Why you need a hiking watch

Why You need a Hiking Watch

If you are the type of person who enjoys going on a hike, You really should keep up on the best gear for a hike. One piece of equipment that we like is a hiking watch. So the best hiking watch will come in many different sizes and shapes. However they do the same functions, It would be a good idea to take a few moments to read about hiking watches before you go out and buy one.

More Than Just the Time

What is the main purpose of a watch? To tell the time of course! A good hiking watch will be able to tell the time, but they need to do more. A good hiking watch will have a barometer this will help you to predict the weather and also help to determine the altitude. A hiking watch should also have an altimeter, and this will let you know the altitude attained. Your hiking watch should also come with a thermometer and let us not leave out our handy-dandy compass. More advanced hiking watches will also have a GPS system, this will help you find you are away in the jungle.

Do You Know How to Read It?

If you can’t read a clock then what puurpose does it serve. Young children don’t have a concept of time, so a clock serves no real purpose. Well, the same can be applied to a hiking watch or any gear if we want to be truthful. You need to learn how to read your hiking watch, learn how to analyze it and get to know what the hiking watch is telling you. If you do not learn how to read your watch, then it serves you no real purpose except maybe it looks nice on your wrist.
So take out the manual or watch a youtube video and learn how to read all those numbers on your hiking watch.

The Pros and Cons

You will find that there is a lot of benefits to owning and by extension using a hiking watch when you go hiking. Most hiking watches will use a satellite. So the accuracy of a watch might decrease of an object is blocking it. Also, the GPS might not give you a 100% correct answer all the time. This can be hard if you want to know exactly how long it will take you to get from point A to Point B. So if you are planning to rely on the GPS, You might find yourself getting lost.

Different Devices are Better for Different Jobs

Some Smartphones are better for taking photos while other phones are better for watching videos. Some Computers are great for playing video games on while others are not.
Well the same thing applies to hiking watches
Some watches might be superior for hiking or even regular use; other watches are made for mountaineering and long treks. You need to look into these factors before you buy your hiking watch, and you need to know which watch is the best for the kind of outdoor adventure you are going to be partaking off.

It Needs to Be Durable

You might say of course this is so obvious, well you might get a shock of how many people take this for granted. A good hiking watch should be durable. Why well you might be climbing mountains while wearing the watch and you will be facing all different kind of weather. You want to make sure that the watch you choose can hold up no matter what the conditions you are facing. So check out the reviews to get the right watch.

They Can Get Pricey

Hiking watches are a nifty piece of technology, so you should not alarmed when you see the price tag. A hiking watch starting price can often be over $100, and as you add more styles and features expect that the price will go up. A quality watch is an expense. If you are not a regular hiking, you might want to look at other option.

What Brand Should I Get?
The five million dollar question, What is the Best hiking watch There are many brands that you can choose from when you are buying a hiking watch including Casio, Suunto, and Germin and then within those brands, you have options of the kind of hiking watch you might want? With those three brands, you can be sure you are getting a decent watch.

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Hiking Clothes for Rain

Tips for Hiking in Cold and Wet Weather – The Hiking Champion

A combination of driving rain, high winds and temperatures just above freezing, represents some of the most challenging weather that a hiker can face. In these conditions hypothermia and frostbite (if the thermometer subsequently drops below 0°C / 32°F) are a very real possibility. Thankfully, cold-related maladies are far easier to prevent than they are to cure. Here are a dozen useful tips for hikers venturing into inclement environments:

1.  Forecast: Always check the forecast before setting out. Adapting is a lot easier if you know what’s coming. This is a good habit to establish irrespective of the climate.

2.  Awareness: Watch the weather (forecasts can sometimes be wrong) and know your limitations. If conditions are deteriorating and you’re feeling exhausted, don’t hesitate to set up your shelter and call it a day. W​ith its long valleys, winding rivers, glaciers and distinctive peaks, navigation in Sarek is not overly difficult when conditions are fine. However, when the mother of all storms rolls through, as it did during the last 1.5 days of my hike in 2009, much of your time may well be spent hiking through driving rain and thick fog.

3.  Appropriate clothing: If you are hiking in cold, wet and/or windy weather for an extended period of time, it’s not so much a question of staying 100% dry (which is nigh on impossible), as it is maintaining a reasonable level of comfort whilst out on trail. When backpacking in regions such as Tasmania, Scotland, Lapland, the Pacific Northwest, Tierra del Fuego and Fiordland (i.e. cold, wet and windy), my preference is for multiple lighter layers that dry relatively quickly and retain warmth when wet.

