Wenger Realtree AP Blaze 55

Wenger Realtree AP Blaze 55 is a helluva name for a Swiss Army Knife isn’t it? I like getting unusual stuff in for test and this is the first of two new knives that have been doing the rounds the past wee while.

I carry a tool all the time, both at work and outdoors be it on foot or on a bike. It’s vital stuff I think, and can’t think of many trips where I didn’t use it for something or other. The Blaze is big fella putting it the work bracket for me, but also into the bushcraft category too, the main blade is big, sharp and locking, you press in the little Swiss logo to disengage the lock and close the blade.

The blade and saw are super useful for me, my work tools must have both of these and the others come into play as well, the reamer means you don’t risk breaking the main blade tip for reaming or digging something out (done that many times) and the screwdriver is always handy. It doesn’t have a philips/pozidrive screwdriver blade which I was initially worried about, but truth be told, its the first thing I always break on a Swiss Army Knife, so maybe this will increase the longevity of the Blaze as a work tool?

It feels like a solid bit of kit at 163g, the grip is pretty good with some dimples on the casing, which is also orange realtree camo. Easy to find in your toolbox or rucksack and invisible to deer as you sneak up behind it to cut its ear off. Or whatever deer stalkers do.

Nice bit of kit and actually very different to Victorinox which is good, nice to have options. I do miss the toothpick and mini tweezers a bit, although they do quickly become unhygienic, but these features are available on plenty other Wenger Swiss Army Knives.

Granite Gear Event Sil Compression Drysack

I was happy enough with my mix of Sea to Summit and POD compression sacks until I tore the whole end off my regular POD one when packing a sleeping bag, so I grabbed at Granite Gear version from the guys at 9point9 to see if it was any better.

A stuffsack in its own wee pouch, aw cute. But, the Event Sil Compression Drysack had to go to work right away and has been compressing down on a regular basis. I took an  Medium – 18L size which was what they had to hand which has been fine, but I reckon the smaller sizes would suit me better for summer weight sleeping bags. For winter bags or my PHD Combi+Ultra this size if fine. 

It’s a silky soft Sil-Nylon Cordura Body with nylon detailing elsewhere and comes in at 98g with just air inside it. The roll-top closure is a good one, nicely stiff on one side with a hypalon strip on the other, it’s easy to roll and secure when you buckle it up.
The compression comes from four LineLoc cords and adjusters. These are great to use and don’t slip, but as there’s no buckles, it’s dead easy to get the lid tangled up in all these black cords when it’s lying in the tent or stored at home. Two buckles and two LineLocs would be easier to use, but it doesn’t affect the core purpose of the thing: compressing your stuff in a watertight fashion. This it does very well, and I’d even say better than most.

The dark grey Event patch on the bottom lets air out as you compress the bag, it’s not magic though, you still have to do a bit of that by yourself before you seal the closure up. But compressing the sack with the Event patch sitting in damp ground air bubbles blow out as you tighten the sack down and water doesn’t get it. Hurrrah.

Aye, but they all do that, the advantage here is the shape, it’s oval instead of the usual round. This is genius, it’s so much easier to pack as the shape suits a rucksack better and there’s less dead space around it. Tow of these take up about 75% of the space of two round ones of the same capacity. For bulky kit, it’s definitely the way forward.

Don’t know about long term durability, but this goes on every overnighter now, so I’ll see how it goes.