Saturday, 19 January 2019

Dental care after SHTF


via SurviveUK http://bit.ly/2sym7SV

Thursday, 4 May 2017

La Sportiva Trango Review

La Sportiva Trango Review

Specifically, these are the Tango TRX GTX and they are the cheapest of the Trango series,  but that doesn't mean they are in any way lacking as far as I'm concerned.

La Sportiva Trango ReviewWell just as a starting point with these boots, they were some of the most comfortable I've ever put on out of the box. They are a combination of materials, including good ol' Gore-Tex, and are available in several colours, although the majority of stockists sell them only in yellow or red. They feature things such as 'TPU Thermo Tech Application' and 'Vibram Mulaz outsole with a technical edging platform' which I have no idea what mean but, all add up to make a really comfortable and all-round practical boot.

 
I do have some expensive gear for when I'm out but I always spend the most on a good pair of boots. I've gone through Karrimor and Berghaus boots, along with others I can't remember, and usually I just wear them until even 3 washes in a row cant make my family stop complaining about the smell but, with what I to do while I'm out and about in the wilderness, these are probably the most ideal boots I've come across. I do a bit of climbing up rock faces and some trekking through forests and over mountains and these boots seem to be a really good jack of all trades.
As with the above mentioned technical features, they do have something I could at least figure out which is the '3D Flex' insert. This goes all the way around the bottom of the boot and effectively 'cups' your whole foot in a slightly stiffer material for support. When I first put my foot in I noticed a stiffer heel support and eventually realised it extended around the base of my whole foot. My first thought was I would always 'feel' it while walking, which if you were me would be the worst feeling ever. I am the type who feels a tiny thread come loose in the boot and obsesses over it until I either remove my foot or remove half of the stitching and ultimately compromising the overall integrity of my footwear. With these it was a reassuring feel on the few occasions that I did notice it, but generally I couldn't tell it was there.


 


For a start there is a small patch near the toes of tread that is designed around climbing. Its called the 'climbing zone' and it has no flex in it which gives you an excellentLa Sportiva Trango Review surface to get your toes into crevices, while climbing, that is as solid as the rock you will be stood on. I don't do anything extreme these days, like free climbing, but for my general scaling of smaller cliffs I would be more than happy wearing these.

There is one thing that I find the most useful out of all of its features for my ventures. These are Gore-Tex and waterproof. I didn't intentionally test this feature out however, while getting some photos for some waterproof backpacks on a river, I did slip and go in more than ankle deep. I have a pair of full leather Magnums (advertised as waterproof) that go much higher up my leg and they have soaked my feet in less so I was expecting there to be a very wet foot at the end of my leg, but it was completely dry. I know it sounds strange to say that I was shocked that a waterproof boot was waterproof, but with every pair I've ever owned what happened that day would never have resulted in a dry foot, and I am really pleased I have something I can rely on there.



Well I couldn't say I usually test items as extensively as I have with these boots but, with footwear, it has to deal with whatever you come across for every second you are out in the world. So it can be anything from a small puddle or a fallen tree, to a raging river or land slide. These have encountered pretty much all of that (the landslide wasn't happening at the time but I did make my way over a recent slide) and at no point was I aware that I was testing a pair of new boots. I've worn these over 80 miles of Welsh mountains with, at times, a very heavy pack and they just felt like some boots I'd had for years and knew inside out. This may be the first 'real' pair of hiking boots I've ever owned and I certainly wont be looking at any others for a long time. There are some things I would alter on this shoe if I was making it for myself, but really I would probably just make them worse. These were the TRK GTX version of the Trango although there are other versions (more expensive) that are available with slightly different styling or materials, but they are all basically the same boot. I couldn't recommend these boots more highly, they are absolutely superb and worth every penny you spend on them.


[taq_review]

La Sportiva Trango Review


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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Mechanix M-PACT 3 Review

Mechanix M-Pact 3 Review

We got our hands on (well in) some great tactical gloves by Mechanix Wear and we loved them. I do a lot of outdoor activities, so I wanted some gloves that would cover most of my tasks and save me having to swap out or carry multiple pairs when I'm out and about. So when I discovered the Mechanix Wear range, I was Mechanix M-PACT 3 Revieweager to get some and find out if they were up to the task. I browsed their many departments and options to get an idea of what they had in stock and then I wrote a list of activities I usually undertake to give myself some idea of what might work out best. I do some hiking and climbing (when I have to), some bushcraft and chopping wood and generally I have two pairs at any one time, one pair are for warmth and one pair are just some general construction gloves for when I'm swinging an axe or carrying logs. I came across these ones and thought, as all rounders, they are probably best I've seen in a long time. I did like a few of their other gloves more for my tasks, but these had the least amount of parts on the pads of the hands and I figured the less seams there are, then the less points of failure there are. So these should be more durable and probably more comfortable for general use, but lets find out.

