Camping With My Dad

A few weeks ago I went on an overnighter with my dad. We both had new Deepwoods Rucks from The Hidden Woodsman that we wanted to test out and it had been many years since my dad has been able to get out and camp. He had gotten seriously hurt on a construction site when I was younger and it really took a toll on his body, which meant backpacking and camping and any of the outdoors stuff he loved doing were out of the question for a long time. It’s only been in recent years that hes been able to slowly try to get back into some of the outdoor activities that he loves. Since other plans I had that weekend fell through and instead of doing some side work, I texted him and said lets get out for an overnighter and cook some steaks over the fire. He replied with YES! LETS GO! So the planning ensued.

I knew the night time temps would be in the low 30’s with windchill around the low 20’s and since it was his first time back out in the woods in years, I decided to go to one of my favorite spots to camp that was maybe a 20-30 minute hike in so my truck would be close in case we needed any extra supplies for warmth. I gave him my 0 degree Hammock Gear over quilt to use and I used my 20 degree over quilt. We used foam pads with  Klymit insulated static V blow up pads over top so that based on the R-value I new we’d be good down to 0 degrees and we’d be comfortable since we both have back issues. I set up my Warbonnet Outdoors Superfly tarp since it has “doors” and I knew it was going to be very windy. We used reusable heavy weight emergency blankets as our ground sheets.

We camped near a large pond with a great view. It rained a bit after we got camp set up and stopped just as we started to cook our steaks over the fire. The steaks (Venison backstraps cut into steaks) and potatoes came out perfect and tasted amazing after being cooked over the fire. We enjoyed some time around the fire and headed to bed. We slept pretty decent all night. The wind gusts got going pretty high which concerned us because the trees creaked like crazy all night and we could hear some trees and limbs falling in the distance. The wind was constantly changing direction all night. Otherwise it was a pretty good night. We both got up around 4 am to go to the bathroom and I loaded up the makeshift fire pit with wood so that we’d have coals to get a fire going later that morning. After I got the fire going again and warmed my hands up, I headed back to bed for a few hours.

I think we ended up getting up around 8-8:30 am. There was a little bit of snow on the ground, on our tarp and on our packs that were hung on the trees. The low that night was 32 degrees with a windchill of 18 degrees. It was so windy when we got up that we both decided we’d just pack up and have breakfast when we got home instead of getting a fire going and trying to cook over it in the wind. Plus I didn’t want to have to worry about the fire being reignited after we left because of the high winds.

We enjoyed our hike out and had a great time. It was nice seeing my dad be able to camp again and enjoy the things he use to be able to. We had a fun successful trip. We ate great food, had a great time and slept pretty well. We only needed our rain gear for a few hours the night before. We both love our new packs. My dad will eventually upgrade his pack frame to the same one that I have because mine has much more padding and is very comfortable. My dad’s already looking forward to our next trip, and to me that always means your trip was successful when anyone you took out enjoys themselves so much that they look forward to the next trip.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the attached photos of our trip. What extra little things do you do to ensure you have a great trip? Heres a link to the video of our trip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rbbY5vnuW0

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MY “SIMPLE KIT”

Sometimes it’s nice to just move about in the wilderness with less weight on your back and minimal supplies. Partly it’s to be challenged and on the other hand it’s the simplicity of it. I thought I’d share with you today what I carry in my “simple kit”.

Carried On Me

  • Fixed Blade Knife (attached to my side)
  • Pocket Knife or multi tool in my pocket
  • Small Fire Kit
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Compass

 

Bedroll

  • Wool Blanket (Rothco or Pathfinder Blanket)
  • DD Hammock Superlight Tarp
  • Klymit Inflatable Sleeping Pad
  • Boreal21 Saw in a waxed canvas sheath
  • 550 Paracord Bedroll Strap to carry everything in the bedroll
  • Food Pouch

 

Water Bottle Pouch

  • Stainless Steel Bottle and cup with reflectix cozy
  • Eating Utensil
  • Sawyer Mini Water Filter
  • Fire Kit
  • Cordage
  • Bug Repealant
  • Pace Beads
  • Snacks

 

I carry my bedroll to the right of my body, strap over my left shoulder, and the water bottle carrier to my left with the strap over my right shoulder. The straps create an X on my back and chest. I find this to be a nice simple kit for me. There are some things I could cut out and there’s always things that can be added but sometimes it’s nice to get outdoors with just a basic kit. If for some reason I want to carry my small axe, I could carry it in the axe pocket of my Fjallraven Vidda Pro pants but with a good knife and a saw I really don’t need the axe much in the wilderness where I live. What “Simple Kit” do you carry? What would you add or take out and why?

Simple Kit

Gear I’ve Recently Acquired

I’ve recently acquired three pieces of gear that I’m excited about using and testing. The first one is a Casstrom Knives Lars Falt Bushcraft knife. I can’t speak to its durability over time but out of the box this knife is a beauty. I love the curly birch handle and the knife comes razor sharp out of the box. The knife also comes with a nice simple leather sheath. I also ordered a dangler to add to it because I just prefer my knives to be on a dangler for ease of movement. I’m really looking forward to testing this knife out over the next year and then I’ll post an update of how it holds up to use over the long hall. Based on my first impressions I don’t anticipate any issues with this knife.

