about this outdoor activity is that it spans over the entire world because the Geocaches can be hidden anywhere in the world with no boundaries or limitations whatsoever. A traditional Geocaches is composed of a container that is waterproof. Inside the containers are a pen or a pencil and a logbook. Every Geocacher, who is successful in locating and unearthing the cache, takes that logbook out, registers the date on which they found it, signs it and then puts it back exactly where they found it. Sometimes the geocache may be much larger than just a waterproof box. Such boxes contain souvenirs such as playthings and knickknacks signifying the sentimental value of the geocacher who might have placed it there in the box while making his entry when he found it. Geocaching is one of the most exciting ways of getting to know the world and its people better in an entirely unique way, with adventure and fun infused in it. It is one activity that not only lets you travel but also enables you to play a little game of treasure hunting, the treasure being something unknown that someone might have hidden at a place you don't even know. There are a large number of people who go on geocaching trips to get a break from their lives and travel to locations in the lookout for their caches. For those who love exploring the earth or enjoy travelling and like to pursue engaging outdoor activities individually, Geocaching is an excellent alternative that combines both the interests. While the journey and the total activity in itself is a thoroughly reviving experience, there are a few tips and tricks that make that possible. If you have planned to go on a geocaching trip and leave a mark behind in a logbook that someone may find in say a hundred years from now all packed up in a plastic box then here is everything that you need to know about it from tips to etiquettes to the packing list. Here are some basic steps that you need to complete before you do anything else:
  1. Since geocaching is done using a navigating tool, what better than a GPS? So if you don't have one, buy it. Even your smartphone that has a GPS will suffice.
  2. This incredible sport has a myriad of websites dedicated to it. What you need to do is create an account on one of these websites, if needed and get an access to all the information you need regarding where to begin. These sites have caches list along with some exclusive features that will help ease your find. Some websites offer access to some useful functions only to their premium members. So you could also become a member of one of these to get your hands on the information.
  3. Once you become a member of one such geocaching website all you need to do is create your list of caches located in the places you desire to go. Since Geocaches are everywhere, you don't have to worry about going to a place where they are not present. Whether or not you can find them is a different story.
  4. Since geocaching is an activity that requires interest, it is important for you to choose a place that you will like to explore. Make a record of all the information about that location and also, use the website to find out the difficulty level of that area. Some places have caches hidden in areas that are not easy to find. So if you are not an experienced geocacher, you might want to start with locations that are easier.
  5. Using information from the web page of the cache, mark the latitude and longitudinal coordinates of where the cache is.
Here are some tips that you must keep in mind while on a geocaching trip:
  1. If it is your first time going on a geocaching trip, then you might want to analyze the difficulty level considering both the terrain and the geocaches.
  2. To add more excitement and increase your curiosity, choose a cache that people have marked as their favorite.
  3. Choose a cache that someone has found in the recent times as this will make sure that the cache is where it is supposed to be.
  4. Geocaches are a game of hiding and seeking, but they are much more than just hiding behind a wall or under the table which is why despite all the information about where they might be not all the geocachers can find them. So whenever you think you have reached the exact point, scan everything carefully. Caches are not out there waiting for you to see; they need some scanning as they are placed in a way that they look like a part of the landscape. If you even slightly overlook a tiny space, you might just miss it.
  5. Geocaching helps you learn a lot of new things. Try to connect with other geocachers as that will assist in forming a communication to exchange facts and knowledge about the caches they have found and the ones you have found. You'll also get to know a lot of interesting stories.
  6. Though the boxes might contain a pen or a pencil, in any case, you must not forget to bring one with you.
Follow these geocaching etiquettes:
  1. When you find the cache, take a good look at it to analyze exactly how it was placed because there is a significance of why the owner hid it at that particular point in that particular way. Geocaching is a game, and you have to play it in the right spirit to be a good player.
  2. Another important thing about geocaching is that this is not Hansel and Gretel where you can drop bread crumbs or just anything for that matter so that the next geocacher may have an easy way to the cache. Make sure that you do not leave behind anything that is not supposed to be there that way. Remember, leave no trace behind!
Here goes the packing list:
  1. Extra batteries and power charger: Since you will be using GPS for as long as you will be geocaching it is important for you to begin your packing with collecting batteries. You must know how long a fully charged battery lasts so you can pack accordingly. Also, before you pack, make sure that you check all the batteries if they are working or not. If you are planning to use the GPS on your phone, you need to have a power bank/ charger that can charge the batteries when they are drained out.
  2. TOPO maps: Upgrade your GPS with all the topo maps of the region you are going to, so you don't have much trouble finding the small paths.
  3. Paper: Pack some sheets so that you can make notes while you are on the go. Write down the cache names on it so it is easier for you to remember. Jot down any important milestone that you may find on your way so you can add it to your geocaching journal later.
  4. Waterproof packs: Since Geocaching is an outdoor activity that requires you to walk around and explore you have to remember that the more time you spend out there in the open, the more prone you are to the risk of weather changes.
Since you have tools including your smartphone or GPS, batteries or power bank, you have to carry a waterproof bag so you can secure these items in when it rains.
  1. Food and Water: Geocaches are anywhere, from densely populated cities to a lifeless wasteland. So you have to stock up on your food and water supplies. Prefer taking MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat as they are impact resistant and ruggedized for extreme use. Each MRE pack has approximately 1250 calories and that level never comes down due to their packing in the hermetically sealed environment. MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat come in lots of varieties and contain tasty food that also includes desserts, snacks, and beverages. They also carry water packets. If not then you can easily buy MRE water packs separately. You don't have to worry about heating an MRE meal before you eat because of their self-heating system. Since you can eat them on the go, and because they are so convenient and light in weight MREs are the perfect choice for any outdoor trip.
  2. Trinket: To make the trip more enjoyable, you could take an item that you want to place in the box, so others after you find it. Make sure it is something the inspires the curiosity of the people who find it after you. If the items placed in the box follow a particular theme, information of which you will get from the cache's webpage, then take an article that follows that theme.
  3. Clothing: The kind of clothes you pack for the trip depends mostly on the type of weather conditions of the place you are going to. Depending upon the heat or cool factor pack accordingly. Always make sure that you pack for some unpredictable changes in weather that mostly occur in the form of rain. Therefore, also, pack a waterproof jacket, waterproof boots, extra pair of jeans and socks. Overshoes are a great idea too. Walking in wet shoes is uncomfortable, especially when you have to do it all day long. You could also take some plastic bags and if it starts to rain or you have to walk through a place with water puddles you could wear them over your shoes so they won't get wet.
Once you have all these items packed in your backpack, with a positive attitude and the spirit of adventure you are sure to make just as many entries in your cache logbook as you had planned, if you are lucky enough then may be even more!
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