Just about everyone has one (or several!) or has at least seen the stainless steel, double-walled vacuum-insulated water bottle. There is no shortage of them on the market nowadays. But despite the numerous companies making them, there is very little variety in the function of the bottle. You almost always get something that keeps something hot for a while and cold for a little longer. There will be variations in the caps that are available, but otherwise there isn’t much difference in the functionality.

Enter the Bindle Bottle. I first spotted the Bindle Bottle on Kickstarter and was intrigued by the idea of combining storage abilities in a water bottle. The bottle is great for people who often forgo the ritual of assembling a daily carry and want a package they can assemble and forget about. It’s also good for times when you’re in a situation where you’re not wearing clothing with a lot of pockets, i.e. a day at the beach. The bottle carries 24 ounces of water plus a 3.3 inch high by 3.2 inch wide storage space. This can hold just about anything you want, from small EDC items to medical gear to a small survival kit. For demonstration I put in a Bic lighter, adhesive wrap and a paracord bracelet. You could also fit a folding knife inside, so long as the closed length is 3 inches or shorter. Something like the Kershaw Ember would fit.

The $39.99 MSRP combined with the lower-than-average fluid capacity of 24 ounces may throw off some potential buyers. But the value is redeemed with the storage capacity and consideration of where this would come in handy. As a SAR guy, I’ve encountered my share of people who could have been greatly helped out by even a minimal survival kit. Another thing a lot of Bindle Bottle users do is keep their keys inside for days at the gym. Another idea is to keep your driver’s license, cards and keys inside the bottle and bury it in the sand to avoid theft at the beach.

If you know someone who likes to hike, but often doesn’t carry anything more than a cell phone and water bottle, this is for them. If you’re the prepared type and looking for a quick-to-grab item from your desk that can carry some essential items, then this is for you. The Bindle Bottle comes in a variety of colors and ships with a standard loop cap. You can also get straw lids and lids for sipping coffee and tea. Check it out here.

Some knives are tailor-made for one role. This is not one of them. Boker’s Blacklist fixed blade can do just about anything an outdoor enthusiast could ask for. The combination of the sweeping blade and great ergonomics make for one of the more versatile fixed blades on the market today.

The blade is 440C stainless steel. Boker hardens the steel to Rockwell 57-58, meaning the user gets a high degree of edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The 4.9-inch, .20-inch blade shape is what makes this knife a winner in many outdoor catagories. The sweeping belly is great for slicing and processing food and the thickness allows it to do small and medium batoning work. The high flat saber grind allows the user to make fine shavings when making tinder. Hunters will also like the blade shape for processing game. The top of the blade has a spine that comes to 90 degrees at the corners, allowing the user to strike a ferro rod with the spine instead of the blade if they don’t have a dedicated striker available.

The knife could do anything from being a survival blade to a camp tool or hunting knife so long as the user is comfortable carrying the 10.2 ounce knife on their belt or in their pack over long distances.

The handle on the Blacklist is incredibly comfortable. It feels good in the hand in any type of grip. The G10 handle scales are lightly textured, allowing for good grip but not so aggressive that the user feels uncomfortable after using the knife without gloves. One slight downside that users will find is that the handle does not allow a user to chop without making a tight lanyard. I’m not a huge fan of chopping with small and medium-size knives, but some survival enthusiasts find it to be good practice in some situations.

The kydex sheath on the knife is another win. It fits snugly and has a drainage hole at the bottom. There are holes and attachment slots for webbing and different mounting systems.

The belt adapter is the only area I really have an issue with the design of this package. The adapter can be adjusted to fit different sized belts, but attaching it to the blade and finding a comfortable position is a bit of a doozy. The only way to do a traditional belt mount is to mount the knife high on the waist, which can be uncomfortable for some users. Scout carry is an option with the knife, but I did not use that since there is no secondary retention strap and scout is uncomfortable with anything larger than a small pack on.

While some knife forums list 440C as a hard-to-sharpen steel, I was able to re-sharpen it easily with a few runs through my Work Sharp. The edge came out near-shaving sharp.

You can find this knife for around $100 from some retailers. Check out Boker’s website for more designs.

