It’s an unseasonably warm day in late November. You’ve got thirty pounds or more in your backpack, you’re carrying a rifle, and your huffing and puffing your way up a rugged mountain side to get a shot on an Arizona Coues Whitetail buck.
If you’re anything like me, putting the stalk to the animal gets your blood pumping, you breathe faster than normal, and you’re usually sitting on your bum in an office rather than sprinting up the hill side. The last thing you want to do is have to suck water through a 3 foot long straw to get a drink.
This is why I’ve never liked hydration bladders. In theory they are a great idea. You can carry your water in your pack, and if you’ve got a good one, you can possibly carry more water than you otherwise would because your pack helps distribute the load. No fussing with canteens, bottles or bota bags. Sounds good right? Wrong – at least for me. I find drinking through a bite valve to be a pain, and pain enough to make me ditch the bladder and go back to more traditional methods of carrying water.
Apparently, there are more people like me. The good folks at Geigerrig seemed to have taken all my dislike for the hydration bladder and thrown it out the window with the introduction of their “Hydration Engine“.
I first saw one of their packs at a local big box outdoors store, and the bladder is what specifically caught my interest. After some reading online and seeing that they carried the bladders by themselves, I decided to purchase the 3liter version to fill the void where the bladder used to be in my Camelbak Motherlode.
When I got the thing home, I immediately took it out of the package and immediately filled it with water and air to see how it worked. My initial thought upon seeing the stream of water come out of the drink tube was “this is brilliant!”
Along with the normal water reservoir and drink tube, the Geigerrig Hydration Engine also has a secondary chamber in the bladder that holds air, and a second tube with a hand pump to fill the air chamber. As the air chamber inflates, it puts pressure on the water reservoir and when you squeeze the valve at the end of the drink tube, the water comes streaming out with good enough force to squirt a sustained stream at least a good five feet. Geigerrig’s claim of “never suck again” certainly appears to be true.
Now that the initial testing was over, it was time to look at the other annoyance I had with water bladders: cleaning them. The bladders I’ve had in other packs, both name brand not; did not clean easily. That, coupled with the fact I didn’t like actually using them is what caused me to write them off. With the Geigerrig, you can actually turn the bladder inside out and throw it in your dishwasher. It is quite possible this is an even better feature than the pressurized drinking itself!
That is as far as I’ve gotten with it so far. This weekend comes the first of real testing. I’ve got to put it in my pack and see how it rides. I also need to make sure it does not make a whole lot of sloshing noises as it empties water.
I have to admit that as impressed as I am with it so far, I am a bit wary of how the bladder seals shut, and only time and use will tell if it works as well as I am hoping it will. I’m also hoping that the initial air pressurization is enough to empty the water completely. The last thing I want to do is be putting a stalk on the buck of my dreams and have to stop and make “FSSSHH FSSHH FSSSHHH” sounds as I pump more air into the bladder to get a quick drink.
I can already say though, I’m pretty sure I want one of their packs for every day use, and to take with me on day hikes, 3D Archery tournies and more…
This morning, random.org picked the winner of the ESEE-5/Maxped Kit Contest.
Out of all the entries, there was a total of 58 disqualified entries, either because of getting the trivia wrong or duplicate entries. Once these were removed from the spreadsheet I went to Random.org
The generator made it’s choice and we have a winner! The winner has been contacted and the package will be on it’s way as soon as a shipping address is received!
I have been carrying multitools as long as I can remember. Starting way back as a kid with a cheap Leatherman-like tool that my parents gave to me as a gift. As I got older I purchased a few Leathermans and received a few more as gifts. I’ve had anything from the small novelty or pocket sized ones to the full size super “every tool you’ll never need” tools.
The last few years I’ve constantly had a Victorinox “Swiss Tool” either on my belt or in my laptop bag or backpack. The only bit on it I don’t like is the knife: it is a 2″ blade with all but the bottom 3/4 of an inch or so having serrations. I really do not like serrated knives for tools (ok for some uses in the kitchen) and since I carry a plain edge knife with me anyway it has not been an issue.
The pliers are strong and grip well, the handle is comfortable, and all the other tools have been used frequently for both their intended and not-intended uses. The tool has held up extremely well except for the awl which somehow I managed to put a nick in the edge.
I also just recently acquired a SOG Powerlock tool by way of a contest on a forum I frequent. I’ve been carrying it for the last week or two and have decided it will be the tool that stays in my hip quiver for shooting at the archery range and at 3D shoots when I start attending them. The tool lives up to it’s claims of having some of the strongest gripping and wire cutters due to the unique design of the jaw.
However, I find the tools that are included in the handle to be quite the pain to deploy and put away. The Powerlock has these flip covers that must be flipped up to deploy the tool, and then flipped back down again to close the handles. The biggest issue I have with them is that they are constantly popping off of the tool. You could in theory leave the covers off the tool all together, but they do provide some comfort in the handle when using the pliers. With the covers removed there are some slightly sharp edges that press into your hands when squeezing the pliers, like the old original leatherman tools. Nothing dangerous, just some discomfort over the otherwise comfortable grip with the covers on.
I plan on getting at least two more tools, one of the newer, standard Leatherman models to try out, as well as the Leatherman MUT to throw in my range bag. but I’m also finding I don’t use the pliers part of the tool all that often. Because of this, I will be picking up a SAK Farmer to see how it will be replacing my Swiss Tool as an EDC item.
The National Geographic Edition of Friday Knife Porn:
This was sent to my by the author of When the Balloon Goes Up, which is a really cool blog that centers mostly around firearms topics, but it has some other good stuff as well and you should go check it out.
Back on topic — he included a note with the photo, explaining it:
Gile knifes have blades made from scrap metal and handles made from Aluminum.
The sheath is made from goat skin (with hair) and bound with wire.
This particular knife was purchased by a friend on a mission trip from the man that made it, as a thank you for loaning him gear He was not a knife maker, and had made it for personal defense.
I believe the handle on this knife was made from melted soda cans.
This morning I ordered an ESEE Laser Strike, and I have some plans for it. The total plan will probably take a few months to complete, as I need to acquire or find access to some tools I don’t have.
First up is using some etchant solution to deepen some of the laser engraving on the blade (mainly the skull and crossing knives). Once that is complete I am going to get some stripper and take all the powder coat off the blade, and give it a good sanding/polish.
At that point, depending on what it looks like, I may or may not give it a hot apple cider vinegar bath to darken the steel.
Then the hard (for me) part. New scales. I want to replace the micarta scales with wood. Most likely will be some nice desert ironwood, or something similar. I will also use some blaze orange G10 liners.
Then lastly some custom leather pants for it, and a matching ferro rod.
I’ve had a few questions about T-Shirts for my various projects. I’ve finally done it! You can now get Wildertrek branded T-Shirts!