Everything you ever wanted to know about Garlic & it’s uses

Garlic has been used by mankind for over 7,000 years! Garlic tastes amazing, at least to us, but did you know just how powerful this herb is. It does more than just keep Vampires at bay. Just some of the Uses fr Garlic that have been claimed
  • Acne
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Blood thinning
  • Cold sore treatment
  • Cold prevention
  • Cough syrup
  • Diabetes
  • Weight Loss Aid
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Pesticide
  • Psoriasis relief
  • Gas prevention
  • Ear infections
  • Splinter removal
  • Facial Skin cleanser
  • Yeast infections
  • Parasite killer
  • Fish bait
  • Mole removal
  • Hair loss help
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Toothaches
garlic uses  

Basics of Hammock Camping

If you’re new to hammock camping, we thought this infographic would be useful to you hammock tutorial

Top Lightweight Methods for Treating Water When Backpacking

In this comprehensive article we will be discussing the top lightweight methods for water treatment while traveling solo or in a group through the back country. After reading this article you will be familiar with many of the popular methods of water treatment including pump filters, point-of-use filters, gravity filters, chemical treatments, ultraviolet light, and boiling. For an overview of conclusions made for each system, scroll down to the bottom of the article. When weight is a concern it is important to consider different treatment methods and understand the advantages and drawback of each system. The options listed may be up for debate, personal preference, and depend upon the specific requirements for particular trips.

Solo Travel

survival water filters
Gathering water from a stream on the southern end of the Pacific Crest Trail
The following are the top two lightweight options for water treatments while traveling solo in the back country.All treatment systems discussed have the opportunity to weigh less than 4oz dependent upon the amount of water needed to be treated during a given trip.

Ultra Violet Light

Ultra Violet Light is a micro-organism killer. It has a wave length so short that it is able to destroy the nucleic acids in organisms scrambling their DNA so that they can no longer perform vital cellular functions, like reproducing. This James Bond method of water treatment is now available for outdoor enthusiast.
water purification
A) SteriPen Freedom B) CamelBak “All Clear” Water Purifier C) Meridian Designs Aqua Star
One of the most popular UV Light products for water treatment is the SteriPen. SteriPen has several different product models weighing under 4ozs with differences between weight, battery, longevity, display, and size. Other popular and great options are offered by Camelback and Meridian Designs.


-It‘s very quick. One liter of water can be treated in only 45-60 seconds. -It’s very light weight. At under 4ozs its is considerably lighter than many other options -It’s doesn’t clog up. Pumps and other filtration systems run the risk of building up sediment.


-It’s an electronic. It needs to use batteries or be charged and it can malfunction. Carrying a back-up treatment is generally recommended. -It’s expensive. Most units cost within the hundred dollar range. -Limited effectiveness in stagnant water. When water is cloudy and full of debris dangerous micro-organisms may be able to find shelter from the UV light leaving their cellular functions intact. -May not filter debris or pollution from the water source.

Survival Fact:

Did you know that water can be treated by the sun? UV Light naturally passing through our atmosphere can kill the micro-organisms in your water. The drawback, it takes very long! It is said that a clear plastic water bottle with one liter of water can take over 6 hours to be treated in direct sunlight.

Chemical Treatments (Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide):

Many chemical treatments come in liquid and tablet form. They are general dropped in dirty water containers and take 20-30 minutes to treat one liter of water. There are two popular chemical treatments available, iodine and chlorine dioxide. The once popular iodine water treatments may have started to go out of favor with outdoor enthusiasts. Iodine, even with taste enhancing treatments, carries an unpleasant flavor that may detract from the connection of the natural source that water is pulled from. There are some differences between the two chemicals. Iodine may not treat water for viruses but chlorine will. Both will treat water of from giardia, a dangerous protozoan parasite, but iodine may not treat water from cryptosporidiosis which causes diarrhea.
survival water filters
A) Portable Aqua Chlorine Dioxide B) Portable Aqua Iodine


-It’s light weight. You can carry what you need.


-May change the taste of the water, detracting from the connection from the natural source. -Longer treatment times than UV light. -Doesn’t filter debris or pollution from the water source.

