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The Best Rock Climbing Spots in North America

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Best Rock Climbing Spots – North America 

Rock climbing is a fun and adventurous sport that does more than just keep you fit; it tests strength, resolve, endurance, and courage. Although climbing indoors can keep you fit and train you for getting outdoors, the best experiences are climbing some of the best rock formations in North America.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is a great place for rock climbing. It has two famous locations, El Capitan and Half Dome. El Capitan is a 3,000-foot vertical rock formation known colloquially as El Cap. Located in Yosemite National Park, people once considered scaling it impossible. However, now big-wall enthusiasts enjoy climbing one of the two main faces, either the Southwest or Southeast. There are more than a dozen routes one can take, the most famous being the Nose. Half Dome is the most recognized climbing site in Yosemite and is more than 4,737 feet high. It features over a dozen rock climbing routes, in addition to the trail and cable route erected in 1919 for those not looking to scale the face.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountains offer numerous climbs within their many peaks. The best peak is Longs Peak, which offers routes for a variety of skill levels. Some of the most popular routes on Longs Peak are the East Face, Keyhole Route, and the Diamond. During the winter season, special climbing equipment is necessary due to ice and snow. Another great area to climb on the Rockies is the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado. It also has routes for all skill levels, especially fro beginners.

Moab, Utah

Many people enjoy climbing the rocks and sandstone towers in Moab, especially those who enjoy desert climbing. There are a variety of climbs suitable for all skill level from beginners to masters.

Smith Rock, Oregon

Smith Rock in Oregon offers more than a thousand routes. Many of the best climbers come to Smith Rock for the challenging climbs, and many consider it the birthplace of the modern sport.

Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

Devil’s Tower offers sheer rock walls with vertical cracks and columns for climbing routes for every skill level, from easy to some of the hardest in the world. There are over 150 different established routes, ranging from 500 to 600 feet.

Denali National Park, Alaska

The highest mountain in North America is Mount McKinley, which is known as Mount Denali to climbers and locals. The alpine conditions can be hazardous, so it is best for those with experience. Only about half of those climbing the West Buttress route actually make it to the summit.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park in Maine offers solid granite rock formations perfect for climbing. The best spots are the Otter Cliffs, which are located on the southeastern side of the Mount Desert Island. These cliffs rise 60 feet out of the water. Climbers also enjoy the Precipice, which offers easy routes fro beginners.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park in Utah, made up of Zion Canyon and Kolob Canyons, feature big wall challenges best for those with experience. The best climb is most likely Moonlight Buttress, although climbers also enjoy Angels Landing’s Prodigal Sun.

Hueco Tanks State Park, Texas

Hueco Tanks State Park, near El Paso in Texas, offers climbers an incredible bouldering site. It does have limited access in order to preserve the formations, so most climbers have to join a guided group. North Mountain is available for unguided climbs.

This list is by no means definitive. North America offers numerous places to enjoy rock climbing, whether you are a beginner or a master. Some locations may just feature one main formation, while others have enough trails that you could spend a lifetime trying them all. 

photo credit: Markus_76

10 Greatest World Cup Hosts Of All Time

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Quik Shade

 FIFA World Cup 2014

The 2014 World Cup has ended, with the world congratulating Germany on its victory, the first European nation to win a World Cup title in the Americas. With World Cup fever beginning to abate and fans already anticipating the next cup in Russia in 2018, it is time to rank the 10 greatest World Cup hosts since its official beginning in 1930.

South Africa 2010

The 2010 World Cup took place in South Africa, making it the first time that the event took place on African soil. That alone makes the South Africa games memorable, but the culture and beautiful backdrops to the game intensified the experience for those who enjoyed the experience in person and on television. The games also introduced the world to the Vuvuzela, to much controversy.

USA 1994

In 1994, the United States played host to the World Cup, even though there was not a large population of soccer fans in the country. However, an average attendance of 69,000 set a new record, with a total attendance of 3.6 million that remains the highest. The games were played in nine cities across the country, showcasing soccer to Americans around the country. The tournament helped to bring professional football to America, and in 1996 Major League Soccer was established.

