Tom Chandler

Author Archives: Tom Chandler

"When your hands hit the floor, they get cut up. When mine hit the floor, they slide with ease"


Understanding Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings

Have you ever gone camping and been cold, or have you decided not to go camping because it was too cold? Well, if you understood sleeping bag temperature ratings, then you might not experience these issues. Sleeping bag temperature ratings can get fairly complicated, however. Luckily for you, in this article, we are going to look at sleeping bag temperature ratings and break them down. We are going to focus on what a sleeping bag temperature rating actually means, and help you understand them. This way if you go camping in cold weather you shouldn’t get cold again. Read on to learn all you need to know about what sleeping bag temperature ratings are and how to understand them.

Understanding Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings

Understanding Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings

What is Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings ?

So first, what is a sleeping bag temperature rating? Well, it is a rating that says a sleeping bag should keep you comfortable up to a set temperature. The first thing to remember though is that sleeping bag temperature ratings are generally given in ranges and each part of the range has different meanings. Most bags will have a bar that gives you the range. You have the T-comfort zone and the T-limit zone. Along with this you typically have the words comfort, transition, and risk along the bar with the different numbers. Before getting into what all these different things mean though, on the temperature rating, we are first going to look at how temperature ratings are determined.

Determining Temperature Rating

Determining Temperature Rating

Determining Temperature Rating

So, in the early days of sleeping bags, some companies put temperature ratings, but there was no set method of determining them. This means that you could not compare bags from one company to the next. This changed when the industry decided to have an independent lab do the testing. When an outside lab started doing the testing this brought about the EN or ISO ratings which you see on bags today. Today the testing is all standardized and is an exact science.

The way sleeping bags are tested for temperature today is that a dummy with a lot of sensors is put into the bag. The bag is then put into a room where the temperature can be controlled. They drop the temperature of the room slowly and pay attention to the mannequins sensor readouts. They pay attention to when certain areas reach certain temperatures and mark it down.

Then, after the experiment, they compile the data and assigned the bag a temperature rating on the scale. This is a simplified explanation, but it is a good enough one for you to understand temperature ratings of sleeping bags. Normally multiple of the same bag is tested at once to check for quality control of the bag and get an accurate average. However, one thing to remember is that labs can simulate real-world experiences, so the temperature rating that is assigned should just be used as a guide.


So, now we can start talking about the scale and the different zones and different numbers. First, we have the comfort rating which is always the larger number. This is the number that a cold sleeper can stay warm or comfortable in the bag. It is the number used on women’s bags. Then you have the lower limit rating. This is less than the comfort rating and it is the temperature that a warm sleeper can stay comfortable in the bag. It is the number used on men’s bags.

So, now that you know what the numbers mean, what do the ranges mean? Well, the comfort range is the temperature at or above where a “standard” women feel comfortable and are able to sleep in a normal relaxed position. This means they don’t have to bundle up in a ball. The transition range is the area of temperature where a “standard” man is bundled up in a ball and at thermal equilibrium. This means they aren’t shivering and with the bags help they aren’t losing heat, but they are having to hold all their own heat in. The transition range is the limit of the bag for safe sleeping. Below that you get the risk range. Another name for this range is the extreme range. In the extreme range, the sleeper is under extreme cold. They are shivering and at risk of hypothermia. A bag should only be used in this range in an emergency.

Temperature Range Aren’t Rules

One key thing to remember though is temperature ranges aren’t rules. They just range base on a lab test. Labs, however, can not factor in real-world things. For example, they don’t know how much everyone that is going to be using the bag weights. If you are heavier or have more meat on your bones, then you will put off more heat. Also, sleeping bag testers can’t test what you are going to be wearing. If you are wearing warm clothes, then you will stay warm in cooler temperatures faster then if you aren’t dressed warmly. Your tents insulation also plays a big role in how effective your sleeping bag is. Lastly, your sleeping bag fit is important. You want one that is snug, but not too restricting. This will help hold in most of your body heat.


Understanding sleeping bag ratings can be complicated. This is especially true if you are looking at older bags that don’t have ISO numbers or EN numbers. If the rating is not one of those, then it is pretty much useless because it wasn’t formed with the standard test. However, now you know how to understand ISO numbers and EN numbers. You also know what each range means. You know that the comfort rating is the lowest temperature a cold sleeper can stay comfortable and sleep in a normal position. You also, know that the lower limit number is the coldest it can be for a warm sleeper to sleep in a ball position and stay warm. Lastly, though you know that temperature ratings are just a guide and not rules. They don’t factor in everything about each individual such as is and what they are wearing. Now, that you know how to understand sleeping bag temperature ratings though you should be able to camp in cool weather and not get cold.

Freestanding vs Non Freestanding Tent. What’s the Difference?

When you go camping one of the most important things you will bring with you is your tent. That is because it is your tent that protects you from the elements and outside. You want to have a good tent with plenty of room on the inside to help keep you comfortable while you sleep. When it comes time to buy a tent there are two main types that you will encounter. Freestanding and nonfreestanding tents. In this article, we will explain what both kinds of tents are as well as the pros and cons of each type. Read on to learn everything you need to know about freestanding vs nonfreestanding tents.

Freestanding vs Non Freestanding Tent

Freestanding vs Non Freestanding Tent

What is Freestanding vs Non Freestanding Tent?

Before getting too deep into the freestanding vs. nonfreestanding tent discussion it is first important to make sure you know what is meant by the two terms. A freestanding tent is a tent that can stand on its own. In other words, it supports itself. This should make sense based on the name, but it is best to be clear to make sure you know what is meant. A nonfreestanding tent, on the other hand, will not support itself. It needs help in order to stand up. We will go into more detail a little farther down on what exactly is meant by needs help, but for now, all you need to know is that a nonfreestanding tent will not stand up or keep its form on its own.

Freestanding Tent

Freestanding Tent

Freestanding Tent

So, to get into more detail on what a freestanding tent is. For most that are looking at tents freestanding is going to be the type you see. They are the most common kind sold in stores. A freestanding tent is the one with the poles that snap together and you feed them into the tent. A freestanding tent does not have to be stacked down making it easier to move, however, it is a good idea to stack it because wind can carry it off. Freestanding tents actually take longer to put up compared to non-freestanding if you are experienced because freestanding tents have more parts.

