My wife sent me a text regarding a package that was delivered to our house. “You got a really nice backpack from your editor”, she said. It was strange to me because she hardly ever cares enough to comment about the gear I receive for reviews. It made me think there must be something special with this backpack. The Diamond Brand Gear Belay Bag certainly didn’t disappoint, and after several weeks of regular wear, it is without a doubt a durable and versatile option for a professional, adventure, or EDC bag.
My favorite feature is the interchangeable straps that make customizing the wearable configuration incredibly easy. They can be modified for single or double shoulder-strap wear with cross-body or traditional configuration for a precise fit. The key aspect is the speed that they can be switched out. There is no looping nylon straps through buckles. It is as simple as releasing the buckle and moving it over to where you want it. Sternum and waist straps can be purchased for an additional cost.
The Belay Bag is sporty and stylish but also unassuming as an EDC bag. It is made from 1000D Nylon fabric, and pockets are made from recycled Diamond Brand Gear tent material. These bags can take a beating. With a 22-liter capacity, it offers a large main compartment with a raised computer sleeve and one internal pocket, and two large front pockets each with their own internal pockets. All zipper and buckle hardware is made of metal so there is no fear of them breaking or warping. All metal items have a snug fit in their respective spots so there is no clanking or other noise from those areas. Zipper pull-cords are included with two colors for selection. The front of the bag includes a Nylon daisy chain system that allows for the attachment of other pouches or items.
Main compartment dimensions are 19” tall, 12” wide, 6” deep. For EDC, this compartment is ideal for holding items such as an IFAK, MREs, survival kit, extra clothes, etc. I opted to carry my Kel-Tec sub 2000 carbine in the computer sleeve and it holds in place nicely. The smaller internal pocket is good for securing smaller items that I don’t want to be mixed up in the main compartment. I would have liked a few more internal pockets in the main compartment for organization, but the current configuration forced me to keep my packing list minimal and I appreciate that.
Front pocket dimensions are 14” tall, 2 1/2” deep. These pockets are designed to store a water bottle and various small items. I keep a LifeStraw Go Water Filter bottle in one pouch along with some power bars, and I keep spare magazines and a fixed blade knife in the other. These pockets provide much-needed organization for smaller items in this bag.
Comfort was a focus during the design of this bag and it shows. They advertise a raised back pad that is meant to “relieve spinal pressure and maximize thermal comfort”, and while I don’t know the science behind it — I can attest that whatever they created is very comfortable and doesn’t make my lower back sweat from friction. It is basically a recessed ridge up against the spine of the pack that allows your back to breathe. I suppose they got it right. The Diamond Brand Gear Belay Bag is a great product that is going to last if taken care of. While I wish there were a few more small storage compartments it is a solid option if you are looking to carry the essentials for work, outdoor adventure, or personal protection (EDC). At $139 you can check out the color options at their online store.
*All photos courtesy of the author
The Survivor Filter PRO is a great high-volume water purification option for your outdoor adventure, vacation, or emergency preparedness kit. While it may have more moving parts than the traditional water filter “straw” and therefore will be more prone to breaking and requiring more maintenance, the mission of getting a large amount of water cleaned quickly will certainly be accomplished using the PRO. That being said, the PRO is very durable and lightweight and comes with a breathable storage pouch to get it all organized and secure. Although filters will need to be replaced eventually, the product construction is built to last. I wasn’t intentionally trying to break it, but I tossed it around a bit and was happy with how well it held up.
The 8-ounce filter is primarily comprised of a base, pump, inlet and outlet hoses, a filter housing. The plastic cover used to protect the pump and filter housing can also be used as a cup to house filtered water. The removable micron ultra filters can clean up to 26,417 gallons of water. The replaceable carbon filter can clean up to 528 gallons. This filter system is proven to clean water down to a filtration level of 0.1 microns, and removes -99.9% of viruses, staph, and bacteria, while significantly reducing heavy metals including 99.5% of Mercury and 93% Lead.
