Tag Archives: outdoor

Winter Camping and Outdoor Recreation at ‘Base Camp Oswego County’ Feb. 25

WILLIAMSTOWN –Outdoor enthusiasts can learn winter survival skills and the basics of winter camping while exploring the grounds of Camp Zerbe at the second annual Base Camp Oswego County, a winter outdoor expo, Saturday, Feb. 25.

The event is sponsored by Pinnacle Builders USA Inc., Oswego Expeditions, the Oswego County Search and Rescue Team, Oswego County Division of Parks and Recreation, Oswego County Tourism Office, and several volunteers who are experienced in outdoor recreation.

Workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the lodge and on the grounds of the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe, 253 State Route 104 East in the town of Williamstown.

Outdoor winter camping on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown.

OUTDOOR WINTER CAMPING ADVENTURE – The second annual Base Camp Oswego County will take place Saturday, Feb. 25, on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown. A variety of field trips and workshops will be held during the day, with optional overnight camping. For event information visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223. (Photo by Mary Ellen Barbeau.)

“The purpose of Base Camp Oswego County is to introduce people to the basics of winter camping and Oswego County’s great resources for outdoor recreation,” said event chairman and County Legislator Jake Mulcahey of Oswego.   “We have a full day of field trips and workshops scheduled. Overnight camping will be available Saturday night, Feb. 25, for those who bring their own winter camping gear and register in advance. This year we’ll have designated areas for family camping and adult only sites.”

Workshop topics include cross-country ski and snowshoe hikes, snow shelter building, winter survival skills, GPS and orienteering, working with sled dogs and skijoring, camp cooking techniques , fat bikes, and ice fishing. Admission to the workshops is free. There is a $10 registration fee per tent for overnight camping.

Food vendors will be on site during the day. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their own sleds, skis and snowshoes if they have them. A limited number of snowshoes will be available for loan.

Overnight camping will be available for those who pre-register and bring their own winter camping gear. To register, call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223 or visit http://bit.ly/2kb8TJr

Two clinics will be held prior to the event for first-time winter campers. Jake Mulcahey and Barb Hartman will conduct “Introduction to Winter Camping” clinics at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Mexico Public Library, 3269 Main St., Mexico; and Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports, 177 W. First St., Oswego. Those planning to camp overnight should bring all of their own gear and food for Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast. Overnight campers will be asked to register and sign an insurance waiver.

The Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe is owned by Oswego County and overseen by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Division of Parks and Recreation. Any proceeds from the event will be donated to the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau for youth recreation programming.

For information, visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223.

Hop in a Chevy Colorado for Your Next Adventure!

Listen up adventure seekers—we have some thrilling news that we couldn’t be happier to share! ParksByNature Network recently partnered up with Chevy Colorado, and we can hardly contain our excitement over this new sponsorship. Not only is this amazing news for us, but it’s even better for you. With its roomy interior and ability to excel in all types of terrain, the Chevy Colorado ensures you’ll have a fantastic outdoor experience and makes driving to your favorite state parks and wildlife areas a lot more enjoyable. From the time you situate yourself in the comfy seats to when you get to your destination and use it’s convenient 4G LTE high-speed Wi-Fi (especially helpful for using your Pocket Ranger® apps!), there’s no doubt that the Chevy Colorado is an outstanding choice for all adventurers.

Chevy Colorado vehicle in the mountains near a tent

Get to your destination and use it’s convenient 4G LTE high-speed Wi-Fi.

Picture this: It’s a gorgeous weekend. Maybe you’re heading into the breathtaking mountains of Western New York, exploring one of Ohio’s picturesque state parks, or hitting the surf in Virginia Beach. Whatever your passion, it’s time to get out and head for the hills. Of course you’ll want to bring your favorite fishing rod, lucky running shoes, beloved bicycle helmet, or treasured tent in tow. With the Chevy Colorado, fitting your gear is easy, so you can spend more time exploring the outdoors and less time packing your truck.

