Spring Camping Gear Checklist

Spring is finally here and it's time to get out of the house! If you'd like to do some hiking or set up a camp in the woods this weekend, there are a few things you'll need to stay comfortable on your trip.

Cold Nights in the Boise Area Call For a Good Tent

Depending on the elevation of your camp, you're probably going to face a cold night. A 4-season tent is critical to staying safe and warm. Consider checking out your local pawn shop for options. You may find thrifty camping gear to add to your supply.

Don't Skimp On the Sleeping Bag and Pad

There are plenty of mid-weight sleeping bags on the market, but if you're headed out this spring you will need a bag rated for 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Also look for a cold weather sleeping pad. Not only will this provide you with a bit more cushion, but this pad will offer thermal protection from the cold ground.

Don't Forget the Fleece

Moisture will build up inside your tent as you sleep through the night. If you're swaddled in cotton sweats, they'll get damp and you'll actually wake up colder than when you went to bed because your clothing will be wet.

Instead, load up your pack with poly fleece clothing and pack some extra fleece blankets. These will resist moisture and keep you snuggly warm, creating a warm cocoon of air between your skin and the fleece fabric.

Look For A Tent Heater

While you're checking out pawn shops for camping gear, keep an eye out for electric or propane tent heaters.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Look for a heater with the instructions included, or find the instructions on-line before you buy the heater. Propane heaters can warm up the tent before you go to bed but the restrictions on burning propane in an enclosed space MUST BE FOLLOWED.

Of course, if you plan for electric heat you'll need a space with hook-ups and an electric port in your tent. If you're planning to head deep into the woods, this option probably won't work.

Enjoy Your Trip!

Boise is a great town with a wide variety of beautiful places to hike and camp. However, the winters can be long and difficult. You can build up your stash of camping gear by keeping an eye on what's available in local pawn and second-hand shops. Invest wisely in your sleeping gear and always follow the instructions when burning propane for heat.

Buying a Used Bike? What to Look For

Living in Idaho means you probably know a thing or two about enjoying the outdoors.

You have your camping gear, fishing gear, or your outdoor cooking gear, but you're missing your bike. Those thinking about getting a used bike may want to know what to look for when buying one.

The Frame Inspection

When searching for a used bike, do not overlook its frame or the fork. You want to inspect the frame and fork because these are like the foundation of your bike. They are also one of the only parts of a bike that cannot be replaced.

So, if you really want your bike to provide long-term Boise biking, inspect and look for the following signs of a damaged frame or fork before making your purchase:

You may also want to look for bubbling under the paint of the bike because this could be telling you that there is some corrosion under there. It may even be a good idea to test your bike to make sure it can stay straight while riding.

Examine the Steerer and Headset

The headset is usually not too expensive to replace, but you should still check it because it is an expense you can avoid. What you want to do is press down on the brakes of the bike, and move the bike back and forth. You do not want to hear any knocking coming from the headset.

If you're thinking of getting a carbon steerer, take the following steps:

1. Remove the fork from the bike.
2. Look for corrosion around the crown or any other questionable issues.
3. Put the fork back.
4. Lift the front of the bike, and let the handlebars swing. Handlebars that stay put may have a problem.

A Closer Look at the Drivetrain

The drivetrain is another area you should check before purchasing a bike. Most people inspect the chain, but some do not know how to do it effectively. The following steps will help you check the chain:

1. Place the bike on a chainring with the largest rear cog.
2. Try to stretch the chain.
3. A chain that doesn't give much is okay, but a chain that gives too much may be a problem. More than 1/2 inch of space gap is no good.

You can always have your bike serviced if you feel like this is the bike for you because fixing it shouldn't be a big deal.

Wheel and Tire Check

Checking your bike's wheels is important because it could mean the difference between using it now or waiting until the wheels are fixed.

Check the following:

1. Lift the wheel (one at a time).
2. Spin the lifted wheel to check for wobbling. A millimeter of wobbling is okay, but anything more than that is not good.

You can check the tire by simply feeling it, making sure no air escapes. If the tire needs to be replaced, do so, and you'll be ready for some Boise biking.

Of course, these are just some of the things you need to inspect when purchasing a used bike. You should also make sure your brakes are working properly, or have them serviced if you want. Hopefully, some of these tips make your bike hunting more effective.

What's my stuff worth??

Besides providing customers with an exciting way to discover appealing products, pawn shops allow clients to receive quick payments for their unwanted goods. The convenience and ease of bringing an item in, receiving a quote, and leaving with cash in-hand cannot be understated. This process is a lot simpler and more straightforward than the in-depth steps associated with selling online!

With that said, anyone who's considering selling an item to a pawn shop should develop an idea of said item's value beforehand—that is, before entering the shop. Negotiation is a fun and engaging part of the pawn shop experience, but unreasonable negotiation—negotiation wherein one party pushes a price that's far outside of the market value—will put a damper on the process and reduce the odds of a deal being made.

In short, the best way to turn unwanted items into cash (and/or wanted items) is by researching their value prior to heading to a pawn shop.

To help pawn shop customers receive the best value and have positive selling experiences, let's take a look at some effective ways to determine the value of today's hottest goods!


Today's jewelry market is going strong, but there's so much variety and diversity—in style, materials, and quality—that it can be hard to figure out precisely how much a piece is worth.

For newer pieces, it's recommended that a jewelry valuation website be used. By calculating the value of an item's precious metals and stones, these sites can provide a ballpark pricing estimate. Importantly, these estimates don't account for aesthetic quality; certain jewelry items are worth significantly more than their materials.

