Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

Chill out on the North Fork of the McKenzie River with #SurvivalBros and Papilio Oregonius butterflies.  This is the official insect of Oregon State.  Filmed near Cougar Hot Spring, in the Willamette National Forest.  SUBSCRIBE NOW ON YOUTUBE FOR MORE!  

What a spectacular day this was by the water.  The sun scorched my naked body.  It burned getting into the 106 degree water later that evening at Terwilliger Hot Springs.  I did dive headfirst into the crystal clear river.  Exhilarating.  However, do you have any idea how hard it is to hold your junk with one hand?  Just saying, it wasn’t staying put.  Thankfully through the power of editing, the family jewels remained in safe keeping.  

I ventured to this sacred spot two weeks earlier, and saw the same collection of butterflies!  I counted 40.  I’m amazed they were still there when I returned.  My friends are posted up hard in heaven.  They danced around me as I paid my respects.  This area produces insanely large moths too, like this one I spotted heading into a shower last summer.

Giant Moth in OR

Thanks for watching our fun video productions.  This blog has been going strong for four years now.  Can you believe it?  Your support is so appreciated.  You rock!

Oregon Swallowtail Butterflies

By Chris Miller

 

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Backpacking Gear for the Florida Trail

Usually I try to keep my pack weight down, though I don’t really consider myself an ultra light hiker. I can live comfortably out of a pack weighing no more than 20 pounds for months at a time. And that is including food and water. My base weight, the weight of my gear not including food and water, usually hovers around the ten pound mark, though I have a tendency to carry multiple paperbacks at a time which can push that weight up a bit.

So what’s in my pack?  Let’s start with what I consider the essentials, sleeping gear and clothing.
I sleep in a cheap Walmart $30 40 degree sleeping bag made by Ozark Trails. It is one of the smallest sleeping bags around which means it packs up into a very tight space. This is one of those occasions when you don’t need to spend a ton of money on a top of the line sleeping bag.  Is it warm enough? Probably not for a lot of winter activities, and even in Florida it can get cold in January. But the sleeping bag is always slipped inside my REI Minimalist Bivy. This adds a few degrees as well as allowing me to easily stealth camp. I also usually sleep in my Under Armour base layer.  My base layer is one of my most trusted pieces of survival equipment. I probably wouldn’t have survived the week of 20 degree nights stealth camping in Austin Texas that I went through a few years ago if it wasn’t for them and my winter hat and gloves. Also something which is always in my pack.
Other than that, a change of socks and underwear, my Petzl headlamp, a 5×7 tarp, a Thermarest Prolite sleeping pad, a Nike Storm Fit rain jacket, an REI Revelcloud packable jacket, a Sawyer mini water filter and a pair of what I call sleeping socks, socks which only get worn at night when I’m in my sleeping bag rounds out most of the rest of my gear.

Sure there are a few other things, random assorted things clipped inside my pack or stuffed in Ziploc bags near the top where they are easy to get to. The toilet paper and first aid kit, the mini Bic lighter and fire starter cubes. I also have a clip with several safety pins, a GSI plastic spoon, some rubber bands, a small set of nail clippers and a P-51 can opener.  You’ll notice that I didn’t mention a knife of any kind.  Airlines are pretty picky about letting you bring knives on board and I have found that when you are stealth camping in urban environments it is very likely that you will at some point be stopped by the police. Usually when I’m hiking I’ll carry a small Swiss Army knife. I’ve never needed anything more serious no matter the situation but have recently added a Buck Paklite Caper to my gear. Mostly for batoning wood for fires.  But for the Florida Trail I wasn’t able to pack a knife and in the rush before leaving I had failed to mail them ahead to myself. So I was without a knife in the swamps and back country of Florida.

Backpack Gear List

REI Lookout 40 backpack 53 oz
With 3 Liter Camelback water bladder and insulated drinking hose
Ozark Trail 40 degree synthetic mummy bag 32 oz
REI Minamalist Bivy 15 oz
Thermarest Prolite Small Sleeping pad 11 oz
Blue patched Silnylon 5×7 tarp with ropes 11 oz
Nike Storm Fit Rain Jacket 16 oz
Winter hat and gloves 3 oz
Underarmour bottoms lg 6 oz
Underarmour top xl 8 oz
REI Revelcloud Jacket md 12.5 oz
2 Extra Pair socks 6 oz
Petzl Headlamp w/batteries 3 oz
4 tent stakes w/stuff sack 2 oz
Sawyer Mini Water filter 2 oz
32oz Gatorade bottle 1 oz
Toiletries, First Aid Kit 8 oz
Notebook, Guidebook, Pens 32 oz
Swing Trek Umbrella 7 oz
Tent – Freestanding cheap Ebay tent 31 oz

