Monday, May 14, 2018

Home Front: "pocalypse stew"


Having a hot meal is a simple way to both bolster morale but also provide much needed nutrition and energy, especially in adverse conditions. Being able to reliably produce a meal can be as good as magic in the field. I had the chance to do so at a recent post-apocalyptic Live action role playing camping trip, whee we had to set up themed camp with a deadline, and a pot-luck dinner had been planned. There was a total-fire ban in place so no campfires were allowed, but portable gas burners were allowed if supervised. I had brought along my SOLIDteknics AUS-ION Noni pot and some apocalypse themed austere ingredients.


2 x cans corned 340g Hamper Corned beef
1 x can 822g Edgell potato tiny taters
2X McDonalds tomato sauce
2x instant noodle sachets bumbu & fried onions

The corned beef cans come with a key to open them by twisting the top off. The Tiny Taters can didn't have an easy open option, however, I had my trusty p-51 opener and made quick work of the can. I up-ended the cans of corned beef, which had the texture and appearance of cat-food and set it to sizzling. when the fat had rendered, I poured in the whole can of tiny taters, water and all (waste not, want not) and then stirred it through. This made for a very wet stew so I was glad I had the noodle sachets to add. in they went and then the McDonalds / KFC ketsup. (I save everyone of these I get for just this reason.)


After a little cooking down, I served it up into the mugs and mess-tins of my compatriots and we had cooked, adult meal to go with the tear-aparts and dips we had combined. It was quite salty (the noodle-bumbu is mostly salt) but palatable and by the next day, there was only half scoop worth at the bottom of the pot.
Not a pretty meal by a long shot, but it was fast, (taking less than 10 minuted from pile of ingredients to edible food in mugs).

Different spice and sauce mixes could change the palatability if available but could even be skipped entirely. Canned corned beef has an approximate shelf life of 2-5 years but who knows how long it could last and be safe to eat? Certainly worth considering if outfitting that cabin-in-the-woods or bunker. I certainly keep a couple of cans in my bug-out food crate and you should to!

Some additional variants that would make improvements to an otherwise very plain meal. A handful of rice, or oats would give additional body, as would dry beans or split peas. Some jerky or even fresh meat scraps would be additional and offer a delightful surprise in some mouthfuls. Bear in mind to soften beans, rice and jerky additional cooking time (and water) will be required. As well as the Bumbu powder sachets saved from ramen noodles, I also save the sauce and oil sachets which can add flavour and body to just about any meal. Remember that fats and oils are an important dietary requirement and energy rich as well as carrying flavours. They also aid in the cooking process if you fry things, so keeping some in your supply is multifunctional.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Range - Treeo hammock

An innoxious bundle concealing great potential
main sheet, tree-straps and guy-lines unfurled
My idea of ideal hanging out  usually revolves around a hammock.  I'm very fond of them. They're my preferred camping option in a variety of settings and I've amassed quite a collection of them, from the massive  Hummingbird family hammock to the versitile Sierra Madre nube tent family of hammocks and accessories  to the unconventional lines of the hooded Go! outfitters  hammock tent and the inspired Tensile style sky-tents all the way to the classic lines of the Eagles Nest Outfitters hammock.

So, it takes something a little different to catch my eye in new hammock design. The kind of design seen in the Treeo. You may remember I did a Wish-lust piece on the Treeo a while back, well, it finally arrived and I eventually got around to testing it out. Designed with the outdoors in mind, the designers wanted to create a product that could be utilized by anyone, anywhere:

Easy set-up made easier with extra hands
From the avid adventure seeker to the family who spends summer nights at the park, the simplified design can be taken full advantage of with it's 3-in-1 capabilities. From hammock to ground sheet to rain fly within seconds (minutes, realistically), the Treeo is like the Swiss Army Knife of hammocks.


The real magic behind the Treeo is the Quick Draw Cord System found at either end (inspired by the simple draw-string backpack). By pulling the cords tight on each end, it creates the hammock function which then attaches to the tree strap and carabiner. The heavy Blaze Orange paracord of the draw-cord adds other slinging options too, depending on the space you have at hand.

