Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Christmas list

I've been away on vacation (and then catching up from vacation) so I haven't made a new post in a while.  The last post I made was a PALEONTOLOGY aside, which I do somewhat infrequently.  I still don't have anything gamer or fantasy or sci-fi literature related to post right now, but I glanced at my blog stats and for some odd reason, I saw that a few posts were the most visited over the last week that I had completely forgotten about, including a Christmas list that I made in the fall of 2012.  I have no idea why this particular post has gotten a little bit of attention lately, but it was fun to read it.  At the time, I mostly wanted a bunch of hiking gear.  I've mostly gotten since then all of the hiking gear I need (although if you also read my hiking blog, you'll know that I need to replace a few items that have gone missing) since I've started up the hobby of mountain backpacking again since making that post.  However, not all of the gear that I have is actually the gear that I really want; it's just what I happen to have.  And of course not everything that I'd put on a Christmas wishlist is hiking gear.  Although I made that post in latish November, why not?  I'll put up a wishlist as a placeholder until such time as I can get together the wherewithal to make a more topical post again.

I've got a lot of pent-up demand for some guns (and enough ammo to feed them for a fair bit.)  I really want a new pistol, revolver, rifle and shotgun; one of each of the basics.  I've kinda targeted Smith & Wesson's M&P line as an easy place to start.  The R8 is a .357 Magnum revolver that retails for about $1,300 or so.  A bit on the pricey side for a starting revolver, but not bad.  The C9 is a basic, compact 9mm pisol, which sells for less than $600, on the other hand.  The Browning Hi Power Mark III would be another option, although it's almost twice as much money.  For a little over $700, you can get a M&P15 Sport II; a derivative of the AR-15 template.  This one uses 5.56mm NATO ammo, a readily available caliber.  I thought about a .22 (in part because they're cheaper) but I'm going with that one on my wishlist for now.  Finally, for about $700, I can pick up a Browning 12 Ga BPS Stalker to get myself a shotgun too.

Even though Browning is (now) owned by a European parent company, both Browning and Smith & Wesson are still good old fashioned American companies with American manufacturing centers.  If I didn't care about that, I'd probably focus on a SIG Sauer P226 for the pistol, at least.  Maybe I'd also look at a FAL for the rifle, although I do like having a good AR-15.

Hiking Gear
Including hiking clothing.  I'd like to replace all of my hiking clothing with gear that has long-term permethrin treatment already built in (as opposed to the kind that is easy to buy which only lasts for about half a dozen washes at best.)  This Guidewear Shirt is perfect, for example.  Cabela's seems to be having a bit of a problem with IDF pants that they have in catalog right now, so I'd probably turn to Railriders to get some of the pants I'd want.  I'd love to upgrade my pack to an ULA Circuit (one of the two camo patterns, naturally) and I'd love to update my tent to the Cabela's XPG Ultralite.  But neither of those are super important; I actually am relatively happy with both the tent and the pack that I currently have.  And I actually do have to replace my SteriPEN because I seem to somehow have lost the one that I had.  That's what I get for lending out my backpacking gear to my kids as they go on Scout campouts and whatnot; some of it ends up not coming back or ending up who-knows-where.  And I'd like one of these days to get a nice Garmin handheld navigation set, like the Montana 610.  But in the meantime, I'm happy doing the old-school map and compass routine.  The last "luxury" I'd like is a new camera dedicated to backpacking.  I'd like it to be small, lightweight, and relatively cheap, but still coming in with decent reviews.  The Fujifilm XQ2 seems to fit the bill.  The final bit of gear that I'd like to upgrade is my sleeping pad, although the stuff I'd like to have, like the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm is awfully pricey.  It's hard to justify when foam pads are only $10-20... plus I already have three of them.

I've also lost both of the rain covers I had for packs, although I'm tempted to abandon worrying about either and just use a trash bag as an inside liner for rain protection.  And my sandals had a big blowout and I had to toss them, so I need something else to cross streams in.  I'm thinking of picking up some crocs because they're super lightweight, but they're not as cheap as I had thought that they were.  They are on sale at Cabela's for only $25, though.  It's a real pain to find out what price they really are on Amazon, because they're listed with a very broad range, and then it turns out you don't know what they really or what it costs without checking manually every single size and color combination.  Blech.  In any case, I am not finding that in my size they come any cheaper than that Cabela's sale.  On the other hand, for $29.99 I can pick them up at Kohls or Wal-Mart and try them on and have them in hand; probably worth the extra $5.  If anyone else knows of a cheaper source of Crocs (or other very lightweight and cheap close-toed sandal-type shoe) feel free to post in the comments!

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