The Absolute Best Ways to Make Killer Coffee on the Go

Let’s talk about coffee. The nectar of the gods. The wake up juice that keeps you going, morning, noon, and night. One of the few stimulants that is legal/doesn’t destroy/rarely makes you hallucinate.

Us coffee drinkers have been accused of having an “addiction”, but they’ve got it all wrong: we have a blessed, symbiotic relationship.

We get the crackling energy and the coffee gets the pleasure of tobogganing through our digestive system. It’s been said that you can have too much of a good thing, but those haters have clearly never felt the sweet bliss of hot coffee in the morning. Or at lunch time. Or in the afternoon. Or really, any time.

Of course, there is one challenge…

cup of coffee

How do you keep yourself constantly supplied with good coffee?

It’s a well known fact that coffee quality tends to dip when you travel. You find yourself gagging down hotel coffee, which often tastes like melted linoleum, except with less flavor.

If things really get bad, you may be forced to drink gas station coffee, which is the equivalent of scooping sludge out of a septic tank.

It’s not an option to go without coffee, any more than it’s an option to go without food or water. You LOVE coffee, and the thought of going a single day without is unfathomable.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go into coffee rehab in order to survive when you travel.

There are a number of portable solutions that will allow you to drink astoundingly good coffee wherever you go. You won’t have to settle for McDonald’s sock water or Maxwell “Sweet mother, what is this?” House. You can have your coffee, and drink it too.

In this post, I’m going to break down the 6 best portable coffee makers. No, I’m not going to suggest you lug around a drip coffee maker. You’re going to get the best of the best. And you won’t have to deplete your savings account either.

Let’s get started.

What You May Need For That Perfect Cup

Before we dive into the best portable coffee makers, we need to talk about what you may need to make the most glorious, soul-shaking cup of coffee.

  • First, you’ll need great coffee. That goes without being said. If you’re buying coffee that comes in giant cans, please exit this article and don’t let the browser hit you on the way out.
  • Second, you’ll need a way to grind the coffee. If you’re using coffee pods, this won’t be a problem. However, some of the devices below require you to grind your coffee.
  • Third, you need a way to heat water. You’re going to need to heat your water if you’re going to make a decent cup of water that doesn’t taste like goat urine. There are lots of different options, like a portable kettle, a campstove, your car radiator, etc. Some of the below options will boil the water for you.

#1 – The NowPresso Portable, Lithium Powered Espresso Machine

If you are an espresso fiend, the NowPresso is your go to>>>

This baby is the world’s first lithium powered portable espresso machine, and it’s basically like having a personal Italian barista named Roberto.

Using Nespresso Cups, and NowPresso’s own reusable capsules–which allow you to prepare your own coffee mixtures–you can literally create silky smooth, flavorful espresso with the touch of a button.

It has an air vent lid to allow steam to escape, a water cavity for simple cleaning and measuring the water, a vacuum sealed capsule cap, ensuring the perfect pour, and a heat resistant silicon cup. It will even boil the water for you.

The NowPresso is every coffee drinker’s fantasy:

Kickstarter Launched Battery Operated Coffee maker

It also comes with a slick travel bag, allowing you to transport the NowPresso without losing things or dumping them on the ground.

Whether you’re a traveler, camper, hobo, or nomadic camel herder, this is a fantastic solution to get a quick fix where you have control over the quality of your coffee.

To be one of the first coffee drinker to own one of these curious coffee contraptions, you better act fast because the NowPresso by XSPROFIX reached it’s Kickstarter goal of AU$75,00 AND it’s only available on Kickstarter.com until July 5th, 2017.

Get the NowPresso on Kickstarter here >>>

#2 – French Press Travel Mug

body french press mug

If you like your coffee like your soul (dark, slightly gritty, acidic), the French Press method is perfect.

You grind your coffee to a coarse texture, then let it soak in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. This method produces a full-flavored, somewhat smoky flavor (like kissing your girlfriend who smokes two packs a day).

There are plenty of travel mug options available, including the Bodum French Press Mug as well as one from Starbucks.

One downside of the French Press method is that there’s usually a bit of grit/coffee sludge in your coffee since the plunger doesn’t usually filter out all the coffee grounds. It’s usually not a big deal though, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes crunching on coffee grounds in their spare time.

You could also pretend you’re a cowboy, minus the horse, leather chaps, overt masculinity, and constant Marlboro cigarette. Your call.

#3 – The Aeropress

Aeropress Plunger

Fun fact of the day that you can use to impress/turn off dates: the Aeropress was invented by the same guy who created the Aerobie.

When you want to further impress/turn off, you can point that Aeropress and Aerobie begin with the same four letters, which is a clue to their creator.

You’d think that a frisbee inventor wouldn’t know much about coffee making (a common stereotype), but you’d be wrong. The Aerobie makes a fantastic cup of coffee that’s smoother than a politician avoiding questions about financial impropriety.

The Aeropress is placed on a mug and finely ground coffee is placed in the press on a filter. Hot water is poured on the coffee and you immediately begin depressing the plunger. A vacuum seal is created and the coffee is forced down through the filter, resulting in a flavorful, smooth cup of coffee that makes you smack your lips in a slightly creepy way reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter.

It works so effectively because the coffee and water aren’t in contact that long – usually 20 seconds or so – which results in very little acidity. It’s a pretty amazing feat of engineering actually.

It only has a few parts, which makes it perfect for traveling. The only downside is that you’ll need to have a way to heat your water. Some options include:

  • Burning your hotel room sheets
  • Using a portable stove
  • Using a burn barrel

#4 – Pour Over Coffee Dripper

Pour Over Coffee

Osaka Stainless Pour Over Coffee Filter

The pour over method of coffee making is a great, all around option.

