HERE’S SOME OF THE BEST GEAR WE’VE COME ACROSS LATELY
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MANUFACTURERS
Skills, training, and attitude are still tops for getting you through your busy day. But whether you’re traveling on vacation, struggling to survive an unforeseen critical situation, or merely trying to get through another routine work day, there’s no doubt that great gear can make a big difference in your ability to tackle whatever you might face. Besides, new gadgets tend to fire up our enthusiasm and anticipation of our next great adventures. Here’s some interesting equipment we came across recently.
PELICAN G5 RF FIELD WALLET
Pelican is known for its bombproof hard-sided cases to get your equipment safely to your destination no matter how bumpy the road. And yes, they offer tactical flashlights, headlamps, backpacks, duffel bags, and coolers among other things too.
The company’s latest protective case is not something you’ll lug around or wheel behind you. The Pelican G5 RF Field Wallet is a waterproof aluminum case that fits conveniently in your pocket. It provides protection from scammers out to steal your RFID information too. The case has internal dimensions of 0.4×2.6×4.1 inches, so it’s able to carry credit cards, driver’s license, other ID cards, cash, and small photos of the kids.
The crushproof wallet features solid aluminum frame, rubber O-ring gasket to seal out water, and a snap latch to keep it all together. The hinge pin is stainless steel. We’ve been testing this wallet for several weeks now and it’s truly built to last. That’s why Pelican puts a lifetime guarantee on it.
There’s a rubber strap on the back of the case to secure things for quick access. Inside, there’s a strap on one side and a mesh organizer on the other for cards, cash or even a spare key.
One note of caution: while it is waterproof (we know because we tested it), it does not float when it’s full of cards and such. So, if you’re out in your kayak, you might want to loop the included nylon carry strap through your belt. The strap is long enough so you’d still be able to tuck the wallet in a pocket. Or, you could add your own lanyard.
We’ve been using the tall, blue Survivor Filter Active Filtration Bottle regularly for a couple of years now, not just when hiking and hunting, but for traveling in general to ensure we have clean, drinkable water that doesn’t taste funny. And buying bottled water is just a waste of money.
Now Survivor Filter is offering a new product: the Active All Terrain filter bottle and it’s made in the USA. They’ve partnered with Nalgene and, you guessed it, the new filter system fits atop an included Nalgene wide-mouthed bottle. Nalgene bottles are BPA-free, don’t absorb toxins and are extremely durable.
Using the system is still super easy. Fill the bottle with water – the more clear the better – insert the filter and then screw on the top with pop-up spout. The spout has a protective cover to keep it clean. Also included in the kit is a neoprene case that also has a zippered accessory pocket that you could use to carry such things as a compass, Swiss Army Knife and fire starter. Two carry straps are included too, one three feet long and the other seven feet long. The weight is 3.9 ounces, empty of course.
The filter is rated for 100 gallons (575 refills) of tap water or 25 gallons (145 refills) of untreated water, such as you’d find in rivers and streams. Replacement filter elements will be available, so you won’t have to buy the whole kit when the filter reaches the end of its service life. The flow rate is 60 ounces (1.8 liters) per minute. We doubt you’d ever drink that fast anyway.
The filter uses ionic adsorption and an activated carbon filter to draw in contaminants. It’s been lab tested to remove 99.99999 percent of bacteria and 99.9 percent of parasites, lead, chlorine, toxic chemicals and heavy metals while leaving beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Like most water filters, it will not filter or kill viruses.
Staying on the topic of hydration, we recently came across Hoist military hydration powder. This product features a special blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes that when mixed with water is absorbed naturally by your body without the need – or wait – for the digestive process. So, it replenishes your body immediately and keeps you hydrated longer than water alone.
Hoist products have been approved by the Department of Defense and are used worldwide by the military. You add the contents of a small packet to 16 to 20 ounces of water, shake and drink. It provides three times the electrolytes of popular sports drinks with about just half the sugars.
