Category Archives: Outdoor Gear

A Campfire in a Can? It’s Made in America

After three  Nor’Easters in less than 10 days here in New Jersey, anything to do with warmth sounds pretty good to me. A campfire in a can? Sold!

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do!When I saw this portable campfire by Radiate it made me think back to the days when we used to fill a wheel barrow with dirt and build a fire in it (sort of a poor man’s fire pit). This has the advantage of being easier and WAY more portable.The Radiate  contains non-toxic, recycled soy wax mixed with recycled paper pulp. It doesn’t create soot or a have smokey smell. There are no embers to worry about and it is waterproof.  A typical can will have a  3-5 hours burn time.The Radiate also comes in a version with an all natural Eucalyptus bug repellent. The only downside: you can’t roast marshmallows over that version.

Regards,

Paul

Beer Can Boards: Skateboards Made in America with Recycled Materials

When I was a kid I had a skateboard;  probably the first mode of wheeled transportation I actually owned. Made from pressed wood with a sandpaper surface so your feet wouldn’t slip, it featured the worlds most unforgiving, rock-solid wheels that never seemed to miss a pebble.

Skateboards and longboards have come a long way since those days, both in design and materials. For a company called Beercan Boards the secret to success is using recycled plastic and aluminum cans and making the boards here in America. This small company out of Douglas, GA is trying, in their own words to “take over the world, one skateboarder at a time and we have just gotten started.”

Owner Joel Rawlins was a once-promising skateboarder who, at the age of 15, had a run-in with a car that made him rethink his direction in life.As an adult,  he got into the automotive aftermarket and had success supplying components for classic cars, some of them showing-up in movies like The Fast and Furious. In 2012, the idea struck him that he could use the recyclable aluminum and plastics from his business to fabricate skateboards, and suddenly, he was sharing an old pastime with his kids. There was a lot of work required to design, prototype and refine the boards while trying to maintain his  Made-in-America goal, but the end result was definitely worth it.The great thing about these boards ( besides the cool graphics and the company’s goal to be eco-friendly) is that you can recycle your old board and get a new one for a reasonable fee. If you want a different look, the deck of the board can be swapped out and you have the option to purchase bearings for life.

I wish I was a teenager again!

Regards,

Paul

A Clean Cup of Water, Please: Made in USA

I sometimes joke around about the “zombie apocalypse” and the great excuse it provides in buying yourself the latest guy-toy (I’m looking at you, Tima-Hawk.) However, having  experienced superstorm Sandy and the havoc it caused in the NY metropolitan area, I realize how important it is to be prepared for real-life dangers.

Disclosure: We’ll get a small commission if you buy through the links in this post: Please do!If you’re putting together a bug-out bag, you might want to check out the MSR Trailshot Micro Filter. This little device can filter out over 99.9999% of impurities in water and can fill a liter bottle in about 60 seconds. The filter is replaceable and can be easily stored in you backpack or jacket pocket.

Created for hikers who need to refill along the trail, this device can be useful in any number of situations. As a cyclist there have been a few occasions where I’ve been out on a hot day, water bottle filled with warm energy drink, when I ride past a cold stream. That’s when I would love to be able to pull over and quench my thirst.

So whether you are out there exploring the great outdoors or running from the living dead or the  White Walkers, you should check out the TrailShot.

Regards,

Paul

Brant & Cochran Axe Restoration: Breathing New Life Into Vintage American Axes.

If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time it should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of axes, wood-splitting and the outdoors in general. I always enjoy finding a new axe artisan and Brant & Cochran is the latest one I’d like to tell you about.

Based in Portland Maine, Brant & Cochran at first specialized in restoring surplus military machinery. It was reborn, so to speak, when Steve Ferguson decided to purchase an American made axe for a godson on his way to forestry school, but couldn’t find one locally. Steve, his brother Mark and friend Barry Worthing decided to bring axe-making back to Maine, even if it was just restoration of vintage axes at first. I’ve learned that if something is well-made it’s definitely worth maintaining so you can pass it along to the next generation. I should know – I have my father’s hatchet which, after years of neglect, is going to hopefully get a second life in the hands of the Brant and Cochran team.The axe heads are carefully restored, given new edges without damaging the blade. Wherever possible, original markings are preserved to maintain the authenticity of the head. New hickory handles are added and, as you can see from the photos above, the axes look like they were just forged.

Speaking of just being forged, look for an Indiegogo program in the next few months as the guys from Brant and Cochran get ready to start their own forge in a converted naval base workshop. The plan is to launch a Maine-made, wedge-pattern boys’ axe with a locally sourced ash handle. (A word from the wife: Kathy doesn’t like the “Boys’ Axe” name and thinks it should be called a “Kids’ Axe” or “Junior Axe” or “Starter Axe,” etc. She says she would have been really mad if her brother got a boy’s axe and there wasn’t one for her – and not a pink one either.)

Whatever they decide to call it, we’re looking forward to seeing it on the market.

Meanwhile, if you are in the market for a “new” axe and want a piece of American manufacturing history, I don’t think you can’t go wrong with an axe from Brant and Cochran.

Regards,

Paul

Dinosaur Bone in Your Pocket Knife: Made in USA

One of the key elements of EDC (everyday carry) is a pocket knife. I can’t tell you how many times, whether at work or working around the home, that I reach for one. Sante Fe Stoneworks has  produced a line of limited edition pocket knives that are totally functional but uniquely beautiful. The knives feature Southwestern-influenced  handles made from ironwood, turquoise and, yes, locally harvested dinosaur bone. (Note: the link takes you to a full page of products from Santa Fe Stoneworks. The Made-in-USA items have a little logo to the left.)hw6wkwx9vo_3_damascus-dinosaur_bone_amber_single_0_original

This 3″ Damascus steel blade is accented with Amber and actual Brontosaurus bone.2uo5zipc24_3_damascus-ironwood_turquoise_0_originalThe knife above features turquoise and ironwood, which is a local wood to the Santa Fe area, said to capture the colors of the region.dhoy7z4lpp_3_damascus-kaleidoscope-natural_wood_zig_zag_0_originalThe knife above features a Kaleidoscope Natural Wood zigzag pattern.ytl3qmrelf_3_damascus-woolly_bone_turquoise_0_originalThe Wooly Bone and Turquoise knife features you guessed it, actually bone from a Wooly Mammoth.

Japanese steel us used to make the blades, but on these knives, the rest of the work takes place in Santa Fe.

Regards,

Paul