Hiking - Camping - Gear

Posts by dthomas

How cut rope with out a knife or scissors.

In the I learn something new every day category, this is a pretty darn cool skill and it works with para-cord like a snap. DaveHax demonstrates how to cut a string or rope in an emergency without the use of a sharp object, he ingenuously saws through the rope with rope. See the video below.

Gear Review: Ozark Trail 30F Climatech Mummy Sleeping Bag

k2-_5114b602-5893-4d00-917c-d8cf0c52c64c.v1This Ozark Trail sleeping bag is the first semi cold weather bag I’ve purchased and I’ve not really gotten to put it to the test yet. However,  It packs in a compression bag weights in at 2.76 lbs and attaches perfect to my MOLLY equipped backpack. purchased at Good ol’ Walmart for just under $49.00 bucks, it looks like you can order it online for under $30.00. My real need was for a light weight bag, something under 50 bucks, and that would give me some decent protection in cold weather but not burn me up in say 50 or 40 degree weather too and I hope this bag will fit the bill. If so I plan to buy more for the rest of the family, we are very under supplied when it comes to sleeping bag needs. Here are some specifications.

Ozark Trail 30F Right Mummy Sleeping Bag, Red:

  • Climatech fiber for added warmth, comfort and durability
  • Anti-wet and lightweight
  • 2-way anti-snag zipper
  • Full-surround neck baffle
  • Inside pocket
  • Temperature rating: 30 degrees
  • 97% polyester, 3% nylon
  • Model# MU-EULIN 30FPR
  • 30-degree sleeping bag

Do you have this bag? Got something better? Let me know.

Disclaimer: As always I have nothing to do with neither Walmart or Ozark Trail, come on Ozark Trail, give me some stuff I’ll review it.

 

Winter is coming.

The first blast of winter weather hit this weekend; cold winds, temperatures in the 20’s, and pretty significant snow fall all over. So I spent most of the weekend going over my cold weather gear and working on what I call my spreadsheet of everything. It’s a breakdown of what I have in the families bug out bags (a true necessity in the forest fire prone area we live in), my every day carry items, and shelter in place items. Once I get the list completed to my satisfaction I’ll post it here and hopefully it will give someone some inspiration to compile their own list. As always every time I go to revise the list I find the biggest gaps to be medical items, those store bought first-aid kits just never are robust enough. We do a lot of hiking and I just can’t see going on a trail  with out SAM splints. When have you ever seen one of those in a first aid kit and how many twisted ankles have you seen on the trail? I’d like to have 1 in every bag we have and right now we just have 1 in the main trail bag and 2 in the big medical bag we keep at home, so off to shop around and find the best deal.

Made a pretty darn good home made tomato soup over the cold blustery weekend too, winter is coming got to keep those insides warm.

Tech Gear Review: Map my hike Mobile App

hero.2a38593bacdeI’ve been looking for an app to track my progress of not only my hikes but workouts as well, walking, jogging, or what ever. This little app fits the bill and works fine on my old slow Iphone 4. It’s described as MapMyHike is a fitness tracking application that enables you to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track all of your fitness activities. Record your workout details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled on an interactive map. You can even effortlessly save and upload your workout data to MapMyHike where you can view your route workout data, and comprehensive workout history.” It has all the social media bells and whistles that frankly I’m not that into, but it’s there if you want it. There are versions for Android and BlackBerry so everyone can get in on the action. The price is right too, free with pro versions available, but the standard version offers everything I need. Check it out here and tell me what ya think.

Gear Review: Rocky Wool Blend Hiker, Medium, Men’s Socks

socksI know a review on socks, really? Well it’s coming up on winter and I needed a good pair of soft merino wool socks, and I needed lots of them, one for my bug out bag, a pair for the car, and even just for everyday use, so price was a factor as well. As luck would have it Walmart to the rescue. The Rocky Wool Blend Hiker Socks fit the bill and at 2 pair for $9.97 the price was right too. I’ve been wearing them all day and they feel great. I love the feel of merino wool and it really cuts down on the itch factor of wool, love wool but the itch drives me crazy. plus you get all the benefits of wool socks with a bit of synthetic stuff to round them out. Here are bit of specifications.

  • 39% wool/39% acrylic/17% nylon/4% polyester/1% spandex
  • These men’s wool socks are warm and comfortable
  • ScentIQ technology helps prevent foot odor
  • Soft merino wool blend and stretch fibers from top to toe for a snug fit
  • Ravel-free, welt-top construction
  • Impact areas reinforced for durability and comfort
  • Machine washable

If you don’t hike in wool socks you’re really just asking for trouble, wool is a fantastic fiber and friend of yours on any trail. Wool has both heat retention and moisture wicking properties, those are good things to have in a sock.

