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NOAA Weather Radio online at UrbanHikr

| October 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Before leaving home for your next outdoor adventure don’t forget to check the weather and then adjust your clothing and gear to match. Being caught in a storm miles from your car when you don’t have the gear to deal with it can result in misery at best and a fight for survival at worst.

In the US, one of the best sources of weather comes from the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts.

Now you can listen to NOAA Weather Radio online here

To hear the current live broadcast, scroll up or down through the list in the radio below and find the location closest to where you’re going. The broadcast stations are listed using the alphabetical order of the states’ two-letter codes.

NOAA Weather Radio Live

For more information, see the NOAA Weather Radio website.

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How to make our quick and delicious Sherpa Tea recipe – our favorite trail tea ever

| September 12, 2014 | 0 Comments


When you’re out on a day hike or backpacking trip in cold conditions, having a cup of delicious, hot tea with lunch or dinner can be a great pick-me-up.

In this article, I’ll show you how to make an instant tea mix in the tradition of the Nepalese Sherpas that will all-but-guarantee you’ll be draining your mug to the bottom and boiling more water for seconds.

Traditional Sherpa butter tea

The Sherpas have valued "butter tea" as a nutritious, warming, and hydrating drink for centuries. They make it by heating water with tea leaves, adding milk, and then when it’s bubbling, finishing it with the addition of yak butter and salt.

Now, I don’t know about where you live, but my local supermarket doesn’t stock yak butter. Plus, the traditional process is a bit too long-winded for my trail needs. So, here’s a recipe for making a powdered mix that works well on the trail while still being delicious.

Sherpa tea recipe

To make Sherpa tea mix you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of powdered tea
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of salted butter

The taste of your tea will be significantly better if you use whole powdered milk, such as the Nido brand, or low-fat powdered milk, such as the Milkman brand. Also, make sure you buy powdered black tea with no added sugar, powdered milk, or flavoring. A suitable option is Lipton unsweetened iced tea.


Step 1

Mix together the powdered milk, tea, and sugar in a labeled ziplock bag or lightweight tub.

Step 2

To make the tea, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mix into your mug, add a small amount of cold water, and stir to dissolve the powdered milk.

Step 3

Add boiling water to your mug and stir.

If needed, add more mix or more water to adjust to your preferred taste.

Step 4

Cut a knob of butter and drop it onto the top of your tea.


You can, of course, leave out the butter entirely. But, the salty butter is part of what makes this tea taste so good, and if you’re out there exercising hard and the rest of your diet is good, you could think of the butter as a nutritional supplement. If you’re not sure about that, you can decide for yourself after reading up on the current controversy over the connection between saturated fat and heart disease.

If you’re heading out on a backpacking trip where it won’t be so hot that the butter will melt, you can either pack the butter separately to add at the time you make the tea, or more conveniently, cut it into pieces and drop it into the powered mix.

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Photo credits: Mark Beresford

Boost your next adventure with our pre-trail summer smoothie

| August 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Berry smoothies are a perfect, nutritious light summer meal for after a workout or before heading out on the trail. If you’re really in multi-tasking mode, you can drink your smoothie in the car while you drive. As an added health benefit, this will help you keep your hands off your phone.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A handful each of strawberries and blueberries will form the nutritional base and add natural sweetness. A banana will add thickness and a good dose of carbohydrate.


A scoop of protein powder will help to keep your hunger at bay and make it easier to resist that office doughnut before your next meal. Personally, I like chocolate flavored protein powder because what’s not to like about strawberries and chocolate.

A heaped spoonful of flax meal will add a boost of essential fatty acids, but don’t let it stop you if this isn’t in your cupboard. For milk, I like vanilla almond milk for its clean taste, but you could use cow’s milk or soy milk if you prefer.


If you have a nice countertop blender by all means use it for your smoothie. If you don’t have a lot of kitchen space or don’t want to spend the money, a cheap plastic container and a hand blender is all you need.  A hand blender is also faster to set up and clean-up than a countertop version, making it more likely that smoothies will become a regular part of your nutritional strategy. I use a Cusinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, which is a nice combination of price, quality, and small size.


Here’s how to make your smoothie step by step:

Step one

Rinse the berries and get everything into the container. I think you can handle the details yourself.


Step two

If it fits into your schedule, put the container in the freezer for a couple of hours while you go and workout. Or, if this is breakfast, plan further ahead and prepare the night before so it’s all frozen by the time you jump up out of bed at 5am all bright-eyed and ready to go (ha ha).  If you freeze the fruit, you’ll be rewarded with a colder, tastier smoothie.

Step three

Add the remaining ingredients to the container and get your kitchen kit ready.


Step four

Blend until smooth.


If you’re a frozen yogurt kind of person more than an ice-cream kind of person and you want your smoothie to be a little thicker, you can add some plain yogurt at this stage. And if you didn’t have time to freeze your fruit, you can throw in a handful of ice and crush it with the blender. I like to add ice anyway because those mini ice chips melting on your tongue are special treat.

Step five

Do yourself a favor and clean up your blender now by “blending” some warm soapy water. If like most people you’d prefer to spend your hard-earned cash on outdoor gear rather than emergency room bills, unplug your blender before carefully cleaning around the blade with a sponge.

Either pour it into a fancy glass and enjoy while relaxing to some funny cat videos, or put the lid on the container and make it a to-go smoothie.


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