It’s like a middle ground between all other other methods. It gives you a well rounded flavor that’s not overly smooth like the Aeropress but also not brutally acidic like the French Press. You grind the coffee finer than the French Press but coarser than Aeropress.

If this were (trigger warning) high-school, the pour over would be the guy who everyone kinda liked but who didn’t get the hot girls. The guy voted most likely to work as a mid-level manager at IBM. Right down the middle. Granted, this would be a private school, since the pour over still makes great coffee. It’s still an elite snob.

The cone is placed on the coffee cup, the filter goes in the cone, the grounds go in the filter, and the water seals the deal.

If you’re hardcore, you can use the “bloom” method, where you initially just wet the grounds enough to let the carbon dioxide escape and the flavors expand.

All you need is the cone, the filters, and coffee, all of which can be easily transported in an a bag. It’s easy to clean, takes up minimal space, and delivers a great cup of coffee.

#5 – The Impress Coffee Brewer

Hot Coffee Anywhere Cordless

It’s a well-known saying that the you can judge a man by the coffee he drinks.

Actually, no one says that, but it should be a saying. Never trust a guy who drinks crappy coffee.

Regardless, the Impress Coffee Brewer allows you to impress (see what I did there?) people with your taste in coffee.

It’s essentially like a French Press, except it has a finer mesh filter, meaning you won’t find yourself accidentally munching on coffee grounds. It only has three parts and doubles as a travel mug, so it’s insanely portable as well.

It should be noted that the lid IS NOT LEAKPROOF! In other words, if this thing is full of coffee/liquor, don’t throw it into your bag next to your laptop.

Nevertheless, this is a good solution that lies somewhere between the Aeropress and the French Press travel mug.

#6 – Lichti Portable Espresso Maker

wacaco minipresso look alike

If you’re an avid camper or hiker who also has a deep passion for espresso, this could have some potential.

The Lichti Portable Espresso Maker is battery free, meaning that the only way to create that espresso shot you’re craving is to use the hand pump that’s built in. Think of like pumping water from a well, except the water gives you immortality and boundless energy.  

The pump puts the appropriate amount of pressure on the water and espresso, resulting in a well-crafted espresso shot to soothe your jangling nerves.

The downside here is that you’ll need to grind your own coffee beforehand. If you find yourself in a situation without a grinder, you’re only option will be to grind the beans with your teeth, which doesn’t work particularly well.

Conclusion

Coffee is life and life is coffee.

As the great Dalai Lama said, “The only way to survive in the crazy-ass world is to drink a ton of coffee.” Well, he might not have said that, but it sounds like something he would say.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go without coffee when you’re traveling. You won’t suffer the crippling darkness that befalls you when you go without your coffee. Rather, every step will be sunshine and energy. You will go about your day with a bounce in your step and a vibrating caffeine buzz.

So get to it. Get your coffee on. After all, it’s been about 5 minutes since you had your last cup.

Hiking Basics

Hiking is a healthy activity for both the body and mind.

Hiking trails for all levels of expertise are found in every country. It is truly a global pastime, enjoyed by individuals, friends, hiking clubs, and families.

Some level of hiking is possible for everyone who can walk, making it the perfect hobby for every age, as well as for groups and families of mixed ages.

To experience a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, it’s important to know the basic “rules” of hiking.

Picking The Trail

There are hiking trails everywhere.

Some trails are difficult and only for experienced hikers, but many are easy hikes that don’t contain steep inclines or require climbing over rocks.

Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, in the USA or abroad, for brochures and maps of hiking trails in your area.

Many state parks have hiking trails, perfect for day trips, family hikes, or overnight camping. Some trails are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.

If you live in a state full of woods and mountains or live where you are surrounded by blacktop and high rise office buildings, there are trails nearby where you can enjoy hiking.

Girl Pair of Hiking Poles Grand Canyon

Choosing Your Hiking Trail – Grand Canyon

Hiking Rhythm

Whether you pick a gentle trail or a challenging trail, it’s important to learn to pace yourself.

Develop a rhythm (cadence) that is comfortable and allows you to go a considerable distance without feeling strained or needing a break. As your endurance builds, hiking will tire you less. Plan short breaks at specific intervals.

When you are a new hiker, plan a ten-minute break for every 20 minutes of hiking. As your body conditions itself, you can increase the length of time between breaks.

Shoes for a Day Hike

Hiking Shoes

It’s necessary to have the proper hiking gear to avoid as many problems as possible.

Top on the list of gear is the right hiking shoe, and the right sock.

To avoid the hiker’s nemesis, the blister, wear properly fitted shoes and break them in before embarking on a hike. If you are wearing leather shoes, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, which can mean rubbing with saddle soap or mink oil, and sometimes a specific brand of boot treatment is suggested.

Regular care will keep your boots pliable, prevent them from drying out, and be kind to your feet. Cotton is not the best material for your boot sock liners.

Purchase specially designed liners made from a wicking material such as polypropylene or Thermax and wear a good wool sock. Always carry moleskin to apply in the event a blister starts to form.

Hiking Shoes with Walking Poles on top

Food And Water

Because food is your body’s fuel, it’s especially important to plan your food carefully for the length of your hike.

For day hikes, dried fruit and nuts, pre-packaged instant oatmeal, and instant noodle and pasta dishes can meet the need. Water is required to keep the body hydrated, but water is also heavy.

You can probably carry enough for a day hike, but if you plan to do longer hikes, purchase a water filtration system to purify water from lakes and streams and carry an insulated water bottle to keep your drinking water cool in warm weather.

Food and Water for hiking

Safety And First Aid

A first aid kit and manual are important for even the simplest hike.

Many outfitters have first aid kits you can purchase containing most of the supplies needed for minor injuries. You can also build your own first aid kit.