Korea and Japan 2002

In 2002, the World Cup made its way to Asia for the first time. Additionally, these games produced another first: tow countries hosting the event together. The event was held in venues that had scintillating perspectives, especially in Japan. The attendance was low, but it still ranks as a success for opening up the event into Asia, and for showing how two countries can successfully share hosting duties.

France 1998

In 1998, the World Cup expanded to featuring 32 national squads for the first time. Additionally, Japan and South Africa qualified for the first time, leading the way to their hosting the cup in the future. France not only hosted the games, they also took home the trophy.

England 1966

England last hosted the games in 1966, with the third most attended game with over 51,000 fans for each match. These games also are the last time England won the trophy. The games took place in many of the famous stadia around England still in use today.

Switzerland 1954

The 1954 games in Switzerland had the highest number of goals scored, with an average of 5.38 per game. For a game known for minimal scored games, these games must have been exciting for fans to experience.

Chile 1962

When the games returned to South America in 1962, it was to the victor Chile, who won hosting duties over Argentina and Germany. In 1960, a devastating earthquake hit Chile, making FIFA consider changing the event location. However, Chile’s FA president appealed saying, “We have nothing, that is why we must have the World Cup.” FIFA proceeded as planned, and the games successfully took place on two impressive stadia.

Germany 2006

In 2006, Germany hosted the games in twelve of its UEFA five-star rating stadia that had at least 40,000 seats for the matches. Visitors and natives enjoyed themselves during the games. The fans’ areas created an atmosphere for colorful congregations, providing a fun atmosphere to the games.

Italy 1934

In 1934, Benito Mussolini saw the potential of using such an international event for propaganda and hosted the World Cup with relish. Italy also brought home the trophy.

Brazil 2014

There are mixed reviews about the success of the 2014 World Cup games, but it deserves a place on this list for its news-worthy events, including the record-breaking, upsetting defeat of the host country in the semi-finals, the infamous biting incident, and more. About 3.5 million people attended the event, with an average 53,000 per match.

photo credit: Claudio Lara

Summertime Outdoor Dining Activities

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Summertime Dining Activities

Summertime offers the perfect atmosphere to dine outdoors with your friends and family. You can have a backyard barbeque or a picnic at the local park or beach. During these outdoor gatherings, you do not have to rely on just eating and conversing for entertainment. Summertime is also the perfect opportunity to get active and enjoy fun, outdoor activities perfect for all ages. By including these outdoor dining activities, your party or romantic evening for two will be a huge hit.

Classic Outdoor Games

When you have an outdoor picnic, barbeque or other party, you can have fun playing some of the classic outdoor games. These include horseshoes, washers, croquet, and bocce. These games are simple, require minimal skill level and materials, and are fun for all ages to play. Smaller children may need to have some modifications or extra help, but they can still enjoy playing the games. Additionally, these games require minimal physical activity, so your guests can still enjoy them even after filling up on the delicious food. They also can be played with just a few people, so they are perfect even for small parties and family dinners outside.

Play Sports

If you want to get more active at your outdoor dining party, you can engage your guests in sports. Traditional outdoor games include volleyball and badminton. You can set up a net in your backyard, the local park, or on the beach. Both volleyball and badminton only require the net and the ball (and the rackets for badminton) and are also fun games for all skill level and age level to play. If you have a larger area, you can play baseball, football, or Frisbee.

Have an Old Fashioned Competition

When you plan your outdoor dining experience, you can also set up a multi-game competition. You can have three-legged races, potato-sack races, egg or water balloon tosses, and more. You could also set up a fun relay race that includes stunts, such as having to carry an egg. You can create teams as small as two people and as large as you like to compete.

