Posted in Camping Tips

Hiking – Avoiding Joint Pain

Hiking is one of the best ways to stay active in an outdoor setting, especially if you combine it with a nice camping trip. It’s great for both the mind and body, allowing you to receive the benefits of exercise while still getting away from it all. It’s also an excellent activity for the family, as it will get the kids out and away from screens, and with so much to see in the outdoors, they can learn a lot, too!

One of the main barriers preventing people from hiking, especially older individuals, is pain and stiffness. If prolonged activity makes you sore, particularly if that activity involves walking or climbing stairs, then the hesitation to go out for a hike is totally understandable. That being said, allowing your body to defeat you and your goals will only create a snowball effect, making it more difficult to get out for that hike as time goes on.

If this sounds similar to a situation you are currently in, we would suggest taking a quick visit to the doctor or physiotherapist about potential solutions. An interdisciplinary approach is usually the most effective method, and in the meantime, if your joint pain isn’t too serious, there are some things you can do to help you stay active.

Sports Braces

Sports braces, such as knee and ankle braces, are great ways to add stability to a joint and potentially help relieve pain. The bulkier braces you may have seen people wearing immediately after surgery are generally the most supportive, as they come with locking hinges and an adjustable range of motion. However, for those dealing with more chronic issues, there are slimmer braces available to help provide stability and relieve pain.

One of the first things worth noting is that a sports brace is not limited to an athlete. Braces are available for everyone. For example, plus size knee braces are becoming increasingly popular as more overweight people are striving to stay active. These are great at adding stability to the highly-stressed knee joints, and the compression that is offered by many of these braces and sleeves is effective at reducing pain during activity. You can also find very affordable and minimalistic straps for tendonitis, such as a patellar tendon strap, which helps relieve chronic pain in the tendon found between your knee and shin, which is a very common ailment. Overall, the vast majority of braces can be worn outdoors while hiking, so they are definitely something to look into.

Stretching and Strengthening

Stretching and strengthening is usually the best way to actively heal a joint, reduce longterm pain from conditions like osteoarthritis, prevent further injury down the road, and to simply stay active. The main obstacle here is that you may require some assistance in setting up a plan. If you are unfamiliar with setting up strengthening and stretching programs, don’t worry, personal trainers and physiotherapists can help you design a program that is suitable for your needs. Moreover, these professionals can also guide you in creating a practical program, for example, something that can be easily incorporated into your routine at home.

Ice and Heat

If you want to avoid becoming dependent on pain medications, but need a relatively fast-acting solution for joint pain, either ice or heat can be helpful. As a typical rule of thumb, ice is appropriate if there is swelling involved, or if you are tending to a recent injury, e.g. in the last 48 hours. On the other hand, if you are experiencing general joint pain and stiffness, heating the area can help alleviate the pain and loosen things up. I find heat is especially great for neck pain and stiffness, as well as aches and pains in the feet and knees. A heat pack or hot water bottle are both good options, or if you’re out on a hiking trail, those little hand warmers can also work in a pinch too. Simply apply and wrap them to the source!

Summary

These are just some tips to help you get back on your feet and enjoy the trails. Hiking can certainly be hard work at times, making the most athletic individuals stiff and sore, but it’s important to keep at it and stay active. The main thing is that you are motivated to stay on your feet, and hopefully these tips will provide you with some more motivation to get out there. Good luck!

Posted in Camping Gear

Handy Safety Items for Camping

When people think of safety items, they often think of larger safety kit that will be stored away and only seen in the case of an emergency. While safety kits, especially ones that include medical supplies, are highly necessary, there are some great items out there that usually aren’t considered for safety, but now offer those types of capabilities. With ever-advancing technology, many practical tools are becoming much more versatile, allowing you to get the most out of your apparel, tools, and shelter.

In this article, we would like to briefly highlight two safety items that are a must for camping, with a focus on convenience, practicality, and familiarity.

Flashlight

It probably goes without saying that a flashlight is an essential tool to have with you when going camping. It’s not like you have the light from cars or overhanging streetlights. Being stuck somewhere at night, having to fix a shelter in the middle of the night, or really doing anything at night in the wild, will be extremely difficult without the help of a flashlight.

There are really two options you can opt for here. First, you could stock up on cheaper, but functional, flashlights that may not last very long, but you use them in an almost disposable manner. This is an appealing option, especially for those on a budget; however, this means it’s always a good idea to have multiple flashlights on you at a time in case one breaks. The second option is to invest in a bright and durable flashlight that will stand up to any punishment that you throw at it. As you may have guessed, the main downside here is that you need to be able to spend a good chunk of change on a flashlight, which even when you do have the means, it can still be difficult.

In any case, light is necessary, making a flashlight an essential safety item. Fortunately, the size and multiple applications makes it easy to justify purchasing, especially if you don’t already have one.

