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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Camping   Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:19 pm

Amp Conversion

I've recently reserved a campsite for next year which has a 50 amp hook-up. I reserved this particular spot because of this. However, as I am not going there with camper or RV, I pose this question to you.

Is there such a thing as a 50 amp to 15/20 amp converter? I'm seeing 50 to 30, 30 to 15/20, but no direct 50 to 15/20. I suppose then my next question would be if I could run two converters like that, 50 - 30- 15/20?

The reason why I wanted this spot if so I could charge up batteries and run some computer equipment. I suppose an electronic griddle or portable stove-top might be in order as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:43 pm

A camp site with 1.21 jiggawatts?! Great Scott!

Seriously, I personally don't know about converting amps... it's been a while. I would like to assume any transformer that is dropping volts would also drop amps, cuz otherwise hot damn! Actually, that's a good point! You need to worry more about volts than amps if you're plugging in electronic gadgets.

Think about it, your house has anywhere from 100 to 200 amps going in. As long as it's 120 volts (110) going to the outlets, you're good to go. Granted, you're running through circuit breakers... but still, rather than converting your amps, find out what the camp's output volts is. If 110, just plug in a surge protector and plug your junk in. Of course, that could have been exactly what Custer said before they went camping too...

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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:41 am

I would suggest a 'project box' which were used quite a bit at Systems Control. Long story short, you shouldn't need to worry about the 50 AMP limit due to the fact that what you stated will not be drawing that much of a load. Let's say that you have 2 battery chargers (not for automotive of course), a laptop or two, a couple of drop lights and an electric griddle all on at the same time, you will have no problems. However, if you toss in a corded electric drill and a small welder, you will have issues.

Here's a link for something that will work nicely for what you have in mind. The only person who reviewed the item states: "This box is not as shown it has a 50 amp 240 volt, 30 amp 120 volt & a 20 amp GFI duplex outlet". Still, for that price, you won't go wrong. Also, I'd recommend that the 50 AMP 240V breaker/outlet be switched to another 30 AMP 120V breaker/outlet. You wouldn't have to worry about needing new wires because the 50A by law requires a lower gauge which can still be used for lower Amp ratings...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Eaton-Power-Outlet-Panel-Unmetered-CHU1N7N4NS/100168377#.UjApxj-PSSQ
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:00 am

I may have not worded things correctly, which is no big deal because I found what I was looking for anyway. What I was talking about needing was a male end 50 amp plug (to plug into the hook up) with a 15/20 amp female end (which I would use to plug in an extension cord and power strip). But, as mentioned, I did find something. I also found out that most campsites that have the 50 amp hook-up also have a 20 amp right underneath (the 50) on the same post; I'll be calling Devil's Lake this week to make sure that is what they have. If so, I won't need the converter.

Irregardless, appreciate the responses!
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:05 am

After some researching (and a call to the DNR), I found out that campsites that support 50 amp service also have a 30 amp and 15/20 amp outlet located on the same pole. In other words, there is no need to get a converter!
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:32 pm

portable power

With my doing more camping trips either for recreation or for NLPRS investigations, I've started looking into getting one of those emergency power packs. You know, a battery you can charge up at home and use to charge other appliances (or run for a limited amount of time) in case the power goes out. Most come with a battery jumper to jump your vehicle and an air compressor, a USB port, and an outlet. They cost about $120 on up, depending on the size of the battery.

I'm looking at these, and I'm thinking that this would be a good thing to have. Granted, with most of the things I have or use for camping or investigations, I've purchased extra batteries so I know I wouldn't be without, but there's a couple pieces of gear I have that need to be plugged in in order for it to work. As an example, one really handy product I use is the Coomatec C808, an IR surveillance camera that stores its information on a microSD card. Having an emergency power pack would be ideal in the event I do an investigation far from any readily available power supply.

Then I started to look at online videos on people making their own. In essence, they are using a car battery hooked up to a fuse, then to a car lighter. Seeing this reminded me of a project that 'crunch had worked on several years ago. Heh, several? Probably more like ten to fifteen! With that, we get to the purpose behind this post: I want information.

