orange sun in sky

Sunshine Dilemma – SPF vs. UPF: What’s The Difference?

Most of us love waking up and seeing bright, beautiful sunshine waiting for us outside. That warming sun can provide endless opportunities for beach trips, hiking, and other fun outdoor activities. 

While thinking about the countless adventures you can have on warm, sunny days, it’s also worth sparing a thought for your skin; specifically, how to protect it.

kayak fishing at dawn

What’s So Dangerous About the Sun?

There must be a reason why we lather ourselves in sunscreen and wear sun hats and skin protection sleeves. It’s because the sun can be dangerous. However, not everyone understands how hazardous it can be and the repercussions of poor sun safety. 

fiery sun

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in skin, eye, and immune system damage. Sunburn and excessive UV light exposure can also result in skin damage, which might cause premature skin aging and even skin cancer

The Sun’s Ultraviolet Rays

UV radiation type chart

Earth’s atmosphere absorbs UVC (Ultraviolet-C) rays , so we don’t need to worry about those. However, long-term exposure to UVA (Ultraviolet-A) rays can cause wrinkling, aging, and skin elasticity loss.

UVB (Ultraviolet-B) rays can increase your risk of skin cancer compared to UVA rays. However, UVA rays may increase UVB’s damaging effects, like cataracts and skin cancer. 

CDC UV Rays graphic

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Sun Protection Factor (SPF) vs. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

So, what’s the difference between SPF and UPF?

Well, let’s take a look at what differentiates them…

sun and clouds

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

Sun protection factor is a rating included on sun protection products for skin, like sunscreen and lip balm.

This is because the SPF rating measures how much protection a product can provide against UVB radiation, the UV ray known to cause sunburn and contribute to a skin cancer diagnosis. 

SPF 50 sunscreen

Most SPF products like sunscreens and lotions are produced for the sole purpose of preventing sunburn. Whether you’re hiking or relaxing poolside, SPF products can be crucial to wear at all times. 



Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF)

In contrast to SPF, the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is a rating for UV radiation that penetrates fabrics to get to the skin. It factors in UVA and UVB radiation, whereas SPF only factors in UVB.

UPF is something you might see mentioned on the labels of sun-protective clothing items like specific fabrics and hats. The higher the UPF rating, the less UV radiation can pass through the material.  Like SPF, UPF products are designed to prevent sunburn. However, they also aim to reduce the risk of skin damage. 




How to Protect Yourself From the Sun’s Harmful Rays

As much as we love spending time outside basking in the sun’s rays, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep ourselves safe when we do.

You can take a number of proactive measures to protect yourself and your family whenever you venture outside for relaxation or outdoor activities

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging effects. It’s also one of the most effective ways to prevent sunburn while reducing the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. 

However, what you use and how you use it matters in your bid to enjoy sun protection.

sunscreen in hand

Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to all exposed skin. Ensure it has an SPF rating of at least 30. Remember, the higher the number, the more protection you can enjoy.

Seeing broad-spectrum on the label can also give you peace of mind that the sunscreen can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays. 

Re-applying the sunscreen every two hours will help maintain its protective barrier. However, you’ll need to apply it more frequently if you’re sweating, participating in swimming or other water sports, or exposed to moisture in other ways. If you don’t like the feeling of sunscreen on your lips, purchase an SPF lip balm for total protection. 






Wear Protective Clothing

The less skin you expose to harmful UV rays, the more protected you can be. Alongside applying sunscreen to any exposed skin, you can also wear protective clothing.

Long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts with skin protection sleeves, pants, sunglasses, and hats can all be excellent options. You might also like to purchase clothing and accessories with tightly woven fabric or an ultraviolet protection factor rating. 




Seek Shade

Spending time in the sunshine can be fun, but you don’t have to spend all day in it.

Seek shade when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, which is typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Fortunately, seeking shade when you’re out and about can be easy.

woman with sunscreen on nose

Get Vitamin D In Other Ways

If your entire aim with being outside in the sunshine is to ensure you get enough vitamin D, consider obtaining it in other ways. You can obtain vitamin D through supplements, oily fish, eggs, and red meat. Some food producers also add it to other foods like plant milk and breakfast cereals. 



Final Thoughts on SPF vs. UPF

As much as we can enjoy seeing the sun when we’re participating in outdoor activities, it can be more harmful than you think. So the more you know about sun safety and protecting your skin, the smaller your risk of sun-related illnesses and damage might be.  

