Sunday, November 20, 2016

Home Front: Stabbing Lcpl Schmuckatelli

Here's a bit of fun I had a weekend or so ago. I have used polyethylene cutting boards as faux armour inserts for some time for my roleplaying and MilSim purposes. They're about the right sized and shape, are cheep, durable and stiff enough to add some realism without being either heavy, difficult to come by, or plain illegal for a Regular Aussie Bloke to have in their possession, unlike folks in other Western World nations with newly elected governments.

I've used polyethylene boards in the kitchen for a long while now, and have often marveled how they hold up to cuts, hacks and stabs. I have even on occasion, slipped one under a jumper when I've been "expecting some trouble" and helping out a friend in a possibly stabby situation, Ned Kelly style.

So to test this, I loaded up my very under-inspiring Zombie Outbreak Grunt plate carrier with one of the boards I typically use, a Legitim from Ikea, which at 500g, (1lbs2oz) and 8mm (1/4") thick, has always served me well in the kitchen.

Up against it, I pitched an assortment of blades.
  1. Schrade US Army knife
  2. KA-BAR Famine Tanto
  3. American Kami Super Colubris
  4. Boker Tomahook (front and back)
  5. United Cutlery M48 Tomahawk (front and back) 
  6. Ontario Black Wind sword
  7. United Cutlery M48 spear 
 I loaded the cutting board into the front of the plate carrier, which I had loaded up with 10 2L bottles of water, giving it a mass of 20kg (45lbs) and suspended it on a Tough Hook, with side-supports, in the hope of mimicking a free standing human target. Hitting a board laying on a block of wood or even free standing wouldn't be a very good simulation of being stabbed, but I hoped that this set-up would, as well as giving me a penetration "bleed" effect, if anything managed to make it through the board.

Here is the video we made of the testing.

I gave each stab or thrust a "I want to do you harm" amount of effort. Taking from my 16 years of kendo I have a fairly good idea of what these impacts would have on an armored target, as well as stabbing a bunch of things over the years for the hells of it. I was pretty happy with my strikes.

Here is the board once we removed it and married it up to the footage.

The two main "bleeder" shots were the back of the M48 tomahawk, the American Kami Super Colubris and the maybe M48 spear (if it actually punched that hole of its own accord).

So, in conclusion, unless someone is coming at you with a spear, or the pointy breaching end of an axe, you will probably be able to shrug off some stabs, and certainly all the slashes that land on a cutting board under your shirt. The good thing about polyethylene is that it is heat-labile, meaning you could mold it to be more chest-shaped.

Obviously there are commercially available, professionally made and certified stab proof inserts and garments you could use, if they were legally available to you, but for my purposes, they sem to fit exactly what I need from them. Won't stop a bullet, sure, but will turn a blade wielded by someone as strong as me.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: LimeFuel - Limeade Blast 18000mAh charger

I was asked "what piece of gear do you think you'd be pissed, if you went out and left behind?" and I had a hard time coming up with a single item, as I have a lot of redundancy in my EDC. However, one thing that I have found that I really don't like realising I have left behind, or lent out, is my external power source. My personal go-to power-pack is an item I originally backed as a Kickstarter, and have now moved into full commercial production, the LimeAde.

This is the Limeade BLAST L180X, their 18000mAh high-capacity option at the time of the Kickstarter campaign. It has been with me since July 2013 and faithfully charging my devices every other week or so.

Read the rest of the article on Breach Bang & Clear, here.

I've had very good service out of my Limeade Blast, and when I go on adventures, or even just have solid days away from my desk off-site or in meetings, it's an invaluable addition to my loadout, and one that is appreciated by anyone else who wants to sponge Amps off me.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wish Lust: Nubé Stratos Kickstarter

I had to get this out to you all. The makes of the camping hammock tent system, that I love, the Nube, from designers Sierra Madre Research, have a Kickstarter going with a new and improved design, and it looks great. I've been in touch with them and gotten some press-release details, which I really wanted to share with my readers, to see if I could get more of you hanging above ground! New word: Hangers, those who hammock-camp.

The Nubé Stratos is a modular, lightweight, hammock shelter that offers 360° elevated protection from rain, wind, and insects for one or two hammocks, and up to 45 kg (100lbs) of gear (such as hiking packs, or a LOT of booze) that store neatly protected suspended below in the Gear Stash. The Nubé Stratos is comprised of two independent layers that can be set up as two independent shelters, or connected together with a color-coded quick connect system. The external layer is the StratosFly and the base layer is the StratoShield.

Hangers are offered the option to setup each layer in tandem for optimal protection, or as two separate shelters for efficient coverage and maximized viewing capabilities.

This versatility allows the outdoor explorer to “create their own adventure” by choosing which layer to utilize according to the needs of the ever changing environment.

External Layer: The StratosFly.
The StratosFly is much more advanced than any typical tarp or rain fly. It’s patented aerodynamic design, asymmetric shape, unique lightweight materials and factory-seam taping, work together to deflect rain and wind like a water shedding force field. Most tarps or flys leave your hammock ends completely exposed to the rain. SMr’s Patented Closure Sleeves synch down around the hammock suspension lines creating a watertight seal. This feature existed on the original Nubé and I really liked it. No damp feet or heads!

