Hurrah for the Hammock!

There was a time,  Not too many Moons ago,  when camping and hiking were a lot more work.

First of all the tents were made of canvas and an 8’ x 10’ could easily weigh 50 to 80 lbs. and came in big bags with lots of long aluminum poles.  The cots were either aluminum fold outs that were bulky  and had a tendency to collapse during the night if you  rolled over too quickly (that always came as a surprise) or were canvas  army surplus cots that squeaked with every move, and if you pulled 2 together there was still a hugh hump between them. All canvas had a pungent odor about it especially when it was wet. Uggh. Also no one ever used hammocks for their primary sleeping quarters.  Those were only for lounging during the daytime…Well not anymore.

The tents are lighter and easier to set up, the cots come in doublewides if you want, and hammocks are a whole new study in comfort, fun, and convenience. There are many models of hammocks to be considered but I am going to discuss three particular brands that work great for hiking as well as camping.

Lawson Blue Ridge Camping Hammock:   This nifty number is a self contained multi-unit that comes with its own Bug Net and Dry Fly.  Once tied to the trees, attach the Spreader Bars and Aluminum Shock Cord Arch Poles and on these you fasten the Bug Net and Dry Fly.  You will be totally enclosed but still able to catch the breeze and see out all the way around you.  Inside there is a storage pocket and a ceiling “O” Ring to hold a Reading Light.  The weight including the carry pouch is 4.25 lbs.  Its 72” x 22” and holds up to 250 lbs.  The price range is approximately $ 170.00. (Tie Ropes Not Included)

Stanport Nylon Mailbu Hammock:  Now this is for “extremely” lightweight and economical travel.        This hammock comes in several bright colors and is contained in its own pouch that is small enough to be tucked in a coat pocket.  It weighs under a pound, is 85” L X 59” W and has a 185lb. weight limit.     The nylon will dry very quickly if it gets wet.   Costs is aprox. $20.00.  (Tie Ropes Not Included)

ENOS---- Eaglesnest Outfitters Inc.  Now here is a number that is going like hotcakes!   The choices available in this hammock are fun. They come in many colors including Khaki, Olive, Blue, Orange, and Red.   Also they are Single Nest (9’4” L x 4’7” W) weighting 18 oz.  and Double Nest (9’4” L x 6’2” W) weighting 21 oz. Each comes in a handy carry compression bag that’s approximately  6” H x 4” W.      The prices on these are approximately $60.00 for the Single Nest and $70.00 for the Double Nest.

The attachment straps are separate and come in 2 sizes.  Slap Straps are 7’6” x 1” wide and weigh 11oz.and Atlas Suspension Straps are 9’ x 1&1/4” W and weight 12oz.  Prices are$ 19.95 and $29.95.

Also for purchase are a Bug Net which is 9’5” x 4’5” that  goes all the way to the ground  and can be staked out, and cost $60.00, and a Dry Fly, Rain Tarp that is 10’6” x 5’2” and costs aprox. $80.00.

All of the ENOS carry a 2 year guarantee.  They are made of woven Nylon with Triple Nylon stitching.

Here’s the catch to a hammock.  One must practice and take caution when climbing “Aboard”.   Like as always been the nature of a hammock, it can get a little tricky  if you don’t approach it gingerly.        I’ve heard tales of folks being turned upside down and sometimes falling off, and other times just getting stuck in a cocoon of hammock, suspended in air. Makes for a good camp side laugh.  Here is another pointer,  it’s not wise to consume large quantities of liquids or libations before bedtime, as jumping out of a hammock in the dark multiple times during the night is a sure plan for disaster.

But once settled in, it is very comfortable and also assuring to be up off the ground.  So Happy Camping and remember:  Practice makes Perfect.

Alicia Ray-Camping Dept.

Bass Pro Shops

Little Rock, Arkansas



What Tent Fits You Best?

Choosing the right tent can make the difference between fun memories and camping nightmares. Here are some important attributes of a great tent.


If it's just you and your spouse, then there wouldn’t be a need to get a monster tent that's made for 8 people. On the other hand, if you're camping with the Brady Bunch, you don’t want to pack them in like sardines. Tents with divided rooms are perfect for separate living quarters for the girls and boys or parents and the kids. If your planning on keeping a cooler or other items in the tent, then check into tents that are rated for 1 or 2 people higher than you normally would. Always think of who’s using the tent. Are they tall? Is there enough room to stretch their full length when in their sleeping bag? Cabin tents are big with high ceilings and large windows, where dome tents offer less head room.

For backpackers, the most important feature of a tent is its weight. Car campers, on the other hand, are more interested in roominess and comfort. Some of the larger family tents weigh in excess of 30 pounds. However, if you head out on a camping trip in a heavy duty vehicle intending to set up a base camp for several days or more, the larger tents may be worth the bulk as well as the price.


On hot, buggy nights there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a poorly ventilated tent. Well ventilated tents also have fewer problems with condensation. Visualize if you would be using your tent in the spring, summer, fall, or winter? What activities and locations are you planning on visiting? Backpacking, rafting, kayaking, or car camping trips? Would you be heading up into the mountains where you'll be exposed to the elements such as; snow, wind, rain, hail, sleet, and all those fun experience-builders?

Today's tents are mostly water resistant, although, even if the manufacturer calls it unnecessary, it's a good idea to seam-seal your tent.
Ideally this should be done prior to the camping trip.Set up your tent in a protected area, and put the fly on inside out. Run seam sealer along every seam on the fly and the floor. It's better to apply two thin coats than one thick coat. Allow to dry for several hours before putting the tent away.

Stop by our Camping Department and pick our brains. We've got answers if you've got the time.



How to Keep Cool While Camping

Every year we always look forward to that big, annual family camping trip!  Setting up the tent, sleeping outside, roasting marshmallows…it’s usually a great time- except we can’t control the weather.  The biggest challenge camping in the summer months is staying cool.

