Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Physical Fitness for Preparedness

One of the more important things for emergency preparedness is physical fitness. By this I don't mean you need to be able to run a 10K or bench press 200 pounds. However, you should be in decent enough shape so that if necessary you can walk at least 5 miles, or perform damage control to your home after a storm.

This is an area in which my preps have been lagging.

The men on my father's side of the family tend to develop guts, and I inherited the trait. In fact, it's been a bit of a joke topic among my friends. Compounding my natural tendency to put on weight around my gut was a bout of poison ivy I had last year, for which I had to take steroids to reduce the inflamation to barely tolerable levels. A side effect of the steroids was that I put on about 13 pounds of pure flab in the space of two weeks, and it never went away.

This week I decided to do something about it. On Monday I walked two laps around my neighborhood (each lap is a mile). I missed last night due to having to stay home with my kids and then a thunderstorm, but I got out and did another two miles tonight. Brisk walking is a good low impact exercise that gets your heart rate up. My wife started it a month or so ago and has already lost about 10 pounds, doing one lap each day.

As for dieting, every single person I've seen who diets has eventually regained any weight lost, and then some. So, I don't plan to diet, but I will try to cut out drinking any soda. I'm hoping that if I can keep this up that by the end of the summer I'll at least lose the 13 extra pounds I packed on last year.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

DIY Portable Power Pack

I found this article today on Time For a New Portable Power Pack? It's a rather nifty homebrewed portable battery system for powering radios and other electronics.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Swisstool Follow Up

I took the Swisstool RS out back and tested out the knife and saw blades. Both cut well. I managed to slice some skin off the tip of my right index finger while cleaning the knife blade and didn't notice it until I saw something funny on the blade. It's sharp!

I posted my review to a few places aside from this blog and got some good feedback. Over on Arfcom's Survival Forum, "nightfighter4d" posted from Iraq:

I've been saying once you get a Swiss tool the Gerber / Leatherman debate becomes moot. I love my Swiss Tool. I will once again say that the Swiss Tool is BOMB proof. I know from experience. Many happy years of use.

You forgot two tools Dave
The Pry Bar.
With the pliers out I hve used them to pry open more than one ammo crate.
The hammer.
I have driven nails with it closed up. As long as you use the side of the handle you are fine. A lil hard to control.

Once Again BOMB proof

And on the Yahoogroups Backwoodsman list, Chuck M. noted:

I can concur with everything Dave says here and more. I bought mine almost 5 or 6 years ago and it has been great. I paid under $40 back then, but at 60 or 70, it is still a deal. I actually bought 2, the second one went to a friend just before he traveled to Afghanistan as a contractor. This guy is a retired SEAL. He appreciated the gift somewhat when I gave it to him, but he really fell in love when they hit the ground in A-stan. You see, they had pallets filled with crates of equipment, weapons and ammo and stuff, but no one, anywhere, had a tool to open things up. They were alone on a deserted dirt runway in the middle of nowhere with no weapons, tools, ammo, etc. Then he remembered my gift n his belt and used it to get at their stuff. Boy, did I get a nice "thank you!" the next time we were able to communicate.

It still gets used regularly as he has pretty much been "over there" (Afghanistan and Iraq) constantly for 4 or 5 years now, God bless him...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Victorinox Swisstool RS Multitool

I just got a Victorinox Swisstool RS multitool.

I've had a couple of Gerber Multipliers that have served me well but kept reading how good the Swisstools are, so I ordered one from Amazon last week. My initial impression is, "WOW!" The Swisstool is really well made and finished. It feels considerably more solid than the Gerbers I have, or the Leatherman tools I've handled. I shouldn't be too surprised, since I have four other Victorinox Swiss Army Knives: a Cybertool 41, and three Pioneers, one of which I've gone back to my everyday carry knife, having bought it in the early 1980s. (I keep one Pioneer in each of our vehicles for emergency use.)

The Swisstool RS includes the following tools:

* Pliers
* Screwdriver (2mm)
* Screwdriver (3mm)
* Wire cutter (for wire up to a hardness of 40 hrc)
* Screwdriver (5mm)
* Bottle opener
* Screwdriver (7.5 mm)
* Large blade
* Scissors
* Belt cutter
* Wood saw
* Reamer/punch
* Phillips screwdriver
* Chisel/scraper
* Strong crate opener
* Wire bender
* Wire stripper
* Wire scraper
* Wire crimper
* Can opener
* Ruler (9 inches)
* Ruler (230mm)
* Hard wire cutter

Except for the pliers, the individual tools can be accessed without opening the tool. Each tool locks in place, so you don't have to be concerned with them closing on your fingers. The handle is contoured so that it doesn't dig into your hand when you squeeze down on the pliers. The knife blade, belt cutter, and reamer are very sharp. The seat belt cutter is a serrated, curved blade with a round point. The cutting edge is on the inside of the curve. I could this being useful on boats when you need to cut something but don't want to risk using a pointy knife. The scissors are slightly larger than those on my Cybertool 41, with which I've cut a fair amount of CAT5. The scissors are nice and sharp.

A well-constructed black nylon belt sheath with a snap closure was included. The sheath is designed to stay open so that you can easily re-sheath the multitool with one hand.

So far, I've used the bottle opener, to open a bottle of Yuengling Lager. Works great. :-) I also tested the scissors on some heavy corrugated cardboard and they worked well.

The Swisstool comes with a lifetime guaranty from Victorinox against defects in materials and workmanship.

MSRP is $100 but many places online sell it for much less. I paid about two-thirds of that at Amazon.

If you're in the market for a good multitool, the Swisstools from Victorinox are definitely worth looking at.