Today, we’re sharing tips that will come in handy when you’re on the trail, weathering the cold during your winter camping trip!
While many nationwide are taking refuge from the chilly temperatures, there are also plenty of outdoor enthusiasts eager to keep exploring. Winter camping might not be as popular as spring, summer, and fall expeditions, but the cold air has its perks: there are fewer fellow campers to encounter, which leads to less crowding and a more authentic wilderness experience.
If you’ve never gone camping in the winter months or it’s just been a while since your last trip, you may be at a loss when it comes to planning for winter camping. Don’t worry, Uncle Sam’s is here to provide some winter camping tips.
Any good campout includes cooking food over a fire — but depending on where you’re camping, you may not be able to start an open fire. In backcountry camping areas that lack quality firewood or have a heightened risk of forest fires, a camping stove might be your only option. Even if you aren’t camping in a fire-restricted area, it can be handy to have a camping stove on hand in case of rain — or for those moments when you just want a quick cup of coffee without dealing with a fire build.
As with all of your other camping gear, you probably want to get the best camping stove available for your outdoor trips. Here are some tips for selecting the best camping stove depending on your preferences and purposes.
Just because there is snow on the ground and its cold outside, does not mean you cannot engage in winter camping. In fact, wintertime is one of the most beautiful times to enjoy this favorite outdoor activity. Glistening, snow-laden ground makes this activity especially enjoyable. However, because of extreme weather conditions, there are some things you will need to include in your packing checklist.
Winter Camping Tips: What to Pack
While some things, like boots and a winter coat, may be obvious items to include on your winter camping checklist, others are not. So, just for good measure, let’s cover the basics, along with a few things you may not think to pack.
There is more to preparing for a winter camping excursion than throwing on a winter coat and some gloves. When you pack clothing, you are going to need to think layers. Plenty of insulating layers are required to ensure your body has the proper warmth it demands. This is especially important when it comes to socks. Although you will want to have water-resistant boots, plenty of heavy-duty socks are needed to keep your body warm when it matters most. The takeaway? Be extremely thoughtful as you prepare for your winter camping trip.
When it is cold outside and there is snow-covered ground, wearing sunblock is an absolute must. White, frosty ground reflects sunlight, making campers even more susceptible than usual to sun damage. So, as you are packing your winter camping bag, be sure to grab the sunblock from your pool bag, placing it somewhere safe and accessible.
Food, water, and light are all camping staples that should be included on your winter camping checklist. Do not let the cold temperatures undermine the importance of water. Camping is hard work, whether it is hot or cold outside. And after a long day of hiking, you will need to keep your body hydrated and well-fed with food rich in nutrients and energy.
All the warm clothing in the world is sometimes not enough to fight off the cold, which makes it crucial that you keep on hand the proper materials needed to make a fire. A long-nosed lighter and matches are both things you will need to bring. However, you will want to pack them in a water-resistant bag, so you do not find yourself in an unfortunate predicament. In the event that your other fire-starting materials do not work, including an emergency fire starter on your winter camping checklist is also a good idea.
Learn More Now
When it comes to winter camping, making a detailed checklist is a great way to ensure all your needs are satisfied. Our last piece of advice? Be sure to take in the majesty of the snowy trees and ground that surround you as you camp.
To learn how Uncle Sam’s of St. Louis, Missouri, can assist with your camping needs, visit one of store locations or contact us by phone or online.
Proudly serving the St. Louis, Missouri, community.
When it comes to outdoor survival gear, the shemagh, also known as a “Keffiyeh,” is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment available. This basic woven cloth has roots in ancient Arabic culture, and it is still a staple in many modern-day communities. So, what has made this useful tool stand the test of time? When it comes to utility, the shemagh is an absolute must. In fact, once you begin using it, you won’t go back.
How It Can Be Used:
This full-head wrap can be used for a number of things. But, to get the most use from the shemagh, it is important to know the wide scope of utility it has. Before your next outdoor adventure or before you head into extreme weather conditions, be sure to grab this essential piece of clothing.
Protection From the Elements
Extreme exposure to the sun, as well as warm and cold temperatures, has the potential to cause harm over time. The solution? Although you will still need to protect other exposed areas of your body, a shemagh can protect your head, neck, and face from these damaging elements. With one wrap of this protective cloth, you will be better prepared for a number of weather conditions.
Sweat & Cooling Rag
The soft, cotton fibers of the shemagh act as a natural absorber for sweat. On your next outdoor hike or daily commute, be sure to have a shemagh in tow, using it to absorb excess sweat created from exercise. On the same token, this absorbent cloth naturally holds cool water and can thus be worn around the head or neck, helping cool your body temperature.
