Sunday, January 30, 2011

Soda Can Alcohol Stove and Other Brew Kit...

My nice and neat little alcohol stove that Ken Cook made for me. Chicken wire screen inside the can and the outer can started out life as a short, tubby can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew.

You put it all together and put the old lid on it and it's a nice little set up, don't you think? You use a stainless steel cup that holds about one cup of water and it will boil it in 12 minutes when it is several degrees below freezing outside. This larger canteen cup take about 15-17 minutes, holds a larger amount of water that you can get a cup of coffee and a small container of Cup of Noodles going on.

The best fuel for it, the cleanest burning, is HEET (yellow bottle). HEET is methanol (methyl alcohol).

When I worked midnight shift, this little kit was a great companion on bitter cold nights as I didn't really have so much as a "kitchenette" to use at work.

King Of All Penlights

Left to right: Fenix, Energizer, Lenser/Coast, and Dorcy. All three penlights take two (2) AAA batteries.

Penlights have, I think, reached their zenith with the development and production of the The Fenix LD05 "High-Intensity Penlight." Is it possible to get more than 100 lumen out of two AAA batteries and still have anything remotely resembling a reasonable run time at that power setting? Probably not.

Several entries below, just back to December 7, 2010, you will see a trio of penlights. You can find that here in case you don't want to fumble around.

Here is some of the information on this excellent penlight from The Bright Guy's Website:

"The Fenix LD05 is a high intensity penlight with 3 brightness levels and 100 lumens in high. The Fenix LD05 measures only 5.9" long and runs for up to 23 hours on common AAA batteries, either alkaline or rechargeable NiMH. The LD05 is a convenient pocket-sized flashlight with a sleek design and durable construction - the perfect LED flashlight for home and work.

Features of Fenix LD05 High Intensity Penlight / Flashlight:
• Cree XP-E LED (R2) with a life of approximately 50,000 hours
• 3 brightness levels
Medium - 32 lumens with a runtime of 5 hours
Low - 4 lumens with a runtime of 23 hours
High - 100 lumens with a runtime of 1.5 hours
• brightness sequence is medium > low > high
• powered by 2 ea AAA batteries, alkaline or NiMH (not included)
• stainless steel bezel (head), tail switch and pocket clip
• durable machined aircraft-grade aluminum body with Type III hard anodized finish
• ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
• pushbutton tail switch for constant on/off (no momentary on)
• waterproof to IPX-8 standard (submerged in 2 meters of water for 30 minutes)
• measures 5.9" long with a diameter of 0.6"
• weighs 2.4 oz with batteries
• includes spare O-rings (batteries not included)"

Well, I wish it was Made in The Good, Old U.S. of A., but you can't have everything these days. It is Made in China. It's getting harder to find stuff that you either want or need that isn't Made in China, that's how it goes now.

The wonderful news is, Fenix is demanding high-quality and it shows. I have had a couple Fenix lights for a few years now and they really are excellent flashlights.

This penlight is a little bit longer and heavier than a common Sharpie marker but it has come in handy so many times. Even in daylight hours at work trying to find serial numbers on pieces of equipment in a dark corner of a storage room. It is light enough that you will not notice it after a while. Excellent piece of gear, a little bit pricey for a penlight but it's a penlight that will blast out 100 lumen for approximately 90 minutes and that's something to brag about.

The Three Little Petzls

You want to talk about excellent gear? Let me tell you about it! This weekend is all about excellent gear.

The Petzl headlamp with the blue headstrap is a Tikkina2 and belongs to my Son. It has two power settings and a click-adjustable tilting head to adjust the angle of the beam.

The headlamp all the way to the right is my Tikka Plus2 which has high and low modes with white light and a strobe mode with white light. It also has one power level on red light and strobe red light. This is my first Petzl and my favorite so far. It also has the click-adjustable tilting head and the comfortable head strap which is very secure.

Lastly, the headlamp in the middle. A Zipka2.

The Zipka2 is quite a bit different. It has a retractable cord on each side that terminates in a plastic oval that is placed on the rear of your head. The spring and spiral retracting mechanism is built into that plastic oval housing, which is flat and more comfortable than I thought it would be when examining it at the store where I purchased it.

It does not have the click-adjustable tilting head of the other two models and has low power, high power and strobe settings on white only.

All three of these headlamps require three (3) AAA batteries (each) and I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed with any of them. The TikkaPlus2 was my first and is the most versatile and my favorite. The Zipka2 is something I purchased along with a small zippered, egg-shaped storage case for placement in a survival kit.

