Boots for Hiking and Backpacking

Finding the right hiking boot can be a challenge. The most important aspect to choosing a hiking boots is comfort. Also, the boot should match the hikers ambitions. Day hikers, hiking upon a well-maintained trail, may only need a lightweight trail runner. A backcountry hunter, however, may need a much stiffer boot, designed for steep, rocky terrain.

bear spray

Hiking shoes and trail runners are lightweight options, and many day hikers and backpackers carrying light loads will wear trail runners, because of the lightweight, supple fabric. Shoes are generally more comfortable and forgiving. However, the comfort of wearing shoes does have a tradeoff, because most shoe styles do not offer quality ankle protection. A hiker travelling over steep, rocky terrain, or someone who needs to carry a heavy pack, may need to forgo that comfort for the stiffness of a boot.

Backpacking boots are usually stiff, and the boots are usually cut higher up on the ankle for protection. These boots enable the hiker to carry heavy loads. The stiff boot also helps the hiker on rocky terrain, because the foot doesn’t flex with the edges of rocks, and, when hiking on steep terrain, the stiff boot will help with a hiker’s fatigue. The one thing to remember about stiff boots is that there are break-in requirements. A boot may feel comfortable in the store, but when it is worn for a mile or so, the stiffness of the boot can tire out the foot much more quickly. Also, feet swell after strenuous use, and when feet swell, the boot becomes much more tight while hiking. If the boots fit well, then after the break-in time, they should become more comfortable.

Mountaineering boots are very stiff and offer a great amount of ankle support. Mountaineering boots are usually worn in very steep terrain or on icy, glacial terrain. The boots are also important for ankle protection when carrying very heavy loads.

UDAP Back Attack Pack

When you have determined which boot matches your ambitions as a hiker, there are several things to consider when you choose your own boot. When purchasing a pair of boots, make sure that the boots fit. This sounds like a simple suggestion, and in many ways it is, but boots are worn in demanding locations. A dull pinch on a big toe, or a subtle pressure against the front pad of the foot can translate to an unbearable pain on the trail. Also, when you are trying on hiking boots, make sure to wear the same type of socks that you will use in the boots. If you are hiking in Merino Wool socks, for instance, don’t try on the boots with your sheer black business socks right after work. Also, if you wear orthotics, make sure to take those with you, because the cut on the orthotics, plus the size of your foot, may not match the foot bed of the boot.

Backpacking in Remote Areas

Backpacking into remote areas of the west is both fun and rewarding. There are many challenges the hiker can face on a pack trip, and he should always be prepared to encounter anything from unpredictable weather, injury, or even an encounter with a bear. One way that a hiker can be more prepared is to properly load his pack, and also to have his pack fastened correctly about his upper body so that the pack is merely an extension of him. Remember, in the backcountry, your backpack is your lifeline; it is responsible for protecting your food, shelter, and clothing.

backpacking-UDAP Bear Spray

A hiking backpack should not be worn like a school child’s pack. The hiking backpack is meant to carry much of the load of the pack on the hips and not on the shoulders. When you put on your pack, adjust the shoulder straps first, as this will lift the pack into position over your hips. Then tighten down the waistbelt. The waistbelt needs to be tight, but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation to your legs. The load straps should be tightened to a forty-five degree angle. If these straps are cinched in tight it will pull the shoulder straps of the pack into your skin.

While there is no one absolute correct way to load a backpack, there are some basic guidelines that will ensure that the load in the pack will travel comfortably throughout the hike. First of all, place the items that you wont need until you camp like light clothing, and a sleeping bag and pad in the bottom of the pack. If you are hiking in bear country make sure to keep items like toothpaste, food, or even sunscreen away from these items that you will be using at night. Bears have a very keen sense of smell, and you do not want the smell of these items in the tent with you at night. Above the lighter items, you will want your heaviest items. These items ideally should be loaded close to your spine in the middle of your back. The Food, water supply, and stove can all be placed in this area of the pack. You can place your tent, rain jacket, and other soft necessities that you may need in an emergency around the heavy items to prevent any possible shifting.

backpacking-UDAP Bear proof container

Another option is a UDAP Bear Proof Food Container for storing food from bears.

