Spring Break in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mazatlán, Mexico: Located at the base of Sierra Madre in the state of Sinaloa and by the stunning Sea of Cortez of the Pacific (also know as Gulf of California), Mazatlan is a Mexican colonial style town. This is an attractive holiday destination, especially for the people from West Coast of the USA.

Stunning beach of Mazatlan in Mexico

Stunning beach of Mazatlan in Mexico

Mazatlan Downtown and it’s historic city center are the main hot spots here.  This place is equally fun for the young crowds or the retired people or the ones in between. City’s symbol is deer. No, you won’t come across any deer but you’ll see statues and sculptures at many places in downtown.

This was my second trip to Mexico but first for my daughters. After traveling to more than 60 countries worldwide, I have to say Mexicans are some of the most humble and friendliest people I’ve ever met and talked to.

And that sunset by the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

And that sunset by the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

Although I converted some of my USD to Pesos, you can use USD or credit cards everywhere in Mazatlan. Small vendors may not accept credit cards, but they will always accept US dollars.

Time of Travel: We went to Mazatlan during my kids’ spring break at end of March, 2019. We traveled with another family friends and their kids, which made this trip extra fun for all of us. We enjoyed moderate tropical weather during our stay. It was around late 80s daytime but got a bit colder at night. It’s a good idea to carry a light sweater, especially for the kids.

Eating and Shopping: What to eat in Mazatlan? Short answer is shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp. The quality and freshness of shrimp in Mazatlan is unbeatable. Our first lunch was at Mr. Lionso Restaurant during our city trip. The food was average here but it’s location by the beach, colorful decors, and live mariachi music make this an ideal place to enjoy weather and food. They have all the traditional Mexican food at Mr. Lionso with lots of seafood options, quesadillas, fajitas, ceviche, soup, and lots more.

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Since we stayed in a an all inclusive resort, most of our meals were at the resort, except for when we took excursions. Our Last dinner was at Casa Canobbio in Plaza Machado. I was inclining more towards Mexican cuisine since it was our last night in Mazatlan but the kids picked this Italian place “Casa Canobbio”. We sat outside to enjoy the live music. The food was good, nothing extraordinary but loved the atmosphere. Having a dinner in Plaza Machado on a Friday is the best, you get to be be part of an energetic atmosphere with the locals and other foreigners.

Mariachi band at Mr. Lionso in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mariachi band at Mr. Lionso in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mazatlan is known for it’s silver jewelries, and Real McCoy is one of the best (and expensive) places to shop for the good quality silver, opal, and mother of pearl. We were taken there during our city trip and I bought a silver bracelet for about $100 and few earnings and rings for friends and family. But bargain…they initially asked $450 for my bracelet and I ended up getting it for $100. Also, buy Mexican vanilla…it’s the best I’ve tasted so far. Lots of other colorful decorations like wooden bowls and Day of the Dead souvenirs are very popular too.

Our Hotel: We stayed in Pueblo Bonita Emerald Bay Resort in Mazatlan which is more than half an hour drive from the downtown or Centro Historico and close to an hour drive from the airport. There is another Pueblo Bonita near downtown but their Emerald Bay Resort is in the newer one in Zona Nuevo or New Mazatlan. We could see the Pacific and gorgeous sunsets over the ocean from our balcony . The best part of this resort was the sound of native birds, especially early morning. I used to wake up at 6:30am just to hear their loud chirping from the balcony.

Pueblo Bonita Emerald Bay Resort in Mazatlan, Mexico

Pueblo Bonita Emerald Bay Resort in Mazatlan, Mexico

Places We’ve Visited:  We had about 4 full days in Mazatlan and we didn’t rent any car. To get around the city, ride Mazatlan’s signature white open-aired taxi “Pulmonia”. Some of them have only doors and no windows while others have none. Although they are everywhere, do ask for the price before you get onto one. They are very cheap compared to US dollars and the drivers always appreciate a little tip.