I know a car battery was involved, an inverter, and a power strip. I would like to know what was exactly used, what was all hooked up, and an estimate of how long the devices were powered. I believe I can make my own emergency power pack based off of this. Sure, I could make one off of what I saw on Youtube, but at least with this I can go straight to the source and be certain of what I am doing.

Thanks in advance!
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon May 19, 2014 8:47 am

Starting today, maybe this weekend at the latest, I'll be posting everything I have for camping in case anyone wanted to borrow something.  Been getting some nice pieces from Goodwill, and picked up a couple rather nice items from Walmart, so I have the "essentials" covered.  There's a few odds and ends I wouldn't mind getting, but those are small... insignificant... mainly things that would be fun or interesting, but nothing that would be truly required.

Oh, what the heck, I'll post something now.  Mind you, this is not my picture.

Intex Seahawk 2

I've been looking at and wanting to get one of those fiberglass kayak / canoes for a while, and have even begun to price check them, but... they either fall outside my price range, have weight restrictions (and thus fall outside price range), and logistically I would need to either buy a trailer or a roof rack for transport.  Although nice, and eventually I would still like to own one, it just isn't feasible at the moment.  Then this past Saturday, I had an epiphany: inflatable rafts.

So I went to Walmart and saw a couple that I liked.  Did some side-by-side comparisons, and walked away with this: the Intex Seahawk 2, in mossy oak camouflage.  While there was a cheaper raft, the thing that I liked about this was that it had three inflatable rings: should two fail, it will still keep you afloat with the one.  Also, it has a mount which allows for the attachment of a small 1.5hp motor.



I inflated the raft at home just to see how roomy it was: the box states that it fits two adults, and can carry a total of 450 pounds.  Steven and I were both able to sit in it cross legged just fine; I'm sure you can stretch out your legs and have them over-lap.  However, there isn't too much room for anything else... maybe a small tackle box, but that's about it.  With one person there is plenty of room to lay down in it with your head propped up by one of the ends, legs / feet sticking out from another end, like a big comfy air mattress.

This particular model does not come with paddles or air pump, although you can order the "deluxe" version for an extra ten dollars.  I purchased an aluminum paddle set ($17), and already have air pumps (both manual and electric).  The instructions say not to use a high-powered electric pump.  The electric ones I do have are not really that high powered, as they are for inflating an air mattress.  Having had many years of experience inflating pool and beach toys, I know when to turn the pump off, so I wasn't too worried.  With that said, the instructions are clear that the raft should only be inflated to one psi, so be careful!  Oh, from reading online reviews, it takes about ten minutes to inflate this by hand pump.

There is a specific way to inflate this, each clearly labeled on the raft.  First is the inner ring, the bottom of the raft.  This is a simple plastic nozzle that you see on anything from beach balls to inflatable animals.  The second would be the top of the raft, the section that holds all the black rings you see in the picture, while the third would be the outermost ring of the raft; both of these sections utilize the double valve system, where the top cap comes off to inflate while the second cap comes off for a quick deflate.

On the raft itself you can see two angled black plastic devices: fishing pole holders.  There are also two oar rings, but please note that any oar you buy will slid through unless you hold them.  Me, I'm planning on buying some sort of gasket ring to affix to the oars so they can only slide so far.

I will be conducting a field test of this raft this coming weekend at Left Foot Lake in Crivitz.  I'm hoping to buy a second one of these by then, one for me and one for the wife or boy, or pretty much whoever is going with me on any future camping trips. I figure, with two I can increase stability by having them come alongside each other, and then joining them with bungee cords one both the oar holes and the mounts towards the back of the raft.

Oh, before I forget, I did read a review that made mention that a small anchor would be a good idea. That probably wouldn't be a bad idea. I may look into an inflatable seat as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon May 19, 2014 1:50 pm

Air Mattresses with pumps

Currently have a couple air mattresses, working on getting more.

