Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movember Invitation - Cancer Awareness - The Outdoor Gear Review

Movember Month – The Outdoor Gear Review
November is almost here folks so that means it’s almost Movember! 
In 2003, a group of friends in Australia were inspired by what the women in their lives were doing for breast cancer and came up with the idea to grow moustaches to raise money for charity. That year, they got 30 friends to participate. Although they didn’t raise any money, they realized how much conversations their moustaches generated, and kept going.
Ten years later, with the Mo (that’s Australian for moustache) as their “hairy ribbon“ and November as their designated awareness month, Movember is one of the largest non-governmental donors to prostate cancer research in the world, funding over 577 projects to date. Last year alone, 1.1 million people from 21 countries participated in raising $147 million. About a fifth of participants were from the US.
n  November is all about means health and spreading the word.  In my family the males have all gotten prostate cancer so I’m getting checked out…even thought I don’t funking want to…but I am. 
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The air is getting colder, the layers are getting thicker – that can only mean one thing: it’s almost “no-shave-November” time. More commonly known, as “Movember” is the one time of the year that you can actually get away with not shaving at all. During this time, men everywhere unite to in an all-time laziness marathon to see who can go the longest without shaving. As the fall season kicks into high gear and beards become braidable, the month-long event is essentially a fun way to raise awareness for prostate cancer, as well as other cancers associated with men.
The men who participate, referred to as “Mo-Bros”, aim to change the face of men’s health. “Movember” encourages men to go get checked out in order to achieve early detection that may possibly save many lives. The “Movember” Foundation has been spreading the trend since 2004, and the phenomenon has since become a worldwide event. In 2012, the Global Journal listed “Movember” as one of the top 100 non-government organizations in the world.
As the popularity of “Movember” grows, so do the beards. Men have become highly creative with their clippers in order to achieve no shave November looks. Some go for the Salvatore Dali look, while others free beard it and let the whiskers fall where they may. Whatever you choose to do, “The International Man of November” award is the ultimate achievement for any man who participates. The aware is given to the winner chosen from 21 winners all over the world. That man wears the coveted “Movember” crown all year round.
However, in order to receive the award, and to just be an all-around awesome member of the “Movember” club, there are several rules that need to be followed. Here are the guidelines to a successful “Movember”:
Rule #1: Get rid of everything
On November 1st, all razors are to be disposed of, never to be seen for an entire month. At first this is an extremely liberating process, after all, who wants to waste time shaving? Sure enough, though, the difficulty of this challenge will eventually become apparent.
Rule #2: Withstand the uncomfortable feeling
The first week in the itchiness of the mission commences. Your face will probably be on fire from scratching, but you have to power through, don’t take no for an answer.
Rule #3: Get used to looking cool
By the end of the first week, your 5 o’clock shadow may look like its 10 o’clock, but don’t worry, just tell everyone you’re going for the Clooney look. The silver lining is that grown men with full beards will not look ridiculous.
Rule #4: Don’t take criticism
Around Thanksgiving, your beard will be in full swing and your family simply won’t understand. As you’re sitting at the dinner table over a together, your grandmother will probably give you the why-aren’t-you-shaving look but try to ignore it. Understand that this is for the greater good, something parents and grandparents just don’t get. 
Rule #5: Take pictures
Towards the end of your bearded journey, it’s time to start taking pictures and showing off your coolness. This can also be considered a contest between you and all the other men to see whose beard came in best.
Rule #6: Have some fun
This is the stage where you’re just about to shave, so you can certainly take a few days to have some fun with how far you’ve come. Take some clippers to that manly beard and give yourself a cool look, maybe even a goatee.
So this is what I’m going to do.  On November 1st I’m shaving the face and going with the allstar mustache.  I will rock it all month long!  I’d like for all of your guys to do the same and join me and at the end of the month, send me a photo of your stash and I’ll throw together a video.
Enjoying the outdoors is only possible if you feel good.  You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care anyone else or enjoy anything else.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Condor Summit Softshell Jacket Preview - The Outdoor Gear Review