Taxi in Mazatlan, Mexico, called Pulmonia

Taxi in Mazatlan, Mexico, called Pulmonia

Some places we couldn’t visit but worth making a trip would be Deer Island, Durango, and Copala. Deer Island can be done in half a day but Durang and Copala by the Seirra Madre are full day, 12-hour excursions. If you have extra few days, there is also a daily ferry that leaves Mazatlan everyday late afternoon and reaches Cabo San Lucas the next morning, within 14 hours. But if you want to stay locally, there are tons of water activities to do in Mazatlan, like Jet skiing, water-skiing, or parasailing.

Here are some of the things we did, saw, and visited while we were in Mazatlan.

  1. Centro Historico: This is a nice walking district of Mazatlan and a charming cultural center of the city. This old part of the town is a must see for any visitors.
Centro Historico in Mazatlan, Mexico

Centro Historico in Mazatlan, Mexico

      2. City Bus Tour: This was half a day tour of Mazatlan that we did on our first day there, focusing mainly on the older part of the city. The cost was $19 per person and we were picked up from our hotel around 10am and were dropped off around 3:30pm. This trip was organized with a small group of 3/4 families and consisted of little bit of walking and little bit of driving. My teenage daughter said that was her the most favorite part of this trip.

                           a. El Mercado or Mercado Pino Suarez: Our first stop of this trip on day 1 in Mazatlan is El Mercado in the Centro Historico. It’s a large indoor market place consists of countless small shops where you can find everything from fresh produce, to meat and fish, to household stuff, to Mexican handcrafts, and other souvenirs. It was a bit crowded with the locals and lots of tourist groups, but this was a great Mexico experience and a fun way to check out localities. I bought couple t-shirts for very cheap prices (2 kids t-shirts for $7). But do bargain before buying anything here.

Mercado Pino Suarez in Downtown Mazatlan, Mexico

Mercado Pino Suarez in Downtown Mazatlan, Mexico

                           b. La Inmaculada Concepcio or The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception: This grand architecture has been standing in the heart of Mazatlan since 1899 with its magnificent interior and exterior elements. There was a service going on inside the cathedral at the time we entered the building, so we couldn’t walk around and see all the details. But from its marvelous ceiling to stained-glass windows and the gorgeous alter, it’s pretty obvious why this is on the must-see list of Mazatlan.

La Inmaculada Concepcio or The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mazatlan, Mexico

La Inmaculada Concepcio or The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Mazatlan, Mexico

                            c. Plaza Machado: This is the main public square and the heart of Centro Historico. It’s surrounded mainly by lots of restaurants and some old and colorful buildings, like historic hotel, theater, old book store, and other commercial buildings. It’s a trendy place in an old setting with lots of young local crowds…a great place to do some people watching.

Loved those windows and doors in and around Plaza Machado in Mazatlan, Mexico

Loved those windows and doors in and around Plaza Machado in Mazatlan, Mexico

We came back to Plaza Machado on Friday which was our last evening in Mazatlan. It was very lively with lots of people, local performers and dancers, vendors, and loud music at almost every restaurant. We came here for dinner because this is the best place to enjoy any meal in the city. You will find Mexican, Italian, and other kinds of cuisines in this square.

Plaza Machado at night in Mazatlan, Mexico

Plaza Machado at night in Mazatlan, Mexico

Taxi from Malecon Beach to Plaza Machado is about 90 Pesos and is about 180 Pesos if you are coming from Pueblo Bonita Emerald Bay Resort or that area.

3. The Lighthouse: We didn’t go near the lighthouse, just saw it from a distance. But this is the world’s natural highest operating lighthouse (515 feet above sea level).

4. Cliff Divers: This was our last stop before we were taken to souvenir shopping and to the lunch venue at Mr. Lionso. As soon as our van parked and we stepped out, one of the divers approached us to see him diving from 45 feet high rock formation to a really shallow water area. They will climb up the stairs and will dive to a water area that is only 5-6 feet deep. The divers will have to wait for the right waves and time for this stunt. But they are there all day and only have to wait few minutes to see the jump right in front of your eyes. usually a nice medium size of crowd will gather to see them, take photos with these brave men, and tip them.

A cliff diver ready to jump to a shallow water body in Mazatlan, Mexico

A cliff diver ready to jump to a shallow water body in Mazatlan, Mexico

Visitors can also climb the stairs for a better view of the surrounding ocean. Check out the beautiful mermaid statue while you are there.

