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Review: Speedbox Cooler-65

Speedbox Coolers may be new to the market but they come with an already proven pedigree. You are likely already familiar with the Speedbox line of bomb-proof, rolling totes that make carrying and palletizing gear easy. It is already in use by countless sportsmen but also the military which was its original intended market. So, when Speedbox’s manufacturing partner was looking to push their already proven coolers into potential military markets, it made sense to collaborate.

Speedbox’s manufacturing partner is also the group behind other well known, best in class, roto-molded products like Jackson Kayaks and Orion Coolers. In fact, the Speedbox Coolers are basically Orion Coolers with Speedbox branding and exclusive colors… and, if you know coolers, you know that is a good thing.

Overview

The Speedbox Cooler-65 is the subject of this review. It is their mid-sized cooler with a 65-quart capacity. It should be said that it has an ACTUAL 65-quart capacity (actually just over 65 quarts) which is notable because many coolers on the market fall short of their named capacity.

The cooler is roto-molded from the same plastics used in kayaks (which we put to the test in a very fitting way). It features a minimum of 2″ of insulation on all sides which is a major aid to its performance (which we also tested). It also includes a drain plug, lift points molded into the sides, additional removable handles, bottle openers at each corner, multiple tie-down points, aluminum and rubber cam latches, and a lockable lid.

All of the above makes it sound like a typical Orion Coolers Core model but it is all the extras (and exclusive color options) that set the Speedbox Coolers apart. They include the excellent slip-resistant foam stand/sit pad for the top of the lid, a sliding internal organization tray that is removable, and Gear Track channels for attaching other compatible gear. These are all included with every cooler.

Finally, the Speedbox Coolers are certified to be bear-resistant Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee when used with locks on the lid (not included).

Testing

When it comes to high-end coolers, I am looking for two things: performance and useful features. In my experience, this cooler has both in spades. I’ll cover the performance testing first.

Ideal Conditions Ice Test

In order to test performance, I did an ice test. There are already ice tests for Orion Coolers out there on the web but they are often conducted in summer heat and direct sun to get the point across. It’s winter in Idaho where I am located so that kind of test is out of the question. Instead, I executed the test in a way that I have never seen done before – more of an ideal situation test.

I started by pre-chilling the cooler outside in the cold with some ice packs in it. This is a hunter’s trick to help a cooler keep ice longer. There is a lot of ice lost initially to cooling the interior of the cooler so pre-chilling ensures you keep more of your ice. Once the cooler was chilled, I added 6 bags of ice, moved the cooler to an interior space that would be kept between 62F and 65F for the duration of the test, and noted the time. The test plan was to open the cooler to check the status of the ice and move the ice around 3 times daily to simulate use.

2 Weeks – The remaining ice was gone sometime after midday on the 23rd.

During this time, I checked the exterior of the cooler with an infrared thermometer and found the exterior was the same temperature as the exterior of a cabinet that was next to the cooler – in other words, room temperature – on all surfaces. The slim gap where the lid sits on the body of the cooler was less than a degree cooler than the rest of the cooler indicating that the gasket works very well. The drain plug was the only part of the cooler that was appreciably cooler than room temperature at 10-11 degrees cooler than ambient temperature. Even the bottom of the cooler and the floor beneath it registered at room temperature.

The Speedbox-65 held ice for more than 14 days, with the last bit of ice melting a few hours short of a full 15 days. This cooler held ice for more than 2 weeks! That is an amazing performance but do keep in mind that this cooler was given the very best chance of this kind of performance and you can count on seeing different results in different conditions.

Durability Test

We decided to test the durability in a spectacular but totally appropriate way given the kayaking pedigree of this cooler. We floated it down a creek that was filled with snowmelt, fast-moving, and very rocky. This creek has enough water moving quickly enough that it is difficult to stand up in but it is also full of glacial bulders making almost all of it impassible to boats. It is 3-4 feet deeps in spots but rushing over and around boulders in others.

The creek did its worst. It rolled the cooler and dragged it across rocks. It flipped it on its side and spun it around, over and over again, until it reached the point where I was waiting with a large stick to catch it (the stick was so I didn’t have to wade into the freezing cold water above the height of my boots). In all, it bobbed, tumbled, and bashed its way down about 200 yards of creek.

