How To Save Money on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is promoted as an epic day of deals. The online retailer releases special offers throughout the day and posts notifications on their website and app. To get the best deals you have to follow along, check back often and purchase quickly before the deals expire.

Here are a few of my tips for approaching Amazon Prime Day.

1. If you don't need anything, don't buy anything. Don't visit the website. Don't open the app. And don't respond to other retailer offers that will try to match the frenzy. This is the surest way to save money. Instead, take a friend out to lunch, read a good book or go for a hike outdoors. You'll likely find more enjoyment in these experiences.

2. If there is one item that you have been waiting to purchase, only shop for that one item. Use the search feature and not the browse feature. This will hopefully help you to stay focused on the task at hand - to get that one item.

3. If you can't resist, join in. But set a budget…

Campfire Alternatives - When you feel that burning desire, but...

Summer's here! Ready to create some memories of camping, roasting hot dogs, munching on s'mores and gathering around the campfire.

You feel that burning desire, but...

What! There's a fire burn ban! No campfire!
With many wilderness areas experiencing dry conditions and prime conditions for forest fires; some national, state and municipal parks have fire burn bans in effect during the summer months.
Here are some tips and alternatives when it is not possible to have a traditional campfire.

1. Prevent forest fires. Smokey Bear is 70 years old and still spreading the word about fire safety. There are fire burn bans for a reason. In recent years we've seen massive forest fires devastate wilderness areas as well as some towns. Take Smokey's advice, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

2. Go for a night hike and star party. Plan your hike in advance. Take a flashlight or headlamp (a light with a red light feature is even better). Use a navigational device lik…

Durston X-Mid Tent - Setup and Overview

I'm pretty simple and typically enjoy hammock or cowboy camping. However, there are certain circumstances where a tent is simply more pragmatic or needed. Therefore, I recently acquired a new ultralight tent about which I'm pretty excited - the Durtson X-Mid Ultralight 1 person tent.

The design, production and distribution of this tent was a collaborative development between the online community commerce website Massdrop and hiker/designer Dan Durston. The full name of the tent might be the Massdrop Dan Durtson X-Mid Ultralight 1 person tent.

I have not had an opportunity to fully test this tent on an adventure, but I wanted to demonstrate the setup and provide an overview.

This tent has some unique features and specifications that I try to highlight in the following video. I stated some incorrect specs regarding the material (40D should be 20D) and weight (40 ounces should be 30 ounces), so please see the spec list below for the proper info.

Here's a detailed list of the s…

The New Kammok Mantis and Mantis Ultralight Hammocks

I dropped by the Kammok store in Austin, Texas to check out their new Kammok Mantis and Mantis Ultralight Hammocks. 
It's an All-In-One hammock which includes the hammock, insect screen, ridgeline, bag, guy-lines, stakes, straps and rainfly. The Standard Mantis weighs in a 2 lbs 12 ozs and the Mantis UL weighs in at 2 lbs 3 ozs - crazy light!

This isn't a full review, because I haven't had a chance to actually test the hammock. It's more of an overview in which I highlight a few of the unique features of each hammock.

Check out the video...

For more information visit their website at

Mantis Specs:

Best Use Case: Backpacking
Unpacked Dimensions (hammock): 120" x 56"
Unpacked DImensions (fly): 136" x 88" (tapers down to 72" at foot end)
Packed Dimensions: 10" x 6"
Packed ‘Compressed’ Dimensions: 8" x 6"
Packaged Weight (oz): 2lb 12oz
Minimum Trail Weight (oz):
*Trail weight w/out rainfly: 1lb 11.8oz
*Trail weight w/…

Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filter Overview

I recently acquired a new water filter - a Sawyer Micro Squeeze. I've owned the original Sawyer Squeeze water filter for a number of years - it's great! This new model is smaller and lighter, but still has a very similar flow rate as the original model. I use these water filters while hiking, backpacking or traveling international. I don't have to worry about finding bottled water, drinking the tap water or drinking directly from a source. I just use the filter and I instantly have clean drinkable water. 

To purchase: Sawyer Micro Squeeze

Micro Squeeze Filter with Push/Pull Cap1 – 32 ounce Collapsible PouchesBackwashing PlungerCleaning CouplingSpare GasketDrinking Straw SPECIFICATIONS

MSRP:$28.99LONGEVITY:up to 100,000 GallonsVOLUME:Includes 32 oz pouchFILTER MATERIAL:Hollow Fiber MembraneREMOVES:

Gift Guide for Outdoor People

Here's my gift guide for outdoor people. I've used and tested all of these products while hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing or just hanging out. Some of the products like the hats or shoes might last me a season. Some of them like the fishing rod or pocket knife should last me a lifetime. These gifts range in price from about $250 to $10. Even though many of the items that I've shown are designed for males, almost all of the products have designs for females. So there is something for everyone.

So take a look and let me know what would make your list. Enjoy!

When I was a kid I learned to fish with a cane pole, line, hook and worm. It was such a simple way to fish, but also very effective. A trend in fishing that is bringing back simple fishing is the adoption of Tenkara fly fishing. Tenkara fly fishing is a style of fishing originally conducted primarily in mountain streams that only utilizes a pole, line and a single fly - so simple, so nostalgic. Anyone can do it an…

How to Find a Campsite at Any National Park - Frontcountry vs Backcountry and Reservable vs. Non-reservable

So, are you thinking of going camping in a U.S. National Park, but are confused about how to plan your awesome adventure and make a campsite reservation?

I'll try to explain some of the terminologies and policies in the following discussion. And I'll offer a special Troy Tip at the very end.

All of the U.S. National Parks have similar policies about camping, but there are often slight variations park to park. So, it is always a good idea to consult each park's website or call to speak with a Ranger.

In the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) there are typically Front Country (FC) campsites and Back Country (BC) campsites. Reservations may be made at

Frontcountry (FC) campsites are generally the sites where you drive-up in your vehicle (car, RV, etc), park in front of your campsite and camp in your tent or vehicle - often called car camping. Then you explore the nearby area. FC sites often have water, electricity and restrooms nearby, but not always. At FC si…