What are the Top Heavy Duty Sleeping Bags for?

If you are looking to head out into the wilderness on a hunting or camping trip, your sleeping bag needs are going to be different than a hiker.

For someone going hiking looking for the best ultralight sleeping bag to keep their weight down while they are on the move, a thick heavyweight bag is not the right choice.

For a hunter or camper that’s setting up a base camp and not going too far from that location, a heavy duty sleeping bag makes a smart choice due to the thickness and comfort they provide.

Below we have broken down 7 of our favorites and give you our top two choices for sleeping outdoors down to either 20 Degree Temps or Zero Degree Temps.

Top 7 Heavy Duty Sleeping Bags

Two Great Heavier Bags for 20 Degree Camping:


Coleman Dunnock Large Sleeping Bag1. Coleman Dunnock:

A traditional rectangular bag, the Dunnock is perfect if you like to have a bit more room at night. It’s generously sized – anybody under 6’4” will have plenty space – and you can zip two together as well.

It’s filled with Coletherm synthetic fiber but both the inner and outer shells are pure cotton. That makes it highly breathable and very comfortable. It also makes it relatively bulky and heavy, at just over five pounds, so it’s not ideal for ultralight backpacking. The cotton also has practically no water resistance.

On the other hand if you’re camping with a good tent the Dunnock will let you sleep in luxury. It’s a bit marginal as you approach the 20°F limit and if you regularly camp below freezing you might want to look at something else, but for summer and fall use it’s great. It also has an integrated stowage bag and carry handle.


Coleman Brazos Large Sleeping Bag2. Coleman Brazos:

Another rectangular bag, this uses the same easy-roll system as the Dunnock and in general it’s a fairly similar bag. The main difference is the shell, which is polyester. Some people will find this less comfortable but it does resist moisture a bit better, and it’s easier to keep clean.

It’s also a smaller bag, more suitable for anyone up to around 5’11”, and that makes it slightly lighter too.  It’s also a lot cheaper, so if you need a competitively priced spring to fall bag this could be perfect.

Like the Dunnock the Brazos doesn’t use box baffling, so there are stitching points that run through both inner and outer shells, and at lower temperatures you might feel some cold spots. The zip has a good baffle though and you certainly shouldn’t have any trouble down to a few degrees below freezing.


Five Great Heavyweight Sleeping Bags for Extremely Cold Temps: Camping & Outdoors


Browning Camping McKinley1. Browning Camping McKinley:

This is a heavyweight rectangular bag with mummy-style hood, weighing in at 8.8 pounds, but it’s extremely warm and comfortable.  It’s a good sleeping bag for hunters that need the extra weight, but it’s not all that lightweight in comparison to the other models on our list.

Shoulder and zipper baffles, combined with offset quilting and a generous quantity of Techloft synthetic fill, give it all the insulation you could ask for – and it’s also very roomy.

Add in a soft microfiber lining and a well contoured hood and this is an excellent piece of kit.

It’s perfect for hunters, who’re usually less concerned with weight but need something to keep them warm in exposed locations, and it’s also very sturdy and durable.


Coleman Big Basin Extreme 0 Degree Sleeping Bag2. Coleman Big Basin:

Below 0°F a sleeping bag has to work harder to keep you warm, so for the Big Basin Coleman have modified the simple rectangular design with some mummy features.

The result is interesting; it’s very roomy, accommodating campers up to 6’6” tall, and if you’re both more modestly sized it’s possible to fit two in there quite comfortably.

Meanwhile the bag has offset quilting to eliminate cold spots, a fully baffled two-way zipper and a drawstring hood.

The bottom end has a fleece liner to give your feet some extra warmth, and there’s also an internal pocket for a flashlight. This is a pretty large and heavy bag but it’s an affordable cold weather option.


3. Coleman North Rim 0°F:

This Coleman heavy duty model is a great sleeping bag for those camping or hunting trips in extremely cold temperatures. It is rated at 0°F but most users that have tested it said it is very warm down to 10°F.

The North Rim is designed especially for tall guys (up to 6 ft 2″) but if you’re over 225 lbs consider going for the Coleman Big Basin as beyond that point it feels constricted.

This bag is not that great for backpacking either as it is not very packable but it does its job with flying colors in a camping tent, RV, or a hunting shack. It is an amazing cold weather heavy duty bag that won’t let you down (unless you’re not careful with the zippers – they’re very delicate.)


Related: How to Wash a Sleeping Bag for a Clean Camping Nap


4. Teton Sports Celsius XL -25°F:

Teton Sports Extreme Weather Below Zero Sleeping BagIf you’re at all worried about getting too cold this monster from Teton should solve your problem.  We didn’t want to include too many monsters on our list, but we felt we couldn’t ignore the quality on this one.

It weighs a hefty 9.5 pounds, so it’s not one for the ultralight fans among you, but it’s very, very warm.

It’s also rooms, thanks to its rectangular shape, and you can zip a pair of them together.

The shell is durable taffeta; the liner is comfortable flannel. It also has the features you’d expect from a mummy bag – fully adjustable hood, zipper baffle and two-way zippers.

This is a big, heavy bag, but for camping only use it should keep you warm through just about anything.


Teton Sports Celcius5. Teton Sports Celsius Regular:

Like the Big Basin this is a hybrid – a rectangular bag with some mummy features, including a generous drawstring hood to close off any drafts around your neck.

The shell and filling are both polyester, making it rugged and easy to keep clean. The zipper has a full-length baffle and is two-way, so in warmer weather you can open the bottom for some ventilation. This is a very high quality and well featured bag for the price range that it falls into.

It also performs well, and we wouldn’t hesitate to use it right down to 0°F. Teton have a great reputation for affordable but effective gear, and this bag lives up to it.


Putting it All Together:

Overall, any of these sleeping bags would make a great addition to your next hunting or camping trip.  All of them are rated highly and don’t quite make the cut as a lightweight bag for hiking, but they will serve you very well if you are just looking for something that you can be used in your backyard or on trips where your base camp is near by.

How To Purify Water in the Great Outdoors:  5 Ways to Make Lake or River Water Safe

Regardless whether you are hiking, kayak fishing or hunting, any outdoor trip can go quickly awry in a hurry if you aren’t geared with the proper survival equipment or don’t have a clean water supply.

If you’re not carrying your own water in with you, you’ll need to purify the water you find in the wilderness.  To purify water while camping, you have five great options:

Let’s look at 5 great ways to purify lake or river water next time you’re out in the sticks.

Boiling:  

Boiling water is a simple and effective way to purify water for drinking. There’s nothing to it: Collect the water into a pot or other container, put it on the camp stove, and bring it to a roiling boil and boil for at least one minute.

At altitudes above 6,562 feet, boil the water for at least 3 minutes, since because the air pressure is so low there, water takes less energy to hit the boiling point. This means that the water will boil at a lower temperature than usual but the boiling time will need to be increased to purify water or cook meals.

Boiling kills the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that may ruin your trip. However, boiling does not remove the mud and other particulate matter found in backcountry water.

But if you’re patient, you can leave the water out for a bit and the mud will settle to make drinking more pleasant.

The Good:

  • Boiling water is relatively safe, cheap, and effective
  • It does not require expensive gear and special expertise
  • Boiling water is the go-to method of many outdoor enthusiasts

The Bad:

  • Some nasties in water might not be nixed at the boiling point; you’ll need a pressure cooker to kill those bugs, but fortunately they are very rare;
  • Boiling does not remove the dirt, heavy metals, and pollutants from water.

If you aren’t used to boiling your own water in the Great outdoors, below is a quick video with a demonstration as well as the pros and cons.

Chemical Treatments:  

The most common commercial water treatments come in two basic types: chlorine and iodine. Chlorine is available in tablets that you dissolve in water and let sit for 15 minutes.

Chlorine can be also replaced by liquid household bleach, just make sure that it hasn’t expired and doesn’t have any added fragrances in it. Use half of teaspoon of bleach to 5 gallons of water. Double the dose, if the water is really murky.

Wait 30 minutes before drinking the water. If the water doesn’t have a bleachy smell add just as much bleach and wait 15 more minutes.

Make sure that no more than 6 months have passed between the bleach’s manufacturing date and the use date for maximum effect. After around 6 months bleach starts to lose its potency.

Iodine, which can be purchased as tablets, crystals, or tinctures, works the same way, though iodine should not be used by pregnant women or people with thyroid issues.

For both methods, it is best to pre-filter the water to remove dirt and particles free floating in the water. You can use a clean T-shirt or a bandanna.

The Good:

  • Quick and convenient (no need for a stove and fuel)
  • Save on fuel bigly
  • The go-to method of many ultra-light backpackers

The Bad:

  • Chemical water treatments should not be used extensively as they have a cumulative effect, slowly overloading your body with chemicals
  • Chemical treatments often fail to kill giardia as the tiny bug is almost immune to the chemicals
  • Heavy metal contamination, debris, and pollution are still an issue
  • Water does not taste (or smell) that great after chemical purification

If you aren’t familiar with the chemical treatment of water, below there’s a short tutorial.

Gravity-fed Water Filters:  

Water filters are great options for purifying water when camping. They’re easy to use, and are available in personal or larger, portable models for two or more people.

Filters do a good job on protozoa and bacteria, but will not filter out viruses. Water filters work by straining the water through an internal element using a hand pump, gravity, or in a sip tube. They also leave the mud out, so you get a nice clean drink.

The Good:

  • Cheap
  • Can filter out large quantities of water
  • You can make your own filter

The Bad:

  • They take a lot of time to work
  • Just for camping
  • Not 100% effective

Below there’s is a quick method to make an emergency water filter by yourself.

Portable Water Purifiers:  

Water purifiers are the next step up when it comes to convenient solutions. Most water purifiers are a combo of a filter and chemical compounds or, most recently, a multiple filter system.

To be marketed as a water purifier in the United States, the device must meet or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers.

EPA-registered products must kill 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% or viruses and 99.9% of protozoa. Water purifiers are currently very affordable and provide safe, reliable filtration.

The Good:

  • They kill pathogens down to 0.2 micron in size
  • Very portable and lightweight
  • You can filter water as you go

The Bad:

  • Portable water filters do not kill viruses because of the small size (they need to be backed by other water purification methods)
  • You’ll need to put some serious elbow grease into getting enough water to drink

Below, there’s a quick review of three very popular water filters.

The Ultraviolet Light Method:  

Ultraviolet light can also be used to purify water. At the correct intensity, UV light contains ample radiation to destroy the DNA in microbes and shut down their reproductive mechanisms, making water safe to drink.

Most UV purifiers pass water through a UV irradiated chamber to sterilize it. The downside to UV purification is the price: Even a simple handheld unit is very costly.

However, UV radiation uses absolutely no chemicals, leaving you with pure, tasty drinking water.

One key to making the UV filter work properly: The water should be pre-filtered to remove sediment before purifying as to not obstruct the UV light.

The Good:

  • Quick, easy, convenient
  • No nasty chemicals are added to the water
  • Water tastes and smells fresh
  • You can filter as much water as you want (you’ll not run out of fuel or tablets)

The Bad:

  • Water will become unsafe to drink if exposed to visible light after the treatment
  • Pre-filtering is a must for the best results
  • UV-based water treatment devices are a bit pricey

One popular UV water sterilization  device is the Steri-pen. You can see the product broken down in the video below.

Wrap Up:

While there are several ways to make sure the water you are about to drink is clean, any of the methods mentioned above should keep you out of harms way on your next outdoor excursion.

**Disclaimer**

We are not responsible for any unsuccessful attempts by you to purify water.  The suggestions above are meant to be used by users to purify their own water but at their own risk.

Best Gun Cleaning Kit in 2020: Our Top 10 Revealed

Imagine you are out hunting in the woods on a beautiful day. You’ve been looking for something, anything, to come into your sights and make this whole trip worth it.

Suddenly, a huge, majestic buck comes into view—a beast like something out of a nature documentary. Carefully you aim and put your finger on the trigger, but when you fire, your gun jams and away he runs. You didn’t use the best gun cleaning kit on your weapon.

If you’re a hunter, this is one of the most frustrating experiences you can go through. However, you can prevent this from happening with the proper care and maintenance of your firearm.

There are many steps and procedures that are involved to do this, but one of the most important steps is the regular cleaning of your firearm. You will, however, need to select the best possible cleaning kit for your weapon to do so.

Luckily, that’s just what we’re here to help you with. We’ve examined a number of cleaning kits and narrowed the list down to the ten best gun cleaning kits for you to choose from.

Remember, it’s important to select the right kit for your individual weapon. So let’s look at exactly what you’ll need to consider before you buy one.

Product FAQ

1. WHAT IS A GUN CLEANING KIT?

Before you look for the best gun cleaning kit, it’s important to understand just what this kit is. As you may imagine, your gun experiences wear and tear just like any other tool.

With the combination of use, loading, and taking it around, a gun’s inner workings can become dry and malfunction. A gun cleaning kit works to repair the problems of wear and tear so your gun works properly every time.

2. HOW DOES A GUN CLEANING KIT WORK?

A gun cleaning kit works to repair many issues that gun use can cause. The best gun cleaning kit will lubricate all moving parts to prevent wear and tear. This will usually use oil and/or grease. It will also help you remove the residue of materials like gunpowder and metal from the gun, allowing it to function properly.

This function is vital for your firearm. Using the best gun cleaning kit will not only keep your gun functional, but it will also keep it safe to use properly. Your gun may malfunction or even explode if not properly cleaned. So for your own safety, be sure to use your kit consistently.