Dancing

Just because you are outside does not mean you cannot set up a dance floor. As long as you have music, you can have dancing. You can create a playlist before you party that features a variety of music perfect for dancing, both slow and fast songs. If you are having the party in your backyard, you can decorate a section with lights to set the tone.

Kite Flying

If you are having a smaller outdoor dining experience, such as a romantic picnic for two, you can still enjoy some fun activities, such as kite flying. People of all ages enjoy flying kites, and there are many different varieties on the market. Additionally, you can also have fun playing with remote controlled planes and helicopters.

Board Games

Even though you are outside, you can still have fun playing board games. If you are in a wind area or on the beach, you should be careful of using any games with a lot of pieces and cards that you can lose. However, old classics such as chess and checkers can easily be played outdoors as well as inside. Other board games can make for an enjoyable evening, regardless of your location.

An outdoor dining experience can be complemented by a variety of activities. When you plan your afternoon or evening, you can choose your activity based on the intended feel for the party, as well as the guest list. Whether you are just enjoying a romantic evening for two, or you have invited the entire office for a party, you can find an activity that will engage everyone for a memorable event.

photo credit: Sergio Piumatti

5 Outdoor Games that are Fun No Matter your Age

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Outdoor Games Are Fun No Matter Your Age

When it is beautiful outside, everyone wants to go outside and play. With these five games, it is not just the children who can enjoy playing outside. They are perfect options for amusement during a backyard barbeque, a family reunion, a birthday party, a picnic, a day at the beach, or any other excuse for being outside and enjoying the sunshine. These games are suitable for children of all ages. Even if the party is an adult-only engagement, you can still have fun playing these games.

Horseshoes

Horseshoes may be an old classic, but that does not change the level of amusement it provides. It is a simple game to play, and does not require many tools. All you need are two poles and two horseshoes, with plenty of room between the two. The standard length between the two is 40 feet, although you can adjust that depending on who is playing and how much space you have. You can purchase plastic varieties that are safer than the metal horseshoes. There are also other variations of this game, such as washers. Horseshoes can be played in grassy or sandy areas.

Bocce

Bocce is another classic outdoor game that anyone can enjoy. Like horseshoes, it can be played in grass or sand. For this game, you just need some bocce balls. They weight about two pounds, so smaller children sometimes have trouble playing. There are eight large balls and one small ball that is the target. Each team gets four balls and you try to get them close to the small ball. There are variations that are more family friendly, such as Boochie that has lighter bean balls and rings for tossing instead.

Frisbee Golf

Instead of just throwing a Frisbee back and forth, you can enhance the fun by playing a round of Frisbee golf. Some parks have official Frisbee or disc golf “holes.” However, you can make your own just by selecting a particular landmark as the goal. Then, everyone tries to get the Frisbee to that location. Similar to regular golf, you see who can do it in the least amount of tries. If you have a large park or beach area, you can have multiple “holes.”

Water Balloon Toss

When it is really hot outside, a water balloon toss can provide some relief, as well as amusement. For this game, you just need filled water balloons. Everyone partners up and tosses the water balloons, trying not to pop them. To make the game more difficult, begin with each partner standing close to one another. Each time they successfully catch the balloon, each partner has to take a step back. Whoever lasts the longest wins the game.

Tag

Another classic, tag is fun no matter your age. Playing a game of tag brings the kid out in everyone, and kids enjoy it as well. The basic tag game has one person as “it,” who has to chase everyone else to try to tag someone else, who is now “it.” Over the years, numerous variations have been created, such as freeze tag, TV tag, and more. You can create any version of rules you want for tag and have a great time playing it.

Many classic outdoor games you play as a child remain fun as an adult. These five classics provide activity and amusement for any outdoor party, regardless of the age of the guests. Additionally, they do not require many supplies, so you can easily bring them along if you are having a picnic or family reunion at the local park, or are planning a beach day. 

photo credit: Michael Desir

Getting Romantic with an Outdoor Picnic

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Romantic Outdoor Picnicphoto credit: Royce Bair

Beautiful, sunny days provide an opportunity to plan a romantic picnic date with your partner. A simple picnic can be an ideal date, whether you have just started dated or have been together for years. It does not take much time or money to execute the perfect picnic. However, you do need to plan carefully to ensure that you and your partner have a very romantic evening that will create, or reignite, sparks.

