Rock Climbing in Devil’s Lake State Park, WI

There’s good hiking year round throughout the Midwest. Within a few hours drive from Madison, WI, Chicago, and Minneapolis, devils lake rock climbing offers great climbing opportunities for new climbers as well as skilled climbers challenges.

AT A GLANCE

  • The rock is hard, glassy, and jagged
  • Devil’s Lake State Park is in south central Wisconsin about 3 miles south of Baraboo. From the south or east on Interstate Highway 90/94, take State Highway 33 west about 15 miles to Baraboo.
  • To the east, west and south, the lake is bound by bluffs that rise to an elevation of 1450 ft (highest point:1467 ft on top of West Bluff).
  • Elevation: 1467 ft / 447 m
  • Mountain/Rock
  • Lat/Lon: 43.41860°N / 89.731°W

Why We Like This Hike

  • Devil’s Lake State Park offers an excellent rock climbing opportunities for new climbers
  • Both the north and south shores have food courts and modern restroom facilities.
  • The East Bluff containts some of the highest concentrations of climbs within the park, making it a popular destination.
  • Devil’s Lake State Park’s West Bluff offers excellent climbing opportunities, with disparate rock walls and less concentrated climbing offering loneliness and peaceful climbing opportunities.
  • Balanced Rock Trail (0.4 miles (0.64 km), 45 min.) – Difficult
  • Devil’s Doorway Trail (0.1 miles (0.16 km), 15 min.) – Easy
  • East Bluff Trail (1.7 miles (2.7 km), 1½ hrs.) – Medium
  • East Bluff Woods Trail & Loop (3.4 miles (5.5 km), 2½ hrs.) – Easy/Medium
  • The stunning 500-foot high quartzite bluffs that surround Devil’s Lake are like nothing else to be found anywhere else in the Midwest and have been attracting climbers from across the country for decades.

Considerations

  • Choose your climbs carefully, the ratings here are known to be “stiff” and closer to old-school ratings, a 5.7 may “feel” like a 5.10 for someone not used to navigating the frictionless rock.
  • Remember to always adhere to leave-no-trace ethics and pack your garbage, be respectful of others who want to climb your way, and be friendly to other hikers and visitors, this place can be crowded on weekends.
  • You can access the climbs by Balanced Rock wall using the main visitor trail from the South shore parking lot.
  • Plan to arrive early! Many clients get lost or confused en route on their first visit.
  • Cell service inside/near Devil’s Lake State Park is weak to non-existent. Don’t count on it.
  • If you enter “Devils Lake State Park” into a GPS device, it often misleads you.
  • Sleep and eat well the night before, so your energy is high during climbing.
  • If you climb in a gym, take a day off before our trip so your muscles are well-rested and strong.

Parking and Bathrooms

  • Pay for parking at the main Fee/Entry Station when you first enter the North Shore area. If there is no attendant on duty, pay via the yellow post near the station.
  • All vehicles at Devils Lake must have a valid admission sticker.
  • Please register your vehicle as soon as you arrive to avoid a ticket.
  • If you already have a WI State OR a National Parks annual pass, simply display it on your vehicle dashboard.
  • Public restrooms in a small building just across the road from the Northeast Parking Lots.
  • If it is locked for some reason, try the Rock Elm Shelther closer to the main beach area.

What to Bring

Comfortable, athletic clothes work best for climbing. These can be tight-fitting, stretchy garments like tights or Under Armor, or loose, nonrestrictive clothing like sweats or t-shirts.

Please avoid jeans, which tend to be restrictive and uncomfortable for climbing. If you wear shorts, make sure they are at least mid-thigh length (min. 5” inseam) so the harness won’t chafe your legs. In addition to comfortable clothing, you can bring:

  • A minimum of 1 liter of water per person; 2 liters/person is essential during hot summer days
  • More food and snacks than you think you’ll eat
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sturdy and supportive close-toed shoes (not sandals or slip-ons)
  • One backpack per person to carry personal and group climbing gear

Routes

The geology of the Baraboo Hills surrounding Devil’s Lake makes it one of the Midwest’s leading rock climbing regions with differing difficulty climbing. The Baraboo Hills are mainly granite and quartzite, which is sufficiently strong to climb. Most outcroppings in the region are made up of sandstone or calcareous, particularly in the Drift-less Area, which are too brittle to climb securely.

Required Equipment:

  • Climbing Rope
  • Harness
  • Belay Device
  • Helmet
  • Anchor Cord or Webbing
  • Locking Biners (2 – 5)
  • Passive Protection such as Nuts and Hexes
  • Active Protection (Camming Devices)

Recommended Reading / Guide

Rock Climbing Anchors – A Comprehensive Guide by Craig Luebben

Traditional Lead Climbing – Taking the Sharp End of the Rope by Heidi Pesterfield

Devil’s Lake: A Climbing Guide by Jay Knower

Food, Lodging, and Drink

Food

Pohlk’s Pub, Portage, WI

Late night bar near Portage, providing some of the area’s most delicious and fresh burgers. Open late and host distinctive local bands from rock and indie.

