GetOutdoors

New, cheap day packs.

I needed…

wanted…

uhhm…. yeah 😉

Lets say, saw a need for 😉 a couple light packs, to fill out gaps in capacity capabilities for day bags.

My main and favorite grab and go day bag for several years now has been a Black Diamond 16L pack. Its small, light, durrable, and can really be stuffed with day trip/hike essentials.

But it’s on the smaller side at times. Two years ago I acquired a 25L TNF (The North Face) Vault as an upgrade for those times.

It has the room I need on average, for day trips. But it has two problems; it has a stiff structured back panel that is a great idea, but horrendously uncomfortable.

And it’s bright red.

No matter what they say animals can and can’t see, I see little to no way of proving it… So I have a hard time taking bright colors on hunting trips.

On the other hand I find camo pointless, but thats another topic for another time. 🙂

So, I wanted another mid sized 25L to 35L pack for day hikes and day hunts, that wasn’t brightly colored.

And I also wanted a pack between that size, and the big 65L 3 day trip pack I have. An overnight day trip bag that wouldn’t be heavy or waste space. Mainly for my summer weight camping gear, where I don’t need the room for my 20° bag or many, if any extra clothes. Went with 45L.

I ended up with a claimed 35L that I’d say is around 20L maybe 25L actual capacity. And the other, claimed to be 45L, around 30L, 35L absolute max.

Not optimal. But then, for $10, and $15, shipped, respectively the small and large, I can’t complain much. 😉

It was worth the risk, and while not exactly what I needed, they’ll help out. I’ll just still need to find something in the 40L to 45L area for a summer time overnight trip bag.

For the smaller, I went with green, so I’m comfortable with it for hunting trips.

Draw closure top, with top flap. Pocket under flap.

And one ob the top of the flap;

Standard stretchy side pockets;

The outer sleeve pocket on the frontvis the same stretchy material.

Nice straps;

Grab handle leaves a little to be desired;

And, the nifty feature I liked, the inner pocket on the top flap is double zippered;

Turn the pocket insige out, roll the bag into it and zip;

Will make neatly packing it in my main hunting trip bag/dry bag much easier!

Overall it seems well built, and while light weight materials , also seems like it will be durable enough. Time will tell.

For the other, since it was planned as a non hunting hike pack, color didn’t matter much. So I went with something I liked, and something I’m garranteed to not lose when I set it down.

So sue me, I like purple. 🙂

It is 2 main compartments, small side mesh pockets, and a tiny zipped one on the front. And a bottom access area, that when fully opened/pressed out to capacity almost fills the whole main compartment! Bottom easy access for sleeping bag? Or ive seen the same made for shoes.. I’m sure ill find a use, but its a little odd in its size.

Chosen for it’s everal cord locked bungee attachment points, compression straps, and bottom straps that I liked the look of for hanging my tent on.

This one is heavier materials than the other, has a more solid feel to it.

I want to say it feels more solidly built as well, but that might be an illusion of the heavier materials. As I said above, only time will tell how they survive, but I’m thinking theyll be fine. 😉

Great wide padded straps;

Hip belt comes mid gut on me, like most do and is deathly short… I’ll probably cut it off. Nice adjustable/removable sternum strap though!

And I was pleasantly surprised by this;

First time I’ve ever seen a heavy dedicated carry handle on a backpack! And it still has the usual carry/hanging loop too.

Overall, I’m pleased for $25 total. Hell, I think I’d have been pleased with just the purple one for that much, or a little more. 🙂

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Categories: Backpacks, Camping, Camping gear, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Hiking, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors | 1 Comment

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw part 2

I’m proud of two big things on this project;

One being design and execution. The basic mechanics of the saws are really, well, basic. Two uprights, a center cross bar, blade at the bottom, and a Spanish windlass at the top.

And the cross bar being mortise and tenon jointed to the uprights, to provide up/down pivot so that the windlass can tension the blade, but have no twist of pivot in any other plane or axis.

Simple.
I looked around the Web for ideas, since there are a LOT of these out there, for sale, and home built designs.

But I basically still had to design, engineer and build it from scratch.

