Field gear

Denim case for a folding buck saw.

When taking my buck saw out for some work yesterday, I remembered I was going to make a case for it from a canvas painters tarp I’d gotten.
I’d cut up a pair of old jeans for making char cloth a few weeks ago, had a lot left on hand, had it out for another idea yesterday, so it was on hand.
Liked the idea of denim better than the canvas tarp.
Legs are great lengths of material, but a bit short on that pair I cut up because of worn cuffs and where I cut them before.
Had a brand new pair I can’t wear (bought 2 years ago when losing weight fast, could almost get into them. Got hurt and gained weight last winter, I garantee I can’t get into them now). So that’s how I ended up with a fancy, clean, spanking new denim saw case!
Cut a leg off, split about 1/3 and a taper off one side, sewed up what was left.
By hand. “Cheated” to get it straight and even. Pinned the edge/seam allowance where I wanted it, then clamped it up in my 2′ long wood workers vise on the bench, held just below the stich line. Think of it as a Loooonnng stitching pony like used for leather work. Worked a real treat!

Not the nicest stitches in the world, but they work!
Voila, a bag!
Sewed the old top end shut to form the bottom, leaving the hemmed cuff end as my new top. Figured the wide hem to be hollow, can run a draw cord through it. Forgot to do it before stitching the side…
1/16″ brass rod, loop bent in end to pull the 550 cord, bent in a loop, and I fished it through the hem. Little tight at the existing side seam, but I got it with come cutting fishing and finagling the rod through!
Need it longer but it’s (gasp!) the only 550 I had on hand. I’ll use it to pull a longer chuck through later. 🙂
Messy stitches to re tack down the hem ends where I cut it..
I wanted more length past the saw for fold over, but 28″ inseams don’t offer much over a 24″ saw… 😉 It works though!
With the saw in it;

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Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Camping, Camping gear, Custom, custom-made-tools, Fabrication, Field gear, Improviser, MacGyver, Modifications, New Gear, Re-purpose, Recycle, Repurpose, Saws, Scrounging, Sewing, Soft Goods, wood processing, Woods tools | 1 Comment

Poor Man’s ATV Cargo Hold-Downs.

Polaris “Lock and Ride” mount studs and eye bolt/loops are about $8 to $10 each from Polaris.

I found these from Grip Pro ATV Anchors on ebay, for about $3 each. Package of 6.

http://gripproatvanchors.com

I couldn’t buy the eye bolt, T-nut, and washer for $3. Let alone adding in the fancy rubber bushing if I could buy them– And I can’t, I’ve looked at everything i can find available, trying to improvise these things!

Work percectly fine, can’t see them letting go under any nornal use. I can crank them in, and pull with all I got, both arms and not budge them.

Lifetime replacement warranty, and made in the USA too!

With my custom rear tray/box I only had the 4 front most outer holes available. Then with the gun boot mounted to one of those, just 3. I used 3 of the 6 I bought in those holes.

1 of them I customized with a threaded stud to mount the boot. That left 2 for the front rack.

But, Amazingly, as proud as Polaris is of that system, they didn’t add them to the front rack/box lid. Probably to not interfere with the box’s space/capacity. But still, I’d expect them around the edges, or corners.

2 eye bolts from the two left over Grip Pro anchors, spacer nuts, and nylock nuts, put this on the front most corners.

Had two smaller 1/4″ shank eye bolts in my hardware bins. Stacked nuts for spacing, and cut them off. Put on the same as the others, spacer nut on top, nylock on the bottom, on the rear corners.

Also, added one smaller eye bolt I had with heavy wood/lag bolt threads to he top of the gun boot mount, to make up for the one I lost to its mounting.

Actually stuck another one onto the nose of the boot bracket too. Not sure what for, it just looked like a good place for one.

Need to make a small bracket and loop/eye that can mount to the studs that hold that gun boot mount, for the times its not mounted.

Between the cargo trays, and these, im pretty sure I’m not losing anything any time soon!

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Customized, Fabrication, Field gear, New Products, Re-purpose, Repurpose | 1 Comment

Poor Man’s ATV Rifle Boot Mount.

A good friend got me a Kolpin gun boot and mount for Christmas almost 2 years ago. I’ve had it on the Kawasaki for about a year and a half, works great. Ive also found that the boot makes a pretty good travel gun case– It actually has more miles on it in a truck bed or on a boat deck that it has on an ATV!

