fbpx
coffee over campfire

Camping Gear: 8 Necessities To Make The Most Of Your Experience

One of the best outdoor activities a family can participate in is camping. And after the pandemic of 2020, many people were cooped at up home. So, what better cure for being inside than…. being outside!

And, what better way to find a renewed love for the world and the great outdoors than taking a trip into God’s creation to go camping!

So, maybe you’re looking forward to this new outdoor adventure and are wondering, “what do I need to go camping?”

vw van full of camping gear

Ok, so maybe you don’t need THIS to go camping, but there are some items you should definitely take on your trip!

So, we’re going to cover some of the must-have items you should get to make your trip safer and more enjoyable for you and for the family. And, we’ll also cover why each of the items on this camping necessities list is important.

  1. The Basics
  2. Tent
  3. Solar Powered Charger
  4. Fire Starter
  5. Pocket Knife / Multi-Tool
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Map / GPS
  8. Flashlight / Lamp

Camping Necessities | Start With The Basics

Part of the beauty of camping is not having to worry so much about how you put together you look or how good you smell (ok, maybe smell is still important!)

But, even though you are going on an outdoor adventure, there are still some important things to remember when it comes to personal hygiene.

rolls of toilet paper

Be sure you don’t forget the toilet paper for your camping trip… OK, maybe not this much!

Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, and of course, toilet paper are all essential items to be sure you pack for your trip!

Also, be sure to bring your own bottles and containers for these items, because you wouldn’t want to leave any trash behind. (“Leave things better than you found” them is a good rule of thumb.)



Tent

The tent is certain at the core of your camping experience. Without a tent, you and your family are going to be exposed to potentially uncomfortable or harmful temperatures as well as insects.

There are various styles of tents, so you can go beyond the simple “unfold and pitch” style that you may have used in the past.

While there is a wide array of tent choices for camping, be sure to get one that is large enough for your family to fit comfortably inside of!

Some tents come with features such as compartments and solar panels. You can find even more options from stores like Kohls and other department or sporting goods stores.

When purchasing a tent for your camping trip, make sure that it is large enough for your entire family to fit inside. (You wouldn’t want to sleep in a tent with no room to move!)




Solar-Powered Chargers

One of the liberating things about camping is being one with nature and making time to disconnect yourself from technology for a few days. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely stay away from technology. Some camping gear is powered by electricity, and these items can make the trip safer and potentially more enjoyable.

One example is solar powered chargers.



A solar-powered charger ensures that you have enough energy to last the entirety of your trip. And, while disconnecting from your phone is a good practice, in the event of an emergency, these chargers can also help you stay connected to emergency services through your smartphone. So, it’s a handy thing to have on your camping trip.



Fire Starters

The ability to start a fire with a few pieces of stones and some tinder is an essential skill for every camper. But, what if your matches get wet or your lighter stops working… what then?

You might be a skilled fire builder already. Or, maybe you’re a newbie to everything camping related. Either way, having a tool to help you build a fire is not to be overlooked.

public land hunting fire starter

Fire is essential for warmth and for cooking on your camping trip, so be sure you take a fire starter with you!

So, whether you will be taking the family on an ice fishing trip, or camping in warmer weather, a part of your camping arsenal should always be a fire starter.

Fire starters come in many forms and most of them fit in your pocket. The concept of the fire starter is simple: You strike an object into an abrasive material, which creates sparks for starting a fire.

Some fire starters are waterproof and these are the recommended type best you can buy for your camping trip.



Pocket Knife / Multi-Tool

Just like a fire starter, a pocket knife or utility tool is another must for all campers (and for just about anyone who loves exploring the great outdoors.)

A pocket knife or a multi-tool will feature all of the basic tools you need for camping. These can help you do various tasks such as cooking prep and various tasks related to campsite setup.

multi tool for camping

A multi-tool contains many helpful items that will assist you in multiple expected (and unexpected) camping situations.

A good multi-tool should have the basics like a knife, a screw, a saw, and a file. Most importantly, it should fit right in your pocket. Some pocket knives can be a bit bulky and these are usually models that you’d want to avoid if you are wanting to travel as light as possible, especially if you will be camping while backpack hunting.





First Aid Kit

Although you are going on your camping to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, you never know when when an unexpected accident could occur. After all, being able to respond to minor wounds and injuries is key in preventing more complex medical problems later on.

So, you should take the right steps to ensure that you are prepared for worst case scenarios, and that means always having a first aid kit.

first aid kit for backpack hunt

While you don’t want to think about an unexpected accident occurring, a first aid kit is an essential for every camping trip.

A good camping first aid kit should include essentials such as a disinfectant, bandages, surgical scissors, splints, and band-aids.