Since I mentioned comfort I must point out that they aren't bad, but there's one thin that I dislike and that's the seams of the fingers. You can really feel them Mechanix M-PACT 3 Reviewalthough, in these at least, they aren't uncomfortable and I don't notice them when I'm wearing them and swinging an axe. It is a shame though because, as far as I'm concerned, this is the only real flaw in these gloves. The only other minor thing I would change is the knuckle padding. I would like it to be a bit thinner as it's quite bulky and I don't think it's necessary for what I generally need.

As for warmth, they aren't thick, but the materials used definitely keep the wind out. They aren't going to go with you to arctic environments, but on chilly days throughout most of the year these are more than adequate. The grip on these things, when I held on to a few different wood and composite handled axes, was superb. I grabbed a few of my knives and felt more secure with these on than any other pair of gloves I've tried before (granted these happened to fit more securely on my hands which is a benefit there). There's a sort of suede used for the palms of the hand and a few strategically placed rubber strips that aid in grip which, together, perform very well.

I'll talk to you a little bit about the gloves and I'll go through some of the tasks I've put them through to give you an idea of how they worked out for me. I've Mechanix M-PACT 3 Reviewalready talked about chopping wood and handling knives and axes with these (which were all passes in my book), but I also done some climbing of rocks, ropes and trees, and also just general wear while walking.
So climbing was ok, although I really do wish I had chosen the fingerless gloves for these tasks as any material between you and a lifeline can be dire. These weren't bad though, and for climbing rope, or pulling on it(if you were belaying somebody while climbing) was very nice. Trees weren't a problem really, but the padding on the knuckles did get in the way at times.
While chopping with an axe (which again performed very well) I did smack my hands a few times (intentionally, so not as hard as I might do it if I accidentally missed a swing) and the padding really did protect my knuckles rather well. There's also a little bit of padding on the lower knuckles of the fingers which you don't see in pictures.
For general wear, they were comfortable enough and kept the wind off, but you can always feel the knuckle padding. This is fine if you want to walk around feeling like your about to punch somebody in the face, but obviously a pointless feature otherwise for this task.

Mechanix M-PACT 3 ReviewOverall, these are pretty decent gloves. I would prefer it if the main knuckle padding wasn't as bulky, but I guess these weren't designed around bushcraft/survival but are very good for a pair of combat gloves. They do work well for most of the tasks you would be doing on a day-to-day basis out of combat, but really Mechanix probably has something a bit more suitable for us 'civvies'. That being said though, I can use these over the usual gloves I carry and they will perform the task of the usual 2 pairs I require. I will be looking at some other Mechanix gloves more closely when I get a chance, but for now I'm quite happy with these.

[taq_review]
Mechanix M-PACT 3 Review

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

ESEE 6 Review

ESEE 6 Review

This is so important that it needs to be said before anything-else in this review. ESEE have a LIFETIME warranty on their knives that is 100% guaranteed against any break or damage without question. That is the quality and assurance they provide with their blades and I dare say you wont find another company that would stand behind their products like ESEE do. It doesn't matter how many times its been traded or sold, in the highly unlikely event of it breaking for any reason what-so-ever, you are guaranteed an exact replacement of the blade. Who can argue with that? Only an idiot, and as ESEE say 'We would rather idiots not buy our knives'. I really like these guys.

Well its going to be really hard not to keep mentioning the Ontario RAT-7 in this review, but most of you know that ESEE was founded by a couple of guys (Mike Perrin and Jeff Randall) who helped develop some Ontario knives (amongst other endeavours) and this is basically an Ontario RAT-7 but made with more attention to detail and quality. The ESEE 6 is slightly shorter and has a different sheath, and they put a little more time and effort into the handle scales but for the small price increase over the RAT-7, these changes add up to a whole pile of  'worth it'. And lets not forget their guarantee.

This has a plastic hard sheath, which if I'm honest, is disappointing as it's not kydex like some of the other ESEE models, but it helps make this much more affordable despite it being one of the ESEE 6 Reviewlargest blades they make. It holds the blade using two small dimples inside the sheath and the belt clip can be mounted in a few different positions to suit your style. It does rattle a fair bit, and I'm sure after a decade of use it wont hold the blade anymore, but it does its job. I personally like this sheath although I do find the belt clip a little annoying and as it doesn't stand up to what I feel this blade really deserves, it will probably be getting a custom sheath at some point. It should also be noted that you can get a molle back for the sheath, and I would suggest you get this over the metal clip and there's also an optional pouch to go on the front if you wish. But get the molle back. Immediately.

