Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Protect Yourself from Zika

                Ever since the first large outbreak of Zika in 2007, more and more people have been focused on gearing up to combat disease carrying insects, especially mosquitos.  All the preparing is done with good reason: on February 1st, 2016, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This definitely raises the question of how to avoid the virus’ carrier, the mosquito. Fortunately, there are multiple effective answers.
                Probably the easiest way to incorporate prevention into everyday life is wearing clothes with a built-in insect shield. One popular brand, White Sierra, carries an entire collection with integrated Insect Shield technology. The line is complete with everything from shirts to pullovers to hats and accessories, making it a simple, stylish solution. One of the best aspects of this technology is being completely odorless and invisible. It’s durable, too, lasting through 70 washes. Insect Shield technology utilizes another important tool to combat insects: Permethrin.
                Permethrin is a synthetic chemical that acts like natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. In addition to being woven into fabrics, it can also be used directly on clothing and gear  you already own. Sawyer has a Permethrin insect repellent that kills ticks, mosquitos, chiggers, mites, and 55 other insects. However, this repellent only lasts 6 weeks or 6 washings, making it a slightly less economical option. However, it is very good for treating items you already own. It can also be used on your tent, where its full potency lasts for a whopping 40 days of direct sunlight. It is very important to note that Permethrin is not safe to use on skin, and it consumers should follow manufacturer’s directions regarding drying times.
                Some folks prefer the classic topical solution to insects. One frequently used option is DEET, a colorless chemical with a faint odor that doesn’t dissolve easily in water. DEET is very commonly known and used today, as it has been used since 1946 by the U.S. Army and been available for general public use since 1957. Concentrations of DEET range from 4% to 100%. The concentration does not indicate effectiveness, but how long it lasts. For short hikes, 30% DEET should be effective, but for full day excursions, 100% DEET is a much more economical solution.
                A newer addition to the topical insect repellent family is Picaridin. It is a synthetic compound first made in the 1980s and has been widely used in Europe and Australia, but has only been available in the United States since 2005. It is made to emulate the natural compound piperine, which is found in the plants used to produce black pepper. It repels insects and makes them less likely to bite and keeps mosquitos from sensing their prey. However, it does not kill insects. It is also less toxic to wildlife compared to other options, and has been noted as impeding green algae growth.
                No matter a person’s decision on prevention, it is important to follow all manufacturers’ directions for safe and effective use and to use the prevention regularly. Information on different pesticides can be found on the manufacturer’s website, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website, and the National Pesticide Information Center’s webpage.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sawyer Mini Water Filter Review

               If asked about survival necessities, the first word that comes to mind is usually “water.” And why wouldn’t it? Humans can last 21 days without food, but only three to five days without water. It’s easy to think, “I can get water anywhere!” In theory, that’s certainly a true statement, especially with options like rainwater collection and natural bodies of water.
                However, there are lots of nasty things floating around in untreated water, like Escherichia coli (E. coli,) cholera, typhoid fever, and bacillary dysentery. This is why it is vital to consider hydration when preparing for a backpacking trip, an excursion abroad, or even a home emergency preparedness kit.
                A top recommendation is the Sawyer Mini water filter. This tiny tool comes in at a grand total of 2.4 ounces if you include the straw attachment and the 16 oz. soft bottle that comes with the filter. Unlike the LifeStraw, which can only be used as a straw, the Mini can be used to drink directly from a source. It can also be screwed onto a small-mouthed bottle (like a standard 20 oz. water bottle) or be attached inline to a hydration bladder hose.
                The Mini utilizes hollow fibers to filter bacteria, protozoa, E. coli, Giardia, Salmonella Typhi, and pretty much any other matter that’s larger than .1 microns. That surpasses the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for home tap water filters1. The Mini is also a very lasting piece of gear, able to filter a whopping 100,000 gallons. To put that into perspective, if a person drinks a gallon of water every day through the Mini, he or she will have over 270 years of clean water.
                The one true downside to such a powerful filter is clogging. While infrequent, the water flow rate eventually drops and the filter needs to be cleaned out. This is done with the included plunger by “backwashing,” or putting water through the tube from the drinking end, with potable water.
                Clogging isn’t the only pitfall the Mini is susceptible to. After the first use, it is possible for the fibers in the filter to freeze and become damaged in cold weather. To prevent this, Sawyer advises keeping the Mini in a pocket or somewhere it will be kept above freezing.
The incredible versatility and light weight make it an excellent choice for those on the go or for backpackers who must make the most of every inch and ounce. With superior filtration and packability for only $25, it is one of the most affordable filters around.
It is important to note that while the Sawyer Mini filters bacteria and protozoa, it does not filter viruses. However, Sawyer does make a 4 Liter Gravity Water Purification System, which filters to .02 microns, and is able to physically remove viruses.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Blue Water Business Consortium Members!

Excited to have joined River Alliance of Wisconsin's Blue Water Business Consortium! The group is Wisconsin's Small Business Voice for Clean and Plentiful Water and we're excited to assist River Alliance with their important mission.

The River Alliance of Wisconsin organized the Blue Water Business Consortium to:
  • Promote the economic and environmental benefits of good water quality and show how thousands of small businesses depend on clean and plentiful water.
  • Advocate for policies that value the economic and social contribution of all businesses, regardless of size or political influence.
  • Unite diverse water businesses under the common interest of healthy water.
If you know a Wisconsin business that would be interested in joining and making a difference as well please share this with them as River Alliance is looking for more members! 

For more information about the Blue Water Business Consortium please click here.

Monday, May 09, 2016

3rd Annual Headlamp Hustle is 2 weeks away!

    Our 3rd Annual Headlamp Hustle is only a couple weeks away already! Join us Friday, May 20th for a very fun event on the Table Bluff Segment of the Ice Age Trail that supports the Ice Age Trail Alliance. You can run a 10K or run or walk a 5K. We start at dusk so it's a nice, quiet time to be out on the trail. Bring your headlamp for the after party! Below are some pictures of the segment the run is on. It's gorgeous and peaceful out there! For more info check out our Facebook Event Page!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

WIN $500 of SmartWool during our When In Roam Contest!

How would you like to WIN A $500 SmartWool Gift Card! Pick up a SmartWool #flatlittleguy, post a pic with him to Instagram & you're entered to WIN! We have a limited number of #flatlittleguys to give out so get in quickly! No limit to photo entries! Contest runs through 5/15/16. Visit here for more info on the #flatlittleguy contest!

We're also offering a FREE insulated Klean Kanteen bottle with any $30.00 SmartWool purchase while supplies last! .

See in-stores for more info on both promotions. Good luck!

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Boy Scout Backpack Camporee

Fontana Sports once again attended the yearly Boy Scout Backpack Camporee. It moved to Indian Lake this year which is a beautiful park in Cross Plains. Fontana Sports employees Kevin and Bridger attended and we heard back that the event was lots of fun and the Scouts are ready for their next adventures! A reminder to all that Fontana Sports offers a Boy Scout 10% off camping discount year round! Just show your Boy Scout membership card and we'll take care of you!