We all buy tons and tons of gear of ourselves to help enjoy the outdoors. Well, what about our favorite outdoor companion? They don't require much to be outside or too truly enjoying themselves. Yet, there are a few things that could help your best and most faithful bud get to and fro easier and with a little more ease and comfort.
I hope the list below helps you find just what you are looking for this holiday season.
Keep Hiking Forward!
Scott & "Boston"
Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
You’re probably close to finishing Christmas shopping for your family, but did you remember to get your four-legged family member a Christmas gift? Below are some gift ideas for happy tails on the trail.
1. Pet Gear Travel Lite Full-Length Tri-Fold Pet Ramp – Get your dog in and out of the car with ease. The skid-resistant treads prevent slipping, even when wet. Ramp sports a tri-fold design that is easily stored and rubber grippers for steadying the ramp.
2. Cabela’s Rectangle Comfy Cup Dog Bed – After a long day of adventure, let your dog rest in soft, supportive comfort. Surrounded by faux suede paired with plush-tipped Berber and cradled by high-loft polyfill, this bed is what dog dreams are made of.
3. Zuke’s Z-Filets Dog Treats – Reward your dog with these delicious meaty treats that are filled with nutrient-rich rosemary, sage and turmeric.
4. Ruffwear Quencher Cinch Top™ Dog Bowl – Keep food secure and at the ready with this compact, soft-shell dog bowl. The waterproof liner doubles as a water dish for when he’s done eating.
5. Hurtta America Cooling Dog Vest – Keep your dog cool outdoors when the weather gets warm. Simply dip the vest in cool water, wring out and place on your pooch. Vest protects the heart and chest area while maintaining proper circulation.
6. K&H Igloo-Style Lectro-Soft Heated Dog Bed – For outdoor shelters, garages or basements, this 20-watt orthopedic bed heats up to 102°F to aid in sustaining your dog’s body temperature. Ultrasoft PVC exterior prevents moisture absorption for long-term use and the 5.5’ steel-wrapped electrical cord resists damage from chewing.
7. Sentry® FiproGuard™ MAX – Protect your dog from fleas, ticks, lice and mange-inducing mites for up to 30 days with this powerful, waterproof formula. The active ingredient, fipronil, kills fleas and ticks in as little as one hour and destroys adult fleas before they lay eggs.
8. Ruffwear Palisades Pack™ – These lightweight, ergonomic, forward-positioned and weight-conscious saddlebags are built for all the rugged conditions nature has to offer. Pack can carry all your dog’s essentials such as food, water, bowls, treats, first-aid supplies and toys. The built-in Comfort-Fit Web Master™ Harness frame ensures good structure, stability and a balanced load. Its contoured, athletic cut with five adjustment points offer a customized fit that prevents movement or shifting of the saddlebags. Pack includes trail-centric features such as two collapsible hydration bottles, H20 bladder, stash pockets, waterproof zippers, reflective trim and more.
9. Dokkens™ Pocket-Sized Dog First-Aid Kit – Treat your dog’s injuries with a compact kit that includes a skin stapler, self-adherent wrap, gauze pads, nonlatex gloves, alcohol prep pads, povidone iodine pre-pads, suture removal kit (with littauer scissors and 4” metal forceps), first-aid manual and carry case.
10. Cabela’s Deluxe Quilted Backseat Hammock – Keep your car seats clean from muddy paws and wet fur with this rugged, waterproof and machine-washable hammock. Convenient zipper placement quickly converts the hammock to a backseat cover to allow passengers to sit comfortably. The seatbelt sleeve adds extra protection from dirt and water.
Hikers who take their dogs out on the trail know the devotion and companionship man’s best friend has to offer, so why not give him something special under the tree? Give a gift that will have him looking forward to the adventures of 2015.
For those who hike with man's best friend whether on a day hike, multi-day or long trail you know the trials and tribulations of carrying lots of supplies including food your pup. Dog food is not the lightest nor the most condensed item to pack or carry no matter the the length of your trek. We all have to eat, especially on a hike! My dog Boston is new to the outdoor world and is just getting the knack of carrying his pack and own water. Recently, the good people at TurboPup offered up some samples of their products for Boston to try.
This past weekend Boston tried the first of two of the samples that TurboPup sent us. Below are the video's that Boston and I took.
TurboPup is an all natural meal replacement option for you best bud. The dense packets come in a variety of flavors and are easily measured on the back of each packet so you can determine how may per day your dog needs per their weight. No measuring, just easy peasy!
