Custom Fixed Blade Knife

A few weeks back, I posted on Twitter and Instagram that I was looking for a simple, fixed blade knife, maybe 3.5-4 inches long. With a thick, drop point blade and with a simple, yet easy to grab handle. Either stone washed or coated blade. Not shiny and no markings.
Searching on social media for a good knife maker, I saw what Eric from Trinity Bladeworks (intagram) was making and I thought that he could be the knife maker for this project. I reached out to him and after a few exchange of details he immediatelly set up to design and make the knife I was looking for.

The result is amazing.

Specs:

  • AEBL steel with full cryo
  • Black G10 rock pattern handle
  • Carbon fiber pins
  • Dark stone wash finish
  • 3.75 in blade
  • 8.15 overall

Eric went above and beyond. Communication with him was excellent, and the constant updates allowed for on-time tweaks to make this knife the exact one I was expecting.

I'm really looking forward to trying this blade and see how it performs on the field. Updates will follow.

Here are some more pictures from the knife maker.

Techwear, packing light and the art of being comfortable in the field

After more than 15 years of packing light and going fast, the one thing you will find on my wardrobe is a lot of technical and synthetic fabrics. These fabrics not only are easy to care for while travellig or at home, but provide a better protection from the elements, and remain light and comfortable.

Since I found myself wearing more techwear clothing lately, and since a lot of people asked for examples, here are a few of the things I usually wear while on the go. Either on the road while travelling on projects, or when I'm back in the office on an urban environment.
I recommend you read Ben Brooks' post on the same topic for more ideas.

Urban, travelling and business casual

The key to going from a flight straight to a meeting is having comfortable, wrinkle-free clothing that looks sharp.

  • Buffworks Chinos. Stylish, comfortable, adaptable. They look good with dress shoes, Keens or sandals. I have 2 pairs and they fit most of my business needs: dress, casual and recon activities on the move. Couple them with a Bluffworks Blazer and you are set.
  • Arc'teryx Skyline LS shirt. Sharp enough to be dressy, moisture wicking fabrics and modern cut. The Skyline can be worn on a business meeting, or while hiking/exploring.
  • Patagonia Capilene Daily T. A classic undershirt with the benefits or technical fabrics. Odor-free, easy to wash, dries overnight on the hotel. Perfect for all.
  • Olivers Apparel Boxer Briefs. Bring two pairs of this and you can travel the world for months. Comfortable, breathable, easy to wash and odor-free. Like all Olivers Apparel items, engineered for the go.
  • Darn Tough Light Hiker socks. With a combo of Merino wool and sinthetic fabrics, these socks remain dry, comfortable and are easy to care for. 2 pairs and you are done.

PT and on the go workouts

I always bring PT gear. The iteams are light, adaptable and easy to care for, so I can always find room to pack them, even when I'm travelling ultra light with a GORUCK Bullet 10.

  • Olivers Apparel All Over Shorts. Fitted, comfortable and not too long. Great for the gym, running, for swimming and just hanging around. They pack small. Perfect pair of shorts.
  • Olivers Apparel Terminal Tech T. With a combo of Merino wool and other technical fabrics, this shirt wicks moisture, it's naturally oder-free and easy to care for. You can use this with a pair of Bluffworks Chinos for a casual, relaxed look when trying to blend in on your recon.
  • Olivers Apparel Boxer Briefs.
  • Darn Though Vertex socks.

Blending in and a night at the hotel bar

  • Arc'teryx A2B Commuter Pants. When I'm not wearing Bluffworks, I wear Arc'teryx pants. They are stylish while maintaining the technical capabilities that Arc'teryx brings to their climbing and running clothing. They look good with a polo or with a tshirt. When I need to spend hours on my feet, walking, getting into places and generally being physical, these are my go to.
  • Arc'teryx Captive Polo. Another example of a piece that was born out of the climbing community. This polo is breathable, easy to care for and fast drying. Toss one of this and you are ready.
  • Olivers Apparel Boxer Briefs.
  • Darn Tough socks.

Jackets

For jackets I usually bring either a light softshell like the Arc'teryx Incendo Hoody on spring and summer, or an Arc'teryx Atom LT in the winter.
For super rainy trips, I go with my trusty Arc'teryx Beta LT jacket. Light, packable and stops everything.

Shoes

Shoes are tricky. More on this soon.

Final word

Easy to care for, clean lines clothing with tech fabrics is the way to go if you want to remain light and move fast. More and more brands are making clothing with tech fabrics. Some are creating new trends.
Check what works for you and find the right combo.

Remember Rule 7: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.

Question from a reader

CH asked: Hey, this is Sgt C. Last time we worked together you guys helped us in Khost, on FOB [redacted]. You had a compact kit with you and I was wondering if you could share this with me.

Hey C, good to hear from you!
If I remember correctly this is what I carried then (apologies for the low quality picture, I just grabbed what I could find to make a hasty picture):

So, I had a plate carrier (thanks Bryan at ITS Tactical!) with:

  • 3 mags for the m4
  • Holster for the Glock 19 and 2 mags attachment
  • A small ruck with:
  • Source hydration 3L bladder (not in the picture)
  • Notepad and cover - Rite in the Rain
  • Secondary IFAK: ITS Tactical ETA kit
  • Small pouch with SERE kit: inside the pouch there is cash, gold coins and some other items. And inside the patch, the SERE kit
  • Comms (not in the pic): MBITR and other radios
  • Light weight softshell jacket
  • On my pants:
  • Primary IFAK and tourniquete
  • Main SERE kit
  • Benchmade AFO II knife

And my issued M4.

IMG_5096.JPG

Packing Light: Packing Lists

The last post on packing light resulted in many questions from readers. I tried to answer some of them, but it was clear that I needed to make a better post about how I do this. So, building on what I used to write for Pack Light, Go Fast, following the format of the packing lists at The Brooks Review, here's a post about what I take and how I pack for different trips.
The trick is to have synthetic and easy care fabrics (like Merino wool) that are easy to wash and can dry overnight. The only thing I bring that break this rule is a pair of jeans. However, I don't have to wash the jeans so often.

Before you continue, read first the post about packing light and going fast. It will give you a better sense on how I do things.
Now, these lists are a base. I can change them depending on weather, the trip's goal (business, business casual, recon, climbing, vacation...). I can even go as small as having a GORUCK Bullet 10 and pack only very little for a 2 day, 1 night trip:

This is what I packed when I went to visit our friends from GORUCK in their HQ in Florida

The items below can be worn for weeks, making it easy to remain light and agile (Rule 7). I've taken a small GR1 ruck with minimal clothing for a 3 week trip to Europe and a larger GR2 with gear and good clothing for a 5 week trip to Africa. You can live with little. And if you need more, the key is to have a small amount of cash set aside to buy things on location.

So, the lists.

Business Trips

When I don't need to bring a suit, but business casual is needed.

Business Casual and Project Work Trips

These are usually 7 to 10 days long trips.

Here are some examples (these are older pics):