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Wi-Fi Is Coming To Your National Park!

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Wi-Fi Is Coming To Your National Park!
Wi-Fi antenna at one of my recent NPS campground stays

Back in October I saw that it had already happened at Lake Mead Recreational Area, one of the National Park Service (NPS) units. Instead of posting a rant about this technology on my return home, it seemed prudent to give it some thought and wrap my mind around a subject that twenty years ago I knew was probably going to happen. Sometimes it is best to let thoughts stew for a while in the brain, before dishing out opinions.

To be honest, we have much bigger problems than technology in our national parks. Technology is devastating the middle class and the poor, smartphones are making Americans dumb, and too many individuals cannot easily do anything about it because they are uneducated, under-educated or miseducated. Bottom line is technology isn’t making our lives better, it is making it worse, and we are headed towards an accelerated decline of American civilization – and technology itself isn’t to blame – the blame lies in how we use technology.

What I found, back in October, is along a 25 mile stretch of road that access three NPS campgrounds, all three now have Wi-Fi access. To be honest I am ambivalent about it – not about the current state, but how it probably will expand beyond the confines of the campground. Before jumping into the subject at hand, perhaps it might be beneficial to ponder the purpose of our national parks.

If we survey world history, one question we might ask is, “What has America contributed to the improvement of humanity?” There are many things, especially our form of government, and we should recognize the American Invention of national parks, starting with the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Today, around 100 countries have set aside national parks.

Coincidently, as I wondered about our national parks, last month Chris Townsend, a Scottish adventurer, pondered the same issue in his country in response to a Scottish proposal to install zip-lines (apparently in Scotland they are called Zipwires) in Scottish national parks. As he should have, he quoted the purpose and goals of his country’s national parks:

The Environment Act 1995 …. set out two statutory purposes for national parks in England and Wales:

  1.  Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
  2. Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public

National Parks are protected areas. A protected area is a location which has a clear boundary. It has people and laws that make sure nature and wildlife are protected and that people can continue to benefit from nature without destroying it.

What about America’s national parks – what are they for?  It is laid out in the National Park Service’s mission statement:

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

The NPS is, in many of our national parks, expanding cellular and internet service inside the parks; and not just at visitor centers but along roads and even at spots like trailheads.  Cell phone towers are being, often at the whim of telecommunication companies desire for more profits, because the National Park Service doesn’t have an intelligible policy.  It is now common to hear the never ending squeaks of cell phones in the backcountry wilderness as well as at famous natural landmarks like Old Faithful.

If we really want to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources” of our national parks, then our parks should remain disconnected from the technology of the modern world.  It is the job and responsibility of the NPS to protect the beauty, peacefulness, and solitude of our national parks, and these values do not require a smartphone to enjoy.

Many people, however, disagree with these observations. They see our national parks as something else, something that should change as our culture changes. They see national parks needing to compete with amusement parks, such as Disneyland or Six Flags, for customers. They think we need to change how the NPS e operates so they can compete for “customers,” and even provide amenities such as Wi-Fi, hotels, swimming pools, laundry rooms, etc. William C. Breed, wrote in his book Uncertain Path

If national parks are to survive in any significant form, their mission and management goals must be redefined, and that redefinition endorsed and accepted by the American public. The parks will have to undergo a metamorphosis that provides them with both new management goals in tune with our contemporary scientific knowledge and redefined societal role that attracts new generations of users. Nothing else will succeed.

I’m sorry, this isn’t the case – we aren’t having trouble attracting “new generations of users” – many of our parks are already overloaded with people, and the lack of cell service or Wi-Fi is immaterial. For example, Joshua Tree National Park, which is only 50 miles from my house and is a place I have spent thousands of days in, is becoming too popular even though all of the campgrounds (except two) do not have water and only have pit toilets. There is no Wi-Fi or cell service in the park. Despite the lack of these modern conveniences, next month the park will implement a pilot transportation program as described on the Joshua Tree National Park website:

JOTR’s visitation has been steadily increasing for a number of years. The capacity of parking lots and campsites is reached on most weekends throughout the year. In an attempt to mitigate the traffic issues, JOTR partnered with the University of CA, Irvine, and had a Feasibility Study completed to study options for alternative transportation into the Park. Putting this data into action, the park has partnered with Morongo Basin Transit Authority and has prepared a Cooperative Agreement to start a Park Visitor Shuttle Service. The Roadrunner Shuttle Bus service will start February 1, 2018. During this pilot season, there will be buses entering the park through the entrances in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. These two buses will enter the park every 2 hours. Buses will stop at designated trailheads every 30 minutes. Bus stops have been identified both in the communities and within the park. Signs will be posted on already existing posts where the buses will be stopping in the community, and benches and signs will be posted at the bus stops within the Park.

This article worries that we might be Loving Our National Parks to Death, But enough of that, let’s get back to my Wi-Fi accessible campsite.

Campgrounds

Let’s face it, a developed National Park Service or US Forest Service campground isn’t a wilderness experience. I should know, in my lifetime, I have spent literally thousands of nights in campgrounds. In a sense, these campgrounds are a kind of purgatory.

Campground Purgatory

Many campgrounds straddle a type of “no man’s land” between the man-made world and wilderness, with two paths: one path is the road back to civilization and the other a gateway to the natural world beyond the campground. It is in this purgatory than many are first introduced to the wilderness beyond the campsite, where there is often a cleansing of the soul by immersing one’s self in nature. From the campsite, hikes into the natural world often create an appetite and longing to spend time in the wilderness, away from civilization and the trappings of the man-made world: a cleansing or purifying of the spirit, so to speak. There is no place in the natural world for technologies like Wi-Fi because wilderness is nature as man first found it without his interference or changes to it. Man did not find Wi-Fi or cell phone service in the wilderness because the technology did not exist.

Beyond the Campgrounds and Visitor Centers

Over the past couple of years there have been increasing been cries for more cell phone coverage and Wi-Fi access in our natural parks, by individuals and even some of those in Congress. Of course, Congressmen want it so they can cater to the special interests and money-brokers that fund these powerful aristocrats. For many of individuals, the reasoning is mind boggling. For example, this article Do national parks need Wi-Fi to stay relevant? is indicative of a culture overwhelmed and enslaved to technology. Here are a couple quotes from it:

James Katz, a professor and director of emerging media studies at Boston University, says the social pressures to expand technology’s reach are immense.

Katz had a first-hand dose of those pressures this summer, when he travelled through Yellowstone with his teenage children. They hit all the main attractions: Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls, roaming herds of wild bison.

Whenever connectivity dropped off, Katz said, the complaints from the teens would begin.

“It was quite fascinating to see a naturally-occurring experiment about what happens when you take away technology from kids,” he said. “They wanted to be in touch with their friends and exchange Snapchat photos — not of the beautiful scenery but themselves.”

On a positive note, Jeff Ruch, executive director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), had this to say,

The National Park Service will not find its institutional relevance on the internet. Our national parks risk their unique role by striving to become just another consumer-driven entertainment provider.

Just about everyone who owns or uses a computer, iPad or tablet, smart phone or similar device knows what Wi-Fi is. But what is it really? It is technology. Technology is unique to man – it is created by our ability to reason, communicate through speech and the written word, and to build things we could only previously imagine in our minds. Today most people use this technology to excess; they use it during most of their waking hours. Like almost anything in existence, excess is not a good thing. Excess becomes addiction. Addictions, whether they are food, chemicals, or even technology kills the souls and minds of men.

My concern about Wi-Fi in our public campgrounds is not about the technology per se, but how we use (or don’t use) technology, and the fact it can have an invasive and destructive force. Aside from my concern of this technology infecting our wilderness areas like an electronic Black Plague; and in contrast to the definition of “wilderness” as places untrammeled by man, we need to consider the negative impact it can have on our everyday lives, that is, what is the nature of technology.

A hot topic in the last presidential election was employment. Since 2000 we have lost more than 5 million factory jobs and most have gone overseas. Here’s a secret (and don’t tell anyone): those jobs, in spite of what President Trump says and promised, aren’t coming back. They aren’t the victim of cheap labor in Mexico or China, but a victim to technology. Sooner or later those jobs would have been replaced by technology, some we lost sooner to cheap overseas labor. Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are eliminating jobs; not only factory jobs but office jobs and layers of management. Human resource departments, recruiting and hiring, even employee scheduling are being replaced by software technology, resulting in job losses and a growing income disparity resulting in millions of U.S. workers struggling to get by with 81% of US households seeing their wages stagnate or decline between 2005 and 2014.

Along with the decline in buying power, technology is making a lot of jobs completely boring.

To numb the life of boredom that technology has created at work, so many people turn to the same technology as a bromide to mask the pain of living. Social media, silly videos, or following people who are famous for being famous occupy their free time. A humdrum life becomes epic, as they post pictures of themselves on Facebook while doing mundane things. Instead of living a good life, they try to create self-esteem and a position of honor through inane interactions over the Internet.

While I was camping in the campground that had Wi-Fi, spending a month there, there was plenty of time to observe. I know it costs money to access this Wi-Fi service, but I don’t know how much because I had better things to do with my time. For a couple of days there was a group of people near my campsite. Every day I would walk past their site on my way out of campground purgatory to a trail that led away from humanity. And each day I noticed all of them sitting around with their eyes glued to cell phone screens. The only interaction I saw between them was when someone would show the group something on their phone.

Then I started to watch other campers. Many, if not most, seemed to have a cell phone in hand at all times. Others were sitting in their campsites playing with iPads and computers. I don’t see the purpose in camping when it is centered on technology connected gadgets. Being connected fully time to the man-made world while in campground purgatory cannot be a good thing because social media, texting, and constant cell phone conversations become a mortgage on our lives, e.g., our lives are not entirely our own because those on the other end of our Wi-Fi or cellular devices are making demands on our time.

I cannot figure out this social media thing: the collection of “Likes” and “Followers” and the epic-ness of one’s life to be captured and posted on the Internet. I suspect it is the desire for self-esteem or honor. If one ignores merit, then honor and fame is not the same thing. I touched on this in my post on How to Become a Famous Backpacker, and the fact that many people are simply “famous for being famous” and really don’t merit any esteem from others.

There is probably no debate that most people want the esteem of others. Is this need for esteem a want for honor or a want for fame? If we consider the pursuit of happiness does it matter if we say one cannot be happy without honor or one cannot be happy unless they are famous? I think so. Honor is derived from virtue and morality. The desire for fame is a desire for unearned merit or recognition. There is nothing of merit in a campground, other than the enjoyment some may find in simply “camping out.” Spending one’s time in a campground taking “selfies” and immediately posting them to Facebook or Instagram is of no merit, and nothing that should be linked to esteem or fame. It is most aptly technology gone awry and holding its users in self-induced slavery.

Technology in a campground is not a bad thing; it is how we use it that can become bad for us. For example, before I retired, I would often set-up a mobile office in a campground. Yes, I was working (and being paid for it) while enjoying the benefit of spending a large portion of my time on the other side of purgatory in the natural world, when I turned off the computer. Most of the time on these trips I did not have direct access to Wi-Fi or cellular service. I would have to drive 20 or more miles round trip to get cellular service where I could use my phone as a hot spot to read and send email, upload and download files, and of course retrieve voicemail and call people using the cell phone for that antiquated purpose – a telephone. The rest of my time at the campground was mine to use as I pleased, and I used it without the aid of electronic devices.

Choosing a Campground

I have a formula for picking a campground. The quality of camping is in direct proportion to the distance to the nearest cellular reception or Wi-Fi. 40 miles from reception is twice as good as 20 miles from reception: the greater the distance the better the experience. Often 40 miles from reception means you are no longer in campground purgatory, but have actually planted yourself in the middle of wilderness far from the man-made world… isn’t that the point of camping?

Recently there have been a slew of warnings in the media about cell phone addiction, with calls for Apple to do something about it. The demanders tell us that smartphone addiction has become a public health issue and that companies like Apple and Facebook have a responsibility to do something about it. I even read a serious suggestion that there should be a warning on iPhone packaging, similar to the warnings on packs of cigarettes, suggesting how much time per day the phone is recommended for use. Really? So as smartphones make us dumb and dumber, we should blame the manufacturers of these wonderful devices for addiction and throw out personal responsibility?

A recent report stated that

78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling “addicted” to their phones.

So what should “we” do about it? I suggest we do nothing. It’s a parenting problem, not a social problem. Let’s face it; there is a lot of shitty parenting going on. And these shitty parents know that a smartphone and twitter account can be addictive to their children and themselves.

But more than this, technology has created information overload. There is so much information on the internets, information that grows exponentially each year, and this easy access comes at a steep price. As I wrote in Managing Your Recreation Inventory, we have a limited amount of time for camping and backpacking and we should manage it properly. Along the same train of thought, we have limited amount of time that could be used to improve our knowledge and/or skills so we can avoid wage stagnation or decline. A while back, I asked this question, “Are you prepared if you job is eliminated by technology? If not, what are you doing about it?” Fact is, most jobs are going to change quickly or become obsolete, and that fact shouts out that individuals should anticipate trends, expand their skills and expertise if they want to remain gainfully employed.

One think I know for sure, after working for nearly fifty years and never being laid off or fired: the only job security is possessing marketable skills and/or knowledge. As quickly as technology is changing year-to-year, that marketable attribute is going to require continuous education and improvement – and you won’t find it on Facebook. Actually Facebook wants you to become addicted to their technology.

Every time we check an email, click a link, look at incoming texts, glance at a tweet, we are using up our inventory of time that could be put to better use, and perhaps, more importantly, we are sacrificing  bit of our finite attention. This constant interaction with technology impairs our ability to focus and improve our lives; people subconsciously direct some of their attention to a phone sitting on a desk, in their purse or pocket ready to pounce on it if it rings or chimes with a text or notification. The constant interaction may be damaging our capacity to think and reason.

Modern technology, which over the past 100 years or so (a blink of the eye in time), has had wonderful implications for mankind. Average lifespans in the U.S. have almost doubled and most people have more leisure time than at any time in history. Because I embraced and mastered technology, and leveraged it to a level that others in my company had not reached, when it came to productivity and efficiency, it gave me job security and more leisure time. It also allowed me to hold my boss to the model of the employment contract.

The Employment Contract

Leave Work at Work

In the early 2000’s I was a manager when this modern technology of Wi-Fi and cell phones began to become common place, and my boss tried to keep me connected to my work 24/7. I could see where that was going right away – so I had to explain to him two concepts and hold him accountable to them:

  1. Work is a contract. I promise to perform certain services, and in exchange I am paid for them. At the end of the day, and especially at the end of the week when I am paid, the contract is fulfilled. I owe the company nothing more, and the company owes me nothing more. We are even. The contract is renewed and starts over the following Monday. This is the elusive balance of work and life.
  2. Poor planning on my boss’s part didn’t constitute an emergency on my part.

I used technology as a tool to enhance my work and create free time for my own use. How I used technology in my job made my job a useful occupation to me and others. My job wasn’t a painful experience; in fact I relished it and I did not have the fear of most people have today; the fear of a life of boredom at work. Because my work days were productive, there was no need to engage in the diversions and amusements most people occupy themselves with in their free time because their work-life is so boring.

Why are so many people so bored with their jobs? Often it is technology that turns work into the tedious specialization of repetition. Technology can make jobs and careers obsolete. The lack of education or the refusal to engage in continuous personal growth (e.g., embracing, learning, and using technology to one’s advantage) has resulted in too many people working at jobs they hate and no clear path to correct this state of being. For many of these folks technology is their enemy. Technology has passed them by and at the same time their ability to earn a good living diminishes every day. Not only are careers increasingly specialized, a better description is limited, and our educational system is becoming too specialized and limited.

A few years ago I wrote in, The Death of Renaissance Man,

Sometime in the last generation Renaissance Man passed away. Also known as Polymath, he lived for almost 2,400 years. The cause of death was apathy and specialization.

He was the child of Reason and Knowledge. His greatest achievement was ethical egoism.

His illegitimate children Specialized Man, Minimum Man, and Social Networker survive him.

Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and a long list of polymath relatives predeceased him.

His passing was not noticed and there will be no funeral. Everyone is too busy texting, tweeting, and face-booking.

Nor will there be any memorial funds established.

Renaissance Man, unlike Social Networker who collects “Like’s,” “Fans,” and “Followers,” acquired knowledge and skill across a wide and varied spectrum of human experience including, among other fields, philosophy, history, political science, physics, economics, engineering, music, and art.

In that post I included this wonderful quote from Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, specialization became the norm in Western Civilization. The man who could do anything and everything disappeared. Our educational system changed to meet this demand. High school curriculum was designed to prepare students to enter the work force or advance to college. College prepared the students for a higher paying job than non-college bound high school classmates could earn. Each decade the job opportunities for high school or college graduates became more a more specialized. Education was no longer about gaining knowledge, but a task list to be completed to obtain that high school diploma or college degree.

Human Bondage

Baruch Spinoza tells us that we allow ourselves to become slaves by the domination of our emotions and passions versus the personal freedom that is possible by the use of reason. He says the actions we take are determined by one of two things; reason or passion. When we rule our lives by passions we are in

“bondage, for a man under their control is not his own master, but is mastered by fortune, in whose power he is, so that he is often forced to follow the worse, although, he seeks the better before him.”

He further states that when we guide our lives by reason we are free for each of us

“does the will of no one but himself and does those things only which he knows are of greatest importance in life, and which he therefore desires above all things.”

It doesn’t have to be this way; to let passion rule our lives. Whether we succumb to passion or not is voluntary. Socrates tells us that if we know what is good for us, we will act according. But too often, he points out, we “desire things which they imagine to be good but which in reality are evil.”

The actions we take in life are usually caused either by a rational judgment of what is good or by an emotional estimation of the desirable. If we let emotions guide us, we are not listening to reason.

Again Spinoza offers some insight on this human bondage caused by our passions and, “the importance of man to govern or restrain the affects… for a man who is under their control is not this own master.” He says a free man is one who “who lives according to the dictates of reason alone.” Spinoza also discusses passion and “how much reason itself can control the affects” to realize what he calls “freedom of mind or blessedness.”

The great thinkers of history will almost unanimously tell us that all emotions or passions find their root in love or hate. Love and hate are opposites. Yet the work life many suffer today and the hate they feel for the technology that has made their jobs an occupational disaster, is the technology they embrace when not working.

Francis Bacon wrote, “Nature to be commanded, must be obeyed.” He also applauds the technical applications of science and the invention of machines as methods for man to extend his dominion over nature. Perhaps today we should ask if technology will extend its dominion over man – it is possible if we allow ourselves to follow our emotions and passions instead of our ability to reason.

Because our education has become so limited, unlike Thomas Jefferson or James Madison, most Americans have not read the works of Spinoza or Bacon who I quoted above. But one does not have to go back to school to learn about the influential thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, or Bacon. You can read and study their works on your own instead of wasting your life playing with technology. One theme among the great philosophers and intellectuals from antiquity to the present is the subject of temperance.

Aristotle thought that all moral virtues require a mean between excess and fault, and that mean is accomplished by temperance; not too much, not too little, but moderation that is somewhere in the middle of excess and defect. Aristotle and his teacher Plato didn’t perceive virtue in the same way, and their opinions about different virtues such as courage, wisdom, or justice diverge, they were often in agreement in their discussion of temperance. We can probably call temperance self-mastery, or as Socrates said, “… a man being his own master.

