Saturday, November 8, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Care and I used the Figure 9's to set guylines for poles and to connect short pieces of line to make longer sections. We used them to hang tarps and for hanging clothes and equipment lines at every placed we camped from North Carolina to the Canadian border...
The bottom line on Nite Ize Figure 9's is that they work and work very well. On the several instances where rain had stretched lines that needed to be tightened quickly, the chore was a snap - it was quick and extremely easy to make adjustments. It also made camp set-up and tear down a heckuva lot quicker to achieve...
The small size Figure 9's shown were able to handle everything from mason's line to decoy line and to 550 cord. I like them so much that I now carry a half dozen of them attached to an S-Biner on my Timbuk2 Metro "get home bag". The added weight is unnoticeable - the Figure 9's are feather light.
I give the Nite Ize Figure 9's a double thumbs up.
Need more info? Try here: http://www.niteize.com/productdetail.php?category_id=29&product_id=136
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Taking advantage of the woodpile for testing some chopping tools...
Taking advantage of some quality R&R time by the fire...
Mick Jarvis conducting a pack basket making class...
Some one on one instruction in the art of flintknapping...
Chef Jerry conducting a dutch oven cooking class...
The Big Top...
Friends solving the world's crisises...
Prof. Estela conducting a knot tying class...
All in all, we had a tremendous time. Great friends, good food, and some excellent training. Everyone should make it a point to attend an event like WAR or PWYP...
Saturday, September 20, 2008
TOPS Knives (pealess)
Victorinox SOS (pealess)
Car Horn (pealess)
More tests to come in the upcoming months - stay tuned...
Edited to add a special note of Thanks to my assistants; Kevin Estela, Matt (cyclist), and Becky Two Knives.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Through all this, the Pocket Bushman has not yet been resharpened. I have made it a habit to strop the edge occassionally to help delay the inevitable. It's working...
The Bushman still shaves hair! Not only is it still sharp, it locks up just as tightly as it did on Day 1, with absolutely no blade play of any type.
Another nice feature of the Pocket Bushman is that the spine of the blade is adequately sharp to strike a decent spark from a FireSteel...
The Pocket Bushman is tough as nails. What I like about it is that I can keep it in my Timbuk2 metro bag with my other "go gear." It doesn't take up a lot of space and still offers rock solid performance in a very economical package.
I've seen the Pocket Bushman on-line for as little as $23.99 USD from EDC Depot.
My only criticism of the Pocket Bushman is that Cold Steel would do well to eliminate the thumb studs and save the machining expense. The lock is so tough that you need gorilla thumbs to use the thumb studs for one hand opening. Even so, I give the Pocket Bushman a double thumbs up.
Need more info? Try www.coldsteel.com ...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here's some specs on the PAL Survival Light:
Weight: approx. 3 oz
Size: 2.75" X 1.25" X 1"
Push button switch with 4 modes: Always on, Medium, High, and strobe.
The PAL Survival Light was a wonderful addition to my gear loadout. It's constant on feature made it a snap to find at zero-dark-thirty when nature called. The PAL's white LED light is cast through a lens and as such, the beam is relatively tight with very little side spill. The medium setting was all I needed for finding gear in the tent and to read by. Medium was insufficient for trail navigation. The high setting was ample for safely navigating outside the tent - especially in the South where venomous snakes are a concern.
While the PAL is no powerhouse in the projection department, the light is a major contender for run time honors. I can't say how long the battery lasts. Mine has been running constantly since March, 2008 in the always on mode with quite a few minutes worth of medium and high runtime thrown in. There's no observable loss in light output at this writing.
The PAL has earned it's place in my gear and sets in a place of high honor every night at home. It's always on beam projects light onto my pistol safe lock.
I purchased my PAL Survival Light from Cabela's for $14.99 USD.
Here's some specs on the Pak-Lite:
Weight: 1.5 oz with Battery
Two White LED Bulbs (10,000 hour rating)
Duracell Alkaline=75+ hrs. high, or 600+ hrs. low
Ultralife Lithium=200+ hrs. high, or 1200+ hrs. low
Slider Switch with low & high modes
ABS Plastic Glow In The Dark Cap
The Pak-Lite has become a mainstay in Care's gear. Coupled with a three pack of spare batteries in a Tools Aviation battery carrier, she has hundreds of hours of personal lighting available at her fingertips.
Care found the low setting ample for in-the-tent reading and gear searching, while the high setting was adequate for trail navigation after the sun set. Finding the Pak-Lite during midnight nature calls was easy, since the entire top of the Pak-Lite is glow in the dark material.
