Monthly Archives: March 2019
Monthly Archives: March 2019
You’re never too old to hike. Just ask Dale Sanders, the octogenarian who broke the record as the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. His success, replaced the former record holder, Lee Barry, who set the record in 2004.
Among his hiking essentials, you will find Gore-Tex gloves to keep his hands warm and dry, a SPOT tracker in case of a medical emergency, prescription meds, and two trekking poles to help him maintain balance.
Speaking of trekking poles, you don’t have to be old or on a quest to break a record to use them. Many hikers and mountaineers consider trekking or hiking poles as a must-have. No matter your skill level, trekking poles can make hiking easier and a lot more fun.
Not sure if you should bring trekking poles to your next hike? We’ll give you 5 compelling reasons to do so.
Fitness may or may not be the reason why you started hiking in the first place. But as all hiking enthusiasts know, going on regular hikes can do wonders for your physical and mental health. It’s especially great if you want to prevent arthritis, lose weight, and manage diabetes symptoms.
As for mental benefits, it can help reduce feelings of depression and is a good way to fight anxiety and stress.
Now, the addition of trekking poles to your hike will take your fitness to the next level. You’ll build muscles, especially in your upper body and you’ll burn a lot of calories.
According to Mayo Clinic, you can turn your daily walk into a full-body workout through trekking or walking poles. You probably know this activity by its name – Nordic walking. Some of the benefits include:
You know what’s not fun? Getting hurt on a hike.
Trekking poles not only make you hike faster, they also help people with bad knees. As you know, going downhill puts a lot of stress on knees. Poles reduce the impact on your knees by transferring it from your knees to your upper body.
And it’s not just your knees that could benefit from trekking poles. All-day hiking can also take a toll on your ankles and hips. Using hiking poles can help reduce the strain on your joints and muscles so you can hike better.
Plus, the less stress you put on your body, the more years of hiking you’ll get to enjoy.
Have you ever hiked through an area only to realize later that it’s too muddy? How about misjudging the depth of a puddle?
Well, these things can happen to any hiker. However, with trekking poles, you can reduce the frequency of these events happening by using them as probes.
And they’re not just for muddy roads and puddles. You can also use them on quicksand and snow bridges.
Trekking poles can also push thorny trail blockages out of your way–think protruding spiky plants, tree branches and pesky spider webs.
And if you ever find yourself face to face with an angry dog, bear, or other wildlife, you can use your poles as weapons.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go on more challenging hikes. It becomes a problem only if you don’t take precautions.
With trekking poles, you don’t have to worry about nasty falls because they help you maintain your balance when you’re moving through wet ground that screams slip hazard.
Think of it like you’re a four-legged animal. Having two more “feet” interacting with the ground will give you more traction, which in turn prevents or reduces the risk of slipping or falling.
If you can’t go on a hike without carrying a backpack, hiking poles can also help you stay upright. Being bent over for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your posture. Plus, staying upright lets more air into your lungs so you breathe better.
Who needs tent poles when you have hiking poles?
Leave your tent poles at home so you’ll have a lighter load. You can pitch a tent with trekking poles, which are actually stronger and less likely to break in strong wind conditions.
Other creative uses of hiking poles include medical splints and rafting paddles. They can also double as crutches.
Another good use for hiking poles is as a rack for drying your cap, wet socks, and/or bandanna. You can also use them for picking up trash. That way you really leave no trace and keep trails litter-free.
On chilly mornings, you might want to engage in some fun fencing with your mates. Don’t take it seriously, though. You might injure someone if you’re too intense with your hiking pole/rapier.
There’s no denying how useful trekking poles are to hikers.
They make you walk faster. They keep you from falling and being injured. And they’ve got plenty of other uses aside from being hiking aids.
But there are some concerns, especially when hiking in ecologically sensitive areas. To minimize the impact on the environment, make sure you don’t use poles on vegetation. Also, avoid scratching rocks by making sure your pole tips are rubberized.
If you’ve never used trekking poles, be aware that some don’t take easily to using them. Don’t be discouraged if you try them and you think they’re unwieldy. Just keep using them until you get the hang of it and you’ll soon reap the benefits of hiking with trekking poles.
And lastly, feel free to browse our site for articles on adventure, destinations, packing, saving, and more.
Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations in the world for backpackers.
Comprised of eleven countries, this region offers rich variation in culture, customs, and tourist attractions.
