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Topics - Canuck In Denver

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 62
I was in the market for a new parka. My Cabela's down parka that I've had for years has started to lose loft in the shoulders and upper back. Cold spots are no fun. I tried washing it with down cleaner that is suppose to restore loft, but it can only do so much when the down itself starts to break down... thanks to the dry cleaner I took it to who said they could properly clean it. Anyway...

Having had lots of experience with parkas and with down I was ready to try something different. Down, while a great insulator when dry, loses all insulation value when wet. For years I've been considering a Wiggy's sleeping bag, the ones the Navy SEALS started forking out their own money for because they are warm and work when wet. I've read and watched a lot of reviews of the sleeping bags and the insulation used, I really like the washing instructions - put in washer with your favorite detergent then dry on air or low but keep an eye on the temp so as to not melt the nylon shell, wash as often as you like. And the lifetime warranty is great too. Last year I bought a jacket liner from Wiggy's as a low price test of workmanship and was impressed so I decided to pick up on-57.e of Antarctic Parks.

I've been testing it out for the last few weeks here and there. I've been hoping for a -40F air temp day with a lower wind chill, but it hasn't happened as of yet. Today was a good test though. The temperature was -11F with wind at 23mph for a wind chill of -37.9 (-57.96 on the old scale), gusts of 31mph brought the wind chill to -41.17 (-65.18 on the old scale). Humidity was 76%.

I wore three different parkas today, the Wiggy's, the Cabela's and a military surplus that I've had for over 30 years and still works great but needs some patches to fix it up. While the Cabela's parka has issues on the shoulders and upper back the rest of the parka has good down loft.

The Cabela's parka had the cold spots. I did notice that I was slowly losing warmth to the wind. All of the pockets - chest, cargo and hand warmer - are uninsulated so mittens would be needed to stay warm or warm up hands. In the wind my hands got cold fast.

The military parka worked as it always has. It kept me warm although I very slowly lost warmth to the wind. It only has cargo pockets and those have no insulation. My go to for so many years still has some life left, especially after I patch some seams that are failing on the cargo pockets.

Last I tested the Wiggy's parka. It had no cold spots. The hand warmer and cargo pockets are insulated and kept my hands warm or warmed them up if they were cold. There was no loss of heat to the wind, and I tested it twice as long as the other two.

I don't know if it's the warmest parka in the world, but I know it is the warmest parka I own. I would say it is warmer than the Cabela's was even when new. Like the sleeping bags, the insulation will continue to do it's job even when wet and will dry out from your body heat and keep you warm. I'm sure we'll see temps closer to -40F air temp and I'll report on how it does then too. I can say that I'm happy with it and feel that it is well worth the $395.00 price tag considering that a down parka of considerable quality and temperature rating means Canada Goose and those cost $995.

General Emergency Preparedness and Survival Discussion / Deer hunting 2017
« on: November 10, 2017, 10:32:13 PM »
I was able to go hunting for 5 days, with 4 that I can't hunt due to some family stuff. Saturday opener I got two small does who came in real early, if the light would have been better I would have let them go on the first weekend. Late Sunday I had two more come in, one was a big doe and the other was a smaller doe or maybe the big one's kid. I got the big doe but couldn't quite get the other.

Some in my hunting group joked that maybe I was a member of PETA and couldn't shoot a deer. Well, when your stand is in a good location and you see deer you actually get to shoot them. No questioning that I can pull the trigger or shoot em, not like I had any doubts. The guy who gave me the most crap ain't seen a thing this year, guess he gets to take the crap this year.

I've been hunting for 4 or 5 years and previous to this year I've only seen a small fawn and the back of a buck's neck at 100 yards. I took a shot at the buck as crappy as it was and missed, no surprise really.

Last year when some in my group took shots (two or three people) at the same buck and didn't put it down we found that I was probably the best tracker in the group.

So I can add the hunting, tracking and skinning skills to the list. Practicing skills is always good, and I got to practice skinning this year without someone doing half of it like last year.

