Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gear Review: Halo Belt

I was contacted by a company called Halo Belt to try out a product that contained neon colored, bright LED’s. The purpose of the belt was to maintain visibility while engaging in night time activity on the street. Since I live on a pretty dark road with no street lights, I thought this would be a great product to test in the evening hours after the sun goes down.

I requested two belts so that I could cross them on my chest, over my shoulders to create almost an LED x-vest. They arrived and were packaged nicely. I received a red one and a neon yellow one. Right away, I noticed they were rechargeable and used a detachable USB port which makes them pretty universal.

I tried to cross them over my shoulders to create an “X” on my chest and back as mentioned above but found the belts weren’t long enough to cross down to my waste. Unfortunately, by crossing them over my shoulders, I found they dug into my armpit too much for comfort, especially since I was going running. I think if you were short and petite, these belts would probably cross over the way I had expected. This was no big deal however, and I decided to just wear one as a belt. Another thing I noticed was that the LED coverage was only long enough to cross your front or back region while used as a belt. When running, you want visibility in both directions so I saw this as a negative. To be fair, the portion of the belt that doesn’t have LEDs does have a reflector screening on it.

Functionally, the belts were bright. They had two settings, one which was constant illumination and one where the illumination turned off and on causing a blinking affect. I used this setting as I figured it would be more effective for drivers to notice. The belt was light in weight and at its loosest setting, it fit around my waste. I can imagine this belt would be tight if you have a larger midsection.

The unit worked well for what it’s intended to do. I wore it so the LED’s were facing to the rear of me and I didn’t get hit, so I assume the belt helped create awareness to passing motorists. I was hoping the unit would be more versatile, having a longer reach and a longer LED section so that it could be worn in a different way than a belt, comfortably. Because it was missing this versatility, other products need to compliment the function to make sure you’re visible from all directions. But, all in all, it’s a good product and does the job! 

Note: Halo Belt sent me samples for an unbiased review. All views in this post are the unbiased opinion of myself. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gear Review: Dorcy Headlamp

Dorcy gave me the opportunity to review two of their headlamps on this blog. They sent me an LED headlamp with a 48m distance broad beam which was 120 lumens and one that was 118m distance spot beam which was 134 lumens. Both came with three triple A batteries and stated a 12 hour life. Both headlamps had the same housing, which was very light weight and was held on your head by and adjustable head band. Both also claimed to have a 50 degree swivel for the light beam, however, it seemed to be more than this. I would say the adjustability was almost 90 degrees. Both also claimed water resistance but I did not test this feature to date.

A rubber button at the top of the light allows you to toggle through different light settings. It started with a fully bright beam, then down to a less intense beam and then to a flicker or blinking setting. After adjusting the elastic head band, I placed it on my head and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was. My standard headlamp I typically run with gives me a headache after a while and if I loosen it anymore, it won’t stay in place.

Showing the max adjustment of the beam. I would say it's more than 50 degrees.

I brought the Dorcy headlamp for a 3 mile run in the evening after sunset and found it to be a great headlamp. The beam lit up the road well and made me confident that oncoming cars noticed me from a distance. It also allowed me to dodge any rocks or potholes in the dark. It didn’t give me a headache like my current headlamp either.

These headlamps retail for about $25 on Dorcy’s website which I think is a great deal. You can also purchase from the larger retailers like Amazon for a discounted prices as well. I would highly recommend this headlamp for hiking or running. It’s pretty lightweight so it would be a great survival kit lamp.

Note: Dorcy sent me samples for an unbiased review. All views in this post are the unbiased opinion of myself.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where Was It Wednesday!

Okay, here's a tough one. Where was this photo taken from. Hint: What you're looking at is the "South Cliffs" of a New Hampshire mountain with a lot of history!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Turtle Highway Is Out Of Control!!!

The Turtle Highway in my backyard is out of control!!! We saw a turtle one afternoon last week and then we saw THREE turtles on Saturday alone! Below are some shots of them. I'll keep you posted if we see anymore.

This Painted Turtle was from one evening last week.