Six weeks is more than enough time to see the best of the region, but it can be difficult to plan a good itinerary.
You might be tempted to visit all eleven countries, but you're better off focusing on three or four of them if you want to avoid a rushed experience.
Begin your trip with an assault on the senses in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city.
This sprawling metropolis is full of roadside street food stalls serving up delicious local cuisine until all hours, and a wild nightlife scene that doesn’t stop until sunrise.
Bangkok also features many must-see attractions, including Wat Arun, shown in main article image above, a majestic riverside temple, and the stunning Grand Palace, the former residence of Thailand’s royalty.
When you’ve had enough of Bangkok, travel north to explore the ancient ruins of Sukhothai.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sukhothai Historical Park features ruins from the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom of the 13th and 14th centuries.
After Sukhothai, you can catch a bus or a train to Chiang Mai.
Popular among expats and tourists alike, Chiang Mai is a place you’re likely to fall in love with.
Surrounded by lush jungle and mountainous scenery, Chiang Mai is the perfect location to go hiking, white-water rafting, or motorcycling. There are also some great night markets in the city, selling all manner of souvenirs and delicious food.
The people of Chiang Mai are friendly, and the Lanna culture of the north is worth learning about because it’s distinctly different from the rest of the country.
Be sure to treat yourself to a Thai massage when you’re in Chiang Mai because the city is famous for its spa and wellness centres.
The next stage of your journey takes you to Luang Prabang, a tranquil city in the north of Laos.
You’ll travel by two-day slow boat from the border town of Huay Xai, just a five-hour bus ride from Chiang Mai. The slow boat offers ample opportunity to relax while you take in the beautiful scenery of the Mekong river.
When you arrive in Luang Prabang, prepare to fall in love with its charm.
You’ll also be impressed with how clean it is. Simply sit along the waterfront and relax with some delicious Laotian food while you watch the sunset. Be sure to check out the Kuang Si waterfall when you’re in town because it is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Southeast Asia.
Surrounded by a gorgeous karst landscape, Vang Vieng is a great place to relax for a few days.
Vang Vieng is a three-hour bus journey from Luang Prabang, and you’ll want to keep your eyes open for this trip because the scenery is incredible.
The town itself formerly had a reputation as a party town, but this has changed recently due to a government crackdown and because many young tourist were injured and even died while inebriated and partying in the water.
The main attraction of Vang Vieng is tubing. This involves riding down the Nam Song River on a rubber ring while you admire the glorious scenery.
The capital city of Laos, Vientiane, is just three hours from Vang Vieng.
While it’s not a hectic city like other capital cities in this region, Vientiane is a charming place to spend time.
You can go temple-hopping for a day and then relax in the evening with a beer beside the Mekong river.
Vientiane is also a great place to get to know Laotian cuisine, and it’s a good idea to do a cookery course in the city before moving on to Cambodia.
The capital city of Phnom Penh is a good place to start in Cambodia because you get to learn about the country’s dark history under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Visit the heartbreaking Killing Fields where the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot sent millions of people to be executed. Phnom Penh isn’t the happiest place to go, but it’s important to learn about the country’s tragic past.
The next part of your journey takes you to the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap.
This attraction often makes it to the top of the world’s must-see destinations, and it’s easy to see why.
The complex was built by King Suryavarman II during the period of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. Prepare to be blown away by both the size of the complex and the intricate architecture.
The final leg of your journey is in the south of Cambodia.
Your first stop is Kampot, a sleepy riverside town famous for the production of peppercorns. You can visit temples, go to the local markets, or even visit a peppercorn farm. Make sure to try some crab with Kampot pepper for a truly delicious Cambodian dish.
Finally, you can spend a couple of days on stunning Otres Beach. With pristine white sand and clear turquoise water, Otres Beach is an idyllic location.
Feel free to relax by the sea with some Cambodian food, and get a cheap foot massage. This slice of paradise is the perfect way to finish your six-week trip in Southeast Asia.
The Simple Modern Summit water bottle is styled for superior functionality and exceptional durability.
It's available in lots of different colors and patterns. You can easily purchase one for everyone in the family or in your hiking group and the bottles never get mixed up due to so many colors being available.
If you appreciate the opportunity to stay hydrated without the need to find a water fountain, this is the bottle for you.
Simple Modern donates 10% of its profits to help others as part of its core mission to provide excellence in high quality products along with a spirit of generosity.
