Rattlesnake Armor!

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R3dguitarist
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Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 12:19 pm

So after last year's encounters I decided to step up the game and get myself some protection. I tried the "professionally made" gaiters at the store, and upon finding they were simply plastic inserts that I could push a needle through with relative ease, I returned them and searched for something better. Then I recalled reading in Klauber's book, the foremost respected compilation on Rattlesnakes, that he wrote a 1mm thick leather boot successfully repelled the strikes of both a 2ft and 4ft+ diamondback in multiple tests. This inspired me to go a bit above and beyond and try this material... I used 9 oz tooling leather, roughly 1/4" thick, to make joined and overlaying plates for my boots (which are also 1mm leather and steel toed) and greaves that completely cover from the kneecap down and wrap around to the back of the leg. Since I'm dealing with viridis, even smaller fang-wise than diamondbacks, I am fairly certain that my creations will stand up to the threat. They stopped the needle; in fact it went through my thumb before the leather's surface, which satisfies me. Thoughts?

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by TravisK » January 17th, 2014, 1:45 pm

R3dguitarist wrote:Thoughts?

So I have looked at your post probably 4 times now from my desk at work and I honestly thought it was a joke at first. Do you feel like this is probably overkill? What would it be like taking those on a 5 mile trek? I think I would order a pair of those if I was prone to spontaneous sword fights in the street though. If you make more pieces for the upper body and arms you could probably sell the suit to Renaissance Reenactors :idea:

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 2:08 pm

Ironically I have made other pieces for a full suit .... Haha :P I've taken em on a trial run, 4.5 miles, and it wasn't too terrible. They're a little awkward at first but they aren't too bad . Besides I like the piece of mind it gives me :D

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Jason Hull
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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Jason Hull » January 17th, 2014, 2:43 pm

Ohh man!! Please , Please post pics of yourself in the full suit.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Antonsrkn » January 17th, 2014, 3:14 pm

Lol a while back when you asked about protective gear, I thought I was being silly when I suggested medieval armor, but now i see you decided to go in that direction afterall :D

well, despite looking like they'd be a pain to wear around and maybe a appearing a bit silly, you'll be glad you have them if they stop a bite, and thats what really counts isn't it?

You'd think the professionally made gaiters would have done the trick though, no? It is what they're made for and your ability to push a needle through doesn't necessarily reflect a snake strike. That said, its my opinion that these will stop a snakes fangs from penetrating and give you protection from any bear traps you might inadvertently step into. :thumb:

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by monklet » January 17th, 2014, 3:46 pm

Antonsrkn wrote:Lol a while back when you asked about protective gear, I thought I was being silly when I suggested medieval armor, but now i see you decided to go in that direction afterall
Here's the post Antonsrkn is referring too...
http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=17797

I've got to suspect that this is a clever ruse to razz all the negative commenters in that thread. If so, :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :lol: :lol: :lol: OUTSTANDING!!!

On the other hand, IF you are serious, ...does seem a bit much, and a bit uncomfortable, especially on a hot day, but if that's what it takes, go for it:) Gotta applaud the effort ...seems like good work tooling all that together.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 3:57 pm

It IS a bit overkill, but I do feel safe with it so I'll go with it. And yes...it's partially to razz the nay-Sayers. Still I'm pretty sure it'll be worth the effort. :D

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Soopaman » January 17th, 2014, 6:33 pm

If you can stand to wear them for your herping journey, more power to you. What matters is that you don't get bit and you live to herp another day.

That said, they do make boots just for this. Go to your nearest Bass Pro shop. I have a pair and I've tested them against some Texas Gulf Coast diamondbacks, as well as timbers, and they work just fine, I feel completely safe in them, if a bit sweaty.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by gretzkyrh4 » January 17th, 2014, 6:50 pm

Soopaman wrote: That said, they do make boots just for this. Go to your nearest Bass Pro shop. I have a pair and I've tested them against some Texas Gulf Coast diamondbacks, as well as timbers, and they work just fine.
My wife has a pair from Bass Pro as well and ran a similar field test with a small WDB a few years ago. Really glad they proved up to the task or my mother-in-law would have killed me.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by dthor68 » January 17th, 2014, 6:53 pm

