Showing posts with label gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gear. Show all posts

January 18, 2017

Eat Peppers, Live Longer? Also Prehistoric Cattle and Stuff.

Portuguese Maronsa, part of the gene stock (CNN).
Some people found these boots' tracks to be offensive. The designer has been sent to a social-justice re-education camp. Or would have been, but is probably in China, where they just move on to the next knock-off and counterfeit.

¶ If I can't have mammoths in Arizona (They used to live there), I will accept aurochs in Eastern Europe. I have seen some negative comment on the Tauros Programme though, although this CNN story claims,
The animals get closer with each generation, and the team have the advantage of being able to test the offspring's DNA against the complete genome of an auroch, which was successfully sequenced at University College Dublin.
¶ "Eat Peppers, Live Longer?" Well, yes, sort of, says the New York Times. Duh.

¶ In firewood, fat is good.

December 04, 2016

Counting Outdoor Recreation in the GDP and Other Links

(Colorado's bighorn sheep population (never large) has rebounded since the 1990s, researchers say. (The article focuses on northern Colorado).

¶ Can Jim Akenson "give the hunter/conservation paradigm a new boost" in urban-dominated Oregon?
As the first conservation director of the 10,000-member Oregon Hunters Association, Akenson has a job that few might envy, yet one in which he is called to balance the perspectives of rangers and ranchers while he advocates for the role of hunters as latter-day environmentalists.
Providers of outdoor gear and experiences are happy that their revenue will now be added to the nation's Gross National Product (GDP).
“This is a big, big deal for us because it takes us off the kids’ table and puts us at the adult table. Now we can show how much we influence the national economy. Christmas came early for the outdoor industry,” said Luis Benitez, the indefatigable head of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, who earlier this year gave a speech titled “The Outdoor Recreation Industry Will Save the World.”
Calculating the GDP is complicated, as the Denver Post article suggests, and it does not say which year's GDP will reflect this change.

October 03, 2016

The Earth Is Trying to Kill You, Cabela's Is Sold, Trees Talk

¶ "Landslides in the United States cause approximately $3.5 billion (year 2001 dollars) in damage, and kill between 25 and 50 people annually." I think we need a cartoon character: Rocky Bear. "Only You Can Prevent Landslides." Sort of.

¶ Outdoor retailing empires merge: Bass Pro Shops is buying Cabela's.
The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972. The billionaire will lead the newly combined entity as CEO and will retain majority ownership.
Foresters ponder how trees talk to each other:
The main reason humans cannot perceive how clever and complex they are is because we exist in such short time scales by comparison. There's a tree in Sweden for instance, a spruce, that is more than 9,500 years old. That's 115 times longer than the average human lifespan.

February 16, 2016

Is DWR as Dangerous as Scotchguard for Your Outerwear?

Interstate 5 in southern Oregon, with a sign reading "San Francisco."
When I was a college student — and for a while afterwards — I had this two-layer Egyptian cotton anorak — from REI, as I remember. It was a well-made garment in a sort of burnt-orange color.

I loved it. It was my magic hitch-hiking anorak. But it was cotton — and I lived then in the Pacific Northwest.

It had a waterproof coating, which wore out, so I think that I sprayed it with Scotchguard. Later we learned that Scotchguard was bad stuff to be around. (See comments.)

Now it is 2016, and there is a debate around another waterproofing compound for outdoor gear,  DWR, "Durable Waterproofing Repellent."

In this article at the Section Hiker blog, "Why Does DWR Suck?" Phillip Werner raises questios about both cost and health:
When water soaks into the fabric of a rain jacket, you can just forget about breathability. The system is a complete sham but people keep buying into it, including the need to reapply the DWR coating several times a year. It’s the hidden cost of owning a waterproof/breathable rain jacket: the need to keep buying Nikwax TX-Direct or Gear-Aid Revivex to repair the DWR when it wears out so the (really expensive) breathable fabric part of your jacket can work.
The debate continues in the comments.

