Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Review - The UCO Arka Rechargeable USB Lantern

Here's another review I did that just got published over at Woodsmonkey this last weekend. You can read it in full - HERE

I had a really good time working with this light and was able to take it out for a few camping trips, and used it around my house whenever a flashlight was needed. When we lost our power a few times earlier in the year, this light was very helpful.

Check out the full review in the above link and thanks for checking in!


Friday, July 25, 2014

American Backcountry | Do you #Hikerchat?

American Backcountry | Do you #Hikerchat?

I'm an avid fan of #Hikerchat and the two companies that host it each week, Teton Sports and American Backcountry.

If you do a lot of things outdoors, you can appreciate a great shirt with moisture wicking properties. Toss in some great graphics, and you have a great line of shirts. Check out and their excellent selection of shirts. Then, #GetOutdoors !

- Bill

Friday, April 4, 2014

It's been a while! Time for some content.

This poor blog has been terribly neglected and I intend to get it together and start adding things in here again. It's not like I've been sitting on my butt for the last several months either, I've been out on several trips into the woods with lots of overnights, regular hikes and still reviewing gear over time for my primary home over at Woods Monkey and keeping very busy with my job at Indiana University.

Here's a few links to my more recent reviews over at Woods Monkey.

The Condor Speed Machete.

Condor Greenland Pattern Axe.

I have a nice stack of great gear in my hands right now that I'm working on for the Monkey, so I'll be sure to post those links in here as soon as they are available. As for hiking, camping and bushcraft, I have literally hundreds of pictures I've taken since my last post in here. I'm going to set some time aside later today so I can get a few of the more recent outing pictures posted. Thanks for reading! - Bill

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Custom Knife Review for WM

One of my reviews was just posted a few days back over at Woods Monkey, so I wanted to share the link so you guys can check it out, if you haven't seen it already.

Check It Out Here !

In a nutshell, I really liked working with this knife and thank that Dan Eastland has a great thing going with the glow in the dark handle concept. You should check out his web site and take a look at all of the options he has available for purchase, and if you don't see anything you like, just soot Dan an e-mail and see if he can do a custom build for you.

Thanks for reading all, more coming very soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Am I alive! The hibernation is over.

Sorry for the extreme lack of posts over the last few months. Along with winter putting a light kink in my plans for regular outings and landing a new job within the university, I have just been very busy and trying to stay afloat.

With that said, I've still been doing a lot of work at my other home, Woods Monkey, doing product reviews and being their primary webmaster. I had a lot of fun on my last review for the monkey, it was on the Rothco Military MOLLE Foldable Solar Charger . I managed to get a few nice days in the middle of winter to test it out and it worked great. Now with spring in full effect, I can't wait to get out and and try it with some of my other USB powered equipment. Here's a few pics from the review and a lot more can be seen my checking out the direct link to the review above.

Another item I had the pleasure to work with over the winter months was the Wetterlings Pack Axe that I got from Garrett wade. This little gem has been though a lot over the winter, from whacking up kindling for the fire, to being strapped to my pack for a fun hike. This is also called a belt axe, and It really does fit comfortably in your belt, but I like to just attach it to my pack and be off with it. Here's a few pictures I snapped while working with it.


The 10" hickory handle feels good in my hand and the axe itself came razor sharp. It's one of the first things I have received where I didn't feel the need to work on the edge at all. Weighing in at a small 1 1\4 lb, this little axe rides very well while sitting inside of your belt, or just toss it in your pack and you're ready to go. The all-around quality, from the head, leather sheath and handle, are top quality, as are a majority of the Wetterlings line.

On a more recent cold weather trip, I took the axe and a few other things to test out in the cold Indiana weather. I hiked out into the hills for some cold weather hammock camping with my large pack, a lot of my old favorites and some new items to test out as well

The main thing I wanted to try out in the frigid weather was the Grand Trunk Hammock Sleeping Bag.  Basically what this is, is a mummy style sleeping bag with two slits at either end for your hammock to pass through. They have their own system for staying closed and from my own experience, they worked well. The bag itself is 88" x 34", which worked well for me since I am 6'2. The weather that night was down to just below 30 degrees, so for a little added warmth, I tossed in my old trusty military poncho liner for a little added warmth. The bag is rated down to 32 degrees, so I just wanted to be sure that I would be warm enough that evening. It worked great and despite the issues I had with one of the zippers that refused to fully close, I managed to stay very warm and slept well. Check out the link above for more info on the sleeping bag. Here are a few pictures from that last trip out. With winter gone and the sun coming out, I'll be able to get more woods-time soon and keep working on different things. Enjoy the pics and thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This is a great deal that I plan to take advantage of! The awesome folks over at Camping Survival are having an amazing sale right now on Mountain House products. The sale ranges from #10 cans to other kits as well.

