Posts Tagged ‘journey’

By Cameron McKirdy

A survivalist and cancer fighter answers my questions about his unique ride.  This electric trike gets 240 miles per gallon of gas.  Talk about frugality and wellness wrapped in one man’s mission to live!  The cyclist is always moving his legs, and getting a workout while going down the road.  He had this tricycle loaded with groceries, and clean laundry.  It could easily haul over 100 pounds of gear.  What do you think of this survival mobile?  More on the #survivalbros YouTube Channel.  Subscribe today to watch all the HD video adventures for free online.  Thanks for the support.

electric trike euge

Feel free to leave a comment or word of encouragement for this man

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.

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By Cameron McKirdy

Scary GoPro Black High-Definition video footage at Devil’s Cauldron from Survival Bros.  Shot with my HD Head Camera on, while walking above a rocky cliff near the Oregon Coast Trail.  This state long hiking trail follows the shore, and includes sections on paved Highway 101.  These cliffs are close to the Neahkahnie Mountain trail head.  More GoPro videos coming soon on this blog.  Exciting, I know!

Be safe outdoors.  And remember, it didn’t happen unless there’s video proof of it.  Email me at thesurvivalbros@gmail.com if you have questions, comments, or would like to share an article/something you’ve produced.  I’m always looking for EDC pictures.  So let’s see the pocket dumps, and which items you find useful daily.  Thanks.large_Oswald-West_map

Map of Oswald West State Park in Oregon

Cameron McKirdy Was Here

I’ve been hassled by local police three times this summer.  They roll up, acting hard, invading my privacy by looking into my windows with a flashlight, and asking a million questions.  Are you living in your van?  No.  Are you doing drugs?  No.  What are you really doing here?  Being.  Is there a woman in there?  I wish.  Next time I have a run in with make-believe authorities I will immediately begin filming the encounter.  They are likely recording me, and never announce that fact.  I will ask.  I take control of the situation by asking them questions.  Like, who are you?  And, is that an order or a request?  Am I free to go? They can only bust you for overnight camping if they see you asleep, so wake up before they get out of their car.  There’s many good videos out there on how to talk to peace officers, who are disturbing the peace.

I tried camping in the city limits once this summer, just to see if I could do it.  I failed, that time.  But was out in the open, and kind of wanted to be discovered.  The city planners have it figured out.  There’s so many no parking signs on streets, you’d be better off pulling into a hotel or driveway.  Not that I’m advising you on anything.  This blog post is for entertainment purposes only.  I pulled into a small city park, but got rolled up on shortly after 11:30 PM.  The officer begged for my I.D. so he had something to write in his police log.  I gave it to him so he would go away.  Then he told me I could park at the turnout seen in this new HD video.  At least he offered that tidbit of advice.  But are the police even necessary?  They either get lucky, or they are too late.  They aren’t preventing real crime, with victims.  They are revenue generators, and may have well studied accounting at The Academy.  

That leads me to the car camping video above, featuring Mocha The Famous Puggle.  She had surgery the next day in Nehalem, South of CB.  I stayed just off the highway that night, so I’d have less driving in the morning.  The point is there shoud be more places to live for free.  The Oregon Coast is a horrible place to live if you are poor.  Gas is outrageous, our Safeway is the highest priced in Oregon, and hotels are out of the question on a regular basis.  There’s many empty vacation homes, and little low income housing.  Homelessness needs to be legalized.  My hometown of Seaside, Oregon used to be known as Tent City.  Yet you can’t pitch a tent anymore!  Even the Circle Creek RV park doesn’t allow tenting now.  Shame on them, and the City of Seaside.  If you are homeless, you could be jailed, then shipped on a bus to Portland to survive there on the streets.  All for the image of a cute coastal town, so we can take money from tourists.

Politics, and money aside.  You can still live for free if you want.  That’s what I’ve proven in my car camping video series.  There’s always a loophole.  You can stay a step ahead.  

Going back to this production, it wasn’t a terribly cold evening when I van dwelled with my dog.  But what will I do when the temperature drops in the Winter, and do I have any tips for other mobile people?   Well, last night it was 52, and that feels cold.  I woke up a few times, and had to recover, and rezip the Kelty sleeping bag.  Start with an insulated sleeping pad, and then a bag rated to 30 degrees or better.  But what I plan on doing soon is getting a mobile power source that can power up my ELECTRIC BLANKET!  And an extra car battery for such devices, or more lighting, etc.  Mocha The Puggle and I will be golden when that happens.  Then you need a good set of thermals, or something warm to sleep in for clothing, on hand, just in case.  I like loose and light apparel.  Last night I put on a long sleeve Dri-Fit shirt, and sweat pants too.  Because you have to crack the windows, or else the condensation on the glass will give you away.  Hope this sparks some ideas for you.  Peace and love from the road.

cb car camping

Produced by Cameron McKirdy – http://www.cameronmckirdy.com

 

 

P1000580By Cameron Consumption McKirdy

My dad and I have been planning this one for awhile. We hiked half of the Ramona Loop and lots more on Mount Hood in Oregon. It was brutal. The hike was almost 18 grueling miles. We crossed the Sandy River several times, and were on the epic Pacific Crest Trail.

