What is living on benefits really like?



Americans might not have heard about people living on benefits, but such cases are more or less common in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, over the years, various TV channels have taken the opportunity to describe the cases of multiple individuals, but the fact of the matter is that the so-called ‘truth’ exposed by the media couldn’t be farther from reality.

In an attempt to grow their audience, many TV channels from the United Kingdom have showcased some circumstances where people receiving out-of-work benefits were even more privileged than those who are forced to take a traditional 9-to-5 job.

Of course, such cases are spectacular and have somehow managed to convince the public that it is only due to a failing benefits system that these people are allowed to avoid work altogether and worse yet, even be paid for it.

The hard truth? Living on benefits is definitely not a lifestyle choice

Most of those watching these TV shows or the producers themselves have somehow gotten it into their heads that living on benefits was a personal choice of those shown on TV. In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most people on benefits need a loan today, and that’s because it is virtually impossible for them to survive on as little as forty to fifty pounds per day.

What’s more, many of these individuals have a hard time coping with the situation from an intellectual standpoint. Many claim that they feel useless and that they constantly have the feeling that, just because they are walking down the street on a workday, passersby will know that they’re living on the social aid offered by the government.

While most of the TV audience for these shows have made the call to ignore the cases altogether, others have decided that they can’t keep quiet any longer. The critics say that living on benefits is a decision that anyone can take with ease. In actuality, more than half of those who receive any type of financial aid are job seekers just like any other random person down the street.

But who makes up the rest? Some are single parents who can’t cope with taking care of their children without providing them with the attention they require. Others are disabled individuals, who make up another important part of the percentage of people living on benefits. And finally, there are people whose pensions just aren’t enough to provide them with what they need.

As some of the resources we’ve come across have pointed out, the system is failing in one respect, and that is that it is incapable of removing the stigma around this type of living. Both the politicians and the media have somehow ended up in charge with the role of stigmatizing those on benefits.


It’s not only happening in the UK

In the spring of 2016, VICE published an article about a 31-year old Frenchman, Benjamin, who had decided to quit his job and start helping the people around him. The French have a unique benefits system of their own, although it might be slightly more intelligent compared to that available in the United Kingdom, which is to say that not anyone can receive financial compensation from the government.

Benjamin was a young individual who had worked long hours at a startup for approximately two and a half years before becoming a part-time worker. After standing up for an employee who was being ill-treated by the bosses, he made sure everyone at the office started to know that he hated his job and wanted to be fired.

And fired he was, after sending an email to a shareholder with all of his bosses on cc inviting him out for a meal to tell him his perspective on his job. The VICE article was written in April 2016 and Benjamin hadn’t had a job since 2014. Guess what? That wasn’t because he was looking or because people weren’t willing to hire him — but because he wasn’t.

The man claims that he now has time to pay attention to the people and things that truly matter in his life. Whenever he gets too attached to the idea of having money, he starts reassessing his personal needs.

People quit their jobs because of burnouts

For people who have never worked in the IT and online marketing environments, it might be more or less difficult to understand the concept of burnout. In fact, it might seem like a grave exaggeration, especially in the eyes of an individual who has to make a lot of effort to get through a day’s work.

However, the hard truth is that surviving in the corporate world is very difficult. The first time you apply to a job for a big company, the ad might appeal to you because of sayings like ‘office perks,’ ‘flexible schedule,’ ‘great pay,’ or whatever else recruiters might use to lure in the candidates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take more than two to three months for things to turn sour – overtime, not as many perks as you might have thought, and hardly any free time because you also have to work from home or on the weekends.

Of course, this isn’t the case of all corporate environments, as there are happy cases such as Google, which is a company that obviously cares about its employees.

The same VICE article we were referring to earlier mentioned the case of Vincent, aged 37, who was used to making 4,800 pounds per month as a project manager in information technology. In 2008, he left the company he was working for after attempting to kill himself. He had already suffered a burnout in 2003, but he received only three weeks of sick leave.

Cases where people working for various corporate companies either die from exhaustion or suffer burnouts are extremely common nowadays, and some have even died at the office. In October 2017, a Japanese woman died from overwork after logging 159 hours of overtime in a month.

The common signs of burnout range from severe exhaustion, cynicism, and emotionally draining work to a complete absence of positive emotions and dire thinking, also known as catastrophic thoughts. It’s very easy for other people to judge individuals who are caught in a vicious circle that entails overworking day in, day out, but the truth is that not many of us could do it without suffering a burnout ourselves.


Let’s talk figures. What is it like to live on benefits?

Whether they were laid off or they now receive benefits because they are single parents, most of the people in these situations find it difficult to manage their money and will often end up in debt. The cases where these individuals have to live on less than 100 pounds per week are extremely common, with many of them having to do the same for not just one, but two persons.