When you’re all set, weave through the city and then seamlessly head off into the mountains. Its four-wheel disc brakes and Duralife™ brake rotors reduce the wheel shutter while assuring overall durability. The electric power steering makes driving along a slick or icy street virtually the same experience as riding on a bone-dry road. It’s built to withstand all the elements, whether you’re feeling adventurous on a rainy day, looking to explore a snowy peak, planning to head off the beaten path, or just want to have the perfect picnic.

After you decide on your adventure, you’ll be elated by how spacious and accommodating the Chevy Colorado is. The two-tier loading and bed divider makes packing up your gear an easy task; you’ll find yourself trying to fill all the extra space rather than looking for room to squeeze in one last thing. A multitude of accessories are available to accommodate any type of adventurer as well, such as bike racks, ski racks, hitches for trailers, GearOn™ bed dividers, and much more.

Man hitches bicycle to his Chevy Colorado

The Chevy Colorado makes adventuring easy with room for all your gear.

Not only is the Chevy Colorado roomy, but it provides a cozy, intuitive drive as well. The truck is immensely sturdy, so cruise along in luxury and security as your favorite jams stream out of the impeccable Bose speakers. Meanwhile the thick windows and triple-sealed doors reduce the whistling wind and outside road noises—you might have a bit of trouble convincing yourself to get out of the car once you finally reach your destination!

The Chevy Colorado doesn’t stop there with its impressive features. Charge up those electronic devices along the way in any of the four USB ports because you’ll be using them once you park. The truck can be turned into a hot spot with 4G LTE high-speed Wi-Fi, courtesy of OnStar. The signal is even stronger than what your devices regularly receive. The best part of this feature is that you’ll be able to use your Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to enhance your explorations!

With all the mind-blowing benefits, investing in a Chevy Colorado is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. Bring all of your favorite gear, stay connected to other explorers near you, and stay up-to-date about any information at nearby parks. It doesn’t really get much better than that! 

Head over to our Gear Store to add to your collection, then download our mobile apps to find a park near you!

How to Plan the Perfect Picnic

Happy Earth Day! Go out and celebrate with a spring picnic. If planning isn’t your favorite thing to do, then we’ve got you covered! Once you follow this guide on planning the perfect picnic, everyone is sure to have a blast.


Picnic tables on green grass by a lake

Image: www.picnic-basket.com

Using your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can find state parks that offer picnicking spots for you. Just go to Explore > By Activity > Picnicking. Or you can simply search by using the Nearest Me map feature and selecting only the picnicking icon from the menu.

Date & Weather

Blue sky with the sun shining above green grass and trees

Image: www.landscapehdwalls.com

It is important that you choose a date where all of your guests are able to attend. While you are choosing a day, remember to check the weather to make sure that there won’t be any rain clouds in sight.


Aloha themed picnic decorations

Image: blog.smartyhadaparty.com

To make a picnic exciting and unique, the host should make it a theme picnic. Guests can come dressed to match the theme or they can bring recipes! Themes can vary from Hawaiian, 80’s themed, fiesta, sports, Mardi Gras, etc.

What to Pack

Picnic basket with a cooler with drinking items

Image: www.popsugar.com

  • A picnic basket for tableware and nonperishable items.
  • 2 coolers – Use one for cold beverages and the other one for perishable foods such as meats and salads.
  • Food that will be barbequed to feed all of your guests, unless each guest is bringing a dish.
  • Plastic bags – To keep your trash in.
  • Folding chairs
  • Blankets or sheets to spread out if you like to sit on the grass.


Cold food should be kept at 40 degrees or colder so it won’t spoil. Your cooler should be 25% ice and 75% food. Ice should be on the bottom and at the sides. Place the heaviest, perishable foods over the ice at the bottom of the cooler; then layer lighter items on top. Remember that a full cooler will stay colder longer and that larger pieces of ice melt slowly. Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees or more.

If you are taking salads with you, remember to place serving containers in a larger pan with ice under them, to keep them cold and fresh.

