Friday, February 22, 2013

AAA Flashlight Giveway!

TheOutdoorNerd is doing its first giveaway of an Olight I3S AAA flashlight!

To enter, head on over to our Facebook Page, find the giveaway post, say "I'm in" and you'll be in on the drawing.

We'll be doing the drawing on Sunday, 2/24 and the light will ship out to the lucky winner on Monday the 25th. This flashlight is a new model, with the latest Cree XP-G2 emitter in it, and all new circuitry which includes a hidden strobe mode for emergencies.

Be sure and check it out!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Spyderco Dragonfly 2 [Pocker Knife]

The venerable Dragonfly. Because of the popularity and familiarity of this knife among enthusiasts, I wanted to carry it a good long time before reviewing it. So, I've carried it daily for about a year now. My hope is that this review will add something to the discussion and not be just another testimonial to this great piece of cutlery.I normally carry an EDC knife I want to review for at least a week, and what I've found is that as soon as I review most knives, I always go back to this one.

About Spyderco


Spyderco is an American cutlery company which is well regarded for their high quality and distinctive designs. Every knife they make has the distinctive hole in the blade. Different Spyderco models are made in different countries, but even their most budget Chinese models are superb. Higher end models like the Para Military 2 and the Manix are made in Golden, Colorado.


Product description


Price: $45 Online

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket KnifeThe Dragonfly 2 is a compact, lightweight, EDC type pocket knife made in Seki City, Japan. It features a FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylyon) handle with a FFG (full flat grind) blade, made of Japanese VG-10 steel. It is very well regarded in the EDC community.

This knife is part of a product line of FRN/VG-10 knives featuring the smaller Ladybug and the larger Delica and Endura models.

This review sample was purchased from Amazon and got here in 2 days with Prime. I ordered it on a Saturday, and received it the next Monday- nice!

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Left/right, tip-up wire clip
  • David Boyle Dent
  • 11-millimeter Spyderco Round Hole
  • FRN Bi-Directional Textured handle
  • Spine, choil, and handle jimping
  • Leaf-shaped flat-ground blade
  • Skeletonized steel liners
  • Overall length: 5.563 inches
  • Length closed: 3.313 inches
  • Blade length: 2.25 inches
  • Cutting edge: 1.875 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.093 inches
  • Hole diameter: 0.438 inches
  • Blade steel: VG-10
  • Handle material: FRN
  • Weight: 1.2 ounces

Overall Design


The Dragonfly is designed to be lightweight but functional. The design gives you lots of bang for your buck. The amount of blade surface you get for the weight is phenomenal. The FRN handle is rigid, but it's definitely not as rigid as having a steel or aluminum liner. It's the blessing and curse of lockbacks. But in practice, the lack of rigidity isn't a big deal for EDC. In daily use, it's a great design.

Blade


The Dragonfly 2 has a fairly classic Spyderco leaf-shaped blade, complete with the also classic "spidey hole" for one-handed opening. It also has a laser etched spider and jimping on the spine and choil.

The blade is made of VG-10 Japanese steel, as with the rest of the line. It's a little harder to sharpen than some cheaper steels,, but it holds an edge well. It's just a good steel. The blade appears to be a little on the thin side to me, and I've seen a couple reviews make mention of this, but looks can be deceiving. For daily use, the blade stands up well to most forms of abuse a pocket knife will encounter.

Over time, the blade in mine has held up well, even to numerous sharpenings. I can always keep a scary sharp edge on it. It's forming a little bit of oxidation on the portion of the blade which is exposed when the knife is folded. So, after a year, the blade shows a little character.

The blade was made to be choked up on, and has a great feel to it if you like holding a knife choked up, which personally isn't my thing. Though I do sometimes hold it with my thumb in the forward position.

Handle


The handle uses a very strong but light fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN.) Since it does not have a full metal lining, the handle isn't as rigid as most liner lock knives. In fact, if you squeeze the handle at the mid point when the knife is open, you can almost make the scales touch at their closest point. However, I personally believe that the lighter weight is a good trade-off. For EDC, I don't want the extra weight.

Spyderco calls the texturing on the handle "bi-directional" but doesn't go into much detail about it. What that means is that the raised texturing points in different directions on the top and bottom, giving the handle a solid feel. The Spyderco logo in the center of the handle is the only smooth spot. It'd be nice if the texturing covered 100% of the handle, but it still has an excellent feel for such a small knife.

