Winfields Outdoors has released its best blogs for 2018 and what a fantastic resource this is for anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors.
In all, Winfields Outdoors has recognized 136 blogs from around the world across the following six categories:
Best General Outdoor Blogs
Best Walking and Hiking Blogs
Best Camping Blogs
Best Caravanning & Campervan Blogs
Best Outdoor Activity & Health Blogs
Best Travel Blogs
Within the announcement of their 2018 best bloggers, Winfields has included a brief description and links to every one of the 136 blogs included so readers can easily check out all the outdoor blogs shown under each category. This makes a great page to bookmark so you can visit blogs that appeal to you. You can visit the page which includes all the links to each blog HERE.
There is no doubt you will find a lot of excellent information, resources and even entertainment from looking through such a comprehensive list of quality blogs.
Recognition of Camping for Women
Everyone at Camping for Women were really pleased to have been recognized as 1 of 7 blogs within the Camping category. Ashley McGovern on behalf of Winfields Outdoors said it was a “no brainer” to include Camping for Women as a result for their search fresh, exciting outdoors content. She said she thought our contributor’s writing was really informative – something thoughtful to share with their own adventure-happy audience.
Those we need to thank
Camping for Women is extremely grateful to all of its contributors who so freely share their own skills, knowledge and experience with fellow women outdoor adventurers the world over. This recognition is absolutely a tribute to their generous spirit to share detail of what they love so much.
We also really appreciate the loyalty of our subscribers and readers who interact so well with our contributors via the blog posts so positively. This level of communication between readers and contributors highlights very much of a community feel even though the people involved are often geographically half a world away from each other. We are nevertheless bonded by our shared love of nature and spending time outdoors.
It’s times like these when people outside your own immediate community recognize your efforts to make a difference for lovers of the outdoors, that you feel very grateful for all that are involved. We are extremely thankful to many for adding their voice, the latest being Winfields Outdoors.
About Winfields Outdoors
Based in Europe, Winfields Outdoors is a major outdoor retailer that can boast excellent outdoor and indoor displays across most of its 8 brick and mortar stores within the UKshowing tents, porch awnings, motor home awnings, campervan awnings as well as all the camping equipment, caravan accessories, outdoor clothing, outdoor gear and footwear. Established since 1971, they have strong relationships with leading manufacturers within the camping and caravanning industry and state that their advice and after sales service is second to none. Their website is https://www.winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk/
This new format is not limited by letters, questions, fears, worries, or problems; rather, it is expanded by them.
Let me explain.
You might remember how, for a while, I had the honor of answering questions through an advice column called “Ask Natalie.” I fielded letters about back-country ethics and front-country relationships, and every so often, I’d be delighted to receive a follow-up comment or two. When Nicole [Camping for Women] asked me if I’d like to make the column into a video series, I was nervous, but delighted, but so totally nervous. I have always been more motivated by fear of regret than plain ol’ fear, so I agreed, and off we went into the jungle of YouTube.
For a few wild and wonderful months, I was filmed answering the letters I received, and I got to read entertaining and kind comments from those who viewed each episode. As an advice columnist, I was having a ball responding to what was being said.
However, as someone who chose psychotherapy as a profession, I’ve always been keen on listening to what isn’t said. Often, we don’t talk about our most important questions, our strongest fears, or our most fervent dreams. We carry them in us, but for a thousand different reasons, they never make their way into words. I was reminded of this when the inevitable happened: Natalie the advice columnist ceased to receive regular requests for advice. At face value, I thought this was a lovely thing. I figured it meant that readers of the column were calm and content. Upon further thought, though, I wondered: What isn’t getting asked?
And so here we are. Each month, I will ask the questions, and I will answer them. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s exactly what we all do day-in and day-out: We have experiences, and internally, we run a dialog with ourselves. This happens even more often when we are adventuring and having new experiences. “What’s that?” we ask ourselves when we see something we’ve never seen before. “Wonder what’s going on there,” we’ll internally murmur when we glimpse a tense interaction between strangers speaking a language we do not understand. “Why is this happening?” we’ll silently wail when we face hardship on a hiking trail. We don’t often speak these questions aloud, of course, but we pose them to ourselves.
Your participation is what turns a silent musing into a true dialog. My hope is that I will open the door to some of the experiences we have as adventuring women, and you will walk through it with your own perspective and knowledge. I want to feature your written comments, video responses, and audio recorded thoughts. All of these forms of feedback are welcomed in the new “Ask Natalie,” and in that sense, you are as much an author of this new column as I am. (And for what it’s worth, if you ever do have a problem you’d like some advice on – we can still do that here!)
If I can be super candid with you all, I have to say, I’m very excited about this new direction. I’m excited for you to be even more involved with “Ask Natalie,” and I’m excited that as a journal of sorts, we can feature all sorts of media. I’m excited that I won’t feel as compelled to have makeup on when I send Nicole my contribution to the column! Mostly, I’m excited that we can create a little place where we shine light on those corners of our experience that aren’t covered in the outdoors and travel magazines.
We can talk about what it is like to be women facing new adventures and growing because of them.
Thank you for coming along with me on this new journey!
It’s been a fantastic weekend camping and you’ve made it home after a long car drive. Everyone is off to work or school tomorrow, you’re exhausted and there’s a car full of camping gear, some of it wet and dirty. What do you do?
Depends on the circumstances
Option 1: Forget about it until at least after work tomorrow, and preferably not even then. Just have a shower and go to bed.
Option 2: Offload the gear, then forget about it until you have time. Maybe just clear out the by-now festering cool box and find everyone’s toothbrushes, but leave the rest.
Option 3: Clear out the car, put dirty things in the laundry ready to be washed and hang out wet things to dry. Pack away food and other perishable items, but probably leave your home looking like a hurricane’s hit it.
