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Archive | EDC

CamelBak All Clear

The CamelBak All Clear Microbiological UV Water Purifier is a very interesting concept. It saves space in your pack by incorporating UV light purification into something that you are likely to already be carrying – a water bottle.

The key to the All Clear is the cap which has a UV light source and an LCD screen. You simply fill the bottle, replace the cap, power on the cap, and then shake the bottle for 60 seconds. The LCD screen counts down the 60 seconds so you know when to stop shaking. The cap is rechargeable and CamelBak claims that you can run the purifier 80 times on a single charge. The LCD screen also keeps you up to date on the charge level of the battery.

As with other UV purifiers, this will only work with water that is already relatively clear so per-filtering is recommended. Additionally, the battery is not user replaceable, so if it loses its charge while you are in the field, you will want to have a backup purification source (which you should be carrying with any purification system).

This looks like a really slick, refined package. This is one of the few filters that could easily find a place in your EDC gear. Check out the CamelBak All Clear on CamelBak.com.

 

Emerson Multi-Tool Renderings

One of my favorite knife makers, Emerson Knives, is collaborating with my favorite multi-tool maker, Multitasker Tools. The result is the upcoming Emerson Multi-tool and Emerson just released renderings of the new tool on their blog.

As you can see, the Emerson influence is strong in the Commander-like blade shape and the presence of the Emerson opener (wave). It is rare to find a multi-tool where the blade is the main attraction like it is with this tool.

Given the track record of both the companies involved in this tool, I suspect that it is going to be an awesome tool. You can see more pictures at the Emerson Knives Blog.

 

Review: Fight and Flight Tactical Y.U.C.K.

If you have kids, you know that they tend to come with a lot of gear. If you have kids, you probably end up carrying a lot of their gear. Fight and Flight Tactical thinks it is high time that kids started carrying their own gear, so Dave, the owner, created the Youth Utility Carrier Kit or YUCK. The YUCK is a kid sized backpack that is made durable enough for adults. It offers some kid specific features that really make it useful to a parent.

The YUCK can carry everything your little operator needs to fast rope into story time at the library.

Quality

The YUCK is constructed from the same materials as a typical adult sized 3 day pack. It features 1000D Cordura nylon construction that is fully lined with 420D pack cloth. This adds durability and water resistance. It uses quality plastic hardware and features burly inverted zippers. All of the cloth edges are bound and for the most part, there are box stitches and bar tacks everywhere that you would expect them.

There are some nits that I could pick in a few places. There are spots where the stitching isn’t quite straight and I did have to go over the packs with a lighter when I first received them to burn off some extra thread. So far, none of these things have effected function and, on the whole, these bags are far better made than anything that I have been able to buy off the shelf. Your children are not going to wear this pack out.

Kid smart features like D ring leash points and an oversized grab handle show that an actual parent designed this bag.

Features

There are a lot of kid specific features on this pack that make it really stand out. There are 2 d-ring attachment points for use with a leash. The mesh side pockets are actually large enough to accept every sippy cup that we own (this is not the case with any other kids pack that I have tried). The oversized grab handle is a convenient place to steer your child through a crowd or prevent them from stepping into traffic. Another oft overlooked feature on kids packs is a sternum strap. Sternum straps are important for keeping the shoulder straps from slipping off of tiny children’s shoulders. Obviously, Dave is a dad.

There is a second leash point on the center of the pack, under the MOLLE panel.

The pack features some organization. There is a good sized pouch (9″x6″x2″) that can be used to store small items. The interior front of the main compartment has a full height mesh pocket that can help separate contents in the main compartment. The main compartment itself is surprisingly spacious at about 12″x11″x3″. The main compartment is accessible via a zipper that extends about 2/3rds of the bag’s height. It is a panel loading type set up that allows the bag to accessed when it is standing up or laying on its back.

The interior mesh pocket offers a way to organize the main compartment of the YUCK.

The YUCK also features a 1″x6″ section of color (or camo) matched hook and loop for names tapes and an additional 4″x3″ section of hook and loop for patches. I had Multicam and hot pink nametapes made for my daughters and they love their Mojo Tactical TACTICUTE tabs.

There is also a 4 column by 2 row MOLLE webbing panel on the front of the pack. You can attach small pouches here or use it to stow slender items like chemlights or, more appropriately, string cheese.

Chemlights? Flex cuffs? Nah... my little operator tactically deploys cheese sticks.

In Use

My oldest daughter loves her “pack pack”. She mostly wears it around the house for adventures and then we use it as her day bag. We use another bag as a diaper bag for my youngest daughter. Both bags have seen daily use and still look like new after several months.

