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Archive | Preparedness


TAREINCO is one of those companies that is a lot of fun to watch. Mark Basa, the man behind TAREINCO’s curtain, is becoming well known for outside of the box gear designs that are chock full of function and originality. One of his latest designs is the RETI-Pouch – a low-profile, belt-mounted pouch with quick release functionality.



The RETI-Pouch is designed to be a small, low-profile, belt-mounted pouch that can be used to carry just about anything, but is sized to carry a basic blowout kit. The body of the pouch measures 5.5” by 6.5” and is constructed from 1000D nylon with a high visibility orange pack cloth liner. The exterior features a 4”x2” loop material panel for affixing patches, ID, or medical pouch identifiers. The pouch is closed with a horizontal zipper near the top.

The quick release system consists of a belt loop formed from 2 heavy duty pieces of hook and loop material. There is a red grab handle attached to the top piece that can be pulled to release the RETI-Pouch from your belt. The system is also designed so that the hook tab can be used to secure the pouch in Velcro lined bags.

Observations from Use

TAREINCO designed the RETI-Pouch to sit flat when empty. This is to ensure that it has a low-profile even when it packed with gear. It looks cramped but you will be surprised what you can fit inside.

TAREINCO RETI-Pouch Possible Contents

The RETI-Pouch can be used for carrying anything that will fit but it really shines as a compact blow out kit. It is the perfect size for a pair of nitrile gloves, hemostatic agent, a 4” trauma bandage, a nasal airway, and a tourniquet. I like to use a compact tourniquet like the SWAT-T or TK-4. You may even be able to fit some extra compressed gauze in addition. Even with all that gear, the pouch conceals fairly well under an un-tucked shirt.

The quick release works perfectly and it is easy to use even when you can’t see the pouch. You basically just move your hand along the belt line until you hit the pouch, at which pouch the release is easy to find. A firm tug is all that is needed to release it from the belt so it can be moved into your workspace or handed off to someone else who may need the contents. It fits belts all the way up to 2” in width.

The zipper positioning allows the top of the RETI-Pouch to sort of hinge out of the way. It gives you unobstructed access across the entire width of the pouch.


The construction is top notch. The quick release belt flaps would take a lot stress when pulled from the belt so they are reinforced accordingly. You will wear out the Velcro long before you manage to pull off one of the flaps.

If you can’t carry the RETI-Pouch on your belt, it can be secured in any Velcro lined pack or bag by reversing the belt flaps. It works very well and you can still use the grab handle to quickly pull the RETI-Pouch free from your bag.

I figured out that I can loop some shock cord or a heavy duty rubber band though the belt loop to carry a tourniquet on top of the pouch. This keeps the TQ well concealed under a shirt but still accessible. It does block access to the quick release grab handle a bit but I can work around it. It would be nice if there were provisions for this built into the RETI-Pouch. I can’t help but think that some sort of built in way to carry a Benchmade Rescue Hook or trauma shears on the exterior of the pouch would be a worthwhile addition though they might adversely affect the low-profile design of the pouch.

The RETI-Pouch is more than just a low-vis med kit. It also makes a killer E&E or survival pouch. Load it up with compact gear like a Bogota Entry Set, fire starting gear, water purification tablets, etc. and you have a discreet pouch that can easily be retained, even if you have to drop other gear. I like to safety pin my Bogota Entry Tools deep inside the pouch, just through the liner so that the pin isn’t visible from the outside, the tools are less visible to cursory inspection, and they won’t fall out when the pouch is shaken out.

TAREINCO RETI-Pouch Belt Loop TAREINCO RETI-Pouch for Velcro Lined Bag

Wrap Up

The RETI-Pouch is another versatile and functional pouch design from TAREINCO. It has become invaluable to me as a low-profile first aid pouch that moves seamlessly from my belt to my EDC bag.

Check out the RETI-Pouch from TAREINCO.

Earl Backcountry Survival Tablet Updates

The development of Earl – Backcountry Survival Tablet continues to move forward and there have been some exciting developments. If you aren’t familiar with Earl, we already covered the generalities of this killer concept in a previous post.


