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Outdoor Survival Skills

Snowshoeing For Beginners – Montem Outdoor Gear

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Have you ever wanted to go snowshoeing, but don’t know how to get started?

You’re not alone!

Because snowshoeing isn’t as popular as skiing or snowboarding, you might not have many friends who can coach you on what to do. That’s where I come in.

In this article, I’ll go over all the intel you need to begin an epic snowshoeing career.

To start, let’s answer the question…

Why Snowshoe?

If you’ve never been snowshoeing before, you might be wondering why you’d want to go. The answer is that snowshoeing is an all-around awesome activity.

Here are “A” few reasons why:

  • Aerobic – snowshoeing (like walking), is an excellent form of cardio. The constant stepping through the snow bumps your heart rate and helps you burn calories.
  • Amicable – like hiking, snowshoeing is a social activity. It’s not a strenuous ordeal, so you can spend your time conversing with your friends.
  • Affordable – unlike skiing, you don’t need to buy hundreds of dollars worth of gear to go snowshoeing. As we’ll discuss, you can get snowshoes at a low cost.
  • Accessible – young or old, anyone can go snowshoeing. The rebound of the snow makes this activity easy on the knees. You can also tailor your pace (fast or slow) to match your group’s physical prowess.
  • Anywhere – as long as there’s snow on the ground, you can go snowshoeing! Don’t let your location hamper you from enjoying winter.

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I’m a huge hiker. You might be wondering why I’m suggesting snowshoeing over hiking. The answer is that hiking in thick snow is a pain in the butt. Your feet get wet, and it’s hard to walk.

Snowshoes are a solution to this problem. The shoes distribute your weight across the shoe and provide traction when clawing through the snow. This makes it much easier to get around.

What Gear Do You Need For Snowshoeing?

One of the hardest decisions to make when doing any outdoor activity is what gear to bring. There’s a lot that goes into this, but now I’ll try to make this simple for you.

Snowshoes

First things first, you obviously need snowshoes.

Make sure you pick the right snowshoes for your specific stature and plans (more on that later).

Don’t feel the need to get top-of-the-line snowshoes, either. If you’re a beginner, you won’t notice the performance difference with high-end shoes anyway.

Boots

In case you were wondering, snowshoes require you to wear your own boots inside of them. So, make sure you’ve got a nice pair of boots that you can use for snowshoeing.

Ideally, this is a pair of hiking boots. When snowshoeing, you’re going to be walking through a lot of snow (obviously). This means that your feet can quickly get cold and wet. A good pair of hiking boots will work against both.

Layers

Now that you’ve got your feet taken care of, it’s time to prepare the rest of your body. Wear warm clothes, of course, but make sure that you layer your clothes.

Layering is crucial while snowshoeing for a few reasons. To start, you don’t know when the wind or snow will pick up. So, you want to make sure you’ve got enough layers to protect you from a storm.

On the other hand, snowshoeing is a physical activity like any other. That means that your body temperature will increase as you get moving. Layer your clothes so that you can remove layers when you get too hot.

Poles

Next, make sure you bring some hiking poles (also known as trekking poles). This is pretty important, and I don’t suggest you go snowshoeing without them. If you encounter any hill, you’ll be thankful you have poles. Plus, quality poles can be purchased for about $20, so there are no excuses.

For snowshoeing, get poles that have snow baskets. These are the little half-spheres on the lower part of your poles that will give you stability in the snow.

Emergency Supplies

Believe it or not, stuff happens.

No matter how well you plan for your trip, you could quickly get stuck in the woods due to injury, snowfall, or navigation failure. Make sure that when you’re snowshoeing, you’re prepared for the worst.

How do you know what to bring? A thorough packing list for any outdoor activity is the Ten Essentials. This list of tools will make sure that you’re prepared in any situation, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

To sum it up, the Ten Essentials are:

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Insulation
  4. Illumination
  5. First-aid
  6. Fire
  7. Tools
  8. Food
  9. Water
  10. Shelter

Bringing something to tick off each line item above is a surefire way to defend against any natural disasters that could strike on your trek.

Renting Snowshoes

If you’ve never been snowshoeing before, I advise you to rent gear the first time you go. Yes, you won’t get to keep the equipment, but you’ll also save a lot of money.

I recommend renting gear when you’re trying something new for one big reason – you might not like it. The last thing you want to do is invest hundreds of dollars into a hobby that you don’t even enjoy.

That’s why I recommend renting gear. If you don’t like it, that’s okay! Because you haven’t thrown your money down the toilet.

