Most people who choose to live in Alaska enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.  Alaska is a beautiful state, surrounded by mountains, the sea, full of rivers, and lakes.  Small planes are like minivans to families in Alaska, because roads don't go to much of our state.  Hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and spending time in the out of doors are fun activities.  I love spending time in the out of doors, so having the right gear and a bit of preparation ensures my outings will be safe and enjoyable.  

We take for granted that lights are always a switch away.  If you have ever been camping, hunting, or had a power outage, you realize that electricity and on demand lights are comforting, convenient, and a utility most of us want when darkness falls.  


Are you looking for basic gear to get started with an outdoor lifestyle that includes camping?  Here are suggestions for basic camping gear that wears well, adds comfort to your time in the outdoors, and is reasonably priced.  This bargain priced gear also allows you the ability to shelter in place in an emergency situation, or Bug Out, knowing you have covered the basics to sustain yourself and your family for days on end in reasonable comfort.  



What are the basic tools everyone needs to be able to repair and maintain your home and belongings?  Make sure you own these basic tools in your tool box.

 Keep your tools together so you can repair and maintain things when needed.  

These are the top 10 tools everyone should own.

Screwdrivers, flat head and Philip's head


Tape measure

Pliers, regular and needle nose  

Adjustable wrench


Make sure you have the essential tools and add to your tool collection as you need for DIY projects.  Using simple tools builds confidence that you can take care and repair things, save money doing it yourself, and be prepared so small things do not become emergencies.  


The International Sportsmen's Expo, ISE and Arizona Boat Show is America's premier hunting, fishing and travel show.  I visited the show held at Westworld, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  If you are looking for the current latest and greatest outdoor and sporting gear, cool new gear, fishing and hunting outfitters, check out the International Sportsmen's Expo.  See boats, motor homes, tents, camping gear, bow hunting gear, learn about outfitters from fishing lodges in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, hunting lodges in Argentina, New Mexico, Arizona.  Find innovative hunting and fishing gear at the International Sportsmen's Expos & Arizona Boat Show at WestWorld of Scottsdale.  Watch for the ISE show to visit a town near you.


 Does your garage door freeze shut in the winter?  Is your garage door frozen to the floor or ground at the bottom?  Winter time includes problems like frozen garage doors.  Unfreeze and unstick your garage door easily with a DIY De Icer spray of alcohol and water.  Mix 2/3 cups of alcohol and 1/3 cup of water in an empty spray bottle.  Spray the alcohol mixture along the frozen rubber gasket on the garage floor, and the alcohol will melt the ice and free the garage door.  

Keep the De Icer spray bottle in your car to use on your frozen windows.  The De Icer alcohol mixture will remain unfrozen, and allow you to spray your windows and garage door to defrost them in a minute.  Prevent garage doors from freezing to the ground with this alcohol mixture.


The easiest way to spread Ice Melter is with your Garden Spreader.

 Pour Ice Melter into the hand held garden spreader, hold just like you do for lawn products, squeeze the handle and turn.  

The Ice Melter will spread evenly in a nice large arc to melt ice over stairs, walkways, and driveways.  

Don't risk slipping on ice this winter.  Use your garden spreader to spread Ice Melter on your walkways and surfaces and give you a safer walking surface.  









Winter brings snow to much of the United States.  Shoveling snow can be a big job.  

Try these 2 quick tips to help make shoveling snow easier and faster.  

For deep snow, get a shovel shaped like a plow.  

Keep wet snow from sticking to your shovel by spraying the surface with cooking spray.  

Winter snows pile up, and shoveling snow is a necessary chore.

Keep your walkways, driveways, steps, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice with quick tips to easier snow removal.


The Suncast snow shovel has sturdy features. 

  • No-stick graphite blade
  • Galvanized Steel Wear Strip
  • Comfort Grip Steel Core handle
  • Blade 20-by13-inches, Length 51-inches
  • 51-inches overall length with 20-inch blade








Need a tiny screwdriver? Get an eyeglass repair kit from Dollar Tree.  The eyeglass repair kit includes 3 mini screwdrivers, like precision screwdrivers, for repairing eyeglasses, cell phones, jewelry, toys, replacing batteries in toys and electronics.  

The eyeglass repair kit includes three tiny screwdrivers, 2 flat screwdrivers and one Phillips head screwdriver and costs only 1 dollar. Don't mess with a sharp knife, when you need a tiny or mini screwdriver.  Have this cheap set of mini screwdrivers on hand from Dollar Tree.  The screwdrivers may be cheap, but these little screwdrivers work well and last through many simple repairs.  Stock up on tools at the Dollar Tree or dollar store, the cheapest place to buy tools.



Whether you are backpacking or bugging out, knowing how to find a fresh source of water is vital to survival.  People can survive without water for about 3 days.  

While backpacking with my son, we found signs that led us to fresh water.  These are the steps we took from discovery to filtering.  It is easy to learn to find and purify water yourself so you will be prepared.

The First Need XLE Elite water filtration system is durable, convenient, and reliable.  It is the filter of choice that I use for backpacking.  

Simple to follow steps for safe drinking water begin when you fill up a Nalgene type bottle with any water source and pump the First Need XLE.

 The filter purifies the water and fills a clean Nalgene with fresh drinking water as you pump.  The filter removes natural and ecological contaminants so your water is now completely safe to drink.