We took the cooler out of the water and inspected it. Various surfaces of the coolers were scraped from rock impacts though not deeply. Given that is made the same way premium roto-molded kayaks are made, I wasn’t surprised that it shrugged this off.

This was actually a bigger test for the gasket because as the cooler bumps down the creek and stops on rocks, it has the full force of the creek pressing on it… especially when it flips on its side. There was some water ingress but it was minimal at about 2 tablespoons. That gasket is designed more to keep cold in (or more accurately to keep heat out) and maybe prevent sloshing meltwater from leaving the cooler. This was test went way beyond that and yet it did surprisingly well.

The interior of the cooler was remarkably dry after this test.

Observations from Use

This cooler comes loaded with some solid features which I will try to summarize, starting with the excellent handles, since this review is already longer than usual. I thought I would remove the accessory handles in favor of the integral lift points… That would have been a mistake. The integral lift points are fine but the accessory handles are extremely comfortable to use as they allow your hand to be up above the cooler and make it much easier for two people to carry the cooler. These comfortable and grippy rubber handles make this cooler much easier to transport than coolers with just fixed lift points.

The Speedbox Cooler-65 has several tie-down points which make it easy to find a way to secure this cooler. It can be locked to a boat or truck fairly easily with a cable lock. If you are like me, you probably already have cable locks laying around from trail cams or bikes. A cable lock can also be used to lock the lid closed though, if you need the bear-proof rating, you may want to pick up a pair of long shackle locks.

The cam latches for the lid are excellent. My daughters can use them easily which is not the case with some cooler latches. They also sit fully flush with the exterior of the cooler when latched which means there is nothing to snag or catch.

The included foam pad turned out to be one of my favorite features on this cooler because of how it enhances the usefulness of the cooler. Most people don’t buy these coolers just to store food. They’re going to use it as a casting stand, use it as a stool to reach their roof rack, and use it as a chair in camp. The foam pad ensures that the cooler is comfortable and slip-resistant when used in this way. My daughters used it as a stage which may or may not be useful to you.

The included organization tray is a GREAT feature. It keeps the interior of the cooler organized and lets you store items out of the ice water which can be nice for some types of packaging. It features a drain hole so that if meltwater does manage to slosh into it, it will end up back in the main well below.

There are a lot of reasons to own a cooler like this. The most obvious are for use on a boat, camping, or for transporting meat when hunting. However, I think there are preparedness and convenience reasons too. For instance, it can be used to store food in a power outage that lasts more than 24 hours, allowing you to keep your main refrigerator closed. It is also a great way to store food for road trips… even really long road trips.

Finally, I want to point out that there is a great benefit to this cooler’s pedigree. Orion Coolers already has a huge ecosystem of available accessories for their coolers and the Speedbox Coolers are compatible with all of them. They have everything from dividers that double as cutting boards, wheel sets to turn this into a cart, and even a seat back that turns this cooler into a comfortable seat with back support.

Wrap Up

The Speedbox Cooler-65 is not inexpensive but it is loaded with features and offers excellent ice holding performance to justify its price. It is also made in the USA. This is a rugged cooler may be new to the market but it comes with a proven pedigree.

You can learn more about the Speedbox Cooler line at their website: Speedbox.us.

Review: Garage Built Gear Qube Range/Camera Bag

Is it a range bag? Is it a camera bag? Is it a packing cube? Is it an organizer insert or a stand-alone bag? The Garage Built Gear Qube is all those things. You’ve probably never seen a bag that is shaped quite like it but that’s what makes it great.

It’s easy to see why it’s called the Qube.

Overview

The Qube is a roughly square shaped bag with a full panel, zippered opening. It is 11″ x 10.5″ with a 4.5″ depth.

The exterior of the Qube features an adjustable slip pocket with interior loop velcro to accept organization pouches. It also has a stout carry handle on the top and a small PALS webbing field.

The interior is padded on the back and bottom. It features loop on the back and sides to accept organization pouches and the optional foam dividers (which are shown in my review). The bag has enough structure that it holds its shape very well and protects its contents. The inside surface of the lid has a full-size mesh pocket that is closed with a zipper.

Padded Back

Observations from Use

I own a few pieces of gear from Garage Built Gear and I think what strikes me most about their designs is their unique approach to size and shape. There aren’t many bags that are shaped like the Qube and yet that shape is the secret to its versatility. It is large enough to hold a lot of gear, shaped so that you can maximize the internal volume, and compact enough to fit easily into other bags.