Condor Summit Soft Shell Tactical Jacket
-Please note that this is not a review, this is a preview- Big Difference folks.
Roughly $90 but the price will vary with size and color.
Speaking of colors, there are six colors;
Size
XS- XXXL
Multicam,
Navy blue,
Foliage,
Coyote Brown,
Black,
Olive Drab
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There is two different versions to this jacket, a regular summit model and a lighter summit zero model which is for warmer climates.
Lined stand-up collar
- Stow-away hoodie
- Two shoulder pockets
- Two 4" x 4" shoulder patch panels
- Two internal pockets
- Two highrise slash chest pockets
- Forearm pocket
- Double zipper back pocket
- Underarm vent zipper
- Double layer reinforced forearm
- Drawstring waistband and hood
- Adjustable wrist cuff
- Full front YKK zipper with double zipper pull
- Import
The Condor Summit Soft Shell Jacket is designed with a three layer integrated shell fabric technology with reinforcement on the forearms. The breathable shell wicks moisture from the body, prevents water penetration, while maintaining body heat. Underarm vent zipper to control temp, and multiple pockets are provided for utility and storage. Also available in a lighter version, the Summit ZERO, for warmer climates. 
This durable, waterproof, lightweight, breathable fabric contains billions of microscopic pores smaller than a raindrop, but hundred times larger than a molecule of water. The triple layer combination wicks moisture, stops water from passing through, and circulates body heat.
Material
- Outer Layer: 100% polyester, 4-way elastic, high density fabric with Teflon Coating.
- Mid Layer: breathable film membrane.
- Inner Layer: 150 g/m² 100%  fleece.
Care Instruction
- NO Bleach, NO Iron, NO Dry Clean
- Wash inside out in low temperature
- Tumble dry in low heat
NTOA Approved - National Tactical Officers Association …. Honestly that means very little.  I’ve seen this same ‘approval’ on questionable gear before.
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Observations : This type of jacket is for cold weather when used with layering but it’s not meant for bad weather.  It’s highly water resistant but not waterproof.  Fine for a light rain or snow but The seams are not taped or sealed so in a good rain, you may get wet. 
its a softshell, which means it blocks wind and has very little insulation properties. typically you would wear a wicking base layer and a medium weight fleece under it. size up if you want to wear thicker layers and not look like a sausage roll.
BUT for 80 bucks, its bomber bomber enough. the material is stretchy and it'll block some wind. its a soft shell, not a rain jacket

-pitzips

Today we take a look at the Condor Summit Softshell Jacket.

NOTE: This video is a little rough around the edges as I was trying some new video editing software.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

The USMC Boonie Hat Review - The Outdoor Gear Review



A boonie hat, also known as a bush hat, is a form of wide-brim hat commonly used by military forces. Its design is similar to a bucket hat but with a stiffer brim. Often a fabric tape band of 'branch loops' is sewn around the crown of the hat. This 'foliage ring' is meant to hold additional vegetation as camouflage. A strap provides stability. The crown may be vented with rivets or mesh panels. Snaps may also be provided with which to fix the brim in the style of an Australian bush hat.

The boonie hat was introduced to the United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, when U.S. Army Green Berets began wearing them in the field, along with Australian and Army of the Republic of Vietnam units. These leopard spot or tigerstripe boonie hats were locally procured, the camo cloth was usually salvaged from other uniform items or with the former from a parachute or made up by the tailor.

In 1967, the U.S. Army began issuing boonie hats, as the "Hat, Jungle, with Insect Net", made of cotton and wind-resistant poplin, in olive drab, tigerstripe, and ERDL pattern. It was meant to supplement and replace the patrol and baseball caps that had been in service since World War II. As the U.S. military evolved away from a garrison mentality, the boonie found a permanent place as part of the uniform of all services. The boonie has changed little through the decades since the Vietnam War and was used in the Iraq War and still in the War in Afghanistan as an alternative to the patrol cap. The U.S. military boonie hat has come in a variety of camouflage patterns; the current assortment includes U.S. M81 woodland, three-color desert, UCP, MultiCam, and both desert and woodland versions of MARPAT, as well as the Air Force ABU pattern. The boonie hat is often worn with the wearer's rank insignia pinned to the front, above the branch loops.

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Hat, Camouflage (Tropical Combat) Type II
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In 1968 the U.S. Army authorized use of the woodland ERDL pattern (Engineering Research Development Laboratory) material, used in the 1969 and later production of hats in cotton ripstop material. These were labeled, "Hat, Camouflage (Tropical Combat) Type II" with contract dates starting in 1968. They were in use from 1968 for both the Army and Air Force, and from 1969-70 for the Marine Corps and Navy. Hat, Sun, Hot Weather[edit] Later boonies are called "Hat, Sun" or "Hat, Sun, Hot Weather", which is still the designation for this type of cover. They are made in various patterns, in cotton ripstop or nylon blend cloth.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Mountain Hardwear Hunker 1- First Look - The Outdoor Gear Review



Today we are taking a first look at the Mountain Hardwear Hunker 1 Assault Tent. The review will be in the future after testing.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Purchasing a Hydration Bladder / Reservoir - Advice - The Outdoor Gear R...