Here are some helpful tips on how to stay cool while camping in hot weather…

  • Choose a spot to set up camp that is shady and breezy.
  • Choose a tent that is well ventilated.  Leave the windows and vents open to provide air circulation through the tent to avoid a buildup of heat inside.  Shade shelters are good to set up as well, you can use this as your seating area to get out of the hot sun.
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. A moisture wicking material will keep you from feeling sticky. Some of these fabrics have built in SPF protection from the sun. Soak a bandana in ice cold water to keep on your head or around your neck.
  • Stay hydrated.  Make sure you drink plenty of water, especially if you’re doing strenuous, physical activities.  Most people need a ½  gallon of water per day.  An easy way to stay hydrated is by carrying a hydration pack.
  • If camping near water, swim as much as possible.
  • Wear sunscreen, reapply often.  Nothing’s worse than an awful sunburn. Wear an SPF of 15 or higher.

Camping in hot weather doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.  By following these guidelines you can have a safe and enjoyable camping experience.  So pack up the kids and head out this weekend!



Camping Safety Tips

While camping is an amazing way to relax and enjoy yourself, there are several dangers that can come up. Knowing a few tips and tricks, and being prepared, can go a long way in ensuring everyone’s safety, which makes camping much more enjoyable.

Here, we’ll talk about three dangers that can pop up; Fire Safety, Food Safety, and Wildlife Safety.

Fire Safety

Having a campfire is one of the true joys of camping. A roaring fire is iconic to camping nights, under the stars, warmed by the crackling embers. But there is a lot of danger that comes from having a fire at your campsite.

Most campsites will have a fire ring, or pit, where you can, and should, have your fire. If not, you want to make your own. First off, you want to choose the spot for your fire. This should be a place that isn’t too close to your supplies, like tents or tables, and somewhere on a solid holding. After that, you want to make sure there is some kind of ring around where the fire will go, like a circle made from rocks, or a circular grill grate.

After that you want to make sure you are prepared to put the fire out, before you ever start one. Having a shovel and a large bucket of water is essential is stopping a fire. Dirt and water will douse a large blaze almost immediately. But, even though the fire may be out, that does not mean the danger is gone. A doused fire can still be hot enough to cause serious burns or reignite, so don’t leave your fire until you are sure it is safe and cool.

Food Safety

Preparation of food has always been very important, but when you are camping it becomes even more so. You have far less space for separation than you would at home. You have less ways of keeping foods cool, or keeping foods hot, especially at a small range of temperatures. But, with preparation, keeping your food safe to eat while camping is a breeze.

Having two areas, coolers preferably, for uncooked and cooked food is very important. As long as you can keep the uncooked food away from everything else, and at the proper temperatures, you’ll never have to worry about spoilage. Coolers, large or small, are the perfect way to make sure you can maintain your food’s temperature safely.

A meat thermometer is very important to have while camping. Cooking on open fires, dealing with this direct heat source, is very different than setting your oven to 400 degrees and leaving for 45 minutes. Make sure while using the thermometer that you take the temperature from the center of the meat, and that you clean the thermometer thoroughly after each use. Some meats are safe to eat at different temperatures than others, so make sure you know what temperature range you need.

Wildlife Safety

Wildlife is one of the greatest allures that camping can offer. From squirrels to grizzles, every animal in nature has a mystique and grace that is undeniably beautiful. But with this beauty comes danger. Mostly from the grizzlies, not so much the squirrels. Many campsites will offer protection from bears. Considering the most common reason for a bear to invade a campsite is that they smell food, many campsites offer food canisters, a large metal bin for your food. If one is not available, though, you can always make a Food Hang (or Bear Hang). Basically, you keep your food in a sack or a bin, about 100 feet away from your tent, and hang it from a tree branch. Bears can climb trees, so simply putting it up in a tree won’t work. But hanging it from branch let’s you protect your food while you are away.

The Food Hang is just a method to keep wildlife at a distance. And that is the key to wildlife safety, distance. You must keep in mind that this is their environment. This is their home, and you are visiting. So, you have to be a good guest. In houses that might mean taking off your shoes and using a coaster, but here it’s giving space to these animals, for them and for you.

Keeping safe while camping isn’t a chore by any means. With just a few ideas, tricks, and understandings you keep you and your family safe while camping, so you can enjoy your time without worrying


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Get the Kids Outdoors!

Bass Pro Shops' Go Outdoors Event continues this weekend with activities just for kids! Our sales continue throughout the weekend and Memorial Day.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Go OutdoorsSaturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 - Kids' Adventure Activities Weekend!

11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Our Daisy Inflatable Shooting Range is back! Each child receives a Certificate of Completion for trying the shooting range.

Kids' Workshops

11 a.m., 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. - Kids' Adventures in Camping

2 & 3 p.m. - Safe Passage - Water Safety

Kids' Adventure Scavenger Hunt

11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Find each item on the card and receive a free flashing clip (while supplies last)!

Metal Detector Treasure Hunt

11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Free Photo Download

11 a.m. - 5 p.m. - You on the cover of "Bass Pro Shops Adventure Kids"

Free Crafts

11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Color a wood camping tent and supplies magnet!

First 100 kids who complete the activities punch card each day receive a water bottle and whistle!

Try Before You Buy!

Our Gifts Department will be handing out samples from noon to 4 p.m., or while supplies last. Stop by for these tastes:

May 24 & May 25 - Uncle Buck's Jalapeno and Steak-Cut Sweet/Hot Teriyaki Jerky



Coming Up?Family Summer Camp Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Family Summer Camp 2014 returns June 7- July 13!



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It's Time to Go Outdoors!

Celebrate the Great Outdoors at Bass Pro Shops' annual Go Outdoors Classic!
Workshops, cooking demos, and our always popular kids' activities!


Go Outdoors Event - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

May 17-18 Free Workshops

  • Pack, Pitch, Play - Your basic guide to camping and survival - 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. both days
  • Wear it Right - 1 p.m. Five steps to choosing the the right life jacket - Presented by the Lake Red Rock - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Priorities of Survival - 2 & 4 p.m. both days

May 24 & 25 - Kids' Adventure Activities Weekend  - 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Our Daisy Inflatable Shooting Range is back! Each child receives a Certificate of Completion for trying the shooting range.

Kids' Workshops

  • Safe Passage - Water Safety - 2 & 3 p.m.
  • Kids' Adventures in Camping - 11 a.m., 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.

