Top Two Extreme Camping Experiences

Have you ever dreamed of camping in the treetops or pitching your tent high on a mountain cliff? Those risk-takers, who like to flirt with danger, thrive on such experiences.

Extreme camping certainly isn’t for everyone, but this type of camping is becoming more common among those who love experiences that test their strength and endurance.

They thrive on that feeling of pure ecstasy. Imagine yourself spending the night in pitch black, sleeping in a hammock high in the treetops.

How about setting up camp on a sheer cliff far above the ground?

 Tree Camping 200 Feet Up

Tree camping is gaining popularity in places around the world. Within the United States, one well-known spot is in The Willamette National Forest in Oregon near Blue River with the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.

Get ready for the thrill of a life-time. The “campsites” are at least 200 feet up a 500 year- old Douglas Fir.

Guides will outfit you with all needed equipment. This extreme experience will cost you about $600 per person.

You will be issued harnesses and helmets.  Now the work begins. It’s time to pull yourself up with attached ropes and cables to your campsite. If you get queasy with heights, don’t look down!

When you reach your destination, you will no doubt be exhausted. Your ‘tree boat” should be ready for you to climb in. This device is a sturdy hammock attached between the tree trunk and a large branch. As you dangle high above the ground, enjoy the gorgeous view.

Soon daylight will be gone and it will be pitch black. Fatigue from the climb as well as the swaying of your hammock, should put you right to sleep.

Morning arrives and you are wondering what you’re doing up in a tree. Room service responds by bringing a cup of hot coffee and a warm face wash.

Your extreme tree camping is over and preparation for the descent is next. You may be contemplating whether this is a once in a lifetime event or an annual event.

Extreme Cliff Camping

If you get an adrenaline rush thinking about “hanging out” against a sheer cliff at a dizzying height, extreme cliff camping may be just what you’re looking for.

For a number of years, rock climbers have used ledges and hanging tents to sleep and eat on climbs of more than one day. Now it’s becoming a popular extreme experience to climb a sheer cliff and set up camp for the fabulous views and just for the thrill of it all.

For ordinary ground-level campers, it’s enough of a challenge to securely set up a tent on the ground, but imagine attaching a portaledge (tent structure) to a sheer cliff many feet up.

The portaledge tents of the 1950s were fairly rustic and not too comfortable. More modern styles today have a stable ground support with a metal frame attached to straps that hang from the campsite at one single place.

The campers have a feeling of security and can comfortably relax and sleep after their tiring climbs. You can use single or double tents. With these stable tents you can move around a bit – do some cooking, read, play games and enjoy other life pleasures.

What is the big draw of this kind of outdoor experience? Some extreme campers explain that cliff camping gets the adrenaline going so strong that you feel like you’re literally “on the edge” of living life to the utmost.

Where are the hot spots for this ultimate extreme activity?

  1. Yosemite National Park in California is one very popular location.
  2. A resort in German Bavaria, Waldseilgarten, offers some amazing sites 2000 meters straight up.
  3. Cliff camping in Pembrokeshire

More and more people, who have only dreamed of experiencing life on the edge and up high, are living out their dream as extreme camping is becoming more common in places around the world.

Equipment is becoming safer and more comfortable.

The adrenaline rush is on for the extreme risk-takers of the world.

More Heroic Adventures

10 Intimidating Facts About Scaling the Seven Summits

If you don’t think you have the strength, willpower or mental fortitude to climb the highest peaks on every single continent, you’re not alone–only around 350 people, as of January 2012, have actually had the guts–and money–to accomplish this formidable task.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that, depending on whom you talk to, there are actually eight summits to climb if you want to have truly mastered this feat. If you dream big about mountaineering, wait a tic–scaling these majestic peaks is much more intimidating than you might have ever imagined.

1. The Eight Summits (Or Is It Nine?)

Disputes about geographical boundaries mean that the Seven Summits have evolved into eight summits–when Dick Bass first completed the challenge in 1985, he climbed these seven peaks:

  1. Aconcagua (South America)
  2. McKinley (North American)
  3. Vinson (Antarctica)
  4. Kilimanjaro (Africa)
  5. Kosciusko (Australia)
  6. Elbrus (Europe)
  7. Everest (Asia)

This is known as the “Bass List.”

However, Pat Morrow, another climber to scale the mountains early on, determined that another peak, Carstensz Pyramid (also known as Puncak Jaya) was the highest point on the Australian continent–not Kosciusko.

Puncak Jaya 4884 meters tall Papua New Guinea

Carstensz is reputed to be significantly more challenge due to its steep vertical incline.

Morrow justified his decision by saying that the continental shelf on which Carstensz Pyramid resides is part of the Australian continent.

Reinhold Messner, a noted mountaineer, agreed with Morrow, and this variation become known as the “Messner List.”

Of the 350 people who have laid claim to completing the Seven Summits, just 30 percent have climbed both Kosciuszko and Carstensz–meaning they’ve done all eight summits. The latter is a more technically challenging climb and at 4,884 meters (16,023.6 feet), it’s more than double Kosciuszko’s 2,228 meters (7,309.7 feet). 

There’s another controversy about the European mountain; however, it’s not widespread enough to make a switch on either of the official lists:

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510) feet, is located on the Asia-Europe border as part of the Caucasus Range.