The opposite of temperance is self-indulgence – self-indulgence is the perfect definition for technology addiction. Both Freud and Aristotle regarded self-indulgence to be juvenile or immature, and Aristotle wrote that children “live at the beck and call of appetite, and it is in them that the desire for what is pleasant is strongest.”

Our use of technology needs to be Aristotle’s temperate mean, that is, somewhere between self-indulgence and abstinence.

So, turn off your phone and go spend a few days in a national park or a forest service campground without any technology. Believe, after the technology withdrawal pains, you will have a great time and want more of it without technology.

Versatile, Easy to Carry Outdoor Cooler Bags

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rtic-backpack-cooler-review

Whether you need to carry your food and drinks on your favorite trail or a handy sack for your family picnics, the best backpacking cooler is a great option. These insulated backpacks are versatile, stylish, and will fit into any lifestyle.

When you’re traveling off the beaten path, you need to carry all your meals, snacks, and beverages with you to keep you well fed and hydrated throughout your trip.

But carrying a regular cooler while hiking or climbing is bulky and difficult, especially when you need your hands. Having the best backpacking cooler takes care of all of these aspects.

These handy insulated backpacks keep your food from spoiling and your drinks at the optimal temperature for the perfect taste and to cool you off on a hot day.

They have other regular pockets for you other necessary gear, plus keep your hands free to carry fishing rods, beach bags, or to climb those rocky hills and mountains.

Backpack coolers are also versatile, giving you a great bag for on the trail or closer to home. They come in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of individuals as well as large groups.

No matter what you’re style or use, you’ll have no trouble picking the best backpack cooler for all your adventures.

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rtic-backpack-cooler-review

If you prefer to travel hands-free, a lightweight cooler backpack is the way to go. This backpack cooler from RTIC weighs only 6 lbs empty but has more than enough room to store up to 30 cans of your favorite drinks, along with a full bag of ice to keep them as cold as possible. Even during a heat wave of the highest temperatures, you won’t be sipping on lukewarm beverages.

The padded shoulder straps are adjustable for the perfect fit, plus have a padded waist strap to keep these insulated backpacks from shifting during your travels for less discomfort.

RTIC backpack coolers also include a few features to make them waterproof, to keep outside water from getting in as well as reducing the chances of leaking when the ice melts inside.

The material is durable nylon, which resists punctures and tears. There is a roll-top design, which means no zippers to malfunction or leak. The seams are all fully welded as well for even more protection.

As well as reducing leaking, these waterproofing features also let this backpack float, which is essential boating and fishing, just in case your backpack goes overboard.

And when your trip is over, you can just roll up your best backpack cooler to a small size and store it away until you need it again.

As of publishing this article there is no YETI backpack cooler on the market. And when it comes to coolers comparable to YETI, RTIC coolers builds some of the best YETI cooler alternatives. So if you are looking for a cooler like YETI but cheaper, consider looking at an RTIC cooler.

Click Here For Reviews, Ratings & Pricing on RTIC.com.com

Tech Specs

Material: Nylon

Capacity: 33 liter

Weight: 6 lbs

Features: Waterproof, welded seams, roll-top design, compact for easy storage, adjustable backpack straps, elasticized gear straps on front

The IceMule Pro Cooler may just be the best soft cooler backpack around, thanks to their unique fabric and features. It is also extremely lightweight, at just over 3 lbs, so it is also one of the most portable models around.

The MuleSkinET is IceMule’s exterior fabric, which is rugged enough to withstand even the harshest elements. Inside these cooler backpacks is the MuleSkin EV, which is tough and sturdy, while helping to increase ice retention. In between these layers is the PolarLayer foam insulation, which boasts over 24 hours of ice retention.

IceMule has also included their own IM Airvalve, which is their original feature for increasing the insulation. This valve allows you to add air to the insulating layer, which the company claims will increase its capabilities.

This valve has another use as well. When your small cooler backpack is empty, you can open the valve to help release any air inside for a more storable package.

Waterproofing features include the roll-top design, the lack of zippers, and the welded seams, which work together to help this durable cooler float. The IceMule Pro also comes in 33L and 40L sizes, and all three have two or three colors to choose from.

Click Here For Reviews, Ratings & Pricing on Amazon.com

Tech Specs

Material: MuleSkinET fabric

Capacity: 23 liter

Weight: 3.2 lbs

Features: PolarLayer foam insulation, IM Airvalve, roll-top design, welded seams, waterproof, elasticized gear straps on front

This insulated backpack cooler bag from Polar Bear Coolers is built to last through even the roughest outdoor adventures. It has a heavy duty nylon shell, coated with TPE for water resistance. T

he Dura-Temp liner is certified as FDA food grade, and is both leak and sweat proof, so the melting ice inside won’t drip through and soak you while you walk. This liner is also easy to clean if you should have any unexpected spills.

To add to the strength of this backpacking cooler bag, Polar Bear has added YKK zippers. These are heavy duty, to reduce damage to the teeth. These zippers are also weatherized to protect the metal against moisture damage.

As well as the adjustable backpack straps, there are also a couple of carry straps on the top of the backpack, with a velcro wrap to keep them together and to increase the comfort when carrying the pack in this fashion.

Other handy features on Polar Bear’s best backpack cooler are the side pockets, front mesh pocket, the zipper pull-tab that doubles as a bottle opener, and the side buckles to compress the bag and keep it as compact as possible. You can also customize these backpacks with your name or company logo.

Click Here For Reviews, Ratings & Pricing on Amazon.com

Tech Specs

Material: Nylon

Capacity: N/A

Weight: 5 lbs

Features: High density 5 layer Open Cell Foam insulation, FDA food grade leak and sweat proof, Dura-Temp liner, YKK #10 zipper, multiple pockets, bottle opener, side release buckles, adjustable backpack straps, carry handles

The Igloo Sportsman Backpack Cooler is one of the most durable Igloo cooler bags available, with hefty nylon and welded seams to increase the backpack’s waterproofing.

There is a high impact base on this bag, which reduces tears and punctures if it is dropped or set on sharp rocks or other hazardous surfaces. The liner is antimicrobial to keep mold and mildew from forming inside the bag.

The ultra-thick insulation boasts up to 2 days of ice retention, even when you’re traveling on those extra hot days. Igloo’s Cool Riser Technology keeps the bag off the hot ground, which helps increase the bag’s performance and reduce melting inside of it.

When the ice eventually does melt, you can use the drain plug for easy removal. The tether keeps the plug from getting lost when you let it go.

There are four D-rings on the outside of the bag to make it easy to tie it down during travel. The daisy chains on the front give you multiple points to attach carabiners to carry other items, keeping your hands free while you walk. There are also a couple of pockets on the front and back of this Igloo cooler backpack for extra storage of small items.

The wide mouth opening uses a roll-top design, which together give you fast access while keeping the ice, water, food, and drinks inside where they belong. A removable carabiner and bottle opener combo device is also included.

If you are in the market for one of the most durable backpack coolers that is ready to tackle any outdoor adventure you can throw at it, the Igloo Sportsman Backpack Cooler is one to consider.

Click Here For Reviews, Ratings & Pricing on Amazon.com

Tech Specs

Material: Nylon

Capacity: 16 liter

Weight: 6 lbs

Features: Waterproof, wide mouth roll-top opening, tethered drain plug, high impact base, Cool Riser Technology, removable and adjustable backpack straps, pockets, D-rings, daisy chain, carabiner/bottle opener, antimicrobial liner, anti-mold additives

The best backpack cooler gives you the room you need to carry your food and drinks, plus anything else you may need for an all-day adventure. This insulated backpack cooler from Arctic Zone has so much space, you’ll be hard-pressed to fill it all.

First, there are four insulated compartments, the large main one, plus a top, side, and front area for adding more food and drinks to keep everyone fed and watered throughout the day. Then there are multiple pockets located on the outside of these areas, including a hidden fleece-lined pocket inside the front compartment to keep your valuables out of sight.

To keep you comfortable during your travels, the Arctic Zone Ultra Cooler Backpack has padded backpack and sternum straps, all of which are adjustable for the perfect fit for anyone in your party. The back is also padded, with a Cool Stream airflow system to keep your back from sweating under the pack.

The Rhino-Tech outer material on the Arctic Zone Ultra Cooler Backpack has a UV, water, and stain resistant coating for extra protection.

The main and front compartments have high performance SuperFoam insulation, with high-density thermal insulation in the other two cold areas. Together, these keep up to 24 cans of beer or soft drinks cold for up to 2 days.

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Tech Specs

Material: Rhino-Tech polyester

Capacity: 15 liter

Weight: 0.7 lbs

Features: Super-Foam insulation, Thermal insulation, Therma-Flect radiant barrier, multiple pockets, elasticized gear straps, padded back, Cool Stream air flow system, adjustable backpack straps and sternum strap, water resistant, stain resistant, UV resistant

If you are in need of a mobile cooler bag, but can’t afford the hefty price tags on the high end backpacks, the OA Gear Backpack Cooler is a great option.

The cost is quite low, fitting into any budget, while still giving you the features you need to get through a day of hiking, fishing, or any other outdoor activity.

First of all, it has the capacity to hold up to 20 cans, plus the ice needed to keep them at the perfect temperature. The liner is double heat sealed PEVA, which is leak-proof to keep any melting on the inside instead of soaking you while you walk.

For storing your other items that don’t necessarily need to be kept cold, there are two mesh side pockets, a zippered front pocket, and some gear straps near the top of the bag.

The padded backpack straps are adjustable to reduce shifting when you walk, but some have found these to wear out easier than the straps of some other backpacks, so you may want to keep a close eye on them before and after every trip.

The OA Gear Backpack Cooler come in six colors, including a camo cooler backpack for those who like to blend in with their surroundings.

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Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 21 liter

Weight: 3 lbs

Features: Double heat sealed PEVA no-leak liner, multiple pockets, adjustable padded backpack straps, elasticized gear straps

Insulated backpacks for food and drinks are great, but you probably won’t use them very much if they don’t have the room to carry your other essentials.

North Coyote has given you the best of both worlds, ample cooler room with a large area for anything else you might need.

The cooler portion is located on the bottom of the bag. It has a 17L capacity, giving you more than enough room to pack some drinks, meals, and a few snacks.

This insulated area is waterproof, to keep melting ice in and rain or other dampness out. There is a zipper opening, which splits the bag in the middle, giving you full access to the cooler area.

The top compartment has a large 25L storage capacity, making this a great option for those who need a change of clothing, or even books or papers for work or school. This area is also waterproof to keep your belongings safe from the elements. Instead of a zipper, there is a drawstring closure with a buckled flap. There are also 5 pockets located on the top and sides of the bag.

To increase your comfort while wearing the bag, there are adjustable padded shoulder straps, plus a sternum strap and hip belt for extra support.

Though it was designed for hiking, this may also be the best backpack cooler for day trips to the beach, picnics in the park, or any other activity you or your family prefer.

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Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 42 liter

Weight: 2.4 lbs

Features: Waterproof, 2 large storage compartments, multiple pockets, adjustable padded shoulder straps, sternum strap, hip belt, compression straps

You may not want to keep everything you carry covered with ice, so having a few different compartments in your insulated cooler backpack is a must. The Coleman Backpack Cooler makes sure you can carry everything in the pack, keeping your hands free for fishing rods or walking sticks.

The large main compartment has the capacity to hold up to 28 cans, plus the ice necessary to keep them chilled to perfection. This area is free of both BPAs and phthalates, plus has the added security of heat welded seams to eliminate leaking. Dual zippers give you full access to the contents of this area, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

There is also a large zippered front compartment, for snacks you may not want to risk getting wet, as well as electronics, notebooks, or anything else you may need to carry with you. A bungee gear strap on the front keeps any essentials close at hand.

There is an antimicrobial liner inside the bag, which not only helps to reduce mildew or mold if you don’t dry it out thoroughly enough at the end of your trip, but is also easy to clean if a spill should occur.

Built like a outdoor daypack the Coleman Backpack Cooler is a versatile option for anyone who wants to keep their good cold while enjoying outdoor activities.

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Coleman Backpack Cooler Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: ~10 liter

Weight: 1 lbs

Features: BPA- and phthalate-free main compartment, heat welded seams, zippered front pocket, padded back, adjustable padded shoulder straps, adjustable waist strap, antimicrobial liner

This Igloo cooler bag is both lightweight and durable, making it a great addition to any outing, from easy day trips in the car to two-day hiking excursions down some rugged trails. It can hold up to 18 cans, or half that with some food as well, plus the ice needed to keep everything tasting its best.

The outer shell of the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Backpack is made of thick PEVA, which is both puncture and leak resistant.  It is also protected against UV rays for reduced deterioration on those long days under a hot sun. The antimicrobial inner liner resists both stains and odors, plus is easy to clean with no more than a damp cloth.

In between the two layers of the Igloo soft-sided cooler backpack is their MaxCold insulation, which has 25% more foam for better ice retention.

There is a small top compartment that is made of moulded EVA to keep your valuables safe from harm. There are also a couple side mesh pockets and a front zippered pocket for any other small items you need to store during your trip.

The backpack straps are padded for comfort, with air mesh to keep you cool instead of sweating underneath them. They are also adjustable, with a chest clip for extra support when Igloo’s best backpack cooler is filled to capacity.

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Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler Backpack Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: ~25 liter

Weight: 1.2 lbs

Features: Waterproof, leak-proof, UV protected, MaxCold insulation, crushproof top compartment, multiple pockets, non-corrosive hardware, adjustable padded straps, antimicrobial liner

The Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack gives you the perfect bag to carry all your essentials for the beach, a picnic, or a hike in the woods. It splits down the middle, giving you two large storage areas to hold everything you need for any type of outing.

The top section is meant for clothing, beach towels, notebooks, or other larger items. This compartment has a drawstring closure for easy access, plus mesh sides to let this area breathe, letting damp clothes dry faster instead of creating nasty odors inside your bag. A top flap covers the drawstring, buckling down for a more secure closure during your travels.

The bottom compartment is the cold area of this Picnic Time backpack cooler. It uses the same 600D polyester outer shell for durability against rough handling, but has ThermoGuard insulation inside.

This area has the capacity to hold up to 20 cans of beer or soft drinks. There is a heat-sealed, water-resistant lining inside as well, to reduce leaks from the slowly melting ice.

The best backpack cooler also keeps you comfortable while it cools your food and drinks. This one has padded adjustable straps with mesh on the underside to keep you cool as well.

There is a media pocket on the right strap, to keep your phone or other media device close at hand during your trip. There are also two large zippered pockets and two mesh side pockets for all your other smaller gear.

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Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: 24 liter backpack with 8 liter cooler compartment

Weight: 2.5 lbs

Features: 2 large compartments, ThermoGuard insulation, heat-sealed and water-resistant lining, multiple outer pockets including smartphone pocket, adjustable padded shoulder straps with mesh underside

The Picnic Time Turismo insulated backpack cooler was made to go with you anywhere, from outdoor activities, to work, to school, and anywhere else your day takes you. The shell is durable 600D polyester, which is water and tear resistant.

There are two insulated interior compartments. Open the zipper at the top to reveal the larger one, and beneath the lid is a smaller one for the items you may want to keep out of the moisture the ice or ice packs creates. This gives you ample space for food and drinks.

There is a water duffel included, that fits into the mesh pocket on the outside of the bag. Or, you can carry it by the shoulder strap and put other small items in this pocket, keeping them secure with the drawstring closure.

There are also a few other pockets on the sides of this Picnic Time backpack cooler, and a few more on the inside and outside of the exterior flap.

For easy carrying, you can choose either the comfortable non-slip shoulder straps or the padded carry handle found on the top of the bag. Though this may not be big enough to supply all the essentials for a large group, it is the best backpack cooler for personal use.

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Picnic Time Turismo Cooler Backpack Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: ~21 liter

Weight: 3.75 lbs

Features: 2 large main insulated compartments, multiple pockets, padded non-slip shoulder straps, paddle handle on top, detachable water duffel with shoulder strap, utility clip, NCAA customizable

You need durable coolers for outdoor trips, especially if you’re going to be traveling off the beaten path. The Engel Prym1 Backpack Cooler has an extremely rugged outer shell made of 500D diamond ripstop polyester, which is tear-resistant for a longer lasting bag. There is also a TPE coating on the outside to make this a fully waterproof cooler backpack.

Inside is an inch of closed-cell foam insulation, plus a radiant barrier liner. The insulation helps maintain the temperature inside the bag and the liner helps reflect the heat of the sun away from the bag for better ice retention.

Together, these will give you up to 3 days of cold drinks and food, which is essential for those weekends away from home.

The backpack straps are padded and breathable for less discomfort while you walk, plus there are both tote handles and a padded shoulder strap for multiple carry options. Non-skid feet keep your bag exactly where you place it, even on slick surfaces.

Next to the large main compartment’s dual water-resistant zippers is another zipper, which opens up an extra storage compartment for ice packs or even more snacks.

There are two mesh pockets for small items that don’t need to be chilled. A large front pocket holds cooking utensils, plates, or a variety of other items, with an open outer pocket for items you want easy access to.

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Engel Backpack Cooler Tech Specs

Material: Polyester Diamond Ripstop

Capacity: 21 liter

Weight: 6 lbs

Features: Waterproof TPE coating, closed-cell foam insulation, radiant barrier lining, multiple pockets, non-skid feet, tote handles, padded breathable shoulder straps, sternum strap

The Igloo Daytripper Backpack Cooler is more than just an average backpack cooler bag. It adds a touch of class to every outing, supplying you with everything you need to set out an elegant outdoor meal, outside of the food and drinks, of course. You’ll have to pick your favorites of those.

There is a large main compartment on the top, perfect for carrying a couple of bottles of wine, with a divider to keep them from bumping into each other and breaking while you walk. Or take the divider out and fill this area with beer or soft drinks, whatever your party prefers.

The small bottom compartment is also insulated, giving you room for your snacks, like cheese and chocolate to go with your favorite wine. Or you can store plates, utensils, or other essentials in this area. The liner of both of these areas is antimicrobial and leak-resistant to keep everything clean and dry.

Included with this bag is a bamboo cutting board and a few cheese knives, each with their own individual pocket. A corkscrew is also included, plus a bottle opener on one of the padded shoulder straps.

There are a few more pockets on the sides and front for anything else you need to carry.

If you find yourself in the wilderness more than the city, check out the Igloo Realtree backpack cooler that features a rugged camo design.

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Igloo Daytripper Backpack Cooler Tech Specs

Material: Polyester

Capacity: N/A liter

Weight: 3.4 lbs

Features: 2 cooler compartments, padded removable divider, bamboo cutting board, stainless steel cheese knives, corkscrew, multiple pockets, built-in bottle opener, antimicrobial and leak-resistant liner, adjustable padded backpack straps, adjustable sternum strap, daisy chain

The Leopard Outdoor Vinyl Backpack Cooler may not have all the features and frillls of the best backpack cooler on the market, but in terms of price and capacity, it is a great choice for those who don’t mind the basics.

The outer vinyl shell is waterproof and a bit flashy to look at, due to its bright color. All the zippers are waterproof as well, to protect everything you’re carrying from the elements.

Inside you’ll find an FDA-approved liner that is both durable and leak-proof. This interior compartment holds up to 30 cans, with the room to fit in 5 lbs of ice on top to keep those drinks extra cold.

The back of this large backpack cooler is padded for extra comfort, as are the adjustable backpack straps. There is a wide opening for easy access, and buckles on the sides to compress the bag as much as possible when closed up.

