Gonex Tactical Backpack 900D 45L Backpack

 

One thing we’ve learned is that you can never have enough storage or carrying solutions in this house. We’ve been using backpacks for various uses for years, more than we ever did in school! Trips to Disneyland, the County Fair, Knott’s Scary Farm, you name it. We took a backpack and were always thankful to have it. Even our trips back and forth from Arizona, we had a backpack for everyday gear. We were intrigued when Gonex offered us their Tactical Backpack to try out, and I’m very glad we did, because man, have backpacks come a looong way!

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One of the big problems we always had with our packs was ergonomics. It would cause so much strain and fatigue just carrying it the way it was designed to be carried. Gonex (and all the better “tactical” pack makers) recognized this and designed their packs to reduce strain and pressure on the low back and upper shoulders, Packs are designed now to evenly distribute weight and pad the areas most likely to be injured from a “flapping” backpack with a breathable mesh padding. You know what I mean, when all the heaviest stuff has migrated to the bottom, and walking will cause the pack to “flap” against the small of your back. That can be damaging enough to cause permanent disc damage and chronic pain! But since this Gonex pack secures around the waist and at the chest, the pack stays securely put. In fact, the entire back is semi-rigid due to the density of the padding at the back, so even delicate electronics like a laptop are going to be safe in there. There’s storage solutions galore both in and out of the pack. Some of the interior pockets might not be the greatest, but there’s enough of them in there that the good outnumber the bad easily. Water beads up on the exterior, and the interior is lined as well. The 900d oxford construction is tear resistant, and is MOLLE compatible. You can configure this pack for just about any task, and it stores small when not in use. The braided nylon straps are strong and 95% hold and lock tight. A couple would slip a bit, but overall since this isn’t a “duty pack” for me, I’m not complaining. Some of the plastic clips feel a little on the flimsy side, which stand out because the rest of the pack is so sturdy, strong and well-built. The zippers all have pull straps as well, and a single carry strap on top should you want to carry it free handed.

There’s just so many possibilities with this Gonex Tactical Backpack. Camping, hiking, a range bag, a bug-out bag for the prepper in your life. I computer bag, a book bag. Hubby has loaded a package of water bottles for exercise and it took that abuse, laughed at him and asked for more. This is a rock solid, excellently built pack. The stitching held up to Hubby’s abuse, where other, lesser packs have completely failed in the past. And Gonex knows they’ve made a quality pack, because they stand behind it 100% with their “full love it or return it guarantee”. Don’t worry, Gonex, I love it. Sometimes, even when you expect something will be good, you’re still blown away by how good it actually is. This is one of those times where “5 stars” is till too low a rating. I defy you to find a better made pack at this price point. Because I don’t think you can.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from GoNex. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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Classic Safari’s 6-Piece Outdoor Kit

We like being out of doors, and we like exploring, so when the opportunity arose to try out some “outdoorsy” type stuff, I was very happy to give some of them a go. And while we’re not experienced, or even regular, outdoors folks, we found Classic Safari’s 6-Piece Outdoor Kit perfectly adequate for the occasional adventurer!

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When one is out on their own, one usually has to make due with whatever you happen to pack in your pockets or backpack. Rarely do we think about what could happen should venture too far astray or make a left at that fork instead of a right. With most of the gear packed into this kit, you could make due for a bit of time while you find your way back to where you meant to go. You get:

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-A small set of binoculars with a 8×21 magnification that fold up very compactly for easy carry, and are pretty clear. They have a rubberized no-slip grip, lanyard and rubberized eye relief as well, and they even thought to include a small cleaning cloth!

-Next you have a plastic liquid-filled lensatic compass. It held north pretty well, as evidenced by Hubby’s Casio Pro-Trek watch that was significantly more expensive than this set.

-You get a multi-tool also, with 11 tools (straight blade, file, awl, sawblade, can opener, scissors, flat and phillips screwdrivers, corkscrew and one that for the life of me I could not get to open!), with common tools one might need on a day-to-day basis.

-There’s also a 9-bulb LED flashlight that runs on 3 AAA  batteries and has a rubberized tailcap on/off switch. Sadly the batteries are not included, and the light from this flashlight is pretty anemic, even in total darkness, but it beats being stuck n pitch-black, right?