The majority of geographers place the peak in Europe; however, a few claim it’s actually in Asia–and that would make Mount Blanc Europe’s highest peak at 4,810 meters (15,781 feet). Therefore, you might someday have to scale nine mountains to truly be victorious.

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510)

2. You Need Around $200K

The total sum to climb all Seven Summits varies widely based on your approach, your gear, your team and other factors. Generally speaking, though, it’s a pretty hefty chunk of change — a ballpark resides anywhere between $130,000 to $220,000.

The most expensive peak to climb, by far, is Mount Everest, which the website estimates at around $60,000 to $87,000. Time magazine places the price tag even higher at up to $100,000. The least-expensive is Aconcagua at just $850 to $5,000.

Aconcagua

Aconcagua, reputedly the most affordable of the 7 summits to climb.

However, that’s just for the luxury of stepping foot on the mountains; don’t forget to add in $8,000 to $13,000 worth of gear, not just hiking poles, and clothing, another $5k to $8k for training and $9,000 to nearly $23,000 in airfare, depending on where you’re coming and going from.

On top of the costs, it takes a lot of your time to go on these expeditions.

Mount Everest alone takes an average of six to seven weeks to climb, even though it only takes five days to reach the summit–you must acclimate to the thin air for safety purposes.

Therefore, holding down a job can be quite difficult unless you have the most understanding of employers–or a whole lot of vacation time.

4. You Just Might Die

There’s no official report as to how many people have died climbing all Seven Summits.

However, as of 2013, nearly 250 people had died trying to ascend Mount Everest alone–and then in April 2014, another 16 were killed in one day in one horrific avalanche.

Africa Mt Kilimanjar Summit Sign

Kilimanjaro summit, the roof of Africa.

Every year, 10 deaths are reported on Mount Kilimanjaro, though the numbers are conflicting. In January 2009, five people died climbing Aconcagua. In other words, these mountains are deadly.

Death comes from altitude sickness, falls and hypothermia, to name a few possible maladies.

On some mountains, such as Everest, the risk and cost of recovering a dead body is too high–meaning future climbers can still see the eerie forms lying in the ice as they make their own ascent.

In fact, more than 200 dead bodies are still on Everest. Climbers have to maneuver past them on their way to the summit.

5. The Summits Total 150,000 Feet

The total elevation of all the eight summits put together equals 45,592 meters (149,580 feet). That’s approximately five times the height of the average airliner’s cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.

The highest elevation is, naturally, Mount Everest at 8,848 meters (29,035 feet), while the lowest is Kosciuszko at 2,228 meters (7,310 feet). If you exclude this mountain from the list, the lowest is Carstensz Pyramid at 4,884 meters (16,024 feet).

6. It’s Pretty Cold Up There

You know that $8,000 to $13,000 you spent on gear and clothing to climb? It just might be worth it, as you’ll need warm clothing in these conditions.

It’s best to climb Mount Elbrus in July and August, but even then temperatures at night average a balmy 18 F (minus 8 C)–but that’s downright warm compared to some of the other peaks.

At night on the Carstensz Pyramid, the summit can be around 14 F (minus 10 C) and it rains for several hours a day.

On Everest, summit temperatures range from minus 4 F to minus 31 F, with wind speeds of up to 175 mph.

At Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, temperatures in early May–the earliest time of year you can begin to safely climb–can hover around minus 50F.

7. Getting to the Mountain

In some cases, it’s no easy feat to simply arrive at the base of the mountain to begin to climb.

To reach Carstensz Pyramid, for example, you have to make your way through West Papua New Guinea’s tropical jungle.

Add in government issues, political instability and tribal wars and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the least-climbed of the Seven Summits.

Even the trek to the base camp of Everest means getting to 17,590 feet–higher than the summit of some of the other mountains on the list. Some climbers choose to simply make the journey to the base camp, a difficult hike with a rewarding payoff that’s significantly less dangerous than going to the very top.

Everest Base Camp

Everest base camp, some climbers only venture this far and have no intention of reaching the peak.

So many of the mountains are remote, as well, meaning that getting medical help in an emergency can be difficult. As you might expect from its location in Antarctica, the area surrounding Mount Vinson is entirely undeveloped. While Vinson’s not a technically challenging climb, the cold and location make it extremely risky.

8. There’s actually a “Death Zone”

That’s right–a death zone.

This is where the altitude is so high that the risk of death increases substantially.

It’s found on Mount Everest above approximately 8,000 meters (26,246 feet). Your body cannot replenish its oxygen store at this height, as there’s only one-third as much oxygen in the air as at sea level. If you have asthma, you might want to skip this one.

9. You Won’t Be the Youngest

If you thought you might be able to break a record due to your age, think again.

After scaling Vinson in Antarctica on December 24, 2011, then-15-year-old Jordan Romero became the youngest person to officially scale the seven peaks. The American-born Romero beat the previous record, set earlier in 2011 by a 16-year-old Brit.

Moun Vinson

Mount Vinson, one of the Seven Summits located in Antarctica.

Setting records wasn’t new to the teen; he conquered Mount Everest at age 13.

Unlike some other climbers, Romero has scaled both Carstensz Pyramid and Kosciuszko.

It took Romero six years to achieve all Seven Summits, compared to the record-holding 134 days achieved in 2010 by Vern Tejas–who once held the record as the youngest Seven Summits climber.

