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Wilderness Survival Backpacking Tips

November 14th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Why should you learn wilderness survival skills just for backpacking? They may save your life someday, and for ultralight enthusiasts like myself, skills replace gear, and therefore weight. The best reason, however, may be that it’s just a good feeling to know you can deal with whatever comes up. It makes you feel more at home. We have collected a few Wilderness Survival Backpacking Tips that should cover the basics and help you survive.

To survive means to stay warm and dry, hydrated, uninjured, and to find your way out of the survival situation. Eating is nice too, but not crucial if the situation is for a few days. Below are some more or less random survival tips, just to get you interested.

Wilderness Survival Tips

1. Warmth: Sleep with your head slightly downhill to stay warmer. This may take some getting used to, but it works.

2. Food: In North America, there is no berry that looks like a blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry, that can hurt you from one taste. Just spit it out if it doesn’t taste right. If it looks and tastes like a blueberry – it is.

3. Fire starter: If you put dried moss or milkweed fuzz in your pocket as you walk, you’ll have dry tinder to start a fire, just in case it’s raining later. Experiment with different materials.

4. Direction-finding: Mark the tip of the shadow of a stick,and mark it again fifteen minutes later. The line between the the first and second marks points east. A few techniques like this can save you when your compass is lost.

Wilderness Survival Backpacking Tips

5. Weather: In the Rocky Mountains you can see the clouds forming just before the afternoon storms. Being able to read the sky can keep you out of trouble. Lightning kills hikers in Colorado regularly.

6. Staying dry: Hypothermia is the biggest wilderness killer,and getting wet is the biggest cause. Watch for ledges or large fir trees to stand under if you see the rain coming.

7. Shelter: A pile of dry leaves and dead grass can keep you very warm in an emergency.

8. Hydration: Fill water bottles every chance you get, and you won’t have such a hard time with any long dry stretches of trail.

9. Injury: Pop a “blister” on the trunk of a small spruce orfir tree, and you can use the sap that oozes out as an good antiseptic dressing for small cuts.

10. Fire starter: White birch bark will usually light even when wet.

These are just a few of the wilderness survival tips and techniques you can easily learn. Why not practice one or two on your next backpacking trip? For more tips about wilderness survival and backpacking, click here.

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Choosing A Backpacking Stove

November 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Backpacking stoves have continued to get smaller, lighter, and easier to use. With advances in stove design, improvements in pre-prepared backpacking food, and regulations limiting fires in National Forests, more people are choosing a backpacking stove to carry. This has resulted in more choices for consumers, who are often uncertain about what advantages different types of stoves offer.

The two most common types of backpacking stoves are canister stoves and liquid fuel stoves. Canister stoves use pressurized disposable canisters that contain a mixture of butane and propane. Since the fuel for canister stoves is already pressurized, there is no need for pumps or heavy fuel bottles making the canister stoves small and light. The canister stove simply screws onto the canister and if equipped with a Piezo ignition can be ignited reliably with the push of a button.

Liquid fuel stoves use small hand pumps to pressurize the fuel along with mechanical devices to atomize the fuel. These stoves have seals and moving parts that may need maintenance from time to time including lubrication and seal replacement. Liquid fuel stoves are generally heavier, but provide fuel options. Depending on the stove, liquid fuel stoves can run on various fuels including Coleman Fuel, Kerosene, or even Gasoline.

Choosing A Backpacking Stove

This flexibility can be a huge advantage; not only because liquid fuel is cheaper, but it is easier to find. Liquid fuel stoves also tend to heat better in temperatures near freezing while canister stoves become stubborn to light and take significantly longer to heat as temperatures drop near or below freezing. These are just a few of the factors to take into consideration when you are choosing a backpacking stove for your travels.

The type of cooking that will be done is also important in selecting a stove. If the sole purpose of the stove is to heat water to hydrate pre-prepared backpacking food and make hot drinks, almost any stove will do. If simmering of sauces, soups, or noodles is required, then the small torch like burner heads on many canister stoves should be avoided as they tend to heat unevenly and burn the food directly above the flame. Larger burner heads are generally better for simmering food even though they add size and weight to the stove.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of stoves will help in selecting the stove best suited for the conditions.

For more backpacking information and ideas, click here.

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Survival Clothing For Outdoor Emergencies

November 1st, 2017 ernie Posted in Camping | No Comments »

Survival Clothing For Outdoor EmergenciesMaybe you don’t need to learn about survival clothing. Maybe you always hike with a spare jacket. Perhaps you never go out into the wilderness overnight, but just for day hikes. Or you bring lots of warm clothing when you do go backpacking. This post is about Survival Clothing For Outdoor Emergencies, something we should all know about.

Nonetheless, hundreds of people die or come close to dying every year from exposure. They thought they were prepared. They didn’t expect their clothes to get wet from falling in a stream, they didn’t think they’d be out there for the night, or they get lost for days.

Coming down from Mount Whitney I met several young men int-shirts on their way up, determined to get to the top. They had no gear, and not enough time, but they probably made it there by sunset anyhow. They also certainly didn’t make it the eleven miles back to their car before dark. It was below freezing that night, so I imagine they were uncomfortable at best. They were not prepared, with Survival Clothing For Outdoor Emergencies

Quick Survival Clothing

What survival clothing could they have made in that situation?One of them did have a light jacket. He could have used hist-shirt as a hat (a lot of heat is lost through the head) and filled his jacket with the fluff from the cattail seed heads for insulation. (Cattail down was once used to fill those old orange life preservers.)

Insulation is the important principle here. You can stuff a jacket, shirt, sweater or pants with dry leaves, milkweed down,bracken ferns or almost anything that creates a lot of “dead airspace.” It’s better if you have two layers to sandwich it between, but being itchy is better than being frozen in any case. this is really what we mean when discussing Survival Clothing For Outdoor Emergencies.

Survival Clothing For Outdoor Emergencies

In a jam, you can also use the flat leaves of cattail plants to weave a vest that will block the wind and some rain. Two bread bags full of milkweed down or other silky plant fibers make warm mittens (tie them at the wrists). A plastic bag full of the same could be tied onto your head as a hat.

Usually, you’ll do better to look first at what you have, before looking to kill animals for their skins, or weave grass skirts.If you have a sleeping bag, it can double as a coat – just wrap it around you. Socks can be mittens, and garbage bags can be made into snow pants.

A garbage bag can also be a raincoat. Otherwise, tie bunches of grass tightly together along a string or strip of cloth, and then wrap it around your shoulders. This will repel a light rain. You can fashion a rain hood of birch bark as well.

In the desert you can make a sun-hat of large leaves, like those from a fan palm. String some together to wrap around your shoulders to prevent sunburn.

You’ll probably never have to use animal skins for survival clothing. You might never lose your shoes and need to glue tree bark to your feet with pine sap, for hiking. Still, knowing how to improvise a few basic pieces of survival clothing can make you more comfortable, and possibly save your life. For more camping information and posts, click here.

 

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Money Saving Travel Tips

October 30th, 2017 ernie Posted in Trip Planning | No Comments »

Money Saving Travel TipsThis rotten winter might have you hankering to take a vacation. And the less-than-robust economy means you’d probably like to travel for the least amount of money. Always look for deals and ways to save money, but you need to watch out for the scams as well. If your planning a vacation check out all of the deals, take advantage of traveling in time frames that are not as popular.

Visit travel shows and pick up tips as well as coupons for discounts on various trips and places to visit.

Money Saving Travel Tips

To get an airline’s lowest airfare, try calling the carrier instead of booking online . You may think all the available inventory is on the web. Not even close. It’s only the inventory they want to put online. The same applies to hotels.

As an example, The lowest fare online: American’s $809. Calling American directly and asking if the airline had a “positioning flight” (when a carrier needs to get one plane from one city to another); netted a flight for $109.

If you searched for airfares on a site but didn’t buy a ticket, use a different browser or computer on your next visit or clear your computer’s cookies and cache. Otherwise you may be shown a higher fare because you left cookies the first time and the site knows you’re eager to buy.

If you belong to a Frequent Flier program, check its site for fares using your number and without it. “Delta offered me a fare for $529 and then I went put in my Frequent Flier number, the fare suddenly jumped to $607,” They said there was a different class of tickets for Frequent Fliers.”

Train lovers with time on their hands should look into Amtrak’s 15-day go-anywhere deal. “You can get off and on anytime and see all of your dysfunctional relatives in one trip for $500; $250 for kids under 12.

