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Purchasing Backpacking and Camping Gear

If you have ever been on an extended hiking or camping trip, then you know just how important outdoor backpacking gear can be. Without the correct outdoor gear and hiking supplies, outdoor backpacking or camping trip can turn into an impossible nightmare. Camping tents can fail to hold up against the cold, boots do not hold up well against the rain and camping lights are prone to malfunction and leave you completely lost. Not only does camping without the right gear leave you frustrated but it also has a devastating affect on the environment.

Camping gear is essential to ensure that you and your family stay safe and comfortable, and in many cases this can become an expensive habit if you don’t plan to take your outdoor gear with you when you travel. Many people start their backpacking or camping experience by taking one item with them; however, this often results in them purchasing multiple additional backpacking and camping supplies as they begin to explore new backpacking and camping locations.

One of the most popular reasons for taking backpacking and camping supplies with you is simply to make sure that your equipment is still in tip top condition, especially when you travel to far away locations where you may have to use the same supplies as you would back at home. Backpacking and camping trips are meant to be fun, adventurous and exciting, so why would you risk buying expensive camping and backpacking gear only to find that it won’t last through several days of use when it could have been purchased cheaper in your local store? By keeping your backpacking and camping equipment in good working order, it not only ensures that you will be able to enjoy your next outing, but also makes sure that the next one you undertake will be as enjoyable.

Another important consideration when purchasing backpacking and camping supplies is to check the labels closely to ensure that they are indeed what you need. There are hundreds of brands to choose from, and many different manufacturers produce the same brand of outdoor equipment. It is often difficult to discern which brand is superior by simply looking at the label. The best way to ensure you get high quality equipment is by carrying your hiking and backpacking gear with you wherever you go. You should always carry a backpacking and camping gear bag, as a single item, and make sure you know exactly what you want the items to contain and how much each item weighs.

If your outdoor gear is going to be used outdoors, it should be made of materials that will not damage or fade. and wear quickly fade if exposed to sun or rain. It should also provide adequate protection from the elements such as the wind, rain, snow and cold.

Backpacking and camping supplies are available in almost every sporting goods store, including sporting goods shops. A good idea to make sure you have all the essential camping and backpacking gear is to consider the equipment you are going to need before making your purchase. This will save you time, money and keep you safe when out and about. Most of the stores offer a complete selection of gear, whether you are looking for lightweight camping or backpacking or heavy duty hiking and backpacking gear.

Edible & Poisonous Plants of the Eastern States – Cards Review

I purchased these little flash cards from a seller on ebay about 3 years ago, but I couldn’t find them on there as I wrote this.  They are available HERE, however for about $8 which is pretty much what I payed for them.

These aren’t playing cards – they’re just wild edible flash cards.  They are playing card sized however, and I’ve seen a version that are playing cards.  Having them serve the dual purpose of campsite entertainment makes sense to me, and I’ll probably pick up the playing card version eventually.

What I love about these cards is their convenience.  In a pack the size of a deck of cards, I have 52 high quality pictures of plants (44 edible and 8 poisonous) plus information on the flip-side including latin name, description and details, where to find/look for the plant, and how to use it.  Very useful.  For the most part, the pictures are of the plant when it’s at it’s most edible stage.

These are a great resource for a beginner.  The plants in the deck were chosen in part because they are easily identified and don’t have many poisonous look-alikes.  When I bought them, I knew nothing, and a few days later I was out finding edible plants.  I still run through the deck on occasion and find that I’m learning things when I do.  I’ve also used them to start teaching my oldest son (age 9) about wild edibles and I generally keep them handy on camping trips and long drives.  For the first year, I was grabbing these at least once a week to confirm my suspicions about a plant I encountered.

For kids in particular, I like these cards in part because there are a few plants on there that just about everyone who has ever stepped outside will recognize.  Dandelion and blackberry are notable examples.

Like all flashcards and other photo based plant identification resources, they have weaknesses:

  • At some point, you switch from learning to memorization and that’s a danger to be avoided.
  • The pictures, while remarkable, show the plants at only one stage of development – which is fine I guess … since the pictures are of the plant in its edible stage, the authors don’t want you to find that same plant in its non-edible stage.  On the other hand, if you’re trying to get to know the plants in your yard – you’ll have no idea that some of the plants in these cards are in your yard as well unless you catch them at exactly the right stage.
  • Because you’re learning from pictures instead of real plants, it’s hard to capture the nuances that make this particular plant the one you seek and not a lookalike.
  • I’ve learned in the past couple of years that plants look significantly different in different areas of the country.  The Pokeweed I encountered in Florida for example was almost unrecognizable to me.  Some of it was at thick as my wrist and 10-15 feet tall.  Around here, it gets 5 feet tall and finger thick at best.  Differences in scale like that will throw someone fairly easily.  In this deck, the pictures of cattail are interesting in the same way.  The fluffy end is narrow and conical in these pics.  Around here, they’re thick and cylindrical.