 This is one from earlier on Saturday.
This one I spotted out the window of my second floor making a run across my neighbors yard.

Finally, we saw this one out the window of my truck as we were driving out of the driveway.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Miles for Gear!

I travel for my job once in a while. I probably don’t travel as much as some, but enough that it wears me down sometimes. Also, when I do travel, it’s typically to Southeast Asian countries that are very difficult to get to. In some instances, I’ve traveled for 45 hours straight (one way) due to layovers and delays. My standard trip however, is approximately 32 hours one way…and I usually make that journey on the weekend so that I can fit in a full work week. Well, I finally found a way to use that time I spend on an airplane to benefit my hiking and outdoor hobbies. I learned that I can use my United Airline Miles to purchase some nice pieces of equipment!

The other day, I drained my mileage account to purchase three items:

The first item I redeemed miles for was a Garmin Montana 650t Waterproof Hiking GPS with TOPO US 100K and 5 Megapixel Camera. Now, I’ve never used a GPS unit before as I stay on pretty well known and published trails. However, I figured if I wanted a GPS, this is probably one of the better ones to get since it retails on Amazon for around $600. I’ve always dabbled with the idea of Geocaching too, so this may solidify my entry into that hobby as well. My time sitting on a jet at 40,000 feet was well used here!

The second item I redeemed miles for was a set of Cobra Electronics CXT545 28-Mile Two Way Radios. I’ve wanted to get a two way radio for my pack for while in the event of a survival situation in the wilderness. It’s my understanding that it’s another possible means to communicate with a rescue team if needed, although not always affective. This set wasn’t didn't take many redeemable miles and retails for about $60 on Amazon. This set has a lot of cool features including an LED flashlight which shines out of the bottom of the radio and a button which alerts you of the current weather conditions. I’m not sure if I’ll be happy with them or not, but I’ll let you know.

The last item I redeemed miles for was a set of Bushnell Off Trail 10x28 Binoculars. I had a set of smaller binoculars that I used to keep in my pack but somehow lost them. These ones looked pretty nice and compact, so with the few miles I had left, I decided to give them a try. They retail for about $80 on Amazon.

Once I get around to trying all of these items out, I will do reviews on each of them. Hope you come back to see what I think!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Facts Friday - National Trails Day

Have you ever heard of National Trails Day? It's the country's largest, collective celebration for trails. That doesn't necessarily mean hiking trails, but could mean mountain bike trails, etc.as well. Anyone can host an event on this day each year. They do obvious events like hikes and bike rides, but also do events like gear demonstrations, bird watching and stewardship programs. Here are Five Facts on Friday regarding National Trails Day!
Image from the American Hiking Society website
1. What is National Trials Day?

• “National Trails Day encourages all Americans to connect with local outdoor clubs, businesses, community groups, and parks and recreation departments as well as federal land managing agencies to experience, appreciate, and share the natural places we cherish. Started in 1993 by the American Hiking Society, it is centered on the idea that for one day each year we should come together outdoors and give back to our favorite trails.” (Quote from Source)

2. When is National Trails Day (2014)?

• The official date of National Trails Day® is always the first Saturday in June. This year, National Trails Day will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2014.

3. What are examples of common National Trails Day Events?

• “Examples include all non-motorized activities related to trail-recreation such as hikes, bike rides, trail maintenance, health fairs, educational workshops, children’s programs, horseback rides, backpacking trips, river and paddling excursions, wildlife viewing, photography clinics, gear demonstrations, etc.” (Quote from Source)

4. How do you find an event near you?

• Visit http://www.americanhiking.org/ntd-events/. Also, many local towns also hold events, so be sure to check your town’s website for more information.

5. What should you look forward too or plan for?

• National Trails Day for 2015 will be on June 6, 2015, so plan ahead :0

All information for this post was taken from the following source: http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/host-information/

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where Was It Wednesday!

Where Was It Wednesday!!! What mountain (or trail) was this photo taken from. In the picture is Mount Passaconaway with the old Passaconaway Slide or Downs Brook Slide visible (now closed I believe, and has been for many years).