What to Eat on a Picnic

Picnic fair can be anything from simple sandwiches to an elaborate meal. However, traditionally picnic food focuses on simple food. Sandwiches, salads, finger food, veggies and hummus, and fruit are always enjoyable foods for a picnic. You can also choose romantically inspired foods when packing your picnic, such as strawberries and chocolate or any type of finger food. Don’t forget to pack some champagne or wine as well, if you enjoy alcoholic beverages. When choosing the menu, keep in mind that location of the picnic, especially how long the food will be outside of the refrigerator. You do not want the food to get too cold or hot. You also want to stay from any messy foods. You should also ensure to bring any applicable dishes or silverware to eat and serve, including a wine opener if you are having wine.

Where to Have a Picnic

Any outdoor location can be an ideal picnic location, even your backyard if you are unable to leave home for a variety of reasons, such as not finding a babysitter. For the most romantic outdoor picnics, try to find a more isolated location surrounded by greenery or nature. Local parks, the beach, a lakeside or river, or anywhere quiet and serene provide a romantic atmosphere. You can also consider places that have been special to your relationship in the past and revisit to add to the romance of the evening.

How to Decorate for your Picnic

If you can, consider adding some additional accessories to your picnic basket, including some fresh cut flowers and a nice blanket on which to sit. This will create a more intimate and romantic mood. The location you have your picnic will determine how much you can decorate the area. You can also bring some romantic music to play in the background to help set the mood. Depending on the situation, you can even bring some candles with you, but you want to be sure not to create a fire hazard.

What Time Should you Have your Picnic

You can have a picnic anytime of day, but the most romantic time of day is around sunset. You can sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, eat your meal, and then watch the sunset. However, you can still have a romantic afternoon picnic or even enjoy a breakfast outdoors. Just as watching the sunset is romantic, so is watching the sunrise. If you and your partner are early risers, you can always pack a picnic breakfast and enjoy the sunrise.

Make it more than just a Picnic

A picnic does not have to be the only activity you do on your date night. You can find an activity that you both enjoy that also takes advantage of the beautiful day and surroundings to go along with your picnic. For example, you can bring your picnic meal with you while you and your partner go on a hike. Then, when you get to a beautiful location, you can sit and enjoy your meal. You can do the same with kayaking, horseback riding, boating, and bike riding. Alternatively, you can bring some activities to play during your picnic, such as throwing a Frisbee or flying a kite. If you plan everything carefully, you can have a delicious and enjoyable picnic that combines relaxation with fun for a really romantic date.

A Style-Guide To A Cooler Backyard

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Guide To A Cooler Backgroundphoto credit: Fuzzypumpkins via photopin cc

Have you always wanted to do something with that big backyard you have, but were never really sure what exactly that change might be? It doesn’t even have to be a big back yard, just something that you know you can work with but haven’t gotten around to doing it yet. With a bit of know-how, the right people, and a bit of an investment, you can have one of those cool backyards that people enjoy coming of to your house to hang out in. Here is a brief list of some of the things you can do in order to get that backyard you want, the one that you can entertain guests and just kick back in and enjoy. It may take some time and some money, but in the end it will be worth it.

Start with the Perimeter

Details make all of the difference, and such as a great frame makes that masterpiece painting all that much better, so does the peripheral of your backyard. Take a look at your fence and the condition your house is in, and the garage or tool shed if you have it. It’s hard to have a nice backyard with a dilapidated fence that could fall over in the next strong wind, and a house where the paint is peeling and the trim is chipped. Get to work there first.