1. Have a "full size" air mattress that comes with a base / stand... don't know what you'd call it. Anyway, the mattress sits at the same height as a normal bed with this stand (can be used without it). Had a small hole in it, but is patched and works great.

2. Also have a twin sized air mattress, 18 inches thick, has a slightly raised rim going around it, to help prevent young ones from rolling off.

3. Almost forgot about this one: it is a self-inflating air mat. Thickness of an exercise mat, it inflates when you open the valve, deflates when you roll and compress the mat (have to tighten the valve again when done).

...

The air pumps I have for these are:

1. A generic one I bought from China. It's nice, but it gets hot quick and doesn't inflate as quick or as well as the next pump on this list. Universal nozzles. Plugs into outlet. Good for small things.

2. Another electric pump, specially designed nozzle locks it into place for those mattresses that take that kind of nozzle. Can be used without locking in place, you just have to hold it. I used this to pump up the inflatable raft, no problems. QUICK.

3. Ozark hand pump. Comes with three (four?) different nozzles, inflates on the up and down stroke.

4. I also have an emergency air pump that plugs into your vehicle's 12v outlet, used to fill tires on the roadside. Comes with two or three other nozzles, and probably could be used to inflate something camp or beach-wise... but if you are using your car to power a device for camping, something's wrong.

**Looking to buy a battery operated one.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:53 pm

I've made some changes to my NLPRS website, especially as it relates to the equipment page. Everything is nicely divided up between audio, visual, electrical, and miscellaneous. I'm only mentioning this in case there was anything any of you wanted to borrow for camping... not saying you guys are going camping, but in the event you do, you'll know where to look to see if there's anything you may need.

http://nlprs.forumotion.com/f27-equipment
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:37 am

Seems like I've been trying to go camping forever this summer, but with no luck. It's either been bad weather, or like last weekend severe thunderstorms that never came, or working overtime. Not so this coming weekend! There were storms called for earlier in the week, but each day the percentage has dropped; the last two days (counting this one) have been at or near zero percent. Looks as if I'll finally be able to get out of the house and head out to...

Marinette City Park.

Yep, that's where I've been planning to go to this summer, right here in the middle of the freaking town. Why? The main reason is that I wanted to check out a couple sites in the area for my paranormal stuff. The camp would be a base of operations, and then I can head out to these reportedly haunted areas. Spend some time here, some time there, repeat at night. Saves on gas by doing stuff in the same general area all at once; this isn't a real investigation, but more like a preliminary. Anyway, that was reason one. Reason two is also a gas saver, and just general summer time stuff: Red Arrow. As the boy will be with me, I figure he'd like to go swimming, and check out the... umm... local inhabitants.

Okay, so this isn't an actual camping trip, or at least in the very loosest sense of the word. City Park has power outlets, bathroom and shower facilities. We'll be eating out... maybe grilling, but in either case I'm not bringing food with; will go to Walmart or Aldi to pick up supplies.

So that's that, my plan for this weekend. If you guys are around Saturday, you'll know where to find me.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:55 am

Marinette City Park, a review

Camped at Marinette's City Park this past weekend, and while the park itself was rather nice and possibly a good place to spend the day, the camping itself is a totally different experience.  And while it seems all but me lives within this area, I am making this review for any future references.

The camping section of the park, the experience itself, was bad, with a couple noteworthy positives.  First, the positives.

1.  The bathrooms.  While most campgrounds I've been to involve nothing more than an outhouse type set-up, these are powered facilities.  Hot and cold water, showers, and an outdoor potable water faucet for public use.  The bathrooms, while being your typical public use, were... not bad.  I've seen worse.

2.  No time limits.  What I mean is, some camp grounds have a set-up no earlier than / pack out by policy.  This camp site didn't.  If you were planning on staying for one day, you could essentially arrive and set-up at 12:01a on January 1st, and pack up / depart at 11:59p on January 2nd.  The workers may argue that point, but really, there's no times posted so you could do this without repercussion.

Now for the bad... and trust me, the good doesn't balance this out.