Advice : Purchasing a Hydration Bladder
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Hydration Bladders generally come in three sizes but there are some variances.  1L, 2L or 3L are the most common.

My personal advice when it comes to selecting size is to go with a 3L model.  It’s better to have a bladder than can hold 3L of water for when you need it.  If you need less water, simply don’t fill it as full. 

The weight difference between a 1L bladder and a 3L is minimal.  An example of that weight is with the Platypus BigZip line.  A 2L weighs 5.5oz while the 3L is 5.8oz.  Ultimately you won’t notice the weight difference by going with a larger bladder but the versatility that is gained will be noticeable. 

Also the price difference between models is generally very little.  Just a few bucks between liter sizes.
-           One factor to consider before purchasing a bladder is what carrier or pack are you going to be using it with?  If you pack can only handle a 2L bladder and you don’t want to get a bigger pack, don’t buy a 3L bladder.  Otherwise, get the 3L and enjoy all of the benefits of having additional water capacity. 

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In general there are two types of bladders.  Non-pressurized  (where you have to suck) and pressurized.  Personally I like non-pressurized bladders the best namely because of their simply use.  You fill it up and you drink what you want.  Pressurized models add additional hoses and steps that I have never found to be beneficial for my use.  Geigerrig is a great company and offer good systems but it’s not something that I would consider important for my needs.  They are also more expensive, heavier, and more complicated but if you rather have a bladder that squirts instead of requiring you to suck, it might be something to check out.

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When it comes to filling a bladder with water, there are two main types.  Bladders like the camelbak that have a screw lid and bladders like the Platypus with the zip top. 
Personally I prefer the ziptop as it makes drying and cleaning the bladder extremely easy and simple.  If your bladder has the screw lid/cap it makes the cleaning process a bit more complicated and depending on model, you may be required to use some cleaning instruments. 

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Another thing to look at when purchasing a hydration bladder is the hose and how it connects to the reservoir itself.  Some have a quick connect/release that allows you to effortlessly remove the hose to clean it or to even replace it.  Some others don’t and that makes for replacing or cleaning a bit more of a chore.  Also some bit valves have the quick connect and release as well which is very nice in case you need to replace it.

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Generally prices are very competitive when it comes to hydration bladders.  This Antidote bladder runs around $31. And the Platypus BigZip runs about $32.  Little Difference. 

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Of course for winter use insulated tube covers and packs can be purchased but that area is for another video in the future.


Again my advice is this; get a 3L bladder and fill it with the amount of water that you need for the adventure you are going on.  Also get a bladder that fits your pack and is easy to clean and replace components when needed.

Of course if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.  Happy to help.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Incoming Gear : Mountain Hardwear Hunker 1 Assault Tent



Purchased from: http://www.skdtac.com/Mountain-Hardwear-Hunker-4-Season-Tent-p/mhw.350.htm

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This is just a first look at the tent that I have ordered.  A preview and review will be coming in the future.









Made for and issued to NSW (SEALS), only available in very limited quantities. Once they're gone, they're gone. 

Mountain Hardwear Hunker 4 Season Military Tent, Coyote
Shelter is the number one priority for survival in inclement environments- then water, then food. If you have ever wanted a single person shelter system that will perform in all 4 seasons for your survival kit, this is the limited opportunity you do not want to miss. 

This product was developed for Naval Special Warfare sniper/observer teams, and has never been available previously to the public in its original military Coyote color. Like most premium outdoor brands, Mountain Hardwear has on occasion produced specialty products for the Special Operations community in limited quantities that are not offered to the public. Also like most premium outdoor brands, the vast majority of Mountain Hardwear products are made overseas in large factories to leverage a wide range of commercial materials and achieve economies in manufacturing. Due to the fact that our military Special Operations units require Made-in-USA products to comply with the Berry Amendment (if you don't know what this is, Google it), often these special not-for-public items become even more exclusive by the fact that they are actually MADE HERE. 

