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5 Ways to Attract Bears to a Campsite

Do you want to encounter a bear in nature? Traditionally, one of Mother Nature’s fiercest mountain predators wandered the backcountry in search of berries. But thanks to many irresponsible campers, bears wandering around sniffing out their next meal are becoming more and more drawn to that greasy bear-friendly “Happy Meal” of chips, Cheetos, and cheese chunks at your campsite. If you really want to have a bear wandering through your campsite early in the morning, keep on reading.

(disclaimer: we do NOT endorse inviting bears to your campsite—they’re huge, unpredicable animals and if provoked can turn your camping trip into a nightmare)

Use Your Clothes as a Dishtowel
True stories sometimes make the best stories. This one time at a camp a guy ate a bag of potato chips. He wiped the chip grease on his Goretex pant pockets and decided to take a nap. The man found a hammock, placed his hat over his eyes and rested peacefully underneath a tree. Thirty-minutes later he woke up to a strange and moist lapping sensation around his baby-making zone. What he thought would be a woman’s eager mouth ended up being the slithery and sly tongue of a bear enjoying the leftover chip grease on his pants. What’s the lesson? Your clothes are not dishtowels and food stained clothes attract bears.

Cook Where You Camp
To a bear, nothing smells better than a fire-roasted ballpark frank wafting through the wind. It’s the type of scent that makes campers dream of bathing in a vat of ketchup and wiener grease. Cooking next to your tent is a surefire method for a bear-in-tent invasion. The smoke produced from the fire contains the scent of the food, which covers the tent’s material. Unfortunately, Smokey the Bear has no self-control over binge eating.

Get a Front Row View
Instead of paying twelve dollars to see the latest National Geographic documentary, camp for free with a front row ticket to “The Real Bear World.” Park your tent adjacent to a salmon-dense river. Don’t forget your documentary and self-defense tool—the selfie-stick—for all your near-fatal filming. Near these rivers, adrenaline seekers might encounter pissed off mama bears trying to feed their kids, which never ends well for anyone who gets too close. For a guaranteed 10 million views on YouTube, wear Bugles on all ten fingers and jump rock to rock hunting for salmon. You may lose a hand, but at least you’ll become rich from Youtube ads.

Pee Where You Sleep
A bear’s sense of smell is seven times stronger than a bloodhound. If you’ve ever smelled coffee, alcohol, or yesterday’s beetroot salad in your urine, bears can smell every donut and drip of hot sauce you’ve eaten from miles away. There’s no understanding why, but bears ogle over human piss. Pee away from camp. Walk away, and do not pee in the wind. Nothing is more fragrant than a succulent mountain man sautéed in a Pringle-scented vinaigrette of human piss. Also, pee “downstream” away from camp. Urinating above camp risks a stream of pee trickling, at turtle speed, back to camp.

Leave Traces and Trash
Lazy campers leave traces of trash, food, and hints of human existence. Bears follow their noses to their next meal, so be aware; smoke and scented things attract curious bears. Use airtight containers in camp, clean up your trash, and hang food and trash at least 100 feet from camp (300 feet to be super safe). If the bear decides to play piñata, bust out the margaritas because the camp is bear-free.

We love you, just remember that.

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How to Sculpt Your Beach Body on the Trails this Spring

Now we’re not just talking hiking trails here. We’re talking dirt running trails, concrete bike trails through town, crunchy ski trails (because backcountry is in full-swing for those who are good enough to get out there), and primitive mountain trails that promise to sculpt any flab you may have accumulated this winter into solid, tanned, granite.

Whether you’ve got some extra fluff from excessive winter hibernation or drinking your weight in shots, these ideas are sure to make you a lean mean bro machine. Grab your tunes and get ready to hit the trail.

