Category Archives: Travel


Silva Orienteering Compass

Survival Kit Component: Orienteering Compass

In the advent of cutting edge navigating mobile phone apps and high-tech GPS units, maps and orienteering compass seem to have existed from the dinosaur era. But while these old survival tools are outdated, they can still be one’s saving grace when technology becomes out of reach. GPS, after all, may be another useless junk when it runs out of batteries in the middle of a jungle.

Having ample knowledge in orienteering can help individuals navigate their way around a point towards their destination. Given that this survival strategy necessitates knowing directions, an orienteering compass should always be kept at hand. This becomes vital for those who are about to venture out in the wilderness with the risks of having electronics dying out. Compasses after all, can help individuals locate terrains and walk towards the right direction.

Orienteering compass was first introduced in the 1930s. Since then, it has been used widely by soldiers and scientists. What makes it highly reliable is the durability brought by the base plate that eliminates the need to carry a protractor around. It is also built with a cover that protects the needle, along with a mirror that allows explorers to see objects easier.

In terms of survival skills, an orienteering compass can be used with a topographic map that can lead anyone to safety. It is thus important to be in the know-how when it comes to using an orienteering compass.

Before using the compass, it is vital for the users to determine the difference between the actual North and the magnetic North. This should be easy, as the needle of the compass always points to the magnetic North. Then again, it is important to keep all metal objects at a distance to avoid having these disrupt the compass magnet. Set key chains, flashlights and knives far enough.

Lay the map flat on a surface, and place the compass on top of it. Make sure that the arrow is pointing to the direction of the travel. Turn the housing of a compass like how a dial is turned. Do this to make sure that the arrows at the base are pointing to the same North in the Map.

Carefully lift up the compass without disturbing the housing and lay it flat on the hand. Hold it steady and towards the direction of travel. Turn around slowly until the needle of the compass lines up with the arrow pointing to the North at the base of the housing.

Walk towards the direction pointed by the orienteering compass.

In this sense, the compass can be used to go around possible obstruction without losing the explorer’s bearing. But this is just one of the ways on how this tool can be used for survival.

Note that orienteering compasses also come with magnifying mirrors which can be used to see objects from afar. This can be used by travellers stuck in the wilderness to see what they are about to deal with.

With this knowledge stored, even Hansel and Gretel could find their way back without leaving bread crumbs along the way.

Autumn cycling

25 Things You Must Bring on Your Cross-Country Bicycle Trip

Traveling across the country can be quite stressful, but what about when you’re covering thousands of miles on your bike? You’ll be subjected to all kinds of weather, and you don’t have shelter readily available whenever you need it. That’s why you can never be too prepared when it comes to embarking on a cross-country bicycle trip.

Packing for a cross-country bicycle trip can be tricky, because you have to make sure your load isn’t too heavy for your bike to carry. Because of that, you have to be very choosy about what you bring. You need to make sure that every single item you pack is absolutely necessary.

Of course, there are the obvious everyday items like clothes, socks, underwear, cycling shoes, toiletries, tents, sleeping bags, and so on. In addition to that stuff, there are many not-so-obvious things you’d still need.

Here is a list of things you should put near the top of your packing list. You know what they say: you can never be too prepared!

Bicycle gear

  • Bike gloves: Cycling can be pretty hard on your hands even after a few hours, so cycling gloves are a necessity. They also help keep your hands warm in cold weather.
  • Clear glasses: Not only do clear glasses keep bugs out of your eyes, they also allow you to see everything at nighttime.
  • Sunglasses with light and dark lens set: If you wear eye protection, your eyes will thank you! Sunglasses are especially useful if you’re traveling eastbound or westbound.
  • Cap or helmet with visor: Not only will a visor keep sun out of your eyes, it’ll also keep your glasses and eyes dry when it rains.
  • Combination lock: There is no worse situation in a cross-country bicycle trip than having your bike – your only means of transportation – stolen when you’re out and about in a new town.
  • Compass: Sometimes the sun isn’t always reliable when it comes to figuring out which direction you’re going, especially around noon or at nighttime.
  • Camelback: With this, you can drink water effortlessly without losing momentum or having to stop.


  • Waterproof jacket: One of the most important things you have to do while cycling is to keep your core warm. Make sure you wear a hooded waterproof jacket (or a raincoat) in wet weather.
  • Long underwear: There are many articles of clothing that can keep you warm at night, but long underwear is among the best of them. They’re lightweight and they work really well.
  • Brightly colored vest or jacket: It’s important to make sure drivers can see you at night.
  • Waterproof shoe covers (or plastic bags): Your feet have to stay dry at all times, or you’ll end up with some awful blisters.


