Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Kickstarter - Keystone

So in a brilliant turn of events, the prototype Keystone key-keeper that I did a wish-lust piece on last week, turned up this week, and I have been able to give it a go, just in time for the KickStarter to finish up.

What this means is that I can give you all some honest options about the kit in time for you to go and pledge to get one of your very own, should the idea appeal.

Here's the link to Abel's Kickstarter project .

I liked the smooth lines  of the keeper, and the built in cut-aways allowing me to use one set of keys to push out the other side, to retrieve the key I was after.

I swapped out my keys, and the associated keychain tools from my Tactical Keychains TiKeY keeper, which has served me well since last December to give it a true comparison.

One interesting design difference is the use of steel washers over nylon and rubber tubing. I had initially thought this would lead o a more jangly, slippier keeper, but it seems to have don the opposite, locked it down tight.

The steel screw-heads, even with their thin threading and thin overall pin diameter haven't caused me any of the worried I had had about the keys sliding about with either. In fact, if anything, the fit is TOO tight, and I have to really push to get my keys or tools out and ready to use.

That steel screw-head does take a lot more punishment than the more subtle aluminium heads seen on the TiKeY, and that durability is probably one thing really in its favour.

I put a steel face-plate on one side, and the black powder coated aluminium facing on the other, with no discernible difference at this stage. the steel will resist wear and tear better.

The nice thing about this system is that it is modular. Extra pegs mean you can add additional pegs to expand your key carriage by simply just adding one or two of those extra pegs, along with the extra included steel washers.

 Overall, I think I prefer the steel over the aluminium, in this case, I noticed no appreciable diference in weight in the time I've had it on hand.

I only had enough keys to warrant the single peg, but it was really nice to see the extra pegs be available to use. Between the extra pegs, and a sufficient washers to add as many keys as I'd want, its a really nice package.

This is certainly everything it advertises itself to be, and its rugged, secure and modular.

Go check it out, if you're in the market for a new key keeper.

Less jingle-jangle is less unwanted attention coming your way!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Repost - "How To Properly Remove Exam Gloves And A Tyvek Suit Without Contaminating Yourself"

From my friends over at Modern Survival Blog, which I follow happily: This came up recently, and I wanted to share it, not only becasue they are informative, but also becasue sometimes they are funny as well. Heres a post from October 9, 2014 by Ken Jorgustin ...

Here are the two clips he posted.

I've used this particular technique since first year uni. I can flick my used and twist-wrapped gloves across a room and into a biohazard bin

Very handy tricks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wish-Lust: Kickstarter - Keystone

I had one of my epic Kickstarting fanatic buddies drop me a line suggesting that he'd been contacted by a maker who was interested in a review. I got in touch, and here are the technical specifications for another key-keeper, with industrial lines ...

This is the Keystone, being Kickstarted.
You may recall that I have a couple of this kind of thing, in the form of the large and small TiKeY holders. So I am very keen to see how these perform once they go into production. Offered in two materials: 304 stainless steel in its "raw" colouration, and in 5052 aluminium in "raw", "gunmetal" and "black"

The hardware material, in the form of 2 male screw posts, 2 female screw posts, 4 extension screw posts and 30 spacers are all also made of 304 stainless steel. The Keystones are designed to take up to 20 keys, for those who have a keychain like a mace or a high school janitor. To carry 20 keys, you're adding 21g worth of hardware.

The steel Keystone frames weigh about 44g and the
aluminium frames weigh about 15g. Both types measure: 85mm x 20mm x 2mm per side.

The ultra thin screw posts are 3mm in diameter to fit all flat keys and by adding extension screw posts and adjusting the number of spacers used you can to customise the number of keys carried. The Screw Posts are adjustable with just a coin, a very handy feature.

I also liked the way the keys appear to be "ejected" for use, by squeezing the hand-divots from below.

