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Glint & Glow: Ru Titley Knives

Based in the UK, Ru Titley provides custom made knives, sheaths and tactical products. I first discovered his blog through valleydeepmountainhigh, who has helped test and develop the markers we’ll be talking about today. Based on the strips of SOLAS that ValleyDeepMountainHigh used in the military, ru-titley-knives has developed a whole range of products that provide exciting new ways to “Glint & Glow”.

I have been using a selection of his products for over 3 months now and they’ve been on my pack since I received them! Besides looking really cool the are truly effective at their job. Standard “Ranger Eyes” or “Cat Eyes” have a good initial glow, but fade quickly after that. These take identification to the next level as they are useful locators, even hours after charging, due to the glint combination. These could easily work as markers for your camp or individuals, I’ve even used them on the inside of our tent to help quick location of the zipper pull.

The Square MK4 is great for attaching to the small velcro squares on various TAD clothing (the first image shows it attached to my Force 10 RS Cargo Shorts). It’s low profile and convex edges mean it doesn’t catch as easily as I’ve found other Ranger Eyes do. As well as the rather cool ‘hive’ design of the Cyflect, the interchangeable central section means you can taylor this product to specific activities whilst on-the-move. 

The ITW Web Dominator MK3 attachment (see above) is really easy to attach to any pack with webbing (most outdoor packs have at least some webbing on them). Ru suggested undoing the screwed on MK3, attaching the Web Dominator, then re-screwing the MK3 on. I found that the Web Dominator could actually be attached in reverse. I’ve had two attached to my pack almost the whole 3 months with not even a hint of them coming off.

Last year I found myself walking along roads, often at night and often at my own peril. These have put an end to that and with something attached to my straps and the back of my pack I feel very visible, in a pretty stylish way.

I seriously, seriously cannot recommend Ru-Titley’s products highly enough. The build quality is fantastic and these inventive solutions are very worth getting hold of. Also they look really cool.

Check out his site here. There is a full selection of his gear on display here, from beautiful custom knives, to other creative products like the ones seen here. He doesn’t have a store, but if you drop him an email on rtknives@hotmail.com he’ll sort you out. He’ll ship to any destination and even offers discount for any Military, LEO, SAR Teams and First Responders to name a few, so be sure to ask about a discount if you think you qualify.

Here’s a list of what I’ve got in case you want to order these specific items (second image):

Top:
MK3 double sided, Cyflect and 3m High-Vis Orange, mounted on an ITW Web Dominator x2

Left:
MK4 – 3m Orange (velcro backed) with x3 Micro Dots to fit behind.

Middle:
NEW Square MK4 the Cyflect (velcro backed) designed to fit on Triple Aught Design gear kit with a GITD Micro Dot.

Right:
Mini MK3 Cyflect for zip pull.

Bottom:
Cyflect Micro Dots (velcro backed) to fit on the back hood of Triple Aught Design Ranger Eyes patched jackets.

Check out the massive selection of gear available on his website here.

Team Rubicon Week: Part 05 – Jeff More: Pack Configuration

Editor: Firstly, thank you to everyone who has already made an order for one of our patches, the response has been amazing, but there are still a number left before we reach our target. Be sure to get your order in ASAP so you don’t miss out. More details can be found here. Orders are made in the side bar of our site on any page.

As the final part of our Team Rubicon week we are going to look at the pack configuration of Jeff More who has sent me enough information to give us a real insight into the gear needed whilst on a TR deployment.

Jeff: I am a volunteer photojournalist with Team Rubicon. I have neither a military veteran nor a medical/rescue professional background, but have certifications in Wilderness First Aid and Search and Rescue, though on the ground, I stick to my own specialization. Note how little of the pack is dedicated to photography, TR photographers by policy are to shoot for no more than 25% of the time; the other 75%+ of the time, we’re smashing stuff with our fellow volunteers.

The F-stop pack stands up on its own, which can be handy if I need to set it down somewhere wet. I've packed all the odds and ends into the red organizer pouch with the exception of the headlamp, tourniquet and combat gauze.

Caption: The F-stop pack stands up on its own, which can be handy if I need to set it down somewhere wet. I’ve packed all the odds and ends into the red organizer pouch with the exception of the headlamp, tourniquet and combat gauze.