First I will list the gear in my day pack. I rocked a black Kelty day bag with a new U.S.M.C approved 3 liter Camelbak hydration system. I recently got that at a Navy Exchange. Here was my checklist: compass with whistle, emergency poncho, Mylar blanket, Bear Grylls Gerber Ultimate Survival kit, Moleskin plus padding, Coleman biodegradable eipes, caffeine pills, lighter, various fruit and nut bars, GoPro Hero 3 Black on my head, Panasonic TS4 digital camera, Vibrams, Coast LED flashlight with with white and red light, extra socks, Chapstick with SPF, cash, mace pen, Coast Rapid Response 3.0 knife, 12 hour glow stick, Tillamook County turkey jerky, natural bug spray, and hand warmers. My backpack was on the heavy side with all the extra stuff. It weighed maybe 25 pounds.

To begin we hiked from our spot at Lost Creek campground. It was an easy climb along the Sandy river. We crossed it on a temporary wood bridge to get to Ramona Falls. I’d never been there. It was spectacular, and massive. I filmed the waterfall, and snapped pics.

Along the way I spotted several types of mushrooms popping up. Unfortunately, king boletes are a few months away from harvest. I did find out at the Ranger Station that they only give out 20 mushroom collecting permits per day, and commercial hunting is not permitted. Amanita Muscarias are in season. But of course those are hallucinogenic and poisonous. I found a few russulas too. In addition, I identified and tried huckleberries. They aren’t my fav, but were better than nothing when I ran out of aqua.

We met lots of people on the trail. Most were on day hikes like us. The route from Timberline Lodge to Ramona Falls was popular. I wish we did that, because our hike sucked. We were mobbing hardcore for 10 hours straight. We only had a few brief breaks, just long enough to catch our breath, check the map, and grab a snack.

Cameron McKirdy hiking on the trail

I wore new waterproof Columbia boots. They held up, and had lots of cushioning. My tall Nike Dri-Fit training socks helped too. They were dry at the end of the day, and shielded my legs as we bushwhacked the unpopular, overgrown trail. We almost didn’t make it back before nightfall! It was getting dark quickly in the forest. So we had to book it all day. I was dumping buckets of sweat. I went through my entire 3L hydration pack, plus 1.5 coconut waters.

The pain of hiking that much basically nonstop was draining. My feet hurt, knees ached, and balls were sore. Women complain about childbirth, but try hiking with a big pair. I stretched along the way, but my hamstrings were tight. If you plan on doing a trek like this, bring pain killers just in case. I will be sore tomorrow, but didn’t cramp up or anything. I managed.

It will be a day or so before I get back to civilization, and can upload pictures and HD video. I got great shots of the canyon, mountain, and river. The highlight of the day was when pops and I used sticks and hiking poles to cross the rapid Sandy river. It had a path of loose rocks and wet logs. We made it across fine, but my dad realized he left his boots across the river. I got a good laugh in and filmed him tip toeing to safety. So he had to cross 3 times then. He changed into sandals, and me the Vibrams, so we didn’t get our boots wet. More soon. Thanks for visiting the Survival Bros blog.
Sandy River and Mt Hood

Cam McKirdy at Mt Hood

Sandy River Canyon near Mt. Hood

Mount Hood Waterfall in Oregon

Dad crossing the Sandy River for the 4th time.  He won’t leave his boots behind in the future.

By Cameron McKirdy

I’m on vacation. Calories and money are of no concern to me. I’m getting after it, but this bed is really comfy. I’m staying with friends in Alton, IL.

I flew out of Portland. But not before I got molested by the TSA. Of course I opted out of the naked body scanners again, always will. Everyone else submitted and got radiated. My enhanced pat down took forever. The TSA didn’t know how to handle me. 10, maybe 15 minutes passed before I even got felt up. What a tease! The old officer slowly stroked my buttocks, in between my legs, and everywhere else. ‘Merica!

My flight was delayed, so I had Patrón. Boarding the plane sucked. I didn’t check in early with Southwest, so I had to sit at the back of the aircraft. It was a bumpy 4.5 hour ride. We had a rough landing too. I knew we were coming in hot, and sure enough we smashed down going way too fast.

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A $30 cab ride later to the Sax hotel, and this was my epic view. It’s a crappy pic, but you can make out the famous Chicago sign in the distance. My room was right above The House of Blues. I enjoyed room service; deep dish sausage pizza, a cookie platter, and beer. I lounged around in a robe, and watched Hoarders on TV. I also planned out the next day, checking maps, and business reviews.

