Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Tactical Keychains - TK-TUKK

I frequently get asked "so, Josh, do you have any more new weapons?" and I always like to be able to say yes, and whip out something.

The most recent addition to my armory, and toolbox is something small and sweet.

I have backed a number of things from Brad of Tactical Keychains, such as the with the classic WTF tool (and its variants) as well as the larger cousin, the Large WTF but also the very functional TiKeY key-keeper set, the very crafty TiPiK lockpicks and most recently the also magnet equipped TKMB pen
and the TiMag keychain accessories

His latest creation was the Titanium Utility Knife Keychain or TUKK. this slim and highly engineered tool is packed with features in its small form. At just slightly over 2" long, 1/2" wide, and 1/4" thick it is easily overlooked on a keychain, looking for all the world like a USB stick, or something as innocuous. It weighs just 15g, (1/2oz).

The blade is a #11 Hobby Blade. (typically not included for regulatory reasons, but you can source them easily enough). Brad suggests Amazon as a source for the exact right fit, as the inside of the TUKK is milled to precisely take the blade. that milling is essential to the magnetic retraction, and retention that the TUK offers.

The two halves are held in place with two T-6 screws which can be opened with the right tool for blade changes. The main case is Grade 5 titanium, while the button is brass. I found that the springiness of the scalpel blade added to the retention and deployment of the blade. As you'd imagine, it's razor sharp.

A couple of neat things about the TUKK's design are that the imbedded rate earth magnet not only hold the blad retracted, when not in use, but also acts to draw it back into the body, by just the weight of the blade alone, when upturned. This is a great safety feature, requiring the user to maintain hold of the button, with only finger pressure, to keep the blade deployed, and let the scalpel do the work.

Brad has also thought to include 1/8" and 1 cm markings along the sides as he did with the WTF tools, as well as some nice inlays on the back side of the blade for grip. The built in magnet also adds one additional feature, it makes one side of the tool magnetic, so you can pop it on the side of a tool-box, pipe, shelf or wherever you are working, and have it out of the way and ready to access at a moments notice.

Also stay tuned, as Brad has a new Kickstarter coming up, the Magnetic Quick Release, the logical next step from the TiMag keychain accessories.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Reblogging: >>>ISO NSA EDC pics, Hosting Now<<< -MadDuo4You (Everywhere) pic [x]

Cut and Pasted and swiped wholesale from BreachBang&Clear to boost their signal .....

my EDC was featured in the last picture ... check out my pocket-dump!

>>>ISO NSA EDC pics, Hosting Now<<< -MadDuo4You (Everywhere) pic [x]

If you can decipher the acronyms in the subject, you’re ahead of the game (and you prob'ly Craigslist). Read on to find out how to win $511 credit toward 5.11 Tactical gear.
Mad Duo Merrill's EDC. #madduo #511EDC
We’re hosting a 5.11 giveaway… you just have to send nudes post your EDC. Sharing is caring, and we’re giving it all around. We mean that in a no-homo way. Unless, you know, you're into that, in which case carry on with pride and motivation.  Even though we said NSA, we don’t mean it. We’ll pick one lucky winner for the 5.11 credit…it’s NSA for everyone else.
  1. You must use the hashtags #madduo #511EDC when posting your EDC pic
  2. You can post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, the more places you post- the greater your chances are to win. If you post to our Facebook page, you've still got to use the hashtags.
  3. Make sure wherever you post, the picture is set to public
  4. Winner will be selected 10/26
Mad Duo David's EDC. #madduo #511EDC
Civilian as F#@k Craig's EDC. #madduo #511EDC
What is EDC? If you're seriously asking that (which is certainly possible) then bring it in, take a knee and allow us to explain. Not too long ago IG blew up with a gearcentric new trend that combines people's natural narcissism with the reach of social media and a burning love for braggadocio. Huge numbers of tactitools and tactards posted vast numbers of pictures in which they claim to carry three pistols, five knives (fixed and folders), two rifles (sometimes an SBR), 11 spare mags, a bottle opener shaped like an animal, a beard comb, brass knuckles, flashlight, some sort of metrotactical key fob and a tactical pen. Typically the only thing missing is an IFAK, a Cerakoted dildo and a pair of custom ben wah balls in AOR2.
If you have seen any of those, then you are probably familiar with the term "Every Day Carry."
Grunts: braggadocio.
So we're clear, we think a bunch of those people are full of shit. Unless you’re a traveling, temple indexing pseudo-Asian magician, we don’t believe anyone carries all that shit every day. EDC is (or should be) legitimate every day carry; it is what you carry with you no matter what.
All the lumens, all the grains, and all the magic. Petty's EDC.
There is of course and another "EDC." That one is Electric Daisy Carnival. Go on and Google image that, you can thank us later… here’s a preview of what to expect from that kind of EDC:

