I’m going to kick this off by highlighting three pieces of classic gear that continue to serve me well in the field. In addition to being solid, robust and time-tested equipment, all of these pieces (like most, if not all, of the gear we will feature here) possess a certain quality – a “quality of quality.” What am I getting at here? I guess it’s a feeling of substance, of being well-made and of being the type of gear that you will likely need to spend time wearing-in, not wondering how soon it will wear out.

I want to make it clear that, despite the somewhat campy title, this blog wasn’t started to be nostalgic, to pine for the “good old days” etc. – but instead to highlight gear still being made the way people used to make outdoor gear when it was equipment you truly had to depend on;  maybe even would be gear that, with care, could be handed down to your children when the time came. An approach, and a pride in craftsmanship, that is all too rare these days, being sidelined in favor of planned obsolescence and convincing your customers that they need to buy your next new “thing” every other season..

Ok, enough about that. Here are three classic outdoor items to kick this off:

D. H. Russel Trout and Bird Knife:

My Grohmann #2

Designed by D. H. Russel and manufactured by hand by the Grohmann Knife Company of Nova Scotia for something like the last 50 years, this knife is based on the original Canadian belt knife design. High carbon stainless blade with a full tang, rosewood handle that comes with a cord lanyard and leather sheath. There are several different models of D. H. Russel knives produced by Grohmann, but I really like the #2, “Trout and Bird” for it’s size and usefulness for cleaning fish and small game. In fact, after cleaning who knows how many birds with the #2, I can say that I’ve never found a better one for this purpose. A knife that will grow old with you. Link.

Filson Wading Jacket:


I’ve worn this jacket rowing on the Snake River in a hailstorm, freezing in a duck blind in November in Idaho and hunkering in the rain in Patagonia. Consider it not just a rain jacket, but rain armor. Waxed cotton, just the right amount of pockets without being too many, inner cuffs with a cinch tab, and arguably my favorite feature – wool-lined hand warmer pockets. Worth every penny.  Link.

Stanley Classic Thermos:


The standard by which all thermoses are judged. ‘Nuff said.  Link.

Stay tuned for more, folks….


4 comments on “Welcome.

  1. Nick says:

    The cool thing about that thermos is if you don’t want someone stealing it on the job, you can park your truck on top of it. Coffee’s still hot when you move the truck, too.

  2. erik meade says:

    I use a thermos like that nearly every day. Except mine is made in Nashville, TN. I do not think the current Chinese – Walmartized version compares. I don’t think it really qualifies for inclusion here as something that is “still being made the way people used to make outdoor gear when it was equipment you truly had to depend on;”

  3. smithhammer says:

    Good point, Erik. We had one when I was growing up that seemed indestructible, and which presumably, was built in the States. The latest Stanley I have has been going strong for a couple years now, but your post prompted me to check the bottom of it, and indeed, it is made in China. So far it been “something I can depend on,” but we’ll see whether the craftsmanship holds up to the way they used to be made. If it fails, expect a follow-up post saying so. Regardless, Stanley does guarantee it for life.

  4. Jeff Sackett says:

    The knife link here has kits to make your own. I have done that before and it is really fun..

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