Monday, February 22, 2010

The D Belt

As you all are no doubt aware, I am a bit of a gadget nut and my preference for being prepared borders on fetishism. This tendency, when projected to its ultimately absurd end, culminates in my Z Kit, which is a fun little hobby for my idle hands, a hole for my disposable income, and the future People's Exhibit A in my eventual trial for mental competence.

(Your Auntie Palette is holding out for a ruling of "Tutti Frutti" and will be dreadfully disappointed with any other result.)

But be that as it may, at some points I actually manage to be prudent and sensible, and to that end I present you with my D Belt. The D is for Dog-walking, and I strap this assembly around my waist every afternoon when I take Heath and Henry for their walkies.

It all started (and I've lost track of how many ideas, both good and bad, have begun with that phrase) sometime last summer when I started taking a knife along with me during our walks. This was done not out of any sense of danger but because I had just acquired a Mora Clipper and it was still in the "new toy" phase where I wanted to take it everywhere and use it on everything.

In case you're curious, the blade itself is just under 4"

Brief aside: the Mora is perhaps the most awesome knife I have ever seen. The handle is so amazingly ergonomic it feels like it welds right to my hand, the fit is so natural. The blade itself is made from Sandvik 13C27 steel, which has many enthusiastic supporters among steel mavens and knife aficionados, and every single one I've bought has been x-acto sharp.

But I think the best part about the Clipper is the price. Mora of Sweden has found a way to mass-produce quality knives quickly, so the end result is a cheap knife ($12 US) that isn't cheap at all (quality-wise). In fact, I love this knife so much that I bought one for every member of my family at Christmas (except for my sister, who got the fishing version instead).

So anyway, I was in the habit of taking this very light and comfortable knife with me on our walks, and in so doing I realized that I would benefit from bringing other tools along as well. Before long I had bought a utility belt at the local hardware store and was outfitting it with things I either thought I might need, or had wished I had with me on previous walks.

On my left hip, from left to to right:
  • A key to the house, a storm whistle, and a compass/thermometer, lashed together with a rubber band and attached to a retractable keychain
  • A mini-maglite
  • Tasco 10x25 monocular
Surprisingly, it's the monocular that's gotten the most use. We live in a rural suburb with very long streets and neither my mother nor I have anything approximating good eyesight. Therefore it's very useful to be able to pull out my little pocket scope and and take a look down the street to see if the people-shaped blobs are coming towards us or away from us, and if they have a dog with them or not. This latter detail will become important in a moment.

In the small of my back sits this cute little pouch from Best Glide. It's called the Personal Survival Kit Holder and I got it at Christmas. (It's supposed to be black, because that's what I asked for, but you know how parents and internet shopping mix poorly.) It's quietly adorable in a Batman-esque manner.

It holds a disposable poncho (in case I get caught in a sudden, unexpected Florida rainstorm), a pair of sealable sandwich bags for picking up doggie poop, and a handy little metal tin about the size and thickness of a pack of index cards that holds first aid supplies. Considering all the tramping about through the underbrush we do, this last one is a godsend, as it's good for treating scrapes and scratches and insect bites.

This last item is the one I've never had to use, and I hope I never do. (Yes, I've used the knife on the walk before; it's great for cutting through vines and other underbrush that have conspired to snag me by the socks or my dogs by the fur.) It's a Schrade 16-inch collapsible steel baton, and yes, it's perfectly legal for me to own and take with me on a walk, because Florida is an open-carry state.

Remember when I said it was important to know if there's a dog coming our way? As it turns out there's a dog (I hear it's at least part wolf, and it certainly looks the part) in our neighborhood that is both aggressive and poorly-controlled by its owners. I don't blame the dog, mind you, but I don't trust its owners. Case in point:

We were walking past their house with our dogs when their dog came racing through an open door at us, barking and growling and baring its teeth. Normally I would be okay with this, except that the dog left their property and confronted us in the street. I believe that their dog would have continued to charge and attack us or our dogs if I had not fixed it with my patented "You'd best back the FUCK OFF" eye-contact death glare. Instead, it just screeched to a halt, but then it held its position, growling and crouching as if to attack.

We called for the owners, but they didn't reply. My right hand was on my baton; it wasn't out yet, but I could have extended it if that dog charged us. (Yes, I am foolish enough to risk personal injury to protect my dogs. They're family, after all.) My left hand grabbed my storm whistle, and I blew that sucker for as loud and as long as I could.

I don't know if the noise hurt its ears, or scared it, or what, but apparently the dog decided that between the noise I was making and my not-backing-down posture, this was a battle it wouldn't win, and so it turned around and went back inside the house.

Everyone was very happy I had my D Belt that day, and as far as I'm concerned, that incident alone has justified its expense and existence.


  1. Everyday I put on what my wife only half jokingly calls my 'utility belt'. It isn't all attached to my belt but it is my 'everyday carry'. It includes:

    Money clip with cash. Five dollars in quarters. Good luck coin. Stone. Wallet (ID, CC, medical info and a spare car key). Spyderco Tenacious. Nite-Ize belt pouch with: SwissTool, all metal Cross pen, Inova X5 LED flashlight (with lanyard), SwissCard and a military grade sparker w/ tinder. Plus my cellphone.

    I would like a Mora knife just because I don't have one. And a baton would be cool. As would a monocular. Nice kit.

  2. I would like a Mora knife just because I don't have one.

    You can get one for as little as $8.99 + S&H.
    You can't beat that price with a stick, my friend.

  3. You can't beat that price with a stick, my friend.

    Or a collapsible baton.

  4. I also have an 'everyday' utility set.
    Kershaw spring-assisted tanto knife
    watch w/ compass
    Performance Tool LED flashlight

    (I also have a more serious (wilderness set, but this is what i bring with me anytime i leave the house)


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