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Five Ways to Celebrate Independence All Year Long

July 14th, 2017 No comments

On the heels of one of the great American holidays, the fourth of July, we are still riding the coattails of celebration and trying to squeeze as much ‘merica out of this month as we can. The signing of the Deceleration of Independence proceeds the many events throughout history that have occurred both on our soil and internationally that have taken place to maintain our country’s freedom.  So, it’s only right that we should celebrate with a whole day filled with family cookouts, amazing food and fireworks. But, we don’t think it should stop there. In an effort to maintain patriotism through July and the rest of the year, here are five ways that you and your family can celebrate our country’s independence all year long.

 

1. Send a Care Package to Troops

Although we have the opportunity to eat great food and spend time with our loved ones all year long, many of our service members don’t get to enjoy the same luxury. You can share a little bit of your family with a service member who might be missing theirs by putting together a care package to send overseas. Bake some homemade goodies, send some nonperishable foods that remind them of home, you can even include those cute flag crafts you and the kids worked so hard on.

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2. Go to a Parade

Pack the popsicles and the SPF and head downtown and attend local parades in your area. Celebrate our nation’s freedom with your fellow community members and support the veterans who participate. Wave to the firefighters, dance to the marching band and make a stop at a shop and support a local business owner’s American dream. A fun and free way to celebrate all year long.

3. Take a trip to Washington

We all know of our nations’s rich history- a lot of which can be witnessed and relived in our country’s capitol- Washington, D.C. You can catch a baseball game, visit a museum, or one of D.C.’s many monuments. There are plenty of activities for you and the whole family in D.C., and you might even learn something in the process!

 

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III delivers his remarks during a wreath laying ceremony honoring Air Force Vietnam Prisoners of War and Missing in Action at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., March 2, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

4. Support Local Veterans

Supporting those who serve is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for all they do to maintain our country’s freedom. However, we don’t want to leave out those who have previously served our country and returned home as veterans. Finding ways to support veterans throughout the year is a great reminder that freedom is free!

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5. Family Flag Activities

Over years of school, there are many things that your children have learned and will learn about U.S. history. One thing they might not learn about is proper flag etiquette. Guidelines on how the flag should be displayed, how it should be properly folded and stored, all of the ways you can treat the country’s flag with respect. This could also be great opportunity to share the story of the flag’s changing faces during the Revolutionary War, or even a fun craft activity for the kids. They could color pictures or make their own paper flags for the picnic table.

 

The 4th is a favorite holiday for many all over the country, it brings us all together for a common cause and we want to keep that feeling going throughout the summer and all year long.

 

 

5 Tips for Catch and Release

July 13th, 2017 No comments

Now that deer hunting season is officially closed for the summer, we’ve officially moved on to our favorite summer fishing holes. Even though we’re racking up as many Big Mouth Bass as possible, there will always be a few fishing holes where we’ll need to catch and release. Just in case you’re gotten too used to bringing them home, here’s a refresher on catch and release.

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1. Bring the Right Tools

When you head out on a lake or a river where catch and release is mandatory, you have to make sure you’ve got the right tools.   In addition to your regular gear and tackle box, at the very least you’ll need a set of needle nose pliers and a knife or some scissors.  But, while we’re on the subject it’s equally important to make sure you have extra line, additional hooks and various lures and bobbers (depending on which type of fishing you’re doing.)

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2. Remove the Hook

After you land your catch and take your picture for proof, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the hook. Especially when it’s one of your good lures, you’re going to need your pliers to to get that hook out. If you can’t get the hook out easily, the best thing to do is leave the hook in place and cut the live with your knife so you don’t rip the fishes’ gills. A good reminder is to use a single hook rather than multi-point hooks when you know you’ll be catch and release fishing.

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3. Hold the Fish in Water

Once you get you’ve removed the hook, you’ll need to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. But, before you can fully release the fish back into the water you’ll need to relief the shock.One additional note, when holding your fish, don’t just hold it by the bottom lip. Be sure to use your other hand to support the fish under it’s belly and behind its pectoral fins.

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4. Fish CPR

If you took a little longer trying to rescue your favorite lure, your fish may need a slower reintroduction into the water. Once your fish is in the water move it around in a figure eight pattern to move water across the gills and get your fish breathing properly again.

