Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Belt Carry-Part 1

I have been getting a good amount of requests to make a post about all the gear that I use. I have been reluctant to do it because the ideal camping gear is something that varies from person to person. Just because I use something, does not mean that it will work for you and your style of outdoor life.

That being said, I remember that when I was first starting out, that is exactly what I wanted to see, so I understand the motivation.

I will try to provide a list of my gear. I will also try to specify how and why I use it, and what other choices might be out there.

I’ll start with the tools I carry on my belt.

The first thing is a knife. I use the Fallkniven S1. I have modified it sightly, removing the finger guard, and wrapping the handle with cord in order to make it thicker.

This is a convex edge blade. You can get it very sharp, and it is very durable. However, it takes some work to sharpen when compared to a single or double bevel blade. The blade length is 5 in. Many people like a 4 in blade, but I find it to be too short, and limits the type of slicing cuts you can do. This is a personal preference and depends on how you like to use your blade.

The knife is not cheap. Prices have recently gone up, well over the $100 range. There are good cheap alternatives. In fact, most knives that are on the market will get the job done. Anything from a Mora to a ESEE knife will do, as long as you keep it sharp. Technology is a beautiful thing, and these days even the lowest level knife producer can manufacture a very usable knife.

I may try to make a longer post in the future specifically on knives. It is a subject on which there are many opinions, and a more in debt look is required than what I can provide here. For now, I will leave it at this. For some of my ramblings about knives, you can take a look at this post.

The second item that I carry on my belt is my canteen.

I like having a canteen instead of just a bladder because it allows me to carry water without my backpack, and I find them to be much more durable.

Inside the cover I also have a canteen cup, with some 550 para cord stuffed on the bottom of the cover. In the front pocket of the cover I carry a mini BIC lighter, some waterproof matches and four water purification tablets. I use the Katadyn chlorine dioxide tabs. They are supposed to kill everything in the water, but you will have to wait for it. I keep them only as a back up.

These canteens are very durable, and so are the canteen cups. They are almost impossible to brake. Another option for this set up would be a Nalgene type bottle, with a metal cup on the bottom. Some people prefer this arrangement because they can get a metal bottle is case they have to boil water. I prefer the canteen because it stays closer to your body, and does not bounce around while you are walking. I find the canteen cup adequate for boiling water.

For more information on how I carry the canteen, you can have a look at my Carrying a Belt Kit post.

Continued on Part 2...