If you spend time in the out of doors around water, know how important it is to protect against invasive species.  Follow simple guidelines to prevent the spread of harmful plants and animals.  Clean boats, boat motors, and trailers after use.  Make sure to remove all traces of plants, animals and mud from boats, motors, and trailers.  Remove standing water from boats before leaving the water access.  Dry equipment completely between each use.  Dump unused bait in the trash.  The balance of each ecosystem is unique and offers the recreation we enjoy.  Wash your fishing and boating gear between trips to different locations, and learn what threatens areas you frequent.  Protect your water and stop the spread of invasive species that harm our native plants and animals.


Dangers from contaminated water can happen when you are spending time in the out of doors.  Water in lakes, ponds, pools, streams, hot tubs, and pools may be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or algae blooms.  Avoid contact with contaminated water from swallowing, touching, or breathing the mist.  Contact with contaminated water can put you and your pets at risk for waterborne illnesses.  Be aware of signs and dangers of contaminated water which can have harmful effects on your health.


Camping and hunting are a lot of fun, but you can get very dirty.  Lots of times, we have no shower and little water at camp.  Here is a simple solution to staying clean at camp by making your own wet wipes, personal cleaning wipes, or baby wipes.  All you need are paper towels, baby wash, baby oil, and water.  Find a container the size of half a roll of paper towels, cut your towel roll in half with a serrated knife, and add it to the container.  Mix the wet ingredients and pour over the paper towels.  You now have lots of wet wipes to clean yourself, and even your surfaces that are sticky or dirty when you are camping, hunting, living off grid, or for baby wipes.  These personal cleaning wipes are easy and work great.  You can make a lot of wipes with these simple, inexpensive ingredients.  Enjoy camping more with easy ways to stay clean at camp.  I like to make and use these personal cleansing water wipes when I am camping, fishing, hunting, or spending time at my off grid cabin in Alaska.

Snow Peak Mini Solo Titanium Cook Set Product Review

The Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cook Set is a 3 piece light weight set that  takes up little space in your pack.  The cup holds 10 oz., and the pot holds 28 oz.  The Snow Peak cup and pot nest together and leave room to store more inside the pot and included bag.  

The Snow Peak Titanium Cook Set is great for backpacking, camping, bugging out, or for your emergency cooking needs.  

At only 5.5 ounces, this cook set is lightweight, sturdy, and the best titanium cook set you can own.  Saving space and weight in your backpack, the Snow Peak Mini Solo Titanium Cookset has features that will please any solo backpacker or hiker.  

When ounces count in your pack, use them wisely with this sturdy cookset and carry bag.




If you have a problem with aggressive wasps or yellow jackets, the Rescue TrapStik for wasps, yellow jackets and hornets really works great.  I hung it outside of my Granny Camp, my off grid Alaska cabin, and am pleased with the results. Rescue TrapStik for Wasps is basically a sticky surface that has a super tight grip to anything that lands on it.  Keep it clear of your skin, clothes, and hair.  

The Rescue TrapStik for Wasps held up in rain and wind storms.  It keeps attracting wasps and continues to capture them.  My cabin is now safe from stinging insects.  Try the Rescue TrapStik for Wasps if you have a problem with aggressive stinging insects.  Stay safe from wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets for about $9.
Trap is Odor-free, Pesticide-free, catches insects including queens and workers, from spring through fall.  The adhesive holds up in hot weather, wet weather, windy weather.  The Rescue TrapStik can be placed near a nest to reduce populations.


Water hydration bladders are a great way to stay hydrated when you are hiking, camping, any time you spend time outdoors.  If you like using water hydration bladders, you know how important it is to care for them correctly to avoid funky smells and weird tastes.

These are the steps I use to clean my water hydration bladder after a day out hiking, camping, or hunting.  Hydration bladders are expensive, and with a bit of care you can help them last.

This water bladder by Aquatic Way is BPA-FREE & FDA APPROVED.  It is  Food-grade premium quality anti-bacteria materials. Thick TPU bladder material is pressure-tolerant and wear-proof.  It has a large opening for easy cleaning.  You can add ice cubes through the large opening.  An AUTO-SHUTOFF VALVE prevents leaking when tube is detached.



Here is how I set up a water and wash station at Granny Camp.  We have separate water for drinking, hand washing, or a little shower.  Buckets help prevent mud and collect the water for putting out a campfire.  This camping water and wash station would work great in an emergency situation, too.  Keep your water containers filled.  We fill them whenever we have a chance so we always have fresh water at our remote Alaska camp and off grid cabin.



Dish washing outdoors when you are camping can be easy.  Washing dishes while camping or in an emergency can be easy with a simple wash station.  Pack 3 dishpans, soap holder brush, bleach, and towels.  Wash, rinse, sanitize.  

Keep all food away from your tent.  Clean up as soon as you are done eating, and make sure no scraps are laying around to attract unwanted animals or insects.  Camping is a lot of fun.  Plan simple meals that are easy to clean up and dish washing at camp will be simple.  Also easy tips to store food safely at camp and how to use fewer dishes when camping.



Wasps and yellow jackets are a stinging pest and nuisance to some of us who like to enjoy our time in the outdoors without being attacked by aggressive insects.  Some wasps are extremely aggressive, and sting when threatened. Unlike honey bees, wasps often are capable of stinging multiple times.  

This summer wasps and yellow jackets have been particularly bad, including building a wasp nest inside of our camping off grid cabin.  Wasps are a nuisance when nesting near homes or high traffic areas. I tried three things to get rid of wasps and their nest.  The Rescue Wasp Trap Stick really works!   Try the Rescue TrapStik for Wasps if you have a problem with aggressive stinging insects.  Stay safe from wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets for about $9.
The trap is Odor-free, Pesticide-free, catches insects including queens and workers, from spring through fall.  The adhesive holds up in hot weather, wet weather, windy weather.  The Rescue TrapStik can be placed near a nest to reduce populations.


