Tips for Traveling with a Dog

In this post, I give some simple tips for making traveling with your four-legged family member a breeze!


What’s better than going on vacation with the family?  Going on vacation with the four-legged members of your family, of course!  Read on for the Tranquil Trekker’s tips to make traveling with a dog a relaxing and enjoyable experience!

Frequent Stops when Traveling with a Dog

We find it’s best to stop every couple of hours–and to be clear this means a stop where Doggo can get out and walk around some whenever possible (rest stops are preferable to gas stations, and parks or short hikes are most preferable of all!)  This isn’t as easy if you’re traveling through more urban environments.  But any time you can stop where there is at least a little grass where the pup can get out and run helps (it’s good for us to get out and stretch our legs too!)

Don’t forget the pups need stops to potty and for snacks and water too, just like us!

Dog running mid-stride in the grass, tennis ball and rope in mouth, earth flopping.
Puppers encourages you to search for green spaces to play!

We especially enjoy stopping at parks or other green areas to get all of us some exercise.  This also helps you experience the areas you are visiting (or just driving through) better.  This is a great part of road tripping, getting to actually experience the country rather than just flying over it on the way to your final destination.

We’ve had lots of fun stopping at little parks in small towns.  Sometimes they have memorials that help you learn about the local area, occasionally they may even have a small museum on-site.  We also strive to find waterfalls/dams/historical sites to hike out to whenever possible.  Many times this may be a simple walk of less than a mile to see a cool place.

Related post: Rest Areas: A Road Trip Necessity

It’s not only good exercise and relaxation for us, we always need to remember a good puppy is a tired puppy, and exercise is a great way to tucker our furry friends out (this is especially important if they tend to sleep in the car.  You don’t want to get some place and be tired and all your four-legged friend wants to do is run and play because they’ve been sleeping in the car the last several hours.).

When You Travel Pack Treats and Toys for the Dog

Bring chew toys or something the pup can play with on their own (in the back seat, their crate, the hatch, etc.)  Also, bring multiple toys to keep them entertained (a stick to chew on, a ball to chase, a rope.) Bring extra toys in case you lose one in a creek 😮 or you meet a friend who needs one!

Dog asleep on floor of room, tennis ball sits in open mouth.
Puppers recommends you bring SEVERAL balls on the trip!

Have an in-car bag with treats, water, toys for rest stops, poop bags, and an easy-to-pack bowl.  Don’t forget food too, if it’s going to be a long travel day.

Pack Luggage for the Dog When You Travel

Pack luggage for your friend, as well.  This keeps their food, treats, bedding, harnesses, water, jackets, toys, etc. all in one place that is easy to pack and easy to find.

Dog sitting in back seat of vehicle, suspicious look on face.
I’ve been locked in this back seat a long time Human, don’t you think it’s about time for a break?!

Practice PATIENCE when Traveling with a Dog

Have patience!!!  Remember your four-legged friend gets bored, antsy, hungry, cranky, carsick, needs to pee, etc, just like we do!  This can especially be true for younger dogs. (Our former dog got horribly car sick until she was around five years old.  The vet couldn’t even believe it.  He kept asking, “she’s STILL getting sick?!”)

Give Fido His Space in the Car!

Make sure your friend has their own space in the vehicle.  This could be a chunk of the back seat or hatch or their own crate in the back of the car.  It should be big enough that they can lie down.  Treat your furry friend as a passenger that you have to make room for.  Don’t pack the car to the gills and then expect the dog to just “fit” into a spot.  They are part of the family right?  We need to treat them as such in the car. 😀

Dog laying in back seat of vehicle, strapped in by seatbelt.
Puppers says, “I need my space!”

We enjoy traveling with Puppers!  Use these tips the next time you travel with a dog to help make your trip as memorable and free from difficulty as possible!  Now get out there and enjoy an adventure with both human and canine members of the family!

Dog looks out at mountain vista from a viewpoint

Do you travel with your dog?  Have you learned any additional tips or tricks?  Tell me about them in the comments!

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Want to travel with your dog without feeling like you need to rip your hair out? Read on for tips on how to do just that!


Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

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Hike the Hell Canyon Trail in the Black Hills

In this post, I review the Hell Canyon trail located near Custer, South Dakota

The Hell Canyon Trail is found in a very scenic portion of the southern Black Hills.  It was once quite forested until it was decimated by the Jasper Fire in 2000 which was one of the worst fires on record, in the Black Hills.  You can still see remnants of this damage (though they have begun reseeding this area, so hopefully it will be returned to the forest in a few years).

Funnily enough, the canyon was named BEFORE it was ravaged by the fire.  The ruins of that event do make it look a bit like a hellscape though! 😮

Rear view of a woman and dog traversing a dirt, hiking trail through yellow-grass and brown dirt-covered canyon walls with grey, rock walls rising above.
Puppers and I enjoying the trail along one of the canyon walls that was left bare as a result of the Jasper Fire.

Where is the Hell Canyon Trailhead?

The Hell Canyon trailhead is located in far southwestern South Dakota pretty much in the middle of nowhere. 😉   It is situated 25 miles east of Newcastle, Wyoming, or a little more than 10 miles east of the Wyoming state line.  It is also less than 15 miles west of Custer, South Dakota, basically a mile west of Jewell Cave, on US 16, on the north side of the road.

A word of caution:  if you just put “Hell Canyon” into your GPS it may try to take you to a remote spot south of the highway.  This area is beautiful, but these roads can turn into 4WD roads VERY quickly and easily, especially in snowy or muddy conditions. 

You can certainly enjoy driving in this area but do so with caution and at your own risk.  The actual Hell Canyon trailhead can be reached by any vehicle as it is just off of US 16.  No 4WD required!

A view from above down a yellow-grass hill. At the bottom of the hill, a paved road snakes through pine-covered hills with a dirt lane breaking off of it. A dead tree is prominent in the foreground on top of the hill.
The paved road at the bottom of the canyon is US 16, you can see how easily accessible the lane to the trailhead is (the dirt road).

What is the Hell Canyon trail like?

Hell Canyon is a loop trail that is about 5.5 miles long and really only covers a small portion of land.  The right side, or eastern branch, of the trail traverses the floor of the actual canyon while the left side, or western branch, is found on the canyon rim.  In many places, you can see the lower portion of the trail from the upper portion.

You can really take the loop in either direction.  During the warmer months, the Trekkers prefer to go counterclockwise, starting with the climb to the top of the canyon wall.  This gets the only moderately-difficult portion of the trail out of the way early.  This area also has little to no shade, due to the Jasper Fire, so depending on what time you set out, it may be best to try to do this section during the coolest portion of your hike.

View from below: dry, yellow-grass in the foreground leads to tan, rock and pine spotted canyon walls.
A cool pic of the canyon wall!

The exception to this is if you’re attempting the hike during the colder months and you WANT the sun.  Also, the portion at the back of the canyon that descends the forested part of the canyon wall can become INCREDIBLY icy during the cooler times of the year.  We made the mistake of descending this way once and had to pretty much do the entire thing by crab-crawling and sliding on our backsides to keep from careening over the cliff edge (and this was WITH YakTrax traction devices on! 😮 )

What Will You See on the Hell Canyon Trail?

You will see a variety of ecosystems on the hike.  The canyon floor itself is forested and quite green and lush, with a creek running through it.  The upper canyon rim consists of dry, arid grassland.  This is the portion that was hit by the fire.

A trailside sign reads, "After the Burn, Blooming Through the Black". It also contains other pictures and information about the fire and safety warnings.
A placard at the trailhead that gives info on the fire

On the backside of the canyon (the north end), at around the halfway point through the loop, you will see the ruins of an old CCC camp.  There is also evidence of an old, paved road in this area, as well as some root cellars and small, cement foundations leftover from the camp days.

There are a few places along the canyon rim that can feel a little sketchy to people who are afraid of heights.  As long as you are careful there isn’t a lot of danger on this portion of the trail, but it can be disorienting as you’re basically just staring down a scree slope.

Dirt, walking path traverses the side of a steep, grassy hill. Red, rock walls rise on one side with pine trees on the other.
This is one of my favorite parts of the hike. The red rocks of the canyon rim make a VERY pretty contrast to the dark green trees that sit just below it.