The Washington Trails Association website offers excellent instructions on building a hiker’s first aid kit in the hiking resources and hiking basics section at www.wta.org.

First Aid Hiking

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, while staying healthy and fit.

Remember to plan your hike carefully and bring sufficient food and water to enjoy a fun-filled hike.

When you’re ready to got further, you may want to use hiking poles to keep your energy levels up, see reviews of walking poles for hiking here.


Trekking Pole Dog Icon

Five Major Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad

Remote working was virtually unheard of only a few decades ago. Having a full-time job usually meant working in the same place every day, with a fixed schedule and the same group of colleagues.

With the internet having become more widespread, it is now much easier for people to work remotely.

Over the past few years, a whole movement based on working remotely while traveling the globe has emerged. “Digital nomads,” as they are commonly known, typically have jobs which allow them to be fully remote, such as translation, computer programming or writing.

Here are five major benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle:

using technology to work from anywhere

1. You can live almost anywhere you like

You can base yourself anywhere that’s equipped with electricity and a reliable internet connection. There are even websites that rate top digital nomad destinations, for example Nomadlist, you can see it here.

Looking for something more fantastic, if you’ve always wanted to live by the ocean, or in the shadow of a mountain, now you can.

There’s no need to live in an overcrowded, polluted city just because that’s where all the jobs are.

Digital Nomad Working Mountainside

Also read: Top 5 Cities to Live as a Digital Nomad

2. You can make time differences work for you

Some digital nomads are lucky enough to be able to set their own schedules and work whenever it suits them.

Others need to work fixed hours, especially if they need to be available to take calls or participate in video conferences.

However, even if you fall into the second group, you can make the time difference work for you.

When you’re a night owl, try living somewhere which is 10-plus hours ahead or behind your home country, so that you can work until the early hours while still being able to take calls and contact your team.

Hiking Watch

Also read: Travel + Work: Synching Across Multiple Time Zones (When on the Road)

3. You don’t have to put up with colleagues

One of the biggest problems you might have at work is dealing with annoying colleagues, whether they won’t stop talking when you’re trying to concentrate, or they have a taste for stinky egg sandwiches which they eat at their desk.

Working remotely usually means working alone, from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

If you do get lonely, you can always use a co-working space to meet other digital nomads; unlike traditional working environments, it’s totally up to you.

soloprenuer

Also read: Outsourced Ecommerce Fulfillment Allows for Location Independence, Run a Biz While YOU Travel

4. You can move around regularly

As the name implies, digital nomads are free to move around as much as they want to.

Many stay put in one place for several months, or even years, but others choose to relocate more often.

As soon as you feel the need for a change of scenery, you can book your next flight and go.

Lots of nomads even travel with carry-on luggage only, to make it even cheaper and easier to work while on the move.

Backpacking Season

Also read: Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

5. You have much more free time

People with regular 9-to-5 jobs usually have to commute. That means a lot of wasted time, whether they’re waiting for delayed trains or crawling along the freeway in rush-hour traffic.

When you’re a digital nomad, going to work can be as easy as walking downstairs and setting up your laptop on the kitchen table, which can save many of you up to two or three hours per day.

You can use that extra time to catch up with friends, pick up some new skills–like hiking or Mandarin–or just wake up later in the morning.

Hiking Trip Essential Preparation

Also read: Essentials for a Safe, Enjoyable Hiking Trip

Remote Work Isn’t for Everyone

The digital nomad lifestyle is definitely not for everyone; it wouldn’t suit those who have time-management issues or need to be close to family and friends.

However, it can be an eye-opening experience for those who struggle to fit into traditional workplaces or who want to see more of the world without being limited to a few weeks of vacation time per year.

Why not give it a try?

Hiking Pole Reviews

The Nomad Cycle: How To Spend A Full Year Working Your Way Around The United States

It’s perfectly possible to work your way around the country with nothing special in the way of education, experience or credentials.

Of course, if you have those things, there’s an even greater world of possibility open to you.

The jobs discussed below form a basic bedrock for full-time travelers and are accessible to just about anyone.

The Nomad Cycle

The Nomad Cycle Chart USA Year Round Gypsy Work

SPRING Nomad Work in the USA

The Harvest Seasons

There are jobs in Florida picking citrus fruits all year, but the really big season in which lots of temporary hands are needed is in the spring.

The hiring process generally begins in February for work starting in March and lasting for about three months.

Agricultural harvest work isn’t as rich in spring as it will be in summer and fall, but there’s at least one other big opportunity for those on the opposite end of the country — strawberries.

California produces most of the country’s strawberries and they are grown there all year, but the prime season begins in spring and carries on well into summer.

Harvest Seasons

Home Improvement

Spring is far and away the biggest season for home improvement projects.

Major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot will add tens of thousands of employees to their workforce just for the spring season.

This temporary hiring blitz also extends to a lesser extent to general retail chains like Walmart that have lawn and garden departments.

Landscaping & Gardening

As with home improvement, spring is also the time in which gardening activity is at its peak.

Landscaping companies look for seasonal help not just out in the field but also in their offices.

SUMMER Work Options

The general theme of looking for temporary work in the summer is in going to where all the tourists are headed during the high travel season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

One area where opportunities are plentiful is in parks and wildlife refuges.

For national parks, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service are the best places to start.

National parks are the prime choice, as they offer decent hourly pay as well as often providing a place to camp or park an RV.

These positions exist at the state and city level as well, but these parks often only offer non-paid volunteer positions that come with only a place to camp or park as a perk. Jobs through private concessionaires are also available in these parks.

Cities and towns that are located next to the major parks see a corresponding rise in business, and therefore a need for temporary workers.

