Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review: Propper - Genuine Gear Pants

It's been a while since I've covered a non-pouch, non-gadget, so I thought I'd cover one of my other staples. PANTS. Generally, I subscribe to the philosophy that "pants are tyranny"

I wear a lot of cargo-style pants, almost every set of pants I own in fact, not to mention my collection of cargo and tactical kilts. So when it comes to new pants, I have a few requirements and points I look for. I need to have cargo pockets that let me stow my iPad Air, at a minimum. I go to a lot of meetings, and use my technology heavily, but also like to go hands-free as often as possible.

It also helps to have copious loot storage when it becomes necessary. Snacks, shiny and pointies, discarded kit, whatever. Big pockets are a must. I also want strong crotches, as I seem to tear mine with alarming propensity in some pants, so good gusseting is important. The Genuine Gear pants certainly met my needs.

The military-inspired construction and fit of the Genuine Gear pants pulls from some pretty classic design elements. A zippered fly with button closure sits over the reinforced seat, as well as having all the seams, inseam, outseams and seat seams being "felled" which is to say double stitched. This makes them pretty sturdy. There are six pockets in the design, regular front pockets, twin button-closure back pockets with button flaps, and two large cargo pockets with double button flaps.
The bellowed pockets also feature drainage pockets and the pocket flap seams are fused for clean, professional look, however, I wasn't all that impressed with the outcome, as the flaps didn't sit flat.

In fact, the pants are billed as fade, shrink, and wrinkle-resistant, but I found them to take wrinkles quite easily and made them a little higher maintenance than some others I've reviewed. The ripstop material however, was quite resilient, and have both kept their colour and shape very well, and have resisted wear handsomely. They also feature adjustable waist tabs for secure fit which are a nice addition, as well as durable tape drawstring leg closures to keep rainbows, carnivorous cursed scarab beetles, dust and grit out of your pants.

The belt loops were a little narrow, which is probably the weakest point with these pants. I personally prefer thicker beltloops with more reinforcement sewn in, but they are still fully functional.

The fabric is very comfortable, and hasn't chafed or pinched on the inseams like I have had other pants do on occasion, so they have been comfortable for long hikes and adventurous clambouring.

They fit well, and were it not for the less than wrinkle-proof effect, I'd be over the moon with these, but on the whole, they are totally adequate, and robust enough for both outdoorswear, adventure and regular wear.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Home Front: Power Outage

We had a scheduled power outage at our place over the weekend, which we had completely ignored, and it took us a little by surprise, but thankfully, we have gas-for cooking and hot-water.

 What we didn't anticipate is the power-hungry nature of the ladies Pok√©mon GO running iPhone 5's. We might have lost wireless internet, microwaved cooking and refrigeration but they still "gotta catch 'em all!"

 However, that said, we were prepared. I fired up my replacement Power Practical PowerPot XL and set up two battery-packs including the Lithium 4400 and Limeade Blast 18,000mAh.

I also set up my tea-light candle driven Tellurex tPod power system which coupled with the power strength meter Power Practical Practical Meter charged another battery pack inside, as well as having a LED output option.

We were fortunate that even though the power-outage went 3-4 hours over time (apparently the pole-replacement was too big for the hole dug) it was not as cool as it had been, getting down to 5oC at nights, as all our inside heaters are electric. However, running the stove, boiling water in the PowerPot for hot drinks as well as generating power, and our collection of candles and lanterns for lighting.

Outside, I ran our BioLite thermoelectric stove much to the delight of Tactical Baby, who insisted in roasting marshmallows over the flames, whilst I charged yet another Lithium 4400 battery and phones directly. I cut wood to run the BioLite, as it only takes short sized lengths of wood and twigs before dark set in. We were preparing to cook by candlelight when the power came back on.

With good use of ambient light, not opening our fridges and freezers, and gas-cooking and water, we were hardly inconvenienced, and with my collection of thermo-electric power sources, we has device-running power aplenty.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Re-Blog: how to remove a fishhook

This was a very interesting piece I saw, from the Walden Labs who offer "Solutions for Self Reliance" which I wanted to share with you all. I've reblogged from Walden Labs before, they have great content. For those of you who have ever been out fishing and are a bit of a klutz, there is the very real chance that you might have stuck yourself with a hook.

The folks at Walden labs found this clip from Total Fisherman which demonstrates five different ways of removing fish hooks that are buried deeply in a persons body. Total Fisherman goes as far as really hooking himself to demonstrate these techniques.

Warning: If you don’t like seeing fish hooks going in and out of skin don’t watch this video.

Published on Apr 24, 2013, he buries and removes five fish hooks from my hand, arm, and leg, to show us whether or not the "best" fish hook removal technique actually works.

It appears to be working by securing the base of the hook as firmly as possible, against the body, and after fitting a larks-head knot to the hook end  and with a quick jerk, aiming to yank the barbed hook out with the tension in the metal itself.

Normally this is pretty bad-first aid advice, to pull a penetrating object out, and there is always a risk that pulling a barbed hook out will do more damage, however, in a field expedient situation, this is probably a better solution than trying to push the hook all the way through and cutting it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Home Front: Old school Cutting Practice

There are all kinds of cool-guy articles about putting lead to steel at the range, also many articles with serious-looking folks in pajamas bending arms and throwing bodies. But something I haven’t seen a lot of are action shots of the Japanese training method known as “tameshigiri“, or practice cutting. Much like ballistic gel is used to simulate how bullets react to human flesh for firearm testing, the practice of tameshigiri involves cutting practice on a realistic simulation of human flesh, without all the mess (and paperwork).

I have fifteen years of kendo (Japanese full-contact fencing) and hold a 3rd Dan grading, but even with all that my school never trained with live blades nor practiced tameshigiri. So whilst I had countless hours of swinging at and hitting my opponents, we did so in the knowledge that it was all blunt-force. Again, we were simulating combat, and simulating cutting.

I am fortunate enough to know a senior instructor of a different art, iaido, another modern Japanese martial art and sport that emphasizes being aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a sudden attack.

But whilst its practitioners use metal blades, and at advanced levels, live blades, they don’t participate in full-contact opposed combat. Because, well, dismembering your training mates is poor form.

They do occasionally practice tameshigiri however, to test the techniques they are performing. The targets are made of wet, tightly rolled tatami mat sheets, which need to be cut correctly or they bind up or crumple, immediately demonstrating an ineffective technique.

 Read the rest here on Breach Band & Clear.

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