Mosquito Coils are a great way to repel mosquitoes and prevent mosquito bites which can cause itchiness and even diseases like Zika and Malaria.  Mosquito coils work well, but can be difficult to light.  A trick to lighting mosquito coils easily, first light a candle.  Hold the mosquito coil end on the flame until it has a flame.  Allow it to burn, and after a minute or two it will start to smoke, sending the mosquito repelling aroma around your area.  Use mosquito coils in a ventilated area.


Best Headlamp for Outdoor Adventures
If you love the outdoors, camping, hunting, backpacking, and more, a hands free head lamp is vital to making the most of your time in the outdoors.  The Shining Buddy headlamp is sturdy, versatile, and affordable.  The Shining Buddy headlamp includes 3 AAA batteries that last and last.  

I took this headlamp on safari to Africa and the batteries lasted the entire 6 weeks I used it.  With four settings, you can adjust the light to bright, half bright, red, and flashing red.  It also is hinged to point the direction you need and keep your eyes ahead.   Long lasting, bright, adjustable, and affordable at $12.97 the Shining Buddy headlamp is a great deal.  I contacted Shining Buddy and they donated headlamps for me to give to people in Mozambique during my safari.  Thank you Shining Buddy.  Whether you are active outdoors or preparing for emergencies, get the Shining Buddy LED headlamp as part of your gear.


Whether you are in the backyard, patio, or tropical jungle, mosquito coils are a great way to repel mosquitoes and prevent mosquito bites that can be itchy and annoying, and lead to Zika or Malaria.  Click on the video to learn 

the directions for how to light mosquito coils, how to separate the mosquito coils, how to use the mosquito coil stand, and safe use of mosquito coils.  If you have not used them before, know that mosquito coils really work to repel mosquitoes fast.  Give them a try for your mosquito ridden areas.  Enjoy your time in the out of doors more bug free.


How To Burn Broken Mosquito Coils   DIY Mosquito Coil Holder       If you like using mosquito coils, but hate when they are broken, get a simple paper fastener, a folding clip called a binder clip or bulldog clip.  Clamp the piece of mosquito coil into the binder clip paper clamp, light it, and it will burn until the coil touches the metal clamp of the binder clip and go out.  

If you want to burn only part of a whole coil, clamp the coil in the binder clip where you think is enough coil, and light the coil.  It will go out when it reaches the metal on the binder clip clamp.  You can easily move the binder clip on the mosquito coil to where you would like it to burn.  Try it, mosquito coils really work and are great to help prevent Zika or Malaria.  Use mosquito coils in a well ventilated space, and spread them 8-10 feet apart.  Mosquito coils really work to repel mosquitoes.  




Mosquitoes are a nuisance, and carry diseases such as Zika and Malaria.  Here are tricks I use to repel mosquitoes.  Try mosquito coils on your porch or patio, when you are camping or picnicking.  Mosquito coils placed in a Coghlan's Mosquito Coil Holder can be placed on a tabletop or hung up to repel mosquitoes.

 Place mosquito coils 8-10 feet apart, and use them in a ventilated area.  Mosquito coils burn up to 8 hours each.  Mosquito coils are a mosquito repellent that really works.





Mosquito coils work well at repelling mosquitos.  Separating them can be a real pain.  Coils are hard to use if they are broken.  No one likes mosquito bites, and concerns with the Zika virus or Malaria are serious in some areas of the world.  

Look to the center of the coils, it looks like snake eyes.  Push one forward, one backward.  Now pull the 2 centers in opposite directions and your coils should pull apart easily without breaking.  Only use commercially available mosquito coils, and set them on a non flammable surface.  Use them outdoors or in well ventilated areas.




Are you searching for another way to start a fire?  Reach into your pocket for your chap stick, add a cotton ball or pocket lint, and you can easily start a fire.  Rub the chap-stick over a cotton ball, and it will produce a hot, long burning flame.  

Get a fire started in an emergency situation, campfires, and cooking over an open fire with a chapstick or lip gloss.  

Keep a chapstick in your everyday carry, camping gear, survival gear, and emergency supplies.  

Stock up on Chapstick.  Chapstick is great to protect and soothe chapped lips, as well as start a fire.  Learn to start a fire with Chapstick as one more way to stay safe.



Are you looking for simple candle burning lanterns for decorative touches, patio party lights, or emergency situations?  Check out these inexpensive  candle lanterns from Ikea.  The Rotera Tea Light Candle costs less than $4, and is easy to use.  This Tea Light Candle Holder Lantern can be used indoors or outdoors.  It has a wide hinged opening  so you can easily place a candle and light it.  A metal hanger at the top allow for ease of use so you can hang it.  The Rotera Tea Light Candle Lantern is great as a decoration, or for emergency situations and the power goes out.  The Candle Lantern does get warm, so place it out of reach of children and pets.  Never leave candles burning unattended.

Don't live near Ikea?  Check out this cute little candle lantern.  The color is nice, and may be available in other options.  A bit of spray paint can make it your favorite if you choose.  Candle lanterns are great for decorating, patio use, off grid living, or for emergencies.  



Learn the easy steps to setting a mouse trap or rat trap.  It is always a good idea to have a few mouse traps on hand in case a furry critter ends up in your area.  You don't want a mouse or rat to have the run of the place while you go shopping for a trap.  Buy sturdy mouse traps so they will last and do the trick.  These directions show you how to set a Victor mouse trap.  Most mouse traps are set the same way.  Be careful setting your mouse trap that you don't catch your fingers!  Clean up all food traces so there won't be a reason for mice to live in your home or space.

