My Favorite Outdoor Activities

So since I talk about it so much, you’re probably wondering in fact what my favorite kind of outdoor activities are. I do love the outdoors, and it’s hard to specify only a few things, but I will list out here what I’ve currently been occupying my time with.

Hunting. I’ve been hunting for over 20 years, and I’ll never get tired of it. There’s just something about being outside, on the hunt, looking to kill your next meal, out with a couple of buddies, and a couple of guns. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Fishing. On the other end of the spectrum we have fishing, which when you think about it really is the same goal is hunting, but in just a much more peaceful manner. Being out on the boat all afternoon, with the sun beating down on you, catching some rays with some friends, and popping a couple of cold ones — I mean, how awesome does that sound?

Camping. This is a great family activity, in my opinion. Every kid loves spending time outdoors, playing all kinds of games, toasting marshmallows, sleeping in tents, going to be late, eating dinner over an open fire, telling scary stories, and watching the stars above — kids live for that kind of stuff. So for me this is not only personally a very satisfying hobby, but it’s one of the best ways to bond with my children.

Boating. This one is a bit white-collar for my tastes, but I have to admit — lately I have become quite intrigued by boating out on the open seas. And I’m not talking about sitting in a fishing boat; I mean in a real, big ass boat. I don’t own one myself, but one of my friends does, and he invites us on it from time to time. Talk about relaxing; he serves up a nice lunch, with a couple of cocktails, and you get to lay out on the boat and catch a nice tan.

Why I Built a Home Gym at My Cabin

5_ironmanSo for the regular readers of this site, you obviously know that I’m a committed outdoorsman type, who loves all things hunting, fishing, and camping. It’s in my blood. Even though I have a regular, 9a-5p office day job just like everyone else out there, I still try to get away from the grind nearly every single weekend, when I go up to my cabin to relax and “become one” with nature, and all that jazz.

But what many of you probably didn’t know is that I’m also a health and fitness nut.

In fact, if outdoor activities is my #1 hobby, then fitness is right there close by at #2. I was running into a bit of a problem recently, though, and that’s because I was spending so much of my free time up at the cabin, I was neglecting my hardcore fitness routine. In short: I was getting lazy! The issue with spending so many weekends away from civilization is that there really isn’t an effective way to get in a good workout. Of course, you could simply run outside — and I do plenty of that — but I’m more of a weightlifting kind of guy than a cardio person.

So what I did is, I decided it was time to invest in a bit of a home gym for my cabin. A few weeks ago, I was reading some fitness equipment reviews on Jane’s Best Fitness, and saw a few products that I thought would go well for the new home gym.

One is an inversion table. These things do wonders on the back, and there are all kinds of inversion table exercises you can do to keep it fresh. Not a lot of people think to exercise the back that often, but really, is there a part of that body that’s more important to keep healthy? I cannot imagine having a bad back when I get older; the simple thought of it gives me chills. So my inversion table comes in handy.

The second piece of equipment I bought was a rowing machine. This thing, you just sit down on it, and it’s like you’re rowing in a boat. It’s an amazing workout! It works nearly every part of the body, and gives me a good sweat every time I use it. Now, it does take up a bit of space in the cabin, but I love knowing that I’m getting some good exercise while I’m up there.

Going forward, I may invest in some dumbbells or other free weights, just to mix it up. But I think this is a pretty good start for now.

My Favorite Survival Knives

bk7_We spend a lot of time on this site talking about hunting and camping, and along with that comes the tool of the trade that any outdoorsman-type must have on them at all times: a good survival knife. If you’re reading this site, you certainly don’t need me to tell you what the hell a survival knife is, so I won’t insult your intelligence by doing that; but what I will do is highlight a couple of knives that I’ve had in the repertoire over the past couple months/years, and which I simply cannot do without.

First thing’s first: for the best survival knife reviews you can find, be sure to check out Jack’s Best Knives: he’s got you covered over there for sure.

Now, onto my favorites.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2. So, yeah — was there any doubt what was going to be #1? The BK2 is effectively the Michael Jordan of survival knives; when you’re in a discussion for who’s the best, everyone else is fighting for 2nd place. Lean, elegant, sharp, durable, and just awesome looking, this knife should be any outdoorsman’s absolute first choice if they’re in the market for a new blade.

Gerber LMF II. I know and respect a lot of guys who will not go hunting, camping, or fishing without the LMF II. Now, it’s no BK2 if you ask me, but it’s definitely up near the top. Durable, sturdy, and sharp as hell, this knife delivers in all the key areas; where it falls behind the BK2 in my opinion is that the curb appeal is simply not there.

SOG E37-N SEAL Pup Elite. This is a new addition to my collection, and I’ve got to say — I think I’ll be holding onto it for a while. The SOG E37 is extremely light weight and feels so nice in the hand, probably it’s best feature. When you simply pick this knife up, you know you’ve got a winner you’re dealing with. It’s also a pretty great value, I picked mine up I think for around $60 or so.

