Camping & Hiking

Budget View: The 11 Best Binoculars under $100

Binoculars are one of the most important tools in your outdoor kit. Whether hunting, bird watching, fishing, or even attending a concert, binoculars can make viewing a landscape more palpable.

We’ve put together a list of our top binoculars under $100 for those just starting out, those adding quality set of binoculars to their case, or those looking for a gift for the outdoor-lover in their life. We have also included a binocular buying guide to make shopping for your next pair of binoculars a cinch.

The Best Binoculars Under $100

Bushnell Falcon 133410

  Editors Choice  

These Falcon binoculars will have you seeing as well as a “falcon.” They have a 7x magnification and an auto focusing porro-prism that make for quality optics with HD clarity. The auto focus makes it simple and easy to pay attention to your target as opposed to wasting time on the manual focus. The binoculars offer both short distance and large distance clarity, with 20-feet close and 420-feet long. It has 12mm eye relief and 5mm exit pupil, which is easy on the eyes and allows for continuous use. If you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, the fold-down eyecups protect your lenses from scratching. You’ll also love the classic and chic design that comes with this industry-leading product.  BUY IT NOW 

Bushnell 138005

These binoculars are perfect for all-weather trips. The BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated lenses add significant brightness to the image, which is great for hunting in clouds and light rain. They are compact and easy to carry, making them great for travel, hunting, birding, and even fishing trips. They have a soft texture grips which make it ideal for constant use, as well as twist-up eyecups, so they are comfortable and easy to use. These binoculars offer a sharp focus with a center knob for easy adjustments.  BUY IT NOW 

Bushnell Powerview Prisim

The Bushnell Powerviews are small (weighing only 7 ounces), yet sturdy, coated with a firm grip, non-sip rubber and an armor that absorbs shock from any drops. It has a center focus system that makes it simple to sharpen your view, with a 378-field at 1000-yards. Many consumers prefer to use these binoculars for bird-watching because it has a strong close-center focus. It comes in a variety of magnifications, with a roof prism system, so you’ll be able to find a great sight amplification for a lightweight and durable equipment.  BUY IT NOW 

Bushnell Powerview Surviellence

These porro-prism binoculars have an intense magnification and superior light transmission, great for woods and darkly lit environments. Many people even use them to stargaze! They have a 170-feet field of view at 1000 yards and a 50mm objective diameter. Bushnell’s Surveillance binoculars have a one-touch focus system that allows you to easily focus without significant manual effort, which is especially great for action-packed hunting trips. These glasses are better for long-distance, such as deer or elk, rather than close-range magnification. They also come with a woven neck strap that customers rave about because it helps to cut down the weight of the binoculars—plus it’s comfortable.  BUY IT NOW 

Polaris Optics ProBirder

This is not the most versatile binocular, and it is made more for the bird watching and close-range hunters out there. However, for those folks, it is an amazing and affordable option. It provides a sharp color contrast that helps focus in on the subject you are watching. It has an 8×32 magnification that lets you see even the lightest drops of dew as if you were inches away. The 356 feet field of view at 1000 yards proves to be a useful tool for birdwatchers, who want to be able to see several birds at once or swiftly focus on a new area. These binoculars to be a bit bulkier and heavier, but it does come with a great portable case and heavy-duty lens cover.  BUY IT NOW 

Merytes Portable HD

We put this on the list as one of the best “starter” binoculars at an incredibly affordable price. These binoculars do not have as many high-end functions for the more experienced hunters and bird watchers. However, these binoculars are compact, easy to carry, and come with a carrying bag and strap. The lenses make it great for environments with weak lighting, and the picture is so sharp and clear that you can see the individual hairs on a fox. This is great for adults taking their kids on a camping trip or tourist adventure, because they are easy to carry and easily adjustable (with the center hand wheel) for everyone in the family to share.  BUY IT NOW 

Olympus Trooper

These binoculars are great for close range and long range, and they have a clear, sharp image in both the dark of night and the brightness of day. They seem to struggle a bit in weak lighting of overcast or foggy days. However, they have 10x magnification with a distortion-free view. These offers a Bak-7 lens system for excellent optics and precise focus, as controlled by a center focus knob. Using a porro-prism, it has a 342 feet view at 1,000 yards, with a 65° angle. One of our favorite parts of this binocular is that it has UV Protection in the glasses to help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, which can amplify in binoculars’ reflective lenses. No need for uncomfortable, color-distorting sunglasses while you’re enjoying the great outdoors.  BUY IT NOW 

