• The 3 Best Cars to Rent for an Outdoor Vacation

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    Looking to rent a sweet ride for your upcoming outdoor excursion? You'll want something that combines comfort and durability, with enough space for all your gear. Here's a short list of excellent options for your consideration. 

    Anything Jeep 

    With its fun, sporty appearance and rugged four-wheel drive capabilities, the Wrangler is the ideal companion for a spirited outdoor journey. Autobytel explains that while some earlier models faced criticism for their lack of technology, the updated versions have met these challenges without sacrificing any of that eye-catching charm. If you're given an option, go for the power soft top—you'll be able to remove the roof at the touch of a button (along with the windows and rear panels, if desired)—the better to take in all that fresh country air. 

    Mazda CX-9 

    If you feel that the Wrangler is too boxy or impractical for the adventure you have in mind, consider a Mazda CX-9 instead. These sleek SUVs are powerful as well as visually appealing, with the latest models boasting a towing capacity of 3500 pounds. Budget says that an SUV is the perfect vehicle to pack full of gear for a day of fishing or kayaking. If you don't have passengers riding in the back, try folding the rear seats down to create even more space. With a little ingenuity (and the help of a couple of inexpensive foam "noodles"), you can strap a couple of kayaks to the roof before setting off. 

    Toyota Tacoma

    While there's a lot to be said for SUVs, there are times when a pickup truck is the only way to go. Pickup trucks provide a versatile, comfortable, and stable ride, with plenty of room to store all your gear. Transporting kayaks and other small watercraft is a snap—just pop it in the bed, make sure it's tied securely, and you're good to go. If you need to tow a larger boat, the Tacoma is the perfect choice—Toyota shows that the latest models boast a towing capacity of up to 6400 pounds. Another bonus that often gets overlooked is the amount of headroom and legroom you'll have in the cab. 


    Before applying for your rental, consider what activities you'll be enjoying during your outdoor vacation. Also, take a look at the weather forecast—if it's supposed to rain the entire time, you may want to rethink the pickup truck. Planning ahead will make your selection easier and your trip a more enjoyable one. Happy trails! 


    Need to stock up on more supplies and gear before your next outdoor adventure? Be prepared for anything with the newest gadgets and gear from TravDevil

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  • Have Indoor Friends? 5 Ways You Can Make The Camping Trip Easier On Them

    0 comments / Posted by TravDevil Contributor

    We all have them. Camping-challenged friends who are wary of the outdoors, who shy away from anything with too much wilderness. As much as we love them, sometimes we just want to get them out into the great outdoors—and sometimes they agree. Here are five ways you can make the trip easier on your indoor friends, whether they've just promised to go, or you're still working on them.

    Pick the Right Campsite

    Some campsites offer more amenities than others, and if you're dealing with someone who's a little unsure about the great outdoors, you might want to learn more into the amenities that some will offer. Try looking for a campsite that offers private showers and clean toilets. Hot water is always a plus, and some sites might even have the option of kitchen access, a boon that your indoor pal will probably greatly appreciate. Pick a campsite that offers room for RVs or campers, in case your friends decide that they don't want to sleep in a tent.

    Depending on the time of year you're going, it's a good idea to include the option for them to go inside—if it's too hot, the air conditioning might be just the thing they need. If it's too cold, they're not going to say no to a few minutes (or hours!) inside, where it's warm.

    Keep Dinner Simple

    Okay, first things first: food. Campfire cookouts are all well and good, but there's a good chance your buddy's going to shy away from cleaning a fish. Unless you're planning on doing all of the work yourself, possibly when they're not looking to be on the safe side of things, it's a lot safer to get something already cooked, or pick up something from the store that's not going to require much prep.

    If they do decide that they're willing to give the "fresh caught thing" a go, make sure you know exactly how to cook and clean whatever you bring in. Check on whatever permits you and your friend might need, and make sure they're all up to date ahead of time. A little hassle before the trip can save you a lot of hassle later on.

