Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The All Important Fire Kit – What I Carry, Why I Carry it and How it Cha...

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This is my Adaptable Fire Kit – What I Carry, Why I Carry it and How it Changes.

What's in your kit and how is it different than mine?  How does it change with each of your adventures?


For this episode I wanted to talk about my fire kit and go over what I carry, why I carry it and how it often changes.  With my kit, there are certain items which I just about always bring with me and with each trip I will alter specifically for that trip.  For how I like to organize, my fire kit also includes my cook kit and cutlery.

Bag : Kifaru Ultralight Pullout Bag – (I have review on this kit if you search on my channel)

Pot : Toaks 750ml Titanium pot with bail handle

Cup : MSR Titan Cup

Some times : If Susie is going to be with me, I will add in an addition cup.  If I am alone, I may put my stove inside of the cup to conserve space.

Wash Cloth : Inside the pot I usually keep a wash cloth; you’ll be surprised at how often one of these will come in handy. Use it to grab a hot pot, hot cup, use it to clean up your cookware, use it to clean up yourself, and so on.  You can even use it to protect your tarp from a jagged stick in case of a rushed setup.

Paper Towel : 1 full paper towel cut in half; excellent for cleaning up, fire starter, and so on.  There are million reasons to have a full sheet and it weights virtually nothing.

Tin Foil : This is a piece of foil which I always keep with me and can be used for many purposes including a wind screen, you can cook with it, you can use it as a lid to a pot, cup, etc.

Fire : I always make sure to have two forms of starting a fire – lighter and matches; there will be times when a simple lighter may not offer you the best solution for starting your fire or getting your stove going.  For an example, lighting an alcohol stove can be a pain with a lighter but using a match can make it nice and easy.

Fire Starter : Generally I will carry with me a few of these Trioxanes just incase I want to get an easy fire going or if for some reason that I can’t use my canister stove and can heat up some water.  An example of use is this; you are out of a trip and as you are setting up your tent, it rains for twenty minutes; everything is damp but not soaked; you can use one of these and get a fire going for the evening.  Items like this are great for no fuss fires and there will be times when you simply are too tired to fool around and this makes fire possible easily

Wire : This is something that I always carry with me as I have found that it can serve many purposes; I can hang something from my pack with it, I can hang my pot over a fire or some trioxane, do a repair with it, etc. It weighs nothing at all and can potentially save your butt.

Bellows : This is a nice product to have with you especially if you live in locations that get a lot of rain; it can make the difference between having a fire and not having one and makes it nice and easy to develop lots of oxygen to your fire.

Ferro Rod : This is something that I just about always take with me on my trips- this is a back up to my backup.  If you have some extra time, it can be fun to hone your skills and also, if you have children it can keep them entertained for hours and hours.

Cutlery : This is something that changes with every trip as I carry what I need for the specific trip that I can going on.  If it is just me, there is no need for two spoons.  If I’m only heating water for meals, I don’t need the spatula.  Some times I may have a sharp food prep knife for cutting and processing.

Stoves :

WARM WEATHER : Butane stove such as the Soto G Stove ST-320 are great for warm weather use and can be pushed down to around 40ish F.  This is a great stove, very efficient, fuel is super inexpensive.  A Little heavy.

COOLER WEATHER : MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Deluxe and a small fuel canister. This version works slightly better in cooler temps  than the Pocket Rocket 2 but not substantially so.  What I really do appreciate is the integrated wind screen as it is a substantial improvement over the 2.  Butane and Propane mix is a very common fuel type and really performs poorly when approaching freezing.  You can warm a can before use but that only allows for good performance for a short period of time.  In cold conditions, you can take your hands and place them on the can and you will notice a boost in performance.  Note : I always keep the fuel in a ziplock bag just in case of spills.

COLD WEATHER : Stoves and Fuel Examples : Alcohol stove and fuel system which I may use for cold trips. The stand is from Mil-Tech, the stove itself is an Esbit spirit burner, the bottle is from Vargo and the fuel is plain Jane denatured alcohol. Alcohol is a great fuel for really cold conditions but it isn’t the most efficient of fuels and you may need a lot of it depending on the trip that you are going out on.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Therm-A-Rest ProLite Apex Sleeping Pad – Review

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Today Luke is reviewing the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Apex Sleeping Pad!

Agenda Free Link :

Price : $119.95 - $139.95 (keep in mind that these are the retail prices; you can find these for a good bit less on Amazon and with outfitters.

