How To Plan A Successful Family Bikepacking Trip

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jul 21, 2021 11:01:05 AM

How To Plan A Family Bikepacking Trip

By Guest Bloggers Jason and Chelsey Magness

As professional adventure racers and race directors my husband Jason and I love big endurance training trips.  But as new parents of Max (4) and Revel (1.5) it has been a fascination to look for ways to incorporate more adventure, play and training into our family life. One of our most favorite ways to check all of these boxes is to go on family bike-packing trips. When we had just one kid, it was much easier to go on backpacking trips (one person carried the kid, the other the camping gear), but once we added little brother Revel to the mix, we quickly turned to looking for other alternatives that allowed for us to manage even more gear and weight. 

We just got back from our fourth bike packing trip through Central Oregon and it was amazing. We took 4 days (3 nights) to do 120 miles, most of it on dirt roads with lots of play stops along the way. Every night we ended at a different lake or river to ensure easy water access and lots of water, dirt and sand play (a kid's dream).  On average, we rode hard for about 2-3 hours before our first stop and tried to do a second push in the early to late afternoon after the kids had worn themselves out. A few days into the trip, we hit a small town, which proved to be a fun stop for the kids and enabled us to carry less weight in food and water knowing that we could refill during the trip.

Chelsey Magness Team BendRacing

Nite Ize products have always been a staple in our adventure racing kits, but they have become even more important to take on our family adventure trips. Attached to the kids bike trailer was a big stash of Gear Ties of all sizes. They weigh nothing, and came in handy for everything from fixing the boys' shade structure to keeping our tent stakes together when we lost the little baggie, to creating a handy hook for our water filtration system. Another favorite and coveted item for this trip (and all our family camping trips) are the Nite Ize Rechargeable Glow Sticks (referred to as light lasers by the boys). These “light lasers” provided countless squealing play moments between the boys in the tent before bed. For us parents, the Nite Ize GearLine proved to be our most clutch piece of gear.  After a full day on the bikes and then playing in the water for as long as possible before bed, the GearLine gave us a great place to dry out our wet and dirty clothes.

If you are reading this and are getting excited to plan your own solo or family bike packing trip, we have some advice that we have learned over the last few years:

 

1) Go for it

Bikepacking With Kids

Every family adventure sounds daunting until you are in it. Yes the planning and packing is a bit stressful (we are not going to sugar coat that) but once you start pedaling away, it all becomes so easeful and simple. Kids love to be outside and to be with you. They are also highly adaptable, way more so than adults. And the more you let them in on the adventure (have them “help” navigate, pack up camp, etc.), the more they will become excellent teammates. 

 

2) Let your kids see your struggle 

Bike packing with kids

When you are pulling them up a hard hill, or get “lost” on a dirt road, let them see you in this place and then get through it. During our trip, Max would see us working hard and say “Daddy, Mama you can do it!”  Immediately afterwards, Revel would then say the same thing. Later on in the day, hiking up a big hill at our camp spot, Max would say, “Wow, this is hard but I can do it!” Moments like this don’t come easy unless they see you doing it, and a bike packing trip is a perfect teaching experience. 

  

3) If you are still hesitant, do a test run

Family Bikepacking Trip Tips

For your first time out, plan an over night trip that is not too far away. When Max was 3 years and Revel was 5 months, we were planning a ten day trip, but before we bit off too much, we wanted to see first hand what worked and what didn’t. We chose a destination that was close to home and went out for 24 hours. We tested out all of our gear and found out quickly what was unnecessary and what was clutch. 

 

2) Pack light

Family Bikepacking Trip Packing List

Even though you are on your bike, you still have to think about weight and space. Our advice is to take the essentials but leave the “extra pair of bike shorts, etc.” at home. And if you forget something (which you will) you will either adapt or perhaps you can stop somewhere and get it. 

 

3) Have a loose plan, but don’t be too strict with it

Bikepacking With Kids

With kids in tow, plans as you know can get derailed fast. We found that mapping out multiple fun stops and having a few different camping options helped us not stress too much about needing to get a spot. Instead, we were able to see how the day was going and change plans as needed. If the kids fell asleep, we always opted to keep going a little further and if the kids were having a hard time, it was nice to be able to stop for a longer time. 

Above all, have fun, be safe and enjoy time spent with your family in nature! 

 

Jason and Chelsey Magness

About Jason and Chelsey Magness

Jason and Chelsey built their relationship on a shared passion for adventure. As professional multi-sport athletes, teachers, coaches, and race directors, they help thousands of people through live workshops, elite training camps, and online at BendRacing.com and JandCtraining.com.  As part of Team BendRacing, they travel the globe competing in some of the toughest races on earth, battling rugged conditions and exploring the edge of human potential.

Whether racing across remote icebergs, developing innovative acrobatic sets, or balancing a thousand feet above ground on a slackline, all while chasing their wild little boy Max and toddler boy Revel Wilder, Jason and Chelsey have learned to train the mind and body to surpass limits and take life to the next level.

