Well, it’s 2020, and Punty finally committed himself and bought gear that he has been dreaming about and drooling over for some time, namely some awesome Dutchware bling, and a beautiful Bark River Knives Bravo 1.25LT in 3V steel, rampless, with beautiful burgundy maple burl scales. Check it out!
That is the stock BRK sheath treated with Obenauf’s, and a dangler added. So, that was my first big purchase this year, what for me is the “perfect” knife. I am 90% a form over function kind of guy, but I just had to have those burl wood scales instead of micarta or G10.
There will be more on the knife later this year when I get some mileage out of it. Let’s move on….
I scored myself some serious Dutchware gear so that I can be one of the cool kids in the hammocking world. I’ve been using a variety of hammocks over the years, from a poncho, to a $15 Chinese one, to a $50 double layer hammock, and honestly, they were all great, I had no problem with any of them.
But, from the day Dutch came out with his Chameleon hammock, I wanted one, because there were always certain things lacking in the hammocks I was using….pockets to put stuff in, integrated bug net, a structural ridge line to hang lights from so I can read, that sort of thing. I knew I can buy these things and modify my hammock, but it seemed wrong to spend $100 on modifications to a $15 hammock.
All of this gear will be reviewed in my upcoming series on my Bug Out Bag, as I cover in detail all the gear, how it is used, and why I have it, and how to use it should I ever become a refugee. But for now, a preview;
Because I wanted a tarp with plenty of room for leasurely camping, plenty of coverage for all four seasons, and potentially provide shelter for two hammocks beneath it, so I went with the Wide Winter Tarp.
I bought the pole mods to give myself maximum space underneath, especially in inclement weather, I should have plenty of room to keep my backpack and other gear underneath and well protected.
These are a convenience item and will not be part of my bug out kit, but will see plenty of use in camping. Instead, I opted to get the optional side panel pull outs.
With these, I will be able to rig up a trekking pole mod to give me that space providing dual use for my trekking poles. I will show this in my upcoming Bug Out series as well.
With the tarp, I ordered a continuos ridgeline, with a titanium Dutch Hook,
and a titanium Tarp Wasp;
The tarp comes with dual mini D rings, for guyout lines, and a place to insert the internal poles to keep the tarp ridgid;
The tie out points on the tarp are very well stitched and reinforced.
And the ridgeline of the tarp is reinforced the entire length of it.
Beneath, I have a wide symmetrical Chameleon hammock, with the zip on bug net.
Suspended from Dutch’s proprietary, I believe, Beetle Buckle Suspension, with 15 foot straps, because that gives me maximum options for tree distances, as well as being able to use some of the extraordinarily fat trees in some of the local campgrounds.
This suspension makes adjustments super easy, and I had to use it to center my hammock beneath the tarp, which was a breeze compared to the way I used to do it, with a marlin spike and toggle.
In addition, to complete my uber hammock , I ordered the side sling and side car for the chameleon. I got the sidecar in mesh, so I would have a place to put wet shoes where they could dry out, and also be protected from slugs and bugs…Yuck! I put my old hammock in it to show it’s size. That is a two person hammock double layer, so it’s a bit bulky, but about the size of a large hiking boot.
To show the side sling, I put the same hammock, plus a Chill Gorilla bug net to give some scale.
It should be plenty long and wide enough for me to stuff my blanket in, and pajamas, or whatever. I got the same color as the hammock so it doesn’t show so well in the photo.
The side car and side sling just zip onto the Chameleon, just like the bug net.
You see two zippers there because the side car comes as a strip with a zipper on each side, one zips to the hammock, and the then the bug net zips on. Each zipper comes with two zips, so you shouldn’t have to fumble around looking for the zipper in the dark, and you can place them wherever you like along the hammock, whatever is convenient. There is one zip on the inside, and one on the outside.
There will be much more on these items, as I referred to above.
Lastly, I wanted to upgrade the cook kits that I had in my Bug Out Bags, mine and my wife’s. I had been using Czech Mess kits, which are actually pretty awesome, and inexpensive, but they are really heavy duty aluminum and not as lightweight as I wanted. One of my real projects is to cut weight on the bags, and the cook sets were a good place to cut some weight. I spent weeks looking over titanium cook pots, most of which were not what I wanted. I wanted something with a wide, flat bottom and shaped like a sauce pan, so that it would be very stable, and could double as a small frying pan without too much trouble. I narrowed my search down to two choices, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the difference was, so I bought one of each, one for each bag.
I bought the Jolmo Lander 1.3L pot, and the Boundless Voyage 1.3L pot.
As you can see, they look identical, and they are….almost. I’ll get to that. These pots have the shape I was looking for, able to boil water, make a big serving of stew, or can easily be used as a frying pan with that wide bottom. As a bonus, they are both 100% titanium, including the handles and D rings…something that really annoys me with most other titanium cookware, which uses stainless steel which kind of defeats the purpose of titanium pots, meaning adding unnecessary weight. In addition, I love my GSI ketalist so much, I just HAD to have a kettle in my cook set, something that would nest, and be very lightweight as well. That way, I can cook and make myself a brew at the same time, or in a survival scenario, increase my water processing to roughly 2 liters at a single boil. The Trangia .6 liter kettle fits the bill perfectly.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the pots and see what the difference is. Same capacity;
Same lid and bail handle.
Same diameter and height.
So, what gives? They are the same pot with different branding, right? WRONG! It’s easy to miss at first, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The difference is clear when you look inside the pots. Same width, same height, everything is the same, so what’s up with this?
These markings are in the same position in each pot! How can that be? Impossible!
Someone is going to end up with some really soupy, or really crunchy Mountain House Chili Mac if they go by THESE markings.
Now, I know nothing about milliliters, and I don’t care to look it up, but I do know ounces, so I measured out 27 ounces of water, filled one pot, and then to make sure the experiment was controlled, I poured the same water from one pot into the other.
Boundless Voyage is accurate, Jolmo Lander isn’t even close! The 15 ounce mark in the Jolmo is actually 28 ounces! I don’t know if this is a production run issue, or if all Jolmo Lander’s 1.3L pots are marked incorrectly like that, but that would be a huge issue for people trying to measure out water for dehydrated meals, which is not really something I have to concern myself with, I eyeball my coffee grind to water mix, so I don’t really measure anything when it comes to cooking, but I can see where this would be a real annoyance to the sort of folks that buy titanium cookware.
At any rate, it doesn’t bother me enough that I will return it, I’ll just keep it in my kit and use the accurate Boundless Voyage pot for the wife’s kit.
So, these are my new toys for the new year, and I can’t wait to put them to use, and being stuck inside a lot thanks to Covid 19, the itch to get out and cook some bacon and make some coffee in the woods is stronger than ever. You will definitely be seeing more of all of this gear, and a couple of other new goodies in upcoming posts, through the remainder of the year.
For now…I need to get all my gear off of the living room floor and into my packs.