Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

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.

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.

Field Trip with a Nature Class

Maxpedition Noatak

Contrary to popular belief, nature classes do not take their clothes off and run around naked in the woods. In fact its just the opposite. We keep our clothes on and drive to where we want to go.

Saturday morning the nature class that I am a member of did a field trip. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the native and rare plants, and to see some of the unique geological formations around the Jasper Texas area.

At 8:00am we met in the parking lot of the Stump restaurant on hwy 255, which is just north of Jasper Texas. The places where we were going to go were old logging roads. The people that drove cars parked their vehicles at a nearby hotel, then we carpooled in the 4 wheel drive trucks and SUVs.

The first place we stopped at was on top of a pipeline. We parked our trucks on top of the hill, then walked around the rim of the hill top looking at different types of trees and plants.

After we got finished looking at the plants, we went back to the trucks, over the hill and down to a creek bottom. The cool thing about the creek bottom, it was filled with petrified wood. There were small pieces, large pieces and medium sized pieces. One of the men in the group was an amateur geologist. He talked to the class about the different types of trees that grew in southeast Texas during the last ice age – white oak, pine (conifer trees) and palm trees.

Texas DSHS Urges Precautions to Avoid Rabies

Texas DSHS Urges Precautions to Avoid RabiesPlease Rate This Article The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging precautions to reduce the risk of contracting rabies. There has been a higher than usual number of animal rabies cases in Texas this year, particularly in Central Texas and the North Texas region. Protect yourself by […]

Gear Review: Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

The Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack is a well rounded backpack suited for day long excursions into the wilderness. Featuring a main compartment large enough for most items needed on a day hike, a smaller outer compartment, and two water bottle pouches, the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack should fit most needs.

It was in the summer of 2009 when I received my Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy. After using the Falcon II Pygmy on a couple of hiking trips, it quickly turned into one of my favorite daypacks. Hang on, let me take that back, its more like my favorite day pack.

One of the first times I used the Pygmy was on an eight mile hiking trip with my nephew and my son. It was on a super hot August day, and I knew I was in trouble when I noticed the signs of heat exhaustion setting in. But we found our way to a creek with a nice sized swimming hole where we were able to take a swim and cool off.

Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy Specifications

3 Day Camping Trip On The Angelina River

camping angelina river jasper texas

It all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas. But we have not done that in several years. So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.

Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked. The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.

November 26, 2010

My daughter and I took the boat out to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using. The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it. We just turned around, and headed back home. The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.

November 28, 2010

My wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up. From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I. Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.

My 3 Favorite Maxpedition Backpacks

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

After using Maxpedition backpacks for several years, there are three which have made their way to the top of the list.

When it comes time to head out to the woods, I usually take a few minutes to think about what I’m going to be doing and what kind of gear I may need. If I’m going on a simple day hike, I might bring the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy, if its an overnight trip I might bring the Vulture-II and if its a short trip or hunting trip I’ll bring the Maxpedition Noatak.

Lets start with the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy – which is my favorite dayhike / warm weather overnight bag. Even though the Falcon-II Pygmy has capacity of only 1,400 cubic inches, for you ultralight backpackers out there that should be plenty of room.

One of the reasons why I like the Falcon-II Pygmy so much, its a light pack that is not big enough to bring the essentials. From time to time I see people post in the hiking and camping forum about some of the stuff they bring on a camping / hiking trip, and I just have to ask myself “why?”

Planning a hunting camping trip on the river

boat angelina riverA buddy of mine called last night and asked if I wanted to go on a camping / hunting trip on the Angelina River sometime soon. My answer was “of course”.

I’am not going to disclose the exact location or dates until after the fact.

The plan involves getting one of the primitive camping spots on the Angelina River close to Jasper, Texas and go hunting in the public hunting lands. When I bought my hunting license, I also bought a fishing and public hunting lands permit. Being on the river would give me the chance to do some fishing, camping, and all kinds of hunting.

The trip will probably span 2 – 3 days.

Now I just have to get a map of the public hunting land available where we are going camping. When I bought my public hunting lands license, a few days later I received a hand book with maps of the entire state of Texas. The hand book showed where the public hunting lands are at.