But anyway, the boot being movable, but the mount not easily moved left me needing another mount for my Polaris. And those mounts ain’t cheap.

Honestly, I can probably build one from scrap on hand, in metal, in an afternoon or evening or two. Given the time.

Time is at a premium lately. So I went a faster route, and built one in wood. Figured if it worked, great. If not, I’d take the time and build a metal one. 🙂

Didnt cost me a thing either! Got a bunch of 2’x2′ squares of 3/4″ plywood from a buddy, they were doors on old cabinets he tore out of the garage he just bought.

So, I traced the loop on the metal mount, made a cardboard pattern, laid it out on the plywood.

Jig sawed it out, sturdy enough, but decided two layers were better. Traced the first, layered, brad nailed and screwed together. Trimmed the fit, longer holes and offset them for a slight angle to the boot.

3rd layer for a mound bracket added to the offset vertically from the rack, that meant I could mount it flat, eliminating the angle/pivot mount like the original.

4th smaller spacer layer added to hold a hold down bracket. Went through a lot of my hardware, but the hinges off the plywood from when it was a door were perfect!

Mounted with one Lock and Ride style mount with a custom stud, and another stud in the corner rack hole. Setup for quick on and off with just two 1/2″ nuts, leaving the studs in place. Used nylock style locking nuts.

The boot ended mounted in the groove of the fender, a nice locator, it can’t pivot side to side. If it seems like the boot tip will move a lot I’ll add a mount for the hole it has. So far it doesn’t move much at all. Ended up well back and away from my foot, clears the foot well area nicely.

Sanded lightly, gave it a coat of sealer/clear coat. If it doesn’t need any tweaking after a few rides, I’ll give it a couple coats of brown Krylon, should be pretty weather proof for a long time.

It’s not fine detailed wood working like some things I do, but it looks decent, and most importantly, it works!

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Customized, Fabrication, Field gear, MacGyver, Modifications, Woodwork | Leave a comment

Poor Man’s ATV Cargo Rack Trays.

Took me two years to outfit my Kawasaki the way I wanted it. Got it just about set up perfect for my uses.

Problem is, I got another ATV! A bare, dead stock one at that. So, here we go again.

On the Kawi, I went with adding a front dry box, and a rear rack extension/rack wall.

https://ak-adventurer.net/2017/06/29/atv-rack-extensionretaining-walls/

2018-08-18 23.18.26.jpg

On this one, a Polaris, the front dry box, while a little small, is provided, built into the fenders/rack.

So I set out to add rack walls. Most ATV racks suck for keeping things in place, even with a bungee cord or two, things tend to slide off the edges/sides.

The last one I built on the Kawi, I just cut some light scrap tubing and welded it up. Simple. But time and labor intensive. Time is not something I have a lot of this fall.

So, I set out to get some trays, or shallow boxes to mount, left open without lids, I get a cargo tray, the same effect.

In my research, looking for boxes I actually found plastic cargo trays made for ATVs. But other than one that Arctic Cat made, out of production now, there are none sold in the USA. Seems its a popular item in Australia.

Thats basically what I was after, but on the cheap.

Know how hard it is to find a plastic storage tote thats 1.5’x3′ or 2’x3′ or bigger, but only about 6″ to 8″ deep?

Nearly impossible!

the best bet is “under bed storage” boxes. Long wide and flat.

Unfortunately nothing I liked was in stock locally.

Also, very few have latching lids. Yes, I wanted to mount them as open trays, but if you pay for lids, they might as well be useful!

Anyway, after 5 stores over two trips to town, I found two I liked. The first is a simple light Sterilite box, snap on lid. The other is a Hefty storage box, with a latching lid.

First step was painting, since they came in that milky clear plastic. The green is double coat primer/paint, rated for among other things plastic, by Rustoleum. The brown for the lids is the same basic thing, but made by Krylon. (Got at separate times, different stores. I prefer Rustoleum paint in general, it goes on easier, more durable, but the Krylon works fine too.)

Why green and brown? I’m sick of green with all black accessories.

