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The Adventure of a Lifetime at Wyoming National Parks

When it comes to planning an epic vacation getaway, the first thing that pops into everyone´s mind are the most well-known national parks that get all of the attention. From Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons, to the Grand Canyon, it is pretty hard to go wrong with one of these places. What few people ever think about, however, are the other nearby attractions from state parks to national monument areas that also offer some pretty spectacular opportunities for adventure.

Imagine the following scenario: After having saved up for months, you finally are ready to take your family to Yellowstone National Park, a place you´ve dreamed of visiting for years. You´ve done your research, planned out everything you´re going to see, and made reservations at the best campgrounds.

Only a couple days into your supposed vacation of a lifetime, however, your oldest son begins to drag his feet. “Another hot spring today?” he asks sarcastically.

Shortly afterwards your youngest daughter refuses to put her boots on to go and watch the bison at Yellowstone Lake. Even your spouse begins to make not so subtle suggestions that it might be a good idea to check out something outside the boundaries of the park.

The problem, of course, is that you have absolutely no idea what other attractions the state of Wyoming has to offer. The Grand Tetons are at least half a day away, and for all you know, the rest of the state is nothing more than red rocks, wind turbines, and a rodeos.

Fortunately for you, we´ve done our research and have all the information on everything that the state of Wyoming has to offer. From the 2 most well-known national parks, to the 12 state parks, 5 national forests, 4 national wildlife refuges, and 2 national recreation areas, we´ve put together a guidebook on the best that Wyoming has to offer.

Below we´ll offer a succinct but thorough review of the two Wyoming National Parks while also giving you some other ideas about nearby attractions should to complement the wonder and natural beauty of both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Bison, Geysers, and Fishing at Yellowstone

Without a doubt, the main attraction for most travelers to the state of Wyoming is Yellowstone. While Yellowstone actually has land in three separate states, the vast majority of the national park and the main attractions are within Wyoming territory.

As one of the first national parks worldwide, and also one of the largest, there is definitely a lot to explore at Yellowstone. The unique geology of the area was formed by a massive volcanic eruption over half a million years ago. Today, Yellowstone is still brimming with geothermic activity, and one of the main attractions that people go to see are the dozens of geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and other unique geothermic formations that make you thankful for the thin crust of earth that separates us from our earth´s boiling innards.

The Geothermic Route

If you do make your way to Yellowstone, you absolutely cannot miss going to see Old Faithful. This massive geyser erupts regularly, and the park has set up grandstands where you will be able to catch the glimpse of a mini-volcano in action.

The Midway Geyser Basin is another spot you shouldn´t skip. Home to the world´s largest hot spring, the brilliant turquoise colors will remind you of a Caribbean beach, minus the hot sulfur-laden air, that is.

The Wildlife Route

Another major attraction at Yellowstone is the abundance of wildlife. From deer to grizzly bears to the majestic herds of bison, as soon as you step away from the crowds, you´re almost guaranteed to find some sort of wildlife that call the home park.

The massive herds of bison that used to roam freely over the Great Plains actually almost went extinct during the arrival of the frontiersmen to the western part of the United States. Today, however, they´re beginning to make a comeback and one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the bison is at Yellowstone.

Head out to the infamously named “Mud Volcano” on the Yellowstone River. Here you will be able to catch glimpses of bison warming themselves over the warm air escaping from a small geyser on the river´s edge. While slightly more strenuous, the Lava Creek Trail also offers a great chance to come upon a herd of wandering bison and even the solitary grizzly bear.

The Backcountry Route

The vast majority of tourists and vacationers who come to Yellowstone never actually see the vast stretches of wilderness and the backcountry. The park service has done a great job organizing a family friendly tourist circuit which, while worth seeing, doesn´t do justice to the rest of the marvels that the park offers.

If you are up to challenge, the Sky Rim Trail offers a unique perspective into the wilderness of Yellowstone. During the course of the 21 mile roundtrip trail, you´ll hike up to the almost 10,000 foot summit of Big Horn Peak while also enjoying panoramic vistas that might allow you to spot the distant Grand Tetons which we´ll explore in more detail below.

Once in the backcountry, Yellowstone National Park also offers dozens of opportunities for quality fishing. Finding your own Shangri-La spot to go angling on the Yellowstone River is about as close you can get to paradise.

If you really want to explore all of the many wonders that Yellowstone has to offer, check out our complete guide to Yellowstone National Park here.

40 Miles of Mountains at the Grand Tetons

There are few sights that will leave you with your jaw dropping to the ground like the massive 40-mile-long mountain front that makes up the main attraction of the Grand Tetons National Park. Along this postcard like view, eight peaks rise majestically over 12,000 feet in the air and their jagged, rocky surface not only resembles the mountains you drew in your first grade art class, but also will leave you mesmerized by both fear and admiration.