Are you fearful of being bit? I am 45, been blazing my own trails through the southeastern swamps since I was 11. I have never wore more than tennis shoes and shorts, no socks. I have never been bit and have only stepped on one snake, a garter in the smokies. You may be going a little overboard, especially for Western America. I think if you just pay attention and keep your eyes open you will be fine.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 7:05 pm

dthor68 wrote:Are you fearful of being bit? I am 45, been blazing my own trails through the southeastern swamps since I was 11. I have never wore more than tennis shoes and shorts, no socks. I have never been bit and have only stepped on one snake, a garter in the smokies. You may be going a little overboard, especially for Western America. I think if you just pay attention and keep your eyes open you will be fine.
I'm more concerned about the one I don't see. Just so it's on the record I don't plan to use these as an excuse to mess with em, they're solely protective against thigs I dont see. And thank you for the advice, but I've always been known as the one who goes overboard. I'd rather feel safe than sorry even if it is a bit impractical. And to the boot proponents, I considered them but the price poit ruled them out for me :P

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Soopaman » January 17th, 2014, 8:28 pm

R3dguitarist wrote:
dthor68 wrote:Are you fearful of being bit? I am 45, been blazing my own trails through the southeastern swamps since I was 11. I have never wore more than tennis shoes and shorts, no socks. I have never been bit and have only stepped on one snake, a garter in the smokies. You may be going a little overboard, especially for Western America. I think if you just pay attention and keep your eyes open you will be fine.
I'm more concerned about the one I don't see. Just so it's on the record I don't plan to use these as an excuse to mess with em, they're solely protective against thigs I dont see. And thank you for the advice, but I've always been known as the one who goes overboard. I'd rather feel safe than sorry even if it is a bit impractical. And to the boot proponents, I considered them but the price poit ruled them out for me :P

Exactly, never settle for less on safety. I've stepped on several snakes, including cottonmouths and rattlers. I didn't see because the grass was too thick to see them. Luckily I either had my boots on or the snake decided running was better than biting.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 8:35 pm

Soopaman wrote: Exactly, never settle for less on safety. I've stepped on several snakes, including cottonmouths and rattlers. I didn't see because the grass was too thick to see them. Luckily I either had my boots on or the snake decided running was better than biting.
Those are EXACTLY my thoughts on the matter.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by chris_mcmartin » January 17th, 2014, 8:51 pm

If they are effective and you are comfortable wearing them, more power to you.

Just don't be surprised if you notice a marked increase in unsolicited offers to join biker gangs. 8-)

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 17th, 2014, 9:26 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote: Just don't be surprised if you notice a marked increase in unsolicited offers to join biker gangs. 8-)
Hahahaha some might consider that an added bonus :lol:

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Kelly Mc » January 18th, 2014, 1:13 am

Those boots look perfect for kicking gasoline cans out of stupid peoples hands.

No worries catching an edge to the shin.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » January 18th, 2014, 5:44 am

Those boots look perfect for kicking gasoline cans out of stupid peoples hands.
Yes, absolutely.

The boots are cool. Kudos to you, R, for the craftsmanship and creativity.
Peace of mind = priceless.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by muskiemagnet » January 18th, 2014, 6:55 am

here's a few other guys that have been working on snake-proof boots.

they may be onto something with the giant soles. elevate yourself out of strike range.

Image



just poking a little fun.

whatever works for you. point is to not get bit. some may think you look foolish but those are probably the ones that end up in the hospital. who's the fool now?

-ben

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by hellihooks » January 18th, 2014, 7:24 am

I took a guy out in the field once (which is how I figure out 'who' folks are) who wore similar protective gear to yours, but made of hard plastic. Not saying this about you (cause I don't know you) but this other guy basically had a 'morbid fascination' regarding crotes... scared to death of them, but drawn to them none-the-less, and especially fascinated with crotes killing and eating.

