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We are asked nearly every day: "What are your best binoculars?" And every day we answer: "How do you plan on using them?" We are not trying to be evasive with our answer, but the truth of the matter is the best binoculars for one purpose may be the worse binoculars for another. We want you to Get It Right The First Time.

What To Know When Buying Binoculars

What To Know When Buying BinocularsWe are asked nearly every day: "What are your best binoculars?" And every day we answer: "How do you plan on using them?" We are not trying to be evasive with our answer, but the truth of the matter is the best binoculars for one purpose may be the worse binoculars for another. We want you to Get It Right The First Time.Understanding your application is paramount in determining the best fit for you. Although there are many other specifications and qualities which determine the usefulness of binoculars, we will discuss in this article the primary characteristics for determining the best fit for your application. But before we show you the list, we should go over some basic terminology. What do the numbers on binoculars mean? All sporting optics (binoculars, spotting scopes, night vision goggles, etc.) use the same nomenclature to describe important features. As an example, a pair of binoculars may have 10x42mm listed as a technical specification. But what does this mean? The "10" refers to the magnification power of the binoculars that is objects viewed will appear to be 10 times closer than when they are viewed by the naked eye. The second number in our example is "42mm." This refers to the diameter, in millimeters, of the objective lenses on the binoculars. The objective lenses are located on the end of the binoculars furthest away from your eye when viewing. As with the aperture of a camera lens, the size of objective lens determines the amount of light that can enter your binoculars. If your binoculars are going to be used during low light (hunting and astronomy are good examples) you had better have large objective lenses. Another important number describing binoculars is called field-of-view. A field-of-view of 390' indicates that the width of the sight picture is 390 feet at a distance of 1000 yards. Field-of-view is determined by magnification and the focal lengths of the objective and eyepiece lenses. More magnification always means less field-of-view. This specification is sometimes expressed in degrees. A field-of-view of 6.5 degrees equates to 341' (6.5 times 52.5 equals 341). How well your binoculars will serve you in low light conditions is described as Twilight Performance. Although many things, such as overall design and quality of glass impact this specification, magnification and objective lens diameter are the chief components. A quick way to determine the Twilight Performance of binoculars is to multiply the magnification power (first number) times the objective lens diameter (second number). The higher the result, the better the Twilight Performance. As an example, 10x42mm binoculars will have better Twilight Performance than 8x50mm binoculars (420 versus 400).Now that we understand some basic terminology, here is What to Know When Buying Binoculars."* While compact binoculars weigh as little as a pound, by using them you will undoubtedly sacrifice performance. If performance is your main consideration, full sized binoculars are preferred. Anything weighing over about 1.5 pounds will get heavy fairly fast. Use a binocular support system to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders instead of using a strap around your neck.* The amount of light available while using your binoculars will determine more than any other consideration which binoculars are best for you. Low light uses such as hunting, birding and astronomy require larger objective lenses.* The distance you will be from the object you view will determine the magnification power required in a pair of binoculars. If your application is bird watching, theater or sporting events, a low powered binocular will suffice in most cases. But if you're into astronomy, you'll need a high powered pair.* The minimum focal point in binocular terminology refers to how near an object can be to you and be still be viewed in focus. This tends to be important for birding but not so important for most other uses.* Binoculars with a magnification power greater than 10x (and without a stability feature) will be difficult to hold steady. This becomes important when viewing the night sky or distant mountains. A tripod may be a good thing to have if youre using binoculars with high magnification.* Using your binoculars outdoors will usually subject them to moisture. Waterproof binoculars are preferred for all marine, hunting, birding and other nature related activities.* The greater the magnification, the narrower the field-of-view. If field-of-view is important to you, don't purchase the most powerful binoculars you can find. This becomes very important when viewing objects that move quickly such as antelope, race horses, shooting stars or race cars.* As with almost everything else in life, with binoculars you get what you pay for. There are binoculars that cost under $10 and others which cost in excess of $2,500. My experience says you will need to spend at least $250 for a pair of binoculars worth having.* There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to sporting optics. If you have multiple uses for binoculars, you will most likely end up with multiple pairs of them and thats O.K.Your understanding of these few simple tips will not only help you in acquiring the correct binoculars for your application, but they will also help you with successful viewing no matter what youre looking at. Use this information and youll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Hummingbird Information- Helpful information about the popular hummingbird!

Hummingbird Information- Helpful information about the popular hummingbird!

Your hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned, and the humming bird nectar needs to be changed every 3-4 days. If black spots are visible inside your hummingbird feeder, it can be a sign of mold and you will need to scrub it out with a stiff thistle brush. If you can't reach the spots with a brush, you can mix some sand and water together and shake the feeder vigorously to remove the mold. Never use harsh detergent to clean your hummingbird feeder. Rinse the feeder out with hot water each time you change your nectar. If you do this on a regular basis you should not have a problem with mold growing inside of the feeder.Pesty ants can be a problem at a hummingbird feeder. The best way to prevent ants at your feeder is to use an "ant guard". An ant guard is a barrier between the ants and the nectar, making them ant proof. These guards are built into many feeders but are also available as an add on accessory for existing feeders. There are certain ways to attract hummingbirds to your feeder. Red! Red! Red! All hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Most feeders that are purchased these days have red on them somewhere, but if you are in doubt that there is enough red, try tying a red ribbon on the feeder itself. Another way to attract attention to your feeder is to place it among flowers that hummers like, or hang a basket of flowers nearby the feeder. You will find that feeder activity slows as more flowers bloom in your yard. Do not panic! They prefer natural nectar over what we give them in our feeders, so as the flower start to diminish, you will see them come back again.