Nikon 8248 Aculon

One of the best reviews that these binoculars consistently get is that it is easy to focus and it stays sharp even in higher settings. With many binoculars, you can lose the image quality as you magnify and focus further. These not only maintain the quality of the image, but they also enhance it with eco-glass lenses that work well in most lighting conditions. It has one of the smoothest focus knobs, making it easy to operate and focus on your subject—your binoculars should help you get the job done, not give you more work. It also has a durable rubber-armored coating that makes it rugged and ready for any outing. The only real concern is that these binoculars sometimes work better for focusing on long-distance rather than short-distance bird watching or fishing.  BUY IT NOW 

Tasco Essentials

These are the essential basics binoculars, perfect for those who are starting out or looking for a pair of basic binoculars to add to the set. The lens is not made for long-wear or usage in poor lighting, so these are better for those who will be using binoculars to quickly spot their target and then act. (Not right for birdwatchers, fishermen, etc.) It has an 8x magnification, a 383-foot field of view at 1,000 yards (which is larger than many), and a 21 mm lens. These are incredibly lightweight, though, so they are perfect for hiking and backpacking. Weighing in at 6.5 ounces, they take up little weight and room in the pack to carry on longer trips. They also have a rubber-armored housing that absorbs shock and protects from weather, perfect for unexpected mountain conditions.  BUY IT NOW 

Sminiker Folding Binocular

These are one of the smallest binoculars on our list, and they fold even smaller to be easy to carry and transport. These military grade binoculars include night vision, which allows for spectacular view after dark! They can be used for birding, travelling, sightseeing, hunting, and general observation with little problem. The field of view is approximately 413 feet at 1000 yards, at 7.2°, making it one of the widest fields on this list. They are easy to focus and quickly sharpen in accordance with any magnification, no matter the lighting. They also have a sleek design with strong durability. The only con is that the image is not as clear or sharp as some of its competitors, but that is because these lenses work their magic mostly at night.  BUY IT NOW 

Celestron SkyMater

We’ve added the final pair for those star-lovers out there specifically. Our top pick for stargazing with low light, long-distance viewing is the Celestron SkyMaster Giant. It has a diopter adjustment for fine focusing, which is crucial when trying to capture the intricacies of the night sky. It has multi-coated optics, which makes the image sharp and clear. The large aperture allows it to capture so much light, you can even see faint galaxies outside our own! It offers 13 mm eye relief for eyeglass wearers, allowing you to watch the terrestrial wonders all night long! Because they have such intense optics for long distance, they are a little on the heavier side—but they come with a tripod adapter.  BUY IT NOW 

REVIEW: The Suunto Core Watch

About The Suunto Core Altimeter Watch

Picture this: You’re 3 days in to your 5-day expedition, cutting through the thickest most beautiful wilderness, when the barometric pressure starts to change and the storm alarm goes off to alert you well ahead of the massive storm rolling through so you are fully unpacked and securely sheltered before it even hits. Congrats, you just outsmarted nature.

The Suunto Core Watch combines style and functionality perfectly. There are many reasons why this watch made our list of best altimeter watches. The robust technology packed into this watch may help save backpackers or a hiker’s lives.

Key Specs

  • Temperature Compensation
  • Total Accent / Decent
  • Guided Calibration
  • Cardinal Settings
  • Bearing Tracking
  • Literally 50 Other specs…

    What We Liked

    Out of the box this watch just looks awesome. The big face of this watch is not only eye catching but it is a great for being able to simply glance down and see what you need to see without bumbling through settings. The Suunto core is feature packed with technology once reserved for watches 5 times its price. It has an altimeter, which tracks your vertical ascent, a barometer to ensure you’re always ahead of the weather, a sunrise/sunset predictor to help hikers maximize their hikes, and yes it even tells the time!

    What We Didn’t

    Overall this watch outperforms in every category, but there are a few things that we feel could be improved before the next core series is released. The maximum use on this watch can take a major toll on the battery life. Even without the major functions such as the barometer and compass turned on, that seems to be the synonymous complaint is the battery life. Along with that the backlit settings of the watch can make it somewhat difficult to see in the twilight hours of the night.

    Caring for your Suunto Core

    There isn’t much you need to do to care for your Suunto Core, it can take quite a beating. Where you can prolong the life and functionality of this watch is with taking care of the buttons. The 5 exterior buttons can become jammed up if you’re constantly in the elements. To ensure that this doesn’t happen buying a can of compressed air to spray out the face and around the buttons will go a long way with keeping your Suunto functioning properly.

    Who’s The Suunto Core Watch For?

    Hikers, Fisherman, Preppers, any outdoorsman will find the functionality of the Suunto Core beyond their expectations. If you’re looking for a weather forecast, it has it. If you’re needing an altimeter/barometer for your hikes, it has it. If you’re needing a depth finder, it even has that. This watches technology will make you master of the outdoors. If you’re going to be spending any amount of time outdoors exploring the wilderness, the Suunto Core is for you.

