14 March 2013

Gerber Prodigy - More Pic's

 Here we are with the Gerber Prodigy, again.

Since last post I have made and added a second leg strap. So, far it seems to work well. 

My next challenge will be to make an extension to anchor the sheath to my waist belt and use the leg straps.

Looks like I will get a chance to use the Prodigy in the field this weekend. So, I will try to update this post late next week.

Until next time......keep your friends close and your enemies closer!!



Better late than never. Thanks for the patience.

Well, I did get to use the Prodigy a little bit. Much to my surprise the serrated blade was able to feather a fire stick, without a problem. So, my opinion of the Prodigy for a general camp knife or survival knife has increased. Good work Gerber.

I was not in an area that would allow me to hack my way through the sapplings, but I did take out a few branches. Compared to my Glock M78 Field Knife, the Prodigy was heavy enough for slashing but I found the blade a little short, to be a natural cut for me. My Glock M78 which has a longer blade seems to work more naturally for me. Of course, more time in the bush with the Prodigy may get me tuned in to the knife.

I do not have any regrets. The Prodigy is a solid knife and so is the sheath system. If you are in the market for a new blade, I still do not have a problem recommending the Gerber Prodigy.

Until next time.....get out into the field and test your gear.


8 March 2013

Project Pelican 45 Toboggan Part Two

 Well, it has been a good few days off. The first of the Pelican 45's has a new winter cover. YAH!

The white 420 denier nylon with a PU backing was probably the most expensive single item at $21 for 4 yards. But that is a bit misleading, as that one piece of fabric will provide materials for two covers. Extended cost per unit......$10.50 for the fabric. Quite acceptable in my books. The fabric is from
 Paccana Enterprises Ltd. A solid supplier, that I have dealt with for years. 

There was nothing fancy about the cover from the sewing standpoint. Double rolled and sewn seams top and bottom. And one end seam double rolled and sewn. The fabric piece was 30.5" wide by 126" long. An extra inch in length would have been okay or a little less on the end seam. The cover fit, tight.
 I then used 10x 8" pieces of 3/4" AC (animal control) webbing to make the loops around the base. 4x loops on each side and one at each end. Each loop was bartacked twice for each side of the loop. About one inch apart. Basically, bartacked across the seam lines of the hemmed bottom edge.

That was it for the sewing. Basically, a very large tube of fabric.

The next stage was making holes through the fabric and the toboggan. I could have used my hole punch for the fabric and my cordless drill for the toboggan. Instead, I opted for the soldering iron and melted holes through the fabric and then the toboggan. To ensure the cover did not tear, I inserted brass eyelets. (Note to self: get a new set of eyelet pliers.)

I did the stitch as you go method. So, I melted two holes and then pressed in the eyelets on the cover and finished by lacing the drawcord through the eyelets and the toboggan. I started lacing from the centre at the front and worked my way to the rear of the toboggan. I also tried to work evenly, a bit on one side then I did the other side. It was a slow method but the cover went on nice and level and even.
 The excess drawcord was half-hitched for a good three inches on each side of centre rear. In case a field repair or replacement is required, an extra 8" of so of cord is already there.

I then used about 36' of 1 inch tubular webbing (6x arm spans) for lacing the cover closed. It was weaved through the webbing loops, in a criss-cross pattern.
These last two pictures have a large red duffle bag inside the toboggan. It fit with ease. There is plenty of room yet.

I have a short leash on the toboggan made from about 18' of 1" tubular webbing. First tied into a loop using a tape knot and then girth hitched onto the pull ring at the front of the toboggan.

This baby is almost ready for the field. I need to do a little paint job on the plywood and then we are good to go.

I now have a trekking class toboggan for winter camping.

Until next time....Have your sled ready and get out there!


The R3 Ruck Project Part 2

 The R3 Ruck Project is pretty much complete. I have two straps to attach, the A7A Straps.

As promised, here are my notes that I worked with to build the ruck. Not huge amounts of detailed drawings but enough to work from.

The first page contains the measurements of the ruck frame that I had to work to fit. Next is the basic layout of the main ruck bag and the pockets and features I would like to have. One thing I have learned in the last decade or so, when designing gear, and that is sometimes you do not get to incorporate all of the design ideas. The ideas may be good ideas but when you are actually building the ruck, you may decide later that the idea does not blend in well or plain does not fit the space available. Case in point, I had thought of using 2" common loops to guide the A7A straps, but when I was building the pack it became apparent that the main ruck bag would be too bulky if I had added a couple
 rows of 2" webbing. 

The next page was for designing the pockets, the side and front zip-off pockets. These pockets are removable so the ruck can have extra capacity when needed. When not needed the pockets can be removed and left at home.

The removable front pocket was designed to be used as a sling pack, for day tripping from base camp. It has been my experience that zip-off pockets work well for these type of pockets, just remember to install the zippers so up have to unzip in the up direction, that way you do not have to worry about the pockets unzipping themselves when loaded.
 Next, the top pocket was designed. Although, designed to use a skirt, do to a lack of materials at the beginning of the project, I decided to skip it. If I were to make another ruck bag to fit another Camp Trails Ponderosa frame, I would use a skirt on the bottom edge of the top pocket, because it helps keep rain, snow and debris from entering the main ruck bag when on the trail.
Features. What do I want to have on the ruck?? By writing a features list, early in the design process I can ensure to use as many of the ideas I have thought about and written down as possible. 

The key clip, goes inside the wallet pocket on the bottom of the top pocket. For those who have ever had to leave their vehicle for a week or so at a remote parking lot, will appreciate having a secure place to keep the vehicle keys. It sure sucks to return to your vehicle and not be able to find your keys and have to unpack your ruck in the parking lot, only to discover the keys were in to pocket of your hiking shorts.
 The harness. The shoulder straps and the waist belt. The most important part of the pack and some of the most fiddly work. The finished product has to be loose enough to fill with foam, but tight enough not to allow the foam to move or roll when in use. My success with harnesses has been mixed, some worked others not so much.

In the end, I opted for a basic "H" harness for the shoulder straps. The system used was a 6 point harness, top and bottom anchor points plus riser straps. I wanted to have the haul loop integrated into the shoulder straps, but in the end I was not able at this time make a design that I could work with. Maybe next time.

The waist belt  was a standard waist belt with gear loops, plus attachment points to attach to the ruck frame.

This next page shows all the pieces to cut, their size and how many. I wanted to add a water bladder pocket, however, once the webbing was sewn to the exterior of the main bag I discovered that the water bladder pocket landed right on top of the webbing. So, in the end the water bladder pocket will be modified to attach to the exterior of the ruck. All dimensions are in inches. 

The last page was just a reminder to me about the order to build the ruck in. As it was, the front anchor straps for the top pocket were accidentally omitted. Luckily, I noticed the error before the stormcollar was added and was able to attach them late.

One thing I did not do on this particular ruck, was to keep a log of every piece of webbing used. Helpful if you are making another project of the exact same design. For one of, type projects keeping a log of webbing used is good way of figuring out how many feet of webbing you used in total for your project.

I will get more pictures of the R3 Ruck Project soon. If all goes well today I will start on the cover for the Pelican Toboggan Project.

Until next time......keep you ruck ready and your toque on!