Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: hiking

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.

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.

FR-1 Survival Pouch Review

Thank you sootch00 for posting this video review of the Maxpedition FR-1 Survival Pouch.

Product Features

  • Main: 7″ x 5″ x 3″ with full zipper opening
  • Carry handle: Yes
  • Modular webbing (front): 2 rows, 2 x 2.5″ wide channels
  • Modular webbing (sides): 2 rows, 1 channel
  • Shoulder strap (Optional accessory): Equipped with D-rings for a #9501 1.5″Â or a #9502 2″ shoulder strap, depending on your preference

When I saw this video the very first thing I though about was putting on of these FR-1 survival pouch on the outside of my Maxpedition Vulture II. The FR-1 survival pouch looks like its large enough for topo map, GPS, compass, flashlight, cel phone and a few other odds and ends

Field trip with nature class

Wilderness hikingContrary to popular belief, nature classes do not take their clothes off and run around naked in the woods. In fact its just the opposite. We keep our clothes on and drive to where we want to go.

Saturday morning the nature class that I am a member of did a field trip. The purpose of the field trip was to see some of the native and rare plants in the area, and to see some of the unique geological formations around the Jasper Texas area.

At 8:00am we met in the parking lot of the Stump restaurant on hwy 255, which is just north of Jasper Texas. The places where we were going to go were old logging roads. The people that drove cars parked their vehicles at a nearby hotel, then we carpooled in the 4 wheel drive trucks and SUVs.

The first place we stopped at was on top of a pipeline. We parked our trucks on top of the hill, then walked around the rim of the hill top looking at different types of trees and plants.

After we got finished looking at the plants, we went back to the trucks, over the hill and down to a creek bottom. The cool thing about the creek bottom, it was filled with petrified wood. There were small pieces, large pieces and medium sized pieces. One of the men in the group was an amateur geologist. He talked to the class about the different types of trees that grew in southeast Texas during the last ice age – white oak, pine (conifer trees) and palm trees.

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 […]

Gear Review: Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

The Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack is a well rounded backpack suited for day long excursions into the wilderness. Featuring a main compartment large enough for most items needed on a day hike, a smaller outer compartment, and two water bottle pouches, the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy backpack should fit most needs.

It was in the summer of 2009 when I received my Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy. After using the Falcon II Pygmy on a couple of hiking trips, it quickly turned into one of my favorite daypacks. Hang on, let me take that back, its more like my favorite day pack.

One of the first times I used the Pygmy was on an eight mile hiking trip with my nephew and my son. It was on a super hot August day, and I knew I was in trouble when I noticed the signs of heat exhaustion setting in. But we found our way to a creek with a nice sized swimming hole where we were able to take a swim and cool off.

Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy Specifications

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?”

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 […]

MOLLE Pack VS ALICE Pack

“which one 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
How rugged do you need the frame? – 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.

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 […]

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