Becoming Independent and Off the Grid

2pairfarms.com - Becoming Independent and Off the Grid

Let Your Lifestyle Prepare You for Disaster

When purchasing gear for hunting, fishing and camping, consider if it is something you can use to bug out or hunker down.  If you can pack it in on a camping trip or float it on your yak, you can probably use it as part of your emergency plan.

Our camping gear is part of our evacuation plan.  It’s not like there will be hotels and apartments just waiting for us when we get home.   We will be able to use our tent as an alternate shelter should a hurricane blow away our home.   The camp kitchen will serve us well.  Taking it with us when we have to evacuate ensures its availability when we come home.  As soon as we can get on the property, we will immediately set up camp on the spot that used to be the garage and set about the property clean up.

Being accustomed to using the outdoor gear, we won’t be fumbling around and having unexpected results when cooking on the camp stove.  We will not be looking at our property and wondering where we will sleep that night.  We won’t be crammed into some shelter with 300,000 other people.  We will have temporary shelter until something more suitable can be arranged.

In the past, whenever I thought about hurricanes I only concerned myself with the process of evacuation and being prepared.  No one ever talked about the homecoming after a hurricane.  We all just “hoped” our house would be still standing even if every other house in the neighborhood was gone.  Since we began taking our lifestyle to our emergency plan, I am no longer worried about the “after hurricane” days.  It’s amazing what having a plan, and maybe even a “plan B” will do to ease your mind.

Kayaking in South Texas

One of the favorite activities in South Texas is kayaking, or yaking as we say.  On any given “nice” day you will see yaks on the shallow waters.  As water temperature cools, fewer people spend time on the water.  This year, on the first of November, it is warmer than usual with temperatures in the 80’s.  Weather just right for a weekend of yaking before colder days are here.

Some things you need to know to make water sports in South Texas most enjoyable:

  1. At this latitude, you always need sunscreen.  Remember the sun reflects off the water to burn your face under your wide brimmed hat.  Many here wear cloth face sun shields.
  2. Nourish yourself.  It’s not fun to have to come in from kayaking because you get hungry and thirsty.  Plan how long you are going to be out and bring food, water and snacks appropriate to that amount of time.
  3. Plan to get wet.  In warm weather, getting wet is not a problem.  On cold days, being wet is miserable.  Rain gear properly chosen to keep water out makes the difference between miserable and happy.
  4. Bring a first aid kit for each kayak.  Stuff happens.  You can get a great little first aid kit in a water tight container for about $8.00.  In one trip I some how managed to gather a collection of three bleeding wounds.  The kit came in very handy.
  5. Check the Coast Guard list of required equipment for the watercraft you are using.  Much of this equipment will fit in your tackle box.
  6. Bring a couple of gallons of tap water for washing your hands and rinsing your feet once back at shore, to avoid getting sand in your food or car.
  7. Safety first.  When crossing the a channel, be aware of your surroundings.  Since kayaks are not powered, they are more difficult to maneuver.  If there is heavy traffic, you will be dealing with wakes from speeding boats as well as waves from wind and the current.
  8. Plan to take longer getting back than you did going out.  How much longer will be determined by your skill, physical health, and endurance.  If the wind or weather changes, so will your return time.

If you are considering new kayaks, the articles “Choosing the Right Yak” and “Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 Solo Angler Kayak Review” detail our experiences and our final choice.


Choosing the Right Yak

Once the decision has been made to purchase kayaks, it is important that you buy the one that suits your body type, physical condition and of course the purpose for the kayak.  For us, it was a matter of trying various kayaks, reading hundreds of reviews and narrowing them down according to the features we desired.  After months of researching and testing various kayaks, we came up with a list of things important to us and our lifestyle.

  1. It had to be easy to paddle since I had serious shoulder surgery less than six months before purchasing them.
  2. It had to have a high weight tolerance to carry all manner of hunting, fishing and camping gear.
  3. There must be adequate storage for all of the above.
  4. Storage needed to be accessible while in the kayak.
  5. The seat must be comfortable for many hours of paddling and fishing, considering your back as well as your butt.
  6. It needed to be light weight and durable.
  7. It must be stable.
  8. NO Scupper holes!
  9. It had to have an anchor trolley system.
  10. Tandem or solo?
  11. Price

During our search for the right kayak,  we discovered most were uncomfortable to sit in for more than an hour, could not carry much gear, and were difficult to use for fishing.  Many didn’t have anchor systems and most had scupper holes.  For some models, you could buy after-market trolley systems and install them yourself.

What ever you buy, make certain to choose your kayak based on the things most important to you.  Go to local kayak shops and try them before you buy.  Pay close attention to getting in and out of the kayak as well as how the seat feels.  Finding one that meets all your needs and is in your price range will give you years of happiness with your kayak.