If you’re looking for a fun, moderately challenging hike that isn’t very busy, check out the Hell Canyon trail!

Have you hiked at Hell Canyon? Tell me what you thought of the trail in the comments! 


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Dirt, walking path traverses the side of a steep, grassy hill. Red, rock walls rise on one side with pine trees on the other. Pin reads, "Hell Canyon Trail--Black Hills"


Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

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Camping in the Bighorns

We try to camp in the Bighorns, in northeastern Wyoming, at least once a year!


The Trekkers have a tradition of camping in the Bighorns each Labor Day Weekend!  Puppers has been a trooper on our camping trips.  She enjoys riding in the truck (she doesn’t even mind the BUMPY, jarring journeys we’ve taken her down a few 4×4 roads…too much! 😉)  She can keep up with us on the hiking trails and she even handles the tents like a champ (though she needs a little assistance getting in and out of the rooftop tent).

You do have to wonder about people who drive 3+ hours to the wilderness, where they proceed to pee in a bucket and not shower for three days…and call that fun! 🤔😉😎

A rooftop tent is open on top of a trailer, a separate small tent and truck are behind. All in a woodland scene.
One of our camp setups

We finally caved and bought a privacy shelter for this trip, and we were SO glad we did.  It made life SO MUCH easier.  In the past we’ve used the vestibule that came with the rooftop tent, this worked ok, but even I couldn’t stand up straight in it (not to mention Mr. Trekker’s 6’4 frame).  This could be because we have the tent on the trailer rather than on top of the truck, the vestibule likely works better in that situation.  But the shelter worked great for changing, for a bathroom along with our Luggable Loo†, and for a shower using the solar shower.  It was so cool to look up at night and see the Milky Way shining over you while you were changing or “taking care of business”. 😇

The Bighorn Mountains

I know I’ve said this before, and I hate to sound like a broken record, 😇 but I LOVE the Bighorns.  I always forget we aren’t in the depths of the Colorado High Country when we visit there.  I love their stony summits, some still sporting spots of white leftovers from last winter’s snowpack, just above the treeline far below.

I always think of them as their own tiny island of mountains that rises out of the high prairie of northeastern Wyoming, but according to Wikipedia, they’re actually a spur of the Rockies separated from the main mountain chain by the Bighorn Basin.

A creek runs through a wetland area with trees and stony mountains towering in the background.Though this area is just as beautiful as the Rockies, it is FAR less crowded, which makes it so much more pleasant to visit. 😋  There are no lines of people hiking in the Bighorns like we’ve experienced in various places around Colorado.  Also, oftentimes, the lower-elevation plains may be baking in 90-degree weather, while it’s in the 60s-70s, and breezy, in the mountains!

It doesn’t hurt that, depending on which area you are heading to, the Bighorns are a shorter, 3 – 4-hour drive from the Black Hills, rather than the 6 – 8+ hours required to reach the mountains in Colorado ( and that’s just the Front Range, in the east-central portion of the state).  You will still have to drive through rural Wyoming whether you’re going to Colorado or the Bighorns.  However, to reach the mountains in Wyoming, you drive on I-90 the whole way.  It’s a little easier if weather is bad, and you don’t have as much trouble with the Wyoming drivers who like to pass on two-lane roads leaving little room for oncoming cars…(ahem!🤬🤯) ( Of course, all that being said, no one should visit here, ever, it’s just a terrible place to be. 😮😇🙃)

The Bighorns aren’t to be trifled with though.  These mountains are rugged, with little accommodations by way of gas, food, and supplies.  Small towns, such as Buffalo, Ten Sleep, Greybull, and Sheridan dot the area.  But these are few and far between (not to mention pretty tiny, by the standards of “normal” people who aren’t used to the small settlements that are common in the West). 😉  This is a national forest area, not a national park, so even camping accommodations are rustic, rarely offering more than potable water and a pit toilet (and those are the fancy ones)! 😮  So, if you’re looking to visit this area, be prepared to be self-sufficient.  The views will make it worth the trial, though!