With the handle I am going to have to mention the RAT-7 again as if you held them side by side are identical in shape and size but, it is such a joy to hold over its counterpart. It has much more rounded edges that ESEE 6 Reviewreally fit and feel great in the hand. The grey scales and black tang are separated by red liners and there is an exposed portion of the tang for a lanyard hole, and I guess a striking/pry point. There is a finger choil on the blade and jimping on the spine which really give you a great hold for fine wood work. The handle really is the most important difference between the ESEE 6 and RAT-7 that makes the price worth while. The different sheath and better powder coating are irrelevant in my opinion, but the feel of this handle is undeniably better and alone is worth the extra cost.

The blade has a full flat grind with a drop point and black powder coating which really complements the handles scales. Beyond this though the aesthetics are nothing compared to its function. This is one of those knives I would use for a survival blade as it does fit in the length of what I look for, and really is worth having as a standard blade in your daily excursions. It is long enough to baton some pretty thick chunks of wood for a fire, or fell some large saplings to make shelter. There is enough weight that you can just chop away but really its all thanks to ESEE 6 Reviewthe very sharp and strong edge you get. I used this as my main blade for several weeks and it only had a couple of scrapes on my stone once during that time to keep it in top form. It would be a shame to ruin the coating, but you can remove a portion from the spine for using with flint and this is actually done quite a lot by owners of these blades. Beside this, after all of the use I have put it through, there is barely a noticeable difference in the coating. I have kept it stupidly clean as any time I see a mark I think 'NOOOOO, where's my cloth?', but really it makes no difference as its tougher than nails. I've put it through some heavy tasks like batoning for a couple of fires over a few different outings, and prepared more than a sack full of kindling with it. I haven't tried chopping through trees for any shelter as there's a sever lack of woodland in the UK and if I done this with every knife I review, I would quickly start ruining some of my favourite spots. It has gone through plenty of dead wood though which is much harder than living wood and the edge has held up perfectly (but you can't expect anything except a great blade from ESEE to be fair).

ESEE 6 ReviewOverall I'm very happy with this knife and how it performs. I have wanted one of these for a really long time now. It's not quite the top of my list, but definitely top 10 and it's really nice to finally have one. I am disappointed with the plastic sheath, but it does function and there's not much else you can expect. As a comparison to its Rat-7 rival and as a solo blade it is well worth the money. This isn't my first ESEE but it is my favourite although, I dare say when the time finally comes that I get my hands on a JUNGLAS, it will be replaced in my heart.

You know you can trust an ESEE knife when you need it the most and this blade is no exception. If you are looking for a good survival blade that will last a lifetime then look now further, it has been found.

[taq_review]
ESEE 6 Review

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Monday, 1 May 2017

Petromax FK2 Kettle Review

Petromax FK2 Kettle Review

This is a 1.2 litre aluminium kettle, which is plenty to serve a family of 4 with a good hot brew, although they do offer a 0.5 litre version for solo hikers who value space and weight a little more. Like other kettles of this design, it doesn't take much to get your water boiling. Really a couple of handfuls of wood will see it boiling in under 5 minutes (not including the time it take you to gather wood and start the fire), but it doesn't take much wood anyway and they get up to temperature quite quickly.

 


Petromax FK2 Kettle ReviewIt comes in a very nice bag which has one really great feature that I didn't notice until the second time I took it out for a day. I will mention that I had this next to my computer for a few weeks between uses and until I opened it for the second time I had no idea that it smelled. Obviously burning wood in it will impart a smokey odour and pretty much makes it smell like an old fire place but, I just didn't realise while it was inside its bag. I don't know if Petromax intentionally made this bag with odour prevention in mind, but I'm glad it does just that as I know when I keep my clothing in my pack with it, it will stop them from receiving a similar scent. It's not a thin piece of cloth like you might expect, but a padded fabric. I mean its not going to protect your kettle from a heavy fall, but it's nice knowing that they put some extra attention into the little things as you know it means this entire kit doesn't lack on quality. The handles have a leather wrapping on them as well which makes it comfortable to carry if you aren't going to pack it in your bag, and overall it feels quite tough and durable.

So the kettle itself offers a few features that are very nice. The most obvious one in my opinion is the handle. The pieces are coated in some sort of thermoplastic andPetromax FK2 Kettle Review offer a pretty stable way of pouring your hot water. I think they  need to be a bit larger as people with meat fists might struggle to get all four fingers around them, but never-the-less they offer a nice comfortable grip and I think it's probably the best handle on this sort of kettle that I've come across. There's also a whistle to go on the spout which is loud enough for the times when you don't need to be keeping an eye on it (although obviously if you are anywhere that the fire could spread you should not leave it unattended). You always know when it's ready even without the whistle though as it starts to shake quite noticeably when the water is boiling.