Kids' Adventure Scavenger Hunt - 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Find each item on the card and receive a free flashing clip (while supplies last)!

Metal Detector Treasure Hunt - 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Free Photo Download - You on the cover of "Bass Pro Shops Adventure Kids" - 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Free Crafts - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. - Color a wood camping tent and supplies magnet!

First 100 kids who complete the activities punch card each day receive a water bottle and whistle!


A Grand Adventure

Anthony Loos has competed in mixed martial arts and currently studies karate. However, the Altoona Tracker Boat Center Associate says a recent accomplishment was by far the most physically demanding thing he has ever done. Here's his story:

_________________________________________Grand Canyon Hike - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Our karate master instructor decided to sponsor a trip to the Grand Canyon. However, this wasn’t a vacation/pleasure trip…well, at least not most people’s idea of pleasure. It was specifically to hike the Canyon and to give his students something to achieve – both physically and mentally.

Our group of 15, led by our karate master, flew into Phoenix on May 1. I had checked through my Bass Pro Shops tent and other camping gear in a suitcase and had my clothing and personal items in my carry on. I packed light.

In our rented 15-person van, we headed to Flagstaff, stopping for lunch, and then pulled in at Mather Campground on the South Rim. We spent the rest of the evening making camp and preparing for the next day’s journey.

Friday morning, May 2, it was up and at 'em at 5 a.m. for our breakfast of bagels and peanut butter – calories and carbs to get our energy going for the day. Then we headed to the Canyon.

With my Go Pro camera strapped to my chest, we began our descent into the Canyon, entering at the South Kaibab Trail. We had picture-perfect conditions – sunny, very few clouds, and 45-50 degrees when we started at 6:30 a.m. It reached about 95 and stayed in that range for much of the day. That meant dressing in layers with lightweight, sweat wicking clothing. I also packed rain gear for the hike, because one never knows if the weather will change.

It was typical, dry Arizona air – that combined with the few clouds could cause some problems for the unprepared. Research I did before the trip suggested a calorie intake of 300 calories an hour during this type of hike and 20 ounces of water an hour. This would differ from person to person. For example, one member of our group is a marathon runner so her requirements would differ because her body was used to the exercise. So, I had my Ascend Hydration Pack with 70 ouncesGrand Canyon Ascend Hydration Pack  Bass Pro Shops Altoona of water and there were refill stations along the trail. I also packed pretzels, fig bars, energy bars, and honey, for its natural energy boost.

Our plan was to descend into the Grand Canyon and back out in the same day. Despite cautions against that idea, we were determined that we would finish. The grueling hike was close to 19 miles, with a one-mile elevation down and back up. The four-hour trip down turned into twice as long coming back up.

We navigated our way down the South Kaibab Trail to the Colorado River, where we took an extended break and splashed around in the water. We crossed the Colorado on the South Kaibab suspension bridge, made our way over to the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, and headed back up the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.

Of course, a hike back up a trail is typically the toughest part…and this was no exception. Our group of 15 had gradually migrated into three groups based on our speed. We had radios to communicate and provide some good-natured ribbing and encouragement. Our group talked while we walked, taking in all the sights, but the terrain is always changing, so keeping an eye on where we were stepping was very important. 

There were several switchbacks, which were the toughest part, because of their steep grade. Then it would level off for a while. Good hiking shoes or boots are paramount. We were more than simply walking, often stepping over wood or brick erosion control  steps, or hiking on  rocks, gravel, dirt, sand, and rock hopping over natural creeks. My RedHead hiking shoes were great. Oh, and we had to watch for the pack mules carrying riders up and down the trail…they have the right of way…which meant we also had to watch for mule droppings!

Other than the regular exercise I get through karate, I “trained” for the hike by doing five miles a day on a treadmill, for about Grand Canyon Hike - Bass Pro Shops Altoona Blogthree weeks, at the full incline position. Next time, I’ll do ten. The last mile of the trail was tough…it took us about 40 minutes. Our legs and feet felt like lead. The sun was setting and our group decided to sit down and take a quick break. A group of guys going down into the Canyon came by and said, “Good job - you’re just five minutes from the top!”

I guessed their five minutes would actually be 20 minutes for us…it ended up being ten. Our group finished the hike in the middle at just under 13 hours. The first group finished at about 9.5 hours, while the group following us finished at 14.5 hours.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Even though that last mile was pure torture. Even though I didn’t see any scorpions, tarantulas, or rattlesnakes, as I had hoped.

A group of Iowa karate students accepted a challenge and accomplished their personal goals.

There are signs at the beginning of the trail noting that 250 people a year are rescued by helicopter when they reach the bottom.

I, Anthony Loos, was not one of them.


Anthony had his Go Pro set to take photos every 30 seconds on the hike. Take part in the virtual hike here on our YouTube channel!


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Mummy Bags vs. Rectangular

Choosing the right sleeping bag is crucially important, it can make or break your whole camping trip.  If you choose a bag that’s not warm enough or too confining, the result will be a restless night because of cold temperatures and lack of space.  Besides temperature rating misjudgments and size issues, more major concerns that are often overlooked are the weight of your bag as well as amount of space it occupies when rolled up. It may just so happen you may be camping with an unnecessarily heavy bag that takes up much space.  To ensure you pick the right bag for you it is important to know a few differences between the two major types of sleeping bags, mummy and rectangular.



Mummy bags are typically used in very cold temperatures. They are form fitting to eliminate the amount of air around the body, so less heat has to be generated to maintain a constant temperature.  This type of bag also has a type of “hood” around the top to ensure maximum heat retention since the majority of body heat is lost through the head.  Mummy bags are light weight and compact, this makes them ideal for backpacking.  The compression bags that typically accompany mummy bags are great space savers.  In comparison with rectangular bags, lower degree mummy bags are noticeably lighter, warmer, and more compact.  This may be a great benefit for lower degree bags, but rectangular bags used in warmer temperatures have a few advantages over mummy bags.



