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GEAR REVIEWS

The most recent 50 product reviews are listed below. To locate older reviews please use the “Posts by Category” dropdown selection tool (the best method) or the search box both found in the right-hand sidebar. Otherwise click on any link below that perks your interest. Thank you.

Occasionally I will review a backpacking/emergency/survival product I have purchased and let you know how worthwhile it is. After years of trial and error, odds are pretty good that if I write about the product here it is something I strongly recommend. Additionally, I’m open to doing honest reviews of emergency products or books if you would like to send me a demo; use this contact form and choose “product / book review” as the subject line.

Champ Survival Sidekick 8-in-1 Multitool: Flashlight, Glass Breaker, Seatbelt Cutter, Device Charging

Source This Survival Sidekick is marketed as a survival multi-tool, in particular, for your vehicle because of the tools included. According to the Amazon description: “Includes flashlight, glass breaker, seatbelt cutter, distress light, magnetic base, USB connection, hand crank charging and compass included. USB to micro cable. Comes with convenient user guide. Can charge most mobile devices. Phone and charging cables not included. Compatible with iPhone iPod and works with Android Phones.” The Flashlight and Distress Light First and foremost this is a flashlight. It features 3 LED bulbs and for a flashlight that doesn’t run on alkaline batteries (there’s an internal battery that you recharge) it’s decent. Granted, it’s not going to outshine a Maglite but it does the job nonetheless. That said, the Satechi LightMate I reviewed the other week does shine quite a bit brighter. There’s also a red distress light that you can choose to use instead. It blinks on and off rather rapidly on the butt-end of the flashlight. I assume the purpose it to attach the flashlight to your vehicle using the included magnetic mounts so that passing motorists ... continue reading...

The WeatherFlow Wind Meter: The Nifty Device You Didn’t Know You Needed!

weatherflow-2 What they say: WeatherFlow is proud to announce the WeatherFlow Wind Meter - it’s an anemometer that fits in your pocket. It’s the first hardware product we have created for the general wind & weather addicted community. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod, and all major Android devices. Download one of our free apps for iOS or Android and plug in your wind meter – it’s really that easy. Hold it up high facing into the wind. Your phone does the rest by recording the wind speed (average and gust), wind direction and location. Easily share onsite reports with WeatherFlow, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, SMS, Email, Facebook. And view all of this crowd-sourced weather in one of our consumer applications. The Wind Meter, although not a scientific instrument, is designed to be better than any other handheld anemometer on the market. It’s operating range extends from the smallest puff (2 mph) to well over ... continue reading...

Satechi LightMate Emergency LED Flash Light: 220 Lumens, Integrated Glass Breaker, Charge USB Devices

Source Let me start off by saying that I’m really beginning to like multi-purpose flashlights like the Satechi LightMate Emergency LED Flash Light. At a cost of $30 shipped it’s almost a steal! Specs from Amazon: High-brightness, portable LED light – safe, long lasting, and highly visible Safe and efficient mobile power – USB charging port with cable included Long-distance flash light – 5 different lighting modes: bright, medium, dim, SOS, and strobe High-strength alloy steel emergency glassbreaker Waterproof and durable – can withstand inclement weather, accidental submersion, or spills My thoughts: To be sure, the most important aspect of any flashlight is that the light be useful enough to see what you’re doing when you need it the most and I can say that this Satechi LightMate certainly does that for its size. The best part is that you can use it as you would a traditional flashlight ( via a beam of light) or you can screw on the provided lamp diffuser and use it for more of an area lighting effect; this is particularly nice if you intend to add it to your vehicle or perhaps ... continue reading...

Blackfire Clamplight Emergency 100-Lumen LED Flashlight

Source Last week I reviewed the Blackfire Clamplight Waterproof flashlight which I liked an awful lot. If you’re looking for a quality clamping light, that’s the one to get. This week I got to review the Blackfire Clamplight Emergency 100-Lumen LED Flashlight which you might call the “little brother” flashlight. Because I had such a good time with the other clamp light I was looking forward to reviewing this one too. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite measure up to it’s “big brother.” Specs from Amazon: 100 Lumen Flashlight Hand held, clamps & stands 100 lumen flashlight & emergency strobe\ Snap on emergency beacon Emergency Flashlight & Strobe – Blackfire’s new concept puts to shame all other flashlights sitting in your toolbox More about the light from Amazon: Emergency Flashlight & Strobe – Blackfire’s new concept puts to shame all other flashlights sitting in your toolbox. CLAMPLIGHT clamps virtually anywhere and stays out of the way. Shaped like a traditional flashlight for easy portability or to fit in a belt or pocket. It converts from a clamp light to a stand-up light by simply pressing the clamp ... continue reading...