My primary daypack is the F-Stop Loka (Editor: check out Pack Config’s review of the F-Stop Tilopa BC here). It takes modular inserts for small, medium and large camera loads. I usually roll with a small, as the other half of my pack is filled with safety equipment. The Loka is great because my photo loadout can be scaled up or down or completely removed depending on the day’s mission. I’ve climbed, snowshoed, gone on international business trips, and have done weighted ruck commutes to work with this pack, all with varying amounts of photographic equipment. It’s F-Stop’s largest carryon legal sized pack, but small enough to fit into mostly filled overhead compartments, and I’ve managed to fit it in the overhead in those DeHavilland and Embraer commuter planes. My basecamp bag is the North Face Rolling Thunder.

I leave the top lid of the pack reserved solely for stuff I want accessible in a hurry, such as tourniquet, headlamp, and point-and-shoot camera. Thus, the main compartment of my daypack is only my camera cube, Eagle Creek organizer, and jacket, with little to no items floating about. I have a second Eagle Creek organizer for smaller items left at camp.

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04  |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Team Rubicon Week: Part 05 – Jeff More: Ten Essentials System

Editor: As a follow up to Jeff’s pack configuration post, here is the detailed list of what constitutes his Ten Essentials System load out. 

As always make sure you check out Team Rubicon’s website to find out even more about what they do that what we’ve covered this week. Make sure you also get in your order for our fundraising patch ASAP so you don’t miss out. More details about the patch can be found here. Orders can be made in the side bar on any page of our site.

Jeff: This list is long and detailed and seems like a mess when laid out on the deck, but I keep it well organized on deployment, using Eagle Creek two sided cubes for all the little knicknacks. One side is all the electronic essentials (batteries, camera bits), and the other side gets the non-electronic essentials (sunscreen, baby wipes, snacks, etc).

If you’ve read any of my articles on ITS Tactical, you’ll know I’m a big fan of the Ten Essentials system, so will thusly go down my loadout according to said list.

Pockets:
• Leatherman Skeletool CX multitool.
• DIY survival bracelet. I usually have enough cordage stashed on me, so I’ve never used it for anything remotely survival related. My first climbing partner made it for me before he left for the Army, so I wear it entirely for sentimental reasons.
• Smartphone. Our photographers usually share a WiFi hotspot, so I have my phone as a backup in case someone else is using it.
• Architect Wallet. It has a Space Pen and micro Moleskine built into the wallet. I prefer taking notes on pen and paper rather than a touchscreen. It’s a compact package and reduces the amount of things to throw into the pockets in the morning.
• Suunto Ambit. Has GPS, altimeter, barometer and compass functions.
• Surefire L2 flashlight. Not pictured because I lost it. Serves me right for removing the lanyard.
• Bic disposable lighter. A decade ago I fiddled with a few high end “survival” lighters and found them overly complicated, too expensive, and not reliable enough. I’ve since reverted to the Bic, but am open to other reader suggestions.

All the F-stop pack contents laid out in a messy pile.

Caption: All the F-stop pack contents laid out in a messy pile.

INSIDE THE DAY PACK:

Navigation:
• GPS with street maps loaded.

Protective Equipment:
• Hardhat - we’re issued these at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) before heading off to the work site.
• Ball cap - for sun protection when not at the work site.
• Shemagh - to keep fiberglass and the sun out of my collar, plus a multitude of other uses. I pack a second to use as a bath towel if we have showers at camp, and wash and rotate the two if given the opportunity.
• Smith Optic sunglasses - I think the model is the Hudson. For sun and ballistic protection.
• Smith Optic Boogie goggles - for clear eye protection. We’re issued the chem-101 style goggles from the hardware store, but I carry my own as they are lower profile. They have adjustable vents, but I get mixed results with them.
• Lip balm - generic.
• Sunscreen - pump spray, as aerosol is a no-go for air travel and I hate dealing with creams. I carry a 1oz bottle in the field, and stash a second 4oz bottle to refill at camp.
• Bug dope - I’ve never dealt with bugs on my deployments, but just in case. Usually left at camp.
• Work gloves - I use my Petzl rappel gloves I originally got for canyoneering.
• Respirator or dust masks. Depending on the mission.

Clothing:
• Danner Acadia combat boots.
• Softshell jacket - Triple Aught Design Stealth winter weight hoodie. I usually roll with a down puffy jacket and hardshell while camping/backpacking, but I like the convenience and simplicity of only one jacket and will sacrifice the versatility of the two-jacket system while on deployment.
• Liner gloves - for if it gets chilly.
• Base layers - Patagonia R1 hoody. Usually stashed at camp. It isn’t unheard of for a team to assemble for a mission to a warm locale, then get diverted when a disaster hits in a much colder climate.
• Extra changes of clothes. 
• Beanie
• Camp sandals - For showers and around camp when airing out my old Danner Acadia combat boots.

