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How Should Hiking Boots Fit? 7 Tips For The Perfect Fit

shoe in the water

We’ve all been there. You’re trying on hiking boots and stumbling around the store, but you have no real idea how should hiking boots fit. And you know you’re clueless. So you grab something that looks nice, and after your first hour of hiking your feet are falling apart in painful blisters.

That can be avoided, and it’s really easy. Check it out our tips and tricks for finding the perfect pair.

How Should Hiking Boots Fit?

So, how should hiking boots fit? They should be snug and minimize the travel of your heel inside the shoe. Also, a good pair of hiking boots should leave enough room inside for your foot to swell, even with thick socks. That’s because your feet are going to swell. It’s unavoidable.

But the most important thing is that there should be a little room between your heel and the boot, but not enough that it causes friction with every step.

Another key aspect of a well-fitting hiking boot is how sturdy the sole is on your foot. You want your boots to act as a platform. That means you want a stiff, sturdy sole, not one that flexes or bends too much.

Most importantly, the sole should cover your entire foot. If your toes are cramped up inside the boot, then they’re too small.

Different Types Of Hiking Boots


Image by pixabay

As you’ve probably noticed, there are many kinds of hiking boots out there. We’re going to ignore the ultra-lights because they are not true hiking boots despite the marketing. They can’t stand up to the type of punishment that a true hike offers, and they don’t have a stable sole.

Instead, we’ll look at three actual hiking boots.

Hiking Shoes

someone tying shoes

Image by pixabay

Okay, so this isn’t an actual boot. But it has all the key elements of a hiking boot.

It has tough, waterproof material, it has laces, and it has a solid, stable sole. In addition, the hiking shoe has excellent treads for gripping wet rocks and mossy paths. There are excellent choices available for women and men, such as the Merrell Moab waterproof hiking shoes.

If you’re just hitting a local hiking trail with a somewhat manicured path, and you’re not packing much weight, then these are perfect for you. Think of a family outing for an afternoon, or perhaps even trail running. These are the shoes for you.

Day Hiking Boots


Image by pixabay

Next, we have what you are most likely thinking of when you hear “How should hiking boots fit?”

The standard day hiking boot is mid-cut, just up to your ankles. They have excellent treads and sturdy materials that can stand up to punishment. Men and women will love something like the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus hiking boot.

But because they are lighter and a little more flexible, they’re not great for backpacking. If you’re hiking through the woods with camping gear, you’ll want to get something more robust.

Backpacking Boots

hiking shoes

Image by pixabay

Finally, we have the toughest of the hiking boots. Backpacking boots come up above your ankles, have extremely sturdy soles, and tough high-grade materials.

Thanks to the high cut, they wrap around the ankles and give fantastic support. They also tend to have a higher heel, which provides more stability when you’re carrying 30 or more pounds of gear on your back. Most people won’t need backpacking boots, but if you’re a real survival junkie, then these are the boots for you.

Check out the Salomon Quest backpacking boots, for men and women.

Tips From The Experts

Now you know what kind of hiking boot to buy, you need to know how should hiking boots fit. Well, according to the experts over at REI and Pure Adventures, you need to look at four key things when trying on hiking boots.

Keep in mind that overall comfort should factor prominently in your choice. Also, the boot should match your style. After all, you don’t want a pair of hiking boots that you hate!

A Good Fit

First off, the boots should be a good fit. How should hiking boots fit? Start by wearing the same socks you would wear on a hike. That will help you determine whether the boots are too big or too small.

Also, measure your foot’s length and width. Once you find your size, try it on. Put both boots on at once. Your boot should feel snug everywhere, without feeling tight.

Another good way to measure the size is to remove the insole and stand on it. Your insole should extend past your longest toe by an inch or so.

Lace Up

Next, lace up the boots while you’re wearing them. You want more pressure around the bottom than the top. Tighter laces near the toes will hold your foot in place better.

Once you’ve laced up your boot, walk around. Do the laces feel like they’re cutting into your foot? If so, then the quality of the material may not be that great.

Check The Heel

Third, you want to check the heel. This is the No. 1 trouble spot for hiking boots that aren’t properly fitted. Blisters are most likely to form here and can ruin a perfectly nice hike.

The main culprit in blisters is too much empty space inside the boot. No matter how tight you tie the laces, there’s nothing that can hold your heel in place inside the boot. To remedy this, find a boot that doesn’t offer much space for your heel to travel.

You should be able to stick one finger down the back between your heel and boot, and no more. If you have wide feet, then you may need to add a larger insole just to reduce the boot’s volume.

Stiff Soles

Finally, make sure that the soles are stiff. Remember, you want a strong, sturdy platform to support your feet on your hike. Runners, sneakers, and city shoes are flexible because they serve an entirely different purpose. When you’re hiking, you don’t want your feet to become fatigued, because that’s the end of your hike.

Strong, sturdy soles are the name of the game. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, check out an insole that offers plenty of arch support, such as EasyFeet.

Tips And Tricks

Congratulations! Now you know some of the secrets of finding the right hiking boot. No longer will you ask “How should hiking boots fit?”

If you want to really get the most out of your boots, and come across as the most informed boot-finder your significant other has ever seen, then check out some of these tips and tricks.

Tap Dance

When you’re trying on a new pair of boots, don’t bother with the “wiggle your toes” routine you normally use with sneakers. Instead, do this:

  • Stand up with the laces untied.
  • Tap your big toe on the bottom of the boot a few times.
  • Do the same with your other foot

If your toe touches both the top and the bottom of the boot with each tap, yet still has enough travel to actually tap, then it’s a good size. However, if you can’t lift your toe up, or touch the top easily, then it’s the wrong size.