1.  For a park that advertises that it has powered campsites, it really doesn't.  Well, half of the sites don't.  On one side of the campground you have a lovely wooded area, providing some shelter, a scenic view, and shade; there is no electric hook ups on this side.  On the opposite end, in the big open field, that's where you can find power.  Seems kind of backwards to me, or in the least what they should have done is split the hook-ups between the two sides.  Hopefully at some point the entire facility will have power.  Yes, I know, when camping you don't need power, and in truth we didn't need to use any, as we weren't staying for more than a day.  If I needed to recharge something, I could have gone to work or by one of you.  We've camped longer without power.  But the point I'm getting at is best illustrated with the next one.

2.  This site costs $20 a night.  Cheaper than a hotel, motel, Holiday... Inn, but still.  $20?  Seems rather pricey.  I wonder what the money is for... the bathrooms?  That can't be it, as they weren't exclusively used by or for the campers: people were coming in and out of there after work to use the showers.  People were coming in and out throughout the night to use them; I'm assuming the bar crowd, as closing time was about when people were arriving.  These bathrooms are free.  So then, was the $20 for electricity?  Not when only a small portion of the sites have power; not the site I was on.  Maybe firewood.  I know some campsites that provide firewood... but no, that's not the case at this location.  There is the surrounding wooded area, so you could essentially roam the place and pick up dead wood, I suppose.  But then again, the woods is open to the public.  There was nothing for the campers that would justify a $20 a night cost, not when other parks operated by the same county charge $5 to $10.

3.  Noise.  Oh dear gawd.  First on this list is the train.  The tracks are near the campsite, and because a train is required to sound it's horn four times before crossing any road... and being in the middle of a small city, there's lots of roads to be crossed.  Expect to hear the horn sound a lot with each train; luckily, we only experienced two during the night, I can only imagine the train during a work day.  Then you have the people coming and going all night to use the bathrooms / showers.  Horns blaring.  Tires spinning on gravel.  People yelling at each other.  No consideration for the campers at all.

4.  According to the campsite's webpage, there are no camp fires allowed... however, one camper had a stack of firewood next to him, and the only other camper there had a big fire going, so apparently, even though fires are not allowed, you could make one.  Each campsite did have a burn pit, so I'm assuming the fire restriction is due to lack of rain.  Oddly enough, there were no county personnel present, as far as I saw.  The Department is right here, minutes away from the campground, but not once did I see or hear a county worker to enforce or check on anything.

I would not recommend coming to this park for camping.  For the day, yes.  If you are a driver and in need of a shower, yes.  But for camping?  Keep on moving... however, I did note that between the pavilion and the shed there were a couple vehicles parked overnight.  I would then assume that you could sleep in your vehicle over there and not be charged for camping because technically you aren't using the area provided.  That's good to know if anyone ever buys a van or something for the purpose of camping.

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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:22 am

Canoe Camping

This past Sunday (November 8 2015, if you are reading this in the future) I had an idea: to go down the Mississippi River, and camp along the riverbank. How great would that be? Have the wife drop us off (hoping someone would come with) somewhere along the Wisconsin / Minnesota border, and just head out. Think of the scenery! The sites! The leisurely journey!

And then I did some research: this would be about a three month trip. Three months. Ugh, I don't think work would give me that much time off.

So I started to look at things on a smaller scale. Found a beautiful stretch of Wisconsin River, from Prairie du Sac to Green Springs; this section of the river has been untouched by man, everything is in its natural state. This stretch would be a three day / two night excursion, and with a $50 a day rental on a canoe, pretty manageable. For reference, this is a 25 mile waterway, with estimates that an average paddler can do about three miles an hour. Doing eight miles a day seems kind of slow to me, but I'm still out of shape, so...

As much as I like the idea of doing that stretch, I realize I should do something... smaller. Well, not smaller, but something not as distant. And, as silly as it may sound, in case something were to happen. This way, I could get experience in, learn what my limits are, stuff like that. Makes sense, right?

