1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Adventure Pack!!!!

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Buzzbait, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    Hi all!!! This is going to be an odd sort of review thread. I wasn’t exactly sure what subforum to post this in, so the mods may need to move this if required.

    My daughter turned 9 last spring, and is really getting to that age now that she can keep up with me on day to day adventures. Some of these trips are in our hometown in Upstate New York. Some are further north in the Adirondack Mountains. The adventures are generally nature driven. Lots of hiking, bird watching, and generally exploring the outside world. Turning over rocks to see what we find. Fishing is always fun. I’m trying to help cultivate my daughter’s love for the outdoors, and build some great family memories.

    So I spent the last month doing a bunch of research, making a few purchases, and putting together a couple of adventure packs for the both of us. These are basically “grab and go”packs for having fun and learning, with little to no preparation required. The trips are never more than a few hours in duration. Never too far from home or base camp, with no overnights yet required. I’ll add to this thread as the packs and loadouts are tested, and give my impressions on what works and what doesn’t. It should be fun.
     
  2. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    The Dad Pack – I was going for a sort of rustic north country “old timey” feel at first, and tried to keep the pack very traditional. Unfortunately, this did not work out very well. I tried an old Duluth pack that I’ve owned for years, but it really was quite a failure. First off, the lack out outside accessible pockets made it very tough to access all of the small gadgets that my daughter and I would be using. Small item organization is definitely not the hallmark of a Duluth pack. The pack was also far too big. Then I tried using a vintage Boy Scout Yucca Pack. Still not much organization in the Yucca Pack, but it at least had lots of spot to lash equipment to the outside. Unfortunately, the lack or organization, coupled with the outrageously short shoulder straps, made the Yucca pack a no go. It was also very slow to get into.

    So in the end, I finally had to get realistic on the backpack. I needed something small enough that I absolutely couldn’t overload it with junk. I wanted to keep the pack as physically small and light as possible, but still be pretty much indestructible. I needed a good amount of organization, with some outside accessible pockets. I also wanted good lash point to add equipment as required. Obviously, I needed a tactical pack. The problem was that pretty much all of the tactical packs that I found were too big. I was after bare minimum size, but no sling packs or messenger bags. I’d previously owed a Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon. It was a great pack, but still larger than I wanted.

    I finally opted for a Maxpedition Typhoon. It was really the only tactical pack in the size range I was looking for, that had the features I wanted. The Typhoon really seems to stand alone in this category. With a total volume of only 840 cubic inches, this is a very small pack. It’s smaller than what most men would call a daypack. I really like the fact that the pack isn’t so wide that it catches on branches as I walk through the underbrush, and it’s short enough that I don’t have issues with the bottom of the pack bouncing off my butt. It rides high and tight, with a very small footprint. The small volume forces me to keep things light, and not stuff it with things I’ll never need. It’s very easy to take the concept of a simple “adventure pack”, and end up with a very heavy survival pack. I don’t want that. But as the weather gets colder, the bottom straps and extra PALS webbing should allow me to lash on equipment to handle the cooler temperatures.

    I really dig the sewn-on pouches on the right side of the pack. The bottom pouch perfectly holds an Otterbox 1000. The top pouch holds my Leatherman Wave, but could also hold a good sized flashlight instead. The grab handle on the top of the pack is a godsend. The two pouches on the face of the pack make it very easy to store frequently used smaller items. The back padding is pretty good. My back gets sweaty on a hot day, but that’s the nature of pretty much every backpack. At least the small footprint makes less contact with my back than most packs.

    Things I don’t like? I personally would have put more PALS webbing on the left side of the pack. It has some webbing and shock cord, but they could easily have added more rows of webbing. Ditto for the shoulder straps. I also would have appreciated more organization in the top front-facing pouch, but I’m nitpicking on that one.

    Room in the main compartment is at bare minimum. I have some leather work gloves and a small pack of baby wipes in the bottom, with my Nikon Aculon 10X50 binoculars and a 24oz narrow mouth Hydroflask next to it. A cotton bandana and a cheap disposable rain poncho sit in the main compartment’s organizer. I could fit a little bit more in there, but it would be hard to deal with adding and removing stuff as the day goes along. I consider what I have to be a full load in the main compartment.

    Overall, I’m very happy with the pack thus far. I did a test hike yesterday. It was a 10-mile round trip in 80-degrees, and the pack road beautifully. No chaffing. No sway. Not too hot. I hardly noticed it.


