Saturday, November 24, 2012

Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife Gear Review

No serious backpacker, hunter or outdoorsmen(women) would ever enter the woods without a sturdy knife or the means to start a fire. Wouldn't it be great if you could combine these two essential backcountry tools into one?   Well, look no further. The Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife was created through a collaboration between Light My Fire, the maker of FireSteel, and Mora of Sweden, the manufacturer of top-notch knives for over 120 years.  

Three parts of the Swedish FireKnife

The FireKnife consists of three components, the sheath, the knife and the fire steel.  The sheath is made of light-weight, durable polypropylene.  It has a large clip making it suitable for clipping to a belt or pants pocket.  The sheath does and excellent job of holding the knife in place.  When properly inserted, the knife "clicks" into place.  Turning the sheath upside down and shaking it will not dislodge the knife. 

The Sandvik stainless steel knife blade is a little short at 3 3/4 inches but extremely sharp and sturdy.   It is capable of batoning smaller branches and still keep a sharp edge.  The tip  of the knife is very strong and will not snap if accidentally jammed into a log and twisted. The rubber coated handle is comfortable and will work well in all but the largest of hands.

The fire steel is similar to the Light My Fire Scout model but the rod is slightly shorter and the handle is smaller with a different shape.  The rod can product a fair amount of sparks that reach a temperature of 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit.  This makes lighting a tinder bundle fairly easy on dry, low wind days.  Another great thing about fire steels is that they work equally well when wet.  The same can not be said for matches or Bic lighters.

The fire steel fits securely in the handle of the knife.  It can only be removed by twisting the fire steel a quarter turn, so losing the steel is highly unlikely.  If but some chance you do misplace any one of the components, they come in very bright colors making it easier to locate them on the ground.

A neat, compact package

At 3.9 ounces for the complete set the Swedish FireKnife is not only durable, it is very light-weight.  It would make a great addition to any outdoor enthusiast's gear inventory.

The Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife can be purchased at REI.

Disclosure: Light My Fire provided Breakheart Trail Running with a complimentary Swedish FireKnife for testing and review.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Northern Strand Community Trail

Perseverance pays off.

For the past 20 years, the Bike to the Sea organization has been working to transform 10 miles of abandoned railroad line into a bike and footpath.  The railroad line, known as the Saugus Branch Railroad  was founded in 1848 and connected the cites of Everett, Revere, Malden, the town of Saugus and the city of Lynn.  Passenger trains ran through Saugus from the 1850s until the mid-1950s. The Saugus Branch included three stations, one in Saugus Center, one in Cliftondale, and one in Pleasant Hills.  Only the Cliftondale Station remains.  When I was in my twenties I would ride my motocross bike on these tracks to get from Lynn to Revere so I could race other dirt bikers on the huge sand dunes left behind in Revere when a proposed re-route of Interstate 95 never happened.  On rare occasions, a freight train would pass along the same rails but the tracks have been abandoned for at least two decades.

Bike to the Sea Route

Cliftondale Station - 1853

I was very pleased when I learned that work would begin in my town on removing the old tracks during the summer months and resurfacing the 2.5 mile section of the Northern Strand Communty Trail through Saugus before the end of 2012. The trail has already been completed in Everett and most of the Malden section earlier this spring.  Work will begin in Revere next year but Lynn still has not committed to do the work.  Hopefully, pressure will mount on Lynn once they are the only community standing it the way of progress.

Looking north on the trail into Saugus at the Malden - Saugus line.

I took a walk over the weekend to check on the progress of the trail though Saugus.  All of the track has been removed and approximately 1.5 miles is complete and functional. Another mile still needs to be resurfaced with recycled asphalt and the bridge over the Saugus River is only about 30% complete.  You can cross the bridge in it's current state but there are no railings on either side.

 A stand of birch trees line this section of the trail.

 Unfinished section from Central Street in Saugus to the Lynn line.

Foot bridge being built over the Saugus River. 

Looking east at the proposed route into Lynn.

Several photos of my walk along the trail can be viewed HERE.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jumping on the Hoka Bandwagon

I have a few ultrarunning friends that love their Hoka running shoes.  They swear they can run farther and recovery faster since they switched to Hokas.  And the Hokas are light and nimble despite their appearance.

According to the Hoka One One website, lab tests have shown that Hoka’s rockered midsole geometry and low heel-toe differential encourages proper form by allowing a runner to easily strike the ground near the midfoot. Slow motion video confirms that the extra foam in the midsoles also greatly reduces the rate of pronation and supination by quickly stabilizing the movement of the foot upon impact with the ground.

Hoka One One shoes are also ideal for running trails with abrupt climbs, steep descents and technical features such as rocks, roots and trail debris. The uniquely designed midsole softens the increased impacts of downhill running and acts as a buffer against jagged obstacles on the trail. While traditional low-to-the-ground shoes can be very unstable on rocky trails, Hoka shoes are reliably steady because the additional midsole foam helps to stabilize the foot by allowing the outsole to make secure contact with the ground.

"Running in Hokas is effortless, like running in a playful dream state. Each step is full of curiosity and wonderment, immediately connecting you to new possibilities. You lose yourself in every stride — you bounce, you float, you soar, you fly. It feels like fantasy, but it’s real."

For real?  I need to get me some of that!

If you've been looking to try a pair of Hoka's, now is a good time to act.  They are currently 60% off at Left Lane Sports.

 Follow the link HERE:

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