There is a large and a small pocket on the front of this backpack as well, for extra storage.

Though it only comes in one color and size, and doesn’t have the extras you may find on other top rated models, the Leopard Vinyl cooler backpack has a great low price for the budget-conscious, has plenty of room inside, and looks pretty cool in any situation.

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Leopard Outdoor Backpack Cooler Tech Specs

Material: Vinyl

Capacity: N/A liter

Weight: 2.9 lbs

Features: Waterproof shell and zippers, adjustable shoulder strap, padded back, FDA-approved leak-proof liner, 2 front zippered pockets

One of the most important things to consider when buying a backpack cooler is comfort. Tourit has paid extra attention to these areas, as well as creating the best backpack cooler to carry all your food and drinks for the day.

They have added thick padded sections to the back area and onto the shoulder straps since these are the areas that will be touching you while you walk. They’ve also ventilated the back, in case it rains or you spill some water on the bag. This will allow it to dry much faster, keeping you even more comfortable while you walk.

The shell is made using high-quality tear-resistant nylon, with a hot-pressed PEVA leak-proof liner inside. Between these two layers is thick foam insulation to keep your food and drinks cold and tasty.

The large main compartment holds over 28 cans. Though you can use ice in the backpack cooler, Tourit recommends using ice packs instead to reduce wear on the waterproof liner.

For extra storage, there is a large zippered front pocket with a mesh divider on the inside flap for utensils or other smaller items, plus a couple of side mesh pockets for items you may want easy access to. This gives you more than enough room for everything you need for a day of hiking, fishing, or lounging on the beach.

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Tech Specs

Material: Nylon

Capacity: 25 liter

Weight: 1.1 lbs

Features: Waterproof, leak-proof PEVA liner, adjustable padded backpack straps, ventilated padded back, multiple pockets

What is a Backpack Cooler?

You’ll be surprised that best backpack cooler look pretty much like a regular backpack or cooler, with a few necessary alterations.

First of all, they have a decent insulating layer to help retain ice and cold air inside the cooler, which is necessary when toting drinks and food, especially in hot weather.

A cooling backpack also has a waterproof liner inside. Even with the best backpack cooler, ice will eventually melt, creating a puddle of water in the bottom of the bag. The liner will keep the water from leaking out of the bag and dripping all over you and every surface around you.

There is usually just one main insulated compartment, but some models add a second to keep your food and drinks separate, or as space to place extra ice packs for extra cooling.

Advantages of Backpack Coolers

The main advantage of using the best insulated backpack is that they can be used completely hands-free. Normal hard shell coolers require two hands, due to their size and their weight, especially when full of drinks and snacks for even short trips. Even normal soft-shell coolers need at least one hand to carry them.

Since the backpack rides on your shoulders, you can keep your hands free for other items you may need to hold, like beach bags, fishing gear, or even a younger child’s hand when traveling over uneven terrain.

If you need to check your phone or handheld GPS, you can do so while you walk, without dropping your cooler and holding up the rest of your party.

Another advantage of these types of cooler bags is that they can usually carry some of your other gear, thanks to the extra pockets they have on the bag’s exterior. Some even have larger compartments for camp towels, rain jacket, or other larger items, making them an all-in-one bag for added convenience.

Who Needs a Backpack Cooler?

The best backpack cooler can fit into almost any activity, but they are best used by those who plan on doing most of their traveling on foot. This means hikers, backpackers, and climbers will need a pack like this for their excursions. Cyclists may also want a backpack cooler for those long days on the road or trail.

But backpack coolers can also fit into a more modern lifestyle. There are some designed with cold compartments as well as normal areas, making them a great option for high school or college students who prefer to pack their own lunch rather than spend their hard earned money on a cafeteria meal.

Even families who just like to stroll to their local park for an afternoon picnic will be thankful to have a backpack cooler to keep their food safe to eat and their drinks icy cold.

YETI-backpack-cooler-hopper-backflip

 

Is There a YETI Backpack Cooler?

At this exact time, there is no YETI backpack cooler available for purchase. Those who favor YETI products are a bit disappointed by this since YETI is one of the best brands around when it comes to coolers.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a YETI backpack cooler on the horizon. The company is expanded their soft-sided Hopper series by introducing the Backflip 24.

This will be the first YETI backpack cooler ever made, with the capacity for 20 cans or 25lbs of ice. Of course, you can add any combination of those inside this new YETI backpack cooler, depending on how thirsty you are and how hot it is outside.

The new YETI backpack cooler will have padded shoulder straps and yoke, plus both sternum and waist belts to help balance the heavy load. The other features of the Backflip 24 have yet to be mentioned, but I’m sure this YETI backpack cooler will meet the standards of its predecessors upon its release in 2018.

Things to Consider When Finding the Right Backpack Cooler

Use

Choosing the best backpack cooler first depends on how you plan to use it. These coolers are great for hiking trips or picnics in the park because they can hold everything you need without adding too much weight to your back.

But you can also use your backpack cooler to carry home groceries that are best kept cold, like meat and dairy products. If you are bringing hot or cold items to a potluck dinner or a friend’s party, you can use these bags to keep everything at the optimal temperature.

Overnight camping trips are also a possibility with these handy cooler backpacks since they hold everything you need. Many of them can keep the ice or ice packs from melting too much for a day or more, so you won’t need to worry about spoiled food or warm beverages on those shorter excursions.

Size

When you are choosing your backpack cooler, bigger isn’t always better. The reason for this is that the more space there is in the bag, the more air there is for the ice to cool. If your bag is half full, the ice will have to work that much harder to keep everything inside, and all that excess air, at the right temperature.

If you are planning a short afternoon on your own, a smaller cooler bag will be more than enough. There are some that hold as little as 15 Liters, so this will give you ample room for your food, drinks, and ice or ice packs.

Of course, if you’re feeding a group of friends or a large family, there are huge 30 can models available, giving you tons of space to keep everyone fed and watered all day long. But again, make sure it is filled to capacity, or you’ll lose your ice long before you would have with a smaller bag.

Ice Retention / Performance

The exterior shell, liner, and insulation of the bag all work together to hold the cold air inside, retaining the ice for as long as possible. But there are other factors that will increase the performance of even the best backpack cooler.

First of all, as I said above, you want to make sure your bag is filled to capacity. Once the items inside are cold, they’ll help retain the ice, but a wide open space in the bag will reduce your ice much faster.

How often you open your cooler backpack also affects the ice retention. If you are constantly opening the cooler, the cold air gets out and warm air gets in, melting the ice inside the bag. Figure out everything you need and take it all out at the same time instead of going into the bag every few minutes. This will increase the backpack’s performance and slow the ice’s melting.

Comfort & Fit

Let’s face it, carrying all your drinks and food on your back, plus the extra weight of the ice inside the bag, is going to cause some pain in your shoulders and back after a while. But the best backpack cooler companies have done their best to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, for as long as possible.

The back of the bag is one thing to look at. Many brands have padded backs with some ventilation to reduce sweating. The shoulder straps should be padded and ventilated for the same reason. But the straps should also be adjustable to give you the right fit. Waist and sternum straps should be included for added support.

The best insulated cooler bag should be wide and tall enough to distribute the weight evenly across your back. They should weigh only a couple pounds, too, so they aren’t adding too much weight on their own.

Versatility

The beauty of backpack coolers is that they are usually quite versatile. They are meant to carry food and drinks with you anywhere you go, which is why the bags are made of durable material that will last through rugged trips outdoors.

But many of these bags are also made to look as stylish as a regular backpack, so you can use them for other daily activities. This includes as a handy grocery bag, work or school lunch bag, or a beach bag for a day trip with your family.

There are also some backpack cooler combo bags that have an insulated compartment for food and drinks, as well as a normal compartment for clothing, books, or other items you may need for your daily activities.

Durability & Leakproof

The materials used both inside and outside your backpack cooler will determine how durable it is. Most of the brands out there use either polyester or nylon, both of which are tear-resistant and long-lasting. Many of them also have a waterproof coating to protect anything in the pockets or main compartment from the elements.

The insulation layer should be quite thick, usually an inch or so. This helps keep whatever you are carrying from warming up while you walk. Some companies create their own patented insulation, but most of them use foam insulation in their products, which gives you great performance.

Since a leaking bag won’t be used more than once, the best backpack cooler companies also use leak-proof liners to keep you and everything around you dry. If it doesn’t say it is leak-proof, avoid that particular bag, or you’ll likely be soaked long before you reach your destination.

For zipper and seams look for high quality zippers, the bigger the better and YKK brand are always trustable. Seams should be welded and/or include heavy duty stitching so they won’t burst when you are out in the field.

Pockets & Storage

For storage, the insulated compartment should be a decent size, to ensure you’ll be able to pack everything you need. Many backpack coolers have one large main compartment and a smaller insulated area, giving you the option of keeping your food and drinks separate, which can be handy at times.

But you likely will need to carry more than just what’s going in your body. Phones, media devices, notebooks, towels, extra clothing, and many other essentials may have made their way on your list. Having the pockets to hold them all will save you from carrying an extra bag or filling the pockets of your clothing.

Zippered pockets, mesh pockets, and hidden pockets are all great additions, and the best backpack cooler will have at least one of each. Some bags also have larger compartments for the big items, which can be handy for the beach or overnight camping trips.

best-backpack-cooler-01

Style

Backpack coolers come in a variety of styles and colors, so you have quite a few to choose from. Some of them are more rectangular for better weight and item distribution. Others have a more normal backpack look, with a wider bottom and a curved zipper top.

Then there are the other more modern bags, which look more like a stylish carry bag with backpack straps. These are best used for field trips or tours around a foreign city, especially if you’re traveling on a budget and can’t afford to eat out at the fancy restaurants along the way.

As for colors, there are many to choose from. Basic black is common, but you can find bright blues, oranges, and even camo backpack coolers if that’s what you’re into. One of the best options on the market is the Igloo Realtree Backpack Cooler.

There are a few extra features that can turn a decent bag into the best backpack cooler available. Along with regular pockets, security pockets are a must, especially when you’re carrying expensive gear like phones, music players, or other media devices.

Another handy feature is the bungee gear straps found on the front of many cooler backpacks. These give you quick access to anything you tie there and can hold larger items that may not fit into the normal pockets. Daisy chains let you hang other gear off the bag.

Some cooler bags come with attached or removable bottle openers, and a few even add fancier gear like corkscrews, cutting boards, and cheese knives. So, whether you prefer cracking a beer or opening a bottle of wine, you’ll be able to find the right accessories for your personal tastes.

Value

Some of the best backpack cooler brands can cost a pretty penny. These ones are usually durable, lightweight, and come with every feature you need to make your backpack worth the money. But you will likely be paying for the name as well as the bag.

There are 16 cooler bags reviewed here, and the highest price is almost $200+. The lowest price? About $20. The cheapest bag is still made of quality material and has excellent features, including extra pockets and comfortable straps.

So, if you have unlimited funds, you can pretty much choose any brand of cooler backpack you want and get everything you need. But those on a budget will still be able to find the right cooler for their chosen uses, without breaking the bank.

It really just comes down to how long your expect your gear to last and if you prefer to buy a name brand. Another consideration is that you’ll want to consider going with a brand that stands behind their product, which may cost a little extra up front.

best-backpack-cooler-02

The Bottom Line

When traveling for the day or the weekend, you’re going to need to eat and stay hydrated, no matter if you’re hiking a new trail, relaxing at the park, or hanging out at your favorite campground.

Carrying a hefty cooler isn’t always an option, especially when traveling to these areas on foot. These situations pretty much demand the best backpack cooler, and with so many to choose from, there is no reason not to have one at your disposal.

For those who want the best-of-the-best, YETI’s backpack cooler is our top ranked cooler out there. The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 is built ultra-tough and versatile enough to carry along on any adventure you can throw at it.

If you are on a bit more of a budget but still want premium cooler performance, consider looking at the RTIC backpack cooler. It’s the closest YETI like cooler and offers plenty of performance for the weekend adventurer.

Those with more money than they know what to do with can pick whichever one they want, but for those on a budget, you need to choose carefully. For these people, the OA Gear Backpack Cooler is the cheapest option on our list. It is lightweight with a decent capacity, is made of sturdy materials, multiple storage pockets, and even has a few colors to choose from.

If you need as much space for your regular gear as you do for your beverages, the Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Cooler Backpack gives you two separate compartments, one insulated, and one for all the rest of your essentials.

For those who prefer wine and cheese over beer and hot dogs, the Igloo Daytripper comes with more than enough space for a couple bottles of your favorite vintage, plus the accessories necessary to serve those accentuating cheese flavors.

You can also read our guides to the top hiking watches, how to choose the right hiking pants and other recommended travel products here.

Most effective Fishing Bite Alarms Reviewed – Wonderful Outside Adventures

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fishing rod on dock woods and lake background
fishing rod on dock woods and lake background

Excellent setup – a single of numerous that can earnings from a fishing alarm.

Why does any person require a superior fishing alarm? This was a dilemma I as soon as puzzled about myself, but some time and knowledge on and all over numerous various waters taught me that sometimes this was a really good piece of fishing equipment to have.

A single of the definitely cool items about fishing is just how quite a few unique variations are out there. Growing up in Iowa, Father generally took us to close by Hannen Lake, and then when we were older it would be Maki Bay in Ontario, a definitely out of the way vacation resort we’d have to boat into on the Lac De Mille Lacs lake technique.

Primarily based on our early ordeals we were being all about the northern pike, the largemouth bass, and to a lesser extent the walleye. In other words, we went just after fish that hit the lures tricky, necessary a large amount of casting with crankbaits, and a lot of motion. Then Grandpa tried using to educate us trout fishing. Excellent luck not placing the hook at a take a look at nibble when you’ve been conditioned to established at the smallest tremble or change. But the family members time fishing was well worth it.

As we grew we took unique routes but it was fascinating seeing and enduring all the quite a few different strategies that fishing took position. I was in substantial college right before my 1st encounter with jigging, in graduate school in Alaska for ice fishing, hit a whole lot of back state the place smoked carp was a large issue, and at some point acquired back to lively fishing with sea charters a long time later on – but for the duration of all that time of lazy carp traces, placing up fishing rods inside of the ice fishing shack, all of a sudden the plan of a superior alarm designed so considerably more feeling!

three fishing alarmsFREETOO Very best Delicate Digital Fishing Bite Alarm

By much and away the most well-liked and commonly rated fishing alarm on Amazon and quite a few other on-line suppliers, the electronic chunk alarm from FREETOO has confirmed by itself again and once more in the subject to be one particular of the ideal choices. If you are going to be moving about the ice shack making ready a meal or accomplishing anything at all while the line is in the water, placing up many lines for carp, or making ready any setup exactly where you want to have the line out while remaining able to preserve your palms and thoughts no cost, then you want a FREETOO fishing alarm on your line ready for that distinct unmistakable tug.

Available as an individual alarm or in a pack of 3, this alarm arrives with an LED gentle for uncomplicated recognizing though night time fishing as very well as a loud and apparent seem notify. Although normally lifted up as the key example for a great alarm for carp fishing at night, this can do the job for catfish, trout, or any fishing established up in which your rods are established up in holders with the bait out in the h2o.

These are straightforward to clip on the rod, and they will not harm the fishing line. This model hits specially great marks for holding even now even in a robust wind and not giving off false alarms though offering off seem and gentle when an genuine fish firmly bites the hook.

These are driven by power conserving batteries and are straightforward to use though furnishing constant and responsible service.

20 silver and green fish bite alarmsHonbay Fishing Rod Alarm Dual Alert Bells

These are pretty very simple and classic alarms, demonstrating that from time to time likely the old way or the traditional route can be just as fantastic (or even far better) than many of the newer selections out there. This 20 alarm bell combo means lots of economical alarms that can be hooked up to the line and you don’t shed everything way too high-priced if you end up getting rid of one particular.

These metal bells are the conventional early kind of a fish alarm to let you know when some thing of measurement grabs the bait and tugs at the lure. Whilst not perfect (these are not the most effective option on a really windy working day, in particular when the winds are swirling in character), there’s a rationale this design was the regarded as the authentic style and design to create a carp alarm, and it was successful. In point, there are loads of us who remember gerry-rigging anything like this with a bell and bread bag tie even though setting up camp during some childhood Midwestern summers.

The hooked up plastic comes in inexperienced, pink, or silver, and the bells are modest at only 1.6 cm but they are effective and will enable you know when it is time to stop the camp chores and hurry about to shore to grab the line and (ideally) evening meal!

lit bell fish bite alarm on silver backgroundYYGIFT LED Twin Bells Fish Chunk Alarm with Lights & Clip

Taking the regular bell alarm a move further, the chunk alarms from YYGIFT are a combination of bells and an LED light-weight hooked up to the plastic for effortless recognizing and identification in the dusk or at evening. This surely helps make night fishing much easier right after location up your rod and moving about the shore or your campsite though ready for that exclusive ringing bell to enable you know supper may well be on the other conclude of the line!

Every alarm has twin bells, a plastic clip, and a little LED bulb connected to the plastic clip. They are very uncomplicated to use and very effective. When fish strike the hook, or even just suck it up and test to go away, you are going to know! The lights make it quick to come across, and indicates night time time does not have to shut down your fishing endeavours.

When these are really common fish bite alarms between the ones offered on Amazon, there are some likely downsides. The lights are just for viewing – they really don’t give any indication of when a bite takes place and the moment the lights convert on, they are on until eventually the juice runs out of button batteries. These are cheap and effortless to change so you can continue to keep making use of the same kinds as extended as you have a couple extra button batteries to change out any that are burned out.

The just one other criticism: some anglers have argued that their clips just weren’t that superior and while the lights had been exceptional, they experienced to rig up their possess clips to make them far more dependable. Not everyone had this expertise but it came up adequate that we need to be equipped to mention it for you to make a professional buying final decision.

full four fish bite kit alarm systemsLixada Wi-fi Fishing Bite Alarms

Lixada delivers a superior stop wireless fishing bite alarm that enables you to set up 4 rods that all feed into one receiver so you can know when and exactly where the chunk is and run in excess of to just take treatment of landing dinner. This is a high finish kit that is for the anglers that comprehend how technological innovation can be employed to strengthen the out of doors expertise – and this surely goes a several measures over and above the straightforward clip and bell set up.

While marketed as a carp fishing alarm, this kit operates for any condition in which you have to have to set up rods, be alerted when something’s heading on, but allowed to change your consideration somewhere else regardless of whether reading through a e book, placing up camp, or making the most of some beers with the mates.

The transmission array of these alarms is up to 120 meters (roughly 360 ft) and the illuminated swinger lights make it straightforward to spot the rod that is finding the action and make your way down to them. The lights can occur in four diverse colours relying on choice and what you uncover easiest to see. The colors are blue, eco-friendly, crimson, or yellow – so you can make them definitely adhere out.

When most anglers are very content with this fish alarm, and see it as the up coming degree when it will come to acquiring an perfect fish chunk alarm, and it’s regularly carried out at a significant stage generally more than enough to make our checklist of the top rated undertaking fish alarms. It would not be a surprise to see this one retain going up in the foreseeable future.

LED bite alarm on fishing rodLED Fishing Alarm for Coarse Fishing

A stable fishing alarm that can be bought solo or in groupings of a few and five, these are audio and visible alarms that are made to get your notice when that fish strikes the bait.

When they may appear a touch bulky at first, these are incredibly gentle fat, does not damage the fishing line at all, and can be employed with several sorts of fishing line without having difficulty.

