Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

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

Keeping a Wild Boar Hog in a Pen after SHTF

Wild boar hog in pen

It’s life after SHTF, you and your family need something to eat, so the yall head out to a local river. The dogs are let loose, a few minutes later the dogs corner up a 200 pound boar hog.

The boar hog is loaded in the boat and brought back home.

A pen is hastily assembled out of whatever materials you can find.

The boar hog is put in the hen, and the leg ties taken off. Since the pen is made out of fence, the boar hog rams the fence, breaks the wire loose, then the hog runs off.

Sounds unlikely? Well, that is what happened when my son-in-law bought a boar hog home.

In this case the dogs were waiting outside the pen in case the hog got out.

Keep in mind this is not a friendly domesticated hog, this is a wild boar hog that will use its tusk to tear flesh off the bone.

Random Thoughts November 16 2012

Time for another random thoughts post.

The Amazing Spider-man

Bought The Amazing Spider-man for the grandkids to watch. The grandkids are between the ages of 3 and 5 and were not interested in Spider-man. But they can watch The Avengers all day long.

Why did Sony have to go back to Spider-man having an artificial web?

I thought The Amazing Spider-man was a rather bland. I like how they got away from the Green Goblin and introduced The Lizard. The original Spider-man movies seem to stuck on the Green Goblin.

Wages Today

A few days ago I was thinking about how much money I was making in the welding shops. In 1987 the top pay of the welding shop I was working at was $11.13 an hour. Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour.

11.13 divided by 3.35 = 3.3223.

In other words, top pay in the welding shop was 3.3223 times minimum wage in 1987.

In 2004 I checked back at that same welding shop, top pay was only around $14 an hour, which was less then 3X minimum wage at the time of $5.15. In other words, wages have not kept up with inflation or minimum wage.

In 1990 I made around $35,000 with overtime. I thought that was pretty good for 22 years old. Minimum wage in 1990 was $3.80 an hour. Other words, I made 9,210 times minimum wage in a single year. But then again, I worked a lot of overtime to reach that $35,000 dollar mark.

To keep up with the standard of living I had in 1990, I would have to be making $66,772 a year. Take my word for it, I make a lot less then $66,772 a year.

How much money are you making today as compared to minimum wage? Have your wages kept up with inflation and minimum wage?

For those of you over 40 years old, how much where you making 20 years ago as compared to today?

Load Out for a River Camping Trip

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

As the river trip inches closer, its time to start thinking about the loadout I want to bring. There are going to be 4 people spread out over 2 boats. Due to the distance we are traveling, over 10 miles, weight is going to be a factor. The heavier the boats are loaded down, the worse the gas mileage.

This is going to be a warm weather trip, so the heavy sleeping bag can be left at home. There will be no need for coats, gloves, cold weather head gear, cold weather boots,,, nothing like that.

For this river camping trip I am going to try to keep the gear down to a minimum. Not a “bare” minimum, just not carry a lot of excess gear.

Medium or Large Alice Pack – if you want to limit the amount of gear you can carry, start with the pack. The larger the pack, the more likely you are to take stuff you may not need.

For the past couple of river camping trips I have brought my large Molle pack. For this river trip I am going to go back to basics with the Alice pack.

When packing my gear I am going to start out with the Medium Alice pack. If I run out of room I will grab the Large Alice pack.

Rain in June

Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalistEvery time we get rain in June I think about a 3 day camping trip some of my buddies and I went on back in June of 1985. We were a bunch of kids who loaded in a boat, traveled the backwaters of a bayou close to Bridge City Texas, picked out a camping spot, and spent 3 days in the woods. The only day we did not get rained on was the last day, the day we went home.

There were five of us – Allen, David, Jim, Kevin and Kevin. Between the 5 of us, we had 2 – 2 man tents. Which meant that one tents was going to be rather packed.

The three day camping trip is one of those times that you look back and wish you had kept a journal. Or at the very least brought a camera and taken some pics. I am not sure what day did we left on or what day did we got back. I think the trip was in June 1985, but can not prove it. School was out, and it was summer time, so the trip was sometime in June, July or August.

My gear included – some cans of food, sleeping bag, Montgomery Ward Western Field Model 550AL 12 gauge pump shotgun and some birdshot ammunition. Sometime around the camping trip I bought one of those hollow handled survival knives. I do not remember if I bought my survival knife before or after the camping trip. It has been over 25 years since my buddies and I went on the camping trip. Fading memories is just one of those things that happens.