Blackfire Clamplight Waterproof LED Light: 170 Lumens, 360 Degree Swivel

blackfire-clamplight-waterproof A few weeks back I received this Blacklight Clamplight to review. As I’ve never owned a quality clamping light before (I have owned poorly made ones) I said “sure” and have begun to really like it! Though I still prefer a quality headlamp for survival situations such as a bug out, these clamp lights are nice for around the house work. Moreover, as a result of technology you get a LOT more for your money these days. The clamplight specs: IPX7 water resistance rated – protected against water immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter Hand held, clamps, stands & floats 190 lumen hi/lo & strobe Rubberized coating Head pivots 360 degrees I do want to mention that although the Amazon description says it’s 190 lumens the box says 170 lumens. That’s not a big deal to me just a clarification to point out. Here’s a bit more about the light from Amazon: Waterproof flashlight – Blackfire’s new concept puts to shame all other flashlights sitting in your toolbox. CLAMPLIGHT clamps virtually anywhere and stays out of the way. Shaped like ... continue reading...

D.Light LED Solar Rechargeable S20 Area Lantern Review: Great Buy for <$20!

Source During out last camping trip I finally had a good change to use this d.light S20 lantern I’d purchased a while back. I was excited about it since the lantern was less than $20 shipped and promised good things. Here’s my take on the lantern… Battery Life The website’s info states that the S20 can be run for 8 hours on a full battery which, in my tests, is way off. I was able to run the S20 on low for well over 9 hours (I did so overnight at home before camping and without charging it first) and was surprised to see it still going strong. In fact, I then choose to turn the lantern on high for a few hours just to get it to drain completely but it was still going! That was nice to see. How long does it really last? I don’t know as I never tried to drain it fully. Brightness (and low vs. high setting) On it’s own the S20 seems rather bright. In fact, I choose to gather five of the ... continue reading...

Last Stand: Surviving America’s Collapse – FUN Book Review!

Source If you’re looking for a fun to read book that’ll pass a few hours this weekend, consider reading Last Stand: Surviving America’s Collapse (Kindle ed.) by William H. Weber. At only $3.99 you’d be hard pressed to go wrong here. If, however, you’d prefer a paperback copy, it’s less than $10. Personally, I had a good time reading it this past weekend and, though, I don’t get to read for pleasure much anymore I wound up reading the entire book in one night! I hadn’t planned on doing so but it was entertaining enough to keep me page turning. Here’s the Amazon description so you get an idea of the story: “John Mack, a prepper and former soldier, struggles to save his family and community after an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) takes out the country’s electrical grid. With most electronics, communications and transportation destroyed in a matter of seconds, the nation quickly collapses into anarchy. For John and the other residents of Willow Creek Drive, the breakdown of social order throws them back to the 1800s. As the community tries to ... continue reading...

Coast HP14 High Performance Focusing 339 Lumen LED Flashlight Review

Source I’ve been interested in a new, quality flashlight for some time now and, though I do like my trusty Maglite and even the lesser expensive Coleman Max, this Coast HP14 LED Flashlight stands to supplant both of them. Here’s a few details direct from Amazon’s website so we’re on the same page here: Light output: High – 339 lumens; Low – 56 lumens Runtime: High – 4 hours 45 minutes; Low – 20 hours Beam distance: High – 175 meters (574 ft); Low – 36 meters (118 ft) Impact and water resistant casing. 8.38 inch length 4 X AA batteries are included to allow for immediate use Light output and adjustable beam I can say that this flashlight gives off a good amount of light, more than the Coleman Max I keep at my bedside and certainly more than the old style 2 D-cell Maglite I had laying around. Moreover, the adjustable beam is nice as it’s easily adjustable from a floodlight pattern (shown on left below) to a bulls-eye pattern (shown on right below) and everything in-between. Just push the lens ... continue reading...

The Simple Survival SMART Book Review

Image SourceA few days ago I was asked to review this book titled The Simple Survival Smart Book by Patrick Shrier. As I’m always happy to try and learn more, especially from people usually smarter than I am, I obliged. And, amazingly enough I read the whole darn thing (most of it, anyway) the first two days I received it… finished the last of it this morning. According the Amazon description: “When the SHTF you are going to want to have this book in your rucksack. What is inside is the basic knowledge you will need to ensure that you are not a victim when the State of Nature returns. Combining the knowledge of a lifetime of woodsmanship and 23 years of Combat Arms experience in the US Army I have broken all the most critical tasks and requirements down into a simple reference Guide to help the average person get a grasp on what they need to be able to do and have to survive if society were to collapse tomorrow.” Amazingly, that sounds exactly like what ... continue reading...