Other considerations

The following are the top lightweight water treatments for solo travel, but what about the other options? Why wasn’t boiling water discussed?  What about pump filters? Great questions, let us discuss these other options.
sawyer water filter
Boiling water using natural fuel in the back country could be the lightest means of water treatment. However, when the decision is made to carry fuel to treat water through boiling, it becomes out of favor from other light weight alternatives.
Boiling water: Boiling water is a great light weight option for treating water in the back country. Creating a fire off natural fuel can be one of the lightest options for treating water. However, when the decision is made to carry fuel only to boil water in order to treat it, boiling becomes out of favor. The amount of fuel required to boil a sizable amount of water out-weighs the other suggested options. Pump Filters: Are you trying to get water from a very small source? Is the water you need to treat stagnant? Pump filters may be the best option in these cases. Pump Filters weight ranges from 7oz and up and can help mitigate these problems in your solo travels.
LifeStraw Sawyer Mini
A) LifeStraw B) Sawyer Mini
Point-Of-Use Filters: Many point-of-use filters have started to get buzz in the market. Popular filters like the LifeStraw have been given a lot of praise in the news for being a solution to the water crisis in developing parts of the world. Point-of-use filters were once criticized for not being able to treat gaurdia because of its iodine treatment method.  Now, many point-of-use filters do not use iodine but rather micro-filtration systems, usually a set of micro-pores that the water must flow through, that can treat water against 99.9% of protozoan parasites. Point-of-Use Filters may not at once have been a widely adopted filtration system for lightweight backpackers for a few reasons. One being that the flow rate or “suck-ability”, how hard and long it takes to suck water through the system, was strongly lacking making it uncomfortable and slow to pull water through.  Additionally Pump-filters and point-of-use filters both run the risk of becoming clogged by sediment over time.  They many not treat water against viruses. However, now point-of-use filters have claims of improved flow rates and streamlined system designs. They are an interesting system to consider with weights from 2oz and up.

Group Travel

Groups of two or more hikers may have different water requirements and needs.
Groups of two or more hikers may have different water requirements and needs.
In a group there may be the additional need to fill up multiple bottles for more than one person. Although each individual could carry their own separate treatment, it may be more weight and time efficient to consider alternative systems.

Gravity Filtration:

When traveling with one or more people a gravity filtration device may be your best option. There are several popular gravity filtration systems, such as Platypus Gravity Works and several options that have been developed by Sawyer, all are less then 11oz. Gravity filtration devices work similar to pumps but instead of pushing a lever to pump the water, gravity does the work. Gravity filtration devices have one “Dirty bag” where dirty water is stored and one “clean bag” for the filtered water to flow into.

camping water storage platypus gravity sawyer gravity
A) Platypus GravityWorks B) Sawyer Gravity Filtration System


-Allows quick filtration at a large scale, perfect for those traveling with groups -No pumping, easy use system


-May be difficult to gather water from small water sources. -May not be the best option for stagnant water sources

Pump Filtration:

Pump filtration usually requires having to pump a lever to pull dirty water through an input hose to pass through a filter before releasing through a clean output hose providing drinkable water. Popular light weight pump filters may include the MSR Hyperflow (8oz) and the Katadyn Hiker Pro (11oz).
MSR Hyperflow and  Katadyn Hiker Pro
A) MSR Hyperflow and B) Katadyn Hiker Pro


-Great for treating water from stagnant sources. -Great for gathering water from small sources of water.


-One of the heaviest systems for water treatment. -Not as fast as gravity filters.


Choosing the right water treatment may come down to personal preference and depend upon the specific requirements for a particular trip. Each system has its advantages and drawbacks that should be considered. The following is an overview of the systems discussed, each system is rated on a 3 point scale (3 being highest) for its effectiveness for treating low quality water, its ability to treat stagnate water, its group ease, its general ease of use, and on basis of the system’s weight. Overview Of Lightweight Treatment Here are some general rules of thumb: If the water source you will be pulling from is stagnant a pump system may be the best method to treat water in both a solo and group setting. If the water is expected to be flowing while traveling solo the lightest weight options will generally be UV light or chemical treatment. If there are two or more traveling in a party and the water is expected to be flowing a gravity filter may be the best method to accommodate the group’s water needs.  

