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As a third-grader in the suburbs of New York City, I remember getting kidnapped by my family and taken to an undisclosed, off-grid location for days on end. At first, it was horrible. There was nothing to do. There were bugs everywhere and my remote control Batmobile wouldn’t work on the dirt campsite. After a few trips, though, the trails surrounding the campground became my world of adventure; I met new kids camping in the adjoining sites and made new friends; my father taught me how to make a fire and to enjoy blackened, unrecognizable food.

Perhaps more so now than back then, camping provides family and friends time away from the lights, luxuries and distractions of the connected world. It offers a chance for a deeper connection, one that can’t be had with a status update or shared selfies.

Federal, state, local and privately owned campsites exist all over, many are closer than you think. Most campsites can be had for $10-$30 a night and provide basic water and sanitation. Start at recreation.gov and reserveamerica.com for some ideas.

Don’t confuse camping with ultra-endurance trekking and the ultralight, minimalist and uber-costly gear it’s associated with. We’re talking pack-the-cooler and load-up-the-station-wagon car camping. There’s no need to be uncomfortable when you can bring along anything you can fit in the car. Big-ass tent? Bring it. Multi-burner stove? Bring it. Bring what you need keep the clan protected from the elements and well-fed –the rest will fall into place.

Here’s the readout on some of the latest camping equipment to hit the market, along with some of our stalwart favorites thrown in to give you some ideas on outfitting or augmenting your camping gear locker. We love late summer and fall camping. Cool nights and mostly dry days are a great time to make some great memories before the kids head back to school. Not to mention, the end of season is a great time to score deals on camping gear!

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The Law Tactical AR FSA adds 1.375" and 11 oz. of stock folding goodness to any AR platform. It works with the AR10, as well.

Law Tactical’s Gen 2 AR Folding Stock Adapter was already a peerless solution for anyone looking to reduce the visual signature of an AR15 or AR10 rifle during transport. The single largest contributor to its success is the fact that it doesn’t change the operation of the AR or affect compatibility with existing AR parts.

Sure, the FSA adds a little weight and extends the length of pull by 1.375″, but when used normally, the part is nearly transparent to the rifle’s operation. We’re glad to see the new Gen3 update brings with it enhanced ergonomics, easier maintenance and greater durability without sacrificing any aspect of the FSA’s core capability.

The Law Tactical AR FSA adds 1.375" and 11 oz. of stock folding goodness to any AR platform. Here, it's installed on a 9" 300 AAC SBR. The rifle is just under 20.5" folded including the Surefire Brake.
Biggest Change:
Law Tactical addresses nearly all the criticisms of the Gen2 FSA with this Gen3 update. The big news; it can fire when folded. This doesn’t mean the gun can be operated normally with a folded stock. The manufacturer stills considers this abuse of the part, and perhaps of the rifle, but it means the Gen3 will allow the AR to continue to function if the rifle is fired with the stock folded.

 

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bildeJoe Gould over at Army Times is reporting on the Army’s replacement of the current PT uniform with the new Army Physical Fitness Uniform. The first thing you’ll notice is that it is black.

Black might seem like a bad color for workout garb because dark fabric soaks up the sun’s rays, making the wearer hotter. But don’t sweat it, the Army ran some tests and it’s okay. As Joe reports:

The Army studied whether a black uniform would make soldiers hotter but tests using a “sweating mannequin” showed the moisture-wicking material compensated for the color difference, Mortlock said.

Translation: You’ll be hotter, so we’ll get rid of the sweat so you won’t notice how hot you are.

Also, they got rid of reflective material on the fabric, calling it a security issue for deployed soldiers. All things considered, a black uniform with bright yellow flashes stands out pretty well in the daytime and likely presents as much of a visual signature as any reflective coating would. And, really, doesn’t any grown person running with a t-shirt tucked in to their shorts already stand out?

You can use the $3 the Army saved you in dumping the reflective material and spend it on the reflective belt you’re going to need.

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Here’s another great video from SilencerCo. If I were to dream up a top-ten-worthy range day, it might include fishing, grilling some grub and plinking steel from boats, trucks and tracks with Mike Aland, Tim Dillon and Lorina Noveske up in Noveskeland, Oregon.

It’d be a tough call, deciding between an epic playdate like this or an intense, drone-tastic roadtrip with Johnny.

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The Recon Kit Bag by Hill People Gear. James K. Sanborn/Staff

The Recon Kit Bag by Hill People Gear.

I’ve been very pleased with a new piece of kit I’ve been testing for about a month — the Recon Kit Bag by Hill People Gear.

