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I added a bottle cage to my rear rack.

A Cleaveland Mountaineering Fork Clamp Mount allows me to mount a King Cage to my old Tubus Vega rack, providing another option for carrying water. I’ve wanted something like this since I saw Logan’s Vega modification on bikepacking.com. Cleaveland’s mounts makes it easy.

Rear Rack Bottle Cage

I use Norma Torro Worm Drive Hose Clamps to attach the mount. These German made clamps are far superior to the Chinese hose clamps frequently found in hardware stores. The 9mm wide, 8-16mm diameter clamps are the right size for this job.

This post was published on . It was tagged with micro, gear, bicycle.

Sawyer Squeeze Filter Adapters

The Sawyer Squeeze water filter can attach directly to the threading on common disposable bottles. For other bottles you can aim the output freehand, or attach half of a Sawyer Hydration In-Line Adapter to a piece of hose and let that drip into your bottle. I prefer a closed system, both so that no debris fall into my reservoir while it is being filled, and so that if the reservoir is accidentally knocked over I don’t lose all the clean water. There are a number of adapters that can aid in this.

Previously I mentioned my hacked together solution for attaching a Sawyer filter to an MSR Dromlite bag. The Dromlite lid is 63mm in diameter and uses the same threading that is present on the majority of wide mouthed bottles, so I can use this adapter to attach the Sawyer Squeeze directly to a wide array of bottles: Nalgene wide mouth, Klean Kanteen wide mouth, Hydro Flask wide mouth, CamelBak Podium, and reservoirs like the HydraPak Expedition or bladders like the Source WXP.

Sawyer Dromlite Adapter

This adapter – including the Dromlite cap – weighs 40 grams (1.4 oz). 18 grams (0.6 oz) of that is the Dromlite lid, so if I’m already packing a Dromlite the adapter only adds 22 grams (0.8 oz) to my load.

Last autumn I bought a Platypus GravityWorks Universal Bottle Adapter. This consists of an inner lid with nipple, and outer lid ring, and a protective cover for the clean side of the lids. To integrate this adapter with the Sawyer Squeeze, I cut a short length of hose. One end I shoved over the nipple of the GravityWorks Universal Bottle Adapter. The other end I attached to one part of another Sawyer Hydration In-Line Adapter.

Sawyer GravityWorks Adapter

This adapter – including the same length of hose as the Dromlite system, and both caps, and the protective cover – weighs 70 grams (2.5 oz). 20 grams (0.7 oz) of that is the protective cover, which I’m not sure is really necessary.

GravityWorks Adapter Lid

The inner lid of the GravityWorks adapter is tapered so that it can fit into a range of narrow mouth bottles. The Sawyer Squeeze is already threaded to attach directly to common disposable bottles, but this adapter also allows me to get a seal with the Nalgene Oasis canteen, the smaller part of the humangear capCAP, the Hydrapak Stow, Vitaminwater bottles, or Vapur bottles.

When the inner lid is attached to the outer lid ring, the adapter can then attach to the standard 63mm wide mouth bottle threading, giving me all the same capability I have with my modified Dromlite adapter. But the outer lid ring can also attach to bottles with narrower mouths. Specifically, it works great with Klean Kanteen classic bottles, HydraPak Seeker, Nalgene “Wide Mouth” 16oz HDPE (which has a narrower, 53mm “wide mouth”), and with my Zojirushi SM-SA48.

  • GravityWorks Adapter to HydraPak Seeker
  • GravityWorks Adapter to Nalgene Oasis
  • GravityWorks Adapter to Klean Kanteen
  • GravityWorks Adapter to Camelbak Podium

I also have a Jetflow 63mm adapter. This takes the standard 63mm wide mouth bottle threading and steps it down to the narrow threading used by the Sawyer filter and most disposable bottles. You can then attach the filter directly to the bottle lid rather than going through a hose like my other two adapters.

The Jetflow adapter is neat because you can attach a bottle cap from a typical disposable bottle to the smaller end and then use it as your normal water bottle lid. It turns the whole contraption into something like a humangear capCAP. The Jetflow adapter weighs 18 grams (0.6 oz). Add a lid from a disposable water bottle and the total weight is 20 grams (0.7 oz).