Option 4: Sort out everything straight away, so the only evidence left that you’ve been camping is a few washed and wet things hanging on the clothes line.
Obviously in an ideal world, option 4 is what we are all aiming for. In the real world, it often doesn’t happen that way. The best option depends on how late you return.
Priority 1: Washed and fed people
If you arrive back home in the middle of the night, the most you’ll want to do is find your toothbrush, have a shower and go to bed. If you’re arriving back home with kids any time after mid-afternoon, probably the main goal is to get them fed, washed and in to bed. At least make sure you have what you need to get through the night and the next day.
Food-wise post camping, grabbing a bought meal on the way home is very attractive. It’s a good time to pick up any essentials you’ll need for the next day such as milk or bread. Good post-camping easy meals include eggs cooked in whatever way, baked beans on toast, or anything that is easy to heat and eat.
Priority 2: Unpack the perishables
Hopefully you’ve used up most of your food, especially perishable items. It’s good to unpack them as soon as you can. Unpacking a camping coolbox is not fun, but it’s even less fun if the food starts festering.
Chances are your plates, cutlery and cooking items will need a good home clean. This is not a huge priority, but should be done sometime, with everything packed again ready for the next time.
If you have bags of rubbish, put them out in your bin as soon as possible. Chances are they are already festering.
Priority 3: Wet gear and airing items
If gear is wet, it is a good idea to at least hang it out so it can dry and not go mouldy or musty. Unless you live in a humid climate, usually the next day is fine but obviously the sooner the better.
Wet tents are probably the hardest to dry. Ideally it’s great to pitch them in the back yard for a sunny day or so, but this is not always possible. Smaller tents can be hung from a decent sized clothesline, pegging the corners of the groundsheet to different lines so the inside gets a good airing.
Even if they’re not damp, it’s a good idea to air out sleeping bags. Turn them inside out or unzip them and place them in a warm sunny area for a day or so before putting them away. It’s best to store them out of their packing bags, well fluffed up. Self-inflating mattresses are also best stored inflated and flat.
Priority 4: Cleaning and repairing
When you have time and a little energy, just after a camping trip is the best time to clean or repair items. Any issues should be fresh in your mind. Undoubtedly you would have forgotten about it when you pack next time.
Priority 5: Get things ready for your next trip
Unpacking is the best time to get ready for your next camping trip. As much as possible, make sure everything is well packed with all the tent pegs, etc, so you can grab it and go next time.
It’s also a good idea to pack all camping gear together in one area. People who regularly go camping often have packed basically everything they need for their next camping trip when they unpack, apart from fresh food and anything they only can’t spare (eg spectacles).
This makes packing for the next camping trip a breeze.
Whether you grew up in an outdoorsy family, or are just now discovering the joys of outdoorsmanship, there’s a lot to know and a lot to learn about this wonderful world of exploration and adventure in the great outdoors. And despite what the media and history books might have you believe, women have always been a part of this world as well, if not perhaps in different capacities at different times. Believe you me, we have always found our own ways to take part in the fun! One of my biggest pet peeves about the traditional pubic portrayal of outdoor recreation is that you have to be tough, or strong, or masculine to participate. I would argue that spending time outdoors can help you become stronger, but it is by no means a prerequisite to getting outside, challenging yourself, or adventuring.
As women, we are so often deeply socialized to believe that it’s not safe for us to be alone or outdoors without a man along with us. I think in recent years this myth has become increasingly dispelled, but I’m still frequently surprised by how many women I meet who struggle with this. That said, because many of us in the US (and many other countries) live in a culture where we do worry about these things, there are some best practices we can follow to ensure our safety, boost our confidence, and maximize the fun.
Do your Research
Anytime I’m planning to go out on a hike (especially if I’m planning on going solo), I put in a little bit of research ahead of time. I’m looking to find out things like how long the trail is, if it closes at a certain time, how strenuous, what the conditions will be like, whether there is cell service, what the road condition is, how far away it is, and how crowded or remote it is. A simple Google search can find you most of this information, but many areas also have good guide books, visitor centers, and ranger stations to consult.
Funny story: Last June I decided to solo hike up in the mountains not far from where I live. It was a warm, sunny 80-degree F day. I thought I had done my research – I Googled it, read some blog posts about the trail, looked it up in my guide book. However, when I arrived, I found the road cut off by a wall of snow halfway up the mountain! Turned out, I had completely missed the detail about the trail only being accessible July-September. So don’t just “do” your research. Also keep in mind what to look for, depending on where you’re going! 😊
Fortunately when I came across that wall of snow last spring, I had come well-prepared for any conditions. I had plenty of food and water, warm layers that I had been sure I wouldn’t need, a change of shoes and socks, and even had a trekking pole in my car. I parked at the edge of the snow, and hiked in another mile or two and had myself a lovely picnic lunch! My friends often laugh at me for being overprepared whenever we go hiking, but I guarantee you about 85% of the time, someone ends up needing something that I just happen to have thought to bring.
Extra layers, rain gear, a change of socks, extra water, extra snacks, first aid supplies, and a back-up plan I think are the best ways you can be prepared for any outdoor day hike or overnight trip. Take a photo of the trail map for where you’re going, too, if there is one. Whether this is on a kiosk sign, in a guidebook, or online, get a picture of that map, because you may want to consult it later!
Focus on keeping your bearings as you hike. Note which way the water is flowing if there’s a stream or river (you can always backtrack upstream or downstream if you know which way you came from). Keep an eye out for landmarks. Note the direction of the slope if you’re on a mountainside or hill. Listen for traffic if you’re near a major road. If you’re a real nerd like me, you’ll probably try to learn the local flora and fauna ahead of time – what grows near water or in dry areas, which plants are edible, which are dangerous, the geology of the landscape. Being aware of your surroundings and the signs of nature around you is an enormously useful tool for becoming comfortable in the outdoors.