Review of Family Survival System Course

family-survival-systemWell over a year ago now, I spent some time and reviewed David Morris’ Survive in Place Course and was relatively happy with it as the course provided me with more information that I honestly expected. This year I decided I was going to keep searching for other useful survival courses, those that I could learn from and of course you, the readers, as well. And so I started with something that definitely “hit home” for me, and that’s this Family Survival System. After all, I have a family and children to protect. Now, from watching and listening to the sales pitch video the course promised to show me: the true risks in America right now and how to prepare for them how to use the trash in your garbage to provide enough water for your family for a month how to ensure your family never has to go without a hot meal how to save a life, even if you have no medical experience the types of guns to have and what to do with them exactly what knowledge to have and ... continue reading...

Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids + Book Giveaway

SourceA while back I was asked by the author to review his book on preppping for children, titled Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids. I happily said sure! Introducing the concept of being prepared to children–especially young ones–can be difficult for some parents to get the concept across. You know why you should discuss prepping with your kids, you just may not know how. After all, children tend to have short attention spans and, well, it’s all grown up stuff to them anyway. That’s where a colorful book aimed at children can help… I found myself smiling as I read the book–the illustrations were certainly appropriate–and the message was a good one, discussing both reasons why you might be prepared and some good things to do to get better prepared. Obviously, this book is for children so it’s not like he’s telling you how to do anything, just the what and why in very general terms. And, while my kids are probably a bit too old for this book, I did ask my youngest (who’s eight) ... continue reading...

NUUN Hydration Fizzy Tabs Review by T.R., EAL

nuunHi peeps, Today I would like to show you a product that in my opinion works very well, and should be in every BOB and preppers inventory. I’m talking about the NUUN Hydration fizzy tablets. I first found these in the local grocery store chain, in the vitamin section, you can also find them at health /fitness stores. They will run you about $5 per tube. I live in the desert and understand the dangers of dehydration, if you exercise or do work in almost any environment, dehydration could creep up on you when you least expect it. I have tried all the ”sports” drinks for this, all of them are disgustingly sweet, over flavored, and seem to make you more thirsty because of all the unneeded flavoring. This is where the NUUN tablets differ, they are lightly flavored, very lightly, NO SUGAR or sweetener, and unlike other products, they replace salts that are lost as you sweat, your body needs salt to help regulate itself. I gave this product a test run in one of the most ... continue reading...

The Amazing 2000 Hour Flashlight eBook – a MUST Have!!

amazing-2000-hour-flashlightRon Brown, the author of The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight eBook, contacted me a few days about it and I immediately went to Amazon and bought a copy. After all, 99 cents for such good knowledge is a steal! Though hundreds of pages long, it’s a fast read, includes plenty of images, and explains the process step-by-step that even I couldn’t screw them up. Obviously, I can’t tell you how to make your own 2000-hour flashlight but I can show you the results of my own experiment this weekend. First, however, here’s the book description from Amazon: “The Amazing 2000-Hour Flashlight” shows how to add a 30-cent resistor to a $5 flashlight and create a light that produces useful illumination for 2000 hours on the same battery. Detailed instructions. 54 illustrations. A half-hour project. No soldering required! The standard for “useful light” is defined and various lights compared to it. Brand names and part numbers and where to buy them (Home Depot, Radio Shack, etc.) are all identified. Related topics include bypassing the resistor, rechargeable batteries, how to substitute ... continue reading...

Review of SurvivAmino – a Survival Protein Supplement for Your Bug Out Bag

survivamino-pills-1A few weeks back I was asked if I would review SurvivAmino, a survival protein supplement designed with preppers in mind and, specifically, for your bug out bag. Initially, I was hesitant to do the review because I wasn’t sure how in the world I was going to review a bottle of pills! Eventually, I agreed and wound up deciding that the only way I could review these was to take them for a week and report how I felt. But, I wasn’t just going to add them to my diet… I was going to remove as many protein sources during that time as I could from my diet and see what happens. After all, that’s the entire purpose of these pills, right!? So, I cut out all meat, seriously cut back on dairy and eggs, didn’t eat a thing with beans (my wife appreciates that), and avoided nuts (I don’t eat many anyway). I started this a little over a week ago and began supplementing with SurvivAmino pills instead. Now, the directions say to take 5 pills ... continue reading...

