Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

Produced By Cameron McKirdy

I’ve been managing Cougar Crossing Campground in The Willamette National Forest, while living in my Volkswagen Vanagon.  Plus, running Terwilliger Hot Spring in Oregon.  That has kept me busy enough, but with Spring and Summer, come baby making, and mice are no exception.  I have assassinated 18 mice in three weeks, using this Five Gallon Bucket Peanut Butter Trap, and a few traditional spring loaded wooden Victor Brand weapons.   Watch the HD Survival Bros Video Production below to see exactly how to build your own mouse deathtrap.  

Keep the critters out of your house, and vehicle by using this hunting method.  It’s a simple, and easy solution, to a disgusting problem.  I hate killing anything living, but NOW they won’t be damaging my car, tent, etc. and eating my food!  I lost a few Pop Tarts folks.  To make this project at home:

1. Spread Peanut Butter around the inside edge of the large plastic bucket, just down from lip

2.  Place stick running up to the top, overhanging so the mice fall inside after looking for a meal

3.  Fill bucket with 3 – 4 inches of water

4.  Wait overnight for animals to become trapped, and die

5.  Dispose of dead rodents properly with gloves, bury if possible a foot underground

Don’t call me PETA.  I love animals, and drowning is a peaceful way to go right?  Continue reading for more helpful information about mouse removal and solutions from personal experience.

I asked around for more mice control tips and tricks, and here’s what my friends came up with.  Rats dislike pure mint oil extract.  Place a few drops on a cotton ball, and put it where you’ve seen animals to keep them out.  Also, try putting dryer sheets in the holes of your car or house.  The mice won’t want to pass through these smelly spots.  Steel wool (not thin) set in car air vents is a deterrent too, allegedly.  Play with these things if you have a rodent issue.  I think it’s good stuff to know, so I’m taking the time to share for my fellow Survival Bros.

Manager's Campground Spot #1 on The McKenzie River

Manager’s Campground Spot #1 on The McKenzie River

The most mice I’ve captured in a night was four!  They are getting thinned out quick, but I expect them in waves all Summer.  I also decapitated some poor, innocent slugs, when they set off the lever on my traps.  It takes time setting up multiple devices.  I’ve spent 30 minutes many nights smearing peanut butter, and setting them in all the right spots.  Which for me, would be small game trails, near holes, or by my vehicle.  In addition, a pal told me dumping sugar away from your camping spot will keep various critters out of your outdoor gear.

You can also try low tech scare tactics on the mice.  When I first heard them scampering around my Vanagon, I didn’t have traps in place.  So I make a bunch of intimidating noises.  I was hissing, growling, barking, and clapping.  That didn’t work, and neither did playing music.  I should have tried Nickelback.  Shaking the van side to side wasn’t and effective deterrent either.  The mice are too smart.  I swear they are tuned into my brain waves, and attack my living quarters as soon as I start to fall asleep.

1986 Volkswagen Vanagon GL Vandwelling Project for Survival Bros

1986 Volkswagen Vanagon GL Vandwelling Project for Survival Bros

Later I peed on my rig to make it seem like a big animal lives there, and to serve as a warning.  If I wasn’t deathly allergic to evil cats, I’d get one to stand watch.  Where’s an owl when you need one?  I have tried it all folks.  And the 5 gallon peanut butter bucket trap as seen HERE works best.  Good luck.  More soon.  Please comment, like, and share this blog post with friends.  You’re the best.

Owl Kills Squirrel and Poses for Cameron McKirdy's Camera http://www.CameronMcKirdy.com

Owl Kills Squirrel and Poses for Cameron McKirdy’s Camera

Check out http://www.CameronMcKirdy.com for more Art, Video, and Fun! 

 

 

Advertisements

By Chris Miller

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Produced by Cameron McKirdy in Seaside, Oregon

Survival Bros goes car camping, and cooks food with the new Pinnacle Base Camper Large from GSI Outdoors.  The slick gear features their nFORM Destination System, offering a nesting design for compact storage.  Watch in HD video as I show you how it works, and clean it with ease.  

The camp cookware is top quality.  Each item is designed for hard use, and extended durability.  The Teflon coating on the two pots, and large skillet is abrasion resistant, so harmful chemicals won’t be scratched off into food.  Plus, the metal is proven to distribute heat evenly, for quick cooking.  You can see in the vlog how my food is boiling over the entire radius.  Also, GSI Outdoors has developed every product they make to be BPA-free.  That’s good, because I don’t want my hormones being disrupted.  This Washington State based company has the excursion items you need.  Carrying around swag from them makes my life much easier, because it does the job, and lasts.  

