Monday, November 28, 2016

Stove Basics - Part 2

Basic Information and Lessons Learned

Between Jack and myself, we now have a healthy collection of various stoves, and each type comes with its benefits and weaknesses. To investigate some our stoves characteristics, Jack and I have entered the pseudo-science realm of timed water boiling test. We just added some videos on alcohol stoves and wood stoves. You can check out our playlist here: Stove Test. 

My first venture into alcohol stoves
My first venture into alcohol stoves 

Perhaps in the future we will have additional post covering other types of stoves (there are plenty more!), but right now we have no experience and could provide little in the way of valuable insight.

Alcohol Stoves

I am the one with the alcohol stoves (Trail Designs 12-10 and Zelph Starlyte) thanks to Jack getting me 2 for a birthday present. Plus, I’ve made more than a few stoves out of Monster cans that turned out less than desirable. Through our initial testing and limited field experience, alcohol stoves are a little slower at boiling water because of the time needed for alcohol to start vaporizing and are significantly affected by the wind.  

From Trail Designs, the 12-10 Alcohol Stove
Trail Designs 12-10 Alcohol Stove

Alcohol stoves are an extremely lightweight option and the fuel becomes lighter every meal as you burn your way through that alcohol. These stoves can be slow to fully light and some might even require priming (a small amount of alcohol is boiled below the stove) before they produce maximum heat. Additionally, alcohol stoves are low maintenance with no moving parts, but skillful use requires experience. Before using your stove take to experiment with the amount of fuel required to boil various amounts of water.  Alcohol stoves can be powered by multiple fuel sources, but the most common is denatured alcohol, which is easily found around the U.S and cheap. Finally, an important safety consideration: alcohol burns silent and colorless, so be careful not to get burned and never reach over the stove. 

From Trail Designs: the Zelph Modified StarLyte Alcohol Stove
Trail Designs Zelph Modified StarLyte Alcohol Stove

Wood Stoves

The same with alcohol stoves, I also have the wood stoves (BioLite and Sidewinder) again thanks to other people who have gifted them to me. Plus the BioLite.  Through our initial testing and field experience, this type of stove is pretty quick to boil, is mostly protected from the wind because of design, and requires you to continually add more fuel. Furthermore, wood stoves are fairly easy to create in your garage so do some experimenting. Finally, I prefer wood stoves when I am car camping, which also allows me to bring all the sticks I need. The BioLite has a pretty neat grill that makes nice hamburgers and hot dogs, but I would never try backpacking with all that additional weight.

From BioLite: the wood stove and grill attachment
BioLite Stove wood stove with grill attachment 

Wood stoves are a little bit heavier than other types of stoves, but do not require carrying fuel; however, this does not always work out in practice and you may need to pick up sticks as you hike to ensure you have enough fuel at the end of the day. Wood stoves are low maintenance with no parts, you just need to occasionally wipe them clean. However, there is a need for skill and experience in how to properly light a wood stove, how much fuel you need to gather, and how often fuel is added. Also, be aware that wood stoves can be really smoky, which smoke in the eyes is never fun. Finally, wood stoves generally have more regulations regarding open fires and how/if you can pick up sticks in the area. 

Trail Designs Sidewinder in wood mode. Courtesy of
Trail Designs Sidewinder in wood mode. Courtesy of

The Giveaway

Team Adventures with BeeGee would like to congratulate Laynie D. for winning our Exotec Polystriker Firestarter and a big thank you to everyone who joined the giveaway.

Exotec polystriker firestarter giveaway
Jack and Laynie with her new firestarter

For the month of December, we are giving away a Toaks TiTongs Set, which is a titanium spoon and fork with a nylon connector that turns the utensils into a set of tongs.

A Toaks TiTongs Set
Toaks TiTongs Set

a Rafflecopter giveaway Go ahead and let us know about your go-to stove or that dream stove you’d love to have one day. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Stove Basics - Part 1

Basic Information and Lessons Learned

Between Jack and myself we now have a healthy collection of various stoves, and each type comes with its benefits and weaknesses. To investigate some our stoves characteristics, Jack and I have entered the pseudo-science realm of timed water boiling test. You can check out our playlist here: Stove Test.