By slinging the guy lines up high you can hang the Treeo above your encampment to provide shade from the sun or shelter from rain. And finally, by pulling the cords apart and staking each corner down, the Treeo can be used as a beach blanket or ground cloth. Made from Ripstop Nylon Material known for being lightweight, durable, and waterproof thanks to its PU 2000 coating. It features triple-stitched & taped seams preventing any rips or tears. The heavy paracord style drawstrings are made from single length of looped to enable it to be tightened from both corners of each end simultaneously.
accessories in a zippered side pocket
Doing so gathers up the corners and the short edges 213cm (7') to bundle into a hammock. The generous 274cm (9') long edge makes for a large hammock. The drawstrings then becomes part of the suspension rig. The double thickness 198cm (6.5') webbing 6.5' tree straps  are wide enough to be grippy to tree-bark without being bulky. They feature 8 loops sewn in at the working end with heavy bartacking to make very stiff and secure points to feed the included carabiners.

bomb-proof webbing loops for optimal hang adjustment
The webbing has a triple line of bright green trace threads run through it which helps identify twists in the webbing when setting it up. Twists in webbing reduce the stability of the loop against the surface it is holding onto and reduce the overall strength of the webbing to support the load (you). The webbing also has a eye-loop at end of its length to facilitate forming a knotless loop for hanging the hammock by feeding it through itself. The included steel carabiners slip neatly into these loops and take the drawstrings ably to ensure a very secure attachment.

The combination of the long drawstrings, long webbing and the overall length of the hammock makes for a long span that can be bridged by this system, shorter distances are easily managed by adjusting the point at which the webbing and drawstrings are connected.

snug as a bug in a rug. deep sides to snuggle under
The four corners and the midpoint of the long edge feature well sewn-in webbing loops to be used as anchor points and tie-down points when used as a cover sheet or ground sheet. Four hefty aluminium tent-pegs and a bundle of guy-rope with slider tensioners are included to make staking out or stringing up as a shelter very easy.
When in hammock mode, the corners are all drawn in tight so aren’t really usable but the midline loops are and could be used as gear hangers or stabilising tie-points if desired. The attached stuff-sack, (sewn into the mid point) also affords gear-storage, by putting a draw-string closing bag with a zipperaeble side-pocket. The pegs and guy-ropes all stow away neatly In that zippered side pocket when not in use.

When packed down in its stuff-sack the system packs down to a mere 28cm x 23cm (11" x 9") and weighs only 1.3kg (2.8 lbs)

solid stitching and impeccable finishing
As a hammock, the ample expanse of fabric used affords a comfortable hang. Even with is classic “banana” shape, the broad sides allows a good spread and stretch in its folds. The PU coated fabric was smooth and whilst not breathable, it also cut the wind nicely, adding to the comfort on a cool windy day whilst testing it. I chose to lay on the uncoated side to avoid the “laying on plastic” feeling and was happy. The triple-stitched and taped seams held weight nicely and gave no impression of stretching . The Treeo certainly catches the wind, so staking out when used as a ground sheet is crucial. I suspect that when used as a rainfly, care will need to be taken ensure sufficient tension is maintained to avoid rain collecting in pools, nor the sheet blowing around negating cover.

well placed stuff sack for slung gear stowage
One thing I noted was the tie-down loops are not placed such that the Treeo can be used as a hootchie tent without some additional work. A couple of extra loops of webbing would suffice and I may look into setting this up myself. It’s certainly good size for it and that PU coating will make it excellent at shedding rain.

included accessories from the zippered side pocket
as a ground sheet it is Tactical Baby approved






lots of leg room for lanky bloggers

a comfortable and supportive hang for supervising playground antics

Fourth mode: improv sail for kayak adventures?







Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: Yaasa Studios - Infinity Blanket

Long enough to cover a Tactical Coyote
Being cold is awful. I'd rather be too hot than too cold any day.   Fortunately we have the technology to battle the chill. I'm a big fan of curling up in the corner of a couch in a hoodie and wrapped in a woobie. Some of my favourite blankets have been the Go-Anywhere by Tribe Provisions which have pride of place in my car as picnic blankets and car-trip bundling as well as my go-to camping blanket.  I was excited to see a Kickstarter come up with a new blanket project in the form of the Infinity Blanket by Yaasa Studios.

