Friday, October 18, 2013

Redesign/Revamp

It's not been overly delayed and the lack of content is utterly depressing. We'll be back...soon

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Be back soon

Well, it looks like it's gonna take me far longer to catch up on the entries than I had expected. But who cares anyway... the gear will keep coming in... and when I get the chance... I will write.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

UCO Stormproof Matchkit

I love all sorts of gear. There, I said it. Sometimes having this fixation on all things made of steel and high tech polymers can stand in the way of  prioritizing what is essential and what is just plain ornamental. At the the end of the day you have to stay alive, get something to eat, make a signal or keep yourself warm through a cold night and amongst all these things there is one crucial component that will always play a very definitive role and that's fire!
Of course we can go through a very long nightime story of how fire was first discovered by man and how humans found and developed new and more effecient ways to create fire, but that is not what this post about. It's about how to keep one your fire making device safe from the elements. This is where the UCO matchkit enters stage right. Honestly I have not tried this little baby because I received the package that contained this kit during summer and actually it still is on my side of the planet. So, If I ever head out in the field the only thing that will greet me will be sun and a lot of it. It's so easy to light a fire these days that even a simple bamboo fire saw will do the trick.



This kit comes in 3 colors (OD, Yellow & Orange) and from the pictuires I guess you can pretty much tell what I got first. So after some dilligent browsing online I saw this website called industrialrev.com and it had some pieces of info on the said product which goes exactly like this:



"The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is a waterproof case that includes 25 matches and 3 strikers. The case features an integrated striker on the outside to provide an easy location for lighting matches and can hold up to 40 matches. The ribbed case is easy to grip with cold hands. Unlike other “waterproof” or “windproof” matches, UCO Stormproof Matches are easy to light, and will stay lit for up to 15 seconds, even after being submerged in water! Being able to reliably make a fire is vital for cooking, generating warmth, and in survival situations, making signal fires. UCO Stormproof Matches are perfect for camping, emergency kits, and should be part of every 10 Essentials check list."

there's also another section that outlined some of the Matchkit's features:

  • Durable, waterproof case floats and keeps contents dry and protected.
  • Molded, vertical ribbing provides a sure grip in wet, harsh conditions.
  • External, integrated, and replaceable striker for easy lighting.
  • Includes 25 windproof and waterproof matches and 3 strikers. Match case can hold up to 40 matches.
  • Matches are easy to light and will relight after being submerged in water!
  • Up to 15 second burn time.
  • Extended length of match allows for added safety to keep from burning fingertips.
  • Lights campfires, stoves, gas-barbecues, etc.
  • Match case is US patent pending.
  • Weight (Kit): 1.7 oz. (48 g)


The website also features a lot of other cool stuff that I also ended up buying and will probably end up on these pages as well so for now, till next sign!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Well...vacation time's over

Howdy fellers. Well, I've been languishing in the duldrums of pre-parenthood wonderings to a fault. It's been an entire month with nary an entry into this journal of all things Gearhoarding related. I'll make it up to you tonight but for now. Say hi to my new camping buddy...his name's Danger

Friday, March 1, 2013

Maxpedition Ferox

It's 5:26 in the morning here in the Philippines and I just smoked my first cigarette for the day, made my morning coffee and and checked some of the new gear that came in the mail. There's one knife that I bought on impulse since I was so curious as to how a company can diversify their product offerings by transitioning to the next most logical product market. Well just to cut through the blabbering, I'm talking about Maxpedition.

They've been around since the late 80s and have made a reputation for making & selling some of the best hard use tactical equipment carry solutions. While I have not yet experienced using their tactical gear, I have just recently tried using one of their first knives - the Maxpedition Ferox. This time I got myself the model that feartured a "serrated" edge since I often go into the woods and I do a good bit of camping having serrations on your blade allows you to cut vines and thick rope faster.  So before we go into my ramblings below are some specifications for the analytical readers:

  • Blade: 3.25" / 82.5mm
  • Handle (closed) length: 4.5" / 114.3mm
  • Overall (open) length: 7.75" / 196.8mm
  • Blade thickness: 0.125" / 3.1mm
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Steel: 5Cr13 heat-treated to 56/59HRc
  • Blade profile: Drop point utility with flipper/guard
  • Blade grind: High V-grind
  • Blade color: Black
  • Edge: Serrated
  • Serration type: Field maintainable chisel tooth
  • Thumb stud: Ambidextrous
  • Locking mechanism: Liner Lock
  • Handle material: Fiber reinforced nylon
  • Handle hardware: Black stainless steel
  • Non-obtrusive Maxpedition logo blends with handle
  • Thong hole: Yes, fits 550 Paracord
  • Pocket clip: Yes, tip down
  • Available in Black (#FEROXSB), Green (#FEROXSG), Khaki (#FEROXSK)
  • Imported (made in China)