Track Your Progress
There are literally a shit ton of ways to track your stats while exercising. Strava, Map My Run, and Trace Snow to mention a few. The beauty of these apps is they not only allow you to track you progress, but they also encourage a little friendly competition amongst you and other runners, bikers, or shredders. That being said, get a buddy to track progress with you. Monitor your miles, calories, elevation gain, and overall hours. Loser buys the beers.

Sexy Selfies
Unleash your inner narcissist and post that shit! Take a selfie pre-run (#runninglife), during the run (#ithoughttheysaidrum), and post run (#winning). The more glistening flesh you show, the better!

Elevation is Everything
Ever wonder why top athletes train at high altitudes? It’s quite simple. Running, biking, and hiking in higher altitudes with greater elevation gains forces the lungs to adapt to and function on less oxygen. Once the athlete returns to lower elevations, their lungs are flooded with significantly more oxygen than they’re used to turning them into Sea Level Superman.

That being said, choose workouts that are at a higher altitude and that give you more overall elevation gain.

Mix It Up
We all have our habits. Your job this spring is to make a habit of getting out of the comfort zone. Try a new trail or ski line every week. Make it longer, harder, and more epic than the week before. Dull routines are where progress goes to die, so get on The Google, and find something fresh.

Incentive Pants
You know those pants or shorts you look oh-so yummy in? Yeah, well your current muffin top ain’t gonna cut it. So take said article of clothing, hang it on the back of your bedroom door or in the bathroom and don’t stop pushing on the trails until your ass can fit into them effortlessly.

Healthy Eats
It’s easy to load up on Cliff Bars and Gatorade when you’re killing it outdoors. And, though these snacks have their uses, it’s far more beneficial to eat nutrient dense foods and drink a lot of water. Some trail-friendly nutrient dense foods include, salmon, blueberries, kale, almonds, and dark chocolate. Try taking smoked salmon, dried blueberries, dark chocolate covered almonds, or kale chips on your adventures. Worried about electrolytes? They are easily replaced with bananas, raisins, or (the most effing delicious fruit/veggie…whatever the hell they are…in the world) avocados.

You have the knowledge. Now get your ass up and hit the trails.

We love you, just remember that.

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6 Guaranteed Ways to Piss off The Lady Friend

First off, just by referring to them as THE Wife or THE Girlfriend, you’re off to a great start.

You Don’t Understand What it’s Like to Get Up in the Middle… Blah, Blah, Blah
Let’s head off the age-old argument between men and women about the toilet seat; it’s time to get a little pro-active here. Suck it up boys and tell her now—you are sick and tired of her never remembering to put the toilet seat back up when she’s done. If you really want to push it, and do this at your own risk, tell her she has no idea what it’s like to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and realize you’re peeing all over the toilet seat. If that doesn’t get her hackles up, you’re doing it wrong.

Song Remains the Same
Remember the song that was playing the first time you danced? Yeah, I was drunk too. Anyway, she remembers it and if you want to sleep on the couch for the next month, go ahead and forget it. Every girlfriend I ever had thought there was a song that was “Our song.” I have no idea how they became “Our song,” or what any of them were but I’m sure they were mushy, corny, lame, and sucked.

Thanks for the Memories
The dreaded question:“Do you know what day this is?” How you respond will shape how comfortable your life will be for the foreseeable future. You better get good at remembering dates because she’s like a high school history teacher, and absolutely obsessed with them. She’ll know the date you first met, first went out, and first kissed. You better know them too, or at least be able to fake your way around that dangerous question or be prepared to become single again.

Yes Dear
If you say you’re going to do something, you better well do it. I mean like fix the leaky faucet, change the hallway light bulb, or build that patio/deck/fire pit/raised garden monstrosity she wants you to do. Where we get in trouble is when we use the old standby, “Yes Dear.” Once you say “Yes Dear,” to anything, she stores that tidbit away in that 8,000 terabyte hard drive of a brain she has and is saving it for when you least expect it. Like naptime on a Sunday.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Vacuums
Speaking of chores, if God forbid you ever actually do any housework, make sure and demand credit for it. I mean, let’s face it, she’s going to redo anything you do anyway, so there’s no reason to bust your butt doing it right—but make sure you still get credit. Before you brag about your contribution to the house cleaning though, make sure you at least know how to turn on the vacuum cleaner; they are tricky little things. I got called out by the Wife and the Daughter once, and for the life of me, I could not find that damned switch. In my defense we’d only had the vacuum for a year or two but now, as soon as we get a new vacuum, I learn how to turn it on. I never actually use it but next time they call me out, I’ll show them.

