Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

Heat related problems while hiking

Heat related problems while hikingPlease Rate This Article Summer time is almost here, and so is the summer heat.  It wont be long and the 90s and 100 degrees will be the norm, so lets take some time to review. Pace yourself – You should know your own physical conditioning, your not superman, so dont […]

Coleman Perfectflow Stove Review

coleman perfectflow stove

It was the Sunday morning of the opening weekend of Spring Break 2010. My wife and I got up, setup the 15+ year old Coleman stove and started to cook breakfast. For its age, the stove was doing good, but it was just cooking a little slow. In all, we had about 8 hungry people standing around waiting on their food.

My buddy Lynn made the comment that he had a new propane Coleman stove that he wanted to try out. The conversation went something like this:

Kevin – Watching the bacon cook on the stove.
Lynn – I have a new stove I wold like to try out.
Kevin – Break it out then, this one is taking too long.
Lynn – Well, I did not want to step on your manhood.
Kevin – I’am hungry, get that stove out so we can cook faster.

So Lynn walked over to his SUV, got a brand new Coleman Perfectflow Stove out of the back, and set it up. Within minutes we had bacon, boudain, sausage and eggs cooking.

Getting the Maxpedition Vulture II Ready for a Camping Trip

Maxpedition Vulture II

The other weekend I took some time to get my maxpedition vulture II ready for a camping trip. Over the next few months, my family and I have a couple of camping trips planned. One is supposed to be next weekend, on March 13 to Dam B in Jasper, Texas. There is supposed to be another camping trip on the river, and another camping trip along the Sabine River sometime this summer.

Regardless of where your going on a camping trip, its best to be prepared. On my camping trips, I like to be comfortable, that might include bringing a hammock and a tri-pod stool, or even both. That way I can get off the ground for a little while and relax.

There is nothing quit like laying in a hammock, in the woods, in the middle of nowhere. No phones, no cars, no noise pollution to bother you, just the relaxing sounds of nature.

Maxpedition Vulture II Contents

  • One man tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Hammock
  • 3 eversafe meals
  • Rain poncho
  • Garmin GPS
  • TOPO maps
  • Map Compass
  • Maglight flashlight

Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon-II

When looking for a daypack, or lightweight pack for an overnight trip, there are 2 packs that should be seriously considered – and that is the Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II. This is not about which pack is the better between the two, but which one will suite your needs the best.

Each pack has something different to offer. So lets do an overview of each pack, look at what they have to offer, then compare that to what the needs are.

Lets start out with a basic overview of the Maxpedition Falcon-II and Pygmy Falcon-II.

Now lets move onto the details of each pack.

Maxpedition Falcon-II

Vargo Triad Titanium Alcohol Stove Review

Vargo Triad Titanium Alcohol Stove

Looking for a lightweight alcohol stove solution? Look no further than the Vargo Triad Titanium Alcohol Stove. Weighing in at just one ounce, the Vargo Triad is lightweight and portable.

Back in my teenage years (1982 – 1986), when I was camping in the woods and marshes of Southeast Texas, a typical meal on a camping trip was some Wolf brand chili, vienna sausages,,,,, canned goods which were bulky and heavy. This was mostly because the cans were opened, then warmed up over the coals of the camp fire.

In the 1990s I was getting a little tired of packing cans in and out of the woods – and so were my camping buddies. One of the guys in the group bought a single burner stove that used a 1 pound propane cylinder. It was a trade off, the weight of the propane bottle replaced the weight of the cans. But now we could carry dried foods, such as noodles.

To be honest, the weight of the propane cylinders got a little “too” heavy and have certain disadvantages – such as the 1 pound not being able to be refilled. Once the propane has been used, most of the time it has to be thrown away. Some people refill their own bottles,,, but not everyone has the ability to do so.

The single burner propane stove might be fine for short hikes, or at a park. But on those 6+ mile hiking/camping trips we need something lighter. Over the past few years the single burner stove has been replaced with military Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). The MRE heater is a nice lightweight option, but it only works with MRE entrees, and only works once.

We need an option that is lightweight, reusable, and can heat up different types of food – unlike the MRE. This is where the Vargo Triad Titanium alcohol stove comes into play.

