My Outdoors

Outdoor. Camping. Hiking.

How to Choose the Best Gift Cooler

How to Choose the Best Gift Cooler

Put your camping worries away and have a look at some of the best small coolers bags that you won’t regret buying for yourself or as a gift. You rarely need a huge container for meals or snacks, and the person you’re buying for is no exception. More importantly, with this guide, you will learn how to choose the best one.

Finding the right gift is never easy. We suggest you consider the following questions to make the decision:

What would they buy for themselves?

Sounds like an obvious one but in reality you will spend most of the time answering this. You should have a general idea of what the person likes, especially if we’re talking about a more expensive higher quality cooler.

When it comes to close friends, you’re likely to already know what to buy. It is trickier to buy gifts for people you don’t know much about. Preferably, you wouldn’t just walk over and ask them point-blank. Instead, hang out with them and learn more about them personality-wise. This way, you get lots of clues on their preferences without them realizing.

What suits the purpose?

The most important thing for a cooler is to be practical and functional. Will the person actually benefit from having this gift? Are they outdoorsy or more of a homebody? That will reveal if they will use it for camping trips or for occasions in the back garden. If they do indeed enjoy being outdoors, what they are specifically into? Hiking, kayaking or fishing call for different characteristics. Take the cooler’s features into consideration and see which one answers the requirements.


Let’s not overlook the fact that the most prominent thing a gift has is its appearance. Even if the looks are secondary for these types of things, you still want the person to like it.

Coolers differ in styles, shapes, materials, colors, sizes, embellishments, etc. That is a lot to take in. Granted, some, particularly hard-sided coolers gravitate towards the same look, with minor differences. Some coolers are more modern and luxurious, whereas others have a rustic, homey feel. The idea is to find something with a fitting look for the gift receiver. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can go to town and customize the cooler the way you want.

Here are some coolers with average of four stars or above customer reviews on Amazon (they come in many colours in case you want to make it more personalized):

  • YetiI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler
  • Yeti Roadie 20
  • Earth Pak Heavy Duty Waterproof Soft Cooler Bag
  • BareBones Small Cooler
  • eBags Crew Cooler II
  • Coleman 24 Hour Cooler

Trying to come up with the perfect gift isn’t necessarily a disheartening job. You can apply our list as a rough guideline and go from here. Remember to have fun and show the personal affection in a way that you want – in this case, with a cooler that they will actually use and appreciate.

Adventure Hiking on New Zealand’s Routeburn Track

Ok, so Milford Track might be the more famous hiking trail in New Zealand, but it wouldn’t be right not to give a proper shout-out to the Routeburn Track Hike. What often makes Routeburn a much more attractive option over the Milford Track are its choices.
Not that it’s a good thing to compare since they’re both grand in their own right, but Routeburn’s 32km can be done in either direction (although the traditional start is from the Queenstown side), and camping is allowed. Hmm, doesn’t Routeburn sound good?
National Geographic thought so, naming it “One of the Top 11 Trails in the World” back in 2005. It isn’t rocket science to understand why; it falls right between Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. Mostly Routeburn is known for its sweeping panoramic views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
What’s even better is Routeburn can be done by everyone in the family-since Routeburn can be hiked for the day. However, if the family decides to hike the entire thing, you can campout or rest up at one of Routeburn’s four huts (as well as an emergency shelter at Harris Saddle, the border between the two National Parks). Reservations are required at either the campsites or the huts, so you’d better call ahead to tell ’em you’re coming.
But, you don’t want to spend anytime indoors while you’re on the Routeburn, that’s for sure. Wouldn’t you much rather take in the views from trail’s high ridges? And you don’t want to do it as fast as some of the competitors at the annual Routeburn Classic (a late April/early May event), where the record to complete the entire thing is less than three hours.
Three hours to do 32 kilometers? That’s a little too fast to see some of the hiking trail’s local wildlife, like red deer; or bird watch, for that matter. Keep your eyes peeled for parrots, parakeets, warblers, and robins-and if you’re traveling with kids, try making a “BINGO” or scavenger hunt type game of it. What a great way to sneak in the educational stuff while having fun, don’t you think?
Don’t worry too much about Routeburn’s weather; this tramping route receives less rain than its Milford Sound cousin-which seems to have an effect on its local flora. For those of you who can’t tell a Red from a Mountain Beech, don’t worry, Routeburn’s got both.
The Routeburn Track hike is good wholesome fun for the whole family-with more choices than that other track that now shall remain nameless…

Fire Benefits

Most people in cities all over the world are finding it hard to set aside time for down time. People are busy with work, assignments, school, sports, family obligations, church functions, shopping, last minute events or programs and much more. Does one ever stop to think when do I have time to relax and reboot there? Think about it. We give our cars a break, we give our kids time to rest, and we even take days off every now and again. Wouldn’t it be so refreshing to have a spot where you could just relax and reminisce at your very own home any time you need? One way that you can sit back and take time for yourself is beside a fire. Whether you are around an indoor or outdoor fire you will find that they are warm and inviting, therapeutic to many, and definitely relaxing.
A live wood burning fire is warm and inviting to you, your family and your guests. Home fires in your indoor or outdoor fire place on cold wintery nights offer a warm retreat feel for any setting or conversation. You will find that fires are congregation spots. Especially when the weather starts to cool and the windows are frosting over. Perhaps you will see your kids reading or playing games in front of the fire, you and your spouse cozied up on the couch, and hot drinks being passed around. Outdoor fire pits offer a warm spot for people to gather after playing in the fall leaves and woods. Friends and family will gather to cook over the fire, laugh and sing songs, and even work the fire together. Any way that you envision your evening or snow day the fire is definitely the way to warm up and gather people together.
Therapy sessions come in many forms and mediums. Some people go to doctors, some people exercise more, and others might simply enjoy a cup of coffee and good conversation with a friend or family member. Therapy can also come in different mediums. One of those mediums is a live wood burning fire. Sitting outside and smelling the fall breeze and listening to the crackle of the wood burning on the fire produces a very calming environment. Getting outside with a warm blanket and the fire whether you are by yourself or with a loved one will certainly help you to feel calm and rejuvenated. Even if you do not have a lot of time to invest remember a little bit goes a long way at the end of the day.
One can certainly see that fires are warm, inviting, therapeutic, and relaxing. The crackling sound, the smell of fresh wood burning, the warm drinks in hand and the cool fall breeze will definitely help you and yours to relax and gather together and enjoy each other around the fire.

