Indefinitely Wild

What’s New Outside: April 8, 2016

IndefinitelyWild's weekly roundup of what's new and interesting in the outdoors. This week: how Moby Dick sunk Ahab's ship using his "junk."

John Stady (father of Bruce) paddles a rented kayak off the coast of California's Catalina Island. (Chris Brinlee Jr.)

Welcome to IndefinitelyWild's weekly roundup of news from the outdoors. What's new outside?

Moby Dick Sunk Ahab’s Ship Using His "Junk"

Could a sperm whale really sink a whaling ship by ramming it? The answer is a definite “maybe,” according to scientists. To do it successfully though, it would have to make sure to ram with a section of its head called the “junk,” not the spermaceti organ. You’re welcome, young, dirty-minded, men of America.

The new Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro gains taller suspension, wire wheels, and knobby tires. But would you really want to rely on one a long ways from the nearest paved road? (Ducati)

2016 Ducati Multistrada Enduro Review

Can this farkled-up-but-still-delicate-and-exotic-Italian-superbike-with-tall-handlebars really hold its own in the dirt? Jalopnik’s Sean MacDonald flew to Sardinia to find out. The answer is probably not what you’re expecting. 

Eastern Mountain Sports Files for Bankruptcy

I’ve got positive memories of shopping at EMS when I lived back in NYC. The regional chain always offered friendly, knowledgeable staff, a good selection of high-value products, and just felt a little less overwhelming than REI. Now, according to Yahoo! Finance (itself a troubled organization), the retail group its owned by is filing for bankruptcy. The problem? The typical mix of brick-and-mortar woes: cheaper, better online options; an inflexibility in location that doesn’t enable it to easily relocate to places consumers are currently shopping; and increased competition from larger brands moving into its traditional space. In this case, it’s new outdoor plays from Nike, Adidas, and UnderArmor. 

The famous Stormy Kromer hat still makes a great option for going outdoors in cold weather. (OutdoorLife)

History of the Stormy Kromer

Did you know those wool caps with the fold-down ear covers are named after the former semi-pro baseball player and train conductor who invented them? His wife used to do all the stitching! 

It’s Now Illegal to carry a Machete in New York

On the face of it, banning machetes might seem like a good thing. But it’s just one more ridiculous knife law from a state that uses its current, extremely vague legislation to overwhelmingly persecute minorities. While no, you shouldn’t walk down the street in Manhattan waving a machete around, the tool does have many legitimate uses for gardeners, landscapers, or visiting croc poachers from down under. 

$135, 4 Lbs Ultralight Summer Sleep System

Gear Rat Outdoors has assembled what looks like a pretty decent ultralight sleep system for warm weather hikes, for a total price of just $135. That’s freakin’ crazy, matching the weight of systems that often cost $1,350 or more. The tarp, bug net, ground cloth and Therm-A-Rest Z Lite all look good, but we have real concerns about anyone carrying a sleeping bag made from cotton. You’d be way better off spending a little more money on something made from synthetic materials. Cotton kills

Snake Poaching Is a Thing, Apparently

Ever seen a few squares of plywood or carpet scattered around a field, out in the woods? I know I have. People use those to catch snakes, apparently. Which may be poaching, if it’s on public land. Report them if you see them, and, whatever you do, don’t go wiggling your fingers underneath them. 

Notice how everything here is a real tool, you could really rely on? Think about a realistic survival scenario, and then think about what you'd like to have with you should you ever find yourself in one. Click to enlarge. (Wes Siler)

The Most Dangerous Thing in the Office This Week

This soon-to-be-released survival kit from ESEE packs a strong set of genuinely useful survival gear into a standard military mess tin. Including ESEE Candiru fixed blade and Swiss Army pocket knife, these are real tools you could really use in an emergency, not the plastic junk most pre-made kits try to rip you off with. Stuffed into a bright orange Corder sack with a MOLLE back, the kit is designed to ride on the outside of a vehicle, or tucked into a small plane, boat, motorcycle or similar, so you can grab it and run. I figure I better spend a night outside, with nothing but, to see how it works. 

Wes climbs the big rock on Pronghorn Trail at the Hungry Valley SVRA. Click to enlarge. (Casey Lee Wanlass)

What You’ll Be Reading Next

Chris, our photographer, has been hanging out in Canada with legendary explorer Mike Horn as he trains for an upcoming expedition. Ty, a contributor, just completed the Mojave Road in his new-to-him, and largely stock 1996 Toyota 4Runner, despite encountering water crossings as high as his hood. I took my Discovery to a local off-road park on Sunday to get a handle on its capabilities. I nearly rolled it, but at least learned where that limit lies. And, I had a nice, long discussing with dog researcher Marc Bekoff for a story I’m wrapping up right now about the benefits of dogs going off-leash in the outdoors. 

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