Would I recommend this product?  Wholeheartedly.  This deck has been a great resource to have around.  The same company also makes Edible Plants of the Western States, Knot Playing Cards, Survival Playing Cards, and Staying Alive in the Arctic (a pocket sized manual).  I don’t have any experience with any of those, but I like these cards enough that I’d probably pick them up if I encountered them.

In case you have trouble finding them or want more information – let me put up some info about the maker (taken from one of the cards they threw in):

Maker: Plant Deck, Inc., Lake Oswego, OR 97305 – (503) 636-6254

Copyright 1973 by Frank G. Heyl & Calvin P. Burt.

I have the 3rd Printing – made in 2000.

Mountain House Emergency Meal Review

I’m always on the lookout for good trail grub as well as good bugout options.  Mountain House consistently puts out some pretty good products, but I’d never seen this one before, so I gave it a whirl.

My main complaint with Mountain House is usually serving size.  The food quality, except for the scrambled eggs, is just fine.  The Beef Stew and the Granola with Blueberries are actually very tasty.  But to me, the serving size for all of the lunch/dinner entrees except for the Pro-Pak meals is too large.  I can never eat the whole thing and then I’ve got a storage/disposal/potential varmint problem – plus I’m wasting food.  I don’t like wasting food.  I think this is an unusual complaint because many of the reviews I read on Mountain House say the portions are too small.  I tend to eat several small meals a day instead of 3 larger ones.  I’ve been that way forever.  The regular size (Serves 2) meals are just way too big for me, even on days when I’ve hiked 10-12 miles and my body is screaming for calories.

The Pro-Pak meals, on the other hand, are the perfect size for me and I like that they’re vacuum sealed and take up less space, but they usually cost $7-8 per meal around here and 90% of the time I can only find Chili Mac or Beef Stew.  That’s just not cost effective, especially when I can make my own meal for just a few bucks and improve on both the food quality and the taste using my trusty dehydrator and vacuum sealer.

Well, the other day, I was at a local camping store – Rusted Moon Outfitters – and stumbled across Mountain House Emergency Meals (pictured above).  I’d never seen these for sale anywhere before, and I can’t find them on the Mountain House site now. But, the store had  3 varieties: Chicken & Rice, Beef Stroganoff, and Chili Mac.  I’m not a big fan of Chicken & Rice as a rule, and nothing will ever beat the Chili Mac I make at home for camping, so I went with the Stroganoff.

Here is what it looked like before cooking.

Here is what it looked like after cooking.

  • Taste: Not bad.  Nothing offensive.  The mushroom flavor really comes out – maybe even too much.
  • Texture: A bit mushy for me.  The egg noodles have no discernible texture at all and at times it felt like I was eating a can of cream of mushroom soup.  The beef, however, at least had some substance to it.  For stroganoff, it wasn’t bad at all – just a bit mushy.
  • Serving Size: Perfect for lunch for one.
  • Price: $4.50 per meal.  I can still do it better and cheaper at home, but these store longer come in better packaging and give me the ability to just “go” without planning much ahead of time.  The price is right on these.
  • Preparation: Tear open the bag, remove the oxygen absorber, add 1 cup of boiling water to the bag, stir, zip-up and wait 8-9 minutes.  Couldn’t be much easier than that.
  • Nutrition: 320 Calories, 12g or protein, and 37g of carbs.  10% of RDA for Iron, Vitamin C, and Calcium.  4% RDA of Vitamin A.  I’d actually like to see it a bit more calorie dense.  For a long day of intense hiking, I’m usually looking to put around 500 calories into my body at meal times.  I could (and do) augment with nuts, berries, jerky and so on.
  • Packability: Very good.  Package is maybe 6×8×1 when full, but you could pack two of them in that same space because the bulk of that 1″ is in the bottom half … so just put two together, with one upside down and you’ve got two meals in a 6×8×1 space.  The packaging is not burnable or biodegradable, so you do need to pack it out, but it’s easy enough to use one of the bags as a trash bag for the other meals you eat – and it has a sturdy zip-loc closure to make sure it doesn’t get crap all over your pack.  Stroganoff was 2.47 oz (70g) Net wt, but the bag weight .55 oz (15g), so you’re at about 3oz altogether.  Not bad at all for a meal.

All together, I like this product – even though I’m not a fan of this particular variety.  If I see them again, I will buy a few.  It’s an all around good option for me for both hiking and the bugout bag.