10. Next Up: The Second Summits

The final intimidation factor of climbing the Seven Summits is realizing that, despite this achievement, some serious climbers might still scoff at you for not having done the harder versions–that is, the more technically challenging, albeit slightly lower, second-highest summits on each continent.

This is comprised of the following more difficult and deadly mountains:

  1. K2 (Asia)
  2. Ojos del Salad (South America)
  3. Mount Logan (North America)
  4. Mount Kenya (Africa)
  5. Mount Tyree (Antarctica)
  6. Dychtau (Europe)
  7. Puncak Trikora (Australia)

However, you’ll be in good company, as all seven Second Summits weren’t scaled until 2012 when Hans Kammerlander completed the challenge. He remains the only person to have completed this feat.

The difference in danger between K2 and Mount Everest, both located in Asia, is particularly notable; in 2009 and 2010, nobody attempted to scale K2 at all because of potential death. Additionally, while Everest has a 4.14 percent death rate, K2’s is 26.47 percent. That means that approximately 1 in every 4 climbers that attempts K2 loses their life doing so.

Do you have the mental fortitude to scale all Seven Summits?

Do so, and you’ll go down in history as one of just a few hundred who have been able to do so.

Adventures Await – What Mountains Will You Conquer?

A Short Guide to Hiking in Slovenia’s Triglav National Park

The best of Slovenia’s Alps are contained within Triglav National Park, which is named for Mt. Triglav, the park’s highest peak (2,864 meters).

The mountains in Slovenia’s borders are somewhat smaller than those found in Italy or Austria. However, they are no less scenic.

There are plenty of challenging climbs and breathtaking viewpoints that will satisfy the most avid hiker.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of a trek through Triglav National Park.

Church of St John the Baptist

Church of St John the Baptist, Bohinj Lake, Slovenia

Plan at least two days on the trail to reach the summit.

Slovenians consider it a rite of passage to stand atop the country’s highest peak.

The summit can be approached from several directions, but in most cases, a round trip will take an experienced hiker 16-18 hours.

Basically, hiking Triglav in one day is doable, but you will wear yourself out.

Do yourself a favor and plan to stay overnight in the park.

where to stay when trekking in park

Julian Alps in Triglav National Park

You will enjoy the hike a lot more since you won’t be rushed.

Make reservations beforehand at one of the mountain huts. Camping in the park is illegal, so you’ll need to reserve a spot at the Alpine Club’s mountain huts to stay overnight.

A dorm bed will run you 20 euros (less if you can show an Alpine Club card). Hot food is available, but generally expensive. It’s a good idea to bring extra snacks.

You can obtain a comprehensive list of hut phone numbers from any tourist office. You will need to reserve by phone at least a few days in advance for the more popular huts.

It’s often easier to get a spot mid-week as more locals head to the park on weekends. Some hikers show up without a reservation, which is risky and tends to annoy the hut managers.

Ascend by way of  Voje Valley towards Mt. Triglav and descend through Seven Lakes Valley.

If you want to ascend Mt. Triglav and get a proper tour of the park, this is by far the most scenic route.

When you take this route, plan for a two-night trek.

The best hut to stay at for the first night is Dom Planika pod Triglavom (aka “Planika”).

You can check in, drop your bags and ascend Triglav on your first day, or save the ascent for the morning of your second day.

Reserve your second night in one of the huts in the Seven Lakes Valley region.

From Seven Lakes Valley, you will descend into the Bohinj Lake Valley on your third day.

Breaking up this route into three days will give you plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.

waterfall in Triglav National Park, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Pericnik waterfall in Triglav National Park, Julian Alps, Slovenia.

Check your shoes before commencing your hike.

The alps contain rocky, steep and difficult terrain. When your shoes fall apart mid-hike, you may have a very difficult time continuing your journey and getting back to town.

If your shoes are more than a few years old, you may want to consider replacing them before taking on the Alps.

See how to break in hiking shoe to prepare for better comfort during your Triglav National Park hike.

Bring hiking poles.

Even if you’re young and spry, poles can help enhance both safety and stamina.

Hiking poles are useful for traversing slippery rocks and steep slopes. They will also greatly ease the strain on your knees during steep descents. The alps are serious mountains, so bring serious equipment.

Don’t Forget a Good Map

Buy a good map.

Topographical trail maps are easily purchased from the tourist offices.

A map with full detail will help you plan your route, learn more about the area, and locate nearby huts should you find yourself in an emergency.

More Hiking Adventures

Hiking Basics

Hiking is a healthy activity for both the body and mind.

Hiking trails for all levels of expertise are found in every country. It is truly a global pastime, enjoyed by individuals, friends, hiking clubs, and families.

Some level of hiking is possible for everyone who can walk, making it the perfect hobby for every age, as well as for groups and families of mixed ages.

To experience a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, it’s important to know the basic “rules” of hiking.

Picking The Trail

There are hiking trails everywhere.

Some trails are difficult and only for experienced hikers, but many are easy hikes that don’t contain steep inclines or require climbing over rocks.

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, in the USA or abroad, for brochures and maps of hiking trails in your area.

Many state parks have hiking trails, perfect for day trips, family hikes, or overnight camping. Some trails are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.

