American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, August 31, 2006

PSK: Part II

PSKs often include several small items (i.e. fish hooks, safety pins, needles, etc.) which can easily be lost in the woods when the kit is opened. There are a few ways to deal with this problem.

First, you can find yourself a small vial or other container in which to place these small items.

Second, you can place a piece of double-sided tape on the inside top and inside bottom of the case. This allows you to attach those small items out of the way but still secure as well as giving you the ability to inventory those small parts at a glance.

Either of these approaches will require you to remove the foam inside the NRA Survival Kit.

That will also give you all kinds of extra room for other essentials.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

PSK Work

I'm working on a revised Personal Survival Kit (PSK) and have decided on the NRA Kit as my basis. This decision came about largely because I already had one.

The case measures 6.875" X 4.571" X 1.827 outside with inside dimensions (actual storage space) of 6" X 3.374" X 1.293". That's plenty of room for essential gear plus some extras that'll make your stay in the woods a bit more tolerable.

The kit has some obvious drawbacks but for $15.95 plus shipping it's a great place to start. The contents of the kit cover the basics of signalling and fire. This kit contains the following:
  1. Starflash Signal Mirror
  2. JetScream Whistle
  3. WetFire Tinder Cubes (2)
  4. BlastMatch Firestarting Tool
  5. Basic instructions

and everything is packed neatly inside what appears to be an Otterbox 2000 (probably a $15-20 value in itself.)

One of my biggest gripes about this kit, other than the foam they've glued into the interior, is the color. Like Henry Ford and his Model-T, the NRA decided you could get this kit in any colored box as long as it was black. I started to remedy that issue yesterday by opening up the box, emptying its contents, and giving the outside a couple of coats of yellow spray paint. I know Krylon makes one now that bonds with the plastic on some molecular level but I had yellow spray paint and that's what I used.

It appears that the paint bonded well enough with the box and it has cured overnight and is now ready for a little testing. The paint on the latches will rub off quickly I suspect and some of the high spots will probably get scratched but as long as there is more yellow on the box than black I'll be happy. You don't want to set down your PSK and lose it because the box is a dull color that could blend in with the surroundings.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how to mod the inside and improve the list of contents.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Big Day

Today my number one hiking buddy starts Kindergarten. In about 90 minutes she'll climb on that school bus and head off to start a 17-year (at least) adventure. How'd five years fly by so quickly?

No time to be overly sentimental. She's growing up.

In addition, I wanted to share a few links with you that I've found on the Internet recently:

Doug Ritter's Blog--Doug is the Equipped to Survive guy and he writes about equipment, skills, and articles from a more survival-based view than I do. He's also got sections on his website about building kits from EDC to 72-hours and beyond.

Neanderpundit's article on knives--a good read that brought back a lot of memories. I was probably 10 and I still have that first knife. My first bad cut came from the large blade snapping shut on my right index finger. Ouch.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 28, 2006

Woods Time

Finally got back into the woods yesterday. Even better than getting into the woods was my daughter asking if she could come along.

We hit the gym in the morning, came home and threw some gear into the pack, got dressed, and headed out the door. She was so excited about the hike that she promptly fell asleep in her car seat.

The weather was cool but humid and it ended up being a pretty nice day to get out.

The hiking trail has been well maintained so Laura led the way. On the way to our site we found plenty of animal sign and even had an opportunity to scare up a coyote who was out and about in the middle of the day.

We set up near a stream under the shade of some old trees. Spen pitched a tarp and hung his hammock while I laid out Laura's area and Dan quickly set to brewing up a cup of tea. It's nice to be so industrious and to be comfortable with the steps required to establish a campsite.

Once we were settled in the knifework began. Dan and Spen brought out some new prototypes from Bark River Knife and Tool and I brought out my new Fallkniven F1. Once I laid hands on the proto the F1, I'm afraid, sat on my pack for the remainder of the day.

Spen setting up his tarp and hammock
Dan's pack, Laura's pack, and the space blanket where she would sit and relax
Showing Laura that it's fairly simple to start a one-match fire once you've mastered spark-based firemaking.
Using the new proto to flatten the back of a hearth board for some fireplow practice
You can't really see it in the picture here but we got smoke pretty quickly using the fireplow. Unfortunately, I ran out of steam before I got an ember. This is an excellent way to burn some calories though.
Dan made some curls with the proto for a fuzz stick. That'd burn with a single match.
Last, but certainly not least, my best hiking buddy. Sorry guys, she's got you all beat. She's tough, she's funny, she's cute as a button, and she's just as happy playing with bugs as she is with Barbie.