There’s a lot to be said for trusting yourself, and I think it’s actually easier to trust yourself when you’re alone rather than when you’re in a group. In recent years, I’ve become a lot more comfortable calling it quits even when the rest of the group wants to keep going. If you’re exhausted and your body says, “Nope, I’m done,” or if you have that tingling sixth sense that something just isn’t right, trust your gut. Make a plan with the rest of the group to either wait for them, or meet up at an agreed time and place. Stick with a buddy if you can (usually if you’re hiking in a group, there’s probably at least one other person who feels the same way you do!). Clear communication is essential when you’re looking out for your own needs and safety outdoors. Anyone who makes you feel bad about having to stop or turn back is not worth your time.
Attitude is Everything
Whether you’re hiking alone or in a group, attitude really is everything, and it can be the difference between a great experience, or the most miserable day of your life. There’s a practical component to this as well though – having a positive attitude can actually increase your chances of survival in some emergency situations. Sometimes called “The Attitude of Survival,” having control over your state of mind can help you keep calm, clear-headed, and thinking straight even when you find yourself lost, in a sticky situation, or unsure of things. As difficult as it is sometimes, we are almost always in control of our attitudes; it can be hard to switch from being panicked or upset to feeling determined and upbeat, but it can be done and it can empower you to find the strength and resources you may need to change the situation you’re in.
These are just a few of the “tools” I keep in my own personal mental toolbox as an outdoorswoman. What are some of yours? What kinds of experiences have you had that have made you the outdoorswoman or outdoorsman you are today? What tips do you make sure to follow when you’re out adventuring? It’s always great to learn from others who enjoy similar activities and have their own tricks of the trade to share!
How to Prepare, What to Pack, and Campsite Safety for a Fun Outdoor Adventure with Your Dog
At Redfin, we know that sometimes your home away from home is a tent hidden in the woods. And it wouldn’t feel like your second home without your dog by your side. With summer in full swing, Redfin has compiled the ultimate safety guide for camping with your dog! Camping with your dogs requires a bit of preparation and safety precautions to ensure that you and your dogs can enjoy a safe and fun outdoor adventure – but we’re here to help! We’ve covered important health and safety precautions as well as how to pack the right safety and comfort essentials for your beloved furry family members, and will arm you with important safety tips and information to keep your dogs safe at and around your campsite.
What You’ll Find in This Guide:
Before You Go: Health Checkups and Safety Supplies
Packing for Your Dog
Dog-Safe Best Practices at the Campsite
Before You Go: Health Checkups and Safety Supplies
This section covers all the know-before-you-go information that you should take care of before planning a camping trip with your dog, preventative veterinary care tips, and more.
First things first: schedule a visit to the veterinarian for a health checkup. If your dog’s health isn’t optimal, ordinary camping hazards can quickly become serious dangers, so you should discuss your camping plans with your veterinarian. If you plan to take your dog backpacking, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is up to the task physically. Aging or chronically ill dogs may not be physically able to keep up with a daunting trek, so it might be wise to leave Fido with a trusted caregiver in such a scenario.
Check your dog’s records or double-check with your regular veterinarian to ensure that you’re on top of all preventative care, such as core vaccinations like the Rabies vaccine, as it’s possible that your dog may encounter a wild animal with the disease in the great outdoors.
Pests such as fleas and ticks are often common in the wooded areas many people favor for camping. Consider having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease and make sure that he’s been treated with flea and tick prevention. Additionally, heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites, so make sure your dog’s preventative heartworm treatment is current for optimal protection.
Pack a first-aid kit with essentials. A few must-have supplies for dogs include:
Coated aspirin for pain. Use with caution and give only the recommended dosage (between 5mg and 10mg per pound of body weight). You may also consider a safer alternative, but your best bet is to discuss it with your veterinarian before your trip for specific advice.
If your pet takes medication regularly for a chronic health condition, take enough medication for the duration of your trip, plus enough to last at least a few extra days. You never know what you’ll encounter in the wilderness, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take copies of your dog’s health records, including vaccination history, and locate the veterinary clinic closest to your campsite before you leave. Save or print the phone number and directions so that they’re easily accessible in case of emergency. Finally, make sure that your dog’s microchip registration is up to date and that your pet has a tag with complete and accurate information so that finders can easily locate you should your dog get lost. If you know ahead of time that you may not have reliable wireless service, you might also consider adding your veterinarian’s phone number or the contact information for a trusted friend or relative.
Packing for Your Dog
This section covers the essential packing list for camping with your dog, including supplies for nutrition, water safety, and just plain fun.
You’ll need more than first-aid supplies for a camping trip with your furry friend, of course. You’ll want to pack your dog’s food and water dishes, as well as enough fresh water to last the duration of your trip plus a few extra days, unless you’re camping at a site with a readily-available supply of fresh water. If it’s going to be warm, keep in mind that your dog may need to drink more water than usual. Take an ample supply of your dog’s regular food and treats, as well. Your dog will have to do his or her business as usual, so you’ll need a good supply of dog waste bags to keep your campsite free of waste and avoid disgruntled fellow campers.
You’ll also want to pack a leash or two, as well as whatever supplies you’ll need to tether your dog while outdoors. Pack your dog’s bed so that he or she can get a comfortable night’s rest. Some dogs prefer to sleep in their crate, but it’s a good idea to take a dog crate or carrier regardless in the event that you need to confine your pup. If the weather will be cooler in the evenings, pack blankets or a dog jacket to keep your furry friend warm in the elements. If you’re heading to a destination near water, a dog life preserver is a good idea, as well as plenty of extra towels to dry your dog off after a swim.