General Homesteading / Planted the mulberry trees today
« on: October 10, 2017, 08:52:32 PM »
I finally got around to planting the mulberry trees today. The have spent their life until Labor Day in a greenhouse. I've kept them outside since to allow them to adapt to life outside of a green house. They spent the last couple of days in the wood shed due to low temperature each night, and a couple of really windy days before that. The next few nights will be close to freezing but not quite, they've adapted well so far. Unfortunately since they've been grown in a green house the 6 footer is pencil thin and very much in need of lots of support, which it has. I even went so far as to buy a couple of 10 foot lengths of 1/2 inch electrical conduit for next spring when it outgrows the current bamboo stake.

General Off Topic Discussion / First frost of the season
« on: October 10, 2017, 08:47:26 PM »
We got the first frost of the season last night, was about 28F at 5:30 when I took the dog out. No snow yet, unlike some states.

General Off Topic Discussion / Deer stands and cordless drills
« on: September 30, 2017, 10:23:45 PM »
The last few weekends I've been working on my deer stand. Knowing I was going out today and not wanting to run the generator all day and since I didn't borrow my friend's cordless I decided to get one for myself. I'm not sure how many corded drills I have, but I have 1/4" drills, 3/8" drills and some big and bigger 1/2 inch drills. I picked up a Menards "Masterforce" drill that seems good.

As for the deer stand, it's about 10 feet in the air with stairs to get up the the 4x5 foot skid that serves as a landing. The stand itself is built on two 4x9 foot skids bolted together so it's 8x9 foot with a peaked roof. I have some great views and the deer seem to have already accepted it being in their environment.

Today I got all the windows in, the door up, some but not all of the railings. I still have work to do on it, including carpet on the floor and the bottom of the walls. I'll end up finishing that this week, most likely Thursday.

General Food & Water / Champion Juicer and grain mill
« on: June 06, 2017, 08:36:51 PM »
Picked up a free Champion Juicer with the grain mill attachment today. I've been wanting a grain mill better than the old hand crank Universal ones I have. Granted this is electric, but I'm sure in a no power situation I could convert it to hand crank or bicycle crank. It's an older model but I'll take it since they haven't changed much since 1955.

Granted there are other hand crank grain mills I'd like, but those are about $500.

General Emergency Preparedness and Survival Discussion / Bushcraft
« on: May 22, 2017, 07:54:56 PM »
Lately I've been watching bushcraft videos on Youtube. It brings back memories for me, back in the day my friends and I went camping whenever we could and did the same things that people in these videos are talking about.

I've really been thinking of getting back into "bushcraft". Bushcraft uses all of the same skills you'd use if you were bugging out to the wilderness. You can practice making fire without matches or a lighter. You can practice making shelters with just a tarp or two. You can practice identifying plants and trees. You can do a lot of survival things and build your survival skills and if anyone asks you're just practicing bushcraft. It seems that millennials are taking up bushcraft, so you'll be doing things that the younger crowd can identify with.

It was the bushcraft videos that finally got me off my butt and built the stainless steel bottle kit I posted about a few weeks ago. I decided that I needed a backpack dedicated to bushcraft so I've been working on it. I ordered an improved ALICE frame from Tactical Tailor, a USMC FILBE main ruck bag to go on the frame and MOLLE II shoulder straps and waist belt. The FILBE gear is a nice neutral coyote (brown) color that doesn't scream military, it's also fairly new and not a lot on the surplus market that isn't in poor shape. New the price for a main ruck bag is near $200. The shoulder harness and waist belt are desert camo I'll probably dye or spray paint. I'll post pics when everything gets here and I get it assembled.

I wanted a MOLLE backpack so I could customize it depending one what I am planning on doing or how long I will be out.

General Hunting / Deer stands (Junk week)
« on: May 03, 2017, 09:38:27 PM »
It's out local junk week and I've been out after work seeing what I could find. This year has been good to me so far, there's still a night left to go.