The batteries are extended lasting and the notify gentle is a vibrant LED blue, producing it effortless to location even following dusk. Lots of anglers have employed this certain alarm and raved about its efficiency and straightforward of use, not to mention that the batteries these products use are fantastic to final for up to two decades.

Though there are lots of very good testimonials of these fish alarms, it is value noting that there are a few the latest experiences that indicate these are a bit much too delicate and in really blustery places can occasionally be established off by the wind. This is unquestionably a little something to hold an eye on as that would be a serious defect, specifically if you fish in windy places or run into a specially windy working day.

single fish buzzer bite alarmBooms Digital Fish Chunk Alarm

Booms Digital alarms are a siren and buzzer set up of a fish bite alarm that will get loads of focus once the fish requires the bait. The alarm waits for that apparent change in pressure in the line, permitting it know it is time to make sound. There is a black quantity knob that enables you to alter the siren as necessary for right alertness without the need of staying also noisy or loud for any one else who may possibly be all-around.

These alarms have a little bit of a standing for getting sensitive, which is very good most of the time but can be an concern with powerful currents or really strong swirling winds. This is the major knock from this unique brand name, while the the vast majority of critiques have been really constructive general.

Made from Abdominal muscles plastic and driven by 3 alkaline batteries (LR 44 mobile batteries), and the rubber clip secures the buzzer to the fishing line with out carrying out any hurt.

These are rather extensively used and even though getting an overall pretty constructive score from several joyful anglers, it is worth noting the damaging occasions to get a well balanced comprehending of the potential professionals and cons of this certain device.

three fish alarms with 10 batteriesCoolnice Fishing Chunk Alarm Reviewed

This digital fish bite alarm is developed to be easy to clip on to the line, powerful in informing you whenever a hit takes place, and the blend of a solid but easy style and design helps make this design specially successful. The fishing line won’t be ruined, and the moment it goes off you will be able to unclip it and get started reeling the fish in!

Whilst this chunk alarm has been talked about most from avid carpers, the reality is that they are a excellent match for anyone who requires a excellent alarm although location up multiple strains and requires a lot more than a small bell to allow them know it is time to spring into action. The siren produces a loud chirping that is unattainable to ignore.

Each one particular is run by 3 small button batteries (LR44/AG13), and when the pack will come with 10 replacement batteries as a bonus backup, early studies from skilled anglers have been strongly beneficial. These alarms get the job done nicely, give off very couple of untrue positives, and the battery life would seem incredibly long, building people reward batteries an even better total deal.

What to Seem for in a Fishing Alarm

There are quite a few distinctive forms of fishing alarms out there and you surely want to do your research to make confident you get 1 that fulfills your certain requires. Though a lot of of us grew up with bells hooked to the line, it isn’t difficult to figure out the apparent concerns that appear with this sort of set up. Heaps of swirling wind and you’ll be hearing it ring all working day. There is also hoping to place your rod at night if you had to set up by shore and just take a bit for a longer period to get back again than you would have envisioned.

A lot of of us enjoy a slightly more modern day fishing bite alarm, one with some LED blinking lights that can cut by way of the darkness. This is doubly useful when there are clouds at evening or no moon, or you established rods on a river financial institution among the the trees.

Not a great deal of all-natural gentle in that certain circumstance.

Believe about what is most essential to you in a fish bite alarm, talk to other anglers you have confidence in what they use and make an knowledgeable decision based on your exploration and budget.

For more direction you can re-read through our evaluations from before in this short article or browse on to the FAQ lesson to master additional!

Fishing Alarms FAQ

Q: Just what is a fishing chunk alarm?

A: An alarm connected to the line just after the bobber and bait has been solid (or in some circumstances just the bait), so when a fish bites the hook the alarm goes off, allowing the angler know it is time to grab the rod and established the hook.

Q: Are not these just for carp or catfish?

A: Though fish bite alarms are most well known for carp fishing since of the way bait is set, the line is cast, and then remaining for very long periods of time right until a bite takes spot, fish alarms are good for any established it and hold out for a strike sort set up. When catfish and carp tend to the most prevalent species for this design of fishing, it is effective for any “set it and forget it” model of angling.

Q: The place are the (organization title here) bite alarms on this listing?

A: If you’ve employed another model and been satisfied with them, superb! There are frequently dozens upon dozens of seriously fantastic or reliable businesses out there developing fantastic out of doors solutions and I have absolutely experienced the practical experience in which a little something labored excellent for me…then located out I was the anomaly. Nevertheless, quite a few times when not on a checklist there are enough detrimental stories in comparison to other individuals in the specialized niche that we don’t experience suitable endorsing it.

Then once again at times we basically do not know about a new products or we just miss out on one – this does occur. If you have just one you have applied efficiently for a long time, really don’t experience like you have to alter. Always use what has worked for you!

Q: Which is improved: an LED electronic fish bite alarm or a traditional bell and bulb?

A: This is absolutely a preference matter, but there’s a explanation the obvious craze is relocating in the direction of digital alarms.

Q: What comes about when the battery wears out on digital fish alarms?

A: All of the ones on this record are made to be opened so the batteries can be replaced, extending the practical lifestyle of these important minimal parts of fishing equipment.

Q: Where’s the greatest area to obtain this?

A: If you have a dependable community outside retail store, primarily just one with loads of top notch alternatives, which is good and we’re always about supporting tiny companies, but frequently your greatest option is going to be to get as a result of Amazon.

Some Closing Thoughts…

There are a good deal of decisions out there when it will come to getting the suitable fishing alarm. They are normally an economical piece of equipment and while a lot more important for sure types of fishing than other folks, they are a pleasant little bit equipment to have primarily if you are searching to work many rods at as soon as to increase the space of room you are fishing on. These are superior for any year, any variety of fish you are going right after with non-lively fishing, and if you know any angler who loves carp fishing or placing traces for catfish, then these are doubly fantastic.

These are some of the very best fishing alarms at this time out there on the market place and you will undoubtedly be ready to uncover a person that fits you or the angler in your loved ones from this list!

Beginner’s Information to Fishing Alarms Movie

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10 Essential Skills for the Blue Ridge Backcountry

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You know how to pitch your tent in the dark and you can make a mean freeze-dried macaroni and cheese, but can you ford a raging river? Do you know where to find the most consistent source of food if you’re stuck in the woods without your pre-made meal? Can you build a tent from a garbage bag, navigate without a compass, or filter water…without a filter? Our top ten backpacking skills will keep you safe in just about any situation.

1. How to Hike… the Right Way

In recent years, masses of runners have come to realize that the padded shoes they’ve been wearing for decades have damaged the natural biomechanics of their running gait. Hikers are coming to the same realization about the boots and gear they wear.

“I hiked 6,000 miles in just a few years before [backpacking guru] Ray Jardine showed me I was walking wrong,” says Nate Olive, a former backpacking teacher at the University of Georgia who’s currently working as a personal backpacking consultant in Athens, Ga. “The shoes we wear, the gear, the high arch support; it all creates an unnatural posture and stride.”

Take Olive’s stride test: Start walking normally, then put your fingers in your ears. If you hear the thud of your steps, you’re walking wrong.

“That’s the sound of wasted energy traveling through your knees and feet into the ground,” Olive says. “Add that up over a thousand miles, and you’re burning extra calories and creating extra impact on your joints that could mean the difference between finishing a thru-hike and bailing early.”

Try taking off your shoes and walking barefoot. Notice that the impact is closer to the front of your foot. This is the stride you want to mimic with boots and pack on. Concentrate on landing on your forefoot, where the impact will be consumed by your body’s natural shock absorbers, as opposed to the typical heel strike, which causes the impact to travel up through your joints.

How to Predict the Weather2. How to Predict the Weather

Thunderstorms are a fixture in the Southern Appalachians, moving in quickly to surprise backpackers stuck in the wilderness without the convenience of live Doppler radar. Learn how to read the clouds while you’re backpacking, and you’ll know whether to head for cover or push on for extra miles.

Cirrus clouds:
Thin and wispy clouds forming at the highest altitudes. If they’re stagnant, they indicate good weather for the next 24 hours. If they’re moving quickly, a change in weather is coming within the next 24 hours.

Cirrostratus clouds: Thin clouds that blanket the sky at a high elevation. They’re so thin, they give the sun a halo effect. Usually, these clouds indicate a storm within 12 to 24 hours. If they thicken, expect rain sooner. If lower elevation clouds are also present, the chance of rain increases.

Altostratus clouds: Gray clouds that cover the sky. Expect continuous rain before the end of the day.

Altocumulus clouds: White, gray, and patchy clouds forming at middle elevations. If they build and thicken, it means an afternoon thunderstorm is likely.

Stratus clouds:
Low-lying clouds that cover the entire sky in a gray blanket. They carry a consistent drizzle, but usually no thunder or lightning.

Cumulonimbus clouds: Massive, low-lying thunderheads with a flat base and anvil top. At first, they may look like friendly cumulus clouds (white cottonballs) but watch for vertical growth. If these puffy clouds get taller and bigger, head for shelter.

3. How to Cross a Raging River

Sidebar
The key to crossing fast or deep water safely is patience.

“The smartest thing you can do is use a topo map to find the best place to cross a stream beforehand,” says Joe Moerschbacher, a professional adventure racer and guide who teaches a Southern Appalachian Mountaineering course in Western North Carolina. Look for a wider stretch of river—usually indicated by a thicker blue line on the map— that’s relatively straight. Avoid crossing the river in a deep bend because the inside of the bend will be calm and shallow while the outside will be deeper with faster water.

If you’re standing on the bank of a deep, fast river, walk upstream to a confluence where the volume of water will be divided between two branches. Use a stick to test the river’s depth, and never cross a fast-moving river that’s deep enough to get your torso wet.

Once you find a spot you feel is safe to cross, unbuckle the waist and sternum strap from your pack, so you can ditch it easily if you start swimming. Leave your boots on, but consider taking your socks off to keep them dry. Find a large, sturdy branch to give you a third point of balance, like a tripod. Face upstream, but keep your eyes on the bank you’re moving toward. Place the stick in the stream first, putting your weight on it, then bring your feet around one at a time. Move slowly, but consistently, never lingering in one spot for too long.

How to Read a Topo Map4. How to Read a Topo Map

Everything you need to know about the terrain you’re planning to hike is detailed in a standard topographical map. But few people understand how to read the details of those maps properly.

“If you really know how to read a topo map, it becomes 3-D,” says Ronny Angell, director of the Odyssey Adventure Racing Camp and instructor of the popular Land Navigation Clinic series in Roanoke, Va. “You begin to see the features that are outlined on paper, and vice versa. You can look at a ridgeline and convert it in your head to topo.”

Understanding the following basic principles of topos will let you know if you’re going to be hiking peaks, ridges, valleys, where the water is, where your steepest climbs will be. More importantly, understanding the topo will keep you from getting lost without ever having to use a compass.

“Everything is a reference,” Angell says. “If your projected route takes you on a ridge, and you’re dropping elevation in real life, you know something’s wrong. If the map says you’re supposed to cross creeks, but you don’t, you know something’s wrong.”

How to Make a Fire with Flint and Steel5. How to Make a Fire with Flint and Steel

Matches are great, but flint and steel are weatherproof. You can soak flint and steel in water for two weeks, and it will still spark. Being able to start a fire if you’re stuck in the woods in any condition is the one skill every hiker should know. A fire will dry wet clothes, hold off hypothermia, boil water (giardia is the gift that keeps on giving), signal for help, and lift your spirits. Striking steel against flint is arguably the most dependable way to start a fire in any weather conditions, even a downpour.

You’ll Need

Flint: Any piece of hard rock will do. Quartzite, common in the Southern Appalachians, works well.

Steel:
You can buy pre-made strikers in the form of carbon steel rings, or you can use an old carbon-steel pocket knife. Stainless steel won’t work because it’s too hard to flake.

Tinder: If you think ahead, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly are easy, lightweight fire starters. If you’re in the woods without cotton balls, shave dry bark from a birch tree with your knife, or find dried grasses or moss. Wood shavings from a downed tree work (the smaller the shavings, the better). If you have chapstick in your pack, use it to coat parts of your tinder for a hotter flame.

Make Fire
[1] Pull one soaked cotton ball apart and place it on the ground (clean your fingers of any petroleum jelly).

[2]
Hold the flint (rock) between your fingers with the sharpest edge facing out, above the cotton ball.

[3]
With the steel in your other hand, strike the flint at an angle, creating a slow, downward scrape. If you’re using a pocket knife, keep the blade closed and strike the flint with the dull end of the knife. The flint is stronger than the steel, shaving little pieces of metal from the striker, and creating sparks, which land on the cotton ball.

The cotton ball should ignite quickly, creating an open flame. Build your fire by stacking increasingly bigger pieces of tinder on the flame.

findwater6. How to Find Potable Water

Drink from a stream or lake in the Southern Appalachians and you’re risking a bout of giardia. If you have the ability to build a fire, boiling water is still the best purification method. If you can’t build a fire, you need to find a springhead, which are actually more common than you’d think.

“Springheads are everywhere,” says Richard Cleveland of the Earth School, a self-reliance school in western North Carolina. “You just have to keep your eyes open.”

The easiest way to find a spring head is to follow a creek upstream, looking for smaller branches feeding into the creek. Look for the smallest feeder branch, then follow that upstream. Eventually, you will come to its source, where the water emerges from the ground. This is the springhead. The cleanest springs will emerge from vertical ground, either a stone face or earth.

Dry creek beds also lead to springheads. Follow the dry creek bed as high up the mountain as you can, then dig two or three feet down with a knife or sharp rock until you reach water. Wait a few minutes for the hole to fill with water, and you should have water clean enough to drink.

7. How to Hike Blister-Free

You could get bitten by a rattler or fall off a cliff and break your pelvis while backpacking, but by far the most common injury is the blister. Nothing ruins an epic multi-day trip like these annoying, hot sores brought on by friction.

Prevent them: Start with moisture-wicking socks, which will help reduce friction caused by moisture and heat. Well-fitted boots (no movement in the heel) are also key. Pre-tape hot spots, using Moleskin or Micropore. Duct tape will work in a pinch, but it doesn’t breathe. Some adventure racers have even started lubing their feet up with Hydropel or Body Glide, which are gooey substances that eliminate friction between your foot and the sock.

Treat them: As soon as you feel a hot spot forming, treat the blister with Moleskin or tape. If it’s a full-blown blister, lance the pocket with a sterilized needle (using alcohol or fire) and apply pressure to remove the liquid. Keep the outer skin attached, apply antibiotic ointment, cover with a bandage and wrap it with medical tape (or duct tape if you don’t have medical tape).

8. How to Reduce Your Chance of Injury

Map
There are a million ways you can hurt yourself on a backpacking trip, but the contributing factor to most accidents are medical conditions that alter a hiker’s mental status, namely dehydration, malnutrition, exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia.

“When hikers are suffering from a condition like dehydration, they begin to make bad judgment calls and show poor coordination,” says Christopher Tate, head instructor at the Wilderness Safety Council in Alexandria, Va. “They show poor judgment about where to place their feet, and that results in a fall.”

Hypothermia is arguably the most dangerous of these afflictions, and often the easiest to overlook. If you’re soaking wet from a thunderstorm, even temperatures in the 60s can induce hypothermia. If your body temperature drops even two or three degrees, you’ll start having greater difficulty doing the simplest things and thinking rationally.

Diagnose it: It’s tough to self-diagnose hypothermia, but pay attention to your fine motor skills. Are you having trouble tying your shoes or working your backpack’s zippers? That’s a sign you’re becoming hypothermic.
Treat it: Building a fire is the fastest way to stay warm, but what should you do if you can’t get a blaze going?

“If you’re soaking wet, leave your clothes on, but stuff a layer of leaves between your clothes and your body,” says Richard Cleveland, director of the Earth School.  The leaves stuffed into your shirt and pants will create an insulating layer that separates your body from the wet clothing while bringing your temperature back to normal.”

How to Bear-Proof Your Campsite9. How to Bear-Proof Your Campsite

Bears are curious animals, and there’s no way to guarantee one won’t come strolling through your camp. But you can take smart measures to reduce the chance of a late-night ursine visit.

Divide your camp into four distinct areas: sleeping quarters, food storage, cooking area, washing area.

Set up your tent upwind, ideally 200 feet from the other three areas. The idea is to separate yourself from the odors that might attract a hungry bear. Never cook or wash your dishes where you sleep, and clean up immediately after cooking, burning food scraps and bagging any trash that can’t be burned. Also, wash your hands and face before you sleep to eliminate lingering food odors.

Most importantly, hang your food. Pack 60 feet of rope, a few carabiners, and two stuff sacks to make things easy. Black bears have been known to chew through rope to get at hanging bags, so the Forest Service recommends using the “counterbalance method” of bear bagging. Place all your food in one stuff sack, and your garbage in another, tying each bag to opposite ends of the rope. Make sure both bags weigh the same. Throw the trash bag over a sturdy branch so it hangs well off the ground. Use a long stick to push the food bag in the air, which will drop the trash bag closer to the ground, until both bags are at an equal height.

You want both of the bags to hang 12 feet off the ground, 10 feet away from the base of the tree, and 5 feet below the branch to ensure clearance from any stretching, climbing, or jumping bear.

10. How to navigate without a compass

You can use a watch face (one with hands) and the sun to establish basic directions. Hold the watch horizontally, and point the hour hand in the direction of the sun. Bisect the angle between the hour hand and noon and draw an imaginary line. That line is pointing due south. This is a rough method that will give you a general sense of north and south, but there’s a margin of error of up to 20 degrees. If daylight savings is in effect, subtract an hour from your current time.

FireLost and Found: What to Do When You’re Lost in the Woods

Most survival situations in the Southern Appalachians are less than 24 hours long, so you probably won’t need to know how to build an igloo or skin a moose for its pelt. Still, there are a few key skills that will keep you safe when you’re lost and help rescue workers find you if a search is necessary.

Surviving in the woods starts with being smart before you leave the house. First, leave a written account of your planned hike, including the trailhead where you’ll park, the trail you’ll hike, and when you expect to be back. Second, pack for trouble. There are three things you should have on you before you enter the wilderness, even if you’re only going for an hour-long day hike.

[1]  Fire starters (matches, tinder, flint + steel)
[2]  Two large trash bags
[3]  Bouillon cubes

These three lightweight items will allow you to build a shelter, start a fire, boil water, and eat dinner. If you do get lost and it’s getting dark, stop walking. “Build a camp with whatever you have and wait it out,” says Tim MacWelch, owner of Earth Connection School, a wilderness survival school. “The Southern Appalachians are fairly populated, so if you stay put long enough, you will likely get found.”

In addition, you’ll eventually need to consider how to get the four essentials to survival: water, food, heat, and shelter.

WATER

If you can’t find a springhead, you’ll need to boil water. First, build a bowl. Find a medium-sized log and burn out the center of it over a fire. After it’s charred, scrape away the layer of burned wood with your knife, shaping the center of the log into a bowl. Next, place several small rocks in your fire. While you’re waiting for the rocks to get hot, fill your log bowl with water from a creek. After the stones are hot, use two sticks like chopsticks to remove them from the fire and place them in the bowl of water. A few hot rocks should bring the water to a boil quickly. Let it boil for a few minutes, remove the rocks, and after the water cools, it should be safe to drink.