Located near the luxurious mountain town of Jackson Hole, one of the most unique aspects of the Grand Tetons is that you can go from a 5 star hotel or plush mountain lodge in Jackson Hole to camping on the jagged rocks of a forsaken wilderness in almost no time at all. From pristine mountain lakes, to quality hiking, to adrenaline pushing extreme sports, there is plenty to explore at the Grand Tetons.

The Relax Route

For many people, simply enjoying the view of the 40 mile front of jagged peaks is more than rewarding. One of the best sights in the entire park is found at Jenny Lake, an otherworldly beautiful mountain lake surrounded by the characteristic jagged peaks of the Tetons.

The 7.5 mile Jenny Lake Loop hike is definitely doable, and is mostly flat which makes this relatively easy trail the best way to get your nature fix while not scaling any of the towering mountains in the horizon. A day resting by this unique lake will get you all the relaxation you need.

The Adrenaline Route

With so many towering mountains and granite cliffs, of course the Grand Tetons would be a place for mountain climbing and rappelling junkies to flock to. If you like the thrill of hanging off the side of the mountain with nothing holding you from a certain death than a thin rope, then the Tetons are for you. There are dozens of places to go climbing and mountaineering, but you´ll need to check in with the visitor´s center to see which places are currently open to climbers.

The Solitary Route

Lastly, the Tetons also offer a great opportunity to camp out in the backcountry. You would be hard pressed to find a place with more spectacular night sky views than from the summit of the Grand Teton or any of the other massive, craggy peaks you can explore.

You will need a permit to explore the back country of the Tetons, and a bear canister is probably a good idea as well. But if you´re up for the challenge, there are few places on earth where you can feel more lost in the wildness of the natural world than at Grand Teton National Park. You can check out all of your backcountry options at the Grand Tetons here.

The Road Less Traveled: State Parks and Others in Wyoming 

Like we said at the beginning of this article, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons certainly have a lot to offer. You could theoretically spend a month at each place and still not even scratch the surface of different things to do. But as human beings, our attention spans or short and our continued need for adventure and new horizons is always a temptation.

Fortunately, the great state of Wyoming has several beautiful state parks and other natural areas in close proximity to both of the Wyoming National Parks. A change of scenery never hurt anyone, and though not nearly as famous as the Yellowstone or the Tetons, the following state parks are definitely worth exploring.

Bear River State Park

Just outside of Salt Lake City, Bear River State Park offers a quick nature getaway for urban dwellers. After several days braving the backcountry of Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, this park offers much more civilization. The paved and gravel trails are great for biking or rollerblading and you can even catch a glimpse of some bison and elk that roam the park.

Buffalo Bill State Park

Near the border with Montana, Buffalo Bill State Park is another great spot nearby Yellowstone where you can enjoy the mountain vistas of the Absaroka Mountains and some great fishing along the nearby reservoir. If you didn´t have much luck catching anything at Yellowstone Lake the Buffalo Bill Reservoir is a good second option.

Sinks Canyon State Park

This state park features a pristine mountain river named the Popo Agie. While the river is an attraction in itself, the real prize here is the mysterious “disappearance” of the river as it sinks into a large cavern only to miraculously reappear as a beautiful, crystal clear pool a half mile down the canyon. While you can´t fish at this pool, there aren´t many other places in the world for a more refreshing swim.

Bighorn National Forest

This beautiful area often gets overlooked because it is “only” a national forest. Nonetheless, the forest ecosystem here is incredible diverse with alpine meadows, towering mountains, and glacier carved valleys, and so much more. There are a couple of great campgrounds to stay at, and the area has several miles of quality hiking and backpacking trails.

Planning Your Escape to Wyoming 


There is no shortage of adventure in Wyoming. While many vacationers make the obligatory stops at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, there is so much more to see and explore. We hope that this brief guide peaks your interest to explore the endless wonders that Wyoming offers.

Complete Guide to Yosemite

The first effort to protect the area that is now Yosemite National Park was actually done by President Abraham Lincoln (a pretty influential person in American history) who signed a bill to protect parts of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa grove of Sequoia trees.

John Muir, one of the best known American environmentalists, loved exploring the vast wilderness areas of northern California. The destruction of subalpine meadows around Yosemite Valley lead Muir into a prolonged struggle to protect the area which eventually lead to Yosemite becoming the nation´s second National Park (after Yellowstone) in 1890.

Even though the park was protected by the national government, the city of San Francisco, California had long been planning to dam the Tuolomne River as a source of drinking water and hydroelectric power for the city. Despite another long, political struggle (with Muir again at the forefront), the river was eventually damned. There are still efforts underway today to recover the natural state of the Tuolomne River which runs through the Hetch Hetchy Valley.

