Safari Beano’s Duffel Conquers the Kamchatka

Readers at Red Oxx will know the Safari Beanos Duffel Bag can hold its own anywhere in the dust and heat of Africa. But the cold and desolation of Siberia? Now that got our attention! You’ve got to hand it to a bag that’s as trusty on a camel’s back as it is riding shotgun on a Soviet Mi-8 helicopter.

My hunting company, Russ Smith – Hunting Worldwide, Inc., has been arranging hunts and accompanying clients to Russia since 1993. All my Red Oxx bags get embroidered with our company logo.

This photo of me and the small Beanos bag was taken at the Regional Center of Esso on Kamchatka Peninsula. We fly from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk on the Peninsula and then travel north by vehicle for 8-10 hours, depending on conditions, to the village of Esso. From Esso we fly via this Mi-8 helicopter to our hunting camps in the northern regions of Kamchatka.

These are Russian built choppers and are the work-horses for movement of men and materials on the Peninsula. Fixed wings aren’t used in Russia like they are here and in Canada. We contract with flying services for the chopper time.

I was with a group of hunters flying into camp for the beginning of their hunt when this photo was taken.

The guys at Red Oxx build the best bags on the market, and I think I’ve tried them all during my travels over the last 25 years. They have just the right amount of separate compartments and the materials are first rate. I have recommended them to both my guides and clients.

Regards & good hunting,

Russ Smith

We’re just going to say it for the record: send us a photo of your Red Oxx bag on a military helicopter in Siberia and you’re going to be uber-cool, hands down! Just for fun, we looked a little closer into the history of this helicopter, mistaking it at first for a Soviet "Hind":

Courtesy of the Centennial of Flight Commission:
The greatest Mil helicopter ever built was the Mi-8 Hip. The first Mi-8 flew in 1961, and the helicopter entered production in late 1965. Over 10,000 Mi-8s of many different variants were produced. The Mi-8 was nearly as popular as the American Bell UH-1 Huey (of which 15,000 were produced) and was widely exported.

The Mi-8 had two engines and a five-blade main rotor. Its cabin had a rear door that dropped down to allow people or equipment to be unloaded. It was a big helicopter, capable of carrying up to 36 fully armed troops.

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