The rear box went on as is. The front on the other hand, had to be cut to fit around the headlight pod/handlebars. A simple process with a sharpie for layout and an angle grinder (proverbial hot knife through butter, works great on plasic!). While I was at it I cut the lid. Not probable I’ll ever use it, but I had it so why not.

Mounting was simpler still. A handful, 4 or 6 self tapping screws for each box. Located the boxes wherd I wanted them, drilled through them for hole placement, and screwed them down.

Screws I used for the front tray went into the front storage box, so I used screws made for metal roofing; They have a rubber bottomed washer under the head that seals, so they don’t leak. I also drilled a few holes in low corners so the trays don’t flood and hold water anyway.

Maybe an hours work and about $40 including the paint. Not too bad!

And, they work great too!

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Custom, Customized, Fabrication, Field gear, Improviser, MacGyver, Modifications, Re-purpose, Repurpose | Leave a comment

Selective hearing protection? Alpine MotoSafe ear plugs, part 1.

One more new item, that came in yesterday, arrived all the way from the Netherlands. (Couldn’t find a stateside dealer that had the model I wanted, so I ordered direct from the manufacturer. Could actually only find two dealers in the USA anyway! )
As part of my healthy hearing concept, along with adding the face shield onto my motorcycle helmet, I started looking for better, more active hearing protection.
The problem with foam ear plugs is the constant outward pressure they use to seal, it’s uncomfortable and makes my ears sore after a days commute both always.
But I didn’t want to jump in and invest in the full custom molded ear plugs.
And both styles tend to be full sound suppression, so you end up sealed off from your surroundings, with all sound deadened. There are rubber plugs that only filter out harmful sound, leaving conversation or traffic hearable, but I’ve never found rubber plugs that seal worth a damn, or that aren’t like the foam, and too tight. (For instance ear buds tend to drive me nuts and make my ears sore).
Anything that has custom molding and also let’s through lower conversation type sound frequencies are really spendy.
Then I found a half way product;

https://www.alpinehearingprotection.com/product-category/motorcycle/

They are a sound filter, supposedly they cut the frequency of wind noise, but allow traffic and conversation sounds through. Also, the rubber tips are semi-custom forming, in a thermo form rubber; Every time you insert them, your body heat softens them and they custom fit to your ear canal, sealing without outward pressure.

I figured why not, if they work then great, if not, then I’m only out around $20… A risk that I thought was worth it.
They have several variations for different activities, and two specifically for motorcycle riding. A “Tour” version, and a “Race” version that is a little stronger/higher decibel rated. I opted for the race version. At only a few decibels difference, I figured if they work as advertised to cut only wind noise, and leave other sounds, I still wanted as much protection as possible.
So far, in limited fit tests I find them a LOT more comfortable than foam plugs, and more than a lot of rubber plugs and ear buds I’ve had too. I won’t say they “disappear” to where I don’t know I’m wearing them, but I’ve only had them I for 5 to 10 minutes so far.
Have not gad a chance to ride with them yet.
Bug I can say that they let in conversation level sounds really well, and actually without loud sounds, seem like they do very little. But they did cut out the sound of my truck exhaust more than they cut out talking.. Not a lot more, but more.
I’m reserving and conclusions for after I test them with the noise they’re made for; wind.
They come with a little zipper pouch for carrying, and I sprung the few dollars for a hard key chain style carry case, and a safety cord that keeps them tethered together.

My only complaint so far is that the insertion tool they come with, a little plastic thing that’s supposed to grip the plug, and you use it as a handle to insert them, then turn them slightly in your ear to help them seal; It doesn’t snap onto the plugs, it’s far too big, and thus can’t be used… So I can’t really grip them to rotate them upon insertion.
Not sure how much, or if this effects how they seal/work. Will find out either way how they work though, as soon as I can.
Will let y’all know how it goes. 🙂
Categories: Adventures, ATV, ATVing, Field gear, Motorcycles, New Gear, Preparedness, Riding, Vehicles

Glasses!

N

ew gear!
A buddy gave me some cash for my birthday, and after a little deliberation, I went for getting myself something I’ve needed for a while now with part of if it.

Yup, I g

ot new sunglasses

!

You might recall that my good pair got broke while hunting last September.

Been wanting, but putting off new ones since then. But the last couple months as its gotten brighter and brighter coming out of winter, I’ve really needed some.

