Friday, July 29, 2011

L.L. Bean Boots Fall 2011.

Previewed on "Red Clay Soul" and "With A Bean Slant" , these two boots will be making a appearance this fall. While the new lounger boots are getting mixed review due to the sheepskin lining and lack of buckle from the original, the 12" Signature boots which looks to be made of a waxed leather with Kiltie is a nice addition.  When I was at the factory in May, they were producing the lounger boot by the hundreds.  Even with the criticism, I still have a feeling they are going to be hotter that hotcakes this fall.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Field Test: Coleman Exponent F1 Lite Lantern.

This year I was looking for a small portable backpacking lantern. Something more to bring than just our headlights we typically use. Something that could brighten the campsite during the shorter days of Fall camping. A lantern that I could just throw in my pack and not notice its there. I had a couple “requirements” for this piece of gear.

1. Lightweight
2. Compact
3. Easy on gas
4. Not a lot of moving parts that could break in the field

I saw some of LED lanterns, while really nice require batteries and could not be used to give heat as well. Candle lanterns are classic, but don’t throw the light like I would prefer and alcohol lanterns are basically non-existent. Coleman makes a smaller white gas one, but they are still two big and breakable with the glass globe. I finally found a model, the Coleman Exponent F1 Lite Lantern. Though it has been discontinued you can still find them online no problem. The F1 is a wickedly small isobutane/propane-burning lantern. Instead of the typical glass globe, Coleman has replaced it with a stainless steel mesh. This mesh with a match hole on the side is very durable and breaks some wind if it needs to. Years back we bought a MSR pocket rocket and have about a half dozen canisters floating around, so I thought for the $30 I would give it a whirl and use up those canisters. One of the benefits of a canister lantern I found was that canisters are small, and can be recycled if punctured correctly. The lantern measures about 7.5” tall with regular size fuel canister. Coleman states that the burn time is 9hrs on high, again with regular canister. That’s pretty good for me, as I usually hit the sack fairly early while camping. It comes with a great carrying case lined with a medium duty hard plastic shell to protect the mantle and lantern. The case also has a tight drawstring to keep it all closed. I was quite surprised how much light it threw, filling up my moderate sized back yard with a bright warm light. The lantern is almost silent which is nice compared to the old Coleman lanterns I'm used to, that sound like locomotives. The stainless steal globe and body heat up plenty that you could definitely warm a shelter with it (never use lanterns in your tent etc). For the price and size of this lantern, I was kind of surprised it was discontinued. There are not a whole lot of small gas lanterns on the market. If you feel like you need or possibly want a backpacking lantern instead of a headlight, then I suggest you use your Google machine and find a dealer. I think you will be just as surprised as I was.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spruce Chewing Gum.

During a resent visit with Canadian Outdoors Equipment Co., co-owner Tim handed me a piece of all natural Spruce chewing gum to give a try and see how I liked it. From Maine, these little nuggets of fragrant crystals come nestled in nice small wooden boxes instead of wrappers or paper. Chewing Spruce gum dates back to the early 1800’s. American Indians would chew it, as well as make syrup for sore throats and other medicines from it. In 1848 John B. Curtis developed and sold the first commercial chewing gum called "The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum". Slowly moving out of fad with paraffin wax gums and the chicle type gums of the late 17th century. The technique to chew is something just as unique as the gum.

“Put the lump of gum in your mouth (it doesn't look very appealing at this stage--don't worry, it's antiseptic and 100% safe) and break it up into a granular and strong-tasting substance. At this stage it is somewhat distasteful but resist the temptation to spit it out. In this granular form it will merge with saliva and be warmed by your mouth. Keep chewing for about four minutes without spitting. You will notice that it becomes less granular as you chew. When you have a sizable lump which holds together, then spit out the juice and the impurities, which separated out, and keep chewing. You will spit out another 4 times before it is purified and great! After this period, take it out and look at it. It will have a beautiful colour and taste great. It will now be good for about 30 minutes of terrific chewing”

It was quite refreshing, giving your mouth that forest fresh feeling. The clarified resin actually takes on the consistency of the commercial gum we are so used to.  After chewing it for a while you can feel the antiseptic tingling on your tongue!!  I can see why at one time was all the rage. A lot of people still prefer this type of gum, though harder to find its well worth it. One Old Timer said “Spruce gum is the distillation of rainbows and sunsets, of hurricanes and sunshine, of hard winter and puissant spring...”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. If your looking to get your hands on a piece or two contact Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co., or swing by there store in Port Credit, Ont.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekend Hike.