Lots of time with measuring, squaring, offseting, re-squaring, and making sure both ends matched.. Etc.

The other thing I’m really proud of, is the fact that I’d Never, Ever cut a mortise and tenon joint before. I did one test mortise on scrap(which sucked!) before I cut on the first saw bar I’d just spent 3 hours making. Yeah, fun. 😉

Cut by hand, chisel and saw. Turned out exceptionally well, if I do say so myself!

The second one even press fit at first cuttings, no trimming needed!! (The first one took 10 minutes of fit/test/shave/test/carve/test/whittle, to get to work, then it was a touch loose…)

Now I know why my Dad hated doing them, and always wanted a power tool for it! I was never taught to cut these, not that I remember. He never got the tool till late in life– he just avoided the joint style.

I actually got him one that attaches to a drill press a couple years before he passed away. It didn’t exactly fit his drill, and he never got to use it before he went. I have them both here, but ironically, I preferred to learn to hand cut them. I’ll get the tool setup at some point soon, but so far, I like doing them by hand!

I Was a bit ambitious in part of my joint design; I copied ones I saw a guy on YouTube do, where the end of the bar is rounded, and the face of the mortise is curved to match. So that when it tensions, and the end bars angle, it simply rotates the two curves on each other. A cleaner look than with straight bars, where the angling would leave gaps.

THAT was fun to figure out the geometry on, and then cut in… Oi.

I didn’t get them perfect, but they’re pretty dang good, if I do say so myself.

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Axes, Backcountry, Camping gear, custom-made-tools, Field gear, GetOutdoors, New Gear, Outdoors, Saws, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | 1 Comment

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw Part 1

This obe is otherwise known as The Moon Saw. That name to be explained later though. 🙂

I’ve been wanting to do this project for a couple months now. Took a while to get other things out of the way… Pressing household maintenance like broken water tanks, and no running water kept cropping up! (Among other little things that Eat time).

I knew I wanted to do a 24″ saw, so I went and picked up a blade early last month. I actually got a whole swede saw. A blade was $8. A Fiskars saw with the blade was $11. Yeah, might as well buy the $3 saw with it, and have it!

Then it took a month for me to get time, and some shop space made to do it.

I neded some large paper for patterning another project, so I sat down and started drawing designs. I could have gone with dead simple straight side/handle bars, and been a LOT simpler and easier…

Bug I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well do what I liked.

The one I built is actually the second design I had drawn, and while the other was thought out over 3 days, this one I drew and finalized in 10 minutes. And liked it more!

(Original design on left, axe style on right)

You can see where the name comes from, if you notice the fawns foot handle ends, and “S” shapes. I had my hatchet handle on the bench at the time, and was holding it, such a nice grip; So I traced it, reversed it, traced again, and blended the contours some.

Simple!

More to be seen soon.

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Axes, Backcountry, Camping gear, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Hunting, New Gear, Outdoors, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | Leave a comment

Chest holster re-strapping V1.0. 

Thought I’d post an update. Been wearing the new holster I got a couple months ago off and on for some work, and short hikes.


Have some setup issues.

They have it, as set for left hand draw,
Holster sits basically horizontal, grip left, muzzle right.

Shoulder strap run from top of holster (by hammer) up over RIGHT shoulder, down across back, under Left arm to bottom of holster(behind grip/by trigger).

The the chest strap runs around you, through a loop on the back of the holster.

Holster free floats on the chest strap, held up by shoulder strap.

When you go to draw, to keep holster from sliding left, you have to grip with the off side hand. 

Also while walking/working, it naturally drifts left, rotating the shoulder stap on your torso, sliding on chest strap, till under the left arm. (To where you cant grip the gun to draw without sliding it back to center chest with the off side hand.)

Because of shoulder strap placement/tension it can’t slide to the right.

Basically, the tension is backwards.

While hiking with it like this, every time I repositioned it (about every 150 yards!) I thought about strap direction and buckle placement, being pretty sure I could reverse it to the left shoulder, but still be left hand draw.

