Get Up and Go-Kart

 
When the weather warms up, everyone is looking to get out of house and into the sunshine. When biking gets boring and in-line skating is dull, go-karting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors.
 
With go-karting, you won’t have any problem getting the kids outside, and you won’t hesitate to join them.
 
“There’s something about a kart in and of itself that just screams ‘active’ – it gives you the get-out-and-go mentality,” says Lindsey DeLong of American SportWorks. “It encourages families to not only explore new ways to have a blast in their own yard, but it may encourage them to find new places to adventure to (and try the kart out on, of course!).”
 
All of the American SportWorks go-kart models are two-seaters. That means more members of the family can join in on the fun! All of the American SportWorks models also come with the company’s history and expertise.
 
The models include the Marauder which comes with a 208cc, 4-stroke engine and a three-year engine warranty.
 
The Black Widow also comes with a three-year engine warranty and has a 136cc, 4-stroke engine.
 
The Carbide is a new model that features all the best parts of the retired Quantum model. This new go-kart features a speedometer, bucket seating and what DeLong calls a “buggy” style.
 
While go-karting is designed for fun, safety should come first before taking one out for a ride. As with any powered vehicle, seat belts and helmets should always be worn and riders should stay alert and be prepared for the drive.
 
The owner’s manual is a good resource to learn more about the vehicle and how to operate it safely. Before starting out, drivers should be familiar with the course and its surroundings.
 
“The best thing to remember is that it’s all about fun and not necessarily crazy stunt riding. Leave that to the pros!” says DeLong.
 
Being prepared to operate the go-kart won’t be like cramming for a test. DeLong says that operation of some of the American SportWorks go-karts are as simple as stop and go. Some models are equipped with a pull start while others have a key ignition. There are also models that come with neutral and reverse gears, but others just have brake and gas pedals.
 
So this spring, enjoy the great outdoors and experience the adventures of go-karting. It’s like fun on four wheels.
 
“Spring fever is only enhanced when you can zip around your yard in a kart,” DeLong says. “Go smell those fresh spring flowers – at 24 mph!”
 
-Off-Road Warrior
 
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Taking on the Great Outdoors

While some outdoor sports are relaxing, others are invigorating. Tramping through the woods, hunting wild game, paddling upstream — they’re all activities that not only entertain but get your heart rate up as well. Let’s take a look at some activities geared toward the more adventurous outdoor types among us, along with some tailor-made gift ideas. 
 
Dashing Through the Snow
 
Snowshoeing is America’s fastest growing winter sport. That’s not surprising, since this odd and ancient footgear, which can resemble an oversized tennis racket, is a great way to venture forth into places where others don’t dare tread. That means getting away from the crowd and enjoying nature at its most pristine.
 
Snowshoes are as old as recorded history itself, going back all the way to about 4000 B.C. or earlier, and first coming to this continent with Asian adventurers who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in Alaska — long before Europeans got the bug to travel.
 
So how difficult is snowshoeing? Can you walk? If the answer is yes, then you can snowshoe. At its most basic, the sport involves nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other with snowshoes on your feet. But in truth, efficient snowshoeing does require a technique that is somewhat different than walking in ordinary shoes. When walking in snowshoes, it’s best to lift each shoe a bit and slide the inner edge over the inner edge of the other shoe. If the shoes don’t overlap a bit when you stride, you’ll be forced to walk with a bowlegged gate that can be taxing.
 
While ancient snowshoes were made from wood and leather, most of today’s snowshoes are made with aluminum, plastic and various synthetic materials. But the idea is the same: the snowshoe gives walkers a big footprint, so they won’t quickly sink into the snow. Because snowshoes distribute body weight over a large area, even soft snow can provide adequate support for walking.
 
The health benefits of snowshoeing are multiple. First, it’s good aerobic exercise that can keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. What’s more, it improves leg muscle tone, and if trekking poles are used, it can improve upper body fitness as well.
 
Bill LaPierre of Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of high quality snowshoe equipment, recommends using poles, since they can help you remain stable and upright on challenging terrain, while reducing the burden on your knees. Dunham’s carries a wide range of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoe gear.
 
Snowshoes are available in a variety of lengths and widths. The larger snowshoes are for bigger people and more difficult conditions. Children’s sizes are also available. In addition to various sizes, snowshoes come in a range of styles, each designed for a particular type of hiking. Aerobic or running snowshoes are small and light and are not meant for wilderness hiking. Recreational snowshoes are larger than the aerobic models, and are great for moderate walks. Mountaineering snowshoes are the largest. They usually have a long tail and are meant for long-distance trips and serious hill climbing.  A Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose the size and type of snowshoe that’s right for you and every member of your family. 
 
