Category Archives: camping equipment

Aspen Road and Mountain Bike Tours

Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. You will want to keep in mind, a good part of Aspen is comprised of wilderness area – The list below will provide you with information for available rides. You can also call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website. Keep in mind: Mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the Wilderness boundaries and this includes Mountain Bikes –

Recommended Mountain Bike Rides

Smuggler Mountain Road – Follow Neal Street to King Street to Park Street to smugglersSmuggler Mountain Road where the trip begins.  At the fork in the road (approximately 1 ½ miles), take a left.  This road travels uphill for one and a half miles to the Smuggler Observation Deck. Going left will connect you with an entire network of trails:  Smuggler Mountain Road to Hunter Creek Trail andSmuggler Mountain Road to Lenado Trail.

rio Grande trail

Rio Grande Trail – This trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved.  The trail then crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point.  The trail proceeds northwest to Woody Creek. For more information on this trail and a map please visit Lay Some Tread. (EASY) We recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch in our Day to Defy Ordinary Itinerary.

sunnysideSunnyside Trail – The trail begins on Cemetery Lane.  Follow Cemetery Lane from Hwy 82 where the road crosses the Roaring Fork River.  Approximately ¼ mile beyond this point, you will see the trail beginning on the right.

brush creek trail

 

Brush Creek Trail – The trail begins behind the tennis courts on Maroon Creek Road.  It crosses Buttermilk Mountain and finishes in Snowmass.  As this trail crosses private property, it is VERY important that bikers stay on the trail only.  Failure to do so could jeopardize future use of this trail.

The town of Snowmass has a variety of mountain bike trails to offer, some of our favorites include the Rim Trail, Tom Blake Trail, and the Government Trail. Click here for a link to their trail map.

Mountain Biking Essentials list

Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit
Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If the popped tube is worth salvaging, I’ll patch it up later when I get home from the ride.

Bike Pump
You can’t fix a flat tire without a pump. I use the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Pump because it’s very small and lightweight, but still powerful enough that it won’t tire you out just pumping up your tube. Or for an even more minimalist and time-saving option, a CO2 inflator is worth checking out. I’d recommend keeping a couple of full cartridges on hand if you’re going this route.

Tool Kit
You can assemble your own, or pick up a pre-assembled kit. At minimum, it should include the following:

  • Tire levers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Bike-specific multi-tool
  • Chain tool. A multi-tool does in a pinch, but if you need it, you’ll be glad to have the specific tool. And speaking of chains …
  • A few links of chain and a quick-link

First Aid Kit
You’ll probably need it when you don’t have it. Keeping a bike-specific first aid kit stowed away in your pack enables you to be at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected. One item that has come in handy time and time again is a towel. I like to throw a couple Lightload Towel pucks into my pack. They are as the name implies light 0.01 lbs, they take up almost no space and are surprisingly durable. Check them out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c

Light
On a long ride, one setback can leave you racing to beat sundown. A headlamp or handlebar light is good to throw in the pack. If I know I’ll be cutting it close, I’ll bring my NiteRider Pro 1200 along for the ride.

CLOTHING

As many of us know from staring at forecasts all winter long, the weather won’t always turn out how you expect.  When heading out on that all day ride, there are a few things I always try to carry with me.

Extra Layer or Jacket
A long sleeve jersey or a light cycling jacket with a bit of weather defense is a good choice. Depending on where you ride you may opt for more or less wind or water protection. For my longer rides I like to pack my Norrona Fjora Aero 100 Jacket because it is lightweight, packable, and breathable, yet still provides enough protection for the random storm.

Extra Socks
Are you expecting a little mud or water on your ride? Socks are easy to throw in the pack and would be nice to change into on your lunch break or when things dry out.

Gloves
It seems like every time I forget my gloves, I crash and cut up my hands.  Keep them in your pack so you don’t make the mistake I’ve made too many times!