It actually was as simple as I thought. (Amazing)

I now have the shoulder strap run from top of holster(by hammer) over my LEFT shoulder, across back, under Right arm.

Now it gets different.. that bottom right end of the shoulder strap I connect to the end of the CHEST strap.

Chest strap goes Left, and Down through the loop on the back of the holster, then BACK to the Right, and around my back, to the Left bottom of the holster. 

So the pull to the left is now resisted by the tail of the shoulder strap, and the chest tension. If it slides, it will be down to the right. So even if it does move, it could go a ways before I couldn’t draw.

Muzzle end is also held by the chest strap. And because the chest strap and shoulder straps tension each other, once set, it can’t really drift very far either way.

So far as I can tell anyway. Will walk a couple miles with it and see.

Still needs work, but it’s better!


It even ended up with the tension right so the lower end of the shoulder strap is lower away from my arm and arm pit, more comfortable and crowds my arm less when moving. On the other side it tended to pinch and pull at my underarm. 

The only problems I see, are if it does move around, the gun/holster is semi fixed in line with it all, and it tensions through one end of it… As it moves one strap will tighten as the other loosens. So it’s going to chinch/tighten around me in one place or the other, and be crushing… 

And there is the other problem. With this set so it works, the chest strap is pretty tight… and rather crushingly uncomfortable already. 

I know I should be able to set this up so the weight and tension is all on the shoulder strap, and the chest strap can just center/position the gun on me and hold it semi loosesly..

What I’d like to try is;
The chest strap run from muzzle end of the holster, or the loop on the back, but a fixed atachment, not slidding, and around to the lower left corner of the holster as I gave it now. And the shoulder strap as I have it now for top of holster run over my left shoulder. 

But then attached to the center back of the chest strap.

Either floating or fixed at that joint. I think fixed would get the effect I want.

Will have to play with it some more, and see… need to find the 2 or 3 Big safety pins I have so I can pin this up how I want it before I cut/sew/ add/modify anything.

But as it is, it’s a lot better!

Pics to follow in another post if I can find someone to take them while I’m wearing it..

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATVing, Backcountry, Customized, EDC, Field gear, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Guns, Holsters, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Theory/Thoughts

Auxiliary truck lighting and 110V wiring. 

I now have a 110V cord hard wired, or permanently mounted anyway, in my truck. Run from under the center of the dash in the cab, out the firewall, and ending in the drivers side inner fender. Should come in handy for any 110V current tools I might want to run off of my power inverter. 


I’ve actually wanted to wire a setup like this in both the front and back of the truck for a while, just never got around to it.

So, Why now? your asking…

Weeeeelllll….

What do you get if I’m bored, not feeling the season, wanting to do something festive, and just plain silly fun, and have a brand new 20′ spare set of Christmas lights just laying around?

😀  ðŸ˜‰ 

Cut up a couple old cords, one from a dead fan, the other from a dead string of lights, to make a small extension cord. Cord ends wouldn’t fit through the hole in the fire wall, and I needed a custom length anyway, so I put it through, then installed the 2nd end, thus my now permanent cord.


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Dug out the old power inverter I cary in the truck;

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Lots of zip ties;

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And voila!

😀 


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Yes, I know I’m a total redneck… And that I’ll Never live this one down. But its just so freaking cool to drive around! 

One guy that passed me on the 4 lane, as he went by me slowly, his passenger suddenly did a double take as they came up even with my front fender… The guy just about Garfielded himself on the window! Just so hillarious! 

That reaction alone was worth it if no one else noticed… And a lot of other people noticed. Got lots of smiles out of people on our quick trip to town last night. 

If nothing else I “lightened” up a few folks evenings, hopefully for the better… Definitely got me feeling a lot better

Next year I’m thinking I’ll hang a wreath in the middle of the grill, and light it, and run the other lights on out down the full bed length.  ðŸ˜€

Merry Christmas everybody.  ðŸ™‚

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Automotive Work, Christmas, Custom, Customized, Decorating, Fabrication, Funny, GetOutdoors, Good Times, Just Plain Fun, MacGyver, MacGyverism, mechanical, Modifications, Sillly, Silly, truck, Truck gear, Winter

For warm dry knees! 