There have been three notable additions to the hardware of the Earl. The developers have tweaked the pressure sensor to better serve hang gliders. I am not part of the glider community, but an improved pressure sensor isn’t a bad thing. They have also redesigned Earl’s RF system to allow it to act as a person locator beacon. The last hardware addition is a dedicated, external antenna port. This is great news and should improve Earl’s radio range.

The developers have also mentioned that this initial release of Earl will be supported with software that is geared toward the camper/hiker/general outdoorsman. In the future, they intend to have offerings geared more to shooters. With all the on board sensors, there is some great potential to develop Earl into a capable ballistic computer.

I will be keeping a close eye on Earl. You can too at MeetEarl.com.

Operator Band from RE Factor Tactical at Brownells

RE Factor Tactical has hit the big time. Their Operator Band has been picked up by Brownells!

RE Factor Tactical Survival BandThe Operator Band combines many useful survival functions into a survival bracelet including:

  • Fishing line
  • Fishing hook
  • Snare wire
  • Handcuff key
  • P51 can opener
  • Para-cord
  • Ferro rod

Check out the Operator Band at Brownells.com.

“Rogers” Belt Hatchet from Domari Nolo

Hatchets with full tang construction are generally bull strong but expensive, unless you are talking about the new Rogers Belt Hatchet from the Squirrels at Domari Nolo. Any hatchet named for the Roger’s Rangers is cool with me. This beast of a hatchet is made by hand from 1095 steel. It has a parkerized finish and a cord wrapped handle. Domari Nolo will even let you pick your cord wrap color.

Best of all, the “Rogers” Belt Hatchet is very reasonably priced at $50. Check it out at Domari-Nolo.com.

Domari Nolo Rogers Hatchet

SerePick Stainless Steel Entry Cards

SerePick just rolled out one of their latest discreet lock bypass tools – Stainless Steel Entry Cards. There are two different versions (V1 and V2) that are identical to the Titanium Entry Card models that are sold by ITS Tactical and Vigilant Gear except the material (stainless instead of titanium).

The cards are identical in size to a credit card which makes them very easy to carry on your person or in your gear. They come with a vinyl storage sleeve. I have both versions in hand for a review so stay tuned.

Both versions of the Stainless Entry Card are available from SerePick. The V1 Entry Card is available from ITS Tactical. The V2 is available from Vigilant Gear.


Vigilant Gear Quick Stick


Those tiny, unassuming little widgets in the picture above are Quick Sticks from Vigilant Gear and they happen to be one of the most versatile lock bypass tools on the market. They can be used to open some padlocks, bypass wafer style locks like those found in file cabinets and toolboxes, and may even be able to shim some cheaper handcuffs. These are a compact and functional addition to any urban survival kit.

Quick Sticks come in a pack of 2. Check them out at Vigilant Gear.

Vigilant Gear Discount

VG DiscountVigilant Gear has been online for a 1 year now and to celebrate, they are offering a discount! The discount makes this is a great time to check out some of their newest products including the spork to end all sporks – the American Kami Ti Apocalyspork.


Review: Sneaky Bags CRB

A few years ago a company called Sneaky Bags introduced an entire line of bags that were designed to allow discreet carry of various firearms and, in some cases, even serve as second line gear to support the fight. Sneaky Bags had tremendous ideas but they struggled to meet demand. Now, the company and name has been resurrected with support from an established manufacturer – SERT. The Sneaky Bags CRB (Covert Rifle Bag) is the first product from what I hope will be a lasting and productive venture.

Sneaky Bags CRB

This Sneaky Bags CRB is currently holding two loaded AR-15s with optics, a Glock 17, and extra magazines for each with room to spare.


The Covert Rifle Bag is designed to carry rifles without looking like it is carrying rifles… hence the name. Its rounded shape and purposefully non-tactical color scheme help to disguise its contents. The CRB features padding throughout and stiff plastic reinforcement where necessary to prevent any telltale shapes or bulges from betraying the contents of the bag.

The 36” version that I have to review can hold two 16” barreled AR-15s or similarly sized rifles. The large interior compartment is slick to allow the rifles to be withdrawn easily and features an integral padded divider to keep the 2 rifles from beating each other up during transport.

