Outdoors with T-REIGN

West Coast Corporation Expands T-Reign® and Boomerang Tool Company® Line With New Hunting and Fishing Essentials February 08 2016

West Coast Corporation introduces two new products to their popular T-REIGN® and Boomerang Tool Company® product lines that are designed to help make life easier for outdoor enthusiasts.

T-REIGN® has paired their most popular retractable gear tether with our new two loop game call lanyard. The dual loop game call lanyard fits most game calls and keeps them secure and handy. The gear tether is corrosion and impact resistant and features a durable Kevlar® cord that reaches 24”. Available with a carabiner or strap and comes with an interchangeable split ring for everyday use.

Boomerang Tool Company® has expanded its line of fishing products with the addition of a mid-size Zinger featuring an easy-to-use zinc alloy carabiner. This zinger attaches to almost anything and features heavy duty Kevlar® cord that has a reach of 24” and can hold up to 4oz.

The new T-REIGN® and Boomerang Tool Company® products are designed and built in the United States, feature a Lifetime Service Policy, and can be customized with company logos. These products are available for sale on the Boomerang Tool Company® or T-REIGN® websites, Amazon.com, and a variety of retailers nationwide.

For more information on the Game Call/ Gear Tether Combo Pack:

For more information on the Mid-Size Zinger with Carabiner:

About West Coast Corporation
Founded in 1948 West Coast Corporation is the manufacturer of the popular KEY-BAK® self-retracting key chain, which is known around the world by working people who use keys as part of their job. The T-REIGN® and Boomerang Tool Company® brands support outdoor and recreational use with retractable gear tethers and a full line of hunting and fishing tools and necessities. An employee-owned company by means of its ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), West Coast Corporation serves customers worldwide from its headquarters in Southern California. To learn more please visit www.wcc-mfg.com.

T-REIGN Gear Featured in Boomerang Tool Company's Top 9 Picks for Best Gifts for Fishermen Article November 04 2015

We are excited to have several of T-REIGN's top-selling fishing tools featured on Boomerang Tool Company's "Best Gifts for Fishermen - Our Top 9 Picks". Here's an excerpt of our products in the article:

ProSheath Fishing Pliers and Sheath Combo T-REIGN's ProSheath Combo is comprised of 7.5” heavy duty aluminum pliers with a comfort grip, replaceable tungsten carbide cutters to easily cut braided wire and mono line, and corrosion resistant, stainless steel jaws, as well as a durable nylon sheath. Unlike other holders, ProSheath has an internal retractable Kevlar tether that attaches to the pliers, preventing drops or loss. The ProSheath ensures your fishing pliers are protected, secure, and conveniently at your side when you need them most.

Fishing Zinger and Multi-Tool T-REIGN Retractable Outdoor Products builds the finest zingers for fishermen to secure their tools and tackle. The USA made Zinger offers three times the durability of imported zingers and has been tested to over one million pulls. Paired with the stainless steel multi-tool, you have the convenience of nippers, an eye hook cleaner, and a double sided file, all in one convenient there-when-you-need-it tool!

Small Retractable Gear Tether with Safety Whistle The Retractable Gear Tether with FOX40® Safety Whistle meets current safety regulations for personal watercraft. It’s the perfect sound-producing device to attach to a life jacket, belt loop, or keep around the boat or kayak when out fishing. Our retractors are made in the USA, and feature a durable Kevlar cord and corrosion and impact resistant casing. The Fox40 Safety Whistle works great either dry or wet, and will keep your fisherman safe on the water!

Fisherman’s Combo This convenient combo is the perfect gift for fly fishermen! It features our 5” corrosion resistant stainless steel forceps that are held securely in place by our classic retractable gear tether with a durable Kevlar cord. In addition, the combo comes with our small but mighty fishing zinger with our stainless steel nippers, perfect for cutting fishing line. Keep all your gear secure and accessible (and out of the water)!

Medium Retractable Gear Tether Secure your favorite tool or fishing gear to our large retractable gear tether. The end fitting easily snaps off, making removal and interchanging of tools a breeze, and the heavy duty Kevlar cord keeps your fishing tools safe from being dropped or lost. These retractable gear tethers are perfect for any type fisherman.


Check out the full article here or visit www.boomerangtool.com for more great fishing products and content .

West Coast Corporation Expands T-Reign® Line to Include Multi-Use Products July 08 2015

New products designed to make life easier

 Ontario, CA – June 29, 2015

West Coast Corporation introduces two new products to their popular T-REIGN® line designed to help make life easier for fisherman and outdoor hobbyists while in the field.   

The new Zinger & Multi-Tool is a fishing essential. The stainless steel multi-tool features a knot tying tool, double sided file, eye hook cleaner and nippers all in one compact design. The Zinger features a 36” nylon cord with 2 oz. of retraction force. Available with a belt clip or pin.

T-REIGN®  has also paired their most popular retractable gear tether with a Fox 40 classic safety whistle. Fox 40 is the whistle of choice for many professional sports competitions and outdoor sports enthusiasts, and features a three chamber pea-less design which works wet or dry. The gear tether is corrosion and impact resistant and features a durable Kevlar chord. Available with a carabiner or strap attachment.

Both new T-REIGN® products are designed and built in the United States, feature a Lifetime Service Policy, and can be customized with company logos. These products are available for sale on the T-REIGN® website, Amazon.com, and at a variety of retailers nationwide

For more information on the Zinger & Multi-Purpose Tool:

For more information on the Gear Tether with Fox 40 Safety Whistle:

About  West Coast Corporation

Founded in 1948 West Coast Corporation is the manufacturer of the popular KEY-BAK® self-retracting key chain, which is known around the world by working people who use keys as part of their job.  The T-REIGN® and Boomerang™ brands support outdoor and recreational use with retractable gear tethers and fishing line cutting tools. An employee-owned company by means of its ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), West Coast Corporation serves customers worldwide from its headquarters in Southern California. To learn more visit www.wcc-mfg.com.



West Coast Corporation Acquires Boomerang Tool Company June 26 2015

Ontario, California (March 9, 2015) – West Coast Corporation, the manufacturer of KEY-BAK® and T-REIGN® retractable gear tethers, today announced the acquisition of the products and certain other assets of Boomerang Tool Company, Inc. a leader in retractable tools for fishing and outdoor sports.

“The combination of Boomerang Tool Company’s brand and SNIPS with our T-REIGN® products gives our channel partners a broader range of retractable tethered products from one source here in the United States” said Boake Paugh, President of West Coast Corporation (WCC).  “By consolidating sales, manufacturing, distribution, customer service and other operations, we will be able to improve service to our customers, achieve greater efficiencies, and further accelerate our growth in the outdoor sporting goods market.”

Boomerang SNIPS are popular with fishermen as braided fishing line cutters. T-REIGN® retractable gear tethers keep favorite outdoor accessories – including pliers, hemostats, flashlights and game calls – safe, secure and ready for immediate action.

