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?

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.

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.

CP Kydex Bushcraft Knife Sheath

 

This past weekend I received my new sheath for my Casstrom Lars Falt Knife. CP Kydex (Country Prepper) made me an updated version of his “bushcraft” sheath. If you’ve never owned one of his sheaths or are aware of him, you’re missing out. I argue that he is one of the best kydex knife sheath makers. I love the quality of his work and how he melds leather and kydex together in a beautiful functional way.

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I own the first generation “bushcraft” model sheath for my Mora Garberg. That sheath has held up wonderfully and I still love it today. I love that I have so many possibilities at my fingertips. The newer model is bigger and has a larger tin mounted on the back to use for whatever you’d like. In the small tin on my Garberg, I have some quick tinders and a fishing kit. With this larger tin I’m able to carry more quick tinders, a larger fishing kit, a sail needle and some stormproof matches. On the older model you received #36 bankline but on the new sheaths you can choose #36 bankline or Titan Survival Cord wrapped around the sheath. I still chose bankline because that’s what I prefer to use for bowdrills and many other things. I usually always have some 550 cord with me anyways.

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I also own a sheath that CP Kydex made for my Mora Eldris as well as a mini bic lighter carrier. Here’s a link to his etsy store; www.etsy.com/shop/CPKydex

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I look forward too many years of service from this sheath, like I have from the other ones he’s made for me. I can’t recommend his sheaths enough. If I could, I’d own one of his sheaths for every knife I own. Do you own any CP Kydex Sheaths? Do you like kydex for knife sheaths? What are your thoughts on the look and functionality of these sheaths? Feel free to leave a comment with your answer to any of these questions. Thanks for stopping by and have fun out there exploring this beautiful world.

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.

Flint and steel.jpg

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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ember1.jpg

mushroom2.jpg

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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.

Quick Tip #21

So, you made it to where you want to camp for the night, and you’re all setup, then you realize it’s going to be dark soon and you start scrambling around to gather natural tinder and wood to get a fire going. Does this sound like your normal routine? It used to be mine years ago until I started carrying a tinder pouch on my belt. Now as I hike along, I gather natural tinder, birch bark, small twigs and anything else I might be able to use to make a “birds nest” and get a fire going. I also grab a few pieces of wood (sticks) that are slightly thicker than my thumb and break them short enough to fit in the pouch. I use these for making feather sticks.

Carrying a tinder pouch and filling it as you hike makes for a less stressful time later trying to get a fire going and it means you’ll most likely have better quality material to work with. Some advantages to carrying a tinder pouch are that everything you put in the pouch gets mixed together and ground together as you hike and if anything is damp it will help dry it out by the time you get to camp. Also, if it starts raining along the way or by the time you get to camp or before you get a fire going, you’ll have a bag full of quality dry tinder to work with instead of trying to scrounge around in the rain.

I highly recommend training yourself to grab natural tinder as you hike, whether you put it in your pocket, pack or designated tinder pouch, you’ll thank me later when you have a much easier and relaxed time starting a nice warm cozy fire. Do you already carry a designated tinder pouch? If so, what natural things do you grab to fill your pouch? Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment with your answers to the previous questions.