Jetflow Adapter with Cap

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The best place to spend a rainy day reading in San Francisco is the UCSF Kalmanovitz Library on Parnassus.

The library is open to the public. You want the Lange Room at the back of the fifth floor. The Lange Room has half a dozen or so comfortable leather chairs, and large windows looking north across Golden Gate Park and the Presidio to the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge. If it was clear, you’d see the Marin Headlands, but if it was clear you’d be reading outside. The room is almost always empty.

It provides all the ingredients necessary for taking full advantage of a rainy day: a comfortable chair, plentiful natural light, good views, a book, and an environment that discourages human interaction.

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The Watchmen TV series takes place in an alternate dystopic timeline where there are locking holsters that are even worse than the Blackhawk Serpa.

I fully expected the next frame to be this guy shooting himself in the leg, but the scene just ignores his sloppy trigger finger and complete disregard for safety.

Other than that scene, I’ve enjoyed the first couple episodes of the show and its soundtrack so far.

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A Better Clipboard

One of the things I learned over the years at 2 Meter Critical Mass and other radio events is the value of a good clipboard. The Field Message Pad or Field Memo Pad or even the Field Notebook are great for my own notes, but when responding with a radio on behalf of an agency, said agency will probably have official log and message forms, and those forms will probably be on 8.5” x 11” paper. A clipboard is an important tool for making those forms usable in the field.

Many people end up with a Gibson approved Saunders Storage Clipboard. They’re nice, but too bulky for my tastes. I use a WhiteCoat Clipboard.

These clipboards are hinged, allowing them to fold in half. They are intended to be folded so that they fit in the pocket of a lab coat and protect patient information from shoulder surfing. But when folded they also fit well into a decent sized cargo pocket, or larger jacket pockets. Folding the clipboard also provides some protection to the paper itself. Even if you’re just putting it in a pack, it’s nice to be able to fold the board and not worry about the paper becoming wrinkled.

The WhiteCoat Clipboard is available with different quick reference medical stickers. None of these are extremely useful to me. I went with the EMT Edition because it has a scale for estimating pupil size, which is something I have struggled with in the past. I’ve considered printing my own stickers to put on the board – perhaps with some kind of radio reference material – but I haven’t decided what information would be useful to include.

A simple rubber band is available to secure the bottom edge of the paper. This is critical to one’s sanity in windy conditions. A pen clip to keep your Fisher Space Pen M4B close to hand completes the package.

The system is overpriced, but I am very happy with its functionality.

The Field Memo Pad

While I still believe in the supremacy of the 4” x 6” Field Message Pad, there are times when something smaller is wanted. Perhaps you need something more pocketable, or you have little room in your bag, and you only need small sheets for incidental notes. For these situations I use the Field Memo Pad.

Field Memo Pad

The Field Memo Pad is built around the Mil-Spec Monkey Notebook Cover Plus. This holds 3” x 5” top-bound spiral notebooks, such as the Rite in the Rain 935T. These notebooks are large enough for incidental note taking, and slide easily into a pocket. “Slide” is perhaps not the correct word when the notebook cover is added. The cover is made of Hypalon, which is quite tacky. However this is a feature, not a bug. When you are seated or kneeling and using your leg as a writing surface, the tackiness prevents the pad from slipping around, which is actually quite useful.

Field Message Pad vs. Field Memo Pad

Field Message Pad vs. Field Memo Pad

The rear flap of the notebook slides into a pocket on the front of the cover. An identical pocket sits on the other side of the cover. I use this rear pocket to hold a few business cards and a universal device reset tool (it’s also a great place for your Bogota Pi picks). An elastic band across the bottom of the cover marks your current page, making it easy to flip to wherever you left off when opening the notebook. Two elastic bands on either side hold writing instruments. I most often use these to keep a Fisher Space Pen 400B Bullet with clip and a black Sharpie Mini, though full-sized writing tools will also fit. The spiral binding of the notebook sits above the top of the cover, allowing the notebook to be opened and folded over completely.