“As we integrate the Boomerang products into our operations, we expect to deliver the same high level of service and on-time delivery that customers have come to expect from West Coast Corporation” said Paugh.

Daniel Cornell, President of Boomerang Tool Company, further explained that, “This is a great opportunity to expand the Boomerang brand. Our reputation for developing innovative products makes a terrific combination with WCC’s track-record of innovation and superior customer service world-wide.”

T-REIGN® and Boomerang products are in widespread distribution including at major U.S. retailers such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Amazon.com, plus at many local fishing and outdoor specialty shops.

American Ingenuity

At WCC, our core purpose is to “employ American ingenuity to help working people lead more productive lives.”

Our founder W.R. Lummis invented the original KEY-BAK® self-retracting key reel in 1948. As a switchman on the Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles, he saw working people injured when their dangling key chains got caught as they mounted and dismounted moving trains. Lummis had an idea for a reel that would keep keys within reach at the wearer’s side, safe from snagging on moving rail cars and machinery. His idea became the first KEY-BAK®. Use of the product and its many variations has spread worldwide and become popular with working people in law enforcement, security, facilities maintenance, casinos, restaurants, plus farms and ranches.

The New York Times recently called KEY-BAK® a “classic,” explaining that “The practical KEY-BAK® … keeps keys on a handy retractable chain.”

The 2011 addition of the T-REIGN® brand extended the company’s products to the outdoor market, leading us to create innovative retractable gear tethers and cases for working people enjoying the outdoors who want their electronics and tools within easy reach and secure, avoiding drops, loss or breakage.

About West Coast Corporation

Founded in 1948 West Coast Corporation is the manufacturer of the popular KEY-BAK® self-retracting key chain.  KEY-BAK® is known around the world by working people who use keys as part of their job.  Its T-REIGN® brand supports outdoor and recreational use of its retractable gear tethers. An employee-owned company by means of its ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), West Coast Corporation serves customers worldwide from its headquarters in Southern California.

Additional Information Available at:


For More Information Contact:

Mike Winegar
Vice President
West Coast Corporation
4245 Pacific Privado
Ontario, California 91761 USA
Phone: +1 909-923-7800

Safety Tips for Summer Water Fun July 23 2013

The hot temperatures and sunshine make everyone want to grab a towel and head to the nearest body of water. Whether it’s swimming, river kayaking, canoeing, or relaxing on a boat, taking advantage of the outdoors on the water makes for great summer memories. Even more importantly, following water safety tips ensures water fun keeps everyone out of danger.

New to the Water?

Knowing how to swim when participating in water activities is practical. For those who can’t swim, wearing a personal flotation device gives folks the opportunity to participate with confidence. Make sure a seasoned swimmer is with you at all times and stay close to areas where lifeguards on duty.

Read the Signs

Follow all posted warnings about tide conditions, shark sightings and high water levels when appreciating water activities. Even if you have been on the water numerous times, remember that nature is stronger than you.

Troubled Water

Know the weather conditions anticipate for that day and the condition of the current. At the first sign of turbulent weather, stop swimming or watercrafting and get to shore.  Water and lightning do not mix well, causing abruptly changing tides, extreme waves and strong currents. Rough waters cause watercrafts to capsize.

The Right Equipment

If you are using a watercraft, double-check all equipment to ensure it is in proper working condition before you embark on your voyage. Inflatable equipment should be without rips or holes. Pack a patch kit, a first aid kit and an emergency kit with flares. All recreational watercrafts are required to have one life jacket per person including canoes and kayaks. For more information on life jacket standards, visit www.uscgboating.org. As lifejacket regulations vary from state to state, be sure to know requirements in advance.

Plan you travel

Plan out the path you will travel. Keeping a portable navigation system with you in a water resistant T-REIGN ProCase will keep you on course and get you back safely from your water adventure. It is also wise to let someone who won’t be on the water with you know your course; search parties or rescue teams will have a starting point if you run into trouble.

Feet-First Diving

If you are swimming, implement a feet-first entry into the water. You don’t want to incur a serious injury from diving head first without knowing what lies beneath the water’s surface. Designated diving and swimming areas are the safest places to dive.

Under the Sea

Swimmers should also be cautious of aquatic life. Not everything that lives in water is friendly. As pretty as they may be, don’t engage fish swimming near you. Also, avoid swimming around plant life as some species of plants are dangerous and are prone to entangle swimmers.

Foot Protection

Wearing shoes in water may seem silly, but water shoes protect feet from coral, jellyfish and sharp objects. I learned about water shoes after I cut my toe on a sharp rock at a river and had to have stitches. My fun water day turned into a not-so-fun trip to the emergency room. By investing in sturdy (and hopefully stylish) water shoes, you will avoid a similar situation.

Water activities are a cool way to break the heat of summer while enjoying the outdoors. Prevent accidents by observing a few safety methods. Learn more about water safety with The Red Cross. T-REIGN wants you to have a brilliant and safe summer outdoors.

Staying Connected in the Outdoors July 17 2013

It’s embarrassing to admit, but we’re all attached to our smartphones and get agitated when we haven’t checked in for a while. Staying connected is important. We check email, peruse Facebook and see if there are any new text messages. Most places have cell phone service, but when you’re out hiking, hunting or fishing you might find yourself off the cell phone grid. What can you do to stay connected while enjoying the great outdoors?

Take Your Phone

Don’t leave your cell phone home when you head to the outdoors. Cell phone service is currently available in many areas with coverage zones constantly expanding. In fact, a new pilot program from the National Parks Service hopes to expand cell phone and Wi-Fi coverage in several national parks in the coming months. Maybe your favorite national park is next on the list.

Even when you don’t have cellular coverage phones can still be useful. You can download apps to your smartphone before leaving on a trip to access hiking maps, area information, first aid, basic survival, knot tying, field guides and more while you’re out of the coverage area.

Keep Devices Charged

Keeping your smartphone, tablet and other devices charged in the outdoors can be a little difficult, but you do have options.

  • Get a Car Outlet- When I travel I use a portable power inverter to charge devices. One end plugs into my car’s 12-volt outlet and the other end features a couple of plugs for my devices. This is a great way to keep everything charged while on the go.
  • Use a Portable Charger- If you need a quick, one-time charge, a portable charger is the way to go. These battery powered chargers are small enough to fit easily in a hiking backpack and can provide a quick charge if your device runs out. Stick a portable charger alongside your smartphone in your ProCase for an easy, backup power source.

Utilize Wi-Fi

A quick email check can be done from a smartphone, but if you’re planning on spending time online you’ll probably want a laptop or tablet. Finding Internet when you’re away from home is surprisingly easy. Search for a Wi-Fi hotspot near you (preferably a free one) and connect to the Internet without using up your entire cell phone data plan.

Keep Everyone in the Loop

You might not have much time to check-in individually with family and friends as you explore, so take advantage of social media to keep everyone updated. Upload pictures and updates on social networking sites so everyone can share in your fun. A GPS tracking app can allow family and friends to check in on your progress and see where you are on your journey.