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, "travel", camping, gearline, kids

Our Favorite Camp Recipes That Are As Easy As They Are Delicious

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jun 24, 2021 1:36:41 PM

Our Favorite Camp Recipes That are as Easy as They are Delicious

Looking for something to cook at your summer camping trip other than hot dogs? We got you. We asked our team members for their favorite, tried-and-true camp recipes that will help you break the monotony. Here are 7 fresh ideas:

All recipes sourced from Nite Ize staff

Camp Skillet Nachos

Camp Skillet Nachos

I recommend using a Dutch oven or cast iron pan with a lid for this camp time favorite that you can cook over a fire or stove. There’s really no wrong way to make this meal and the ultimate the success of this dish all depends on your ability to layer your ingredients. 

Here are my go-to base ingredients:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Black beans
  • Onion (sautéed)
  • Diced tomatoes (or your favorite salsa)
  • Jalapeño  (I like pickled ones)
  • Avocado
  • Cheese, cheese, cheese! (Cheddar, Colby + Monterey jack mix)
  • Oil for cooking

As I mentioned, there is no wrong way to make these nachos, and you can decide whether to use fresh or canned ingredients.


Camping Nachos RecipeStart by giving your pan or Dutch oven a light coating of oil to prevent the ingredients from sticking. If you are going to be using a Dutch oven, then you’ll also want to start a fire so that you have some hot coals to cook over after you’ve completed the following steps.

Next, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of chips followed by a thin layer of the beans, onion, tomatoes/salsa, jalapeño, avocado and top with a layer of cheese. You can also add meat to your recipe and will need to cook this separately before preparing your nacho layers. Repeat this process of layering all of your ingredients until you are out of chips and toppings or once your pan is full. All that’s left is to cook your nachos on a low-to-medium heat for about 10 minutes or until all the cheese is melted and the ingredients are warm. For best results, place coals on top of and below your Dutch over and if you are using a pan then you may want to preheat the lid before covering your nachos to help heat the ingredients from the top of the pan. Enjoy!

 

Hobo Pizza Pies

Camp Hobo Pizza Pies
 
Camping Hobo Pizza Pies RecipeThese hobo pies are easy to pack, and a cinch to prep. Plus, they're delicious cooked over a fire.
 
Ingredients:
  • White bread
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Packaged pepperoni
  • Pam or butter
  • You'll also need a pie iron
 
Grease both sides of the pie iron with butter or Pam to create a good golden toast. Spread the pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni on each sandwich half. Close it up, then cook it over the open fire until it's toasty and melty!
 
 

Campfire Baked Potatoes

Campfire Baked Potatoes Recipe

These baked potatoes can be cooked right in the hot coals of your campfire.
 
Here's what you'll need:
  • Russet potatoes
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Sour cream and chives for serving 
First scrub the potatoes clean and dry them off. Stab the potatoes with a fork on all sides, and spread with an even layer of butter. Season skin with salt, then wrap each potato lightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Then, you can either bury the wrapped potatoes in the hot coals, or you can cook them on a wire rack above the flames. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, then carefully remove from flames with tongs and oven mitts. Unwrap and stick a fork in one to make sure it is cooked through. Split open and enjoy with butter, sour cream, and chives as desired (or add more of your favorite toppings like shredded cheese and/or bacon bits)!
 
 

Ah-So Pork Tenderloin

 
Just cover the loin with store-bought Ah-So sauce, wrap it in aluminum foil and toss it in the hot coals or over a grill. Serve with applesauce for that classic Peter Brady feeling.
 
 

Make-And-Take Chili

Make-Ahead Camping Recipes
 
Okay, so maybe this is more of a hack than a recipe, but one of my favorite meals for car camping actually is made at home. I make my favorite chili, then store it in some tupperware and pack it up on ice in my cooler. Chili holds and reheats really well, so all you have to do is heat it up in a pot over your camp stove or open flame, then have your go-to garnishes ready for serving. This method is designed so you can spend less time stressing over meal prep and more time relaxing in the great outdoors.
 
 

Campfire Baked Apples

Campfire Baked Apples Recipe
 
 Don't let s'mores take all the glory. Here's a tasty camp dessert you might not have tried before.
 
Ingredients:
  • 4 apples
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 c. caramel plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. quick oatmeal
Slice off the 1/4 of the apples and scoop out the cores using a sharp pairing knife or apple corer. Cut the holes so they are about an inch wide. Leave the bottom 1/2'' intact. In a small mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, and stuff the apples with the mixture.

Place each apple on a piece of heavy-duty foil (about 12 in. square). Fold foil over apples and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from grill and open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Serve and enjoy!
 

S'mores With a Twist

Peanut Butter Cup S'mores
 

For a unique and simple spin on the classic campfire s'more, try using a Reese's peanut butter cup in place of the chocolate! Why didn't we think of that sooner?

 

GearLine Organization System

To help level-up your camp kitchen, use a GearLine Organization System to hang your utensils, mugs, and more. Not only is it great to keep everything conveniently in reach, but it's a great way to air dry utensils after washing. Be sure you get all that food residue off before you hit the hay as to not attract bears and other curious critters!