  • I was pretty happy when I took this knife out of the box because it felt comfortable in the hands courtesy of the very ergonomic layout of the handle and the mildly textured Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon hndle scales. It's relatively light for it's size and the flipper works so smooth. In fact even without the flipper, if you hold the handle at a certain angle while anchoring the surface of your middle finger onto the raised tip of the pocket clip, the back tip of your thumb will get enough leverage to kick the blade into deployment using the thumbstud just like an assisted opening knife. I will not suggest you do this. One thing worth mentioning is the fact that the knife also uses what appears to be phosphor bronze washers, so there's really no need to oil the pivot points of the blade (or at least it minimizes the need to do so, especially when you're out in the field)  and the lock up is very impressive because you can see that the liner lock really positions itself the the center of the blade's base where it should be.





     

    At first glance the knife looks simple but after you use it, you'll realize that the Maxpedition guys really know what they wanted to achieve with this knife. When I opened the knife and held it, the jimping at the back of the blade combined with the smaller grooves on the linerlock provided a very positive grip that inspires confidence. This is one factor that made me feel real happy about this knife because in stressful situations its a great thing to know that your knife will stay on your hands and in the unlikely even that your lock gets disengaged, the Ferox's flipper guard will prevent the blade from closing all the way through your fingers great work Maxpedition! Just add a lanyard which you can loop unto your wrist and surely this knife will stay with you even if you lose your grip.


    The blade appears more like a spear point to my eyes, but I'm not gonna argue with that - but I will go as fas as saying that the serrations are actually layed out as an interrupted blade edge profile that allows you to sharpen the serrated section of your blade as if you would a plain edge. This is another plus as you can always touch up the serrations using a smooth surface like the rim of the tiolet bowl, the underside edges of a ceramic coffee mug, smooth rocks, etc, the list if endless.

    This is knife is a true tactically designed, utility intended knife that will help a lot at the shop, in the kitchen, at basecamp and even in the field.  MSRP is at $29 bucks or so, but of course street prices usually go lower than that. Buy this.


    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    Vargo Titanium Decagon Stove

    I've always used pocket stoves when I go camping, but sometimes you just can't lug around a good amount of butane fuel canisters and most of the time that lone covenience store down the road will not have any fuel sold at all. So I thought about alcohol stoves. The swedish Trangia stoves have been around since 1925 and they're still around despite the fact that everything in the planet has gone the way of super hightech gadgetry. At the same rate backpackers and ultralight hikers have carried soda can stoves long before I first stepped out into my neighbor's vacant lot and built my first tree house when I was 6 years old. My main concerns were simple:

    1. The stove needs to be lightweight, and when i cay this I mean a stove that weighs less that 5 ounces

    2. It has to be have no moving parts or parts that have to be replaced of parts that will prevent the whole stove from performing it's main function should the said parts become damaged

    3. It must be resilient and must take a good amount of abuse with minimal impact on structural integrity and performance
    4. It has to be affordable or reasonably costly - hey, you can't get everytyhing your way right?!!

    5. I has to be space saving or at least allow itself to be stored snugly with some items in my standard plastic containers.

    I didn't have to look far and wide, I just looked online and thanks to eBay here's the Vargo Titanium Decagon Stove. I'm happy to report that it has met all of my requirements as stated above and what's more is that it's made of titanium.





















    Front and Back Of Packaging

    I had some doubts about this little baby when I first got it but there was only one way to address that concern that's to fire it up and see what the hype has been all about so I tried to fill it to the brim with ethyl alcohol (the manufacturer recommended denatured alcohol, but it takes ethyl as well and besides I just brought rubbing alcohol which is a standard part of my first aid kit). You have to fill it from the hole at the middle and make sure that you douse the entire thing with alcohol to set it all alight. You might get a little surprised as the whole stove gets engulfed in blue flame but that's fine because it will only help prime the stove faster.


    After a few minutes, the flame will start to stabilize - and when you see that all flame outputs have fired up , you can simply put your cup or pot over it and start cooking. I never got to use this stove for any heavy cooking since this was just a typical field test but I am confident that you can actually cook a standard single entree meal using this tiny pocket stove. It brought a full nesting cup of water to a  rolling boil in about 7 minutes and it saved me so much time and effort when I woke up early in the morning wanting a hot cup of coffee or maybe a hot bowl of soup on a rainy late afternoon after a long trek in the woods.