The handle has two removable Torx screws, one for the pivot and one to fasten the lock to the handle. Like everything about this knife, the screws look undersized and help contribute to the knife's almost austere look. But the screws, like the other hardware, is completely sufficient for the design, and contributes to its low weight.

Clip


The clip is a wire clip common to this product line. It is a deep carry clip configured for tip-up carry, and can be moved to the left or right. It has a good feel: not too loose or tight, and can be removed like I did to mine. Without the clip, the Dragonfly 2 is only one ounce!

Ergononics


This Spyderco line is clearly designed to be "ergo." To me, they have a better feel than other small, EDC type knives I have carried. However, I think that the ergonomics will vary from good to perfect depending on your hand size and the Spyderco knife size you have selected. For example, the Dragonfly is just a hair small to have perfect ergonomics with my medium to large hand size. So for me, the ergonomics of the Dragonfly are good, but not perfect. The Delica will be the next in the line for me, but I think it might have a perfect feel only to be a little on the heavy side. But all things considered, this knife is about as ergonomic as you can get for the size, and obviously a strong selling point not only of the Dragonfly, but their whole Japanese line. This knife is form and function.

Locking Mechanism


It has a fairly typical back lock: simple and functional. My sample has a smooth and solid lockup, with no play, even after nearly a year of daily abuse. I probably haven't stressed the lock excessively, but I just get the feeling that it'll never fail under normal use.

Fit and Finish


Overall, superb. I had high expectations when I ordered this knife, and it didn't disappoint. Blade, handle, lockup, pivot-everything pretty much perfect. The only couple tiny imperfections were the Seki City stamp: it didn't look like it got a good strike on the blade, and a little roughness on a couple texture spots on the handle, which smoothed out with use. Seeing this great fit and finish on the Ladybug and now the Dragonfly  is very encouraging.

Usability


The usability on this knife is fantastic considering its weight and size. I own a duckload of pocket knives, and I can always find a larger one to carry; that's not a problem. I can carry one with more blade surface or a more robust lock. But after carrying all those different knifes, I still haven't found one much more functional on a daily basis than the dragonfly.

Daily tasks for my EDC world tend to be opening lots of packages and mail, breaking down boxes, various handyman type tasks and even occasionally light food prep. I use it 15-20 times a day at least. And because everyone who knows me knows that I carry an EDC knife, it gets some serious random use in as well.

"Sheep Friendly"


Unfortunately, working as a while collar computer nerd, most people would be uncomfortable seeing me bust out one my larger folders like the the Spyderco Tenacious in an office environment. People are under the impression that I'm a responsible adult, so I have to factor that into my overall choice of what knife to carry when I leave the house. So far, I have found the Dragonfly to be generally perceived as non-threatening, and even a little nerdy because of its exotic look.


One Handed Opening


This one, like virtually all other Spyderco knives, can be easily and smoothly opened one handed. I have found one handed closing to be hit and miss for various knives, though, but I can easily close the Dragonfly one handed- see picture below.

After some practice, I can also even open the knife one handed upside down, using my ring finger on either hand.

Sharpening


With all the daily use my Dragonfly gets, I have to sharpen it about once every two weeks to keep the scary sharp edge I like on my knives. I use a Japanese whetstone to do the sharpening, and I usually go straight to the fine side of the stone as long as I didn't wait too long between sharpenings.

Disassembly


The Dragonfly has 3 Torx head screws:

1. Clip retention screw: T9
2. Pivot screw: T9
3. Lock retention screw: T7

Conclusions


I can't say enough good things about this knife. This is my third Spyderco, and the one that made me into the fanboy I am today. This is also the knife that taught me I can have all the functionality I want in an EDC knife without any of the weight or bulk. I still do carry bulkier knives occasionally, but for most EDC tasks, the Dragonfly is the shiznit. They say the best knife is the one you have with you, and for how light this knife is, it's almost always with me.

This may just be the ultimate EDC knife. I know from surfing various Internet forums, I'm not the only one who feels this way about the Dragonfly, or even the whole line. I'm looking to get a Delica next.

Gallery



Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife: in box

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showwing Spyderco VG-10 stamp

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showing Torx screws
The screws are Torx
Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showwing Seki City, Japan stamp

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife, shown with Leatherman Squirt PS4 and Fenix LD01 AAA flashlight
EDC Trifecta of Awesome: Shown with Leatherman Squirt PS4 and Fenix LD01 AAA flashlight


Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife shown with a Sanrenmu knife
Shown with Sanrenmu GBT-11

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showing one handed open
One handed open

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showing one handed close
One handed close

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife showing one handed upside down open
One handed upside down open

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife, shown with Spyderco Ladybug
Shown with Spyderco Ladybug

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife, shown stuck into my deck

Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife, shown with Pelican 1910 AAA flashlight
Shown with Pelican AAA flashlight
Spyderco Dragonfly 2 FRN Pocket Knife shown on scale
Light as a feather without the clip!
From Top: Spyderco Delica 4, Spyderco Native FRN, Spyderco Dragonfly 2
From Top: Spyderco Delica 4, Spyderco Native FRN, Spyderco Dragonfly 2
Disassembly diagram for Spyderco Dragonfly 2
All the screws on the Dragonfly are Torx


Friday, February 15, 2013

Ceremonial Knife from India

My sister has a pair of ceremonial knives which she bought from a curio dealer in India when she was there on business. I believe these things are real. Below is the larger one, and if you look in the pictures you can tell that the blades are made of Damascus steel and the handle and scabbard are supposed to be inlaid silver. The level of detail and filigree on these are amazing.

Ceremonial knife from India - with scabbard

Ceremonial knife from India - Parrot beak pommel
Bird beak pommel. It does look like tarnished silver

Ceremonial knife from India - Other side showing etching

Ceremonial knife from India - Closeup of etching

Ceremonial knife from India - Closeup of scabbard

Ceremonial knife from India - Another closeup of scabbard
Beautiful Filigree

Ceremonial knife from India - Closeup of handle
Sure looks like it's done by hand to me

Ceremonial knife from India - Partially in scabbard

Ceremonial knife from India - Closeup of parrot beak

Ceremonial knife from India - Another view of etching

Ceremonial knife from India - View of handle

Ceremonial knife from India - View of Damascus steel
Hard to see in most of the pictures, but definitely Damascus steel

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Batteries

Sunwayman M20C Tactical Flashlight with Nitecore 18650 Li-Ion batteryJust got in a bunch of new batteries to try out. I bought them all at goinggear.com and got free shipping on my order, though the order took its sweet time - a full week. But everything arrived safely and as advertised, and so far I'm really pleased with the new batteries I got. The wife also picked me up a couple Panasonic hybrid 18650's from one of her orders, so we really scored on 16340 and 18650 lithium-ion and hybrids.



The EagleTac 3100 was 15 bucks a piece on goinggear, but holding these in my hand, I can see where that money went.

EagleTac 3100 mAh 18650 li-ion battery


I got just one of these Nitecore 18650 batteries to try out. They were only 10 bucks a piece, and the 2300 capacity is fine for the tactical flashlight I keep on my nightstand. 2300 seems low, but most battery makers overstate their capacity, and this one if anything is probably understated. They look like a really good value, so I figured I'd try one and see.

Nitecore 2300 mAh 18650 li-ion battery

EagleTac 3100 mAh 18650 li-ion battery with a Nitecore 2300 mAh 18650 li-ion battery



Got these EagleTac 16340's for my EDC type flashlights and as a backup for the wife's e-ciggy.

EagleTac 16340 li-ion batteries, in box

EagleTac 16340 li-ion batteries

These hybrid IMR / Li-Ion batteries look interesting as well. I'm curious to see how they hold up. They are higher capacity than IMR chemistry and more stable than lithium-ion. I guess I shouldn't be worried that they are unprotected?

Panasonic 2250 mAh Hybrid IMR / li-ion 18650 batteries


Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Facebook Page!

The Outdoor Nerd now has a Facebook page. I'm planning on adding content specific to Facebook and maybe doing some giveaways, so be sure to check out the new page, and feel free to Like us!

http://www.facebook.com/TheOutdoorNerd

Friday, February 1, 2013

Camping in The Northwest Resources

I moved to the Northwest because I wanted to look out my window and see trees. We've lived here in Eastern Washington now going on 9 years, and if anything I've come to appreciate the Northwest even more as time goes by. There's so many places to see and explore. This whole area is beautiful, and I don't ever plan on leaving.

It is still 48 days from Spring, and I'm getting antsy to get back into the Outdoors! So, I'm putting together some resources related to camping in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
I'm not sure I will add Northern California to my list yet...

Northwest Camping


Northwest Camping Resources
Free Guide to Northwest Camping
Columbia River Area Camping
Northwest: 19 best campgrounds