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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

Natural Tinder (Mushroom)

Well out for a walk with my family, I came across a standing dead tree that had mushrooms all over it. Whenever I’m walking around, I’m constantly on the look out for great natural tinder sources to test with my flint and steel kit or with a fero rod.

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I noticed that all the mushrooms were dead and dried up, so I grabbed a couple to see if I could get an ember going using my flint and steel.

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Sure, enough after a few strikes, the broken piece of mushroom took a spark and I was able to blow it into a nice ember that would burn for a long time. Since the mushrooms worked so well, I went back and filled a brown paper bag full of them so that I could test them some more as well as have my kids try them out as well.

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Mushrooms are not something I know much about, so I’m still trying to find out what kind they are. I’m thinking they’re some kind of polypore. I’ve shown them to others online that know way more about mushrooms than I do but they’re unsure as well. Since they’re dead and dried up, it makes it harder to ID them. As soon as I have the ID, I’ll post a comment on this post stating what they are.

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What natural tinder sources do you use with your fire kit? Have you ever tried flint and steel or a fero rod? I love challenging myself and furthering my skills and I hope you all do as well. If you’ve never tried starting a fire with flint and steel or a fero rod I urge you to give it a try. You won’t regret it. Learning can be fun and empowering. My challenge to you is, learn a new way to start a fire this week, month or year. Thanks for reading and leave a comment sharing what new fire starting skill you’re going to challenge yourself to learn.

Ax and Saw Leather Carry Bag

For awhile now I’ve wanted an ax and saw carry bag. I really like the one Meandering Maker makes as well as Bear Essentials, but I didn’t want to spend the money, even though I know both bags are well worth the money. I thought to myself, why not make one out of leather? I’ve never seen anyone else make one solely out of leather and I had just acquired some nice 4-5 oz Kodiak stone oiled leather that I really liked the look of. So, I quickly began thinking about how I wanted to make it and what I wanted it to look like.

I made sure to design the size of my bag so that I could fit my Boreal21 saw or a 24” take down buck saw once I get one made. When cutting the leather for the ax sleeve I laid my ax on the main pouch and then ran the piece of leather over the ax that would form the ax sleeve and cut it so that when the ax was removed it still formed a pocket.

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I saddle stitched the whole bag and retention strap with waxed thread. I used Chicago screws to attach the anchor points for the shoulder strap as well as on the shoulder strap pieces so that it would make for easy maintenance or changing out any parts that fail over time.

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I used 8-9 oz veg. tanned leather for the carry strap and made sure to have enough adjustment for use during warm months as well as colder months over thick jackets.

I really like how my new ax and saw bag turned out. It should last me years of use and I should hopefully be able to pass it on to my kids someday. The only thing that I wish I had added was a small pouch to hold a sharpening puck. I decided what I’m going to do is make a small pouch that will hold the sharpening puck and a fire kit that will mount on the bottom of the shoulder strap but is easily removable so that it can be placed on my belt. What do you think about the bag? What would you change or add? Any leather projects your working on? Have you ever thought about using an ax and saw carry bag? I’ll keep everyone posted on how well the bag holds up as I use it over this year. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your wilderness wandering.     ax2.jpg

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The Hidden Woodsman Deepwoods Ruck

My dad and I have both purchased The Hidden Woodsman Deepwoods Ruck. Mine is mounted on a frame from http://www.tacticaltailor.com with their shoulder straps and hip belt. My dads is mounted on the military issue alice pack frame with straps and hip belt. It is definitely worth getting the straps and belt from Tactical Tailor. The pack rides so comfortably with all of the extra padding and padding coverage. My dad will definitely be upgrading soon. You can see bellow how much nicer the Tactical Tailor shoulder straps ride and cover than the military issue ones do.

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We both absolutely love these packs. There’s plenty of room for everything we prefer to carry. I like the sleeve on the front for carrying a small axe or hatchet and the molle webbing on top and bottom for adding sleeping pads or bedrolls as well as attaching most anything we’d want to. The side pockets have ample room for needed gear, first aid kits, cook kits, water bottles or whatever else you’d like to put in them. The separations inside the main compartment are perfect for my uses and not over done like a lot of packs these days. The quality of materials is also a plus. I like that I don’t have to worry about abrasions or being rough with this pack. I can hang it on a tree, set it on the ground or hike through dense wilderness or brush with no worries about it tearing holes in the pack.

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I can’t recommend this pack enough or any of the other quality gear I’ve purchased from http://www.thehiddenwoodsmen.com My dad and I are both looking forward to years of service from these packs. We both also own Dayrucks and like those as well. I use my Dayruck for warmer camping and wanted this pack for colder weather camping since I knew I’d want to carry more gear/clothing. Its also a huge plus to know that these packs were made not to far from where we live. I love supporting people that I’ve met, live in the same country as I do and that make high quality products. Hopefully you’ll be seeing these packs featured in photos of more trips over the coming years. If you own one of these packs, what are your thoughts about it? What do you like or not like about it? Thanks for reading and I hope you all get a chance to get out and enjoy some wilderness wandering.

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