Friday, July 25, 2014

Get into the Swing of Summer with Byer of Maine

 Byer of Maine certainly is doing their part in making sure summer is an adventure in relaxation, comfort and enjoyment and to prove this point, one need only take a look at the dizzying array of hammocks and hanging chairs available on their website!

My personal pick is the Amazonas (Paradiso) Hammock. Made in Brazil from 85% recycled cotton/15% polyester, this hammock stretches and conforms to your bodies unique curves for offer exquisite comfort. At over 8 feet long and 5 and a half feet wide, the Paradiso has room for the whole family, and maybe the dog as well!

The rich, warm, hand-crafted colors will provide you and your family with endless days of fun, and relaxation! While designed for outdoor use, we recommend indoor storage between uses.

Care should also be taken to ensure that hammock strings are not tangled or chafed. When hanging, hammocks should be hung from a flexible point…a rope, a chain or carabineer to avoid chafing at the hanging point. Be extremely careful to ensure hammocks and hanging chairs are hung from a point or points suitably strong for the anticipated use. Seek professional assistance if you have any doubts as to your ability to properly judge the strength of any hanging point.

Hammocks can be hosed-off for cleaning with clear, cold water. No detergent or other chemical cleaners should be used. No machine washing. Air dry thoroughly before storage.

Currently, several hammock models, including the Barbados and Ceara are currently 20% off! 

Make sure to follow Byer of Maine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Camp Comfortably and Conveniently with Byer of Maine

For over 125 years, Byer of Maine has been a leader in camping, emergency preparedness and a long list of other outdoor products designed to make your time in the wilds comfortable and convenient. This passion for creating innovative products is highlighted in the new, award winning TriLite Line.

Washing dishes, the dreaded chore that most of us try to avoid at all costs becomes even more difficult when attempted in the wilds. When camping, one attempts to awkwardly crouch by the lake or streamside frantically scraping beanie weenies off plates and hoping that in the process they do not get their feet wet. Leave it up to the innovative folks at Byer of Maine to come up with a solution that makes washing dishes in the wilds a much easier endeavor and one that can actually be enjoyed.

The convertible TriLite seat/wash basin is a lightweight, highly portable piece of equipment that should be part of every camper’s kitchen. In seconds, one can remove the small seat from the webfoot stand and install the TriLite washbasin. Boasting 4 separate compartments, the washbasin has plenty of room to wash, rinse, and dry dishes, as well as a small pocket to hold biodegradable soap and a scrub brush. This set-up allows you to sit down comfortably and leisurely wash dishes, avoiding the typical discomforts associated with this chore.

The Tri-lite stool and wash station is currently 35% off so go and get yours today and prepare to spend the rest of the Maine summer camping season impressing friends and washing dishes in style!

Sleep Comfortably Under the Stars
Summer in Maine means camping and as I get older, comfort becomes more and more critical to my enjoyment of this outdoor activity. After years of struggling with half a dozen different models of inflatable rubber mattresses, I finally gave up patching holes and battling against the exhaustive effort of inflating and transporting these unreliable beds.

For the camper looking for a much improved sleep solution they need to look no further then the cot. Cots of today come in a wide variety of styles. Byer of Maine has an impressive line of folding cots sure to fit the needs of every type of camper and outdoor enthusiast. From lightweight and compact to full size, luxurious models, all cots are built rugged, with some models capable of supporting up to 375 pounds!

Byer even have created a handy cot comparison tool to assist shoppers in choosing the cot that best fits their specific needs and budgets! 

For me the choice of cot was as easy as ordering the lightweight and easily packable TriLite model. This ultra-light weight cot (a little over 7 lbs) is designed to be packed and brought anywhere, ensuring a great sleep wherever you need it. Perfect for hiking, car camping, motorcycle touring or even a day relaxing on the beach, the TriLite cot offers a full sleep surface of 74" long by 25" wide, that folds down to a mere 27" x 3" x 8" and fits into its rip-stop polyester travel bag that has a convenient travel strap so that the entire cot can be slung over your shoulder for easy transport.

Make sure to follow Byer of Maine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Functional Elegance by Byer of Maine

The Byer Manufacturing Company has been creating what I like to call "The Goud Stuff” since 1880. This Maine based company has reinvented itself numerous times over the decades in order to keep pace with the American market place and a rapidly evolving global economy. Currently, Byer of Maine produces a wide assortment of products, most interesting perhaps its furniture and equipment specifically designed to make summah days wick’d comfortable and relaxing.