How To Find The Right Snowshoes

Youtube – How to Choose Snowshoes

Without getting into too much detail, here’s a primer on snowshoe anatomy. There are three parts – the deck, bindings, and traction.

The deck is the large bottom piece of the snowshoe. This is what keeps you on top of the snow.

A larger deck will help you float on the snow more. Heavier snowshoers (or those with large backpacks) should go for a bigger deck. When you look at snowshoes, you’ll see what weight they’re rated for.

Smaller decks are optimal for packed snow or if you want to run.

Bindings are what strap your feet to the deck, similar to ski bindings. All you have to do here is to confirm your bindings fit your boots well.

Traction is the name for the pieces on the bottom of the deck that grab the snow. Thicker traction needed for higher hills or icy conditions. Look at the snow depth and talk with some locals to figure out how much traction you need.

Where Should You Go Snowshoeing?

At this point, you’re probably ready to hit the trails!

But where do you go?

Truth is – there are probably millions of places near you where you can go snowshoeing. Don’t feel the need to find the perfect spot. Just get started!

A great place to look is your local outdoors store. Odds are, they’ll have experienced staff who can share some insider tips with you. You’ll also be able to pick up a map or any gear you need.

Another great place to check is your state parks. Most state parks stay open year-round so that you can snowshoe on the trails. Just make sure you get a map before so you don’t get lost.

A gem location is ski resorts. Although they prioritize skiers, resorts have trails nearby where you can get some awesome snowshoeing in.

Snowshoeing Technique

If you’ve never snowshoed before, you might be apprehensive about what to do once you pop your boots in your snowshoe.

My advice? Don’t worry!

On flat terrain, snowshoeing is just like walking. The only difference is that you have to take longer strides to accommodate the shoes and taller steps to get over the snow.

On hilly terrain, there are some pro techniques you can use to scale the mountain fast. However, I recommend you take it slow and treat it like you’re hiking. Plan your steps and use your poles to keep your balance.

Before you hike, try to warm up and do some stretching, especially in your hips and groin. These areas will take a beating through a long-distance snowshoe adventure, so be smart.

And whatever you do, don’t try to run in your snowshoes. They weren’t made for running, and you might hurt yourself.

When you get some miles under your belt, consider upgrading to trail-running snowshoes. These are designed to be smaller than regular snowshoes so that you can run without falling.

Snowshoeing Safety

Although snowshoeing is fun and easy, there are still risks involved. The #1 issue is that you could get lost.

Unlike hiking (where you can see the trail), snowshoeing puts you in the middle of nowhere without much guidance on where to go. That’s why it’s critical to bring a map, GPS, compass, or phone to help you guide the way. Make sure you know where you’re going and how to get home.

As with any physical activity, stay hydrated. Even though snowshoeing looks relaxing, it’s still a strenuous sport! Bring extra water for you and your party so you can quench your thirst.

