Screen Hacks To Keep the Critters Out of Your RV

Your RV is dry, clean, and warm, making it very attractive to critters who might be looking for a new home. No matter the season, your RV is always at risk of being invaded by bugs, spiders, bees, and little critters. In the spring and summer, spiders, birds, and bees are searching for the perfect spot to build their webs and nests. When winter arrives, little critters like mice and squirrels are looking for a warm place to snuggle in for a while. They’re destructive, damaging, and downright disgusting tenants and have no place calling your RV home. So cut them off at the pass by blocking their entrance into your RV with screens that are inexpensive and easy to install.

No Entry

The best way to take care of a critter and insect problem is by not having one in the first place. If they can’t gain access into your RV, then you don’t have to spend time and money trying to clean up after them. While you and I use the door to go in and out of our campers (because we’re civilized human beings), these little buggers go in through the backdoor like they’re VIPs—they find openings around vents, holes in screens, or gaps on the underbelly of the RV. For gaps around water lines and sewer lines underneath your rig, fill them with spray foam. But for access points around vents and on screens, try these tips:

Furnace, water heater, stove, and refrigerator vents:

These typically have openings that make it easy for small insects to fly right on into your RV and make themselves comfortable. Bees and spiders also like to build their hives and webs in the vents that end up interfering with airflow. Keep them out with a simple product that is essentially a roadblock that stops them dead in their tracks. Check out these easy-to-install Camco Flying Insect Screens that are made of heavy duty steel:

Door and window screens:

Over time RVs start to show some wear and tear. If you notice a tear or gap on a door or window screen, alarm bells should go off in your head alerting you to the obvious point of entry for any little insect or critter who’s determined to get inside. Luckily this is a quick, easy fix! There are lots of products on the market for fixing or even replacing a screen. Here are a few we like:

    • RHO Screen Repair Kit: this fiberglass tape can be cut to fit any size tear or hole and has a tear-away layer for easy application

    • Prime-Line Screen Door Repair Kit: if you’re feeling ambitious enough to replace an entire screen door (if it needs it!), this kit comes with everything you need (fiberglass screen, spline, and a rolling tool)

Flying insects and creepy crawly critters are a fact of life when you’re calling the great outdoors home. But just because you’re on their turf doesn’t mean you have to cohabitate. Block their entry into your RV with these quick, easy fixes and nobody will get hurt. They’ll continue thriving outside your RV (where they belong) and you won’t have to squish, swat, step on, trap, or poison any living creatures. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Creative Ways To Make Money With Your RV

Let’s just get the obviously bad ideas out of the way right now. No, you cannot charge a fee for passers-by to come look at your RV. No, you probably will not get paid to enter your RV in a demolition derby. And you absolutely shouldn’t roll your RV off a cliff for the insurance money. If you do that last one, however, please film it and share on social media.

That being said, we hear a lot of different stories from customers about great ways to make money with your RV, and more being discovered or invented all the time! In fact, this often plays into their intended use for their new RV, which affects which model or style they choose with us. It doesn’t matter if you only camp on weekends, or if you are full-time RV enthusiasts living and working on the road; with a little creativity, glorious and bountiful streams of income can be had in no time.

RV related

This means that what you do for work is directly related to owning or using an RV, and it would thus be difficult to pull off if you didn’t have one at your disposal.

Rent out your RV

This is becoming a very popular method of extra income for RV owners. Think of it as a peer-to-peer service like Airbnb, except you rent the use of your RV for a set amount of days. Two of the most popular such services are Outdoorsy and RVShare. After you list photos and a description of your RV on the website, the renter simply looks up their desired pickup location by city and date, browses the listings, and picks the RV they like—hopefully yours. If you accept the dates they requested, they pay and pick up your rig, at which point the money is transferred to you. Just like a rental car, they agree to return your RV clean and with a full tank.


Mobile repair shop and/or service training

Technically, operating a mobile repair shop doesn’t necessarily require an RV per se, as you could offer this service from virtually any kind of truck or van. However, we’ve heard of several mechanically-minded individuals offering service training specific to RVs, and traveling to different venues around the country to demonstrate techniques on their own rig.


Non-RV related

We would define this category as not actually requiring RV ownership to work, but of course, full-timers can and do draw a good amount of income from sources like these.