It’s All In A Name
What you call them is as important as if you call them. Never, and I do mean never, use the word “Just” before any other word to describe your relationship. If you ever correct anyone who asks if she is your wife by saying, “No, she is just my girlfriend” I guarantee you in no time at all, she will be either your wife or your ex. Trust me, that’s how I ended up married to The Wife.

We love you, just remember that.

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How to Spot a Hipster in the Wild

You’re out camping with your friends, enjoying a beer in the great outdoors when you spot it: the elusive hipster. What is such a creature doing out of its natural environment of dank, dimly lit areas serving coffee and craft beer? In case you’ve managed to never encounter these annoying creatures, here’s what to look for and a few ways to drive them off.

They’re Showing Their Man Cleavage
It’s no secret hipsters love to stuff their closets with flannel, usually paired with a train conductor’s hat and some skinny jeans. Out in the woods, though, it wouldn’t be all that ironic to wear the traditional wooly wardrobe of the woodsman now would it?

No, that’s not sardonic enough for your average hipster. Instead, you’ll be able to spot their man cleavage before you spot them. That’s right; hipster campers will certainly be decked out in t-shirts with deep vs so low they’ll leave you wondering how something so anorexic can still have absolutely no abs.

They “Rock Out” to Mumford & Sons
Hipsters love music that makes most people want to kill themselves, and they like it before it became mainstream. Yet that doesn’t stop them from listening to staples like Mumford & Sons and Death Cab for Cutie, or any band with the word “the” in front of it.

Solution: Drown them out with the sweet sounds of Twisted Sister or, if you can stomach it, throw on a little 90s era Backstreet Boys. It shouldn’t be hard to out blast them—their vinyl record player or iPod Nano has nothing on your Turtle Shell.

Those Beards
Ah, yes. The hipster beard. Nothing screams “look at me” like unkempt facial hair sprouting a foot off your face and speckled with leftover goat cheese. The sight of it’ll make you want to lop it off and use it for kindling.

In fact, maybe you should. Just hover around the hipster with brightly lit torches large enough to catch their beards on fire. Or wave your burning s’mores toward their face. Eventually they’ll get the picture.

They’ll Bring Along Craft Beer
Hipsters can barely afford to pay their rents thanks to their penchant for collecting liberal arts degrees, yet these guys never go anywhere without their ridiculously overpriced craft beer. Nope, no brand named beer like Budweiser for these persnickety peeps. Unless of course it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon. They’re all over that shit.

They’re Eating Organic
Don’t bother offering these guys a bite to eat. They’ll just turn up their noses at that half-off pound of hamburger you picked up at Wal-Mart on your way to the campsite in favor of their organic hotdogs from Whole Foods. It’s doesn’t matter if it tastes like rubbery dog doo because it was $9.99 and made with all natural vegan ingredients, guys!

To help ward them off, convince them you’ve gone all natural with that beef loaded with bloody goodness. Tell them it’s vegan, then once they’ve downed a few bites fill them in on the truth, then watch as they retch it back up over their Keds. Once they’re done throwing their hipster hissy fit you’ll have the woods all to yourself again.

We love you, just remember that.

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10 Excuses You’ll Hear When Trying to Get People to Go Camping (And How to Respond)

Alright, we’ve all been there, we’ve all been on the throwing and receiving end of some really great excuses. The classic, “let me get back to you,” or “sure, maybe”, and then when those fail, the really good excuses come out. It happens, and now for the next time it does, here for you today is a hot and ready guide to not only the most common excuses ever told, but the perfect reasoning that contradicts these tired answers to fun questions. 

