enjoying the great outdoors
Did you find yourself stuck for meal ideas on your last camping vacation?
Eating delicious, hot, nourishing food while in America’s backyard can be tricky. After all, you only have limited space in your car, backpack, and tents – can you really pack a hefty selection of gourmet dishes along with the other essentials?
Well, yes. Just because you’re away from the luxuries of everyday life, doesn’t mean you have to survive on junk food or forage for nuts out in the woods. Take a couple of saucepans (one small, one large), a frying pan, as many plates and bowls as you’ll need, as well as a stove and fuel (unless you plan to start your own fires).
With your gear set, here’s a range of ideas to help you eat well when away from home …
Potato cakes are pretty quick and simple to make, and they taste amazing. You can prepare these for any meal, though they probably work best on the side of fried veg for dinner.
All you need to do is boil your potatoes over your stove or campfire, and then mash them. Add a single egg, as well as any seasoning you have with you, and then introduce a little flour to the mix.
Combine it all together, and then shape the potatoes into plump, round shapes. You just need to fry them for a while, until they turn a satisfying golden-brown color, and then serve.
Burning food on a stove or campfire is pretty easy to do, so don’t be too disturbed if you end up with a couple of cakes resembling coal.
Cheesy Nachos and Veg
This may sound like something of a cop-out, but it’s actually a fairly complete meal (thanks mainly to the presence of your preferred vegetables).
Start by cutting your veggies – this may be mushrooms, peppers, chili, jalapeno, onion, courgette, carrots, or anything else you like. Fry these in a pan, and add some salsa. Mix it all up.
If you’ve a casserole dish to hand, put your nachos inside and mix the saucy veggies in with it. Mix it up. Sprinkle some cheese on top, place the lid, and then put hot coals on the top so it heats from the top down, melting the cheese nicely.
No casserole dish? Use a cast iron skillet, or wrap the nachos with sauce up in foil to heat over your fire.
Healthy, Hearty Pasta
Pasta works beautifully on camping vacations. You can cook it in batches, keep it in airtight containers, and dip into it over a few days.
For a delicious lunch or dinner, boil your pasta over your stove or campfire, and then add plenty of chopped vegetables. Tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, corn, and anything else you like will bring plenty of flavor and create a healthy dish.
Mix in a can of chopped tomatoes or condensed soup (with a little water or milk). Let it heat for a while, so the veg cooks thoroughly, and then top with some cheese or herbs.
Safety is paramount when cooking on a campsite. Certain spots will have their own facilities, but if you’re looking to go back to basics, cooking at your own space is pretty authentic.
Don’t make fires near the woods or your tent. Don’t leave children unsupervised around the fire. Ensure all knives and sharp utensils are kept out of sight from young kids.
As long as you stay safe, there’s no reason cooking can’t be fun, creative, and help to make your camping trip even better. Make sure you have all the equipment and essentials you need before heading out.
Mountain climbing carries a certain degree of risk in even the warmest months, but this increases significantly in winter. It’s vital to plan ahead and exercise considerable caution on sites posing no obvious danger.
Heavy snowfall, plunging temperatures, and excessive winds can all make mountain climbing a challenge for the most experienced of us. Whether you’re planning on going out there as a pair or in a group, safety is paramount.
Never let yourself be complacent if there are several of you climbing together – everyone has to invest the same degree of preparation and vigilance.
Here are our tips for staying safe while mountain climbing in winter …
Research Avalanche Conditions Ahead of Time
Without doubt, avalanches are one of the most dangerous natural events in winter. Before you set out on your climb, check your local weather station for the latest updates. You should also visit avalanche.org, sponsored by The American Avalanche Association, which is filled with essential information.
You’ll also be able to find detailed information in forums and online communities, so get to know other like-minded climbers.
You may also want to call ahead to your destination’s ranger station, to ask for their advice on avalanche risks and expected conditions throughout the day.
Take the ‘Onion’ Approach
You need to wear several layers in winter. Rather than wearing a padded coat and a thick sweater, layers mean you can peel off should you start to overheat.