259.5 oz or 16.2 Pounds

Much heavier than I’m normally used to and this is mostly because it is a new, heavier pack with the ability to not only carry more food but which also has a larger water carrying capacity. Florida is notorious for having bad tasting water which no amount of filtering or flavoring would cover and I wanted to be able to camel up when I found clear water.  Also, the cheap tent was a last minute add on. I wasn’t sure how I felt about sleeping in a bivy on the levees in Florida knowing that alligators were so close. As it was one of the hikers ahead of me woke up to the sound of one snoring next to their tent.  So how did the gear hold up?  Most of the gear are old standards that I’ve lived with for years so I knew what to expect. But there were a few newer items that hadn’t been extensively tested before.

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

The first was the Sawyer Mini water filter. Coming in at 2 oz I had used this on only one other two month long backpacking trip along the Oregon coast and it had held up well under the minimal water filtering I had done.  It comes with a squeeze bag for forcing water through the filter as well as a back flush syringe for cleaning out the filter when it becomes clogged. It has a 0.1-micron filter which means I never really have to worry about Giardia, e. coli or salmonella. And the best feature, at least for me, is the threaded end which can be screwed onto most soda and water bottles. This lets you fill your bottle from any source, screw on the filter and squirt the water directly into your mouth.

The biggest drawback, at least on hiking in the Florida swamps, was that the water often had enough silt suspended in it that I had to back flush the filter on an almost daily basis. I’ve heard this complaint from other hikers as well and they say for the slight difference in weight they carry the full Sawyer water filter which doesn’t seem to clog as easily.  This year the swamp was little on the dry side and at least one long stretch had very little in the way of drinkable water. Another hiker had gotten so low that he decided to drink his own urine. He turned around, filled up his Smartwater bottle, screwed on his Sawyer filter and shot a good healthy stream into his mouth.  “Hmm, still salty,” was his only response.  That’s because the Sawyer filters were not meant to filter the salt out of water. Just an FYI if you are thinking about drinking your own urine anytime soon.

Cheap Ebay Tent

I liked this tent mostly because it was freestanding and cost about $20 shipped directly from China.
The problem was that those also seemed to be the only good things about it.  The tent was listed by a few different Chinese Ebayer’s under titles like “Camping Tent Single Layer Waterproof Outdoor Portable UV-resistant Army green” or “Portable Camp Camping Tent Single Layer Waterproof Outdoor UV-resistant 1 Person.”  It was a one person tent that weighed just under two pounds and it could easily be stuffed in a side pouch or rolled up and strapped to the bottom of my pack. I wanted to make a few modifications to it to make it more camouflaged and perhaps add a rain flap over the zipper on the door but there wasn’t time before the trip.  It help up fine in decent weather and even light rain. That’s when I noticed that the floor wasn’t waterproof. This wasn’t a big deal until some of the heavier thunderstorms rolled in. Even though they lasted less than half an hour the wind would force the rain through the walls of the tent and I would end up sleeping in puddles for a while. Thankfully I had my bivy.  The storms also brought out another drawback of this tent. That the poles were weak. In the mornings I would notice that section after section of the poles were splitting and had to be repaired with Gorilla Tape.  But I was glad to have even this cheap tent to keep the hoardes of mosquitos at bay. Even then, sometimes just after sunset, the cloud of them would be so thick outside the tent that I thought they might be able to collectively break the flimsy tent and suck me dry.  Walmart used to sell a Junior Dome freestanding tent for about the same price that was only slightly heavier. It was meant for kids but I used that thing for years before passing it on to someone else. An act I sometimes regret as Walmart has discontinued their production.  Let’s just say that the cheap Chinese tent didn’t make it back from Florida.

No Cook

This hike I decided to go No Cook, meaning that I wouldn’t be packing my pot and stove and that I’d be eating everything cold.  For me this works out really well though I can understand how some people would prefer hot meals.  It meant that I’d never have to resupply fuel and I would have more room in my pack for food.  So what did I eat?  Bagels, cream cheese and sliced salami were most of my big meals. Protein shakes and Multi-Grain breakfast bars were usually my breakfasts and Snickers, Chia seeds and Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies were my snacks throughout the day.

