Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

Maxpedition Condor-II Backpack

Product Features Dramatically improved second generation of our military-style daypack Y-shaped top compression strap and 4 lateral compression straps Upper front pocket approx. 9 x 5.5 x 2 Lower front pocket approx. 9 x 8 x 2 with pen organizer Breathable ergonomic shoulder straps From my review at Amazon As with all Maxpedition packs, the Condor II offers top notch quality, expandability and quality workmanship. The pack is a top loader, so you can cram in your gear until its full, stomp on the top, then cram some more. The bottom of the pack has lash points so you can attach a bed roll or sleeping bag. I used a couple of nylon straps and attached a 32 degree sleeping bag to the bottom. The Continue Reading….

FR-1 Survival Pouch Review

Thank you sootch00 for posting this video review of the Maxpedition FR-1 Survival Pouch.

Product Features

  • Main: 7″ x 5″ x 3″ with full zipper opening
  • Carry handle: Yes
  • Modular webbing (front): 2 rows, 2 x 2.5″ wide channels
  • Modular webbing (sides): 2 rows, 1 channel
  • Shoulder strap (Optional accessory): Equipped with D-rings for a #9501 1.5″Â or a #9502 2″ shoulder strap, depending on your preference

When I saw this video the very first thing I though about was putting on of these FR-1 survival pouch on the outside of my Maxpedition Vulture II. The FR-1 survival pouch looks like its large enough for topo map, GPS, compass, flashlight, cel phone and a few other odds and ends Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

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: Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

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.

Continue Reading….

Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife Review

Schrade Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife 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. Continue Reading….

Best survival knife for under 25 dollars

survivalistYou 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 Continue Reading….

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. Continue Reading….

3 day fishing camping trip

Testing bug out plansDuring a long term SHTF / teotwawki survival situation, 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), for Christmas I bought two of my sons a Coleman sleeping bag each, a sleeping pad, and a fleece sleeping bag. They needed a sleeping bag for our upcoming camping trip, so why not give them a sleeping bag for Christmas.

Monday, December 26th was gear load out day. I spent just about all day going over my pack, going over the boat, making sure the lights on the boat worked, hooked the boat trailer to the truck, organizing my food bag,,, just getting everything ready to go.

For Christmas my mom and dad gave me an Optimus Terra Solo. My personal belief is that you test your gear before you take it on a trip. To test my new Terra Solo, I setup my single burner Coleman stove on the stove in my kitchen. Then I cooked myself a serving of noodles, just like I would on a camping trip.

The noodles I made for catfishing along with my tacklebox were rounded up.

All of the gear was put in the living room next to the front door so it could be loaded in the truck and boat the following morning.

Continue Reading….

Camping trip load out

Water bottle, Vargo stove and MSR potTo 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 in the list.

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.

Pack – 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 Continue Reading….

Deer Season Daypack Loadout

Wilderness survival kitDeer 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.

A basic pack – 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.

GPS & Compass – When you get off the trail back to the truck, you might need something to help find your way. Or worse yet, if you and your buddies have to track a deer through a thicket in pitch black dark.

Mark the truck before you head out and set the GPS to go back to the truck before you head out. This will tell you how far off the way point is.

Get familiar with your GPS and compass “before” you have to use it. Make sure you understand the difference between heading and bearing, and which one you need to set your compass to.

Learn how to set and read a compass.

If the GPS says you need a bearing of 130 degrees, would you know how to set the compass to 130 degrees in order to find your way to where you want to go?

Continue Reading….

Coleman PerfectFlow Grill review

Coleman perfectflow stoveThis article is a review of the Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove. The unit has 2 names – “grill stove”, because there are 2 burners, 1 with a stove top and the other burner has a griddle.

Last christmas I added a Coleman instant start grill to my wishlist, and sure enough someone got it for me.

The reason why I picked the grill was because of the built in griddle. That way I did not have to worry about cleaning any pots and pans, just wipe the griddle down and the stove was cleaned up.

I liked the idea of using the griddle to cook more food then can fit in a typical skillet. With a cooking surface of 12 inches by 10 3/4 inches, a lot of bacon and/or sausage can fit on there. The plan was to use the stove top with a small skillet to cook eggs or make toast, and use the griddle to cook bacon, boudain or sausage.

Purpose:

The whole purpose of buying the stove was to have a propane stove that my family can bring on camping trip to the local parks. For camping on the river I have a small single burner stove, but the Coleman Perfectflow stove could also be brought out to the river on camping trips.

My wife and I keep a large plastic tote box filled with camping supplies. Instead of packing liquid fuel that can spill, we decided to get a propane stove.

But that is not the way things worked out.

Continue Reading….

Bug Out Bag Topics

Over the years I have seen one topic that has been repeated over and over, and that is the topic of the bug out bag.

In reality, a bug out bag should contain copies of important papers, house title, car title, insurance policies, change of clothes, snack, or even 2 – 3 days worth of food, change of clothes, phone number contact list, and any prescription medicines you might be taking. The list will vary depending on the person and what they want to bring with them.

People that live close to railroad tracks or chemical plants might be asked to flee their homes due to a chemical release accident. The bug out bag is for people to grab, run, and have some basic supplies with them.

In fantasy, the bug out bag will be used to bug out to the wilderness when society collapses.

This video pokes fun at the different viewpoints on bug out bags.

Continue Reading….

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