5 Reasons to Take a NOLS WFR Course

You might have noticed that it's been a little bit slow around here lately. This book can be blamed. I just spent 10 days knee deep in the NOLS Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course. Al spent the weekend doing his WFR recertification. The 10 days cost us a whole lot of money ( $699.00 for the WFR course + $235.00 for the recert + a babysitter ) and a whole lot of time (80 hours for the WFR + 24 hours for the recert). But,  I can say that every single penny was worth it. Here's why. The instruction was incredible. The…

4 Rules to Pack What You Need (and Nothing More)

Today we welcome Stratton Lawrence to the blog as we continue with packing week here at Just Trails. Stratton is a freelance journalist and blogger for eBay.com, who writes a wide range of travel and outdoors related content based on his personal experience as a serial traveler and adventurer. We like adventure around here...but we'll let Stratton do the talking! When J.J. Cale first sang, "Travelin' light/ it's the only way to fly," he was certainly a man ahead of his time. In August, my now-wife and I flew to Scotland for our wedding. But even for a small family affair, the trip required…

How To Pack For Any Adventure

I have a confession. The contents of my daypack never look the same from day to day. Sure, I have the basics (food, water, first aid kit, map, GPS, diapers & wipes, knife, emergency fire starter kit, headlamp etc) but it evolves from there depending on a multitude of factors. Since we're talking about packing this week on the blog today we're sharing a checklist with you that we use when we pack for an adventure. Rather than go down a list (headlamp...check, food...check, socks...check) we try to put a lot of thought into where we're going, what we're going…

DIY Cheese Wax Candle

Today's trail tip is inspired by one of our favorite food items on the trails, cheese! And of course, this 'pin', this article at Backpacker Magazine, and this blog post over at the awesome site, Trail-Dad.com. Since my goal with trail tips is to use whatever I have on hand and whatever I have that might be in my pack I used several layers of dental floss all squished together as a wick. My dental floss wick didn't burn for very long. So overall, while it's fun to eat cheese and make your own candles with cheese wax this is…

DIY Backpacking Cooler

Today's trail tip is inspired by this 'pin.' Have you ever finished up a long day of hiking and thought to yourself, "Gee, I could go for a cold drink and a cold bag of M&M's right now?" If you have (and you don't mind packing a little extra bulk and weight) this tip is for you. How much extra weight and space in your pack are you willing to give up for a cold drink at the end of a long day on the trail?

DIY Duct Tape Camping Cup

Today's DIY trail tip is inspired by this "pin"--yep it's a cup made out of duct tape. It took us about 5 minutes to make, you can check it out here:  So, we've decided that the duct tape cup is definitely cool but I can't think of a reason to take it camping or backpacking since water bottles are much more useful to have. What are your thoughts? Would you take this camping or backpacking and what would you do with it?

Do you use a checklist when you plan a hike?

[caption id="attachment_2530" align="alignleft" width="300"] Backpack Explosion[/caption] A few months ago I was thinking about writing a blog post about what we pack in our backpacks. I figured that everyone would want to know how many sandwiches we carry and what's in our first aid kit. Then I realized that our packing list is a fluid and evolving document. When it comes to packing we start with a generic checklist and then ask ourselves the following questions: What is the temperature and the forecasted temperature? Is it hot, cold, wet, dry, windy, snowy? What will the temperature differences be between the…