Disclaimer: Walmart don’t give me a slice of their pie, just happen to like these socks.

 

What’s in my pocket?

The world can be a real hassle on a day to day basis, from breaking a shoe string to opening a box that someone got just a bit to zealous with the packing tape. So besides every day things like a wallet and keys,what’s in your pocket. I carry a few handy things like in my wallet I have this nifty little folding knife that fits right in the credit card slot of my wallet, I just have to remember to take it out before flying or the TSA will be adding to their collection. I also carry a cheap standard pocket knife for opening boxes cutting string all kinds of uses, I’d carry a better one but I can’t tell you how many pocket knives I’ve lost. I also carry one of those bic mini lighters I don’t smoke but having something to start a fire with is never a bad idea. On my key chain is the ever popular and will never go out of style P-38 can opener, I got these things spread out all over the place, you never know when you’ll need a can opener. Not really in my pocket but always on my wrist a military grade 550 para-cord bracelet, so many uses for that I’d by typing all day. So that’s it my every time I’m out the door this is what’s in my pocket list, got something you think I need to add, have a great piece of gear you never leave the house with? Let me know.

Gear Review: Men’s SILVER RIDGE™ convertible Pants

pantsJust got a pair of Columbia brand Men’s SILVER RIDGE™ convertible Pants. They normally run around $60.00 and I got mine in the Tusk Color. Use is for warm to hot weather conditions and on the trail. They are quick-wicking pants feature built-in sun protection and plentiful storage. The main body of the paints are made from 100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop and the mesh panels are made from 57% recycled polyester/43% polyester mesh. The Pockets have hook and loop closure so everything stays nice and secure. Great pants and dry super fast. You would think that with it beginning to get colder I would be buying something a little less summer time but out here in the high desert it can start out cold in the morning and by early afternoon it’s in the low 80’s having options is nice to have on the trail. The perfect feature is that they are convertible and you have the shorts option should you want it. We are also at a pretty high altitude so the sun is always beating down on us, as a result almost all my outdoor wear I have I purchase with sun protection. They do fit a bit small so if your a 36 X 32 I’d get the 38 x 34, each pair comes with a nylon belt so it’s fine to go a bit bigger they’ll cinch right up. They look great are light weight and comfortable, and fit perfect in a backpack. I’ll be getting at least on more pair, but what color that’s the hard part.

Disclaimer: I got nothing to do with Columbia just like these paints 

Gear Review: Cold Steel Survival Edge Orange Knife

cold_steel

This week’s gear review is my go to knife for almost all my hiking and camping adventures, the Cold Steel Survival Edge.

It’s a great little knife and has all the features you need for safe knife operations.  Below are some simple specifications.

  • Blade Thick: 2.5mm
  • Blade Length: 5″
  • Handle Length: 4-1/4″
  • Overall Length: 9-1/4″

At under $25.00 and coming with a hard plastic sheath and Ferrocerium fire steel it’s a great bargain and can handle many simple camping task, sure it won’t last a life time but I’ve used it for many task and it’s still going strong and at that price point you can buy two or three. I carry one in my EDC (every day carry), and BOB (bug out bag) too. The orange handle (hard to loose when you drop it at a camp site) is hollow and I store fire started in it plus it floats. The knife is strong and sharp, if you don’t like that glowing orange handle it comes in standard black too.

The tang of the blade only extends into the handle about an inch, so this in not a pry-bar and you’re going to need something a bit more heavy if you need to chop some wood, but as a general camping, backpacking knife you can’t go wrong.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsed by Cold Steel in anyway, the views of dthomasdigital are strictly opinions only.

A blog to Visit: Preparedness Advice Blog

I’m really a huge fan of the blog Preparedness Advice Blog, it’s really chocked full of great advice. My favorite post are the numerous post on food storage and food preparation but it’s so much more than that. They are prolific bloggers and have a new post almost everyday. You’re bound to learn something new I know I have. So check them out, you’ll be glad you did and they’ve earned the top spot on my links section.

Got a blog that you think belongs in the links? Tell me about it and I’ll review it here.

Working out the bugs.

Just a post to help work on some testing for the site, thinking about posting instructions on making home-made fire starters. Stay Tuned.