The exterior of the CRB has several organization features including a small zippered pocket at the top, a deep Velcro flap secured pocket, a daisy chain, a shock cord (bungee) grid, and a roughly 10”x10”x2” pouch with internal PALS/Velcro organization. The carrying strap can be configured in a number of different ways to allow for backpack carry or multiple modes of side or quiver carry.

Sneaky Bags CRB Front Pouch Sneaky Bags CRB Flap Pouch

Observations from Use

The very first thing that I wanted to do was establish whether or not the CRB is effective as a covert bag. I showed the bag to some family members and gauged their impressions about what they thought it was for and what was inside. They know about the blog and my interests and they still thought it was some kind of sporting equipment bag. Baseball and tennis were both mentioned specifically. I also gauged a few other acquaintances’ reactions and even among shooters, their initial impressions weren’t of a gun case but rather some kind of sporting equipment bag. These tests were far from scientific but they are encouraging – to me at least.

I should point out that I also showed the bag to people who are familiar with Sneaky Bags. They, of course, immediately knew what it was for which points out the limitations of any form of covert carry. If your method of covert carry isn’t one-of-a-kind and it is for sale in the public market place, there is a chance that someone is already familiar with and even trained to look for your covert carry method. This can be a big deal for the armed professional but it is mostly a non-issue for me since I won’t be taking the CRB on any covert missions. (It should also be noted that wearing your best desert tan footwear, 5.11 tactical tuxedo, and “operator” cap will probably cancel out any gray man points you may earn by using the CRB.)

I just wanted bag would allow me to move a carbine around outside of my home without making the neighbors raise their eyebrows. All I need is a bag that lets me lay it on the backseat of a car or carry a carbine and some range gear to and from the front door of my house in a reasonably discreet way. I think the CRB is certainly capable of that and more. I think there could be tremendous value in having a bag that allows you to carry a carbine (or 2) without the so-called “sheeple” (I hate that term) noticing.

Sneaky Bags CRB 2 Rifles

The CRB’s main compartment is very well designed in large part because of how simple it is. The interior is so slick and simple that there is absolutely nothing for your carbine to snag on when you are inserting or removing it. It has heavy padding and HDPE stiffeners in all the right places. For instance, the bottom of the bag has an HDPE stiffener to prevent the muzzle from bulging and the back of CRB is also stiffened to prevent your carbine from digging into your back.

I was able to fit 2 of my bulkier carbines (with larger Aimpoints, inserted magazines, free float rails, etc) without much trouble. It is a tight fit but it is very doable. If you need to carry 2 carbines and you want to maximize ease of access you can do a number of things to make the fit a little less tight. I found that using 20 rounds mags or only keeping a magazine in one of the carbines freed up some space. If you are just carrying one carbine, you will probably have plenty of space regardless of how the carbine is configured. I found that the main compartment is also large enough to carry some support gear along with a single carbine.

The front compartment is very versatile. It has a PALS/Velcro grid so that you can use either MOLLE compatible or Velcro backed pouches to organize it. It is large enough to fit a full size handgun and at least 3 magazines. It is also a great pocket for carrying some of the extra stuff that comes along with a trip to the range like eye protection, ear protection, oil, tools, and similar gear. This pocket is also large enough to carry full range session’s worth of loaded mags.

Sneaky Bags CRB Front Pouch Organization

The smaller zippered and flap pockets are useful for smaller, mostly flat items. There isn’t a lot of room for items with a lot of bulk but you will find uses for them.

I have a lot of bags with daisy chains and I rarely use them. I am sure some people do but to me the daisy chain on the CRB is more useful for making it look like a sports bag than for carrying gear.

The bungee cord organizer is great for securing something bulky like a softshell or rain coat just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse at the range. I have also used it lash my lunch bag to the CRB. You could also use it to secure something like a shooting mat or chest rig but that might spoil the covert appearance of the bag.

