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Base Camp

Resources for Outdoor Living

Welcome to base camp where you can learn all you need to know before going out and starting your own journey. Let your adventure start here, the American Trailhead team has made ourselves available to help you along every step.

Our community of outdoorsmen and firearms specialists has the resources and answers you’ll need before lacing up your boots or loading your magazine. Start here with us at your Base Camp before your next adventure.

Take part in something special. Base Camp is where you can learn about upcoming events, find your parks, discover the best gear for your next trip, and get the resources needed for enjoying life outside. Prepare for your next hike, camping trip, and more with American Trailhead.

Find Your Park and Adventure

National & State Parks

National Park Service

State Park Map

Shooting Sports

NRA

NSSF

USCCA

IDPA

Featured Events

NRA Annual Meeting

USCCA EVENT

NSSF EVENTS

Know Before You Go

Outdoors

Where to go?

Picking the right location can make a world of difference in the outcome and enjoyability of your adventure, whether alone or with family and friends. One of the first things you need to do is identify what type of activity you want to do. Are you looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway? Perhaps you want to pick an activity to help you get in shape or you may want to simply enjoy the nature around you? No matter what activities you want to do, it is good to plan ahead as some parks and locations prohibit certain activities like mountain biking, camping, or the company of your furry companion. It will ruin anyone’s fun adventure to walk up to a prohibit sign or a fee-required sign of a particular destination. There are many resources that a person can use in advance to search for outdoor activities and locations. They vary from different cell phone apps and websites to calling a local ranger office for a specific area. One of the easiest methods is to take the time and visit your National or State Park sites that can link you to all of their public parks. These sites will provide details and requirements on the types of activities, costs and events occurring at the individual parks. They will also provide the latest outdoor news and safety warnings before you set out so that you can be aware if there are hazards such as high fire risk or flooding in an area. Just remember that no matter where you choose to go or what you choose to do it is always a good habit to let a friend, family member or a co-worker know where you are going and where you plan to start and end as well as a general time you expect to return. This will give you a couple safeguards. First, by sharing your projected location you create a safety net if you get lost or injured and do not return. Second, and just as important, your designated trusted person will know where to start emergency responders should this situation every happen.
National Parks
US State Parks
Travel Channels Top 10 National Park Activities
Put-ins in Georgia

What is the Weather?

No matter if you are kayaking, hiking, camping or all the above, you need to know what the weather is going to be like in advance of your adventure. While a little bit of rain may seem harmless and in many cases it can be overcome by good rain gear, there are situations that the rain could turn deadly fast. It is important to look at the local weather forecast a few days before and during your planned adventure. You want to be aware of flash flood warnings, fire hazards, blizzards and storms with the potential to produce tornados or straight-line winds. Not only would this help in selecting where and what to do, but it will affect the gear you wear and bring. In areas known for flooding it is always a good idea to look at the weather upstream of the locations you plan to enjoy in the outdoors. You also need to be aware of the time of year and weather conditions of the snow-packed mountains upstream of low areas, they can sometimes flood with no rain. Monitoring local weather reports and local park advisory warnings will keep you informed in advance of flood and fire conditions. Always respect the power of mother nature and plan accordingly.
Weather Channel
National Park Active Alerts

What to Wear?

Your choice of outdoor attire will vary greatly based on the activity, location, season and weather. If you are in the warmer climates such as fishing the Florida coast in July or backcountry skiing around Montana in January you would need to evaluate your clothing accordingly to those conditions. There are some key high-level basics that any outdoorsman can keep in mind as they head out on an adventure regardless if they are a novice or pro. Anyone who has spent time on their feet can tell you the most important thing to a happy day is to make sure you have happy and comfortable feet. Identifying the adventure you plan to take will determine the footwear you will select. Do you need hiking shoes, water shoes or snow boots? No matter what type of footwear you need you must ensure a few key things. Do the shoes fit properly and do they fit my activity? Having shoes too small or too big by even a half size can cause a nightmare of foot discomfort from blisters to muscle cramps and even broken ankles. When looking at shoes such as hiking boots you want to look for shoes that have breathable material, padding/cushion and good material soles with traction. Next to good footwear comes the need for proper quality base layers. It is beneficial in hot and cold climates to have socks, underwear and undershirts that are moister wicking. The moister wicking process will keep the moister off of your skin allowing for better comfort and aiding in body temperature regulation. Your outer clothing needs to match the weather and conditions in which you plan to take your adventure. Shorts/pants and shirts that are properly fitting and breathable in warm climates while making sure to have warm clothing and accessories for cold climates. You want to avoid clothing materials that can melt to the skin in very hot climates and avoid metal materials directly on the skin in extremely cold conditions. There are a variety of accessory clothing that can be used based on the activity, weather and location, a good poncho or rain jacket can save the day during a random spring shower. Items such as gloves and hats can differ based on a need for warmth or keeping the sun and rain off of you, but have proven to be valuable additional to any outdoor adventure attire. It is best to assess what you need once you have identified the season and what type of activity you want to participate in and its location.

What gear do I pack?

The type of gear you need will solely depend on the type of activity. The most common is understanding what is the basic gear needed for a camping or hiking trip. No matter which activity you choose to do it is very important to assess what you are doing, where you are going, and what the weather will be like? Developing or borrowing a checklist based on activity can save you a lot of time and stress when packing for an adventure. You just have to keep in mind that every person’s situation and needs are different and many lists need to be customized to the individual or group. There are a few consistent basic items that should be included in any checklist or gear bag. Packing small snacks, water, flashlight, bug repallent, sunblock and method of communication may seem simple, but no matter the adventure those few items are a life saver.It is also important to remember medications and knowing if you have any allergies like being allergic to bee stings and ensuring you pack an EpiPen or any other perscribed medication. Remember after every adventure evealute the gear you brought and modify your list accordingly.