10 Weeds that Heal

So many of us look towards Roots, herbs and plants for natural organic healing, that often times Weeds are overlooked. Here are 10 Weeds That heal. These are some great ones & uses we had not seen or heard of before. Pass it along to your friends
  1. Shepherd’s Purse
  2. Cleavers
  3. Chickweed
  4. Dandelion
  5. Groundsel
  6. Mallows
  7. St. John’s Wort
  8. Self Heal
  9. USNEA
  10. Yarrow
Weeds that heal

Man washed up on boat on Marshall Islands says he’s been adrift 16 months

(pic from Castaway) – An emaciated man whose boat washed up on the shores of the Pacific’s Marshall Islands is reportedly telling a harrowing tale of being adrift for 16 months, surviving on fish, birds, and turtle blood. The man—who only speaks Spanish—says he drifted more than 8,000 miles in his 24-foot fiberglass boat, after leaving Mexico for El Salvador in September 2012, the AFP reports. He had been traveling with a companion who he says died at sea several months ago. Think you could have survived? Full Story here: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/01/31/man-washed-up-on-boat-on-marshall-islands-says-been-adrift-16-months/

How to Take Perfect Photos When Hiking Solo Using a Mobile Phone

It is possible to take great pictures when hiking solo with a mobile phone without the hassle of using timers. The method is called “Film and Grab”, where video is taken of a moment and then from any portion of the film a single frame can be used as a picture. NO TIMERS! You heard me! It’s really simple. Requirments (2):
  1. iPhone or Andriod Smartphone Device
  2. One of the following applications that can grab video frames
The following applications are just a few of the options that are available on the marketplace that can be used: Android: AndroVid androidAndroVid can be purchased off the Google “Play” application market. The free version will allow you to do all the operations required to select any image as a photo from a video, Pro will gives you additional features. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.androvid       Apple: Video 2 Photo Video to Photo IconJPEGVideo 2 Photo allows you to export one or more high quality photos from your videos on your apple device. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/video-2-photo-extract-still/id487353844?mt=8


How It’s Done

Step One: Set up your Camera One of the most common methods I use to set up my camera in the back country is to attach my phone to one of my trekking poles using a hair-tie or rubber band. However, you can set your phone up on any improvised set up. Get innovative to achieve the angle you want, sometimes I’ll lean my phone against a rock, stick, or up in the branches of a tree. Get creative but be careful with your device!
In this picture I rest my camera above me on the fire tower and place a small amount of weight on the phone to keep it from teetering off. Get creative on how you set up your camera but be careful with your device!
In this picture I rest my camera above me towards the top of the fire tower and place a small amount of weight on the phone to keep it from teetering off. Get creative on how you set up your camera but be careful with your device!

Step Two: Take the Video

Click record and show the world what you do! Remember that you can choose any frame from the video that you are filming, so if you are looking for the perfect picture don’t forget to give your video some variety. You may thank yourself later!Variety Tips: -Set the screen brightness on low to help conserve battery -Check the cameras resolution settings, the higher the resolution the more space the video will take up. Make sure you have enough space available for the video before you go live your moment.

Step Three: Use the Application

Follow your applications directions for grabbing a photo from the video. The following example is for Android devices using AndroVid. 1. Go to the device’s gallery and find the video taken. 2. Click the video and the phone will prompt about the different applications that you can choose to open it. Choose AndroVid. AndroVidJPEG                                 3.In AndroVid, on the top tool bar, click the camera image that says “Grab”. Frame GrabJPEG                                

4. Search the video for the desired frame for the picture. Click the camera icon on the top right to grab the image.

5. Save the image, directly upload it, or open up the new image in a different program for further processing.


-If battery conservation is important while traveling you can choose to select your photos later when the time is more appropriate.

-Low on storage space? After you retrieve the picture from the video you can delete the video to create more available space.

