Friday, June 29, 2012

D.Y. / Woods Canada Renewed Canoe Packs.


This project has been months in the works. What started as a idea has finally taken shape into some rare, one of a kind pieces of kit. Woods started in 1885, when James W. Woods starts supplying lumbermen, miners, surveyors and other pioneers with canvas products, tents, sleeping bags and clothing to meet the rough and tough conditions required to explore and work in Canada deep forests. From the Klondike Gold rush of the 1890’s to the first sailing of the Northwest Passage in 1905; from the early Arctic Expeditions and to the first ascent of Canada’s highest peak, Mt. Logan, Woods Canada has been there. Unfortunatly the need for tough canvas goods dwindled over the years and woods only makes a couple of their original dry goods, like their prospecter tent and their two canoe packs. 

The story is that I had heard through some forums of a gentlemen selling the old beat up Woods packs on behalf of a Muskoka area summer camp. After many email back and forth I was able to purchase the last 4 packs from him. When The package arrived I was surprised to see that I got two No.100's and two No.200's. The goal of this project was to save these iconic pieces of Canadian outdoor history from the trash and to put them once again into the hands canoeists and adventurers alike. To breath new life into these beat up, used and abused canvas packs.

Original bag with old straps.
Woods Pack DY No.02 is the first Damn Yak / Woods refurbished Canoe pack to be released to the public. The process to get these packs from trash to treasure was not as easy as I though.  I received them in terrible shape; missing their handy tump lines and all in need of a complete tear down.  I started by ripping out all the old rivets, some were original and some were replaced by the camp. After taking off the old rotted leather straps, I cleaned the bags with some heavy duty biodegradable cleaner, scrubbing the living daylights out of them. they hung in my basement with a fan for 2 days, and from there I soaked all remaining leather pieces with US made Obenauf's Leather oil to rejuvenate them and put some life back into the leather. 

Front of original bag.

Before starting on the new leather work I went through the bags and patched all the holes that required attention, Using heavy nylon thread they were backed with canvas for added durability. Some of the small holes were left for character as they posed no effect on the integrity of the bag.

I started the leather-work using 9 oz veg tan tooling leather, cutting all the straps and constructing new tump lines for each of the bags. Each strap what then rubbed down with the leather oil for a good foundation to build on. When riveting (copper rivets) the new bag together I had to place new leather washers on top of all the original tabs to make sure that they would be strong enough to provide the new owner at least 40 more years of solid use.

Each bag is numbered and has about 4 hours of careful labor into them. These packs are meant to be used, and abused again. The beautiful thing about canvas packs is the fact that they can be repair countless times and passed down from parent to child, capturing within the fibers of the canvas all your early mornings, raging rapids, cool nights, and warm fires. 

The dimensions are approx 32" x 20" x 8" about 69L, however when taking the photo the pack the 8" was pushed out to 15" wide with pillows.

I will be selling them one at a time as I construct them, remember only 2 left after this one. If you have any other questions please let me know.

Price: $120 Plus shipping based on customers location (paypal only).

To purchuse please send me an email: Damnyak(at) When sold I will update this Post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Please Excuse The Wait.

Hello Folks, Just to give you a status update as I have received some email regarding not posting as much as I used to. Its not that I do not want to, but I have been working very hard to finish a project for Damn Yak. I started this project with some high hopes that it would be a somewhat quick release, and was super stoked to complete it. However it seems that the project is a lot more time consuming then anticipated and it I do not want to rush it.  When completed it will be a pretty awesome Damn Yak Dry Goods Product, unfortunately its super limited. I tried to get more but you will have to wait to see. Stay tuned gang and thanks for your patience.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eton FR350 - FR400 Radios.

Now I know what some people are going to say about this post. They are going to say that bring a radio on a camping trip is sacrilegious. My Big Sister got me one of these Eton FR350 a couple years back as a gift and it has accompanied me on all my canoe trips from then. While I do not always use it on the trip for music, it has some great emergency functions that could be helpful. It has a siren, a flashlight/strobe, it can recharge a cell phone, and its dynamo powered.

I think its great for those nice nights when you just feel like listening to the CBC, as you can quietly put it on and relax. The FR350 also has Shortwave radio, so you can get some pretty funky music from all over the world, and the FR400 has NOAA weather. I know a couple times while it was pouring out it came in handy to keep spirits up to dance around under the tarp to come classic rock. The radio is "weather resistant" not water-proof, and the radio has a fantastic rubberized outer shell. I used the dynamo for years, but recently decided to just stick some batteries in there, and put the dynamo on standby.

This Eton has been a stand up radio for all seasons, and I would recommend anyone looking to tote a little music box while camping to check it out. There is even a sweet Red Cross edition, I suggest for camping stay away from the camo radio and stick with mine that is the blaze orange.

How do you feel about music while camping, I am not talking "rager" loud, but bringing a small radio to enhance the evening?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bargain Alert - Kevin Callan Canoe Books.


If you enjoy canoeing in Ontario you know who Kevin Callan is. He is the "Happy Camper", He is a author, speaker, and foremost a canoeist. His series of books about canoe routes around ontario are top notch. They are full of great pictures, detailed maps, and fantastic stories. I have had the pleasure of meeting Kevin a couple times and never have I met such a friendly gentlemen. He makes you feel as if you knew him your entire life, absolute comfort in conversation. I have suggested to anyone looking to get into canoeing, camping or are looking for new canoe routes to pick up one of his books and enjoy.