If you live in a state full of woods and mountains or live where you are surrounded by blacktop and high rise office buildings, there are trails nearby where you can enjoy hiking.

Girl Pair of Hiking Poles Grand Canyon

Choosing Your Hiking Trail – Grand Canyon

Hiking Rhythm

Whether you pick a gentle trail or a challenging trail, it’s important to learn to pace yourself.

Develop a rhythm (cadence) that is comfortable and allows you to go a considerable distance without feeling strained or needing a break. As your endurance builds, hiking will tire you less. Plan short breaks at specific intervals.

When you are a new hiker, plan a ten-minute break for every 20 minutes of hiking. As your body conditions itself, you can increase the length of time between breaks.

Shoes for a Day Hike

Hiking Shoes

It’s necessary to have the proper hiking gear to avoid as many problems as possible.

Top on the list of gear is the right hiking shoe, and the right sock.

To avoid the hiker’s nemesis, the blister, wear properly fitted shoes and break them in before embarking on a hike. If you are wearing leather shoes, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, which can mean rubbing with saddle soap or mink oil, and sometimes a specific brand of boot treatment is suggested.

Regular care will keep your boots pliable, prevent them from drying out, and be kind to your feet. Cotton is not the best material for your boot sock liners.

Purchase specially designed liners made from a wicking material such as polypropylene or Thermax and wear a good wool sock. Always carry moleskin to apply in the event a blister starts to form.

Hiking Shoes with Walking Poles on top

Food And Water

Because food is your body’s fuel, it’s especially important to plan your food carefully for the length of your hike.

For day hikes, dried fruit and nuts, pre-packaged instant oatmeal, and instant noodle and pasta dishes can meet the need. Water is required to keep the body hydrated, but water is also heavy.

You can probably carry enough for a day hike, but if you plan to do longer hikes, purchase a water filtration system to purify water from lakes and streams and carry an insulated water bottle to keep your drinking water cool in warm weather.

Food and Water for hiking

Safety And First Aid

A first aid kit and manual are important for even the simplest hike.

Many outfitters have first aid kits you can purchase containing most of the supplies needed for minor injuries. You can also build your own first aid kit.

The Washington Trails Association website offers excellent instructions on building a hiker’s first aid kit in the hiking resources and hiking basics section at www.wta.org.

First Aid Hiking

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, while staying healthy and fit.

Remember to plan your hike carefully and bring sufficient food and water to enjoy a fun-filled hike.

When you’re ready to got further, you may want to use hiking poles to keep your energy levels up, see reviews of walking poles for hiking here.


Trekking Pole Dog Icon

Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

When the call of the wild is hitting you hard, you need to start thinking about your camping gear and the supplies you need to make backpacking a great experience.

It is time to check your tent, pack, sleeping bag, and emergency supplies to make sure the key components for your camping comfort and safety are in order.

Your Tent

Camping Tent

Your tent serves more than a way to keep the rain off your head (or snow, if you are a winter camper).

If properly sealed, your tent will not only be waterproof, but will also help contain your body heat.

Tent Checklist

  • Make sure your vents, fly, and entry are all cleaned and tear-free.
  • Use a mild mix of bath soap (unscented) to wash off any dirt or debris on the fabric, and
  • Use clear water under mild pressure to clear any dirt, debris, or sand in your zippers.
  • Never use any harsh chemicals – the man-made fibers can be damaged by any chlorinated cleaners.

Anything in the zippers will cause them to wear out faster as a natural course of using them, so keeping them clean is critical.

Winter Camping

For winter camping, you want those zippers to close snugly to keep out the cold and blowing snow – and in the summer you want them to open all the way so the moisture and heat released from your body while you’re sleeping can escape.

Check the siding material of your tent to make sure they are free of tears or other openings. You can usually patch most man-made fibers with kits readily available from a variety of sources.

It is a good idea to apply a coat of sealant to the exterior of the seams of your tent and fly with the sealant appropriate for your tent’s material.

ONLY apply the sealant in a warm dry place, making sure you give it plenty of time to dry properly.

In order to apply the sealant, it is best to pitch your tent with all sides taut, which will help ensure the sealant gets into the nooks and crannies.

Lastly, check that all of your supplies – poles, straps, and stakes – are intact, then set up the tent completely one time before packing it and going out into the wild.

Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Example

Your sleeping bag and ground pad should be relatively maintenance free, other than the same cleaning of the surfaces and zippers for the bag apply.

You need to clean your bag inside and out, but not get the insulation wet. You also want to make sure the skin of your bag is clean and free of any oils or greasy substances.

Check the insulation. If it is becoming bunched, or lumpy, it may be time to replace your sleeping bag.

Ground Pads

Ground pads come in a variety of materials and comfort levels.

Their primary function is to insulate, to keep your body heat from being radiated into the ground through your sleeping bag. Your ground pad is also your last defense from ground water getting to the skin of your sleeping bag, drenching you.

Both situations can lead to hypothermia, a dangerous condition in which your core body temperature drops below 93 degrees.

A self-inflating ground pad offers a great combination of comfort and protection.

These foam-core pads are a relatively new development, are very light-weight, and compress for easy attachment to your backpack.

Your Backpack

Taking Care of Your Backpack

Your backpack is your greatest asset for wilderness camping, and maintaining it so it will withstand several kinds of constant abuse is critical.