Tickle Your Heels

Next, with the boots still untied, you’re going to stick two fingers down the back of the boot and tickle your heel with your fingertips. Your fingers should be able to fit comfortably back there and have room to move a little (hence the tickling).

If, however, you can fit three fingers, the boot is too big. If you can’t get both fingers in there, it’s too small.

Lace Down

Finally, here’s a pro tip you can use with every hike.

But you can also use this when trying boots on. You’re going to “lace down” instead of lacing up. Here’s how it works:

First, you lace your boots using a weave starting at the top, working your way down. The end result is that you’re going to tie your boots up at the bottom of the tongue, near your toes. Also, if you have boots rather than shoes, leave the top two rows empty.

The reasoning behind this is that you want more pressure around your foot than your ankles. This will provide a sturdier platform and reduce blisters on your ankles and heels. Also, it will allow greater blood flow to your feet, which will reduce swelling and fatigue on long hikes.

Have Fun Out There!

Now you know how should hiking boots fit, you can hit the trails. Following these simple tips and tricks will land you the best pair of hiking boots you’ve ever owned, so the last thing you need to do is worry about your feet.

Of course, you still need to take regular precautions, no matter which boots you choose. For starters, keep your feet dry. If your boots get soaked somehow, stop and dry them out before hiking any further. Wet boots constrict and cause blisters.

Also, keep your boots tied more loosely than you would shoes. Your feet are going to swell, and you want to give them room.

So get out there and have some fun!

Do you have a favorite pair of boots? Hints? Tips? Tricks? Please share them in the comments below.

Tepui Tent Review: The Rooftop Option That Keeps You From Sleeping On The Cold, Hard Ground

product photo of tepui tent

Have you been looking for a good Tepui tent review? If so, it’s probably because you’ve heard about rooftop tents and would like to give them a try.

Rooftop camping is a fun, new way to adventure that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It can keep you off the ground and away from all the bugs and other crawling critters.

And of course, Tepui is one of the most popular names you’ll find in the rooftop tent market. But does it live up to the hype?

While this could be an exciting, new adventure, there are still a few things you should know about Tepui tents and rooftop camping in general first.

What Is the Tepui Tent?

Tepui Explorer Kukenam Rooftop Tent, HAZE GRAY

Shop now at Amazon.com

The Tepui tent is a rooftop tent. If you’re not familiar with these, they’re exactly what they sound like. It’s a tent that attaches to the roof of your car or truck.

They come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes depending on your needs. Tepui tents are capable of holding anywhere from two to four people depending on the model you choose.

Most of their tents also come equipped with additional features such as detachable rain flies, no-see-um mosquito netting, removable annexes that essentially act as an extra room within the tent, and sky panels that allow you to see the stars at night.

More Tepui Tent Facts

Of course, there’s much more that you need to know when reading aTepui tent review. Here are a few other useful facts that will help you decide if these tents are right for you.

What should you know about rooftop tents?

If you’re looking at a Tepui tent review, there’s a good chance you’re curious about rooftop tents in general. They’ve been a trend for quite some time in Australia where the animals are especially scary. Recently, they’ve become popular in North America as well.

As mentioned before, a rooftop tent is a tent that attaches to the roof of your vehicle. You can then use the attached ladder to get in and out.

Virtually all rooftop tents come equipped with memory foam mattresses, which make sleeping on the top of your vehicle incredibly comfortable and easy.

With one of these tents, you can essentially make your truck into a makeshift RV. This makes them an excellent option for people who love car camping. The main drawback is that you have to take the tent down every time you want to drive somewhere.

Still, some campers might find this to be a fun way to embark on their outdoor adventures.

Is it difficult to set up?

If you’ve never used a rooftop tent before, you might be intimidated by the idea of setting it up. However, there’s no need to worry.

Rooftop tents are generally easier to set up than the tents you’re used to. Every Tepui tent review we’ve researched made a point to mention how easy it is to set up.

Installing the tent on your vehicle is a relatively simple process. Every tent comes with its own instruction manual, and the process is fairly self-explanatory.

Once the tent is installed, setting it up is as easy as taking the cover off, removing the straps, and pulling the ladder down. As you pull down the ladder, the rest of the tent will pop up on its own.

From there, you can attach the rain fly if you choose to do so. That’s all there is to it. If you hate setting up regular tents, then a Tepui tent might be what you need.

How does it handle nasty weather?

You might be wondering how a tent like this holds up in bad weather. In these situations, it holds up better than the average ground tent. Nearly every Tepui tent review we looked at shows that it endures inclement weather remarkably well.

One Tepui Tent review, in particular, shows that it’s capable of handling 50 mph winds without any issue whatsoever. This same review shows that its capable of enduring rain, sleet, and snow while you remain warm and comfortable inside.

That being said, the outer cover might show signs of wear if you camp in these kinds of conditions too often. In these cases, you might have to get the out cover replaced now and then.

Even so, the inside of the tent will remain dry. Overall, the Tepui tent does exceptionally well in bad weather.

How much does a Tepui tent cost?

Depending on the specific model you buy, a Tepui tent can cost anywhere from $400 to $4,500. That is a vast price range. The difference depends on the size of the tent, how many people it can hold, and the materials used.

Tepui’s most expensive tents are their hard shell tents. These tents use sturdier materials such as aluminum and polypropylene. On the other hand, their cheapest tents are from their Baja series. These tents are smaller and have A-frame designs.

On average, you should expect to pay at least $1,200 for a good Tepui tent. That is quite a bit more expensive than most ground tents. In fact, the price is going to be a significant issue in nearly every Tepui tent review you see. However, this is still a reasonable price compared to other rooftop tents.