The night sky in the Bighorns

There isn’t a lot of light pollution in the Bighorns, so on clear nights, you are treated to an INCREDIBLE light show!  Once the sun sets, the stars and planets come out in abundance.  My whole life, I’ve never seen a night sky that is comparable to what you find in the crisp coolness of the high mountains.  The sky actually looks like it has the measles, as there is almost a rash of stars that covers it.  The cloudy ribbon of the Milky Way is often clearly visible as it stretches across the expanse of darkness.  You can almost sense it glowing from within.  It is truly an incredible sight.

Silent Night in the high mountains

An instrument shows an altitude reading of 7500 feetOur campsite was at about 7500 feet on this visit (oftentimes we stay much higher, closer to 9000-10,000 feet).  We’ve noticed something odd at these high altitudes that we have also experienced in Colorado’s High Country.  There is a distinct lack of “night sounds”.  You don’t hear the chirping of crickets or croaking of frogs in that thinner air, even on warmer nights, and I don’t know why.  Nights tend to be pretty cool in those places, so it may be due to this, or just that there is a very short season where the night air would even be warm enough for the creatures to survive.  But whatever the reason, when we’re up so high I do miss the “chirping” sounds of a summer night.

Dispersed camping in the Bighorn National Forest

Morning on a meadow ringed by trees. The sun is just coming up and is shinning on the mountains in the background.Sometimes when we head out we Disperse Camp.  This is also known as “dry camping”, where you just set up your camp somewhere in the national forest, outside of an established campground.  We tried this for the first time in Colorado, at both State Forest State Park and near Crested Butte.  On both occasions, we did stay at an actual, numbered campsite, it was just away from any campground and we weren’t able to see our neighbors.

On this trip, there were no numbered sites, but they did request that you stay at an already established campsite (designated by fire rings).  I have never experienced such a busy weekend in the Bighorns!  We stayed near Circle Park (there are a lot of “parks” in this region, they are basically just large, meadowy areas amongst the forests).  It was a lovely site with views of the surrounding mountains, but we could see three other campsites from ours (one had a large group in it).  We could hear even more campers, just on the other side of the copse of trees we were camped near.  Next time, we’ll have to try going even farther out if we hope to have more privacy! 😉

Moose in the Bighorns!

Morning in the meadow. A bull moose can be seen at a distance in the grass. The background is forest with the red, morning sun shining on the mountains in the far background.
Ladies and gentlemen, Martin the Moose!

I wasn’t sure if we’d see any moose on this trip since we were sticking mainly to the southern portion of the Bighorns and I wasn’t aware of any waterways running near our campsite (which moose favor).  We lucked out though.  It only happened one time, but at about 6:30 one morning, as the Pup and I were enjoying her “morning constitutional”, I spotted Martin the Bull Moose sauntering through the “park”, down the hill from our campsite!  SUCCESS!!!  Puppers wasn’t sure what to make of that LARGE, funny-looking thing!

Hiking Trails

Circle Park Trail:
A small lake, surrounded by forest
Sherd Lake

We did this same trail on our first trip to the Bighorns, several years ago, in October.  It’s a nice hike, fairly wide and graded, and not terribly steep (though it is quite rocky in several places).  We walked to Sherd Lake, which is absolutely GORGEOUS!  There are views of several nearby mountains, such as Bighorn and Darton Peaks, from here.  This trail is around four miles total, so it’s perfect for a day hike (especially with a not-quite-full-stamina, juvenile, canine friend). 🐶

The trail continues on to several other lakes from there.  It also connects with an 8-mile loop that snakes around the nearby mountain peaks, if you’re looking for a lengthy hike (or a good backpacking trip). 

Maybelle Lake Trail (off Forest Road 430):

A grassy meadow with large rocks sprinkled about, bordered by forestThis hike was deceptively tough.  It’s only about three miles in total length, but it’s overgrown in many spots, very rocky and there are lots of downed trees.  We actually lost the trail several times and had to root around to locate it again.  Other parts of it are PERFECT though.  They feature a flat, graded path through a moist, pine forest, that is surrounded on both sides by a green carpet of ferns, moss, and soft undergrowth.  It almost felt like hiking in the cool rainforests of the Pacific Northwest.  It was such an idyllic sight!