Canister Stoves

Jack (Etekcity) and I (Primus Yellowstone Classic) both have canister stoves and they have been the staple backing stove for Team Adventures with BeeGee. Through our initial testing and field experience, this type of stove is the fastest to boil and is the least affected by wind. Most canister stoves have a fuel control knob, which will give you greater control between simmering and a quick boil.

A type of canister stove
Etekcity Backpacking Stove 

Canister stoves are light weight, but their fuel canisters can be large and heavy. Plus, the fuel canister doesn’t really get any lighter the more fuel is used. Additionally, canister stoves are extremely easy to use; they can be lit with any flame and some even have piezo ignitors to auto-light. Canister stoves are very low maintenance because there are generally no moving parts except the screw threads to put the stove together and attach it to the fuel canister.  Two gasses are used in the pressurized canister iso-butane and propane, which will burn fine in temperatures above freezing. Lastly, it is recommended that no windscreen is used because the canister can warm up from trapped heat and explode.

My go to canister stove
Primus Yellowstone Classic Trail Stove

 Esbit (Solid Fuel) Stoves

Jack (Esbit Pocket Stove) and I (Gram Cracker Stove) both have solid fuel stoves, but Jack has more experience using his on our adventures. Through our initial testing and field experience, this type of stove is slower at boiling water and is possibly the most affected by wind.  Additionally, unless you buy a fancy tool, there is no way to control the burn, so for most simmering isn’t an option. However, with a windscreen Esbit stoves are incredibly lightweight and have an average boil time. 

A simple stove for solid fuel
Esbit Pocket Stove

The Esbit tabs are a chemical called hexamine, but you can find other tabs at military surplus stores called trioxane which has comparatively poorer performance. Moreover, solid fuel stoves are an incredibly lightweight setup, easy to use, no maintenance. Other than opening the stove/platform up, there are no moving parts and all you will need is a flat/level surface. Furthermore, low temperatures shouldn’t have much of an effect, but energy output makes solid fuel stoves less than ideal for melting snow. Finally, Esbit tabs have a really strange smell and the tabs will leave a residue on your stove and the bottom of your pot.

can be used with the Caldera Cone
Trail Designs Gram Cracker Stove

Make sure you stay tuned for the second part and our coverage on alcohol stoves and wood stoves. 

The Giveaway

First off Team Adventures with BeeGee would like to congratulate Anais R. for winning our Wildo Kasa Mug and a big thank you to everyone who joined the giveaway.

The winner of adventures with BeeGee Giveaway
Jack taking a photo with Anais and her new Wildo Kasa mug

This month we are giving away an Exotec PolyStrike fire starter that Jack received in a recent Prepper Gear Box. It will be more than enough to light your stove of choice.

This month's Giveaway: Exotech PolyStrike Fire Starter

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Go ahead and let us know about your go to stove or that dream stove you’d love to have one day. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Amazon Dog Food and Treats Sample Box (Video)

What’s in the Box?!?! An Amazon Dog Sample Box 

First up is a 12.5-ounce can of Ideal Balance Beef and Zucchini stew. Angela and BeeGee both love wet food so they will be excited for this in a future meal. A single can cost around $2.80 or $30 for a twelve pack.  Personally, I think this is a little expensive as a long term feeding option.

Next is 2 Cesar Classic 3.5-ounce trays. One is “With Beef in Meaty Juices” and the other is “Grilled Chicken Flavor in Meaty Juices”. Angela and BeeGee both seemed pretty interested in the packages so I’m guessing they smelled something tasty.  However, the weird names make it sounds like there isn’t really any meat.  This will probably be a one time treat.  Single trays are $0.70 while a 24 pack is around $15

The third item is a Wellness Trufood tray. This item has a neat concept, it has a layer of pumpkin on top and a layer of duck and lamb on the bottom.  Overall, this is an expensive meal though.  The package states 3 containers per 6 pounds, which is 25 trays for a BeeGee feeding.  This will also be a nice one time treat for the girls. A single try cost between $2 and 3 while a pack of 24 cost $55.

Fourth, is a tiny greenies treat, which are supposed to be great for dog’s teeth.  I guess I will cut it in half and see if they have fresh breath afterward.  45 small or 27 regular will cost around $20. 