I was looking for things for the new deer stand I'll be building this year, and the hunting shack. I picked up six exterior doors, all 36 inch with large windows on the top half. I picked up two 4 x 2 ft double pane sliding windows with "easy clean" so they open in... great for a full view in the deer stand :) I also picked up another window the same size that is hinges out about 45 degrees (can be made to hinge more with some piano hinge)  so it will work as well. I figure I have at least two or three walls worth of windows. Another place got me quite a bit of medium pile carpet that will work on the lower half of the stands to cut down any noise from boots kicking it, or on the floor. There is enough carpet to put on the floors and the walls of all of our deer stands. My deer stand will end up having an 8 x 8 foot floor so the interior will be closer to 7 feet 4 inches square. It will be big enough to sleep in if I want to for opening day.

I also picked up about a 3 foot stack of click together laminate flooring, it's about 8 inches by 4 feet. I haven't decided if that will be deer stand floors or used in out hunting shack. There is easily enough to do the floor of the half of the hunting shack we need to build this year, although we could do at least one of the walls, or something.

If you've been paying attention to the news in the US since Trump was elected President you're bound to have seen the violence at pro-Trump rallies and conservative speaking events on college campuses by Antifa and other groups. Antifa has been on the front lines, causing the violence at these rallies and turning them from peaceful gatherings to violent events. A lot of these Antifa members are students and in some cases teaching professionals, one of their key spokespeople in California is a teaching professional. Leading up to the election we saw conservative speakers having their speaking engagements being disrupted or canceled due to these same individuals.

Antifa hasn't done very well when it comes to violence, when the people they are protesting and attacking fight back and Antifa gets the short end of the stick they lament their effectiveness and talk about being better prepared for the violence. They've had some success when three or more of them are beating on one person with sticks and whatnot. They're calling what they're doing a war, so we're already at war in their minds. Antifa has sold credit card knives on their website to better arm their people. Some of these same people have talked online about the need to start bringing guns when they plan to disrupt an event and cause violence.

I said months ago that they would show up to an event to disrupt it and cause violence and one time when three of them was beating on one person a gun would be pulled by a person lawfully carrying it and they would use the gun to defend themselves. At that point it would get very ugly. So far it hasn't happened, but if the children of Antifa bring guns one time they WILL use them and we will see a lot of injured and dead people. Antifa members are the type that don't use guns and have no idea how to use them (for the most part) while the people they are beating on are the type who use guns and know how to use them.

Thankfully I live far away from a big city and the potential for seeing this kind of violence is slim. If things spiral out of control because Antifa does bring guns then who knows.

So while the potential, although slim, is there it behooves me to prepare for it as much as I can. I've been planning to buy a new handgun and get my concealed carry permit. I bought a small .45ACP Springfield XDS that is slightly longer than my wallet and will easily fit in my front jeans pocket. It's not the ideal handgun, but it met my requirements and I got a good deal on it.

Chickens / Chickens (and ducks)
« on: April 17, 2017, 08:41:29 PM »
Well, the girlfriend finally got her chickens and ducks. They've been living in the spare bedroom next to my office for a couple of weeks until it's warm enough to put em outside. The chickens will be ready this week and the ducks have about another week. 12 chickens make less noise than 4 ducks, and less mess too.

Over the weekend we did some work on fencing around the chicken coop and some repairs, a free garden shed last year was just about perfect. Tonight I spent some time helping her make nesting boxes, there is still some work to do there but it won't take long. I have lots of scrap wood to make the nesting boxes out of. I'll have to run some electrical wire in the coop for a couple of lights and a couple of electrical outlets, there will be a need for heat lamps and possibly heaters come winter. I'm thinking of putting in three light circuits, one for a regular light, one for a red LED (night light basically) and one for heat lamps. I'm not sure on the heat lamps, I may just use a couple of switched outlets.

As I've been assembling my bottle cook kit (see: here) I decided to have a small water filter system to go with it. I picked up a Katadyn Carbon Cartridge (see: here) which will also work with my main field filter (Katadyn Pocket). I also picked up a 3 liter top load hydration bladder to use as a source bag from Amazon for $13 I chose this hydration bladder because it will roll up small since it is top load (I have several Camelbak bladders).

