Thursday, June 21, 2012

$3 All-In-One Cook Kit: Who Says Enjoying The Outdoors Needs To Be Expensive?

Who says that we need to spend a lot of money to enjoy the outdoors? The above video shows how to make an "All-In-One" cook kit that includes a cook pot, stove, stand/windscreen, and even fuel! This cheap little combo is very easy to put together and is a safe alternative to DIY alcohol stoves. The kit features an 10cm Imusa mug that serves as a versatile cook pot, a stand/windscreen which wraps around the stove/fuel canister for easy storage and transport, and a diethylene glycol fuel canister with a 2 hour total burn time. The materials used for this cookset can be obtained at your local dollar store and Walmart. The liquid "diglycol" fuel used in this system is a great alternative to methanol based gel chafing fuels in that it produces a higher heat output (approx. 890 BTUs), is non-flammable and safe, and can be sealed for later use. The heat output is not nearly as great as with typical backpacking stoves such as those that use alcohol or butane/propane fuels. This stove system does produce a nice mid-range burn however and allows for diversity when preparing meals other than those which simply require boiling water. All-in-all, a good option for the occasional weekend hiker, the "budget backpacker", prepping, or simply as a backup cooking source in an emergency.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The "Super Ultralight" Backpacking Trip

This video showcases the "lighter side" of backpacking by featuring a trip using my new, less than 5lb pack system. This style of hiking is technically referred to as "Super Ultra Lightweight Backpacking". After much time spent in the field hiking with packs weighing upward of 50lbs, the past few years have found me leaning toward a slightly more "minimalist" approach in regard to my backpacking style. This path first brought me to pack weights of about 20 pounds... ultimately arriving where I am now with a full feature pack weighing less than 5lbs. Don't get me wrong, I like gear as much as the next person. In fact, a variety of gear is not only necessary for certain outdoor pursuits, but mandatory in many instances. With that said, I have taken a serious look at what I actually "need" for certain activities, and have been adopting a "less is more" mindset. This has been more of a person challenge as much as anything. Safety and comfort remain paramount. I am not advocating going into the wilderness under-equipped or unprepared. Significant experience in the field is essentially mandatory to find a balance of what is luxury and what is necessity. Even with this knowledge and experience, these types of gear systems are limited to specific conditions and circumstances. Of course, all of this is only my own opinion and personal experience. I remain open-minded and welcome any insight, experience, and advice that you may have to offer. I will soon be uploading a comprehensive review highlighting the entire system that is featured in this video. This will include a complete breakdown of gear, weights, prices, and personal philosophies. Until then, a quick look at the major "load out" contents for this trip:
• Hip / Fanny Pack
• Tarp Tent Shelter (with stakes & cordage)
• Ultralight Down Sleeping Bag
• Sleeping Pad
• Emergency Blanket
• Cook-Set (alcohol stove, pot, grill, utensil, etc)
• Water Bottle / Purification
• Clothing (base layers, socks, micro-fleece jacket)
• Essentials Kit (knife, flashlight, lighter, whistle, multi- tool, etc)
• First-Aid Kit
• Repair Kit
• Toiletries Kit
• Consumables (food, water, fuel, etc)
• Extras (fishing rod, reel, tackle)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Welcome To IntenseAngler Outdoors!

A quick look at what IntenseAngler Outdoors is all about....

I started this channel in early 2011 with the intent of uploading a couple of short videos, mainly for my own entertainment. The encouragement and support that I've received along the way has been both unexpected and greatly appreciated. "IntenseAngler" has since become a rewarding extension of my passion for the outdoors, and a way for me to give back a little in return for all of the informative and entertaining videos that you've all so generously shared via YouTube. Many Thanks!

As the channel continues to grow and evolve, my goal is to keep improving the quality and content of the information that is shared here. Although minor changes will be made along the way, I remain focused on sharing my personal knowledge, skills, and experiences as genuinely as possible. I am far from an expert on any of the topics you may find here, and the views I express are always just from my own experiences. If you have suggestions regarding any content that you'd like to see in the future, or for anything that you feel would enhance the videos, please do drop me a line.  As always, your feedback is truly welcomed and appreciated.

With all of that said, here is what you can expect from IntenseAngler Outdoors...

Videos Featuring:

  •  Fishing
  •  Backpacking
  •  Gear & Reviews
  •  How-To & DIY Projects
  •  Bushcraft
  •  Survival Skills
  •  Trip Footage & In-The-Field Action
  •  Boating
  •  Equipment Modifications
  •  Tips & "Tricks"
  •  Outdoor Cooking
  •  And Much More....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Backpacking on a Budget

Backpacking offers many benefits… from keeping us fit and healthy, to allowing us to experience things which have the potential to enrich our lives. Unfortunately, it can also be a very expensive endeavor… especially for those just starting out. A prospective backpacker can easily spend over a thousand dollars when purchasing his or her pack and all of the goodies to fill it. For many, the investment required can be prohibitive. Whether out of necessity or by choice, it is possible to acquire all of the gear required without breaking your budget.

Let’s take a look at some options for getting geared-up “on the cheap”:

Yard Sales:  You may have to invest a couple of weekend mornings, but yard sales are often an excellent source of backpacking and camping gear. It’s best to do a little research before heading out so you don’t spend all day sorting through baby clothes and used paperbacks. Most people advertise their upcoming yard sales in the classifieds or through online sites such as Craigslist. Find the ones that have what you’re looking for and then head out early to beat the crowds.