    Bring a Generator

    This is probably going to be their biggest concern. Going off the grid can be a little scary for some people, even if it's exactly what the doctor ordered for others. If your camping friend is worried about a lack of amenities, ease their fears by bringing along a portable generator, to keep everything powered up, just in case. An RV can also serve as a generator if one of those is available.

    Having the option of electricity, that doesn't rely on the campsite you pick or the current state of the wilderness all around you, will help them sleep a little easier. It's also a good option to have, in case they do have cell service, and want to take advantage of that during the trip.

    Bring Inflatable Camping Mattresses

    Sure, sleeping bags are fun, traditional, and if well-purchased, even pretty comfortable—but there's a good chance your indoor friend won't agree on that. Even if they do, they might not want to spring the big bucks it takes to maximize comfort, especially not if they're not sure about camping again.

    Instead of letting them stress about their back problems, bring along an inflatable mattress. Because you're bringing along a generator, inflating it should be a breeze, and you'll keep them happier and more comfortable than if you'd let them "rough it."

    Respect Their Limits

    If you're the type of person who likes to have activities for every day of the trip, then involve them in the planning. Find out what they enjoy doing and include some of that! It's also a very good idea to ask them how much exercise they've done recently, and how much they'd be willing to do—if they're out of shape, a longer hike might not be a good idea, even if they're raring to go.

    Pick shorter trails, easier days and activities, and let them be the one to call a halt, or continue on. Keeping what they can and can't do in mind will make it easier for them to keep going over the duration of the trip, instead of feeling like they're constantly playing catch up, or holding you back. If you get them to help with the planning, it might make them feel more involved, and therefore, more invested in the trip! It could be beneficial to hold onto the camping gear for them. If camping gear is improperly stored it may make the entire time feel like a waste of money as the items become ruined.


    Wherever or whenever you decide to go, if you follow these five steps, you can feel much more confident that your indoor friend might actually enjoy their time outdoors, and even come back for more. Good luck!



    References:

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  • 6 Common Pests To Keep An Eye out For On The Trails This Summer

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    If you're a true outdoor enthusiast, you're probably itching to hit the trails this summer. Between the great scenery and warm weather, there's just no reason to stay inside!

    Unfortunately, we have to share this earth of ours with some pretty unfriendly creatures. While some are just nuisances, others can be downright dangerous to humans. Here's a look at six of the most common (and most dangerous) pests you should be on the lookout for when you hit the trails this summer.

    Ticks

    Ticks are one of the most common outdoor pests you can encounter, and they're also one you need to take very seriously. These blood-sucking arachnids can be found in a variety of climates, so no matter where you may be hiking this summer, it's likely you'll encounter them.

    The biggest threat that ticks pose to humans is their ability to transmit diseases, and the most common of these is Lyme disease. This condition, which can lead to symptoms like rashes, joint trouble, and meningitis, is widespread in the summer months. If detected in the early stages, this condition can typically be treated with a course of antibiotics.

    While ticks and Lyme disease are a common association, there are a number of other equally serious conditions that these pests can carry. These include the Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis. To prevent tick bites, this doctor recommends using essential oils to ward off ticks, along with wearing high socks and long pants while hiking.

    Mosquitoes

    If you've spent any amount of time outdoors, you're probably familiar with the annoying buzz and the itchy bites associated with mosquitoes. Like ticks, these pests feed on the blood of their victims—and they're notorious for spreading disease, too.

    Globally, malaria is the most common disease spread by mosquitoes, but most cases of it come from sub-Saharan Africa. Closer to home, mosquitoes are responsible for diseases like the West Nile virus and encephalitis. Typically, the West Nile virus leads to flu-like symptoms, while encephalitis causes swelling of the spinal cord and brain. The best protection against mosquito bites is to cover exposed skin, rather than to spray yourself down with chemicals. That being said, spraying your gear with repellant is an effective measure against mosquitos.

    Spiders

    There are over 3000 species of spiders in the United States, which means you should absolutely expect to encounter them outdoors. Luckily, only about 10 of those species are venomous, with the most common being the brown recluse and the black widow.

