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Benchmade Jungle Clip Point

Only a tenderfoot carries a big knife.  Yep, I’ve heard that one too.  I’ve also heard that a big knife can do the job of a small one but not the other way ’round.  I’m sure there’s plenty of guys out there that think they can do anything with their Swiss Army Knife, and some others that think unless they carry a 14 inch Bowie that’d feel at home in the Alamo they’re totally defenseless.  Truth be told, I’m somewhere in the middle.  And so is the Benchmade Jungle Clip Point.  A big knife with a fantastic design, built tough in the USA, at an incredible price point.  Let’s take a look at it.


The Benchmade Jungle Clip Point is pretty big in reality, but that does not mean it’s bulky.  Here’s what I mean by that.  Its blade comes in at 9.69 inches with an overall length of 14.29 inches.  It’s long, but surprisingly it weighs only 10.9oz.  For crying out loud, my multi tool, the Leatherman MUT, is 0.3oz heavier than that!  The handle is made of what Benchmade calls Santoprene, which I understand to be a proprietary polymer.  It’s slightly soft, tacky, and excellently shaped.  In reality, the 9.69 inch blade needs this exact handle.  It’s very comfortable.  When you hold this knife, you really understand why it’s such a sleeper in the Benchmade line up.


The blade is made up of my favorite carbon steel, good ol’ 1095.  Now a lot of folks look down on 1095 because it’s not the latest and greatest super steel on the market.  But 1095 has been getting things done for knife blades since the old school ass-kickers were charging Normandy.  Add Benchmade’s excellent heat treat, and you get edge resistance, blade toughness (57-59HRC), and durability.  The blade is saber ground, meaning it’s V ground about half way up from the edge, then flattens into the full thickness of the stock, in this case, 0.195”, or about 4.95mm.  For a knife this size, the saber grind makes a lot of sense.  It adds strength to the knife in its thickness, but provides cutting ability with good edge geometry without the need for bull.  A sharpened pry bar this thing is not!



sheath backBenchmade provides a very nice leather sheath with the Jungle Clip Point.  The sheath issheath front brown leather, well-stitched with two rivets at the top, and a nicely sized belt loop.  There is, however, no secondary retention to the sheath.  Like a good friend of mine once told me regarding his pistol holster, it stays in there with “friction and gravity.”  Turn it upside down and shake it, it’ll slide out.  Leave it vertical in your pack, on your belt, or as I carried it, inside the compression straps of your pack, and you have nothing to worry about.  Still paranoid?  Run some shock cord though the belt loop, then through the lanyard hole and loop it back on the handle.  Paranoia solved.

Over the course of nearly two months now, I have used this knife for everything I could.  On an overnight 4×4 trip into the Colorado backcountry, the Jungle Clip Point was used for everything I needed a cutting implement to do.  It started off doing a little chopping and hacking to beat back some fallen trees across the road.  The Jungle Clip Point chops extremely well, almost like a smaller hatchet, with a sweet spot right behind where the radius straightens out near the tip.  At camp, the Benchmade cut tent guy lines, chopped and split firewood, prepared dinner and breakfast, and served as a scraper to clear caked up mud off an air intake so it could be removed to service the carburetor.  Speaking of splitting firewood, the Jungle Clip Point batoned wood extremely well.  I was splitting 6 inch and larger sized logs easily.  I mean, easy.  The rubber Santoprene soaked up all the shock, and the saber grind drove the two halves apart.  This is one of the best fire prep knives I’ve used in a long time.  Even after the work out around the fire, I was able to push cut curls of aspen, and easily clip small chunks into manageable sizes for my BioLite stove.




On another adventure, I used the Jungle Clip Point to pry out globs of dried juniper sap from several old tree wounds.  The juniper sap burns extremely well, and likewise, entertains the heck out of a four year old!  Putting up a hasty poncho shelter with the knife was simple as well.  Cutting and carving stakes for the corners was a simple affair, and it was surprising how well the big knife handled the small chores.  While not a dedicated wood carver, things like trap triggers, pot hangers, and stake notches were easy to do.