TurboPup is also a veteran and female owned small company and is the official dog food for the National Association of Search and Rescue Dogs. Bottom line if you have dogs and frequent the outdoors with them this is a product you have to try! Boston, is not picky by any means, however when he gets a treat his usually quite content with just the treat. Once he had the TurboPup and was done with it he kinda did look at me like "Dad, you got another one?".
I hope you and your best pal enjoy these meals and enjoy not carry a ton of food for them on your next trek.
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I was fortunate to be provided a pair of Rocky S2V Resection Athletic Tail Shoes prior to my recent trip to the Shawnee National Forest this past weekend. I will admit as with any pair of new outdoor shoes or boots I did wear them and do my best to break them in. Instantly I realized these shoes were like a pair of sneakers and required minimum wear prior to getting out on trail.
The shoe is the most innovative shoe I have ever tried. To the naked eye it resembles a hightop boot but in fact once you pull back the outer gaiter it reveals the shoe that actually resembles a lightweight low hiker. The zip up gaiter feature ensures your laces will never come untied, get tangled or caught up in brush and whats best will keep your feet dry when traversing through creeks or wet ground.
The Vibram soles are cut to provide significant stability when day hiking or climbing over rocky terrain. I used the shoes this past weekend around camp during a moderately cold four day trip and my feet were always sufficiently warm. The zip up feature truly serves as another layer to protect not only from the wet conditions but also cold temperatures. Not sure if Rocky's intended for this during the design, but anything that keep my feet warm is a welcomed innovation in my book.
I had the pleasure of not only hiking in the shoes over the course of the weekend, but also bushwhacking between trails up and over rock formations in the Shawnee National Forest and exploring the Garden of the Gods Recreational Area. All of these areas required stability, an anti-slip sole, comfort and flexibility and these shoes answered the mail and delivered high performance on and off the trail. Typically after wearing a singular boot all day, upon returning to camp at the end of the day I am craving my soft comfortable sponge camp shoes. My camp shoes never came out of my pack last weekend. One of my camping mates referred to the shoes as "Jordans". I did feel like I could play some basketball in these shoes , and that was after a full day of hiking and rock formation exploration.
I will admit I am used to a full boot and or a full mid-cross trainer when hiking. This is neither. That is a not a good or a bad thing. This shoe is truly an athletic shoe that provides immense features for the outdoor terrain. Grip, anti-microbial protection and a outer gaiter for protection from the elements sets this shoe apart from other athletic outdoor shoes in the same price range.
The fact that this is a shoe versus a full boot can minimize it's uses for some but after an extended weekend I see no reason why day hiking, camping and extended backpacking would be limiting to this product.
Rocky S2V makes other footwear and outdoor apparel and are located in Nelsonville, Ohio.
The good people at Rocky S2V have provided me a code for any product on their website. Enter to win the chance to get any of Rocky S2V's products below.
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This coming weekend, I get to return to the woods and mingle with the Gods in the Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. I have been waiting, rather impatiently for this trip to arrive. It's been way to long since I have been able to get out. My adventures lately have been filled with hoping from plane to plane or cab to hotel, living in the urban jungle adventuring from one city to another. Enough of that! It's time to get outdoors and enjoy time with my friends from my local hiking and adventure club.
This trip will allow me three nights and four days to explore the Shawnee National Forest and Garden of the Gods. Even though it is the beginning of November the colors in Southern Illinois are supposed to be fantastic still. This is a trip I am really looking forward to for the purposes of seeing my good friends for the Corn Desert Hikers and relaxing by the fire, however their is work to be done.
I want to give you a sneak peek into some of the amazing gear that I will be bringing a long to put to the test and review for all of you. Stay tuned once I return for full reviews on the following products:
Resection Athletic Trail Shoes by Rocky® are men's extreme sport and trail shoes. It's about performance and comfort with a special, unexpected safety feature. These are shoes that will keep your feet dry on the trail while gripping the terrain; or they may help save your life.These trekkers have a VapourFlex® four-way stretch waterproof shroud. VapourFlex is a patented waterproof, breathable and elastic tech fabric designed for outdoor gear. Run or trek where you like, these are waterproof shoes. Forget zippers; these trail running shoes have waterproof self-locking asymmetrical zippers. Water isn't getting in!