Sell things

Quite literally, this is truly an unlimited opportunity. We’ve heard of almost everything, including antiques, stuffed animals, jewelry—you name it. Enterprising RVers will find cheap items at rummage sales, auctions, or shops, and resell them while traveling. You would be amazed at what people will buy. The mobility that RV life offers enables you to find a whole new potential market for your goods at the next stop.


Find work

Well, duh. But seriously, RVers can look at anything from seasonal help at an Amazon shipping center to temp work at farms or ranches to construction or tourism. Campgrounds are often looking for RV hosts, and “Workamping” has become a big thing recently. There are literally job boards full of positions that are catered specifically to RV owners, usually due to the short-term nature of the work. If you love to travel and find work where you can, this could be a great start.


Go remote

This is the big one. When you are at the point where you can work remotely from anywhere with a laptop and a Wi-Fi signal, you have pretty much unlimited freedom from a mobility standpoint. Some jobs are okay with you telecommuting on a full-time basis, which gives a bit more stability. Popular among RV and travel enthusiasts is offering freelance services (including writing/editing, marketing, photography, design, web development, programming, virtual assistant, transcription, medical coding, etc.), podcasting, blogging or vlogging, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and any number of literally hundreds of different ways to add revenue on the go—even if your home has wheels and moves around the country every so often.


Do you have any tips or stories about making money with your RV? Feel free to leave a comment below!

A Helpful Guide To Learning Morse Code For Survival

Whether you’re preparing for a post-apocalyptic world or you just want to learn a long-forgotten language, Morse Code can be a useful skill to know for a variety of scenarios. To start making sense of this unique communication method, check out this helpful guide to learning Morse Code for survival!

The Start Of Morse Code

Morse Code dates back to 1836, when a team of inventors, which included Samuel F.B. Morse, created an electrical telegraph system which sent a series of electrical pulses along wires over long distances. The pulses would then mark on paper tape, but a code was needed to decipher the marks and make sense of their meaning. This code eventually became the Morse Code we know today, which uses a series of short and long signals to send messages either visually, vocally, or auditorily.

Survival Uses

There are plenty of scenarios in which Morse Code can be a beneficial skill that aids in your survival. Morse Code requires little infrastructure, far less signal bandwidth, it is self-encrypting, and it’s versatile. If you’re unable to speak, you can still blink Morse Code to communicate. If you are communicating at a distance, the simple reflection of a mirror or beam of a flashlight is enough to send Morse Code. And in the event that the electrical grid is wiped out, Morse Code will be one of the leading methods of wireless communication for people around the world.

Making Sense Of Morse Code

Morse Code is still commonly used in the amateur radio (ham radio) realm. Users of ham radio are typically just hobbyists who enjoy communication and electronics, and they are equipped with multi-band ham radios that allow them to contact people from all over the world! Up until recently, ham radio users were required to prove their proficiency in Morse Code in order to get licensed, but that part of the licensing process has since been removed. Because learning Morse Code is literally like learning a new language, the more you practice, the better you’ll get!

Learning the Language

Morse Code presents itself as a series of sound or light signals, but careful listeners or observers will find the meaning to those seemingly random signals. The messages that Morse Code transmits will come in the form of dot and dash combinations, also referred to as ‘dits’ and ‘dahs,’ respectively. A dash is three times longer than a dot, and each sound or signal directs you to a different letter. For example, a single dot is an ‘E’ while a single dash is a ‘T’. The letters and their corresponding signals were selected by the frequency of their use, so the most-used letters require the least amount of dots or dashes. When transmitting signals, each letter is separated by a short pause, while each word is separated by a pause that is three times as long as the pause for a single letter. Refer to the Morse Code chart to see which dot and dash combinations represent each letter.

After you’ve learned some of the basics of Morse Code, practice sending and receiving messages. It might take you a little bit to catch on, but start slow at first and eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Once you’re proficient enough, you’ll be able to rely on Morse Code as an efficient means of communication in survival situations. And if you never end up needing it for survival, in the meantime you’ll still be able to blink secret messages to your friends or tell dirty jokes without anyone knowing what you said!

Canines Get Cold Too! Keep Your Furry Friend Warm For Winter Camping

Canines get cold too! If you’re heading out for some winter camping or planning on going out on a hike with your dog, you’ll want to make sure they stay warm and safe! Here’s how to keep your furry friend warm for winter camping!