Bag Meets Blanket
The ever-versatile shemagh can also be used as both a bag and a blanket. When you have a big load to carry, try redistributing some items, placing a few of them in a makeshift bag. As a rule of thumb, place things in the middle of the shemagh so the load’s weight is evenly distributed, not stressing the cloth’s fibers. Need to take a rest along your commute? This woven cloth can be placed on the ground, providing a clean surface to sit on, or it can be placed over your body and used as blanket.
Learn More Today
If you are wanting to purchase your very own shemagh, look no further than Uncle Sam’s of St. Louis, Missouri. Here, you can find a wide selection of these outdoor gear staples.
If you live in a cold climate, you’ve heard of frostbite. You’ve probably prepared for it a time or two. If you’re from a warmer climate, you might have heard the term but never had to worry about it. Many people don’t know exactly what frostbite entails.
What is Frostbite?
Frostbite occurs when parts of the body freeze from exposure to cold temperatures. Skin and the underlying tissues are damaged by extreme cold.
Severe frostbite may require amputation of the frostbitten area. Not all frostbite cases are that serious, however.
Risk Factors and Preventative Steps
Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol while in extreme cold result in quicker onset of frostbite. It is best to avoid them if you plan on prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.
When you’re roughing it, you need to have the right survival gear so you can handle any situation you might run into. This is even more important in the extreme cold.
Layers, Layers, Layers
If you’re aware that its going to be cold, make sure you wear clothing appropriate for the climate. Wearing loose fitting clothing in layers is very important to reduce the risk of frostbite. The layers of clothing will allow some insulation between layers and your body. Clothing that is too tight or involves too many layers isn’t a good idea, as you risk sweating. Your body will lose heat much faster if it is wet.
Your head is accountable for a substantial amount of heat loss in cold temperatures. A proper winter hat is extremely important. Ideally, you’d want a high quality hat that covers your head and ears completely. Another good choice is a ski mask, since they cover the whole head and will give you maximum protection against frostbite of the ears, face, and nose.
Protect Your Digits
Hands and feet are extremely important body parts to protect. Fingers and toes are the farthest parts away from the core of the body, meaning that they lose heat fast. A high quality pair of gloves is a must. Footwear should be consistent with the climate. Heavy boots or snow boots are usually ideal.
If Frostbite Sets In
These tips should reduce your risk of frostbite so you can enjoy your adventure even in the cold temperatures. If you are concerned about frostbite setting in, go to a warm area as soon as you can and seek medical treatment.
Whether you live in a winter wonderland for a better part of the year or you just want to get out and explore nature’s bounty when it is cold outside, knowing what cold weather clothing to wear is an absolute must. At Uncle Sam’s of St. Louis, Missouri, we are all stocked up on our cold weather clothing. With so many cold weather clothing products on the market, it can sometimes be hard to know what you really need. Not to worry, though; we have the details here.
Cold Weather Clothing Guidelines:
Dress in Layers
When choosing cold weather clothing, it is strongly suggested that you dress in multiple layers. The layering of clothing will give you liberty to adjust clothes according to certain weather conditions. As you exercise, your body temperature is subject to quick changes. Because of this, wearing layers of cold weather clothing is important. Get too warm on your hike? Try taking a layer of clothing off. This way, if you get too cold, you can put on your top layer.
In a normal situation, cotton is a good option for base-layer clothing. However, when it comes to cold weather clothing, we strongly recommend not choosing cotton as a base layer. You will want to avoid cotton, because it can absorb moisture and leave you damp when you start sweating. So, when selecting base-layer clothing, opt for synthetic fibers or light wool.
When you are dressing for cold weather, your second layer of clothing should be insulating. This is important, because it can help you maintain your body heat when it’s needed most. Again, we advise against wearing cotton in this layer; instead, we suggest you wear wool clothing, such as jackets, vests, or shirts, made with polyester.
Make sure the outer layer of your cold weather clothing is water-resistant, so it can protect you from the wind, rain, or snow. When you are selecting your outer shell, choose ventilated clothing — think zippers.
Head & Face Accessories
When it is cold outside, you lose most of your body heat from your head, so it is essential that you have a proper head covering. Also, if possible, we suggest you cover the face, nose, and ears. When you are selecting cold weather clothing, it is important to remember that sunlight on snow can create a blinding effect. Because of this, investing in some high-quality UV sunglasses or snow goggles is an absolute must.
To prevent your hands from frostbite or weather-induced numbness, it is strongly advised that you include quality gloves in your cold weather clothing attire. Gloves will give you liberty to do your work without getting exposed to the elements.