The other difficulty is in reaching this trail.  You have to drive about 45 minutes (one way) on a rugged, 4×4 road to get to the trailhead.  We had done this route several years ago, so we knew what to expect, but this would NOT be appropriate for a normal car, or even just a high clearance vehicle.  If you don’t have a 4×4, with gear intended for off-road purposes, you should NOT attempt this road. (As an example, after trying this route a few years ago, we decided skid plates would be an important addition to the truck.)  After completing the road on this adventure, there is some paint hanging from the skid plates in a few spots (we sure were glad they were there!) 😋

Small lake with rocky, tree-covered mountain peaks in the background
Maybelle Lake

Tensleep Canyon

I’ve mentioned this canyon before, but this is one of the most beautiful places in the Bighorns.  If you are anywhere near this national forest and you have the chance to drive the canyon, you absolutely MUST put it on your list.  It is NOT to be missed.  This is one of our favorite areas in this national forest, and we try to enjoy it whenever we’re nearby.

The canyon is surrounded by arid, rocky cliffs on both sides, and is located on the southwest side of the Bighorn mountains.  One great thing about it is that EVERYONE can experience it.  US 16 is the main road that runs through the middle of the canyon.  It’s an easy-to-drive, paved byway.

For the best views, I would travel down the canyon, from east to west, on Route 435.  This is actually a dirt road that runs parallel to US 16 on the canyon’s southern side.  It’s a very well-graded route though, so as long as you don’t mind your car getting a little dusty, any 2WD vehicle can handle it in good weather (beware, the road may be impassable during snowy or muddy conditions. The road is also closed to vehicles November – June).

It’s a two-way road, but it’s fairly narrow, so take your time and be cautious.  There is room to pass a vehicle coming the other way but both drivers need to be aware as the lane gets tight.

Related posts:  Lake Helen, Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming; 4 Don’t Miss Sites in the Bighorn Mountains of WyomingWest Tensleep Trail, Bighorn Mountains, WyomingBighorn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming

This route provides better views down the length of the canyon into the dry expanse of Bighorn Basin, that opens up between the western slopes of the Bighorns and the eastern slopes of the Absarokas (near Yellowstone National Park).  While the Bighorns provide cooler conditions, even on the hottest days of the summer, the Basin sits on a high prairie that lies in the rain shadow of the larger mountains, to the west, and bakes under the heat waves of the summer sun.

On your return trip up the canyon, take the paved, US 16 for incredible views of the dun-colored rock and sparse, short, green trees and bushes that comprise the canyon walls.  They stand out in contrast to the deep blue of the sky above.  These views are SO beautiful!

You aren’t very likely to see moose in this area, it’s too dry and hot for the vittles they enjoy dining on.  The northern side of the Bighorns, near routes like US 14 and 14A, are prime spots for spotting these ungulates.

For the best light, it’s best to drive up the canyon, west to east, in the afternoon when the sun is at your back!  Here is a link to a video I made of our drive up the canyon.

We were glad to enjoy another successful, Labor Day, camping trip to the Bighorns.  We really enjoy returning to this area year after year.  There are so many things to see here, it can’t all be done in one weekend!

Have you hiked to Sherd or Maybelle Lakes?  What did you think of the trails?  Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

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Small lake with rocky, tree-covered mountain peaks in the background. Pin reads, "Camping in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming!"


Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

You can also follow the blog on social media by clicking the links below!






†As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Wired to Eat (A Book Review)

I review a book that will factor into one of the Trekkers’ goals for 2019, eating fewer carbs.

This “gear review” is a bit different…  

Thinking of jumping on the Keto or Paleo bandwagons?

Mr. Trekker and I decided to try out a low-carb diet recently!  I know these fad diets can be controversial, so let me just say upfront, I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or even a scientist (does being married to one count?)  I don’t play any of these on tv and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. 😉 

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, however, I am a big fan of natural and behavior-based methods to mitigate (or help prevent) health problems, when possible.  So, I’m interested in a diet that doesn’t require any special pills, food, or shakes and isn’t difficult (though it does require some self-control).  Below is a listing of posts I wrote regarding how I felt throughout this experiment (was I hungry?  Did my energy levels stay high?  Did I feel good?  Did I notice changes–good or bad–to things like my cholesterol levels?  Did I lose weight?)  This won’t interest everyone, and that’s fine.  I’m a curious person and this is something I found intriguing, so I wanted to try it and see what results I noticed if any.  It’s always fun to use your body as a bit of a guinea pig for science, right? 😉  To be clear though, I’m not trying to imply this diet is healthier than other options out there or that it is best for every person.    