Check out what some more of our minions carry:
Post your #madduo #511EDC pic before 10/25 at 11:59pm EST to enter for your chance to win a $511 credit towards 5.11 Tactical. Good luck!
Mad Duo, Breach-BangCLEAR!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Fenix HL35 headlamp

First seen on Breach Bang&Clear here ...

My pal Sean from G8 sent me a pre-release Fenix HL35 LED headlamp to review, which was awesome to have happen, and very timely for us here.
I've covered a number of Fenix lights previously, from the unusually designed TK51, to the mighty LD60 and the very handy E99Ti keychain light to the very practical domed CL20 camp lantern. The HL35 is the next iteration of the existing Fenix headlamp range, and whist some of the stats are still unpublished, here's what I can tell you.

It is an aluminium housed, high performance headlamp boasting three levels of light from the main LED (assuming similar stats to the HL25 a maximum of 4/50/280 lumens while in burst mode, and a 223ft beam distance). A second, red LED is built in as well, and the selection button on the side of the housing cylinder next to the power button. You cycle through the four modes once the light is on with this. 1) steady white light (cycle through power setting with power button), 2) steady red light, 3) slow flashing white light 4) fast flashing red light. The main light is cycled through its three settings by pressing the power button, once lit and both LED's are shut off by holding the power button down. Holding the Mode button down will cause the light to come up on its maximum setting, before allowing you to cycle through the modes. The lamp is fitted in a bezel and is rotatable 60 degrees in the front, with a nice sturdy ratchet action, and well crenelated ends to facilitate the turn.

Built to resist the elements, the HL35 is waterproof to 2m, impact resistant at 1m and incursion protected to an IPX-8 rating. The HL35 is powered by 2 AA batteries.

The HL35 measures 66mm (3.2") wide, 45mm (1.8") "deep", and weighs about 90g (3.2oz) so it's remarkably dense, but not too weighty. the around the head and over the crown elastic headbands. These are usually the part of headlamps that I like the least; that the lamp part either flops around or the band is awkward. The HL35 is very stable, with a thin closed cell foam pad holding it in place and adding some comforting padding and the elastic is adjustable both in circumference and over the top.

One thing about the lamp, the two buttons are a little differentiate, especially with gloves on. I was rummaging in a dark nasty place this week, and needed to not bring too much attention to myself (don't ask, but I have a strong stomach), and it was tricky to select the right option with the gloves I had on. Working out which button was the power, and would let me alternate the three light levels, and which was the mode button, and inadvertently set me to strobing, was a problem.  I feel that even with the mode button being stippled, and a bit larger, the fact that they are both side-by side makes that tricky, especially when gloved.

That said, it's the first headlamp I've had where I didn't cringe at having to put on and use, the light was crisp and well cast, and it was comfortable to wear. If you're in the market, it would be well worth a look in.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wish-Lust Review: Defence Systems Australia cut resistant clothes

My favourite vendor at the Australian Security Expo was Defence Systems Australia, which probably comes as no surprise.

Defence Systems Australia (DSA) is an importer and retailer of innovative law enforcement and security products from around the world, specifically catering to the law enforcement officer. Rather than the usual tactical type gear that I have come to love, they cover some of the less glamourous end of it all, mostly suspect and prisoner related items, to protect the officers from things like stabbings, biting and less savoury attacks like spitting and the like. That might sound a bit off-topic for a blog lke this untill you consider the old stand-bys of zombies, plagues and civil unrest. Having a less tactical layer that offers significant protection is well worth looking into, which is why DSA caught my eye.

