5 Common Wilderness Survival Scenarios

All things considered, the backcountry isn’t as dangerous as many people think: as is often said, the drive to the trailhead might be the riskiest part of a typical hike. Prepare thoughtfully, come properly equipped, and keep a clear head, and you’ll usually be just fine out there. That said, sometimes things don’t go so smoothly, and you find yourself in a potentially dicey situation. Today at the Mountain House blog we’re going to look at five wilderness survival scenarios and how to act in them. For several of these, we’re summarizing topics we’ve delved into more deeply on our … Continue reading

Map & Compass Basics for Navigation – Part 2

In Part 1 of our two-part blog series on “How to Use a Map & Compass,” we covered the design and symbology of topographic maps and the basics of map reading and land navigation. In Part 2, we’ll introduce the essential outdoors tool of the baseplate compass, and talk about using it on its own and how to navigate with a map and compass together. The Compass A magnetized needle suspended in a fluid-filled housing that aligns with the magnetic field of Planet Earth: that’s the marvelously simple fundamental design of the compass. Every outdoorsperson should own a good-quality compass … Continue reading

Map & Compass Basics for Navigation – Part 1

We’ve never lived in an era in which wilderness travelers are so robustly equipped to find their way and to be found. Between basic smartphone maps and fancy handheld GPS units, modern technology is a wonderful resource for the backcountry (check out our roundup of our favorite navigation apps right here) That said, the realities of the wilderness require that we don’t rely exclusively on such devices. Signals and batteries fail, computerized systems go haywire, digital maps lead us on technically impossible routes. Whether you’re a mountain climber, a backpacker, a backcountry skier, or anybody whose recreational inclinations or professional … Continue reading

15 Awesome State Parks in the USA

State parks in the U.S. offer some of the country’s most accessible outdoor recreation and protect some of its great landforms and ecosystems, historic sites, and scenic sightlines. Whether you’re overnighting or just spending a memorable couple of hours, the following are a top notch sample of U.S. state parks. This isn’t an attempt at a “best-of-the-best” list, but rather a celebration of the sort of natural wonders and recreational activities American state parks harbor. Some of these rank among the best-known, most-visited state parks in the U.S.; others are quite a bit more off-the-radar. All of them, though, are … Continue reading