There is an set of stands to go on the bottom of the fire base which can be removed if desired. These are more useful than just minimising your footprint on the ground by preventing charring of any grass you sit it on. As I mentioned previously, we have used this style of kettle many times before and on more than one occasion we have spread some fire through the feed hole at the bottom onto surrounding grass. It happens because the heat of the base dries out the grass until it can easily combust, so the height gained by using the stands stops this altogether. Petromax FK2 Kettle ReviewThere is also a basic pot stand for cooking meals on top while boiling your water, although in my experience the water boils so fast you don't get much time to cook any food and you cant use the kettle without water or you could compromise its integrity.

Finally there is something that is worth mentioning with this kettle that I haven't found with the other kettles of this design. The fire base wedges into the kettle. This prevents it from knocking around while you are walking which, if you are familiar with the sound of metal banging against metal in your pack, means it's not going to annoy you when you are plodding along on your excursions.



 
This isn't the first time we've seen this design for boiling water, and I'm sure it wont be the last, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's benefits over its competitors. The bag is great for its odour prevention, and the whistle is a nice touch for the times when you can be less vigilant about fire safety. I'd say this is a pretty good fire kettle and it's a very good price.

 


If you want to get your hands on one of these great pieces of kit click here.

And if you want to check out the other products in the Petromax range (of which there are many) click here.



[taq_review]

Petromax FK2 Kettle Review

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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Ontario RTAK-II Review

Ontario RTAK-II Review

 


[caption id="attachment_5865" align="alignright" width="300"] RTAK above a RAT-7[/caption]

This really is the BIG pappa smurf of the RAT series of blades. I had both the RTAK and Rat-7 arrive in the same box and I just couldn't believe it. Let me put it this way, I expected the RTAK to be the size of the RAT-7, give or take an inch, so pulling this out immediately after was just surreal. My first thoughts were this is pointless, impractical, ridiculous and stupid. I loved it. It's size and shape reminded me of a Gladius although somehow a Gladius was actually bigger, but at the time this felt like the biggest chunk of steel I had ever held. The problem I though was this is far too large to be practical (at least in Britain) and for the price pointless as it seemed like it was nothing more than a smaller machete. The more I used this knife though the shorter it seemed to be. It felt more and more comfortable and at home at my side and it really is quite light so that you don't actually realise you are carrying such a large blade, until you kneel down and the handle gets jabbed into your ribs. The lanyard on the sheath was actually around my kneecap so you really need to be over 6 feet to keep it at your side without issue.

 

The sheath is like the others in the RAT series, they look cheap but are robust enough to last a long time. It has two button fasteners and is reversible for left handed wielders and it Ontario RTAK-II Reviewcomes with a good sized accessory pouch on the front which I use to carry a smaller folding knife for the finer tasks I might want to do. It has a non removable plastic insert to secure the blade and protect the sheath and overall is what I would call functional. It's not pretty to look at but it will serve you well. It has molle compatible straps on the back which is the only way I will ever use it, despite the belt loop that's also available, as I can attach it to my pack and generally scare any other outdoor enthusiasts that cross my path. I've been out with this on display on my pack, and you see people casually walking with friends who suddenly go wide-eyed, stiffen up while also dropping their gaze and shuffling off at what they think is a normal, but quick pace, but actually ends up being slower and much more obvious that they spotted a huge knife on your backpack. It amuses greatly, especially if like me you turn to force them to hold their gaze with a blank expression on your face.



 


The handle like the rest of the knife is enormous, but it really feels good in the hand. Its shaped much better than the RAT-7 I have, even if the scales Ontario RTAK-II Reviewdon't perfectly smooth out on the tang. The balance makes it slightly blade heavy but given the size of the blade this is no surprise but its much better than you might think, it feels good enough that I want to actually throw it, but I wont because that's just stupid (I so will). Thankfully they have shaped a sort of guard into the handle to prevent accidental slippage as this is one blade you know will cause some damage and there's also the lanyard hole so, if you know what you are doing, this knife will never get ahead of you. I don't know why they colour the scales so that they look old and dirty, but on this it really works and makes it look like the jungle knife it is made to be.

