Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gerber Reveal Folding Pruners

One thing I have never really cared for was packing out loppers to a campsite, or even around my own yard all that much. I'm a big fan of attaching anything and everything I can to my belt for easy transportation. When I saw the Gerber Reveal Folding Loppers online, I had to get my hands on one to try out and I'm sure happy that I did.

I'm a big fan of portability and these pruners are made with that idea in mind. Coming in at just 16 ounces, they are easy to haul around the campsite, or the backyard and you won't break a sweat. When closed, the pruners are an even 11" in length. The fit in the provided heavy nylon carry case easily. The case itself has a belt strap for attaching the whole unit to your body while working, as well as a Velcro closure to prevent the loppers from possibly sliding out while in the field.

I found that the sheath did a great job and was very durable and easy to clean up when necessary.

The pruners are made of stainless steel, so they are strong and durable at the same time. All of the moving parts are held together with stainless rivets that seem to be very strong, with a nut towards the top of the pruners that you can tighten should they need it. After a few hours of cutting up branches, the pruners never needed to be tightened once (or sharpened)

When it comes to cutting, these pruners are advertised at handling a 1 1/4" thick branch. In my testing, I found that they could handle that thickness, and even another quarter inch without much issue at all.

The handles are coated with a synthetic, non-slip grip that really does work well! This is one of the things that I really liked about these pruners was the grip on the handles. They have just enough texture so that while you are working, the handles stay put and you have full control the entire time.

In closing, I would say that these pruners would make a great addition to any backpack, or just attaching them to your belt when working in the yard. They are easy to fold and unfold, the sheath they come with is heavy duty and will wear very well and they cut anything from 1 1/2" with ease. With a price tag of just  $23.46 on Amazon (as of this posting), you really can't go wrong. Along with that, don't forget about Gerber's lifetime warranty. I look forward to years of use with these pruners.

Thanks for reading guys and please post if you have any questions of comments.

- BP

Friday, June 15, 2012

The ENO Pro Fly Tarp

I had a great time using the ENO Pro Fly recently and wanted to talk about it and share some pictures I took. As most of you who follow my little blog know, I'm primarily a hammock camper under all weather conditions and always rely on a tarp for shelter from the elements and anything else that falls out of the trees while "hanging out". I've used a lot of different tarps over time and literally destroyed a handful of them as well. The cheaper tarps seem to be a temporary solution and only last about 3-4 outings before they become useless, usually from an eyelet being pulled out from tension.

After going through my share of cheapie tarps, I wanted to step up and try out a few higher end tarps that are designed for rugged use and for a hammock at the same time. My favorite tarp this far is the Eagles Nest Outfitters Pro Fly. It's almost hard to call this a "tarp", but it does still fall in the category. Coming in at just 22oz, it's very light and easy to stuff into your pack next to your other gear. When packed in the included embossed stuff sack, it's about the same with around as a Nalgene water bottle and just slightly longer. The Stuff sack has a traditional cord lock on it which helps keep the tarp packed in night and tight.

The first time you pull the tarp out of the stuff sack, you find the ENO was nice enough to include some cordage for you to use when go to secure the corners down with stakes and the ends of the tarp to trees. The included rope is quite adequate for the job and also easy to see when it starts to get dark out. More than once have I been walking around camp at night and stumbled over my staked out cord ties.. not too fun.

One of the best features if this tarp is easily the tie-outs. The Pro Fly gives you six points (all four corners, plus the ends) The small tie-outs offer you the ability to tighten down the tension of your cord without having to tie knots. All you need to do is slide about 5-6 inches of cord though the outside hole on the tie out, then loop it over and down into the second. You can then adjust the tension with ease and the cord will stay put until you want to take the tarp down.

The tarp itself worked great for me and I really like it's features. Unfolded, it comes it at 10'6" x 6'4". This gives you plenty of coverage for your basic rainy day. It covers a standard hammock perfectly and with the larger width, it also protects your gear that you have stored under the hammock as well (at least, that's where I put most of it :) The material is made from a Poly-Treated Rip Stop Nylon, making it tough and waterproof. I have had the tarp out in a few storms, but nothing that would constitute a major downfall. The rain would just bead up and roll off. All of the seams are fully stitched and taped for added protection.

Setup and tear-down was quick and easy. I will say that it takes a little patience getting the tarp back into the the compression stuff sack each time, but after a few times, you learn how to do it without too much issue.

All in all, this is a fabulous tarp that I will continue to use and would recommend it to anyone interested in a quality rain-cover. It's a bit on the pricey side, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for :)

Retail: $79.99

Thanks for reading guys, more reviews and adventures coming very soon!

- Bill


Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun time solo camping with the Gerber BG Parang

A few weeks back over Memorial Day weekend, I was able to sneak away for a fun overnight at one of my favorite locations here in Indiana, the Hoosier National Forest. It's very easy to find your own nitch out in the woods when you have literally thousands of acres to choose from!

I brought along some new gear to play with and plan to post multiple reviews over the coming days, but today I wanted to focus on one item that I found both useful and easy to haul out. It's probably no secret that I've been a fan of Gerber Tools for a while now, so I wanted to bring out the Gerber Bear Grills Parang and put it through some heavy work and see how it would hold up.

When I pulled the Parang out of the high-strength bullet-proof plastic.. I found that the blade was nice and sharp right from the start. The first thing that stood out to me was the handle and the way you're able to get a good grip. The rubberized handle perfect for wet or cold hands that could use a little extra grip while working away at a chore. For added control, Gerber was kind enough to include a lanyard at the end of the handle that slips over your hand while using the Parang. Between The rubberized handle and the lanyard, it seems like dropping and loosing your grip on this chopper would be impossible. I used the Parang with both gloves and without with ease.

The blade itself is made out of a high carbon steel steel that is reported to resist rust and other types of corrosion. I'm never one to leave my gear out for any extended period of time, so testing this is out of the question :) I will say that the blade has the same coating that most Gerber blades comes with and from experience, it's solid, easy to clean and to sharpen when the time comes. The curved blade of the parang has been a popular tool for centuries around the world due to it's angle, weight and clearing ability. Gerber did a good job with this Parang, giving it a perfect combination of traditional functionality, along with modern features. Thanks to this Parang's full-tang blade length, it's boasts high durability which allows the users to clear away thick branches or vines with minimal effort.

The sheath that comes with the Gerber Parang is said to be of a military grade nylon. I will say that it does seem very sturdy compared to the sheath on my Cold Steel Kurki, but I think that a true military grade material would be a bit more sturdy. None the less, it's very well built and can take a serious beating in the bush. The few dirt stains I got on the sheath came of with just a few swipes of my hand. The built-in snaps and top Velcro strap holds the Parang in place nice and tight (something that is certainly lacking in other similar products) One thing I hate is your machete or some other chopper flopping around in it's sheath while your simply walking along. 

Finally, along with Gerber's LIFETIME WARRANTY, You also get a small survival guide that would help out the average man or woman if they were stranded in a strange place. In all honesty, the survival guide didn't really bring out much excitement in me as I felt it was a rehashing of previously learned skills, but it's better than nothing! The guide folds up nice and small and fits into the plastic pocket, which features graphics showing hand signals that can be used in a survival situation.

In closing, I like what Gerber and Bear has done with this Parang. Adding modern features to a tried and true chopper whose style has been around for generations is a good thing! I would be happy bringing this Parang back with me into the woods anytime and using it to help clear camp, build a potential shelter and anything else that may come up.

Many thanks to Gerber for allowing me to work with this Parang and I plan to post a lot more about it as I get out more to put it through more work. Thanks for reading!

- Bill