Once your fence is in good order and same with the house (or id that is the case already) then take a look at the plants around the backyard. Should they be removed? Changed? Trimmed back? Can you add more? Some people like to set up potted plants and accessories like hanging lamps or maybe something like a garden gnome… just to give the place some character. Be creative with it!

A Patio

It is actually not too common for someone to have a patio of any kind in their backyard. This is not including concrete walking spaces or areas you can set up a table to two… but a bona fide wooden patio. If you already have one, what condition is it in? Does it need to be painted, sanded, or replaced entirely? This is the main area in which you will be hanging out and entertaining guests at, so it needs to shine. Again, adding some accessories like hanging or potted plants or what have you will only make the area better.

Take a look at the chairs, tables, awnings, and other things you have out there. To keep things linear,  ask yourself if the color of the patio furniture matches the house? The fence? Should they be replaced? Paying attention to those kinds of details will make your backyard more inviting and comfortable to be in.

Tables, Chairs, Plants, Oh My!

If you cannot afford a patio, then work with the space you have. Set aside an area for the a tables chairs, and the canopy. Make sure you have a canopy for those hot sunny days, and even those rainy ones where you still want to go outside and enjoy the weather but not get wet.

Setting aside an area can also be used with things like potted plants. You could even build something like a small fence and have some plants growing through it to give the sitting area an enclosed feeling while keeping it pretty and fresh at the same time.

Et Cetera

Once the details are taken care of, the fence is mended, the house has been cleaned and/or painted, the tables and chairs are out, the plants are watered and everything is where it should be, take a step back and ask yourself what is missing. Do you want to add a firepit? A barbecue? Maybe a walkway from the backdoor to the seating area with some of those solar-powered lights to illuminate the pathway? Something like that. The possibilities are infinite and all it takes is time and some creativity and it will all come together, maybe even better than you thought it would. 

Three Great BBQ Recipes For Ribs

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Great BBQ Recipesphoto credit: FSetterberg via photopin cc

Sweet Cola Ribs

The preparation time for this recipe is 15 hours, but it’s worth it. Get started in the morning so when dinner rolls around you’re ready. It should serve about 4 people. First, for the sauce, In a saucepan, over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add in these ingredients:

  • – 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • – 2 cups of ketchup
  • – 1 can of cola
  • – ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • – 2 Tablespoon (TBSP) of brown sugar
  • – ½ TBSP of fresh ground black pepper
  • – ½ TBSP of onion powder
  • – ½ TBSP ground mustard
  • – ½ TBSP of lemon juice
  • – 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce

After you have added all of those ingredients, bring it to a boil. Reduce the head to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

To make the dry rub, whisk all these ingredients together in a small bowl:

  • – 2 TBSP of salt
  • – 2 TBSP of brown sugar
  • – 2 TBSP of garlic powder
  • – 2 TBSP of onion powder
  • – 1 TBSP of ground cumin
  • – 1 TBSP of chili powder
  • – 1 TBSP of black pepper
  • – 2 racks pork spare ribs (about 3 pounds each)

Rinse and dry the ribs you are going to use and then place them on a clean cutting board. Pull off the membrane and trim off the excess fat. Liberally seasons both sides of the ribs with the rub you just made. Wrap them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for about 12 hours so that the rub gets into the meat as much as possible.

Preheat your grill to 250 degrees F. Use hickory and charcoal, and set up the grill for indirect heat. Place the ribs, meatier side down away from the coals. Cook them for 1 hour and 15 minutes for an even cook. Then coat the ribs in the Cola Sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. Be sure to save some of the sauce for dipping!

Backyard Baby Back Ribs

This takes about 2 and a half hours to cook with an overnight prep, and it serves about 8. First off, you’re going to need about 4 ½ pounds of baby back pork ribs, or 2 full racks. Start by placing each rib rack on an extra-wide, heavy duty sheet of aluminum foil. The sheet should be 4-inches wider than the racks at each end. Season the racks thoroughly with kosher salt.