Sounds ridiculous? Consider the amount of physical exertion required to climb a mountain, and you’ll see how you can still overheat in chilly conditions. Being able to take a layer or two off will make you more comfortable, without you having to remove something more substantial.
Don’t forget to wear thermals, which wick moisture away from your skin. Carry spare socks and a change of thermals, in case you need to freshen up.
If you’re climbing snowy terrain in bright weather, sunglasses are essential to prevent glare affecting your sight. Snowblindness is a real danger, as is sunburn – pack sun-block in your backpack, even if you think you may not need it.
Choose the Smartest Route
Generally, climbing ridges is safer in winter than tackling faces. The reason? Ridges tend to be free of deep snow, and as they’re windswept the snow is typically safer to cross than powdery surfaces.
Just be careful, though, as cornices form on the side of ridges. If you tread on these without realizing, they may well break under your weight – sending you over the edge.
At a more basic level, choose routes that pose a simpler experience. Trails you may walk in summer without any problems whatsoever are likely to be totally different in winter, with heavy snowfall, rain, and ice. With information from the local weather station and other climbers, you’ll be able to identify the safest trails for your level of experience.
Again, this comes down to investing time into effective research. Simply heading out on a climb on the spur of the moment is easily done, and may seem exciting, but you can’t afford to ignore the dangers posed by winter mountains.
We stock a range of mountaineering gear to help you get the most out of your winter climbs, and have a range of waterproof backpacks to keep your supplies dry (vital in case you fall into snow often or get caught in the rain).
Prepare, pack all the right supplies, wear the best gear you can find, and don’t push yourself into challenges beyond your abilities.
Struggling to get up, out, and busy during the cold days? You’re not alone. Staying active is essential for good health all the year round, but getting the exercise we need in winter demands more motivation than some of us can muster.
For families especially, staying fit together takes effort – especially if you have warring siblings who struggle to co-operate at any time, let alone when exercising.
Still, just because there’s snow on the ground, a chill in the air, and ice on our lakes doesn’t mean you can’t get out there. In fact, that opens up new, exciting possibilities.
Here are just a few winter outdoors exercise ideas for families …
First and foremost, snowshoeing is one of the most healthy winter activities you can enjoy. For families, this is the perfect way to burn off all those calories consumed over the holiday period. For example, walking on flat terrain burns around 370 calories per hour (for someone weighing 120Ibs).
Meanwhile, trekking hilly areas covered with packed snow offers more than 1000 calories’ worth of exercise (for people weighing in at 180Ibs).
Now, we’re not suggesting you should send your kids walking for hours at a time with snowshoes on their feet, but trying this activity as a family is a fun way to kick-start your metabolism.
Nature Walks in National Parks
America’s national parks are beautiful all year round, and are an ideal site for a little nature-tour during winter. Take your kids on one of the many trails and see how many different types of flora and fauna you can spot, with incentives. For example, you might want to offer them a treat if they can identify five different kinds of bird, trees, etc.
Not only will going on a nature walk for an hour or more burn calories and work your muscles, it’ll also educate you all at the same time.
One of the great winter traditions: building a snowman.
Big fun? Absolutely. But there are actually various benefits to building a snowman, snowcastle, or any other snow-sculpture.
First, if you do this as a family, you’ll be working together to achieve a set goal, encouraging collaboration and communication. You’ll also be working your muscles as you scoop up snow, pack it in place, run around – building a snowman can burn around 285 calories per hour.
Once you’re done, you’ll get to stand back and appreciate what you’ve all accomplished together as a unit. It’s a fantastic way to get valuable exercise, bond as a family, and explore your creativity.
Sledding can burn around 450 calories per hour on average, mostly through stomping back uphill with your sled behind you. As anyone who does this on a regular basis will know, this does have a major impact on your thighs, at least!
Sledding can be enjoyed as part of a day of winter activities, such as hiking, ice skating, and building snowmen. Make the most of the crisp, snowy days while they’re here.