Don’t forget about enrichment. Does your dog have a favorite toy? Take a few trinkets such as balls, frisbees, and squeaky toys to keep your dog entertained. The other items you’ll need to pack for your dog depend on your plans. If you plan on going hiking, for instance, you’ll want a portable water dish that you can easily store in your backpack to keep your dog hydrated throughout the day.
Dog-Safe Best Practices at the Campsite
This section provides helpful tips for monitoring your dog’s health and maintaining a safe environment for your dog and other campers.
Many campgrounds require that dogs be leashed at all times. Make sure you know and understand the rules if you’re heading for a managed campground; some even specify the maximum lead length permitted. Some campgrounds prohibit dogs altogether, while others place limits on the size or number of dogs permitted. Researching before you go is a must.
Keep an eye on your dog’s well-being throughout your trip. If the weather is hot and humid, you can bet your dog is feeling the heat, too. Watch for signs of heat stroke, such as excessive panting, excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or seizures. If you suspect your dog has heat stroke, wrap your dog in a towel soaked in cool water and get her to a veterinarian immediately.
Ideally, you’ve already spent time training your dog, but if your dog isn’t the most well-trained pup in the pack, it’s a good idea to start slowly, taking a few short trips to see how your dog fares when exposed to the many new experiences he’ll have during a camping trip. The many sights, sounds, people, and scents can send even well-trained dogs into a flurry of excitement, so testing the waters and learning how to work with your dog to manage behavior will ensure not only his or her safety, but the safety of fellow campers and animals, both domestic and wild.
At minimum, your dog should obey a few essential commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it.” If you don’t know how your dog will react to strangers, particularly excited children, use extreme caution until you’re comfortable with your dog’s temperament in new situations. These commands will come in handy for situations such as encountering poisonous plants or other hazardous substances; a dog who obeys the “leave it!” command will be much more easily redirected than a dog who can think of nothing else but devouring those delicious-looking leaves or berries. You should do your research to know which plants your dog must steer clear of and how to identify them in order to be proactive about keeping your dog away from these dangerous plants.
Above all, have fun! A camping trip is a great opportunity to kick back and relax. When you take the proper precautions and keep safety top-of-mind, a camping trip is an enjoyable bonding experience for humans and dogs alike.
Resources on Safe Camping with Dogs
This section provides valuable resources on dog health, camping safety, and other essential information for a safe and enjoyable camping trip with your furry friend.
Camping with Dogs offers a wide range of articles about camping safely with your dog.
Ruffwear’s Blog provides advice on all types of outdoor activities with your dog and products to keep them save.
IHeartDogs.com provides 12 important safety tips for camping with your dog.
The ASPCA offers a comprehensive guide to vaccinations for your dog, including information on core and non-core vaccines, regulations and risks associated with vaccination, and how to determine the proper vaccination schedule for your dog.
GearJunkie is an excellent resource for discovering the essential outdoor gear your dog needs for a fun outdoor adventure.
Dogster.com also covers some common outdoor risks for dogs, including helpful tips for helping your dog cope with anxiety from thunderstorms, preventing poisoning, and other helpful advice.
Packing up, getting home and unpacking is the part of the post camping process most of us enjoy the least. Here’s a bit of a rundown to help you get through it all.
1. Packing up
There are two broad approaches to packing up the campsite.
Clean, dry and organise everything as much as possible to make life easier back at home.
Stuff everything back into bags and the vehicle to worry about when you get home.
Obviously (A) is the better option, but it’s not always practical. If the last day of camping is wet, most of us get out as quickly as possible. Often most of us have better things to do on the last day of a camping trip than ‘housework’. Most of aim for (A), with the post camping process, but usually end up somewhere between (A) & (B).
Aim for the following in order of priority:
Put all dirty or wet clothes in one bag (or several bags) separate from clean stuff. You’ll be able to toss those bags in the laundry as soon as you get home. Hopefully throughout the camping trip you’ve been putting dirty things together, so this should be easy.
Put any dirty eating and cooking items in a single spot, ready to quickly offload into a dishwasher or whatever when you get home.
Pack up clothes vaguely in to bags that correspond to their storage place at home.
Make a note of anything that needs fixing or special cleaning as you go along.
Sweep out the tent before folding it up. If the tent is damp when packing up, just get it in the bag in whatever way is easiest, as you’ll have to dry it out at home. If it’s dry, shake it off and fold it properly, checking the number of pegs etc.
Put any perishable food in one spot, preferably a cool box, so it’s easy to offload into the fridge at home. Hopefully there’s not too much left by the end of the trip.
Carefully check around the campsite before you drive off to make sure nothing has been left behind.
2. Everyone fed, watered and (relatively) clean
Once home, it’s best to get the people in order before worrying about the stuff, especially if some of those people are kids. Everything is so much easier if everyone has had a good feed and wash. Kids then are generally happy to entertain themselves or go to bed. If it’s a long trip home or it’s late, many people buy dinner on the way home. If you arrive home very late, this might be the most you can hope for until the next day.
3. Post camping: Unpack the car
Unless you’re travelling with small children, and you arrive back home in reasonable time, you’ll probably unpack the car and possibly some of step 4 before step 2, with everyone pitching in to help.
4. Sort everything out, preferably ready to pack & go next time
Start at the top and work your way down the list. Stop & go to bed when you’ve had enough.
a. Avoid a public health hazard
Unpack the cool box and any perishable food. If the safety of the food is in doubt, throw it out.
Clean the cool box. Leave the lid off so it can dry properly.
Put any rubbish in the outside bin.
Clean any dirty eating/cooking equipment. Your camping stove may need a scrub.
