First impressions of Esbit Dual Fuel Cook Set

So far i have used for cooking kits many different choices.I mean,i have a percolator for my coffee, a small 12cm Zebra pot,an MSR 750ml pot,couple stainless cups.Depending on what i was going out for and for how long,some or most of them were my cooking kit.I like  it very much when i start my camp fire and cook my meals there;who doesn’t after all?

I had the luck to get one Esbit Cook Set as Christmas gift from a very good friend and i thought that i could share couple of my thoughts with you.I have to say that it will not be 100% review because i can’t find any denatured alcohol here,for unknown reasons and i had tried only Esbit fuel tablets and Fire Dragon gel fuel tablets from BCB company.

The cooking set comes in two mesh bags.The bigger bag keeps the pot and the pan,while the smaller mesh bag keeps the base,the alcohol burner and the solid fuel stand. This way the whole set nests inside the big pot and takes minimum space in the pack.

The cookset in the mesh bag.

The cookset is made of light,hard anodized aluminum,except the alcohol burner of course,which is made of solid brass.The whole system weights 459gr/ 16.065 oz. Hard anodized aluminum is a very good alternative to titanium cookware.It doesn’t weight to much and it also doesn’t cost as much as titanium. This set looks very well made.The two pots have  fold out stainless steel handes,which are covered with some sort of plastic material to avoid burning your hands.The big pot has measurements at the side, from 200ml -750 ml/12oz-24oz.This helps when you need to boil the right amount of water for cooking or making a brew.


I wanted to try the BCB’s Fire Dragon gel tablets,and see if i can use them with this set.It’s good to have some alternatives.The Fire Dragon tablets are bigger and taller than the normal fuel tablets.Also,after  catches fire they liquidate,so you have to avoid any fuel leak.

BCB Fire Dragon fuel

Obvious,you can’t use the solid fuel stand with the traditional way…So,i make a small “pot” from aluminum foil to place the gel tablet and i use the stand reversed…

With this way,i managed to boil water to make a very nice cup of cocoa,during a brake from a short hiking.The water boiled in around 6-7 minutes.


I am very pleased with this set.It is lightweight,compact and comes very handy in places where open fires aren’t allowed.You can make a brew or boil water for dehydrated meals easily.You can use the alcohol burner and fuel tablets and i think with the trick i made gel tablets are good option too.It won’t replace completely my other devices,but i can use it during short hike or when i am going for day hunting and during the season where open fires aren’t allowed.Personally,i recommend this cookset to anyone who is looking for a good quality cooking kit.

Thank you Brian for your very nice gift!


Review of 180 FLAME stove

Since this is the first article for the 2017,i would like to wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I was looking at the market for a while now to find a lightweight stove to use at my outings,especially during season where camp fires are not allowed.I wanted a small,easily packed and deployed,made of stainless steel to keep the cost down,titanium items can be pretty expensive and preferably wood burning.I am not very big fan of gas canister stoves and also alcohol stoves.I don’t want to carry fuel canisters in my pack,that might leak too, when i can pick up from the ground pounds of dead branches to start and maintain my fire.

I had seen many different types of stoves and watched enough video reviews,and i decided to go with 180 Flame stove.The stove comes in a resealable heavy plastic bag which contains a user’s guide too.You can use the bag to store the stove or carry water in an emergency.The stove parts are holding together with two large ranger’s band.Very easily replaceable,if you loose one.

The stove is made from 304 stainless steel,weights 6.4 oz and the measures 5”L x 3 1/4” x 5/8”H stored and when it’s assembled 5” L x 4”W x 3 1/4” H.I like the fact that this stove has just five parts;no rivets,screws,hinges or spot welds are needing to assemble the stove.The parts are interlocking in a simple tab and slot design.The stove is very stable thanks to it’s simple design;sturdy sides to support the weight of a pot and no moving parts at all!The design is so simple but ingenius that even if you step on the stove by mistake and bend it,you could easily fix it to usable condition.