Soft enough to bundle a Tactical Baby
 The chief selling points of the Infinity Blanket are its size, reported at  2.0m x 1.5m (80" x 60") and the material from which it is woven. a 72% organic cotton and 28% Celliant blend. Celliant is high tech fabric. Reported as a revolutionary, patented technology that recycles the body's natural energy (heat) into infrared (IR) light that is emitted back into the body's tissue.

Infrared is widely recognized for having positive effects on the body. The use of Celliant® fibers converts the body’s natural energy (heat) into infrared (IR) light and emits it into the body’s muscles. They propose that over 60% of your consumed energy is lost simply through heat escaping your body. and that rather than simply trapping your body heat like a space blanket might, Celliant® turns that wasted energy into infrared light. The result is a responsive textile clinically tested (in one paid study) to benefit the human body, utilizing a blend of minerals and proprietary ingredients embedded into the fiber’s core.

The Infinity Blanket blends Celliant® material with organic cotton to create a fabric that recycles and emits infrared light. On average, (it has been estimated) your body emits 100 watts of energy in a given moment. The Infinity Blanket is a unique way of taking advantage of that energy! This supposedly increases blood flow, energy, strength, endurance, and decreases recovery time after an active day, supporting a more restful night's sleep.

Drapes as a cloak
Magic fiber! I can't comment much on it's clinical properties, but it was enticing enough that I wanted to check it out. What I can comment on is that it is very soft, and comfortable. It breathes nicely and is quite water resistant. Upon ariving (too late to be the Giftmas present I had hoped it to be, the struggle and gamble of being a Kickstarter backer) I noted its lightness at only 1kg (2.2lbs) and with an overall density of 320 gsm, and how well it packed down. For some reason I had expected the blanket the blanket to be looped, like an Infinity scarf. It is not. A simple edged rectangle, with rounded corners. I have a lot of polar fleece throws which have come to be a winter and camping standard and the Infinity Blanket blows them all away as far as comfort goes.
Wraps like a burrito to use as a sleeping-bag
Hemmed with an internal blanket stitch, the two-tone grey and cream material is thick and buoyant feeling without feeling "fluffy". The pile is quite dense and uniform feeling, almost felt-like.

The colour tones are relaxed and subdued, and very reminiscent of the old grey woolen Army blankets but without the smell or scratchiness. It is sufficiently heavy to not blow off in a breeze and maintains a nice drape without being heavy (at 1 kg vs the wool Army blankets 2kg) to sleep under. It's also very comforting to snuggle under when feeling a little under the weather. Be it cold or hangover riddled. Tactical Baby is very fond of it and that's generally good enough for me. Good thing I got two! when folded longways twice and rolled up it makes for a very hikeable bundle, especially when bundled with bedroll straps. I' m going to have a go at making some leather straps myself but till then , dual slip-knotted looped string will do.
Rolls into a tight bundle for easy packing

The Infinity blanket has a nice drape to it as well, and will form a solid shelter with just a ridgeline line and corner pegs. I'm considering sewing loops into the corners and midpoints, much like those found on the original woobie, the classic Poncho Liner to serve as peg anchors to make an impromptu pup-tent. The dense cloth is very good at blocking light and would make an excellent sun-shelter.

The Infinity Blanket is manufactured with green practices in Europe and uses certified organic cotton. Up to 12 plastic water bottles are recycled in the production of each blanket. This makes it an environmentally responsible product and should give you that warm feeling of righteousness.

Stretches to make  pretty decent shelter



Whether you're an athlete looking for a tissue oxygenation recovery trick, a wasteland survivor bunkering down for the night, or simply someone who's looking to improve sleep; The Yaasa Studios Infinity Blanket might well be perfect for you. I really like mine and it goes into an overnight outing pack-list these days.

Lastly a post-production note from Yaasa Studios themselves. They noticed an issue with the weave and wanted to explain to backers,this kind of openness from a vendor is very reassuring.




It has been brought to our attention that some of your blankets were too short compared to the dimensions (80" x 60".) intended. We took immediate action and reviewed this with our manufacturer in Germany.

