More new tools/knives/etc…

Okay, I’m on a roll here today and have a few more things to add that are some other items I’ve picked up in the last month as potentials for my BOB:

ESEE Knives/Rat Cutlery Arrowheads:

Never know if I will need these, but they could come in handy.  They are very, very sharp and I figure no harm having something this small hanging out in the bag.

Ultimate Survival Blast Match:

Great fire starter, I figure you can never have too many ways to make a fire, especially when they are small and weigh almost nothing.  I show 5 here but I only kept 1 for my pack. I sold the others.

Brunton 8099 compass:

This has a signaling mirror as well and has lots of cheat-sheet type cards for calculations.  Pretty good for a fair price.

Adventure Medical’s Survival Blanket:

Grabbed a pair of these viagra kaufen rezeptfrei.  Again, small and light…

Bradley Cutlery Kimura II Butterfly knife:

This one is a nice butterfly with a solid build that runs about $90.  Comes very sharp and feels very firm.

Bark River Golok:

This is a Bark River Knives Golok which retails for about $250.  It has a very nice convex edge and black micarta handles.  This is a nice blade, and I’m guessing will chop like nobody’s business.

Sawvivor Folding Saw, 15″:

What can I say?  This is a great looking saw.  It folds down small and weighs only 12 ounces.  Feels sturdy when unfolded.  This is going in my BOB for sure.

Woodsmans Pal Machete/Hatchet:

This is a cheaper alternative to the Golok, runs about $60ish and is going to get a workout on my next camping trip.  I’ll post a writeup of how it did at that time.  I also bought the Leather Sheath.

Ultimate Survival Starflash signaling mirror:

This is a 3×5 signaling mirror with a “look through” hole in the center for aiming at your target.  the construction seems nice enough with a plastic casing that feels nice to hold onto.

Adventure Medical QuickClot Sponges:

I have yet to use these, but they are made to stop bleeding fast.  Basically, if you think you need medical attention and may lose a lot of blood before you can get to a hospital, these can help to save you.

More stuff…. Why can’t I avoid these things?

Well, seems that I had to make a few purchases… 😉

First thing I did was grabbed that multi-fuel stove I was talking about before…  I got the MSR Dragonfly and a pair of MSR 30 ounce bottles (one shown):

This unit was on sale from $129 for $89 and the fuel bottles were ~$20 each.  The stove also came with some metal heat-shields for the base and around the burner, but I didn’t picture those here.

Next I grabbed a few Sea to Summit kits and an MSR cookware set:

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In the first picture it is all packed up, in the second the contents are unpacked.  Everything except the plates fits inside the pots for storage.  As you can see, there are the following in this pretty compact package:

I also grabbed a couple Sea to Summit camping sinks and a shower:

In the first all three are packed in their containers, in the second I have removed the 20 Liter sink.  These really work well and once you put water in them they stand on their own and are sturdy.  After I received these I ordered another 20 Liter which should arrive soon.  Also, not pictured is a folding bucket, for easier 1 handed transportation of water.

I also purchased a couple Thermarest Compressible Pillows and a couple REI MultiTowels:

The Pillows are very nice, they weigh in at 12 ounces and when they are uncompressed they fluff up a lot in a few minutes.  Thermarest has impressed me on these.  The towels are a microfiber type, but they really absorb liquid.  They are almost like a Sham-WOW, but in a real towel form.  I ended up with a couple XL size and a Medium.

Lastly, I picked up a second Camelbak bladder, it’s a 100 ounce Omega and I added the Thermal covered tube with the Big-Bite cover:

New tent from REI…

Over the last month or so I’ve been busy with work, but was able to buy a new tent and take it on an overnight test run.  It’s the REI BaseCamp 6 as shown here:

So far I am very happy with this tent.  It sets up quick and is very sturdy when staked.  I think this is just the ticket for the winds on the Playa in the desert.

I also picked up two 8-packs of the MSR GroundHog Stakes from Amazon and some of the Coleman stakes that look suspiciously similar, only a little longer:

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Overall, they seem about the same, but the MSR units dont’s have “Made in China” stamped on them and the cord-pulls on the MSRs is a better material.  The pulls on the Colemans seem more like a plastic/nylon and the MSRs feel more like Para cord.