    [​IMG]
     
    Cory, JPE, Endless Fugue and 6 others like this.
  3. Tranx

    Tranx Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    86
    In addition to some gear the "kids survival primer" on equipped dot org,
    is usefull basic info for kids (what to do and what not).
     
    Cobra 6 Actual likes this.
  4. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    Nikon Aculon A211 10X50 Binoculars, with Think Tank V2.0 Camera Strap and V2.0 Support Strap Set – One of the main pieces of equipment in my adventure pack is a Nikon 10X50 binocular. I could have gone smaller, and with less magnification, but for looking down from Adirondack Mountain summits, bigger is definitely better. These are not a dedicated birding binocular, but can be used for bird watching as well. They also work well for looking at the moon and stars, although I’ll have to look into a tripod mount if I want get more serious about stargazing. I love these binoculars. They get a ton of light, so they work well on darker days, and weight only 32 ounces. They are not waterproof, but are rubber coated for protection. I hit up a brick and mortar LL Bean store to purchase them. Pirro prism binoculars are not the toughest optics in the world, so the unconditional LL Bean warranty could come in very handy some day. If they get drowned in water 20 years from now, the LL Bean warranty will allow me to return them, no questions asked.

    [​IMG]

    The tough part is carrying a 10X50 binocular. When you hang it from your neck, you know it’s there. When you do it for two hours straight, you have an aching neck. The sway of the binocular is also an issue when traipsing through the woods. I could leave it in the pack, and pull it out as needed, but that kind of defeats having a good binocular. So I took a chance and ordered some Think Tank straps. The theory here is that the support straps clip onto the 1" webbing of the shoulder straps of your pack, so your shoulders take the weight of the optics, instead of your neck. The shortened length of the strap also somewhat reduces sway.

    I’m happy to say that the Think Tank straps work wonderfully, and they fit with the Maxpedition Typhoon’s 1” webbing perfectly. You do have to unclip the support strap to take off the pack, but the pack itself it so light and small, that removing the pack is a rare occurrence. The straps and hardware are more than beefy enough for the task at hand, so reliability should be a non-issue. I’m sure that I could have made my own set of nylon straps, with some tactical hardware, but I was happy to let Think Tank do all of the work on this one. It’s great equipment. I strapped the binoculars for the full ten-mile round trip yesterday, and hardly noticed the optics dangling from my chest. And the Nikon was at the ready for tons of bird watching and mountain viewing. If the Nikon had sat in my pack all day, or had been any lower in magnification, I never would been able to spot three loons swimming halfway across Newcomb lake yesterday. I HIGHLY recommend these straps for anybody who wants to have a camera or binocular at the ready while hiking.

    Here’s a pick of yours truly, to show how the straps work:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Buzzbait, Sep 21, 2015
    Cory, JPE, AK Adventurer and 4 others like this.
  5. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    The new hiking stick is of my own design. I've been making traditional white cedar hiking sticks for years. but have switched to bamboo lately. Bamboo is as light as white cedar, but much stronger. It's not pretty like cedar, but far more functional. Best of all, bamboo is wicked cheap. The new stick is a large tiki torch stick, purchased from an odd lot store for $1.00. I did attempt to fire harden the stick over my charcoal grill after dinner one night, and then rubbed Minwax into the open pores. I'm not sure if it helped at all, but it's done.

    Here is a pic of my new bamboo next to one of my old cedars:

    [​IMG]

    Both ends of the new bamboo stick are finished with pieces of an old broken Berkley fishing rod's reel seat. The reel seat pieces are aluminum covered with plastic and cork. On the top of the stick, I was actually able to epoxy in the male screw threads, so the top can be unscrewed. It serves no useful purpose yet, but opens a gateway for future mods such as compasses and the like. On the bottom of the stick, a length of old bicycle inner tube has been stretched over the bamboo to protect the bamboo from splitting on the end.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The handle was wrapped with 325 paracord in half-hitches. This was my first half-hitch wrap, and I'm very happy with the functionality. The wrap stays in place vertically, and can be adjusted horizontally to fit my hand grip. The diameter is just right for my hand. The wrist strap is a length of 550 cord, run through a hole drilled in the bamboo. The hole doesn't seem to have weakened the bamboo a bit.