Remember, a first aid kit is used for minor injuries only. With more serious injuries, you should seek medical attention and go straight to a hospital.



Map Or GPS

Getting lost in the forest or in the mountains is no laughing matter.

Although some campsites have employees to help you find your way out, it’s still better to be safe than sorry. If you happen to go hiking, bringing a map or a device with built-in GPS (Global Positioning System) will help you find your way should you get lost.

woman hiking

You want to “get away,” but no one likes being lost. A map and/or GPS is a must have for every camping trip.

Ideally, we suggest getting a GPS in addition to a map. The GPS will give you your exact location, as well as an accurate depiction of the area. Moreover, reading a map does take some practice, so it’s best to have a device as well that is more intuitive and easier to use.





Flashlight Or A Lamp

You’ve enjoyed a beautiful day out in nature and now it’s time to head off to sleep for the night. But first, you’ll need to put out the campfire. (This is a must, because a fire left unattended could spread.)

But after you’ve put out the campfire, you might still need a midnight snack or the occasional emergency bathroom break!

flashlight

Moonlight is great. But, a flashlight to see in the dark on an emergency bathroom break while camping is invaluable!

So, it might seem like a no-brainer, but be sure you have a flashlight or two for your camping trip.

After all, having an alternative light source is very important, especially if inclement weather makes starting a fire difficult.



Final Thoughts on camping necessities

So what better way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life than through camping?

And, as we’ve covered camping is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities you can participate in. However, it can also be very difficult if you don’t prepare properly.

These 8 necessities for camping are certainly going to make your camping trip more enjoyable. After all, with less to worry about, you can take in more of the environment and just relax!

And be sure to pack the coffee!

man with backpack on hike looking at horizon

Hiking Tips For Beginners | What You Need To Know

Hiking is a great way for people to get some exercise while leaving behind the stresses of life. Whether it’s work or school or relationship problems, hitting a scenic hiking trail can help you forget everything.

However, unlike walking on a paved path, hiking is often more demanding and unpredictable. Hence it’s important that you know what to bring along (a walkie talkie, navigation tools, plenty of food and water…etc.) and the dos and don’ts while you’re traversing the trail.

So without further ado, here are 13 essential hiking tips for beginners:

girl with backpack hiking in woods

Hiking in elevation and with obstacles is much more strenuous than simply walking on a flat surface. Don’t push yourself too hard if you are a beginner.

1. Don’t Challenge Yourself Too Much

Make no mistake, just because you can walk 10 miles straight on a paved surface, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to do the same on a trail. The latter is usually more challenging with elevations, descents, twists and even obstacles on the way. As a result it may take more time and energy.

In order to estimate how much time you’ll be spending on the trail, find the total distance and divide it by a speed of 2 miles per hour. Then, you’ll have to figure in an additional hour for every 1,000 feet you gain in altitude.

2. Get To Know The Hiking Trail

Experienced hikers always examine the trail before they set-out, and so should you. Once you’ve got a trail selected, get hold of a map and search online for any reviews and hazard reports concerning it. This will allow you to figure out things like whether the trail loops back or whether you’ll be required to backtrack through it.

You should also try to mark out the safest path on the map and perhaps pick out a scenic location or two that’ll make for great lunch spots.



3. Pack The Right Gear

There are so many potential dangers you may come across while hiking. It could be a sudden, extreme turn in the weather. You could even lose your way. Having the right tools can help you effectively counter these dangers.

It’s more helpful to think in terms of systems instead of individual items when you’re packing. For instance, a navigation system that includes all the essential tools for finding your bearings.

man hiking in mountains with gear

Whether you are a hiking beginner or a seasoned veteran, be sure you take the proper gear for every situation.

Here are the mandatory hiking gear systems you need to take with you on any trail:

  • Navigation – this includes a GPS, a physical map and a compass. Don’t just rely on smartphone apps!
  • Food and Hydration – bring enough food and water to last for an unexpected overnight stay.
  • Shelter – make sure you bring along a small tent in case you have to camp out for a while before you backtrack. Be sure you have appropriate gear to stay warm in it.
  • First-aid – this includes things like bandages, gauze, band-aids…etc.
  • Light – bring along an LED lamp or a flashlight so you can still find your way around if you’re walking through the night.
  • Insulation – It’s going to get colder the higher you climb, so it’s important to try and retain your body heat.
  • Communication – a reliable two-way radio is a must-have. It can help you reach emergency rescue services in a pinch and be alerted to oncoming weather changes.
  • Campfire toolsif you plan on camping out, you’ll need a campfire to keep warm and even cook your food. This means that waterproof matches, and a fire starter or a lighter can come in handy.
  • Sun protection – sunburn is a serious risk if you’re hiking in the summer. So make sure you bring along a bottle of sunscreen and maybe a pair of sunglasses too.


