Tarp Shelter Trick

If you have ever camped using a tarp in the wind, then you know the stress wind can place on a tarp and it’s tie out points.

I generally always use shock cord to attach stakes to me tarps. This allows some free movement of the tarp when the wind picks up a bit but I have a trick I’ve been using for years that helps on those strong windy days when it feels like your tarps going to rip and blow away.

Something simple, that I’ve done for along time, is to take some thumb thick sticks and make a toggle for each corner and then to use a stick long enough to reach all of the stake out points along the edge being staked down. Make sure to clean off any sharp points or edges on the sticks so that they don’t cause any cuts or holes in the tarp

I run the loop that’s on the stake up through the grommet or pullout and then run the toggle through the loop. This allows for a lot of the stress to be transferred over a bigger area. This is huge if you’re dealing with grommets as these are always the weakest points.

Adding the toggles allows for a stronger connection to the ground well also putting less stress on the tarp. It also allows a little free movement for the tarp which you want on those high windy days.

One last added benefit is that the toggles make it easier to pull the stakes out of the ground when it’s time to pack up camp.

I hope this little trick helps someone next time they’re setting up a tarp on a windy day. What tarp tips or tricks do you have? Do you camp using a tarp? What type of tarp do you prefer?

5 Items I Always Carry In The Wilderness

I wanted to write a quick post detailing the five items that I always carry with me in the wilderness.

Container

I either carry a stainless steel bottle, pot or a Grayl water purifier. Since water is so important to our survival, you want to make water procurement as easy as possible.

If the low temperatures over night will be above freezing, I generally always choose to carry my Grayl water purifier. This makes water purification fast and easy. Plus the water always tastes amazing.

If the temperatures will get below freezing at all, then I take either a stainless steel bottle or large bushpot for boiling my drinking and cooking water.

Cover

For cover, besides the seasonal relevant clothing I’m already wearing, I carry a poncho that can also be rigged up as a tarp shelter. I love having multifunctional gear as long as it is useful and works well for both intended purposes, which I believe the one I carry does.

Having the availability to make a quick shelter to get out of the rain, wind, snow or to just create a micro climate to warm up, is extremely beneficial. To be able to setup a quick shelter without the need of natural resources is a time and calorie saver. In the event of a true emergency, I’d want to be able to setup my shelter as quickly as possible and save any energy on gathering fuel for a fire and water purification. Also, if I were hurt, it would be extremely hard to build a natural shelter depending on the type of injury.

Cordage

I always carry a hank of 550 Paracord with me. It can be used for so many projects around camp from shelter building to an endless amount of camp projects. It can also be used for fishing, primitive trapping and gear repair, just to name a few. I also usually carry a 25’ piece of #36 bankline which is a great complimentary cordage to Paracord.

Fire kit

I carry a leather belt pouch I made out of stone oiled kodiak leather. It contains my extensive fire kit. My fire kit contains a flint and steel kit, char material in a tin, lighter, magnifying lens, quik tinder tabs, fat wood fuzz, a chunk of fat wood, fero rod, opinel pocket knife and some jute twine.

Knife

I always carry a good fixed blade knife that I know I can depend on. Having a good knife can make camp chores a lot easier, allow for game processing, opens up a lot of projects that can be done around camp to stay busy and keep the mind focused if lost and in an emergency situation. A knife is a great tool as long as care is taken and it is used in a safe manner.

This is not an extensive kit by any means, and these are not the only items I generally carry, but these five items are always with me. This is a basis for my wilderness wandering kit. I’m confident in this basic kit barring any serious life threatening injuries. I do carry varying first aid kits when wandering wild places.

What are your top five stay alive items that you always carry, whether urban or wilderness?

Long Term Food and Water Storage

If you’ve ever thought about food or water storage for emergencies, natural disasters, being more self reliant or to combat shortages at grocery stores then I’ve got a course for you!

This course was put together and is taught by Creek Stewart. He’s hosted many outdoors/bushcraft/survival shows on the weather channel. He’s a great teacher and he wants to help you finally take that first step into learning how to properly store food and water long term.