Hoofing It
 
Most winter sports require some heavy-duty foot protection. And while some, such as skiing, call for purpose-built footwear, for many activities a pair of high-quality insulated boots can keep you warm and on the move. In fact, for those whose idea of great winter sport is a hike through the woods on a snowy day, boots and warm clothing are all the equipment that’s necessary. Of course a good boot is essential gear for hunters as well.
 
Winter hikes are an activity that the entire family can enjoy. Because only minimal gear is needed, it won’t break the bank. Hunting has also become more of a family activity in recent years, as parents strive to teach their offspring the value of self-sufficiency, while experiencing the joys of outdoor activity and skill development.
 
While a variety of boots that claim to be waterproof and insulated are available, not all are created equal. Nothing ruins a nice afternoon hike or a winter hunting trip faster than cold feet. Dunham’s carries several types of heavy-duty insulated boots that can keep your tootsies warm in the most severe conditions.
 
For men, the Rocky Jasper Trac Insulated Pac Boot is a superb choice. With a polar-trac outsole for great grip, a removable three-ply liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and guaranteed waterproof construction, this boot is ready to take on old-man winter.
 
The Itasca Snowbird Boot is a popular choice for the ladies. This heavy-duty insulated boot is great for hunting and other winter activities. Dunham’s also carries boots for the kids. Ask your sales representative to help you find the winter footwear that’s right for your outdoor activities. 
 
Safe, Not Sorry
 
While most hunters think of gear in terms of what they’ll be taking out to the field, a good gun safe is a critical piece of equipment for every hunter.
 
Gun ownership carries with it a measure of responsibility. In the home, the only safe weapon is one that is stored in such a way that it can’t be accessed by an intruder or curious child. And the best way to ensure that your guns are secure is to lock them in a safe. Of course, a good safe has other uses as well, such as the storage of precious metals, jewelry, cash, and important documents.
 
A small safe is okay for cash and handguns, but for long-gun hunting weapons, a fairly large safe is necessary. However, many modern safes are designed to economize space by allowing for alternate rows of barrel up and barrel down storage.
 
Plan carefully before choosing a safe. Consider possible future needs as well as current requirements. Fire and water protection should also enter into your decision. ETL ratings are an assurance of fire protection, but waterproofing can be important as well, particularly if you live in a flood zone. Your Dunham’s representative can help you decide what kind of safe best meets your requirements.
 
Among Dunham’s most popular safes is the Stack-On Elite Gun Convertible Fire Safe. With storage for up to 24 long guns, the safe features reinforced steel doors and five large live-action locking bolts. An additional three solid-steel dead bolts secure the hinge side of the door. It’s a safe that will protect your weapons and provide peace of mind.
 
 Paddle the Day Away
 
Kayaking is a water sport the entire family can enjoy. Few outdoor sports offer as big a return in fun for as small an investment. And because kayaks are light and compact, they’re easy to store and transport.  
 
While kayaks are well suited to hunting and fishing, they’re now used primarily for recreational boating. And in comparison to other watercraft, kayaks are a bargain. For example, KL Industries eight- and ten-foot Water Quest Kayaks are very stable and come with padded seats and storage. And they’re available at Dunham’s.
 
Other very affordable choices are the Pelican Ultimate 100 and Escape 100 kayaks. These boats turn and track with the best of them, yet they’re stable and easy to paddle. Ask your Dunham’s sales representative to help you choose the kayak that’s best matched to your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Focus In on the Right Optics

Keeping your eye on the target is a whole lot easier with today’s optics. Optimizing your hunting performance with the right scope requires understanding optic features and assessing your hunting preferences.

Hunting optics can range in price from $30 to $2,000 . . . with plenty of choices in-between. The decision of what to buy is made tougher because a 4 x 32 scope that costs $30 may not appear to be much different than one that costs $200.

Lenses are the major difference between hunting optics. The least expensive scopes typically use plastic lenses. The next step up in quality and price involves the use of glass lenses.  Coatings added to glass lenses enhance brightness in low light situations and add a bit more cost. The most expensive optics use precision ground glass, similar to eye glasses.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when shopping for optics:

Power
The power of a scope is described by two numbers that indicate its magnifying ability and the size of the lens.
A standard 4 x 32 scope will magnify an object up to 4 times larger than you could see with the naked eye. The 32 indicates that the lens diameter is 32 millimeters.
The larger the second number, the lens diameter, the more it will help brighten the view.

Fixed Power
The magnification set by the manufacturer.
Fixed power scopes are adequate for hunters who need a good view of 50 to 100 yards.
The most popular fixed scopes are 4 x 32.

Variable Power
More applicable to a wider range of uses.
Variable power scopes can be adjusted according to the field of view needed as well as the available light.
Variable scopes range from 1.5 magnification up to 25 times for long-range viewing and shooting.

Field of View
How much you can see through your scope at 1,000 yards.
Generally, the higher the magnification, the less the field of view.
This information is always printed either on the instruction sheet or directly on the scope.