Vargo Triad Alcohol Stove Specifications

Gearpods Adventure and Survival System

Gearpods survival kit

Up until just a few weeks ago I had never heard of a Gearpods. Which is marketed as a modular adventure and survival system.

When I was approached about doing a review of the Pod, the first thing I did was go to youtube and do a search. Well, no results came back – which is kinda strange. You can find just anything you want on youtube, except in that point in time I could not find a video about “GearPods”. Ok, we need to fix that problem.

When on a backpacking trip, organizing small items can be a real pain. This is where the Gearpod comes into play. Not only does it help organize items, it helps keep electronics dry with o-ring seals.

Not only does the pod have a cap on each end, to make the system where it can be expanded there is a slice in the middle. To add another pod, just take the cap off one end and thread on another splicer.

Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger Review

maxpedition sitka gearslinger review

This review of the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger should be able to answer most of the questions that people have about the pack. First of all, when the Sitka was received, it was well packaged. Inside the box was a large packing slip that was easy to read and everything was spelled out. The toll free phone number is located in the top left hand corner of the packing slip – so its easy to find.

Maxpedition Sitka First impressions

This is everything you might expect to find in a daypack – and more. There is a pouch on the outside for a 32 ounce water bottle, a compartment for a water bladder, the main compartment is big enough for a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), or an Eversafe meal, rain poncho, some tent stakes (for setting up an emergency shelter), water filter or water purification tablets, and a few other odds and ends.

The large outside pocket is big enough for a small first aid kit, TOPO maps, flashlight, matches,,,. The small outside pocket is big enough for map compass, medium sized GPS and maybe a couple of other small items such as a swiss army fire starter.

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy For a Warm Weather Backpack

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon-II

The Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy is an excellent all around backpack, including a warm weather backpack. It’s just big enough for a day long hike, or a light weight overnight camping pack, without being too large the hiker is tempted to carry unneeded gear.

One of the questions I have been asked, “what makes a pack a warm weather pack?” In my opinion, its the packs size – its so small you can not carry spare clothing. In a cold weather camping or hiking situation, you will probably want to bring extra clothing, maybe a hat gloves, extra socks,,,, the usual stuff that hikers and campers my need in cold weather.

In hot weather you can take clothing off, in cold weather you have to have extra clothing to put it on. If the extra clothing is not in the pack, there is nothing to put on.

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

Cottonmouth Water Moccasins and Copperhead Snakes

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin

or people that do not get into the woods very much, getting a copperhead and a water moccasin mixed up might be an easy thing to do. So what this article is going to do is give a basic run down on both types of snakes.

The examples that are going to be covered are from my own personal experiences from being in the wilderness and not from scientific studies. So take this information as opinion and not as fact.

The snake in the picture is a medium sized cottonmouth, I have seen them a lot larger then that. One cottonmouth my buddies and I killed and measured – it was close to 4 feet long and as big around as a mans wrist.

Cotton mouths have a head big enough to grab onto your leg, your arm,,, just about anywhere.

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin

Final review of the Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

This is the last part of a Maxpedition Proteus Versipack review series. For the other two parts, see these links – Versipack part 1, Versipack part 2.

From the very first moment I handled the versipack I was impressed. Its the attention to detail that makes this a quality product. Its as if no short cuts were taken and some real thought was put into the design of the pack.

Its the simple things such as YKK zippers, triple polyurethane coated for water resistance, internal seams taped and finished, paracord zipper pulls, double stitched Stress points – all of these add up to make a high quality product.

In the following video I have 2 – 1 quart military canteens attached to the pack. I found out later that the attachment points are designed for MOLLE equipment and not ALICE clips. But that is ok, the ALICE gear still attaches just fine, its just a little tight.

With the canteens on the pack, its gets a little heavy. This makes the waist belt a little difficult to adjust. So what I did, I had someone stand behind me, pick the pack up with the built in grab handle, then adjust the belt. To do this by yourself, just back up against a tree and let it hold the pack in place when you adjust the belt. Without the canteens it would not have been any big deal.

Woods shock the silent killer

camping hiking backpacking

Woods shock refers to a persons mental state after the realization that they are lost. Its the effect of taking someone from their normal environment, and putting them into a situation where they do not have the slightest idea where they are at. The degree, or level of woods shock varies from person to person. The effects range from fear to all out panic.