3. WHERE CAN YOU BUY IT/THEM?

So now that you understand the function and importance of the best gun cleaning kit where can you get one? In today’s world, online shopping is always an option.

However, if you’d like to see the kit and get instructions, sporting goods stores usually carry them. Dick’s and Cabela’s are excellent places to look.

How We Reviewed FIREGEAR Gun Cleaning Kit Universal Supplies for Hunting Rifle Handgun Shot Gun Cleaning Kit for All Guns with Case

So what is the best gun cleaning kit? That will vary depending on your gun, but we are here to give you a headstart. We compiled a list of the ten best gun cleaning kits available today. We want to be sure you are fully informed about the kit you purchase.

We complied a list of the most important parameters to consider when buying the best gun cleaning kit. These include the features available, the pros and cons of each model, the price, where you can buy them, and the warranty.

We’ve even used these factors to make our own choice for the best gun cleaning kit. Before we get to that, let’s look at one factor you may already consider—the price.

Overall Price Range of the Best Gun Cleaning Kit

So how much does the best gun cleaning kit cost? It’s actually a fairly wide margin, as kits can go anywhere from $40 to $120. This can vary by model; a shotgun kit would be more than a handgun kit.

However, more expensive kits can offer better supplies or more cleaning options, but again, that depends on the model you need.

What We Reviewed

  • Otis Technology The Otis Elite
  • Hoppe’s Boresnake Rifle Soft-Sided Rifle Cleaning Kit
  • Remington Hunting Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
  • Hoppe’s No. 9 Cleaning Kit
  • DAC Winchester Super Deluxe Soft Sided Gun Care Case
  • New Hoppe’s 9 Rifle Cleaning Kit
  • Allen Company Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Ohuhu 28PCS Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Allen Ultimate Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Cleans all rifles/pistols/shotguns/inline muzzleloaders with 100% cotton 2” & 3” patches, 3 slotted tips & 2 patch savers
  • 16 firearm specific bronze bore brushes with size marked on brush stem (.17, .22 limited breech, .22/.223, .243-.260, .270/7mm, .30-06/.300/30-30/.308, .338-.35, .357-38cal/9mm, .40/10mm, .44/.45, .50cal, .410ga, 28ga, 20ga, 16ga, 12/10ga)
  • 8”, 12” and 36” aircraft grade Memory-Flex cables and thread connector for proper Breech-to-Muzzle cleaning
  • Small & large obstruction removers knock out mud, snow, stuck casings and double as a t-handle base for included t-handle; small t-handle & stud included for small caliber cleaning

FEATURES

The Otis Elite is a solid choice if you own more than one gun. This system works on both handguns and shotguns, and even rifles. The kit itself contains almost everything you would need to get the best performance out of your weapon. However, it is a more expensive purchase.

WARRANTY

Otis Elite uses a ‘No Nonsense’ warranty on their products. Any damage to the kit or dissatisfaction will result in either a new product or refund. Otis also encourages photos of any malfunctioning kits. They will be used to improve future models.

Pros

  • Over three dozen cleaning components
  • Bronze bore and chamber brushes
  • Durable carrying case
  • Two tubes of Otis Ultra-Bore solvent included

Cons

  • One of the more expensive kits on today’s market
  • Super-compact, complete BoreSnake Gun cleaning kit
  • The world’s quickest three-step bore shine
  • Rugged, soft-sided case attaches easily to a belt
  • Includes BoreSnake, Hoppe’s No. 9 Solvent, Hoppe’s Lubricating Oil, Hoppe’s Weatherguard Cloths and pulling tool

FEATURES

This cleaning kit is a simple, no-frills purchase. It comes with lubricating oil, #9 solvent, a weather guard cloth, and the namesake Boresnake pulling tool. The carrying case is soft-sided and convenient to carry. This is a great choice for rifle owners.

WARRANTY

Warranty information can be found at Hoppe’s customer service lines. Please contact them at http://www.hoppes.com/global/customer-service.

Pros

  • Ultra compact carrying case
  • Fair price
  • Scours debris quickly

Cons

  • Not for handgun owners
  • Rem Squeeg-E removes all dislodged barrel debris in just one pass
  • Sturdy, coated Rem Flex Rod Cables help protect barrel finish
  • Machine-washable Rem Pad (28″” x 12″) velcro’ed in the bag protects surface and stores easily
  • Rem All In Bore Cleaner offers high-performance on carbon, plastic, lead and copper fouling
  • Essential Tools: 2 large cleaning brushes, brush revolver adapter and gun cloth

FEATURES

This kit has been a consistently strong performer for some time. Like the Otis, it is suitable for a number of firearms and can be used for personal or professional firearms. The kit comes with flex coated cables and ten bore brushes, which work to ensure you will only need one go-around with this kit. .22 cal. pistols and 12 gauge shotguns work best for this kit.

WARRANTY

Remmington offers a warranty of up to two years. However, they will not repair damage caused by improper use. If a defect is found, they will repair or replace the weapon. The warranty form can be filled out at https://www.remington.com/warranty-registration.

Pros

  • Multiple brushes
  • Cleaning oils and lubricants
  • Works on multiple guns

Cons

  • Not the best for prime time use
  • Plastic Storage box
  • Hoppe’s No. 9 cleaning kit with aluminum rod
  • Includes one 2 oz. bottle cleaning solvent and one 2.25 oz. lubricating oil
  • Brush for the intended caliber is included with this kit
    Intended for .38, .357 and 9mm pistols
  • Packaged in a box, not clamshell

FEATURES

The second Hoppe’s kit on our list, this one is best suited for .9, .38, and .357 mm handguns. It’s a bare bones kit, but it will provide you with everything you need to clean your gun. It removes fouling agents from the barrel and has high-quality lubricating oil. Combined with the low price, this is a solid investment.

WARRANTY

Please see the Hoppe’s Boresnake kit previously reviewed for warranty information.

Pros

  • 2oz bottle of cleaning solvent
  • Long lasting lubricating oil
  • Heavy duty plastic carrying case
  • 40 cleaning patches included

Cons

  • Not for rifle owners
  • Custom fitted Winchester EVA soft sided case
  • Removable handoliers and accessory pouches
  • Machined aluminum handle
  • Winchester super deluxe cleaning kit
  • 68 Piece Set
  • Soft Sided Case

FEATURES

This well-stocked kit comes with over 68 tools. As a result, you will have everything you need to clean your gun. These tools include 18 bore brushes made of bronze and a nylon brush. With such a versatile kit, you’ll get the best cleaning possible.

WARRANTY

Winchester does not offer a warranty on most of its products.

Pros

  • 68 pieces
  • Weather resistant case
  • High quality product

Cons

  • No lubricating oil
  • The Hoppe’s 9 Rifle Cleaning Kits Include the tools necessary for proper gun care maintenance.
  • Help extend the life of your firearm by using the most relied on cleaning tools in the industry.

FEATURES

Hoppe’s appears once again with this rifle cleaning kit. Despite its name, this kit comes with enough tools to clean both rifles and handguns. It’s a solid, basic kit with enough tools to clean your guns. If you want simplicity, you can’t go wrong here.

WARRANTY

See our earlier Hoppe’s entries for warranty info.

Pros

  • Lubricating oil, aluminum rod, and patches
  • Removes corrosion
  • Attractive price

Cons

  • Basic clamshell case
  • Professional grade cleaning kit in a tool box for storage
  • Includes components for standard rifle/pistol calibers plus 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and . 410 bore shotguns
  • Components include bronze brushes, brass jags, cotton swabs, brass slotted tips, brass adapters, muzzle guards, cleaning rods, pick, cleaning brushes, and cotton patches
  • 65 cleaning tools/supplies – see details in product description below
  • 15″ x 10″ x 8. 75″ tool box with dual latches

FEATURES

This kit is designed more for a professional shooter. It has all the tools needed to clean 12 and 20 gauge weapons. These include brass slotted tips, adaptors, muzzled guards and more. It has everything you need.

WARRANTY

Please speak with Alien concerning warranty information.

Pros

  • Every tool you could need
  • Excellent tool box
  • Organized

Cons

  • Cleaning rods
  • Deluxe 28 Piece Kit
  • Built to Last
  • Easy Gun Maintenance
  • Neatly Organized
  • Grab and Go Case

FEATURES

Like the Allen model, this gun kit comes with a wide variety of tools. This allows it to clean rifles, shotguns, and handguns. While not as numerous as the Allen, it’s 28 tools provide plenty of ease for cleaning. The cleaning case is solid, making this an excellent purchase.

WARRANTY

Please speak with Ohuhu concerning warranty information.

Pros

  • Good for multiple firearm owners
  • 10 different brushes
  • 6 total rods, 3 for rifles and shotguns

Cons

  • No lubricant or solvent
  • All-in-one: Universal cleaning accessory kit for used for all types of shotguns, rifles and pistol cleaning. All you need to clean common caliber guns in a compact case. Our case is designed to keep the pieces in their place, we also included 2 spaces to put you cleaning oil and solvent.
  • No Cheap Plastic: all our slotted tips and cleaning jags are made of high quality brass and high quality nylon plastic. Sets from other brands use cheap plastic tips that can easily break after two uses. With this set you will not experience the frustration of having a broken jag/tip inside your gun barrel.
  • Helpful & Portable: Keep your guns performing at their best by utilizing this cleaning/maintenance kit. Everything is kept neat and organized in the lightweight durable plastic carrying case.

FEATURES

Another kit designed to have all possible tools inside. This universal kit also cleans rifles, shotguns, and handguns. The carrying case is designed to keep tools organized for your needs. Combined with the price, this is another strong choice.

WARRANTY

Please speak with Gloryfire concerning warranty information.

Pros

  • Multiple tools
  • No cheap plastic
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Brass rod handle
  • Professional grade cleaning kit in a tool box for storage
  • Includes components for standard rifle/pistol calibers plus 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and . 410 bore shotguns
  • Components include bronze brushes, brass jags, cotton swabs, brass slotted tips, brass adapters, muzzle guards, cleaning rods, pick, cleaning brushes, and cotton patches
  • 65 cleaning tools/supplies – see details in product description below
  • 15″ x 10″ x 8. 75″ tool box with dual latches

FEATURES

This kit features 65 pieces in a large, toolbox style carrying case. As such, it holds a large variety of tools that should fit any need you have. It works for either a gun novice or pro. A great choice for any gun user.

WARRANTY

Allen back their products for up to one year after purchase. For the full warranty, use the link at https://byallen.com/warranty/.

Pros

  • Every tool you could need
  • Cleans guns, rifles, and pistols
  • 100% cotton patches

Cons

  • No solvent or lubricant included

The Verdict

All of these kits have strong pros and cons that may make or break your decision to buy them. Remember, not every kit is best for your gun and it’s vital to get the kit you need. But with that said, we promised to give you our choice for the best possible kit. And after much deliberation, we’ve arrived at a solid verdict.

While these are all solid choices, the most consistent product and our pick for the best buy is the Otis Elite. This model has a large selection of tools which echoes other products on this list. However, it has one added feature those kits lack. It comes with lubricant and solvent, which many other ‘universal kits’ don’t include.

That said, the price of the Otis Elite is a factor that may deter you. However, buying one of the other kits will require you to spend additional money on the supplies that are not included. And the Otis Elite contains enough tools that you can clean whatever gun you may have. So if you want a comprehensive kit that will allow you to get everything in one shot, we recommend the Otis Elite.

50 Breathtaking Images of the Grand Canyon

The epic Grand Canyon.  One of the seven magnificent wonders of the world. One of the most visual spectacles on the planet. The views are absolutely stunning and can only be described as a natural masterpiece.

In the past decade, popular vacation spots like Six Flags, Disneyland and Sea World would trump the most amazing natural wonders as families went looking for more “entertainment” themed family trips.

Recently however, there’s been a growing outdoors movement and some of the most amazing places are starting to make their way back as popular vacation spots.

The Grand Canyon is no different and some of the surging tourist businesses have experienced growth as a result.

The Grand Canyon Railway for instance, runs a train from Williams Arizona to the Grand Canyon. The GCR has become an extremely popular tourist attraction during the wintertime with its keynote experience, “The Polar Express” train ride themed after the popular children’s book & movie.

It’s not all tourist trap themes though. Far from it.

The Grand Canyon boasts camping, hiking, white water rafting, fishing, solo or tandem kayaking and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of including horseback riding, sport rock climbing, or just setting up shop with your favorite camping chair.

There are several natural attractions that we feature in the image gallery below that offer plenty of history and, we hope, enough enticement to place them on your “bucket list.”

If you live in Arizona, you have no excuse not to take a quick weekend trip to see the Grand Canyon, and if you live anywhere within driving distance (We’re looking at you Utah, Nevada & California) then you should definitely make a visit to the Grand Canyon part of your next family outdoor excursion.

Enough rambling from us about how amazing the Grand Canyon is.

If what we’ve said already isn’t enough to convince you to make a trip, check out the totally awesome images below.

We’d also encourage you to share these images and this post with anyone you think might need a nudge in the right direction!

Majestic Vista of the Grand Canyon at Dusk

Anyone looking at just how breathtaking this view is will understand that by making a trip to the Grand Canyon, you are viewing one of the world’s most magnificent wonders.

Havasu Falls Near Grand Canyon

This image was captured at the Havasu falls in the Grand Canyon National Park.  It’s one of the little known secrets near the Grand Canyon and is frequented by amateur hikers and backpackers alike.  The blue water looks completely out of place from the rest of the scenery.  Be prepared for a hike, as you have to book time to go in advance and you can only hike in or get there by helicopter.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

This is another spectacular image of the Havasu Falls Area.  There are several rock ledges where water flows back and forth from.