Most people living in the United Kingdom will know that it is often difficult to rent a room in a house or flat with a minimum of 300 to 400 pounds. If what you receive per month in benefits is about 600 pounds, that 100 pound-figure we were mentioning earlier on isn’t even real. You’ll have to live with approximately fifty pounds per week, which is virtually impossible as a daily trip to any supermarket might cost you at least ten to fifteen pounds, and that’s only if you stick to the basics for yourself — not for your family, too.  


Prejudice makes it worse

There have been cases where people have tried to get a job time and again using their local Job Centers. Unfortunately, upon being unsuccessful for several weeks, they started becoming depressed, and once they manifested their concerns to the counselors at the centers, they were looked down upon and were even removed their benefits.

The reason why this has happened to so many people is that many consultants don’t have the open-mindedness that’s necessary to manage such circumstances and they fail to manifest an empathy toward the person who is in dire straits.

A small study performed by Robert de Vries in Oxford has revealed that people are far more tempted to associate benefit claimants with words like ‘useless,’ ‘bad,’ or ‘dirty’ than they would with ‘wonderful’ or ‘clean,’ for example.

What’s the progress?

According to the Quarterly Benefits Summary published by GOV.UK in November 2017, things aren’t so bad as one might think. In fact, the jobseeker’s allowance number has decreased from 1 million in 2000 to 460 thousand in May of 2017. The same happened for those claiming income support, as there used to be about 2.5 million in 2000 and in the month of May 2017, there were only 600 thousand.

The areas where we’ve noticed an increase in numbers are Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance, as well as Employment and Support Allowance. Both the pensions benefits and the housing benefits figures have remained somewhat stationary.

So, as much as the media might like to hyperbolize the whole situation, it isn’t as tragic as one might be tempted to believe it is.


4 Effective Tips to Clean the Carvings in Wooden Furniture



I am sure that there might be many folks like me who just love the antique look that wooden furniture can bring to their homes. Are you one among them? Well, happy to hear that!

However, now, we can buy some of the most premium quality wooden furniture from the high-end online stores like made.com at an affordable rate.

So, the barrier of expensiveness would most likely not come into your way anymore to feel the grandeur of wooden furniture at your home!!

But, when you have such furniture in your home and that too the highly carved gorgeous ones then you face a major problem.

Let me guess it!!

Isn’t it the difficulty of cleaning the carves in them?


I, too, go through this problem almost daily!! Those things that look so stunning and ornate always need an extra attention to let them look as beautiful as they are.


You need to act a tad smarter and keep the following tips in your mind:


1) Remove the gunk smartly


If you have neglected the carved areas of the wooden furniture in your home for quite a while then dust might just get strongly settled over. So, all that you need to do is simply take every possible stride to clean up.

You can just fold a small business card or any kind of hard paper into a cone-shaped structure and push it into the narrow carved areas of your furniture. Moreover, you can even use a toothpick or a soft toothbrush to do so as those artifacts can be something perfect to remove debris from the complicated grooves and cervixes.



2) Go for homemade cleaners


Want to know about a magical homemade cleaner? You can just add one part of gum turpentine and three parts of linseed oil together to make this stuff. Then, you just have to shake this up, and finally, mix it with a shallow amount of hot water in a disposable container use. Trust me, this cleaner is going to work really well!



3) Dusting is must


If you will thoroughly dust your furniture in every a few week then it will definitely help you to keep them always clean. If you just brush over the whole wooden furniture with a feather duster or a soft cloth then it will remove the majority of the dust. When it comes to the carved areas then don’t forget to brush many times with such a duster.


4) Remove the scratches frequently


If somehow you get scratches in those carved areas then you can just rub it down with a crayon which is having one shade lighter brown color than wood. Then, you can just follow the same with another crayon which is having a kind of darker shade than the first one. Finally, just swipe up the excess crayon wax with a piece of cotton cloth.

So, what are you waiting for? If you have some premium quality wooden furniture at your home with some attractive but complex carvings within the same then just opt for these tips. Thus, I am sure that you would be able to keep your favorite furniture shining always!!




The Best Tips for using a Shortwave Radio



While using a shortwave radio doesn’t look like rocket science, it may not be as easy as you might have imagined it. Don’t be baffled by the amount of information you’ll find online. You can become a shortwave radio user in a timely fashion provided you use a set of tips and tricks.

To make matters easier, we’ve decided to give you a helping hand. That’s why we have put together a short list of the best pieces of advice we’ve found to be the most helpful when it comes to operating a shortwave radio as efficiently as possible.


shortwave radio



The right unit

If you already are the owner of a shortwave radio but find that you’re a bit disappointed by the features and quality it comes with, you might want to purchase a new one. Choosing from a plethora of models that now exist on the market can look like a daunting task, but you need to know that most radios can be split into three main categories.