Everyone knew we were in for a wet weekend. I had a small green backpack with a couple of cans of food, and my sleeping bag that was inside a plastic trash bag. The camping trip was supposed to be a true “roughing it” experience. We brought as little gear as possible – each person brought some kind of sleeping bag, a few cans of food, shotgun or 22 rifle, change of clothes, knife, flashlight, canteen with water purification tablets and that was about it.

Firearm for a river camping trip

AK-47 AR-15 Survival RiflesA buddy of mine and I are planning a 100+ mile 3 – 4 day river camping trip. On this trip we will be going into some pretty remote areas. After we put our boats in the river, there are no boat launches for probably 50+ miles. The location is East Texas on the Sabine river.

I would like to bring either a rifle or shotgun for personal protection. Black bears are known to be in the area where we are going, as well as everything from coyotes to wild hogs.

I am more concerned about running into a rabid raccoon, then having problems with a black bear, but you never know.

The options are:

River trip part 4

This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.

Well, the boat never made it to the river.

Broken boat rivetThe front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.

Replacing the rivets

Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.

Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.

If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.

Insert new rivet into the hole.

Use a rivet gun to secure the rivet.

River trip part 3

Evinrude 30 Horsepower Angelina River TexasWhen planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.

A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.

Trip to the shop

I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed.

River trip part 2

Toledo Bend DamFor those of you that have not read River Trip Part 1, please do so. After talking to my buddy about the boat launches I went and looked at on my first trip, he sent me an email with what was supposed to be a boat launch just south of the dam on Toledo Bend dam.

The plan for Sunday was for my wife and I to make a trip to Toledo Bend dam. There are two roads on each side of the river on the south side of the dam where the Sabine river starts. The goal is to see if there a feasible boat launch.

What I found on the trip on each side of the river were steep banks, and no real boat launch. There is a place where a pipeline crosses the river. On the Texas side of the river, it looks like bags of cement were placed on the bank to stop erosion. The bank is so steep that it would be dangerous to carry a boat and boat down the bank.

Comparing the banks at the Toledo Bend dam to the other boat launches:

From my house, its plus or minus a few miles, its 50 miles from my house to the dam at Toledo Bend

The banks dam are very, very steep. I would consider the banks so steep that it would be unsafe to a boat and motor down the bank.

Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife Review

Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife with Sheath

A couple of years ago I started looking for a heavy duty camping / backpacking wilderness survival knife.

Purpose

The purpose of the knife is to have a knife that can be strapped to the outside of a MOLLE or ALICE pack. The knife has to be sturdy enough to clear small brush, chop small limbs, cut tent stakes, clean fish, butcher wild game, or even use the spine of the knife as a hammer.

My current “go to” knife is a Cold Steel Recon Scout. The new knife is not intended to be a replace the Recon Scout, but more along the lines of an alternative. The Recon Scout has a belt loop, but no MOLLE or ALICE attachments. I want a knife that can quickly and easily attach to any of my packs.

Survival Knife Requirements

Thick spine – so the knife could be used as a wedge for splitting wood. If I wanted to make a fish trap, or fishing spear the knife needed to be thick enough to drive through a piece of wood like a wedge.

One of the drawbacks to having a thick spine, thick knives do not make good skinning or butchering knives.

Curved blade – for a good slicing edge. Regardless of what part of the blade was being used to cut, the blade would have a curve to it. An example of what I was looking for is the ULU Knife used by native Alaskans.

Best Survival Knife For Under 25 dollars

Cold Steel GI Tanto Survival Knife

You have $25 to spend, you want to buy a good quality knife, so which one do you buy?

What is the purpose of a $25 survival knife? In my opinion, knives in that price range are disposable. They are the knives that if lost or stolen are not going to be expensive to replace.

From a survivalist point of view, spend $100 on 3 or 4 knives, store them at your Bug Out Location, keep one in a tackle box or use them for hand out knives to friends and family. Someone breaks into your Bug Out Location, steals your knives, you are not out several hundred dollars.

Considerations

Sheath Belt loop or ALICE / MOLLE attachments
Made from quality steel
Full tang
Fixed blade

Most of the corner stores around here have knifes made in third world countries. Most of the ones I see sell for less then $10. For this purchase we need something that is made from quality steel, will hold a good edge and will be easy to sharpen.

Back around 1983 I bought into the survival knife craze created by Rambo First Blood. My first survival knife had a hollow handle, made of some kind of 440 stainless steel, held an edge like butter, and took an hour to sharpen. That knife was more of a play toy then a real duty knife. The hollow handled knives are a novelty item. If you want a serious knife, steer clear of them.

