Exploring Unknown

Human beings have an innate desire to want to explore. From the beginning the need has existed and continues today. While some exploration is not possible for your casual person like going to outer space or deep sea diving there is always one that is doable for most people with a genuine interest. That is caving or spelunking as some call it.

The beauty of caving is that it does not require a significant amount of money or training. While having better equipment and practice certainly helps it does restrict you from being to get out and explore. Like most outdoor activities being in good shape certainly helps but even if you are not in the best shape don’t be discouraged you can still give caving a try and by doing so you will get great exercise. A typical cave trip will require you to walk on uneven ground and ask you to crawl and climb around obstacles. This will give you a full body workout so expect to be sore the first couple times around.

When it comes to equipment for caving its relatively basic. The most obvious is a reliable light source. Finding a local store carrying headlamps with an elastic strap shouldn’t be difficult. But I would recommend going to a place like Amazon to see reviews and choose one highly rated.

Another very important piece of equipment is a safely rated helmet. Caves are in the wild so consider them potentially dangerous. But taking the right precautions though will go along way from preventing an accident or injury. Some addition addition equipment needed depends on what kind of cave you will be exploring. If you know or are expecting a vertical cave you will need essentially climbing gear like rope harnesses, ascenders and carabiners.

Packing light is important so being efficient is a must. A small backpack with these items should suffice in most caving expeditions.

-Compass

-Water bottle

-Gloves

-Knee and elbow pads

-Snacks like granola, protein bars, jerky

-Matches

-Backup batteries

-First aid kit

-Change of clothes to be left in the car for the return

Safety is extremely important when it comes to caving and should be taken very seriously. The first rule of thumb is never cave alone. Generally you want to cave with at least 4 people if possible but not larger than 6. Even with a group you should let someone you know who is not joining you on the trip to know the when and where and when you expect to return.

Here are some helpful tips to make your expedition safe and fun. When entering a tight space don’t force it. But if you do always send the smallest person in first to see exactly how tight the spot is. If aren’t familiar with the territory try to remember to look back and remember details about the cave.

Also a lot of injuries are caused by faulty equipment. It is best to check everything you expect to use for wear and tear and make sure they are safe to use.

In the end caving is a strenuous activity and sometimes there are unexpected things that happen during an expedition so its best not to over exert yourself and try to stay calm and reserve energy. Being a responsible caver is important and a lot of that is common sense. Be respectful of your team and respect the cave in which you are traveling through. Overtime and with more experience under your belt you will begin to think more naturally like a caver and things will become easier and more enjoyable. But we always encourage safe and smart decisions, especially if you are the team leader in your group. A good leader is a safe and smart one and I know you can become one.

There is so much to enjoy with caving and with the proper measurements and planning it can be an adventure of a lifetime that you can do over and over again. I encourage you to give it a try, with a little research online you can really begin to see all the opportunities around you and trust me when say it is worth it.

Camping For Enjoyment.

When it comes to camping a lot of different thoughts pop into people’s mind about what it is. So for clarity let us describe camping as an outdoor activity spent overnight away from home in some form of shelter like a tent. The idea behind camping is to get away from the daily life of work to enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family. Generally, participants are seeking enjoyment that they hope being out with nature can provide.

Some of the benefits of camping are obvious such as a great opportunity for bonding with friends and family and just a fun time away from home. But there are more benefits like an increase in activity and exercise and being outdoors is a natural stress reliever. We all need a break from the daily work and routine in the home and camping is an excellent way to get out.

Another great aspect of camping is that it is welcoming to everyone of all ages. It can be a great family vacation or a fun-filled weekend with friends. With a little planning and being well packed it’s an experience to remember.

When it comes to planning to find a location that is fitting for your group is important but not difficult. With everything being online you can find a local park that can provide maps and locations to stay. They should also have a telephone number listed that you can call to ask specific questions.

One of the most important things to learn when camping is to pack properly. Sometimes trips are very far from home and require some hiking to get to the site. With that in mind bringing exactly what you need and not anything you don’t is crucial in your overall camping experience.

ne item you want to make sure you not only have but want to have the right one is a sleeping bag. The days of just grabbing an old sleeping bag and hoping its comfortable or not worn out are not very practical. With so many new brands and updates to sleeping bags that provide so much more it really can improve your overall camping experience. If you are interested in seeing reviews, tips, and everything you need to know about the best sleeping bags visit this very useful site.

Here is a checklist of things to bring.

Tent, poles, stakes
Extra tarp or canopy
Sleeping bag for each camper
Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
Pillows
Extra blankets
Chairs
Headlamps or flashlights (extra batteries)
Lantern
Lantern fuel or batteries
Cooler
Ice
Water bottles
Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
Matches or lighter
Firewood
Frying pan
Clothes for daytime
Sleepwear
Swimsuits
Rainwear
Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
Sunscreen
Insect repellant
First-aid kit
Prescription medications
Toothbrush, toiletries
Soap

If you have never been or have been lately on a camping trip it might be a good time give it a try or revisit. Take into consideration some great weather, friends and family and a beautiful natural view it doesn’t get much better. There are many benefits of camping which all bring enjoyment into your life, go out and take advantage.

The Toughest race of your life. 

There are many ways to challenge yourself physically and mentally in today’s modern world. In fact, some would consider getting to the gym and having a good work out to be both of those things. But for most people pushing yourself to the limit is not something everyday life often puts in front of you. So for those interested in testing your physical and mental limits there is something for you. It is called Tough Mudder and it lives up to its name in a full on test your limits experience. 