How Complete Is This Guide?

When it comes to any large place, it's hard to say the guide is "complete" - many of the places we write about can have a book (or even books) written about them. 

We do our best to visit, write, research, about all the places on this site. But alas, there are only so many hours in one day.

That said, if you want to contribute, or feel something somethign is incorrect, feel free to contact us to help make this guide a better places on the interwebs.

Among other attractions, Yosemite has 1600 miles of streams, 350 miles of roads, and 800 miles of hiking trails

Geology, Biodiversity, and Landscape

Yosemite National Park is a land of extremely diverse topography and landscapes. The Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (https://pubs.usgs.gov/dds/dds-43/) was fundamental in mapping out the entire Sierra Nevada ecosystem where Yosemite is located and offers us an abundance of information regarding the natural wonders of Yosemite.

One of the best known features of Yosemite are the massive granite cliffs that rise throughout the park. “El Capitan” and Half Dome are two of the most easily recognizable (and most sought out by mountain climbers).

These granite cliffs began forming around ten million years ago when geological forces caused the Sierra Nevada to lift up and tilt to its side. This caused steep eastern slopes where much of Yosemite is located.

During one Ice Age, around one million years ago, glaciers dominated the high alpine meadows in the region. Scientists imagine that the ice around what is today Yosemite National Park might have been upwards of 4,000 feet thick, more than ¾ a mile thick. When that mass of ice began to slide downwards off the mountain, it carved out the U-shaped valley which is today called Yosemite Valley, the most famous part of the park.

Yosemite also has over 300 species of vertebrate animals in the park. Black bears, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and the grey wolf are some of the most sought after animals by tourists, though catching a glimpse of the grey wolf takes a considerable amount of patience and good luck.

Yosemite also has three separated and isolated groves of Sequoia Forest, which are home to some of the largest trees in the world. Outside the sequoia groves, the majority of the vegetation is made up of coniferous forest. Over 225,000 acres of old growth forest still remain standing and intact in Yosemite National Park, one of the few areas in the continental United States where old growth forest remains.

When to Visit Yosemite

If you don’t mind the crowds of picture taking tourists, visiting Yosemite Valley in the peak summer months is the way to go. You won’t get any sort of solitude and seclusion, but it can be fun to share the beauty of the valley with others. If, however, you want a more unique Yosemite experience, you will want to consider alternative times to visit the park.

How to Avoid the Crowds

To avoid the crowds in Yosemite Valley, you will have to avoid the summer peak period of June to August all together. However, if you want to explore the other 99% of the park outside the Valley, you can pretty much go any time during the year.

Spring time is by far one of the best times to visit the park. School hasn’t let out for the summer meaning that you’ll miss most of the family vacations. Furthermore, the relatively chilly nights will keep other tourists away.

The snowmelt is at its peak meaning that the waterfalls will be gushing and if you time your trip right, you will also be greeted by a mosaic of wildflowers throughout the park.

Yosemite with the Family

When most people think of Yosemite National Park, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of adrenaline seeking mountain climbers hanging off of the sheer granite face of Half Dome. While they certainly are fun to watch, that´s not exactly a family friendly activity. Taking on a 4,000 foot incline to make it to the top of Yosemite Falls with two toddlers also makes for quite a strenuous hike that isn´t exactly made for families.

If you have small children or a large family, there´s no reason to put off a vacation to Yosemite until the kids are grown and off to college. There are dozens of family friendly activities all throughout the park. From panning for gold in a pristine mountain river to enjoying easy nature hikes, we´ve got all the information you need to plan a quality family vacation to one of America´s most iconic national parks.

Visit the Giant Sequoias

What could be more unique than taking your tiny children to stare up into the canopy of the massive sequoias. One of the pleasures of being a parent is watching your children explore the natural world and express their awe and wonder and what they see around them.

Children love to explore the relatively easy trails throughout the two different groves of Sequoias in Yosemite National Park, and are encouraged to touch and explore the gigantic trees. At the very least, it will make for a great photo opportunity.

Panning for Gold in the Merced River

The Merced River is a great river for family fun. Unlike other mountain rivers with their quick currents and rapids, the Merced flows peacefully throughout Yosemite Valley. The relatively shallow areas with large sandy beaches make it a great place for a family picnic, some fun mini-tubing practice, and a chance to cool off from the warm summer temperatures.

You can also give your kids a history lesson on the California Gold Rush, as bits of gold can still be found in the Merced River. Read up on how to pan for gold, bring along some basic equipment, and see if your children can find some gold specks in the river sand.

Junior Ranger Program

An essential part of visiting the beautiful areas of our nation´s national parks is also teaching our children about the importance of protecting these pristine areas. Yosemite has a fantastic Junior Ranger program that is both educational and participative. Your kids will have to fill out a workbook on the park, learn about some of the park´s wildlife, and do a “service project” to help keep the park clean in order to earn their badge.