This Saturday I went for a morning hike. The sun was hot, the deer and horse flies were a plenty. I took a couple photos. Enjoy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tilley Hats.

Illustration by: Paula Becker

In 1980 an amateur yachtsman decided to make himself the perfect hat. Alex Tilley wanted his sailor's hat to float, tie under the chin, stand up to the harshest weather, launder, look classic, and wear comfortably. Tilley located a milliner through the yellow pages who agreed to sew a hat for him, but then ran into problems. "The canvas I wanted to use was so tough that needles couldn't go through it and it shrank when it got wet,". After experimenting, Tilley discovered that he could preshrink the canvas by boiling and steaming it. In 1986 he added a thin layer of foam to the sweatband and to the crown to make them float thus completed his hat. These hats, not just for yachting anymore are still made in Canada. Still are bombproof and come with a lifetime warranty. The washing instructions are simple; “Give ‘em hell”. Even though they now make over 30 different hats the original T2 hat is my favourite, with its classic look and comfort. You can order one up at their website, or find a retailer near you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Damn Yak Dry Goods Co. Wilderness Remedy.

Finally. I hinted at this back in May, I got plenty of emails asking "Why would I want a remedy from the wilderness?". This is my first go at Pine Pitch Salve. I have tried to keep it as local as possible. With only three ingredients I was able to hand pick the Pine Pitch from my Father-in-law's house in Campbellville, Ont. The beeswax came from my Brother, who is a part time apiarist's hives. And the olive oil is a Organic brand from Italy. The 125 ml/4.2 oz. jars that the salve is kept is are USA made Bernardin/Ball jars and reusable. Pine Pitch Salve has been around for hundreds of years and has been used to treat all sorts ailments in both humans and animals. Pine Pitch is a know antimicrobial. Today its used to sooth minor scrapes and cuts, as well it is a excellent "pulling" ointment. It will not cure you of cancer, but it makes a soothing first aid salve. I only have a few jars, so please visit my Etsy store or email me to pick one up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Massasauga Provincial Park.

This past weekend we took off to Massasauga Provincial Park. Let me first start off by saying that we are not fond of hot weather. Usually our canoe trips are based in late Sept, or Oct/Nov. We felt a urge to get out and enjoy some paddling and come camping. The weather this weekend here was about 30*C / 86*F with not a single cloud in the sky. Pretty hot!. The trips summery / highlights are as follows: One site was great (#31), the other horrible (#24, contacting Ontario parks about removing this as a site!). My wife portaged her first canoe - Amazing. Great tasting bannock. Beautiful landscapes and wild life. Had a Swallow dive at my face. Slipped and fell on to rock then into the water trying to pick up something with a canoe on my shoulders and a fully loaded canoe pack on back. When I fell I had the luxury of getting my finger split open and squashed by the canoe falling on my finger, pinching it between the canoe and a rock (now called plum finger). Almost had my heart jump from my chest as a Massasauga rattle snake rattled as I walk about two feet from it! and got some major sun! All in all it was a great weekend spent away enjoying the outdoors!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paine's Balsam Fir Incense.

Based in Auburn, ME, Paine Products and Incense Co. has been making Balsam Fir incense and Balsam filled pillows since 1931. The smell is unmistakable! Almost addicting. Watching someone new aggressively smell the pillow is kind of scary, as they don't want to put it down. One of their most iconic items is the log cabin burner. Where one gets the delight of smelling the scent as well as seeing the smoke wisp out of the cabin chimney. Since 1931 they have expanded there line to also include Red Cedar, and Pinon Pine incense. Paine's also now carries cast iron burners and door draft stopper balsam filled pillows. They truly do capture the scent of the forest. If you ever find yourself missing the smell if a campfire, just light one of these incense logs and let the smell bring you there. You can buy all their product directly from Paine's.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Damn Yak Dry Goods Etsy Store

Please visit our Etsy store by clicking the logo above to scoop the bombproof Men's or Women's Damn Yak Dry Goods Wallets / Card holders, plus I still have 3 canvas cups left!. More items coming soon.

Thanks for supporting local craftsmen.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Song Of The Paddle.

With a canoe trip just a little over a week away, I am starting to get alittle excited! If you can't get out for a canoe trip or never have been on one, watch this film. Filmed in 1978, it is a short documenry about the Mason family on a Lake Superior canoe trip. What a great, heartwarming film. I remember watching this on the old film projector in my living room growing up. My favorite part is Bill at 23:45 calling himself "Ol' pancake Mason". Enjoy!

Watch the whole film on the NFB website.