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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

Setting Up an Emergency Disaster Plan

Have you put together an emergency preparedness kit yet? You have? Awesome news! But how about your emergency preparedness plan? The right tools and supplies (including Mountain House emergency kits) are great, but if you don’t have a protocol to turn to for when a natural disaster or other disruptive event occurs, your kit can only do so much good. What is an Emergency Disaster Plan? No matter where you live, it’s essential to come up with an emergency disaster plan. It’s a strategy and a step-by-step course of action that you and other members of your household agree upon … Continue reading

Backcountry Skiing, Snowshoeing and Climbing: Assessing Avalanche Terrain

It’s avalanche season again, which means it’s high time to refresh your snow-slide smarts if you’re a backcountry skier, snowboarder, climber, or snowmobiler. We’ve published a general guide to avalanche safety here at the Mountain House blog, which we recommend reading for more insight into what causes an avalanche and what to do if you get caught in one, among other topics. Today, we’re tightening the focus a bit and presenting a basic guide to assessing avalanche terrain as you travel. The considerations we’re covering below can help you hone your “avalanche eyeballs,” as Bruce Tremper, Director of the Forest … Continue reading

Deer Hunting for Beginners

Across much of North America, deer rank as the most common big-game animals—and some of the most ecologically significant critters on the landscape. Because of their size, distribution, and (overall) abundance, these fleet, watchful ungulates (hoofed mammals) have been prized quarry for hunters since prehistory. In the United States, deer hunting is something of a religion for many sportspeople, and meanwhile wildlife managers rely on hunters to help keep the deer population healthy and in check. Obviously many hunters prize a big-antlered trophy buck, but much deer hunting in America remains a subsistence pursuit: linking the hunter of today with … Continue reading