best mountain bike

Isn’t it quite overwhelming when, upon setting foot inside a bike shop to buy the best mountain bike, you realize there are so many options to choose from and you don’t even know where to begin?

Many people have made that same mistake, and most of them bought a mountain bike which they would belatedly realize to be not right for them.

Before heading to the nearest bike shop, you should arm yourself with some information first. These will serve as your guide when buying that much-coveted mountain bike.

how to choose the best mountain bike

The Many Types of Mountain Bikes

You see, a mountain bike is not limited to one type alone. There are several categories of mountain bikes which are basically classified according to their specific uses or functions. Here are the most common ones:

All Mountain BikeAll-Mountain Bikes

If you are one of those hardcore mountain bikers who prefer tackling more technical trails, get yourself an all-mountain bike. They are mostly full-suspension and are designed to handle more challenging obstacles and jumps as well as steeper descents more easily than other types of mountain bikes. Basically, these are your all-around mountain bikes, since they can do pretty much most of everything.

Trail BikesTrail Bike

This category is pretty much composed of general-purpose mountain bikes that can be taken from single-track trails to dirt roads. They are akin to all-mountain bikes, although the latter are built with stronger frames.

Cross-Country BikesCross Country Bike

Competitive cross-country bikers need bicycles that are light and very quick to respond to the slightest steering. Speed is the objective here, not endurance to jumps and impacts, or flexibility in maneuvering through obstacles. They have to be light in order to make pedaling easier, faster and more efficient.

Freeride Bike

Freeride Bikes

Known for their heavyweight and toughness, freeride bikes are the ones used by bikers who like to challenge themselves and perform stunts and jumps in their bikes. Aside from easily conquering ten-foot drops and jumps, they are also excellent for fast and rough trails. They might be tricky to maneuver in uphill climbs, though.

Downhill BikesDownhill Bike

Downhill bikes are designed for fast descent or, as the term states, downhill rides. This is a similarity it shares with freeride bikes. Efficiency is impaired, however, when it comes to riding up hills and steep trails.

Dirt Jump Bike

Dirt Jump Bikes

Have you ever watched extreme sports? Those aerial stunts performed on bikes make use of these types of bikes.

Making Your Choice For The Best Mountain Bike

If you are going to choose one mountain bike for your use in future adventures, you should make it a point to make a wise and informed decision.

Take note of the following considerations:

Your Budget

Naturally, you must first consider your budget. How much do you have and how much are you willing to spend? If you can spend a considerable sum of money, you can immediately start looking into the high-end models or brands. If you are on a tight budget, tell the attendant at the bike shop to lead you to the cheaper but quality mountain bikes. You don’t want to waste your time checking out bikes which you’d end up passing on in the end simply because you cannot afford what’s written on the price tag.

Your Chosen Activity

What type of mountain biking do you intend to do? If you are going to confine yourself to cross-country mountain biking, you can easily narrow down your options. Remember what you’ve learned earlier about the various types of mountain bikes to guide you.

Suspension Type

You should decide whether you want a full-suspension bike or a bike with hardtail suspension.

  • Full Suspension: On a full suspension bike, a suspension fork is attached to the front wheel in order to make steering easier and not give the arm and hand too much strain in the process. Meanwhile, the rear wheel is also attached to a pivoting frame and a shock absorber, giving the rider more control while keeping him comfortable. If you are a serious rider who wants to tackle challenging trails or long bike rides, this type of suspension is for you. Be warned, though; these also happen to be quite on the more expensive side.
  • Hardtail Suspension: Considerably cheaper than a full suspension bike, hardtail suspension bikes only feature front suspension. This is perfect for beginners or those who want to have a mountain bike without spending a fortune.


The strength of the frame would rely mostly on its construction and the materials used. More often than not, aluminum alloy is the main material used by manufacturers in constructing the frames of mountain bikes. They are preferred because they are light and durable, not to mention the cheapest choice. Other options include carbon fiber, titanium, and steel. Titanium and steel are known for their durability even in extreme conditions. In fact, steel is deemed by many to be the ultimate choice when it comes to strength. They are, however, heavy. The material would also influence the price. Carbon fiber frames, for instance, are very expensive, as compared to steel frames.