Snow Storm in Grand Canyon Forest, AZ

Snow storms are common in the winter time.  As mentioned earlier in the article, the Grand Canyon Railway does run trips to the Grand Canyon, even in the wintertime.  This is a cheap yet fun getaway that the entire family can enjoy.

Horseshoe Bend - Near Grand Canyon Arizona

This image was taken at Horseshoe Bend.  While it’s technically in Glen Canyon and not inside the Grand Canyon, it’s only about 5 miles from the start of the Grand Canyon National Park and 140 miles or so from the North/South Rim.  While it’s not technically “inside” the Grand Canyon, it’s still beautiful and warrants a stop on your way.  It’s also a great hiking location.

South Grand Canyon Rim in Winter

This is another amazing picture of the Canyon during the wintertime.  There are several scenic stopping points that you can pull over on and take some absolutely awesome photographs.

Helicopter View of Grand Canyon

Helicopter tours have increased in popularity over the years.  While much more expensive than a simple hike, you can get views like these for miles.

Grand Canyon National Park Desert View

Desert View Drive is a scenic location.  It’s known for having some of the most amazing photo opportunities across the entire canyon.

Vishnu Temple Grand Canyon North Rim

Vishnu Temple is another great location.  While not quite as scenic as Desert View Drive, it still  offers amazing views and great scenery.

North Rim Grand Canyon Area

The North Rim offers some spectacular views.  Springtime and summer are both great times to visit.  Monsoon season happens in the summer and can bring some very scenic photo opportunities with the clouds as they roll in.

Havasu Falls Grand Canyon Area

Another amazing picture of the falls on the Havasupai reservation.  Make sure you bring plenty of water if you decide to make the hike.  You can camp in Havasu Creek and the hike is about 10 miles from the trailhead.

Winter Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon makes for an amazing get away from city life in the winter time.  You can find some amazing places to stop and take pictures and the weather usually just touches below freezing.

Toroweap Point Grand Canyon

55 miles west of the Northern Rim, Toroweap Point offers camping and some amazing views of the Colorado River.

Timp Point North Grand Canyon

Timp Point offers some majestic views of the Grand Canyon.  This location is north of the Canyon near the Kaibab Plateau.

Timp Point Sunset Grand Canyon

Another great Timp Point view of the Grand Canyon.

Sunset at Lodge North Rim Grand Canyon

This is a sunset view from the lodge at the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  There is lodging here which makes it convenient if you like modern amenities but still want to enjoy the outdoors.

South Rim Picture Grand Canyon

Here’s an amazing shot of the south rim.  You can see that the landscape is slightly different from the northern side, but still just as beautiful.

Grand Canyon in Arizona Snow Topped Mountains

More winter wonderland.  The wintertime in Grand Canyon country is extremely mild, even when there is snow.  It typically doesn’t get much below freezing during the day making it extremely tolerable even in the wintertime.

Rainbow in the Canyon

There isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but it’s pretty close here in Canyon life.

Desert View Point

Desert View Point has some of the most amazing sunsets, no matter what time of year it is.

Ooh Aah Point on the Grand Canyon South Kaibab Trail with background rock formations.

OOH…. AHH, yep, that pretty much sums it up.  Ooh Aah point is a stopping area that has a scenic view that’s primed for pictures.  You can access this area by hiking the South Kaibab Trail.  There are guided tours and you can always just hike it yourself.

Forest Near Grand Canyon Arizona

The Grand Canyon isn’t all about canyon views.  There are forests nearby the South Kaibab trail that offer canyon views and some lush pine trees.

Autumn at Grand Canyon, north rim

More amazing pictures of the South Kaibab trail area that offer amazing treeline panoramic views.

Grand Canyon Sunset in the Winter Time

 As you can see, the evening views are just as stunning as they are when the sun rises in the morning.  It’s almost impossible to pick a bad time of year to take a trip and visit.

AZ-Grand Canyon-N Rim-Saddle Mt.Wilderness-Nankoweep Trail

This picture was taken near Nankoweap Trail, which is dubbed as one of the HARDEST trails in the canyon.  It’s not recommended for novices.  You should be well prepared to take on some tough areas if you decide to make a venture here, but the scenery is absolutely amazing.

Majestic Vista of the Grand Canyon at Dusk

Another long range picture of the Colorado River at the Canyon during dusk.

Cool Tree in the Grand Canyon

There are some awesome looking trees all over the place.  In this particular shot, you can see it was taken in a more desert looking terrain of the Canyon, probably somewhere near the South Kaibab Trail.

Desert View Point Watchtower

The Desert View Watchtower, (AKA Indian Watchtower) is one of the cooler man made features anywhere near the Canyon.  It’s absolutely a must visit if you take a trip.  It’s in the Desert View area of the canyon and offers some truly spectacular views in this area.

Desert View Watchtower Grand Canyon

Another awesome picture of the Desert View Watchtower in the wintertime.

Amazing Panoramic from Desert View

This is another awesome picture from the Desert View area.

Hoseshoe Bend, Colorado River

Another amazing sunset at horseshoe bend, near the Grand Canyon National Park.

Havasu Falls Grand Canyon Area

Another great shot of the Havasu Falls near the Grand Canyon.  As we said earlier, please make sure you’ve planned on venturing a 10 mile hike if you try to take this one on.

Sunrise at Desert View

Another perfect sunrise at Desert View.  You can see the Colorado River with a view that could capture your attention the entire day.

Summertime View

Here’s an awesome view of the Grand Canyon in the summertime.  You can tell that the Colorado River has a touch of dirt running through it, more than likely due to monsoons that may have pushed the dirt down into the river during a storm.

Afternoon in Grand Canyon Springtime

You can tell this photo was taken during the spring.  The Canyon will show a lot more green during the spring season before temperatures start to spike in the summertime.

Snow View Grand Canyon

Here’s another great view from up top.  As mentioned before, views like this often come at the expense of a helicopter tour.  While a guided tour can take you down into the canyon itself, a Helicopter ride can do much of the same and without the legwork if you aren’t used to hiking long distances.

The Grand Canyon National Park in the Snow

This is another aerial shot during the wintertime.  The snow will rest on the peaks during the winter months.

North Rim with Cloudy Background

This north rim picture was taken during the end of spring, just approaching summer.  You can see the monsoon clouds starting to roll in to the area.

Guano Point

This is a view from the Western Rim of the Canyon at a place called Guano Point.  There is a historic Tram in the area to check out and this is one of the more popular attractions along the West Rim.

Grand Canyon with Fog

A great shot of the Grand Canyon with some desert haze in the early morning.

Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim), Arizona USA - Landscape

Here’s another great desert shot of the South Rim landscape.

Grand Canyon South Rim Winter Shot

The South Rim in the winter time after a fresh dusting of snow.

Early Morning View

Here’s another great shot of the area before sunrise during the winter.  It’s amazing how much detail goes into every crevasse of the Canyon.

Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend at Sunset

Another Great Shot of Horseshoe Bend.  It’s common for people to take a day rafting trip to explore the bend from the river instead of just hanging around up top.

Desert View Spring Season

Here’s another great shot of desert view in the spring.

AZ-Grand Canyon- S Rim-Bright Angel Trail

Here’s a shot of Bright Angel Trail at the South Rim.  It’s an amazing trail where you can occasionally see people getting the rare experience of riding a mule on a trail.

Hopi Point, Grand Canyon National Park

Hopi Point is along the West Rim and offers some amazing desert canyon views.

Grand Canyon with snow in winter

Another fresh dusting of snow taking the Canyon hostage in the winter time.

Canyon in the Winter

Here’s another amazing shot of the Grand Canyon in the winter time as the snow is melting away.

Horseshoe Bend Grand Canyon Arizona

We close out our top 50 images list with one final credit to Horseshoe bend.

Grand Canyon: 5 Lesser Known Facts

  1. President Theodore Roosevelt was the first American politician to protect the Grand Canyon. America’s 26th President turned the natural wonder into a game reserve (1906) and a national monument (1908). Roosevelt was reportedly so impressed by the landmark that he said during a speech on May 6, 1903, “Leave [the Grand Canyon] as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
  2. With 6 million visitors every year, the Grand Canyon is the second most visited national park in the U.S., behind the Great Smoky Mountains (11 million).
  3. Surprisingly, the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is not the California condor, the mountain lion, and not even the venomous Gila monster. It is the rock squirrel. The national park’s rangers warn that the bright-eyed bushy-tailed critters can be “absolutely ferocious.” There are numerous reports of rock squirrels teaming up and attacking lone tourists. Don’t try to feed them either, even if they aren’t in a group.
  4. The Grand Canyon is shrouded in mystery. In 1909, a team of Smithsonian-funded researchers reportedly found a bizarre system of tunnels and caves tucked deeply underneath the canyon with well-preserved artefacts pointing to a long-lost ancient civilization of unknown origin. Smithsonian denied the whole thing, dismissing it as a hoax. Many people believe to this day that we are dealing with a government cover-up. You can read more about this story here. It makes an interesting read.
  5. The Grand Canyon is the site of a geological anomaly, scientists have been trying to wrap their heads around for years with no success. The anomaly which goes by the name of “The Great Unconformity” refers to the fact that the top rock layers in the Grand canyon are reportedly 250 million year old while the bottom layers are 1.2 billion year old with no middle layer in between as if hundreds of millions of years simply didn’t happen.

Wrapping Up:

With so many beautiful and amazing images that can come from one small area (OK it’s pretty big), there is absolutely no reason why making a trip to one of the largest wonders of the world shouldn’t be on your bucket list at least some point in your life.

If you live anywhere near this amazing feat of nature, then you have no excuse not to make it one of your next weekend road trips. And if it’s your first time there, remember this little gem by Parks and Recreation’s anti-hero:

13 Best Family Camping Tents & Quick Buyer’s Guide

Most reviews of tents for outdoor camping usually focus on small, one- or two-person models. These definitely have a lot going for them as they’re lightweight, easy to carry, and don’t need a lot of space to set up.

So, if you’re heading out on your own for a camping trip a compact tent could be just what you need.

If there’s more than one of you, however, you’ll probably soon find it a bit cramped and realize that it’s not quite the best family tent you have hoped for.

Best Family Tents for Camping: Our Top 3

  1. Coleman 8 Person Instant Tent
  2. Coleman WeatherMaster 10 Person Tent
  3. Kazoo Saturn 6 Person Tent

**Note – There are several possibilities that may fit your needs listed in larger detail below. If you want to skip the read, the three choices listed above are top picks and are battle tested. All three are great choices.

Distinguishing the Benefits of Small vs. Large Tents:

Small tents are really designed for lightweight backpacking, and the designers assume that you’re carrying a rucksack and not much else. That’s what they base the tent’s size on, but for campers with larger families, it’s not always the best assumption. As well as your pack, the chances are you have a lot of other gear with you too.

If you are hunting – you may have a hunting crossbow, fixed blade survival knife, game camera, laser rangefinder and everything else you need for a successful hunting trip.

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that a four-man tent is going to hold two campers and their gear. If you are heading out on a fishing trip and are bringing along a fishing kayak and fly fishing gear, then plan accordingly to pick up a tent that has at least 2-3 more people than you will have on the trip. If you are just heading into the woods and only have basic camping gear, space becomes a little less of an issue.

Even if you’re camping on your own, but planning to be away longer than a couple of days, it makes a lot of sense to take a larger tent. The extra space will soon be appreciated, especially if the weather’s not great. In a small backpacking tent you often don’t have much more space than you need to sleep in.

Keeping your gear clean and maintained can be a real struggle in a cramped tent. On the other hand if you go for a larger one you’ll have plenty of room to relax and work on your gear, which will make your trip a whole lot more pleasant.

If you choose a six- or eight-person tent there can be other advantages. These are usually divided into multiple spaces, which is ideal if you take the kids camping – they can have their own room. Alternatively, for hunters, you can have a sleeping area and another for storing all your gear. Whatever you decide, it’s always good to have more space and the flexibility it brings with it.

Ultra-lightweight gear is fine when you expect to have to carry it long distances – that’s what it’s for, after all. If you’re taking the kids the chances are you won’t be carrying it more than a few hundred yards from where your car’s parked, so you can afford to bring a bigger, more comfortable tent. If you have the kids along, you’ll probably be more focused on finding a nice camping space and having some fun with some great family activities.

How to Choose a Family Camping Tent: Quick Buyer’s Guide

Family Camping Tent in the Woods OutdoorsThere are a few things to look for when you’re choosing any tent, and a couple of extra points with a larger one. Here are the factors that should be looked at when you’re making your decision on what one to buy:

Size: This is a pretty obvious one. You need a tent that’s big enough to hold everyone who’ll be staying in it, plus all their gear, plus whatever activities you plan on doing inside the tent. Always plan for the worst case here, which usually means bad weather. It’s great to sit outside the tent when the sun is shining or it’s a nice night around the campfire – but not so appealing when a cold wind is driving the rain into your face. Make sure that, if you have a wet spell, the tent is roomy enough to do more than squeeze inside.

Weight: For backpacking, every ounce counts. If you want a tent for family camping it’s usually less of an issue. Heavier tents also tend to be more robust – they’ll stand up to wind better, and should last you more seasons. If you just plan on camping out in your backyard and a half of a mile in the woods, then weight shouldn’t be a factor.

Layout: Most tents have an inner sleeping room plus a vestibule area inside the door, which can be used for storing gear. Many larger tents opt for a central door and vestibule with a sleeping room each side of it. This is ideal for families, as it gives about as much privacy as you can have in a tent, and it also increases your options.