Also needed new clear safety glasses for work, and new shooting glasses…
So I killed 3 birds with one stone;
5 interchangeable lenses! Impact safety rated for work and shooting, 99.9% UVA and UVB blocking.
I figured I can only do one of the three activities/concepts at once, so a fast lense change every now and then wouldn’t hurt, could be the best way to go.

Turns out it really is a fast easy change too!

They’re not sold as polarized , but so far the copper and smoke lenses both cut glare like they are!
Came with keeper cord, a micro fiber bag for carrying one separate lens, a nifty 5 slot micro fibre/plush sleeve that separates the lenses, 5 lenses in smoke, copper, orange, yellow and clear, and a neoprene case for all of it.

To me that was a steal for $32 (local price; Online you can find them as low as $19.99, but before shipping. ) especially since it is 1/5 what replacing the last ones could cost IF I could find a pair (discontinued model).

It’s even cheaper than the last safety/sun glasses I had, a smoke black pair from 3M, they were $45. They lasted me about 4, naybe 5 years, and are still useable, but some of the marks on thd lenses are getting pretty annoying.

They’ve been backups in my truck for a while, but now in my bike bag, a last ditch pair.

Those by 3M are what I was going after to get again, when I found the Radians.

Anyway;

Here are the frames sans lenses, and then changed to the smoke from the copper shown above. Only takes maybe 45 seconds, a minute max to swap them.

Adjustable temple/earpiece lengths and soft bridgr pads, plus super light weight= really comfortable.

So far I’m using the smoke for general wear, and changing to the copper, which is a deep orange/amber with a pink tint, for riding the bike. After a few minute my eyes adjust and take out the pink tint, then the amber does like other brown/amber glasses I’ve had; Hightens contrast and boosts depth perception.

Only time will tell how the other colors will work but so far I’m really enjoying them.

Categories: EDC, Field gear, GetOutdoors, New Gear, Summertime, Sunglasses

A hearing assist; Helmet shield re-fit.

I have no idea when CKX stopped making this helmet. This one is marked as being made in 1998. I bought it around 2000 or 2001.

It is a snowmobile helmet, lightly insulated, and with a double pane face shield, to mitigate fogging/frosting.

It never worked worth a damn. It was always a frosted mess I couldn’t see out of. Add to that my hatred at the time of the great lack of visibility out of a full face helmet, it was soon shelved.

Somewhere along the way, I took the face shield off of it. I’m not exactly sure why now.

It’s served perfectly well that way for several years now, both as my motorcycle helmet, off and on, and the one I kept as a helmet for a passenger on the bike.

But the last couple years, I’ve had an increasing problem with wind noise while ridding.

For years I never wore a helmet, nor hearing protection, and I guess it’s caught up to me. I much prefer no helmet, for hearing, visibility, and just general feel and awareness of the world when ridding, not only a bike but atvs, and snowmobiles too.

I also prefer no windshield, for the same reasons.

A couple years ago when I got back into ridding a lot, I had to start wearing a helmet for hearing protection, or else I ended up with my ears ringing, and that cloudy wind tunnel effect for hours after I got off the bike.

This helmet has served well for that for a couple years, sans face shield.

But, it has its problems. Mainly, since it is designed to be a full face helmet, it doesnt have the row of denser foam in front of your ears that blocks wind on a regular 3/4 or open face style helmet.

And my sensitivity to the wind noise has worsened to where any ride even with the helmet screws up my hearing.

Last year I took to wearing hearing protection, in the form of simple foam ear plugs.

That works perfect for the wind noise. But after more than an hour on the bike, your ear canels can get sore from the constant pressure they use to seal. Softer rubber plugs have nevet sealed well enough for me to work well enough for shooting, so foam has been the only option.

Also, with the plugs, you don’t hear traffic, nor the bike. Not good. Rather dangerous in fact. It can also be disorienting, to be in motion, with little to no sound.

Add to that the audible shock of how loud the world is when you take the plugs out after having them in an hour, and I needed an alternative.

So, with a two day fuzzy feeling in my ears, and sore ears to boot from the plugs after my first good ride this season, I went looking for an alternate lid to wear; The open face helmet thst was my Dads.

Took forever to find it. With it was the shield from this helmet.

Then I found again why I hadn’t been using it; its a good size and a half too big for me!

Enter the idea to just buy a new open face helmet.