Partial list of gear I’m evaluating for my Emergency/BOB pack.

So, the arrival of my RC-5 and RAT Pack kit has me looking at all the items I’ve been accumulating for my BOB (Bug Out Bag)/kit.  I’ve been pulling together a bunch of stuff over some time and will post some pics of what I have ad this should help me eliminate some things that I thought were good before I knew any better.  Also, I want to fill any holes.  Over the next few weeks I’ll look at different items and decide if the items belong in my pack.  I already know I have quite a few duplicate/redundant items that need to be trimmed down.  More stuff is coming, I just haven’t taken pics of everything yet..

First up:

Iridium 9555 Satellite phone from Motorola:

Iridium Satellite Phone

This is a great device, although pricey.  I got the unit with shipping and activation for roughly $1400 from Deltawave Communications.  I plan to have very limited need for the service on a day to day basis, so I opted for their “Emergency Plan” which comes with 0 minutes per month @ $25 +tax per month.  This plan is billed at $1.85 per minute for airtime.  The 9555 is very fast to boot and acquire the satellite signal.  call quality is very good as well.  If there’s a disaster here and I need to talk to people outside the area, this will do the job viagra tabletten.  Previously with the Earthquakes we’ve had in California, the AT&T phones and cellphone services were down for quite awhile, and when up, the lines were overloaded with people trying to call in/out.

Uniden Bearcat BCD396XT “TrunkTracker” scanner:

This is a great unit and pulls in all the frequencies, even digital and trunked channels.  This is great for listening in on the local Police, Fire, EMTs, and even HAM radio operators.

C. Crane Pocket SW Radio:

C.Crane Pocket SW radio

This receives AM/FM and Shortwave signals.  Very small, and the reception is pretty good.  Sounds best with headphones, the small external speaker reminds me of an AM radio from the 70’s.

SOG PowerAssist Multi-Tool:

SOG PowerAssist

This is a pretty good unit ad has two Assisted opening knives on it as well.  All the other usual features for a multi-tool and comes with a leather belt holster.

Glock e-tool with pouch:

Basically, this is just a shovel that collapses and folds to fit in a pouch.  It also has a saw in the handle that you can attach to the end of the handle to cut branches, etc.



On the left is an American Tomahawk branded “VTAC” and on the right is the SOG Fusion Tomahawk.  I wanted a lighter weight tomahawk and not an axe, so these are what I decided to try.  First impressions: About the same.  The only real positives to the “VTAC” is that the backside of the head was sharpened and it feels more like a tool than the SOG unit.

Various knives and tools:

a few random knives and tools

Clockwise from the top-left:

Blackhawk Small-Pry:  This is a nice tool.  It is an entry tool with a sharpened edge and a hardened tip for breaking glass.  The prying edge is “stepped” so you can get a good bite on the surface you are working with.

RAT Cutlery RC-6:  This is a very nice blade for the money.  Soon I’ll post some comparisons with the RC-5 and the other RAT Cutlery items coming in.

SOG Trident Tanto:  This is one of my daily carry assisted openers.  It has G10 handles and is actually very light.  The pocket clip is mounted on the end of the handles which allows it to sit “deep” in a front pocket and not stand out.

CRKT Triumph:  This one is well made, but heavy and a little thick.  The material on the handle is porous and tends to grab denim making for slow deployment.

Kershaw Leek:  Nice cheap assisted opener.  I have five of these that I use for EDC.  They are light, quick opening and thin.  best of all, at ~$35ish they are no big deal to lose or break.

Kabar Becker Tool BK-3:  nice heavy hand-sized machete type tool.  nice and heavy for decent easy chopping.

Glock Field Knife with Root Saw:  What can I say here?  I got this when I was on the Glock bandwagon (not really off it, I still love all my Glocks), but it’s a pretty crappy knife that isn’t worth much to me anymore.  ***EDIT: It’s actually much better now that I put a real edge on it.



Here’s a collection of lights I have that I like, and a cheapy battery-free squeeze to charge type.

Miscellaneous stuff:

Here’s a few misc. items.  Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter, Petzel P78AHB headband light, two sets of Sea to Summit Alpha Light Fork/Spoon/Knife combos, about 200 feet of Paracord, and two shemaghs.