    Our Ratings

I See You: The Best Night Vision Monocular

We looked at the 13 most popular and highest rated night vision monocular available on the market, and compared them against each other based on their image quality, brightness, ruggedness, material, comfort, weight, and overall size. The three best Monoculars that have night vision in all those categories were considered and are part of this review. All 3 are excellent choices, but the one that came out on top is the Bushell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular.

Bushnell Equinox Z -The Best Overall Night Vision

When it comes to hunting, tactical, or wildlife needs there isn’t a product that Bushnell doesn’t make. Bushnell is synonymous with all things outdoor optics so it’s no surprise that their Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular is our top-rated pick for this year.

This Monocular boasts a myriad of features such as, 6x magnification zoom, 1-3 digital, zoom, the option of daytime or nighttime use, all through their 50mm multicoated glass objective lens.

We love this model because it is equipped with video recording capabilities, that can easily write to a Micro SD card (which is sold separately) so you can capture everything you’re seeing for viewing from the comfort of the indoors.

The digital aspect of this monocular may scare some people away, but it is easy to setup and use. Typically, the outdoors and electronics don’t mix very well, but Bushnell made sure to construct this monocular out of rugged material. The silicone exterior provides excellent surface grip so you can leave on the console of your vehicle and it won’t slide around.

Keeping with the same ruggedness theme, another reason to love this monocular is the fact the unit itself is completely water resistant so you can rest assured no water will ruin the lens or the digital components inside the monocular.

The specs claim that the viewing distance is 500 ft., we as well as other consumers claim that it is closer to 300 ft. but we think variable such as light pollution and the amount of cloud cover play a lot into those specs.

The Bushnell Equinox Z is also tripod mountable which makes it an excellent choice for photographers.

The Equinox Z uses an infrared-sensitive CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensor and a micro LCD screen to provide awesome night vision capabilities. This is better than some brands which use a conventional intensifier tube.

One feature that we feel Bushnell needs to play up more is this monocular ability to charge via micro usb cable. This is an awesome choice of you would like to leave it in a stationary position during the night without the worry of burning through batteries.

Overall this is the best pick out on the market right now. It scored the highest overall marks in all the categories we tested and if you’re trying to decide between monoculars, we feel that this is the one to beat.

What We Like
  • Quality Video Playback
  • Compact Design
  • 6X Magnification
What We Don't
  • Blurry at Very Long Distances
  • Can’t Hemlet Mount
  • Target May See IR Glow

Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular – Huge Monocular Lens

Firefield is a growing name in outdoor optics and for good reason, they’re made of very high quality materials and designed ergonomically with the end user in mind. Firefield’s motto is simple, “Victory” and you should consider it a victory if you get the chance to use this monocular.

There is nothing about this monocular that isn’t rugged. You’ll notice right off the bat that the Firefield Nightfall Monocular boasts one of the biggest, if not the biggest, objective lens in the market making it the ideal monocular for so many different nighttime applications.

It also features a heavy duty rubberized exterior shell that a lot of monocular manufacturers and other outdoor device companies have switched to. What we love is that the unit is fully weather proof, and Firefield goes on to call it “outdoors proof.”

Don’t mistake all the ruggedness of the Firefield Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular as bulkiness, however. The monocular is made with zero waste in mind, and the weight, or lack thereof, will surprise you. The unit fits very comfortably in your hands and can easily fit into the front pocket of a jacket, or adhered to a lanyard around your neck.
While this monocular is tripod mountable, it does not feature a video or digital playback of any kind limiting anything you capture to simply memory.

The field of view is somewhat lacking on this device, as with most monocular manufactures claims, just doesn’t seem to match real world applications. That being said, if you’re not needing to see over 200 feet, you won’t find anything wrong with this device.

In addition to being fully weather resistant, the Nightfall 2 boasts fog resistance in its specs and surprisingly lives up to that. Fog is somewhat of a nebulous term, but we feel that it does a great job filtering out light pollutions of all kinds. This makes it great for people who live in a more urban landscape and not out in the country.

Overall this is an excellent pick for a monocular with night vision capabilities. If you don’t require video playback and are looking for simply a straight forward night vision monocular, we highly recommend you checking out the Nightfall 2 by Firefield.

What We Like
  • High Quality Image Resolution
  • IR Illumination
  • Ergonomic design
What We Don't
  • Narrower Field of View
  • Shorter Battery Life
  • Blurry at Longer Distances

Solomark Night Vision Monocular – Most High Tech Night Vision Monocular

Solomark is a name not a lot of people have heard but one that is becoming synonymous with quality optics. Solomark has their hand in a handful of different optic categories from rifle scopes, telescopes, and even microscopes and have created a very quality product with plenty of new digital features that out rank monoculars that are twice as expensive.

The Solomark Night Vision Monocular made our top 3 monocular podium because of its ability to observe a target in complete darkness making it ideal for all types of outdoor activities, such as exploring caves to trekking through the woods. The monocular has multi-coated glass objectives, high sensitivity sensors, a IR illuminator, all tying back to an integrated color LCD-Screen (rare to have that for this price range).

