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Keep Your Hands Off My…

Keep Your Hands Off My…

by Kevin Estela March 26, 2019

How possessive are you? No, not in your relationships with another person, I’m referring to your gear. We all have certain pieces of gear we covet and we protect. You’ve likely heard the expression “safe queen” used to describe knives or firearms that never get used and live mostly in the dark and secure confines of a locked container in your closet, basement, or den. For all the other gear that actually gets used, you might have discovered an inseparable relationship with it or perhaps a jealous relationship should one of your buddies use your gear. When someone else uses a piece of gear you’ve used so frequently you can close your eyes and recall every detail of its construction, a little piece of you dies inside. Ok, maybe it’s just me but when someone starts creeping in on my most personal gear, the only proper response is, “keep your hands off my…”

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Ugly Is As Ugly Does

Ugly Is As Ugly Does

by Brian Griffin March 19, 2019 2 Comments

Andy Roy has a philosophy that “life is just too short to carry an ugly knife”. For which I am very glad because he makes very nice knives, some of which are my absolute favorites, and that philosophy shows in his work. I agree with his philosophy for the most part, in as much as life simply is too short to not own and carry nice things. Things that we enjoy having and looking at as much as we enjoy using them. Yet, having been at ground zero a few times when things went seriously askew, I do have one caveat. There are some not-so-nice days in our lives, and sometimes it's just having to work out in really bad weather conditions, when our nice knives can use a little backup from an ugly friend to get the job done. This would be why my every-day-carry items are a team of tools that, in my personal opinion, complement each other rather well.

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Trip Planning

Trip Planning

by Kevin Estela February 26, 2019

Where do you even begin when you’re planning a trip and creating a packing list? For some, this process is incredibly intimidating and it carries with it a certain level of anxiety. It’s one thing to forget something at home when you are only a few miles away at work or while at play but it is an entirely different issue when you are hundreds if not thousands of miles from resupply. Sometimes you can’t turn around and grab what you forgot at home. When done correctly, a properly prepared outdoorsman, traveler, explorer should have few items at their end of their trip they didn’t use. Ideally the first-aid kit, repair kit, and other emergency supplies should be untouched. Trip planning is a topic that comes up in conversation frequently with my friends and students. As 2019 continues to roll along and I plan on traveling for work and play, I thought I would share with you the thoughts that run through my mind and the logical order of thinking I apply to making sure nothing is left behind.

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Leftover Lemonade

Leftover Lemonade

by Brian Griffin January 22, 2019

No, I'm not talking about actual lemonade. It's just a play on the philosophy of taking life's little lemons and turning them into something we like better. During the holidays, most of us go to seasonal parties and holiday themed events with our friends and with the companies we work for. As most have likely noticed over the years, the theme of the table fare is usually a bit repetitive, and it's often on the heavy side due to the traditions from whence it came. By the time we prepare our own holiday meals as well, it can all seem so overdone that we get burned out, and we're utterly disinterested in the leftovers. Yet if we've depleted our bank accounts and our cards have bad friction burns, as is often the case, it can be really beneficial for us to find more palatable uses for them, if for no other reason than to give ourselves a little less financial burden with our grocery bill over the next few weeks, in order to recover financially just a little more quickly.

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Hypoglycemic Hypothermia

Hypoglycemic Hypothermia

by Brian Griffin January 15, 2019 3 Comments

Hypothermia, being a malady that involves the lowering of the body's core temperature, is usually thought of as being a danger only during cold weather or due immersion in cold water. For the most part this is true, and it's one of the reasons I chose to write this piece this season, when hypothermia can be a real danger to anyone in any cold environment. It's a little known fact that hypoglycemia can lead to deadly hypothermia when ambient air temp is in the 60s, and well above freezing, so it can be a very serious danger in the cold season for those who are at risk. To put that into perspective, hypothermia sets in when the body's core temperature drops below 95F/35C. At 91F/33C the person can experience amnesia. At 82F/28C the person will likely lose consciousness. At 70F/21C it is considered profound hypothermia and is deadly.

