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  • 10 Must-Have Items for Camping

    |8 COMMENT(S)

     10 Must-Have Items for Camping

    When the weather warms and nighttime comes late, camping calls. Camping trips can provide a much-needed change of pace and change of scenery for families always wired in or on the go. But if you’re what you might call “indoorsy,” the thought of packing up food, clothing, warmth, and shelter so you can leave your home—with its ready access to food, clothing, warmth, and shelter—might sound daunting, no matter how idyllic it might sound to sleep under the Milky Way.

    Do not be daunted. With a few pieces of the right equipment, camping under the stars can be easy to arrange. And you and your family can be one step closer to living a life of comfort outside your comfort zone. Here are ten camping essentials that will help you finally make friends with the great outdoors.

    1. Water. Any outdoor experience will require you to be well hydrated, so easy access to water is key. Most maintained campgrounds provide clean water access for campers, but you’ll need containers to trek the water from wherever it is to where it needs to be. Water carriers vary from handheld water bottles (Emergency Essentials 32-oz yellow water bottle), to backpack containers (Blue Camelback Cloud Walker 70-oz Hydration Pack), to multi-gallon containers that can serve your whole family (Reliance 5-gallon Collapsible Fold-A-Carrier).

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: The Reliance Fold N Filter

    2. Food. Camping families are hungry families, so high-quality, tasty food should be your priority. But outdoor living begs for simplicity. Look to easily prepared foods like the Emergency Essentials MREs and Mountain House meals for delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts.

    Here are some ideas:
    Breakfast: Serve up Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Red, and Green Peppers with a side of Mountain House Granola with Blueberries and Milk for a warm, filling start to the day.
    Lunch: After a morning of walking, hiking, or fishing, your crew will be ready for a satisfying lunch. Try Mountain House Chicken Salad Wrap Filling with Multigrain Snack Bread for a hearty sandwich. Serve something like an Oatmeal Cookie for a post-lunch snack or dessert.
    Dinner: When camping, the evening meal is a time for friends and families to share the highlights of their days’ explorations, while settling them in for a night outdoors. Meals like Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, MRE Italian Bread Sticks, and Mountain House Garden Green Peas will open mouths for food and conversation.
    Dessert: End the day with a sweet treat like Mountain House Raspberry Crumble or a MRE Fudge Brownie with Chocolate Chips, and you may find yourself dreaming of happy things, no matter what the temperature is outside.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Mountain House Pouches

    3. Stove. Cooking over a campfire can be exciting and tasty, but bringing a portable stove, like the Stansport Propane Stove, will allow you to prepare a wider variety of foods with more predictability and less work (win, win, win), giving you more time to explore and enjoy (win, win!). (Quintuple win!)

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Stansport Stove

    4. Utensils. So easy to forget, but so helpful to have. A three-in-one set of sturdy utensils, like the Basic Chow Set, can be useful for prepping food, cooking food, and eating food. Take it from the sadly expert: sticks are not nearly as effective.

    5. Light and fire. A little light at night can transform a campsite from spooky to cozy. You can choose from a variety of portable light options, including personal gear like the Princeton Tec Quad 4 LED Headlamp (great for night reading in your tent or finding your toothpaste) or the High Uinta Gear Pathfinder 9 LED Flashlight, or community lights, like the Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lumen Rechargeable Lantern. If you’re going to light a fire, to roast marshmallows or to warm you up on a chilly night, then bring Fire Lighters, which are reliable, easy to light, and require little or no kindling.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Fire Lighters

    6. Sleeping bag. Perhaps the most critical piece of equipment for a restful overnight excursion is a comfortable and warm sleeping bag. Bags like the Slumberjack Latitude Mummy Bags (available in regular, long, and for 0-degree Fahrenheit and 20-degree Fahrenheit weather) are designed for reliable coziness.

    7. Tarp. According to expert campers, a tarp is many times useful due to its versatility and water resistance. You can use it under your tent as ground cover. (Tip: A tarp used for this purpose should be a few inches shorter than the width and breadth of your tent, so any water dripping off your tent will absorb into the ground and not drop onto your tarp and slide toward your tent.) You can position it above your cooking, eating, or lounging area, to keep off rain or to limit sun exposure. And, if you’re really adventurous, you can erect it over your sleeping bag and gear and camp without a tent at all!