1. Check that there are no threads hanging or tears in the liner.

Snags and tears can quickly spread, dumping your supplies into a creek at an inopportune moment, or the entire bag coming undone if you are using it to suspend your food supplies for safekeeping during the night.

Clip any snagged threads, and patch any tears. You also need to make sure you keep your pack water-tight. Seal the seams, and if the material permits, coat the entire bag.

2. Check all the grommets and clips on the straps.

If you are using pack with an external frame, make sure the clips holding the bag to the frame are secure.

Make sure there are no rips or tears in any of the straps, and that the fastening clips that hold the shoulder straps and waist strap in place are free of chips or cracks.

Readjust the straps to fit your body as it is today.

Let’s face it, we all tend to gain a little weight over the winter, and an improperly balanced backpack can overbalance you, or chafe in very uncomfortable ways.

Your tent and bag came with stuff bags. Use them – but make sure the bags are clean and dry before stowing away your equipment.

TIP: Packing Your Tent

When loading your tent, put in the fly, then the poles, then the tent itself.

This is the reverse order in which you will need them, and the proper order when you unpack it.

You should never store the stakes with the tent, even if they are in their own ripstop bag, the edges could puncture the tent skin, forcing an emergency repair out in the field.

Emergency Supplies

Emergency Preparations

Duct Tape

One of the backpacker’s best friends is duct tape.

It is strong, water-proof, and multi-functional. You can use it to make temporary fixes to any torn material, and if you combine it with the extra tube sections that came with your tent, you can even temporarily fix the poles on your tent.

You can also use duct tape for emergency first aid, because it makes a great way to tightly secure bandaging material or splints.

Gallon Zipper Sealed Plastic Bags

Bring along a few gallon-sized zipper-sealed plastic bags.

You can use them for a variety of purposes, from collecting specimens to storing your wet socks until you can set up camp and get them dry.

Keeping your supplies (and feet!) dry is critical. In a pinch, you can use them to catch and store water.

First Aid Supplies

Check all of your first aid supplies, and make sure you still have a proper assortment of bandaging materials, disinfectants, scissors, and other supplies.

Toss out the antibiotic ointment you have in your first aid kit from last year and replace it. It has lost its efficacy. If you carry hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, it needs replaced as well.

You can find the components of a good “do it yourself” first aid kit by checking with the Boy Scouts or the Red Cross.

Water Purification System

Check your water purification supplies, and make sure the iodine and/or filters are ready for use.

Make sure that your purification kit’s components are free of cracks. Get your canteen, waterpack, bladder, or insulated water bottle cleaned and ready for use, too.

Signaling Devices – Mirror & Whistle

No backpack is complete without two signaling devices – a mirror and a whistle.

Obviously a mirror only works when there’s a light source, but if you become disabled and a search party is looking for you, the reflection from the mirror gives you better odds of being spotted from a great distance.

The whistle is a vital signaling device. You can only yell for help for a few minutes at a time, while you can blow a whistle for hours.

GPS Locator

Another signaling device becoming more common in our high-tech world are GPS emergency locators.

Many are solar-powered, some are coming with Farraday generators, or they come with batteries.

No matter how they are powered, they only work if there is a satellite overhead, and a means of triangulating on your position. When you intend on going into extreme wilderness, rugged terrain, or into mountainous areas, you may want to invest in one of these gadgets.

Do NOT rely on this as your sole signaling device. If you’re breathing, you can still use a whistle. If the batteries go dead on the GPS unit – you could be as well shortly after.

Miscellaneous

Other stuff

Matches

Always have at least two different means of starting a fire in your pack.

Waterproof matches and a “permanent match” are easy to stow away, and work in a wide variety of weather conditions.

Knife

Always have a knife. A good multi-tool with a knife blade and other gadgets, can be found in most hardware and sporting goods stores, and can be handy.

Patch Kit

An emergency patch kit for your tent and backpack could also prove handy – but keep in mind for every ounce you add, you are losing food!

You have duct tape (featured above), which is a great permanent patch.


There are a wide assortment of other supplies you might consider bringing along for your camping expedition, but these suggestions cover most contingencies, in lightweight materials suitable for backpacking.

The best preparation if you’re a novice is to pick up any of the various books available for backpacking in the type of environment you plan on trekking in, or to pick up a copy of the Boy Scout manual on camping.

More Backpacking Season Tips

Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

If you’re like most people, then you don’t prepare to go for a walk. You just put your shoes on and walk out the door. Unfortunately, many people treat a hiking trip as little more than a long walk, and that can be a bad idea.

Think of it this way: When you go for a walk, you stay in your neighborhood. That means that you’re never far from help in the unlikely event that you get too tired to walk home.

When you go hiking, you’re in a completely different environment.

Carrying the proper hiking gear will not only keep you safe but also allow you to have fun. What are the essentials that hikers need to carry?

1. Food and Water

Food and Water

One of the aspects of hiking that is often underestimated is the potential for dehydration. When you hit the trail without carrying enough water, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

Whether it’s hot out or, when you’re hiking in one of the cooler months of the year in your region–an insulated water bottle for water can stabilize your liquid intake for hot, cold or temperate no matter the outside climate.

Depending on the temperature outside and the distance you plan to cover, you’ll need at least a couple of bottles per person.