In a word... not into crotes for the right reasons, and not someone I herped with again. "Authentic' bites in the field are very VERY rare, especially with herpers who are out LOOKING for snakes. If you're careful, in the field you should be fine, with just boots and (at the most) gaiters.

do you drive to your herping destination in an armored car? bout the same IMO... :roll: :lol: :lol:

That said... consider the source... I've been known to herp naked... :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: jim

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Don Becker » January 18th, 2014, 7:46 am

As others have said, they do make boots for this specific purpose.

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/search.c ... l+Products

I have a pair of these:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Rockyreg ... l+Products

I can walk around in them all day and forget I am wearing boots even. I usually wear boot cut jeans, so the high boots are hidden, and it stops my jeans from bunching up around my knee and making it hard to walk. I don't even have hots in my local area, but I often wear these boots just because they are more comfortable than my other hiking boots.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by BillMcGighan » January 18th, 2014, 7:56 am

More power to you if you're happy with them after using them in the field for a season or two.



Another source for similar:
http://www.darkknightarmoury.com/c-62-f ... armor.aspx ;) ;)

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » January 18th, 2014, 8:12 am

Bill, I was very excited to see unicorns for sale at that site you referenced.
How very disappointing to find out they are only replicas.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by muskiemagnet » January 18th, 2014, 9:18 am

hellihooks wrote: "Authentic' bites in the field are very VERY rare, especially with herpers who are out LOOKING for snakes. If you're careful, in the field you should be fine, with just boots and (at the most) gaiters.

hey jim, i once heard some gossip on how you got the name helihooks. if it is true, it seems ironic that you are giving advice such as this.

a recent thread you state how much you love irony. just thought i'd point that out if you missed it. ;) :) :)

and tamara, sorry about the unicorn thing. i have the last one. don't let the pictures fool you. they are not graceful and pretty. they smell horribly and like to roll in their own poo.

-ben

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Jason Hull » January 18th, 2014, 9:30 am

I understand that preparation and anticipation in the off season can be exciting in itself but it does seem to be a bit much considering that you can just purchase the equivalent or better over the internet. However, if you end up in a scrap with a bear or a lion it will be clear that your preparation was not an overkill and in fact that you are a pioneer of sorts. You may have to make some sacrifices though like staying clear of deep water and industrial magnets but snake teeth will have no chance.
So when are you going to unveil the rest of the suit?

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by hellihooks » January 18th, 2014, 11:16 am

muskiemagnet wrote: hey jim, i once heard some gossip on how you got the name helihooks. if it is true, it seems ironic that you are giving advice such as this.

-ben
Well Ben... to set the records straight... my first 2 bites were in 75 and 76, when I was young, dumb and reckless (lots of freehandling) and both bites were from captive Hellis, at home. Been doing herp talks ever since, trying to convince young guys not to do the stupid things I did.
Went 35 yrs before losing concentration in the field, for 1 second, and caught a fang through a bag, with a bagged helli that an AZ member wanted to do a 'photo shoot' on, since it was his lifer Helleri. The most dangerous hot is usually the one in the bag... :shock:
Never stepped on a snake in my life, nor come close to getting tagged, while looking for them... ;) I actually WATCH where I put my hands and feet, and know how to flip correctly... 8-)

Jeff Teel gave me the nickname Helleri Hands on LocalityRosys, which morphed into Hellihands, and eventually Hellihooks.

As for 'herping naked'... I'm not recommending it... but I will say you'll find you are WAY More careful, about where you put any part of your body... it can actually TEACH you to be ultra-safe. :crazyeyes:
for the record... I don't go 'au natural' just anywhere... usually the hot springs were there's plenty of other folks running around naked, and I might head off to check out a nice outcrop or two... :crazyeyes:

That's how you can tell you're a real herper... go skinnydipping and you're more interested in rock outcrops than naked women... :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: :lol: jim

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Sam Sweet » January 18th, 2014, 12:35 pm

Once there was this Australian guy who didn't want to get punctured and he came up with this famous solution

Image.

But he was just the opposite of this fella here and didn't protect his legs, which is where they shot him after skipping a few rounds off his armor.

