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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.

keyhole fire

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.
trench fire

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!

tackle box

(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.

snack pack

( 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.

DSC_0525

  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.

boat

  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.

life jacket

  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.

ice

  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.

toys

  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.

drinking

  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!

Taking Care of your Body on Multi-day Kayaking Trips

May 24th, 2017 No comments

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There’s nothing that cures the soul like a week-long paddling trip. Spending some time unplugged outside with some of your best pals is a great way to unwind and refresh. Just as important as taking care of your mind is making sure you’re taking care of your body while you’re out getting down with nature. Stay feeling good and ready for action all week long with these five tips for taking care of your body during a long paddling trip.

1. Get plenty of Rest

Nothing can kill your trip’s momentum like lack of sleep early on in your trip. As bad as you want to stay up all night talking about all the great things you’re going to do in the next few days, you won’t be able to do them if you don’t get enough of that precious shut-eye. While we know packing space is limited, do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on the sleeping necessities. The last thing you need after a long day on the trail or in the water is a chilly night that keeps you awake.

Packing for your trip

2. Come Prepared with your Wardrobe

Mistakes happen, climates can be unpredictable, and sometimes plans just change. This is important to keep in mind when you’re choosing clothes for your trips, especially if you’re going somewhere new. While you might be heading somewhere that is traditionally very hot, nights can get cold and as you know, rain can fall from a clear blue sky. So, be mindful of the possibilities. The right clothes can contribute to more comfort and higher performance during the day, as well as contribute to a great sleep at night (see tip #1!)

3. Eat Everything

OK, don’t eat everything, but don’t estimate how hungry you will be or what your body will need for recovery. Many people don’t realize how much energy they expend on long days in the forest or on the water. The four main food groups you should focus on are proteins (for slow release energy), carbohydrates( for strength and stamina), fats (for muscle energy) and electrolytes (to prevent cramping). Trail food can be tricky because you must pack a big punch with limited space; finding super foods that you love will fill you up, but leave plenty of space in your pack (for your favorite trail socks!)

stretch

4. S T R E T C H

Just like a professional athlete, when you are pushing your body to perform at a high level you have to take the necessary steps to warm up and cool down. Taking a long hike or paddling for hours asks a lot of your muscles and taking a few minutes to cool down can increase your body’s stamina throughout the trip. Neglecting to stretch before an active day can cause both long and short term issues that you, nor your body have time for.

5. Don’t Downplay Personal Hygiene

We agree one of the great things about getting out in the wilderness is being able to ditch the tie, the high heels and iron for a few days. But even on a bro trip, forgetting the soap out in the woods doesn’t just take a toll on your overall, but can cause a decrease in performance as well. Nothing puts a damper on a good trip like blisters or a skin rash that can affect your gait or your ability to sleep comfortably.
Taking care of your body on the trail or in the water is key when tackling a multi-day trip. Keeping your body in tip-top shape will improve how your feel overall and help you to do more cool stuff! You feel good, you smell good(ish), you play/paddle/hike good!

Tips for Creating an Awesome Whitewater Video

May 22nd, 2017 No comments

Having a killer day on the river or creek is great, but having the awesome video footage to prove it is even better. The majority of paddlers these days use a GoPro or another type of video recording device mounted to their helmets or boats to capture all the action. Paddlers can then edit the footage and add music and effects to create sweet whitewater videos to post to social media or YouTube. Some of these videos are lacking that little something extra that makes them stand out in the crowd. We’ve all watched whitewater videos with scratchy audio, or wonky editing that drives us nuts because it takes away from the real action. Check out some of these tips and suggestions to help you create the best whitewater videos trending on the interwebs.

Gopro in place

Get Equipped

First things first, you’ll need to purchase a camera or type of recording device to film while you’re on the water. There’s a broad range of options available, with prices across the board. You don’t need to drop a grand on a camera either, it’s not what you buy but how you use it. GoPro like we mentioned above has tons of great options, and they really are a forerunner in the field. Check out some reviews and ask some paddling buddies who already own cameras about some of the pros and cons to the devices they have. Other companies like Canon and Sony also make cameras with recording features, so if you have a camera you like the style of already consider using this with the proper protection from the elements.

Rafting with no hands

@maggie_a_

Tell the Story

Anytime you go to see a movie on the big screen, you’re hoping for an interesting story-line that’s worth getting into. The same is true for short but awesome whitewater videos. Think about telling the story of the day, or the trip. Including some footage of the journey to the river, the friends who are paddling with you, and what the beginning of the day looks like is a good way to grab your viewer and get them waning to know how the story ends. It’s just like heading into that huge rapid on the river; there’s a beginning, chaotic and thrilling middle, then the denouement or final resolution to the plot or conflict. Having a more cohesive plot line enables you to build the action and story, which adds to the overall interest and appeal to your videos.

Best. Song. Ever.

Most whitewater videos we watch have music that goes along with what’s happening in the film. However, we’ve all seen those videos with weird song choices at odd moments that leave us feeling disconnected and wondering why in the hell they would have picked that music? If you’re building a good story, you’ll want the music to do the same. Obviously, you’ll want to choose good music you’re into but start the mood slowly and build the pace and excitement. Editing your footage so highlights of the action can hit simultaneously with big points in the music is key here. It lets your viewers know that something awesome is about to happen as they hear the music building. Play around with the footage and try different tracks in the background to see what seems to fit the best. We suggest testing these a very high levels to get the full effect! (FYI – so you don’t get in super trouble, make sure you have permission from the artist to use their music, or hunt for work in the public domain or royalty-free to share.)

Leaving on a kayaking trip

@iansalvat

Establishing Shots and Movement

This goes along with telling the story and will add to the overall experience viewers will get from your videos. An establishing shot is typically that long shot in the beginning of movies that let’s us know where the story takes place. It helps to show the crucial connection between important characters (you and your buddies) with the objects (the river) and places (middle of glorious nowhere) around them. Also consider time lapse filming here since most of your action footage will be at full speed to show what it was really like to be in the thick of it. The time lapse adds length and can stretch a good song if you have a mellow vibe going that you’re building up. Good establishing shots can be unloading boats, close ups and introductions of your bros, and the actual travel to the put in.

From Rafting Magazine

@commodoretrevor and @thepublic_enemy of @raftingmagazine

Mounting Options and Angles

Different mounting options will give you different perspective on the action. Some cameras will come with different mounting kits for your helmet or boat. The helmet mount is probably the most popular, and GoPro offers some tips on the best way to do this. This gives you the action from your personal point of view, so if you take a swim or boof off a rock the viewer is right there with you. Another awesome option is to mount the camera to your boat looking back at you, or facing forward into the fray. The sky is the limit here on mounting, so try out lots of ideas. You can also use a wrist or paddle mount or have your friends film some footage for you. Scouting ahead and placing the camera in a good spot to catch the action as you guys move by can be really cool too. Experiment with lots of mounting options and different angles while you’re on the water so you have lots of footage to play with later.

If you’re going to make a whitewater video, make sure it’s as quality and badass as it can be! With a little extra time and effort a decent whitewater video can become a great one. Pick good music, tell the story, and film the footage from your own unique perspective that will make the project turn out to be as individual as you are. Also, don’t forget to share them with us on our Facebook or Instagram pages!

Need more inspo? Check out one of our faves from Watershed Ambassador, Dylan McKinney:

 

Boone || Crew from Dylan McKinney on Vimeo.