Finally an Outdoor Furnace That You and Your Neighbour Will Like

Over a thirty year period there have been many manufacturers of outdoor furnaces. An outdoor furnace is simply a structure that burns wood and heats hot water. This in turn is circulated to and from buildings and equipment that require heat. Many early models had what is called a natural draft air feed. This method caused a slow and cold burn of the fuel. The early versions also surrounded the fire with a water jacket that also created a colder burn. These two designs would then create heavy amounts of exhausted smoke and use large fuel consumption.
As time passed, an air injection fan was incorporated and controlled by an aqua stat. This improved the burn by increasing the oxygen to the fire but the water surrounding it still created some cooling effect. When an outdoor furnace is filled, the wood is often at outside temperatures and until it heats up, it will also add to what is know as a cold fire dirty burn.
This industry is evolving with the development of models of a third generation class of outdoor are a wood gasification, indoor/outdoor hot water wood furnace. How this class of furnace differs from past outdoor furnaces is that they have fire bricks incorporated into their burn chamber design. The fire bricks can reach temperatures of 1700F thus burning off the gasses and smoke. In doing this gasification properly, the manufacturer is able to obtain an EPA Phase 2 qualification. This means that the particulate matter leaving the furnace is extremely low. This creates a highly efficient and clean burn that is very desirable for owners and neighbours alike.
There are models of this class of furnace that have a rating of 160,000 BTU maximum output and have acquired a heat transfer efficiency of 88.4%. Another larger model has a 200,000 BTU maximum rating with a heat transfer efficiency of 90.1%. These models have the ability to adjust the BTU output with ease, to suit seasonal heat loads and wood types. This creates a simple design that is reliable and user friendly while setting a new benchmark for performance in efficiency and reduced emissions for an outdoor furnace.
Some of the leaders in this industry have been testing their newer models to the most recent test criteria (EPA Test Method 28 WHH For measurement of Particulate Emissions and Heating Efficiency of Outdoor Wood-Fired Hydronic Heating Appliances). These results are of a more accurate and realistic nature that in turn relate to actual outputs, burn time expectations and emissions of an outdoor furnace.
These leading manufacturers are an EPA Hydronic Heater Voluntary Program Phase 2 Partner.
In supporting this initiative it improves the outdoor furnace industry and what it has to offer to the general public. This is a safe alternative heating option using wood that is a less costly fuel, that is carbon neutral and a renewable resource.
This product can heat your home, domestic hot water, garage, workshop, swimming pool, hot tub and greenhouse all with one properly sized unit.
This type of hot water wood furnace can be connected to any type of existing heating system by means of Pex piping, water to water or water to air exchangers and a low power usage circulation pump(s).
In these economic times, the implementation of indoor/outdoor hot water wood heating can be a financially viable and environmentally friendly alternative method of heating.

The Benefits of Using Glass Railings Just Like They Do On the Show Decked Out

The TV show Decked Out is a reality show that features backyard and outdoor construction. The main characters are a creative design and construction team who transform the backyards of different families into impressive and beautiful living spaces. The show uses creativity to make the most out of the assets of each space while minimizing any challenging features. One of the elements that they’ve added to their decks to make them really stand out is glass railings. For decks, an invisible, or glass railing system can showcase the overall design of the deck and enhance views. Here are a few of the benefits of using the Invisirail system like the stars of Decked Out.
Unobstructed views – One of the main benefits of using this style of rail is the wide open views that it affords. Glass railings are perfect for showcasing your landscaping or waterfront views. You can even get posts for these railings that are virtually invisible as well.
Impressive design – A deck designed with invisible railings is just downright impressive, which is why they are featured on Decked Out. Invisible glass railings can set off premium materials like Kayu exotic hardwood for decks. There are numerous creative uses to which an invisible railing system can be maintenance – Glass is a fairly low maintenance material for decks. It doesn’t need to be sealed or touched up because it won’t degrade over time. Plus the wide surface means that they can be quickly and easily cleaned.
Protection from the elements – This is particularly important if you live on or near open water. The full glass panels provide optimum protection from wind and salt spray, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space, even if you’re right on the water!
Safe and sturdy – Even though it’s made of glass, there’s nothing fragile about these railing systems. When combined with other elements like the Camo hidden deck fastening system, you can have the safest, most impressive looking deck on the block, just like they build on Decked Out!Easy to install – These large glass panels are super easy to install, making them a practical upgrade for the do-it-yourselfer as well as professionals. Labor tends to cost more, so with a railings system that is less labor intensive and more impressive than other systems, you just can’t go wrong.
Harder for kids and pets to get stuck – One of the best parts of using cool railing systems like the stars of Decked Out is that it’s harder for kids and pets to get stuck in the space between the rail and the post. That’s because there just isn’t that much space to begin with, so heads, arms, and legs can’t slip in between.