Fifth, is a pack of Raw Boost Mixers. I think the purpose of this is to boost the healthiness of lower quality food, but I’m not really sure.  I am going to use this in Angela’s kibble.  She is an extremely picky eater and I am hoping this will add enough excitement for her to finish her meal.  A 14-ounce bag would be around 26 servings for BeeGee at a cost of around $20.  If you feed your pup high-quality kibble, I’d probably skip a booster. However, this would probably be good once in a while, after an extra hard day of working, or recovering from illness.

Second to last we have Ideal Balance Soft-Baked Naturals.  These little treats are a good size for medium to large dogs to prevent over-snacking.  As you can see in the video the girls were excited about the treats, but not so excited as to try and snatch.  These treats seem like they are worth further investigation. For $6 you can get a 12.8-ounce bag.

Finally, Honest Kitchen Chicken Revel dog food.  I am by far most excited about this sample because this should be an amazing product for hiking or backpacking.  While it won’t be much/any lighter, it should take up considerably less space.  Expect a full report in the near future. A 2-pound box cost $16 and makes 8-pounds of dog food.

You can check it out here:  While supplies last you will earn a $9.99 credit toward dog food and treats.  This is a great deal so hurry and check it out.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Goodwater Loop: Round 4 - First Taste of the Wild

Hiking with a New Friend

The Giveaway

First, Team Adventures with BeeGee wants to congratulate Angie on being the winner of our first ever giveaway!

Jack and Angie with Angie's new Stormproof Matches
Jack and Angie with Angie's new Stormproof Matche
This month we will be giving away a Wildo Kasa Mug, so read through our trip report and sign up for the giveaway at the bottom.

The Trip

On our most recent visit, Jack, BeeGee, and I took a new friend out for a taste of backpacking.  We decided to head out to Goodwater Loop because it’s the best backpacking location in central Texas.  This isn’t the first time we have taken a new hiker out to Lake Georgetown, you can check out Angela’s big adventure.  On June 11th we headed out on a nice and hot day to experience backpacking for the first time.

Stephen right before we head out to Goodwater Loop
Stephen right before we head out to Goodwater Loop

The Background

Location: 2100 Cedar Breaks Rd, Georgetown, TX 78633
Admission: $5 admission and $20 campsites. Primitive sites are free
Elevation: 790 to 950ft
Weather: Sunny and hot, 90 to 95F
Difficulty: Difficult

 Day 1: The Hike and Meet Up

Stephen, BeeGee, and I woke up and headed out to Cedar Breaks Park to kick off our adventure.  Even though we started out early it was already pretty hot.  Thankfully, most of the first 8 miles were shaded by trees.  As we made it down by the lake, the water was at the highest point I’ve ever seen.  Stephen was doing fine, especially for how hot and humid it was. 

Lake Georgetown was full of water!
Lake Georgetown was full of water!

We eventually made it to the first creek crossing, which is normally nothing more than a skip across.  This time, the creek was knee deep and over 10-feet across.  We decided it was best to take off our socks and roll up our pants before forging ahead. While we were doing this about 5 mountain bikers came from the other direction and crossed the creek with no issues which made everyone else feel a little better.  Wading across was easy enough, even if BeeGee had to do a little paddling.

BeeGee just finished paddling across this creek
BeeGee just finished paddling across this creek

Moving on down the trail, it was pretty much the same walk I remembered and blogged about before.  Except all of the water crossings were much fuller and the water was so high at Crockett Gardens there really isn’t a waterfall anymore. Normally you can hop across the stream at Crockett Gardens using pre-placed rocks, but this was not the case today. Plus, Cedar Hollow Camp was partially underwater, which made it difficult to find a flat location to pitch a tent if you wanted to camp there. After exploring Cedar Hollow a bit, I found 2 people kayaking that seemed a little hostile (a bunch of angry and intimidating stares) so we kept going and made our way to Sawyer Hollow Camp.

2 kayakers out on Lake Georgetown
2 kayakers out on Lake Georgetown

Once we found our campsite, I left Stephen to rest, relax, and protect our space while BeeGee and I set out to link up with Jack.  The plan was for Jack to park at Tejas Park and meet me in the middle around the 2-mile mark. Heading out again wasn’t bad, just the standard rocky trail, until we reached a flooded creek. Thankfully, the water was tranquil and shallow enough to ford. BeeGee and I struck out to get across. About halfway across BeeGee needed an assist and I carried her to the other side, which was a steep embankment.