During our investigation into the cause of the shorter dimensions, we discovered that it occurred in the raising and stretching process. The weft yarn (this is the yarn woven in the width of the throw, and the length of the travel size) Celliant fiber contracted more than expected. This resulted in the blanket coming in slightly under the specified width, or length.

Due to this being such a unique new fabric, the factory technicians are still familiarizing themselves with its behavior. We want to assure all backers that we used the material as specified and marketed in our campaign for all of the blankets, and you were not by any means shorted on the Celliant material. This issue lies in the tensile properties of this new fabric, and while this resulted in shorter dimensions of the blanket, you will still experience the same benefits from the blanket.

Despite our earlier prototype run, this eventuality was unforeseen until we had completed a full production run. As this dimensional issue was not our intention, we appreciate all of our backers for your feedback and bringing this to light to always ensure quality control. We truly apologize for this inconsistency and hope that the quality and benefits you receive from the blanket outweigh the shorter dimensions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review: Combat Australia - ghillie suit



Getting kitted up!
For the last four years I have attended an annually held post-apocalyptic  Live Action Roleplay event called “After the Fall”, the first iteration “Event Zero” I wrote about here:
In the first iteration I played a gung-ho soldier type who met his end being hacked apart by Steel Legion ravagers after a NERF-gun malfunction and failure to adequately transition to CQB weapons. In subsequent games, I signed up with the Junkers; a culty bunch of wasteland scavengers, scrapping by on the edge of the town of Sanctuary. The new persona I developed was the of “Trashman”  a somewhat deranged human scarecrow. Central to this character was the philosophy of “you can’t kill what you can’t find” and central to this was my new costume. Regular cammies wouldn't do so I opted for a modified suit of Desert Camo Ghillie. 

Pushing some food in before heading back into the bushes
Which I “junked-up” to keep in theme. I got my Ghillie from  Combat Australia who had this to say of them:

Why is a Ghillie camo suit so much better than just the standard issue AUSCAM uniform for concealment and camouflage?

The uniform that the Australian Military current used is called the DPCU, which stands for Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform. It is a general purpose uniform designed to disrupt the visibility of a soldier from 300 metres and beyond. It is obviously not designed to be the perfect blending colors for all terrain including urban, bush and deserts. The Ghillie (or in Australian military its more commonly known as a Yowie suit although that is changing over time) is designed to go beyond this and actually hide the soldier.

Get your cover on, Trashman
The Gillie Suit has the ability to conceal the soldier which is not only far more effective at 300 metres but is very effective at close range distances. For instance, 50-100 metres and in some cases -point blank. It achieves this in several ways. Firstly the colors are designed specifically for the Australian bush and therefore are far more effective given that no consideration has to be made for urban or desert warfare. The colors are based on the woodlands American design but are slightly lighter to best cope with the Australian bush, which are muted shades due to the drier climate.

 I adorned my suit with “trash” in the form of blue bailing twine from hay-bales and curb-side rubbish bundles, and strips of shredded plastic shopping bags, which I tied to the twine or directly to the burlap strands.  I also took to tying on any piece of litter I found dropped in the scout park we based the game in.   

I fully acknowledge that doing so took way from the “natural muted colours” the suits provided but it lent to the “human detritus” characterization I was going for and I kept a close eye on the kinds of rubbish you see in abandoned lots, under railway siding bushes and the like, as  I was intending to lay in ditches and under bushes a lot. A touch of social engineering was in play here: the litter-blindness people get when having fun. “don’t look at me, I’m work …”

Combat Australia go on to say this of their Ghillie suits: The 5 S's of Cam and Concealment

In military speak the cam and concealment come under the 5 S’s...
One windblown clump of trash or a whole TrashMAN?
·         Surroundings:

Have the cam and concealment lesson this consideration comes under the title of surroundings?

I made a habit of moving  through the tree lines as often as possible, avoiding open fields and roads.  The offered me plenty of duck and cover options  and also kept me in the shade out of the hot sun.