If there are two of you in a six-man tent you might be able to only put up one of the sleeping rooms, giving you a large space to store and maintain your equipment, hang up wet clothes or just relax at the end of the day.

Durability: A cheap tent designed for occasional family summer breaks might not stand up to a storm in the woods. Your tent is the only shelter you have, and it’s worth paying a bit more to get one that can stand up to the elements. You’ll also save money in the long run because it will last longer.

Just like any other piece of gear it’s important to decide what you need before you start shopping around, and what tent suits you best will depend on your own requirements. Think about what sort of trips you plan to make, what you’d like to do inside your tent and where you’ll be setting it up, and use those facts to pick the winner. To help you out here are our favorite family tents that work great for hunting or camping.

Best 10 Person Tent for Families: Our Top Choices

Camping in larger groups is becoming more and more popular. If you are camping with a group o f 10 people, the 8 person tents just won’t cut it. Most of the tents on our 10 person tent list will have at least two rooms, making privacy a little better, especially if two families plan to camp in the tent together. Let’s face it though, if you have 10 people camping with you, space is going to be relatively limited.

The good news is that our top three choices on this list will all do the job. All three have adaquate space and will allow you to camp in a large group setting. These tents are also good for people who have a family of 7-8 and just want a little extra room for their gear, pets, and whatnots. Let’s jump in.


1. The Coleman Weathermaster 10 Person Hinged Door Tent: 

Coleman Weathermaster 10 Person TentColeman comes up big on our list, and they start it off with a monster tent that comes in at 17 x 9. It can fit up to 10 people or three queen airbeds. With a 6 foot, 8 inch center – most grown adults will be able to stand up inside the tent with relative ease.

The door hinges are great for people that are constantly coming and going inside or outside the tent. It comes equipped with a Rainfly that provides adequate weather protection if you get caught in a rainstorm, and it has a mesh roof that will allow a little sunlight to come in on sunny days.

Like similar Coleman models, the floor is constructed in a manner that’s designed to keep out moisture. If you truly need the moisture out, it’s still obviously recommended that you lay down a tarp firs before setting up the rest of the tent. This is a great pick for people that need the space and at a pretty reasonable price point, you can’t go wrong. If you have a ton of people coming along, or have larger pieces of gear like a tandem fishing kayak, then this is an excellent choice.


2. Mountain Trails Grand Pass Tent for 10: 

Mountain Trails Grand Pass 10 Person TentMountain Trails does a great job with the Grand Pass 10. It measures close to the same size as the WeatherMaster at 18 x 6.3 x 10. The big benefit for the Grand Pass is the storage. It’s designed to roll up and stuff into a duffel formation to make it easy to carry.

It’s one of the lightest 10 person models you can currently buy at around 21 total pounds. This is great because it won’t add unnecessary weight to your pack if you are planning on hiking long distances before you get to setup camp.

The tent itself has a full 170 square feet inside the tent, and it’s just over 6 feet at standing height. If you have a family of 7, you should fit very comfortably in the Grand Pass 10. It will fit your extra camping or hunting gear with relative ease.

Even though the floor is reinforced, we’d recommend laying down tarp underneath just to keep any unwanted moisture out.


3. Ozark Trail 10 Person 3 Room Cabin Tent: 

Ozark Trail 10This is a great three room tent. It has a center area that’s great for coming in/out of and two side rooms that are separated by dividers. It can fit up to three queen mattresses and has improved ventilation to help make sure the air in the tent is not so stale.

Slightly heavier at almost 32 pounds, this would probably not be our first pick if weight was a primary concern for hiking. Like others on our list, this tent packs right up into a duffel bag with relative ease. The setup is pretty quick as well and the directions are not extremely complicated.

The price is pretty reasonable and we’d recommend this tent if you are looking for a three room tent with extra space. While we like the Coleman as our top pick, this is a great alternative at a lower price point.


Best 8 Person Tent for Families: Our Top Choices

If you have a larger family of 8, finding the right tent is definitely not an easy task. You have to take into consideration exactly how much privacy you need, and how much additional gear you will need to store with the whole family.

You need to take into consideration room count, space, as well as everything we just covered in our buyer’s guide above when making the right choice. As always, we’d recommend that you pick a tent that’s at least two people bigger than you are planning on taking along to allow for adequate space.

There are are a few top rated tents that have done really well with the general population, and we’ve helped hand pick our top choices for you below.


1. Coleman 8 Man Instant Tent:

Coleman 8 Person Instant Family TentIf you want something that’s easy to set up this Coleman is pretty hard to beat – you can do it on your own in ten minutes, and with two people it takes a fraction of that. It’s also roomy, making it perfect for longer trips – but at 36 pounds you won’t want to carry it very far.

This is an externally framed tent that comes out the bag with all the pieces ready assembled. You just need to unfold and extend all the poles until they lock into position, so it’s basically impossible to get anything wrong.

Once it’s set up you just have to peg it down – use the guy lines! – and that’s it; everything’s secure. The Instant Tent doesn’t come with a rain fly but Coleman’s 10×14 model will fit it if you want some extra protection. The heavy-duty, waterproof WeatherTec walls will stand up to most rain though.

Inside there are some configuration options. There’s a zippered divider you can use or not, giving the option of one or two rooms – and each will take a queen size mattress with plenty space left around it. There’s a door at each end and plenty of windows with mesh screens – one end can be converted into a sunroom.


2. Coleman Red Canyon 8 Person Tent with Three Room Divider:

Coleman Red Canyon 8 Person TentColeman’s Red Canyon is marketed as an 8-person tent, but as usual if you fill it to that capacity there won’t be a lot of extra space. It’s very comfortable for six though, and also very easy to set up the way you want.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Red Canyon is that it’s roomy. It’s 17 by ten feet, and there’s six feet of headroom in the center. Once the tent itself is set up a rain fly goes over the top.

This only covers the top half of the walls but the Red Canyon has a great reputation for keeping the rain out. One side of the fly is extended out to give some extra protection over the door.

Inside you’ll find one huge (for a tent) space, but Coleman also supply two zip-in dividers, so you can split it up into three. Because they all have a sealed floor they can be used as sleeping rooms, which not all tents allow. For light and ventilation there are four mesh panels – on and opposite the door, and at each end. The center ones have zippered privacy flaps and the others are covered by the rain fly.

The Red Canyon is quite easy to put up – it’s even possible to do it solo, although the long poles can take some wrestling. Poles are color-coded for simple assembly, and shock corded together. Overall this is a capable, well-made tent.


3. Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Tent with Two Room Divider: 

Wenzel Klondike 8 Person Tent with Two Room DividerAt first glance the Klondike looks like it would be more at home on a campground than in the woods – its walls are close to vertical and there’s a big, mesh-sided sunroom on the front.

Don’t be fooled though. The main compartment is a tough dome tent and the sunroom has zippered walls that convert it into a second enclosed space. It’s ideal for an extended hunting trip or a family wilderness adventure.

The Wenzel’s design gives you a lot of options. The sun room can be left open to the air, with the mesh to protect you from critters, and makes a great place to relax. It’s also ideal for storing packs and other kit, and like the main compartment it has a sealed bathtub floor to keep everything dry. A big circular door between the two sections can convert it into more or less a single space if required – if you do, it feels big enough to have a decent party in there.

One strong point of this tent is the headroom, which is excellent – close to six feet everywhere. It can also be buttoned up for good weatherproofing, but the main compartment also has mesh-screened windows. It does need two people to set up – you’d really struggle on your own – but it’s a sturdy and spacious performer and also a great value.


4. Coleman Montana 8 Person Tent: 

Coleman Montana 8 Person Family TentThe Montana is a long, narrow tent at 16×7 feet, and inside there’s a large single room with a full floor. It comes with an included rain fly, so all conventional so far – but it has some very clever touches.

Each end wall has a mesh window at the top, which can be zipped closed for privacy – but they’re angled inwards, so they can be left open even when it’s raining without letting water in.

There’s also a D-shaped door with a lightweight hinged frame, which seals with both Velcro and a zipper – this saves a lot of zipping time if you’re in and out a lot. Below the door is a small folding mat sewn to the tent’s waterproof base, giving you something clean to stand on if you’re putting on dirty boots. The tent also has an interior pocket for small items and an electrical access port. The Elite version even has integrated LED lighting.

Very steep walls mean the Montana catches the wind, so use the guy ropes, but also gives excellent headroom. There’s loads of space inside and a small fly extension to keep rain off the door. This is a solid and up to date tent, ideal for four or five people to camp in comfort.


5. Browning Camping Big Horn Family Tent with Two Room Divider:

Browning Big Horn Family TentBrowning has a reputation for quality that starts with their legendary guns and carries on into their wide range of outdoor products; it shows in the Big Horn tent.

Unusually they don’t make any claims about how many people it sleeps, but the floor area is similar to the 8-person models we tested – so ideal for four or five.

This is a cabin-style tent with steep sides, and the headroom is really remarkable; over seven feet in the center, and generous everywhere.

The Big Horn uses the popular three-pole dome design; the poles are fiberglass and the uprights steel for extra strength. A separate rain fly goes over the roof and buckles onto the poles – it’s worth fitting it even if it’s not raining, because it shields the tent from the sun. That will protect the fabric and help keep you cool in hot weather. Inside there’s a zippered divider that can be used to split the tent into two good-sized rooms. Each room has its own door and three mesh windows.

This is a simple design but extremely well made out of solid materials. It’s a very waterproof tent. It also has some nice detail touches, including a hook in the center for hanging a lantern and three mesh gear pockets in each room. The quality makes it more expensive than some, but browning is known for their quality in just about everything they do and this tent is no different.


6. Coleman Evanston 8 Person Tent: 

Coleman Evanston 8 Person TentAffordable quality isn’t the only good thing about Coleman tents; they also have enough variety that you’re almost guaranteed to find one that suits you. The Evanston is a simple and spacious tent that’s quick to set up but gives plenty of room for an extended trip.

This tent is a dome design, with an extra hoop to support the generous screened porch. There’s a separate rain fly too, with triangular side gaps to allow ventilation and a view out of the windows. The interior is a single large room with close to six feet of headroom in the middle.

Its best feature is the porch, which is fully enclosed by mesh sides and large doors. You can’t close it in, and the sloped front means it can collect some rain, but it’s a great place to sit and watch the world from. It also makes a spacious gear store. There wall between the porch and interior has a waterproof base, so any rain that does pool in the porch won’t make it to your sleeping bag.


Best 6 Person Tent for Families: Our Top Picks

Families of 6 are a little easier to plan for than a larger family of 8. These tents are great for people that are outfitting a family of four and can use a little extra space inside the tent for their camping gear.

If you are a full family of 6, we’d definitely recommend looking at an 8 person tent just because the extra room can come in handy. The 8 person tents aren’t that much bigger or heavier than 6 person tents so they are ideal if you need the extra room.

Six person tents are great for people that have 3 – 6 people that are looking to cap their weight that they have to carry around. If you fall into this bucket, we’d recommend that you look at any of the 6 person tents we have outlined for you below.


1. Kazoo Saturn 6 Person Tent:

The Kazoo Saturn 6P tent is one of those large tents that actually accommodate the number of people stated on the package and some more. This double-layered instant cabin tent comfortably fits 6 adults with plenty of space for gear. The 118×110 inch floor fits two queen mattresses or 6 adult sleeping bags with plenty of room to spare.

Everything about this tent oozes quality and attention to detail, from the high-quality material used for its construction and sturdy aluminum frame to the waterproof seam sealed zippers and waterproof seamed 210T rip-stop floor material.

Thanks to its aluminum automatic frame, it doesn’t take more than 1 to 2 minutes to get the tent up even by one person, and tearing it down is just as easy. The tent has two upper full-mesh walls and two doors for some of the best ventilation seen in a large tent. You’ll notice that with six people inside, there is little to zero condensation after one night. Plus, the front door can be turned into a handy sunshade which is a great thing on hot summer days.

The Kazoo Saturn is one of the best large tents for family camping especially because it is insanely spacious (adults can stand inside and children have plenty of space to play and nap) and for being impressively sturdy for the money (there are several reports from happy campers about this cabin style tent holding up to some pretty severe rain storms and winds.) Hands down, this is our favorite 6 person tent for family camping so far.


2. Coleman Sundome 6 Person Tent: 

Coleman Sundome 6 Person TentAnother Coleman and another style, the Sundome is a hexagonal dome tent that can fit six at a pinch, but is ideal for three or four. It’s a simple design with a single large interior room and a rainfly that gives some extra protection to the door. The upper walls are mesh for ventilation.

One great thing about the Sundome is that it’s easy to set up, even on your own – it can be done in ten minutes. Despite its simplicity it has some nice details.

faA lantern hook overhead comes in handy after sunset, and there are two mesh gear pockets on the walls. There’s a mat for the door, which helps keep dirty boots (and dirt) out of the interior. A port lets you run a power cable in if you have access to electricity. This tent is ideal for family trips to a campsite.

While a second room for storing gear would be nice, the plus side the Sundome weighs just 18 pounds and is a good option if you plan to carry it any distance.


3. Coleman Weathermaster 6 Person Tent: 

Coleman Weathermaster 6 Person TentThe Weathermaster is a six-person dome tent but a very generously sized one – it’s as big as some of the eight-person ones we’ve looked at, and can comfortably accommodate five people. It has two sections, a main sleeping room you can divide in two with a zippered curtain, and a mesh-screened sunroom.