To me, a trip to the beach, hanging out on the deck, or an evening relaxing around a campfire would be incomplete without my posterior resting comfortably in the Pangean Glider. More than simply a "chair", this is an essential relaxation tool, the perfect blend of elegance, class, function and practicality these gliders are as pleasing to look at as they are comfortable to sit in. The glider literally wraps you in comfort, allowing you to lean back and rest your head and neck after a long day.

Upgrade a single glider purchase a double and reap the benefits of years of happy memories with your closest someone, watching sunsets, roasting marshmallow and dipping toes in the oceans soft sand.

The trend by most outdoor companies these days seems to be moving toward creating cheap outdoor furniture and equipment made of plastic and other inferior items that end up in the trash can after one season of hard use. Though typically inexpensive, consumers quickly realize that they truly get what they pay for and landfills are filled with these worthless pieces of garbage. With a small investment, buy the best, something that will be a joy to sit in for years to come.

Though it lacks a drink holder, it more than makes up for this deficit with the Pangean Folding Table. Purchased separately, this small functional table allows "chillaxers" a firm place to set a bottle and a couple glasses of wine, lunch or if needed, ones feet after a long and tiring day.

Remember that like all works of art, furniture made of fabric and wood must be properly cared for if it is to be enjoyed for years to come. Both the table and chair come from the factory with a basic protective stain but if one plans to keep the furniture outside for an extended length of time, the chair and table would benefit from a yearly application of a flat varnish containing UV protection. This application will seal the wood to protect it from splintering and keep the stain  from fading and losing its beauty. A fabric UV protectant like Ray Block that helps fabrics resist sun fading and dry rot can also be employed to protect the chair’s cloth seat. Embers can burn holes in the fabric, so when placing chairs close to a fire pit make sure to not leave unattended.

Make sure to follow Byer of Maine on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Pintrest!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wildlife Quiz - The North American Porcupine

The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), ranges from Alaska into sections of northern Mexico, where it favors woodland habitats with high densities of evergreens.

A wild porcupine can live 5 years, where it spends a majority of that time in the tops of evergreen trees in pursuit of its favorite foods. An herbivore, porcupines eat a wide variety of conifers as well as green plants, berries, seeds and nuts.

Also know simply as the porcupine, it exists as a member of the “rodent” order of animals. The porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, losing by only a narrow margin to the beaver. Mature porcupines grow to a snout to tail length of 2 to 3 feet and weigh around 12 pounds, with some impressive specimens tipping the scale at a whopping 35-40 pounds.

Porcupines come in various shades of brown, gray, and even white. Porcupines are nocturnal and are usually found during the day lounging peacefully high up in the branches of a tree or caring for young deep underground in simple burrows.

Porcupines are perhaps most well known for their impressive coat of sharp quills that defend them from predators. Adult’s backs and tails are covered with almost 40,000 quills. When attacked, the porcupine defends itself by swinging its tail like a club and pounding quills into its hapless enemies. In the past it was believed that porcupines were capable of launching or throwing its quills, this is of course a fallacy. Each quill comes equipped with tiny barbs that slowly push the quill in even deeper, making removal necessary and extremely painful.

Despite its impressive defenses, porcupines still occasionally become meals for bobcats, coyotes and fishers who have learned to attach the porcupine’s unprotected nose and belly.

Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. What is the range of the porcupine?
2. What is the average lifespan of a wild porcupine?
3. What is the average weight of an adult porcupine?
4. What impressive maximum weights have some adult porcupines reached?
5. How long do porcupines grow?
6. What do porcupines eat?
7. How many quills do adult porcupines have?
8. What predators eat porcupines?

Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. The range of the porcupine stretches from Alaska and into sections of Northern Mexico.
2. The average porcupine lives 5 years in the wild.
3. The average weight of an adult porcupine is 12 pounds.
4. Some adult porcupines have grown to reach 40 pounds.
5. Porcupines grow to a snout to tail length of 2 to 3 feet.
6. An herbivore, porcupines eat a wide variety of conifers as well as green plants, berries, seeds and nuts.
7. Adult porcupines have almost 40,000 quills.
8. Despite its impressive defenses porcupines are still fed upon by bobcats, coyotes and fishers who have learned to attach the porcupine’s unprotected nose and belly.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Car Camping and Fishing

Car Camping at Cranberry Lake 
I recently read a report, generated by the national forest service, stating 85% of the camping that takes place in the United States occurs within one mile or less of a paved roadway. While there is a certainly sense of serenity, peace and tranquility that one experiences when they hike miles into the backcountry, the simple truth is that many of us simply do not have the time, physical strength or know how necessary to accomplish these off the grid excursions safely and enjoyably.