5 Hunting Gear Essentials July 09 2013

hunting gear

Every hunter has their favorite hunting gear essentials, things they wouldn’t dream of trekking in the woods without. On every list you’ll find a weapon of choice (usually a bow and arrow or rifle and ammunition) as well as survival essentials like food and water. To help you fill your hunting pack, here are some of our favorite things to take along.

Cell Phone

While you won’t always have cell service in hunting areas, you’d be surprised at how often you will. Your cell phone can be useful for more than just making emergency calls. If you have a smartphone you can download several apps to help you on your hunt. One app can be used in place of traditional hunting calls to attract game like deer, elk and turkey while another can emit a high frequency tone that acts as a bug deterrent. There are also apps to help you find the best places to hunt and to survive should an emergency arise. Use a medium T-REIGN ProCase to keep your smartphone safe and handy while you hunt.

Two-way Radios

Hunting with a partner is always a good idea, but sometimes you’ll need to split up to cover more ground. Two-radios are a great way to stay in contact, especially if you don’t have cell service. Trees and rough terrain can limit radio transmission distances, so be aware of what your radios can handle and communicate frequently to stay in range. T-REIGN’s ProHolster Protective Case features a retractable tether making it easy to use and store your radios on the go.

Binoculars or a Range Finder

The key to a successful hunt is spotting your prey before it spots you. A rangefinder will help you measure the distance between you and your target, making a perfect shot much easier. Binoculars magnify far off objects helping you to see animals in the distance. Either or both can be helpful hunting tools. The extra-large ProCase is the perfect size for binoculars or a range finder. 

GPS or a Compass

Getting disoriented or lost is easy in mountain terrain. A GPS will keep you on track and help you make it back to base camp after a day of hunting. If you don’t have a GPS a compass is a good alternative.


There are hundreds of uses for a good knife while hunting. This basic survival tool is something you never want to hunt without. Plus you’ll need a knife if you are successful and need to clean your kill. Many hunters like to carry multiple styles of knives while they hunt including a pocket knife and a hunting knife.

These hunting gear essentials are must-haves whenever we go hunting. Not only does the right gear make our job easier, but it also helps to keep us safe.

Jackrabbit Hunting: Tips for Success June 28 2013


We live in the desert, which means good hunting requires quite a drive unless we’re hunting jackrabbits. This furry creature (actually a hare, not a rabbit) can be found in a variety of different climates making the jackrabbit an ideal hunting choice wherever you live. They tend to be plentiful, which means few hunting restrictions. This year in California jackrabbit can be hunted year round with no bag limit.

Jackrabbit hunting is a great way to get out and enjoy some hunting fun with friends. We went last weekend and although we didn’t have any luck getting a rabbit, it was fun to hike, look for critters and spend time outside.

Know the Regulations

Each state has different hunting regulations and it is important to acquaint yourself with your state’s rules. Many states have different regulations for jackrabbits than they do for other rabbit varieties (like cottontail). This list of wildlife regulatory agencies by state will help you find the most recent hunting regulations for your area.

Choose the Right Weapon

Shotguns are a popular choice for jackrabbit hunting. They can run fast (and for great distances) and a shotgun is an ideal choice for hitting an animal on the run. Small gauge rifles (like a .22 or a .17) can also work well, but these require excellent aim.

Hunt in Groups

While it’s always smart to hunt with a partner, it is critical when hunting jackrabbit. Having one person walk around an area to startle the animals with another ready to shoot when one appears can be an effective strategy. Handheld radios can help you stay in communication with your group while you hunt and T-REIGN’s ProHolster Protective Case will help you keep your two-way radios close at hand the entire hunt.

Black Tailed Jackrabbit (318049593)

Timing is Critical

Jackrabbit hunting is often allowed year round, but there are times when it is more effective than others. In hot climates it can be difficult to find animals out during the day. During warm weather months, it is most effective to hunt in the early morning before the temperatures rise. Springtime is a great time for jackrabbit hunting because there is more food available.

Look for Signs

Jackrabbits leave signs just like other animals. Look for droppings and footprints to find areas where they have been. Rather than hiking around all day looking for signs of jackrabbits, we like to drive to a potential area, scope it out and drive elsewhere if we don’t see signs of nearby rabbits.

Practice Makes Perfect

Hunting jackrabbits is excellent hunting practice. It gives you the opportunity to track animals, handle weapons, practice your aim and learn about field dressing and handling meat. Handle your kills with the same care and attention you would give to a larger game animal like a deer.

Use What You Catch

Many people balk at the idea of eating a jackrabbit, but if they are properly prepared and not diseased they can be quite delicious. Here’s a recipe for Hare Stew and one for Barbecued Hare that you can try if you are successful on your hunt.

Large game isn’t the only way to hunt. Smaller prey like the jackrabbit gives you the opportunity to enjoy hunting all year round.

Snacks to take on a fishing trip June 07 2013


I love a good fishing trip, but if you’re planning on spending a day on the water with your poles, you’ve got to prepare in advance. The best fishing spots are often remote locations, which means you can’t buy food when hunger strikes. These 10 tasty snack ideas will certainly satisfy, making your fishing trip more enjoyable and of course more delicious.


1.     Protein Packed Breakfast- We start fishing early in the morning when the fish are most likely to bite. Getting an early start means it’s easy to forget breakfast. One of my favorite protein-packed fishing breakfasts is a container of egg salad served wrapped in a tortilla. Make up a batch and keep it in the cooler for an easy snack any time of the day.


2.     Trail Mix- A tasty assortment of nuts and dried fruit can hit the spot during any outdoor activity. You can buy trail mix, but it’s less expensive and better for you to make your own. Here’s a great trail mix recipe to get you started, but feel free to substitute and add in your favorite treats. Some great ideas for add-ins include dried cranberries, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, licorice bites, shelled sunflower seeds, dried bananas or popcorn.


3.     Jerky- Beef jerky (or any type of jerky for that matter) is a must have on a fishing trip. If jerky isn’t your thing, other meaty ideas include pepperoni slices, summer sausage and Vienna sausage.


4.     Veggies and Dip- While vegetables might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to fishing snacks, they are a great option and a welcome break from the sweet and salty. Cut up an assortment of vegetables (cucumber, celery, carrots, bell pepper, etc.) and serve with your favorite dip. Hummus is a healthy alternative to ranch dressing that tastes great too.


5.     Sandwiches- Don’t forget to pack plenty of sandwiches. You can assemble them in advance or stock the cooler with sandwich fixings and let everyone construct their own. Bring bread, mayo and mustard, lettuce, cheese and sliced deli meat. I also like to bring peanut butter and jelly.


6.     Cookies- Big bags of homemade cookies always hit the spot. Some of my favorite types include peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies and snicker doodles.


