Category: Travel

Summer Camping Essentials

It’s not summer until you’ve made an escape to the great outdoors—and maybe cooked a S’more on an open fire. As we quickly approach August, those in the Northern Hemisphere are taking time out in the wilderness; floating in rivers, hiking, and swimming. Immersion in nature offers undeniable rejuvenating and its own form of entertainment. Some city folk, however, might need help with both. With that in mind, we’ve selected several items that will make your next camping trip extra fun, relaxing or pragmatic—from games to hammocks, sunscreen, hats and kayaks. Be sure to check out all our previous camping suggestions, as well.

Hammock Kit

Two brands that love the outdoors and great design, Topo Designs and Kammok have teamed up for a seriously fun hammock kit. Included is the 500-pound capacity Kammok Roo ($128), which is designed for comfort and easy set-up (and the all-important packing away) in a custom Topo colorway of bright red and aqua. Made from durable ripstop fabric and with double-certified climbing strength carabiners, this hammock is built to last. Also in the kit, you’ll find tree-hugging Kammok Python Straps, to ensure you’re safe while you snooze.

“NO” Cap

If you’re going to be dodging sunlight with cap, it might as well be a statement-making one. 100% eco-friendly and fair-trade, this one ($40) by Slow Factory is part of their Resist collection, and introduces a new, alternative voice in the politicized red hat movement. The cap is made in the USA and boldly embroidered “NO.”—with that all-important period in place to reminds us that this one word can be a complete sentence. Of course, it’s also practical for staying sun smart when outdoors in the height of summer.

Project Blue Book UFO Sighting Guide

Not just a blank notebook, the Project Blue Book UFO Sighting Guide ($5) is full of important factors to record in case you ever see an alien craft. It’s a copy of the declassified official government UFO sighting survey which used to be issued to members of the US Air Force—in case they saw anything out of the ordinary. With sections asking whether the object changed shape, gave off smoke, flickered, etc, there is plenty of information to fill out. Embrace your inner Mulder or Scully, and find the truth out there.

Surf Mud Sunscreen

This Brooklyn-based brand was founded by Jun Lee to develop natural, healing remedies that kept up with her active lifestyle. There are no frou-frou formulas here, just effective protection and recovery: like non-toxic Surf Mud sunblock (made using coconut oil, cocoa butter and zinc), an extra-strength menthol oil roll-on for headaches and muscular pain, tea tree and myhrr-infused antiseptic balm for rashes to scratches, and natural deodorant in push-stick form (no more scooping with a spoon). The eco-friendly cardboard and tin packaging seals the deal.

Keith Haring Voyage Poncho

Herschel’s newest collaboration is with the estate of the beloved iconic pop artist Keith Haring. Our pick from the collection is a cute and practical poncho ($70), which features a wind-resistant and water-repellent coating, as well as a snap closure at the neck. Available for all genders, the poncho’s charming print emits cheer even on the rainiest of days.


Tech-Forward Climbing Gear

Technology in climbing is nothing new—the industry is always evolving to assist humans with their mountain pursuits. That said, the tech keeps getting better. Gear is getting lighter, more durable, more functional and more fluid, giving climbers an edge while they are performing physically demanding feats. Having the right gear doesn’t just make climbing easier, it also makes it safer. New products features mean your outdoor adventures need not be death-defying. Here we have outlined some of the most exciting new gear to come out this year.

The GriGri+ ($150) is an assisted braking device from the French climbing company Petzl. Although the GriGri has been around for many years, the GriGri+ iteration has taken belaying to another level of safety. When used correctly, this product breaks with some assistance instead of traditional belay devices that are entirely manual. The new GriGri+ has two modes for either lead climbing (which feeds rope easier) and top rope (which catches and locks faster). It also has an anati-panic locking system in place when the lever is pulled too hard during descents. Thus making the GriGri+ an ideal tool for both novices and experts.

Black Diamond Equipment’s new Camalots (protection devices used in traditional climbing) have shaved 25 percent of their predecessors’ weight off. For longer routes, losing equipment weight can make a huge difference. Black Diamond was able to remove this weight off their Ultralight Camalots ($90 to $130) by replacing the steel cable with a stronger, lighter-weight Dyneema cord, smaller wires in the mechanism, and a lower profile sling.

American-made Sterling’s new Dry XP ropes ($90 to $370) far exceed the UIAA’s (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) water-repellent standard of less than 5% water-absorption. Water changes ropes over time, making them heavier and more susceptible to damage. It can also affect the stretch and the rebound of a rope, ultimately changing the performance of the rope. Dry XP works with a DryCore process for the internal fibers and an external nanoparticle coating called DeltaDry that’s environmentally friendly.


