Thursday, December 27, 2012

Frost River Summit Pack - First Impressions

I received a Frost River Summit Pack and am liking what I see so far.  I thought I'd share a few thoughts and photos on this pack.  Most people opt for the Summit Expedition, but I felt the "no frills" Summit version would fit my needs better, so that's what I have.  I'm not considering this a review as I'll need to put some serious miles in it first to do that.  But hopefully this gives you an idea of what you get with this pack.

Straps are attached with a brass ring and high quality leather

all brass for the metal parts on these packs

the top flap has a zipper compartment on the inside.  It holds a decent amount of stuff for those smaller items you want to keep separate and get to quickly.

main compartment is just a big bag.  I like those, they hold all your stuff and then some.  If you're in to pockets these packs are not for you.  These are simple but get the job done in a way you'll either appreciate or you won't.

I had this pack loaded about 2/3 full for this photo.  In the main compartment I had a USGI Shelter Half, canteen with cover, steel water bottle, hatchet, leather gloves, the green bag has a 14cm Zebra billy pot in it, the foam buttpad that I use as a back pad in the pack, on the pad I have all the contents that were in the zipper compartment, toilet paper, 50ft. paracord, tinder box, flashlight, and ferro rod.  There was still room to spare in the zipper compartment.

There was easily enough room left in the pack for an extra pullover and food, etc.  This pack should make for the perfect day pack for me.  It could be an overnight pack as well if you know how to pack smart but that's probably the most it's limits would be. 

I will do a review later as I get some woods time with it.  First impressions though are very good.  Materials and craftsmanship is everything I'd heard about from Frost River.  So look for this pack in my day trips and hopefully it becomes a trusted companion for the trail. 

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Custom Skinner from SDS Knifeworks

One of the great gifts I got for Christmas this year was a custom skinner from SDS Knifeworks.  It's made from D2 steel, has about a 3" blade, handle is flame maple.  It feels great in the hand.

I love the jumping on the spine.  It's in two places and works great for choking up on the blade


the flame maple is gorgeous though the low light conditions don't show it too well.  There will be more pictures later as I get to use it.

Well this is a great knife and the edge is very sharp.  Hopefully I'll be using it sooner rather than later.

Thanks for looking

God Bless and Merry Christmas folks!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

TAKE EM! a tale from the goose pit

Well this morning was pretty awesome.  There's really no other way to describe it.  My father in law drew out for a goose hunt on the Washita Wildlife Refuge so he and I headed out early this morning.  We drew out a few hunts for this area last year as well so we knew pretty much what to expect.  Even so, it takes your breath away at times.  We enjoyed some laughs, both together and at each others expense.  Good times.  And while the morning was unfolding we got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise as well.  (Some of these pics didn't turn out as good as I'd hope, but I'm posting them up so you'll get the idea of just how many geese were coming off the water)

This first sunrise image is the view from behind our pit.  Water behind us, fields out in front.

this seriously looked like a swarm of geese rising up

this next pic is my favorite of the day, hard choice to say the least

 did I mention the sunrise was awesome

view out the front of the pit

flocks were coming to and from the lake all morning.  It was just a matter of luck if they went over us

those specs in the water are more geese

just peaking out

one canada down, WooHoo!

duck slayers of the day, left a Stoeger P-350 and right a Remington 870 SPS, we heard the geese refer to them as the black mamba's of death

our first class comforts of the day ( And yes that's one shell left in a box with only one goose to show for it  O:-)  what can I say, my father in law is a terrible shot ;)

geese were moving off and on all morning

right before quitin time we downed a Ross Geese.  So two geese is all we left with, I'll just say we shot more than two times and leave it at that...

all and all a very enjoyable morning.  Good times shared and I look forward to doing it again next year...

You gotta love the outdoors :) 

Thanks for looking

Friday, December 21, 2012

Afternoon getaway to enjoy some brunch

Sometimes you just have one of those urges to grab your pack and some grub and hit the woods.  I got the urge the other day and figured, Why fight it?  So I hit the woods to just enjoy some time outdoors and spoil myself with a good woods meal too.