The Simple Modern Summit water bottle is an excellent choice for hikers, backpackers, sports enthusiasts, beach goers, and just about anyone who enjoys drinking water or coffee throughout the day.
This bottle is ideal for people who want to stay hydrated throughout the day but who prefer not to purchase bottled water. The large size keeps water cold all day long and coffee hot all morning long.
It is perfect for individuals who are sensitive to heat and coldness. The insulated design keeps beverages hot or cold without changing the temperature of the bottle's exterior. It is even attractive enough to give as a gift.
The Simple Modern Summit water bottle is a vacuum-insulated container available in several sizes. It has a built-in handle that offers a second option for carrying your bottle. It comes with two lids, providing versatility and convenience.
The stainless steel lid screws on and off the container easily, providing a leak-proof seal, while also allowing for fast chugging of the bottle's contents.
The splash-proof flip lid has a smaller opening that is perfect for drinking cold or hot beverages without the risk of sloshing your beverage. Both lids are dishwasher safe.
The Simple Modern Summit water bottle keeps your beverage cold or hot for hours. It is double walled and vacuum insulated.
An added layer of insulation is offered by a thin coating of premium copper on the exterior of the inner wall of the vacuum sealed area. With this design, there is no more worrying about dropping your water bottle because it is too cold or letting go of your coffee container because it is too hot.
Each bottle is crafted from premium gauge 18/8 stainless steel and is powder coated with a durable matte finish. It never rusts. It is strong and durable even if you accidentally drop it.
It is easy to clean and smooth on the outside. It is available in 42 vibrant colors, including solid and patterned options.
This design is sold in four sizes, including 14 oz, 18 oz, 22 oz, and 32 oz. Each size is designed to fit most cup holders.
Smaller sizes are highly portable and pocket-friendly. The 32-oz bottle provides the flexibility of allowing you to carry more liquid with you.
The larger the size of the bottle is, the longer your beverage remains hot or cold. The time frame ranges from 6 to 12 hours for hot beverages and 14 to 28 hours for cold beverages.
This design features a wide mouth that allows you to pour liquids into it easily. It is wide enough to allow you to drop in several ice cubes or pour in soups or stews.
Each purchase includes two lids that are interchangeable with all sizes of this water bottle.
You get a leak-proof stainless steel lid that is double wall insulated and screws onto the bottle. The inside of this lid is BPA-free plastic. You also get a splash-proof flip lid with a small opening.
The Simple Modern Summit water bottle is easy to use. Just fill it up, put on one of the lids, and take it with you.
The handle provides an easy way to carry your water bottle. You can also use the handle to attach your bottle to your backpack.
Whether you fill your bottle with ice and water or hot soup, it will never develop condensation. You never have to worry about leaving a ring of water on your furniture or in your cup holder.
Cleaning is a cinch, especially if you use the Summit bottle brush with replaceable brush head. You can see how easy it is to clean in the video below.
If you are looking for a bottle that weighs less than the Simple Modern Summit water bottle, the Polar Bottle insulated water bottle provides an excellent option.
It is made from food-grade polyethylene plastic, so it is incredibly lightweight. It offers comparable features with a wide mouth and double wall construction.
The 24-oz size is the most popular one, but other sizes are available. It has a removable carrying strap, and you can even pop it into the freezer. The Polar Bottle cleans easily as well. It is also Phthalate-free and BPA-free.
With the Simple Modern Summit water bottle, you can bring filtered water with you anywhere. You have several sizes and lots of colors to consider when you make your purchase. The price is reasonable, too.
This water bottle provides a convenient way to tote your beverages around with you. It keeps ice cubes frozen and coffee hot for hours.
You never have to worry about it falling out of your hands, because no condensation ever occurs.
This bottle is easy to store and fits into most cabinets. It is a good choice for road trips, sporting events, camping, hiking, home, and the office.
Whether it's a lazy summer's day spent poolside, a game of touch football at the park, or a vigorous day hike in the foothills, staying hydrated is easy with the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Water Bottle on hand.
The sturdy construction of pro-grade stainless steel and BPA-free plastic and the broad mouth define this water bottle, which comes enhanced by Hydro Flask's patented TempShield™ Insulation and a grippy powder coat.
It's a fine choice for beverages of both the hot and cold variety, and for settings from the office desk and the playing field to the backcountry campsite and the sea kayak.
The Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Water Bottle serves the needs of just about anybody looking to remain hydrated all day long.
It's a handy and leakproof container to bring along to work or school, stow in the car for a road trip, or haul along for hiking, ski touring, snowshoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and other outdoor adventures.
Whatever your beverage of choice--from steaming coffee or tea to ice water or a fresh-made smoothie--the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth is designed to keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold for hours on end as you go about the day's work or play.
The Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Bottle comes with the Hydro Flask Flex Cap, which includes a flexible holding strap secured with stainless-steel pivots.
The Wide Mouth is also compatible with Hydro Flask's Wide Straw and Wide Flip lids, but those are sold separately.
You can choose between four different sizes of water bottle:--18 oz. (532 ml), 32 oz. (946 ml), 40 oz. (1180 ml), or 64 oz. (1900 ml), the latter being basically a growler-sized jug--and a wide array of colors, from flamingo pink and mango orange to pure black or white.
At the (literal) core of the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Bottle's performance is the TempShield™ construction: a double-walled, vacuum insulation designed to keep cold liquids cold for 24 hours and hot ones hot for 12 hours.
The exterior of the Wide Mouth boasts the Hydro Flask powder coat, which, along with the TempShield™ Insulation, helps ward against the formation of exterior condensation and improves both the bottle's grip and its all-around durability.
A Hydro Flask bottle filled with piping-hot goodness won't be hot to the touch.
In terms of materials, the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth Bottle is made from BPA- and phthalate-free plastic and food-grade 18/8 stainless steel meant to keep your beverage tasting pure and untainted.
The Flex Cap comes with its own Honeycomb Insulation to contribute to the sealed-off temperature maintenance. Its strap makes the bottle easy to hoist and carry around.
As mentioned above, you can also choose to accessorize with the Hydro Flask Wide Straw Lid or Wide Flip Lid for convenient on-the-go sipping.
Backcountry travelers will appreciate the Wide Mouth's compatibility with many water filters.
All the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth sizes have mouth diameters of 58 mm (2.28 in.) except for the 40-oz. bottle, which has a 48.5-mm (1.91-in.) opening. These broad openings make it easy, for example, to plunk in some ice cubes.
The width of the Wide Mouth's bottom, meanwhile, ranges from 74 mm (2.91 in.) for the 18-oz. bottle, 91 mm (3.56 inches) for the 32- and 40-oz. bottles, and 119.6 mm (4.7 inches) for the hefty 64-ouncer.
The 18-oz. Wide Mouth stands the shortest at 199 mm (7.8 inches) tall, while the 40-oz. bottle is the tallest at 260 mm (10.2 inches).
Weight-wise, the bottles range from 343 grams for the 18-oz. bottle to 794 grams for the 64-oz. jug.
Obviously using a water bottle such as the Hydro Flask Insulated Wide Mouth isn't rocket science. That said, the company recommends this handy test to make sure the bottle's insulation is working as it should.
Place the bottle on a sturdy surface and fill it with boiling water; don't hold it while you do so. Keep the cap off. After roughly five minutes have passed, feel along the exterior of the bottle below the neck.
If you notice any "hot spots," the bottle's insulation is compromised and you should be able to replace your Wide Mouth from the company or potentially through a third-party retailer you purchased from.
Hydro Flask offers a whole range of different water bottles, including Standard Mouth models.
You might choose instead one of the company's coffee mugs or flasks, or maybe the specialized party- or campfire-ready containers it offers for beer, wine, and spirits.
Keep in mind that you'll likely want a different size/design of water bottle when you're looking to attach it to a bicycle bottle rack, as the Wide Mouth is too hefty for most standard racks.
Hydro Flask's double-wall vacuum TempShield™ Insulation and powder-coat exterior make the company's Wide Mouth water bottle an excellent choice for storing both hot and cold beverages.
The durable construction particularly recommends the Wide Mouth for outdoor and sporty activities (though you might consider outfitting it with the Hydro Flask Straw or Flip Lid for the purpose), but really it's a fine choice for anybody looking for a long-lasting, up-for-hard-knocks hydration companion.
Iced coffee is one of the most delicious drinks in the world – especially in the hot summer months. No matter the season, no matter the reason, iced coffees always hit the spot.
Americans aren’t the only ones enjoying iced coffee beverages, around the world iced coffees and espresso drinks are popular. There’s more to an iced coffee then, well, ice and coffee.