The sunroom can’t be closed up, so won’t double as more sleeping space. It also doesn’t have a floor. That has advantages though, because you can store muddy gear in it without messing up the tent. For a bow hunting trip, that’s the best use for it, but it makes for a nice bug-free place to sit in the evenings as well.

As the name suggests this is a rugged tent. The fabric seems tough, and the walls have Coleman’s WeatherTec system to keep the rain out. Poles are heavy duty 11 mm fiberglasses. There’s a rain fly with an extension to protect the door. The door itself is the same D-shaped hinged model as the Montana, complete with fold-out mat underneath.

The WeatherMaster isn’t cheap for a six-person tent, but the build quality and performance make it a great choice for a few nights in the woods.


4. Coleman Instant Tent 6 Person Tent: 

Coleman Instant Tent 6 PersonIf you like the idea of the Instant Tent but the weight of the eight-person model puts you off this one might suit you. With 90 square feet of interior space, and close to six feet of headroom, its cabin-style interior is roomy enough for three and all their stuff. It’s also a good bit lighter at 24 pounds.

The current six-person model has a few updates to the design, including reflective guy ropes to help you avoid tripping at night. Like its bigger brother it uses Coleman’s WeatherTec system to keep the rain out, but it doesn’t come with a rain fly. If you’re expecting major stormy you can improvise one with a tarp, but a Coleman one to fit this tent is due out soon. Details include a lantern hook and two mesh storage pockets inside.

This is even quicker to set up than the bigger version because there’s less weight to grapple with, and if you’re after a convenient tent it’s a great option for the money.


5. Alpha Camp 6 Person Tent: 

This tent takes a different approach to quick setup. It’s not quite as fast as the Coleman Instant, but you can still get it ready to use in just a few minutes and there’s a lot less weight to haul around. The ALPHA CAMP will provide shelter for three people and all their gear, or four if you don’t have too much stuff with you, and tips the scales at 14 pounds.

ALPHA CAMP have gone for a four-pole design, with two long ones forming the central dome and another at each end. The telescopic main poles are pre-attached and just need to be extended to sort out the dome. Then attach the end poles to complete the frame, put on the rain fly and stake out the guy ropes. It’s quick and simple, and the end result is a sturdy and fairly roomy tent. It doesn’t have as much headroom as the others, though, so you won’t be walking around inside – it’s about 4.5 feet high at the center.

Inside it’s comfortable and well ventilated, with generous mesh panels shielded from rain by the fly. If you’re planning on backpacking with a couple of friends this isn’t beyond the limits of what you can carry, and it’s also a good size for hunting in dense woods where a higher tent would be awkward and conspicuous.


Wrapping Up & Parting Thoughts: 

When it comes to choosing the best family tent for your next outdoor excursion, we always recommend buying one that will sleep two people more than you actually have. This will ensure that you have enough room for extra camping gear like two way radios or camping equipment and enough space that you don’t trip all over each other as you come and go.

While most of these tents can help make an outdoor excursion enjoyable, ultimately you need to decide what specifications you are looking for before making a choice. Camping, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities are all going to have different levels of gear requirements, so it’s up to you to plan accordingly.

HK VP9 Review

It’s never been a better time to start shooting. Yes, you read that right. Pick up a gun at your local gun store and – with proper safety training, of course, start shooting! Because let’s get real for a second.

Sure, you can feed your family, and sure, you can keep your family safe, but between you and me, shooting stuff is a lot of fun. As the more experienced readers here will note, of course, the kind of gun you choose to shoot with matters.

Here at Wilderness Today, we’ve got our scope set on one handgun, and we’ll tell you all about it in this HK VP9 Review. Click here to see our reviews of other handguns.

Why Feature This HK VP9 Review?

We know, you’re anxious to get shooting. We are, too. Well, we picked featured handgun in this HK VP9 review because Heckler and Koch has outdone themselves in this handgun.

It was first released back in June 2014, however it had been in development much longer than that. since it’s been on the market for half a decade, we’ve heard from our readers, who find impressive utility in the device. It’s also pleasingly compact, and it has features we expect of our handguns going into 2020.

You’re probably wondering what the “VP” in “HK VP9” stand for? Heckler and Kochh named it VP to mean Volkspistole. If the “Volkswagen” is the “people’s car,” the “Volkspistole-9” or VP9 is the “people’s pistol.”

If that name sounds a little German, that’s because the VP9 hails from Deutschland, famously known for its beer, its precision gun engineering, and the beautiful people who shoot them best- after Americans, of course!

Product Specs

The 9mm HK VP9, featured as our premiere gun in this HK VP9 Review, comes with a Picatinny rail, and lefties can use it as comfortably as righties. Easily modifiable side and back straps make the HK VP9 fit like a glove for any shooter.

As a fun fact, you can actually safely grip this gun 27 different ways. It’s striker-fired, meaning the impact triggering the mini-explosion that propels the bullet is kicked off by a spring-loaded form of action inside the gun, rather than the traditional hammer. Chambering is 9x19mm. Your sight radius is 6.38″. Set your sights with 3 dots that glow in the dark!

Pricing

Pick up your own Heckler & Koch VP9 from Brownells for $668.99.

How It Compares

We picked a three similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Glock 19
  • FN FNS-9
  • Sig Sauer P229

HK VP9

Image Source: hk-usa.com

CONTROLS:

You’ve got solid browning-type action with a modified linkless system of locking.Your trigger is striker-fired, and single-action. Keep up those tennis-ball squeezing exercises, because you will need to be prepared to apply 4.5 to 5.6 pounds of force to that trigger.

Both your HK VP9 pistol and magazine are drop-tested and safety-certified, in part thanks to the trigger latch safety. The grip makes all your controls so much easier to lose because it’s so customizable, if favoring pretty over functional.

However, the controls never impede what the gun is meant to do – comfortably and easily shoot your target.

ERGONOMICS:

Grip your Heckler & Koch VP9 27 different ways, with 3 changeable back straps and even more side panels. It’s great for lefties and righties of all hand size. In fact, it’s a more customized grip than any other hand gun. You can even work all the controls with either hand.

PERFORMANCE:

Your HK VP9 is built to fire at least 10 thousand rounds, more than comparable HK’s released previously.

WARRANTY:

Heckler & Koch’s limited lifetime warranty covers your famously German-engineered long-term-durable solid design.

Pros

  • Trigger’s light, short take-up
  • Short reset after single action-type break
  • Easy to anticipate fire when pulling trigger
  • Great for rapid fire
  • Very accurate

Cons

  • Quirky right slide lock lever
  • High bore axis hinders rapid fire
  • Grip favors pretty over functional
  • Smaller round capacity

Glock 19

Image Source: us.glock.com

Made for the military, it’s known by both gun-enthusiasts and those urban types that are afraid to touch a gun with a 19-foot pole. We’re talking about the famous Glock 19. Glock says it does what you need it for, the right way, every time – and we concur here at Wilderness Today.

The famous Glock 19 is price-wise on par with the HK VP9, and so we can’t possibly ignore it in this HK VP9 review!

CONTROLS:

Striker-fired like the HK VP9 (since this is an HK VP9 review), its stock is solid polymer material, in totality weighing in at an easy 1.5 pounds, powerful enough to require a federal firearms license.

Most of interest to us regarding the controls, the typical Glock Pistol doesn’t have a conventional manual safety, so you always want to assume that it’s locked and loaded unless you’ve stuck your finger in its chambers to verify that it’s not.

Check the specifics in your owner’s manual before operating to make sure you’ve got a safe handle on your specific modification or model.

ERGONOMICS:

The Glock 19 is incredibly comfortable to hold, with a low-bore axis.

PERFORMANCE:

The Glock 19 has incredibly low recoil, making for easy operation – just make sure you heed the warnings in the manual.

WARRANTY:

Glock’s warranty is among the most intriguing we’ve ever seen. They don’t provide an explicit written warranty, however they do something even better.

If you have a gun that misfunctions or is broken because of something that the owner likely didn’t do, they replace the gun. They know whether it was your fault or not, generally, being gunmakers.

So if there’s a problem, they rectify the problem immediately, without lip service. What a novel thought.

Pros

  • Longstanding industry reputation
  • “Do unto others” unwritten warranty
  • Good grip

Cons

  • No traditional safety on trigger
  • More capable than good-looking

FN FNS-9

Image Source: fnamerica.com

We think it’s fair to categorize the FNS-9 as a discount pistol, albeit a beautiful discount pistol.

CONTROLS:

The FNS-9 compact semi-automatic is great for personal defense, law enforcement, and all-around functions related to maintaining security, with two backstraps that makes handling the controls super-easy.

You’ve got convenient de-cocking levers and loaded-chamber indicators. The best control feature, perhaps, is the four safety controls on the trigger, drop, out of battery, and firing pin safeties. Your ease of control is accurate with triple-dot combat sights.

ERGONOMICS:

The back straps ease tension on the hands, though the handle is easy to grip in its own right, and semi-customizable.

PERFORMANCE:

Full-length guide rods make for smooth double-action reloading.

WARRANTY:

Key here is that you want to avoid modifying or accessorizing your FN FNS-9; beyond that FN tries to keep up with the competition in the terms of their warranty. But you’re not going to get any support if you modify your gun.

Pros

  • Polymer frame for good grip
  • Stainless steel barrels
  • Grip customized by backstraps
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Regarded as an “economy pistol”

Sig Sauer P229

Image Source: sigsauer.com

Homeland Security is the selling point here that makes it worth twice as much as the other pistols in the marketplace.

It’s a very expensive pistol, the only one in our hk Vp9 review that will run you over a grand. That’s right, over a GRAND. If it’s not on sale, it’s twice as much as any other pistol we’ve reviewed here.

CONTROLS:

The Department of Homeland Security trusts the controls on the Sig Sauer, which should be good enough for us, but we thought we’d dig in further anyway. Why don’t we start with the see-at-night SIGLITE sights?

Or maybe the highly functional polymer-material of the grip, complemented by a serrated front strap to keep that hand steady at all times? It’s darn amazing, is what it is, and that’s why ICE pays big for it.

ERGONOMICS:

Any more strapped in and it would be a kid’s car seat. It’s very impressive with its Nitron coating that prevents corrosive issues way down the road – that’s how much Sig Sauer thought this design through.

It’s easy on the hands. Interestingly, Sig Sauer enhanced the P229 over the original version for even easier handling by even more people than had ever been thought possible before.

You won’t need those grip screws anymore as compared with the old version because of a grip that stays put. The lanyard loop is a given, and your E2 model of the P229 have a reduced-reach trigger – again making it that much more easy on the hands.

PERFORMANCE:

It’s combat-dependable with that never-sticks, Nitron-coated slide finish. Mount accessories on the front rail, and you’ve got even further capability for added functionalities, however we think it works just fine on its own!

As we mentioned the P229 got something of an upgrade in the E2 model with its Short Reset Trigger. The new E2 model features a redesign on the external extractor that has proven more durable and reliable, for a killer performance every time.

WARRANTY:

Sig Sauer handguns all have a limited lifetime warranty, although again, not sure if you’ll need it!

Pros

  • Trusted by ICE and Homeland Security
  • Rugged, durable, and built to last
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Rail for mounting accessories
  • Trusted brand

Cons

  • 2X cost of other pistols reviewed

Conclusion

The featured product here has seemed to prove perhaps a little bit more hype than capability, so we give it a four out of five stars. And we really didn’t want to; we set our sights big in this HK VP9 review for the HK VP9.

We wanted it to win. But the upgrades to the Homeland Security-worthy Sig Sauer P229 made it such a contender in this HK VP9 Review it quickly became an elephant in the room for us in the editing room.

Also very impressive to us as we finalized this HK VP9 review was the contending Glock 19. And we admit that we did enter this HK VP9 review with a little experiential bias.

After all, who doesn’t like a Glock? In fact, we thought about leaving out the Glock 19 to give the lesser-knowns more of a chance in winning a five stars on this HKVP9 review.

However, at the end of the day, out of all these striker-fired pistols, what won out for us finally was the Glock’s durability and its no-nonsense standing behind its guns with service even better than they had dared to even talk about.

Bottom line, the HK VP9 promises in the name to be “The People’s Pistol,” but the Glock has a longer-standing reputation, a track record of working that supersedes that of the HK VP9, and the bit about sticking to their guns, service-wise.

Plus, the so-called People’s Gun, despite superior German engineering, had quirks that befuddled the seasoned gun veterans on our staff.

For that reason, the featured gun of this HK VP9 review gets four stars, while we reserve five out of 5 for the Sig Sauer, which is worth the grand you pay for the gun when it’s not on sale; and also getting 5 out of 5 the famed Glock 19.

How can you not like the name Glock?

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

Best Handgun: Top 10 Choice For Home Defense

Almost nobody wants to be in the sort of emergency situation where they have to fire their gun. However, in life it often pays to prepare for the worst even while you hope for the best. For many, that will mean owning a gun and training with it regularly so as to be able to use it to protect themselves and others.

For that task, you need the right tool. We want to help you to find the best handgun for everyday carry or home defense so that in a crisis you can be sure that it won’t let you down.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. What Is the Best Handgun?

 

2. Should I Get a Revolver or a Semi-Automatic Handgun?

 

3. How Much Does a Good Handgun Cost?

How We Reviewed

In order to help you find the best handgun for you, we compiled a list of some of the handguns suitable for everyday use and home- and personal-defense.

These handguns are all ones from reputable brands and which came highly recommended by their users. We have provided an overview of each handgun’s key features, a list of pros and cons, a rough price, and a link to where you can find more information on buying one.