Not Enough Money
Cash is king, and for many people it’s a key excuse not to get outdoors. But adventures don’t have to be expensive, on the contrary, a single night camping can be as cost effective as a night home watching Netflix and ordering a pizza. Food, you have to eat, and buying groceries for an adventure can be as expensive as buying granola bars or a couple cans of soup. And if you pick a destination that won’t drain your gas tank, money shouldn’t be an issue. 

Not Really a Fan of Eating Bugs and Worms
Just because you are going on a bit of an adventure doesn’t mean you have to go all Survivor Man on your journey. Skip the puss filled grubs and cow paddies, and instead pack the whole kitchen including the sink. If your friends are fan of gourmet dining, impress them with your backcountry skills and whip up something special. And the best part for a budding backcountry chef, most anything taste good after a day full of adventure and exercise. 

Not Enough Time
Probably the most valuable resource for any modern man or women is time, and that’s why it’s a likely excuse to not go on a new adventure. But if someone throws this card down on the table to bail out on some outdoors time, be sure to rebut with the “work smart, not hard” mentality for finding some much needed fresh air. Adventures don’t have to be epic, and if someone is pressed for time, suggest a short hike, bike ride, or anything that will get you 20 minutes of exercise, anything that will effectively rejuvenate the spirit in a way only adventures can.

Not Really a Big Fan of “Mother Nature” / Not an “Outdoorsy Person”
Here is where you need to make and deliver on some promises. If you have a friend that claims to not be an “outdoorsy person”, you have to ensure them the most comfortable adventure experience you can conjure up. You can fulfill this promise by bringing plenty of lights, stoking the fire, and absolutely ensuring that you have all the right gear to cater towards your soon-to-be lifetime adventure buddy.

Not Looking to Contract Rashes, Bug Bites, and Other Skin Abrasions
Sometimes it’s the little things that can really pick at your camping experience. Mosquitoes, poison ivy, and bear attacks, by packing the right gear you can avoid all of these messes (i.e. natural bug spray, poison ivy identification knowledge, & bear container). And while not everything can be controlled in the great outdoors, knowing what kind of environment and what kind of preventions can be taken will do wonders to squash any outdoor hesitancy from your friends.

Not Interested After Seeing the Movie 127 Hours
No one including Aron Ralston wants to find themselves in a dangerous situation while spending time outdoors, and most campers or outdoors oriented persons won’t ever find themselves between a rock and a hard place (ba-dum-tshh). But in all seriousness, finding yourself in an emergency situation outside can be a predicament. Do your best to be prepared, use logic when planning your trip, and if your friend is still hesitant, bust out the 30-page emergency response binder you have lying around.

Not Nice Enough Weather
An old outdoor adage goes along the lines of, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad planning.” And it’s true, although a night spent out in the rain or snow doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, with the right rain gear and fur-lined clothing you can be comfortable in any kind of weather. Noted, a natural disaster situation that might prove to be dangerous (i.e. thunderstorms, flooding, earthquakes, Godzilla spotting), might be one of the few valid excuses left in the book.

Not Enough Facial Hair
Sure, it does seem reasonable to have a two foot beard if you want to spend any extended time outdoors, but it’s not at all necessary. There are legions of outdoor women out there who have conquered the elements without any facial hair, and if one of your guy buddies is still hesitant, there is always the old “smear-Rogaine-all-over-your-face” trick.

Not a Big Fan of Doing Business Outside
Often times the thought of taking care of business outside brings people to tears thinking about the mess and process of popping a squat in the great outdoors. But, in case you haven’t experienced it yourself, you can assure your friends that dropping a deuce outdoors is one of the fastest ways to become one with nature and that the natural approach, compared to the 90⁰ knee angle of most porcelain potties is much better for the intestines. Be sure to point out things that won’t make your butt itch and you’ll have no problem taking care of business.