Exploit the cruise industry’s bad publicity (the Costa Concordia and Carnival Triumph disasters) and excess capacity. “It’s a buyer’s market with rates as low as $149”.

Call a hotel directly for its best room rate rather than booking online or phoning its 800 number. “You can get more discounts from a phone call than from a website,”. Conversely if the hotel rate is higher than usual, check the online price. Sometimes they forget to update the prices online.

When you call, ask for the manager on duty or director of sales, not “reservations,”. That’s the person who knows that a wedding just canceled and the hotel suddenly lost 30 booked rooms.

Ask value-added questions: Can my kids stay free? Can they eat free? I recently had to rent a car in San Francisco and asked the hotel if I could get free parking and I did. The parking normally cost $42 a night.

Consider alternative lodgings to hotels. “I love hotels, but they’re rarely the most interesting place to stay and they’re usually the most expensive,” . One person bragged about renting a two-bedroom apartment in Venice for $83 a night.

Scams

Watch out for “free” travel offers on Facebook. What may look like a giveaway of two free Southwest tickets from “Allison” is really a ruse to trick people into giving up personal information.

Never click through a link, even if it looks legitimate.

Don’t agree to rent out someone’s home until you speak, Skype or FaceTime with them. “Legitimate renters are happy to talk to you. Skype or FaceTime conversations are best because you can then insist on seeing the whole apartment or house.

Bargain destinations

Visit countries where few Americans vacation.

Go where the local currency has been pounded.

But perhaps the biggest bargain of all (once you get there): Bali in the South Pacific. You can almost live there on $5 a day.”

For more travel planning posts, click here.

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Best Backpacking Foods

October 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Maybe your favorite backpacking food is a freeze-dried turkey dinner. There really is no “best” backpacking food. There are reasons to bring certain foods, though. Here are ten foods, and the reasons you might want to consider them.

1. Nuts. This is one of the most calorie-packed foods you can take. That means less weight to carry. With lots of protein and other nutritional benefits, nuts are one of the best backpacking foods.

2. Olive oil. Add a little to your soups or dip bread in it.The best of the oils health-wise, you can eat it before sleeping, to stay warm, because fats generate heat when digested.

3. Trail mixes. Any mix with raisins and nuts is great for backpacking. Vitamins, minerals, protein, and the best reason -convenience.

4. Corn products. Tortilla chips or corn nuts are convenient,and they don’t seem to cause the tiredness that potato chips and other simple carbohydrates can cause.

5. Ramen noodles. When you need a hot meal fast, there isn’t much that’s better.

Best Backpacking Foods

6. Instant coffee. A necessity for caffeine addicts, and it’s good to have a stimulant available for emergencies.

7. Wild edible berries. Learn to identify a few, and you’ll have a nutritious excuse for a break along the trail.

8. Instant sports drinks. Pour a little in your water bottle and shake. Replacing electrolytes doesn’t get more convenient.

9. Instant re-fried beans. When you want sustained energy, eat beans.

10. Your favorites. Having your favorite foods can help salvage a rainy backpacking trip spent in the tent.

Always consider the nature of the trip when you choose your backpacking food. Hot meals are much more important in cold climates, and convenience is king, if you want to make miles. A bottle of rum might even be appropriate, if it’s a trip with friends. For more backpacking details, click here.

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Sleeping Pads For Lightweight Backpacking

October 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Sleeping Pads For Lightweight BackpackingUltralight backpackers want to give up weight, not comfort. Sleeping Pads For Lightweight Backpacking are pretty much a necessity for backpacking comfort, but who wants to carry those monstrous old inflatables down the trail? Try some of these lightweight options instead.

You can make four-ounce sleeping pads – then sometimes carry two of them. Start with the plain blue closed-cell foam pads available from any backpacking supplier. These are made larger than necessary, usually 24 by 72 inches. You can just cut them down to a four-ounce size.

It’s important that it reaches from your shoulders to your hips,so cut it to that length. Cut the width a little at a time,testing for comfort as you go. You want the pad as small as you can make it, while still big enough to insulate your torso from the ground. Your head can be on a pillow of spare clothes, and your legs on your empty pack to insulate them.

Sleeping Pads For Ultralight Fanatics

If you want it really light, cut pieces out of the pad.Half-inch holes in the pad don’t seem to make it less comfortable. Cut out a hundred little pieces of foam, and you get to save an ounce and join the ranks of the fanatical ultralight backpackers. That is what Sleeping Pads For Lightweight Backpacking is all about.

Sleeping Pads For Lightweight Backpacking

To be comfortable with a thin pad, or none at all, try sleeping where the ground is soft. You can also pile up leaves or dry grass to sleep on. Please do this only where it won’t harm the environment, and scatter the leaves in the morning so they won’t kill the vegetation they’re on. With fifteen minutes of work each night collecting materials, you can leave the sleeping pad home and be more comfortable. A thick pile of dried grass – now that’s a nice camping mattress.

More Comfortable Sleeping Pads

Do you need more cushioning? Inflatable sleeping pads are no longer out of the question for lightweight backpacking. REI’s Big Agnes Air Core Pad is a 3/4 length pad that weighs just 16ounces and is an incredible 2 1/2″ thick! I haven’t tried this one yet, so if you’ve slept with Big Agnes, let me know how she is.

There are also several self-inflating sleeping pads that are reasonably light. My old Therma rest is actually only 21 ounces,but both Therma rest and others now have self-inflating sleeping pads that are under a pound. Now that’s lightweight backpacking comfort!

For more backpacking and camping information, click here.

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Backpacking In Siena, Italy

October 14th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Backpacking TipsSiena is located an hour or so outside of Florence, Italy. My handy dandy guidebook suggested it was a side trip that just had to be made. Backpacking In Siena can be an interesting side trip. A medieval structure located behind protective walls on the top of a hill. The central area was generally closed off to cars and it was a taste of true Italy. Who was I to argue?

As I sat on the train, I check my backpack for any excess weight. I had already discarded or sent home unnecessary items and was feeling pretty light on my feet. Next thing I knew, the train had stopped and I was standing on flat road next to a rolling hill covered in trees and homes. My Backpacking In Siena trip was at the top.

The thing about rolling hills with lots of foliage is they are simply evil. You can never get a grasp on how far it is to the top. You keep thinking the top appears to be a few hundred feet in front of you until you reach it. Then you discover it is just a dip before another upward section. The hill up to Siena is just such a rolling hill. Throw in a road that twists all over the hill like a drunken sailor on leave, and you’ll never scoff at a moped again.

Getting in touch with my inner mule, I began to climb and tame the great beast. As I trudged along, I thought of all the great people that must of walked up the same hill throughout history.As I stood in the shade panting, I thought all of those great people probably hitched a ride instead of walking like me.

Backpacking In Siena, Italy

After thirty-five minutes or so, I was seriously starting to think about hitching a ride. Of course, this would mean admitting defeat. The battle between my genetic male stubbornness and “this sucks” attitude was intense. Like a mule,I kept going. Five bends, three dips that I could have sworn were the top.

Just as I was giving in…a wall. A really big wall. I passed it and suddenly was in a large parking lot area with tourist buses.Hands on knees, shirt soaking, I tried to maintain my dignity as the tourist looked at me like I was insane. Did that moron walk up here? One even took a picture!

After composing myself…err, getting my breath back, I booked a room in a little hotel. The young lady working the desk seemed hesitant, but I made some comment about it being a long way up from the valley. She started giggling and I had the room.

I showered and went looking for trouble. Well, trouble that was on a flat surface. In the town center, I stumbled upon a small café selling Mexican beer. Being from San Diego, this was nirvana. My inner mule was quickly appeased and the hill of death forgotten.

Reflecting on my climb from a historical perspective, I learned a good lesson. It is far better to be behind the wall than trying to attack it! For more Backpacking In Siena and other locations , click here.

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Eat Plants While You Hike

October 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Camping | No Comments »

Eat Plants While You HikeKnowing a few edible wild plants can make your next backpacking trip, or any trip into the wilderness, a lot more enjoyable. Eat Plants While You Hike should be taken seriously to avoid eating the wrong plants that can be poisonous or make you sick.

You can pack lighter if you eat wild berries every morning for breakfast, for example, and leave your oatmeal behind. So push the bears out of the way and gorge yourself on blueberries. Less weight on your back always feels better.