 

Fishing for Steelhead

The Steelhead is an interesting species of fish. Steelhead are anadromous, which means that the fry are hatched in eggs in fresh water, and then grow in size in that fresh water before swimming downstream to the ocean, and the fish will spend anywhere from one to three years in the ocean eating squid, until it is time for the fish to return to its native river to spawn. Unlike the Salmon, however, the Steelhead will survive the spawn and can make the journey back into the ocean. Scientists who work to improve the numbers of wild Steelhead have even developed tactics to catch spawning bucks and transport the caught fish back downstream, where it ascends the river for a second or even third time, to fertilize eggs.

udap bear spray-Fishing for Steelhead

Steelhead swim up watersheds on the west coast and even as far inland as Idaho. Steelhead are separated into two distinct species: summer run Steelhead and winter run Steelhead. A summer run Steelhead will swim into its native water in the late months of summer and spawn into the late fall. The summer run Steelhead also makes the longest journey to spawn, while the winter run fish only spawns in coastal streams and may only travel short distances that can range from one hundred feet to thirty miles.

The rivers systems that these fish call home, from the Salmon River and the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho to the remote coastal rivers of British Columbia and western Washington, can be remote and anglers should be prepared for the possible challenges that can come from fishing in a remote area.
A popular river for fishing summer run steelhead is the Clearwater River in Idaho. The Steelhead will begin to arrive in the river in the summer months, and when the fall temperatures drop, the fish can be found up the entire river system. Anglers adorned in both spin and fly tackle will run their lures through the deep holes and riffles. Anglers driving jet boats and anglers rowing drift boats will share the same waterway. And while the Clearwater is not a place for complete solitude, the immense forest surrounding the river is, and black bears, elk, and deer can be seen walking the tree line above the river.

As always, when visiting one of our fantastic National Parks or enjoying the great outdoors, please be sure to bring along your UDAP Bear Spray.

Yellowstone Park after Labor Day

After the Labor Day holiday, the incessant tourist crowds in Yellowstone National Park will dwindle, and solitude can again be found on the roads, rivers, and hiking trails. Yellowstone National Park is a wonderful place to be in the fall. The leaves of the trees begin to turn yellow and add a new layer of depth to the endless greens of spring and summer. The roads are more open and comfortable to navigate, and if you enjoy spotting animals from the roads while you drive through the park, the cooler weather allows most of the animals to be more active for longer periods of the day.

Yellowstone Park after Labor Day, UDAP Bear Spray-Yellowstone National Park

The elk of Yellowstone get active in the early fall and when the rut is peaked, you can spend a full day watching a big bull elk chase and herd cows in grass meadows. Bugling bulls are commonplace in the rut, and if you spend any time camping in the park, and elk are nearby, it may be difficult to sleep with the nighttime and early morning bugles. Although, listening to bull elk bugle back and forth is an inspiring experience.

The rivers of Yellowstone feel more open and the cooler weather will trigger Blue Wing Olive and Midge hatches throughout the fall fishing season. The cutthroat trout that inhabit rivers like the Lamar, Yellowstone, and Gardiner Rivers on the northeast end of the park, and the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole Rivers of the west, will come up to the surface to feed on the insects in the late mornings and afternoons. A handy tip for fishing Yellowstone National Park, and it applies at any time of the year is: if you hike out of sight of the road, and you start fishing at that point, continuing to work your way from the road, most of the fish will be fresh and rested, because most everyone who visits the park for vacation rarely adventures more than one hundred yards from the nearest road.

Regardless of what your reasons are for being in the park this fall – the dramatic colors, the active animals, or the solitude – Yellowstone is an incredible place to spend any amount of time. And remember, Yellowstone is a wild place, and you should always be prepared for anything.

As always, when visiting one of our fantastic National Parks or enjoying the great outdoors, please be sure to bring along your UDAP Bear Spray. 