Total Length: 9,9
Blade length: 4.9 in
Blade thickness: 0.20 in
Weight: 10.2 oz
Blade Material: 440C
Handle Material: G10
Sheath: Kydex w/Belt clip

Maxpedition has taken the next step in modern, low-visibility tactical equipment. About two years ago I wrote about Maxpedition’s release of the Advanced Gear Research line of packs and pouches and how it was a trend for tactical companies to invest more in lower-profile, civilian-style equipment. While the AGR gear wasn’t entirely “covert,” it was certainly less conspicuous than 1,000 denier nylon packs covered in MOLLE webbing. The new Entity line is a no-frills-on-the-outside, business-on-the-inside set of packs and pouches for prepared civilians on the town or military or law enforcement personnel who need to truly blend in with the crowd.

The Entity line of packs looks fantastic. They look like the kind of packs a well-versed traveler would carry on every trip. The bags are tech and CCW-compatible and feature an array of interior pockets and loop Velcro panels to hold whatever gear you need.

The Entity pouches are also low profile and made to fit extra gadgets or hardware on or outside the pack. Since the packs don’t have exterior MOLLE webbing on the body, the pouches attach to webbing on the straps. Entity panels can connect to the loop panels inside the pack.

I really like the evolution in design in the Entity line. Maxpedition never gets skimpy with their attention to detail with focus on what users need their gear to do and then shifting to how they can put the function into the best package for the environment. If I learned anything from reviewing the Falcon III pack, it’s that Maxpedition makes durable, well-designed equipment.

Because Maxpedition is such a respected name in the tactical community, I expect the Entity line to sell well. Maxpedition will be showing off the Entity line in more detail at SHOT Show 2018. They will have some competition, as companies like 5.11 Tactical and Hazard 4 have also released covert lines of equipment for the discrete user.

It may be winter, but it’s never too early to think about getting your boat in the water or pulling on your waders for a day of fishing. And for those anglers who need something to lessen the hassle of managing lines, retrieving hooks and processing fish, Gerber has heeded your calls.

Gerber is out with a brand new line of fishing-specific tools. The tools are optimized for freshwater fishing and each tool is designed to be easy and comfortable to use while in or on the water. For those of you who hit the open ocean for your fish, don’t worry. Gerber says salt water products are in the works.

Some of tools that caught my eye:

  • The Linedriver
    • This line management tool gives the user several tools in a slick design that clips onto a belt or waistband. Features include a spinning hook vise, eyelet clearing spike, hook threader, scissor snips and split shot crimper.

  • The Magniplier
    • For those who hate fiddling with needle nose pliers to pull out hooks, this is for you. The Magniplier allows your hand to mimic a trigger grip during use and an offset design allows you to see down the mouth of that bass you’re trying to shake loose without having to peer over your wrist. The tool has exchangeable jaw tips and carbide cutters and comes with a nylon sheath and lanyard coil.

  • The Processor
    • The processor gives the user everything they need to prepare their catch for dinner. The Processor has a gut hook, scaler, cutting shears, a dedicated fin clipper and a knife edge on the bottom of one of the shear jaws. The tool can also be taken apart for easy cleaning.

  • The Controller
    • For those who prefer a traditional fillet knife for processing the fish, the Controller has you covered. The full tang knife comes in 6, 8 and 10-inch blade lengths and has an and ergonomic handle for a solid grip no matter how messy the task. A 9Cr steel gives you good edge retention. The sheath is vented and designed to be easily rinsed out. An included sharpener keeps your knife ready for any catch.

  • The Gutsy
    • The Gutsy is a compact, one-piece tool that combines a scaler, gut hook, scooper and bottle opener. The tool takes up very little space in your tackle box or pack and may even be ideal for those who want to add a fishing-specific tool to a compact survival kit.


Check out the full line of new equipment at gerberfishing.com

Subscription boxes are all the rage for people who have a bit of extra cash, crave some new gear, but don’t want the hassle of figuring out what they should buy. Box companies have become pseudo-Santas with monthly or quarterly deliveries with a mystery box of (hopefully) quality and usable items for their subscribers.

I’m not a subscriber to any box simply because I’m a little picky when it comes to my gear and I don’t have a lot of chump change. However, I do see their benefits for people who follow certain lifestyles in that they’re able to replenish gear they’re using often or add new items to their supply drawers that they may have been interested in anyways.

We dove into the July edition of TacPack, one of the first monthly subscription boxes for tactical, EDC and survival gear. Tacpack has a single-level subscription cost of $49.95 each month. Because of that monthly cost, I was looking for the MSRP of the box to be double that subscription rate. You have to get your money’s worth!