Getting into the pros of freestanding tents now though, one of the biggest pros is that a freestanding tent is more versatile and can be put up anywhere. Since you don’t have to stack it you can set it up on hard surfaces. The setup is faster for inexperienced campers, but as we have mentioned that reduces with experience. Another positive about freestanding tents is they are easier to move. That comes back to the fact that you don’t have to stack it, so you can just pick it up and move it if you need too. Another big benefit to a freestanding tent is you don’t have to carry a bunch of extra gear with you for your tent when camping. A freestanding tent compacts nicely and fits into its bag for carrying. The fact that it compacts down also makes it easy to clean off. You can shake out debris before putting it up.

More pros to a freestanding tent are that there is more space on the inside usually, and the vestibule is bigger. This means you can fit more things inside your tent to keep it out of the weather. Also, the rainfly is removable, so if it isn’t going to rain, and it is hot you don’t have to have it on there and that can reduce heat inside the tent. These are the main pros to a freestanding tent, now we will move on to some of the downsides.

The biggest downside is that freestanding tents are heavy compared to non-freestanding ones. That is because you have all the extra poles that act as a skeleton for the tent. They are also more prone to bad weather conditions and getting damaged. Wind can do a number on them, especially if they aren’t stacked down. Also, they aren’t as waterproof as non- freestanding tents, especially if not set up well. The poles are also difficult to replace and getting replacement poles can be costly. Depending on how big of a freestanding tent you got and if it has multiple rooms, it can get really complicated to set up. You have to make sure to feed the polo thru exactly the right spot. Also, they are less warm, especially if it is bigger because the extra space takes heat away from you.

Non- freestanding Tent

Non- freestanding Tent

Non- freestanding Tent

So, moving on we can now look at what a non- freestanding tent is in more detail. We already know it is a tent that requires something else for support. The main support comes from trekking poles, ropes, and stacks. You use the poles to hold up the walls and tension to help keep the walls up. The tent has to be stacked down to give it support. Once you get the hang of it, it is fast to set up a non- freestanding tent. They also weightless because the trekking poles are lighter. You can also choose how many to bring depending on how you plan to set the tent up. non- freestanding tents are naturally waterproof because of how the walls of the tent are constructed. We will get to wall construction in a few moments. non- freestanding are also easier to repair and more durable. They keep you wamer as well, especially if small and outside of being more waterproof, they are also more windproof.

The downside to non- freestanding tents though is they have to be stacked. This means no set up on gravel, rocks, or other hard surfaces. Stacks may come out as well causing your tent to collapse, and the learning curve is harder for setting up non- freestanding tents. They have less space on the inside and can be hard to move because you have to take the whole tent down to move it. They can also be harder to clean and are less sturdy overall. These are the main differences between freestanding and non- freestanding tents.


The other big difference between the two is wall construction. Most freestanding tents are double wall meaning more ventilation, and cooler. However, they are less waterproof from the extra seams, have a permeable bottom meaning you need a footprint, and more complicated. non- freestanding tents, on the other hand, are normally single wall constructed. This means they are less complicated and have fewer seams making them more waterproof. The bottom is a bathtub bottom, so you don’t need a footprint and they are warmer. The cons to a single wall are there are less ventilation and more condensation. What works best for wall construction really depends on the temperatures outside and if you need to keep warm or not.

Camping with tent


So, now you know the pros and cons of freestanding and non- freestanding tents. More importantly, though you also know what the two are. You know what is meant when one says freestanding or non- freestanding. You know freestanding are the more common ones and will support themselves, while non- freestanding need something to support them. Now that you know the difference between freestanding vs non- freestanding tents you should be able to make an informed decision on what type of tent to get and bring with you the next time you go camping.

What Does Down Fill Mean?

When looking at jackets there is the style that you have to look at, but you also have to consider how warm the jacket or coat is going to keep you. Depending on the type of jacket or coat, one of the measurements for warmth is down fill power. This looks at the down content of the jacket and tries to measure how warm it will keep you.

So what does down fill Mean? In this article we will talk about what down fill is. We will also talk about what down fill means. Lastly, we will cover down fill power. This way after reading this article you will know everything you need to know about down fill and what it is. That way the next time you are picking out a coat you will be able to pick the one that is best suited to you and your needs.

What Does Down Fill Mean

What Does Down Fill Mean

What is Down

Before getting into what down fill power is, it is important to first understand what down is and why we use it. Down is a fluffy material that comes from a bird. The most common type of down used comes from ducks and geese. The down is the soft plumage or undercoat of the feathers near the belly. The more mature the bird that the down comes from the greater the loft and higher fill power. We will cover these two concepts farther down, so stick with reading this article to learn what is meant by loft and fill power.

What does Down do

Before getting into what loft and fill power is though, we are first going to look at why we use down. Down is used as a type of insulation when it comes to coats and other things. The purpose of insulation is to keep you warm or more specifically to hold heat in. You use insulation in your home to keep the hot air out in the summer and keep the warm air in during the winter. The same concept applies to down in coats and jackets. Standard thermodynamics states that heat will always move from a hotter region to a colder region to achieve equilibrium. Normally your body is the warm region and the outside air is the cold region. Down will trap your body heat and keep it in near your body.

How is it used

So, you may be wondering how down is used in a jacket. Well, during production it is formed into clusters. The clusters are formed together by crisscrossing the fibers of the down. It also develops air pockets when the clusters are formed. The pockets of air allow for the down to trap heat while also allowing the jacket to breath. Since it is so compact it down fill offers great warmth to weight ratio. It also resist damage form compression allowing you to squeeze a lot of down fill into a small space. These factors is why down is such a great insulator and why some consider it the best insulator known to man.

What is fill power

So, now that you know what down is we can move onto the key three factors that you need to know about down. They are what is down fill power, what is fill weight, and what is down to feather ratio? The first one of these that we are going to cover is what is down fill power? The fill power when it comes to jackets is a measure of the loft of the down. In simpler terms fill power describes the quality of the down. The top quality loft occurs when the down is able to expand all the way. The down fill power is a calculation that looks at how many cubic inches an ounce of down can cover at maximum loft. So that means that a down with a rating of 300 can cover 300 cubic inches per ounce. The test is done by putting the down in a cylinder and compressing it with a weight.