FOOD

Unless you’re proficient in identifying edible plants, it’s not recommended that you forage for food.

“There’s too much stuff out there that could hurt you,” says Reggie Bennett, a former Air Force survival instructor and owner of the Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia. “More importantly, you’re going to expend more calories looking for edible plants than you’ll get from those plants.”

Instead of plants, eat bugs.

“There’s more nutritional value in one ounce of termite than in one ounce of steak,” Bennett says.

Three Rules for Eating Bugs

[1]  Only eat bugs with six legs or fewer (no spiders or centipedes).
[2]  Eat the bugs that hide from you. Beetles, ants, termites, crickets, worms, and grubs in trees—they’re all safe to eat and they’ll give you plenty of caloric value.
[3]  Deadfall is your friend. Turn over a downed log and you’re likely to find a host of bugs that are safe to eat. You might even find a snake, which Bennett says tastes like chicken.

SHELTER

Your first order of business when lost isn’t building a fire, it’s building a shelter. “Most people don’t understand the priorities when they enter the wilderness. They might take food and water, but they don’t understand how important a shelter is,” says Bennett, adding that a proper shelter can keep you warm in the absence of a fire, while protecting you from the elements. “If you can get a shelter up, then start a fire, you’re going to get rescued.”

If you packed trash bags, follow these instructions for building a tube tent.

The Trash Bag Tube Tent

Contractor bags (55 gallon) work best, but household garbage bags work in a pinch.

[1]
Slice the bottom seam of each bag.

[2]
Run a stick (or string if you have it) long ways through both bags

[3]
Brace the stick between the low-hanging branches of two trees. You want the branches to be low enough to the ground so the bottom of the bag creates a flat surface on the ground.

The tube tent is open on both ends so you don’t suffocate, but surrounds you everywhere else, trapping your body heat and keeping the elements at bay. For extra insulation, stuff the tube with leaves.

If you’re stuck in the woods without a trash bag, build a debris hut. “This is the only natural shelter that will keep you warm without a fire,” says Richard Cleveland of the Earth School. “You’ll probably be uncomfortable, but you’ll make it to morning, and that’s what’s important.”

The Debris Hut

Find a sturdy ridge pole about 12 feet long. Latch one end to the side of a tree, or rest it between the fork of a low-hanging branch and the tree, or on a fallen tree or exposed small boulder. Taper the other end to the ground. Then place sticks on both sides of the pole, like ribs. Stuff the structure with leaves, packing each layer of leaves down as you fill. Then pack the outside with leaves, moss, bark—whatever you can find. When you’re finished, you should basically have a large, debris sleeping bag.

FIRE

If you’re not practiced in the art of building a friction fire (rubbing sticks together), forget trying to build one in the woods during a survival situation. Flint-and-steel-ignited fires are the most beginner-friendly survival fire you can build. Always carry a small pocketknife with you. You can find a rock to use as the flint, and tinder can be shaved from a tree, but you have to bring the steel with you in order to build a fire. •

2019 Ram 1500 For Truck Campers

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2019 Ram 1500 Truck Payload Torque Design

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announces a radical new 2019 Ram 1500 with new sheet metal, new interiors, more torque, more payload, more towing capacity, and a list of forward-thinking upgrades to make the competition sweat.  Ram’s half-ton just became a serious truck camper player.  Here we go…

2019 Ram 1500 Truck Payload Torque Design

The Detroit Auto Show kicked off this week and oh baby is there a lot of truck news.  Ford has finally launched the 2019 Ford Ranger.  Chevrolet has debuted the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.  And Ram has produced an all-new new half-ton.

On top of all this, last week Ford announced their new diesel half-ton and Fiat Chrysler reported that it’s moving Ram HD truck production from Mexico back to the United States.  It’s a big truck news moment folks; right here and now.

The torrent of truck news from Detroit nearly had me driving our rig to BLM beyond the reaches of cell towers and civilization.  In the midst of my flight prep, I decided to take on these announcements one at a time.  We are going to tackle each of these new trucks individually and analyze their implications for the truck camper marketplace.  After all, a truck is only as good as its capability to properly carry a truck camper, right?

First Up: 2019 Ram 1500

Where last week’s 2018 Ford 1500 diesel was essentially a newly tuned Lion turbo-diesel in the 2018 Ford F-150, the 2019 Ram 1500 is truly an all-new truck.

2019 Ram 1500 Half Ton Truck

Ram’s exterior sheet metal is new.  Ram’s interior design is new. Ram’s frame is new. Ram’s suspension is new.  Ram’s mild-hybrid system and transmission are new.

What follows is a breakdown of these elements, and their implications for truck campers.  Let’s do this.

The various incarnations of the 2019 Ram 1500 feature all-new body panels, hoods, grills, headlight and taillight designs, and no less than 16 wheel choices.  Since the appeal of the exterior design is purely subjective, we’ll let Ram’s photography speak for itself.

The interiors are also completely new and offer additional space from longer wheelbases.  Among the changes, Ram developed a new gauge cluster and integrated several new and improved interior storage opportunities including a new center console.

The rear seating area features larger bins (under the floor storage areas), an optional flat fold floor, rear seat center console, and reclining rear seats.  Again, we’ll let Ram’s photography do the talking.

12-inch Uconnect touchscreen multimedia system

Perhaps the most visually grabbing element in Ram’s photography is the optional 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen multimedia system (see above).

Bird's Eye Camera system in Ram 1500 truck

This enormous screen not only controls the radio and climate controls (see above), but also displays navigation and real-time weather.  Ram is also offering 5-inch and 8.4 inch Uconnect systems with manual controls for climate control.

An optional camera system provides a birds-eye surround-view of the truck.  Whether this system could be useful while loading and unloading a truck camper remains to be seen.

2019 Ram 1500 – Forward Collision Warning-Plus

Above: 2019 Ram 1500, Forward Collision Warning-Plus

For anyone who is concerned about self-driving trucks, stop reading here.  The 2019 Ram 1500 takes us right up to the precipice of self-driving with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with break assist, lane departure warning, parking assist, and blind spot sensors.

2019 Ram 1500 – ParkSense Feature

Above: 2019 Ram 1500, ParkSense feature

Pretty soon we’ll all be sitting in our truck as it drives us to Yellowstone.  Don’t laugh, it’s coming.

Ram 1500 has a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with eTorque

The base engine for the 2019 Ram 1500 is the 3.6-Liter V-6 Pentastar with 305-horsepower and 269-pounds-feet-torque.

2019 Ram 1500 With 3.6 Liter ETorque Powertrain

Above: 2019 Ram 1500 with 3.6 Liter eTorque Powertrain

The 3.6-Liter V-6 Pentastar is enhanced by an eTorque mild-hybrid system that (a) replaces the alternator with a motor generator, (b) supplies 48-volt current, and (c) charges a 300-watt hour lithium-ion battery.  The result of the eTorque mild-hybrid is an additional 90 pound-feet of crankshaft turning torque.

Ram 1500 Hemi 5.7-liter V-8 engine with eTorque

The 2019 Ram 1500 is also available with a 5.7L Hemi V-8.  The eTorque mild-hybrid is optional for the 5.7L Hemi and adds 139 pounds-feet torque.

2019 Ram 1500 – 5.7-liter HEMI® eTorque

As you digest the idea of a mild-hybrid truck without an alternator, consider the advantages of this technology; improved fuel economy and improved torque.  Wait, that sounds like two of the hallmark advantages of diesel engines.  If mild-hybrids become a trend for gas trucks (which certainly makes sense), the gas versus diesel debate could get even more interesting.

Further enhancing the fuel efficiency and torque of the eTorque system is a new TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission, switch defeat-able start-stop technology, and brake energy regeneration.  And Ram didn’t stop there.

2019 Ram 1500 – High-Strength-Steel Frame and Materials

The 2019 Ram 1500 features a new fully-boxed ladder frame that’s both stiffer and lighter than its predecessor.  In fact, through the use of both high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel, Ram was able to reduce the weight of the Ram 1500’s frame by 90 pounds.

2019 Ram 1500 Air Suspension

Ram further light-weighted their new 1500 by using composites and aluminum in the front suspension.  They also updated their axles to include three ratios; 3.21:1, 3:55:1, and 3.92:1.  These are exactly the kind of changes that result in increased payload capacity for a truck camper rig.

Speaking of payload, the maximum payload possible for the 2019 Ram 1500 appears to be 2,320 pounds.  To achieve this payload, you’ll need to select a Quad Cab, 4×2, 3.6-Liter V-6 with 3.55:1 axle ratio, and 7,100 pound GVWR.

Ram 1500 Limited Truck

That’s a very respectful payload number for pop-up and ultra light weight hard side truck campers, but falls short of the 2,870 pounds of payload available from a 2018 Ford F-150, Super Crew, 4×4, 156.8-inch wheelbase with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6.  When it comes to half-ton payload possibilities, the Ford F-150 is still best in class.

Just don’t expect these kinds of payload numbers from Ram or Ford (or any half-ton for that matter) without special ordering a truck.  Looking through Ram’s preliminary data, most of their 2019 Ram 1500 trucks will offer 1,700 to 1,900 pounds of payload capacity.

In reality we expect the 2019 Ram 1500 trucks on dealer lots to be closer to 1,500 pounds due to dealer ordered features and options.  Dealers always order profitable and heavy features and options, not for payload capacity.

Truck Camper Red Flags: Fit Compatibility Concerns

Ram 1500 Mopar Spray In Bedliner

Information on the 2019 Ram 1500 bed dimensions is still a bit fuzzy, but Ram is reporting the width of the 2019 model as 1/2-inch wider, the bed as 1.5 inches taller, and the wheelbase as up to 4-inches longer depending on configuration.  All of this raises a possible red flag for fit compatibility with current truck campers.

Ram 1500 Limited Tailgate

Above: Note the “smile” shape of the rear bumper

Furthermore, studying the exterior photography reveals a smile-shape to the rear bumper.  The Ram’s smile-shape bumper design is reminiscent of the smile-shape bumper on the 2017 Ford SuperDuty series that gave many truck camper manufacturers fits as it conflicted with their rear design and overhang.

For the 2017 Ford SuperDuty, this has been resolved with various risers and a number of redesigns.  Whether the same conflict and solutions will be applicable to the 2019 Ram 1500 remains to be seen.

Wrap Up: Ram On The Warpath

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel And Ram 1500 Limited

Above: The Ram 1500 Rebel (left) and the Ram 1500 Limited (right)

There’s actually more to the 2019 Ram 1500 than I have covered including new Bilstein shock absorbers, a thermal heated real axle system, optional electronic tailgate with key fob, and an optional rear locking differential for the 4×4 Off-Road Package and Rebel.  It’s truly incredible how much cake Ram just brought to the half-ton party.

I would love to be a fly on the wall at Ford, GM, and Toyota right now.  Ram hasn’t surpassed their competitors on all fronts, but they’ve certainly given them all a lot to sweat over.  If Ram’s forward-thinking truck delivers on its promise of improved fuel economy, torque, payload, and towing capacity, it’s a shoe-in to win valuable marketshare.

The automotive media is scheduled to put this truck through its paces in the coming weeks and the EPA fuel economy test results will be released closer to the retail debut date.

2019 Ram 1500 Limited

For the truck camper marketplace, the Ram 1500 just became a lot more relevant.  With a maximum possible payload of 2,320 pounds, the 2019 Ram 1500 can be considered a viable candidate for many pop-up truck campers, and a smattering of hard sides.

The new Ram is not truly competitive with the 2,870 pounds of payload possible on a 3.5L EcoBoost Ford-F150, but not everyone needs that much payload, or wants a Ford.  The 2019 Ram 1500 is likely to cost less than the Ford, but pricing information has not yet been announced.

I am concerned about the fit compatibility of the new Ram 1500 with its wider, taller, and longer bed dimensions and the smile-shaped bumper.  This will need to be studied by the truck camper industry as more details emerge, and the trucks begin arriving on dealer lots.

I would caution anyone from purchasing this truck for a truck camper rig until this information is known and any fit compatibility issues are found and resolved.

Ram 1500 Truck For Camper

Finally, with so many new design and technology elements going into the 2019 Ram 1500, it would be wise to wait for any possible production kinks to be worked out.  Ram has probably tested every aspect of this truck, but there’s no test like thousands of customers using the product in the real world.  Let others be the test pilots.

Truck Camper Information



The Best Garmin Watches to Buy in 2018

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The Best Garmin Watches to Buy in 2018

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235

Buying a new sports watch is never easy because there are so many things to take into consideration, such as features, battery life, durability, price etc. Furthermore, sports watches are also relatively expensive and therefore it’s important that you buy a high-quality watch which satisfies your needs. If you have decided to buy one of the Garmin watches, you are on the right way. Garmin makes top-notch sports watches which offer many useful features and provide good durability. Garmin sports watches are, due to their features and quality, indeed a step ahead of the competition (at the time of posting).

However, Finnish Suunto is making great progress catching up and if you feel that Garmin doesn’t have the right product for your needs, there is a good chance that you will find a better match among Suunto watches. In the following we selected and reviewed the five best Garmin watches in 2018. To suit everyone’s needs we included watches in the price range of $100 to $800 which are suitable for various sports such as running, hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, biking, swimming and gym training.

1. Buying a Garmin Watch – What is important?

Features should match your activities:

You should buy a watch with features matching the activities you do. For example, if you are a runner, you should buy one of Garmin’s running watches (with GPS) while a less expensive watch without GPS will be adequate if you only do gym training. If you do more than one sport, you should go for one of Garmin’s multisport watches which can track and record multiple activities (running, swimming, biking etc.).

Most common features:

GPS:

If you often do outdoor sports and activities, it is worth purchasing a GPS watch to track and record your activities via the GPS. Hereby you can easily analyze your workouts in the Garmin Connect app (available as web app and mobile app) and see detailed information about each workout. The Garmin Connect app also shows you how fit you are and if your fitness level is improving or deteriorating. Many GPS watches can also help you with navigation which comes in handy for hiking and backpacking. Check out our article What are GPS tracks to learn more about navigation with a watch.

Heart Rate Monitor:

A heart rate monitor allows you to measure the intensity of your exercise and is thus an essential feature when it comes to sports watches. Some Garmin watches are equipped with Elevate wrist heart rate monitors while others require a chest strap transmitter. Watches with wrist heart rate monitors are much better because they don’t require a chest strap which is often uncomfortable and annoying to wear. Instead, they simply measure your heart rate with an optical sensor which is located beneath the watch. The latest developments in optical heart rate monitors have made them as accurate as the chest strap transmitters. However, watches with wrist-based heart rate monitors are in general more expensive.

Support for External Speed and Cadence Sensors:

If you are into running or biking, it is a good idea to buy a Garmin watch that supports external sensors. For example, some Garmin watches support the Vector Power Meter which is very useful for biking; it measures total power, left/right balance, cadence and cycling dynamics. For runners, Garmin offers the Running Dynamics Pod which measures cadence, ground contact time, balance, stride length and more. These sensors connect to the watch wirelessly (via Bluetooth or ANT+).

ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass)

Some Garmin watches are equipped with barometric altimeter, barometer and compass (the so-called ABC) which are very useful for navigation and weather prediction. The barometric altimeter, barometer and compass work even when the watch doesn’t have GPS signal (for example in narrow valleys) and therefore watches with ABC are great for backpackers, hikers, mountaineers and other outdoorsmen.

Price:

Garmin watches are not inexpensive, but we believe that purchasing one of the Garmin watches is ultimately a good investment due to their quality, performance and long lifespan. If you don’t have the biggest budget, you might have to drop some advanced features such as wrist-based heart rate monitor, support for external sensors and a Sapphire lens but for most people these features are not a must.

Release Date:

As watches are becoming more like smartphones and computers, they require regular updates, so the manufacturers can fix bugs and ensure support for software (like the Garmin Connect). Therefore, it’s not recommended to buy a very old watch as it might soon not be supported anymore.

2. The Best Garmin Watches Review

Best Garmin Watches to Buy

Best Garmin Watches to Buy

The Best Garmin Watches – List

  1. Garmin Forerunner 235
  2. Garmin Fenix 5
  3. Garmin Forerunner 25
  4. Garmin Vívoactive 3
  5. Garmin Vívosmart 3

Comparison

Feature/Product Garmin Forerunner 235 Garmin Fenix 5 Garmin Forerunner 25 Garmin Vívoactive 3 Garmin Vívosmart 3
Best for Running Multisport Running Multisport Gym Training
Weight 0.8 oz. 3.03 oz. 1.4 oz. 1.5 oz. (L) 0.8 oz. (L)
Weight (Metric) 24 g 85 g 39 g (L) 43 g (L) 22 g (L)
Case Size 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.5 in. 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6 in. 1.6 x 1.9 x 0.6 in 1.7 x 1.97 x 0.6 in (L) 0.7 x 0.4 x 8.5 in (L)
Case Size (Metric) 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.2 cm 4.7 x 4.7 x 1.6 cm 4.0 x 4.7 x 1.4 cm (L) 4.3 x 4.3 x 1.4 cm (L) 1.9 x 1 x 22 cm (L)
GPS Yes + GLONASS Yes + GLONASS Yes Yes + GLONASS No
Heart Rate Monitor Yes (including wrist HR) Yes (including wrist HR) Yes (chest strap transmitter required) Yes (including wrist HR) Yes (including wrist HR)
Support for External Sensors Yes Yes Yes (only foot pod) Yes No
Display Type Full-color Full-color MIP Full-color OLED
Lens Material Mineral Crystal Sapphire Glass or Mineral Crystal Acrylic Mineral Crystal Mineral Crystal
Strap Material Silicone Silicone/Metal/Suede Silicone Silicone Silicone
Water Resistance 50 m 100 m 50 m 50 m Swim
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion Rechargeable lithium-ion Rechargeable lithium-ion Rechargeable lithium-ion Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery Life 9 days in time mode 4 weeks in time mode 10 weeks in time mode (L) 7 days in time mode 5 days
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone Notifications Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS Navigation Yes Yes No Yes No
GPS Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mobile App Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect)
Web App Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect) Yes (Garmin Connect)
Altimeter No Yes No Yes Yes
Barometer No Yes No Yes Yes
Thermometer No Yes No Yes No
Compass No Yes No Yes No
Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235

1. Garmin Forerunner 235

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Everyday use

 

The Garmin Forerunner 235 watch is extremely popular among runners because it is sleek, light and equipped with many advanced features for running. It has GPS and GLONASS, wrist-based heart rate monitor and supports external sensors such as the Garmin Foot Pod. The Forerunner 235 watch also offers good functionality for cycling and outdoor recreation – it supports bike cadence sensors and provides navigation along pre-planned routes. The watch even has a back-to-start feature, meaning that it guides you back to the starting point if you get lost. However, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is primarily designed for running, so if you are looking for a multisport watch or a watch for outdoor adventures (hiking, backpacking etc.) you will probably be better off with the Garmin Fenix 5 watch below. The Forerunner 235 watch is made of durable plastic and comes with a silicone strap to be as light as possible. It has a color display and runs for 11 hours in GPS mode without recharging. This watch is a great option for runners who need a watch with many useful features for a reasonable price.

