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How to Identify Cougar, Lynx & Bobcat Tracks

Cougars are also known as mountain lions, panthers, and pumas. Each location across America has their own name for relatively the same animal. Its range used to cover from the temperate regions all across North and South America. The population is denser in the west, all along with the mountain ranges, and sparse or nearly extinct towards the east. Although the cougar resembles the common house cat, they’re about the size of an adult human at 160 pounds and seven feet long which includes their long tail. Their paw prints are up to four inches in length.

Cougars will eat whatever they can catch but they prefer hoofed animals. They are most active at dawn and at dusk. They hunt alone and they stalk their prey. Attacks on humans are rare but occur because of their shrinking habitat due to human encroachment.

Most Canadian attacks happen in British Columbia because of the large cougar population there. Never approach a cougar. Cats prefer to attack from behind so don’t turn your back if you happen to see one. Do what you can to make yourself look bigger. Wave your arms around, wave a branch or fan a jacket. Speak loudly and if you’re attacked, fight back. You have to convince them that you’re not their prey.

The Canada lynx is smaller than its Eurasian cousin at about 22 pounds. The length is 36 inches and it stands about 20 inches at the shoulder. As you can see from these pictures, their feet and legs seem out of proportion to their small body as compared to other cats. This is one of the adaptations that lynx have for traveling in deep snow. Other adaptations include feet with a large gap between the first and second toes where the bit toe is set at a wide-angle to give a better grip on the snow and on their prey. Also, they have a very dense coat of fur which helps them walk on top of the fresh snow.

They have a black-tipped tail, black tufted ears and a furry ruff on their necks which looks like a double pointed beard. Their range is further north than the cougar but there is considerable overlap in their ranges in much of Canada and the American northwest. They are mostly nocturnal but may be active at any time in the day. They feed mostly on snowshoe hare so their populations closely follow the ten year cycle seen in rabbit populations. The overly large feet of the Canada lynx measure just under four inches. In summer they have been known to eat birds and rodents and like most cats will also eat [carrigan 00:02:51] which is road kill or previously killed animals.

The bobcat exists in much of the continental U.S. as well as the northern part of Mexico and the southern parts of Canada. Not adapted to deep snow, it’s northern range is limited. The bobcat has smaller tufts of black hair on the tips of it’s ears. It also has notable dark bands on it’s legs and a ringed tail differentiating it from it’s larger lynx cousin which has a lighter colored coat, longer ear tufts and a black-tipped tail without rings. Adult males can be up to 22 pounds and females up to 15 pounds. They can grow up to 36 inches from the nose to the tip of their short tails. They are on average twice the size of an adult house cat making them about the size of a medium dog.

All the North American cats have retractable claws so any paw prints are unlikely to show claw marks making them easy to differentiate from the dog family Bobcat prints average just under two inches whereas the house cat averages about an inch in length. Bobcats will eat whatever they can catch but their major source of food it cottontail rabbits in the south and snowshoe hares in the north.

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10 Bucket List Camping Trips – United States

The adventurer in all of us dreams about waking up to grand landscapes at our feet and the feeling of those first crisp breaths of mountain air. This list is for the adventurer at heart and for those that are eager to see the beautiful spots around the United States.

Camp 4 – Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has long been one of the most infamous campsites in the United States. Since becoming one of the first National Parks in 1916, the park is rarely not packed with tourists. Still, this gem has held true to its beauty and offers many camping options for camping whether you are with your family, your friends, significant other or alone.Camp 4 is one of the most notorious campgrounds in the park as it is heralded as one of the birthplaces of modern rock climbing. Over the past 50 years, the sport of rock climbing has erupted and largely in part to the culture and progression in Yosemite Valley.When looking out on the valley and all its grandeur you can’t help but be drawn to the towering granite cliffs on each side, Half Dome and El Capitan. Camp 4 is the headquarters for those daring enough to climb the cliffs and if you want an entry into the world of climbing, this is it.

