Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pocket-Size Travel Luxuries to Have on Every Trip by Guest Blogger Lee Flynn

Photo Provided by Lee Flynn
Here is another article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn - Please Note that all links provided in this post are from Lee Flynn and may or may not be affiliate links. 


There is no better way to become a more well-rounded person than by getting off the couch and visiting a great mountain by hiking or going fishing. Traveling outdoors is the only way to experience all of the beautiful cultures, attractions and natural sights throughout the world. Whether you are going camping or just taking a short hike, it is always nice to some comforting items to make your travels more enjoyable. These are the six pocket-size travel luxuries that you must have the next time you go outdoors and explore.


Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Outdoor travel may be filled with a lot of exciting adventures, but there is also going to be some downtime on your trip. There is no better way to make the most of this downtime than by having a pair of noise cancelling ear buds in your pocket at all times. These earbuds will allow you to watch a great movie or listen to some of your favorite songs. You will also not have to worry about being disturbed if you are in a noisy area of the woods at night when you are trying to fall asleep.


Sleep Mask
One of the best ways to get the most out of your trip is by getting a lot of sleep every night. It can be hard to continue to explore a new location if you are completely exhausted. Since sleeping in a new environment can be extremely difficult for some people, you will want to carry a sleep mask every time you travel. You may not think it will help much, but a sleep mask is crucial to feeling refreshed every morning while outdoors. In addition to blocking out of all of the outside light, sleep masks will also help reduce swelling and relieve any sinus pressure.


Carry On Cocktail Kit
It may not be easy or convenient to carry a full bar set while traveling, but that does not have to stop you from enjoying a few of your favorite drinks. The carry on cocktail kit contains everything you need to enjoy a delicious drink no matter where you are at. The special tin is small enough to fit in your pocket, and it only requires you to add a few ounces of the proper liquor to get a premium cocktail. An old fashioned, Moscow mule, hot toddy and margarita are a few of the excellent cocktails that you can have ready in your pocket during your next adventure.


E-Cigarettes
Anyone that enjoys using an e-cigarette knows that they are a great luxury while traveling. Nobody wants to go several days without enjoying their favorite relaxing hobby just because they are not home. Luckily, you can have your e-cigarette wherever you go because they are small enough to fit in your back pocket. If you are going to be gone for more than a few days, then you need to make sure you have some replacement coils in your bag.


Disposable Travel Toothbrush
A clean mouth is essential for having a healthy body, so you do not want to ignore your teeth just because you are busy rock climbing. Since you may be away from your personal belongings for most of the day, carrying a disposable travel toothbrush is highly recommended. A disposable travel toothbrush can easily fit in your pocket, and it can be used to provide freshness and properly clean your teeth at any time. Once you are finished brushing, you just throw the tiny toothbrush in your personal trash bag, grab another one before you leave the next morning and you are ready for another great day of traveling.


Pocket Travel Journal
A travel itinerary is essential to creating a smooth travel experience. Since you can’t rely on finding an internet connection or having your smartphone constantly charged in the outdoors, it is best to have a physical itinerary in your pocket. This itinerary should be the first entry in your pocket travel journal. You can then use the rest of the journal to write about your experiences at every destination.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at https://medium.com/@Preparation

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Top Five Essential Items to Have While Hiking



Here is another article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn - Please Note that all links provided in this post are from Lee Flynn and may or may not be affiliate links. 

Going hiking is a fantastic way to get outdoors, become healthier, and appreciate nature. Before grabbing your shoes and heading out the door for your first or next hike, consider that you are leaving with all of the correct items and gear. Hiking and being unprepared are a dangerous combination. You never know what can happen while out on the trails. The following five items are this list are essential things will you need to bring with you to keep you safe and have a perfect hike.


Navigation
It does not matter if you have done 1 hike or 100 hikes; the risk of getting lost always exists. Even if you have your trail all mapped out in your head or have hiked this trail before, there are still situations that could cause you to lose your way. Animals, bad weather, Injuries, and closed trails are all things that could throw off your hike.


