Showing posts with label camping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label camping. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2018

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Review
Anker is becoming a brand name that I trust and depend on. And the PowerCore portable charger is no exception. Whether you travel and do not want to have the security risk of plugging in to public charging stations or you spend time off-grid but still want to keep that cell phone charged for emergencies, the Anker is an excellent choice for portable, secure, and dependable charging.

I bought one for myself but I think this little gadget would be a great gift idea.


What is an Anker PowerCore Portable Charger?


My description of the PowerCore is a rechargeable battery that is small enough to fit in my coat pocket but holds enough power to fully recharge my phone (and Kindle) many times. 

Even though it is an electronic gadget, it is foolproof. 

Three easy steps:

  1. Plug it in to charge the battery using the USB cord (using my laptop or the same plug I use to charge my phone and my Kindle)
  2. Remember to put it into my purse, coat pocket, or camping tote
  3. Plug my phone (or Kindle) into the PowerCore to charge as needed.



The Description from the experts:

  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (24w) with Anker's proprietary PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology - fastest possible charge to almost any USB device. 
  • 7 days of power (fills the iPhone 7 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 more than four times, and iPad Air 2 one and a half times) 
  • Quick Charge input, a full recharge is over in half the time of standard portable chargers. (written by Anker about the PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0)

Why I Chose the Anker PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0


I go camping at my cabin for days on end. I own the Anker PowerPort Solar charger and love it. It is dependable and perfect for off-grid living (see my review here). Perfect, except for when it isn't. 

This year was a record-breaking rainfall year in my area. Rain means solar charges aren't able to work properly (if at all). Lack of sunlight was causing either no charge on my phone or a walk (in the pouring rain) to the Jeep to charge (slowly) my phone. Due to all this rain, I bought the PowerCore "battery".  I charge it fully at the apartment, throw it into my camping tote, and I have a dependable way to charge my phone - rain or shine.

I depend on the Anker PowerPort Solar charger - except during a season of record rainfall.

I chose the 20,000 based on the higher number of charges it provides (compared to some of the more compact PowerCore chargers) and the price tag was as high as I wanted to spend that day.  

My PowerCore came with the charger, the USB cord to charge it, and a slightly padded travel bag. It did not come with the plug that is used in a wall outlet. But I already had several of those. 

There are many Anker PowerCore choices, smaller/less expensive and larger/more expensive.  I love that Anker provides so many options.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Emergency Preparedness: Headlamp Review

Headlamps for emergency lighting
Recent events have caused many of us to think about emergency preparedness. Hurricane Harvey only recently exited Texas and Hurricane Irma is in Florida as I am typing this. There are almost too many wildfires in the western United States to count -forcing people to evacuate their homes. Whether we are talking about emergencies as devastating as these or emergencies as small as a flat tire on the side of a dark highway, we need to be prepared. There is a list of things that need to be included in our preparations, but today I want to talk about headlamps. I believe that headlamps are a required item when talking about safety and being prepared.


What is a Headlamp?


Headlamps are battery operated, hands-free "flashlights" that attach to your head by an elasticized headband. 

Why is a headlamp important when we all probably own flashlights or candles?  I too own an assortment of candles, flashlights, and lanterns (gas, battery, and solar operated). So why do I highly recommend purchasing an additional item for emergency lighting? 


Headlamps are important and unique for the following reasons:


  • hands-free 
  • flame-free
  • safe
  • battery operated with a long battery life
  • AAA batteries are easy to keep on hand
  • headlamps are small enough to have with you everywhere 
I depend on my headlamps when I am camping at The Shack. I carry one with me in the Jeep, in the event of a break-down on the side of the road. The headlamp attaches to my head and I can use both hands for whatever I need to do. Imagine changing a tire in the dark, while trying to hold a conventional flashlight. Now imagine changing a tire in the dark, while a beam of light automatically shines on whatever you are facing. 

I love candles and always have a large selection on hand. But there are times I do not want to risk an open flame.  

Lanterns are great for lighting large areas, such as rooms, but more difficult for any activity that requires light focused on a specific area or activity. My lanterns also seem to burn through fuel or batteries very quickly.

Ladies, for many of us, headlamps initially feel silly. But if you are stranded in the dark and want to use your hands, if you need an inexpensive and reliable lighting source, or if you find yourself outside in the dark, you will very quickly become accustomed to the feeling of having a light strapped to your head. 

I have had really good luck with the Energizer brand of headlamps. The elastic band is adjustable for my big head. It is also more durable than the bands on other headlamps I've purchased. The plastic pieces on my Energizer are durable. I have broken the piece that attaches the light to the headband on an off-brand of headlamp.