    8. Tent. If you’re inclined toward a more comfortable arrangement, a quality tent can provide you with protection from the elements (and mosquitoes!) and much-needed privacy. Mid-size tents, such as the Slumberjack Trail Tent 3, provide ample space for the gear and sleeping bags of three adults, while not being hard to erect or heavy to carry.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Slubmerjack Trail Tent 3

    9. Toilet paper. When in need, campers can use certain leaves, pieces of clothing, or rocks (sandstone is not recommended), but you may find your bathroom experiences to be much less memorable if you remember to pack some good old-fashioned toilet paper. One roll can do wonders.

    10. Assorted plastic bags. Making friends with the outdoors means leaving it better than you found it, so remember to bring a few garbage bags, kitchen trash bags, and gallon-size zip-top bags, to store your empty cans, discarded wrappers, leftover food, and wet clothing. The right-sized plastic bag can help prevent a soggy, smelly end to an otherwise successful camping adventure.

    With these ten must-have items, your camping trip can be easy to arrange, happy to experience, and satisfying to remember. Go camping! The beautiful world is waiting.

     

    --Sarah Brinton

    What else do you consider a must-have item for camping? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: outdoors, camping, shelter

  • 10 Ways Camping Helps You Prepare for Emergencies

    |15 COMMENT(S)

    Camping. You may have a love/hate relationship with it. Or you may have a hate/hate or love/love relationship with it. Regardless of your feelings, here’s the reality: camping is good for preparedness.

    Camping is a great way to prep yourself for an emergency

    Here are 10 ways camping can help you prepare for emergencies:

    1. You’ll get used to sleeping in less-than-ideal circumstances.

    Growing up, my family would camp pretty frequently, and someone (who shall remain nameless) always snored like a bear. It would keep me (and others) awake at night, leading to crankiness and fatigue the next day.

    So, camping with the sound of your neighbor snoring his brains out or—even more distracting for some people—the sound of animals and the wind working their way through the trees can build up your “immunity” to those sounds. After a while, you may find that you actually enjoy the rustling of the trees and the sound of birds and other animals.

    You may not develop immunity to the sound of snoring, though. So consider packing a pair or two of ear plugs in your camping gear and your bug-out bag.

    Even if you end up at a shelter in an emergency, rather than roughing it, earplugs could help drown out sleep-talkers, kids screaming, or other noises. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of not being able to hear, though. If sounds are muffled, you might not hear someone trying to wake you up (or someone who is rifling through your stuff).

    2. You’ll learn to eat meals that are easy to cook—or don’t require cooking at all.

    Camping is great for practicing emergency cooking. Try out your canister stove, Kelly Kettle, or Volcano stove on a campout to get used to different cooking methods. You’ll find that the easier the meal, the better—in most cases, anyway.

    That simplicity translates well into emergency situations. When the stakes are high, complicated meals may not work out (wasting food), or take longer to prepare (leaving you and your group hangry [hungry + angry]).

    The best way to ensure simple, quick meals in an emergency is to add some MRE and just-add-water entrees, sides, and desserts into your supplies.

    For MREs, you’ll just need some MRE heaters, a car engine, a warm rock, or some other way to warm it up. You can even eat them cold, because they’re 100% pre-cooked and ready to eat.

    To cook just-add-water meals, you’ll want to have a way to quickly and efficiently boil water, like the Kelly Kettle or a canister stove. Then you just add the water to your food, wait about 10 minutes, and dig in.

    3. You’ll get used to using “the facilities” in less-than-ideal circumstances.

    I don’t know anyone who prefers using toilets that don’t flush (there could be someone out there, but I personally don’t know anyone). But in a large-scale emergency situation, disrupted utilities are highly likely. That means no flushing toilets, no running water, and finding a way to safely deal with human and pet waste.

    If you have to evacuate to a location without a permanent shelter or running water, experience “taking care of business” in the outdoors will come in handy.

    One of the easiest ways to deal with bathroom needs in an emergency is a Tote-able Toilet and enzyme packets. The toilet is a 5-gallon bucket with a specially-designed toilet seat that fits on it just like a lid. Each time you use the bathroom you can sprinkle some of the enzymes in, and they will help to fight odor. You can even grab one of our deluxe privacy pop-up tents

    Don’t forget the toilet paper!