This was a great outing. We practiced lots of skills, we relaxed, we didn't melt in the heat or humidity, we talked, we laughed... In short, we did all the things that make bushcraft, woodsbumming, or camping so enjoyable. The sounds of nature all around us, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, the feel of a knife in the all combines to make one heck of a memorable experience.

Thank you to those who went with me and thanks to the rest of you for experiencing it vicariously through us. I hope I've done a respectable job of telling the story.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Wiggy's Bags

Hey there readers,

Wiggy's bags are on sale again. Looks like 20% off until September 30th.

I see he's also got a new summer weight bag for $100 (pre-reduced price) that could be of some interest.

Also, his poncho liners are marked down to $17.50 until they're all gone. He's got them in desert camo and woodland. The poncho liner, in my opinion, would be easily worth twice as much.

I trust my daughter's warmth in winter to one of these poncho liners and would strongly advise you to take a look at them at this price.

Every time I post about a sale at Wiggy's I end up with some more gear...

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 25, 2006

Not all is well

Recently I've come to notice that technology and I are at odds.

Just this week, I've been dealing with a host of problems with various electronic components around the house. I have a laptop with a bad keyboard and system fan, a desktop with a bad video card, and an iPod that just flat out doesn't work any more.

Thanks to Spen I've got a new video card that I'll try this morning but the other problems won't be easily solved.

Sure, mankind did without these things for generations and I can certainly do without them for a short while but do they all have to turn on me at the same time?!

Life in the woods is so much simpler. A knife, a billy can, a tarp, and some cordage is really all you'll need to get by. Sure, you could bring some food and drink along to make things more comfortable. You could strap a hammock up between two trees and just lay back and relax. You could just sit back against a log and enjoy the sights and sounds nature offers.

Batteries Not Included (nor required.)

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 24, 2006

After the storm

A massive thunderstorm blew through here (is STILL blowing through here) sometime last night. At around 3am the big stuff came in with house-shaking thunder and blinding bursts of lightning.

My first thought? Did the knots hold overnight?

Yes, they did. Some of the gear left at the site didn't fare as well. There will be some cleanup this morning once the rain moves on but the tarp and hammock are relatively unscathed. That'd be good news if I were sleeping in the hammock last night.

The ends of the hammock have gotten soaked and I probably would have spent a mildly wet night out had I been in it. The tarp is a 6'x8' poly tarp from The Home Depot and even at its longest part is shorter than the total length of the hammock. The ends of the hammock get wet and the water wicks up into the nylon.

Even so, it'd have been a fun ride sleeping out in that storm...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Practice your knots.

I wrote a while back about the number of knots I was using when setting up a campsite. That number and the type of knots has changed.

Yesterday I went back and tried to do some things the old way and had a tough time tying the knots correctly even though I knew them. My hands and brain weren't on the same page any more because I hadn't practiced them in a while.

Our site from the weekend is still up and today should get hit with some weather. I'm interested to see just how well it sheds the rain in a thunderstorm.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hot Breakfast

I've recently taken to preparing a hot breakfast for the kids and myself. I find the contents of a hot breakfast (i.e. eggs, potatoes, bacon, etc.) really sits well in my stomach and keeps me satisfied for quite some time.

Yesterday I had one egg over easy and one potato sliced thin and fried in a cast iron pan. To the potato I added some diced onion, a sliver of butter, and some parsley as I plated it. That hearty breakfast, plus a cup or two of coffee, kept me fueled up and going until late in the afternoon. That was a day outside with the kids so the activity level was quite high.

The potatoes really hit the spot. I'm still tweaking the preparation to get the crunchiest potatoes I can without overcooking them but the basis is sound.

So, as I already travel with a cast iron pan in my pack (a small one but cast iron is cast iron) I am going to have to more seriously consider throwing in a potato or two for my next overnight.


Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 21, 2006

What a Weekend!

So my trip to Escanaba got kooshed for various reasons. My car died. I went for my first serious workout in weeks. It was a weekend of emotional highs and lows following a hard week where I saw some heavy traffic to and from my parents' lake house and dealt with my first heavy allergy attack.

Yesterday was the cream on the cake though as I spent six or seven hours outside with the kids.