BBQ Tips

Family barbecuing in the park

Image: urbanmilwaukeedial.com

If you are planning on barbecuing at the park, make sure that the park you are visiting has BBQ grills available, unless you are permitted to bring your own grill.

Before leaving home, wrap raw meat in plastic containers or in re-sealable plastic bags. You can also freeze meats before packing, especially if you are traveling a long distance. It is advised to not partially cook foods at home to speed up the cooking process, which can cause bacteria to grow on food.

Fun Stuff

Family playing football in the park


To keep the fun going, bring along board games, softballs, a football or a frisbee. You can also check for playgrounds, basketball courts and ATV trails during your state park location research.

You and your guests can also go on a hike to tour the state park you are visiting, and watch the sunset if you are planning to stay the entire day.

Suggested Gear:

  • Sun Screen
  • Shades
  • Hat
  • Bug Repellent

Check out these accessories at our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store and search for much more items that can be used during your outdoor adventure.

Back to Basics: 4 Camping Essentials Necessary For Survival

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 secsay 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.


camping essentials

Image: www.campingtourist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/camping-meals.jpg

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 usyou 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 Threesyou 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.


camping essentials

Image: www.PocketRanger.com

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.


camping essentials

Image: www.pictures.picpedia.com

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 usyou’ll want this camping essential. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries!

Outdoor Activities Books

Interested in getting involved in some new outdoor activities this summer? Reading may help you decide what to pick. We have put together a list of some outdoor activities books that serve as great introductions!

These books aren’t just designed to be instructional—they are also written to communicate the spirit of the activity and why people find it fun and fulfilling. Check ‘em out!

Trout Bum

Books On Outdoor Activies

Image: www.goodreads.com

This book is a collection of essays on various aspects of fly fishing. Hang out alongside John Gierach as he fishes for cutthroats, rainbows, brookies, browns, and more in all kinds of weather, at night, with friends, and alone. But this isn’t just documentation of a guy casting in a stream. Stories include Gierach’s foray into tying flies commercially, acquiring gear at various points in his trout bum career, and he weighs in on the debate of graphite vs. cane rods in his own humorous and entertaining voice. There’s even a vague feeling of the supernatural at times.

Even the way Gierach describes the fish offers a window into how captivating the world of fly fishing can be. He shows readers the way they look on their underbellies versus their camouflaged tops, the way they can hover in one spot against the currents just by lightly moving a fin and then disappear—not swim away, disappear—in an instant. This is in addition to his comments on just how smart trout can be.

For those who know nothing about fly fishing, it’s interesting to discover the mentality behind throwing fish back—wouldn’t you want to keep them? Gierach says of course early on you’re so happy to have caught something that you keep it, but later you might throw them back more. One reason for this is an almost zen-like focus on the activity rather than the reward.

Of course if you do keep a big, legendary catch as a trophy, be sure to have the Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® app downloaded so you can maximize on your proud moment!

How to Be a Bad Birdwatcher

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.amazon.com

If you want an enjoyable read as well as a great way to learn about what birdwatching really is, Simon Barnes will take you there with his charming and humorous approach. One of Barnes’ themes in this book is that if birdwatching is taken too seriously it cannot be enjoyed.

The point is, you already know about birds just from casual observation. To start birdwatching, all you have to do is use your eyes to look! Barnes discusses the satisfaction of identifying birdsong and recognizing a bird by name with even the quickest temporal glance.

Even though Barnes comes at this subject from the angle of laid-back simplicity, he’s still giving good advice on how to be a “legitimate” birdwatcher.

Ten Years Under the Earth

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.ebay.com

With chapter titles like “The Oldest Statues in the World,” “The Great Cave Bear of the Pyrenees,” and “The Phantom Hands of Gargas,” these caving adventures from first-hand experience sound like fantasy writing. Ten Years Under the Earth is cave exploration literature for beginners and experienced cavers alike.

Casteret was a real risk taker and would aggressively tackle perilous challenges such as the infamous siphons, or submerged tunnels. His discovery of prehistoric cave drawings catapulted him to fame. Readers will see that caving is a very physically demanding activity and Casteret pushes it to its limits.