When using this filter system, I quickly found that it is very easy to assemble, use, and clean. My initial impression would be that it would be a hassle, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It breaks down into the storage pouch very easily and is compact enough to warrant bringing on any extended trip where you may be tasked with filtering a large amount of water for yourself or a group of people. It has a reported filtering flow rate of 17 ounces per minute, and it didn’t require much effort when I used it. Water taste was better than tolerable, it was actually quite good even with me drinking pond water. The detachable hoses make it convenient to fill up any water source you have without worrying about spilling or contaminating the water.
Whether you keep one of these in your backpack, vehicle, or pantry, the Survivor Filter PRO is a great addition to your emergency preparedness kit. MSRP starts at $59.95 and while not cheap, it is worth having one or two for situations where boiling water or other purification methods may not be a viable option.
*All photos courtesy of the author unless otherwise noted
BEST INDEPENDENTLY TESTED FILTRATION LEVEL ON THE MARKET: Tested at Multiple USA labs to show Log 5 Removal 99.999% of Protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Parasites) Log 5 Removal 99.999% of tested VIRUS (Phi X-174), STAPH and BACTERIA. 99.5% Mercury and 93% Lead Removal which Matches or Exceeds Most Home Systems. Just Ask us for Copies of our Tests!.
TRIPLE FILTRATION TO 0.01 MICRONS TO REMOVE VIRUS, BACTERIA, PARASITES and REDUCE MOST HEAVY METALS, TASTE and CHEMICALS: thanks to Dual Hollow Fiber Membrane (Ultra Filters) and Carbon Filtration – 20 times more efficient than the competition at 0.2 microns and none of the Competition Comes Close with Our Heavy Metal Removal. PLUS – SURVIVOR FILTER SATISFACTION GUARANTEE and LIFETIME WARRANTY: if you don’t love your Survivor Filter PRO, simply return it and we will refund 100% of your purchase.
SUPER FAST FLOW RATE OF 500 ml. (17 OZ) PER MINUTE: can be used directly from fresh water source, pumped into attached cup, OR pumped into any portable hydration pack. Perfect for filtering large jugs of water for the whole family!
BUILT OF QUALITY MATERIALS: Shell is ABS Material (Same Material Used on Car Bumpers), Polysulfone Medical Grade Ultra Filter (Same Material Used in Visors of Apollo Astronauts), Food Grade Activated Carbon and Handle Contains Steel Bar Inside for Extra Support. BPA Free, Comes with all internal filters and tubing, detachable Drinking Cup, Travel Bag, Detailed instructions and How to Use Manual.
SURVIVOR FILTER SATISFACTION GUARANTEE and LIFETIME WARRANTY: if you don’t love your Survivor Filter PRO, simply return it and we will refund 100% of your purchase. For a Limited Time, get our new 2 Pack Hard Sided Water Bottles for 50% off with Purchase of the PRO when you add Both to Cart Amazon will apply the Discount on Checkout!
If you’re looking for a durable gear bag, Tepui has launched a new line of various sized bags to haul all of your adventure gear wherever you may be headed. Tepui is a Santa Cruz, California based company that is better known for their high quality roof top camping tents. These tents are a pretty innovative idea that any outdoorsman should take a closer look into. The new Tepui gear bags follow their tradition of producing high quality outdoor goods.
The Tepui gear bags are available in 4 sizes for multiple storage solutions. The Expedition Series of Tepui gear bags are made from high strength polyester canvas coated with a tough synthetic resin. This coating is similar in feel to the North Face Base Camp Duffel bags. Tepui Gear Bags are water & abrasion resistant and easy to keep clean. The exterior of the Tepui gear bags have handles in all the right places and incorporate bungee webbing that allows you to stuff items you need to access quickly.
