Outdoor Library

Browse hundreds of articles, guides and reviews (organized by category).

Latest Articles

image(5)

How to Make a Camping Toilet

When camping you have several options when choosing your campsite. You may choose to stay at a campground with showers and restrooms for your convenience.  Campground restrooms are often well-stocked with toilet paper and running water for your hygiene needs, though not all public outhouses are created equal. Also, porta potties are not always available…

image(2)

How to Make a Camping Hammock

There is nothing like being in nature, and rocking gently between two trees in a hammock. Hammocks are not only an alternate sleeping arrangement from sleeping on the ground, but also provide a nice spot to relax while camping. Making a camping hammock is a relatively easy thing to do. All you need are some…

tegan-mierle-fDostElVhN8-unsplash

The Best 8-Person Tents – Top 5 Reviewed

If you love camping trips with friends and/or family, an 8-person tent may be the perfect solution for your camping needs! As its name suggests, an 8-person tent has enough space to comfortably sleep 8 people, but may also be ideal for smaller groups that need lots of gear storage space. Finding the ideal 8-person…

A campfire.

How to Plan a Camping Trip

You and your friends have just decided you need to have a little trip into nature and have made the great decision that you want to camp. So now what? When camping you need to have a solid plan in order to try and avoid hiccups and ensure that you have as great a time…

Man jumping on rocky mountains.

The 8 Best Big Bear Hiking Trails

100-miles northeast of Los Angeles sits Big Bear Lake, a mountain resort community of 21,000 people nestled in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest. There is a wealth of recreational opportunities in the resort village and a freshwater lake which is great for fishing. With 300 days of sunshine on average per year,…

Lake Isabelle, Colorado.

The 8 Best Day Hikes Near Denver

Denver, the capital city of Colorado, is famous for its pristine mountain vistas and idyllic landscapes. Like the rest of Colorado, Denver and the surrounding area are bursting with alpine lakes, forests of evergreen trees, mountain views, and gorgeous natural beauty that makes for some of the best hiking in the continental United States. Switchbacks…

olena-sergienko-0H39XNmLbcs-unsplash

The 3 Best Kayaks For Camping Reviewed

Do you want to explore the great outdoors by kayak? Then you need the right equipment to help you seamlessly glide over lakes, navigate tricky currents, and help you stay comfortable and stable – no matter where the journey takes you. With so many kayaks on the market, it can be challenging to find the…

A tent in the rain in the forest.

How to Prevent Condensation in a Tent 

Camping in the great outdoors can be a remarkably cathartic and freeing experience. It can also be a real struggle. Some campers have had the misfortune of cozily drifting off to sleep in their dry warm tents only to wake up covered in cold water. Although leaks are often the culprit for this, condensation is…

will-truettner-Rk-JT2OypZA-unsplash

The Best Car Camping Gear

Planning a car camping trip and are wondering what essential outdoor gear to pack? Don’t stress: our team at Outdoor Command has got your car camping needs covered. We often get asked: ‘What should I bring on a car camping trip?’, and though the answer differs per camper, somethings are always on our list. That…

A tent and a sleeping back outside with a bright sun shining.

How to Pack a Tent in a Backpack 

A tent and a backpack can be your key to the great outdoors and nearly limitless adventure. With so much of life flying by at breakneck speeds, especially in our urban jungles, camping is becoming more of a necessity. Getting out and spending some nights in nature is a skill though that many of us…

jake-ingle-tZaA8VqJG3g-unsplash

5 Best Base Layers For Hiking

When it comes to hiking, layering clothes is the key to staying comfortable in the great outdoors. Though high-quality jackets and pants are always a good idea, you should never neglect the most important piece of hiking clothing: your base layer.  A base layer for hiking needs to tick a lot of boxes. For example,…

Mt. Baker Park, Seattle, United States.

Best Hikes Near Seattle

We’re lucky out here in Seattle. With a temperate climate that allows for year-round exploring, it’s easy to get away and find a new trail near your backyard that shows you fantastic highs away from city smog. Some of the best hiking in Washington is just on the other side of our metropolitan realms, from…

A boy swinging from a tree swing with a girl.