You'll have sure footing on and off the trail with outsoles that feature a Vibram® compression molded trek rubber compound. This trekker has a proprietary wave underlay texture for element traction and shedding.
(product description from Rockys2v.com)
Sierra Designs Mobile Mummy 800 4 Season Bag
The most innovative sleeping bag I have ever encountered on the market. I am trilled and excited to give this bag a true test. Living in the north I plan on using this 4 season bag rather often throughout the upcoming winter. And if this winter was anything like last winter the 800 fill is going to pleasantly welcomed.
In addition to the 4 season capabilities of this bag it offers some interesting features:
Ultralight Jacket Hood With No Cords Or Toggles It moves with you, while fitting comfortably snug around your face like the hood on a jacket.
Zipperless Arm Ports Ready for instant use, our arm ports have no zippers, toggles or hook-and-loop closures to get in the way.
Garment-Style Shoulder Design When you’re upright in the bag, our tapered design rests on your shoulders—not your head.
Centrally Placed, Ventable Zipper The 58" zipper is easier and more natural to operate. Dual sliders can be zipped from the bottom for venting.
Draft-Prevention The draft collar, tube, and curtains keep warm in and cold out.
Stowable Footbox Foot box can be tucked up with toggles to prevent the bag from dragging when you walk around.
(product description from www.Sierradesigns.com)
d.light S300 Solar Lantern
The d.light S300 provides bright white light at a wide angle, enabling the illumination of an entire room. The S300 features 4 brightness settings, providing up to 16 hours of bright light (100 hours on the bed light setting). A USB port provides the ability to charge smart phones, and a battery indicator shows the charge level. Lightweight (350g), it comes with an ergonomically designed handle and top strap, which offers maximum flexibility for use in the home, workplace, or outdoor environments.
(product description from www.dlightdesign.com)
Pat's Backcountry Beverages
What do all crave after a long day of hiking? Or want to have by our side during an awesome campfire with friends? BEER! Well thanks to good people and Pat's Backcountry Beverages not only are they giving us the opportunity to have beer but also awesome soda flavors too in the backcountry. I am really looking forward to trying this product out. Not only for its convenience and flavor but to show it off to my friends from my hiking group. People have heard of the backcountry beer but seeing and tasting will be believing.
Introducing the most environmentally-responsible carbonated beverage system on earth! This awesome little addition to your gear list is engineered with an emphasis on rugged durability and first of it's kind functionality. In it's more docile state, it functions as your standard, everyday water bottle (yawn). However, when you decide to kick it into high gear and unleash the technology hiding under it's cap, you get a burst of refreshing carbonation to energize any beverage of your choice. So no matter how far your wanderlust leads you down the trail, you can still enjoy a crisp, carbonated beverage anywhere on the planet. Cheers!
(product description from www.patsbcb.com)
If your like me, you want your gear organized, easy to find and all in place. Well what we want and what we sometimes end up with are not the same. I try to keep things orderly and tidy because you never know when you might be able to get out for a little adventure. However we all know that life and the lack of time to keep things the way we want them does happen. I am sure that after a weekend trip or a longer adventure the last thing we all do is take the time to put everything away in its proper place the moment we get home. I am sad to say I have done that one too many times.
Okay so a little confession. I came home from Hell Hike and Raft and did just this. All my gear, tent, pack, boots, drybags... All of it just tossed on my gear bench in the garage. My work travel keep me moving for about four weeks consecutive after our Epic Social Adventure. And, yes even while on the road the thought of all my gear, some old, some newly purchased and some newly sponsored gear laying out unorganized weighed heavily on my mind.
Recently, when I finally had enough and had enough time, I took control of the situation. I also have a trip coming up the second weekend of November and needed to get things in order or would never be able to pack effectively. I have always had a gear bench and hooks for my packs, hammock accessories, hiking poles and the underneath of the bench stored all my tents and packs. This system worked well. When I used it mind you. But something that was becoming a larger issues was the "smalls" (Frank Fritz - American Pickers term). Something that can't but put on a hook, that needs its own pace and is easy to loose without its predetermined space. Smalls are also usually expensive and items of great importance. Everything from your titanium spork, to your GPS or favorite multitool. All moderately expensive and necessary for each trip. But oh so easy to misplace when your gear area isn't organized.