The Base Camper Large is ideal for a group of four, so I intend on using it when I entertain while tenting with friends, or I’m just super hungry.  You’ll be glad you got a set like this if you enjoy camping, an preparing meals outdoors.  Retail price is $109.95.  Visit GSI Outdoors for more info, and check out the Pinnacle Camper set for the ultimate, integrated cooking and eating solution.  

base camper

Link to the GSI Outdoors Product Page

Produced by Cameron McKirdy and Sarah Whisler

Certified yoga instructor Sarah Whisler guides you through an easy warm up, workout, and cool down in this HD video production.  We filmed our “flow” in Seaside, Oregon.  Our hope is that you use this video, and create more joy and peace in your life daily.  Stay tuned to Survival Bros, because we will be creating even better instructional routines soon.   Make yoga a part of your practice, and glow in all the benefits.  If you like the video, please share this workout with a friend.  Positive comments are also welcome.  Thanks! http://soulsearchersarahgirl.wordpress.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sarah shows you how it’s done on her yoga mat near the beach in Seaside, Oregon.

Survival Bros Logo Cool Grey

Visit http://www.cameronmckirdy.com

 

Produced by Cameron McKirdy and Tactical Gypsy

Survival Bros opens a brand new blade called the Cold Steel Recon Tanto.  Watch the HD video for the glorious tech specs, and the reasons why we purchased this model.   The weapon will be going to Afghanistan on deployment soon.  It’s a magnificent tool, and a work of art.  Plus, since it’s a Cold Steel, you know its been torture tested to the max, and can take any beating you can dish out.  Like the Recon Tanto knife?  Tell us about it.

logo

In this video we check out a new tool for the woods, cover the details, and our planned usage.  I can’t wait to throw this tomahawk!  The Cold Steel Frontier Hawk feels extremely well balanced.  It’s an excellent value for the low retail price of just $39.99.  Make sure to visit http://www.coldsteel.com to watch their awesome videos, and request a free product catalog and DVD.  

frontier hawk cold steel

You can’t go wrong with the Cold Steel Frontier Hawk in your hand. 

By Cameron McKirdy I sling a day pack on my back nearly every day.  I’ve mentioned the types of things I have in it before, like gear, food, and a warm change of clothes.  So when I discovered the Ribz Front Pack, I was stoked.  This innovative, steroid injected version of a fanny pack solves many of the challenges I face when backpacking.  Here I am with it on the Hummocks Trailhead near Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Ribz Front Pack One issue I have with a regular backpack is I’m constantly taking it off to grab water, my cell phone, or something else that isn’t handy.  With Ribz Wear, it’s all right in front of me, so I can continue trail blazing.  I also mention in the video how backpacks catch on trees when I have to duck under them.  It usually happens a few times each hike, and I practically have to crawl under the obstacle.  With my gear in front, navigating through heavy brush is considerably easier.  The best part of this system is the pack is easy to adjust.  My Dad’s chest and waist are smaller than mine, so after he used it, a quick tug on the straps in back and in front made it comfortable again for me.  Plus, Ribz have long, padded shoulder straps, so it feels like a natural extension of your body.   Mount St. Helens Adventures Map Check out the map of different Mount St. Helens Adventures.  Back to the Ribz Front Pack review, I must mention the Large version I tested can hold absurd amounts, with an 11 liter capacity.  Even with it packed full, I was able to swing my arms freely.  My dad wore it, and noted that you could still use hiking poles with it on.  Ribz makes smaller Front Packs with 8 liters of room too.  Internally, there are separate pouches to keep smaller items organized.  These elastic lined compartments will hold all your tools close to your ribs, and prevent them from rattling around.  We both ran with it, and the pack remained snug, not bouncing around, or swaying side to side.Mount St. Helens View In conclusion, the Ribz Front Pack is an excellent tool itself.  The quality is unbelievable, and far superior to what I expected.  It’s lightweight, at only 11 ounces, so it beats a backpack there too.  However, I think it would be best suited for use with a rear pack, so the weight of your supplies can be evenly distributed forward and back, thus giving you better posture than wearing one or the other.  But if you’re into ultralight backpacking, Ribz might be a dream come true.  You can’t machine wash Ribz, but it cleans up nicely with a wet rag.  I love the Cordura brand water resistant, ripstop material it’s fabricated with.  I will be sporting my Ribz for a long time.  I like it so much I want the smaller 8 liter pack too for shorter trips, and cross country running.  I just don’t know which color to get next.  Check out http://www.ribzwear.com to grab yours.

Cam makes instant coffee with an emergency water packet at Loowit Lookout near Mt. St. Helens in Washington State.  Subscribe to Survival Bros on Youtube for more!  Thanks for watching!  Feel free to comment.

Mt. St. Helens SelfieCam snaps a selfie with his dad on the trail

Produced by Cam McKirdy

20130722-203113.jpg
Survival Bros collected calories today. It’s summer. Trees and bushes are exploding. Or as my friend Tactical Gypsy said, “the fruit of the earth is popping off. Time to take advantage.”