This course is perfect for these uncertain times. Learn how to be more self sufficient from the safety of your own home. Nows the time to take that first step into a more self reliant lifestyle. If you follow what’s taught in this course you’ll be able to rest easy well everyone else is panicking over empty store shelves. After you take the course, stop back and let me know what you thought about it. If you already store food and water long term, what tips and tricks have you learned that you don’t mind sharing?

https://www.outdoorcore.com/courses/how-to-build-a-long-term-food-storage-pantry-for-bug-in-survival?ref=ca0c6a

Two Hammocks Under One Tarp

Recently I was on a camping trip with my second oldest son. I setup our hammocks off three trees and was able to cover them both with one tarp. You can see from the images how it was all setup. I was using my Dream Hammock Thunderbird and my son was using his Warbonnet Outdoors Eldorado Hammock. We used a Warbonnet Outdoors Superfly Tarp to cover both in case it rained.

h3.jpg

 

h2.jpg

 

h4.jpg

 

h5.jpg

To keep the tarp ridgeline centered with the hammocks, I had to run a short paracord ridgeline between the two trees at our foot end of the hammocks. With the added tent pole mod on the tarp, it helps give you the added room for two hammocks. This setup kept us perfectly dry each time it rained. I’ve tried using other tarps over two hammocks and this is by far the best setup I’ve used. I had no worry about rain getting in, which I can’t say with other setups I’ve tried.

h7.jpg

As a nice extra, we used cheap battery-operated LED lights hung from our hammock ridgelines to be able to see at night well getting situated in our hammocks. They were nicer than having to use our headlamps (which I usually do) and having one bright light that only lit up in one direction.

 

h6.jpg

We had a great time and as always, slept well in our hammocks. Have you ever tried hammock camping? If so, what’s your setup? If not, do you think you’d like to try it out? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or answers to any of the questions.

h.jpg

My Possibles Pouch

Today I want to share with you what I keep in my possibles pouch. I use a possibles pouch made by The Hidden Woodsmen. This pouch goes with me on any outdoors trip whether I’m hiking, kayaking, camping or hunting. I also take it with me when I go away on vacation, if driving. Below is a list of everything currently in my pouch in no particular order.

Gear List:

1) Complete Fire Kit In A Tin

2) Tin with Char Cloth

3) Suunto MC-2 Compass

4) Pace Beads

5) Headlamp

6) Spare Batteries

7) Hank of 550 Paracord

8) Spool of #36 Bankline

9)Fero Rod 1/2″x6″

10) SOG Powerlock EOD Multi Tool

11) Opinel Folding Knife

12) Pocket Bellows

13) Head Bug Net

14) Waterproof Pen and Notepad

Keep an eye out for my YouTube video that will be posted later today. Just look for Armstrong Survival on YouTube. You’ll get a better and more in-depth look at everything in my possibles pouch and fire kit. What things do you carry in your possibles pouch? Do you keep everything organized in a pouch? What do you think I should/need to add in your opinion? Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to like and or comment down below.

Quick Tip #22

Planning for a backpacking or camping trip? If so, I recommend using lighterpack.com You can sign up for a free account and use their free forms to keep track of what gear you’re taking, carrying and wearing. It’s a great way to track your pack weight and to see if there’s anything you need to change, add or do without. All the forms you create are saved to your account and you can share them as well. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Pack Weight

Here’s a list of what each of our packs weighted for our most recent family camping trip.

*Weights do not include water or food (consumables) I carried all of the food.

 

Me: Hidden Woodsman Deepwoods Pack Loaded Weight 37.2 Lbs

Wife: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Pack Loaded Weight 22.6 Lbs

15 Year Old: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Pack Loaded Weight 15 lbs

12 Year Old: Rothco Mini Alice Pack Loaded Weight 15 lbs

11 Year Old: Urban Mountain Pack Loaded Weight 16.2 lbs

6 Year Old: Hidden Woodsman Dayruck Scout Pack Loaded Weight 7.4 lbs

4 Year Old: Ozark Trail Daypack Loaded Weight 5 lbs

As you can see, our packs were not very heavy. We did not lack for anything or suffer. We had everything we needed and a few extra’s. The youngest two carried only their extra clothing, sleeping bags, cup, spoon and bandanna. My wife and I carried the extra things they needed. We had a great time in a beautiful place and can’t wait to get out again.

I hope this inspires others to lighten the load and get out and enjoy the wild places that are available all around us. What things are a must for you to take camping? Have you ever primitive camped? Thanks for stopping by and please like and leave a comment with your answers or thoughts about the above questions.

group.jpg

group2.jpg

 

 

Preparations for Wild Camping with A Large Family

 

I love to be organized and it’s no different when planning a camping trip for my family. To make it as easy as possible I always create an Excel document listing everything we need to take for each person and our dog. It also includes our food and what we’ll be eating each day. Below is an example of what I used for our last trip.