  • Maps: Unless you have a Smartphone with an interactive map, it would be a good idea to bring detailed maps with you.
  • Rubber bands: You’d be surprised at how useful rubber bands can be during such a trip. You can use them to keep bags of food closed, tie back your hair, or to assist in minor repairs.
  • Mini packets of medicine: Riding all day in the sun may give a headache, or you may feel ill at times, so it might be wise to bring along some pills like Pepto-Bismol or Ibuprofen.

Safety gear

  • Reflective triangle: Once again, it’s very important to make sure drivers can see you at all times. A reflective triangle lets the driver know that there’s a slow-moving vehicle on the road and that the driver needs to look out.
  • Pepper spray: You never know what kind of strange folks you’ll meet along the way!
  • Dog spray: In rural areas, you may encounter some wild or vicious dogs. A dog spray would help keep them away.
  • First aid kit: If you’re roughing it in the wild, you’re bound to get a few cuts and scratches.


  • Travel towel: A travel towel is way easier to carry than a regular towel. It’s super thin and light, and it dries fast.
  • Bug spray: Riding a bicycle should be comfortable, but it won’t be if you’re riddled with mosquito bites.
  • Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun!


  • Small tire pump: If you’re traveling that far on your bike, your bike tires will definitely lose some air.
  • A rag and a small bottle of degreaser: These will come in very handy when you’re performing routine roadside maintenance on your bike.
  • Spare parts: You know, in case something goes wrong with your bike mid-trip. Some spare parts include a brake cable, zip ties, brake pads, extra bolts, and AAA batteries for brake lights.
  • Bungee cords: If one of your loads comes loose, bungee cords could save the day.


What are some of the things you absolutely cannot live without during a cross-country bicycle trip? Let us know!

Chiara Fucarino: 25 Things You Must Bring on Your Cross-Country Bicycle Trip – guest post on behalf of Cruiser Bikes, a cool new cheap beach cruiser shop.

Backpacker Safety – The Essentials

The following post was written by +Sarah Clarke who blogs for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in camping holidays in France. For more information, visit the blog

Backpacking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It can be a great workout as well and be a way for friends and family members to spend quality time together. For this to be the case, there are a number of essentials to pack and some safety considerations to keep in mind.


Before heading out on any trip, it is necessary to do some degree of planning. This is true for a simple weekend trip just like it is necessary for a month long backcountry excursion. In this planning phase, maps and information about the area should be reviewed. Take into consideration the ability and skill level of other backpackers and the type of hiking and adventure that is desired. A basic route for each day should then be planned along with alternative routes and options for leaving the area in an emergency situation. Knowing the nearest hospital, access points and other areas of civilization is critical as well. Once everything is well planned out and any necessary permits acquired, it is wise to leave a copy of this itinerary or schedule with a friend, family member or neighbour. In the event of an emergency, this person will know an approximate location of the backpacking group.


The right equipment is important when it comes to the safety of everyone in the group. This would include things such as camping stoves, adequate food and water, and a decent first aid kit. All members of the backpacking group should be relatively familiar with all of these supplies which includesknowing how to use and cook on stoves and be able to take care of minor first aid emergencies that might arise. The more knowledge people have, the better. Everyone on the trip should be able to contribute in some manner.


Even in warm summer weather, having the right type of clothing is necessary. Dressing in layers will help to best regulate the body temperature. If a person does not have appropriate backpacking clothing, it is best to borrow some items or make a trip to an outfitter to purchase the appropriate clothes. When possible, cotton should be avoided. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture will keep a person dry, comfortable and safe from problems such as hypothermia. Well-fitting boots will be needed as well. These should be comfortable and broken in before the trip begins. Otherwise, a person can quickly get painful blisters and find out the boots do not fit correctly.

When backpacking, safety should always be thought about. By having the right gear, making an appropriate plan and dressing correctly, everyone is sure to have a safe and truly amazing and memorable time backpacking in the wilderness.


Why Hiking Is The Perfect Medicine For a Stressed City Worker

Sitting down day after day with your eyes stuck to a computer screen and a phone glued to your ear may be financially rewarding, but it isn’t a natural way of living. Consequently, it leads to physical and mental stress, which, if left unchecked, can cause serious health problems further down the line. What you need is a hobby that takes you right away from your working environment in the City to a place where you can unwind mentally and use your body as nature intended. In short, you need to take up hiking.

