ok, so here is my first trip for the WMBO contest. it was done before the official start date but i cant enter to win so ill post up now to kick things off.
this trip was mostly about just getting out and trying some new gear. it was also a challenge since my pack weighed in at 45lbs inc 1.5 gallons of water. throwing in approx 6-7 lbs of gear on my belt and i was way above my comfort zone. my buddies pack also weighed more than usual since he packed way more water than normal, though we didnt get a weight from a scale on his pack.
the place we went to is a 3,300 acre ex cattle ranch and doesnt see a whole lot of campers, though we did run into several horse back riders on this trip. no critters on this trip, but plenty of evidence that the hogs are hanging around this area. to bad its off limits to hunting.
due to my wifes work schedule we got a late start, so at 1:50pm we hit the trail. this turned out to be ok since the sun was hanging a little lower in the sky. temps during the day were in the upper 70's with clouds and a chance of rain.
here are a few photos on the way in. the trail is a mixture of grass/sand at the begining, but at about the 1 mile mark you get a shit ton of sugar sand for about the next mile or so. often times you can walk the edges, which helps but its still soft, but you are forced to walk in the sand plenty.... this is where 50 plus punds of gear will wear you flat out.
here is some prickly pear along the trail. it is along the trail at several locations. i have been wanting to try some out but decided to pass on this trip.
our first and only break along the 4.3 mile trail was this foot bridge. this is about 2.5 miles in. having gotten my ass kicked a bit last time we hit this trail ( due to not taking advantage of this very water right here ) i decided to load up on some extra water. its not the best water source, and im sure hogs and every other thing that walks around on four legs here uses this as their water cooler / toilet.
here im using my katadyn hiker. it has served me well and i consider it one of my most important pieces of kit here in FL. one advantage to living in FL is that there is water all over the place, its just always filthy in my AO and needs to be treated.
i keep all my water making tools in one kit. it starts off with a modified condor EMT pouch which has also served me well. it holds everything i need to filter, treat, and store/carry water. it normally holds two 1 qt platy bags which roll up and store in the kit. this time i added 2 more pouches from survival recources to try, but didnt get the chance. the water storage in this kit alone is 1 gal between the four bags, but again i have not tested the survival resources bags as of yet. the platy bags WIN every single trip out. i cant recommend them enough.
another thing i field tested was a homemade adapter for the platy bags. i have an adapter for my MSR dromedary, and nalgenes, but needed one for my beloved platy bags. basically all it is is a coke bottle cap with a couple holes drilled in, a 1/4" barb from my drip irrigation parts bin, and some epoxy. its simple and the photos should explain everything, but if you want more details just ask.
here are some photos, and a video...CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO SEE THE VIDEO
if it looks like im stepping on mu intake hose its because i am. i only have just enough pressure on it to hold it down in the water as the hose moves about during the pumping process.
a little closer into camp. here you see my fat ass with my new/used CFP-90. more about the CFP-90 later.
we got into camp right about 2.5 hours after leaving the trail head leaving us a solid hour to catch our breath, setup camp, and gather fire wood before sun down. trust me when i tell you i was ready to stop. my buddy and i could have pushed out a few more miles if needed, but you quickly realize how fast your body wears out when you actually strap on a pack and get out into the woods. i can walk back and forth in my living room with 50-60lb pack and post on the internet that i plan on walking 20 miles a day if needed during a bug out. again, getting out into the woods and trying it is a different animal all together.
eureka tents made the trip with us. my buddy with his solitair, and me with my spitfire2. my buddy has used his solitair many times and likes it, his only complaint is the lack of room to sit up. this is what made up my mind when picking out a single person tent. i decided on the spitfire2 for the extra room, and im glad i did since it has enough room for me, my sleeping pad/bag, and gear. setup was easy, and the DAC aluminum poles seem very sturdy. i didnt feel the need to use the rain fly ans the wather reports said that the chance of rain was going to be zero overnight. i also enjoyed the cool mid 50's breeze that came with our cute little cold front. sorry for the lack of photos of the tent but it will be making another trip in feb, so more photos to come.