    [​IMG]

    I'm really happy with the stick so far. I may have to add a little bit of the weight to the top of the stick, to help it to pendulum more efficiently as I walk, but it's not a big deal. I may also consider adding a piece of leather to the wrist strap for comfort reasons. Maybe I'll attach brass grommets to the holes in the leather, to keep it from tearing. I did carry the stick for the ten-mike hike yesterday, and it was a pleasure to use.
     
    Cory, mole, AK Adventurer and 5 others like this.
  6. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    I'm still going old school on the work gloves. I use Mechanix Utility gloves at home, but use deerskin gloves from a local Tru-Value hardware store for my outdoor packs. I buy them at a size Medium, which have palms and wrists that are a tad too tight to easily get on and off, but the finger lengths are just right. Deer skin stretches horizontally, but not lengthwise, so the finger length remains fixed, but the palm width can be stretched. I soak the gloves in filtered water for about 30 minutes, and then put them on. As they dry on my hands, I do finger exercises and make fists to stretch out the leather for an hour. Then I stuff the gloves with newspaper to keep the leather stretched out while they finish drying in the sun. Once dry, I take a hair dryer to them and rub in Sno-Seal to waterproof them. I wear the gloves while I apply the Sno-Seal to keep the leather from shrinking as I heat it up. Once the pores of the leather are clearly visible, I know that I've applied enough Sno-Seal. The last step is to apply baby powder to the inside of the gloves, as the Sno-Seal creates a bit of drag on the leather. After the process is complete, the new pair of gloves feel like they've been custom sewn for your hands, and they're very waterproof.

    [​IMG]
     
    Cory, JPE, mole and 3 others like this.
  7. WILLIAM.M

    WILLIAM.M Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    2
    Great Write up and photos

    Thanks for sharing
     
  8. Schnurri

    Schnurri Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2014
    Messages:
    671
    Likes Received:
    5,323
    Great write up, you seem to be a cool dad! Have you got a magnifying glass in your set up? And a compass? Somehow, I'm sure you do.
     
  9. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399

    Oh yes. I'll be doing a compass write-up today. The magnifier hopefully tomorrow.
     
  10. nr73

    nr73 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    Great thread, nice photos and a good write-up. You clearly seem to know your requirements, which is half the battle when it comes to EDC!
     
    AK Adventurer likes this.
  11. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    I’m normally a Silva Ranger or Suunto MC-2 kind of guy when it comes to compasses, but I decided to keep it old school and simple for the compass. I went with a vintage Taylor Boy Scout compass for teaching my daughter the basics, and an antique Marbles lapel compass for quick viewing as we travel. I still haven’t figured out where to attach the Marbles compass onto the Maxpedition yet, but I’ll get it figured out sooner or later. Maybe it’ll get clipped onto my lapel or cargo short pocket. The Marbles has formed a beautiful brass patina over the years. It’s pretty cool to carry the same model compass that was used by the likes of famous adventurers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh. The Taylor BSA’s case is actually made from Bakelite, so it I’m guessing that it probably dates back to the ‘40’s or ‘50’s. The needle is aluminum, and rides on a jeweled bearing. The Taylor actually has a locking needle, so it should be able to take some abuse. I leave it in the original box to keep the lens from getting scratched up. Both compasses were made in USA, and the Taylor was even made in my home state of New York.

    The compasses work surprisingly well. I didn’t think I’d ever trust a compass that wasn’t liquid filled, but these vintage compasses really do the job of gaining a bearing. You have to hold them with a level and steady hand, but the needle moves quickly and accurately once all the hand movement stops.

    Once Abby gets a bit older, I’ll break out the Silva and a dog eared copy of Be Expert with Map and Compass.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Buzzbait, Sep 22, 2015
    T.H.Cone, Cory, JPE and 1 other person like this.
  12. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    Abby gets the really cool backpack. I originally purchased it for myself, but both the pack and the straps were too small for me. Fortunately the pack is sized perfectly for 9 year old. It's an old Diamond Brand Boy Scout rucksack, with the BSA logo still on the pack. I'm not sure which model it is. Any label it once had has been lost to time. I paid a bit extra for it because the rotten leather straps had already been replaced. I love the looks of this pack, and the drawstring closure on the main compartment is just awesome.