 

Lars Falt Bushcraft Knife

 

The second item I recently received is a Bushcraft Essentials Bush Box LF stove kit (stainless steel version). I ordered the kit instead of just the stove because I wanted the grate for the top to be able to cook meat or other things right on it without needing a pot or pan. Because of what it is, it’s a bit heavy, but I expected that. It’s really well made and I anticipate it holding up to years of use. The stove also comes with its own pouch which makes storing it in your pack nicer and cleaner. I do still use an alcohol stove and a butane stove as well depending on the type of trip so it’s not like this will be used as my only stove, but who knows, it’s possible I may like this stove enough to stop using my other cooking methods. Only time will tell. This is my first venture into twig stoves so we’ll see how it goes. Most places I hike and camp have plenty of branches laying around so I like the idea of not having to carry all of my fuel.

Bushbox LFStove Kit

 

The third item is an Expedition Research Bushcraft Grill (regular size not mini). My preferred way of cooking is right over an open fire but I’ve tried other small campfire grates and they’ve always failed because they lacked the grid pattern that this grill does have. There’s not much to say other than I’m looking forward to testing this grill out and will probably christen it with some bacon (one of the things the other grills failed to handle as bacon shrinks as its cooking and would fall through the cracks). It does come with a lightweight pouch so that you can easily store it in your pack without getting other things dirty.

Bushcraft grill bushcraft grill 2

All in all these are three pieces of gear I’m really excited to get in the woods and test out. Hopefully after the holidays are over and with hunting season nearing its end soon here in New York, I’ll have a chance to get out and give these new pieces of gear a try. What new pieces of gear did you acquire that you’re excited to use? Have fun in the wilderness and take time to just “be” and enjoy it.

Start Them Young

I have four boys between the ages of 22months and 10. They all love the outdoors. I take the older two hunting with me during early hunting season when it’s a bit warmer. They love to hike and my 10 year old absolutely loves kayaking. They can’t get enough of hiking in the wilderness. This year I started a new tradition where I’m going to be taking each one of my older three boys on their own three day weekend adventure. I plan on doing this every year from now on. They can’t wait. This way we can get some one on one time (hopefully get them more comfortable talking to me and prepare them for their teen years) and I can also tailor each trip to each of my sons’ abilities and likes.

This month I will be taking my older son. We are going to kayak out to an island where we will camp for three days. We will do a lot of fishing. He is a natural when it comes to fishing. He had all kinds of trouble trying to fish with those cheap kids combos so one day I gave him one of my fishing poles and off he went. He could cast it farther than a lot of adults and he’s caught some nice size fish all on his own. The area where we are staying is surrounded by over 2500 acres of state forest which is full of trails and streams. So we will be spending a bit of our time hiking as well. I don’t know who’s more excited him or me.

All of my kids love being outside but my 22 month old can’t get enough. All winter he would just trudge through the snow and didn’t care how much effort it took or even how cold it was. Now that it is nice outside he doesn’t want to be anywhere but outside. He loves to help feed and water the chickens. It amazes me how much he can actually do all on his own! On Mother’s Day after we had dinner the kids and I were out walking around our property. We have a section of our property that has a steep hill in the woods that is mostly loose dirt and tree roots. He was climbing up and down the hill without any help and never fell once. None of our kids could do that so early! This kid has amazing balance. I wish I had a picture of this hill so that you could see it.

I say all this to encourage people to get their kids out hiking and enjoying outdoor activities as early as possible and to do it as a family. I had my older son sitting in my lap well kayaking before he could even walk (he had a life jacket on and I had a long daisy chain hooked from the top of my lifejacket to the bottom of his). He loved it. Children are much more capable than we think. You’ll never regret the time spent outside with your kids but you’ll always regret the time wasted on TV and video games. They will always cherish those memories as well. I still remember all the camping and fishing trips I took as a kid. Those are the memories I cherish most. Below are some pictures of us hiking on a well worn trail system on Memorial Day. What activities does your family like to do outside together? Do your kids like being outdoors? If your family is not use to hiking or being outdoors regularly, start small. A simple hike down a short trial will do wonders. Don’t try to start out with more than you or they can handle. Start small and enjoy working your way up to more difficult hikes, camping trips or backpacking trips. Enjoy the process together. You’ll also get to see some breathtaking views along the way.

Just an FYI, we have each of the older three kids carry their own hydration bag. This works out very well. They can easily carry their own water, snacks and lunch. We tried having them just carry containers with water in them but not too long down the trail they would get tired of carrying the containers so we found that this works our well for us. Also, with boys you will need snacks. Don’t venture out without some. If they are not eating they are thinking about eating! Our boys eat more than my wife and I do. Anyway, enjoy the time spent outdoors with your kids and don’t underestimate their abilities.

 

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