The time I was bitten by Loralei the snake in the movie Striptease.

Photo by Lucas Ignacio on Pexels.com

It had been a week since Loralei the Burmese python’s eyes were cloudy.  She had been donated to the zoo after filming the movie Striptease with Demi Moore.  It was typical to not feed snakes about to shed their skin since they usually wouldn’t eat.  Loralei now 11′ long weighing 50 pounds hadn’t been fed for a week when I cleaned her exhibit.  When I went in she was up in the limbs of the section of a tree we had put in for her to stimulate natural activity.

Her eyes still cloudy she wouldn’t be fed this morning either.  As soon as she shed she would be fed.  I went about my day as usual.  When it came time to close the zoo down for the day I went to enter Loralei’s exhibit to insure all was well.  As I opened the door she was stretched along the length of the exhibit with her head next to the door I’d just opened.

I noticed she had shed her skin. Didn’t think much of it but would note it in the daily report so she would be fed the next morning.  I casually bent over to grasp her head so I could move her out of the way to check the exhibit.  In an instant my right hand was in her mouth, her body wrapping around my arm.  I was shocked how fast it happened.  Within seconds her entire body was off the floor attempting to keep wrapping around me as she kept constricting tighter.

She couldn’t get her long body around my arm so the rest of her was trying to loop around my head and neck.  The situation was becoming dangerous.  With my right hand and arm in her grasp and my left trying to push off the rest of her I couldn’t reach my two-way radio to call for help.  I noticed the water container was still full so I knelt down and pushed her head into the water.

When I did she constricted my arm so tightly I thought she might break it.  I quickly pulled her head out of the water.  I looked around for another option.  The only thing I could see possible was a limb from the tree inside the exhibit reaching over the doorway.  I thought if I could get her tail up on that she might try to grasp it or I might be able to keep her away from my neck long enough to call for help.

I tried but her tail kept trying for my head and neck area.  I moved in closer to the tree and pushed part of her up again then moved my head down under the tree pressing against the lower side of the limb.  It worked.  I was able to get the radio out of the pouch on my belt and call in a zookeeper-in-trouble code to security.  Security rebroadcast the information to all the zookeepers.  By then Loralei had moved her body down to my head again.  I dropped the radio then kept pushing her away.

It was very quiet by then as all the visitors had left so the natural sounds of the zoo could be easily heard.  After about a minute or so I could hear the sound of multiple keys hitting each other.  That unmistakable sound when lock keys on a key ring strike each other.  That’s odd I thought for a moment when I realize what it was.  It was the sound of about a half dozen zookeepers running to come help me.  What a wonderful sound that was.

Several zookeepers arrived then started to unravel Loralei off my arm.  In all the excitement I hadn’t realized my hand wasn’t just in her mouth she had embedded dozens of teeth about a 1/4″ long into my hand as well and had no intention of letting go.  The zookeepers would be at risk for bite if they tried to use their hands to peel her mouth away.  The zookeeper with the most snake experience went to our food prep area and returned with some rubbing alcohol.

He took put some on his finger so it would drip off in drops.  He held his finger over her nostrils and let one drop fall into them while another zookeeper held her behind the head.  Almost as fast as she had attached herself to me she was letting go.  She flexed her jaws attempting to remove the teeth she had been grasping me with.  I could feel them tearing out of my fingers.  It was gnarly.  My goodness the sensation of those teeth pulling out of my flesh was hardcore.

Loralei detached I drove to the hospital for x-rays to insure there were no teeth left behind and was given some antibiotics as a precaution.  Loralei never tried to eat me again after that.  Policy was changed so that there had to be two zookeepers working together whenever we worked with large snakes.  What an experience that was.  -13

Hurricane Dorian Ridiculous Local News Headlines

Every time we have a hurricane possibility the local news does this same old crap.  They start off with regular weather reports when a potential hurricane is off the coast.  Then it escalates into mythological madness.  The local news headlines tell the story of storms that gain mythological status with sights aimed at us to lay siege and destruction to where we live.  There are battles to be won by the fierce storm that menaces with lashings.  It’s nuts!  When they are supposed to be reporting facts they reduce themselves to tabloid titles and statements.

After all these years of this kind of thing I finally thought I’d take a screen shot of this practice then do a little cut and paste for everyone to enjoy.  I couldn’t take it anymore this was the only retaliation I could think of.  Hope others find the video I made as entertaining as it was to make it.  -13

Defensor Fortis LCS PALS Filler Panel

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Defensor Fortis – Load Carrying System

Once again another DF-LCS (Defensor Fortis Load Carrying System) modification.  This time it’s for the elastic that connects the rear section to the two front sections.  After using the DF-LCS I was unhappy with the unused space created by the elastic connection and wanted a solution.  I had a surplus fighting load carrier (FLC) on hand when it dawned on me to break it down into individual components and reuse the parts to fill the space.