The Jungle Clip Point held its edge very well.  Over nearly two months of hard use, finding excuses to test it, I’ve only touched up the edge twice.  Once on a ceramic rod then the strop, the second time only on the strop.  The handle and blade cleaned easily in soap and water when needed.  The only modification I’ve done to the knife was to Sno-Seal the sheath.  From the factory, it has a light coating of some sort, but still soaked up a little too much moisture for my preference.  Sno-Seal has been a long standing favorite of mine, and with a thick coat and a heat gun, I’m confident this sheath will last for decades.


So, is this a one knife option for the outdoor adventurer?  Yes, I think it is.  It’ll do everything you want, and really excels in some areas.  I think it’s best paired with a small knife like a Swiss Army Knife or a multi-tool.   That combo would really cover all your needs.  Speaking of the whole package, typical price for this knife comes in at just a tick over $100.00!  $106.25 seemed to  This very well may be the sleeper of the Benchmade line.  If you’re a Woods Monkey, you’ll love the Benchmade Jungle Clip Point.



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Budget Overland Kitchen Follow-Up

What a Year on the Road Looks Like

So I have been using and improving the Budget Overland Kitchen for just about a year now and there are some things that I would like to report and observations that I would like to share with you monkeys.



First off, let me say that all in all that I have been very pleased with the overall concept and the pack ability of the Front Runner Box. It really got tested. The kitchen has cooked food for up to 30 people without any issue. To give you an idea of its year, the kitchen has been to the LTWK Pouting, Overland Expo West, Overland Expo East, Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival, PWYP, and several smaller local camping trips.



So, yay Mike! You can read my original article here if you are unfamiliar with it or just need a refresher:


Ok now let’s talk about the observations and issues that have come to light. The first thing is that I was very hard on this bit of kit. Harder than I was comfortable with to see where it would fail. It received no maintenance outside of when I was out in the field. How it was packed when I got home is how it stayed until I went out again. If it was wet, so be it. The case stayed latched until I needed to get into it.


So first off, I chose cast iron cookware for a few reasons but as many of you know you need to maintain it for the best results. I have a lot of surface dust on the griddle and skillet. I would scrape it with the GSI scraper and heat and oil it before each use. It got no post use oil, which normally I would do. If you are lazy go with a different griddle and skillet. I would suggest the Pinnacle Skillet and Bugaboo griddle from GSI outdoors.IMG_0811


Second, when cooking for more than four people it was easier to use paper plates and haveIMG_1432 everyone bring their own eating tools than trying to rotate troughs the GSI plates and washing them. The plates did work quite well, even holding large rock cooked steaks and risotto. They survived having bush knives and sporks dragged across the eating surface and getting carried around by dogs. The cups and bowls did yeoman’s work as well. Hot or cold didn’t affect them at all.


Finally, the GSI cooking tools were my biggest fear when building the kit. How in the world would folding utensils hold up to the heat of campfire cooking and cast iron? Well you can definitely see some wear but they held strong and continue to work better than advertised.



The shakers in the cooking kit were a great size for a weeklong trip. However, if you like to season your food or have a larger group you may want to consider some backup. I chose to fill the squirt bottle with Dawn soap to not only clean the camp ware but also as a safety feature if we encountered any poison ivy or vehicle maintenance grease. Good on you, GSI Outdoors! I would not hesitate to buy any of their products and have actually done so.IMG_1428

Ok, on to the actual Kitchen setup. The foundation of this whole idea was the REI camp kitchen. It gave me plenty of room for the main
stove and a backup stove, a prep area, and enough storage to organize when we were in base camp. It also offered the flexibility to not use it if it was just an overnighter.IMG_0790

The one flaw of the camp kitchen was user error but you should learn from my mistakes so your friends won’t laugh and point like mine do. On our last trip to the Overland Expo East there were five adults and all of the stuff for camping and a show in our van. To say it was packed was an understatement. On the way down the camp kitchen ended up on its side and a full propane tank and several other packs were packed on top of it. The top of one of the wings had given way. The kitchen is still functional and will get a new top this winter. The one thing that I was unable to find a good solution for was a paper towel dispenser. I may try to mount one this winter when I replace the top.


