Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: backpacking

How Good Does A LifeStraw Work?

LifeStraw Water Filter

Surely everyone has heard of a LifeStraw? It is a simple tube that is a water filter. Place the inlet into the water, then suck the water through the tube. Seems simple enough right? Almost too good to be true?

If something seems to god to be true it usually is, except for the LifeStraw.

Back in March of 2017 I decided to take the plunge and ordered a LifeStraw from Amazon. In April I took the LifeStraw on a hiking trip and gave it a test run.

First impressions were very good. It was just like pulling water through a straw. The water took a few seconds to get through the filter, but when it did, the flow was excellent.

LifeStraw Specifications

Video: Packing For A Day Hike

Three Day Assault pack

This is a video I put together for All Outdoor, and covers the basics of setting up a backpack for a day hike.

In short, keep the most used items within easy access. This usually means an outside pouch of the backpack. This is where I keep the maps, compass and water filter.

Least used items go in the main compartment. This is where I keep stuff like food, stove, cook pot… etc.

The pack in the video is a three day assault pack. Read my first impressions of the pack here – Three Day Assault Pack First Impressions.

Dangers Of Hot Weather Hiking

Overgrown logging road

On a hot weather hiking trip in July of 2016 I experienced some of the first signs of heat exhaustion, which were dry skin, rapid heartbeat, fatigue and muscle cramps. This was the same trip where I found the abandoned hunting camp.

I knew that I was getting too hot, daytime highs were near 100 degrees in the shade. My heart was beating so hard I could hear the beats. While walking up a hill my leg muscles started to cramp; I knew I was in trouble. There just happened to be a small tree that provided a nice shady spot. The backpack was dropped, I laid down, took my bandana off and laid it over my shirtless chest.

My cell phone just happened to have one – two bars of service. I pulled up google earth, took a screen shot of my location and sent it to my fiancee through facebook chat. My location was only about 1 1/2 miles from home, but it might as been 100 miles with my legs cramping. In case things went from bad to real bad, at least someone had my location.

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 […]

Maxpedition Water Bottle Holder and Mini Rollypoly

Maxpedition Vulture II with water bottle holder

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.

Maxpedition 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.

5 Fire Building Tips

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 you’re lost in the woods.

Fire building skills have become a lost art. People have gone from sticks and stones, to matches, and finally to fancy electric lighters that can resist just about any wind.

Several years ago I witnessed a young man hold a match to a piece of oak firewood that was three inches in diameter, and then asked why the wood was not catching on fire. He had no understanding of fire building basics.

When someone is lost in the woods, that is no time to doubt your fire building skills.

1) Alcohol prep pads – These are the things that the nurse uses to clean your skin right before you get a shot. Their good for cleaning wounds and starting fires. The alcohol content allows the vapors to burn before the cloth of the pad to burn, so you might get a couple of minutes of burn time out of 1 pad. Their lightweight, easy to use, easy to light, and multi-purpose items.

Why I like to go camping

Why I like to go campingPlease Rate This Article 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 […]

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.


MOLLE Pack Versus ALICE Pack

molle pack vs alice pack review

“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 and how rugged do you need the frame? For example, 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.

The three packs that my son, nephew and I brought on the camping included:

  • Large MOLLE with internal sleep system.
  • MOLLE II with external sleep system.
  • Medium ALICE pack.

Internal Versus External Frame Backpacks

camping hiking backpacking

Internal frame VS external frame backpacks, ask a group of backpackers which one they prefer and your sure to get a variety of answers.

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

There are pros and cons to every argument – some of it depends on what you like, and what your going to be doing with it. Personally, I do not think there is a “right” or “wrong” answer here. All I can do is tell you why I pick my packs and go from there.

Cool weather – Having the pack right up against your body helps retain some of your body heat in cold weather. Depending on how cold it is where your hiking at, this may or may not be a big deal.

Hot weather – Here in east Texas summer temps can get stay in the 90s, day and night. In July and August day time temps can easily reach the lower 100s. The external frame allows your body heat to escape from around your back. Just having that little bit of air space can help out a lot.

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 […]

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.

Setting Up a Wenzel Starlite One Person Tent

Wenzel one person tent

The Wenzel Starlite is a low cost backpacking tent which should fit most needs in the one person low cost tent market. I bought my Wenzel Starlite sometime around 1994, or maybe 1993. During the past two plus decades, the tent has bee on numerous camping trips from the piney woods of East Texas, the the marshy saltwater coastal regions of Texas.

One man tents allow backpackers and campers to carry a shelter without weighing them down too much. Even though this tent does not offer a lot of protection from the elements, it does offer good protection from insects.

One of the drawbacks to the Wenzel Starlite, it is not a free standing tent. There is one pole in the rear of the tent and two poles in at the entrance. The two poles at the entrance form an A-frame, and you enter the tent through this A-frame.

Wenzel Starlite

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