When Nature Calls: 15 Outdoor Tips for Your Next Adventure - ITS Tactical
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When Nature Calls: 15 Outdoor Tips for Your Next Adventure

By Jordan Jones

Adventures into the great outdoors can be a wonderful escape from the day-to-day grind, but these outings can occasionally bring challenges with them as well. Today we’re presenting some tips for everything from sleeping in the cold, to making your own tools and gear.


Carry A Road Map to Supplement a Topographic Map

When navigating with a compass, topographic maps can be invaluable. With their contour lines and other pertinent information, they’re excellent for orienteering. While topographic maps have their strengths, a road map or road atlas can also handy for dead reckoning. They can be easier to come by and are updated more often.

This is especially handy for use in rural areas to supplement to your topographic map. Remember, two is one and one is none.

Wear Dress Socks to Reduce Blisters

For those that seem to constantly deal with blisters, consider slipping on a pair of dress socks before donning your outer socks. This can aid in reducing blisters and other foot problems.

The inner dress sock sticks to your feet, acting like moleskin for your entire foot and allowing friction between the two socks versus your foot and the outer sock. Ensure that your dress socks are wool-based rather than cotton. Remember, cotton is rotten.

Make Your Own DIY Rear Bag for Your Rifle

Using two tall boot socks, you can make a great shooting rest for the buttstock of your rifle during precision shooting. It will help reduce the movement of the rifle and can elevate it to a more comfortable shooting position.

To make your own, fill one sock with Airsoft BBs and tie it closed. Place the sock with the BBs into the other boot sock and voila! You’ve got an instantly adjustable monopod for use in the prone. Just squeeze the bag with your non shooting hand to lower your sights or loosen for more elevation.


Place Your Sleeping Mat Inside Your Bivvy

Most of us that use sleeping mats are all too familiar with waking up in the middle of the night, finding ourselves off the mat and sleeping on the cold, hard ground.

Placing your sleeping mat inside your bivvy prevents you from rolling off your pad and can actually help stop you from rolling at all.

Tape DOPE to Your Rifle

DOPE, or Data On Previous Engagement, is always a good thing to have with your rifle. This information allows you to adjust your rifle to fire accurately at various ranges.

Taping this information to the inboard side of your rifle stock allows you to have a low-key and quick reference to adjust your scope or sights. Make sure the adjustments are from “all the way left or down.” This means that in order to change your range on the rifle accurately, move your adjustments all the way down then count the clicks up until you reach the amount dictated on your dope card.

Plan Eating and Drinking for Energy

When it’s cold outside and you’d like to sleep the whole night through, eat right before sleeping. The digestive process will cause your body to generate more heat and help keep you warm throughout the night.

Conversely, if you need to be up at an odd hour and be awake for something like guard duty or stoking a fire, drink water before bed. The need to use the bathroom will help wake you up and keep you awake for your task.


Ninja-fy Your Water Bladder

Hydration bladders are great for keeping water in your pack for those longer hikes, but any air trapped inside the bladder can create a noisy, sloshing sound.

After filling your bladder, invert it so the hydration tube is on the top and squeeze or suck out the excess air. This will stop the sloshing and create a vacuum to keep the bladder air free.

Keep Your Water From Freezing

When you’re in cold environments, any standing water is at risk for freezing. The water in your hydration bladder may avoid this due to your body heat, but the large surface area of the bladder’s tube makes it particularly susceptible to freezing. Keeping your hydration tube empty, by blowing a bit of air back into the tube, can prevent frozen water from accumulating.

In addition, sleeping with your water at the foot of your sleeping bag is a good idea if you want to be able to make that hot coffee in the morning, as your body heat will help keep the inside air temperature above freezing.

Check Your Campsite Before Setting Up

After selecting your campsite, look around the area for hazards and other unknowns. Are there game trails that bring mountain lions, bears or a particularly scrappy raccoon past your site?

Consider environmental changes that might occur during your stay. Is it going to become a swamp if it rains, or will any branches above your site snap and fall during a heavy wind? Look carefully for where water runoff might have already occurred or where the contours of your campsite could allow it to run. These are just a few of the factors to consider when selecting your site.


Use an MRE Heater To Warm Your Sleeping Bag

If it’s extremely cold outside and you’re dreading getting into that frigid sleeping bag, you can pre-game it by putting in an activated MRE heater to warm up your bag prior to getting in.

Be sure to dump out all the excess water prior to putting it in your bag, so you’re not sleeping on a cold, wet spot all night. Also ensure to remove it prior to sleeping to avoid being burned by the heater. A nalgene full of hot water can also work well for this purpose.

Do Your Dishes with Dirt

While it may seem counter-intuitive, you can use dirt to scour your dishes clean. The abrasiveness of the dirt makes it great for cleaning off caked-on food and oils.

Dirt can also help get stains off your hands. Be sure to rinse well or your next meal might taste like kitty litter.

Make Your Own Lightweight Stalking Shoes

Using some spray-on Plasti Dip, you can create some inexpensive, lightweight camp/stalking shoes. These are similar to commercial available items to move in quietly when hunting. Simply put on a pair of thick wool socks, spray or dip them in Plasti Dip and let them dry.

It’s probably a good idea to wrap your foot in plastic wrap prior to putting the Plasti Dip on to avoid any harmful chemicals or skin reactions. Once they’re dry, you’ll have an insulated, light weight, thin-soled shoe.


Use Your Spent Brass as a Tool

You can smash your already-fired brass into non-marring maintenance tools for your weapons and gear. Flatten the throat of the brass casing into a tool to adjust your elevation by friction-fitting it over the front sight.

AK owners can use the bottom of already-fired brass as a non-marring drift for your front sight. These are just a few possibilities for spent brass and the only limit is your imagination. #TrenchArt

Always Remember Horse, Saddle, Then Rider

Whenever you stop for the day, take care of your transportation, your gear and finally yourself; in that order. If your transportation is mainly walking, your main area of concern is taking care of your boots and feet. You won’t be able to do much with your feet covered in blisters, or rotting off after being submerged in water.

After you’ve taken care of your boots and feet, move on to the things that keep you moving and alive. Your gear should be cleaned and mended before you start eating or cleaning yourself. Keeping your gear maintained like this ensures you’ll always be able to depend on it.

Above All Else, Mind Over Matter

Especially in survival situations, maintaining a positive mental attitude can make all the difference. You probably don’t enjoy walking for 8 hours with a backpack in the pouring rain uphill both ways, but it can be necessary depending on your situation.

Keeping a positive attitude is really the determining factor between enjoying something and hating every moment of it. Just remember, it’s always about mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.

What are some tips you have for survival? Share them in the comments below!

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