Take Age and Breed Into Consideration

Before you head out on any cold-weather excursions, be sure to think carefully about whether your dog can handle the cold weather! If your pooch is very young or very old, they are more sensitive to cold temperatures! Likewise, certain dog breeds will respond differently to cold weather! Breeds like huskies love the cold and can handle lower temperatures for much longer, while breeds that are smaller and sit lower to the ground will get colder more quickly! These factors aside, each individual dog is different, so consider whether your dog likes to be in the snow, and for how long! Just because they like to do a few excited laps around the yard doesn’t mean they’re ready for a 5 mile-long hike!

Stay Active

Just like us humans, dogs will stay warmer when they keep up with physical activity! Sure, it’s important to rest when hiking or doing any physical activity, but sitting idle for too long can cause dogs to lose essential body heat! Even if you’re just hanging around your campsite, bring your dog’s favorite toy so they can move around and keep the blood flow going!

Keep Dogs Dry

Whether your canine friend gets into some water or gets wet in the snow, it’s important to keep your dog dry! Wetness will certainly lead to cold and freezing, which is the perfect recipe for hypothermia. Keep a towel with you on hikes and walks so that you can dry your pup off if he gets too wet!

Feed Dogs Regularly

A dog’s efficient metabolism causes him to stay heated rather well, but exerting a lot of energy on a rigorous hike or walk will leave him feeling cold quickly. Bring food along on hikes, or just keep a regular feeding schedule at your campsite so dogs can always have energy to burn and stay warmer! Don’t forget to bring water along too!

Clothing Isn’t Just For Good Looks

Can you imagine going out in subzero temperatures without a coat on? Then why would you make your dog do the same? Insulating pieces like a thermal base layer and a puffy jacket or vest provide maximum warmth! Just like when humans get dressed for cold weather, layering is essential to protect canines from extremely low temperatures! Also, outfit your dog in a set of durable booties, even for short walks. The sometimes icy, rugged, and cold ground can literally tear up paws, and walking for long distances can cause ice balls to form on paws. Nobody wants to go outside barefoot!

Invest In Insulated Bedding

This is essential if you’re tent camping, and probably less important if you’re basking in the warmth of your RV’s heated interior, but insulated bedding can help your pooch stave off the cold! An insulated and waterproof pad underneath a dog bed can help cushion against the hard ground and help to retain warmth! If your dog really needs help keeping warm, give them their own insulated bed or sleeping bag, like the NobleCamper which is a durable and lightweight insulated dog bed!

Cuddle For Warmth

One of the easiest, and probably the most enjoyable, ways to keep your canine from feeling too cold is simply cuddling together for warmth! The benefits are mutual if you have a larger canine, as you’ll provide warmth to each other! If you have a smaller breed, they’ll surely appreciate the warmth, even if they can’t really give it back! An added bonus is that you get to snuggle with your furry friend, which is always a wonderful activity!

Stay Safe

As you’re out on your cold-weather adventures, it’s imperative that you regularly check on your dog to ensure that they’re still warm, dry, and enjoying themselves! Exhaustion is easy to spot, and you can feel if a dog is too cold just by petting them, but you’ll also want to ensure that your pet isn’t suffering from hypothermia! Pets aren’t able to simply tell you when they’re too cold, so keep an eye out for these signs of hypothermia:

    • Shivering

    • Cold to the touch and low body temperature

    • Stiff muscles

    • Low pulse and shallow breathing

    • Lethargy that leads to unconsciousness

If you notice these signs of hypothermia in your dog, immediately cover them in blankets and seek shelter right away. Give them a warm mixture of sugar and water. The water warms them and the sugar provides some energy to help get revive them a bit. Regardless of the situation, get in contact with a local veterinarian for further instruction and safety!

Ready for cold-weather adventures? These tips on how to keep your furry friend warm for winter camping will ensure that you can get out and have fun in the snow with your beloved canine! Have recommendations for quality clothing items to help keep dogs warm, or any other tips for cold-weather excursions? Leave us a comment to let us know!

Amazing Bungee Cord Hacks To Use While Camping

If you’re a camper with a knack for DIY projects and using genius hacks, you’re going to love what bungee cords can do for you! Use these amazing bungee cord hacks while camping and you’ll be safe, secure, and ready for anything!

