River Wrangler “Review”

Gear we actually use and love!

River Wrangler

Okay so lets talk about the elephant in the room. Do we love Kavu? Yes, absolutely. Are we supported by Kavu? Yes, absolutely. It was our desire to partner with companies that we both resinated with and loved. Kavu has been that outdoor clothing company for us for years, and if you own any of Kavu clothing, bags, or hats then you know exactly what we are talking about. So after reaching out and developing a relationship with Kavu, we got set to offer a 20% discount for anyone who uses our affiliate link. I believe this is a win win for everyone. Kavu gets more traffic, the buyer gets 20% off on clothing that they already love, and we get supported as a family to share what we love!

So lets dive into the River Wrangler shirt for men. What I like about this shirt the most aside from the super cool fish designs (granted you may not like it if you don’t like fish……) is first how well it wicks moisture and I absolutely love a button up shirt that stretches. When you spend long hours on the water, staying dry is essential, and the river wrangler will not only move with you, but will keep you dry throughout the day.

There are two different designs in this shirt, the first one shown above is the Night Fishn and the other one is Fish Line. I find that the Fish Line design has a little too much going on for me, but the Night Fishn is just perfect! Not too much, not too little. Cost runs a little high at $85, but then again this isn’t your regular type of shirt. I use this shirt for of course fishing, which definitely ups my fishing came, as well as a day on my kayak or walking through town. Versatility is a key component for me, I want to look good both in the water as well as on land. The sizing runs perfect, I wear a medium in all of Kavu’s clothing.

If you are interested in checkin this shirt out, use our affiliate link for a 20% discount. We appreciate your support! click here

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Coolest shirt ever? Let us know below…..

Adventure-Travel Packing Tips

Adventure travel packing can seem a bit daunting at times, especially when you start to think about all the items that you possible may need to bring. Often times our wants heavily outweigh our needs. So I wanted to take the opportunity to share some recommended tips on preparing for your next adventure!

I have had the opportunity to travel to some of the most remote locations across the globe. From the arctic of Northern Alaska to the Savannas of south west Africa, and to the jungles of northern Brazil. Each adventure will always require its special requirements, however these packing tips are a great way to get you started in the right direction, and will help you think about the importance and use of each item that fills your bag.

  1. PACK ONLY ESSENTIALS AND THEN REPACK

For those who have experience adventure traveling, may know that planning your trip and your gear is essential when preparing for a journey into the wild. Leaving behind one essential item could be disastrous or even deadly.

Packing key essentials are often dictated by personal choice, experience, and environment. I have found that most adventure traveling requires a minimalist approach, and a trip can easily be ruined by bringing too much stuff that just takes up space, and adds weight. There is a great motto that says “it is better to have and not need then to need and not have.” Although there is definitely wisdom to this saying, this can also get new adventurers excessively choosing to bring EVERYTHING, just in case!

So how do you decide? This becomes the planning phase. What items do you KNOW you will need, and what items do you THINK you will need. Take all those items and pack them in your bag just like you would for your adventure. After organizing and loading your gear, put it on and see how it fits. This is often the first sign if you packed too heavy or even packed to light. Then take everything out and go piece by piece and ask, “why am I bringing this?” If you can’t give the answer, or if that item doesn’t not add a valuable advantage, ask yourself this, ” Can this item be replaced with something better, or can I leave it behind?”

Once your adventure trip is complete take note of the items you needed and the ones you didn’t. This begins to add to your experience and helps to build an essential pack that will help you thrive in your environment.

Here are some items that I believe are essential in any pack:

-Map and compass

-GPS

-Water and water container

-Food

-First-aid kit

-Communication device

-External charger

-Waterproof bags

-Warm jacket

-Hat and gloves

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2. PACK YOUR ADVENTURE BAG IN THE CORRECT ORDER

Depending on your environment that you are heading into, will decide on what you need and how often. When you pack your bag, put the items that you will use least in the bottom. I have also found that rolling all of my items not only saves space, but also helps with organization. For any empty spaces on the sides, fill those voids with smaller items like socks, underwear, ect. As you work from the bottom up, save your electronic for last, and pack these in a waterproof bag and place on the top. Your electronic devices will most likely be the most used and should be easily accessible as well as waterproof.