I have had this Energizer headlamp for two years or so. I've changed the batteries once. And I use it for every trip up to the Shack as a primary lighting source as well as for short periods of loss of electricity in my apartment. I highly recommend that we all have immediate access to a headlamp as a part of our emergency preparedness.

Related Emergency Preparedness Reviews:


Heather shares the importance of Emergency Survival Kits (aka Bug Out Bags). In the event that you should not shelter in place, it is important to have your emergency items packed and ready to go in an instant. Heather lists the contents of a good bug out bag.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse reviews an emergency power failure light that doubles as emergency lighting that turns on automatically as soon as the power turns off and a nightlight every other evening.

Barbara Radisavljevic reviews a battery operated LED light source that she uses: the MalloMe LED lantern. She liked her lantern so much that she was sorry she hadn't bought more. Read why she recommends that particular LED lantern.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summertime Learning Fun

Summertime Learning Fun happens when you spend some time together, exploring our world and answering all those questions that come up.  Like what's that Noise?  

If your children are anything like mine, and I'm sure they are, summertime means adventures.  It means spending a lot of time outdoors.  It means looking for things to do and exploring.  It means turning off the TV or computer games and getting back to nature in the great outdoors.  It could mean swimming every day, or going to the park, or camping.  Where ever you go, there is something to learn about!  

What else can you do?

Summertime opens up a whole new world for our children to learn.  While the kids are looking to 
relax and have fun, they are also looking for something that catches their imaginations or their need to know about their world.  To that end, most families will be spending some very special together time while on holidays. No baseball games, soccer practices, dance classes or other interruptions, just good old family time.     


Learning takes on a whole new meaning when summertime rolls around.  No "textbooks" and no real "agenda" means that learning is done on a whatever crosses my path and intrigues me basis. That can even happen at home too!  As I am writing, I can hear the toads singing in my pond. I need to learn more about them, so when my grandchildren come to visit, I can tell them some things that I'm sure they don't know.


Be Prepared!  


As parents who prepare to take our children on hikes and overnight camping trips, we need to be ready to answer questions that are sure to pop up.  Like "What's that noise?"  Even a trip to the zoo can be filled with questions that need answers.  Be prepared to either answer the questions or make note of the questions and when you are home again, look up the answers  together, so that both you and your child will  have learnt something new and you will have done it together.  This is what makes family memories.  We still laugh at some of the things that happened when we went places with our children. Now they are doing the same thing with their children and telling stories about when they were younger.  It's time to pass on family history as well as having time to enjoy nature.

Playing games with the kids can be so much fun too. We would take ours camping and find that the welcome station had many printouts for educational purposes. We would make the most out of these "handouts". One camping trip, they had a print out of all the birds that nested in the area, with hints for the kids. We would go on hikes and try to spot nesting areas and then spotting the birds too. There were print outs of the different trees and their leaves. We made a collection and even did bark rubbings. Have you ever stopped and looked at all the different types of bark on trees? It is fascinating! When the kids found what they were looking for, they would take a picture to go along with their leaves and bark rubbings, carefully noting the type of tree and all the nuances of it's growth. So much to learn, just from a tree! Birds and reptiles, amphibians and mammals of the area were all duly recorded. If we needed to learn more, a note was made in our notebook to look it up when we got back home. The kids loved their nature hikes, because it wasn't just walking through the woods, it was stopping and seeing what made up those woods. The trees, birds, bugs, flowers and everything that was in our path, was food for our "Discovery Book".


Guide to Free Campgrounds: Includes Campgrounds $12 and Under in the United States (Don Wright's Guide to Free Campgrounds)

So What Can you Do to Prepare for a great Outdoor Adventure?

Well first and foremost, check out the link above, to find some low cost campgrounds. It's a great way to pinpoint where your family will spend some quality time together, without breaking the bank.
This guide will help you look for a place that has some great outdoor adventures, be it hiking in the mountains, camping by a lake, or visiting a beach somewhere new. Go with the eye of an adventurer. Take along a "Discovery Book" a journal where you can make notes, tuck in leaves or flowers, keep a daily diary of what you saw, whether it was birds, bugs, beetles or trees. Answer the questions that you know the answers to and make a note to find the answers to those questions that you don't know the answers to. When you are finished your holiday, you will have a great little diary on what everyone saw and learnt about during your time in the great outdoors.


. Generic Sacred Oak Tree Leather Blank Book

Above all, be ready to have some fun, make some memories and enjoy each others company in the great, beautiful and special outdoors.  Happy Summer Everyone!