Berry Picking: Alaska's Wild Berries by Verna E. Pratt

If you like berry picking, the book Alaska's Wild Berries by Verna E. Pratt can guide you where to find berries, which are edible or poisonous, when to find them, and tips to help identify edible wild berries.  

Arranged by color, with identifying photographs, this is a well done and helpful guide for berry picking including watermelon berries, currants, huckleberries, cranberries, salmon berries, blueberries, and more.

Depending on where you live and travel, a book about local plants and berries can be helpful along the trail.  

Another of my favorite books is Alaska's Wild Plants by Janice J. Schofield.  Identify about 70 of Alaska's wild edibles with the help of this guide.






If you are looking for a high quality, easy to use, and versatile headlamp, check out the headlamps from Shining Buddy.  The Shining Buddy Headlamp is comfortable to wear, has 4 settings of bright white light, medium white light, red light, flashing red light and is ready to go right out of the box with 3 long lasting included AAA batteries called Procell by Duracell.

The head strap is easy to adjust, comfortable to wear, and stays in place on your head.  The headlamp is hinged to adjust where you need your light to shine.  This is a headlamp you can really wear for outdoor activities whether you are camping, boating, hiking in the dark, or for emergency situations.  

Stock up on the Shining Buddy Headlamp at an affordable price so everyone in your family has one.  Shining Buddy works great, and is a must have for my camping gear.  


If you enjoy camping, here is a tip on how to take spices along in a compact container.  Head to the Dollar Tree for a 7 day pill container.  

For only $1 you can take your 7 favorite spices along in individual containers that screw together for ease of use.  Buy 2 pill containers if you care to take more spices.  

You can stack them together for one long tube, or place them side by side in your camping gear.  

 Whatever your favorite spices, you can label and bring them along on camp outs or outdoor cooking adventures.  

I filled my container with my favorite 7 spices, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, taco seasoning, chili powder, and cinnamon.  Meals at camp can be easy and delicious with the addition of your favorite spices.  


Have you ever been camping and ants are all over your camp ground or campsite?  Ants were everywhere in "Granny Camp"  and I wanted a solution to get rid of the ants without poison since this is an area where my young grandchildren come to play.  This is on our private property and we camp out here in a tent all summer.  If you have a problem with ants, try spraying this mixture of salt and water in the infestation area.  It seems to do the trick.  Try it!


I have been developing a little campground on my property to teach my grandchildren the joys of camping and playing in the out of doors.  We have learned a lot in the last few rainy, windy weeks.  Here are the greatest tips from Granny Camp.  

If you are looking for ways to make camp outs more fun, check out these tips and tricks for successful camping trips.  We love camping at our remote Alaska camp.

One of my camp favorites is the collapsible wine glass.  Made of Glacier Stainless Steel, it is far more sturdy than any plastic wine glass.

 The base unscrews and snaps into the cup rim like a lid for efficient packing or travel.  The glass holds just over 10 ounces.  The base is non slip to help prevent spilling.  I love my collapsible wine glass at camp.



One of the best tips to camp comfort is a comfortable cot.  Sleeping on the cold, hard ground can be extremely uncomfortable.  We spend one third of our lives sleeping, so why should we be uncomfortable?  If you are heading to camp and want to enjoy it more, try bringing along a comfortable, sturdy cot.  My favorite cot is one like this from Coleman.  It is lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable, and durable.  I can sleep on a cushion, up off the cold, wet, rocky ground and get a great night's sleep even in the coldest weather.  


If you are spending any amount of time in back country cabins or hunting camp, a sturdy camp sleeping mat is essential to keep you warm, comfortable, and ready to face the next adventure.  If we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed sleeping, why shouldn't we be comfortable at camp?  If you have ever been cold or slept on the hard ground, you need to try one of these Outfitter camp pads.  Wake up after a warm, restful night.  Yes, this is a bulky system.  It is designed for comfort in car camping, bunks, cabins, and hunting camp.  Rugged wear, long lasting, and comfortable.  I have used one similar to this for many years of restful nights at camp.  


I love the fleece hand warmer muff I got at Cabela's.  I took it on my trip to the mountains, and used it riding around in open jeeps, trucks, and hiking.  The fleece hand warmer muff has a zipper pocket that holds essentials, protects my camera and sunglasses, and is large enough to hold a water bottle while keeping me warm.  I like the adjustable strap that can hang around your neck, or adjust to use as a handy fanny pack or waist pack or bag.  Try a fleece muff to keep you warm outdoors in cold weather while you conveniently carry your essential gear.


Tips to wash long underwear include how to make sure you protect the components of high performance, moisture wicking, anti microbial qualities of the fabrics.  Wash in cool water, hang to dry or dry on low, and avoid fabric softeners.  Learn when to wash, how to air out and wear again, and the basics of good care for your long underwear, long johns, or base layer of clothing.  Underwear washing instructions are simple to follow.


Are you still looking for stocking stuffers or gifts for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hunters, preppers, or other friends and family?  Check out these gift ideas for outdoor lovers and indoor types as well.  

There is something for everyone on your list.  Check out Duracell Ultra Beam 350 Lumen 3 packs.  

Choose books about plants, berries, or favorite locations, Grabber Hand Warmers, SOG key chain knife, Hunter Dan Action figures for little ones, and more.


Do you have a plan for what you would do if you are in the way of a wildfire?  100 million Americans live in the West, which is overrun with wildfires.  You can no longer expect to call 911 and have a hotshot sent to save your property.  There are too many fires.  Take measures to protect your property by clearing debris, gathering tools.  Make a plan to evacuate, and know ahead of time where and when you would go.  Have emergency bags packed so you can grab and go if necessary.  Prepare for the unexpected so you won't be in harm's way without a plan.