How to Hang a Tree Swing

Tree swings are generally relegated to the yards and parks here in civilization and not so frequently found in the backcountry. This makes sense because installing a tree swing is just slightly too much trouble to be worthwhile if you’re out camping or hiking for a day or two. However, if there are particular campsites…

Two kettles and one pot on a stove.

What is Cowboy Coffee?

Coffee has been a staple of the long haul since traders and Dutch investors brought the bean from the horn of Africa to Europe and, by extension, Europe. There’s no question that a morning cup of joe is delightful and warming in all seasons here in the modern world, and perhaps it’s doubly so out…

Person heating hands beside fire.

How to Start a Fire with Rocks like Bear Grylls

A campfire is one of the essential features of a campsite or a rest-stop on a hiking trail. Unlike some other things we think are absolutely necessary but aren’t really, like a tent, a campfire cannot be foregone if you want to eat any food that isn’t premade and ready to eat. A campfire is…

how to deal with burrs in clothing

How to Remove Burrs from Clothes

Hikers and backpackers who tend to take their trekking off the beaten path and into brambles and weeds have doubtless had the perturbance upon exiting the bristles and tall weeds of looking down to see that their hiking clothes are completely covered with small, round spores that are covered with sharp hook-shaped bristles. These spores…

A hand reaching towards a water stream in nature.

Why Do My Hands Swell When I Hike?

One of the most common but rarely-discussed ailments out on the hiking trail is a mysterious condition where hikers’ hands will swell up, causing rings and watches to feel incredibly restrictive and panic to possibly set in upon afflicted hikers. There’s a lot of misinformation about hand swelling on the hiking trail and the simple…

Man in a red jacked looking into the clouds on a mountain.

What to Wear When Hiking

Even when weather conditions seem favorable, hikers are still out in the elements the entire time they’re backpacking on a day hike. Hiking clothing is designed to support hikers through any kind of backcountry roughness but it’s up to hikers themselves to know what kind of clothing they need and how to pair various articles…

A person on a mountain in the snow.

What to Wear When Hiking in Winter

For hikers who can withstand cold weather, the winter months are just as good as the high season to explore the backcountry. On really cold days in places covered by a blanket of deep snow trekking and backpacking can be darn tough. Design features that help hikers keep up their body temperature and prevent common…

tyler-nix-V3dHmb1MOXM-unsplash

6 Best Large Tents for Family Camping

Are you a family camper that loves nothing more than to explore the great outdoors with your loved ones? Then you need a spacious family camping tent that has enough room to comfortably stretch out after a long day in nature. Perhaps one that always comes with some handy room dividers to enjoy some alone-time…

A hiker going through a rocky trail.

The 8 Best Hiking Backpacks Reviewed

Critical characteristics in the best hiking backpacks are stability, comfort, weight distribution, and ample space in the main compartment. Hikers need lots of space to carry all of the outdoor gear they need on a day hike or a long-distance thru-hike on the PCT or the Appalachian Trail. All that outdoor gear can be quite…

cam-adams-imBSxksI7DA-unsplash

How to Make an Ankle Brace

When we hear about ankle injuries, we tend to think of athletes. But, in truth, athletes are not more at risk than backpackers and hikers. In fact, ankle injuries is one of the most common accidents that occur while camping.  Common Ankle Injuries The ankle is where the tibia and fibula of your lower leg…

Two people hiking in a forest with snow.

The Best Convertible Hiking Pants Reviewed

Hikers need a pair of pants with breathability and a high range of motion to withstand the various challenges presented by hiking trails in the backcountry. The best hiking pants are both waterproof and quick-drying to prevent chafing in inclement weather conditions or on a hike with river crossings and other water hazards. Modern hiking…

patrick-hendry-oRFBEEQG9aU-unsplash

The 6 Best Dome Tents – Reviewed

Looking for a dome tent to keep you safe and sheltered on any camping trip? Then let our experts navigate you towards the best options on the market! We’ve bundled our favorite dome tents in one, comprehensive overview. These are our go-to tents for backpacking, family camping, and backcountry adventures. We’ve ensured to include something for every…

A hiker on a mountain during sunset.