Havasupai Falls – Grand Canyon National Park

Havasupai Falls just outside of the Grand Canyon is one of the most adventurous campsites on this list. The hike into this desert oasis is about 10 miles one-way and is located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation so the facilities are minimal. With just a dirt parking lot at the startOften times the waiting list for this two to four-day camping trip can be backed up for 6 months, so, secure your spot ASAP. While the 19-mile round trip can be strenuous the reward of the beautiful blue waterfalls and crystal clear swimming holes make the trip well worth the work.

Maroon Bells – Aspen, Colorado

With a crystal clear river peacefully flowing by, these snow-capped twin peaks are one of the most photographed landscapes in Colorado for good reason. This a great campsite for enjoying the Rocky Mountains whether you are looking to hike, fish, climb or spend time in the water. The Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak fourteeners (14,000 ft. peaks) are located just 10 miles outside the town of Aspen and are a short drive away from various lift areas. There is even a Colorado Public Bus that will drop you off just outside of the campsite which can be a nice break from the norm.During winter the area is blanketed in the same snow that brings visitors from around the world to ski and snowboard in Aspen. The best time for camping is early autumn when the crowds start to thin and before it gets too cold. The spring and summer months tend to be packed with hikers, fishers and campers so be sure to either reserve a campsite or get there bright and early to secure your piece of paradise for the night.

Jenny Lake – Grand Teton National Park

Jenny Lake boasts some of the most beautiful views of any campsite in America as the campsites are nestled in the flatland of Grand Teton National Park. With over 50 campsites at this location, you can be sure that you will be able to find a beautiful spot on the lake looking out on the Teton mountain range. The facilities at this campsite are sparse compared to most so be sure to pack a bit more than you normally would, i.e; soap, toilet paper, water for dishes.Having Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park within a short driving distance makes this spot a must for anyone looking to see as much as the can in a short period of time. The Jenny Lake campground is almost directly next to the trailheads of some of the most popular hiking trails as well. This makes this spot the most popular campsite in the park so it fills up fast, usually by 8 am.

Big Bend, Moab – Utah

Big Bend Campground in Moab has a little a bit of everything for everybody. With beautiful campgrounds stretching over a half mile along the Colorado River, you are sure to find a surreal place to rest your head through the night. The red rock adventure town of Moab is one of few towns like it that caters almost exclusively to outdoor enthusiasts. During the day you can explore the endless trails of red rock canyons and vistas or walk across the street from your campground and explore the Big Bend Boulderfield.

Garden Key – Dry Tortugas Islands

Camping in Garden Key at Dry Tortugas Island National Park can be the perfect tropical adventure! This beautiful island can only be reached by ferry or private vessel for campers so be sure to plan ahead. Each campsite can accommodate 3 – 2 person tents but there is also a group camping option for groups with 10+. The smaller campsites are all available on a first-come-first-served basis.

These campsites on the beach are primitive so be sure to pack everything you may need from food and water to fuel as there is no store nearby. Unfortunately, the only fires allowed at these campsites are camp stoves and charcoal BBQ fires.

Linville Gorge – North Carolina

North Carolina’s wildest land and best climbing are nestled deep in the Linville Gorge along with the ever-popular Linville Falls. This Blue Ridge Mountain getaway is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and being just northeast of Asheville makes it easily accessible as well. Spend your days hiking and climbing on the endless trails through the gorge and snack at Linville Falls before making camp at a beautiful outlook.

The Gorge at Watkins Glen – New York

Watkins Glen is another great family destination on the list. The stunning waterfalls and hiking loops make this family camping park a huge hit during the spring and summer months. During this peak season be sure to reserve your space in advance.A downside to the sites at Watkins Glen is the RV camping is dispersed throughout the tent camping area which can lead to some noisy nights if you’re not lucky. During summer months there can also be flooding which causes parts of the park to close. You can check their web page for notifications regarding park

Fall Creek Falls – Tennessee

This enormous state park has the most camping options of any park on this list. Fall Creek Falls has well over 200 campsites with many different sites to choose from. Those that are looking for a more scenic and secluded campsite can backpack throughout the park and camp in the backcountry or take the strenuous 4-mile hike to the awe-inspiring Virgin Falls.If you are looking for an even bolder getaway you can brave the hike into Virginia Falls during the winter and camp next to a snow-capped waterfall. Be sure to reserve your campsite at Virginia Falls online and bring everything you may need as this hike is very similar to Havasupai Falls as the sites are quite far from any manmade resources.