We pitched the tarp, hung the hammock, brought some folding chairs and some snacks, and set out to relax.

I brought the golok and the Sperati and reduced some scrub to fuel wood, kindling, and tinder but didn't assemble a campfire as the temperature was just right and the bugs weren't bothering us at all. This is the ultimate combination for the woods and was hugely effective on big and small sticks and branches.

We hung a rope in a tree and the kids took turns swinging back and forth for the better part of the afternoon. I pitched and re-pitched the tarp to get it nice and taut and am finally satisfied with it. Instead of bringing my Hilleberg yesterday, I brought a cheap 6-foot X 8-foot blue poly tarp just to see if it would hangle the rigors of my particular pitching method which involves a great deal of strain on the grommets/tieouts. For the duration, it worked just fine. It's a bit noisier than the Hilleberg when the wind blows and doesn't pack down anywhere near as small but it'd work just fine in a pinch.

I'm working on a method for hanging a heavier ridgeline rope and then putting the tarp over the top and hanging the hammock below. The problem develops when climbing into the hammock. The rope, between the attachment points, sags because the load on the rope has changed. There may be a place for bungies in this setup but I just haven't figured it out quite yet. It sure would simplify the whole hanging procedure if it'd work though.

We're headed back out today since the car is still at the shop and won't be ready for another day or so. I think I may throw in the tent so Jake can take a little nap without having to head for home.

I can't wait...

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Change of plans

The trip didn't pan out.

Good thing.

This morning my car conked out half way between my barber and my house. Had that happened sometime in the middle of last night somewhere between home and Escanaba it would have been a disaster.


Friday, August 18, 2006

On the Road Again

Today I'm off for Escanaba, MI to visit with Mike Stewart and the crew of Bark River Knife & Tool as well as members of the BRKCA.

It's a six-hour drive from my house and I won't be leaving until late this evening so I expect to arrive sometime in the wee hours of the morning with only a short while to rest before heading into the shop.

I'm a bit nervous about the trip. It's a long drive, I'm already tired, and I've been suffering from some severe allergies (something I've never dealt with) since my visit to the lake. Ugh.

It's certain to be a fun time but 12 more hours behind the wheel isn't something I often look forward to.

See you again sometime Sunday.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Blades

Did some shopping at Vintage Knives early Monday morning and a package greeted me at the door today when I got home.

I've been on a real slipjoint kick lately and Pup's got quite a selection of new and used slipjoints. He's even got one, a Moose pattern, with the Vintage Knives tang stamp. It's got massive backsprings and the blades snap open and closed with authority. 1095 Carbon steel takes a nice patina from use and the model I've had since they were first introduced has a nice dark grey finish with even darker spots. That's the one I just gave to my Dad for his birthday.

There were only 107 pieces made and I don't think there will be any more down the road so if you're interested I'd advise you to shoot Pup an email or give him a call and get whatever information you're going to need to finalize your decision.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And we're back

That was a pretty good trip despite the traffic.

Yesterday I put the K&M Industries Matchcase through it's paces including a little over an hour in the lake. It's every bit as watertight as advertised and an untreated strike-anywhere match ignited on the second strike. Mine, an aluminum model, even floated just under the surface.

The Sperati worked well at making fuzz sticks and throwing sparks from a metal match.

The golok, of course, took most of the abuse and still performed flawlessly. I really do like this blade.

I finally boiled up some water in my mucket once the fire got going and now it's a nice dirty black all around the bottom.

A good trip. I'm tired. The kids are tired. We're glad we went and we're glad to be back.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 14, 2006

Another day...

I'm taking the kids to my parents' lake house for a couple of days. My niece will be there anxiously awaiting some hard core play time with her cousins.

There will be some swimming in the lake, a boat ride (maybe,) running around in the yard, maybe even a round or two of sporting clays for me.

I'll be taking the Bark River Golok with me for some additional beating. This is far and away my favorite long blade and I just read on Knifeforums that the last one has been assembled, sharpened, and shipped to the dealers. There'll be some more down the line but they won't be the same steel O170-6 and don't plan on seeing the next run in '07.

Other than hunter safety, I've been playing with lashing skills and have been working hard to understand the methods behind the skill. In the process of lashing my hand-carved walking stick to a tree I managed to snap it into three pieces. Time to go looking for a new stick...

I have this idea now that I can lash a hiking stick to a tree and hang my tarp on the stick. This is something I hope to play around with a bit more down at the lake and/or back here later this week.