Hoist is made in the USA and contains no preservatives, sweeteners or dyes. But is available in a number of flavors, including tropical orange, grape, fruit punch among others. The powder packets are sold in 12-packs. They add just about no weight to your kit and would be a good addition no matter what your activity. Hoist is also available as bottled drinks, but for us, you can’t beat these powder packets.
When you’re in rugged terrain through wilderness every ounce you carry matters. The folks at Stone Glacier Packs understand that and so they design their packs to be the strongest and lightest they can be.
The company’s newest is the Terminus 7000. It’s designed specifically with backcountry hunters in mind – it comes with an internal spotting scope pocket – especially sheep and goat hunters who climb mountains for pleasure. But anyone who ventures far from pavement can appreciate the pack’s features. This is an internal-frame pack with four carbon composite stays. As the name implies, the pack offers an incredible 7,000 cubic inches of capacity, including 4,300 in the main bag, 2,200 in the collapsible internal load cell (for packing heavy, boned-out game meat back to civilization), and 500 in the included lid.
This main pack is made of waterproof SG Ultra PE (an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) and X Pac fabric is used around the frame and suspension areas. That’s all a foreign language, but rest assured the pack is made in the USA. On examining the pack, we found it to be sturdy and well made. The fabric is said to offer extreme abrasion resistance and tear strength. Despite its 150-plus pounds of cargo-carrying ability, the entire pack weighs just 3 pounds, 15 ounces.
The pack is made with Duraflex, military-approved buckles and has a YKK zipper on the 30-inch side access panel. The frame measures 26 inches. The waist belt is offered in three size ranges. The company also offers external-frame packs, more appropriate if you packing out an elk quarter, for instance.
No first-aid kit is complete unless it includes a tourniquet. The trouble is that, unless you train in its use regularly, it can be confusing to remember how to use one, especially under the stress of a life-or-death situation.
When someone is spouting blood from an arm or leg wound, every second counts. Aero Healthcare has a solution with the RapidStop Tourniquet. It operates with a simple ratchet mechanism. Loop the tourniquet over the limb, pull the D-ring to take up the slack in the strap, then crank the ratchet lever on the tourniquet until it’s sufficiently tight to stop the bleeding. Record the time, then wrap and tuck the excess length of strap. It’s easy to
remember, and even if you can’t, the instructions are printed on a waterproof vinyl tag that’s stitched to the tourniquet.
We’ve used several Coast flashlights and they’ve all been dependable. Among the company’s new offerings, we spotted the XPH34R headlamp and the XP11R handheld tactical light.
The XPH34R headlamp can be worn or stuck to a metal surface for hands-free operation or held in your hand. In Turbo Mode, the light provides an incredible 2,075 peak lumens. The light has a sturdy aluminum body. It can be rolled in the headgear bracket to provide the best angle for the job at hand. The light can be detached for handheld use and it has a magnetic tail cap as well for attaching the light to metal surfaces, such as the underside of your car hood.
The light is powered by a Coast Zithion-X rechargeable battery. A charge cord is included for charging from AC, DC or USB sources. Or you can power the light with disposable lithium or alkaline batteries. There’s a battery-life indicator to make sure you know if your world is going to become very dark very soon.
A twist of the optical housing changes you from a wide-angle flood light to a focused spot beam. Also included are clips for attaching the headlamp to a hard hat. The XPH34R has three brightness modes, plus the Turbo Mode. On low, the light output is 73 lumens for a 118-foot beam distance. On medium, you have 330 lumens for 255-foot beam. On high, you get 1,025 lumens and 446-foot beam. In Turbo Mode, you get 2,075 lumens for a beam distance of 639 feet. Run times range from 36 hours on low to 6 hours, 15 minutes on high. The XPH34R weighs 8 ounces.