You’ll also enjoy your backpacking more when you know that you won’t be completely helpless the moment you lose your pack, or a raccoon empties it for you. You don’t have to be a survivalist to see the value of knowing which of the wild plants around you can be eaten.

Eat Plants While You Hike

I eat dandelions, wild currants, pine nuts and other edible wild plants regularly. I ate hundreds of calories in wild raspberries during a break, while hiking in the Colorado Rockies. During a kayak trip on Lake Superior, a friend and I spent half a day stopping at every little island, to fill our stomachs with wild blueberries. We were almost out of food, so our foraging helped us get through the rest of the trip. Edible Berries

Here are just some of the wild berries my wife and I ate while hiking to Grinnel Glacier in Glacier National Park: Blueberries,Service Berries, Rose Hips, Blackberries, High Bush Cranberries,Strawberries,

Raspberries, Thimble berries, and Currants. Berries are the most convenient, calorie rich and nutritious of the edible wild plants out there. They are also the easiest to learn to identify Edible Wild Plants And Survival

If you travel in isolated wilderness areas, learning to identify a few edible wild plants can keep you safe also. Someday you maybe lost or injured, or a bear will push you out of the way to gorge himself your freeze-dried meals. In a survival situation,food isn’t usually a priority (warmth and water are), but a pile of roasted cattail hearts sure will cheer you up and warm you up, and they even taste good.

Stay away from protected plants, of course, unless you are in a true life-or-death situation. Also, don’t eat all the beautiful flowers, or kill off the lilies by eating all the bulbs. Use common sense. If you aren’t sure if you’re doing harm, stick to eating wild berries.

Check out a few books on harvesting wild food. You don’t need to become a wilderness survival fanatic. You really only need to learn to recognize a dozen high-calorie, abundant wild edible plants to be a lot safer in the wilderness, and to enjoy it more. For a lot more camping posts and about Eat Plants While You Hike, click here.

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Lightweight Backpacking Techniques

October 1st, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

These lightweight backpacking techniques  and tips are options or ideas, not recommendations. I tend towards the extreme side of ultralight backpacking, and if you don’t know yourself or your skills, some of these techniques will get you into trouble.

A good example of this is the “natural mattress” that allows you to leave your sleeping bag behind. With this technique, I’ve slept with no pad, and only a five-ounce sleeping bag liner, on a night when it was near freezing. It took fifteen minutes to collect enough bracken ferns to make a two-foot thick mattress,but it was comfortable and warm.

You can use leaves, pine needles, dead grass or dry bracken ferns. All you do is make a pile big enough to set your tent or bivy sack on. This could damage the environment in some areas, souse common sense, and collect only DEAD vegetation. Also,scatter your materials in the morning, so they won’t smother the plants underneath.

An important point here is that you have to know your environment, so you know you’ll be able to find proper mattress materials. Otherwise, you could have a very cold night or worse.Also, gloves make it easier and safer to collect the ferns or grass. Try this first near home.

Knowledge Reduces Weight

Learn certain backpacking techniques, like the one above, and you can carry a lighter sleeping bag, less clothing, and even less food. Wilderness survival knowledge can help you reduce weight, but it also lets you travel the wilds more safely.

Learn which berries are edible, and you can eat as you hike and bring less food. I’ve eaten half of my calorie needs in the form of berries on some days in the wilderness.

Lightweight Backpacking Techniques

During a hike to Grinnel Glacier in Glacier National Park, my wife and I ate nine types of wild berries. Finding your own food also helps to contribute to Lightweight Backpacking Techniques.

Researching the climate, and timing can help you reduce weight.You can leave rain wear home, for example, if you’re in the eastern Sierra Nevadas in September (bring a garbage bag for emergencies). I sometimes plan trips to coincide with the full moon. I enjoy getting up at four in the morning and hiking by moonlight, and since I’m up and moving at the coldest time of the night, I can get by with a lighter bag.

Money Reduces Weight

Money will buy you lighter gear, and expensive backpacking gear is generally of very high quality. I didn’t enjoy paying over$200 for my sleeping bag, but I’ve never yet been cold in it,and it weighs just 17 ounces.

Concentrate on the the larger items. A sawed-off tooth brush could save you 1/4 ounce, but a lighter shelter can save you pounds. Consider small things last. Buy dual-purpose items, like a poncho that can double as a shelter. Drink soup and tea from your pan, and you won’t need a bowl or cup.

Leaving Things Reduces Weight

This can be the tough part of lightweight backpacking. Ask of every item; Can I get by without it? Stoves aren’t necessary if you bring ready-to-eat food. You don’t need a change of shirt or pants on a three-day trip. If you’re not sure you’ll be happy as a minimalist, go back to the money solution. Start replacing your things with the lightest alternatives you can buy. There are many ways to go lightweight backpacking.

For more backpacking information, click here.

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Trekking Poles And Hiking Staffs

September 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Camping | No Comments »

Trekking Poles And Hiking StaffsAre walking sticks longer than trekking poles? What about hiking staffs and hiking sticks? Whatever you call them, and whatever their differences, they are supposed to help your knees more than anything. Trekking Poles And Hiking Staffs help your balance on narrow paths.  This they do very well, at least when you’re going downhill.

What else are they good for? They help you keep your balance.You can use them as defense against wild animals as well. I use a walking stick to rest my head on from time to time, and I also use it as a mono pod for steadying the camera. Do You Need Trekking Poles?

What if you don’t have knee problems, and you are hiking on level ground? Then maybe there is no point to using trekking poles. They can be just more things to carry.

Do they save energy? They take weight off your joints, but logic says you’ll expend more energy by carrying them. I use a walking stick at times, when my knees insist, and it’s fun to poke at things, but it’s not a necessity. For what it’s worth, Ray Jardine, the “father” of ultralight backpacking, doesn’t recommend trekking poles.

Trekking Poles And Hiking Staffs

Walking Sticks and Other Options

I often cut dead sticks and use them until I lose them. I always lose my walking stick – a good reason not to buy the expensive ones. If I do still have it at the end of the trail, I leave it for the next hiker. Hand-cut walking sticks are heavier than high-tech trekking poles, but you can just leave them behind when you get tired of them.

You can use bamboo to make good light hiking staffs. It’s stronger than it looks, so use a piece that’s only about 3/4″thick. I bought cheap decorative bamboo at Pier One Imports, and cut it to size. You can glue some soft scrap leather on for a comfortable hand grip.

Finally, ski poles work as trekking poles. It’s best if you remove the baskets, especially if you’re hiking in wooded areas where they may catch on something. for more Trekking Poles And Hiking Staffs and camping related information, click here.

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Lightweight Backpacking

September 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

You aren’t lightweight backpacking if you are carrying twenty-five pounds for a summer weekend. I invent these standards, but I try to be reasonable. I backpack with less than fifteen pounds total weight for a weekend trip. With a few new pieces of gear, and a little knowledge, you can probably carry less than twenty pounds for a three-day trip, and less than thirty for a week-long trip.

Start by throwing out those pack weight/body weight formulas.Learn the principles of lightweight backpacking, and you’ll never be close to what they say you can carry anyhow. And who wants to carry 25% of their body weight down the trail? The question to ask is “How much do I need to carry to be safe and comfortable?”

Lightweight Backpacking Isn’t Masochistic The biggest reason for lightweight or ultralight backpacking is to enjoy the trip more. I don’t leave crucial things behind or otherwise make myself miserable, just so I can call it lightweight backpacking.

Here’s a good rule: Go as light as you can without sacrificing things that are most important to you (safety items, a good book, a bottle of rum?). It’s not about giving things up. It’s about carefully choosing what you really need to have an enjoyable, safe trip, AND replacing heavier things with lighter things.

Lightweight Backpacking

For example, if you really need an inflatable pad, get rid of that 2-pounder and buy one of the new 13-ouncers. My down sleeping bag weighs 17 ounces and has kept me warmer than any 3or 4 pound bag I’ve had. If you replace items one-by-one with lighter alternatives, you can eventually cut your pack weight by half or more.

Start by setting aside your lightest sweater, socks, hat, etc.Then, when you can afford to, buy one of the big three (pack,tent, bag) because this is where you’ll save the most weight. Of course, going light can be expensive, but I’ve gone 110 miles in seven days (no blisters) with $7 running shoes, so it doesn’t have to be.

How Much Weight?

With proper equipment and skills, you probably can be comfortable and safe with twenty pounds on your back for the weekend. Watch yourself on your next hike. What did you actually use, and which items brought you the most comfort? What can you leave behind next time? What can you replace with lighter items?