Rectangular bags are better suited for car or tent camping, not backpacking.  This type of bag is usually a little heavier and bulky but is better as far as comfort and room to move.  When size and pack ability is not an issue then this bag is most commonly the best choice.  Because this type of bag has much more room to move it can be a great benefit in warmer weather.  The airflow and openness of this bag allow for more circulation and reduce uncomfortable heat.  These bags by no means are strictly used for warmer temperatures even though they do much better in heat than mummy bags.  Lower degree rectangular bags can be extremely warm and allow for room for sleeping bag liners for added warmth which is a not an option with mummy bags.


All in all both rectangular bags and mummy bags have their pros and cons.  Hopefully this will help make the decision for the perfect sleeping bag a bit easier to make.  Whether camping or backpacking finding the right sleeping bag is extremely important to ensure your trip is a success.   Bass Pro Shops has a large variety of both types of bags.  Stop in and visit the camping department where friendly and knowledgeable associates will make sure you find the bag you need and will love.


Ascend to New Heights!

How do you ASCEND? Kayaking
Do you Ascend the mountains with backpacks?
Do you Ascend rivers and lakes in your kayak?
Do you Ascend the Boundary Waters?
Do you Ascend hiking trails?
Do you Ascend into back countries to pitch your tent?
Do you Ascend in warmer climates and sleep under the stars?

Bass Pro Shops wants to see how you ascend to the outdoors using Ascend gear...and it could worth $2,000 in Ascend gear!

  • Create a video of yourself using Ascend gear outdoors, and make sure it's no longer than two minutes.
  • Submit the video to
  • You will receive a FREE Ascend water bottle just for entering!
  • What's really nice is you have most of the summer to nail down that perfect video! Deadline to enter is July 31 and the winner will be selected and announced on August 15.

The winner will receive $2,000 in Ascend gear AND be on the Ascend Pro Staff as a Power User for one year!

Check out this sample video a current Power User:

Grab your video camera and Ascend!


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Preparing for Severe Weather

This time of year, in many parts of the country, the National Weather Service and states sponsor Severe Weather Parkersburg tornado 2008 by McMahonAwareness weeks. I've not been in a tornado, and hope I never am, because I've witnessed the immediate aftermath firsthand in the community of Parkersburg, Iowa, when the F-5 tornado went through there six years ago in 2008.

We can't preach enough about natural disaster/severe weather preparedness. From the basics of having an emergency medical kit, an extra set of clothes, food, and water tucked away where it hopefully won't blow away, to generators and solar chargers, there are so many ways to be prepared. But it doesn't do it by itself. We could go on and on here about what you need to do and buy, but I want to just focus on a few basics. Mostly I'm doing this as a reminder that my husband and I need to get our act together and get our emergency prep gear together.

  • To start with, get a weather radio. A Midland weather alert radio, or the Acurite NOAA Weather Alert radio, are good basic pieces of technology that could save you in the event of a tornado or flash flood. Program it specifically to your location and put it where it will wake you up and get you out. Make sure to keep fresh batteries in it, in case power goes out. My biggest fear is being asleep if a tornado hits. The tornado sirens in my town aren't loud enough to wake me up if the windows are closed and the air is running...and chances are the the air will be on if the conditions are right for a tornado. Tornado sirens are designed to wake you up at night...they're designed to warn folks during the day.
  • We're essentially talking about your home base here, however, you might be camping, RVing on a long trek, or boating, so there are also weather radios designed for those situations. They come in hand-held sizes, and with hand cranks and even solar charging capability. The last place you want to be is in a tent or camper when severe weather strikes.
  • First Aid kit - Invest in a good first aid kit with the basics to get you and your family through two or three days, if needed. While you're at it, get one for your car, too!
  • Gather together and extra blanket or sleeping bag for each person.
  • Put a change of clothes for everyone in the same location as the sleeping bags/blankets.
  • Buy a case of water.

Some people may go the route of getting a generator. I've been in severe electric storms trying to pump water out of a basement, all the while praying and crossing fingers that the power wouldn't go out. From portable gasoline generators to machines that run on gas or propane to the Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit, you can have back up power for disasters if at home or on the road.

There's even more you can do in regard to staying connected in the event of an emergency. I remember during the previously mentioned torrential storms watching the radar on the computer screen in our basement trying to track the storms and, again, hoping the power wouldn't go out. The charger line from Brunton includes the Hydrogen Reactor that can produce energy on the go in varying conditions, and smaller chargers good for keeping that smartphone or cell phone running for at least a bit more.


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Spring Turkey Hunting: A Story to Remember


Turkey Season is upon us once again, if the snow ever clears enough to go out scouting for scrapes, dustings, or nesting’s we would be able to set up blinds. For the past decade, I have been hunting at My Dads House in Davisburg, Michigan. Like every hunter, I have a story about what went wrong when that monster Tom is in your sights.

I did my pre scouting, set my blind, and prepped all my equipment the night before. Scared I wouldn’t wake up I made sure I set the alarm to be up before dawn. Early morning comes and I walk very quietly to my tent, sit down and relax because my adrenaline is really flowing by now, I’m hearing the turkeys starting to gobble. This happens before or just after they fly down from the trees.  Then I start hearing every movement in the woods, just waiting to see a hen or a tom come in.

Then, out of the corner of my eye I see movement, my heart starts beating really fast, I have to tell myself to calm down, don’t make a quick movement and scare them away. There, coming closer, first you see Jakes, then wait for it, wait for it , and then, the big Monster Tom comes in with a 14” beard, and I’m saying come on just a little closer, a little closer, and there he is, right in front of me. I aimed dead on; it’s a perfect shot, the Tom Flies up a little and doesn’t drop.

I can’t figure out why he’s still alive. So I check my sites, I know I hit him, but the monster Tom with the 14”beard just walks away. I just know I hit him. My hunting buddy calls me as the turkey goes out of site. He says “How could you have missed, he was right there”.  He comes to look at my  Shotgun to see why I missed the Turkey.

Then looks at me with little puppy dog eyes and tells me OOPS…… I forgot to put your Turkey Choke in -- Honey! Errrrrr, I just missed the longest bearded Turkey I have ever had come into range. Realizing how bad he felt didn’t matter, I still wanted to choke him, but I didn’t. 