What wheel size should you go for? Many would conclude that the bigger the wheel size is, the better it would be. But that is not a hard and fast rule. You should consider your height when you are considering which wheel size to buy. After all, you’d want a mountain bike that would fit your body.


You should also consider the other components of the bike. Make sure they are all there: the brakes; the wheels and its rims, axles, and spokes; the drive train and the gear shifters. After that, you should also consider the materials these components are made of. A durable and strong frame would be useless if its attachments are made from inferior materials which would perish easily.

how to choose a mountain bike

Satisfied with your Choice?

At the end of the day, choose a mountain bike that will suit your purposes without causing an irreparable damage to your finances. If you are a beginner, it would be better to start small and start slow. Prudence and caution will help you a lot, and that also applies to choosing the right mountain bike for you.

Best Men's Lightweight Hiking Boots

We are all looking to find the best men’s lightweight hiking boots.

But, is that the right option?

If you’re going to go on a hike, you might as well do it in style… and with topnotch quality and functionality.

You may have the best camping gear, the latest backpack and the finest sleeping bags and pads, but all those will be useless and your entire camping or hiking experience get ruined if you twist your ankle or have sore feet because your hiking boots failed to live up to the task of “taking you places”.

Choosing Hiking Boots According to Your Needs

best men's lightweight hiking boots

So what boots do you need, exactly? Before jumping up and deciding which pair of boots you are going to buy, you must first consider the activity you will need them for because that is largely the deciding factor. Here are the hiking boots options that will be available to you.

Better Options For Best Men’s Lightweight Hiking Boots

Light day hiking shoes

These are made for lightweight hiking or those hiking trips that will last for only a day and with a very little load being carried by the user. As the name clearly states, they are made to be light in weight since the materials used are mostly nylon and light waterproof materials like Gore-tex. Even the soles are soft and light, mostly Vibram, assuring traction and grip on any surface. Anyone wearing them would often feel as though they’re wearing running shoes.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots often come in high-cut or mid-cut designs and are intended for hiking trips that would last a little more than a day, like a weekend trip, for example. Although they are high, flexing is not a problem since they can bend easily. Although they are a bit heavier than the light hiking shoes, they are still relatively lightweight, and the materials used are also similar.

Backpacking boots

When it comes to trips that would last for several days in the country or deeper into the great outdoors while carrying quite a heavy load, you would need more support and durability in your footwear. That is exactly what backpacking boots offer. Made for tougher walks on- and off-trail and for longer trekking periods, their midsoles are made of stiffer materials and instead of nylon or suede, leather is used because of their durability. Naturally, they are heavier than the light hiking boots and the high-cut hiking boots.

Mountaineering boots

The heaviest of the lot, these boots are made for longer hiking trips that will bring the hiker to tougher terrains as he carries an even heavier load. Speaking of tougher terrains, these boots are equipped with midsoles that are designed to be really stiff to make room for crampons when traveling on glacial surfaces. They are mostly made of full grain leather, ensuring the highest level of durability and support in hiking boots.

3 Features That Makes The Difference

It is not enough that your hiking boots will address your exact need at that moment. You also have to consider some features unique to your pair of hiking boots to discern if you will get all the benefits you expect – and deserve – from them.

Consider the boot cut

Should you choose a pair that is low-cut, mid-cut, or high-cut? Again, you would consider the activity. If you’re going on a light hike, it would seem incongruous to be wearing something high-cut, don’t you think?

Conversely, if you go on a hike over uneven terrain or tough trails while carrying a really heavy backpack, you would definitely suffer if you are wearing low-cuts. Aside from the level of comfort being very low, you’d also have debris entering your shoes and inevitably hurting your feet.

For day trips, choose a low-cut boot. If it’ll take you more than a day or two, go for mid-cut, while you will be advised to choose a high-cut for some heavy-duty mountaineering action.