For example:Base layer: 150 or 200 Merino wool long sleeve shirt with zip neck (e.g. Montbell Super Merino Wool M.W. High Neck, Ice Breaker and Patagonia) . I’m a big fan of Merino wool: good warmth to weight ratio, quick drying, feels soft against the skin, and natural antibacterial properties means that it doesn’t smell as much as synthetic garments. I always go with zip neck models for their versatility over a wider range of temperatures.Insulation

Layer: When heading out into areas subject to heavy precipitation, I leave the down jacket and/or vest at home and instead opt for Fleece and/or synthetic fiber garments. Long time favourites include the Montbell Thermawrap Jacket & Vest and the Patagonia R1 Hoody & R2 Fleece Vest.Outer Layer: No garment is completely waterproof given extended exposure to the conditions I describe above. Working on the principle that damp is better than soaked and being comfortable rather than dry is the priority, I look for rain jackets with the following features:1. A good DWR (durable water repellant) finish

;2. Relatively lightweight;3. Quick drying;4. Pit zips for ventilation;5. Adjustable wrist cuffs and,6. Fully adjustable hood with a stiff brim.Jacket preferences?: The last few years I’ve mostly been using a Montbell Peak Shell Jacket. It has performed very well in a wide variety of environments ranging from Southwest Tasmania to the Colombian Andes. For three season hiking on well maintained trails and/or open terrain (i.e. no bushwhacking or overgrown terrain),

I think the DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2 Jacket represents great value, particularly for folks on a tight budget.Lower Body?: I usually take a combination of lightweight/quick drying “waterproof” pants (e.g. Montbell Versalite), along with a pair of lightweight long underwear to use at night (e.g. Patagonia Capilene 2, Montbell Merino Wool L.W. Tights).

4.  Umbrella: Whether or not I take an umbrella into cold and wet conditions, depends on the character of the environment. For extended on-trail hikes in forests (i.e. relatively sheltered), I have found an umbrella to be worth its weight in gold by helping to keep my core temperature regular. For example, during my late fall/early winter hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012, an umbrella helped to keep my torso warm and dry despite near constant precipitation and temps that rarely got above 5°c (41°F). On the other hand, if I’m venturing off-trail and/or into exposed, above-tree line areas prone to driving wind and rain, umbrellas are usually more trouble than they are worth.   Why a hiking watch?

5.  Avoid sweating: Over-dressing and/or over-exerting can lead to excessive perspiration, which in turn can result in a lowering of body temperature. Constantly monitor yourself and remove or add layers accordingly. Make ‘not sweating’ a priority. This is one of the biggest reasons to bring along an umbrella; they can’t be beat when it comes to ventilation.

6.  Pay Attention to the Extremities: Your head, hands and feet constitute the body’s initial warning system in cold conditions. For trips in cold and wet environments, I take a fleece beanie, thin wool gloves, MLD eVent Rain Mitts and merino liner socks. I also carry a third pair of thicker wool socks (always kept dry) to wear at night, or for use on my hands in lieu of mittens if temps drop below freezing.

7.  Short breaks: The longer you stop the colder you become. When the weather turns nasty, keep breaks short and to a minimum. If for whatever reason you do need to take a longer break, put on an extra layer or two until you begin hiking again.

8.  Food & Water: During the day eat high-energy snacks at regular intervals. Before going to bed, your evening meal should emphasise fats and proteins, which are processed slower by your digestive system. Keep a chocolate bar in your sleeping bag, in case you wake up cold and hungry in the middle of the night. (Note: you may want to disregard this last suggestion if you are hiking in bear country outside of winter).In cold and wet conditions, hikers often forget to drink enough water. Big mistake. If you are dehydrated you are more susceptible to hypothermia (see Hydration for details).

9. Pack Liner: Use a trash compactor bag to line the inside of your backpack. There’s not much point staying comfy during the day, if the rest of your gear (particularly your sleeping bag) is soaked when you arrive at camp.

10.  Making and Breaking Camp: Putting up and taking down your shelter in pouring rain, rates right up there with a nagging case of bum chafe, in regards to things that hikers look forward to the most. Here are some pointers:

Location, location: Look for a spot that has good drainage; avoid depressions, gullies and if camping in established sites, be wary of setting up on highly compacted areas where water may pool during heavy precipitation. If rain is accompanied by high winds, try to find a place that is at least somewhat sheltered from elements. If camping close to watercourses, be sure to set up above the high water mark.Preparation: Have your shelter at the top of your pack ready for immediate deployment. If you are heading into areas known for inclement conditions, make sure you have plenty of practice erecting your tent or tarp quickly. You don’t want to be faffing about with poles and guylines when its raining cats and dogs.Consider Waiting:

Often deluges don’t last more than 20 or 30 minutes. If it’s really coming down and you suspect that the storm may pass quickly, consider biding your time under a nearby tree

(Two Points to Note: 1. Trees aren’t always around when you need them, and;

2. This would be a good moment to break out the umbrella). Make the most of your wait by preparing stakes and poles. If its chilly, put on an extra layer, have a snack and do some pushups.Before Entry: Fill up your water bottles, double check all the stakes are well set, pee if necessary and just before you are about to enter, quickly get out of your wet clothes and footwear; this last part can be done in your shelter’s vestibule if it has one.Inside Your Shelter: Dry yourself, put on some warm clothes and make sure your wet items are separate from your dry stuff (once again, a vestibule is the ideal place to store wet items – see #11 below for exceptions). After you have settled in, try to avoid touching the walls in order to minimize condensation. Depending on design of the shelter and how hard it is raining, try to maximize ventilation by leaving the shelter’s entryway slightly open.