You’re going to need a rub, of course:

  • – 1 ¼ cup of dark brown sugar
  • – ¾ cup of chili powder
  • – ¼ cup of garlic powder
  • – 2 TBSP of ground thyme
  • – 1 TBSP of cayenne pepper
  • – 1 TBSP of allspice

Take 3 tablespoons of the rub and sprinkle it on the racks. Turn the ribs meat side down and tightly seal each foil pouch, then put them in the fridge overnight on a half sheet pan.

The next day, when you’re ready to go, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Combine ½ cup of orange juice, not fresh squeezed, and margarita mix in a measuring cup. Open an end of each pouch and divide that mixture between them evenly. Reseal and place them with the sheet pan in the oven for 2 hours.

After that is up, remove the pouches from the oven and open them on one end, pouring the remaining liquid in a heatproof measuring cup. Reseal them and put them in the fridge for about 8 hours along with the cup. Once this is done, the fat from the liquid would have solidified at the top of the cup so you can remove it. Transfer the remaining liquid to a saucepan and add ⅓ cup of honey, ⅓ cup of ketchup, 1 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of espresso powder, and ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Whisk it all to mix it up. Set over a medium high heat and reduce to a glaze for 10 minutes.

Set a gas grill to medium high heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Cut each slab in half and place them on the grill, flesh side down. Close the lid and reduce the heat to medium. Let them cook for 3 minutes, then flip them. Do this two more times. After this is done, cut them up, add them and the liquid you made into a bowl and toss them to get them covered, then serve.

Tyler’s Ultimate Barbecued Ribs

You’re going to need kitchen twine and a broiler for this one.

Ingredients:

  • – 2 slabs of baby back ribs, or about 3 pounds.
  • – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • – Extra-virgin olive oil
  • – 2 slices of bacon
  • – 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • – ½ an onion
  • – 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • – 2 cups of ketchup
  • – 2 TBSP of Dijon mustard OR 1 TBSP of dry mustard
  • – 1 cup of peach preserves
  • – 2 TBSP of brown sugar
  • – ¼ cup of molasses
  • – 2 TBSP of red or white wine vinegar
  • – 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • – 1 teaspoon of ground paprika

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Put the ribs on a baking sheet and season them with the salt and pepper, and drizzle them with the olive oil. Stick them in the oven and let them bake for 1 ½ hours, low and slow.

Meanwhile, we make the sauce. Wrap the bacon around the middle of the thyme sprigs and tie with the kitchen twine so you have a bundle. Heat a 2-count of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme bundle and cook for 3-4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste.

Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add all of the rest of the sauce ingredients and give it a good stir, then cook it on low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to get the flavors mixed together. Put some sauce into a separate bowl for basting, and save the rest for serving.

Baste the ribs with the sauce and let them continue cooking, basting twice more over the span of 30 minutes. When they are done cooking, take them out of the oven and let them cool. When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and broil the ribs, basting them with sauce. They should become crisp and charred. Pick the onions and the garlic out of the sauce and serve with the ribs. 

Top Ten Items To Get For The Outdoorsman In Your Life

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Outdoorsman Must Havephoto credit: TOMediaCO via photopin cc

Sleeping Bag Onesie

It takes the normal mummy sleeping bag and turns it into something that can be gotten around in. It has openings in the top for the arms that can zip up, the opening for the face so, you know, you can breathe at night, and the bottom is made of two slots to slip your legs in to. Then, they separate via zipper at the bottom so you can get up and walk around! Sure, it looks strange, but it is probably pretty warm and great for getting up out of the tent in the morning and heading over to the campfire without even getting out of your sleeping bag.

The BioLight Camp Stove/Charger

This is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. Have you ever been on a camping trip or a long hike, and your MP3 player runs out of batteries? Ever wanted to cook something AND charge your MP3 player at the same time? Well, that didn’t occur to use either, but hold the phone! With the BioLight Camp Stove/Charger, you can cook the can of noodle soup AND charge your MP3 player from the energy the heat creates at the same time. Just wrap that cord in foil so it doesn’t melt.

