Monday, 22 August 2011

Crap Outdoors Pt3

And here's what I didn't buy. This was on offer from a reputable provisioner! Shheeeesh fifty squid too. For Shame.


Unboxing: Kifaru Packlock Arctic Pants

Summer: Tis The Season To Be Buying Thermals

Following on from the last post, this is what i spent a little less than the $200 on

I am my father's son; what ever I do, how ever much I see myself as evolved through my own nurture, nature will out. Or as MOB (mother of bushwacker) says of my Dad "gods gift to anyone offering a bargain - whether he needs it or not". Putting Ma's cynicism to one side for a moment the summer is the best time to buy winter equipment. I am a very sad man so I have an ever growing pile of gear from high end small volume manufacturers, and because the kit isn't made by imprisoned democracy protesters it aint cheap. I can't afford to buy it new but I keep telling myself there's no saving in buying brand new crap that falls apart within a year, when for 10-20% more [ I tell myself again]  I can buy stuff my kids kids will be using as they forage the post apocalyptic wastelands for rats to eat.

With that I bring you this weeks, kit tart / gear whore-ism: Kifaru Packlock Pants

I've got the Arctic 27oz version with the 'optional' armour on the Knees and Seat

I could never have justified buying these at full price so it's nice to see first hand what the really high-end gear is like. In a word Awesome. For your eye-watering $452 + shipping +  import tax + VAT you get a pair of RhinoSkin trousers that are seriously stuffed with Climashield 6 Oz per sq yard insulation, and 500D cordura patches on the high wear areas. As usual with Kifaru there's the clever little design tweeks that make the difference. They sew a patch, inside and out, on to the back of the pants where the belt of your pack will sit that is - I don't know how to explain this - sort of adhesive without being sticky. Which is designed to reduce the effect of your pack moving about on the layers of your clothing. Feels like it'll work well. But obviously only a thorough field test will answer that. I've not managed to track down anyone with a sub zero meat locker yet so the field tests of these and my Kifaru Sleeping bag may have to wait until the weather gets a lot colder.

In the meantime, more of the usual nonsense, kit reviews, and tales between here and Elk hunter
Your pal

Friday, 12 August 2011

$200 To Spend On Outdoor Gear

So picture the scene: you've got $200 bucks, AKA £120, not that I've got $200, or that I'm by some act of blogger magic able to give you $200, just an imaginary $200 of 'mad money' not bills money, not body and soul money, just $200/£120 of 'mad money'.

What Outdoor Gear Would you Buy With It?

Answers in the comments section please, and you never know where this one might lead us.....

Your pal

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rioting In Hackney Video

A couple of you have written in to ask me about the rioting in London over the last few nights. The first bit of this footage takes place about 10 minutes walk from my house, and literally on MCP's doorstep. The second section is down the street from R&E's place. Looting got a bit nearer the next day, but after the appliance store had been cleaned out there was nothing left worth stealing so the running battles moved back down to Hackney central.
More Soon

Two bits of reportage that I thought were worth repeating, the first a call to arms from some of the 'yoovz' purportedly taken from Blackberry Messaging:

"If you're down for making money, we're about to go hard in east london tonight, yes tonight!! I don't care what ends you're from, we're personally inviting you to come and get it in. Police have taken the piss for too long and to be honest I don't know why its taken so long for us make this happen. We need a minimum of 200 hungry people. We're not broke, but who says no to free stuff. Doesn't matter if the police arrive cos we'll just chase dem out because as you've seen on the news, they are NOT ON DIS TING. Everyone meet at 7 at stratford park and let's get rich."

And from the excellent psychology blog MindHacks, some coverage that looks a little deeper than the tedious knee jerk reactions we've all read elsewhere.

'In the coming weeks we can expect to see politicians and pundits lining up to give us their smash-and-grab clich├ęs for the recent urban riots in the UK. They’ll undoubtedly give a warm welcome to our old friends economic decay, disengaged youth and opportunistic crime, and those of a more psychological persuasion might name drop ‘deindividuation’ – the process where we supposedly lose self-awareness and responsibility in large crowds.This belies the fact that we crowd behaviour is a complex area that is surprisingly poorly researched. READ MORE HERE interesting stuff.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Field Sports In Scotland Pt7

A bit of Lowland Stalking yesterday afternoon. 

This 'Trophy Rupert' was first glassed in the car-park and then stalked to this magnificent shot in the vegetable section of Morrisons in St Andrews. 

Rupert (s) are the mature males of the English upper classes: often seen in their distinctive out-of-office plumage of red strides and check shirt, this partially fine example has the additional pink shirt.

Although there are records of earlier sightings, Rupert Stalking in the UK was first popularised early in the 21'st century by the blogger known as Bambi Basher. Mainly a summer sport, most Rupert Stalking takes place at game fairs and country shows, although domesticated examples can sometimes be seen tethered outside horse shows, country interiors showrooms, and boutiques selling twin-set and pearls.

Reports have reached us that there have been numerous sightings on the east cost of America where they are colloquially known as 'Nantucket Pinks'. It is not yet known if these a purely domestic species or the result of migratory interbreeding.

More soon

PS I'm hoping to bag a 'Tarquin' the juvenile male of the same species, later in the season. 

PPS I dont usually edit posts but this blog deserves a mention
Look At My Fucking Red Trousers - serious Rupert Stalking action!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Unboxing: Greys Missionary Fly Rod Review

"The rod is a bamboo weighing seven ounces, which has to be spliced with a winding of silk thread every time it is used. This is a tedious process; but, by fastening the joints in this way, a uniform spring is secured in the rod. No one devoted to high art would think of using a socket joint." 