One prime example is the towns at the five entrance gates to Yellowstone National Park.

These gates span the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana in regions where there is not enough of a year-round labor force to support the summer rush.

Snake Bend Colorado River National Park USA

Summer Camps

Private summer camps for youth also offer a range of opportunities for temporary workers, from camp counselor to chef.

Summer Harvesting

If you’re interested in harvest work during the summer, the first big crop is the cherry harvest which begins in June.

This mostly happens in the states along the West Coast, but there’s a significant amount of cherry farms in Michigan and Wisconsin as well.

August brings both the blueberry and apple harvests.

Both harvests generally last into October.

They’re also both found mostly in the extreme northern corners of the country — Maine and New Hampshire in the east, and Washington in the west.

Alaska Fishing

Summer fishing season in Alaska brings a great need for both workers on fishing vessels and workers manning the canning factories.

There’s such a regular and predictable need for this huge labor force that companies will pay for round-trip airfare for those who will commit to working the entire season.

Cannery workers are also put up in dorms and fed three meals a day, but the hours are long and the job involves standing for 12 hours surrounded by stinky fish guts.

The pay is better than most temporary labor jobs, however, with workers who stick out the summer often coming back with the better part of $10,000 in their pockets.

Las Vegas POKER DEALERS

Las Vegas hosts the World Series of Poker from the beginning of June to early July every year.

About 1500 dealers are needed for this massive tournament, and the majority come from outside the area.

Pay is in the range of $20 to $30 per hour. You need some prior experience as a dealer for this job, but not a whole lot; it may be possible to land a job with nothing more than a solid training course completed recently.

You don’t have to worry about the notorious stink of cigarette smoke that plagues the dealer’s profession either; smoking is not allowed in the table area during the tournament.

Poker Dealer Las Vegas, NV

Festival Work

You can find temporary festival work here and there all over the country all year long, but summer is the prime season.

You shouldn’t have to go too far to find a major music festival, renaissance fair or similar event that runs for at least several days and needs a small army of temporary staff to set up, run concessions, clean up and take everything down.

FALL Digital Nomad

Fall Harvest Time

There are two major harvests that require thousands of temporary workers in the fall: sugar beets in the northwest, and cranberries in the northeast.

Montana is the center of the sugar beet world, while Cape Cod is an excellent starting point for cranberry work.

Sugar beet work is particularly attractive as it doesn’t involve actual picking of the beets. Workers instead work for one of the major sugar companies, who receive the beets from the individual farms that harvest them.

At the lowest level, workers sort and process the beets.

There are even more lucrative positions available for those who know how to drive a large truck, operate machinery like loaders and forklifts, or are trained in the use of the specialized processing equipment.

Cranberry picking starts in September, while the beet harvest work begins in early October. If you’re stuck elsewhere in the country, you may find sporadic opportunities at pumpkin patches.

Retail Holiday Season Rush

The hiring crunch for the Christmas season begins in the early fall.

Just about anywhere in the country, you’ll be able to get on with retail stores, shopping mall kiosk companies or package delivery services.

Amazon’s fulfillment centers make a strong effort each year to attract temporary workers for the Christmas season, especially those who live out of RVs.

These centers can be found in over half of the states in the country, with the largest number of them in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The Postal Service also hires thousands of extra workers at their mail sorting facilities throughout the country for the months of November and December. The application process for this generally begins in September and ends in early October.

Christmas Tree Lots

Christmas tree lots generally open up just after Thanksgiving. They’ll be looking for temporary help until the holiday arrives.

Christmas Tree Sales November December USA

WINTER Nomad Christmas

Ski Resorts

As parks are rich in opportunities for temporary jobs in summer, ski resorts are rich in winter.

The mountain areas of California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are the central places to look for these jobs.

Resorts & Temp Agencies

The winter months are the toughest times for nomads, due to the combined lack of agricultural and tourist industry work.

Resorts in warmer climes may see something of an uptick in visitation during this time, in particular those along the Gulf Coast.

Many nomads ride out the winter simply by finding a place to settle in and working through a temp agency.

Not matter the shifts in the economy, there’s enough work out there for anyone to stay occupied all year if they are flexible enough.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from working in some digital moneymaking ideas as well!

More Nomadology

 

Getting Ready For the Backpacking Season

When the call of the wild is hitting you hard, you need to start thinking about your camping gear and the supplies you need to make backpacking a great experience.

It is time to check your tent, pack, sleeping bag, and emergency supplies to make sure the key components for your camping comfort and safety are in order.

Your Tent

Camping Tent

Your tent serves more than a way to keep the rain off your head (or snow, if you are a winter camper).

If properly sealed, your tent will not only be waterproof, but will also help contain your body heat.

Tent Checklist

  • Make sure your vents, fly, and entry are all cleaned and tear-free.
  • Use a mild mix of bath soap (unscented) to wash off any dirt or debris on the fabric, and
  • Use clear water under mild pressure to clear any dirt, debris, or sand in your zippers.
  • Never use any harsh chemicals – the man-made fibers can be damaged by any chlorinated cleaners.

Anything in the zippers will cause them to wear out faster as a natural course of using them, so keeping them clean is critical.

Winter Camping

For winter camping, you want those zippers to close snugly to keep out the cold and blowing snow – and in the summer you want them to open all the way so the moisture and heat released from your body while you’re sleeping can escape.

Check the siding material of your tent to make sure they are free of tears or other openings. You can usually patch most man-made fibers with kits readily available from a variety of sources.

It is a good idea to apply a coat of sealant to the exterior of the seams of your tent and fly with the sealant appropriate for your tent’s material.

ONLY apply the sealant in a warm dry place, making sure you give it plenty of time to dry properly.