My first really light backpacking trip was a true test in the mountains of Colorado. It rained or snowed every day. I went 110miles without a blister, climbed 5 “four teeners”, stayed warm and dry, and never had more than 17 pounds on my back. Oh, and I  never had as much fun with a heavy pack. That was light weight backpacking at its best.

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How To Stay Warm Backpacking

September 14th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Stay warm or die. That’s what it comes down to at the extremes.More people die in the wilderness of exposure than from any other cause. Staying warm, of course, also means more comfort,and for backpackers, it can mean going even lighter, with out more risk. How to Stay Warm Backpacking is one of the key things that everyone needs to pay attention to.

Staying warm in the wilderness is about proper gear and good skills. Proper gear means clothing and equipment suited to the environment you’re in. This is a subject in itself, worth studying if you spend much time backpacking. With better materials and designs, the newest clothing and equipment saves lives. It is skills, however, that make the biggest difference. The following provides more information about how to Stay Warm Backpacking.

How To Stay Warm – Tips and Skills
– Set up camp in the right places. Hilltops are windy and cold,and cold air also fills valleys at night. Level ground some wherein between, out of the wind, is best.
– Wear clothes to bed. Shake and fluff them up to make them insulate better. Some recommend against sleeping in clothes, but I’ve tried it both ways many times, and it’s always warmer with clothes on.
– Wear a hat. This may be equal to a pound of insulation in your sleeping bag. A lot of heat is lost through an uncovered head.
– Go to bed dry. Stay up until your clothes have dried, or change into dry clothes. On a warm, dry night, however, you can put damp clothes on your sleeping bag to dry them with body heat. You may need warm, dry clothes the next night (Thinking ahead is a great wilderness skill).
– Breath into your sleeping bag. Only do this in a dry climate,or if you’re sure it’s your last night out. You’ll get damp, but you should dry quickly from hiking in the morning.

How To Stay Warm Backpacking

– Take a water-bottle full of hot water to bed with you. This is easier and safer than heating rocks and placing them around you.

– Make a pine-needle mattress. Dead leaves and dry grass work too. Scatter the leaves in the morning, so they won’t smother the plants underneath. I’ve slept warmly below freezing, with no sleeping bag, in a pile of dry grass collected from a frozen swamp.

– You can breath into your sleeping bag if you’re really cold.You should only do this in a dry climate, or if you’re sure it’s your last night out. You’ll get damp, but you should dry quickly from hiking in the morning.

– Fill a water bottle with hot water, and take it to bed with you. This is easier and safer than heating rocks and placing them around you.

– Adjust your clothing as you hike. Remove and add clothes as necessary to stay warm without sweating. Sweat can cause you to lose heat rapidly when you stop.

– Stay dry. On a cold day, wet and hot can become hypothermia soon after you stop moving those muscles. On a hot day, however,wear wet clothing to dry it out in preparation for a possibly cold night.

– Conserve your energy. It’s tough for your body to keep itself warm with no energy reserves. You may also need that energy to gather firewood or hike to the car to escape a blizzard.Finally, you’ll make better decisions if you aren’t tired, and you’ll remember how to stay warm.

This is a sampling of wilderness skills and knowledge. There are many more things to learn about how to stay warm. For more back packing help and information, click here.

 

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Working and traveling in Uruquay

September 9th, 2017 ernie Posted in Uruguay | No Comments »

Montevideo UruguayA friend of the writer lived in Montevideo Uruguay in 1995, 1996 and intermittently in 1997. These are her notes and thoughts about living there along with the things to see while there.I lived there again in 2009 as well as spent vacations for 1 or 2 months at a time in 2011, 2014 and 2016. I am currently trying to arrange another month long vacation for March 2018. Over all these years I was lucky to travel extensively for the job and for pleasure and can say I’ve visited every corner of the country.

My two favorite areas to live are Pocitos and Punta Carretas in Montevideo Uruguay. They are adjacent areas with numerous restaurants, cafes and shopping. They are mostly apartment buildings with some older homes in the mix. The two areas stretch up from the Beaches and include parks where there are numerous vendors and booths every Saturday.

Punta Carretas has a large 3 storey Shopping Center, named Punta Carretas on Ellauri St. and there are some great boutiques and shops and a top floor with movie theaters, most in English with sub titles and a food court and a couple of restaurants. The bottom floor has a large supermarket called the Disco and all the usual shops you’d expect to find in a Shopping Centre. It used to be a prison in the past and has the original facade. There are 2 restaurants at the entrance gates, McDonald’s and an Italian café-restaurant called Don Pepperone. It is very casual and has a large patio.

Montevideo Uruguay Sheraton Hotel

The Sheraton Hotel is right behind the shopping center and is accessible from the 2nd floor. It is very modern and has a nice lounge and restaurant. Just a block or 2 from the Sheraton, towards the water and the Rambla, the street that follows the shoreline is one of my favorite restaurants. La Perdiz. It has a small patio, great food and is a favorite of locals and expats. Tel 2711-8963

There is reliable public transportation and taxis are very reasonably priced with taxi stands on main corners and easily accessible by phone.

The whole City is on a wide point and Pocitos and Punta Carretas as split into each side of a point by the street 21 de  setiembre which runs from the beach and up.

My favorite restaurants in this area besides La Perdiz are:

Fellinis – Corner of Benito Blanco and Marti, Tel 2706-0252  Try the Brie and Carmelized Onion Appetizer

La Cavia – corner of 26 de Marzo and Cavia, Tel 2706-8253 Good BBQ (Parrilla in Spanish)

Da Pentella – Corner of Luis de la Torre and Francisco Ros, Tel 271200981 Very intimate and cozy

Mercado Del Puerto in the Old City Montevideo Uruguay:

El Palenque  – in the Port área where the cruise ships dock – Tel 2915-4704 This is a great spot for Saturday and Sunday afternoons with a huge patio and the best Petit Filet, with mushroom sauce or my favorite, Roquefort Sauce. There is always lots of action in this area with vendors selling art, jewelry, handmade toys, leather purses and other touristy stuff.

There are a lot of restaurants in Montevideo Uruguay but these are some of the best I’ve experienced, with great food and great value for price.

If you get a chance to get out of the city for a weekend there is good bus service between Montevideo from the main bus station at Tres Cruces. It is only about 1 ½ hours to Punta Del Este a favorite tourist spot for visitors with hotels and many restaurants. One side of the point has big waves and attracts surfers and the other side has nice beaches and many with restaurants that offer beach chairs to rent and service to your spot. It is close to Barra, another interesting beach town. They probably have tours to showcase both places. If you take a tour don’t miss Casa Pueblo just outside Punta De Este.

Weekend Trips around Montevideo Uruguay

Another easy weekend trip is to Buenos Aires. You can fly there in a half hour and land in the airport close to the city and many hotels. As a Canadian you need to secure a Reciprical Visa which is available on-line and must be purchased prior to going. Although I’ve flown in the past, it is always easy to take the Ferry Buquebus from Montevideo to the port in BA. I prefer to take the land Buquebus to Colonia and then the fast Buquebus Ferry from there to the BA port, only 45 minutes but then I get seasick. Buquebus has its own tour company and it is located on a side street just across from Punta Carretas Shopping. The last time I was there I was able to get a 3-night stay at the Hotel Americana in Buenos Aires for around $230 US and that included the Hotel, bus from Montevideo Uruguay to the Port in Colonia, the fast ferry to BA port, be met by a driver in BA who takes you to the hotel and pick-up by the driver on departure day and the return trip. A real bargain.

When I go on a Friday night I always go to the Puerto Madero for dinner on Friday and highly recommend Bice, an Italian Restaurant with great Veal Marsala, we go to Buceos on Saturdays, a very colorful area with restaurants shops and street vendors. I recommend visiting Senor Tango Saturday evening. You can purchase your ticket at the hotel, and it includes pick up by a bus, a full dinner in the nightclub and if you go alone, they will set you with other guests, very friendly, wine, and a pick up by the bus after the show, usually around 1AM. The bus driver gives you the bus number when you arrive so you can easily find it on departure. As you’ve paid at the hotel, you just need some cash for restaurant and bus tips. The show is excellent with a troupe of dancers and singers who entertain throughout dinner and afterwards. I think it was around $70 the last time I went.

