Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: hiking gear

What To Expect From A 31 Cent Compass

cheap compass

After digging through Ebay I was able to find a 31 cent compass. The pictures looked rather neat. The compass was in a plastic housing which had a cord attached to it. To get the price down 31 cent, I ordered 40 of them.

What would these be used for? A backup compass and nothing more. Just something that can be attached outside the pack so someone can get a quick reference.

Why look at a 31 cent compass? Part of my videos for 2018 are doing reviews of low cost survival gear. I wanted to start with compasses, just because. The first video and article was about a 50 cent compass.

As I was pulling the compasses out of the package, some of compasses fell out of the plastic housing.

Some of them do not point north. Most will point north. Out of 40 of them, just a couple did not point north. Some of them, the compass has to be perfectly flat to rotate. Someone may say, “So what, a compass has to be flat to work.” The compass has to be almost perfectly flat to work. It seemed that any kind of imbalance and the compass would not work.

Sawyer PointONE As A Gravity Filter

Sawyer PointONE gravity filter

The Sawyer PointONE is my new favorite water filter. Depending on water conditions, it can filter up to one millions gallons, and the flow rate beats the Sawyer Mini water filter hands down.

However wonderful the Sawyer PointONE water filter is, the user still has to either fill up a bag or water bottle, then attach the bag or bottle to the filter. Filling a water bottle with a small opening can be a pain, and sometimes an act in frustration. Rather than using the bag that was included with the Sawyer PointONE water filter, I bought a two liter platypus bag. One end of the platypus bag opens, and water is simply scooped up from the water source.

Think of the platypus bag as large heavy duty ziplock bag with a hose attachment. The bag can then be hung from a tree limb, or from the side of a tree. From there a plastic hose is attached, with the Sawyer PointONE water filter inline between the platypus bag and the water bottle.

Sawyer PointONE Specifications

Going Through My Backpacks

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

Got several backpacks out of the storage room and went through them. The issue with having a collection of packs is the gear gets spread through them. Depending on the length of the hike, and what I am doing, certain gear may be brought along. After awhile, gear is spread through all the packs. There might be a stove here and a stove there, and a knife here and a knife there.

Things get so disorganized the packs have to be pulled out, emptied, and everything rounded up.

For example, I have been using the Sawyer PointOne on a couple of outages. However, I still like to bring the Katadyn Vario from time to time. This means the Sawyer Pointone is in one pack, and the Katadyn Vario is in another pack. The problem starts when I forget which filter is in which pack. then I have to go digging through the packs until I find the gear I am looking for.

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

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

Katadyn Hiker Water Filter Review

Water filters for SHTF

The Katadyn hiker water filter is a low cost option in the water filter market. Its available through most large sporting goods outlet stores, such as Gander Mountain and available through several internet stores.

Even though the Katadyn hiker water filter is a low cost option, there is nothing “cheap” about this product. It appears to be made out of quality material, is durable and is an overall well made water filter.

Katadyn hiker water filter

The first time this Katadyn filter was used, my son, my nephew and I were on a 6 – 8 mile hiking trip through the piney woods of East Texas. The trip started off a on the deer lease we belong to. From there, my nephew, my son and I hiked between a couple of the rolling hills, across 2 creek bottoms and stopped for our first rest break on an old logging road. This was when Korey (my son) realized he had lost his water bottle. Luckily for the three of us there was a deer stand near by where we found a discarded plastic water bottle.

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018