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Posts posted by Karoshi59


    I am trying to get a decent pair of waterproof compact binoculars for putting in a pack or using while in a canoe (under $200). I really want to get my hands on some to try but that is proving difficult.


    What do you want to use them for? General purpose? Birding? Wildlife observation, etc.? Two bits of advice:


    Probably the best site I've seen for binoculars or anything related to optics is Steve Ingraham's site, Better View Desired (http://www.betterviewdesired.com/). Ingraham is an independent reviewer of various optics, binos, field scopes. I purchased my Zeiss binos, as well as my Pentax spotting scope, based on his review of them. My Zeiss, at 10 x 40, would be a bit heavy for backpacking -- I use them for birding -- but I've seen a very nice, compact set of Nikon 8 x 30 compact binos which would be perfect for something like what you're looking for. Very bright, waterproof and reasonably lightweight.


    Once you've found the binos you want, I'd highly recommend purchasing them through one of the camera stores in NYC, particularly B & H Photo or Adorama. Because of the volume that they purchase, they can sell their goods at sometimes hundreds less than anything I've seen out here on the West Coast. I've never had any bad dealings with them, and what they sell is strictly legitimate, not gray market stuff.


    Hope this helps.

  2. A mountain lion, seen today, 31 December '09, near posted (not corrected) coordinates for GC1640X. :) I'd just finished nabbing the cache below this one, and wanted to go to the top (Okay, in truth, I'd forgotten my notes and my GPSr doesn't differentiate between puzzle caches and traditional caches.). Just past the triangulation benchmark at the summit above Orinda Village, I spotted a juvenile mountain lion. It was upwind of me so it didn't hear or smell me. It looked like it was foraging for a rabbit or gopher, so it didn't see me. I held still and observed it for about 2 minutes. It was about the size of my dog, a standard poodle, so I'm making an educated guess that it was a juvenile. I compared it against a landmark that I'd seen behind it, so I'm pretty sure about the size. I also know it wasn't a bobcat because of its tail. And it was much bigger than a feral cat. Much bigger. It finally noticed me and took off down the hill.


    I was amazed, but never really frightened. Had it been an adult, I would have retreated very carefully, but in this case, I just observed and stood still. Fascinating that something like this can survive and thrive in such close proximity to civilization.

  3. Breaktrack, thanks for a lively icebreaker and topic.


    I wish I could say that I served in the military, but I can't. Nevertheless I hold those that have served in high regard. I was born into a military household, and married into a military household, as well. So although I didn't serve, I experienced it vicariously, mostly as a military brat. Born in Fort Ord, lived in Okinawa (then Machinato, now Makinato-ku), Fort Bragg, and the Presidio of San Francisco.


    Dad served 26 years in the Army, retiring in '71 as an LTC. Was in basic when WW2 ended. Served in Korea and did 2 tours in Vietnam, the second with MACV-SOG. All of this was news to us kids, as he never talked about it very much. We knew he was SF, but never really knew what he did when he was in VN.


    My brother followed in his footsteps, graduated from West Point in '76. Served with the 82nd in Fort Bragg, got out when he was a captain, in '82.


    My father-in-law was a flight surgeon in the Air Force. My wife was born in VA, grew up all over the world. Her brother retired from the Marines a few years ago as a colonel. He was a helo driver, flew HMH-53's.


    My best friend of nearly 40 years also served. He was in ROTC at USF (Univ. San Francisco), started out in MI at Fort WeGotcha (Huachuca), then transitioned into Cobra gunships at Ft. Rucker. He deployed to Korea for a year then went to YPG in Yuma. He left the military, but still works at YPG as a civilian, essentially doing what he used to do -- except flying, which he greatly regrets -- when he was in the military.


    I have a lot of respect for the military. I do understand, and can appreciate Flask's comments. When I read his post, I chuckled. Not out of derision, mind. But I thought it funny when he mentioned civil rights that Col Oliver North, scapegoat of the Iran-Contra scandal, freely admitted to being a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and that had it not been for them, he would have been railroaded without any sort of representation or say. Ah, well. No politics. But my hat's off to any and all members of the military, whether currently serving or not.

