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

Tips and Tricks for Hiking the Guadalupe Mountain Trail

IMG_0867At 8,751 ft. you stand at the highest peak of the Guadalupe Mountain Range and subsequently, the highest point in all of Texas, sandwiched far between Carlsbad and El Paso. It’s an adventure big enough for a true Texan or in my case a Texan transplant. Your car’s headlights are the only trace of light when entering into the park past dusk, and with no houses illuminating the mountainside, the park is reminiscent of most of West Texas- beauteous but bleak. It’s obvious to me that the desolation itself is the main attraction, drawing thousands of tourists to the baron landscape every year.

If you are on a mission for seclusion it is only natural that you will eventually find yourself point blank in West Texas surrounded by spontaneous dust tornados and animals more confused by humans than they would be by monsters. Continue reading Tips and Tricks for Hiking the Guadalupe Mountain Trail

Climbing at Reimers Ranch Park


This past Sunday, I wanted to get outside and accomplish some much needed climbing. After warming up a bit at the North Austin Rock Gym I headed west to Reimer’s Ranch for some bouldering, hiking, and people watching. In my option, Reimer’s Ranch has proven to be the best outdoor climbing spot closest to Austin, TX (besides the Greenbelt) where you can perform a series of different styles from bouldering to sport climbing including some epic and notorious climbs including the famous “Arbor Wall”. Most of the rocks are already bolted up so if you fancy top-rope climbing, there are plenty of fun under-hangs all ready for you to test out!

reimersranchReimer’s Ranch is easily the most populated hiking spot near Austin. There are so many different activities from fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, swimming, and the obvious climbing. Continue reading Climbing at Reimers Ranch Park

The Road Less Traveled by ACK’s Social Media Coordinator

unnamedroad Growing up in a big city had always made me feel homesick for a landscape more rural, beautiful, and vast; a place I had yet to discover. My parents, being fond travelers, were dedicated to making adventure time a priority while my brother and I were growing up. Every fall, since before I can remember, they would bring us to the Door County, Wisconsin Peninsula to spend days riding and photographing the trail; my brother and I would stare out at the vast woods from my dad’s Burley bike attachment. Family trips through Northern Michigan, Arizona, and California fostered in me a great appreciation and wonder of nature before I could even be trusted with training wheels.

High school was where I really began to expand on this adoration. Continue reading The Road Less Traveled by ACK’s Social Media Coordinator

Food for Day Hiking

Written by Freelance Journalist and Health Enthusiast, Helen Veale

Food and water are the most important things to take with you on a hike as you will be burning a lot of energy!

Consistently, you should plan to eat at least one snack every hour. Make sure some of these snacks are salty in order to replace electrolytes lost through sweat (1). Without good nutrition, your hike could quickly turn into a disaster leaving you weak, unable to focus or enjoy yourself. In extreme circumstances a lack of nutrition can even put you at risk. This is why it’s so important to make sure that food and water is the first thing you should pack for your trip. Continue reading Food for Day Hiking

5 Tools you Shouldn’t Live Another Winter Without

Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device

1. To put it simply the Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device is the destination tool for anyone living in a climate where winter and ice go hand in hand. The traction device molds to the shape of any shoe sole, allows you to move more naturally than would a crampon, and still provides you with that much needed grip on uneven volatile surfaces. The device is made with high-strength abrasion resistant steel coils as well as heavy duty natural rubber material, yet the traction’s final weight doesn’t even add up to seven ounces. The traction device is durable enough to withstand running, hiking, or just killing time in temperatures as low as -41 Fahrenheit. Continue reading 5 Tools you Shouldn’t Live Another Winter Without

6 Reasons to go Hiking in Winter

kWhenever temperatures start dropping below forty degrees, especially in regions unaccustomed to the chill, residents begin to focus their time on indoor activities and perfecting already flawless hibernation techniques. Don’t get me wrong, winter hiking/camping is not meant for the faint of heart, but it’s also not something to knock without trying. You may be an especially happy camper if you already know the importance of  dressing in layers (wear something to cover your head/ears), checking the weather before you get outside, and making sure that the trails nearest to you are open and maintained.


There are so many reasons why you should brave the storm and venture out into your own winter wonderland, the quiet white mystique alone is worth at least a mid winters day stroll. But if you aren’t already compelled to get outside more often than letting your dog out, here are a few reasons that may make you think differently about wintertime recreations. 


1. No Bugs to Stop you in your Tracks

Winter is the time and place where you can finally refrain from dousing yourself in mosquito repellant when venturing into the thick woods. Not only do your seemingly delectable ankles get a break, but so does your surrounding environment! Continue reading 6 Reasons to go Hiking in Winter

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

Resolve to Get Outside and Play in 2015

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the 40f7re2deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature more. – Lord Byron

The beginning of a new year brings about new ideas, promises, and resolutions for everyone. We look online and research how we can better our lives, our relationships, our mediocre cooking skills, and ultimately ourselves. The answers and the solutions are as complicated or as simple as we make them. This year, resolve to keep things simple, get outdoors more, and trust that by doing so a lot of the complicated questions will be answered. Continue reading Resolve to Get Outside and Play in 2015

Hiking and Your Feet

Written by Dr. Jeffery W. LaMour at Family Foot & Ankle Clinichiking

Hiking is one of the easiest ways to engage in regular physical activity. Unlike many other athletic pursuits, hiking requires minimal equipment and can be done in almost any type of weather. Plus, there’s the added benefit of exploring the great outdoors while clearing your mind from everyday life. Since hiking typically involves walking on uneven terrain, it can help to develop and strengthen the lower body, but can also expose it to injury. We contacted the experts at Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) to give us some tips on how to keep feet and ankles injury-free while hiking. Continue reading Hiking and Your Feet