Field Memo Pad

The Field Memo Pad provides everything needed for an all-weather analog data dump, in a pocket friendly format.

The Pragmatic Bed

Five years ago I purchased the PragmaBed Simple Adjust Head & Foot bed frame. It has proved to be an excellent purchase. I can’t think of any way to improve it.

When I went to college, I spent the first year in the dorms. The bed frames provided by the university were Twin XL, so I showed up with a Twin XL mattress and bed sheets. In the subsequent years, I’ve replaced that mattress and all the sheets. But never all at once, which means I’ve just continued to buy Twin XL sized things. That was still the case when I bought the PragmaBed frame. I would be just as happy with a Twin sized bed. I’ve never been convinced of a need for something wider, but one of the things that attracted me to the PragmaBed was that, if my mind was ever changed, I could simply buy a second frame and attach it to my existing one with the attachment brackets offered by PragmaBed. Instant wide bed frame.

The legs of the PragmaBed collapse and the body folds in half, making the frame easily movable by a single individual. This is a thing I value, despite moving my bed infrequently. The frame is made of steel, with a powder coating that is reminiscent of a truck bed lining. It is a durable package that I expect to last for many years to come.

PragmaBed offers brackets that allow you to attach a normal head- or foot-board to the frame. I’ve never been sure what functionality a head- or foot-board is supposed to provide, so I don’t have these brackets. My previous bed frame also did not have a head- or foot-board, and somehow I always managed to sleep in it without falling out.

The head of the bed has a ratcheting mechanism that allows it to be raised, like a hospitable bed. This is great for lounging – I’ve never felt that the functionality offered by a couch justified the real estate required by a couch, but now my bed is a couch – or when injured. The foot of the bed can also be raised, though not as high as the head. I’ve never actually raised the foot. I imagine it is useful if you’re trying to reduce swelling in your lower legs or feet.

PragmaBed and Storage

The legs raise the platform 13” off the ground. I keep four 40-quart Iris Store and Slide boxes underneath it. One holds my spare pillow and linens, one holds spare towels, one holds all of my pants, and the last holds specialized out-of-season items and a few miscellaneous items like hats.

I’ve used these same containers for eight years now. They fulfill their purpose admirably, and are the right size for my use. I’m not tempted to buy another spare set of sheets, because my spare sheets box is full. If I want to buy a new pair of pants, I first have to get rid of a pair of pants so that I have room in my pants box.

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2 Meter Critical Mass

2 Meter Critical Mass is a monthly radio practice event at Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park. The practice grew out of the NERT community and sought to help people keep current with their handheld radios. I started attending on a fairly regular basis a couple years ago. We’d jump around to different frequencies on the 2 meter band and practice sending and receiving traffic.

Changing frequencies was sometimes the most difficult part of the practice. Most people, myself included, program their radios with software like CHIRP. When it comes time to do something like change to a frequency that is normally used for repeaters, and then remove the offset because you need to use it for simplex, it can be a struggle to remember the correct sequence of steps. But simple skills like that are critical in the field during an emergency.

After the struggle of getting everyone onto the correct frequency, some people would start sending traffic while others would copy it down onto standardized message forms. This is the primary role of radio operators during an emergency, but is not often practiced. The messages were often lists of medicines, the Latin names of plants, or some other gibberish that would require use of the phonetic alphabet to transmit. Somebody in the group would be picked to be the net control operator, which brought with it an entirely different set of skills to practice. Somehow I always got “volunteered” for that – rain or shine (often offering an example of why you fill your field message pad with waterproof paper).

2 Meter Critical Mass

2 Meter Crical Mass was the child of Peter McElmury, AA6SF. In November there was no practice, which I thought was odd. I had never known Peter to miss a month. But he was a Marine and it was his birthday that weekend, so I figured he was just busy celebrating. The December practice was four days ago. It turns out Peter was absent in November due to a medical emergency. At this month’s event he was walking with a cane and having trouble with motor skills, like writing, but he was in a good mood and happy to be radioing, as always. Yesterday he died.

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