Basic Outdoor Gear for Hikers and Campers

Camping trips, hiking out, walking tours, backpacking and other outdoor activities require usage of specific equipment and tools. There are many types of equipment available to lovers of nature who prefer to spend time communing with the outdoors. The selection of equipment is based on a number of factors, including the kind of environment, the distance and duration of travel, and the planned activities. Another important factor that influences the choice of equipment is the current set of local regulations that govern the site, all of which are intended to minimize the human impact on the environment. The following are guidelines to assist hikers, campers, and trekkers in planning for their next outdoor sojourn, specifically in choosing basic equipment.

Basic equipment options for temporary shelter and effective protection from the elements

A high performance four-season tent may provide the best kind of protection from the elements. This kind of tent offers users an effective shelter while they are out of doors, and when coupled with a complete sleep-system, the shelter can offer an environment that is warm, cozy, and comfortable. Many types of tents are available in the market. The choice depends on the nature of the environment, the climate, and the duration of stay.

Aside from tents, hikers who intend to stay out overnight can opt for a tarp and wool blanket, if the nighttime temperature does not fall to such a level that risks hypothermia. A sleeping bag may do the trick, or in more challenging environments, a basic sleeping bag may be modified to provide better protection to the user with the addition of bag liners, compression sacks, and ground sheet. Meanwhile, some campers and trekkers prefer to sleep on hammocks. Others bring with them a bivouac shelter or a jungle shelter that is specifically designed for use in tropical rainforest environments.

Tips on carrying, storing, and sourcing potable water

Since water found in the wild is possibly undrinkable, one of the most important aspects of preparing for an outdoor trekking or camping is ensuring that the party carries an adequate amount of water that is potable and safe to drink. In the outdoors, an average adult usually consume two to four liters per day. Each liter of water weighs approximately one kilogram. The amount of water to be brought must be determined in relation to the carrying capacity of the people who will be drinking the available supply. Clean water containers must be procured and examined before water is stored in order to ensure that the supply will not be contaminated. Aside from planning for and preparing the right amount water for the duration of the trip, it is useful to have a working knowledge of the geographical layout of the area, particularly on the locations of possible sources of drinking water. This is especially important if the trek or hike is set in arid areas. Knowing the location of natural water cisterns and reservoirs, as well as the quickest route to sources of drinking water could spell the difference between life and death in survival situations.

Top 3 Bird Watching Holidays in Australia

Bird watching holidays in Australia take birders to a vast country of varied habitats, home to stunning endemics and breeding visitors. From the south-west hills of Western Australia to the tropical forests of Queensland and the sub-Antarctic islands in the Southern Ocean, Australia is sure to satisfy amateur and experienced birders alike.

Western Australia

The vast state of Western Australia is home to a broad range of bird species. Visiting the state’s south-west corner provides ample sightings for highly rewarding bird watching holidays. Starting in the hills of the Darling Range, birders can search for local endemics such as Red-winged Fairywren, Red-eared Firetail, Western Rosella and Red-capped Parrot. In the Wandoo bushlands of Dryandra State Forest, the birds are plentiful, including Brush Bronzewing, Painted Button-quail, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Collared Sparrowhawk and Rufous Treecreeper. Heading south, the Stirling Ranges are home to Australian Owlet-nightjar, Western Yellow Robin, Crested Shrike-tit and more, while the nearby Cheyne Beach is known for its ‘big three’ of Western Whipbird, Western Bristlebird and Noisy Scrub-bird. In addition to all this, the Karri Eucalyptus forests are home to fairywrens, whistlers and wattlebirds, and the route back to Perth can take in Sugarloaf Rock and its Red-tailed Tropicbirds.

Queensland

The tropical landscape of Queensland is a rich and intensely rewarding destination for bird watching holidays. Starting in Cairns, birders can explore the mangroves of the bay in search of waterbirds, then boat out to Michaelmas Cay on the famous Great Barrier Reef, where numerous sea birds breed and rest, including Sooty Terns, Bridled Terns, Crested Terns, Brown Boobies, Common Noddy and more. Inland, the Atherton Tablelands and the crater lakes of Eacham and Barrine are home to endemic bird species and some of Australia’s more elusive mammals. Under the guidance of an expert naturalist, birders can hope to see the Wompoo Pigeon, Emerald Doves, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Black Butcherbird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Spotted Catbird and Lovely Fairy Wren. Daintree Rainforest and Lamington National Park round off the trip, searching for the Papuan Frogmouth, Little Kingfisher, Great-billed Heron and Southern Cassowary.

Sub-Antarctic Islands

The sub-Antarctic islands of Australia and New Zealand are a different world entirely. The Southern Ocean’s nutrient-rich waters fuel a lively ecosystem that sustains millions of albatrosses, penguins, petrels, cormorants and other stunning sea birds, as well as Sperm Whale, Orca Whale, Dusky Dolphins and Hourglass Dolphins. Cruising among the islands is an incredible experience for those on bird watching holidays.

