Backpacking essentials

by Hints with Heloise

Backpacking essentials

Dear Heloise: A lot of people will be taking a BACKPACKING TRIP this year, and as a veteran of many backpacking trips over a number of years, I have a few hints for backpackers:
• Invest in a good compass, a GPS device designed for outdoor travel and a personal locator beacon. If things go wrong on your trip, you'll be glad you have these items because they work where a cellphone might not.

• ALWAYS pack sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat of some kind to protect your face. Sunburn or snow blindness is a serious problem for backpackers.

• Buy a good-quality knife. You'll use this tool more than you know.

• Take a small first-aid kit. Make certain it has disinfecting ointment, bandages of various sizes, disposable plastic gloves, over-the-counter painkillers and hand sanitizer.

• Take a headlamp, lighter and/or matches in a waterproof container.
Believe it or not, these are the things so many backpackers forget to include when they are hiking through the backcountry. - Jacob G., Telluride, Colo.

A summer abroad?

Dear Heloise: Please tell me how I can spend my SUMMER ABROAD so I can soak up the culture of other countries. - Kelly in Shawnee, Okla.

Kelly, a lot depends on where you are going and how long you plan to stay. Some European countries only allow a 90-day stay, while others, such as France, allow six months.
Do you want to work while you spend time in another country? If so, you will need to contact the embassy of that country and find out what the requirements are to stay and work there. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: What is the busiest month for getting married? - Hailey B., Daytona Beach, Fla.

Hailey, part of that answer lies in where you get married. We asked several bridal consultants and found out that June still ranks as No. 1, with August second, September third and October a close fourth. In the southern part of the country, April is a popular month because it is warm but not too hot. January came in dead last.

And why do so many girls get married in June? It's an old tradition that comes from several sources. One is the taking of the annual bath, back in days when bathing was done once a year, usually in late May or June. The couple were as clean as they would be for the rest of the year. Also, June is named after Juno, who is the goddess of marriage, children and home. To marry in June was to honor her. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: Which is better for you: sugar or honey? - Betty V., Livonia, Mich.

Betty, honey and sugar are both comprised of glucose and fructose, though honey contains less of each. Honey has been used for centuries as a sweetener and a medicine. It has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes. Sugar does not. However, sugar has about 49 calories per tablespoon while honey has 64. Honey is sweeter than sugar, which means you could probably use less honey than sugar. It is not recommended to give honey to children under 12 months of age due to a risk of infant botulism. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: A couple of years ago, I was given a beautiful, decorative box that sat on my dresser. It was fairly large but empty. One day, I decided to store all my perfume bottles inside. This reduced clutter on my dresser, kept sunlight off the bottles and kept all of my perfume at about the same temperature. People tell me that I'm hiding all the pretty bottles, but what good are the bottles if the perfume has lost its fragrance or evaporated? - Bianca W., Kingston, R.I.


Dear Heloise: How do I report fraud and scams? - Joyce S., Hickory, N.C.

Joyce, here are some places to report fraud and scams:

1. Medicare/Medicaid fraud and related matters: 800-HHS-TIPS, or

2. Mail fraud, lottery/sweepstakes fraud: U.S. Postal Inspection Service, 800-372-8347.

3. Internet fraud and lottery/sweepstakes fraud on the internet: Internet Crime Complaint Center,

4. Consumer fraud and identity theft: Federal Trade Commission, 877-FTC-HELP or 877-ID-THEFT.

If you are confused about where to report frauds or scams, contact the FBI at 202-324-3000 or 

- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband uses a large plastic cooler for food and drinks when he goes fishing. When he gets home, he dumps out the ice and closes the lid, resulting in a terrible smell inside the cooler. I scrub out the cooler with baking soda and vinegar, rinse and let it dry outside with the top opened wide. The smell is gone! - Rebecca F., Naples, Fla.


Dear Heloise: I love it when my linens smell nice, but I'm allergic to most fabric softeners and perfumes. I found that if I place scented votive candles at the back of each shelf in my linen closet, my towels and sheets take on a beautiful scent that lasts for several days when I use my linens. - Dawn P., Port Huron, Mich.


Dear Heloise: My son-in-law and daughter just bought their first home and moved in. It occurred to me that young couples need a lot of practical items, so as housewarming gifts, I usually give one or two of the following: gift certificate to a hardware store, hand cart, wheelbarrow, rake, shovel, hammer, welcome mat or cleaning supplies. These are items they need and often don't think about, so they make great gifts. - Meghan S., Brookside, Del.

(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.