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Elastic connector between front and rear DF-LCS sections.

The PALS (pouch attachment ladder system) panels on the FLC would be perfect with little modification necessary.  Once they were removed from the rest of the assembly it would be easy to cut the parts to size, sew on the recycled edge binding, then sew the free ends together.  This would allow them to slip over the elastic connector then be laced to the front and rear section of PALS webbing with military spec paracord.

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PALS filler panel over elastic connector, laced onto front and rear sections.

The idea works well for the ALICE M-16 pouches I converted to MOLLE.  So far those have performed as expected when the ALICE magazine pouches are fully loaded with gear.  I did have to tighten the lace up to eliminate the slight sagging issue.

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Front view ALICE magazine pouch attached to PALS panel.

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Rear view of ALICE magazine pouch and PALS panel on a DF-LCS.

I don’t have a lot of detail here because it’s in the video.  The video moves from FLC disassembly, to layout, then sewing and finally how to make it work with the LCS.  Video below.  -13

Defensor Fortis LCS Belt Keeper & Flashlight Holster PALS modifications.

Time for some gear updates.  After switching from my old favorite ALICE LBE to MOLLE DF-LCS I experienced a couple of issues.  When using the LCS it would inch it’s way over my pants belt and push down creating discomfort.  I also noticed when in a sitting, crawling or in a prone position the rig would tend to climb toward my chest.  After thinking of a solution the only one I could think of was to attach straps that would keep the LCS from moving away from my waistline.

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Right segment of DF-LCS before adding belt keepers.

The idea came from my experience wearing a duty belt with belt keepers that were designed to hold the duty belt in line with my pants belt.  With this in mind I measured the area I wanted to place the keepers, doubled the length then added a inch and a half.  The extra length would give my fingers a place to work the snaps I intended to use.  Once I had the dimensions for the strap I cut six lengths of poly webbing, folded them in half and sewed them so the two halves would work as one.

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Right segment of LCS after belt keeper straps were added.

 

After sewing the keeper straps together they were sewn onto the three segments of the LCS.  Next the holes were punched then the snaps were added.  It was an easy project taking no more than 45-60 minutes to complete.  After testing the idea seems to work well to prevent the LCS from moving around and causing me trouble.  The LCS rig still has some movement/flexibility however it won’t move away from my waistline.  I made a short video, the link is below.

 

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I also modified what was labeled as a MOLLE flashlight holster to meet PALS specifications so I could attach it to my quick response belt.  The holster had the vertical snap strap but did not have the ladder webbing.  To fix this issue I removed the belt loop strap, opened the sewn seam to join the holster, added the new ladder section, then sewed the piece back together.  Time spent was about a half hour.  I made a how-I-did-it video the link its below.  -13

Austere Medicine: Mega Medic Bag – Kit Contents

Note: this post contains affiliate links, proceeds support this website.

I finally got around to finishing this bag and making a video!  On June 3rd of 2016 I posted a product review video of the Mega Medic bag.  At the time it was sitting empty, we had decided our medical supplies and equipment needed to be changed and updated based on how the use of the kits evolved over the previous 5-8 years.  Most of the kits had been used out of a rescue truck for a project we were working on.

When I made the review video I gathered various medical items that fit into the different parts of the bag to demonstrate the possibilities of what could be kept there.  The items shown weren’t a set up ready-to-go kit.  I already had a list for the kit contents but didn’t have everything I wanted.  Some of the items on hand had reached it’s useful life.

Recently after reading a video comment on the kit I had never seen before I checked to see what was needed to finish this kit.  Triangle bandages.  That was all.  Trying to keep track of medical inventory without a computer may put me in a straight jacket.  After replacing and restocking items the kit was finally ready.  How is that for a swift kick in the pants?

BRAVO

B Compartment

The kit is an extension of the aid bag.  This is considered our Trauma Kit and builds on splinting, bandaging, eye, dental, large wounds, burns.  Can be resupply or used as is.  It is based on several kits from past experience.  It may be hard to imagine but nearly every item in this kit could be expended on one incident.

Some of the kits from the past using the same bag had more of the bandaging and splinting materials.  Those kits had been based on, in part, by proximity to a military base and a direct flight path where helicopters and transport aircraft that could hold hundreds of soldiers could and sometimes did go down.

Then there is the, being the only one there and no one is coming. To the rural 20,000 person county, only 5 people qualified to operate two ambulances with the nearest mutual aid unit 30 minutes away, no air support.  Standing there after a mass casualty incident looking around and seeing empty aid bags and bandaging supply wrappers among the carnage leaves a lasting impression.