Remember to wear sunscreen an UPF protective clothing… and have fun outdoors!

car pulling teardrop trailer

CHECK! 10-Step Vehicle Checklist Before Your Next Adventure!

on . Posted in Blog, camping

Exciting as a pending camping or wilderness road trip adventure may be, embarking on a long drive requires some careful preparation. And, one of the most critical aspects is ensuring your vehicle is in tip-top condition.

After all, you wouldn’t want to encounter vehicle troubles in the middle of nowhere!

In this article we’ll walk you through the essential car maintenance tasks you should perform before embarking on that big journey. Let’s make sure your ride is smooth, safe, and hassle-free!

Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Here is a list of things you need to check on your vehicle before your big adventure.

1. Engine Oil

checking engine oil

Engine oil lubricates the internal components of your engine, reducing friction and heat. Over time, it breaks down and becomes less effective. Regular oil changes keep your engine running smoothly. However, neglecting this simple task can lead to costly engine repairs down the road.

First things first, check your engine oil! It’s the lifeblood of your car’s engine, and driving with insufficient or dirty oil can lead to severe damage. Make sure the oil level is adequate and that it’s clean. If it’s due for a change, do it before hitting the road.

2. Fluid Levels

brake fluid

Check essential fluid levels, including coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Top off any that may be low to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and safely.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is critical for regulating your engine’s temperature. Ensure it’s at the proper level to prevent overheating, especially during long drives in hot weather.

Transmission fluid is responsible for smooth gear shifting, and low levels can lead to transmission problems.

Brake fluid ensures your brakes function correctly, so it’s vital to maintain the right level for safety. Lastly, don’t overlook the windshield washer fluid, as it helps keep your windshield clean for optimal visibility.



3. Tires

tire tread

Inspect your tires for proper inflation and tread depth. Underinflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency, while worn-out treads can be dangerous on wet roads.

Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and enhance stability and handling. The recommended tire pressure is usually found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on a label inside the driver’s door. You can also find tire pressure information on the side walls of the tire itself.

Be sure to check all four tires as well as the spare. Additionally, examine the tire tread. Balding or unevenly worn tires can compromise your safety on the road. If it’s time for a replacement, invest in high-quality tires for better performance.



4. Brakes

car brakes

Brakes are crucial for your safety. Listen for any unusual noises while braking; if you hear grinding or squeaking, it’s time to replace the brake pads. Also, as mentioned above, be sure you have checked the brake fluid level and ensure that there are no leaks.

A brake inspection is also essential for your safety. Besides the noise, look for vibrations or a soft pedal, which could indicate brake issues.

Consult a mechanic if your brake fluid is discolored or lower than the recommended level. Ignoring brake problems can lead to longer stopping distances and potentially dangerous situations.

5. Battery

car battery

A dead battery can leave you stranded. Have your battery tested to ensure it’s in good condition. Clean the terminals and consider replacing them before your journey if they look old.

Modern vehicles rely heavily on electronics, and a weak or dying battery can lead to various electrical issues. While cleaning the terminals, also inspect for any corrosion. Most auto parts stores offer free battery testing services if you’re unsure about your battery’s condition.



6. Lights

vehicle headlight

Check all exterior and interior lights, including headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights. Replace any burnt-out bulbs to ensure visibility and safety.

Proper lighting is essential for your safety and is also a legal requirement. Dim or non-functional lights can lead to accidents or traffic violations. Regularly inspect your lights and replace bulbs promptly. Additionally, aim your headlights properly to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.



7. Belts and Hoses

vehicle engine block and belt

Inspect the belts and hoses under the hood for signs of wear, cracks, or fraying. If you notice any issues, have them replaced to prevent a breakdown on the road.

Belts and hoses play crucial roles in your vehicle’s operation. The serpentine belt, for example, drives multiple components like the alternator and power steering pump. A broken belt can lead to a complete engine shutdown.

Hoses, on the other hand, carry vital fluids throughout your vehicle. A ruptured hose can result in coolant or oil leakage, causing engine damage. Replacing these components is far more cost-effective than dealing with a breakdown.



8. Air Filters

air filter

A clean air filter ensures your engine breathes freely, optimizing fuel combustion and overall performance. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals.

Clean or replace the air filter as needed. A clean air filter improves engine performance and fuel efficiency.

The air filter prevents dirt and debris from entering your engine’s cylinders. Over time, it becomes clogged, reducing airflow and engine efficiency.



9. Wipers and Windshield

windshield wipers

Visibility is crucial, especially during adverse weather conditions. So, ensure your wiper blades are in good condition and your windshield is free from cracks or chips.

Wiper blades should effectively clear your windshield of rain, snow, or debris. Replace them if they streak or leave behind residue.