Clothesline

If you forgot to pack a proper clothesline, stringing a bungee cord between two trees can have just as good of an effect! Use clothespins to secure your clothing so that it doesn’t slide around or gather in the middle of the line and weigh it down!

Extra Security

Have items that need help staying upright? Use bungee cords to secure items like brooms, mops, camp chairs, and other upright times to keep them from falling over!

Refrigerator

Having trouble keeping your RV’s refrigerator from turning into chaos during travel? Pop some suction cups to the sides of your refrigerator toward the front and string a bungee cord between them to help keep your food items from sliding off the shelves! If you have an RV refrigerator that just refuses to stay closed, use bungee cords to help force it shut!

Cabinets

On that same train of thought, if you have pesky cabinets that fly open during travel, it may be a good idea to use bungee cords to keep them closed and prevent items from falling out! This is also useful for those deep shelves found in RVs, so string a bungee over the opening and it should keep the big stuff in!

Utility Hoses

Is it a hassle to keep your utility hoses from getting tangled and coming unwound? Try using a bungee cord to prevent hoses from unwinding during travel and storage! It’s a good opportunity to use those smaller cute bungee cords!

Keep Totes Closed

If you’ve ever had to deal with a frustrating tote that is stuffed too full or just won’t close right anymore, you’ll love this hack! Keeping those totes closed is as easy as stretching a bungee cord across the top of the tote and it’ll prevent it from popping back open and potentially dumping its contents all over your RV or campsite!

Tents/Tarps

Forgot your tie downs for your tent or tarps? Just use a bungee cord to secure your tent or tarp so that it doesn’t fly away in the breeze! They work really well with tent stakes, as they’ll just hook right onto or through them!

Shower Curtain Rod

If your RV’s shower curtain rod happens to break and you can’t run out right away to get another one, use a bungee cord and string it the length of your shower! The shower curtain hooks should loop on it easily and it’ll be easy to open and close the curtain when you need to get in and out!

Secure Trash Can

Worried about your trash can tumbling around while on the road? Install hooks on the inside of the cabinet you usually store it in about the width of your trash can and use a bungee cord to keep it in place!

Use With Command Hooks

For a simple and damage-free way to hang just about any item in your RV, set up a pair of command hooks on your wall, in exterior storage compartments, and stretch your bungee cord between the hooks. You can hang just about anything from scarves, jewelry, tools, and more! You can also use peg board installed in your cargo areas and bungee cords will easily loop right in!

Build a Bookshelf

Need somewhere to stash your books, or want to make the kids’ bunkhouse a little more fun and stylish? Make a DIY bungee cord bookshelf! Use L-shaped corner molding and secure it to a nice open stretch of RV wall. Install hooks at either end of the molding, about halfway of the height of your books. Stretch a bungee cord between the hooks and you have yourself a fun, camping-themed bookshelf!

These amazing bungee cord hacks to use while camping will definitely make your next trip a great one! You’ll be able to stay organized and secure, no matter what your adventures throw at you! In what other genius ways do you use bungee cords for camping? Comment to share your ideas with us!

Make Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent For Your RV Washer & Dryer!

Having a washer and dryer in your RV can be a lifesaver! By having this convenience on board, you can wash your camping clothes regularly and wear them repeatedly, meaning less to pack and store in your RV. Also, stains don’t stand a chance when they’re washed out right away. However if dirt and grime sits on your clothes for longer because you can’t wash clothes until you get home, you may find yourself with stains that you can’t get out. If you’re lucky enough to have a washer and dryer in your RV, consider making your own homemade laundry detergent! Not only will it save you loads of money, but it’s an all-natural way to go (which is better for you and the environment!).

Homemade Laundry Detergent Supplies:

1 bar of natural coconut oil bar soap
1 C. washing soda
1 C. borax
Lemon essential oil
A large Mason jar or other air-tight container

Homemade Laundry Detergent Instructions:

1: Using a grater, grate the bar of soap as finely as you can. If you have a large enough food processor, you can use it to achieve a powder-like texture if you desire.

2: In a large bowl, use a spoon to mix the grated soap, washing soda, and borax together.

3: Add in about 20 drops of the lemon essential oil. This will not only make it smell better, but the lemon will help to break down any dirt on your camping clothes.

4: Put your homemade detergent into the jar and seal it up until you’re ready to use it!