·         Shape:

Shape refers to the soldier being spotted due to the symmetry of his body eg. straight arms, legs, head and also the symmetry or shape of the troop movement being the soldiers in a group or formation. Ghillie suits work towards disguising this by disrupting the straight lines of a human body and disrupting the pattern of soldiers in formation together so they more closely resemble vegetation.

why are all the photos of Bigfoot off center or blurry?
I walked hunched and bow legged, I tucked my arms and kept my stubby  NERF launcher in Classic Low Ready

·         Shine:

Another important consideration is Shine, obviously the DPCU has some success in alleviating this concern but the 3 dimensional nature of the suit is far more effective and pretty much eliminates this concern completely. Wearing the Ghillie/Yowie suit answers this concern comprehensively.

I draped the included weapon drape scarf of the suit over and around my NERF launcher, leaving its action free my attached scope accessible. Pulling the mesh down over my face obscured vision a little but greatly masked my shiny skin and glasses

·         Shadow:

Shadow is another concern especially when trying to be concealed from air drones. Although the soldier’s body is almost impossible for the drones to spot, the shadow can be very obvious at certain times of the day. The Ghillie/Yowie suit again assists in this regard by breaking up the obvious shadow of a man much like it distorts the shape, making the shadows more closely resemble the natural vegetation.

In the most recent event “ Buyers Regret” we were informed there was a drone in play.  I never saw it, but shadows can give you away on the ground too.  I was especially careful with this at night as the site had street lamps  along its roads which cast long shadows. Any moving shadows were a dead giveaway.

·         Silhouette:

These points are also very similar to the issue of silhouette as again it distorts the obvious outline of a soldier silhouetted against the backdrop of distant light sources.

Photobombing a mutant Wastelander. never knew
As with “Shape” and “Shadow”. I kept to behind the tree line when moving and aimed to lurk behind or in copses of trees rather than on roads or plains. Its amazing how often people will walk right around  a corner and not “slice the pie”  in an outdoor setting. Squatting by a stump or leaning up against a tree “thinking tree thoughts” I was often bypassed or ignored. Once people realised I was “out there” this became a running joke, with people talking to bushes and denying being alone because “Trashman is here too”.  The number of people who blissfully unawares put their back to what was essentially a murder-hobo was astounding.

There are many advantages to wearing a ghillie camoflauge suit kit over a conventional flat colored uniform. One of the considerations to be made when wearing a Ghillie or Yowie suit are that it is always going to be hotter inside the suit than wearing a standard camouflage uniform. This is obviously the case as the material is thicker by its very nature and works somewhat like a fur coat. This concern is alleviated as much as possible by the design and construction of the suit.
Junker with a Trashman shadow
The inside lining is made of sweat mesh which allows air to flow through as much as possible. The strands and individual meaning they are not “clumps” of cloth than can more effectively retain body heat. These strands are similar to single strands of what we call in Australia “hessian” although other parts of the world including the US and the UK more commonly refer to this material as “burlap”.
Shift change at the Town gates brings Trashman out of the bushes
Please note that although there are some fire resistant qualities to this material it is still highly flammable and should be kept some distance from open flames. Other considerations are that it is obviously heavier than just wearing a uniform (by about 1.5kg) and gathers weight as vegetation gets stuck to it. Retaining vegetation is an intentional characteristic as its optimal to have natural and realistic local vegetation working in conjunction with the suit but will add to its weight as it retains stick and twigs and leaves.
Trashman attending wounded after a mass casualty IED attack, spot him?  
I found that my ankles, knees and elbows picked up the most detritus and that around the ankle hems the burlap fibbers fluffed up and collected the most  vegetation. This had a bonus effect of brushing away some of my tracks as I walked, dragging in the dirt as I stalked.

The third consideration is that fact that the suit will make more noise than a standard uniform as it by its very nature displace more vegetation around the soldier when in the prone position or when in the standing position against vegetation in that mater. The suit is most effective when hiding in one place for longer periods of time rather than running. It is best suited therefore to stalking.