-Lastly there’s a magnesium flint firestarter that, while appreciated, gave us a heck of a time generating a spark. I wouldn’t want to depend on this in an emergency, but it’s better than nothing.

All in all, the kit is pretty basic and would be a superb gift for a Boy Scout, young child or tween, or even the occasional nature walker that might not think to grab more than a water bottle before leaving. And they are better than being stuck out there with nothing, and in a pinch might even save your life. The canvas pack and webbed-nylon belt hold everything well, except the side pouches that things can slip out if one were to move around jarringly. I think the pricing is fair for the quality you get, and while none of these tools are close to professional grade, they do let you know which ones you’d use and certainly want to upgrade. And I can’t say enough about Skivu, the company that sells this kit. My first kit came missing the 11-tool “Swiss Army” type knife, and they expedited a whole new kit to me. That’s a company that stands behind their products. There’s a lot to like in this kit and think if you give them a try you’ll find a lot you like too!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from SKIVU. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Tryazon: Sterno S’mores Maker for Indoors and Outdoors Use #SmoresMaker

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I’m all for DIY cooking ways and what not better way to bring some fun, by being able to create S’mores at home. The weather is bad? No problem, as this Sterno S’mores Maker has no limitations. You can make S’mores it indoors, outdoors and at any hour. Yup, party any time and this is not just limited to giving kids smiles, you can even make “Gourmet S’mores” that are easy and even make it less messy. No longer do you have to try to hold the candy bar piece, you can literally make a chocolate bark topping that stays……yes, stays put on top of your graham piece.

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The S’mores Maker is brought to you by Sterno Products, the company that has been bringing heat to campers and the like for decades. They have created a nice line of products and kits, which make not only Summer funner, but you are not limited by the seasons when entertaining.

The kit includes:

  • 2 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Roasting Safety Screen for even roasting and protection from flame
  • 2 integrated S’mores Making Stations for an easy and clean way to make s’mores
  • Includes 1 can of Sterno S’mores Heat™ (also available for purchase separately)

I decided to make chocolate barks and all you do is make a ganache and/or melt chocolate and add toppings. Ganaches, use Heavy Cream and produce a more velvety texture and by using a 75% ratio of chocolate to 25% cream, the product firms up enough to not fall off the graham or cookie of your choice. You can also melt chocolate on low heat and then simply smear the chocolate on one part of the cookie, add your toppings and you are now pre-making S’mores!  When guests arrive, half the work is completed. I also find this controls messes. Nuts, coconut shavings and so forth can get sloppy when you are building the Ultimate S’mores sandwich. This way of building S’mores makes sure the tables and floors do not suffer from runaway toppings!

The toppings are endless and you can satisfy any picky eater by using these easy tricks:

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Now, this is how the set up looks and it took me an hour to pre-make all the cookies.  I had guests coming as I made them and my chocolate chip mini cookies were eaten up, but you can use more than just graham.  Even Shortbread minis!

 

The Sterno S’mores Maker heats evenly no matter the size of marshmallow.  Hey, I was worried the Giant ones (found at Aldi’s) would not heat up and melt in the center, they did and with ease.  The normal size ones that look like miniatures compared to the gigantic ones, those I purchased at Trader Joe’s.

 

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Verdict:

I was super excited and started purchasing ingredients before the maker even arrived.  Then it arrived!! It was beautiful and easy to assemble, meaning none was needed.  The red portion (holder) is dishwasher safe and because you can by the cans again and again, this means having a S’mores party is endless.  We will be trying more creations in the future and I can’t wait.  This is a must buy and at $35.16 currently at Amazon, it’s perfect for 4th of July or really anytime.  Make your own fun and creations.  The refill fuel cans retail for $6.99 and that is for two cans!  Each can lasts for about 45 minutes.  It’s a cinch to clean up and everyone had a blast.

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sterno and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

OxyLED’s MH20 LED Headlamp w/ Motion Sensor

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Hubby, as we have established, is a flashlight nut. Little did I know, though, that this would extend to headlamps, too. However, there are few things as helpful and handy as a good, well made headlamp. And while OxyLED has made some real quality (and handy) products, for us, this one is just a little lacking, and I’ll go over why right here.