These past few weeks have been crazy and I'm getting a little burned out on the day-to-day stuff. It doesn't get any easier this week with the drive to and from the lake followed shortly by a drive up to Escanaba, MI for the Bark River Grind-In.

Maybe it'll slow down a bit after that...

Thanks for reading,


Happy Birthday Bob!

Today is my Father-In-Law's birthday.

Best wishes Bob. Have a good one.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hunter Safety Course

Last night began, for me, a two-day experience known as Hunter Safety. I am not required to take this course as I was born before the official cutoff date but I thought there might be some good information to gather and the class was free.

Turns out I was right. Last night I heard from the instructor, a traditional archer, and a game warden (Conservation Enforcement Officer.) Each left me with the same message which was really quite simple:

Respect your surroundings, respect the animals, and respect yourself.

Do these three things and, chances are, you're going to hunt safely and legally.

I also learned a bit about archery golf but that's a topic for another day...

I've got to run, class starts in a little more than an hour and I haven't had my coffee yet.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 11, 2006

Campsite Carry

How many of you have specific gear you have with you at all times when you're out camping?

I tend to carry some essentials (compass, metal match, whistle, etc.) on a baldric rig of braided paracord. My knife hangs off this rig as well giving me some very basic and very important gear should I lose the campsite for one reason or another.

Today I'm thinking about the extra capacity of a fanny-pack or waist pack.

It'd probably be handy for a daily carry too as it'd offload my wallet, phone, etc. to a waist pack instead of my pockets.

Going to have to experiment with this idea a bit...

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Maglite LED (Part 2)

I am more and more impressed with this new light as I get to see how it holds up to the kids' use. They've been running around the house with it since last night and all morning more of the same.

Jake (3) just THREW the light through the air and onto the hardwood floor. It must have gone 5-8 feet before landing hard. Before getting too mad, I asked him to turn it on. That impact would have broken an incandescent bulb. It lit right up.

I laughed.

He ran off with the light.

No worries.



The kids and I are headed to the local woods for a day out. We're expecting some thunderstorms so we'll prepare with extra shelter.

Maglite has released a new 3W LED bulb for their C and D cell lights and, on Spen's advice, I picked one up last night. $35 at the local Wal-Mart for the light and the bulb and it's a massive improvement over the standard bulb. The light is whiter, brighter, and will last longer on the same set of batteries.

I'm also in the market for a new video card. Mine is giving me fits today by scrambling the image while I'm working. We'll head to CDW this morning to see what they've got that'll work on this old computer and then cross our fingers that that fixes the problems.

Maybe it's time for Dell to get a call...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Campcraft Tips courtesy of Field & Stream Magazine


I was looking for some articles on campsite selection this morning and came across these great tips from J.B. Robinson. It may take a minute to pull up the page but give it time. It's worth it.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Kid Gear

I built Laura a survival/got lost pack today and we started going over the various components and their uses. The list had to be both simple to use and easy to carry. It had to cover shelter, water, signalling, and fire.

The list:
  1. Emergency Space Blanket
  2. Fox 40 Mini Whistle
  3. Cyalume 12 Hour Lightsticks (2)
  4. Lexan Nalgene Bottle
  5. Blastmatch Fire Starter and Cotton Balls (7)
  6. Wool socks

The scenario would play out something like this:
Laura is out playing while Daddy is setting up camp, preparing the fire for cooking, and arranging the gear for the evening when she suddenly realizes she can no longer see or hear him nor the camp.

She has her backpack on and quickly chooses a tree, sits down under it, and opens the pack. She first takes out and opens the space blanket, wraps it around her shoulders and over her head, and begins to blow her whistle--three times, wait, three times, wait, and repeat.

She has a drink of water and realizes the sun is going down quickly and so she snaps a lightstick and gives it a shake. Now she'll have light for the next 12 to 18 hours. That's quite comforting in case of an overnight.

Back to the whistle.

If her hands get cold she can stuff them inside the extra socks. Otherwise she'll have a fresh pair for the morning--another psychological boost.

She pulls the Blastmatch out of the pack's front pocket, opens the film canister of cotton balls, removes one and fluffs it, and presses the striker into the flint rod while pushing into the cotton ball's center mass. Whoosh! Flame. That's light, more psychological boost, entertainment (what do you think they did before television?,) and warmth. A fire would also be a darned good signal for a now-frantic Daddy if he hadn't yet found her.