Ferry X-Ing, Merrimac, WI

The bar by the Ferry, if you’re heading south from Devil’s Lake, it’s always fun to take the ferry across the Wisconsin River in Merrimac. After a day out at the lake, the food and atmosphere are a great reward.

Varsity Club, Merrimac, WI

The Varsity Club is Merrimac’s family restaurant with ample room for a large group and an outdoor patio area.

Baraboo Bluff Winery, Baraboo, WI

Winery area providing distinctive varieties of wine with several on-site grapes cultivated and aged. The newly constructed wine tasting room provides stunning views of the mountains of Baraboo. Great for couples.

Driftless Glenn Distillery and Restaurant, Baraboo, WI

Local distillery that produces distinctive vodka, rum, moonshine and whisky. Full-service restaurant and bar in Baraboo city center providing fine dining and cocktails. Because whiskey and bacon, try Manhattan with local bacon.

Lodging

Nearby Opportunities

Pettenwell Bluff – Necedah, WI

Hillbilly Hollow, WI

Granddad’s Bluff – La Crosse, WI

Sugar Loaf – Winona, MN

Step by Step Guide To Getting A Mountain Job (When You Don’t Already Live In The Mountains)

Anyone who has ever tried to relocate on a whim will tell you that your biggest obstacle will be finding work, let alone if you relocate to a town between mountains with a population the size of your high school. That said, it’s been done before, and if the mountains truly call for you, it will be done again.

Like any job search, the key to landing your first mountain job before you’ve already moved to the mountains is preparation. Fortunately, we’ve developed a broad step-by-step guide for you to deploy in your job search and eventual move to the mountains.

Research

Whether you’ve chosen the Cascades, Catskills, the Smokies, or the Rockies as your new home, your first step in your move will be gaining an understanding of the local business community. Despite the cliche that mountain towns are all ski resorts and serving jobs, different regions will provide different opportunities.

Boulder, CO, for example, offers direct access to the heart of the Rockies but it also offers a distinct and bustling entrepreneurial tech scene. Meanwhile, neighboring Nederland (only a couple miles up the canyon) suffers a job draught until festival season comes around. Are you looking at a seasonal retreat or a year-round business destination? It’s important to know before you go.

A quick Google search will provide you with insight into what industries thrive in the mountain town of your craving. But don’t mistake yourself into thinking that just because almost every Colorado town contains some semblance of a cannabis industry, you’re destined to be a kingpin. Weigh your existing experience against the needs of the local industry. Don’t know the needs? Find out. Don’t have any experience? Take note, because you’ll be starting further down the totem pole.

Prepare Your Resume

There are countless examples of effective resumes on the Internet, so we won’t go into that here. However, we had ought to discuss audience. While you might think that mountain-town people are just as care-free as John Denver would have you imagine, business owners are still business owners. They’re happy to provide opportunities to people looking to grow, but require reliability and specific sets of skills.

If you’re applying to be a fire watcher over the Summer, your after-college job at the sandwich shop probably won’t catch anyone’s attention. However, that position you held as a camp counselor will exhibit your sense of duty, level of responsibility, and overall adulthood. No one wants an immature kid to be the one standing between their town and a towering inferno.

Step into the shoes of your hiring manager and think about what you’d expect from an employee were you the one making the hiring decisions. Maybe it doesn’t align with your experience. The best you can do is reframe your standard resume to match your best guess. That, in itself, will be a valuable exercise.

Prepare Cover Letter(s)

Your cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself or, in some circumstances, plead your case. Considering an in-person interview is out of the cards as someone applying from out-of-city, what you write here had ought to equal out to the smoothest interview you’re capable of undergoing. Don’t restate your resume. Instead, provide a specific account of what makes you unique against the rest of the applicants, specifically against those who have the capability to walk down the road and shake the manager’s hand as early as next week. This is where that research will have come into play. Customizing each cover letter to the business in question will help you stand out. Don’t rule out scouring LinkedIn for an appropriate addressee’s name.

Consider getting creative, telling a story instead of writing a plain introduction. Eventually, you’ll need to explain that you’re inquiring from a distance. Use that opportunity to express your passion and willingness to get involved with the community. The last thing anyone wants is a fair-weather employee. They need to know that this isn’t just a gig to you but rather your in-road to a bevy of relationships and experiences. When you live in a small mountain town, almost everybody knows almost everybody, and communal values develop as a result. You should be willing to align yourself with those values for the better of the town as a whole.

Most importantly, include a call to action at the end of your correspondence. Something like, “If you’re interested in discussing the position more, I’d love to schedule a time for a Skype interview or phone call.”