Like the other models above, the exterior of the unit is made from a rubber composite making it difficult to end up in a place it shouldn’t. But even if it were to drop in a not so ideal location, you’re not going to damage the components are heavily protected.

What we love about this unit is it’s probably the most technologically advance monocular out there for under $500. With this unit, you can take pictures and record videos as you view them making it an ideal night time camera replacement. Another thing that separates this monocular from others is its ability to connect to a video output device such as a computer monitor, or a TV for instant video playback.; No unplugging the tiny card and loading it into a reader just to share what you found out in the woods with your family.

With All the tech in this device it’s no surprise that it lacks in the battery life category. The unit only has around a 5-hour lifespan making it less than ideal for long outings outdoors, but this can be fixed with the purchase of rechargeable batteries.

The Solomark almost feels (and looks) like a small set of binoculars, but much easier to hang on to. The unit is wider than it is long, which makes it the ideal candidate if you’re looking for a monocular that you can fit into the back pocket of your jeans.

Overall we feel you’re not going to be disappointed if you go with the Night Vision Monocular from Solomark. For most people reading this, it’s capabilities are all you’ll need, and the technology onboard makes it easy to transition to.

What We Like
  • 100m Clear Viewing Distance
  • Mount to Binocular Strap
  • Comes with 1 GB micro SD
What We Don't
  • Camera Mode Could be Better
  • Blurry at Longer Range
  • Learning Curve on User Interface

Night Visiton Monocular Buying Guide

The choices for Night Vision Monocular can be somewhat overwhelming. Pixel Rate What? Infrared Who? Even choosing the final 3 out of the top rated monoculars was difficult because there are so many ways to select the best one for your need.

Below are the criteria we used in determining the top 3 rated monoculars available on the market this year. If you didn’t like what you saw above, use this guide to help you make the decision in choosing the best night vision enabled monocular for your outdoor needs.

Like anything else, the monocular is only going to be a good as the environment you’re in so please take the time to understand where you’ll mainly be using your tool to make sure you choose one that you can use for many years to come.

Who Needs a Monocular with Night Vision Capabilities?

What outdoorsman doesn’t need a monocular is the real question? In all seriousness if you spend any time outdoors at night, whether it be hunting, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, it is money well spent to leverage the night vision features available today.

For avid nighttime hunters, it may be a better idea to combine the night vision technology of a monocular with that of their rifle scope and buy a night vision enabled rifle scope, but if you’re spending time out in the wilderness, it doesn’t make sense to lug a rifle around just to see what is out there. Monoculars with night vision are excellent choices for campers and hikers to keep in their bags for keeping their bearings at night. If you don’t want to be surprised what is lurking out there, a night vision monocular is just the thing you need.

Size & Weight

This used to be more of a problem as monoculars used to be bigger and bulkier, but modern night vision monoculars are as compact as you’d expect any piece of technology to be. If you’re primarily going to be using this for long hiking and camping trips, then it may be a good idea to splurge on cutting a few ounces. However just for normal everyday use, most monocular will be able to fit into your back pocket.


When shopping for a night vision monocular an important thing to consider is how you’re going to power all the bells and whistles of your new device. A lot of manufactures boast a huge selection of options and features on their monocular, but forget that these are used out in the wilderness, most of the time well away from a dedicated power source.

This will all depend on how you’re going to use it but you’ll get more overall use out of the monocular if it’s lithium battery powered, or you make the extra rechargeable battery purchase.


It goes without saying that your monocular needs to be rated to handle the outdoors, because where else are you going to use it? Luckily most companies that manufacture the best monoculars have weather proofing standard, but there are still varying degrees of weather proof.

This will mostly depend on where you’re planning on using your unit, but if you’re in a much damper environment or going to be trekking across mountain lakes and streams, it is a good idea to spend the extra on a monocular that boasts full water proof capabilities. The last thing you need on your hiking trip is to hinder your ability to see at night.

Digital Capabilities

As technology continues to get faster and faster, the components continue to get smaller and smaller making it easier to digitally enhance products that normally wouldn’t be, and a monocular is no exception to the rule. You can find monoculars with all sorts of capabilities, and you’ll notice it as soon as you look at the price tag.

Luckily the past view years we’ve seen monoculars start to have audio and video recording options standard, and some even where you can replay the video right on the unit itself. If watching back what you’ve seen through the day, say looking at a deer feeder at night, then buying a monocular with video playback may be a great option for you, and one that shouldn’t break the bank.


Depending on what activity you’re doing at night, this is arguably one of the most important features of your monocular. When choosing a night, vision enabled monocular you want to be able to zoom in enough while staying a safe distance away, this is especially true when looking for animals.