Throw dirty tea towels and cleaning clothes in a laundry basket
b. Avoid long term damage to expensive camping equipment
Air out sleeping bags by turning them inside out in an open area for a while.
Hopefully you swept out the inside of you tent before you packed up, but if not, shake it out now (an outside job).
Set up or hang the tent to ensure it’s dry before packing away. If it needs cleaning, give it a wipe. Check for and follow up any needed repairs.
Check the tent still has a decent number of tent pegs. Straighten any tent pegs as needed.
Completely empty out backpacks and let them air/ dry. Trust me, you don’t want to find old food there the next time you pack for a trip.
If you have wet or muddy walking boots or gaiters, wash them and put them somewhere suitable to dry. If the boots are leather, polish and wax them to keep the leather in good nick. Check the shoelaces and any gaiter straps. If they are worn, make a note to replace them now. It’s easier than having to deal with them half way through your next hike.
Throw all dirty clothes, in with the dirty tea-towels etc. Start washing either the most essential, the dirtiest/wettest or the most valuable first.
If items are wet but not dirty, hang them out to dry & air.
c. Get ready for the next time
Once things are clean and dry, pack them away, preferably in one or a few locations ready to grab & go next time if you can.
Anything you forgot or didn’t have this time that you needed? Follow it up now while the memory is still fresh. Maybe store whatever it is with your other camping items for next time.
Check you have the right number and range of eating and cooking implements and pack them ready for next time. Remember to check there’s a box of matches with enough matches.
What needs to be replaced in your first aid/emergency kit? Restock as needed, and check the expiry on antiseptic, headache and any other medications. It’s usually band aids that disappear first.
Make notes for yourself for things to remember next time.
Tidy up any remaining stuff in the area you dumped all your camping gear when you arrived home.
d. Flake out
You’re fed, watered, everyone has what they need for the next 24 hours and nothing is going to get damaged if you leave it. Be sure to relax a little and have a drink of whatever it is you fancy. Get a good night’s sleep in the luxury of your own bed. Most of us are pooped after returning from a camping trip, no matter how enjoyable and relaxing it was. There’s no point becoming so exhausted from unpacking that you need another holiday.
If you have seen posts published on Camping for Women’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter accounts over the past two weeks, you might already have seen the video trailers of the brand new and exciting ‘Ask Natalie’ program.
If you haven’t seen or heard what all the fuss is about yet, then do scroll through this post and have a look at this fabulous and latest development to come onto the scene.
Ask Natalie is a dedicated free resource for all women outdoor enthusiasts around the world who are interested is so many aspects of the great outdoors that apply specifically to women.
This program will produce episodes on what women say they want to know more about and directly responds to their desire to have answers to specific questions.
The beautiful thing about this program is that anyone can get their topics or issues addressed and the entire outdoor women community benefits from viewing the responses while getting a lot of valuable insights and information.
To give you a bit of a feel of what Ask Natalie is about, check out this 44 second teaser trailer:
There is a slightly extended trailer at 77 seconds that has also received a great response:
About Natalie of ‘Ask Natalie’
Ask Natalie is hosted by Natalie McCarthy who is an experienced outdoor adventurer and happens to also be a licensed clinical psychotherapist. Hence she is very qualified to assist with all sorts of issues and topics that concern women outdoors.
To further explain the purpose and nature of the show, Natalie shot the following video to provide a welcome and introduction:
The ‘Ask Natalie’ program is based on the successful ‘Ask Natalie’ column that was introduced by the dynamic Adventure Some Women group website in the U.S. earlier this year. The column’s popularity has really taken off since its inception with many topics being covered from women expressing the issues important to them.
If you have a question or issue you want covered
All you need to do is to send a message to AskNatalieColumn@gmail.com and your email will go directly in Natalie’s inbox. For reasons of privacy and respect, no one else sees the email or its contents or your email address.
Once Natalie receives a question, she then responds after conducting any related or required research or enquiries. Each person then receives an emailed response before the issue is covered in the written column or appears on the Ask Natalie program.
Unless individuals specifically state otherwise, each woman’s identity is never revealed and their privacy always professionally respected. The focus of the program of course is on addressing the topic or issue and offering a number of possible options that women in a similar circumstance can take in these types of situations.
This video program is all about addressing any matters that concern women in the outdoors. If you have something that is troubling you, or simply want to know more information on a particular subject, then this show is definitely for you.
Not all matters are those that people sometimes feel comfortable in confronting. Ask Natalie seeks to remove any limitations people might feel go beyond limits of the usual video show. So long as the matter is genuine and you want an answer, the program does not back away from any issue. Essentially it is one of the primary reasons the program was established.
Ask Natalie is all about making women feel comfortable in raising issues in a supportive setting and being taken seriously in a helpful, respectful way while maintaining their privacy.
Grounded in reality
Ask Natalie is a program that is all about ‘keeping it real’. It is filmed privately by Natalie and not in a commercial studio.
Natalie tackles sometimes tricky or delicate questions in a very practical and down-to-earth way. The intent here is to offer information that can be useful and provide pointers for viewers to maximise their time outdoors.
Ways of getting involved
Most people communicate with Natalie via email. However, aside from emailing written questions, viewers can also explore the option to appear on the show if they wish. This can be done either by sending in a recorded video via email or skype or even in person if you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Oregon, USA, where Natalie is based. Using Skype, anyone can get involved on camera.
This program is being produced and shared weekly on the Camping for Women Channel hosted on YouTube. The dedicated playlist for Ask Natalie is set up within the Channel where a new episode will be added each week. The playlist which has just commenced can be seen by clicking here.
Ask Natalie episodes have now started
The first episode was just posted in the Ask Natalie playlist today. The first topic that is being addressed is the stigma associated with older people being on the trails. Check out this very first episode here:
This is just the first of many episodes to come. Next week’s episode deals with ‘finding a crew’ which is responding to a question about how to connect with other like-minded women to adventure with who also love the outdoors.