Here’s my MSR Reactor stove, extra fuel, and a portable coffee press.

I got the Reactor based on it’s performance to boil water, it works well, and is compact (the base to the stove and one fuel can is inside the stove in the pic).  The problem is, it only uses this canned fuel, and I should have purchased a multi-fuel unit that will be more easy to get fuel for if I run out.  However, the high wind performance makes this one a winner.  Here’s a couple shots I’ve added to show how the burner is recessed into the pot, leaving little chance of wind causing problems with the flame:

I really want to get the larger 2.5 pot for this stove and just may need to get it…

Sans Digital TR8M-B eSATA enclosure arrives..

So, my current storage system is finally full.  I’ve been forced to delete some of my movies that I ripped from my BluRay and HD-DVD discs to make space for my DVR recordings.  My current solution is an Ubuntu 9.10 install with six 1.5TB SATA drives.  I am adding eight 2.0TB drives in this external enclosure that uses eSATA and port multipliers (two eSATA connections for eight drives), so hopefully this lasts awhile.  Right put all my media on my server and share it throughout the house.  For video I rip my discs to the shared array and depending on the content I will convert them to x264 .mkv files.  Many I end up leaving as the original streams, making it easier and saving time while keeping the HD Audio tracks which eats up a ton of space.

Anyway, on to the details.  Amazon (Prime Rocks!) had a good deal on Seagate Barracuda 2.0TB LP (5900 rpm “green”) drives.  I also ordered the Sans Digital  TR8M-B eight bay eSATA enclosure (Did I mention that Prime rocks?).  Everything showed up in the Big Brown Truck yesterday and I got to building it.  I took some pics for the heck of it:

Here’s the box and drives:

The Box and Drives


Here’s the unit unboxed:

Out of the box, with accessories

Note the really crappy PCIe card in the pic above.  It’s supposed to be super slow being 1x, and I have already ordered a replacement.

Here’s a shot of the front of the unit with the door open and the top drive bay partially removed:

Front Door open, one bay partially out.

The drive bay units are pretty nice, aside from the cheesy, definitely Chinese feeling clips that lock the drives in place.  Don’t get me wrong, they are sturdy enough… they just have a super cheap feeling that a lot of chrome covered plastic has.

Side view of the inside of the case.

Not a lot going on here, since the drives front-load.

Here you can see the inside of the unit from the side panel.  It’s pretty basic, but one thing to note is the crap-tastic fan.  That’s the first thing I removed.  I really hate the fact that almost every fan you get in a case today has either a Red, Blue, or Neon Green LED light built in.  My office glowed at night enough to wake me from down the hall before I started smashing LEDs. 😉

Here’s the fan, and the one I replaced it with (original on the right):

The replacement is listed as being <14 db and still moving a decent amount of air.  It seems to be living up to it’s claims.  with the unit on, I can feel the air being pulled out the back of the unit.

Update 06/10/2010:  The fan died this week and I had my drives running at 70C!  Replaced it with a loud, conventional 120mm fan and the drives are running at about 40C now.

Here’s a picture of the back plane board that the drives directly connect to:

Pretty basic, but nice for the price.

Here’s a shot of the eight Barracudas in their mounting brackets, ready to be popped into the enclosure:

Eight 2TB Seagate Barracudas.

And here it is complete:

Loaded up and ready to init the drives.

On the front you can see the  status indicator lights for the drives on the lower left.  They are numbered 1-8, drive #1 being at the bottom of the case and #8 being at the top.  In the middle are two lights for the eSATA link, and on the right is the power button.  I’m glad the button is on the front and not in the back.  This will allow easy access to power off the unit when I’m on vacation without having to crawl under the desk and fumble with the power cords since the PSU is mounted on the bottom of the case.

I decided to use mdadm to create a software RAID 5 array with this unit.  I put the cheapo 1x card into my Linux machine and booted the system.  The drives were immediately recognized by the system and I was able to create the partitions and start creating the array.  mdadm is estimating 23 hours to build the array completely, so it’s still going with about 12 hours left.  Once it completes I’m going to perform some read/write tests on the array and then tomorrow swap out the 1x PCIe controller for the new 8x PCIe card that is coming.

More to come…

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