  • Style Name: Hunker 1
  • Style Number: OU9459
  • Capacity: 1 Person
  • Category: 4-Season Expedition
  • Minimum Weight: 4 lbs. 15 oz.
  • Stuffed Size: 23" x 7"
  • Floor Dimensions: 91.5" x 48"
  • Peak Interior Height: 28.5"
  • Floor Area: 24 ft sq
  • Vestibule Area: 15 ft sq
This tent does not come with assembly instructions because NSW did not request any. If you are at all familiar with modern tent set-up you are good to go. If you are not, just ask a friend who camps and you'll be amazed at how simple it is.

5 Piece Esbit Trekker Cook Set Review - The Outdoor Gear Review



Esbit 5-Piece Trekking Cook Set Includes Brass Alcohol Burner Stove and 2 Anodized Aluminum Pots
$40 on amazon.
·  Complete cookset includes brass alcohol burner, two cook pots, stand , solid fuel base, and mesh carry bag
·  Cook pots constructed from extremely light, hard anodized aluminum
·  Small pot can be used as lid; large pot includes volume indicator in liters and ounces
·  Burner features a variable flame regulator, fold-away handle, and sealable screw top that holds fuel
·  Set nests compactly in large pot; total weight is 15 ounces
Cookware Features and Specifications:
  • Light, hard anodized aluminum construction
  • One 33.3-ounce/985 milliliter pot
  • One 15.9-ounce/470 milliliter pot
  • Small pot serves also as lid
  • Pots have two hinged grips made of stainless steel
  • Big pot has volume indicator in liters and ounces
Alcohol Burner Features and Specifications:
  • Brass construction
  • Variable flame regulator with fold-away handle
  • Sealable screw top stores fuel
  • Includes stand and mat for solid fuel application

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This product has vastly exceeded my expectations.
The flame produced by burning denatured alcohol is very large and hot due to the great design of the burner. Filling the burner reservoir just 1/4 full will fuel the flame for around 15 minutes. Pair this with a Triangia fuel bottle filled with denaturated alcohol(available in any store with a paint section) and you have a great little portable stove that will get you through a week of backpacking. I have also found that an egg pan fits perfectly atop the burner. In addition, I am going to purchase a small grill grate so that I can use my stovetop espresso maker with this unit. The included cookset is truly of great quality so with the addition of these few small add ons, I have everything I need to cook on a backpacking trip. You could easily cook for 2 with this set if you had to, but id recommend one for every member of your particular voyage.

I have ran a couple of tests and have found that this kit will BOIL....
The alcohol burner will hold approximately 4 ounces of alcohol
Total burn time per Esbit is 30 minutes with 70ml of alcohol.
the alcohol burner is a clone of the Triangia  but the simmer ring has a fold-able handle, which makes this IMO even better than the Triangia.

:::1 cup of water in about just under 6 minutes with the TOP OFF
:::2 cups of water in just under 10 minutes with the TOP ON.

The water I boiled was straight from the tap cold. 3,500 ft
Yes it’s made in china but the quality is excellent.
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Both solid fuel and alcohol make for great solutions when it comes to heating and cooking.  Of course it’s important to know the pros and cons of each before you take one or the other out on an adventure.  With this set both the solid fuel plate and the alcohol plate are the proper distance from the pot for adequate heat displacement.

In the past I have shown this system being used with solid fuel cubes as well as trioxane and in the future you will see it used with the alcohol stove from both Esbit and Triangia. 


Verdict : Great buy.  It’s a good kit that gives you plenty of options to heat and cook and each of the options work well.  The system is light weight, compact.  There are lighter, more expensive option out there but for $40 this is a win!

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Additional Pics
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Snugpak Ionosphere Bivy / Tent - Review - The Outdoor Gear Review



Here's the video review of the Snugpak Ionosphere Bivy tent.
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Snugpak – Ionosphere 
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·  Flysheet is a lightweight 210t Polyester RipStop pu with a 5000mm waterproof polyurethane coating
·  Inner Tent constructed of 190t Nylon with Polyester Mesh
·  50D Polyester No-See-Um-Mesh
·  DAC® Featherlite NSL® anodized poles with pressfit connectors
·  All DAC® Poles are made from TH72M aluminum - Featherlite NSL anodized aluminum poles
·  1 Doors
·  All seams are taped sealed
·  Alloy Stakes (14 + 2 Spare Stakes)
·  Available in Olive Outer/Black Inner only
Comes with a Repair Kit - repairs can be made on the move
  • TRAIL WEIGHT 2.64 LBS (Fly, Inner Tent & Poles)
  • PACK WEIGHT 3.34 LBS (Fly, Inner Tent, Poles, Stakes, Repair Kit & Carry Case)
  • PACKSIZE 17”L x 5.25”D
  • 2 way zipper
MSRP $ 229.00 but it can be found online for a wide range of prices; $120 - $170 on Amazon.
The Ionosphere™ by Snugpak® is an extremely small and compact 1 person tent. The Ionosphere™ has a very low profile and is great for those looking for a 1 person tent to keep out of the elements. Just like The Bunker™, the Scorpion 3™ and Scorpion2™ the Ionosphere™ also too has a 5000mm PU Coated Fly. The Ionosphere™ has a single entry point, No-See-Um-Mesh and all seams are seam taped. A very impressive small compact tent by anyones standard.
Endorsed by active duty military personal.