Mermaid by the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mermaid by the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

5. Malecon and Olas Altas Beach: Few miles away from Plaza Machado, Malecon is a hustling place for the tourists as well as for the locals. The beach below Malecon is Olas Atlas Beach. The famous “Mazatlan” structure is at one end of Malecon. Few iconic statues can be seen while walking on Malecon and many street side vendors can also be found selling small trinkets in the evening.

Walking on Malecon at night in Mazatlan, Mexico

Walking on Malecon at night in Mazatlan, Mexico

6. Stone Island: This was our another half-day excursion that we booked on our 3rd day in Mazatlan. After we were picked up from our hotel, we drove thru the city in a no-window bus, and arrived at the marina about in an hour to board the catamaran. This was a fun boat with loud Mexican music, fun attendants, and cold beverages. The catamaran took us around some beautiful seascape with old rock formations and caves. Our first stop was to meet some sea lions on a giant boulder in the middle of the sea who originally migrated from California.

On our way to Stone Island in Mazatlan

On our way to Stone Island in Mazatlan

After arriving Stone Island, we were taken to our chosen activities by the beach or riding thru the island. Buggy ride with my little daughter gave us a taste of the culture of the island and the locals’ lives.

Buggy ride thru Stone Island in Mazatlan, Mexico

Buggy ride thru Stone Island in Mazatlan, Mexico

The trip was $35 per adult and $17 for a child. The price included lunch and 2 activities on the island  from banana boat, kayaking, horseback riding and buggy ride.

Stone Island beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

Stone Island beach in Mazatlan, Mexico

 

 

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5 Essentials For Camping This Summer

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Picture by Tegan Mierle

The tapestry of camping has changed over the years and branched into multiple dimensions for all different travel tastes in terms of accommodation and settings that each and every person can adore. You can test yours and your families limits as a survivalist camper, rent a cushy RV and use as your accommodation while camping or take the traditional route of camping, which usually conjures thoughts of building a flat pack tent and sitting around a fire to the tunes of folk music cooking smores.

Camping is a travelling technique that can be adored by all, you just need to tailor your trip to suit you, your companions and pets.

There is an abundance of benefits you and your family/friends can gain from camping such as; large doses of fresh air are sure to knock out the kids and you after a day of hiking through one of the worlds most beautiful national parks before heading back to your camping pods. And going off the grid for a while generally does a lot of good for most, as some make the conscious decision to disconnect their electronics, take life back to the essentials and unwind from the daily stressors that are work, home life and school for the children/teens. The lack of noise pollution allows you to sit in blissful peace and quiet, reconnect with nature and escape the shrill sounds from city life.

Convincing anyone of camping to a degree is never truly difficult, with so much to offer each and everyone, what you really should be focusing on is what you’re going to take. Here are 5 necessities to get you started.

Shelter

You are likely to need some form of accommodation, (or tools that can help you build a shelter at least) to protect you from the harsh elements, mainly when weather conditions are at their extreme.

In terms of a tent, this might mean searching for something to fulfill defending you against the expected weather of where you are going to travel. For instance, a voyage up Mount Kilimanjaro will require a different shelter to the one you might need on a camping resort in Verona. Looking at waterproof options is usually an excellent place to start, but also check for windproof and UV protection materials too to shield you and your family/friends from the sun.

Alternatively, there are RV’s, cabins, Minivans, campers and so forth. You literally are spoilt for choice, it seriously just depends on your budget and the kind of experience you want to create on your vacation.

 

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Picture by Scott Goodwill

Bedding

If you’ve ever slept on the hard ground before when camping, you’ll know you didn’t get the best nights sleep and longed for the luxury of a cushy surface, which is why you should pack lots of blankets/sleeping bags to keep you cosy, comfortable and warm as the night draws in and the evening becomes chilly.

Assuming you want to be well rested for your trip, pack a few pillows too. Unless you’re roughing your trip entirely with the bare minimum, a little bit of comfort from a good sleeping bag will go a long way in giving you a spritely mood and get-up-and-go attitude for your days ahead outdoors.