7.     Crackers and Toppings- The crunch of a cracker combined with a delicious topping is hard to resist. Pack a variety of crackers and toppings like sliced cheese, meats, spreads including peanut butter or cheese spread, cream cheese, tuna salad, hard-boiled egg slices and dried fruits like apricots or strawberries.


8.     Hot Treats- Even in the middle of summer some fishing locations can be chilly, especially in the morning. Hot food and drinks are perfect for those moments when you’re feeling a bit chilly. A thermos filled with hot water is great for making hot cocoa, noodle soups (like Cup of Noodle) or even instant oatmeal. You can also take along a thermos of hot cocoa or coffee or even pre-made soup.


9.     Drinks (and lots of them)- Staying hydrated is always important. Bring plenty of drinks and be sure to include a variety. I like to pack an assortment of sodas, water and juices. Filling a big cooler with lemonade or ice water is a great idea if you’re fishing with a large group. Just make sure to bring cups.


10.  Fish Themed Snacks- If you want some fish themed snacks to take along consider Goldfish crackers, Swedish Fish candies or sugar cookies cut out in the shape of a fish. Gummy worms are a fun bait-themed idea if you’re fishing with little kids.


As a final note, don’t forget to keep the cold foods cold in a dependable cooler filled generously with ice and placed in the shade. You don’t want to end up sick because your meals have gone bad during a long day outdoors. And don’t forget hand sanitizer gel or disinfecting hand wipes to clean up properly before handling food. Pack the fishing snacks and round up your family for a fun weekend of fishing this summer.


5 Great Hikes for Families May 31 2013

Teach your children an early love of the outdoors by taking them for a fun family hike. Some of the best hiking trails around the country are great for families. They might not be rugged and backwoods, but they will provide some stunning views and cherished memories. Check out five of our favorites below:

Trail of 100 Giants (California)

The Trail of 100 Giants, located in the Sequoia National Forest, provides stunning views of hundreds of giant sequoias. These towering ancient trees are truly breathtaking. The entire loop trail is about a mile in length and is fully paved and wheelchair accessible. Benches and interpretive signs dot the trail, providing great places to rest for tired little feet. This is a trail the entire family will love from your littlest ones on up to their grandparents. There is plenty of shade and lots to see the entire length of the trail.   

Mount Evans Summit Hike (Colorado)

Mount Evans features the highest paved road in North America and is an exciting drive even if you don’t plan on taking the hike. The drive takes at least a couple hours roundtrip and will showcase the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Once you reach the top of the road, park your car and get out for a fun family hike. Mount Evans Summit Trail is a ¼ mile trail that will take you from the parking area to the top of the peak for stunning views. The trail is only open during the summer, but even then it is mighty chilly up there so be sure to pack jackets. And of course with views like these you don’t want to forget your camera (safely stowed in a T-REIGN ProCase of course).

Silver Comet Trail (Georgia)

Silver Comet Trail is a 61.5-mile trail that travels from Smyrna, Georgia to the Georgia/Alabama state line near Cedartown. The trail is fully paved and is ideal for biking, hiking and even taking your dog for a walk. Strollers and wheelchairs can easily maneuver the trail. Some adventurers attempt the full trail staying overnight in hotels found in cities along the way while others prefer to make a day trip of it and explore a small segment. With various entry and exit points along the way you’ll find that this trail is versatile enough for any skill level and a perfect hike for families.

Mount Timpanogos Cave (Utah)

Mount Timpanogos Cave features stunning displays of rock formations that can be seen on a guided tour (tickets required) led by a park ranger. The tours last about an hour and are fascinating for young and old alike. Getting to the cave requires quite a strenuous hike, but the reward of the cave tour makes the difficult hike worthwhile, even for young hikers. The trail to the cave is about 1.5 miles and is fully paved, although not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. Make sure to take a jacket, as the caves can get chilly. Due to the difficulty of the hike, this trail is best suited for older children or for parents who are strong enough hikers to help get their little ones to the top.

Mount Rushmore Presidential Trail (South Dakota)

If you want to see the famous presidential faces of Mount Rushmore up close and personal, there is no better hike than the Mount Rushmore Presidential Trail. The trail is only about a half mile in length and is fully paved. While the hike isn’t long, it does take you much closer to the mountain and provides some stunning views of the famous faces.

Isn’t it time you took your family on a hike? These wonderful trails are a great way to celebrate the outdoors with those you love. Make sure you check availability for each hike before you go as many of these trails close during the winter months.

How to Geocache May 24 2013

Before this last weekend I had never been geocaching. I knew it was a fun, a family-friendly, outdoor activity, but with plenty of other favorite things to fill my time I just hadn’t given it a try. Let me assure you, it’s a lot of fun. If you haven’t tried geocaching yet, put it on your to-do list and make it happen. There are opportunities in almost every city so this is one outdoor activity you can enjoy wherever you live.

While preparing for my first geocaching adventure I learned a great deal. I’ll share some of my tips and favorite resources here so you too can learn how to geocache.

What Do You Need?

You don’t need expensive equipment to get started with geocaching. All you need is a smartphone that is GPS enabled or a GPS device. I downloaded a free app for my phone to make things simpler called c:geo. There are also several paid apps you can try, but as a beginner I was happy with the free tools c:geo offered.The popular Geocache app for iPhone can be found here for $9.99.

Some other helpful tools you might want to take along:

·       Pen: Most geocaches have a logbook you can sign. Take a pen so you can fill out the log and leave your mark behind. It’s interesting to see who has visited the cache previously. Some people travel around the country geocaching and it is fun to see entries left by people all around the area and the country.

·       Small Prize to Leave Behind: Many geocaches are stocked with treasures. When you find them you can take a prize out of the cache as long as you leave a similarly valued prize behind. For our first geocaching experience we took a few small prizes including a polished rock, a pair of fancy chopsticks and a small rubber duck.

·       T-REIGN ProCase: A ProCase works great for geocaching. I needed quick and easy access to my phone since I was using it to find GPS coordinates. I always had a safe place to store my phone when I wasn’t using it and could check my location when needed. The new ProHolster would be a great choice if you were using a GPS.

·       Water: Depending on the geocache you’re seeking, you might be in for quite a trek. Take along supplies you would take on a hike including water, sunscreen, snacks and other essentials.

How Do You Geocache?

Geocaching is simple. Find the cache’s GPS coordinates, enter them into your smartphone or GPS device and head to the location. Sometimes this will mean a long walk and other times you’ll find the cache close to where you park the car. Some geocaches are even located in public buildings (or on their grounds) like libraries, universities or hospitals. You’ll find geocaches in a neighborhood, out in the middle of nowhere and everywhere in between.

Once you find the cache you can make an entry in the log book, exchange prizes if the cache has any and move on to the next one. You’ll find that this modern-day treasure hunt is a ton of fun for adults and children. I know I can’t wait to get out and try geocaching again.

And did you know T-REIGN is actively involved in geocaching? If you’re near their manufacturing facility in Ontario, California, there are a few caches to discover.