 

Pros:

  • Wrist-based HR
  • GPS+GLONASS
  • Display
  • Price/Quality Ratio

Cons:

  • Lacks swimming mode
  • Lacks barometer

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Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 5

2. Garmin Fenix 5

Suitable for:

  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Everyday use

 

The Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the most popular watches from the iconic American manufacturer. It is a multisport watch and in comparison to the Forerunner 235 above, it is made of more durable materials and has more features – especially when it comes to outdoor recreation, swimming, golfing and cycling. However, the Fenix 5 is also almost twice as expensive as the Forerunner 235. It has all the features of the Forerunner 235 and is additionally equipped with barometric altimeter, barometer (for weather prediction), compass and thermometer. The Fenix 5 watch is available in three different sizes and with a Sapphire lens for better scratch resistance. The 5X version also supports topographic maps for simple navigation. The Fenix 5 watch is best for hikers, backpackers, mountaineers and those who are engaged in more than one sport. If you are looking specifically for watch for outdoor recreation also check out our review of the Best Hiking Watches.

 

Pros:

  • Display
  • Features
  • Wrist-based HR
  • GPS+GLONASS
  • Durability
  • Barometer

Cons:

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Garmin Forerunner 25

Garmin Forerunner 25

3. Garmin Forerunner 25

Suitable for:

 

The Garmin Forerunner 25 is a budget GPS watch which is perfect for those who need something like the Forerunner 235 but don’t really have the budget to purchase it. In comparison to the 235, the Garmin Forerunner 25 doesn’t support GLONASS  or wrist-based heart rate monitor. It also doesn’t have the cycling or outdoor recreation functionality (support for cadence sensors, back to start navigation etc.). However, the Forerunner 25 costs only about a third of the Forerunner 235 and offers quite a lot for the money. It is equipped with Bluetooth and thus your workouts wirelessly sync with the Garmin Connect app. Furthermore, the Garmin Forerunner 25 also shows notifications from the phone and all sorts of data from your runs. As the watch doesn’t have wrist-based heart rate monitor, the chest strap transmitter has to be purchased separately. All in all, the Garmin Forerunner 25 is a great budget GPS watch for running.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Bluetooth
  • Durability

Cons:

  • Only functionality for running

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Garmin Vívoactive 3

Garmin Vívoactive 3

4. Garmin Vívoactive 3

Suitable for:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Everyday use

 

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is a great option for those who want a watch similar to the Garmin Fenix 5 but for a lower price. Vivoactive 3 is almost half the price of Fenix 5, but has comparable features. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch is equipped with wrist-based HR and supports GPS as well as GLONASS. The watch also has barometric altimeter, compass and thermometer. However, in comparison to the Garmin Fenix 5, it is made of less durable materials (also not available with Sapphire lens) and lacks some advanced features. The Vivoactive 3 watch also has a touchscreen which might be hard to use with sweaty hands or while wearing gloves. Apart from that, it is a great multisport watch which offers a lot for the price.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Features
  • Wrist-based HR
  • GPS+GLONASS
  • Barometer

Cons:

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Garmin Vívosmart 3

Garmin Vívosmart 3

5. Garmin Vívosmart 3

Suitable for:

  • Activity tracker
  • Gym training

 

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is an activity tracker, meaning that it monitors your fitness and stress level throughout the day. However, it is also very useful for gym training as it monitors your heart rate (wrist-based HR) and has many gym-specific features. As it doesn’t have GPS, the Vivosmart is obviously not designed for outdoor sports. Nevertheless, if you need an inexpensive activity tracker, look no further. The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is equipped with barometric altimeter, accelerometer, light sensor and Bluetooth. Bluetooth allows you to pair the device with a Smartphone and sync it with the Garmin Connect app as well as receive notifications from your Smartphone directly to the watch. The Garmin Vivosmart 3 is a great option for those who want a light, sleek and powerful activity tracker for everyday use.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Wrist-based HR
  • Barometer
  • Monitors stress level

Cons:

  • Only good for indoor sports

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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What We Can Expect from the 2018 Flu Season & the Best Ways We Ca…

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What We Can Expect from the 2018 Flu Season & the Best Ways We Ca...

Every year there are predictions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the severity or the mildness of worldwide influenza.

This year is no different. From many reliable sources comes this prediction: “It’s going to be BAD.” This assessment is due to the severity of the Australian influenza during their recent winter season. An unusually severe season has already racked up record numbers in Australia, and – with the virus making its way into the Northern Hemisphere – experts warn that the United States should expect the same.

girl sick flu blowing nose

Over the past several years the number of affected individuals has risen in Australia from 59,000 in 2009 to a whopping 215,000 this year (2017). The problem this year, according to the CDC, is that this flu shot is only effective 10% of the time! The makers of the flu shot guessed wrong this year.

Consumers who have long questioned whether the benefits outweigh the risks of getting the flu vaccine had those concerns validated recently when the Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that this year’s flu vaccine (2017-2018) may offer little defense against the strain that is now most active across the U.S. However they still recommended that everyone be vaccinated because the strain is very bad. (?)

Since we are now in the peak flu season in the United States, December through February, let’s look at ways to reduce the chances of contracting the flu.

  • Consider not getting the flu vaccine. This may seem counter-intuitive at first; after all, the flu shot should protect us from the flu, right? At best, the flu shot is a “shot in the dark”. A new flu vaccine recipe is made every year. But, the scientists and companies that make it have to guess which strain of influenza will be going around that year and they make that year’s vaccine based on their best guesses.

Because it can take many months to develop a flu vaccine, discovering what strains will be most active during the next flu season becomes a giant guessing game – and is not good science. The decision of what strain to include is made six months before the flu season and in that time the strains often mutate.

vaccine vaccination needle army flu

So choosing the strains that will work is an iffy proposition at best. When people get the flu shot they often assume that they are “covered”. Even in the best guess vaccine scenario, the efficacy rate tops out at about 50 to 60 %. When the assumption of full coverage is made people often don’t take the real precautions that could be of the most benefit against the flu and colds.

  • During years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating influenza viruses, it is possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be seen as in this 2017-2018 season. During years when there is a good match between the flu vaccine and circulating viruses, it is possible to measure benefits from flu vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness.

However, even during years when the flu vaccine match is good, the benefits of flu vaccination will vary, depending on various factors like the characteristics of the person being vaccinated, what influenza viruses are circulating that season and even, potentially, which flu vaccine was used.

We see signs in every pharmacy, doctor’s office and on billboards; “the flu shot is available now, get yours today”. This year when the director of the CDC has stated that it is of little worth, why is the vaccination still encouraged at every turn?

Read on and you can see that there are warnings from many well respected medical sources. I have just included a sampling here.

  • Research in the Journal of Virology found that the seasonal influenza vaccine can weaken a child’s immune system and increase their chances of catching influenza viruses not included in the vaccine!
  • A study published in Science Translational Medicine found a surprising complication of the vaccine design. It was found to increase the risk of contracting the influenza – after vaccination!
  • The Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine has reported that giving young children flu shots appeared to have no impact on flu-related doctor visits or hospitalizations during the two recent flu seasons.
  • Researchers at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), a branch of the FDA, set out to understand why people vaccinated for the 2009 flu season were more inclined to catch the H1N1 strain of the flu.
  • A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that the flu vaccine was no more effective for children than a placebo.
  • And research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine similarly reports that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.
  • The nasal vaccine, FluMist2, has not worked in recent years, the panel was told by scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The expert panel reviewed numerous studies that found no evidence the vaccine protected people who had the FluMist puffed up their nostrils over the past three flu seasons.

Also, there are controversial additives that have been used for years in seasonal flu shots. The most well-known is thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that has been associated with brain and immune system dysfunction. The majority of flu shots each contain 25 mcg of this neurotoxin IF it is from a multidose vial.

influenza needle shot

So, if for some reason, you decide to get the flu shot, make sure it is from a single dose vial. These do not have the dangerous mercury preservative added. However, as we have learned, neither are they very effective against the flu this year (2018) as per the CDC director’s recent public announcement. Be aware that your doctor may still urge your compliance.

I mention all of these published warning bulletins and scientific studies because the public should be aware of all significant flu vaccine information that is available each year. Sometimes the opposing opinion and facts don’t receive equal coverage, making it difficult for consumers and even medical professionals to make medically informed decisions.

More Natural Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Build your immune system by:

Frank Lipman, MD, an integrative and functional medicine physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, has this to say about immunity:. “A strong immune system relies heavily on having a healthy, well-functioning gut – as 70 percent of your immune system is in the gut — and probiotics help keep your gut engine humming.”

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help reduce inflammation and prevent infection; they may also reduce the severity of a cold or flu”. Here are a few suggestions…..choose your favorites or try something new.

raw milk yogurt
Raw milk yogurt made in my dehydrator overnight!

It is so very easy to make and keep on hand. We eat this with fruit daily or make yogurt fruit and green veggie smoothies for lunch.

Homemade Raw Milk Yogurt with Raspberries

A great tasting probiotic! 

Try mixing in some pomegranate seeds and juice which are high in antioxidants.

So have some good plain probiotic yogurt every day. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe ½ cup. Or eat something naturally fermented like kimchi or fermented sauerkraut or take a good pre-probiotic capsule daily. Keep those in your refrigerator.

If you have not tried kefir check out the organic refrigerated section of your local grocery. It comes in several flavors like blueberry, strawberry, lemon or plain. It is as delicious as it is good for your gut. It comes in quart size and you only need take a couple of ounces twice a day. Kefir and yogurt are probiotic dense foods and it’s simple to take some daily.

It’s wise to keep your fridge stocked, especially in the winter season or if you have taken a round of antibiotics and need to aggressively replace the good flora back into your gut. If you are lactose intolerant then you might want to opt for the probiotic capsule.

fruits apples oranges mango platter banana
There are 6 varieties of fruit on this platter. Unless there is an underlying medical reason to limit fruit intake, it is recommended to eat five fruits a day!

Don’t forget your colorful fruits and vegetables. You remember the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” there is wisdom in those words! Add a little almond butter and it becomes a fine dessert.

The anti-inflammatory properties in nutrient-dense foods, like dark leafy greens, berries, salmon, and sweet potatoes, help build up your immune defenses. But you should avoid sugar, most grains, and all processed foods — all of which dramatically decrease immune function and weaken your gut over time.

Winter Vegetables
Winter Vegetables

Have 5 servings a day. A great warming way to do this is homemade veggie soup, made with healing bone broth of course!

bone broth
Bone Broth

One of my favorite superfoods is bone broth. I use it as a base for soups and stews for additional nutrition and immune support.

We keep a dozen or more quarts on hand at all times. Sipping a warm mug of this homemade goodness is almost an instant reviver if you drink it at the first hint of flu or a cold. See BDS article on making real homemade chicken stock or bone broth. 

Chicken Vegetable Soup
Chicken Vegetable Soup

This one is made with nutrient-packed, immune-building, homemade bone broth, chicken, celery, red pepper, spinach, arugula, kale, onion, garlic and cauliflower.

Add the Mighty Mineral Zinc to Your ‘Stay Well Regimen

Here is a list of some of the top foods containing the mineral Zinc. Since zinc has wonderful immune boosting properties let’s take a minute to go over a short list of foods containing higher amounts of this powerful mineral.

  1. Number one is lamb weighing in at 45% DV
  2. Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil at 40% DV
  3. Grass fed beef, 30 DV
  4. Chickpeas, 17% DV
  5. Cocoa Powder, 13% DV
  6. Cashews, 11% DV
  7. Kefir or yogurt 11% DV

These foods have at least two positive effects against the flu. Probiotic to help repair the gut and boost immunity as well as having a substantial amount of usable zinc to boost immunity. In addition to supporting healthy digestion and boosting the immune system, they promote cardiovascular health and regulate your mood.

  1. Shiitake mushrooms 9% DV
  2. Spinach 9% DV

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. It contains special protective carotenoids that have been linked with decreasing the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and even cancer.

  1. Chicken 7% DV

As well as including some of these foods into your normal diet to increase natural sources of zinc, you can take 25 mg of zinc daily when you feel you are getting flu or cold symptoms.

Zinc helps in the wound healing process. Several years ago we had a patient at the hospital that was having a difficult time healing after abdominal surgery. I had just read about zinc’s link to wound healing and so suggested this to the doctor.

He agreed to try it and within a few days the wound began to close and the patient was sent home to finish her recovery. After that experience the doctor put all of his pre-surgical patients on zinc and they continued on that regimen until there was complete wound closure.

Take Immune Enhancing Vitamins

  • Vitamin C, of course, has been proven to be the top vitamin against colds and flu. The challenge is the recommended daily dose (RDA).

It is only 75 mg for females and 90 mg for males. This has been proven over and over again since the 1970’s to be a miniscule dose. It will prevent scurvy. That was the criteria for this low dosage. Dr. Linus Pauling, a two time Nobel Laureate, was a pioneer proving that high dose vitamin C was effective against many diseases.

orange juice

The topic of vitamin C is extensive and there is not room enough here to do it justice…so let’s just say for the purpose of this article….eat fruits and veggies daily especially oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, cantaloupe, kale and Brussel sprouts.

To build your immunity, before and during flu season, take 500 mg. of vitamin C at least twice a day. C is a water soluble vitamin. If your stomach is disturbed after taking this amount it is a good idea to take a buffered C product like Ester C, but it shouldn’t be a problem.

Most people, especially those living colder climates suffer from very low levels. Naturally vitamin D is absorbed through bare skin which is exposed to the sun. So the first approach is to get some sun…but today, where I live, it is 15°! Not an option for me today, thanks you!

So what to do? Have your levels of vitamin D3 (known as serum 1,25-dihyroxy D3) tested annually, even if you have to pay out of pocket (the test usually costs less than $100). Most insurance cover these checks once a year though.

If your score is lower than 50, you need to take at least 1,500 IUs twice daily. Depending on your test scores, your doctor may recommend as much as 5,000 or even 10,000 IUs daily. You want your D3 blood level to be generally between 75-90. Vitamin D3 supplements cost just pennies a day, so this won’t break the bank.

sun light clouds

Or you can judge your limited sun exposure and decide to take 1500+ IU’s of vitamin D3 twice daily throughout the fall and winter months when sun exposure might be limited. After 3-6 months on this regimen, return to your caregiver for a follow up D3 level to see if it is where you and your doctor want it to be. An added benefit to D3 is strengthened bones.

Sleeping 7 – 8 hours per Night

According to Dr. Pina LoGiudice Lac, N.D. Naturopathic Medicine, it has been shown that people who get 7 hours of sleep or more a night will improve their immune status 3 fold over those who get less.

A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine evaluated 153 people, and exposed them to a cold virus via nose drops. What was found was those who had less than 7 hours of sleep were three times as likely to catch the virus and get sick than those who had more than 8 hours of sleep. Other studies have also shown inadequate sleep lowers natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight cancer.

We all know we feel better when we get a solid night’s sleep. Our immunity is pumped up and we feel better. As a nation we are generally sleep deprived which creates our immune system weaknesses and makes us more open to contracting various form of illnesses, from a simple colds and flu to cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Exercise

Appropriate to your physical condition. At least 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes. I always chuckle at this because my daily tasks keep me active outside stacking wood, feeding the animals, raking leaves, shoveling snow and traipsing around the woods and fields as I forage year round.

running woman jogging long distance sun

I suspect that many readers get exercise just by their daily chores. But if not, then follow the regular exercise protocols with the approval of your healthcare professional and your common sense.

Keep Hydrated

As a general rule we are told to drink the number of ounces of half our body weight daily. If you weigh 100 pounds then drink 50 oz. per day. There are about 1.45 million hospital outpatient visits in the U.S. each year as a result of dehydration. Some people just don’t realize they can quickly become dehydrated from a cold or the flu. Staying hydrated is essential.

If you get the flu and can’t keep fluids down it is extremely important to watch for signs of dehydration. If possible drink more fluids. If you or a loved one is too ill to keep liquids down then head to your doctor right away. Once dehydration has progressed beyond a certain point it becomes more difficult to reverse the course.

water cup glass pour

Let me share a few early warning signs to look for in adults. (Babies have less tolerance for fluid loss and can do downhill very quickly…so talk you your pediatrician early)

  1. Brain fog and various symptoms such as fatigue, lack of sleep, feeling faint.
  2. Constipation
  3. Decreased urination~Regularly urinating (4 to 7 times per day) is also a result of drinking a healthy amount of water. Because your body will release toxins via urination, not urinating regularly may become a problem. If your urine is light or clear, it indicates that you have a well-hydrated body. But if it is amber or dark yellow, this will indicate signs of dehydration in your body.
  4. Muscle cramps and joint pain
  5. Accelerated heart rate. As you become dehydrated you can experience a decrease in plasma volume, which makes your blood thicker. This, in turn, affects to your blood circulation as well as increases the heart rate.
  6. Scaly Dry Lips and Skin.
  7. Weakness and Fatigue
  8. Dry Mouth and Bab Breath
  9. Lightheadedness
  10. Dizziness

Keeping Germs at Bay

1. Quarantine Yourself

If you or a loved one is immune compromised quarantine yourself as much as possible during the cold and flu season. Since my husband is severely immune compromised, we do a lot of keeping to ourselves when illnesses are rampant in the “outside world”. I can’t take the chance of bringing something home to him.

couple sitting apart from each other by river

If you feel you are coming down with the flu (chills, fever, body and joint aches, nausea, vomiting etc.) or other illness, then stay home from work. Rest and take care of yourself for a few days. You may choose to follow recommendations in this article and your own common sense. Your boss and coworkers will probably appreciate your consideration.

2. Keeping Clean at Home

  • Wash your hands well and often (see BDS article on hand washing.) https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/do-it-yourself-vaccine-to-halt-the-spread-of-germs/
  • Keep bed linens fresh.
  • Shower if you feel up to the task.
  • Change bedside drinking glasses or bottles often.
  • Don’t forget the household surfaces.

essential oils lavender

I enjoy using essential oils because they are safe, if used correctly, and they actually work. I make my own hand sanitizer by adding 5 or 6 drops of antiviral, antimicrobial oil to enough water to fill a 2 ounce spray bottle. In this case I used lavender and melaleuca oils.

There are other oils that have those same medicinal properties such as lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, clove, cinnamon, helichrysum and On Guard blend…and others. I carry this with me, shaking it well before using then spraying it on my hands or on the surface of a shopping cart or door handle.

It doesn’t dry and crack my hands like alcohol sanitizers can. The drying and chapping of hands makes transfer of viruses and bacteria easier.

cold medicine flu season cough syrup

Here are a few items we use to keep colds and flu at bay or to shorten the duration if it sneaks by our defenses. I’m sure you have others in your arsenal. Please share what works for you so we can all benefit.

The small blue dropper bottle on the left is a homemade oxymel. See more in the foraging article I wrote here on BDS. This recipe contains elderberries, mullein, anise hyssop, grated ginger root, mint and lemon balm. It is made with raw local honey. This makes an excellent cough syrup and is a lung strengthener.

If you don’t have the time to make your own cough/ immune support remedy, pictured below is one that doesn’t contain the usual harsh artificial ingredients that cause severe drowsiness or hyperactivity in children.

It doesn’t contain alcohol. Children as young as one year can take this supplement. Only 1/2 teaspoon is needed for ages 2-12 years. You can add the ½ teaspoon to a little water or juice and they can drink it down.

Elderberry Tincture
Elderberry Tincture

The next remedy in the photo is Elderberry Tincture. This is not for children since it is alcohol based. If you care to make your own you can refer to the BDS article –DIY Elderberry Tincture: A Labor of Love. 

