Algonac State Park

A short drive north of HQ is a true gem of a park, Algonac State Park. Situated on the west bank of St. Clair River, the park boasts two campgrounds (one of which is waterside), hiking trials, archery range, skeet shooting and a new covered pistol range! Did I mention fishing?

So dad and I were at loose ends ratteling about the motor pool trying to find something to do when the idea hit us…Alogonac!! We had gone the week prior and for some shooting & fishing and had a really good time. The drive is not too long and follows along the shoreline of Lake St.Clair, winds its way through several small communities and St.Johns Marsh ending in a splendid waterside drive on the banks of the St. Clair River. What a beautiful sight, marshland with tall grasses and cranes on one side and the open waters of the lake on the other. We are so lucky to live in Michigan! After arriving at the park we headded right to the ranges. Algonac has had an archery and shotgun range for quite some time. The folks that go there are generaly friendly and it has a nice atmosphere. I’ve seen everything from families to groups of friends shooting on the ranges.

The pistol range is new and much welcomed addition. It was built this summer, is covered with four lanes and the ability to accomodate all types of shooters. The benches are nice and spacious and your targets are hung at about 10 yards out. We loaded up and began blazing away! You have to bring your own targets and I suggest some extra clothespins to hang them! We did pretty good with our marksmanship skills but sadly I managed to kill a few clothes pins. The next time we go I plan to bring a bunch to leave!

I got to use my OPSMEN headset again and they are still going strong! The padding is holding up and are just as comfy as the day I took them out of the box!

With our need for the smell of burnt gunpowder saited we headed for the beach and fishing… what a great catch we had, enough for a fish dinner when we got home. Sadly though, we neglected to bring chairs and were less than comfortable by even the the most spartan of standards!

And that brings us to our return trip! Seeing that we had a blast the week prior we thought “Lets go again!” and this time we took chairs! Packing the truck, we opted to have a picnic instead of shooting and loaded up some dogs, buns, beans, rocket stove and the grill and hit the road.

The chairs were a welcome addition as was our rod holders and my cowboy hat! Just as we had settled in for a quiet day of fishing reclined in our chairs, hat brims pulled down low, the bells on our rods began to ring! Game on!

A mess of perch and one big bass later we opted to leave the beautiful beach with our now fish laiden stringer and head into the park for grilled dogs and fire beans! It was a peaceful day, the kind of day that recharges your soul and shows you what life is really about.

More information on Algonac State Park can be found here…

And you can read my review of the OPSMEN headset here…

As always, thanks for reading!

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Dango T01

Ok guys, lets be honest here for a second… We all have wallets and we all hate them! They’re bulky, lack organization in spite of the flaps, pouches and flimsy card “organizers” and slowly rot away in our pockets resulting in unrecognizable park passes and a noticeable funk that permeates our pockets and imbeds itself in our cash! Not to mention that we carry WAY to much stuff in our billfolds! This is not a new problem. Legend has it that Caesar’s wallet was over stuffed, old and tattered and if he had carried it in the front pocket of his toga it could have saved his life!

So what can we do?

Lucky for us Dango Products has a solution in its series of wallets! Taking the concept of the wallet and turning it on its head, they have made a unique product that not only serves to streamline and prioritize what we carry but its revolutionizing how we carry it!!

Blending Aluminum, silicone and top grain leather, Dango has managed to create an amazing wallet!

Excitedly I open the box… WOW! The presentation was exquisite and conveyed the feeling that I was now the owner of something truly special. The contrast of rustic, brown leather framed by gleaming metal held together by a proportional black band almost took my breath away! The wallet has some heft that lets you know its there and on duty. This is a wallet that not only helps you live your day to day life, but one that might possibly save it!

Dango calls this thing the T01 Tactical Wallet….I call it nothing short of amazing! Constructed from aluminum, the wallet body is solid with a bottle opener on one end, lanyard loop on the other and several spots that could be utilized as an improvised hammer! On the back side of the wallet is an aluminum plate that covers and protects what really sets the Dango apart from the rest…

An awesome multi-tool! Made of high carbon, stainless steel, the multi-tool deploys rapidly from the wallet and is ready for action with a straight and serrated edge knife, nail puller, paracord lock, ruler, phone stand (yes, phone stand!), hex wrenches…the list goes on! This tool is more than enough to get you out of trouble or way deep in it!! You can use the tool by itself or locked into one of two stages in the wallet frame if you need more of a grip for what your doing.