Check your windshield for any damage that could impair your vision. Small chips can often be repaired, but larger cracks may require windshield replacement.



10. Emergency Kit

emergency kit

A first-aid kit can be an invaluable part of your emergency kit for minor injuries. In addition a flashlight and blankets can provide comfort during roadside breakdowns.

Lastly, prepare an emergency kit with essentials like first-aid supplies, a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, and basic tools. You never know when you might need them.

An emergency kit is your safety net on the road. While we hope you won’t encounter any issues, it’s wise to be prepared.

Jumper cables and basic tools can can also be an important part of your emergency kit and help you address minor vehicle issues and get back on the road.



Final Thoughts On Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Taking the time to perform these essential car maintenance checks before your big journey is a smart and responsible choice. It ensures your safety and the safety of your passengers and reduces the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns that can put a damper on your trip.

vw van full of camping gear

By performing maintenance checks on your vehicle before your big adventure, you can increase your chances of a reliable transportation!

So, whether your vehicle is brand-spanking new, a used car, or one purchased at one of the auction sites like A Better Bid, remember that a well-maintained car is a reliable companion on the open road, allowing you to focus on the adventure ahead without worrying about potential car troubles.

Regular maintenance checks and promptly addressing any issues will make your journey safer and save you from costly repairs and inconveniences down the road. So, whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, ensure your car is ready to take you there without a hitch… unless of course, you need a hitch to pull your camper or trailer 🙂

Safe travels!

coleman sun dome 4p tent review header image

Coleman Sun Dome Tent Review [Dark Room Technology… Wait, What?]

When it comes to camping, Coleman is certainly a household name. They make everything from coolers, to grills, to lanterns, and of course tents.

We wanted to take a peek at a household tent name within the Coleman line.

sun dome 4p tent box front

We wanted to check out one of their most popular offerings… the Sun Dome tent!

coleman sun dome 4p tent parts

Here are the components of the Sun Dome 4p tent from Coleman. Pretty simple setup!

Features of the Coleman Sun Dome Tent

coleman sun dome 4p tent box back

The Coleman Sun Dome tent has several advertised features… let’s take a look!

Below are some of the features of the Sun Dome 4P tent from Coleman:

  • Dome tent with a sturdy frame that can withstand winds of up to 35 miles per hour
  • Darkroom Technology, blocking 90% of sun’s light
  • The Sun Dome 4p sleeps up to 4 people
  • Measures 9 ft x 7 ft and has a center height of 4 ft 11 inches
  • Very easy setup, at only 10-15 minutes
  • A great tent for backpacking, as it folds up and packs away into a small carrying bag.
  • Weathertec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
  • Large windows and a ground vent for superior ventilation
  • Measures 7 x 5 feet with 4-foot center height
  • An “E-Port” that makes it easy to bring in electrical power inside the tent
  • Average Price $125-$140
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty



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Coleman Sun Dome 4p Tent Setup

coleman sund dome 4p tent two-pole setup

Setup was not difficult to figure out, with the tent only needing to be staked down and the two poles inserted.

Coleman Sun Dome 4P Tent 10-15 min setup time

It took about 10-15 minutes (without reading directions) to set up the Sun Dome 4P tent.

coleman sundome 4p tent side view

The weather dome cover was very easy to install, using only one short pole and some tie downs.



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“Darkroom Technology” Inside A Tent Box?

coleman sun dome 4p tent box darkroom technology

One of the features we were most interested in was the “Darkroom Technology,” which Coleman advertises as blocking 90% of the sun, so you can sleep better once the sun comes up, or even go to bed early!

coleman sun dome 4p tent front tent logo

We headed inside the tent to see what this “darkroom technology” was all about…

sun dome 4p tent light coming through

The tent material did block a lot of the sunlight, with the mesh screen being where most of the light seemed to be coming in.



Check out our YouTube video of setting up the Coleman Sun Dome 4p tent!




Final Thoughts on the Coleman Sun Dome 4p Tent with Darkroom Technology

We picked an extremely hot and sunny day to set up the Coleman Sun Dome 4p tent. However, that turned out to be perfect, because we were able to get a good feel for how much light and heat the Darkroom Technology blocks.

Well, it was still really hot inside the tent. And, while we didn’t have any kind of light meter to test the light level, it was in fact significantly darker inside the tent.

coleman sun dome 4p tent pack

The Sun Dome 4p tent folded up nice and neat and went right back into the small carrying bag fairly easily!

All in all, the Sun Dome 4p tent seems like a great tent for the money!

Happy camping!