Drive up to Glacier Point

Just because your kids aren´t able or willing to endure a grueling 10 mile hike up to the top of Half Dome doesn´t mean that you can´t enjoy the stunning panoramic views that Yosemite offers. A short drive up to Glacier Point can be done with your kids which will offer you unbelievable views of the surrounding valley and most recognizable mountains.

For a real stunning experience, consider driving up around sunset during the full moon phase to watch the sun set and the moon rise. You can also enjoy a unique opportunity for star gazing at Glacier Point to get your kids interested in the heavens above.

Yosemite: So Much Family Fun

These are just a few of the activities that you and your family can enjoy while at Yosemite, but there are virtually unlimited amounts of activities that you can plan for the entire family. Ask the ranger station for other ideas for family centered activities at the park and you´ll soon find that your kids won´t ever want to leave. 

Take Your Kids Camping

One of the best parts of visiting Yosemite is that there are so many fantastic, awe-inspiring camp grounds to choose from. From secluded campgrounds in the middle of the deep back-country, to family friendly campgrounds in the heart of Yosemite Valley, you and your family will be sure to find some place that you love. To get the best possible campground, make sure to plan ahead, make your reservations, and check off all the gear you and your family will need to enjoy the time in the Great Outdoors. Of all camping equipment, the tent is by far the most important and necessary, and it is wise to invest a little bit of time and money in finding a quality tent that will keep you and your family protected while travelling to Yosemite. With this guide you will be able to find the absolute best tent brands on the market so that you can find the option that is best for your trip.

What Each Season Offers

If you can’t make it to Yosemite in the spring, don’t fret. Each of the four seasons in Yosemite offers truly magical sights. The sunny, summer days are rightfully a crowd favorite, and if you don’t like cool temperatures, the warm, dry air is perfect for hiking and getting the best views.

Fall time in Yosemite also offers a way to avoid the crowds since most people stop visiting after Labor Day. The crisp night air often times drives out the summer haze leading to beautiful panoramic views. There is no better time of year to go stargazing at Yosemite than in September or October.

Though many of the parks roads close in winter time, the park service does regularly plow Glacier Point Road up to Badger Pass. Driving up to the pass after a night of snow fall will offer a magical glimpse of Yosemite´s winter wonders.

Furthermore, if you can make it to Yosemite in February, you will get to watch the Firefall, one of the most amazing natural phenomena in the world. The setting sun at that time of year is at such an angle that the sun illuminates Horsetail Falls in such a way that the falls glow orange and red while the sun sets.

 What are the Best Hikes in Yosemite?

With 1,200 square miles, Yosemite is a backpacker and hikers dream. Since the majority of the crowds never leave Yosemite Valley which only makes up 1% of the park, you should be able to find plenty of solitude and untouched, natural beauty, whether that be on the cliffs of a high granite peak or in an unexplored valley. 

Types of Hiking Gear You Should Bring


As you explore the beauty of park,you should always come prepared. A bunch of our staffers don't like to carry around a lot of gear and suggest you bring an ultralight backpack, we also have a pretty indepth guide about the best backpacks for hiking, make sure to give both a read before you set out on your adventure.

Below we offer our five best hikes for true nature lovers. Four of these hikes are day hikes while one can be done as an overnighter.​​​​

Half Dome

This 17 mile round trip hike isn’t for folks who are out of shape. If you think that you have the energy and the stamina to make it up one of the largest granite rocks in the world, however, you will be rewarded with a once in a lifetime experience.

To begin your hike you will go by past two gorgeous waterfalls, Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, before hiking through thick pine forest. As you approach the top of the granite dome, you will have to pull yourself up with the aid of granite steps (think stairway of hell) and wire cables.

Once you make it to the top, however, the views are otherworldly with sweeping panoramas of Yosemite Valley and the surrounding landscape. You do need a permit to do this day hike so plan in advance.

Upper Yosemite Falls

If you make it Yosemite, you have to at least to try to climb up to the top of North Americas highest waterfall. The upper Yosemite Falls hike is a 7.2 mile round trip hike, though be warned that the majority of the trail is made up of steep, gruesome switchbacks.

Once you make it to the top of the falls, however, you will have gorgeous views of Half Dome and parts of the Yosemite Valley. You will also be able to say that you were at the headwaters of the largest waterfall on the continent.

Taft Point

If you are looking for a less strenuous hike, Taft Point is a relatively easy 2.2 mile round trip hike that takes you to the edge of Yosemite Valley and offers breathtaking views of the park’s main attractions.