Review of Hoppe’s BoreSnake – Easiest Rifle Cleaning System Ever!

Source I’d never heard of the BoreSnake until a few months ago and, to be honest, I’ve only used it once since I bought it but I could immediately tell I’m already in love with it! The BoreSnake is without a doubt the easiest way I’ve seen to clean a long gun. Since I wasn’t sure about what to expect, I purchased a lesser expensive one for my .22 rifle just to see what it’s like. FYI, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate BoreSnake for your rifle caliber and know that they also make BoreSnakes for shotguns and even handguns. Using it is super easy: just drop the weight through the breach, feed the cord attached until the weight exits the other side, then grab the brass weight an pull the entire BoreSnake through and, voila… you’re done! Here’s a great video describing it and showing how to use the BoreSnake: Obviously, this isn’t a deep clean but it’s a great way to quickly and easily clean the dirtiest part of your rifle. Personally, I’m not so sure how useful this product is for ... continue reading...

Review of The Western Front – Fictional Account of a Post-SHTF World

western-front I was asked by the author if I was interested in reviewing his book, The Western Front, and though I said yes I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure I would make the time to read a novel anytime soon. After all, I can’t remember the last time I actually read a book for enjoyment and not trying to learn something. Well, I can happily report that I sat down this weekend and wound up reading the whole thing! Needless to say, I did enjoy the book and, as you might suspect, it’s about life here in America after major collapse, specifically Texas and neighboring states. I should note while I’m thinking about it that the book follows three or four main characters back and forth from chapter to chapter, which is similar to Rawles series of novels if you like that sort of writing. Personally, it’s not for me but I enjoyed the story well enough to not let it bother me too terribly much. The easiest way to describe the book is to just let you ... continue reading...

Review of 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life

11-steps-ebook Over the 4th of July I mentioned that Gaye (from BackdoorSurvival.com) and George (from UrbanSurvival.com) were giving away their eBook titled “11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life.” Since that time I had the opportunity to read it and choose to review it here. Obviously, the book details 11 steps as Gaye and George see it to living a better life, a strategic life, that is. They define living strategically as: “Living strategically – by our own definition – means living a life full of abundant adventure while embracing the tenants of simplicity and sustainability. It means being healthy and reaping the benefits of bounteous friendships and caring relationships. It means living a life full of happiness and readiness, without the burden of wanting to be someone else or someplace else. It means liking yourself and moving forward with this business of life with animated spirit and optimism.” Okay, that sounds a little fluffy if you ask me but as you read their definitions of each step you’ll understand it’s truly the tenet–the ultimate goal–if you will that ... continue reading...

Review of Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife

cold-steel-knife As much as I would like say I have dozens of cool knives like this one, I don’t. So, when I got this knife a while back I felt a bit like a kid at Christmas. For starters, the knife blade is seven inches long, a bit too large to carry around on the streets in most states but definitely a good length for long term survival if you ask me. It’s a full tang blade–I wouldn’t do with less–and is made of 1055 carbon steel. Here’s the nerdy explanation: “1055 steel is right on the border between a medium and a high carbon steel, with a carbon content between 0.50%-0.60% and with manganese between 0.60%-0.90% as the only other component. The carbon content and lean alloy make this a shallow hardening steel with a quenched hardness between Rc 60-64 depending on exact carbon content. These combination of factors make this one of the toughest steels available because, when quenched, it produces a near saturated lathe martensite with no excess carbides, avoiding the brittleness of ... continue reading...

Assorted Video Reviews: Packs, Knives, and Water Bladders

Assorted Video Reviews: Packs, Knives, and Water BladdersHere’s an assortment of recent YT reviews that you might enjoy. They include reviews of the 5.11 Tactical Series Covert 18 Conceal Carry Backpack, CamelBak Hydrolink Tactical Pump, Ontario Utilitac II, and 5.11 PUSH Pack. continue reading...

LifeStraw Review and Giveaway! (by AreWeCrazyOrWhat?)

I recently got turned on to this blog (AreWeCrazyOrWhat.net) and I like what I see. This week she’s doing a review of the LifeStraw water filter, explaining all the in’s and out’s and is even throwing in a giveaway for the next handful of days. You can enter via Facebook or for those who refuse FB you can use your email address too. Enjoy! continue reading...