Eye Relief
The distance between your eye and the scope, which allows you to achieve the entire field of view.Can be adjusted once you have your scope and have it mounted.

The final key to selecting the right scope is assessing how you hunt. Hunting in the woods with shadows and less light requires a different scope than hunting in open fields with plenty of sun. Think about how you hunt, where you hunt and what the typical conditions are. Selecting the right optics becomes a lot easier when you can match your hunting needs with the right lens, power and view.

-Deer Abby

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HUNTING FROM BLINDS

A fundamental maxim of hunting is for you to see the prey before the prey sees you. This is why hunting blinds are so popular. They provide concealment for you, as well as a comfortable place to wait for that prey to appear. Whether you hunt deer, elk, turkey or waterfowl, blinds let you pick the perfect spot, help you blend into the environment, and protect you from the elements.
 
Buying a Blind
 
The obvious first question to ask is what are you hunting? Duck blinds and deer blinds are two completely different, well, animals. Waterfowl blinds can be set up on land or water. With deer blinds the fundamental question is bow or rifle. A bow means you’ll need more interior space. Draw your bow all the way back and then leave some wiggle room beyond that. You will also need some extra space depending on some other factors. For example, if you bring your son along, you’ll want more than a one-person blind. And if you travel via ATV you’ll want a blind big enough to hold the vehicle.
 
You also need to look at what you are hunting and the way you hunt it. Scent control is critical for deer, so you’ll want blinds with scent control fabrics. For turkey, that’s really not an issue. Camouflage is important, but don’t just assume any pattern will work. Take a look at the camouflage on the blind and make sure it will blend into the area you’re actually going to hunt in. Whether you stand or kneel will determine where you want visibility. Also, blinds with windows, screens or doors in all directions give maximum flexibility and the widest fields of fire. Portability is another big factor if you plan on moving often from site to site. Blinds vary greatly in how easy they are to transport and set up. If your site is semi-permanent, portability is not as big an issue.
 
Location, Location, Location
 
Just as in real estate, location is everything in hunting from a blind. Of course, you could say the same thing about any kind of hunting. You’ll want a high traffic location where you can blend in to your environment. That means finding appropriate cover. The best camouflaged cover in the world will stand out if it’s in an open field. Try to add bushes and/or tree branches to enhance the natural look and feel. If possible walk the area before you hunt it. Look for food supplies, cover and routes between the two. If possible, set up your blind a week or so before the actual hunt. That way the deer will get used to it.
 
But there is also an advantage to a portable blind. It lets you take into account prevailing winds so you don’t give away your scent. Try to identify several good areas for the blind and then you can set up in the best one for that day’s wind patterns.
 
Location and blending in are also important for duck blinds. You want to be on or near the water in an area you know ducks will be present. A high vegetation area will help attract ducks and will also help you camouflage the blind. You can cover the blind in camouflage netting to match the area, and cut a slit in the front where you are going to shoot.
 
Ultimately, the ducks will tell you how well your blind is set up. If circling ducks tend to fly away from your blind, you need to make some changes.
 
Tree Stands
 
Tree stands are another effective way to hunt deer. Their height gives you better visibility while preventing the deer from seeing you. While they may not be as comfortable as a blind, they give you clearer shots by allowing you to shoot over limbs and branches. There are four types of stands:
 
Ladder – Essentially a small platform at the top of some steps. Great for people who don’t want to climb and/or are insecure at height. Stable, but also heavy, not very portable and take time to set up.
 
Climbing – Involves two pieces, a chair and a platform below it. Allows you to ‘climb’ the tree while in the stand. Portable and easy to set up, but only for certain trees and for people comfortable at heights.
 
Hang-on (Lock-on) – This has a seat and footrest attached to the tree. Popular because of their versatility, they are lightweight, easy to set up and will fit most trees. The disadvantage is you have to carry the steps and climb the tree.
 
Tower – Not a stand, per se, but a separate platform with 3 or 4 legs. It’s necessary in areas without trees. It’s the only real alternative in prairie-like environments. It is comfortable and stable, but not at all portable.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Getting Cozy With A Crossbow

Used correctly, the crossbow is an accurate and reliable weapon.
 
Riding a wave of relaxed hunting regulations and good results in the field, the crossbow has become the weapon of choice for many hunters.  “The crossbow market is still growing,” said Jackie Allen of Barnett Crossbows, ” and we’re happy to be part of it.”
 
The crossbow’s surge in popularity is good news because it enables more hunters, but crossbow hunting is not something that should be rushed into without preparation.  Like all weapons, a crossbow is only as accurate as the man or woman releasing the arrow.
 
Crossbow Basics
 
Hunting with a crossbow requires stalking capability, because you must get within 40 yards of the prey.  But crossbow hunters have an advantage over bow hunters in that the crossbow can be pre-cocked, so when a deer is in range, the mechanics of shooting are less likely to spook it.
 
