Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back in Black (Random Equipment Notes)

Call sign "CARRIED INTEREST".  Aka "The Wraith."  600+ hp  6-liter W12 twin turbo.  0-60 4.3 sec/200 mph top-end :), yet still remaining within the parameters of elegance and civilized taste.  The Flying Spur is part of a larger upgrade to, shall we say, "institutional grade infrastructure" on multiple dimensions.  More detailed reviews on effectiveness in both social/lifestyle and pure performance contexts to follow after a few months of work with this beast.


Tom Bihn is well-known among the hardcore vagabond-travel types and the gear is really well thought-out.  I have fancier-looking and heavier luggage for certain applications, but the Bihn stuff is what I use all the time.

Here we have two bags, the Synapse 25 backpack for technology/gadgets and the Aeronaut maximum-legal carry-on (which does have concealed backpack straps) as a "shack pack" (overnight bag normally left in trunk of car and used to support unplanned opportunities). 

We all probably have opinions on this, but the system that I personally use for EDC luggage goes something like this:

1.  Go Bag.  The requirement here is versatility in social and practical use contexts.  You want a bag that, ideally, you could A) take into a business meeting; B) use as a carry-on flight bag;  C) *comfortably* take with you on a day of sightseeing as a tourist; D) work out of if you had a few hours in a coffee shop;  E) take with you on a casual date (if you had to). 

The single best bag for these purposes that I have found is the Filson 72.  It's about the perfect size and it has a retro, WWII-vintage or safari-esque look that works well in a variety of settings and has captured my imagination.   I also use some beautiful and attention-getting Saddleback leather products for more glamour, but the Filson bags are light and efficient. 

2.  Tech Bag.  If I want to bring a lot of gadgetry around and can prioritize comfort over other variables, I usually will want to use a backpack in the 20-25 liter range.  

3.  Shack Pack.  This is a carry-on sized bag for clothes, shaving kit, etc.  It would normally be left in the trunk.  The items carried in it are for comfort; I assume that if I am out and about I will be dressed in Hedge Fund Gigolo, so the Shack Pack is meant to complement HFG. It gives you the ability to change into something more functional/casual, work out, and so on w/o having to go home first.  Most of the items are from TAD Gear and Arc'teryx; I suppose that the concept could be called "Paleo Gigolo".

I really dislike being inconvenienced, especially with tedious, routine life frictions.  Alas, a frequent inconvenience occurs when I have to transfer pieces of equipment between the Go Bag and the Tech Bag; these are the two bags that see the most content-transfer because they are both used regularly and serve a similar role for me.  Filson has helped me out with these padded "Multipad" sleeve/organizers.  They come in different colors, including tan and black:

Each sleeve has layers of internal organizer pockets: 

Here is Filson plus the two Bihn pieces:

A former member of the Strauss/Mystery pick-up artist crew and professional gambler-turned-nomadic world traveler named "Tynan" has produced some excellent gear reviews and minimalist-travel type load-out lists using a Bihn Synapse bag (I am currently using a few of his suggested items): 

Tynan Gear List


In terms of some interesting leather goods...  Teppei Teranishi left the Orange County hardcore music scene and has been doing handmade artisanal leather work in the Pacific NW.  Here we have three items:  the indigo/tan minimalist leather wallet at the top is a really nice, conversation-quality piece; the larger Dopp kit on the bottom right is stashed in my shack pack Aeronaut; and my favorite of the trio is probably the small Moleskine notebook cover with the integrated pen sheath (pen I put in there is a Fellhoelter in titanium that I purchased from the master outfitters at TAD Gear). 

The notebook cover contains a small leather business card case from Wulf.  Here it is next to a beautiful Saddleback cover for the larger Moleskine notebooks that I use for (archived) journals:


These guys make really nice dress socks, boxers, and sweat pants, among other things.  They transform the shop into a lounge at night; I could readily imagine Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan shopping there.


This rifle is a Spike's Tactical "Black Assassin" with a Magpul sling and Hazard 4 "Evac Smuggler" soft case.  This is my favorite general format for a utility-outfielder-type AR and Spike's executed it very well.  They are great people to work with.  

I will be mounting optics, weaponlight, etc. in the next couple of weeks, but so far I really like this thing and would certainly put it on the same shelf as my AR carbines from other high-end makers.  Spike's Tactical also makes an integrally-suppressed SBR called "the Compressor" that unfortunately has a current backorder log of almost a year.  Having handled one briefly in the Spike's shop, I can say that a tricked out Compressor will probably be my home defense piece as soon as I can acquire one.   


Amusing morale patch: 



A selection of the very, very best interdisciplinary combat instructors---i.e., guys who can put together a training package that has elements of shooting, empty hands, knife, social dynamics/social engineering, tactical applications, and so on---are now conducting classes in association with TAD out in California.


This is a real Dream Team.  I have learned and continue to learn a lot from these men.   Much of the Septivium concept and curriculum is based on conversations I have had with them over the years.