The Pak-Lite fits inverted into the Tools Aviation battery carrier. With the Pak-Lite attached, the bottom of the battery sticks out of the carrier slightly for easy removal. Carried as such, the LEDs are protected from scuffs or other damage.
I was also impressed by Care's Pak-Lite system. So much so, that I bought a second one to store in my get home bag.
The Pak-Lites were purchased from Lighthound at $17.99 USD each. The Tools Aviation carriers were also purchased from Lighthound for $5.95 USD each.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Enter Bill Evans, aka Scibeer on http://www.knifeforums.com/. Bill has made quite the name for himself as a Swiss Army Knife modification specialist. After seeing some examples of his work, I contacted Bill to mod up a knife for me...
Born is what I've dubbed the Stalker - the best attributes of the SAK Farmer with an added pair of scissors and an HAIII anodization on the Farmer scales. This gives me back the heft and feel of my olde Huntsman, coupled with the sheer strength and utility of the Farmer.
Bill's work is nothing less than AWESOME. Every tool is perfectly aligned and the knife's "walk-n-talk" spring action is right up to par with factory offerings. There are no abnormal tool markings to be found anywhere. Additionally, the dark greyish black HAIII coating is by far and away harder and more corrosion resistant than the factory alox finish. The Stalker's finish is almost a perfect match to the SureFire E1L's finish (shown above). Here's a couple more views of the finished knife...
(Note the added fourth layer)
If you have an urge to have the "perfect" Swiss Army Knife for yourself, I can attest for the high quality of work and excellent service Bill provides. Some of Bill's finished works can be found for sale in Felinevet's Shop at http://www.sosakonline.com/. If you don't see what you're looking for there, you can always contact him through private messaging at http://www.knifeforums.com/...
Monday, May 26, 2008
Here's a couple possible solutions to that problem that I highly recommend:
Solution 1. Doug Ritter / Adventure Medical Kits Pocket Survival Pack (modified)
Doug's PSP is a very well thought out compilation of basic survival components that comes prepackaged in a highly water resistant, translucent zip pouch. Here's the contents list as provided by Doug and AMK:
- Spark-Lite™ Firestarter
- 4 Spark-Lite™ Tinder-Quik™
- Fox-40® Rescue Howler™ Survival Whistle
- Rescue Flash™ Signal Mirror, 2 x 3 inches 20mm
- Survival Compass
- Duct Tape - 26 inches x 2 inches
- Stainless Steel Utility Wire - 6 ft.
- Braided Nylon Cord - 10 ft. 150+ lb.
- #69 Black Nylon Thread - 50 ft.
- Fishing Kit - 4 x medium Fish Hooks, 2 x Split Shot and 1 x Snap Swivel, in a clear plastic vial with cap.
- Heavy Duty Sewing Needle
- 4 Safety Pins
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil - 3 sq. ft.
- #2 Pencil and Waterproof Notepaper - 2 pieces
- #22 Scalpel Blade *REMOVE TO CLEAR SECURITY CHECKPOINTS*
- Kit Specific Illustrated Survival Instructions
- Contents List
- Fresnel Lens Magnifier - 2 x 3 inches
- Pocketsize Clear Vinyl Pouch - 4 x 5 inches
- Weight: 3.9 oz
The PSP is a great value. Purchase of the PSP is cheaper than buying the individual components and all of the components are top shelf items. IE. See my whistle and signal mirror test results on this site as proof positive of the quality of this kit's components.
Although a great value, the PSP can be made better. A little forethought by the purchaser in making some appropriate additions can save a lot of grief in an emergency. Here's some suggestions for possible additions:
- Add in a Reynolds oven bag, Gerber baby milk bag or USGI hot water bag for water storage.
- Add in a few MicroPur water purification tablets or other individually wrapped water purification tabs of your choice or preference.
- Add in a few bandaids and simple wound management stores.
- Add in a Photon LED flashlight of your choice.
- Add in a day or two worth of personal medication.
Another suggestion is to make up and include an identification card that includes In Case of Emergency (I.C.E.) information for rescuers should you be injured or otherwise unresponsive.
An I.C.E. card should include your name, address, emergency contact info, medical info, and allergy info, and any other info you might have that would aid rescuers in treating your condition(s).
With the aforementioned additions; the PSP becomes a complete means of providing meaningful, field tested and proven gear to assist you in meeting basic survival requirements of water, shelter, fire, first aid, food procurement, signaling and self rescue.