The Morning After: It’s still raining hard with no end in sight. Crap. If you have no choice but to continue, load all your dry items into your pack, including your tent’s inner if it has one. Then fold over the top of the bag liner, and place any wet items you won’t be wearing in plastic bags or waterproof stuff sacks on top of that. Once everything is packed, put on your shoes, waterproofs, take a deep breath, step outside and take down your shelter. Place your soaked tent or tarp in an outside pocket, or in a plastic bag at the top of your pack

During the Day: If you have a window of clear weather during the warmer hours, be sure to take the opportunity to dry out your gear. A combination of the sun’s rays plus a little breeze, will see most shelters fairly dry within 20 to 30 minutes. Do this for two reasons: 1. Dry stuff is lighter than wet stuff, and; 2. It’s a comforting feeling knowing that you have a dry shelter to get into at day’s end.11.  Drying Clothes: There are certain lightweight, direct-against-the-skin items that it’s always nice to have dry at the beginning of the hiking day.

As best I can, I try to dry these items overnight using the following techniques:Gloves – I put directly against my head underneath my beanie.

Wet socks –  I place down my long johns.Hiking shirt –  I will either wear over the top of a thin merino wool t-shirt or fleece, or alternatively (if it’s soaked), place it between my sleeping mat and the shelter floor.Note: I usually avoid putting wet items directly against my sleeping bag/quilt, as the moisture can compromise the bag’s insulation.12.

Attitude: Once you have the gear and experience required to hike safely in cold and wet conditions, the key is perspective. Yes, the conditions are challenging, but moaning and complaining won’t improve them. Stay positive by viewing such times as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks; learning opportunities provided by Mother Nature that will ultimately help you to improve your backcountry skill set. Happy Hiking Adventure

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The Narrows Top-Down Route – The Hiking Champion

Situated in Utah’s Zion National Park, The Narrows Top-Down route is one of the most spectacular short hikes in the United States. Stretching some 25 km (16 miles) from Chamberlain’s Ranch to Temple of Sinawava, it follows the course of the Virgin River through the northern reaches of Zion Canyon. At times the chasm is up to 600 meters (1,968 ft) deep and only six meters (20 ft) wide, and much of the walking is done in water that is regularly at shin height and occasionally above. If you don’t like getting your feet wet, do not read any further. I hiked the Top-Down route in 2013. All details have been updated as of April, 2017. A special thanks to Steven “Twinkle” Shattuck for giving permission to use some of his great photos!Avg.Time :  9 – 13 hoursDistance :  16 miles (25.7 km)Difficulty:  Easy overnighter or moderate day hike.Start / Finish :Chamberlain’s Ranch (north)Temple of Sinawava (south).Transportation:Northern Terminus: Chamberlain’s Ranch is situated 1.5 hrs drive from Zion Canyon. To get there you have two options: private transport or shuttle bus company. For the former, check the Zion National Park website for directional details. In regards to the latter, google “shuttles to chamberlains ranch / the narrows“, and multiple options will appear. Note that the road to Chamberlain’s may not passable in wet conditions for normal vehicles, and access in winter is limited due to the snow.Southern Terminus: Access is much simpler at hike’s end, thanks to the regular shuttle buses which run through Zion Canyon between April and October.Season:The main hiking season is between June and October. Between March and May the hike is often closed because of rising water levels due to spring snowmelt. During the winter months water temps can be nippy, possibly necessitating the use of a wetsuit or even a drysuit.Irrespective of the time of the year, check on the latest conditions with Park Rangers before setting out. This particularly holds true between mid-summer to early fall, when there is a higher possibility of flash floods occurring. In short, don’t do this hike if heavy rain is on the meteorological cards.Maps / Info :Permit:  Whether day hiking or overnighting (see below), a permit is required to hike the Top-Down route. Permits applications can be made online at the Zion National Park website.Maps: The basic Zion National Park map available at the Visitor’s Center should suffice for navigation purposes. Alternatively you can download it for free from the excellent National Parks Maps website. If your looking for more detail, try the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map for Zion National Park.Food & Water: Bring all your food and water. The latter suggestion probably sounds a little weird considering you will spend most of the day hiking in shin deep H2O………sort of like bringing sand to the beach. However, water in The Narrows is pretty murky and for the most part not that great for drinking.History:The 16 mile (25 km) route follows the course of the Virgin River, which over millennia has cut a spectacular gorge through the northern reaches of Zion Canyon. At times the chasm is up to 600 meters deep and only six meters wide. Indeed, in times past it was said that Native American peoples mostly avoided the upper parts of the canyon, due to it’s claustrophobic feel and lack of natural light. The first westerner to descend the canyon was geologist and explorer, Grove Karl Gilbert, in 1872. It is said that Gilbert was the man who coined the term, “The Narrows.”Route / Conditions :Route: The Top-Down hike begins at Chamberlain’s Ranch. The first few miles to Bulloch’s cabin are both easy and dry. Soon after passing this landmark the hiker enters the water for the first time. Six miles (10 km) of splishing and splashing later, the route reaches North Fork Falls and the confluence with Deep Creek. This marks the beginning of the most spectacular section of the gorge. From here until the finish, the river is a little deeper and the walls are a lot higher!Conditions: Dampish. More than half of the 16 mile distance is spent in water. If you don’t like getting your feet wet, best look elsewhere.Tip 1 – Timing: If you are doing the Top-Down route as a day hike, start as early as possible in order to finish before dark.Tip 2 – Footwear: Leave the waterproof boots at home. Boots are heavier, take longer to dry, and as the water is often at shin height or above, your feet will be soaked regardless of your choice in footwear. Instead of boots, try wearing lightweight trail running shoes with good tread and a solid heel counter.Tip 3 – Balance: A trekking pole can come in handy for balance purposes, as the rocks underneath the river’s surface can sometimes be slippery.Tip 4 – Clothing: The water in the Narrows is often quite cold, so be sure to bring sufficient clothing layers. This particularly holds true for the early morning hours. Don’t forget to bring gloves and a beanie as well.Sleeping :For those wishing to overnight in The Narrows, camping is possible at one of 12 designated campsites in the gorge. You will need to reserve in advance.Alternative Route:A shorter, more popular and easier-to-access alternative to the full descent from Chamberlain’s Ranch, is to take a shuttle bus to the Temple of Sinawava, and from there do an out-and-back hike to Big Springs. It’s a 10 mile (16 km) round trip. This particular section of “The Narrows” includes the most spectacular part of the gorge. No permit is needed for this hike, and if you start early, chances are you will have the outward journey mostly to yourself.SummaryThe “Top Down” route is a spectacular trek that requires no special skills or equipment (except in winter when a dry suit may be advisable). It can be done by hikers of all ages and experience levels. All you need is shoes with good traction and a tolerance for having wet feet for a day or two. When combined with the equally impressive day hike to Angel’s Landing (also accessed via the free Canyon shuttle), it makes for a great “one-two” combination for hiking enthusiasts visiting Zion National Park.