Using Homemade Laundry Detergent

Use this homemade detergent just as you would use store-bought detergent. You need about 1-2 tablespoons per load! If you have a top-loading washing machine, double the amount you use. These machines use twice as much water, so you have to use more soap to get the same effect. Complement your new detergent with a DIY fabric softener too. Here’s how!

Homemade Fabric Softener Supplies:

½ C. Epsom salt
5 drops (or more) of your favorite essential oils
1 C. baking soda
6 C. white vinegar

Homemade Fabric Softener Instructions:

1: In a bowl, combine the Epsom salt and oils. You can add more than 5 drops if you want a heavier scent.

2: Place the baking soda into a large container. Then slowly add the vinegar. We say slowly because baking soda + vinegar = a chemical reaction that will foam up. So take it slow so that when it does react, there’s not as much in the container and there’s space to contain the reaction.

3: Add the salt mixture to the baking soda mixture and whisk until dissolved.

Using Homemade Fabric Softener

This fabric softener can be used in a few different ways. One way is by adding ½ cup to each load of laundry, ensuring that you shake it first since it will separate.

Another way is to make a dryer sheet out of it. You can do this by soaking a hand towel in the solution. Then just let it dry. Throw the hand towel into the dryer with each load. It’ll last quite a while. You just keep using it until it’s no longer doing its job, then re-soak it!

How To Get More Sun In The Winter

For those of us located above the 37th parallel, winter is plagued by gloomy skies, cold temperatures, and pale skin. Whether you hibernate at home or brave the bitter chill, you don’t absorb nearly the same amount of sunlight in the winter as you do in the summer. And this lack of sun can cause serious health concerns beyond just the downtrodden winter blues. So to make sure you stay your healthiest self all year round, let’s take a look at the importance of sunshine and how to get more sun in the winter.

The Magic of Vitamin D

Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a vital component of overall human health. Deficiencies of vitamin D can result in an increased susceptibility to certain cancers, a weakening of your immune system, and a higher risk of developing arthritis, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, and pneumonia. These health risks arise because nearly every tissue and cell type in the body has a vitamin D receptor, meaning your body must have a sufficient amount of vitamin D in order to function correctly. Vitamin D has also been linked to fighting off depression and boosting weight loss. The number one way we absorb vitamin D is naturally through the sun.

Getting More Sun

During the winter, the days are short and the sun is scarce which makes it difficult to soak up that much-needed UVB light! Here are a few ideas on how to make it easier to get the sunshine you need when the weather is cold:

Bask In Sun Beams

Try to eat your breakfast in a well-lit area. Sun exposure is most important during the early morning hours because it signals to your body that it can stop producing melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Although UVB rays, which lead to the body’s production of vitamin D, cannot penetrate through glass, soaking up sun beams inside can still be beneficial to your health and mood.

Sneak in a Sun Break

Even just stepping outside for a brief moment can give you an extra boost of vitamin D. Just 15 minutes a day spent in the sun can have a significant impact on your vitamin D levels. Try to take your sun break around mid day when the sun is at its strongest. This break could mean enjoying your lunch outside or taking your dog for a walk. Research indicates that your torso, arms, and legs absorb the most sunlight, while your face and hands absorb the least.

Plan a Vacation

Do your health a favor and take a vacation already! A short trip to a sunny destination can give you the mental and physical boost you need to make it through those long, cold winter months. Head to a tropical island or a coastal paradise and soak up all the sunshine you can get!

Getting More Vitamin D

With bitter wind chills, frigid temperatures, and weak sunshine, it can be hard to get an adequate amount of sunshine in the winter, even if you do implement some of the ideas mentioned above. Incorporate some of these ideas into your life in order to avoid the cold while still getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D:

Maintain a Proper Diet

Getting enough vitamin D can be largely dependent on your diet during those dreary winter months. Foods that contain high doses of vitamin D include salmon, shrimp, fortified milks and cereals, as well as eggs, although you must consume the yolk in order to receive the benefits. Add some of these foods into your meal routine to make up for the lack of sunshine.

Try Light Therapy

There are certain products on the market that claim to mimic the beneficial effects of the sun. These UVB lamps and bulbs are often used in therapy treatments for seasonal affective disorder, although home units are available for purchase at a range of different prices. Consider investing in one of these products to have at your work desk so you aren’t constantly bombarded by harmful florescent lighting all day.