The T01 comes with a paracord fob that helps get it out of your pocket and can be undone to access the cordage if needed. The same can be said for the lanyard accessory. Dango makes the “Tether” which connects like a lanyard to the wallet and a belt loop ensuring that your stuff is secure and wont get lost! I love the lanyard! Following the paracord up from the wallet you come upon an rugged, over built clip that more than locks your wallet to your trousers! I would expect my pant loop to rip way before the clip will give way!

While we’re on the topic of accessories, I would be remiss if it didn’t mention the “Capsule” this is a neat little thingy that you can attach to your T01 or keys or really anything else for that matter. It’s a great little container for many purposes. If you have meds you need to take on a regular basis, you could put I.C.E. information in it and even a small fire starter kit. Or you could do like I did and make it a small fishing kit! Its big enough inside for a small cork bobber, a hook, some line and a sinker! I use the body of the “Capsule” wind the line around when fishing with it!

All in all, I think Dango Products is onto something with its wallet lineup. So if your in the market for a new billfold that does more than sit in your pocket, check out the T01. You wont be disappointed!

Click here for more info and to order!

And be sure to use the coupon code!

Offer – 10% off

Code: EDTactical

Valid: 10/9 – 11/10/1

As always, thanks for reading!

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EARMOR!

When is earpro more than just earpro? When it’s EARMOR by OPSMEN, that’s when! These things are pretty cool, and I mean that in every sense of the word.

Right out of the box I knew the M31 headhpones were going to be fantastic. The fit and finish is spot on and their stylish looks and low profile design really impressed me. Now, I’m used to using plugs or those big ugly, clunky headphones you use when operating a chainsaw or lawn mower…

As I liberated these sage green marvels of modern technology from their cardboard prision, they oozed sexy, tacticool appeal! I popped in some batteries and put them on, again expecting clunky, I was surprised at how comfortable they were! the headband has a generous amout of padding to lessen bumps and knocks and the ear seals are pure heaven! It feels like they are made of clouds with a side of squishy! The cups sealed around my glasses without a problem and silenced everything.

Pressing the sealed buttons I fired up the electronics and right away, the world returned to my ears. The raised icons on the rubber armor let you know what buttons you are pushing and internal tones let you know when you raise/lower the volume or turn the unit off. Pressing the “up” button as high as it would go cranked surrounding sounds to “11” and realy upped my situational awareness. The sound passing through the circuits was clean and free of distortion. People’s voices sounded like they normaly did and it was easy to pinpoint the location of a noise. The enhancement was so good, I could hear my dad whispering across the room!

So I load up my guns and head to the range to put this new earpro to the test! Peter’s is the neighborhood range with a knowledgeable and friendly staff. In addition to gun sales and the range they have class offerings and are always quick with advice!

I arrived at Peter’s Indoor Range, put on the headphones and went through the double doors that separated the show room from the lanes. As I opened the inner door my senses were greeted by the smell of burnt powder, hot brass and the concussion of guns being fired…but no sharp, painful noise!

I could hear the start of the “pop” and the echo from the report, no big boom! I could feel it just not hear it! I normally use the little foamy plugs but no more. The OPSMEN EARMOR blow them away! When the firing linexpensive quieted down the electronics kicked back on and I could hear all the goings on around me… loading of mags, racking of slides and then a “BO…” The circuits detected the gunshot and when the sound exceeded the factory settings 82dB they cut out and let the headphones do their job!

I can honestly say that this was the first time I’ve been shooting and my ears feel comfortable and protected. It didn’t matter if I was shooting or one of the other lanes was sending lead, the M31 did exactly what it was supposed to do. Oh, did I mention they have an audio input jack on them? That’s right, you can listen to your tunes while ringing steel and they sound great!

For more information click the links below and as always, thanks for reading!

