We first met Dan Moyer when he posted to our Facebook page. Dan was eager to tell us about his experiences with ZARGES so we contacted him and he sent us the following. We’re grateful to him for his fascinating story; we always enjoy hearing how our cases are used in the field. If you have a ZARGES story to share, please do!
My first exposure to ZARGES boxes was when the US Army had me working logistics at the Kabul Afghanistan Airport – moving “men and equipment” in 2006. ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) had a small military apron to service coalition aircraft at that time in Kabul, with the French military as the “lead nation” in charge of the aprons operations then. Since there was little US military presence at the airport at that time, I quickly befriended the French Aviation “Ramp Rats.” This bunch of guys seemed to always have forklifts available for use. They daily demonstrated their skills at up & down loading cargo aircraft – what these people would do with minimal logistic equipment was AMAZING! One day I went with their fuel quality guys over to the bulk fuel cells for them to gather samples – they had four of these wonderful small aluminum ZARGES boxes to put the samples in safely protecting them while being sent off to the laboratory.
ZARGES boxes provide security for my equipment, safe packaging during transport, as well as keeping things organized… I wish I had discovered them years earlier!
Inside each box were four one liter glass bottles to hold their fuel samples; the second I saw these boxes, I knew I needed two of them! All soldiers will trade with each other, so I just needed to negotiate a “trade” for two of these fine boxes. We struck a deal, and soon I was the proud owner of two of these ZARGES boxes. I tossed the used glass bottles since they had been used for fuel sampling; I then bought eight new replacement one liter glass bottles online, shipped to my home for my use later.
I had bought some very fine alabaster vases from an Afghan vendor while deployed, and these boxes were the perfect shipping container to mail the vases home in. After mailing the boxes and vases home all safe and secure (my wife loved the vases…), I began a simple modification to setup the boxes up for use as my field “BAR” that would be darn near indestructible.
Using leather shoelaces I made a loop around each of the removable foam bottle packing tops (as you can see in the above photo) Why? Because these loops allow for easy removal of these packing tops, as well as providing a way to secure them from blowing away. I use a “Hook ‘n’ loop” strip attached to one of the boxes nylon lid stops to thread these leather loops onto – thus keeping them from blowing away during use. (see below).
I also tied a piece of shoelace to each of the bottles – which aides in bottle removal from their compartments. I use a “permeant” marker to write on the bottles what its contents are; this ink can be wiped off with isopropyl alcohol as needed. Also in the photo you can see where I also use some little aluminum strips/plates marked with what the bottle contents are in their corresponding “hole”. These plates are held in place with some long stick pins into the closed cell foam, keeps things organized, and easy to move around as needed.
These ZARGES boxes have been on countless cross-country trips and excursions into the Oregon high desert! Setting them up for a trip is easy enough, simply fill the bar bottles with your “libations,” OR place your bottle of libation in a hole (most “libation” bottle fit very nicely in these holes and save you the need to transfer fluids from bottle to bottle.) – mark the bottle and hole marker as needed, toss the bottle in its place within the box, put on the padded top, close the lid, secure the latch and you’re ready to go. I often used a small TSA padlock to keep “honest people honest” on the box latch, and use a bicycle cable lock ran through the handles securing them to a tree, or to the handles of my other ZARGES boxes in camp – securing them simply and quickly.
One trip, I had the boxes on a Jeep’s roof rack, and a cheap ratchet strap gave way, allowing one of the boxes to tumble off. It hit the ground 2.5 meters below then went bouncing down the hillside another good 7 to 8 meters. Other than some scuffs, and a small dent on the outside of the box (and some colorful verbiage…) the contents were in great shape, and the camping trip continued on to success.
In 2010, I needed a heavy duty travel case for some digital camera protection work, and with a little ingenuity I was able to get the foam interior out in “one re-useable piece” from one of the boxes! Made my trip with the modified box and camera secured inside; went right through TSA and survived airline baggage handlers great both ways. It rained a lot on that trip, and the rubber seal in the box’s lid kept the contents nice and dry as well as safe and sound. One of the other hunter’s camera equipment didn’t fare so well. Their extra gear and my box were left in a tent that ended up taking a large branch through the canvas roof allowing the rain in – soaking and ruining a lot of gear – yet my ZARGES box came through in flying colors keeping my gear all dry and safe! I know when he saw my box’s success, he ordered a couple for his future trips! Upon returning home – I re assembled the box for its bar duties once again – I ENJOY these boxes!
I often brag that these boxes are some of the best money I have ever spent. I know I spend a lot of time and effort deciding what to invest my money into when it comes to my outdoor equipment; investing in great ZARGES boxes provides a piece of mind for these investments. ZARGES boxes provide security for my equipment, safe packaging during transport, as well as keeping things organized. These boxes do exactly what their job is – keeping content safe and dry during transport and ready for use, as well as assisting in organizing the camp – I wish I had discovered them years earlier! I look forward to all the new adventures my ZARGES cases will go along on for years to come; I can’t wait for the next one.