Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Kayak camping, pre-trip.

It's that magical time, you've made plans to go camping. But now you have to do the work of organizing your trip , planning your gear, and the dreaded wait.

That's what I am currently experiencing. I've been talking about kayaking the full length of the Mokelumne River between Camanche Reservoir Dam and Lodi Lake for a few years now.
It's a 22 mile trip, down what is often refered to as some of the most amazing kayaking scenery the central valley has to offer.

On the surface the Moke, as we locals lovingly refer to it, seems like a lazy unassuming paddle. Something more akin to the bunny slopes of the kayaking world. Admittedly it is no class 4 rager, this river has an evil side that will take you down if you do not show her the proper respect.


So the fun part, what to take what to leave. I think I find almost as much if not more enjoyment in the packing list and preparation of the journey as to the actual trip itself.
The two kayaks that will be going. Jackson Kilroy (Front) and the Native Watercraft Redfish 12 (Back)

Here's a rundown of what I'm taking:

Kayak - Jackson Kilroy
Shelter - Canteenshop Trail Tarp, Deluxe Sleeping Pad, Reusable Space Blanket (footprint)
Sleeping Bag - Modular Sleep System (warm weather bag and gortex cover)
Knife - Mora 840mg, SAK 1 hand Trekker
Cooking - Stanley Cooking Pot
8" Frying Pan
Biolite Stove / Grill
Fire - Bic Lighter, Ferro Rod, Road Flare
Water - 40oz Kleen Canteen
1 Gallon Drinking Water
Life Straw Water Filter

Tarp Shelter setup (Missing the bag and sleeping pad)

Misc gear:
Bacho Laplander Saw
First Aid Kit
Fishing Gear
Hygiene Kit
Camera Equipment
Jute Twine 
Paracord (Who would've guessed!)

 I don't think it's enough either.....

Now, I know what you're thinking "Is he going out for a week or an overnight?". Truth is, I like to take plenty of comfort items to Smooth It, rather than Rough It. Kayaking provides all the space you need to take these conveniences that you'd never lug on your back.


Our mission, should we choose to accept it will be an arduous journey through miles of uncharted (to us at least) waters from the Mokelumne Day Use Area above Clements California to Lodi Lake in Lodi Ca. A 30 minute trip to our starting point will leave my companion Rick and I with no other means to get back home than braving the river and seeing it through to the end.

This stretch of the Mokelumne lies between two Lakes, and where as it is not the white water thrill seekers dreak come true, it still has plenty of dangers to take into consideration. 

A shot of the Moke at Stillman Magee Park (Mackville Rd) Where most folks
who tube float from our starting point end their journey.

A great and many cottonwood tree has been felled by the Delta Winds and eroding river banks, making navigating around the numerous tree branches to avoid capsizing and breaching the hull a very real concern.

Though rapids are not expected to be an issue, the current of this river can be very strong, combined with several whirlpools and a strong undercurrent a PFD (Personal Flotation Device)is going to be a must.

Our plan is to make it to a rough halfway point well before sunset, and make camp on one of the many beaches or islands for day 1. Rest, and a good meal that night followed by a hobbit sized breakfast to see us through the rest of our journey the following day. With hopes to do a little fishing and wild edible collecting (Blackberry Season) along the way.


Have fun! When I was a kid we used to go "Creek Walking". Basically, you'd get to the creek and walk up or down as far as you could before you thought mom would worry or until you got hungry and headed back. We always wanted to keep going to see what was around the next corner, the spirit of adventure was never far away at that tender age.

My hope is to find a little of that while I'm out there. Going into a new area, with no real certainty of what to expect give me a feeling that a slice of that feeling is waiting for me out there on the water.

Wish us luck, and go find the adventure that's been waiting for you. Thanks for reading.


Para-Cord Guy Outdoors

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Knife Talk

It's been said that if you want to remain in good standing with people at work you should never discuss religion or politics.

