Now that summer is in full swing, most of us want and try to be outside as much as possible. The best time to do that is in the morning and in the evening when the sun is least harsh and the heat most bearable. Even though that’s also the time mosquitoes are out in force.
Swarms of mosquitoes gather to talk strategy near waterbodies and shallow pools across the country. [Image: pixabay.com]
Thankfully, we have our trusty Thermacell® appliances! We’ve been given back not just a 15’ x 15’ bubble of mosquito-resistant bliss, but the freedom to work in our yards or gardens, enjoy the onset of dusk from our back porches, perch in a tree stand, relax with a rod and reel, and pitch a tent without the constant buzzing and biting we might otherwise encounter.
“How?” you might ask. We’ve addressed that here. Thermacell® has made a name for itself providing the best in non-topical mosquito repellents. Through the effectiveness of simple design and allethrin, the devices make the air—the very way mosquitoes sense and alight on you—work to their benefit. The mosquitoes are driven off before they can make a meal of you and others within the device’s “mosquito protection zone.”
“Not being eaten alive by mosquitoes is my favorite!” “Ha ha, me too!!” [Image: www.wideopenspaces.com]
It’s often said that the best defense is a good offense, and there are researchers who are looking at eradicating (certain disease-carrying) mosquito species, while exploring the ethics and deeper consequences of manipulating ecology. But consider for a moment that the best defense against mosquito-borne discomfort and illness is just the best defense. Thermacell®’s “mosquito protection zone” is 98% effective in repelling those pesky flying, biting insects. Oh, and you don’t need an advanced degree in biology to fire it up!
Thermacell® Gets You Outside
If you’re a hunter, angler, camper, hiker or someone who generally likes spending time outdoors, Thermacell® appliances allow you to put your energies into the tasks and leisure activities you stepped outside to enjoy. And nature lovers can enjoy the sweet smell of their surroundings, rather than smelly DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus lotions or sprays, or ineffective citronella candles or torches. You can obtain one at many sporting goods stores, or directly from www.thermacell.com, where you’ll also find more information about the company’s products and refills, as well as user reviews!
Finally, if you’re looking for new places to use your Thermacell® appliance, head on over to your phone’s app store, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® mobile app, and start exploring!
Setting up camp can be a hassle. But even more so when camping in the wilderness or a totally isolated place! Many campers want privacy and choose areas beyond the multitude of campers that station themselves in popular, often crowded spots. Check with you’re national or state park to see where you’re allowed to camp; some wildlife habitats are restricted from human-use. In case you don’t want to be totally stranded or lost, go for primitive camping!
If you don’t already have the items to sleep comfortably outdoors you have to purchase or borrow them. It would be ideal to sleep in the woods without needing anything, perhaps on a tree, but let’s be realistic. When a torrential downpour comes our way we want a comfy tent protecting us, and a warm sleeping bag for those high mountain winds. But we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves by carrying a tons of stuff we don’t need. The best policy is travel lightly, live simply, and learn to improvise. Here’s a basic guide on what you’ll need to camp in the wilderness.
Tent: Know weather conditions, number of people to find the tent with the right space, weight and price. You want a tent that is roomy, light, and moderately-priced. Is it easy to set up? Tents are separated by number of sleepers and seasons. 3-season tents are good for spring, summer and fall. If you’re anticipating humidity, make sure your tent has ventilating mesh panels. If you’re expecting to face harsh weather, a 4-season tent is best.
Why not? [Image: www.tumblr.com]
Sleeping Bag: When choosing a sleeping bag, make sure it fits your body size. Check the temperature rating; most bags go between 15°F to 50°F. For example, if it says ” 30-degree bag,” the temperature should not fall below 30°F, otherwise your sleeping bag will not warm you. Bags can also differ by gender. There are three sleeping bag shapes to choose from: rectangular, barrel-shaped bags and double-wide bags that sleep two people.
Sleeping pad: Don’t let the bitter cold get you! A sleeping pad keeps your sleeping bag away from the cold, hard ground, and adds a cushioning layer. Think about weather, style of travel, thickness and weight when choosing the right sleeping pad. On the heavier side there are air pads and self-inflating pads. The basic foam pads are lighter, inexpensive, but somewhat stiff.
Backpack: Depending on length of travel, preference and body size, you can pick between a variety of backpacks. Go with a lighter bag if you plan on climbing or hiking 1 to 2 nights. Consider the size of your torso when choosing a backpack. There are backpacks especially designed for women. Check for extra pockets, compartments, and water reservoirs (some backpacks come with this feature).
Food: You need to decide whether you’re cooking. Are you fishing or hunting? Otherwise take protein bars, freeze dry food, and food that can easily be cooked. Salad, fruit, vegan-food, burgers, hot-dogs, and sandwiches are the easiest to cook up when camping.
