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Oct 15, 2018

How to Make Decent Coffee in the Wilderness

camping coffee makerEtymology often helps shape thought: when you're aware of a word's origins, you're in touch with the full context of the words that filter your inclinations. For example, did you know that wilderness comes from the Old English for "wild deer"?

Think about that for a moment: it's a place filled with animals unaccustomed to human contact, where humans have minimized their prints on the world. So when we go out to the wilderness, we're immersing ourselves in the beauty of nature, we're adventuring outside of civilization, and we're escaping from the creature comforts that can dull our sense of connection to the cosmos.

Well... maybe not 100% escape. Because while I love taking a break, I've never been interested in taking vacation from a good cup of coffee. If you're the same, read on for how we at ManMade make decent coffee in the wilderness, and our choices for a great camping coffee maker.

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Oct 09, 2018

Visit Roadside America: 5 Unique Stops throughout the Southwestern US

It's a big country, the USA. And the myth of the open road remains strong, even if it will be self-driving cars that move us there. A little bit of research about roadside attractions in America will yield a host of unique and bizarre results. So here are a couple unique sites located off the beaten path that are worth visiting in the American Southwest.   

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Oct 01, 2018

How to Pack Your Backpack Like a Pro

how to pack backpack

Turns out, getting fully outfitted is only half the battle. Once you've selected all your gear, it's important to pack it up right for both balance and ease when carrying and access when you need it.    

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Aug 13, 2018

How to: Make a Leather Sleeve for Your Whiskey Flask

I guess you could put something else other whiskey in a pocket flask. Maybe some nice sipping tequila in summertime, or perhaps a bit of brandy around the holidays. Whatever you fancy.

But whatever goes inside, our vote is: you should own certainly own one. Not because you should be sneaking spirits in places you shouldn't have them (although...) But because its summertime, and you should be headed out on adventures. And once you've achieved whatever goal you set, it's good to celebrate a little.      

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Aug 07, 2018

Happening This Week: Get Out and Enjoy the Perseids!

Stargazing is a hobby that comes with a bit of a learning curve. It requires real intellectual engagement, specialized (and expensive) equipment, and a lot of free time when the sky is dark. So its understandable that only the truly dedicated might get into it in a meaningful way.

Or...is it? Because looking at the stars at night is one of the cheapest, oldest, and most egalitarian hobbies that's out there. Because the sky belongs to everyone, and people have been marveling at it for a very long time.    

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Jul 02, 2018

What's the Best Pair of Shoes to Take on Vacation?

Hey, ManMakers — Chris here. I'm the founder/editor of the site. Normally, we try to do our research and test things out so that we can help our readers be the best kind of creative and productive people they can be. But every once and a while, we like to ask for your thoughts, and tap into all the brilliance and experience of our audience.

So, here's the situation:     

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Jun 08, 2018

The Ultimate Relaxation that is the Alaskan Sauna

This summer, ManMade is organizing a Alaskan adventure for our community, where we'll gather for DIY workshops and day trips to some of the most beautiful places in North America. In homage of the trip, each of our team members will be reflecting on their own impressions of Alaska.  

The sauna, correctly pronounced “sow – nah,” is a Finnish word that means “bath” or “bathhouse.” They are believed to have been around for over 2000 years. (!) The process is quite simple, you build a fire to heat the Sauna room to 165-190° F and then sit in the room for approximately 20 minutes.  Then you cool down by taking a cold plunge in a lake.  Then repeat, at least two-four times.  Of course, that is over simplifying the process, but there are hundreds of articles and videos out there how to properly prepare and enjoy the Sauna.  So this article is geared more towards the Alaskan experience of the Sauna.

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Jun 06, 2018

Why You Should Still Keep a Paper Map in Your Glovebox

Somewhere in that no-man's land between technophile and -phobe, I've pitched my tent and pass freely between the borders. I juggle my professional work on Google's G Suite (especially Gmail, Keep, Calendar, Docs, and Sheets), but one of my most effective planning tools is a wood pencil and minimalist bullet journal in a blank notebook. I'm thrilled every time I thumb through magazines like WIRED, but I totally think A.I. is a crapshoot. In short, I keep a dynamic dialogue between new and old tech, because elegant solutions to the world's challenges lie at just about every point in its history.

A perfect illustration of this is the fact that though I regularly rely on Google Maps for real-time driving directions, I still keep paper maps of my home state, some neighboring states, and even an atlas in my car. What's the point? Read on for four good reasons.

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May 31, 2018

Heading Outside: I Wouldn’t Go on a Backpacking Trip Without These 9 Things

Spending some time outside is a big deal. Disconnecting from everyday life is what allows you to return to it focused, refreshed, and ready for new challenges. While a weekend in the wilderness might leave you feeling physically exhausted (and hopefully leave you a bit dirty, too), it's guaranteed to positively impact your mental clarity and up your level of good feelings in the weeks that follow. 