Not Looking for a Half-Night’s Sleep
Overnight camping adventures can provide the best night’s sleep you’ll find all week. Pack a warm enough sleeping bag and inflatable sleeping pad and you’re set. Camping outdoors takes away all the distractions of modern Z’s including late-night movies, munchies, and annoying roommates, leaving behind only a darkened night to catch up on that much needed beauty rest.

We love you, just remember that.

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6 Dumb Places to Camp

It’s really not hard to find a campground. You can drive to any National Forest and find free spots all over the place. You can hike in most any wilderness area and plop down wherever you like. Why then do people choose these spots?

Your Backyard
Okay, if you have young kids who have never slept outside, we can maybe understand doing it once. This really isn’t teaching camping until they have to take a poop outside, though. Young boys may actually enjoy it but if you have a daughter and you want her to love camping, she’s going to have to learn about squatting in the great outdoors. I don’t suggest they take a dump in your garden, but you do need to get them out in the woods at some time. I have friends who have to build bathrooms for their girlfriends when we’re camping in the woods. These girls were obviously not brought up right. Actually, I know some guys who do that for themselves. I don’t camp with them anymore.

The Wilds of Walmart

It’s great that the company allows RVs to park overnight in their lots. This is a great service to folks traveling who can’t find, or maybe afford an established campground. Really though if you can’t afford to pay, how are you driving that gas-guzzling behemoth to begin with? Besides, have you seen all those internet pictures of the people shopping at Walmart? I can’t imagine what the camping crowd looks like at 3am.

KOAs
Not to pick on one company (Walmart is fair game though) but the term KOA Campground is synonymous with any roadside commercial camping establishment. Once again, if you can’t find anywhere else to set up, or you’re rolling in late and don’t know where else to go in the dark, we’ll give you a pass on this for one night. I know people who plan their trip to these parking lot campgrounds and actually make reservations for them. You are packed in just like sardines with your neighbors right on top of you. Your tent may be a few feet from an RV, and some don’t even allow campfires.

In-Town Parks
In Denver, Colorado there is Cherry Creek and Chatfield Lakes that are really Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoirs that allow camping. There is also Bear Creek Lake Park that is actually a reservoir but thinks it’s a creek or a lake, they haven’t decided yet. The campground at Bear Creek Lake Park is right near a highway and within sight of several neighborhoods as well. I guess this is one step up from the backyard, but really? You couldn’t drive just a couple more miles and be in the mountains?

Private Campgrounds

Unlike KOAs, there are some private campgrounds that are in lovely, out of the way campgrounds. One such place is Wellington Lake outside of Conifer, Colorado. This is one of the prettiest spots on the Front Range outside of Denver. A privately owned lake with Castle Mountain in the background; the scenery is stunning. Since it’s privately owned, the fees are as steep as Castle Mountain though. The main problem though with this one and other private spots is the rules. They have a sign with a list of rules taller than me. I understand having some rules but come on: no swearing or cussing allowed? Obviously they’ve never tried to set up a tent. The good news here is no fishing license is required and you’ll be in bed early; that’s one of the rules too.

Music Festivals
Music festivals are popular again and that’s a good thing. A lot of them even offer on-site camping whether right on the concert grounds or in another area of the festival. There is also Burning Man and the Rainbow Family type gatherings that aren’t music fests but are large gatherings of partiers. Now, the whole reason I camp out, poop in the woods, and cook on the fire is to get away from most of these people. If I’m hanging around thousands of other folks for days on end, I would prefer they shower daily. Plus, most of these festival campouts don’t allow fires, pets, or alcohol. Now, I don’t know about you but I demand at least two of those three when I’m camping.

We love you, just remember that.

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To Use a Running App…or Not?

Once upon a time, the only thing I needed to go for a run was a pair of running shoes.