 Illumination:
• Headlamp. I use the Black Diamond Revolt, whose battery can be topped off with my cell phone charger. I removed the strap and sewed my headlamp to my beanie. When it’s chilly, it’s usually dark out, and when it’s dark out, it’s usually chilly.

First Aid:
• Altoids survival tin:
    – Moleskin blister treatment
    – Acetaminophen and/or aspirin
    – Imodium
    – Antihistamine
    – Splinter antibiotic ointment
    – Steristrips
    – Bandages. I like the 3M Nexcare ones.
    – Matches
    – Birthday candle
    – Tinderquiks
    – Folding knife/saw
    – Sewing needles
    – Safety pins
    – Krazy glue
    – Water treatment tablets
    – Dessicant
    – Signal mirror
• Tourniquet
• EMT shears
• Quic Clot Combat Gauze

Firestarting:
• Spare lighter plus the odds and ends in my Altoids survival kit, and Mora Fireknife (see below).

The Loka laid open on the ground. The pack unzips open so I have a little workspace of sorts, being able to access contents while keeping it all off the ground.

Caption: The Loka laid open on the ground. The pack unzips open so I have a little workspace of sorts, being able to access contents while keeping it all off the ground.

Repairs:
• Light My Fire/Mora Fireknife. The Mora is a cinch to sharpen even for those of us who lack the sharpening gene, and has a fire striker in the hilt. I find it much more ergonomic and reliable than all the higher end fire steels I have used in the past, and find the blade much more user friendly than all the expensive knives I have owned. I have a case of matches with some Tinderquik tinders and a button compass stashed inside, I previously had a whistle and Photon LED light on the knife lanyard, but the rattling noises drove me nuts when hiking so I removed them. About 9 feet of duct tape is wrapped about around the sheath and matches.
• Extra Leatherman key bits
• 30 feet of paracord. To fix boot laces, rig shelters, repair gear, set up clotheslines, and a million and one other uses.
• Velcro cable ties.
• Moar duct tape on the camera tripod legs.
• Zip ties.

Food and Hygiene:
• The organization usually provides us MREs, it makes sense to have your own stash if you don’t have access to the food supply. On the first night of my deployment to Moore, Oklahoma after May 2013’s tornadoes, we just landed at Oklahoma City and were 2/3 of the way to the camp when the El Reno tornado hit.
• Hand sanitizer. 1oz bottle for the field. There are usually bottles at the FOB or at camp I can refill from.
• Trail snacks, or Pogey Bait as I’ve learned to call it. Eg. Clif/Gu/Hammer gels, Clif Shot Bloks, that sort of stuff, whatever is on sale for the month at REI.
• Baby wipes. For toilet paper and showering.
• Some drink mixes. I like to pack some Emergen-C and Starbucks Via, which I’ve found to be the most palatable instant coffee mix.
• Toiletry kit - typically a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and Gold Bond. I have a sewing needle duct taped to the case of floss for gear repairs.
• Titanium mug. I can cook out of this if need be.
• 6x Mountain House and 3x instant noodles for 3 days of food.

Hydration:
• Water bottles. While not as convenient, they are much easier to keep clean in the field than hydration bladders.
• SteriPen Opti.
• MSR 10L dromedary bag (not pictured). That’s 2.5 gallons for readers in the USA and Myanmar.

Shelter:
• A bag of bags. I typically carry two each 55 gallon trash bags, 1 gallon and 1 quart freezer bags.
• Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent, stays at camp.
• Big Agnes 3.5” insulated Air Core air mattress, stays at camp,
• Big Agnes Horse Thief 40 degree bag, stays at camp.

Signals:
• Yaesu VX6R ham radio. I’ve been a licensed ham operator since eighth grade (nerd alert, if sewing the headlamp to my beanie didn’t tip you off). Radios are typically only carried by team leaders, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own comms especially in a disaster zone where the telecom grid can be questionable.
• Spot messenger. I usually don’t use these on deployment, but handy to have in case we get separated from the main group for some reason, it also keeps the family from worrying too much.
• Phone charger plus travel battery.