The topics and issues that will be covered in upcoming episodes are as broad as they will be interesting. With no issue being off limits, there is bound to be some fascinating discussion and information that will be covered.
So come join us and don’t miss out!
Make sure you subscribe to the free Ask Natalie program videos being hosted on the Camping for Women Channel.
You will immediately be notified each week as a new episode is posted and you can even raise your own issues as well.
Camping for Women was just given the Liebster Award.
So what is the Liebster Award?
For anyone who doesn’t know what the Liebster Award actually is, it is a virtual award that is passed on from blogger to blogger as a show of support, and it also helps to promote any fellow bloggers that many enjoy reading.
The rules that apply when you are nominated for, and accept the Liebster Award are:
So to start, we want to recognize and thank the person who nominated us:
For this award, Camping for Women was nominated by Lea of the blog Lou and Lea.
Lou and Lea is a Design and Photography blog for everyone who wants to step up their creativity game. On her blog, Lea shares her tips and tricks for creating graphics, art, and photo taking and editing. She gives advice on where to find Inspiration and how to live a creative life. With tutorials, how to’s and advice, Lou and Lea encourages to draw, Sketch and look for a beautiful potential Photograph everywhere in everyday life. Her goal is to inspire her readers to create a more beautiful life for themselves, simply through perceiving the world as an artistic place.
Answers by Nicole to 11 Questions from Lea:
Question 1: Summer or Winter?
For the most part, I prefer summer when I can go swimming, boating and fishing. I would rather often feel too hot than too cold.
Question 2: Who is your favourite superhero?
At the moment I would have to say Wonder Women which is quite topical right now. Amazon Women Rock!
Question 3: Which book could you read over and over again?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Question 4: Do you have any weird habits?
Sometimes, when thinking to myself in a waiting room, I can/have laughed out loud when I remember or associate with something really funny. This has caused people to look at me wondering what’s going on.
Question 5: Are you a money spender or a money saver?
I like to be good at balancing both. Not forgetting to live life now but planning for tomorrow.
Question 6: What was your funniest moment in life?
My friend and I accidently got left behind as the boat left the Arizona Memorial in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That took a bit of explaining afterward.
Question 7: What are you the proudest of in your life?
That I was asked to give an address to Breast Cancer Survivors at the International World Championship Dragonboat Regatta, where I was also the youngest flag bearer for my country.
Question 8: Which famous person would you like to be?
Angelina Jolie. I think she is pretty amazing. She does great humanitarian work, while looking after her kids and in movies she even does her own stunts.
Question 9: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Antarctica – this region has always fascinated me – but I would take plenty of warm clothes!
Question 10: Which fictional character do you relate to the most?
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider!
Question 11: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
At the moment, more of a morning person. I like to get an early start on the day.
And now those are answered, I should move onto the random facts part:
11 Random Facts about Nicole:
Nicole’s nickname is ‘Nic’.
She likes classical music when she is outdoors enjoying nature.
One of her favourite movies is ‘Under a Tuscan Sun’.
Before this decade is over, she wants to visit Antarctica.
She enjoys blogging because it connects her with like-minded people around the globe.
Despite her best efforts, weeds still manage to thrive in her garden.
Nicole just can’t whistle.
Most weekends she likes to take off and spend time in the Hinterland near her home.
She likes to sketch with pencils.
She loves chocolate and is waiting for the day when it is really good for you and you can enjoy without limits!
Nicole loves dogs.
And now to the exciting part to introduce the 11 blogs that have been nominated in turn to receive the Liebster Award. Below they are presented in alphabetical order.
Aicsthetic follows the journey of a 20-something creative from Manila who is an artist of three kinds. First, she snaps her travels through her eye-popping, turquoise aesthetic. Then, she bears both convictions to her readers with emotional anecdotes of the past and realizations of the present. And lastly, she manifests her bizarre imagination with a brush, a pencil, or a pen. All her thoughts are viewed through her pink-turquoise tinted glasses.
Altea Leszczynska is a professional artist (a painter and a photographer) and her blog is a cultural-lifestyle one. She writes about art, culture, fashion, yoga, veganism, beauty, wellness, and also shares with her readers her controversial opinions spiced with her montypythonesque sense of humour. Altea always illustrate her posts with photography directed by her. She writes in Polish and in English.
Shamira Solana, creator of Bebe Shamo, a Travel and Fashion blogger from the Philippines and Ireland. She travels and dresses on a budget, share pictures and stories from her adventures. She’s also a YouTuber, aspiring actress and a dancer. She’s working full-time as Healthcare Assistant in the hospital and she started blogging after breaking up with her ex-boyfriend to stay productive and thinking positively to build her self-confidence. Now she’s more motivated than ever.
Clever Little Mouse was born out of a New Year’s resolution that blogger Pam Long made seven years ago: to do something creative every day. She’s been sewing and crafting since she was a little girl, but she never anticipated how much her skills and passions would blossom just from that one simple resolution. Her sewing room truly is her happy place, and her goal is to inspire others to take a chance, learn something new and let their creativity shine.
Eclectic Twist is a fun and funky place for home decor and DIY inspiration and tips. Here Tina Bousu shares everything from how to best shop at a flea market to tips for decorating a kids bedroom to redesigning and going through a kitchen reno to installing faux wood beams! She also throws a curve ball in there every once in a while and shares posts about personal empowerment and building your confidence and “rock it” attitude! There’s something for everyone, it’s colorful, eclectic and fun! Tina really enjoys sharing with all of you and hopes you will give her blog a visit!