As you can see in the video, the July box did not disappoint. It had a bit of something to please different crowds. Full disclosure, Shadow Fox did NOT pay for this TacPack, but as always, we aim to be straightforward with our gear reviews. Here’s what we got in the box:

Breakthrough BT 101Cleaning Kit: This basic cleaning kit comes with Breakthrough Military Grade Solvent, Battle Born High Purity Oil, and Battle Born Grease fortified with PTFE (forgot to mention in the video) for cleaning your gun. Also included are a microfiber towel and brush. (MSRP $25)

Fusion Climb Daisy Chain and Carabiner: I was surprised to find one of these combos in a subscription box. You have a full-strength climbing sling and carabiner that’s ready to add to a climbing or rescue kit. TacPack markets this on their description cards as something to cinch down gear or hang items, but as a mountain rescue guy, I see a lot of climbing utility. It can be used for making anchors, clipping into anchors or even as a retention lanyard or helicopters. Remember, climbing and rappelling are dangerous and at times deadly activities, and you should only participate in them with proper instruction, supervision and safety equipment. (MSRP $30)

EZ Accuracy and Gunworks AR-15 Gas Block Dimple Guide Screw and Marking Pin: This little piece is just for the AR enthusiasts. TacPack markets this as a must for AR shooters and those looking to build their own rifles. They say it can also help when reassembling your rifle. (MSRP $14)

5.11 Wharn for Duty Folding Knife: This is a big knife in a small package. As stated in its name, it has a 2.3-inch AUS 8 Wharncliff style blade, which is good for EDC and utility tasks. I’ve had AUS 8 steel blades in the past and I have no complaints about the value, edge retention and rust resistance. The handle is very ergonomic and can be gripped comfortably with or without the finger choil. Upon further examination after filming the video I saw what appear to be bronze bushings at the pivot point, giving a smooth opening. The knife is also fully ambidextrous (Yay for southpaws!) thanks to the opening hole in the blade and right and left hand carry positions. Will I carry this knife as my EDC blade instead of my AUS 8 Cold Steel Recon-1? The Jury is still out. (MSRP $36)

MOAB Mother of all Bottle Rockets Patch: TacPack is known for giving a free bit of morale every now and then in their boxes with logo patches and “gangbangers anonymous” AR-15 patches. The Mother of All Bombs is probably something many of you are familiar with after it saw action in Afghanistan. But what about its smaller, more festive cousin? The Mother of All Bottle Rockets will surely be a staple in a lot of people’s patch rotations especially around Independence day. (Priceless)

This comes to a total MSRP value of $105, which is a little more than double what you have paid for your monthly subscription. Some of you may think you can source each item here for less than the MSRP prices. That may be true, but you still may not get the total prices lower than the subscription rate.

Interested in TacPack? Check them out HERE.

Photo courtesy of TacPack.

This was a knife I wanted to like. Right out of the box, the American Buffalo Knife and Tool Phantom Spector folding knife flipped right open in my hand to reveal a shaving sharp 4-inch 8cr13mov tanto blade attached to a silky smooth ball bearing pivot. Sure, the pocket clip was only drilled for right hand carry, but then a lot of folding knives are like that. And I was willing to look past the heavier than preferred 5.9-ounce weight if the edge kept up with testing and the tip didn’t bend or break after being repeatedly jammed into and pulled out of logs.

But alas, I would despise it as soon as I started using it.

When I began handling the knife, I felt something moving around inside the handle. At first I thought the screws were loose, but some shifting around revealed everything was keeping together. There was nothing loose in either the blade or pins. When I started experimenting with different grips, I discovered what was wrong: The liner lock was prone to failure. Because I was left handed, the way my fingers shifted against the textured protrusion of the liner lock, meant to make closure easier, was actually disengaging the lock during use, leaving the blade free to close on my unsuspecting fingers. This appeared during normal tasks as well as tough chores during testing. I can’t use or recommend a knife that I know will have an unsafe failure.

After seeing and feeling the safety issue with this bargain tactical folder, I tried to regain my confidence in the knife by enjoying the smooth and fast opening from both the flipper and ambidextrous thumb studs (which are unnecessary since you can’t carry the knife in your left pocket and be able to draw). But I then discovered an issue that would ultimately decide the knife needed to go back to the drawing board and be recut into a universally usable tool. The anodized aluminum handle scales had unnecessary texture that did nothing more than allow moisture and sweat to gather on an already smooth surface, letting the knife slip in my hand when quickly opening and closing.

I really did want to like the knife. The ABKT Phantom Spector’s blade didn’t bend or break in stabbing and prying, and the edge cut nice feather sticks from dry wood and didn’t seem to mind going through cardboard and quarter-inch PVC tubing. With such an easy opening from the flipper, I could open and close the knife for days without getting bored.