Those were simpler times. These days, I find myself using awkward contraptions—bouncy running belts or homemade Ziploc bag carriers—so that I can bring my phone along with me on my run.

It’s not that I think I’ll actually need my phone to make calls or check my Facebook feed mid-stride. It’s that my phone holds my precious running app, and I simply can’t do without. After all, if I run X number of miles but my app didn’t record it, did I even run them at all?

On a recent trail run with a friend, I accidentally left my phone behind. My heart sank temporarily when I realized that those precious miles would not be added to my monthly total, and that my workouts for the week would show one less session than I actually did. The pain was real.

It’s around then that I realized that I missed the feeling of running without even a watch, where the data didn’t matter and the numbers were irrelevant. As I contemplate ditching my running app for good, I believe it important to weigh out the pros and the cons.

Pro: Tracking Progress
I picked up my first running app last September when I decided on a whim to run a half marathon that was only five weeks away. Miles mattered, and so did my speed. I planned out each and every run and used the app to make sure I stayed on track. I ended up finish the race strong and healthy, and quite a bit faster than I anticipated. Point: App.

Con: Running Apps Are Dumb
I felt a ping of pleasure the other day when my running app notified me of a new achievement: a new highest elevation of 3,143 feet! I was elated—until I realized that the number didn’t match the mere 300 or so feet I actually climbed on the run. Thanks for boosting my ego, app, but please stop feeding me lies.

Pro: The Motivation Factor
I will admit that I run faster when an automated lady informs me of my distance travelled every five minutes. She’s my own personal trainer, and I can’t let her down.

There are also apps that allow you to compare your time to others—strangers, even—who have run the same segments as you. If you’re the competitive type, this is golden.

Con: The “You Suck” Factor
I once tried this app that had a separate heart rate monitor. After my run, it rated my effort on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest. I was busting my butt trying to keep up with the uber fit people in my running group, yet it scored me a “2”. Are you kidding me? Compared to Ussain Bolt, maybe.

Pro: Numbers Are Satisfying
If you’re the type of person who keeps a customized Excel spreadsheet that tracks every aspect of your life (guilty as charged), you will lose your mind over the beautiful data that these apps provide you with—barring, of course, the inaccurate stuff (see “Running Apps Are Dumb”, above). Comparing your logged miles or how you fared last week compared to this week is embarrassingly addictive.

Con: It Takes the Fun Out of Running
When you avoid stopping for water because you fear it will skew the data on your running app, it’s time to slowly put down your phone. Ask a trusted loved one to delete the app. Now, go for a run—with no phone swinging around in your pocket—and remember how good it feels to run with no app attached.

We love you, just remember that.

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Summer Music, Art, and Beer Festivals for Picking Up Hotties and Being Awesome

There’s nothing better in the sweet, sweet summertime than being ridiculously lazy, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, listening to some live tunes, and meeting really, really good-looking people (#zoolanderreference). That being said, check out these killer summer (and extended summer a.k.a “fall) festivals. Let the partying, commence!

Great American Beer Festival
Held in the hipster capitol of the world, Denver, Co., the GABF allows for the perfect opportunity to get completely wasted, walk around hitting on members of the opposite sex, and gather free swag. Breweries from all over the US, including Austin, TX., Bend, OR., and San Diego, CA. attend to give Denverites and visitors a taste of their goods.

Rocky Grass
Set in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Planet Bluegrass plays host to several annual outdoor music events. But the toe-tappingest, skin-baringest, laid-backest of all just happens to be Rocky Grass. This three day event is a mecca for hippies, music enthusiasts, families, and singles from around the state and country. As you dance near the striking wooden stage and seek relief from the sun in the St. Vrain River, which flows through the property, you’ll notice that bare midriffs and tanned bodies abound. Not to mention, with marijuana now a legal in Colorado, you can purchase some for your own consumption. Just be sure to partake in the privacy of your own home or a friend’s home, as public use is currently illegal.

