Friday, November 14, 2014

10 For Fall

Truth told, fall is by far my favorite season.  The days are cooling down and comfortable while the nights are just perfect for sitting around a bonfire.  There is a sense of urgency to get out and do some things before winter arrives and for some, days on the water are replaced with days in the field.  Fall is all about spending time outside and I can't get enough of it.

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Here are a few fall favorites to make this season just a little bit better than it already is.

At some point it seems that most of the fly fishing vests available today have taken on a real space age look and in my opinion look way to modern.  Thankfully that's not so with the Filson Foul Weather Vest which has kept it's ever classic look, well thought out design, and built one at a time in the U.S.A.

The Foul Weather Vest incorporates a vest front and a rucksack back which gives you room for all the essentials, from fly boxes to a rain jacket, that might be needed for a day on the water.  This vest is one that not wear out and it's likely to become an heirloom piece to be passed on to the next generation of anglers in your family.

For those who enjoy the brown colored spirits, a pint of George Dickel No. 12 is perfect for cool evenings and to help massage sore hamstrings after a day of wading and rock-hopping whatever river you might find yourself on.  The only 90-proof Tennessee whiskey, King George has depth, smoke and serious fire.  Treat it like a fine wine and please sip it.

For the flask, for the cup, and I'd be lying if a splash of Coke hasn't been mixed with Ol' No. 12 from time to time while sitting around a fire with family and friends.

For over a year now I've been using several of the Ghillie Kettle models and what I've found is that the Explorer is really best when car camping and general family use while the mKettle is perfect for stowing in your pack or gear bag for a quick streamside hot drink or to warm up a meal using the Ti Pot Support for yourself and a friend.

The mKettle is ultralight and stacks on itself to fit easily in an included nylon bag and all you need to get it going is a handful of sticks and leaves to make enough fire to get things boiling quickly.  

It's almost daunting how many choices there are when it comes to axes but the one that tops many lists many times over is the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe and for good reason too.  All Gransfors Bruk axes are hand forged to small shop standards in Sweden with an edge that is unbelievable.  The Small Forest Axe is a great size and fully capable to do the work needed.   

Included with the Small Forest Axe was a durable leather sheath and an informative booklet outlining the various Granfors Bruk axe models and best use and maintenance practices.

This is another piece of kit that will pass on after you're long gone and of all things in this review has me scratching my head that they aren't more expensive for the level of workmanship in each of their axes.

For those that would like to order one of these axes, or any others that Gransfors Bruk offers, please check out the Old Au Sable Fly Shop.  Their holiday stock should be arriving soon.

In my opinion, there are just certain fly rods that need a fly reel made from the same company and if you are really looking to complete your Superfine Glass outfit in style, then it deserves a C.F.O. fly reel.

The current C.F.O. series is offered in three models with click and pawl drag and each one is Made In U.S.A.  When you put a big fish on this fly reel, it just purrs so wonderfully.

The C.F.O. fly reel has been in the Orvis line up for decades and this is a classic for always.    

I've been excited about the Superfine Glass fly rods for sometime now and it's not surprising how popular they have become.  This series is offered as a 7' three weight, 7'6" four weight, and 8' five weight with actions that can be described as progressive and capable of just about anything you want them to do.  These fly rods are rolled and built at the Orvis Rod Shop in Manchester, Vermont and they are one of the best values in factory glass today.

Along with the Superfine Glass blanks being offered to rod builders early in 2015, I've also been spitballing with Shawn Combs of Orvis a bit and I wouldn't be surprised if another model or two are added to the Superfine Glass line up in the coming year.

Fall means breaking out the flannel and a new favorite shirt company is Pladra.  Their shirts are Made In U.S.A. with unique style cues such as interior prints on the neckline and flip up sleeves.  The Leon Arbor Blue is their heavy weight flannel shirt with washable elbow patches and comfortable for cool fall days on the water.

These shirts are stylish, durable, and available in several fabric weights.  It should also be noted that Pladra has a collection of women's flannel shirts and dresses available as well. 

Who says keeping your head warm can't be fun too?  Rep Your Water has recently released several knit hats for cold days on the water which are available as ribbed with poof or as a skull cap.  These are mighty toasty and just awesome at the same time. 

Everyone has a favorite flask and mine is from Stanley.  This stainless steel 8 ounce flask is designed to fit perfectly in a pocket, vest, or gear bag.  The wide mouth makes it easy to fill and the attached screw top keeps everything together.   

The Classic Flask has a timeless retro look, built to last, and they are offered in Hammertone Green, Black, or Red.

The Waxed Canvas Tool Roll is a recent addition to the Victor Axe + Tool line up and it's just perfect for keeping track of the essentials for keeping your edged tools sharp and ready for work.  The layout of the Tool Roll allows for tools to be kept in place within five wide slip pockets and then a large pocket for all the extras.  These tool rolls are handmade in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the waxed canvas fabric with leather straps will be durable for decades of hard use. 

The Axe Care Essentials Kit includes most of what you'll need to keep your edged tools sharp and I've also added to my own kit with the addition of a Lansky Puck Sharpener with honing oil which I can't say enough good things about for cleaning up an edge easily while in the woods.

What are your fall gear favorites?

DISCLAIMER - Items for this post were either purchased at full retail price, on an industry discount, or provided free of charge to demo and review by the respective company.  It should be known that any product that is reviewed on this website is one that I have used and would recommend for others to use as well.


Middlemac said...

Super autumn post!

Does your Disclaimer apply to the No. 12 as well?

Cameron Mortenson said... does. HA...

joshua citrak said...

Is it just me or do the Superfine glass just look hideous? I can't find one redeeming visual quality about them. They're the color water is when a drain backs up and the wraps do nothing but make the rod look dull and uninteresting. I'm not dumping on Orvis, but my god, glass is a beautiful thing to build a fishing pole with and Orvis seems to have forgotten that.

Josh Morrison said...


GB Small Forest Axe or Victor Hudson Bay? Which one should a guy go with??

Great post....keep up the great work.


Clayton Mauritzen said...

It's worth noting that the mKettle is a stolen copy of the Backcountry Boiler, designed by Devin Montgomery. The whole story is actually available in the forums of (where Devin started developing and testing his design). Basically, the guy behind the mKettle called Devin up, asked a bunch of questions regarding specifications and such, and rushed a heavier (and thus easier to produce) version to market.

Anyway, excellent choice of stove--I just recommend going with the original model.

NorthNH603 said...

Bought a bottle of Dickel 12 today off your recommendation and a few people on It lives up to the hype. I'm amazed at how smooth it is for a 90pf. Keep up the good work, I check the blog everyday.