Blitz Availabilities

Start far in advance (6+ months if you’re seeking a seasonal-dependent position) and begin applying to everything you see. Obviously, the best resource for that is Mountainjobs.com, but don’t let that rule out opportunities only available on sites like usajobs.gov, which is where you’ll find government positions. Likewise, the National Park Service will post jobs to different job boards, but they’ll all ultimately lead back to nps.gov. Another great place to watch is WOOOF, which facilitates short and long-term homestay opportunities. It’s important to key a watchful eye on new opportunities across various resources, both broad and narrow in their scope.

But don’t stop with posted job opportunities. Continue to research individual organizations and companies, seeking out the decision-makers, sometimes even calling just to ask for someone’s contact information, and shooting them emails. The best practice is to first introduce yourself, then ask permission to send a resume (don’t want to appear presumptuous). You’ll be surprised how often guerilla applications like this work. They show you’re eager and willing to go out of your way for the position at hand.

Follow-Up or Consider Plan B

Not every business will welcome follow-up emails. In fact, some warn against it. However, there’s little to lose if you submitted an online application a couple of weeks ago and haven’t yet heard back. Track down the manager’s information and let them know that you’re still interested in the position and wonder if there is anything else they might need from you.

Should all else fail, consider a Plan B. No, that doesn’t mean letting go of your dream to move to the mountains. Instead, it means readdressing your approach. Sure, everyone’s parents have told them to have a new position set in stone before leaving one behind, but perhaps you’ll have better luck living the unconventional life. Stash some money away and the make move anyway, intent on find work when you get there. Or, even better, embrace the gig economy for a short time. Drive for taxi apps or freelance your skills out to area businesses. Often, the latter will get you the foot you need in the door in order to secure a position down the line.

Most of all, make it work for you. The mountains are filled with people who left everything behind in hopes of getting themselves closer to nature, and they surely encountered difficulty along the way. But like all the other animals inhabiting the mountainside, their resilience paved their way.

The Smart Snowboard is Here

Much has changed since the snowboard was originally introduced in the mid-70s. 

A new life style developed and the winter sports were changed for good. But the snowboard stayed the pretty much same. Materials improved significantly but the basic concept and the way the training is conducted stayed the same.

For nearly half a century, the only way for snowboarders to improve upon their skills was to study other more experienced and prolific riders, and attempt to replicate the moves on their own.  Through endless hours of, practice, and failure, a rider can eventually nail a flawless performance, but the pathway to success is muddled with a long chain of tiny details, insider tips and tricks, and unquantifiable adjustments that are difficult to explain or impossible to identify. 

The time has come for a change. You will now be able to fast-track your path to performance. We are developing the first high-tech gadget that will transform any regular snowboard into a smart snowboard.

SG20 is a high-tech device designed to model every move, every adjustment, and every angle of your snowboard 15 times per second, and deliver high resolution graphics and details on what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate rider, the SG20 can serve as a digital instructor, helping you make adjustments and improvements on the fly. You can use it to learn from your friends, or even learn new tricks directly from celebrity snowboarders around the world

We are creating a digital community of snowboard riders. Proficient riders will be designated by vote and top-ranking riders will be able to contribute to our advanced riding skills library. And guess what … if you are really good and many riders want to learn your riding style, you can get paid for you contribution.

We have something in store for the advanced riders as well.

If you are an advanced rider you can compete with others like you, and use the SG20 as a referee. You can compete with your friends on the mountain, but you can also compete with anybody from around the world who is using the SG20.

The SG20 riding community will be connected to social media. You will be able to learn new tricks form the pros, share your skills with anybody interested in learning your riding style, and challenge anyone to a riding contest anywhere across the globe.

Similar to an interactive computer game but based in reality and played for real in the snow, the SG20 allows you the opportunity to play in real-time against real riders. No CGI or artificial intelligence needed, just you, the snow, your board, and the SG20 to bring you all the action.

As you advance in the ranks, you will accumulate more points and rise in the ranking system.  Rank high enough, and other riders will want to learn your style.  The more riders who want to learn your style, the faster you become a pro, and when you become a pro, you get paid by the SG20 system in cash, not points

The SG20 system will share live data regarding snow and slopes condition based on riding characteristics and provide all gathered data on a virtual map. For example, any time a rider hits a hidden patch of ice or dirt, the SG20 will lock the coordinates, plot the spot on the virtual map, and send alerts to all riders using our app. Riders who venture into an unsafe area will be sent an instant warning to their smartwatch or SG20 bracelet. The warning system will also alert if there is a traffic jam or other obstacle ahead beyond view.  Safety is a priority for the SG20 community.

With an anticipated launch of December of 2019, the SG20 team is making final adjustments to this new high-tech gadget.  We are finalizing the design and adding capabilities before heading off to production.

The SG20 team needs your feedback. We are reaching out to the snowboarding community to help us uncover improvements that can be made and features that should be added before we move on to the final design.

Click on the link below! Be part of the community developing this revolutionary snowboarding gadget and help us make history.