It's certainly worth a look, I've always liked Mountain House products as they are easy to prepare, store and  actually tastes great!

Click on the banner above and check it out. Let me know if you get anything! :)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

New to Instagram

So, after being asked by multiple people if I use Instagram and having to tell them "no", I decided to create an account and start doing some picture dumps from my phone.

It's nothing too exciting, but if you use Instagram and would like to link up, here is my page --

More to come soon!

- B

Monday, February 4, 2013

SOG's New Voodoo Hawk

Another recent one I did for my primate friends over at Woods Monkey  recently was a full write-up on the SOG Voodoo Hawk.

Full review and a lot more pics can be found HERE. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Condor Engineer Bolo

I had a great time working with the Condor Engineer Bolo through my second home over at Woods Monkey.

Here's one of the pictures and some links to check out the rest of my review. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Condor Knife and Tool Engineer Bolo - Review

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A few updates..

I've been so busy with work and other things that this poor blog has been neglected for too long. Time to get back into the saddle!

I have some cool gear I'm checking out right now and will toss up reviews within the coming days. Until then, here's a few reviews I did recently for my other home over at Woods Monkey

Stay tuned for more good things to happen here at Hoosier Bushcraft and Outdoors. Thanks all!

- Bill

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gerber Steady - Field Report

I've been having fun with this little guy now for a few months and really like it's primary function of as a mini tripod. Leave it to the engineers at Gerber to come up with a tripod that also has twelve other useful components that will come in handy on a daily basis. While the tool is full of greatness, it does have a small downside in my opinion that I will chat about later. It's pretty small compared that what I like about it.

The Gerber Steady comes with a tough nylon case with a Velcro closure on both the front strap and the belt loop as well. There really isn't a whole lot to say about the case other than it's sturdy and should stand the test of time. I do like how the Steady sits down in the case and won't move around at all when adventuring in the woods, or just walking around town.

When opening the nylon sheath, you first see the tripods suction cup in it's own little pocket. The suction cup is held in place with a strip of elastic webbing and ides some effort, I could not get the cup to pop out of the sheath.

The Steady has about twelve different tools that can make anyone's life a little easier. To start with you have larger blade that is 1/4 serrated. With the Steady closed, you can easily access and open this blade with your thumb (I'm right-handed). On the same side, you also have smaller blade with a straight edge that you can use for smaller jobs. In the middle of same handle, you have a Phillips head screwdriver bit and the suction cup mount.

Along with the needle nose pliers, that also have a wire cutter built in, you also have two more screwdrivers bit (micro flat and medium) a bottle opener, an awl, and other items that will always come in handy. Here are the basic dimensions:

  • Height: 2.10 inches
  • Weight: 7.20 Ounces
  • Length: 4.90 inches
  • Width: 2.60 inches

The special function of the Gerber Steady is what I really like a lot. The tripod legs on the Steady fold out and allow you to customize the height easily The rubber coated feet on the legs can help eliminate slipping when using the tripod function on a slick surface. 

The thing I found very surprising was how well the suction cup worked on my smartphone! I have an HTC Incredible (first gen) and the suction cup worked great on the back of this phone. I'm surprised because the back of my phone is not perfectly smooth, but the suction cup was still able to grab onto the back of my phone and hold it until I was done. The great thing about the suction cup is the attached lever that you can use to secure a smartphone. It's a great design that works and is easy to use. If you brought your digital camera with you and want to use the Gerber Steady, just use the same screw that you would have for the suction cup and you're good to go. Note that you should only use your "point and click" camera on this tripod.

The one item that stops me from completely loving the the Gerber Steady is the fact that so much of the product is made out of plastic. While this is somewhat of a turn-off, I guess what you get in return is a lighter product that is also within reason price-wise. That's not bad at all! 