Base Layer: The StratoShield.
SMr put their master craftsmanship into the engineering of the StratoShield and created the first ever, Air Gap design. This beautiful design, is a 3 dimensional barrier that completely separates from the insect world and offers the most spacious interior imaginable, unlike the claustrophobic design of most bug nets on the market today. One of the most useful and praised integrations of the StratoShield is the Gear Stash. Rather than leaving your extra gear or pack in the mud, everything you brought becomes easily accessible, fully protected, and suspended inside right below you. The no seeum mesh is a unique blend that is extremely tightly
woven and quad layered lock-stitch making it soft to the touch, impenetrable by insects, and virtually invisible. The S-Curve dual sided doors for a sleek entrance zip is the main difference I noted, with a "S" shape rather than "U" shape, should make for much easier opening and closing from within the hammock.

There are many more intricate and ingenious SMr inventions layered throughout the system. Such as T-Locks (to fit a hiking pole from underneath to elevate the lip), opening up a wide viewing window to the beautiful world outside. Pocket Locks and Line locks built into the corners add to the existing designs options for neat, no tangle storage of  guy-out lines.
 The addition of interior Sky Hooks to hook a ridge line for hanging personal items, clothing to dry or interior lighting. is a brilliant complement to the pockets previously added.

Here are the vital statistics of the components and the system as a whole:

Nubé Stratos Hammock System
(Composed of StratosFly and StratoShield as a System)
Intended use: Hammock Camping/Backpacking
Seasons: 3
Recommended Capacity: 1-2 person (for those who don't realise, the Sierra Madre Research hammock systmes are designed to STACK. Bunk hammocks!)

Hammock Compatibility: Most Camping Hammocks (I would certainly recommend their Pares hammocks, awesome ... )
Packed weight: 1.02 kg (2lbs 4oz)
Packed Dimensions:    28cm x 15.2cm x 15.2cm (11" x 6" x 6")

Protects From: Rain, Wind, Sun
Packed weight:   0.50 kg (1lb 2oz)
Packed Dimensions:    18cm x 13cm x 13cm (7" x 5" x 5")
Material Exterior: 15D Nylon Ripstop Silicone impregnated Exterior
Interior: 1,200mm PU
Covered Area: 48sqft
Setup Dimensions: Width: 160cm x 254cm (63" x Length: 100")
Diagonal Coverage: 218cm (86")

Protects From: Insects, Muddy Gear
Packed weight:    0.50kg (1lb 2oz)
Packed Dimensions:    13cm x 14cm x 10cm (9" x 5.5" x 4")
Number of doors: 2
Material: 15D Quad-Layered Lockstitch Nano-see-um Mesh
Gear Stash Weight Capacity:    45kg 100lbs)
Design: Symmetric
Setup Dimensions: Width:    96.5cm (38") x Height: 137cm (54")

There's no doubt in my mind that these are going to be awesome. If you love hammocks, and camping, and hammock-camping then you should totally look into the Stratos system to cover your existing hammock, and if you are just getting into it, check out their hammocks as well.

I expect good things to come from Sierra Madre Research, they've not let me down this far.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wish Lust: Green Traveler

Here is a neat container that is being Kickstarted that I was quite keen on.

I have a number of survival caches, but they are all pretty small, such as the neat aluminium Sentinel-X by Ti2 and of course, the PathoPak "Dead People Jars" but having a purpose built food-storage, especially with rugged and dependable construction. Having enough storage components to make a whole meal or meals worth of food travel with you, up and down mountains, and along the trail. Something like the Green Traveler from My Green Traveler is in order.

It is only in its pre-production state currently, and I haven't had one in hand as yet, but here is what they say about it, and what I think about that. Made from injection molding out of ABS, and is made from 8 pieces. Two flat bottomed tray sections, each with a sealing lid, and two cup end pieces, with screw caps.

The tray sections, called Nooks, each hold 355 ml (12oz), and the cups hold 237 ml (8oz) for a total of 1.3 L (44 fl.oz) with overall dimensions of 34.5 x 9 cm (13” x 3.5”) and weighs 500g (1.1lbs) on its own. Solid. Heavy is good, if doesn't work, can hit them with it.

When sealed up, the Green Traveler has four isolated compartments, is reliably liquid tight, so won’t come apart inside a bag. It has two sets of clips on the top side of the nooks, to allow it to be clipped to be the outside of any bag, strap, sling or belt loop and fits in the beverage net on the side of most backpacks. It can keep items inside dry as well as hold liquids in.
It is designed for everyday uses such as around a city during your daily life to carry food, while traveling on airplanes, or driving to the park and is rugged enough for hiking, skiing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, climbing and other adventure sports.

I suspect it wont like a rapid altitude change, such as on an airplane of a sea to summit trip, so be sure to burp it, if that's you plan, but the combination of screw clips on the cups, latch clips on the nook lids suggests

•Pack a lunch for a day trip
•Take food to-go or meal leftovers
•Pack a lunch for your kids
•Fill with pre-made food at a hot bar or food truck (this sounds excellent)
•First aid or other supplies to keep dry while boating
• Prevent soggy food from melted ice in a Esky

The Green Traveler looks like it will be a good sturdy food container, not to mention other supplies that can be stowed in it: medical supplies, fire starting kit, or electronics might well work in it, for kayaking trips or the like. ABS is a great plastic for this kind of build, and I think it will hold up well. I have LEGO that's almost 35 years old and still kicking around and going strong. I'll be curious to see how well the seals hold up, but as a one-piece set of food carriage gear, I'm impressed.

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