One important thing to remember is that the test is done differently in the United States, than it is done in Europe. This means that depending on where the coat was produced the rating will be different. The rating can range from 300-900. However, even though there is that wide range most down rates between 400 and 500. This is low quality however and the down comes from immature birds. If you want a higher quality jacket you should find one with a fill rating of at least 550. This way it will be warmer and more comfortable.

What is Fill Weight

The next idea we will look at is what is fill weight? The answer to this should be pretty simple. If fill power is volume, then fill weight is weight. In other words fill power is quality, while fill weight is quantity. The measurement is normally given in ounces, so if you find a jacket with a fill weight of 10, then there is 10 ounces of down in the jacket. The fill weight is important because it lets you know how soft the jacket will be as well as how well it will compress. These things are important because the more down a jacket has the harder it will be to stuff it into a backpack if you need too.

What is down to feather ratio

The last thing we are going to look at is what down to feather ratio is. If the name hasn’t clued you in, it is the amount of down in the product compared to feathers. The number is normally given as a fraction and can look something like 75/25. The first number represents the percentage of down, while the second represents the percentage of feathers. Normally you want to try to find a product with a higher first number. This is because it should be of better quality. That is because down is a much better insulator than feathers.


So, now that you know what the three key factors actually means, how can you determine how warm a jacket will be? Well, this can be hard because fill power and weight can vary each other if there is a difference from one jacket to the other. Normally though more down equals more warmth. This is not always the case though if the fill power is widely different. Also, the higher the fill power the warmer it will be. For example if the weight is the same a jacket that has a fill power of 500 will be warmer than one of 300. The key is to try to find a jacket with high fill power and as much down as you need for weight.


So, now you know everything you need to know about what down is. You also know what down fill power is, what down weight is, and what the down to feather ratio is. The next time you are shopping with something that has you should be able to make an informed decision on what is best for your needs. Just remember that the more down the better, especially if it is top quality down.

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness?

Do you like hiking or flying but get sick from it? Well, this is known as altitude sickness and it can have a variety of causes. The thing is, no matter what the cause, altitude sickness is not fun to deal with. It can take a good experience and make it poor. Well, luckily for you in this article we are going to talk about how to prevent altitude sickness. On top of knowing how to prevent it though after reading this article, you will also know the causes, and signs of it as well as what exactly it is. Read on to learn everything you need to know about altitude sickness and what you can do about it.

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness?

What is it?

Before getting into how to prevent altitude sickness, it is first important to know what exactly altitude sickness is. Well, altitude sickness is a broad term that can mean different things. The main definition though is the same no matter the cause. That is a lack of oxygen at high elevations. The reason for lack of oxygen can vary, but that is the key component with altitude sickness.


The symptoms of altitude sickness can vary widely from person to person. Also, the exact cause of the altitude sickness can impact the symptoms. The main symptoms though of altitude sickness are headache, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Depending on your elevation these symptoms can impact you with various strengths. Also, the duration can vary. For some, it can last only 12 hours while for others it may last up to four days. Depending on if you are staying at the high elevation really impacts on how long the altitude sickness last. If the elevation change is only for a short period such as a flight, then you might only have symptoms while flying, but if it is from hiking a mountain and the elevation change persist, then the symptoms may also persist.


So, what exactly are all the causes and different types of altitude sickness? Well, the first kind is called acute mountain sickness or AMS. AMS is the most common type and includes most of the symptoms people associate with altitude sickness or a hangover. Most commonly the symptoms are headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and occasional vomiting. Normally this kind of altitude last 24 hours up to 72 hours depending on how long it takes your body to acclimate to the new conditions.

The next kind is High Altitude Cerebral Edema or HACE. HACE is a progressed form of AMS. If your AMS last too long or is bad, then fluid can build up in the brain. This is what makes HACE different from AMS. Some of the symptoms match AMS with headaches, but other more severe symptoms that come with HACE are dizziness, blurry vision, and disorientation. One other problem is it is hard to keep water and food down. High Altitude Cerebral Edema can be life-threatening and the only real solution is decent since it is hard to keep liquids down and stay hydrated. Luckily, HACE is pretty rare, but it is important to take it seriously when it occurs.

The last type of altitude sickness is High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or HAPE. This kind of altitude sickness mainly occurs at high elevations above 8000 feet and for long periods. With HAPE fluid builds up in your lungs instead of your brain. Symptoms can vary, but mild symptoms include a dry cough and shortness of breath during or after mild exertion. More severe types of HAPE can include symptoms that involve shortness of breath at rest, confusion, and fever. There is not any treatment for HAPE except decent. This is important because if you don’t it is life-threatening. Your body needs oxygen, so if you show these symptoms you need to reduce your altitude.

How to Prevent Altitude Sickness

Hikers on the way to Everest Base Camp

Hikers on the way to Everest Base Camp

So, now that we covered the different kinds of altitude sickness and some of the causes we can get into the prevention of them. The key thing to remember though is while you can do these things sometimes altitude sickness isn’t always preventable. The best athletes can suffer from HAPE no matter the amount of training they did for the higher altitude. Most standard altitude sickness that everyday people will deal with is preventable, however.

The first thing you can do is take ibuprofen. Motrin or Advil also helps. You can take 400mg in the morning and then more every 6 hours. In a double-blind study it was showed to significantly reduce the impact of altitude sickness. This is important to remember if you are going to fly and suffer from altitude sickness.The next thing to do is to make sure to stay hydrated. This means drinking two to three liters of water a day to prepare for your trip. Dehydration can greatly impact your ability to handle higher elevations. Also, if you drink coffee or rely on caffeine to get thru the day make sure to have your share before your trip because caffeine withdraws symptoms imitate that of altitude sickness. Also, you can bring Excedrin with you to get a fast dose of caffeine if needed.

If you are sick before a trip, then the best thing is to try to reschedule and stay home because being sick is magnified at higher levels. Also, take the right medication because some really impact your ability to handle higher elevations. Another key thing is to make sure you have snacks so your blood sugar stays at the proper level.