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Hydration Tips for Hikers – The Hiking Champion

Not drinking enough water may well be the most common mistake made by hikers and backpackers. Whether you are walking in the heat or the cold, at sea level or at altitude, being adequately hydrated should always be a priority.Let’s break it down into five sections:

1. Pre-hike Research;

2. How much do I need?;

3. Hydration Techniques;

4. Dehydration, and;

5. Finding Water in a Worst-Case Scenario.

1.   Pre-Hike ResearchDoing due diligence before setting out represents the foundation of your overall hydration strategy.Study maps, guide books and check for up-to-date information on the internet. If little data can be found, call local agencies directly.If information proves hard to come by, always err on the side of caution in regards to how much water you are carrying. Better too much than too little.

2.   How Much do I Need?How much water you should drink depends on three main factors: climate, your level of exertion and your own individual needs.Climate:  When hiking in hot and/or humid weather, an average of one litre per hour is generally recommended. In cooler conditions, half of that will normally suffice.Level of Exertion: The harder you are working, the more bodily fluids you are losing through respiration and perspiration. If you are not adequately replacing those fluids, you will eventually become dehydrated.Individual Needs: Although general benchmarks are useful, at the end of the day we are all individuals. No two hikers needs are the same. Hiker (A) may be fine drinking 4 litres over an eight to ten hour period in hot weather, whereas Hiker (B) may need double that in order to feel properly hydrated. That being the case, how do we know as individuals how much we should drink? The answer lies in personal experience. Listen to your body and err on the side of caution when in doubt (particularly when starting out).Can I drink too much? Hyponatremia (abnormally low sodium levels in the blood) may occur if a hiker drinks too much water without adequately replenishing electrolytes. When hiking in hot conditions, I add sports drink powder to my water and up my intake of salty snacks such as peanuts & pretzels.

