Monday, December 24, 2007

Hexayurt Emergency Shelter

Now this is what I call innovative thinking.  A hexayurt is a shelter that you can build out of 4'x8' insulation boards and some heavy duty tape.  In the Arfcom thread linked below, another member posted a pic of a small hexayurt made from political campaign signs.

{H/T to EXPY37 at Arfcom for the heads up.}

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Maxpedition Baby Condor Pack

Last week on Arfcom someone posted a link to a closeout on Maxpedition Baby Condor packs at LA Police Gear. The price was $49.99 plus shipping. This is a discontinued model but normally went for about twice as much. Since I've been casually looking for a replacement for my Outdoor Products Power Pack for everyday carry, I decided to order one in brown. I figured that if it didn't work for EDC, it would certainly work as a replacement for the old book bag I keep in my truck as a get home bag.

The Power Pack is well made and holds all my stuff, but it's a little too big for everyday carry. Capacity is about 3000 cubic inches. It has straps on the sides to snug down the main compartment when it isn't full, but the buckles would be better placed if they were out one layer, to snug down all three main pockets. As a result, it tends to be floppy when it isn't full.

Per LA Police Gear's site, the official description of the Baby Condor is:

  • Capacity: 2010 cu. in. / 33 liters
  • Hydration: Side pouches for 1L Nalgene
  • Support: 1in Adjustable Sternum Strap
  • Dimensions : 17.5"(H) x 14"(W) x 7"(D) Main Compartment
  • 13"(H) x 10.5"(W) x 2.5"(D) Front Pouch
  • 13"(H) x 10.5"(W) Slip Pocket

The Baby Condor has three compartments: a large main compartment, which includes a mesh pocket near the top and a water bladder holder. The bladder holder is just large enough to hold my 15.4" Apple MacBook Pro laptop.

Next is a smaller compartment with pockets for pens and a PDA or an MP3 player. The third pocket is a zippered slash compartment. All compartments are closed with heavy duty YKK zippers. On the top is Maxpedition's signature Y-strap, which fastens over all three compartments with a Fastex buckle. The zipper pulls each are fitted with a paracord loop (except on one side pocket).

The bottom of the pack is rubberized. On the right side is a mesh pocket with a drawstring, sized to hold a 32 oz. (1L) Nalgene bottle. One the left is another mesh pocket, this one with a zipper (sans paracord).

There is one row of PALS webbing on the front for adding other pouches. I may do this to gain a bit more organized space. The straps are padded but not what I'd call "cushy." Each strap has a D-ring to guide the tube from a hydration bladder, and they can be connected with a sternum strap. The back is padded. There is no waist belt, which is fine on a pack this size.

The new pack arrived today. This is the second piece of Maxpedition gear I've bought (the first being a Mini Roly-Poly pouch), and this is as well made as the first. The overall construction including the nylon material and stitching are of high quality. The nylon is quite stiff but I expect it to break in.

After I transferred my laptop and assorted stuph into the new pack I tried it on. It seemed to carry well but of course I won't be able to tell for sure in my living room. I'll get a better idea when I go to work tomorrow. But this is definitely a very good pack and at $50, a very good deal. Assuming it works out, I'll retask the Power Pack as the get home bag in my truck.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Honey as a Cough Medicine for Children

I ran across this story today, discussing the results of a study performed at Penn State.

Natural honey is a more effective remedy for children’s coughs than over-the-counter medicines, researchers say. A dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime easily outperformed a cough suppressant in a US study.

Honey did a better job of reducing the severity and frequency of night-time coughs. It also improved sleep quality for children and their parents.

I think we'll try this out, since my eldest has a cough, and it can't hurt.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Maglite LED Replacement Bulb

I had to make a trip to Lowe's today for some lightbulbs and a new step ladder, and saw that they had the LED upgrade for 3-cell Maglites. This is been something I've been looking for, as we have a 3-D cell Maglite at the house, so I added it to my cart.

The upgrade from the old krypton bulb to the new LED was easy. Just unscrew the head, unscrew the bulb retainer, remove the bulb, and reassemble with the LED. It took just a couple minutes.

Maglite doesn't make specific claims on their website or the packaging about how much longer the light should run with the LED, nor any specific claims about improved brightness. However, it should increase battery life, and it is quite a bit brighter (I checked brightness with the room lights off before swapping out the old bulb).

Like the krypton bulb, the illumination pattern with the LED can be changed by focusing the flashlight. The light color is different. While the krypton bulb provides a yellowish light, the LED emits a very white light.

Lowe's has the old fashioned 3 D-cell Maglites for about $18 - $20. The same light with an LED goes for about $39. The LED conversion bulb sells for about $19. I think it's a worthwhile upgrade for non-LED Maglites.