Camera Stuff:
• Nikon D600 DSLR with a wide-mid-range zoom and 50mm. Formerly a 24-70 f/2.8, while a beautiful piece of glass, I’m swapping it out for a 24-120 f/4, as it’s a little more suited for run-and-gun. 
• Sony RX100 pocket camera.
• Extra batteries. I carry CR123s, AAs, AAAs, and extra Nikon batteries.
• Laptop for nightly editing, watermarking, and transmitting back to headquarters. External hard drives and USB flash memory for backups.

Boredom/Morale:
• Deck of playing cards. The Freedom of the Hills deck has a bunch of outdoor survival and first aid tips printed on the cards you can study if no one else is around to play.
• Cards Against Humanity. Heavy and bulky, but fun if you have a large group. Stays at camp.
• Kindle e-reader
• Flask. I like Bulleit rye whisky. Stays at camp, because chainsaws, excavators, and booze don’t mix.
• Camp Flag

Rescue Stuff:
• I stash my climbing harness, two Black Diamond Magnetron locking biners, prusiks and a few runners in my deployment bag. I don’t carry a rope with me, since my only rope at home is a dynamic line for trad climbing and not well suited for rescue. I have a Search and Rescue Technician certification and while I’ve never been on an operation that involved rescue, it is compact and light enough to justify a spot in my deployment bag in case mission parameters change.

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04  |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Team Rubicon Week: Part 04

Time for a little update and clarification on our goal…

The first image shows a typical International Deployment Kit. A high degree of skill, medical know-how, and self-sufficiency are all requirements of working in what are usually inhospitable climates on an International Deployment with Team Rubicon. The cost of one of these kits is $750.

Here at Pack Config our aim is to raise enough money to supply one of these kits and four of the Domestic Deployment Kits (see the bottom image) that cost $100 each, a total of $1150.

To reach this goal we need to sell 500 of our fundraising patches. 

So far the response has been great, and even though the patches are only available for pre-ordering, we have still managed to sell over 120 patches in under a week. Thank you to everyone who has shown their support so far.

That still leaves 380 patches left to sell, so we still need your help…

Please do your part to help us reach this goal by pre-ordering your patch or patches today. Orders can be made in the sidebar of any of the pages on our site, or for more details please visit our store using the link below. 

If you are visiting us from a mobile device, please click on the icon (see below image) in the very top right hand corner of the site to find the purchasing panel.

Finally, I’ve included a few extra images for your enjoyment. The second image shows a number of 5.11 Rush 12 Packs in sandstone with lovely red customised name-tape patches and a Team Rubicon patch. 

The third image shows an International Deployment team about to head out. I wonder if anyone can spot a pack that we’ve already featured in Team Rubicon week? Maybe the GORUCK in the centre?

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04   |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Team Rubicon Week: Part 03

This is the third part of our Team Rubicon (TR) feature week in honour of our fundraising patch launch check it out here. These images again have come directly from TR and this time we are looking at International Deployment.

Team Rubicon deploy domestically (i.e. within the US), mucking out flooded basements, chainsawing trees, or demolishing a home damaged by a tornado. But they also deploy to disaster scenes internationally. After the earthquake in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty decided to take action.

"Together with six other veterans and first responders, they gathered funds and medical supplies from friends and family and flew into the Dominican Republic. They rented a truck, loaded their gear, and headed west to Haiti."

In their time out there “They treated thousands of patients, traveling to camps deemed “too dangerous” by other aid organizations. They ventured outside the traditional scale of disaster response, focusing on those who would be overlooked, untreated.” And from that experience Team Rubicon was founded and has become an organisation that is truly worth some attention.

The images here show TR at work outside the US. You can see they often have a ‘day pack’ carried on their front when travelling to a destination, as well as a larger pack for the rest of their gear. We’ll be looking at a break down of some TR gear later on in the week, so stay posted for that.

Don’t forget to check out the Pack Config Fundraising patch here and make a pre-order to help us support TR.

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04   |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Team Rubicon Week: Part 02

This is the second post of our Team Rubicon (TR) feature week following the launch of our fundraising patch check it out here. These images have come directly from TR and again show the great diversity of packs being using by the team.

The in the first shot a guy is lifting a heavily packed REI XT 85 Pack, whilst he is wearing a 5.11 All Hazards Nitro Pack in Sandstone. His waist rig seems to have a number of camouflaged (possibly Highlander pattern) pouches which work well with the Sandstone colouring. He has a big carabiner attached to the front which is holding his gloves, but would be great for quickly retaining items. He also has a forward mounted GoPro. 

The lady in the second image appears to be the owner of the pack we featured yesterday (found here). The TR international team seem to often carry two packs in this manner, we’ll see a few other examples later on this week. To find out more about Team Rubicon and all they do, check out their about us page here.