Do you like tent camping?  You can't have too many tent stakes, and they are simple to make.  Cut wire hangers with wire cutters to make some extra tent stakes for your camping gear, bug out bags, car kits, and emergency shelter kits.  Polish the ends with brightly colored nail polish to help locate them in the dirt.  I have made lots of these, and they really work.  I think I need better wire cutters!


There are a few tips that can help make a hike more enjoyable and successful.  Spend your time enjoying the out of doors.  Pack a first aid kit, snacks, and water.  Wear sunscreen, and carry a map.  Dress in layers.  Always tell someone where you are going, and when you plan to return.  Find more tips and tricks on my video.  Have a great time hiking, whether it is a short stroll or an expedition with a little planning and preparation.

Sea To Summit Compression Dry Sack Product Review

The Sea To Summit Compression Dry Sack with eVent is simple to use, is sturdy, and keeps your gear dry.  The eVent allows air to escape through the bottom, and deeps water out.  To use it, roll the top, fasten the straps, and press out the air.  It can be used as a bear bag at camp.  I used this on a fly in hunting trip where I needed things compact, lightweight, and protected.  The Sea To Summit Compression Dry Bag works great. 

The Sea To Summit Compression Dry Bag is great if you are planning any trip into the out of doors.  It is lightweight, yet keeps your things compressed, clean, dry, and together.  This is not meant to be submerged, but will keep things nicely if left in the rain, the bottom of a boat, or dropped in a puddle.  If you are camping in bear country, after you remove your gear, place your food in it, fasten it, and hook it over a tree.  Never keep food inside your tent, and be cautious with clothing you wear while cooking foods with strong aromas.  



I bought a Coleman Brighton sleeping bag for warm weather and cabin camping.  It is comfy, fluffy, and kept me warm for a week of cool summer evenings.  If you need a warm weather bag for camping or sleep overs, the Coleman Brighton sleeping bag is great.  It is economical so you can get the Coleman Brighton sleeping bag for every family member.  

The Coleman White Water Sleeping bag is a basically the same bag as the Brighton.  I think the only difference is the color.  The White Water sleeping bag is rated from 30 degrees to 50 degrees, so is a good choice for warm weather camping, cabin camping, family camp, or sleep overs.  If you are worried about being warm, add a liner.  This is a very well made, inexpensive sleeping bag that is very comfortable and allows you to get a good sleep away from your bed.  If you are looking for good, basic sleeping bags, try the Coleman White Water.  


Cots are a great comfort item in tent camping, especially in cold weather.  They elevate you from the freezing ground.  Protecting the floor of your tent is simple with a piece of pipe foam insulation wrap.  Try making these to help make your camping and hunting gear last longer.


Do you like to go outside hiking or hunting, even when the weather is cold?  I do, and just spent went hunting in deep snow with temperatures colder than I anticipated.  I took my new Pinnacle 400 gram insulated boots from Cabela's.  They are very comfy and waterproof, but my feet were cold!  I warmed them up with a silk liner layer of socks, and then adhered toe warmer packets to the socks.  I layered my favorite heavy Cabela's socks over those, and put on the boots.  I did not have any more trouble staying warm and dry.
Pack enough hand and toe warmers on your next outing to be sure you have enough for your entire trip.  Place them in your boots overnight if you need to dry them out.  Be sure the packets feel flexible before you pack to make certain they work, and read for expiration dates on the wrapper.  Then get outside and have fun!


Never get cold when you are spending time in the out of doors.  Take along hand and foot warmers.  These single use packets stay warm for 6 - 8 hours, depending on the package.  Decide how long you expect to be outdoors, and buy enough to have extras.  There is nothing that ruins a trip faster than being cold.  I plan 3 pairs of toe warmers per day for each day I head out hunting or trekking in the cold.  Place a pair in your shoes overnight if your boots get wet.  Stick them to your socks, not your skin.





Layering is the way to stay warm when you spend time in the out of doors.  Don't just layer your top, begin at your feet.  Nothing ruins a day outside than cold feet.  When your feet feel warm, you can concentrate on the fun or work you are doing.  I like to wear a first layer of silk sock liners under my heavy wool socks.  They can really do the trick keeping your feet warm.


Are you trying to stay warm in your sleeping bag at camp or in your remote cabin?  Make a little pouch from a scrap of flannel or fleece to warm up your sleeping bag.  Insert an activated hand or body warmer, and stay warm all night.  Place it by your feet, tummy, sore back, or under your pillow.  It will stay put and continue to warm you without a risk of burning your skin.  Try this to stay warm at camp or in an emergency situation.


Here are a few tips on how to stay safe in bear country, especially if you are hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, hunting and carrying food.  Use a bear proof container when spending time in bear country.  In addition, toss a cord over a tree branch or between two trees.  Food needs to be suspended at least 12 feet off the ground, and 4 feet from the trunk.  Prepare and store food at least 100 yards away from your tent, and leave heavily scented foods at home.  I hunt with someone who even pees around the area to "mark" our territory.  NEVER BRING FOOD INTO YOUR TENT! Check out some of my other bear videos for staying safe in bear country.




Safety in bear country isn't hard, if you follow a few safety tips.  Always make noise in the woods.  Remember that bears don't want to see you, either.  Your chances of getting into a problem with a bear are rare.  Never follow a bear, approach a bear, or get between mama and babies.  Keep food in a bear proof vault or up a tree.  NEVER KEEP FOOD INSIDE YOUR TENT OR COOK INSIDE YOUR TENT.  Store food 100 yards away.  If you have been cooking food with a lot of scent, change your clothing away from your tent and leave the clothing outside away from your tent.  