Fairholme/Kalaloch Campground – Olympic National Park

The beach bum in all of us will love this seaside camping spot in Washington’s Olympic National Park! With your choice of ocean or forest, this campsite is sure not to disappoint! Most of the sites other than a few are first-come-first-served during the summer months which are prime for visitors. Kalaloch campsite offers the best view of the Pacific while Foairholme boasts almost 100 lakefront sites.Some sites in the park are also walk-in only sites so you may be rewarded with a beautiful view if you’re willing to walk a bit for it. If backpacking is your thing, you can grab your bags and head for a scenic section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Check out the Olympic National Park website for more information planning your trip.

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Under Quilt or Sleeping Pad – Hammock Camping Tips & Advice

Today I am going to real quickly go through under quilts vs. sleeping pads and why you might choose one over the other. First up is the foam pad. Now this is the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Pad. It’s a very good pad. It’s a very lightweight pad, and not a very expensive pad. Whenever I’m laying on the pad, I am pretty comfortable, and I do stay pretty warm. But some of the places that you can have cold spots is right here at your arms and shoulders, where they’re actually touching the sides of the hammock and they’re not being insulated from the cold by the pad. Not to mention, sometimes at night, if you’re on a pad, you can kinda roll off the pad, or if you like to roll over onto your side like I sometimes do, you can get off the pad, and then once you’ve off the pad, you’re gonna feel it really, really cold. Like I said, a cold spot there. But another drawback, I think one of the major drawbacks, is your body is not able to breathe, so you’re gonna form condensation, or I don’t know, maybe it’s even sweat, between yourself and the pad. It is never fun to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, or wake up in the morning or whatever, and just feel all wet and sticky and just slippery all on this pad. It’s just not a good feeling to be sweating while you’re sleeping. Granted you won’t be so hot that you’re sweaty; it’s just that your body can’t breathe. So sweat just gets between you and and the pad, and it’s not very fun. Next is an inflatable pad. This is an old, old Therm-a-Rest self-inflating pad. It’s an XL, so it’s a little bit wider than your typical pad and maybe a little bit longer. Now, this is extremely comfortable, I’ll be honest with you there. This is nice and comfy, very soft, and it’s easier to get on and off this versus the foam pad. The foam pad, you kinda stick to it, and it sticks to the hammock, so it’s kinda hard to slide it into place because one of these pads, you have to kinda get it just right so you don’t fall off of it and so it stays in place throughout the night as best as it can. I can kinda slide it and move it to find my sweet spot in the hammock. But again, we have the same major drawback that we have with the foam pad. You’re just not able to breathe through this, so you’re still gonna develop the sweat and the condensation between you and the pad. Next up is an underquilt. These are my favorite option, I think because you don’t build up that sweat between your body and your insulation. This allows you to breathe and things like that, and also it can keep you warmer, and it will, as you can see, it kinda curls up the sides. So as you roll around, you don’t fall off it, and you have that insulation around the sides of you, so if you like to bend your knees and things like that, you can still benefit from the insulation and not feel as many cold spots. One of the drawbacks to an underquilt, though, is it’s kinda tricky to get it set up. Like, right at the ends, if you have a hole or a little gap in there where wind or cold air can get in, you’re gonna experience a cold spot. So you have to play with it with your positioning, and as you can see, it has a bunch of shock cords and bungees all around it. You can adjust it to how you want it so that it is touching you, you know, that it’s up snug against the bottom of the hammock so that you do benefit from that insulation and you don’t have any cold spots. It’s hot, so I’m gonna get out of it and film the rest of this. Another slight drawback to underquilts is they’re typically pricier than a foam mat, or a foam mat … than a foam pad or a inflatable air mattress. This is the Arrowhead Equipment Jarbidge Underquilt, a synthetic quilt. It’s one of the less expensive ones that you can get. It’s a synthetic quilt, not a down quilt. But, you know, there are a lot of other companies out there that are making quilts these days, but this is a really good one for the money. This is actually a three-quarter quilt as well. I’m not a super tall guy, so I can use this and it’ll come up all the way to my shoulders, and then about maybe to my knee or so. Then I can use some other sort of insulation, like a piece of reflectix or something else to get that extra warmth. But you can step your game up to some down underquilts that keep you super toasty warm, and they can full-length, they can be three-quarter length, but they’re lightweight, they compact down really, really well. I would love to have one. I hope to have one in the next year or so. Whew man, it’s hot against my back. These things do keep you warm. Whenever it’s touching that hammock, it really does keep you warm. I hope this video kinda made sense. I think the underquilt is gonna be the way to go, but you can do your own research. I suggest going over to Those guys know their stuff. I was a member over there. Well, I still am; I’m just not active anymore, but they really know their stuff. And if you want to find out what underquilt you should get and things like that, go there. Hope you all are able to get out and enjoy an adventure soon. All right. Take care. Happy hanging, and God bless folks. Hey, thanks for watching and just thanks for everything. It’s the audience. It’s you guys are why I do it, okay? If it weren’t for you guys watching, I wouldn’t be making videos. All right. Thanks. Peace. Take care. I’m out. I’m ready to go eat. I’m hungry.
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How to Choose the Best Sunscreen