There are analog shortwave radios, of which the price point is somewhere between thirty and seventy dollars. Then, there are SSB radios that are capable of getting both AM and single side band modes, whereas radios capable of receiving just AM. Digital tuners are the last type that can be bought nowadays, but they’re somewhat less affordable compared to the previously mentioned two kinds. They’re easier to manage as users may find it less difficult to find the right frequency.



Understand the shortwave bands

The simplest way to understand shortwave bands is to associate them with a particular frequency range. While some models display the frequency using megahertz, others do the same in kilohertz. If you’re feeling puzzled about what your unit does, just consult the instructions provided by the manufacturer to find out.

Some broadcasters and websites can announce their frequencies in megahertz or kilohertz, depending on their preferences. Just three decimal places make the difference between the two. For instance, a frequency of 15.5 MHz is the same as a frequency of 15500 kHz. If you’re trying to convert kHz into MHz, all you have to do is move the decimal place three digits to the left instead of to the right.

Why is frequency so important? Let’s say you’re talking to a friend and he or she forgets to say whether he or she is giving the frequency in MHz or kHz. As a general rule, it’s far easier to use megahertz than kilohertz, as they’re significantly easier to pronounce and won’t require you to jot down tens of zeros on end. However, if you’re an amateur who knows little to nothing in regards to the right way to give the frequency, it would be easier for you to use kilohertz. This way, switching to megahertz would be less complicated.



Can the reception be improved?

You can improve the reception by using an SWL antenna. The simplest way to get one is to look for it online, as you’ll find units you can buy and units you can make on your own if you’re into DIY. Unfortunately, most telescopic rod type antennas that come with the shortwave radios aren’t the best ones in the world, so improving the reception is something you’re likely to want to do.


Shortwave radio with antenna


How to find the shortwave bands and broadcasting schedules

If you’re willing to invest in a publication filled with the frequencies and schedules, you may want to consider the Passport to World Band Radio or the World Radio TV Handbook. These two come out every year and are filled with new and updated schedules.

Another way of finding the bands is by simply scanning them. Regardless of how efficient this method is, it does little to nothing when it comes to finding out about the schedules. If you don’t want to purchase an annual publication, just look for the schedules online, as there are several websites that offer them for free.

Various websites have even grouped the content according to what users are searching, and thus provide data regarding foreign station, specialized shortwave transmissions and the actual number of channels of which the purpose may or may not be espionage.



Get a QSL card

Receiving a QSL card can be done by sending feedback to the broadcaster. While most broadcasters will ask for specific feedback, the classic way would be to create an SWL Reception Report, based on the SINPO code. You’ll have to analyze the signal, the interference, the noise, the propagation and the overall quality of the broadcast you’re receiving.



The Best Tips for Buying a Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker



Bluetooth speakers have come a long way and today they are more popular than ever, with users looking for portability so they can hook up their mobile devices with highly reliable speakers everywhere they go. Here are some tips on how to purchase a great waterproof Bluetooth speaker for your needs.


Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker


Go for a reputable brand

Although there are plenty of Bluetooth speaker models on the market, not all of them offer the same quality for the same price. If quality is what is most important to you, for sure you need to go for a reputable brand, such as Logitech, Olixar or Jawbone, since they are the biggest players in the field. The good news is that they do not make only very expensive Bluetooth speakers and their low entry models still deliver a level of quality you can live with, unlike no-name units that may not be able to live up to the task.


Strike a balance between sound quality and portability

Ask any salesperson from the electronics department worth their salt about what size your Bluetooth speakers should have for great quality sound and they will tell you that bigger is better. This is a simple principle that relies on how sound is rendered within a close container: the larger the enclosure is, the louder the sound will be. However, with larger sizes, portability is slowly decreasing and you also need to shell out more money. Bluetooth speakers are built for portability and this is one of their main purposes, so you should not go for the largest model unless you only want to use it at home.

The good news is that the most important players on the market have introduced portable speakers with decent sound, so you will not lose on anything if you decide to go for one of those. Make sure that you take the time to compare different models to see which is able to deliver louder, clearer sound without sacrificing portability.


Purchase a model that uses reliable, rechargeable batteries

Although AAA batteries are not as common as they were in the past, and many Bluetooth speakers use rechargeable batteries, it is worth looking into the specs to see if the model you want to purchase works with the latter. The problem with AAA batteries is that they get drained really fast, and they represent an expense that will unnecessarily increase the cost of using your Bluetooth speakers. Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, will cost you only the electrical power you will use to recharge them which is far less than buying AAA batteries in bulk.