Sizes : Regular, Regular Wide and Large

Weight of Regular : 1lb 6.4oz with stuff bag : the sleeping pad weighs 1.5lbs

Insulation Type : Open-cell Foam

R-Value : 3.8

Inflation : Self with a top off at the end.

Packed Size :
Large: 5.1 x 13 inches
Regular: 4.8 x 11 inches
Regular Wide: 5.1 x 13 inches

Pad Thickness (in.) 2 inches

Dimensions :

Large: 77 x 25 x 2 inches

Regular: 72 x 20 x 2 inches

Regular Wide: 72 x 25 x 2 inches

Fabric type : 50D Polyester on both sides - urethane foam inside

Color : It’s a redish color that Thermarest calls heat wave – it’s ok.  Not my personal preference it’s not a masculine color if that matters to you.

From the Company :
StrataCore™ Construction yields the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any self-inflating mattress, StrataCore uses a continuous layer of thermal foam nestled between alternating ridges of air and foam.

Rugged, Self-inflating Foam: Expanding foam core self-inflates; top off with just a few breaths for personalized firmness on 2 inches (5 cm) of StrataCore loft.

Easily Fits In Your Pack: Packs down small to easily find a place in your pack during fast and light adventures.

WingLock™ Valve: Our intuitive and dependable valve maximizes air flow for easier inflation and quicker deflation. Wings toggle for one-way inflation to save breath.

Pros :




Weight to comfort ratio is excellent

Easy to use

Not a noisy sleeping pad which is important for light sleepers – just in case you don’t know, some sleeping pads can be and can sound like you are on a bag of potato chips.

Good temp range – Used in the summer with temps in the 60’s and during the winter with temps down to 10F

Made in the USA!

Cons :

Not the lightest sleeping pad; if you are focused specifically on the lightest then there are other sleeping pad options that you should consider.

Price is high for a sleeping pad but you do get a lot for that price

Inflation takes a long time and is only partially inflated – this is the case with any self- inflation pad – 35 minutes with my testing and you will want to give it a good final puff to get it fully inflated – that depends on how hard that you want for it to be – might be perfect for you depending on how firm you like for your matt to be Time wise, for most people, inflation time won’t be a problem though as they will setup and then come back.

Stuff bag doesn’t feature an inflation port so if you need to inflate quickly and turn in for the night, you will have to get creative or simply inflate via breath.  20is breaths and it is inflated.

No repair kit included

Summary :

Thermarest makes excellent sleeping pads; they have for a very long time and the trend continues here with the ProLite Apex.  I have ProLite Plus from 2012 – it’s 8 years old and has never given me any problems.

The 3.8 R-Value is a good range for year round camping for most people and in most locations.  In very cold situations; 15F and below, I would add a closed cell foam pad to the system which will protect you from even more radiant cold from the ground.

Are there less expensive sleeping pads out there?  Yes.  Can they be comfortable?  Yes.  Do they have a limited lifetime warranty and a track record like Thermarest; there aren’t many companies who can make such claims.

Is this the best sleeping pad in the world?  No but it is a very, very good one which has very few negatives.  The price is good.  The quality is good and with Thermarests track record it is a product that should last for many, many years and if you have a problem, the limited warranty will cover you as long as it is defect.  If you puncture a hole, they you can fix or send it in for repair.

In the end, I have no problem recommending this for just about anyone unless you are a gram counter and if you are, you are going to pay more money and go with an air mat. Otherwise, good for shoulders and car camping as well.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Modern Stealth Camping - Overnight at a Love's Truck Stop

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Luke is back with another adventure and this one involves his truck Drifter and a Truck Stop out of town.  Luke is on a mission to donate some masks and together, we shall accomplish it.

The Adventure Begins Now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

How to Block the Wind - NDuR Mini Stove Windshield – Large and Small Review

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Today Luke is reviewing both sizes of the NDuR Mini Stove Windshields; large and small!

Watch to learn what he likes and what he absolutely hates!

Agenda Free Link Large : N/A

Agenda Free Link Small :

Lyons Tactical : This Agenda Free Review was made possible thanks to Lyon’s Tactical which is an online Tactical & Survival store.

Price Large : $17

Price Small : $16

Weight Large : 6.5oz

Weight Small : 3.8oz

Materials : Aluminum and Stainless


Folded size: 8.5 x 3.3 x 0.6in (217 x 85 x 15mm)

Unfolded size: 26 x 8. in (660 x 217mm)


Folded size: 5.5 x 2.8 x 0.6in (140 x 70 x 15mm)

Unfolded size: 19 x 2.8in (475 x 70mm)

The NDūR Mini Stove Windshields are a great accessory to our portable stoves or it will improve the efficiency of any stove. The lightweight shield is made from aluminum and has pegging pins for improved stability. Comes with carry bag.Improve the efficiency of any stove

Walls made from aluminum – post rods are made from stainless steel

Comes with carry bag.