“Wired to Eat”

I went more in-depth on the Trekkers’ personal experiences–successes and failures–in the other posts listed below.  For now, if you’re interested in the subject, a book I would suggest is Wired to Eat.†  Mr. Trekker learned of it via a podcast, so we both read it and found it useful.  It’s actually a sequel to another on the Paleo diet (which we haven’t read).  There are numerous books available regarding these lifestyle choices, but I found this one to be well-written and easy to understand.  It outlines the ideas simply and keeps them interesting to the lay reader.  I especially like that it describes ways to tweak the diet for each individual person based on their own body chemistry, and it encourages you to listen to your body regarding what foods are right for your individual makeup.    

Modern diets contain too much glucose

The basic idea behind the Paleo and Keto diets revolves around glucose, namely, that we aren’t evolutionarily designed to process as much of the chemical as the typical western diet provides.  The resulting effect is inflammation throughout the body; glucose sensitivity leading to diabetes; and a whole host of auto-immune issues, including diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease to cancer. The goal of the Paleo and Keto diets is to get back to eating the way our Paleolithic ancestors did (a diet with little gluten as agriculture hadn’t been invented yet) so our food intake matches what evolution has prepared us for, bringing everything back into balance.  We do this by retraining our body to burn fat and protein rather than carbohydrates (sugar/glucose) as fuel.  

As I mentioned previously, I am aware the factuality of these claims is up for debate, but one thing I do like about these nutritional theories is that they encourage clean eating.  I don’t think anyone can argue with the concept that a diet composed mostly of fruits and vegetables, with –preferably, lean–protein thrown in, that discourages unhealthy fats, sugars, and preservatives, is a bad idea for anyone.  I also like the idea of personalized nutrition instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.  The book outlines a process for determining which carbs are beneficial for each individual person.  It also, briefly, discusses fasting–something I dabbled with minimally–and offers recipes that are friendly to the two, specialized diets.     

So if you’re interested, click the link above and check out the book.  Check out the posts listed below to see how the Trekkers’ attempt at a low-carb life went!

Related posts:  Low-carb Lent; Yummy Low Carb Foods; Yummy Keto-friendly recipes!Final Thoughts on Low-Carb LentA Sustainable Low-carb LifestyleMy Lenten Fast

Have you read this book?  What did you think?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Did you enjoy this post?  Pin it!


†As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

You can also follow the blog on social media by clicking the links below!





Car Altimeter and Sun Shower Review

I review one of my favorite gear items (a car altimeter), as well as a piece of gear no long-term camping trip should be without (a sun shower!)

The car altimeter and sun shower are two items the Trekkers use fairly regularly when car camping/traveling.  Neither are must-have’s, per se, but they make the trip more comfortable and more fun!

What is a Sun Shower?

A sun shower is simply a reusable, robust, vinyl bag and tube, with a spout and black backing, that you fill with water and leave out in the sun–it looks like a giant water bladder.  When you return to camp after a day on the trail, you have warm water and a spigot you can wash with.  The device is gravity-powered, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when you’re picking a spot to hang it.  

There are various brands and versions of this apparatus, this specific one holds four gallons of water.  We’ve found this system works well even to just rinse off, or to have hanging around camp to use to help keeps hands and feet clean. (We have found this setup also works well to make sure your fire is out at the end of the evening as you can direct the water more easily than using a bucket).

What is a car altimeter?

The car altimeter indicates the elevation you’re currently residing at.  This may not be a necessary piece of gear for the average hiker, but it’s fun on a road trip to see just how high (or low) of an altitude you’ve achieved.  It’s also one of my favorite gear items, even though it isn’t, usually, essential to regular hikers (those venturing to the truly high altitudes–10,000+ feet–may find it more useful.)

The device responds to changes in barometric pressure caused by weather, as well, so you may have to recalibrate it a little, each day, to maintain the most accurate readings.  