Sunglasses
Even if it’s not a sunny day, glasses with clear or light-colored lenses are essential protection, coming in handy when you roll through a cloud of gnats or are banging through an overgrown trail. No-slip nosepads and grippy temples on sunglasses are kind of a must so they’re not slipping or bouncing around on your face. Interchangeable or, better still, photochromic  lenses are ideal for changing light conditions over the course of a long ride.

FUEL

Water
Hydration packs are the best option for these long rides. But if you already have a regular pack and aren’t looking to get a new one, you can do what I did and just purchase a hydration bladder separately.  For long rides, you’re probably going to want a three-liter one.

Drink Mixes
To go all day, it’s good to have more than just water.  An extra water bottle with a Skratch Labs mix will keep you replenished and less fatigued so you don’t get sloppy at the end of the trail.

Food
Aside from packing a sandwich for lunch, energy bars are good to throw in the pack. I usually bring a couple Clif Bars with me, but protein bars and energy gels will also keep you pedaling.

GEAR HACKS

Your pack is stocked and ready to go, but there’s always that off chance you’ll need to get creative to in order to make it down the trail. Zip ties are at the top of the list when it comes to bike gear hacks—they’re small, lightweight, and can be used to fix all kinds of things—like busted derailleur hangers, flapping fenders, and broken shoelaces—well enough to get you down from the mountain.

Be sure to bring along the other gear hack hall of famer, duct tape. If a zip tie can’t fix it, duct tape probably can, from sticking things onto your bike to bracing or splinting injured body parts like wrists or ankles. There’s no need to weigh down your pack with a huge 60-yard roll; bring along one of these emergency-sized rolls or wind 4-5 feet around a golf pencil or small stick and throw it in with the rest of your gear.

My own personal don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my wallet. And not only for the obvious access to emergency funds; a business card tucked into my wallet once came in handy on a ride on the Wasatch Crest Trail. After a second flat on the same tire, I discovered a small slash in the sidewall (the replacement tube blew out because of that hole).  It was a long way back in either direction, so we needed a quick fix.  I took the card out of my wallet (which I just happened to have with me), folded it up, and placed it on the inside of the tire against the slashed sidewall.  I aired up the second tube inside of that, and it held for the remainder of the ride. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to bring my wallet along instead of leaving it in the car, because it just might save the day.

– See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/explore/whats-in-the-pack-mountain-bike-essentials#sthash.Hn56Onn4.dpuf

Love everything about the outdoors except wasps?

Wasps can be a problem in your home; sometimes they can even sting and cause lots of pain and discomfort! Your yard imagescan be a “dangerous” place for you to relax. Sometimes wasp can even lead to great injuries in case you are allergic to their stings.

To try and keep the wasps off your home there are many ways which you can employ for you to get rid of them. The best way for you to go about it after you discover your home has been affected by the wasps is to look for natural ways that will help you to get rid of wasps.

This is due to several reasons, for instance, after you decide to make use of natural ways you will save your money in trying to keep the wasps off as well as avoiding any health complications in your home. The following are natural ways that you can use to get rid of wasps:

1.Use Soap Sprays

This is a method that you can easily apply in your home after you notice wasps are increasing in population. First, you need to identify the nests and prepare a solution of soap and other detergents that you use in your home.

With the help of a garden hose you can spray the nest with the solution. This will kill the wasps naturally hence making you get rid of them easily.

While spraying them you should be careful not to be stung by standing in a strategic position where they will not notice you easily.

2. Avoid Substances That Attract Wasps in Your Home

There are substances such as foods rich in sugar which wasps like a lot. After you make an effort and avoid throwing those foods in your home you will reduce attracting wasps to your home. Other foods that attract them include meat and pet foods. In case there are left overs of such foods in your home you should try and keep them in a bag that is sealed well to avoid cases where wasps may end up being attracted to your home.

3. Grow Plants That Deter Wasps

Plants such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint and citronella are natural wasp deterrents. If possible you should grow those plants in your garden where they will deter away the wasps. Apart from the plants chasing away the wasps naturally they will also add beauty to your garden.