The DSA supplies the personal safety products specifically catered to the Law Enforcement Agencies, Security, Military and State and Federal Government Agencies.

They offer a range of slash and stab resistant clothes, covering a range of sensitive and at-risk areas, such as:

•Our throat, which harbours the carotid artery is certainly among the most at risk locations of our body. A cut through the carotid artery would most likely result in death. Our slash resistant turtle neck jacket or sweatshirt would protect this area.
•The radial artery can be found in our wrists, which often is subject to cuts during self defense or whilst protecting our face.
•The femoral artery is a general term comprising a few large arteries in the thigh. Cutting of the femoral artery would lead to a massive loss of blood within e very short period of time.
•The axillary artery is a large blood vessel to be found under your arm pits.

These clothes are built to the following standards, which meet or exceed ISO, ASTM and EN ratings for cut, and tear resistance:

ISO 13997:1999 Blade Cut Resistance Level 5 22Newtons: Cut Tex® PRO +27.8 Newtons
ASTM F-1790 Blade Cut Resistance Levels 4 1500-3499 grams force: Cut Tex® PRO 2580 grams force
EN 388:2003 Tear Resistance Level4 70+Newtons: Cut Tex® PRO 398.5 Newtons

DSA also offer a range of bite-rated protective overclothes, such as bracer-sleeves and a very clever over-the-shoulder set of sleeves. Well worth a look in if you are faced with, or can expect to be faced with biting hazards.

I'd be very keen to get a set of stab and slash resistant clothes, primarily because I often do some foolish things with long bladed shiny tools, like the Cold Steel Gladius, my very much beloved Zombie-Tools Deuce sword and the extremely useful and effective Boker Tomahook. Anyone who works with and swings big blades, or even small ones, knows there is aways a risk of cutting yourself from a bounce-back.

Those who work in offensive, dangerous environments like prisons, crowd control or event security would do well to have a layer of protection that they can wear as everyday clothing and protect their vitals, whilst still being able to go about their normal duties.

Check Defence Systems Australia out if you are in the market for bladed penetration protection.

They also have a range of body cameras to check out ...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wish Lust: Devtac Ronin mask

I saw some really cool masks in my thread and I got in touch with the owners, and got the low down on their line.

DEVTAC co. inc. Japan started in 2010 and was a subsidiary of R&D Trading and consulting company. Devtac stands for developing tactics specialized in Business consulting and strategies. They have recently expanded their business to industrial designing concepts and manufacturing.
Their location is in Japan, Shizuoka ken Hamamatsu Shi Enshuhama Kenei jutaku 3 chome 2-22-204 if you wanted to visit a storefront, but otherwise they can only be reached online.

Their masks are not commercially made, but rather are individually crafted.  That have some very special capabilities. These are carefully handcrafted pieces customized to fit your needs.
Firstly, the masks are only ordered directly from them through Facebook, Youtube or email.

The main frame of the masks are fiberglass, with hardpoints for adding both bolt-on armour, and accessories. For those in need of Prescription glasses you can order one here. The offer several different versions, starting with the kevlar lined versions:

Kevlar set is $1350USD ballistics tested up to level 2a(unofficial).


$1480USD Ronin mask Kevlar level 3a with 7mm plates. The Kevlar back plate to make a wrap-around helmet is $485USD and separately sold. 

The main mask has an ultralight nylon fiber mesh that is reinforced with special resin and is very flexible, it can withstand strong impacts. The open cheeks are designed for easier aiming with scope or iron sights without putting undue strain on your neck. The cheek has 3 built in neodymium N52 magnets on each corner on both sides so it is absolutely hassle free when you want to put on or remove the cheek plates as quickly as possible.

DevTac masks come in the following sizes:
regular long- men 180-195cm tall 95 kg in weight
Regular short - men 158-175cm tall , 60-80kg in weight
Wide long- men 180-200cm tall 90-220kg 
Wide short- men 158-179cm 90kg-220kg

All the lens frames are ventilated by built in AA battery driven micro fan and a speed dial down by the cheek, and by some very clever design to both vent, and circulate air, they offer fog-free vision, with around a 120 degree arc of vision. The polycarbonate lenses fit into a removable frame and can be popped out to replace scratched or damaged units.