Members will be able to buy the SG20 at half price.

www.snowgear20.com/developershub/

What You Need to Know Before Moving to a Mountain Town

When you look back throughout history, you can find dozens of examples of great people who were inspired by awesome landscapes. And although there are many places you can find awe in nature – the coast, forests, and prairies – nowhere can quite compare to the majesty of the mountains.

But for many people, especially those trapped in the city, moving to the mountains can seem like a distant dream – a total one hundred and eighty-degree turnaround from their current lifestyle.

Mountain living presents many challenges and opportunities. Here’s what you need to know before you move to a mountain town.

The Air Is Cleaner And The Water Purer

The majority of Americans live in cities with high levels of air pollution. The particles from motor vehicles, especially diesel-powered cars and trucks, can damage the lining of the lungs, leading to asthma, bronchitis and even an increased incidence of cancer. As episodes in towns like Flint show, water purity can also be an issue.

But in the mountains, miles from the nearest big, polluting industrial center, the air is clean and the water pure.

The Communities Are Tightly Knit

Mountain towns tend to host tightly-knit communities: groups of people who are comfortable to rely on each other to make life more enjoyable and comfortable. Unlike in the cities, you are expected to get to know your neighbors and spend a lot of time talking with them. Things can get tough in the mountains, so you need a network of people you can rely on to see you through the harshest conditions.

It’s A Less Stressful Lifestyle

In the city, there’s a lot of pressure to succeed and rise to the top of one’s occupation. But out in the mountains, there is no such pressure: most people choose a role in the local community and stick with it for the long term.

Few people who live in mountain towns commute, so there’s none of the stress of sitting in traffic or sharing public transport. And, in general, there’s less noise and light pollution – especially helpful if you’re somebody who struggles with insomnia.

It’s More Affordable

Living in a mountain town tends to be more affordable than living in the city, thanks to much lower demand for things like housing and food. You’re likely to spend far less on entertainment too. Rather than shelling out for the theatre or a restaurant meal, you can simply take a stroll on your local trail, bring your mountain bike out for a ride, or put on your skis and enjoy your local slopes.

The Roads Can Be Harsh

Because so few people live in mountain towns and the terrain is so rugged, roads can be harsh, especially during the winter. It’s not uncommon for mountain towns to be cut off from the outside world for weeks at a time if the snowfall is heavy enough. Before moving to a mountain town, prepare physically and mentally for the fact that you may not be able to leave your house for several days at a time. If you do decide to move to the mountains, make sure that you’ve got adequate food supplies to keep you going, should the local store close. Also, invest in a 4×4 vehicle equipped with snow tires to make mountain driving as safe as possible.

Difficult Weather Conditions

Elevation brings with it a whole host of weather issues, from plunging temperatures at night to fog and sudden downpours of rain. If you move to a mountain town, expect strong winds, plenty of snow, and extreme cold during the winter months.

It’s Safer

Although crime in cities has been falling since the crime peak of the 1980s, you’re still much more likely to be a victim of crime in a city than you are in a small mountain town. Most mountain towns comprise small numbers of relatively affluent and stable people who have their neighbor’s interests at heart. Although crime does happen, it’s far rarer, meaning that you don’t have to spend as much money securing your property, or emotional energy worrying about it.

There’s Less Traffic

Traffic accidents kill more people under the age of forty than anything else. There’s much more traffic in the city, and a higher likelihood of being hurt in an accident, compared to mountain towns, making the latter a far safer option.

There Are Many Sporting Opportunities

Mountain towns often double up as tourist resorts for skiers, bikers, and hikers. But unlike tourists who only have a few days to enjoy the mountains, those who live year-round there get to enjoy them all the time. If you love outdoor or winter sports, then the mountains are an ideal place to live.

You May Have To Fend For Yourself

Because so many mountain communities are a long way from major population centers, utilities and services may be unreliable. For instance, bus services might not run during the winter months, or they may only run on certain days of the week. Stores may not be stocked during certain parts of the year or may find it difficult to supply the goods that you need consistently. Electricians and plumbers might live many miles away and only willing to travel to you if you pay their travel expenses.

You may also struggle to get access to medical care. Facilities may be located far away which may be a problem for people suffering from chronic conditions or who need immediate medical attention to manage their health, day to day.

There Are Limited Job Opportunities

Although people who live in mountain towns enjoy a lower stress lifestyle, finding work can be difficult. Many mountain towns do not support enough jobs for all the people who live there. The jobs that they do supply, mostly based in retail and tourism, tend to be less lucrative than those available in the city. But almost anyone can find a basic job at a ski resort to get the financial ball rolling.

It Can Be Depressing

If you’re somebody who is energized by being around people, then being in the mountains can be a lonely experience. Work is often solitary  (although not always), and it’s not uncommon to spend long periods alone, without interacting with anyone.

If you live in a tourist resort, the off-season can be particularly long and uneventful, and you may go a long time between social gatherings. Furthermore, because people usually only stay in mountain towns for a few weeks at a time, it can be hard to develop meaningful, long-term relationships.