I was hoping to get another duck like I had the other day.  But the wind was blowing 30-40mph so it made the duck traffic non-existent.  I sat on my favorite duck pond for a little while before calling it quits.  There were around 8-10 ducks on the back end of the pond when I arrived and they flew out the backside and never had a chance for a shot. That's how it goes sometimes.

making my way through the woods, it still looks like fall instead of winter here...bummer

finally arrived at camp, and I did bring a new axe to play with :)

Well I sat out to find a good tree to chop down to get a feel for my Husqvarna Forest Axe, and I found about an 8in thick or so, dead standing tree to chop down.

I was pretty impressed with this axe.  My chopping got kind of sloppy as I think I was rushing it.  But the axe did very well.  There were no rolls or chips on the edge at all.  This wood was very hard too.  I'm going to like this when I need a lightweight 3/4 axe.  

Well after the axe play time was over I started on getting the fire going.  This proved to be a pretty big pain in the arse.  The wind was blowing it out repeatedly, so I eventually strung up my shelter half to use as a wind break.   It was done in a hurry but did the job.  So here we are getting the hot beverage going.

Well as I said, the other point is to spoil myself with a good meal so cast iron and bacon to get things kicked off.

I don't mind the added weight of cast iron, as long as the destination isn't too far of course.  This skillet is 10.5in and isn't light, but it's worth it

now we're getting somewhere

well the first batch was done.  So it became the appetizer accompanied by some hot coco.  A warm drink always feels good in the woods

now it really gets good as we have bacon and red potato's going at the same time

so here we have it:  bacon, eggs, and fried spuds, and now some apple cider too

that was darn good.  Well after brunch I let the fire go down and started to pack up.  Here's a quick shot at an axe carrier I made awhile back.  It's really just a pouch style sheath that basically holds any of my axes.  It's not fancy but it's handy,  There's some lashing slits in the bottom of the sheath that attach it to the back and then the top strap hold the axe in place.

Well I'm headed out now until the next time...

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Husqvarna Forest Axe - Quick Look, and deer everywhere

I've been wanting a good 3/4 bush axe for awhile now and finally settled on the Husqvarna Forest Axe.  The folks at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft did an excellent review that you can find here, Husqvarna Forest Axe Review.  This review helped me decide this was the axe for me.  It's light for a 3/4 axe and performed a lot of tasks well.  So I ordered one and just wanted to show it to you as another example to the quality axes Husqvarna is putting out.  This of course the Hults Bruks version and I got a superb sample in the one I was sent. 

OAL: 26 in.
Edge: 3 1/2 in.
Head Weight: 1.87lbs ( As noted by retailer, Others have weighed it at 1.75lbs)

Now a look at the craftsmanship of the one I was sent.  First up the head alignment was great.

Grain is excellent, verticle and nice and tight.

Hafting was also done very well.  Haft sticks out from the head about 1/4" and no gaps.

I love the profile of this axe.  It will excel in chopping and probably be an average splitter.  It should perform finer work and carving tasks very well too.  

Well I did a quick chopping test on a dead standing Oak that was about 3-3.5" in diameter.  Certainly not a hard task but 4 smooth and easy swings and it went right through

Sheath is made of thick leather and the snap is very secure.  It's not the cheap materials we often see with axes.  It does not have the strap but the fold over snap method seems to have been done very well on this one.  It is secure to the head and won't pull off.

I am very impressed with this axe.  The quality control seems very good as there is nothing wrong with this axe at all.  If this is the cheaper version of a Hults Bruks axe then their main line of axes must be exceptional.  I am looking forward to putting this axe through the paces as I get out with it.

As a bonus while I slipped into the woods I was going down a simple trail then realized I had walked into a herd of deer that didn't seem too alarmed by my presence.  So here's a few shots of them as they made their way through the woods

then on the drive out I passed another herd right off the road

I love the experiences you get when your in the woods, 

Thanks for looking