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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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Family

Teaching Kids About Wilderness Safety and Survival

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Exploring the great outdoors offers numerous benefits for children, from fostering a love of nature to promoting physical activity and learning valuable life skills. However, venturing into the wilderness also comes with inherent risks. Teaching kids about wilderness safety and survival not only empowers them to enjoy outdoor adventures responsibly but also prepares them to handle unexpected situations effectively.

Understanding the Environment

The first step in teaching kids about wilderness safety is helping them understand the environment they’ll be exploring. Discuss potential hazards such as uneven terrain, wildlife encounters, and changes in weather conditions. Encourage curiosity about nature while emphasizing the importance of respecting its power and unpredictability.

Hiking Essentials

Before setting out on a hike, ensure that your children are equipped with the essential gear and knowledge to stay safe. Teach them to dress appropriately for the weather, wear sturdy footwear, and carry essentials such as water, snacks, a map, and a whistle. Emphasize the importance of staying on marked trails and never wandering off alone.

Navigation Skills

Teach children basic navigation skills to help them stay oriented in the wilderness. Show them how to read a map and use a compass, pointing out landmarks and trail markers along the way. Encourage them to pay attention to their surroundings and make mental notes of key features to aid in navigation.

Emergency Procedures

Prepare children for emergencies by teaching them essential survival skills and emergency procedures. Demonstrate how to signal for help using a whistle or mirror, build a shelter using natural materials, and start a fire safely. Discuss what to do in case they become lost or separated from the group, emphasizing the importance of staying calm and staying put to make rescue easier.

Wildlife Safety

Educate children about the wildlife they may encounter in the wilderness and how to coexist safely. Teach them to observe animals from a distance and never approach or attempt to feed them. Discuss how to react in the event of a wildlife encounter, such as backing away slowly from bears or standing tall and making noise to deter smaller animals.

Water Safety

If your outdoor adventures include activities near water, such as swimming or boating, it’s crucial to teach children about water safety. Emphasize the importance of wearing a life jacket, swimming with a buddy, and avoiding strong currents or dangerous water conditions. Teach them how to recognize signs of drowning and how to perform basic water rescue techniques if necessary.

Leave No Trace Principles

Instill in children the importance of practicing Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment. Teach them to pack out their trash, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing wildlife or natural habitats. Encourage them to appreciate the beauty of nature while also being responsible stewards of the land.

Teaching kids about wilderness safety and survival empowers them to enjoy outdoor adventures responsibly while equipping them with valuable life skills. By helping children understand the environment, providing essential gear and knowledge, and emphasizing the importance of safety and respect for nature, parents can foster a love of the outdoors that lasts a lifetime. Encourage curiosity, exploration, and a sense of adventure, while always prioritizing safety above all else.

How do you teach children about wilderness safety? Leave your tips for other parents in the comments below.

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Family

Family-Friendly Wilderness Survival Skills: Navigating Nature Together

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When it comes to venturing into the wilderness as a family, being equipped with essential survival skills can turn what might seem like a daunting prospect into a thrilling adventure. From navigating rugged terrain to building shelters and finding sustenance, knowing how to handle various wilderness scenarios not only ensures safety but also fosters a deeper connection with nature. Here, we’ll delve into some family-friendly wilderness survival skills that are both practical and empowering for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

Navigating Nature’s Maze: The Art of Orientation

Wilderness navigation skills are absolutely necessary for survival. Teach your family members how to read a map and use a compass. Turn it into a game, plotting imaginary routes or exploring nearby trails. Understanding how to interpret natural landmarks, such as mountains or rivers, can serve as invaluable guideposts when technology fails or trails grow faint.

Shelter from the Storm: Building Safe Havens

survival-shelter-debris-hut-wilderness-bushcraft

Constructing a shelter in the wilderness isn’t just about protection from the elements; it’s also an opportunity to foster teamwork and resourcefulness. Encourage your family to work together to build a shelter using readily available materials like branches, leaves, and logs. Even practicing with a simple tarp or emergency blanket in the backyard can instill confidence and prepare everyone for unexpected situations.

Quenching Thirst: Finding and Purifying Water Sources

woman taking water from forest spring

Water is essential for survival, but finding safe sources in the wilderness can be challenging. Teach your family how to locate water sources such as streams or springs, and emphasize the importance of purifying water before drinking. Show them how to boil water over a campfire or use portable water filtration systems. It’s not just about quenching thirst; it’s about ensuring hydration without compromising health.