Make a bed roll for cold, wet, snowy camp outs and hunting trips.  Each layer adds warmth, and the canvas outer layer adds protection from wind, rain, or snow.  Assemble this at home, roll it, then toss it on your cot or on the ground at camp.  A bed roll is a great way to sleep in comfort at a remote Alaska cabin.


The Mountain Hardwear Ultra Lamina 0 Sleeping Bag is lightweight, warm, and a great choice for backpacking or camping when weight is an issue.  It weighs about three pounds, is very fluffy, and good for wet weather camping.  Watch how to use the compression stuff sack and what the zippers are like.  The insulation is lightweight, highly compressible, and keeps you warm even if wet.



The Mountain Hardwear Ultra Lamina 0 Sleeping Bag is probably the best sleeping bag I have ever purchased.  I bought it for hunting camps in extemely cold, wet, snowy, windy, winter weather conditions.  The only time I was sure to be warm was when I was in my sleeping bag.  This bag worked great.  With the addition of a liner, it worked well below 0 degrees to keep me warm.  Only my face was cold.  


The Sea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme Sleeping Bag Liner is light weight, made from 100 % soft silk, and adds up to 25 degrees of cold weather comfort to your cold weather sleeping bag.  Instead of purchasing a more expensive sleeping bag, add this to the bag you have for added warmth in cold weather backpacking, camping, or hunting.  I used this liner at hunting camps in the Arctic and was very glad to have  it.  I bought it because I was heading to a fly in camp where weight is an issue, and my other liners were too heavy.  This kept me much warmer than liners I have used in the past.  It really warms up a sleeping bag in cold conditions.  Pull it out when you get home and wash it.  It helps keep your sleeping bag clean.


Rustic potty situations can be challenging, especially keeping toilet paper clean and dry.  Try making one of these toilet paper hangers from a wire coat hanger for your camp out, hunting trip, or emergency bug out toilet situations.  Keep a trash bag nearby, and a ziploc bag over the top to keep the toilet paper dry.  This works great at Granny Camp, our rustic Alaska camp.


Whether you are heading to camp or in an emergency, a free bucket, a plastic bag, and some foam insulation pipe wrap can make a toilet for less than 1 dollar.  I prefer one that flushes, but am happy to have this instead of nothing  when I am hunting or at my remote Alaska cabin.  Be prepared for the call of nature, no matter what.


Camping tarps are nice to have to keep sun, wind, and rain off of us.  Folding them at the end of a camp out can be challenging.  Here are simple steps to fold up a tarp, no matter what size, and get it safely put away.  Fold your tarp carefully and it will last a long time.  Make sure it is dry, and shake or wipe off dirt where you can.  Follow these simple directions, and see how your tarp easily and neatly stores away for next time.


Do you wonder what you really need for a successful camp out?  I have tent camped for years, and finally set up a garden shed for a camping cabin on my private property.  What are the essentials you need to have a fun and successful camp out?  Plan your food and water, shelter, warm clothing, and first aid supplies.  Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return when you set off into the out of doors.  Camping is a lot of fun.  Make a few plans so that your camping trip is comfortable and successful.  That is the only way you will care to go camping again.


Have you been camping in the rain?  Then your gear is wet.  Never store wet gear as it will mildew and may be ruined.  As soon as possible after you return home, get out your camping gear and allow it to dry completely.  If you find mildew and moldy odors, spray with white vinegar.  Now allow everything to dry completely, hopefully in the sunshine.  Your camping gear will last a lot longer if you take the time to clean and dry it before you put it away.


I love spending time in the out of doors, and spending time at Granny Camp, a campground I developed on my private property.  This year, instead of a tent, I took a garden shed that measures 8 feet by 12 feet and turned it into a rustic cabin for camping.  This cabin is in the woods, and has no electricity or running water.  I love spending time in Granny Camp and teaching my young grandchildren to enjoy time in the out of doors.  If you want a rustic cabin for camping, hunting, or bugging out, try converting a shed into a cabin living space.  It is amazing how little you need to live in a small space.  Plan a space for sleeping, water, food, and basic cooking.  Next I plan to build an outhouse for Granny Camp.


I love the out of doors, and sharing the fun of camping, hiking, and nature with my grandchildren in Alaska.  We have spent the last few summers camping at Granny Camp with a tent and fire pit.  This year, I was able to obtain an 8 foot by 12 foot garden shed, which I converted into a rustic camping cabin for Granny Camp.  It is a dry cabin, so there is no electricity or running water, but we have a blast.  I love spending time in Granny Camp, sharing my love for the out of doors with the little ones.  Here are photos from some of our adventures this year at Granny Camp as we improved from tent to our cabin.  Pictures include Alaska wild flowers, animals, and adventures fixing our cabin.  I love it at Granny Camp! 

Super Nova 300 Lantern Product Review

The Super Nova 300 is a fantastic battery operated lantern for camping, power outages, or bugging out.  It runs for 6 days on 3 D batteries, and is bright enough to light up an entire room or tent.  It weighs 14 ounces, is waterproof, sturdy, and  dependable.  It even has a hook on the bottom for additional hanging options.  Try the Super Nova 300 for economical emergency lighting.

I am glad to have the Super Nova 300

Camping Lantern as part of my camping and hunting gear.  I also have it available for lights in emergency situations.  The lights go out frequently where I live in Alaska so it is nice to have lots of alternatives to have light.  I also have a rustic off grid cabin, and lanterns are a necessary part of life for cabin camping.