NDūR : This is a company which is owned and operated by ProForce and you may be thinking that this name sounds familiar; it’s the parent company of Snugpak!  NDūR is a survival products company and in the future I may take a further look at what they carry if you are all interested.


Review :

Pros :

Excellent quality – no issues with repeated folding – opening and closing

Light weight

Compact and thin

Does exactly as they were designed to do; block wind so that your stove performs more efficiently.

Price? Average price for such products; there are multiple companies who make such products – some more expensive, some more so. Note : Some sites sell these for $25 such as Walmart!

Larger shield is excellent for canister stoves and larger systems.

The small size if perfect for liquid fuel stoves.

They don't absorb heat either. I can do a full 5 minute boil and it is never hot. You can turn your stove off and immediately handle it.

Cons :

The storage bags that these windshields come with are in my opinion….terrible.  The mesh material at the top makes it a real pain in the a$$ and I don’t use them.  The shields get caught pulling the shields out and putting them in.  Putting them in my fire kit works perfectly and if you need to, you can put a rubber band around them.

If you are determined to use the bags, put the shields in upside down and it will be slightly easier to get the shield into the carry bag.

Due to the cracks which are present due to the design, in strong winds, there will be some flame influence. Are their shields that work better? Yes, solid shields without folding capabilities that allow for no air to enter at all but they lack in the convenience aspect.  They are generally less stable and can be extremely sharp.

Not really a con, but the grounding stakes don’t work on hard surfaces such as rocks but there are ways to use the shield without them in those situations; bracing works perfectly.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Truth About Using a Bivy - When, Where, Why and Why Not

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This episode is all about Bivy's and Luke will be going over the Pros, the Cons, When, Where and Why to use them...also, when not to.

Truth About Using a Bivy 

The topic of this video deals with Bivy’s and specifically on when to use them and when not to.  Before going any further, do keep in mind that these are my thoughts, my experiences and are based on using bivys for decades.  Since I started the channel, you all have seen me use a bivy in rain with a tarp, in freezing rain and sleet all by itself, you have seen me use them in cold conditions below 0f and in the snow.  I have also a bivy on warm summer nights in very humid conditions.

To start, lets go over what a bivy is;

Bivy sack, aka, bivouac sacks are specialized pieces of gear and like any tool will have a right time and place to use.  This is true with virtually any piece of gear but bivys are especially polarizing in terms of use; they can be amazing in certain situations or downright awful!

It was invented to serve climbers who wanted lightweight emergency weather protection for sleeping bags during multiple-day ascents, particularly on big walls.

Early bivy sacks were little more than waterproofed nylon slipcovers for sleeping bags—good for shielding sleeping bags from rain, not so good when ventilating vapor produced by body heat.

Types of Bivys :

Structured vs. Non-structured. Structured bivy sacks are great if you like a little bit extra wiggle room. They give you extra head space and breathing room. Non-structured are perfect for when you reach extreme elevations, and you really need to cuddle up to hide against the elements.

There are also Bivy Tents like the Ionosphere but that is more of a tent than a bivy and won’t be discussed in this video.

  Fabrics. There is a wide range of materials which are used for bivys including gore-tex, nylon, and so on.  Goretex in general is the most expensive due to the waterproof and breathable properties of gore-tex…those benefits translate to heavier weight. Nylon will be less expensive, less breatable, lighter in terms of weight.

  Openings. Some allow for you to crawl in, some unzip and you plop yourself inside of.  Some can be closed up completely to block bugs and some will remain open.

  Size/weight. While fabric has a lot to do with the weight of your bivy sack, there are plenty of options to choose from in size. Because the bivy sack was created for the minimalist, you do have many ultralight options. Remember, not all bivys are light and in fact, some can be heavier than a 1 person tent.