Popping up from cover to provide more menacing overwatch, remained unobserved
When  I took picket for my Faction or provided overwatch on one of many “babysitting” runs I did on valuable assets,  I would find an off-track spot and sit, or lay and gather handfuls of local detritus and toss it over myself to better blend in and add to my ” I’m meant to be here“ aura. Walking slowly through the bush and being mindfull of twigs and the like was important as the added bulk of the suit (including height). I snagged on lots of things over the weekend and learned a good distance to keep and how to move  quieter as the event drew on. Part of the discipline was to keep he suit on the whole time. I donned it after getting up and only doffed it for bed.

In the Australian Army there are quite a few regiments where possessing a Yowie suit is required. To my knowledge this very day there is not an issued Ghillie suit, this is intentional so that the soldier becomes capable of constructing his own which in turn, makes more effective camouflage.

 I found that the press-stud  jacket closure was probably  a touch weak ,but with an over-belt it stayed on even when snagged ,and even over my post-apocalyptic tire armor a button or toggle or two would fix that… Also the drawstring pants was only barely sufficient to keep the pants on and in place, especially when crawling through brush belt loops would assist as would a bracer-system which I could rig, for next time.

Paint me like one of your French piles of trash, Jack.
All this said, I got spotted by a lot of people too. Wearing a ghillie suit does not make you invisible but standing behind a bush thick enough to stop a NERF dart doesn't make you bulletproof either.   Bushcraft beats gear any day. Trashman the "Tasty Tree" avoided cannibal ambush for another year. Watch out when you drop that butt and where you pee or when you check under your chair you might see Trashman hiding under there, eating your bees!

Professionally watermarked photos courtesy of The Professional  Hobbyist on Patreon here and on Facebook here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

lJ posts - reflections on the past.


So, back in the day, in the late 2000's I had a LiveJournal into which the first iterations of this blog came to pass.

A couple of important things were journaled there in my beginnings of documenting preparation things:
1) my EDC and BUG-OUT bag kits:
2) Black Saturday 2008/09 fire season:

my 2007 EDC loadout: Compare with my 2012 version posted here:

Someone asked me recently if there was anything I didn't have on
me, and I thought I'd post the list I made afterwards. Not quite a
Bug-Out-Bag, but at any given time, this is what I carry around with me.

That's before I even pack things into my bag . . .

Green Crumpler satchel
-sharpening tools (diamond stones) x3
-Alan keys (full set)
-packaged survival kit-in-a-can
-cable ties (180x4.5mm) x20 or so
-waiters friend
-metal chopsticks
-9" section of aluminium arrow shaft (my metal straw)
-titanium splade
- 90cm wire saw
-essential oils
-personal grooming stuff (toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, tissues,
hairbrush)
-needles and thread
-first aid kit (overstocked from Hospital supplies, lube, condoms (you NEVER know))

Under-vest-Harness
-Barz prescription polarised goggles
-wallet (safety pins and needle&thread)
-work ID
-USB memory sticks x2
-Folding C.R.K.T. K.I.S.S. 3"
-LED flashlight
-pen
-iPod
-PDA
-aluminium accessory carabineer
-all elastic hair ties
-keys on big steel carabineer
-mobile phone
-20m nylon cord

Belt
-BuckTool multitool (with attached HD magnet)
-rope kasari fundo (String of Doom)


Zombie edition EDC (Nov. 8th, 2007)

So, apart from what I usually lug around (and again, not
including my lunches, kendo gear twice a week, books, external 300Gb
hard drives, or the odd 14" cast iron camping hot-plate on occasion),
here is my theoretical end-of-civilization bug-out-kit.

Its very similar to the kind of gear I lug about when I got to BIF
weekends, so I know what I can manage, but there I do it in period-ish
style. The boar spear is a bit overkill, but, well, that's so me
isn't it? For non-supernatural disasters, I'd probably leave the spear
in the car. . . hahaha

Green Crumpler satchel
-sharpening tools (diamond stones) x3
-Alan keys (full set)
-packaged survival kit-in-a-can
-cable ties (180x4.5mm) x20 or so
-waiters friend
-metal chopsticks
-9" section of aluminium arrow shaft (my metal straw)
-titanium splade
- 90cm wire saw
-essential oils
-personal grooming stuff (toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, tissues,
hairbrush)
-needles and thread
-first aid kit (overstocked from Hospital supplies, lube, condoms (you
NEVER know))
-Fluid resistant surgical masks
-food supplement bars ~380Cal/100g
-30m 11mm static line
-Petzl Ascension, Shunt, figure 8
-Hydration pack
-short bolt cutters

