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.

Military Surplus 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.

After shopping and doing my research for a couple of weeks, I found a military surplus patrol pack for $29.95 + $9.19 shipping.

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.

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.

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.

Gear Review: Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack

Maxpedition Vulture-II on a hiking trip

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)

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.


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
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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018