Check out the materials used

Durability is an important feature in hiking boots. Thus you have to make sure the materials used in the upper boot, as well as the soles and other parts of the boot, are made of durable materials.

For mountaineering boots, you need something very sturdy and resist abrasions. Full-grain leather is the primary choice for this purpose.

For lighter boots where breathability is a major consideration, split-grain leather would be a better choice than full-grain.

Other boots make use of suede, polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials, depending on what type of boot it is. Even the soles are considered.

Midsoles are usually made with polyurethane because of their shock-absorbing and cushioning capabilities.

Rubber is the most common choice for the outsoles and Vibram is quite popular among hikers. They offer more traction and grip, something hikers would truly appreciate on a hike.

Make sure the fit is right

This is probably the most important consideration. You may have the boots that are most suitable for the activity and they are the most durable pair there is, with the best possible materials.

However, if they do not fit you, then it’s useless. You would still get shortchanged in the comfort and support department.

Check that the length and width are just right, that you still have room to wiggle your toes but it is not too long or too wide that your feet are sliding within it. Your feet should be wrapped around snugly and securely inside the boots.

The Perfect Hiking Boots

Best Men's Lightweight Hiking Boots

The “Perfect Hiking Boots” do not exist. Or so they say. But if you consider what you need at that point in time for a specific activity, and then factor in all those considerations (fit, materials, cut) in choosing your boots, you will most definitely find the perfect hiking boots – for you.

buy cheap airline tickets

Some people travel for pleasure and derive great thrills when they can buy cheap airline tickets. Discounted air travel is necessary due to the rising costs associated with the travel industry as a whole. Airlines are concerned about how every flight will leave the terminal with no empty seats. To an airline, an empty seat is lost income and wasted travel opportunities.

Some airlines will participate in blanketed marketing techniques just so that they can get the word out to the public about the low fares that are offered when people want to travel coast to coast. They will also create several bargains in travel by air by allowing travelers special discounts for choosing to travel during a specific time period that is typically the time when the airline seats go unsold and remain empty.

There Are Discounted Air Travel Opportunities To Be Found

Some people will book several airline flights during a low fare season that they can use months from now. Booking discounted travel by air might require a little effort on the part of the traveler but the discounts make it all seem worthwhile in the long run.

Most resort locations will have an offseason and travelers know that they can buy cheap airline tickets if they are willing to travel during the off-peak portion of the season. The beaches will still be just as warm as when tourists flock there in the summer months. A savvy vacation traveler knows that they will not have to deal with many crowded beaches when they arrive. They also know that the sun will be shining brightly throughout the time that they are vacationing on those beaches.

Even discounted travel by air has its perks if people know what the best times of the year are to travel. Some people find that they clear security a bit faster when they travel in the off-peak times of the year. They feel they have a better chance of booking the seat that they like to sit in when people are not as vigilant about where they sit. They are typically focused on the prices of the airline flight and not the seat locations.

Why Buy Cheap Airline Tickets

Some discount travel by air opportunities will allow travelers to visit overseas locations that they never thought they would ever be able to afford. The discounts for air travel afford them better rates on hotel rooms when purchased in a discount travel package. Some discounted travel rates are so low that the traveler might even be afforded the chance to get pampered a bit by booking travel by air that includes seats in the first class passenger’s compartment.

trail camera tips for scouting turkeys

OK, sexy might be a little strong for trail camera tips for scouting turkeys.

These tips will allow you to scout and understand your hunting properties from a turkey hunting perspective in a relatively quick fashion. Trail camera tips for turkey hunting are few and far between on the web, and most of them stem from running trail cameras for deer hunting, which doesn’t really relate.

When I’m scouting for turkey with trail cameras, I care about 2 things. Where are the turkeys roosting? If I know nothing else, I want to know that. Secondly, where are they going, after they roost? Here are 3 tips for using your trail camera to find the butterballs (turkeys).