You can buy a Tepui tent at Amazon, the official website, or other places.

How We Conducted Our Tepui Tent Review

Tepui Explorer Kukenam Rooftop Tent, HAZE GRAY
  • Four season tent built to endure the elements of any season and climate
  • Can accommodate up to 3 people
  • High-quality 600D rip stop and a 260 g poly-cotton blend fabric protect from the heaviest rain and winds

In these reviews, Amazon and the products’ official websites were our primary sources of information. Additionally, our opinions were informed mainly by customer reviews from sites such as Amazon and REI.

We considered a few different things. These include main features, ease of use, durability, and overall quality. Price was also a significant factor in these reviews.

How Does It Compare to Other Rooftop Tents?

Of course, a good Tepui tent review should show how it compares to other rooftop tents as well. Let’s see how Tepui measures up to its competition.

Smittybilt Overlander

Smittybilt Overlander Tent
  • Standard size tent (sleeps 2-3) with high-density 92" x 55" foam double/full mattress and 661 lb. max load
  • 600D heavy-duty waterproof top and rain fly; sunroof; side windows with mosquito netting; anodized aluminum tent frame...
  • Easy to set up and take down; heavy duty PVC cover keeps tent dry and free from UV rays when not in use

The Smittybilt Overlander is another one of the most popular tents in the rooftop tent market. It’s able to hold up to three people comfortably and features a high-density 92 x 55-inch foam mattress.

Other features include a 600D waterproof top and rainfly, side windows with mosquito netting, a sunroof, and interior LED strips. Additionally, you can get a Smittybilt Annex. This is sold separately

Customers had a lot to love about this tent. They found it to be very affordable, and it handled bad weather remarkably well. Many customers also loved having a sunroof where they could look up at the stars at night.

However, there was one common complaint. Many people felt the straps used to secure the tent were very low-quality. Several customers had issues with them breaking or becoming loose. Some people also had difficulty installing it on certain vehicles.

A Smittybilt Overlander tent costs between $650 and $1,200. That is quite a bit less expensive than an average Tepui tent.

And for the most part, it’s a very high-quality tent. This price makes it a very strong competitor. Just be aware that you might have to replace those straps at some point. Customers gave this tent 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Yakima Skyrise

The Yakima Skyrise is another excellent choice for a rooftop tent. These tents come in two different sizes. The small can fit two people at once while the medium can comfortably contain up to three people.

It uses 210D nylon, which is a very light, breathable material. It also has mesh panels for stargazing. The tents feature a 2.5-inch foam mattress. These mattresses have a removable cover that makes them easy to clean.

Most customers have been happy with this product. They found it to be very comfortable and easy to set up. While some people have experienced some leakage, it handles bad weather very well for the most part.

The most common complaint has been about the rainfly. Many people had difficulty installing this one part of the tent, and several customers thought it was low-quality in general. Also, some people felt these tents were a bit smaller than advertised.

This tent will typically cost between $900 and $1,400. In terms of price, this is somewhat comparable to a Tepui tent.

It’s a very solid tent in its own right. However, it might be quite a bit smaller than you expect it to be. If you need a larger tent, then you might want to stick with Tepui. The Yakima Skyrise has 5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland

The Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland is somewhat lesser known than the previously mentioned tents, but it’s certainly a good option. It uses heavy-duty materials such as 280g cotton/poly fabric. Furthermore, the rainfly uses 420D polyester, and the driving cover is made from 1000D PVC.

It also comes with a very large annex room. This, combined with the rest of the tent, creates almost 100 square feet of interior space in all. It also includes an exterior storage bag.

Almost all the customers were satisfied with this tent. They felt it was made of very strong, high-quality materials. They also loved the annex and felt it provided tons of extra space.

In all of our research, we found no serious complaints. However, there were a few people that felt the instructions were difficult to read. The annex itself had virtually no instructions on how to actually set it up.

A Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland will cost between $1,100 and $1,500. Again, this is more or less what you can expect to pay for a Tepui tent.

If you’ve been shopping for a rooftop tent, then this is a very solid option. These tents definitely live up to their name and can give the Tepui tent a run for its money. The Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland has 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Tepui Tent Pros and Cons

Almost every Tepui tent review we researched has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers found it to be very easy to set up, and it stays dry no matter how bad the weather gets. Many also felt the foam mattresses that come with them are extremely comfortable.

Complaints are few and far between. However, many people simply didn’t like how expensive these tents can get. Also, many had difficulty with the installation process. Although there are YouTube videos that can help you get set up, the manual itself isn’t very clear. The Tepui tent has 5.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon.


  • Easy to set up
  • Handles bad weather extremely well
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Lots of great features


  • They’re expensive
  • The manual can be difficult to follow
  • The outer cover might experience some wear

Is a Rooftop Tent Right for You?

As you’ve seen in this Tepui tent review, these are a great all-around choice among rooftop tents. These tents are highly durable, they’re easy to put together, they’re super comfortable, and they keep you dry in the most extreme conditions.

If you’re tired of sleeping on the ground and want to give rooftop tents a try, then this might be what you’re looking for.

The only thing that might hold you back is the price. The truth is, it’s relatively easy to find a cheaper rooftop tent that has the same basic level of quality.

That being said, rooftop tents are usually more expensive than ground tents. You’ll have to spend some serious money either way, so you may as well get something you’ll be happy with.With that in mind, a Tepui tent is always a solid choice. It’s something that can keep you off the ground and living a happy, outdoors life for many years.