Oh, before I continue, it is perfectly legal to camp on a sandbar, without permit. Even on State owned land. A free permit may be required in some areas, but this makes sense if you keep in mind that all navigable waterways are open to the public. Don't know if this also covers islands in the middle of a river, but I wouldn't see why not. To continue...

So, turning my attentions closer to home, I found that the Peshtigo River has some canoe camping sites. You can start at any boat launch within the High Falls area, and use any of the sites designated by the DNR. This is all State property, but the cool thing is that the sites are free! The sites are open to those who are coming in via canoe! Suddenly, my expenses have decreased; won't need to spend the gas money to and from the Prairie du Sac area. And, with it being practically in my back yard, it's convenient. The distance from my house to the launch sites vary, depending on where you want to start, but the end seems to be within two to five miles.

So, now the big question is this: who would like to go with me? Who would like to spend a weekend, either two day or three day, canoeing down the Peshtigo River and setting up camp at various spots? There are some areas that we'd have to portage around; rapids and dams, but I think, overall, this would be a fun thing to do. Some camping, some fishing, and with it being so close, no real need to take vacation days (okay, maybe one)... but if we do this on Memorial Day weekend...

Bartnik has some fiberglass canoes (real wide ones) that I'm sure he'd let us borrow, if he doesn't come along himself. I've also got my inflatables, so there really isn't any cost involved, other than bringing gear. I would not bring my cabin tent, that'd be nuts. You'd have to bring your own tent, as the dome tent I have is designed either for couples or an abnormally tall person.

...

A tent, sleeping bag... battery powered air compressor for the inflatable... air mattress? Nah, tent isn't tall enough. A set of dry clothes, boots / water shoes, phone, my K-Tor generator. Flashlight? Lantern? Lighter, food stuff, rope.

Hmm. I think this would work. Memorial weekend?

Who's with me?
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:30 pm

Canoe Camping 2016, continued

I fired up Google Maps in anticipation, to best plan for things in case anyone had questions or whatever... and, truth be told, to help pass the time.  From my house to Boat Landing 7, it is just over 14 miles; this is where our journey would begin.

The first stretch would be from the landing to Canoe Campsite 1.  I have a link to the river map below.  This stretch takes up through High Falls Dam, where we would have to portage, but not to worry as there is a trail and road we can walk.  Oh look, pictures!




We would camp at site one, after having journeyed about 6.5 miles.  This would be roughly only two hours of paddling, but we have to consider the portages known and unknown.  Also, it helps us to get to the site earlier, as we can set up camp, gather fire wood and so on.

Our second leg of the journey would be from Site 1 to Site 3.  Just like the first stretch, this leg is about 6.5 miles long.  I haven't checked water level maps or anything yet, so I cannot say if there would be portages involved or not.  Camp Site 2 is about a mile away from Site 3, which is why I elected to go past it.




The final stretch is from Site 3 to Don Brooks Park.  Now, according to the DNR map, there is a canoe landing just over a mile from Site 3, but where's the fun in that?  Going through the river on Google Maps, there is plenty of areas with which we could be picked up, including another dam near Sandstone Lane.  But, if we can go the full length all the way to Don Brooks Park (just over nine miles), that brings us roughly six blocks from my house.  Regardless, if we're beat or just really can't (or won't) do this anymore, it'd be no problem to place a call from a pickup point of our choosing.




All told, this would be about 22 miles, just a few miles short of the one I was originally looking at.  Using that as a guide, I'd think my estimations are pretty close.  I am currently looking at the Memorial Day weekend, if only because that way we wouldn't have to use a vacation day.  Any time earlier and it'll still be a bit chill at night, but manageable I would think... could actually plan for earlier so that we can avoid summer vacationers, but that's really dependent on if there's anyone who wants to go.  Then there's the 4th of July weekend, but really, any is good with me (so I use a vacation day, pfft, big deal).