Radiant 170 Task Light

When the sun sets before you finish cooking dinner, you'll need some extra light in just the right spot. Our Radiant 170 Rechargeable Task Light is perfect for the job. Not only can you stick it to any metal surface (like your camp stove), you can also use the attached Gear Tie to wrap it around branches, posts, poles, and more. Then, just tilt the beam wherever you need your light.

Now tell us your favorite camp recipes in the comments below! What's your family-favorite camping meal?

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, camping

Maximizing Adventure Travel In The Utah Desert

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jun 17, 2021 2:24:12 PM
Maximizing Adventure Travel in the Utah Desert
Written and photographed by Sunny Stroeer
 
Imagine a quaint, red rock western town that used to be one of the most isolated spots in the lower 48.  What comes to mind?  You may be thinking Moab or Sedona, but the town I am talking about is further off the beaten path than either of those: it is a small pioneer town in Southern Utah by the name of Kanab.
 
Kanab is located smack between Zion, Bryce, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a fantastic jumping off point for many of the Colorado Plateau’s incredible national parks; it is also home to me personally, and to the guides of Dreamland Safari Tours - a hardy bunch of most excellent backcountry desert guides with decades of experience in delighting guests by creating access to hard-to-reach locations like the Wave, White Pocket, and more. 

 

Camping at White Pocket in Arizona
 
If you love hiking adventures and the varied geology of Utah, you have most likely heard about the Wave — it is both an iconic destination and incredibly tightly permitted: in any given year, upwards of a quarter million people apply in the hopes of obtaining one of the ~64 available daily permits. White Pocket is the Wave’s lesser known brother formation: it is a geologic and photographic wonderland, just about to burst onto the adventure aficionado scene, and not yet subject to permit regulations.  
 The Wave in Arizona at night
 
At Dreamland Safari Tours, we guide guests to both the Wave and White Pocket, as well as many other incredible locations – and we venture into the backcountry every day of the year. We need our gear to live up to the demands of an extreme environment where temperatures can easily vary by forty or fifty degrees over the course of a 24-hour cycle, and early-evening katabatic winds cascading off the Colorado Plateau create daily opportunities for sandblasted exfoliation. Needless to say: given the challenging conditions of our "office", we expect nothing but maximum performance and durability from our gear.  That’s why we rely on Nite Ize both to light our way during the many remote overnight trips that we host, and to help secure our gear and loads not just en route to a destination but also once at camp. 
 
Radiant Rechargeable Glow Sticks light the path
 
Among our lighting favorites are not just Nite Ize Radiant Headlamps and Lanterns, but particularly also the rechargeable glow sticks that we regularly use as an environmentally friendly way to light the path for our astro photographer guests to find their way back to camp after a night-time shoot. Prior to using Radiant Rechargeable Glow Sticks, we brought single use glow sticks that would make their way to the landfill once used; now, we simply collect our Radiant Glow Sticks at the end of the night, plug them into a USB charger, and they’re ready to go again for the next trip. As an outdoor company and proud member of 1% For The Planet, being environmentally conscious is important to us, and Nite Ize helps us reduce our impact.
 
Gear Ties have thousands of uses
 
In addition to an assortment of rechargeable lighting solutions, we of course also use tried-and-true S-Biners, GearTies and tie downs for every use in the book - from securing loads on the back of our pickup trucks, to hanging water dispensers to mounting easy-access paper towel holders: Nite Ize gear is infinitely versatile and has an almost unlimited number of uses, which is exactly the reason that we at Dreamland Safari Tours love it. By having Nite Ize as integral part of our guides’ gear setup, we get to maximize the time we spend on being fully focused on our guests - thanks to the peace of mind that comes with using awesome gear. 
 
Dreamland Camp at Night

 

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, Field Team, "travel", camping, headlamp

Thoughtful Father’s Day Gifts For The Man With Everything

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on Jun 8, 2021 9:41:34 AM

Father's Day Gifts For The Man With Everything

When it comes to spoiling dad every Father’s Day, it’s often a task easier said than done. With the kind of dad who prefers to pick out his clothing, tools, cars, toys, and home items, you’re often left thinking: What’s left to get him? Have no fear, the gift helpers are here. Keep reading for thoughtful (and affordable) gift ideas that appease every type of old man, from the fixer-upper to the angler to the hard worker.

On-The-Job Mobile Accessories

Father's Day Gifts Mobile Phone

Your dad is the type to always be working. Whether it’s an early morning, late night, or weekend shift, he’s the guy you can count on to show up. Help him stay connected with his colleagues and family with our collection of premium phone holsters and mounts. The Clip Case Sideways Holster will keep his phone in reach at the worksite, while the Steelie Squeeze Dash Kit will keep it in place (and in view) on the commute.