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To start, it seems almost every smaller company fudges a little when it comes to reported lumen counts. Without professional equipment, you simply cannot accurately get an idea of how many lumens a particular light is. For instance, my husband’s 1st generation SureFire LED flashlight puts out about 80 lumens. SureFire is a pretty reliable brand, and their lumen outputs are also reliable. So it was a little surprising, then, that pointing both the SureFire and this OxyLED “200 lumen” headlamp at a bare wall, and finding the SureFire almost as bright. Now, to be fair, a great many things affect how much actual light is put out by an LED lamp. Quality of lens (this one is plastic, which doesn’t lend itself to longevity), quality of reflector (Again, more plastic), and quality of battery powering it (Alkaline batteries vs. lithium ion). So while the LED emitter in the headlamp might be rated for 200 lumens, it’s doubtful the output would be anywhere close to that. The throw of light is decent, and goes for about 120 feet before dissipating and becoming too diffuse to be useful. The beam isn’t that tight, either, and the headband mine came with had some little jagged bits that scratched Hubby’s head. The three AAA batteries used to power the headlamp are mounted in the rear, and the rubber-ish plastic case cover for the battery barely closes well and will do little to keep out serious rain or moisture. But, the upside is that it’s very affordable, light, and for the price puts out a decent amount of light that is useful in small, spaces, like a garage, or attic. It has a high, low, and strobe setting (ug, that strobe setting will make you nauseous after a while, too.). It doesn’t have any memory, so you must cycle through the settings with each use. It also has a motion sensing feature that turns the lamp on if it detects motion. I’m not sure how useful this feature would be to others, but for us, while being kind of neat, was also kind of useless.

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Overall, while it could be useful, and is a great low-cost option for occasional use, there are better options out there that will last you longer and perform better, albeit for more money. While I liked the OxyLEd MH20 LED headlamp, I feel there’s some real drawbacks to it, enough so that if you plan on using it often or relying on it, you’re better served with another brand. However, keep in mind that OxyLED offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, a 12 Month Replacement Warranty, as well as their Lifetime Support Guarantee.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Hisgadget and OxyLED.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Hori Hori Digging Knife by Ezy Garden Tools

We just recently covered a type of this knife here, and I was surprised at how useful a tool like this is for little ‘ol me. Not something I would have picked up of thought about before trying, and now not something I can imagine gardening without. So I won’t spend too much time going over what it is and what it does again, and instead do a compare and contrast with the last one I reviewed.

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Like the previous product, it’s a stainless steel tool with a concave or curved blade so it can double as a garden trowel. It is also marked with depth indicators, has a sharpened straight blade on one side and a serrated blade on the other. It’s not quite as high-polished as the last Hori Hori Kife, but that is a plus to me, because it’ll show damage and wear a lot less that way. What I didn’t like about either tool is the lack of a full-tang blade. A full tang is when the metal in the handle extends to the end of the handle, and not about 1/3 of the way like with both Hori Hori knives. DSC_0409It makes the tool stronger, and it will last longer that way too. Where the last version did better, though, was that it was an injection molded handle with a decent bolster so you don’t have to worry about your hand sliding down the handle and being shredded by the blade. This Hori Hori Digging Knife by Ezy Garden is a smooth, riveted wood handle with hardly any bolster to speak of, and no texturing on the handle at all. So while the wood may hold up to impact better than the plastic, it’d be very careful about any stabbing action while digging.

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Another area that Ezy Garden excelled with their Hori Hori Knife is the sheath, or holster, included. It’s a genuine, thick leather with a sturdy belt loop, not the flimsy whatever that was with the other version. It, like the Hori Hori Knife from Ezy Garden, is designed to last a long time. No worries about cutting or stabbing through the sheath. Like the last knife, the Ezy Garden Hori Hori Knife is backed by their 30-day, 100% money back no hassle guarantee, but the Amazon page states “Lifetime Guarantee”, so I’d get clarification from the manufacturer which one they plan to honor before buying. So in the end, this is a decent garden tool with multiple applications, and is sturdy and well made, though not without it’s flaws. I still recommend it, but I would use it with extreme care.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ezy Garden Knife.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Summit Survival’s Premium Paracord Bracelet & Keychain