Here is the link to see the DNR's map of the campsites.  Note there are rapids, but I've already looked those up: there's nothing to worry about, and should it look beyond our abilities, we could always walk around them.  rapid category

And just because it helped the day go by quicker, I've already written a list of things to bring, at least for me. There will be changes of course, but at least this gives me a rough idea of what to plan for in determining the size of the backpack, how much weight I'd be carrying, and so on. I've got six months to plan for this, to get into shape; not so much the losing of weight, of of working on my cardio. All a worthy goal.

Now, keep in mind I do have two inflatable rafts and a couple extra sleeping bags if anyone needed something like that, you'd just need to provide your own tent.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:30 am

Survival Camping

I've been watching shows like Survivor Man for quite some time now (Les Stroud is by far the best, in my opinion). I've also been buying survival books, homesteading books, and magazines on traditional living / mountain man type stuff (trapping, leather work, and so on). I've even taken steps to handle extended power outages.

I am not trying to say I'm a prepper, because I'm not. I'm just saying that, should I ever be in a situation where I'd need to survive out in the woods someplace, I am confident that I could. Unless it's in the middle of winter, as that would be really hard to prepare for. I'd make it a few days, but I doubt I'd last more than a couple weeks without some sort of plan already in place.

Anyway, the reason I'm saying this is because it is about time I test myself. It's about time that I take whatever skills I think I have and use them. But how? Thought about going to a survivor camp, but those are pricey, and though they'll give me the hands-on experience, I've already got the knowledge. What I need to do is go somewhere for a few days, and just go from there.

Been pondering where to go for a while now. The best I could come up with is the Nicolet National Forest, but it doesn't give me much wiggle room, in the event something should happen. I want to be close enough so that, should something fail, I can call for help and have it arrive in a timely manner. Yesterday, like a flash of inspiration, it came to me: Dave's Falls.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Dave's Falls? You can't go camping there! And besides, it isn't "rough" enough! Well, you're right. Dave's Falls is not a camping site, but if you look at the maps below, there are areas you could spend the night without technically being on county property; in particular, over by where the river meets the rail road tracks. Oh hell, the entire area on the opposite side of the tracks. And while roughing it in this area might be considered soft due to ample amount of sheltered areas and water, I feel I should mention that one need only look in the area we live in, at all the lakes, rivers, creeks, and heavily wooded areas. Going to Dave's Falls is basically no different than finding an area out in McAllister or Pembine or anywhere else in this county. The reason I am choosing Dave's is because it's relatively close by, while at the same time distant enough where I don't come crawling back home.

This trip would not take place until June I think. I could go in April, but that'll still be too cold at night... I want to test my skill set and not have to worry about safety. Likewise, I could go in May, but I've got that canoe camping. So June it is.

I will be testing my shelter building abilities (just like making forts when we were kids!), fire building, and just mainly see if I can create a base or a shelter where someone could live for an extended period of time if needed. I am not going to bring much... right now, I don't know if I should have a full blown survival bag or take the minimalist approach. Still deciding. Regardless, I'm not bringing much with me. Fire stick just in case I can't make a fire (no lighter though); don't know if I want to bring a knife, a hatchet, or a multitool (would love to bring a tracker knife, but we'll see). I believe I could get by with that, and that's the bare minimum I'd be bringing. Anything else is "extra", with additional items being some fishing line / hooks, a plastic bag or two, and some cord; I definitely know I could get by with that. Anything in addition to that is up for consideration.

Oh. I am bringing a cell phone, just in case. Not a smartphone... although I could, I suppose. I do have one of those little K Tor hand generators that we could use to charge them. A solar panel charger doesn't cost that much either. The cell phone I was going to bring is a TracFone, one that I have for emergencies; the battery life on those flip phones are amazing! I'll also be bringing a camera with me, so I can take pictures of my set up.

So now here comes the challenge. Or something. Does anyone want to come with? Does anyone want to see if they could survive two / three days and two nights in the middle of the woods with nothing but a knife? Does anyone want to see if they have what it takes to build a shelter to keep them safe from wind and rain? Join me!

