Preparedness for the Zombie Apocolyptiwhoopsageddon and Rapture Ascension

Quite seriously, preparedness is something I certainly believe in… I have a “home” bucket for power failures and weather related emergencies, I carry a “breakdown-and-stranded” bucket in the car trunk [there is also a repairs tool kit pouch and a pocket emergency kit in the door pocket]. I always carry one of my pocket emergency kits when I go out in the woods beyond my own backlot, and I am usually carrying the “knife/ light/ fire” essentials right in my front jeans pocket at all times.


As TV constantly reminds us, the lizard people, the fascists [or lib-tards], the zombies, or something is always just ahead to ruin our safe little lives. 2019 looks like a great year to get COMPLETELY up-to-date and stylin’ for whatever next end-of-world scenario comes along, and “RINO” has you covered in one of the best looking solutions… not necessarily the best preparedness package, but certainly the “best looking” I’ve seen.


$149 [vs $199 msrp] gets you just the bags.


$300 [$385 msrp] fills them with a full load-out of generic “survival stuff”!



Only three days left today [Feb 10, 2019], so, check them out on Kickstarter for yourself>>>

RINO Companion – The world’s most advanced two person 72 hour emergency survival system. Fusing unmatched organizationquality, and quick access – built to withstand whatever life throws your way.

  • I think it does truly look great, and super well-organized.
  • However, those great looking, snug fitting little packages seem limiting, and their build looks like it wastes space… give me stuff sacks and plastic bags, please.
  • The rigid “pack” looks small to me, and I question just how comfy it’s gonna be on your back.
  • It also doesn’t look like there is much room for your own gear… I mean, face it, you are going to want to take some stuff that doesn’t “live” permanently in the pack.

To each his own/ one size doesn’t fit all/ do your own thing/ it’s your money….. but, personally, I’ll pick-and-choose my own load-out of stuff of know/proven quality, and stick with my 5 gallon car bucket and a regular, soft sided backpack.


Shamanic Rites

The doors to the world of the wild self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door. 

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes

llustration by Sean Lewis

90% / 50% and the Ultralight Down Jacket Revisited

I have had my sewn-thru, Joobox brand, ultralight down jackets through two winters now. Mine are the down shirt/sweater type shown below… perfect to just go over a tee, or then under a shell or fleece as needed.

I have worn mine as a throw-on to go out on the porch at dawn to smoke, as a layer under a heavier jacket and overnight in my hammock for extra warmth in sub-freezing weather, just as a shirt over my trunks after swimming on breezy days at the beach [if you have been to Maine you will understand that this IS NOT odd in the least], as well as just around the house to help keep from turning up the thermostat.


[This is the same jacket as it is currently offered on AliBaba… different branding is all]

The jackets came to mind partly because I am happily wearing one as I write, and partly because there is a “Sale” today on similar jackets from Uniqlo… theirs are down to $59 [from $69].

Over the last two years I have checked out the higher priced versions. Here are the current links [MSRP shown] :

  • Uniqlo – $70 ~no deetz given
  • REI Co-op– $99 ~650 fill/ 10.5 total weight
  • LL Bean – $199 ~850-fill-power goose down/ no weight given
  • Mountain HardWear [Ghost Whisperer] – $325 ~Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ 800-fill/ no weight given
  • vs the Chinese generics – $16-$29 ~ 2.5 oz. white duck down/ approx 9.7 oz with stuff sack [from AliBaba/ DX Gear/ BangGood and others]

It certainly seems that the higher in price you go, the more buzz-words they toss out. Still, while all these “brand-name” versions do go on sale at 20-30% off fairly regularly, that’s still quite a spread in costs for a very limited feature set or a brand logo.

It should be noted that you can also get heavier versions of the REI and Beans offerings that are more in the full jacket mode, but I like mine in the shirt/sweater styling… living in Maine, I’ve got full-scale puffer coats/jackets/parkas out my wazoo.

As near as I can determine, all of these lightweight jackets are sewn-thru construction [no baffles to add loft depth] and are of the same sweater styling. The biggest variation looks to be the number of channels of down, with the GW the clear winner there… and it looks like the GW tosses in some vertical stitching to minimize down shift from side-to-side. My cheapos have 12 channels counted up the back and not including the collar or shoulder areas. and I have never noticed any down shift at all… a quick shake and everything is fine. 

After two years of very frequent use, I can see no signs of wear on Chinese cheapo… no pulled threads, no down leaks, no channel breaches, etc. I don’t think I could ask for more for the price… especially at only 5%+ of the GW.

90% for <50% Rocks…!


Christmas Swag… for the Elf

My lady, elfLiza, is a native Carolinian with little experience with the cold of the Nawthern Wintahs. The Xmas gnomes brought her a USB handwarmer.  It’s a bit of a mouthful as “Human Creations EnergyFlux Enduro Rechargeable Hand Warmer 7800mAh / USB Portable Charger Power Bank/ Flashlight”, so we’ll just call it the Enduro.

The Enduro is indeed all of those things and does each of them passably well.