Contest Post: Mil-Tec Flecktarn 50L Pack Review by T.R., EAL

flecktarn-pack-1Today I want to talk a little bit about a very handy piece of equipment that I have used on a daily basis for over a year and a half now. It’s the Mil-Tec 50 Liter backpack. I had, and I guess still have, a German Flecktarn camo pattern obsession. I used to travel quite a bit for a living, it was part of my job at the time, and I would go through the El Cheapo day packs like water, they just could not hold up to the demands of my profession. When the last one started ripping apart at the seams, I decided it was time to get something that I knew could take it, or at least have a better chance. The first thing I went looking at was real military day packs, or patrol packs as they prefer to be called. I saw several, but unfortunately I’m picky about patterns… and unfortunately the Germans are the only ones that issue Flecktarn (the Russians do also, but its a poor rip off of ... continue reading...

Reviews of Seychelle Water Filtration and Live Fire Fire Starter by DesertSurvivalist (videos)

Sadly, I didn’t have time to write my own review this week, so DesertSurvivalist is going to fill in without even knowing it. He recently reviewed the Seychelle Water Filtration water bottle as well as the Live Fire fire starter (can only seem to be purchased at NorCalSurvival.com), both critical areas of outdoors preps. The first video is of the water bottle and second is the fire starter… continue reading...

A Look Back at Several Past Reviews (were they worthwhile purchases?)

I thought I would do something a bit different today and look back at some of the previous reviews I’ve done now that I’ve had some more experience and exposure to these products and let you know whether they’re still worthwhile purchases or not (links point back to the original reviews)… Whistler 800 watt inverter – since actually writing the review (not since posting it) I had the opportunity to fiddle with it a bit more and after realizing I simply cannot start my car while using the inverter–still not sure why–I find this inverter works flawlessly. I’ve used everything from my laptop to a small television and even briefly ran my dehydrator, it all seemed to be powered just fine. Again, the entire purpose in this inverter was to run a refrigerator but it’s nice to know other things will work too. SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Brand Vest Body Armor – I’ve only bothered to wear the vest two more times since the original review (both all day events) and I’m still super happy with it. In ... continue reading...

Review of Whistler 800 Watt Power Inverter

This inverter is one that Steven Harris of Solar1234.com recommends as being a viable option for powering a refrigerator if the power goes out. And, to be honest, that’s the sole reason why I choose to purchase it as I have no other major appliance that I feel MUST be powered during a grid-down situation. That said, I could have procured a larger inverter to power more appliances but I figured I should take Mr. Harris’ word for it and not get greedy. Likewise, he also stated that 800 watts is about the right power output you need from an inverter in order to operate most refrigerators and freezers. In other words, a much smaller 200 watt inverter isn’t going to cut while a larger one is probably wasted money. So, about THIS inverter. It couldn’t be much simpler to operate. Just connect the two provided cables (a positive and negative) to the screw-in terminals on the inverter and then clamp the other ends to your vehicle battery (or any 12-volt source for that matter) just ... continue reading...

PurifiCup Water Filter Review and Giveaway (by CommonSenseHome.com)

One of these days I’ll start really reviewing my own gear and supplies again, but for now check out this PurifiCup Water Filter Review and Giveaway. The review discusses what it is, how it works, answers a few questions, and provides you an opportunity to win one free. Of course, you can just opt to buy one from Amazon if you like. continue reading...

Review of PowerPot V (by INCH Survival)

Considering that it’s camping season again, you might be interested in one of an assortment of camping stoves that generate small amounts of power to charge devices like phones such as this PowerPot V Review by INCH Survival (also includes pictures and brief video overview). I’ve been contemplating something like this for a little while now… just have to pull the trigger one day! continue reading...

Review of SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Brand Vest Body Armor

I’ve been wanting to purchase body armor for a long time now. But, to be honest, I don’t know a darn thing about it and I’ve always felt like it was way too expensive for somebody like me to buy it… boy was I wrong! Anyway, I spent some time reading the info about body armor here and learned quite a bit. First Impressions Over the past few days I’ve had the opportunity to review this SafeGuard Stealth Concealable Body Armor (ballistic level 2, stab level 1) from SafeGuard Armor. My first impression–being a complete newb–was that I was surprised at how lightweight and thin the vest really was. For something that’s supposed to protect my vitals from a bullet, I expected… well, more girth and weight. Not only is it relatively lightweight–I measured about 4.2 pounds on my trusty bathroom scale though they say up to 5.5 pounds depending on size–it’s surprisingly thin; I didn’t try to measure the vest but if it’s much more than a 1/2 inch in thickness I would be surprised. In fact, not one person ... continue reading...

Review of Rite in the Rain All Weather Journal (by Equip 2 Endure)

I didn’t have time to do a review this week but I thought this review of the Rite in the Rain All Weather Journal by Equip 2 Endure was a good one to consider. I keep a Rite in the Rain journal for our bug out bags and think it’s a good product. FYI, it’s a video review… continue reading...

