Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

Personal hygiene kits

Years ago my buddies and I used to go camping along the salt marshes of southeast Texas – Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas. We would load up the boat with our ALICE packs, and head out for a weekend of adventures and exploring. One thing about those bayous and low lying areas, there is a plentiful supply of mud, and a short supply of fresh water. Its one of those situations where you bring plenty of water, some canteens and a good water filter.

This is a description of my personal hygiene kit. Personal hygiene is one of the topics that I take into consideration everyday. I wear contacts – everytime I put my contacts in, I think about if my hands are clean or not. Having infected eyes is no fun. If an eye infection can be prevented by washing my hands before I put the contacts in, then it needs to be done. My daily routine is – get up, shower, put contacts in – that way my hands are clean from the shower.

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Maxpedition water bottle holder and mini rollypoly

Need to carry plenty of water on that pack of yours? Looking for a way to carry 32 ounce water bottles instead of canteens? While looking for a water bottle option for my Maxpedition Vulture-II, I came across the Maxpedition water bottle holder and the Maxpedition mini rollypoly dump pouch.

The water bottle holder is just that – its a padded pouch that is designed to hold a standard 32 ounce water bottle.

This is some information from the Maxpedition website:

Water bottle holder

The water bottle holder has webbing on 4 sides – 1 side to attach it to the pack, then webbing on the 3 other sides. The zipper closure makes sure that the pouch stays closed. I like the extra webbing so you can attach a couple of smaller pouches to the outside of the water bottle holder.

The 10” x 4” Bottle Holder is designed to fit a 32oz / 1L Nalgene bottle (sold separately) or similarly sized containers.

Product Features

* Main compartment: 10” high x 4” diameter, padded, with drainage grommet
* Frontal: 6” x 3” x 1.5” with elastic retention
* PALS attachment webbing: Front and sides
* Attachment1: D-rings for optional shoulder strap
* Attachment2: 5″ TacTie™ (sold separately)
* Attachment3: Keyper quick release hook on back
* Available colors: Black, OD Green, Khaki, Foliage Green

Product Materials

* 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
* Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance
* high strength zippers and zipper tracks
* UTX-Duraflex nylon buckles for low sound closures
* Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
* High tensile strength nylon webbing
* High tensile strength composite nylon thread (stronger than ordinary industry standard nylon thread)
* #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
* Internal seams taped and finished
* Paracord zipper pulls
* Stress points double stitched, Bartacked or “Box-and-X” stitched for added strength

MINI ROLLYPOLY® FOLDING DUMP POUCH

Its a pouch that can fold up until you need it. Then its unfolded. Unlike the water bottle holder, the dump pouch has a folding top for easy access.

Folded: 3.5″ long x 2.25″ wide x 1.5″ thick
Open: 4″ diameter, 8″ tall
Total Volume: 100 cu. in.
Belt: Integral Closed Loop
The Mini Rollypoly® (#0207) is a folding dump pouch designed to hold a standard 32 oz. / 1L Nalgene or smaller water bottle. Bungee cord cinch and velcro flap lid secure top.


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East texas wild grapes

East Texas wild grapes, also called Muscadines grow on long vines and usually grow around creeks and streams.  Their range extends far past Texas and have been known to grown from Texas all the way to New York.  Their native climate is warm humid areas, such as the deep southern part of the USA. The grapes start off green and turn a dark purple color when their ready to be picked. The taste is sweet, with the husk being a little tough and maybe a little tart.  Some types of Muscadines may stay green when they are ready to be picked. Muscadines have a high Polyphenol content. Which is supposed to promote good health. The inside of the grape has at least 1 seed that Continue Reading….

5 fire building tips

Whether your at the deer lease, building a fire in your bar-b-q pit, or lost in the wilderness, building a fire is a skill that must be mastered. There is a difference in knowing how to build a fire with a lighter and charcoal lighter fluid, and knowing how to build a fire just before sundown when your lost in the woods. Continue Reading….

Maxpedition Vulture-II

Looking for a good quality 2 – 3 day pack? The Maxpedition Vulture-II might be just what your looking for. When your looking at backpacks, there seems to be small, medium, large and super large.

Small – good for day hikes and short trips

Medium – good for day hikes or overnight trips

Large – good for 3 – 5 day trips

Super Large – good for 5+ days trips (think expedition)

The problem I have, I need a pack that fits right in-between medium and large. These are the ones where you can pack enough for a 1 – 3 day trip, but not too big or too small.