Gear Review: Maxpedition Noatak Gearslinger

Maxpedition Noatak

The Maxpedition Noatak fits a wide range of needs. It is big enough to take on a day hike, go fishing, and go the 4-wheeler riding. The Noatak Gearsling design makes it easy to put on and take off while wearing heavy clothing, which makes it one of my favorite backpacks for deer hunting.

A Gearslinger design means there is just one shoulder strap, so when your wearing cold weather gear, you just have one strap to put on and take off.

Specs from the Maxpedition site:

* Main: 11” x 7” x 4” with numerous internal pockets
* Front: 7” x 7” x 2” with internal keyper and sleeve pockets
* Front sleeve: 6.5” x 6.5” with anti-theft device on zipper
* Rear compartment: 8” x 12”
* Water bottle pocket: 7” x 2.5”; fits 32oz/1L bottle
* 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
* Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance

Stockpiling MREs Meals Ready to Eat For SHTF

MRE, Meal Ready to Eat

Are MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) good to stockpile for SHTF? MREs are a good grab and go meal – what could be easier then just grabbing a full meal, stuffing it in your backpack, and your ready to go. The outside package is pretty tough and puncture resistant. MREs are the kind of thing that you can cram into the bottom of your pack, and you don’t have to worry about them leaking, or getting a hole poked in them.

MREs are high in calories and have a high sodium content. As an example, the Spaghetti with meat sauce has 810mg of sodium. If your in the military and having to hump your pack 25 miles at a time, or in good physical shape, 810mg of sodium might seem like nothing. But for people with underlying health conditions, overweight, high blood pressure, 810mg for 1 meal can be a lot of sodium.

Their high price and their suitability to high temperatures makes me add them to my “do not stockpile” list. I like to keep 4 or 5 cases on hand. Currently I think I have about 9 cases,,,, something like that.

My first experiences with an MRE was back in the early 1990s, when one of my buddies got out of the military and brought some MREs home. My first impressions were, this MRE thing sounded pretty cool. Before I started taking MREs on my hiking/ camping trips, I mostly brought noodles or canned goods.

Giving back to the community

angelina river jasper texasHow often do you give something back to your community? The other day I was watching one of those Law and Order shows on TV. Someone on the show made and interesting statement, it went something like this – “the same people that dodge military service, usually dodge jury duty.” I don’t know if that statement is true and correct, but it does bring out a sub-culture of American citizens that do not serve their nation in any shape, form, or fashion.

Real Map VS Electronic Map

Which do you prefer, a real map or a electronic map? Call me old school, call me old fashioned, call me out of date, or even not keeping up with the times – but give me a real map over an electronic map any day. Heck, I’ll even take a hand drawn map over an electronic map.

Ok, so why the hatred for electronic maps? Its not that I “hate” electronic maps, there are just too many points of failure.

Electronic Maps

Lets take a GPS and has a built in map feature:

  • Require to batteries.
  • May not work well without clear view of the sky.
  • GPS satellites are under government control, and can be turned off at anytime.

I dont know about you, but sometimes I go hiking / camping in places that have a dense tree canopy, which can block the GPS signal. My GPS is a Garmin Etrex. Its a fairly inexpensive model, and a fairly old model – but it gets the job done (most of the time.)

Recent Survival Gear Additions

The Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

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.

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.

Summer is Almost Over

As Labor Day approaches, this marks a good time to reflect over the past summer. Overall, the summer of 2010 was a great summer – my dad gave me a boat a few months ago, so a lot of time was spent on the river fishing and camping.

My wife and I got to go fishing a couple of times. Being sick for the first 2 weeks in August was no fun, but I’am felling a lot better now – except for a slight residual headache. With all Texas summers, the heat has terrible.

Labor day plans include a bar-b-q with a brisket, maybe some ribs, chicken, sausage, ranch style beans and whatever else I can fit on the grill.

After Labor Day focus is going to shift a little more towards hunting. My kids and I might head out to the deer lease to check the stands and feeders out.

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