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Hiking Tips

March 22nd, 2014 by ironcooker


Hiking Tips To Help Make Your Outdoor Adventure Lots Of Fun

When you are camping, one of the most fun things you can do is go on a hike. It is great exercise; you can enjoy the outdoors, and you can see beautiful scenery. However, there are some dangers to hiking and you should be prepared for all events in order to remain safe and ensure you have a good time. Planning is essential so that you are not caught in a situation where you are not prepared. Use a backpack to store your items that you will take with you on a hike. Put heavier Hiking gearitems toward the bottom to help balance your center of gravity. If hiking with a group, distribute items equally amongst the group in case of an accident. If a backpack is lost and it was the only one that held the water or food, you might have a difficult time. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a spare set of clothing. If it is cold, wear layers and make sure to wear a hat for maximum warmth. Wear two pairs of socks and good hiking boots so you do not slip. Wear sunglasses and use sunscreen. Even if it is cold, the sun can give you a very uncomfortable burn. Also use insect repellant to protect you from pests and bites. Bring emergency supplies in case of an accident. This should include a first aid kit, rope, a utility knife, matches and a flashlight. Always have plenty of food and water. You need to keep hydrated and nourished during a hike. Beef jerky and trail mix are excellent energy boosting foods and will help get you through the day. Water is essential but you may also pack drinks like Gatorade that have electrolytes. Do not overdo it. Take frequent breaks and rest when you feel tired. Pushing yourself to exhaustion is unsafe. Use a walking stick to help keep you from getting tired and help you in climbing and keeping your balance. If you feel weak or light headed, sit down, take your backpack off, and eat and drink a little until you feel rested and ready to go on. Be aware of your surroundings. The picturesque scenery is a great time to take photos or sketch. These can be enjoyable past times but it is also a chance to run into wild animals, snakes and have an accident from not paying attention. Do not venture off trails into brush that may contain snakes or other Bootspoisonous creatures. You may want to carry bear repellant and a whistle in case you come across a wild animal. A whistle can also be useful if you fall or are trapped. Research the area where you will be hiking and plan what you will need to take accordingly. Do not be surprised by sudden climate changes. Take pictures and sightsee. Enjoy the outdoors and have a lot of fun, but be safe and prepared for anything. With a little planning, you should be able to make the most of your hiking experience






Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 6 Comments »

The Minimum Outdoor Camping Gear You Need

March 21st, 2014 by ironcooker


 Outdoor camping requires good cooking gear

by: Rudy Silva

Summer camp is coming soon. Outdoor camping requires good cooking gear. Camping gear like tents, bags and or foods are basic. You should also bring waterproof storm jackets. You should use the summer for more camping activities. Read this article to get more camping ideas.

If you are planning to have an outdoor adventure, you need to be prepared with your outdoor camping gear. It is not necessary to bring everything from your kitchen and bedroom to have a comfortable condition. All you need to have is the survival gear.

Depending on your adventure, you can have hiking gear and camping and hunting gear. For all outdoor adventures, you will need the essentials including footwear, clothing, backpacks, camping tents, campground cooking tools and accessories.

camping tentsMost outdoor foot wear is camping boots and trekking and hiking shoes. For serious hikers and campers, REI has high-end products for backpacking boots. You can also check out the hiking shoes of The Walking Company for good options, if you are an enthusiast of urban treks. Most shoes of The Walking Company ensure comfort.

Clothes are very important outdoor camping gear, because it can be cold at night when you are on highlands like mountain tops or hill tops. Be sure to bring with you a waterproof storm jacket. Check out Patagonia, Moosejaw and Backcountry.

Eastern mountain sports make quality backpack. Their products include daypacks, hydration packs and multi-day packs. Backpacks need to be durable because they hold and keep valuables. Camping tents provide shelter and protection for you when you are outdoors.

You will be shielded against the scorching heat of the sun, the pouring rain, and the rushing wind. Tents keep you guarded from pests like mosquitoes, noseeums and flies. They also protect your valuables like camp gear.