The stove’s parts

The three sides of the stove allows great ventilation,the front side is open enough to help you feeding the fire with ease.At the back side the chimney slot allows very good airflow,even if your frying pan is bigger than the surface of the stove.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can use all kind of natural fuel with this stove;wood,grass,pine cones and needles,twigs.And you need small amounts of fuel to boil your water or cook a meal.The time for boiling water is around five minutes.I made a nice cup of greek coffee in that time.

Getting the stove ready for making a cup of coffee

I do think that this is an excellent stove.It’s very well made,lightweight,easily maintained or repaired at the field and most of all i like the simplicity of this stove.Sometimes the simple things are the greatest things of all!The 180 FLAME comes at great price($35 is what i paid for it at eBay) and that’s another bonus.


A Hunting Pack Load for Day Trips


Christmas are around the corner and the hunting season is at high peak here.The season started late August but not all game was allowed for hunting.After September 15th,rabbit,warthog and grouse season started,so more hunters got involved.

At the beggining of the hunting season,i used to carry a haversack with some essential items.The days were much hotter than now and light clothing and gear was prefered.For this time of year,i had managed to acquire one Scout Pack,from Duluth Packs.I wanted for years to get one Duluth Pack and i finally made it.

The pack i picked is a brown color pack and i have to admit that the quality is excellent.Very good canvas quality and excellent double stiching.The leather straps are of excellent quality leather.The shoulders straps are pretty comfortable,despite the missing of padding.Very impressive pack;i like a lot the traditional look it has.

I have loaded the pack with the items i used to carry to the haversack.These are; a first aid kit,a 270z stainless steel bottle,a titanium cup,a kupilka cup,paracord,three tent stakes,a poncho(for make a shelter or wear it,in case of unexpected rain),a space blanket,an emergency sleeping bag,a bandana,a small cloth bag,a tin (with few essentials like duct tape,emergency whistle,fire steel) and a toilet paper.I also carry couple plastics bags,to pick up my empty shells and my trash, and in case i find any wild edibles plants.

Scout Pack contents

This load is great for spending few hours at the hunting spot.I usually start hunting around 07:00 at the morning and finishes around 10:30.The most common game I am going for are quails,dovetails,rabbits,woodpigeon,partridge.Οccasionaly ducks.For this season and for time i am spending at the field these items are just fine.I also have my hunting belt on me,which has my knife,a LTWK Maverick Scout on my right side and two small pouches where i keep my shells,a #8 Opinel folder and a spare fire steel.

I would like to mension to all fellow hunters always follow the safety rules,respect the Nature(not trash and spending shells at the ground) and the game.

Happy hunting trips to all and Merry Christmas!



Survival Kit:Multiply Your Chances to Survive

Many of us had heard before the terms survival kit, personal survival kit, urban survival kit and other similar kit. At the market you can find many kinds of survival kits of different size, small for pocket carry or bigger in tin or plastic containers. Some have a lot of items, others had less items. If you look carefully, some of the items that included in these kits are the same. Why? Because all kits are based on the same principals; to provide you items that will cover the basic needs like fire, shelter, water and multiply your chances of survival and possibly rescue in emergency situations.

The most important needs to have in mind when assemble a survival kit are cutting tools, fire, shelter, water, cover, orientation and signaling. Many people are familiar with the 5C’s and if you based your kit having these 5 essentials in mind, you will end up with a very good kit. The kit should also be tailored on your own standards but you must have always in mind that you must cover the most basic needs. Another factor, you should consider is the terrain that you are living or going for outdoor activities…you might need different things at forest, desert/dry environment or at tropical area.

You must consider, also that the items that you are willing to add to your kit must be tested before and prove their value. It is always better to know what a specific item can do before you included in your kit. Always test your gear. You can pick items that can have more than one uses too. For example a safety pin can make a very nice fishing hook. When you have decided what items you would like your survival kit has, put them preferably inside a waterproof and airtight box, or tin or any other container you like. Never opened the survival kit again, unless the time and need for it has arrived.

Picture 1: Waterproof bag that contains my survival kit

I keep the items of my survival kit in a waterproof and airtight container for maximizing the protection of my items. I have put together this kit based on the area I live now; which is less than four miles from the sea and about 15 miles from a woodland area. At 50 miles from my town there is two locations covered with thousand acres of forest and lot of small creeks and river. I have searched these areas and I had found my SHTF camp bases there.