Solution 2. Home Rolled Pocket Survival Kit (PSK)
Only you know your personal skill level and what you really need to bring with you to improve your fare in an emergency. Find a small easily pocketable container like the Witz ID Locker shown above and assemble your own PSK. As stated above, make certain that you have a sufficient store of gear to meet survival basics - include items for:
- Water storage and purification,
- Shelter and/or shelter building,
- First aid,
- Food procurement,
- Signaling and self rescue.
You may also want to include utility items like a small pocket pack of duct tape, sewing needle and a floss card, among others, to assist in field expedient means of gear maintenance and repair. Lastly, throw in an I.C.E. card as discussed above.
The PSK shown above is my personal "I can't take a blade" kit. It includes:
- Witz ID Locker transparent, crush and water resistant case
- A section of ranger band (rubber band made from an inner tube to be used for tinder)
- Two preassembled 12' fishing lines
- USGI MRE Hot Water Bag with markings for up to 16 ounces of water
- MicroPur Water Purification tabs
- Light-My-Fire mini FireSteel and striker
- AMK mini signal mirror
- Acme Tornado whistle
- Button compass
- Floss card w/ sewing needles and threader taped on
- Bobbin of #69 black sewing thread
- ICE Card
I carry the kit shown above with a separate, dedicated First Aid Kit which is also geared up for my specific needs. This First Aid Kit is assembled in a very small Witz See-It-Safe. I've separated the kits in an attempt at minimizing the possibility of being separated from all of my emergency stores by the loss of one single package.
These two mini kits, along with my normal EDC items on my keyring and pockets, give me a lot of emergency support in several easy to carry, unobtrusive packages...
Sunday, May 25, 2008
A couple weeks ago, I decided to take the Kahr to the range and spend some quality time with it to get it dialed in enough to carry. Long story short, neither the gun nor I fared well. (It had to be the gun as I was shooting everything else well and I'm a trained Firearms Instructor.)
The Kahr went back to the gun dealer on Friday. I traded it for a brand new Glock M26, Trijicon night sights, two more spare magazines with Pierce grip adapters, and three boxes of ammo. While I was at the dealer, I spied something. Something very special. Something I've wanted a long time...
Great day at the range. I can't express the satisfaction I feel when I finally get 'em dialed in.
The shooting sports are an American Tradition - what better way to celebrate a small part of a Memorial Day weekend than exercising the rights so many gave all to preserve, protect, and defend?
I encourage you all to get out and shoot. Take a kid with you - Don't let the sports die...
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Everytime I get asked, "Have you got...?", I get a feeling of pride knowing I probably do have the requested item. I also get a little irked that folks just aren't prepared to fend for themselves in even the smallest of life's little emergencies. I get really irked when the inquirer wants to use a piece of my gear for something clearly outside the scope of what it was made for - like wanting my knife to cut a wire tie or pry open a can, or worse, a door lock.
"Have you got...?" isn't a question I ask very often. Why not? Because I've taken some personal responsibility for myself and I routinely carry items to handle life's little emergencies.
That being said, Let's talk about the concept of "Everyday Carry," hereinafter referred to as EDC...
The concept of EDC is really pretty simple. Select some useful items that you routinely need/want/use, assemble them into a container that keeps them protected and handy, then carry that package with you daily - everywhere you go. Another method of EDC is to select the items you want to routinely have available and them fit them into or onto items you always do have available. An example of this method might be to add a small LED flashlight and/or other items you deem necessary to your keyring and wallet.
The object is to keep selected items portable enough and light enough that you don't get lazy and start leaving them behind. Murphy lurks for such moments.
So what items might you need? That's a question you have to answer for yourself, based on your own needs assessment. Considerations in making that needs assessment might include -
Where do you live? Consider here the general climate of your area. Necessity may dictate that gear selections change with the seasons.
Where do you work? Are you miles from home and need to get back there? What assets, if any, exist at your office or place of employment? Are there company work rules that prohibit carrying certain items? Are you inside all day, traveling, or out in the field? In a dire emergency, can you safely exit from your building? Are means of egress well lit and/or is there emergency power?
Where do you travel to and from? Are you traveling using a personal vehicle or public transportation? Does your typical trip involve traveling highway or back roads? Are you traveling through rural areas or well populated areas? If in the city, are you traveling "rough neighborhoods?"
What items are allowable? Do company rules or public transportation rules prohibit items? Do you need special permission or permits to be able to carry certain items?
