Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Hiking and Camping

Hiking and Camping

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 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 – 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….

Vargo hexagon wood stove overview

Until just a few days ago, I had never heard of the Vargo hexagon wood stove. It all started with Mark, the owner of Ready sent me an email and asked if I would like to do a review. Since I like to test out new gear, I said “sure”.

Right off the bat I was impressed with this stove – it looks like it can go anywhere and cook just about anything. Its versatile enough to be able to use wood, sterno, or an alcohol stove inside of it. The first thing that I notices as I took the stove out of the box is how thin it is.

Here are some dimensions:

Folded – about 3/4 inch tall
Folded – the widest part across the base is about 5 5/8 inches
Un-folded – about 4 inches tall
Un-folded – top – about 3 inches across
Un-folded – base – about 4 3/4 – 4 7/8 across

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Internal vs external frame backpacks

Internal frame VS external frame backpacks, ask a group of backpackers which one they prefer and your sure to get a variety of answers. The truth is, asking about internal and external frame packs is like asking about:

chevy or ford
dodge or toyota
apples or oranges
iron man or spider man

This article is based on my personal opinion, established through years of hiking, backpacking and camping. Continue Reading….

ALICE, MOLLE II or Maxpedition backpack for a 2 day trip

The other day I received a question asking which one would make a good 2 day pack – MOLLE II Rifleman pack, ALICE pack, MOLLE II pack, or something from Maxpedition. In my opinion, there is no clear cut answer. The large ALICE packs are big, but their too “fat” – meaning they extend off my back too much and make me lean forward to balance the load. For this discussion, lets just talk about the medium ALICE pack, 3,000 cubic inch MOLLE II with external sleep system, the Maxpedition Vulture-II and the Maxpedition

For a 1 – 2 day warm – hot weather trip, I would have to go with either the Maxpedition vulture-ii, 3,000 cubic inch MOLLE with external sleep system or a medium ALICE pack.

The large 4,000 cubic MOLLE would be good for cold weather – where you need to carry a large sleeping bag, coat, change of clothes, 4 season tent,,,,,. But for a 2 – 3 day trip in warm weather, the large MOLLE will probably be too big.

A lot of it depends on where your going, temperature, and how much gear you carry. During the summer months, I can usually get away with an 1,800 – 2,000 cubic inch pack for an overnight trip. During July and August, I can get away with a 1,500 – 1,800 cubic inch pack.

Here is a video about the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy that I use as a hot weather pack.

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Heat related problems while hiking

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 act like it.  If you rush up a hill, get overheated, wear yourself out and still have 6 more miles to go, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Carry plenty of water – stay hydrated at all times.  If your thirsty, then get something to drink. Wear a hat – to keep the sun off the top of your head. Wear clothing that wicks away moisture and promotes evaporation – this will help keep your body cool. Continue Reading….

Coleman Perfectflow Stove

Coleman Perfectflow StoveIt 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.

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What is your survival gear fetish

To some survivalist, collecting gear is like collecting stamps, or collecting coins – we can always find a way to justify buying something new. For some people its boots, backpacks, a compass, hats, gloves, sleeping bags,,,, you get the picture.

I guess my gear fetish is backpacks, I just like having the right pack for the job. Whether its a day hike, over night camping trip, 8 mile hike in 100 degree heat,,, its nice to have the right pack to carry the gear. Continue Reading….

Getting the maxpedition vulture II ready for a camping trip

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. Continue Reading….

Maxpedition Falcon-II and 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 tht to what the needs are.

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

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Vargo triad titanium alcohol stove review

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.

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Gearpods adventure and survival system

gearpods reviewUp 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.

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