I recently received both the Expedition Series Tool Case as well as the Expedition Duffel Bag. The tool case fills a need I had on our 26′ powerboat. There are several compartments in the boat that I have loose items floating around like emergency equipment, handheld radio, tools, etc. The Tepui Tool Case was the perfect bag to get my shit organized. Like they say, “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. Within the bag are padded adjustable dividers which can further customize the layout to suit your needs. The Tool Case is a vibrant orange color which is easily visible and can be retrieved quickly by grasping any of the four web handles. Because it’s on a boat, the tool case will see some water and the outer material will help keep the contents dry.
Items I store in the powerboat Loadout are:
- Emergency aerial flares
- Strobe flashlight combo
- VHF radio
- First Aid kit
- Compact binoculars
- Wrenches, Screwdriver, Pliers, Test light
- Extra fuses
- Emergency drain plug
- Propane adapter for grill
Features of the Expedition Series Tool Case (courtesy of Tepuitents.com)
- Four handles and exterior webbing
- Compartmentalized for easy storage of all of your tools, walkie talkies, maps and more
- Made from high strength polyester canvas coated with a synthetic resin
- Water resistant
- Abrasion resistant
- Easy to clean
- Heat resistant up to approximately 158 degrees Fahrenheit
- Exterior dimensions: 17″ x 10″ x 7″
- MSRP $70
The Expedition Series Duffel Bag from Tepui is perfect for outdoor use or travel. I used my trusty yellow North Face Duffel for almost all of my adventures in the last 20 years and it’s starting to show. When I came across Tepui gear bags, I knew I had found it’s replacement. The Expedition Duffel is constructed of the same material as the Tool Case with the addition of a reinforced bottom panel and a comfortable padded shoulder strap. The web handles and compression straps are heavy duty and well stitched. An additional mesh pocket on the outside of the duffel is the perfect place to stash an item that requires quick access. I’m traveling overseas in July and plan to stuff this bag to the gills with gear. As capable as the airline baggage handlers are of damaging baggage, I’m confident that this Tepui gear bag will endure the rigors of travel without issue.
Features of the Expedition Series Duffel Bag (courtesy of Tepuitents.com)
- Large compartment that can be used to store gear, clothing, equipment and more
- Reinforced bottom panel
- Comfortable grip and shoulder strap
- High strength polyester canvas coated with a synthetic resin
- Water and abrasion resistant
- Easy to clean
- Heat resistant
- Exterior dimensions: 28″ x 15″ x 15″
- MSRP $120
These gear bags appear to be bombproof, are well thought out and it’s apparent that this company listens to their customers. With that said, I’d love to see removable backpack straps for the duffel bag. With the 2 fastech clips located on either side of the bag for shoulder strap mounting, I think it’d be easy to incorporate a shoulder strap system so the duffel bag can be worn on the back. This was a useful feature I used on my North Face Duffel regularly.
(Featured image courtesy of Tepuitents.com)
You need to prepare yourself for SHTF as it can happen anytime so you should be well-prepared and good to go. When you have a firearm, it is important to consider the ammunition or bullets stock needed to fill your weapon in the long run.
The usual question pondered upon is the timeline of when the preparation process of accumulating and collecting supplies and knowledge to face this problem should begin and how much ammunition is needed to be stockpiled when SHTF. Basically, it is more beneficial to stock more ammo with less caliber rather than less ammo with more calibers.
Hunting and Defense
All in all, it is tough to predict the future thus estimating the amount of ammo needed. However, a realistic minimal goal is set of the ammo needed during an emergency situation. The main focus and minimum estimation is determined by the hunting and defense.
- .22lr Rifle
The rifle commonly used for hunting is usually the .22lr rifle. It is an all-rounder excellent and versatile rifle which can be used for short to long range hunting and varmint clearing. Apart from that, it has a small game caliber and can be classified and used as a defensive weapon that will come in handy during SHTF.
Just like any other guns, the more accurate you are, the less ammo you will need. There a few things you can do to improve your accuracy but the most important one will be practicing and getting a good feel of your rifle. You should also use scopes designed specifically for .22lr rifle.