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3. INVEST IN QUALITY GEAR THAT HAS BEEN TESTED

Having quality and tested gear will support your adventure in more ways than you could imagine. A trip can quickly come to end if your sole tears off, your rain jacket soaks through, or your backpack doesn’t fit correctly. By aiming for high quality items that has been tested in similar environments, will ensure that they will take extended abuse and hold up in harsh environments, while supporting your physical needs.

For any new gear, that is not an exact replacement for previous gear, it is highly recommended to spent time familiarizing yourself with it especially if it is a new tech item. For clothing upgrades or replacement, ensure that the fit is perfect, and any wear in has been accomplished.

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4. WATER PROOF EVERYTHING

Probably enough said, however this can look a little different for everyone. Regardless of your environment, I highly recommend that you have a waterproof bag/liner inside of your main backpack. Most backpacks will come with rain covers, however majority of backpacks are not waterproof and over extended time in wet environments, your inner contents will get damp or wet. By packing all of your items in a waterproof bag ensures they stay dry even under the harshest of environments. I also, recommend packing your gear in multiple waterproof bags that can be packed according to your needs, and will keep you from emptying out all of your contents to locate just one item.

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5. KEEP IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS SAFE

It absolutely vital for the security and safety of your trip to keep your passport, driver’s license, and travel insurance on you at all times. By keeping your important documents on you at all times, ensures that if you misplace your bag, or if it becomes stolen that you are able to either continue your journey or return home without any serious incident. I have also found it a great idea to scan ALL important documents and to have those available on your phone and email. For all international travel, keeping a physical copy of your passport can provide faster assistance at your local embassy if your passport becomes lost or stolen. By keeping the physical documents separate from their copies, gives you the ability to proof your identify and seek replacements more fluidly.

Thank you for hanging out with us today! We hope you enjoyed the article.

-Clint

Kayaking Betton Island, Alaska

There is nothing like spending the day circumnavigating one of the most beautiful islands here in Clover Pass, Alaska. Tory and I took the opportunity to drop the kids off for a day with their Chinna and Nanna, so we could spend 6 hours together on the water, soaking up the beautiful rock formations, high cliffs, and sea life! We hope you enjoy our youtube video of our paddle. Only Kavu days ahead!

If you have any Alaska kayaking questions or comments, please leave them below 🙂

5 Bear Safety Tips

I have had the wonderful opportunity to live in rural Alaska most of my life. Over the last 10 years I have taught hunter safety, bear defense, and have worked along side geologists and biologist as a bear safety guide. In over 20 years of being in around brown bears and black bears I have been lucky enough to only have positive outcomes in each circumstance.

Now granted luck definitely plays a role in bear interactions. Its not like a bear takes classes on how to interact with humans, they are instinctual, which means they will either decide to defend, attack, or evade. It’s pretty much that simple. There are rare occasions where a bear will hunt a human being for food, there are usually environmental factors lead to this and it usually deals with the age of bear, food scarcity, and possible past encounters with humans.

So lets just jump into it. 5 bear safety tips to keep you safe:

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  1. Attitude is everything

The way we approach the outdoors says a lot about who we are and what are intentions are. If we move around the Alaskan wilderness with confidence and appreciation for this land and it’s animals, we will interact with the wildlife and the terrain with respect. So often aggressive bear encounters have very little to do with what the bear did, but our actions leading up to it. Remember bears are instinctual, but for those individuals who move around the Alaskan wilderness with little respect for its surroundings, or who push the safe distance between a bear to get that “perfect” picture or Alaskan “experience” are putting themselves as well as the bear in a difficult position. There has been some recent research recommending at least 100 yards distance between yourself and a bear. Some states in the lower 48 actually make it prohibited do get any closer than 100 yards to a bear while approaching, viewing, or engaging with them. Although, bears are amazing to see up close, it is important to respect them and their surroundings by maintaining a safe distance at all times.