Archery Elk Season

The archery elk season in Montana is underway. And, for the archery elk hunter who has spent his summer exploring remote stands of timber most hunters only glance at on Google Earth, while hiking countless backcountry miles and prematurely wearing the sole from a pair of hunting boots, congratulations on your effort and good luck on this seasons hunt. For those hunters, however, that haven’t spent as much time in the backcountry this season, or for those hunters that aren’t sure how to effectively scout for the season, here are a few tips to help.

Archery Elk Season, bow hunting season montana

When you are out scouting, the most obvious signs of elk activity are droppings, tracks, and rubs. Elk are transient by nature, so being really excited about evidence of elk may be jumping the gun, so to speak. Pay attention to the freshness of the rubs on the trees, or the prevalence of the tracks, and know that it only means that elk may frequent that area, and there are a few other ways of figuring out more precise locations and patterns for the elk when the rut begins.

If you are scouting and you find a bull before the rut has begun, don’t be too excited. That bull most likely will be somewhere else when the rut actually begins. So, when you are doing your preseason scouting, make sure to pay attention to the cow elk. When those cows go into heat, those bulls wont let them out of sight.

Also, while scouting, look for elk wallows (areas where bull elk may tear up the ground to reach the mud and moisture). When the rut is on, elk will use a wallow every day, most likely in the heat of the afternoon, so knowing where fresh or old wallows are is a big advantage. Those bulls run really hot during the rut, and rely on the mud and moisture from those wallows to cool down. Areas to look for that could be potential wallows are in meadows – pay close attention to the edges of the meadows where moisture may run off and collect. Also, look for bright green patches of grasses on densely timbered slopes. Near creeks and lake are obvious choices, and also near beaver dams.

And don’t forget your UDAP Bear Spray and have it accessible in a UDAP holster while you are bow hunting this season! Archery Elk Season, UDAP hip holster for bear spray

Livingston/L.A. stuntman develops backpack bear spray

March 07, 2015 5:00 pm • By Brett French

UDAP Back Attack Pack

The Back Attack Pack is deployed by a ripcord attached to the front of the backpack, somewhat like a parachute ripcord.  It may sound contradictory, but the people taking the biggest risks are usually the most safety conscious.

UDAP Back Attack Pack

Take Billy Lucas, for example. For 30 years the 57-year-old former Marine has been a Hollywood stuntman — part of that acting as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double in films like “True Lies” and “The Terminator” series of films. So the fact that Lucas brainstormed a design for a new way to deploy bear spray from a backpack actually makes sense. He is very aware of ways to mitigate danger.

“There are no bragging rights in getting hurt,” Lucas said. “Safety is a primary concern, especially in my business.”

And stuntmen who get hurt aren’t going to be available to work, so there’s a monetary incentive for them to be careful.

‘Brainstorm’

Knowing this, it’s a natural progression to the story Lucas tells about one day reading a newspaper story about a man being mauled to death by a bear and wondering if there isn’t a better way to deter attacks. Lucas had recently made the move to Livingston from Los Angeles when the incident occurred. Then he had his own encounter with a bear while fishing with friends and admitted to being spooked.

So Lucas read up on other bear attacks and noticed that when people dropped into defensive positions — lying face-down and covering their necks — they were still very vulnerable.

Lucas said the idea of a reserve parachute gave him the idea of a backpack-based bear spray canister that could be discharged much like pulling the ripcord on a parachute.

“I had a brainstorm and put my money where my mouth was,” he said, paying an engineer to design the first prototype out of aluminum before deciding that was too heavy and going to plastic.

“I like working with my hands and problem solving,” he said. “It’s one of those things that came late in life to me.”

He said he has a couple of other inventions he’s working on as well.

R and D

After three years in research and development, Lucas approached Butte-based bear spray makers UDAP Industries with his invention.

Tim Lynch, general manager for UDAP, said it was a concept other inventors had presented to the company, but UDAP never made the jump to do its own research and development. Lucas was different.