Apart from owning a .22lr rifle, every hunter should also own .12 or .20 gauge shotgun. A shotgun acts as a multipurpose weapon as it is not only able to kill larger animals such as turkey and game birds but also used for self-defense from your predators to be used at home. Basically, it has two uses so the ammo count needed is high which is about 500 rounds for both self-defending from your home and hunting.
Nevertheless, the cost of ammo for shotgun is cheaper than that of the .22lr rifle. Hundred rounds of ammo by field loads for the shotgun can be purchased for over 20 bucks so you can save your cost. Compared to the .20 gauge shotgun, the .12 gauge shotgun has more power and can cover longer distances.
- Big Game Rifles
Big game rifles are used to hunt down larger preys such as boars and deer. You should at least have 100 to 200 rounds of ammo of game loads. The total of 100 rounds itself might last you years of hunting down larger preys as your main food source, provided that your rifle is properly sighted in and handled properly with great care.
Popular big game rifles such as 30-30 and .45 Colt are good for hunting larger game. For example, the .45 Colt rifle has additional features such as a revolver and lever gun in its caliber to improve your hunting game especially used to target larger animals.
- The Semi Auto Sporting Rifle
In the western countries (USA), the semi auto sporting rifles includes rifles such as AK-447s and AR-15s which are not classified as assault weapons however they still ensure good defense. Meanwhile in Canada, these rifles are mostly used for competition and target shooting such as the AR-15 and SKS.
This defense rifle uses about 2000 rounds of ammo at minimum so you need to stock a whole lot of ammo for this product. Moreover, a true assault weapon possesses the ability to switch between the full-automatic and semi-automatic gunfire. Also, it is equipped with an intermediate cartridge. The operation of these firearm on the other hand is almost similar to that of a semi-automatic hunting rifle.
The suitable ammo for handguns are 9mm of the .45 ACP or .40 SW ammo. Both these ammo are commonly used so there is an abundant flow of these ammunitions around so you can restock them anytime you want. For a common handgun, you need to stock at least 1000 rounds of defensive load ammunition so you can use it for self-defense at home and these 1000 rounds will most likely last for a long period of time if stored properly.
Tips to Store Your Ammo Stockpile
Treat your ammunition stockpile preciously and with good care. Take it as a long-term investment so it is maintained to be used in the long run. Without proper care, you just will decrease the shelf-life of your ammo thus wasting your own investment.
You can only understand and know the importance of firepower when SHTF so never neglect your ammo as you might need it in the near future. Besides that, your ammunition should be stored under a cool, dry and dark surroundings so that its shelf life is maintained. Heed these regulations and your ammo can thereby be passed down from generations to generations and still be good as new.
There are some things to avoid when storing your ammunition.
- Refrain from packing too many ammo into very heavy containers as it will damage your ammunitions in the long run.
- Refrain from burying your ammunition underground without a solid packaging.
- Avoid hiding your ammo in easily located places to avoid your stock from getting stolen.
- Avoid storing your ammo under cold or hot temperatures and moist conditions (low humidity) without suitable containers for long-term storage.
In summary, ammo is divided into two categories which are the hunting and defense ammo. Both types of ammo are highly essential for SHTF. For defense, you should stock up a minimum of 500 rounds of defensive ammo for your shotgun, approximately 2000 rounds for your rifle and finally 1000 rounds for your handgun.
Meanwhile for hunting, you should possess at least 1000 rounds of varying and assorted hunting loads for your shotgun, 400 rounds just for your large game rifle and finally 4000 rounds for your .22lr rifle. Nevertheless, you should at least achieve to aim the minimum ammo stockpile as estimated as above. After that, you can either continue to stock more ammo for both hunting and defense or purchase other necessities according to your preference.
Author Bio: Hi guys, I am John, an avid outdoorsmen that blogs over at epicwilderness.com. I am by no means an expert but I will be sharing all the useful tips I learnt along the way with you.