Next is the heart of the beast! Words cannot describe how happy I am with the Primus stove that I picked. I liked it so much that I bought a second Primus stove with two burners to complement the main stove when there are a bunch of people out with me. I was able to make it through all of the camping and cooking with one large propane tank and was able to rig up a method to power both stoves off of the one tank. I am also currently researching if I want to add a propane lantern as a light source for midnight bacon. Speaking of bacon, at one point, the main burner was completely full of congealed bacon grease and had to be chiseled out and cleaned so it would work again.


Now for the unnecessary conclusion, I am really happy with this camp kitchen setup. You can put some time and research and get a setup going for less or you could go out and order everything I used from the first article and be super happy. Find pieces that fit your needs build your setup around who you like to overland with and get out there and do it. Put some miles on the gear that isn’t paying rent in your basement!



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EOG V3 Pocket Bellows Fire Starter

By Nicholas Seliga

While camping in raccoon Creek State Park, located in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, we were able to take a closer look at the Epiphany Outdoor Gear Pocket Bellows Weatherproof Fire Starting Kit. Weighing only 2 ounces this kit contains the pocket bellows telescopic tube, a ferrocerium rod and striker, and the baddest bee fire fusses. All this is very neatly contained in two plastic cylinders which, although not necessarily 100% waterproof, are extremely water resistant. After trying this little kit out, I’m happy to report that it has definitely earned a place of honor and usefulness among the rest of my gear.

Check out our video to see the pocket bellows get in action.

Like what you see? Get yours today at Camp Saver & receive free shipping on orders over $50! Click here for details.


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The Bübi Bottle Soft Water Bottle

By Stefanie Bondra

The Bübi bottle. It’s a water bottle. Well, not really. It can be a water bottle, or it can be: a hot compress, or a cold compress, or a storage container for dry goods or cleaning products. You can put it in a camp fire and it will boil the water inside and not melt the bottle. It’s got a cap to seal out air and water and another lid to allow you to drink out of the bottle. It’s pretty nifty. Honestly though, I snicker when I say the name. Every. Single. Time. Bübi Bottle: pronounced exactly the way you think it is. I apologize in advance.20150702_082340

Moving away from that gem of amusement, the bottle I received was the 22oz multi-use bottle. The company ( ) also offers a smaller (14 oz) size. Either of the bottles is “scrunchable”. This sounds kind of innocuous at first, but when you realize that “non-scrunchable” bottles take up quite a bit of room and this one, quite simply does not, it’s a pretty nifty feature. The bottle rolls up and is then able to be held in this position by the (removable) metal carabiner attached to the bottle.20150702_082750

Free Shipping on orders over $50! Click here for details.

My first use of the bottle was for holding water. I noticed that the bottle had a quite unpleasant smell when the lid came off. This transferred to the water that I put in and so the water was not the most refreshing. It has faded 20150702_082618some after repeated washing and air drying but it is still something to note.

Here’s what I really liked about the bottle though. There is a lid to keep the contents of the bottle air and water tight. Then there is another lid you can screw on to drink out of the bottle. This I really liked because I am a messy gal. I shook the bottle around with the sipper lid screwed on and no water came shooting out at me. The sipper lid took some getting used to as it is a bite-suck design (oh dear the jokes are coming back-the sipper lid comes with two nipples) and trying to run and bite-suck-breathe-not fall down is tricky for those who are easily distracted. At least I didn’t spill any.

The next time I used the bottle, was for my daughter when she needed a hot compress. WOW. Super impressed. Switched the lid back to the solid cap, filled the bottle with super hot water and it stayed warm for at least a half of an hour. In addition to its heat retention; it’s soft, scrunchable features allowed the bottle to mold itself to cover the entire affected area. I also used it as a cold compress with the same result. Lengthy coolness and easily molded to problem area.