4. Put up Fake Nests

Wasps are known to be very territorial. After you but up a fake nest in your home you will reduce chances of wasps putting up nests in your home because they will think another colony is already established there. There are several materials in your home which you can use and come up with a fake wasp nest or buy a new one.

5. Block-off Underground Nests

Sometimes wasps can build an underground nest in your home. You can easily get rid of wasps in a natural way by blocking all the entrances of the wasps. When blocking the entrances and exits you need to ensure you block all of them so that you will deny the wasps access to food which will make them die over some time.

To ensure you block the entrances and exits completely you can decide to use a cover and add grease to make it a tight seal.

6. Hang a Sandwich Filled With Water

You can easily keep the wasps out of your house by hanging a sandwich filled with water. This will make the wasps think there is a spider web on your door which can trap them.

This is a simple trick that you can use to keep wasps out of your home easily. The sandwich is very easy for you to design and it will lead you to getting rid of wasps easily without killing them where they will migrate to other places away from your home.

7. Traps

For you to reduce the population of wasps in your home you can decide to come up with glass wasp traps which you can use and trap wasps in your home. When making use of the traps you need to use attractive baits which will enable you attract a lot of wasps so that you can reduce their population and even get rid of them completely

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The Ten Hidden Gem National Parks

We here at Lightload Towels are always looking for that ultimate get-away from it all place. So when we ran across this article in Esquire we just had to check it out. How does 400+ square miles all to yourself in some of America’s most pristine and remote wilderness sound to you for a total get-away? According to Esquire these are 10 of North Americas least visited National Parks.

1) Kobuk Valleykobuk-valley-national-park-new-lg

Far and away (no pun intended) the least visited of our national parks system, Kobuk Valley National Park attracted only 847 visitors in 2007. Located in the Arctic Circle, accessible only by foot, dogsled or snowmobile, and featuring exactly zero designated trails and roads, the park’s title of least visited isn’t really that surprising.

What Kobuk Valley lacks in user-friendliness, however, it more than makes up for in sand dunes and caribou. The park is also a great place to experience the anomaly of 24-hour daylight (but only for one month a year).

 

2) Lake Clarklake-clark-np-lg

Concentrating all the best that Alaskan wilderness has to offer into a single park, it is surprising Lake Clark National Park and Preservation had only 5,549 visitors in 2007. Lakes, active volcanoes, three mountain ranges, glaciers, waterfalls, arctic-like tundra and even a rainforest comprise this majestic park outside of Anchorage. Sled dog teams were the best way to travel around the area until the 1960s, but they have recently faced competition from snowmobiles.

At 6,297 square miles, Lake Clark National Park provides plenty of open space for your personal enjoyment. With an average of only 15 visitors per day, this means each visitor has 419 square miles of pristine national park to him or herself every day

 

3) American Samoaamerican-smoa-np-lg

How many national parks can boast a rain forest and a coral reef? The National Park of American Samoa is unlike any other park, and if you weren’t one of the park’s 6,774 lucky visitors in 2007 (which, statistically, you probably weren’t), we suggest you check it out.

The park, which spans three islands, offers a chance to see some great wildlife, from flying foxes to humpback whales. Admission to the park is free, which is good news because you’ll probably need to book a couple flights to get there — and don’t forget your passport. Sure, it’s basically three-quarters of the way to Australia (a nonstop flight from Los Angeles takes about 10 hours), but the National Park of American Samoa is way cooler than one of those overcrowded touristy national parks.

 

4) Gates of the Arcticgates-arctic-np-lg

Don’t let Into the Wild scare you away from the almost-untouched-by-man natural beauty of the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Considering it’s roughly the size of Switzerland, it’s surprising that only 10,942 people ventured through this Alaskan park in 2007.