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamin D supplements are available to help you get your daily dose of this important hormone without having to brave the cold. You can also take other oral supplements, such as a cod liver oil tablet, in order to reduce any present deficiencies. When browsing for vitamin D pills, you’ll find vitamin D2 options and vitamin D3 options. You’ll want to select the D3 variety as opposed to the D2 variety.

Now that you know the importance of sunshine and how to get more sun in the winter, you should be all set to stay happy and healthy all winter long! Do you have another idea on how to get more sun in the winter? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear it!

Enjoy Cold Weather Camping With These Great Tips

Saying goodbye to back porch barbecues, sun-kissed skin, and your favorite pair of flip flops can be a bittersweet moment once summer comes to an end. But just because summer takes a lot of great things with it when it goes, that doesn’t mean you have to let it take everything, especially not your fun camping trips! Believe it or not, winter camping has a lot of benefits all its own, like not having to swat away hordes of mosquitos or having to tolerate large crowds at your favorite camping locations. So if you want to bask in the beauty of crystal-coated tree branches and bright white landscape, pack up your outdoor gear and enjoy cold weather camping with these great tips!

Tip #1: Equip Your RV Wisely

Make sure your RV is equipped to handle cold temperatures before you brazenly dare to conquer blizzard-like conditions. Heated and enclosed holding tanks are a must, as is a high-output furnace. Some other cozy additions that will come in handy include electric fireplaces, subzero high-density insulation, heated seating, and thermopane windows. Make sure your RV is stocked with plenty of blankets and that you have plenty of fuel to keep your heater going. To make your RV more energy efficient, reinforce the seals and seams with a silicone caulk, and add Reflectix™ screens to all of your windows.

Tip #2: Dress Like An Onion

Layers, layers, and more layers! When you wear clothes that can easily be taken off or put on, you have a much better chance of being able to maintain a comfortable temperature as your activity level changes and your body temperature fluctuates. We recommend you start with a layer of long underwear made of thermal or wicking fabric. Then add on a breathable long-sleeved shirt followed by an insulating fleece top. Complete your layered ensemble with a lightweight, water-resistant jacket or a puffy down jacket depending on how cold it is. And don’t forget about accessories either! Bring a thick stocking cap, scarf, and a quality pair of gloves or mittens. Keep your feet nice and toasty by bringing along a pair of wool socks, and a well-insulated pair of waterproof boots too!

Tip #3: Be Smart About Your Setup

When looking for a place to camp, you’ll need to take more than just the surrounding scenery into consideration. Make yourself available to the sunshine by avoiding shaded spots, and try to angle your RV so that it can best soak up some of those early morning rays. If available, park in an area that provides natural protection against chilly wind gusts. If these are not available, at least position your RV so that the wind hits the rear of your trailer rather than its sides.

Tip #4: Pretend It’s Summer

While there might be some actual power in pretending, we aren’t suggesting that you treat the winter temperatures as if they were the blistering summer days you long for. Instead, we mean that you should keep some of your summer habits and carry them over to your winter camping excursions. For example, you still need to drink lots of water. It can be easy to get dehydrated in the winter because you aren’t constantly sweating and being reminded of how much fluid you’re losing. You’ll also want to wear sunscreen and sunglasses, because the sun reflecting off the snow can still leave you looking like a lobster.

While these cold weather camping tips might not make summer’s departure any less heartbreaking, hopefully they’ve given you the confidence to continue some of your favorite warm-weather activities all year round! Do you have any other great tips for winter camping? Let us know by leaving a comment!

4 Tips For Camping and Hiking in Big Cat Territory

When venturing away from cityscapes and into the untamed wild, you can go from thinking you’re the undeniable head honcho of the food chain to feeling like an up-for-grabs piece of prey pretty quickly. Although big cat attacks are surprisingly rare, with less than one death occurring on average per year, it is still smart to enter big cat territory prepared for the possibility of an encounter. So to get you ready to share the forest alongside these stealthy, powerful, and graceful creatures, check out these tips for camping and hiking in big cat territory!

Tip #1: Be Loud, Not Bowed

Big cats prefer to avoid confrontation, so if you make your presence known, they will likely go out of their way to leave you alone. Generate lots of noise, talk loud, and consider bringing a whistle or a bell to aid you in this. Always stand tall and avoid crouching down. If you’re bending down and collecting firewood, a big cat can easily mistake you for a four-legged snack.