Since this takes about 60 days to make, you may have to wait until early autumn to forage elderberries. Or you can purchase dried elderberries online now: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com. But, not to worry, this too can be purchased from health stores. I’d recommend Nature’s Way Original Sambucus.

It’s glycerin based so can be taken by children at the dose on the bottle. It isn’t as potent as the homemade version but it’s more accessible to most people. I’d still encourage folks to learn to make their own in order to be as independent in medical preparedness as possible.

elderberry original sambucus extract

The last item in the photo is Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. You have probably heard of the drink made from the apple cider vinegar (ACV), lemons, honey and water. It’s been around for a long time as a folk medicine remedy and has recently come back into favor as a detox, anti-belly fat beverage.

There are many more benefits that we may go over in a later article. There have been books written about and diets created around this drink. Some people now add cinnamon or turmeric to the mix. Our family has been using it since the 1970’s. Wow, on reflection that’s a long time!

Recipe:

  • 1 quart of water (32 oz.)
  • 4 Tbsp. Bragg – Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother, the chunks of stuff floating in the jar) Aldi’s also sells Organic ACV with the motherbragg apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice – from a bottle is fine.
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon- (optional)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4+ Tbsp. honey (raw honey if possible, according to taste)

Makes: 4-6 servings

Dissolve cinnamon, cayenne, honey, and lemon in hot water (stir well). (Don’t boil as this destroys the active cultures) Add apple cider vinegar to mixture. Consume right away for a hot tea, or cool and store in airtight jar for an iced detox beverage ready at any time.

The beverage will be rather concentrated, so drink small cups or mix in water if it is too strong for your liking. Will last for up to a week in the refrigerator. This is good for that afternoon pick – me – up.

ACV Immune System Boost – There are many factors at work in apple cider vinegar that may be responsible for the possible boost in immune system health. Filled with minerals and vitamins, apple cider vinegar helps provide vital nutrients that may be depleted in the body.

Wait, there’s more:

Three More Quick Tools in Our Get Well-Stay Well Arsenal

1. Essential Oil Diffusers

We have four diffusers around the house and use them day and night during the cold and flu season. In the bedrooms we use restful relaxing oils or possibly oils to assist respiratory function and open up a stuffy head cold or chest congestion.

essential oils in a box

During the day in other rooms, we purify the air with oils made specifically for that purpose or oils to lift the mood and energy on a dark winter day. My husband is especially fond of the respiratory blend. Often I make my own blends. We also use oils topically for many of the above benefits.

2. Castor Oil Packs

These can be particularly useful for chest congestion or muscle and joint aches. Check in BDS archives, Oct 16, 2017, “A Brief Tutorial on Using Castor Oil Packs”.

3. Herbal Teas

Now is the time to benefit from all that spring to fall foraging. The herbs and roots pictured above make teas that are valuable in warding off illness and adding favorable vitamins, minerals to boost immunity and just generally give a warming glow to those frigid winter days.

herbal teas stacked in jars

Taking a break to sip on these nourishing teas brings a relaxing feeling we all can enjoy. I wish that I could invite you over to share a cup!

Final Thoughts

Our health is the most precious thing we possess and we have so many good options and information at our fingertips to help us take responsibility for our own health and well-being. Breaking bad habits and creating healthy ones can be a challenge but no one else can do it for us.

We can improve our health on a daily basis if we choose. There is no magic pill, but if we do all we can to influence our state of wellness we are more likely to feel better and be more fully medically prepared and as independent as possible to help ourselves and others during any crisis situation when outside help is unavailable.

What small changes do you plan to make this year to help you feel your best?

Blessings and have a healthy New Year, Donna

How bad will flu season 2018 be? And how can we stay prepared? Find out in our guide with all the top recommendations on how to keep yourself and your family healthy this flu season!

How To Pack A Backpack For Climbing

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How To Pack A Backpack For Hiking

So, soon after wondering about it for a extensive time, you last but not least made a decision to just take the plunge and go hiking. Very good for you. I can assure you suitable in this article, proper now, you won’t regret it. Packing a backpack for climbing is all about becoming equipped to anticipate for the envisioned, but also, and specifically, for the unexpected. You must always consider it’s far better to have packed an merchandise and not needing it at all than to need an product and not having it with you. No question, how to pack a backpack is a premier concern to be answered.

How To Pack A Backpack For Hiking

 

You have a position in brain, you know exactly where you are going, you know who you’re going with, but how to pack a backpack for hiking? What are some of the issues you have to have in your backpack? You are going to go climbing, how to pack like a pro then? If you want some answers, just maintain looking through.

 

 

Initially factors 1st: Will you go hiking for just just one working day, a entire weekend or maybe a number of days? At the time you know this, you can pack up all the stuff you require to satisfy your real and probable requirements. Say, you will be going on a a single-working day hike. You will need to pack taking into consideration the following applications:

 

1.Stay away from Having Misplaced

 

You have to have to stay oriented. If you’re accomplishing this, you’re gonna do it right. You need to have an strategy where by you are AT ALL Occasions. To steer clear of getting missing, a map and compass will serve the function just great. Even when you are acquainted with the put you’re traveling to, or you’re going to an urban park, you really should be capable to locate the north and to discover your way by means of landmarks that you can quickly understand in a map. Of training course, your telephone and GPS are handy resources also, but almost nothing is a lot more trustworthy than a map and a compass. You are going to price this talent if you make your mind up using your mountaineering to the up coming level.

 

2. In Situation You Or Someone In Your Group Receives Wounded

 

You by no means know when a to start with-aid kit will arrive in useful. If you want it or not (let us hope not) throughout your hike, packing it with the relaxation of your gear proves currently being much better than not carrying one particular at all. If you’re on a budget, we really advocate you to test out this 1st-Help Package on Amazon. Not only, is it terrific value but it’ll help you notice what a very good First-Aid kit will have to have. Search for a difficult shell, waterproof situation package that does not weigh substantially nor normally takes tons of space in your pack. Previously mentioned all, glance for a package that has just as several materials or at the very least, the really crucial types: bandages, band-aids, antibiotic ointments, alcoholic beverages pads, gauze and a initially-help tutorial.

 

3. Wander Securely Through The Night

 

You have to have both a head lamp or a flashlight with its correspondent spare batteries. If you have been meant to have more than enough daylight through your stroll, but anything delayed you or you made the decision to cease and camp for the night, have faith in me on this a person, you want some more mild.

 

 

4. Sunshine Protection

 

A cap and a sun safety ointment will operate miracles to continue to keep you from receiving sunburned. Also, taking sunglasses with you is useful to avoid momentary blindness due to the sunlight itself or snow.

 

5. Reduce Hypothermia

 

The selection of apparel you consider with you in particular for insulation you want to carry together depends generally on the climate forecast (even when the forecast predicts gentle weather conditions, prepare yourself for the prospect that ailments will change colder, wetter and windier) and if you’re camping or not. When packing for a hike, stay clear of cotton for it will get soaked very easily and will not provide fantastic insulation look at layering your apparel. If you are going to be hiking outdoor the full day, you really should probably will need a sit pad and a jacket that won’t get soaked or cold, a good sweater, a woolen hat and a pair of gloves along just in situation you are out following sunset. If you are tenting, the above will provide you just appropriate.

 

6. Set Up a Fireplace

 

Beginning a fireplace may be something you’re not planning for, except you know for guaranteed you are camping. You may perhaps have to continue to be out a little more time for the reason that you are missing or wounded. You have two solutions: you could choose fireplace-beginning equipment with you or you could begin it from scratch you. For some suggestions on how to begin a fireplace (properly and effectively), you may possibly want to invest a couple of minutes looking at a tutorial in YouTube this kind of as this a single right here. You can thank me later.

 

7. Get Superior Nutrition

 

It’s a actuality: all that physical exercise when you are out there enjoying by yourself will have you craving for foods. Bring snacks with a great body fat-carb-protein equilibrium or the all-time basic sandwich to keep you fueled as you go. A trail nut blend or chocolate bars are terrific thoughts for electrical power snacks.

 

8. Get Good Hydration

 

For hydration, you require to have as significantly water as you can potentially carry in your backpack without having building it incredibly large. Bottles are a superior option but h2o reservoirs make an even greater a person. They can consist of as much liquid as a bottle, but they can match in your pack filling vacant areas. You can just take with you a water filter or a purifier in scenario you need some much more h2o. This past one is optional: have a smaller bag of soluble isotonic consume powder. It can support restore the minerals you eliminate when sweating.

 

 

 

9. Take care of What Needs to Be Fastened

 

When you’re out there, you’re probably to tore your equipment or to crack one thing. In circumstance it takes place, a multi-tool, some protection pins, a roll of duct tape and, of program, a small bit of creative imagination can be applied to patch or repair service pretty significantly just about anything.

 

 

10. Emergency Shelter

 

It’s vital for you to contain in your devices a several crisis shelter factors, these types of as an crisis bivy, unexpected emergency blanket or a sleeping bag. In scenario you want to expend the night time outdoors, you really should in no way sleep on the floor without having any form of defense due to the fact the floor would suck all the warmth proper from you. If your pack is significant ample, you are going to come across it quick to just set almost everything inside. Normally, you could have to discover to attach issues to your pack utilizing the molle straps on your pack and some chord. It is rather effortless to do it. We remarkably propose you to enjoy this tutorial on how to attach your sleeping bag to your backpack.  Maybe you never sense like finding out to tie knots, and if which is the situation, you could purchase some adjustable straps.

 

The applications stated earlier mentioned make up for the one most essential factors you constantly want to deliver alongside with you when you go hiking. Even so, to complete your products you may perhaps maintain other matters in mind. Suggested objects go as follows:

 

Garments

 

Thermal underwear
Fleece
Bathing go well with
Rapid-drying trousers or shorts
Socks
Additional t-shirt
Bandana
Rain pants and jacket
Rain poncho

 

Toiletries

 

Bathroom paper
Menstrual products and solutions
Hand sanitizer
Waste bags

Other people

 

Individual locator beacon
Camera
Two-way radios
Hiking boots
Watersport sandals
Daypack
Camp chair
Cooking utensils
Quick-dry towel
Insect repellent
Tenting Tent
Trekking Poles

 

After you managed to check out off your listing all of the higher than, you are going to have to make absolutely sure you can pack them all collectively neatly. The arrangement of the things in your backpack can make a massive distinction among possessing to consider all the things out of your pack or merely opening it and pulling something out.

 

 

 

You have to think about dividing your pack into the next locations:

 

  • Base: Location right here all your cumbersome factors, like apparel or shelter.
  • Core: Set your heavier objects right here. For illustration, meals, equipment to begin a fire or restoring tools.
  • Best: Pack below all the things you will will need for guaranteed on the path, like your insulated jacket, snacks and water.
  • Accent pockets: Excellent for the products you require urgently or frequently, like your 1st-aid kit or probably even a digicam.
  • Lash Points: Great for oversized devices that would choose as well considerably space inside your pack.

 

Also, recall to keep all the heaviest equipment shut to your back again. By carrying out so, you make it less difficult to stability all the bodyweight. Hence, you will not get drained as well speedy when you are strolling. If you want to have some much more area in your backpack or to hold anything a bit a lot more structured, you could use compression sacks in them you can place some further outfits, tent or sleeping bag.

 

Maintaining Your Backpack Light-weight

 

Again, when you pack a backpack for climbing, it is vital that you prepare for your worst-scenario circumstance, not your best. Let’s say you get you get a sprained ankle in the middle of your journey and you have to carry a quite heavy pack all the way again to civilization. Does not sound captivating, proper? Bear in thoughts too that the weight will not be a problem at very first, but what is it gonna be like soon after you’ve invested a several several hours out there? It’s a great plan to get the lightest possible body weight in your pack.

 

There are two principal components to choose into account after you decided packing. Very first, how lots of times will your journey past? 2nd, what’s your bodily condition? There are some tips to enable you have an idea what is anatomically suitable. They go by percentages of your overall physique bodyweight.

 

Tips

 

  • A pack for camping or some thing up to a 7-working day hike need to not weigh a lot more than 20 % of your overall body weight.
  • A just one-working day hiking pack must not weigh far more than 10 % of your physique excess weight.

Acquire a hiker who’s 165 pounds, then, in accordance to the above, this man or woman should really not exceed a restrict of 33 kilos (~15 kg) when they’re going on a 7-day hike or 16.5 kilos (~7.5 kg) if it’s a just one-day hike.

These rules are useful when you are starting to hike. They’re recommendations, not set policies. The truth is you should really be capable to locate an ideal pounds through practical experience. The additional you go on hikes, the additional you will know what is effective ideal for you.

Striving to hold your pack as light as attainable should really in no way imply leaving out any of the crucial products you do need to have. To maintain the excess weight of your gear as light-weight as doable, you can keep away from taking pointless objects with you (i. e. extra outfits or food stuff) and you can substitute aged equipment with new ultralight gear. It, certainly, implies investing additional funds but it is certainly truly worth it.

Find The Suitable Backpack Sizing For You

A pack’s capability is normally offered in liters.You can opt for the backpack that serves your needs ideal at the time you know the period of your excursion. You can come across some assistance in the pursuing desk.

Backpack Type

Length Of Your Vacation

Capacity

Weekend Pack

1-3 nights

30-50 liters

Multiday Pack

3-5 evenings

50-80 liters

Prolonged-journey/Expedition Pack

5+ nights

70 liters or larger

Multiday packs are the safest wager when you’re just obtaining started out because they’re helpful not only for limited trips, but also, for outings up to five times. Keep in mind at all occasions that it’s not a fantastic strategy to cram your pack and, primarily, to do so only since you have some excess home in your pack.

 

This is just a beginner’s guide to packing a backpack for climbing. We’ve recommended products to acquire with you when you go climbing, we’ve instructed how to pack and decide on a backpack that ideal satisfies your requires. Truth be explained to, we can only give you a superior hint on how to get started out, but all the knowledge you have to have will appear from your activities when you’re out there mountaineering. Your trips will allow for you to great the artwork of packing and quickly ample, it will be you the a person who provides guidance to other rookies.

If you like this report make positive you share it on social media and if you consider we missed a thing, you can allow us know in the reviews.

Final update on 2018-01-13 / Affiliate hyperlinks / Photographs from Amazon Solution Advertising API

Best Pre Made Bug Out Bags & DIY Options

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Best Pre Made Bug Out Bags & DIY Options

There is a lot of info out there about how to build a bug out bag. While there are some advantages to putting together your own, some people may just want an all in one solution to get them through a short term emergency or at least provide the foundation that they can add a few items to here and there.

What is a premade bug out bag?

A premade bug out bag usually is made to have food, water solutions, medical gear, etc. These bags can range from a kit that is made to get you through a 72 hour emergency to bags that are made for 2-4 people for 72 hours. More specialized bags are out there for longer term emergencies.

bag hat hiking camping

Pros and Cons Of Pre Made Bags

If you are new to the world of prepping and survival then you may be looking for an easy way to get started by having the basics covered. These bags are designed to cover very basic survival needs but are not designed with supreme comfort or extras unless you are paying for a premium bag.

Consider Pre made bug out bags do not always have the best quality of supplies and you have to be careful and read to make sure you know what you are getting.

Making Your Own

Making your own bug out bag has some major advantages but it definitely takes some time just to get the core supplies planned and procured.

Simple To Build Into Even A Tight Budget

It is easier for a lot of people to budget a few dollars here and there on getting a bug out bag together rather than investing a large sum all at once. In the long run you migth get a better bag since you were able to think about it more and add as you learned what your real needs would be.

Making Your Own Allows You To Get The Most Comfortable Pack For Your Body

We all come in different shapes and sizes which means that we need to consider this when deciding what bag we are going to be comfortable carrying for possibly many miles at a time. A pack made for a shorter or taller person than you may not be comfortable to use in a long emergency.

Making your own allows you to customize your bag for special needs. For example my father is disabled and would need some specific items. You may have younger kids that need different stuff.

Pre made bags do not consider special diet needs. Diabetes and high blood pressure are some of the most common concerns.

Dietary concerns are a major deal when it comes to the included rations in a premade bug out bag. If you are on a low sodium or sugar diet then those survival rations may not do it for you.

You can put together a better medical kit yourself.

Medical supplies in some bags are fairly basic whereas when you aer building your own you can include things like battle dressings and blood stop powder. It really drives me crazy that most medical kits contain nothing to stop one of the most common problems, bleeding. Stitches are an extreme thing that take skill and time. Blood stop takes care of a situation immediately.

Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit, 4 Person, Black

Emergency Zone 840-2 Urban Survival Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit

Each pack weighs less than 15 lbs Packed!

This option offers enough supplies to get a family started or ensure that 2 people are more equipped. There is an option that costs less designed for 2 people but you only get one pack and it is not enough of a cost difference between the 2 and 4 person version to justify the 2 person option. At the time of writing the difference is a mere $40.

What Is Included:

  • Food and Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Reflective Sleeping Bags
  • Tube Tents
  • Ponchos
  • Hand Warmers
  • Light Sticks
  • Tooth Brushes
  • N95 Masks
  • Water Purification Tablets and Squeeze Water Bottle
  • Emergency Guidebook
  • Hygiene Kit with toothpaste, comb, razor, feminine pads, wash cloth, toilet paper, and soap
  • Sewing Kit
  • Duct Tape
  • Survival Whistle
  • 50 ft Rope
  • Leather Palm Work Gloves
  • Multi Tool
  • Playing Cards
  • Can Opener
  • Pencil
  • Flashlight and Emergency Radio

This kit gets excellent reviews from preppers. Considering how critical people can be of shoddy bags and supplies, it is always a good sign to me when a lot of other people have written detailed reviews.

What I would recommend adding to this kit

  • Sawyer Mini or other lightweight long lasting water filter. There is some included water but not enough to last for an extended emergency
  • Extra collapsable water bottles
  • Freeze dried food
  • Blood stop powder
  • Benydryl Liqu-Gels – These work fast and can save someones life in an allergic reaction situation. 20 minutes faster when it comes to reactions can be the difference between life and death.
  • Extra mylar emergency blankets
  • Rain pants

Premium Emergency Survival Bag/Kit – Be Equipped with 72 Hours of Disaster Preparedness Supplies for 2 People

Premium Emergency Survival Bag/Kit

I have a lot of great things to say about this kit because it is made to not just offer bare bones style supplies to get through 72 hours. While the food supply included only lasts that long, many of the other items would be great for a long term emergency.

Instead of just offering prepackaged water and purification tablets you get a name brand Sawyer Mini and a hydration pack! Here is a list of all the items you get in this very high quality kit that is idea for a couple or even a single person that just wants to be prepared. If going it alone this kit has enough food to last 6 days instead of 3.

  • 3 days of quality Mountains House Food for 2 people. This food has a shelf life of 30 years so as long as you keep pests out of your bug out bag, you don’t have to worry about rotating your food out as often. The water included has a 5 year shelf life.
  • A quality backpack: this pack offers a lot of compartments so items are easy to keep organized so you can get to them when you need them the most. Three different zippered compartments offer meet your primary organization needs.
  • Lighting Needs: 4 Cyalume Snap Lights, Flashlight, and LED lantern are all included so you are covered pretty well for lighting. Some people do not realize that lights are not just about comfort but about safety as well. Falling, cutting yourself, or other injuries during a survival situation when medical help is not available is a more dire situation then it might normally be.
  • Portable Stove: this stove is ideal for using with small twigs or canned fuel if you have the luxury of that. This is one of those items that could be used for a long term emergency with ease and there is something to be said for a stove that does not rely on fossil fuels for heat.
  • Survival Knife
  • Eating Utensils and Cookware
  • Basic First Aid Kit
  • Firestarter Rod (Check out our article on best firestarters for other options!)
  • Emergency Blankets
  • Whistles

What I think is lacking:

This kit is a good start for those that are new to this or that just want something that has some quality items to get through a short emergency. On the other hand I feel the kit is sparse in these areas:

Add two emergency bivys rather than just two emergency blankets.