Word Gets Around

One of the benefits of living in a big city is your anonymity. You can mess up your job or your relationships, but there usually aren’t any long-term social consequences: you just find a new place to work or new people to spend time with, and the problem goes away. But in mountain towns word can get around when you mess up, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pick up where you left off somewhere else.

You can deal with this in a couple of ways: ignore what other people think of your lifestyle and get on with it, or continuously bear in mind how the community might perceive your actions. Most of the time, you’ll want to do whatever helps you fit in with others by avoiding anything particularly controversial or anti-establishment. Put simply, it’s a good idea to be nice to everybody you meet.

You’ll Need To Learn To Plan Ahead

Big cities are incredibly convenient, offering practically every service at a moment’s notice. Forgot to pick up groceries from the store on the way home? No bother – just pick up your smartphone and get somebody to deliver them for you. Don’t have a battery for your torch? Just pop out of your apartment to the convenience store around the block for a new one.

Life in the mountains isn’t like this at all. Grocery shopping is a significant event – something that you’ll need to plan for, as the nearest supermarket can be many miles away. Often, the simple act of shopping requires an entire day dedicated to it and is something that you may only want to do once or twice a month.

Many people who live in the mountains share cars for shopping trips to save on fuel. They also plan menus weeks in advance, making sure that they’ve got everything they need in the pantry and the refrigerator ahead of time. You’ll also need to factor in the risk of poor weather preventing you from leaving your home.

The Mountains Will Challenge Your Fitness Levels

Living at elevation can be tough on your body because of the thin atmosphere. If you’re unfit, the lack of oxygen can prevent you from getting your breath and enjoying your leisure time. Before moving to the mountains, you need to make sure that you’re in good physical shape. Start jogging, running or resistance training in the weeks and months beforehand. You may also want to change your diet to help get rid of any excess weight that could make it for difficult to go hiking or biking.

How Technology is Helping People Share the Outdoors

Technology is all around us these days and it seems like there is an app to help share almost anything from car rides to spare rooms to clothing.  However, the outdoors are a little different.  Can technology really help folks share the outdoors.  We recently found a company trying to do just that.

Sometimes it’s nice to plan and discover outdoor adventures on your own.  But let’s admit it, it’s usually better when someone can show you where the most fantastic destinations are.  That’s why the founders of Gear Easy launched an outdoor adventure marketplace.  We caught up with Jason, one of the founders who explained “When I’m traveling in a new area or even my own backyard there are a lot of great outdoor activities that only a few locals really know about”.  Jason continued “we grew tired of the crowds at popular outdoor areas and were looking for a way to access more authentic destinations without hiring an expensive touristy guide company, and we noticed there were very few options”.

While Gear Easy isn’t the first company to go into this space, they are quickly becoming one of the largest. In just a few months since launching they have hundreds of registered outdoor guides in the U.S. offering outdoor activities as small as 1-2 hour hikes in the Utah mountains to week long treks through the Appalachians, all hosted by local guides. “We saw most of the competition were focused on established and expensive large outdoor guiding companies who already had a presence on the web.  Gear Easy’s focus is just the opposite, we offer more authentic adventures from real locals, many who guide part-time or as a hobby, at a much lower prices.  The positive response has been overwhelming because people value true experiences over cookie-cutter packaged tours” Jason stated.

Research shows Gear Easy might be onto something.  Millennials, America’s largest generation by population, are soon to enter their earning prime. With a majority of this generation now in the workforce, they currently command an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual consumer spending. Where will this generation direct their wallets?

Eventbrite’s nationwide research of millennials (defined as Americans born 1980-1996) conducted by Harris, reveals this generation not only highly values experiences, but they are increasingly spending time and money on them: from concerts and social events to athletic pursuits, to cultural experiences and events of all kinds.  Often, the authenticity of an experience matters, and buying a one-of-a-kind offering versus something mass market has an increasing appeal to customers.  In the technology enabled sharing economy, these types of customized products and services can often be offered straight from the creator or host at a much lower price.

Gear Easy’s marketplace is not without its flaws.  As with any sharing technology platforms, you could have a bad experience due to a non-professional guide or narrow minded customer.  The company has implemented customer ratings, instant chat and electronic waiver system along with scheduling technology to help ensure guides meet customer expectations.  They also encourage guides and customers to be safe and have the appropriate insurance and communication habits when adventuring in the outdoors.  At the end of the day, Gear Easy is a great platform, but all of the guides are independent service providers.  Even with the shortcomings and risks that come with sharing technology platforms, guides on the Gear Easy platform are excited.  Sean an outdoor guide offering day hikes said “I’ve spent years developing my outdoor knowledge and skills, Gear Easy gives me an opportunity to earn money doing something I already love to do and share my favorite hikes with like minded people.” When asked what he thought about the platform he replied “it works for me, it’s simple, and they take care of all the scheduling and transaction stuff so I can focus on giving my customers a great experience.”