I underestimated just how much my 2 year old would like the fact that these bags were camouflage, just like many of my backpacks. I think the best thing about these bags has been watching my daughter enjoy having something just like daddy.

A sternum strap and comfortable harness are a must on a kids pack.

The kid specific features that I mentioned above make this pack great. So many packs have poorly sized pouches and lack a sternum strap. I have to believe that most packs were designed by people who never had a child. The YUCK pack is obviously built by a parent. It just works for parents and children.

Dave sized these packs very well. They are large enough to serve as a diaper bag and small enough to easily slip under the stroller when you are at the zoo.

My oldest operator... planning her next mission.

Conclusion

I was tired of bag makers that made children’s bags of poorer quality than their adult lines. If anything, your kids will be harder on their gear so the bags must be durable. You can buy a $20 backpack that will last your kid a year or you can buy a $50 bag that they will be able to hand down to their siblings (and probably their own kids). The YUCK is a children’s backpack that is designed for kids and built to stand up to them. That is just what I was looking for.

If you want your kid to start carrying their own gear, check out the YUCK on FightandFlight.com.

Princeton Tec CHARGE MPLS

I have been using Princeton Tec lights since I was in the 7th grade (that was a long time ago). It is safe to say that I am a fan. I especially like their “tactical” lights; not because they are tactical, but because they are some of the few lights on the market that come on in low mode. The latest addition to the Princeton Tec Tactical MPLS line is the CHARGE. MPLS stands for Modular Personal Lighting System and the lights contained in this line all provide a myriad of attachment options for everything from MOLLE webbing, to helmets, to head straps like a typical headlamp, and more.

The CHARGE MPLS is a single AA battery powered compact task light with a flexible neck that lets you direct the light exactly where you need it. It offers 3 output levels and multiple output colors (white with red, green, blue, IR, red/green/IR, and red/blue/IR are available). The CHARGE offers a ton of hands-free options with the ability to be attached to MOLLE webbing, multiple types of helmets, and a headstrap.

Stay tuned to JTT for a full review of the CHARGE MPLS. In the mean time, check out Grey Group Training to purchase your own Prinecton Tec CHARGE.

 

Fight and Flight Tactical 5×6 Hybrid Patch Panel

The Fight and Flight Tactical 4×4 Hybrid Patch Panel has been a big hit because its ability to carry a wide variety of small items like handgun magazines in addition to displaying patches. Fight and Flight Tactical has further expanded that capability to include larger items like rifle mags with the addition of the new 5×6 Hybrid Patch Panel.

The 5×6 Hybrid Patch Panel’s larger size means that it can hold more and larger patches. It can also carry larger items like AR-15 magazines, flashlights, and first aid items. It lays very flat like a typical patch panel when all you need it to do is hold patches and yet it offers plenty of space for extra gear when needed.

The 5×6 Hybrid Patch Panel gets its name from its 5 columns and 6 rows of MOLLE webbing. It is 5″x9″ in size and is available in Multicam (with Multicam Velcro) and Coyote brown.

Check out the 5×6 Hybrid Patch Panel on FightandFlight.com.

Mountain Ridge Gear Patch

Do you have a piece of gear from Mountain Ridge Gear (MRG)? Do you want to show off just how much you like MRG? Then you need one of the new MRG patches.

Check them out on MountainRidgeGear.com.

GITD Reflective Patches from Mojo Tactical

Some patches are more useful than others. The new GITD Reflective Patches are some of the most useful patches that you will ever find.

These patches look pretty neat and they are pretty low profile in the day light. Once darkness falls, these patches glow in the dark (GITD) and are also reflective. You can put them on your pack so you can find it easily in camp. They can be worn during low light training so you can keep track of people moving on the range. There are a ton of uses for patches like this.

The GITD Reflective patches come in a wide variety of sizes (1×1″, 1×2″, 2×2″, 1×4.5″, 2×4″) and a US Flag version. Check them out on Mojo Tactical’s Facebook storefront.

 

Review: EagleTac G25C2

Terry at EdgeTactical.net recently gave me the opportunity to put hands on an EagleTac G25C2 flashlight. I jumped at the chance because I really wanted to see what 770 lumens from a single LED looks like. I can now confirm that 770 lumens is a whole lot of light.

EagleTac G25C2

EagleTac is a company that I have wanted to check out for sometime. Their lights generally get good reviews and seem to offer a good value for what they cost. All that aside, what really interested me in EagleTac is their documentation. While many light makers tell you how much light their flashlights can put out at the LED, EagleTac gives you that number and an actual output that is taken from a calibrated integrating sphere (a device for measuring the output of a light). The actual measured output takes into account the light loss from the reflector and lens. Many people don’t realize that only about 70-90% of the advertised lumen rating of many lights actually make it out the front of the light. This level of transparency and honesty in advertising is refreshing.

