[Event Report] L.T. Wright Knives 2019 Pout House Campout [Raccoon Creek State Park, PA]

Many people view “sponsorships” as either a sellout or a way to just get free stuff.  However, when I arrange a Corporate Partnership with a company one of the things I always stress is that it’s a two-way street.  This past weekend was an opportunity to work with longtime partner L.T. Wright Knives and assist them with their annual Pout House Campout.

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…

The crowd at these events leans more toward the bushcraft end of the outdoor spectrum, so my duty for the weekend would be facilitating some discussions and workshops on the overland adventure lifestyle.  Read on for my event report…

Westbound and Down

The plan for the trip out was to leave home mid-morning and arrive at Raccoon Creek State Park by 3pm.  This would give me time to setup the trailer for the weekend.

Sometimes you just have to jump on the nearest highway and floor it…

I was a little worried about camping in a state park, but it turns out the site chosen my L.T. and his staff was a primitive site far from the park office.  The site was at one time a local Boy Scout camp.  No complaints from me once I was was there.

The long two-track road was a refreshing site after miles and miles of interstate
Not to mention the horrific Pittsburgh traffic

Home for the weekend deep in Raccoon Creek State Park

Shop Tour

The first official activity for the weekend was a tour of the L.T. Wright Knives shop.  This was a unique opportunity since I had never been to their shop before.  I also have a fasciation with manufacturing, so it was cool to see the knife making process from beginning to finishing.  I was also able to get my Bushcrafter HC tuned up.

First up was a welcome by L.T. himself before getting a tour of the LTWK shop

Making our way down the line.
Here knives are in middle phase of getting handles attached.

Can’t show you too many details of the shop, but this dusty drawer of tools caught my eye
Scooter working his magic showing us how knives get their super sharp edge
Got a sneak peek of Quote of Coffee with L.T.
If you’re not following @ltwrightknives on Instagram and checking in on these morning quotes you’re missing out 

A Relaxed Weekend in the Woods

Despite the seemingly incessant rain (cue flashbacks to Overland Expo East), it was a very relaxing weekend.  There was just enough structure that if you were looking for something to do there always something going on, but the overall design of the weekend was loose enough where if you just wanted to sit around the fire and chat you could do so.

Learning tips and tricks on collecting, processing, and organizing firewood

Practicing carving skills turning sticks into tools

Saturday was by far the best day weather-wise and it made for a productive day of classes, demonstrations, and fireside talks.  I was able to present my “Trip Planning and Logistics” workshop and talked about how I go about planning my trips and some of the resources I use.  There was plenty of time for questions and it seemed like everyone was intrigued about this whole “overlanding thing.”

Tapping into my inner teacher discussing trip planning and logistics

I sat in on a few bushcraft workshops which took me back to my younger days when I taught merit badges at summer camp.  From pioneering to wilderness survival some skills just never seem to be forgotten.  That said, watching the way some of these guys worked their knives made me realize some of my skills are a little rusty.

Watching an experienced hand work a knife is mesmerizing

Entrants for the L.T. beauty contest
Sadly no one dressed up as L.T… maybe next year

The best part of the weekend had to be the social interactions.  Numerous casual conversations were had around the main fire or at the various personal campsites.  It’s always nice to spend time with kindred spirits even if the way we approach things is a little different.

Nothing like a group gathered around the campfire

Let’s not forget about the food. 
L.T. working his magic on the Skottle whipping up some scrambled eggs for breakfast
Announcing winners of the cooking contest.
I did not enter, but I did have the pleasure of judging.
Lots of tasty camp cooking were sampled.

Conclusion

This was hands down one of the best events that I have attended.  Small enough to be very personal, and structured just enough to keep you busy if you wanted.  As usually the less-than-ideal weather was not a factor and everyone cheerily slogged it out together.  There were even a few impromptu recovery lessons when we had to winch a Jeep up a muddy hill into camp and play good samaritan with some MaxTrax to someone who made a wrong turn and got their Patriot stuck in some mud.  Even ended up testing out the MaxTrax myself.  I’m really looking forward to next year’s event!

Sometimes the prudent course of action is to work smarter, not harder.
I could easily have just floored it flung mud everywhere.
However the smart play was to use the MaxTrax before I got stuck.
If you’re waiting till you’re stuck to use your gear you’re doing it wrong.

I was stoked to bounce over to the park’s campground for a quick hot shower.
I was saddened to find only cold showers.
Still, it was nice to wash the face and put on some clean dry clothes before the drive home.

Huge thanks to L.T. Wright Knives for continuing their Equipment Level Partnership for the 2019 season.  Stay tuned for an upcoming product review of some of their handcrafted knives.