Declination, triangulation, contour lines, scale … with lots of jargon and no “on/off” switch involved, navigation with a map and compass can be daunting for first-timers. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve distilled what can be a very complicated process down to the basics. If you’re going to navigate across the ocean or vast expanses of land, you probably want to learn beyond these simple basics. But for most people, these steps will get you into the forest to a given point and, most importantly, back home again. Click for larger view of the topographic map guide. Orient the…
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“The Bloodletting on the Bloodvein.” That’s what my Canadian wilderness adventure pals dubbed our fishing and paddling excursion along the Bloodvein River in Ontario and Manitoba. We’d anticipated pleasurable days of gliding the river while fishing for lunch or dinner. Reality delivered a blistering heat wave and hard-core paddling escapade topped off by water-filtration equipment that failed. Boiling water is the most full-proof method of purification, but to be safe, make sure you boil it for at least one minute. If the overwhelming heat coupled with torturous 10- to 12-hour paddling segments involving scores of difficult portages didn’t debilitate us,…
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I’m a tech junkie, even when I’m out fishing, hunting or camping. But, I’m a dolt when it comes to keeping my electronics charged and ready when needed. I can’t count the times I’ve reached for my smartphone to shoot pics of a fun outing, just to see the dreaded “low-battery” warning – oftentimes within an hour of heading out. That’s why I’ve become a sun worshiper. Today’s portable solar-driven, battery-recharging products are power-challenged outdoorsmen’s and women’s best friends, even during winter and when skies are gloomy. Fully electrified by the sun, they recharge cell phone batteries in an hour…
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The rain ended an hour before daylight, but the ground and brightly-colored leaf litter covering the forest floor remained wet. Rain water dripping off of the tree limbs was beginning to slow its rhythm. A few vehicles already lined up in the trailhead parking lot, as others pulled in carrying autumn hikers. The family and I worked our way up the trail consisting of rock outcroppings; some of the trail was on exposed rock making for some slippery steps.   When hiking this fall, make sure your daypack contains essentials such as a flashlight, food and water, a handheld GPS…
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Tough to find a more pleasing experience than sitting around a cozy campfire during autumn. However, campfires can also escape the fire pit and become a roaring, damaging wildfire in only a few minutes if not watched. I witnessed a campfire quickly ignite a two-acre grass fire before being extinguished by campground employees. If that fire had occurred in a more remote area, it would have been bigger and more damaging. The combination of autumn’s dryness and an abundance of fire starting tinder covering the ground in the form of fallen leaves and dead ground cover can wreak havoc.  …
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Arrive at any trailhead, even popular ones, on a rainy day and your vehicle will likely be the only one there. Rainy days on the trail can be uncomfortable while backpacking, but for a day hike, don’t miss out by hiding indoors – get out there and see the natural world in a different way. I’m not suggesting throwing caution to the wind and simply winging it through downpours and lightning strikes flashing around. But with a bit of preparation regarding raingear and trail selection, you can enjoy a day of prime adventure. Weather can change quickly, check weather reports…
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You’re ready to improve your outdoor survival skills. A quick Google search brings up dozens of survival school options in the United States. But how do you evaluate a school or course and choose one of the best? We’ve done some of the homework for you, picking out 10 of our favorite survival schools below after scouring schools for qulified instructors, great courses and positive reviews. Be sure to check credentials and background when evaluating survival or outdoor schools. To help us in our mission to find the nations top schools, we first spoke with Dina Bennett. She runs the…
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This is why you should get off the water — and shoreline — during a lightning storm.     Did you spot the fisherman? Around 32 seconds in, you can see the angler is pointed out in the video via an arrow. Now that was close! According to the video, uploaded to YouTube June 19 by Tesla Weather, the angler was located about .03 miles from the lightning strike, which occurred in Barcelona, Spain, in the morning hours of June 15. The person who captured the video wasn't very far away, either — about .06 miles. Here's a screen grab from YouTube:…
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Shirt pulled up to expose his belly and plant in hand, 10-year-old Curt used a circular motion to rub the plant over the surface of his skin. His little cousin followed suit. The little boy was my genius cousin who was scientificlly, in his mind, testing his theory that he was not allergic to poison ivy. The copy cat was me. Five-plus decades later, I remember the agony I suffered and still cringe at the thought of the experience and how I got through my allergic reaction to the plant. Avoidance isn't always easy though ... expecially for the outdoorsmen.…
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Even though the weatherman may be right more often than not, weather patterns can be unpredictable. So that camping trip that was supposed to be dry and beautiful can turn into a soaked mudfest in the snap of a finger. Properly setting up your tent is key to staying dry in the rain. Can you stay dry when you’re camping in the rain? Here are seven easy tips to help you stay as safe and dry as possible. Know Where to Set Up Your Tent Pitching your tent at a low spot in the middle of a rainstorm is a…
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