Watches

It wasn’t too long ago that watches were for only for telling the time. Now, with all sorts of advanced technology to beef up the capability and durability of many different watches, there is a watch for almost everything. If you plan on camping in the woods, especially in an area that you are unfamiliar with, a watch with GPS capability, or at least a compass, can be a great safety item to have without adding anything to your storage.

So where do you get a watch that is suitable for camping in the wild? Many military-style watches have now become available to the public, and these allow for next-level durability and incredibly useful navigation features to help you find your way. Casio is a popular brand that makes a lot of these types of watches, but there are many out there to choose from, so shopping around is always a good idea. It may be tough to buy a whole new watch for the purpose of camping, but it could be a lifesaver down the road.

Thinking and Planning Ahead

We use both “thinking” and “planning”, as we regard these as two different stages of preparing for a camping trip. Thinking can be done casually well ahead of time. What do you already have, what do you need, what could be useful for the areas you camp in most? Thinking about what you would do in different situations, regardless of how unlikely they might seem, is a great way to get a head start on your planning. Once you get closer to your trip, you can start the planning stage, where you confirm what you already have and actually go get what you need. Lay everything out in front of you to make sure you have everything. Once you’re out the door and on your way, you will have one less thing to worry about, and you’re free to unwind in the glory of nature!

Posted in Camping Gear

The Essential Safety Kit for Camping

An adventure starts with an idea, then working upon that idea to convert it into reality. But no idea could bear fruit till all the implements have been properly put into place. Same goes for camping, mentioned below are the must need things to ascertain a safe and fruitful camping trip.

First Aid Kid

Don’t ever start your camping trip without one! You could never know what the trip entails, and the possibility of finding yourself in an unfriendly environment. A minor injury sustained during your camping trip may take the shape of something unfixable. There have been many instances of people dying from such ” minor” injuries, for want of medical care.

Navigation

A mechanical compass ( the old fashioned one!) is a must need in such a time, we have come to accept our phone’s GPS as the only source of navigation. But, there is a very high chance that you may be in parts of the forest where there’s no connection. In such a case your GPS would fail you, but not the good old fashioned compass!

Guidance

The guidance could be a light source, like the headlamps and flashlights, preferably with long lasting batteries. Or, they could also be a map to guide you through the dense brush, as has been mentioned above, GPS is highly unreliable in such a case.

Protection from the sun

If you don’t want to come back from your trip being sunburnt, it is highly recommended that you carry some form of protection with you at all times. It may be sunglasses or the good old sunscreen. Experts recommend a minimum SPF of 15 for minimal outdoor activity, or an SPF of 30 for extensive outdoor activities.

Repellant

Let’s be very clear, it’s the middle of the woods, and it is full of things that you may not like. Carry insect repellent with you, so you don’t turn into a source of food for your tiny friends. We  want to come back in one piece, don’t we?

A shelter

What Bear Grylls does isn’t something that normal humans can replicate. So make sure that you carry with you a temporary shelter to stay in for the night. Building a shelter from the “surroundings” looks good only in the movies, in real life, it is a terrible idea, which may bring forth a lot of discomforts.  Here is how to pitch a simple tent.

Water and Food

Pack up religiously on food and water, at least 2 days worth more than your planned stay. This would help you sustain any mishaps during your camping trip, straying from your path, or failing to locate your tent being some.

Posted in Winter Camping

How to Make Winter Camping Comfortable

Most of us relate the cold weather to a cup of hot chocolate and cuddling in a warm blanket but there are a people who have a big sense of  adventure and would love to go camping during winters. Winter can be a pretty good time for camping since you would find more space to yourself because of the fewer number of campers in comparison to the summer season.

Winter camping can be interesting and provide you with an overall different experience. However, winter camping does require a little bit more planning than the summer camping so here are a few tips on how to make winter camping comfortable.

1. Proper Clothing

It is important during winters that you wear warm clothing while camping because you would want to maintain a constant temperature for your body. It is always better to layer up so that you could wear something breathable as the first layer of your clothing so that it would help you avoid the accumulation of sweat.

Try keeping your head, feet, and hands warm as well by wearing the right clothing. During winters, it can get really cold during the night so make sure that you carry a few additional layers of clothing in your backpack which you can use if needed.

2. Light a fire

During winter, it is important that you light the fire first and then start setting up your tent.  The fire would keep you warm so it is better to have a bonfire while setting up the tent. Keep everything you need to light a fire in your backpack and double check on the lighters before heading out since you do not want to end up frozen during the winters by camping outside.

3. Hydrate your body

During winters it is common that you would feel less thirsty, however, that does not mean that the body does not require water. So keep drinking water at regular intervals in order to keep your body hydrated. You could even go for hot beverages if you plan on making them at the campsite.While sleeping you might want to keep your body warm by snuggling in something warm along with you like a hot water bottle.

4. Condensation

As you sleep inside your tent, the temperature would warm up inside which would result in condensation on your tent. In order to avoid this, you can either keep the tent ventilated, which would result in lowering the temperature inside the tent. You might want to dry out your sleeping bags the next day so that you could get them ready for the next night.