Drinks, besides the protein drinks, were powdered Gatorade for the electrolytes and Crystal Light packets to flavor the water.  The big comfort food for me was the protein shakes. They have become a standard backpacking food for me. I carry about a pound of vanilla whey protein along with roughly the same amount of either non fat dry milk or Nido which is powdered whole milk. I prefer the Nido not only for the extra calories but because it doesn’t foam up as much when shaking the shake.  I make the shakes in my 32 oz Gatorade bottle, great because of its wide mouth. Usually I’ll drink some of the water off the top to make room for the powders. Personally I don’t measure what goes into the bottle. I’ll simply add a roughly equal amount of spoonfuls of powder, mixing it in gently at first to make room for more powder. When I think its ready I’ll just put the cap on and shake violently for a while.  The whey protein is great for repairing the damage to my muscles caused by hiking and generally this is just a tasty shake that I never seem to get sick of, which is pretty important in any foods you carry.  The only drawback was going through airport security. I was pulled aside for a security check and they emptied the contents of my food bag. When the TSA agent pushed everything aside he picked up the ziplock bags of what looked like kilos of cocaine. Luckily he laughed.  That doesn’t mean he didn’t swab down everything I owned looking for traces of drugs though.

All in all the gear held up well.  The tent though was left in a dumpster somewhere in Florida.  I’ll stick with the Sawyer Mini and I may start going No Cook on more of my travels.  The pack was a bit heavy for my tastes. Leaving the southern terminus of the Florida Trail I was carrying four liters of water, roughly 8 ½ pounds, more than I’ve ever carried before, and way too much food. I’ll probably go back to the 30 liter pack I usually use for the next adventure, which will probably be hitchhiking across the US.  And next time I go hiking in Florida I’ll probably pack some bug spray.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail on Amazon

@CleanshaveChris on Twitter

Chris Miller Videos on YouTube

Chris Miller Backpacker

Cameron McKirdy of Survival Bros gets naked, and films the Terwilliger Hot Springs near Cougar Reservoir in Oregon by Blue River.  Check out the four natural pools, and the wooden structures.  The top pool is now under construction.  The natural cave, which was a sauna, and the source of the hot springs is being remodeled by experts.  They want it to remain as natural looking as possible.  Word on the street is that the first pool will reopen as soon as it’s safe, and stable.  

Here’s additional web links to explore:

Terwilliger Hot Springs – Willamette National Forest Website

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar_Hot_Springs

Cameron McKirdy Naked

Cameron McKirdy Nude in a Hot Springs Waterfall

HD video produced by http://www.cameronmckirdy.com 

By Cameron McKirdy

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Survival Bros has been camping at Saddle Mountain.  This is a quick, and easy breakfast beverage guaranteed to get you moving, like it did me.  It tastes great, and mixes well, even with cold liquids.  Directions:
1.  Dump 1 packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast mix into container.
2.  Open instant coffee crystals and pour into bottle too.
3.  Add 6 ounces of spring water, plus 6 ounces of chocolate hemp milk.
4.  Shake, and enjoy.

This is a terrific pick-me-up in the A.M.   Maybe you’d like to sip it slowly a hike, or while going about your day.  Survival Bros prepares this recipe because it’s delicious, fast, and doesn’t make a mess to create. Just toss the wrappers, rinse out your container, and get on with it.  Peace and love from the road.
– Cam

Survival Bros Founder Cameron McKirdy goes inside an old American WW2 bunker near the hiker cabins on Tillamook Head.  Using a LED headlamp, watch Cam enter the empty fortress.  This building housed a radar installation during World War II.  The bunkers and cabins are between Ecola State Park, and Seaside, Oregon.  There are trails each way.  Before your visit, read up on Lewis and Clark’s trip to this beautiful location.  Please like, comment, and SUBSCRIBE!  Thanks.

More on http://www.cameronmckirdy.com

WW2 Bunker in Oregon

Inside the World War II bunker near Ecola State Park on Tillamook head in Oregon

Ultralight Backpack

An Ultralight backpacker’s 30 liter bag setup

Cameron McKirdy Hiking

Cameron McKirdy snaps a selfie on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean

Tillamook Head Sign Seaside

The Tillamook Head Trailhead in Seaside, Oregon

In this classic video production Survival Bros backpacks from Indian Beach to Seaside, Oregon.  Cameron McKirdy stops at the cabins to show you his gear, and take a nap before hiking back in the dark.  Read our previous blog about the trip HERE.

