Maintaining those zippers, dark skies and more outdoor news

Posted on: January 15, 2020 | Bob Frye | Comments

Take a quick look around the outdoors world with a tip, a fishing lure and more

Tip of the week

This is the age of self-driving cars and voice activated home assistants. So the zipper might not seem like much of a marvel, at least not compared to when it debuted on a large scale in 1913. But if you camp, sometimes far from home, broken zippers can mean a tent that leaks or a rain coat that offers no protection. So it pays to take care of them. To start, before going on any outing, wash the zippers on your clothes and gear with a mix of warm water and a mild detergent, like Dawn dishwashing soap. Use an old toothbrush to really get into the teeth. Rinse them, then let them air dry. Finally, lubricate the zipper with a thin layer of candle wax (lip balm will do in a pinch when away from home). The result should be a zipper that’s smooth and efficient.

Lure of the week

Lure name: Hyper-Glide

Company: Acme Tackle Co. (

Zippers are important on outdoor gear.


Lure type: Glide bait

Sizes and colors: Available in 1.5-, 2- and 2.5-inch models in numerous colors, including purple rain, blue/silver, parrot, orange/tiger glow, perch, lake chub and clown.

Target species: Yellow perch, crappies, bass and walleyes.

Technique: There are a lot of lures meant to mimic baitfish. This is one that appears to actually breather like one. It has an injected plastic minnow body. What makes it different is the “wings” that look like fish fins and, most importantly, open up as the bait falls. They not only allow the bait to glide as it drops, but give it the appearance of a baitfish opening and closing its gills. Those wings make noise by banging against the body as they open and close, too, producing some fish-attracting sound. How quickly those wings open and close depends on how fast you shake the bait. Jig it lazily and the wings move slowly; rip it and they open and close faster. You can also cast this bait out and retrieve it.

Sugg. retail price: $8.99.

Notable: These were initially designed to be an ice fishing lure. But they catch fish when worked vertically in open water, too. Or, alternately, you can cast this lure out and retrieve it so that the wings vibrate on the return.

Outdoors oddity of the week

One of the best parts of camping under the stars is, well, the stars. Provided you can see them.

That’s not always as easy as you might think.

Light pollution – defined in some circles as “excessive, misdirected or obtrusive use of light” of the manmade variety – makes it difficult if not impossible to see stars as they really are.

One study, the “World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness,” determined that 80 percent of the world’s population, and 99 percent of the United States’, lives under polluted skies.

Many of them, it said, will never see or experience the Milky Way.

It is possible, though, to get away from all that light and back under the stars in all their glory.

The International Dark Sky Association maintains a list of parks around the world where stars reign supreme. They are places, public and private, “possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.”

The list is here.

So when deciding where to camp this year, if dark skies and stars are considerations, check these parks out first.


Check this out: Tips on choosing the right flashlight for outdoor adventures

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Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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