Rocky Mountain Reliable

Surviving the great outdoors

February 06, 2016

Choosing the Best Baselayer for Hike

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One of the most impor­tant pieces of any wilder­ness adven­ture and out­door ath­letic kit, base­lay­ers dry quickly, trans­port mois­ture away from the skin, resist odors, feel great, and last for many years. This all-important layer that is often not changed for days on end and acts like a sec­ond skin is no place to skimp. Our guide will help you learn how to choose the best base­layer for your needs.

MATE­RIAL The choice of base­layer mate­ri­als really boils down to two options: syn­thetic and wool. Both have advan­tages, var­i­ous styles, and legions of fans. The dis­ad­van­tages of both are few among top manufacturers.

WOOL: Used for cen­turies in tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing, wool is proven as a base­layer. Most qual­ity wool base­lay­ers use some blend of merino wool as the main fab­ric com­po­nent. This wool is some­times blended with small amounts of poly­ester, span­dex or other syn­thetic mate­ri­als to enhance the prop­er­ties of the shirt.

Merino Wool is trea­sured for its abil­ity to dry quickly and resist odors.

Some merino base lay­ers also use acti­vated car­bon addi­tives such as Cocona to enhance the wool’s hydropho­bic, quick-drying prop­er­ties. An added bonus of acti­vated car­bon treat­ments is they tend to resist odors even bet­ter than merino wool alone.

SYN­THETIC: Syn­thetic base­layer mate­ri­als often rely on poly­ester as the main ingredient.

Many com­pa­nies have pro­pri­etary polyester-based fab­rics such as the pop­u­lar Patag­o­nia Cap­pe­line. Other fab­rics used by many com­pa­nies are made by name-brand fab­ric sup­pli­ers such as Polartec and Scholler.

These fab­rics are often sim­i­lar across brands, so other fea­tures in the gar­ment set one brand apart from another. Expe­ri­enced users trust name-brand fab­rics to work well under tough conditions.

Many polyester-based gar­ments blend span­dex or other syn­thet­ics into the cloth to add stretch.

Some syn­thet­ics include antimi­cro­bial treat­ments to com­bat body odor.

February 01, 2016

Keeping your Feet Dry and Healthy


Any­one who spends a great deal of time in the out­doors knows that even the most hi-tech water­proof­ing is use­less when you’re hik­ing through a wet slot canyon, ford­ing creeks, or hik­ing all day in heavy rain or melt­ing snow. In these sit­u­a­tions, wet, soggy feet are as inevitable as aging. Once you accept that, your goal should be to min­i­mize prob­lems through pre-treatment and after care of your feet, and thought­ful footwear selection.


They dry faster than cot­ton. Some hik­ers swear that within an hour of a quick wet ford, their wool socks dry out com­pletely as they hike. The the­ory being that wet feet warm up as you go on to your hike, so the socks even­tu­ally dry out. That does seem to work in warm, dry weather, but could lead to hypother­mia in cold ones.

A bet­ter option when back­pack­ing is to wear ultra­light polypropy­lene or poly-blend lin­ers with a pair of thin Merino wool ones. Bring along a clean dry pair of wick­ing socks for every day you plan to spend on the trail and one extra pair of wool ones. The idea behind this is that lin­ers are lighter than extra wool socks and they help elim­i­nate blis­ters. If your feet do get wet, sim­ply remove the wet socks and don a clean dry pair of lin­ers and the spare wool socks. Hang the wet ones on the out­side of your pack, and after they dry, later pair them with another set of spare lin­ers as needed.


No, gaiters will not keep your feet dry when you sub­merge them in a creek, but they will keep rain and dew off the tops and side of your footwear when walk­ing through wet grass or in a rain­storm. They also cover the largest gap­ing hole in the water­proof­ing the­ory: the place where you foot goes into your shoe or boot. Your foot may get sweaty, so pair breath­able socks and breath­able shoes (not leather) for the most benefit.


This water­proof­ing salve acts like a sealant and helps keep feet mois­tur­ized and will help you avoid devel­op­ing “trench foot,” which is a painful blanch­ing and death of the stra­tum corneum or pro­tec­tive outer layer of skin of the feet that left untreated can lead to gan­grene. When your feet are wet for pro­longed peri­ods and your toes shrivel up like old prunes, water-shedding balms will at least keep them fairly healthy. There are sev­eral prod­ucts on the mar­ket designed for this pur­pose, includ­ing dia­per balm for babies’ butts. Ultra­run­ners swear by this stuff.