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Know Your Rifle

Know Your Rifle

by Kevin Estela January 08, 2019

As a young boy with an insatiable appetite for plinking with my Crossman Air Rifle, I built a pellet trap with my father and shot in my parents’ home basement unknownst to my mother. My dad and I had a code and I would listen for his knock on the basement door or for the unmistakable sound of footsteps to signal when I would need to stow my rifle and avoid getting discovered by mom who would have surely confiscated the pellet gun from me and given my father a serious verbal beat down. My father wanted me to become proficient with a rifle and those early lessons from him, my daily plinking practice in the basement, eventual “graduation” to my first .22 rifle, and ongoing carbine and precision scoped rifle training/practice has brought me to a point in my life where I am extremely comfortable with my rifles today. I’ve been fortunate to travel with my rifles for both training and hunting. I’ve spent many hours on the range, in formal shooting classes, and in the field applying rifleman skills.  Over the years and through trial and error, I have learned there are certain universal skills and understandings one should have and apply to any rifle they own. I believe you should not just own and use your rifles, you should know them.

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Fishing the Oak

Fishing the Oak

by Kevin Estela November 21, 2018

“FISH ON!” The words excite those standing next to you on the frigid riverbanks while the caramel brown water is disturbed by one of the monsters it conceals. You better call out, “fish on”, when you hook into a steelhead, brown trout, or salmon as any of those game fish could be a monster under the surface and capable of tangling the lines of the anglers to your left and right as it runs and fights for its life. When a fish gets hooked, it seems like everyone in the general proximity pauses for a brief second, feels a shot of adrenaline that temporarily numbs the effects of the cold wind, and anticipates what will come to the surface when it is time to land the fish. After all, even the average fish caught on this river this time of year is likely trophy-size elsewhere. Fall fishing Oak Orchard in Western, NY between Niagara Falls and Rochester is a ...

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The More Things Change, The More They Don't

The More Things Change, The More They Don't

by Brian Griffin November 14, 2018

There is an old aphorism that says “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, and there sure seems to be a lot of truth in that. Obviously in some cases things that worked for...whatever, will cycle back around and become useful again. But in some cases needs and solutions just fluctuate a bit in aesthetics and appearance, but largely remain the same in essence. Take cooking pots and clothing for example, We haven't always had stainless steels, Pyrex glass, or synthetic cloth, but we have been cooking our food in various styles of vessels for hundred of years, and we have been putting on clothing made of many different materials to protect our bodies from the elements even longer. In both of these cases the needs have remained the same the entire time, and only the solutions have evolved.

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Autumn Awareness

Autumn Awareness

by Brian Griffin October 30, 2018 2 Comments

With autumn comes some big changes from the warm days of summer. Sspecially for those of us who live in the temperate zones. Along with the changing colors of the foliage, come some other changes as well. It can be a good idea to make a few easy to manage contingency preparations in advance, rather than being caught off guard by Mr. Murphy's laws and possibly putting your or your family at risk.

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For the New Camper: The Little Things

For the New Camper: The Little Things

by Kevin Estela September 19, 2018 1 Comment

This list is far from complete and only you can add the missing items. Keep track of what you wish you had with you and find ways to pack it in next time. Be practical with what you want and consider if what you want to carry will be worth the extra weight and energy expenditure. In time, you’ll find the little things that make your outdoor experience that much better.

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Fiddleback Forge Bushcrafter, As Featured in Gumption Gear Review

Fiddleback Forge Bushcrafter, As Featured in Gumption Gear Review

by Robert Gilbert September 19, 2018

From the trademarked “Bullseye Lanyard Tubes”, 3D spalted steel flats, and unique Micarta knife pin patterns, your Fiddleback will always stand out from the crowd. But this knife is more than just striking aesthetics. Like all of Andy Roy’s creations, this knife looks good and works harder. ... Trust us, this tool goes from chopping and batoning, to kitchen work without flinching.  Whether you’re making tent stakes, fuzz sticks or just whittling, the Fiddleback Forge Bushcrafter proves time and again that it’s not only elegant, but eager for a life of daunting endeavors.

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How to Make South African Style Biltong: Beef Jerky Doesn't Compare

How to Make South African Style Biltong: Beef Jerky Doesn't Compare

by Kevin Estela August 15, 2018 1 Comment

Dried meat has been a staple of the outdoorsman’s diet for thousands of years. From one culture to the next, indigenous people have found ways to preserve meat for the long trail, as an emergency energy source, or the occasional snack. Recently, while on safari in South Africa, I had the opportunity to learn more about the national variety, biltong, from my friend and Professional Hunter, Russ Field. Since Russ is responsible for harvesting wild game on a regular basis and hunts well over 200 days a year, you can be certain there is a healthy supply of this dried meat at his lodge, in the safari truck, and at lunch. The process is extremely simple and the end result is only a week’s wait away.

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