Gimmie that free grub. I washed, and froze these organic blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, then tried a sour green apple. I’ll be juicing, and blending them. I even scouted out a bunch of cherry trees in my hood. Keep your eyes open, and get your local edibles while you can.

20130729-171102.jpg
The Cloudberry. Found in Oregon, but considered a delicacy particularly in Norway.

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

When you are in the field, your gear has to work.  That’s why I pack the best in my bag.  I’ve been testing both the Dukjug, and H2O Lite bottles from GSI Outdoors, featured in the HD video review above.  I hiked out to Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park.  This Oregon State Park is wondrous, with vast ocean views, and wide waterfalls.  The trail was muddy though, but I live to get dirty.  It’s 2.10 miles to Cape Falcon from the parking lot on Highway 101.  So it took about 45 minutes to get to where I filmed the product review.

The Dukjug is my favorite bottle.  It’s stainless steel, and holds 1 liter.  The design is fun, and colorful.  It’s covered in peace signs, and funky tye dye, so this container fits my hippie personality.  GSI Outdoors makes other designs of this jug too, and even a plastic version, all of which are BPA-free.  Their Dukjug is unique, because it stores duct tape under the rubber band on the outside.  Of course every prepper should have extra tape on hand just in case.  I’d use this bottle for hot liquids, and mixing up drinks, like instant coffee or tea.  It has a wide lid, so you can store anything inside, even food.  The Dukjug tips the scales at 10.1 oz, and retails for $19.95.  That’s a value, because unless you drop it off a cliff, it will last a lifetime.

The H2O Lite is super handy to have around.  It’s collapsible, and weighs next to nothing, only 0.9 oz.  I can just roll it up, and shove it in my backpack.  It takes up virtually no space.  I like that you can write on it, and date it.  Plus, it has a cool cap so it doesn’t leak.  When you want a cold drink, just pop the top, and squirt it in your pie hole.  Graduations are marked on the back too, which could help with cooking when you need to use a precise amount of water.  GSI Outdoors makes smaller versions as well.  I would want to bring one of those on my shorter day trips when I’m going ultralight.  If you need quality camping gear, look no further than this American company.  They have a huge product line you have to check out.  More reviews soon.  Thanks for visiting Survival Bros.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.  Peace and love.Cam @ Cape Falcon

It’s my pleasure to bring to you, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist.  This is a brilliant cooking solution for ultralight backpacking.  It gets high marks with Survival Bros, and my puggle featured in the HD video review above.

I think you’ll like this cookware system because it has all the bases covered.  It comes loaded with two telescoping foons, two 20 ounce insulated bowls with lids, two 20 ounce mugs, and a large hard anodized aluminum pot including a lid with a built in strainer.  This is perfect for cooking pasta, and even works as a spout for pouring liquids like hot tea.  The orange and blue foons match their bowls, but I like them because they are deep, so I can take big bites.  They are dishwasher safe too, like the rest of the Pinnacle Dualist.  Also, the entire package is BPA-free, so you aren’t absorbing harmful chemicals.

When I first got the Dualist a few months back, I was stoked that the bowls were insulated.  The last thing I want is my precious food to go cold right after I prepare it.  Plus, the bowls have “Sip-it” lids.  GSI Outdoors must have been thinking about messy eaters like me.  With the lids locked down, I’m less likely to spill scorching soup on my chest.  Another sly feature is the rubberized pot handle.  It folds, and either locks into place as a long handle, or on top of the bowls, keeping everything secure in the pot.

The stuff sack is also a wash basin.  I couldn’t believe it either.  It’s one more container that could come in handy for collecting water out of the creek, or washing your hands before supper.  The cookware system looks as good as it functions.  It’s orange and black.  I like having a high-visibility handle for cooking in low light.  And when you’re done, the Pinnacle Dualist is an easy clean.  It uses non-stick Teflon with Radiance technology.  So there’s no scrubbing.  Heat spots aren’t an issue either, allowing for quicker, and more even cooking.

The Pinnacle Dualist retails for $64.95.  If you are looking for an ultralight cooking solution ideal for two people, this could be for you.  I like the price, but truly appreciate the thought that went into this American design.  It’s all only 21.6 ounces, and the pot holds 1.8 liters.  The dimensions are 5.90″ x 6.40″ x 5.90″.  The Dualist offers bang for your buck.  This product gets the Survival Bros seal of approval.  Please comment, like, and share.  Thanks.

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

For more visit http://www.gsioutdoors.com

PinnacleDualist__18395_1297136995_1280_1280

Forget the gym. Work on your fitness outside, and without weights. Just bring a yoga mat to workout on. I thought this was a cool video with a bunch of different exercises. Lunges at 45 degree angles always destroy my legs, and build muscle. Enjoy!