The information booklet mentions that the bottle can be used to keep a cell phone dry but I have not been able to stuff my phone in the bottle. Maybe if you have an older and smaller phone this would work better, but my ginormous smart phone wasn’t able to fit.20150702_082642

Final Notes on the Bottle

The Bübi bottle is made from “high-grade silicone and has a BPA free microbiotic-resistant body.” I know people are very concerned with non BPA laden gear to eat and drink from and the “microbiotic resistance” is also great so as not to encourage mold, mildew, and other nasty critters you don’t need on a hike or camping trip inhabiting your water bottle. The bottle is also reversible for cleaning. This I loved because you can NOT do that with a conventional water bottle. I recommend getting the bottle wet because it turns inside out more easily this way.

Prices range from $16.99 for the 14 ounce and $24.99 for the 22 ounce bottle on the website and are easily found on other internet shopping sites for less. Replacement parts are also available through the company or other online sources.

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Battling Old Man Winter

Battling Old Man Winter by Reuben Bolieu

Let’s face it if you love the outdoors, there is little that can stop you from enjoying all that winter activities has to offer. To name a few: skiing, snowboarding, hunting, mountaineering, photography, or just a leisurely hike.

Old Man Winter

One of the biggest dangers in the backcountry isn’t what most people would think. It isn’t the 800 pound grizzly bear or the fierce mountain lion. It’s the cold.

winter scene 2

There are 5 different ways in which the human body looses heat in cold weather: Conduction is felt by losing body heat when contacting colder surfaces. Convection is another way of saying wind, and it zaps the heat out of your body almost as fast as water. Radiation is heat loss through head and neck. Respiration is experienced when we exhaling warm body heat. Perspiration/Moisture is any water (sweat) that may conduct cold convection currents and further chill us.

Shelter /Clothing

Whether constructing a primitive shelter, or pitching your own man-made shelter, all 5 heat loss mechanisms should be considered to ensure a safe, peaceful night’s rest when in cold environments.

Whenever the subject of shelter arises, people often talk about the latest-greatest tent, or superlight ultra warm sleeping bag they just purchased, but often overlook the most important part of keeping warm and dry—clothing. It is said that clothing is the first line of defense against the elements in the city or outdoors.

insulation 3

During a Randall’s Adventure & Training weekend survival course this past winter, our main goal was staying warm and alive! The temperatures hovered a little bit above freezing, with nightly bouts of rain, wind, and snow. Aside from our overhead protection (shelters), which were protecting us from convection and moisture, our warmth came from layering our clothing. Three and four layers of synthetic materials will usually do the trick. The first layer was long underwear up against our skin. The second layer was a long sleeved shirt and our regular hiking/ski pants for the bottom. The third layer was an insulative layer like a fleece or a down jacket. The fourth layer was used around camp, but not to sleep, although it definitely could be. It is referred to as the shell, being a wind breaker or rain gear. Working on skills throughout the day kept everyone warm and layers were stripped off to prevent overheating and perspiration. At night, the campfire kept us cozy and comfortable, but when it came time to retire to our sleeping shelters, all these layers were used in conjunction with our sleeping bags, pads, and bivies. Sleeping with layers of clothing add to the rating of our sleeping bags allowing us to sleep in much colder temperatures than the manufacturer’s suggested rating for the bag. The layering system is vital in outdoor cold weather survival.

insulation 1

C-O-L-D is an acronym that applies to wearing clothing in cold weather. C: Keep it Clean; O: avoid Overdressing and overheating; L: wear clothing loose and in layers; D: keep clothing Dry.


Hypothermia is when a person’s internal body temperature drops below 95º F from its comfortable, normal 98.6º F. Loss of 4 or more degrees F in body temp can put a person dangerously in a hypothermic state. This can occur anytime you are exposed to cool, damp conditions, not necessarily sub-freezing conditions. The symptoms of Hypothermia begin slowly and only get worse from there, so slowly that they may even be difficult for us to recognize ourselves.