It should be said that if you want to remain in light conversation within the bushcraft community, you should not discuss knives. 

The subject of much scrutiny, disagreement and varrying steadfast beliefs, one could equate knives and the discussion of them to politics or religion. Either way knives are always a hot topic around the campfire, and the online community.

I am here not to talk about "knives" though. I'm here to write an account of the #1 knife I use daily. Why I use it, what I like about it and why it's good for me. 

I'd also like to point out that I do not think there is any one knife for everyone. Knives are like people, they can be similar but never exactly alike.

So what is this knife you might ask? Well it would be the Victorinox One Handed Trekker. 

Before I get into what I like about this knife and all of the stats, I'll tell you how I came to the conclusion that I must get one of my own.

I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to some awesome gatherings that attract a number of people who've established names for themselves in the outdoor community.

Some of these folks are well known, others not so well known, but none the less they all have a very good set of skills and knowledge in their own right. And I have been lucky enough to meet all of these people and call a great many of them my friends. 

The one common item I noticed that was always popping out of pockets, was the One Handed Trekker. After seeing so many folks with considerable skills and means to procure far more expensive knives, for some reason this blade was always at the ready. That made me think that there had to be something about this knife, and all I knew was I had to have one of my own.

When I finally got mine, I was instantly attached to it. Solid construction, sharp blade and great feel left me with the assurance that every penny was well spent on this item. It's been my go to blade for over 2 years now and is the #1 knife I use daily. 

 I suppose the next thing we should do is get the stats out of the way. I borrowed this next bit from They provided more in depth info than the company website.

Layer Tools

Back Layer Tools

Scale Tools


The Trekker comes with Nylon scales which are usually black (liner-lock version). Camo, and Camo +ARMEE scales are also available. An earlier version, probably marketed as the Trailmaster, had red nylon scales with a slide lock.

Physical Specifications

Length: 111mm (including saw-tip protrusion)
Height: 34.7mm (top of round opening OH blade)
Width: 17.8mm (OHT Version)
Weight: 127g / 4.5oz (OHT Version)

One thing that should be mentioned is that this knife also has two standard screwdrivers. One large, that's incorporated into the bottle opener and a small one found on the can opener.

My absolute favorite feature about this knife is, IT LOCKS!!! The knife blade actually locks. Unlike the old school non locking Swiss army models this one won't close on your fingers while you're using it. Take that with a grain of salt of course because well, accidents happen and everyone has a different skill level.

The blade also has a one handed opening feature, hence the name "One Handed Trekker". The large hole and ingeniously designed blade makes one handed opening a real breeze.
Closing this knife is also very easy due to Vitorinox's liner locking design. Just press the tab over and close the blade. This can even be done one handed (just be careful) with a little practice.

Another great feature is the locking can opener/large standard screwdriver. This comes in handy when using its intended function of loosening or tightening screws, but also makes itself invaluable when modifying this into a ferro rod striker. Just put a sharp spine on the back side of this tool with a file or belt sander and viola, you've got a dedicated ferro rod striker that works great.

The wood saw is nothing short of amazing. Strong, aggressive and extremely sharp teeth make short work of small branches and other flora that one would normally hack away at with a "chopper" style knife. Another great use for this is notching a hearth board for bow drill fires. I prefer this to notching with the blade of a knife, and I picked this trick up from Al Cornell at a Dirttime event. Thanks Al. 

All of the other tools in this blade perform admirably considering their stature. The only one that's disappointing is the Phillips screwdriver. However, I'm always happy to have it when I need it. Simply it's better than nothing.

Another slight drawback is It can be a little bulky in the pocket, that can be remedied with a sheath or carrying case if you'd rather have this on your belt loop. 

Personally, what you get from it is well worth it. Most places retail this for around $49.99 and it's worth every cent. 

If I had to choose one knife I'd take this every time, and I often do just that.

Thanks for reading.

~ Antone