Trail Camera Tips For Scouting Turkeys

1) Time Lapse mode

This is the bee’s knees when it comes to scouting turkeys with trail cameras. Sure, the strutting turkeys close to the camera are sweet to look at, but what do they really inform you of? Diddly, that’s what.

Setup the trail camera to take pictures every minute (or 5 minutes), from sunrise, until the end of legal shooting time (here in Illinois, it’s 1 pm). If you can hunt turkeys all day, I’d still say noon or 1 pm is a good time to cut off the time lapse mode. Position the trail camera as high as possible, so your trail camera pictures can “see” a far distance. The point is to see exactly where the turkeys are entering the field, and where they are leaving.

If the turkeys are not very pressured, there should be a huntable pattern forming over a week or so. If, (big if) there are turkeys utilizing the area. After 1 pm, I have my camera in a regular mode, using the motion sensing feature. That is, up until 6pmish, when I turn on the time lapse mode again. If I can get pictures of turkeys in the last hour or two of light, I know roughly where they are located, come morning. If I’m getting turkey pictures in the PM, and not the AM, I know the turkeys are roosting in the area, but not using the field the camera is on. This is vital info.

The important things to remember here are: 1) time-lapse mode and have it overseeing as much of the field as possible, I position mine anywhere from 6-9ft off the ground. I use the Stic-n-Pic trail camera stand for this. Partially because it’s a badass trail camera stand, and partially because it just plain works.

2) Check your trail cameras in the dark.

I know a guy in Southern IL that does this when checking the cameras for deer hunting. I only do it for turkey hunting. This ensures I don’t spook at turkeys during the daytime, and puts less pressure on the birds, allowing them to hold their pattern longer.

There really isn’t anything special about doing this, other than 99% of the people don’t do it this way. Just be as silent as possible, check the camera, and get out of there.

3) Shoot the biggest file size you can.

In nearly all trail cameras, you can set the camera to shoot different megapixels and file sizes. This is to allow for more pictures (less quality), or fewer pictures at a higher quality.

The benefit to having your trail camera shoot a big megapixel picture? You can blow it up on your computer, and see the birds in the distance much better. This is a big benefit when you’re looking at animals over 100 yards away. So, that brings up another point – get big CF or SD cards for your trail cameras. They are essential when utilizing the time lapse feature that racks up so many pictures.

And there you have it, 3 sexy tips that make scouting turkeys in the Spring easier, and more effective. Put these to use, and you’ll be having more turkeys in the back of your vest!

camping accessories near me

Buying all the camping accessories that you need to have for everyone in the family can get very expensive very quickly.

If this is your first family camping trip then you probably don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on new high-end camping equipment until you for sure that family camping trips are something that you’ll be doing more in the future.

How can you get the gear that you and your family need without spending a small fortune?

Five ways I find good deals on camping accessories near me:

1. Borrow It

Do you have friends that go camping with their kids? Or do you family that has gone camping in the past or maybe you have some friends that are outdoor enthusiasts?

Borrow anything you can from them. Borrow lanterns, sleeping bags, a stove whatever they have.

Anything that you don’t have to buy is money saved.

2. Rent It

Not all of the camping gear that you need to have will be available for rental but some camping and outdoor sports stores like REI do rent things like tents and stoves and other large pieces of camping equipment.

Since those are the things that you would end up spending the biggest amount of money on it makes sense to see if you can rent those things instead of buying.

Check with your local sporting goods and outdoor sports stores to see what equipment they rent.

3. Buy Second Hand

Scour local resale shops or used sporting goods stores for second-hand camping gear that is still in good condition.

Chances are pretty good that you will find some great gear that has only been used once that was purchased by other family campers who decided camping wasn’t for them.

You should probably not buy used sleeping bags. Other second-hand equipment might save you lots money.

You can also take your chances at garage sales and yard sales.

4. Equipment Swaps

Do your kids play sports and have a lot of old sports gear?

Look for local sports equipment swaps to see if you can trade your kids’ old outgrown gear for some family camping gear.

Many times local community sports leagues, sports teams, Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups and other community groups will hold equipment swaps.