 

Overall Prices of Handguns

smoking black pistol with an empty ammo flying

The guns we reviewed ranged in price from the very affordable to the most expensive. However most were available for an affordable price. Prices of handguns of the same model may vary depending on the handgun’s finish, barrel length, magazine capacity and the size of rounds that it takes.

What We Reviewed

  • Walther PPQ M2
  • FNX-45
  • CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical
  • Springfield XD MOD2
  • Colt 1911
  • Ruger 1707 GP100
  • Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
  • Sig Sauer MK25 P226
  • Gen 4 Glock 19
  • Beretta M9

Walther PPQ M2

KEY FEATURES:

This pistol, a product of German precision engineering, incorporates a range of features such as striker fire action, three automatic safeties, and a loaded-chamber indicator, with accuracy, durability, and reliability.

It has almost negligible recoil, making it one of the best handguns for women or other users with less wrist strength or who have conditions such as carpal tunnel.

This handgun may be just slightly too big for concealed carry unless you are a large framed person yourself, but in almost all respects it’s a good gun. However, some users may want to switch out the plastic sights for something a bit more durable.

PROS:

  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Great bonus features
  • Less recoil

CONS:

  • Plastic sights
  • Slightly too big for CC

FNX-45

KEY FEATURES:

This handgun is well suited to a range of tasks, such as personal defense, home security, and law enforcement. The frame is made of a tough polymer, but the barrel and slides are stainless steel, allowing users to get the best of both worlds.

It can be racked with either hand, meaning that it can be used easily by left handed shooters. On the downside, the grips are rather large.

Plus, some users reported that the grippy texture began to cut into their hands after they had been through a few magazines.

PROS:

  • Ambidextrous
  • Polymer frame
  • Stainless steel slides and barrel
  • Option to add red-dot sight

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Very large grips

CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical

KEY FEATURES:

CZ, the Czech gun manufacturers claim that “CZ 75 Pistols are used by more government, law-enforcement, military and security agencies than any other pistol in the world.”

This model was designed to take the best features of military service pistols from around the world to create a tough, reliable, and accurate handgun.

Many users describe it as the best handgun they have ever owned, and it was very hard to find any criticisms of its design or performance. However, you might find it hard to get hold of.

PROS:

  • Great ergonomics
  • Consistently accurate
  • Popular

CONS:

  • Hard to find
  • Fairly heavy

Springfield XD Mod.2

KEY FEATURES:

This slimmer “sub-compact” new model in Springfield Armory’s XD range is comfortable in the hand and as a concealed-carry firearm.

It has a short trigger and short reset, meaning that follow-up shots are as accurate as the first shot.

The XD Mod.2 has a corrosion resistant Meltonite coating which gives it a rugged semi-matte finish.

PROS:

  • Tough
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Very compact

CONS:

  • Requires a firm grip to fire accurately
  • Difficult to rack

Colt 1911

KEY FEATURES:

This pistol, sometimes known as “The Government” has a long and glorious history within the world of American Firearms. The single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed pistol fits comfortably in the hand and “points” well.

It can be easily modified and customized, including the ability to fine-tune the trigger action; one of the reasons it is loved by gun enthusiasts.

However, the pistol may be too large to be gripped comfortably by some users. Additionally, the lack of a de-cocker in the pistol means that great care must be taken when lowering the hammer.

PROS:

  • Easily modified and customized
  • Accurate
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • No de-cocker
  • May cost a lot to maintain

Ruger 1707 GP100

KEY FEATURES:

Ruger’s range of Centerfire revolvers are well-known for being dependable, reliable, and accurate.

This Ruger, the only revolver on our list, features a smooth-cycling triple-locking cylinder making sure of an accurate shot every time you fire.

The grip is designed to reduce recoil and make firing the gun comfortable. The revolver is available in a range of chamber sizes and finishes.

PROS:

  • Reliable
  • Accurate
  • Less recoil

CONS:

  • Stiff trigger
  • Less easy to clean

Smith&Wesson M&P Shield

KEY FEATURES:

This Smith & Wesson model is the handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel because of its rugged build, reliability, and accuracy.

This is one of the best handgun choices for a concealed-carry gun because of its compact frame. This handgun comes with two magazines of different sizes so you can decide which you want with you on any given day.

PROS:

  • Small but powerful
  • Suitable for concealed carry
  • Handgun of choice for many military and law-enforcement personnel

CONS:

  • Difficult to rack
  • Trigger requires a lot of pull

Sig Sauer MK25 P226

KEY FEATURES:

This German-made pistol, with black hard-anodized aluminum frame and extra-grippy ergonomic grips is the choice of a wide range of law enforcement and military units, including the Navy Seals.

It is a ruggedly built, extremely tough gun that is easy to strip down and clean. It has no safety-catch and is designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer de-cocked so that it can be drawn and fired with ease.

Though there is little danger of the gun firing accidentally, this feature of the handgun may be a little too intense for some.

PROS:

  • Ergonomic grips
  • Black hard-anodized aluminum frame
  • Reliable
  • Negligible recoil

CONS:

  • No saftey

Gen 4 Glock 19

KEY FEATURES:

Glocks are well known for their reliability and performance. This latest version of the Glock 19 featured a rough textured frame and grips, and three backstraps to customize the fit.

The handgun boasts a stronger-than-steel polymer frame coated with Tenifer to make them impervious to all kinds of bad weather.

The magazine release buttons are large and reversible to make the Glock 19 suitable for ring- and left-handed users.

PROS:

  • Reliable
  • Small enough to serve as carry-gun
  • Tough polymer frame
  • Ambidextrous

CONS:

  • Plastic sights
  • Trigger may need replacing

Beretta M9

KEY FEATURES:

The Beretta M9 was developed with input from military, police, and other law enforcement personnel to create a gun suitable for use in any sort of crisis, even meeting the requirements of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Beretta M9 is available with single or double action. The handgun can be disassembled and reassembled without any tools.

It comes with two magazines so you’ll always have a spare. However, some users reported that their accuracy with the Beretta was far below that of any other of their guns, which may be a serious cause for concern.

PROS:

  • Developed to military specifications
  • Reliable
  • Single or double action

CONS:

  • May be less accurate

The Verdict

man holding a pistol

We’re loathe to make any definitive statement on the best handgun, because it’s such a subjective field. Nevertheless there were a few standout candidates in this field of ten.

The best handgun if you prefer a revolver is the reliable and compact yet powerful Ruger 1707 GP100. Amongst the pistols, we thought the best handgun for concealed carry was the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, and the best handgun overall was the CZ 75 SP-01 Tactical.

When you go to try out handguns that you find that something completely different is to your liking, but whether you go for one of these guns or not, we hope that this was a good place to start.

Best Altimeter (ABC) Watches For Hiking and Outdoors in 2020

If you are an avid outdoorsman, backpacker, hiker or hunter, then you know that there are a few pieces of gear you should have in your arsenal at all times.  There are basics like a knife and an emergency radio, but a compass is one of the most basic items you should always have in your arsenal.

What if you could combine a compass with both an altimeter (to detect your altitude) and a barometer (to measure the air pressure around you at a given altitude) and have it all on your wrist in one small package?

That’s what has been worked on over the last 30 years to give us the altimeter watch.  There have been lots of technological advances, so picking the best altimeter watch for your needs  might be confusing.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you and have broken down our favorite picks for the best ABC watch.  These timepieces have become known as “ABC watches” (altimeter/barometer/compass) and as technology advances in all areas of outdoor gear, they are becoming more popular for everyone that enjoys the outdoor/hiking/hunting/camping lifestyle.

All of our favorites include the ability to measure altitude, barometric pressure and include a compass to help you accurately judge your true direction at all times.  They are also becoming more modern looking, providing a look that will pass for a watch you can wear everyday.

Below you will also find all the details including a buyer’s guide that you should explore before buying an altimeter/ABC watch.

We include a comparison chart of our top 10 picks, shortcuts to three of our all-time best altimeter watches, details on each watch, as well as a link to user reviews on Amazon.com where you can see what others have to say about the product.

If you feel like we missed one, please contact us and let us know!

Our Top Three Picks

Garmin Fenix 3

Our rating

Garmin Fenix 3

BEST OVERALL

Garmin Fenix 5

Our rating

GARMIN FENIX 5

HIGH END

Casio PRG-270

Our rating

Casio PRG-270

BUDGET PICK

Now that you’ve had a chance to view our three favorites, let’s dive a little deeper.  Feel free to use the quick jump menu below to jump straight to anything you just may have questions about.

What Is an ABC Watch?

As stated earlier, the “ABC” stands for altimeter, barometer and compass.  Watches in this category offer all three of these components included with your timepiece.  Many of these watches are digital and can use either a lithium battery or operate on solar power.

The first commercially available ABC watches were offered by Casio in 1989.  This early form of the ABC watch was a digital model that offered an Electric Barometer, Altimeter and Bathometer.  This was an early iteration and is a far cry from some of the more technologically advanced models on the market today.

Are All Altimeter Watches considered ABC watches?

The short answer is no.  You can find watches that have an Altimeter & Barometer but no compass.  Whether this is important to you depends on your use.  Something like the Garmin Forerunner 910XT is a great choice if you are just using it for running or biking where there are elevation changes.

Then there are some people who’d prefer to not rely on a digital compass.  If you are one of those individuals and you know you NEED a compass, we’d still recommend buying a watch with a digital compass anyways.  The battery power required is really no different to have a compass and non-compass model and you can always use the digital version on your watch as a backup.

ABC Watch Construction & Components:

Man Hiking with Altimeter WatchAltimeter:  One of the top features of hikers and mountain climbers is the integration of an Altimeter in with their watch.  Altimeters are used primarily in airplanes to judge the given altitude of what elevation you are at.

Altimeters use atmospheric pressure as the method to judge your altitude both up or down in elevation.  Altimeters measure the air pressure of any given location to calculate your approximate altitude.

It’s important that you look at the instructions when setting the appropriate starting point on your watch.  It’s recommended that if you are primarily using your watch for elevation changes, that you set your base level at sea level. From that starting point, the Altimeter will measure changes in altitude depending on how you hike.

Barometer:  A Barometer measures Barometric Pressure which is otherwise known as Atmoshperic Pressure. It is also defined as force per unit area exerted against a surface by the air weight above that surface. This pressure is measured by the Barometer and there is a direct correlation between the altitude of your location as well as the air pressure of that location.

The easiest way to explain this is that the higher you go, the thinner the air gets due to the air pressure getting lower.  This is why you get winded at extremely high elevations, and this is what your watch is measuring. It’s also been known that Barometric pressure readings can be helpful in determining if there is a storm on the horizon.

If your pressure suddenly drops, you’ll know that mother nature has something brewing and it might be time to consider seeking shelter.

Compass:  This part is pretty self explanatory.  Your ABC watch will come equipped with a compass making it the ultimate outdoor companion for your next mountain climbing or hiking trip.

Construction:  Usually ABC watches are geared more towards the outdoor crowd, so they are typically more rugged in construction and can withstand a beating.  They make these watches to withstand the rigors of hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking and a variety of other outdoor activities.

How Do Altimeter Watches Work?

We will try and keep this simple.  Your ABC watch measures current absolute pressure and mean sea level pressure.  There is a relationship between the two which is why it’s important to set a baseline to ensure proper readings.  This is why you should always calibrate your watch for a set altitude and recalibrate it frequently to ensure the most accurate read.

Casio breaks it out into pretty simple steps in this article here and we have summarized them for you below:

1. Your altimeter will use a pressure sensor to measure the current air pressure.
2. Measured air pressure then provides an estimated value based on the altitude.
3. The watch is preset to convert preset pressure values into altitude readings.
4. Air pressure and temperatures become lower as altitude increases.
5. Altitude is then measured based on the lower air pressure, which in turn properly judges your altitude.

Suunto (one of our favorite ABC watch manufacturers) does a great job showing in simplistic form, exactly how their altimeter, barometer and compass watches work in the video below.

A Buyer’s Guide: 9 Things to Consider:

There are a few things you should consider before making a purchase.  Altimeter watches generally aren’t cheap like your basic Timex Weekender (which we love for a simple, minimalist every day watch), which means that you should explore the details before spending your hard earned cash.

1. How do you plan to use your Altimeter Watch?

This is probably in our opinion, the most important question.  We relate this decision to someone trying to decide on a fixed blade knife versus a folding pocket knife.  Both have different uses and needs.  Someone that is going to head out for the occasional hike on the weekends is going to have a different needs than someone who is a competitive rock climber or marathon runner.  Marathon runners are going to be interested in finding an altimeter watch that’s lightweight, weatherproof and has a heart rate monitor.  Rock climbers will be looking for a minimalist design that’s light and extremely durable.

They will need something that won’t impede their climbing efforts.  This is when things like construction, durability and weight all come into play.  If you plan on using your watch for the occasional hike, these things become far less important and looking at a model with a few less features can save you money in the long run.

2. How Accurate are the Altitude/Barometer Readings?

Walking a Trail with an Altimeter WatchThis is an important question and each model is different.  The models in our top 10 comparison guide all have gotten good user reviews when it comes to the varying levels of accuracy.  We would suggest that you stick with one of the larger known manufacturers like Suunto, Garmin, or Casio.

These manufacturers have the market cornered on these products and have spent a considerable amount of resources to ensure that their products provide some of the most accurate readings on the market.  You will find that accuracy readings also depend on how frequently you calibrate your watch.

