How to Keep Your Bike From Being Stolen

Stolen BikeBikes are easy to resell, hard to identify and they are their own getaway vehicle, so it is not hard to see why an immense amount of bikes are stolen each year. It is hard to get a firm number but it is estimated somewhere between 750k and 2 million bikes are stolen in the United States alone.

With some very simple steps, you can help make sure your bike is not stolen and if so make sure you are part of the 5% of people that end up getting their bike back.

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Everything You Need to Know to Get Into Biking as an Adult

This post is for those of us who rode bikes as a kid, life got in the way and now as an adult are looking at getting back into it. Several years ago I bought my first “real” bike and this post pretty much sums up the research I did and the experience I had. It has now been several years and I own a couple bikes for various reasons, so hopefully this helps you in what choices you have and the options out there.

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Solar Backpack Reviews for 2015

As we become more and more connected, it is harder to leave behind our electronic devices, even we are immersed in nature’s splendor. The following are my picks for what to look for in a solar backpack and several good choices in what to get depending on what you need it for.

Reasons to Buy a Solar Backpack

solar backpack for bikingSolar panels get better and better every year and they have finally gotten to a point where you can add solar panels to your backpack and as long as you are outside in the sun, keep your phone and other wearable electronics fully charged.

Who doesn’t want to help out Mother Nature? You have to use this a good bit to offset the initial carbon footprint cost of manufacturing this item, but as long as this is a well used item by you, you can count on free energy from the sun without causing any harm. Enjoy nature and help preserve it at the same time while staying connected off the grid.

More and more jobs require people to be outside for the jobs with devices that require power. Battery packs are a must in these situations, but including a way to charge keep these devices and battery packs charged gives you one less thing you have to worry about.

Do a lot of biking or hiking and want to make sure all your electronic devices stay charged? You are already out in the sun with a backpack, might as well use all that free energy beaming down on your pack. Do you need to keep a tablet, phone, GPS, flashlight, radio, digital camera, GoPro or one of hundreds of other electrical devices?

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Is it Better to Drain the Water from a Cooler?

Coleman-48-Quart-Chest-CoolerContinuing with our common camping questions, here is another one that will give you an almost 50/50 split when you poll your friends. As the hours and days pass, your cooler filled with ice slowly but surely gets replaced with water. Is it better to drain this water out or keep it? From a pure physics perspective, it is better to leave the water in unless it is making the items in the cooler soggy or you have to carry it around a lot and you want it lighter.

What Coleman Says

Don’t drain cold water – Water from just-melted ice keeps contents cold almost as well as ice and preserves the remaining ice much better than air space. Drain the water only when necessary for convenient removal of cooler contents or before adding more ice.

What Igloo Says

During use, it is not necessary to drain the cold water from recently melted ice unless it is causing contents to become soggy. The chilled water, combined with ice, more readily surrounds canned and bottled items and will often help keep contents colder more effectively than the remaining ice alone.

Why You Should Not Drain Out the Water

  • Water makes better contact with all your food items keeping everything bathed in coldness
  • The more cold water you have the more energy the outside environment must exert to warm up your food.
  • Once all the ice is melted the water continues to act a a heat sink

Is it Warmer to Sleep Naked in a Sleeping Bag?


You actually hear this question more often than you think you would, with it usually followed closely by the followup question if everyone should get naked and huddle for warmth as an effective warming secondary strategy. When you are camping in cold weather, is it actually warmer to sleep naked than to sleep with your clothes on? The short answer to this is only if the only clothes you have are damp or wet, if not, then probably not. Each person is slightly different and your exact conditions will be different, but unless you are an experienced camper, just go to sleep dressed in dry layers.

If you are anything like me, you will have to pee at least one time in the middle of the night. Trying to put all your clothes back on without leaving the warmth of your sleeping bag makes sleeping naked almost not worth it just for that reason.

One common mistake is placing your dry clothes next to your wet clothes within your backpack. In no time at all, your dry clothes are now your damp clothes.

There are exceptions to everything though. If you are doing high altitude camping with a really good sleeping bag, then you could actually be better off sleeping naked.

Reason to Sleep Naked in a Sleeping Bag

  • All your clothes are damp
  • You sweat a lot in your sleep and will soak your dry clothes
  • You have a sleeping bag that works best when you are naked
  • There is someone else in the sleeping bag with you

Reasons to NOT Sleep Naked in a Sleeping Bag

  • None of the reasons to sleep naked apply to you

What to Look for in a Winter Camping Tent

winter tent campingGoing camping in winter might sound like an amazing idea. There is the crisp snow all around you, endless snow games and the calming trek through the snow-laden trees. Such is the beauty of winter, a beauty that comes at a price. The biggest problem in winter camping lies in the same thing that makes it interesting, the frigid weather. While most people think of packing the warmest parka they can lay their hands on, your comfort lies in something bigger at night – your tent.

Knowing the basic things to consider when choosing your winter camping tent ensures that you stay warm and cozy all through the night. Since you want a balance between weight and functionality, it would be better if you understood the essentials of winter camping and all the tricks that you can use to cover up for your tent shortcomings without putting your life at risk.

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Birding Tips and Bird Watching

Protect the birds and their habitat.

  • To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, user caution when observing, photographing, and making sound or film recordings.
  • Limit your use of recordings and other methods to attract birds. Never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or to attract any species that is threatened, endangered, or is rare in your local area.
  • Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, use a blind or hide and take advantage of natural cover for extended observation, photography, filming or recording.
  • Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance minimized, and permission has been obtained from private land-owners. The sites of rare nesting birds should be divulged only to the proper conservation authorities.
  • Stay on roads, trails and paths, where they exist, and minimize habitat disturbance.