So the lesson I learned is always make sure your equipment is properly set up. Even though I missed a Tom of a lifetime, I have to say that was probably the best hunting experience I ever had. It even makes a great funny story to tell at deer camp. For more blogs on Turkey Hunting and Shotguns go to and click on blogs.

That’s My Story and I’m sticking with it………

Mary Callahan

Promotions Cordinator

Bass Pro Shops

Auburn Hills, MI


Camping season's here!

It's almost camping season! Here at Bass Pro Shops we have all the essentials. From your tent to your cooking gear.


Camp wherever your truck can go. We have Rightline Gear all seasons 2-person truck tents in all different sizes for everyone's truck! This is an easy to set up tent with color coded poles and instruction sheets sewn into the stuff sacks. With a floor less design you are able to set this tent up without removing gear from your truck bed. The outside has mesh windows and doors with storm covers for protection. On the inside,it  has 2 gear pockets, lantern hanging hook, and glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls! Don't worry about your truck because Rightline has created heavy duty straps and plastic buckles that won't damage your truck's finish. This is a great tent for weekend warriors, adventurers, hunters, fishermen, and family campers!!




If you and the littles are heading out for a trip, we've got a luxurious Coleman Weathermaster Screened six person tent. It has reverse angle windows that hold out rain while allowing ventilation. . Great for hot summer days, the Weathermaster Screened 6 provides amazing ventilation with its screened room, and roof. In the inside of the tent there is a privacy vent window. Because the kids are always on the go to make it easier for you it has a quick and easy setup with color-coded continuous pole sleeves and InstaClip™ attachments made of  Strong steel and fiberglass frame. So you are able to charge your phone, flashlight, GPS or whatever else you may need it has an electrical access port so you don't need to worry about leaving your door unzipped!

Coleman has an instant screen shelter that you can use at the camp site around the dinner table, or even brought to the beach it is great shelter from sun, rain and insects. It pops up easily in less than 60 seconds. It will come assembled in an easy to carry bag with a patented design. It has a durable, 1-piece, steel frame that features Coleman push button release levers for a quick and easy setup. It has two doors for easy access. 





Bass Pro shops has the perfect sleeping bags. We've got double sleeping bags that Includes two pillows. Our single and double sleeping bags have adjustable compression straps with side release buckles, that helps with easy storage. And for those extremely chilly nights, when you may need another layer, we have a fleece liner that will keep you warm!


If you're not interested in sleeping on the ground, or are worried about the rainy weather we have plenty of cots to choose from. We have an easy to assemble Bass Pro shops single Big Outdoorsman Cot with Steel legs, steel frame and big durability. It is dual-layered, ultra-rugged, and water resistant 600 denier polyester fabric. For a heavy duty cot, you would need a heavy-duty zippered carry bag that comes with it. And for your double sleeping bag, you need a double cot. It is a fast and easy outdoor sleeping space for two adults that sets up in minutes. It has a durable steel frame with powder-coated finish, heavy-duty, water-resistant 600D polyester fabric with a durable zippered carry bag included.





And don't forget that you will need a lantern or two. We also have a great Bass Pro Shops combo. This flashlight and lantern combo requires no batteries or power cords. It's great for emergencies or camping, the flashlight and lantern use bright LED bulbs and can get about 20 minutes of illumination for 1 minute of winding! It includes an on/off switch that allows you to conserve your power with both light sources.





Feel that sunshine on your face? Cool yourself down with a refreshing beverage that has been staying cold on this 90 degree day in your Colman stainless steel Belted cooler. It is a large, sturdy stainless steel handles with rubber comfort grips makes transporting easier. The stainless steel hinges and screws resist rusting and breakage with a durable and easy-to-clean base, lid, and liner!





Prepared for Camping



March 21, marked the first full day of spring.  Everyone’s looking forward to a break from the frigid winter we’ve had, and are busy getting ready to hit the Great Outdoors again.  However we need to keep in mind that just because the calendar says it is so, doesn’t mean Mother Nature totally agrees.

Many people are buying hiking packs, tents, and sleeping bags and are heading out this weekend in all directions for camping trips.  But, this is the time one really needs to pay attention to the predicted and unpredicted weather changes. This week in Central Arkansas, alone, we have gone from 28 degrees and snow to 60+ degrees and sunshine in 5 days.  It is extremely important to keep that in mind when preparing for an outing regardless of the number of days one plans to be outside.

Hypothermia is a serious issue at this time of year and can quickly become fatal if it occurs.  Hypothermia can begin when the body core loses as few as 6 degrees and decreases rapidly if the situation isn’t dealt with immediately. To help prevent this from happening, particularly at night, some simple steps can be taken to keep one safe and comfortable.

Tents, Sleeping Bags, and Clothing are major factors in this issue.  Many tents are now rated as 2, 3, or 4 seasons compatible. Be aware of the temperatures in the area you are going to, then check out the label on the tent package or go on line to the manufacturer, to see which season ratings are given on the tent you plan to take. Be sure the tent is water proofed and that it is sturdy enough to hold up to mixed weather conditions such as rain, snow or winds.

Sleeping Bags come in many varieties and types, weights, lengths, widths, and temperature tolerances. For example a sleeping bag rated suitable for 55+ degrees would not be suitable for colder regions at this time of year. If you prefer only camping out in the warmer summer months, a  -0 or -20 degree bag would probably be uncomfortable.  A s far as shapes of sleeping bags, the smaller interior Mummy bag is a good choice for the extreme cold areas.  Some of us prefer to have more leg room and interior mobility in our sleeping bag and would rather have the Rectangular shaped bag. Rectangular sleeping bags also have temperature ratings that fit your needs.  Another factor to consider on purchasing a sleeping bag is the person’s size. You will be more comfortable if the sleeping bag isn’t too tight across your chest or too short for your height. The bag should be able to be zipped up easily around you and allow for some “wiggle” room.  Keep in mind that in the cold, heavier clothing will be worn in addition to your body size and you don’t need to be compressed too tightly in the bag.