3.   Hydration TechniquesDon’t Wait Until you are Thirsty:  By then it is too late. When you wake up in the morning, make a habit of drinking at least half a litre of water before breaking camp. Think of it as a “hydration” investment for the rest of the day.Sun Protection: Hats provide shade. Shade keeps you cooler. Cooler temperatures mean you don’t have to drink as much water. Rocket science it ain’t. Umbrellas provide even more shade than hats, however, if you are hiking in an area prone to high winds, sometimes they can be more trouble than they’re worth.Drink up Big at Water Sources: If you are hiking in terrain where opportunities to fill your bottles are few and far between, drink at least one litre of water before leaving each source. By doing so you will not need to carry as much to the next refill point, which in turn translates to less weight on your back and more spring in your step.The Siesta Theory: In hot, largely shadeless conditions where water sources are scarce, do the bulk of your hiking whilst temperatures are cooler (i.e. early morning, late afternoon and early evening). It works like this: Begin your hiking day at sunrise. Walk until around 11am. Find yourself a shady spot and rest until 2 or 3pm. Make the most of your extended break by eating your main meal, thus enabling you to hike into the early evening without having to worry about cooking a big dinner. By following such a strategy, it is possible to make do with less water because you are resting rather than exerting during the hottest part of the day.Experience: Once experience has taught you how much water you need in different types of terrain and conditions, it doesn’t make sense to carry a great deal extra for security purposes. Aim at carrying enough water to enable you to arrive at the next source well hydrated, but not so much that you get there with a couple of litres still to drink. This equates to wasted energy. Obviously, an exception to this point is if you find yourself walking in an environment in which you are not certain of the quality or regularity of the water sources. In such cases, it is definitely wise to carry as much extra water as you deem necessary.Not all Water Sources are Created Equal:  If possible, avoid water sources that are stagnant, foamy or have animal faeces in the vicinity. If you have no choice, use a bandana, coffee filter or stocking to pre-filter the big chunks out. If you are carrying extra fuel for your stove, now would probably be a good time to boil!Adaptability: You may have done the research, but Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the script. Once you are out in the backcountry, if it becomes obvious that water sources you were relying upon are bone dry, you will need to reassess your hydration strategy on the fly. Take a moment to figure out which sources are most likely to still be running, then ration your water accordingly. In such cases avoid walking during the middle of the day, when your body will require significantly more fluid in order to remain hydrated.4.   DehydrationThe importance of remaining hydrated cannot be overestimated. In warm to hot temperatures, people can survive for weeks without food, but for only three or four days without water. When water intake has been insufficient, irrespective of the climate or altitude (see below), dehydration can occur.Symptoms:  Dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea and cramps.Treatment: Shade, rest, water (electrolytes, a pinch of salt or rehydrating powder are all helpful) and cooling yourself by soaking your hat/bandana/shirt.Hiking at Altitude: The air is drier and thinner at high altitude, and due to cooler temperatures many hikers make the mistake of not drinking enough water. As the initial symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) are similar to those of dehydration, people often assume they have AMS when in actual fact they are simply dehydrated. Try to drink at least three to four liters of water per day when hiking at altitude, and note that both alcohol and caffeine increase dehydration. Limit your intake of both when hiking at high altitudes.5.   Finding Water in a Worst-Case ScenarioHere are six tips on what you can do if water sources you were counting on turn out to be dry:A.  Don’t PanicKeeping a cool head, staying positive and making objective decisions is key in such situations.B.  StreamsJust because a stream appears dry close to the trail, doesn’t necessarily mean that that will be the case further up towards its source. Make the effort to go and look. In addition, check downstream for any areas shaded by rocks and/or vegetation which may harbour water.C.  Vantage PointClimb to the nearest high point. Look for gullies, depressions and valley bottoms that show signs of vegetation (i.e. potential water sources).D.  Livestock Signs of livestock generally indicate a water source in the vicinity. Grazing animals tend not to stray too far from their primary water supply. Look for converging paths leading in a downhill direction. Any water taken from sources frequented by livestock should always be treated.E.  Digging If you happen to spot a patch of green or a damp spot in an otherwise dry creek bed, this is an indicator that water lies close to the surface. Dig a hole and if it fills up with water, scoop out the liquid with your cooking pot.  Alternatively, place a shirt or a bandana into the hole, let it soak up the moisture and wring it directly into your mouth.F.  CondensationTechniques such as the solar still and tying a plastic bag tightly around the end of a living, leafy branch, are known as condensation traps. Whilst ultimately effective, they produce very little return relative to the amount of time you need to wait (up to 500ml of water in 24 hours). They should be employed only as a last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted.

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Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter – The Hiking Champion