During the Trip

If you are going to be at high elevations for awhile such as climbing a mountain, then there are some things you can do during the trip to help reduce altitude sickness. The first is climbing high, but sleep low. This means going higher than where you are camping so your body can get a taste of the thinner air before being in it. Also, acclimate yourself as you are on your trip. These means don’t go to high to fast. Get to 8000 feet and then camp a few nights. Then don’t go more than 1600 feet on each of the following days so you can acclimate correctly. Lastly, be sure to stay hydrated on your trip and stay warm. The thinner air is cooler and staying warm is a key part of not getting sick,


So, now you know that there are a variety of different kinds of altitude sickness and also a few different causes. If it is just from an airplane flight, then it won’t last long, but if it is from hiking up a mountain it could last for a few days. Luckily, now you know some key tips to prevent altitude sickness. You know to stay hydrated and acclimate your body. Also, you know some medicines you can take to help reduce altitude sickness. Next time that you are in a situation where altitude sickness might occur you should be able to prevent it with the tips from this article. If you can’t prevent it though, then you know how to deal with altitude sickness properly now.

What Pants To Wear Hiking?

Are you new to hiking and trying to figure out what to wear? Well, it is important to wear proper clothes for hiking. That is because the wrong clothes can take a fun hiking trip and make them miserable. You need to make sure the clothes fit, as well as match the trip you are going on.

All your clothes matter, especially shoes and pants. You can find more information on what shoes to wear hiking in other parts of our site, but in this article, we are going to focus on what pants to wear hiking. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the different kinds of pants that are available for hiking and the advantages and disadvantages of each kind.

What Pants To Wear Hiking?

What Pants To Wear Hiking?

Qualities to look for.

So, hiking can throw you into all kinds of different situations. That is why you need to have pants that can handle a variety of situations. You want pants that will be protective but also allow your legs to breath. You want pants that are flexible, but also durable. You want something that is lightweight, but also rugged. These qualities can be hard to find in normal everyday pants. That is why it is highly important to consider getting pants designed for hiking known as hiking pants.


You may be thinking, well jeans are durable, rugged, and comfortable when broke in and yes these things are all true, but for long periods of wearing and a lot of movement blue jeans aren’t the best. The reason is even when broke in blue jeans tend to not have a lot of giving. Also, blue jeans don’t have many pockets. Pockets can come in major handy when hiking. The real reason though why blue jeans aren’t good for hiking is they are heavy. When walking long periods every little bit of weight adds up. If you are wearing heavy jeans, then you will get tired quickly. Also, blue jeans don’t allow for breathing. This means you will get hot and sweaty faster. Due to these things, it is best to avoid blue jeans when hiking.


So, you want to stay cool while hiking, well then what about shorts? Shorts are something to consider because they don’t restrict movement as much, but they also don’t offer as much protection. Most shorts have a lot of pockets which is nice and most are lightweight. Some are more lightweight than others. The thing with shorts as hiking pants really depends on where you are going to be hiking.

If you are going to be hiking on clear trails or out in the open, then shorts can work just fine. However, if you are going to be hiking in dense woods or areas where your legs might brush up against something, then you might want to consider long pants. They actually make hiking pants that are convertible to shorts. These are your best options if you want shorts because they can be pants if you need them to be.

Athletic Pants

Okay, so you want to hike in long pants to protect your legs, but you also want something that is lightweight and cool, well what about athletic pants then? This is getting closer to what good hiking pants are because athletic pants are lighter material, but most don’t have the pockets that you would want from a good pair of pants to hike in. Also, most athletic pants can be real nosey when walking in them, especially the polyester ones. Not all are nosey though. Athletic pants do breath and stay dry, but they aren’t as durable as good hiking pants. They can rip easily because the woods are not what they are designed for. If you thought of athletic pants though, then you are on the right track of what to be looking for in hiking pants.

Hiking Pants

The best type of pant to wear when hiking is hiking pants. That is because they are designed for hiking and will give you everything you need. They have a lot of pockets and also offer your legs protection. However, they are generally made out of material to make them more lightweight and flexible than jeans. Most hiking pants are made out of a type of nylon, so they are actually even lighter-weight then cotton shorts. On top of this, the nylon that they are made from is quiet. This means that you won’t scare animals if you are trying to see them. Cotton and polyester can make noise when walking swiftly when it rubs together. With hiking pants, you can avoid this.

Another benefit to hiking pants is they will keep you cool while still offering leg protection. They breathe which prevents sweat from being trapped. The material is also strong enough to protect your legs from getting cut or scratched by branches. If it is really hot though, like has been mentioned, you can get hiking pants that convert to shorts. These are better than actual shorts though because they only uncover the bottom third of your leg. That still keeps a lot of you protected and they are lighter weight than normal shorts. On top of all these hiking pants are comfortable. They are flexible and allow for quick movement that is unobstructed.

The last benefit to hiking pants that we haven’t really touched on is they dry fast. Since the material is thin it will dry off fast if you get wet. This shouldn’t be a surprise since they don’t hold sweat. Also, if it is just a little bit of water it will run off of them. Due to all these benefits of hiking pants, they really are the best kind of pants to wear while hiking. If you are going to be hiking regularly then it is worth the investment. Hiking pants can be worn in any environment making them the best option for hikers. It doesn’t matter if it is hot or cold hiking pants are the best outer layer you can get for the woods or mountains for your legs.

Cargo Pants

If you don’t want to get real hiking pants though, then the next best alternative is a decent pair of cargo pants. They offer lots of pockets and are rugged. They will protect your legs and keep them safe in any environment. They are hotter than real hiking pants though because most cargo pants are cotton and heavy. They don’t breath as well as hiking pants would. Cargo pants are typically comfortable though, and most don’t restrict movement too much. They are looser than jeans would be. In a lot of situations, especially if it isn’t really hot, then cargo pants would work. If you are new to hiking and just want to see if you like it, then cargo pants will give you an experience that will allow for a good trip to see if you have fun or not.

Other things

A few last things that you should consider when buying hiking pants is if you can wear a belt with them if they have an elastic waist if they are waterproof, and how many pockets they have and the size. These things will vary on the person and you will want to find what works for you. The key is that quality matters and you get what you pay for most of the time when it comes to hiking pants.


So, now you know all the different types of pants that you might consider to wear when hiking and the pros and cons to them. You know that you should look for lightweight and breathable pants that will protect your legs. You know the best option are pants that are made for hiking, but if you don’t want to invest in hiking pants right away than cargo pants would work. Also, cargo shorts are a good third option depending on the type of hiking you are doing. Now you know the best pants to wear while hiking and what makes them the best pants.