The weight and balance of the 1095 carbon steel blade really makes it bite into wood. You don't need to hammer the spine to chop through some thicker branches although you might still want to for batoning as Ontario RTAK-II Reviewit helps to keep it under control. There is a finger choil, although it may be more for design rather than practical use as there's no way you will be choking up on this beast to whittle a spoon, unless that spoon was for feeding a python or one of them weird zombie-vampire things from I Am Legend. The coating on it is reasonably rough although it's less heavy-duty than I would like. I've seen a few people with this same knife and they have all told me how the coating wears out pretty quickly although I haven't used mine enough to see this. Really though with the work this was designed for, and the tasks for which you will use it, it's hardly a shock to know it's not going to last a lifetime. It would be like asking your skin to stay on after supergluing it to a frozen steel bar, totally unrealistic. It's also grey rather than black, like the rest of the RAT series but I think it looks better given the size of it.

Ontario RTAK-II ReviewI really, really like this knife. It wasn't one of those blades that I 'had to have', but every time I pull it out of the sheath I smile. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anybody wanting a general purpose blade as its far too large, but if you want a big, heavy-duty chopper, then this really fits the bill. It's one of those tools hat you cant use everyday, but you will try to find a reason to take it out with you every time. I love the size, weight and feel of this as a whole package and there's probably nothing I would change to the knife itself. Like the other RAT series knives it would be nice if there was a kydex sheath option, but that's really the only issue I have, and that's not to say that the nylon sheath isn't good. This is an epic, epic blade and one that will stay with me for a long, long time.


If you are in the UK and want an RTAK-II click here.

If you are in the US and want an RTAK-II click here.


[taq_review]


 Ontario RTAK-II Review

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Puma IP La Cabra Review

Puma IP La Cabra Review

This is the Puma IP La Cabra. The IP stands for international production and I believe this is the tag for their mid range knives. Really its hard to call it mid rangePuma IP La Cabra Review though as I've seen Puma knives that cost many thousands so it's still cheap by their standards. I certainly can't afford one of their higher end blades, though we can all dream. Most people are unaware of the Puma brand of knives despite them being one of the oldest knife manufacturers on the planet, but I think that's because people just look for combat style blades these days and Puma stick to more traditional styles. Most of their blades are hunting knives with wood and staghorn handles, and I dare say that if you said micarta or G10 to these guys you would be hung drawn and quartered and your bones would be used to carbonise their steel. It's nice to see a company stick to it's roots and craft a good ol' work knife.

It has a basic brown leather bushcraft style drop sheath with matching brown stitching. The stitching is very uniform across the sheath and there is and embossed Puma IP La Cabra ReviewPuma IP logo on the front. It holds the blade very well and, despite my erratic shaking, didn't budge at all. It also feels like a good quality piece of leather that's hard-wearing, so it should last many, many years. It's really easy to get at the blade too, providing your not my father, who upon removing the blade, proceeded to bleed extensively over my floor. It was quite funny given how he always mocks me when I injure myself.


 
The handle is made of olive wood which has a lovely colour and it feels good in your hand. It's very smooth andPuma IP La Cabra Review almost feels like a laminate wood it's that well finished and it blends perfectly with the tang.  It has two steel pins and in the centre of the one scale has a faux pin inlay with the Puma IP logo. The stainless steel bolster is a very nice addition to this blade. It looks great and holds your hand nicely when you use the jimping to choke up for finer work. The knife is handle heavy, but its not a heavy blade, so it just makes it feel more secure rather than cumbersome.


 
Puma IP La Cabra ReviewThe blade is 3.5mm thick and 9.5cm in length so its not a small blade, but its not large either. Its a good knife for doing some fine wood work like whittling or feathering and the bolster just helps to keep it in your complete control . It is made of 440C stainless and has a full flat grind, which isn't my favourite for bushcraft, but it does allow for some paper thin wood shavings for getting your fire going. I've processed a reasonable amount of kindling with it and I think the overall shape with the flat grind actually performs very well. I think its probably not going to last doing much heavy work as the blade gets very thin, very fast. It's really close to having a Stanley knife profile, so it's great for processing game. I used it in the kitchen for a few weeks as well. Cutting steaks and vegetables with this was much easier than some of the high end chef knives I have. It would be great for gutting and cooking up some fish while you're out on the river, and can easily cut fishing line thanks to its razor like blade. It's probably the sharpest knife I've handled right out of the box.

 
It's pretty easy to keep clean and it feels good in the hand. It's a very good looking blade as well. I think Puma have made a good blade here and I look forward to getting my hands on some others now that I've seen what they can do. Overall it's a pretty good blade and performs excellently as an outdoor kitchen knife. If I still fished then it would definitely be in my tackle box.


Check out this and other Puma knives here.



[taq_review]
Puma La Cabra Review

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