Burning Man
This weeklong festival in the Nevada desert is known for attracting freakishly cool oddballs, DJs, artists, and ravers. The costumes, though optional but awesome, are reason enough to attend, as most people are scantily clad wearing little more than glitter, sequins, body paint, and head gear. The temporary city, known as Black Rock, serves as an oasis for participants to express themselves in a variety of ways. The man goes up in flames this August.

Coachella
Notorious for its celebrity sightings, fashion forward climate, and killer musical lineup, Coachella is as much a fashion show as it is a music festival that should totes be attended at least once in your 20s and 30s (Because this is when you’re body is in its prime and you can drink the most). Yet another festival held in the desert, half-naked hotties will be in attendance as far as the eye can see (#wardrobemalfunction).

Austin City Limits
Austin, Texas is a liberal hive known for its food, music, and culture. From blues to funk, and alternative country to jazz, this festival features a little bit of everything. Not to mention, sexy guys and gals wearing tight-fittin’ jeans and cowboy boots are certain to be in attendance. This year, over 130 artistis will be in attendance for all around the world. Of all of the festivals mentioned in our list, ACL is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be passed up.

We love you, just remember that.

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Sex in a Tent: 5 Tips for Roughing it in the Buff

Do you want to get naughty in nature? Let’s face it, sex in a tent is not easy and nothing is worse than getting the wrong stick in the butt. But, when it comes to getting down and dirty outdoors there are a few tricks to the “birds and the bees” trade. Keep reading to find out how to let your inner-buck go wild and free while roughing it in the buff.

Flirt Under the Sun
If you want to get lucky under the moonlight, flirt during the daylight. Flirting under the sun is the “warm up” phase to energize those “night owl” libidos. Nothing is more awkward than a mind-numbing trek through the woods, later topped off with a hand on the boob to rev those sexual juices. Stay adventurous through conversation and give the lady a hand on the trail. It’ll make her crave your twig and berries and howl underneath the moon.

Stay in the Tent
Unless you know the area like the back of your hand, stay inside the tent. It might sounds super exciting to replicate the Adam and Eve experience underneath a starry sky while picking the fruits of nature. But, ask yourself one question, “Have you ever experienced rug burn?” If so, bark burn feels a hell of a lot worse. Stepping on sticks, poison ivy on dicks—no one can beat the forces of nature. Stay indoors.

Stick with the Basics
Have you been dying to try a new move? Unless you have graduated from “Tent Sex 401,” stick with the basics. Tents are small, thin-walled objects that easily rustle and break without some “TLC.” Cushion the ground with towels, sleeping bags, pads or clothes to protect knees, hips, and spines.

Build a Love Nest
If you are positive that you will score on your next camping trip, build a love nest. Use a three-person tent for extra space and purchase sleeping bags that zip together. Sleeping bags zipped together make “getting it on” easier and allows for cuddling. It avoids the self-conscious moments of getting in and out of single bags especially when bitter-cold nights shrink and shrivel things below the belt line.

Avoid Food Substances
A basic “Camping 101” rule educates campers to hang food. Sex and food do not mix while camping. Kinky campers who want to drizzle smores and freeze-dried potato soup crumbs better save the food and sexcapades for the bedroom. Do you want to wake up in the middle of the night, running out of your tent covered in marshmallows and chip grease, fleeing from a ravenous bear? If not, hang the food and stick with the basics.

We love you, just remember that.

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6 Critters That Are Smarter Than You Think

We humans love to think that we’re the sharpest tools in the shed, having invented indispensable items like Chia Pets, turducken, and 8-track cassettes. But there are also some serious brains in the animal kingdom. Some otherwise spineless blobs and our most unassuming neighbors back some pretty serious mental ability. Here are some of the MENSAs of the animal world.