Everyone is looking for the magic waterproof-but-light-and-breathable combination. I am glad that I live now in Colorado where rains rarely last all day, and I can put on a poncho (even a heavy old coated-nylon Army poncho) and then put it away again. What would I do if I still lived in Oregon?

July 11, 2015

The Pinnacle of Outdoor Fashion Style

Osa Johnson checks her rifle on safari.
At the Frontier Partisans blog, Jim Cornelius suggests that the 1900–1930 period represented the pinnacle of outdoor wear, at least from the standpoint of style.
From safari boots to slouch hat — that’s the way a man oughta dress. Functional and classically stylish. You could walk down the street in 1915 or 2015 and the look is never out of style.
He praises the costumes of the 1985 movie Out of Africa (Robert Redford, Meryl Streep), but his heart is with Martin and Osa Johnson.
Now, Finch-Hatton and Karen Blixen are an interesting couple, “Out of Africa” is a fine book and a beautiful movie. But if you’re looking for an adventurous, stylish couple from the first half of the 20th Century, the go-to pair is without a doubt Martin and Osa Johnson. Way more compelling than Finch-Hatton/Blixen (and I always liked Bror Blixen best anyway).
"But where do I find those clothes today?" you ask.

Comes with waistcoat and britches.
Go to the Covent Garden area of London — and bring money. There you will find The Vintage Showroom, a vintage-clothing shop-cum-museum "covering the early mid 20th century and specialising in international work, military and sports clothing, classic English tailoring and country wear."  And also some contemporary clothing that invokes those days.

You can see, for example, this bespoke traveling suit, owned by a noted Egyptologist, perfect for crawling through tombs and temples.

March 09, 2015

Blog Stew: I'll Eat my (Coyote Brown) Boots

 I have so many links to offer. Does anyone still click on hyperlinks? Here is a start, anyway.
Note crucial color difference.

• The Army is switching to "coyote brown" boots, just so you will know. "Desert tan" is just so Operation Enduring Freedom. Having the better boot color will aid the fight against Islamist terrorists.

• "Guntry clubs" — apparently this is a "thing" now, as people say on the Internet. "Savvy investors" are interested, says the Washington Post.

The average age of new target shooters is 33, while 47 percent live in urban or suburban areas, and 37 percent are female, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry.

Me, I will stick with the Blood of Christ Shooting Sports Club.

• Hunting-angling-food blogger Hank Shaw on the dangers of trichinosis, particularly from eating bear meat.
It is a fact that bear and cougar meat are the most prominent vectors for trichinosis in North America. Pigs, which are what most people think of when they think of trich, are actually not commonly infected.
This is a link that you definitely should click.

January 15, 2014

Tea Time in the Foothills


You have to break up a day at the desk. There is firewood-gathering, dog-walking, and come late afternoon, time for a mug of tea.

I like playing with fire, hence the Kelly Kettle.

You don't like playing with fire? And you call yourself a hominin? Get back up in a tree, you poser.

The little tube is the Dragon Breath by Off Route Gear. It helps get the fire going quickly with carefully directed air.

November 17, 2013

Boots on the Ground, Russian and American

Smith & Wesson Breach boots
In 2007 I wrote an unexpectedly popular post about the Russian military moving away from the old two-sizes-fit-all pull-on boots—with foot cloths. (In Soviet Russia, boots wear you.)