What Is A Tent Footprint And Do You Need One?

Are you new to camping and trying to figure out everything you need? Well, one of the things that you might have seen that you need is a tent footprint. Some people have mix opinions though on if this is actually needed. Well, in this article we will look at what a tent footprint actually is. We will talk about what it does and the function it serves while camping. Then we will talk about if you really need one or not. Be sure to continue reading this article to learn everything you need to know about a tent footprint and have all your questions answered before you invest in one or not.

Do I need a tent footprint?

Do I need a tent footprint?

What is Tent Footprint?

So, before getting into if you need a tent footprint we will first talk about what it is. It is actually really simple. A tent footprint is a tarp like ground covering that goes on the ground under your tent. You can actually use a tarp as a tent footprint if you want to save some money and not buy a specific tent footprint. The good thing about actual tent footprints over just using a tarp is that they tend to fold away better which makes it easier to backpack and carry one on your camping trip.

Kelty Salida 2 Tent Footprint

Kelty Salida 2 Tent Footprint

What does it do

So, now that you know that a tent footprint is just a basic ground covering that goes under your tent you may be wondering what it does. Well, the key thing that a tent footprint does is it protects the bottom of your tent. If you are being a responsible camper you are setting your tent up on a hard and possible rough spot to not erode or damage the environment. This rough surface can cause the bottom of your tent to wear out faster. Yes, tents are designed to be on the ground, but rough surfaces over time can cause a lot of wear to your tent. Having a tent footprint is like having a phone case on your phone. It is an extra layer of protection to keep your item nice. A tent footprint is a lot easier to repair or replace if it gets ripped. If the bottom of your tent gets ripped, then it is a lot harder to repair and might mean having to buy a new tent.

Extra Warmth and Dryness

Another reason to have a tent footprint is that it provides extra warmth. That is because it is another layer between you and the ground. Every bit of installation can help, especially if you are camping in cool weather. If the ground is cold it will come right up into the floor of your tent and make the floor of your tent cool. By having an extra layer between your tent and the ground, it will help keep you warm. A tent footprint just provides more comfort in general. The extra padding can also help back out any rocks or roots in the ground that you didn’t get out of the way. You generally want to move all the rocks that you can so they don’t rip your tent, but if you have a tent footprint you don’t have to move the rocks as perfectly.

Also, by using a tent footprint it adds more waterproofing to your tent. Most tent bottoms are waterproof, but it never hurts to have extra protection. Also, if the ground does get wet, then it isn’t your tent that is right in the water. That means that you won’t have to worry about the water or mud damaging your tent. Also, it means that you can pack your tent up easily and not have as much cleaning off. If the mud got on your tent you would have to clean it off before packing it up. If mud is on the tent footprint you can rinse it off and not have to worry as much about it being perfect. Also, if you have a cheap tent footprint or homemade do it yourself one, then you can just toss it out if your camping trip is over and make or get a new one.

Easier Set Up

One benefit that you may not think about with having a tent footprint is that it can make setting up your tent easier. That is because you can get a tent footprint made specifically for your tent. If you are using just a tarp, then you won’t get the benefits as much from an easier setup. The reason that having a tent footprint makes set up easier is you know right where your tent is going to end up as you are putting the footprint down. That means that you can start stacking as you set the footprint out. This will speed up the process of securing the tent when it comes time to do that.

Some downsides

The reason why some people say you don’t need a tent footprint is that it is one more thing to pack. Also, it is one more thing you have to buy which can be a problem for some people. Also, they add extra weight when hiking which some people feel isn’t worth it. Some of these problems though you can get around by making your own tent footprint. We already mentioned that you can just use an extra tarp that you have as a tent footprint. You can also make one yourself. We aren’t going to get into the specifics of a DIY tent footprint here, but most start with Polycryo sheets. These are a plastic type sheet that you can cut into the size and shape that you need.

Do i need a tent footprint

So, now that you know what a tent footprint is and what it does the question comes to do you need a tent footprint? Well, the technical answer is no. You don’t have to have a tent footprint, but it is a good idea to have one. That is because using a tent footprint is like an insurance policy for your tent. It will keep your tent from wearing out as quickly and will keep your tent from getting major damage. Also, it will make your sleeping in the tent more comfortable. If cost or size is an issue you don’t have to buy a specific tent footprint, you can just make your own.


Now you know what a tent footprint is and our recommendation on if you need one or not. You know that a tent footprint is a ground covering that goes between the ground and the bottom of your tent. You can get ground coverings that are specifically tent footprints and even made for your tent or you can make one yourself if you want to save money or weight. Your tent footprint doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Any ground covering between your tent and the ground will give you the benefits of using a tent footprint.


10 Tips For Your Solo Camping Trip

Have you ever gone camping by yourself? Most people probably haven’t because a lot of people find camping with others to be more fun. However, since you are reading this article you might be considering camping on your own. Well, in this article we are going to touch on reasons why one might want to camp by themselves.

More importantly, though we are going to look at tips to remember when going on a solo camping trip. Solo camping can be just as fun and even more enjoyable than a trip with others to some people. The important thing is to stay safe though. With these tips, you will be able to stay safe on your solo camping trip and get the best experience from it.

10 Tips For Your Solo Camping Trip

10 Tips For Your Solo Camping Trip


For some, they still might be wondering why you would want to go camping on your own. They may ask, “Wouldn’t it be boring being out in the woods by yourself?” Well, for some solo camping may not be the thing for them. For others, however, it is the best way to camp. That is because on a solo camping trip you can go on your own pace. You don’t have to worry about doing things on other people’s schedules. You can do what you want, stay where you want, and take your time enjoying nature. Also, it is quite going by yourself and this can give you time to think and refocus.

Tip 1

The first key thing to do though before a solo camping trip is a plan. That is why the first and most important tip is to have a plan. This will keep you safe in case something goes wrong. It is best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. That way you are ready if something comes up. Also, tied in with planning is letting someone know your plan. That way if you don’t come back when you say you will or they don’t hear for you, they know where to look for you at. At the least, the person should know the day you are leaving when you are coming back, and where you plan to be at each day.

