Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

Igloo 25 Qt Marine Contour Review

Igloo Marine Contour Cooler Review

Review of the Igloo 25 Quart Marine Contour ice chest. A few weeks ago my favorite Igloo ice chest was stolen from Mill Creek Park, Brookeland, Texas. It was a 36 quart Igloo Marine ice chest that was close to a decade old. I was cooking for a fishing tournament, went home to take a nap, went back, and someone had stolen the ice chest. Not only did someone steal the ice chest, it was loaded with uncooked meat.

I got online and started looking at various Igloo Marine ice chest. The 36 quart was a little large for a day trip, so I decided one something just a tad smaller.

Some of the things I was looking for:

  1. Large enough for several bottles of water, and soft drinks.
  2. Big enough for one bag of ice.

The 36 quart would take two bags of ice to cover the drinks. Rather than going larger, I wanted something that was just big enough for one bag of ice.

Eventually the Igloo 25 Quart Marine Contour ice chest was picked.

Igloo Marine Contour First Impressions

Camping Near Bogs, Bayous, and Sloughs

Mud bog

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about camping near bogs, bayous, and sloughs. From the early 1980s until the late 1990s, I primarily camped around the bogs, bayous and sloughs in Southeast Texas.

Sometimes my buddies and I would hike to the camp location, sometimes we would take a boat. We had several places we would go camping. Most of them either near a marsh, or along a bayou and a bog.

There was one place in particular we visited on a semi-regular basis, The camp site was on a cut off the main bayou and near a bog. While camping there, we were just a dozen feet from the waters edge.

It was not uncommon to step off the boat, walk ten feet, and see a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin. One time, I walked right up on a cottonmouth and it struck at my boot. It was a warning strike and it did not bite. Just ten feet from that water moccasin was another one.

For close to two decades, I had somewhat regular run-ins with the Cottonmouth Water Moccasin and various other snakes.

I wish I had taken more pictures in the 1980s and 1990s of my camping trips, but alas I did not.

Camping Near Bogs, Bayous, and Sloughs

Watch Out For Snakes in the Early Spring

Texas Water Snake in bushes

Watch out for snakes in the early spring. April 19, 2018 the dogs and I were walking around the farm when we came upon a snake. I was carrying a rather old camera which takes good pictures and just wanted to get some stock snake pictures.

Rather than finding a CottonMouth Water Moccasin, the dogs and I found a Water Snake. The Water Snake (Genus Nerodia) is non-venomous and poses no real danger to humans. Chances are the worst thing that could possibly happen is for the snake bite to get infected. Which is why we should not handle even non-venomous snakes.

The dogs and I walked through a low area where there is usually standing water. Wherever there is standing water, chances are frogs will be in the area. What eats frogs? Snakes. It is a typical predator-prey situation.

I spotted a snake tail sticking out from under a clump of grass. One of the dogs almost stepped on the snake, and the snake did not move. This told me chances are it was a Water Snake. If a Water Moccasin feels threatened, it will coil up and get ready to strike. This snake did not move when the dog almost stepped on it.

Snake Camouflage

Using A Pocket Compass While Hiking With The Dogs

Dogs on a hiking trip

Awhile back we talked about a 50 cent pocket compass I ordered off Ebay. Rather than buying the compass from an online store, just go straight to the source and cut out the middle man.

Paracord zipper pulls were added to my packs, and then the compass was attached to the paracord. Is the pocket compass a primary land navigation aid? Of course not. The pocket compass is used in conjunction with other navigation aids.

For example, while on a recent hiking trip with the dogs we stopped next to a nice pool of water to take a break. While the dogs were playing, I looked at the pocket compass to make sure we were headed in the right direction.

I know the area and there was no way we could have become lost. A pipeline passes through the forest just a few hundred yards from where the dogs and I stopped. Then there is a dirt road that bisects the pipeline. No matter which way we headed, we would hit either the road or the pipeline, as long as we traveled in a straight line.