3 Things to Bring to Every Cabin Weekend Getaway

fishingAs a guy who finds himself up at his cabin nearly every weekend — especially during the spring and fall — I’ve gotten into a bit of a routine every Friday where I pack up my car and head up north to the cabin. Now, whether you’re going by yourself for some quiet time alone, with the family for a nice lake fishing or hunting trip, or with a larger group for a nice cabin party, there are some things you’re going to want to pack with you each time to ensure a successful trip.

So here’s what’s in the trunk of my car every Friday before I hit the road.

The Essentials. It gets tiring do it week after week, but ya’ll can’t forget your toiletries! This means stuff like deodorant, shampoo, something to shave with (I found some good beard trimmer reviews here), an toothbrush from Jack’s Best Electric Guide, etc.

The Hunting Gear. It’s funny, whether I plan on it or not, I always find myself in the hunting mood when I get out in the woods up near the cabin. Some days, I’ll head on up there, not even thinking that I have the energy for it, but after a few stiff drinks, I get in the mood awfully quick! So now, I’ve made it a habit to bring my rifle, knives, and other gear, just in case.

The Right Mindset. Aw yeah, I’m about to get all philosophical on ya’ll! Just kidding. But really — for those of us who still doing the daily grind, aka the 40-hour per week desk job, there’s really nothing like that weekend escape out to the wilderness to get away from it all. The relaxation and peacefulness of it all is just priceless. Which is why it’s especially important to leave all the stress and problems from your day job behind you, as you don’t want that kind of negative energy having a bad influence on your trip.

The Best Way To Go Game Hunting

picOne of my favorite outdoors activity has got to be big game hunting. It’s just you, maybe a few of your buddies, your dog, and mother nature — oh, and also your gun, and your target prey!

I’ve been big game hunting for a few decades now (yes, I’m old), so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that help me out every time I’m out there.  So I thought I’d share a few of them here.

The Dog. See that picture up there? Yeah, believe it or not — this whole thing starts not with you, but with your dog. I’ve got a yellow lab that aides me in my big game hunting, and I don’t think I would have caught a single thing had it not been for her. So before you head out into the fields, make sure your dog is well-fed, has had plenty of water and rest the night before — and after a long, hard day out in the field, make sure you take care of her when she gets home: that means a nice bath, cleaning up her hairs that are sure to be everywhere, and just letting her relax for the rest of the night.

The Gun. As much as us hunters love to believe that we’ve got some unique and special qualities that separates us from other guys, the truth is that about 70% of our skills are derived from our gun. Whether you’re using a rifle or a shotgun, you’re going do need the right tool for the job.  Make sure the gun is nice and oiled up, that you have plenty of ammo, and that you’ve taken all of the proper safety precautions — and that means storing it up in your gun safe when you get home.

Your Gear. What’s a man out in the field doing big game hunting if he’s not dressed for the occasion! Stock up on your favorite boots, hat, gloves, cargo pants, and whatever else you like — when you’re out there all day, it can get cold, damp, and have other nasty conditions — so you want to be prepared.

Respect the Game. This might be the most important piece of advice I ever got when it comes to game hunting — we all know that the name of the game is to kill the animal, take it home, and (hopefully) cook it up; nobody is trying to sugarcoat the truth here. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean you can’t show proper respect to Mother Nature,  and everything she’s put together out there. So don’t be a jackass, is really all I’m saying.

Tips for Your Next Cabin Party

cabinAs you can imagine, being the outdoors-type of guy that I am, I love a good cabin party just as much as the next guy? What’s a cabin party, you ask? Well, it’s just like any old regular house party — except instead of having it at your house, you have it out in the woods, inside your cabin!

Just as is the case with a traditional party, you’ll want to follow some basic guidelines to make sure your next bash goes off without a hitch. Here are some tips that I like to follow.

Make Sure You Clean Up. I can’t tell you how many parties I’ve been to where the host couldn’t be bothered to even clean up their cabin for their guests’ arrival! Look, not everyone is a neat freak, I get that — but when you are inviting people into your cabin, I think it goes a long way when you take the time and effort to make sure your clothes are put away, your floors are mopped, your carpets are vacuumed, your bathroom is scrubbed clean, etc. Is that really to much to ask? First impressions mean everything, and nothing leaves a bad first impression as much as a messy cabin.

Have Good Music. I understand that everyone has different tastes in music, and that sometimes one person may not like the music choice of another person, but if you’re going to host a cabin party — make sure you at least have some Pandora playing on the iPod speakers! There’s nothing worse than going to a cabin party and hearing nothing but crickets because the host has forgotten to provide some beats. Music sets the tone and the mood of any good cabin party, and it can truly make the difference between having a meh turnout, and an awesome celebration.

Have Good Food. Some people think just because they are out in the middle of nowhere, that they can skimp out on the food for their cabin party — not so fast, I say! I acknowledge that things become more difficult when you’re so far away from civilization; namely, that the nearest food store is miles and miles away, but you still need to have a good menu for your guests to enjoy. Now, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be thoughtful — even a simple menu of burgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, baked beans, and chips and salsa would do the trick.

Drinks. Ah, and last but certainly not least — you’ll need to have copious amounts of alcohol on hand. A cabin party is not the same as a traditional party, where you can have TV and other distractions. Likely, it is just you, your guests, some good food and music, and some booze to keep everyone nice and loose. It really doesn’t need any more explanation than that!