So what is Tough Mudder exactly? Well, simply put it is a race filled with obstacles that test your physical and mental strength in a relatively safe environment. The idea is to step out of comfort zone and see how much you can accomplish on a course designed to push your limits. Whether that be running through the mud and jumping over haystacks or swinging on rings and climbing 20 foot walls it is an experience you won’t forget. While this might sound  intimidating to most there are difference courses designed for a variety of skill levels. From a novice who just enjoys leisure activities to the most dedicated physical fitness person there is something for you. 

In any activity where you are pushing yourself hard it is always a wise precaution to have someone spot or be with at all times. This is the case with Tough Mudder as it’s encouraged to bring a team with you such as friends, family or workout partners. But even if you are lone wolf and prefer to do it on your own it is comforting to know there are staff members and medical personnel on site just in case. But to maximize your experience it is highly encouraged to bring a team with you. Many of the activities are great for team building and chemistry. Also, to have someone pushing you and rooting for you to succeed is more helpful than you might imagine especially in those moments when you want to give up. 

If you want to know more or you have been looking for an experience like this go visit the Tough Mudders website for full details. Everything you need to know from what to expect, to types of obstacles and even what to wear it’s all there for you. Here is the link below and as always train properly, prepare mentally and seek your medical professional if you have any health issues.

Strengthening Yourself Through Climbing

Rock climbing is a type of exercise and a sport used to challenge individuals physically and mentally. There are different ways of getting into this activity. One of them would be the artificial rock wall, where you would find in indoor facilities. This would probably be the best place to get started. They include various routes for climbing a wall, so beginners have the option of choosing a route that is a little easier and more manageable. Once they get the hang of it and build more strength and endurance, they can move on to more difficult routes. The other form of the sport is actual rock climbing, where difficulty is found in the form of the distance from the bottom of the rock formation to the top and the different textures of the rock. Some places may have a smoother surface than others creating the challenge of finding a footing to hold onto. In both forms of rock climbing, usually, the main focus of action is on the ascension. Participants will climb up their obstacle, but not back down it. Wherever or however you start always be mindful of safety. Although there is a form of rock climbing without a rope involved called free climbing, but under normal conditions, there is a rope to keep you from falling and creating an injury. So, please leave that to the professionals who are well trained in those circumstances.

With rock climbing comes some of the basic lingo and terminology one would need to know to rule the rock. Beta is a term for all of the planned routes to go up a mountain. You first visualize the course to see how to get from point A to point B in the quickest way possible. A pitch is basically the length of the rope you’re climbing with. Depending on how high the side of the mountain is, there will probably be multiple pitches needed to successfully complete the climb. The first individual to make the climb has the responsibility of setting up an anchor for the second person to climb up. Once the second person meets the first climber at the anchor, they will repeat this process until they reach the top of the rock formation. A choss is essentially a “bad” rock. It can’t support too much weight and it tends to crumble when it does bear weight. So, climbers have to be aware of such rocks for safety purposes. Crimp is a word for a very narrow ledge. One where you would have to bear most of your weight onto the tips of your fingers to be able to climb. And finally, there is the term crash pad, which is very much how it sounds. It’s a pad you put on the ground beneath your climbing route in case of a fall to protect your body from the hard ground.

Depending on your pace and the height of the climb, it could take you hours. A very popular location to climb is the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. It takes an experienced climber almost 4 hours to climb this 3,000-foot wall, so it’ll probably take the average person a lot longer. In cases like these, there are cliff tents available for rest and sleep that can fit two people. I don’t think many people can say that they have slept on the side of a mountain! When you decide to embark on this activity, put the work in and make sure you learn properly, so you don’t put yourself and others in danger.

Rooftop Tents are pretty cool

If you were never a fan of just normal camping, gaining popularity in the recent years in the United States is rooftop camping. I’m not talking about how city people camp by setting up a tent on their roof, although I can see how you would think that just by hearing it. I’m actually talking about a folded-up tent that is strapped to the roof rack of your car. Once you park into your spot on the camping site, you can open it up for an easy setup. It is fairly common in places like Australia and Africa in the Outback and the wilderness. For more information on the growth of rooftop camping in the U.S., check out this article.

It definitely has its upsides to it versus regular camping where you have to set up tents on the ground. Speaking of setup, the setup for regular tents may be difficult and time consuming. Whereas, the setup for the rooftop tent is very simple and quick to do. Regular tents have many and various parts, which forces you to figure out what goes where and what attaches to something else. It can be confusing and stressful, especially if you’re setting it up for the first time. Rooftop tents, on the other hand, pops open with ease. All you have to do is pull down on the ladder and then pull out extending the ladder until it hits the ground. Your tent is basically set after just those few steps. Optionally, you can add a few more steps for opening windows to the tent, but that’s about it. You can also add an annex that attaches to the base of your tent for more space on the ground if you have the need to. It has enough space for another person to sleep comfortably in between the ladder and the car. And just as simple as it was to set up the rooftop tent, it’s just as easy breaking down the tent making cleanup a piece of cake. Another positive feature is that the tent comes with a foam mattress, so you will only need to bring a pillow and a sleeping bag. It’ll actually help save you some money not having to purchase your own air mattress or roller mats. This type of camping would be beneficial for those that like to camp and enjoy the scenery but are afraid of the bugs and insects that reside in the space that you are intruding. All of the windows to the tent are made up of netting, so that mosquitos and gnats aren’t able to get through to bother you. Although for the sake of convenience, the windows have zippers to them in case you need someone to pass you an item from below.

 

The only variable that may throw you off the rooftop camping trail is the cost. Some tents can cost over $1,000. So, if you are curious about it and are willing to cough up the money to experience what this type of camping is all about, make sure you or your family will enjoy it and go often!