There is no shelter included in this bag at all. So sure this is find if you have a place to stay dry at least but if you are really bugging out and need to sleep outside you are going to want some type of shelter.

Valley Food Storage Emergency Preparedness Grab and Go Bucket Survival Kit (1 Week Supply for 4-People)

Valley Food Storage Emergency Preparedness Grab and Go Bucket Survival Kit (1 Week Supply for 4-People)

I know this is not technically a bag but I think it is a good value and that buying a back pack to put it in and taking it out of the bucket is not a big deal, especially considering the quality. I will make a suggestion about what bag to use below.

Valley Food Storage is known for making some of the highest quality foods for long term storage. I think quality food is important for morale and while cost can be a concern, consider that this bucket adds up to $50 per person for a week and you get survival supplies.

That seems like a pretty good deal to me and far less money than I spend on food and beverage per person during good times at my house. When you consider that emergency supplies come with this, you are paying about $6 per day per person to eat high quality foods.

I imagine if two of the people in your 4 person household are children, this bucket might get you through an extra day or two depending on your level of exertion.

Survival Supplies Included:

  • Survival Blanket
  • Fire Starting Supplies
  • Whistle
  • CompassBerkey Sport Water Purifier (For some reason the picture shows a Lifestraw but in the product description Valley Food Storage states that it comes with the Berkey.)
  • Light Sticks
  • Medical Kit
  • Compass
  • Gerber Multi Tool

What I Would Add:

  • Emergency Shelter
  • 3 more emergency blankets or bivy sacks or just 1 more if you are planning for only 2 people
  • Benydryl Liqui Gels
  • Blood Stop Powder or Bandages
  • 1-2 small flashlights
  • Water bottles and hydration packs
  • Second water filter like a Sawyer that can be used inline with a hydration bag
  • Rain Gear

Special Pricing Note: You can use code “BDS” at checkout to save 10% off of your entire order.

Bag Options

Molle Bag

Molle Bag

You might want several of these so you can break up the weight. During a bug out situation everyone needs a pack regardless. For kids go for something from a good outfitter that is made for their frame.

Consider that this 4 person kit with a few bags to carry it all in and the extras I suggested would add up to well under 20 lbs per person and allow you to survive in style for 2 weeks without adding any additional food rations. The kit is 17 lbs before you add in any of the extras I mentioned so I am allowing 23 lbs for extras in my calculations.

Wise Food 5-Day Survival BackpackWise Food 5-Day Survival Backpack

I am putting this bag on the list because it offers a lot for those that are on tight budgets or just want a very basic bag to stash back for a short term emergency. At the moment it is hard to find a pack that offers what this one does at this price point.

At the time of writing, this pack was $50 shipped! While I would not want to try to survive long term with the supplies given after the food ran out, this would be an excellent choice for throwing in each vehicle you have. Some buyers note that the bag that comes with it is water resistant but not waterproof.

You can solve this by treating it with Scotch Guard. In fact you may want to Scotch Guard some of your other bug out items too. Here is what you get in this bag:

  • One water resistant backpack in a plain color for blending in with others.
  • 32 servings of Wise Foods. You get a good variety here and this pack is designed to offer you 3 full meals per day. The entrees you get are Southwest Beans and Rice (4 Serve), Creamy Pasta and Veggie Rotini (4 Serve), Brown Sugar Multi Grain (4 Serve), Apple Cinnamon Cereal (4 Serve), Hearty Tortilla (4 Serve), and Whey Milk (12 Serve) – This food has a 25 year shelf life!
  • 42 Piece Bandage Kit
  • 1 Squeeze Flashlight
  • 5-in-1 Survival Whistle
  • Water Proof Matches
  • Mylar Blanket
  • Emergency Poncho
  • Playing Cards
  • N95 Dust Mask
  • Portable Stove
  • Stainless Steel Cup
  • Pocket Tissues, Wet Naps, and Waste Bag

What I would add:

  • Lifestraw, Sawyer Mini, or other affordable long term water filter
  • Emergency Bivy Sleeping Bag
  • Rain gear
  • Multi Tool
  • Blood Stop Powder and Benydryl
  • Tent shelter, even if it is just a cheap tube tent. This is a good idea just in case even if most of your bug out scenarios involve getting to solid shelter!

So now let’s put together a bag ourselves and add up the cost and compare that to the pre mades! This is a bag for a single person.

man backpack mountains hiking

Keep in mind that some supplies could be shared among two or more people if needed so one person may want to carry extra food rather than their own camp stove for example. If you live in a harsher climate you may want to invest in a better tent.

Note that these costs are at time of writing. By clicking on the links, you can get the most current price.

  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter $20
  • Molle Bag $35
  • Emergency Bivy Sack $8 If you want a bivy made for long term emergencies I recommend the SOL Longer Escape Bivy which comes in at $42.
  • Lightweight Stove $20
  • Mess Kit $20
  • Water Bottle and/or hydration pack $20
  • Food & Beverage (Freeze dried is best in terms of weight and quality) – At least 7 days worth of food is advisable) I am going to give a range here because this is something that varies so much based on how much you are willing to rough it and special diet needs. So for 7 days I am going to say $50-$100
  • Firestarter $10
  • Rain Gear $15
  • Multi Tool $30
  • Tube Tent $20
  • Several Emergency Blankets $2 at $1 each when you buy a pack of 10
  • Medical Kit with additional supplies like Benydryl and Blood Stop Powder $40
  • Concentrated Soap Like Dr Bronners $5
  • 2 Micro Fiber Towels – These can be used for everything and they are easy to rinse and fast to dry. Disposable towlettes are nice to have a few of but they do not last for the long term. If you have the room then maybe add in a pack. $10
  • Work gloves. If you live in a colder climate you may want to have some that are lined or have a pair of liners you can add. Those cheap magic stretchy gloves that you can get work fine in a pinch and are far better than nothing. $10
  • Flashlight and extra set of batteries $15
  • Small Radio $20
  • Tactical Pen. This is an especially good idea if you do not have a firearm or other means of personal protection. Your multi tool could be used but you should really have something else. It is very easy to become a target when a bad situation is going down and others are not as prepared as you are! $20

In total, my bag comes in at $350-$450 but that is allowing for some extra items that you may not care about like the tactical pen or radio. There are other areas where you could cut back as well like not having a radio or spending less on your medical kit.

My kit was put together with the idea that a lot of items may need to last for a very long time in an extended emergency and deal with more major medical concerns if needed and for someone starting out with absolutely no supplies on hand already.

Firearms For Bug Out Bags

Personally, I think everyone should have a firearm if they plan on bugging out. If you do have a gun then take the time to learn how to use it decently during good times. There are plenty of people that can show you how and if you really don’t know anyone there are classes you can sign up for.

I carry a Bersa Thunder .380 usually. I prefer revolvers but it is hard to beat the capacity and the cost of the Bersa. I would love to carry my.32 Ruger H & R but it is heavier and only has a lot less rounds.

The Ruger LCP is about $200 and very compact. A lot of people have bought these as a lightweight personal protection gun.

I can carry the Bersa and an extra clip on my side and barely notice the weight. I also like that I can have one in the chamber and the safety on so it is ready to rock in a situation. Yet another great gun given to me by my husband. The first one he got me was one appropriate for Grizzlies when we headed to Alaska in our 20s. I knew I had a keeper when he bought me something useful and not something frilly!

gun shooting revolver

Things you already have and would want to throw in may include prescription medication and extra glasses. If you wear contacts then maybe throw those in but you should have actual glasses as back up. Cleaning and keeping up with a contact lens routine may not be possible during a SHTF scenario. Daily disposables may not be available and they take up a lot of space.

Something for entertainment like a notebook and a few pens is a good idea and can be handy for communications. One of these could be your tactical pen!

As you can see, none of the items on my list are expensive except the firearm so you can buy a few at a time and build a higher quality bag that is more suitable for your unique needs.

While I know that plenty of preppers don’t like to expose their set up to others, if you do want to share what is in your bag or send a pic of the contents then feel free to either comment or you can send photos to [email protected].

If we get enough of a response I would be glad to do a post with your photos so others can learn from your bags. If you do not want your name mentioned then just let me know and I will leave it out.

Author Bio: Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them.


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A bug out bag is a necessity for every prepper. It contains all your must-have's for when the time comes, and ensures you're prepared to grab and go when needed. Check out some of the best premade bug-out bags on the market or make your own bug-out bag by following our guide!

My Tried and Tested Tips

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How to Avoid Theft while Traveling: My Top 10 Tried and Tested Tips

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Despite the fact that I spent nine years of my life as a full-time traveler, I only experienced theft one time. To be honest with you, it was due to my own carelessness.

With these low odds, experiencing theft when you travel is rare but it does happen. Find out what I did wrong and how to keep your belongings safe and secure with my tried and tested tips on how to avoid theft while traveling!

 

This is a belt similar to the one shown in the above image.

 



 

When you’re visiting a major city, whether in South America or Europe, the most common type of danger you’ll find yourself in is becoming a pickpocketing victim.

I’ve been lucky because in my nine years of full-time travel, I have only had something stolen once, and it was my fault because I left $500 in cash on the unlocked outside pocket of my backpack.

Sadly, it happened at the hostel I was staying at and it was a fellow traveler who took the money, not a local. And it was especially disappointing because it was my last week of my around-the-world trip and it was the all the money I had left to my name at that point.

However, I definitely learned a valuable lesson. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade for avoiding theft.

 

 

10-anti-theft-traveling-tips

RFID Blocking Passport Holder & Neck Stash

 

Here are my top 10 anti-theft traveling tips:

 

  1. Use Luggage with Lockable Zippers
  2. Use Anti-Theft Accessories
  3. Have a Safety Routine When Arriving at the Airport
  4. Store Your Passport in Locked Luggage
  5. Avoid Taking Your Passport When Sightseeing
  6. Look for Purses with Concealed Pockets
  7. Use a Bra Stash to Store Money and Cards
  8. Keep Enough Money for the Day in Your Wallet
  9. Don’t Carry All Credit Cards in Your Wallet
  10. Travel with Two Wallets

 

Osprey Ozone Wheeled Luggage

 

1. Use Luggage with Lockable Zippers

 

Since that pickpocketing incident, I have only traveled with a lockable backpack or suitcase. Having a zipper that actually locks is really key. I remember staying at a hostel in Borneo, and when I returned to my room after a few hours of exploring I could tell by the look of my belongings that people had moved things around.

I panicked because I had money, my passport, and everything inside my backpack. Luckily, because it was locked, nothing was stolen.

 

Read my complete Osprey Ozone 46 review!

 

 

Anti-Theft Hidden Money Belt

 

2. Use Anti-Theft Accessories

 

Aside from having a lockable suitcase or lockable backpack in your room, one of the ways that I keep my immediate money safe and my immediate valuables safe is by keeping them on me. If it’s something extremely valuable and irreplaceable, don’t leave them behind in your room, because even if you have a lock, someone could steal the whole back.

If you choose to carry valuables on you, don’t toss them in your purse or in a pocket. I use two main anti-theft devices to protect my items. One of them is a money belt. Some people don’t like the feeling of a money belt because it presses on your stomach and it can create a pouch, which I think ladies might not really appreciate.

A lot of times, I have seen travelers wearing money belts on the outside of their clothing and that is not what they are supposed to be for. They are supposed to be worn on the inside of your clothing to keep your valuables safe.

 

 

Watch my video on TPSY TV for a few of my most recommended anti-theft products.

 

Items featured in video (in order as shown)

 

 

 

Here’s the the best money belts and anti-theft accessories for travel!

 

 

 

10-anti-theft-traveling-tips

Rfid Blocking Passport Holder Wallet & Travel Wallet Envelope

 

3. Have a Safety Routine When Arriving at the Airport

 

At the airport when I first arrive at my destination, I have my passport in a convenient location. The first thing I do is I go straight to the ATM machine and pull money out. Even though it is a little bit more expensive, I like to get some there because it’s so convenient to have currency right when you arrive.

Next, I go to the bathroom, take my currency and passport and put the passport in the money belt or whatever anti-theft accessory I will be using. And then I store some of the money I pulled out of the ATM in the money pouch and and some of it in another anti-theft device or wallet.

Then in my pocket or in my purse, I will keep the exact amount of money I need to pay the taxi or whatever public transportation I will be taking to get me to my hotel or my accommodation.

 

Find out the best place to exchange foreign currency!

 

10-anti-theft-traveling-tips

Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Carry On

 

4. Store Your Passport in Locked Luggage

 

The absolute last thing you ever want to lose is your passport, so it’s important you keep it safe. Once I’m at my hotel room, I feel that the safest place to keep my passport is in my suitcase or in my backpack. Or, if the hotel has a safe, I’ll keep my passport and my laptop or whatever else I have inside the safe.

But when the hotel or hostel does not does not have a locker, I keep it in my locked bag. For the most part, this is a good alternative to having this on your body when you are sightseeing.

 

Read our top tips for women staying in hostels!

 

 

Pacsafe Coversafe 75 Neck Pouch

 

5. Avoid Taking Your Passport When Sightseeing

 

There will be times when you cannot help but have your passport on you. For example, maybe you have checked out of your hotel and now are going back to the airport.

During these instances, make sure that your passport is hidden underneath your clothing.

 

For more tips, please read how to keep your passport safe while traveling!

 

 

 

Rebecca Minkoff’s Julian Backpack

 

6. Look for Purses with Concealed Pockets

 

For times when I have to take my passport with me, I put it in my personal item or in my purse and I hide it at the very bottom. I usually take my Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack, which has a little pocket on the backside of it where I store my passport.

Then, as I’m wearing my backpack, if someone were to open my bag, they would not necessarily know that there is a hidden back pocket where my passport is. The moral of the story here is don’t walk around with your passport when you are sightseeing unless if you absolutely have to, and then keep it somewhere hidden.

 

Read more about the best anti-theft travel bags for women!

 

 

Braza Secret Stash Pocket 

 

7. Use a Bra Stash to Store Money and Cards

 

Earlier, I mentioned that I store some of my money in a money belt. The rest of it goes in a bra stash when I’m walking around sightseeing. There are a few different types of bras stashes available, including some good ones from Pacsafe, Travelon, and Eagle Creek.

For me, a bra stash is one of my all-time essentials, and is something I always travel with, even if I don’t bring a money belt. One strategy I use when I go to the ATM is to pull money out and pretend to put it in my purse.

This serves as a safety precaution because if someone was watching, they would think I was putting the cash into my purse when I’m not. Instead, I put it inside my jean pocket or pass it to my husband. Once we’re in a store, we’ll quickly distribute where the money is going to go.

The bulk of the money will go in my bra stash, as it’s not bulky and it’s something I can travel with on me all the time as opposed to having a money belt on me. My money and credit card will go in the bra stash and, depending on the one you choose, you can either put it in the middle of your bra or on the side.

I think it’s more comfortable to carry it on my side. Sure, it can be a little hot and uncomfortable at times, but I’d rather have my money there than other, less-safe place.

 

Buy a bra stash here!

 

 

 

Double Zip Clutch

 

 

8. Keep Enough Money for the Day in Your Wallet

 

If I am not going back to my hotel to distribute the cash, I will keep the main bulk of the money in my bra stash. But this is a really important detail: I keep just what I need for the day in my pocket, purse, wallet, or wherever I’m going to store my money. This way, I don’t have to dig into my bra awkwardly or uncomfortably or into my money belt every single time I need to access money.

I see this happen a lot. Travelers will get their money belt out and dig through everything so they can find what they need. This isn’t very safe as now everyone knows how much money you have and where you store it.

It’s important to be discreet, hide it, and then only keep just what you need on you for the day and have it easily accessible in your wallet.

 

Find out why cross body purses are the best travel shoulder bags!

 

 

 

10-anti-theft-traveling-tips

Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody and RFID Clutch Wallet

 

9. Don’t Carry All Credit Cards in Your Wallet

 

I always have a backup credit card in my bra stash. This way, if I am going to be shopping with my card, I keep the card in my wallet and then split up my cash. I’ll keep some of the cash in my bra stash, some in my money belt, and some in my locked luggage back in my hotel room.

I always recommend distributing your money in different suitcases if you are traveling with someone else. Split where you store your money, passports, and valuables.

This is especially important when you are walking away from the ATM. A friend was in Italy and when he went to the ATM, he took out over 300 Euros and put all of it in his wallet. Somebody must have been watching because not too long after, his wallet was stolen and he lost all of his cash.

This is why I like to do my “fake wallet” move, where I pretend to put money in one place when I actually store it somewhere else.

 

 

Travelon Heritage Set Of 3 Pouches

 

 

10. Travel with Two Wallets

 

Along with a “fake wallet” move, I recommend traveling with two wallets. Put a few bills in one wallet and a larger amount of money in the other wallet. My husband and I did this in Central America. In case we were ever robbed, we could hand over the wallet with the least amount of money in it and keep the other wallet.

Luckily, I’ve never actually been in that situation, but it’s a nice preventative measure. For example, during our Central America trip, we would leave what I call an “offering.” At a hostel, we’d leave one wallet with a $20 bill and a fake credit card underneath the pillow. In theory, most theft is opportunistic, so thieves grab and go.

If someone were to come into our hostel room, they would find our “hidden stash” underneath the pillow, grab the wallet, and leave feeling satisfied that they had struck gold. They’d then be less likely to go through our suitcases and backpacks with our valuables.

This actually worked during this trip! We did this in a hostel in Guatemala and Antigua. When we came back after a day of sightseeing, the wallet was gone but everything else was left in the room undisturbed. Thankfully, we only lost $20 and a fake credit card.

 

 

anti-theft purse

Travelon Anti Theft Cross Body Bag – best seller!

 

11. Bonus Tip: Use an Anti-theft Purse

 

An anti theft bag is a purse, backpack, or luggage with built-in safety features. It’s designed to help you avoid becoming a victim of theft at home or abroad. They can also be referred to as theft proof bags or slash proof bags.

Pick pockets tend to target busy tourist areas in large cities all over the world; some female travelers feel safer with an anti theft purse vs a regular purse. 

 

Whether you choose to use anti-theft travel bags for women or regular purses, always follow these precautions:

  • Choose a cross body purse and always wear the strap across your body; don’t wear the strap hung over one shoulder.
  • Have your bag positioned towards the front, not against your back side.
  • Hold your purse close to you when in crowded trains or public transportation.
  • Avoid walking next to the street where your travel purse could be yanked from your arm by a motorbike or vehicle.
  • Look up scams and thefts in your travel destination. For example, search topics like “Bali scams” or “Tourist theft risks in London”.

 

Found out the top five anti-theft purses here!

 

Watch the video above for more tips on how to keep your stuff safe while traveling.

 

While it’s important to take anti-theft precautions, don’t feel paranoid when traveling. The world isn’t as scary of a place as it may seem sometimes. Have a good time and maintain awareness of your surroundings!

 

 


What are your tips on how to avoid theft while traveling? Share in the comments below!


 

For more anti-theft travel tips, please read:

 


 

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