Also, with some quick google searching you can read Ten Years Under the Earth online for free, complete with illustrations.

Hunting Deer for Food

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.jacksonlanders.com

This book has a way of drawing people in who may not have even been big fans of the idea of deer hunting to begin with! Jackson Landers takes a sometimes not-so-discussed perspective on deer hunting as “the most inexpensive, environmentally friendly way to acquire organic, grass-fed meat.” Okayyou’ve got our attention, Jackson.

In addition to being a great introduction, this book really does a lot to help the reader learn about and respect deer hunting as a meaningful activity. It is highly recommended even to those meat eaters who are morally opposed to deer hunting!

For more on the subject, check out this post on deer hunting by one of ParksByNature’s own!

The Man Who Walked Through Time

Books On Outdoor Activities

Image: www.christownsendoutdoors.com

The Man Who Walked Through Time is a testament to the power and influence a book can have on culture and people. In this case, the culture of backpacking experienced a major upsurge in the 70s and 80s and Colin Fletcher’s writing is regarded as having contributed to that rise.

You’ll come along with Fletcher as he journeys from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other. No Hollywood drama like getting injured or being attacked is to be found in these pages.

Like other books that have been written on the subject of backpacking, this one goes into detail on where his trek took him and what kinds of things he observed. But Fletcher takes things further by giving the reader insight into what was happening in his mind during his journey—the philosophical insights he had on his trip. He presents a paradigm of how backpacking can be an activity that is in harmony with nature.

Now that you have some outdoor activities books, you’ll be able to get your feet wet trying these things for real. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to see what the possibilities are for exploring these activities firsthand!

How to Dress the Part of an Outdoorsperson

Let’s say you’re walking along, you find yourself at some kind of park, and you strike up a conversation with a person that you begin to fancy. All’s going well: you’re talking about your favorite books and bands, where you grew up, and other such things that occur in potential pre-first date conversations. But then, lo and behold! This person starts talking at length about this great overlook he/she wants to take you to, and it’s only a 15-mile hike, and you start to realize that your six summers at sleepaway camp as a child just aren’t going to cut it because you’ve somehow roped yourself a true outdoorsperson.

Between hipsters masquerading as lumberjacks, overalls (which look suspiciously like fly fishing waders) being back in style, and fashion plates mimicking chic safari garb, it was understandably hard to discern that your new potential love was a hiking/camping/fishing/hunting/general outdoor enthusiast, but now that you know, we’re here to help.

Disclaimer: We don’t advise completely changing who you are for love. We just thought this was funny. Also, we want everyone to love the outdoors.

So, read closely, friends. We’re going to tell you how to dress the part of an outdoorsperson. Luckily for us, it’s in time for spring fashion finds, so here are our picks!

For the fellas:

dress the part of an outdoorsperson

Image: www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-skeena-river-waders-long?p=82310-0

These men’s skeena river waders are lightweight but durable. If you show up to the watering hole with these on, you’ll look like a fly fishing pro.

backpacking shoe for men

Image: www.thenorthface.com

The North Face’s men’s storm mid waterproof leather shoe is fashionable yet rugged, and is perfect for backpacking on wet terrain. Put these babies on and your new special someone will think you’ve been hiking for ages.


men's fishing jacket

Image: www. pocketrangerblog.com/gear-store/

Throw on the Simms men’s flyte jacket, and its windstopper technology will have you feeling comfortable throughout your whole excursion.