When it comes to clothing, you should “layer what you wear”.  A sleeveless undershirt is a great place to start. It should fit snuggly but not too tight.  From there you can add a  long john shirt or long sleeve Under Armour  shirt  then Flannel shirt or sweat shirt, and  jacket or coat, or coveralls  or whatever external clothing your prefer.  By putting the sleeveless shirt on first, you will be able to change out the clothing without losing all your body heat and your modesty.   A stocking cap for the nighttime is a necessity.  90% of your body heat can be lost through you head and face.  Socks or foot coverings will also make your efforts to stay warm in the sleeping bag easier to do.

If you will be sleeping in your bag on the floor of the tent rather than on a cot, the bag should be placed on a mat or blow up type mattress.  When choosing a mat to put under the sleeping bag, it is recommended to use a very tight, closed cell pad rather than the wider, looser foam mats such as an egg-crate type mattress, because the wide weave allows for the cold temperature of the ground to be absorbed by the sleeping bag.  Keep these tips in mind when shopping for yourself, and for others that you are responsible for; especially small children.  Be Safe, Be Smart, and Enjoy your trip.

Alicia Ray-Camping Dept.

Bass Pro Shop-Little Rock,Arkansas  




Building a Weekend Survival Pack

A weekend in the great outdoors is a wonderful experience, the sights and sounds can fill the time with beauty. But many times spending the weekend out in the wilderness is a hassle, the tents, the food and the schedules often times get in the way of just having a good time in the woods. This is where survival camping becomes a fun idea. The premise is that a small group goes out into the wilderness for a weekend and brings nothing but the necessities. Here are some of ideas on what to put in this survival pack.

First things first. Any survivor needs to get the necessities, starting with fire. So bringing a small compact fire starter is always a must. One of the easiest to use and lightest fire starters on the market is the Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter. This fire starter can be used one handed and is essential for the new survivor.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter

The next necessity is of course water. While finding a good source of water during the survival weekend is a necessity, having a way to purify the water is also needed. A great way to do this is to invest in a good water purifier, one of the best on the market is the Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System. This system allows a person to use a single bag specifically for non-purified water and a bag for clean water making it easy to use and store. The large size makes it great for those trips where a few people are out on their own and in need of water.

Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System

After water is found the next need is definitely food. Finding the right food for a survival bag is crucial. Using freeze dried or dehydrated foods are often a must, a great company for this is the Backpacker's Pantry®. They have an easy to use packaging that allows a person to boil water and add the water directly to the food inside the package. This makes the entire process quick and painless for a survivor in the wilderness.

Backpacker's Pantry® Colorado Omelet                                                                                        Backpacker's Pantry® Pad Thai Rice Noodles with Vegetables and Roasted Peanuts

As for pain a necessity of all survivors is the first aid kit. These should have a wide array of tools needed to keep an injured survivor healthy until medical personnel can arrive. A good pack that has all the necessities like bandages, trauma pads, gloves , and a first aid booklet is the Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit. With a wide array of medicine and bandages this kit is perfect for those people who want to survive a weekend in the wild.

Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit (Level 5 Care 10 People/6 Days)

The last necessity in any survival bag is definitely the knife. Now the choice in knife is always hard because there are so many styles and sizes to choose from. For a survival kit though a must have is a fixed blade knife that is sharp, durable and preferably made out of stainless steel. This means that the knife will not break under moderate use and will not corrode over time like other steel blades. A knife that matches all these requirements is the RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife. The stainless steel means keeping the blade oiled is not a problem, so checking the status of the survival bag is far easier.

RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife

Now that the necessities have been covered, here are some of the things that are good in a survival pack but not a necessity. The first thing is a good length of paracord, this light high tension cord makes great binding for improvised shelters or for general uses around a camp. A great length of paracord is the Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord. This gives a person enough cord to use around camp as well as keep some in the pack for later, just in case.

Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord

Another option for the survivalist pack is a foldable saw. These saws are usually made to cut through small trees and saplings with ease while at the same time being able to be folded up into a small bundle in order to be stored in as little space as possible. A great tool to use for this is the Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCut™ Saw, this saw can cut through limbs and saplings with ease and at the same time folds into a small pouch that is easily carried on a belt or backpack zipper.


Another must have for a survivor out for the weekend is a tarp. The tarp can be literally used for any number of things in the wilderness, from a ground covering to keep a survivor off the wet ground to a quick shelter in case of a sudden downpour. A good tarp for the job is the Texsport® Ripstop Tarp in a size of 10’ by 12’. This is big enough to make a good shelter or to cover enough ground to keep a few survivors off the wet ground.


Surviving for a weekend in the woods has the possibility of being one of the most fun things a person can do. Having the right survival bag ready can help make that weekend a lot easier and far safer. These few helpful hints on what to include in a survival bag can help the would be survivalist start their bag successfully. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Eureka! - A Tent Testimonial

Campers are ready for spring camping weather and should be evaluating their equipment. Whether you're looking to replace or upgrade gear, or you're just starting out with tent camping, usually the shelter is the first stop. We asked Bass Pro Shops Altoona Camping expert Chuck Stevens for his tips on buying a good tent for camping:

I have a Eureka Timberline Original A-Frame 4-Person Tent. People like the classic items that are tried and true over the years, and this is a classic A-frame tent that is celebrating 40 years of production.

I have done, and continue to do, a great deal of camping and kayaking. When I shop for camping gear, I look for quality and I can say I put the Timberline 4 through a VERY rigorous six weeks of spring camping.

I sat through back to back to back to back 3" rain storms with very high winds reaching 40 mph (that's not a typo - there were multiple storms over multiple days). The guy lines on the ends work nicely and the criss-cross guy lines on the sides anchored this tent down beautifully in those super high winds!

The aluminum poles work very well - helps make it light for transport and easy set up. The sturdy well-designed frames, taped seams, and storm shield rain fly did not let me down.

A couple of other tips when outlining your tent camping necessities:

  • I use Eureka ground cloths under the tent and also inside on the floor. They worked especially well with all the rain.
  • I also use, inside the tent, two Therm-a-rest Base Camp Inflatable mattresses. These mats are one of the best investments a tent camper can ever make. The soft cushion with thermal properties make it a must have in my opinion and it has been a camping mattress of choice for other campers for over 35 years.