OctopusoctopusPeter Godfrey Smith, a diver and professor, likened meeting an Octopus to meeting an intelligent alien. Octopi pack some serious brainpower, and one in a German aquarium famous for doing a better job of picking World Cup winners than sports experts. Octopi are slow and lack sharp teeth, claws, armor, and spines which would help them defend themselves. So they survive by their wits—using their camouflage ability to mimic shapes and colors around them, and their squishiness to maneuver themselves into narrow crevices for protection or find food. Aquarium keepers share stories of octopuses that have snuck out of their cage at night to steal crabs from other tanks that recognize particular people that feed them, and that routinely solve puzzles to get to their food. They use tools—a blanket octopus rips poisonous tentacles off of jellyfish and wields it like a sword. An odd fact—the neural storage in octopuses also seems to be in their 8 arms, as well as their brain.

CrowscrowCombining some serious brainpower with complex social structures, crows thrive in urban and wild areas alike. John Marzluff’s studies of Seattle’s crows revealed that they recognize and remember faces: after catching a number of crows and fixing them with radio transmitters, he found himself dive-bombed whenever he walked across the UW campus. He believes crows also distinguish between friend, foe, and neutral humans and convey that information to other crows. Crows have learned to use car traffic to crush nuts for easy snacks, read traffic signals and crosswalks, and learn individual people’s names. They also communicated that information to their brethren. Having long since solved the easy problems about how to survive and find food, they now have that most dangerous of things: free time. Like the smart kid not challenged in school, they spend time messing around and getting into trouble.

SquirrelssquirrelIt’s easy to think that squirrels make their way in the world by being acrobatic and adept climbers. But they have two things that are clearly hallmarks for animal intelligence: memory and abstract thinking. Memory is more obvious: we know squirrels bury nuts, and remember both their caches and good sources of food from year to year. Abstract thinking comes in with how they actively deceive each other. They’ll happily steal from each other’s caches. To deter thieves, squirrels will rebury nuts over and over. If they sense they are being watched by a competitor, they’ll pretend to bury a nut and then stash it somewhere else when alone: tactical deception previously thought to be exclusive to primates.

OrcasorcaSporting the second-biggest brains among marine mammals, and a brain-to-body weight ratio similar to chimpanzees, orcas are clearly very bright. They have languages with different dialects, complex social structures, teach and learn from each other, complex knowledge about places, people, and hunting techniques passed down through generations—and all these things can differ among different populations. Studies of orca and human brains may indicate that orca may even be processing a wider range of emotions than humans. With an intelligence clearly ranking very high in the animal kingdom, they may just be a pair of opposable thumbs away from world domination.

RaccoonsracoonLike crows, raccoons are generalists who benefit from the presence of humans. Anyone who’s ever tried to keep a raccoon away from their garbage know they’re dexterous, persistent, and good at problem-solving. How much of their problem solving is due to those dexterous hands or their brains is open to debate. One thing is clear—city raccoons are cleverer than their rural cousins. Studies of Toronto’s garbage-raiding raccoons reveal a series of systematic approaches to various kinds of garbage can lids, which the raccoons learned to recognize and went straight to a strategy that worked on that particular design. The more complex latches, lids, and contraptions we come up with, the smarter the raccoons will become as time goes on.

Cuttlefish

You probably don’t even know what a cuttlefish is. We’ll, their cephalopods, related to squid and the chambered nautilus, and they live in tropical and subtropical seas in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Like octopi, they are soft, defenseless, and rely on camouflage and their ability to rapidly change color and blend in. Like the Orca, it’s brain to body size is huge, they navigate and remember mazes, and are much more social learners than their solitary octopus cousins. Like squirrels, they show a calculated intent to deceive: males wooing a lady will show female patterns on the other side of its color-changeable skin, to convince other males that it’s really a female and not a rival.

Next time you’re wandering around the animal world, remember that just because you’re a human doesn’t mean you’re that smart. That crow watching you is probably thinking “What a tool. He’s been feeding me and housing me for months and doesn’t even know it.” He’s probably bored, so try and tell him something interesting.

We love you, just remember that.

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