To make sure you always know where you are, pack as many of the following as possible; a handheld GPS, a compass, and a map. Do not rely on your cell phone. It is common to lose most, if not all cell reception during your hike. Having a backup navigation plan is essential.


Footwear
You should always wear appropriate footwear when hiking. Not wearing the right shoes can lead to tripping, twisted ankles, sore feet, or shin splints. Eighty-five percent of people wear the wrong type of shoes when working out, and that includes walking, running, and hiking.


For shorter hikes or hikes with easy terrain, athletic shoes like sneakers or tennis shoes with good rubber treading should be sufficient. For longer hiking trips, hikes on tough terrain, or hikes while carrying a heavy load, you are going to want hiking boots with more support than regular shoes.


Water
The average person needs to drink roughly 9 to 13 cups of water every day. For people going hiking, especially in warmer and more humid climates, you need to bring water with you. Never assume that you are hydrated enough to not bring any with you. Hiking is a great exercise and it causes you to burn through your body’s water quick.


Heat exhaustion is common among unprepared, beginner hikers and having at least a liter of water can help you stay safe and hydrated. Never assume that you will find safe drinking water. Always have water bottles, canteens, or drinking bladder with you whenever you hike.


Skin Protection
Depending on the weather conditions, it can take only 15 minutes of sunlight exposure before developing sunburn. Unless you a taking a hike out to your front mailbox, you are going to need to protect your skin. If you are going hiking in a wooded area, do not assume that you will be in shade most of the time. Protect your skin with clothing and accessories like hats and sunglasses while also using sunscreen on any exposed skin.


In addition to protection from the sun, you might also want to consider protection from insects as well. Keeping a can of bug spray with you can prevent you from the misery of bugs crawling on you and mosquito bites. Wearing light pants and light long sleeve shirts can also protect your body from sun and pests without needing to put something on your skin.


Backpack
All the essential items listed above have to go somewhere and you are not going to want to carry them, so a backpack or daypack that can fit everything is another necessity. When picking the right backpack, you are going to want to look at two things, capacity, and comfort.


You are going to want a backpack that can hold everything you bring and even have room for any extra you want to bring along like food, an extra vape box mod, batteries, or an extra change of clothes. Also be sure that the backpack is comfortable. They can get heavy with all your gear in them, but quality packs will be easier and more comfortable on your back, shoulders, and neck.


Hiking with the proper apparel and equipment can lead to having a healthier body and an overall great experience on the trails. The above list is by no means everything you should bring. Depending on when, where, and how long your next hike is, you might need more than what is above. No matter what type of hike you have next, everything above should be a requirement.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at https://medium.com/@Preparation

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

10 Essentials Campers Should Always Bring Along

Photo Provided by Lee Flynn

Here is another article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn - Please Note that all links provided in this post are from Lee Flynn and may or may not be affiliate links. 

Also, keep in mind these are all good essentials for going through a Hurricane too.  After going through Hurricane Irma though, you may want cool clothing too 😅

10 Essentials Campers Should Always Bring Along

Warm Clothing and Blanket
Even if you are going to be camping at a generally high temp location, chances are the nights won't be so forgiving. If you would rather not be chattering from the cold all through the night due to only bringing along your regular pajamas and a sleeping bag per person as a sole means of warmth at night, then loading up on enough extra blankets and warm pj's to sleep in would be the smart move. No one wants to catch a cold on their weekend off in the woods.

Ample Lighting
A few flashlights, a lantern, and a headlamp would be the suggested light sources to tote along for your next camping trip. These are invaluable to keep near you in your tent, for both safety and convenience reasons. Having a flashlight that you can easily access when you need to use the restroom at night or grab something from the car quickly in the case of an unexpected turn of events.

A Backup on Power Sources
Having enough batteries for all your light sources, in case they go out, will serve you and your family from a potentially dangerous situation. Also, if you rely on a portable battery to charge your phones or something to that degree, it's important to be able to keep a consistent charge in times of emergency. If you have a power source and are able to, be sure to bring along rechargeable batteries for all the necessities you would use every day. Think of things such as a means to power your e cigarette starter kit or Iphone while away from home.