The shape and size of this bag, along with its user-customizable organization options, take its flexibility to another level. It can be used as a standalone range bag, camera bag, first-aid kit, tool kit, or general gear organizer. It can also be used as an insert in a larger pack like a packing cube or camera insert for a backpack. I’ve used for all of the above.

Optional padded dividers and loop lined interior

The padded dividers are a must if you plan to use this as a range bag or camera bag in my opinion. These really help organize the contents of the Qube. They are especially nice to do things like protect a lens or keep a handgun from smashing into the other contents of the bag.

The interior of the Qube is lined with loop material on the left and right sides and back. Hook-backed organization pouches may be attached to any of these surfaces but the sides, in particular, are used to attach the padded dividers. This works and offers a lot of flexibility to the user but it seems like there could be more…

Range bag

It would be nice if there was a bit more loop material on the top and bottom surfaces of the main compartment as well as on the padded dividers to allow for additional configuration options when using the padded dividers. The current design really only allows them to be installed going left to right and the placement of the one vertical divider is limited to a single location. Some additional loop material would add to the padded feel of the bag and allow for more options. This is probably a small nitpick in the end but feels like at least a little bit of a missed opportunity for a bag that seems to otherwise max out its flexibility at every turn.

The quality of this bag is excellent. The materials are top-notch. The edges are taped and there are appropriate reinforcing stitches throughout. It is a very modern-looking bag with all the durability benefits that come from its tactical sensibilities.

Stuffed with mags

I’ve already mentioned some of the ways I have used this bag and Garage Built Gear expressly refers to this as a camera/range bag but I want to highlight a couple of less obvious ways that I found it particularly useful. It is great inside of a typical EDC backpack when used as an organizer for larger gear or as a sort of packing cube. In fact, I have found that it can pretty easily hold enough clothes for an overnight trip which is a handy way to organize something like a carryon bag for travel. I also really like it as a companion to a larger range bag where it can be used to carry things like a stacks of loaded magazines.

It easily fits into another bag for use as a packing cube or camera insert.

Wrap Up

I have used this bag in so many ways and I’m sure I will come up with even more ways to use it as time goes by. Garage Built Gear seems to have a unique eye for size and shape that suits their products well. The quality is excellent and the Qube’s modern look with a tactical bent appeals to me.

Garage Built Gear typically releases their gear in batches. You can learn more by watching their website and Instagram feed.

GarageBuiltGear.com

@GarageBuiltGear on Instagram

Shown with paper targets in the outer pocket.

Review: Tyrant Designs CNC Glock Extended Slide Release (Gen 2-4)

I have a love-hate relationship with extended slide releases for Glocks. On one hand, I appreciate the larger target and easier operation of an extended slide release. On the other hand, I hate how the base of my thumb often rides onto them causing failures to lock back. The best extended slide releases for me have always been relatively compact, relying more on improved texture and shape rather than a true extension for leverage. Enter the Tyrant Designs CNC Glock Extended Slide Release.

Overview

Tyrant Designs’ Glock Extended Slide Release consists of a steel lever with an aluminum pad that has a deep chevron texture machined into its face. As with all Tyrant Designs’ parts, it can be had in a variety of anodized colors including black if you are as basic as I am.

Observations from Use

This is a very, very good extended slide release even though it hardly appears to be extended at all at a glance. While many extended slide releases rely on a much larger contact area, Tyrant chose to go in the direction that I prefer. They increased texture and provided a ledge which makes the release much easier to use while keeping its footprint minimal.

The machined chevron texture is clever because its beveled shape provides grip in both directions – down to release and up during manually locking back the slide. The shape of the upper part of Extended Slide Release provides a ledge (plus that bevel) that is extremely easy to depress. It is so easy to use, that I can hit with the thumb of my firing hand which I can’t typically do unless the lever is very oversized. I certainly can’t do it reliably with the OEM slide release.

The minimal footprint is absolutely clutch for many shooters. Internet gun forums are chocked full of discussions around brand new Glocks that lock back early or won’t lock back on an empty magazine. This is due to the shooter’s support hand contacting the slide release. Many Glock shooters have to take great care when building their grip to work around the lever and this is obviously more difficult when the lever is larger. The Tyrant Designs lever works well without being oversized. I consider that ideal.

