Big Guys Rejoice ~ Pt2 ~ Shug’s Review of the AMOK Draumr XL Prototype

[Also a quick thanks and propz to Shug, who generously sent along some “Shug Swag” for our Lighthouse and Lobster Hang Charity Raffle that will benefit the Lighthouse Preservation Society. He signed a tee that ought to draw a bunch of tickets!… many thanks, Noble Mon!]

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A Look At the OGR Singled Out Hammock

Nathan Nieri down in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania has a startup gear company called Out Gear Recreation featuring his in-house made “Singled Out” hammock, and some sourced accessories like suspensions and a bugnet.

I was given the chance to try out the “OGR Singled Out” hammock in a Charcoal Grey. I approached Nathan after I saw his gear on “GarageGrownGear”  when I was first planning the “Day-Hammock Armada” for our last group hammock hang. He was kind enough to take Moosenut Falls seriously, and let the Château Moosenut GearLab boffins and I have one to use and evaluate.

I also took advantage of having my lady friend from Carolina around for a couple of weeks and we went out several times and set ourselves up in various locations. Taken together with the couple of days it was up with the others at the hang, and I’ve had a decent chance to try it out. Right now, it is hung out in my hammocking nook here in my own yard.

It is wicked hard to get a “good” photo of an empty hammock….

When I put up a day-hanger hammock I am much less concerned with the “30° rule” of getting a 30° angle from the ends of the hammock to the tree loop… especially since most don’t have fixed ridgeline installed. I work more from the tree pair that I have available. All I am looking for is a quick set-up and tear-down.

[These photos best show the color of the OGR/SO in Charcoal Grey … I really like the OGR logo, so simple and clean, and pretty instantly recognizable]

SIDEBAR~ When I call something a “day-hanger”, I am talking about a hammock that is intended for casual use, rather than for overnight sleeping. For me, this would necessarily include the ENO hammocks, those from Grand Trunk, and all the other [generally] Chinese-made “tripartite” hammocks sewn from three separate pieces of cloth. The greatest criticism of these is that they generally tend to be only about 9 feet long, if that…That’s pretty short for comfort if you want to sleep in a hammock overnight. The real problem with these units, and their wide availability, is that they tend to be the ones from which people form their opinions about hammocking. The shorter length means that you can not get as comfortable a diagonal lay, and the seams where the hammock fabrics are joined together cut across your body at the shoulder and calf… you will feel them. If you are just dropping into a hammock for a quick nap and some relaxation, these factors are far less important than if you’re trying to get a good nights sleep. [See my separate post on the full “day-hanger armada” for more of this discussion]

 

The “Singled Out” from OGR is a nice exception to these criticisms. It is made of a single piece of rip-stop nylon, and goes to an advertised 10’5″ length and 58″ wide… [I just tossed the tape on the one out in the yard and got 128″]. It is important to note that this is the actual fabric length.

Many of the quoted lengths for the Chinese-made hammocks include the line used to gather the sewn channel-ends together, as well as the carabiners that attach that to the suspension… This can add a total of 8 to 12 inches over-and-above the fabric, so that some of them come in at as little as 8’6″ in actuality.

In terms of weight, my Singled Out [with the full tree straps and the two ‘biners] comes in at 1.41 lbs. on my electronic scale.

 

One thing that was mentioned several times at the group hang as people played around with the Singled Out was how nice they felt the fabric to be. Everyone agreed it was the great combo of soft “hand” and feel, together with a nice stretch and “just enough give”, that made it super comfortable. I caught more than one of the folks completely zzZZ-ed out in it.

A young victim of the dreaded “Harold Hang Food Coma” in the OGR “Singled Out” Hammock [hung here on a Turtledog frame]

My lady, the Rev.ElfLiza, chillin’ at Two Lights State Park down on the Maine coast. [the photo had to be color tweaked considerably due to the brightness off the ocean in the background… this Singled Out is not nearly that dark]

 

Both my lady and I enjoyed the comfort, and the easy set-up with the 9′ cinch-buckle, poly-strap pair that Nathan included when he sent out mine… [he even included a pair of high quality carabiners to join the hammock to the suspension].

The straps are quite well made with multiple [four] rows of stitching to hold the loop for passing around the tree, and they both slip well through the cinches and hold fast under pressure [Hint~ always toss an overhand knot in behind the cinch just for safety].

Since Nathan sells his suspension separately, you can just as easily use one you already have and possibly reduce the overall weight if that’s important to you. However, I really like a cinch-buckle set-up, and this one lets you get “hung up and hanging out” within 1-2 minutes. Left up to me, I would probably pull the continuous loop out of the gathered end, and then larkshead the similar CL that comes directly off the cinch thru in its place. That would bring the hammock right up to the cinch and allow you to hang in a tighter space. The ‘biner could go on the tree end of the strap for even quicker joining of the around-the-tree-loop.

 

Here is the nearly ubiquitous feetz photo… it shows how nice and even the stitching is from the regularity of the “pleats”

Conclusion~~ I am nicely impressed with the OGR “Singled Out” hammock, and I think it could be a good choice for people who might possibly eventually be disappointed with more widely available hammocks because of their known design flaws and their shorter lengths. The “Singled Out” hammock is well made and US made! It packs down quite small even with the straps added into the pouch, the loops in the gathered ends and suspension are Amsteel instead of cheapo poly rope, and OGR’s offering is at nearly the same price point as an ENO or Grand Trunk on Amazon. Plus, with the fabric length of well over 10 feet versus the 9′ or less in the Chi-clones, it is suitable not only as it a day-hanger, but also as a sleeping hammock. It is certainly worth considering if you want a nice day-hanger to toss in the car or your day pack to have along at all times, together with the possibility of growing your kit toward overnight/sleeping use.