 So this leads me to my local online bookstore, that is based in St. Catherines Ontario. While searching a couple weeks ago I saw that they had over 10 different Kevin Callan books at insane discounts (like $5.99). So if you are interested, scoop them up here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Fathers Day.

Happy Father's day, Dads.

Take the day, relax, and enjoy. I know my dad won't read this as he doesn't use computers, but I just want to thank him for being him, for taking me on canoe trips to hudson's bay (even thought at age 11 I didn't want to go, but I am sure glad I did). Thanks for letting me wax his antique car for $2 (what a deal), and for alway thinking of me and having exciting stuff planned for every weekend visit we had.  So many laughable memories, from kind of losing my sister at Disney world, to driving to Niagara Falls in the dead of winter in a car with no heat, and we always talk about the time I fell down a 600m gravel hill spliting my head open 10 minutes after getting to our destination which was 3 hours from home. I can't wait to hang out this weekend and just be. 

So I leave you all with some picture of my pops & Uncle (Mom's Brother) from I believe '65 - '66, when they were in the Toronto band "Bobbi Lee Justice & the Scepters". As well check out "Going Down" one of there singles. I love the tune and have had many friends ask for the mp3. I am still searching for an actual copy. My Dad is on bass (love the bassline Dad!) and my Uncle (with thick frame glasses) ripping it up on guitar, there is more pics in the video.

Happy Father Day Dad. Thank you for Everything.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Grand River - The Oxbow.

This past weekend My wife and I headed out for a paddle along the Grand River. Specifically The Oxbow section. The Oxbow is located just outside Brantford, Ontario and allows people the perfect day paddle. The put in is a paved and gravel parking lot, with a drive down boat launch. Unfortunately because of it hidden/secluded area there is plenty of empty beer cans and garbage around the parking lot which kind of taints the whole nature experience. So once your loaded up put in you go with the flow. This section take a little longer than 2 hours to complete. Along the way there are a couple swifts, and plenty small wildlife among the greenery, turtles sunning themselves, muskrats scurrying about, and birds fill the air with noise. Your take out after this relaxing paddle is the very next bridge that you come up to. The take out is on the right, and it is a short 10 minute walk back to your car. My wife usually stays with the canoe, and I go get the car and drive back over. It really doesn't get that much easier for a morning paddle. Now if only the Missinaibi was like this, planning would be so simple.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vintage Hiking Depot - Posters

Good buddy and outdoors-men Kevin Phillips, who also is writer and owner of Vintage Hiking Depot is working on some posters of his all time favorite camping gear. The first two in the series are the Tilley Storm Lamp and the Trangia stove (also a Damn Yak Dry Goods Co. favorite). Word from VHD is that the Swiss Army knife might be up next. Kevin is also looking for other ideas to expand the series in the future. There posters look fantastic and all I can say is...when can I order them?

Also Kevin is looking for decent printers for small runs, if you have any contacts please leave a comment or head over to VHD and let Kevin know.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dock Boggs - Country Blues.

Such amazing/haunting blues. Been a Dock Boggs fan for many years and I still could take a listen every day. This might be the only actual footage of him playing. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Handmade Quiver And Bow.

With all the nice weather we have been having here in Ontario, I figured it was time to bust out the bow and arrows and warm up for the season. About two years ago a friend suggested that we build longbows. Scheduling to get together to build them was a hectic so I decided to just build my own. It was hard to get a good photo for the entire 72" longbow but I assure you its there. I followed the directions from "Poor Folk bows" and started with a $3 piece of red oak from Home Depot. The build was pretty smooth and easy if you take your time. The backing I used is the raw canvas I made the cups out of, and finished the bow with a Purple heart riser. It measures 72" and has a draw of 45# @ 29", completely legal to hunt with in Ontario. I remember walking in to the archery school for my intro classes with this longbow among all the Olympic style shooter, they were in fascinated, their bows had all the "bow bling" (stabilizers, and sights and releases), and here I show up with a  glorified stick. HA! 

The quiver is also handmade, it is 12oz saddle skirting hand stitched with snoseal to protect it. Most of the commercial quivers are black or brown, I love the natural colour of my quiver. The only thing I wish I changed...and still might is making the strap removable and swivel-able. The arm guard is also 12oz skirting and works fantastic at preventing arm slap. The antler button on the front is just for decoration. Lacing up the Quiver was a bit of a challenge towards the middle, as the length was out of my reach. In the end its is one "tough as nails quiver", with the wax and the 12oz leather its is bombproof, a seriously rugged quiver.

I have since also bought a Samick Sage recurve bow, a entry level takedown bow. It is a surprisingly  amazing bow for a sub $200 bow. Maybe as I become a everyday Robin Hood, I will get myself a nice Bear Bow.

Learning how to accurately and  efficiently use a bare-bow is such a great skill to have, It teaches you focus, patience, relaxation, as well as posture, and its pretty rad when seeing the power the arrow leaves the bow with and the sound of contact. So if your looking for a great project this summer that is really quite cheap, build a bow! Archery honestly is fun for the whole family.