3. Are Digital Compass Readings Accurate and How Do They Work?

First let’s talk about how they work.  Digital compasses are based on magnetic sensor technology that can electronically sense the difference in the earth’s magnetic field.  There can be some variations based on true north and magnetic north as a result, but they are generally just as accurate as a non-digital compass.

As technology improves, so do digital compass readings.  Similar to the Altitude and Barometer ratings, most major manufacturers have spent time making sure that they have refined the accuracy readings of the compass inside each watch.

4. Battery Power and Longevity:

This is an important question.  An altimeter watch with a GPS can cause you headaches if you leave the GPS on the entire time that you are out hiking.  That’s going to cut your battery life down to 8 hours or less on some models.  This is no big deal for a weekend or day hiker, but for someone running a marathon or marathon relay, this can be a make or break feature so make sure to do your research.

You want to know how the watch is powered and how long it lasts with all features on full use at all times, especially if it has a GPS feature.

5. Can You Wear an ABC Watch Everyday, and are they Stylish?

In one word:  Absolutely.  While they may not be practical for those working in a suit and tie environment, many ABC watches are perfectly acceptable in a smart casual or business casual work environment.  The primary thing you will need to look out for is size.

Some ABC watches are a little on the “beefier” side and you might have a slight problem fitting it under the cuff of your dress shirt.  The good news is that many manufacturers like Suunto have gone above and beyond in making sure their watches are stylish enough to use in just about any circumstance.

If we had to recommend one model that you can wear everyday, the
Suunto Core wins this battle hands down as long as GPS and a Heart Rate Monitor aren’t important to you.

Best ABC Watch Evaluation Tool
Pro Tip: Use freeware like Google Earth to find your starting elevation and calibrate your ABC Watch.

 

6. Calibration Frequency – How Often & How to Do it:

It’s always good to reset your baselines when you are going someplace new, but like most of the questions we’ve asked, this factor is going to be pretty dependent on each individual.  It really is going to depend on the person and how they plan to use the watch.

If you are someone that gets outdoors frequently, there’s no harm in adjusting your starting reference altitude each time you plan on going somewhere that the elevation changes.

You can use free technology like Google Earth to find pretty accurate base readings for just about every elevation and then adjust as needed.  For someone that doesn’t go out daily or weekly, it may not be as important to calibrate regularly.

We mention Google earth as a good resource because it’s free.  You can check out the link here for a desktop version of Google Earth.  If you are on the go, Wikipedia is also a great resource as it has the elevation readings of most locations and the database administrators do a pretty good job of keeping the information up to date.

We would still recommend that you do so each time you know that you are going to be heading somewhere where there are elevation changes.

7. Do you need a GPS with your ABC Watch?

This question will really depend on what you intend to do when you buy your watch as covered earlier.  This is a critical buying decision.  Finding out after the fact that you wish you’d gotten a watch with a GPS and didn’t is a 250$+ waste of money.

Figure out what you need before you buy it and make your decision.  This is a feature that not everyone wants, but most hikers appreciate once they’ve experienced.

8. Do you need a Heart Rate Monitor?

A HRM as a feature is a no-brainer if you are training for a triathlon or if you are an aggressive mountain biker.  It becomes less important for someone that’s only outdoor activity is kayak fishing,  unless you are someone that just actively likes to monitor their heart rate for fitness reasons.

This feature is definitely a nice to  have, but not a must have for folks that like to hunt or are outdoors on the weekend as a casual activity.  The one benefit of having a HRM installed is the added versatility you gain with everyday wear.

9. What Are the Best ABC Watch Makers Today?

This is a subjective question and will really depend on each individual.  We prefer the bigger manufacturers (in no particular order) like Suunto, Garmin, Casio and Pyle.

We’d recommend sticking to one of the larger manufacturers that have been in the ABC watch game for a while.  These models are preferred by outdoor enthusiasts, runners and even people in the US Military.  If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for you.

Altimeter Watch Comparison Chart :

View on Amazon:Battery Life (Without GPS):Weight:GPS:Water Resistance:
Garmin Fenix 3 6 Weeks2.9 oz.Yes100 Meters
Suunto Core12 Months2.2 oz.No100 Feet
Garmin Fenix 55 Weeks3.2 oz.Yes50 Meters
Suunto Ambit 330 Days3.2 oz.Yes50 Meters
Casio Pro Trek5 Months4 oz.No200 Meters
Casio Pathfinder Stainless5 Months3.9 oz.No100 Meters
Casio Pro Trek Black Sport7 Months6.4 oz.No100 Meters
Casio Pro Trek Digital Sport9 Months2.3 oz.No100 Meters
Suunto Traverse GPS14 Days2.8 oz.Yes100 Meters
G-Shock Rangeman6 Months2.9 oz.Yes50 Meters

Let’s break down our favorites.  Below you will find our top picks along with the reasons why they made our list.  If you feel like there’s one that we’ve forgotten that is on your list of favorites, please drop us a line in the comments section and let us know!

Altimeter Watch Reviews – Our 10 Favorites:

1. Garmin Fenix 3:

The Garmin Fenix 3 is our top pick for just about any outdoor activity.  It has everything  you need and is one of the top selling models on the market today.

It comes equipped with the following features in one big package:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Heart Rate Monitor (optional)
• GPS/ GLONASS
• Water Rated Up to 100 Meters (good for swimming)
• Wireless Connection making calibration easy

The battery life on the Fenix 3 is also outstanding.  It’s rated for up to 20 hours in GPS mode, 50 hours in UltraTrac mode (power saving mode, GPs is still available. It can last up to six weeks before needing a recharge when it’s in smartwatch mode.

The Fenix 3 also is one of the more stylish watches on the list and can be easily pulled off in a business casual work environment.  It’s a favorite for triathletes, hikers, runners and anyone that engages in outdoor activities, including hunters.

It also has a few fitness features when you purchase the more expensive Fenix 3 HRM like a heart rate monitor, which makes it even more versatile.  It’s also incredibly lightweight at only 2.9 ounces which is lighter than just about every watch on our top 10 list.

If you can afford the price tag, this is our top choice for the money.  It’s the best ABC watch you can buy from a cost to technology perspective.  We like the Garmin Fenix 3 for every outdoor activity possible – from hunters enjoying the latest technological advances in binoculars, to runners training for a marathon.

2. Suunto Core:

The Suunto Core is our favorite that you can buy if you are on a budget.  There are several different makes on this watch which make it one of the top watches for everyday wear.

It is compatible with a number of different straps which make it a great option stylistically and will give you the flexibility of wearing this watch in business casual environments. Here are some of its features:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass/ Depth Measurement
• Water Resistant up to 100 Feet
• Built-in Weather Trend Indicator
• Built-in Storm Alarm that senses rapid pressure drops
• Digital Thermometer
• Pre-set Sunrise and Sunset Times for +400 locations

The Suunto Core has a battery life of 12 – 18 months while in “time mode” so you can expect to have to replace the battery about once per year which is average for most watches.

We like the core for what it offers and the fact that it’s one of the most popular ABC watches on the market. It’s also incredibly lightweight at just 2.26 ounces.  This ABC watch is one of the most precise at calculating altitude on our list. The built-in altimeter takes into account pressure not GPS coordinates to find the correct altitude (up to 29,500 ft).

Also, because this altimeter relies on pressure, the watch will still work in locations where there’s no GPS signal. So, if you don’t really need a Heart Rate Monitor or a GPS, the Suunto Core should be in your top 3 when considering a purchase.

3. Garmin Fenix 5:

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a still a great option for anyone on a budget. Especially now that the Fenix 6 has been rolled out, you can expect massive discounts to the Fenix 5.  It has more features than the Fenix 3 or the Suunto Core but is less of a daily wear option in our opinion.

It has a few great features which we think are great for the price range:

• Barometric altimeter/Barometer/Compass/ Gyroscope
• Heart Rate Monitor (Optional)
• GPS/ GLONASS
• Water Resistant up to 10 ATM/ 100 meters
• Reinforced case to withstand abuse

This is a great choice for people that will use it primarily for swimming practice or fitness training.  The Garmin Fenix 5 has some of the better fitness features of any of the ABC watches out there.

The performance bundle model comes equipped with features that will track your running dyamics, swimming strokes and has a ski mode, making it perfect for outdoor skiing.

It carries a longer battery life of up to 50 hours in GPS mode but it falls short of the Suunto and Fenix 3 with only 5 weeks of “watch mode” when not running the GPS.  The watch can charge via USB making it easy to charge.  For those that have outdoor activity in spurts, the Fenix 5 is a great option that you can’t go wrong with.

4. Suunto Amibt 3 with HRM:

The Suunto Ambit 3 with HRM is another solid choice in Suunto’s lineup.  This watch is geared more towards sports training but can be used in a variety of other functions including hiking and mountain biking.

There are a few distinguishing features:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Water Resistance up to 100 Meters
• GPS/ Bluetooth connectivity
• 200 Hours (1-min accuracy)/ 50 Hours (GPS mode)
• Heart Rate Monitor

The Suunto Ambit 3 is a favorite for marathon runners and elite trainers.  It comes with free access to movescount.com which is the Suunto online sporting community that many people take advantage of when training for marathons and triathlons.

The watch allows you to download data and use it through the community to track progress through your training.

This model is definitely geared more towards the fitness crowd with the features that it has, but it’s hard to beat the bells and whistles that it comes with. We prefer the Garmin Fenix 3 a little bit more for the looks, but this is another solid option from Suunto at a great price point.

5. Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar:

First and foremost, we have four similar Casio models on this list.  We’ve listed them in order of what we feel you get for your money.  Any one of these Pro Treks are a solid choice and they have similar features.  Looks play a part in any choice and each of them look very different.

Here are some of the features of our first “Tough Solar” Pro Trek on our list:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Water Resistance up to 200 Meters
• Titanium Band and Stainless Steel Case
• Solar Rechargeable Battery
• Long 5 Month Battery Charge with No Light Exposure

The Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar Powered watch is one of two metal timepieces on our list.  The case is Stainless steel and the band is made of titanium.  This is a great watch for people that prefer to be a little less “tech” looking with their fashion choices.  While it’s classy like a Rolex, it serves its purpose as a great watch for everyday wear.

The feature we love about the Pro Trek Tough Solar is the fact that even though it’s battery powered, it gets recharged through exposure to the sun.  This is a great option that doesn’t rely on being plugged in to get recharged.  The titanium band is solid it was built to take a beating.

It’s heavier than the others at 4 ounces, and is less practical for someone that’s training for a marathon.  It is practical however for anyone that plans on doling out some serious abuse that needs a strong watch to stand up to it.  It’s also great for people in a business casual environment that may want a “diver’s style” watch for everyday wear.

6. Casio Pathfinder Tough Solar Triple Sensor:

The Casio Pathfinder is very similar to the Water Resistant “Pro Trek” solar watch.  It is also solar powered with the recharge, but the primary differences are slightly less functionality and a less polished look.  The band and face are a little more rugged than the “Pro Trek” model and there are slightly less features as it’s a slightly older model.

Here are some of the features:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Water Resistance up to 100 Meters
• Titanium Band and Stainless Steel Case
• Solar Rechargable Battery
• 12/24 Hour Display Time Formats

The pathfinder is a great budget alternative for anyone that likes to hike, rock climb or just wants a tough watch that they aren’t afraid to bang around a little bit.

It’s less polished than the Casio Pro Trek and has a few less features but it’s a solid option for anyone that is on a budget looking to buy a watch with a metal case and band.

Again, this one is probably less practical for marathon runners, but a good all around watch for people on a budget.

7. Casio Pro Trek Black Sport:

The Casio Pro Trek Sport is the second cheapest on our list.  This watch is unique because of the low temperature resistance (can hang in there until 14 degrees) and the longer battery life without exposure to light.

Here are some of the features worth mentioning:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Water Resistant up to 100 Meters
• Resin band which is incredibly durable
• Can measure Altitude in 1 meter increments
• Solar Rechargeable Battery

The sport delivers what the other Pro Trek models do at a cheaper level but with less features.  It’s heavier than many of the others on our list at 6.4 ounces.  It has a stainless steel case tied in with the Resin band.

It’s a good option for people that are on a budget and may be just breaking into the ABC watch game.  It does not have a HRM or come equipped with a GPS.

This is a good starter ABC watch and is worth considering if you are on a budget and looking for something that has a little bit of additional durability.  The 7 month battery life on a full charge is a great benefit and one of the longer lasting batteries of any model we’ve looked at.

8. Casio Pro Trek Triple Sensor Digital Sport:

The digital sport is the cheapest ABC on our list.  It gives you the basics that you need and it’s great for those people that are limited with their budget.  All of the Pro Trek watches are pretty solid and this is a great option if you are looking to break into the altimeter watch market and don’t have a lot of money to burn.

Here are some of the features worth looking at:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Water Resistant up to 100 Meters
• Durable Resin Band
• Solar Rechargeable Battery
• 12/24 Hour Display Time Formats

Overall the digital sport is a good entry level watch that’s durable and will give you the basics.  Like the Pro Trek Black Sport, it’s a good option for those that may not want to spend a ton of money right out of the gates to get the latest technology.

One specifically great feature on this Casio is the fact that it has a 9 month battery charge without exposure to sunlight for a recharge.

This is a great feature and it will ensure that it stays ready to go for long periods of time, even if it sits in your closet for a while during the winter.  The biggest drawback is the weight, which is a beast at 11.20 ounces.

Any one of the Pro Trek Casio watches are going to be some of the top altimeter watch options for someone buying an ABC watch, it just depends on your cost of entry and how much you can afford to spend.