The small footprint has another benefit. It fits most holsters. I tried all my holsters and this fit well in all of them. Is there some kind of super stiff, super specifically molded kydex holster that it won’t fit? Maybe. However, the footprint of this lever fits within the fence that Glock molds in the grip frame, a spot that holster makers already accommodate, so I don’t think you will have an issue with holster fit.

I also happen to think it looks pretty snazzy, especially if you have other Tyrant Designs gear on your Glock. Sometimes people need to remember that guns are fun and it’s fun to personalize them.

Wrap Up

This lever gets a little bit lost in the shuffle when compared to some of the more “serious” offerings out there but, make no mistake, this is a functional piece that is well suited to concealed carry. Whether you need an extended slide release that just works or you are buying for looks, this could be the Glock extended slide release for you. It certainly works for me.

TyrantCNC.com

The EDC Tool Roll: Knipex Cobra Pliers 87 00 100

The EDC Tool Roll is a feature on Jerking the Trigger in which we profile various every day carry worthy tools. The tools shown aren’t multi-tools but rather real tools, that by virtue of their compact size, light weight, usefulness, or unique functionality, can find a place in any range kit, emergency kit, or every day carry bag.

Feel free to comment on the tools that you carry so we can all learn! The discussion on these posts has been very valuable so far.


The Knipex Cobra Pliers 87 01 125 are one of my all-time favorite tools, one of the reasons I started writing The EDC Tool Roll series, and the most viewed review in this series. I am certainly not the only one who took notice of these handy little pliers. Knipex has certainly taken note of the attention that the everyday carry community has given to the 87 01 125 because they have launched an addition to the Cobra line that is actually aimed directly at the EDC market.

Shown: 87 00 100 on the left compared with the 87 01 125 on the right

The new Cobra Plier 87 00 100 follows the Knipex Cobra pattern with its large jaw opening, excellent hardened teeth, and easy adjustment. It is also an inch shorter in overall length than the already fairly compact 87 01 125. However, this isn’t just a smaller version of an existing product. It actually brings a number of thoughtful features that fit it’s intended purpose as an everyday carry item.

There are two changes that make these new, smaller Cobra Pliers more EDC-friendly. The first is the lack of a rubberized grip. The grip on the Cobra 87 01 125 is comfortable and useable but it adds thickness and can make the pliers stick in your pocket a bit. The new 87 00 100 has well-shaped, bare steel handles with checkering for grip. These bare grips make the pliers slide in and out of the pocket with ease.

The second EDC update is the use of a detent adjustment instead of a button lock. This allows the user to adjust the size of the pliers with one hand as there is no button to press. It also streamlines the pliers significantly and removes sport for lint to accumulate.

Shown: The 87 00 100’s jaws are slimmed versus the 87 01 100

I should also note that the new 87 00 100 has slimmer jaws. I am not sure that this change makes them any more EDC-friendly but it does make them great for getting into tight places and reduces the weight. One of the main selling points of Knipex pliers is always the jaws and they always seem to get them right.

The 87 00 100’s jaws open wide to about 1.1″ which means you can do real work with these diminutive pliers. Speaking of diminutive, they are just under 4″ long and weigh in at a scant 2.18 ounces. They fit easily into the coin pocket on most jeans with just a bit of the handle sticking out.

Unless you need the larger size of the 87 01 125, the new 87 00 100 is a no-brainer for EDC. The slim and slick design, one-handed adjustment, and lightweight make it a joy to carry. They may be small but still outwork the marginal pliers found on most multitools.

Where to Buy:

I don’t have a source for Knipex Tools locally so I buy all of mine online, usually from Amazon: Knipex Cobra Pliers 87 00 100 on Amazon

Previously Reviewed Alternatives:


See all the reviews for previous tools: The EDC Tool Roll

Do you have a tool recommendation that fits The EDC Tool Roll? Tell us about it in the comments below or drop us a line on the Contact page.

The above URLs may be affiliate links.

Review: S2Delta 1-6X24 Carbine Scope

You may recall that I reviewed the S2Delta 1-4X24 Carbine Scope last year and, in my opinion, it was the best budget low power variable optic (LPVO) available… especially since it retails for less than $200 on Amazon. That optic is a true competitor to the biggest players in the budget optic space at an incredible price… with Prime shipping to boot! What do you do to top that? Well, you bring out a 1-6X24 version of the same optic with all the same strengths and, while you are at it, you improve your already great reticle.