This medium sized pack is where I’am trying to fit the Maxpedition Vulture-II. I need something for warm / hot weather camping, and just big enough to carry some food, one man tent, rain poncho, hammock, poncho liner,,,, but not too big that I’am tempted to carry gear that is not needed. If your like me, and if there is spare room in your pack, your going to find a way to fill it up. A half full pack just does not look right.

Before a pack is taken out on a hiking or camping trip, it needs to be loaded, tested and checked out. So before my Maxpedition Vulture-II was taken on a real hiking / camping trip, it was loaded up and taken on a trip to the deer camp. Inside the pack I was able to fit – hammock, one man tent, 3 legged stool, couple of MREs, compass, map, and topo map compass.

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Thoughts on the large MOLLE pack

After about 15 years of using the medium ALICE pack as my primary warm/hot weather backpack, I decided it was time for a change. So I got on Ebay and after looking through some of the listings, I decided to go with the large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system carrier.

There are 2 versions of this pack on the market – one where the main pack is separate from the sleep system carrier. And the one like what I bought, which is just one large pack.

First Impressions:
Its more slimlineed then the large ALICE
Its easier to get into then the medium ALICE
It has more webbing then the large ALICE
The map case is larger then either the medium or large ALICE
The map case has a mesh bottom, so its easier to see the contents
The internal sleep system carrier has a zipper for easy access – lets talk about that just for a minute.

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Why I like to go camping

Being raised in Southeast Texas has presented a vast opportunities to go camping. This includes everything from my parents taking my brother and I to local parks, to camping on the bayous with my buddies, to camping at the lake with my kids, hiking in and camping at remote areas, to take my kids camping on the river. While I’am sitting around the camp fire looking at the coals and staring at the stars, I often wonder about the people that came before me. And I’am not just talking about the people in the last 100 years. Did the neanderthal look up at those same stars and wonder where he came from and where he was going? While Julius Caesar was fighting the Gauls, did Continue Reading….

Camping on the Angelina river

For those you in Southeast Texas that are looking for a little adventure, the Army Corp of Engineers has something you might want to look into. And that is a series of primitive camping spots set up along the Angelina and Neches rivers. The Corp calls these camping spots “Primitive Campsites” and here is a list from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. As of July 18, 2010, these is no fee to use these sites, and they have to be reserved. To reserve the site, you just fill out a form, fax mail or hand deliver it to the Town Bluff Project Office (phone number 409-429-3491) and they will give you a permit to use the spot. These primitive camping spots are reserved on a first com first served basis – so do not wait until the last minute to reserve the spot you want.

Primitive Campsite List
1. Bluff 1
2. Bluff 2
3. Hamilton Lake 1
4. Hamilton Lake 2 (Closed Indefinitely)
5. Hamilton Lake 3 (Closed Indefinitely)
6. Angelina 1
7. Angelina 2
8. Angelina 3
9. Angelina 4
10. Moon Lake 1
11. Moon Lake 2
12. Moon Lake 3
13. Warden 1 (Closed)
14. Warden 2 (Closed) Continue Reading….

Gator in the Angelina River

On July 9 – 10 my son, my son-in-law, a friend of the family and I went camping at Bluff 1 – which is a primitive camping spot along the Angelina River. We got up that morning, and headed down stream to another camping spot that has nice rope swing. While we were going down the river, we saw a gator eating on something. At the time we did not pay any real attention to it and kept driving the boat to the place we wanted to go swimming. Well, on the way back we saw the gator again – and it saw us. As soon as we came into view, the gator broke of its attack on the dead turtle, and headed into a Continue Reading….

Review of the Eureka Solitaire

While writing this review of the Eureka Solitaire one person tent, I tried to be as impartial and honest as possible. The tent was bought from Academy Sports and Outdoors in Beaumont, Texas and was not supplied by anyone. The first part of the review was setting it up in the yard and the the second part is taking it on a camping trip.

After about 15 years of use, I decided it was time to retire my Wenzel Starlight tent. The replacement had to be light-weight, fit into an medium ALICE pack or large MOLLE pack, easy to strap to the top or bottom of a pack, easy to setup, easy to take down, good for hot weather camping, bug proof,,,,,, just the typical stuff.


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MOLLE Pack VS ALICE Pack

“which one should I buy, an ALICE Pack or a MOLLE Pack?” – that is one of the questions that I see a lot of on the forum. The answer is not a simple one. Before you can answer a question, sometimes you have to ask a few questions.

How much room do you need
How rugged do you need the frame? – the MOLLE pack has a plastic frame, ALICE has a metal frame

A couple of weeks ago my son, nephew and I went on a boating / camping trip. We loaded up the gear, launched the boat and headed out to a camping spot on the river. While we were there, I decided to put together a video about the packs and do a little comparison.