Outdoor camping gear would not be complete without your cooking tools. Whether you love cooking, preparing raw foods or opening canned goods, you will need to use fire. In most camp sites, a separate ground for cooking is prepared.cast iron skillets

Be sure to bring a bag of charcoal, spatula, propane stove, few pots, skillet and you will never be hungry. You can bring meat for steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches. Among the camping accessories that you will need are the sleeping bags, compass and maps. You can also bring GPS.

Compass and maps are particularly important for people who visit a site for the first time or when there is no tour guide to provide directions. GPS devices are among the outdoor camping gear that is a product of technology innovation to make camping more convenient.

Sleeping bags and pads will not make you miss your bed at home. You will not have to sleep on hard ground as you can use cushions. You can choose inflatable pads or closed-cell pads. You will place your sleeping bag on top of the pads.

If you are new to camping or hiking, you should choose summer as the ideal season for you. If such is the case, you will not need an expensive sleeping bag for your outdoor camping gear. A lightweight rectangular sleeping bag will be comfortable for you.

If it is too warm, sleeping on top of it with a sheet or blanket is recommended. Of course, you need to bring pillow and blankets for a good night sleep. Hiking or camping is more enjoyable when you have complete outdoor camping gear.



About The Author

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Posted in Family Camping | 2 Comments »

Camping in the mountains

December 4th, 2013 by ironcooker

A Guest post by Holly Anderson

Camping in the mountains…..Are you Bear aware?

The mountains… pristine, so beautiful. Uncorrupted by humans in their goal to make this landscape more people friendly with architectural design and development. Here in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, as in any heavily forested area, is a place where one can find their inner soul and grow. Not a place to try to make your environment adapt to you but with that peaceful and proud moment of knowing that you have adapted to your environment instead.

black bear

If one goes into the bush thinking that they can change it to suit themselves, there’s a good chance they will not survive long enough to make it out…Deep woods camping is fun but, do not suddenly decide to go into the mountains without having some outdoor experience first..

A guide is best, but remember he/she is not your babysitter. Everyone must be willing to pitch in if you are to achieve a memorable experience. If you cannot pull your own weight, then do not step up to the challenge…Your guide’s job is to lead you to wonderful places to enjoy and to lead you out .To make you aware of the dangers that are ever present and to teach you how to avoid them and prevent them when possible .Your guide is NOT your cook, servant or responsible for setting up your camp. If he/she tells you no cooking bacon, as tough as that may seem, they have good reason. Do not argue. You may be in bear country and to do so may bring the bears in fast and hard. Your guide has done this trip before and survived.

I have seen bears come in just from the smell of grilling burgers and this was at my home. They came down off the power line trail and into the yard. Not all bears are afraid of people. Just because he ran into the bushes does not mean he is gone. Black bears, especially, will sit and watch just out of sight, waiting for an opportunity to come in and look for where that delicious smell is coming from. Most times you will not even see them. But you will smell them. Guaranteed. They smell like wet, rotten wood. Kind of like sour earthy smell. Once you have smelled a bear you will never forget the odor .It has saved me more than once from stumbling upon one laid up in the poplar grove….

My friend likes to joke and say I am a bear whisperer in the making but it is no joke. Hah! Couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you share an environment with something that can eat you without a moment’s hesitation, you tend to count on common sense and pay attention. They are beautiful animals and I love to watch them, and I would like to continue to do so….so I try to keep my head. They are not called the black ghosts for nothing…..I hollys black male have seen a very large male (called a boar) run thru the Saskatoon berry bushes and not make a sound and he seemed to vanish. His odor told me otherwise, though try as I might, I could not see him. Not a branch moved nor a single blade of long grass. Very much the black ghost his title is earned and well deserved.