Living in a city, people have streets, and street names to keep them oriented. We know where we are at because this street connects to that street, and so on. When a person has been raised in the city or town environment, they become accustomed to knowing the street layout and how to get from one place to another.

In the wilderness, there are no street signs, or names of roads. This lack of normal guidance (no street or roads) has certain profound psychological effects on people that become lost in the wilderness.

Very little research has been done on “woods shock” as it can only be studied when a person is lost. When the search and rescue team finds the person, the woods shock goes away and the person returns to their normal mental state.

Children who have been lost in the woods overnight, were rarely able to describe anything about their experience. The children simply could not put their experience into words. The children that are able to describe being lost, said they hid from monsters at night (remember these “monsters” for later in this article). Adults who spent the night lost in the woods, described hearing wild dogs, coyotes or even wolves. Adults said they heard sounds that came from a type of K9, even though there were none in the area. Some adults also described frequently hearing voices in the night.

Sometimes the lost person mistakes the rescue dogs for wolves and will hide from the search and rescue teams. So that might explain some of what the lost people heard. Children will see lights and voices in the night (which is really the search and rescue teams with flashlights calling the childs name), the children will sometimes think that the lights and voices are monsters and will hide from the rescue teams. In the childs mind they are seeing “monsters” in the dark, but in reality its the search and rescue parties.

Even though there are several levels of “Woods Shock”, only three are going to be discussed.

Part 2 of the Maxpedition Versipack Review

Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

This is part 2 of a review on the Maxpedition Versipack. The first part of the review can be found at this link – Maxpedition Proteus Versipack Review Part 1.

As mentioned in part 1 of the review, this buttpack was picked because of its lightweight and heavy duty construction. The Versipack will be used to fill a specialty role. Which is going to be for 3 – 8 mile day hikes. But before the pack is taken on an all day hiking trip, it has to be put through a few test. In this review, the pack is taken on a short walk through the woods to see how well it carries.

In the first video a 2 quart military canteen was attached to the back of the pack. Well, that did not work out too well. The canteen pulled the pack downwards and back until it almost touched my legs. So the 2 quart was taken off and a 1 quart canteen was attached to one of the side pockets. I wanted to attached a second 2 quart canteen, but it was in the back of a closet that was full of boxes. So never mind on that.

Maxpedition Proteus Versipack Review Part 1

Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And from the first moment I handled the Maxpedition Proteus Versipack, I knew the pack is a solid piece of equipment.

One reasons why this buttpack was picked, I needed something to carry just enough gear for a day hike. My current fannypack is a little big, so I decided to downsize.

Not only is this a fannypack, but it has a grab handle on the top. So the pack can be carried by hand, or worn around the waist.

Since the Versipack as ALICE attachment points, this makes the pack a modular system. Instead of carrying a water bottle inside the pack, I added a 2 quart canteen on the back of the pack.

Please note the canteen does NOT come with the pack. The canteen is one that I had on my Maxpedition Vulture II backpack.

I took the canteen it off the Vulture II pack and put it on the Maxpedition Proteus Versipack.

Coleman Exponent Sleeping Bag Review

Coleman Exponent sleeping bag

An unbiased review of the Coleman exponent sleeping bag by trained professionals (not really). Both of my kids liked the sleeping bag and found the bag to be comfortable. But, the bag is supposed to have a comfort rating of 32 degrees. Even with temps around 36 degrees, my daughter was still cold, but my son slept good. Here are their stories.

Even though my daughter had a US Army Poncho liner and a fleece blanket in the sleeping bag with her, she was still cold. It might have helped if she would have had a sleeping pad between the ground and the sleeping bag. But we did not have any pads with us, just a poncho thrown on the ground. I told her she needs to develop some warmth skills, like in a role playing game. She did not find that too funny, in fact she just gave me an evil look like I was stupid or something.

My son had his sleeping bag in his hammock, along with a fleece blanket and slept comfortable.

Overall, the sleeping bag seems to be of good quality. However, being made in China the bag is over priced. Coleman has a lot of these products made in Communist China and then puts a “Made in the USA” price on them. If you can catch this bag on sale, or at a reduced price it is a worth while buy.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018