But before the knife can be used, it needs to be usable. A liner lock that fails in the hand and slippery grip will not do for a knife that comes in a box labeled “tactical weapons.” It has the potential to be a great knife with the solid blade and fast and easy opening.

Check out the ABKT Phantom Spector HERE and purchase it for $36.

Music from bensound.com


CRKT and Ryan Johnson at RMJ tactical have produced yet another awesome tomahawk. The Rune is new for 2017 and with its short size and sharpened spike is designed to be a tactical breaching tool. But all blades have wilderness functionality to them, so I wanted to see if this was the right axe to add to my Search and Rescue kit. Axes are not really my fancy as I wrote in my previous article on big blades.

The Rune is a solid piece of SK5 carbon steel weighing in at 24 ounces. It’s 12 inches from head to handle and is .24 inches thick. That’s pretty hefty for a relatively small axe. The handle scales are glass reinforced nylon and have two cutouts to reduce weight and give a spot to tie in a lanyard. The Rune comes with a glass filled nylon sheath that snaps the blade in place and secures it with a quick release buckle. You can reverse the buckle to fit your mounting needs.

I found that the Rune is easy to control when chopping due to its short length and comfortable handle. A lanyard will definitely be necessary for prolonged chopping chores, but if you’re only going through one small log or doing a single breach, the tool will stay in your hand. The blade bit into small saplings very nicely and seems like it would perform just fine for cutting down kindling for your fire. I would not recommend this for logs greater than six inches in diameter. Leave that task to a saw. The grind and Nordic style head do allow you to choke up and do finer cutting chores. While these chores are best done with a small knife, the blade did trim very well. Choking up means placing your hands above the GRN handles, so you’ll be most comfortable doing a direct downward push or wrapping that part of the handle.

So far, the Rune seems like a capable tactical and outdoor tool. For the time being, I’m putting this axe in my SAR kit to see if it will be needed on missions. I have used an axe on assignments to clear out paths for litters, and I’m sure this tool will see some action in good time. I’m seeing a definite advantage in the Rune’s small size and ability to mount it just about wherever I please on or inside my pack. I will return to writing about the Rune after it sees action in harsher environments and situations than a short hike on my local trail on a sunny day.

Check out the Rune and other CRKT blades HERE. The Rune tomahawk is available for $150. Here are the specs:


  • Blade Length –  6.688″ (169.88 mm)
  • Blade Edge  – Axe Edge w/Beard
  • Blade Steel  – SK5 Carbon Steel, HRC 53-55
  • Blade Finish  – Black
  • Blade Thickness  – 0.243″ (6.17 mm)
  • Weight –  1 lb 8 oz
  • Handle  – Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Style  – Compact Tactical Axe
  • Sheath Material  – Glass Reinforced Nylon; Black
  • Overall Length  – 12.0″ (304.8 mm)

Images from crkt.com

Summer is here and that means many of us are camping out, cooking on the grill, and playing games while the hot dogs are over the fire. Chances are there’s a kid at a campsite somewhere trying to hit a something with a slingshot.

I’ve had The Pocket Shot in my gear cache and have been wondering how well it would work out as a tool that someone could use in a survival situation for hunting small game. The Pocket Shot fits inside a pocket very easily and can carry a dozen or so steel balls inside it even with the latex pouch folded in. For testing, I used 1/4- inch and 5/16-inch steel balls. And of course, I put on my safety glasses before testing.

Aiming The Pocket Shot takes a bit of guesswork and patience. You’re going to go all over the place on your first few rounds, thus why safety glasses are very much advised for ricochets. I stood 10 yards away from an 8-inch circle target and fired from a kneeling position. I put a few dozen rounds through the slingshot with the standard pouch, and I didn’t strike too well. It’s tricky to aim the slingshot, and I’m certain that even with many more hours of practice, I can’t see myself hitting very well in a survival situation where I’m low on calories and need to use as little energy as possible to live.

As a stand-alone item, the Pocket Shot is more of a “for fun” item rather than something to keep in your survival kit. It will probably be a hit at your next weekend at the lake. Just don’t put rocks through the pouch since I’m not sure how long it would last. If you want to turn this into a serious food-gathering tool, the company sells expansions for the kit that converts it into a more traditional sling shot setup or a bow fishing platform.