Many monoculars on the market advertise between 2-8x zoom capabilities, but this can be somewhat deceiving. What you want to look for is whether the picture quality stays clear as you zoom further in. Because let’s face it, what’s the point of zooming in if you can’t see what you’re looking at anyway?

Lens Size

Just as monoculars come in all shapes and sizes, it should be no surprise that the lenses on monoculars vary as well. Out of the units we reviewed we found that the lens on the monocular correlates highly with overall image quality.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, obviously the more light you let into your eye the further and more clear you can see. Now this isn’t a hard and fast rule because there are other variables such as the shape and depth of the overall lens, but as a good rule of thumb, pick a monocular with the biggest lens you can find.

Care and Maintenance

If you’re going to spend the money on the monocular you’re obviously going to want to take great care of it. It should go without saying, that because you’re going to be using your monocular outdoors the chances of things going wrong are just going to be higher.

Most night vision enabled monoculars, especially the ones we ranked as our top 3, are rated for handling the worst of what nature can throw at it, but at the end of the day the digital components are still electronics, and we know how good electronics mix with the outdoors.

What we recommend doing is about after every time you replace or need to recharge the monocular batteries, is take the time to clean all the connections of the unit with rubbing alcohol. So, every micro SD and micro USB slot and depending on what your user manual says, take a microfiber cloth to the outside lens. If using a microfiber cloth isn’t recommended, then taking compressed air to the lens and connections is the next best option.

Types of Night Vision Technologies

There are generally two types of ways that night vision works. And this is not just for monoculars, but any rifle scope, goggles, or camera system. The way you can see it night is either through image enhancement, or thermal imaging.

Image Enhancement works just as the name implies, enhancing the available light. The monoculars outfitted with this technology capture the full spectrum of available light, even the light our puny human eyes can’t see, and intensifies it to the point to where there is enough light for us to see at night.

Thermal Imaging works similarly to Image Enhancement by capturing a wide spectrum of light. Where it differs is that it captures the infrared light spectrum from objects that emit heat and helps our eyes define objects based on the amount of heat the emit.

Wrapping it Up

Picking the right night vision monocular can be somewhat of a hard decision, especially because the technology is so similar across many manufactures. The best monocular will be sized well to fit in your pocket, have an excellent battery life, robust zoom capabilities, can capture what you’re seeing for playback, and most importantly have an incredible picture at all magnification levels.

All three of the top-rated night vision monoculars we pick are excellent choices for enhancing your night time vision, and are built rugged enough to handle even the most avid outdoorsman. The Best Monocular with Night Vision on the Market is the Bushnell Equinox Z

On a Budget? Here is the Best Night Vision Monocular Under $100

Like our top-rated night vision monoculars, but don’t want to spend that much? No problem, if you’re looking for the best monocular under $100 the Waterproof Night Vision 16×52 from Discoball is the way to go. It features adjustable zoom, and a waterproof telescoping lens. It’s not the best night vision, but if you’re looking to spend under $100 bucks, this is the night vision monocular for you.

Originally posted 2017-02-05 20:52:11.

The Best Cooler for the Money

After over 100 hours of researching the field and testing 11 finalists, we found that the Vizio E50u-D2 is the best 4K TV for those on a budget. The difference in image quality was immediately obvious when compared side-by-side against any of the TVs we tested. And it has best-in-class connectivity so you can plug just about anything into it. Whether you’re placing it in a bright living room or a windowless home theater, the Vizio trounces everything else in this price range when it comes to performance for your dollar.

Compare The Top Rated Coolers

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Cooler Buying Guide

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Originally posted 2017-01-17 22:59:54.

REVIEW: The Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

About The Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool

The Leatherman Skeletool is one of the most unique looking multi tools to come out of the Leatherman design labs. This multi tool marries a futuristic look with their standard reliably built stainless steel adjustable tools. The Skeletool boasts 7 total tools (Needlenose Pliers, Regular Pliers, Hard-wire Cutters, Wire Cutters, 420HC Combo Knife, Carabiner/Bottle Opener, Large Bit Driver) but don’t let that total make you think this multi tool is bulky, it’s anything but. Weighing just 5 ounces and having a built-in carabiner makes this ideal for hooking onto your keys.

Key Specs

  • Closed Length: 4 inches
  • Weight: 5 Inches
  • Stainless Steel Design
  • Main Tools: Blade, Pliers, Universal Bit Driver, Bottle Opener, Carabiner
  • What We Liked

    Overall this multi tool looks and functions great. We may be a little jaded, but that’s because Leatherman has yet to make a multi-tool we’ve been disappointed in. We love the look of the modern foldable design, and the fact they didn’t have to sacrifice a tool off their standard 7 to accommodate. Many multi tools are comparable in functions (sometimes even more) but where they lose the battle against the Leatherman Skeletool is in weight.