Way back when I set out on my mission to take Wild Brown Trout from waters within the M25 (the orbital ring road that incircles London) I hooked up with [sporadic] blogger and Fly Guy, Jeremiah Quinn who had offered to act as my guide. He oversaw my first clumsy efforts to flick-a-fly as we explored the Darenth a river in Kent once fished by Charles Dickens. You can read all about it here.

Jeremiah is very well traveled and deeply committed to no-money-down fishing in rivers and streams, disdaining 'stockies'  from the pay-to-play reservoirs as tame fish for the uncommitted. Often this means arduous travel by planes, trains, and public transport. He uses Greys Missionary rods to avoid that horrible moment when you're waiting to see if the ramp-monkeys have bent your rod tube into a U shape. As something of a wanderer myself I've always bought take-down or travel rods for spinning and beachcasting so I needed little convincing.

Everyone I asked said a six weight was the all-rounder for fresh water, I've got the 5/6 weight. You can fish a fly rod one up or one down so it's biggish for the chalksteams of the Darenth and Wandle, and smallish for the Thames. The rod of a suburban fly fisher. The rod of mountain stream bushwhacker.

You can spend all kinds of money on fly rods, but frankly there are limits. Sad kit-tart though I am, I'm just not in the market for an £800 rod. But my £25 rod sucked; if I'd given it a flick before writing this post it would still be vibrating now. Happily fly rods are both deeply subjective and subject to the whims of fashion. So there's often the chance to buy rods from people who've changed their minds about last weeks must-have. When a deal steal came up I took Jeremiah's advice and pounced on my current rig which is based around the Greys Missionary.
  • 8.25 feet long; handy when trying to get between the trees linning a chalk stream
  • Slower than the fast 'technical' rods, faster than the sloppy slow ones, it's made a HOOJ difference to my casting. 
  • Mid-to-Tip action makes it pretty forgiving
  • The tube it comes in is much better made than the Shimano tubes, though not as nice as the metal tubes the £800 rods come in.
But does it catch fish?

More soon

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Field Sports In Scotland Pt6

Cinnabar Moths

One of the afeild pastimes we played at was both fun and fantastic for the diversity of the environment. Andy lets his front yard grow totally wild with loads of different grasses, sedges and pants growing to seed, the birds are drawn to his garden in impressive numbers. We spend a great afternoon collecting seeds from a meadow to introduce to the his mini nature reserve. It was loads of fun to keep adding to the tally of different plants we'd gathered. I stopped counting at twenty and reveled in being ten years old again. 
Food for the soul and the birds. Way cool.

More soon
Your pal

Monday, 1 August 2011

Field Sports In Scotland Pt5

Come Dine With Me

We spent the morning anxiously searching the Kingdom of Fife for Sciurus carolinensis AKA the Tree Rabbit, who has an urgent dinner invitation for some celebrity chefery. Further details are embargoed...

More soon (ish)

Unboxing: Life Saver Water Purifier Review

Readers from way-back-when may remember I was rather taken with the idea of these water purifiers. Finally I've taken delivery of one, so an Unboxing is due. 

When inventor Michael Pritchard saw the asian tsunami on TV he wanted to do something to help people in the third world rebuild their lives, when he saw hurricane Katrina devastate a first world country he re-evaluated the scale of the problem, and developed Lifesaver as a solution. This truly is game changing technology, by carrying one instead of carrying water you save a massive amount of pack weight AND get far cleaner water than any other available system.

Up until now even the best filter has only removed bacteria 200 nanometers long from water. Viruses are typically only 25 nanometers long and would pass through the filter. Lifesaver filters right down to 15 nanometers means instant access to safe water whatever the circumstances.

The instructions said you have fill it with clean water and let it stand for 10 minutes
 Once you've got the lid off!
 Mockery: Andy says it's better to give than receive
Pump it up to prime the charcoal filtre
 Fill with water of questionable quality
You can also use the pre filter as a scavenging sponge

Make sure you've closed the waterproof cap to keep the drinking and filling ends separate

 OK perhaps the lid is a bit stiff

Pump it up to make the water flow,
if the water only trickles out give it a few more pumps.

“The ‘Lifesaver bottles’ were tested using micro organisms in far greater numbers than could ever be found in natural water sources. This is the worse-case scenario approach recommended by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and their guidelines have been used to draw up our own protocols for testing of all Microbiological Water Purifiers. As well as using modified tap water for our tests we use samples taken from a pond or stream as our challenge test water to simulate ‘real-life’ situations as per EPA guidelines.”
Under the conditions of testing in our laboratory as shown in this report, our results show that the ‘Lifesaver Bottle’ removed all bacteria and viruses from a contaminated water source in excess of legal requirements and as such, complies with all British, US and European Drinking Water Regulations for Microbiological Reduction.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

For a full explanation here's the inventor Michael Pritchard giving a demonstration for TED Talks

I'm not as smart as Michael Pritchard but as ever, my blog my rules, so here's what I'd do differently:

In this size it takes up a bit of pack space, I'd like one half the size, half the weight wouldn't be a bad thing either even if, as it's for recreational use, it only had half the service life.

The strap is add-on design - by the time you've filled the thing with 'orrid water the strap has soaked some up and the risk of cross contamination is doubled. I'm going to make a replacement out of something non-absorbant.

In summation: wether you're hiking, camping, traveling in the third world, or preparing [see the Jerry Can size here] this is an excellent bit of kit.

Lifesaver also do a really cool purchase option, where you pay a little more for your bottle and another bottle goes to someone in a disaster zone. The link is HERE the USA site is HERE

A very cool product from a very cool company

More soon