Tip 2

The second tip is to have a backup device. Your cell phone may not have service where you are going, so it is a good idea to have another means of contact with you. A satellite phone works the best because then you can get calls out in an emergency. Also, since your phone might die and then the GPS locator won’t work, it is a good idea to take along a personal locator beacon. That way if something does go wrong you can be found more easily. This is especially true if you end up off the trail and not where you told the people you would be.

Tip 3

Are you need to be confident about your camping skills. You need to know the basics of sitting up a tent, building a fire, understanding weather, how to navigate, how to purify water, how to deal with injuries, and how to deal with wildlife. If you can’t do these basic things, then you might want to go camping with others a few more times before going alone. You need to be confident about your skills when solo camping. That is because you are the only one out there and you are responsible for everything. It is better to have the skills and not need them, then to need the skills and not have them.

Tip 4

This next tip ties into the previous one and that is if it is your first solo camping trip, then you should go somewhere close. That way if you run into an issue you can get ahold of someone and they can help you. It is also to really plan out your first trip in case of an emergency because the less experienced you are the more likely their is something that you can’t handle might happen. As you get more practice solo camping though you can start going farther and also going longer.

Tip 5

We just touched on tip 5 some and that goes for more than a couple nights. Even if it is your first solo trip you should try to go for three or four nights. That is because you don’t get adjusted to sleeping in a new place until you have been their a few nights. To get the full experience of a solo camping trip you need to go for longer than one or two nights. After your first few trips, you can start to go for a week or two long trips and these will really give you the stress relief that solo camping can come with.

Tip 6

This tip is going to look back at the planning stage and how important it is. The 6th tip is to make sure to pack everything you need, but also pack light. You want to have all the basics and things that you might need for an emergency with you. However, you don’t want to over pack because you are responsible to carry everything with you. You want to pack your backpack efficiently so you can enjoy hiking and have an easy camp to break down and set up. If you don’t know what all you might need, then you can look up a list of things to take when solo camping. The key things are a tent, food, fire starter and matches, a rope, a tarp, first aid things, and cloths. This is just a simple basic list though and there might be other things that you want or need.

Tip 7

When you actually get out camping you want to pick your campsite carefully. You want one that won’t hold water, has good cover, and soft ground. If you can find a solo campsite that has a ranger on duty that is even better. That is because they can check on you and you can leave a schedule with them for emergencies. The key to solo camping is being safe and being able to relax.

Tip 8

Talking about relaxing you might have to learn how to relax. When solo camping you should block out the rest of the world. Try to avoid emails and “real life” things. You are out and nature and should enjoy it. Go out and see beautiful sites and landscapes. Enjoy the animals you are seeing and the sounds you hear. Also, enjoy the smells of being away.

Tip 9

However, don’t be afraid to sleep in and relax. Your solo campout is on your time. You shouldn’t feel like you have to constantly be doing something. You don’t have to spend the whole time hiking, or doing things. You can sleep in, read, focus on meditating, and other fun things. If you enjoy photography then take pictures of all the cool things. If there is a particular picture you want, then take the time to get that picture. The joy of solo camping is being on your own schedule and doing what makes you happy.

Tip 10

Lastly, stay positive. If something goes wrong during your solo camping trip, don’t let it get you down. Unexpected things are going to happen. What makes a good solo camper is how they deal with it. The more experience you get and have the better you will get at dealing with the unexpected. Don’t let one bad thing ruin your whole trip though. Deal with the problem, understand that it is a moment, and get back to enjoying the trip. Living your life this way can make it better, but it is especially true when solo camping.


So, keeping these 10 tips will help you have the best solo camping trip possible. The key is to remember to plan well. This means knowing where you are going, packing everything you need, and letting others know where you will be and when. Outside of planning though it is also very important to be confident with your camping skills and know the basics such as how to set up a tent and start a fire. For your first trip, it is wise to go somewhere closer and not as long. However, you still should go longer than a couple of nights so you can get the full experience of solo camping. The joy of solo camping is being on your own time and schedule and being able to relax. With these solo camping tips, you will be able to do just that and build up to longer and more adventures solo camping trips.

Trail Runners Vs Hiking Boots. Which One To Choose?

So, you may be getting into hiking and can’t decide what kind of shoe to wear. You may have seen that some recommend trail runners while others stand strongly behind their hiking boots. Well, just like with anything, they can be different options. In this article we will look at the question should you wear trail runners or hiking boots? We are going to go over the pros and cons of each to try to help you make an informed decision. After reading this article you should be able to pick which side you are on in the debate of trail runners versus hiking boots.

Trail Runners vs Hiking Boots

Trail Runners vs Hiking Boots

What is What

Before getting into the pros and cons of each type of shoe we will first give a description of each type of footwear. This way everyone reading this article will be on the same page of what is meant when we say trail runner or hiking boot. Because just like there are different opinions on what kind of footwear to wear, they can also be debates on what category each type of shoe can fall into.

When it comes to a trail runner shoe we are referring to a shoe that is a lot like a running shoe. A trail runner is a type of tennis shoe that is beefier and has good shock absorbing support. It is also typically breathable. The sole is a cushion and it has good grip for traction. They tend to be somewhat lightweight, but are heavier than a running shoe. Most trail runners are also more durable than running shoes for rigid environments and use. You can get some trail runners that are waterproof, but the thing with the waterproof ones is that they have less ventilation than other none waterproof ones. Most trail runners are cute below the ankle and fit firmly to the foot.

When it comes to hiking boots, they are a boot. This means that they come up over your ankle. Most go to about the middle of the shine area. They can be made of a variety of materials from all leather, to a leather and mesh combination. Most hiking boots have metal loops for the string, but they do still tie like trail runners. They can range in stiffness from being extra stiff to very flexible. Most hiking boots are waterproof, but not all. Some have a stiffer toe area to protect the toe but don’t get confused with steel toe because hiking boots are not steel toe. If you hiked in steel toe boots, it would hurt and is not recommended. Hiking boots have a thicker more rubber sole then trail runners and tend to not have as much padding in them on the sole. They are also heavier and typically are a few pounds for a pair.