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In the morning I stashed my Kelty Red Cloud backpack in a locker at Union Station. It used fingerprint identification as a key. It was $5 an hour to rent a big locker. Breakfast was a green smoothie and a shot of wheatgrass at Jamba Juice, and a fatty turkey sandwich and dark roast coffee at Panera Bread. After that, I was on a mission to see all I could. I went to the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears tower, but going to the top was pointless, because there was no visibility. A beautiful Alexander Calder sculpture moved fluidly in the lobby.

Later, I went to Navy Pier, but most of the attractions were closed. It was rainy and foggy. Next stop was the Contemporary Art Museum of Chicago. The main exhibit featured artists creating around the time of WW2. So the many of the works were intentionally damaged by the creators to express the ravages of war. Canvases were cut, ripped, burned, and pierced.

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After digesting Art at the museum, I mobbed to Millennium Park to check out “The Bean” sculpture. It’s massive. Viewing Chicago in the distorted reflection was wondrous. I want to make a giant abstract work of Art. My city sucks when it comes to embracing artists, and modifying the environment. Chicago has style. It has good eats and brews too. Before taking the train to Alton, I dined with fellow pro eater Patrick Bertoletti. We threw down grub at Tilted Kilt, and smashed local beers at Rudy’s.

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There’s nothing like waking up and going to a candy shop. My friends and I drove to Crown Candy in St. Louis, the King of malts. For 100 years they’ve challenged the public to drink 5 malts in one-half hour. I would have tried it, but there was a long line pouring out the door, and they don’t offer the food feat when they’re slammed. So I ordered a turkey bacon melt, and chocolate banana malt. I went with two girls, so naturally I ended up eating most of their food too.

After nearly blacking out from overdosing on calories, we ventured to the St. Louis City Museum. It’s a funhouse! You wouldn’t believe how extravagant it is. The place is a maze of caves, slides, and hidden passageways. Outside there’s a playground, that looks more like a death trap. It’s made of airplanes, fire trucks, and rebar. I nearly got stuck turning around in this suspended steel tunnel.

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Next stop was downtown STL. The City Garden was impressive. There’s lots of Art, including a huge screen you can see yourself on. And there were sculptures of bunnies, next to real wild bunnies. It got me in the mood. Love is in the Spring air. Next we prefunked at the Oyster Bar near Busch Stadium. I devoured alligator nuggets. Then we went to the Brewers and Cardinals game. They gave out free Stan Musial harmonicas remembering The Man. They are already selling for more than $50 online. Our seats were in the Bank of America suite. The bank sucks, but I had access to endless food, and all the beer and wine I wanted. The Cards won.

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My peeps just took me to Confluence Towers. This is began Lewis and Clark started their epic journey, and where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge. The view is vast, but the tour guide pointed out the landfill first. I paid $4 for the view. Next was an interpretive center at Camp River Dubois. This is where Lewis and Clark trained for their trek. My pictures include the Captain’s quarters, and a replica of the keelboat complete with gear they spent months stockpiling. It’s all fascinating. I got souvenirs, and a great book I’m reading called Undaunted Courage.

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Visiting the mounds at Cahokia in Illinois.

This was a wild trip.  My Dad and I had been scouting the river, and planning the ride down the Nehalem river for months.  He read all he could find on the dangers, and decided to try floating from a higher point at Spruce Run.  After pumping the 14 foot cataraft up, we got it loaded on the trailer, and headed south past Cannon Beach on Highway 101.  Our friend Steve tagged along.  He knows the Nehalem well, and has been fishing for Steelhead on it for years.  We used his rig to shuttle us back to the trailer, and drag the raft up a steep bank at Beaver Slide after traveling 13.3 miles.

This journey didn’t go exactly as planned.  We unhooked the raft too soon, and it fell off the trailer when we were backing it up to the water.  After that mishap, we picked it up by hand, and got her wet.  It was a smooth ride at first, but early into the excursion we lost an oar lock.  Thankfully, Pops was wise enough to have an extra on hand.  Without the oar lock, we would have lost an oar and been screwed.  I had a great time chatting with the boys, and relaxing.  We were also trying to locate a lost dog, that had a $2500 reward for information resulting in his rescue.  No luck on that.  We did however see a coyote, fish, and a bald eagle. 

cataraft on river

Hauling the massive raft on the custom trailer

The Nehalem got rougher, and more dangerous as we got lower on the river.  The water was freezing, and we were wet.  I had a wetsuit, booties, and gloves to stay warm.  On a quick stop I used the spring water I collected to make Mountain House spaghetti with my Jetboil Zip camping stove.  Steve and I warmed our hands on the hot bag as the food cooked.  Near the end of our unexpected journey we ran into more trouble.  We got hung up on a boulder, and spun around.  Then at Salmonberry Drop we got blasted by a 7 foot wave, and my camera went out.  You gotta watch the video in 720p HD.  It was a hell of an adventure.  We got out alive, but not without a little suffering.  We won’t be rafting the Nehalem again soon.

Here’s a fun video I made of the first time my Dad and I rafted the lower part of the Nehalem River.