    Here's a pic of the original advertisement for the pack. The pack looked big enough in the picture, but this girl must be exceptionally petite:

    [​IMG]


    Here is the pack on my 9 year old daughter. Both girls obviously have the same size body:

    [​IMG]


    And here's a pic showing some of the shoulder strap, and a dead dragonfly that I stuck on her shoulder:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Buzzbait, Sep 22, 2015
    T.H.Cone, Cprrckwlf, Cory and 5 others like this.
  13. nr73

    nr73 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    1,541
    I love that Marbles compass. I like brass and bronze anyway Burt having just read a book about Charles Lindbergh's exploits that has added further interest for me. Is that compass something it's still possible to buy today, or are they something of an antique?
     
  14. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    You can buy new ones today with liquid filled compasses, but I have not heard good things about these newer offshore produced pieces.

    For the real deal, look on Evilbay. If it says MARBLES GLADSTONE MICH. U.S.A on the back, it's a good one. A working one should cost you about $25.00, if you look around. That isn't much more than the cost of one of the newer offshore models.
     
    nr73 and Cory like this.
  15. JP

    JP Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Messages:
    997
    Likes Received:
    382
    That dragonfly picture is funny. That is the important Dad stuff getting done there. Good man!
     
  16. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    The magnifier is an oldie but a goodie. I bought it years ago. It's a General Tools 2.5X pocket magnifier, made in USA. It had a quality glass lens, but a riveted cheap plastic cover that soon broke. So I drilled out the rivet, and used the old cover as a cutting template for a new piece of scrap leather. I then punched a hole in the leather, Sno-Sealed the leather with a hair dryer (yes, I'm a Sno-Seal junkie) and attached it to the glass with a cut down brass chicago screw. The magnifier now has a worthy and waterproof cover, that is quickly developing a beautiful aged look. It's great for examining veins on leaves, ugly bugs, and whatever we can find to examine more closely.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    The journal is new. I'd been using an old leather covered journal for the last 15 years or so. It had been soaked in rain a million times and eventually began to totally fall apart. I live by my outdoor journal, so I had find something better. I eventually decided on a Rite In The Rain setup.

    Here's what I'm using. The book cover is a C980 tan Cordura cover. The book cover is really tough, made in USA, and the stitching looks excellent. Rite In The Rain is getting their book covers from Tactical Tailor, so you know it's good. THE journal itself is a model 330F with blank waterproof pages and a Fabrikoid cover. This size journal just barely fits in the Cordura book cover, but it does fit. I also keep a 935T 3X5 notebook in the rear inside pocket. I'll be using the little notebook for quick map drawings and stuff, to later be transcribed into the main journal when I have access to a suitable desk. I keep a lot of hand drawn maps in my journal, denoting good fishing spots and various places of interest. Lots of spontaneous nature drawings and outdoor tips also live in it.

    The book cover also holds a Staedtler Mars 780 lead holder, my favorite pencil ever. The 2mm lead is thick and strong, and the pencil has a built-in sharpener in the cap. I also keep a Staedtler retractable eraser, a tube of spare leads, and a Fisher Military Cap-O-Matic Space Pen in the pen slots. In addition to the 3X5 notebook, the inside back pocket holds a 6-inch steel ruler, an erasing template, and a pad a spare Yahtzee score cards. I keep a pair of dice in the pack, so Abby and I can hang out and play a game if she needs to rest for awhile.

    All in all, I love the new journal setup. It's a close to bulletproof as I can get, and should last for a good number of years. I'm now about half done with transcribing things from my old notebook to the new one.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    JPE, nr73, T.H.Cone and 2 others like this.
  18. Buzzbait

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    399
    We did our first adventure pack outing this morning. The pocket magnifier came in quite handy for examining bugs.

    The white Woolly Bear caterpillar suggests a snowy winter.
    [​IMG]
     
    T.H.Cone likes this.
  19. Cprrckwlf

    Cprrckwlf Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    765
    Love her pack. I've got an old (mine has a manufacturing stamp from the 40s) Swiss "Salt and Pepper" Rucksack that's basically the same design. Found it in some random little store when I was in highschool and used it through college. Of course, looking at it now next to my modern packs I wonder what I was thinking putting all that textbook weight on those thin leather straps. Amazing I don't have permanent furrows and scarring across the tops of my shoulders... Very much appreciate your intent, but I think the Maxpedition was the right move.
     
  20. malraux72

    malraux72 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    1,774
    Buzzbait,
    you are heck of a DAD ! Great review and philosophy.
    m