ICK! UHG! YICK! …First Tick of the Year!

ICK! UHG! YICK! ...First Tick of the Year!

Found one crawling up the back of my neck this morning. Time to stop playing with the cats.

… and time to go get a couple of packages of flea and tick dose for both the dog and the cats.

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Ed’s Re-pack

Ed [TOG] and I are the ones who go upptacamp together. Since we’re always running off down the brook going fishing, or off around the lake, a couple of years ago I made him a pocket emergency kit like my own. While I was over at his house the other day I saw it lying around and brought it home to give it an update. I took a couple of things out, and put couple things in.

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You can probably figure out what most of the stuff is from the photo. Right down in front is a few feet of duct tape wrapped around an old supermarket “bonus” card. I used some packing tape to stick a razor blade and a utility knife blade on to it. I had bought a package of “wet fire” tablets and put in one of those. Right next to it are a piece of Heartpine fatwood and a little Ziploc full of tinder. There are couple of zip-ties up at the top, and a couple of stainless steel ring nails taped together. You can pretty much figure out the rest of it. [the “fishing kit” is more of a joke than anything else… but TOG does like to go annoy the fish, so I figured, WTF, it’s something that’s been kicking around in my junk box forever, I might as well toss it in for him.]

Here it is packed. It’s made so it can go in a hip pocket of your jeans and not be much more noticeable than your wallet. TOG’s is the mesh one with everything packed into a heavy zip-top baggy. Mine is the gray one with the vinyl window. Everything in mine is more individually packed and waterproofed. Neither of these kits actually weighs more than about 8 ounces. I think that’s pretty good for the the utility that’s actually there.

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The only real differences between his kit and mine are that I used a mylar survival mini-blanket in his; mine uses one of the more expensive sleeping bag style. The whistles are different, and my kit also has a little ferrocerrium rod and “sparker” combo [the orange in the corner of the kit] in addition to the matches. I also figured he could find his own lighter if he wants one.

Anyway, we’re both all set for when we get to go up to camp next month. Grab a couple of bottles of water and a pack of snacks, and we’re rock’n roll. Now we just have to hope the weather allows and we actually get off our rusty duffs and take that walk up to Cranberry Pond. NewDawg gets to go with us for the first time, and he deserves a chance to go up on the Bigelow’s.

Onward through the fog…

Minimalist FirstAid kits

Since I had a whole bunch of stuff spread around to do some repacks on emergency kits and those new “Fishermen’s Essentials” FirstAid kits, I got to thinking how often all I really want is to deal with a simple cut, or really minimal knuckle-scrape. It’s a pain in the butt to open up a whole kit, and unpack enough to find just one Band-Aid.

I wanted to see what I could manage in the way of the simplest, lightest, and most efficient first aid kit… What I ended up with was a couple of Band-Aids and disinfectant wipes in a baggie… DeLuxe.

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I was able to cram two full sized Band-Aids, a medium sized one, one oversized knuckle bandage [I had to fold that in half], one Benzacodium and one alcohol wipe, and a little package of antiseptic cream, all into a flat package less than 2″ x 4.5″.

One little Ziploc I had kicking around was just a shade narrower than a strip of duct tape. I slipped everything into the bag and pressed it out onto a piece of tape. Then, working from one end to get all the extra air out, I pressed a double-width piece of clear packing tape down over the whole thing. I trimmed off the edges of the packing tape so that there was only a quarter of an inch overlap, and folded that back over the duct tape. Trimmed off both ends and ended up with a pretty slick little package.

It should be pretty much waterproof, it will slip into any pocket, and you ought to be able to open it with a quick nick of a pocketknife, or even a sharp twig.

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[Yes. This could’ve been even more minimalist. I could’ve stripped the paper off of the Band-Aids, and only included the  pouch of antiseptic cream. Then it probably would’ve fit on a single width piece of packing tape folded back lengthwise up over itself.]