There is no universal blueprint as to how you should backpack. We all have our own motivations, needs and levels of experience.That said, one thing upon which everyone can agree is that hiking is substantially easier and more enjoyable, if your pack doesn’t weigh the proverbial ton. My five basic principles of Going Lighter in the wilderness are as follows:1.  Safety FirstIn this day and age, any Tom, Dick and Harriet with a few bucks and an internet connection can carry a lightweight load. What isn’t so easy, is being comfortable and safe while carrying that lightweight load in a wide variety of conditions. That takes time, practice and open-mindedness. Don’t feel like you need to rush the process.Going lighter should ideally be a gradual development, which parallels a corresponding improvement of a hiker’s backcountry skill set. When starting out, it is better to err on the side of caution by taking a little more than the bare necessities. Time spent in various types of environments, will teach you what you can and can’t do without.2.  Leave Behind the Non-EssentialsIt’s not always easy to distinguish the essentials from the non-essentials. There is no secret formula. Basically it comes down to experience, individual preference and the dictates of the environment in which you are hiking.Before each and every trip, do a quick review of each article in your pack and ask yourself two questions: 1. Do I really need it?; 2 What will happen if I don’t have it? Hikers are often surprised at the amount of redundant items they have been carrying out of habit rather than necessity.3.  Downsize the EssentialsLighter materials and innovative designs mean that it is easier than ever before to lower your pack weight simply by using lighter versions of essential items (e.g. shelter, sleeping bag, backpack, sleeping mat). Avoid overcompensating on your next hiking trip by: A. Thoroughly researching what types of conditions you are likely to encounter, and; B. Figuring out what you need to be safe and comfortable whilst hiking in those conditions. For example, chances are you don’t need a sleeping bag rated to -17° celsius if you are hiking in the middle of summer.4.  Emphasise multi-purpose itemsNecessity is the mother of invention. Many items in your backpacking kit, such as sleeping mat, hiking poles and cooking pot can serve more than one purpose. By emphasising multi-function equipment, you can eliminate redundant or duplicate items and thereby decrease overall pack weight. See Double Duty for a list of 15 suggestions.5.  SimplicityThere is nothing new under the sun. For millennia, indigenous peoples around the globe, including the native inhabitants of Australia, the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa, were all covering vast distances without the aid of fancy shelters, packs and footwear. They did so in an unencumbered lightweight fashion, which emphasised practicality and necessity over superfluous luxuries. By choosing to “go lighter” you are essentially making a conscious decision to adopt a similarly uncluttered approach to your time out in the wilderness.Final ThoughtsThe essence of backpacking lightly has little to do with gear minutiae and base weight. They are just tangible barometers. What it really comes down to is embracing simplicity, whilst simultaneously accumulating the knowledge and skills necessary to hike safely and comfortably in your chosen environment.And last but definitely not least, be sure to have fun. Don’t worry about labels (i.e. “ultralight”, “super ultralight”, etc.), how much other backpackers are carrying, and/or constantly over-analysing every aspect of your kit. Just get out there and observe, listen, breathe in the fresh air, and cherish the gift of walking in the woods with all that you need on your back.
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Top Hiking Backpack

Choosing A Backpack for your Hike

    Top Backpack for a Hike

Hiking is a fun activity that almost anyone can enjoy. It can be enjoyed by the single bachelor, the family with 3 kids, or the retiree looking for something to do in their golden years. It is a great was to stay fit or to begin a fitness journey towards better health. It is one of the easiest out door activities to enter because all you need is a good pair of shoes and the ability to walk. Above all, it is a great way to disconnect from technology and experience nature.In this post we are going to cover briefly what you need to consider before going on your first hike.

Skill level

Before you begin your journey you must first think about your ability and what you can accomplish. Does 2 miles sound like a long distance to walk? What about 2 miles on difficult terrain? Trails come in many different variants so it is important to pick a trail that you can complete. Don’t overestimate what you can hike because the walk back to the car is going to be dreadful. A good trail to start out on would be a city park trail. They are typically paved and don’t have much of an elevation change.

Clothing

Don’t wear jeans!! While jeans are durable and are perfect for nearly any occasion, jeans do not work very well while hiking. Jeans do not breath well and often cause chaffing and can feel cumbersome after a few miles.Instead, you should wear lightweight clothing that breathes well. Try to think about what the terrain and the weather is going to be like. For Exampe, If  you are planning to hiking in warm climate but through large open fields with tall grass, expect to wear pants to protect your legs from ticks and anything that might be hiding in the bushes(think cacti, plants with thorns, etc). For a shirt you want something that will breath well but has long sleeves because its going to be sunny. Cotton works well in most conditions. My go to trail clothing is a  Columbia long sleeve shirt and a pair of cargo shorts.

 

Shoes

Your Terrain chooses your shoe. Generally speaking, you want to have a comfortable pair of shoes that are worn in  a little bit. You’ll want to wear a ‘sports’ shoe meant for walking or running, you don’t necessarily need hiking boots. Taking brand new shoes on the trail is  guaranteed blisters on your foot. If you are hiking paved park paths, then consider wearing a tennis-shoe. If you are hiking trails with a more aggressive terrain, then consider going for a hiking boot with an aggressive sole and high tops.I prefer boots made by Vasque. I’ve had several pairs and they all have lasted many many miles and have traveled the world with me.

First Aid

You never know what is going to happen on the trail. Depending on the distance you plan on hiking, you could be miles from help. A basic first aid kit with knowledge to use it is always a good thing to have on hand. A basic first aid kit will handle most issues that come up on the trail.Some common trail injuries are :Blisters Cuts & Scrapes twisted ankles Sunburn Heat exhaustion Dehydration

 

Watch

Make sure you  have a good hiking watch.    A good hiking watch will have a compass plus many other gadgets that can help you. You should know why you need a good hiking watch  as you want to get the best one that you can.

Snacks

If you are going on a long hike, consider taking snacks!! Some great trail snacks are  beef jerky, granola, trail mix, dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruit w/peel.When snacking on the trail you want to take something that is going to stay well in your bag. Remember, you typically are not carrying a refrigerator or cooler while hiking. Dried and dehydrated foods make the best  trail foods since they are calorie dense and don’t spoil easily.

Hat

Always take a hat!!! Hats are invaluable on the trail!! In warm sunny weather they protect your face and head from the sun and harmful UV rays. In the winter they insulate your head and help to keep you warm. I prefer to wear a Buff band instead of a hat. They can be worn many different ways and dry quickly on the trial.