Camping hip bag
-20m 5mm dynamic line
-
carabineer
 -camouflage waterproof hooded poncho
-tricks + traps kit
-20 4" nails
-mini gas stove + bottle
-battery free induction flashlight
-Swedish Army fire steel
-collapsible bowl/sink
-lensatic compass
-LED head lamp
-enamel mug
-CRKT Stiff KISS knife (l.hip)

Under-vest-Harness
-Barz prescription polarised goggles
-wallet (safety pins and needle&thread)
-work ID
-USB memory sticks x2
-Folding C.R.K.T. K.I.S.S. 3"
-LED flashlight
-pen
-iPod
-PDA
-aluminium accessory carabineer
-all elastic hair ties
-keys on big steel carabineer
-mobile phone
-20m nylon cord

Belt
-BuckTool multitool (with attached HD magnet)
-rope kasari fundo (String of Doom)

Ontario 30" Blackwind sword (l.hip)
Fiskars 23.5" splitting axe (r.shoulder)
Arcteryx climbing harness
Dainese body armour+2nd back plate
Leather work gloves (over)
Latex examination gloves (under)
Armoured shorts (street hockey)
Shin + knee armour (street hockey)
HiTech GP boots
Cold Steel boar spear





2008 Fire Prep



Sunset, Friday night, from Belgrave shops. The Sun looked like a cherry, and i could look right at it without blinking.


I've fought fires before, and know what it is like to get embers and ash in your eyes, nose and mouth, the length keeps it out of ears, and the back of my neck. I have practice wearing head-dresses, they are very comfortable.




suede doesn't ignite easily, and is easily made damp, the goggles are polarised and i have tended fires with them and they are really good at smoke and ember protection, and the 9 LED light is, well, brilliant.

wearing this, i can protect my head from radiant heat, and ember attack for any expose to the fires i may get. Better prepared is better better protected.


 Belgrave Fires
  fires all downgraded to "safe" still, going to be vigilant


We are on the other side of the valley, and the wind is going the other way. No smoke, no embers. Elvis the water bomber and a couple of Huey's have been back and forth for the last hour, but they have stopped.

We are standing by to put our fire plan into action if needs be.

Gutters are stopped up and water-filled, buckets and mops ready.
My PPE is ready, the car is fueled we are going to gather the essentials and have them ready, just in case.
My neighbors are on their deck's talking loudly on their phones and laughing. I am not planning to leave just yet.


FiresFeb. 8th, 2009 at 7:04 PM

66 dead, 700 homes, 2 towns -gone-, not damaged,

GONE

we're fine, its rained overnight and today, which has made everything extra damp, which is great

details of the scope of the disaster here:

in the advent of fire, my family will evacuate at first sign, and i will stay and defend the house. i have several contingency plans, and have witnessed bushfire and grass-fires before.

a locally living buddy has selflessly volunteered to come and help me, if needs be, he's "just down the hill" and its always good policy to "dive-with-a-buddy"

just so you all know, and before you tell me off . . .
i have been told, in no uncertain terms, that i am not to "be a hero" and die for my home. i can live with that, i have a lot to live for.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

hat-tricks!



Just the Tip: Hat Tricks

Hats. Pretty ubiquitous. Be it the classic Stetson of the cowboy, the sand, maroon or green beret of the bad-ass snake-eaters (colours depending on your nationality), the Akubra with corks and/or crocodile teeth of the Aussie bushman, or the perfectly curved and patch bedecked ball cap (or patrol cap) of the seasoned operator. These are often underutilized pieces of kit.

Sure, they shield your eyes from glare on the range or highway. They keep the sun off your face and your head at the beach or on patrol and give you a means of establishing your superiority over your fellow ground-pounders when wandering around. As a piece of equipment, the humble hat has some tricks up its sleeve, or it can if you're willing to Jason Bourne it up a little.