In order to apply the sealant, it is best to pitch your tent with all sides taut, which will help ensure the sealant gets into the nooks and crannies.

Lastly, check that all of your supplies – poles, straps, and stakes – are intact, then set up the tent completely one time before packing it and going out into the wild.

Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Example

Your sleeping bag and ground pad should be relatively maintenance free, other than the same cleaning of the surfaces and zippers for the bag apply.

You need to clean your bag inside and out, but not get the insulation wet. You also want to make sure the skin of your bag is clean and free of any oils or greasy substances.

Check the insulation. If it is becoming bunched, or lumpy, it may be time to replace your sleeping bag.

Ground Pads

Ground pads come in a variety of materials and comfort levels.

Their primary function is to insulate, to keep your body heat from being radiated into the ground through your sleeping bag. Your ground pad is also your last defense from ground water getting to the skin of your sleeping bag, drenching you.

Both situations can lead to hypothermia, a dangerous condition in which your core body temperature drops below 93 degrees.

A self-inflating ground pad offers a great combination of comfort and protection.

These foam-core pads are a relatively new development, are very light-weight, and compress for easy attachment to your backpack.

Your Backpack

Taking Care of Your Backpack

Your backpack is your greatest asset for wilderness camping, and maintaining it so it will withstand several kinds of constant abuse is critical.

1. Check that there are no threads hanging or tears in the liner.

Snags and tears can quickly spread, dumping your supplies into a creek at an inopportune moment, or the entire bag coming undone if you are using it to suspend your food supplies for safekeeping during the night.

Clip any snagged threads, and patch any tears. You also need to make sure you keep your pack water-tight. Seal the seams, and if the material permits, coat the entire bag.

2. Check all the grommets and clips on the straps.

If you are using pack with an external frame, make sure the clips holding the bag to the frame are secure.

Make sure there are no rips or tears in any of the straps, and that the fastening clips that hold the shoulder straps and waist strap in place are free of chips or cracks.

Readjust the straps to fit your body as it is today.

Let’s face it, we all tend to gain a little weight over the winter, and an improperly balanced backpack can overbalance you, or chafe in very uncomfortable ways.

Your tent and bag came with stuff bags. Use them – but make sure the bags are clean and dry before stowing away your equipment.

TIP: Packing Your Tent

When loading your tent, put in the fly, then the poles, then the tent itself.

This is the reverse order in which you will need them, and the proper order when you unpack it.

You should never store the stakes with the tent, even if they are in their own ripstop bag, the edges could puncture the tent skin, forcing an emergency repair out in the field.

Emergency Supplies

Emergency Preparations

Duct Tape

One of the backpacker’s best friends is duct tape.

It is strong, water-proof, and multi-functional. You can use it to make temporary fixes to any torn material, and if you combine it with the extra tube sections that came with your tent, you can even temporarily fix the poles on your tent.

You can also use duct tape for emergency first aid, because it makes a great way to tightly secure bandaging material or splints.

Gallon Zipper Sealed Plastic Bags

Bring along a few gallon-sized zipper-sealed plastic bags.

You can use them for a variety of purposes, from collecting specimens to storing your wet socks until you can set up camp and get them dry.

Keeping your supplies (and feet!) dry is critical. In a pinch, you can use them to catch and store water.

First Aid Supplies

Check all of your first aid supplies, and make sure you still have a proper assortment of bandaging materials, disinfectants, scissors, and other supplies.

Toss out the antibiotic ointment you have in your first aid kit from last year and replace it. It has lost its efficacy. If you carry hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant, it needs replaced as well.

You can find the components of a good “do it yourself” first aid kit by checking with the Boy Scouts or the Red Cross.

Water Purification System

Check your water purification supplies, and make sure the iodine and/or filters are ready for use.

Make sure that your purification kit’s components are free of cracks. Get your canteen, waterpack, bladder, or insulated water bottle cleaned and ready for use, too.

Signaling Devices – Mirror & Whistle

No backpack is complete without two signaling devices – a mirror and a whistle.

Obviously a mirror only works when there’s a light source, but if you become disabled and a search party is looking for you, the reflection from the mirror gives you better odds of being spotted from a great distance.

The whistle is a vital signaling device. You can only yell for help for a few minutes at a time, while you can blow a whistle for hours.

GPS Locator

Another signaling device becoming more common in our high-tech world are GPS emergency locators.

Many are solar-powered, some are coming with Farraday generators, or they come with batteries.

No matter how they are powered, they only work if there is a satellite overhead, and a means of triangulating on your position. When you intend on going into extreme wilderness, rugged terrain, or into mountainous areas, you may want to invest in one of these gadgets.

Do NOT rely on this as your sole signaling device. If you’re breathing, you can still use a whistle. If the batteries go dead on the GPS unit – you could be as well shortly after.

Miscellaneous

Other stuff

Matches

Always have at least two different means of starting a fire in your pack.

Waterproof matches and a “permanent match” are easy to stow away, and work in a wide variety of weather conditions.

Knife

Always have a knife. A good multi-tool with a knife blade and other gadgets, can be found in most hardware and sporting goods stores, and can be handy.

Patch Kit

An emergency patch kit for your tent and backpack could also prove handy – but keep in mind for every ounce you add, you are losing food!

You have duct tape (featured above), which is a great permanent patch.


There are a wide assortment of other supplies you might consider bringing along for your camping expedition, but these suggestions cover most contingencies, in lightweight materials suitable for backpacking.

The best preparation if you’re a novice is to pick up any of the various books available for backpacking in the type of environment you plan on trekking in, or to pick up a copy of the Boy Scout manual on camping.

More Backpacking Season Tips

Sedona, Arizona – Easy to Get to but Hard to Leave

There’s a reason they call Sedona, Arizona the most beautiful spot in the United States.