Two types of crossbows are in general use today: compound and recurve.  Both offer advantages.  A compound crossbow is capable of generating more energy, but a recurve crossbow produces less vibration and is quieter.  A recurve crossbow can be serviced in the field if the string breaks, while string replacement on a compound crossbow is more complex.
 
Shooting either type of crossbow is a matter of drawing the string until it locks into place, loading an arrow, releasing the safety and pulling the trigger.  Crossbow arrows — sometimes called bolts — are shorter and heavier than standard arrows.  As with all weapons, a steady hold is essential.
 
A crossbow should never be fired withour an arrow loaded.  Doing so can damage the bow.  It’s also important to use arrows of the size and weight recommended by the crossbow manufacturer to ensure good performance.
 
While many crossbows make excellent hunting weapons, some are easier to use than others.  The Quad 400 Xtreme is one of the most hunter-friendly compound crossbows available and is capable of delivering a  400-grain arrow at a speed of 345 feet per second.  It’s available at Dunham’s in a package that includes a 4×32 multi-reticle scope, a quiver with three arrows and a crank cocking device that makes it possible for hunting.
 
Achieving Accuracy
 
Many factors affect accuracy, including damaged arrows, misaligned sights or scopes, hunter technique and mechanical defects.  When shooting with a recurve crossbow, it’s important to achieve an even draw when cocking.  In other words, if one of the crossbow’s limbs is displaced more than the other, the arrow won’t fly true.  A compound crossbow will generally draw equally if it is in good mechanical condition, but care should be exercised when cocking.
 
Crossbow hunters should do some target shooting before going out in the field.  This will not only allow time to achieve a smooth and steady release, but will also provide an opportunity to sight in your weapon and compensate for arrow drop over distance.
 
All crossbows have a sighting system that compensates for drop at a specific arrow speed and range, usually 20 to 50 yards.  This compensation allows you to aim directly at your target.  When the arrow leaves the crossbow, it drops continuously until it reaches the target.  So a properly calibrated sighting device will cause the arrow to leave the weapon on an upward trajectory when you aim directly at your target.  The arrow will then travel in an arc and arrive at the target.
 
Since arrow drop is continuous, the sighting adjustment is only correct within a specific range. But many sighting devices are gauged with multiple reference points that allow accurate aim at varying distances.  Some scopes display reticles, essentially lines, while others use dots.  A three-dot scope, for example, might be set up accurate targeting at distances of 20, 30 and 40 yards.  Range-finding reticle scopes are equipped with a scale that allows you to measure distance from target before selecting a reference point.
 
Sighting-in your scope is critical and best accomplished with a stationary target and the arrow you’ll use in the field.  All scopes have an adjuster for windage, which determines the targeting accuracy left and right of center, and another for elevation, which dials in targeting above and below center.
 
Begin by shooting from 10 yards away to make sure you’re in the ballpark.  If your results are close to target center, move out to 20 yards away.  IF they’re not even close, your scope might be incorrectly installed or way our of adjustment.  At 20 yards, you should be able to achieve a tight grouping of three shots within a 3-inch circle.
 
If you can’t achieve a tight grouping, there’s no point in twisting adjustment screws.  you should practice your aim and make sure you’re shooting with a smooth motion and steady grip.  Once you achieve a tight circle, you can tweak the adjustments to position your grouping of arrows at the target center.  If your group of three arrows is consistently to the left or right of the bulls eye, you should turn the windage adjustment to compensate.  Similarly, if the group is above or below the bulls eye, you should turn the elevation adjustment to compensate. Then retest and make further adjustments if necessary.
 
If your scope has multiple reticles or dots, you should dial in the top line or dot for your minimum shooting distance, then the other dots or lines will serve as targeting marks for longer distances.  So if the top dot of a three-dot scope is adjusted for accuracy at 20 yards, the two lower dots may will be accurate at 30 and 40 yards.  Test and verify.  The extra time on the range will serve you well in the field.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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Who Says Roughing it Has to be Rough?

Ahh, the peace and tranquility of camping in the great outdoors! There’s nothing like it. The fresh air, the sounds of nature, the beautiful lakes, and sleeping under a blanket of stars.
 
Oh, wait — don’t forget the biting bugs, the risk of getting lost in uninhabited wilderness, and the lack of toilet paper and running water. On second thought, maybe camping isn’t quite the summer vacation you had in mind. But, before you roll up your sleeping bag and pack up your cooler, give Mother Nature a second chance. Camping can be a great vacation option — and it’s fast becoming one of the most popular activities.
 
In fact, with uncertainties about the economy, falling home values, rising food prices, and a big decline in consumer spending, many people are looking to their own backyards for a “staycation” getaway — otherwise known as a more affordable vacation spent at or near home.
 
