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Explore National Parks with the Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide

National Parks Passport app opening page

Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide [Image: www.pocketranger.com/apps/national-parks]

Whether you’re planning a trip across the country or looking to explore your local environment a bit more, a detour to a National Park site along the way should be a crucial part of your planning process. The release of our Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide makes planning a whole lot easier and more fun than ever before! Our National Park Passport Guide will be available tomorrow (Saturday, March 21) on the App Store, Google Play, and through our PRX site!

National Parks are brimming with cultural, historical, and natural significance like you won’t find anywhere else. From a tropical getaway in Hawaii to a more obscure trip east of the Mississippi, our app provides you with all the information you want and so much more. We’re preparing beginners for their first trips to these sites and supplying the seasoned pros with the types of updates and information they’ve been waiting for.

A picture of Oregon's Crater Lake National Park on the National Park Passport app screen.

Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide [Image: www.pocketranger.com/apps/national-parks]

With GPS mapping technology utilized in the app, it’s easy to create the perfect trip. Start off by searching for a specific park, looking up national sites that are near you, or checking out what areas have your favorite outdoor activities available. Once you’ve found the best spot, you can map your route by road, satellite, or hybrid and terrain. Don’t forget to share your current position, waypoints, and tracks on social media along the way, too! Navigation is easy with longitude/latitude positioning and the built-in compass, and you can even record, save, and recall your footfalls. Even if you’re not quite sure of where you want to go, the app has a handy list of the Top Ten National Parks (including the acclaimed Acadia National Park!) for you to browse through at your convenience.

The Explore section of the National Park Passport app  where you can search by Nearest Me, By State, By Activity, By Zip Code, or choose to Search by Park Name.

Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide [Image: www.pocketranger.com/apps/national-parks]

The app makes it possible to stay up-to-date on the comings and goings of National Parks, too. Check the weather before heading out, find directions, browse through various park maps, and look up different park events all by simply tapping your finger. You can even set it up so your device receives alerts from your favorite parks. Contact information is available for each park site as well as fascinating history and park overviews.

Screenshot of the Acadia National Park home screen.

Pocket Ranger® National Park Passport Guide [Image: www.pocketranger.com/apps/national-parks]

We’ve supplied you with plenty of winter escape suggestions already, but the warm weather is finally starting to peek its head out from under the snow, making now the perfect time to starting planning a new venture. Whether you want to learn a bit about the history of a certain area, explore on land and water, or just kick back and relax, the National Park Passport Guide will become your new best friend. Once you embark on your travels, make sure you check out our photos from other visitors and snap some pictures of your own to share with us on social media—even though our Instagram picture contest has ended, we’d still love to live vicariously! Happy travels!

Inclement Weather and Kayaking Safety

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

If you’ve ever spent any time out on the water paddling, chances are you’ve been stuck in weather that was not particularly favorable. Be it high winds, thunderstorms, or rough water, there is always a real and present danger when a person decides to start paddling. But a little bit of common sense, preparedness, and a healthy respect for the elements can help keep you out of trouble.

High Winds

Kayaking Safety

This is probably the most common form of inclement weather when out on a paddle. It doesn’t necessarily have to be foul weather for wind to take a toll on a paddler. Be conscious of your own abilities. Remember that at some point, you’re going to have to fight the wind against your kayak or canoe, and it’s vitally important that a person realizes how strong of a paddler they either are or are not. Be flexible with how you anticipate your paddle going. If you have to adjust your planned path to stay out of the wind, do so. Chances are you won’t regret it at the end of the day.

Rough Waters

This ties in directly with high winds. Any time wind has a chance to rip across open water for a long distance, you’re going to encounter rough waters. The longer the distance and deeper the water, the rougher the conditions. It’s not only important to evaluate where rough waters may occur, but also realize that there are simply some days you cannot launch. I recently made the mistake of paddling in weather that I should not have, and I paid dearly for my mistake with hundreds and hundreds of dollars of lost gear. Really ask yourself if your safety (and gear!) is worth risking when dealing with rough waters.