Check out the links from above and those on OGR’s own site.

 

NOTE: The Singled Out Hammock was provided to me for this “look at” and evaluation by Nathan at OutGearRec with the express understanding that I would be entirely impartial in my judgement. I have no business relationship with OutGearRec.

 

 

 

 

 

I Got Lucky… A Quick Bark River Bravo Vortex Knife Review

Last Sunday morning I entered a “waffle” on a FB group I follow that concerns high-end knives [apparently a “waffle” is what you have to call a raffle over there so as to avoid getting in trouble]. This particular one was for your choice of one of three knives from Bark River that run around $250++ a piece retail.

The waffles that I have seen are actually pretty well-run. Nobody seems to be out to make a big buck, they just want to turn around some knives they’ve got to have money to buy knives that they want. Everyone seems to play pretty fair, everyone seems standup, and everyone seems pretty satisfied. The results are determined by a drawing using randomnumber.org, and done as a live video, so you actually get to see that the game isn’t rigged.

It was really early in the day, like 7:00am… folks on the Coast weren’t even waking up yet… the odds were OK at 1:10, the slots were filling up quickly, some people had just PayPal-ed me for eBay sales, so I took a flyer and PayPal-ed off my money and asked for #5… no particular reason… it just seemed like the one.

It was!…. My pick out of the three just came in the post this morning…

 

“First Production Run”
Blade Thickness‎: ‎217″
Blade Height‎: ‎1.275″
Blade Length‎: ‎5.5″
Blade Steel‎: ‎A-2 Tool Steel @ 58-60RC
Handle in Kirinite “Bengal Tiger” composite
[see below]
Overall Length: 10.5″
Sheath from GLLW

 

 

The Kirinite scales used on the handle sure do give it an unmistakable, “Excuse me, but that’s MY knife” claim-ability. [The description when I went in on the raffle said the handle was “Lava” color. Now, looking over the Kirinite page, I rather think is actually in the “Bengal Tiger”… but I’m not arguing it and it is Kirinite, nonetheless]

I have been curious about the Kirinite material used for the handle scales ever since I first came across a net reference to the product. Check out the link for more info. I was mostly interested in getting some of their “Starlight” and “Glow” stuff to use as tags for my camping gear, but backed off because of the relatively high cost and the fact that it “glows-out” just about as fast as any other product. However, I was very impressed by some of the unique material patterns they have available. Reviews I have seen also make it clear that it is fairly easy to work with using something like a Dremel tool. I really like the one called “Toxic Green”… I could see making some fobs and pull tabs using that layered over a brass core.

Here it is my new prize shown with my other “Barkies”

Adventurer Nekker in Linen Micarta

Fox River II in Desert Ironwood

 

I thought the Fox was going to end up being my “big knife”… the Vortex makes it look small.

However, the blades are almost the same length.

The Vortex has a slightly more dropping curve to the top of the blade than the rest of the standard Bravos, and I do like the look it gives. Quite different from the full handle-into-blade curve on the Fox River II… But maybe more suited to heavier use.

This particular Vortex is made in the “rampless” style, and I prefer it that way. [You can see the little thump-ramp featured in some of the Bravos offered in the link above. I think the ramp just looks like something that will always catch on something as you unsheathe the knife] My winner here came with a black, non-standard, sheath made by GLLW. This is also fine with me since I am not a particular fan of the clunky sheath Bark River designed and offers for the Bravo line. The GLLW has a well thought-out combination of heavy leather on the back and belt-loop, together with a far more supple top surface topped with the decorative over-stitched panel for strength.

The .217″ blade thickness on the Vortex certainly outweighs the .157″ on my Fox River II, which I had thought was plenty sturdy. It gives the Vortex a massive feel in your hand. Heavy, sturdy, strong… this is not a knife you are going to have bend or break on you in bush-crafting situations like building a shelter, or harvesting fatwood. I’ve seen machetes that weren’t that thick, and I can see why the Bravo lineup is Bark Rivers #1-seller as a bushcraft knife.

The blade thickness tapers back from the point smoothly, leaving a plenty tough tip for pointy-work, and Bark River has eased the top edges of the blade on both sides in a slight relief. Like nearly all the BRK lines, the Vortex has a full tang under the handle scales that segues at the rear into a heavy lanyard detent that is never going to bend if you need/want to bash something with butt. With the jimping for your thumb at the handle transition, this is a very sweet looking knife.

 

Pros~

  • The Bravo Vortex has much more of the feel of a tool than my smaller BRKs.
  • With those flaming scales, I’m not gonna have a hard time finding it if it gets dropped.
  • The large handle gives a very good grip.
  • The black GLLW sheath looks quite impressive with the Kirinite scales.

Cons~

  • The tiger striped/lava flow handle coloring is a bit more flashy that I am in general… one step out toward the “Zombie Blade” thing.
  • The very weight of the whole knife is both pro and con.

Final Thoughts: It was great to win a knife of this quality, and it is surely a nice addition to my choices, but I don’t see it cutting the Fox River out of first place in my heart and hand. The FR just has more of a feeling of finesse when I use it. However, the Vortex will go on the lake kayaking and hang trip though… I’ll give it a good workout up there in actual camp-life.

Heck, maybe I’ll just take all of them together with the project Bowie and have my own, personal “Knife-Off”… one knife each day!

[And lastly…. My thanks to David Schmitt for hosting the “waffle”]