Pictures courtesy of Pixaby, free stock photos. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Best Hiking, Camping, and Tiny House Pillow Ever Made

Therm-A-Rest Compressible Pillow
The Therm-A-Rest pillow is an amazing little pillow. It is marketed and highly recommended as a lightweight pillow for hikers.  I had purchased mine to meet the immediate need of a comfortable and easy-to-pack travel pillow -- with eventually using it for camping trips.  And now, as it turns out, I have found that it is also the best little pillow for tiny home living! 

The Therm-A-Rest compressible pillow comes in a variety of sizes and colors. My pillow is the medium "denim" style. While I will be referring to that pillow specifically, each of the pillows are "compressible" and have the built-in draw string storage pocket.


Compressible for Easy Travel 


I want the comfort of my own pillow when I travel. Even in hotels. It's not so hard to drag your own pillow along if you are taking a roadtrip. But you might as well forget about taking your own pillow on a plane.  

I have tried several different "travel" pillows that can be purchased in airports. You know, the kind that loop around your neck and are considered convenient for naps during flights.  I hated them.  I didn't like the material, the snugness around my neck, and it drove me crazy that they often gave my hair static.  I have to admit that looping them around my carry-on handle as I boarded and disembarked was handy. But that was the only thing I liked about those travel pillows. Those annoyances were what led me to purchasing the Therm-A-Rest pillow.

The little Therm-A-Rest pillow compresses and rolls up into it's built-in storage pocket. It is then small enough to fit into my carry-on bag easily.  It was just large enough to fit behind my head or between my head and the plane window.

I am including a video that shows just how small this "medium" pillow is when it is rolled up.





Lightweight and Durable for Hiking, Camping, and Outdoor Activities


While my pillow is the medium "denim" pillow, it is not made of denim.  I suppose that is the color descriptor.  The material is a durable - but comfortable -  "brushed polyester".  Because it is machine washable, it is easy to wash and dry after camping trips.  

I am not a true back-packer, but I carry a pack on many of my walks.  This pillow fits nicely into my backpack. I've carried it along to the woods and to the beach.  



Perfect for Minimalist and Tiny Home Living


Living in a small home can be a wonderful thing.But it is also challenging to downsize both the amount of your belongings as well as the actual size of each item.  I spend time in a small camping "Shack" as often as possible and I plan to retire there.  Space is limited.  Between the air mattress, sleeping bag, and this Therm-A-Rest pillow, I am very comfortable at night.  

When I leave the "Shack", I place all of my textiles - and all other items that are tempting to mice for nests - into containers.  The beauty of this little pillow is that it is wonderfully comfortable when in use and then rolls up to a small roll that takes up little space in the storage container.  

I imagine that tiny homes with miniature loft "bedrooms" would be the perfect place for these pillows.  If I remodel my place to include a tiny loft sleeping area, I know I am already prepared for it.




Related Links:

How I Stay Warm at Night. The cold weather sleeping bag I use in combination with this amazing pillow.

Tips for Traveling Light.  How to pack for vacation. The trick is knowing how to pack light. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Primitive Camping in the Mid-Atlantic: Green Ridge State Forest


Have you ever known about a place or a thing so special that you wanted to keep it all to yourself?  You were afraid to let others know about it?  Well, that’s how I’ve felt about Green Ridge State Forest in Flintstone, Maryland for several years. 

I’m now ready to share my special place with you.


As compared to all other places I’ve gone camping, and there have been many, I rate Green Ridge State Forest as a 10 out of 10. 

I am aware that anyone who goes camping will have their own criteria for rating campgrounds.  As a woman, I am aware that many of my female friends require parking spots large enough for their RV, electricity for their curling irons and blow dryers (their statements, not mine), and modern bathroom facilities complete with hot running water.  I do not share these sentiments with my friends. 

My top requirements for a campground include:

  • Privacy – I don’t want my site right on the road or in close quarters with others.
  • Natural setting – I want to see the plants, birds, and wildlife.  I don’t want the only four-legged thing I see to be a lawn chair.
  • Cooking over an open fire.
  • Low-cost. If I am spending just a few dollars less than a cheap hotel room (and I’m that close to the campers next door) I’d rather be in the hotel room.
  • Amenities that include only the great outdoors. Pinball machines and putt-putt golf are not reasons I go camping.

I’ve experienced primitive camping at Green Ridge as a lone woman and as part of small groups.  My favorite times were the times that included my son.

I have shared information and my photographs about Primitive Camping at Green Ridge State Forest and will soon share my last  personal adventure there that was a solo and minimalist overnight stay.

If you love camping, and are in the Mid-Atlantic states area, you must consider seeing Green Ridge State Forest.  And remember, whenever you are in an outdoor setting, especially natural settings, practice the art of “leave no trace”.  The earth is good to us, let’s keep it clean.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.