Water

Out of all the items you need to bring with you on a hike, water is probably the most important item. When out on the trail it is easy for your body to get dehydrated, especially if you are not used to hiking. How much water should you take on a hike? That depends largely on where you are going and how far you are going to hike. A rule of thumb I use is if I am hiking the entire day, then I need at least 1 gallon of water per day per person in nice weather. For water transportation I usually take a few Nalgene bottles or a Platypus bladder in a day-pack Day-pack Now that you have all this gear, you need something to carry it in.

There are plenty of choices on the market for backpacks. You can choose to use a simple book-bag to start out with  or you can invest in a bag meant for hiking. I prefer to use an Osprey Mantra. It is a lightweight bag that has plenty of room for everything that you need on the trail. Plus, it has a dedicated pocket for a water bladder. Another good brand  for bags is Camelbak. Whatever your choice, make sure that it is lightweight and fits you well.Now that you have some basics, go out and enjoy the advantages of hiking

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Ultimate wilderness survival tips – Outdoor Survival Gear

Do you want to survive in the wild, then here are some ultimate wilderness survival tips.Hanging around in the wilderness is not a good experience. It is important to learn survival tips to get you through a crisis, when lost in the wilderness. Here are some tips that are handy:Body temperature regulationPart of surviving, involves maintaining your body temperature. You can only do that when you are well shielded from harsh weather and other elements. A really good shelter can serve that purpose. It can also help keep you safe from danger around you.Build a fireAfter building the shelter, focus on building a fire that will keep you warm. The night might be really cold, which might prompt you to sickness. Rules of building fire are that you clear the area around you to ensure that you don’t burn the whole forest. Many people have knowledge on how to start an ordinary fire therefore it shouldn’t be hard. A few tools that might come in handy are – eye glasses since they contain lenses, a bottle of water which works the same way as a lens, a cell phone battery, or with sticks.Finding safe drinking water and foodThe fire you have already built is probably making you warm. You need to think about your stomach – First priority being, water and food. A normal human being can go for 3 days without water but it is equally important to look for it very early since on the second day your body might be really weak. You can find water by following grazing animals which often head to water near dawn or dusk, survey for any flies and mosquitoes since their breeding places are damp areas, and sucking dew from grass.After getting water, ensure that you purify it to make it safe for drinking. As for food, you can eat insects or the vegetation.Physical Needs – The Basic Hygiene You Can Ignore (and What Not To)Personal hygiene is important, example dental hygiene. A plaque can easily develop faster than usual. It is easy to make a tooth brush from birch. Focus on your environment, since hygiene issues can build up from moist areas. Ensure that areas where skin touches are dry to prevent any fungal disease.  Use items such as corn starch to absorb the moist.As for toilet paper ensure you use vegetation that do not react with your skin in case of allergies.Navigation Methods to Help You Find Your Way HomeA good navigation system is necessary. It can help you know where you are, where you came from and where you are headed. Use a compass to navigate your direction. In case you don’t have one, use your watch and the sun to determine North direction, from there you can use it as a compass. Another method is, using a stick to judge the sun’s movement.To be well prepared, go for lessons on how to survive in the wild. You never know what might happen and stated above are some of the best ultimate wilderness survival tips.

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Ultimate Survival tactics For Outdoor Adventures

Need some survival tactics to see you through some great outdoor adventure?

First, you need to be relaxed. Attitude will determine whether or not you will survive.

Second, keep an open mind and be sure to calculate your moves.

Third, remember how long you can actually survive without food, water and shelter.The above tips are the skeleton of any Survival tactics. They can be broken down as follows:

How to Find Water One of the camping requirements is water so you have to carry it with you. Ideally, if you happen to run out of water, you will need to find some. Using the map that you would have carried, locate a water source within that area. Once you find water, look for a way to purify it to make it safe for drinking. You can use purification tablets, a camping water filter, boil it for 10 minutes or learn how to make Do-It-Yourself water from sand and charcoal.

Making a shelter

Mostly people become sick out in the wild because of exposure to elements. A well-built, well-positioned shelter is essential. Naturally according to survival tactics, one is expected when going for camping, he or should have at least a sleeping bag and a tent. In case you find yourself in the wild without a tent, one of the most basic survival tactics is, knowing how to build a shelter.

Vegetation Recognition

Be aware of the vegetation within your area, know the different ways they can actually help you in survival. For instance, you might happen to feel the need to use the bathroom. Since you are out of toilet paper, just grab a bunch of leaves and use them. They should be friendly not to react with your skin. And do not forget to wash with water.

Acquiring Food

Human beings can go for roughly 3 weeks without food. This gives you time to carefully look for food. Most of the people do not know how to hunt, fish, or trap an animal. Therefore turn to vegetation around you or learn to eat insects since they contain nutrients that are helpful to your body. Eat them in small bits till the body finally gets used to them, you will have gotten rid of the hunger problem. So Why do you need a hiking watch?

First Aid

Before going out for camping, you are strongly advised to take first aid lessons which will come in handy in case you come across a few injuries. First aid is a common survival tactic.