To expand upon this point, many vintage jewelry items can fetch a sizable sum on the free market. It'd be wise to market these pieces as antiques—not raw materials. For noteworthy products, a quick Ebay search—filtered to show "sold" items—should produce a reliable pricing model.


Firearms are a bit harder to pinpoint, in terms of value, because they cannot be sold on as many online marketplaces. Geographic considerations affect the value of firearms, but generally, the bluebook of firearm values can help pawn clients to develop their bottom line.

Like vintage jewelry, vintage firearms are a different story; perform ample research before letting an old firearm go.


Electronics are perhaps the easiest items to value. Search for an item on Ebay, filter the results to "sold," and a rough estimation of said item's market value will be produced.

Remember that Ebay sales are subject to 20 percent fees, though, and be sure to verify that a listing's condition matches the condition of the item that will be sold at a pawn shop. Obviously, used items fetch lower prices than new items.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments can be difficult to price; an item's value is determined almost exclusively by its appeal to other musicians. As such, it's up to the seller to know what his or her item is worth.

Forget about how much was paid for this item—musical instruments are always depreciating—and perform a quick online search to learn about the base instrument's—meaning without considering its extras and modifications—value. Then, factor in condition and any improvements, attachments, or repairs that have been made, each of which will boost the value.

Use these factors to think of a fair sales price, but don't lose sight of the fact that musical instruments' pricing is subjective.

Sporting Goods

Last but certainly not least, the value of sporting goods is fairly easy to figure out. Ebay's sold items section is once again the best way to do so, but with sports equipment, condition is everything. Don't think of well-used baseball glove as two notches below new, condition-wise; think about how interested another player will be to use it in a game!

These tips are sure to make selling at a pawn shop easy, straightforward, and fun. Remember that pawn professionals will need to pay a bit less than an item's market value in order to turn a profit. Also, bear in mind that bargaining for goods—not just cash—can sometimes be more rewarding than attempting to sell an item outright.

And don't think twice about visiting Vista Pawn for all your buying, selling, and trading needs! We have locations in Boise, Nampa, and Mountain Home, and we'd be honored if you would "Come explore with us!"

Basic Bike Repair

Three Simple Bike Repairs

Summer is here and there is no better time to take a carefree bike ride around the greenbelt or neighborhood. However, as with any faithful machine, your bike can become vulnerable to wear and tear. So, it is always best to be prepared before taking to the road by knowing a little bit about bicycle repair. Here are three common issues and how to fix them fast.


  1. Getting a Loose Seat to Budge

It can be pretty irritating to deal with a seat that is stuck in a position that is either too low or too high. This usually happens, though, when you purchase a secondhand bicycle that has been ridden by the previous owner for several years. Fortunately, this is a simple problem to fix.

First, loosen your binder completely and remove the bolt and collar. Then, slather the entire area with grease and let your bike sit overnight. This should loosen the appropriate parts and the problem should take care of itself. If this method is not sufficient, simply grip your bike’s saddle, and attempt to twist the post free, or use a pair of pliers and a clamp to pull the pieces apart by twisting firmly.


  1. Fix a Flat Tire

Before you even begin, you should take a moment to check your tire pressure before searching for punctures. If your tires have not been inflated correctly, flats may occur, even without a hole. Just look on the sidewall of each tire for an indicator of the intended air pressure range, and use a bike pump with a built-in pressure gauge to inflate them to the specified levels if they are low.

If your tires continue to sag, then you will know right away that you are dealing with a dreaded puncture. For this reason, you should always travel with a spare inner tube in case of emergency.

Changing bike tires these days is easier than ever since most models contain a quick wheel release that doesn’t even require any tools. You will simply open the lever and the easily remove the wheel. Then, open the valve and let the remaining air escape. To avoid the valve sticking out on the tire’s inside; push the valve up into the tire.

Take two to three tire levers and wedge them under the tire’s edge. This will pop the tire from the rim. Now remove the inner tube, cautiously lifting it over the valve. Then, inflate the replacement inner tube halfway and slip it carefully into the outer tire. Once that’s done, you can tuck the edges back into the rim and re-inflate your tire to the specified pressure, and shut the valve.


  1. Replacing your Slipped Chain

You won’t even need any special tools to replace your slipped chain, so this is an easy fix. This common issue usually occurs on the front chainring, but no matter where the slip is, you need to put the chain back into the bottom groove on the rear cog before attaching it to the top teeth of the front chainring. This makes the process go a lot smoother.

As soon as you reestablish the connection between the front chainring and the rear cogs, you can push your pedals forward, pulling the chain around each for a full rotation.


With a few simple tools, some elbow grease, and a bit of common sense, pretty much any amateur cyclist can take care of these common bicycle repairs with little assistance or downtime. After all, why would you want to waste your time in the garage when you could be pedaling the day away in the great outdoors?

Best Camping Spots in Idaho

Idaho is by far one of the most beautiful states in the US. It is a perfect place for both adventure and relaxation, depending on what you are seeking. Idaho is also the ideal state for campers, having almost 600 camping spots; it is indeed a camper's paradise.

However, it due to a vast number of places a lot of people have trouble with selecting their perfect camping spot. That being said, this article narrowed 600 spots to only five spots, the best of the best.


10 Best Fishing Spots in Idaho

The beautiful state of Idaho provides anglers a unique array of fishing waters. From large reservoirs to small winding rivers, Idaho provides fisherman opportunity to chase trout, bass, panfish, walleye and sturgeon among many other species of fish. Following are ten of the best angling waters in the state.