Hiking Safety

Hiking Safety

Having made my share of mistakes in the wilderness over the years, I have compiled a list of gotcha's that can be applied to any outdoor adventure. I urge you to print this out and store with your outdoor gear. Hiking can be a most rewarding distraction from the daily grind, but safety should NEVER be taken for granted!Preparation1) Plan your hike. You are more likely to have a safe and happy hike if you "plan your hike, and hike your plan". To rush out on a big hike w/o proper planning is asking for trouble! ALWAYS notify someone close to you where you will be and how long you will be gone.2) Know your terrain. Use every resource available to get to know your hiking trail before you set out. This will prepare you for the walking conditions. "Are there streams to ford?, Elevation changes?, Is terrain rocky or smooth?", Just some of the questions that can be answered BEFORE you set out.3) Know your climate. Hypothermia is real, dangerous, and misunderstood. Hypothermia can strike in relatively warm environments. Hypothermia plain and simple is a rapid cooling of the body. This can be caused by cold, wet or a combination of both. Hypothermia can easily be prevented with proper preparation.In The Pack Essentials1) Potable water. Always have fresh water available, on any excursion. It is also a good idea to bring along purification tablets and/or a filtration device. Having the ability to produce drinking water can be just as important as the water you pack in. I also bring along some protein snacks, just in case.2) First Aid Kit. Although an obvious choice, it is surprising how many folks go in the wilderness without one. Items as simple as pain relief tablets can be a welcome addition when you are far from civilization. Other items are bandages, tweezers, moleskin, antiseptic, needle and thread (for repairs).3) Fire and light source. Matches and a lighter are essentials for me. I usually pack along a small piece of commercial starter stick for quick fires in moist environments. I also pack a small conventional flashlight and an LED light, as well.4) Clothing. It is always wise to pack some extra layers. The weight of these items will be dictated by the environment, err to the side of caution, as temps can fluctuate greatly, especially in mountainous environments. An extra pair of socks can be life savers.5) Orienteering. Packing along a map and compass has gotten me out of a jam more than once. I also carry a cell phone, even though I may not get reception in most places, in a pinch, I may be able to get a call out.The single most important item to pack on your next hike is common sense. Making sound decisions while on the trail will keep you out of most troubled situations. If you hike with your family members, especially children or seniors, remember that they may not have the stamina handle the same level hike as you, and you ultimately must make the right decision.

Birding Trails Florida

Birding Trails  Florida

If youre into birding, finding new trails is always an enjoyable task. Heres a primer on birding trails in Florida. Birding Trails FloridaIt goes without saying that Florida is a rather large state. The following birding trails represent a mere sample of what is out there, but are proven birding spots. With that being said, lets get on with it. 1. St. Josephs Peninsula Park Over 247 species of birds can be seen on the trails at St. Josephs. The real attraction, however, happens every October and September. During this period, hawks and falcons are all over the park as they migrate from northern areas to the Gulf of Mexico for the winter season. You can expect to see sharp-shinned hawks, broad wing hawks and even a few copper hawks. If youre lucky, you can sight one of the smaller numbers of red-shoulder hawks, red-tail hawks and the elusive, endangered Peregrine Falcon. 2. Bahia Honda State Park If shorebirds and wading birds are a delight to you, Bahia Honda offers birding trails with excellent sighting potential. Shorebirds include Plovers, Sanderlings and Willets to mention a few. Wading birds are plentiful and you can expect to glimpse a wide variety. Plentiful species include herons, ibis and egrets. During summer, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the endangered White crowned Pigeon in the local trees along the trail. 3. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park Kissimmee Prairie is very popular, so you probably already know about it. Nonetheless, in the recent past the Park has become the home of a new species, the White-Tail Kite. 4. Big Shoals State Park Big Shoals is an excellent birding park with a wide variety of species. On the birding trails, you can expect to see egrets, hawks, owls, ducks, warblers, wrens and swallows to mention only a few. If your karma is good and youre having a good day, you may also see bald eagles, northern mockingbirds, scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings. Wild turkeys are plentiful as are wading and shore birds. Florida is a great state for birding. This list is only a small sample of bird trails, buy should you get started on adding to your life list.