I'm looking forwards to seeing what these are like in the hand, and both pocketed and hung from my EDC harness,
 and if they appeal, I'd certainly recommend checking out the Kickstarter, before it reaches the end of its campaign.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wish Lust: books - The Knowledge

Its been a little while since I have done a book-review, which is a bit poor on my part, as there is a lot of preparation, survival and readiness material out there, and you are remiss if you rely only on the ephemeral and transient internet for this kind of learning and discovery.

My last report on this was to discuss the  Guide, Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking for meat keeping, Tan Your Hide! for turning skins into leather, The Urban Homestead for its down-home DIY ideas and Toolbox for Sustainable City Living for more of the same.

Several people have now suggested I check out this best-seller listed book, by Lewis Dartnell, "The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world from scratch"

I haven't sourced a copy yet, but from the excerpts and reviews I have read and been recommended, I think it will certainly be right up my, and perhaps your alleys. Here's what the website has to say for it...

"Maybe it was a viral pandemic, or an asteroid strike, or perhaps nuclear war. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and you and the other survivors must start again.
What key knowledge would you need to start rebuilding civilisation from scratch?
The Knowledge is a journey of discovery, a book which explains everything you need to know about everything. This is a quick-start guide for rebooting civilisation which will transform your understanding of the world – and help you prepare for when it’s no longer here…"
I'll add that the website also expands on the book, and the author has not been resting on their laurels, and has been adding content and links to other similar works. I get the feeling that he really cares about the topic, and it's not just a "publish or die" project but rather a central passion. I was impressed, and can;t wait to have a read myself. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: SureFire - Sonic Defender EP4 EarPro

I've covered a bunch of PPE in the past: body armour, rain and weather wear, helmets, goggles and buoyancy gear. What I haven't really covered before is ear protection.
I have always worn earplugs when out at clubs and concerts, sporting events (RollerDerby all the way!) but also for power tool work and for industrial noise. Generally I have worn the squishy foam earbuds, but have resorted to rolled up cloth, wadded paper and even Blu-Tack in order to preserve my hearing in loud environments. Mostly nightclubs.
The problem with all these kind of earbuds is the loss of clarity. Or you go to over-head ear-muffs and lose even more.

When I saw the Sure Fire Sonic Defender EP4 on Platatac's website, I thought I'd take the plunge with something more professional.

These hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer framed plugs fit into the contours and folds of the ear, in ways that are both comfortable AND secure. No more foam popping out, these suckers stay in place, regardless of how much I am enjoying the PWEI reunion concert I am at, or rattling myself with a hammer-drill fortifying "the bunker". The triple flange design incorporates a patented Hocks Noise Braker® filter, lowering potentially dangerous noise levels above 85dB by upwards of 24dB whilst the little stoppers are in place, but allow for near-normal range of hearing when out.

I also noted that the high and mid-range loss was quite different to that with regular foam plugs, there was much more clarity in human speech, without the sharp high-end sting that naked-earways might expect, around loud sources. Removable lanyard lets you pull them out have them draped around your neck, or gear and not drop them in the muck, should you need to.

The soft, durable, and long-lasting plugs were comfortable wearing for hours, and I was able to answer a call on my phone with no problems. Being a low-profile design that allows you to keep them in place while wearing a mask, helmet, hat, headphones, or supplemental ear muff means you can wear them without being caught with unprotected hearing for those unexpected noises in non permissive environments ....

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Propper - STL II pants

As first seen on BreachBangClear ..... I really love being able to write for these guys, and upcoming articles for RecoilWeb too!

Here's another great piece from Propper's new line-up, the redoubtable  STL II pants, that came in my haul of Propper loot, along with a Liberty Bottle , the ICE polo shirt, (, their Gen Multipurpose Bag ( and a 720 Belt ( all of which have reviews pending. Watch this space.

Here is what I can tell you about the STL II pants. I've reviewed some Propper pants before and appreciated the comfort and wearability of their design, construction and durability. The STL II's are no different. Made from a 97% nylon and 3% spandex, it has a generous cut and all the hard wearing seams are reinforced, and flat-finished, giving these pants a very comfortable fit.