But, I have that shield…

See, I’m broke, and trying to not have to buy anything, thus digging out old helmets to try to begin with.

I’d honestly wanted to re mount the shield to it at other times in the past, but couldn’t.

Verry simply, the fancy half turn twist lock screws that hold it and the helmet side aplates on, got lost not long after they were taken out. Then at some point the shield and side plates were lost.

At times I’ve come across the shield, and even tried getting new plates and screws, but never with any success.

I’m not sure why but I’d never really thought before about creating new mounting for that shield, but this time I was considering it.

I was even looking at it to see if I could mount it fixed; at least it’d be on there even if it didn’t hinge.

And there in lies where the light bulb went on. I suddenly saw exactly how I could fix it, and have it hinge, knowing exactly what piece of hardware I could do it with!

And knowing I just happened to have two of that item left over from a mid winter project, off to the shop I went!

First up was to measure the hole in the helmet, which was 0.25″. Perfect! The hardware I we thinking of using is 1/4″!

That hardware being T-nuts.

Next, measure the outside of the nut shank, and pick a bit, I ent 0.005″ smaller, for a press for. Then still the holes out.

Then, grind down the tang spikes in the nut, flush with the rim, and test the shank fit, and press in for depth test. Then also reduce the run diameter, to fit the recess.

And, finally, applied a few touches of super glue to reinforce the nuts seat and press them in.

All that was left then was to shorten the bolts I had, so they bottom out just as the head seats, and compresses the lock washer I used. Fender washers to cover the large hole and grip the visor, then a split lock washer, and seat the bolt. Gave perfect tension on the first try! The visor “click” ratcheting opening tension works great, smooth, but with drag, but also stars put in any notch you stop on(tested with it half open at 40mph too, no movement!)

The only issue I see when done was the gap along the top, reminding me that there had been a foam piece framing the opening on the helmet before. I thought it might allow some charter of the shield.

Turns out the gap is no problem! No charter, no vibration, and no air leaks!

It cuts the wind noise I had by half or more! Perfect! I’ve only had it out for two short 10 mile rides so far, but after both, I had no hearing or ear issues! As a bonus, one of those rides I was caught in pouring rain, and the warm dry face was a Very welcome change!

Categories: Alaska-Life, Clothes, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Motorcycles, Outdoors

Bearcat Leather.

Decided I wanted to start using my Ruger Bearcat more, carry it hunting sometimes. Looked at the official Ruger holsters, and while a nice design, being straight draw, drop looped, I really tend to prefer a higher riding pancake style holster.

Looked around online, but didn’t find anything I really liked, nor anything I could afford.

A couple years ago I made a simple pancake holster for my Bersa Firestorm 380, thats worked out great, been the most comfortable gun/holster combo I’ve ever carried.

And, having the left overs from that leather in the shop… 😉

Since I liked the carry of the Bersa, I copied the shape, size, and carry cant (slightly forward/FBI style) exactly off that holster.

Only change I made was to add a “sweat shield” as they’re called, to the back top. Not really to shield the gun from me, but me from the gun; When you carry in cooler weather, without tucking a shirt in behind the gun, it can be a little cold against you! (The Bersa holster was originally made to be ambidextrous, to be worn on either side, thus it’s straight cut on the top front and back.)

Traced;

Cut, front;

Some glue, yes I know thatd a wood glue… but wood and leather are both fibrous organic substance, the glue doesn’t know the difference!

“Clamped” for a bit;

Holes drilled;

Partially stitched test fit;

Checking where I might put a tension rivet, or a line of stitching closer to the gun.

Finished!

I’ll trim/round the upper corners of the back shield aftercsome carry and use, as I decide how wide, abd high it needs to be.

I decided against the tension rivet or stiches, because honestly with the firm grip it has in such a deep coverage, I don’t think it is necessary. AND, withbthe holsters shape left generally open, I hoped that my Ruger MKII would also fit in it.

Again, deep coverage of the gun, so I decided against a safety strap. I can always add it later if it seems needed.

And yes, it turned out to fit the MKII almost as perfectly!

They’re not fancy, nor perfect, but they work, and that’s what’s important to me in basic field gear. 🙂

Categories: Custom, Customized, Field gear, Guns, Holsters, Leather, Uncategorized

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