Posted in Camping Gear

Easy-to-Pack Hiking Apparel

When it comes to hiking, especially those longer hikes that are 5 miles are longer, it is essential to pack everything you need, but to also keep everything as lightweight as possible. This cane create a dilemma for beginner hikers or those who have priorities that they need to address while on the trail. For example, pre-existing injuries can be an issue that require more equipment, but aside from that, the environment, who you are with, and your travel plans will typically dictate what you need to bring.

In this article, we would like to highlight a couple things that you can bring along on your hike that may make a world of difference without making any noticeable difference in the weight that you are carrying.

Compression Socks

Those who know about compression socks are likely to think of long distance runners, or people involved in professions that require long periods of standing, such as nurses, doctors, military personnel, and construction workers. However, they are becoming increasingly popular for those who suffer from general aches and pains in their legs, and given their benefits in long distance activities, it seems logical that they could hold some benefit for hikers as well.

For example, compression socks are known to help with venous return, which is basically the ability of your body to pump blood back from your extremities to your heart. In professions that require constant standing, the blood can effectively “pool”, and the muscles that normally help squeeze the blood back up the legs are, for all intents and purposes, considered inactive. In long distance running, this enhanced venous return isn’t valued so much to avoid issues like varicose veins or DVT, but instead, to help enhance performance. Long hikes fall right in the middle of this.

So how do you know what compression socks might be the best for your hike? First, we would recommend finding socks that are breathable and moisture-wicking, which is usually stated in the product description. Secondly, these socks can come in a variety of degrees of compression. Unfortunately, there is no way to really know what is best for you until you try them out, but generally speaking, the degrees of compression are broken down into mild, medium, and strong. If you are completely unsure, we would recommend starting with medium. If it’s too much, you know you will need to go down to the mild compression. If you could use more, you can always try moving up to strong compression. Hopefully they will work perfectly the first time! In any case, while they tend to be a little expensive by socks standards, they are still quite affordable compared to most hiking equipment.

Watches

Many hikers now carry fancy GPS watches, which are actually very useful and offer an additional safety blanket while on your hike. If you get lost, these can help navigate your way back to civilization, or at least water sources to help keep you going.

If you already have a GPS that you carry with you, or you are with other hikers that have these sorts of items, then you may simply want a durable and waterproof watch that is small, lightweight, and easy to pack. In this case, something plain and simple could do the trick, allowing you to keep track of time without worrying about water damage. Additionally, watches can come in many different styles that attach to many different parts of the body, clothing, or your hiking bag. For example, lapel watches are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to be attached to any piece of fabric, whether it be your shirt, jacket, or bag. They are also very small and easy to carry in a pocket, or simply pack in your bag for later use.

Survival Blankets and Hand Warmers

These may be quite well known to most hikers, but after having spoken with many of our peers, we were surprised to learn how many people don’t take these along with them. A survival blanket sounds like a lot to carry, but really, it comes in a package about the size of a wallet, and is more than likely lighter than your wallet! This is because the blanket is essentially a large sheet of thin, but strong and flexible, aluminum foil. If you get stuck out in the cold, or someone falls in the water, it can be used as an extremely effective heat insulator. It takes up almost no space at all, and it is extremely light.

Hand warmers are quite similar. These can be purchased from any outdoor store, and even your general convenience stores, particularly those located in cold winter climates. They are small and light, and are usually activated by shaking or cracking them, which then generates heat. Stick them inside clothing, or in your pockets with your hands, and they will remain warm for quite some time (but not all day). Again, nothing new, and nothing fancy, but something that can really make a difference on your trip out, especially if it’s chilly!

Conclusion

These are by no means must-carry items on all hiking trips, and they aren’t really anything innovate, but their combine weight and size make them arguably some of the most underrated hiking items that you can carry with you. Even if you decide these aren’t worth taking along with you, we encourage you to think ahead about what can be easy and practical to bring along with you or to wear on your trip. Plan for the worst case scenario because those types of situations are never expected, and you never know when the worst can happen. Lastly, in addition to the safety precautions, planning ahead can and thinking about these things can simply save you a lot of hassle of running around and buying things immediately before your trip. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and hopefully you can get out to a trail or campsite to see the beautiful Fall colors!

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.