Do not forget that battery life is very important, too. The whole idea of getting Bluetooth speakers is to be able to use them on the go. As a rule of thumb, search for models with batteries that can last for 8 hours or more, so you can take your speakers with you on trips where you cannot reach a power source for recharging anytime you want. Here is a tip: look at the specs and subtract 1-2 hours, and you will have a clear idea about how long your battery will last.


Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker1


Waterproof speakers are the best for outdoor use

When you are looking at the specs, it serves to see if the model you want is waterproof or not. Many of the Bluetooth speakers out there are ruggedized, which means that they can handle some splashes and they can take some bumps along the way. However, take into account that these models are not waterproof, so you cannot rely on them in case plenty of water gets on them by accident. If you plan on taking your speakers out camping with you, search for an outdoor waterproof model that can really fit the bill.


Make sure a protective bag or case is included

For sure, you do not want to spend money on Bluetooth speakers that can get damaged any time or need a lot of protection and care from your part. Decent models come with their own protective case or bag for easy storage when they are not in use. An integrated handle or strap is also a convenient feature because it makes carrying the Bluetooth speaker around much easier. As these units are built for portability, it is only natural to seek more portability features in the model of your choosing. Some models even come with water resistant protective bags that allow you to hear the sound through it unhindered.


The Best Tips for Installing Ceiling Speakers



Ceiling speakers are a great idea for those who want to setup a really great looking audio system that will also sport high quality sound. Of course, the quality of the speakers purchased is very important in this regard, but how you choose to install them is equally important. Here are some tips on how to install ceiling speakers so you get the best sound with minimum effort and zero headaches.


Ceiling Speakers


Safety comes first

This is the first tip and it is the most important. Installing your speakers in the ceiling or walls needs to take certain things into consideration, such as, for instance, the fire codes in your building. You will need to make sure that you do not stumble upon any electric wires when you install the speakers.

Other safety information is related to how you choose to work when doing this operation. For instance, if you use a ladder, make sure that the ladder is very stable and it is placed in an area where it is comfortable for you to easily reach the area on the ceiling you are working on. Make sure to always have a hand on the ladder and do not carry heavy objects while climbing the ladder.

Make sure you turn off the electrical power while you are drilling holes for the ceiling speakers. Since there could be electrical wires in the wall, you should use an exploratory wire wrapped in electrical tape, so you can avoid any accidents.

In case you plan to install your ceiling speakers in an attic, keep in mind that these areas are poorly ventilated and you need a fan for circulating air. Stay hydrated and let a friend or a member of the family know where you are.


Plan ahead

It is no use to just start drilling and cutting drywall for installing your speakers without a bit of planning in advance. Decide where you want your ceiling speakers to be placed before making any purchase. Depending on what you want to do once your audio system is set in place, listen to music, watch movies, or play games, you may want to opt for a different placement for the speakers.


See if the desired locations work

It is very important that you do not start drilling in areas where electrical wires go through the walls and ceiling. So, a highly recommended advice is to drill a pilot hole and use a stud finder to see what you are dealing with behind the wall. Besides eliminating any possibility to puncture an electrical wire and cause an electroshock, you need to see if the speakers you want to install have enough room. Mounting dimensions should be listed inside the manufacturer’s manual, so pay attention to what is written there. If you are satisfied with the results, fix the templates provided for your speakers and use some tape to keep them in place, so you can get to work. Check to see if the templates are positioned properly, and you will be able to setup your ceiling speakers fast and easy.


Ceiling Speakers 1


Search for any pre-wired wires for speakers

There are homes where pre-wired wires for speakers may be in place. This means, of course, less work for you, so you should be interested in finding out whether or not your home has such features included. Check the documentation of your home and any pictures showing the wiring before installing the drywall. Hole saving brackets are also a solution in case they were used by the people who installed the drywall in your home.


Proceed with caution when cutting drywall

In order to install your ceiling speakers with ease, you will need to cut the drywall to the necessary dimensions. The templates mentioned earlier will give you the guidelines for cutting the drywall according to specifications. In case you want to install rectangular speakers, first drill two holes in two opposite corners. Round speakers require you to drill two holes opposed from one another. Professionals advise using a manual drywall saw and carefully proceed to cutting starting from one hole and going towards the next, abiding by the template.

Keep the saw at an inward slant, so that you do not have to patch your work a lot later on, or to minimize the amount of patchwork needed. Get rid of all the excessive material before you get the speaker inside. Repair and patch the drywall, so you do not have to work more later, with the speakers already in place.