A cover is available for paintball users to stop paint getting blown into the mask from eye-hits.

For those of you who don't tend to face ballistic threats,  DEVTAC RONIN MASK(fiberglass) with  7mm fiberglass plates are $ 480USD comes with 2 pairs of lens, clear and amber or your choice. Without the plates is $350USD. including everything. 

BACK HELMET with extender and plates is $195USD and $145USD without  plates, (as an add on), as with the kevlar version, this offers fully-wrapping head cover, and an enclosed shell, held in place with straps and magnets.

Additional options are things like a built in NVG PLATE with shroud: ($75USD-Fiberglass $135USD-kevlar) and even a MOHAWK helmet decoration for $69USD.

N50 Neodymium magnets spaced around the back of the mask, and the front of the back plate to hold it in place. Each magnet has a 1.2kg pulling capacity, so are very sturdy. The cheek plates are also held in place by magnets, allowing the user to remove them in the field to give you a cheek-weld to a rifle stock or to improve venting. The crown, mouth and ear plates are bolted on, for stability, but have venting ports, with heavy mesh below that, to give venting access for when you need.

All parts are replaceable. The mask has 1 year warranty on electronics and 2 years on the frames.

Paint options depend on the availability of the paint for DecTac at the time. They also offer water transfer prints with Multicam and ATACS now available for $80USD per frame.

DevTac aims to provide Airsoft and Paintball PPE but their venture into kevlar lining might well make them a player in designing armour or use in more dangerous fields.

They offer the Ronin helmets in a variety of colours, with the flexible polymer base and nylon mesh inner, the plates and eye lenses, along with all the straps you need for a front-facing mask, or the magnet attaching options for the back-plate if you choose to go that route. One thing you'll need to keep in mind is that manufacturing is only done every 3-4 months or so, and slots are limited so DevTac ask that interested people make a reservation.

Payments are through wire transfer, and Western Union and pre-order needs a down payment of $200USD for airsoft version and $500USD for ballistic version. Shipping is 45.00$USD (kevlar version is 65$USD) Japan Post, EMS or SAL worldwide flat rate. Extra pair of lenses are $27USD.

Basic price is $115USD it includes magnets and garter straps and triglides with no metal bolts.
$145USD will include the metal bolts and holders and leather straps. 2 years warranty.

Shipping is $35USD, and is sent via EMS Japan Post and takes 4-7days

They ask for a downpayment of 50$USD for the menpo.

The DevTac masks are most excellent to look at, and if the field-footage is to be believed, they do the trick. I'd love to get my hands on one, for shear bad-assery, let alone armoring my head.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Movie Reviews: The Colony, The Day After Tomorrow, Doomsday

