One of the more popular trends I’ve noticed over the past ten years is fellow outdoors people wearing neck knives. You know the ones I mean. They are small bladed knives usually in a kydex sheath, but sometimes in leather, and they are worn on a piece of paracord or a leather thong. This wasn’t too unusual to see because it makes good sense. You’ve got a reserve blade for redundancy, and it’s one you can get to quickly for your every day needs. Of course whistles (including emergency whistles) have just about always been carried this way. However, at various camp outs I’ve attended the past few years, I’ve noticed more and more gear being worn around the neck. Such items include fire starters, small flashlights, containers of tinder or other fire-starting material, and so forth. In fact, I woke up one morning and Ethan Becker (of Becker Knife and Tool and Joy Of Cooking fame) was already at the camp fire getting breakfast ready. When he stood up and faced me, he had so much gear hanging from his neck, he almost looked like some sort of tribal Chieftain.
That mode of carry for certain gear isn’t a bad idea, and I’ve even gotten to like it quite a bit myself. That’s why I was really jazzed when I came across Chums’ Fishing Lanyard at the Outdoor Retailer show in July of this year. Chums basically builds gear that lets you retain or “hold on to” your personal items like keys, eyewear, and the like. So, it’s not a huge leap for them to come out with something like their new Fishing Lanyard. It’s a neat, but simple concept. Instead of wearing 5-6 cords with various items on them, the Fishing Lanyard is just one piece that has wire hanging point for whatever you’d like to carry around your neck. These hanging points are constructed of sturdy, bent wire that you can lock back into place after you have hung whatever item you want to carry. That ensures the item won’t slip off and get lost on the trail. In fact, the Fishing Lanyard has five of these attachment points and each can hold more than just one piece of gear. Like the neck knife carry concept, it keeps gear close at hand for easy retrieval, and it’s also a great way to make sure you have essential, life-saving gear with you in case you’re separated from your pack or kit during an emergency.
At the top of the loop (necklace), there are three foam collars that help distribute the weight of the gear and keeps just plain cord from digging into your neck. It’s very comfortable, and you don’t even realize it’s there. At the bottom of the loop, there’s the fifth attachment point that’s just a little different than the others. Instead of being a wire hook, it’s a small housing that has a cord with a spring loaded wheel that automatically retracts when you’re done using the piece of gear that’s attached to it. That way, you don’t have to remove the piece of gear to use it. Just pull out the cord far enough to put the item to use, and then let the mechanism automatically pull it back into place. This point is good for something like a whistle or a small light that you just need for a few seconds at a time. Also, on the back of this housing is a spring clip that will let you attach this part of the lanyard to your shirt. That keeps the whole ensemble from swinging back and forth on your chest too much, and also keeps it out of the way while you go about your day.
Like most gear hounds, I had plenty of stuff laying around to try out on the Fishing Lanyard, and it took me about three minutes to get it all situated in the right spot. For the outfit, I included a Folts Minimalist knife, a Light My Fire Mini Firesteel, a Fox 40 Rescue Howler Whistler, a Doug Ritter eGear LED light, and finally a mini “Scuba” tank full of tinder tabs. While I’m not exactly loaded for bear with this setup, I’m certainly capable of doing some basic survival tasks including, signalling, making a fire, seeing at night, and doing basic cutting tasks with the Minimalist. All of that hangs comfortably about my neck, and I don’t have to worry about ever being without some basic gear. And, to be honest, with all practicalities put to the side, it’s just a little fun to put something like this together and wear outside. It just puts me in the mood for the outdoors almost instantly.
A couple of nice touches on the Fishing Lanyard is the wood beads to add a little style to its appearance, and it also has rubber spacers along the length of the cord to keep items separated so they all don’t clump together at the bottom of the loop. All in all, it’s a pretty neat way to assemble some basic gear and keep it with you at all times. Of course, you can get carried away and try to pack to much on it which results in discomfort and will make your friends think you need a little away time to get right again. As with most things in life, less can be more.
If you’d like to find a way to carry a few bits of gear in an easy way out on the trail, or if you just want to look like a Survivor contestant wearing the immunity necklace, try out Chum’s new Fishing Lanyard. I think you’ll be impressed with its comfort and appearance, and it’ll be a great way to keep essential gear close by if things get rough for you out in the wild.