Stubborn. Original. Optimistic. Vibrant. Chic. This blog is about Twiiti. She’s a 21 years old Namibian Blogger who’s passionate about writing, Words are her strength and she express mostly what she feels through writing. There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. The Lady Twiiti blog is absolutely concerned with recording her inner thoughts, the things she wants to express to people and maybe even inspire your own thinking. In her words…Please allow my fingers to play with the keyboard just a little… or just a bit more.
Maryanne Theodore is a personal and lifestyle blog about my personal stories and life experiences, lifestyle tips and treats, inspirational topics and because of my love to literary works, the blog happen to feature poems and fiction from other writers too. This blog is one which you can learn a lot from because the topics cut across many genres of life. Maryanne hopes you will have a wonderful time when you visit it.
Navigating Adulthood is a community for twenty-somethings, millennials and recent college graduates to help make the journey to being a bonafide adult easier. Think of this blog as a free online “adulting school” where you can learn the life skills they never taught you in school. Blogger Ying’s goal is to help readers become a more successful adults by providing tips, tutorials, advice, and inspiration. She talks about topics ranging from how to find a job to personal finance tips.
Shaziachiu.com is run by Shazia Chiu, a realtor and freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. She previously ran a travel blog called Gap Year for Two, which documented her year-long trip around the world. On her current blog, Shazia covers a range of topics including real estate, writing, travel and personal finance. Her blog also serves as a personal journal of her travels and day-to-day life. Visitors can connect with Shazia by visiting her website or by finding her on Instagram (@shzchiu).
The Artful Appetite is a food blog that features beautiful vegetarian and vegan recipes. Most of the recipes blogger Kate Minor posts she would consider to be pretty healthy. At one point in her life Kate was interested in becoming a dietician. Her creativity and artistic nature led her in another direction, but she is still interested in nutrition and healthy living! In addition to the recipe posts, she sometimes includes posts about her favorite restaurants and cookbooks, her travels, and her art. This blog represents a marriage of two of Kate’s great loves in life: photography and food. Being able to share delicious recipes in such a visually beautiful way is very satisfying for her.
The Modern Nest is a blog dedicated to today’s family home life. Its focus is on keeping it real…solving problems that today’s moms face without unrealistic expectations and always with a light-hearted attitude. In this internet nook you’ll find them talking about everything from the fun (DIY and decor), to the necessary (modern homemaking, organization), and the chaotic (parenting). So grab a cup of coffee (or wine) and go join them!
So congratulations to all those bloggers who have created such lovely blogs. And in keeping with the rules, I have prepared 11 questions for your to answer as you start thinking about the blogs you would like to nominate for the Liebster Award.
Questions for the Nominees:
What inspired you to start your blog?
What do you like to do in the great outdoors?
What would be your most memorable experience outdoors?
What famous person (past or present) would you like to have dinner with?
What is your favourite past-time or hobby?
Where would you most like to visit in the world?
What is your most favourite childhood memory?
Is there a particular skill you would really like to have?
How are you the most creative in what you do?
What’s really great about where you live?
What do you see eventually happening for your blog?
Thank you to everyone for reading. Do check out all these great blogs. Thank you again to our nominator Lea of Lou and Lea. Thank you to our lovely nominees for creating such great blogs.
And the final thank you…well that is reserved for Camping for Women’s subscribers, readers and contributors. Without your wonderful support, there would be no blog!
I confess: I’m a sucker for a good story with a strong heroine, and we’re not talking Scarlett O’Hara here. We’re talking that rare breed of female lead that somehow seems to elude most mainstream media, disproportionate to the number of male protagonists that dominate our literary landscape and cultural narratives.
Although this topic has become of great interest to me in the last few years, I have tended to shy away from addressing it, frankly because I don’t want to be pegged as some feminazi whining about the patriarchy. That’s not why I’m writing this. I am writing it because I think there are a lot of other people out there — men and women alike — who enjoy hearing the stories of female characters just as much as I do, and just as much as we all like stories about male characters.
I will be the first to admit that some of my favorite stories of all time center around the dude protagonist. Anyone who knows me knows that Into the Wild was one of my biggest inspirations for going to Alaska myself, and before that, Kingbird Highway fueled my teenage obsession with birdwatching and hitchhiking.
In my early naïveté, I wanted so badly to have the adventures that Chris McCandless and Kenn Kaufman had in their solo treks across the US, following in the legacies of even earlier explorers like Lewis & Clark and John Muir. But I was always torn between the dichotomy of being told I can accomplish anything I want, and that I am more limited because I am a woman, vulnerable by default.
Oddly enough, I never actually experienced the gender bias myself until I moved to Alaska. Growing up in a family of strong women and graduating near the top of my class in college, nothing ever held me back, though I was aware that my privilege was unique. Yet suddenly when I embarked on my own life of adventure, everyone seemed concerned for my safety and success, probably more so than they would have if I was a big, burly dude. And for good reason.
In rural Alaska, I found myself in a man’s world. For the first time in my life, I was being called at in the streets, followed occasionally when I went out for a walk, offered drinks, sex, and even marriage, and told I was “beautiful” or “cute” by complete strangers. Most of these things are easy to avoid or ignore, but it brought to light the unique challenges faced by female travelers — challenges that possibly make their stories all the more compelling, because they are being dealt with in addition to the usual adversities of any other adventurer.
My experience has been similar. When I’m in uniform as a park ranger, I’m occasionally met with surprise when people find out I’m from so far away, or that I travel just for the experience of it. “Why would you want to come all the way up to Alaska?” or “Why did you leave?” or “You’re so brave to do this by yourself.” One older lady even said to me (I kid you not), “It’s so interesting they’re letting women do this now. I met another young female park ranger this year, and I just couldn’t believe it!” A lot of people still have an antiquated view of the mustached man with pith helmet, so the idea that travelers today can be any one of us is quite a different pill to swallow.
