Safety in the outdoors

Taking on outdoor activities alone can offer a unique experience. Being able to focus on fishing, hunting, cycling or trail running without distractions provides an opportunity to enter a meditative state of mind and deeply connect with nature For that reason, many sportsmen prefer to spend time outdoors in solitude. But before you go out to hunt in the woods or fly fish from the rocks, all by yourself, you should take some basic safety precautions.

My friends and I spend countless hours in the outdoors, doing our thing, on our own. That often resulted in some hairy situations. This allowed us not only to better understand the dangers, but also to develop some basic practices. They could lower the risk or save our lives if things were to go sideways. In this short article, I would like to discuss some of those practices.

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Whenever you are cycling, running or swimming, there is a wide variety of GPS-enabled electronic devices at your disposal. These days, most of them can connect to your phone and transmit your location. Some of them even offer functions like crash-detection or fall-detection. In theory, they will trigger a notification to the phone number of your choice, about the emergency that has likely just occurred.

It might be a good idea to use this this type of technology. However, I would advise you to keep in mind a few things. These are usually simple consumer electronic devices, so they are not built or tested to be trusted with your life. They should be considered as bonus gizmos and not as the primary means of ensuring your safety. You will quickly find evidence of that while examining the user’s manuals. Nothing beats the old and still best method: tell someone trustworthy, a family member or a true friend, where you are going and what time you intend to come back. Make sure to inform them if you decide to change your plans. You can also agree up-front to an action they should take in case you do not make contact by the agreed time. Trust is a key factor here.

slippery

Another good practice is to wear a bracelet or a tag with your name, blood type and emergency contact number. This simple item might be invaluable, in the event that something bad happens to you while you are with your friends. The likelihood that they will know your blood type is slim. Remember that having an ID with you is not the same. Reaching into your pockets might not be your friend’s first instinct while dealing with a likely stressful situation. Also, make sure that the information is well protected from the elements, eg. engraved or written with a waterproof pen.

I hope these simple tips will make you think about safety. I also hope you will never be in the situation that someone will have to make use of your tag or trigger an emergency procedure. Stay safe and I will see you in the outdoors!

Swarovski Optik

Before we start, this is not sponsored content. I am not being paid by Swarovski in any way or form. I simply want to share my thoughts after having had an opportunity to try a variety of Swarovski binoculars and scopes in the field.

Swarovski might seem like very expensive gear, but it represents something that is scarce these days and what I like to call “the old-days quality”. Way too often, we get conditioned to the disposability and the poor manufacturing and material quality of the devices we are using in our daily lives.

When we buy a Swarovski product, we are most likely buying it for life. Quite likely, the device will last beyond our own lifetime and will be passed on to our children and grandchildren. So you might be spending €1000 instead of €300 or €400, but the unit you are purchasing will last decades. In most cases, this makes the initial cost of purchase much more justifiable. It is worth mentioning, as well, that Swarovski’s support team pride themselves in taking good care of their products after sale. They will support their customers if they need their optics to be serviced, refurbished or, on rare occasions, fixed.

All of the above makes for low depreciacion in value over time, meaning that a pair of Swarovski binoculars, for example, can be sold after a long time very close to its original purchase value. In fact, there is a substantial market for used and refurbished Swarovski optics. All of the above paints a picture of a unique and high quality product brand.

To learn more about Swarovski products, listen to episode 9 of Tommy’s Outdoors podcast. If you like it, please rate us and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or any other platform where you aggregate your podcasts.

Running for weight loss

The title of this article is a little misleading, as I don’t think that running is a good choice of exercise for weight loss. In my opinion, it is one of the worst ways to go about it. It’s important to note, I’m referring here to the type of running known as jogging and not to sprints, which are an entirely different type of physical activity.

It is common knowledge that to achieve positive results in any attempt at body transformation, consistency and persistence are the key factors. Unfortunately, these are more difficult to achieve with running than with most other types of physical activity. Compared to other types of exercise, to achieve tangible results, running requires a significantly bigger time investment. The risk of injury is higher and the results come slower.

To initiate the fat burning process in our bodies, while running at a slow to moderate pace, we need between 30 and 45 minutes. This means that if we run for one hour, we only get 20 minutes of fat burning activity. This inefficient process needs to be repeated week after week, month after month and yes, year after year. All of the above makes our running commitment hard to sustain, especially during winter months when the days are short and the weather doesn’t encourage us to go outdoors.

Running, together with powerlifting and crossfit, is one of the top three most damaging types of training. Running is also considered an impact sport, like boxing, football or hockey. The damaging effects are amplified by the fact that most people wanting to lose weight are, well, overweight, which puts even more load on their joints. For this reason at least 80% of people who run, sooner or later, end up with an injury.

Long distance running is one of the great classic endurance sports. I have no intention here to discourage anyone from trying it and developing a passion for it. However, if your goal is to control your storage body fat, there are much better and more effective ways to do that. My personal recommendation would be to try one of the many types of high-intensity workouts. They stimulate our metabolism in a way that extends the fat burning process beyond the duration of the exercise. There is no point taking on running, dreading it, and then only thinking about not having to do it anymore. In that situation you are more likely to stop doing it due to an injury, rather than to having achieved your goal.

To find out more about running and weight loss, check out episode 3 of the podcast where I talk with Mike Kissane, a seasoned marathon runner.

Pike on jerkbaits

As spring approaches and nature wakes up from its winter sleep, spending time outdoors becomes more tempting. Springtime presents sportsmen with an opportunity to try one of the best, most spectacular and satisfying ways of angling available: fishing for pike with jerkbaits. And by pike I refer to the fish our American friends call Northern pike, as well as to Musky.

Before I start let’s deal with the controversial part of our discussion. There are many different types of lures that go under the name jerkbait. In reality, jerkbait refers more to the way the lure is swimmed by an angler, jerking it using a stiff fishing rod, than to the specific shape of the lure itself. Of course the shape of the lure will make certain types of movement more natural. So, let’s just say that for our purpose, by jerkbaits I’m referring to large and hard, lipless lures fished with a relatively short and stiff spinning rod.

Pike on jerkbaits

What I would like to discuss here, is the experience and excitement that this type of fishing produces. The warmer weather of spring gets the fisherman’s juices flowing and has the same effect on his quarry. The pike, which were weakened from the winter cold and the subsequent spawning season, are now becoming active and feeding aggressively.

Because pike spawn before roach and other species of small fish they have an abundance of food during that critical time of year. Both mature and juvenile fish stay in shallow waters hunting for easy snacks. This phenomenon makes jerkbait angling so exciting and spectacular. The fisherman can often see the pike swimming right under the surface of the water, enabling him to cast the lure right in front of it. The resulting attack is ballistic and powerful. The whole spectacle unfolds within sight of the excited angler.

I hope this short article will encourage readers to try the method that is considered by many to be the quintessential form of pike fishing: jerking.

To find out more listen to episode 5 of Tommy’s Outdoors podcast where I give a short report about springtime jerkbait fishing. Also, check out episode 1 where my guest is Greg Latour from the Tir na Spideoga Fishing Lodge where you can rent a boat to enjoy pike fishing on the nearby lake.