“When he showed up he had a working prototype, which the other inventors didn’t,” Lynch said.

He was so impressed that he shot a video of the backpack to show the bloody face of the bear spray business to the company’s founder, Mark Matheny. After reaching a licensing and distribution deal, last April UDAP unveiled its Back Attack Pack ($149) that can accommodate spray canisters of different sizes and be lashed on to a variety of backpacks.

“It’s exciting to go into a store and see something hanging on the shelf that you’ve built,” Lucas said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Last shot

The backpacks are made to be a secondary or last defense — used in addition to a handheld bear spray.

Lynch said he sees the device as a valuable backup for hunters — who while dressing game can be blindsided from behind by a territorial bear looking to claim a big-game kill. He said an Alaskan study showed that in the majority of bear-human encounters, the person had only 1.8 seconds to react. That’s barely enough time to pull the trigger on a bear spray canister in your hand, so a backup seems like a good idea.

“This is designed to get that bear off your back,” Lynch said. “It’s not to replace spray, but in addition to it. This is sort of a backup, like a reserve parachute.”

To view the original story in the Billings Gazette… Click here.

To order the Back Attack Pack or learn more visit:

www.BearSpray.com

The Bears Are Coming Out, Be Prepared

By Nina Sveinson

With the mild winter, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reports that some bears are starting to come out of hibernation early. Click here to watch Wake Up Montana featuring UDAP’s Back Attack Pack

The Bears Are Coming Out, Be Prepared

Wildlife on The Road

Looking for wildlife on the road can be fun and exciting. Different areas of the United States have an array of wildlife that can be seen from the open road. Unfortunately, wildlife will occasionally get onto the road. Knowing when to swerve your car can not only help you to save the life of an animal, it can help you prevent damage to your vehicle.

Look for Crossing Signs

Crossing signs are not always for ducks and deer. Because wildlife is different throughout the United States, you may come across crossing signs with different symbols. Even if you cannot identify the animals on the sign, you should still pay attention to your surroundings. Other animals may cross frequently at that point, even if they aren’t on the sign. Look for small animals like turtles, armadillos and cats that could get in the way.

Wildlife on The Road

Pay Attention to the Shoulders of the Road

Animals don’t always travel across the road. Many walk alongside it, but are rarely seen. Turtles are a great example and they can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle if you run one over. When driving, stay in your lane and be alert, especially in wooded areas.

Wildlife on The Road

Spot the Herd

Whether you are looking for wildlife for fun or to be safe, it is important to remember that deer and elk wander in groups. If one is spotted, more are probably in the immediate area. Slow the vehicle down and make sure none are crossing the road. Don’t rely on deer whistles or salt to keep the animals away from your car.Wildlife on The Road

Should You Swerve Out of the Way?

In most cases, drivers should make an effort to swerve out of the way. If this is impossible due to oncoming traffic or other road hazards, lock the brakes and use the horn. If the animal is large, such as a moose, it may be more practical to swerve away from the animal. A moose can weigh up to 1,600 pounds and collisions often cause serious damage to the vehicle and passengers.

Whether you are looking for wildlife as you travel or are looking to be a safer driver, understanding how roads affect wildlife is important. Study tips for specific species that live in your area to gain a better understanding of what to do. This will not only help to make your journey a safer one, but a more enjoyable one. And carry UDAP Bear Spray in your vehicle at all times!Wildlife on The Road

Bear Smart Communities

Bear Smart Communities

Building a bear-smart community refers to the act of effectively overseeing and limiting the things that attract bears into the community, managing human activities, and establishing policies and practices for non-lethal bear control techniques. While building a bear-smart community is a multifaceted task that requires strategy and hard work, here are some tips that can help you along the way to making your community bear-smart:

Conduct a Bear Hazard Assessment

Your first step in building a bear-smart community should be conducting a bear hazard assessment that will provide you with the information you need regarding where the bear problem is and what (species of bear) you’re dealing with. During your bear hazard assessment, you should identify potential human-bear conflicts and conflict zones, and start to think about bear control recommendations.