Millennia of glaciation and erosion have carved out a breathtaking array of valleys, rivers, mountains and crystal-clear lakes. For an opportunity to enjoy tranquility like you’ve never experienced before, head north — far, far, north — to this park, where you’re more likely to encounter a moose or caribou than another tourist

 

5) Isle Royaleisle-royale-np-lg

Isle Royale is a true hidden gem — perhaps this is why Michigan’s state gemstone (Isle Royale greenstone) is named after the remote little island that’s closer to Canada than it is to the States. Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior, the greatest of the Great Lakes. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Isle Royale National Park attracted 15,973 visitors in 2007.

Due to its remoteness, the island is populated by only about one third of the mammals that are found on the mainland. Interestingly, it is the only known place where wolves and moose live together without bears. If you don’t like crowds (or bears) pack up the seaplane and head to Isle Royale National Park.

 

6) North Cascadesnorth-cascades-np-lg

Considering its size and location (which is inconvenient, to say the least) it’s no surprise Alaska has so many parks on this list. While Alaskan national parks feature some truly amazing stuff, North Cascades National Park in Washington provides an opportunity to experience Alaska-like wilderness closer to home. In addition to bears, moose and cougars, the park has the most glaciers (more than 300 of them!) outside of Alaska. Sadly, that number is steadily decreasing as global warming continues to claim its victims, so go see them while you can.

Located in northern Washington, the park is popular among backpackers and hikers. Its 400 miles of trails also make it accessible to less-adventurous outdoor lovers. North Cascades National Park was enjoyed by 19,534 visitors in 2007.

 

7) Dry Tortugasdry-tortugas-np-lg

Looking for sunken pirate ships and lost treasure? Civil War history buff? Really into masonry? If any of these apply to you, then Dry Tortugas National Park is the park for you. Seventy miles west of Key West are the Dry Tortugas islands, so-called because they lack surface fresh water (“dry”) and Ponce de Leon caught a lot of sea turtles (“tortugas”) here in the 1500s.

The centerpiece of the park is Fort Jefferson, a behemoth brick fortress originally intended to protect the U.S. from Gulf Coast invaders (namely pirates), but also used as a Union stronghold during the Civil War. The fort, although never completed, is comprised of more than 16 million bricks, making it the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere.

Dry Tortugas is also a great place to watch migratory birds in the spring. With almost 300 bird species in the park, birdwatchers are in for quite a treat. As the 60,895 people who visited the park in 2007 can attest, Dry Tortugas National Park offers some great history in an idyllic setting.

 

8) Wrangell-St. Eliaswrangell-st-elias-lg

The largest of all the national parks, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is actually larger than nine states. It is almost impossible to understand the scope of this park without experiencing it firsthand. Glaciers and mountains — many of which could support their own national parks — are the only ones crowded here. The park’s 13 million acres provide a sprawling remote destination that is actually pretty accessible, as far as Alaskan national parks go. With 61,085 visitors in 2007, the park is increasing in popularity so enjoy its majesty before the Yellowstone crowd catches wind of it.

For those who just need some room to breathe, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park offers an average of 124 square miles per visitor, per day. That’s the size of the country of Malta — and it’s all waiting for you at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Smoky Mountain National Park, the most popular in the national park system, only offers a measly 0.03 square miles to each visitor each day.

 

9) Great Basingreat-basin-np-lg

Think of tourist destinations in Nevada and the first place your mind likely goes is Las Vegas. But our 36th state has so much more to offer than just strippers and slot machines. Head toward the Utah border and you’ll find Great Basin National Park, which attracted 81,364 visitors in 2007.

Thanks to an almost complete lack of civilization in these parts, the night skies of Great Basin National Park are among the darkest in the country. Think of the park as the yin to Las Vegas’ yang. Flashing neon lights are replaced with awesome, naked-eye views of the starry night — a rare opportunity for many. It’s estimated that two-thirds of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their backyards, and as light pollution continues to worsen, chances to observe the cosmos as nature intended might be running out.