Tip #2: Practice Power In Numbers

Avoid camping or hiking in big cat territory by yourself. You greatly increase your risk of being stalked by a big cat when you travel alone and some studies indicate your risk might be three times as high compared to traveling with others. Stick together as you hike and don’t let anyone stray ahead or fall behind on the trail. Keep children and pets especially close as they are easy targets that draw the attention of big cats. If possible, leave little ones and dogs at home.

Tip #3: Stay Aware and Alert

Keep your eyes peeled for signs of big cats in your close vicinity. Look for tracks, which will appear with four toes, most often with the absence of claw imprints. Also look for droppings and tree markings. Listen to the surrounding sounds. Do the birds suddenly stir? Have the squirrels stopped chattering? These can be indications that they perceive a threat, which can signal to you that a big cat is in the area.

Tip #4: Time and Place Matter

Don’t hike during the late hours of the day as big cats are most active from dusk to dawn. You should also be cautious of where you set up camp. If you choose to pitch a tent right beside one of the main water sources in the area, you increase your chances of encountering predators who will be drawn to your location to quench their thirst. While those rivers and streams may seem like a great spot to hunker down for the night, you’re probably not the only creature in the forest who thinks so.

Encountering a Big Cat

Even if you follow all of these recommended tips, you may still encounter a big cat while camping or hiking. The worst thing you can possibly do when coming face to face with a 130 pound feline is run, as you may trigger its instinct to chase. Instead, try these intimidation tactics while slowly backing away from the animal:

  • Stretch out your arms
  • Puff out your chest
  • Make rapid movements
  • Flash your teeth
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Speak loudly and yell firmly (but avoid screaming or shrieking out of terror)
  • Bang sticks together
  • Clap your hands
  • Throw rocks

As you attempt to intimidate the big cat, make sure that it’s not cornered and that is has a means of escaping. After the incident is over, report it immediately and you may save someone else nearby the horror of a similar encounter.

Getting Attacked by a Big Cat

You’ll know that a mountain lion is preparing to attack when it positions itself low on the ground, twitching its tail back and forth, all the while staring directly at you (gulp!). When an attack is imminent the worst thing you can do is play dead. Instead, try these defensive tactics:

  • Protect your head, neck, and stomach as these will be the most targeted areas
  • Use every instrument at your disposal to fight back (i.e. rocks, walking stick, pepper spray)
  • Punch the animal in the nose and face
  • Gouge its eyes
  • Yell for help and seek medical treatment immediately

Although the chances of encountering a big cat while camping or hiking are slim, and your chances of being attacked are even slimmer, it’s always better to be prepared for the possibility. Like all wildlife, be respectful of their space and they should be respectful of yours. Do you have any other tips or advice for camping and hiking in big cat territory? Leave us a comment!

Make A Soap Pouch To Keep Your Soap Bar From Getting Dirty!

Nobody likes dirty, grimy soap! Your soap bar can pick up all sorts of dirt and hair while bouncing around in your shower tote, and let’s not even think about setting it down in bath house showers! We have an easy solution for this! Whip up this simple DIY soap pouch to keep your soap bar from getting dirty! This project is fairly quick and easy, and can be made with items you may already have laying around the house! Here’s how simple it is!

What You’ll Need

  • Sewing machine and thread (or a simple needle and thread)
  • Towel (hand towels are fine)
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Bar soap of choice

Directions:

  1. Cut a piece of towel out that measure 4 x 11.5 inches.
  2. On the four-inch sides, fold the ends over half an inch, and then fold over again another half an inch. If you’d like to pin this fold, do so now, then sew each folded-over end.
  3. Fold up one of your finished edges around 3.5 inches, making sure that your finished edges are on the inside.
  4. Fold the top half over the bottom so that the entire height of the pouch measures 4.5 inches total.
  5. Sew along both of the long edges, forming a pouch.
  6. Flip the pouch inside out.
  7. Place the soap inside the pouch, and pull the flap over the end of the soap to close.

These great pouches are so useful and are so quick to make if you’re using a sewing machine! Your soap will stay sparkling clean, and you’ll love how these pouches get sudsy and eliminate the need to carry around a loofah or wash cloth! These also make great gifts and stocking stuffers, so feel free to use that whole towel that you just cut into! What other handy toiletries do you bring along with you camping? Share your neat ideas with us in the comments!