Respect the law, and the rights of others.

  • Do not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
  • Follow all laws, rules and regulations governing the use of roads and public areas.
  • Practice common courtesy with other people. Your exemplary behavior will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike.

*Adapted from Amercian Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Full text available at

The Ultimate Crossbow Guide!

You stroll into the store, or you’re looking online for the best crossbow. You could be looking for a certain type, some odd years old, or there could be a new and improved brand that was just released. Or, possibly, you could just be starting out and you are looking for the best crossbow for a beginner. You could be searching for a crossbow solely for the purpose of target practice and recreation, or perhaps you wish to go crossbow hunting.

Because technology is constantly advancing, and because there are so many crossbow specifications for all types of users, searching for just the right make and model can be a difficult process. Where do you even start? What do you want out of the crossbow? Are you crossbow hunting? What curve, or arrowheads do you want? Are you looking for a challenge? These are all questions to consider, whether you are just starting out, or whether you are looking for a new crossbow.

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Daily Deals – July 22nd 2015 – Solar Powered Hiking Backpack, Camping Lantern and more

$50 – ECEEN Solar Powered Hiking Daypack 

ECEEN Solar Powered Hiking DaypacksThis extremely highly rated dayback is currently on sale on Amazon when you use promo code XRUIRX3A. This pack is usually on sale for $70, so $50 for a daypack is a great deal, one that is foldable and includes a 3.25 watt solar charger is just outstanding.

The backpack folds up into a little pouch, which makes it perfect for traveling in your luggage or trunk. It unfolds in seconds and is ready for use. The 3.25 watt charger is slow going but it will keep your phone or GoPro charged up nicely.

This is a great pack for slack hiking as well. Read our full review of this backpack and the best solar backpacks for 2015.

==> $50 on Amazon with coupon code XRUIRX3A<==

$7 – Newisland Universal Waterproof Phone Cases 

Newisland Universal Waterproof Phone CasesRain can happen anytime. I have learned from experience you always need to keep your phone in a ziploc page while camping. If you plan on being near water, the beach or just want something more secure then you really can not beat this waterproof phone case. It holds phones up to 6″ and locks as well as has a neck strap for easy usage.

The case normally retails for $30 on Amazon, so $7 is a pretty hefty discount.

==> $7 on Amazon with coupon code S3Z75N66 <==

$8 – TaoTronics Collapsible Camping Lantern 

TaoTronics Camping LanternThis collapsible lantern normally retails for $50 and is currently on sale for $8, which pretty much made this an instabuy for me. I normally just use a headlight for my night time illumination, but this lantern’s small size and huge battery life convinced me it was worth the extra 4.3oz in my pack.

Also works as a flashlight, SOS flash and shock/water resistant is just icing on the cake.

==> $8 on Amazon <==

Daily Deals – June 18th 2015 – YKS 3-Person Automatic Folding Tent with Double Layers, Windproof, Waterproof and UV-proof

$85 – YKS 3-Person Automatic Folding Tent 


Current on sale from Amazon from $129 to $85 if you use the coupon code ZN33WBBS at checkout. Reviews on this seem to be a bit questionable so buyer beware. For $85, for 3 people, this looks to be perfectly fine for a backyard or light camping trip.You can buy a larger, heavier grade for more money, but if you are on a budget and need a sturdy 3 person tent this should do nicely. Setup is expected to take 2-3 minutes due to the automatic folding feature.

  • 8 lbs
  • 3 people
  • 4.1 stars on Amazon from 9 reviews

YKS 3-Person Tent Deal – ZN33WBBS

$18 – Coleman 48-Quart Chest Cooler 


Great deal on this medium sized cooler. This is usually $40 on Amazon and you can get it for $18 from Kmart today! This cooler will hold right around 60 12oz cans or however much food would take up the same space as 60 12oz cans. No wheels so this will be a team lift using the sturdy side handles to get this cooler to its destination.

Coleman 48 qt Deal

$59 – Coleman 100 qt. Xtreme Wheeled Cooler with Tow Handle 

Coleman-100-qt.-Xtreme-1024x1024Need something bigger than the 48 qt Coleman? You are in luck! The 100qt version is currently on sale on Amazon. This cooler usually goes for an even $100 so act on this fast! This bad boy is perfect for throwing into the car for a camping trip. It will hold 160 cans if you are in a drinking mode or several days worth of food. This is rated to keep ice for up to 5 days in 90 degree temperature, so this should last you your whole trip easily. Big wheels and drain plug with a channel makes taking this to your destination and then cleaning it out a snap. Convenient drink holders in the lid make this perfect to pull up next to the camp fire and enjoy your night.

Coleman 100 qt Xtreme Deal

$40 – Northwest Territory Rocking Chair 

Northwest-Territory-Rocking-ChairWant to bring your own rocking chair out to you to the woods? You are in luck, this camping chair is $20 off today from Kmart and you can pick this up for $40. This chair normally sails for $82 on Amazon so this is a pretty sweet deal. This chair has a lot of phenomenal reviews and is one of those camp items that once you have one you will always immediately buy another since you do not want to go without it anymore.

Northwest Territory Rocking Chair Deal

$25 – Hammock – No Stand

Hammock-SelloutWootGet some rope, tie this to two trees and really elevate your camping experience. Nothing says relaxation like chilling in your hammock. You can pick up a hammock from Woot for $25 today. Keep in mind that this does not include a stand, but that should be just fine for a camping trip. This is a pretty heavy duty hammock so this really only makes sense for a day trip or if you can pull up right next to your camping site. This is not a hammock you would ever want to backpack anywhere.

Woot Fabric Hammock Deal