From time to time I like to add little items to my outdoor kit to make things a little easier while in the field. One of these things I have been using literally for years, these are hose clamps. I find that they have hundreds of uses and can be adapted to suit just about any need. In the photo you can see several different types of biners, four of these are rated for climbing while 3 are not. When these are combined with the hose clamps I find there are even more uses. By adding a biner to a flashlight or even a stainless steel bottle not only will it give you a nice handle to hold on to it will also give you an alternate way of securing the item to your belt or pack. I find this very handy while on the move.
Above you can see the clamps in use on my stainless steel water bottle and on my UV light I use while hunting scorpions. The clamp that I used to secure the biner to the bottle is actually a quick connect drier clamp. These are found in just about any hardware store and can be quite inexpensive. I find that the cheap price allows me to carry several as spares or back up. The clamp that is on the UV light is a simple heater hose clamp found at any hardware store or automotive parts dealer. I usually choose to carry these in sizes that can be adjusted from ¼ inch to 1 ¼ inch. This will give me a huge range of adjustments that I can use for a variety of projects.
Above and below photos of the clamps in use. By tightening the clamps around the bottle or light it will make a very secure hold that will not slip. I find that being able to use a biner on my bottle I can more safely handle it as well as remove it from the fire while cooking or boiling water in the field. When packing or storing the bottle I can simply fold the biner over to the side. By doing this I can still carry the bottle inside my 10×4 carrier without any issues.
The light can be quickly connected to my belt while looking for scorpions or while on the move at night. This will keep it at the ready should I need it and I can be sure it will stay in place while it is not in use. I personally like to keep the biner high up on the body of the light. This keeps everything out of the way and allows me to freely use the light without the clamp or carabineer hampering the use of the light. I have also found that you can also clamp the lanyard to the light as well. This will keep the cap in place while changing the batteries without worry of dropping it. Do not use the lanyard to secure the light to a pack or belt, I have found that with most lights of this type the lanyard ring is not strong enough to hold up. This will result in the loss of your equipment.
Another really awesome use for hose clamps I have found it for securing implements like blades or spear points to a walking stick. Above you can see a blade that has been secured to my walking stick with a slot cut in the top for the blade to fit into. This is a very cheap survival knife blade, the old ones from the 80s that had the hollow handle. These always broke right at the handle making them absolutely worthless. However being able to utilize something so cheap and tuning it into a useful item is like gold in my book. There was very little grinding that had to be done to allow the blade to be secured in this manner. When it was done and ready for testing I found it to be a very strong hold. I even threw the spear several times into a tree with no slipping of the blade.
In the past I have broken a few cheap blades while in the field and some expensive ones as well. Using hose clamps to secure them to a cut branch will afford you a little more time with the blade. This will also make a very nice back up idea should you need to make a quick handle while in the field. When thinking blades done just stop at knife blades. Another favorite thing for me to do while in the field is to improvise what ever I can. I like to frequent stores like ACE or Home Depot and pick up as many different types of jig saw and reciprocating saw blades as I can. These tools can be placed neatly into a kit with the hose clamps and used when ever they are needed. Simply split a stick that is not too rotten and secure the blades in place. This makes one of the best improvised saws I have ever used. By doing things like this you can easily lighten your load out and make things more compact at the same time.
This photo is a screen shot from a video I did while gigging frogs with these types of spears. The knife blade held together very nicely and with the supposed “saw teeth” on the spine it held the frogs in place. This is one of my favorite past times and one of the reasons I decided to start carrying and using hose clamps while I am in the field. Anytime I can score a fast easy meal I am a very happy guy. Keep in mind however; I do not make spears for throwing. This is a huge mistake! The animal like a deer if you can get close enough in the first place will only run off with it. Now you’ve lost your hunting tool and injured the wildlife….not a good day. The main reasons I use spears or walking sticks is for defense while on the trails. Part of this defense is being able to probe the ground for a loose boulder that may cause serious injury if it were to let go with me on it. Sometimes just having that third leg is well worth it. I also like to probe and lift up on brush to keep my eye open for snakes. Finally by utilizing the tings I talked about in this article, I can have a way to snag a quick meal.