When you consider the fact that for less than the cost of a hotel room and meals in restaurants, a family can enjoy a weekend getaway camping, it’s not surprising that last year alone, nearly 33.7 million Americans chose to visit local campgrounds for backpacking, hiking and camping, while many others chose to pitch a tent right out their own back door.
 
If you’re one of the millions who’ll be roasting marshmallows over an open fire (or over the BBQ in the backyard), you may want to think about a few small investments that can make your camping experience memorable and fun without breaking the bank.
 
First, let’s talk about the most important piece of equipment for any type of camping excursion — the tent. It’s the staple of your outdoor stay — regardless of where you’re staying.
 
Tents can vary in size, shape, weight and price, and Dunham’s has something for everyone. From smaller tents like the Coleman Sun Dome and the Eureka! Apex 2XT, to a family tent like the Browning Cottonwood tents or the World Famous 18 x 10 tent, you’re sure to find one that will fit your needs.
 
Keep in mind, if you’re camping away from home, it’s a good idea to practice putting up your tent in the back yard before the trip. A dark rainy night is not the time you want to try to figure out which pole goes where!
 
Sleeping bags are also a necessity. You’ll want a bag that will keep you comfortable in different climates, so unless you plan to camp in the extreme cold, Coleman suggests a three-season bag that will handle temperatures that drop to about 30 degrees. That said, if you’re someone who likes to pile on extra blankets at night, you might want to opt for a bag that is colder-rated.
 
Regardless of where you’re camping, you’ll also need a place to cook your food. If you’re doing the backyard thing, your BBQ grill is a handy option. However, if you’re staying at a campsite, you’ll need to bring your own stove or use a grill that’s located on the premises. (While many sites do have grills for use, you’ll want to make sure to pack your own charcoal, lighter and lighter fluid.)
 
Speaking of cooking, you’ll want to make sure you have paper plates, napkins, utensils (disposable or metal), and of course, some sort of table to eat on. While most campsites have picnic tables available for use, there are several inexpensive folding tables on the market should you choose to purchase one. Again, if you’re roughing it in the backyard, your patio table will make a great picnic setting.
 
Flashlights, matches and lanterns are also important to have when camping. And, while you backyard campers can certainly use your porch light, an “official” camping lantern makes the experience feel more authentic.
 
So, now that you know the basics of what you’ll need to pack, have you figured out what you’ll do once you’re there? Well, here are a few suggestions to help make your family camping trip (home or away) a fun experience for everyone:
 
Make s’mores. Everyone loves them, and they are easy to make. Just toast marshmallows over a fire and then place between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate.
 
Give your kids 10-15 minutes to go on a nature hunt. Have them find things like “the biggest green leaf,” or “the smoothest rock.” Gather back at the campsite and talk about what you found.
 
Play flashlight tag. Every player gets a flashlight and everyone runs around the yard — or campsite, hiding from the flashlight beams while trying to spot other players with flashlights.
 
Remember, with a little preparation, and the right equipment, camping can be an exciting, inexpensive vacation option for the whole family. So lace up your hiking boots, pack up the cooler, and get ready to enjoy the great outdoors. It will be a trip you’ll never forget.
 
Important tips to keep in mind when camping away from home:
 
Pack items that have multiple uses — this cuts down on the amount of gear you have to take. For example, a poncho packs easily and can be used as a rain jacket, a windbreaker, a ground cloth or a mosquito shield.
 
Wear comfortable shoes — a hike in the woods could turn into a host of blisters if your shoes are too tight — or not the appropriate material for the terrain.
 
Dress in layers — this way, you can take clothing off if you get too warm — and put it back on when the weather starts to cool off.
 
Always let people know where you are going and when you plan to return — chances are, everything will be fine, but if something does happen, someone will know where to send help.
 
Other things to pack:
–First aid kit (bandages, cold compress, calamine lotion, antihistamine, aspirin/similar pain reliever, antibacterial ointment)
–Bug spray
–Plastic bags (storage for food, wet items, outdoor objects you find)
 
-Happy Camper
 
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Pitching a Tent without Pitching a Fit

A Guide to Summer Camping

 

After the snow melts and the flowers bloom, it’s time to get the family together and hit the great outdoors. There’s no better way to enjoy Mother Nature than with the people you care about most.

But what happens when the time comes to get serious and upgrade your camping equipment? Or what if you’re new to the game and don’t know where to start? Luckily, with all of the technological advances in tents, RVs, and other camping gear, getting the most out of your great outdoor experience couldn’t be easier or more affordable.

 

The first thing to do is find the correct tent for your needs. With brands like EUREKA!, American Trails, Coleman, and Suisse Sport, there are countless options to keep out of the elements while camping. EUREKA! offers the Tetragon 5, 8, and 9, ranging from capacities of two up to five people.