Are female adventurers less common than their male counterparts, or simply less noticed? Sometimes I think the latter may be true, which is perhaps why I’m so intrigued by their stories when I do hear them. If you are too, check out some the following and feel free to share some of your own favorite heroine books and movies in the comments.
Book and Film | Wild
“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves…” ― Cheryl Strayed
I first heard about this book in the summer of 2013, being criticized for similar reasons that Chris McCandless was criticized for in Into the Wild. In many ways, the story is the same, only this time it’s a woman who goes into the wilderness to escape demons of her past, ill-prepared and misguided in her efforts and judgment. It’s great! It’s raw and honest and lays everything out in the open. Unlike McCandless though (spoiler ahead!), author Cheryl Strayed does not succumb to the deadly forces of nature, and instead lives on to write this memoir. It’s exciting, yet a realistic look at the challenges and torture of hiking over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with no prior experience. The movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon came out in 2014, and did a surprisingly good job of capturing the spirit of the book. My one qualm with it was that it focused more on Strayed’s emotional grappling with her past and less with her experiences on the trail than did the book. I would have liked to see more of her trail stories depicted, but perhaps that’s a good argument for both reading the book and seeing the movie – you can get a good taste of both that way.
Book | The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost
This book far exceeded my expectations, capturing the very essence of the coming of age journey that so many young woman travelers experience. I wish I had read it about 7 years ago, when I first traveled abroad. It is the story of Rachel Friedman, a college student who finds her love of travel after spontaneously spending a summer waitressing in Ireland. There, she meets a free-spirited Australian woman who inspires Rachel to spend the next year traveling for the sake of the experience, and together they encounter wild adventurers across three continents, as the title suggests.
It’s a fun read, relatable for anyone who has ever fantasized about traveling the world with their best friend but has absolutely no idea where to start or how to do it. Instead of worrying about that though, Rachel learns to just go for it, inspiring the reader that anyone can do the same.
Book | Life List
Life List is particularly interesting because it is the true story of a woman who finds her adventurous side after raising a family and spending some 30 years as a humble housewife. At the age of 50, after being misdiagnosed with only a year left to live, Phoebe Snetsinger sets out to turn her hobby of birdwatching into the most exciting quest of her life. She ends up spending the next 18 years traveling the world in search of rarer and rarer bird species. Although she often takes guided birding tours in each place she goes, her journey is far from sheltered, as she encounters accidents, a kidnapping, and malaria among other misfortunes. But despite all this, Phoebe is never deterred and it is truly her enthusiasm, commitment, and perseverance that makes this such a compelling read.
Film | Open Road
This fascinating little film tells the story of a young Brazilian artist who lives a solitary and nomadic lifestyle, on a journey of self-discovery. It has a definite independent film-vibe, excellent character development, and a dash of mystery as the story unfolds and the heroine struggles with the desire for human connections while also holding herself at a distance from others. I think it’s a common struggle for many young people who take off on their own, and this film does a good job of taking you along on the journey without revealing it all too fast. It’s a bit slow-paced and the scenes are acted out so naturally you could almost forget you’re watching a film.
Film and Book | Tracks:
“The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision.” ― Robyn Davidson
Literally, it’s a true story about a girl in the 1970s who decides to walk 1,700 miles across the Australian desert with 4 camels and her dog. What’s not to love about that? The book has been out for a long time, but I’ve only seen the movie so far and it immediately became one of my favorite movies I’ve ever seen. Like so many other stories of this caliber, it has a number of flashback scenes alluding to Robyn Davidson’s troubled past, but unlike some of the other stories, these don’t seem to completely dominate her motivation for her journey. Ultimately, she is simply on a quest to prove to herself that she can do it. As a character, Robyn is fascinating and you can’t help but empathize with her: she does what she needs to get what she wants, but rejects offers from others to accompany her on her trip because she wants to have the experience alone. Without giving too much away (because you really HAVE to watch this film), she finds that in some sense, shared experiences are what make life worthwhile — and survivable.
While I am continuously building up my personal library of strong heroine stories, I will leave you with these for now. I invite others to share their favorite heroine stories as well — and most of all, I hope you will be inspired to go out and live your own. Adventure on!
Enjoyed this article by Andrea? You can see more of her work on her website.
For many of us, there is nothing like going into the great outdoors to get away from the stress and strife of modern-day life. Unfortunately, however, while being out in the wilderness is great to unwind, it’s still nice to have some connection to the outside world, which is why we also bring our phones with us. However, trying to get reception can be a huge pain, and if you ever lose your device while out in the woods, it can be almost impossible to retrieve it. For that reason, we are going to go over what to do if you lose your communication and how to find your phone with AVG if it is lost.
If you are worried about losing your signal while out camping, you can plan ahead by bringing other devices that can offer you cell service no matter where you are. These include mobile wireless routers, cell phone boosters, and portable battery chargers to help you maintain access to your device at all times. These are the best ways to stay connected, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones.
If You Lose Signal
For those that didn’t plan ahead, you can help improve your signal in a couple of ways. First, you can find a clear, elevated area that can give you more direct access to a signal, or you can craft your own makeshift antenna. Chip cans and aluminum foil can help boost your phone’s range if you know what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are plenty of tutorials out there that can help.
Losing Your Phone
If the worst happens and you misplace your device while camping, all is not lost. If you have AVG as your Android security and antivirus, then you can track your phone’s location, even if it’s off. This will help you pinpoint where exactly you left your phone so that you can retrieve it. Fortunately, if it’s in the woods somewhere, then you shouldn’t have to worry about someone stealing it.
Overall, the best way to keep your phone in tip-top shape while camping is to plan ahead and have AVG antivirus installed beforehand.