Since hiking can wear you out if you’re not careful, remember to eat before setting out. You’ll also want to pack a nutritious lunch.

2. Hat

Wear a Hat or Beanie

Hiking on a hot day can not only put you at risk of becoming dehydrated but also increases your chances of getting heatstroke.

Wearing a white hat is a good way to keep from overheating and will allow you to stay on the trail longer.

If you don’t own a hat, then pack a white towel instead.

When you are hiking in winter weather, of course, a snowcap or beanie will serve to keep you warm.

Bottom line: wear the hat that will protect from the exposure no matter the season of  the year.

3. GPS, Cell Phone, Map and Compass

GPS, map, compass, satellite

No one plans to get lost when they go hiking, but it continues to happen nevertheless.

Taking a GPS device or cell phone can be a big help. In case they stop working, be sure to take a map and compass as well.

4. First Aid Kit and Walking Stick

Hiking Pole Women Horizon

In addition to getting lost, hikers are frequently injured, so it makes sense to carry a first aid kit every time you hit the trail. Since sprained ankles are common, it’s also a good idea to carry a walking stick.

Walking sticks, also popularly known as trekking poles, or Nordic walking sticks come in foldable, i.e. packable, styles, you can see more about them at the Walking Stick Buyers Guider here >>>.

5. Insect Repellent

 

The whole point of hiking is to have fun, but insect bites can quickly make you miserable. Carrying insect repellent is a good way to ensure that you enjoy your outing.


Hiking can be an unpredictable activity. Being prepared for a variety of different situations will allow you to get the most from your trip. You wouldn’t go on vacation without packing the essentials, and hiking is no different.

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The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Hiking

Hiking enthusiasts around the world know that regular romps in the wilderness are not only good for physical health, but for mental health as well. 

As hiking requires physical movement over varied and challenging terrain, it provides a great workout for your body.

Meanwhile, the social and stimulating aspects of hiking, such as taking in beautiful scenery while accompanied by friends and family, provides a workout for your mind 

Few other exercises can so effectively benefit your body and mind at the same time.

When you’re ready to learn about these benefits in greater detail, then read on below to find out about three physical and three mental health benefits of hiking.

Hiking’s Physical Health Benefits

Hiking and Health Benefits Physical

1) Arthritis prevention and relief

Walking is one of the very best activities for relieving arthritis pain in the knees.

Sure, you could walk around your neighborhood or around the mall, but hiking provides the varied terrain necessary for building up all of the muscle groups in your legs.

Recent studies have shown that taking 6,000 steps a day may not only prevent and relieve arthritis, but may even reverse it.

What better place to get these steps in than out on the trail?

2) Weight loss

As it is a form of physical exercise, regular hiking can definitely aid in weight loss (which, incidentally, can further aid in reducing arthritis pain).

You can easily burn around 300 calories an hour at a gentle pace, and you can increase your pace and trail difficulty as you feel yourself becoming fitter and healthier.

Plus, it is very difficult to get bored when surrounded by the great outdoors, as opposed to when running or walking indoors on a treadmill.

3) Diabetes prevention and reversal

Hiking can be a great way to manage both Type I and Type II diabetes*.

Not only can it lower your risk for Type II diabetes by keeping your body in great shape, but it can actually contribute to the reversal of Type II diabetes for those who are already suffering from it.

Furthermore, while there is no known cure for Type I diabetes, hiking can lower the amounts of insulin that your body needs, making symptoms easier to manage.

Hiking’s Mental Health Benefits

Improve Mental Health with Hiking

1) The strengthening of social ties

Humans are social creatures, and while some of us may be more introverted and prefer to spend time alone, we all nevertheless need a network of close relationships in order to feel happy, secure, and loved.

Hiking is a fantastic way to renew and strengthen these relationships, as it allows us to get closer to friends and family while away from the usual distractions of life.

One afternoon out on the trail with a close friend can be worth more than hundreds of text messages!

2) Reduction in feelings of depression

Renewing and strengthening social ties can also be a big part of helping the symptoms of depression, but the benefits of hiking for depression don’t stop there.

Researchers have found that spending time out in nature is actually a much better strategy for reducing the symptoms of depression than, for example, walking around a shopping mall.

While depression is a complex mental illness with no simple cure, hiking can definitely be part of a strong depression treatment plan.

3) Stress relief

Just as hiking can help fight depression, it can also help fight anxiety and stress.

When school, work, or your home life have you down, then it is healthy to take a breather now and then to spend some time far away from your worries and stresses. Moreover, hiking can even serve as an upper body exercise when you utilize trekking poles on your journey.

If you give yourself a break and surround yourself with some natural beauty for a time, then you will likely return to your life ready and able to successfully handle whatever it throws at you.


Ready to hit the trail? See the Heroic Adventures side-by-side comparison of the most popular trekking poles here >>>


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Foxelli Trekking Poles Review

Foxelli is a company that is famous for manufacturing quality outdoor gear and has produced a trekking pole that is made of carbon. The product only weighs seven ounces and is very easy to use.

The collapsed length is 55 inches from a folded 24 inches, which makes it fit any suitcase or backpack. The pointed tips come with a detachable rubber boot. The product comes with different types of tips for rugged or muddy terrain that will not slip off.