You will also get to travel by deep cracks or crevices in the rock that extend several hundred feet downwards, displaying the geological and seismological activity of the park.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

If you have never walked through a towering sequoia forest, it truly is a one of a kind experience that makes you see your life in perspective and consider your relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

There are a number of different trails leading through the forest, but you should definitely try and see the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree, two of the most iconic giants.

Ostrander Lake

Nothing is quite so pleasant as spending the night camping in the wilderness on the shores of a pristine mountain lake. The Ostrander Lake trail isn’t as popular as some of Yosemite’s other trails, but that is what makes it so desirable.

If you are looking for great wilderness solitude, this 12.7 mile round trip hike will take you through meadows and prairies before climbing steeply to the Lake. You will also be gifted with breathtaking views of the Clark Mountain Range.

Sentinel Meadows

Another fantastic overnighter to get away from the crowds is a hike through Sentinel Meadows. Besides offering fantastic views of pristine meadows and wildflowers, you also have your best bet of viewing grizzly bears along this trail.

The Sentinel Meadows Trail is managed by the Firehole Bear Management Area and is closed until Memorial Day Weekend every year. Once it opens, however, you have a pretty good chance of sighting a grizzly bear or two. Make sure to use precaution, but enjoy the adventure.

Best Mountain Climbing Adventures

For folks who are looking for more of an adrenaline rush than what hiking offers, there are a number of opportunities to mountain climb throughout the park. Yosemite is often considered to be a mountain climbers dream with numerous sheer granite cliffs and vertical faces over 3,000 feet high.

Below we offer some advice on two of the best climbs for adrenaline junkies. Make sure to check for any closures before planning your trip as the park often times unexpectedly closes a route for restoration. Also, if you are looking for guided mountain climbing trips, consider Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides (http://www.symg.com/trips/rockclimbing/)

Serenity Crack

This monster of a climb is one of the best crack climbs you can find. It is also a relatively easy climb for beginners since it is basically a manufactured climb with plenty of pin scars making it easy to find your way to the top.

Northwest Face of Half Dome

Climbing half dome is on every mountain climber´s bucket list. The granite face of Half Dome looks almost unclimbable from the base, but once you get started, you will find it impossible to turn around. During your ascent, there are a number of places where curious hikers will admire your insanity as you take the “short cut” to the top.

You will need a partner and lots of problem solving ability to be able to master this climb though most of the climbing in itself is actually moderate if you pick the right route.

Places To Stay

Originally we had a small section here of places to stay. To put nicely... We didn't do an amazing job of maintaining it.  

If you are interested in checking out the original listing or would like to add your hotel or place to stay, check out the article here.


The Wonder of Yosemite

The incredibly varied landscape of Yosemite offers so many different, unique views and adventure activities that pretty much anyone find something they love. From meandering through groves of giant Sequoias to climbing up a sheer granite face, Yosemite National Park is one place that everyone should visit.

Near By Cities

  • Although it's a bit of a drive, San Francisco is around a 3 hour drive away. 
  • Fresno is also pretty close and totally worth checking out!
  • Sacramento is also pretty close and worth checking out! 

Related Articles 

Has this article got you thinking about Camping? Remember to keep your food fresh & drinks cool with our recommended camping coolers. Check our guide it before you plan your next trip. We think you'll enjoy it.

Best Walkie Talkies For Hunting (And Two Way Radios 2018)

You’re out hunting in the woodlands and a storm hits. You don’t know where your buddy is and you’re all alone. You go to call him but your phone has no signal.

This is a life-threatening situation anyone can end up in all too easily. In the past this was a risk in hunting that couldn’t be avoided, luckily now it can be.

Two-way radios enable you to have peace of mind, knowing that in any situation you’ll be just one press of a button away from talking to your bud.

Two-way radios and walkie talkies for hunting are essentially the same. They have their own antenna so don’t need a signal tower which makes them damn handy for when your off hunting in the woods.

The range of abilities these bad boys now have is almost endless. Animal sounds, distress signals, and flashlights are just a few of the features some of these have.

But be careful!

Not all models have the same capabilities and the list of cheap substandard walkie talkies is endless.

Best Two Way Radio For Hunting Comparison

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Summer Camping Essentials Checklist

Summer is the month of getting out in the country, exploring your surroundings, and being out in nature. Ensuring you pack all the right gear will make the difference between a fun and enjoyable getaway, and an absolute nightmare.

Summer Camping Essentials

We have split this section into 5 separate categories, this will make it easier to write your own checklist so you don’t miss anything.

 

For the Campsite

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Best Toilet Tent & Pop Up Changing Room for Camping (Reviewed!)

The sun is setting over the mountain valley and you have found the absolute perfect backcountry campsite in the middle of some untamed wilderness. Before starting up the campfire to cook the fish you caught earlier in the day, you feel Nature calling and find a nice rock outcropping where you can enjoy the sunset while watching the sun dip below the horizon. Who could possibly interrupt you in this virtually untouched area of the world?