Today I’ll be talking about how to choose the best sunscreens, and the worst sunscreens you absolutely want to stay away from, and I’ll tell you, I’ll go over the exact brands you want to be buying as well and the ones, again, you want to stay away from. Here’s the truth that we know. The sun is actually good for you. We need vitamin D. So listen, you want to get a little bit of sunshine. You want to get some direct sunlight on your skin, 20 to 30 minutes a day, if possible, but at the same time, you don’t want to get burnt, because what that does is that can actually increase your risk of skin cancer if you’re getting burnt on a regular basis. Also, here’s the danger, though. Many of these conventional sunscreens contain cancer-causing ingredients. So, again, you want to go all-natural if you can. Here’s how to choose the best sunscreens. Now, here are some sunscreen risks. Number one, a lot of the chemicals, one, for instance, oxybenzone, which is found in a lot of sunscreens and sunblocks today, has hormone-disrupting chemicals. May increase your risk of kidney issues, adrenal issues, throw off your hormones, throw off your issues like your estrogen and you progesterone. So, again, hormone-disrupting chemicals are found in conventional sunscreens, and think about how damaging that could be to a child, a young boy or a young girl. A lot of men today, even young kids, are having more feminine characteristics can oftentimes happen. A lot of women today are having their estrogen too high at an early age, which can increase their risk of issues like infertility and PCOS and a number of health issues. So, again, staying away from those chemically-laden sunscreens, because they’re hormone disruptors. Oftentimes these can also cause an allergic reaction. Any type of bumps on the skin or redness of skin indicates there’s an allergic reaction going on. Number three, here’s skin cancer. I’ve heard a lot of people say the sun can cause skin cancer. It’s not true. Getting healthy amounts of sunlight without getting scorched or really burned does not increase your risk of skin cancer. In fact, it fights skin cancer, because vitamin D has been proven in medical studies to decrease your cancer risk and naturally boost your immune system. Think about this. You put chemicals on your skin. They interact with UV radiation from the sun, causing carcinogenic compounds that can actually cause skin cancer. So, again, you want to stay away from these chemicals as well, because they increase your risk of skin cancer. So, these sky-high SPFs to where you’re not getting any vitamin D, that’s the problem is they’re blocking your body from actually getting vitamin D, as well as inhalation. You know, a lot of these chemicals, you’re breathing them in while being in the hot sun all day long. We know that that’s going to cause not only toxicity to skin, but also of the bloodstream, the brain, and many other areas of your body. Here’s how to find the best sunscreens. Now, number one, you want to avoid sunscreen sprays. Most of these sprays are the most toxic of all of them. Stay away from the sprays. Again, avoid oxybenzone and retinol ingredients, especially this oxybenzone. That’s one of the things. You can flip over your current sunscreen. Make sure it doesn’t have these ingredients. Number three, fragrance ingredients. If it says fragrance on it, stay away, and also, check out the EWG, that’s the Environmental Working Group, has a whole list, and also, you can search for a more in-depth article by me. Just look up Dr. Ax sunscreen, you’re going to find some of the advanced articles I’ve written on the topic. Now, here are the best sunscreens and the best brands. All Terrain Aquasport Lotion, SPF 30. Again, this is one of the brands you want to be using for natural skin protection, natural sunscreen. Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30. In fact, this is the brand my wife have used. I’ve made our own at home using lavender essential oil and myrrh and some others, which we’ll talk about, but Badger is a great brand as well. ATTITUDE Family Sensitive Skin Care, Bare Belly Organics, and then Waxhead Sun Defense. These are all good options, and you can see the full list by going to, or just Google searching Dr. Ax sunscreen list there on Google. Now, here are the worst sunscreens for kids, and look, they’re the big ones. These are the big companies. Banana Boat for Kids Continuous Spray in SPF 100. Super toxic to the body according to the Environmental Working Group, the EWG. You can check out their listings on there for the bad ingredients. Coppertone Foaming Kids Wacky Foam, not a good one. Another Coppertone brand and Neutrogena. These are the ones, especially you can see, these ones over 60 SPF are the ones you typically want to stay away from. Instead, going natural with All Terrain and Badger and some of these other brands is what you want to do. Again, here’s some other things to consider, better ways to avoid sun exposure. Number one, get an hour or two of sun, and then cover up is a good option. So, again, wear some clothes and a hat. Wearing rash guards and wetsuit tights is a good option, too, for reducing sun exposure. Get in the shade. Wear sunglasses, of course. Avoid peak sun, and check daily UV Index. Again, we all want to get a little bit of sun on a daily basis. You just don’t want to get burnt, okay, you don’t want to get too much. So, again, getting an hour of sun and then putting on some sunscreen, if that’s what it takes to not get burnt, or to cover up, that’s the best strategy, there. Also, hey listen, you can also make your own sunscreen at home. Simply do a mixture of zinc oxide, along with coconut oil, lavender oil, and even something like a myrrh oil, mixing those together, rubbing it on your skin. That’s what I do most of the time is that simple three ingredient. Again, zinc oxide, coconut oil, and essential oils of your choice, like lavender oil, and myrrh oil is a great way to get natural skin protection there as well.
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Learn to Start a Campfire