I dunno what the lesson is.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by luv_the_smellof_musk » January 18th, 2014, 1:35 pm

best thread of 2014

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by chris_mcmartin » January 18th, 2014, 3:36 pm

Sam Sweet wrote:Once there was this Australian guy who didn't want to get punctured and he came up with this famous solution
. . .
I dunno what the lesson is.
Striking resemblance to this fella.

Image

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by pete » January 18th, 2014, 4:16 pm

Those are some hefty boots! Work the leather some to soften it up a bit and hiking might not be too bad.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 18th, 2014, 6:08 pm

The Monty Python and Kiss references are hysterical :P as for the full suit... I have the leg work and the arms completed, but the chest, back, and head have yet to be completed.. I had enough leather on hand for this, but it's pretty expensive in raw sheets of the thickness I use. I'll post when/if I finish them :) funds are pretty tight, but I'll try to make it work!

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Sam Sweet » January 18th, 2014, 7:43 pm

The armor of course belonged to Ned Kelly, a colorful fellow but not a herper insofar as is recorded. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Kelly "After the shootout there were five bullet marks on the helmet, three on the breast-plate, nine on the back-plate, and one on the shoulder-plate." Shame about the legs.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Zach_Lim » January 19th, 2014, 2:29 pm

If you do not end up using them out in the field, you can always use it in any Mad Max, post-apocalyptic world scenario.

Very cool that you were able to make those yourself!

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by garry » January 19th, 2014, 3:27 pm

What you did there is probably cheaper than boots.$$$$ :thumb:

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 19th, 2014, 3:29 pm

Thanks zach! And ya Garry, muuuuuuuch cheaper!

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by azatrox » January 20th, 2014, 5:22 am

The best protection from a bite is to not put your hands and feet where you can't see.

If it makes you feel safe trompin' around western NA in plated armor, then knock yourself out...I'm certainly not going to knock you for killing yourself with safety.

I will tell you that hiking around in a get up like this is going to get very old very quickly. I don't doubt that it will affect the amount of time you actually spend hiking.

Here in the desert, the idea is to stay as light as possible because you lose a lot of fluids through sweat when hiking....Even then, lugging around a camera, a couple lenses, a full Camelback, a couple liters of water, etc. is all the weight I need.

The only time I'd even consider wearing gaiters is when I'm in southern California, wading through a sea of knee high grass and can't see the ground...those helleri have an annoying habit of not letting you know they're there until you're right on top of them.

I imagine that if we are ever attacked by ankle hungry zombies, you're better protected than most. ;)

- Kris

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » January 20th, 2014, 7:55 am

I imagine that if we are ever attacked by ankle hungry zombies, you're better protected than most.
The ankle hungry zombies are only established in south Florida at this time.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 20th, 2014, 10:49 am

I wouldn't wear them in a desert; the areas I herp are largely knee high grass hence the reason for the armor.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by Bryan_Hughes » January 20th, 2014, 11:08 am

Those are great :) Are they comfortable enough to wear on a long hike? I have some that started out as store-bought, but I modified them to be more comfortable and easy to get on and off, and now I don't herp without them.

Something else you'll discover, you're also cactus-proof.

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by JAMAUGHN » January 20th, 2014, 11:38 am

I agree that if they make you safer, and you can walk in them, then all power to you. Just for fun, though, I was also reminded of this: http://www.improbable.com/news/2001/nov/troy-bear2.html

If you haven't seen Project Grizzly, it's a hoot.

JimM

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by R3dguitarist » January 20th, 2014, 2:15 pm

Right right right, I vaguely recall seeing a documentary on the bear man haha. And ya Brian, cacti are no longer the festering pain they once were!

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Re: Rattlesnake Armor!

Post by John Martin » January 20th, 2014, 6:59 pm

JAMAUGHN wrote:I agree that if they make you safer, and you can walk in them, then all power to you. Just for fun, though, I was also reminded of this: http://www.improbable.com/news/2001/nov/troy-bear2.html

If you haven't seen Project Grizzly, it's a hoot.

JimM
OMG! That bear link is hilarious. Ingenuity is a wonderful thing... :thumb:

R3d, awesome job on the boots. However, I cannot believe that those could be comfortable during a long hike. You must check back with us later after further testing :D

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