In the northwest, where American fascination with coffee was born, an iced coffee includes very little flavoring or sweeteners. Seattleites will pour a shot of hot espresso over a cup of ice and add a bit of coffee to fill it to the top.
In California, iced coffee drinks are often created by filling a cup with ice, adding milk about half way up the cup then topping off with strong coffee. A squeeze or two of caramel and whipped cream topping finishes it off.
Coffee lovers on the east coast dig coffee martinis. Cold brewed coffee is mixed with vodka and a splash of coffee liquor, shaken in a martini shaker and served in an iced martini glass.
Italians have been known to serve iced coffee drinks on hot days by placing a cup filled with ice under the espresso maker nozzle. They claim espresso begins to turn bitter if cooled slowly.
In France, they like their iced coffee sweet and syrupy. After brewing a strong cup of Joe, they add sugar cubes and spices before stirring and adding ice.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you add something hot, like coffee, to something cold, like ice, they both end up diluting and becoming lukewarm. There are a couple ways to counter this rule of science.
Making cold brewed coffee is one way to combat the ice melting issue.
While almost everyone knows how to make a decent cup of hot coffee, the ability to make good iced coffee is a rarer skill. There are two main methods for making iced coffee: cold brewed and hot brewed.
We’ll cover the more time intense cold brewed method first then move on to the faster hot brewed method.
Don’t confuse the cold brewed coffee described below for cold, brewed coffee – the leftovers from this morning’s pot.
When made properly, cold brewed coffee serves as a refrigerated coffee concentrate that can make hot beverages as well as cold.
Fill a glass one quarter full of milk. Stir in two tablespoons of chocolate beverage syrup or Ovaltine. Fill with ice. Pour concentrated cold brewed coffee to the top of the glass. Substitute strawberry beverage syrup or protein shake powder to make a tasty iced coffee treat.
Another way to combat the melting issue is to use the low temperature of your other ingredients to temper the coffee or espresso, making the melt far less obvious. When you will be using milk in your iced coffee drink, you can mix the shot, milk and anything other than the ice before adding your ice cubes.
The above cold brewed ice coffee method is a lengthy process that requires the coffee to sit overnight. You may want to also use the quicker hot brew method when you can’t wait for your coffee.
When you are craving your cold drink immediately, hot brewing is the only way to go. As long as you have ice cubes on hand, your task should only take a few minutes.
Begin by preparing a cup of hot coffee.
This coffee must be made much stronger than normal, since it will be diluted later by ice. Double or triple strength is advised. To make the final product cold most of what goes into it needs to be frozen.
To this end the initial cup of hot coffee should be relatively small. Aim for a two or three to one ratio of ice to hot coffee. Keep in mind this ratio, as well as how large you want the final drink to be when preparing the hot coffee.
Combine the coffee and the ice together, either by pouring the coffee over the ice, or the ice into the coffee. Both work.
You will probably also want your iced coffee to be sweet. Sugar dissolves easily only in hot liquids, so you must add it in first. This can be a problem if you later discover that your coffee is not sweet enough. If that occurs (or if you wish to add in your sugar after the coffee has been cooled) make some simple syrup.
Simple syrup, which is usually used in cocktails, is sugar dissolved in water. Mix as small an amount of boiling water as possible (so that your iced coffee will not be significantly diluted) with sugar, then add the simple syrup to your iced coffee. Alternatively, you can use an artificial sweetener.
If you drink your coffee with half & half, add it in either before or after the ice. Since the half & half will do part of the work of cooling down the coffee, this can allow you to adjust your ratio of coffee to ice.
The more half & half you use, the less ice needed. This will result in a creamier, thicker drink. It will also take off the bitter edge that can appear in strong, hot brewed coffee.
Those are the basics of making speedy, delicious iced coffee at home.
In general, the key to making good iced coffee is experimentation.
It can be tricky discovering what ratio of coffee to ice you prefer, or how much sugar you need to suit your tastes. Luckily the method described above takes up little time.
When your first effort isn’t to your liking, try again. Soon you will be enjoying delicious, easily prepared iced coffee at home whenever you like.
With a little forethought, you could also place your iced coffee drink glass in your freezer until you’re ready for it.
Pour the hot coffee or espresso shot into the frozen glass. The liquid from the coffee or espresso will absorb the cold temperatures, making for a cool cup of coffee in just a minute.
Keep cool. Keep caffeinated. Travel far.