It is easy to make your own baby wipes, which can be used for many things besides cleaning babies.  I never travel without them, and love them for camping and hunting trips.  Here is a simple recipe to make your own from paper towels, water, baby wash, and baby oil.  I like knowing what is in them, and how easy they are to make, even at camp.  With a big pack of paper towels, and a bottle of baby wash and baby oil, you can continue to make wipes to last for a long time.  Are you a prepper?  These items belong in your stockpile so you can stay clean no matter what kind of emergency comes your way.  Make baby wipes so you can stay clean at camp, on picnics, fishing or hunting.


Do you wake up at camp and want your morning cup of coffee?  Begin at home by making individual coffee bags like tea bags from coffee filters.  Measure coffee into a filter, tie with dental floss.  Make sure to use unflavored dental floss.  Place one bag in your cup, fill with boiling water, let it brew.  You will love enjoying your favorite coffee on camp outs or when traveling.  The best part?  No clean up!  


If you enjoy camping, whether in a tent, RV, or dry cabin, making water last and conserving it can be a challenge.  Most of us are spoiled with unlimited running water at home, and suddenly need to ration the water we use when camping, hunting, or in an emergency situation.  Here are tips and tricks that I use when I camp, hunt, or spend time at Granny Camp, which is a dry cabin. These tips help me make sure I have enough water for all of our needs.  Living in a dry cabin isn't for everyone, and learning to live in a dry cabin has challenges.  I love it, for the times we share.  Learn to use less, how to be satisfied with less, and ways to store water so you have the most available when you need it.  Water is a basic need we cannot live without.  Learn to use water sparingly whether you are at camp or in an emergency situation.  Learn to get by on less, and you will be okay no matter what comes your way.




Whether you are at camp or at home, store extra water for your daily needs.  I have several of these jugs.  They are sturdy, have a well designed spigot, and are a convenient size.  Know that water weighs over 8 pounds per gallon, and use containers you can still lift.  This is the largest size I can still manage.  I like them for my Granny Camp cabin, hunting trips, and for water storage for emergencies.  



If you enjoy spending time in the out of doors, and like to hike, camp, or fish, you may find yourself in bear country.  Having a bear deterrent is a great safety tip.  Most bears have no interest in encountering you, but have the speed and power to be extremely dangerous, especially a mother bear defending her cubs. If you are looking for a bear deterrent, check out the Orion bear deterrent launcher and shells.  

This is a plastic launcher that looks like a pistol.  Launch a shell overhead, and it gives a loud bang and blast of light to scare bears away at up to 300 feet.  This is a great solution for bear safety if you are unable or unwilling to use a firearm or bear spray.  At around $40, the Orion Bear Deterrent is an affordable way to add an element of safety to your outdoor activities.  This is a product to consider for safety in bear country.


If you enjoy backpacking or camping, you need meals in the out of doors.  The Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cook Set is light weight and takes up little space in your pack.  The cup holds 10 oz., and the pot holds 28 oz.  They nest together and leave room to store more supplies inside the pot and the bag.  The Snow Peak Titanium Cook Set is great for backpacking, camping, bugging out, or for your emergency cooking needs.  It weighs only  5.5 ounces, so is easy to bring along.  This cook set is lightweight, sturdy, and the best titanium cook set you can own.



If you enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, or back packing, extend the time you can stay out with the addition of quality gear.  I try to upgrade and replace things a little at a time, trying to make certain I have what I need, and know how to use it.  The Snow Peak Titanium Cook Set works great for my meal preparation time at camp.


If you hike, camp, fish, or hunt, you are bound to encounter wet weather.  Building a fire can keep you warm, dry wet clothing, and heat your food.  Learn a few basic steps to build a fire in wet conditions. Learn how to search for dry tinder, how to lay the fire, and tips to get a fire started. Knowing how to start fires in wet conditions can be a critical skill to surviving emergency situations.  Always carry a fire starting kit when heading outdoors.


At the end of a day grilling or a camp out, try this easy way to remove burned on crud from your grills, racks, and pots.  Place your dirty pots and racks in a sink or basin of hot soapy water, drop in a dryer sheet, and allow them to soak.  The dryer sheet will help soften and remove the burned on food, allowing it to be wiped off more easily with a scrubby sponge.  Remember, your grills, racks, and camping pots and pans are heading back outdoors to cook over fires and grills.  Don't try to get them looking new again.  After all, you will be using them over fires in the out of doors.  Scrub extra crusty places with steel wool, and know your pots and racks are clean.  Clean enough works for me, so I can get back outdoors rather than spending time trying to make old pots and racks shiny new.  With this tip, clean up is easier for burned on food.


Coleman lanterns are great for camping, cabins, off grid, or emergency lighting needs.  Coleman lanterns can last for decades with a bit of care.  Knowing how to maintain and light the lanterns can be confusing if you haven't done it for a while.  Click on the video for complete directions on how to change the mantles, how to fill the fuel, how to light and operate the lantern, and safety precautions using Coleman fuel or white gas lanterns.  Follow these directions whether you are using a single or double mantle lantern.  Have a great time in the out of doors by practicing using your gear at home!



Coleman Lanterns are great to own for camping, hunting, for an off grid cabin, or for emergencies.  We never know when the power may go out, so having lighting options is important.  I like owning several Coleman lanterns, and use them year after year.  No batteries are needed, but be sure to stock up on fuel and mantles.



If Coleman lanterns are part of your camping, hunting, or emergency gear, store them in these hard sided lantern cases.  There is room to store extra mantles in the base, it holds the lantern securely, and protects the lantern's fragile parts from breakage.  Even when bounced around, my lanterns have arrived at camp undamaged.  Easy to load, latch, and open, the Coleman lantern storage cases are a great way to protect your lanterns.