ALPHA

Alpha compartment, why we use those pouches

During the same time we were updating our kits we were able to find several different type packing organizers on sale at Marshalls store.  After using a few of them we went back to that store and many others within our local area and bought whatever stock they had in the store.

Those finds allowed us to keep items protected in ziploc bags and create mini kits without having a kit full of ziploc bag mess.  Multiples of one type item or a kit made of several different components they’ll work well for many common items.

LG ZIP POUCH

Double side bandaging pouch (Go Travel Packing Pouch no.3)

The bag above was one of the last pouches found.  As it’s packed it works very well, 8 rolls Kerlix, 12 5×9 Surgipads, 20 4×4 sponges.  I’ve looked for more and can’t find them.  The pouch below is what was used before we found the pouch above.  The dressings were packed the same way they are shown, the Kerlix was packed like the double side pouch, 8 rolls in a ziploc bag.

The smaller pouches have items like tape, self adhesive, triangle and elastic bandages.  The bandage pouches are very handy for bandaging purposes or resupply.  Glad we found them when we did.

SM ZIP POUCH

Single side bandaging pouch (Travelon Packing Organizers Set-Small)

CD CASE

CD Case

I’ve been looking at ways to store the instant hot and cold compresses for years.  When the portable CD cases became available I found out they worked well.  If the internal storage sleeves are removed there is room for two instant compresses.  All I had to do to get this type case to work was remove the sleeves from the rivets that were simple to pull out by hand.

At first I used a metal case but it added weight and was too stiff to fit in multiple spaces.  When these softer type plastic cases became available I tried one.  Discovered that I liked it better.  It has more flexibility and can fit into tighter spaces than the metal case.  For the type of compress and CD case chosen its simple to get them into the case.  First, I arrange the liquid part of the compress in one half of the bag and the dry ingredients in the other then, fold in half.

CASE FOLD

Case open showing how compress is packed

Place both compresses in the case then close it.  As shown below it works good.  The compress is protected from punctures and abrasion and it’s easy to see the contents.  I usually look for things like this at the outlet stores but ordered these off eBay for consistency.

CASE CLOSED

Case packed with 2 compresses

This kit has one 18″ and two 36″ SAM splints that can be used in many different ways and can be custom cut with the trauma shears.  Very handy to have on hand.  They beat the old ice cream scoop, vinyl covered wood, blow-up doll, waxed cardboard splints any day.

SPLINT

FareTec CT-6

REEL COMPACT

REEL Splint

The two photos above show the traction splints kept in or with the trauma kit.  The FareTec and the REEL splints are surplus finds.  If you’re looking to stock your kit check out eBay and the surplus stores.  Make sure all the parts are there before you buy, get new if at all possible.  Couldn’t give a price on either of these.  eBay as I shockingly found out only keeps auction records for 3 years not a running tally like Amazon.

EYE DENTURE

Dental / Eye Kit

In the photo above are the contents of the dental and eye kit.  The denture case can be used for dentures, loose teeth or prosthetic eyes.  There is a scleral cup for removing contacts and prosthetic eyes.  A case for contact lens and a 10x magnified mirror.

Two eye shields and two food service 16 ounce deli cups for covering injured eyes.  Those things can work well for keeping eyes protected.  Some of the eye injuries I’ve seen makes me want these in stock at all times.  Not shown are the sterile eye cups, the Sal-jet rinse 30ml saline vials or the Refresh Plus eye drops.

Most items in the kit have multiple uses.  Dressing like the trauma and surgipad make good splint padding.  The surgical CSR wraps in the kit to make clean working space can be used to protect wounds.  A mylar blanket as an occlusive dressing.  The list is endless.

SEAL

Security Sealed Kit

Security seals are an important part of our medical system.  The seals are tightly controlled and numbered.  A strict system is in place, only a couple of people here are allowed to seal a kit.  That way when one of the kits need to be used and the seal is intact we can be assured the contents will be there.

The seals used in the video are not the same seals used on our bags.  They’re from old stock and are used for training.  They work the same as fire extinguisher seals, twist or pull on the seal and it will break easily.  If you get some, get numbered if possible it will help in case someone else has the same type/color seals.

A word of caution, be careful where they are placed on zippers they can break zipper parts easy.

CASE OPEN

Hardigg AL3018-0905

The Trauma Kit is kept in a cabinet or could be stored and transported in a heavy duty case with the REEL splint, a MOLLE 2 pack frame, various color pack covers, a quick litter in a dump pouch and a small tarp to place the contents onto.  The case is stored with the gasket out, if left in place it compresses under the weight of the other cases and is not as effective over time.

