Pack Packing 2.0

I tend towards a lightweight style.  You’re always welcome to add on that extra sweater, that daily change of socks and underwear, that roll of toilet paper, and all the spice jars on your kitchen shelf.  I tend to choose increased comfort in mobility and mileage over more camp or creature comforts, but this is a choice we all get to make before we start each trip.  So experiment with how much you can carry, or how little you need.  And have fun exploring!

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Exploring Nelson Creek: a Tributary to the Trinity River, Texas

It didn’t take long before Kyle and I were scrambling out of the raft in order to portage around a large impassable logjam. We laboriously pulled the raft along the white sandbar until we were clear of the obstruction. Before jumping back into the raft and continuing our float, we walked back to the large tangle of logs and limbs.

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Paddling into Public Land: Using a Kayak to Hunt Whitetails on Public Land

Using a kayak, or some sort of small watercraft, doesn’t require too much effort, and it can really provide a significant advantage. As deer get more and more pressure from hunters during the season, they will use natural obstacles, such as rivers, to provide cover and solitude. By using a kayak or canoe, one doesn’t create much noise and doesn’t leave behind a trail of human odor. It can be a great way to sneak up close to bedding areas without alerting deer to your presence. 

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Coyote Trapping: Trap Modifications

Trapping eastern coyotes can be a challenge. Eastern coyotes tend to be slightly bigger than their cousins from the west. In some instances, they can weigh around 60lbs. In this video Dan talks about the modifications he does to his coilspring traps. These modifications help improve the speed of his traps and their holding power.

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Southern Supper: A Short Film About Bowhunting Pigs in Southeast Texas

While walking through one of the National Forests in east Texas, I came across an interesting thing.  I found a young loblolly pine, about 7” in diameter, that had mud caked onto the trunk reaching about 4’ off the ground. At the base of the tree, a large circular mud pit had been beaten into the ground. Pig tracks littered the ground all around the pine tree. I was new to Texas and new to hog hunting at the time, but this was unmistakably a point of interest for the pigs

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Sassafras Tea

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a fairly common tree that grows from east Texas to southern Maine. It is easily identified by the three distinct shapes of the leaves. The leaves will either be in the shape of an oval, mitten, or 3-lobed. The unmistakable “spicy” or “root beer” smell of a freshly broken branch is another unmistakable characteristic. It’s often enjoyable to snap off a sprig of Sassafras and chew it while trekking through the green canopy of the eastern U.S.

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Gear Review: OR's Backcountry Organizer used as a Hunting EDC

Having essential gear scattered throughout several different backpacks is one of the most frustrating things. Having gear in one central location is key to staying organized. Trying to find one’s hunting license in the dark, while trying to make it out of the door before shooting hours, is never fun. By using the Backcountry Organizer by Outdoor Research, I can now keep all of my outdoor essentials in one small pack.

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From Rough Fish to Fine Dish: Catching and Cooking Gar

Soon after moving to Houston, I was walking a man-made bayou with my fly-rod. I was keeping a watchful eye on the water that flowed through the ditch. I wasn’t sure what fish species I could expect to see. I caught sight of a fish slowly swimming to the surface of the water. It opened its mouth like it was taking something from the top-water and then slowly disappeared into the deep murky depths. I had just seen my first spotted gar.

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An Introduction to Fishing Small Streams Using Ultralight Tackle

It's summer, and that means it's time to explore the various creeks and streams that Texas has to offer. Fishing small creeks is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time in the summer heat. In this video, I show what my favorite conventional fishing gear is for fishing small streams. The gear that is discussed in this video will be linked to Amazon at the bottom of the page.

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Hunting the Elusive Antler: A Search for Treasure in the High Mountains of Wyoming

“This is when you need crampons and an ice axe,” said Steve, as we attempted to climb an ice-covered couloir with at least a 60-degree slope in white-out conditions. Dakota and I agreed as we watched our guinea pig, Steve, scramble up the slope to a safe location. I asked Dakota, “We’re looking for antlers, right?” He responded, “Yeah, but we have to get to where the bulls hangout.” It turned out that getting to the overwintering grounds of the big bulls would be more difficult than we imagined.