    4. What you deem “necessities” will likely change.

    You may think you know what the necessities are—and maybe you’ve had to experience enough bare-bones living to know what you actually need and what is just nice to have.

    Camping regularly will give you an idea of the things you actually need to have to stay safe, healthy, and fed when you’re away from home.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t put “want-to-have” items in your bug-out bag. Some familiar items will bring comfort and can provide distraction during long wait times at shelters or in food or aid lines. But when it comes down to what is really necessary to survive, camping will give you a pretty clear idea.

    5. You’ll have a chance to practice important skills and become more resourceful.

    Knowing how to build a shelter from branches and other resources you find nearby, start a fire without matches, identify edible plants, fish, and many other skills can come in handy in a survival situation—and camping is the perfect time to learn and perfect those skills.

    Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, it’s just a fact of life that if you go camping, you’re bound to forget something—sometimes trivial, sometimes important. Forgetting some of the necessities doesn’t have to derail your whole adventure, though. Turn the irritation into an opportunity to find creative solutions—either drawing on the resources you’ve brought with you or those provided by nature.

    Forgot rope? Are there vines or crawling ground cover you can use to lash things together?

    Forgot matches? What about using a magnifying glass or a pair of reading glasses to start your fire?

    When the stakes are high and you have to make it on your own, you’ll feel better knowing you’ve had practice making things work during campouts when a trip to the store wasn’t actually out of the question.

    6. You’ll learn which kinds of clothing, shoes, and outerwear are the best fit for the outdoors and your needs.

    The best type of clothing for the outdoors changes depending on the area you live in and the weather you expect to face. But there are some pretty basic rules that work no matter what:

    1)      Dress in layers—that way you can add or subtract layers as conditions change.

    2)      Wear clothing that will dry quickly and wicks moisture away from your body.

    3)      Comfort and safety are the most important things to think about when it comes to outdoor clothing.

    4)      Cotton is the fabric of death. (Most of the time. In the hot summer sun, light cotton or linen clothes can be ideal.)

    7. You’ll be more at ease in nature.

    Spending time hiking, backpacking, and camping will help you get comfortable spending long periods of time with Mother Nature. You’ll start to understand things like: how easily you sunburn, what kinds of plants grow in your area, where to find water or shade when you need it, what kind of wildlife is common in your area (and how frequently they disrupt campsites), etc.

    Spending time outside is a novelty for some people—don’t let that be the case for you. Spend time outside, get to know your surroundings, and use them to your advantage if the time comes that you have to evacuate by foot or camp out after a disaster—even if it’s in a park right next to the Red Cross or other relief shelter. If your home isn’t safe and there aren’t enough shelters, you’ll have to find a way to stay safe, clean, warm/cool, and fed—which is a lot more likely if you’ve had some practice.

    8. Your kids (if you have any) won’t be quite as freaked out that they aren’t sleeping in their own beds.

    Spending time camping—whether it’s multi-day backpacking trips or car camping at a developed camp site—will help your kids feel more at ease if your family ever has to sleep in a tent, under the stars, or in the car. Camping for fun before camping out of necessity will help them feel at ease in nature, be less anxious away from home, and develop what I consider one of the most important things a person can have: a sense of adventure.

    9. You can get used to finding and treating water before you drink it.

    Safe drinking water is one of your first priorities in an emergency. Staying hydrated is crucial to keeping up your energy and well-being in any circumstance, and in an emergency it can become a serious challenge if you haven’t prepared.

    In an emergency where water isn’t readily available—maybe your supply has been ruined by a tornado or earthquake—you’ll have to search for it. Knowing in advance where to find it will give you a big advantage, so you don’t waste precious energy combing the area near your house for water sources.

    If you’ve got a water filter, water purification system, or a combination of both, then you’re well on your way. Using these tools on campouts will get you in the habit of treating found water before you use it. Although many filters are quick to use, water treatment tablets like MicroPur can take up to 4 hours to thoroughly treat water (if it’s dirty and cold)—so be aware of the time it may take for your water to be ready, and plan accordingly.

    Note: Don’t use a water filter on your campouts if you don’t need to—once the carbon in filters has been exposed to water, it’s only good for six months, so it doesn’t make sense to pull it out for a “practice run” unless you’re planning to use it regularly in the upcoming months.