Regardless of how you approach the city, there is beauty all around you.

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a little culture, you’ll find it here:

Mountains, Sign, Sedona Landscape

Biking In Sedona

If you’re driving to the area make sure you bring your bike. Sedona has numerous bike trails, and they’re growing each year. The newest trails are along the Red Rock Scenic Byway.

If you do forget your bike, not to worry, there are plenty of places to rent one.

When you’re ready to put the miles in, make sure you plan your trip in October to enjoy the Sedona Century Bike Tour. It is forty miles of scenic beauty through rivers, desert views, and red rocks.

Driving to Sedona

Horseback Riding 

If sitting on a bike all day isn’t your thing, perhaps seeing the countryside on horseback might be more to your liking.

Get ready to play cowboy or cowgirl as you wind your way through Red Rock Country crossing creeks and dining under the stars.

Camping in Sedona Tent Stars

Hot Air Ballooning over Sedona

For a wider view, consider a hot air balloon ride over the canyons and ancient ruins.

An aerial view let’s you truly appreciate the scope and size of the area. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sun rise over the canyons from 1,000 feet in the air.

Mountains of Sedona and Yellow Hot Air Balloon

Golf or Tennis?

golf green in sedona

Once back on firm ground, consider an afternoon of golf or tennis. There are several championship courses open to the general public.

The Sedona Golf Resort, surrounded by red rock formations, is just one of the stunning courses available. If you would rather not spend all day on the course, there are also executive courses for a quick nine holes.

Sedona is a perfect location for the tennis lover.

Visitors can play year round at many of the local resorts.

The weather is always just right for tennis, and professional instruction and competition is available for those who need a little brushing up on the game or are ready to take on a challenge.

Sedona Indoors

If you’re eager to spend a little time indoors, Sedona has you covered.

The city is home to film festivals, theatres, music, and over eighty art galleries.

You’ll find festivals throughout the year, so do make sure you check out what’s happening during your stay.

You’ll also find local wineries to explore and indulge your taste buds after a day in the canyons. Restaurants run the gambit with a little something for everyone whether you are looking for fine dining or an al fresco experience.

The Red Rock Canyon isn’t the only thing to feast your eyes on in Sedona.

Going Cuckoo

Eagle and Cathedral Rock

Due to its elevation and climate, Sedona is a bird lover’s paradise.

In the month of May, more than a hundred and thirty different species of birds are normally seen during one bird watching outing in the Verde Valley.

During the last week of April, the yearly Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is held in nearby Cottonwood, Arizona.

Weddings

Wedding in Sedona

Sedona is also a wonderful location for that special day.

When you’re looking for an outdoor wedding, the beauty of Sedona can’t be matched.

Professional wedding planners are on hand to help you will all the details necessary to make your special day a day you’ll never forget. After the ceremony, consider riding off into the sunset on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage.

Regardless of your interests, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Sedona. From a Wild West adventure to relaxing on the veranda, there is truly something for everyone. Coming to Sedona is easy. It’s the leaving that’s the hard part.

More Heroic Adventures

Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Take a Second Look

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is often just a minor pit stop for tourists who land at the airport and almost immediately board busses for Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat, or the white sand beaches of Sihanoukville and its islands.

Phnom Penh, with its modern cafes and sky scrapers, French colonial buildings, and shopfront row houses mixed among gorgeous Buddhist temples and local markets, should not be overlooked at it really does have something to excite everyone.

Many travelers who take the time to see any part of Phnom Penh will simply grab a tuk-tuk and zoom off to visit the more popular tourist attractions such as the Royal Palace and the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

While important in their own right, these sites barely scratch the surface of a complex and engaging city that is undergoing massive and rapid change.

The National Museum 

Cambodia National Museum

The National Museum for instance, located just behind the Royal Palace, offers a museum experience that is unlike most others. Most visitors quickly notice is that the museum is open air. The window openings are protected by large wooden shutters during the night, but when open, air, and sometimes birds, freely pass through.

Not surprisingly, the museum contains one of the largest collections of Angkorian and Pre-Angkorian artifacts in the world.

What is surprising however, is that the majority of this collection was gathered after the ouster of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 as they had abandoned the museum and destroyed most of the artifacts during their reign of terror. The museum also contains a small, but hopefully growing, collection of artifacts from Cambodia’s French Colonial era.

Nightly, behind the museum, a traditional dance show is held with young artists who are rekindling their culture of dance and music that was all but lost during decades of civil war, genocide, and rebuilding.

Stability has finally allowed the arts to return and the Traditional Dance show is one of the best ways for tourists to witness them.

traditional dancers cambodia

Like any large city, the local neighborhoods of Phnom Penh each have their own distinctive character and charm.

Walking the streets, or taking a tuk-tuk ride through a local neighborhood is a rewarding experience, especially if you are able to explore several different areas and witness a variety of locals going about their daily lives.

From the busy streets surrounding the riverfront packed with local street vendors, markets, and small shops to the much more upscale BKK1 area with its Starbuckseque coffee shops and a new Krispy Kreme, there is a neighborhood that will make most everyone feel at home.

Walking a neighborhood is also an excellent way to see the architecture of the area.

The ornate metalwork that makes up many of the common fences that surround most buildings and villas can easily be called works of art.

From the French colonial buildings with their curved corners and balconies to the hand carved roof brackets, the architecture of Phnom Penh does not disappoint either.

French Architecture in Phomn Penh Cambodia

Many concrete walls, especially those surrounding the numerous wats (temples) around the city, are also intricately detailed and very worthy of close inspection.

For those who are interested in construction as well, Phnom Penh is growing at a phenomenal pace and new construction, in its concrete and rough brick form, can be seen all over the city in both low and high rise buildings.

