Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: camping

Watch Out For Snakes in the Early Spring

Texas Water Snake in bushes

Watch out for snakes in the early spring. April 19, 2018 the dogs and I were walking around the farm when we came upon a snake. I was carrying a rather old camera which takes good pictures and just wanted to get some stock snake pictures.

Rather than finding a CottonMouth Water Moccasin, the dogs and I found a Water Snake. The Water Snake (Genus Nerodia) is non-venomous and poses no real danger to humans. Chances are the worst thing that could possibly happen is for the snake bite to get infected. Which is why we should not handle even non-venomous snakes.

The dogs and I walked through a low area where there is usually standing water. Wherever there is standing water, chances are frogs will be in the area. What eats frogs? Snakes. It is a typical predator-prey situation.

I spotted a snake tail sticking out from under a clump of grass. One of the dogs almost stepped on the snake, and the snake did not move. This told me chances are it was a Water Snake. If a Water Moccasin feels threatened, it will coil up and get ready to strike. This snake did not move when the dog almost stepped on it.

Snake Camouflage

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.

My Childhood Playground

When I was a kid growing up in Bridge City, Texas, my buddies and I would hang out in a section of woods that borders a marsh. We would build trails through the woods, tree houses, go camping, just do what kids did.

As my buddies and I got older, we stopped hanging out in the woods and started socializing more. After we stopped maintaining the trails, they were slowly reclaimed by nature. Within just a few years the trails were almost impassible.

Two decades later, Hurricane Rita pushed through the area and uprooted a lot of the old oak trees.

While visiting with my mom and dad for Thanksgiving, I took a camera and headed off into the old trails.

Patrol Pack First Impressions

Patrol Pack

Overall, I found the patrol pack to be a well rounded and perfect addition to my backpack collection.

Call me old fashioned, if I like something, then I hang onto it. For the longest time ,one of my go-to packs for day hikes and even warm weather overnight trips was a Jansport black book bag. That pack was retired when I migrated to a Maxpedition.

For several years my go-to pack was a Maxpedition Condor II. The Condor II is a great pack that is perfect for day long excursions.

As with everything else, after using the Condor II for several years, I decided it was time to try something new. So where did I go to find a new pack? I went to Ebay and looked through various military surplus packs.

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 […]

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

When it comes time to head out to the woods, I usually take a few minutes to think about what I’am going to be doing and what kind of gear I may need. If I’am 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.

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.

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.

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.

Gear Review: Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack

Maxpedition Vulture-II

Looking for a good quality 2 – 3 day pack? The Maxpedition Vulture-II be just what you’re looking for. Maxpedition has a reputation for quality, and the Maxpedition Vulture-II is no exception.

However, the pack is not without its issues, which we will talk about later.

One of the things Maxpedition does well is blend military standards with civilian products. In essence, take lessons learned from military applications and apply those lessons to a consumer grade product.

For example, Maxpedition uses 1,000 denier water ballistic nylon fabric, YKK zippers and then add military grade MOLLE webbing to the packs.

The Maxpedition Vulture-II is divided into three pouches:

Main compartment

Two outer pouches

Maxpedition Vulture-II

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 […]

Camping on the Angelina River

The Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

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)

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018