*Featured image courtesy of US Marines
If you’ve ever watched the old television series, called Connections, you might recall host James Burke introducing the creation of canned food. The episode is called, Eat Drink and be Merry. However, it wasn’t so merry for soldiers who had to eat rotten food. Enter, Napoleon Bonaparte. Burke speaks to the viewer and explains how Napoleon Bonaparte had problems feeding his armies.
Napoleon, realizing there must be a better method for transporting and preserving food stores, issued a challenge to anyone interested, and this is where we enter into the method of food canning. In 1895, 12,000 francs was offered to anyone brilliant enough to invent a method of canning.
Now enter, Nicholas Appert. Appert came up with the idea of setting food, sealed into glass jars and bottles, into boiling water. His basic process of sterilization proved to be very unique and it earned him the money. The French Ministry of Interior awarded him the 12000 Francs, and his findings were published under the name, The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances.
It wasn’t until a British Merchant named Peter Durand took Appert’s process a step forward and began to preserve food into tin cans. Appert’s method for preservation had mild benefits. Yes, food could be more readily transported, but storing it in bottles and jars was simultaneously impractical. Glass was fragile, heavy and might explode under internal pressure.
Durand’s method, granted under a patent by King George III in 1810, was to place the food in container, seal it, place it in water, and then gradually bring it to boil. The lid was slightly opened and then sealed again. Englishman Bryan Donkin took the process even further and opened a fledging factory in 1813, and began the process of commercial canning. Because of their efforts, a solution was found for feeding armies and navies, hundreds of miles away from their nation’s food supplies.
The canning process has been refined for our modern world. Perhaps we take it for granted. Tom Geoghegan’s article “The story of how the tin can nearly wasn’t” notes the scandal that might have derailed the canning industry. Inspectors found putrid meat in cans due to be shipped to the English Navy.
Geoghegan writes, “they fished out pieces of heart, rotting tongues from a dog or sheep, offal, blood, a whole kidney “perfectly putrid”, ligaments and tendons and a mass of pulp. Some organs appeared to be from diseased animals.” A nationwide inspection began.
200 years later, we know that canning has come a long way. It has moved from military ships and army storehouses and into the supermarkets. Anyone serving in the military or familiar with war movies has likely heard the terms C-rations, K-rations, MCI or MREs. C-Rations were a pre-cooked, wet ration used as a substitution when A and B rations weren’t available. The MCS or Meal Combat Individual was a replacement for the C-rations, right about 1958.
The MCI was similar to the C-ration. The MCI found good use in the military until it was phased out and the MRE or Meal, Ready-to-Eat become common to the modern military in 1981. The K-ration were an individual meal, created for short duration usage.
Food storage has gone under a lot of changes and it will continue to evolve. Storing food is easier to do in this modern era than it was 200 years ago. The problem for the average survivalist, is that not enough people store this rugged item into their home, and they should.
There are many benefits for storing canned foods:
- Cheap: Canned goods are cheap to obtain. Many stores may have clearance sales, or bulk purchase sales. These are the times to stock up.
- Convenient: Canned goods are readily available in most grocery stores. In large cities there are many discount markets and warehouses to get great bargains.
- Long shelf life: Canned goods can be stored anywhere from 2-25 years
- Stable: Better storage than other packaging materials such as in cartons. Soup in a carton will degrade quicker. Canned goods do not degrade so fast.
- Recyclable: Can be reused over a fire, or to store items such as nails and screws
- Easy to open: Can opener or a simple pull of the lid gets you the goodies
- Few or no preservatives: Depending on what you purchase
- Refrigeration not needed: No energy expended to preserve it
- Storage: Easy to store in the pantry or cellar
- Durable: Holds up well if the container tumbles
- Food Safety: Bacteria is destroyed when the food is heated. Pesticides are removed in the canning process.
- Safe: As long as the container is intact its good to go but look for- Leaking, Bulging, Denting, Cracking, Discoloration, and Foul odors
Originally published on Spotter Up
Images courtesy of Spotter Up