Have you done any rooftop camping? Ready to give it a try? Tell us about it in the comments!

Featured Image Source: Amazon

The 7 Best Compass Selections For Pointing You In The Right Direction

Best Compass

We've all been there before. You're out in the woods, hiking and sweating and enjoying yourself. You're not worried about getting lost because the best compass in your arsenal is on your iPhone, right?

That's when you realize you have about 10 minutes of battery left and no cell signal. Suddenly, the iPhone compass (or Android) isn't so reliable anymore! What do you do?

Well, if you had the best compass that wasn't attached to a phone and used actual magnets, you wouldn't worry. Thanks to centuries-old technology, a good compass will always point you in the right direction. Like the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

An old-fashioned compass is actually a straightforward piece of technology. For instance, the red arrow points to earth's magnetic north pole, and you walk in whichever direction you want relative to that.

Also, over the past century or so there have been bits and pieces added to the compass, particularly by the military. But at the end of the day, they all do the same thing. They all point to the magnetic north pole.

So, if you don't have a compass, what do you do?

The answer is simple -- Go and get one!

Comparison Table

The Compass in Detail

compass and a map

Image Via pixabay 

Did you play with a compass when you were a kid?

And maybe you even learned to use one properly in Scouts or Guides or some other organization. Either way, chances are good that at some point in your life, you've seen a compass. That's a great place to start.

Granted, you know that a compass is circular and has a housing within which rests an arrow that rotates around the compass whenever you move. Most compasses will have North, East, South, and West marked on the face. At its heart, that's a compass.

Get it?

Do I Really Need A Compass?

man holding a compass

Image Via pexels

You may ask if you need a compass in the modern world, and we would answer "yes." Here's why:

What if you're somewhere in the wild and your GPS breaks? You could even be driving in the car and suddenly lose data signal. A compass will save you in that situation.

Here's another scenario: you're in a new country and lose your bearings. That's when a local tells you to head west for three blocks and then turn south. Such directions might be out of your wheelhouse.

But if you had a simple compass in your pocket, that would be no problem.

The fact of the matter is that with all the beautiful electronics we have to help us, they're worth nothing when they don't work, run out of power, or have no data signal. That's when you need to have a backup.

And the best compass for this is simple, magnetic, and guaranteed to work.

Who Invented The First Compass?


Image Via pixabay

Historians still debate where the first compass originated. Right now, most experts agree that it originated somewhere in China during the 11th Century. That's when somebody figured out that if you rub an iron needle with a lodestone (a naturally-occurring magnet), the needle will become temporarily magnetized.

When placed on top of a cork in a dish of water, it would point north.

Shortly after, in less than a century, the Europeans figured out the same thing. They took a step further and housed the needle inside a brass case, so now the compass could be carried around. Sometime in the 15th Century, European sailors started using the compass and set out to explore the world.

The point is that the compass has been with us for a very long time, and its basic premise remains unchanged. Cool!

How Do I Use A Compass?

The first explorers realized early on that the needle on a compass points to Earth's magnetic north, not true north. That is, the north pole wobbles around, so the magnetic north can be off-center from what we consider the north pole when we look at a map.

This difference is called variation. The closer to the north pole, the higher the variation. So if you're hiking the woods in Louisiana, it won't matter much. But if you're in Alaska, you're going to need to calculate the variation so as not to get lost.

With that in mind, here's how you can use a simple compass to get around.

First, place the compass flat in the palm of your hand. This is important.

Then, face the travel arrow on the compass in the direction you're heading. The travel arrow is usually painted on to the compass, either on a plastic plate or on the face of the compass itself. Remember that the red floating arrow will always face magnetic north.

Now, you can see which direction you're heading.

How We Reviewed

The next question you're probably asking is "Which is the best compass for me?"

We set out to answer this for you, by scouring the internet for a range of different compasses. We checked out military-grade compasses, simple pocket compasses, and even custom-engraved brass compasses. Then we looked at their prices and read through customer reviews for each compass.

We discarded those that were junk and those that had overwhelmingly horrible customer reviews. What remains is a list of choices. One of them will surely be the best compass for you.

The 7 Best Compass For You

compass and a map

Image Via pixabay

Which compass is best for you?

Well, that all comes down to personal choice. You can figure out what you'll be using it for. If you plan on doing lots of hiking, then you'll want something that you can use alongside a map, with clear pathway arrows and other bells and whistles.

If you're jogging, you'll want something less complicated, that you can whip out and quickly get your bearings. Likewise, if you're kayaking or canoeing, you'll want something waterproof.

It all comes down to the purpose of your chosen compass.

We've got some great options you can pick from. We're sure you'll agree that one of these is the best compass for your needs.

No products found.

No products found.

First up in our search for the best compass for you is the Aurelie and George Personalized Brass Compass. Make no mistakes; this is a beautiful piece of gear that you'll want to take care of. That means keep it away from boating.

You can choose from different engravings, and Aurelie and George will engrave your name on it.

It's two inches in diameter and only 3/4 of an inch thick, so it's perfect for slipping into a pocket or armband on your run. Best of all, every compass gets made in America by a small privately-held family business. How cool is that?

Meanwhile, on Amazon, customers gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. Everyone said it is an absolutely beautiful compass, and it's highly functional and easy to use. There wasn't a single complaint.

Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass | Impact...
  • WATERPROOF AND SHOCKPROOF FOR ROUGH USE - The base and cover are constructed with metal for years of durable using....
  • EASY AND ACCURATE READINGS - The floating compass dial has a 360 degrees scale with liquid-filled capsule for stable...
  • TAKING BEARINGS EASILY - Build with an optical eyepiece for sighting bearings easily, with azimuth 360-degree and...