Got a new item recently. Well, 3 items actually. 

After my moose hunting trip this fall, a sleeping pad I’d borrowed to take was misplaced. Wasn’t in my gear, and when the boat was unpacked, it wasn’t found. We figured it blew out of the boat on the long drive back, and hoped someone found it on that winding mountain road– If I lose something, I at least hope someone gets some use fromy it, that it’s not wasted.

And I’d just obviously get a new one for the guy I borrowed it from. 

I did go buy a new one. 
Couple weeks went by before I got to take stuff back to him. 

In that time, my buddy cleaned Everything out of the boat. 

He found the padd, said literally it was stuffed so far up under the front deck a hurricane wouldn’t have budged it! 

None the worse for wear, I returned that pad to my friend, intending to return the new one, get my much needed $45 back. I did think about trying to still give my friend the new one, but he wouldn’t have accepted it if the old one wasn’t lost.. 

After using the first padd in an emergency, sleeping on it on Cold front deck on the boat on the river one night, I was sold on it, figured I’d get myself one like it before next season. 

Just didn’t really want to spend the money now… Didn’t get around to trying to return it till after the return period had ended. Oops.

In that time period I’d been also looking at small foam pads, after seeing someone at BCUSA carrying a sitting pad in their day bag. Found something I never knew anyone made; kneeling pads! Some for camping, some for gardening, work etc. 

My dad used to cut sections from the old 1/4″ closed cell foam sleep pads for kneeling to work, but I’d never seen anything sold for that. 

I’d started carrying chunks of cardboard in my truck box for roadside, job site etc kneeling, sitting, laying etc on cold or wet ground. Realized I should have had a foam one like dad used to make in the truck years ago, just never thought of it! 


You can see where this is headed, right? 

Since I have it, but don’t need the padd for sleeping till next summer, and can pick up another one then if I need it (I actually use a Klymit V-luxe air pad the most); In the mean time I can save myself the cost of keeler pads. 

I’d also found another great use for that pad on the hunting trip, as a chair pad. Took my folding canvas camp chair along, and it was great. But as id found before, sitting too long in one of those in cool wet weather, especially with a breeze can freeze your back and butt; its just cold canvas your sitting on, stays cool and bleeds heat fast.. I laid the pad in the chair and with a light sleeping bag over my legs was very comfy for early and late river vigils waiting for bulwinkle. :)

I did this last week a few days before ice fishing… I use the same chair for that activity, and sitting in that chair even with winter gear on can royally freeze your ass in a wind on a lake @ 10F or colder… 

So 30 seconds laying the new one in a chair to measure length needed for seat and back, then another 30 seconds with a pocket knife, cutting along the thin fold line. One chair pad made! 

Then what was left I cut into two equal sections, also cutting on the folds. Go two kneeling/sitting pads, one for my hunting/camping/hiking gear, and one for the truck. 

It was so warm last week for ice fishing I didn’t bother to take the big chair pad along, just took a small one. Never needed it, it was so warm, and the fishing was so good I spent a lot of time standing anyway. 

Anyway, it was still in the cab of my truck last night, got home late, 40F out (!) light wind, clear sky, stars out and Lots of northern lights. 

I killed the yard lights, grabbed the pad and sat on the tailgate of my truck to watch the show. 40F ambient is great, but a metal tailgate will still be 0F or colder after a week if that and freeze yer ass off! But with the pad I was dry and toasty. Size was good too, enough to sit on comfortably, but not huge to store. 

Gonna need two more pads now… One to keep as a sleep pad, and another to make more kneelers, for other uses/places/vehicles. 

It is/was a Therm-a-rest Z-Lite pad BTW. 

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Thermarest does make a sitting pad, shorter than the sleep pads, and cheaper at $15. Same design, same materials. It would have been too small for the chair pad I wanted, but I might get a couple of those for making more kneelers. Think I can get two of this size kneeler from one of those. 2 for about $15 ain’t bad!