By Cameron McKirdy

I’ve had my hippie van for a week, and have burned through tanks of petrol.  I’ve found several spots to crash out for a night or longer that are free places to stay, and I’m willing to share this and more with you today – only on Survival Bros.

The first type of location I scouted out are places open 24 hours to the public.  There aren’t many in small towns, but large grocery stores are a good start.   Be on the look out for other campers, and recreation vehicles at the far end of parking lots.  If you had to spend a night car camping in city limits, this isn’t a bad choice, because you probably won’t be hassled.  Don’t forget you can always post up, and get some ZZZ’s at Rest Stops.  I spent a night this week the parked at one.  You’ll have access to the bathroom at all hours, trash, and potable water (in some cases).  

Camping in a van solo can be lonesome.  So I made an effort to hangout with other preppers, this time way outside of the city.  The VW van, which I’ve named Shaggy, has been mobbing hard, so I felt comfortable driving to BLM land in the Clatsop Country Forest.  I have AAA towing up to 100 miles, so I have no fear going off the grid.  However, I still had cell phone service in the mountains, thanks to a well-placed tower.  Two bros of mine led me to Lost Lake this week for a getaway.  It’s stocked with thousands of trout begging to be plucked from the depths.  I watched my buddies fish for a few hours, while I played with the dog, and poured drinks.  I brought rum, and sparkling cider.  The Martinelli’s was an excellent chaser.

Camping at the lake, or in the parking lot is prohibited, so we made our own spot down another gravel road.  The lookout was spectacular.  Below you can see a valley, and the Nehalem river.  Which you can watch me and my Dad raft by clicking this link to YouTube.  The fish were cooked on a spit for an hour or so, and tasted delicious.  I wanted to take a bite out of the side of a raw fish, but I will save the sushi for when I’m being trendy in town.  Wasabi, soy sauce, and ginger are a must anyways.

Nehalem River viewpoint

I didn’t feel like waiting for food to cook, so I grabbed two bags of Mountain House food, and heated water on my portable butane camp stove.  It took four minutes to get it boiling.  Then I opened the food pouches, and dumped the water right in.  I resealed the grub, and in eight minutes I was ready to chow down.  Now normally I would share, or save some of a feast this size, but I went beast mode, and devoured both bags.  I combined the Mountain House biscuit and gravy meal, with scrambled eggs and bacon.  It was terrific!  I forgot to pack utensils though, so I used a six inch blade to carefully shovel calories into my face.  In case you are wondering, the knife I used is called the COAST F611.  It’s a survival tool I’ve been playing around with a lot lately, and I like it.

Camping food bag

mountain house meals

eating with Coast F611

trout fishing

 Dinner is served!  Even our dog got some fish.

fish on spit

Fire looking cool.

Pabst Beer can cup

Tactical Gypsy made his own coffee cup in the morning from a beer can.

VW Vanagon GL 1986

Shaggy the VW Vanagon is a tank, and handled the gravel roads like a boss. 

Roscoe Dog

In the A.M. my two bros, the mutt, and I went back to the lake.   I was busy getting fishing tips, journaling for fun, and doing basic breathing and stretching techniques.  I love my yoga!   We walked a trail skirting the water, and attempted to hook more gilled vertebrates.  The fish were teasing us.  Jumping out of the water and splashing near us.  We did see one breach the surface and smack into a floating log.  That was funny.  Not amusing was the dog getting all muddy and wet, then coming right up to me to shake off.  Of all the places.  I almost took a swim, but decided to save that for another time.  I didn’t need a bath that bad.  Besides, have you ever seen a clean hippie?  More from the road soon friends.  Best wishes. 

Lost Lake Fishing

 

 

Produced By Cameron McKirdy and Tactical Gypsy of Survival Bros.

I need coffee, and I need it now.  I’m addicted to Joe, so when the portable GSI Outdoors Commuter Java Press walked into my life, I didn’t let go.  This lightwight, modern french press must have taken years to develop, because it’s awesome.  Survival Bros loves everything about it, plus it makes loose leaf.  Some of the product feature highlights include it being BPA-free, grippy, insulated, and having a non-slip foot.  All this combines for an easy to use, practical, and tactical coffee maker.  The GSI Java Press costs only $22.95.  So at that price why not steal one from them?  There’s nothing negative to say about this product.  It’s been Survival Bros tested, and came out on top.  Visit http://www.gsioutdoors.com for all the information on this piece of gear.  Please comment if you want.  

gsi coffee pressUse the GSI Outdoors Commuter Java Press for hot, fresh coffee!