Pros : Generally lightweight, can add up to 10 degrees to your sleep system which may be desired for cold weather trips, most are either waterproof or at least, water resistant, can be bug proof if your model is sealable, when using a bivy by itself and in good conditions, you are going to be able to make camp in places you never thought possible; locations were are impossible for tents and other shelters. Block the wind wonderfully. Super easy, simple and quick setups

Cons : Not a good solution for rainy and wet conditions unless used with a tarp, bivys add numerous degrees of warmth to your sleep system which you may not desire if it is warm and humid.  Condensation issues are common with bivys, bugs can be unless your bivy features a way to seal up the entrance….if you can seal yourself in, you will be adding more warmth and will be limiting your venting…that equals more moisture.  Bivys are generally very limiting in terms of space….if you love being restricted and having limited amounts of room to move around, you’ll love a bivy (most people don’t like either of these).  If you are a fan of sprawling out and having a lot of space, a bivy can take some time to get accustomed to.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Cold Rain in the Forest Under a Tarp - Day Camp

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It's time for another Lone Wolf Adventure and this involves a foggy afternoon in the backcountry next to a creek.

A Cold Rain is Falling and along the way, Luke discovers the remnants of an old homestead.

By the way, this adventure was filmed prior to the 'It Came at Night' Adventure which went up last week and this park is now closed.  Also, my intentions were to speak more about being prepared but I ran out of time and will make a separate video on the topic.

I continue to work hard to bring adventures to the channel every single week to help with what is currently taking place around the globe. Please stay safe and care for your loved ones as best you can and we will make it through this together.  Every day, we get closer to this being over.

Strength and Honor!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Truth About Alcohol Stoves - When, Where, Why and Why Not

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This episode is all about Alcohol Stoves and Luke will be going over the Pros, the Cons, When, Where and Why to use them...also, when not to.

When It comes to stoves it can be a hot topic.....get it....

Easily it can involve personal bias; some will defend their stoves because the price they paid, both high and low and some will defend their stoves because they made it by hand out of a cat food can that their pet ate out of.

I'm this episode I'm going to focus on alcohol Stoves, the good and the bad without an bias; only straight up fact.

When it comes to the different types of stoves and fuel types, I've used them all and that simple fact is that there isn't a perfect stove just like their isn't a perfect camera,.....but there is the right tool for the job so to speak.

To start, lets focus on what an alcohol stove is;

Trangia Spirit Burner


What you are see here are very common types of stoves; there are many other companies who make stoves and also, it is very common and also easy to make your own.  You can do this out of a coke can, pet food container, etc.

Such stoves are known for being SIMPLE and lightweight and fuel is often inexpensive and easy to locate.

With that being said, lets focus on the pros of such stoves;

Lightweight with some stoves coming in at less than 2oz

Inexpensive to purchase or to make

Extremely easy to use


No maintenance required

Durable….you’re not going to break an alcohol stove unless you are doing something majorly wrong

Fuel is easy to locate and in fact, it can run on multiple types of fuel including denatured alcohol, methanol, and so on.

Fuel isn’t as hazardous as white gas or as flammable – that doesn’t mean that it is safer though as such stoves can easily start a forest fire and in fact, have done so and is one reason why there are many places where such stoves are banned.

Perform very well in cold conditions – can be hard to ignite with a lighter but matches make easy work of getting them going.

Denatured alcohol is fairly clean burning – minor residue on your pots/cups

Now lets talk about Cons :

Alcohol stoves are Slow – 6-7 minutes to boil two cups of water in the BEST of conditions.

Inefficient which means that they will go through a lot of fuel which means that you will need to vary more fuel with you.

Fuel doesn’t release a lot of heat and this means that it will take time and potentially multiple stove refills to accomplish your cooking task.

Limited burn time; most alcohol stoves will hold around 1 oz or fuel and you have to allow that fuel to completely burn out before refilling.  Because the flame is clear, you have to be very careful or you can experience burnback.

If the stove tips over, the ignited fuel will easily spread.

With most alcohol stoves, there is one flame setting; not a great choice for those who want to simmer. Some stoves have a regulator though

The flame is invisible.

Very sensitive to wind; you will need a very good windscreen even with the slightest of breezes.


Gauging the proper amount of fuel needed for your chore can be difficult.

If you put too much fuel in your stove for your task, you have to pour it back into your fuel bottle can be tricky.

With alcohol, there is an elevated risk of spillage.

As mentioned before, these stoves are banned in some areas and that’s because there is no shutoff valve. Also, with some stoves, if you overfill the fuel can overflow from the stove itself and cause fires.


Rucas : 1.2oz

Trangia : 3.8oz

Vargo : .8oz

Pocket Rocket Deluxe : 3oz

Full 8oz fuel bottle : 8oz

Rocket Rocket and Canister : 9.6oz

Vargo and Fuel Bottle : 8.6

Monday, April 13, 2020

Amazing Value - Stanley Adventure Cook Set

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Up for review today is the Stanley Adventure Cook Set and when it comes to value, there isn't much on the market which can rival what it offers.

