Outdoors

Taking Your Fitness Routine on Vacation – The Monday Mile

I am just coming back after a week-long ‘vacation’ … and I have a marathon in THREE WEEKS! I learned about and signed up for the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Marathon just before vacation, and at that point it was still June, and the race was at the end of July, so I looked at it as weeks away. It wasn’t until we got back from vacation that I really thought about it – and realized that my next marathon is only 10 weeks after the first. Plenty of time to make sure I’m ready, but not a lot of time…


InteliScope Introduces Geek to Tactical Rifles

Anyone who reads my posts knows I love to hunt and love to shoot. In fact, I just received my first custom rifle built by my best friend. My next firearm goal is to have a tactical rifle built. Since tactical rifles have rails, many accessories and other items can be added making each firearm unique to the owner. Of course, there are plenty of scope options, lights and lasers and other cool stuff to add to the rails, but what about for a geek like me? For those of us who love technology and gadgets added to everything we…


FRODO Brings Home Automation to Camper Trailers and Other Mobile Homes

You probably have a certain level of automation that you enjoy in your home already; perhaps you use a smart thermostat, or maybe you have a home alarm. The cool thing about home monitoring and automation is that it doesn’t matter how old your home is, there are products that can be added at any time which will modernize it, making it as self-regulating and automatic as you want it to be. People who own travel trailers and campers don’t necessarily have the same options.  Sure, you could drop $500K on a new top of the line travel bus with…


DIY Ice Chest Air Conditioner Project

Spring time in Texas is hot; we do not really have seasons, just hot and not so hot. We are deep into the spring turkey hunting season, and some days it is just unbearable. I hunt with a bow, so that is done in a pop up tent blind. Turkeys can see extremely well, so I wear a long sleeve black shirt and black ninja mask. Of course I always wear my snake boots and long pants. The blind is basically an oven. I recently heard about people turning ice chests into an air conditioner on the go and decided…


How To Start a Simple Heirloom Vegetable Garden from Scratch

How many of us have been at a grocery store and been disappointed with the variety and quality of produce? How many sandwiches or other dishes have been befouled with limp lettuce or a feeble yellow-green-pink tomato? It’s no wonder kids (and some adults) aren’t too keen on vegetables. What to do? One solution is to start your own garden, especially an heirloom garden. The term “heirloom” is still often debated, but for the purposes of this post I’m going to loosely define the term to mean an openly pollinated plant that breeds true to its parents and is not…


Is It Time to Go Solar?

My World Geography class was discussing Africa last week, and the subject of electricity seemed to interest them. There are parts of Africa that are not connected to an electrical grid, so alternate forms of power are a must. A student found an article explaining that 80% of Kenyans do not have electrical service and that they primarily light their homes with kerosene lamps. Long story short, a start up company is now offering solar setups that can run a small house with a pay-as-you-go model to be affordable to the rural residents. Read the article here. My students were impressed…


Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon Dual Lense Action Camera Gives You Eyes in the Back of Your Head

We’ve all seen those first-person action videos of guys and gals flying down the slopes, jumping out of planes, or slashing through the whitewater on their kayaks.  These videos are entertaining and provide the viewer a peek at exactly how it would look if you were risking your own neck out there, without all the danger and adrenaline.  The problem with these videos, however, is that you can only capture one angle on the action, unless the camera is behind held in hand.  Oregon Scientific is looking to change this with their new Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon camera, the world’s…


TrackingPoint Releases Precision Guided Firearm iOS Simulator App

We first broke news of TrackingPoint and their Precision Guided Firearm system during this year’s CES. The system is a custom-built rifle and scope combination that makes long-range shooting much more accurate. Using the XactSystem, shooters tag, track and hit their target with pinpoint accuracy. TrackingPoint has just released Precision Hunter Lite which allows iOS users to experience their revolutionary technology. The free application is basically a first person shooter that replicates the Precision Guided Firearm experience. Using the head’s up display, users practice utilizing the XactSystem to successfully make ethical shots at extreme distances. Users choose their quarry then…


Hypothermia Warning Signs – The Monday Mile

Over the last week I have heard a few stories about runners getting into a bit of trouble with the elements, and reflecting on how hard it is to interpret hypothermia warning signs … when you are the one who has gotten into trouble. One veteran runner had a ‘stomach emergency’ mid-run which led to too much exposure, and the inability to get warm. Fortunately there was a nearby gym where he stopped and called his wife to collect him. He noticed that he had a hard time operating his phone, and while driving home she remarked that the scary…


Smartphone Cameras Change Everything: Winter Storm Nemo vs Blizzard of ’78

This week marked the 35th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’78, and as a result we have seen some of the iconic images from that storm on web sites and social media. I have a few pictures that I’ll share here. The other day it was snowing – pretty snow floating to the ground and coating everything. I snapped a picture with my smartphone camera that went to our photo stream, and my wife saw it and remarked that it was a pretty shot … and that is likely the only attention it will ever get. And as snow started…


Dorcy LED Headlamp Review

I’ll admit that the first time Kev slipped his headlamp on to go do something outside in the dark, I smirked. Why not just carry a flashlight? Why go out of your way to look like a coal miner or a caver? I’m being facetious, of course. I totally understood why he would want to be able to do things outside handsfree, but there’s no getting around the fact that wearing a headlamp makes you look a little silly. Only, you are the one getting the last laugh. If you have a headlamp on, it’s like you’ve grown an extra…


Beer Hunter and Drinkmaster Will Keep You Warm and Your Beer Cold

It’s time for slightly embarrassing admissions here at Gear Diary: I can personally vouch that when I was in college (hmmpty-hmmph) years ago, I learned that it is possible to smuggle an entire eight-pack of 8 oz. Little Kings Cream Ales into a movie theater stashed within the various pockets of a denim jacket. I mean, have you seen the price of concessions at the movies lately?! Unfortunately, I can also verify that when you drape said blue jean jacket around the back of a theater seat, there is a very high probability that at least one of those little…


The Monday Mile – Too Sick to Exercise?