Seems like that covers the items I felt I left out of the video.  I don’t want to repeat the video here.  I would rather people watch the video, then read the blog after to see what was left out.  Clearly I don’t write scripts for these videos, just an item name, maybe a note.  If there are any changes or updates in the future they’ll be posted.  The new video is below.  -13

 

Other video project featuring the Mega Medic bag are below.

Product review video.

 

 

 

Video of MOLLE 2 pack modifications.

 

 

ALICE Magazine Pouch Turned MOLLE

From the Laboratory of Insane Schemes.  ALICE military surplus has been my load bearing choice since the mid 1970’s.  Not perfect for sure but it was a great place to carry my canteens and other items that would fit into ALICE 30 round magazine pouches.  Cut off the grenade pouch and they fit together nicely on an issue pistol belt.

Moving into the 2000’s.  After checking out some of the PALS / MOLLE surplus available I decided to change over.  Although the webbing can be hot and heavy the PALS way of attaching pouches or attachment of any kind to LBE or packs is a good one that almost makes the attached item a part of what it’s attached to.

Moving forward left unused canteen and ALICE magazine pouches packed in boxes and me wishing I had a better way than the adapters made to use ALICE on MOLLE.  The adapter still leaves the pouch flopping around like its on a pistol belt.  Not a very good solution.

I had the idea recently after a resupply to take apart an ALICE magazine pouch and see if I could convert it over to a MOLLE pouch.  If it would work it would fit perfectly on the space fillers on the DF-LCS rig elastic section I’d made from a zippered FLC purchased to salvage for parts.

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Inside view of FLC adapter/filler and “new” MOLLE magazine pouch attached.

First I had to figure out where the attachment straps would be placed near the top of the pouch and where to snap it on.  At the top I chose the hinge point for the lid so it wouldn’t interfere with access.  Snaps on the bottom.  When the snaps are on the back of the pouch they tend to push it out due to the bulk of the snap.  If snap popping becomes an issue they can always be changed to lift-the-DOT.  We’ll see what happens in the future.

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Finished pouch.

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Location of snaps

The web straps were the same length.   Doubled, folded in half and sewn together.  Measuring the magazine pouches for the PALS webbing I discovered that the pouch width could vary as much as a 1/4″ between 4 pouches.  I chose the widest width and cut all the pieces that size.  There are no actual dimensions in here because the variation in pouch width, measuring devices and points of measurement may not be the same as mine.  Duplicating it exactly may cause problems.

After lots of seam ripping and thread picking the pouch was in half and the ALICE webbing was removed.  Laying out the PALS is as simple as can be 1″ x 1 1/2″.  Since the pouch is so small I sewed a center line and the edges like I’ve seen on some issue pouches.  Sew the straps to the hinge point.  Keep it simple.

Although the snaps used and the Pres-n-Snap are designed to cut through the fabric without punching a hole, I did punch because the amount of pouches were small and I wanted more precise location of my snaps.  I’ve had puckering and slight movement of the snap post under pressure from the hand press that the finished snap was visibly off mark times I haven’t punched a hole first.  It’s also much easier on the body with a hand press if the hole has been punched.

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With the holes punched and the webbing sewn on, the stud part of the snap was installed on the bottom of the pouches.  I try to leave them until the end of the project or leave them off for as long as possible.  In the past I’ve put them on early thinking I’m saving time but they were in the way of the sewing machine on many occasions or were scratched up.

Once the snap half was in place the pouches could be sewn back together again.  The top and bottom received four stitch lines and the whole side of the pouch received two stitch lines.  That complete, the other half of the snaps were installed on the web straps and that was it.  Those are the steps I took to convert ALICE to MOLLE.  Now I have some of my favorite pouches to use again.  There’s a video below of the process.  -13

Materials used: Mil Spec DOT snaps, poly webbing, sunbrella thread.

Marine Expeditionary Boot: Danner Waterproofing Spray

WATERPROOF

In the blog/videos Marine Expeditionary Boot: First ImpressionsMarine Expeditionary Boot: Why I choose the M.E.B. for everyday wear and Marine Expeditionary Boot: Notes of the First 7 Days the topic of waterproofing new boots was left out to make this blog/video.  I’ve read some product reviews stating that the nap and color of the boot had changed after using the Danner waterproofing spray.  Function over aesthetics every time lets find out what happens.

VERTSPRAY

Wearing the Danner Marine Expeditionary Boot for a few days indoors and deciding to keep them the waterproofing spray was applied before I wore the boots outdoors.  The online reviews made me think the worst.  Drastic color change, ruined nap.  I’d rather have ugly waterproof dry boots than pretty khaki color wet ones.