The review begins now!

Agenda Free Link :

Price : Retail is $15

Weight of Kit : 13.5oz

Weight of Pot : 6.8oz

Weight of Lid : 1.1oz

Weight of each Cup :  2.8oz

Capacity of Pot : 24oz

Capacity of Cups : 12oz to the top; holds 10oz comfortably

Three Piece cookset

Funny : I have never heard of this cookset and one day a few months back I stumbled upon it and said to myself, “that looks to be a great deal” so I ordered on and posted a picture to social media and to my surprise, everyone has heard of these.  Haha  Apparently this has been around since 2012ish and are very well known and respected.

·  Vented lid lets you cook on camp stoves or grills

·  Locking handle extends for cooking, folds to save space

·  18/8 stainless steel won't rust; naturally BPA-free

·  Two Nesting 10oz/295mL insulated plastic ceramic cups included

I’ve been told that the small plastic tab on the lid melts but I haven’t had that experience so far with all of my cooking and boiling which includes canister stove use as well as in fires. I’ve also used this with Trangia Alcohol stoves with not problems.

Is it a legitimate concern and will it melt under reasonable use conditions?

There is a debate about this; some say the tab will melt while others say that after years of use, it’s not an issue. No, as long as you are mindful you can use this in a fire, on a fire or on a stove without the grab tab melting.

It completely depends on how you use it;  Set it on top of a fire, no problem.  If you don’t mind a slower boil times, you can set the pot next to a blazing fire and that is likely where the tab is to melt.

Tab Replacement : You could replace the tab with all sorts of attachments; one would be a Split Key Chain Ring – This is a common solution but it’s one that I person don’t like - The problem with that is that it would lay completely flat on the lid which would be a pain to grab and to remove the lid.

For me, a simple piece of wire would work better and could be easily bent at an angle so you can grab it when it is over your heat source.  Ultimately do what you like; for me, I will be mindful of the grab tab and prevent it from melting.

Pros :

Awesome value – this really goes to show you that quality gear at a good price is out there.

Does a good job of insulating; keeping coffee hot.  I haven’t tested anything cold in this yet since it is the winter.

Locking handle.

Good quality grab tab; doesn’t fall over

Fairly compact system; doesn’t take up much space in your pack

Easy to clean; if you wish to remove builtup tarnish, use a product called bar keepers friend and it will come right off.

Marked measurements on the pot

Strong handle which locks and does a great job of holding the lid into place.

Even with the cups inside of the pot, there is enough space for a small canister stove and washcloth.

Cons :

The narrow base means that you need to be careful if you are using it on a stove; stability can be an issue.

Speaking of it being narrow, there may be some stoves out on the market which this will not sit on.

Grab tab could melt in some situations – a metal tab would have been a better design decision but with a little care, you won’t have any problems.

Small pot  which means that if you plan to cook in it, you will have to get creative with what it is that you are making.

Summary :

Plain and simple this is a great bit of kit and I highly recommend it as long as you don’t care about weight.  If you do, go with Titanium or aluminum otherwise, you really can’t go wrong here.  The value is excellent and there are no big glaring issues.

Talking about price, if his kit was made by other popular companies, they would charge 3 times as much…you know that they would I commend Stanley for offering such a kit at such a good price. Imagine what Snowpeak or MSR would charge for this…

Very good general purpose set which can be used for backpacking, car camping, emergency kit for your vehicle and even survival.

Question to ask yourself; does the size and capability of this system work for you?  This isn’t a huge pot by any means so do keep that in mind.

Friday, April 10, 2020

It Came at Night - Violent Mountain Winds Wild Camp

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Luke is back with another Adventure just in time as trailheads, parks and forest areas are closing.

In this adventure, Luke experiences some of the strongest winds yet along with some incredibly beautiful mountain landscapes!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

I'm Making Some Channel Changes - Random Lunch and Chat

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For this Random Lunch and Chat, Luke is announcing some changes which are coming up with the channel in light of the Coronavirus and how it is impacting the world today.

Monday, April 6, 2020

This Box is Packed! - Viewer Mail Episode #74

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Today Luke and Susie are opening some awesome packages from our friends and we simply can't believe the kindness even during tough times.

Thank you all so much everyone and Rick and Morty too! :D

Friday, April 3, 2020

Thick Dense Fog and Heavy Rain - Day Camp Escaping the Virus Adventure

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A cold front is approaching the Mountains and rain is about to begin falling...

Thank you for joining the Lone Wolf on his latest Escaping the Virus Adventure...this is a wet and foggy Day Camp Trek!