National Park Basic Hiking Checklist
Hiking in Georgia

What to Bring Camping?

A camping checklist can be extensive. What your pack depends on what kind of camping experience you would like. Of course, prepare to bring a tent, sleeping bags, food, and water. Also take accessories such as flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. Depending on the campsite, you will want to pack portable kitchen equipment and utensils—don’t forget the can opener. Remember to take toiletries and protection such as insect repellent and sunscreen with you. For your comfort, consider packing outdoor furniture such as camping chairs and hammocks. Plan how you want to spend your time hiking and take the necessary equipment such as kayaks, mountain bikes, or hiking gear. Lastly, bring plenty of gear and supplies such as multi-tools, repair kits, first-aid kids, and more.

No two trips are the same. If you’d like recommendations of supplies and equipment to bring with you, reach out to the American Trailhead team.

National Park Suggested Camping List
Camping in Georgia

Shooting Sports

Characteristics of a Quality Range

Selecting a quality gun range can be a challenge, especially in areas with limited options. American Trailhead and its team have not completed the honor of shooting at every gun range in America, but our team does have extensive experience in the operation of a quality gun range and we work with many industry experts that specialize in not just firearms, but firearm ranges in general. The number one thing to consider in picking a range you want to use will be safety. The safety of you and anyone around you should always be paramount in any firearm-related activity and that applies strongly to range operation and design. There are three key areas that can be looked at to determine a quality range . They are range equipment, range airflow and operational procedures. Most of the ranges you will find will have been built with safety in its design as they are usually regulated to be safe. It does not hurt to ask the range staff in question about their equipment like what type of backstop do they use? Is it a dirt mound, rubber traps or steel entrapment system? This will help you understand the safety of where your bullet is going and making sure you are not shooting at phone books with people on the other side. For an indoor range, most of the quality ranges will have a rubber catch or entrapment system, while most outdoor ranges will utilize dirt berms. For customer convenience, you may also look at the types of target carriers or systems they use. With an indoor range, a major component of a quality range is the quality of their air filtration system. This is not just a standard home HVAC system, a range needs a system dedicated to pulling/pushing significant air downrange from behind the shooter and into a special ventilation system designed to filter the lead dust as the air moves through the system. A range with a quality range ventilation system will have pure air quality while on the range and will minimize the hazard of lead dust. When entering a range with poor air quality you can usually smell the lead in the air and sometimes have a sweet taste in your mouth. This is due to failure to properly circulate the airflow of the range and is the most common safety and experience issue of an indoor range. The third key area to look at for a quality range is to look at the operation of the facility. Look to see if they have range safety officers (RSO), how attentive are the employees to the range and how do they clean their range and how often. There are a few helpful ways a customer can look for signs of a quality range without having to ask a hundred questions. Some ranges participate in the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) range rating program where a range will be graded on the mentioned key areas and more. The NSSF will provide a rating for the range of 1 to 5 stars, the top ranges are all rated in the 5-star category. If shopping for a new range that is one resource that could be used to narrow down a range search. There are a lot of factors and other organizations that review ranges and doing your research will always help.

NSSF 5-Start Rating System
Top Gun Range Ventilation Company

Characteristicof Quality Training Programs

No matter if you are new to guns or have been shooting for 60 years or if you have trained in one school or another it is ALWAYS good to keep training and learning.In today’s age of modern training there are no shortages of firearm training classes available. The hard part for anyone interested in firearms training is the knowledge to identify quality training classes or instructors. On a national level there are no universal requirements for a firearms training instructor, but some states do have mandatory training and regulations for trainers to certify them before they can train anyone. It is always good to determine your states local firearm training requirements and look at their required classes.Even without a national standardize training requirement there are several different organizations that have respected and vetted training certification programs for trainers. It is always a good idea that before taking a training class look at the place providing the training and along with the certifications and training of their instructors. Do the instructors have military or law enforcement training certifications? Do their instructors hold certifications from top organizations like National Rifle Association (NRA), United States Conceal Carry Association (USCCA) or respected training schools like the Sig Sauer Training Academy? It is safe to say that if your instructors hold any of these certifications, they are probably vetted trainers. You also want to ask a training school or the instructor if they carry Instructor Training insurance or if they are recognized by any organization such as National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Even with every certification in the world you can still have a bad instructor so the tried and true method of reading reviews or articles on trainers, training class or a school can help guide you as well. Nothing wrong with the family friend who knows guns to get you interested, but always look to get better and listen and learn from multiple professionals with different experiences.
Stay sharp and keep learning.

NRA Training
Sig Sauer Training Academy
NSSF 5-Start Rating System
USCCA Instructor Search

Community and Industry Partners

Shadow Warriors Foundation

National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

National Rifle Association (NRA)

U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)

Let the Adventures Begin

Contact American Trailhead

We are here to answer your questions or listen to what you have to say. Our team loves the relationships we’ve made with the outdoor and exploration sport community, and we’re looking forward to getting to know you too. To learn more or start the conversation, reach out to us at 866-443-5531 or by filling out our contact form. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and being a part of your journey.

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