January 30, 2016

Short Guide when Buying a Tent for Camp


Whether you’ll use it to tackle the Pacific Crest Trail or ini­ti­ate your kids with a back­yard cam­pout, the right tent will affect your enjoy­ment of the out­doors. There are tents for every con­di­tion and every bud­get and it’s not uncom­mon to have a vari­ety of them in the garage for dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. This guide is designed to help you learn how to choose the best tent for your needs.

TYPES: There is a tent style for every con­di­tion you are likely to encounter in the great out­doors. Know­ing what time of year you plan to camp will imme­di­ately rule out a large num­ber of options. Tents are usu­ally rated as 1-season, 3-season, 4-season, or expedition.

ONE SEA­SON: One-season tents are gen­er­ally only good in the sum­mer. They’re very breath­able and may come with a rain fly. Even if a fly is included, the water­proof rat­ing is usu­ally lower (infor­ma­tion on water­proof rat­ings to fol­low later). As such you will want to assess local rain­fall amounts to see if the sum­mer sea­son is also mon­soon sea­son. If so, you might not want to get a one-season tent.

THREE SEA­SON: Three-season tents are good from spring to autumn and offer bet­ter insu­la­tion and water pro­tec­tion than a one-season tent. They can usu­ally even han­dle a bit of snow­fall. These are a great option if you plan on own­ing only one tent, and if you’re not going to have to worry about wak­ing up to a foot of snowfall.

FOUR SEA­SON: Four-season tents as the name implies, are usable in any sea­son but are not always the best option. Using a Four Sea­son tent in August on the Bayou would put you in a state of sweaty dis­com­fort. Four-season tents are built strong enough to not buckle under the ele­ments (such as heavy snow­fall on the roof), yet are hos­pitable enough to keep you warm and dry. As such there can be a bit of a price jump by adding the abil­ity to camp in the win­ter. But these tents will with­standalmost any­thing — leav­ing the final rat­ing of “Expe­di­tion” to han­dle the rest.

EXPE­DI­TION: Expe­di­tion tents are for those extended trips to Mt. Ever­est or the South Pole. It can hold up to intense wind, snow, side­ways freez­ing rain, and what­ever else you or Mother Nature can throw at it. For most of the pop­u­la­tion a tent like this is com­plete overkill. But for the small per­cent­age that is voy­ag­ing to Antarc­tica or alti­tude, an Expedition-rated tent is the only option. This rat­ing comes with a high price tag.


January 25, 2016

The Hike: Walking Principles

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Up scree or talus, through boulder fields or steep wooded mountainsides, over snow or grass-covered slopes, the basic principles of mountain walking remain the same.

  • The soldier’s weight is centered directly over the feet at all times. He places his foot flat on the ground to obtain as much (boot) sole-ground contact as possible. Then, he places his foot on the uphill side of grass tussocks, small talus and other level spots to avoid twisting the ankle and straining the Achilles tendon. He straightens the knee after each step to allow for rest between steps, and takes moderate steps at a steady pace. An angle of ascent or descent that is too steep is avoided, and any indentations in the slope are used to advantage.
  • In addition to proper technique, pace is adapted to conditions. The mountaineer sets a tempo, or number of steps per minute, according to the pace of the unit in which he is moving. (Physical differences mean that the tempos of two people moving at the same speed will not always be the same.) The soldier maintains tempo and compensates for changes of slope or terrain by adjusting the length of his stride. Tempo, pace, and rhythm are enhanced when an interval of three to five paces is kept between individuals. This interval helps lessen the “accordion” effect of people at the end of the file who must constantly stop and start.
  • The terrain, weather, and light conditions affect the rate of climb. The more adverse the conditions, the slower the pace. Moving too fast, even under ideal conditions, produces early fatigue, requires more rest halts, and results in loss of climbing time. A soldier can only move as fast as his lungs and legs will allow. The trained, conditioned and acclimatized soldier has greater endurance and moves more efficiently. Rest, good nutrition and hydration, conditioning, acclimatization, proper training, and the will to climb are key to successful mountain operations.
  • Breaks are kept to a minimum. When a moderate pace is set, the need for rest halts decreases, the chance of personnel overheating is lessened, and a unit can cover a given distance in a minimal time. If possible, rests should be taken on level ground avoiding steeper inclines.


January 19, 2016

Essential Hiking Tips for Beginners


While hiking has become one of the best outdoor activities all over the world, it is important to know the basics. This article provides some basic hiking tips for beginners.