 

Camping List
15Year Old 12Year Old 11Year Old 6Year Old 4Year Old Wife Me
Backpack x x x x x x x
Tent/Hammock x x x x x
Sleeping Bag x x x x x x x
Sleeping pad x x x x x x x
Clothing x x x x x x x
Cup/Spoon x x x x x x x
Cooking Stuff x x
First Aid x x x X X
Water Filter x x x x x
Bug Stuff x x
Headlamp x x x x x x x
Fire Kit x x x x
Knife x x x x x
Saw x x x x
Cordage x x x x x
Food x x x x x
Bandana x x x x x x x
Toilet Kit x
Tissues x x x x x x x
Water Bottle x x x x x x x
Bear Bag x
Hand Gun x
MultiTool x x x x
Camp Soap x
Iphone Tripod x
GoPro (?) x
Food
Fri. Lunch sandwiches (6) & chips (6)
Fri. Snack Granola Bar (6)
Fri. Dinner Hot Dogs (12) Cut Peppers (3) Ketchup Rolls (10)
Fri. Dessert S’mores (11) Coffee
Sat. Breakfast Oatmeal (12) Bacon (2) Coffee Hot Cocoa (10)
Sat. Snack Granola Bar (6)
Dog
Food (2 Scoops)
Bowls -2
coat
Bug Stuff
Leash
Tieout (25′ of cord)
Bedding

 

Next, I’ll break the excel document down further into word documents for each person to pack from. Each person in our family gets a sheet with a list of items to pack. This way as each person packs, they can cross off the things as they are placed in the pack. This has helped us tremendously to not forget things. Examples from our last trip.

 

15 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Hammock

Under&over quilt

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and wool pullover)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

12 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp, Ridgeline & Tyvek

Sleeping Bag or Wool Blanket

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

11 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp, Ridgeline & Tyvek

Sleeping Bag or Wool Blanket

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cook kit with spoon

Water filter

Headlamp

Fire Kit

First Aid Kit

Fixed Blade Knife

Folding Saw

Cordage

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Food

 

6 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tent

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cup & spoon

Headlamp

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

 

4 Year Old’s Camping List

Backpack

Tarp

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Clothing (stuff to sleep in and Sweater or jacket)

Cup & spoon

Headlamp

Bandana

Tissues

Water Bottle

 

 

Doing lists like this makes it so much less stressful to pack our large family for a trip and makes it more delightful. It gives me peace of mind and I’m not racking my brain at the last minute trying to think of things we may be forgetting. It also makes our trips more successful and enjoyable. What things do all of you do that helps or hinders your trip planning and packing? Thanks for stopping by. Please like or leave a comment with your thoughts on trip planning.

Fire Practice With Kids After Heavy Rainstorms

Here’s a link to a quick video I did with my three older boys. We had gotten a day of heavy rainstorms the day prior. I was out playing catch with them even though the ground was still saturated. Anyways, I decided it would make a great lesson for them to show them we could still find plenty of dry things to use to start a fire. Watch the video and see if we were successful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwbZp6KSgh8&t=153s

Waxing Gear

A simple more traditional way to waterproof your clothing or gear is to use Greenland wax. I own a couple pairs of Fjallraven Vidda pro trousers and one of their granite wool flannel shirts. When I ordered my first pair of Fjallraven pants I also ordered some of their Greenland wax.

It was time to wax/waterproof my pants and the shoulders on my granite shirt so I grabbed the wax and my heat gun. Putting the wax on is simple. All you have to do is rub the wax on whatever you’re treating like you’re coloring in a coloring book.

Once each garment was completely covered in wax, I grabbed my heat gun. I set the heat gun on the lowest setting and took care to constantly keep the heat gun moving so not to burn the garment.

There’s something very satisfying about watching the wax melt into each garment and disappear. It didn’t take me much time at all to treat my two pairs of pants and flannel. Since I had the wax out, I decided to wax my Hidden Woodsmen Deepwoods Ruck. It turned out pretty good. We’ll see how well it worked this weekend well I’m out.

Do you wax any of your gear? What type of wax do you use? Let me know what you think in the comments section down below. Have a wonderful day and get out into the wild places and use that gear you’ve bought.