OPSMEN EARMOR homepage

OPSMEN Facebook page

Peter’s Indoor Range

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Another Truck Tent Adventure!

What do you do when you have two kids, a truck tent and the weekend off? You go camping of course! I spent the past weekend with my kids up at our favorite place, Rustic Rafters. We packed up the truck and headed out Friday after I got off work. Traffic was backed up in the construction zones and we didn’t make camp till late! Arriving at our destination we had less than a half an hour before sunset to set camp and get the truck hastily unloaded. We were up to the challenge! Like a well oiled machine, the kids set right to work unloading and stacking our wood from the truck while I grabbed the totes and table and started work on unfolding the tent.

Before the organized chaos began I fished out my reflector sticker pack from Gear Aid and stickered the kids! There was no way I was going to let it get dark and be able to keep track of them! They worked like a charm and the kids loved the fun camping shapes! Being retro reflective, the light from your torch bounces off the stickers and right back at you and gave me an extra bit of peace of mind!

With the wood stacked next to the fire pit my little helpers set to building the tent poles and hooking up the tie downs. As Noah was coming out from putting in the last pole, Zoe was going in and unrolling the air bed I passed up to her. Noah went into the truck and came back with the pump! Bam! We were in our bags, watching a movie on my tablet in no time! I was so proud of them!!

The water from the trees made a pop-pop sound on the tent and the kids thought it was funny. About 12:30a that pop-pop had transitioned to more of deluge with a side of splash-splash! I had opened the front vent on the rainfly to let the sweet pine air flow through the tent and lull us to sleep, but now I found myself getting wet from the rain coming in. I quickly sprang up, more like undulated on a squishy air mattress and promptly closed the vent. I went back to sleep expecting to find all manner of condensation in the tent and on our sleeping bags in the morning…Much to my surprise, there was no moisture! The bags were dry and so was the inside of the tent! I wish the same could be said about our firewood!

We rolled out of the tent, rubbed the sleep from our eyes and hoofed it to the bathrooms and returned to camp and began working on our breakfast fire.….Yeah right! The unexpected rain from the night before had gotten our wood wet but just on one side, no biggie I can work with that…the real problem was that even though my waterproof matches were waterproof, the box and striker strip were not… I managed to get one lit, the tinder going and then nothing…out it went. The box disintegrated in my hands and I was left standing there, with cardboard mush and no fire. I felt the gaze of my now ravenous children burning through my soul, their little eyes showing the worry and despair at no fire, no sizzling bacon and certainly no pancakes!

This was a perfect teachable moment….

The situation was not as dire as they thought. I always have a backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan… I set the example by staying calm and upbeat. “ I got this guys” I said as I walked to the truck and grabbed my “Bad Things Can Happen Bag”. I knew that in these damp conditions it was going to take all my fire starting knowledge to get one going. I started at the basics and had them next to me as I did. We made feather sticks, looked for dry-ish kindling…inside the bark of fallen trees, brown pine needles still on the tree and birch bark… Tinder came in the form of dryer fluff that I always have in my bag.

Out came Old Reliable (fire steel) and poof! Moments later we had a roaring fire! They were part of the process every step. I showed them that level heads prevail and where to look find what you need in nature and to never give up or lose hope… It was a great life lesson and not something that cant be learned sitting in front of a tv playing video games! This is what camping is all about! We stayed in camp that day, me, cleaning and organizing while the kids worked on their new found wilderness skills.

With three meals down and the sun beginning to set, we got ready for bed and gathered round the fire. As Noah and Zoe roasted marshmallows I played my guitar. All was right with the world. A beautiful tapestry of stars poked through the foliage overhead while the fire glowed and crackled at our feet and my children on either side of me, breathing easy and enjoying just being.

Into the tent we headed, tuckered out from the days chores. We each slipped into our own sleeping bags and soon, the little ones were fast asleep. I followed shortly there after. It was quite cozy with the three of us in there! Round about 3am I was awoken by the calls of coyotes. Calling and yipping as they moved about the forest. They make an eerie sound those calls…and it never fails to mesmerize, almost enchant if you will…these wild spirits running free, no master but instinct and hunger looking for their next meal.
Building on the previous days fire lesson and stoked up another one and I again cooked.