    Brown recluse spiders can be tricky to see on the trail since their dark brown coloring allows them to blend in with leaves and sticks. However, they are not an aggressive species, so bites only occur when direct contact is made. If you leave them alone, they will be more than happy to leave you alone.

    Like the brown recluse, black widows are often found in quiet, undisturbed areas like piles of wood or leaves. They most commonly bite when a person unintentionally comes in contact with their webs.

    While bite symptoms vary between these two species, both require fast medical attention to prevent the worsening of symptoms.

    Scorpions

    If you're planning on hiking desert trails this summer, it's important to be on the lookout for scorpions, which are prevalent in the American southwest.

    These distant relatives of the spider are nocturnal creatures, so you won't likely see one scuttling about during the middle of the day—but that doesn't mean they aren't nearby. They're probably hiding under rocks, piles of wood, or unattended hiking boots.

    While scorpion stings normally resolve themselves within two days, the symptoms can be hard to deal with. These include intense pain at the injection site, difficulty speaking, drooling, abdominal pain, and respiratory issues.

    Centipedes

    Like scorpions, centipedes are known to take shelter wherever they can find it—rocks, logs, and piles of leaves are three places they are commonly found. So, most bites occur when a person unintentionally disturbs their habitat. That being said, there are plenty of places on the trail that a centipede might call home.

    Centipede bites are almost never fatal, but the pain they cause will be immediate and intense. There may also be some damage to the surrounding skin tissue, but specialized medical care generally isn't necessary for treatment.

    Fire Ants

    If you have plans on hiking in desert or grassland environments this summer, be on the lookout for fire ants. Unlike some of the other pests on this list, fire ants can be quite visible. Their mounds can grow to as high as 18 inches, and most colonies are comprised of hundreds of thousands of ants.

    And that's where their danger lies—in their numbers. While an individual bite will be painful and itchy for up to an hour afterward, it's generally not life-threatening. However, fire ants typically attack in large groups, and numerous bites can lead to a potentially fatal allergic reaction if not treated immediately.

    Your time on the trails shouldn't be spent worrying about all the potential pests you might encounter. By being aware of common dangerous bugs in your area, taking preventative measures (like bug spray), and using caution when disturbing the environment, you can maximize your fun and safety this summer.

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  • Planning a Fishing Trip to Orlando? Read this!

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    For those who love the outdoors and the water, one great destination we recommend for this summer is Orlando, Florida. With access to many lakes and the Atlantic ocean, Orlando gives you the best of saltwater and freshwater fishing. Orlando has access to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, which cover more than 80,000 acres of water that hold some of the biggest largemouth bass ever caught. Because of this abundance of bass, Bassmaster Classic and Florida Bass Federation Tour call Lake Kissimmee, the largest of the lakes, their "home."

    The Lakes of Orlando

    2014 BASS Open champion Van Soles states that largemouth bass can be caught year round in Florida. He suggests using a 65-pound test line on a sturdy pole as the proper fishing gear for the big bass. In winter, look for bass taking cover in the grass and vegetation; in the summer,  expect the bass to swim for shade after mid-morning. Van Soles also suggests using a Gambler BB Cricket that will wiggle through the thickness of this vegetation. There are other plastic baits, too, such as various colored worms, jigs, and lizards that can penetrate the vegetation. Crankbaits also work well because they have a lot of action that attracts the fish.


    Though bass is the most popular, there are many different species of freshwater fish to catch besides bass. In the smaller lakes, there is fun for the inexperienced members of the family as they can catch shellcrackers. Proper fishing gear for shellcrackers includes a light rod and a bobber with freshwater shrimp or worms as bait. Children can enjoy hooking bluegill using an ultralight rod and a bobber and tiny jigs as lures. Crickets and red worms work well as live bait for luring bluegill onto the hook.

