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Survival of the Sleepiest

I don’t do well in the cold. I’m the kind of person who wears sweatshirts in the desert summer (I’m not kidding) because my body believes it’s in Antarctica. Camping, while I love it, has always been a struggle because sleeping is something that only really happens when you’re comfortable….and having my entire body shaking from the cold like I’m having a seizure isn’t what I define as comfortable.

I recently discovered a sleeping bag liner; a little cotton sack that you place inside of your sleeping bag when camping. Placing a liner inside your bag provides a layer of insulation to help you stay at a comfortable temperature on cold nights. It adds an additional 10-20 degrees of warmth!!! I took one with me to the top of a mountain (where, typically, it gets rather chilly).

It was like a blanket on a bed. I slept like a baby!! No shivering, no shaking, no waking up wondering if I’m alive or in the tundra. Those few extra degrees were the difference between me enjoying the trip to me not enjoying the trip, but those precious degrees could mean a lot more if the situation was different.

When it comes to emergency preparedness, a few degrees can mean life or death. It could mean freezing or it could mean surviving. Sleeping bag liners are cheap, light, and efficient. Whether camping, backpacking, or preparing a 72-hour kit, a liner is something I highly recommend. If you’re a summer-baby like me and need to have 10 blankets and 3 jackets on (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration) then come by and grab one! It’ll save you! If you’re preparing for an emergency then come by and grab one! It could save you!

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Creek Havoc

Does the LifeStraw really work? Up front answer: yes, but it can be rather cumbersome to suck water through the filter. The Lifestraw is a personal water filter that is best suited for on-the-go situations like backpacking, camping, or roadtrips. It’s an amazing tool for emergency situations but the straws are a little trickier to use than reviews suggest.

This past week my family and I took a weekend expedition into the wilds to enjoy the fresh air, cooler climate, beautiful trees, and rugged off-roading trails. During the journey, I decided to bring my brand-new Lifestraw to test its functionality. I had read that water treatment was instantaneous and that it was the simplest water filter on the market. That might be true, I haven’t tried others, but here’s what I noticed with the Lifestraw: it needs to be primed before use.

A brand new straw has an inflated filter that makes your first use impossible to suck water through. Before ever sucking up that delicious mountain stream H2O, you have to soak it. Whether it’s in a water bottle, pond, or river, or sink, leave the straw submerged for at least two minutes so the filter can absorb the water and shrink a little bit. After it’s soaked for a bit, pull the straw out and suck…and I mean suck. Like there’s the last piece of orea from your oreo shake stuck in the straw kind of suck. After two or three mind-dizzying sucks, water will come through. Once the water comes through the first time the Lifestraw fits every review and is easy, quick, and effective.

The Lifestraw is small enough to pack and is a great tool to have for any 72 kit, camping expedition, or hiking trip. It might be difficult to use initially, and occasionally it’ll clog (repeat the above steps) but the low price and overall high functionality of the Lifestraw is hard to beat!