4. Travel Light

Long, high-altitude treks can sap your energy fast. Hence, it’s best not to stuff your backpack with too many heavy items. Whenever possible, always pack travel-sized items.

beginner hiker looking out over mountains

Try to have everything you need for your hike, while also packing as lightly as possible.

5. Pay Attention To The Weather Forecast

Always stay up to date with the weather, even just a few hours before you set out on your journey. This will let you know what kind of clothes to pack and what extra items you may need to bring along. If the weather is going to be particularly terrible, you should strongly consider changing your plans.



6. Inform Someone Before You Go

It’s very important to share your itinerary with a close friend or family member.

Make sure you establish a ‘worry time’, which is the maximum hours of radio silence that a person should tolerate before he/she alerts the proper authorities.

This way, you can still expect help to arrive if you find yourself in danger with no way to reach anyone.

7. Start Your Hike At The Right Time

If you like hiking alone, then the best thing to do is to start as early as possible. The later you start, the more likely the trail is going to end up crowded.

person hiking in foggy mountains

If you like to hike alone, it’s best to start your trek early, before the trail becomes more crowded.

On the other hand, if you like going with other people, check what time is most popular for the trail, and plan to arrive at this time.

Just remember, you might have trouble finding a parking spot if you arrive too late!



8. Dress Properly

You want to dress for comfort, warmth and optimal movement, not to impress other hikers you meet on the way.

That means, first of all, swapping out the sneakers for a good pair of hiking shoes or boots. And don’t forget socks!

While cotton is okay for everyday use, it’s certainly not cut out for hiking. Unlike wool or synthetic fibers, cotton tends to absorb a lot of body heat so you definitely want to avoid wearing cotton socks.

The same goes for clothes too: skip wearing anything cotton. If you’re hiking in cold weather, you’ll want to dress in layers. Base layers are very important, but make sure that they’re not so tight that they cut off blood circulation!

In high altitudes, a windbreaker or a fleece hoodie is most appropriate. You should bring along a warm beanie as well, because we tend to lose most of our body heat through our heads.



9. Watch Where You’re Going

Sprained ankles are the most common injuries with hikers. It’s very easy to get distracted by breath-taking scenery on the way, possibly causing you to step in the wrong spot and twist your ankle. Therefore, always watch your feet, especially if there are tons of trip hazards like rocks or roots.

10. Take Your Time

A lot of first-timers start their hike at a really explosive pace and have all of their energy drained halfway through the trail. If you hike this way, you’ll lose tons of body heat very quickly which can make things really uncomfortable.

Always remember: hiking isn’t a race. Take your time, take in the scenery and most importantly: conserve your energy.

hiker looking over rock ledge

Be sure to pace yourself. You want to have enough energy to finish your hike and see what you came for.

11. Don’t Litter

Hiking trails are for everyone to enjoy, so make sure you don’t dump things like candy wrappers or other waste on the way. Some trails will have garbage bins, but you should still bring your own trash bag for the trip.

12. Learn Proper Hiking Etiquette

Hiking etiquette can prevent you from making a total fool out of yourself or annoying others on the trail. Here are a few important things that you should know:

  • · Always make way for those who are going uphill
  • Greet other hikers with a simple “hello.” You may want to have a quick chat with back trackers to find out what lies ahead.
  • Avoid talking too loudly to your friends or on the cellphones.
  • If you’re going to be listening to music, put on a pair of headphones.
  • Avoid taking unofficial short cuts; stick to designated paths
  • Make way for bikers.


13. Don’t Panic If You Get Lost

Getting lost on a hike is a fairly common thing, especially if you’re on your own.

If you feel like you’re lost, the first thing you need to do is to stop and consult your map. If you figure out where you are, start backtracking until you come across a familiar spot.

Backtracking almost always works, but on the off chance it doesn’t, try yelling out ‘HELP’. If no one answers, it’s time to take out your phone and call emergency services. If you’re out of cellphone range, then your long-range walkie-talkie should help you reach someone.

Conclusion

When the hiking season comes around, it can be quite tempting to throw a few things into your backpack and hit a trail. However, hiking is more than just walking and needs proper preparation. The above tips should help you make the most of your experience and keep you safe on your trek.

Happy hiking!

ester lavandyan
Ester Lavandyan
outdoor brands arrows side by side

Empty Pockets | Are Outdoor Brands Worth The Extra Money?

So, what does price say about quality when it comes to arrows? Is a household name brand better than a lesser known one? Does a higher price tag equate to better arrow flight and more successful archery hunts? For that matter, does the name brand matter in any outdoor activity?

Well, in an attempt to answer that question, I’ll use a few examples. First, I’ll start with fishing (yes, fishing… just wait for it.)