Snares Island is an excellent first stop: the endemic Snares Island Penguin nests here, alongside Southern Giant Petrel, Antarctic Tern, Snares Fernbird, Broad-billed Prion and Salvin’s Albatross. At the Auckland Islands, Auckland Island Shag and Yellow-eyed Penguin will delight. Australia’s Macquarie Island gives birders the opportunity to see the Royal Penguin’s only nesting site, as well as nesting pairs of King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Rockhopper Penguins and other birds including the Macquarie Shag. On archipelago after archipelago, the birds of the Southern Ocean are a delight.

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for bird watching holidays, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to Jaguar watching tours in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.

National Parks: Bryce Canyon

Name a famous natural landmark from Utah? While the Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City is a sight to behold, it is by no means the only one in that state. There’s a national park in Utah named Bryce Canyon that is certainly more breathtaking than the lake.

When you think of a canyon, you might picture something like the Grand Canyon. Bryce Canyon is absolutely different. The erosion that left its mark caused the formation of their hoodoos, which are tall spire rocks that reach upwards towards the sky.

There is plenty to do when visiting this natural wonder. Hiking and camping always seem to be the first choices. The National Park Service (NPS) offers full moon hikes. These hikes take place each month so that visitors who are interested can see the beauty the hoodoos and canyon when bathed in only the light of the moon. The NPS can cancel these tours so it’s recommended that you ask when you arrive at the Visitor Center. If you are like me and love sleep, go on a more conventional hike during the day. There are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes so choose one that fits your level correctly.

Camping can be done in either of their two campgrounds: North and Sunset. Both of these campground offer RV sites and tent sites. While many of the sites are given on a first-come, first-served basis, both the North and Sunset campgrounds have sites that would need to be reserved.

There are several Ranger Programs offered by the NPS at Bryce Canyon. For about an hour and a half, you can walk with a park ranger who will act as your guide around the Rim. This is not available during the winter season so plan to visit in any of the other three seasons.

If you are coming with children be aware that there is a program just for them! These are only held during the summer and last about an hour. Unlike many of their other activities and tours, this does require a reservation that you must make when you get to the Visitor Center. This is not like the kids programs on cruises in that children do have to be accompanied by adults.

Leave Bryce Canyon for a love of national parks and nature in general. Bryce Canyon can be famous for its hoodoos, but it will be memorable for your family because of the time spent together discovering the natural world’s beauty!

Five Tips For Successful Tent Rentals

When planning a large, expensive, outdoor affair, it is always a good idea to have some kind of contingency for inclement weather. Because these get-togethers are often held outside due to indoor space restrictions, tent rentals offer a convenient, affordable solution to the problem. That said, most folks have absolutely no idea what to look for when renting an enormous tent from a party store. Here are a few helpful hints that should make your next al fresco affair a smashing success.

Tip 1: Shop Around

Although prices for tent rentals are regional, there may be some variation at the local level. But, as is often the case, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Huge price discounts of 10 percent or more are often the result of inexperience and/or inferior products. For example, a new vendor may offer a steep discount over everybody else in town because he simply doesn’t know how to price himself. And while this mistake may work out in your favor in the short term, odds are the vendor will ask for more money when he discovers the error. A vendor may also be able to undercut the competition on price if he has low-quality rental equipment. It is for these reasons that we strongly suggest getting price quotes from several companies before you agree to anything. You can then throw out the high and low numbers and go with a reputable company that offers competitive prices.

Tip 2: Get A Written Quote

In addition to delivery, most renters offer set-up, break-down, and pick-up services for their tent rentals. Unfortunately, those services are rarely included in the original price quote. In order to ensure that you get everything you need at an affordable price, you should always ask for an all-inclusive written quote.

Tip 3: Understand The Cancellation Policy

No matter how long it takes to plan, there’s always a chance that your event could be cancelled. You might even decide you no longer need a tent. As a result, it is imperative that you discuss the cancellation policy with the renter. How much, exactly, will he charge you to cancel the rental or to reschedule it? If you negotiate a lower fee, make sure you get the new amount in writing.

Tip 4: Ask About The Quality

There’s a big difference, both in quality and looks, between tent rentals for weddings and upscale affairs, as well as those used for county fairs and school events. Even if you couldn’t tell the difference yourself, ask the renter if the tents they provide are wedding-quality models.

Tip 5: Ask About Other Rentals

In addition to portable shelters, most party stores also rent tables, chairs, dishes, centerpieces, and other items you will need. Getting them all from the same place will save you time and money on your event. You may even be able to negotiate a better deal on tent rentals if you bundle all the items together.

Use these five simple tips to save yourself a sizable sum on your next outdoor event.