Customers seem to like the concept as well.  The idea of being able to book in advance or on the spot brings a lot of flexibility to travelers.  When we spoke with Kate, who recently booked a wildlife tour with her friend, she said “it was one of the best parts of our trip because the activity was something I would never had found if I were just looking at traditional travel information.”  She explained that she was able to book the activity the day before and was able to chat with the guide right on the platform about the trip before paying.  She also had to sign a waiver just like with other activities she did during her week long trip, but she was able to fill it out and sign it right on the iPhone before they started.  Kate said she would definitely use Gear Easy again.

When asked about what’s next Gear Easy, Jason shed some light on their plans “we are focusing on taking care of our guides and customers.  This means improving our technology and customers service so users keep coming back.” He then elaborated “Gear Easy’s mission is to deliver peak outdoor experiences, or in other words, experiences that people dream about and keep them engaged in the outdoors.”  “We aim to evolve our outdoor experience platform to where adventures, gear and content all come together in one place for our customers, all backed by technology and advanced analytics.” He ended with “we are excited about the space and believe there will be increasing demand that can be satisfied by great service and simplicity oriented technology.  We are concentrating on the U.S. but when the time is right we will offer services internationally.”

We will see where all this goes, it’s definitely exciting to see how technology can bring people together to experience the outdoors.  If you are looking for an interesting adventure or you think you might enjoy being an outdoor guide, then you may want to look at Gear Easy.

Mountain Driving: Tech That Can Help You

Are you a fleet driver who uses mountain routes every day during your job? If so, you will need more technology on your vehicle than just an APC or dashboard camera. Are you planning on driving to the mountains during your next vacation, or do you want to have a 4×4 competition in the mountains with your friends? You too need some extra technology to help you overcome the challenge of mountain driving. It is popular for off-road enthusiasts to go for an adventure and test their prowess driving in the mountains with their vehicles. Here is some technology that can aid you.

GPS Tracking System

Many people think that GPS is for fleet vehicles. While it is very crucial for them to monitor their vehicles live, it is also an important technology for personal vehicles when they are driving through the mountains. Anything can happen to you, and GPS will be used to track the location. Some mountain roads have unexpected dangers including vehicle theft, but a GPS will help you to locate the vehicle if it is stolen.

Automatic Transmission

Gone are the days when a driver had to understand the vehicle’s mechanical functioning in detail to get optimum performance. Then, the right advice would be to shift an SUV or truck into a lower gear to allow smooth mountain climbing. Today, you don’t even have to know how to use a manual transmission. Just put the vehicle in drive, and it will automatically shift the gear to suit mountain climbing. However, some vehicles with an automatic transmission do have an option to manually select a lower gear for situations like this.

Automatic Air Conditioning

Most cars that include smart options have automatic air conditioning. When climbing steep mountains, logic dictates that a person switch the air conditioning off to allow the engine to focus on climbing the mountain. However, more sophisticated vehicles can detect this strain and switch the air conditioning off or let the vehicle use an independent electric motor rather than the engine’s power. Automatic air conditioning can also be used to maintain a steady temperature even as mountain air becomes cooler with increased elevation.

Automated Braking System

Animals frequently cross mountain roads. Some come out of nowhere, and the next thing you see is a crash. ABS for sophisticated vehicles can stop the vehicle without your control and save you from injuries. Try as much as possible to actively control a vehicle that has this option whether you are a private driver or a fleet driver. Most of the road safety experts agree that this is very important.

Adaptive Lighting System

The only thing between a driver and a crash at night is the headlights. Today, vehicles come with amazing technology including adaptive headlights. They adjust to the surroundings and become bright or dim depending on the situation. Mountain driving at night requires the full brightness of the lights so that one can see everything ahead. The adaptive lights will come in handy in situations like this.

Mountain driving is fun and risky at the same time. The above vehicle technologies and capabilities will be essential.

Why You Might Want to Try Using a Camping Hammock

Camping and the tent have been synonymous for decades, but a new trend in outdoor recreation is re-writing this dynamic.  Leave behind the tent poles, stakes, footprints, and find out the many advantages of sleeping in a camping hammock.

The first advantage a camping hammock has over a tent is size and weight.  A hammock and the straps needed to hang it weighs 2-3 pounds, and can pack down into a small size. This is as light or lighter than ultralight tents, and take up far less space.  For a single person camping hammock, you can even find them for under 2 pounds.

This leads to the next advantage; price.  A camping hammock, such as the ones at Peak Camping Hammock, are well under 100 dollars. This is only a fraction of the price for a tent of comparable weight or size. In addition, campers often end up spending more money on accessories to make their sleeping more bearable. With a hammock, this is a different story. At most, you would only need 2-3 additional accessories to protect you from even the most extreme elements. One of the most popular accessories is a rain fly. It is great for keeping you and your camping hammock dry and providing additional shade. It also can also reduce the effects of wind gusts cutting through the nylon. Another popular accessory is a bug net. There are some hammocks with them built-in to the hammock, but a more popular approach is a separate bug net that can be attached on command in a matter of minutes keeping out all the unwanted bits of nature.