If you want something a little less flashy and little more functional, try out the Eyeskey military compass. Eyeskey produces this compass for pros in the field, including emergency services and survivalists, so you know you're getting the real deal.

This compass has everything you need: a full 360-degree housing, pathway markers, map lines, and even a 5-inch ruler. Also, It's rugged and waterproof. Not only that, the adjustable diopter sighting lens makes finding your target direction easy. At 3.5-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick, it feels solid in hand.

Amazon customers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Most people said it was solid and worked very well.

Some military customers said they switched out their official issue compass for the Eyeskey. One person said the lack of glow-in-the-dark options renders it useless at night.

SUUNTO A-10 NH Metric Recreational Field Compass, White, One Size,...
  • Balanced for southern hemisphere
  • CM & INCHES direction scales with distance helpers
  • Fixed declination correction scale

Next up is a traditional field compass for those who hike and explore the wilderness. The Suunto A-10 has a circular housing set into a flat clear-plastic plate. You can hold in your palm or use on a map. Also, you'll appreciate the clearly marked pathway arrow and the 360-degree dial.

This compass has a solid steel needle that is balanced for northern hemisphere variation. So if you're up north, it will be easier to locate true north than with many other brands.

On Amazon, customers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Almost everyone praised how well-made this compass is, yet commented that it's effortless to carry.

Several people complained that their compasses were not liquid-filled and did not work, so it seems there are some counterfeits out there that you need to keep an eye out for.

DETUCK(TM Pocket Compass Outdoor Antique Compasses Hiking Hunting...
  • 1,Pocket Compass. Pocket watch compass size 1.97in(D)Ă—0.63in(H) portable compass to carry when you go out.
  • 2,Antique Compass. Vintage copper brass compass,golden smooth shiny surface looks very nice.
  • 3,Night Fluorescent Compass Dial. The compass dial will be luminous after absorb light, especially obvious at night or...

Are you ready for what may be the most beautiful compass you've ever seen? We're talking about the Detuck TM pocket compass.

This piece of gear has a fantastic vintage look to it. You'll feel Victorian every time you pull it out. It features a full 360-degree dial housed in a brass-colored metal case. The face is colorful, and the shape and design remind you of a pocket watch.

Best of all, it has a glow-in-the-dark face, meaning you can use it at night without issue.

Customers gave it 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Everyone said it does the job of helping them navigate. Also, it's rugged enough to hold up to children playing with it. A few people said that the needle might be off by a few degrees.

Neo Nautical Sundial Compass George Australia Sundial Watch Camping...
  • Solid Brass Compass In Antiquated Brass Finish With Thoreau's Quote "GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS LIVE...
  • Under the glass cover is a beautiful, detailed copper compass that is marked with Neovivid
  • Size-Compass: 50mmX18mm, Leather Case:2.5x2.5x1inches. A truly impressive and unique gift for your loved one and for...

The best compass for camping may very well be the NeoVivid "Neo Nautical" Sundial Compass, from Australia.

Don't be fooled by the name. It isn't a sundial. But it certainly is one of the coolest, most masculine compasses we've seen. It's housed in a solid brass case with a metal chain. Even the metal needle has a solid burnished steel look.

We loved the leather case it comes in. Harking back to the days of old, an engraved fleur-de-lis marks North, which is where it gets its nautical name from.

On Amazon, customers rated it 4.6 out of 5 stars. Everyone loved the look and feel of it, and many people praised how well-made it is. Most people had no problems with its performance — most complaints revolved around damage during shipping.

Silva Sighting Ranger CL Compass
  • Classic bezel, lid & mirror with more knuling for easier rotation/grip
  • 1-piece mirror with etched sighting line down the center for a precise readout of bearing when sighting
  • New luminous; 4X more intense than watch grade and does not degrade over time

Next, we have a pure field compass. The Silva Ranger 515 is everything an outdoor survivalist will need. Also, this is an excellent compass for boating. We love the mirror with the engraved marking line down the center so you can easily get your bearings from the palm of your hand.

The transparent plastic plate has marking lines for map reading. Glow-in-the-dark illuminates all of the points at night. At 12-inches in length, this is a more significant compass. But it only weighs four ounces, so it's easy to carry.

Furthermore, the Silva Ranger 515 will cost you between $$$ and $$$, so it's not cheap. But it is professional-grade.

Customers on Amazon gave it 4.3 out of 5 stars. What struck most people is how durable and rugged this compass is. One Alaskan noted that their Silva had lasted over 35 years, so you're really getting long-lasting quality when you buy it. Some people noticed that the markings are tiny and hard to see.

Silva Lensatic 360 - Compass
  • Classic military style compass with black powder-coated aluminum case
  • Sighting-slit unit/top cover; sighting arm to magnify dial reading
  • Liquid-filled compass with 2-degree increments

Finally, we have another compass from Silva. This time it's the Lensatic 360.

It's a classic military-style compass with a sighting-slit in the top cover. Black powder covers the aluminum case to reduce reflectivity. The rotating bezel has glow-in-the-dark points for nighttime use. Basically, it's your standard compass. It's probably like the ones you played with as a kid.

On Amazon, customers gave it 4.2 out of 5 stars. Most reviewers wrote that this is a standard, no-nonsense compass which works reliably. Some complaints included small printing on the face and a few with manufacturing defects.

Which One Is Best?

Which is the best compass? That all comes down to your taste and what you'll be using it for. Some are great for running, while others you'll want to keep away from the water.

