The Ten Essentials: Part 3 of 3

okokokWelcome to the 3rd and final portion of the Ten Essentials series, providing insight into wilderness preparedness since March 13, 2015. If you are just visiting us without having seen the previous two posts (The Ten Essentials: Part One, The Ten Essentials: Part Two) do whatever catching up you feel appropriate for expanding your own outdoor education.

As stated in The Ten Essentials: Part One “The group that originated The Ten Essentials in 1930 was a Seattle-based organization for climbers and outdoor adventurers called “The Mountaineers”. The list was constructed by the team to help like-minded individuals with preparation in case of outdoor emergencies. Throughout the years the list has been reconfigured and today it is currently in its eighth edition.”

The final four items on our list include: Repair Kit and Tools, Nutrition and Extra Food, Hydration, and Emergency Shelter. Here, I will go into detail on why these items are so important for backcountry trekking and everyday life as well as unveil the best products for each category.

kjnkjjn7. Repair Kit and Tools

Emergency repair kit‘s are important for obvious situations, but also when you plan on preparing food like fresh caught fish your kit can prove to be the difference between eating and going hungry for the weekend. Creating your own kit designed around your specific adventures is also an available option. When weekend camping or fishing, a simple and basic kit is typically more than enough, and opting for this simple yet inclusive kit will save you weight and time in the long run. Some people will choose to add duct tape, super glue, and their own personal hunting/fishing knives depending. The repair kits are significantly different from medical kits in the way that they are more oriented towards dealing with gear related matters as opposed to medical issues.

glkdsm8. Nutrition and Extra Food

Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods don’t typically sound appealing unless you are backcountry-level starving, and this may not be my opinion alone, but more of a universal standard. If you are out on the trail for a long enough period of time where fresh food will begin to spoil, Backpackers Pantry is the industry standard and best place to go for all of your hunger needs (mostly because you’ll grow ill if you attempt to live on trail mix and candy bars for more than a day or so). When you have the option of choosing between Beef Stroganoff with Wild Mushrooms, Chicken Cashew Curry, and Mocha Mousse Pie, you’ll never go back to ordinary freeze dried options again. The only ingredient you need beside the packet itself is, of course, water. No-cook items including energy bars/gels, nuts, dried fruits, or jerky are always great snacks for before and after mealtime.

water-poured-into-glass9. Hydration

Depending on the length of your trip we typically recommend bringing with you a Water Purifier Stainless Steel water bottle, and a Reservoir. When planning out your journey it’s important to chart out oasis’s where there are available sources of water beforehand so that you have an idea where to fill up and if bringing your purifier is necessary. Typically, if you are off the grid for more than a weekend, you should consider bringing your purifier for safety purposes, just in case the “available water sources” no longer exist or are not functional. In everyday life Stainless Steel bottles are the way to go if you are looking for high performance taste, durability, and if you seek something that has proven to withstand the test of time stylistically.

jkjkn10. Continue reading The Ten Essentials: Part 3 of 3

Gregory Baltoro 65 Backpack

The Gregory Baltoro Backpack  is the perfect storage and carrying system for backcountry trekkers and travelers alike. After I explain the main features of this pack, you will come to understand why it’s the perfect luggage transport system for both a Euro-trip as well as a week long 14er journey.

The backpack comes in three different sizes (small, medium, and large) and all are meant to withstand any climate and terrain equally. The pack is made with durable yet extremely lightweight materials that allow for the backpack itself to weigh only a light five pounds. The suspension and molded back panel are what set Gregory packs apart from the competition. Both features are meant to fit the shape of any lumbar spine, making it feel less heavy on your lower back and instead, it distributes weight throughout your entire body. Continue reading Gregory Baltoro 65 Backpack

The Ten Essentials: Part 2 of 3


Now where were we? Ah, yes, the third item in Ten Essentials “Systems”! Previously in The Ten Essentials: Part 1 of 3  we spoke about the creation of the basic Ten Essentials and its transformation into the Ten Essential “Systems”. We covered the importance of Navigation and Sun Protection, but in this entry we will talk about Insulation, Illumination, First-Aid Supplies, and Fire.