How to Prepare for an Overnight Hike

Beyond the backpacking gear list, an overnight hike requires many considerations to be properly planned and effectively executed for maximum return on investment to the hikers involved, which will usually come in the form of backcountry vistas and an often much-needed morale boost from time spent in the tranquil solitude of a backpacking trip. A…

People cutting up an assortment of vegetables.

The Best Vegetarian Backpacking Meals

Backpacking takes a lot of energy but the usual suspects for backpacking meals are often palate-numbing, repetitive, and full of processed ingredients to make them portable. Most hikers and backpackers rely on beef jerky and hot dogs to make a good-to-go meal at a makeshift campsite or restore energy on a backpacking trail. Health-conscious backpackers…

A man walking on a mountain.

What to Bring on a Hike

Even hikers who have cut their teeth on many backcountry day hikes have trouble selecting what backpacking gear they want to include in their rucksacks before they set out on the next outdoor adventure. From the absolute essentials like the right pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots to the arguably superfluous backpacking accouterments like…

Man standing on top of a mountain with a backpack.

What is a Thru-Hike?

The classification of hikers may confuse those new to backpacking or unfamiliar with navigating hiking trails through the backcountry. Enthusiasts often speak of day hikes, section hikers, and thru-hikes. Long-distance hikers make the backcountry sound like a wonderland when they regale listeners with tales of trail magic and trail angels. Sure, these aren’t as complicated…

greg-rakozy-oMpAz-DN-9I-unsplash

The 4 Best Stargazing Tents – Reviewed

November 26, 2019/Samantha Bos Table of Contents Love stargazing on a clear night whilst camping in nature? Then you need a tent to match! The Best Stargazing Tents allow you to peak up at the night’s sky, without having to leave your shelter. Comfortable, cozy, and convenient: what’s not to love about that?  What makes…

Person looking through binoculars.

The 7 Best Binoculars for Hiking

Ahh, the old binoculars. A handy device that we often see, stowed away in the back of the closet. Maybe your grandpa had a pair he handed down to your father. Weighty and impressive to the touch, they often told a story. Feeling something like a family heirloom because you know they unlock new worlds…

Climbers hiking up a mountain.

The Best Hiking Daypacks Reviewed

Every outdoor enthusiast, whether you’re a hiker, a mountaineer, or just a general nature lover, needs a reliable daypack to carry their most important gear. A solid day pack can take you all around the world, carrying your stuff for years before showing signs of wear. It’s an essential part of your hiking closet, giving…

Two persons holding a map and a clear compass.

How to Use a Compass

Maybe you’ve been to a national park or traversed backcountry hiking trails plenty of times and haven’t yet found any reason to add a compass to your hiking gear yet. It may seem like outdated technology, but a compass is essential to have with you in the great outdoors to help find a campsite or…

A brown bear cub in the forest.

How to Use a Bear Canister

Across large swathes of the United States, the backcountry is also bear country. Backpackers and hikers who frequent such well-renowned campsite-rich national parks as Sequoia National Park, King’s Canyon National Park, Denali National Park, Yosemite National Park, or the Adirondack Mountains know well enough that in bear country, the lengths required to bear-proof a rucksack…

A man standing on a mountain.

The 7 Best Hiking Insoles Reviewed

Just as we all have different fingertips, DNA strands and tastes in popular music, our own feet are unique as well. Some have higher arches, some with lower strands, but almost everyone will get pretty tired after a demanding day’s hike. But that’s something about everyone’s athletic potential we can improve. You probably won’t make…

is hiking good for weight loss

Is Hiking Good Exercise for Weight Loss?

People hike for any number of reasons, it’s an excellent form of exercise to keep your body healthy. Hiking is also a popular way to explore new areas and see different natural environments. However, with new year’s resolutions just around the corner, a lot of people might be considering hiking as a way to lose…

Person in orange shirt and backpack walking through a river.