I made a couple of mods to the hydration bag. First I removed the neopene on the hose, it just adds bulk and I don't need it. I took off the bite valve since it isn't required for my use. I cut the hose a few inches from the bag so I could move the on/off valve there. The end of the hose has nothing on it, this is where the carbon cartridge will go and a bit of hose to go into a bottle, etc. To keep stress off the hydration bladder I used a stuff sack to act as a basket. I used para cord to close the bag and hang it, and I put a small opening in the bottom for the bladder hose to hang through. The original string that came with the bag can be used to hang it from a tree. The hydration bag also stays in the sack when not in use.

My thought process was to use the Katadyn Pocket to filter water going into the hydration bladder. Then the hydration bladder could be hung from a tree and gravity feed through the Katadyn carbon cartridge into another hydration bladder or my water bottle. Nice and simple.

I'll attach pictures of it.

As I was thinking about it, I decided that it would be nice to have a lighter weight filter than the Katadyn Pocket. The Sawyer filters have been getting good reviews, and while having to back flush them is a pain in the neck, the cost is right and they are small and lightweight. So I invested the $20 in a Sawyer Mini.

Adding the Sawyer Mini will mean another cut in the hydration bladder hose. It will go below the on/off valve and above the carbon cartridge.

Everything fits into a small MOLLE pouch I had laying around, and I can put it on the side of the cook bottle kit if I want or tuck it into a backpack. The pouch is a Condor EMT pouch that runs about $17 on There is even room in the pouch to add some water treatment tablets. I can choose to gravity feed a full 3 liters or use the Sawyer Mini and Katadyn carbon cartridge to drink straight from a water source, lots of options depending on the situation all for $53 (not including the pouch).

Edit: Helps if I add the pictures.

I have a Katadyn Pocket as my main in the field water filter. As great as it is there is one thing missing, this also applies to many other filters out there. While they are great at filtering bacteria, virus, etc they don't to anything for taste or chemicals. Apparently Katadyn decided to put together a solution for this problem. Now they have a "carbon cartridge" that will fit most Nalgene style water bottles or splice into a hydration bladder hose.

What I like about the Katadyn over some other brands is that the activated carbon can be replaced. The cartridge screws together and comes with two pouches of activated carbon that are good for 50 gallons or 200 liters. Each package of carbon will fill the cartridge one and bit times, I figure 4 packages will get you five fills.

The cost for the cartridge is about $20 on Amazon and the refills are about $14 The refills are not a bad price but food grade activated charcoal is considerably cheaper, about $24 for 2 pounds The bulk packages of activated charcoal should be resealed with as much air rolled out of them as possible, but it would sure last a long time. Of course, you could spend the time to use snack size Ziploc bags and use the cartridge to make your own individual sized packs.

I'll get some pictures up tomorrow or so. I have a few other things I'm waiting on to get here.

General Homesteading / Dead wood or poplar trees suck
« on: April 05, 2017, 06:19:10 PM »
The last couple of weeks I've been squeezing in some time to take down some of the dead poplars ("popple" in the local vernacular) on the edges of my property. Fortunately it's been nice enough temperature wise and dry enough rain wise for me to drop them into the field surrounding me on two sides. It's always a rush to get it down before the farmer starts working the field. I got about 6 or 7 of them down and cut up and have a few more to go. Tonight I worked for a while on pulling in the branches, getting most of the twigs (with a rake) and stacking the cut up sections. I'll still have some cutting on this to do to get it into firewood size and some splitting. It will be bonfire wood for my neighbor and I, I traded him a bunch of it for his two dead elm trees last fall. I still have more clean up to do and more trees to drop. Some of the trees will have to be dropped into my yard, so they can wait. I'll get the rest of the clean up done tomorrow (and Friday if need be) after work. From Saturday until done I will be taking the rest down one at a time and cleaning it up before moving onto the next tree.

I figure I will have at least a week before the farmer is in the field. I hope for two weeks so I can get some other things done, like burying the wire from the meter to the house (damn gophers!)