Coleman or any other brand of camping lanterns are a great item to own if you are a camper, hunter, like to fish, have rustic cabin, or for emergency situations.  They are sturdy and functional, but do have breakable parts.  Storing and transporting your Coleman lantern in a Coleman lantern case or storage box ensures the glass globe and mantle will be protected.  I have dropped my lanterns while they were in the case, and they were fine.  Store extra mantles in the bottom of your lantern case.  Your lantern won't work with out one.

Best Tips To Prevent Tick Bites

Warm weather brings ticks out into wooded and grassy areas.  Avoid ticks and the threat to Lyme disease and other infections with these simple tips.  Use DEET repellent, and wear light colored, long sleeve clothing.  Hike in the center of trails.  Spray Permethrin repellent on clothing, tents, gear, and boots.  Keep your yard mowed and debris cleared.  Inspect your pets, and use tick treatments.  

Follow these tips and tricks to prevent tick bites.

Bugs and the out of doors just naturally go together.  Use a repellent with DEET to keep away mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, and black flies.  If you choose one that lasts for 10 hours, you won't worry about it wearing off in the middle of a hunt or hike.  Spray it on your clothing, rather than your skin, and dress in long sleeves, long pants, and in light colors.  Make sure to wash your hands after applying it, and don't get it in your eyes.  Always carry a small bottle of repellent in your day pack, whatever your adventure.


Outdoor wooden patio furniture is an investment in family fun and comfort in the out of doors.  Here are tips on how to clean your wood outdoor furniture, how to protect it with teak oil, cover it in winter, and other ideas to help keep your patio furniture in top shape and help it last a long, long time.  A bit of care helps prolong the life of your patio furniture, allowing you to enjoy patio time.

Natural wood furniture is beautiful, comfortable, and long lasting.  Sturdy outdoor furniture goes a long way to making sunny days and warm evenings enjoyable, and allows relaxing and sharing time together.  I love spending time outside, and nice patio furniture helps make my time enjoyable.  

Choose outdoor furniture that will last while looking good.  All outdoor furniture requires some cleaning and upkeep to help make it last for years.



If the cord on your umbrella is frayed or rotting, here are simple directions for replacing it.  See how to choose a cord, and how to know where to run it so your umbrella continues to go up and down easily and help you enjoy your time in the out of doors.  Why buy a new umbrella when you can easily replace the umbrella cord or string.


Scorpions are a fact of life in desert environments.  Avoid stacking wood, brush, or rocks next to your home, and be careful if you are working around them.  Sprinkle cinnamon around the outside of your house to keep scorpions away.  Spray citrus oils outside to keep scorpions away.  Don't panic if you are stung by a scorpion.  Put ice on it, try to safely capture it so your doctor can know what kind it is, and you will most likely be fine.


A black light flashlight will help you spot scorpions in the dark.  Shine it under your bed, inside your closet, in your shoes, and all over your campground.  They are fun to use on moonlight hikes.  You can spot even tiny scorpions near rocks in the dark.





How To Make A Charcoal Lighting Chimney

How you ever wondered how to light charcoal using a charcoal chimney?  It works, and you can make your own charcoal chimney with common items found around the house.  Use an empty large can to make a charcoal lighting chimney.  Follow the simple directions for how to cut your can, place it with a space underneath, fill with newspaper, and light the paper.  No chemicals required to contaminate your food.  Try it!

Make a Hunter's Lantern Or Flashlight From A Can

Did you know you can make a flashlight or  lantern from a can and a candle?   The last time I was hunting, my guide showed me how to make a Hunter's Lantern from a can, candle, and duct tape.  This is a great makeshift light, and can easily be made from things everyone has on hand.  Make one for your emergency kit or camping gear.

Black Diamond Orbit Lantern Product Review

The Black Diamond Orbit Lantern is my favorite little tiny lantern.  It weighs 3 ounces without the 4 AAA batteries, and folds down to 4 inches.  



It gives 45 lumens of light, which is an adequate amount for tents, cabins, or emergency situations.  The switch can be held down to dim the light, allowing it to last for 100 hours.  Try the Black Diamond Orbit for your camping or emergency needs.  Be ready before the power goes out!


Realize that power outages can come, and provide a few battery operated, hand crank, or gas lamps for the comfort of yourself and your family in times of emergency.


If you enjoy hunting or camping, owning and using lanterns, flashlights, and camp lights is part of the outdoor fun.  Choose a few different types for your supplies.  








If you like camping, you probably own Coleman lanterns.  Camping gear includes gas lanterns for many of us.  Long a standard at family or hunting camp, lanterns such as Coleman are sturdy and dependable.   Occasionally the mantles need to be replaced.  Follow these simple steps to replace the mantle in your camping lantern.  



Always light your lantern outside, as it gives off a lot of smoke.  

Keep a supply of mantles on hand, as they can be fragile.  

Make sure your lantern is off before you begin to change the mantle.  Allow it to cool.



Ready to pitch your tent?  Follow these simple steps to set up your  tent and choose a campsite.  Tent set up can be simple, quick, easy.  For easy tent set up find a flat site, clear any sticks, rocks, pine cones, and pitch your tent away from the prevailing winds.  Make certain to set up your tent away from any flood zones if you are near water or river beds.  Check all of your gear at home before setting out to ensure you have all the necessary parts.  Open your poles carefully, pound stakes at a 45 degree angle, and get ready to enjoy the out of doors.  Try these tips and pointers to help you set up your tent and enjoy tent camping.

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