So I would like to share with you the safety precautions that I have taken, and they have worked, for I am here to talk about it. Always make sure you make noise when walking a heavily bushed area or trail. Remember we are in their home. Sing, talk out loud even if it’s just to yourself. It may seem a little silly but it could save your life. Most bears will avoid you if they hear you coming. On very rare occasions, when bears are extremely hungry or have learned to associate humans with having food, they will come into your camp. Black bears have been known to track a hunter by circling up behind them, stalking to try and claim his animal that the human has taken. Especially when the hunter is packing out the meat. In some cases the hunter has had to shoot the bear for his own safety.

Under no circumstance is running from a bear going to help you if it has seen you….It will trigger a natural instinct within the animal to chase. It cannot be helped. It’s like asking a river not to flow. If you run, you are now prey. Should you encounter one on the trail, or on a hike, try to back away slowly calling out. For example,” Whoa bear, easy bear” as you continue backing up. Use a firm voice but not aggressive and continue to back away ,keeping your eyes on his movements at all times, until you are at a safe distance to go back the way you came, or to make a very wide berth around him if you must continue. Continue to call out to warn him of your presence and never, ever turn your back on a bear.

A lot of bears will do what is called a false charge. They will do this to encourage you to leave them be. DO NOT RUN. Swallow down that fear and back off as described above. Remain calm (even though you may be terrified) Mother bears with cubs however, are a different story.  They are not known for the false charge. If she charges, she will keep coming and she is intent on taking you out. To her, you are a threat to her cubs. Avoid bears with cubs, as cute as they may be, it’s not worth it when momma has gotten ahold of you…..

Young cubs, like two year olds, instinctively know about the charge as a defence, but as they haven’t matured yet, have not come to realize that the false charge is very effective to run off something they feel is a threat to them. They will follow thru and keep coming if provoked. A misconception is that a bear will attack for no reason, for sport even. This is false. Two main reasons, and there are variables to this, is (1) they feel you are a threat and feel backed into a corner, or (2) starvation that has led to desperation.

Keep all foods in a tied plastic bag (garbage bags will work if you triple up) and hung up out of reach. Do not leave in cooler or car as this poses no deterrent to bears. One case in Alaska states that a pontoon plane was destroyed by a bear as it sat on the beach. It had contained bait fish that had been removed while fishermen were fishing and the smell lingered inside the aircraft……Please pack out all cans, bottles, and plastic from your site when leaving so they will not hang around for the next group of campers that come in. And of course make sure your fire is completely out before leaving……..

This section is for the ladies. So excuse us gentlemen as they need to have this information.

Ladies, if it is the time of your monthly visitor, it might be wise to postpone your camping adventure in the deep wilderness, particularly if you are planning to sleep in a tent. If in a cabin, be sure to burn all toiletries immediately after use. Bears do not understand that you are not wounded. There gentlemen, that wasn’t so bad was it?

I do not claim to be an expert on bears or their behavior .These tips are from my own personal experience. I lived with a very dense population of bears in the interior of British Columbia and as I am a 5’3″ woman that weighs in at 130 lbs, a black bear can outweigh me by at least 6 to 700 lbs and outrun me within seconds and climbing a tree won’t help. Blacks can climb too, and fast. Trying to stop a charging bear without a fire arm is like trying to stop a train with your bare hands .The best advice I can give is to try and avoid them at all costs. Try not to draw them in to you or your camp. NEVER be aggressive towards them and DON”T RUN. Think about everything you do before you do it in bear country. They are a BIG predator.

Now that you are more bear aware, enjoy your nature adventure…Be safe, Be smart, Be alert.  And Happy camping!!!!




Posted in Family Camping | 10 Comments »

Ready For Spooky Stories? 4 Resources To Get You Going

October 31st, 2013 by ironcooker

Ready For Spooky Stories? 4 Resources To Get You Going
Halloween is around the corner!  And while many other blogs might use this time to show you how to make spooky snacks or create devilish decorations, we’ve got a great topic all our own.  Is there anything better than hiking out into nature on a crisp autumn evening, striking up a campfire, roasting marshmallows (or something even better), and scaring the pants off of each other with a great ghost story?  We don’t think so.

Here’s a run down a few of our favorite campfire story sites.  Take a look around—you’re sure to find a few to put a chill up your spine.