The sheath that comes with the G25C2 is pretty big and probably not suitable for EDC.

Overview

The G25C2 is a single LED flashlight that is marketed as a tactical light. At 6″ long and 1.5″ wide at the bezel, it is not a small light. It can be powered with 2 CR123A batteries, 2 RCR123A batteries, or 18650 li-ion battery in the configuration that I tested (there are battery extenders available that allow different battery options). It features 5 output levels that are spread over 2 modes, 2 strobe frequencies, and 5 hidden auxiliary modes (more on all these modes and levels later). It features a large, orange peel textured reflector, finely machined knurling, aluminum construction, black hard anodizing, a removable pocket clip, a blackened stainless steel bezel, and many other features. EagleTac lights are designed in Washington by EagleTac and assembled in China.

In the Box

Apart from the light itself, there are several items that come packaged with the G25C2 including: a glow in the dark switch boot, spare o-rings, a low profile grip ring, a tail-stand rubber boot, a lanyard, a lanyard ring, the user manual, and a sheath. Many of these items are very useful while others seem like an afterthought.

EagleTac includes many extra items in the box.

The sheath seems to be of decent quality (not great) but it is far too large to consider using on anything other than a duty belt. It is made of a semi-rigid nylon material that has small indentations that retain the light even if the flap is open. I think if I was going to carry a light like this on the belt, I would get some custom kydex made for it.

The metal gate clip on the lanyard is a bit cheap feeling but the rest of the lanyard and lanyard attachment point is quite usable. The lanyard attachment point is detachable from the light and must be removed in order to attach the tail-stand boot.

The tail-stand boot is easily one of the most clever accessories that I have ever seen included with a flashlight. It can be stretched onto the tailcap of the light and allows the light to stand on end. This allows you to sit the light on a flat surface and bounce the beam off the ceiling to light a room. It also functions well as a guard to protect the switch from accidental activation.

The user manual that comes with the G25C2 is surprisingly excellent. It contains succinct and useful instructions and information about the flashlight. There are numerous graphs and graphics that do a good job of conveying necessary information. I am so used to horrible, useless user manuals that it is extremely refreshing to find a good one.

The fine knurling and crisp laser etchings show good attention to detail.

Fit and Finish

The fit and finish are very good. The threads are large and rotate smoothly. The o-rings are properly sized to seal the light from water and dust. The knurling is very finely machined. The hard anodized finish is smooth and evenly applied. The polished aluminum reflector is massive and beautifully finished. The gun metal colored stainless steel bezel ring is a very attractive touch. The light even comes with lubricated threads and o-rings which one of those extra little things that shows that EagleTac really cares about their product. Over all this light is constructed very, very well. It certainly feels very durable and, in my testing, it showed no signs of having any durability issues.

There are a few things that might nag some users. The pocket clip is sturdy but it can loosen easily. It doesn’t loosen to the point that you will loose the light but it does wiggle even if the retaining ring is tight. I also noticed a lot of dust inside the bezel of the light on the lens. EagleTac went to great length to create an efficient reflector and uses very high quality glass with AR coatings, so it seems strange that they would allow dust in the bezel.

The user manual that comes with the G25C2 is excellent.

Output and Run Time

The G25C2 has 4 output levels in mode 1. The version of the G25C2 that I have uses a CREE XM-L U Bin LED to pump out 770/320/59/2 lumens depending on output level. The actual measured output is 640/267/49/2 lumens. These numbers underscore just how much advertised claims and actual measured output can vary. I applaud EagleTac for publishing these numbers.

The run time on this light is pretty impressive. It will run for 1.1/3.5/20/200 hours depending on output level. It wasn’t that long ago that LEDs finally became capable of “tactical” level output and you could get 60 lumens for 1 hour. Now, with the G25C2, you can have 770 lumens for 1 hour and about 60 lumens for 20 hours. Amazing.

User Interface

The user interface of the G25C2 sounds somewhat complicated on paper and in some ways it is complicated. However, if you stick with the basics, it can be very easy to use. Most of the switching between modes and output levels is accomplished by twisting the bezel but there are some clicks of the switch involved in switching between some functions. Thankfully, the levels are basically set-and-forget. Levels can be selected with the bezel and the switch is only used for on and off when the level is selected.

Twist the bezel to select the desired output level.