The Best Tips for Cleaning Your Toilet Reliably



Keeping your toilet clean will ensure that your household stays healthy. A dirty toilet not only looks bad but also smells bad and can be a great breeding place for germs. Although cleaning the toilet is not one of life’s easiest tasks, it still has to be done to save the homeowner from headaches in the long run. There are hundreds of toilet cleaning reagents on the market, but doing the cleaning quickly and efficiently is ensured by following these instructions.


Cleaning toilet



First, remove items on countertops and ledges around the toilet

Before you work on the nitty gritty of toilet cleaning, you must first clear the top surfaces in the toilet of any items that can merely obstruct your progress while cleaning. This includes tissue boxes, photos, shampoo and fragrance bottles and other toiletries. Doing so will ensure that you can clean every nook and cranny in the toilet, allowing you to give the toilet a thorough cleaning. You won’t have to be bothered by too much obstruction to clean under and around. It will also keep the various items out of the way, uncontaminated by the strong cleaning chemicals you will be using and preventing accidental dropping into the bowl.



Wear clean gloves

The various toilet cleaning chemicals can be harsh or even harmful to human skin. You must put on clean gloves for protection. Be sure to have a pair of gloves for exclusive use in cleaning the toilet since the toilet can be a breeding ground for myriads of germs. With gloves, your hands stay as clean and dry as possible when cleaning the toilet. Be sure to keep the toilet cleaning gloves separate from other gloves you may have in the household that you use for other purposes. Buying them in a different color is sensible so you don’t mistake them for dishwashing gloves.



Wipe down every surface with a damp sponge

Give every surface in the toilet an initial once-over with hot water. While the rest of the toilet is being cleaned, the hot water will penetrate the surfaces to loosen up dirt and grime so cleaning will be easier. You can moisten a sponge with hot water then use the sponge to wipe around the tank, seat, base, lid and exterior surfaces of the bowl. This will often be enough to remove the dirt without having to use special cleaning reagents.


cleaning toilet with sponge



Start the cleaning process with the bowl

Apply bowl cleaner under the rim and allow the reagent to flow down to the bowl. Using a toilet brush, scrub the bowl, making sure to get everything hiding under the rim. Close the toilet bowl lid and allow the cleaner to soak the bowl, preferably between 10 to 15 minutes.

Open the toilet bowl lid and work on the rim of the bowl. This task may be the grossest you have to do but it can be accomplished with the right kind and quantity of disinfectant and some serious elbow grease. A good homemade soft scrub formulation requires some baking soda, liquid castile soap, tea tree oil and as an option, some sweet orange, lemon or lemongrass oil. You can also make your own toilet bowl cleaner using equal parts baking soda and white vinegar, and about 10 drops each of tea tree oil plus lavender essential oils. Scrub the bowl with your prepared mixture.

You can also use specially formulated commercial toilet cleaners to remove tough mineral deposits, stains and rings that form in the bowl.



Use a disinfectant cleaner to clean the rest of the toilet

While waiting for the bowl to soak, spray some disinfectant on the outside of the toilet, working your way from the top of the tank going down. Use the sponge and wash the surfaces out with hot water as you go. Use a spray bottle with bathroom disinfectant or all-purpose cleaner to mist the whole toilet. You should get the top and bottom of the seat, the whole exterior of the bowl as well as the base. Use some light pressure with a paper or cloth towel to work the cleaner in and wipe it off.


Ceaning toilet



Flush the toilet

To rinse the brush and the bowl, flush the toilet. As the water drains from the toilet, continue scrubbing the interior surface, as the motion of the flushed water may be insufficient to rinse all the dirt off.

You may have to reapply the toilet cleaner and allow the bowl to soak in it, scrub and flush until the stain has been removed.



Clean the handle thoroughly and spray disinfectant on the floor of the toilet

You touch the handle of the toilet every time you use it. You must clean it thoroughly to ensure germ-free use. Give it a heavy coating of disinfectant spray.

Clean the surrounding section of floor. Sweep up any loose debris or hair around and behind the toilet body. Use wet paper towels, cloth or disposable wipes to wipe the area clean




The Best Tips for Packing your Hunting Backpack



Packing your hunting backpack is a matter of trial and error. The more experience you gain, the more efficiently you’ll be able to gather the things you need. One of the first things to consider if you’re just starting out is that you’ll be spending a lot of time in the wild, all by yourself. Complete solitude has several advantages, as you’ll be able to sleep better, become more confident, and even develop an eye for the animals you intend to hunt.

If you are still having trouble figuring out just what you need to take on the road, we’re here to give you a helping hand. We have put together a short list of the things that a hunter is need of when backpack hunting. Just remember, nothing beats proper gear, so buy yourself some high-end equipment even if you feel like it’s totally ruining your budget. In the end, it might be worth it, as it’s considerably sturdier compared to cheap packs that break on your first outing.


