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Archive | Preparedness

ESEE Map and Compass Basics Course – Free Resource


Map and compass skills are somewhat perishable. If you don’t use them from time to time, you can start to lose them. Everyone needs a refresher course once in a while. Thankfully, the good folks at ESEE Knives/Randall’s Adventure Training were kind enough to put the presentation that they use to teach basic map and compass skills online for the benefit of humanity. If you are a seasoned pro or a just a beginner when it comes to land nav, it will be well worth your time to read through these slides.

Check out the Randall’s Adventure Training Map and Compass Basics Course.

Review: Multicam MPIL from Battle Systems LLC

At JTT, we love the Marker Panel, Individual, Lightweight (MPIL) from Battle Systems LLC. They are just so simple to use, so compact and lightweight, and so functional that you can’t help but love them.

Battle Systems Multicam MPIL


Battle Systems told me a few months ago that they were working on a new version of the MPIL that would have only one high visibility side while the other side would be camouflaged. This new version was being made specifically for the needs of some military users who may need to signal within visual range of the enemy. I don’t really have to worry about such things so, at the time, I wondered if the Multicam MPIL would be as useful to me as a non-military user. After actually having one in hand for a while, I think I might actually like it better than the original – at least for some uses.

In Use

The original MPIL stays true to its bulkier, heavier predecessor, the VS-17 signal panel, in that it has an orange side and a pink side. The Multicam MPIL replaces the pink side with Multicam. For the military user, this means that they can flash the orange side quickly and then lower their visual signature immediately with the Multicam side. Its uses for the civilian user were less apparent to me until I actually had one in hand. Once I was able to use one, I found one use that I liked it for so much, that I might like it even more than the standard MPIL…

Now you see me...

Now you see me…

I knew from past experience with the MPIL that it could be lashed to just about any pack easily with the Poli Binas that can be purchased with the MPIL. However, with the original MPIL, you could only choose to cover your pack with a high visibility color. Now, with the Multicam MPIL, you can cover your pack with either a high visibility color or camouflage. This ability has application for the hiker and hunter alike.

The hunter can camouflage just about any civilian pack no matter how loud the color of the pack is. This means you can turn your favorite hiking pack into your favorite camouflaged hunting pack in seconds. Basically, every pack is a hunting pack with the Multicam MPIL.

If you are like me, you don’t like to stand out in the woods, even when you are just hiking or camping. The Multicam MPIL lets me start at the trail head with a normal looking backpack and then attach the MPIL as a camo cover once I am in the woods. I just keep the Poli Binas positioned on my pack so I can quickly clip the MPIL in place.

If you get into trouble and need to be seen or if you need some additional blaze orange coverage while you are hunting, you can simply flip the MPIL over to expose the orange side. It turns your pack into a passive signalling system. You will be visible even if you can’t move. You could do this same thing with the original MPIL but you couldn’t “turn it off” without stowing the panel. The Multicam MPIL lets you keep the MPIL staged on your pack either actively concealing you or actively raising your visual signature.

Now you don't...

Now you don’t…

Wrap Up

The new Multicam MPIL might be the best MPIL yet. A tweak as simple as replacing a high visibility color with a camo pattern has really added some great functionality. I still prefer the original MPIL for some uses like in a vehicle emergency kit or a cold weather kit but if I am headed into the woods, I reach for the Multicam MPIL.

Check out the Multicam and standard MPIL on BattleSystemsLLC.com.


Ontario RAT Model 2 Folding Knife

The Ontario RAT Model 1 Folding Knife is one of the absolute best deals on the market when it comes to folding knives. These knives offer extremely versatile design, quality construction, and a surprisingly low price. Now Ontario is offering a smaller version called the Model 2.

Ontario RAT Model 2 Folder

The Model 2 has an AUS8 steel blade like its bigger brother, the Model 1. However, the Model 2’s blade is only 3″ long which makes it legal to carry in more places. AUS8 may not be sexy these days but, unlike many stainless steels, it is easy to sharpen at home or in the field and was purposely chosen because of that by the Model 1’s designer, Randall Adventure Training (the group that would later become ESEE).

The Model 2 features a large easy to use double thumb stud. It has textured FRN scales that are pre-drilled for a 4 position pocket clip. The Model 2 will be have a liner locking mechanism and hardened steel liners like the Model 1.