There are 2 modes each with 4 settings. My sample G25C2 came set in Mode2 which has 2 output levels (770/90 lumens) and 2 strobe settings. Mode 1 consists of 4 output levels (770/320/59/2 lumens). These modes are basically just two different sets of output levels. They dictate how the flashlight behaves when you twist the bezel. Moving between the levels included in each mode is accomplished by twisting the bezel so you can set the desired level and then you can be assured that hitting the switch will result in the light mode of your choice (or in Mode 1, disorienting strobe).

The 5 auxiliary modes are somewhat difficult to access. Switching through them involves quickly rotating the bezel quickly from level 1 to level 3 (or 4) and then back to level 1. The modes are accessed in this order: Disorienting strobe/Flash(Hi)/S.O.S./Beacon/Flash(Lo). This is a bit cumbersome but I suppose these are basically hidden modes that are not necessary to most users.

In Use

I think it is hard to get a real idea of what a light is all about by shining it at white walls and the ceiling so I basically set about using this light for real world tasks as often as I could for several months. I am not police or military so I can’t comment as to whether this would be a suitable duty light for those types of users but I was struck by just how well this light works for general utility, camping, hiking, and preparedness. The long run times of the lower output levels make this exceedingly useful for those times that the power goes out or when the sun sets on the trail and you are still miles from your car.

The lanyard ring is well executed and the tailcap switch is perfect in terms of feel.

EagleTac did a great job of splitting up the output levels. They are spaced well enough that each level is very distinct from the other and provides drastically different run times.

The lower output settings on the G25C2 are great. The 2 lumen setting is actually more than enough light to get around in a dark house or even a dark trail and at 200 hours run time, it conserves battery capacity for times when the higher output modes are needed. The 59 lumen setting is great for when you need to look further down the trail or need to light up a bathroom during a power outage but is still relatively thrifty with the battery at 20 hours run time.

This tail-stand boot is one of the simplest, most useful, and most clever flashlight accessories that I have seen.

The higher output settings are really awe inspiring. The 770 lumen high mode is absolutely amazing. 770 lumens is a lot of light. It is enough light to light a large room when bounced off the ceiling and enough light to spot items over 200 yards away. The 320 lumen setting is no slouch either and it can be handy for those times that you may need high output but still need to conserve run time.

The beam is very balanced thanks to the reflector design. I mentioned above that it can throw enough light to see items over 200 yards away which would make you think that the beam is very focused, and it is, but it also has a very bright and wide spill beam. Much of the light is focused into a tight hotspot but there is a lot of useful spill that lights a very broad swath of your vision.

This grip ring allows the G25C2 to be more easily used in conjunction with a handgun.

This light is not very well suited to pocket carry because of the size of it’s bezel and reflector. It could be carried on a belt or in a bag but I prefer my lights to be more accessible. This isn’t really intended to be an every day carry light.

The switch on this light is deserving of praise. It is a forward clicky switch which means that you can press lightly for momentary on or press and click for constant on. This switch offers good resistance and a strong click. It doesn’t feel mushy or sound weak like some low quality switches.

This impressive, large, and well executed reflector is responsible for the well balanced beam of the G25C2.

Conclusion

This would be an impressive light just by virtue of its output but the other features like well thought out output levels, long run times, useful accessories, quality construction, and a well balanced beam shape really make it a great light. It is probably more complicated than I would want for a pure tactical light but all the extra modes turn this into an excellent light for the camper, hiker, or prepared citizen. I’m impressed.

Check out the EagleTac G25C2 for a great price at EdgeTactical.net.

Disclosure: This light was provided to me, free of charge, for review by EdgeTactical.

Emberlit EL-Mini

I really enjoyed testing the Emberlit Camp Stove. It is one of the least bulky and most functional ways that I have found to cook food on the trail. Now the Emberlit Camp Stove is about to get even less bulky with the future introduction of the Emberlit Mini.

The Emberlit Mini will be a scaled down version of the titanium Emberlit UL Camp Stove. With the smaller size, comes some advantages and some trade-offs. One advantage is that the smaller stove will work better with steel water bottles and the steel cups that nest on Nalgene bottles. It will also weigh less than the larger stoves. However, it will take more work to keep the fire up and you might see some longer cook times due to the lower capacity.

The EL-Mini will also feature a new design feature that is somewhat like a lanyard loop. It allows all of the pieces of the stove to be joined together with cord or a small carabiner. This new lanyard hole requires that a small extension be added to the top of each section of the stove which means that even though the opening in the top of the EL-Mini is smaller, the overall size at the top is about the same as the larger models. It will handle smaller cookware while still be very stable with larger cookware (the video below does a good job of showing this).

The new EL-Mini, or the full size stoves, would make a tremendous addition to a vehicle emergency kit or BOB. The Emberlit Mini Camp Stove will be available soon from Emberlit.com.

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