Review of Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting [Kindle edition]

This weekend I had a chance to review the book Fight, Flight, or Hide. The Guide to Surviving a Mass Shooting by John Forsythe. The title intrigued me because, like many security-related scenarios, I feel woefully under-prepared. Understand that this is a Kindle book, not a hard copy book. As I’m getting more and more into online books I’m finding them easy to read, usually much less expensive to purchase (such as this one), and easily included in my digital library. As for the book, it is broken down into a dozen chapters–though it is less than 60 pages in total length–and covers a variety of areas to consider, from preparing for a mass shooting, to the “roles” one might find themselves in during such an event, as well as chapters on how you might better prepare yourself, what might be your best strategies in the moment, and more. By and large, I enjoyed the book. The author did what I feel is a good job with discussing such a “touchy” subject. That said, I would ... continue reading...

Review of Scottevest – Travel Vest for Men (and Women)

I didn’t have time to do my own product review this week but I did find this nice video review of the Scottevest by TheUrbanPrepper. We actually had a post a few months back about a similar idea titled An OPSEC Get Home Bag by MorrisB that talks about the same idea. Here’s a link to buy the vest at Amazon if you like and this is the review… continue reading...

Review of Preppers Home Defense Book by Jim Cobb

A while back I purchased Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary written by fellow blogger, Jim Cobb, of SurvivalWeekly.com and Survival-Gear.com. Apparently he’s written quite an assortment of other books on prepping but this is the first for me. I must say that this is the first book in a long time that I choose to read cover to cover because this is an area of my preparedness that I really feel is inadequate, at least, with respect to preparing our home and family for a real SHTF event. That said, the book didn’t start off with anything I could outright do (like beefing-up my doors) but, instead, discussed the overal idea of a security plan, concepts that are critical to overall security, and actually posed far more questions than answers. I must say that was a little disconcerting as I was looking for answers and not a million things to ponder. Granted, many of the questions posed are truly pertinent to developing a good security plan and mindset so I ... continue reading...

Review of O2 Cool Portable Fan

I know it’s the wrong time of year to talk about portable fans but I recently purchased this for upcoming spring and summer camping and, of course, couldn’t help but fiddle with it. That said, it’s also useful for emergency power outages which is another big reason why I bought it. Upon initial un-boxing, I was pleased. It’s looked fairly solid, though made of plastic, and was relatively lightweight (without the batteries). Speaking of which, it can be run on both a provided AC power cord or eight (8) D-cell batteries… yup, I said eight batteries, which is something to keep in mind before buying. Since I knew that going in I didn’t care but I do need to stockpile more D-cell batteries. As my interest was for use without AC power, I immediately opened up the battery compartment and proceeded to insert batteries; there was no need to read the directions… it’s all self-explanatory. I should say that the innards of the fan battery compartment were a bit flimsy for my liking, including the battery compartment ... continue reading...

Review of Mr. Buddy MH9BX 4-9K BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater

I should start by pointing out that this is the smaller Mr. Buddy portable heater (there is a larger unit that produces about double the BTU output but uses two propane canisters rather than one). A few details, from the associated Amazon page: 4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 200 square feet Approved for indoor/outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator; connects to propane tank (not included) Measures 9 by 14-1/5 by 14-2/5 inches; 1-year limited warranty I would also mention that it uses either a single one-pound propane canister OR it can be used with a 20-pound tank but MUST use a specific extension hose made for use with the Mr. Buddy heaters as it has a built in regulator (because use of the extension cord bypasses the built-in regulator which can be very dangerous): You’re also going to need a fuel filter with the above hose (I believe there is a hose that is more expensive but doesn’t ... continue reading...

Assorted Reviews (CardSharp2, Benchmade 300, Steripen Journey)

Assorted Reviews (CardSharp2, Benchmade 300, Steripen Journey)As I mentioned a few days ago, I didn’t have time to review anything I own personally (due to being out of town) so here are a few recent video reviews of the CardSharp2 Credit Card Knife, Benchmade 300 Flipper Knife, and Steripen Journey Water Purification Pen, enjoy… continue reading...