A few symptoms to look for are shivering, loss of coordination, slow speech, stumbling around, and drowsiness. If you or someone in your party becomes drowsy, do not let them lay down or take a nap. In severe cases of hypothermia, when a person who is shivering uncontrollably then stops shivering and feels fine usually means they are close to death.

fire 1

Here are a few helpful ways to treat the symptoms of hypothermia. Replace any wet clothes with dry clothing if possible or ring out clothing and zip up in sleeping bag. Wrapping up a space blanket is recommended. Apply hot water bottles wrapped in clothing to groin area, and armpits. Hot drinks and food are always a plus. They warm the body slowly, which is ideal. The human body produces heat in two ways: through metabolizing food and by movement. If you are hunkered down or can’t move, then eat, but don’t gorge if water is limited. Ration food, but not water.

Savage Winter

The 1960’s movie, The Savage Innocence displays the Eskimos’ survival in the extreme arctic wilderness, as well as their raw existence and struggle to maintain their lifestyle against encroaching civilization. The film covers a very big danger that is not life threatening, but life altering and should be taken very seriously-frostbite.

Frostbite and hypothermia are both cold-related emergencies. Hypothermia is the condition of developing an abnormally low body temperature which can then lead to frostbite as the body naturally redirects blood flow to the core, often leaving hands, and feet void of much needed blood flow for the cells in the extremities to keep living. Frostbite happens when tissues freeze. This condition usually occurs when human skin is exposed to temperatures below the freezing point of skin.

winter scene 4

Frostbite is caused by two different means: cell death at the time of exposure and further cell deterioration and death because of a lack of oxygen. In the first, ice crystals form in the space outside of the cells. Water is lost from the cell’s interior, and dehydration promotes the destruction of the cell. In the second, the damaged lining of the blood vessels is the main culprit. As blood flow returns to the extremities upon rewarming, it finds that the blood vessels themselves are injured, also by the cold. Holes appear in vessel walls and blood leaks out into the tissues. Flow is impeded and turbulent and small clots form in the smallest vessels of the extremities. Because of these blood flow problems, complicated interactions occur, and inflammation causes further tissue damage. This injury is the primary determinant of the amount of tissue damage that occurs in the end.


Prevention for frostbite:

-Dress for the weather. Layers are best, and mittens are better than gloves (keeps your warm fingers together while warming each other). Wear two pairs of socks with the inner layer made of synthetic fiber, such as polypropylene, to wick water away from the skin and the outer layer made of wool for increased insulation.

-Shoes should be waterproof.

-Cover your head, face, nose, and ears at all times.

-Clothes should fit loosely to avoid a decrease in blood flow to the arms and legs.

-Always travel with a friend in case help is needed.

-Avoid smoking and alcohol.

fire 2

Treatment for frostbite:

-Keep the affected body part elevated in order to reduce swelling

-Move to a warm area to prevent further heat loss. Avoid walking on frostbitten feet as this can lead to further damage.

-Note that many people with frostbite may be experiencing hypothermia. Saving their lives is more important than preserving a finger or foot.

-Remove all wet clothing and constrictive jewelry because they may further block blood flow.

-Give the person warm, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated fluids to drink.

-Apply a dry, sterile bandage, place cotton between any involved fingers or toes (to prevent rubbing).

-Never rewarm an affected area if there is any chance it may freeze again. This thaw-refreeze cycle is very harmful and leads to disastrous results.

-Avoid a gradual thaw either in the field or in the transport vehicle. The most effective method is to rewarm the area quickly. Therefore, keep the injured part away from sources of heat until you arrive at a treatment facility where proper rewarming can take place.

-Do not rub the frozen area with snow (or anything else). The friction created by this technique will only cause further tissue damage.

-Above all, keep in mind that the final amount of tissue destruction is proportional to the time it remains frozen, not to the absolute temperature to which it was exposed. Therefore, rapid transport to a hospital is very important.