Picture 2: Plano Molding waterproof and air tight box.

Analyzing the Items of the Survival Kit and Their Uses

This kit contains tools that will help me to make a fire, construct a shelter, and carry water. Also it will help me to catch food and repair my clothes or gear if needed. Some of these items have multipurpose uses too that will explained further on. The items I had chosen for my kit are based on mine knowledge, and skill set and are tailored to my needs. These items work for me, but maybe not for someone else.Let’s see all the items and explain their purpose and usefulness. First are the items that make my fire kit.

Picture 3:My fire kit

My fire kit items consist from a Bic lighter, a small ferrocerium rod, five waterproof matches with their striker and a small Live Fire tinder box. This tinder can also be used for emergency light. In a forest area you can find tinder, for example pine needles, fatwood or birch bark but having ready tinder in any case is a great preparation. Also this tinder is waterproof, so you can start a fire in a rainy day. The ferrocerium rod will help you when the lighter’s fluid or the matches end.

Next are some items that are my repairing kit plus small tools that will help in different tasks.

Picture 4:Repair kit

From left to right you can see a can opener three large safety pins, a small folding saw, a small folding razor blade, a duct tape role, a needle and some thread. These items can have many uses. The safety pins can be used for keeping your clothes together but also and as fishing hooks. The small razor blade is great for cleaning fish and prepares small game. It will stay sharp for about a month, if I don’t use it on hard materials. You must care and preserve the blade of your main knife. The thread has a lot of uses; not only you can patch your clothes or gear, but you can use it as dental floss or cordage. The canvas needle is a heavy duty #14 needle. Because the eyelet is wide I can use sinew for sewing. Also it can pass through leather because of the bigger and harder tip. The duct tape can be used for repairs and as adhesive tape for small wounds too. The small saw can be handy and helpful for shelter building and processing wood for the fire.

I have included a small fishing kit to my survival kit, because as I had mentioned earlier sea is close and my bug-out locations are near river too. So I have good chances to find food. This is a ready kit, made by BCB Company. It has two hooks, two lures, two swivels, two weights, winder and approximately 100ft line.

Picture 5:BCB fishing kit

For carrying water and disinfect it, I added a small zip lock bag and few water purification tablets. The best way to have clean water is to boil it but if for some reason you cannot build a fire then the tablets can help you drink safe water.I have also included a magic tissue, which is a shrunk towel that gets larger when you put it in water. It will be useful for cleaning yourself somehow, in an outdoor-survival scenario.

Picture 6:Zip lock bag,water purification tablets and the magic tissue

For general direction use I had added a small button compass to my kit. It’s handy and useful if you don’t have any other mean to check your direction.

Picture 7: Button compass

A survival kit will help you to improve your chances of surviving if you ever faced a difficult situation. The items that you have included in your kit will help you to survive along with your mentality and initiative. Don’t expect to survive only because you have the best survival kit. You must consider that your survival kit is the catalyst, the ‘bonus’factor that will help you in a survival situation. The main tool you should have in your kit is your personal skills. These skills you have to develop first and these are the first things that must be included in your survival kit.




Live Fire Gear

Light my fire




Shotgun Vest;A Good Way to Carry Your Shells

One of the questions that follows the purchase of a shotgun and especially a fighting shotgun, since in my part of world it is the only available firearm, is usually how to carry the shot shells. Well, one option is the traditional bandoleers and shot shells pouches and the other is the practical/tactical way. This way converts chest rigs and pouches made for carrying magazines for assault rifles, like AK-47,AR-15,M16/M4 and similar, to fit shell cards or round strippers. Another example is  the pouches that holds linked ammo for the machineguns like M240 and M249, are perfect for keeping a great amount of shotgun shells, cause are big enough and the flap cover they are equipped with, prevents the shells of any accidental drop during your training or practice.

The biggest problem of all these options is the weight of the shotgun rounds. When you spend the rounds during practice, if you are wearing a chest rig, you have probably noticed that as the weight reducing, the rig ‘falls’ to the front. The weight distribution isn’t good. The result with the M60 ammo type pouches is the same; worse if you were these pouches on a belt.