First Aid Kit
Speaking of cases of emergency, you should never go on a camping trip without bringing along a first aid kit stocked with all your needed essentials. Bandages, ointment, sewing supplies, gauze, and anything else you may need in times of injury should always be found in the same place. Dedicate a box to hold all of these supplies and keep it somewhere that is easy to access, such as somewhere that is easy to reach in your vehicle. Should you go hiking and are away from your vehicle for a time, be sure to take the kit along with you in a backpack. There is a comprehensive list available with suggestions of what a proper first aid kit should include.

Rope and Tarps
There are many ways that rope can come in handy around the campsite. Same with tarps. In case of a storm hitting your site, you can use tarps and rope to protect your campsite from hail or otherwise.

Map and a Compass
These items are especially useful if you aren't very familiar with the area. You could be going on a hike with your group and exploring somewhere new that you've only ever heard about by word of mouth. Even if you are familiar with the area, it's useful to have a map of where you're at and a compass just in case.

Swiss Army Knife
Invest in a good quality Swiss army knife for all its uses and keep it on your person at all times. These knives come in many sizes, according to what you are looking for in their tools and the quality of the knife. The best kind of Swiss army knife will include useful tools like a small and large blade, can opener, corkscrew, tweezers, mini screwdriver, and pliers, just to name a few.

Plenty of Fire Sources
Even if you prefer to use a lighter to light things, always be sure to pack away a nice carton of high quality matches and leave them where they will stay dry, such as in the car. On the same note, even if you aren't a smoker, always bring along a few spare lighters for the same reason. You can never have too many backup options.

Toiletries
Even though you'll be spending the bulk of your time outdoors on your camping trip, that doesn't mean you have to live completely all natural. Remember to pack away all the necessities that you use every day at home, such as toothpaste, hair product, face wash, and so on.

Bug Spray
Unless you want to get eaten alive out there, bring along some bug spray that wards away ticks, mosquitoes, and gnats. Mosquitoes are especially bothersome in the evening and in areas where there is a water source nearby.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at https://medium.com/@Preparation

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Portable Technology for Your Next Camping Trip


Here is this Month's Article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn - Please Note that all links provided in this post are from Lee Flynn and may or may not be affiliate links.

Portable Technology For Your Next Camping Trip
Camping has become a lot easier, comfortable and enjoyable thanks to various advancements in technology and their resulting devices. Some camping purists will argue that the point of spending time in the outdoors is to disconnect from everyday gadgets; while this is quite the valid point, it is important to note that the devices listed herein will add to the safety, entertainment and overall enjoyment of your trip.


Solar Battery Chargers
First things first: you must find a source of energy to recharge the electronic devices you intend to bring with you on your camping excursion. A solar battery charger such as the Instapark 10 watt panel is very portable and lightweight, but will only work when the sun shines; for this reason, you may want to include an external battery to hold the energy generated by the solar panel. You can also look into batteries equipped with a small solar cell; these often come with a clip that you can attach to your backpack for recharging on the go.


Rugged Tablet or Smartphone
If you're outdoors camping trip will leave you exposed to the elements, chances are that your everyday laptop, tablet or smartphone will not be able to handle the conditions. You have a few choices in this regard: if you only intend to use your mobile devices occasionally during your trip, you can store them in a rugged protective case. If you plan to become an avid camper or hiker whose lifestyle demands connectivity, you will be better off investing in rugged devices such as the Dell Latitude 12 tablet or the Ulefone Armor line of smartphones; these are waterproof, dust-proof and impact resistant devices that provide long-lasting battery life and excellent wireless broadband connectivity.


Survival Lamp
Thanks to advances in illumination technology, you can now go camping with incredibly useful gadgets such as the 30-Day Lantern from Ultimate Survival Technologies. Powered by three D-sized batteries, this lantern will last for a month if you set it at the 29 lumen rate, which is the lowest setting, and for more than 30 hours when it is set at the highest level of illumination.