The big creek crossing where I went underwater (thankfully no brain amoebas)
The big creek crossing where I went underwater (thankfully no brain amoebas) 

 Not much further BeeGee and I gleefully(sarcasm) found the trail was submerged. We skirted the edge of the lake and headed where we thought the trail went to the best of our abilities.  This forced us to walk through tall grass on steep angles. After about 3/4th a mile, the trail reappeared and we met up with Jack shortly after that. On the way back we discovered a snake that did not want to share the trail. After stomping and making noise to no avail, we were left with no choice but to spray water in an attempt to convince the snake to slither away.

The spring and creek at Crockett Garden
The spring and creek at Crockett Garden

We followed our off-trail path through the grass and eventually made it back to the “creek” crossing and Jack was super pumped. I went first in an attempt to swim his pack over the deep part while he kept BeeGee from following me. This didn’t work out so well and I was pretty certain I would end up with brain amoebas because I went underwater for a bit. 

The group setting up at Sawyer Hollow Camp
The group setting up at Sawyer Hollow Camp

After 12 miles for BeeGee and I, we made it back to camp. Stephen was just hanging out and was a little worried about how long we had been away. Plus, another guy showed up and was setting up camp. Once the sun finally went down, everyone expected it to cool off significantly; however, this was not the case and it remained hot for a long time.

BeeGee relaxing after a long day's walk (her beard is full of beggars lice!)

Day 2: The Long Trek to Car

The next day turned out to be pretty miserable. The group bummed around camp too long and we didn’t set off until it was entirely too hot, which made it a much harder 4 miles than it needed to be. The walk to the flooded creek wasn’t bad and thankfully the water was a little lower, so there was no need to swim the bags across. Plus, Stephen charged ahead like it was no big deal, with a real rugged mentality.

The next portion was much harder where the lake swallowed the trail, forcing us to do some mild bushwhacking. In the heat of the day, we fought through tall grass, climbed over fallen trees, while on a fairly steep incline.  I tried to keep the conversation going over this mile stretch with some success. Finally, back on the trail, we stopped in the shade by a small waterfall to film a review of Millennium Energy Bars.

The flooded pasture with no shade that spanned the last 2 miles of our trip
The flooded pasture with no shade that spanned the last 2 miles of our trip

This small bit of shade was pretty much the last we saw for the day. We made our way into more of a pasture that had a few intertwining trails. This made it harder to find our way in the heat. By this time Stephen was mostly shut down and just trying to finish out the hike. Because of this, we were relying on Jack’s knowledge of hiking the area the evening before, but he always thought we were about 400 meters from the finish. We were much further than that as it turns out.

I just finished my 3rd creek crossing of the trip.  At least being wet kept me a little cooler
I just finished my 3rd creek crossing of the trip.  At least being wet kept me a little cooler

After lumbering along for what felt like hours, we finally made it to the final shaded section. Thankfully Jack was parked here and blasted the AC to cool down.  Jack took us to grab a quick lunch and dropped us off at our starting point so we could head home. After all that, I was definitely impressed with how motivated Stephen had been. This adventure alone provided much more experience than other campers have ever dealt with.

Wildo Kasa Mug Giveaway

The Wildo Kasa Mug - Our October giveaway item
The Wildo Kasa Mug - Our October giveaway item

Rafflecopter giveaway

Let us know about a time you took a first-time hiker out for a new adventure. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Prepper Gear Box Subscription Unboxing and Giveaway (Videos)

Interested in Prepper Gear Box?

If you are interested in a Prepper Gear Box subscription, then take a few minutes to watch the videos below before you make your decision. Jack unboxes his first 6 months of boxes so you can see "What's in the box?!" If you like what you see, head on over to Prepper Gear Box to try a subscription or just a single box (this is an affiliate link that will earn a commission).

Finally, Team Adventures with BeeGee is giving away a Titan Stormproof Match Kit to a US resident.  Just watch all the videos in their entirety to win (just kidding though we would appreciate it!).  To actually enter, head down to the bottom of the page and use the Giveaway Tools entry form for your chance to win.

Titan Stormproof Match Kit
This Titan Stormproof Match Kit that is available in the giveaway 

Prepper Gear Box Month 1

This month’s goodies include: Morakniv Companion, SWAT-T Tourniquet, Tactical Pen with Glass Breaker, Pressure Point Skill Card, and How to Make a Solar Still Card.

