Friday, August 30, 2019

Before You Buy - Setting up the Klymit Maxfield 2 Tent

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This is a special episode of Before You Buy as it features the very first tent made by Klymit who is well known for their sleeping pad products.

Today Luke is setting up the Klymit Maxfield 2 Tent; the Setup process is very important when it comes to the purchasing a tent; how easy or how complex is it?

Link :

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Modern Deployment Bag - Force Protector Gear Deployer 75 Bag - Review

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This is one of modern day Deployment Bags being used by the Marines - Force Protector Gear Deployer 75 – FOAMTEC FOR75.

Link :

Price : $512

Used Price : While new these can be rather pricey, when purchased used surplus you can get these for around $150 or less.  In fact, I have three of these for overland use and not only do they work perfectly but I paid around $100 each for them.  Also, FPG has sells all the time on their web site and you can on occasion find some excellent prices.  For an example, at the time of filming I saw a version of this in a camo pattern for a little over $140 new.

Weight : 12lbs., (5.17kg) empty

Colors : Black Coyote Multicam and others

Versions : There are many versions of his pack including various sizes.  Some are collapsible and some are not!

Dimensions: 30” L x 14” W x 14” D, (76cm L x 35cm W x 35cm D)

Capacity: Over 5,880 Cubic Inches, (96) liters


1000D Cordura -  400D Cordura – Hypalon - Ballistic Nylon

360° FPG FOAMTECH Padding System

Polyester Mesh - High density Polymer

YKK Zippers - Military grade: Hardware, Binding Tapes, Hook and Loop, and Thread.


Patented 360° FPG FOAMTECH® Padding System

Stainless Steel Wheel Housings with replaceable ball bearing wheels

Wheel Housings and Extruded Rubber Runners are replaceable in the field with a Phillips Screwdriver and 3/8" wrench

Ballistic Nylon bottom

Hypalon wear patches on all corners and high wear areas

Re-enforced heavy duty handles on all sides

Mesh pockets in the lid

General pouch in main compartment

Integrated and removable backpack straps

All zippers have 550 Para Cord pulls

One row of webbing anchors for attaching items to bag or lashing things down

This bag requires Extender Straps (SP15) to make an “Ultimate Loadout System”

Berry Amendment Compliant

Lifetime Manufacturer's Warranty

The Forceprotector Gear “Deployer” is the official standard issue deployment bag for the United States Marine Corps. The Deployer is an innovative design using today’s technology to combine the form and functionality of the standard issue military “footlocker” and the standard issue military “duffel bag”. Neither of these two legacy items had seen much change over the past three centuries of combined use except for the transition from wood to metal to plastic for the footlocker, and the transition from wool to cotton duck to nylon for the duffel bag.

Designed to be lived out of while taking away all of the hassle of dumping it out to find something. multifunctional and keeps your clothes and gear organized.

Review Pros :

Tons of space

Military tough

When purchase used, awesome value for the money

Footlocker design is very handy.

Lots of storage options, pockets and so on.

Lots of ways to carry

Review Cons :

Not light….but it’s military surplus….so I’m not going to count this as a con.

If purchased new, this can be a very expensive bag.

Summary :

FPG isn’t a company which most have heard of but they do make excellent gear which stands out from the crowded military/tactical market.  Their designs are smart, their gear is tough and as used military surplus, you can find some excellent deals.

Plenty of size options for you to consider depending on your needs. When it comes to needs, these are awesome bags which can be used for a wide range of applications.  I’m not military but I have had my hands one some of the rarest, most advanced and rarest of military products and I can easily see why these bags are so highly regarded.  For myself, I use these for travel; for example, when heading to Colorado I can throw my entire backpack system into this bag along with everything else that I need for a full week out west including shoes, boots, etc and there is room left over. When I touch down, I know exactly which bag is mine and I can roll it out, carry by hand or put it on my back.

For overland use, these are excellent; tons of room for any level of kit bag that you wish to make; one for cooking, one for bedding and so on.

If you purchase one of these used; make sure to pay attention to quality as some of these can be in rough shape considering where they may have been.

Monday, August 26, 2019

My Personal Favorite - SmartWool Merino 150 Beanie Review

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Today Luke is reviewing the unisex SmartWool Merino 150 Beanie which just so happens to be his favorite beanie!

Link :

Price : $22

Weight : 60 g = 2.12 oz

Colors : Blue, Pink, Black

:: back in 2014 I reviewed the SmartWool NTS Micro 150 which up until recently was my goto beanie but it was a product which was basically discontinued some years back with only one version being available today which is in an ugly white color; viewers would see me wearing my old blue one, write in and ask about where they can get one but it was no longer available.  The NTS version is 100% wool. It is possible to find other colors of the NTS Beanie online as there could be stock still available.

Back in the winter I stumbled upon the Merino 150 from Smartwool which is an updated version of the old NTS Micro!

Knit in Vietnam: 87% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon Core

Flatlock seam construction eliminates chafing

The Merino 150 beanie is a lightweight, year-round essential. Run in it, skate ski in it, put it under a helmet for a chilly morning bike commute. Clean seams for a no-bulk fit. Now more durable than ever with new Merino 150 fabric.