In The Savage Innocence, the star, Anthony Quinn helps his capturer’s frostbitten hands by slaying a sled dog with a knife and then stuffing his foes frostbitten hands into the animal’s warm carcass. In the movie, the man screams, “It hurts” when his hands start to regain warmth. Anthony Quinn says, “Good, that means life is coming back, only death is painless!”

Sleep Tips for Cold Weather

Insulate between ground and sleeping bag. Use closed cell foam pads, inflatable pads, backpacks, cushions, pine boughs, a layer of pine needles, and anything that will cut down on conduction from the cold ground. Relieve yourself before sleeping and prevent having to get up and out of a warm shelter and into the cold. Once a person is cold, it is very hard to become warm again. Warming up water and putting them in bottles inside a sleeping bag is a method that has been used for years in the outdoors. Eat lots of junk food to keep warm. Yes, here is a time when everything your dentist has told you can go out the window. Shivering burns calories and the more calories you can put in you, the better. If you are in a group, try huddling together to maximize body heat, it works for Penguins.

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5 Books, 1 Review! Gibb’s Publishing Outdoors Books for Kids!

What a deal you all get today!  Not just ONE review, but FIVE reviews all rolled into one, for free.  Best deal around, no doubt.  We are going to be looking at books published by Gibbs Smith ( in the Children’s Activity genre.  Simply presented, interesting and valuable information comes in an easily packed soft cover book at a very reasonable price ($9.99 MSRP).  I consider these books a great resource for beginners (kid or adult), scouting troops,and outdoor lovers.

So let’s take a look.

Starting off we have Cooking on a Stick by Linda White.  She begins with fire safety and how to build a fire specifically for cooking (meaning while a fire can get going quickly, achieving a  cooking fire takes about 30 minutes).  I didn’t know there was a difference at a young age and while you can cook over a rip-roaring fire, you’ll mostly end up with charred food.  Good for marshmallows, but not stew. Following these two items is a list of cooking equipment and a “how to” on making a coat hanger into a “cooking stick”.  First aid is also covered which, is always a good idea.

The rest of the book is basically a cook book-or recipe book-which covers a myriad of items ranging from biscuit mix to pizza.  A really nice variety andPhoto8af nothing too complicated to discourage those just starting out.  Cooking with pouches, sticks, and grates are presented but I love that the author also included snacks and trail food (read-”no cooking necessary”).  Because waiting 30 just to start cooking can make you hungry, so included are some trail-mix like recipes to keep that hunger at bay. They are also great on the trail or by the lake.

Similarly,  we have Cooking in a Can– by Linda White.  Leading off again with the basics of fire safety (which can’t be reiterated enough for kids and adults I think), Ms. White also recommends having an adult start fires.  Good tip in my opinion. Also covered is the importance of a first aid kit and planning and packing appropriately.Photo9ag

Ms. White also offers a few “crafts” to the reader.  One is a jeans apron  and another is for a sweatshirt wood carrier.  These are simple, but useful activities that can be done ahead of time or on the campsite (making the apron requires sewing, so if you plan this for the campsite, you’ll need a sewing kit).

Following this are the meat and potatoes (pardon the pun) of the different methods of outdoor cooking with recipes that sound fun and yummy.  Each recipe gives the type of meal (main dish, side dish, snack, etc.), how it can be cooked (can, coals, solar cooker, etc) and how many it serves.  The solar oven needs to be made ahead of time so it also counts, in my opinion, as a craft.

I think that the hot rock cooking (page 45) is really neat and no doubt the kids will get a kick out of it as well.  Just make sure that if meat is being cooked, check to make sure it is completely cooked. Raw chicken is gross and can make you very sick.  Pit cooked food is really easy (though time consuming) and it works great.  Personally, I’ve cooked a ham (which took ALL DAY) and bread in this manner.  As long as the food is completely covered in aluminum so dirt doesn’t get into your food, it’s like having an oven on site.

The recipes included are easy enough for the first-time camp chef and each recipe also suggests alternate methods for cooking.  So if you don’t want to cook your camp meal in a can, it also recommends using a grill or stove.