 

10) Katmaikatmai-np-lg

Katmai National Park in southern Alaska provides thrill seekers an opportunity to hike among 14 active volcanoes and the world’s largest population of protected brown bears. Active volcanoes and thousands of brown bears not extreme enough for you? Well the National Park Service Website also warns visitors to expect only “some sunshine” and to “be prepared for stormy weather.” And here’s the kicker: it also offers the caveat that “light rain can last for days.” Consider yourself warned.

With 82,634 visitors in 2007, Katmai National Park is the most visited of our least visited national parks.

All of these places are truly the “hidden gems” of North America, remote and unfettered by man or machine, so if you are planning a visit to one of these locations make sure you pack plenty Lightload Towels for the trip!

A Master Camping Checklist…

From beginners to veterans – a checklist can make the difference between a camping trip that is as fun as you hoped, or one you suffer through.

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Free printable camping checklist. From lists for camping gear and supplies, to food and kids clothes. Happy Campers Camping-Checklis

You should have your camping checklist in hand as you load your camping gear – and turn those checks you made when you gathered your gear into “Xs” that will let you know you actually loaded it – instead of remembering to gather it, and then leaving it on the garage floor when you actually packed to leave.

From the “Master” camping gear checklist for the trip organizer, to a personal gear list the kids can do – these free printer-friendly supplies, and equipment printouts will help ensure nothing gets forgotten.

It can also help you avoid taking gear you don’t need. Why carry a heavy Dutch oven when you will only be using a frying pan? As you scan the list below, don’t get overwhelmed – remember, you will not need everything on it. It is intended to include everything you might need, not everything you have to take.

 

What To Bring: Gear

Packing for an overnight trip requires more gear than a day hike. (Print out a gear list to make sure you pack what you need.) When you’re first starting out, you may want to rent or borrow gear before making such a significant gear investment. Keep in mind, though, that items like backpacks need to fit you well for maximum comfort, meaning borrowed or rented gear might not be as comfortable as gear that’s been fitted to you.

More gear means more weight – a pack loaded with the necessary gear, food and water generally weighs between 30 and 40 pounds for a 2-4 day trip; longer trips require heavier pack loads, but that doesn’t mean your pack has to weigh you down. The key is packing what’s necessary without creating an impossibly heavy pack. Ultralight gear can help, if your budget allows, but sticking to the basics will allow you to backpack comfortably without spending thousands of dollars on new gear. Remember every pound counts!

Clothing

If there’s one rule for clothes in the backcountry, it’s layer, layer, layer. That way you can add or peel off clothing if you feel too cold or too hot. Make sure to avoid cotton: it’s a poor insulator when wet, making you feel colder and increasing your risk of hypothermia. Look for synthetic or wool materials instead.

  • First (base) wicking layer: Tops and bottoms made of wicking material like Polypropylene, Capilene, Thermax, SmartWool or other fabrics help carry moisture away from your body and insulate even if wet.
  • Second (middle) insulating layer: Warm insulator, like a fleece, down jacket or wool sweater (or a combination of these).
  • Third, weather-proof layer: Windproof and waterproof pants and jackets made of water-shedding, preferable “breathable” material, like GoreTex is essential.

Other clothing to bring includes:

  • Hats: Both a sun hat and a warm knit wool or fleece hat for cold nights.
  • Gloves: lightweight in summer, insulated in colder months.
  • Non-cotton t-shirt and long-sleeve shirts; lightweight pants and shorts, or convertible hiking pants.
  • Underwear.
  • Socks and sock liners: Use hiking-specific socks for better cushioning and breathability; thin liner socks help prevent blisters (critical on long hikes!).
  • Boots: Take a look at the article Finding Boots for your Hiking Feet for some tips on what to look for in fit, style, material, etc. And remember, fit is critical, so try on lots of styles! If it’s not comfortable in the store, it certainly won’t be on the trail.

Backpack

You’ll need a backpack that will provide enough space for all your gear without causing you discomfort. In terms of size, you should choose a bag with a volume between 40 and 70 liters (2400 to 4200 cubic inches) for most 2-4 day trips, and a pack of at least 70 liters (4200 cubic inches) for trips 5-days or longer.