 

Fishing Trip Companions

Father's Day Gifts Fishing

Let me guess: His free time is better spent on the water with a fishing pole in hand. Make his Father’s Day weekend a memorable one by planning a trip just you two, and gifting him some angler add-ons to make his day a little easier. A RunOff Waterproof Packing Cube protects his clothing and gear from splashes on the boat, while Traveler keeps his beer right on his hip while casting a line. For bonus points, grab a DoohicKey FishKey tool to throw in his tackle box, which features a serrated edge to cut line and a bottle opener to keep the brews coming.

 

Garage-Organizing Magic

Father's Day Gifts For Organizing

Dad’s garage is his palace, chock-full of tools, toys, and cars you’re probably not allowed to touch. Help him make room for more doo-dads with smart organization items that maximize his space. The GearLine Organization System perfectly strings up his most-loved tools, bike helmets, bags, and gear for easy grabbing, and the S-Biner #10 acts as a hang-up home for stray electrical cords, straps, and tools.

 

DIYer Secret Weapons

Father's Day Gifts For DIYers

If “I can fix that” is his most used phrase, we’ve got you covered. The Dual CamJam Tie Down System helps him safely lug home materials for his next project, while the Clip Pock-Its XL Utility Holster holds his favorite screwdriver, adjustable wrench, tape measure, and level right on his hip while he works from the yard to the basement. To round things out, add a Radiant 170 Rechargeable Clip Light to your cart to let him keep the “fun” going, clipping right onto his hat for adjustable after-hours work lighting.

 

Outdoorsman-Approved Finds

Father's Day Gifts For Camping

The old man prefers to spend his weekends in the comforts of nature, far from the reaches of a cell signal. Find a site and set up camp with him as part of your gift, camping in style with some of our most-loved camper and hiker favorites. Some outdoorsy picks include the Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp for walking around the site, Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern + Flashlight for tableside or in-tent illumination, and a SlapLit Drink Wrap to stay lit all night.

Now that you’ve figured out what might make dad’s day, all that’s left to do is stock up! Order now to ensure your gifts arrive in time, and make sure to write a personal message in a card or whip up a homemade dessert to really wow him. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

For super-sized products to take care of those super-sized jobs, check out our MaximIZE collection for June, featuring our biggest, baddest gear that dads of all ages will love.

Topics: Garage Organization, DIY, fishing, camping, doohickey

Camping With Your Dog: 5 Things You Need To Know

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on May 12, 2021 10:22:22 AM

Tips For Camping With Your Dog

As a seasoned camping couple plus pupper, I can tell you one thing for sure: There’s so much I wish I knew the first time around. The dreamy Instagram pics of campers out in the backcountry with their four-legged friends only told one side of the story. I’m here to tell the other side—the nitty-gritty details about what you need to know, pack, and prepare to keep your canine camper happy.

 

1. Know Where You're Going

Camping With Dogs

Before you set out, do your research to make sure wherever you're going is dog-friendly. If you're going to a campground, I would also highly recommend making reservations as far in advance as possible. The good spots go quick!

 

2. Know Your Dog

How to Camp With Your Dog

As much as it pains me to say this, not all dogs are built to be happy campers. Consider your dog’s behavior, temperament, and sensitivities before counting them in. Are they an excessive barker? Injured or easily fatigued? Highly reactive? Always cold? High anxiety? Some of these can be a recipe for disaster at a campsite.

My dog, Teddy (that's us in the photo above), was already a big hiking fan prior to our first trip, so we knew he’d enjoy a night outdoors. Plus, he’s a larger dog with great stamina and a love of snow, so we knew he wouldn’t mind cooler temps at night.

 

3. Keep It Safe

Camp Safety With Dogs

Safety is the top priority when it comes to camping pups. Some pointers include: 

 

Check Their Vaccinations and Overall Fitness

Is your dog fully vaccinated and ready to embrace the outdoors? Are they protected from fleas, ticks, and heartworms? Have they been showing any signs of discomfort or pain? Might as well schedule a vet visit before your trip or give them a call to touch base.

 

Check Campground For Leash Requirements

RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash

I already mentioned checking to make sure that dogs are allowed at your campsite, but be sure to find out their leash requirements as well. Some sites allow off-leash at your site, but require you to keep them on-leash when walking the grounds. The RadDog All-In-One Collar + Leash was made just for this, and is my go-to during the day for our trips with Ted.


But more than just what the site will allow, what's the right call for your dog? Are they trusted off-leash, or do you have some reservations? And, is the campsite private enough so they won’t stray over to surrounding campers? For their first trip, it’s a good idea to start with a tether at your site, or in a pinch, attach their leash to a chair, table, or tree with a SlideLock Pet S-Biner.

 

Gear Up With Pet Illumination For Nighttime

NiteHowl Rechargeable LED Safety Necklace

Trust me when I say that campfire light isn’t enough to keep your dog seen (and what if you can’t have a campfire at all?). The first few trips, we went without wearable illumination for Teddy, and I would constantly panic check for him in the dark—even if he was sitting next to me on leash. A SpotLit Collar Light is easy to clip on after sunset, but a NiteHowl or NiteDog Rechargeable Collar are my preferred option for my off-leash dog so I can spot him anywhere at the site.