 

When the lights go out all over the world…

When the lights go out all over the world...

Last evening, just as I stuck the toothbrush in my mouth getting ready to go to bed, the lights went out. I didn’t even have to glance out the window to see it wasn’t just me. My peripheral vision had let me see everything else on the hillside across the valley blink out.

I could’ve lit a candle of course.
But just the other day I had taken one of those solar walkway lights that I got at the dollar store and stuck the top part into a small, opaque jar just secured with the strip of electrical tape. It was like a two-minute job.
I figured it for out on the porch railing. I like to preserve my night vision, but I don’t want to trip over anything, like the catz, in the dark and I found the sharp point of light from the path stake LED a little of obnoxious.
Anyway, last evening I ran downstairs and brought it up to the bedroom. Works wizard. Plenty of light to see what I was doing, but not nearly bright enough to be a distraction falling asleep.
It was still glowing this morning, not much diminished, at 5:30 AM.
It seems like if I can find a convenient way to mount this high up on the top of the pack where it could get a charge, it would be a nice little addition out in the woods of an evening. It has a very soft, but quite satisfactory glow. And it doesn’t weigh more than an ounce or two.

I’ll get together a quick little instructable, and put it up here.

Down at the Fell-Off-ATruck-Stop

A couple days ago I had to take a 60 mile drive from here over to You Caint Git There From Here where my buddy, TOG, lives. Along the way there are a couple of my favorite “Fell-Off-A-Truck-Stops”, those little mom-and-pop joints, and the blue tarp “Big Sale Today!” tents where the applicable motto is, “You should’ve bought it when you saw it”. One of the places had a basket full of these Coleman “Essentials” survival tins. Two dollars apiece, or three for $5. I grabbed three, including the only oversized unit that was still in the basket.

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As you can, see the smaller, 24-piece units are just first aid kits. The larger one [74-piece] purports to be a “Personal Survival Kit”!!   WooWhee!!   The smaller kits go for $8 over on Amazon and the bigger one will set you back $9… seems like I got a pretty good deal for only five bucks.

Then you open them up, or read the back of the can. They are just plain a collection of a few generic bandages, a couple of alcohol & itch wipes, two safety pins, and a razor blade. The “Personal Survival Kit” adds a few extra bandages and a box of 40 matches!   DOUBLE WOOWHEE!   Each match counts as an item!   Well, I guess they are waterproof, and that has to count for something.

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The other thing that I noticed when I got them home was that they had done a really nice job of putting heavy-duty heat shrink around the packages. Not all the way around the packages. They left the ends open. Despite the two smaller of these claiming to be Fishermen’s Essentials kits, they didn’t bother to make them waterproof… An extra half-inch of heat shrink and it would’ve been fine.

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All my grumbling aside, they are nice little slide top steel tins. The stuff inside is perfectly usable, even if it’s a bit cheap, a bit sparse and limited in variety. While the smaller cans are of a decent, Altoids size to go in your pocket, the big one is too thick. You can really feel the lump of it when you put it in your shirt pocket, and it is way, way too thick to be comfortable in your pants. It’s size means that it definitely has to go in one of the pockets of your pack. I can probably pull out all the bandages and repurpose it into a really satisfactory actual “emergency” kit with stuff I’ve got laying around. That way at least the label is no longer telling a lie. As you can see the smaller tin will nest into the back of the larger. If I flesh those out into a better pair of first aid kits with a few more things, I can throw a couple of riggers rubber bands around the pair of large and small and have a decent all-purpose kit to throw in a pack. I like the idea of having a separate first aid kit, so that I don’t have to go digging through a whole lot of stuff to just find a Band-Aid.

The depression on the back of the larger kit also suggests that you could stick a silver mylar emergency blanket on there really easily with just a piece of duct tape. Anyways, once I’ve finished with the repurposing and repacking, I’ll get up another post up and you guys can see what I managed to squeeze in.