I wear a baseball-style cap most days through the summer. It lives in my day bag all year long, for those rainy days when I want to keep my glasses dry. I fly my freak flag by the patches I wear on my hat. Currently, I'm wearing my Aliens Weyland-Yutani patch, and my BB&C Wretched Minion patch, as well as a Benchmade cat eye glowing patch.

Then there's "hat as a pocket." When I change pants and do a pocket dump, I dump my pockets into my hat. The hat can sit on the end of my bed as I find new pants, or whatever. All my EDC needfuls can live in my hat for a bit, and I can even fold it bill-to-strap and voila, instant man-bag! Need a pocket for crying your stuff from beach to shower? Try your hat!


Try this little bit of DIY fuckery: Taking a page from Mick "Crocodile" Dundee's book, find a button compass or old wrist-watch. Sew it into the hat (you may need to experiment with placement for comfort). Once placed, you can impress and amaze your friends by whipping your hat off, holding it up to the sky, blocking the sun, squinting and declaring, "2:35, South by Southwest." You'll have the secrets of chronology and navigation under your hat, as it were. Be sure to keep your watch far enough away from the compass to limit any interference, and remember button compasses are an emergency tool, not for serious navigation.


One more trick that leans more towards the secret-squirrel side of things: The space behind those morale patches can be utilized as clandestine storage. I've found there's plenty of room for some sneaky items, like this set of lock picks for those times you can't find the keys to your boat shed gate. You could also put a folded banknote or two, coins or even a key if need be. Security through obscurity!

Other options for the behind the patch space could be an IR-reflective cat's eye patch or even a regular glow-in-the-dark one. I keep both in my wallet, so I can attach them if I ever need to be found by folks with IR sights during my adventures. I can also put them on my helmet when I go kayaking.


So, hats! They're not just head coverings and eye shields.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: sKey


It's no secret that I am a big fan of keychain tools. I've covered dozens over the years, and there are a number secreted away within my EDC, much to the chagrin of airport security and delight of random "I broke my widget" people of the workplace and dinner party alike.
I keep an eye on the Kickstarter "tools" posts and cool-tool sites alike. The SKey is neat little tool that is jam packed with features. This is the new and improved version, in titanium. Yay Titanium. From top to bottom: a Key ring hole.
A very fine hole, just wide enough to feed a split-ring through. Wrench holes. I got the Metric system version which was 4mm, 8mm and 10mm sized holes, the Imperial system version has 14/4" and 5/16" openings. Bottle Opener. what pocket tool would be complete with out the generally supplanted bottle-cap opener. I usually drink screw-caped drinks, but its always good to be the hero and pop a budddies beer-bottle when they've a need. Saw-blade. A set of 13 straight-cut teeth with no fleam this make for a limited rip-saw action, but it'll do in a pinch where you need to saw rather than cut or chop.

Two-head screw bit: secured in the center of the tool in a gap cut into through the center is 1/4" tool bit, with a flat head driver at one end and a chunky Phillips head at the other. The supplied bit is 32mm long, so swapping it out with your own bits of comparable length should be possible. New silicone band: From heir last campaign's version feedback, they learned that it was very hard to keep the bit in place by manufacturing precision alone. The bit is either too tight or too loose. So they developed the new silicone band to keep the bit secure, the band doesn't get in the way while opening bottle or other functions.

Its easy to slip off to make full use of the saw as needed and the bit pops right out. Screw driver hole: Paired with our two-head screw bit, Skey can be used as screw driver with this 1/4" socket. The bit has a ball-bearing detente to keep it in positive fitting and the sKey body adds quite a bit of torque. Box opener: They "pointy end" of the sKey can be used as box opener and works like a charm. The broad chisel end not only acts as a scraper, and a flathead screw-driver, as well as turning the entire tool into a functional, if small, pry-bar. Wire peeler: in the middle of the Skey box-opener end is a notch designed to work as a wire stripper is quite handy for simple electrical device repairing. The deep, sharp sided notch is perfect for stripping quite fine wires.

It's a handy tool and is cutting edge free, keeping it out of the grabby hands of most Eagle-eyed airport security guards.









https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/35126180/skey-key-shaped-titanium-multi-tool-now-in-black
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