Find some additional tips on selecting a tent, in general, on Eureka's page. You'll also find a link to Tent Care tips including the importance of keeping your tent clean, sealing seams, and making sure it is put away dry.

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A Small Part in a Great March

On Saturday, March 1, hundreds of people will be starting a trek across the country. Iowan Robert Cook will be on that walk and is taking a bit of Bass Pro Shops along. Bob from the Great March for Climate Action

The Great March for Climate Action gets underway Saturday and Robert has been coming in to pick up a few items for the walk. Bob recently retired as a minister after 40 years. He is passionate about his participation in the passionate, he is committed to completing the walk from LA to Washington D.C. in eight months. Over 200 marchers, from 36 states and 6 countries plan to walk 15 miles a day, camping along an established route that will wind through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and on east. It's a green march and they will be practicing Leave No Trace every moment on the trail and at their campsites. They'll have a solar-powered mobile kitchen to provide meals for the walkers. They will rest on Sundays.

In preparation for his walk he has purchased numerous items from Bass Pro Shops Altoona.

"This store has played a HUGE part in my preparation. I had never been here and had driven by several times on I-80. Someone told me to check the store out for my supplies. I walked in and was amazed by the size and beauty of the store."

Some of the items he has purchased includes RedHead CoolMax Liner Socks for men. He layers those with RedHead Hiking Socks and he already knows they're going to be a charm! He has purchased several pairs for the journey. The liners help create a great barrier to help prevent blisters. He has been wearing the combination during his daily training for the walk and he says they feel great!

Other items he has purchased include insect repellent, a tarp for his tent to sit on, a wash basin for cleaning up, an LED lantern, a Bass Pro Shops camp chair, and an Ascend Dry Bag.

Best of luck to Bob and the other marchers as they walk for their for reports of them coming by your location and give them a wave. We hope to see them here at Bass Pro Shops Altoona mid-way through their walk when they camp in the area!


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1926 - Scouting Spreads Along the Florida Panhandle

In 1926, the Scouts in the Panama City and Marianna areas were organized into the Choctawhatchee Council with headquarters in Dothan, Alabama, which was already serving a number of other counties in southeast Alabama.  The annual report of the National Council for 1926 listed 39 Scout Troops with 766 Scouts in the Choctawhatchee Council.  An interesting note shown in the cost per Scout reported $9.24 each, which would have made the Council's budget for that year, $7,077.

Mr. W. L. Sprouse was named as the first Scout Executive of the Choctawhatchee Council with offices in Dothan.  Mr. Sprouse wrote with admiration of the early days in that area, telling of Camp Cheerful in the Bear Creek section of Bay County, which at that time was the BSA Camp directed for 15 counties in Alabama and Florida.  It was a "real wilderness camp".  Today's maps show no trace of Camp Cheerful, however Bear Creek runs northeast of Saint Andrews Bay towards the Youngstown, Florida area.

Mr. Sprouse also said, "we used to ramble over Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Bay, Calhoun, and Washington counties on the Scouting Trail.  The pioneer days passed all too soon.  Even now I can see and hear the old gang gathered around the campfire at Camp Cheerful on beautiful Bear Creek where we held our summer camps".

Beginning in 1961, the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation was founded just west of Defuniak Springs.  It offers full camping facilities at two main camps; Camp Euchee and Camp Jambo.  Featuring a 40 acre lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing, there is also a large dining hall, shooting and archery ranges, and outdoor ampitheatre.

Part of the Choctawhatchee Council was incorporated into the present day Gulf Coast Council headquartered in Pensacola and currently serves over 15,000 youth in 11 counties.  The Council encompasses four Districts:  Pensacola Bay (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida), Long Leaf Pine (Conecuh, Escambia, and Monroe counties in southwest Alabama), Choctawhatchee (Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida), and Lake Sands (Bay, Gulf, Holmes, and Washington counties in Florida).

Camping has certainly come a long way from primitive camping, surplus canvas tents, cooking over open campfires, and dim flashlights of the 1920's.  Today's camper has a wide variety of lightweight and watertight tents, warm sleeping bags, long lasting and very bright led lanterns and flashlights, and propane or liquid fueled stoves.  Let Bass Pro Shops outfit your Scout or Troop with the very best in camping gear.

Destin Bass Pro Shops continues to support Scouting and wishes them another 100 years of success on the Gulf Coast.

Gary Feduccia


"Extreme Ice Fishing!"

Extreme Ice Fishing!

By: Jerry Costabile

I have been ice fishing the Midwest for around forty years and I have never experienced conditions like there have been this winter.

I was excited that by Christmas, we had cold enough temperatures here in SE Wisconsin to have ice to safely fish most lakes. Than by the New Year, there was fishable ice on all of the lakes I usually have to wait until later in January to get on. It was looking like a great start to the season for all! The local bait shops were getting good sales, the bigger stores had good ice fishing sales, and the interest in the Arctic Cat ATV’s and UTV’s here at TRACKER Boat Center was increasing. All this action and it was early in the season!

Then while watching the weather one night, I hear a new weather term, the polar vortex, also known as a polar cyclone, polar low, or a circumpolar whirl. I will leave it to you to look up the scientific definition for what I call just plain cold! We were getting temps in the negative teens with wind chills in the negative 30’s and 40’s, even had reports of wind chills on -50 degrees! Wow, you talk about ice making weather!

Most ice fishermen would have stayed home in the warmth and comfort of their living rooms, but I am not most ice fishermen. I had a day off and I was going fishing. Wind, cold, snow, I didn’t care, I was going. I am lucky enough to own an insulated Clam shelter and a Buddy Heater, I would be fine right?

The trip started with pre-rigging rods and tying knots in the warmth of home the night before. This was probably the smartest thing I did during this trip. I got up early the next morning with my youngest son Kyle, who always is a challenge to get going at a pace faster than a snail in the morning. The coffee was brewing while we got dressed and got all of the equipment outside. My fishing partner and his grandson were to arrive at 4:15am and it was now about 4 and I was still checking that we had everything to battle the elements and I also had the lunch that I was going to grill, fresh venison steaks with onions on a toasted Kiser bun. There is nothing better than a grilled venison steak sandwich out ice fishing!