Earphones
The sounds of the forest may be soothing, but you will sometimes find the need to listen to music, a podcast or a local radio station. Even the most rugged headphones or earphones are known to break down during camping trips, and thus you should look into affordable options that give you decent quality. To this effect, American brand Koss is one of your best options.


Electronic Cigarette
If you are a smoker, a portable vape box mod will make your trip to the wilderness more enjoyable than bringing along traditional cigarettes that are bound to get wet and create fire hazards. You will still need to look into a protective case for your vaping device, but you should not have problems recharging with the aforementioned solar chargers, just be sure to bring a few batteries.


Spot Satellite Messenger
Depending on the camping destination you choose, you may not be able to get a decent wireless signal to operate your mobile devices, thereby making your trip a bit risky. You should only venture into remote and inhospitable locations with some sort of emergency signaling and communications device such as the Spot Satellite Messenger, which is used by park rangers in very remote place such as the rainforest regions of Costa Rica. These devices utilize GPS and satellite communications technology that connects to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center. Spot Messengers can also be used for simple, one-touch communications sent by email or SMS to contacts and loved ones for the purpose of letting them know that you are doing well. Professional mountain rescue squads around the world have invested in these devices, which require payment of a reasonable annual subscription.

In the end, the key to enjoying technology during your camping trip is to choose the right gadgets that will keep you safe and comfortable.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at https://medium.com/@Preparation

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Four Safety Tips to Learn Before Camping


Here is this Month's Outdoor Safety Article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn

4 Safety Tips to Learn Before Camping

If you are planning on going camping, you are probably really excited about connecting with nature, getting some exercise and enjoying some fresh air. You probably do not want your experience to be ruined by any incidents, however, so you could be wondering what you can do to stay safe. Luckily, following these four safety tips can help you stay as safe as possible on your upcoming camping trip.


1. Dress Properly

First of all, you should make sure that you dress properly. Check the weather forecast, and look into average temperatures and weather for the month that you will be traveling in. Remember that weather can change drastically throughout the course of a day and evening when you're camping, so make sure that you dress in layers so that you can add and remove layers as needed. Additionally, make sure that you are properly covered so that you can protect yourself from insect bites, the sun and the sticks, twigs and plants that you might encounter while you're out there. Wearing good shoes or hiking boots can also help you stay comfortable and can help you prevent yourself from getting injured when you're hiking along the trail.


2. Travel in Numbers

Another thing that you should remember when going camping is that traveling in numbers can be a whole lot safer. Along with sticking together when on the trails or out in the woods, it is also a good idea to have a designated meeting spot in case you get separated. You can also bring along walkie-talkies so that you can communicate with the people in your group if you get separated or if you split up for some reason or another, since you might find that you do not get very good cell phone reception.


3. Bring the Right Food and Water

Even though you might have already made a packing list that included things like your clothing and your vape battery, you might not have thought much about the food and beverages that you are going to bring. However, putting some thought into these things is important.


For example, making sure that you drink plenty of water while you are camping is very important; it can help prevent you from being dehydrated and can also help you stay cool when the temperatures rise and when you might be at risk of a heat stroke. Bringing along a few jugs of water and separate refillable water bottles for everyone in your group can be a good idea.


When packing food, you'll want to pack things that will be easy to eat and store while you're hiking or doing other outdoor activities, such as protein bars and fruit. If you are going to be cooking out on an open fire, you may want to bring along meat and other perishables. This is not necessarily a bad idea, but it's important to make sure that you keep your food at a safe temperature, such as by bringing along a good-quality cooler that will keep the food cold for a long time.


4. Protect Yourself from Wildlife

Ensuring that you protect yourself from wildlife is key when you are camping. Make sure that you bring bug spray to help with the insects, and keep food sealed up properly to avoid attracting bears. Keeping your eyes open for wildlife and avoiding touching or otherwise disturbing any animals that you might find on your adventure can help you stay safe. It's also important to look for any warnings about wildlife where you will be camping, such as bear spottings.