 

“The Tetragon series of tents are comfortable tents for the occasional camper. Tetragon tents are free-standing two-pole dome tents that are easy to setup, even for the first-time camper,” said Mark Hrubant, Senior Director of Camping for Johnson Outdoors Gear, LLC. “The Tetragon 9 is an excellent first tent for families as it has a six- foot ceiling, allowing most campers to comfortably stand up to change clothes or attend to the kids.”

 

David Avila, Western Region Sales Manager for Exxel Outdoors offers some insight into the American Trails and Suisse Sport brands, including some tips on what features to look for when purchasing a tent. Those features include height, both mesh and solid outdoor lining, removable room divider walls, and most importantly, a variety of sizes.

 

“There are many sizes to choose from. For example, we provide a 9×7 tent that can sleep up to 4 people, a 12×10 tent that can sleep up to 6 people and an 18×10 tent that can sleep up to 8 people,” Avila explained.

According to Hrubant, other tent features available on the Tetragon tents to keep in mind are outdoor awnings outside of the doors for inclement weather protection, elevated bathtub-style floors to keep dry, and mesh windows for proper ventilation in mild weather.

 

For campers who enjoy having indoor amenities, RV camping is the right route. But if you really want to experience everything that nature has to offer, tent camping enables people to go into areas that are left uncharted. Dunham’s has the tools to maximize the outdoor experience for even the most novice camper.

 

Coleman, America’s largest family camping company, has offered campers affordable, reliable camping equipment for decades. Items like their pack-away lanterns range from a personal size up to a full size, complete with a remote control and long-lasting lithium batteries. They also offer the Sundome series of tents which can shelter between two and six people comfortably.

 

For those campers who are chefs at heart, the Coleman RoadTrip grills offer at-home grilling abilities with the convenience of a fold-up, ultra-portable design, which is perfect for packing up for a trip. To get the kids involved in the mealtime preparation, Rome over-the-fire pie irons have been making pizza pies, sandwich pies, and dessert pies quickly and easily for years.

 

Want to avoid the sun on your trip? Try packing along a sun canopy. What about grilling up hot dogs? Pack up a portable grill with travel-sized propane tanks to grill up dinner like a pro. If insects are a problem, pack up insect repellent — both spray and electronic — and a screen house to keep the bugs out. Packing up a folding chair or director’s chair for gathering around the fire is also a must for ghost stories or sing-alongs.

 

According to Hrubant, EUREKA! offers a full range of camping equipment, including sleeping bags, sleeping pads, furniture, backpacks, and LED lighting. Exxel Outdoors also makes the only sleeping bags currently made in the U.S.A.

 

“As one of the premier sleeping bag manufacturers in the world, size, fill weight and material of the inner and outer bag are very important,” Avila said. “Depending on what you have planned, it is important to take the appropriate sleeping bag with you on your trip. For example, if you are backpacking in moderate weather conditions, it is probably suitable to take a light-weight rectangular bag, as opposed to taking a zero degree mummy bag.”

 

No matter how experienced a camper you are, Dunham’s has all the gear you need to make your summer as enjoyable as possible. With top brands like EUREKA!, American Trails, Coleman and Suisse Sport, just to name a few, even the most cost-conscious camper can enjoy the great outdoors.

 

-Happy Camper

 

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KAYAK — TO WHERE THE FISH ARE

Fishing from kayaks has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and for good reason. These small personal watercraft offer several advantages to the angler over conventional boats — no need for a boat launch, no noisy motor to scare the fish, and a nimbleness that lets you get into those tight spots where fish like to hide and where typical fishing boats won’t fit.
 
It’s Personal
 
It would be hard to find a more personal outdoor activity than paddling a single-seat kayak (two- and four-seat kayaks are also available). You propel yourself and go exactly where you want to go, which gives you the freedom to escape the crowds and find nature on your own terms.
 
That personal character of a kayak is something to keep in mind when buying one.
 
You will be spending a lot of time in (or on) it, so be sure it fits you and you are completely comfortable. Lucian Gazel runs a kayak fishing guide service on the Great Lakes, and he says you can do that without actually putting a kayak in the water. “In the store, you can sit in the kayak, get a paddle and move your arms and you can tell right away if you’re too restricted or if you have a good fit.”
 
Your individual needs go beyond just how the kayak fits, however. Where you will use the kayak and where you will fish are also important. If you’ll primarily fish in open water — large lakes — then stability may be more important. If you’ll spend most of your time on rivers and smaller lakes, then mobility and nimbleness may be bigger priorities.
 
Accessorizing Your Kayak
 
While kayaks are able to go where conventional fishing boats can’t, their relative smaller size means a whole different strategy on carrying your fishing “stuff.” Space is at a premium, and you have to carefully plan how you’ll carry rods, reels, tackle, bait and all the other gear you can just throw into a fishing boat.
 