One of the keys to a fitness routine is … making it a routine. That means doing it on a regular basis, and for most people it means setting up a time pretty much every day when you can make it happen. For me it is 4AM runs, for others it is a post-work stop at the gym, and others have their own way of getting it done. But what if you are not feeling great? Should you still work out, or are you better taking a day off? Here are five quick thoughts: 1. If you have a fever,…


Minimal-ish Shoes Trickle Down to Target

One of the big knocks on minimal running shoes is that the prices are anything but minimal. Most of the big brand name shoes cost around $100 a pair, which can feel steep for a slab of rubber and some cloth for the upper. But like all trends in fashion, designs do eventually trickle down to cheaper names. Target’s C9 by Champion offers all sorts of great athletic wear at low prices, and they’ve expanded that to shoes that look suspiciously like the Reebok Realflex, a popular transitional/minimal shoe! Target is calling it the “Champion Premier” line, but the shoes…


TrackingPoint Presents the World’s First Precision Guided Rifle Technology

As many of you know, I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman. I hunt not only for the sport of it, but also because it is a way to feed my family. I hunt with a compound bow as well as a rifle, both with different goals. With my bow, the goal is to get the game as close as possible enabling a 20-30 yard shot. Conversely, I prefer to shoot at longer ranges with my rifle. Usually 200 yards and up, and to facilitate this I use a scope with a ballistic drop reticle. Basically, there are dots under…


yurbuds Focus Limited Edition Earbuds Look Great, Sound Great and Stay in Place

We’ve been fans of yurbuds earbuds since first seeing them at CES 2011. The earbuds have a special design that lets you wear them comfortably for extended periods and, thanks to their unusual design, the earbuds stay in place even when you are doing flips off the wall. Case in point… The company has once again upped their game. The Focus Limited Edition ($99.99) and Inspire Limited Edition ($99.99) step up the fashion aspect of the earbuds by switching to a sharp black/red color. The result is a line that looks sleeker than ever. Yes, sport earphones can now be…


Caching in on Fun

Has anyone ever told you to go take a hike?  Have you considered actually doing it?  Do you enjoy scavenger hunts?  If you answered yes to these questions, then geocaching is for you! Geocaching is a scavenger hunt appropriate for adults or anyone who can follow a GPS.  The basic premise is that somewhere out in the woods, someone hid a treasure chest (or geocache), and in that chest is a collection of random goods including anything ranging from a heart necklace to a plastic stegosaurus.  The GPS coordinates will help you get to the area, and then it’s your…


New Grilling Developments from Saffire and Grate Chef

The unseasonably warm weather in my hometown of Nashville assured that my holiday turkey would just have to be cooked outdoors. I’ve outgrown the fad of deep-frying turkeys, both because it’s really pretty unhealthy and the fact that I really don’t want to burn my house down just to save a little cooking time. Plus, I really like the flavor of a smoked turkey because, let’s face it turkey doesn’t really taste like much unless you add something to the meat. After a two-day brine in a simple solution of water, salt, sugar and a few favorite spices and an…


My Bag: Ham Radio Edition

Hurricane Sandy, the derecho and the upcoming winter season has had me thinking about what I carry on a daily basis. It also prompted me to consider what I might add to it to be better prepared.  In HAM lingo, we refer to this as our GO bag– the bag that serves in an emergency preparedness capacity. Here’s a look at my Go bag. The Bag Itself My bag is a Swiss Gear Cobalt laptop bag. In fact, this is the same one I use as my daily driver laptop bag; it is available from Amazon for around $60 bucks. I…


My Hurricane Sandy Survival Gear

I started this post prior to losing power Monday night. In the middle of writing it, the power went out … and it stayed out until late Thursday night. We had no heat or electric; because we are on a well and septic system, we had no water. We had no internet and no phones either, since I had insisted we get rid of our landline a few years ago (Oops!). We, however, were among the lucky ones. We had no property damage, and the two trees that came down fell as perfectly as if I had actually planned the…


Chaval Outdoor Introduces Response-XRT Tech-Based Luxury Ski Gloves

We have now had three sub-30F mornings in the last two weeks … so I am thinking about my cold weather gear for running. Also, next month my younger son starts his annual ski team weekend jaunts, so again I am thinking gear. I have found that through the years maintaining finger warmth has become increasingly critical to my overall sense of comfort. By the coldest days I am often double-gloving in order to keep warm. But that was before; I am now running FOUR TIMES the distance and staying out twice as long. So I anticipate this year being…