    Weighing just 5 oz. you’ll almost forget that you have it in your pocket. As with most other Leatherman’s the Skeletool can unhinge other tools from the locked or unlocked position, adding to its overall versatility. The unique built in carabiner makes sheaths and holsters outdated, making it easy to adhere to your key ring or belt loop. With the more open design of this multi tool, the chances of water and/or other gunk building up around the hinges is significantly less.

    What We Didn’t

    With the smaller lighter size of this tool, sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice some functionality. An annoyance with this tool is with the screwdriver. To accomplish the smaller design, the screwdriver bit isn’t secured with anything making it susceptible to becoming disconnected from the tool when dropped. Another common complaint (common in all Leatherman’s) is the Black CX edition’s finish will wear off easier if not properly cared for.

    Caring for your Leatherman Skeletool

    Not everyone will put their Skeletool to the test on long hiking trips and other outdoor adventures, but that doesn’t mean that they can skip routine care and maintenance to keep their tool in great shape. While the open design of this Skeletool does make it easier to resist water, moisture, and gunk; the very nature of the folding tool can build up rust and debris making it difficult to fully close the tools completely.

    To keep this tool in great shape we recommend a few things:

    • Rub down with oil consistently, and especially after being out in wet conditions
    • Depending on use, the blade will need sharpening about every 5 uses to keep the blade performing correctly.
    • Good idea to apply WD-40 to the inside tool hinges to make operating one handed easy.
    • Who’s The Leatherman Skeletool For?

      If we had to describe the Skeletool in one word it would be: Simple. The light and compact design of this tool makes it ideal for someone who is looking to put it in their cars’ console for emergencies, and robust enough for any avid hiker/backpacker to keep into their backpack for long adventure trips. Anyone looking for a great mid range multi-tool this is a great pick.

      Our Ratings

      Stainless Steel Model:

REVIEW: The Leatherman Wave Multitool

About The Leatherman Wave Multitool

When you think of multi-tools the Leatherman Wave multi-tool is most likely the model that comes to mind. The Wave has been Leatherman’s most popular model since it was re-designed in 2004. This Leatherman is the perfect everyday carry to keep in your pocket for any job.

It features 17 total tools (needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, knife, serrated knife, saw, spring action scissors, ruler, can opener, a wood/metal file, diamond coated file, large bit driver, small bit driver, medium screw driver, and hard wire cutter.) So, no matter how avid of an outdoorsman you are, this multi-tool will be able to get out of the majority of tough situations. The Leatherman Wave also comes in a stainless steal finish.

What We Liked

Besides the obvious list of 17 tools above, the multi-tool is more than just the quantity of its tools. The Leatherman Wave is extremely versatile in that you can access all the tools from the open and/or locked position. The locked position is where this multi-tool shines over other multi-tools in that every tool (except for the plier head) has a locked position mimicking the functionality of a pocket knife.

What is also impressive is that while the 17 tools on this model are rugged, Leatherman didn’t sacrifice ease of use as you can operate every feature of this model with only one hand. What also makes picking this Leatherman tool is the fact that they back this multi-tool with a 25-year guarantee.

What We Didn’t

The black model, featured in this review, is sleek however if you opt for the black oxide coating instead of this model, some of the black color may come off onto your hands on the first couple uses. This isn’t a product flaw as some users are calling it, but rather a chemical reaction of the conversion coating.

The way the black oxide is formed is by oxidizing the outer surface, essentially controlling rust. We’ve found that to control the color transfer, take a rag with WD-40 and rub thoroughly before your first use.

Who’s The Leatherman Wave For?

With 17 different foldable tools, the question becomes “who isn’t this tool for?” The Leatherman wave should be the go to pick for outdoorsman and travelers alike. This multi-tool is one of the biggest models available, but don’t let that scare you. The Wave still fill fit comfortably in your hand.

This model is a great choice for hikers and backpackers to just throw in their backpacks as there isn’t a situation that it won’t be able to handle. If you’re going to be taking it on rafting trips it’s a good idea to hook a float to the attachable ring, as you don’t want to be up a creek without a Leatherman.

Our Ratings

REVIEW: The LifeStraw

About the Life Straw

At the time of writing, the LifeStraw brand of products are in the hands of over 13 million people. The LifeStraw is a personal water filtration system that can be used to filter up to 1,000 litres of water (260 gallons); or enough water for a year for one person. The LifeStraw was oringally developed as a solution to help people in developing nations get access to cleaner drinking water.

The LifeStraw’s filters have gained emense popularity with the prepper and survivalist community as a tool that just might save your life. While the amount of water that a single straw can dfilter is very impressive, LifeStraw also manufactures a family sized life straw which can filter through over 18,000 gallons of water essentially providing safe, clean drinking water for a family of 5 for up to 3 years!