Just as I was about to undertake organizing and cleaning up my gear bench a neighbor was having a yard sale and asked if I was interested in a tool storage system. I stood there in disbelief! Why hadn't I thought of this before? The Craftsman tool chest was the perfect solution to my gear smalls! Sliding drawers of various depths to accommodate all sorts of smalls. This would definitely I would never ask my self "where the hell did I put my spork?" ever again! YAHOO!
I brought back the tool chest back to my garage and got to work. Old gear, new gear, sponsored gear from Hell Hike and Raft all quickly found its place into the drawers by category. Wow! I didn't realize I had so many pocket knifes. As I mentioned, this was a spur of the moment gear organization epiphany. I wish I could take total credit for the ingenious idea.
I can tell since I done this, and needed things they are always organized and where they are supposed to be. Its amazing how much nicer it is to not have to muddle through a pile of gear to just find a head lamp. Obviously, not everyone has a Craftsman tool chest to organize their gear or a sizeable area in their garage to store all of it. I will offer that keeping your gear in the same place is a must. Having too many small locations is just a quick and easy way to drive yourself mad when need a specific piece of gear. A multi-draw Rubbermaid container may offer the same type of solution for you and at a fraction of the cost of a tool organizer.
If you don't have a garage or don't have the free space in the garage then maybe a dedicated closet is the way to go with shelves or hooks to stow our packs and tents while utilizing an organizational mechanism for your smalls. Organizing your gear ensures you know where every thing is and enables you to pack efficiently and effectively for every adventure. This also dramatically lessens the risk of forgetting to pack something critical for your trip.
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This trip requires three individual components of gear. First a town page for the first and last days. Second, a backpack with all the necessary gear for the hiking portion as well as the tent, sleeping bag and clothing for throughout the trip. And lastly the specific gear and clothing for the rafting portion. So the question at hand is... How the "HELL" do you get all of this on a plane and to Idaho in one piece?
I have had a big Eastern Mountain Sports duffel for almost fifteen years. I went to use it for the trip and found out that it has seen better days. The bag just took too much abuse over the years and I decided it was time for a new bag. I recently purchased the Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) Camp Duffel, XXL. This bag is large enough to adequately hold all three components of my gear and there is room to spare for the gear I will be receiving when I arrive in Idaho.
I will use this bag when going winter car camping to hold my puffier clothing, snow pants, tent and sleeping bag. I love having that one big bag that can hold it all. I know this bag will also handle the rough airline baggage handlers well too.
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I love my ENO Singlenest. I take it with me camping, backpacking in the summer and the dead of winter. There is nothing like relaxing between two trees and swinging back and fourth. I debated on whether to take it or not on Hell Hike and Raft, but knew I would miss it once I got there. I also saw one of my other teammates gear line up photo's with her ENO in it. Once I saw that, I knew I would be uber jealous and miss my hammock. So, in the pack she will go. I am not bringing the rainfly or the netting as I will be sleeping in my tent.
I have visions of sitting in my hammock with my new friends around, the sun setting, a warm fire, amazing food and huge majestic mountains surrounding me. It doesn't get much better then that my friends!
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When my REI dividend came around this Spring, I knew exactly what it was going to go for. Last fall I went on a multi-day trip in a very well broken in pair of Merrell's that I have loved for years. I think I took them on just one to many trips. I was time to retire my comfy yet worn out boots.
My new boots for the foreseeable future are the Oboz Bridger BDry Boots. Comfortable, and the best part... a quick tie capability, which is a huge plus. This is what actually sold me on the boots. No doubt, they are super comfortable, but the ability to get them on and off quickly and effortlessly is what made them sold.
There aren't many boots on the market that you could almost wear everyday. These are that comfortable and are that true of a fit. These will be the boots I wear while hiking and climbing, as mentioned in another review I will be wearing Crocs for camp shoes and Keens for rafting.
Stay tuned for how well the Oboz do in Hell.
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Weight is always a issue for all of us. And we all need a knife when on a hiking trip. In addition scissors, tweezers and a screwdriver always come in handy. One of my latest purchases fits the bill on all of these requirements and more. The Gerber Dime multi-tool also has a exposed beer opener. Always important!
This baby weighs in at just over two ounces and folds wicked small.
I see lots of uses for this device, and it is substantially lighter then some of my other pocket knifes which have significantly less functionality.
Stay tuned after Hell Hike and Raft to hear about how useful this little tool was.
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It's a GoPro! There is nothing left to say. Strap it on to ... something, anything and record your world of adventure.
That is all!
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*Sorry for the GoPro attachment noise in the video.
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