How to Waterproof a Backpack

No matter what kind of outdoor adventurer you are, a waterproof backpack is an important requirement. Whether you’re flying down white water rapids, on a mountain expedition in the snow, of simply trekking through a rainy day, you need to keep your equipment dry. Every outdoorsman should know how to waterproof a backpack, at some…

Man in a white shirt running on the ground in the mountains during the daytime.

How to Train for Hiking

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the hike. Any amount of time spent backpacking down a hiking trail will invigorate hikers with the challenging physical exertion required to navigate oneself and all one’s hiking gear up and down elevation gains and rocky pathways. Hikers who haven’t prepared themselves for the hiking…

Man sitting on a cliff looking at a mountain holding a hiking pole.

How to Use Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are a common sight on the trails, they’re used by many hikers to improve their backcountry experience. Trekking poles can come across as a hindrance to those who don’t use them, and they definitely are if you don’t use them properly. However, when used in the proper manner, hiking poles can make your…

Woman on the ground in a red jacket, tying her hiking boots.

How to Tie Hiking Boots

Even if you were very selective when you bought your last pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes, there may come a time when you start to feel some slippage in the heel, blisters form regularly, or pressure points begin to develop on the top of your foot or in the toe box. Hikers are…

A girl standing on a mountain during the daytime.

How to Prevent Blisters When Hiking and Keep Your Feet Healthy

Blisters are the Achilles’ heel of backcountry hikers, sometimes literally depending on where they form. The best hiking is done on winding, changing trails and that kind of trek causes blisters even on shorter day hikes. May hikers know how painful and inconvenient blisters are but aren’t fully aware of methods for preventing blisters. Like…

Man carrying a red backpack standing on a mountain in the daytime.

How to Pack a Backpack for Camping Like a Pro

The best campsites are cached away in mountains and valleys, often at the terminus of long hiking trails that course and wind through the most untouched backcountry wilderness. Hybrid backpacking trips and multi-day camping trips delight backpackers who camp at these remote places. Before the natural vistas and landscapes can be taken in, though, backpackers…

dryvent or gore-tex for hiking

Dryvent vs Gore-Tex: Which is Better for Hiking?

Durable water-repellent outerwear like rain jackets and hiking boots are indispensable pieces of gear for every backcountry outdoor activity from mountaineering to snowboarding to backpacking. Whether it’s wet out or the trail is full of snowy obstacles and water crossings, high-performance oleophobic waterproof shell fabrics help keep water out. They should also be designed with…

mael-balland-kO2f4KpUu7A-unsplash

The 8 Best Sleeping Bag Liners – Reviewed

Want to upgrade your camping comfort in just one, simple step? Then you need to add a sleeping bag liner to your sleeping bag. Yes, getting an even better night’s sleep really can be that simple. A sleeping bag liner is, as you’ve probably already guessed, a liner designed to fit inside any regular sleeping…

hike-3150113_1920

How to Make Your Backpack Lighter

Ever wish that backpacks in real life could be like those in video games that hold tons and weigh ounces? Most backpackers dream of the day when those bags become a reality. Magical bags might not be available today, but light, well-prepared travel is still very possible. Fortunately for you, this guide has all the…

photography-of-person-on-green-mountain-691034

How to Plan a Backpacking Trip

Nothing says adventure like a person, a backpack, and the open country. Whether you want to backpack through the Pacific Crest Trail or cross the mighty Alps, this step-by-step guide will prepare you the most properly. You will be blazing your own trail before you know it! Step 1: Backpackers Need to Know What They…

image

River Crossing – How to Ford a River

Hiking in the wilderness is a great experience that many people enjoy. Most hikers stick to well-known trails and maps to ensure a safe and fun experience.  Now imagine backpacking through the countryside and coming to what was expected to be a stream has now become a river. Snowmelt can cause a stream to fill…