Socks and Boots
When you are in cold weather, there is nothing worse than wet feet. Fortunately, the right clothing can help. To avoid this, selecting weather-appropriate boots and socks is key. When it comes to socks, layer them with a synthetic base layer and wool top layer. Also, when selecting boots, make sure to avoid leather material, because it can freeze in extreme temperatures. Instead, opt for plastic or rubber boots that will better protect your feet.
When it comes to cold weather clothing, Uncle Sam’s of St. Louis, Missouri, knows best. Both our online and on-site stores have a wide variety of cold weather clothing.
For more information about cold weather clothing, contact one of our St. Louis, MO, locations today.
Proudly St. Louis, Missouri, area.
Chances are you have at least one item made of fleece in your wardrobe or your home, whether it’s a fleece-lined jacket, a pair of fleece pajamas, a cozy fleece blanket, or some fleece camping gear. It’s not surprising — although it wasn’t sold to the public until 1981 and didn’t emerge as a popular fabric choice until the early 1990s, fleece is now one of the most ubiquitous fabrics in the world.
At Uncle Sam’s, we love fleece — a synthetic fabric made from a soft deep pile — for its ability to keep a wearer very warm even during cold rains, which makes it a great fabric for camping gear. True, wool may also keep you warm, but it isn’t so comfortable when wet. Avoid the high absorbency, smell, itchiness, and heaviness of wet wool and stick with fleece on your next spring camping trip!
In celebration of fleece, we’re sharing a brief history of the fabric.
The History of Fleece
When was fleece invented?
Post-WWII, Malden Mills Industries noticed a definite shift in fabrics toward synthetics. Polyesters were growing in popularity, Nylon had been an instant hit in the 1930s, and Spandex was spawned in the 1950s. Not wanting to be left out of the fabric innovations, Malden Mills aimed to make their own synthetic designed to mimic the qualities of wool. They started the endeavor by spinning plastic materials into yarn and in 1979 they created the fabric we know as fleece. When weaved into fabric with small loops on one side, Malden Mills created a very thin fabric. In the factory, they found that brushing the yarn made it break down into its individual fibers. As the loops puffed up, the texture, thickness, and insulation of the fabric improved yet the weight didn’t increase. And thus, fleece was created, pulling Malden Mills out of near-bankruptcy and changing the fabric of outdoor and sports apparel.
How was fleece marketed?
At the time that fleece was invented, Patagonia, a major producer of camping apparel and gear, was pushing mills to produce new fabric for camping and sportswear. Fleece fit the bill perfectly. Malden Mills employee Doug Hoschek was in charge of marketing the textile, and he turned to the camping and outdoor community to sell fleece.
How did fleece jump from the outdoor niche to more widespread distribution?
In the early 1990s, popular clothing brands like Old Navy noticed how comfortable fleece was and began using cheap imitations of the Malden Mills fabric in their lines. Malden Mills struggled with competitors, but secured some government contracts. After filing bankruptcy in 2007, Malden Mills rebranded itself as Polartec, a nod to the polar fleece they invented.
Get Fleece Clothing & Camping Gear Today!
You can get all the fleece clothing, outerwear, and camping gear you need from Uncle Sam’s. Visit or Manchester, MO or St. Peters, MO locations to see our fleece items in person, or shop our online military surplus and camping supply store to find a wide selection of fleece goods, including fleece hats, fleece-lined pants, fleece jackets, fleece blankets, and more!
Fall and winter can be great times to explore the wilderness; however, for good measure, you should know some basic survival tips. In the event that you find yourself in an emergency situation, having familiarized yourself with survival skills becomes essential. This knowledge will enable you to potentially help yourself and your loved ones survive during such calamities. Do not let the possibility of being in a survival situation prevent you from exploring the great outdoors, though. Uncle Sam’s of St. Louis, Missouri, has some basic survival tips that serve to help you stay safe throughout your outdoor adventures.
Survival Tips Everyone Should Learn:
This is one of the greatest survival tips that you should consider during potentially life threatening situations. It is important to keep your cool and never panic, because panicking will interfere with the efficiency of your brain, thus limiting your chances of devising and executing survival tips. Therefore, be sure to relax and stay calm when you realize you are lost in the wilderness or become mixed up in other adverse circumstances.
Stand still and glance around watchfully.
When you are lost, one of the best survival tips is to ensure that you identify your exact location. Why? You can use it to guide your way out by marking it with visible items, such as rocks and extra pieces of clothing. Doing so should enable you to gauge your progress.
Stay in one location.