So, what do you need and where do you put it? The experts agree that the key is to start slow. “I wouldn’t buy any kind of fishing accessory for a kayak until I’ve had the kayak in the water at least 3 or 4 times,” says Gazel. “The mistake kayak rookies often make is they put their rod holder in a place that interferes with their paddling. The problem is, once you’ve drilled that hole, you’re pretty well stuck with it.”
 
There are numerous accessories for the kayak angler — rod holders, storage for bait and fish, tackle boxes, running lights, anchors, drift chutes, seatbacks, paddle keepers, fish finders — the list goes on and on.
 
Kayak veterans say newcomers should keep things simple, at least at first. All you really need is a rod holder. Then, after a few trips you can adapt your kayak fishing gear to your own experiences. There’s plenty of time to stock up on your “toys.”
 
Catching Fish from a Kayak
 
Kayaks give you a built-in advantage of “stealth” fishing, and the ability to go just about anywhere the fish are. Still, there are different techniques for fishing from a kayak.
 
Trolling — Just as with a conventional boat, but you can troll in tighter areas. You drift with the current or paddle, dragging a lure or bait.
 
Drifting — You can drift in the general direction of a structure. Put away your paddle and use a rudder to steer.
 
Side Saddle — From a sit-on-top kayak, this is an excellent technique in shallow water where you can see bottom. You can control the kayak without a paddle, using your feet to “walk” across the bottom.
 
Poling and Standing — Standing lets you see down in the water for excellent sight-casting. Obviously, this takes a very stable craft in calm waters. You can use a pole to propel yourself.
 
Fly Fishing — Easier in a sit-inside kayak, because you’ve got a perfect place to store a stripped fly line.
 
Wade Fishing — You can anchor the kayak, or you can tie yourself to it with a bowline.
 
Once you’ve fished from a kayak, you may never go back to the “old” way. And you may also find you spend plenty of time in your kayak without a fishing rod, simply enjoying nature.
 
CHOOSING A KAYAK PADDLE
 
Choosing the right paddle is very important — you’re going to be using that paddle virtually every moment you’re in the kayak. Lucian Gazel’s advice is simple: “Buy the most expensive paddle you can afford.”
 
3 Paddle Characteristics
 
Blade Length and Shape
 
A wider blade has more surface area and can provide more acceleration, but will also require more effort. Feathered blades have the blades turned at an angle to one another (rather than parallel). This allows a more efficient stroke as the blade that is not in the water is leading into the wind with its narrow edge instead of the flat side, for less wind resistance. However, additional wrist turning is required, so a compromise for novice paddlers is a collapsible paddle that can be adjusted for feathered or unfeathered use.
 
A spooned paddle has a curled or cupped face that increases the power of a stroke, while a dihedral paddle has a type of tapered nose in the middle of the face that helps direct water around the paddle.
 
Shaft Length and Shape
 
Length is important based on your size, the size of the kayak and the paddle effort desired. While most paddle shafts are straight, there are several bent-shaft models that may increase a paddler’s comfort as well as provide for a stronger, more efficient stroke.
 
Materials
 
The materials used to construct the paddle will determine its weight, durability and flexibility. Paddles may be made of fiberglass, plastic, aluminum, graphite, Kevlar, carbon or good-old-fashioned wood. Each type has its own feel as to weight and flex. Where you kayak is also important. If you primarily use rivers, streams and small lakes, you are more likely to run into rocks, trees and other debris, so durability is more important than if you primarily kayak in open water.
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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GET HEALTHY, SAVE MONEY, HAVE FUN!

We all learn to ride bikes as kids, but then comes high school and cars and other interests (like the opposite sex) and somehow our bikes end up in garage sales. But bicycling is a tremendous activity for any age, which is why you see so many people riding these days — on city streets, country roads and bike trails.
 
Get Healthy (Without Noticing)
 
Face it, exercise can be drudgery. Counting situp reps, straining on the weight machine, even watching soaps on a treadmill can get old very fast. But on a bike you’re out in fresh air, you’re seeing the sights and you’re getting a great workout without even knowing it. Riding a bike is obviously good exercise, but there are specific benefits:
 
Cycling minimizes the risk of coronary heart disease. Essentially an aerobic exercise, it gives your heart, blood vessels and lungs a workout.
A few miles of cycling per day assures trimmer and toned muscles. This is because your upper thigh muscles, backside and calf muscles all get to work out.
Cycling helps build stamina.
It will help you control your weight.
A good bike ride can lift your spirits and reduce anxiety.
 
So Many Choices
 
The kind of bike you want will depend on the kind of riding you do.
 
For off road biking. Solid, durable, with wider tires, suspensions that will absorb bumpy terrain, and plenty of gears for climbing.
 