Next, we look at Sleeping in a Sack by Linda White.  This book covers most of the basics of camping without great amounts of detail and stresses the need for adult supervision.  Topics covered include: choosing gear, planning your trip, setting up, packing and activities.

Photo33aaMaking a camp clean up kit (page 17) is a great idea that combines clean up with a pre-camping project.  Making a towel carrier for each campers bathing/grooming items is a fantastic idea.  And? Mom and/or Dad won’t have to carry all the gear to and from the bath house.  Believe me, after doing this for a few years, it gets tedious.  I’m definitely doing this for this year’s outing! Also covered-the dreaded (by me) pit toilet.  Good to know how to do, but I advise a campsite with a real facility. Running water is so nice; and I mean faucet and tap, not babbling brook.

The brown bag breakfast makes a repeat appearance in “Camp Chow” and a few others follow with funny names, but I’m not sure how many kids who will be willing to eat stew with rutabaga.  But, like I always say; “Add what you like, leave out what you don’t.”

Camp skills covers basic knots, sharpening a pocket knife, staying found, first aid and other activities to keep you occupied; if you can stay awake past sundown from all that fresh air. The book finishes with a brief segment on “green camping”.  Making sure you leave the camp in better condition than you found it and other earth-friendly ways to camp are mentioned.

This book contains plenty of information presented in a format simple enough for a new camper or someone teaching first time campers.

Moving on, Lawson Drinkard offers us, Fishing in a Brook, which covers where to fish (docks, surf, ponds, lakes), equipment, bait, and how to tie knots for hooks.  Baiting the hook for different types of bait is a good idea so you don’t lose wind up just feeding the fish all day.

Casting styles are covered as is when and why to use them.  “Lawn fishing” encourages practice (without a hook thank you) and can be turned into a game even non-fishers can enjoy.Photo21n  Photo24qWhere to find fish taught me why I was probably the most unsuccessful fisher as a youngster.  I think I did everything wrong.  Mr. Drinkard suggests that landing your hook in the sun isn’t going to gain much as the fish like shade better.  One really neat tip offered is to wear polarized sun glasses to see the fish more easily underwater.

Finishing up is a small list of common fish that includes colorful pictures, where the fish usually can be found, what type of bait to use, and I supposemost importantly, what to do after catching a fish.  Release, eat or photographing the fish are suggested.

I like that while the book does mention the “cleaning and scaling”, it directs the reader to get a helper who has done those tasks before. Good idea, since I still have a bit of trouble with the gutting part.  Cooking the fish is mentioned, but not covered in detail.  A few methods are offered though, if the reader wants to try his or her hand.Photo23p

Photo30xFinally, we come to Trekking on a Trail by Linda White.  Even though most of you know I love to cook, I am going to go ahead and say this was my favorite book.

Packing for climate and location, staying found, and how to pack without weighing yourself (or your child) down are some of the topics covered in this easy to read, simply presented book. Starting out with this book as a reference guide could lead to a very pleasant first experience, which will hopefully lead to a lifetime love of hiking.  Also included is the importance of stretching before hiking to lessen the chance for injury and sore muscles afterward.

Photo7aeFirst aid is also covered, as well as the necessity of being able to identify poisonous plants (ivy and sumac as well as ingestible poisons such as berries) so you can avoid them.  Some common animals and the tracks they leave are included in a two page spread.  I thought this was fascinating because it included a picture of the animal with the tracks pictured along side for identification.  This can be a great way to introduce tracking safely.  I know I’d be terrified to come across a bear when I thought I was tracking a fox.

This book is really quite full of useful information for just having over 63 pages.  For someone just starting out, not just kids, this book is a great resource and I highly recommend it.

These five books are really a great resource and a good starting point for a novice to the outdoors.  In addition to the colorful presentation, the subject matter is presented simply to educate without overloading the reader.  Stressing the need for an adult helper is mentioned in every book and I believe that with the right supervision and these books, you can just about guarantee a good time.

As seen in the Woods Monkey Gear Review Column of Issue #15 of Self Reliance Illustrated!