For comfort, style is less important than fit. There are two general styles, internal and external frame, and either one can make a perfect backpacking pack. The key is to make sure that 80 percent of the pack weight is carried by your hips. This is ensured by proper fit, particularly with internal frame packs. Get good advice from an experienced outdoor gear retailer and try on many varieties to find one that feels best.

Tent

To find a tent, consider when you’ll be camping, where you’ll generally go and how many people will use the tent. For most backpacking, three-season tents work great. They’re a snap to set up, are great in most weather, and their parts can be split up between your backpacking buddies to reduce weight. Take a look at this page on How to Buy a Tent for tips on purchasing your first tent.

For extra protection, you can opt to bring a ground tarp. Just make sure the it’s two inches shorter than the edges of the tent, since larger ground covers can funnel water to you, leaving both you and your tent soaked.

Sleeping Bag and Pads

Choosing the right sleeping bag and pad can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a long, uncomfortable night followed by a tired, miserable day.

Sleeping bags are generally rated with a degree, which indicates the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you comfortable (e.g. a “20 degree” bag should keep you warm in temps above 20 degrees). When choosing a bag, keep in mind that even in summer, night temperatures can dip below freeing in the mountains. This means it’s a good idea to choose a “three-season” bag that’s rated between 0 and 15 degrees – it’ll keep you warm even when cold and, if it’s too warm, you can always unzip it slightly to let in cooler air.

Sleeping pads insulate you from the cold and from any rocks or roots on the ground. Many backpackers like Therm-a-Rests or other “self-inflating” pads, but if you’re looking to save weight or money, an inexpensive closed-cell pad can often fit the bill nicely.

The Essentials and First Aid Kit

On top of the big ticket items, there are a few smaller pieces of gear that you should never enter the backcountry without. You’ll find more details here, but for the meantime make sure you always pack these Essentials:

Map and Compass (See above)

First Aid Kit (read here for what you’ll need)

Extra Layers and Rain Gear

Firestarter and matches

Multi-tool or knife

Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries

Sun screen and sunglasses

Extra food (see below)

Water and a way to purify it (see below)

light weight super absorbent towel (I happen to like the Lightload Camp Towels they are inexpensive and super absorbent)

A note on First Aid:

Before heading into the backcountry, make sure that your First Aid kit is well stocked, and check to make sure nothing’s out of date. It’s also a good idea to take a Wilderness First Aid (or better yet First Responder) course so that you’re prepared in case of emergency. Find out more about that here.

Other Misc. Items

  • Small plastic trowel (for digging “catholes” where you’ll do your business) and toilet paper
  • Biodegradable camping soap, toothpaste and a sturdy hand towel 
  • Duct tape (not required, but useful; wrap it around your water bottle for easy packing)
  • Plastic bags for trash
  • Repair kits for tent, stove, sleeping pad, etc.

What to Bring: Food and Water (and the kitchen!)

Water

It should come as no surprise that water is one of the top Essentials. Backpacking can be hard work, and you’ll need to keep hydrated, especially on hot days. A good rule of thumb is to drink a liter and carry a liter at all times, that way you can be sure to have extra in case of emergency.

Of course, you can’t just drink water straight from the stream. Even the purest looking water can contain pathogens like giardia, which can cause serious illness in the backcountry. Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat water to make it safe for drinking. The simplest and most effective method is simply bringing water to a boil. (No need to wait a certain length of time after it starts boiling- the heating process is enough to kill any pathogens). When you’re not at camp, though, you can use chemical water treatments or filters to make water drinkable.

Food

Eating is pretty important when you’re burning around 5,000 calories a day, if not more. It’s so important, in fact, that we’ve dedicated an entire section to backcountry cooking, including recipes and meal ideas. One thing to think about when shopping for backcountry foods is weight to calorie ratio. Look for lightweight foods, like dehydrated refried beans or hummus mix, rice, and noodles, that will fill you up and give you energy without loading you down. Avoid cans, bottles or bulky packaging that you’ll have to carry out later. If you have the budget for it, pre-packaged dried meals can be a good choice, though certainly not a necessary one, as this article points out.