Check out the Pocket Shot and accessories HERE. The basic Pocket Shot is available for $25. It also comes with an Arrow Kit ($50) and in a limited edition camo color ($30). You can purchase just the shot pouches in packs of 8 for $25. You can also buy the steel shot from the website for various amounts based on the size you want. Practice ammo is $6 a bag.

It’s a pack I see a lot in airports across the country and for a good reason. The S.O.C Bugout Bag (ours is in the foliage green color) is a big backpack that can carry a lot of gear and take a beating. While it’s a popular option, there are some things to take into consideration before pulling out your wallet. We got this bag from Brownells, a company that has guns and ammunition along with gunsmithing tools and emergency and survival gear.

Construction: This bag is quite hefty, weighting in at 5 pounds 5 ounces. The construction is 600 denier polyester and canvas blend. Some of that weight also comes from the aluminum back-stays that give support while carrying heavy loads. The shoulder straps are connected by metal clips and can be stored for using the bag as a carry-on for air travel. While the pack is comfortable to carry and durable, there are some improvements that could be made to keep the pack in competition with more modern designs. That’s coming later.

Organization: The front pocket of the pack opens to reveal a light grey organizer panel, which helps identify smaller items. There are two mesh zippered pockets for storing small items as well as a pouch for a phone. There is also a document/map slot that is closed by a strap with loop Velcro. The second pocket has zippered organizer pockets that are ideal for storing cords or supplies that need dedicated storage. There is a hydration compartment that can store up to a two-liter bladder, but no laptop compartment. The main compartment can expand by opening a zipper that runs along the outside of the pack, increasing this pack’s capacity from 47 liters to 54 liters. While that gives you more room for your gear, it will change how the pack sits on your body, so pack wisely.

Needed Improvements: The hip belt was a big failure point for me. It loosened itself several times while walking on flat ground with a 25-pound load, and it became annoying quickly. Second, the metal clips on the straps should be replaced with quick release buckles for easier use with gloves. I also believe that the weight of the pack can be reduced while keeping the same level of durability. Using a light rip-stop nylon on the interior pockets will help lighten the load along with thinning out the aluminum stays. Using a plastic frame sheet with the aluminum stays can help maintain rigidity while cutting weight out. For me, the jury is still out on whether I think the pack needs the ability to store the straps for suitcase-style carry. I’ve never seen anyone traveling with this pack use it as a suitcase.

Ideal Uses: This bag is designed to fill several roles, but it is best suited as its namesake: a bugout bag. This bag would be best used as the bag you grab and toss into your car when you get an evacuation notice or when you need to leave home in the case of an emergency. It can easily hold and organize three days worth of supplies. But due to its heavy weight, I would not make this a long-range pack for those traveling on foot.

Check out the S.O.C. Bug Out Bag, and purchase it for $99.


Any outdoor chore will need a good set of gloves for all the hands-on dirty work ahead of you. You can go without the covers, but your hands will thank you for the lack of splinters and cuts if you choose to protect them. I’ve used plenty of utility gloves over the years for everything from yard work to search and rescue and after all the scuff marks, worn palms and torn seams, I’ve found a pair that offer the dexterity and protection needed for just about anything while staying at a low price.

The Mechanix FastFit gloves are a no-frills pair of gloves that give your paws plenty of protection from the rough tasks of outside work. The elastic cuff eliminates the need for Velcro, something that I have come to avoid if I can due to its ability to keep and hold dirt as well as lose effectiveness when wet. Another advantage to the FastFit is the cuff allows you to use the glove without having to adjust or remove watches or bracelets. A nylon pull strap allows plenty of real estate to grab onto for on and off as well as carrying on a carabiner.

The glove’s TrekDry top material keeps your hands cool in hot weather and also helps wipe sweat off your brow if you can’t reach your preferred bandana. It’s very breathable, and dries quickly after getting wet. There isn’t much water resistance to speak of, but for an outdoor glove at a sub-twenty dollar price, I don’t mind at all.

The palm of the glove is thick enough to prevent splintering from wood and scrapes from rocks. On a search and rescue mission in 2016, I pulled myself through plenty of dense brush and steep terrain with these on my hands. They’re also thin enough to have a good feel for whatever tools your using whether it’s a power saw or survival knife. In fact, I have used these gloves on the last couple of knife reviews that I have done with no issues in controlling the blade. They’re also dexterous enough to tie knots in rope and give a good grip when hauling.

If you’re looking for a pair of gloves, or several, to add to your tool, outdoor, or survival kit, put the FastFit at the top of your list. The durability and functionality at a low price won’t do you wrong.

Check out the FastFit gloves HERE.