Author Topic: A few items I have come to love more over time  (Read 2339 times)

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Offline Punty

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A few items I have come to love more over time
« on: February 20, 2016, 08:58:26 PM »
  Not sure if this is a review, per se, but I wanted to share some of my favorite items that I find to be indispensable, that most folks may not be familiar with or have.

1. Under Body Armor combat shirt. I have the British version, cause it's cheaper. It looks like this;


  I got it for about $25. Same as the American ones, but a bit less expensive. This shirt is AMAZING! First, it is the perfect working shirt. The shoulders and elbows are padded, the sleeves are very tough and durable, and the body is lightweight ad breathes very nicely. For example, today, I was doing some trail work trying to buck a fallen maple tree, frozen inside, and it was hard work. This shirt helped me stay cool the whole time, while still being great for leaning on a dirty log or pushing through brush when I had to with my arms well protected.
   The pockets on the sleeves are roomy, I fit my phone in one of them with room to spare, with no fear of it falling out.
    Highly recommended as a work shirt in the bush, or as a backpacking shirt because the padded shoulders help carrying a load, and when you zip it up the collar is high to prevent chafing on the neck from shoulder straps.
  I recommend beating up Wilderbeast to get some of these types of shirts. :)

2. Swiss M70 alpenflage jacket with ruck, like this;




  OK, first and foremost......I got the jacket for $10, and the ruck for $5. Money WELL SPENT! The ruck has hooks that attach to loops on the front of the jacket, and a strap that ties around the midsection. This jacket isn't a fashion statement, but it doesn't look as bad in real life as it does in pictures.
  So...why do I love this jacket, First, it is heavy and rugged. I mean, this thing is HEAVY for a jacket, even with nothing in the pockets. But what a great design this is! It has big, deep pockets everywhere! I fit my cook kit, my water bottle, first aid kit, knife, cordage, compass whistle...EVERYTHIN G in this jacket so I don't even need a backpack or ruck for a day trip. It even has a built in sniper veil if I want to scare the locals walking their dogs.  :D
   It also has a zippered inner pocket to keep valuables or a firearm if you want to.
   The ruck has a large main compartment that I generally keep 2L of water and my lunch in, and the side pockets I keep a rolled up tarp in one, and the other I carry a small piece of tarp for kneeling and and sitting, as well as my Big Boy Silky Saw with sheath. There is also an axe loop on it, and a couple of D-rings, so I strap my 26" axe to it with a bungee cord.
    I consider this an outstanding budget bushcraft jacket. Instead of having a daypack and a lot of pouches, you can literally just take this jacket, and you can have a designated pocket for everything...gloves, fire kit, and so on.
  I highly recommend getting at least the jacket. I got the ruck because...hey...it was $5, so why not?
   I am still working out my system, because I carry so much, the jacket weighs about 50 pounds when I have it loaded up....and that's not an exaggeration...it can be heavy, but the weight carries easily the way it is designed.
   There also seems to be some kind of inner pocket in the back...it is huge, takes up the entire backside. I am not sure what that is for, and still haven't found a use for it. You could easily fit a drop cloth or something in there, but I don't want plastic on my back so I don't.

3. Swedish LK35 rucksack


  I got this for $15. Nowadays I see them for a few dollars more. Honestly, this was one of the very fist pieces of kit I ever bought, and it has done nothing but make me happier and happier that I got it. The frame is steel, so it is not an ultralight backpack or anything, but it is very durable and comfortable. The straps are not really padded, just a thick canvas, but they are wide. I once replaced them with Alice Pack straps, but went back to the originals because they were more comfortable, at least to me.
   I actually have two of these, and they are different materials. One seems to be cotton, and the other some kind of cordura or something. It is just a simple framed ruck, with an axe loop. If you are a larger person, it may not fit because I am 5' 6", and I installed a waist pad on it to help carry weight, which works, but the pad barely reaches my hips. So, if you are a large person, this will carry not much larger than the typical backpacks you might find in stores like Walmart...not much length to it top to bottom.
 I use this as my daypack, and I wouldn't trade it in for anything less than a Kelty Redwing or something, which is 5 times more expensive. I am, however, a frame pack kind of guy. I love external frames, not just for utility, but it keeps the pack off of my back completely for ventilation, which is something I can't put a price on in value to me. I want nothing but air on my back when hiking, and for $15, I almost wish I bought more of these. I typically carry about 40 pounds in this ruck comfortably.

4. Mountain Ranger Cook Kit and GSI Kettle


   I struggled and spent a lot of money trying to find the perfect cook it. I found what I was looking for in these two items. I got the stainless steel Ketalist from GSI, and it nests perfectly inside the Mountain Ranger Cookset (mine was new in box, made in the 50's). The Ranger cook kit has a stainless steel fry pan, and two heavy gauge aluminum pots, one with bail. I don't use the accessories that came with the Ketalist, instead I stuff my brew kit and folding fork and spoon, copper scrub pad, and bandana in the ketalist, and nest the whole thing inside the Ranger cook set. It's not light, but I can cook virtually anything with this set, and use everything from a grill, to a tripod, to a sterno stove with this set. I can cook for one, or I can cook a veritable Thanksgiving dinner if I want to.
  The cookset cost me about $25, and the kettle another $25, so it is a bit pricey in total, but really love my kettle and wanted to find a cookset that I could nest it in. The ranger cookset fit the bill without forcing me to choose between a fry pan, a sauce pan, or a pot....I got it all in one package, relatively compact.
   PLUS, there is just something cool about the Ranger cookset. I can't put my finger on it, but something about old school military cook kits is just cool, and durable.
   With this set, I have cooked steaks, hamburger helper, soup, sausages, just about anything I could think of. And I don't have to try to squeeze dinner into a 5" fry pan, this one can actually fit a decent sized steak, or cook 3 hot dogs at once if I want to. There is nothing better than sitting in the woods, with a fire going, and having mashed potatos, steak, and coffee all going at the same time....and I can do that with this kit, and still have a pot left unused!

  Anyway, I just wanted to share my experiences with a few random pieces of my kit that have, over time, come to be indispensable to me. I think, of all the money I have spent on so many other pieces of gear....these items are the ones that I got the most value out of, and I have really come to love them. I thought I would share, especially since they are more or less affordable items that can be found fairly easily, if anyone else might have interest but a limited budget.

EDIT: I don't know if the aluminum kettle from GSI would nest, I doubt it, I think it is a bit bulkier than the steel one, but it is a couple of ounces lighter.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 09:08:04 PM by Punty »
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10

Offline wsdstan

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Re: A few items I have come to love more over time
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2016, 09:13:21 PM »
I have the same fry pan and similar cooking pots.  Over the years I have tried a tea kettle but only use it these days if I am car camping.  As clothing I have similar items such as a gore-tex parka shell and a variety of packs.  I paid a bit more for most of my stuff than you did.   :-[
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)