Hunting backpack


The basics

The most important item to take along is your hunting license. You don’t want to get in trouble with the law just because you’ve forgotten it at home. Always double-check before going on the road, because licenses and tags just cannot be replaced. Next come a knife and a sharpener. It goes without saying that nothing is better than a good knife because you’ll be able to use it for a broad variety of activities in case you don’t have scissors or the likes.



Sleeping system

Any respectable sleeping system is composed of a sleeping bed, a sleeping pad, and a type of shelter. We’ve seen that bivouac sacks are amazing when it comes to keeping warm and dry. They’re extremely advantageous, as they are small and lightweight and can be carried around with little to no effort.

Tents are somewhat inconvenient, because they are far more difficult to set up. As long as we are addressing the subject of waterproofing, it might be a good idea for you to consider using a rain cover for the backpack. This item looks like a shower cap that you can use to protect the surface of the pack from rain and snow.

Whatever you do, just don’t take a pillow with you. If you have a comfortable enough jacket, you can use it as a pillow.

The sleeping bag is probably the most expensive thing you’ll have to invest in, but it definitely pays off, as you’ll be feeling refreshed in the morning and ready to hunt all over again.




The gear that you’ll need to pack can range from a good pair of binoculars to a digiscope camera. Most people prefer taking their spotting scopes and rangefinders with them. A GPS always comes in handy just in case you are beginning to feel unsure about the route you have to choose. A phone, an external charger, and even a very small-size emergency radio can do the trick when it comes to communicating with the rest of the world. Consider investing into a small waterproof sack for keeping your mobile devices safe.

Additional gear may include a saw, some rope, a marker and tape, a bear spray and some game bags.



Cooking and drinking

Since you are going to be spending some time in the wild, you already know better than to expect gourmet cuisine in the middle of the woods. If you like to cook, take a flash stove, the basic utensils you can find, and a small lighter. You’re probably going to run out of water at some point, so grab some water treatment iodine tablets so that you can drink from rivers and streams.

As for food, keep it simple. Some energy bars, bagels, jerky, trail mix, and pre-made bacon will do the trick.


Hunting backpack checklist



Survival and hygiene

Are you planning to go on a backpack hunting trip all alone? If so, you might want to take a first aid kit, as much Tylenol as you believe you require and a waterproof lighter. Provided you do not feel like taking a shower in a cold river, just pack some face wipes or regular baby wipes.




If there’s some room left and you don’t know what you can fill it up with, here’s some other items you might want to take into account: hand cleaner, latex gloves, high-quality paper towels, flagging tape and several ziplock bags. Trash bags come in handy for when your shelter breaks down and they can be used for storing meat.



The Best Tips for Sharpening Your Axe



If you have been wondering what the most efficient methods of sharpening an axe were, you’ve come to the right place. We enjoy giving out a hand to people who might be struggling with sharpening and maintaining their cutting instruments. As is the case with any other tool designed for cutting, proper use and maintenance are two core ways of keeping your axe in perfect shape.

Even though sharpening an axe might look like a daunting task, we think that it might be a good idea if you had a look at the following tips and tricks that we’ve gathered for your consideration. They speak to beginners and advanced users alike.


Sharpening axe


The basics

Before getting to work, you should assess the condition of the axe and its handle. Closely inspect the cutting edge and focus on the nicks. Then, decide whether you want to sharpen it for carving or shaving, for smoothing planks for a table, or for felling a tree. You may find different methods on the internet but take into account the fact that there isn’t a universal way of doing the sharpening for every task you might need your axe for.

For example, cutting requires a flat angle while for splitting firewood you will need an axe with a short and abrupt edge.

The simplest way of removing excess metal is by axe grinding. However, this isn’t the most recommended option for people who have little to no experience, as you’ll need to use the grinder very slowly to determine whether or not you still need to remove metal. Perform any quick movement and you might end up ruining the blade.



The easiest way to sharpen an axe

If you are looking for a hassle-free experience, you might consider using an emery tool or a fine-toothed flat file. The main idea to keep in mind is to stick to the original shape of the blade. With straight bevel faces, you will have to keep the entire bevel face on the wheel or file.

As previously mentioned, a grindstone can do the trick when it comes to repairing minor damage. Wear is something that occurs naturally in an axe, and sharpening against the rotation of a grindstone can be done efficiently and in a rather timely fashion. Perform slow and careful movements both back and forth, so that you even out the entire edge.

Once you’re satisfied with the level of sharpness, you can proceed to hone the edge. This task can be performed with a coarse and then a fine whetstone, which has been previously dipped in water or oil. If you are still looking for a keen edge once you’ve done all this, use a length of leather.