Every single compass we have mentioned is the best compass on the market right now, so you won't go wrong with your choice.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite compass we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Campfire in the Wilderness: Our Hot and Fiery Tips

how to start a campfire

In the U.S., about 40 million people will go camping this year. If you plan to be one of them, you’ll need to know how to start a campfire.

Whether you haven’t started a campfire before, or it’s just been a long time, you might be surprised by how hard it can be. In the movies, it looks easy: a spark flickers, and there’s a roaring flame in a matter of minutes. But the realities of damp wood, gusting wind, and a lack of kindling often make things play out differently.

Even if you’re a seasoned campfire professional, it can be helpful to know a few tips, just in case things go awry. These tips will help you get a fire going in nearly any situation.

How to Start a Campfire: The Basics


Image from Pixabay

First, let’s look at the best-case scenario.

You’ve got your campsite, and have (or can easily access) firewood, kindling, and everything else you need. Even in this easy mode, figuring out how to start a campfire can pose some challenges. Here’s what to do.

Check the rules

Before starting a fire, you should always check the rules of the campsite and area to make sure it’s allowed.

Camping without a fire might sound ridiculous, but the rules are actually there for a reason. Some campsites have to ban fires at certain times of the year to prevent forest fires from starting.

If your campfire turns into a forest fire, you could be responsible for acres of damage -- and you might even face legal consequences. It’s much better to know and follow the rules of your campsite.

Pick the location

Your next step is to find the best place to build your campfire.

Chances are, your campground will have a pit or ring in place for you to use. Don’t build the fire outside of that space. Building in a contained area prevents your fire from spreading.

If there is no designated area, this step will take a little longer. You’ll need to pick the best place to build a fire bed.

Make sure to clear any dry brush or branches away from the area where you’ll start the fire, so a spark can’t ignite the woods around you. If there's no fire pit, build your fire on a bare patch of earth, where nothing is growing, not even grass. If you need to, you can dig up a patch of dirt for this purpose.

Build the earth in your chosen area into a raised platform a few inches above the ground. If you can find a flat rock to put this fire bed on, even better.

Collect the wood

Even if you don’t yet know how to start a campfire, you know that wood is essential. But you’ll need certain types of wood, arranged in a certain way if you want your fire to succeed.

Basically, you’ll need three types of wood: firewood, kindling, and tinder. If you’re car camping, you can easily buy all of these things. Otherwise, you’ll need to gather them.

For the firewood, you can use big pieces, starting at about the thickness of your arm. The larger the wood, the longer it will take for it to catch, so it’s good to gather a range of sizes.

Kindling is the smaller twigs and sticks that will help transfer the flames from tinder to firewood. Look for pieces about the size of a pen.

Finally, tinder gets your fire going. Look for bits of small, dry plant matter, like leaves, grass, bark, and shavings. You can also bring your own -- did you know that you can use dryer lint as tinder?

The most important thing is that the tinder is dry. If your firewood is damp, it will take a while to catch. But without dry tinder to start with, nothing will catch at all.

Arrange the fire

Don’t just dump all these materials in a pile and hope for the best. Knowing how to start a campfire means knowing how to arrange the wood for the best results.

Start with a pile of tinder in the middle. Then, place two large, parallel pieces of firewood on either side of it. Put two smaller pieces of wood perpendicularly on top of these pieces, so you have a square.

Layer progressively smaller pieces of wood on top of the square in the same pattern. The goal is to have air between the pieces, to encourage the fire to start. On top, spread a full layer of kindling across the square, with more tinder on top.

You can also build a cone-shaped fire, instead of a square one. Again, start with tinder in the middle. Use kindling to form a cone shape around it, with the ends of the wood coming together at the top. Start the fire with this cone, then add larger logs to it as the wood catches.

Just add flame

Now that you’ve arranged your materials in one of these two ways, you’re ready to add the spark.

Use your lighter or a match to get the tinder going. If you brought a fire starter, place it with the tinder and light it, so the tinder gets going faster.

When you see the tinder burst into flames, you can gently fan it or blow on it to encourage the fire to spread. Fire needs oxygen to thrive. If you notice that your wood pieces are too close together to catch, space them out so air can flow.

Extinguish responsibly

With these basic steps, you now know how to start a campfire. But you’re not done yet: you also need to put the fire out when the time comes.

Putting your fire out completely will take time, so make sure to leave about half an hour to do it. If you leave it smoldering, you could start a forest fire.

Water is always the best way to put a fire out, although dirt will work too. Start by sprinkling the water on, instead of dumping it all at once. This helps keep the ground dry for future fires in the same spot.

Use a stick to stir the water into the ashes. The fire is out, or nearly out, when you don’t see or hear steam evaporating from it anymore.

To check that the fire is out, put your hand near the ashes (without actually touching them). If you still feel the heat, you need to add more water.

Remember to leave the whole area as clean as you can. If your fire wasn’t in a designated fire pit, spread the cold ashes around, and level out the ground where your fire bed was before leaving.

How to Start a Campfire in the Rain

You can also start a campfire in the rain -- but it will take a little more work.

Start by creating a dry place to start your fire. Hang up a tarp, or look for a protected area under a tree.

Now, elevate the area for the fire so it’s above the damp ground. You can use rocks or logs to do this. Try to arrange the fire so it’s protected from the wind. You can block the wind with trees, the tarp, your tent, or anything else you have to work with.

Keep your tinder, kindling, and firewood in the dryest place you can, like your tent. Remember, the tinder must be dry to start the fire. To find dry tinder in the rain, look for twigs and needles on the undersides of evergreen trees. Check for bits of paper, dryer lint, and other possible sources of tinder you might have with you, too.