RUB

The water based Danner waterproofing spray was easy to apply and smelled a little like Armor-all.  Due to the runny nature of the spray I found it worked better if the surface was horizontal.  At first I was spraying the boot in vertical.  As soon as my first spray hit the leather/nylon the liquid ran off of the surface.   It seemed to be better to spray the area, then distribute it evenly by hand.  Washing hands first or wearing gloves will prevent dirt transfer from skin.

BLOTCH

Two, soaking coats were applied, drying in between each coat.  When first applied, before it dried, the surface of the leather did not look good.  It was blotchy, light and dark spots throughout.  It looked bad. Like the discoloration was permanent.  Thought for sure I ruined them.  After drying for several hours the color seems to be unchanged.  Like disappearing ink.  Remember that stuff?

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A quick test under running water resulted in water beading off both boots like car wax.  Not sure how much confidence I have in water based waterproofing.  It worked or seems to.  I’m wondering how long it will hold up.  The real test will be on the fringes of the Everglades and getting the trash can to the curb.  Check out the short video below if you want to see what happened. -13

 

Marine Expeditionary Boot: Why I choose the M.E.B. for everyday wear

My search for boots.  What a change in experience over the past 40 years or so.  I used to be in a place where I had access to multiple individuals wearing the best boots available at the time.  Shopping for boots back then involved asking lots of questions to those who had them on their feet as we spoke.  Checking out company claims then trying on a few prospects in store until I found what worked best.

flight flying helicopter

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

2018 the search for new boots is much different.  I’m no longer around multiple individuals with the best boots and trustworthy opinions.  I’m surrounded by bare feet and flip-flops!  Now if I need an opinion on boots I have to watch a video if I can find one or read a rating posted online.  Given the nature of corporations to censor bad ratings, good rating sources must be scrutinized.  Sucks not being able to ask the person wearing them the questions I’d like to.

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Most retail stores won’t carry the kind of boots I would buy.  They’re more of a speciality and much too expensive to have sitting around collecting dust.  In the past there were only a few places that would sell them.  With the internet I haven’t found any local stores that carried any of the boots I’d considered.  They were only available online.  That leaves me ordering boots online.  If they don’t fit ship them back then order the next size or a completely different boot.  Don’t like it much but that’s modern shopping.

working macbook computer keyboard

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

I’m very picky about my boots.  My opinions began to form in the 1970’s.  From first hand experience as a Boy Scout on local hikes to my favorite, advise from infantry soldiers and pilots returning from Vietnam.  I can still spit-shine boots if I have too.  You?  There is  lace breaking, eyelets tearing out, soles falling off, laces caught in pedals, foot rot, leather or nylon/leather combo issues, vents or not, zippers and more.  I could never have imagined all the possibilities of failure or discomfort, it pays to ask questions.  I was really lucky.

green trees

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

My preferences then evolved from experiences responding to emergencies with a rescue squad, fire department, ambulance service and some related type side jobs.  I no longer look for daily wear boots with NFPA ratings, nothing else has changed.  My requirements are few but hard to find in one boot.  Fit, comfort, materials, reputation, durability, confidence, performance and no excuses.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My requirements narrow the choices quickly.  Goodyear welt fully sewn and a Vibram brand outsole.  A heat fused sole as seen on most boots, once separated from the boot renders the boot useless.  Unrepairable!  Goodyear welt soles can be repaired multiple times.  Can also be field repaired with the right materials.  One should know how to fix one’s boots and have spare.  I’ve never had a Goodyear welt sole fail me.  Every pair of heat fused/glued boot or shoes I’ve tried failed.

Laces.  How laces pass through and attach to the boot is also a major factor in my boot choice.  Only two types of eyelet are acceptable.  One or two piece eyelets or a loop type speed lace combination.  Never, ever, hook type speed laces.  One pair of boots 30 something years ago taught me everything I needed to know about them.

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If I had a pair I would demonstrate the issues on video.  But I made a vow then that I would never buy another pair of boots with them and support that crap ever again.  Anyone who has the responsibility of life and property as a job task, hope the following helps you.

My why- never again of hook speed laces.  The hook in the photo above is a good example.  It’s the first hook located at the top of the boot.  Items can catch that hook and pull it outward forcing the top of the boot inward flipping the lace off the hook requiring the boot to be tied again.  These hooks can also be bent outward so the lace won’t hold or bent in trapping the lace preventing it from being untied.  When attempting to bend it back into place the hook breaks.  Also, the placement of the lace make the hook pull the boot body outward and from above.  Eyelets pull lower and do not cause the inward motion caused by the hook.

Actual never again with the speed lace hooks come from emergency calls I was working. I like many saw the speed laces and thought it would be great to be able to put my boots on faster when a run comes in.  Until several in field experiences changed my mind.