What is Trail Runners and his cons

So, now we will get into the individual pros and cons of each type of footwear. First, we will again start with the trail runner.Pros of trail runners

The pros of the trail runners are that they are lightweight. This means that you won’t tire out as fast from picking up heavy feet. They are also more breathable. This means that your feet will not sweat as much which means you are less likely to get a blister. Also, being lighter wet and more breathable means you will be able to walk at a quicker pace. This is good if you need to cover a lot of ground in one day. Another pro to trail runners is if they get wet they dry out faster. Boots when they get wet take longer. The last pro to trail runners is there is no break in period, this means you can start hiking with them right away.

Cons to trail runners

The first con to trail runners though is they don’t last as long. Since the rubber is thinner which allows for immediate wearing, it also means they break down faster and have to be replaced. Also, trail runners don’t offer as much support. Since they don’t come up the ankle your ankles can get sore or weak over long walking. Also, trail runners don’t offer as much protection. Your legs and ankles can get scraped as well as sharp things can penetrate them easier. Lastly, they have less traction when compared to boots. This means rough terrain can be hard to climb.

Pros and Cons Of Hiking Boots

Pros to Boots

Pros and Cons Of Hiking Boots

Pros and Cons Of Hiking Boots

So, the pros of boots are basically the cons to trail runners. Boots offer a lot of protection and stability. The thick rubber keeps your feet safe from punctures and the higher tops keep your ankles and shins safe. Them also being mostly waterproof helps keep your feet dry from water. They can be used in snow and mud and it will just come right off. Also, boots offer more support meaning that you can carry a heavy load easier. They are also more durable and last longer. These are all the main advantages to boots, now we will look at the cons.

Cons to Boots

The negatives to boots are that they are heavy and can be overkill sometimes. The extra weight means you will most likely walk at a slower pace. Also, they have a break in period since the material is more durable. This can be a problem for some people. The pros to trail runners are the cons for hiking boots.

Which to choose

So, which one should you wear between trail runners and hiking boots? Well, what if we told you the answer is it depends? That might annoy you, but this is the honest answer. The type of shoe you choose to wear while hiking really should come down to you and the type of hiking you are doing. If you are thru-hiking and need to go fast and don’t have a large load, then trail runners are the way to go. They are light wet and the breathability will keep your feet from blistering so you can cover large distances fast.

On the other hand, if you are hiking slowly, carrying a large pack, and on rough terrain, then hiking boots are probably best. This is because they offer more ankle support for crying this, better grip for the rough terrain, and are more durable for the environment. When choosing your hiking footwear, it should really come down to the hiking you are doing and also you and your build. If you have small boney feet, then the support of the hiking boots might be important. If you have large durable feet however, they might not need as much protection.


So, the debate of trail runners versus hiking shoes was not able to be answered in this article. Both types of hiking footwear have their pros in cons. After reading this though, you now know the pros and cons of trail runners as well as pros and cons of hiking boots. You also know that choosing what to wear really comes down to you and the type of hiking you are doing. After reading this and knowing the differences between trail runners and hiking boots you should be able to make an informed decision, not the type you wear the next time you go hiking. Base on the type of hiking it is and your needs will help you determine if trail runners or hiking boots are the best for you.

What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

The fall can be a perfect time to go hiking because the temperatures are typically cooler than in the summer. However, it can also be an annoying time to go hiking because you can have such a range of temperatures from day to day.

This is kind of like how the spring can be, but the fall generally has fewer clouds and rain. Since you can have such a wide swing of temperatures throughout the day in the fall it can be hard to figure out what to wear while hiking.

Good thing you found this article though because we will cover tips to dress while hiking in the fall. We will also break down the different things you should wear while hiking in the fall.

What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

What To Wear Hiking In The Fall?

What to Wear Hiking in the Fall?


The first tip and most important thing to remember when dressing for hiking in the fall is to wear layers. This way you can stay warm if it is cool, but then cool down if it gets hot. For those that don’t know, dressing with layers means that you have essentially multiple outfits on, on top of each other. That way you can stay warm if it is cool, but then take off layers if you get hot to cool down. Dressing in layers is key for having a successful hiking trip in the fall. However, wearing layers isn’t the only tip you need to know. Read on to learn more of the top tips for how to dress while hiking in the fall.

What about material

So, outside of dressing in layers, it is also important to wear the right material of clothing. If you are wearing the wrong materials, then it doesn’t matter if you are layered or not. Having the wrong material can make any hiking trip miserable. That is because the wrong material of clothing can lead to rubbing or moisture being held where you don’t want it. The wrong things to wear while hiking in the fall are jeans or denim and cotton.

You may be thinking, but jeans are rugged and won’t get tore up. While this is true, it is a material that doesn’t let your skin breath. It is also stiff and makes moving hard. Cotton can do the same thing with allowing your body to breath. Yes, cotton is soft, but it holds moister. This means if you get wet it will keep you wet and if you sweat, then it will hold that on you. This will make you cool if it is windy and sticky and uncomfortable if it is hot.

What kinds of material should you wear then if you aren’t wearing cotton and jeans? Well, it is key to wear microfiber things, polyester things, and other moisture wicking materials. Merino wool is popular as well as silk or nylon. These things are good because it lets your body breath and keeps you from getting too hot or cold. It also provides sun protection and insulating. Also, water-resistant materials are important, especially for outer layers. This way if you do get in the water it won’t soak you and if you get wet, then it will be easy for you to dry off.

Lower Layer

So, now that we have the material covered of what you should wear, and know that you should dress in layers we can start looking at what each layer should look like. The lower layer should be athletic type garments. Think of things you would work out in and performance wear type things. You want your underwear, bra (sports bras are best), and those things, but you also want a tank top, camisole, or undershirt. You also might want to consider some long underwear. This is especially true if it is colder.

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

Head to Toe when hiking in fall

The next layer after the undergarments is the head to toe or base layer. For this layer, you want a similar type of material for things. You want this layer to be breathable, moisture-wicking, and insulating. You can wear a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt and rugged pants for this layer. Zip-off pants are really nice for this layer because if it gets warm, then you can have shorts, but you got the protection of pants for your legs if you need it.

Some things not to forget about this layer are hats, gloves, and socks. Socks are very important when hiking as you are on your feet a lot. You want a pair of socks that are durable, moisture wicking, taller than your boot, and comfortable. Also, it is a good idea to pack an extra pair as wet socks can really cause the hiking trip to be miserable. For gloves mittens are always warmer, then regular gloves.