Seriously. If anyone wants to come with, by all means. If you have any suggestions as to what I should bring or not bring, or if you want to see if I can handle doing this instead of that, let me know as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:19 pm

Almost forgot the maps for the survival camp post.

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PostSubject: Re: Camping   Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:04 pm

Survival camping, continued

I've just spent the greater portion of today and a chunk of yesterday looking for the essential survival / camping / wilderness hatchet.  And tomahawk.  And forest / limbing axe.  And and and.  I know what I want in a blade of this variety, I just wasn't able to find anything.

What I want...

1.  Something light so that it doesn't make my tennis elbow go wonky (my hand is still doing that clenching thing... should get it checked out at some point), but at the same time I don't want it so light that is can't hack.  This can either fall in towards the weight of the blade:  the heavier it is, the more the tool works for you, whereas the lighter it is, the more muscle you have to use; and the other part would be the thickness.  The thinner it is, the quicker it loses it's edge and the more damage it'll receive, plus the fact that a wide blade makes for a better wedge or chisel (for splitting wood).

2.  Something small enough so that it can be easily carried, but large enough so that it can do the job.  A hatchet is nice, but it isn't practical, at least not in the sense a forest (or limbing) axe is.  A hatchet is too small; good for camping, but not practical for a survival situation (but it is better than nothing).  A limbing axe is essentially a two handed hatchet, not as large as a felling axe, as as such would be ideal, but it's also limited: because of the handle length, it'd be hard to manipulate it for small scale stuff, where you would have to hold it closer to the head.  Can you visualize that?  An axe is just too big.  A tomahawk would be good, except for that pointed end; could pose a danger to yourself.  NOTE:  I absolutely love the Gerber Downrange Tomahawk, and that would have been a good choice in my opinion, but is just too damn pricey at nearly $200.  Ouch.  So anyway, besides weight, size does matter.  And pointy ends.

3.  Multiple uses.  For me, if it can't be used for more than one task, it isn't worth it.  In a survival situation, you don't want to be weighed down with multiple tools, not when you can get by with a smaller amount.  For multiple use tools, nothing beats a knife.  For chopping and hacking, you would want a heavy and lengthy blade.  While I believe a kukri knife would fit the bill (those curved blades used by East Indians), there is one feature of knifes that the kukri doesn't have: the ability to be affixed to an extended pole, to be used as a spear.

Yes, I know I'm not spearing anything at Dave's Falls.  I'm just saying that, should I buy something, I want it to fit the criteria I set on it, that way I can justify in both the cost and the procurement.

4. Easy to sharpen. Another knife I was looking at is called a tracker. It's a beast, a combination of a hatchet and a knife, with serrated teeth to cut groves. However, the transition from knife to hatchet would make sharpening in the field less than ideal. By that I mean using a rock to sharpen; not a whet stone or a sharpening tool, but a rock. Also, the cost of a good tracker is high.

My list isn't that complicated or difficult. If I was looking for a specific tool or knife, that'd be easier. I just wanted / needed something that could do a whole lot of things. Something with which, should I only be able to bring one tool with, that'd be it. And yeah, I could go with a multitool; in fact, I have several. But a multitool isn't really meant for wood splitting or the removal of tree limbs.

Anyway, it took a while, but I think I found what I was looking for: the Farson Hatchet. I mean, just look at this, and think of the possibilities!




Hold it by the handle and use it as a hatchet. Hold it from the spine and use it to punch / finely slice. It's small enough that it can be used deftly, for skinning or such, light enough where it isn't going to cause undo stress, but thick enough where it won't fail. The top cutting edge can be used for cutting, sure, but it's meant to be driven into wood to split them. I can attach this to a longer pole; while it wouldn't be a spear, I could use it as a pole arm. It's sharp; with the titanium coating, it'll retain its edge. Because of the shape, it's easy to sharpen. And on and on. It may not be the best survival tool out there, but this looks to be just right "just in case". And at $50, the price can't be beat.

So I have ordered this product. This will be the tool I will bring with me on the survival / roughing it excursion (besides a fire starter, that is). I think it'll do its job.
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