We had a fantastic breakfast and decided to break camp, shoot some arrows and do some exploring. We took the truck and headed out into the woods. Stopping at our secret spot, the kids jumped out and grabbed their bows. They have come such a long way with their archery and I was impressed by the results. Noah broke out his BB gun and finished off the targets. We mounted up, arms tired from pulling on bow strings and headed for the trails.

With their heads hanging out the windows we eased our way down the two tracks and around mud holes. The kids have learned that those are the best places to look for animal prints and excitement would build as we approached them. Several times we stopped and got out of the truck and see if we could read the story in this mess of prints around these windows into the soul of the forest. My Two have gotten quite skilled at the “Who, When and Which Way” of reading sign and then the imaginations start to run and off we go!
Our tracking and being observant was rewarded when Noah spotted a doe with her fawn and a bit further on when Zoe pointed out a spike horn and a doe sprinting through the bush. The kids get such a thrill from watching wild life and Rustic Rafters is our ground zero for that!
The sun was hanging high in the sky as we wheeled about and onto the highway heading home. Another great adventure in Northern Michigan in the books and a few more yet to go!

As always, thanks for reading!

links:

Napier Outdoors Truck Tents….

Gear Aid…

Rustic Rafters…

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Truck Campers Travel Journal!

I love camping. You can ask anyone, my friends…family…you name it and they will tell you how much I enjoy camping. Each time I pack up and head out, it’s a different experience…either because I forgot something crucial at home or camp gets raided by critters! Add to that I’m constantly trying to improve the experience and things can get a little jumbled and disorganized.
That’s where the Camping Journal comes in!

Made by Mike Young and costing only $12 there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one of these in your camper, tent bag or backpack! It catalogs and covers everything from fuel expenses to meal plans and even has a place for writing down favorite memories of the trip. So I get this thing in the mail and suddenly I have another reason to take the kids camping cause we have to test it out!

This time I didn’t forget a thing! I used the Camping Journal to plan our meals, build a shopping list and make sure nothing was left behind. It worked exactly as promised, now granted, your only going to get out of it what you put in to it, but the layout and design makes it simple to use and integrate into your routine.

The meal plan page covers BLD, ingredients used, cook method and a spot for prep work and cooking instructions. The next page holds info on your trip…the who, what, where of it all with details about the campground right down to cell service and local radio stations! At the end of each “Trip Section” there is a spot to record your activities and stand out memories. There’s even a blank page that I plan to use for pictures!

I have recorded two trips so far and started planning a third to see the fall colors up north. In the short time that I’ve used the Journal I have improved my organization, stepped up my cooking game and created a record of our travels! How cool is that, right?! I can look back at what worked and what didn’t, devise a new plan based on that data and record and compare the results. “But can you measure fun?” you ask….You bet I can! I’ve got two kids and trust me, they let me know if their not having a good time!!

But for me, and this is the best part of the whole thing, I’ve taken to using the Journal as a tool of perpetuity!

After each trip I make sure that I write a little letter about our trip in the space provided to my kids. My idea is to share with them the pride I feel as they develop their wilderness skills, the awe and wonder I feel when I experience things again through their eyes and just how plain happy I am that they are in my life. I hope years from now, when I’m gone, that my kids will reminisce about our trips into the woods, look at the pages and letters I have written to them and fondly remember the good times that we had and encourage them to do the same with their kids.

Isn’t that what its all about?

The Camping Journal is available at the link below. I highly recommend that you get one for your adventures!

Click here to get yours!

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“PPSS Groups New Emergency Body Armour Will Help Protect Civilians”

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, 6th September 2017

Knaresborough, United Kingdom

PPSS Group’s New Emergency Body Armour Will Help Protect Civilians

Designed for individual protection, a new rapidly deployable ‘Emergency Body Armour™’ is offering the latest in globally respected and field-tested body armour technology, displaying truly outstanding protection from edged weapon, such as machetes and knives.