  4. Forget the P38! How about an FN P90! :D Seriously, what about loading one up with a few MREs? On a related note, I was a little late, but perhaps I'll do it next year: a cache to commemorate the Marines' birthday, Nov. 10th.

  5. What do you recommend as a very light weight, fully waterproof and breathable jacket or kagool to stick at the bottom of a rucksack whilst mountain walking? It's not meant for use when I know it's going to be wet.

    I've been looking at the Berghaus Paclite, but I'm not sure what else there is out there.


    That's "cagoule," not "kagool." Though I'm glad you mentioned those, as they're hard to find in the US. But given that you're in GB, they should be more available there. Very handy for sudden changes of weather. If you'd asked earlier -- like last year -- I would have recommended "Northwerks.com" for their outstanding cagoules.


    Marmot Mountain makes a Driclime windshirt which is relatively inexpensive, lightweight and fairly water resistant. I've used it while cycling and hiking when the weather has turned bad unexpectedly or not the way that I'd predicted.

  6. I use a personal coffee filter -- it has the Swiss Gold permanent filter -- from MSR and carry a stash of ground coffee. I am a bit of a coffee snob, and will not go anywhere near the Folger's singles paks. I've not tried the lexan french press yet, but in an effort to compromise on weight and 'gourmandizing,' I've also simply brought coffee and made it Turkish-style: You boil the grounds in a pot. I usually use an espresso roast for that. Not something I do often, but it works if you bring sugar.

  7. Long before Grylls or Lundin, there was John "Lofty" Wiseman, who wrote "The SAS Book of Survival." If you want a fast, fun read, very informational, get Wiseman's book.


    Me, I went through NOLS and Outward Bound when I was in college, so I'm pretty comfortable in my outdoor survival skills. Certainly one big influence in my teens was Euell Gibbons, whose books on foraging inspired me to try it. I still harvest cattail flour to make some great pancakes.


    As for firestarter, well, I'm not ashamed to say that one of my guilty pleasures is using Mautz Fire Ribbon, AKA commercial napalm in starting wet firewood. :D Otherwise I just use stormproof matches, although I do carry a flint and steel firestarter. I've also taught bowdrilling, but I'm nowhere near as good as my friend, who can use just his hands with a drill to start a fire.

  8. Ohh yeah.... Mystery Ranch and McHale packs. Both really nice products. I found them through a link from Rivendell Mountain Works. Years ago I had a Jensen pack that I bought from the Ski Hut, in Berkeley, CA. It's since disintegrated, but RMW bought the rights to the Jensen pack and is making them again. I've since gotten a replacement Giant Jensen, in a really gorgeous Garnet color. It's seen use in Canyonlands NP, Utah, and the JMT in California.


    Check it out: the original frameless pack that helped start the backpacking revolution in the 70s and 80s.

  9. I'll cook up the fresh stuff -- things that will spoil within a day or two -- on the first night out. I remember when my hiking buddies' mouths dropped when I cook Oyako Donburi. Cooked in a Sigg double pot over an MSR GK. Oyako Donburi is a Japanese dish, coddled egg over chicken over soba, or buckwheat noodles. I got the recipe from a book that I'd purchased years back called "One Pot Meals." They raved for the entire trip. I could never top that meal, ever since.


    The best in-camp meal I cooked was Peach Compote in a Dutch oven. Real easy, and only took about 40 mins. All the ingredients were in a zip-loc bag, except for the peaches, which were canned.

  10. I can't provide any better sage advice than what has already been presented: The best boots are those that fit your feet and are comfortable after breaking in.


    As for American-made boots, I'm going to have to second Holtie22's recommendation: Limmers. Made in North Conway, NH. They make stock and custom boots, by hand. Stories are rife of Limmers that have held up for 40+ years, only needing resoling every few decades (depending on usage). Trail crew on the AT swear by them. I've had the same pair for 28 years -- I'm 50 -- and have resoled them once.


    There're several downsides: They're traditional boots with a one piece leather upper, Norwegian welt and Montagna block Vibram soles, so if you want approach shoes, don't get them; they are pricey, but given an operational life measured in decades, not years, the cost amortized over that time, they're a bargain. If you get custom Limmers, expect to wait about three years for them.


    But they're definitely worth it.

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