Freeze Dried Food
Prepackaged meals are easy to prepare, weight little and are quick to clean up. They aren’t cheap, however, and quality varies.

Breakfast options range from the old standby — instant oatmeal — to more creative ideas, like homemade granola, instant soups, toaster pastries, or even pancakes laden with fresh mountain huckleberries. Hot cocoa or Tang can make waking up on a cold morning that much easier.

Lunch is almost always eaten on the trail and usually consists of dense, calorie-rich foods such as bagels, cheese, nuts, salami, trail mix, dried fruit, powdered hummus, jerky, M&Ms, drink mixes (such as powdered Gatorade) and energy bars. Snack throughout the day to keep energy levels higher and to avoid feeling full.

Dinner is probably the most flexible of the meals. Once you make camp, you have plenty of time to prepare more involved recipes, if you so choose, or you can keep it simple with pre-packaged mac-and-cheese (just make sure to bring dehydrated milk) or dehydrated refried beans with instant rice. If you have a sweet-tooth, you can even opt for backcountry desserts.

Cooking Gear

Your backcountry kitchen can be as complex or simple as you choose. The most basic kitchen needs little more than a lightweight backpacking stove and fuel, a pot and pot grip, a large metal spoon (for cooking), and bowls, spoons, or even dutch ovens.

Stoves generally break into two categories: white gas and butane/propane. White gas stoves have a metal fuel bottle you refill with camping gasoline, and these generally burn hotter than canister stoves. You usually need to prime the stove, which adds time to the cooking process.

Canister stoves are simpler to light. Fuel is contained in a sealed cylinder that you toss out when empty. Some downsides include more expensive fuel, and more waste. But canister stoves are extremely lightweight and easy to use. Both options are very lightweight and work quite well for most backpacking trips.

Escape the City with a Towel

Urban Escapes is a great way to get away from the city and do outdoorsy stuff like hiking, climbing and boating. Lightload Towels is a proud sponsor. Urban Escapes Founder Maia Josebachvili says:

I brought a three-pack of lightloads with me while backpacking in the Himalayas in Nepal for a month. They were awesome! Didn’t weight a thing (which I really appreciated at 18,000 ft) and were just as effective as a regular towel. I’ll be using them again for sure!’

Check out National Geographic’s Urban Escapesuggestions. http://on.natgeo.com/1lsNQXO

Please contact Urban Esapes if you are an outdoorsy person living in the New york city area

-Maia J.
Maia Josebachvili
Founder and Guide
Urban Escapes
212.609.2547

Check out www.urbanexcapenyc.com

Ultimate Summer Camp Packing List

Everything your child needs for summer camp.

Summer Camp Packing

Packing for camp is an art form. Unlike sending your child for a sleepover at a friend’s house, a stay at a resident camp can last from a week to an entire summer, with a camping checklist of things equally as long. So before you zip up that knapsack and send him on the bus to summer camp without enough underwear, check out this summer camp packing checklist.

Things to remember while packing for camp.

Before packing for camp, check with your child’s camp packing list provided by the organization. There may be things like bedding that you’ll need to include in your child’s gear.
Next, wash all new clothing before packing and remember to mark everything your kiddo will be taking, from socks to soap cases, with his name or initials.
Now, armed with an empty truck and your camping checklist, calculate how much clothing your child will need. The Summer Camp Handbook recommends you pack your youngster enough clothes to last one-and-a-half times the number of days he’ll be at camp for camps that run a week or less (they probably don’t provide laundry service), or the number of days between laundry service for camps longer than one week.