For the ladies:

These women’s wreck mid GTX North Face hiking boots are fashionable (get a load of those blue laces) without being too in-your-face. Plus, they’re lightweight, waterproof, and have Grippy Vibram® rubber soles for optimum traction when hiking on wet or dry surfaces.

hiking boots for women

Image: www.sunandski.com

These grey socks may not look like stunners, but SmartWool mountaineer socks will show your new partner that you mean serious business when hitting the outdoors. Perfect for hiking, mountaineering, etc., the extra cushioning, breathability, and ability to not get stuck in your new boots will have you thanking us after your excursion. (We accept all kinds of gifts, like love letters, Twitter shout outs, etc.)


women's mountaineering socks

Image: www.rei.com

Did your new squeeze suggest a trail running date? No problem! Get yourself these Patagonia Houdini® pants, and you’ll look like you were born ready. They have a water repellent finish, cuff with snap closure to get them on and off over running shoes, and a reflective logo so everyone will see you speeding by.


clothes for outdoorsperson

Image: www.shoebuy.com

Love is in the air, friends, so fall in love with the outdoors with these fashion finds. For other get-ups perfect for outdoor adventures, check out our Gear Store.

What are your favorite picks for outdoor wear?


Staying Warm While Winter Camping

Contributed by Michael Restivo of Mike off the Map

Cold Camping

Cold Camping (image: www.flickr.com/photos/90028379@N00/6887082378)

Winter camping is camping at its purest form. No big crowds, and you’re out in the backcountry, alone against the harsh elements. For many, winter camping is a heightened endeavor due to the varying conditions, the unpredictable temperature, and the sometimes-uncomfortable atmosphere. Despite the harshness of the experience, there are several ways to make it a warmer, cozier, and more enjoyable trip. By making changes to your diet, sleeping habits, and clothing, it is possible to get the best out of winter camping.


winter camping

SALAMI (Photo credit: Renée S. Suen)

Our bodies are constantly burning fat to stay warm, especially in colder climates. Burning energy generates heat, which translates into warmth for the body. When camping in the winter, it is best to eat more frequently than usual, especially because the cold weather can sometimes cause a lack of appetite, especially at high altitudes. A common trick for many mountaineers and high altitude adventurers is to eat foods that are commonly high in fat such as dry salami and other cured meats, since their bodies burn all that extra energy. If on an extended alpine touring or snowshoe trip, eating bread, pasta, grains, and candy can provide necessary carbohydrates to keep moving efficiently.

Also, it’s a good idea to eat a snack in the middle of the night to make up for lost calories. Cold air can quickly suck out moisture so another way to keep warm is to drink hot water with lemon or hot tea. Alcohol is discouraged, as it risks dehydrating the body even further.


gear : sleeping bag-MountainHardWear ULTRALAMI...

gear : sleeping bag-MountainHardWear ULTRALAMINA 32 (Photo credit: b.m.p.)

Although it may seem cozy, it is a bad idea to turn the sleeping bag into a “cocoon”. If the entire body is submerged within the confines of the sleeping bag, the breath can cause unwanted condensation and form ice crystals inside, negating the bag’s warmth-giving qualities. If using a mummy-style bag, it is acceptable to pull the draws tight around the head but keep the nostrils and mouth exposed to the air, so condensation is directed upwards. Before going to sleep, fill a Nalgene bottle with boiling water and keep it inside at the foot of the bag. The bottle will lose its heat overnight but will be warm and frostless in the morning.


winter hiking in Finland Suomi: Retkeily

winter hiking in Finland Suomi: Retkeily (image: commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winter_hiking_in_Finland_2007.JPG)

The three-layer system is well known: A base layer, a mid layer, and a top down layer, but the most important part is keeping all layers dry at all times. Occasionally snow will enter or condensation can build up, so keep all extra layers inside the tent to dry. Additionally, remove the insoles from hiking boots or the inner layer inside plastic mountaineering boots, and carry an extra dry pair of socks to wear around the campsite. Carefully dry damp clothes, as they run the risk of freezing overnight. When stuffing clothes inside of a backpack, line the backpack with a plastic garbage bag to keep any snow or water from entering.

When winter camping, the best way to stay warm is keeping all your equipment as dry as possible, eating foods that are going to burn calories, and minimizing the perspiration or condensation that may develop inside the sleeping bag or the tent. When choosing a sleeping bag or a tent, judge the area and the possible temperature carefully, as having a bag or tent that is rated too high or too low depending on the season can make the trip much more uncomfortable. Stay smart and as always, the best way to stay warm is to keep close to your camping partners.