How to make Old Fashioned Ketchup – Recipe

Clipping of an old Fashioned Ketchup Recipe we thought you might like Old-Fashioned Ketchup 48 medium tomatoes (8 lbs.), peeled 2 ripe red peppers, chopped 2 sweet green peppers, chopped 4 onions, chopped 3 c. white vinegar 3 c. sugar 3 T. salt 1 1/2 tsp. cloves 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp. allspice 3 tsp. ground dry mustard 1/2 tsp. hot red peppers Boil tomatoes, peppers and onions until tender. Run through sieve or strainer. Add remaining ingredients. Boil until thick and pour into jars. ketchup recipe Here’s a slightly different version we found too, let us know if you try making either! ketchup-recipes    

Comparison of Lightweight Shelter Protection

ultra light weight camping In this discussion of lightweight shelters we will be looking at 5 basic shelter options for use in back country travel and discuss some of the advantages and drawbacks of each system in terms of protection they provide. The scope of the shelter systems we will inspect are: No Shelter, Water Resistant Breathable Bivy, Waterproof Breathable Bivy, Open Tarp, and the Mid Tarp. With each option we will be discussing the attributes of each shelter system in terms of its protection from dew, wind, rain, snow, and insects.

Brief Introduction to the Shelter Systems

The following are brief introductions to the shelter systems discussed: Water Resistant Breathable and Waterproof Breathable Bivy Sacks BivyA bivy sack is an extremely small and lightweight shelter that can be used as an alternative to a tarp or tent for a shelter. What makes it water resistant or waterproof is the fabric that it is constructed with. Waterproof bivy sacks, even with the advance of waterproof/breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex and E-Vent, are less breathable than water resistant bivy sacks due the different fabrics they are made of. In result, waterproof bivy sacks can commonly become uncomfortable and moist inside. Open Tarps Flat Tarp Open Tarps are simple shelters commonly rigged with hiking poles, tent pegs, and guy lines. They come in many designs, from simple rectangle pieces of nylon or plastic to more elaborate shaped cuts made with extremely lightweight and durable fabrics such as cuben fiber. They typically are floorless, though ground sheets are commonly used to keep occupants off bare ground. Mid Tarps Mid tarp Mid tarps are similar to open tarps in the way they are rigged, however their design creates a full enclosure with a small gap at the bottom for ventilation.


Unless you break camp early enough to escape, morning dew is going to fall upon your shelter system. The following chart provides a breakdown of protection that each shelter system provides against dew in a five point rating system. Dew No Shelter- Without any protection, dew may be strong enough to soak a sleeping bag which can cause it to lose its loft and warmth. If there is no time to dry it out the accumulative effects over a couple days may wreck havoc to a sleeping system. If dew is a concern a synthetic bag during good weather may be a better suited option when traveling without a shelter.

Water Resistant Breathable Bivy- Because the fabric is not fully waterproof heavy dew is still likely to soak through the permeable fabric, yet it provides more protection than having nothing.

WPB Bivy, Open Tarps, Mid Tarp- The remaining shelter systems offer full protection from dew.  

Inclement Conditions

During inclement conditions it is important to be prepared with adequate shelter. The three conditions we will be discussing are wind, rain, and snow. The following chart shows a breakdown of the protection that each shelter system provides against these conditions in a five point rating system. Wind,Rain,Snow No Shelter– Having no shelter provides little protection from inclement conditions. However, the study of wilderness survival skills can help mitigate risk and provide shelter as adequate as the skills, tools, time, and materials that are available to an individual or group. Water Resistant Breathable Bivy– Provides slightly more protection than no shelter. It is a popular option to combine a WRB Bivy with an open tarp to create a more adequate shelter system. Waterpoof Breathable Bivy– Although WRB Bivy provides better protection from wind and rain, during a snow storm they are subjected to snow loading. Snow loading is the accumulation of snow on a shelter which can affect the integrity of the shelter. With both WRB and WPB bivy sacks the snow accumulation can compresses the insulation in a sleeping bag which will result in a loss of warmth. Open Tarps- When analyzing the adequacy of open tarps in inclement conditions it is important to note that protection depends on how and where the tarp is pitched.  Understanding campsite selection techniques may increase the ability of an open tarp to provide protection in these conditions. Remember in most situations open tarps will usually have at least one or more open faces to the wind. Open tarps are also subject to snow loading because the structure lacks support. Snow loading can warp the tarps structure and possibly lead to seam failure.
This photo is an example of an open tarp. In inclement conditions one or more sides can be directly staked to the ground to provide more protection in a storm.
This photo is an example of an open tarp. In inclement conditions one or more sides can be directly staked to the ground to provide more protection in a storm.
Mid Tarps- Mid tarps provide the most protection in inclement conditions. This is attributed to its design which creates a full perimeter shelter that has no open sides which gives great protection from wind and rain. Mid tarps also handle snow well because it doesn’t accumulate and instead rolls off the tarps steep sides and accumulates around the perimeter.