As it is now, two sit/kneel pads and a chair pad that could be used as a short sleep pad isn’t bad at all for $45! 🙂 

Categories: Backcountry, Camping gear, Custom, Customized, Field gear, GetOutdoors, Ice Fishing, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Preparedness, Truck gear

New ice tent fix & first ice fishing of 2017

Last summer a buddy of mines neighbor gave him an ice fishing tent… Brand new, in box. The guy had got it as a gift or something, and didn’t need two.. something like that IIRC. But unfortunately the guy was a little drunk when he was giving it away, and insisted on showing my friend how to set it up. 


Uhuh. Broke two poles in the process. And I’m really not sure how… These tents are so simple and idiot proof.. well, I guess not drunk proof.. lol. 

These things operate on a simple tension system, a X of poles, anchored at the outer corners of each wall, and the roof, a pivoting hub in the center attached to the wall. The X is a few inches bigger than the dimensions of the wall, so when you snap it out rigid it bows the wall out against the pressure, and it pops into place and stays under the tension. Super slick and easy. 

He managed to snap off two of the poles from one hub, snapped right at the end, flush with the metal pivot ends that fit in the hub. 

My buddy doesn’t ice fish(yeah, a weirdo, I know…), so he gave me the tent.  I just got around to going and getting it from him a week ago yesterday. 

New poles I found are $10 each plus shipping. They’re 49.5″ long, I hate to think what shipping to AK was going to be. But I figured there had to be an easy fix. 

My buddy thought PVC pipe over the breaks. I can’t remember seeing PVC that small. (3/8″ ID for the pole, 1/2″ ID for the end fitting.)

And I was hoping to not buy anything 😉  

I took it apart and took the end pieces out, headed to the shop. 

I had a plan, would just make a sleeve to join them, set screws to hold them in, long over the pole side for support against it torquing out, or snapping again. 

Didn’t have any aluminum big enough dia, that wasn’t 2″ Dia, so I used a scrap of bead stock brass. Ended up 5″ each sleeve, bored through at 0.375″ and counter bored on one end at 0.5″. Cross drilled, and tapped 6-32 for some brass screws I had. Cross drilled through the end fittings (aluminium), and ran the screws through instead of just against them. 

When you break a fiberglass rod, as you know if you have ever broken a ski pole or tent pole, it “blooms” on the end, sort of a spreading, or swelling to larger dia.

That made it perfect, I fed the fittings over from the opposite end, and it formed a press fit over the expanded area, I had to drive them on, down to the right length to end at 49.5″. Perfect! 

First assembly I had the end of the sleeve too close to the cross pin the ends pivot on in the hub, it wouldn’t fold. Went back and trimmedthem down a touch, now they’re fine. 

Sorry, only took pics after it was back together… In place, and in use;

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That was a week ago today. I’d been needling another buddy about going fishing some time soon on that Sunday. Day after I fixed this he sent me a message, lake name and date.  ðŸ˜€ This last Saturday. 

So, we’ll before first light we loaded up andheaded out;

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Two hour drive to the lake, short hike across the lake, we’re set up just after dawn. 3.5 hours of fun later; (yeah, so much fun I never stopped to take pics!)

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Little silver salmon. (Stocked lake). We had hoped on some big lake trout or pike that are usually easy in this lake, but they weren’t biting. I ain’t complaining! It was still great!

I came home 1 short of the daily limit! I’d caught 6, but put 1 back. Another guy caught 5 or 6 he kept. The other guy got 4 that he kept, but has a freezer full of salmon, so he let me have them. Had lots more bites we missed, and some that got off half way up etc.. Good times! 

We didn’t freeze either, and actually fished comfortably outside the tent, only setting it up with the buddy heater to wam up once. 5F with a 5 to 10 mph wind. Dreamy weather for a first trip of the season. (Always a bitch to acclimate yourself to the ice, wind, andfishing at -20F for the first trip out! 😉 )

I gotta say that little Victorianox paring knife is THE sweetest fish cleaning knife I’ve ever had. Thin narrow Wicked laser sharp blade, and a great grippy handle. Love it!

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Good Friends, Good Times, Ice Fishing, Improviser, knives, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Winter

ATV plow, first use. 

Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver…

The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter

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