It’s not that difficult to imagine why hiking has become a favorite pastime. This can be your ultimate ticket to some of the best natural spots. Today, many fitness enthusiasts include hiking as part of their routine. This activity however requires extensive research and preparation. Keep in mind that you will be carrying a heavy load while walking for miles. It may seem fun and exciting, but it can be really challenging especially for beginners.

So for a safe and memorable experience, here are some tips you need to remember before and during the hike.

  1. Never travel alone

There are no exceptions for this rule. Even the most experienced hikers prefer travelling with a partner or by group. For beginners, it is advisable to travel with someone who has enough experience. He or she should also be familiar with the trails. You can also hire a guide to ensure your safety.

  1. Know where you’re going

As mentioned earlier, you need to research about the location. Be familiar with different terrain conditions. Make sure you have a map or a compass with you. For more advanced trails, you might want to bring an efficient GPS unit. The last thing you want to happen is to get lost in the middle of nowhere. Get the full details of where you plan to hike. Research online and visit forums. Learn from the experience of other people.

  1. Pack early

It is necessary to prepare your things as early as possible. Make sure you have everything you need. This includes basic hiking gear like boots, rainwear for hiking, water bottles, first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen, flashlight with spare batteries, knife, matches, and many more. May I also suggest bringing emergency food storage for your supplies.

  1. Condition your body

Hiking is a test of endurance. It is highly advisable to make preparations for at least a week or two. You might want to cut down some of your lousy habits like smoking and staying up late. For your own safety, consult your physician to make sure you’re physically fit.

And finally, please exercise your common sense. You cannot take this activity for granted. Yes, this can be a fun adventure but you have to respect the sport.

January 10, 2016

Top 3 Mountaineering Films you should Watch


While Net­flix has become well known for its expan­sive library filled with plenty of old tele­vi­sion shows, clas­sic movies, and amaz­ing orig­i­nal con­tent, the stream­ing ser­vice has recently become quite an out­let for out­door adven­ture films as well. One look at my per­sonal queue will show that it is packed with all kinds of adren­a­line induc­ing moun­tain bike and ski movies, fas­ci­nat­ing travel doc­u­men­taries, and films about explor­ers jour­ney­ing to the remote cor­ners of the planet to fill in the blank spots on the map.

My queue also hap­pens to have more than its fair share of moun­taineer­ing films as well, includ­ing some of the best movies that this niche genre has to offer. Here are seven of my favorites that can be streamed on Net­flix right now.


One of the great­est moun­taineer­ing films all time,Touch­ing the Void tells the true story of Joe Simp­son, a climber who – along with his part­ner Simon Yates – was attempt­ing to climb the 6344-meter (20,813 ft) Siula Grande in the Peru­vian Andes back in 1985. After a suc­cess­ful sum­mit, the duo was mak­ing their descent when Simp­son suf­fered a hor­rific fall, break­ing his leg in the process. What fol­lows is a har­row­ing tale of sur­vival and courage in the moun­tains, where one man refuses to give up no mat­ter what seem­ingly insur­mount­able obsta­cles are placed in his way. This is a film that every­one should see, whether you’re a moun­taineer­ing buff or not.


In 2008, sev­eral teams of climbers were attempt­ing to reach the top of K2, a moun­tain that is widely con­sid­ered to be the most dan­ger­ous and dif­fi­cult in the entire world. Dur­ing their sum­mit push, a series of unfor­tu­nate events – includ­ing an untimely avalanche – led to the death of 11 climbers, in what at that time was the sin­gle most deadly day in mod­ern moun­taineer­ing his­tory. The Sum­mit takes a look at the events that led up to that dis­as­ter and intro­duces view­ers to the prin­ci­ple char­ac­ters who were on the moun­tain that day. Some of their heroic acts helped keep the tragedy from becom­ing an even big­ger one, although some­times at great cost to themselves.


This film fol­lows a trio of out­stand­ing ski moun­taineers as they travel to Alaska to attempt the longest ski descent in the world, an 18,000-foot (5486 meter) drop off the beau­ti­ful and ter­ri­fy­ing moun­tain from which the film derives its name. Mount St. Elias takes us along on that expe­di­tion, which pushes these three very tal­ented climbers and skiers to the very edge of their phys­i­cal abil­i­ties, as they take on the biggest chal­lenge of their lives. The beau­ti­ful and com­pelling cin­e­matog­ra­phy will leave you hold­ing your breath as they push towards the sum­mit, and then begin the long ski descent back down the moun­tain. In terms of extreme ski­ing, it sim­ply doesn’t get much more dangerous than this.