Sunday is ideal for visiting San Telmo, another area full of vendors with a lot of antiques and artists. It is just nice to relax at a café and watch the world go by. All the taxi drivers are familiar with these places and they are great walking around spots. If I were there I’d probably go back to Puerto Madero for dinner on Sunday evening. There is another Italian Restaurant just to the left of Bice which is also very good with a lovely patio and view. Of course there is the beautiful Opera House Teatro Colon which has a great opera and ballet season or is just great to visit on their tours. It is fascinating and takes you down below the street to visit the costume makers, she makers, set carpenters as well as the orchestra and ballet school practices. I went there once to see Aida and it was spectacular.

I highly recommend taking the City Tour of Montevideo Uruguay if you make it to BA because it certainly gives you the flavor of the city. Of course that is also an interesting way to see Montevideo but I’m guessing as a world traveler I don’t have to tell you that.

 

 

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Ultralight Sleeping Bags

September 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

Why ultralight sleeping bags? Because ultralight backpacking is only made possible by cutting the weight of the “big three;” the backpack, shelter and sleeping bag. The days of five-pound summer bags are gone – at least for those of us who prefer to go light.

One Pound Ultralight Sleeping Bags

There are several one-pound ultra light sleeping bags on the market now. My own is 17 ounces. It actually weighs 19 ounces with the stuff sack, but stuff sacks aren’t always necessary. It can be stuffed directly into my pack or put in a half-ounce bread bag. It’s a down sleeping bag, and has kept me warm down to below freezing – warmer, in fact, than my four-pound bag used to keep me.

It appears fragile, and I’ve babied it over the years, but it may be tougher than I thought. I’ve used it from sea-level to 16,000 feet, in all types of weather, usually camping under a tarp, yet it still has its loft, and it appears almost new. The zipper goes only half-way down, to save weight, and it’s a mummy bag, but I’m 6’3″, 165 pounds, and I’ve always been comfortable in it.

Sleeping bags weighing around a pound are summer bags, rated down

Ultralight Sleeping Bags

to 40 to 50 degrees fahrenheit. A quick check of the newest bags out there, though, shows that even one or two of the 0 degree bags are under three pounds now. These are down filled bags, of course, as down is still the lightest insulation for its weight.

Another big advantage of any down sleeping bag is it’s compressibility. Nothing packs smaller than down. However, a good synthetic bag is probably better than down if you are regularly getting it wet.

Several sythetic-fill sleeping bags now come close to down in their warmth-to-weight ratio. At least one summer bag, using Polar guard fill, weighs an even 16 ounces. That’s amazingly light for a synthetic bag.

Using Ultralight Sleeping Bags

Ultralight sleeping bags generally aren’t tough. The lighter the bag, the more fragile, but treat them gently, and they work fine. I’ve used mine for many years, in snow and rain, from Ecuador to California to Michigan, and it shows little wear. Baby these things, and they can last a long time.

For more information on backpacking, click here.

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How to stay fit with bad knees

September 5th, 2017 ernie Posted in Exercise | No Comments »

Are you suffering from bad knees? Perhaps you have a lot of pain in your knees every time you walk up the stairs or even take a step. Many people who run for exercise, enjoyment and sport find that their knees are starting to hurt a great deal. Consumers who play squash, racquetball and other sports cause the knee to be injured from the twisting and turning in those sports.  The continuous pounding, twisting and turning wheel overtime damage ligaments and cartilage in your knee. You may find that your knees ache, or there’s a lot of pain when you climb stairs. It may be time to consider something different in terms of exercise that has less impact on your knees . Otherwise, you may find that you need knee replacement operations sometime in your future.

The writer played squash until he was 35. Climbing the stairs was painful with sharp needle like pain in the knees. He decided to stop playing squash and take up another sport that was less painful and damaging to the knees.   In the writers case, he took up cycling and within six months a pain in the knees was gone and he was able to climb stairs with no pain whatsoever.

If you were beginning to experience pain of the sort from the continuous pounding of running or some other sport it may be time to consider a different sport. The following is a list of potential sports to be considered  to help prepare your bad knees.

Alternative sports for bad knees

Swimming – is an excellent sport to consider and has one of the least impact on joints. It also exercises almost all of the muscles in the body as well as work on your cardio system.

Running in the pool –  if you do not like swimming or cannot swim consider running in the pool. Running in the pool has far less impact on joints with additional resistance from the water providing you with great exercise and cardio improvement.

Cycling –  is another sport that you can do anytime and has the flexibility of just getting on your bike and going out for a  ride. You can spend a lot of money on a bicycle, define one of the lightweight ones that allow you to go really fast. However you should remember that your goal is to gain exercise, cardio exercise so the heavier the bike the more exercise you’re going to get .

Gym –  not everyone likes to go to the gym, but this might be the best approach for many people with joint problems. There are many exercises that you can do at the gym that avoid joint irritation. Avoid the treadmill, use the stationary cycling or some of the cross trainers.

Remember, you want to avoid the pounding on your knees and joints, while at the same time strengthening the muscles around your knees together additional support and avoid that pain and eventual knee replacement surgery.   Bad knees can be a thing of the past with the proper exercise. Get started today.

 

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Lightweight Tents – How Light?

September 1st, 2017 ernie Posted in Camping | No Comments »

Why use lightweight tents and ultralight tents? Because a heavy tent is one of the biggest obstacles to lightweight backpacking. You have to cut the weight of the “big three” (shelter, backpack and sleeping bag) to really go light. How do you choose one, though? Start by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Are you claustrophobic? Some ultralight tent designs are really just fancy bivy sacks. For those who hate tight squeezes,it will be like sleeping in a coffin.

2. How tall are you? If the length of the tent is only a few inches more than your height, you’ll be touching the walls. This probably means getting wet from the condensation on them.

3. What do you do in a tent? If you just sleep, total floor and head space are not important. If you normally play cards with friends for hours, you’ll need a design that allows for that.

4. Do you backpack in bad weather often? If all you plan to do is camp on nice summer nights, you can just look at the cheapest lightweight tents, and worry less about quality

5. How much have you budgeted for a tent? More money equals a lighter tent, but if you can’t get it light enough on your budget, you may want to consider going even lighter – and cheaper – with a tarp shelter.

6. Which is more important to you, fast set-up or lightest weight? Hopefully you’ll find a tent with the right balance, butkeep your preference in mind when shopping.

More About Lightweight Tents

Single-layer tents (without a rain-fly) will usually have more condensation inside.

Lightweight Tents – How Light?

This is true of even those that claim to be waterproof and breathable. It is less of a problem with the newer designs that have a lot of screen/ventilation area,because air circulation is as important as “breathable”material. These materials just don’t breath that well anyhow.

Test your tent. It’s no fun spending 20 minutes setting up a complicated tent in the rain. Also, it can be worse than inconvenient to tear seams because of a design that stretches everything so tight you have to fight with it. Try the tent in your yard or living room, before you head into the wilderness.That way you can return it if it won’t work for you.

There is only one totally enclosed 2-person ultralight tent that I know of under 3 pounds. It’s a single layer, but the forward sloping door allows for a large screen area, to keep air-flow at a maximum. This keeps condensation to a minimum.

There are “floor less” tents, which are specially cut tarps which typically use your trekking poles for support. One of the lightest of these is a three-person design that weighs less than2 pounds. I haven’t tried it, but it gets good reviews, and it is in the weight range I like for ultralight tents. You have to bring a groundsheet with this type, so figure that weight into the decision.

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered the hard way – four tents and counting – that you tend to get what you pay for with lightweight tents. That’s one of the reasons I backpack with a tarp. For more camping related information, click here.

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Hole Jackson Rafting whitewater

August 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Arizona | No Comments »

Jackson Hole raftingJackson Hole rafting is home to one of the most exiting activities in the world. White Water Rafting has quickly become a summer activity favorite. Rafting trips vary from the calm, scenic upper Snake River which offers a unique perspective of Grand Teton National Park to the wild and exciting Lower Snake River.

The lower Snake River route runs the whitewater of the Snake River Canyon. Experience Big Kahuna and other fun rapids around the area. It’s Jackson’s most popular trip for good reason! Jackson Hole lies just west of the Continental Divide and occupies about 400 square miles. The waters of the Snake River take up part of the valley, making for an impressive view and fantastic whitewater rafting opportunities.

The Jackson Hole Whitewater offers Whitewater and Scenic Rafting Trips on the Snake River. It provides 8 miles of wildest adventurous whitewater trip in Jackson Hole. Float for 13 miles past some of the most beautiful scenery in Jackson Hole, the entire trip takes about 7 hours and many outfitters will include lunch on the river.

