Story and Photos by Reuben Bolieu
These days the outdoors apparel/gear/accessory business is slowly getting more and more saturated – not to mention the overseas copycats that can be had for a few dollars. However, when it comes to good quality, top notch work, one company that shines and caught my eye a while ago was Tuff Possum Gear.
A relatively new company to most – with roots that date back a few decades in the Ozarks of Missouri – Tuff Possum Gear has been a long time in the making. Founder, Jayberry, learned his craft from his father and was helped by his mother, until he could manage it on his own.
Jayberry started Tuff possum Gear in 2017 and has since been adding new designs and materials for outdoorsmen around the globe. Following are a few examples of their products that I like and have been using.
One of the first pieces of gear that caught my eye, like a flame in the distance, was the Hammock Ridgeline Organizer – especially after spending the first ten years of my camping/backpacking days ‘hanging.’
Although the quality of my hammocks has improved and changed over the years, one problem has remained a constant. “The convenience of having everything in its place,” as stated on the Tuff Possum Gear website, is the best way to describe my ongoing issue.
Growing up in the Southwest, we were taught that keeping your gear on the ground would result in snakes crawling in your pack, scorpions climbing in your shoes, tarantulas, ants, etc. It took me very little time to learn—that just doesn’t happen!
I have also used hammocks in the mountains and deserts of the Southwest, and yes, there are places to hang a hammock in the desert. Sometimes!
However, upon my first time in a tropical/jungle environment I learned about all these other wiggly things that can get in your gear, and again I was back to trying to keep everything off the ground.
This year, I spent the first part of the recent Nationwide Lockdown in a hammock, almost nightly, in Georgia, and was frustrated with two items I really didn’t have a good dry and close place for – my phone and passport. Camping in the U.S., I always keep ID on me (with a contact paper), or close by, in case a tree falls on me and I can’t say my name – but that’s another thing altogether.
The Tuff Possum Ridgeline Organizer has made it easier for me to keep these smaller items closeby. I can easily reach up and grab my phone (which I keep in the pocket closest to me), or stash a headlamp after nature calls at 3 AM, which it does. I also usually stash my sunglasses, passport, earbuds, and mosquito head net in it when night falls.
On the travel side of things, I can see this piece of gear being used on an airplane or car seat, a river boat, and bunk beds in a hostel. As an added benefit, its bright red color is easily seen, if used as another signaling tool.
As of now the organizer is offered in red and MultiCam 420D Ripstop nylon.
The SlapSack is, “A coin purse designed with personal security and non-permissive environments in mind,” according to Tuff Possum Gear.
Designed by Delta 2 Alpha Designs, the 1000d CORDURA nylon construction offers a 3”x4” compartment, for coins and bills alike. It has adjustable webbing and seven coated brass DOT snaps.
As a world-traveler, I saw this as another good multi-use travel stash pouch and have no doubt it can be strapped to an ankle or wrist/forearm under a long sleeve shirt, keeping it out of sight. In defense mode it is meant to be used in a palm striking position or palm slap.
To use it like a roll of coins, strengthening the fist and adding impact, simply fill it with your materials and roll it tightly. I imagine the SlapSack could be filled with various different materials, from salt/pepper/sugar at your restaurant table to sand from the beach, if things feel like they are escalating with the locals.
Although there may be a better course of action during escalating tensions, don’t disregard self-defense, especially abroad. I know this will be in my kit the next time I travel.
A sit pad hardly seems like a piece of gear worth mentioning to the masses. You sit down, and it adds comfort and insulation. Simple right? Not even close! The Tuff Possum Gear Multipurpose Sit pad is probably the best piece of gear I’ve added to my camp in years.
Measuring at 15″x11″ overall, the dual-sided CORDURA construction, with removable .5-inch thick closed cell foam pad and grosgrain loops along the perimeter, make it a super multi-use item.
I feel like I could do one of those cheesy infomercials for it, based on how many things it can do.
Realistically, when I arrive to my camp, one of the first things I do is fire prep, just to get it out of the way. Obviously, the pad was used for kneeling, as well as pulling double duty as a workstation for the fatwood I was shaving. When it was time to fan the coals, it was the perfect middle ground of lightness and rigidity, like a fan should be.
When tinder was collected in plastic bags, I would also store some in the sit pad by opening the Velcro closure on the top, converting it into a pouch. Not waterproof, but it didn’t need to be. In fact, if the pad is ‘logo-up’ and the tinder is under the inside insulation pad, then it is pretty damn waterproof. That’s a lot of uses regarding fire alone.
After the fire duties was chow time and the pad was used for insulation, to actually sit on. I have a few camp spots I frequent, and one has a rock table – cold and bumpy – but the sit pad did its job and kept me comfortable.
After chow, and burning the grill clean, I stored the small, steel grill inside the pad as well. When I move through the forest, from camp to camp, the inside pouch makes a good place to put straight items like spatulas, chopsticks, knives, and anything that fits. It makes for a good transport vessel.
While sleeping on a pole bed, the sit pad gets mixed in with a few other larger pads I have, to add as much insulation and comfort as possible. I have also used it as a floor mat, to place my shoes on and step onto before getting in my bivvy. However, it shines as a hammock pad for my feet or head area as a pillow.
Having it under the hammock offers a place to put down items like, shoes, camera and a possibles pouch, keeping them in close proximity, and safe from the moisture.
I don’t worry about the pad getting too dirty. It has been showered on by both rain and embers from a fire and mud dries and easily cracks off – it is still going strong. I also like to use the orange side up during heavy tick season, helping to see them better than on the dark, Ranger Green side. The orange side is also another great signaling tool and camp or trail marker if rigged up high.
It truly is a multi-use, must have item in the woods!
Inspired by loners and leaders yet designed for those who GO places and DO things.
If you seek gear for both daily life and exceptional adventure, you owe it to yourself, and your adventure, to check out Tuff Possum Gear! K&G
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Hammock Ridgeline OrganizerOrganizer Material: 420d RipstopWidth: 5 inchesHeight: 12 inchesPockets: 2 (one wide, one short)MSRP: $20.95
SlapSackSlapSack Material: 1000d CORDURA NylonCompartment Width: 3 inchesCompartment Length: 4 inchesAdjustable Hand Strap: 7 heavy duty DOT snaps (coated brass)Enclosure: Double foldover, Velcro retentionMSRP: $34.95
Multipurpose Sit PadPad Material: .5-inch closed cell foamPouch Closure: VelcroWidth (without loops): 11 inchesLength (without loops): 15 inchesGrosgrain Loops: 6MSRP: $33.95
Tuff Possum Gearwww.TuffPossumGear.com@TuffPossumGear
Tough Possum Gear
Adventurer, writer, photographer, gear designer and survival instructor for Randall’s Adventure & Training, Reuben has spent most of his life hiking and backpacking through the wildernesses of the world. He has traveled abroad in extreme environments, from Alaska to the desert heat of Egypt – as well as the humid conditions of Southeast Asia and South America. He continues studying primitive survival techniques, construction and uses of knives and edged tools from places such as: South America, Australia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, and numerous countries in the South Pacific and Scandinavia. Reuben has published many articles on survival, knife and tool use, woodcraft, shelters, and remains a lifetime student of survival.
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