As always seems to happen, as soon as you get your pants around your ankles, voices appear around the bend and you have to struggle to pull your britches up before you are discovered defiling that perfect setting. Investing in the best toilet tent or pop up changing room will only add a few pounds and a couple cubic inches to your backpack, but usually ends up being one of the most important pieces of gear you bring around. There simply is no price for a little bit of privacy when you most urgently need it.

If you have never heard of toilet tent or can’t imagine how a tent can double as a toilet, we have you covered (literally). Read on for our complete review of the ones we liked the best on the market today.

Portable Toilet Tent Comparison

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7 Best Rubber Hunting Boots Reviews 2018

Alright, when you think of hunting gear, the best rubber hunting boots aren’t exactly at the top of your list. Think of it this way, nothing is worse than a cold day, then clunk, you stepped into a cold patch of water. Even worse, you hit a rough or slippery patch of terrain, how do you feel falling on your ass? No thank you, rolling in mud is not for me.

Another thing I can’t stand, buying a pair of uncomfortable boots (perhaps even worse,) boots that won’t hold up and break after a season. Fear not fellow hunter, in this post we deep dive into the top of boots you should consider picking up for your next hunting trip.

Best Hunting Boot Comparison At A Glance:

 

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Best 4 Person Camping Tent Under $100 (in 2017)

Let me tell you a story. When my kids turned four and six respectively, I all of a sudden had a brilliant idea that we should organize our first family camping trip. Wanting to make sure that the experience would be a memorable one, and understanding that weather is always unpredictable, I headed down to the local outdoor sports shop, received an hour lecture by some employee there who claimed to be an expert on outdoor gear, and ended up spending $850 bucks on a family tent that was probably built to withstand base camp conditions on the slopes of Mount Everest.

My family, of course, was only heading to the local state park for a weekend trip. While the camping trip was a fun family outing, I eventually sent that tent into garage for storage where it didn´t get used again for another three years. Not the best $850 bucks I´ve spent in my life, to say the least.

Not everyone in the market for a tent necessarily needs a top quality product that promises to withstand hurricane-strength winds and blizzards that dump 4 feet of snow during the night. If you´re like me, a decent tent that will keep the rain out and the mosquitoes at bay while not putting a dent on the monthly budget is probably what you´re looking for. Below we offer a complete review on the absolute best four person tents for under $100 dollars.

Our Top Best 4 Person Camping Tent Under $100 in 2017:

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac

Priced at around $75, the ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent is a quality family tent that will your family dry and protected during those weekend camping adventures. The factory sealed fly and floor seams go a long way to help keep your tent dry during rainy nights and especially during those early mornings when heavy dew is an issue.

Furthermore, this tent comes with two doors and two windows. Nothing is worse than having your youngest daughter step all over you in the middle of the night as she makes her way to the tent door to head out to the bathroom. The double doors allow for easy entry and exit for everyone in the tent and actually increases the “roominess” feel of the tent.

Lastly, this tent comes with a gear loft, which will allow for easy storage for those dirty socks, backpacks, or food bags that otherwise would end up sharing the floor with you during the night. At only 11.25 pounds, this tent is also lightweight enough that you could carry it with you in your backpack if you´re looking to take the family on their first backpacking adventure.

NTK Cherokee GT Sport Camping Dome

NTK Cherokee GT 3 to 4 PersonAnother great family tent option that is priced well under $100 is the NTK Cherokee GT Sport Camping Dome. The 7 foot by 7-foot size is more than enough space to comfortably sleep a family of four, and could even sleep more if you have several young children. This tent is a great option if you live, or plan to camp, in places where rain is frequent and expected. The polyester with waterproof polyurethane 2500mm water column is built to withstand heavy rains and still keep you dry.

As far as structure goes, the 100% virgin NANO-FLEX fiberglass rods have an improved diameter, and are connected with inner elastic. These rods are built, then, to withstand some pretty high wind conditions so that you won´t have to wake up the family in the middle of the night in an effort to keep your tent from flying away.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the NTK Cherokee Tent has extended mesh ventilation all around the upper part of the tent. Cramming four (or more) people into any size tent can quickly lead to some muggy conditions, and the smell of wet socks in a small tent can quickly become unbearable unless you have a good ventilation system. This tent will keep you cool and comfortable while also keep your living and sleeping space free of those not so pleasant odors.

Coleman Longs Peak 6-Person Fast Pitch Dome Tent

Coleman-Longs-Peak

If you are looking for a four-person tent, why not opt for a tent that claims to easily house six people for the same price? The Coleman Longs Peak 6-Person Fast Pitch Dome Tent is a quality option for people looking for one of the largest and “roomiest” tents for a budget price. Coleman has long been recognized as a leading company providing affordable, yet high-quality outdoors equipment.