Jackson Hole rafting whitewater

Snake River in Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting

Take Water River Trips through 8 miles of whitewater in the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. Combining spectacular scenery with the excitement of rolling rapids, this trip has all the ingredients for the perfect river adventure. The small 8-man paddle rafts are available on the whitewater section starting in June.
Overnight Trips-Scenic/Whitewater Combo

There are many whitewater rafting outfitters in the Jackson Hole area. You can find many on the internet, however we suggest that really word of mouth and referrals is always the best way to go. Going on a class 1 or 2 set of rapids, is not dangerous with only 2 foot waves, however higher class rapids require more skilled guides that are experienced in handling groups in more aggressive whitewater rapids.

For more whitewater rafting info in Arizona, click here.

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Rafting Skill Whitewater

August 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Physical Requirements | No Comments »

What are the rafting skills you need for whitewater river trips? Well that depends on which trip you are taking and the class of rapids that you will be navigating. If you are a beginner and want to see what whitewater rafting is all about, most rafting companies will recommend that you take a rafting trip on a class one river rapids. These are easily navigable and you should not get wet. They are suitable for seniors, children and beginners. Once you have seen what a class one trip is like you can progress to more challenging class two or three level trips.

Most rafting river whitewater companies will have their guides spend a few minutes before you ever get on the river, briefing you on what to expect, how to steer the raft, how to put on the life vests and all other items that you need to be aware for your whitewater rafting trip. Pay close attention and follow the instructions, to ensure that you will not have any problems. You will enjoy the trip immensely and the thrills that go along with more challenging trips.

Rafting Skill Whitewater

Class 3, 4 and 5 whitewater rapids are more challenging and require more skills from participants. You must be able to follow instructions closely and quickly in fast water, you must be able to paddle to assist the group in directing the raft to the correct whitewater rapid location on the river. You must not panic while on the raft during some of the more challenging whitewater rapids which often have rolling waves and will be sure to douse you in cold river water.

There is always a chance that your raft will be flipped over or someone in the raft will be tossed in the water as you pass through some of the rougher whitewater rapids especially in class 4 or 5 river rapids . Most companies will require that you be a strong swimmer and are able to swim out of these kinds of situations. Some whitewater river companies will require that you pass swimming tests and rafting skills tests prior to actually going on some of the class 5 whitewater river rafting trips. Before you sign up , always read the fine print so you know what to expect and have a great rafting trip through the whitewater rapids.

For more information about the rafting skill whitewater and physical requirements of white water rafting, click here.

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Rafting Speech Whitewater

August 14th, 2017 ernie Posted in White Water Etiquette | No Comments »

Almost all whitewater companies will give you a rafting speech whitewater talk prior to getting in the raft and on the river. Usually the guide assigned to your raft will spend a few minutes prior to your rafting trip to fill you in on what to expect on the rafting trip you have booked. In addition they will also cover some of the safety steps and safety equipment that you need to be aware of prior to your whitewater rafting trip. Part of the rafting speech will also cover the equipment that you will be using, how it works and what your role will be on the river rafting trip.

These rafting speeches prior to your whitewater rafting trip are very important, so pay close attention. You are not only protecting yourself, but also your raft participants. Class one river rafting trips are not very challenging, however even with these trips you will want to make sure that you have the proper safety gear and that you are traveling with the group to avoid unintentionally traversing more challenging whitewater rapids.

Rafting Speech Whitewater

Whitewater rafting trips can be a lot of fun, even exhilarating for everyone including beginners as well as experts. Always keep them safe by listening closely to the speech that your guide will give at the beginning of the trip. Even experienced river rafters should pay close attention. Your guide will include information about current conditions of the river and specifics about the section of the river that you will be rafting on. Conditions change constantly driven by dam releases, spring runoff and even local storms that drive the flows of water.

Your guide will cover all of this as part of his speech just prior to your whitewater rafting trip. Typically they will have checked the local weather, the river flow and all of the equipment prior to launch. They will also review the skill level of all of the participants to ensure that everyone is ready for the type of whitewater rafting trip that is planned. Enjoy your trip, follow instructions and make sure you wear your safety life vests as instructed.

For more information about rafting speech whitewater and white water etiquette, click here.

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Gorge Rafting Royal whitewater

August 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Colorado | No Comments »

The Royal Gorge is one of the best white water rafting trips in Colorado and world renowned. Experience the most amazing scenery of the sheer 1100′ cliff walls that surround you while rafting beneath the worlds highest suspension bridge.

You will challenge class IV, V rapids such as Sunshine Falls, Sledgehammer and the Narrows just to name a few. This section is suitable for first time rafters that are looking for an exciting challenge & experienced paddlers alike. Good physical condition is recommended at high water and the minimum age is dependent upon the varied water levels.

There are specialty trips also available that include a popular Water 2 Wine Heli Tour. Soak up the sun, fun and some of Colorado’s finest wine from the award winning Vineyard at the Holy Cross Abbey. This intoxicating tour operates every week Monday through Thursday.

Your adventure begins in white water rafting Colorado’s famous Royal Gorge section of the Arkansas River.

After your tour of the vineyard get ready to fly through the amazing scenery of the Royal Gorge past the famous Royal Gorge Bridge, up over the rim of the Gorge to land gently back at Royal Gorge Rafting!

Gorge Rafting Royal whitewater

Enjoy a 24-mile journey through the world famous Royal Gorge on the Historic Royal Gorge Route Railway. The Royal Gorge route is celebrated as the “Scenic Line of the World”. Pairing this tour with a Colorado White Water Rafting trip on America’s most popular river, the Arkansas, makes for an amazing event for the entire family!

Tour operators offer promotions that include both royal gorge whitewater rafting and the Historic Royal Gorge Route Railroad. You may choose which comes first, the Rafting or the Railway

You have the option to raft one day and ride the train the next day or experience both outstanding rides in a day?s time. Choose from any trip the Royal Gorge Route Railway offers and pair it up with a Royal Gorge Rafting Adventure of your choice. Railway departure times are the 9:30 am, 3:30 pm or the 7:00 pm departures from the Santa Fe Depot in Ca?n City.

For more information about Gorge Rafting Royal whitewater and Colorado white water rafting, click here.

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Tarp Shelters For Lightweight Backpackers

August 1st, 2017 ernie Posted in Backpacking | No Comments »

how to use tarp sheltersWhy use tarp shelters? The biggest reason ultralight backpackers use them is to reduce pack weight. The lightest tent you can find will be close to three pounds. Some of the newest ultralight tarps weigh just seven ounces. That’s why tarp shelters for lightweight backpackers are so popular. Read on for more about how to use tarp shelters.

Weight isn’t the only advantage of tarp shelters, though. They also give you room to move, and you can easily look around. You can quickly take them down when you’re ready to go. If it’s wet,just shake it off and it will fit in an outside pocket of your backpack. Even if they were the same weight, I’d still prefer a tarp over a tent for most trips.

The lightest of my own tarp shelters weighs 16 ounces with all the strings. That seems heavy now, when I look at the new ultralight tarps out there. Integral Designs Sil Tarp 5′ x 8′,for example, weighs just 7 ounces.

The Bozeman Mountain Works Stealth 0 Catenary Ridgeline Ulralight Backpacking Tarp weighs an amazing 5.7 ounces. With a name like that, you know it has to be expensive. Of course,almost any backpacking tarp will be lighter – and cheaper – than the lightest tents out there.

How To Use Tarp Shelters

You’ll probably need a bigger tarp than you think. A seven-foot roof may seem like it will cover your six-foot body well enough,until a blowing rain soaks your feet. Proper use is even more important than size, though.

Pitch the low side into the wind. Keep all sides low if a storm is coming. Evenly tighten guy lines. Use rocks, trees, trekking poles and whatever else helps. Pitch the tarp tightly, to keep it from flapping in the wind too much, which can loosen the strings or cause the tarp to tear.

If you haven’t used tarp shelters before, experiment until you can quickly set up in several different environments. Bring lightweight stakes, until you learn

Tarp Shelters For Lightweight Backpackers how to use sticks and trees and rocks. No stakes means less weight to carry. I’ve always found something to use, even up high on the tundra.