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2. Stay in a Group

I know I am not your parent, and as an adult we love our independence, but moving around in bear country in Alaska alone is a risk that we shouldn’t take. Not only is traveling alone in bear country dangerous, but the environment and terrain here in Alaska can be deadly. With the wet and cold climates, hyperthermia is a real risk, as well as sheer cliffs, dense vegetation, and limited communications. Breaking an ankle alone in Alaska could mean certain death. As we look at statistics around North America there is not a single incident where a bear has attacked multiple people moving together. Staying in a group not only can protect you from an aggressive bear encounter, but it has a variety of other safety benefits.

3. Always Carry a Deterrent

I know this can be a hot topic, the efficiency between bear spray vs. firearms. I am not here to give you a clear answer on the two, as I personally believe you should carry what fits with your comfort level as well as experience. However, I would like to share what I consider a third option, and I consider it the best of both worlds. For years growing up in a small village in northern Alaska, we only carried a firearm. Maybe it was a large caliber handgun (not going dive into the caliber topic at this time), a 12 guage shotgun, or a rifle. As I got older and started to explore the Alaska wilderness on my own, I have opted to carry both bear spray and a firearm.

This is my reason why.

First, lets start out by addressing the elephant in the room and the major argument for both. We know that each of these items has it’s own limitations, and each situation and encounter will be unique. One of the major arguments with bear spray is that it is not 100% reliable and that the environment and the distance can have a major role to play in its effectiveness. However, under the right circumstances bear spray can be an excellent tool and one that will provide both a positive benefit for both the bear and human alike.

Next, lets look at the major arguments for a firearm. First, if you only carry a firearm you only have one primary deterrent to use, and under some circumstances this could cause both serious injury or death to both the bear and human alike. Firearms also require an in-depth knowledge of firearm safety, control and accuracy. Also, depending on the environment we have to worry about not only the initial target, but also the surround area and other bystanders that may be in the area. However, it has to be noted that many lives have been saved due to the effective use of a firearm during a bear attack.

This brings me to my personal decision of carrying both. I believe the more options we have especially in deterring a bear, the more responsible we are. Rarely does a bear encounter require a firearm solution, often bear spray will be enough, plus bear spray can be used with impunity. Also, carrying both options provides the user with confidence and options. This confidence whether it is justified or not can lead to better judgement and determination of the bears actions. It should be note that if you kill a bear in Defense of Life or Property (DLP) in Alaska you are required to contact the local ADF&G Wildlife Conservation office or Alaska Wildlife Troopers immediately. You are also required to fill out and submit a Defense of Life or Property Report Form questionnaire concerning the circumstances within 15 days. More information can be found here.

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4. Use Noise Appropriately

There is nothing worse than accidentally sneaking up on a bear. These accidental encounters account for a high number of bear charges and attacks on humans. The idea of accidentally sneaking up on a bear may seem unrealistic, but I can say from personal experience that the majority of my close encounters with both brown bear and black bear has been because neither one of use new the other was there. Everyone of those encounters ended with the bear running off in one direction and me moving off swiftly in the other, but these encounters could have easily ended up with the bear moving in my direction. I have found that the easiest way to let a bear know you are there especially in blind spots or heavily dense area is to speak up and let the bear know you are there. I have had friends and colleagues talk to the bear or clap their hands, the truth is the bear has no idea what you are saying, so don’t overcomplicate the situation. Just talk loud, let your presence be known, and do your best to let the bear know that you are there.