Comfort is another benefit that a camping hammock offers.  There is a reason that the mattress industry is billion-dollar industry; people like to be comfortable.  When sleeping in a tent you are on the hard, and usually unforgiving ground.  To alleviate that discomfort you can add things like inflatable or foam pads.  Both options get you off the ground, in a small way, but still are additional pieces of gear you need to buy and carry.  In contrast, you cannot get much more comfortable than hanging in the air, cocooned by breathable nylon. The natural curved shape the hammock takes allows your head to rest at an angle, much like a pillow is designed to do.  This allows for a comfortable night of sleep.

When inclement weather comes, hammocks can provide the same protection that a tent can, by adding a small overhead tarp.  This is commonly known as a rain fly and will protect against the rain, but your sleeping arrangement will still be open to airflow, unlike a tent with the rainfly attached.  If you are setting up camp in a bug populated area, you can attach a mesh cover over the hammock, which is a lightweight and breathable accessory to your setup.

In addition to being an amazing bed to sleep in, the hammock can serve as a chair during the day when relaxing.  If you have a buddy who needs a seat, then you can check out the 2 person camping hammock options which are rated to hold 500 or more pounds.

Lastly, the hammock allows you to be fully immersed in the outdoors, and isn’t that why you are out there in the first place? You can feel the gentle sway of the trees as you nod off.  You will feel a cool evening breeze, look up at the towering pines or shivering aspens, then, of course, see the stars slowly pass by.   You will wake up feeling rested in a bed inspired by nature, surrounded by the very sights and smells you ventured out to be in.

Sleeping Well While Snow Camping

Whilst writing this camping blog post I am sitting here wondering how many people actually associate Australia with snow. There’s a lot of people out there that have no idea that Australia even has any snow, the idea being that all of Australia is covered in a barely habitable stinking hot desert.

This is of course not the case as we are blessed with many different weather biomes, including snow.

For those of us that love to camp, we love to do it in a variety of environments so for us snow is no barrier to getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.

Camping is perfect for getting out amongst the snow and really seeing all of it, especially since you’re probably going to need to hike a great distance and if you’re only going to hike as far as you can go in half a day, then turn around and come back, you’re not going to see much.

Camping gives us the opportunity to see much more nature than we could otherwise, but only if we do it right. With snow it’s paramount that you get it right to ensure you stay healthy and safe, snow camping is considered by many to be the riskiest way to camp in Australia.

So the following is a brief reminder of things to consider when it comes time to spend your first night in the snow.

Our first tip is to ensure that you stay wrapped up and warm even while you’re in the tent.

Many first time snow campers take a lot of care to properly set up a purposefully bought and decently prepared snow tent to keep themselves safe over the freezing night.

They then enter the tent and feel really warm, which is the feeling a snow tent is designed to provide. However this feeling can be deceptive as some campers feel so warm that they might strip layers and be tempted to sleep without the layers that they need.

While you sleep your body’s warmth is absorbed by the ground and without even knowing it your body can plunge into unsafe temperatures and stay that way for a risky amount of time. A rooftop tent can help keep you warm because you won’t be sleeping directly on the cold ground.

Be smart and wear a safe amount of clothing even if you don’t feel like it, don’t lose your cap even if your warm because a lot of heat escapes the top of your head over the course of the night.
Socks are also vital so don’t feel tempted to sleep with bare feet. It’s also smart to invest in a sleeping pad or a couple of them to further distance yourself from the ground.

Another smart tip is to melt some snow with your portable stove and fill up a water bottle with hot water. Take that bottle and add it to your sleeping bag and use it as a makeshift hot water bottle that will disperse heat all through your sleeping bag while you’re falling to sleep.

If you’re using a mummy bag be sure to seal the hood around your head and just leave a hole open wide enough to breathe, that will keep out the cold air and the moisture from your breath.

Keep these tips in mind while preparing for your first night out there on the snow and enjoy your cold camping adventure!

3 Adventurous Jobs That Will Keep the Adventurer In You Alive

If you love the adrenaline rush of adventure sports and get goose pimples simply by reading the exploits of famous adventurers, then you are probably wasting your time in nine-to-five corporate job in the city. You are cut out for an adventurous job and there are plenty to choose from.

Why not live your dream and choose from the three popular adventurous jobs?

Adventurous jobs

#1 Skydiving instructor

Becoming a skydiving instructor is challenging and requires enrolling into a skydiving school that teaches all the nitty-gritty of skydiving and also provides practical training and actual jumps from two to three miles up in the air.

Needless to say, you need to be in peak physical condition to endure a freefall at 120 miles per hour in correct body position.  You also need to be well versed in all the safety aspects of skydiving. To become an instructor, it is mandatory to be a member of the United States Parachute Association. You should have completed a minimum of 500 jumps and three hours of freefall.