If you plan to play in the snow, go hiking, or sled, you’ll need to take drinks, spare clothes, and snacks with you. Carry your supplies in a waterproof backpack to keep them dry.
For most of us, sport is a fun way to relax and unwind. For others, it’s a pulse-pounding experience that pushes you to the very brink of your limits, danger be damned.
Extreme sports are popular right across the globe, and particularly so here in America. As anyone who has ever watched a documentary or movie about extreme sports will know, these involve a staggering degree of risk and can take a massive physical toll.
Still, there’s no denying that extreme sports are incredibly attractive to even the most inactive observers. While you might never actually want to take part yourself, the extreme-sports community continues to enjoy great popularity, and cutting-edge recording technology lets spectators get right into the action with online videos.
Curious adventurers looking for a way in should familiarize themselves with the full range of activities, to find the one best-suited to their skills and experience.
Want to know more? We’ve compiled a list of four extreme sports to inspire you …
Snowboarding might get your adrenaline pumping and accommodate all kinds of high-flying tricks, but it’s accessible to almost anyone at an indoor-slope or snowbound resort.
Investing in the right snowboarding gear may not be cheap, but once you have the equipment, all you need is a reputable teacher to show you the ropes. Consider getting involved by attending an indoor training center and taking a lesson or two.
Staying upright on your board and learning to move your body with the required precision takes a lot of practice, so don’t be afraid to take it slow. There are around 7 million people snowboarding regularly in the USA, so you’re in good company if you take it up!
Even though paintball involves nothing so dangerous as leaping off a cliff, it still asks participants to be brave. As anyone who’s taken part in paintball knows, taking a pellet or two does bring a certain amount of pain – but the thrill of synthetic combat is undeniable!
Around 3 million people take part in paintball across the States, and there are both indoor and outdoor versions available. With the right safety gear, paintball is a safe way to have fun and unleash your competitive side.
Like snowboarding, windsurfing is incredibly exciting to watch, with the rigs themselves featuring a cool, sleek design.
This on-water sport blends sailing with surfing, placing participants on a board with a sail and a mast. Being able to windsurf is a skill demanding considerable dedication, discipline, and physical fitness – but it’s terrific fun.
At the last estimate, there were around 1.7 million windsurfers in the USA.
Surfing is, without doubt, one of the world’s most well-known extreme sports. Not only do surfers enjoy a cool, laid-back image (true or not), they also get to engage with the awesome power of nature in a way few of us do.
Around 1.7 million Americans people take to the sea in their board at least once each year, and there are 23 million surfers across the globe. Interested in learning? You’ll be able to find lessons pretty much anywhere in the States, but don’t expect to be riding waves within an hour or so. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with balancing on a board, changing position, and managing your direction.
Having the right equipment in any extreme sport is vital. Whether this is safety gear, waterproof storage, or the proper type of clothing, you need to invest in the best available to maximize your enjoyment and performance.
Staying safe is vital in any outdoor activity.
While hiking may not appear as risky as, say, mountaineering or whitewater rafting, there are still dangers out there. Everything from a sprained ankle to a nasty scratch can put a downer on your trip, and potentially lead to further problems down the line.
Still, you can’t let this put you off – hiking is one of the greatest, healthiest, most sociable ways to soak up the beauty of our country. To stay as safe during your hikes as possible, take a well-stocked first aid kit with enough supplies for everyone in your party.
What should your kit include?
Obvious but absolutely essential. Carry a variety of sizes to cover cuts, scrapes, blisters, and burns.
Be sure to buy a few rolls, enough to accommodate multiple wounds. As unlikely as numerous injuries are, it’s always better to be prepared.
Knife or Scissors:
A knife and scissors can help you to cut bandages, remove clothing to access a wound, and more. You should keep it in a secure place, and ensure it stays within your sight at all times, as well as that of other adults in your party.
Don’t think you’ll need these on a hike?
Think again. Should yourself or another member of your group get a deep cut, tweezers are vital to remove splinters or unwanted materials from a wound. In the slight chance of attracting ticks, tweezers will also prove handy.