The best news is that they will cost even less than the Model 1. This may be the best sub-$30 folding knife on the market. Check out the Ontario RAT Model 2 Folding Knife at our affiliate KnifeCenter.com.

GATCO Scepter 2.0

If you are going to carry a knife in the field, you should probably carry a knife sharpener too. The GATCO Scepter 2.0 Serration and Knife Sharpener has a few features that might make it ideal as a field sharpener.

GATCO Scepter 2.0

The Scepter 2.0 has a pull-through style tungsten carbide style sharpener at one end that can help keep a working edge on your knife. The other end is threaded with a removable insert. The insert has a tapered diamond sharpening rod that can be used to sharpen serrations and be removed to reveal a ferro rod type fire starter. The addition of the fire starter allows the Scepter 2.0 to replace 2 pieces of gear.

Check out the GATCO Scepter 2.0 at Knife Center.

ESEE Rite in the Rain Notebook Pictures

ESEE Rite In The Rain Pics

ESEE is showing the first pics of the production version of their ESEE Rite in the Rain notebooks that we mentioned several weeks ago. These notebooks have several useful features in addition to the Rite in the Rain paper. They have plastic inserts reference pages printed with survival and navigation information and clear map scale and compass cards with protective film covering. If you are like me and already keep a Rite in the Rain notebook with your navigation gear, you will probably find these very useful. These will be at ESEE dealers shortly.

Check out the new ESEE website at ESEEKnives.com.

New Photos of the S.O. Tech ESP

We mentioned the S.O. Tech ESP yesterday on JTT and S.O. Tech was kind enough to pass along some better pictures for you all to check out. You can really get a sense of the size of the pack in these pictures.




I should also mention that S.O. Tech is giving 50% off their A-TACS Mission Go Bags if you use the code “atacs” at check out.


Check out SpecOpsTech.com.


Lights Out Saga

Lights Out Saga Teaser

Are you sitting down? Good. Lights Out, a classic work of survival fiction, is going to be made into a movie and I could not be more excited. I will keep you in the loop as I am able to find out more.

There will be an announcement made on March 18th. In the mean time, check LightsOutSaga.com, the Lights Out Saga Facebook Page, and this trailer:

PS – I hear that you will want to keep an eye out for some UW Gear involvement!

Video Overview of the BCS AR500 Omega Armor Carrier


Beez Combat Systems has been selling their new AR500 Omega Armor Carriers like hotcakes. These carriers are designed around affordable steel plates. They sent over this recent overview of the carrier for you all to check out:

S.O. Tech ESP


It’s a pouch. It’s a pack. It’s the S.O. Tech Expanding SERE Pack (ESP).

In pouch form, the S.O. Tech ESP docks to any MOLLE compatible platform. If the need to carry additional items arises, it zips open to convert into a back pack. The pouch has 2 zippered compartments that remain useable even when the pack is deployed. These pouches could be filled with small survival and first aid items that would be accessible whether the bag was in pouch or pack configuration.

S.O. Tech tells me that the ESP has been in development for around 4 years and it should be available soon. The picture shown, may not represent the production model. Check out SpecOpsTech.com.

While you are there, check out the killer deal they are offering on their low-profile URP-S.


Princeton Tec VIZZ

I always look forward to seeing what Princeton Tec will come up with next – especially when it comes to headlamps. I have been using their lights for more than 15 years! Their newest headlamp is called the VIZZ and it looks like it has a lot going for it.

Princeton Tec VIZZ

The VIZZ has only one button. The user can dictate how the light behaves by how they interact with this button. Click it one time for red light output from 2 5mm LEDs. Click it two times for 150 lumens of white light. If you depress and hold the button, you can activate 2 dimable 5mm white LEDs. Click three times to lock the VIZZ to prevent accidental activation.

I have a strong affinity for headlamps that either come on in low red mode or that allow the user to easily access this mode without shuffling through the bright white modes. This prevents you from ruining your dark adjusted vision.

The VIZZ runs on 3x AAA batteries which is a form factor that Princeton Tec has perfected. It keeps the light small enough and light enough that it doesn’t need a top strap but still provides long runtimes (up to 160 hours for the VIZZ).


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