Finally, prepare for avalanches, especially if you’re snowshoeing in the mountains. Check the weather forecast and make sure there are no avalanche warnings. In case of emergency, bring a beacon, probe, or shovel to save yourself from falling snow.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, folks, everything you need to know to get started snowshoeing. I hope you enjoyed this article!

~~~

Mike Miller is the owner & operator of WildernessTimes.com. He’s also a hiker, father, and lover of all things outdoors.

Source link: https://montemlife.com/snowshoeing-for-beginners/ by k u at montemlife.com

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The Top 10 Essential Uses for a Survival Knife

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Camping trips offer families a chance to bond, explore nature, and create lasting memories. When embarking on outdoor adventures, a survival knife can be a versatile tool with numerous essential uses. From food preparation to emergency situations, a well-chosen survival knife can enhance safety, convenience, and enjoyment during family camping trips. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 essential uses for a survival knife in family camping scenarios.

Campsite Setup and Shelter Building

A survival knife is invaluable for tasks related to campsite setup and shelter building. Whether you’re pitching tents, clearing brush, or constructing makeshift shelters, a sturdy knife can assist with cutting ropes, trimming branches, and shaping materials to create comfortable accommodations for the family.

Fire Starting and Management

bushcraft-fire-starting-knife-firesteel

Fire is essential for warmth, cooking, and warding off insects during camping trips. A survival knife can aid in fire starting by creating tinder bundles, shaving wood for kindling, and striking ferrocerium rods or sparking flints. Additionally, a knife can be used to safely tend to the fire and adjust burning logs as needed.

Food Preparation and Cooking

Preparing meals while camping requires basic food preparation skills and tools. A survival knife can be utilized for slicing vegetables, filleting fish, and carving meats for cooking over the campfire or portable stove. Ensure your knife is clean and sanitized before and after food preparation to prevent contamination.

Hunting and Fishing Assistance

Hunting knife in a plastic sheath

For families engaging in hunting or fishing activities during camping trips, a survival knife can serve as a versatile tool for cleaning and processing game or fish. From gutting and scaling to skinning and quartering, a sharp knife facilitates efficient processing of harvested food resources.

Tool for Repairs and Improvisations

multipurpose-pocket-knife-on-wood

In the wilderness, unexpected equipment failures or situations may arise, requiring quick repairs or improvisations. A survival knife can function as a multipurpose tool for tasks such as tightening screws, cutting cordage, repairing gear, or fashioning makeshift tools and implements as needed.

Emergency Signaling and Communication

In emergency situations, a survival knife can aid in signaling for help or communication with rescue teams. Use the knife to create reflective signals by polishing the blade or fashioning improvised signaling devices such as whistles or flagging tape to attract attention and indicate your location.

First Aid and Medical Assistance

first aid kit is in a backpack

Accidents and injuries can occur during outdoor activities, making first aid preparedness essential. A survival knife can be used to cut bandages, dressings, or medical tape in first aid situations. Additionally, it may serve as a tool for minor medical procedures or improvising medical implements when necessary.

Crafting and Whittling

During downtime at the campsite, engaging in creative activities like crafting and whittling can be enjoyable for family members of all ages. Use the survival knife to carve wood, fashioning hiking sticks, utensils, or decorative items. It’s a relaxing and meditative pastime that fosters creativity and connection with nature.

Food Gathering and Foraging

A man is cutting mushroom with a knife.

Exploring the surrounding wilderness offers opportunities for food gathering and foraging. A survival knife can assist in harvesting edible plants, cutting fruit from trees, or digging for roots. Exercise caution and ensure proper identification of edible species to avoid consuming potentially harmful plants.

Personal Safety and Defense

While camping is typically a safe and enjoyable experience, it’s essential to prioritize personal safety, especially in remote or unfamiliar environments. A survival knife can provide a sense of security and serve as a tool for self-defense against wildlife threats or aggressive encounters. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and de-escalation tactics in such situations.

A survival knife is a versatile and indispensable tool for family camping trips, offering myriad uses that enhance safety, convenience, and enjoyment in the great outdoors. When selecting a survival knife for your camping adventures, prioritize quality, durability, and functionality to ensure it meets your family’s needs and withstands the rigors of outdoor use. With proper care, responsible use, and basic knife safety protocols, a survival knife can become an essential companion on memorable family camping excursions.

Do you and your family take a survival knife out with you when you go camping? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Outdoor Survival Skills

Starting A Fire In The Wild Without Gadgets

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In a survival scenario, you need food, you need water and you need shelter. You also need a heat source for a few reasons. First, there’s the small matter of keeping warm. Even if you live in a more temperate climate, the nights get pretty cold pretty fast. You’ll also need a heat source for cooking and boiling water.

Now there are lots of handy little gadgets out there that can make your life much easier when it comes to getting heat and a fire going even without power from the grid. However, almost all of them have one problem in common: They tend to be bulky, heavy and impractical for travel by foot. 

So that means knowing how to light a fire the old-fashioned way is a skill that all survivalists should have under their belt. While it takes a bit of practice, it’s like riding a bike: once you’ve got the skill down, you’re probably not going to lose it. 

Starting A Fire In The Wild: Tinder

The first thing you need to start a fire is tinder. 

Tinder are very small pieces of very dry wood and also some leaves and other inflammable material. You use these as the very base of the fire because they help to get things going and don’t require a lot to get started. Think of Tinder as nature’s newspaper. So hunt around for material that is very dry and fine that you can put at the base of your fire to light the next layer.