9. Suunto Traverse:

Suunto makes our list yet again with the Traverse GPS watch.  Traverse is a great option for fitness buffs.  It estimates daily steps and calories and the GPS has a route navigation that allows for 50 stored routes.

Here are some of the features worth considering:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Calorie/Step Counter (Pedometer)
• Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery with 100 Hour Battery Life
• Durable Silicone Strap
• GLONASS GPS Navigation System

The Traverse is one of the few models on the list that includes a built in pedometer while looking awesome at the same time.  The face is on the larger side, but it still looks elegant and can be worn in most circumstances short of formal occasions.

It can also help you track calories which is helpful if you don’t have an app installed to a smartphone or other smart device that you use to track your caloric intake.

It doesn’t track data for biking or running but it makes up with it for those that enjoy walking and want to track their fitness basics.  The GPS is incredibly accurate according to most user reviews.

You get a good overall package in the Traverse that comes up just short of the Garmin Fenix 3 with regards to the options available.  This is a great watch for the money and looks incredibly stylish to match.

10. G-Shock Rangeman:

Another great budget choice, the Casio Master of G gets you all the basics.  While it’s not equipped with a GPS, this watch makes up for the lack of that feature in toughness.  It’s specifically designed with rangers and rescue crews in mind, so it can take a beating and still keep running reliably.

Here are a few key features worth mentioning:

• Altimeter/Barometer/Compass
• Solar Powered
• Water Resistant up to 660 Feet
• 24 Hour World Clock
• Shock Resistant Triple Sensor

The Master of G is a good entry level choice.  It’s great as a starter model and should be considered by anyone that’s looking at one of the entry level watches.  The selling point on the Master of G is primarily the fact it was created to be “indestructible.”  It also has a killer battery life of 10 years.

It’s not as trendy as some of the other models on our list (especially the Suunto models which we think are outstanding), but for your hard earned cash, it’s tough not to be excited about the features that it offers.

So What’s the Best Altimeter Watch For the Money?

Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch, Gray

When answering this question we tried to take in several factors, but ultimately the Garmin Fenix 3 wins the battle when we take cost, features, and overall user reviews on amazon.com into account.  For what you get, this is the top option you can buy.

The Garmin Fenix 3 has everything you need for just about every feature outside of the fact that it has a higher price tag.  But even with that higher price tag, it’s the best ABC watch on the market for the money.

If you are on a really tight budget, then the Suunto Core takes the cake.  It has a great blend of cost efficiency and is available in a ton of different looks.  Some of the silicone banded variations are minimalist enough to fit under the cuff of a dress shirt, and some of the more rugged builds are perfect for competitive rock climbing.

Our only complaint about the Suunto Core is that it does not have a heart rate monitor or GPS. If you need something with a GPS and a Heart Rate Monitor – spring for the Garmin Fenix 3 and don’t look back.

Finding the best altimeter watch doesn’t have to be difficult.  If you feel like there’s an model we missed that’s just as good as our top 10, feel free to drop us a line in the comments so we can add take a look at adding it to our altimeter watch reviews section.

Memorable Outdoors Moments

When it comes to the outdoors, we all have certain moments, experiences and stories that we all reflect on, tell stories about, and cherish. These moments make us truly feel alive and feel at one with nature. These experiences makes love the outdoors just that much more than we did previously. All campers, hikers, and outdoors enthusiasts know this in their bones. 

Rather than write about our own, we reached out to some of our favorite outdoor bloggers to have them share their favorite outdoor moments. We wanted to share these stories with you in hopes to encourage you to get outdoors!

As a boating writer I love the sea and all its creatures, but as a sailor living on a sailboat, I hate seagulls. They swoop menacingly to terrorize Mouser, the ship’s cat. They poop on the deck. They squawk and caw when you’re trying to sleep in. So it was with some surprise that I found myself running to the aid of an injured seagull that day.

It was a cold winter morning in North Florida. The gull’s broken wing dragged raggedly as it hobbled around the parking lot. Tourist trash yields a buffet of burger buns, cracker crumbs, broken potato chips. Yet my seagull was always too late to the party, pushed aside by stronger gulls. I watched for a while. Then I sighed and did what had to be done.

I recruited another woman, rounded up a big cardboard box, speed dialed Wildlife Rescue to tell them we were coming (unless we got pecked to death) and began playing stoop tag with the gull. He fought us to the end, fixing me with one last, stink-eye stare as the warm, soft box closed gently around him. “I have a car. I’ll take him to the rescue station,” the other woman promised. “They’ll know what to do.”

Seagulls still use my spread bars for a bidet. I don’t like them any better than I ever did. But I like myself a little better now.

Janet Groene BoatCook

Janet Groene bio picture

My most memorable outdoor moment would have to be seeing the Grand Tetons in the Grand Teton National Park for the first time. I love the mountains and have seen many of them but the Tetons are breathtakingly different. The land surrounding them in mostly flat and then they just jut up out of the earth. I had seen pictures before but there is nothing like seeing the massive mountains standing in front of you. To see the glaciers that have a home near the top of the peaks, and how the mountains just slice through the clouds.

Then you learn the history of the area in the National Park, how they built a ferry to cross the river to get to the mountains to pick the huckleberries and hunt. I also got the chance to see a sunrise over the Tetons along Jackson Lake. The whole trip was relaxing and reminded me how truly small my corner of the earth was and made me want to get out and explore even more.

Danielle Leonard OurRoamingHearts

Danielle Leonard bio picture
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My favorite memories are from when I was a kid and went on backpacking trips to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York with my dad and sister.  We usually stayed in lean-to’s and it was cool to feel like you were completely outdoors but still protected.

On one trip, there were some mice running around the campsite. The mice had learned that people equal food and weren’t at all afraid of us.  So, we got the idea to spray cheese in a can between our toes.  The mice licked the cheese out from our toes! I could feel the mice running over my sleeping bag at night while I slept.  

Now I’m the parent and take my daughters on backpacking trips. We have so many good memories together and I love watching them interact with nature. Like when my older girl made an “eco-system” by catching newts, leeches, and water beetles in our camping pot.  Or falling asleep next to the camp fire.  Or that time she complained the entire way up a difficult trail but then was really proud to have made it…

 I know that these experiences are shaping my kids for the better and creating memories, just like ones I have with my dad.

Diane Vukovic MomGoesCamping

Diane Vukovic bio picture

A while back, a gaggle of my friends and I decided to pay a visit to the famed redwood forests in Redwood National Park, California. We had been hearing of how everywhere in the park leaves you feeling like a hobbit and a glimpse of the migrating gray whales had already sold us on the idea.

Our backpacks packed to the brim with essentials to last us a couple of days, we took the Redwood Coast Transit buses to Orick and found our way to one of the developed campgrounds to set up.

The trees there are humongous! According to our guide, some of the trees are as old as 500 to 700+ years with immense heights of over 300 feet and diameters of over 15 feet. One was so huge that a car could literally drive through – the Tour Through Tree at Klamath (a few miles from the park).

The park is rich in fun hiking trails, lined up by giant redwoods, prairies, and shores. The highly-recommended Lady Bird Johnson Grove didn’t disappoint; what with the long trail laden with even more redwoods, greenery, hollowed-out trees, and relaxing ambiance?

The Redwood National Park is also home to the Roosevelt elk that is one of the largest members of the deer family and third largest land mammals in Northern America. However, our minds were set on watching some whales.

The Crescent Beach Overlook along the coastlines provided a good spot for us to wait for the action.

A few hours in, we could see some spouting here and there and finally, a huge gray whale leaped out of the waters just as majestic and oddly terrifying as we had imagined. The whale calves that followed suit were just as magnificent to watch.

Whale watching was hands down the highlight of our five-day excursion and the dances performed by members of the Yurok and Tolowa tribes were also very breathtaking and enlightening. We plan on going back next year to explore the huge park and discover more wonders that we may have missed.


Daniel Msanii CampingManiacs

Daniel Msanii bio picture

There is nothing quite as tranquil and serene as waking up to the sounds of woodpeckers, a gentle breeze, and a gorgeous view of the Southern California mountains. My first experience spending the night in a tree house in Julian, California, was nothing short of spectacular.

The tree house was built in cabin form, with a platform in the trees which looked over lake Julian, which is about an hour 1/2 from sunny San Diego. It fits six guests, allowing my boyfriend, mom, brother, and sister-in-law to tag along on my brand new adventure. The tree house came with all of your modern amenities; a full kitchen, bedroom, full bathroom, pull out sofa, movie theater seating and entertainment system, and the best part, a jacuzzi. 

From hiking by the lake, snacking on Julian’s famous apple pie, to sipping delicious wine while playing board games with my loved ones in the comfort of our tree house home, what more could you ask for? 

Glamping gives you the opportunity to reconnect with nature without sacrificing your everyday comforts. It’s about experiencing the great outdoors while having a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of the day. I have since stayed in another tree house, a yurt, a cabin, and will be ringing in the New Year at a vintage trailer in the mountains. Nothing will replace the magic and memories of my first tree house visit.


Jessica Armstrong GlampingHub

Jessica Armstrong bio picture

One of my most memorable moments was the feeling of accomplishment I had after riding my bike over 25 miles of rough terrain, by myself in the back country in southern British Columbia. I was singing on the top of my lungs warning any bears in the vicinity I was coming and laughing at how stupid I would look if anyone came along. I quickly came to a stop when the trail ended, and a creek was flowing past me making it impossible to continue. Disappointed I looked around and of course there w
asn’t anyone who could help me, but I did see a funny looking contraption with a wooden box and cables that ran over to the other side of the creek. 

A cable car! Right there in the middle of nowhere was a cable car for me to use. I quickly loaded my bike and myself in the box and using the pulley system I pulled myself across the water. Looking back from the other side after I unloaded my bike was quite the feeling as I saw where I had been and where I was now. I did it without anyone’s help and if you knew me you would understand how good it felt. 

This journey was a challenge I gave myself and wasn’t too sure I could do it. I wasn’t exactly young and not necessarily in the best of shape. But I did it and went to challenge myself over many trails in the next few years. It still feels good when I think back on my bike ride and little cable car journey.


Carol Ann Quibell RoamingRV

Carol Ann Quibell bio picture

On a hot summer day, my husband and I decided to visit Lake Bled, Slovenia but this time not only walking around the lake but rather enjoying Ojstrica hike. It’s completely uphill with easy to semi-difficult level and totally worth its effort. Once you reach the top, you’ll know what I mean.

There are a few different starting places. We started walking from the town’s center until reaching the hiking trail – a wooded area with a sign that says “Ojstrica”. We followed the path into the forest and just before our arrival, the path started to get fairly steep and did a series of switchbacks.

In the middle, we got lost because we missed the sign. However, after 20 minutes we reached a gorgeous summit (611 m high) with a bench and stunning view of Lake Bled. We sat on the bench, before making some photos just enjoying the moment, surroundings, sunshine and the scenic view. After this hike we enjoyed typical Slovenian food in a local restaurant called “Gostilna”.

Leo & Neža SafariNomad​​​

Leo and Neza bio picture

If you have any outdoors moments, experiences, or stories you’d like to share, let us know by sending an email or reaching out on our Facebook or Pinterest pages! Happy exploring!

Tips on Cooking and Packing Cookware for the Outdoors

If you’re looking to spend some time camping in the great outdoors here are some tips on what you should pack when it comes to cooking outdoors.

We’ll also get into some tips on how to use camping cookware.

PACKING FOR OUTDOOR COOKING

If you want the best camping cookware, you’re not going to just pick the first set you see. It’s all about the best materials and the best capacity to fit your needs.

There are a whole lot of different materials that are used to make camping cookware. You can find it in just about as many different materials as you can find home cookware, so we’ll only cover a few superlatives here.

If shedding pounds and ounces is your primary concern, then titanium is probably your material of choice. It’s a bit more expensive than other options, but it’s incredibly light and durable.

Titanium’s main drawbacks are balanced out by its uses.

For example, its heat-dispersal is efficient but not even, so it can boil water quickly but isn’t great for much else. That’s ideal when you’re doing a thru-hike, where weight is more critical than a fresh-cooked meal every day.

On the other end is the supremely heavy cast iron. A cast-iron pan or dutch oven is too heavy to take on a long trek, but if you bring it car camping, it has more uses than any other single pan.

However, you won’t find any cast iron camping cookware kits, so you may want to get a separate pan to complement one of the kits we recommend here.

Most of the best camping cookware we recommend here is made of titanium or another similar light metal, such as aluminum. In fact, hard-anodized aluminum is one of the best all-around materials for cooking. It’s lightweight, durable, heats evenly, and can even be nonstick.

If you alternate between backpacking and car camping or want to be ready for anything, hard-anodized aluminum is one of the best options you can choose.

HOW TO USE CAMPING COOKWARE

Once you’ve picked out your favorite set of cookware, you’ve got to know how to use it. Don’t worry — it’s not all about campfires! One of the best ways to cook, whether you’re in the backcountry or at a campsite, is using a camp stove.

Most often, camp stoves run off of gas or liquid fuel to give you a steady and reliable flame.

The type of camp stove you use will, as always, depend on your needs.

Some are larger and more powerful. They use canisters with a large enough volume to cook meals for many campers. Others are just enough to cook a meal for one or two, and others still do use wood.

After you’ve decided how to cook your camping meal, the best camping cookware works just the same as any other pots and pans you’d use at home.

You can also supplement your meal with other pieces of cookware, such as the best camping coffee maker or coffee pot.

Best Rangefinder in use by Hunter on Expedition

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