Extending the product is easy because it is released by a single switch. The Foxelli Trekking Poles lengthens fully in one release. Traction is better with the product because of the pointed tip which can be used without the covering and still remain intact.

The tips are made of tungsten and can pierce through hard soil or snow. Traction is increased when the rubber coverings are used and surface tension is increased.

Foxelli Trekking Poles

Features

  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Only weighs 7 ounces per pole
  • Length is 24 inches and extends to 55 inches
  • Traction is increased
  • Easy to retract or release with one switch
  • Grip is made of cork with secondary grip made of foam
  • Comes with rubber tip, snow and mud baskets
  • Has 120-day product return window or full cash refund
  • Has 3-year limited warranty

This product provides good support to the user and lessens the stress on the arms, knees and legs. The user will exert less energy and will finish the hike in a shorter period.

The user can also maneuver quickly and extend the length of the poles with one switch. The cork grips are sweat-absorbent and are supported by a foam grip for a stronger hold when the incline becomes more difficult.

Advantages

Foxelli trekking poles are a durable and trekker-friendly product that is designed to adapt to the terrain. The material of the poles is pure carbon and ensures the durability and strength of the product when it is used with great stress.

Large-sized hikers can use the product as it can support big weight and the length can be adjusted to fit the user. The product is reliable to catch the balance of the user and will help in relieving pressure on the back, knees and legs.

The tips of the pole are pointed and are made of tungsten. The shape and solid structure of the tip will provide ample support and will pierce through soil or snow.

The baskets that come with the product act as reinforcements so that the poles will not sink into the mud or add traction to the poles as they run on the ground. The tips are also designed to absorb shock and will give the user added comfort.

The grips on the pole are made of cork. The material follows the shape of the user’s hand and will not cause arm or hand strain when the product is used for a long time.

For added support when going uphill and for the user’s added security, a grip made of foam is attached underneath. The wrist handles will ensure that the pole is not dropped and stays within arms’ reach.

The handles are useful to people with knee problems or who are recovering from a muscle injury. The cork grip has more gripping power than foam or rubber.

When the product is used for long distances, the product will not break or corrode. The carbon material makes the product impact resistant and will be able to withstand extreme weather.

Aside from the sturdiness and the secure grip of the pole, the product is covered by a three-year warranty to ensure that the product will last for a long time. The manufacturer guarantees full cash refund or a product exchange in 120 days.

Disadvantages

For trekkers who go on light hikes, the product will appear as if it is similar to other poles in the market. The durability of the product will be tested if it is used in extreme conditions and on challenging hikes.

Verdict

Foxelli Trekking Poles is known for its reputation to build quality products and these poles stand true to its good name. The product is reliable and durable because it is made of pure carbon.

The product will not break or corrode if it is used in summer or winter. The product can even be submerged in water and will not rust. The carbon material makes the product light and easy to carry.

The handles are firm to hold and will stay secure in the hikers’ grip. The cork material of the handles will absorb sweat and will not be slippery even when used in rainy weather. The product can be easily retracted or released with one switch. Adjustment of the length can be done in a short span of time which will help the user gain balance.

The product performs well in aggressive terrain and is even proven dependable for users who are disabled or injured.

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Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review

Hiker Hunger poles are made of carbon fiber that makes them lighter than aluminum poles. They weigh only 7.6 ounces per pole and can stretch as long as 54 inches from a 24-inch folded length. The poles are strong and resist shock and the tips are pointed for greater ground impact.

The tips come with interchangeable accessories such as rubber pads, rubber tips and snow baskets. The grips are made of cork that follows the contour of the palm and fingers and are supported by foam to sustain hold at challenging terrain. The tips are made of tungsten which makes them very solid when hitting tough surfaces and will not chip or corrode.

The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles comes in three layers of metal that can be extended and retracted quickly. The joints can be locked by an easy switch mechanism. The folded size is compact and travel-friendly because it can easily fit in a backpack.

The light weight of the product makes it easy to transport. If the poles are to be transported alone, they come in a sling bag that makes it easier to carry.

Hiking Hunger Poles 

Features

  • Made of 100% carbon
  • Can be folded and extended smoothly
  • Lightweight at 7.6 ounces per pole
  • Has folded length of 24 inches and extends to 54 inches
  • Can be easily collapsed and locked at desired length
  • Easy to pack in a suitcase or backpack
  • Grip is comfortable and made of cork
  • Has one-year limited warranty

These poles are built to last and come complete with accessories to cater to any kind of hiking at any type of climate. The poles can withstand and will not break in extreme hot or cold weather. The manufacturer offers a one-year limited warranty.

Advantages

These are highly dependable poles and can bring reliable support to users who are hiking on light to advanced terrain. The poles are made of pure carbon which makes the structures sturdy and will not break when hit on hard surfaces.

The carbon material can also resist heavy weather like snow or rain and will not sink into the mud because of the sturdy mud baskets. The product offers good support when snowshoeing and will not bury deep into the snow. The length is appropriate for tall or short hikers.

The product is easily folded and extended and will easily adapt to the needs of the user. When going uphill, the poles can be extended quickly to support the weight of the hiker. The support is stable even when the path is muddy or slimy because the rubber grip of the tips provides good traction.