She adds her tinder to the fire, lets it build momentum, adds her fuel wood, and settles in with her whistle between her lips and her water bottle at her side.

In reality the "rescue" would probably take just minutes but it's comforting (to me anyway) to know that she would be well prepared if an overnight was required. It's as much about knowing what to do as it is how to use what you've got and how to have what you'll need.

This list can be supplemented depending upon the weather but can also be used as is all four seasons and day or night.

Useful additions:
  1. Snack Bars
  2. Bug spray
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Flashlight
  5. Two-way Radio

I put Laura's kit together in a backpack she received last year for her birthday. A fanny pack or vest would work equally well. It all depends on the kid and what he/she would be willing to tote around regularly in the woods. Mine both know that it is not an option when we head for the woods. That's why the whole setup HAD to be light and easy to use.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 07, 2006

Ultimate Survival Blastmatch

Over the weekend I had an opportunity to play with the Ultimate Survival Blastmatch Fire Starter. The Blastmatch is a self-enclosed hunk of ferrocerium (metal match) spring loaded inside a plastic two-part handle that can be used one-handed to throw a massive amount of sparks onto prepared tinder to get a fire going.

I actually have several of these but have never really given them much attention due to my successes with the firesteel and other methods. If it ain't know the rest.

Anyway, I grabbed one on the way out the door on Saturday morning and had it in my pocket most of the day. It is light (2.7 oz.) and only 4" long closed so it sits about the same as a disposable lighter although slightly heavier.

Operation of the firesteel is fairly simple. You release the cap and the spring-loaded flint pushes forward. The cap swings around behind and nests onto the handle. You push down on the striker and push the whole assembly into your tinder pile.

Being fairly new, the flint still had the protective coating on it. That meant it took me two pushes to get the sparks into my tinder. It also meant that I had some flint scrapings IN the tinder when the sparks flew. Obviously that meant a bigger and longer-lasting flame once the scrapings were ignited.

My daughter and I grabbed a few leaves still wet with dew and I pushed the Blastmatch down once, twice, sparks, smoke, fire. We tried it again--sparks, smoke, fire. She tried it--once, twice, sparks, smoke, fire. Remember she's five. After seeing it only twice and trying it once she could have gotten a life-saving fire started with a simple push.

That Blastmatch got a long strip of pink flagging tape and went right in with the rest of her gear. I'll also throw in a couple of Ultimate Survival WetFire Tinder Cubes which I've tested in all kinds of weather and know to be reliable and easy to light.

One thing I just read this morning on the Survival, Inc. website was this:

As with all of Survival Inc.'s Ultimate Survival products, the BlastMatchâ„¢ has a lifetime warrantee, and will be replaced if you ever wear it out.

So, in summary, it's easy to use, works on less than optimal tinder because of the volume of sparks, has a lifetime warrantee, and costs less than $20. Heck, if you go here you can get the Blastmatch, a Starflash Signal Mirror, two WetFire Tinder Cubes, and a JetScream Whistle for just $15.95 and it's all packed into a watertight hard plastic case that's probably worth more than the cost of the whole package.

Check 'em out.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 06, 2006


Today my hiking buddy (Laura) abandoned me in favor of a visit to Grandma's horse barn. She'd rather ride Spirit, a Morgan Horse, in the woods than hoof it on her own two feet with the rest of us.

I hit the woods with Reid and his son Everett. The weather threatened to be nasty with a chance of humid and ended up being muggy but otherwise fairly nice.

I played around a bit with lashing, fed the boys parched corn and Muscovado, taught Everett how to snare squirrels (no squirrels were harmed during the lesson or at any time,) and generally had a decent time hanging out away from the cell phones, televisions, and other nuisances of daily life.

I managed to catch a peek at a Top Secret project Reid's working on with Mike Stewart at Bark River Knife & Tool and, I think, expressed my anticipation adequately by asking him to put my name on TWO. I can't divulge any of the details here but it's something I've worked on myself in the past and just never came to a satisfactory solution. I can tell you it is a knife.

I got to see the new BRK&T Sperati that Everett snagged during his last visit to Escanaba and asked nicely if he'd give it to me. No dice. By the way, that's Amboynia Burl on the handle. It really had an amazing figure and depth. Excellent choice Everett.

We had spiders again today. Looks like this summer isn't as good for them but it's pretty good. A sizeable wolf spider took up residence right near our camp and wasn't the least bit intimidated by the loud humans nearby.