 

Bring A Fido First-Aid Kit

A first aid kit is, of course, an essential item for the human campers in your party, but be sure to pack one for your pup as well. You can purchase a canine-specific pre-made kit (like this one by Adventure Medical Kits), or you can make your own. Check out this guide to learn how to put yours together.

 

Never Leave Your Pup Alone

This is a rule most campgrounds specify, but it is too often disregarded. Do not leave your dog unattended in your campsite! Most importantly, it can be unsafe for the dog, but could also be disruptive to nearby campers. There are too many unknowns and risks, so just don't do it. Plus, they'll be happier being with you anyway!

 

4. Keep It Clean

Camping With Dogs

Reality check: There’s no such thing as a clean camping trip. And when you throw pups into the mix, you better be prepared for dirt galore.

 

Wipe Your Paws

We always keep extra towels in the trunk for our dirty pup, whether he needs a wipe-down post-hike, swim, or camp. Before you let them into your tent or car for the drive home, whip out those towels and wipe down their paws, belly, and any other muddy areas.

 

Stay on potty duty

Pack-A-Poo Bag Dispenser

Common misconception: Camping in the great outdoors means you can leave your dog’s poop around the site. In reality, our domesticated dogs survive on a diet not native to the area, so an abundance of dog waste left behind can disrupt the local ecosystem, introducing new bacteria, airborne particles, and algae. If you’re in a campground with dumpsters, bag their poop throughout the trip and drop it off on your way out using a Pack-A-Poo and waste bags, featuring a roll-up dispenser that clips right onto their leash or collar (or your pack). But if you’re in a remote location with no nearby trash bins, kick it old school and dig a hole to bury the evidence.

 

Check for ticks

Before your settle in to sleep, do a visual check for ticks in their coat. I usually just run my hands through his shorter coat to check, but for fluffy pups, pack a lint roller and run it along their coat to see if any ticks come unstuck. Use a handheld flashlight or lantern to shine a light while you check.

 

Stop the digging in their tracks

Don’t forget to keep your site in order, too—remember this isn’t your backyard. Some dogs have that digging impulse when they see dirt (unfortunately mine), so cut that behavior out as soon as you see it.

 

5. Keep It Comfortable

Camping With Dogs Tips

Now that safety and hygiene are out of the way, it’s time to make them comfortable for a night full of fun.

 

Manage stress with toys

Dog Toys For Camping

Even if your dog was born to adventure, their first camping trip can be stressful (and all of the trips after that). Keep them entertained and distracted with light-up toys for all-night fetching fun, from the Huck ‘N Tuck + GlowStreak Ball to the Flashflight LED Dog Discuit. If they’re aggressive chewers, maybe give them a tough bone to wear ‘em out.

 

Keep them well-fed and hydrated

RadDog Collapsible Bowl

Pack enough food for all of the days you’ll be camping, plus the drive there and home. And more than food, make sure you have plenty of water to keep them hydrated—pack a water jug or a water filtration system if there’s a nearby stream.

I love the RadDog Collapsible Bowls for road trips and camping trips alike because they roll up and clip onto his leash to save space and keep track of his dishes. Don’t forget that dog food, just like human food, needs to be safely stored before bed. Keep their extra food safe in a bear locker, bear bag, or return it to the car if it’s nearby.

  

Cuddle up for a warm night

Camp With Your Dog

My favorite part about camping with my pup? They’re like a built-in space heater! Teddy cuddles between us on trips to stay warm and keep us warm at the same time. Dog sleeping bags are also an option if you’re not a cuddler, or are limited on sleeping space. There are also many travel pet beds you can purchase for camping if your bed from home is too big (or too clean) for the campsite.

 

If this seems overwhelming at first, trust me, it gets easier with time. All of these pro tips have upgraded our trips with Ted, allowing us to camp free of worries and full of fun. I can’t wait to break into another camping season with Teddy. I’d love to hear your favorite tips, memories, and locations for camping with your pup below!

Topics: outdoors, LED Pet Products, Adventure, "travel", Pets, dogs, camping

A Practical Camping Guide for the Non-Outdoorsy

Posted by MJ Smoot on Apr 30, 2021 5:07:54 PM

Practical Camping Guide for the Non-Outdoorsy

Over the past year, the great outdoors has become a haven for people looking to escape the confines of the pandemic. Public spaces and lands are thriving as a result, with more people venturing to local trails, waterways, and campgrounds. For many, outdoor adventures are a new thing and a weekend trip to a local campground can be quite an intimidating experience. The good news is that there is plenty of space for everyone on public lands, and with a little research and preparation, a weekend camping trip to your local campground will not feel so daunting.  

As a seasoned outdoorsman, I too find trips to new places to be filled with uncertainty, often presenting more questions than answers. During my research of campgrounds, I’ve noticed that information for the first-time camper is often limited to what is referred to as “the 10 essentials”. What is missing are those practical insights that answer important questions like, “Where am I going to poo? Is there a place to shower? And more importantly, will there be coffee?”

