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Topics - Canuck In Denver

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 62
General BOV Discussion / New BOT (Bug Out Trailer)
« on: July 11, 2018, 10:45:16 PM »
A while back I got a line on a very well maintained 5x8 V nose trailer, the V adds two feet to the length. It has only the one door on the rear, which I prefer to having one on the side. Inside width is a bit less than 5 feet but it is 6 feet at the walls and two inches higher down the center.

It was a construction trailer with roof racks, so I have a place to put canoes or what not. It did have shelves on one side, but I didn't like them so I took them out (they were too wide and wouldn't allow for a balanced load). I still have to put new shelves in, 12 inches wide on each side so I will still have nearly 3 feet between them. Originally I was going to space the shelves at 18 inches, but I've decided to put them at 2 feet. That will give me 3 shelves on each side. That will give me plenty of room to keep all of my camping (aka bug out) gear and still have room for other items should I have to bug out.

The old bug out trailer will have the enclosure removed so it won't be so top heavy and will just be a mini pickup box trailer, maybe I'll put on a cover of some sort... or maybe not.

Other Items / Wiggy's sleeping bag
« on: June 09, 2018, 12:19:38 AM »
The other weekend some friends and I had our annual camping trip, a bit shorter than usual. but still some time away. I bought a Wiggy's "Slumber Bag" rated for 50F since I wanted a summer bag. I slept in my tent as usual, on a cot with a thin foam mat instead of my usual memory foam pad. It rained for much of the weekend and it was damp at night when it wasn't raining. The temps were a little under 50F.

The first night I climbed in with a T-shirt and was a bit chilled, not cold but not toasty warm. Sleeping on my side it was my upper back, shoulder, chest area that was chilled while the rest was warm. I figure it was partially the open top since the bag doesn't have a hood and partially being a bit under the rating.

The next day it was rainy and a bit below the previous night's temp. Late in the afternoon I decided to take a nap and skipped the T-shirt. Not having the T shirt made an improvement, if the temp had been a degree higher I would have been toasty.

That night it was at best 45F when I crawled into bed (way past midnight) and I decided to grab a light fleece blanket I had and keep it over the sleeping bag. I made sure to really tuck it in around my shoulders. The fleece was a bit much, I was a bit past toasty, but I slept well anyway.

The sleeping bag is thin and light. In the compression sack it will be about the size of a basket ball. A thin twin sized fleece blanket is about the same weight and the same size in the compression sack. The sleeping bag is 36x84 with a listed weight of 2.75 pounds. My Coleman that has a similar rating and is 40x84 weighs quite a bit more and is much thicker.

All-in-all the temp claims were accurate. The insulation in all Wiggy's products will keep you warm even when wet, in fact the insulation will dry with your body heat. With everything else damp around me the sleeping bag was nice and dry when I woke up. I washed the sleeping bag when it got here, and I washed it after my camping trip, the insulation stayed right were it is suppose to unlike every other sleeping bag I've washed and I don't buy cheap sleeping bags.

I can say that I'm happy with the Wiggy's summer sleeping bag (Slumber Bag) and I will be buying one of his FTRSS systems for colder temps. The price is good for the quality and the lifetime warranty. Being able to wash the sleeping bags as often as I want and not have the insulation move is a major bonus.

A few years ago Minnesota started putting cable and post barriers in the median of the Interstate from Fargo east. The reasoning they out forward was to keep vehicles from crossing from one side to the other through the large area between lanes. On one side it is maybe four feet from the edge of the inside lane, on the other it is 16 or so feet. The past few winters has shown that they ain't that effective and mostly they just destroy cars that do actually make it through. It was a LOT of money for something that rarely happens, since the main time for people to hit the median is in winter... when there is so much snow in the median that they don't go far before getting stuck.

As they were putting them up I joked it was to keep people from turning around when they're bugging out once everything has gone to crap, and a guy would need a gas powered cut off saw to cut the cables and the steel posts.

Well, I recently got one locally for a steal of a price (under $50) for an older Stihl cut off saw. Yeah, the same ones you see construction crews using to cut concrete and asphalt.  I looked it over before getting it, and it starts but doesn't stay running. With those it could be the air filter or it could be the carb. In either case maximum cost is about $50 for a new carb. It hasn't been used much in I don't know how long, so chances are that a simple carb cleaning or just some good fuel in it will have it running in no time.

So now, no matter what the obstruction is I can cut it up and remove it. Plus I have one hell of a saw for cutting metal or dealing with tree stumps around the yard.

I think I'll keep a multi purpose blade on there that will allow me to cut wood, concrete, steel and anything else I need.

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.

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