Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Recent Survival Gear Additions

The summer of 2010 was not only a great summer that will never be forgotten (at least by me anyway), it was also the summer that a lot of new survival gear was added to my inventory.

1. Large MOLLE pack – after much debate, I figured it was time to jump on the MOLLE pack bandwagon. Instead of hauling my large ALICE pack around on camping trips, I have switched to a 4,000 cubic inch Large MOLLE. I miss the outside pockets of the ALICE pack, but that has been fixed by adding a Maxpedition clam pouch and a couple of sustainment pouches. The only thing I need now is an internal radio pouch, and everything will be good to go.

Picture of the Angelina river near Jasper, Texas

I have a lot of backpacks, but only 3 in the 4,000 cubic range – a Kelty, large ALICE pack and now the new large MOLLE pack.

2. Magellan sleeping pad – after sleeping on the ground for almost 30 years, its about time that I got a sleeping pad. The Magellan sleeping pad I got folds in half, and then rolls up about the size of a cantaloupe.

Back around 1995 or 1996 I bought a rather cheap
sleeping pad, but it was big and bulky. Even though I have owned it for 14 – 15 years, its only been on maybe 6 camping trips. I wanted something that was small enough to fit inside my pack folded in half, or outside my pack not folded in half.

3. Eureka solitaire one man tent – my previous one man tent had been a Wenzel starlight biker tent. After using the biker tent for about 15 years, I figured it was time for a new tent – something that is a little more open across the top and breathable in hot weather.

Eureka solitaire tent on a camping trip

Eureka solitaire tent on a camping trip

The only problem I have with the Eureka solitaire, its so compact its difficult to move around in, and impossible to sit up in. Even to get a drink of water you have to twist your head around.

4. Vargo hexagon wood stove – The stove that I was bringing on camping trips was, was a single burner and powered by a 1 pound propane bottle. Even though it could bring a canteen cup of water to a boil in about 2 minutes, it weighed a lot and took up a lot of room.

The vargon hexagon folding stove on the other hand is lightweight, folds up nicely, and with a can of sterno it can bring a cup of noodles to a boil in about 10 minutes. The sterno also fits nicely into my MSR cook pot.

5. MSR cookpot – the USGI canteen cup might be a good all purpose cup, but without a lid its not very efficient at cooking. So while my wife and I were at Academy sports and outdoors in Beaumont, Texas I picked up an MSR pot.

The MSR stainless steel cook pot, being made out of stainless is a little on the heavy side, but it does a great job at cooking. The long handle ensures that you do not burn burn your fingers when you take the pot off the stove.

6. Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger – the largest pack in the Maxpedition Gearslinger series, its kinda in the middle between a day pack and a warm weather overnight pack. One thing for sure, if your going on a day hike, there is plenty of room for all kinds of stuff.

7. A bunch of lures. There is not much to say about lures, except you catch fish with them.

8. Katadyn Vario water filter – My current water filter is a rather “old” PUR water purifier. It uses an equally old iodine filter – as the virus goes through the filter, the iodine is “supposed” to kill it. The problem is, I don’t know what the self life of iodine in a filter is. Also, the iodine leaves a rather disagreeable taste to the water.

9.  Several cases of MREs – A couple of months ago I dropped by the house of a buddy of mine.  It just so happened that he was outside in his shed going through some of his survival gear and supplies.  We were standing there talking, and I was looking through some old ASG (American Survival Guide) magazine when he turns to me and says “You want those MREs?”  I’am like sure, I’ll take anything I can get.

So I backed the SUV up to the shed and we loaded up 5 or 6 cases of MREs.  My buddy had some heater meals and offered those to me as well, but they were expired.  So I had to decline his offer on the heater meals.  If they had not been expired I might have taken them, but not in their current state.

10.  Aluminum boat – This has opened up a whole new world of adventure.  No longer am I limited to where I can go on a 4-wheeler, or where I can drive or hike to, now I can reach remote locations along the local rivers.

Aluminum boat on the Angelina river

A special “Thank You” goes to my dad for the boat.

This is not my first time to have a boat.  Back around 1994 or 1995, my dad gave me a smaller 14 foot aluminum boat.   He upgraded his boat, so he gave me his hand-me-downs, which was great with me.  My buddies and I used to load up our ALICE packs and head off into the bayous around Bridge City for a couple of days at a time.  We would launch the boat in a housing division just outside Bridge City, Texas called “Victory Gardens.”  The boat would be loaded down with 2 or 3 gas cans, 2 or 3 ALICE packs and other various gear.  There were times I thought that little aluminum boat was going to sink we had so much gear loaded in it.

Life was good back then.

But sometime in 1998 or 1999 the motor – a 25 horse power Johnson – trolling motor, q-beam, paddles, gas cans,,,, everything on the boat was stole one night.  That put a halt on going out on the bayous.  The boat did not have any insurance on it, so I could not recover the expense of the stolen items.

So now that I have another boat, life is good again.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018