Strategy Page recently summarized combat boot developments among both Russian infantry and Americans in Afghanistan.
Most Russians are also unfamiliar with the foot wrappings (“portyanki”) that soldiers were still taught to use. For portyanki to work the user has to wrap their feet just so before slipping the foot into the “tarpaulin” boots. If you did not do the wrapping correctly some of your flesh would be exposed to the rough inside surface of these canvas boots. This usually leads to debilitating blisters.
The old-fashioned boots were widely disliked by most of the troops forced to use them. The number of older officers who still favored this 19th century footwear are also fading away. So the portyanki and valenki are officially gone this year, along with the old canvas boots that only came in two sizes.
Meanwhile, the American military has modified its boots too:
Over the last decade the army and marines have changed their attitudes towards combat boots. Instead of trying to design boots themselves, the military has recognized the superior design of commercial boots created for hikers, mountain climbers, and outdoor activists in general. This has resulted in a new generation of combat boots that are more durable, and comfortable, than earlier generations of combat footwear. Many troops in the Russian military, especially the career officers and troops, noticed this trend as well and were able to keep up with developments via the Internet. 
As an example, here is a boot review from Chris Hernandez, who served in Afghanistan, discussing Smith & Wesson Breach Athletic Boots:
You need to know if [your boots are] going to lose shape and look like clown shoes within weeks, as my boots from a very popular company did back in the 90’s. You need to know if they’re going to weigh a ton each, like those horrible speedlace boots I was issued in the Marine Corps in 89. You need to know if, like my Danners at Fort Lewis, they’re going to keep your feet all warm and toasty while your footsoaked, freezing, miserable friends mutter curses at you (I still have wet dreams about those boots). You need to know if the soles are going to be worn so smooth after less than six months in Afghanistan, like my issue “desert jungle boots”, that your French buddy asks, “Chrees, did you walk through ze acid in zose boots?” 
Not to mention that there is a military boots blog.  What would Marshall Timoshenko say, were he alive?

October 23, 2013

Some Applause for Victorinox

Some web-surfing in September led me to the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife website, and I discovered that for $5 they would look and and if possible repair a damaged knife.

I had this knife in my pocket knives-and-key chains box — I don't even know where it came from — but the scissors were broken and the scales (side pieces) were both chipped. Miraculously, the tweezers and toothpick were still intact.

So I sent it in and about three weeks later had it back, good as new. They returned the old scales, don't ask me why.

September 20, 2013

Dressing like a President

TR's leather coat. It says so at the website.
I had to laugh on receipt of an email from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (a good organization) touting Orvis's Theodore Roosevelt clothing collection. (I presume some kind of kickback is in operation.)

When I looked at the items on sale, I realized that except for the leather vest and the national parks atlas, I already have everything on the page or an equivalent garment. Right down to the pocket watch and the biography.

Maybe I could substitute my leather-covered copy of David Sibley's bird book for the atlas.

A woman in a coffee shop once told me that I looked like Teddy Roosevelt (really, I don't) when wearing an old four-pocket twill jacket that was made by, guess who, Orvis, but purchased on eBay.

There is also a "trout bum" collection, but I somehow doubt if John Gierach gets a cut on sales. He did not invent the phrase, but he sure did popularize it.

August 12, 2012

Designing Personal Gear: An Army First-Aid Pack

An interesting  article (with short video) on how a piece of military gear—in this case, an individual first-aid pack—is designed at the Natick Soldier Systems Center. (I think that Natick also designed the Polartec-insulated Generation III Extreme Cold Weather System clothing for the military.)

In the video,  the  designer speaks of starting with "an existing SAW gunner pouch" for the first version of the first-aid kit.

Ah, that's where the individual fire shelter pouch came from too! It sure fits the definition of "just kind of a brick on your side that gets in the way of everything." If you were issued the Large model, it's too big for the quick-extraction pocket on many fire packs.

December 03, 2008

I am a Field Jacket

At least according to the designers at Alpha Industries.

Not cheap, either.

December 01, 2008

Cheap Gear: Swiss Fleece Sleeping Bag

I recently bought one of these ex-Swiss Army fleece sleeping bags to use as a liner in my car-camping sleeping bag, which itself is ex-Forest Service and cost under $20.

For $5.97, how can you go wrong?

It would be good for napping in a cool house or for keeping in the vehicle in case of an unexpected sleep event.

I don't think you could buy the fabric this cheap at a store, as long as you like a sort of purplish-blue.

(This post hereby begins a new blog category, cheap gear.)