Check with your local parks department to find equipment swaps in your area.

5. Look Online

Scour sites like Craigslist or Freecycle to find free or low-cost camping accessories that are still in good condition.

Sometimes you can get amazing deals on equipment that is practically new when you look on Amazon.

With a little bit of effort, you can potentially save a great deal of money on camping accessories and gear. You and your family can have a great time without worrying about the expenses.

hunting gear

What is it about hunters and their hunting gear?

Whether you are a novice or seasoned hunter, there are things to learn about the sports you participate in.

You have a lot of options when it comes to hunting gear. Maybe you’re already proficient at using a rifle but would like to expand your horizons with the bow. Perhaps fishing is your pastime.

Depending on your skill level, you can find a variety of hunting tools to suit your particular goals.

Difference Between Rifle Hunters And Bow Hunters

When it comes to hunting, there are a lot of rifle hunters, but bow hunters are increasing in numbers. There are some pros and cons to both types of hunting. Rifle hunters generally find their costs to be lower and they can stalk and take down their prey from a greater distance. Bow hunters, on the other hand, enjoy the time spent in pursuit, as well as the practice time they take to become skilled at using the bow. Also, bowhunters have more space to themselves when hunting during bow season, as there aren’t as many of them, and the season is generally longer than it is for the rifle hunters. If you hunt with any type of gun, you will have options when it comes to ammunition. The same thing can be said for bow hunters’ arrows. Take the time to find out what works best with your particular weapon choice so that you can experience a better hunt.

Knives For Hunting

Another consideration is the type of knife you need when hunting. There are knives that work well with small game that wouldn’t do the job for a larger animal. Think about whether or not you are hunting mainly for food or trophies. Fixed-blade knives are stronger and can be a good choice if you hunt often. A knife with a bird hook is necessary for cleaning birds such as pheasants. Regardless of what you hunt, there are many knives available. Depending on your knife handle preference, you can find exactly the knife you need that fits your budget.

Gear For Fishermen

Fishing is another type of hunting. You just happen to do it with a pole and a hook. It’s not quite that simple, however, because there are different forms of fishing. Some fishermen fly fish, some fish off a riverbank and others fish from a boat in the middle of a lake. The equipment you need varies from the rod and reel combo you pick the baits and lures you choose.

Where To Shop For Hunting Gear

The next question you may have is where to shop for your hunting needs. Try a one-stop online auction for the best equipment at the best prices. You don’t have to go all over town to try and find the gear that fits your budget when you can shop from the comfort of your home. Tried and true sportsmen and women are looking to sell equipment they no longer use that could be perfect for you. You can ask questions and enjoy browsing at your leisure with no pressure from someone trying to sell you things you don’t need.

Hunting is an amazing sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. When you arm yourself well with equipment that performs when you need it to and the way you want it to, you will most certainly be a satisfied hunter. Hunt with appropriate hunting gear that is also bought from a reliable source, so that your hunting experiences are everything you expect them to be.

beginners guide to fly fishing

Why? Because I always wanted to write a beginners guide to fly fishing.

Since the days of the ancient Macedonians, fly fishing has been a great way to both catch fish and to enjoy some time in nature away from the craziness of life in the so-called civilized world. Yep, those Macedonians knew what every fly fisherman has known since he tied his first fly and cast it onto the face of the waters: fly fishing is, as Izaak Walton aptly put it, “The Contemplative Man’s Recreation.”

Wow, all that makes fly fishing sound pretty easy, doesn’t it? The truth is that the sport has a reputation in some circles for being a much greater challenge than, say, deep sea fishing off a chartered boat 40 miles offshore with a can of beer in one hand and a bottle of sunscreen in the other. Fair enough. There is a measure of skill required to tie a fly and use it to convince a wary fish that it’s a tasty meal worth tasting.

That’s precisely what makes fly fishing a sport worth trying – that and the aforementioned opportunity the sport provides to get away from it all.