Everyone should be prepared for the unexpected. And no one is saying you have to be an extreme prepper with a year’s worth of freeze dried food in your garage or basement. But keeping things handy never hurt anyone. “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it” my Father-in-Law would always say. In that vein, it never hurts you to have something handy that looks pretty snazzy too. 
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That’s where Summit Survival’s Premium Paracord Bracelet and “Survival Grenade” comes in. You’ve probably seen folks wearing those neat little braided bracelets and wondered what they were about. Well, they’re usually made of paracord which is a lightweight, nylon, general purpose utility cord popular with the military for being extremely strong, durable and useful. Being all nylon makes it somewhat elastic as well. It can be used to tie, bind, dangle, affix and repair any number of things, and it comes in a near infinite number of patterns and colors. What separates Summit Survival’s bracelet from most others, though, is the Type III 550 paracord (550 refer’s to the “breaking strength” of the cord), and the Sharp Eye fire starter/clasp that secures it around your wrist. While most are content with just a simple plastic snap buckle, Summit Survival went the extra mile and added another indispensable tool on another already indispensable tool. I like multi tools. So does Hubby. He’s worn it nearly every day since we got it.
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Summit Survival didn’t stop there. The went and added a second bundle of Type III paracord, all wrapped around 10 of the most important survival tools you’ll ever hope you never need. On top of the length of 550 paracord is tin foil, fishing floats, weights, swivels, cotton, fishing hooks, fishing line, fire starter, a carabiner, and an eye knife. Everything you’d ever need to keep yourself going in an extreme survival situation. It’s small and light enough to carry everywhere, and compact enough to carry in your purse, pocket or keychain. All of this, plus the paracord bracelet, that also has it’s own fire starter, all for only $14.95? That’s a steal in my book. If you don’t think so, there’s a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee to back it up. Con’t beat that with a stick. (stick not included in kit)
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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Summit Survival and DBS Publishing, LLC.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours. 

Aennon Headlamp Review #Headlamp

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One thing you can never have enough of is flashlights, or so hubby says. Good ones are great, not great ones still have their uses, but bad ones can give you fits. Aennon asked me if I’d like to give one of their products a test drive, and I said sure, because flashlight, right?

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For starters it’s LED, which makes it fairly impact resistant and bright. Unfortunately it is a multiple LED emitter, not a single diode. Aennon says it’s good for 30 lumens up to over 160 feet at it’s brightest setting. While I may admit it’s bright enough that it looks like about 30 lumens, at best I’d say the light goes about 40 feet, maybe 50. A far cry from 164 feet. While I don’t doubt you could be seen from that far away, it’s doubtful you’d have any meaningful vision in the dark at that range. It has 4 settings, low, mid, and high, with a red “night vision” setting as well. It uses a single button for all 4, so one must cycle through them to get to one’s desired brightness level. It runs on 3 (included, kudos to Aennon!) AAA batteries, which does make it a little front-heavy, but unlike the rear battery predecessor we own, no wires or pokey clips to power the unit running the length of the head straps.

It is adequate for small, dark spaces, and with it being LED it should be very energy efficient and impact resistant. Aennon’s claims it is good for around 16 hours of continuous use at it’s lowest setting. Depending on the battery type you use, that could be possible. Aennon also claims the front lens is shock-resistant glass with a anti-reflective coating. It is not. It’s plastic. Aennon further claimed to not having a “bobbing effect” with no brain squeeze. Unfortunately, it does bob, and in fact slides down the front of your face over time. It has a 90° swivel, but the bevel on the plastic lens means it’s going to start shining into your eyes range fairly quickly. Aennon also claims the headlamp’s lowest setting is suitable for nighttime reading. I would not recommend it. LED’s use a bright, harsh, blue-ish light that reflects very sharply off the page and hurts your eyes pretty quickly.

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Overall, this is a simple light for simple, household tasks, like depositing old tax records into the attic storage box, or taking out the trash. But I wouldn’t consider it for camping or hiking. I’ll be glad it’s around during a power outrage, though! It is more comfortable than our previous headlamp, but not nearly as bright, focused or useful. Sadly, it is more expensive, too. At $17.50 (at time of review), there are better values to be had out there. I would say it’s decent, but I’ve had better, and for less. And the dubious claims (to outright non-truths!) are very troubling. Aennon does back the headlamp with a “What if something breaks-100 % satisfaction-or-money-back-guarantee”. So there’s that.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Aennon.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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