Using a Pocket Compass

Stockpiling Mountain House Freeze Dried Pouches

Mountain House freeze dried pouches

A question to the reader, “Are you stockpiling Mountain House freeze dried pouches?” Let’s be honest, there are a number of reasons that can be debated for and against stockpiling Mountain House freeze dried pouches.

One of my main issues with the pouches is the sodium content. When I eat a meal, a few minutes later I can feel the sodium hitting my system. Sometimes the sodium is so bad I feel sick all over.

Some people may say Mountain House freeze dried pouches are too expensive, and they are. There is no denying the freeze dried pouches cost a pretty penny.

Let’s talk about sodium content first. A couple of pouches were picked from my personal stockpile so we could look at the sodium content.

Sodium Content

Watch:ThruNite Neutron 2C Flashlight Review

ThruNite Neutron 2C

The ThruNite Neutron flashlight is probably the most flexible flashlight in my collection. Not flexible as being able to bend, but flexible as in offering the greatest number of lumen options.

Unlike other flashlights on the market, the ThruNite Neutron flashlight, does not have preset brightness settings. Holding the on/off button fades, or increases the brightness. This allows the user to adjust the ThruNite Neutron to exactly the lumens needed for a certain job.

Specifications

From the ThruNite Neutron Amazon store page.

  • Item Weight: 3.04 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 inches
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Type of Bulb: led
  • Included Components: Holster, Spare O-rings, Lanyard, Pocket Clip, 18650 3400mAh Battery, USB Charging Cord
  • Batteries Included: Yes
  • Batteries Required: Yes

Video: Packing For A Day Hike

Three Day Assault pack

This is a video I put together for All Outdoor, and covers the basics of setting up a backpack for a day hike.

In short, keep the most used items within easy access. This usually means an outside pouch of the backpack. This is where I keep the maps, compass and water filter.

Least used items go in the main compartment. This is where I keep stuff like food, stove, cook pot… etc.

The pack in the video is a three day assault pack. Read my first impressions of the pack here – Three Day Assault Pack First Impressions.

Three Day Assault Pack First Impressions

Three Day Assault pack

The Three Day Assault pack is a military surplus backpack that was designed for excursions lasting more than one day. It has a capacity of around of 1,850 cubic inches, which is enough room for the essentials.

The Three Day Assault pack has three compartments, large main compartment and an outer compartment. The outer compartment has a small storage pouch inside, and outside of it.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the United States military phased out the ALICE pack in favor of the MOLLE.

Three Day Assault Pack

Going Through My Backpacks

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

Got several backpacks out of the storage room and went through them. The issue with having a collection of packs is the gear gets spread through them. Depending on the length of the hike, and what I am doing, certain gear may be brought along. After awhile, gear is spread through all the packs. There might be a stove here and a stove there, and a knife here and a knife there.

Things get so disorganized the packs have to be pulled out, emptied, and everything rounded up.

For example, I have been using the Sawyer PointOne on a couple of outages. However, I still like to bring the Katadyn Vario from time to time. This means the Sawyer Pointone is in one pack, and the Katadyn Vario is in another pack. The problem starts when I forget which filter is in which pack. then I have to go digging through the packs until I find the gear I am looking for.

My Childhood Playground

When I was a kid growing up in Bridge City, Texas, my buddies and I would hang out in a section of woods that borders a marsh. We would build trails through the woods, tree houses, go camping, just do what kids did.

As my buddies and I got older, we stopped hanging out in the woods and started socializing more. After we stopped maintaining the trails, they were slowly reclaimed by nature. Within just a few years the trails were almost impassible.

Two decades later, Hurricane Rita pushed through the area and uprooted a lot of the old oak trees.

While visiting with my mom and dad for Thanksgiving, I took a camera and headed off into the old trails.

Patrol Pack First Impressions

Patrol Pack

Overall, I found the patrol pack to be a well rounded and perfect addition to my backpack collection.