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Common Questions that one might ask :
·         Does it come with a footprint?
No.  But the floor is very durable.  I would still recommend one though.
·         Good for kayaking?
Excellent!


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Review :

The Snugpak offers excellent bag for the buck and is highly recommended for those looking for a light weight solution to backpacking.  This is a 3 season tent and I wouldn’t recommend it for snow.  Perfect for those who want something bigger than a bivy but something smaller than a tent. 
Great for stealth camping.

Setup is extremely easy and straightforward.

Very lightweight especially when you leave behind the carrying bag and repair kit.
Aluminum alloy stakes are just fine and light weight as well.

No condensation that’s to the ability to allow great air flow.

The zipper functions very well without any nagging.

Fantastic waterproofing and if set up correctly, water will flow off of the fly onto the ground.
Plenty of room within the tent for you and your gear.  I’m only 5’4 but I have heard of guys in the military who are 6ft that put their gear with the tent and still have plenty of space.
Definitely one person unless you want to spoon all night long.


-          Verdict : It’s a buy!  Great quality and value.  This product alone really paints Snugpak in a positive light and I’m curious to try out some of their other gear.  I ultimately have to agree with what others are saying about it on the internet.  It’s a great product.

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Additional Pictures
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FILBE Assault Pack Review - The Outdoor Gear Review



The Video review.

FILBE Assault Pack Review







After many months of use it’s time to pass down the final verdict on this Assault Pack that is part of the FILBE System.  This component of that system can be purchased separately and of course is part of the entire setup when purchased as complete package.

The Complete FILBE can be purchased for anywhere from $300 - $500.  Just depends on the deal you find at the time.  At the time of this videos making, the complete system new could be purchased for $300 on eBay.



FILBE stands for Family of Improved Load Bearing Equipment.

The Assault Pack itself can be found for $150 to $190 new and in most cases this includes the additional assault pouch.


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As you can see this is Coyote Brown in color.

The main material used is Cordura Nylon. 

Manufactured by Eagle Industries

Features sternum strap, waist belt

Two way, ykk zipper that opens lower on the wearer left side.

Molle webbing on three sides of the pack which provide plenty of attachment points.

Heavy duty carry and drag handle

Grommets on the bottom for drainage.

Approx dimensions 20” x 14” x 8”

Approx 2300 cubic inches of space

Weight right at 4lbs give or take a few ounces

Very similar in design to the Camelbak Motherload




The structure of the pack is frame with a 3 – 5 mm plastic sheet that is accessible by a zipper within the main pack.

-          Impressions and review

Extremely comfortable even after long periods of use.  I have used this pack on literally hundreds of miles of hiking and have even used it for overnight backpacking trips.  You can see this pack in action with the Coyote Overnight Adventure.  Video below:



The closed cell foam backing offers good ventilation and offers an adequate level of comfort even when completely loaded.

Without a doubt this is my Go-To pack.  I always have it ready to grab, pack and run if need be. 


Carries a 3 liter hydration bladder without issue and does have ports to tube on both the left and right side. 

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Photos


Front of the main pack.


Front lower panel - Molle webbing.


YKK zippers - 2-way.


Quick release from shoulder straps.


Velcro fasteners.


Top view of one of the hydration/antenna ports.


View into the optional Assault Pouch.


Lower front pocket.


Inside view - Main compartment.


Sleeve which I use to store my hydration bladder.


Plastic sheeting 3 - 5mm thick.  Frame.


Back of main compartment.  Mess pocket.


Back of pack. 


Foam padding - Gap for ventilation. 


Side of pack.  Compression straps and webbing.


Bottom of pack.  Compression straps and grommet holes.


Shoulder straps : Padding.