Crack open sticks to see if they’re dry enough to use for kindling. If you find firewood pieces that are dry only on one side, you can use the dry side to start with and push the wet side into the flames as it dries.

Once you have your material, you can start your fire using the same methods as above. If you’re wet and stranded, and the fire is your only source of heat for the night, make sure to gather lots more wood than you think you’ll need. Even in the rain, it is possible to get hypothermia when you don’t have a fire.

The Best Fire-Starting Tools to Pack


Image from pexels.com

Whether you’re camping, backpacking, or even just hiking, it’s a good idea to have some basic fire-starting equipment on hand. Here’s what you should pack every time.


A source of flames is essential. Leave the challenging friction-based fire-starting methods to Hollywood and just bring a lighter with you whenever you venture into the wilderness. A lighter is better than matches, which run out faster and won’t work when they’re wet.


Tinder is one of the hardest things to find in the wild. Pack a fire-starter to assist your kindling, bring your extra dryer lint, or gather up some scrap paper to use.


A shovel, or at least a trowel, makes things much easier if you need to build a fire bed, and when you need to put the fire out. This tool can also help you scatter the cold ashes afterward, so you leave your campsite better than you found it.

Now that you know how to start a campfire anywhere (even in the rain) you’re ready for all the outdoor fun summer can bring.

A beautiful fire adds that special something to a camping trip. Whether you plan to roast marshmallows, tell stories, or just keep warm, make sure you follow these tips for a successful fire every time.

Looking for more ways to prepare for outdoor fun this year? Don’t miss this guide to the best hiking boots and shoes to try!

So you have any fire starter tips? Tell us all about them in the comments!

Best Cooler

product photo of a vintage ice cooler

Whether you are going on a picnic or planning a hike through the woods, it is imperative that you are able to keep cold water on hand and keep any food supplies properly chilled. To do this when you are out in nature, you have to turn to a cooler. These units are designed to help keep your food and beverages at cold temperatures even if the air around it is hot.

They are essentially a very simple portable refrigerator. Most do not require electricity. They are usually easy to carry as well. They come in all different sizes and materials. You should have no trouble finding a cooler that meets your needs, but sifting through all the options can be tough.

We want to help you out by arming you with important information to help you decide what type of cooler is best for you. We also went ahead and reviewed the top 10 coolers on the market right now, so you know which are the best. Read through our review of the best coolers of 2018 and arm yourself with everything you need to know to make sure your next cooler purchase goes smoothly.

1. Does a cooler have to be pre-chilled?

2. Should I add salt to my cooler?

3. What size cooler should I buy?

4. What is the best cooler material?

5. What's the most important consideration when buying a cooler?

How We Reviewed

cooler with bottles of drinks near a rocky slope and sea

via Giphy

To put together our reviews of the top 10 coolers in 2018, we did a lot of research. We looked at manufacturer specifications, read expert reviews and took a look at what consumers had to say about each model. We used all of this information to create an accurate and unbiased review of each cooler on our list.

We present you with this information so you can make an informed buying decision. You can trust that the information presented here is correct and truthful. It provides a clear picture of each cooler and what to expect if you should buy it.

Overall Price Range

Coolers have a huge price range. You can pick up a simple cooler for around $, but the more features and advancements the cooler has, the more it will cost. Top brands can sell for hundreds of dollars. However, you are often paying for quality. Longer lasting coolers cost more as do those with advanced cooling features that will keep your items cold for a long period of time. Materials may also affect the price. Hard coolers are more expensive than soft coolers. You will pay more for a better-insulated cooler or one with more insulation, as well. Overall quality is often reflected in the price, but as with any product, there are also instances where you are paying for a name more than the actual quality of the unit, so watch out for that, too.

Top 10 List of Coolers

Yeti Tundra 65

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, Desert Tan
  • The YETI Tundra 65 is just as adept at keeping your catches cold in the field as it is storing the drinks and food for...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to...

Key Features:

  • Dry goods basket
  • 30 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 16 inches
  • 27 pounds empty
  • 3 inches of PermaFrost insulation
  • FatWall design
  • Certified bear-resistant
  • Rotomolded construction
  • T-rex lid latch


  • Durable
  • Excellent insulation
  • High quality


  • Pricey
  • Heavy

Polar Bear Nylon Series 12 Pack

Key Features:

  • Holds 12 cans
  • 1000 Denier luggage grade nylon
  • 1-inch high-density foam insulation
  • Leak-proof
  • Sweat-proof
  • FDA food grade liner
  • Heavy-duty #10 YKK weatherized zipper
  • Comes with ice packs
  • Fabric cooler


  • Easy to carry
  • Durable
  • Great insulation


  • More for personal use than for storing large amounts of food and drink

Coleman Xtreme

Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler | 70 Quart Day Cooler | Hard Cooler Keeps Ice...
  • Xtreme Technology; Insulated lid and extra wall insulation keep ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • High Capacity: Holds Up to 100 Cans
  • HAVE-A-SEAT LID: Closed lid supports up to 250 lb.

Key Features:

  • 70-quart capacity
  • No-crush comfort handles
  • Hinged lid with molded cup holders
  • Have-a-seat lid holds up to 250 pounds
  • EZ-clean top
  • Xtreme 5 technology for ice retention for five days


  • Great capacity
  • Cupholders and built-in seat add to functionality
  • Great price


  • No wheels
  • Seal is not always airtight

Coleman FlipLid

Coleman FlipLid Cooler, 5 Quart , Red
  • Portable ice cooler keeps food and beverages cold
  • 5-quart capacity holds up to 6 cans
  • FlipLid is designed with reversible hinges so it can double as a mini tray table

Key features:

  • Personal cooler
  • FlipLid hinge
  • Lid doubles as tray
  • EZ-clean top
  • Molded beverage holders
  • 5-quart capacity


  • Well-made
  • Easy to carry
  • Fits up to six cans


  • Seal may be weak
  • Small capacity

Orion 25

No products found.