No mice though...

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 05, 2006

What is it they say about the apple and the tree?

Today Laura caught her first mouse...the hard way.

We were at a meeting discussing the house we're having built and a mouse kept terrorizing the designer and the builder's rep so I offered a $5 reward to the first kid that could capture the rodent.

Both kids immediately jumped to action.

Over the next hour the mouse made appearances four or five more times until Laura managed to chase it into the sales office, corner it, and drop a styrofoam cup over the top of it. Caught.

I slipped a manila folder under the cup and took the mouse outside and tossed him into the lot next door. That should be the end of his time inside the sales office...

But it wasn't.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 04, 2006

Physical Fitness and Outdoorsmanship

I'd like to talk a bit more about this subject.

Does physical fitness play a role in outdoorsmanship? Can a fat person do as much or enjoy as much as a thinner person? Can an old person get as much out of a trip outdoors as a young person?

A year ago at Practice What You Preach (PWYP) I climbed to the top of Chestnut Mountain and, due to fatigue and lack of fitness, I suffered the whole way up. When I got there I vowed to lose some weight, get in better shape, and ascend again the following year.

Scheduling difficulties got in the way and I didn't make it back this year. I didn't manage to lose any of the weight or get in better shape either.

I often joke about the extra weight I carry but I wonder just how that has impacted my time in the woods. I have to get the extra strong hammock because the ultralight jobs often list maximum weight as just slightly more than my "out of the shower" weight.

This lack of fitness came in to play again in Denver where the altitude, combined with the level of activity, has left me totally smashed. I'm still trying desperately to get enough sleep to feel like a normal human being again. (Yes, as normal as I could ever be...)

Survival situations call for controlled exertion (sweating can lead to dehydration and/or hypothermia depending upon the environment.) A more fit person can do more with less effort and could, hypothetically, have an easier time because of the ability to do more work preparing for the night, weather, etc. before stopping.

It seems hard to believe that losing 15 pounds wouldn't benefit my time in the woods.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 03, 2006


The Colorado trip really took the starch out of me.

I am going to bed earlier and sleeping later since returning. I'm still tired.

The heat and humidity may play some part in this but I suspect it has more to do with the pace we kept out West. It was only four days but they were some long days.

The altitude combined with my general lack of fitness may have played some part in this exhaustion too. I noticed it as soon as we stepped off the plane and that was only a 5,000 ft. gain in altitude. Thank goodness we weren't headed for the mountains at 10-12,000 feet.

I am packing a bag with gear that will be allowed as carry-on for the airlines. This is not the first time I've arrived at a destination missing some piece of gear I would normally carry because it wasn't allowed on the plane. It is something for which I can plan and adapt.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Day After

The day following a trip is always a tough one. Yesterday was no exception.

Not only do I have to contend with laundry and all the things neglected while I was gone, but the kids have adapted quickly to their new schedule and are having a hard time adapting back. The time change has allowed us all to sleep in but at the cost of an earlier bedtime.

We all stayed up too late, did far too much maintenance stuff, and stayed out of the heat and the sun for a day. Four days in Denver spent mostly outdoors normally becomes an issue of keeping warm but this trip was all about preventing sunburn and dehydration. Some stores were handing out bottled water to customers and passers-by.

Normally the day after a trip is the best time, if not immediately upon arrival, to clean any dirty, wet, or used gear before mildew or corrosion set in. Fortunately (I guess) I didn't have a wet tent to dry, clean, and re-seal this time.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Boots

While in Denver I had the opportunity to visit the Filson store and try on a pair of these.

Wow, they were a bit snug out of the box but within 5 minutes of walking around the store they felt like an old worn-in pair of tennis shoes. They're quite a bit heavier than sneakers but they're built extremely well of thick leather with a Vibram lug sole and look to outlast me if taken care of.

These'll be my boots come hunting season so I tried them on with the thickest wool socks available at the Filson store and the fit was right on with what I was expecting (i.e. 10s fit like 10s.)

It was 94 degrees in Denver yesterday so putting on thick wool socks and tall leather boots was quite an adventure. Not quite as much an adventure as the day I tried on their wool jackets but an adventure nontheless.

Oh, they're also made right here in the USA.

So, if you're in Denver and you stop by the Filson store, ask for Nick Arnold. He helped me on two different trips and couldn't have been nicer or more accomodating.

Thanks for reading,