One of the best ways to spend an evening in the campground is by the campfire. This guide will help you safely light and enjoy a campfire.

What You Will Need:

  • Matches or a lighter,
  • Some paper to get the fire started,
  • Kindling or small pieces of wood that ignite easily,
  • Medium sized pieces of wood,
  • Larger pieces of wood
  • Finally, make sure you have water nearby to extinguish the fire.
*Remember, only light a fire in designated fire pits or the metal fire boxes provided. To start, crumble some pieces of paper into loose balls. Newspaper works best. Next, pile small pieces of wood around the paper balls to form a Teepee. Light the paper in different places around the base and wait for the wood to ignite. Once the wood ignites, blow on the fire to feed it oxygen and help it grow. Add more wood as the fire catches. Start with smaller pieces and gradually add pieces until your fire’s growing. Don’t add too much wood too fast. Fire needs oxygen to burn and adding too much too fast might smother and put it out. Once the fire’s going, sit back and enjoy. Remember to tend to your fire by adding more wood from time to time but be sure to keep your fire small and under control. Never leave your fire unattended. Before you go to bed for the night, or anytime you leave your campsite, douse the fire with water and make sure it is out. Only use designated fire wood. In most national parts, it is illegal to collect and burn wood from the forest. Deadwood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and adds organic matter to the soil. Each campground may have additional regulations regarding campfires. It is your responsibility to know and follow them. If you’re unsure, just ask a friendly Parks of Canada staff. For more information on campfires and other camping skills, please visit the Learn to Camp section of our website, found under planning your visit.
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Tips For Staying Dry While Hammock Camping