Craigslist:  This is a great way to find more specific pieces of equipment. Simply type in a search for the item you’re looking for and you then have a list to choose from. Another benefit of Craigslist is that you have the ability to haggle… so go ahead, make an offer!

eBay:  Yet another great online option to score the deal of a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for a new or used item, eBay probably has it. While generally not one of the cheapest places to find gear, you very well may score big here. Just be wary of shipping charges.

Thrift stores:  From that expensive pair of hiking pants to the perfect lightweight cook-set, it’s hard to beat thrift stores for huge savings. The trick here is to visit often, as they usually have a fast turn-over of merchandise (you didn’t think you were the only one looking for a great buy did ya?). This is probably one of the biggest money saving options of all. I once scored a nice North Face pack for 3 dollars at a local thrift store!

“Hand-me-downs”:  Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or even a co-worker, someone you know may have some gear just lying around in the basement that they no longer use and would be eager to part with… just ask.

DIY:  Personally, this is my favorite option of all. With a little creativity, effort, and practice, you can make anything from simple stuff sacks for your gear, to alcohol burning stoves, all the way to an ultra lightweight tent! One thing you’ll need for more elaborate projects is a sewing machine, as well as the ability to use it (unless of course you can convince someone else to help out). Otherwise, you can get by with basic tools that you probably already have around the house. There’s not much that compares to the satisfaction of carrying a piece of equipment that you made yourself if you ask me.

While these may not be all of the ways that you can backpack for less, it is a good place to start. The point here after all is to be creative. In the end you will find yourself just as well equipped (and with alot more cash left in your wallet) as the person who spent the kid’s college savings on their pack system. Happy bargain hunting!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Backpacking Fishing Gear

   There’s not much that can compare to the sense of tranquility and quiet solitude that I find when standing along the edge of a remote mountain stream watching the currents flow meaningfully along on their never ending journey.  As the sun fades over the mountain tops and the pastel hues of twilight gather in the sky for their all too brief show, my mind is clear.  My senses are filled with only the most basic things which nature provides… perhaps the only things that truly matter.  The whisper of water flowing over rocks worn smooth from the persistence of time.  The crisp clean smells of the forest.  The feeling of the evening air on my skin… cool and damp and invigorating.  I stand fully alive studying the current for the places in which I know a hungry trout will lie in waiting for an evening meal. Searching for the perfect place to make that first cast. This is my meditation.  My religion.

    A huge part of my outdoors experiences are centered around the pursuit of fish.  Whether I am spending a relaxing day out on the boat with family, spending a week in a deer camp with “the guys”, or backpacking into a remote wilderness location; fish are typically part of the equation. While my intention is not always to fish, sometimes an opportunity presents itself which is simply too good to pass up.  With that being said, I like to be prepared.  Sometimes that simply means having a rod and reel combo stashed under the seat in the truck.  Other times, it means a little more planning and fore-thought.
    Whenever I go hiking, whether it is a simple day hike or an extended backpacking trip, I generally carry a compact and lightweight fishing outfit along with my gear. I try to keep it as uncomplicated as possible. Less is more… or so I’ve heard.
    For a rod, I prefer something with an ultra light action and that breaks down to a fairly compact size.  There are a multitude of decent rods on the market that fit the bill.  To keep this simple I’ll just give you a breakdown of what I carry. Quantum’s Xtra-Lite series rods have found a place in my pack for several reasons: they are very packable (down to 16 inches), constructed from sturdy graphite, and have solid and reliable guides. My choice is the 5 ½ footer which does the job well for a variety of species.  The fact that it weighs only a few ounces is a huge plus. I pair this rod up with a Shakespeare Micro Spin reel spooled with 4 pound monofilament line.  For more versatility another good option is to step up to a braided line such as Spiderwire which gives you the benefit of having a low diameter line with a huge increase in breaking strength and abrasion resistance. For example a 3 pound diameter line would afford you 10 pounds of breaking strength! 
    Tackle is always a personal choice, but I’ll give you a list of some of what has worked well for me over the years. I like to have an array of tackle which will cover everything from panfish to trout to bass. For those mountain trout it really doesn’t have to be too complex. Maybe a couple of spinners such as Mepps or Roostertails (size 1 seems the most versatile and effective). I prefer black bodies with silver blades as they have been by far the most effective in my experience. If you like a little variety, pinks and reds seem to call in the fish at times, especially in stained water situations. A small assortment of flies (dry and nymphs) is always good to have along, in combination with a small clear casting bubble for getting them out to where the fish are. For the times when the artificial presentations just aren’t enough I carry a small plastic bottle of salmon eggs as well as a little pouch of Powerbait (the nuggets seem to hold up best here).  For the warmer water species such as bass and bluegills, I carry along an assortment of small plastic. The trick here is to keep it simple. A few 2-3 inch plastic grubs and maybe a couple of tube baits will usually do the job. For terminal tackle it’s tough to beat the gear for making simple slip rigs and/or a basic leader with a split-shot clamped on. A few hooks in size 8-10, some small barrel swivels, and a couple sizes of sliding weights and split shot sinkers are about as complicated as it needs to get here. For an extra bonus “lure” check out the attached video.  A Plano Mini Stowaway is enough to house all the tackle you’ll need.
    After I’ve arrived at base camp I like to ditch the heavy pack and set off down the stream or along the shoreline for some unrestricted fishing; just me, my rod, and the fish. To accomplish this, I strap on my little fanny pack with my tackle, a water bottle, and a few snacks, and away I go. Hopefully to return to camp with some freshly caught fish for the grill. Then maybe a cup of coffee and some quality time staring into the fire while the night settles in around me. Doesn’t get much better than that my friends!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Upcoming Fishing Video Trailer

Here's a sneak peek of an upcoming fishing video that is currently in the works...