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5. Release the Fish into the Water 

Now that you’ve properly retrieved your lure and reintegrated your fish into the water, you can finally let it go, and hope you don’t catch it again a few minutes later.
Now that you’ve remembered how to actually let a fish go somewhere other that your cooler, you’re ready to hit any fishing hole and fish the summer away.
Where are some of your favorite catch a release spots?

Seven Campfire Setups for Summer

June 23rd, 2017 No comments
Most Campers fall into one of three categories:
1) If you’re an experienced backpacker or camper, you will know that fires come in all shapes and size, but sometimes it can be hard to decide which type of fire you’ll need for a specific situation.
2) If you are a semi-frequent flier in the woods, then you probably have a certain fire that you are really good at building,and it has become your default.
3) If you are the last type of camper, where you go out when dragged bringing your glamping set up with you – you haven’t ever made your own campfire.
Whether you’re looking to hone your decisive skills, add to your camping repetition, or learn how to light your first, we are here for you!
Teepee fire

1. Teepee Fire

This is great fire to start with when you’re ready to climb the ladder of  campfire complexity. The Teepee fire is fast burning,  and puts out a lot of heat and light, fast burning. These teepee fires are made for summer nights of sitting under the stars.

 

Swedish Torch fire

 

2. Swedish Torch

More common in the winter months, the Swedish torch is a popular choice for conserving resources. It uses little fuel, but it only produces a little heat and a little light. This doesn’t pose much of a problem in the summer heat, but this is certainly  a viable option for a long-standing flame. The Swedish Torch is also a good idea if you have a cast iron pan or kettle, because the top of the torch serves as a rack.

3. Criss-Cross Fire

While we’re talking good for cooking, we have to mention the criss-cross fire. This fire lasts longer than the teepee fire, and puts out a lot of steady heat. This is what makes the criss-cross such a reliable source for cooking.

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4. Keyhole firepit

The Keyhole firepit combines the ideas of the teepee and criss-cross fires for optimal cooking. The grill grate is placed over charcoal or wood coals at the bottom of the “keyhole” to add a delicious smoky campfirey flavor.

5. Gypsy fire

A gypsy fire is what you think of when you think of cowboys and and railroad drifters in movies. A gypsy fire is when your pot that hangs from over a simple fire. This particular fire is great for boiling water for purification, and putting together soups and stews.
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6. Trench Fire

You might think that a fire on a windy night is challenging, however, trench fires are easy to build, and are self-perpetuating. They use varying depths of ground to manipulate the wind for your benefit. When building this fire, you should face the shallow end of the hole you’ve dug towards the wind- this will fuel it to burn very hot as the wind is going into the blow into the fire.

7. Finnish Gap fire

This fire is made for all night warmth for those unexpectedly chilly nights after those long, hot summer days. If you get caught without enough gear on a chilly enough night, and a finnish gap fire will be your best friend.
All of these fires are excellent in their own way, and can all be used no matter what your level your campfire-expertise might be. While all great options, you’ll need to ensure dry building materials. Just in case of rain, or damp conditions, it would be wise to pack fire-starters.
Let us know your favorite fire combinations for the summer months!

Waterproof Snacks for your Little Kayaker

June 13th, 2017 No comments

The unofficial start to the summer has come and we’re spending every moment we can in the water. We’re even finding ways to stay out even longer. When the kiddos come along this could be tough. We love them and we are more than ready to bring them up to be the next great whitewater champions, but until then we have to keep them fed long enough to enjoy their “training”.

Feeding kids out on the water is hardly ever convenient, but always necessary. It’s also hard to pack eco-friendly snacks just in case “the water is hungry too”. So we’ve come up with a few ways, to keep your Olympians in training fueled up and your snacks safe from taking on H2O.

Celery and peanut butter

(Image Credit: DIY Projects)

1. Celery in a peanut butter jar

The perfect healthy snack to cool you down during hot days on the water and totally safe from swimming is celery in a peanut butter jar. This kid-friendly take-along comes together in minutes and is totally kid friendly.  

2. Nalgene full of trail mix

Everyone loves trail mix! Even those people who eat the whole thing and don’t just pick out the good parts (e.g. the chocolate and the peanuts). Keeping them in your Nalgene not only keeps them dry, but gives you a reusable bottle in case you need it later on down the trail for water or other cool stuff you might find!

