Sunday, April 13, 2014

How to carry a hatchet on a MOLLE pack.

If you are like me, you probably carry a pack that has some sort of PALS webbing on it for the attachment of MOLLE pouches. If you have ever wanted to carry a hatchet with you as well, you may have been left wondering how to do this. You could put it in the pack, but a hatchet is an item that just feels like it should be carried outside the pack. You could use some paracord to attach it to the outside of the pack, and that is a viable solution, though tying and untying it is not very efficient.

I read about this trick on an internet forum. I wish I could say exactly which one, but I can't quite remember. It may have been or it may have been, or maybe someplace else. I wish I knew for sure so I could give them proper credit.

For this trick, you will need a 40mm grenade pouch. These are available as military surplus for under $5. They really don't seem to fit anything well, besides 40mm grenades, which is why they are so cheap. The one I have here I believe I purchased for $1-$2.

If you look at the bottom of it, you will see that it is partially open. This is why it is not good at holding anything other than 40mm grenades. 

In order to make it useful for carrying a hatchet, we need to open it all the way. Simply take a razor blade and cut the stitching that partially closes it. Here is the amount of stitching that needs to be cut outlined in red. This needs to be cut on both sides.

This is what the pouch should like at the bottom, completely open. Once you are done, the modification is finished.

This is the pouch mounted on a backpack. For carrying a hatchet, I like to fold the flap down into the pouch. You could also cut it off completely.

And finally, here is the pouch carrying a hatchet.

This could also hold a shovel or other similar tools with handles. 

This is a simple, cheap, and effective way to carry a hatchet on a MOLLE pack. I hope that at least a few people out there will find this useful on future expeditions. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Gear Review: Czech Military Police Sleeping Bag

Sometime last summer, I purchased a surplus Czech Military Police Sleeping Bag from After having spent a few nights in it, I decided to write a review about to aid those who may be considering this sleeping bag.

The one that I received was in excellent condition. I would not be surprised if it was unissued. The first thing to notice about this bag is that it is big and heavy. When rolled up and compressed with the built in compression straps, it is 15" tall and 13" in diameter and weighs 7 pounds. The size and weight would make it a poor choice for backpacking. Once rolled out, the exterior is made out of two different materials that are the same color, but have different textures. The bottom is made of a nylon like material. I did not test it, but it is probably water proof. The top is made out of a different material that is more felt like. Unlike the bottom material, the top does not look like it would be waterproof. Both materials seem durable and resistant to tears or general wear.

When sleeping in it, it is very roomy. I am 6'2" and weigh about 260 pounds, so I am no small fellow, and I found it to be quite comfortable. Height wise, I think I am near the maximum that would be comfortable. 6'3" might also be comfortable, but I would not recommend anyone taller than that try it out. Width wise, there is plenty of room to move around, both in the torso as well as in the foot area. The only issue I have as far as comfort goes is the zipper. Unlike most sleeping bags that zip on the side, this one has the zipper right in the middle with pulls on both the inside and outside. The result is that the inside pull often touches your chin when it is zipped upped, making for a mild annoyance. It is not bad enough to prevent you from sleeping, but it is noticeable. Despite this, I still consider this a comfortable bag overall. And even though the zipper may be an annoyance, it is very heavy duty and zips up and down quite easily. I have never had any issues with it snagging.

I could not find a temperature rating for this bag, but based on my experience, I think you could comfortably sleep in 35-40 degrees in this bag, maybe even a little less if you are fairly well acclimated to colder temperatures. There is no extra insulation in the foot area, so your feet may be a bit cold at the lower end of the temperature spectrum unless you wear socks or do something else to add some extra insulation.

This bag also has one other feature: a piece of bug netting that is stored in a small pocket inside the sleeping bag. If you are not using a tent or bug net, you can unfold the netting and place it over your face inside the bag to keep the bugs away at night.

Bug netting that comes in the bag.

Overall, I like this bag for what it is. The positives are that it is durable, comfortable, and cheap. The negatives are that it is heavy and bulky. It is not adequate for backpacking, but I would highly recommend this bag to anyone for car camping in moderate weather.