Local Market – Local Life

Cambodia Local Market

Most tourists who venture into Phnom Penh’s markets visit Central Market and more recently Toul Tom Pong market, commonly called The Russian Market. While each of these has its charm, there are many local markets where the people of Phnom Penh do their daily shopping.

Unlike Central Market or The Russian Market, local markets will have little to no souvenirs and instead will be stocked with fresh fruits and meats, tools, kitchen appliances, and other daily needs.

A local market is a great place to interact with Cambodians, witness the variety of foods and goods, and practice some of the common travel phrases like “How much is this?”.

Local markets are also an excellent place to dive into a fresh bowl of noodles or whatever is on the menu that day.

Cambodians are often friendly people and more than happy to help you through the buying process but remember that modest haggling is expected.

Even if you don’t purchase anything, seeing a local market is not an experience you will soon forget and for many is one of the highlights of any trip to Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Up-and-Coming Center of Business & Culture in Southeast Asia

Phnom Penh, once known as the Pearl of Asia, is again an up-and-coming center of business and culture in southeast Asia.

Unlike in its past though, today’s Phnom Penh is not just limited to Asia but is becoming a truly international city that is a worthwhile addition to any traveler’s schedule.

Off the path City See it Now

It’s Never Too Late For a Heroic Adventure

Dating in The City – Ten Tips for Hooking Up in London

There are few things more exciting than being young, free and single in the city.

Or even if you’re not so young, dating in a buzzing metropolis such as London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong or Paris is an adventure like no other.

There are immense opportunities to meet a lifelong partner or someone to warm your bed for a night:

City Dating

Whatever you are looking for, the city has it.

Dating in the city is not without its challenges, though. With that in mind, here are ten tips for finding a love-match in a thriving metropolis.

Get App-Happy

You might feel that Tinder is already old hat. But there are a wealth of exciting apps that will get your smartphone buzzing with dating activity.

Whatever your age and interests, meeting your perfect match can be a ton more fun if you do it at the touch of a handy app.

Examples include Coffee Meets Bagel or you can check out Tinder for travelers

Get Adventurous

One of the many great pleasures of dating in the world’s great cities is the enormous diversity of people and leisure activities.

Next time you are planning a date, get creative and try something new.

Ever considered dating in the dark, parasailing across the city or chilling in an ice bar?

Those are just some of the awesome ideas available for you and your date to enjoy.

Who knows where your adventures will take you?

Parasail Date Adventure

Explore Unique City Features

A meal for two is always nice… but you can do that anywhere.

When you want to try something new, why not look at the unique aspects of wherever you live and share it with your gorgeous new date?

Try a London Eye capsule for two, having caricatures done in Montmartre, a cruise on an Amsterdam canal, an exhibition at MoMA… anything that shouts:

“We’re here, were now and we may just be falling in love…”

London Eye Perfect Date

No Need to Be Shy

There is never any reason to be lonely in the capital.

If you are shy by nature, then find a group of like-minded people and focus on just enjoying city friendship first. Dating can follow soon after.

You could become a member of a top museum or gallery, or try a dance class, or join up a sports club for singles – your call, do whatever you feel like!

In the city, a date often finds you.

Finding Love in London

Hunt Romance Online

Bumping into “the perfect partner” is not always feasible.

That is one reason why very few people have reservations these days about online dating.

Sign up to a reputable dating site which suits your personal tastes – arty, teenage, over 60, sports-loving or whatever – and have some fun finding the perfect love match online.

Seeking Love Online London

It’s Not All Money, Money, Money

So your normal circles do not run to the smartest districts.

You don’t have to splash the cash to have the most fun.

City living is normally expensive, but all the more reason to shop around for fun ideas that will not cost the earth.

How about a comedy night, a university student union event, a street festival, book readings, an art happening or any of the other many low-cost high-fun options that can be found in every city?

Comedy Night of Romance

Mix it Up

If your normal dating routine goes first date: coffee, second date: dinner and movie, etc, why not mix it up a little?

How about a last-minute surprise for him, or her, with tickets for their favorite band?

Or taking a risk by daring to try a hot pop-up restaurant in town?

Or, something outrageous yet memorable like a parachute jump?

Surprise yourself, surprise your date and you will reap the romantic benefits.

Memorable Date - Jump out of plane

Mind Your Manners

Cities are, busy, pressurized places. The dating game can be fast-paced, but there is never any need to brush people off if you don’t click.

Be nice. Even when they might not deserve it. No need to tell them that you would rather date Shrek, just say a polite thank you and leave it at that.

It’s fabulous dating karma.

Shrek be nice on dates

Wrong-foot Them

It’s date three. You like each other. You think you have the measure of one another’s tastes.

She plays in a symphony orchestra – take her to a tour of Banksy art in situ.

He lives for football – blow his mind with a night at the Covent Garden opera or La Scala.

Why not?

Life is an adventure and you need a partner who can experience the best of all of it… starting now.

Travel Partner

Finally, Always Play It Safe… Dating City Mostly

Don’t step out of your door on a first date without telling a family member or friend where you are going, and who with – Rule Number One.

Only meet in well-lit, busy places. Also, always keep a mobile and enough taxi fare with you. You can be safe and still have a heroic adventure worthy of memory.

If alarm bells ring, you can always leave.

Most people really are lovely, so simply avoid taking unnecessary risks and stay strictly on the fun side of dating.

You might be surprised how happiness tends to find those who are open to finding love.

Enjoy!

Those Open to Love

Live Heroically – Everyday

Cultured Coffee: The Next Kopi Luwak, Civet Coffee Alternative

Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, is partially digested coffee that has been eaten and digested by an Asian Palm Civet; often called civet cat coffee…

Source of Kopi Luwak - Asian Palm Civet

Kopi Luwak

It is a slightly disturbing delicacy based out of Indonesia, and the pre-digested, partially fermented coffee beans have been known to sell for more than USD $2,000 dollars a pound!