You might have to treat the seams with a sealant occasionally,or at least when you first buy your tarp. Buy seam-sealer any place that sells tarps and tents. You’ll need string or cord of some sort for tie-downs. I put varying lengths around the tarp, so I can untie and use the long ones where I need them.Sometimes that tree will be a little too far away.

I use 4′ by 7′ pieces of plastic for groundsheets. They’re opened-up giant garbage bags that weigh 2 ounces. They’re disposable, but I’ve used one for a week in the Rockies, and they’re cheap and easy to replace. Whatever you use, lay your bag on it, to be sure you’ll have room. You don’t want to be touching the wet ground just because you moved a little. On the other hand, if it’s too big it will catch rain out near the edge of the tarp, and funnel it back to you.

Mosquitoes keep a lot of ultralight backpackers from using tarp shelters. Repellent is a partial solution, as is using the tarp only when it isn’t too buggy. A head net helps, but keeping the rest of your body covered when it’s warm isn’t pleasant. Pitch camp in a high, breezy place and you’ll have fewer bug problems.

There are also mesh shelters you can pitch under your tarp. The lightest I’ve seen weighs 1 pound, 7 ounces. With a 7-ouncetarp, you’d be under 2 pounds for a shelter, and it comes with a floor, so you don’t have to bring a groundsheet. Ultra light tarps and tarp shelters, by the way, weigh less than 20 ounces,a standard I just invented, but it seems reasonable.

For more information on how to use tarp shelters and  about backpacking, click here.

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Equipment Rafting Whitewater

July 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in White Water Gear | No Comments »

Equipment Rafting WhitewaterMost people who are planning on going on an adventure tour or whitewater rafting trip do not need to worry about Equipment for Rafting Whitewater. The tour company will provide all of the equipment you need including rafts, paddles, life jackets and even tents for overnight excursions. If you are planning to take a class 3, 4 or 5 whitewater tour, many companies will also provide wet suits for you to wear. However if you are planning to do a lot of whitewater rafting, you may want to consider purchasing a wet suit of your own. Read more about Equipment Rafting Whitewater for your information.

Tour companies providing whitewater rafting trips should have all of the latest gear. Participants should do their own visual check to confirm all safety gear is in good condition and well maintained. This is for your own safety as well as you can quickly tell a lot about the tour company by observing how well they maintain their equipment for whitewater rafting tours.

Equipment Rafting Whitewater

Other personal Equipment for Rafting Whitewater tours that should be considered really depend on the type of trip you plan to take and local weather conditions. If your trip takes you through several canyons and valleys, weather can vary a great deal. In addition the weather on the river will be different than at the assembly point and different in the evening or over night.

Basically you need to take along several sets of clothes for your whitewater rafting trip. Assume a cool day on the river as well as a warm day on the river. Think about the clothes you will need while lounging around the camp in the evening and morning as well as a dry set of clothes in case you get wet while rafting along one of the whitewater rafting rivers. For more information about white water gear, click here.

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Healthy Balanced Diet to Lose Weight

July 24th, 2017 ernie Posted in Lose Weight | No Comments »

Healthy Balanced Diet to Lose WeightConsumers spend millions of dollars every year on various diet plans, weight loss fads and more. With the US and Canada with the most overweight populations in the world something needs to be done. We cannot continue to live like this with all of the associated health issues that come from being overweight. We happen to think that there is another approach that is following a healthy balanced diet to lose weight instead of starving ourselves. No more yo-yo weight loss and then weight gains. It is time to follow a healthy balanced diet to lose weight and keep it off.

Healthy Balanced Diet to Lose Weight

A friend of mind recently lost 15 pounds in the last 4 months. I asked him why he did it and how he managed to lose so much weight so fast.

The reason he found the will power to lose weight was that his doctor told him he was a pre diabetic and unless he did something he was going to become a diabetic and would have to go on insulin. This was the motivation for him to get serious about losing weight.

Once he decided to lose weight he found that the next part took real will power and a change in diet. He still exercised, but not excessively. He focused on finding a healthy balanced diet plan. He still ate most items, but in much smaller quantities.

The one big change that he made was to reduce his carb intake. This meant that he cut way back on breads, rice and potatoes. He still would have very small portions from time to time. Once he increased his fruits and vegetables along with protein the weight began to fall off.

Now that is how you lose weight without spending a great deal of money and still have a healthy balanced diet!

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Rafting Whitewater Wyoming

July 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Wyoming | No Comments »

Jackson Hole Rafting Whitewater Wyoming

Jackson Hole Wyoming, is home to one of the most exiting activities in the world. White Water Rafting has quickly become a summer activity favorite. Rafting trips vary from the calm, scenic upper Snake River which offers a unique perspective of Grand Teton National Park to the wild and exciting Lower Snake River.

The lower Snake River route runs the whitewater of the Snake River Canyon in Wyoming. Experience Big Kahuna and other fun rapids around the area. It’s Jackson’s most popular trip for good reason! Jackson Hole lies just west of the Continental Divide and occupies about 400 square miles. The waters of the Snake River take up part of the valley, making for an impressive view and fantastic whitewater rafting opportunities.

The Jackson Hole Whitewater Wyoming offers Whitewater and Scenic Rafting Trips on the Snake River. It provides 8 miles of wildest adventurous whitewater trip in Jackson Hole. Float for 13 miles past some of the most beautiful scenery in Jackson Hole, the entire trip takes about 7 hours and many outfitters will include lunch on the river.

Rafting Whitewater Wyoming

Snake River in Jackson Hole Whitewater Wyoming Rafting

Take Water River Trips through 8 miles of whitewater in the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. Combining spectacular scenery with the excitement of rolling rapids, this trip has all the ingredients for the perfect river adventure. The small 8-man paddle rafts are available on the whitewater section starting in June.
Overnight Trips-Scenic/Whitewater Combo

There are many whitewater rafting outfitters in the Jackson Hole Wyoming area. You can find many on the internet, however we suggest that really word of mouth and referrals is always the best way to go. Going on a class 1 or 2 set of rapids, is not dangerous with only 2 foot waves, however higher class rapids require more skilled guides that are experienced in handling groups in more aggressive whitewater rapids.

For more information about Wyoming, click here.

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Rafting Whitewater Wisconsin

July 14th, 2017 ernie Posted in Wisconsin | No Comments »

There are several locations for Rafting Whitewater Wisconsin that consumers can enjoy. Kosir’s whitewater rafting Rapid Rafts is located in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, in the Northwood’s of northeastern Wisconsin, 80 miles north of Green Bay. Kosir’s Rapid Rafts uses the Peshtigo River and the Menominee River for their whitewater rafting trips in Wisconsin, including the famous ‘Roaring Rapids’ section of the Peshtigo River.

This ‘Roaring Rapids’ section provides one of the most challenging and exciting whitewater rafting trips in all of Wisconsin! All whitewater rafting trips include a raft, paddles, life jackets, and transportation to the starting point, while a few trips also include wet suits, helmets, and booties if desired.

Rafting Whitewater Wisconsin

CLASS II-III 0.3 miles
The starting point is not too far from Merrill, This section of the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin is 0.3 miles long and is rated by American Whitewater as a class II-III section. If you’ve been whitewater rafting and kayaking outside this state you might find the rivers here a bit more forgiving, so you’d better keep in mind that quite a few of the sections here are pretty easy. Getting some good exercise and just being out on the river for a while are great reasons to come.

The Rhinelander stretch is one of a few paddling stretches in this river system. There are many good hotels to choose from, but you’d better reserve in advance because these hotels fill up quick. The scenic beauty of Oneida County and the playfulness of the water beats anything.

If you’re a camper you can camp at one of the great campgrounds nearby. You might be into whitewater rafting or kayaking or both, doesn’t matter, this is an area with not too many other spots for that.

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In Maine Rafting whitewater

July 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Maine | No Comments »

Rafting MaineWhitewater rafting in Maine is for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. You need not be a fitness fanatic or an Olympic athlete. People of all ages from 8-80 with no previous experience raft Maine’s rivers. There is lots of fun when you take part in Maine Rafting whitewater experiences. Class one and two whitewater rapids are recommended for beginners, children and seniors.

Many visitors have likened Maine’s rafting experience to the ultimate, natural theme park ride. Along with white water rafting, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor adventures including easy float trips, inflatable kayak trips, whitewater and lake kayaking, canoe trips, biking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, moose and wildlife safaris, ATV tours, paintball, float plane trips and even sky-diving.