Key features:

  • Holds ice for seven days
  • Made in the USA
  • 2-inch insulation
  • Corner bottle openers
  • Tie down points
  • Snag-free cam latches
  • Certified bear resistant
  • Large drain plug
  • Gear track integration
  • Motorcycle grip handles


  • Very durable
  • Great built-in design features
  • Excellent insulation


  • Very expensive

Igloo Marine Ultra Square

Key features:

  • Fabric cooler
  • Easy to clean
  • Anti-mildew
  • UV protection
  • 1-inch extruded closed cell foam insulation
  • Ice keeps for up to two days
  • Leak resistant
  • Antimicrobial liner
  • Odor resistant


  • Durable
  • Easy to carry


  • Leaks
  • Fabric is not as durable as plastic reducing lifespan


RTIC Hard Cooler, 45 qt, White, Ice Chest with Heavy Duty Rubber...
  • BEST COOLER ON THE MARKET: Up for any occasion, the RTIC 45 will be the star of the show at any barbecue, fishing trip...
  • INSULATION THAT DOESN'T QUIT: Going on a long trip? No problem. Up to 3" of insulated walls will keep your ice cold for...
  • THE BEST OF THE BEST: No fail hinges, no sweat exterior, cool lift design, molded side handles and tie downs so your...

Key features:

  • Roto-molded construction
  • Heavy-duty T-latches
  • Freezer grade gasket
  • Molded tie-down slots
  • Non-slip feet
  • Integrated locking system
  • Bear resistant
  • Rapid V-drain system
  • No fail hinges
  • No sweat
  • Cool lift design
  • Molded side handles


  • Excellent build quality
  • Keeps contents well chilled


  • No wheels
  • Customer service is not very responsive


Orca Hard Sided Classic Cooler White 58 Quart
  • Product Type: Ice Chest
  • Package Dimensions: 71.12 L x 53.34 W x 53.34 H (cm)
  • Country of Origin: United States

Key Features:

  • Cargo net for dry storage
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Flexgrip handles
  • Lid gasket
  • Roto-molded insulation
  • Purchase benefits conservation
  • 40 quart storage capacity


  • Customizable with optional accessories
  • Large storage capacity


  • Expensive
  • Heavy

K2 Summit 20

Key features:

  • Roto-molded construction
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • ICE vault lid gasket
  • POSITRAC lid latches
  • ENDURA integrated hinge system
  • SURE grip rubber feet


  • Nice personal size
  • Durable


  • Does not hold ice as well as expected
  • Construction is a little weak

Ozark Trail 73-Quart High-Performance

Key features:

  • Roto-molded construction
  • Holds ice up to nine days
  • Heavy duty, comfort grip handles
  • T-handle latches
  • Certified bear resistant
  • Fish ruler on lid
  • Built-in drink holders
  • Stainless steel locking plate with bottle opener


  • Nice extras like the bottle opener, fish ruler and cup holders
  • Large capacity
  • Good seal
  • Excellent insulation


  • Heavy

Key Specifications





Yeti Tundra 65

30 1/2 x 17 3/8 x 16 inches


Polar Bear Nylon Series 12 Pack

Holds 12 cans


Coleman Xtreme

70-quart capacity


Coleman FlipLid

5-quart capacity


Orion 25

No products found.



Igloo Marine Ultra Square

24 can capacity








K2 Summit 20

16.9 x 15.6 x 12.6 inches


Ozark Trail 73-Quart High-Performance



The Verdict


via Giphy

When it comes to buying a cooler, it is a very personal process. Your needs may differ from someone else's, so choosing the best cooler is difficult. However, when looking at overall quality, it is really hard to top Yeti. Yeti coolers are by far the best rated coolers on the market. However, the price point scares many people away. A less expensive option that consumers feel has the same quality as Yeti is RTIC. The downside with RTIC coolers is that if something breaks or you need help, customer service is not very responsive. So that is where you get the trade-off for the lower price.

When it comes to more affordable coolers, Coleman is at the top of the list. These coolers have a lot of great built-in features. They are designed with comfort in mind. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs, too. They are very easy to find and sold pretty much anywhere that coolers are sold. The main issue is Coleman coolers tend to have weak seals. If you do not ensure it is sealed tight, you will lose ice and not get as long of a cooling time as you might expect.

drinks submerged on ice chest

Image via Unsplash

Soft coolers often have many downsides. First, they simply are not as strong as plastic coolers. They usually are not expected to last as long, and they are more likely to leak. However, we found the cooler from Polar Bear stands up well to its plastic counterparts. You will never get the storage capacity you can with hard coolers in a soft cooler, but the Polar Bear model is still rather large, holding 12 cans. It also had great reviews when it came to durability and not leaking. It seems well-made, and the price isn't too bad for this size and type of cooler.

Choosing the best cooler out of the ones we reviewed is tough. There are best coolers for certain situations, but no one cooler that we could say is the absolute best based on our research. It comes down to what is best for you. The cost will likely play a large part because many of the top-rated coolers are also the most expensive. For some people, spending $$$ or $$$ on a cooler doesn't make sense compared to their needs, so a cheaper cooler will work just as fine. The best option is to arm yourself with the information we've presented, check out the coolers yourself and then go from there to make your final decision, and buy the cooler you feel best fits what you need.

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