A cross between a mountain bike and a “regular” bike, this bike is perfect for people who want a versatile bike for casual and fitness riding — on road and off. This category has exploded in growth over the past few years. For the serious cyclist who covers a lot of distance and wants a fast, lightweight and comfortable bike.
 
Functional, durable and easy to maintain, this bike is excellent for city commuters.
 
Michael Sohalsky with Schwinn Bicycles of Madison, Wisconsin, and he says it is very important to find a bike that suits you. “Listen to the advice of the people in the store, because they know bikes,” he says. “But you also want something that looks attractive on you, so don’t be afraid to listen to your gut, too.” (Just don’t let it talk you out of buying the bike).
 
A Bike for Every Price Range
 
Not only are there all kinds of bikes, there are all kinds of prices. Hard core cyclists want speed as well as durability, and bike construction can be very high tech, with sophisticated frame materials like carbon fiber, titanium and various alloys. And technology costs money: You can easily spend $10,000 on a bicycle.
 
But don’t let that scare you. For a few hundred dollars you can get a perfectly fine bicycle that does everything you need it to.
 
An Infinite Number of Miles Per Gallon
 
Exercise and pleasure will always be big reasons to bike, but with the price of gas these days practicality and economy are becoming more important factors. Any time you can ride your bike instead of driving your car you will be saving big money, considering you will spend on gasoline. Even if you ride to work once a week, you’ll be ahead.
 
Some tips on commuting with a bike:
Make sure your bike is comfortable and working well.
Plan your route; you will probably have to balance safety, convenience and aesthetics, you may want several routes for different moods.
Test your route on a day off when you are not under pressure; not only do you learn the route, you test your equipment and learn about how long the ride takes.
Select light, bright colored cycling clothes; you can’t make yourself too visible.
Plan your work attire; store a wardrobe at the office or carry cloths rolled in a towel to reduce wrinkling. (Tip: some people deliver a week’s worth of clothing to their office once a week.)
Get bike panniers or a ruck sack; for clothing, papers and snacks — longer rides favor panniers.
Buy a lock; learn where to park and how to use the lock for maximum effectiveness.
Wear a helmet — this applies for all bike riding; even with good training on how to ride like a vehicle, and riding defensively, accidents occasionally happen. Studies show that helmets can reduce the severity of the injury.
 
Safety is a concern for everyone on a bicycle. Bikes can be a great alternative to a car, but that car will always be bigger and faster than you are on a bike. Ride carefully in traffic.
 
Find a Bike Trail Near You
 
Recognizing the health and environmental benefits of cycling, state and local governments and private organizations are greatly expanding the number and length of dedicated biking trails. Go on the Internet and search “bike trails” under your state and you’ll likely find a number of good choices near you.
 
-Two Wheeler
 
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DRIVE FOR SHOW … PUTT FOR DOUGH

The last time you went golf shopping, how much time did you spend researching drivers? Probably a lot more time than when you got your putter, right? True, drivers are a lot more complicated (and expensive) than putters. And while drivers have a huge impact on our golf egos (we all want to be longest off the tee), it is our putter that will have a much bigger impact on our scores.
 
For a scratch golfer, about half of his or her strokes are on the green. And while the ratio may be lower for high handicappers, the importance of putting can’t be overstated. You can recover from a bad drive—not so for a missed putt.
 
Putting technology has changed dramatically since the days of Bobby Jones’ famous wood-shafted “Calamity Jane” (still a very good putter, by the way). The advancements have all sought to improve that ephemeral “feel” that all golfers need on the green. Regardless of the head design—blade, peripheral-weighted or mallet, you can take advantage of high tech enhancements.
 
Metal Inserts
 
Inserts are added to the face of a putter. Technically, they increase the “Moment of Inertia” (MOI). Non-technically, that means there’s less chance the head of the putter will twist, causing the ball to go places you don’t want it—say, anywhere besides the hole. Steel is the traditional insert and it usually gives soft and responsive feedback for a solid, controlled feel. Various other metals are also available—bronze, aluminum, brass, copper, zinc, titanium—all with their own distinctive “feel.”
 
Non-Metal Inserts
 
Lightweight non-metal inserts allow the weight of the putter to be redistributed elsewhere on the putter face. The MOI increases, as does the “forgiveness” (at least in theory). The downside of non-metal inserts is they produce less sound than metal, reducing the feedback, which for some golfers means less “feel”.
 
Groovy Putters
 
The key to accurate putting is to achieve forward rolling motion immediately upon striking the ball. Grooves on a putter can help achieve this motion and keep the ball on line. At impact, the grooves grip the surface of the ball and simultaneously lift the ball out of its resting position and give an over-the-top rolling action.
 
Putting Is Personal
 
Finding the right putter is definitely a trial-and-error process. When your putter is working well, you are on top of your game. When it’s not, well—time to go shopping again.
 
-Par Shooter
 
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