What We Liked

lifestraw review 1
Out of the box the life straw doesn’t look like much, and that’s really the point. The straw measures less than an inch wide and less than 9″ long, making it the ideal water filtration system for any traveller or outdoorsman.

The straw outperforms the EPA’s standard of water filtration, removing 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria contaminats. Where this filter scores high marks with us is that it filters out all that without the use of iodine, cholorine, and other potentially harmful chemicals.

What We Didn’t

There’s very little we didn’t like. The straw fits into most peoples survival plan but there are a few convience factors that may play into your purchase decision. While the straw is small, it’s still too thick to fit into the neck of standard water bottles and cantees (A Nalgeen Should Work Fine).

This may make the straw somewhat useless if you’re not going to be near a clean bank to get close enough to the waters edge to draw out of. So if you’re going on a backpacking trip and are for sure not going to be, a tablet filter may be better suited for you.

Who’s The LifeStraw for?

The LifeStraw is probably the #1 tool to keeping you alive in life threatening outdoor situations making it the ideal tool for Hikers, Backpackers, and Preppers alike.

The LifeStraw is compact enough to fit into any backpackers bag, and even makes a great companion for day hikes as you don’t have to lug around a bottle water. When it comes to building your bugout bag, the lifestraw needs to be one of the first, if not THE first, thing you pack.

Our Ratings

High Time: The 10 Best Altimeter Watches

Whether you are a casual hiker who just wants to know what altitude you are at, or a serious rock climber who needs to know how much more vertical feet you can climb before darkness sets in, an altimeter watch is for you.

An altimeter watch measures altitude by measuring changes in atmospheric pressure. It’s not always exact, but it usually gives you a fairly accurate reading of your altitude. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best altimeter watches. The list of quality instruments will enhance your outdoor experiece, and enhance your style to boot.

The Best Altimeter Watches

Garmin Fenix 3 GPS

  Editors Choice  

This watch is the ultimate in multitasking. Whether you are going hiking, running, skiing, climbing, biking, or swimming, this watch can do it all. It can track your speed, distance, and vertical drop. This ABC (Altitude, Barometer, Compass) watch also has a GPS function, a thermometer, a heart rate monitor. It connects easily over wireless to your other electronic devices. You’ll love the battery length, which is rated to 20 hours in GPS mode and can run for 6 weeks when the Fenix is in its regular watch mode. The watch is tough, with a stainless steel bezel and a Sapphire glass lens. It can take a pounding, but it is also stylish enough to wear into the office. And at only 2.9 ounces, this watch won’t weigh down your wrist!

MSRP: $499.99 (as of May 17, 2017 - 6:06 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Casio PRG-300-1A2CR

The Pro Trek is an affordable way to get introduced into the world of altimeter watches. Like other Casio watches, it runs on solar power so you won’t have to change the batteries or worry about losing power on a long hike. Despite the low price, you get a altimeter, compass, and a barometer, as well as a stopwatch and a thermometer. The watch functions down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and has four daily alarms, a stopwatch, and a countdown timer. The Pro Trek does have a smaller display, which can make the watch features a bit hard to read sometimes. The upside to this is that the watch does not overwhelm a small wrist like many larger watches do. The watch does keep manual instead of atomic time, but that makes sense for the price point.

MSRP: $250.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 6:06 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Suunto Core

If you don’t need a GPS or a heart rate monitor, the Suunto Core provides you with lots of functionality at a price that won’t break the bank. At the time of writing this watches MSRP is $299, making it 2-3 hundred dollars cheaper than the top of the line smart watches, but still gives you numerous features. Star with an altimeter, barometer, and compass, and add storm notifications to alert you to incoming inclement weather. The watch senses barometric pressure drops and notifies you of a possible storm. You also get sunrise/sunset times (based on over 400 locations), and a 7-day altitude log tracking. Many users appreciate its durability and its long battery life. A battery can last about a year if the extra features are not enabled. The design is sleek, it weighs in at less than 2.3 ounces, and the watch comes in six different colors.

MSRP: $329.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 4:38 pm)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Suunto Ambit3

This top of the line watch earns its chops by combining a plethora of features with an easy-to-use interface. You can use the Suunto Movescount app to import waypoints and routes, or import routes from other users. Don’t worry, it has the traditional altimeter, barometer, and compass, but it does not stop there. The watch is compatible with a heart rate monitor, and can track the important information for your workout such as duration, distance, and calories burned. Hikers will appreciate the storm alarm that will alert you to severe weather rolling in, and highly accurate elevation data. The watch is water-resistant down to 50 meters, and is protected against damage by strong Sapphire glass. The battery life is fairly short, though; coming in at only 30 days even when you don’t use the GPS function. All in all, thought, this is an incredible watch that should enhance all of your outdoor activities.