another new piece of gear for me is my new gerber LMF. i love this knife, and the sheath. i only have a couple of complaints. first was the sheath. IMO there is WAY too much retention built into it. this may be just fine if i was in the military, but for camping and such it is just too much. there are two areas that needed to be addressed. first i removed the lower of the two retention straps from the sheath leaving just the upper. this was done by carefully cutting the stitches with a razor blade. the second thing that needed to be done was to take out almost all ( 90% ) of the retention from the "plastic" portion of the sheath. those of you who have this knife know what im talking about. i wont go into much more detail about this process here as i plan on posting a seperate thread about this knife, as there is an additional mod to the sheath im working on that is not yet complete. the last complaint i have is i wish this knife was offered without serrations...this is not so much a problem, its just that im about done with serrations on knives.
there was plenty of firewood to be had, only problem is it was a little damp from heavy rains the week before. we gathered a nice pile of oak, along with pine cones, and dead palm fronds to build our fire, thats when we found the FATWOOD! i wish i could say i bushwacked my way through the woods to find and harvest the fatwood, but that would be a lie. basically the wood had been cut by someone with a chainsaw and left at one of the campsites near the fire pit.
here are some additional pics of the LMF doing some camp work. just your standard batoning of firewood and fatwood. im pretty sure that batoning wood is a requirement for the WMBO contest.
the fatwood was great in helping to get our damp wood going. i made a fan out of a palm frond to help stoke the fire. holy shit its snowing in FL...
here is just a pic of some misc. gear on the table, but i will mention yet another new piece of gear which is the thermaCELL. i had some basspro shops gift cards and needed something to spend them on so i picked up this combo pack which inc. the sheath. this was the first real field test, but i can say ive been quite happy with it around the garage keeping the skeeters at bay. its hard to say anything about how well it worked on this trip because once the sun went down and the skeeters were in full force the camp fire got going and the skeeters seemed to take off as quick as they showed up. this may be due to the addition of some pine in the fire as i have read, and been told that burning pine will keep the blood suckers away. we simply add some pine cones to help get the fire going, toss in a couple here and there and it seems to work.
more new gear!
i have been wanting a neck knife for some time, and decided on this CRKT folts minimalist. this little knife is badass! great retention from the sheath, and razor sharp right out of the box. i just stropped it on a leather belt to polish up the edge. i replaced the cheap cord with some 550 which allowed me to let it hang just a couple inches lower. i also removed the "fob" from the end of the knife as i feel it doesnt add anything, but does get in the way. the handle feels great in my hand, and it handles light chores with ease. excellent little knife for the money!
another new little piece of gear is the survival resources mini match. its a great little firesteel for a small kit which is what this will be used for, but wanted to get some field use out of it first. as the name says its a mini, so some may not like its small size as it takes some getting used to, but it will serve you well in a small "tin kit" while leaving room for other items.
here i used my folts minimalist to make some fatwood shavings, sparks were provided by the mini match. there is also a video.CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO
here are a couple pics of my like new/used CFP-90. what a beast! like all military packs its heavy, and built like a tank. the price was right, and was purchased from the same guy who i got my new MSS from. the long pocket on the right side of the pack will actually hold 4 nalgene bottles if you are into carrying 1 gal of water on the side of your pack
, and the two pockets on the left side swallow up all kinds of gear. the built in sleep carrier held my MSS gortex bivy along with the green patrol bag, and my thermarest sleeping pad just fine. there was plenty of room inside for the rest of my gear/water/etc inc. the spitfire2. its got big beefy shoulder straps and waist belt which IMO spread the weight/load up nice. i also have the patrol pack that piggy backs on this but there was no need to take it along. this is a multi day pack all day long. i attached a couple of the dyed pouches on the waist belt. one holds my GPS, and the other holds my camera.
speaking of my GPS im using a magellan triton 400. i know there is no magellan love around here, and most guys are all about the garmin, but i like my magellan. its hit the field a few times now, and gets a sat lock within a minute. battery times are great using energizer lithiums, and its very user friendly. im running an 8G SD card and i have maps for all the states up and down the east coast, and i can hold more if needed. the base map sucks, but i downloaded all the maps i need from maps4me.com. i think its was like 15.00 for a 1 year pass to the site. download all you want.
here are some screen shots from my GPS from this trip...
morning coffee on fatwood. note the kick ass Ti spoon!
it may be hard to tell from the photos, but this is a very large hog wallow.
on the way out we noticed some "trash" on the trail. i said to my buddy, "look somone threw their shit on the ground." as we got closer my buddy said "those are my shorts."
they had somehow fallen out of his pack on the way into camp.... ahh good times.