Review of Getting Home: Making It Back to Your Family After Disaster Strikes

I had a chance to review a new book this weekend titled Getting Home: Making It Back to Your Family After Disaster Strikes (links to Kindle book). I first want to mention that EVERY book I’ve ever owned has been a hard-copy, this is the first book that I’ve read completely online via Amazon’s Kindle store and I must say that I’m quite impressed with the entire setup. If you’re unaware (like I was) you don’t actually need a Kindle to read such books. You can read them entirely online via the Kindle Cloud Reader or even various tablet apps, I got one for the iPad and it works great. What’s even better is that you download (they call it “pinning”) a Kindle book to your computer so that you can read it offline (only works with Chrome and Firefox browsers, not Internet Explorer). Anyway, the point is that you might be able to use this feature to prep books digitally, just like using Real Player to download YouTube videos! And the best part is that ... continue reading...

Review of Columbus Family Size Washboard

Review of Columbus Family Size Washboard The very first thing I noticed about this Columbus Family Size Washboard is that it was much smaller than I had anticipated. It stands at most two feet tall and includes a rubbing surface area of roughly 11″ x 11″. I guess I didn’t bother to pay much attention to the dimensions when I bought it since I assumed a family-sized washboard would be, well… bigger! Of course, you’re only working on one article of clothing at a time, rubbing different sections of the clothes each time, so maybe it doesn’t have to be that big. While I don’t have a lot of experience with it (I used our recent washing machine problem to test it out a bit) many people swear that it’s large enough to clean towels, yet small enough to work well on socks. I can say that I feel the unit is sturdy enough to put up with some abuse. Before using it, I tried to see how well-built it might be (by twisting and pulling at various angles) and without trying REALLY hard it didn’t seem to ... continue reading...

Review of Tenergy T-2299 Universal Smart Battery Charger With AC/DC Plugs

A while back I purchased this Tenergy Universal Smart Battery Charger as my primary battery charger. I did so for two main reasons: it has the capability to plug directly into a car’s auxiliary outlet using a provided DC plug and it can charge all manner of rechargeable batteries, from the common AAA- and AA-cells to C- and D-cell batteries and even 9-volt batteries as well. Though I currently do not have any rechargeable batteries besides AAA- and AA-cells, I do eventually intend to purchase several D-cell and maybe even some 9-volt rechargeable batteries in the near future. My first impression after unpacking was that the unit was BIG or, at least, bigger than I had anticipated; in fact, it is two or three times the physical size of my previous battery charger. I’m not sure what I was honestly expecting because it does need to fit up to four D-cell batteries so it has to be much larger. Anyway, it’s now a permanent fixture on my countertop. Obviously, the first thing I wanted to do ... continue reading...

Review of Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Food Jar

I’m a fan of vacuum thermos jars and have always stuck with larger (1 quart or more) Stanley brand jars. This particular Thermos brand food jar is simply a smaller option that seemed like a better idea for our bug out bags or short term emergency because it takes up less space and is lighter-weight. At 16 ounces (one-half a quart) it is really a one meal per person (at least per adult) food jar. According to the Amazon product page: “The stainless king food jar has thermax double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention, hot or cold. The unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior keeps the food jar cool to the touch with hot liquids and sweat proof with cold liquids. Wide mouth is easy to fill, serve from and clean: lid doubles as a compact and insulated serving bowl. Full-size telescoping stainless steel spoon included.” When looking for a food jar such as this one, double-walled vacuum insulation is the way to go. This design can keep foods hot (or cold) for several hours. In fact, ... continue reading...

Review of Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight

I recently purchased the Energizer 7 LED Trailfinder Headlight off a recommendation of Steven Harris of Solar1234.com because I was in the market for a new headlamp. After removing it from the package there was some basic assembly required, including attaching the headband and installing the batteries. One thing I noticed was that the battery compartment door was initially a bit difficult to remove but after first removal was no problem. I should point out that the battery door is secured in place with nice and secure clips but, once removed, is very precariously attached to the unit with a flimsy pieces of plastic (I guess it’s plastic) and seems to me to be something that could easily break. This is not a huge deal to me because the flimsly plastic serves no purpose other than to keep you from losing the battery compartment door but I would have preferred something a bit better. I would also like to mention one more slight detraction, and that is the fact that the on/off (and change light mode) button is somewhat ... continue reading...

Review of RazorPit Men’s Razor Blade Sharpener

A reader comment in my So, I’ve Been Saving My Disposable Razors Lately post pointed out that I could extend the life of the razor blades I’ve been saving using a product I hadn’t heard of before: the RazorPit. This sounded like something I NEEDED to try so I bought one immediately, even without reading reviews! According to the Amazon product description: RazorPit Saves You Money up to 90% on Razor Blades RazorPit Increases Shaves per Blade from 10 Shaves to 100 Shaves RazorPit features a Patented Friction Razor Sharpening and Cleaning Technology RazorPit Sharpener Works on All Razors and Razors Blades RazorPit is Made from Recyclable Materials and Reduces the Waste of Disposable Blades Those are some bold claims. So, I tried it myself and what I found was encouraging. First, the RazorPit seems to be a very smooth piece of molded rubber and honestly nothing more. To use, apply shaving cream to the disposable razor head and then, with firm pressure, push the blade along the RazorPit in the opposite direction of normal use four times, rinse, dry. That’s it. I ... continue reading...