The Pocket Shower

This is something several people would have wanted a long time ago. This is a simple bag you will with water and hang from the branch of a tree, then twist the nozzle at the bottom and take a shower!

Fire Crystals

This isn’t something that is necessarily essential for survival, but it is pretty cool. These are little crystals that you throw in the fire and they change the colors of the fire. Tell a ghost story, and at the best part, throw some of those in and make those you are with think you have magical powers.

Inflatable Tents

Yes, they exist, and they are for the lazy. But that’s alright. These are basic tents that have no stakes or poles, and you just fill them up with air and you have some sturdy shelter for yourself out in the wild.

A canopy

This is something simple that most people overlook, wish they had when they were out camping with the family, tell themselves they are going to get once they get back down the hill, and then forget about once they get home. Get a canopy! Not ideal for backpacking, but when you’re in a campsite with the family, the kids are off on a hike and it is time to relax, you’d wished you had a canopy to set up the chair underneath so you can get back to that good book as opposed to trying to find some shade from a tree.

The Waterproof Solar Lamp

Now, one might ask… a waterproof solar lamp would be charged by the sun, but if it is waterproof, which prevents rain from damaging it, then why would the sun charge it if it is raining? Take into account those backpacking trips where you fall into the river, or a sudden rain hits (as it can in certain parts of the country) and then dissipates quickly. Waterproofing isn’t only for the rain. This thing charges in about 5 hours time, so leave it out during the day, which then leads to about 15 hours of light.

Solar Fire Starter

This simple and yet effective item is a small reflective plate with a fork poking up out of the middle of it. It looks like a small satellite dish. You put some small firestarter material in teh fork, holding it up to the intense UV rays that the dish reflects, which eventually causes it to light on fire.

A Flashlight That Lights the Way Ahead and the Path at Your Feet

For lack of a better name, this item is made to might up the path ahead of you and what is down at your feet so you don’t trip over roots are rocks while you walk at night.

Glow in the Dark Tape

This is useful for more than just camping, but is ideal for putting on things like zipperheads to the tent, your flashlight, your shoes, and maybe even laying out a path from one thing to another so you can see your path at night. Who knows?

The Most Majestic Sunsets In The World

Posted on: June 11th, 2014 by Quik Shade

the-most-majestic-sunsets-in-the-worldAmazing sunsets are things you remember. They quiet the noise in your head and make still the scene around you, giving pause to the rush that can be everyday life. Who hasn’t taken a moment to stop and take in a great sunset that is happening right there with you? Looking up and taking in the fiery colors and illuminated clouds, with the shadowy silhouettes of birds flying over and appreciating the end of the day will surely make you feel a part of the world around you.

Like viewing things such as a solar eclipse, knowing where to find the best sunsets in the world has become something that people take seriously, and make it something like a hobby. Luckily, they have amassed some good information for us to convey to you, so you can know where to go if great sunsets are your kind of thing. Let’s see where we can go around the world for that perfect sunset.

Manhattan?

Yes! Strangely enough, Manhattan has some of the most unique sunsets due to the entire city being on a symmetric grid. The sun coming through between the buildings, through the haze and reflecting off of all those windows, makes for an interesting and uniquely beautiful sunset. It is so famous that it has gained it’s own name: Manhattanhenge.

Santorini, Greece

One of the most beautiful islands in the world also hosts one of the most beautiful sunsets. Set in the famous Greek Islands, Santorini was at once a full island, but is now more of a crescent shape. Thousands of years ago, an active volcanic fissure underneath the island exploded and took away maybe half of it. The remaining part of the island is technically the edge of a crater, a very, very high one, and the Greeks build hotels and homes ontop and spreading down the inside of the crater. As a result, one gets some absolutely amazing sunsets from way up there.