    10. You’ll be really efficient getting your camp set up.

    The more you go camping, the better you’ll get at setting things up, packing things away, understanding what’s going to make life easier and what’s just going to get in the way, and a whole slew of other things. It might not seem like a big deal if you’ve always had good weather and plenty of time to get things set up, but if you’ve ever set up camp in a rainstorm or in the dark, you know that the more familiar you are with how your gear sets up, the sooner you’ll be warm and cozy in your tent. And in an emergency, that can be priceless as far as keeping your body temperature up, keeping sickness at bay, and keeping everyone calm and happy in a stressful situation.

    So… Go Camping!

    Like I said before: you may love camping, you may hate it. Either way, I’m here to tell you that you should go camping on a regular basis. It will not only help you enjoy the beauty of nature (hopefully… if not, you may be doing something wrong), it will also help you gain experience and skills that will come in handy during an evacuation or other emergency.

     

    --Urban Girl

    Editor's Note: Why is Cotton the Fabric of death? 100% cotton clothes are not good for survival situations because they absorb and retain moisture. Since it absorbs moisture, wearing that wet cotton shirt could lead to hypothermia because if you are cold and wet, that makes you more susceptible to hypothermia. Also, Items that are 100% cotton are heavier, making running or hiking through the woods hot and could lead to easier fatigue. In other words, make sure that you have clothes made of lighter or more breathable fabrics packed in your emergency kit for a survival situation. Cotton polyester blends are lighter than 100% cotton. In essence, look for cotton blends to help you in survival situations.

    Posted In: Insight, Skills, Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency supplies, emergency preparedness, camping

  • Tis the Season for December Sales

    ‘Tis the season for sparkly lights, snowy mornings, cozy firesides—and, of course, great sales on emergency preparedness supplies. Whether your idea of a perfect winter evening is a night of online gift shopping or curling up with a warm mug of something sweet, we can make it happen. Here are some of our top sales picks for the month of December:

    Great gear

     Teton Scout 3400 Backpack

    • In the event of a power outage, stay weather wise with the Kaito® Voyager™ V1 Dynamo Solar Radio. Regularly $30, buy it this month for only $21.99—and comes in a variety of colors including a cheery Santa-suit red to boot!

     Kaito Voyager VI Dynamo Radio

    • Winter is the perfect time to beef up your emergency supply stash. Get lots of birds with a single stone when you take advantage of our big sale on pre-stocked Trekker emergency kits. Buy a one-person, two-person, or four-person packs right now for 40-45% off individual component pricing.

     Trekker IV-Four Person emergency kit

    Stocking stuffers

    • Need a small gift that packs a big spark? Try the Sparkie™ Fire Starter by Ultimate Survival Techonolgies. This one-handed fire starter is easy to use, has a retractable flint-based bar and built in carbide striker, and can light over 100 fires!, regularly $10.99, on sale for $5.99.

     Sparkie Fire Starter

      High Uinta Gear Multi-Function Tool

    • A bit too much peanut brittle this season? Show Santa’s hygienic side and fill their stockings with our Fresh and Go™ Toothbrush. Get a five pack right now for only $4.99, usually $14.75.

     Fresh N Go Toothbrush

    Christmas cookies, prepper-style

    • First, grind your own flour with the Victorio Hand Grain Mill. (You know you’ve always wanted to do that!) Take advantage of a great deal on this durable, high-quality grinder, available for only $44.99 (impressive—we know!)

     Hand Grain Mill

    • Next, mix up the cookie dough in the Bosch Ultimate Mixer Bundle. This comprehensive kitchen workhorse comes with endless attachments for year-round practicality, and is on sale right now for only $479.98 (regularly $574.96).

     Bosch Ultimate Mixer Bundle

     Snapware 10-piece Canister Set

    • Finally, steal a couple of Santa’s cookies and enjoy them with a cup of hot chocolate. Our Hot Chocolate Combo includes four fantastic flavors in large cans, and is on sale just in time for hot chocolate drinking season! Regularly $83.80, get all four now for $69.99 (also available in small cans).

     Hot Chocolate Combo (large cans)

    Hurry and take advantage of these sales, before the elves get them all!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness gear, monthly sale, holiday gifts, gear, sale, camping

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