Insect Protection

Those who have protection from bugs remain sane. The following chart shows a breakdown of the protection that each shelter system provides against insects in a five point rating system. Insect Protection No Shelter– Very little protection from bugs without a shelter. However, during cold seasons bugs may not be an issue. WRB Bivy and WPB Bivy– As long as the bivy is closed it provides excellent insect protection. Open Tarps- Open tarps by themselves offer very little insect protection. However, open tarps can have  no-see-um mesh sewn around the perimeter that can provide adequate protection from bugs. The mesh can also bring small gains in rain protection as droplets accumulate in the lining. Mid Tarps– Although the bottom of a Mid tarp remains open allowing crawlers open access, the mid tarp provides better protection from flying bugs because the tarp has no open sides. Additionally, flying bugs may seek warmth which gathers towards the top of the tarp, remaining out of the area of the occupant. Mid tarps can also be paired with no-see-um mesh which will increase its bug protection.


light weight backpacking Many of the shelters discussed can be less than one pound and smaller than a large water bottle. But what shelter provides the most protection? It may depend. Displayed in the chart below are the averages from each of the ratings that each shelter was given from above. OverviewNo Shelter– Having no shelter provides very little protection but has the lowest weight. Carrying no shelter is ideally suited for experienced travelers in good weather when the objective is to keep pack weight at the maximum minimum. WRB Bivy– Provides more protection in inclement conditions than not having a shelter and provides excellent protection against bugs. A popular option is to pair a WRB bivy with an open tarp to create more adequate protection from dew, wind, and rain. WPB Bivy– Provides greater protection against dew, wind, and rain than a WRB Bivy but may carry additional drawbacks. Waterproof breathable fabrics such as Gore-tex have come a long way but still lack adequate protection against condensation. You may be dry from the rain, but inside the bivy you may find that condensation and sweat can build up and dampen your bag internally and lead to uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Additionally, bivys provide little in respect to livability. Open Tarps– Open tarps create the most debate about its adequacy of protection. When dealing with open tarps outdoor experience plays a major role in how the shelter will serve. Open tarps allow flexibility in the ways it can be pitched to accommodate different scenarios. With the addition of mesh lining around the perimeter, the tarp can supply adequate bug protection. When combined with a WRB bivy its protection can be strengthened against wind, rain, and bugs. Mid Tarp– Receiving the best overall rating, mid tarps provide a wide variety of benefits when compared to other light weight shelter options. It has great performance against dew, wind, rain, and bugs. When encountering snow it is the only shelter analyzed that doesn’t succumb to snow loading due to a steep wall design. Mid tarps are a common shelter system used by a wide variety of the world’s most influential lightweight backpackers.  

How to Scramble Eggs Inside the Shell

Scrambled Eggs in the Shell? We thought this was a really cool and unique trick! While this may not be very practical it is a really neat trick & fun to do. Not exactly really “scrambled” but it’s still neat. A great way to enjoy an Egg snack on the go, that’s a bit different from the standard hard boiled egg. Share this if you think it’s neat!  

Have Snow? Make Snow Cream!

It’s winter, and it’s snowing all over the country. One of my nearest and dearest memories childhood memories was rushing outside and scooping up a bunch of fresh snow, to make Snow Cream! If you’ve never made it before, you’re in for a serious treat, and the kids will love it as well. It’s quick & easy to make. So enjoy the snow! snow cream recipe Snow Cream Recipe:
  • 1 gallon or big bowl full of CLEAN snow (leave it fluffy don’t pack it in)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cream or milk
Just mix the ingredients together, then add the snow and stir until it’s soft and of ice cream consitency For Chocolate Snow Cream substitute Regular Milk with Chocolate Milk