Sometimes you just want to head out on an overnight with a light pack. But if you’re ditching the tent for a hammock, you’ve got to be prepared for rain and snow. Here’s how you stay dry while hammock camping.


First things first, you have to have the right tarp. You can get a cheapo one from your local hardware store if you would like, but at the end of the day, a tarp that is designed for hammocks will ultimately but much easier to set up, staking and storage.

You do, however, need to make sure you have the right size. That is going to depend on how high you hang your hammock and how tight you want the walls to be in your dry area. Having a tarp that’s at least eight feet wide is ideal. I like to have a larger dry area so I usually go with a 15 to 20-foot long tarp.


Next, you’ll also need some rope and some stakes to keep your tarp from blowing in the wind. Staking the four corners of the tarp tightly should be enough to keep the tarp from whipping around in the wind. Occasionally when using a smaller tarp you may want to stake or tie in the middle of one side so you have a bit more space. Having the tarp too close on each side of the hammock may make you feel a bit claustrophobic.

Drip Line:

Now that you’ve got your tarp hung and anchored, you need to create some drip lines for your hammock suspension. Drip lines are essential to keeping the rain from running down the tethers of your hammock and soaking you throughout the night. You can use just about anything for this. One thing that works well for me is wrapping a piece of rope around my hammock line. You can also use a zip tie or a piece of fabric to help stop the water. You always want to keep water from running off the tree, down your strap, and into your hammock.

How do you stay dry when hammock camping? Let us know in the comments

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Day Hike Essentials

So often, we think that backpacking is all about loading up the pack and going out for multiple nights. That’s not always possible when you have a family and a lot going on. What I’ve done is I have just a day pack that I carry for short excursions.

When I say daypack, I’m not just talking about hiking for a couple of hours and coming back in. I’m talking about hiking for the day. Going out, setting up a little camp at lunchtime, and then hiking some more after lunch.

Getting outside and connecting with the wilderness and the backpacking experience any way you can is always important. I use this pack which comes with our stuff, hammock, stove, everything. It comes to 8 pounds and I’m going to show you what’s in it and how it’s set up. Let’s check it out.

My Day Pack:

The pack I usually use is one that can be stuffed down into a little pouch, so it’s really light and easy to use, but I’ve had it on many trips, and it holds up really strong. The following are my day hike essentials:

  • I’ve got a water bottle. Each one of my kids also carries their own water bottle, so they have a water source.
  • I have a hammock with straps inside.
  • I also bring a little blowup pillow because it’s most comfortable that way.
  • I have this Frisbee that I’ve had forever that’s awesome for backpacking. It collapses down The kids just play a lot with this when they’re just sitting around waiting for food to get made.I always have a couple of extra granola bars and things on the front pack pouch so that I can quickly grab them out if anybody wants a snack.
  • I’ve got my bowl, spoon, stove, fuel, lighter, and pots for heating up water. A lot of times we just use a hydrated meal that we can quickly cook up and have something.
  • I also carry oatmeal, peanut butter, and whatever else we might bring. We might bring cheese or hickory sticks, something like that.

Emergency Bag:

Then I have an emergency bag that I carry all the time in any gear or rig that I have. In this thing I’ve got the following;

  • Headlamps and another light if I need it,
  • A fire starter, something for striking as well as a lighter.I carry a little bit of medicine and medical kit as well as hand warmers when it gets cold.
  • A pen if I needed to write something down.
  • A 550 paracord for all kinds of stuff.
  • I’ve got the Grayl GeoPress Purifier Bottle just in case. It’s always in there.