The chest pouch, which sells for $95, has allowed me to comfortably keep my most essential gear — including a pistol, topos, compass, etc… — front and center where I can get to it quickly on the trail without having to stop and drop my pack.

These Kit Bags have been on the market for a few years now, but the Colorado-based company which also produces a series of packs and outdoor gear, has continued to add models and now has and full line of varying sizes, colors and configurations.

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GGG-JED-Bag

The new Grey Ghost Gear JED Bail Out Bag was designed with the help of JSOC veteran Jim Erwin, (JED = Jim Erwin Developed) and looks like it’ll server well as a vehicle bail out bag. It’s set up with interior mesh pockets, and elastic loops. A zipper that runs the full length of the bag allows access to everything inside. The outside of the bag has sections of loop material for attaching hook backed pouches

Grey Ghost designed the bag ” to be fought from, without getting hung up on unnecessary ‘cool’ features that aren’t so cool when they are getting in your way in a firefight.”

The bags are available in Kryptek Typhoon and Highlander for and introductory price of $129.

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AO-Terrain-2

It’s not gear, but it’s something worth reading– Breach-Bang-Clear is running an excellent series by veteran Chris Hernndez about the hard choices faced by American soldiers after their platoon mates committed a horrible war crime during their 2006 Iraq deployment. The piece centers on the 2006 Mahmudiyah murders, also known as the Yusufiyah murders, in which five soldiers from the 502nd Infantry Regiment raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl. Rather than focus on the crimes and the criminals, the piece examines the reaction and actions of those on the periphery and those that hope to prevent something like this from happening again.

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Team Wendy, makers of standard-issue helmet pads and high-end bump helmets, has added a ballistic helmet to the company’s offerings.

The new EXFIL Ballistic helmet weighs in at between 2.6 and 2.75 pounds depending on size and offers improved suspension and rail systems similar to those used on their current helmets, but paired with life-saving protection.

The new helmet, which retails for $883, offers Level IIIA protection capable of stopping at least 9mm full metal jacket or .44 magnum hollow points at 1,400 feet per second. Additionally, it offers the same blunt force protection as the Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet and fragmentation protection capable of stopping penetration by 17 grain fragments traveling at 2,400 feet per second at least 50 percent of the time.

“We’ve taken the best features of our Carbon and LTP™ bump helmets, as well as our helmet liners and retention systems for standard ballistic helmets, and brought them together into one comprehensive ballistic helmet platform,” said Team Wendy CEO Jose Rizo-Patron in a company press release. “The result is a ballistic helmet that is lightweight, customizable and easy to adjust while providing exceptional protection.”

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UPDATE: The Army sent us a few images of Master Sgt. Benjamin Owens modeling the Army Combat Uniform using the new Operational Camouflage Pattern. OCP does look to be the Army’s Scorpion W2, which bears a strong resemblance to MultiCam. Also notice the updated shoulder pockets on the ACU top.

The Army announced today that new combat uniforms featuring the service’s new camo pattern should be on sale in military clothing sales stores next summer.

Interestingly, the Army’s announcement only disclosed that they’ve “selected a pattern” and named it Operational Camouflage Pattern,  but didn’t tell what it was or even show what it may look like. Based on prior reporting, we assume the new camo pattern is Scorpion W2, a cousin of Crye’s MultiCam camouflage pattern currently in use by the Army under the name Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern.

This comes on the heels of a Department of the Army solicitation seeking ways to “overdye” current stocks of IOTVs and OCIE/TA50 items coyote brown.

ARLINGTON, Va. (July 31, 2014) — The Army has selected a pattern as its base combat uniform camouflage pattern. The Army has confirmed through testing that the pattern would offer exceptional concealment, which directly enhances force protection and survivability for Soldiers.

The Army is naming the pattern the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) to emphasize that the pattern’s use extends beyond Afghanistan to all Combatant Commands. The Army’s adoption of OCP will be fiscally responsible by transitioning over time and simply replacing current uniforms and equipment as they wear out.

The Army anticipates the Army Combat Uniform with the OCP will be available for purchase by Soldiers at Military Clothing Sales Stores (MCSS) in the summer of 2015.

More…

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MUT1

I wrote about a problem I was having with my Leatherman MUT back in May. The pliers failed on not one, but two MUTs.

After light duty, the tool’s arm containing the blade and saw loosened up so that it would swing open freely rather than offer sufficient resistance to reliably open the pliers. This was a particular nuisance when using the tool one-handed. I thought the problem stemmed from the safety torx screw holding together the arm’s pivot joint.

It turns out that was not the problem.

One of our readers suffering the same issue  said it was the result of cracks in the tool’s frame. He was right.

20140519 OFF Cracked MUTT 005_2 (2)

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