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.
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.
WEAR MERINO WOOL OR WOOL BLEND SOCKS
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.
WEAR WATERPROOF HIKING GAITERS
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.
COAT YOUR FEET WITH A “HYDROPHOBIC” BALM
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- TOUCHING THE VOID
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.
- THE SUMMIT
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.
- MOUNT ST. ELIAS
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.
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.
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.
MAKE A DETAILED CHECKLIST
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.
DISTANCE AND CAPABILITY
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.
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.
- SUN BURN
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.
- BUG BITES
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.