Kayaking Safety

Now that summer is here, it’s the time of year for afternoon showers and thunderstorms. In areas like my home state of Florida, summertime weather is unpredictable at best. I’ve witnessed clear blue skies transform into massive storms in just a matter of minutes. These thunderstorms not only bring high winds, and thus rough water, but a much more dangerous threat: lightning. When paddling, you’re generally the tallest thing on the water, and a lightning storm is the last thing you’ll want to be caught in. It’s important to plan accordingly for thunderstorms. You may want to adjust that 14-15 mile round trip paddle. What happens when you get to mile 8, and there’s a massive thunderstorm between you and the car?

General Safety

Wear your life jacket.

I’ll say it again: wear your life jacket. If you’re forced to face foul weather, it can literally save your life. If paddling, I strongly suggest wearing the life jacket and not just having one aboard the boat. Unpredictable things can happen in inclement weather and the difference between wearing a life jacket and simply having one aboard could literally be the difference between life and death.

Overall, just use common sense. It’s your best tool against the unpredictability and harshness of Mother Nature. If you think you can’t paddle, don’t. Adjust your plan if needed. Flexibility and the ability to say no to certain conditions can help ensure your safety. And even though paddling, fishing, and simply being out on the water is great, it’s never worth risking your wellbeing over. So when you’re out paddling this summer, just remember to stay smart, and know your limitations. You’ll be thankful later.

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?


The New And Improved Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™

When you think social media, you probably picture Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. But we at ParksByNature want you to add another social network to that list: we want you to think Trophy Case™.

What’s this Trophy Case™ we speak of? Why, it’s our newest breed of app: a photo and video sharing portal, designed exclusively for outdoor enthusiasts. And what does that look like? Funny you should ask, since we can show you right here!

Pocket Ranger Trophy Case Splash

If you think this looks pretty, wait till you see all the other user photos!

It’s pretty much like an Instagram—an extra-special Instagram that allows you to find and follow new friends and see beautiful photos—but only the beautiful photos you want to see. Meaning, all of the photos users posts will be outdoor-related, but you can choose what you to want to appear on your feed: any combination of Wildlife Watching (Birding), Fishing, Hunting, and Scenic!

Since it’s truly an outdoor community (you can share on the Trophy Case™ platform AND through Facebook and Twitter!), we’re planning on some real community-oriented events, too. That means we’re planning some really cool challenges—things like photo and video contests, fishing tournaments, our patented GeoChallenges—that enable Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™ users to score points and win prizes!

But, wait! That’s just the basics. We’re here to tell you about the fabulous updates we’ve just done—the new and improved Pocket Ranger™ Trophy Case, if you will.

First off, we just added video capability to the app, which is pretty super, if we do say so ourselves. We’re even ready to guide you through shooting your first video. See?

recording  Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™

Step-by-step instructions on filming your first video. You’re welcome.

Once you become a regular ole’ cinematographer, you can add special effects, like the ability to shoot separate clips and put them into one continuous video!

special effect cropped Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™

Like so.

Other updates? General things, like performance enhancements—you know, things like the app loads faster, posting a photo or comment goes quicker, and crashing is pretty much a thing of the past!

But if you thought that was it, you’re wrong. (This is the new and improved Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™, after all!) There’s now hashtag capability—you can hashtag your posts and search for other photos using hashtags. We know what you’re thinking: #awesome.

Anyway, if #videos, #hashtags, and general performance enhancements weren’t enough, we’ve got one more update for you: more defined privacy settings! You can set your profile (and therefore your posts) to private if you only want to share things with certain users. And changing your settings is super easy to do!

Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™

No Trophy Case™ users will be saying “privacy, schmivacy”—if you want to keep your things private, it’s easy to do so.

Those are all the updates we have so far, but never fear—we’re always working on developing new features and improving our apps, so pretty soon we’ll have even more updates for you.

For now, enjoy the new and improved Pocket Ranger Trophy Case™ app! Join the community here.

Oh, and remember, like all of our apps, Trophy Case™ is free to download, free to use, and free to engage with. Have you downloaded the app yet? Tell us all about it!