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Saving Weight and Staying Hydrated: Gear Review of the Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter

Summer is here in the Pineywoods of Texas. It's time to get into the woods and start finding your next deer stand location. It goes without saying, but it's critically important to stay hydrated while hiking around in 90 to 100 degree weather. In order to save weight on my scouting trips, I have started carrying a water filter with me. This way, I don't have to haul a full Camelback with me on my day hikes. I chose to carry the Katadyn Hiker Pro.

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Bowhunting Over Abandoned Gas Wells

I left work early and headed into the Allegheny National Forest. It was early bow season in Pennsylvania and I couldn't wait for the evening hunt. Several days ago I had set my treestand in a large maple tree. The location of the stand was in a steep valley. On one side of the stand, a tributary to the Tionesta River flowed past. On the other the side, the steep ravine rose up from the valley floor.

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Elk Meat and Dirty Water: Lessons Learned the Hard Way in the Bitterroot Mountains

Once every 15 minutes or so, I’d have to stop walking and puke my guts out on the side of the trail. I was feeling pretty darn sick and I still had about five miles to hike before I made it to the Little Rock Creek trailhead and back to the road that skirted the edge of Lake Como. When I had started my hike the prior evening I was filled with excitement and adrenaline. The surrounding snowcapped mountains of the Lonesome Bachelor, El Capitan, and the Como Peaks, stood with magnificent beauty in the evening light. But now, through a pair of eyes blurred with tears from constant vomiting, the surrounding Bitterroot Mountains appeared daunting and harsh. All I could think about was getting the hell out of that rocky valley and back to my bed. This was a solo backpacking trip I wouldn’t soon forget.

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Blackberry Picking Tips and a Delicious Crisp Recipe

With the warmer weather, comes thoughts of the wild edibles that will soon be popping up across the Country. In Texas, we have already seen a good blackberry crop. In this short video, Ellen describes a blackberry picking hack that her great uncle, Lou Zupancic, showed her. It is a simple and easy way to pick berries faster. Check out our favorite blackberry crisp recipe below the video.

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A Backcountry Hog Hunt in the Pineywoods of Texas

In the spring, Dan drove from Pennsylvania to Texas for a backpack-style pig hunt. Going into this hunt, we weren't expecting to backpack into a remote and secluded valley; Texas simply lacks the large tracts of public land that people often associate with backpack hunting. That being said, we still wanted to try and get off the beaten path as much as possible. We packed our bags and headed into the National Forest of eastern Texas where we hunted and camped for 5 days.

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An Unordinary Day

Early one chilly morning after I dropped the kids off at school, I hungrily parked the 14-year-old Land Cruiser in Ruthie’s Diner’s graveled parking lot, alongside several other muddy vehicles.  I was treating myself to a quiet indulgence of two eggs, bacon, toasted sourdough bread, home fries and coffee.  My mouth was watering in anticipation.  Heavenly aromas greeted me at the Diner’s front door.  

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Lesson Learned on the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Trapline

Every weekday morning, the alarm would chime at 4:30 am. For most other circumstances I would be inclined to roll over and aimlessly smack at the snooze button. But during the weeks that I ran my trapline, the alarm-clock’s usually annoying chimes, were very much welcomed. Some days, I found myself up before the alarm sounded (I think my wife really appreciated those days).

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White Mountains Solo: 38 Miles, 3 Days, 2 Cozy Cabins, 1 Bike (a fat one), and a White White World

The first weekend in February, I found myself heading north from Fairbanks into the White Mountains National Recreation Area for a whirlwind overnighter in Eleazar’s Cabin.  I skied the 12 miles to Eleazar’s with five friends who mushed, skied, and fat biked at their own pace.  As I watched the fat biker smoke all of us on skis, ideas started to form.

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Overland Lab - Air Up! DIY Ammo Can Air Compressor

 In the backwoods of America, there are seldom gas stations equipped with air compressors or friends with garages full of air tools, so bringing your own air compressor is a must. On this episode of Overland Lab, I will showcase a simple DIY project to assemble an affordable, effective, and tough air compressor setup on a budget.

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