On the roof of a house about to lower a patient down a ladder, the wire part of a Stokes litter catches the top speed hook, flips it out, unties my boot.  Pain in the ass I thought as I quickly tied the boot.  Good thing there were others around it was doing CPR compressions.  Didn’t give it much thought after that.  Seemed like not such a big deal at the time just a hassle.

Not long after that experience I had another cardiac patient untie mishap.  Doing compressions on an arrest I had to quickly brace my foot on the gurney to keep from falling when the ambulance made an evasive movement to avoid an accident.  I was trying to get my footing on any part of the gurney I could.  As I moved my foot the top speed hook caught on the gurney and untied it instantly.

Once part of the hook system comes unlaced it all goes.  That time I was pissed off.  Swore off the boots “never again!” and casually started looking for another pair.

But I didn’t get the message or move quickly enough.  About a month after that I’m chest deep in Spring Creek with a patient clinging to the bridge foundation.   I don’t know what’s under the water but the lace hooks at some point catch on something.  Can’t reach it by hand without going under water.  Not a reasonable or safe option at that point.  Moving my foot around didn’t work so I pulled hard as a could.

It felt like I ripped the boot.  Couldn’t see anything until we got out of the water.  The patient was packaged at that point all that mattered was getting up the embankment into our ambulance.  The way up the embankment was the last time I ever wore boots with speed laces.  On our way to the place where we get back to the road I noticed that two of the hooks were bent.  During a pause as we were preparing to go up the embankment I had the bright idea to bent the hooks back and broke them both.

So, that is the why, of the never again, with speed lace hooks.  There are more  problems I’ve seen over the years when other people were wearing them.  On the opposite end I’ve heard from many people over the years how much they love their speed lace hooks.  I wonder how much they’d like them if any of that was happening while they were being rescued.  Can’t do that to anyone or myself ever again.  It’s hard to believe those things have made it this far on boots.

Shank is also a must have.  Prefer metal over plastic.  Working on a ladder or pushing a shovel you will tell you very quickly if you have them.  The M.E.B has a fiberglass shank.  We’ll see how that works out.

agriculture backyard blur close up

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Leather is a must, some nylon is also acceptable for hotter climates.  As much as I’d like to have vents I have never found them practical in any application.  In some of the driest locations I’ve been there is still a need for the ability to walk through shallow bodies of water.  I’d rather have a boot be a little warm and dry and have to change sweaty socks than worry about wet feet for the shift because I stepped in a puddle of possibly contaminated water in boots with vents.

 

brown leather textile on top of drafting board

Photo by Kevin Menajang on Pexels.com

That was a long ass winded way to get to this place wasn’t it?  The Danner Marine Expeditionary Boot has what I’m looking for.  Snug, comfortable out of the box.  No excessive foot movement within the boot that needs to be filled with insoles and socks.  There is enough head-room over the top part of my foot to allow comfortable movement/flexing of my foot and toes.  Like a glove fit.  I did add *arch support like I do with all my footwear it was no surprise.

Leather/Cordura outer for durability and comfort in hotter climates like we have in Florida.  A Gore-Tex liner so I can keep my feet dry when the water isn’t deep enough for rubber boots.  We often have storms that leave standing water that require wading.  Eyelet and loop speed lace combination works great.  It’s easy to fine tune the laces.

Goodyear welt construction with a replaceable Vibram outsole.  Danner says this boot is recraftable meaning they can repair the boot but not in every case.  Based on past experience a good cobbler may also fix issues if the factory wasn’t able or not available.  Then there is a USMC reputation for durability and confidence when my or someone else’s life depends on it.

I made notes of wearing the boot in the blog Marine Expeditionary Boot: Notes of the First 7 Days I’ll make an update video/blog in six months.  We’ll see how the boots are holding up and if my opinion changes.  Also there is a video review below check it out.  -13

 

*NOTE: Spenco Total Support Max will not fit this boot.  After trimming the insole to match the factory insoles I attempted to put one into the boot.  With or without the laces in place it was so difficult to get into place I was sure I would either break the plastic support of the insole or the edge of the plastic support would tear the inside of the boot or liner.

The insole seems like it might be too wide or inflexible to work properly with these boots.  I was able to angle them into the boot after much trying, aggravation and fear of damaging something during the process.  Once in the boot it was clear it would not work in any way at all.  In place the insole wanted to push up down the length in the middle as if it was being folded in half.  Not a drastic bend, just a small raised area from lateral compression making them unusable in the M.E.B.