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(Image credit:Dine and Dish)

3. Tackle box of Snacks

We’re sure this has never happened to you, but sometimes when kids get hungry they decide they only want one thing – the one thing you don’t have. And they won’t eat anything else. Since this doesn’t happen to you, we can tell you what we decided to do was up our chances of having that one things by putting together a tackle box full of snacks. Tried and true, the tackle boxes are great on the water, and allow for plenty of snacking options.

grape kabobs

(Image Credit: Play Eat Grow)

4. Grape Kabobs

Grapes are a great summer snack but we’re less excited about touching paddles, lake water and potential caught fish and then sticking our hands into a big bag of grapes. Putting them on kabob skewers keeps the grapes clean and allows kiddos to hold it themselves. Want to keep them cool the whole trip? Freeze them beforehand bring a container full for the whole family. They’ll gradually defrost as you go.

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( Image Credit: Soup, Spice, Everything Nice)

5. Mason Jar Snack Pack

We admit, this one comes with some prep, but the genius outweighs prep in our minds. These mason jar snack packs can be made in a variety of ways so you can customize you snack in any way you and the kiddos like.

 

We love it when the kiddos come out on the water, and we want to keep them happy and loving the water as much as we do all summer long and beyond! Snacks are just one of the many ways to do that.

Drybag on the river

Of course, you can always take your snacks along in your Watershed Drybag and keep all the foods of all shapes and sizes drying, all trip long! Happy snacking!

 

Do you have any kid-friendly snacks you love to take out on the water?  

 

Water Safety Tips for your Adventure Pup

June 2nd, 2017 No comments

If you have a dog, you know they are not only man’s best friend but also some of the best adventure mates. They are always down for some time outdoors, and are more than ready to jump at the opportunity to make their fur parents proud. But, if you have a new pup, or are thinking about bringing your dog out on the water for the first time, there are a few things you should consider to help makes your pal’s first time on the water a great one.

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  1. All the right Gear

Many people believe that dogs are natural swimmers and therefore shouldn’t need a life vest. However, if you are going on a longer trip or will be in deep water with your boat, your pet should definitely be in a puppy life jacket that fits properly. You wouldn’t want to take a chance with your bestest pal getting caught in rough water or knocked out of your boat! Not sure where to start with finding the right size or fit for your dog’s breed? You can find all kinds of tips before your next water outing here. Painfully cute dog visor optional, but totally recommended.

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  1. Desensitize your dog to your boat

This may seem like an extra step, but taking the time to get your dog comfortable with your boat, kayak, or paddle board while you’re still on land will help your pup feel more at ease when they are in the water. Spend time sitting in the boat with your dog before you push off, hold your paddle, cast your fishing rod, and show fido that none of your boating equipment is a threat to you or them. Plus, you will find out if your dog is likely to pursue your line while you’re still on land so they don’t plop into your favorite fishing spot chasing after the first cast.

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  1. Teach your new dog (boat) tricks

Of course your pupper is the smartest, and knows all of the tricks already, but “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay” take on a whole new meaning when you’re in a moving vessel on water. Spend a few extra minutes on dry land, or make a special trip and stay docked to work on a few special boat commands with your dog. Especially when and where to “go” when nature calls. Dogs are less nervous when they are given a task to focus on, so giving them a few commands to stick to while you’re out on your adventure will keep them smiling the whole trip.

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  1. Keep them cool

As fabulous as their coats look all year long, they do cause our furry friends to absorb the sun and get hot much faster than we do. If it’s possible, try to make some shade for your dog to rest in on your aqua adventure. Along with their bodies, their noses and the pads of their feet get hot very quickly especially in the glorious summer sun. Apply a bit of sunscreen to their muzzles, ears and noses (the areas most prone to sunburn) to keep them from burning. Also, be mindful of that hot tin bottom on your pontoon and give doggo a cool place to stand/ lay down.

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  1. Plenty of toys

On top of giving them plenty of command to keep them occupied, if space allows it’s also a good idea to bring some of their favorite toys to provide comfort and entertainment while you’re on those long, quiet, still fishing trips. You know how hard it is to keep your significant other entertained out on the lake, you want to make sure your best bud is happy to come with you for many trips to come.

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  1. Plenty of the High Quality H2O

The most important tip for bringing your best puppy friend out on your water adventure is to make sure you’re giving them plenty of it. Bring an extra bottle to ensure they have plenty of noggin’ water!

Bringing your furry friend out on the water with you can mean a little extra practice and planning, but it’s worth for the time you and your best pal get to spend together doing something you both love!