The dome style of the tent also allows for fast and easy setup. Even if you get into camp well after nightfall, you still should be able to get this tent set up quickly and efficiently. The fiberglass poles are heavy duty enough to withstand less than ideal weather conditions, and the 17-pound total weight of the tent makes it feasible to carry with you if you need to hike in to a campsite.

This tent also has needed ventilation on all four sides of the upper part of the tent. The removable rain fly is extremely waterproof, but will allow you to sleep without it on warm nights when you want to enjoy the view of the night sky.

CORE Equipment 6 Person Dome Tent

CORE 6 Person Dome TentThe CORE Equipment 6 Person Dome Tent is yet another quality tent designed for a maximum occupancy of six people. The eleven foot by nine foot interior space easily allows for two queen size air mattresses which means you won´t be fighting for space with your fellow campers. The gear loft that comes with this dome style tent is yet another added feature that will help to organize your interior space. The lantern hook means that you can keep the tent lighted at night and stay up late enjoy the family time together.

For those warm and sticky summer nights, this tent also comes with an adjustable air intake vent at the lower part of the tent. This will allow you to draw in the cooler air near the ground, which will circulate through the tent and up through the mesh ventilation at the top. The water repellant H20 Block fabrics, along with the taped seams will stand up well to those long rainy nights.

Lastly, this CORE Equipment Tent also comes with an electrical port access if you want to charge your phone or other electrical devices while sleeping. At only 16 pounds, this tent is also easily portable should you find yourself on the move.

FUNS 8 by 9 Feet One Touch Automatic Hexagon Pop Up Camping Gazebo

FUNS 8 by 9 ft One TouchImagine building up your family´s first camping trip to your kids for months. When the day finally arrives, your children look mockingly upon you and your spouse as you unsuccessfully try to put together a tent whose thousands of pieces appear more like a jigsaw puzzle than a camping tent.

The FUNS 8 by 9 Feet One Touch Automatic Hexagon Pop Up Camping Gazebo will solve this problem as it can be set up in minutes with simple one touch pop up technology. The quick setup process, however, doesn´t mean that you´ll be getting a cheap tent as this product comes with a combination of 190T water-and-dust proof polyester fabric and Ba Gauze. The a 3000mm PU waterproof coating around the entire tent offers maximum protection for those rainy nights as well.

The hexagon shape of this tent differs from your more traditional square or dome style tent, but once set up, you will find that the 8 foot by 9-foot size maximizes the amount of usable space on the inside. You can easily fit four full-sized adults in this tent and still have some space left over.

Camp Solutions Automatic Hydraulic Camping Tent

Camp-Solutions-Automatic-Hydraulic-Camping-TentsThe Camp Solutions Automatic Hydraulic Camping Tent is one of the most inexpensive of the products reviewed here, as you should be able to find this 3-4 person tent for only $50 dollars. Like the FUNS tent reviewed above, this tent is also extremely easy to set up as it comes with a hydraulic system for automatic opening and also easy storage. The double door design on this tent is also practical for large camping parties, as it will allow people to get in and out of the tent without having to step over one another.

This product is unique in it is essentially a one-piece tent. Instead of having to struggle with several strangely formed poles, you simply take this tent out of its carrying pouch, throw it into an open space and it will pop open. The circular carry bag that comes with tent also makes it easy to carry the tent during hikes or backcountry excursions.

The tent fabric is both water resistant and anti-UV so that you and your family can stay protected from both the sun and the rain while enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Allin Star Home Camping Tent

ALLIN-STAR-HOMEAnother great family camping tent option is offered by the company Allin. The Allin Star Home Camping Tent comes designed as a two person, four person, or six person. The four-person tent option comes in a dome style, which makes it both lightweight and relatively easy to set up. The continuous pole sleeves allow you to easily pass the 9.5 mm fiber poles through the sleeves during the assembly process.

Additionally, this unique tent comes with two-way zippers that allow for easy entry and exit from both inside and outside the tent. The adjustable venting system will keep you cool on warmer days and warm during fall or spring camping.

Lastly, this home camping tent weighs in at under ten pounds, which is quite remarkable when considering the thickness of the fabric that makes up the walls and floor of the tent.

SEMOO Water Resistant D-Style Family Dome Tent

SEMOO-Water-Resistant-D-Style-Family-DomeThe SEMOO Water Resistant D-Style Family Dome Tent is almost six feet high in the center of the cabin, which means that most adults will be able to comfortably stand up in the tent. The D-Style door is extremely large which makes it easy to get your air mattresses, large backpacks, coolers, and other large camping “furniture” that will keep your family comfortable and entertained while enjoying time together.

