Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

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DS Arms SA58 First Range Report

DS Arms SA58 FAL range report

Before we start on the range report of the DS Arms SA58, here is a little history on how we arrived at this point in time.

October 21st 2010 I started a thread in the forum asking what is the best 308 rifle for the money. There were lots of suggestions thrown around, such as the Springfield M1A, FAL, CETME, PTR-91, Remington model 750 and the DS Arms SA58. After much debate in the forum, the choice was between the DSA SA58 and the Springfield M1A.

Between the Springfield M1A and the DS Arms SA58, I picked the SA58 FAL. The Springfield M1A is a outstanding rifle, but a little bit out of my price range.

My first impressions of the SA58 were very good. The rifle handled very well, shot well, was well balanced, and had very little recoil. The first couple of times I shot the FAL, it was just to make sure the rifle shot ok – “yep, it shoots” kind of thing.

My 3 Favorite Maxpedition Backpacks

Maxpedition falcon-ii pygmy backpack

After using Maxpedition backpacks for several years, there are three which have made their way to the top of the list.

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

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

Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove Review

Vargo hexagon wood stove

Until just a few days ago, I had never heard of the Vargo wood stove. Right off the bat I was impressed with this stove – it looks like it can go anywhere and cook just about anything.

The Vargo wood stove is versatile enough to be able to use wood, sterno, or an alcohol stove inside of it. As I took thee stove you of the box, the first thing I noticed is how thin it is.

Vargo Wood Stove Dimensions

  • Height Folded – about 3/4 inch tall
  • Width – the widest part across the base is about 5 5/8 inches
  • Height un-folded – about 4 inches tall
  • Top width – about 3 inches across
  • Base – about 4 3/4 – 4 7/8 across

The bottom of the stove has 19 hexagon holes stamped in it, which as about 3/8 across.

The way your “supposed” to use this stove, is you find some small pieces of wood and build a fire inside of the stove. But while looking at the stove, and doing some thinking, I found that a sterno / methanol gel fits perfectly into the stove. I know the Vargo Hexagon Wood Stove is not designed to be used like this, but oh well, it works.

Coleman Perfectflow Stove Review

coleman perfectflow stove

It was the Sunday morning of the opening weekend of Spring Break 2010. My wife and I got up, setup the 15+ year old Coleman stove and started to cook breakfast. For its age, the stove was doing good, but it was just cooking a little slow. In all, we had about 8 hungry people standing around waiting on their food.

My buddy Lynn made the comment that he had a new propane Coleman stove that he wanted to try out. The conversation went something like this:

Kevin – Watching the bacon cook on the stove.
Lynn – I have a new stove I wold like to try out.
Kevin – Break it out then, this one is taking too long.
Lynn – Well, I did not want to step on your manhood.
Kevin – I’am hungry, get that stove out so we can cook faster.

So Lynn walked over to his SUV, got a brand new Coleman Perfectflow Stove out of the back, and set it up. Within minutes we had bacon, boudain, sausage and eggs cooking.

Berkey Light Water Filter Review

berkey light water filter

This is a review of the Berkey Light water filter. The filters use gravity to pull the water through them. This means that no external pressure has to be applied – which is great for a survival situation.

With any water pressure system something is required to supply the pressure, such as a pump, every pressure system has to have some kind of seal to hold the pressure in,,,, this all means there is more stuff to fail and break.

One of the good things about the Berkey water filter system – the only moving part is the faucet.

From what I read on the Berkey site, each filter has an estimated capacity of 3,000 gallons. As with other filters, I’am going to guess that the filter life is partially determined by the quality of water that is put into the unit. The more sediment and dirt that is on the water source, the shorter the filter life.

Berkey Light Dimensions

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

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy For a Warm Weather Backpack

Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon-II

The Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy is an excellent all around backpack, including a warm weather backpack. It’s just big enough for a day long hike, or a light weight overnight camping pack, without being too large the hiker is tempted to carry unneeded gear.

One of the questions I have been asked, “what makes a pack a warm weather pack?” In my opinion, its the packs size – its so small you can not carry spare clothing. In a cold weather camping or hiking situation, you will probably want to bring extra clothing, maybe a hat gloves, extra socks,,,, the usual stuff that hikers and campers my need in cold weather.

In hot weather you can take clothing off, in cold weather you have to have extra clothing to put it on. If the extra clothing is not in the pack, there is nothing to put on.

Maxpedition Falcon II Pygmy

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.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018