Urban Legends from

Urban Legends from
This is a collection of some of the most classic campfire stories around.  Mostly in the realm of the (fantastically) real, it’s a list of close-call and mistaken identity stories where the finale twists back on the audience.  These are definitely the types of stories you tell in the stillness of the night, asking, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights?”

American Folklore

American Folklore - Spooky Campfire Stories
Here you can find some of the classics in supernatural stories from all around the country.  There’s a little bit of everything: frontier, civil war, and even some modern mentions like a Ouija board.  They’re sometimes spooky, sometimes have a sense of humor, and sometimes play at your heartstrings.  Check out this list to find a folklore favorite and rediscover the secret of the yellow ribbon.

Scary For Kids

Scary For Kids
Halloween is a great time to initiate some new campers into the fun.  This is a site with a few classics and some newer stories, ready-made to be told to the kids in the group.  Some seem a little over-the-top, but isn’t that just what they crave?  But heed the warning of the nature photographer’s story, and make sure to sleep with one eye open—just in case.

How to Tell a Ghost Story via Howcast

How to Tell a Ghost Story via Howcast
Have you already heard them all before?  Playing to an audience who already knows their stuff?  Here’s a quick video that shows you how to tell a ghost story yourself.  It shows you how to set the mood, spike the details, and use a little dramatic effect.  If everything else is old hat, then come up with your own story, customized to creep out anyone crazy enough to sit at your campfire.

Do you have a favorite scary story to tell around the campfire?  Which stories spooked you when you first heard them?  Tell us all about them in the comments below, and have a horrifyingly happy Halloween!

Posted in Family Camping | 1 Comment »

Autumn Rain Got You Down? What You Need To Hike When It’s Wet

October 10th, 2013 by ironcooker

Autumn Rain Got You Down What You Need To Hike When It's Wet
We’ve just stepped into autumn, which means we’ll all start trading sun for rain a little more in the coming weeks and months.  It’s tempting to just stay inside and enjoy a hot drink instead to venturing outside.  But if you want to watch the colors change, get in some of the crisp fall air, or simply refuse to let a little bad weather keep you from enjoying your hikes, then I’ve got a few tips for you.

Gear Up, the Right Way
Gear Up, the Right Way
When you’re looking for the right gear, that doesn’t mean you need to be on top of the trends.  The first and most important thing is to dress for the weather and the climate.  A lot of the time, that can mean something as easy as dress in layers so you can regulate your own temperature.

If you’re in a particularly wet climate, you can dress down right with a quality, impermeable rain jacket with a moisture-wicking shirt (like Under Armour), waterproof boots, and rain pants.  No matter what you do, you can’t expect to stay completely dry—that’s just not going to happen.  But you can manage just how soaked you get—it’s an aim for a realistic win.

And then from there, scale it back depending on moisture and heat.  Warm, humid hiking is maybe the most challenging.  A rain shell isn’t going to help, so the best you can probably do is to wear a shirt that breathes well and keeps moisture off of you.

Keep the Feet Dry
Keep Those Feet Dry
So long as you keep your feet mostly dry, you’ll be doing alright.  But you might have to go with something a little outside of your ordinary hiking boots.  Grab some really high quality waterproof high-tops.  We’re talking about ankle-height or better—those are sure to keep you dry even when you’re walking through the occasional puddle, and give you support when you’re walking on slippery pathways or muddy trails.  Alternatively, you can use a waterproofing spray on some older shoes.

For socks, a solid way to go is the double layer.  Start with a thin pair of socks, and then pull a thick, woolen pair on top of those.  Alternatively, if you expect to be walking in some heavy downpours, invest in pair made from a water-resistant fabric.  And if you’re walking in a warmer climate, just wear what you’d normally wear.

You can get around blisters and chaffing by applying a lubricating lotion or personal lubricant first.  While Vaseline works perfectly fine, many hikers prefer something like Hydropel.