January 05, 2016

Common Dangers of the Wild

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I recently was able to take an amazing hunting trip with a buddy of mine, and if you are looking for a good time, look into Helicopter Pig Hunting. There is nothing like it! It takes your hunting skills to a whole new level! But there is a whole new lists of dangers that comes along with it. My buddy and I got to talking and telling stories about some of our dumbest mistakes while in the wild and some common dangers that most people are unaware of when camping, hiking, or hunting. Here is a short list of things I scribbled down while we were talking, from the very worst to the most stinky, here’s five things you want to avoid at all costs and what to do if you get into them:

RAT­TLESNAKES – Despite what you’ve heard, rattlesnakes rarely attack unprovoked. In fact, they’re pretty docile. They rattle when they’re scared; it’s their way of telling you to back off. Of course, if you accidentally startle one (like stepping on it), it’s highly likely they’ll bite.

THREE-LEAFED PLANTS – Poi­son Oak, Poi­son Ivy, Poi­sion Sumac. Leaves of three, beware of me. All of these infu­ri­at­ing botan­i­cals, with no appar­ent excuse for exis­tence, excrete an oil called urush­iol. It’s in the leaves, the stems and the roots—even when it’s dead.

TICKS – What really needs to be said about this worth­less insect? They live in forests and grass­lands, and in ole­an­der bushes in desert land­scapes. In any case, they can be more than a nui­sance. If you get nailed, keep an eye out for tick-borne dis­eases.

STING­ING NET­TLE – A pro­lific peren­nial plant that has been used as food and med­i­cine for cen­turies, sting­ing net­tles are par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial for com­bat­ting sea­sonal aller­gies when taken as an herbal sup­ple­ment. But in it’s nat­ural state, the herb has hairs called tri­chomes lin­ing its leaves and stems that are highly irri­tat­ing to pests and preda­tors, and bare human skin. The result­ing inflam­ma­tory reac­tion that results from con­tact can pro­duce a tem­po­rary burn­ing “pins and nee­dles” like sensation.

SKUNKS – Accord­ing to the Mayo Clinic, skunks are among the most com­mon car­ri­ers of rabies, but it’s rare to get close enough to worry about that. A big­ger con­cern is the putrid smell that will stick to you or your dog like none other. It’s how they defend them­selves. While it’s fairly easy for humans to avoid get­ting sprayed, our canine companion’s curiosity and preda­tor drive can also be their worst enemy.

Can you share some more? Please send us an email or post your comments below. Stay tuned for more featured stories and safety tips.


December 27, 2015

Points to Consider when Going for a Hike


Travelling and staying in the wild for several may seem daunting at first. Imagine no gadgets, no wine bars, ice cold drinks, or hospitals nearby. However, this adventure can be life-changing. You will realize how fortunate you are and appreciate the beauty of nature. But before you go for a trip, keep in mind that this adventure does not suggest reckless abandon. Planning is important, especially if you are staying for a long period of time. To help you out, here are some of the things to consider:


As mentioned above, planning ahead of time is vital. This means planning it for a few weeks before the hike. Planning should not only involve what you need to bring. You should also do some research about the trail. What are the obstacles you might face? How are you going to resolve them? In addition, get updated with the weather forecast.


You should evaluate your checklist every now and then, even for short trips. Check the each item afresh. By now you should know the value and purpose of each when packing your stuff. For instance, you might take for granted the importance of supplements if gone for three or four days, but for longer periods, you can always change your mind—especially if they are a part of your health regime.


Choose the most appropriate and comfortable hiking trail, especially if you’re just getting started. Think about how far from the “civilization” you are. What is the exact distance of the place? Are there places you can go in case an emergency comes up? If you’re planning to hike 15 miles a day, then halfway through your trip, you’ll be about 75 miles out. Consider consulting your physician to see if you’re fit to travel.  Many times it’s also a great idea to see a Chiropractor before going on a long hike to make sure that your Body is in alignment and working properly.  The last thing you want to do is get on a long hike and a chronic back pain issue keep you from continuing.  One of our favorite Chiropractors is a Chiropractor in Lewisville, Tx, Dr. B.  She does a great job and will make sure your body is ready for a long hike.


In line with distance travelled, consider checking the area where you can camp out. For example, if you can travel 150 miles in 2 weeks, it might be better to head in perhaps 5-15 miles, set up a base camp, then day hike from there. You may also hike in 20 miles or so, again depending on your condition, preparedness, and health. Again, the whole trip is up to you and your fellow hikers. It’s your decision to make a base camp in only as far as you would be comfortable heading back home from.