As you can see, there are a few different safety tips that you can follow if you'd like to stay as safe as possible on your upcoming trip. If you remember these tips and make an effort to stay safe and careful, you can help prevent anything from happening. Then, you can focus on having a good time and enjoying your surroundings.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at: https://medium.com/@Preparation

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Camping at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida

Highland Hammocks State Park Sebring, FL
Camping in the Tent
This past October, Nadia and I were able to go camping Halloween Weekend at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida.  Our friends John and Cretia, took us in their RV, but Nadia and I decided to camp outdoors in our tent.  One reason was because we have not had a chance to use the tent since our first camping experience at Collier-Seminole State Park.  (we were spoiled by staying in John and Cretia's RV).  The second reason we decided to stay in the tent, was because Florida was actually having a little cold spell.  I think it may have gone down to the upper 60's, but hey we'll take it.

Tent with lantern Highlands Hammock

When we arrived at Highlands Hammock, it was dark out, but we used the lighting from the RV and our lanterns to get our tent together.  It was not hard to put together, but I was glad that John and Cretia helped us.

Highlands Hammock State Park, is one of Florida oldest parks.  It was opened in 1931!  There are various nature trails to take, biking, tram tours and something I was not expecting.  Black Bears!

Highlands hammock state park

When I found this out, I wanted to re-think the tent idea.  I did not have bear spray on me.  That first night, I woke at every little sound, listening for heavy breathing of a bear.  Thankfully we did not see one, but I did hear little critters walking near the tent throughout the night.  Read about Black Bear Safety.

Bears in Florida

I woke up the next morning before Nadia, and decided to open the zipper to my window in my "room".   We have a three room tent.

tent family fun outdoors

When I looked out my window, I actually saw two deer running away into the woods behind us!  I was pretty excited about that and wished Nadia could have seen them too.  We do not get to see a lot of deer where we live, so it is exciting when we actually get to see them.

Highlands Hammock State Park Florida

After everyone was up and we had breakfast; we got ready to bike ride into town.  I believe it was 9 miles each way.  We ended up going to a small mall and then we ate lunch at a restaurant!  Here we were supposed to be camping LOL.

Bike Riding at Highlands Hammock state park

When we got back to the park, we went to ride our bikes to the various hiking trails.  During the month of October, Highlands Hammock runs a haunted tram ride on select nights.  I wished they had it running that weekend.  It sounded fun!

boardwalk hike at Florida State Parks

There were some interesting trails to hike.  Like always, be aware of your surroundings.  We were not expecting to see this big guy.  Luckily we were on the boardwalk and he was below us.

Gator at Highlands Hammock State Park in Florida

Here's a really swampy area:

Swamp in Sebring Florida

Hiking near swamp at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, FL

Now, check out this boardwalk!  It was pretty narrow with only a handrail on one-side.  It was an interesting adventure.

HIking in Florida

There are a Thousand Year Old Oak Trees found in the park.

Oak Trees in Florida State Parks

In this area, you can actually sit out here and watch the deer come out in the evening.


The Park also has a nice looking Visitor's Center, but we were too late and they were closed.

Florida parks

Florida outdoor fun

We arrived back at the campsite and it was time to start making the hamburgers and hot dogs.

camping fun

I slept a lot better the second night, even though my air mattress got a hole in it 😦

No Air Camping

We really enjoyed this park and I would definitely come back here and camp again.  I just hope the tram will be working then.

You can read more about Highlands Hammock State Park and make sure to read all alerts before you travel.

Happy Summer!
The Sunning Anhinga Wall Tapestry


Paddleboarding Parent Checklist to Keep Kids Safe on the Water

Check out this great Infographic on Water Safety for Kids from Jason at InflatableBoarder.com 

Water Safety for Kids: The Ultimate Checklist for Paddleboarding Parents