Survival Kits / Bottle Cook Kit (Stainless Steel)
« on: March 28, 2017, 08:38:16 PM »
I've been wanting to make a stainless steel bottle cook kit for a couple of years and finally got around to it. I like the idea of everything nesting together and taking up minimal space yet be able to do most cooking chores. It doesn't have a fry pan, but that is easy enough to add if I want.

The kit consists of:
- Condor H20 pouch (Amazon)
- Pathfinder School 25oz cup and lid set (web site)
- Nalgene 38oz wide mouth bottle (Amazon)
- Walmart 18oz stainless steel cup
- Stuff sack
- 2 bottle hangers (web site)
- P51 can opener
- Magnesium block and striker

The P51 can opener is tucked into the lid and has some para cord on it, the para cord has a loop on it so I can take the P51 off and clip it to something.

I also have a Stanley 24oz Cook set (Amazon). I had hoped that the Stanley would fit over the Nalgene bottle but it doesn't. It does fit inside the Pathfinder Cup and the Walmart cup. The lids for the Stanley and are interchangeable and will fit the Walmart cup. I added a key ring to the Stanley lid in place if the plastic tab and ground down the handle tabs a bit to make them easier to get on and off. It isn't part of the bottle cook kit, but it is a nice little cook cup set up on it's own.

The Pathfinder cup is nice since it has measuring markings on the inside, the Stanley has them pressed into the stainless steel which is even nicer. The Pathfinder does have holes for the bottle hanger (also known as a fish mouth spreader). The bottle hanger will need a bit of tweaking to hold the Nalgene properly, but that isn't an issue.

I went with the Nalgene instead of a Kleen Kanteen 40oz for a couple of reasons. The first is the ridge on the neck of the Nalgene that holds the para cord cap lanyard on, makes it much easier to tie para cord to and lower it into a stream or other source of water. It also makes it easier to fashion a bail for the Nalgene bottle. The Nalgene is also a bit thicker, so will survive a bit more abuse. It also came in a few dollars more than the Kleen Kanteen, but I think it was worth it.

I plan on adding a bit of light chain with a couple of small carabiners for suspending the cup of bottle over a fire. I may make a bail for the Nalgene out of uncoated aircraft cable / metal rope.

I'd like to add a titanium knife / fork / spoon set and a long handle titanium spoon to the kit, and maybe a Pathfinder bottle stove (web site) to round out the cook set. I may also replace the Walmart cup with and Olicamp cup because it also has measuring marks pressed into the steel.

Two Condor Gadget pouches will fit on the H20 pouch if I wanted to add extra storage to it, and a Condor Pocket Pouch would fit in the pocket on the H20 pouch or on it along with the Gadget pouches. I haven't decided yet. I may also add a shoulder strap to the kit.

Below are pictures of the cook set, the Stanley cup will be in another post.

General Homesteading / Pocket gophers
« on: March 26, 2017, 12:33:35 AM »
The county stopped poisoning the pests last year and they moved in behind my house over the winter. They're right up to the foundation, so I'll be trapping and poisoning the little bastages as fast as I can. And yes, they cause a lot of damage, if you didn't know already.

They chewed through the power wire to my septic system, not a big deal or expense but still a pain in my neck. The worst damage is they chewed the the feeder wire from my meter and the house, some 50 feet straight shot and more like 100 to 110 on a real run. Right now I have 120 feet of wire between the house and the meter until the ground thaws and I can shovel and trench it properly with about half of the wire coiled up on the meter post. I'll be running the wire through 2 inch electrical conduit with 4 inch PVC pipe over that. Apparently the little rodents can open their jaws nearly three inches so I opted to go an inch larger so they can't get a bite on it. I have the wire on the ground in 4 inch PVC right now so it stands out and there is no chance of running it over with the mower.

It will be a couple of weeks before the ground thaws, then I have a fair amount of work to do, damn near half will be shovel work to two foot depth, technically I only have to go 18 inches but I like the extra 6. Since it will be up against the foundation I'll have the pleasure up digging up their tunnels and leaving lots of poison for them. Plus I'll soak the ground with castor oil since it is suppose to be unappetizing to them, maybe I'll see if something else like chili powder or something is also unappealing to them... ghost pepper anyone?

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