The Gerber Steady is going to be in my kit when I head out and need a small tripod for quick pictures. It's very adjustable, which really makes is useful and the array of other tools you get with it doesn't hurt as well.

Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions. I've always been a big fan of Gerber ingenuity and having a lifetime warranty doesn't hurt as well . Thanks and be safe!

- Bill

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First Thoughts On The Teton Outfitter XXL Quick Tent

When I'm not sleeping in a Grand Trunk hammock at night while in the woods, I will at times enjoy a peaceful sleep in a tent. When on a solo trip, I usually don't take a tent with me and tend to just go with a tarp and hammock setup due to weight and the small amount of space they take up in/on my pack. After working with the Teton Outfitter XXL Quick Tent, I have found the one tent that I can easily carry around and comes loaded with features.

First off, this little tent is only 4lbs when packed up and ready for action. Now considering it comes with a full rainfly, multiple ground stakes, attached guy-lines and integrated frame, 4lbs is well worth the tiny amount of weight you will need to carry out. The carry bag comes with an integrated handle and a drawstring closure  and full instructions that are sewn into the inside of the bag. I have to say that after a full setup and take-down of the tent one time, I will never need the instructions again...this thing is a BREEZE to work with!

One you have removed the tent from the storage bag, it's a simple matter to lay the tent out flat on the ground and set aside the rain cover and bag of stakes. With the tent laid out flat, the first thing you do is to unfold the four arms on each corner. On the two longer arms, you need to also push them together after unfolding them so that they lock into place.

Once you have all four corners out, you simply pick up the center piece of tent by cord coming out of the top of the spreader base. With one hand, you apply enough pressure to the spreader base so that it stays in place, and with your other hand, you lift of on the cord.

You will then see the entire tent form on front of you with little to no effort at all. In the end, you should have something that looks like this:

That's literally all there is to it, you now have a shelter that will keep the bugs off you and one that offers you enough room from a full size sleeping bag and any other sleeping essential you may need. The dimensions for the tent itself are 6' 9"L x 3' 3"W x 2' 6"T. This offers plenty of space for one person to stretch out and relax.

The zipper on the door seems heavier than s standard tent zipper and as always, with Teton you get their easy-to-use zipper with an attached lanyard. (Sorry for the blurry picture)

The rainfly is incredible easy to attach to the tent. Just toss the fly over the tent, ensure you have the right side up (Teton can be seen on the side) and clip the four corners to the corners of the tent itself. Pull the straps to increase tension and you're done.

For added support, you can use the provided stakes to secure each of the four corners to the ground, as well as the provided guy lines. The front of the rainfly has a full length zipper and is also reinforced with a few strips of Velco to help keep water out and away from the zipper. The two flaps that make up the can be rolled up and secured to the door frame with the provided  "hook and loop" system in place. The same method of securing the rainfly doors is also in place at the bottom of the main door, should you ever want the door to be wide open and out of the way.

Now, I'm a 6'3 guy and I hate feeling cramped. First inspection revealed that I had nothing to fear with the Outfitter XXL Quick Tent. I'm also to stretch out full on my back, as well as sit up full without touching the sides. If you have a small enough pack, it can probably fit beside you in the tent, but my Teton Outfitter 4600 pack is just too big to be in there with me. I could use it for a pillow I guess, but that's what pack pillows are for :-)

In all, I am extremely pleased with this single person tent so far and plan to give further field reports on it as I go. After one time of setup and take down, you can get this tent set up in a matter of seconds. It actually takes longer to get it out of the bag ;-) A super huge thanks goes out to Teton for allowing me to check out this tent. I'm hooked on their products because the price is great and the quality is top notch.

Here are the full specs of the Outfitter XXL Quick Tent, per Teton's website:

Dimensions: 6' 9"L x 3' 3"W x 2' 6"T
Pack Weight: 4 lbs
Capacity: 1 person
Shell: 75D Taffeta 2000MM PU
Doors: 1
Pole System: Quick–up System III
Color: Yellow–Orange

Also, this is a great company video that shows the easy setup and take-down of the Outfitter XXL.

Note that the first night spent in this tent, it rained and not a single drop got inside. The rainfly did it's job perfectly!

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions and keep an eye out for more updates and pictures of this tent in action.