Why the Hiking Staff of a Hiking Park Should Play a Role in Choosing a Hiking Trail

Are you interested in going on a fun filled hiking adventure? If you are, have you already decided which hiking trail that you would like to hike or even just which hiking park you would like to visit? If you have yet to decide on a hiking trial, you may want to start examining all of your options. When examining all of the local hiking trails that you can hike, you may want to think about examining the staff of the hiking trail or the hiking park in question. When it comes to examining the staff of a hiking park or a hiking trail, there are many individuals, possibly just like you, who wonder why it is so important to examine the staff. In all honesty, basing your hiking trail or park decision on the staff is completely optional, but it is something that you may at least want to think about doing. There are a number of reasons as to why you should examine the staff of a hiking park or a particular hiking trial, as well as a number of benefits to doing so.One of the many reasons why the staff of a hiking park or a hiking trail should play an important role in your next hiking adventure is because of your safety. One of the many staff members that a hiking park should employ is that of a maintenance crew. A maintenance crew is a group of individuals who should regularly walk through the hiking park, to inspect each individual hiking trail. A maintenance crew will spot and then repair any dangerous things that they come across. For instance, if a hiker reported seeing a tree branch in the path, if the maintenance crew was notified, they should go and remove it.Although you may not necessarily think about it at the time, hiking in a hiking park or on a hiking trail that has a maintenance crew is important. It is actually very important. Hiking trials that are not properly maintained are dangerous and they could even be deadly. When choosing a hiking park to visit or a hiking trail to hike on, it is important that you choose a trail or park that is regularly maintained. If you are unable to determine for yourself whether the trail of your choice is regularly maintained, you may want to think about asking those that you know for recommendations or personal feedback.In addition to a maintenance crew, you will also want to look for security personnel. Security personnel individuals are also commonly referred to as security guards or security officers. Although it is not required that you visit a hiking park or hike on a trial that is monitored by security personnel, you may seriously want to think about doing so. Although the security officers or security guards in question may not be patrolling the trials on foot all the time, it is important that they are just there, onsite.One of the many reasons why you should think about choosing a hiking trail to hike or a hiking park to visit that has their own onsite security personnel is for your own personal safety. As fun and exciting as hiking can be, it can also be extremely dangerous, especially for beginners. In the event of an accident, an onsite security officer or guard may be able to get to you and tend to you in a quicker matter. Onsite security personnel also tends to limited number of number of individuals who enter hiking parks with poor intentions, like those who are interested in committing robbery or assaulting unsuspecting hikers.As a reminder, the decision as to which hiking trial you would like to hike or which hiking park you would like to visit is your decision to make, but you should take the time to examine the park or the trail's staff. Doing so will likely give you a sense of security and peace of mind.

Sleeping Bag Liners Instead Of Bags

Sleeping bag liners for camping? My friend Dion made fun of my "poor excuse for a sleeping bag," but it kept me warm as the temperature dropped to the low forties, and it weighed only five ounces. We were camping on the banks of the Manistee River in Michigan. So, how did it a "sleeping bag" liner keep me warm? The real secret was the fifteen minutes we spent gathering dead, dry bracken ferns to build a two-foot thick mattress. We set the tent on that. Then, in my liner with all my clothes on, I was fine. Actually, I've rarely slept as well camping as I did that night. Using Sleeping Bag Liners Instead Of BagsYou can buy light sleeping bag liners from Campmor and other suppliers, or do like I did. I sewed a simple one of bargain-bin nylon material ($1/yard) obtained at Walmart. Buy the lightest nylon or polyester material you can find. Depending on what you use and how big you make it, it should weigh between four and nine ounces.I found I could stay warm with a light sleeping bag liner in autumn, at a few degrees above freezing, so this strategy should work well for summer nights in the sixties. Be careful, of course. It could be dangerous, or at least uncomfortable enough to ruin your trip. Test this strategy near home, and know yourself and your enviroment.You may want to learn a few tricks for staying warm if you try this strategy. When it isn't too humid you can breath in your bag, for example. Many backpackers will tell you not to do this, because you'll be damp in the morning, but in a dry enviroment you'll dry quickly once you hit the trail. Spread the liner out to dry during a break.Just as I did the first time, you can also use a mattress of dried plants. Use dead leaves, palm fronds, grass, cattail leaves, some softer tree barks, etc. A mattress of this sort insulates you from the ground, which normally takes away much of your body heat. Scatter the leaves in the morning so they won't smother the plants underneath.Try to go to bed warm. If you're warm when you get into your sleeping bag, you're more likely to stay warm through the night. If you start out shivering, it's difficult to warm up, especially in a thin bag.More tricks for staying warm: Hot tea before going to sleep... Exercise a bit... Cover yourself with extra clothes... Elevate your feet slightly... Go to sleep earlier or later. Experiment to see what works best for you.These are options, but not recommendations. I've gone out with nothing more than a bivy sack in my jacket pocket, but I'm not recommending that either. This is just to present all the possible options for the ultralight backpacker. One of those options is "sleeping bag liners" .

Summary

We are asked nearly every day: "What are your best binoculars?" And every day we answer: "How do you plan on using them?" We are not trying to be evasive with our answer, but the truth of the matter is the best binoculars for one purpose may be the worse binoculars for another. We want you to Get It Right The First Time.