I wanted to give a couple of movie reviews for some movies I have watched and enjoyed recently (or rewatched). They are all delightfully post or currently-apocalyptic and in some way speak to my outlooks on preparedness and post-disaster survival.
The Colony (2013) is set in a snowball scenario Earth, with the remainder of humanity locked away underground in vaults, not unlike in the Fallout series of games, as Colonies. We learn that the Colony our protagonists are in has suffered significant epidemics, and lost many of their population to both disease and also summary execution. They have a small selection of livestock, supplies of grains and seed-libraries and a very grim determination to survive. We also learn that the world froze over due to man-made weather stations gone awry, and have both radio contact with other colonies, and also satellite uplink to scan the surface for hot-spots, looking for a mythical thaw. Colony 7 sends a team to check on Colony 5, who they lost radio contact with after a garbled distress message. When they get there they find the that the colony has fallen victim to screaming cannibal crazies. They fall back, make it home but have lead the crazies to Colony 7. In the ensuing poorly orchestrated defense, we learn that a different colony has found a localised hot-spot, but have no viable seeds to restart the ecosystem. It's up to the remaining heroes from Colony 7 to survive the cannibal's and save their seeds...
So, fun premise, very well shot and cast, but the scripting and plot was a bit sketchy. The long term surviability issues were well presented, but I'd have liked to see some more competency in the Colony survivors, and less "mindless ravagers" from the cannibal crazies. If they were smart enough to survive, find and assault a fortified Colony, why were they growling, snarling animals? Give me thinking savages as believable bad-guys any day.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
An old favourite, and another snowball scenario Earth (in the making) in which a massive ice-sheet calving in Antarctica triggers a cascade of global cooling. This happens whilst world governments deny the possibility of climate change, and everyone except Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall, who not only locks horns with the US Government, but also finds assistance with NASA, and other Climatologists across the world as they begin to see signs of a coming disaster. With 3 weeks of non-stop rain in some areas, and after a series of weather-related disasters beginning to occur over the world, (which was awesome). The young adult son of the paleoclimatologist is in New York with friends when the climactic snap freeze occurs, which is awesome as it is thrilling. The paleoclimatologist must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, trapped following the international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.
I loved this movie, it was well made, the effects were awesome, and it showed a lot of awesome people doing awesome things. I love competent survivors. The way the characters dealt with adversity, both the professional explorer type, in the dad and his team, or the clever and innovative son and his friends. They all displayed "the right stuff" and I approved heartily. The nay-sayers and slow-thinking characters got what was coming to them, and even though the premise and science is well exaggerated, I enjoyed it.
Doomsday (2008)
The movie starts out with a military quarantine forming on the Scotland-England boarder when a lethal virus spreads throughout Scotland, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. To contain the threat, a brutal quarantine is enacted with a new Hadrian's Wall being built. Three decades later, the virus resurfaces in London. A team is put together and is sent into Scotland to retrieve a cure by any means necessary, as there is reason to believe it exists there, after satellite footage indicates possible human activity.
It turns out that shut off from the rest of the world, Scotland has reverted to a Mad Max style cannibal wasteland. Lots of cannibal. Well fed and post-industrial nightclub outfitted cannibals, with all that goes with that. They have been somehow hiding out in Glasgow by the hundreds. Mayhem, murder, anarchy. Yay.
Then suddenly we're headed for the Highlands, where the Doctor last working on a cure is believed to be holed up. In a castle, with a fully fledged feudal society of survivors. Medieval styling all the way and all technology is eschewed. Apparently there is no cure, some folks are just naturally immune. More Mad Max car-chases and murder, and we find the Government back in London is neither innocent, or doing well. Mayhem. Lots of fun.
Having previously lived in the UK, I always love it when I see a disaster movie set there. The science and settings were good, although as with any fanciful plague movie, the speed and numbers always seem to be pretty wild. Having a diverse split between urban savages (who, unlike in The Colony) were still very, very human, just hungry, bad people, and the huddled feudal dwellers in the hills, indicates a couple of very realistically (again, if you bar where all the food and or bodies came from in Glasgow) portrayed post-apocalyptic society settings. I really enjoyed this, and will watch again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sneak Peek: Propper - Range Bag

Here's a First Impression post I did for Breach Bang & Clear: 

So, we're going to try to give our first impressions before launching into full reviews now. The good folks at Propper sent me their new Range Bag, along with a couple of their very slick snag-free Polos. For the time being, I'll focus on the bag.

 Almost twice the width of their Multipurpose Bags (cheers Mad Duo!), the Range Bag is a beefed up and expanded version of it. Padded on all sides for increased protection and rigidity, it holds it shape even empty.

Two stiffened internal dividers can be  adjusted or discarded, as fits your use or mission, and the whole of the internal cavity is lined in hi-contrast orange, to help you find your OD tool in its OD sheath in your bottom of your OD bag.

One side panel is fitted with a mesh pocket, and a fold-out mat to do your weapon maintenance or lay out a picnic. The Range Bag also comes with a removable hook-field backed accessory panel.

 The exterior of the mat-side pocket has two deep pockets also lined with the contrast-orange nylon. The main compartment has a lockable zipper, good enough to keep little prying hands away from dangerous things.

The off-side panel is covered in a mixture of loop-filed at the top, and two rows of seven channel MOLLE, and inside has another mesh-lined pocket, along with six pistol magazine sized pouches. The front side panel is also fitted out with more MOLLE channels, and the rear features another deep pocket.

All in all this looks like a very serviceable bag with both a lot of features, but also a significant capacity upgrade over the already-good Multipurpose Bag.
I'll use it for a while here down under and report back on how it holds up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Go! Outfitters Hammock

I had one of my awaited Kickstarter projects come in not too long ago and I have had some fun setting up up, and working out the configurations of.

