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The morning broke crisp and cold. Looking up at the dark sky, I could see a few stars winking through breaks in the clouds. What a change from the previous few days where we had experienced a late Indian summer. Maybe winter was finally going to catch up. I shouldered my pack and started the hike up the mountain. Today is the day I thought to myself. I’m going to find that big bull that’s been giving me the slip…
Scenarios like this happen all the time when we spend time in the outdoors, especially when traveling to hunt. You never know what mother nature is going to throw at us, so being prepared for whatever comes your way is one of the most important aspects of hitting the woods. It might be sunny and warm like it started on the trip described above, but you never know when some sort of inclement weather is going to roll in on you. Being ready and having the gear to stay safe and comfortable is the hallmark of a seasoned outdoorsman.
Having safety equipment in your pack is mandatory. I’ve been hiking on those cold winter days, with bitter wind and snow. Having a lighter in my pack where I could find a sheltered spot and build a small fire to warm up has been a saving grace. There’s truly nothing quite like finding a spot tucked out of the wind on one of these crazy blustery days, sitting by a little fire warming up while having a bite of lunch. Moments like this are where real memories are made.
How to Stay Warm Camping
Fire Lite Fuel Free Lighter – This little gadget is a must have for that scenario described above. It is how to stay warm camping! This is a rechargeable Fuel Free electric lighter that emits a dual arc that’s both water and windproof. It comes with 3 feet of paracord which serves as your fire-starting tinder. You can start your evening campfire, or that little afternoon warming fire easily! It also features a 100 lumen LED flashlight if you get stuck out after dark and need some light to help find your way back to camp.
Back in camp, sleeping well each night is how you keep your head in the game. When you’re able to stay rested, it is so much easier to face the hurdles that every hunt throws at you. I’ve never been on hunt that didn’t have both exhilarating highs with some accompanying lows! Being well rested help take each day in stride no matter what happens. A comfortable sleeping pad is the essential piece of kit to help make this happen.
Powerlix Sleeping Pad – Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Mat – Boy is this a cool little item that will help you sleep well! As mentioned above, sleeping mats are key to a comfortable night in the mountains. One of the key features of any sleeping mat, is that it insulates your body from the ground. This feature alone is what helps keep you warm on those cold mountain nights. The hexagonal design was made using body mapping technology to help support your pressure points for maximum comfort. This mat comes with the coolest feature… It has an inflating bag. There is a two-way valve on the mat, that when inserted lets air flow into the mat, but keeps air from flowing back out as you inflate the pad. Simply attach the inflating
bag to this valve and then fluff the bag open, then close it at the top, and begin rolling the top seam down. This pushes all the air trapped in the inflating bag into your sleeping mat. No more getting dizzy while blowing up you air mattress! How cool!
Now that you have a comfortable pad, you need something to sleep in! Enter the Kamp-Rite Kitimat Mummy Sleeping Bag (25 degree). Mummy bags are mandatory for those cool nights camping. By reducing the amount of air your body needs to warm inside the sleeping bag, you’re able to maximize the amount of warmth that’s retained, helping to keep you cozy on those frigid nights. Using this bag along with the Powerlix Sleeping Pad is key to a fantastic night’s sleep.
Now that you can stay warm in camp, your clothing should also be carefully considered. With today’s high performance wear, it’s easier than ever to stay warm, comfortable AND dry in the outdoors. To accomplish this though, it is important to consider clothing as a system.
In any good clothing system, you start with a base layer. This is the layer worn next to your skin and accomplishes a couple of things. First it’s the beginning of your insulation layers, but it is also important that this layer is exceptionally good at wicking moisture away from your skin. To stay dry and warm in the outdoors, especially when being active, there has to be a way to remove perspiration. This is essentially what a wicking layer does. It helps you move this perspiration from your skin to the outer side of your base layer.
The next part of the system is an insulation layer. This garment should also be a good wicking layer, and in fact each layer should accomplish this goal to keep you warm and dry. You can add as many insulation layers as you need. Insulating layers can run the gamut from fleece, to synthetic filled or even down. It is a very good idea is to have at least one heavy insulating layer in your pack like a down puffy for those times it gets exceptionally cold.
There are two outer layers to consider as well. There are both soft and hard shell exteriors. Both are similar in that they usually have some sort of waterproof/windproof breathable barrier. Soft shells are usually lighter and don’t have taped seams to be completely waterproof. The hard shell is often a bit heavier and has taped seams to be completely waterproof from the outside.