Other versions of this instrument are digital, but I like the classic feel of the dial.  For amateur interest, this is a fun, portable, way to keep track of changes in elevation.  It also mounts to the vehicle using velcro, so it can be easily removed and taken on a hike if you’re so inclined. 

Below is a close-up picture of the altimeter:


So, if you’re wanting to maintain a higher level of hygiene on your next camping trip, or you want to know exactly why you’re breathing a little harder on the mountain top you’re currently standing on 😳, check into these devices!

Have you used either of these products?  What were your experiences?  Tell me about them in the comments!

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I review one of my favorite gear items, a car altimeter, as well as a a sun shower (something no camping trip should be without!)


Like what you read here today?  Please feel free to leave a comment, like or share this post!  Add your email at the bottom of the page, or the sidebar to the right, to be notified when a new post is published.  By signing up for the email list, you will also receive a free copy of the Tranquil Trekker’s Top 10 Tips of Trekking Do’s and Don’ts!

You can also follow the blog on social media by clicking the links below!





†As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Yaktrax Review

I review Yaktrax, a must-have, gear item for the slippery, winter months.

When the weather turns cold and the ground icy, there is one item the Trekkers can’t live without, Yaktrax!  These gadgets are a GODSEND for anyone who spends a lot of time walking outside in the winter months.  We use them for hiking (obviously), but also for things like walking the dog, clearing snow, etc.  They are especially effective for people who live in neighborhoods like ours where there is, literally, no flat ground ANYWHERE.  

Imagine this situation…the dog–with her 4-paw-drive–takes off down the hill dragging you with her.  You can:

A) hang on for dear life, running through the snow-covered grass to maintain a semblance of traction or skid behind her on the slippery pavement…


B) walk easily behind her, completely in control (even if she’s slipping along), thanks to the Yaktrax–I speak from personal experience. 😇

There are several variations of these nifty devices, as well as a few different versions of the traction implement on the gear.  I strongly recommend the ones with velcro straps that attach over the top of the foot (they aid greatly in holding the device to the shoe). 

If you want to use these with hiking boots, I would suggest you lean toward a larger size–so, if you wear size 10 shoes, I recommend the Yaktrax that are intended for sizes 10.5 – 12.5, NOT the ones that can only accommodate up to size 10.  My personal experience was, the size recommended fits shoes just fine, but is almost too small for boots (they fit but they’re difficult to put on and take off and they tear/wear out sooner).  

Some of the product options feature chains, some studs, some springs, some spikes (depending on the severity of the conditions you intend to encounter).  We’ve always used the “spring” version with great success (on extremely smooth/slippery ice, you may want something a little more hardcore).  Prices range from under $20 to close to $200 (again, based on the intensity of the spike you are interested in).   

Options for YakTrax!

Trekker Favorites

Best for shoes

Diamond Grip

Cleats for Running


Heavy Duty

A word of caution, be careful walking on these for long periods of time over hard dirt/rocks as they can become damaged.  We regularly carry them with us and then apply/remove them as conditions require (fortunately they’re small and fold up well, so this is easy to do).  I would also caution against walking on them indoors (especially on hardwood floors or carpet) as they could tear/scratch that material (this risk will rise with the intensity of the traction material chosen).  As long as they aren’t too tight, they slip on and off quite easily.  I would also recommend caution when using them in muddy conditions (though sometimes this can’t be avoided).  They can be a HUGE pain to clean if the mud dries on them (though if you can wash it off using water or rub it off with snow before it hardens, the difficulty decreases exponentially).

I would also suggest choosing the traction option that covers the most surface area of the boot/shoe (which is why the Trekker’s chose the “Pro” version).  The exception to this would be, if you really feel that spikes are required for the activity you’re intending to use the gear for. 

There are multiple brands of this product, these are the ones we use and have had great success with.  My first pair eventually tore, after several years of use, due to being slightly too small for my boots causing them to over-stretch.  Mr. Trekker got the exact same brand/type, the same time I did, and his are still going strong (under very similar use).

Below is a “shoe-sole” view of the Yaktrax, this is what bites into the ice:


If you’re looking for a low-cost tool to help you remain upright during the slippery, winter months, I strongly recommend Yaktrax!

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Hoping to stay upright during those slippery, winter months? Check out Yaktrax, a must-have, gear item for the cold season!


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