andrew-welch-7u6Jmwg2ZQ0-unsplash

The 5 Best Thermoses – Reviewed

Is there anything better than a hot drink on a cold day exploring the great outdoors? For us, that first sip of hot coffee or chocolate during a break on a cold, grueling hike is hard to beat. That is exactly why we rate high-quality thermos as an essential piece of gear for camping and/or…

simon-rae-jJYlr6H1ClM-unsplash

5 Best Sleeping Bags for Kids – Reviewed

November 18, 2019/Samantha Bos Table of Contents Love family camping or planning an outdoor adventure with the kids? Then you need to invest in some proper sleeping gear specially designed to keep your young ones cozy and warm at night! To help you navigate your way towards the top-rated products on the market, we’ve bundled our favorites…

A pair of dirty hiking boots.

How to Clean Hiking Boots

Now that you’ve taken your boots across some prairies, pastures, streams, and steep ravines, it’s time to give them a wash. All that grime, dirt and dust from the trails and backroads slowly starts to accumulate and can negatively impact your performance, hindering your destination arrival in an efficient manner. It’s always best to maintain…

Orange tabby cat on a purple leash outdoors.

Hiking with Cats

Taking your pet along for a trek in the backcountry is very popular, as on almost every trail you’ll see someone hiking with dogs. However, taking a hike with a feline friend is a lot less common, but it’s growing in popularity every day. If you’re a cat owner who’s ever felt left out when…

Person sitting on a chair near a tent made from a tarp by the water.

How to Camp Without a Tent

Camping without a tent probably strikes you as making about as much sense as deep-sea fishing without a boat. In fact, many campers who enjoy roughing it on brief excursions into the backcountry with nothing but an ultralight rucksack have been strategizing for a long time about how best to embrace the philosophy of ultralight…

Two people on the beach.

How to Camp on the Beach

Sand dunes, tidepools, and the rolling waves right at the shoreline await campers who enjoy partaking in beach vacations and camping trips and want to combine the two together into an oceanside camping getaway. Beach camping abounds with characteristic nuances and particulars that are easy to grasp for as-yet uninitiated campers and great rewarding fun…

A yellow tent in the snow in the mountains.

How to Camp in the Winter

Calculating campers and backpackers may reason that the secret to winter camping trips is to simply head south and camp in warmer climates. Fleeing cold temperatures is a common tactic and certainly better than hanging up your camping gear for the season, but for a real challenge with staggering rewards, every camper and backpacker should…

Pairs of hiking boots.

How to Break in Hiking Boots

So you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade from a part-time to a full-time hiker. No longer satisfied with something like a hi-top sneaker with ankle support, you’re moving on up in the world to a pair of new hiking boots. A great choice and a worthwhile investment that will keep you going for miles and…

Person holding a white cup outdoors.

How to Go Camping on a Budget

When it comes to budget vacations, camping is an excellent choice. Hiking and exploring the great outdoors has always been a favorite budget pass time, with so much to see and do at very little cost. Usually, a camper’s biggest expenses are equipment purchases, big-ticket items like tents can cost a lot if you want…

Orange Erste Hilfe first aid kit.

The 7 Best Camping First Aid Kits

When a less-than-dire disaster strikes the campsite, be it in the form of a scrape needing gauze, a splinter needing tweezers, or an allergic reaction needing antihistamines, a first aid kit can save campers annoyance and possibly rescue the entire camping trip from a frustratingly sudden conclusion. Most of the essential medical supplies you’d typically…

Yosemite Valley.

How to Become a Park Ranger

To be a Park Ranger is one of the most envied jobs within the American outdoors community. You get to wear the iconic Smokey the Bear hat, you get to spend your time in the pristine outdoors, and you get to get paid to do it. What else could you want in life? With such…

Dome tent on a mountain under the bright yellow sun.

Camping for Beginners: How to Get into Camping

So you want to try camping for the first time, but you’re now sure how? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In 2016, 4.7 million Americans went camping for the first time, so there’s nothing stopping you. Taking up any new hobby can seem intimidating, with so many new things to learn. However, there are plenty…

Orange USB cable with blue background.

