Packing in with a Mule or Two

mule handlingExperiencing the wilderness first hand is one of the most exciting parts of going to summer camp and going on a pack trip is the perfect way for kids to get an eye-opening view of the beauty of nature. Whether campers go on a day trip or plan to spend several nights, mule handling while camping, you can be certain that your kid will come back with a whole new perspective on life. That cannot be gained from a day in the city.


Appreciation of Nature

From taking in the view from a mountaintop to enjoying the roar of a waterfall, packing in with mules provides campers with a way to take the longer treks required to get to the best scenic views. Along the way, your child will see natural wildlife and fauna that they may never see outside of the wilderness, and there is just something to be said for witnessing an awe-inspiring sunrise or sunset over the horizon.


Mule Handling and Care

On a pack trip, kids develop responsibility as they learn to care for the animals. Before heading out, campers have the opportunity to assist with the actual packing of the mules and they assist camp staff with leading them on the trail. Throughout the pack trip, kids are taught mule handling, animal safety as well as how to watch out for potential dangers along the trail. As kids take turns helping to feed, water and keep their mule comfortable, they learn valuable lessons about caring for their animal companions.


Leadership Development

When kids head out on a pack trip, they always come back changed. This is because venturing out into the wilderness inspires confidence. Learning how to lead a mule team, working with fellow campers on the hike and making decisions along the route also helps kids to develop skills that turn them into leaders.

At camp, any activity that involves animals is sure to be a fun adventure and few things can top a pack trip into the wilderness. As your son or daughter prepares for their adventure, get ready to hear a whole lot of stories upon their return about how amazing it is to live in harmony with nature.

Pros and Cons of Arming Yourself When Camping

camping safetyWhen it comes to camping, one of the biggest debates among people who love the outdoors is camping safety. Whether or not it is best to be armed before entering the wilderness. Those who decide to arm themselves are usually concerned about wildlife such as bears and mountain lions which can be a valid issue in certain parts of the country. While there is no easy answer to this safety dilemma, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision before you plan your camping trip.

Pro: Camping Safety

People who prefer being armed while camping say that it helps them to sleep better at night knowing they could protect themselves if they were threatened. Although most types of wildlife prefer to leave humans alone, there is still a small risk for your camping safety if you venture too close to certain animals in the woods.

Con: The Danger Factor

While carrying guns and other weapons may make you feel safe, it is also important to recognize the risks. For example, misfiring a gun or missing a target may place the lives around you in jeopardy. Camping with children also poses challenges for being armed since many of the best safety practices, such as keeping guns locked up, may not be possible when you are spending the night in a tent. For this reason, many camps for kids choose to use other safety strategies instead of weapons while camping.

Pro: There Are Many Options

When people consider arming themselves for camping, they often think of guns. However, there are several other options that are just as portable and potentially less risky. For instance, bear spray has been used by some people to deter attacks. However, it is important to make sure to avoid spraying it into the wind where it may spray back into your face. Knives and even large sticks are other forms of weapons, but these do require you being at close range to use them effectively.

Con: Weapons Are Not Always Effective

Although being armed may make you feel safe, it is sometimes a false sense of security. Gunshots do not always affect large bears and it is possible to completely miss your target when you are under stress. Often, the best way to stay safe in the wilderness is to follow basic outdoor safety guidelines. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep a clean campsite, travel in a noisy group and know how to identify when wild animals may be in your area.

The decision to be armed in the wilderness is one that takes careful thought and consideration of your circumstances. In some places, carrying a firearm may even be illegal so research carefully if you do decide that’s what is best for your family. Regardless of your choice, make sure to utilize your wilderness survival skills since preventing wildlife problems is your first best defense when camping outdoors.

Are Bears Hiding in the Forest? What to Do?

bear encounterLiving with wildlife is part of the camping experience and bear encounter is one of the most revered. Bears are feared forest animals. Although no one can deny the beauty of these majestic critters, few people want to encounter one on a hike. Fortunately, most bears prefer to avoid contact with humans and will go out of their way to avoid meeting you on a trail. Yet, knowing how to prevent and handle a bear encounter will give you confidence when you venture into the woods. Check out the camping tips below: 

Bear Encounter Tips

Travel in Groups

Experienced campers know that hiking in groups is an important safety strategy that can also help to prevent bear encounter. By sticking close to others, you will appear larger to bears and they will be more likely to sense you and leave the area before you even know they are there. Having more than one person looking out for signs of bears will also give you an added advantage that can allow you to change your route if it becomes necessary.

Make Your Presence Known

Bears tend to be shy creatures that prefer not to fight. Yet, a bear that is surprised or protecting their young may become defensive. For this reason, it is important to make noise as you travel through the forest. Singing camp songs, clapping and generally just having a good time is all it takes to give bears the signal that you are approaching so they can make their escape.

Avoid Attracting Bears

Most human encounters with bears occur because the bear was attracted to a scent that indicated the possibility of food. Make sure to keep campsite clear of trash that could make it look and smell to a bear like there is an easy meal nearby. Store food and other scented items such as toothpaste in bear-proof, airtight containers or leave them behind before you hit the trail.

Defuse an Encounter

If you do sight a bear, it is important to keep your distance since they are likely just foraging for berries and other forest treats. If they see you, then make noise and slowly back away so that they do not view you as a threat. Remember that bears rarely attack. Staying calm will help you avoid a confrontation.

Spending time in the forest means that you may be sharing space with bears. Yet, the majority of bears are deterred by human scents and stay away from populated trails and campsites. Sticking to a defined trail and traveling with others who are experienced in living with wildlife is great advice to help ensure your safety when entering bear territory.