Furthermore, this SEMOO tent also comes with a hooped fly frame, which adds extra protection from the rain and other wind, almost like a mini-front porch. The shock-cord fiberglass poles are both lightweight and durable and make setup easy and efficient.

Along with the huge door, the two mesh windows make up over 50% of the surface area of the tent meaning that you will easily be able to get quality cross-ventilation to keep your home away from home smelling fresh and cool. The compact carry bag and the total weight of just over seven pounds make it easy to carry this tent with you almost anywhere you and your family are planning to hike.

Wnnideo Automatic Instant Pop Up Tent

Wnnideo-Automatic-Instant-Pop-Up-TentWith the Wnnideo Automatic Instant Pop up Tent, you´ll have a tent that looks like it belongs on the summit of some 14,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains while costing you well under $100.  What´s even better is that this tent sets itself up. The instant pop up technology allows you to set up this 4-5 person tent in under a minute, which is an important feature to have when you´re short on time or have a crammed agenda for the family trip to the Great Outdoors.

This hexagon-shaped tent has six mesh panels for maximum breathability while also incorporating a removable rain tarp that will protect you on rainy nights while also allowing you to enjoy the starry nights when the tarp isn´t needed.

The Best Tent for those on a Tight Budget

For people who aren´t regular campers, there´s probably no reason to splurge on a $1,000 dollar wonder tent that has so many unique features that you probably have no idea how to use. At the same time, staying warm, dry, and protected from the elements while out camping is something all of us want.

Instead of heading to the nearest Walmart to pick out the cheapest tent you can find, these nine 4-person (or more) tents offer fantastic functionality and performance while all costing under $100. For amateur campers who aren´t planning on hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, any one of these tents will help assure an unforgettable camping trip.

7 Best Hunting Watches Reviewed (Rough & Tough)

If you are like me, it is pretty much impossible to keep track of time when out hunting. Besides the relaxing feel of being out in nature, I also typically get pretty involved in tracking animals, staying alert, and waiting for the perfect moment to bring home that long-awaited trophy prize. The only problem is that I usually do not become aware of the time until the sun is dipping below the horizon. When my family was expecting me home for lunch at midday, this usually causes some friction.

To avoid this problem, I have tried to bring my everyday work watch along with me, but after a brief rain storm, or getting muddied up by some dirt, those cheap watches eventually end up in the garbage. The best hunting watches on the market are not only stylish and designed for the hunter, but also offer quality durability that can withstand even the toughest hunting conditions. Read on for our complete review of the top hunting watches on the market today.

Best Watch For Hunting Comparison

Top Features Hunters Shoot For:

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The Warmest Socks for Hunting and Every Other Outdoor Activity

For many outdoor enthusiasts, as soon as the days begin to shorten and the trees lose their leaves as signs of the oncoming of winter, the amount of time they spend enjoying the Great Outdoors begins to decrease. Subsequently, “outdoors withdrawal syndrome” ensues. Though medical professionals have not identified this rare condition yet, I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly does exist. For people, like me, who love to be outside, the worst part of the year are the cold months of winter when the weather forces me to spend more time inside than I can stand. In an attempt to overcome my own outdoors withdrawal syndrome, I recently began an effort to find the absolutely best winter gear that would allow me to brave the elements and spend as much time as possible outdoors.

Overview of Best Thermal Socks Comparison:

After purchasing a subzero-sleeping bag, a tent built for Himalayan explorers, and a pair of winter boots that could withstand a trek across Antarctica, something was still missing to give me the feel of absolute protection from the cold. Finding a quality pair of thermal socks that can protect feet from the cold and the wetness of winter is an often overlooked, yet absolutely essential piece of gear for outdoors enthusiasts looking to spend time outdoors outside. Cold feet can ruin much more than a wedding, and for people wanting to stay comfortable outdoors in the cold, we have reviewed the best thermal socks on the market today.

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7 Amazing Rechargeable Battery Operated Heated Socks

I hate having cold feet. In fact, I’d say that suffering from cold feet is about as miserable as going to the dentist to get a root canal and not having the anesthesia kick in the way it should. The problem, unfortunately, is that I love to be outside, and where I live, for at least half the year, it’s cold, bitterly cold, the type of cold where your toes go numb before eventually turning that strange bluish purple color.

I tried purchasing virtually every type of wool sock on the market. While they certainly felt nice and comfortable inside, after a couple of hours of hiking through knee-deep snow, I was cursing the sheep whose wool must have been of inferior quality. I even considered learning how to sheer my own sheep, spin my own wool, and weave my own socks so that I could make a pair as thick a parka. Perhaps it’s due to poor circulation or the fact that I can stand to be indoors for more than a couple of hours, but the only part of being outdoors in the Fall and Winter that I can’t stand, is cold feet. Continue reading

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