The tactical gear manufacturers has enough options to offer; leg rigs holding 20 rounds (BLACKHAWK, SPECTER GEAR), different kinds of pouches that holds 6 -12 rounds (TACTICAL TAILOR, BDS TACTICAL and others), card shells and round strippers (Esstac , California Competition Work and more).All these type of equipment needs to be carried on a chest rig or MOLLE/PALLS vest or warrior type belt, which means extra cost for the owner.  There are only couple companies that make rigs dedicated for shotgun users, SOE with the micro rig and Tactical Tailor with the TAC VEST 1C SHOTGUN (this vest is discontinued).

However I found the solution, with the help of a good friend of mine who runs a shop called Hellenic Arms Company; it is the Eagle Industries TAC-V1 –UTILITY Vest and I will try to review it. The vest is made of 1000 Denier nylon Cordura and has messed areas for body ventilation. There are six small straps, with Velcro and snap button at the bottom of the vest, in case you want to wear a belt, like LC-2 or duty belt, and want to connect it with the vest. The vest has 3 magazines pouches, 2 small chest pockets, 2 large utility pockets and a small pouch over the left shoulder for compass or personal field dressing. At the right shoulder there is a non –slippery surface made from black suede leather. The vest closes with heavy duty YKK zipper.The vest has an emergency carrying handle at the back and Velcro surfaces. Also there are two rows for adding extra gear using ALICE clips or MALICE clips and enough metal D- rings to hang items like chemical light sticks. As you can, also see I had added a small first aid kit at the back; it’s the H1 pouch from TACTICAL TAILOR. The vest comes in different sizes (medium, large, etc) but it’s adjustable; you use the three straps at each side, to make the adjustments for the desirable width and the shoulder straps to control the height. Before you buy one vest, make sure that you try it on, to find the correct size and then make the adjustments when you have load your gear on it.


Let’s take a look at the pouches of the vest and see what each one of them holds inside. At the right chest pouch there is a 5 rounds card holder with Velcro at its back surface, which holds 10 pellets 00buck shot. The small pouch at the left, under the compass pouch, is used for small items like ear plugs, binoculars, flashlight and extra batteries or other similar items.  Outside, there is a Velcro area, which has a 5 rounds card holder on, with a combination of 3 slugs and two 9 pellets 00 buck shots.


At the right side of the vest, there are two large utility pouches; you can put 15 or 20 shells easily. I keep 15 rounds of 9 pellets 00 buck, I think it’s good amount of ammo and the weight is kept at a reasonable level. I also made a small modify at these pouches, for extra security, I sewn a small Velcro patch with some Kevlar fabric, to be sure that will last. I have found out, that when you carrying your shells in pouches like the above, is more easily and quicker to reload your shotgun; but that is only my humble opinion. I have tried it, fits me and works fine for me .


At the left side of the vest there are three magazines pouches. Each one of the three magazines pouches can hold 2 AR 30 rounds magazines or one 7,62×51 magazine, like the ones that used for M14, FAL, HK rifles and other similar caliber rifles; however I had discovered that they can hold a 6 round stripper in each. The two brown strippers holds 6 rounds each of 9 pellets 00 buck, while the black stripper holds 6 slugs. In conclusion the total amount of shells is: 30rounds at the large pouches+18 at the strippers (6 shells x 3 strippers) +10 at the Velcro holders=58 rounds. Enough ammunition for my 590 and different types of it, offered you the flexibility you want at the range or  at patrol duty ; but the best part is that the weight distribution is all around the upper body; you don’t put pressure to your waist (the opposite happens, when you wear a heavy loaded belt without shoulder straps), and you eliminate the phenomenon of the ‘falling’ rig, while you spend your ammo down the range.



I think that using a vest, allow you to carry more ammo and not tired you up during the process. If you like, you can add and a belt, resulting more carrying capacity of ammo and gear. The vest has and two interiors pockets for maps and other papers and also at the back of the vest is sewn a pouch that accepts any 2lt or 3lt water bladders, like SOURCE or CAMELBAK. I know that as a design, it’s old, comparing with the modern MOLLE platforms but is a very good choice. The cost is also significant low, $150 was what I paid, when for a MOLLE rig you need $70 at least, plus $35-40 for each pouch; for example if you buy a chest rig for $70, two pouches for your ammo $40 each, a general purpose pouch for your small items $35 and a first aid pouch for another $35, you have spent $220, almost the double price; as you can see the cost rises. The ammo capacity is good enough and you have to remember that if you wear a web belt, you gain extra storage capacity. Also, because it has so many different types of pouches, it provides you the ability to carry different type of ammunition.


If you are looking for an effective, high quality made, heavy duty working vest at a reasonable price, and doesn’t mind the fact that it isn’t MOLLE, then you should consider the TAC-V1-UTILITY.


Hellenic Arms Company


A Simple First Aid Kit

The knowledge of basic and simple techniques of first aids is very useful and valuable skill to own, not only for our daily life, but also for the time that we use to spend outdoors, enjoying Nature and doing our favorites activities. Whenever you are spending time at the great outdoors, doing hunting, hiking, camping, backpacking or any other activity, you should always carry a first aid kit.

A first aid kit and any experience on Basic First Aid procedures, (like CPR for example), will help you to treat minor injuries, like small cuts or minor burnt, as well as strains or leg or arm breaks and maybe more serious wounds or fractures. I understand that there is a large group of people that know special ways to treat a wound, for example, using items like duct-tape or super glue (used by military personnel mostly); also a lot of people that considered themselves expert in survival or people that have spent a lot of time outdoors practicing and studying plants that can be used for different treatments, these are uncommon practices and because are extreme and unusual methods, I don’t recommend them to common men. You have to be truly an expert to perform these treatments. The main objective of this article is to present the most common and useful items that someone with little or no experience must have in a First Aid kit and not to analyze more ‘special’ kind of treatments or cures.

You can find many kinds of First aid kits on the market; many companies offer first aid kits, ready to use, at decent prices. Also on military surplus stores you can find a variety of soldiers IFAKs. All these kits contains items that are easy to used by a person with little or no experience on first aids. Have to mention that some of the military kits might contain items that need some training and experience for being safely use.

You can also purchase a simple pouch and add your own medical supplies and create your own first aid kit, based on your own knowledge, experience and of course needs. Everyone has different medical needs to cover; for instance someone might be diabetic and needs insulin or have an allergy, therefore you must include and special medications on your kit.

 How i organised my First Aid Kit

My First Aid pouch is a MOLLE type pouch, made of 1000D cordura by MSA-PARACLETE Company. The pouch has two sections for your medical supplies and opens with two zippers. Having the MOLLE system, the pouch can be attached on the exterior of any MOLLE pack but also on ALICE packs, too. It can be attached on a belt too, if someone feels the need to have the First Aid Kit, closer and easily accessible. Personally I keep it on the left pouch of my ALICE pack.The pouch has enough room to store a good amount of supplies.

Based on my knowledge and experience I keep items that can help treat most common wounds that occurs on a camp trip, like cuttings, insects or plants bites, burnt(not severe) and perhaps a strain or break. To treat wound caused by cutting yourself with your knife for example, I have bandages, Celox, triple antibiotic ointment, gauzes and roll tape, non woven adhesive dressings and a battle dressing bandage for more serious wound.The military bandage can also be used to retain a strain ankle for example. I also have a pair of EMT shears scissors and a pair of disposal latex gloves.For minor burns I can use the after bite gel, but also the non woven dressings too.

The small canisters of saline, can be used to clean a wound, especially on difficult areas like the nose or close to eyebrow or as a mouth wash, in case any dental injury occurs. It helps to clean the wound and prevent any potential infection. I also keep couple pills for pains, like headaches or toothache.With this small kit and knowing CPR, I can treat the most common injuries during an outdoor trip and at camp site.

But I am not relying only on these; I am trying to attend a course on First Aid,(probably of Red Cross) so I can gain more experience and knowledge. At this point, I would like to suggest to everyone that read this article to attend a First Aid class, it’s a great skill to know and it might needed only once but would be crucial one time. A first aid kit is an essential part of any outdoorsman gear and as I had said on a forum way back ’if my friend showed up with couple bandages and nothing more, stating that he has the first aid covered, I would hit him so hard, that he would beg for an aspirin!’


The Haversack Kit

The haversack is a shoulder bag that used by workers to carry their bread (as lunch) at the factories. It has also been used by the Military to carry rations and spare ammunitions (French Army bread bags e.g.). The military haversacks usually measure 12’’x12’’.  A haversack has been made from leather, skin or canvas or oilcloth. These types of bags were used by trappers, hunters, traders; ’Nessmuk’ used to carry one (called it DITTY bag) as well as military personnel (US Army used haversacks until the end of Second World War). Nowadays is used by reenactors and may people that enjoy the outdoors and practicing bushcraft skills.

Today you can find companies that make traditional looking haversacks but you can also find shoulder bags/pouches that were used from the military to carry gas mask and filters at surplus stores that can be used as haversacks. These bags are smaller than the traditional haversacks but are quite inexpensive, if you are on budget, and easy to repair if need it, plus they make a great bag for someone that starting to involve with the great outdoors.

The specifications of my haversack

My haversack is in reality a gas mask pouch that I found at a surplus store and I’m using it as haversack. The bag is made from 700d cordura and is double stitched to withstand heavy use. It is measure 8’’Wx10’’H, smaller than a traditional haversack but it has enough room to carry the items I need for an overnighter or a scouting walk.

Picture 1: Main compartement of my haversack

At the back side of the haversack there is a strap with Velcro that is used to secure the haversack on a duty belt (don’t forget that my haversack is a gas mask pouch. There, also, are two leg straps that I had removed. At the two d-rings you can see at the picture I had tie two loops to add more length to the shoulder strap.

Introducing and explanation of the kit items

As I said before the haversack has enough space to carry all the items I need for a short hike or even an overnighter at the woods. These items are my personal choices and preferences. Someone else can choose whatever he wishes and likes.

Picture 4:Displaying all the items

Now let’s see what I am carrying with me. First of all I am carrying a 27oz stainless steel water bottle, a 450ml titanium mug and a kupilka cup with a small spoon. These are my utensils; I carry water in the bottle and I can boiled water too, since the stainless construction allows me to place the bottle on fire. The titanium mug is my cooking ‘pot’; mainly use it to boil water for meals or hot drinks. The kupilka is what I am using for drinking purposes.

Picture 5:Stainless bottle,titanium mug,kupilka set

For shelter I use a heavy duty space blanket, three tent stakes, an emergency space blanket and #36 bank line. I also have a small amount of duct tape for quick repairs and other crafts. I am thinking to replace the green heavy duty space blanket with a military poncho I found; it’s bigger than blanket’s 5’’x7’’ and I can wear it if I am walking and rain starts to fall…Some thought to consider about…

Picture 6: Shelter kit

I also carry an old survival kit; I had added some items and took some of this kit to put them in another. The kit has a small fishing kit, a wire saw, a sewing kit, a snare wire, few safety pins, a tea candle, a safety whistle, a button compass and a magnesium bar with striker. Also including small paper notes with survival and first aid instructions. These are original items that came with this kit. I had added couple water purification tablets and some duct tape.  All these fit in a very nice and well made metal tin.

Picture 7: Survival kit

I also carry a first aid kit which is an already made kit but can treat most injuries while being outdoors. I also have with me a bandana and a small cloth bag, which is great for collecting wild edibles or tinder.

These are the items that I had chosen to carry when I am getting out for a short hike or even an overnighter. I had to explain at this point that I didn’t mention my fire kit and my belt knife because these two items are always on my belt. Also I carry a compass in one of my shirt pocket always; the button compass is a good backup for general direction. Since this article is about my haversack kit I didn’t mentioned any other item that I carry on me. Maybe I will in another article!

I hope that you have find these article interesting and had got an idea how easily you can have a haversack from a simple gas mask pouch. I think that with a kit like this you can have a nice compact kit for short walks in the woods but with some additions can also have a nice emergency kit at your car or home.


Continue reading “The Haversack Kit”