Review of PRI-G Fuel Stabilizer (Hands-Down the Best Available)

I had an opportunity this week to get my hands on a bottle of PRI-G fuel stabilizer, something I had been meaning to do for quite some time. For many, many years I’ve always used Stabil as my fuel stabilizer because it’s what’s been available locally. Sadly, PRI-G is difficult to find at times but you can certainly buy it online (such as on Amazon). For a long time I’ve heard nothing but good things about PRI-G (or PRI-D for diesel fuel). From various reviews to expert opinions, I had to try it! Honestly, the only way I know to review it is to compare PRI-G to what I currently use, that being Stabil. The *best* way to review them would be to treat fuel and wait for years on end but I didn’t want to wait THAT long so following is the next best thing… Let’s start with cost. An 16-ounce bottle of Stabil on Amazon costs a little over $11, while a 16-ounce bottle of PRI-G on Amazon costs almost $26. A little math says that a bottle ... continue reading...

Review of Gerber Gator Machete Jr

I figured this review would be a nice way to bring in the new year… with something big and sharp! Although, I do not own this particular machete, I did enjoy this review from StealthSurvival. And considering the price is under $20 all day long, you can’t go wrong. You might also enjoy this video review (by a different person) as well: continue reading...

Sealskinz Waterproof Socks by T.R., Editor-at-Large

Hello Guys/and gals, When planning what clothing to take with you, when space is limited. I found an item called Sealskinz, they are basically waterproof socks, the manufacturer also makes other items, but I have not tried them and in all honesty, am not going to order them, so if anybody has something other than the socks, feel free to chime in here. I live in AZ, not the best place to try out cold or wet weather gear, but I did live in Maine for a few years and remember the conditions there, that is what prompted me to buy a pair. You never know where you will end up in your travels. These socks have a strange feel to them and seem to be multi layered in different fabrics sewn together………I’m not a scuba diver, but that is what it reminds me of. They are thick and not at all like regular fabric socks we are used to. The only ” field test ” I have done is to fill the bathtub up ... continue reading...

Comparison of Lanterns: Propane vs. Kerosene vs. Battery-Powered

Since I’m into lighting options these days, I figured I would compare the three most commonly used lanterns: propane, kerosene, and battery-powered to see how they stack up to each other. In this case, I’m comparing a Coleman Two-Mantle Propane Lantern, Stansport Kerosene Lantern, Rayovac Sportsman LED Lantern, and I threw in another small battery-powered the Dorcy Mini Brite Lantern as it’s been a camping favorite with the kids for quite some time. Pricing ranges from under $10 for the Dorcy to about $35 for the Coleman propane lantern. I figured the easiest way to compare them is to put them in a table and list the following attributes: costs (for unit and others besides fuel), anticipated working times (according to manufacturer estimates or my best guess), fuel to working time cost (comparing cost of fuel to estimated burn time as cost/hour of use), relative brightness (via my own pictures), and my comments at the end. Image / Brightness (click to enlarge) Costs Working Time Fuel/Time Cost ($/hour) Unit = $34.99   OTHER COSTS: Additional Mantles=$6.99 Safety Post=$39.99 (used to connect and raise lantern to 20 ... continue reading...

First Look! Review of The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns and Guide to Wounds

I was given the privilege of reviewing two new interactive eBooks: The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns and The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Wounds by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. (a.k.a. “The Survival Doctor”) who is also the owner of TheSurvivalDoctor.com, a site that I recommend. I should point out that I have no medical training whatsoever. In fact, I’m notorious for telling my kids to “go see your mother” anytime they mention a potential health problem, unless I have no other choice! Since I was planning on purchasing these books  anyway, I was ready to dig in. Because I have the attention span of a gnat most of the time (especially with respect to medical issues) I decided to start with the shorter eBook, The Survival Doctor’s Guide to Burns… The book starts out as I would have expected–with some added benefits–in that it explains how to treat burns, the types of burns, and complications; generally what you would get from most burn treatment resources. Unfortunately, most publicly-consumable medical texts stop right there. The Survival Doctor knows that’s not what we, as preppers, are ... continue reading...