Marine Expeditionary Boot: Notes of the First 7 Days

Thought it might be a good idea to make notes from my first week wearing the M.E.B. and keep track of how the boots felt each day.  I’ve never kept notes on boots before but in the age of the internet and censored reviews it may help others make a wiser choice when purchasing vital items like boots.  Don’t want company propaganda, I want real people sharing their experience.  Here’s my first 7 days wearing the Danner Marine Expeditionary Boot

For those interested and for consistency I’m wearing Darn Tough Cool Max socks exclusively.  I’ll blog/video about them after I’ve worn them longer.  At present they are comfortable to wear and help keep my feet dry when moisture builds up.

Day one notes are in the blog and video Marine Expeditionary Boot: First Impressions

Day two feet feel good.  No hot spots or rubbing.  Still new stiff but soften up a little with body heat/moisture.  The fit is snug and well fitting.  Will need more arch support than the original insoles provide.  It feels like the space is slightly empty in the arch.  I have high arches I expected to add them and ordered *high arch insoles in anticipation.  When standing stationary the rounding on the sole is noticeable.  My ankles are wanting to tilt inward or outward.  Depends on where I position my body weight.

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Day 3 sat on my ass all day in front of a computer, boots on.  Comfortable, so much for day 3.

Day 4 of boots on my feet.  Light duty day.  Grocery store, water the plants, worm bin maintenance.  Really hardcore test huh?  There are some notable experiences.  The addition of an insole used for high arches helps the boots fit a little more snugly.  Unexpectedly making the boots feel much more like they had been made for my feet.  When I first put on the boots I had over tightened the lace in various places causing fatigue.  Once this was addressed the comfort and fit felt good to be wearing.

Day 5 working on projects required me to be knelt down after several minutes noticed a pressure point in the same place on the inside ankle bilaterally.  Not bad because I try not to spend time working like that because it is uncomfortable to work in any way.  It could get uncomfortable when kneeling on the ground or in a confined space for a lengthy period of time.  The shifting weight/switching sides or slightly moving could help remedy or give some relief.  I make a note so if you’re in a predicament out there you won’t be surprised.  It won’t keep me from wearing them and it’s a position humans don’t normally spent time much time in anyway.

 

ANKLE POINT

Ankle pressure point when kneeling.

 

Day 6 88°F/31°C, 65% or so humidity, thunderstorms on the way.  Perfect time to move stuff into storage.  Moving around obstacles, pushing heavy carts the tread kept traction on pavement, concrete and painted concrete.  The arch or roundness of the tread is noticeable.  Since the sole isn’t flat the ankle tends to tilt lateral until it settles.  So far not a deal breaker it is something to be aware of.  It may be the way I walk, when I do there is a rolling feeling when the toe part of the boot moves into the next step to push off.  Not so sure how descriptive that was it is demonstrated in the video.

The heat build up but was never uncomfortable.  I’m sure the tan color helped when in the sun.  The socks and the Gore-Tex liner may be helping with moisture buildup.  The socks were very wet with sweat.  The liner of the boot felt dry.  After a change of socks it was back to normal.  No noticeable hot spots or rubbing.  An issue that surprised me was the top speed lace loop on the left boot pressing into my leg.  The way the boots are tied, the wrap around of excess lace presses one of the lace loops into my leg.  Just the one on that boot.  The right one, nothing tied the same way.

 

LOOP PRESSURE

Top speed lace loop pressure point.

 

After experimenting its clear it had to do with the way the lace crossed the loop and amount of pressure on it.  Fine tuning that really helped.  It hasn’t been a problem after the adjustments.

Had to go through some mud and wet sand typical of Florida after the storm.  Shortly after was able to hose them off.   All of the dirt washed off.   The leather beaded water like car wax.  My feet were dry.  This was after I’d changed socks.  The boots stayed dry inside no problem. So far, good comfort without all the excess padding.  My feet are liking these boots.

Day 7 putting the on boots is getting faster.  The paracord lace has stretched and is settling into the memory spot it develops after regular use.  No hot spots, rubbing or compression on the foot, ankle, arch or lower leg.  As long as the laces are adjusted properly.  My heel fits into heel cup well adding to the comfort.  Although boot has a glove like fit on my foot there is enough space to flex the foot and toes as is sometime necessary for comfort.

The tongue stays centered like no other boot I’ve worn.  With the help of a tool from the window glass industry I like to call a tongue fid I’m able to keep the tongue centered and free of bunching that causes pressure points.  The tongue fid is stout but flexible plastic.  The tapered end has rounded edges.  It works really well for pushing the tongue into place as the boots are laced up.  Those double folds can cause gnarly pressure points and be hard to move once the boot is tied.  Sometimes it can also be used it for scratching parts of my leg or ankle without having to take off the boot.  Some itching can’t be ignored.