What kind of insurance do drivers like me buy?

Watching every penny is the starting point for getting rich slowly. But there are also big moves you can make that will earn or save you a lot of money. Big wins include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your salary, improving your credit score or evaluating your car insurance. Your car insurance probably comes up for renewal every six months. When was the last time you compared insurance carriers or revised your policy to see if you could save a few hundred dollars? I thought so.

Des Toups, senior managing editor of Insurance.com (a QuinStreet site, like GetRichSlowly.org), has a lot of good information and statistics about car insurance that we wanted him to share with the GRS community. So, here’s Des!

Car insurance has only one real purpose: To stand between you and financial disaster.

Think about rear-ending a brand-new Jaguar, or your child causing an accident that puts other people in the hospital. Your car insurance only pays up to its limits. After that, you’re on your own.

Got a house? A savings account? A regular paycheck?

When there’s no more insurance, the other guy’s lawyers will turn to you.

Sure, there are generally accepted guidelines out there when you decide how much coverage to buy. Homeowners need at least $100,000 in bodily injury liability protection, because a large, valuable asset like a house is an easy lawsuit target if you don’t have enough to cover your victim’s hospital bills.

Or maybe you own nothing and have no savings – nothing you could lose. Then you might go for the legal minimum in your state.

The space between those extremes is huge, though, and needs vary from state to state, by age and by financial standing.

Seeing the choices other drivers in your situation make can be a good guideline when you shop for car insurance yourself. Insurance.com recently analyzed more than 550,000 insurance quotes delivered through its price-comparison tool to find the most common choices made by drivers of similar age, who live in the same state, who drive the same model year of car, or who own their homes.

You can find data for your state in the “What Drivers Like You Buy” tool.

Nationwide, there are clear patterns. Three out of four drivers choose a $500 deductible. A third of drivers under age 25 shop for the lowest legal amount of liability coverage, but only 19 percent of drivers over 55 do.

Nationwide, the most common coverage profile looks like this:

  • Most common bodily injury liability coverage: $50,000 ($100,000 per accident), selected by 46 percent of all drivers.
  • Most common property damage liability coverage: $50,000, selected by 59 percent of all drivers.
  • Collision coverage, selected by 60 percent of all drivers.
  • Comprehensive coverage, selected by 61 percent of all drivers.
  • $500 deductible, selected by 74 percent of drivers who buy comprehensive and collision.
  • Towing and emergency road service, selected by 16 percent of all drivers.
  • Rental reimbursement coverage, selected by 16 percent of all drivers.

As you decide on what coverage to buy, consider these tips:

  • Extra liability coverage beyond the required minimums is generally quite cheap – you’ll pay only a fraction as much for an additional $50,000 as you did for the first $25,000.
  • Raising your deductibles can save you money. Going from a $500 deductible to $1,000 on a 2012 Ford Explorer in Texas, for example, would cut the annual bill for comp and collision from $576 to $470. Saving $100 a year on your car insurance is nice, but only if you have $1,000 to get your car out of hock to the body shop.
  • Before you make big changes in coverage, shop around first. The more you pay for car insurance, the more you are likely to find savings by switching insurers.

World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge traverses a Swiss valley

Brave hikers in the Swiss Alps can now walk almost half a kilometre across this thin metal suspension bridge to reach trails on either side of a huge valley.

The Charles Kuonen Hängebrücke, also known as the Europe Bridge, gently swoops across Switzerland’s deepest valley, which stretches between the popular ski resorts of Zermatt and Grächen.

It measures 494 metres long, making it the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, and hangs 84 metres above the valley floor. The metal deck is just 64 centimetres wide.

The bridge opened on 29 July 2017 to relink a hiking trail called Europaweg between the two towns, which was blocked by a rock avalanche in 2010. The tumbling boulders destroyed the existing bridge that measured 250-metres-long and at 25 metres above ground and opened just two months before.

Therefore, reconstruction required the new infrastructure to be much taller and longer to avoid similar events in the future. Constructed by Swissrope, the walkway is carried by two ropes with 53-millimetre diameters that are firmly anchored at either end.

Mesh covers the tall angled sides, so as not to obstruct the striking views of the Alpine scenery. Walkers can now cross the valley with ease – as long as they have ahead for heights.

Suspension bridges can span further than any other type of bridge. They use tensile cables to support walkways or roadways below and take many forms and sizes.

Famous examples include the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The longest in the world is the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge in Kobe, Japan, which carries cars almost two kilometres across the Akashi Strait.