The CRB can be carried in a number of ways. It comes with a long strap and 2 shoulder pads that can be used in various configurations. I use it most often in backpack configuration (which uses both shoulder pads pads) but it probably looks even more like a sports bag when carried with the strap in a single shoulder configuration. The way that the strap can be configured is very clever and it works reasonably well though you will never confuse the CRB for a dedicated hiking bag with a proper suspension.

Sneaky Bags CRB Quiver Carry

There is a single grab handle on the top of the bag. The handle can be secured out of the way of the main compartment’s opening with Velcro. It can be useful for controlling the CRB as you withdraw a carbine from the main compartment. I wish that the CRB had grab handles on the sides as well. This would make carrying it horizontally or quiver style with a single strap over your shoulder more convenient and would be fitting for a sports equipment bag.

This CRB appears to be very well made. All of the stitching is pretty much impeccable and there are no visible cloth edges to fray. I have spent quite a bit time with this bag loaded with 2 loaded carbines, a handgun, and spare mags. This load is, as you can imagine, quite heavy. The shoulder straps, hardware, materials, and construction have been more than up to the task. Even the interior bottom of the bag, where the muzzle devices of the stored carbines rest appears to be holding up very well. I suspect that it would take you a long, long time to wear one of these bags out.

The bag is quite heavy even before you add rifles (5.4 pounds). This is largely due to the necessity of the foam and HDPE reinforcement to hideits contents. It would be nice if some weight could be saved somewhere in the construction of the bag. For instance, 500D nylon would probably be more than sufficient for the exterior of the pack and even some of the internal areas. Additionally, the interior combination of PALS webbing and Velcro in the front pocket could likely just be replaced with Velcro to save weight. There is a wealth of Velcro backed pouches on the market and I wouldn’t miss the PALS compatibility. Both of those modifications would probably represent a fairly small weight reduction but anything would be welcomed.Sneaky Bags CRB Backpack

Wrap Up

The CRB and a sturdy sports duffel might be the ultimate gray man range kit.  I wanted a bag that could pass the first glance test and I think I found it in the CRB. A lot of care went into the subtle rounded design and material selection to make this bag about as covert as any dedicated firearm case can be – especially one that lets you carry a carbine without breaking it down. I would like to see the CRB lose some weight and have some handles added to the sides but this is a very useful bag for me. It is great to see Sneaky Bags back in the marketplace again!

Check out SneakyBags.com and Sneaky Bags on TacStrike.

ESEE Izula-II – Deal of the Week at BladeHQ

Blade HQ Izula-II DOTW

The ESEE Izula-II with accessory kit is the Deal of the Week at BladeHQ. I haven’t reviewed the Izula-II but I probably should because I own a few of them that I use for a number of different purposes. These knives make great EDC fixed blades, they are right at home mounted to a battle belt or plate carrier, and they are all the knife you need to dress out game as large as a whitetail deer (and maybe larger). The Izula-II can do just about everything well.

Check out the ESEE Izula-II Deal of the Week at BladeHQ.

Earl Backcountry Survival Tablet

If you duct taped tablet computer, a GPS, a handheld radio, a solar panel and a short wave radio receiver to a weather man you might have something pretty close to Earl the Back Country Tablet… but the Earl would be a lot easier to carry.

Earl is an Android based tablet that the designers claim is rugged enough to handle outdoor pursuits. It can be charged via an integrated solar panel and features an E-Ink display. The E-Ink display is genius for this application because it should be very readable in direct sunlight, able to display great detail in maps, and it helps extend the battery life.


Earl has the potential to replace several pieces of gear that you may already be carrying. It has a GPS chip set and a variety of sensors to get a fix on your location. The on board weather sensors (thermometer, hygrometer, barometer, and anemometer) can clue you in on changing weather conditions. The integrated 2-way radio can broadcast and receive on FRS, GRMS, and even MURS frequencies. You can also send secure information via the 2-way radio including text messages, route info, and weather. Earl also received AM, FM, NOAA weather radio, and Short Wave radio communications.

This is obviously geared toward hikers and campers but there are obvious applications here for the prepared citizen. I can barely imagine what it would be like to have this much information at your finger tips in the woods.

You can pre-order an Earl now.

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