This is the Go! Outfitters Hammock, which I had Wish-Lust'ed and even followed up, when the stretch goals were released.

I love hammocks, and get into them as often a I can manage. I have quite the collection these days, with the Sierra-Madre Pares hammock, and its Nube tent system. I even have a, Hummingbird mega-hammock
and a backpacking EaglesNest Outfitters hammock.

I opted for the fully kitted out version of the Go! Hammock, which includes a built in mosquito net and optional tree straps with cinch buckles. These webbing straps have a sewn loop at one end to feed through themselves, around your anchor point, be that a tree, mounted hard point or girder.

The cinch buckle itself is fitted with a loop of high performance cord, which is Amsteel. Che cinch works really well, and makes adjusting the hammock a breeze. It's just a matter of strapping and cinching.

The second optional feature is the Ridgeline cord, This is a lighter cord, also Amsteel in 7/64", has larks heads knot which can be looped through either the included steel carabner or through the heavy duty cords that feed through the hammock to hook it up.

The Ridgeline lets you hook up the hammock at exactly the right tension every time, as it's length is pre-set to give the optimal positioning. It can feed through the eyelet at either end of the flyscreen, from inside to allow you to suspend the flyscreen over the line.

When the Ridgeline is fitted internally, there are three loops of the same flyscreen material the rest of the top cover is made from that are spread evenly to ensure the fly remains securely fitted, although this means that you cant shrug it off and over if you choose not to use the fly later on, without taking the hammock down to adjust.

It is also possible to run the Ridgeline outside the hammock, which drops it lower as it adds length to the hammock attachment points.

There are three external loops to run the Ridgeline through so it hangs lower, which is not such  a big deal, but it can give you a little more sag if thats better for you.

The hammock is fitted with twin double sided zippers so you can climb in or out, and seal yourself away from flying or crawling biters. Even if you're only four.

The zippers are probably the weakest part of the whole setup; they are a very fine toothed zip, which seems to bind up a little bit under the tension of bodies in the hammock, some adjustment is needed in order to do the zip up all the way. No big deal for me, but made it hard for Tactical baby.

The inside of the hammock is really lovely design, the asymmetrical cut of the body allows very comfortable, stable bedding. The higher sides on either edge cradle the head and feet, rather than press down on them, in the way that other more symmetrical hammocks do, when you lay cross-ways. This was again nicely demonstrated my Tactical Baby, who also loves hammocks, and hates personal boundaries.

Another really nice feature of the Go! Hammock is that it features guy line attachment points, (and includes guy lines and tent-stakes) for you to set up, to tension the flyscreen, in order to give you a nice solid setup.

There are also fly attachment points on the body of the fly as well, to give you a truly tent like experience. This was a really cool addition to my camping setup, now that I have four individual hammocks, and one really large one, I could probably host an entirely suspended camping trip.

Treetops anyone?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Interview - I'm Spartacus : Custom Packs and Bags

 I was put on to Scott Fraser and I'm Spartacus custom made backpacks, hunting, tactical and outdoor gear from my friend Shane Marks of Rhino Ropeworks (now renamed MIG Custom Tool Makers) who had a pack custom made by him. I wanted to reach out and get some exposure to a small Australian maker, because it's always good to help out the little guy. Scott seems like a bang up fella, so have a read of what he has to say about his business "I'm Spartacus".

Firstly I am a rock climber, I started climbing in scouts back in the late 70s and went on to be a queen scout. I went through scouts with the infamous Gerard Baden clay, but don't hold that against me.

I started making gear with a sewing awl because good gear just wasn't available in Toowoomba, the regional town I grew up in. I hand sewed an internal frame pack, which took about 8 months, but it was strong, and I still have it somewhere. Sewing by hand is laborious.

Some of my friends saw my gear, liked it and asked me to make them gear. So I bought small singer machine, and taught myself to use a sewing machine.