    Ocean Fishing Near Orlando

    It takes about 90 minutes to arrive at the ocean and Cocoa Beach, directly east of Orlando. There, vacationers can surf fish by walking a short distance into the water, or they can fish off the public pier. Saltwater fishing guides will also take people deep sea fishing. While they are visiting Cocoa Beach, vacationers can inquire at local bait shops about what fish are active, as well as what lures and bait are best to use. For the proper fishing gear, the vacationer can rent a fishing pole at the Cocoa Beach fishing pier where some fresh shrimp as bait is included with this borrowed pole. Whether you plan to rent a pole or bring your own, make sure it’s the right kind; for saltwater fishing gear, Kiehberg recommends "fishing rods that have been engineered to be extremely strong and lightweight" as opposed to other fishing rods built for freshwater fishing or fly fishing.


    There is little doubt that both the experienced and the inexperienced fisher will enjoy visiting Orlando, Florida, and its neighbor, Cocoa Beach. In these locations, the entire family can catch both freshwater and saltwater fish. We hope that the recommendations in this article will help you get the best catch!

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  • 5 Best National Parks for Canyoneers

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    Almost everybody loves to hike. Many of us love to camp. Some of us even like to rappel and rock climb. And then there’s the rare breed that can’t decide on just one of these activities, but wants to combine them into a truly unique harmony of adventure. These are the canyoneers.

    For those of you who don’t know, canyoneering is a term for technical hiking through the remarkable slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau. Carved by violent flash floods that cut quickly through the soft sandstone, these canyons are deep, narrow, and full of various obstacles that require highly technical skills to pass. These obstacles include boulders and log jams, potholes, stems, swims, and (of course) rappels. If you are new to this sport, it is highly recommended that you go out only with highly experienced teams! That said, let’s talk about some of the best places to find these unique treasures.


    Arches National Park

    Located in Moab, Utah, Arches National Park is just perfect for your next adventure. Featuring over 2000 different sandstone arches, rock fins, natural bridges, and other interesting and unique formations, this national park is ideal for a thoughtful journey. Popular canyons include Uncover, The Fiery Furnace, and Lost Spring. Keep in mind, these require permits that are difficult to obtain.


    Zion National Park

    Located close to Saint George, Utah, Zion National Park features a vast array of mountains and cliffs to provide a picture-perfect view. Additionally, there is even a lake to swim in if you are feeling up to it. There are dozens of slot canyons sprinkled throughout the park. One of the most popular is Pine Creek, which can be accessed right from the road, and includes many spectacular rapels. Mystery Canyon is a longer, more challenging hike that includes a 120-foot rappel down a waterfall directly into the Virgin River Narrows. I’ve also done Echo, Keyhole, and Mineral Gulch, which were all excellent.


    Grand Canyon National Park

    No canyon list would be complete without the grandest canyon of them all! Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon has numerous hiking trails. You can spend days exploring the vast nooks and crannies of the canyon and it still might not even end up being enough. While not technically a Slot Canyon, I would recommend the Havasupai trail in a canyon tributary in the Arizona Strip. But (and I’m speaking from experience), make sure you bring a lot of water!


    Bryce Canyon National Park

    Image Credit: Bryce Canyon Country

    Located in Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its awe-inspiring, spire-like boulder formations that cover the gigantic reserve. Covering over 55 miles of area, it would take some time for even the most experienced canyoneers to explore Bryce Canyon National Park to the fullest extent. Willis Creek Canyon is one of the least technical hikes on this list, but it’s nearly as picturesque as Antelope Canyon.

     

    Grand Staircase Escalante

    Image Credit: Utah.com

    Technically this one is a national monument, not a national park, but there are many beautiful and remote canyons that are accessible. In fact, there may be even more canyons that become available, depending on what happens with the lawsuit. Though it’s not nearly as technical as some of the canyons listed, my personal favorite is Coyote Gulch. Nearby Calf Creek is better-known, but it’s too popular for my tastes.



    These are just a few of the top national parks available to canyoneers of all ages and levels of experience. While some may be for more serious skill levels than others, you should research the parks you are interested in further before visiting. Once again, never attempt one of these canyons alone, and never go without an experienced team! That said, have fun out there!

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