My first exposure to the ALICE pack was way back in either 1992 or 1993. One of my good buddies had just came back from the first Persian gulf conflict, and one of the first things he did was buy himself a medium ALICE pack to replace the one he had been using in the ARMY. I liked the pack so much, I bought myself one. The difference between my buddies pack and mine – my pack was woodland camo, while my buddies pack was olive drab. After using the medium ALICE for a few years, I found it was a little so, so I bought a large ALICE pack in olive green.

My first exposure to the MOLLE pack was a couple of months ago after I bought 3 packs off ebay.

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One man tent for a bug out bag

There has been ideology going around the survivalist circle for the past couple of decades – if some kind of end of the world event happens, I’ll just load up my Bug Out Bag and head to the hills. If you go to just about any survival forum, there will be dozens, if not hundreds, or even thousands of threads about what kind of back pack would make a good bug out bag. One of the next most popular questions is – what kind of one man tent would be good for a bug out bag.

Here are some of the things I look for in a tent

Weight – how much does the tent weigh? The more the tent weighs, something else has be be removed from the pack to keep the overall weight down.

1, 2, 3 or 4 season tent – where are you going to be using the tent, will it be for hot weather, cold weather, wet weather, or something else? If you live along the gulf cost where it rarely snows, do you really need a 4 season tent? If you mostly go hiking / camping in hot weather, you want to make sure the tent breathes well.

Most of my hiking / camping is done in hot weather – so I look for a tent with a removable rain fly, and mosquito netting across the top of the tent. This allows a cross breeze to go across the person in the tent, and helps with the removal of collected body heat inside the tent.

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Win a gearpods survival kit

How would you like the chance to win a GearPods Backcountry survival kit system? If you dont know what the Gearpods system is, just visit their homepage – Gearpods.com Gearpods is a modular kit system, you can mix and match parts to design the best survival kit to fit your needs. There are going to be 2 contest running at the same time. Here is how to enter: To register for contest #1, members must register on the home page at www.gearpods.com – all they need to do is enter an email address – bottom of the left column. We send at most 4 emails a year and after the contest, members can easily unsubscribe from future emails. To register for contest #2, Post your Continue Reading….

Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger Review

The Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger is unlike a lot of other backpacks, as it only has one shoulder strap. Its designed so that the user can disconnect an under-the-arm strap, and then spin the pack so that its in front of them. Thus, making the pack easy to access without having to dismount it.

Maxpedition makes 3 packs in its gearslinger series – the Sitka, Noatak and the Kodiak. In this article we are going to be looking at the Kodiak.

The single shoulder strap supports the weight of the pack, while the under the strap helps to keep the pack in place.

The Kodiak Gearslinger has 5 compartments on it:
Place for the water bladder
Small outer pouch on top outside
Medium outer pouch on outside
Zipper pouch on outside of medium pouch
Main compartment

Some specs from the maxpedition website:

* Single shoulder backpack designed to maximize utility when rotated towards front of body
* Main compartment: 17 high x 10 wide x 4 thick with internal organization
* Top front: 4.5 high x 9 wide x 2 thick with internal organization
* Bottom front: 10 high x 9 wide x 2 thick with internal organization
* Approximate Capacity: 1100 cu. in.
* Fits up to 15.4″ (diagonal screen size) laptop computer.
* Bag can be worn in front and contents comfortably accessed while sitting down
* Water bottle pocket sized to fit 32oz Nalgene bottle
* Compatible with 100oz hydration reservoir
* Theft deterrent devices built-in to capture zipper pulls
* PALS modular webbing throughout to for attaching accessories
* Top and side handles Continue Reading….

Waterborne infections

While reading through a government report on waterborne infections, something interesting came out. Cryptosporidium accounted for about 65% of all waterborne infections. Here is the breakdown: Cryptosporidium accounted for 65% E. Coli accounted for 6.3% Campylobacter 6.1% Giardia 2.1% Shigella Sonnei – 8.5% Norovirus – 8.3% Now lets combine that with some more information. Here is another US Government report on Microorganism size and susceptibility to filtration report. Organism Average sizes Viruses 0.03 Enteric bacteria (E. coli) 0.5 × 3.0–8.0 Cryptosporidium oocyst 4–6 Giardia cyst 6.0–10.0 × 8.0–15.0 When I’am concerned about the water that I’am filtering, I try to take the area that I’am in, into consideration. Is the water down stream from a rural or heavily populated area? Has there been any recent Continue Reading….

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