Fear not my city slicker friends–I have put together a more practical list of camping tips for the non-outdoorsy. We’ll start with the basics, and by the end of this post you will have some great resources to help prepare you for your next, or first, camping trip.

 

Guide Tip #1: Don’t Trust Your Outdoorsy Friends

Camping Tips for First-Timers

(Pictured here: your outdoorsy friend MJ)

That’s right, I’m contradicting myself with tip #1. As your outdoorsy friend, I’m REALLY excited that you’re expressing an interest in camping and my brain is racing with images of all of the picturesque places I’ve been and that I’d love for you to experience. However, that enthusiasm could lead you down the wrong path. While I’m foaming at the mouth to tell you about my secret camping spot on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management), you may not be ready for that. Camping on public lands can be confusing. There are often no designated campgrounds nor facilities and can be miles down dirt roads far from the nearest cell phone signal.

Rather than take your friend’s word for the perfect camping spot, do your own research of the area. Search for places where you can make reservations ahead of time. This way you’ll be guaranteed a cozy place to camp for the night. Oh, and make your reservations as early as possible. Many campgrounds are fully reserved 3-6 months in advance.

Here are a few camping reservations sites that I have found to be helpful when looking for the perfect place to camp:

  • Recreation.gov – This site has information for campgrounds of all types and is likely where you’ll end up when looking for a campsite at a National Park or with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
  • The Dyrt – The Dyrt’s user-generated database has lots of campground reviews and images from people just like you with information about all types of campsites, including some that are well off the beaten path.
  • HipCamp – Looking for something untraditional? HipCamp is the Airbnb of camping with sites available from private landowners.

 

Guide Tip #2: Choose Your Own Adventure

Camping for Beginners

Camping doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Whether you are looking to rough it in the woods for the weekend or a blissful glamping experience, choose a shelter that most closely matches the experience you are going for. Some shelter options to consider are as follows.

Tent Camping in UtahTent Camping – You’ll need the appropriate gear for this method. Other than a tent, you’ll need something to sleep in and on. Sleeping bags and sleeping pads come in a variety of styles and perhaps the most important factor for you to consider is what the weather will be like at night. Colder nights call for warmer sleeping bags and insulated pads. As a non-outdoorsy camper, this method can feel intimidating and the cost of all this gear can get expensive. Rather than buying everything you will need, check with your local outdoor store to see if they have a rental program or ask your outdoorsy friends to borrow gear. Chances are that they’ll be happy to outfit you with camping gear if they’re not already planning to use it. 


Popup Trailer CampingTrailer + RV Camping – For those of you that are not interested in sleeping in the dirt, or that like the privacy of your own bathroom, a trailer or RV rental may be what you are looking for. The website Outdoorsy has everything from small teardrop trailers to large Class A RVs for rent, outfitted with everything you will need for a night out of the city or a week on the road. This is also a great option to consider if you have a fear of unwelcome encounters with wildlife or the weather. Trailers and RVs provide a hard-sided shelter to help minimize those fears so that you can get a good night’s rest. 

 


Glamping TipsGlamping + Cabin Rentals – Glamping, or glamorous camping, and cabin rentals are a great way for the non-outdoorsy to have a unique experience. These options often have more of those creature comforts we are all used to like running water, electricity, and even WiFi. They can also be pretty swanky! While you can find many cabins on VRBO and Airbnb, the website Glamping.com is a great source for finding those unique, Instagram-worthy places that you see in your feed.

 

 

Guide Tip #3: Optimize Your Gear

Essential Camping Gear

Remember those ten essentials I mentioned earlier? They are a key part of being prepared for any adventure into the outdoors. You’ll find the standard list of the ten essentials below along with a few practical essentials from my personal packing list.

 