Don’t forget to check out the Pack Config Fundraising patch here and make a pre-order to help support TR. The cost of a pack of 3 or 4 patches has also now been discounted to make it easier for your to order more!

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04   |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Funnell Pack: In Summer time, do you run, hide or stay dry?

This was the question posed to me by the Katie & the Team at restlesstraveller-blog. They have recently released their Funnell pack that offers a solution to being caught in unexpected downpours and I thought it was worth a momentary deviation from Team Rubicon week.

There are three versions of the Funnell pack, Sport, City and Extreme (pictured above) for all walks of life. As you can see from the bottom image, the sport version looks not much bigger than a well puffed jacket. This pack looks to be a smooth, well thought out solution to real-life problem. Yes you could stop and get a raincoat out of your pack, but who has the time these days? I’ve always wondered why I haven’t come across a feasible backpack/raincoat solution, but now I have.

Check out the video below and visit their Kickstarter page to help get this project off the ground and for a chance at a nicely discounted pack.

Team Rubicon Week: Part 01

Following the launch of our fundraising patch for Team Rubicon (TR) this week we will be about finding out a little more about them and also noting various Pack Configurations along the way.

TR seeks to “unite skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders” and you can really see this unite in the image above. The mix of clothing, packs and gear speak of the diversity of everyone involved in a TR mission. Yet certain elements, like their goal, t-shirts and headgear unite them. I like certain details like the small teddy sat in the side elastic keeper of red pack in the bottom right.

This shot was taken by Chris Ryan who has been to at least 6 disaster areas and 2 international photo assignments with TR, he has some wonderful photography on his website, definitely worth checking out. Chris also captured one of my favourite (and most popular) posts here on Pack Config here. Chris carries a GORUCK GR1 when out with TR (pictured above). I love the simple patch and bright carabiner that stands out nicely.

Don’t forget to check out the Pack Config Fundraising patch here and make a purchase to help support TR.

Found here

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04   |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Pack Config Team Rubicon Fundraising Patch Release

Together with its little brother Praetorian Honor, Pack Config has designed a patch to support the very worthy organisation Team Rubicon. All of the net profit from each purchase will be donated to Team Rubicon. Our aim here at Pack Config is to raise enough to fund a number of Domestic Deployment and International Deployment Kits, details of what these kits contain can be found here.

Help us support Team Rubicon by making an order today. The 100% embroidered patch is 2.5” square (size is still TBC) and comes with hook & loop backing for easy attachment. Made in the USA by a highly reputable patch manufacturer the quality will be outstanding.

BY ORDERING YOU ARE MAKING A PRE-ORDER PAYMENT.
The patches have not been produced yet, but all orders should be fulfilled by the end of August (customers will be kept updated via their PayPal email address, or other email if specified in the payment process).

If you are an international customer (including US outlying islands), please email us here for payment options.

To make an order and for more details please click here

About the Patch
The TR construction helmet is an iconic part of the a typical deployment kit. The crossed spades represent the hard, physical work that the team often undertake. A Roman style crown (or corona) surrounds everything. Crowns like these were rewarded to the soldiers who were first to step on an enemies battlements, first to step into an enemy camp, etc. this relates to Team Rubicons ability to move fast and often be the first on the scene of disaster, echoing their slogan “Bridge the Gap”.

Team Rubicon Week:
Intro  |  Part 01  |  Part 02  |  Part 03  |  Part 04  |  Part 05a  |  Part 05b

Fast Pack Friday: Submission

Here is another anonymous viewer submission for our Fast Pack Friday feature. This foliage green Fast Pack EDC with a matching OP1 pouch looks well weathered which is a testament to the packs great design and durability.

ITW Web Dominators have been used to tidy up the excess compression straps, which is always a good move. As always, I love the symmetry of the patches with two tan patches either side of a full colour USA flag. The black carabiner and attachment (I believe a knife?) behind the transporter tail work well with the overall look. This looks like a well thought out configuration.

The viewer writes: This was taken over the Independence Day holiday weekend at the entrance of one of the Talus Caves in Pinnacle National Park. 

The submissions seems to gradually be rolling in. If you have been inspired by any of the packs you’ve seen here on Pack Config, or if you think you’ve got a cool setup you’d like to see, please send me a photo of your pack with as little or as much detail as you fancy (find our submit button at the top of the page or here). I look forward to hearing from you all.