Sure, you can head into the woods with some sneakers and your book bag from high school. If that's what it takes to get you out, we're all for it. However, when you decide to upgrade the experience a bit, there are a few things you should be sure to bring with you. Quality gear is comfortable, more durable, and supportive on rough terrain. So go ahead and grab a few pieces at a time to make all you future adventures more enjoyable ones.   

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May 04, 2018

How to: Make Your Own Typographic Illustrations and Artwork

Everyone likes a nice motivational quote with a fine adventurous backdrop and some nice typography that reminds us to get outside.   

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Jan 19, 2018

11 Things to Do Before Leaving Town for a Long Weekend

When I was younger, my mom always gave us a list of chores to do before we left town for an extended weekend.  At the time, I didn't fully understand why my clothes needed to be put away or why all the dishes needed to be washed if we weren't going to be home, I just wanted to get to the hotel so I could jump in the pool.  Luckily for me, my older brother is an absolute neat freak and he would get up early and finish most of the tasks on the checklist before I even got out of bed.  Fast forward 20+ years, and I completely understand why my mom always made us complete that list of chores before we left town.  Being older and slightly wiser than my 8-year old self, now I make sure to always do these 11 things before departing for my next adventure:   

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Aug 02, 2017

Hit the Trails: 6 Next-Level Gear Items to Take with You On Your Next Car Camping Trip

There's something about a winding road. It's still a bit wild and rebellious, like nature hasn't completely given in to the straight line of civilization just yet. That's the kind of highway that I think of when I want to take a road trip, and no road trip is complete without a day or two of car camping. For me, car camping is a great mix between roughing it and going posh in a rented bed. I just seem to find a lot more enjoyment when I can bring just a few more pieces of gear along, but still sleep outside. Here are a few of my favorite pieces I take with me on every car camping adventure these days.   

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Jun 02, 2017

Fly Fishing Basics: Everything You Need to Get Started

Did you know there are more fish in the water than stars in the sky? S

eriously, the water you have within a few minutes of your house is almost guaranteed to be sheltering a school of those fin-tailed creatures just below the surface. All those mouths have to eat, and it's easier than you think to get started in the timeless art of fly fishing.   

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May 16, 2017

The 7 Best Apps for Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, and Other Outdoor Adventures

Most of the time, the whole point of going on a hike or camping trip is to get away from technology. We couldn't agree more. But the truth is, most of us still carry our smart phones for emergency calls, wayfinding, and camera possibilities, all in a single package. Our vote? Turn off the email and the Twitter alerts, and take advantage of the way your phone can enhance your trip. Just make sure your protect it from the weather. 

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Apr 17, 2017

17 Things Every Man Should Keep in His Car at All Times

Yes, sometimes cars break down and you'll need to stay safe. But, like it or not, our automobiles are also our little homes away from home on a road trip. So, it's important to stock it with things that might come up, be it emergency, or just an epic weekend away. Here are our seventeen essentials to always have on hand. 

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Jan 11, 2017

U.S. National Parks Will Be Free to Visit On These 10 Days in 2017

Photo: NPS.gov

If you read this site and also make New Year's Resolutions, I'd bet some variation of "getting out in nature more" made it onto the list. Well, this Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday) all National Park Service sites that usually require entrance fees will be FREE. That, and nine more days this year...   

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Dec 05, 2016

Take a Walk: What a Day in the Woods Does to Me

I recently read an exceptional book by John Muir, father of our modern wanderlust and grand adventurer in a time where the great outdoors was truly an untamed place. His descriptions of a first look at the Sierras, of the sprawling views of Yosemite, and the way the woods filled his soul like nothing else could. While the wild is a bit more domesticated now with established trails, cell coverage, and guidebooks, it still holds in an important key to the overall sanity of humankind.

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Nov 17, 2016

The 24 Hour Adventure

One defining aspect of an interesting man is a cache of amazing tales. Someday, someone small will look up at you with admiration and you owe them a story worth telling. Living a life of adventure is not only possible, but necessary. If you're not doing it, today is a good day to start.  

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Oct 08, 2016

Let's All Go to Deer Cabin

Deer cabin

It must the sense of fall wanderlust settling, cause there's no place I can imagine I'd rather be on this grey, wet autumn day than

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Oct 06, 2016

What's the Single Best Meal You Can Cook on a Camping Trip?

Fall means many things: the return of wearing layers, trees a-changin', and that tenuous day when you have to make the decision to finally turn the furnace back on. But for me, it's not fall unless I'm getting away to spend weekends in the woods.

Not the ultra-light, no-other-human-around treks of summer, but some honest to goodness, old fashioned camping trip. I'm talking cast iron skillets, flannel shirts and wool blankets, ice-filled Coleman coolers, and all-night campfires.

And while I love the day hikes and card games and guitar-strumming, my no doubt favorite part of car camping is:

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