April 27, 2012

First Aid Week: On-The-Go

In continuation of First Aid week we'll focus on forming a compact kit that can be kept in your hiking, hunting or camping bag to have in emergency situations. This kit contains items designed to help you survive  a variety of situations from an injury to becoming lost. Nobody plans to get lost, but when a trail blaze is inadvertently overlooked or hunting partners become separated - it's peace of mind to have what it takes to make it through the night.

This doesn't have to be an expensive investment. I purchased this simple pouch at an Army Surplus store for $1.99 a couple years back and have added contents over time. Choose your own size, but something that fits in the palm of your hand with room for essentials will surpass. 

Water-repellancy is also a consideration when choosing a pouch/container. As I carry this in a water-resistant hiking bag, this isn't a prime concern.

  1. Triple antibiotic ointment for wound treatment
  2. Fire steel as matches may become wet or eventually run out 
  3. Bear spray 
  4. Plastic bag with various pain medication for injuries
  5. Iodine prep pads
  6. Survival saw can be used to cut down full grown trees or as a snare
  7. Water purification tablets
  8. Ace wraps
  9. Various band-aids
  10. Towelettes
  11. Fishing hooks and line [not shown]
Although items may vary based upon trip choice and conditions, the basics remain the same. Knowing how to use these tools to build fire, create shelter, and purify water are important to prepare for the unexpected. Please feel free to comment on this post with any additional items you feel important to carry where you're from.

April 25, 2012

Lost Lobster Pots

Lobstering is to Maine as Spring-breaking is to Mexico. On a recent journey, I traveled up and down a few hundred miles of coast in search of "Lost Lobster Pots". If a rogue propeller snags the line connecting a pot to a buoy - it can be set free. Almost like a message in a bottle, each pot washes onto shore to tell a story. Some pots are mangled and multi-colored while others appear young and fresh from the factory. 

Trying to find a backwoods road.

Ripples of sand on the soft beach leads us, barefoot, to two pots twisted together.

The wind blows with strength across the exposed beach. Each shell is blown to a standing position and protects a triangular shaped sand design.

Freda the Fixer-upper. 

Blue skies, white contrails of passenger planes and a mix of rope and pots.

Splashing foam precedes and every wave that rolls onto the beach.

Yellows and greens with a pine tree-filled island in the background. The beauty of Maine.

With a pocket of cash and a bucket of bait, you could be on the water by noon.

A torn-up pot landed on this beach some time ago. I love the textured pattern in the sand.

Other BWP Adventures:

April 23, 2012

First Aid Week: At Camp

Being prepared for unexpected events is something we all keep in the back of our minds. As I gear up for another summer in the woods of New England I thought I’d take this week to share what First Aid materials I carry along. Sprains, broken bones, burns, dehydration, and various degrees of pain are possibilities no matter the trip. Being prepared and educated can be a crucial factor when without cellular service, a regular occurrence where I'm from.

The kit I keep both at camp and around the house is the Best Made Co. First Aid Kit. OSHA certified and approved by the US Forest Service for loggers and outdoorsmen, this unit contains everything from a wire splint to trauma scissors. All enclosed in a dust-proof and moisture resistant metal case equipped with a hanging bracket and handle. I have to admit the visual appeal pulled me in. It looks great when hung on the wall at camp next to your sharpened axe. Made in Kansas City, Missouri. 

A Closer Look at this Kit:

Other Options:

Training in Your Area:

April 19, 2012

Starting a Summer Fire

Every reader of Backwoods Plaid will start at least one campfire this summer - I hope. Fire has helped unify people and warm bodies and souls since the beginning of time. Some of my favorite moments involve sitting with friends around an emblazoned ring of burning hardwood. Stories told and laughs shared are cast in my mind's eye like the dancing shadows of flames about a campsite. Two things will make starting a fire better this summer. First is being able to escape for a couple nights to a remote stretch of woods. The only interruption of silence here is the crackling of burning pine. Second is to leave your bic lighter at home. It's nice to do things the primitive way when in the heart of mother nature.

The most basic origin of fire is by friction (bowdrill or fire plough) or spark (flint and steel). Today we'll focus on the latter. A 3,000+ degree sparks can be had by striking hard steel against flint. I recently tested out my new Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife. Fire comes easy by sliding the knife's blunt edge against the removable flint rod (built into the handle). Of course this isn't flint in it's natural form. It's man-made, but much more impressive than using a match. It, also, works flawlessly when wet.