Skydiving instructor’s job involves training people in skydiving, starting from the basics. Since this is a weather-dependent job, you must seek work in places that remain sunny and warm most of the year. You can find such jobs on online skydiving websites and leading job portals.

#2 Ski instructor

Your job as a ski instructor is to teach individuals of all ages the techniques of skiing. Besides teaching, you will need to ensure that the skiing environment is safe for using, that there is no danger of avalanche. If you love skiing and mountains, then you will enjoy this job.

A certification from the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSAI-AASI) is a must for applying for ski instructor’s job. To get this certification, you are required to take a 10-week course that teaches how to become a proficient instructor.

To look for a ski instructor’s job, contact ski schools at various resorts across the world. In skiing season, there are plenty of vacancies available. A step up from being a ski instructor is to become a trainer of instructors or ski examiners.

#3 Mountain guide

If you love mountain climbing and have the physical fitness and stamina to endure the harsh terrain and climate, becoming a mountain guide may be your calling. A mountain guide is not only required to lead mountaineers up the mountain, but is also required to trek, hike and ski in the mountains.

Needless to say, mountain guiding is physically and mentally challenging. And as a guide you are solely responsible for the well-being of your clients. What is even more challenging is the fact that no book can teach you to become a guide. You have to work as a backpacking leader to trips in the mountains to gain experience.

In addition, you need the certification of American Mountain Guides Association. And this certification doesn’t come easy. You have to be an expert in rock climbing, alpine climbing, ice climbing and skiing. On top of that, you need to know how to work well with clients you are guiding. There are plenty of guiding companies on the lookout for trained and competent mountain guides that advertise for it online and in adventure magazines.

Other adventurous jobs 

In addition to these three popular adventurous jobs, there are several other jobs that are as exhilarating, such as deep-sea diving instructor, base jumping instructor, whitewater rafting guide, park ranger, wildlife photographer, and many more.

Although such jobs seem out of the ordinary, they all require a resume to land a job. If you feel making a resume is challenging, you may take the help of resume creator.

Conclusion 

It is time to stop dreaming about the lofty mountains and virgin white snows, feeling trapped in your office cubicle. Instead, it is time to pack your backpack and set out to seek an adventurous job that will not only give you the thrills but also pay your bills. Find out what your adventurous spirit seeks and go for it.

The Future of the Paper Check: Why It’s Still Going Strong?

Ever since the introduction of online banking, the use of paper checks has steadily declined. For reference, the total number of checks written back in 2001 is more than double than that was issued last year. However, the decline in check usage has been mostly because individuals have shifted to other payment methods. Businesses by and large continue to pay using checks.

Who is Writing a Check and Why?  

Individuals Paying for Products or Services: What was a common sight before has now become somewhat of a rarity. Nowadays, it’s hard to find someone who would pay using checks at supermarkets and retail stores. It was a common practice before as local retail stores proudly displayed storefront banners displaying “We Accept Personal Checks” among other signage. Thanks to the convenience of online payment wallets and credit cards a lot of stores today refuse to accept paper checks. According to statistics, 4.4 million checks were issued by customers back in 2006 to pay for products and services at checkout counters. That number dropped sharply to a million back in 2012 and it has been steadily declining since. This is why it’s safe to conclude that people, in general, have moved on from paper checks when it comes paying for stuff at retail outlets.

Businesses Paying Other Businesses: While personal checkbooks are gathering dust, businesses continue to use checks to pay other businesses and contractors. There are more than a few reasons why. Paper checks are often integrated with Quickbooks and other accounting software packages, which makes printing them and maintaining a tab on all the expenses a seamless affair. Checks also allow business owners to attach a battery of other information such as invoice number and payee contact details. This is why instead of reducing its use businesses are adopting new technologies to efficiently managing check payments. Businesses now order custom cheap checks online and deposit checks using mobile apps to save the effort of going to the bank.

Businesses Paying Employees: Checks were the primary mode of payment businesses used to rely on when sending out salaries to employees. Paying salaries using checks is something that worked until the early 1970s. However, that all changed when direct deposits came along. For decades now, funds are transferred via payroll direct deposit from business checking accounts to employee salary accounts. In this day and age, salary checks are all but extinct.

Individuals Paying Other Individuals: Individuals have been quick to adopt the newer banking technologies. In fact, online wallets and net banking are geared for personal use. It takes mere seconds to transfer funds using mobile apps, which has long made paper checks obsolete. However, some people still use checks to pay contractors and people who don’t have bank accounts. Checks are also given as gifts. Apart from those few instances, people mostly rely on digital wallets and app-based banking to send money to other people.

While personal check use is definitely on the decline, business checks are not going anywhere. Businesses still prefer leaving a paper trail when making payments and the fact that paper checks can be printed quickly using business accounting software is an added convenience.  The total volume of business checks issued per year proves that paper checks are still relevant today.