The Ten Essentials

Camping Packing Checklist

  1. Navigation – If you plan to do any hiking or exploring, you’ll want to bring a map along with a compass, GPS device and/or your smartphone with a downloaded trail app like AllTrails or Gaia GPS.
  2. Sun Protection – There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a sunburn or getting a headache from too much bright light. Be sure to pack your sunglasses, a hat, and some sunscreen. This is especially true at higher elevations where the UV rays are more intense than at lower elevations. Long sleeves and other UV shielding clothing can also be quite helpful while keeping you cool. As a plus, long sleeve shirts are also great for keeping bugs off of you.
  3. Illumination­ – A great headlamp and lantern are enough to keep the party going when the sun goes down. Whether you’re planning a game at the picnic table in your campsite or taking a midnight trip to the bathroom, you’re going to need a light. My favorites are the Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp and Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern. If you want to take your campsite from basic to badass, or add a little fun for the kids, then a rope light like the new ShineLine might be the perfect addition to your campsite.
  4. First Aid Kit – You can buy or build your own first aid kit easily with items you may already have around the house. Things like band aids, ointment, and over-the-counter pain relievers are cornerstones of a basic first aid kit, but also be sure to pack any prescription medications you may be taking as well as bug spray. Bugs can be quite unpredictable and very annoying. Most importantly, if you decide to make your own first aid kit, then be sure to put all of the contents in a waterproof bag like the RunOff Travel Pouch to protect these important items from the elements.
  5. Fire – Are you really camping if there’s no campfire or s’mores?! Be sure to bring something to start a campfire, or the grill, as well as a backup way to start a fire in case your primary method doesn’t work (I.E. matches, lighter, fire starter). However, bear in mind that many areas may have fire restrictions, so call your campground ahead of time to make sure, and pack a camp stove or propane fire pit instead if traditional fires are prohibited.
  6. Knife – Bring a sharp knife. You’ll need a knife to help with cooking in particular, but may also need one for unexpected gear repairs, or to whittle yourself the perfect marshmallow roasting stick.
  7. Shelter ­– You are going to want a place to sleep. Be sure you packed your tent before you leave the house and know how to set it up. A little practice setting up the tent at your home can save you loads of time and frustration at camp.
  8. Extra Food – It’s always a good idea to have an extra day’s worth of food in case your plans change, or you need a little snack while you’re on the way to/from camp.
  9. Extra Water – Other than drinking water to stay hydrated, you will likely be using your water to cook and clean. So, bring plenty and drink lots of water especially if you are going to be active during your camping trip.
  10. Extra Clothes – Layer up! One of the wild things about camping is the temperature swings that you might experience throughout the day. It’s not uncommon to be wearing a t-shirt and shorts during the day and a warm jacket and pants at night. Check the weather before you travel to see what to expect, but also be sure to pack for the unexpected. I like to pack clothes that can be easily layered to increase warmth, that dry quickly if wet, and to always have something waterproof like a raincoat. A warm hat, like a beanie, and a baseball cap are also on my packing list. Hats help to keep you warm and shaded, but are also great for hiding your messy hairdo in the morning.

MJ’s Essentials

What to bring camping

  1. Toilet Paper – Seriously though, don’t overlook this. While a campground may have restrooms, I have stayed in quite a few that didn’t have toilet paper when I needed it. Pack your own and you will never be caught with your pants down. 😉
  2. Hand Sanitizer + Soap – Before hand sanitizer was cool, it was an essential part of my packing list. A lot of the places I have camped had minimal facilities with vault toilet (I.E. a big hole in the ground with no sink). You’ll want a way to sanitize your hands after a visit to a place like this, or before making any meals at camp. In addition to the sanitizer, I also bring biodegradable soap with me that I use to wash my hands as well as the dirty dishes.
  3. Games – Have some fun with this one, there are no rules here! While camping I’ve played everything from bocce ball, to dominos, to cards against humanity, to two truths and a lie, and catch with the Flashflight Light-Up Flying Disc (a camp time favorite)! Games that are easy to play for a group of people work best.
  4. Coffee – It’s easy to overlook this morning staple and there are many ways to make coffee while at camp. Pack accordingly. Some brewing options that are also camp-friendly include a percolator, French press, and AeroPress. If all those options sound like too much work, then opt for some instant coffee. Believe it or not, there are some tasty instant coffee options available these days at your local grocery store. You’ll also need a way to boil water for said coffee. The easiest way is to bring a camp stove (or portable burner) and kettle.
  5. Trash Bag – While a campground may have a dumpster, individual campsites do not have trash bins. Bring a few trash bags with you so that you can throw all your trash away at once before you head home.
  6. Wireless Speaker – Not everyone will agree with this but whatever, I want you to have a great time at camp. Adding some music to happy hour while you are prepping dinner can be quite enjoyable at camp. Just be respectful of your neighbors and do not blast the music all night.
  7. Battery Backup – I like to have a way to recharge my headlamp and phone at camp. Like many people, I use my phone for lots of things such as looking up places to hike, for driving directions, and, most importantly, to take pictures.
  8. Crocs – Yup, I said it. Crocs. Slip-on shoes or sandals also work. The point is you are not going to want to wear your shoes or hiking boots all day and night. Having something comfortable and easy to slip on is perfect for lounging around camp, going in and out of the tent, or for a quick trip to the bathroom.

Camping Tips For Non-Outdoorsy People

Thank you for reading this not so tongue-in-cheek practical camping list. I am sure there are some things that I’ve forgotten or that you are still wondering about. Please post your questions or additions to this list in the comments section below to keep the conversation going. If there’s one thing the outdoorsy like to do, it's talking about our gear and sharing our knowledge. Also, be sure to check out the Nite Ize OptimIZE collection for some other fun and practical camping gear.

The adventure  photos in this post were provided by Ali and Garret Photography

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, "travel", camping

Pure Hunting's Willi Schmidt Reveals His Favorite Gear

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Aug 20, 2020 2:59:55 PM

Pure Hunting's Willi Schmidt Reveals His Favorite Gear

If you're familiar with the world of hunting, you might recognize our friend (and Field Team member) Willi Schmidt from his show Pure Hunting on The Sportsman Channel. Willi has been bow hunting for nearly 30 years, and enjoys sharing his expertise with the world. When Willi isn't hunting or filming his series, he loves to play golf, work out in his home gym, spend time with his family and dogs, and explore the great outdoors around where he resides in Bozeman, Montana. We asked Willi to share his go-to gear he uses for hunting, as well as his favorite products for other areas of his active lifestyle.