Here are some great resources to help you learn more about geocaching:

·       Geocaching.com- On this site you’ll find a great listing of available caches, guides to get you started and even some videos. You’ll need to be a member to access all of the content, but registration is free and easy.

·       Dinosaur Train Geocaching- If you’re geocaching with kids you may enjoy looking for a Dinosaur Train themed cache. These are easy to find and especially aimed at children. The Jim Henson Company has partnered with PBS, museums, zoos and other locations to bring these fun, kid themed caches to areas around the country. This is a great way to introduce your little ones to this activity and to get them excited about geocaching.

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the outdoors. With geocaching your next adventure might be right down the street.

Camping Food Ideas: Delicious Beef and Green Bean Foil Dinner May 15 2013

If you’re looking for a good excuse to go camping, go for the food. Nothing tastes better than a hot, fresh meal with family and friends after a long day in the outdoors. Ideally camping food should be simple to prepare yet hearty enough to fill a hungry stomach after fishing or hiking.

Tinfoil dinners are an easy way to feed a crowd on your next outing and best of all can be prepared in advance for quick cooking at your campsite. All you need is a fire, some aluminum foil and delicious food to stuff inside for a meal that is sure to please.

Foil dinners can vary based on what you’re in the mood for, what is in season and what foods you have on hand. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that we used on our last camping trip.

Beef and Green Bean Foil Dinner

·       Beef, cut into 1 inch cubes (We used New York steak)

·       Potatoes- peeled, cubed and boiled until almost tender

·       Green beans- trimmed and boiled for 3-4 minutes

·       Mushrooms- Sliced

·       Onion- cut into chunks

·       Butter

·       Cooking oil (We used olive oil)

·       Salt and Pepper

Toss the cubed beef with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place a large square of foil on the counter and top it with prepared beef, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms and onion. I generally pre-cook the potatoes and green beans to ensure they are soft when the foil dinner is ready to eat. If you do pre-cook, let the hot foods cool before assembling your meal. If you don’t want to pre-cook, cut the ingredients into smaller pieces. Then season the food generously with salt and pepper and add a few small chunks of butter to taste.

Wrap up the foil dinner by folding the two sides over the food and sealing the edges. I like to use heavy duty foil and double wrap. Pack up your meals in a cooler and you’re ready to go.

When it is dinnertime, cooking is simple. Make a big campfire and wait until the fire dies down to red, hot coals. Carefully place the foil dinners on the coals and let it cook at least 10 minutes per side. You’ll need to flip the packet at least once. Remove one dinner to check for doneness and replace it on the coals if needed. When it’s ready, enjoy!

Baked Apple Foil Dessert

When I pull my foil dinners off the coals I like to replace them with dessert. Baked apples are an easy dessert to enjoy while camping. All you have to do is cut, peel and slice an apple. Toss your apple slices with cinnamon and sugar to taste and wrap in foil with a few small slices of butter. Cook them using the same method used for the foil dinners.

After a long day enjoying the outdoors, a tasty foil dinner will hit the spot.

Fishing with Kids: A Survival Guide May 10 2013

Nothing is more relaxing than spending the day fishing, unless that day involves taking your kids along. Fishing with kids can be a challenge, but it can also be a lot of fun and is a great way to introduce your children to the outdoors.

Get Everyone a Pole

Would you enjoy fishing if you didn’t have a pole? I know I wouldn’t and your child won’t either. Make sure everyone has a pole. Children’s fishing poles aren’t necessary and often don’t work as well as the full size adult models. They can be difficult to cast and reel in. Instead, let your children use lightweight adult poles (it’s a great excuse to get a new one for yourself).

Toddlers will want to get in on the fun too. I find that a fishing pole without a hook on the line can be a great way to help a little one feel included without having to worry about getting stuck by a hook. Just add plenty of weights and a float if you like and your toddler won’t know the difference.

Take Advantage of Free Fishing Days

Depending on your state your child may not need a fishing license if they are accompanied by a licensed adult. If you don’t regularly fish, but would like to take your kids, consider going on a free fishing day. Free fishing days are a great opportunity to take the whole family fishing and, since adults generally don’t need a license on these days, you can take additional help to wrangle the kids without having to spend a fortune. Check out this helpful PDF from TakeMeFishing.org for a listing of free fishing days this year.

Get Up and Move

When fishing with adults you have the luxury of spending the entire day on the boat or sitting by the lake, but with kids short periods of fishing with other activities mixed in work better. If you’re going to a lake with ducks, take along some bread and feed the ducks. If you’re pier fishing, take an afternoon break and play in the ocean. Most fishing locations have plenty of other fun family activities to enjoy when the little ones tire of fishing.

Use Safety Equipment

Fishing involves water which means extra precaution is always a good idea, especially if you’re on a boat. Life vests and other safety equipment will help keep you safe this summer. P.S.- Don’t forget adequate sun protection too.

Secure Important Belongings

Fishing with kids can get chaotic. Make sure your valuables and electronics are secured, especially if you’re fishing off a pier or from a boat. T-REIGN retractable tethers are essential for keeping things like fishing knives or a multi-tool close at hand and away from the kids, while a ProCase will keep your valuable electronics from getting wet.

Catch Something

Always go stocked and ready with plenty of bait to help ensure a catch or two. Nothing keeps kids interested in fishing more than seeing results. Outfit your child’s pole with light line and a small hook. Small hooks generally catch more fish and a lighter line is easier for first-time fishers to handle.

Now grab a pole and take the whole family fishing.


The president of T-REIGN emailed after reading this article:

"It brings to mind a treasured family memory. My son was fishing with an old pole I had growing up. He caught a fish and was so excited
he let go of the pole. The pole went over the side of the boat and we lost both the fish and the pole. We got lucky and were able to retrieve the pole (the line was crossed with my line) but it brings to mind another use for T-REIGN retractable gear tethers - tether the pole to your kid!"

-- Boake Paugh, President of T-REIGN



How can I tell if my prospecting finds are gold? April 30 2013

One of the first times we went panning for gold, we thought we’d hit the jackpot. Every pan we pulled from the water had multiple pieces of a shiny, golden substance that we believed to be tiny gold nuggets. Panning was a lot of fun that day until we got home and realized our “treasure” wasn’t gold at all.

Pyrite, Mica and Gold

Several different minerals can be confused with gold, although pyrite and mica are the most common culprits. Pyrite, also known as Fool’s Gold, is a golden, shiny mineral that is beautiful in its own right, though not valuable. While gold is typically smooth or irregularly shaped, pyrite is comprised of multiple cubes or crystals bonded together. Mica, another gold imposter, is commonly found in sheets or large flakes. Mica flakes are golden, shiny and easy to confuse with real gold flakes.

As you hunt for gold, learning to differentiate these three minerals (gold, pyrite and mica) will save you from the disappointment that comes when you realize your gold nugget isn’t actually gold. Here are questions to help you better identify your prospecting finds.  

Does it change in the shade?