The tips of the poles are pointed and can pierce through dirt more efficiently. The poles offer a good balance to the user and will help prevent slipping on loose gravel. The support that they give is tremendous so that even large-sized users can depend on them.

The sturdiness and reliability of the product are highly rated. Users with poor knees and with balance dysfunction can use the product for support when hiking.

The pole can help hikers cover great distance with less effort and in less time. The support is useful when the trek becomes exhausting and going downhill becomes a challenge.

The locks on the product can be easily flipped and switched to fasten. The locks are reliable and will not lose hold even under extreme pressure. The product can be extended or folded quickly.

The hold on the product is firm because of the comfortable cork grip and supported by foam lining underneath. The wrist straps are made of foam and mesh and will not slip from the users’ wrists.

Customer support is efficient and will replace the product or parts right away. The one-year warranty is honored by the manufacturer.

Disadvantages

The product can break when subjected to extreme stress. The carbon material has a tendency to malfunction if the stress applied is stronger than what the design can tolerate. The pole is not supposed to be used as a stand for heavy equipment and is not meant to be a lever to lift heavy objects.

Like all poles, the product will break if subjected to extreme pressure. It is not to be used as a construction tool or support for heavy lifting.

Verdict

The Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles is reliable and the carbon material makes the pole fit the need for support and balance during a trek. It is portable and very light. The poles can be easily extended or folded because they easily slide through the shaft.

The product is complete with all the necessary accessories to fit any kind of terrain. The grip is firm because of the cork material and there is a foam support underneath it when the added strength is needed.

However, the pole has a capacity only for support for hiking and will break if overwhelming pressure is applied.

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Black Diamond Distance Poles Review

The Black Diamond is a product that uses high technology and a design that is made appropriate and suitable for the use of any trekker. The poles are structurally sound and are made of light but strong aluminum; each pole weighs 14.4 ounces and is 13 inches long.

When extended, each pole reaches 43 inches. The retraction of the poles is dynamic and can be extended by pressing the grip. The lock snaps in place immediately as soon as the desired length is achieved.

The tips are coated with rubber and can be changed depending on the terrain. The Black Diamond Distance Poles comes with baskets that can be attached to stop the pole from sinking in snow or mud. The tips are cone-shaped and are faster to extend than poles with flat tips.

The grip is made of mesh and foam that will absorb sweat and is comfortable to the hands. The foam on the grip will make handling more secure. The wrist straps reinforce the hold on the pole, ensuring that the poles are always within reach.

Best Distance Poles Black Diamond 

Features

  • Durable and stable
  • Made of aluminum shafts
  • Have a 3-folding design and easily extendable
  • Very compact at 13 inches when folded
  • Weight is 14.4 ounces
  • Length extends to 43 inches
  • Wrist straps made of mesh
  • Comfortable and secure grip
  • Have interchangeable tips

The product is dependable under extreme weather conditions and for use on rugged terrain. The shafts will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces and will not corrode or chip apart.

Advantages

The product is made of aluminum and is very dependable on long distance trekking. The product can be used in any kind of weather and can even withstand the extreme temperature in the Swiss Alps.

The structure will not bend or be scraped when hit on hard surfaces. The user is secure and can rely on the product for support. The poles adjust to the size of the user because the poles are readily extendable.

Black Diamond poles have grips made of foam that is soft to hold but keeps the hands from slipping. The product remains stable in the hand when going uphill and is a firm support when going downhill. The wrist straps are made of mesh and keep the poles from slipping from the user’s hand.

Aside from being firm, the pole’s tips grip well on any kind of surface. The poles will hold well on rocks, snow or mud and will keep the user from being knocked off. The retractable poles are easy to maneuver. The product extends and locks with a push from the handle. The cone shaped poles make it easy to glide through the shaft.

The poles’ length is not only usable by tall hikers, but the quick release is dependable for use on challenging terrain. This feature is great especially during emergencies when the user is out of balance and needs instant support.

The poles can be extended to 46 inches and are long enough to build a stable footing for the user at any time that it is needed.

The poles have three shafts that are adjustable. They are connected by rubber tubing that is sturdy. The connectors are a plus because they will not rust or corrode when wet and stop the poles from extending smoothly.

The product is reasonably priced for the quality and the high performance that it delivers. The product can be used in singles or as a pair because the handles are not specifically designed for left or right-hand use.

Disadvantages

Because of the rubber connectors, the poles tend to retract under extreme pressure. The connectors do not support the poles well and at intense impact, the poles fold unexpectedly.

The locking mechanism is not tight to give way for easy extending, which makes the product unsafe and can pose a potential danger to the user. The poles frequently unfasten even when used on muddy surfaces. The joints are not strong enough to withstand extreme stress and unlock for several times during a hike.

Verdict

The Black Diamond Distance Poles is handy and lightweight. The poles are easy to carry and pack in a bag and will not cause arm or hand strain because of the stable and comfortable rubber grips. The length of the product is adjustable and is done easily with a push of a button.

The cone-shaped shafts make the shafts extend smoothly and without any problems. The wrist straps are good and hold well when the user is sweating. The product will not bend or break when hit on hard surfaces. The tips of the poles have good surface traction and slipping is avoided.

However, the product has a weak locking feature. The connectors of the poles give out when extreme pressure is applied. The lock disengages unexpectedly when the poles are used with force.

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