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Archive | EDC

Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

One of the most famous names in lighters, Zippo, is now selling a new Emergency Fire Kit. That seems pretty logical to me.

The new kit capitalizes on the familiar Zippo hinged metal box form factor. However, unlike the typical Zippo lighter, the Emergency Fire Kit is o-ring sealed to prevent moisture from getting into the contents of the kit. The kit uses water resistant waxed cotton tinder sticks (also available separately) to catch sparks from a typical Zippo flint wheel. The concept is similar to using wax or petroleum jelly coated cotton balls with a spark source like a ferro rod. The Zippo Emergency Fire Kit just gathers these components into an attractive kit form.

Check out the Zippo Emergency Fire Kit on Zippo.com.

Surefire SFR2 Batteries

Surefire just released their rechargeable SFR2 Batteries. In the past it seemed that they were ignoring rechargeable batteries in favor of their lithium primary batteries. As surprising as this is, it is certainly a welcomed announcement.

The SFR2 Batteries are lithium-phosphate chemistry which Surefire claims will retain 50% of their charging capacity even after 500 charge cycles. They only offer about 50% of the runtime that regular lithium CR123A primary batteries offer, but this should become easier to live with as lights continue to become more efficient.

You can purchase SFR2 batteries separately or as part of a kit that comes with a charger. The charger comes with AC and DC cords for wall and car charging. It also has a light that indicates the status of the charge.

Check out Surefire.com for more details.

Review: Bogota “Titan – Mini” Entry Toolset

The Bogota Entry Toolsets that I have reviewed were already one of the smallest lock bypassing sets available at about 3″ long and barely wider than a toothpick. Now, small but functional lock bypassing sets have been taken to the next level with the introduction of the Bogota Titan-Mini Entry Toolset. The Titan-Mini is only 2″ long but still just as functional as their larger counter parts.

The Titan Minis (bottom) are even smaller than the already tiny Bogota Titan Entry Toolset

Overview

The Bogota Titan-Mini Entry Toolset utilizes the same proven rake design and titanium material as the Bogota Titan Entry Toolset. The difference is that the Titan-Mini is 1″ shorter overall (2″ versus 3″ for the Bogota Titan Entry Toolset). This compact size makes them even easier to carry tucked in a wallet, pinned in a backpack, dropped in a pocket, or just about anywhere else. The aircraft grade titanium alloy that they are constructed from makes them non-magnetic and extremely corrosion resistant.

The kit contains two pieces: a Bogota Rake and a feeler pick. Each piece is capable of serving as a tensioner for the other piece. Most locks can be bypassed with just these 2 pieces.

What Makes the Bogota Rake Special?

Bogota Rakes feature an ingenious design that sets them apart in terms of ease of use and function. The design features 3 small mountain peak shaped bumps that are spaced in such a way that they can disrupt all 5 tumblers in a typical lock with very little movement. It is so effective that even unskilled users will find success at bypassing some locks within minutes of use. However, they are also very rewarding because a practiced hand will find that locks will often yield to the Bogota Rake in seconds. In that sense, these Bogota Entry Toolsets remind me of the old board game Othello – they take a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.

The Bogota Titan-Mini Entry Toolset shown with a quarter for scale.

Instructions for Use

Using a Bogota Rake is simple. You position the rake and the tensioner in the keyway and then shake the rake almost as if you have had too much caffeine. This caused the peaks to move the pins and tumblers up and down rapidly. If you have set your tension correctly, the tumblers will eventually become caught at the shear line, allowing the lock cylinder to rotate. It is as easy as it sounds, but doing it quickly will take a lot of practice to develop the type of “feel” that is necessary to maximize the rake’s effectiveness.

The Bogota Titan-Mini Entry Toolset can also be used as a typical feeler pick and tensioner for locks that may be difficult to rake.

In Use

I have been using the Titan-Minis for several weeks now and I have been very, very impressed. I expected them to perform well since the Bogota Rake is such a proven design. What caught me off guard and impressed me most was that they really don’t give up anything in terms of performance to their larger counterparts. I think this is due in large part to the handle shape. The “handles” (the part you hold on to) aren’t as small as I was expecting. Some of the shorter overall length comes from turning the hooked end of the handle down further rather than just chopping an inch off the handle. There is still enough handle to work with.