Mastering the Flames: The Art of Fire Building

Building a fire in the wilderness is not only a practical skill but also a primal experience that connects us to our ancestors. Teach your family the basics of fire building: selecting dry tinder, arranging kindling, and patiently nurturing the flames. Show them how to practice fire safety, such as keeping a safe distance from combustible materials and extinguishing fires completely before leaving a campsite.

Harmonizing with Wildlife: Respectful Coexistence

Encounters with wildlife are part of the allure of wilderness exploration, but they also require caution and respect. Educate your family about local wildlife, teaching them to recognize signs of activity and respond appropriately. Instill in them a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world while emphasizing the importance of maintaining a safe distance and avoiding confrontations.

Equipping your family with wilderness survival skills is not just about preparing for the worst-case scenario; it’s about empowering them to explore and thrive in the great outdoors. By teaching navigation techniques, shelter-building skills, water purification methods, fire-building basics, and wildlife awareness, you’re not only ensuring their safety but also nurturing a lifelong love for nature and adventure. So, gather your loved ones, pack your gear, and embark on unforgettable journeys into the heart of the wilderness, where every challenge becomes an opportunity to learn and grow together.

Do you practice wilderness survival with your family? What do you do? Leave your pointers in the comments below.

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Outdoor Survival Skills

Banding Together In Times Of Crisis: The Important of Survival Communities

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In times of crisis, whether natural disasters, economic downturns, or other emergencies, fostering community resilience is paramount for families to navigate challenges successfully. Building strong bonds and collaborating with neighbors can provide essential support networks and resources. In this article, we’ll explore strategies for families to work together and contribute to community resilience during times of crisis.

Establish Communication Channels

Clear and reliable communication channels are essential for coordinating efforts and sharing critical information within the community. Establish methods such as neighborhood watch groups, social media networks, or communication apps to stay connected with neighbors. Create contact lists with essential contact information for each household and designate emergency communication protocols.

Collaborate on Emergency Preparedness

Encourage collaboration among families in preparing for potential emergencies. Organize community-wide preparedness events or workshops to share knowledge, resources, and skills. Pooling resources such as emergency supplies, tools, and equipment can enhance the collective readiness of the community. Develop evacuation plans and designate meeting points in case of evacuation orders.

Share Skills and Resources

Identify the skills, expertise, and resources available within the community and leverage them to support one another. Encourage neighbors to share their knowledge of gardening, first aid, construction, or other relevant skills. Create a network for exchanging goods and services, such as food, water, tools, and shelter materials. By collaborating and supporting each other, families can address challenges more effectively.

Establish Mutual Aid Networks

Establish mutual aid networks to provide assistance and support to vulnerable members of the community during times of crisis. Identify individuals or families who may need extra help, such as elderly residents, people with disabilities, or single parents. Coordinate efforts to check on their well-being, provide assistance with essential tasks, or evacuate them safely if necessary.

Organize Community Resilience Projects

Prepper Community

Engage in community resilience projects that enhance the overall preparedness and resilience of the neighborhood. Examples include community gardens, rainwater harvesting systems, emergency shelters, and neighborhood watch programs. Work together on initiatives that promote self-sufficiency, sustainability, and disaster resilience.

Foster Social Connections

Building strong social connections within the community fosters a sense of belonging and solidarity, which is crucial during times of crisis. Organize regular neighborhood gatherings, potlucks, or block parties to strengthen relationships and build trust among neighbors. Encourage open communication, empathy, and mutual support to create a resilient community fabric.

Participate in Training and Exercises

Participate in training sessions and emergency preparedness exercises as a community to enhance readiness and coordination. Practice scenarios such as earthquake drills, fire evacuation drills, or first aid training exercises. Evaluate and refine emergency plans based on lessons learned from simulations and real-life experiences.

Engage with Local Authorities and Organizations

Collaborate with local authorities, emergency responders, and community organizations to enhance resilience efforts. Stay informed about emergency protocols, evacuation routes, and available resources in your area. Advocate for community resilience initiatives and participate in local planning committees or advisory boards.

By working together and building strong community connections, families can significantly enhance their resilience and ability to withstand crises. By establishing communication channels, collaborating on preparedness efforts, sharing skills and resources, and fostering social connections, families can contribute to building a resilient community that supports its members in times of need. Remember, resilience is built through collective action and mutual support.

Are you a part of a bigger survival community? If not, do you plan on changing that? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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