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Hiking the Caddo Bend Trail at Lake Ouachita State Park in southwest Arkansas. A lovely four-mile hike.

Hiking the Caddo Bend Trail

One of my favorite hikes around the Hot Springs, Ark., area is the Caddo Bend Trail at Lake Ouachita State Park. This four-mile loop showcases the beauty of the forest that blankets the Ouachita Mountains. It also showcases the beauty of Lake Ouachita. The Caddo… Read More »Hiking the Caddo Bend Trail

Those who love backpacking and camping, love their gear. And the more you get into it, the more expensive and nice your gear gets. If you are like me and poor, you want that expensive gear to last as long as possible. Gear care doesn't have to be hard, nor does it have to be time consuming. I've complied 10 tips to help you take care of your gear so you can get the most bang for your buck. 1. Air out your sleeping bag Your sleeping bag is probably washing machine approved. And you should wash every once in a while, or else that's just gross. When I get back from a weekend on the lake or even a week-long adventure, I just lay it out on the bed and let it air out. I try to wash my sleeping bag only once a year – twice if it got really funky. 2. Set up your tent when you get home I know my neighbors think I'm a wannabe hobo, but when I get home from a trip I set up my tent in the front yard. I do this as part of my gear care for a few reasons. One, to thoroughly clean out the tent before I store it. Two, to let it dry out so it does not mildew when stored. And three, to check for any problems, like small tears, and take care of them before they become big problems. After one trip I discovered sap on my tent. It was pretty sticky so I put paper towels over it so that it wouldn't stick to another wall in the tent and cause problems. After a while the stickiness faded and it is not a problem anymore. 3. Wash cookware It's important to wash your cookware with hot soapy water. If you cannot get your water hot enough at the campsite, the soap will not completely rinse off. It's important to thoroughly wash your cookware and eating utensils because after a while that soap can build up and make you sick. If you are like me, you don't use soap in the backcountry. I'm lazy, don't judge. It is even more important to sanitize your eating gear when you get home. 4. Store clean and dry It is always important to store your gear clean. Storing it dirty can make it smell, or cause wear and tear on it. Gear care at home is extremely important. It may be put away and you don't think about it, but things like mildew can cause problems. 5. Don't get frustrated in the field One of my biggest mistakes in taking care of my gear is getting frustrated and tired and not properly handling my gear. We camped one summer in 100 degree weather. It was hot! When I was taking down the tent I couldn't get the stake out so I jerked it with the tent's stake loop and ripped the tent. Lesson learned. Instead of taking the time to get the stake out, I let my frustration get the best of me. If you have a stake that simply won't budge, try kicking it on two sides. That will loosen the dirt around it and make it easier to get out. 6. Clean you tent area A little bit of preparations can save you from tearing you tent. It is important to clean the area where you are going to put your tent. Remove sticks, rocks, or other things that can puncture your tent (or give you a pain in the back). I once set up my tent in a brier patch. I was very careful to clear the briers away from my tent, but didn't think about my CamelBak. One of the stickers put a hole in my bladder, but fortunately it was our last day of backpacking and I was able to use the bottle I brought for water. 7. Don't fold or roll Rolling or folding your sleeping bag, tent, or items as such can cause creases. Over time creases can make the fabric wear and easier to rip or tear. It's best to stuff them back into their stuff sacks. I love this rule because I and not good at folding or rolling and getting them to fit back in the sack. 8. Keep bug spray separate When packing bug spray, place it in a Ziploc bag. Also when spraying it, do it away from your tent or backpack. Bug spray can eat at the fabric. 9. Follow the instructions To properly care for your gear it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The manufacturers know the best ways for proper gear care for that product.

Easy outdoor gear care tips

Gear care – make your beloved outdoor gear last longer Those who love backpacking and camping, love their gear.  And the more you get into it, the more expensive and nice your gear gets. If you are like me and poor, you want that expensive… Read More »Easy outdoor gear care tips

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a great vacation for the adventurer. Sea kayaking, backpacking, hiking are a few of the some activities at the park.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is more beautiful than words can describe. It’s also an excellent destination for the adventurer. With kayaking, backpacking, fishing, ice climbing, and backcountry skiing, the park will not leave you bored. Lagena and I spent… Read More »Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Camping, hiking, backpacking, and exploring Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park, three parks in one Traveling to Olympic National Park is like getting three parks in one. You can explore beaches on the Pacific Ocean. You can hike through giant moss covered trees in a rain forest. And you can climb mountain peaks… Read More »Olympic National Park

Kayaking and camping on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas from Buffalo Point to Rush

Buffalo Point Trip

Lazy float and lounging at Buffalo Point The hot and steamy summer of Arkansas drives many outdoor enthusiasts to the water. A great place to dip into a cool mountain stream to beat the summer heat is Buffalo Point. Located on the lower section of… Read More »Buffalo Point Trip

Visiting Glacier National Park, one the country's most beautiful mountainscape. The park is located in northern Montana on the border with Canada.

Glacier National Park

How to spend three days in Glacier National Park, and one day in Waterton Lakes National Park Glacier National Park in northern Montana is one of the most majestic mountainscapes our national parks offer. It has high peaks and narrow, deep valleys with sweeping slopes… Read More »Glacier National Park

First-time backpacking tips

First-time backpacking tips

Backpacking is camping while you hike – you carry all of your gear and food with you. There are many advantages to backpacking that make you actually want to carry everything – like seeing a vista that is too far to walk in one day… Read More »First-time backpacking tips

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