Enjoying the Experience
Enjoying the Experience
If you’re suited up, then by now you’ve done all you can to get around being soggy and uncomfortable.  You can still try for speed if you want, but with the new surroundings, you might just refocus on the distinct beauties of a rainy day hiking.

Notice the distinct paths that falling water takes and where it settles.  Changing and falling leaves make for a unique and transformative spectacle, especially when highlighted by moisture.  And when it’s particularly cloudy, even the most subtle and dull colors can become more pronounced against a grey backdrop.  If you’re a photographer, you’re sure to find some great picture opportunities this time of year!

Do you have any tips for hiking in the autumn weather?  Do you have any favorite activities for this crisp fall air?  Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)

July 31st, 2013 by ironcooker

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)
Outdoor hiking is a time that should be filled with amazing views, new adventures and good friends. You may be surprised in a group hike that many hikers walk at different speeds. And though you might feel like you’re in good shape, you might find yourself straggling behind others in your group. Being left in the dust of other hikers is no fun and it slows down the pace for everyone else. Don’t worry, there are ways to ensure you are not left on the trail. You can actually teach yourself to hike faster without training harder.

Find Your Head Space

Find Your Head SpaceThe first thing to do before improving your time is to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Set aside the worry of the tough terrain and long hike so you focus more on the adventure itself. You can visualize yourself going faster and looking ahead at the finish line. Don’t stare at the steep terrain worrying about your steps. Set goals that you know you can reach. It may seem difficult at first, but visualize yourself hiking at a high speed and reaching your destination with a happy heart.

Don’t Forget Form

Don’t Forget FormYour form when outdoor hiking is an integral part of your speed. If you walk with your back hunched over or your hands at your sides, the hike will take you longer. Shorten your stride and make sure you maintain your posture. Always look ahead and swing your arms to help you move along the trail. Don’t let your arms hang for too long or they will swell. Breathe deeply, find a rhythm in your steps. Singing in your head can even help keep a good pace! Take time to realize how your steps aligns with your breathing. This will help you work at a faster pace without using too much energy.

Lighten Your Load

Lighten Your LoadLighten your load to speed up. You don’t have to put everything at the camp in your pack. Even a few ounces can hold you back during your hike. Bring only the necessities with you in your pack. Make sure to include an adequate amount of food and water. Ensure the duration of your hike works in coordination with the weight of your pack.

Test Endurance Levels

Test Endurance LevelsGetting to your preferred speed isn’t done in a day. You don’t need to approach the 25 mile hike on one of your first adventures. Choose a shorter route (below 10 miles) and map out your hike. Try to climb more than 1000 feet when you have the chance to teach your body endurance when climbing. Remember, hiking is all about the adventure, and you really only need to build your endurance so you can see all the sights of nature and to stay with your group.

Find a Familiar Track

Find a Familiar TrackChoose a familiar trail and try to beat your personal best time. Use a stopwatch to measure how long each trip takes. Some hikers use a heart monitor as well. Keep a journal so you can note what is working for you every time you’re out on the trail. You can test different weights in your pack or different breathing techniques that may let you travel faster. Listen to music, stay conscious of your breathing patterns, and figure out what works best for you every time you’re on the same trail.

By using all of these techniques you can increase your speed without training harder. Are you ready to increase your outdoor hiking time yet? Do you have any other great ways to improve your hiking time?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Posted in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Hiking Tips

Saturday March 22nd, 2014 in Outdoor Hiking | 6 Comments »

The Minimum Outdoor Camping Gear You Need

Friday March 21st, 2014 in Family Camping | 2 Comments »

Camping in the mountains

Wednesday December 4th, 2013 in Family Camping | 10 Comments »

Ready For Spooky Stories? 4 Resources To Get You Going

Thursday October 31st, 2013 in Family Camping | 1 Comment »

Autumn Rain Got You Down? What You Need To Hike When It’s Wet

Thursday October 10th, 2013 in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

Hikers: How To Hike Faster (Without Training Til You Drop!)

Wednesday July 31st, 2013 in Outdoor Hiking | 1 Comment »

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