Knife

One too many uses available from one tool makes this a difficult item to ignore adding to your packing list for your camping holiday. For survivalists, campers on resorts, and even those camping in RV’s a knife has a multitude of uses that make this a necessary item for all, here are a few;

  • Cutting/chopping food
  • Shaping bandages from the first aid kit
  • Snapping wood from trees for a fire
  • Cutting rope and fishing wire

So don’t forget to search an assortment of knives available and consider to buy Zero Tolerance Knives. This goes without saying, but keep out of the reach of children where possible.

Food And Drink

Of course, you will need non-perishable food for your trip. This is especially true if you don’t have an electric supply to cater to fridge/freezer gadgets to keep your food fresh, which is why canned and packet food is usually a good bet. Meats will require refrigeration, so consider whether you have these facilities before you take any meat.

Ultimately, you should always carry plenty of water especially a running water supply is not available on your camping grounds. It’s great for drinks, cups of coffee, cooking with and washing things with too. If you’re attempting wild camping, it may be wise to take fresh water for your own safety, to prevent dehydration or to prevent drinking water from untested sources, such as streams.

Flashlight And Lanterns

Pack plenty of flashlights (and batteries) perhaps even solar lights to illuminate the outside of the tent at night time when you might need to journey to natures toilet.

Having a few lights handy on your person and inside your shelter will help you in a variety of scenarios at night time such as playing cards in the dark, guiding you to pick something up out of the car, or perhaps going for a nighttime stroll.

Camping lanterns, in particular, are handy as they will stand on their own and shed light in every direction. This is better when you need a stable, bright light without having to hold it consistently as you would a torch.

Yet be wary of bugs swarming to the light and keep your fly net down on your tent where possible to avoid creepy crawlies getting inside.

The prospect of camping is one that will fill you with excitement, adventure, peace, and quiet and the ability to connect better with a partner, friends, family at your own pace. However, packing the essentials for the style of trip you want to achieve is vital, to prevent your stay from becoming uncomfortable or even painful. The above items and tools are essential. However, you are able to expand on this so long as you have the equipment or vehicle to carry your extra luggage. For instance, you may wish to delve further in and look at camping pots and pans to cook with, toiletries to take. Perhaps even activity equipment such as fishing rods and bicycles, although these are not essential, they will make for a fun trip.

 

How To Make Moving as Enjoyable as Possible with Family

Unlike when you’re moving on your own, doing it with your family can require twice as much time and effort from you. For one, you have to entice everyone in the family to help during the move. You have to ensure that their schedule permits it and they actually have the interest to help you. This is especially true for children. Since they’re still innocent, you have to pay attention to everything they’re doing and make sure that their tasks are apt for their skillset. This still doesn’t include the tantrums and misunderstandings you might have to pacify along the way. Fortunately, there are better ways to move from one location to another with your family.

Moving can be tough when you have a big family. More people might mean more helping hands but it can also mean more headaches and stress. If you want your upcoming move to go as smooth as possible, consider making it enjoyable for the family. Doing this might be a struggle but this can change your family’s perception of a move. Tasks can also be completed faster, and your family can be happier. If you want your upcoming move to be as enjoyable as possible, consider the tips below:

  1. Be positive and provide reassurance: If you’ve been living in the same neighborhood for decades, moving can be heartbreaking. You might have already drawn close to everyone living there, treating your neighbors as family members and your children’s friends as your own. This transition can be hard especially for your children. You can turn things around by being positive. Instead of being sad because you’re moving, tell your family that everyone is welcoming an exciting new life. Everyone can start with a clean slate and do whatever they can. Also reassure them that although the location is different, everyone can still make friends with the neighbors. Don’t forget to laugh and joke around during moving day, too. This kind of attitude will influence your family members to do the same.