How to Charge Your Phone While Camping

Out in the wilderness, it can feel nice to disconnect from the outside world and forget about your mobile phone for a while. On the other hand, it can be incredibly useful and convenient to have full use of your phone in the backcountry. When you’re out in nature, power outlets can be hard to…

A tent with an air mattress in it and a green hammock in the woods.

Camping Cots and Air Mattresses: What’s Best for You?

Camping trips are always a whole lot of fun during the day time when campers are out on the trails backpacking, playing guitar at their base camp or any of the other fun things campers can do out in the backcountry. Then when night falls, the camping trip can be ruined by campers who don’t…

charles-black-F7HGqkkMYAU-unsplash

How to Avoid Ticks When Camping

When we think about a camping trip pleasant ideas come to mind: fresh air, spacious environments, calmness, etc. We do not think about disgusting little vampires that can make our life miserable, of course… But, if you are reading this article, you are already one step ahead in making your outdoor adventure a great one:…

image(1)

How Much Water to Bring Camping

When camping one of the key supplies to pack is water. As we all know, water is key to our survival in any situation. When in the outdoors that is even more important as you may not be near a ready water source at all times. You want to make sure that you and everyone…

Four people in the mountains.

The Best Walkie Talkies for Hiking

Walkie talkies, or two-way radios, may seem to some hikers like too much technology to carry along in a rucksack on a hiking trip into the backcountry. Part of the reason many hikers go on these excursions is to be off the grid, incommunicado and able to reap the health benefits of peaceful ventures into…

Get a good backpacking tent to reach great sights.

The 6 Best Backpacking Tents

Oh, the great outdoors. Nothing like spending the day walking around some trails with friends, a couple of laughs and a few good views. You reach some lakes, you cross some streams, at one point you hear the squish of the mud beneath you as you press firmly into your boots. Your body becomes tired…

Get out there and explore some nature alongside friends and a helpful hydration pack.

6 Best Hydration Packs for Hiking – Reviews

Ahh, water. The source of life, covering the majority of our planet and even contributing to the largest portion of our body mass. We cannot really overstate its importance, considering it is the most essential thing for virtually all life forces on the planet, and when searching for life on other planets like Mars, we…

A man wearing a yellow shit and camping hot, looking at a canyon.

The 7 Best Hiking Sun Hats Reviewed

When hiking in the winter, many of us wear a beanie or other warm winter hat, to keep our heads warm and provide a bit of protection from the elements. The same is necessary for the summer, for different reasons, but it’s equally important. A wide-brimmed sun hat is recommended for hiking during the summer,…

Pairs of gray socks around a sign.

The Best Hiking Socks to Prevent Blisters

Blisters are a hiker’s worst enemy, these tiny little annoyances can ruin some otherwise amazing treks. There are a number of steps anyone can take to prevent blisters while hiking so that your feet stay happy and can carry you on adventures to come. Blisters can be caused by a number of reasons, from ill-fitting…

A large white tent in the mountains.

The Best 5 Person Tents – Top 6 Reviewed

November 10, 2019/Riley Draper Table of Contents When camping in larger groups, it’s nice to have accommodation with enough room for everyone. For family camping and group trips, a reliable and high-quality 5-person camping tent is the ideal backcountry home. From huge cabin tents to space-saving free-standing designs, there are many different 5-person tents available…

A person hiking in the mountains.

How to Attach Sleeping Bag to Backpack

We all know that backpacks can end up a bit overstuffed before setting off for a trip, there’s so much to remember to bring with you. One of the bulkiest items a backpacker needs is a sleeping bag, almost all campers need to travel with one of these, but they take up an enormous amount…

Person walking on a snow covered slope.

How to Adjust a Trekking Pole

Hikers and trekkers who frequently tackle different terrain or regularly traverse difficult types of terrain know about the knee and back pain that can develop after repeated bending of the upper body to scramble over rocks on otherwise flat terrain or going uphill just to go downhill later on mountainous trails. Well-seasoned hikers have probably…