How far away is safety, rescue, repair or resupply? Are you miles away from civilization? Are you on the 89th floor of a hi-rise? Can you communicate your emergency to someone? How long will it take someone to get to you? How long will it take you to make it out on your own? What's your method of resupply? Is it the stop-n-rob store down the street, your car, or home? Are there simple materials on hand for field expedient repair of what you actually have available?
Lastly, What have people routinely asked me if I had? A knife? Scissors? Bandaid? Needle and thread? Something for a headache? Something for a stomach ailment? Some string?
Here's my "Top 10" suggestions for EDC:
01. Select a decent knife. Other than a rock, the knife is man's most basic tool. It has far more uses than a rock and is easier to pack and carry. There are literally thousands of decent choices out there today. Need help in making the right choice? Read my reviews here or go to http://www.knifeforums.com/ to ask for help. Want multifunction from your knife? Select a real (Victorinox or Wenger) Swiss Army Knife or a quality made multitool by Leatherman or Victorinox. Can't carry a blade because of work rules or public transportation rules? Victorinox and Leatherman also offer up several models without the knife blade.
02. Select a long lasting LED flashlight. Night falls and buildings get dark with the lights out. Not being blessed with night vision, humans typically need light to avoid the dangers of the darkness. A simple 1/4 ounce Photon on your keyring can put out hours of useable light sufficient to traverse a set of stairs or an unknown trail. Got more space available? Look at offerings by SureFire, Fenix, Streamlight, Inova and the hosts of other decent manufacturers available. A decent flashlight also makes a great night time signaling device.
03. Select a decent whistle. A whistle can signal distress and attract help much more efficiently than your voice. Need help selecting a whistle? Read my "Who gives a Toot" article on this site. That article will be continuously updated as more whistles become available for testing.
04. Add some bandaids to your kit or wallet. Want to get fancy? Use the bandaids that come impregnated with antibiotic. (Make sure you don't use the antibiotic bandaids if you or the victim is allergic to antibiotics.)
05. Add a floss card to your kit or wallet. Tape onto the floss card a threader and a couple needles - instant cordage and instant sewing kit. Throw a few medium safety pins wherever you find available space.
06. Add in a small roll of or pocket pack piece of duct tape. Duct tape can fix anything - just ask Care's Dad.
07. If you're traveling rural areas; add in a reliable means of firestarting, some tinder, a means of collecting water and some water purification tablets.
08. Throw a couple bandanas into a pocket. A bandana can be a prefilter strainer for questionable water, a bandage, a sling, a dust mask, and any one of a dozen other uses.
09. Add a small prytool to your key ring or kit. Such a tool is an invalueable aid in opening a stuck door or window and can be used for a host of other chores including digging through sheetrock or prying open a clam.
10. Add a waterproof "spy-capsule" containing at least a couple days worth of personal medications to your kit or keyring.
It's time we all took some personal responsibility for our safety and survival. Packing up a small selection of EDC items and maybe a 1st Aid Kit and Personal Survival Kit is a step in the right direction. Just starting out? The Doug Ritter Personal Survival Pack from Adventure Medical Kits has a lot of the items listed above already included at a tremendous savings over buying the items individually. Doug's kit is easily modified to meet each individual's need and is backed by great customer service and support...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Main compartment: 10” high x 4” diameter, padded, with drainage grommet
Frontal compartment: 6” x 3” x 1.5” with elastic retention
PALS attachment webbing: Front and sides
Attachment1: D-rings for optional shoulder strap
Attachment2: Long Malice clips (sold separately)
Attachment3: Keyper quick release hook on back
Available colors: Black, OD Green, Khaki, Foliage Green
- Lid for the Snow Peak pot
- Large Snow Peak pot
- Guyot bottle
- Small Snow Peak pot upside down over the top of the bottle
- Spork stuffed behind everything listed thus far, and,
- The folding Swedish cup sitting on top of everything else.
The frontal compartment contains a cheap $.99 Coglan's poncho, an Adventure Medical Kits HeetSheet Blanket, and a 25' hank of milspec 7 strand 550 cord as pictured above.
The Barnacle pouch contains two Witz See-It-Safe containers; one for 1st Aid Supplies, one for personal survival supplies. The Barnacle pouch also contains an AMK/Ritter signal mirror in it's front flap pocket and an ID card with 2 $20 bills in it's hidden inner sleeve pocket.
As currently stocked, I think the Max Kit will make a good dayhike and hunting companion. I'm hoping to get 'er out into the woods soon to see how she stacks up. If I'm right, I have a feeling that this kit will end up being a very expensive proposition (as is shown in Pic #1) ...