You can also make your tinder by cutting off small pieces of wood and bark using a machete, hatchet, or other tool. 

Starting A Fire In The Wild: Kindling

Kindling is the next step of the game. These are pieces of firewood, but they’re smaller, thinner, drier, and easier to burn. Again, this is something that you can make yourself using a machete or a hatchet, something that you should have in your bugout bag (we prefer machetes because of the versatility they offer). 

Starting A Fire In The Wild: Firewood

Now we get to the meat of your sandwich. For firewood, we mean big logs that are going to go onto the fire to really make it roar. Avoid pieces of wood that are on the ground as these are much more likely to be damp. You want to find the driest wood possible and splitting the wood (cutting it into halves or quarters) is the best way to make it more flammable.

Starting A Fire In The Wild: Arranging Your Wood

We’ve presented the three types of wood you need to start a fire in this order for a reason: it’s also the way you want to arrange the wood for your campfire to get started.

Put the tinder at the bottom, arrange the kindling on top of it in a kind of “teepee” so that the kindling can breathe with a second layer of “teepee” made out of the main firewood around it. That’s the best way to arrange your wood so that the fire catches quickly.

Starting A Fire In The Wild: Starting The Fire

close-up hands of male starting a fire in forest.

Obviously the simplest way to get a fire going that doesn’t take up a ton of room is a lighter or matches. But let’s assume that you don’t have those. 

Other than rubbing sticks together – which can be frustrating, exhausting and time consuming, you can use some kind of small firestarter that attaches to your keychain. Magnesium goes up like a Roman torch and the only thing you need to have other than this little keychain attachment is a pocket knife (or some other kind of metal – but you do have a pocket knife, right) to create the spark.

Practice with your family in your backyard on a cool fall night. Not only will everyone learn a valuable survival skill, you’ll also get to spend some quality time together in front of your roaring homemade fire.

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Outdoor Survival Skills

Financial Freedom: The Backbone of Prepping for the Future

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In the ever-shifting landscape of preparedness, financial independence emerges as a crucial pillar for preppers gearing up for uncertain times. In this guide tailored for the vigilant prepper community, we delve into the essential strategies to achieve and uphold financial freedom, a key component of ensuring self-reliance.

Understanding the Crucial Role of Financial Freedom

Financial independence stands as the bedrock of prepping, offering the means to secure resources, fortify assets, and navigate economic challenges. For preppers, attaining and sustaining financial freedom is not just a financial goal; it’s a proactive stance toward ensuring self-sufficiency.

A robust emergency fund serves as the initial line of defense against unforeseen expenses. Preppers are encouraged to amass three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a readily accessible account. This financial safety net ensures the ability to weather crises without compromising prepping efforts.

Strategic debt reduction is paramount for financial freedom. Developing a systematic plan to pay down high-interest debts, starting with the most burdensome, liberates resources for critical prepping initiatives.

Dependence on a single income source can be precarious. Preppers are advised to explore diversified income streams, such as investments, side businesses, or freelance opportunities. A varied income portfolio provides resilience against economic uncertainties.

Creating a realistic budget serves as the foundation of financial freedom. Tracking income, categorizing expenses, and identifying areas for potential savings ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, supporting both daily living and prepping goals.

In times of economic turbulence, precious metals like gold and silver act as a safeguard against inflation. Allocating a portion of the financial portfolio to tangible assets adds a layer of security and enhances overall financial resilience.

Knowledge is a powerful asset. Investing in financial education equips preppers to make informed decisions about investments, wealth preservation, and economic trends. A well-informed prepper is better positioned to navigate the complexities of the financial landscape.

Advanced Financial Strategies for Preppers

If you want to truly be prepared, you need to go beyond eliminating debt and start making your money work for you. That means investing in financial instruments as well as hard assets. For those seeking to elevate their financial preparedness, consider these advanced strategies:

Strategic real estate investments can provide both passive income and a tangible asset. Exploring opportunities to invest in properties aligns with prepping goals and can contribute to long-term financial stability.

Investing in self-sustainable ventures, such as homesteading, renewable energy sources, or small-scale agriculture, not only promotes self-reliance but also presents opportunities for income generation.

Protecting assets is crucial. Preppers are encouraged to consider establishing trusts, creating legal structures, and consulting with financial professionals to safeguard their wealth and prepping resources.

Safety Measures for Financial Freedom:

In the pursuit of financial freedom, security is paramount. Implement the following safety measures:

  • Regular Financial Audits: Conducting regular audits of the financial portfolio ensures alignment with prepping goals and allows for adaptation to changing economic conditions.
  • Security Protocols: Implementing robust security measures for financial assets, both digital and physical, safeguards against theft or unauthorized access.
  • Legal Consultation: Seeking legal advice ensures that financial strategies comply with local laws and regulations.

For preppers, achieving financial freedom is a proactive step toward ensuring self-reliance and preparedness. By strategically managing finances, reducing debt, diversifying income, and investing wisely, preppers can build a solid foundation for navigating the uncertainties of the future. Incorporate these financial strategies into your prepping roadmap, and embark on a journey toward true financial independence. 

In the world of preparedness, financial freedom is not just a goal; it’s a strategic imperative for those committed to securing their future. Stay vigilant, and stay prepared.

How are you securing your financial freedom? How important is this for you in the overall scheme of prepping? Leave a comment below.

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