Raft Maine is an association of Maine’s seven professional whitewater rafting outfitters dedicated to providing the highest quality experience following safety standards set by the State of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Member outfitters provide whitewater rafting trips and outdoor adventures on the Upper Kennebec River, West Branch of the Penobscot River and lower Dead River from Grand Falls to The Forks.

Maine Rafting whitewater

There are three rivers that are popular in Maine for rafting whitewater rapids.

Kennebec River
The 12 mile Kennebec trip begins at Harris Station on Indian Pond and flows through the Kennebec Gorge ending at The Forks, the confluence of the Dead and Kennebec Rivers. Class II-V Rapids.

Penobscot River
The first 2 miles descend from McKay Station through Ripogenus Gorge. The last 12 miles of rapids end at the take out near Pockwockamus Falls. Class III-V Rapids.

Dead River
The Dead river offers the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in the East. The 16 mile trip begins at Grand Falls and runs through Class IV and V whitewater ending at The Forks

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Camping Food

July 1st, 2017 ernie Posted in Camping | No Comments »

Dehydrated/freeze-dried camping food is great for hiking,backpacking, or camping meals because you don’t have to keep it cold to avoid spoiling. While coolers/refrigerators can work well in some situations,ice or electricity isn’t always available making dehydrated/freeze dried food very attractive. While removing the water helps preserve camping food it also has another benefit…

Camping, backpacking, or hiking food that’s freeze-dried or dehydrated can reduce weight by sixty to ninety percent. If you’re carrying a backpack or other hiking gear with a few days worth of camping food and supplies this can make a BIG difference.

Camping Food

As with any prepackaged food you’ll probably find most camping food portion/serving sizes extremely optimistic or after a long day of hiking…laughable. I’m not sure who dreamed up the system but keep it in mind when you’re buying it because otherwise you’ll probably be going hungry, or if you’re carrying a pack all day you might even be undernourished.

Something else to keep in mind is the design of the container itself. The containers with corners can make it difficult for the boiling water to mix with the camping food leaving dry spots. Also tall narrow containers make it almost impossible to reach inside with a spoon without getting as messy as a two year-old, as you work your way down to the bottom. (A quick fix is to trim off the top as you eat.) And if you’re a light eater or use them afterwards for trash some of the Camping Food containers have a”zip lock” type of closure which can come in handy, if they’re not trimmed to ribbons. 😉

Some camping foods can now be heated with a heating pouch by adding water to a chemical heating source. The advantage is there’s no flame. The drawback is they weigh more than the pouch by itself and there’s more trash to dispose of properly. So it may be better to just bring a small stove if you’re backpacking.

Camping food offers trade offs. While it isn’t usually gourmet that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. After all a gourmet meal would make for a lot of extra weight and inconvenience. Not my idea of a fun trip. The reason people buy it is because it’s light, convenient, and it can provide a quick hot meal.

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En Idaho Language rafting whitewater

June 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Idaho | No Comments »

Five, Six, and Ten day Idaho whitewater rafting river adventure vacations on Idaho’s Middle Fork and Main Salmon River. The Middle Fork and the Main Salmon Rivers are two of the greatest whitewater river trips in North America. En Idaho Language rafting whitewater

Take advantage of oar rafts, paddle boats, inflatable kayaks, sit on top kayaks and complete kayak workshops. The choice of craft on any given day is yours. Many guests want to try all the different boats on there trip to Idaho whitewater rafting area.

If you have always wanted to take a wilderness white water rafting trip but did not like the idea of sleeping on the ground and camping out you may wish to try one of our Main Salmon Lodge stay trips. This is a very unique and fun way to experience all that a wilderness, white water, rafting tour has to offer with-out having to “rough it” too much.

En Idaho Language rafting whitewater

With all that Idaho’s Middle Fork and Main Salmon River have to offer it can be difficult and confusing to try and figure out which river or trip may be best for you. Some people think a 10-day Middle Fork/Main Salmon trips are the best way to experience what the river and the canyon has to offer. Most tour guides will be happy to help you choose the trip that is ideal for you.

Depending on the time of the year, the weather conditions and temperatures in Idaho and on the river will vary. You will find spring and fall temperatures in the 60—75 degree range. The summer temperatures range from 75 to the low 100’s. Water temperatures range from the 50’s in the spring and fall to the low 70s in the middle of the summer. The water and air temperatures are generally 5—10 degrees cooler on the Middle Fork, than the Main Salmon.

We hope you are able to experience a Idaho rafting whitewater rafting trip and share all the excitement a white water river rafting trip that the Main Salmon River and or Middle Fork has to offer. A river trip is not just the whitewater but so much more.

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Coffee Drinkers live Longer Big Study Finds

June 25th, 2017 ernie Posted in Diet | No Comments »

Recently the results of a large study were released. This study found that coffee tends to reduce inflammation which in turns causes our body to age if not kept in check. It has long been known that coffee will dehydrate a person’s body and this may be why inflammation in the body is reduced. Whether it is joints that are slightly inflamed or our organs, reducing the inflammation allows the body to recover and repair those areas. But can too much coffee also not be good for you? That is the question that many people are asking. Basically we think that common sense should apply.  The theme of our web site and our own life has been everything in moderation.

Coffee Drinkers live Longer Big Study Finds

Many people find drinking coffee or anything with caffeine in it will keep them up at night. Some feel that it irritates the lining of the stomach. Other folks just don’t like it and prefer tea or cola drinks.

Keeping with the everything in moderation theme why not only drink coffee in the morning and avoid it at night or late afternoon. If it bothers your stomach, try an alternate that has caffeine in it or have it with food to dilute the coffee. Try another type of drink to see if that works.

It may not work for everyone but if it shows that coffee drinkers live longer big study finds, then I am going to drink coffee in moderation at least to make sure that I am receiving some of the benefits. Of course the writer happens to like coffee as well, but only in the morning or early afternoon.

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How To Lose Weight – And Keep It Off

June 22nd, 2017 ernie Posted in Lose Weight | No Comments »

lose weightThe best way to lose weight is about living a healthier life than what you may be living now. You will need a complete lifestyle change and you will need to be committed. The body loses about 2 pounds a week optimally and that’s 2 pounds that stay off. When you drop at a faster rate your body could potentially rebound and either plateau your weight loss or put extra weight on. If you are committed then you should reach your goal to lose weight.

There are 5 most important things that must go together in any workout program to lose weight. These are part of changing your complete lifestyle to one that is healthier. They also help you to naturally optimize your metabolism. The faster your metabolism the better your body uses your food for energy, instead of storing it as fat.

I put them in the order of importance  to lose weight for maximum weight loss.

Eat more. Yes eat more. More meals that is. It is best to eat a small meal every 3-4 hours. The meal should be just large enough to where you are not hungry, as opposed to eating you are full. There is a difference, think of it as no bigger than the size of your two fists put together. Eating 1 or 2 meals a day slows your metabolism down. You should have at least 4-6 meals a day. For most a ratio of carbs-proteins-fats should be 50%-25%-25% is good, but each person is unique.

Drink more water. Most of us don’t have enough water. This means our bodies are dehydrated. Two things a dehydrated body has trouble doing, one is releasing water. In order to lose fat you must be able to release water, because fat cells in your body are composed of mostly water. A dehydrated body cannot build very well. Muscle tone indicates a constant building state in your body. If your body isn’t building that means it is losing muscle and it’s never good to lose muscle that slows your metabolism and makes you look flabby.

Maintain a balanced workout regimen of cardio and resistance (weights). Cardio is good for fat burning and it’s easy to do and to progress yourself. Resistance is a little harder because it’s not as easy to know what to do. If weights aren’t your thing then try Yoga or Pilates. Both are very effective resistance and core training and can help you maintain lean muscle and increase your overall metabolism.

Smart supplementation is your best solution to making sure you get the nutrients your food doesn’t give you. A daily multivitamin will suffice in most cases, and if you don’t like pills they sell it in liquid form. Plus cleanses, as well as detox formulas are awesome for eliminating toxins we take into our bodies without knowing.

Sleep is a very important part of any healthy lifestyle regimen. When we sleep our bodies and minds refresh themselves and allow us to function at an optimal level. Sleeping allows muscles to rebuild themselves and when they do that, it speeds your metabolism.

You may ask why I gave you this long list instead of just telling you what exercises to do. The reason is if you think that exercising is all you need then you are mislead. If exercising is all we needed to look and feel great then everybody who works out at the gym would have great bodies and be healthy. If you have been to a gym before you know its not true.

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