The Price Of A Boat Doesn’t Catch Fish

I grew up camping and fishing in the High Uintas of Utah with my father. My father taught me how to love and enjoy the outdoors and how to clean out the fish you catch. There were also a few memories I will never forget.

My Pops had an old sun-dried yellow, aluminum boat with a 25 hp Evinrude motor that we putted around in. We would spend a week up there, doing nothing but fishing and filling the stringer.

outdoor brands fishing boat

Maybe moments like this are worth more than the boat you are in.

When I was 9 years old, a guy saw us back up our old Suburban and that ole yellow boat into the water. He yelled, “Damn, that is an expensive rig ya got there!” Of course, he was being extremely rude with his comment, laughing as he backed his expensive speed boat into the water.

My dad just said, “some people…”



We fished for about four hours or so that day and filled up the stringer with 22″ rainbows that we caught with our basic all-around fishing rods and reels and life was good.

When we went back to load the boat, my dad yelled across the water to the guy with the expensive boat, “You catch any?”

The man answered, “No, the bite has been slow.” My father replied, “I hope that boat was worth it” and then pulled out our stringer. The look on that man’s face was priceless!

We laughed and went to camp and enjoyed the rest of the evening cooking up the fish we caught (in our “expensive rig”) on the camp fire.

Your Ford Could Be A Chevy

outdoor brands chevy truck

Is more expensive really better?

Perhaps you’ve seen the test drive commercials where a truck’s identity is kept secret from the driver. The test driver takes it for a spin and says “it has to be a Ford.” But, then to the driver’s surprise… it’s a Chevy!

It’s the same with many of the products in the outdoors industry. There are many awesome products out there. Some are affordable and some not so much. And, of course, the more expensive item is always better quality. Or is it?



Higher Price = Better Quality… Sometimes

Many believe that better quality and performance live where the higher price tag is. In the gun industry, this argument holds up to some degree. But, at the end of the day, all guns travel the same whether you buy a $250 12-gauge pump shotgun by Browning, or a $900 12 gauge shotgun from Winchester. Both have the same pump action, same gauge, and same function. Both will serve the same purpose of taking wild game.

So why the cost difference? Could it be that it’s all just marketing?

20 Guns, 60 shells And One Duck

outdoor brands duck in flight

Money doesn’t kill ducks… but good shots do…

One Saturday morning in November, I went out waterfowl hunting  on a dyke beyond the city I lived in. When I got there, only one other guy had shown up. I thought to myself, “Hey, this may be a good morning!”

As soon as it was shooting light, a group of 20 guys (probably all from the same football team) showed up and parked right next to me. Most of the crew had 12 gauge semi-automatic Beretta shotguns and were ready to take some game. At the time, I had a model 1300 Winchester 12-gauge pump.

It didn’t help matters that none of them would get in the reeds to hide (and it didn’t matter cause there was so many of them!)

One kid yelled “DUCK!”

>> Join our mailing List for news on all the latest N1 products! <<

All 2o of them, including myself, faced north, and sure enough, one duck was coming in slow like he was about to land. I then got to experience 20 men unload all three shells from each gun. It was like being on the line at the Alamo!

Not one person peppered that duck! I pulled up to shoot after all that ammo spent from the others, shot once, and sacked it.

They all looked at me like I had committed a crime.

Needless to say, I was getting more value out of my $250 gun then all twenty of them who had a $1,500 gun (and I didn’t use near as many shells:)



Outdoor Brands Shouldn’t Make Or Break Your Fun

Whether it’s guns, bow hunting arrows and broadheads or outdoor apparel, I think we all could say that we are guilty at some point or another of being caught up in the allure of brand name gear.

For example, some bow hunters are willing to spend $185 for a set of six arrows, when there are arrows on the market for only $55 for a set of six. And, if compared to each other, just like in that Ford and Chevy test, you might not even be able to tell the difference.

Others are extremely particular about what brand of broadheads they shoot.

Enjoy the outdoors. At the end of the day you should not be afraid of shooting your bow at longer distances, just because you’re afraid to lose a $25 arrow. You should feel comfortable shooting at various yardages ranging from 10 yards up to 85 yards, as long as you are taking an ethical shot that will give you a good chance of a clean kill.

Some bow hunters won’t shoot past 70 yards while practicing, while some ethical hunters will shoot further, just in case that dream buck walks out and you may not have another chance of getting any closer.



The Outdoors Should Be About The Moments

As we make unforgettable memories outdoors, hopefully we can focus on getting more people engaged and enjoying themselves more than we do on what brand of equipment we have.

So, don’t get caught up in the brand name of your camping and outdoor gear. After all, the outdoors should be fun, affordable and enjoyable.

austin hurst pic

Cart