The Zipka2 has that strobe feature so you can, because of the retractable cord assembly, easily attach this light to a stake in the ground, a tree limb or tent pole for light. Or, using the strobe feature, it can strobe for hours alerting rescuers to your whereabouts while you get some much-needed rest in a shelter.

A Plethora of Flashlights

Oh, and one RCA Pearl MP3 Player which I tossed into the mix.

You will see the battery carriers in the post below in this picture as well.

This is not all of the flashlights I have. I have left out the small pile of Photons that I have purchased over the years. But this is a grouping of excellent LED flashlights that all run on AA, AAA and in the case of the PAL Lights, one 9-Volt each.

The green-bodied flashlight is a Tekna from the 1980s with a replacement LED "bulb" that the company that purchased Tekna now produces. Pretty good light!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Battery Caddy

I am up to four of these great plastic wonders. I have not thrown them around the house or outdoors, but have chunked them around in various gear bags and have not had one of them so much as crack.

The two larger unites hold a large amount of batteries.

Eight (8) AAs, four (4) AAAs and one (1) 9-Volt.

The 9-Volt option is important to me because I use PAL Survival (LED) Lights as well as others. So, with one battery caddy in any given piece of gear along with a PAL Light, I have an extra battery that is in reserve and protected from discharge or damage by the caddy.

I purchased those two units from Best Glide.

The next two each hold six (6) AAA batteries.

The orange caddy was purchased from Survival Resources.

Lastly, the Glow-in-the-Dark, "Moonshine" caddy was purchased from The Bright Guy. As you can see from one of the pictures taken with only the glowing caddy providing light, they really work. They also, unlike the Flintstones and other 1960s and 1970s Glow-in-the-dark cereal toys, stay glowing for quite some time.

All three of these companies, along with the aforementioned PAL Survival Light, are great folks to deal with and I recommend them highly.

Two earlier entries on the PAL Survival LED Flashlights here and here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Twenty Years Ago Today: SAS Patrol Bravo Two Zero

January 22, 1991, the famous SAS Mission Bravo Two Zero got underway. Here is to the one that got away, the ones who were captured, tortured and eventually released, and to those who didn't make it back home.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Must-See Documentary: "Dark Days."

Ken Cook told me about this documentary that he really enjoyed and thought that I would find quite interesting and perhaps valuable. So, after viewing it, I was pretty jazzed about it! He knows me very well. So, thank you for telling me about this neat little documentary Ken!

That documentary is Marc Singer's incredible film, "Dark Days." From the very start, one of the residents of the tunnel speaks...

"When I first came down in the tunnel it was lookin' dangerous man. Lookin' real dangerous. Even in the daytime it was dark. was scared.

I said, somewhere down the line, it can't be as bad as it is up top. Because out in the street you had kids fuckin' with ya. You had the police fuckin' with ya. I mean, anybody could walk by you while you were sleepin' on the bench and bust you in the head. At least down in the tunnel you didn't have to worry 'bout that. 'Cause ain't nobody in their right mind gonna come down there..."

One of the people living down in the tunnel estimated that 80% of the people living down there were addicted to drugs, mostly crack, and that is how they ended up down there. I guess if you added moderate to severe mental health issues, that would account for most of the remaining 20%.

Another thing that is interesting about this ten year old film is the fact that there was a very real reluctance, a vocal resistance, towards going to a homeless shelter. Just last week I was speaking to a homeless man and he said the same thing. Other homeless people I have encountered and spoke with all say the same thing, the homeless shelters might save you from a very cold night, but the junkies and thieves will steal anything from you that they can.

In that opening narrative in "Dark Days," you see a logic to the man's point of view. If you are homeless and your are being assaulted by people or being hassled constantly by both regular people and the police, a subterranean shelter would be much more safe and secure. Especially when you can build yourself a "house" down in the tunnel like these crafty homeless men and women did.

My survival interests are intensely focused on the North American continent. It is unlikely that I will ever have to survive in the arctic, a desert or jungle. I have minor interests in those areas but my main focus is on the woodlands, mountains and suburban and urban areas of the Continental United States.

I highly recommend you see this film. You won't soon forget it if you do.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Links Added...

A new link to Big Country Supply has been added. Great company to do business with!

Another link is to Seychelle which manufactures water filtration equipment.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bowen Throwing Knife and The ESEE (SERE) 5...

And my ancient Spyderco Sharpmaker which is just about old enough to vote now.

Some people use their dining room tables for different things, like eating. I use it for so many different things until my Wife tells me to clean up my stuff. 8-)