Fermented Civet Coffee Beans

But there is good news for ethical coffee aficionados with a slightly tighter budget.

In July 2015, Camille Delebecque launched Cultured Coffee, the next coffee delicacy, through a Kickstarter campaign where he successfully raised over USD$50,000 towards putting his unique product on the market.

Cultured coffee is a uniquely fermented whole-bean coffee product that has been described by many as a better alternative to kopi luwak.

Fermentation is a process that has been practiced worldwide for thousands of years. It offers better, more delicious food products including cheese, wine, and even beer.

Fermented coffee has been around for many years, however, the fermentation process is often questionable at best.

Typically, coffee beans are left fermenting in water, which can lead to bad, uncontrolled bacterial growth and a bitter flavor. Not this preparation method.

Cultured coffee is a unique product that has gone through two incredible fermentation processes in a natural, controlled environment.

The fermentation process leaves you with a truly one-of-a-kind flavor. The taste provides very little bitterness with abundant notes of fruit, floral flavors, and chocolate undertones.

If you are a coffee connoisseur that can’t wait to get your hands on your own bag of Cultured Coffee, you can order bags and bottles of coffee beans in varying sizes, directly through Delebecque’s website>>>

If you are looking for a refreshing alternative to a typical cup of coffee, Cultured Coffee could be a great option for you!

Cultured coffee… the beginning of a new fermented foods revolution? [Video]

Ready for More Heroic Eating Adventures?

Five Reasons to Choose a Hostel Instead of a Hotel

Many travelers associate hostels with unkempt backpackers strumming on their guitars or massive dorm rooms filled with snoring strangers.

Others still think all hostels are youth hostels, and that they’re either too old or too experienced to check in to one.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Hostels have come a long way in the past twenty years, and are an increasingly appealing option for travelers of all ages, experience levels, interests and budgets.

Here are five great reasons why you should consider booking a hostel instead of a hotel on your next trip:

Why book a hostel: Hostel vs Hotel

1. You’ll Save Money

A quick search on one of the major booking sites shows that of the more than 1000 available accommodation options in London, England, the sixty least expensive options are all shared, dorm-style rooms.

In fact, the average price of a bed in a dorm room in London is approximately 80% cheaper than the average price of a hotel room.

For single travelers, the savings can’t be beat.

Groups of two or more may be able to find double rooms for approximately the same price as two dorm beds, but the hotels with prices that low generally get equally low scores from guest reviews.

The more expensive the city, the more you’ll save by staying in a hostel.

Hostels are economic when you are on a tight budget

2. You’ll Make New Friends

Whether you’re traveling solo or with others, it’s always nice to make new friends along the way.

When you stay in a hostel you have instant access to a group of people who, like you, are interested in travel, meeting new people and learning about other cultures.

Many hostels organize activities such as walking tours, day trips and pub crawls to help guests get to know one another.

The best hostels also have comfortable common areas where you can relax with a book, sip a drink or connect to the internet while chatting with other guests.

Most travelers who frequent hostels can easily list a dozen cool people they’ve met while hosteling… can you name even one friend you’ve made in a hotel?

Social Life is one attraction at hostels, new friends

3. You’ll Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Think about the cost and environmental impact of lighting, heating, cooling and cleaning a hotel room.  Now multiply that by the hundreds of rooms in any given hotel.

The impact is pretty huge, and it’s especially harmful in sensitive ecological areas.

When multiple travelers share common facilities, however, the impact can be reduced.  Instead of needing air conditioning in ten separate rooms, hostels can simply air condition one ten-bed dormitory.

Instead of cleaning ten separate bathrooms every morning, hostels can clean one shared bathroom a couple of times throughout the day.

When you’re concerned about your environmental footprint, spend part of your trip in shared dorm rooms and look for hostels that incorporate other eco-friendly practices like recycling, composting and non-toxic cleaning.

Hostels Use Less Fossil Fuels

4. You’ll Feel Like You’re At Home

Anyone who’s ever taken one look at a hotel’s dry cleaning price list and decided to just wear a dirty shirt again will know what this one is about.

Good hostels anticipate budget travelers’ needs and offer home-style services like washing machines, drying racks, shared kitchens (often equipped with cooking basics like oil and salt), free computers and complimentary boarding pass printing.

Even when you’re not trying to keep costs down, sometimes it’s just nice to cook yourself your favorite meal or wash that t-shirt that somehow seems to have developed a chocolate ice cream stain.

5. You Can Still Have Privacy

Example of a private room at a hostel two single beds.

The most popular hostels today offer a variety of room types, which may include a mix of both shared and private accommodations.

Solo travelers seeking a bit of privacy can look for hostels that offer single rooms, while groups can look for double or triple private rooms, or even consider booking an entire dorm just for their group (even if you don’t use all the beds, it’s often cheaper than the equivalent number of hotel rooms).

When you’re not into sharing a bathroom with strangers, book yourself into one of the many hostels where rooms feature an ensuite bathroom.

Recently, more hostels have been adding family rooms to their collections, so even travelers with children can take enjoy the benefits of staying in a hostel.

Take Away: Hostel vs Hotel

Motives for Booking A hostel

Whether your goal is to save money, meet new people, reduce your environmental impact or enjoy the comforts of home, staying in a hostel offers many advantages over staying in traditional hotels.

With the option of staying in a shared dorm room or your very own private room, you can now experience all the great things about hostel accommodations while also deciding just how much you want to interact with the other hostel guests.

Bon voyage!

Go Further, Life – Its Your Heroic Adventure