Archives for category: GEAR

Here’s a beautiful video showing how a Damascus steel knife is hand forged. The blade gets folded and hammered flat over 300 times. The sheath is handmade too. Gorgeous video.

I’ll admit I didn’t know there was more than one way to lace up a hiking boot. This video shows techniques for really locking the boot to your ankle to prevent heal chafe, as well as different lacing styles for people with high arches or flat feet.

My feet are slightly different sizes so I love the idea of getting a more custom fit depending on how I lace up. Good stuff.

Herock Pallas work shorts. via West County Explorers Club

Check out these work shorts from Belgium. They have 16 pockets. They repel dirt and liquids. The front pockets can be pulled out to hang externally and easily hold tools or small parts, or can be tucked in like normal pockets. High stress seams are double or triple stitched and the pocket corners are bar tacked for durability.

They seem like perfect overlanding shorts. Available for $74.50 at a company called Lee Valley.

Link:
Lee Valley, Herrock Pallas Shorts

WCXC on Pinterest

Although I haven’t been so great at keeping on the blog lately (though I will be changing that), I have been good at keeping my Pinterest account up. And through a fluke of nature (which was Pinterest recommending one of my boards to new users), I now have over 20,000 followers. Whoa.

If you like your overland, off-road, camp, and adventure information in bite sized chunks, check out my Pinterest page. I have boards on camping, truck mods, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers, Skills, and a bunch of other stuff too.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you’ll probably dig it.

Links:
Here are all of the WCXC boards.

And here are all of the pins.

The CARB-compliant gas cans we get here in California can be difficult to pour and are generally a pain in the butt. Here’s how to mod one to make it easy to pour and still remain leak free.

A guy in the auto mechanics class I’m taking recently told me about a smart phone-based scan tool app called Torque. Scan tools are the devices you plug into your car or truck’s OBD or OBD2 diagnostic port to display engine trouble codes, a handy thing to have if you’re working on your own truck. (Trouble codes are generated by the vehicle’s computer when the check engine light goes on.)

Besides reading trouble codes, the app can display all kinds of vehicle information on your phone or tablet in real time: mass air flow, boost (on turbocharged cars), coolant temp, fuel flow, the list goes on. And, because it’s running on a smart phone, it can also display things like pitch, roll, GPS position, and compass heading. The app even has a function that will record video of the road ahead, through the phone or tablet’s camera, while overlaying vehicle data into the frame. Pretty cool.

The video gives a good overview. Things start getting interesting around 4:06.

All you need to make it work is the app, which is $5, and a Bluetooth scan tool, which plugs into your OBD2 port. These can be found on Amazon for about $23. (The OBD2 port has been required on vehicles since 1996, though cars a year or two earlier may be equipped with it. Older cars have the OBD port, which unfortunately won’t work with this system.)

Self contained scan tools can cost hundreds of dollars and don’t have as much functionality, one of the many reasons that the Torque app and a Bluetooth scan tool make such a compelling package.

Check the links for a CNET review, the app, and the bluetooth scan tool.

Links:
CNET: Monitor your car’s performance with the Torque app for Android

Google Play: Torque Pro Scan Tool app

Amazon: BAFX Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool
(this one is compatible with Android only)

Ultra Fire Flashlight Review • WCXC

I got this UltraFire XML-T6 LED flashlight as a Christmas gift last year. At first I wasn’t sure where to place it in the product pantheon. The branding looked Chinese and a bit knock-offy. The aluminum body, while not top quality, felt rugged and substantial. The flashlight’s lens could be pulled in and out to focus from a wide beam to a tight, bright square pattern.

A little more research revealed that they are basically knock-offs of the SureFire brand of flashlights that run in the $100 to $400 range. The branding is a bit fluid. There’s UltraFire, SuperFire, and others. That said, it doesn’t seem like a cheap knock off. It performs well. It has a high-quality Cree bulb and throws a REALLY bright beam. And here’s the kicker. It comes with two batteries and a charger, and it’s only $14.

When I first got it, I only charged one battery because that’s all that slid out of the tube. The light stayed lit for maybe an hour before it started to blink and signal that it was dying. Once I figure out that it runs on two batteries, and charged both, it’s been running fine.

The button on the back will cycle through the following modes with each half-press of the button: high beam, medium beam, low beam, strobe, SOS.

I haven’t don’t any waterproof testing. The rear cap is fitted with an o-ring but the front lens housing unscrews to reveal no o-ring. At that price I don’t care though. I don’t expect it to perform as well as a $400 flashlight. And I don’t know that I believe the 1600 lumen rating. That said, the beam is very bright and the flashlight certainly performs many times better than it’s $14 dollar price tag suggests it should.

So, yes, a Chinese knock-off, but one that so far delivers quite a bit of light-up-the-night bang for your buck.

Update 4/7/2014:
The specs for the Cree XM-L T6 LED is 280–300 lumens at 700mA, according to FlahlightWiki.com.

Links:
Amazon: UltraFire XML-T6 Flashlight

Ultra Fire, company site

Flashlight Wiki: UltraFire

Flashlight Wiki: Cree XM-L LED Bulb Specs

helinox3

I saw Christophe Noel’s review of the Helinox Chair One camp chair last month on Expo. At $100, it’s twice as expensive as the Front Runner Expander Chairs we use, but it looks quite nice and Christophe gives it high praise.

Links:
Expedition Portal: Helinox Chair One

WCXC: Front Runner Expander Chair

benjamin-marauder-pcp-air-rifle-22-cal-repeater-1000-fps-24

If you’re looking for a well-made, accurate rifle for target shooting or small game hunting, I recommend the Benjamin Marauder .22 caliber air rifle. The Marauder is a PCP air gun, meaning it gets its power from an on-board tank of air compressed to between 2,000 and 3,000 psi. It features a 10-shot clip, a reversible bolt for left-handed shooters, and 2-stage, adjustable trigger. It will shoot a .22-caliber pellet at 1,000 feet per second. You can get through about 20 shots before the internal tank needs to be refilled, which can be done via an external tank or a pump.

Shooting a quality air rifle is satisfying experience. It’s quiet and it’s inexpensive, as ammo is only about $0.02/round. If you want to go green and shoot lead-free pellets, you’re looking at $0.10/round.

To mine, I added an illuminated UTG 4-16×44 rifle scope, which makes it quite accurate to about 50 yards.

The rifle retails for a little over $500; a Hill MK3 pump runs about $290; the scope is about $140.

Links:
Crossman Airguns: Benjamin Maurader

Benjamin Marauder for sale at Pyramyd Air

UTG 4-16×44 rifle scope

Hill MK3 pump

BP2563

 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about off-road suspensions, check out Jonathan Hanson’s excellent, in-depth article on Overland Tech & Travel (link below), check out the video above, or read the quick tutorial in this post. I’ve also included Jonathan’s recommendation on a 12-way adjustable shock that sounds like a great value. Read the rest of this entry »