The first challenge for the beginner fly fisherman is learning how to tie a fly. Simply put, fly fishing is nothing more than using thread to tie different materials to a hook in order to create something that resembles (to a fish, anyway) lunch. That certainly sounds easy enough, but the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? The difference between a properly tied fly and a bunch of feathers and string on a hook is the difference between catching fish and spending the day tossing a fuzzy or furry or feathery hook with nothing to show for it. Sure, a bad day fishing still beats the best day working but who wants to have a bad day fishing if they can help it.

It is only fair that I mention here that there are plenty of mass-produced, pre-packaged, pre-tied flies available out there. If you are one of those who would rather go that route, go in peace and leave the rest of this guide to those who appreciate the kind of fortitude and self-reliance that fly tying do-it-yourselfers bring to the sport. Better yet, go back to deep sea fishing – and don’t forget which hand holds the beer and which holds the sunscreen.

For the rest of you, do what my mom did when we kids needed new school clothes: buy the pattern and make it at home. Just as there are patterns for making clothes, there are patterns for tying all sorts of flies. Do your research. Buy a book, like The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing, or surf the web or hang out at the local watering hole until you come across the guy with the serene smile whose aftershave is tinged with just a hint of trout. Ask that guy which flies are best for catching which fish, buy a few of the patterns for those flies and be patient as you develop the knack for tying a good fly.

Then, once you have a few of your own useable flies, find out what kind of line and reel and what kind of casting is best for attracting the fish you are going after. Yes, there are various lines and reels and fishing techniques, just as there are various kinds of flies. Fish, it seems, not only want their food to look like food, they want it to move like food, too. Again, asking for advice from an experienced fly fisherman is a great way to learn these tricks of the trade. Failing that, there is always youtube.

Finally, be patient over the long haul as you develop the skills to create ties that attract the fish and to move those ties in ways that approximate the real thing. And if you don’t catch a lot of fish the first few times out, look on the bright side, at least you know that with fly fishing your hands will never smell like bait.

pitch your tent

So you’ve already bought all your camping supplies, you’ve gathered all the food and water you’ll need, you have the bug spray and sunscreen and you are all ready to go and pitch your tent in the great outdoors. However, you may want to rethink pitching that tent. Do you know how the tent works? Do you know where you should pitch your tent? Do you know all the do’s and don’ts for working that tent? If this is your first camping trip then you probably don’t, but don’t worry, you can use that excitement to your advantage.

Practice Pitching The Tent

First off, before you even leave on your camping adventure, practice pitching the tent. You’ve seen in movies and cartoons where the characters try with all their might to keep that tent up but it keeps falling down? Well, you obviously don’t want that happening to you so practice pitching the tent in your backyard first. Make sure it stands even if you shake it and try to bring it down. If you can push the tent over, think how easy it would be for a wild animal to do it.

Pick Your Spot Right

So now that you’ve perfected your tent pitching skills and you’re in the wild ready to put it up for real, you’ll need to pick your spot. You may want to pitch your tent next to a beautiful lake, but that is a terrible idea. Keep your tent away from stagnant water because the ground close by will have absorbed the moister, making it less stable for you and your tent. Keep your tent on high, flat ground or if you have no choice but to be on a hill, be at the top of the hill.

You may want to pitch your tent under the safety of a tree; however, this is also a terrible idea. Those trees like to manipulate you into thinking they will keep you safe from rain and other elements yet they do the opposite. Trees can keep moisture in them for long after it has stopped raining so you may hear the dripping in the middle of the night. The ground around a tree can also be unstable due to roots popping up and the soil is weak from the protection from rain. Trees are also magnets for lightning strikes so you definitely do not want to be sleeping near one.

Beware The Wind

Also, consider where the wind is blowing from while pitching your tent. If the wind is blowing from the West then don’t put the entrance flap facing west. This makes it less likely that your tent will blow over and start tumbling down the hill. This is especially important if you have a tunnel tent and when you’re on a hill.

You may also want to check out the campsite to see where the bathroom facilities are if your campsite even contains them. You’ll want to be close enough to walk and feel safe but far enough to avoid the smell.

Happy camping!