I did notice that the shorter tensioner does require a more delicate touch. Tensioning a lock already requires a delicate touch and has always been one of the most difficult parts of lock bypassing for me to master. The shorter overall length of the Titan-Mini set seems to mean that I just have to be that much more on my game.

The 90 degree hook on the handle and smaller overall length opens up some new storage possibilities for the Titan-Minis. They sit sit nicely in the crease of a wallet with the hook down running along the bottom of the wallet. They also lay flat in even the smallest coin pockets in a pair of jeans. Of course, there is almost no limit to where you can carry something that is 2″ long and barely wider than a toothpick.

A gutted piece of paracord with melted ends makes a perfect sheath.

Conclusion

It is hard to imagine that there could possibly be a smaller, more discreet, fully functional lock bypassing kit than the Bogota Titan-Mini Entry Toolset from SEREPICK. These work so well that I really can’t see a reason to buy the slightly larger Bogota Titan Entry Toolset except for slightly more forgiving tensioner performance. I am really amazed by these little guys.

SEREPICK.com has all your Bogota Entry Toolset needs covered.

GearPods Survival Kit Containers

GearPods are a interesting solution for organizing and carrying survival gear (and more). The solution revolves around a proprietary cylindrical container design that is water resistant and allows pods of 4 different sizes to be connected together in a single column. The result is an organized stack of gear that allows easy access and efficient organization. You can even use any of 7 available colors to indicate the contents of a GearPod at a glance.

The GearPods can be purchased pre-stocked with items that cover necessities like first-aid, fire starting, shelter, navigation, and more. They can also be purchased empty so that the user can build their GearPod kit with whatever gear they prefer. There are also various bags and sleeves available that allow the GearPods to be attached to backpacks or used as a stand alone system.

I haven’t seen GearPods in person but I am impressed with the unique approach. Check them out on GearPods.com.

Emberlit EL-Mini Now Available

I recently mentioned the upcoming Emberlit EL-Mini. This stove is even smaller and lighter than the Emberlit UL. Well, it is no longer upcoming – it has arrived. The Emberlit EL-Mini is now available for purchase on Emberlit.com.

CamelBak All Clear

The CamelBak All Clear Microbiological UV Water Purifier is a very interesting concept. It saves space in your pack by incorporating UV light purification into something that you are likely to already be carrying – a water bottle.

The key to the All Clear is the cap which has a UV light source and an LCD screen. You simply fill the bottle, replace the cap, power on the cap, and then shake the bottle for 60 seconds. The LCD screen counts down the 60 seconds so you know when to stop shaking. The cap is rechargeable and CamelBak claims that you can run the purifier 80 times on a single charge. The LCD screen also keeps you up to date on the charge level of the battery.

As with other UV purifiers, this will only work with water that is already relatively clear so per-filtering is recommended. Additionally, the battery is not user replaceable, so if it loses its charge while you are in the field, you will want to have a backup purification source (which you should be carrying with any purification system).

This looks like a really slick, refined package. This is one of the few filters that could easily find a place in your EDC gear. Check out the CamelBak All Clear on CamelBak.com.

 

Emerson Multi-Tool Renderings

One of my favorite knife makers, Emerson Knives, is collaborating with my favorite multi-tool maker, Multitasker Tools. The result is the upcoming Emerson Multi-tool and Emerson just released renderings of the new tool on their blog.

As you can see, the Emerson influence is strong in the Commander-like blade shape and the presence of the Emerson opener (wave). It is rare to find a multi-tool where the blade is the main attraction like it is with this tool.

Given the track record of both the companies involved in this tool, I suspect that it is going to be an awesome tool. You can see more pictures at the Emerson Knives Blog.

 

Review: Fight and Flight Tactical Y.U.C.K.

If you have kids, you know that they tend to come with a lot of gear. If you have kids, you probably end up carrying a lot of their gear. Fight and Flight Tactical thinks it is high time that kids started carrying their own gear, so Dave, the owner, created the Youth Utility Carrier Kit or YUCK. The YUCK is a kid sized backpack that is made durable enough for adults. It offers some kid specific features that really make it useful to a parent.

The YUCK can carry everything your little operator needs to fast rope into story time at the library.

Quality

The YUCK is constructed from the same materials as a typical adult sized 3 day pack. It features 1000D Cordura nylon construction that is fully lined with 420D pack cloth. This adds durability and water resistance. It uses quality plastic hardware and features burly inverted zippers. All of the cloth edges are bound and for the most part, there are box stitches and bar tacks everywhere that you would expect them.