    























    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Victorinox SwissChamp XAVT

    2013, I'd like to consider as more than just another year to add as this gearhoarder inches closer and closer to biological degeneration and chronological aging. Perhaps it would be best to regard this year as one of possibilities and potential. Another chance to break the barriers between the certainty of home and the perils of what lie beyond what is reached by one's physical occular vision. One more year to actually give new things a try - a proverbial longshot, a strong "stab-at-it" with a strong "no remorse, no repent" warcry...but as I said - Possibilities. What goes after that word is in your hands...and mine. So on with the show. This time I find myself with a good amount of tools and gear to try out, view and review, use and abuse.

    From hunting gear to water filtration devices,  canned meat to miniscule pocket stoves that can cook out a campfeast. New knives and lots of them, fixed blades, folding knives, lock backs, to liner locks, Victorinox to Wenger, from Bear Grylls, to Mike Horn, to Les Stroud, to Cody Lundin, from Gerber to Spyderco, from Benchmade to Condor, New Bows, recurves, crossbows, slingshots, slingbows, self bows, bow cases. We've got some arrowheads from field points to carp points, from obsidian broadheads to modern bloodchannel 4 bladed ones, to PVC crossbow bolts - Gadgets, from CDs, DVDs, DVD Players, Radios shortwaves, satellite radios, hand crank radios, solar radios, pocket radios, 2 way radios, iPods, CD players, Mylar Blankets, tents, paracords, Bullwhips, lightsticks, trekking shoes, carabiners, rescue 8 descenders to climbing ropes, ground sheets, military hammocks, canteens, messkits, sporks and what not - there's so much to write about. I'll try to feature them in these pages as I go about the routinary goings on in my household and out in the field.

    Today, I simply find myself reaching for a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife as I tried to cut a old rusty metal curtain rod which i was going to use as a replacement handle for my broken broom. I have always held these knives close to my heart. They have been loyal comrades during my early days camping out as a poor young lad from Manila. I recall swapping my old pocket knife for a Victorinox camper when I was 12 years old. That old Victorinox even had the logo of the KRAFT company printed on it's front scale and it had the swiss crest printed in white instead of the embeded stainless steel crest that now proudly adorns each and every Victorinox camper coming out of the Swiss Army Knife factory in Ibach, Switzerland. I've purchased and lost and gave out several or even dozens of Swiss Army Knives through the years and it was only last year that I decided to add the crowning glory of my Swiss Army Knife collection - Introducing the Victorinox SwissChamp XAVT.

    The ultimate in Swiss Army Knives, the Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp XAVT is large and in charge with 80 essential functions packed into one tool. In addition to assorted knives, scissors, screwdrivers you expect from a Swiss Army knife, the SwissChamp XAVT also includes a digital clock, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. It's completed by a translucent red grip.

    Everything you need from one Swiss Army knife.

    The SwissChamp XAVT includes the following tools:
    Large blade
    Small blade
    Corkscrew
    Can opener with
    -small screwdriver 3 mm
    Bottle opener with
    -large screwdriver 6 mm
    -wire stripper
    Reamer
    Key ring
    Tweezers
    Toothpick
    Scissors
    Multi-purpose hook (also parcel carrier)
    Wood saw
    Fishscaler with
    -hook disgorger
    -ruler (cm & inches)
    Nail file with
    -metal file
    -nail cleaner
    -metal saw
    Fine screwdriver 2 mm
    Chisel
    Pliers with
    -wire cutters
    -wire crimping tool
    Phillips screwdriver
    Magnifying Glass
    Ball point pen
    -also to set DIP-Switches
    Pin
    Mini-screwdriver
    Sewing eye
     Wrench with
    -5mm female Hex drive for D-SUB connectors
    -4mm female Hex drive for the bits
    -Bit Phillips 0 (Pozidrive)
    -Bit Phillips 1 (Pozidrive)
    -Bit Slotted 4 mm
    -Bit Phillips 2
    -Bit Hex 4 mm
    -Bit Torx 8
    -Bit Torx 10
    -Bit Torx 15
    Large blade
    LED light, white
    Multi-purpose hook with nailfile
    Reamer
    Pruning blade
    Electrician's blade with wire scraper
    -wire scraper
    Pharmaceutical spatula
    Combination tool with cap lifter
    -can opener
    -screwdriver
    -wire stripper
    Watch opener
    Fine screwdriver 2 mm
    Digital clock
    Altimeter
    Barometer
    Alarm
    Countdown
    Timer
    Thermometer


    Now, if all those tools are not enough to keep your hands busy, then we better proceed to the Wenger Giant Knife, but that's another story that I'll feature in the future