Camping this weekend? Be prepared…

Are you heading out for the weekend? Maybe a few nights at a State Park, or a couple of days at a hike-in-site.  Be prepared. Take a quick and simple inventory of your gear and you can make sure that you have a relaxing weekend.

  • Water
  • First Aid
  • Lights
  • Insect Repellent
  • Rain Gear/Rain Canopy
  • Camera

Water – In most cases water will be readily available in areas like State Parks, but that doesn’t mean it will taste good. For water that has already been treated check out the CamelBak Groove Bottle, it has an integrated charcoal filter so that your water always tastes great and each replaceable filter is good for 30 gal/114 L. If your water source is suspect try the Playpus Gravity Works Filter System. It does all the work for you, using gravity to move the water from one bladder to the other while passing it through an advanced, hollow fiber filter that effectively removes particulates, bacteria and protozoa.

First Aid – Plan for the minor emergencies. Bandages, aspirin, ibuprofen, safety pins, tweezers, antibiotic ointments, etc. Check out the Adventure Medical Kits Weekender, everything you need to be prepared in a compact, tri-fold carry case.

Light up the night – A lantern is nice and sets the mood, but in my opinion headlamps are a must at any campsite. Hands free means you can play cards, cook or make equipment repairs in the dark. Check your batteries and, even if you know that they are new, bring backups, nothing is more useless than a dead headlamp.

Insects – Unfortunately they want to co-exist with us and we don’t nearly appreciate them as much as they do us. Bring repellent, or better yet, treat your clothing so it does the work for you without all the smell. Solutions like the Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent spray on your clothing and last up to 6 washings.

Rain – Depending on where you are this may seem like an impossibility. Here in Texas it seems like it will never rain again, but when it rains, well, it pours and this will ruin your trip if you aren’t prepared. Not only do you want to bring a tarp or canopy, but also a rain jacket. Something you can work in to set up camp or make provisions under should the rain sneak up on you.

Capture the moment – Most of us have a camera on our phone these days and that might suffice for your next adventure, if not, make sure you have some way to capture the special moments, we don’t want to hear about the one that got away….

Obviously this list can go on forever, but hopefully this sparks some reminders and helps make the next outing one to remember, for the good things ;-)

Steve @ACK

Yep, It’s Hot.

This heat is slowing me down, no time to write a lengthy intro today. Instead, I’ll simply get right to it. It’s HOT! Yeah, really, really hot. You’ve heard it all before, drink plenty of fluids, limit outdoor physical activity and stay in the shade. So no need to preach the same story again. If you are like me, you’ll tend to ignore the heat and continue doing the things you enjoy like paddling. However, I do take all necessary precautions to make sure that I avoid dehydration or even worse, heat stroke.

For instance, keeping hydrated is priority number one. When paddling longer distances, I tend to utilize a CamelBak Hydration Backpack such as the Octane XCT. This one in particular is perfect for paddling since it is made for “minimalist trail running or riding” meaning that it has a sleeker design that doesn’t get in the way. It’s great for paddling because I don’t have to stop and open a bottle whenever I need a drink. It’s just there and produces no trash. As an extra precautionary measure, I also pack a Platy Water Tank. It holds 4 liters of water and I can easily hide it away inside the cockpit.

I have to admit, I am more of a cap guy so you’ll rarely see me wearing big-rimmed hats. However, caps alone don’t provide the protection you need in extreme conditions. That’s why I use the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap — it’s  a cap but also offers full protection over my ears and down to my neck. When I am finished paddling, I simply remove the shield and keep the cap on, it’s perfect!

I have dark skin and rarely get sun burned but it doesn’t free me from using sunscreen. Regardless of how dark or light your skin is, sunscreen is key when it comes to protecting your skin for harmful sun rays. If I plan on staying out in the sun longer that a few hours, I shed the t-shirt and shorts for apparel made specifically to keep me cool and protect me from the sun. Columbia has it all figured out with the PFG Blood and Guts Superlight Long Sleeve Shirt. Not only does it offer UPF 50 sun protection but with a vented mesh-lined back, the breeze sure feels good. Together with a pair of Backcountry Convertible pants, Columbia has you covered…literally.

And of course, we can’t forget about our eyes. How about a pair of quality sunglasses by Costa? Whether fishing or simply paddling for joy, protecting your eyes is just as important as anything else. Also helps deter the reflection from the sun off the water so you can see where you are going and what’s beneath you.

I invite you to browse our website to see all the other products we offer made specifically to protect you from the sun and keep you cool. Also, if you have any other recommendations you’d l like to share, comment below.

Stay cool!