The heat factor isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.  In south Florida heat and humidity are part of life here.  It’s expected.  These boots don’t seem overly hot here.  At this point it does seem I can feel a difference in temp where the Cordura is.  It seems to be cooler than the foot.  The foot area does build up moisture.  The Darn Tough Cool Max socks are making a difference in a different way than I expected.  Watch for a blog/video soon.

At present, they’re comfortable boots.  Over the next six months I’ll take more notes and video with an update.  Check out the blog Marine Expeditionary Boot: Why I choose the M.E.B. for everyday wear and video below. -13

 

 

*NOTE: Spenco Total Support Max will not fit the M.E.B.  After trimming the insole to match the factory insoles I attempted to put one into the boot.  With or without the laces in place it was so difficult to get into place I was sure I would either break the plastic support of the insole or the edge of the plastic support would tear the inside of the boot or liner.

The insole seems like it might be too wide or inflexible to work properly with these boots.  I was able to angle them into the boot after much trying, aggravation and fear of damaging something during the process.  Once in the boot it was clear it would not work in any way at all.  In place the insole wanted to push up down the length as if it was being folded in half.  Not a drastic bend, just a small raised area from lateral compression making them unusable in the M.E.B.

Marine Expeditionary Boot: First Impressions

New boots! First impressions of the Danner Marine Expeditionary Boot (M.E.B.) 53111, GTX, Mojave.  GTX is for the Gore-Tex liner and Mojave is the color code.  These boots are keepers!

Finally found a boot made on a last that fit my feet.  Many brand boots have too much space above the foot.  My foot in other brand boots properly tied would have at least 1/2″ of vertical movement.  When I lifted my foot to walk the boot would shift downward moving the footbed off my foot.  Then on the down step the boot hit the surface first, then the foot onto the footbed of the boot.

To remedy this I used a combination of socks and sole inserts which put my foot at an awkward place in the boot and never worked well.  No more of that with the M.E.B.  I can wear a single pair of socks and skip adding thicker sole inserts.  The fit is more like an athletic type shoe, much more comfortable around the foot.  Snug and supportive without binding.  The leather has no visible flaws, stitching is perfect.  The overall finish and look of the boots are aesthetically pleasing.

Materials quality will be determined through use.  Concerns with the sole are an arch that causes the boot to want to move in a rocking motion.  Maybe this will flatten out after the boot breaks in.  I’m wondering if the sole might stay like that and wear out the protruding part until it evens out.

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There is a short length of stitching that holds the front end of the sole onto the boot as reinforcement.  This line of stitching is not protected and might wear through enough to break the stitch.

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The laces that came with the boots are too thin and I prefer to use Mil-spec type 3 paracord so they were changed.  The sole inserts feel comfortable, but I might add some arch support.  I’ve worn them at home for about 7 hours walking as much as possible and am confident they will keep me happy for years.  Since an opportunity presents itself to track these from the start I’ll post periodic updates on the state of the boot.

Next post will explain why the M.E.B. was chosen and a progress update. Video review is below check it out. -13

My Pack Rat Moving Experience

Here is another video from my catch up list.  The video is new, the information is from 2016, 2017.  The important information is in the video.  It’s mostly still images of the containers and condition of them with my narration.  Overall the experience was good check out the video for more detail. -13

 

 

Austere Medicine: Mega Medic Bag / MOLLE 2 Pack Frame Attachment Points

The first video I made on this bag.

 

The Dyna-Med Mega Medic bag is one of my favorite bags to use.  Only problem is when I pack the bag it gets heavy.  Sometimes 35+ pounds.  I need a better way to move the bag than hand or over shoulder carry with that kind of weight.

I have a broken MOLLE 2 pack frame I like to use for experiments so I don’t break a good one.  By chance I laid the frame next to the mega medic bag setting on a table one day.  It was easy to notice how close they were in size so I set the bag on top of the frame and this is the result.

A video how I modified the mega medic bag to attach to the MOLLE 2 pack frame.  It’s not a how-to, it’s a how I did it video.  The process was simple but time consuming.

Put the bag on the frame, pick the best spots to attach webbing.  Mark it, get the dimensions for the webbing, mark, then cut the pieces.  That process took maybe 45 minutes to an hour.  Once the webbing is ready its sewing time.

I knew sewing was going to go slow.  The pieces I’ve added would have been sewn on much sooner in the assembly process reducing the time drastically.  The time was no problem since quality/accuracy is more important to me than speed.  The webbing straps make it easy to attach to the MOLLE 2 frame.  Think this took more like an hour plus but I’m not sure.

I did notice over the last few videos how bad the audio is so I’ll attempt to make it better. Several issues there that must be addressed.  After I’ve updated the kit contents I’ll make another video about the bag to include kit content and modifications. -13

Video of modifications.