Axe sharpening



Sharpening with a file

This technique is different compared to the one we have described above. It won’t get you the sharpest edge, and therefore, it doesn’t speak to people who are looking to use the axe for shaving. Nevertheless, it’s a great alternative for people who don’t own a grindstone and the sharpness will do its job for all around use.

Start by removing the burrs and nicks with a rough file, once you have clamped your axe. Use a downward motion and remove the metal as evenly as possible, until you start to notice that the edge has started to reflect some light. Be careful when doing these movements, as you don’t want to risk performing a bad cut. Also, if you’re not the handiest person in the world, try using a pair of proper gloves.

Once you’ve reached the sharpening level you have been looking for, it’s time to use a fine file in order to finish the edge.  Use the same downward strokes we were mentioning above and keep the same angle all throughout the operation. To get the right finish, you are likely to require a medium stone.

This sharpening method is rather easy and offers good results for people looking to use their axe on a regular basis.



Don’t forget about safety

The process of sharpening an axe should occur slowly and carefully, regardless of the method you think is the most convenient. Always pay attention to what you are doing, particularly once you have partially managed to sharpen the blade. In the event you have to attend to some other activity, simply take a break and don’t trust your multi-tasking abilities. Once again, a pair of cut resistant carving gloves never hurt anyone, and it won’t hurt you.



The Best Tips for Using or Installing a Climbing Tree Stand



Hunters utilize a deer stand or tree stand secured to trees to provide them with an elevated vantage point for sighting their prey. This type of equipment is either open or enclosed, depending on preference. A similar device is a tripod stand that is technically not classified as a tree stand because it is not attached to a tree and instead has a freestanding design. Knowing how to install and use a tree stand could spell the difference between optimizing every hunting trip and ending up hospitalized or dead.


Climbing tree stand


Know the parts of the climbing or tree stand

The base piece is what the hunter climbs on to get on the seat, and also serves as the platform to hunt from, to look through the woods and to shoot from.

The top portion of the stand facilitates the climbing process, and from a safety standpoint, provides a place to sit on.

Some hunters prefer leaving the climbing or tree stand attached to the bottom of the tree, especially when they own the property they hunt in. Attachment is pretty straightforward and simple.

The tree stand comes with essential accessories such as the climbing harness, which is considered by many to be the most important piece of (separately bought) equipment that should accompany the tree stand. The climbing harness is used much like a parachute harness that you suit up with. It has a D- or O-ring that clips to another harness that goes around the tree to keep the hunter strapped to the tree. It has a strap that goes between the legs, ensuring the user is secured to the tree. There are other rings through which the straps go through. Pull up any loose straps tight under your legs.

Attach the bag holding your quivers to the stand. For safety’s sake, when bringing a bow and arrow or gun to hunt, leave the bow and gun on the ground and simply attach a rope them that you can use to pull the weapons up when you’ve climbed up the tree.


climbing tree stand safety


Get on the stand

Get on the platform section and into the center of the stand, which will move on you while you get in it. The tree stand works on a fulcrum mechanism. This functions by taking the hunter’s weight on the stand to brace onto the tree even more. At the base section are straps where the feet or hunting boots are put in. While the feet are attached to the straps, the hunter uses their legs to pull the base of the tree stand up.

A strap goes around the tree, and it has the same type of latching mechanism as the harness the hunter suits up with at the start. This strap is a little more substantial than the first to ensure holding capacity. Take the strap with the D-ring that is at the back of the climbing harness, pull it to the front and hook the D-ring through the loop on the second strap attached to the tree. Listen to a click to ensure it’s in, then twist the knob around to tighten. This attaches the hunter to the harness around the tree, keeping them safe from falling to the ground. Position the harness above the head or at head level.

Make sure everything is secure and…



…start climbing

While seated on the top portion of the stand, pull your feet up. Using a fulcrum mechanism, the bottom portion attaches to the tree a little higher. Stand up, pull the top portion to you, sit then pull the bottom portion up again. This brings you higher up. Move the climbing harness with the strap higher up. Remember not to move a lot while positioning the strap and harness to a higher position, to prevent potential falls.

Sit down again to take the weight off your legs, pull the bottom portion up with your legs and move the top portion to you again while standing. You will feel the clasp of the bottom of the tree stand bite into the tree, letting you know you’re connected to the tree. The fulcrum action occurs as you lean back. Worm your way up the tree this way till you get to the height you want to hunt at.

Should you encounter a tree limb such as a twig, break it off to move the strap up. If it’s a branch, see if you can work your way around it. If not, you can only go to the height of that branch. Tip: pick trees that are clean and that will allow you to climb to the level you want to be at.


climbing tree stand height



Free your feet from the base

Make sure all the parts are secure and well attached. You will still be connected through the climbing harness, of course, but you’re free to move around in the tree stand.