Related forum thread – Best survival knife for under $50

River Trip Part 1

Sabine RiverFor around 14 years or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been talking about making a river trip from the northern part of the Sabine river, all the way to the Orange / Bridge city area. If everything goes according to plan, we will be making the trip sometime in 2012. The trip is currently in the planning phase – we talking about what boats we want to bring, where we are going to launch the boats at, who is going to be going on the trip,,, just stuff like that.

There are two boat launches in the Bon Wier Texas / Merryville Louisiana area that we are looking at using. On Sunday January 15, 2012 my wife and I made a trip to the boat launches to see if it was feasible to launch at either one.

Sunday morning started off bright and when my wife and I crawled out of bed around 8:45am. After getting our shower and having some breakfast, it was finally time to get one the road. We stopped at a local corner store to picked up some snacks, bought a sunday paper for the coupons, then it was to wal-mart to get some gas. If you use the wal-mart gift card, you save 3 cents a gallon on gasoline. A few days before hand, my wife put $40 on a gift card. When we stopped at the super wal-mart in Jasper I put the whole $40 in my truck.

After gassing up, and getting some snacks, it was finally time to get on the road. My wife and I left Jasper heading west on HWY 190 towards Newton. At Newton, we passed over HWY 87, then turned south on HWY 190.

Three Day Fishing Camping Trip Story

Testing bug out plans during a three day camping trip

During December of 2016 two of my sons, a buddy of mine and I went on a three day camping trip on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas. One reason for the trip was rest and relaxation, another reason was to test various survival plans.

If a long term SHTF / teotwawki survival situation were to happen, fishing will be an important way to gather food. One of the goals of this fishing / camping trip is to practice our SHTF / teotwawki fishing skills. another goal of this trip is to make observations about issues that people might run into.

There are a lot of people out there who plan on bugging out to the wilderness after the food and water run out at their home. Part of the SHTF survival plans are along the lines of “when we run out of food, we will have to go to the food”. This usually includes grabbing the bug out bag and bug out to a wilderness location where they survival can hunt, fish and gather wild foods.

One issue, the person rarely gets past the planning phase. In order to have a balanced SHTF / teotwawki survival plan, people should also test those plans. The only way to test the plans is to get away from the computer and do something. Being an armchair survivalist is not enough. Make your plans, test your plans, analyze the results from the test, make improvements on those observations.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas)

Camping Trip Load Out

Water bottle, Vargo stove and MSR pot

To get ready for an upcoming camping trip I decided to do a load out list. List like this help you see what your pack contains, and hopefully spot missing items.

For those of you looking at this list and wondering how I am going to pack off of this gear, the easy answer is “I am not going to pack it”. The camping trip is going to be on the banks of the Angelina River. This means the boat is going to be carrying the gear for me; all I have to do is load the boat up and go.

Backpack – Large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system, 2 sustainment pouches on the MOLLE pack. I was going to take my large ALICE pack, but my sleeping bag, food, fleece liner and poncho liner filled up the pack. This means I am having to store a lot of my gear in the sustainment pouches on the MOLLE.

Tent – Wenzel Lone Tree Hiker Tent, this item is hit and miss and might be difficult to find

Tarp – 6×8 foot for tent ground cloth.

Sleeping bag – Coleman Exponent Tasman X 32-Degree Hybrid Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bag liner – GI poncho liner and fleece sleeping bag

Sleeping pad – Coleman Max

Camping Trip Food

Deer Season Daypack Loadout

Wilderness survival kit

Deer season is here, instead of grabbing a pack, throwing some random gear in and heading out to the woods, lets take a look at some items that should be considered. The way I look at it, your pack needs to contain everything you need to track a wounded deer, find your way back back to the truck after dark or spend an unexpected night in the woods.

Basic Daypack

This could be anything from a school book bag, to a good quality pack like a Maxpedition Sitka or Maxpedition Noatak. You need something that is not going to tear apart when your tracking a deer as the last bit of the sunlight fades away. For my current load out I am using the Maxpedition Noatak.

TOPO Map

When possible, I like to have a TOPO map of the area. A GPS is nice, but electronics can fail, batteries can go dead,,,, a physical map is difficult to beat.

But, in order for everything to come together, you have to know how to use a map, GPS and compass. Having a TOPO map in one hand and a compass in the other hand does not do any good if you do not know how to use them.

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