Don’t Leave These Important Camping Supplies at Home

camping suppliesMany experienced campers will tell you that you should never go on a camping trip without a few essential items. We have made a list of the most important camping supplies, which will make your trip safer and more comfortable. Take a note.

Camping Supplies You Should Bring: 

First Aid Kit

The importance of carrying a first aid kit cannot be stressed enough, because this can mean the difference between life and death. Do a little research of your own to find the different medication you may need or consult someone with experience in the camping area. If you are allergic to things like dust, pollen etc., make sure to pack anti-histamines and other medications.


Water is simply indispensable. Find information about the kind of arrangements on the camp site and carry water accordingly. Try and get the bottles that do not leave a taste of plastic in the water, even if the water is stored in them for a long while. Other than that, take around 2 liters of water supply per day for each member of the trek.


There is no dearth of options when it comes to tents. From the most basic to the most outrageous, a variety of them are available in the market. However, at a camp, remember that the real purpose of a tent is to protect and not to show off. Cotton is a big no-no. Just make sure that the tent material is water resistant and keeps the insides warm, especially if you are camping in a cold place.

The Bedding

Rest and sleep at a camp become even more important, since you will be involved in physical activity all day. A good mattress will provide a buffer from the rough ground and provide a thick layer of protection. You can go for an on-ground or off-ground bed, depending on the place you will be camping at. There is also no paucity of options when it comes to the size of these camping beds.


Stock up on food when going on a trip and if you want, something to cook it as well. It is preferable to carry ready to eat foods or other snacks, if you have a lot of things planned during the camp. However, cooking also forms an important part of many camping trips. Keep in mind that many national parks or other camping sites may not allow cutting or even picking wood for cooking. In that case, you have to bring your own gas. Bring in utensils and a table set up everything.


You are camping for fun, not to pick up diseases. Make sure to pack hand wash, sanitizers, baby wipes, toilet papers, and so on. There will be hardly any arrangements at camp sites, and a lack of hygiene can cause a lot of health problems that and ruin your trip.


Stock up torches, headlamps and other handy lights to keep the camping sight well-lit. This is an essential tool in the wilderness, where it is pitch dark after evening hours. Light also keeps animals away. Make sure that you carry some kind of lighters to create a fire, which you may need more than you think you do.

Top Picks for Emergency Tool Kits

emergency tool kitWhen choosing a backpack , you’ll want to take into consideration what kind of adventure you’ll be taking and the emergency tool kits to bring. Basically, backpacks fall into three types – day packs, internal frame packs and external frame packs.

Emergency Tool Kits

Day Packs

Day packs are exactly what they’d seem, a pack for day hikes, climbs or bike rides. Normally soft-backed or frameless, these packs are lightweight and build for loads between 10 and 15 pounds.

Internal Frame Backpacks

Constructed for bigger, heavier loads of 15 pounds and up, these packs feature aluminum, plastic or polymer rods located within the backpack and should hug the contours of the back, transferring most weight to the hip area. These should come with a good, supportive hip belt and are useful for activities from climbing and skiing to rugged hiking. Pack properly to keep weight well-balanced and stable.

External Frame Backpacks

Made for the heavy loads necessary for lengthy wilderness trips, these packs hang off an external frame, taking the weight further from your back, offering the higher center of gravity that will allow more of an upright posture. Externals like sleeping bag, food and your tent are strapped to the frame.

Whether you’re headed out for an afternoon’s hike a week’s tough trek through the mountains, one of the backpack essentials you’ll need is a multi-purpose emergency tool kit, providing a compact assortment of camping and hiking necessities from screwdrivers and flashlights to fish hooks. Following are a few of the most popular kits.

1. Lifeline 26-Piece Ultralight Survival Kit

This lightweight, comprehensive emergency tool kits have all the basics and weighs only 5.5 ounces. All rolled up in a sturdy, weatherproof bag you’ll find a dozen first aid and survival items including a surgical blade, emergency whistle, 10-foot survival cord, compass, fire starter, survival blanket, fishing hooks and 50 feet of 10-pound fishing line.

2. Gerber 31-001047 Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Pack with Multitool, Flashlight, and Fire Starter

Packing a punch at an amazing price, this top-of-the line workhorse has everything you’d need in a backwoods emergency. Sturdy multi-tool features 12 components, including wire cutters, wood saw and screw drivers, all of which lock for safety and dependability. With four hours of run time on just one AAA battery, high LED output tempo flashlight boasts rugged construction and an anodized aluminum body. Tuck it all in the six-inch long plastic sheath along with the fire starter rod and you’re ready for anything. There’s even a “Priorities of Survival Pocket Guide”.

3. Chafon New Mini Compact Multifunctional Emergency Shovel

With thirty vital emergency functions packed into one neat package, this top-selling survival kit includes a shovel head, flashlight, fire starter, wire cutter, hammers, ax, knife and screwdriver, all tucked into a waterproof hollow tube with high quality rings. Weighing just 3.3 pounds, the kit is 33.4 inches long.

4. Crazy Shopping Mini Camping Survival Tool Kit

Easy to carry and budget-priced, this mini tool kit is easy to tuck away in your backpack with its compact 3.7 x 2.6-inch measurements. A little over an inch deep, sturdy box contains a wire saw, compass, whistle, fire starter, pliers with flashlight and a multi-function card knife.

5. Ultimate Survival Technologies Micro Survival Kit

Small, lightweight and super portable, this little survival kit won’t take up much room in your efficiently packed backpack. Compact, highly effective micro-tools are tucked into a re-sealable waterproof bag and include a razor saw, fire starter, tinder cubes and button compass.