UPF 20+

Naturally protects against the sun's rays

Merino fibers wrapped around a nylon core for added durability while still keeping the comfort of Merino next to skin

Breathable, soft, lightweight fabric for ultimate performance next-to-skin in cool to cold conditions

-          Review –

Pros :

Super comfortable. – flat seams

Very thin.

Durable so far; no issues after the entire fall and winter months

Warm for how thin it is.

Attractive looks.

Not scratchy

Good price – competitive to everything else out there

Cuts wind – not wind proof.

Not too hot but warm enough – this is really important for me as I tend to be a very hot natured individual and anything thicker than this tends to be too hot.  For you, your mileage will vary of course depending on your specific needs but I have worn this down to the single digits (F) and have been perfectly comfortable.  For an average person, you are going to be just fine with temps down into the upper 20’s when being active.  Sitting around I would say upper 30’s for most people but ultimate it deeps on your internal furnace.

Fits inside of a bike helmet

Cons :

Depending on your head size, these may not completely cover your ears.

For my large headed peeps, you may want to look for a different beanie.

Not a con for the product but some sellers will list this as the NTS Beanie which is incorrect; REI does this! The NTS Beanie is in fact, a different product.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Made for the Outdoors - Ombraz Armless Sunglasses Review

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Outdoor Sunglasses.....that are 'armless?'

Susie and I today have a review of the Ombraz Armless Sunglasses which are truly made for outdoor use!

Link :

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Before You Buy - LiteFighter 1 Combat Tent - Setup

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The Setup process is very important when it comes to the purchasing a tent; how easy or how complex is it?

Today Luke is setting up the LiteFighter 1 Combat Tent  in multiple ways and this is an episode of Before You Buy!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Alone in the Wild - Bushcraft Adventure - One With Nature

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Join Luke as he goes into the forest for his next adventure which is all about Bushcraft, Real Bushcraft!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Budget Camping Cot - Alps Mountaineering Cot - Review

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Today Luke is reviewing the Alps Mountaineering Cot which is a budget friendly, good quality option for your outdoor/overland needs.

Link :

Cost : $64 at the time of filming on Amazon – Retail $80

Color : One Color – Gree

Weight : 11.5lbs

Features :

Lightweight and compactible
Green 600D polyester fabric
34" x 9" x 2" carry bag
Durable steel frame
Dimensions: 30" w x 74" l x 7.5" t
Weight: 9 lbs. 5 oz.
Weight capacity: 250 lb.


Review Pros

Rather simple to setup
Good quality
Has held up well for with my use
Lot profile means that it can be used in side of some tents.
Excellent for car/truck/overland camping
Carry bag is plenty big so you won’t have any frustrations there
The material has held up well to the last 3 months of use.  I weight 155 – 160 by the way and I can’t comment on heavier individuals and how the material will hold up.

Review Cons :

Support bars don’t lock into place solidly

Support bars can be a pain to remove

Not the quickest to put together; there are faster to setup options on the market such as the Go-Kot

Those with weak muscles may have issues with putting this cot together as you will have to use strength to  get the legs into place. Using your body weight to push the legs into place works nicely

While the quality is good, it’s not to the same level as the Go-kot for an example but it is far less expensive.

The legs don’t have any feet to protect your tent or whatever surface that you put it on; this is a feature that you will find in some higher end cots.

While the quality of mine is good, I have seen plenty of reports of poor quality when it comes to this product.  When you have something that is of a budget nature, it is often common for there to be some problems which may require you to send it back and get a replacement.  Defects are possible with anything but with budget gear, that will happen at a higher rate so keep that in mind.


All in all I like this Cot, the price is good, the one that I purchased and receive is of a good quality.  The design isn’t flat out terrible but it isn’t the best. It is heavy and I wouldn’t personally use it for backpacking.

Monday, August 12, 2019

That's a lot of Power! - Anker PowerHouse 200 - Review

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This is the Anker Powerhouse 200 and the question is, what do you need it for?

200 watt hour capacity!

2 - USB / 1- USB- C
1 -12 volt car output
1 - 110v AC output

Our review starts now!

Link :

Price : $350
Weight : 6lbs 1.5oz
Size : Roughly 7”L x 5.5”W X 4.7”T
This a battery bank / generator which is perfect for all sorts of situations.

200 watt hour capacity / which is 57,600 milliamps hours

3 input options :

·       USB / USB- C (60 total watts of power from the usb ports)
·       12 volt car output
·       110v AC output

Carry handle – Is excellent, comfortable and allows for you to easily grab and move the device when you need to

Grippy feet on the bottom

Issues :

We’ve had no issues with our testing of this device over the last 3 months.

Cold weather does have an impact upon this bank;

For an example, one morning with temps around 45F, the battery bank read 71% charger left. But a few hours later when the temps were in the 70’s, it stated that the remaining charge was 84%.