Gold looks like gold in any light while other minerals may lose their color or luster if taken out of direct sunlight. Look at your sample in the sunlight. What does it look like? Now shade the sample and examine it again. If it loses its golden color or changes appearance, it probably isn’t gold.

Does it float?

Gold doesn’t float. If your specimen floats to the top of your gold pan when panning, it is probably a different mineral, maybe mica.

Does it sparkle?

Gold shines, but it isn’t glittery or sparkly. Look at the specimen in the sunlight and move it around. If it is bright and shiny it might be gold, but if it sparkles like glitter, it probably isn’t.

Does it sink quickly?

Gold is heavy and even the smallest flakes will quickly sink when placed in water. A clean vial of water can be a simple and effective tool for identifying minerals. Gold sinks, even in dirt, so if your find was visible on the bottom of a stream bed, odds are it isn’t gold.

If you have some lead handy you can compare how quickly the unknown mineral falls to the bottom of a vial of water compared with lead. Gold is heavier than lead and should drop more quickly while pyrite and mica are lighter and will drop to the bottom at a slower rate. You can also place your unknown substance at the bottom of a vial of water or your gold pan and slowly swirl it around. Since gold is heavy it won’t move easily.

Does it break?

You can use a pair of tweezers for this simple gold test. Try bending the unknown substance using a pair of tweezers. If it breaks, it isn’t gold. Gold is malleable and will bend while other minerals will break into smaller pieces. You can also use a pin to pierce the substance. Gold will dent while other minerals break apart. 

Another test you can try is pounding the mystery mineral on a hard surface with a hammer. Gold will flatten while other minerals break apart. This test can ruin the aesthetic appeal and value of your sample, so use this method with caution.

And finally, does It write?

Mica is a soft mineral. One easy test for identifying mica is to rub it on a hard surface. (I like to use the side of my gold pan). If the unknown mineral leaves a mark, it isn’t gold.

One of the first lessons any gold prospector learns is how to identify their finds. By asking yourself these questions each time you find possible treasure, you can discover the answer to that all important question, “Is it gold?”

5 Essential Hunting Safety Tips April 23 2013

Nothing is quite as exciting as the thrill of the hunt: tracking prey, navigating difficult terrain and setting your sights on the target. But, while hunting can be a lot of fun, there are some inherent dangers to this outdoor activity. Practicing proper hunting safety is essential for having an injury-free experience.

Take a Hunter’s Safety Course

Many states require prospective hunters to complete a hunter’s safety course before they can purchase a hunting license, but even if this isn’t a requirement in your state, it’s still a good idea. Hunter’s safety courses cover everything from gun safety to proper animal identification, hunting ethics and more. It is a valuable resource for those new to hunting to brush up on safety tips and ask questions.

Even if you’ve learned to hunt from experienced hunters, odds are you’ve picked up a few bad habits and a course can improve your safety practices. A course can be helpful for everyone in your hunting party, even those who just plan to spend time at the campsite or hike along unarmed with the hunters.

Be Prepared

Ideally every hunting trip would go as planned, but when you’re dealing with nature this isn’t always the case. Prepare for the unexpected. Take along extra food and water, preferably enough to last for a few days. You may also want to carry other survival essentials in your hunting pack like a whistle, knife, flashlight, matches, rope and even some rudimentary shelter. Hopefully you’ll never need to rely on your emergency essentials, but you’ll be grateful to have them if you do.

Take Your Cell Phone and Keep it Dry

Many hunting areas have limited cell phone service, but you’d be surprised at some of the places I’ve been able to make and receive calls. A cell phone can be a valuable lifeline should someone in your party get injured or separated from the group.

Keep your cell phone on you at all times and keep it dry and protected. We recommend using a T-REIGN ProCase, as they are easy to use, convenient and keep your smartphone safe in a variety of different weather conditions. Two endangered hikers in California were able to use a cell phone to call for help and were rescued safely. Having your phone on you could be the lifeline you need for rescue in an emergency.

Treat Every Gun Like It’s Loaded

Unloaded or not, treat every gun like its ready to fire. Don’t point guns at anything you aren’t willing to shoot. Store your guns properly when they aren’t in use and make sure they aren’t accessible to children. Gun safety is an essential part of hunting safely.

Never Hunt Alone

Even when you’re careful, hunting accidents can still happen. Never hunt alone. Find someone who shares your passion and go out in a group. This way you’ll have someone to help should something go wrong and you’ll have the pleasure of good company on your trip.

When it comes to hunting your number one rule should always be SAFETY. May you have many safe and happy hunts this year.

Summer Sun Protection Tips April 10 2013

As the weather warms up, we await the arrival of summer. Those long, hot days will be filled with fishing trips, mountain hikes, camping adventures and other favorite outdoor activities. Summer is a great time for fun, but if you aren’t careful it can also become a great time for sunburns. Here are some sun protection tips to help you enjoy the outdoors while protecting your skin.

Cover Up

When it’s hot outside the last thing you may think to do is wear long sleeves, but extra clothing can be an effective tool for combating UV rays. Different types of clothing have different levels of UV protection, so don’t depend on your clothing alone; instead consider your clothing as an extra layer of protection.

Wearing a long sleeved shirt is great, but don’t stop there. A hat can help shade your face and scalp (and possibly neck) from the sun, while quality sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging UVA and UVB rays. 

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a vital part of summer sun protection and should be applied before heading outdoors. For the best coverage and to ensure you don’t miss a spot, put sunscreen on in the morning before you get dressed. Clothing can make it more difficult to apply an even coat on your body. Don’t be afraid to use a good amount and reapply throughout the day as needed. Don’t forget sunscreen isn’t just for your face and arms; make sure you apply plenty to your lips, ears and scalp as well.

While sunscreen is easy to apply, choosing the right one for your situation isn’t always evident. Walking down the sunscreen aisle in the store can be downright intimidating with the different choices available. Here are some tips for finding great sunscreen for your outdoor activities this summer:

·       Understand what SPF means: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a number that indicates how much protection your sunscreen offers. The higher the SPF, the more protection you’ll receive. Technically the higher the SPF the longer you can stay in the sun without getting burned, but even when using sunscreens with a high SPF make sure to reapply every hour or two because sweat and water can cause your protection to wear off.

·       Waterproof or not? In 2011 the FDA passed new regulations prohibiting sunscreen manufacturers from using terms like “waterproof” on their sunscreen labels. No sunscreen product can be truly waterproof. You might still see a few brands using this terminology since regulations take time to enact, but in coming years you won’t find sunscreen labeled “waterproof”. Some products however are more resistant to water than others. Choosing a sunscreen specifically formulated for the water might provide more protection if you’re going to be getting wet. Consider choosing water-resistant options if you’re going to be swimming, sweating heavily or enjoying the water.

·       Is sunscreen toxic? Many people worry about the chemicals used to create sunscreen. They want to enjoy the sun, but don’t feel comfortable using just any product. If you’re worried about the toxins in sunscreen check out the sunscreen database from the Environmental Working Group. Various sunscreens use different active ingredients, each with different benefits and levels of toxicity. Don’t skip the sunscreen just because you are worried about chemicals; there are many great product options to meet your needs.