If you’d rather have a straight-forward tactical light, the new Coast XP11R is a good choice. This light measures 5.98 inches long and weighs 5.7 ounces. It too has three brightness modes plus Turbo, giving you a range of 75 lumens all the way up to 2,100 lumens for 721 feet of beam reach. Run times range from 37 hours on low to 5 hours on high. This light also uses a rechargeable battery with the option to use disposable batteries too. A covered port under the tail cap allows you to charge the light with the battery on board.
When you’re traveling light in the backcountry, but still want to be protected from the elements at night, consider the Snugpack Stratosphere Bivvi. This solo shelter comes with lightweight aluminum poles to form a self-supporting canopy and a bit of room around your head and shoulders. There is mosquito netting at the entry, which can be rolled back when not needed. To increase air circulation and cut down on moisture buildup, there’s a mesh-covered vent behind the head area.
The Stratosphere Bivvi is made of 50-denier ripstop nylon with a waterproof polyurethane coating. All seams are taped sealed. Seven alloy “Y” stakes are included. The whole unit weighs 2.5 pounds and packs to just 12 x 6 inches in size.
We now take one or both of these water purifiers with us wherever we go. The Roving Blue GO3 water bottle pod screws onto a wide-mouthed Nalgene bottle. The Roving Blue O2 Pen is literally the size of a ballpoint pen and can purify a cup or two of water merely by stirring it around in your mug.
Unlike filters or chemical additives, the Roving Blue purifiers use ozone generated from the oxygen in the water to kill harmful microbes, including giardia, cryptosporidium and viruses. The GO3 model screws onto the top of a standard, wide-mouth Nalgene bottle and is USB rechargeable.
It’s easy to use. Fill your bottle, screw on the GO3 pod, invert the bottle, then press and hold the power button for about three seconds. This three-second hold prevents the device from turning on accidentally if it bumps into something else in your pack. A blue LED on the power button indicates the unit is on. There will also be a yellow light inside the lid.
Pushing the power button once more begins the purification process and the yellow inside LED will turn blue. As the device converts oxygen in the water to ozone, you’ll see little bubbles rising through the water. The ozone is more effective than chlorine for killing harmful pathogens. After three minutes, the bad bugs are dead and the ozone begins to revert back to oxygen. The blue light on the inside of the lid returns to yellow. There are no bad aftertastes as you’d have when adding chemical treatments.
Keep in mind that when you initially fill your bottle from a clear-running stream or other source, some contaminated water might get on the threads at the top of the bottle or in the cap. After the GO3 light goes out to indicate the water inside is safe, remove the GO3 pod and splash some water over the threads and cap. You’d have to do this with any other treatment processes too to wash away any remaining droplets of contaminated water. It takes a couple of minutes for the ozone to revert back to oxygen, so you’ll still get the purifying effect.
The Roving Blue GO3 pod is efficient. You can use it up to 50 times before you need to recharge it. You get an indication that the battery is about halfway discharged when the blue LED power light is yellow instead of blue. When the light is red, you’d better get it hooked up to a power source. Charging takes up to five hours. A USB charge cord and a carry case are included.
The Roving Blue O-Pen Tactical Black is the size of a ballpoint pen and weighs only 1.2 ounces. You can clip it to a shirt pocket and hardly know it’s there. Like the Roving Blue GO3 water bottle pod, the O-Pen converts oxygen to ozone, which kills the nefarious swimmers in your water. To use it, you remove the O-Pen’s protective cover and insert the pen into a cup of water. Push the power button, a blue LED will come on, and the purification process begins as indicated by the tiny rising bubbles. Stirring the water with the pen helps to ensure all of the water is treated. It takes about a minute to complete the process at which time the blue LED will turn off. It’s highly effective against multiple dangerous organisms, bacteria, viruses, and cysts.
One activation will treat one cup of water. For treating a pint, simply activate the O-Pen twice. Carry the O-Pen together with a collapsible plastic cup and you can have clean water anywhere you go. The battery lasts for up to about 50 uses on a single charge. The O-Pen comes with a USB charging cord too.