Photo source: Shutter Stock

  1. Keep communication open: No matter how much you plan for a move, there will always be a few bumps along the way. You might need to move in the next month but your children don’t want to or your family, not like the idea of hiring a moving company. When things don’t go according to plan, always keep communication open. Your sister can’t possibly enjoy the move when she’s uncomfortable moving boxes from your attic to the ground floor, right? Encourage your family to speak out if they have concerns or suggestions. It’ll be easy to provide solutions if you actually know what the problem is.
  1. Translate the move into a game: Instructing children to pack and organize their items during the move can be time-consuming. Constantly looking after them might be an option but with the list of things you have to do for the move, it’s not the best thing to do. Let games help you out with this kind of problem. Before the move, have your children race each other as to who can sort out the most number of items or clean their room the fastest. On the day of the move, the races can involve who can stack the moving boxes neatly or who can carry the most stuff. You can also have fun games during the car ride to the new location. Have your children play Twenty Questions and Bingo.

There are many games which you can use before, during and even after the move. You just have to think out of the box to keep them upbeat! You can also give prizes to the winners as an added bonus.

  1. Create a playlist: Packing items, labeling boxes and moving these from one area to another can become a hassle. When it’s done for days, your family might even be exhausted. To liven things up, prepare a playlist. This can include songs which have a meaning to the family (like the Christmas Carol everyone sang during the holidays or the movie theme song your sister used to sing in her class), your personal favorite or the latest songs being played on the radio. Once your family members hear these songs, they’ll be energized to complete their tasks. You might even hear them singing at the top of their lungs while piling up boxes.
  1. Eat like kings: Food is the best reward you can give to your family after a day of packing, organizing and cleaning. Create a plan of what to serve once your family starts making preparations for the move. If they’re starting to pack their valuables Saturday afternoon, make sure a meal is set for dinner. You can ask them what they want to eat or prepare everyone’s favorite dish as a surprise. During your travel, it’s also important that you pay attention to the food supplies your family has. Bring with you a cooler packed with cold beverages, fruits and nuts. You can even stop for a healthy meal along the way.

Photo source: Shutter Stock

  1. Don’t rush: Being unprepared is one of the reasons why a move can become stressful. You’ll have to rush everyone to finish their tasks as soon as possible, causing them to experience stress too. You can save your family from situations like these by starting early. If you’re planning to live in a new house during the first week of August, you can start packing as early as June. This will give you ample time to sort out all of your items, pack and label them accordingly. When everyone is relaxed and calm during the move, they have more time to have fun.
  1. Meet the children in your new location: When children move to another location, they fear that they’ll be all alone as they don’t have any friends. Most often than not, they would even worry that other children might bully them. Change this kind of perception by meeting the children in your new location. Take time to know them and tell your children about them. You should also teach your children how to introduce themselves so it’ll be easier for them to reach. If possible, create avenues for your children to meet everyone in the neighborhood. Schedule camps in your backyard or have children from your neighborhood visit your house for some snacks.

Change For The Better

Moving from one location to another can be tiring but there are many ways on how you can spice things up. Gradually brush the idea that you’re doing chores during the move; think of them as avenues to have fun and bond with your family. Don’t think that you’ll be leaving your friends in your old neighborhood because you’re actually adding more with the new people you’ll meet. Don’t think lifting heavy boxes is just a boring task but as a medium to have a friendly competition with your siblings. Change your mind set about moving and soon enough, everyone in the family will do the same. It won’t be long before everyone in the family will never look at a move as a burden, but another way to have fun and enjoy!

Author’s Bio:

Dianne has been writing blogs for quite some time now. She is interested in a lot of things which makes it a joy for her to write about different niche. But among all the niches, business and marketing is her favorite. She also gives her audience an idea about hiring a moving company. When she’s not busy writing, Dianne spends her time with her husband Francis and daughter Francinne. This is where she draws inspiration from to continually provide informative blogs to different audience.

 

Garberville, CA: Enjoying The Calm Side Of Californian Tourism

California is one of the most iconic destinations on the planet. The Golden State is a place that is visited by millions of Americans of each year, as well as millions of international guests. Most will take in the excitement San Francisco, LA, and San Diego. However, CA is also a place where you can enjoy a slice of tranquility and calm. Garberville is the ultimate place to do it.

The CDP in Humboldt County isn’t the most frequently visited destination in this part of the world. But it does still attract a lot of tourism given its tiny size. Here’s why it is the ultimate place for a few days of relaxation.

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Whether you’re a solo traveler or a family, there’s no doubt that the weather plays a big role. Garberville’s climate is pleasant and comfortable throughout the year. Aside from the heat, rainfall levels are fairly low during all months. This ultimately creates the perfect platform from which to build a relaxed few days in the sun.    