·       Is one sunscreen enough? With so many to choose from, you might be wondering if you need more than one. The answer depends on your preferences. Most sunscreens can be applied all over the body: arms, face, abdomen, etc. But, you can also find products designed for specific purposes like baby sunscreen or face sunscreen. Facial sunscreen tends to be less greasy and therefore less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. They also tend to be more expensive, so you may want to limit application to just your face. Baby and child sunscreens work on anyone, but are specially formulated to be less irritating on developing skin.

Avoid Peak Sunburn Times

The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the middle of the day, usually from 10 am to 3 pm. If possible, stay out of the sun during these peak hours. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day; the sun can still burn even if it isn’t shining brightly, so cover up and use sunscreen whether it’s cloudy, rainy or sunny outside.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential during the summer months. Although a bottle of water won’t keep you from getting a sunburn, staying hydrated will help you to enjoy your summer outdoor activities more and stay safe. Always take along plenty of water (more than you think you’ll need) and drink often. Sweat can cause sunscreen to wear off, so reapply often especially if it’s a hot, sweaty day.  

Summer is coming. I can almost feel those fish tugging at my line and hear the gravel beneath my feet. Get out this summer and have some great outdoor fun, but be careful. T-REIGN wants you to come home with great memories, not nasty sunburns.   

5 Essential Tools for Gold Prospecting April 02 2013

You won’t find gold if you don’t look, so if you want a gold nugget of your own, start searching. Luckily you don’t need much to get started. Just find a place where you can legally prospect for gold, gather a few essential tools and get outside and have some fun. Every prospector has their own favorite list of supplies, but here are some great suggestions for getting started.

1. Bucket

When searching for gold you will need to move dirt and water from Point A to Point B and a bucket is a great way to get this done. Any bucket you have lying around will work. I like to use a standard sized one from my local hardware store. When you aren’t using your bucket to move or store dirt, flip it over and it makes a great seat.

2. Shovel

Whether you’re gold panning in a stream or prospecting on dry ground, you’ll want to bring a shovel along. Generally you don’t need anything big; even a small folding shovel will do. You’ll use your shovel to fill your bucket and to easily gather large amounts of dirt for panning.

3. Gold Pan

Every prospector needs a gold pan. Even with all of the innovations in technology this simple prospecting tool is still one of the most effective ways to find gold. Panning can help you find and separate gold with an impressive level of accuracy if it’s done properly. Generally plastic gold pans are recommended over metal ones and green gold pans are the easiest to use. In addition to a gold pan you might want to also pick up a classification screen that will help you sift out larger rocks and pebbles before you start panning.

4. Hammer and Chisel or Pick Axe

A chisel or pick axe will help you find gold that is hiding inside of hard rock. When breaking up rock be sure to follow proper safety precautions including safety glasses and gloves.

5. A Pair of Tweezers

Hopefully your search will lead you to a big gold nugget, but you’re much more likely to find smaller gold flakes. Don’t leave these behind; they are still gold and therefore valuable. A pair of tweezers will help you pick up small finds and transfer them to a safe storage area (like a small glass vial).

Bonus Essential: T-REIGN Retractable Gear Tethers

Although you won’t see T-REIGN retractable outdoor products featured in classic gold rush movies, they are still a gold prospecting essential in my book. Prospecting is messy work and I like knowing my smartphone is safely tucked into a ProCase where it won’t be damaged by dirt, rock or water. Retractable tethers are great for keeping items like a flashlight or pocketknife close at hand.

Now grab your gear and go find that gold.

What Type of Fishing Bait Should I Use? March 26 2013

Before every fishing trip I make sure my tackle box is stocked. While wandering the tackle aisles of the store everything seems simple, but once you’re on the lake, it’s a whole different story. What type fishing bait should I use? The key to successful fishing is finding the answer to this question, but the answer is always changing. Some days the fish want live bait and other times lures.  Bring a variety of bait and change what you’re using until you find what works.

Live Bait

As the name implies, live bait is still alive when you use it. There are many different types of live bait available including nightcrawlers, crickets and minnows or other small bait fish. Some people like to catch their live bait themselves, but most of the time you can easily purchase a good variety from a tackle shop.

Live bait can be inconvenient since it must be purchased or caught immediately before use and must be kept alive while on the water, but is very effective. Generally when nothing else is working, live bait will catch fish.


There is a type of lure for almost every type of fish. Trout lures will catch trout, bass lures will catch bass, etc. Lures are a beautiful addition to any tackle box and can be effective if used properly, but you do need to know a few tricks.

Lures appeal to the curiosity of the fish you are trying to catch and they need movement to be most effective. With live bait you can bait your hook, drop it over the side and wait. With lures, you must be on the move, keeping your line in motion to appeal to fish. Many anglers enjoy the added challenge that using a lure brings and, since they can be used over and over, may save you money on bait. Lures are also a good choice if you plan on catching and releasing since the hooks are generally easier to remove than with other types of bait. 

Soft Bait

Soft bait is the bait of choice for many anglers, especially those who are just starting out. There are many different types available, but one of the most common is Powerbait®. It is great for catching trout. This is a good bait choice if you are fishing with children since they find the bright colors appealing and the baited line can simply be dropped into the water to wait for a fish. Soft bait works best in still water (lakes or ponds), especially in areas that are stocked with hatchery fish.

Is your tackle box packed and ready to go? The summer fishing season is upon us and now is the time to get ready. And with all that success you’ll have fishing, don’t forget to wear your T-REIGN retractable tether to keep expensive gear at hand when you’re wrestling to reel in that big catch.

How To Sight in a Hunting Rifle March 19 2013

Having a properly sighted in hunting rifle is essential if you want success on your next hunting trip. T-REIGN’s helpful step-by-step guide to sighting in a hunting rifle will help you to hit your target and find hunting success. 

Find a Safe Place to Shoot

Sighting in a rifle scope will require you to shoot a few bullets; make sure you find a location where it is safe and legal to shoot. Always follow the recommended safety precautions and use protective gear (like ear and eye protection). T-REIGN tethers and ProCases are great for keeping your expensive gear and devices safe on the hunt, but they can also be valuable tools at the rifle range for keeping essentials like binoculars or sighting scope close at hand.

When sighting in a rifle, accuracy is important. A solid shooting bench and either sandbags or a gun rest will make your job much easier. Also make sure your sight is properly mounted before you make any adjustments or fire any shots.

Adjusting Your Sight

Most gun sights have two different adjustments: windage (adjusts from left to right) and elevation (adjusts up and down). Typically each click of the dial will move your position (or point of impact) 1/4 inch on the target at 100 yards.