Food Storage: If you’re camping in bear country make sure to take a bear canister with you to keep your food safe. You don’t want bears attacking your tent! Some parks have large food storage compartments at each tent site. For light-use, try picnic coolers with shoulder straps and backpack coolers. For larger groups, try chest coolers.
Lighting Materials: If you’re cooking, you’ll need matches and lighter fluid. You can’t eat chips and peanuts all day! Gasoline is not a good idea; it will make the fire uncontrollable. Make sure open fires are allowed, since campfires may not be permitted in certain parks. If campfires are permitted and a fire grate or pit is not present at the campsite, scout out your campsite for an appropriate place. Pick an area that is not bushy or full of low-lying branches, and keep your campfire low. You can also make fire by using the battery/wool, or the flint/knife method as seen below.
Cooking Equipment: If campfires seem too stressful, try using a campstove or a solar oven. To experience old-timey outdoors cooking, try cooking with a cast iron pot, dutch oven or a grill.
Wood: The best wood is the small, thin stuff (twigs, small branches, leaves, birch bark), but it must be dry. Most parks don’t allow outside wood, since it might contain invasive species, so you’re better off buying it at the campground or finding fallen wood far from your site. Never cut live trees at the campground. Make sure to fully put out the fire when you’re done. Campfires can deplete soil nutrients, so be aware how and where you build your campfire.
Thermo/Canteen: You’ll be needing this for water, juice, tea or coffee. BPA- free, stainless steel insulated canteens are best for hot and cold insulation for many hours.
First Aid: You can make you’re own first-aid kit by storing band-aids, antibacterial ointment, large bandages, alcohol packets, gauze pads, fabric bandages, and medical adhesive tape or safety pins in a small receptacle.
Flashlight: LED flashlights are now smaller and brighter. When buying a flashlight, consider its use, battery type, size, ruggedness, and if it’s water resistant. Solar-powered flashlights and headlamps are also advisable.
Multi-use knife: Ideally, you should have two: one for cutting food and the other for doing manual work. If you don’t have two, one knife will be sufficient.
Biodegradable Soap: It’s important to leave a light footprint when going to these secluded places. Try a soap that is organic or biodegradable. Make sure to use it far away from the water source.
Hiking Boots: Sneakers are often too light and provide little cushion. Hiking boots can take you through rocky trails and slopes without much damage to your feet and knees.
Wooden utensils, plates and cups: Choose lightweight over bulkiness. These are easy to wash and don’t contain chemicals.
Tarp: It’s extra protection in case you encounter heavy rain or your tent rips.
Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more! And remember to breath, take in the scenery, and write about it. There’s nothing like recording your thoughts while being surrounded by nature.
A prepared camper is a happy camper. Before any extended outdoor adventure, it’s important to make sure you have all the camping essentials with you. Yes, we know sleeping bags, tents, proper shoes, and clothing are, in a sense, essential, but we’re talking about items you’d need if something were to go awry. We’re talking about stuff you need if you were to become lost for a long time. Here’s a list to help guide you during your next excursion.
Water is an essential part of life, so it’s super important to have it with you at all times, especially when you’re camping. The weather is going to be hot this summer and you definitely don’t want to get caught outside with no means of hydration. Let’s get hypothetical for just a sec—say you’re stranded out in the woods with limited resources and outside communication. Perhaps you’ve heard of the survival Rule of Threes: one cannot survive for more than three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, or three weeks without food. If you’re a true outdoorsperson, you would be able to use any available water source, build a fire, and purify the water, but chances are you’re not Bear Grylls. So please be sure to have this very important camping essential around at all times.
Again, anything could happen on a camping or hiking trip, and it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive. Food is definitely on this list of camping essentials. Trust us—you don’t want to end up like the Canadian man who had to resort to eating his dog. The same dog who had saved his life days earlier by chasing off a bear. Remember our Rule of Threes—you can survive up to three weeks without food. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but you technically could. Pack enough food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and plenty of snacks. You’ll probably hike all day, and you’ll need to replenish your energy. Be sure to not leave food out because it could attract scary wildlife to your campsite.
If you have a connection, you could always use Pocket Ranger®’s advanced GPS mapping features to navigate your way around. If you’re beyond the reach of a signal, then pull out your handy compass. You should always know where you’re going when you’re hiking or camping. If you don’t have some sort of tracking device, it’s easy to mix up directions and go farther away from where you need to be. Plus, you’ll seem real cool if you know how to use a compass.
It’s dark, cold, you hear scary sounds, and you’re afraid. No, you’re not at Charlie Sheen’s house. You’re night camping and you forgot your flashlight. You’ll need the extra light if you’re going to go out and use the restroom or if you need to leave your tent. If there’s no nearby light source, you can misstep and fall down a hill or seriously injure yourself. If you can construct a torch to carry around all night, then go for it. But trust us—you’ll want this camping essential. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries!