Not exactly "concealed carry," but it was either this Forum or the "Back Porch." (Mods, please move if I made a bad choice!)

Due to a recently developed need, I just purchased a Camelbak hydration system (new-fangled replacement for canteens.) I settled on their Thermopak 3 liter version.

Short version, I love this thing! Could have used one back when I spent weeks in the jungle down in Panama, but it didn't exist at that time. It's great to have water available from a tube clipped right on your chest, without having to pull a canteen out of a holder, or look for that water bottle you left sitting somewhere.

The fill port is large enough for your hand, so cleaning is easy, and since there's a layer of neoprene on both sides of the bladder, you can dump a load of ice in there without discomfort while carrying it. And it "keeps cold things cold, hot things hot!"

Maybe there's other similar products at a better price, but when I went looking, the Camelbak seemed to be what most preferred. If anyone knows of something better, I'd like to hear about it, as several others will be needing a hydration system and we do share our resources.

About the boots. . . I also needed a good pair of boots. I was always quite comfortable with the issue combat boots, both full leather and jungle. But I heard there were other options and gave them a look.

First, I ordered a pair of jungle boots by Altama, because they had the familiar "Panama tread," and had speed laces on the top four eyelets. But when I placed an order from buyshoes dot com, they were out of stock and the order was canceled (by them.) This, even though they were still listed as being "on sale" on their web site, after they cancelled my order.

So I went back to the same place I ordered my Camelbak, OfficerStore dot com, and found the 5.11 Strike Boot (8 inch.) To me, it looked like a modern update of the old Jungle boot, having leather lowers and a synthetic upper in place of canvas. No speed laces, but the issue Jungle didn't have the either, and something called a "Sierra" tread, instead of the Panama tread.

Input from several sources said that this tread was actually better for standing/walking all day, especially on hard surfaces, which fit my needs better than a "mud boot" would.

Happily, the boot supplied really is "true to size," as I'd hate to have to return a pair for a better fit, although according to the web site, that is not a major hassle. I thought I'd try them out (and begin breaking them in,) by wearing them to work. I figure a 12 hour shift in them would let me know if they were going to work out, or not. (I did have my regular work shoes in my truck, just in case.)

I cannot believe how comfortable these boots are! 12 hours on my feet in them and they felt great! On a typical work shift, I sit less than 30 minutes, by the way. How they will wear is still to be seen. I've had too many pairs of shoes that felt good, fall apart rather quickly. But I was looking for a good pair of boots, didn't want to spend a large sum on them, and this pair looks like it will fill the bill, nicely.

Unlike my first order with OfficerStore dot com, this one didn't work out as well. I got the package with the cleaning kit for the Camelbak and drinking tube clip that I ordered along with the boots, but no boots! Per the invoice, they were out of stock and would be drop-shipped from the factory. I located a number for the factory and gave them a call, turns out they were able to provide me with a tracking number and my boots were indeed on the way.

I'm not so sure I'll deal with the web site I placed the order on, as I feel they should have notified me that the boots were out of stock and given me the option of changing my order, or waiting for the drop-shipment. In any event, I did get the boots, but I'm used to web sites that have an up-to-date inventory and tell you right off the bat when something is out of stock.

That brings me to a pack.

I need something that I can live out of for up to 3 days while waiting for a supply train to be established. A "jump bag," or "ready bag" that I can keep with me, so I can be able to board a truck convoy, a military aircraft, or commercial carrier with only a 4 hour notice.

One that was recommended is the Piper Gear "Bugout Bag." It has in internal frame, but you can tuck the straps in and it looks like a soft-sided suit case (more-or-less.) It is supposed to meet the airline's size requirement for carry-on luggage. And that is a MUST! I've been looking for a source for a better price than getting it direct from Piper Gear, but so far, no luck. I guess I shouldn't complain about the $89 price tag, but anytime I can save a few dollars, I'd like to.

Anyone know of something similar, maybe better? I could use some ideas.