Animal Attack

Response One of the survival tactics is knowing how to deal with various wild animals in case you come across them. You should know how to get away from them, where to go, what to do, when to do it and also what not to do. Make sure you have the right tools, for example you can use a bear pepper spray to get rid of a bear.Like military tactics, outdoor survival tactics share a great deal of issues.

Outdoors are not where danger lurks or ghosts reside but environments worth exploiting your cash for happiness and memory. With the above survival tactics, you can survive anywhere you want.  Now you can enjoy your Hiking Adventure

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Secrets on how to survive in woods

Need some secrets on how to survive in woods that will see you through a great adventure?Mostly when you discover that you are lost you should stop, think, observe and plan. You are never sure if rescue is coming. Do not panic. It’s very dangerous since it interferes with your thoughts. Take deep and continuous breathes to stay calm. After being calm,Get orientedMark your position with a spare piece of cloth, pile of rocks or a sheet of paper. This will serve as your ground zero. Use it to navigate your position in that forest.Stay in one placeAvoid wandering off. It is very definite that you have no idea where you are. Therefore, to increase your chances of being found, you need to stay where you are. Also you might be going deeper into the woods if you are not careful.Build a fireBuild a good fire under easy conditions, with the appropriate and sufficient equipment. It should be able to serve for long. Also collect more dry wood that you will need to use in case the fire is about to go off. A fire near you will help give you a sense of comfort and safety.Signal your locationYou can blow a whistle, whistle yourself, shout calling for help, sing or bang rocks together. You can build a smoky fire, or mark your location in a way that is visible from air. You can use shine a mirror that catches the light three times. All these can be used to signal your location.Scout your areaCarefully survey your area looking for useful things. You might find that someone had been there previously and they managed to leave behind a few useful things. After that, be sure to go back to your original position.Find a good source of waterIt is only natural that a normal human cannot last three days without water. Therefore, dedicating yourself to find water is essential. A running stream is good. However, if you do not find it, you can drink from dew or look for water in rock crevices.Purify your waterIf you are in position where you have large amounts of water, you should be able to purify it. You can heat it using a handy pot or set it in the sun in a clear bottle for six hours, so as to effectively kill bacteria. For sediment water, add a pinch of salt to bring the sediment to the bottom.Find safe food to survive in woodsWhen it comes to food, make sure that you use the most appropriate techniques to get it. A normal adult can go for three weeks without food. Also make sure that the food you consume is safe since you will not survive if you are ill. Be careful not to fall ill or die because of food. Make a point of roasting the meat you hunt if any.The woods are very adventurous places to camp. With the above secrets, you now know how to survive in the woods – Try being the next Robin Hood!

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Secrets About Freeze dried survival foods Worth Knowing

Secrets About Freeze dried survival foods Worth KnowingAre you a camping fan? If so, Tarzan is one of the jungle legends you wish to meet. While many of his fans try to conquer the wild by living day, months or even years in it, there is a secret to doing this successfully. Get yourself a pack of freeze dried survival foods and be off for the wild. Mentioning survival foods without giving you a breakthrough about them is kind of bad. Ok. What about checking the tips to cooking survival foods? Yeah, thrilling as it sounds; give the tips below a keen eye.Handy tips for cooking freeze dried survival foodsEat survival foods dryDo you have a problem eating your foods dry? Wait! Who asked you to join the wild rangers in camps? Actually, though it seems tough to chew dry foods, most of them are really tasty when eaten dry. Have you ever tried eating dried yogurt? Whoa. Guess you have to try pomegranate flavored yogurt. Since you must have a balanced diet, try including dried fruits and vegetables too.Hydrate dried foods with little waterCheck this case scenario of a person who messed up his meal with excess water.He put his dried raspberries in a bowl of warm water in a bid to hydrate them.What is the problem with that? First, the end product was a whacky meal. Second, after the taste was gone, so did the nutrients. What is the secret to maintaining both taste and nutrients? Simple. Hydrate them with little water.Avoid hydrating freeze dried survival foods firstAt times, it is the sauce that you want. While you can add every ingredient in warm water, it is advised not to do so. Why? Some foods have different levels of hydration and may be exposed to way too much water. So what do you do? Always hydrate single foods differently then add them later to your final recipe.Hey! Never overcook your dried meatDid you forget that your dried meat is pre-cooked? Boiling it in water is overcooking it. It will drive off the nutrients and you will be chewing husky stuff that has fewer nutrients. A handy tip is that you always hydrate meat in warm water.Guess you are now energized to find these freeze dried survival foods. However, you either do not know them or don’t have access to them. Which is which? Yours to decide. Below is a list of ten foods to include in your shopping list when preparing to be a survival king or queen.Dried Alaskan wild salmon- It is a nutritious source of omega 3 and protein.Dried bean- Be it pinto beans, kidney beans or garbanzo beans.Bulk nuts- Pick unsalted almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds due to their fat deposits.Chocolate bars- Want that energy to move on? Try eating chocolate bars when doing your survival tricks.Surviving is not being at the mercy of nature, but showing Mother Nature how tough you can be when things in life become rough.

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