As a small location, Garberville isn’t exactly blessed with a plethora of accommodation options. However, the Best Western Plus Humboldt House Inn is set in the ideal location to enjoy the surrounding nature. Meanwhile, everything from the food to the rooms screams luxury and relaxation. This could either form a break during a tour of the area or become the central focus of the trip. Either way, you’ll be sure to enjoy those facilities.

Garberville is also home to an incredible golf course. For many people, this is the ultimate form of relaxation. While it is frequently used, it doesn’t tend to get so busy that it becomes a struggle to play. So, with a little practice before you go, this could be one of the most enjoyable rounds of your life. For casual golfers and passionate ones alike, this is a noteworthy selling point.

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The area’s Richardson Grove Park is another fantastic place to enjoy natural beauty. This is the perfect location for a scenic drive through the Redwoods or can alternatively be an ideal spot for hikes or camping. Frankly, anyone visiting this part of the world would be advised to grab hold of this opportunity. It truly is an opportunity to break away from the hectic nature of modern life. Just remember to take a camera with you as a few hours of snapping photos will allow those memories to last a lifetime.

Locals enjoy a relaxed culture, and that spreads to all visitors. This comes as no surprise given that there are only around 1,000 residents. There is still room for business, great health care and good school facilities. Nonetheless, it’s a far cry from San Francisco 200km to the South. Once again, this is simply a perfect place to break away from the rat race. As a family trip or a chance to recharge the batteries, you will not find any better.

And if you do wish to visit the exciting cities or even head up to Oregon, this can still be done too. For most visitors, though, Garberville is a hidden gem.

 

Gear-Up Your Backpacking Adventure The Right Way

Carrying the right travel gears is imperative while going on an adventure trip as these gadgets make your journey easier and more fun. Here is the checklist that you must go through before embarking on your journey:

  1. Water Bottle: You do not want to get dehydrated while trekking or desert safari as it can lead to many health problems ultimately ruining your trip. However, avoid carrying regular plastic pet bottles as these do not maintain the temperature of water. Instead, buy a thermal bottle which can maintain the temperature so that it is consumable at all times.

2. Map & Compass: The hills or desert usually have very few sign boards, and it’s a fun experience in following a map with compass. You can buy an accurate mechanical compass or the apps on your phone might also serve the purpose, but it will drain the battery.

3. Power Bank: It is highly essential as your smartphone battery may not last for more than 24 hours, and in case your network keeps on switching access points then the battery drains even faster.

4. Apparel: Dressing the right way is essential as it involves protecting yourself from the weather. You might want to buy the right trekking jacket to protect yourself from chilling cold and wear proper shoes to prevent slipping in the mountains.

5. Rucksack: Avoid using cheap low quality rucksacks because it’s practically your only companion for the trip. High quality lightweight rucksacks prevent any muscle strain in your shoulders or back and are built to withstand extreme weather.

6. Skin Protection: You must use sunscreen, SPF-rated lip balm and wear sunglasses to protect yourself as you are constantly exposed to sunrays. Also, keep your head covered with winter caps to protect yourself from the cold.

7. First-Aid Kit: It becomes handy to carry a small pouch of Band-Aid, bandage, antiseptic cream, your medicines, etc. in case of any mishap.

8. Nutrition: It is even more important to have the right food during your adventure trip than normal days. Carry extra food as well because you burn a lot of calories on the way and your body requires fuel all the time. Avoid sugary food as it spikes insulin instead fast digesting food such as fruits are better because you don’t want food sitting on your stomach while trekking is causing stomach pain.

9. Tools: You might want to carry a knife, tactical pen or any other multi-tool for removing twigs, small branches on your way and help you make a fast move. Self-defense tools are also essential.

10. Flashlight: This goes without saying in case your trip extends till late evening flashlights are a big saver. Carry extra batteries too if required.

The list goes on depending on your requirements and the location you’re headed to. Navigation, skin protection, food, first-aid, multi tools, and hydration are some of the key factors to be considered while choosing the right gear for your adventure trip.

 

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