Saturday, January 28, 2012

Subway Americana

Interesting ads from NYC Subway cars throughout the Century. Things have certainly changed. My favorites are the "Lighten Their Load, NRA, & WWI posters. Enjoy!

Leatherman Core: Gone But Not Forgotten

Item: Leatherman Core Multitool
Price Range: $50.00-$60.00
Make: Domestic
Dimensions: 4.5" long (closed)
Weight: 10.8 oz
Time in Testing: 5 years
Design Intention/Application:
Tools: (19)1/8" Screwdriver, 420HC Clip Point Knife with Straight Edge, 420HC Sheepsfoot Serrated Knife, 5/16" Screwdriver, 7/32" Screwdriver, 9 in | 22 cm, Awl with Thread Loop, Bottle Opener, Can Opener, Electrical Crimper, Hard-wire cutters, Needlenose Pliers, Phillips Screwdriver, Regular Pliers, Saw, Stranded-wire cutters, Wire cutters, Wire Stripper, Wood/Metal File
Features: 25-year Warranty, All Locking Blades and Tools, Black Oxide Version Available, Comfort-sculpted Handles, Leather or Nylon Sheath, Stainless Steel Body, Stainless Steel Handles

While discontinued, the Core is still a good buy if found. There are not many places left selling it, however it can be found typically in that $50-$60 range mentioned above (other than Amazon). 

 Weighing in at 10.8 oz, this tool is robust and durable. Thus, I'd classify it more as a mid to full size multi-tool. It is one I usually throw in my range bag, or car, or carry on me when weight isn't an issue. Although I have, its not suited for backpacking. I think a better option for carry is any juice in particular an XE6. 

It has the same quality found in every Leatherman product. Heavy construction, curved handles, precise plier tips, and tight joints make it so. This particular model, being older, has tools that open from the inside and lock buttons that lock the tools into place. It is not a one handed opening tool. Accessing the tools is easy as their are many large nubs for which to pull the tools out by. Inside tools are silky smooth in deployment and don't catch on the others on the way up, brining five tools out when you only wanted one. Locking and releasing the tools is also easy with the aid of the spring loaded lock buttons.  

The 420HC has stood up well to abuse and neglect. Most times she goes uncleaned, and despite the neglect there is virtually no rust. There are tiny pockets in small hard to reach crevices but it is barely even noteworthy.  Where I do see wear and tear is on the wire cutters. I don't cut wires often, howeve the blades have gotten dull, and while that doesn't bother me, it may bother somebody else (this was made before they had replaceable cutters). As with any knife, the drop point shape handles most utilitarian tasks well, and sharpens up quickly. This is not quite so for the serrated blade, as sharpening may pose harder not only due to the serrations, but the chisel as well. 

Capitol Supply
Cool Stuff Cheap
All Spectrum Aviation

Molle Muff

Item: FHF Gear Molle Muff
Price Range: $45.00
Make: Domestic
Time in Testing:N/A
Design Intention/Application:Hand Warmer
Features: 300 wt. fleece liner, water resistant 500D Cordura shell, internal mesh pocket for hand warmers, quick attach/detach from tac vests, maintain dexterity

With little information out on the product, I wanted to do an overview as I have had not had time to thoroughly test it. The muff certainly seems promising, and I didn't want to not cover the product before the winter ends. 

The intent of the product, is to maintain dexterity without gloves. As it is constructed of thin close cell foam, a fleece lining, and a hand warmer pouch it should allow one to do so. These features would allow you to keep your hands toasty and at the ready to get a weapon up or perform any other task. It mounts to an IOTV or any velcro sealed plate carrier easily. Just place the velcro hangers inside the flaps of the velcro and you're ready to rock'n roll. Its easy, and they remove easily too. If the vest is older, an individual may remove the velcro hangers and slide malice clips through (probably not as quick to detach as the velcro capability). It may be purchased with an optional belt, so it can be worn without being attached to any gear (great for hunting, hiking, etc.). The belt itself features, a quick adjustment tab, and the clip connecters can easily be attached/removed from the molle on the rear of the muff. Lastly, it features shock cord which enables to fold the muff over and retain the muff when not in use. This product seems to be a perfect fit for those reusable hand-warmers. Make sure to check out the photos. Captions will provide details. 

FHF Gear Website
FHF Product Video
Soldier Systems Daily Article

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Right Guard: New Nivea 3 in 1 Competition

Nivea's "Active 3" product (shave, shampoo, & body) has a new competitor; Rightguard. The product is called "Total Defense 5" and a 13.5 fl. oz. bottle costs roughly for $5.00.

Obviously I picked up a bottle myself and so far I like it. Unlike the Nivea it's a little less oily and washed off more easily. If you've tried the Nivea, this an alternative and perhaps something you'd like to try out. For those who haven't tried either, these are products that could help lighten and unclutter your travel toiletry bag. Just check out my earlier review on Nivea Active 3.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Superior Hydration: Source vs. Camelbak

     Many individuals who are not into gear probably know the name Camelbak when it comes to hydration. Due to its popularity, it is the only name out there and as a result is often considered the "go to" bladder on the market. While I understand why this is the case, I due believe the Source brand has better bladders. 

     To start off, Source bladders have an easy access slider, which allows the bladder to open from the top and the owner to fit their whole arm inside in order to clean the interior (even though it is supposed to be designed not to be cleaned). Camelbak bladders do not have this feature, causing the owner to engage in the time consuming and in my experience, less effective cleaning measures (using vinegar or purchasing Camelbak brand cleaning solvent).

     In my experience, the cap on the Source bladders is much easier to remove. It has beveling on the cap, allowing for a better grip. Camelbak caps always give me  a hard time. At first, they turn slowly, and as one applies pressure, the cap opens. It is a like opening a food jar that has been closed too tightly. Source bladders simply open smoothly.

     Next, both of the disconnects on the tube (the bladder end and the bite valve end) have quick disconnect buttons and sealed valves. This allows for two things; one: for the user to disconnect and connect tubes/accessories without much physical effort and two: it allows them to do so without losing all their water. It also minimizes the risk of leakage (i.e. the tube disconnects at the bladder connection point). While Camelbak's tubes do disconnect, the valves do not seal, meaning the bladder will loose water when there is no tube connect. Also their tubes are so hard to remove. One must press down on the button with sufficient force for the tube to separate. 

     This brings us to the bite valve. Source's newest Helix bite valve is simply superpub. First off, the cap fits snugly and never comes off. Camelback valve covers never fit securely, and pop off, exposing the bite valve to the elements and allowing it to collect dirt. Source's Helix valve operates by turning the bite piece, allowing water to flow freely. The nature of the valve allows one to drink without chomping on the bite valve. Consequently, this also means the owner does not have to squeeze the valve and risk have water dribble everywhere except for the container they are trying to fill. 

     This brings us to the last noteworthy features. Source has the most useful accessory ever; the Universal tap Adaptor, aka the UTA. This accessory enables the user to fill the bladder without removing it from their hydration bladder carrier. UTA's connect to the drink tube at the bite valve end, and have a large rubber receptacle which can adapt to a hose or spout of any kind (including water bottles). All one must due is turn on the spout, faucet, hose, or squeeze the bottle. 

     Best of all the Source bladders are at the same price-point of their more popular competitor, Camelbak. Checkout the links for more. 


     Source Products
     ITSTACTICAL Review- while a review, it is a incomplete comparison as well
     Milspec Monkey Short Demo