Call me old fashioned, if I like something, then I hang onto it. For the longest time ,one of my go-to packs for day hikes and even warm weather overnight trips was a Jansport black book bag. That pack was retired when I migrated to a Maxpedition.

For several years my go-to pack was a Maxpedition Condor II. The Condor II is a great pack that is perfect for day long excursions.

As with everything else, after using the Condor II for several years, I decided it was time to try something new. So where did I go to find a new pack? I went to Ebay and looked through various military surplus packs.

ThruNite C2 Mini 3400 Charger Review

ThruNite C2 Mini 3400 Charger

If there is one thing Thrunite does, they manufacturer a quality product. So far I have reviewed four Thrunite flashlights and all of them are top notch. Thrunite continues their reputation for quality with the ThruNite C2 mini-charger.

Full Disclosure: I received the charger at no cost to myself. This will not influence my opinion and hopefully will not influence your opinion either.

Specs from Amazon:

  • Weight 5 ounces
  • Dimensions 3.6 x 0.9 x 1 inches
  • Item model number C2
  • Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Item Package Quantity 1
  • Batteries Included? Yes
  • Battery Cell Type Lithium Ion

Why Review A Phone Charger

Dangers Of Hot Weather Hiking

Overgrown logging road

On a hot weather hiking trip in July of 2016 I experienced some of the first signs of heat exhaustion, which were dry skin, rapid heartbeat, fatigue and muscle cramps. This was the same trip where I found the abandoned hunting camp.

I knew that I was getting too hot, daytime highs were near 100 degrees in the shade. My heart was beating so hard I could hear the beats. While walking up a hill my leg muscles started to cramp; I knew I was in trouble. There just happened to be a small tree that provided a nice shady spot. The backpack was dropped, I laid down, took my bandana off and laid it over my shirtless chest.

My cell phone just happened to have one – two bars of service. I pulled up google earth, took a screen shot of my location and sent it to my fiancee through facebook chat. My location was only about 1 1/2 miles from home, but it might as been 100 miles with my legs cramping. In case things went from bad to real bad, at least someone had my location.

Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

Remote camping site on the Angelina River

One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then headed out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.

Shooting Into The Night

My Drinking Problem

Middle age sucks. I can look back over my teenage years, my 20, 30s and now I am halfway through my 40s. In January of 2013 I will turn 45 years old.

Besides going into welding, my other major regret is when I started drinking.

Unlike a lot of people I did not drink in my teenage years. I tried a beer when I was around 15 or 16 years old, and the taste was disagreeable.

When I was around 23 years old I went by a corner store in Bridge City Texas, picked up a couple of bottles of Boone’s Farm wine, then went home to have a drink.

Why did I buy a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine? I do not know. Maybe I was bored and looking for something to do?

What I do know, drinking is one of the worst mistakes I have ever made. Drinking has had a negative affect on my health, its not cheap, and its addictive.

At this point in my life I am probably somewhere about 30 – 40 pounds overweight. Lets say I drink 3 or 4 beers, at 100 – 150 calories each, you are talking an easy 300 – 500 extra calories a day. Then when you start adding mixed drinks, the calories really pile on.

When I started drinking around the time I was 23 years old, that is the same time I started having issues with my weight. I put on weight easier then I did before I started drinking.

I wonder how much money I have spent on beer, wine and whiskey over the past 22 – 23 years. I wish I would have never spent a single penny on booze. That money would have been better spent on my kids, or a vacation for the family.

There are so much better things to spend money on besides alcohol. For the price of a 12 pack, I could buy 2 boxes of American Eagle 223 Remington, or 2 boxes of Tula 7.62×39, and have some change left over.

Every time I buy something to drink, I am taking money away from my family and from my prepping resources. And I am ashamed because of that.

Why don’t I just stop drinking? Because I like it too much.

Lets be honest, I have a problem with drinking. I can go a month without having a drink, but when I do drink, I drink until the last drop is gone.

Admitting that there is the problem is the first step to recovery.

This post is my first step to being alcohol free.

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018