The warmer function is accessed with a long press on the power button… a longer press yields the higher warmth level. I don’t find much difference in the hand, and would suggest the lower level to increase the length of heating cycle although the difference is represented as 6.5 hrs vs 7 hrs.
The red light blinks faster to indicate the higher heat.
The blue crescent of lights are the battery indicators.
It’s downside is that the battery takes 6-8 hours to charge up from zip, but you can basically use any USB source that’s handy.





The LED flashlight is accessed by a double-click, and turns off the same way. It is a decent enough directional light with sufficient power to get you around a dark campsite or room.

We haven’t had any need to use the Enduro as a USB powerbank, but I trust from the rest of the experience that it will also be perfectly satisfactory.


Our use shows that the hand warmer function heats up quite quickly… after 30 seconds you can feel the warmth and it is at “full” heat within only a couple of minutes. As I said, I’m quite satisfied with lower heating level. The elf likes it hotter.

I have used a Zippo branded, lighter fluid hand warmer since I was a kid. The Enduro surpasses the Zippo in heating temp by a fair bit. However, since one of my own most common uses is to tuck the warmer into my scarf, either under my chin, or against the back my neck, I actually prefer a slightly lower heat so that I don’t get scorched. You can very definitely feel the heat of the Enduro building up in a pocket.

[The other thing I like about my trusty old Zippo fuel heater is that I can hold the tip of my cigarette against the catalytic converter and light it.]

It is always nice to find a product that can fulfill several needs in one unit. The Enduro fits the bill.

A last “however” is that the Endoro is certainly another one that fails to meet my 90%-50% criteria even though the pre-Christmas sale price was considerably reduced from the current offering. But anything that keeps the elf up here in New England seems like a pretty good deal to me and the gnomes.

EDIT~ 45 days in use: this has turned out to be very good choice. I was quite content with the old-school fluid lighters until I found out how convenient it is to have a hand warmer that comes up to heat so fast, and turns off just as quick... the poor elf gets only about half the use of it. If she want to use it she has to keep asking me which pocket of which of my coats it’s in today…

Chrismas Swag

Back in the Fall, while I was at the MidAtlantic Hammock Hang down in Pennsylvania, I spent some time tail-gating with several of the “cottage” vendors that I already knew, and had the chance to meet Chad North of North X North.

HIs products are merino wool kerchiefs [shemaghs], neck gaiters, and bandana/handkerchiefs. I had sadly underestimated the chill of the PA mountains in mid-October, and hadn’t brought head/neck gear… just my ball cap. I was really impressed by Chad’s primo product… his 42″x42″ merino shemagh that was keeping him toasty while I shivered.

[I’ll leave it up to you to search up the deets on shemaghs, but they are the headgear that many of our guys stationed over in the AK47-stans have adopted to keep them both warm and cool… you can wear a shemagh many ways.]

Here are Chad’s own YouTubes on wearing his…. >>

My lady, the Reverend elfLiza, rolled her eyes when told her how cool it was… and how costly, but she went to all the effort to track Chad down through our mutual friends. Unfortunately, he was out of stock for my color choice [charcoal]. Despite many setbacks, together Chad and the elf managed to find one at the last second and I found mine under the tree!

This second photo shows the fine detail of the craftsmanship that goes into these.

It is everything that everyone had said. I LOVE it! I have been wearing it around the house to keep the chill off [in Winter, a scarf is in-door wear for Western Maine] and I wore it all day yesterday on an extended trip to Boston with temps in 20°s with winds that made your eyes water. It was great!

When I did a personal post over on my FB page mentioning how good it was, I was impressed at how many of the “heavy-rollers” in my hammocking community chimed it with how much they loved theirs.

This is definitely NOT one for my 90%-50% rule. And they are definitely not your ordinary buff or kerchief. Chad had to source his own fabric [a merino wool, Jersey-type knit] inorder to make these at all. But he does run discounts from time-to-time, and if you grab one I don’t think you will be disappointed. As the link shows, there are a lot of things you can do with one, and the larger dimensions make it a step above the regular cotton shemagh out there. They are fine, but the extra couple of inches make the North X North ones extra special.


Big propz to Chad for a great product that delivers the value.


Next up [or under the tree] are a pair of Axman Woodcutters Mittens. Mine came from the local feedstore, but they are on Amazon as one of the “Amazon Choice” selections >> Mittens

I just gave mine a treatment with mink oil to soften them up and add some weather resistance.

I have some great gloves, but mittens seem to keep my fingers warmer if I don’t need dexterity. I can also slip a chemo-handwarmer into large mittens far more easily than into gloves. The leather Kinco uses is quite supple, even untreated. I have other branded gloves using the same type of cowhide that are still giving good service after a good number of years

The Axeman Woodcutter version not only has a nice, soft and warm fleece liner, but the liner is “glove-cut”… there are channels for your fingers to fit into to reduce chafe and absorb sweat. [I don’t know about the other Kinco styles] These are wicked comfy.

It was Chrismahanzuquanzakka, so these were another exception to the 90%-50% rule….



Peace of Winter

I love the Bamboo Tree:
It staves off heat and cold,
Cultivates unbending fidelity;
Empties its mind every day.
In the moonlight it plays with its shadow
And sends clean words before the wind.
When it wears snow on its head,
Grace fills the deep forest.

– Jinkag Haesim (1178-1234)