There are some nits that I could pick in a few places. There are spots where the stitching isn’t quite straight and I did have to go over the packs with a lighter when I first received them to burn off some extra thread. So far, none of these things have effected function and, on the whole, these bags are far better made than anything that I have been able to buy off the shelf. Your children are not going to wear this pack out.

Kid smart features like D ring leash points and an oversized grab handle show that an actual parent designed this bag.

Features

There are a lot of kid specific features on this pack that make it really stand out. There are 2 d-ring attachment points for use with a leash. The mesh side pockets are actually large enough to accept every sippy cup that we own (this is not the case with any other kids pack that I have tried). The oversized grab handle is a convenient place to steer your child through a crowd or prevent them from stepping into traffic. Another oft overlooked feature on kids packs is a sternum strap. Sternum straps are important for keeping the shoulder straps from slipping off of tiny children’s shoulders. Obviously, Dave is a dad.

There is a second leash point on the center of the pack, under the MOLLE panel.

The pack features some organization. There is a good sized pouch (9″x6″x2″) that can be used to store small items. The interior front of the main compartment has a full height mesh pocket that can help separate contents in the main compartment. The main compartment itself is surprisingly spacious at about 12″x11″x3″. The main compartment is accessible via a zipper that extends about 2/3rds of the bag’s height. It is a panel loading type set up that allows the bag to accessed when it is standing up or laying on its back.

The interior mesh pocket offers a way to organize the main compartment of the YUCK.

The YUCK also features a 1″x6″ section of color (or camo) matched hook and loop for names tapes and an additional 4″x3″ section of hook and loop for patches. I had Multicam and hot pink nametapes made for my daughters and they love their Mojo Tactical TACTICUTE tabs.

There is also a 4 column by 2 row MOLLE webbing panel on the front of the pack. You can attach small pouches here or use it to stow slender items like chemlights or, more appropriately, string cheese.

Chemlights? Flex cuffs? Nah... my little operator tactically deploys cheese sticks.

In Use

My oldest daughter loves her “pack pack”. She mostly wears it around the house for adventures and then we use it as her day bag. We use another bag as a diaper bag for my youngest daughter. Both bags have seen daily use and still look like new after several months.

I underestimated just how much my 2 year old would like the fact that these bags were camouflage, just like many of my backpacks. I think the best thing about these bags has been watching my daughter enjoy having something just like daddy.

A sternum strap and comfortable harness are a must on a kids pack.

The kid specific features that I mentioned above make this pack great. So many packs have poorly sized pouches and lack a sternum strap. I have to believe that most packs were designed by people who never had a child. The YUCK pack is obviously built by a parent. It just works for parents and children.

Dave sized these packs very well. They are large enough to serve as a diaper bag and small enough to easily slip under the stroller when you are at the zoo.

My oldest operator... planning her next mission.

Conclusion

I was tired of bag makers that made children’s bags of poorer quality than their adult lines. If anything, your kids will be harder on their gear so the bags must be durable. You can buy a $20 backpack that will last your kid a year or you can buy a $50 bag that they will be able to hand down to their siblings (and probably their own kids). The YUCK is a children’s backpack that is designed for kids and built to stand up to them. That is just what I was looking for.

If you want your kid to start carrying their own gear, check out the YUCK on FightandFlight.com.

Princeton Tec CHARGE MPLS

I have been using Princeton Tec lights since I was in the 7th grade (that was a long time ago). It is safe to say that I am a fan. I especially like their “tactical” lights; not because they are tactical, but because they are some of the few lights on the market that come on in low mode. The latest addition to the Princeton Tec Tactical MPLS line is the CHARGE. MPLS stands for Modular Personal Lighting System and the lights contained in this line all provide a myriad of attachment options for everything from MOLLE webbing, to helmets, to head straps like a typical headlamp, and more.

The CHARGE MPLS is a single AA battery powered compact task light with a flexible neck that lets you direct the light exactly where you need it. It offers 3 output levels and multiple output colors (white with red, green, blue, IR, red/green/IR, and red/blue/IR are available). The CHARGE offers a ton of hands-free options with the ability to be attached to MOLLE webbing, multiple types of helmets, and a headstrap.

Stay tuned to JTT for a full review of the CHARGE MPLS. In the mean time, check out Grey Group Training to purchase your own Prinecton Tec CHARGE.

 

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