baot3. Continue reading The Ten Essentials: Part 2 of 3

How to Pack Your Kayak

Before you set out on any boating excursion, be it fishing, long distance, camping, or whitewater, its crucial to have your dry hatch essentials prepared and properly stocked in your kayak. Although all of these different styles typically require different calibers of gear and equipment, there are some not so obvious basics, necessary for any adventure. Making sure you know exactly how waterproof your hatch is before you begin packing is the first step. If you are unsure on how waterproof the space is and don’t have time for testing, be sure to double pack all of your goods into dry bags and then into the hatch to protect against the risk of water damage.  Continue reading How to Pack Your Kayak

The 3 Rules of Warmth

jMost northerners know what it takes to stay warm on those cold winter nights, and I’m not talking about that magical liquid in the flask. Im talking about the gear you’ll need to hang out in the cold and not even notice that it’s -30 degrees. I’m a Texan that went to live in Colorado for a year to be a ski bum and I only wish a wise man had told me the 3 rules of warmth before I was months into freezing my butt off. A lot of people have their own recipes for staying warm. Momma always said, “wear some layers,” and I’m not going to contradict Momma (I was raised better than that), but that advice is a little vague when you find yourself leaving the house in a blizzard.  Continue reading The 3 Rules of Warmth

Top 5 Kayaking Lessons I’ve Learned in 2013

ACK Web Developer Jeremy Arntz is one of the company’s most frequent paddlers who is typically found on the water at Austin’s Lake Travis once or twice a week. In this article, he shares the top 5 kayaking lessons he has learned this year. See what he has to say:

I’ve been kayaking on and off for seven or eight years now and I am on track to paddle more this year than all the previous ones combined. Every time I paddle I feel like I learn a LOT of new things and there are a few big hitters I would like to share with you.

Top 5 Kayaking Lessons

Top 5 Kayaking Lessons - Take Care of Gear
Jeremy has plenty of gear to take care of.

1. Take Care Of Your Gear And It Will Take Care Of You

This old adage isn’t just for professionals and explorers but holds especially true for us weekend warriors. Take the time to clean and organize your gear after each trip. It’s the perfect opportunity to look everything over. It’s better to find an issue on land and be able to fix it before it puts a damper on precious on-the-water time. Plus, if your gear is organized and in its place, it makes getting on the water a much smoother process.

2. Cool Down By Covering Up

While it may seem counter intuitive to cool off by covering up more skin, all you have to do is take a look at how people dress in extremely hot countries. This year I’ve been wearing a wide brimmed hat, an SPF 40+  wicking long sleeve t-shirt, Buff headwear to cover my nose, lower face, neck and ears, and SPF gloves to protect the backs of my hands. I’ve been out in temperatures of 100+ and I’ve yet to feel overheated and I’ve also avoided having any bad sunburns. Covering up with the proper apparel also has the added benefit of protecting your skin from those harmful UV rays.

3. There’s No Substitute For Experience

You can lift weights to build your muscles, do yoga to improve your flexibility and balance, read or watch videos about paddling, but there’s no substitute for experience. As a paddler, you learn where your limits are and what gears works the best by spending time on the water. Knowing exactly how things feel to your touch and knowing how your boat, paddle and gear will react in different situations is essential to making the best decisions while out on the water.

Advice from Jeremy
Cover up and gets outside as much as you can.

4. Remove The Barriers

Figure out whatever it is that holds you back from paddling and work to remove those barriers. For me, it’s the effort it takes just to get to the boat ramp. If you check my car right now, I guarantee the trunk is filled with paddling gear and the cooler in the back seat is filled with ice and sports drinks. I’ve also started paddling on Friday nights and leaving the kayaks on the car all weekend so I can just get dressed, tighten the straps and take off.

5. Be Flexible

As Robert Burns once wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. You may head to the water with the idea of a nice leisurely paddle only to have a strong headwind in the direction you want to paddle. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you, as long as it’s safe, to be flexible and give it a try. Some of my best days on the water have come in conditions that, if I had known about in advance, I honestly would have just stayed home. Of course it’s important to know your limits and to know when it’s best to stay on shore.