5. Always Store Your Food Properly

More human and bear encounters will take place because of improperly stored food. Remember bears are opportunistic, they will never pass up an easy meal, and food left out or in your tent is an easy meal. Bearproof canisters although bulky and limited in volume are almost 100 percent effective. I have seen first hand a coastal brown bear doing his best to open one of the bearproof canisters to no effect. Hanging can also be effective in food bags, but if you live where black bears are present, it is necessary to follow the basic guidelines of height and distance from the tree trunk. Here is a quick diagram below.

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I would like to end with not exactly a safety tip, but a survival tip in the event of a bear attack. The rule of thumb is if you get mauled by a brown bear, don’t fight back, lay on your stomach, use your hands to protect your neck and play dead (fingers crossed) until the mauling stops. If it is a black bear, FIGHT BACK!!! Black bears only attack to kill.

-Clint

Survival Training

As a father there are a lot of good moments and experiences to look forward to. When Tory and I were blessed with Noah our third child, not only was I excited to have our first boy, but also to have the opportunity to share with him the skills and training that my father shared with me.

Last year at the age of 6, I took Noah on a 2 day survival trip to Bennett Island, here in Southeast, Alaska. In preparation for this trip, Noah and I spent time building fires, foraging in the woods, building shelters, and discussing different animals found here in Southeast. I wanted Noah to get the entire experience of this weekend, so we decided to access Bennett Island with a double sea kayak. We loaded up our kayak with minimal gear and all the supplies that we would need for our adventure and headed out early on July 2nd, 2020.

Our kayaking portion took around three hours, as we paddled around to the back of the island, called Tattoosh Island. This area is comprised of small islands, and large rock outcroppings, with a few beautiful beaches that access the interior of the island. On our first night on the island we spent time going over the importance of setting up a good camp and why it is important for our tent, fire ring, and food to be evenly separated from each other. We started with our 2 man tent and hammock, and then quickly scavenged for enough wood to last us through the night and for our next morning. After making fire and eating dinner, we secured our food products high in the trees away from any curious black bear and began our night rituals.

The next day brought about breakfast with a teaching on his Alaskan Native culture as well as his Scandinavian history around the fire. We talked about the importance of character and of courage in times of adversity, and the importance of servanthood and honoring those who have gone before you. After our educational training we spend time working on our Scandinavian language and correlated it as well, as I could to his Haida language that he has learned as child.

After our time together, we gathered our gear for an exploration and gathering of fire starter supplies. We spent roughly 2 hours navigating the dense forest of the island, working on basic land navigation, following basic game trails, and how to stay from getting lost. We found a variety of amazing treasures, as well as green toads and eagle feathers. After collecting enough supplies for a dry tinder bundle made up of spruce sap and old mans beard, we headed back to camp. It was during this time that I taught Noah how to prepare a fire starting kit and the necessary steps needed to start a successful fire from a steel striker. It took Noah a few practices, but soon he was sending sparks all over the place. After zeroing his sparks onto his tinder bundle, he had a fire going in no time.

After starting his own fire, we worked on some defensive skills like fire hardening spear tips and how to successfully through a knife and axe. Noah has had practice in both of these areas, but excelled quickly and before I knew it he was increasing his distance and challenging his accuracy.

As the day progressed we decided to take to the kayak and spend the rest of the day circumnavigating the island as we explored beaches and to our pleasant surprise discovered a small Gold coin in the low tide. This find was a highlight to our trip, and one that brought up an abundance of questions on where it came from and how old it might be. Our conclusion was a sunken pirate ship, but this of course cannot be officially confirmed!

As we made our way around the island back home, we made it back just in time to enjoy the 4th of July from the comfort of our kayak, as we came in right before dark under the explosion and bursting of lights above us.

This was an amazing bonding experience, one in which neither of us have forgotten, and as we near summer our plans have started for our next survival trip together. We look forward to sharing this experience with you soon.