Produced By Cameron McKirdy

This weekend Survival Bros went for a drive up I-5, and then took Spirit Lake Highway to visit majestic Mount St. Helens.  Most of the hiking trails were off limits to us because we had a puppy to acclimate to the outdoors for the first time.  Therefore, we found ourselves at Seaquest State Park, which while splendid, doesn’t have well-maintained paths like the nearby Hummocks Trail closer to the volcano.  So, after breaking a sweat there we continued to climb in elevation, and drove to two breathtaking viewpoints called Elk Rock, and Castle Lake.  I shot the HD video above, and snapped a few pictures.  Our final stop was Clearwater Lake.  It formed after the eruption in 1980.  There’s a relatively flat trail circling the body of water, but again no dogs are allowed.  I was willing to risk a minimum $50 fine, but we’ll just have to trek it another time.  Besides, the sun was setting, and my belly was growling.  At Castle Rock we cruised into C and L Burger Bar for a feast.  I’m talking peanut butter real ice cream milk shakes, fatty elk cheeseburgers, and scalding crinkle cut french fries.  Epic.  It was a complete day, and I look forward to returning to Mount St. Helens when it’s warmer, and all the backpacking trails are open to explore.

Mount St. Helens lookout

Clearwater Lake Washington

c and l burger shake

By Cameron McKirdy

When I train outdoors on my bike, and hiking, I like to bring most of my Bug Out items in my backpack. I carried a heavy book bag through school, and now useful item are included. However, many people don’t have emergency preparedness packs ready to go. Like my friend Kate for example. When we went hiking on Saddle Mountain, she brought a funky backpack with one strap. I knew that was going to be uncomfortable, but I didn’t say anything. Later I took her old bag with wrappers inside, and upgraded to another backpack with two straps. I built a better survival bag, starting with the weight being more evenly distributed on the hips. Here’s her emergency preparedness day bag after the hike, before I got to look at it and add items.

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Before Kate had some helpful gear, but it was still unorganized. Now her stuff is protected in heavy duty Zip Lock bags. Plus, I wrote her a list of all the things she needs, and checked off the items she already has.

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Here’s Kate’s New Bug Out Bag List:
– Light Stick x 2
– Pink Flashlight (with extra batteries)
– Tooth Paste
– Travel Tooth Brush
– Floss x 2
– CRKT Pazoda folding knife
– Cabela’s Multitool
– Repel Natural
– Kleenex Tissue Paper
– Wet Ones
– Secret Deodorant
– First Aid Kit with extra bandages
– Emergency Space Blanket
– Tampons
– Pain Pills
– Compass 4 in 1 tool keychain
-Tea Kit
– Instant Coffee/Sports Drinks
– Mascara
– Protein Bars and other food and packets of salt, pepper, etc
– Lighter
– Waterproof Matches
– Ponchos
– Extra trash and plastic bags
– Foil
– Local Map
– Chapstick
– SPF Protection
– Change of clothes
*What about barter items?
– Water bottles
– Treatment Drops
– Signal Mirror
– Super Foods/Vitamins
– Stove
– Spork
– Candles
– iPhone headphones/USB charger
– Weather Radio
– Shampoo sample
– Tweezers
– Razor Blade
– Scrunchie
– Duct Tape
– Paper/Pen/Pencil
– Nail Cutters
– Envelops with Forever Stamps
– Paper Clips & rubber band
– Moleskin
– Sunglasses
– Ear plugs
– Silver Rounds
– Tarp
– Survival Bros Paracord Bracelet
– Coffee Filters
– Contacts List
– Cash

With a Bug Out Bag Checklist, you’ll know exactly what you have on hand. Now if Kate gets a flat tire, and has to walk to town because her new car doesn’t have a spare, she can grab her B.O.B., and improve her situation. Another survival scenario she’s prepared for is simply having to bug out at a friend’s or relative’s house for 72 hours or more.  Today that’s possible, and even easy.  The new and improved pack will be on her back, handy in the apartment, or in the trunk of the car, depending on her needs that day. It’s the minimum you should have tucked away for a rainy day. Of course systems vary, and change over time. What’s in your survival bag?

Cameron McKirdy produced this new Survival Bros IT’S EPIC Youtube channel trailer.