U Bein Bridge, Mandalay, Myanmar

When you watch a sunset from atop the world’s longest teak bridge, you get to see one of the best sunsets in the world. Set across the Taungthaman Lake, this 1.2 KM wooden bridge allows you to walk out onto what would seem to be the center of the lake to view the sunset. You will feel like you are standing on water and seeing something beautiful, which should make for an unforgettable sunset.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Taking a trip over to Africa, we head down to one of the more stable countries on the continent to get a view of one of the best sunsets around. When the sun goes down and things take a pause, the savannah goes blood red and the sky matches it, peering through the dust and sand to taint the picture into one of true beauty. The best time to head over is July through October when the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and wildebeest come to the Mara from the Serengeti.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory, Australia

One doesn’t always have to see the sunset just in the sky. Sometimes, the sunset is best view upon something else, like a mountain or the surface of a lake… or maybe even a huge rock. The domed Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) in Australia rises up 348 meters above the desert plain, extends five kilometers beneath it and has a circumference of about 9.4 kilometers. This huge rock is part of a range of large domed rocks called The Olgas. When the sun starts to set over the Australian plains and hits these rock faces and lights them up with reds and oranges, the world quiets down and one is mystified by these ancient bodies showing off their stuff as they have done for millions of years.

10 Ways To Make Use Of Your Summer Vacation Time

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Go to the Beach
The summertime is the best time to go ahead and take a trip to the beach, with the sun and the cool offshore breeze to make one feel relaxed. Don’t forget your sunscreen, because we all know what a bad sunburn feels like. Pack up the family and invite some friends, bring the chairs, a good book, some food, maybe the boogie board… and don’t forget to bring a canopy or two to keep the sun off of you and provide a nice shady space for people to come back to.

Go For a Hike
Who doesn’t like to take a day and get away from the craziness of the city life? Going out into nature can be extremely therapeutic for you, and provide some good memories to go back to when a day at the office gets to be a tad too stressful.

Visit Some Museums
With the way the year seems to fly by and we use the weekends to relax, things like going to a good museum and seeing art or learning about something important in history seem to go by the wayside. Take some time to go out and see a local museum, learn about local history or see some good pieces of art that may affect you in a positive way.

Go Camping
When going for a hike just doesn’t cut it, try taking a trip out into the wilderness for a few days and really unwind from a busy schedule. Going out into the wilderness and experiencing the quiet, the wind through the trees, more stars in the sky than you’ve ever seen before at night, campfires, so on and so forth… all that will help one to really get back down to the ground, Make sure to pack accordingly- do some research on this if you’re inexperienced. The elements can be brutal out in the wild, especially the sun, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and maybe that canopy you’ve been meaning to make use of.

Visit a Resort
Although expensive, going to a resort and taking some time to really relax and have yourself be provided for is a great way to feel like you’re on top of things. Take the family to a remote or expotic location and kick back, enjoying the good food, the spa, extracurricular activities and the quiet.

Attend a Music Festival
Summer is when all the great music festivals come out and rock the town for a few days. Not only is there music, but food, things to buy and entertainment are abound. Music festivals are springing up everywhere across the country and you can easily find one that fits your tastes.

Visit Family
The years fly by and people get older. Family is important and if yours is scattered across the country or the world, make sure to take some time and go see them. The work year is busy and people seem to have less and less time for family. Make sure to take a week or two and go see them while you still can.

Visit Friends
Same with visiting family, friends can be some of the most important people in your life. Make sure to take time to see them and keep the friendship alive. Wherever they may be, go there and not only will you get to see your friends but experience a new place as well.

See The Country
On the same coin, going out and visiting places in the country where you live is something everyone should do. Too many people stay confined to their local areas and never branch out, trying and experiencing new places. Our country specifically, the United States is massive and has so many good places to go out and see. Try it out!

Try Something Daring!
Do you have a bucket list? Ever wanted to try something like hang-gliding, rock climbing, bungee-jumping, sky-diving… any of those? The summertime is a great time to get out there and try those things out. You only live once and what a story you’d be able to tell your friends if you went out there and did such adventurous things.