Favorite Products For Hunting

Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp

"It is very important to use products I can trust while on my hunting adventures. A few of my favorite items are my weapons, whether it’s my Hoyt bow or Browning firearm. They are high quality and I am confident when I use them. I am also sure to take a few lighting products from Nite Ize. The Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp is my “go to” headlamp. 300 lumens gives me plenty of light, and it has 5 settings, including a red LED option that allows me to get where I’m going without becoming night blind or spooking game. The INOVA T8R Flashlight is always in my pack as well. It also offers five lighting modes and is rechargeable, but can also run on CR123 batteries."

 

Favorite Products For Fishing

RunOff Waterproof Bags

"Fly fishing is a hobby I have that I haven’t spent as much time doing over the last two years until recently. Since I organized my gear recently, I made sure I have a few products with me at all times. Obviously my fishing rod, waders, boots and Umpqua fishing sling need to go on each trip, or I guess I’m not fishing. A couple of items I make sure to have in my Umpqua sling are by Nite Ize. I always need a couple of S-Biners, and at least one of their Runoff Waterproof Bags. I connect the S-Biners to my sling so I can quickly and securely attach items like hats, sunglass cases or bug repellant. The RunOff Waterproof 3-1-1 Pouch holds my license, car keys and phone, and I have total confidence in these items staying dry, even if I slip and fall in the river. The RunOff series of bags are truly waterproof with their TRU Zip waterproof zipper and RF welded seams."

 

Favorite Products For Camping

SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

"When my wife and I moved to Montana, we starting camping much more often. We love enjoying the outdoors and rely on several products to make our time there more enjoyable. Our Rise flyrods are always with us as well as our Vortex binoculars. We don’t always get to use them, but when a bear makes a surprise appearance, it’s great to have good optics to enjoy the wildlife. We keep a Radiant 314 Rechargeable Lantern from Nite Ize in our camper. It has 3 modes for brightness, is rechargeable and can also charge other items with its USB port. We also love the Slap Lit LED Drink Wraps – they keep our drinks cold, and the LED strip gives a cool light around the campfire, plus the US Flag design allows us to show our patriotic side."

 

Favorite Products For Road Trips

Steelie Vent Mount Kit Plus

"I typically go on a couple of road trips a year. I might be traveling for a hunt, golf trip or visiting family back in Colorado. Whether it’s for safety or convenience, I make sure to always have the following products in my car at all times. For safety, I make sure I have a tow rope, jumper cables and battery charger/tire inflator under my seat. I also have a package of Nite Ize Gear Ties in various sizes. On one road trip for hunting, my wheel well cover came loose and I was in the middle of nowhere. I used a Gear Tie to reattach it until I could get back to civilization for some auto clips. For convenience I also rely on the Steelie Vent Kit to keep our phones handy for music, accepting phone calls, and charging, plus it keeps them out of cup holders or from sliding off the dash or console."

 

Favorite Products For Dogs

RadDog Collar + Leash SpotLit XL

"My wife and I have two dogs, which need frequent walks and other entertainment. Most of our favorite pet products are made by Nite Ize. We use everything from the locking S-Biner for attaching their tags to their collars and the Huck ‘N Tuck GlowStreak ball and thrower to exercise our Lab, who seems to go non-stop. Two of our favorites are the RadDog All-in-One Collar + Leash. This short leash is integrated into the collar so you always have a leash at the ready and when you can take them off leash, you just release it and it retracts into the collar. No one likes to talk about poo, but the Pack-A-Poo dispenser and refill bags are great. The dispenser can be clipped to a leash or a belt loop to keep it accessible, and the bags are easy to tear off, durable and compostable. Nite Ize has so many products you need for your pet."

 

Favorite Products For Around The House

Gear Tie Foam

"Keeping up a house and the yard can be hard work, but my wife and I use a bunch of Nite Ize products to make things easier. Sometimes we’ve used their products to solve a problem we didn’t even know we had. I have used their S-Biners for years on my backpack and hunts, and have found a few uses for them around the house as well, including hanging bird feeders and wasp catchers. Nite Ize has a wide variety of Gear Ties in different styles and sizes, and we always have a supply around the house. We use the smaller sizes for managing all kinds of cords and cables, and their new Gear Tie Foam Reusable Twist Ties have come in handy for our trees and garden. We have a Nite Ize bin in our garage full of different sizes of S-Biners and Gear Ties – we never know when we’ll have a use for them."

 

Catch Willi and Pure Hunting in its 9th season on Monday nights on The Sportsman Channel. You might spot a few of these products mentioned here, and maybe pick up some new tips to boot.

Topics: Gear Ties, hunting, Home, gardening, fishing, Steelie, dogs, camping

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