Other Mid-layer options

Sometimes depending on the conditions you also might want to add a fleece jacket, fleece pants, or a puffer jacket or vest to your mid-layer. This can help create more warmth for you if needed, but deepening on the temperatures when you take your hiking trip will determine if you need these.


The last layer to look at when going on a hiking trip is the outer layer. This is where a coat falls in, and your shoes. Shoes and footwear is another very important item when hiking. This goes back because you are on your feet a lot when hiking. You want a pair of boots that are durable and going to support your feet. You want to make sure your shoes fit well and are broken in good before going on a hiking trip. Some things to look for with boots outside of fit and support is how much grip they have. You want a pair with good traction so you don’t fall. Also, a pair that is waterproof is really nice for if you have to cross streams.

For your coat, you want something that is warm and also waterproof or resistant. Rain jackets are a good idea to have if rain is in the forecast or a possibility. That is because getting wet can make you uncomfortable and not enjoy the hike. There are a lot of factors that go into determining what to wear during a hike in the fall, however.

Other factors

These basic clothing tips will help you figure out a good start to what to wear while hiking in the fall, but a lot also comes down to the weather when you are hiking. If it is cold, then you want warmer things, and if it is hot, then you want cooler things. You just have to look at the weather before you hike and match things up accordingly. Also, if you are hiking in a buggy area, then you should wear bug resistant things, and if it is sunny, then you should wear more sun protection things.


Dressing for hiking in the fall can be a challenge, but if you remember the key of dressing in layers, then you should have an enjoyable hike. Also, make sure to wear the right materials when hiking will make the trip better. If you stick to these basic tips that we outlined here, then you should be well on your way to having a great fall hiking trip. Don’t be afraid to just do it, and get out there and explore. Remember when dressing for hiking it is about the practicality of what you wear and not the fashion of what you wear. You want comfort and protection to make your hiking trip the best it can be.

What Is A Fish Finder And How Does It Work?

When fishing one of the biggest complaints people have is not catching any fish. If you are new to the sport, then you don’t want to go out for hours and get no bites. Well, if you use a fish finder, then this will no longer happen. For experienced fishers, some people just like to go out and relax and don’t really care about catching fish. For new people, however, and for some fishers, they want to catch fish. Using a fish finder makes catching fish easier. Read on to learn all you need to know about fish finders. Learn what they are and also how they work.

What Is A Fish Finder And How Does It Work

What Is A Fish Finder And How Does It Work

What is a Fish Finder?

So, the first thing we are going to cover is what a fish finder is. Well, as the name suggests, it is a tool that is used to help you find fish. The way the tool works is it is an echo sounder or sonar device. This means that it puts out invisible waves and if they hit something they bounce back to the device. The fish finder then compiles the information and lets you know where the fish is. They can also tell how deep the water is.

The wave making a part is only one part of the fish finder though. The other part of the fish finder is a screen. The screen is normally LCD today, but older models they are CRT. The screen on the fish finder is the main part you will be looking at. On the screen will be around the image with a line that is spinning around.

When a fish is detected a dot will pop up when the line gets to that spot. The line spinning is the fish finder updating. More advanced and newer fish finders however don’t display this way anymore. Read on to learn how the displays on them work.

When do you use a fish finder?

So, this brings us to the question of when you might use a fish finder. Well, you obviously use it when you are fishing, but what kind of fishing exactly?

Well, the main time a fish finder is used is when you are doing boat fishing. The fish finder is hooked onto the end or front of the boat and it hangs down into the water. You can use it however on any type of water.

It can be used for lake or pond fishing, river fishing, or large bodies of water such as ocean fishing. The key is to just make sure you have the right type of fish finder for the type of fishing. You want to make sure the one you have can be used and work in salt water if you are doing ocean fishing.

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How does it work?

So, we have briefly touched on how a fish finder works, but here in this section, we will get into the more scientific explanation. This is important, especially when trying to find a good quality fish finder and when looking at the different types. The scientific way that a fish finder works is it transmits an electrical impulse. The impulse, however, is not the thing that actually travels out into the water though. Instead, the impulse is changed into a sound wave using a transducer or hydrophone. The transducer or hydrophone is mounted on the hull of the boat and is what is under the water.

The sound wave travels out and if it hits something it bounces back. When it gets back to the device it calculates how long it took the wave to get back and the size of the wave that made it back to calculate the position, size, and shape of the fish. The better the fish finder you have the more detail is given because a stronger pulse is being sent out more often. The signal is applied and sent to the display for you to see where the fish is at.

Kinds of Fish Finders

So, now that you know what fish finders are and how they work we can go into the different kinds of fish finders. There are three main kinds of fish finders available. They are standalone fish finders, combination fishfinder/chart plotter, and networked system fish finders. Depending on how serious of fisher you are will probably determine which kind is best for you. In this article and section, we are only going to give a brief break down of each type.

A standalone fishfinder is like the name says just a regular simple fish finder. They normally have large screens, but just show where fish are. These are the kinds that have the spinning circle on the display to show you where the fish are at. They are the best bang for your buck but they are not the fanciest. They get the job done though and are great for people that just like basic fishing.

The next kind is a fish finder and chart plotter. These fish finders are fancier than standalone units. They have a GPS to help you navigate to where the fish are, but they also have the regular screen of a basic unit. Most basic fish finders these days can have a GPS attached to them which will turn them into a combo unit. Also, most char plotters can be turned into combo units if you just add a black box sounder module. You also might have to install a transducer with it to be able to do this.

The last kind of fish finder is a network attached fish finder. This kind will display a full-fledged map of the area you are fishing with where you are located as well as where the fish are located. They can be used with many types of systems including radar, raster, and vector GPS charts. Many also allow Bluetooth and wifi and SiriusXM. You can use multiple displays and technology is getting better every year. These are the kind used on big boats, for fishing tournaments, or by people really into fishing.


Their is a lot more advanced details that you can learn about fish finders such as display specs information and transducer information, but that is more detailed then this basic article needs to get. The key of these articles is to just explain to you what a fish finder is and how it works. It also covers the main basic types. After reading this though you should now have a better understanding of what a fish finder is, what it is used for, and other basic knowledge. That way you can figure out if you might want to start using one when you are fishing.