What is hiking?

At its simplest, hiking is a long walk in the country that you indulge in for pleasure. Long is taken to mean several kilometres, and not just a twenty minute stroll around the local park. A more serious definition of hiking is an outdoor activity that involves walking in natural surroundings over scenic terrain that is often mountainous or hilly.

The benefits of hiking

Hiking is great for your cardiovascular system as it involves you in strenuous physical exercise for a prolonged period of time. It’s better than a session at the local gymnasium because it’s done in the open air, which means you can gulp down as much clean, fresh air as you like, unlike when you are exercising in a sweaty room with many other malodorous bodies. Additionally, you improve your overall body strength and feel great physically. You look a whole lot better as well. Gone is the pasty, indoor complexion, replaced by a healthy, outdoor vision that other people warm to. But hiking isn’t just about the physical. As your brain tunes in to the glorious outdoor scenery, you begin to connect with the earth. Soon, you forget about work and think only of where you are as your mind is given licence to roam and revel in your surroundings. Worry and stress are banished as your brain relaxes and refreshes itself.

Is hiking expensive?

To do it properly, you need to buy some specialist equipment. At the very least, you’ll require some stout boots and socks as well as whether proof clothing and a small rucksack to carry such things as food, water, first-aid kit, torch etc. How much you spend is up to you, but as with most things you buy, the more you spend the better the quality. And the question of whether it’s expensive depends on how you view the cost-benefit analysis.

Author: This post was supplied on behalf of Simply Hike, online camping equipment store and stockiest of Hunter Wellies in the UK.

family hike

5 Keys to a Safe Family Hike

Summer is here and with it comes an almost endless amount of fun outdoor activities and adventures to try with your family. For many, a favorite summertime activity is the family hike. Though hiking is a highly enjoyable family activity, heading out for the hills unprepared can have seriously bad results. It’s very important to be well-prepared before you head out so that your entire trip remains fun and safe. Below are five of the keys for a safe family hiking trip.

1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going

Even if you aren’t going hiking in a remote area, it is always smart to let a friend or family member know exactly where you are planning to be. Accidents happen, emergencies arise, and weather conditions can change quickly. If something does come up and you need help, then having someone back at home who knows of your general location is instrumental to your survival.

2. Stay on the Trail

When on a family hike, you should never leave the marked trail. For one thing, it is all too easy to become lost if you venture out into the unmarked wilderness. In addition, leaving the trail is harmful to the natural plant and animal life.

3. Bring Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do when on a family hike, especially in the warm summer months. Always bring enough water for each member of your family – but not too much more than necessary. While it’s never bad to have extra water, it does weigh a lot. A litre weighs in at 1 Kg, so plan accordingly!

4. Wear Comfortable Hiking Shoes

It’s always a smart idea to wear hiking shoes on a hike. While other types of shoes or sneakers will do, they are more likely to leave your feet a blistered and painful mess. It’s especially important to fit your children with a pair of high-quality and comfortable shoes if they are going along for the hike. Children’s feet are especially sensitive and you don’t want to have to carry them down part of the trail after a long day of trekking.

5. Teach Your Children the Dangers of Wild Animals

Even if you’re hiking in a fairly populated area, there is always the chance that you might stumble upon a wild animal. Even animals as relatively tame as raccoons, can be dangerous. Make sure that your children know not to get too close to or feed any sort of animal encountered on the trail. If you are hiking in an area frequented by dangerous animals (bears, wild boar, etc), then take extra time to inform your children what to do in a situation involving one of them.


Family hikes are a great way to spend a summer’s afternoon or a weekend, but preparation is needed. The tips above should ensure that any hike you go on this summer stay fun, and, most importantly, safe.


world map

Around the world without flying

My friend and colleague Federico Cicchi is completing preparations for making his dream a reality: travel around the world in slow motion. He’ll use all means of transport but the airplane, giving back space and time the value and importance they deserve.
His trip is organized in three steps.


  1. He’ll arrive in Brazil with a cargo ship and then he’ll cross America from Cape Horn to Alaska, riding a 50cc motorbike. This journey’ll set a new Guinness World Record.
  2. From Alaska, he will cross the whole Canada reaching New York and then Chicago. From Chicago he’ll follow the mythical route 66 to Los Angeles.
  3. He’ll sail the Pacific with another cargo ship reaching New Zealand and Australia. From there, he’ll move north to take Trans-Siberian Railway in Mongolia to return in Europe


You can follow his adventure on his site: WithoutFlying.