CAMP PACKING LIST
Here are the things you and your child will need to pack for a typical summer camp:
• Bandanna/scarf
• Hat
• Glasses/contacts and cleaning solution
• Prescription medication
• Sunglasses
• Goggles for swimming
• Dress clothes and coordinating belts and shoes
• Light jacket
• Jeans
• Raingear or umbrella
• Shorts
• Sweatshirt
• Swimsuit
• Swim shirt with UV protection
• T-shirts
• Tank tops
• Underwear
• Sweat pants or warm up pants
• Pajamas
• Cotton bathrobe
• Bras
• Athletic support (jock strap)
• Boots
• Cleats
• Flip flops
• Shoes plus a spare pair
• Socks
• Bedding — check with your camp checklist for what, if any, to bring for bedding
• Hand towels (I found that the Lightload Towels are perfect for camp. They save space so you can put a dozen in)
• Beach towels — can be used for bath or swimming (Lightload Towels again are perfect)
• Shower caddy
• Comb or brush
• Deodorant
• Feminine hygiene products
• Bug repellant
• Lip balm
• Nail clippers
• Shampoo and conditioner
• Shaving cream and razors
• Soap in carrier
• Sunblock
• Tissues
• Toothbrush, toothbrush container, and toothpaste
• Camera
• Flashlight and spare batteries
• Laundry bag
• Reusable water bottle or canteen
• Writing paper, pre-addressed envelopes, and stamps or calling card
• Spending money (but check with camp for policies)
• Comforts of home, like a family photo or a stuffed animal; just be sure it is replaceable
• Entertainment, like books, hackey sacks, and deck of cards
• Small backpack or tote for day-trip

According to The Summer Camp Handbookauthor and psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber, the first thing on your camping checklist when packing for camp should be to give yourself plenty of time to help your youngster pack for camp.

Also, remember to make it a team effort. “When you pack together and take your time, your excitement about summer camp can rub off on your child while also ensuring that nothing is forgotten when it comes to checking off your summer camp packing list.” That way, you can relax knowing junior has everything he needs while away and can focus on having fun!

We want to thank SHEKNOWS PARENTING for including us on this list!

 

WICKABLE LIGHTLOAD TOWELS CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE TRAVEL AROUND THE GLOBE

WICKABLE LIGHTLOAD TOWELS CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE TRAVEL AROUND THE GLOBE Jamaica, New York (November 18, 2009)— Traveling light is a goal for many people, whether they’re going on an extended backpacking trip or a day trip to the mall. With this in mind, Lightload Towels were invented. The hallmark of Lightload Towels is their space-saving design and light weight in addition to the wickable fabric from which they are made. Packaged to fit a 2-inch diameter, the towels are small enough to fit in a pocket and still leave room for other incidentals like keys and a wallet. Lightload Towels open to a full 12” x 24” inch 30x60cm size. They weigh only ½ ounce or 17 grams each and are constructed from 100% viscose, a wickable fabric that draws excess moisture from skin. Wickable fabric is best for keeping warm in cold weather. The towels are an almost indispensable piece of gear for backpackers, campers, fishermen, hikers, bikers or anyone who travels outdoors, and now, after years of successful sales in the United States, Lightload Towels can now be purchased in Europe on amazon.de (Germany) and amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom). Less adventurous travelers will also appreciate the versatility and compact design of Lightload Towels, which can be used in hundreds of imaginative ways. They are useful as fire starters, scarves, insulation, first aid bandages and strainers. They can also be used to protect skin from wind and bugs or any time a traveler needs something to cover the ground to sit on. The towels are more absorbent than cotton, and they dry much faster. A single, machine washable towel can be used over and over again. Lightload Towels are also inexpensive at approximately $2 each. Buyers who purchase 12 towels or more can get a 50% discount using coupon code “50 per.” More information about this product can be found on the company’s website at http://www.ultralightloadtowels.com. Lightload Towels are also available in stores, online and in catalogues through retailers such as EMS, REI, Campmor and Paragon Sports They make excellent stocking stuffers for anyone who can benefit from a lightweight, compact “take-along” towel.