Put in Place a Plan

After a hazard assessment has been completed, you should use the information gathered from the assessment to formulate and implement a bear management plan. Putting together a plan can be hard work, and will require the cooperation of multiple agencies. The plan should highlight the roles of different organizations and agencies, and how bears will be managed if they do wander into town.

Bear Smart Communities

Education – Be Smart, Be Safe

One of the biggest aspects of building a bear-smart community is to educate community members about the hazards of bears and how to avoid attracting bears. Part of being bear-smart includes:

•    Properly throwing away garbage (especially food).

•    Avoiding using bird feeder during bear season.

•    Keeping lawns and yards in tip-top shape (bears love to eat dandelions and clover).

•    Keeping your car clean and free from food or anything else that might smell tempting to a bear.

•    Securing your home by keeping windows and doors closed to prevent the smell of food from wafting outdoors.

•    Using a bear-proof composter.

•    Not using citronella (the scent attracts bears).

•    Washing your barbeque grill after use.

•    Feeding pets, and keeping pet food, indoors.

•    Harvesting veggies as they ripen, as vegetables like carrots in a garden will attract bears.

•    Thinking about using electric fencing to keep bears off of property if you have a garden, chicken coops, or fruit-bearing trees or bushes.

In addition to managing properties, part of community education should include what to do while on trails and in campsites. Community members should watch out for bears while hiking, keep dogs on leaches, hike in groups rather than solo, never leave food in campgrounds, and pay attention to posted signs about bear activity.

By following the tips listed above, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a bear-safe community.

Visit our website for a UDAP Bear Fence or UDAP Bear Spray!

Bear Smart Communities

Surviving in the Wilderness Without Food

Surviving in the Wilderness Without Food

As much as you may love the outdoors, being lost in the wilderness with no food is a scary thought. Contrary to what some people believe, it is still possible even for a seasoned hunter to be lost for days in the wilderness. It is also very possible to survive such a scenario, but only if you keep a cool head and remember that there are always ways of surviving until you can make it back to civilization or be rescued. Here are some tips that will help if you ever find yourself lost on a hunting trip.

Plan Ahead

The biggest mistake people can make when going on a hunting or camping trip is not planning ahead. They overestimate their own survival skills or underestimate the potential dangers of the wilderness, and they pay for their mistake with their lives. Before you head out into the wilderness for any reason, make sure you know what to expect. Read up on the area, and make sure you include a map and compass with your survival gear. Even if you run out of food, a good map can at least help you get someplace safe before you die of starvation. Just be careful about traveling at night; you could get disoriented if you attempt to find your way out in total darkness, even if you have a flashlight.

As for the rest of your survival gear, it should include a simple water purification kit, a first aid kit, matches in a waterproof container, a knife, a signaling mirror and a space blanket made from reflective Mylar. Finally, make sure you tell at least one person where you are going. If you don’t come back by a specific time, they can alert the authorities and send someone to find you.


Make Sure You Have Plenty of Water

People have been known to survive for days without food as long as they have enough fresh water to drink. Find a source of water as soon as possible, preferably before you are lost. This will not only keep you hydrated, but it can serve as a convenient landmark. Don’t forget to use your water purification kit on any water you find.

Know What You Can Eat in the Wild

There are plenty of things you can eat in the wilderness if you know where to look. You can catch and skin a rabbit or other small animal if you have the means of cooking it, or you can look for edible plants. You may not be in love with the thought of living off of handfuls of nuts and berries in the wild, but they just might be what keeps you alive until you can be rescued. Spend some time reading up on edible plants before your trip so you know what you can and cannot eat.

Don’t Panic

It’s easy to panic when you find yourself lost in the wilderness, but that only wastes precious energy and causes you to make stupid mistakes. Keep a cool head and conserve your energy. All you need to do is survive, and you might find that’s a lot easier than you might believe. And don’t forget your UDAP Bear Spray!

Surviving in the Wilderness Without Food