And finally, always tell someone about the whole trip. If you could leave a copy of your plan, do it. This should include the place where you plan to hike and your desired time of return. This is to alert them in case you don’t return on time. They could contact the local authorities and the rescue team and respond immediately.

December 27, 2015

4 Things to Avoid when Hiking


If you want to introduce or encourage someone to the great outdoors, you need to make their experience worthwhile and as positive as possible. While there are so many risks involved with this sport or hobby, there are many ways you can do to avoid these common hiking injuries (although sometimes, a blister or twisted ankle is inevitable). And when you take out that first aid kit to alleviate the pain or discomfort, you still need some basic knowledge of how you use your supplies and properly aid any ailments you may encounter.

That being said, here are some of things you need to know to be prepared for your next hiking trip. Read on.


Since you are exposed to the sun, it only makes sense to protect your skin to prevent sun burn. The best way to do this is to wear comfortable clothes to cover you up. A pair of long sleeves and pants can be your best outfit when you’re hiking. But if you’re more comfortable wearing shorts, make sure to apply the appropriate sunscreen every few hours as well. You may also use any products containing Aloe Vera. This will help soothe that sensitive skin.


Yes, it’s so hard to avoid having blisters all over your body. As they say, this has been a part of every hiking experience. You just need to deal with it, and it really sucks—but hey, “battle scars” have always been a good souvenir. Just treat it properly to avoid infection. The cause of blisters is due to body friction causing fluids to collect between irritated layers of the skin and swell, eventually tearing and resulting to discomfort. To avoid this, you can start by using comfortable shoes and socks. Keep your dry as much as possible. When you start to feel a hot spot on a potentially blistering area, you can apply a layer of moleskin and athletic tape to avoid any rupturing. If you still get blisters, apply an antibiotic ointment and put a band-aid on it.


Another thing you need to watch out for is the bug bites. Of course, when you spend a long time outdoors, it’s hard to avoid these biting and stinging from these annoying insects—ranging from gnats to mosquitoes. Again, wearing proper clothes that can cover your skin is one way to avoid these intruders. You may also apply insect repellants to prevent bug bites. There are several products offered on the market from natural solutions to product lines that contain deet.


One of the most common injuries you may encounter when hiking is ankle sprain. This usually happens when you’re hiking on uneven trail that contains rocks, hidden obstacles, or slippery surfaces. While some can walk it off, others need a little more attention if you intend to finish your hike. The best way to avoid these injuries is to wear proper boots with ankle protections. Other than that, always bring a hiking stick or anything that can use a stabilizer for any injury.

These are some of the things you need to watch out for when hiking. Stay tuned for more tips and featured stories.


December 17, 2015

Key Pointers: Surviving the Mountains


When it comes to surviving the wilderness, you need to be calm and collective so you can think clearly and be able to do whatever is needed. In this post, we will discuss some of the most important things and attributes you need in able to survive the wild. Read on.

  1. WATER – I guess there’s no need to explain the importance of water when it comes to survival situation. Again, there are two kinds of water—the one that you can drink, and the one that could kill you. When in doubt, it is important to test or boil water source straight from mountainous areas—this is to eliminate the harmful substances. If you have a water bottle with you, make sure carry the bottle upside-down in sub-zero temperatures. The water at the surface will freeze first making it easier to drink from the other end.
  2. FIRE – The discovery of fire of our early ancestors is one of the key steps towards the survival of human race. This has provided warmth, safety against certain animals and biting insects, improved nutrition through cooking proteins and allowed them to do things at night.
  3. NUTRITION – Finding edible and healthy food is very important. This is another key to survival, but can be challenging in mountainous regions. According to Roald Amundsen, the first person to reach the South Pole, they have learned the importance of hunting for animals and finding leafy greens and fruits to keep them a supply of fresh food.
  4. TRAPPING – Another expert strongly suggests having enough knowledge where you can hunt and store animals for food, clothing and other tools. You can trace this back when the Europeans came to North American and learned from Native Americans how to use pits and dead falls to capture animals. This is made by gathering a log, rock or other heavy objects in sticks—so when animals moves a stick, the object will fall on them.
  5. WEATHER – Being able to determine when the weather might be about to turn is very advantageous when you’re in the mountains. Many mountaineers do this by being able to read the clouds. Some also observe the movement and mood of animals. Wispy, stretched out clouds—described as cirrus clouds may indicate fair weather.

These are some of the things you know when you’re in a survival situation in mountain regions. Stay tuned for more survival tips.