Invest in a sturdy pair and ensure these are cleaned thoroughly before adding them to your first aid kit.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use dressings during a hike. However, in the event of becoming injured with an open wound, dressing pads can help to stop blood loss.
Make sure these are sterile to avoid infection. You may also need sticky tape to keep dressings in place, when it’s impractical for anyone to put pressure on the wound.
These are available all over, and allow you to keep your hands clean if you need to dress a wound. Pack several pocket-sized bottles.
Being struck down by diarrhea’s terrible at any time, but while out hiking? It’s the worst.
Whether your stomach is irritated by dirty water or food past its best, anti-diarrhea pills will keep you comfortable, prevent you needing to stop every few minutes, and avoid the risk of dehydration.
Before applying dressings to a wound, even the smallest scratch, cleanse it with a topical antiseptic ointment. This tends to cause a little discomfort, but it combats the risk of infection.
This is critical when you’re outdoors, in strange surroundings. A lax approach to hygiene, especially with open wounds, is highly inappropriate during hikes. Keep your hands, cuts, and clothes as clean as possible.
Never underestimate how important safety pins are in keeping bandages, slings, and torn safety-clothing in place. Buy these in bulk and take as many as you can with you.
If you’re heading out to hike in wet weather, be sure to keep your first aid supplies safe in a waterproof bag. You don’t want to discover your bandages and dressings are soaked if you find yourself in need.
Remember: hiking is fun, healthy, and accessible to almost everyone. Take care of yourself and the rest of your group by packing a comprehensive first aid kit.
Not only does this make sure you’re prepared, it also allows you to enjoy great peace of mind from that first step to the last!
Mountain biking is one of the most popular ways to stay fit, see some amazing sights, and challenge yourself.
Time on your bike is precious, so you have to make the most of it – and even seasoned riders can learn new techniques and skills to get more out of their favorite sport.
Here in the beautiful USA, mountain bikers are blessed with many stunning trails and spots to enjoy. The better you handle your wheels, the safer and happier you will be.
Intrigued? Join us as we look at four expert tips to make you a better biker.
Take a Stance
When you’re riding your mountain bike, it’s natural to want to stay seated. This makes sense on flat terrain with a smooth surface, but what about when you’re on rougher ground?
Stand up, supporting yourself on your pedals, and bend your knees slightly.
Remember to lean forward a little, and keep your elbows bent, forming a tight, secure posture.
By adopting a stance rather than sitting, you’ll absorb any bumps much easier, reinforcing your safety on tough descents.
Approach Corners like a Pro
Take a corner the wrong way, and you can cost yourself time in a race, let alone risk a dismount.
What’s the best cornering technique then? Don’t leave your feet at the same level on the pedals.
Instead, let your foot on the outside drop to the bottom and lift the inside foot higher. This drives your weight into the corner for a smoother, more solid movement.
Focus, Focus, Focus
The more experienced you become at any sport, the easier it is to be complacent.
However, with mountain biking, a lack of focus is a risk to your health as well as your performance. One bad corner or slip, and you may get pretty banged up. Pay attention to where you’re going: let your eyes guide you, and your responses will be much sharper.
Don’t let yourself become distracted by your fellow riders, or how good you might look while pulling off a certain move. Keep your eyes on the trail, obstacle, or trick ahead of you.
Brake Smoothly, Brake Evenly
You need to master your brakes to stay safe and in control while riding. Though most of your brakes’ power is based in the front one, squeezing this too hard and fast can put you in a slightly unstable position (namely, on the ground).
When applying your brakes, do so smoothly. Squeeze them lightly, slowly. Pay equal attention to the front and back brakes to avoid skids.
When coming to a sudden stop, be sure to let your heels drop, bend at your elbows and knees, and shift your hips back. This helps you stay in control and keeps you in a stable position should you be on rough terrain.
Mountain biking should be fun and exciting, but always exercise caution and use the right equipment. At Adamant Gear, we stock high-performance mountain bikes crafted with the toughest, most durable components for the safest, most secure, most satisfying ride.