-Clint

Adventure Van Upgrades

So it has been 2 years, since Rev has taken our family on any notable adventures. Since the pandemic Rev has seen very little usage, mostly daily commutes, and overnight trips. Although, we had big plans last year, with all of our time we had opportunity to add on a few “essential” upgrades for Rev. Check it out below ->

We hope you enjoyed our van tour. If you have any questions please leave us a comment!

-Clint

Best Camping Games

As summer fast approaches I thought I would take the opportunity to share our families top 5 camping games. Because seriously, entertaining 3 kids 10 and under takes skill and preparation. These games are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained and your family laughing for hours on end.

5 Great Camping Games Everyone Will Love

  1. Frisbee

Ok, so frisbee has to be one of our favorite family activities while camping. We honestly bring our frisbee everywhere. Not only does it take up a tiny space, but you can throw it in your backpack for a hike, or bring it down to the beach or an open space and get right to throwing. We have found out that this is a great way to get everyone involved and running around, whether you want to throw round robin, or split up into teams, frisbee will keep your busy and entertained for hours on end!

2. Bottle Bash

Maybe you have heard of this or better yet have played it, then you know how fun bottle bash can be. If you haven’t played this before and you enjoy frisbee, frisbee golf, or corn hole, then this game is for you. Not only is this light and portable, but it is a great way to get the whole family involved. So the rules are simple, get into two groups roughly 10-40 feet away (depends on skill level, 20 feet is average), each group stands behind the stand with a bottle balancing on top. One team will throw the frisbee trying to knock off the bottle. 2 points are given if the bottle hits the ground, and 1 point if the frisbee hits the ground. 3 point max can be made on each throw. If the bottle or frisbee are caught, no points awarded. Game goes to 21 or 11 for quick game.

Official rules can be found here.

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Credit: Tory Shultz

3. Slackline

Yes, slackline has become kinda a thing among extreme sport enthusiasts, but at its core is an ultimate challenge of balance and movement. When the environment allows, our family always sets up 2 things right away, a hammock (because everyone loves to take a nap in a hammock) and a slackline. For those who might be unfamiliar with a slackline, it is basically a thick webbing anchored securely between two points. The “goal” of a slackline is to balance on the webbing without falling off and gracefully make your way to the other side. For those who begin to master this game of balance, additional movements like squatting, juggling, partner war, and a variety of other cool stuff can be done on a slackline. If you are new, our best advice is to one be patient, and two, if you continue to struggle you can always add a safety or balance line above to help you navigate across.

Now I am sure there are a lot of great slackline companies out there, the few that we have had experience with are through Gibbon Slacklines, find link here. We have no affiliation with them what so all, but absolutely love their slacklines.

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4. Kubb

I know, what is a Kubb? Is that really a name of a game? Yes, we thought the same things too. We were first introduced to Kubb when we were surfing at Indian Beach, Oregon. I was out in the water, doing my best to look like I knew what I was doing, my girls where digging huge holes in the sand, and my youngest boy…. Well he was going around making friends with other boys, and guess what game his new friend was playing with his family? Yep, you guessed it Kubb!

So what exactly is Kubb? Here is the simple premise. Two teams of players set up five wooden blocks called Kubbs (they can be purchased or better yet built) and set up around 15-25 feet apart, with the King Kubb in the middle of the playing area. The object of the game is to toss batons at your opponents kubbs (blocks) and attempt to knock them over. When all of your opponents kubbs are down the first team to knock down the King Kubb wins!!!! More in-depth rules can be found here.

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5. Slap Jack

Last, but definitely not least is our favorite card game Slap the Jack. This is a perfect game to play in the tent, or in our case in our van during a rainy day outside. When you don’t want everyone to just sit on electronics a deck of cards can bring a lot of fun and enjoyment to the whole family. The reason why we like slap the jack is because of the simplicity, quick pace, and of course the slapping! I won’t go into the details of how to play because it is pretty straight forward but here is a link to a few different ways to play it. Happy slapping!!!

So what games do you play when you are camping? We would love to hear below?