Following a number of well documented knife attacks on civilians in recent years, PPSS Group started a comprehensive R&D project with the aim to design a ultra-lightweight body armour that can be strategically located in public places and deployed within a very few seconds, in case of emergency.

The UK firm is now making this new ‘Emergency Body Armour’ available to airports, train stations, hospitals, city centre hotels, and other key locations civilians may flee to and seek shelter when faced by a suddenly occurring threat.

According to the company behind this concept, this latest ‘Emergency Body Armour’ also offers unmatched protection from blunt force trauma injuries, usually suffered following an assault by a blunt object.

A top healthcare security specialist in Britain wished to remain anonymous, but commented: “To have something small, compact and lightweight stashed away or strategically placed that you could pull out and throw on, would make a huge difference between a potential life and death situation.”

Robert Kaiser, CEO of PPSS Group strongly agrees with this statement. Presenting at yesterday’s global product launch at London’s Hilton Canary Wharf Hotel he said: “An Emergency Body Armour makes sense, and it will help to protect human lives and reduce the number of casualties when a serious threat occurs.”

A live video demo of this new armour can be viewed on YouTube by searching for ‘PPSS Emergency Body Armour’ or please click on the following link: https://youtu.be/D54P9cjDIt8

Following the issuing of body armour to all Police Forces in the UK in the 90s, many hospital and university security teams have now equipped their teams with stab resistant vests since. The same can be said for several public sector enforcement teams, such as Trading Standards, Licensing, Community Safety, Environmental Health and Car Parking Enforcement.

About PPSS Group:

PPSS Group is specialised in the development, manufacturing and supply of high performance body armour, offering unrivalled protection from firearms, edged weapons and blunt force trauma. PPSS Group’s social media presence: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

Media Contact:

Jim Still – Head of Marketing & Brand Protection
js@ppss-group.com
+44 (0) 845 5193 953

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Slash Pro Hoodie!

Ok, this is some fantastic gear. Sitting at my desk writing this, I am wearing the latest in protective garment technology from SlashPRO, a slash proof/cut resistant hoodie! Based out of the UK SlashPRO has made a name for themselves in the protective garment industry with their cutting edge products and CEO that actually test the gear himself! From slash proof shirts to stab and bullet resistant vests, he dons his products and takes one for the team!!

So I get this hoodie, pull it out of the bag, put it on and to the horror of my family whip out my pocket knife and try to cut through the material! NOTHING HAPPENED! No matter how many times I slashed…left…right….up or down, not once did the blade touch skin! Serrations did produce a notable drag on the fabric but again no destruction of the fibers or rending of the material. It has an athletic cut so you may want to order one size larger to get a little more room.

The material is heavy and has an almost metallic look to it. The knit is tight and close and creates a feel that is hard to describe. It’s somewhere between thick and floppy and when you pick it up, just as your start to think “well that’s odd” you notice that it feels slippery! It breathes really well and is comfortable for all day wear. The hood is lined with the same material as the cuffs and bottom hem and once up provides total coverage for you neck and head. This hoodie has what it takes to be a life saving device.

The kangaroo pocket on the front is a accessable from both sides and is very spacious. Its a great place to stash your keys, phone and hands when they need warming! I was able to also stuff my holstered pocket pistol in there as well, keeping it handy yet descrete!

If you work in law enforcement or corrections, I would strongly recommend this hoodie. SlashPRO has many different clothing items that utilize this cutting edge material, from under shirts to full on combat wear you’ll be able to find a style that will fit your need.

Now, that’s all well and good and a great, if not boring, discussion of fit and performance….But how did it Really Feel? I’m so glad you asked! It felt great! I felt like an Medieval Knight in service to the Crown, unbeatable and ready to take on the world!

I have been using this hoodie for quite some time testing the fit, comfort, function and practical applications. I have come to the conclusion the no prep, especially urban, is complete without one of these garments…maybe not so much the boxers but definitely the shirts and hoodie. I’ve been wearing mine around town and no one is the wiser to its true purpose and function. It blends in and works fantastically in the Grey Man theme of gear that is becoming all the rage.

Click here to go to the SlashPRO Web site and see all the unique designs they have utilizing this revolutionary fabric!

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