Today I received this custom wool-lined canvas vest from my good friend Blake Towsley. Blake has been making gear for the staff at JMB and SOTF for years, and in the last few months has started up a business making all manner of custom outdoor gear. A lot of the gear I use day to day on our courses and expeditions was made by Blake, and it lives up to his slogan of “Simple, Minimal, Rugged”. I’ve used his anorak and mitts on snowshoe expeditions in Maine, and while visiting our friends David and Anna Bosum in northern Quebec, and couldn’t be happier with them.
I ordered the canoe pack pictured from him this winter and can’t wait to put it to work on our spring Wilderness guide training semester, and Friluftsliv forest program canoe trip in a few months. If you’re interested in using hand made gear that we’ve put through its paces and rely on, check out Blake’s website, as well as the fulltang outfitters Instagram page, where you can see what he’s been working on recently. Blake also does custom work, so if you have particular needs for gear that you can’t find anywhere else, I’d be willing to bet he can make it for you. Can’t recommend his work enough, and it’s great to use gear that’s handmade for our exact needs, rather than having to make do with generalized gear that doesn’t hold up under the rigors of living on the land for long stretches of time.