Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

Black Diamond Mission 45 Backpack – $219.95
Features:
Strippable design: removable hipbelt with fixed webbing belt and removable framesheet
Description:
*SwingArm shoulder straps and thermoformed backpanel
*Top-loading, with removable lid, drawcord skirt closure and tuck-away rope strap
*Ice-tool PickPockets and crampon pouch
*Strippable design: removable hipbelt with fixed webbing belt and removable framesheet
*Hydration compatible

RMS Casual Backpack – Military Style Backpacks (Camo Pattern) – $39.99
Features
*Expandable & Extra Large Capacity: Our backpack has an ample main compartment for daily essentials. Simply unzip to add 5 inches of width if needed. Multiple front compartments help you organize all your smaller belongings like tech accessories, pens, camping supplies, snacks, and keys.

Tactical Backpack – 35L (Black) – $21.98
Features
*WATER RESISTANT & DURABLE: Meprona hiking backpack made of waterproof encrypted 600D Oxford cloth,dry-fast; lightweight and water resistant. It is long lasting and hard to be dirty.,high quality material guarantees longer lifespan in camping and outdoor activity.
*MOLLE SYSTEM: Durable Molle Webbing covered the school backpack, to attach additional tactical pouches or gear. The military tactical backpack for teen boys suitable for military, hiking, camping, trekking, traveling, school or daily use.

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Watch Out For Snakes in the Early Spring

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

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How Good Does A LifeStraw Work?

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

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Video: Packing For A Day Hike

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.

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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.

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Military Surplus Patrol Pack First Impressions

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.

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3 Day Camping Trip On The Angelina River

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gear Review: Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack

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

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Camping on the Angelina River

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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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.


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Getting the Maxpedition Vulture II Ready for a Camping Trip

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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Woods shock the silent killer

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.

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Coleman 533 Dual Fuel Camp Stove

The Coleman 533 dual fuel stove may not be small enough to take on an extended hiking trip, but its just right for around a camp site such as a park or survivalist retreat. If you need a stove to take to the lake or local park, then take a look at the Coleman 533 dual fuel stove.

Features

  • Dual Fuel engineering: operates on clean-burning Coleman Liquid Fuel OR unleaded gasoline
  • Fully-adjustable 10,500-BTU burner
  • 2.1-pints fuel tank runs for up to 2 hours on High setting
  • WindBlock system shields burner for maximum heat and reliable operation in all weather conditions
  • Filter funnel included
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Part 2 of the Maxpedition Versipack Review

This is part 2 of a review on the Maxpedition Versipack. The first part of the review can be found at this link – Maxpedition Proteus Versipack Review Part 1.

As mentioned in part 1 of the review, this buttpack was picked because of its lightweight and heavy duty construction. The Versipack will be used to fill a specialty role. Which is going to be for 3 – 8 mile day hikes. But before the pack is taken on an all day hiking trip, it has to be put through a few test. In this review, the pack is taken on a short walk through the woods to see how well it carries.

In the first video a 2 quart military canteen was attached to the back of the pack. Well, that did not work out too well. The canteen pulled the pack downwards and back until it almost touched my legs. So the 2 quart was taken off and a 1 quart canteen was attached to one of the side pockets. I wanted to attached a second 2 quart canteen, but it was in the back of a closet that was full of boxes. So never mind on that.

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Picking a Good Quality Ice Chest

After a disaster – such as a hurricane – part of the relief efforts usually include bottled water, MREs or canned goods and ice. The ice is supposed to help people preserve their cold or frozen foods. But, this ice is of little good if the person getting the supplies to does have a good quality ice chest.

It has been in my experience that Rubbermaid brand is almost the bottom of the bucket. I have taken a 34 quart Rubbermaid ice chest, put a couple of bags of ice in it. And the next day just about all of the ice is melted.

On the other hand, Coleman and Igloo both offer quality solutions. One of my ice chest includes a 128 quart Igloo 5 day. Your supposed to be able to be able to put ice in it, and when kept in the shade the ice is supposed to last 5 days.

Back in June of 2008 a buddy of mine got married at the beach. My wife and I loaded up the truck, hooked up the bar-b-q pit and headed to the beach to take part in the wedding. In the back of my truck was an Igloo 128 quart ice chest full of ice, drinks and a couple of frozen gallons of water. We got to the beach Friday evening. The Igloo 5 day extreme ice chest was in the back of my truck all weekend, in direct sunlight and day time temps were in the mid 90’s. Sunday, when my wife and I loaded up to go home, there was still ice in the chest.

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