Car camping affords busy families and those with physical limitations, an effective means of escaping into nature with much smaller time commitments and fewer toils wrought upon the body. With car camping, a vehicle is parked in close proximity to a camping spot, thus greatly facilitating the unloading of gear and affording the ability to bring luxurious camping items (large tents, cots, air mattresses, coolers, etc.), fun games and lots of food. While all of these items surly do not ensure that everyone will have a good time, they certainly go a long way making sure everyone stays happy, comfortable and well fed.

An army marches on its stomach and so does a family. Camping success can often be dictated by the quality and quantity of the food, so be sure to bring plenty of favorites. With my family pizza is king and this meal can easily be cooked in a Dutch oven. A Boboli pizza crust, spaghetti sauce and each camper’s choice of topping are put together and placed inside a 12 inch Dutch oven. The lid is shut and 4-5 charcoal briquettes are placed under and on top of the Dutch oven. In approximately 15-20 minutes, out comes hot pizza! Desert often consists of brownies or cookies, cooked next to a roaring evening campfire in a Sproul Baker reflector oven (

While car camping may be considered by some camping purists as a blasphemous way to enjoy nature, be assured it is not. Vehicles provide an effective means of transporting at home comforts into some very unique and interesting sections of Maine, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the real world.

The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer lists 3 campground types. Those facilities listed simply as “campgrounds”, are members of the Maine Campground Owners Association (MCOA) and typically have posh amenities such as RV sites, showers, flush toilets, camp stores and wireless internet. “Maintained forest campsites”, usually have pit toilets, tent sites only and firewood available for purchase. The last classification “primitive campsites”, have tent sites available on a first come first served basis, firewood usually has to be scavenged and cat holes must be dug to safely dispose of human waste. Of the 3 available campground configurations, my favorites are the maintained forest campsites, as they provide a nice balance of easy vehicle access and basic facilities, while still offering a serene wilderness experience.

Cranberry Lake Campground (Delorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 35, E-2) sits just a few miles off Rt. 9 yet affords campers quiet isolation. (*A warning, that popular weekends like Memorial day, 4th of July and Labor day most campgrounds in the state can be quite boisterous, so if you wish for a quiet campground experience, avoid those weekends.) The campsite’s amenities do not include water for drinking or flush toilets and showers but it does have two outhouses, fire rings, picnic tables and well-maintained tent and RV sites. A small beach is available for swimming and a hand carry launch is accessible for those wanting to cruise the lake or go fishing. Cranberry lake campground has 11 tent/RV sites. Costs are $20 for the first night stay and $10 per night after that. A primetime Friday/Saturday night stay is $45. For reservations, please contact Lois Keenan (546-3828) or for additional information Arthur Keenan (664-3198). Lois and Arthur also maintain the Deer Lake (Map 34, E-5) and Lower Sabo Lake (Map 35, E-1) campgrounds.

Campers can ride the largest ATV trail system East of the Mississippi, fish local streams and ponds, boat, hike and moose watch. All three campgrounds are open Memorial Day and close when snow flies. A 20-minute drive from the campground is a small restaurant/general store located at the northern terminus of Rt. 193, perfect for restocking camping supplies or eating out should weather make cooking outside difficult.

Fishing the Cranberry Lakes
Cranberry Lake campground is situated on the eastern shore of Upper Cranberry Lake. Upper Cranberry flows into Lower Cranberry Lake which in-turn flows into the West Branch of the Machias River. Canoes and kayaks are perfect for exploring and fishing these lakes, as long as a watchful eye is kept on the horizon to watch for late afternoon thunderstorms. When fishing Cranberry lakes, Master Maine Guide Matt Whitegiver of Eagle Mountain Lodge suggests going somewhere else! The Cranberry Lakes are not know to be epic producers of trophy fish but they do provide entertainment for someone wanting to get out in the early morning or evening and wet a line. Upper Cranberry Lake contains mostly small pickerel, while Lower Cranberry is a decent white perch fishery. Matt suggests that anyone camping at the campground paddle north to the outlet and put into Lower Cranberry to fish for a few of the delectable white perch to put in the fry pan. Boat launches for both Upper and Lower Cranberry also exist about a ¼ mile from the Cranberry Lake campground for those with larger watercraft.
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