The fabric is soft, breathes nicely and light, a far cry from my old canvas type cargo pants of yesteryear. I wonder how hard-wearing they will be in the long term, and whether they need to fall in the "slacks vs overalls" category of rough-use. I have a feeling running through acacia thorns wouldn't be a lot of fun in these.

On the upside, they feature gusseted crotch allows greater range of motion as well as giving pinch free fit for those of us who go-commando or even sport some jewelry ...

An interesting feature is that the bottom of the legs have a zippered expandable opening, for fitting over boots, as well as a reinforced "kick-panel"  to take some of the brunt for those who punish their back hems a fair bit.

The front pockets feature a reinforcing strip, for belt-clips of knives or key-holders, and are both deep and well lined. No holes poking through or awkward bulges with these. The thigh-pockets are zippered and discreet, as are the rear-pockets. A pair of looped fabric bands on the front two belt-loops

You might notice that I have stuffed my iPad Air into the thigh-pocket. A tight fit, but I'd call that a success, in my "can I pocket my iPad" criteria. This also further demonstrated the clean and subtle lines of these pants. When closed off, there are no bulging baffles or overtly "cool-guy" flaps on these pants. Perfect for blending in with the regular folks out and about, in the office, or in my day-to-day case, in hospitals and giving presentations in board-rooms, without making security nervous.

As Propper themselves state, you'd have to look twice at these pants to spot their tactical features.

Speaking of which, there is even a secret 12cm x 10cm pocket, in the back waistband seam.  Its big enough for me to stash my passports, or a phone, and when coupled with a pair of belt-pouches, is pretty much invisible.

For pants as cleanly cut as these, I like that they still have the "secret-squirrel" feel of their tactical ancestry.  As previously mentioned, they feel more like slacks than combat-pants, that is a plus and a minus, depending on how you look at it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sneak peek: SOG - BladeLight

Here's a quick Grill-Ops shot of the SOG BladeLight fixed blade. Talk about a lightsabre!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wish Lust: Kickstarter UV PaqLite - Mule Orb

Here's a cool Kickstarter project that I am backing, and wanted to get the word out there.

This is the Mule Orb, by UV PaqLite,  who also produce the the UVGlowStik, the 6" ToobLite, a UVO ring necklace and the flexible signature UVPaqLite sheet that I have covered previously as part of their Scout Pack.

The UVPaqLite line gets its signature glow from the solidified clear epoxy, in which crystals of  glow-in-the-dark strontium aluminate are suspended. These crystals offer significantly more "glow" than the powdered SrAl2O4:Eu that goes into other moon-glow products.  

The trick with the Mule-Orb is that it combines those very efficient crystals with a USB rechargeable battery-powered LED. The hybrid option works in energy saving cycles: 4 second bursts of light from the LED's every 2 minutes keeps the crystals at a super bright level allowing users to maintain a glow stick illumination for at least 100 hours. Check out their existing Mule-Stick option.

The LED is activated in two ways; the first is to activate the lights for constant-on, acting as a flashlight which sines through one face of the crystal-embedded epoxy, and the second as the pulsed-recharge option, keeping the crystals charged. A built in photo-receptor allows it to also be set to only pulse in the absence of light, meaning you can leave it set outside and not have it pulse whilst it is lit by ambient light, further extending the battery life.

The Orb is water resistant, but not water proof, which is why the UVPaqLite folks have also designed this diving case, which I am also hoping to lay my paws on, with a 30m (100') depth rating, this would be excellent for all the PADI Open Water types out there, and given its operational life, might even suit the needs of all you cave and wreck certified types to act as markers and waypoint indicators.

All in all this hybrid option looks to be a really good investment, and certainly worth adding to anybody's bug-out-bag .

Go check out the KickStarter page, as well as their home-page,  their technology is the reusable, green-alternative to disposable cyalume sticks.

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