How these waterproof breathable barriers work is they are completely waterproof from the exterior side. From the interior of the garment they will allow water vapor to pass through the barrier. As you perspire your body heat turns perspiration to water vapor. The layers then pass the vapor towards the outer shell. The waterproof breathable barrier allows the vapor to pass through, while completely inhibiting moisture from entering from the outside of the layer, keeping you dry and warm.
A good clothing system is the key to staying safe, warm and dry in ever changing weather conditions! This can be a true game changer for outdoorsmen!
How to Cook Camp Food
Another thing to think about as you embark on the journey of becoming an accomplished outdoorsman is how to cook camp food when you’re spending time in the woods? I love camp cooking, especially when I’m just camping with friends or family for fun, but when I’m hunting, I’m usually pretty tired at the end of the day! Here’s where dehydrated/freeze dried meals come in! Just add hot water, stir them up, reseal their pouch and let them sit for a few minutes, and you’re treated to a healthy hot meal without the cooking time OR the cleanup!
ReadyWise Camping Favorites – 9 Pack. This is just what the doctor ordered to supply great tasting food without the fuss of having to actually cook a camp meal! These nine packs have enough food to get you by for three days in the woods. Truly my favorite way to make my hunting time really count without having to stop and prepare a meal! And no cleanup!!
Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4. For those times when you do want to cook a meal in the outdoors, there’s nothing like having a dedicated cook set that packs up super easy. The very nature of a nesting cook kit is really handy. This kit has everything you need too. It comes with a pot, pan, lid, trivet, plates, bowls, and silver ware (plastic lol!) and your cooking utensils. There are also instructions on how the kit nests engraved in the lid, so you don’t forget how to pack it up. Super convenient.
Unigear Camping Folding Wood Stove. You must have a way to cook those meals too! This little folding stove is a real gem. With a lot of camping stoves, you have to make sure you have a fuel cell of some sort with you, and what if you run out while you’re camping? That can be almost impossible to find in out of the way backcountry locations. This Unigear stove does it all without requiring any fuel other than what you find in your camping location. You can use twigs, pinecones, wood or even an alcohol fuel cell if you don’t want to have to find tinder for your fire. This stove also doubles up as a BBQ grill, so you don’t have to bring another piece of gear! It’s part of your kit that does several jobs yet folds up into a small package.
Outdoor First Aid Kit
When you’re spending time outdoors it’s also pretty darned important to make sure you have some safety gear with you. Any of you remember the old Boy Scout 10 essentials? I think these items are absolutely mandatory to add into your normal camping kit. I also keep them handy in a Ziplock bag so I can easily throw them in my daypack as well! An outdoor first aid kit is probably the most important item on this list!
Just a quick review of the 10 essential items.
· First Aid
· Lighter (Remember our first item?)
· Emergency Blanket
· Extra Food
Adventure Medical First Aid Kit – Water Resistant. Notice this is the first item on the 10 essentials! I would never go anywhere without a first aid kit, and this small water-resistant kit is the perfect size to throw in my bag of 10 essential items. Add a couple ibuprofen to the kit, and you’re ready for whatever might happen!
Important Camping Tools
Explora Multitool Knife/Pliers & Pouch + Free Super Bright LED Torch/Flashlight. The next few items are important camping tools, and are also on the boy scout hiking 10 essential items list. First is a knife and a flashlight combo, and this handy multi-tool and flashlight kill two or our items with one stone! The thing about having a multi-tool is it can do so much more than just be used as a knife. I can’t tell you how many times in the backcountry I’ve had something break and end up doing field repairs to get me going again. The multi-tool is a wonderful addition for this very reason. And luckily, it comes with a flashlight as well, so we’ve knocked two more items off the list!
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Stroke Pivot Knife & Saw. We also have a dedicated knife for those larger cutting chores. This knife doubles as a great hunting knife too, and with the saw blade option, there’s almost no task you can’t conquer. You can quarter an elk or deer or cut some firewood to help cook a meal on our camp stove. Just a really nice double duty option for both a hunting knife and a saw. High quality 420 stainless blade that will hold its edge, and it comes with a nice holster as well.
S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Stoke Camp Hatchet. Finally, we have the camp hatchet! You can’t leave home without a way to gather some firewood for our camp stove! This great little hatchet is made from 420 stainless steel, and comes with a sturdy holster. It also comes with a flint to help you strike that fire if you forgot the Fire Lite Fuel Free Lighter above!!
I hope this article helps you get out there and start experiencing the great outdoors!