Tips For Buying the Right Sleeping Bag

A typical sleeping bag is simply an insulated cover for an individual, basically a lightweight blanket that’s closed using a zipper, usually in such a way as to form a box, that serves as portable camping bedding when an individual is camping outdoors. They are also great for use on boats and RVs.

sleeping bags

As there are several different brands and styles of sleeping bags available, it’s important to first determine what exactly you’ll be using your sleeping bag for. For example, if you’re an experienced backpacker who’s taking along a tent accessory such as rain fly, you might want to choose a smaller, more portable sleeping bag. This is especially true if your camping experience is limited to short trips during the summer months, where you’ll be sleeping outside and likely have no idea how to make do without your tent or other gear.

For those who’re more accustomed to overnight trips and long trips outdoors, you might want to choose a large sleeping bag or even a twin sized bag. These are better for individuals who’re used to sleeping in a tent or on a boat. A large sleeping bag could even double as a tent for you when you’re camping out in the open air.

A variety of different sizes and shapes are available for every level of camping enthusiasts, from the backpacker’s style of camping to more rugged outdoor activities. Most bags are made from waterproof fabrics such as goose down or synthetic, yet there are also options for waterproof fabric materials. Some types of sleeping bags are specially designed for use in extreme weather conditions. For example, backpacking tents may have extra thick material to take the brunt of a heavy downpour, while camping tents often come with heavy weather seals.

Sleeping bags are typically available in two different sizes, large (up to 62 inches) and small (under 32 inches). They also vary depending on the weight, which is measured in ounces. If you’re an individual who sleeps alone, you might want to select a medium size. if you’ve never had anyone over to sleep with you before.

If you have a family, consider buying an extra large bag for each person so that all sleep separately and share one mattress. In general, a large sleeping bag will provide sufficient space for a single person to sleep comfortably, but if you do sleep in a group, consider getting a twin size.

When selecting sleeping bags, it’s important to carefully consider how comfortable they are and their ability to provide warmth to the individual. You may want to consider buying an inflatable type instead of a traditional bag since inflatables are more comfortable and can keep you warm in cold conditions.

If you want to save money, consider buying sleeping bags that are ready-to-assemble. This way you don’t have to buy a huge number of them. You can also purchase the bags in bulk to save money on shipping and handling.

Other than cost, the quality of the sleeping bag will play an important factor in comfort. Many people find that down, synthetic, or wool is the most comfortable choice. Others prefer cotton.

It’s worth taking the time to compare prices. There are many online retailers that offer a wide range of prices and different brands, so you can choose a bag based on your budget and preferences. While prices are certainly going to vary, you should always check out all the different styles and brands to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Remember, the sleeping bag you pick shouldn’t only be the cheapest, it should be the one that provides the most warmth and comfort. In the end, you’ll be glad you chose the right bag for your next camping trip or adventure.

Things To Consider When Buying Camping Backpacks

Camping backpacks are very useful especially when you are camping outdoors. These backpacks are designed to be used for camping and other outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting and fishing. They are designed so that they are lightweight and easy to carry around and they can be put in the car trunk. There is also a wide variety of them to choose from and that is why they are so popular these days.

There is a wide selection of camping backpacks available for you to choose from. They come in different sizes, colors, and features and you will have a hard time choosing one without shopping around. When you shop for these backpacks, there are many things that you need to consider before making the decision. Here is a list of what you should look for in a camping backpack.

The first thing that you should consider when shopping for a backpack is the size of the backpack. You need to know the weight that you are going to carry in it and the amount of space that you are going to leave in order for you to put everything you need inside. You should also consider the weight that you are going to carry. If you plan on doing any hiking activity that requires you to carry heavy items such as tents, sleeping bags and food, then you need to consider a hiking backpack.

Another important factor to consider when shopping for your backpack is its functionality. There are many camping backpacks that are lightweight which make them easy to carry around. They are also easy to pack in your car because of their small size. There are also the ones that are designed to fit in your bag or luggage. There are even those that are made to be hung from your tent. When choosing a backpack that can fit easily into your bags or luggage, you will be sure to get the maximum use out of it.

Another factor that you need to consider when shopping for a backpack is the durability and performance. You should choose the backpack that is durable since it will be used in outdoor conditions for a long time. You should also choose a backpack that is durable because it will last a long time because there are several factors that will contribute to its durability. Some of the most common factors that will contribute to the durability of a camping backpack are the material that is used and the stitching that is used.

In buying outdoor gear, you should also consider the quality of the product. This is another factor that will contribute to the durability of your product. You need to make sure that the materials that are used for making the backpack are not easily damaged by elements such as sunlight, water and temperature change. The stitching should also be able to withstand these changes and you should also look for a backpack that has a padded back, which will help protect your lower back from unnecessary pains.

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