MSRP: $329.76 (as of May 17, 2017 - 6:06 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Casio PRW-6000Y-1ACR

You won’t have to worry about running out of juice with this solar powered watch. The Casio 6000Y gives you an altimeter, barometer and a compass set in a modern face with a sharp looking carbon fiber insert band. The atomic clock keeps very accurate time, and you get a thermometer and stopwatch as well. The watch has an old-school feel. Some might like this, while others might want something more modern with more features, especially at the 6000Y’s high price tag. The watch does not have a GPS feature, although it does track weather patterns and store trips. If you do decide to go with the 6000Y you will get a tough, durable watch that you can wear while on a hike and in the office.

MSRP: $374.09 (as of May 17, 2017 - 12:40 pm)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Suunto Traverse

If you are a hiker and want a GPS and ABC watch, but don’t want to pay the money for a Ambit3 or need all of the Ambit’s features, then you might want to check out the Suunto Traverse. It is easy to use, and has many of the same internal features as the Ambit, but does not provide functions geared toward runners, bikers, or swimmers. You do get a great GPS, a flashlight mode, a very accurate altimeter, a barometer, and a compass. The watch also features a data log, a trip summary, and other features geared toward hikers. Battery life is a concern with this watch, as it only lasts 14 days when not using the GPS.

MSRP: $450.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 7:39 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Casio PRG-300-1A2CR

The Pro Trek is an affordable way to get introduced into the world of altimeter watches. Like other Casio watches, it runs on solar power so you won’t have to change the batteries or worry about losing power on a long hike. Despite the low price, you get a altimeter, compass, and a barometer, as well as a stopwatch and a thermometer. The watch functions down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and has four daily alarms, a stopwatch, and a countdown timer. The Pro Trek does have a smaller display, which can make the watch features a bit hard to read sometimes. The upside to this is that the watch does not overwhelm a small wrist like many larger watches do. The watch does keep manual instead of atomic time, but that makes sense for the price point.

MSRP: $250.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 6:06 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Casio PAG240-1CR

This solar powered watch is a tremendous value for the thrifty hiker. Not only do you get an altimeter, easy to use compass, and barometer, you can complete a thru-hike without replacing the batteries! The watch stores 41 time zones, and features 5 alarms for those who really need reminders (or extra help getting up in the morning). The watch does have a countdown timer, but it lacks the ability to count down by second, which can be frustrating. The watch is durable and scratch resistant-perfect for an outdoor tool. It is not the most stylish watch on the market, so you might want to swap it out for your boardroom meeting. If you are not interested a GPS-or the price point that comes with it-the Pathfinder is a perfect outdoor watch choice.

MSRP: $250.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 6:06 am)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Suunto Vector

If you want the quality that comes with a Suunto watch, but don’t quite have the money for one of their flagship offerings, check out the Suunto Vector. This time-tested watch (first made in 1998) features an altimeter that can take you up to almost 30,000 feet, and is water resistant down to 100 meters. The watch still gives you an altimeter, barometer, and a compass. In addition, you get a 24-hour altimeter memory and log book, an alarm, and a countdown timer. The Vector has a long battery life of 18 to 24 months, and at 1.92 ounces, it won’t wear down your wrist, either. You will get a classic, durable, watch which you can bang up and wear for years with the Vector.

MSRP: List price not available (as of May 17, 2017 - 4:23 pm)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Casio PAW2000-1CR

While the PAW2000 does not have a GPS function, it does have numerous other features. You get your altimeter/barometer/compass functionality on an easy to read Duplex backlit LED screen. The band is high quality resin, and it is water resistant down to 100 meters. Like other Casio watches, the PAW2000 is solar powered, so no trips to the watch repair store to pick up a new battery. The watch features atomic timekeeping for extra accuracy and sunrise and sunset data. While you do get five daily alarms, some people do complain that the watch alarm is not particularly loud, which could be a problem if you are a deep sleeper. It also might not be the best watch if you have a small wrist. Although the watch feels large on the wrist, it weighs in at only 2.4 ounces.

MSRP: $380.00 (as of May 17, 2017 - 4:38 pm)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

Garmin Epix

Garmin bills this as the first GPS/GLONASS mapping watch, featuring a high resolution, color touchscreen, basemaps, and a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription. Add in the fitness tracking of the Garmin Fenix, an altimeter, barometer, and compass, and you truly have a do-it-all watch. It has 8GB of internal memory to add in all of your maps. The screen is 1.4 inches in size. You can take this watch out of cell phone range and still have a navigation system, or you can use it to track your interval workouts or your altitude gained or lost while trail running. All of these features do increase the complexity of the watch, and many people don’t need-or don’t want-to deal with all of the different options that this watch offers. But for those who do, this watch can do it all.

MSRP: $549.99 (as of May 17, 2017 - 2:35 pm)
Check Price: Amazon ➔

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