The Swiss-made knife is one of the sharpest I've tested for the money ($40) and will work great to fillet a fish and also assist in sparking the fire needed to fry it up. The handle's grip is phenomenal to prevent slipping from wet hands. She'll make a great addition to your gear bag and a cool way to spend a few minutes at camp. Let me know your thoughts if you decide to pick one up. Below are some test shots from last week.
A sharp blade and a bright color make this knife hard to lose.

The ferro rod removed from the handle.

Great handle grip.

Sparks shoot into my tinder bundle and soon catch flame.

A successful fire without the assitance of matches. It should go without saying to use precautions and be observant when starting a fire anywhere outdoors.

More Here:

April 17, 2012

Kennebunkport and Wolfe's Neck State Park

A warm weekend calls for an open sunroof and a journey down the infamous Route 1. Stretching from Maine to Florida, Route 1 highlights the rugged coast of Maine and weaves through the most scenic coastal towns and fishing villages. Today we decided to head South to Kennebunkport for lunch and then rewind and head back North to Freeport, ME for a dayhike in Wolfe's Neck State Park.

A popular stop is Kennebunkport, a busy community and seasonal home to George W. Bush and family. His property sits luxuriously on a small peninsula. A tennis court and mold of a cow can be spotted near the gate.

Barbershop and spot to dodge into while the ladies fill shopping bags.
Numerous color-coded directional markers.

Unique coastline in Kennebunkport.

Reflectionary photography.

Expansive views across the horizon as the air begins to chill in the early afternoon.

Although trees are budding across Southern Maine, the woods still appear a remnant of late fall. The forest floor, vegitation and trees blend into a brown convergence.

Opening a ziplock bag of pistachio's, we pop onto a couple rustic benches and listen to the birds chirp. A nest and two osperrey are spotted in a nearby tree, but today's lens won't reach quite that far.

The critters are out and about.

Filson's Vintage Plaid shirt and L.L. Bean khaki's.

Pine needles cake the ground.

Last, but not least, a turkey crosses our road.

April 15, 2012

BWP on Facebook

Backwoods Plaid recently launched a Facebook page to share new posts and favorite photos. Please "Like" BWP by clicking the link below to bring some of the outdoors to your Facebook page.

Thanks, all and enjoy your weekend!

Other Posts:

April 12, 2012

Review: Filson's Antique Tin Cloth Pants

Reading and listening to stories about the legend of Filson's tin cloth garments, I decided to drop a few dollars on a pair of Antique Tin Cloth 5-Pocket Pants. For those unfamiliar - tin cloth is one of the most water-resistant and durable materials and Filson bases their business upon it.

Why should you shell out $85?  A few reasons...
  • The styling of these pants is modern and more fit than the original Tin Cloth Pants. They look and feel great around a campfire AND in the office on casual Friday.
  • If you spend any amount of time outdoors you'll want a pair of go-to pants that will stand up to being snagged or caught up on branches, burrs, or bushes.
  • Rain beads up and runs directly off with minimal to no absorption. I tested this before I even took them outdoors with a jar of water. Passing grade.
  • The item description doesn't mention being stain-resistant, but I was able to wipe off, with a damp cloth, what I thought was a permanent charcoal stain from a burnt log.

April 9, 2012

Spring Tenting

Anxious to setup camp for the second time this season, a couple friends and I head an hour North to a large lake on private land. Not only is this lake great for bass fishing, but there are no other camps located on it. You simply can't ask for any greater sense of serenity. My dream weekend consists of daylong campfires, tossing a line in the water and relaxing around a picnic table. Luckily, as a Mainer, this dream takes place quite often.

Maple syrup season has recently wrapped up.  As the evenings no longer fall below freezing, the syrup ceases to run. This home, spotted North on our journey, is dubbed "Maple Lane".
Rock fences and wooden gates.


We venture into town after setting up camp. I'm craving a lobster roll; something I've never tempted making over fire and probably never will. A quick 10 minute drive satisfies my taste buds and we're soon back at camp sitting around the firepit.

After the two minutes it takes to setup my MSR Hubba Hubba tent, I toss my down L.L. Bean sleeping bags inside and camp is complete. A fly rod and fish net wait patiently for the first casts of the afternoon.

A green VW Spotting on the first sprouts of green spring grass.

I see a small skiff from the road. She represents a great city.

One of the oddest automotive combinations I've seen. I'm told the driver sits on the snowmobile and acceleration of its throttle makes the car moves forward. I don't recommend this at home.

Day 2 Lunch.

For sale. Possible purchase. This would haul my tent perfectly.

Hiking bag, fishing kit, and our first Bass of 2012.