This is what I carry at all times no matter where we are outdoors.

As you can see, you can set up a nice little camp with just a little bit of gear. Take the time to spend a day out in nature. Don’t just think, “I can’t stay the night, so I’m not going to go for a backpacking trip.” Set up a little backpack. Go out for the day. Stop at lunch, or stop at dinner. You’ll realize that you’ll find some really cool places to stop, take it in for a while, and really enjoy. You can cook your meal. You can play and games. You can just relax and take a nap.

It’s truly the heart of backpacking. Whether you stay the night or not, and you don’t have the time, try it out.

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4 Ways To Make Coffee While Camping

Sometimes the only thing worse than not having a steamy cup of coffee after a night in the forest is having to settle for instant coffee. Nothing beats a nice cup a joe before taking on a day of hiking but it can be a struggle in the morning to set up the fire or hot coals.

Before we talk about the 4 different methods of making your coffee, it’s important to note you can’t have good coffee without having a good water. A good water source and bringing your water to a light boil with just a few bubbles rather than rolling are essential.

Drip/Pour Over:

You’re going to use a paper filter. The problem with the paper filters is that they will carry with them a little cardboard flavor so the first thing you want to do is just pour a little hot water on to that filter just like that and that’s going to take away some of that cardboard flavor. Once that’s done, scoop a couple of tablespoons worth of coffee into there. It doesn’t take a lot of coffee. I usually do about three tablespoons of coffee for the drip method. You just dump the excess water. And that’ll get you a nice, strong cup of coffee. Once that’s done, just pour it right over. You going to be pouring the coffee over the grounds for about two minutes. That’s usually about the best time. You want to make sure that you have a nice froth over the top, that means the coffee’s doing its thing.

French Press:

The French press is nice, a lot of people love the french press. It doesn’t produce quite as strong coffee as the pour over or the drip method but it is a really nice smooth coffee. You’ll notice with the French press cup, it’s very tall and slender. This is not the best for actually boiling water in unless you have some really deep coals that you can get the heat coming from all sides. If I put this on top of the stove, it’s going to take a lot longer to boil than this wider cup will. There’s a lot more surface area to capture that heat. This has very little of it and this will hold about three cups.

You want to go ahead and pour that in. After you pour the grounds in here they’re going to just sit on the top, which means they’re not getting soaked in the water. They’re not steeping, they’re not doing their job. So, after you pour them in you want to make sure that you stir the grounds in. Put the top back on with the plunger all the way up, wait for three to four minutes, the longer you wait, the more bitter it’s going to be, so play around with the time, it’s really up to your personal taste. After those three minutes are up, just slowly push down on this until you hit the bottom. You can keep the coffee in here with the water about up to 20 minutes but remember, the longer you leave it in, the more bitter it’s going to be so after you’re done pushing the plunger down, you want to go ahead and pour your cup of coffee.


You just need the standard circular paper filter, a rubber band or a tight strip, whatever works. You just pour about 2 tablespoons, if you go more than that it’s going to be hard to tie off, it’s going to make the bag a little too big. The hard part with this is that no matter how much you put in here, it’s going to be tough to put the grounds in the center of it to be saturated. So if you were to take the teabag out and open it up, you’re going to see dry grounds on the very center. So, that means that you’re really not getting it.

This isn’t the best bang for the buck but it is a nice last resort method. You just fold it up like that, give it a nice twist and tie a rubber band to it and then dump it into your hot water to steep. Again, about 95 degrees is what you want. Doesn’t really produce the strongest coffee so if you’re a strong coffee drinker, this is not it. It’s going to produce a very weak coffee. Not my favorite but, it is a good option to have if you have nothing else.