Time Usage :

Floor Fan : 6.5 hours

Charge my laptop : 3 times

Camera Batteries : one fully charged Powerhouse will charge my camera batteries 52 times!

My Samsung Phone : 14 times

Uses :

Emergency use
Overland use
Camping use
Cross country driving
Photography and video shoots

Review Pros :

Lots of power

Very portal – not all that heavy

Easy to use – right out of the box, it makes sense and you can use it.

Shows which ports are being used and battery percentage

Quick to charge

Some ports can be used at the same time; AC and USB or 12V and USB

Can charge the powerhouse while using the ports as long as you aren’t consuming more power than what it is getting from the wall.

Countless protection systems built-in including protection from overloading your gear, temp control, high-voltage, etc.

Review Cons :

Pricey – Compared to other similar products on the market, this one is more expensive.  On the flip side, you are getting a product from a company which has a strong background with quality and customer service and that alone is enough to justify the price.

AC and 12V can’t be used at the same time; I mention this as there may be a situation where you wish that you could run them at the same time but I haven’t been in that situation with my use.

Summary :

I have been looking for a product like this for a long time as I am one who happens to film a great deal of video and one of the biggest hurdles for me especially on week long road trips is power.  Power for my laptop so I can get work done and a way to charge my camera batteries.

Talking about filming, I rarely film indoors but when I do, I plug my studio light into this the powerhouse and I can easily move my light source and the battery bank as I move around without having to look for a plug; this saves me time.

Then of course, comes the overland aspect and this is an awesome option for that as well as you can charge a phone, run a fan, run lighting and so on all at the same time.

Not talking about youtube for a moment but with my full time job, I never get a day off so if I go on a trip, I still have to work and this allows for me to have the power to do just that.  With my cross country trips what you all don’t see in those is having to stop to powerup my laptop or the time that I had to work; this for me is a game changer and it really works well in that regards.

Another side to this product is emergency use and again, it works very well in that regards and Susan and I recently got to test this product out for that exact purpose.  There was an outage in our area which lasted roughly 12 hours and the Powerhouse kept us going throughout the night with lights, charging our devices and so on.

Anker is a leader when it comes to mobile power solutions and I have countless battery banks from them which are over 4 years old and continue to work flawlessly.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Giveaway - Fenix E30R Flashlight - Enter Now

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This is the Fenix E30R Flashlight and I have been 'running' with one of these for the last couple of months; it's an excellent flashlight and in fact, it is so good that I want to give one away to a lucky viewer!


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Next Generation - Force Protector Gear FOR76 - Review

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This is one of my favorite pieces of military gear currently;
Force Protector Gear FOR76 Deployment Duffle Bag!


Link :

NSN for coyote color is: 8465-01-665-0773
NSN for multicam color is: 8465-01-664-7547
NSN for black color is: 8465-01-664-7499

Monday, August 5, 2019

Well, Well, Well What is This? Viewer Mail Episode #63

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It is mail time and look at what was sent in by some very generous viewers!

I'm speechless and thankful!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Perfect Summer Blanket? - Nemo Puffin Blanket Review

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This is my review of the Nemo Puffin Insulated Blanket!
Very light, very warm and also, versatile!

Link :

Price : $99 for the regular size ($150 for the luxury 2 p version)

Weight of Blanket : 2lbs 3oz

Weight with Storage bag : 2lbs 6z

I did notice a discrepancy when it comes to the weight of the Blanket when it comes to Nemo’s website and the information card which came attached to the storage bag.  The card states that it weighs 1lb 14oz and the site states 2lbs 3oz.  2lbs 3oz being accurate.

Colors : Numerous color options can be found depending on what year it was made.  Speaking of which, it was released around the end of 2014.

Packed Size
14 x 12 x 5”

Fill Weight
1 lb , 5 oz

57 x 85 in – Some sites such as amazon state the size being
Mossy / Fiddlehead and others

40D Nylon Micro-Ripstop with DWR

Stratofiber Synthetic Insulation


Review :

Temp Rating?  A product like this is going to be very hard to gage when it comes to a temp rating and that because it is a blanket.  With such a design it is difficult to trap heat and get an accurate rating.  With myself, I have used this blanket many times down to 40F by itself and was perfectly comfortable.  I sleep hot so keep that in mind; your mileage is going to vary!

Pros :

This is a summer time blanket, perfect for those nights where you want on leg out and one leg in.  Perfect for warm nights that turn into cool mornings.

You can even use it to add additional warmth to your winter time bag and the integrated footbox makes that especially easy to do.

Not constrictive!

Easy to wash

Good around moisture thanks to the synthetic insulation

Easy to vent

The foot box is awesome and if you don’t need it, undo it.

Good quality

Works very well inside of a hammock thanks to the foot pocket

Cons :

Pricey – not when compared to similar products like the Tech Blanket from Thermarest but very expensive when comparing it to other options like the military poncho liner…woobie blanket as they are also known as.  A woobie costs around $20 and are awesome for summer time use.

As far as cons go, that’s about it; it is pricey for what you are getting otherwise it is a good product for those whom don’t want a sleeping bag or traditional down quilt for summer use.