Pull up your bow and/or your gun that you left on the ground below.

Remember to hunt safe. You can use a face mask so your prey won’t see you. Gloves for holding the bow can also be used. Avoid moving around too much in the tree stand. Despite the secure performance this type of equipment is supposed to deliver, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.



The Best Tips for Using a Rifle Scope When Deer Hunting



Sighting your prey with precision and being able to shoot accurately can be made possible by knowing how to use a rifle scope. Sure, sighting a target as big as a deer can be easy with the naked eye, but with a rifle scope, precision is more ensured at a further distance. Rubbish rifle scopes offer so little in the way of seeing your target at an exact point even when you’re many feet away. Here’s how to enjoy optimal target viewing with a rifle scope.

rifle scope for deer hunting


First know where the pellet lands, then make adjustments accordingly

Zeroing the scope or bore sighting is best done this way. Generally, rifle scopes are outfitted with elevation and windage knobs that can be adjusted to offset any inconsistencies on precision. The vertical point of impact (POI) of the bullet is influenced by the typically top-mounted elevation dial or turret. The right side of the scope is where the dial, knob or turret for windage is located. Windage influences the horizontal POI.

Make sure the barrel is unobstructed and the rifle is unloaded. Remove the bolt and then mount the rifle in a steady rest oriented downrange. Stand behind the weapon and look through the bore. With utmost care, move the weapon till the target is right in the bore center. Then, ensuring no movement to the rifle, begin adjusting the scope to center the reticle on the target. The boresight doesn’t have to be overly precise but simply needs to be close enough for the rifle to be on target at 25 yards.



Line up a shot at farther distances than the zeroed point

Majority of rifle scopes feature either a mil-dot or Ballistic Plex reticle, which enables the second step. The weapons also ship with a chart or diagram showing where the reticle can be lined up based on the velocity, weight and caliber of the bullet. It can be quite easy to simulate the caliber and weight, but the speed/velocity is quite specific to the rifle. To ensure consistent accuracy, the shooter will have to prepare their own chart for the weapon.

rifle scope with Ballistic Plex reticle


Tune the windage and elevation for hunting or recreational shooting

Military snipers have a wholly different purpose for adjusting the elevation and windage levels on their weapons, and so has the recreational shooter or hunter. Approximate calculations have to be carried out and the reticle held off so it won’t be necessary to re-zero the scope.

Calculate the distance to the target to zero the rifle scope. Unless the hunter is at a zeroed distance, the bullet could drop or rise if the shooter is unable to aim at a set distance. Another big factor is bullet weight, especially at further distances. Bullet weight influences the maximum effective range of the bullet. The bullet trajectory and the cross wind could easily modify the component’s effective range.

A shot angle, or one executed to bring down the target at an angle, also has to be considered as well. The bullet’s flight path may also be affected by other seemingly inconsequential factors such as: head/tail wind, which influences trajectory and speed; comparison between ambient temperature and ground temperature along with the distance from the ground, which can contribute to variances in bullet lift; humidity, which offers minute effects on trajectory; curvature of the earth, specifically on very long shots of more than a thousand yards when determining accuracy.

Today’s technological advances have brought forth computers or PDA calculators that are able to calculate the precise impact and position of a bullet based on the information obtained when all the above factors are taken together. Those types of devices calculate based on targeting at zero reticle, giving shooters the optimal means of achieving accurate target sighting. Rezeroing can be tedious when target shooting.

Unless the user is managing or modifying the reticle position, they should calculate the number of clicks utilized in each direction so setting the scope back to zero will be easy after the hunt.


set a rifle scope for deer hunting



If the parallax is available, adjust it according to the distance to the target

Most rifle scopes, and all adjustable-power scopes, enable the user to position the reticle within the same distance plane as the target, ensuring a highly accurate shot. Virtually all parallaxes have specified distances on them. Despite serving as good guidelines, those numbers are seldom accurate. The parallax will demonstrate minute changes according to the shooter’s eye relief, the distance of the target and the scope power.

Adjusting the parallax for accuracy can be extremely tedious and will take plenty of practice. Estimate its position according to the distance to the target. One can tinker with the parallax by placing their head in a relief position to view the black area around the edge while looking down through the scope. Then, move the eye and the head to have the black area even around all edges of the reticle.

Indeed, although ensuring a superbly precise shot is achievable using the parallax, this factor can be set at 150 yards using fixed parallax scopes, or set at 1,000 yards with the reticle at 8 inches tops off the ground. Closer distances of 500 yards can be at a maximum of 1.5 inches off.



Orient the crosshairs in the center of the target at zero distance

To compensate for angle, distance or headwind, the crosshairs of the rifle scope may have to be raised or lowered, thus keeping the center of the target at zero distance.