Prepper Gear Box Month 2

This month’s goodies include: Mtech Ballistic Spring Assisted Knife, Esbit pocket stove with fuel tabs, 5ft. FireFord paracord, 12 unique and useful uses for lip balm knowledge card.

Prepper Gear Box Month 3

This month’s goodies include: Paracord Grenade Survival Kit, Wetfire Tinder cubes, Aquamira water purifier tablets, basic fire building skills card.

Prepper Gear Box Month 4

This month’s goodies include: kwr-g5 SAE pocket tool, not so typical tampon uses knowledge card, and creative uses for condoms knowledge card.

Prepper Gear Box Month 5

This month’s goodies include: Tactical Molle Backpack, TAC-Force Tactical Knife, Max Maxpedition Tactical Field Deck Playing Cards, Grimloc-style D-ring clips, UST’s Sparkwheel Firestarter, and shelter building basics knowledge card.  

Prepper Gear Box Month 6

This month’s goodies include: Thompson survival snares, Millennium Energy Bars, UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit with case shemagh tactical scarf, LuminAID PackLite 16, and a surviving with a shemagh knowledge card.

The Giveaway

Let us know how you prep. If you are interested in more videos then check the Adventures With BeeGee YouTube Channel.

Jarrett Morgan
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Monday, June 27, 2016

List of Big Bend Trails

Compiled List of Trails at Big Bend National Park

This post is a little bit different but after a thorough search of the internet, I could not find a website that listed all the trails available at Big Bend National Park.  So, I gathered everything I could find and compiled a trail list.  I know that it's not all-inclusive, but it does cover a large majority of the trails available.

The Welcome Sign at Big Bend National Park
Welcome to Big Bend National Park. Courtesy of KXAN

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Trip Report: Escape Game

Trying out an Escape Game in Austin

Generally speaking, being locked in a tiny room with five other people for an hour is not what I would consider fun. But that is exactly what happened at The Escape Game Austin and it was amazing.

Jack trying out an escape challange
The Escape Game Austin

The Escape Game is one of many different room escape games in the area and they currently have four different scenarios you can try to escape from. We chose Classified, in which an attack is coming and you have to figure out the date, time, and location of the attack in less than one hour in order to escape from the room and win the game. Now, there are a lot of things about this game I can't tell you, mainly because they swore us to secrecy, but here are a few things I can. 

signing in and signing our consent forms
Everyone signing their consent forms.  Now we have to keep a secret!

First off, I'll admit to being a skeptic. I thought the game would be corny and laughably easy but I still wanted to try it. And I'm glad I did because I couldn't have been more wrong.

We were told to arrive 20 minutes before our game was scheduled to start and when we did, we were signed in and directed to a row of tablets to digitally sign a release form. This document mentioned things like injury, dismemberment, and severe psychological strain. I started to think maybe this game would be more exciting than I had anticipated.

Price listing of all the Escape Game swag
Price listing of all the Escape Game swag

We were finally led back to our room, given a rundown of basic rules and the situation and requirements for our escape and then the guide left and our 60 minutes began. We were also given three free clues to request whenever we thought we needed them. The game started off deceptively easy and I was afraid we would solve it too quickly to really enjoy it. At this point, six people seemed like way too many. We were bumping into each other, fighting for clues, and getting in each others' way. Until suddenly we weren't. Suddenly the game got a lot harder and we had so much to do and so little time. Then we needed everyone in there to follow trails, crack codes, solve puzzles, investigate objects, and tie everything together.

The game was incredibly well put together and included just the right mix of simple and complex problems. They also did an excellent job of including all the participants and requiring a variety of skills and strengths in order to win the game. It required more than just solving puzzles since you needed people to observe, explore, and make connections in order to figure out what to do next.

We almost escaped!
We almost escaped!

Our team did great and we were able to figure it out, but not quite in time. Another ten seconds and we would have escaped. I hate losing, especially coming so close and still losing, but even so it was completely worth it. This is probably the most fun I've ever had in an hour and I will definitely be going back to try one of their other missions. Maybe we can actually escape the next one. Maybe.

Have you ever tried out an escape game before, let us know all about it? Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

Jack Morgan
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