If you are unable to immediately find your way out of the wilderness, it is sometimes best to stay in one location. This is because there is a possibility that someone else is also searching for you, and staying in one area will make it easier for you to be found. This is also one of the more important survival tips, because it helps you conserve energy, reducing the amount of food and water your body will need.
Look for water and safe food.
Even though you will be saving energy by staying in one location, your body will still demand food and water. You should, however, ensure that the food you are eating is safe before actually consuming it. Sometimes this means playing it safe and consuming things that you know are okay to consume.
Make a shelter.
Creating shelter is one of the more important survival tips. In addition to keeping you safe and protected from the elements, a shelter will increase your likelihood of being discovered. So, while you are waiting things out, make sure a shelter is one of the first things you create and utilize.
This is another crucial wilderness survival tip, because fire will help you scare away harmful animals and keep you warm throughout cold nights. During daylight hours, be sure to search for things you can use to keep a fire going throughout the night.
Explore the surrounding area.
This is another one of the survival tips that you need to employ when you are lost. Although you will want to stay close to your shelter and fire, exploring your surroundings can help you find the essentials like food and water. Don’t stray too far from your home base, though, or you will run the risk of getting even more lost — something nobody wants.
Quality Outdoors Gear Can Help
If you are planning on making a big outdoors excursion, be sure you have the best survival gear possible beforehand. Although it can’t always prevent you from getting yourself lost, a warm, well-insulated coat and a good water bottle can make a big difference when you find yourself in survival situations.
For hiking and survival tips and gear, contact one of Uncle Sam’s St. Louis, MO, locations today.
Proudly serving the St. Louis, MO, area.
When most people think of self defense, they tend to envision the flashy martial arts moves seen in Hollywood movies. However, the most important basic rules of real-world self defense have very little to do with advanced martial arts skills and everything to do with situational awareness and common sense. At Uncle Sam’s, St. Louis’ supplier of user-friendly self defense equipment, we understand the importance of being able to protect yourself.
Self Defense 101:
Self Defense Step #1 – Avoid potentially dangerous situations when you can.
It may sound like common sense, but the most effective self defense strategy is to avoid dangerous circumstances that could potentially compromise your personal safety. Because of this, it is important to evade questionable situations whenever possible. Don’t go into bad areas of town, avoid using unlit footpaths, especially alone, and try to avoid exhibiting behavior that makes you appear vulnerable.
Self Defense Step #2 – Try to deescalate the situation.
Avoid walking past strangers who are loitering suspiciously, especially in groups. Above all, never allow yourself to be drawn into a confrontation if you can possibly avoid it. Even if the other person doesn’t look like a serious threat, you never know. He or she may be tougher than he or she looks. Additionally, he or she could be packing a weapon. There is nothing cowardly about declining to fight and walking away. That said, never, ever, turn your back on someone who is threatening you – if necessary, walk away backwards. If you can’t get away, try to deescalate the situation. Sometimes your best means of self defense is using reason, speaking calmly, and apologizing – even if you aren’t in the wrong.
Self Defense Step #3 – Use purposeful techniques.
Unfortunately, you may be unlucky enough to find yourself in a situation where you have to protect yourself by way of self defense. If you have no other choice but to fight, you must fight purposefully, making every move count. Your aim is to neutralize the would-be attacker as fast as possible, before he or she can do harm. Don’t be afraid to take the self defense measures needed to protect yourself – this isn’t a sporting contest, you are defending yourself against violent aggression.
If you have any objects in hand that can be used as weapons – a chair, an aerosol (spray it in his or her eyes) a piece of wood, etc. – use them. If not, try to keep your hands up to protect your face, and strike the most vulnerable target areas on your attacker’s body with your hands and feet. A low kick to the knee, groin, or abdomen, if delivered successfully and with sufficient force, can be a very effective way of stopping your attacker. Additionally, a punch, palm strike, or headbutt to the nose and face or a strike to the throat can be equally disabling. If you get the opportunity, poke your opponent in the eye — another good self defense tactic.
Self Defense Step #4 – Keep a safe distance.
Do whatever you can to disable your attacker, but when possible, try to avoid getting into a grappling contest – your opponent may have a knife. Because of this, you will want to keep a safe distance. If you do get grabbed, do whatever you can to get free. Self defense techniques, such as elbowing, headbutting, eye-gouging, biting your attacker, or bending his fingers back, are all usually effective. Make as much noise as you can, too, in order to attract the attention of a passersby.
Protect Yourself Now.
Although these suggestions are loose self defense guidelines, they should help you in the event that you find yourself in a situation where you need to protect yourself. Additionally, arming yourself with some basic self defense items like mase can help you protect yourself in these situations, too.
Uncle Sam’s is proudly serving the St. Louis, Missouri, area.