Cowboy Coffee:

Cowboy coffee’s cool because it requires nothing except for coffee and a cup and water. So, you don’t need any extra equipment, you don’t need anything fancy. You take your grounds, you dump them in your cup, mix them around with some hot water and then you drink it. Now, you’re going to get a lot of grounds in your mouth so a trick to drinking this safely is to pour a little cold water over the top after you’re done steeping the coffee and it’s going to cause the coffee grounds to really settle at the bottom and that will make it a lot more pleasant to drink. If you don’t use that tip, you’re going to get a mouthful of black grounds.

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How To Sleep Better Outdoors

A good night’s sleep is essential for getting the most enjoyment of your time in the outdoors. Here are a few tips that will help you get the best night’s sleep possible, wake up feeling rested, refreshed and ready to start a new day.

Choosing Your Campsite:

You’ll want to begin by choosing the best campsite possible, preferably one that offers protection from the elements, has a flat level area large enough to pitch your tent and smooth ground free from any obstructions or debris. When setting up your tent or shelter make sure to do so as securely as possible. This will ensure that it offers the protection you need throughout the entire night.

Sleeping Bag / Sleeping Pad:

A good sleep system is vital for a great night’s sleep. This includes a comfortable sleeping pad which provides enough cushioning for you as well as a sleeping bag that’s rated for the temperatures that you’re likely to encounter. If you need extra warmth or feel more comfortable sleeping with a soft blanket, stuff it inside your sleeping bag before heading off to sleep. A small pillow from home or an inflatable pillow will also help if you have trouble sleeping without one.

Getting To Sleep:

If you have trouble falling asleep natural sleep aids like sleepytime tea can work wonders. They not only warm you but help you drift off to dreamland as well. Which leads me right to my next tip, you should refrain from drinking too much of that tea as well as any other beverages and make sure to take care of any business you have prior to crawling into the sleeping bag. This will eliminate those three am wake-up calls.

Dry Clothes:

Before crawling into that nice, inviting sleeping bag make sure to change into a dry, clean set of dedicated sleeping clothes. These will keep you dry and warm throughout the night.

White Noise:

If you tend to sleep on the lighter side, consider bringing along a set of earplugs or even your MP3 player to help drown out those night noises that may keep you awake. And above all remember to embrace the whole experience. Check out those beautiful stars. Feel the warm coziness of being inside that sleeping bag and breathe in the fresh, crisp mountain air.

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Expert Tips For Camping With Your Dog

The companionship of a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences when you are camping. And like most humans, canines are quiet, low maintenance, and generally easy to please.

What to Bring:

    • You cannot trust the safety of streams, rivers, and lakes as a source of hydration for you or your dog. It’s rare these days to locate natural water that isn’t tainted. If you would like to use water from a natural source, bring a water filtration system.
  •  ID tags 
    • Consider purchasing an inexpensive temporary tag. Enter the name of the park where you’ll be camping and your assigned campsite number, then include the phone number of the nearest ranger station.
  • Short lead
    • Especially if your destination is heavily wooded. You don’t want a long lead wound around a couple of trees.
  • Safety Restraint
    • Bring a tether, or if your dog routinely sleeps in a crate, bring it along to safely restrain your dog.
  • Bedding
    • Laying on the ground risks exposure as body heat is quickly absorbed into the earth. Bring an all-weather tarp, or a folded sleeping pad to place under the bed or sleeping mat you brought. This will ensure your dog is shielded from hypothermia.
  • Sweater/Coat
    • Especially if she is a short or thin coat, pack a sweater or a coat.
  • Dog Boots
    • Depending on the terrain or if your dog has weak footpads, booties are a good solution for paw protection. Don’t forget to do a few trial runs with the booties before you leave because wearing shoes for the first time takes some getting used to.
  • Food
    • When it comes to food, pack two extra days of dog food beyond your planned stay and preserve the food in a sturdy waterproof container or bag. If your campsite features a bear box, which is a storage container high off the ground, often on a pole, please use it. And don’t forget food and water bowls.
  • First Aid Kit
    • You never know when you may need it.