I was fortunate to get to spend time with the first and only production unit of the new 1-6X24 Carbine Scope which should be newly available at the time of this writing. The following are my thoughts based on that time in which I was instructed not to baby this optic in spite of the fact that it was the only production version in S2Delta’s possession at the time!

I am going to frame this review in the context of the 1-4X version of this optic which I am more familiar with having owned 2 of them. This also seems appropriate given my impression that this 1-6X24 is very much an improved version of the 1-4X24.

In my opinion, the original 1-4X24 is a great budget optic on the strength 3 features that S2Delta majored on: Reticle, Glass, and Turrets. The clear emphasis on these perceived quality features are all clearly present on the new 1-6X24 version (or in even improved in one case).

Reticle – The reticle in the 1-6X is the same trend busting reticle that I loved in the original 1-4X. Most ranging/BDC reticles on the market are floating reticles with thick, eye-catching elements rings or horseshoes. S2Delta’s reticle takes the time-honored approach of providing a finer (but still eye-catching) reticle with full crosshairs to draw the eye to the aiming point. This provides a balance of speed and precision that I appreciate.

I describe my experience with this reticle in-depth in my original review so I won’t spend many more words on it here other than to say that the reticle really benefits from the new 1-6X format. This SFP reticle appears larger and more legible at 1X (which corrects the criticism by some user’s that the 1-4X can be hard to read due to its small size). It is an excellent and thoroughly modern reticle and this is the best iteration of it to date.

Turrets – I know from talking to S2Delta that they wanted to convey the quality of these optics through the parts like the turrets and magnification ring with which the user interacts. The magnification ring, with its included removable throw lever, turns smoothly (even more smoothly than the 1-4X that I have on hand). Like the 1-4X, the turrets are particularly noteworthy in how positively and audibly they click through their adjustments. These optics have very nice turrets.

When I first received the optic (along with a borrowed Geiselle mount from S2Delta), I leveled and mounted the scope with the intent of starting my testing with a box test. The 1-6X passed that test and I was glad to have that kind of bench shooting out of the way. The positive action of the turrets makes this kind of diagnostic task less painful.

Glass – Finally, the optical quality is still good enough that I think the 1-6X punches above its weight class. My impressions were that the 1-4X is slightly brighter and possibly a bit more clear from edge to edge but the 1-6x is no slouch. The additional magnification is welcomed.

The glass is brighter and clearer than two other older LVPOs from other large US-based brands that cost more than twice as much. The 1-4X showed similar performance so this was not surprising. I am not trying to say this is going to be better than premium glass, just that it performs well in its class and better than you might think with its price tag. This is still a budget optic but it clearly benefits from the impressive improvements that many Asian OEM optics have seen in optical quality recently. This glass will not hold you back.

Other Observations – One thing that I particularly liked about the 1-4X, was the generous eye relief and eye box. I would say that the 1-6 may take just a bit of a step back in this area. The eye box isn’t tight or difficult to deal with but my impression is that it was not as forgiving as the 1-4X.

The 1-6X retains the neat fluted diopter ring of the 1-4X and the scope cap that interfaces it. This seems like a small thing but it allows the user to set their diopter ring and then mark its location by installing the scope cap with the hinge in a reference position. This effectively witness marks the diopter ring.

I put just over 300 round through two different rifles with this optic installed. During that admittedly small round count, it performed well. I didn’t do anything too crazy with it though it did get tipped off my truck unto the ground and some rocks at the range. This resulted in a hard knock to the scope cap. I confirmed that it held zero after this and noted that it did scrape some anodization off the scope caps.

Wrap Up

The retail price on the new 1-6X24 Carbine Scope is higher (currently $359) than that of the original 1-4X but it is still available from Amazon which is convenient. This price plants it firmly in the budget optic category where it delivers a compelling list of features that make it VERY competitive.

The 1-4X24 is still available at a steal of a price and still represents what might be the best value in this space. The 1-6X24 rounds out the S2Delta Carbine Optic line with an improved, slightly more premium option for those who love the reticle but want a little more from their optic.

You can check out the 1-4X24 and 1-6X24 Carbine Optics at the S2Delta website (the 1-6X should be listed shortly if it is not already): S2Delta.com

Both are also available via Amazon Prime in the S2Delta Amazon Store: 1-4X24 and 1-6X24 Carbine Scopes on Amazon

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