Bore Sight

Bore sighting is a simple way to reduce the number of shots needed and the amount of time required to sight in a gun, especially if you have a bolt action rifle. Simply remove the bolt, look down the bore and center your target in the opening. Then look through your scope and adjust so your crosshairs are also centered on the target. This one step often helps your first shot to hit the target, saving you a lot of adjustment down the road.

Fire a Test Shot

Load a single bullet into your rifle’s chamber. Aim at the target (making sure your gun is resting on your rest or sandbags) and pull the trigger. This first shot will serve as a baseline for determining adjustments.  

Adjust the Scope

Look down range and see where your shots are hitting. I like to use a pair of good binoculars for this task, but you can also use a sighting scope if you have one.

Turn the dials on your scope moving the crosshairs from your original intended point of impact to your actual point of impact. For example if your shot hit the target 2 inches high and 1/2 inch to the left, you’ll adjust the scope down and to the right. The crosshairs will move in the opposite direction, so if you adjust left, they’ll move right. Stop adjusting when the crosshairs are centered on the actual point of impact on your target.

Shoot a Test Group

Now aim again and fire a group (at least 3) of shots at the target. This will help you to see if your gun is properly sighted in and if it is firing accurately. If the shots fall close to the center of the target, your gun is adjusted properly. If not, adjust the scope again and retest.

Whether you’re hunting rabbit, deer or something else this season, T-REIGN retractable outdoor products will keep your gear safe. Your only concern is having a great time and, of course, making sure your rifle is properly sighted in and ready to shoot.

Finding the Best Hike for Your Skill Level March 12 2013

Hiking is a one size fits all outdoor activity. Beginners, experienced outdoor lovers, the young, the old, families, singles: it doesn’t matter. Everyone can hike. But, while anyone can hit the trails, not every trail is for everyone. Learning to find the best hiking trails for your needs will make hiking more enjoyable and safe.

Start with a Plan

The right hike depends on the right plan. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

·      Skill Level- There are hiking trails for every skill level. You’ll find fully paved and clearly marked trails, smooth dirt paths and (for the experienced hiker) rugged trails with water crossings and rocks to climb. Start small and build up. While a difficult trail can be exhilarating to someone with experience, it is miserable and potentially dangerous if you aren’t ready for it.

·      Other Hikers in Your Group- If you’re hiking with others it is important to consider the abilities of every hiker in your group. It is generally best to choose a hike with the skills of the least experienced hiker in mind. This is especially important when hiking with children; no one wants to lug a tired toddler a couple miles back to the car.

·      Time- Aim to return to your vehicle well before sunset so you won’t be stuck in the dark should something unexpected happen. If you’re hiking a new trail, factor in the additional time needed for finding trail markers and dealing with unplanned obstacles.

Utilize Maps

A good hiking map is essential for a successful hike. Often several hikes start in the same location and may follow a similar route for a period of time. Without a map, staying on your course can be difficult and you may find yourself on a 10-mile expert hike when you meant to do a one mile loop. While many hiking areas will have a posted hiking map at their trailhead, I recommend planning ahead and taking a printed map or written directions along with you. Maps can also help you to find a new course if you need to shorten a hike midway.

Maps can be printed online, requested in advance from the Bureau of Land Management or State and National Parks Services or found at rangers’ stations and visitors’ centers.

Understand the Different Types of Hikes Available

To help you understand the terminology on your hiking map, here are some common hiking trail terms:

·      Loop- As the name implies a loop trail is a circle with the same start and end point. This type of trail can be great for beginners and families, especially if you choose a shorter trail. You know exactly how far you’ll need to hike and you won’t see the same scenery twice.

·      Out and Back- Out and back trails take you out to a certain point and back. Usually the distance listed is a there and back distance, but often you’ll hike the trail twice (once getting there and once coming back).

·      Point-to-Point- Point-to-point trails can be a lot of fun, but you generally need someone to drop you off and pick you up if you’re going to tackle one of these trails. You’ll hike from your starting point to an entirely different end point, potentially miles away. Some areas offer bus services that can help you make your way back after a hike, but always check before you head out to make sure the service is running and to confirm times.

·      Day Trails- If you want a short hike (one that can be completed in a day) you’ll want a day trail. These trails are shorter and can be completed anywhere from an hour to an afternoon. You’ll need to bring water and snacks, but you can leave your camping gear at home.

·      Long Distance (or backpacking) Trails- If you are planning on hiking a great distance, a backpacking trail might be just what you’re looking for. These trails allow camping along the way so you can hike, sleep and hike some more. Generally the camping is primitive camping, so you’ll bring everything you need including a tent, water (or a filtration device) and food.

Today is a great day for a hike. So put on your hiking boots, grab your map and hit the trail.

How to Prospect: Gold Panning Edition February 28 2013

Prospecting is the perfect combination of hiking, the outdoors and a treasure hunt. Once you find that first gold nugget (or even that first gold flake) you’ll be hooked. But, while prospecting is a lot of fun, it isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Don’t plan on heading down to the river and scooping out piles of gold on your first trip. Learning how to prospect can take time and a little patience. An easy (and inexpensive) way to start prospecting for gold is to try your hand at gold panning.

If you’re ready to let gold fever strike, we’re ready to help. This beginner’s guide will walk you through the basics of gold panning from picking your supplies to finding your first piece of gold.

Gathering Your Supplies

You don’t need much to start panning for gold. In fact if you’re going for the bare minimum you can get by with just a gold pan (choose a green one) and your bare hands. However, to make things easier I recommend taking along a pair of tweezers (for picking up small flakes of gold), a small glass capped vial (to store any finds), a shovel, and a T-REIGN ProCase or gear tether to secure your expensive electronics from loss or damage.

Finding a Location

One of the most difficult parts of learning how to prospect is finding places where you can legally do so. Every state has different mining and prospecting laws, so you’ll need to do some research in advance. California has a few areas set aside for recreational gold panners as do many other states including Alaska (pdf), Montana, Colorado. Your local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office is a good place to start your search.


The actual gold panning process is pretty simple, but it can get wet and messy. Make sure your smartphone is safely stowed in your T-REIGN ProCase before you get started and any other expensive items like a GPS or camera is tethered to you.

Scoop up some dirt and gravel from the riverbed. Remove any big stones and then hold your pan in the water and slowly shake from side to side. This moves the heavy gold particles to the bottom. Occasionally tilt your pan slightly away from you and gently pull inward washing away excess sand and gravel. Repeat the shaking and rinsing process several times until the bottom of your pan contains only black sand (and hopefully some gold).

The black sand is called pay dirt and if you find it, you’re panning correctly. Easy identification of pay dirt is the reasoning behind the green pan. Once you hit pay dirt, look carefully for any pieces of gold. If you’re lucky enough to find some, pull it out and store it in a small water-filled vial.

There are many ways to prospect; keep coming back and we’ll teach you about some of the other methods too, but panning is one of the best ways to start learning how to find gold. So grab your gold pan and your T-REIGN retractable outdoor products and get started. You might just find a nugget, but even if you don’t you’ll still have a lot of fun.