In 1984 I was going through teachers college, and I worked a summer job on a production line for "aeronautique equipment" which had a military contract for field packs and parachutes.
Stuart pack
 The owner was a somewhat eccentric ex French paratrooper, who knowing what I know now, probably had PTSD, from the Algerian War. He used to scream at you while you were sewing like a drill sergeant. He favourite saying was "your sewing machine is your bread and butter", he sounded like the French knight in the holy grail. I named a one of my machines after him, it's Le pain et la buerre (bread and butter in French).

I made rock climbing gear, and other equipment, I even had a large contract to sew wheel chair upholstery for a  friend who had broken his back in a climbing accident. I also was the only company who repaired bush walking gear in Brisbane for years.  Repairing gear is, in my opinion, the best entree into gear design, it teaches you what works and what doesn't, it teaches you about Material properties and how to make gear bomb proof.
Panzer Jäger
I was a big fan of Macpac gear when it was still owned by Bruce Macintyre, and it was still made in Christchurch. He ran his company on ethical and environmentally sound principles. He also held out getting his gear made in Asian factories. To be competitive against gear made in low labor cost countries, he simplified his designs to their bare essentials, but was still able to manufacture, tough, practical functional gear. His designs were elegant in their simplicity, like a good Japanese haiku. I even visited his factory once. This design philosophy has been something I try to aspire to. I worked at a Macpac retail shop after production went offshore. It is hard to keep the simplicity when the public want complex, busy designs, and Asian factories can manufacture complex designs cheaply.

merkava mkII
The other thing I took from Macpac was the way the pack would work with its user,   To be comfortable, and energy saving while it was being used. I currently make each pack to fit its owner like a good tailor made suit. I have the experience and knowledge to make designs which can be adjusted between users, but I prefer to tailor it for its intended owner, I believe this is a unique niche, which isn't offered by other companies. And all my designs are customisable to suit the owners needs.

I took a hiatus from making packs in 2004 and only started up again at the beginning of this year. I still climb, but I also bow hunt, and I thought my new market would be for quality customised packs for hunters and military. Ironically I am making slow inroads with this market. Having said that, word among the QLD climbing community has spread fast that I am making gear again, and that is where I am getting the bulk of my orders from.

Merkava mkII
I was recently given a contract to supply a quantity of gear to a university climbing club, they are still using gear I made them 17 years ago, and had been used hard. I love the idea that my gear lasts and is tough. When I make gear I over build it, and put a lot of hidden seems into the packs so that it will last.

I currently have four packs aimed, no pun, for the hunting/military market;
All of the, are named after tanks,
Going from smallest to largest they are:
Stuart M3, 20 liters, it is a small tear drop day pack using tough materials, Mollie, sr25 buckles etc
Sherman firefly, is a 3 day assault pack, it is short and deep, designed to be used with military webbing and pouches, it is 30 liters
Panzer jäger, (Shane's pack) it has an organiser front pocket which is floating using stretch panels, and has a pass through option for a bow or a rifle. It is 35 liters my and has a HDPE sheet and alloy frame stave, and lastly the 
prototype Merkava
Merkava, which is 40 liters, it has a continuous zip which allows it different access options and can be zipped flat. It has an internal frame and loads of internal organisers.

The next models will be a smaller version on the merkava and a 60 l top opening internal frame pack, it will have mole and combine features of military, climbing and bush walking packs.

I use a just in time manufacturing system, which means I have small quantities of different camp patterns, rather than big rolls of one or two camouflage patterns, this allows a high degree of customisation. I currently have 16 camouflage patterns, including some quite exotic ones. I also offer some hi tech materials such as stretch Cordura, PTFE cloth, water resistant zips, xPac etc. I also have laser cut hyperlon components, and sheet hyperlon etc.

prototype Merkava
I'm having great fun and enjoying designing, testing and making gear again. I love the challenge of making gear to customers needs and enjoy new challenges, it's a huge learning curve. I make all the gear from go to woe in Brisbane and give the customer pics as I am making their gear and interact with the customer and can make adjustments to the design on the go.

Thanks again for the opportunity to review my company, which is called "I am Spartacus", I choose this name because it reflects, strength, integrity and courage, values I espouse, and Spartacus was a slave, who revolted against the system and threw off his chains, other great values.

Scott Fraser

So, there are some good looking packs being made, and Scott is more than happy to build one just for you, to suit your needs.

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