I was confident that my Frabil Icearmor suit would keep me warm, after all I hunted the last day of the bow season last year in -25 degree wind chills and it kept me warm. Kyle had his cold weather gear together,  so I think we were ready for whatever mother nature would throw at us. Little did we know how hard she could throw!

We loaded everything into the Dodge and headed north for the 2 hour drive to Lake Winnebago to fish for big perch, whitebass, and walleye. The ride up was quite with the two teenagers both asleep in the back seat . Because of the long ride, we were going to stop at a gas station near the lake to get dressed in our cold weather cloths and head to the lake ready for the day.

When we arrived at the access point to drive onto the lake, we noticed the wind was blowing the snow pretty good. This was going to make setting up interesting! The plowed road out to the fishing area that we wanted to fish, was in good shape so ice travel wasn’t going to be a problem. There were Christmas trees marking the road so even with the blowing snow, we could navigate if my GPS I had in my hand failed. After crossing a steel bridge (these are put over pressure cracks for safe travel) we arrived at our fishing spot about a mile and a half off shore. Now at this point it still looked like a cold, windy day that we have fished in a thousand times before. But when I opened the truck door, I was hit by a blast of cold air that was being pushed by 30 to 40 mile an hour winds that got my attention, it was going to be a one set up day. If the fish didn’t bite here, there was no moving to another spot, this was it!

Setting up my Clam Voyager shelter wasn’t too bad to set up, we used the truck as a wind break  and once the support bars were in place, we were up. The other shelter that was to be occupied by my partner and his grandson, was a hub style shelter. These are very light and tall, so it took a lot to get the shelter up and tied to the truck. The wind and blowing snow had now built up to blizzard like conditions, complete white out! You couldn’t see anything, the shoreline, or the other trucks that were less than a hundred yards away. We finally got settled into our heated shelters and fishing. We fished for an hour without anything to show for our efforts and I decided to step outside. What I saw as I walked around the truck, looking in all directions I still couldn’t see anything. There was a 3 foot snow drift building on the up wind side of my truck, this was not good. I voted to break down the shelters and get off of the lake, but I was over ruled by the grilled venison steak sandwiches I promised to cook. Now, the wind is hurricane force, and the blowing snow put us in less than perfect grilling conditions, but I was expected to have lunch ready for everyone! I went into my shelter put away the fishing equipment and turned it into the camp cook tent. The portable grill was set up and in ten minutes the steaks were sizzling in butter with onions grilling next to them. It took about another ten minute and I had two hungry teenagers looking into the vented door opening saying how good it smells, I have to say that the smell of our lunch was getting to me too! After a quick but hot sandwich, we broke down our gear and headed off of the lake. It was a wise choice because we both agreed that this was the worst weather that we ever fished in and it was getting dangerous out there. Thank god nothing happened to the truck, it could have been bad.

We stopped at the same gas station and undressed out of our heavy clothes, found the hot chili and ate until we were full and warm! The ride home was interesting to say the least. There were cars being blown off of the road and it was all we could do to stay on the road when the wind would gust.

I would like to say that we were successful on our fishing trip, but we didn’t catch a fish. What we did get is a lesson learned that sometimes you just have to stay home and pick a better day.



The Tent just for YOU

Choosing the correct tent for your next hiking or camping trip can be tricky depending on how big of a tent you need, or if it needs to be stuffed into a relatively small hiking backpack.  The tents that we offer here at Bass Pro Shops will give you a good variety to choose from for your needs.

If your looking for a less expensive option for your hiking trip, I would recommend the Hiker Biker Tent because of the lightweight factor, and does a relatively good job at keeping you warm throughout the night. For the more serious hikers in a colder climate, I would recommend the Ascend H2.2 Two-Person or Ascend H2.3V Three-Person, depending on how many people will be on this hiking trip.  While Bass Pro Shops does offer the Ascend H1.1V One Person Tent as well.

As for the more casual campers with a relatively small party size, such as a family of 3-6 people, there are many tents that can be chosen from.  My personal two favorites being the Coleman Sundome Four-Person Tent and the Coleman Evanston Six-Person Tent.  While we also offer a different style of tent that comes equipped with a screen porch, such as the BPS Four-Person Dome Tent.

Coleman tent at nightAnd of course we did not forget about the bigger parties that go camping.  We offer two great cabin tents that come equipped with indoor lighting and fans.  The first one being the Coleman Prairie Breeze Nine-Person that has six windows and only has a carry weight of about 33 pounds.  The second cabin tent that we carry here at Manteca Bass Pro Shops, is the Coleman Vacationer Ten-Person Tent.  This tent comes with two rooms, with the middle wall being removable if needed, two hinged swinging doors on each side of the tent, and 8 large windows.

Feel free to come on in to your local Manteca Bass Pro Shops for any questions regarding any of the tents listed, or any others that you might be interesting in purchasing. Note: all tents listed above are tents regularly sold in the Manteca Bass Pro Store, with many others as well. Not all tents sold online, may be available in store.Tent in the woods

Tim T.

Manteca Bass Pro Shops


Sleeping Bags

For those of you brave enough to scale the high peaks or just enjoy tenting this time of year, a sleeping bag is a must.  The Ascend -40 Mummy Sleeping Bag or the Ascend -20 Mummy Sleeping Bag   is a great idea .  Both bags have a double layer of offset quilted construction with no cold spots.  They are durable with a adjustable contoured hood and chest baffle to lock in body heat.  Both bags also include a compression sack.  The -40 is used for extreme weather while the -20 can be used for cross country ski treks and wintertime adventures.












Need a little extra warmth?  Try the Bass Pro Shop Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner. Made of 100% polyester micro fleece.  Use this as a extra layer or by itself as a lightweight summer bag.








Do you move around alot when sleeping?  Check out the Browning McKinley oversized rectangular sleeping bag.  Large and spacious this sleeping bag allows you to twist and turn  while being durable and warm.












So,  when looking for what fits your need, take your time and ask questions.  We have a knowledgeable staff that will help you make the right decision .

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator