December 31, 2009

Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory Seminar

CRREL LogoThe Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) will be hosting another excellent Winter Sciences and Survival Seminar in Hanover, NH. The facility conducts research and development in materials and equipment for use in cold climates. In the past, national- and world-class speakers delivered talks on avalanches, cold weather injuries and clothing, chronic illness in the backcountry, GPS theory, and search dogs. Field exercises are part of the program.

The date is Saturday, March 27, 2010. Details are now available on Page 2 of the current Trailsweep, Eastern Division's online newsletter.
These documents became available on February fifth:

The program is open to both patrollers and non-patrollers.
Visit the CRREL web site here


December 28, 2009

Surefire G2™ LED Flashlight

Every ski patroller should carry at least one flashlight or head- lamp for illumination and signalling. Choices today are staggering, with traditional incandescent bulbs or light- emitting diodes (LEDs) being just the start of many options.

Surefire's G2™ LED is a high- output, compact (5.2 inches) flashlight which meets the needs of nordic patrollers. Surefire has become the leading brand for military and law enforcement due to its performance and reliability.

The G2 LED torch furnishes 80 lumens of power for the first 3 hours of a battery's life. Thereafter, it will provide useable light for the next 9 hours, 12 hours in all. By comparison, the incandescent AA Mini Maglite provides 15 lumens for 5½ hours. The G2 uses two 123A lithium batteries which are widely available. The LED itself will probably never need replacement. You won’t need a brighter light in the snow.

The Nitrolon body is an impact-resistant, glass-filled polymer which provides a secure grip. it also insulates the hands and protects the batteries from the cold. Metal bodies often ice up, draw heat from the hands, and are uncomfortable to hold in the mouth. The bright yellow model of the G2 LED is easy to find in your pack and hard to lose in the bush or snow.

Find reviews at EDC Forums and EDC Reviews.

Among many sources, the G2 LED is available at Cabela’s, REI, Amazon, and L.L. Bean.

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December 26, 2009

Field Tweezers

Ticks and Lyme disease are much on our minds and in the news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer this advice for removing ticks.

Here is a great tool to help you do the job right: “Uncle Bill’s Sliver Gripper – The Tweezers with Pin-Point Precision” from El Mar. These somewhat unconventional-looking tweezers are not the sharpest but do the job without getting lost or stabbing you. They securely click into a holder which features a lanyard attachment hole. You can easily carry these on a key ring due to the diminutive size: 2-5/16 in. with holder and 1-9/16 in. without.

The Gadgeteer, EDC Reviews, and Kevin Kelly reviewed these tweezers. They are available at many outdoors retailers online, including A. G. Russell. CountyComm stocks these as well as a set of large and small tweezers.

You might want to visit the Tick Encounter Resource Center for information on ticks and their treatment.


December 19, 2009

Pocket Knives

I look for two features in a pocket knife for patrolling. I want to be able to open the blade while wearing gloves or mittens or without splitting my thumbnail. I also need a fitting for tying on a lanyard or retaining cord. In the snow, a dropped tool is usually a lost tool. These two knives meet my requirements.

Victorinox One-Hand Trekker

The Victorinox One-Hand Trekker is a no-nonsense Swiss Army knife without the usual doo-dads like corkscrew and micro-scissors. A husky 3-1/8 inch serrated-edge blade is easily and safely manipulated. The other tools are sturdy and practical. A useful lanyard loop is attached. Find it at Target and Gad-Zooks.

Victorinox has a similar version with a black blade and the Soldier, Swiss Soldier, and German Army models, the latter now available at CountyComm. If you don't need the extra tools, consider the Sentinel with just the cutting blade.

Spyderco Rescue

Available in 93mm and 79 mm lengths, the Spyderco Rescue is easily opened and safe to use. It’s a tool, not a weapon, and unlikely to cause injury when cutting clothing and boots. The clip may be removed to insert a dummy cord or lanyard loop. The orange color is almost impossible to lose in the snow or bush.

Similar models are on the market: Spyderco Atlantic Salt and Assist I, Gerber E-Z Out, Kabar Rescue Blade K2K Folder, and Meyerco Rescue One.


December 17, 2009

Flameless Hand Warmers

Liquid-fuelled hand warmers have been used by generations of hunters and ice fishermen. Ski patrollers use them for their own comfort and for treating hypothermic patients.

After filling with a small amount of lighter fuel, the warmer's element is lit with a match. A catalytic platinum element allows burning without a flame, producing radiant heat for 8 to 10 hours. Warmers may be safely carried in a jacket pocket, usually in a flannel bag.

Jon-e® Hand Warmers are manufactured in the United States and made from durable chrome-plated steel. Replacement parts are available online. The Jon-e® hand warmer is sold by Cabela's and Outers.

A similar product is the Zippo Hand Warmer which is available at Duluth Trading Company and Amazon. See it in EDC Reviews.

The Peacock brand is found overseas at GK Trading and Hakukin.

Amazon offers the Xtreme brand.

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December 16, 2009

Underwater Kinetics 4-AA Xenon Light

Underwater Kinetics model UK 4AA-AS2 is robust and designed to withstand harsh outdoors and industrial environments. It survives a 30 foot drop test and water submersion to 10 meters.

Powered by four AA batteries, the xenon bulb projects a 38 lumen beam for 4 to 5 hours. Just over 6 inches long, this light handily fits the pocket. Molded fittings facilitate the attachment of lanyards or webbing. See the Data Sheet for more specs. Made in the USA.

An LED version is now available. Read the review at Flashlight Reviews.

Available online and at many dive shops and industrial safety suppliers.

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