MJ Smoot

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The Best Flashlight You’ll Ever Have

Posted by MJ Smoot on Apr 5, 2016 9:40:23 PM

When you work for a flashlight manufacturer, there are a few questions that you'll be asked at nearly every tradeshow and event that you attend. What's the brightest flashlight? Which is the most expensive? And, of course, which flashlight is the best?

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The INOVA® T4R shines brightly on Shiprock Peak in New Mexico (Photo by Bradley Adventure)

The first couple of questions are easy to answer. At 672 lumens, the INOVA® T5 LED Flashlight is the brightest light in the lineup, and for $149.99 you can purchase our most expensive flashlight, the INOVA T4R LED Rechargeable Flashlight. But, which flashlight is the BEST!?

It turns out that is not an easy question to answer. Identifying the "BEST" flashlight for you depends on many factors. For what activity will you be using the flashlight? How long will the flashlight be used? A couple of hours, or all night? Does it need to be waterproof? Will you need to keep your hands free while using the flashlight? Are you on a search and rescue mission, or taking your dog for a walk in the park? As it turns out, many factors play a role when determining which flashlight is the best for you.

INOVA STS Headlamp

I can recall two recent instances from Nite Ize Ambassadors who's "best" flashlights were not the ideal lights for the situation. The first came from Forrest Galante, whose primary dive light had broken during a trip at sea to hunt lobsters 25 feet underwater. Faced with the decision to either not dive or to come up with a backup, Forrest took a look around and realized that he had his STS Headlamp with him and thought he'd at least give it a try even though it was only rated as being waterproof  to three feet. Luckily for Forrest and his dive partner, the INOVA STS Headlamp exceeded his expectations and performed well throughout the dive even after taking over 60 plunges below the rated depth of the light (read the full story at LifeView Outdoors.com).

In another situation, ambassador Matt Moniz and his climbing partner Willie Benegas were descending from the 8000m peak Makalu in the Himalayas when Willie realized that he had forgotten his headlamp at the last base camp. After a quick search for a backup light, the only flashlight Willie could come up with was the STS Microlight that was attached to his gear. While not ideal for the situation, the STS Microlight was the best light in this situation and provided just enough of a beam for Willie to safely navigate his way down the mountain over the next several hours.

So, what's the moral of these stories? Be prepared and always have a backup. Had Forrest or Willie not had a backup flashlight, there is no telling how their days would have turned out. For me, there is one flashlight that I've made part of my everyday carry and that has come in handy more times than I can recall. My go to flashlight, and #1 backup, is the INOVA XS.

INOVA XS

The lip balm sized XS has a powerful 80 lumen LED, will attach to a key chain, and has an impact resistant aluminum body. From finding my car in a dark parking lot to setting up a tent at night, the INOVA XS has always been there when I've needed some extra light.

By now I hope that you've come to the same conclusion that I have. Ultimately, the best flashlight is the one that you have on you when you need it. Plan ahead for your adventures to determine which type of light would perform the best for your activity based on how you will be using it, the amount of time you'll be using it, and how bright of a light you'll need. No matter which light you determine is best for your situation, bring a backup. It could be the same light, or something more compact. Just bring a backup. After all, even the brightest and most expensive light can't help you when it's out of batteries or broken.

 

 

Topics: LED Flashlights

Six Standout Products from the OR Winter Show

Posted by MJ Smoot on Jan 21, 2016 9:04:04 AM

As an avid outdoorsman, I look forward to attending the Outdoor Retailer Show (OR Show) every year as it is THE place for all outdoor brands to unveil their latest and greatest products. The 2016 OR Winter show was held in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Palace Convention Center where over 1,000 companies exhibited in the roughly 700,000 square feet of space.

 

  1. The Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker - If you’re like me, then I think we'll agree that coffee is an essential part of any outdoor adventure.Minipresso-1.jpg Enter the Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker, a lightweight (0.8lb/360g), compact (6.89in/17.5cm), and easy to use portable espresso maker. The Minipresso is the ideal backcountry coffee companion for the coffee snob, like me, who enjoys a frothy cup of espresso. And the best part, it makes a pretty good cup of joe!

    I wasn't the only one that took a liking to the this Minipresso, the folks over at Gear Junkie did too and nominated it as one of their "Best In Show" Top Gear 2016 picks (read more here).


  2. Vibram's Arctic Grip sole - The new Arctic Grip™ sole technology released by Vibram® may very well have been the most groundbreaking new technology that I was able to experience during the OR Show . This new rubber compound provides traction on ice without the addition of any type of spike or traction device. During a quick test at the Vibram booth, I was blown away by how much traction the Arctic Grip provided compared to an identical shoe with a regular sole. It's truly one of those products that you really need to experience for yourself. This new rubber compound will be available in exclusive shoe models from Merrell, Hush Puppies, Wolverine and Saucony in the fall of 2016 with other brands to follow in the future.


  3. Good To-Go dehydrated meals - Good-To-Go-Meals.jpgIf you've spent time in the backcountry, then chances are pretty good that you've tried some ready to eat meals and may not have been impressed. Unlike those other ready to eat meals, the Good To-Go meals use real food in their recipes and no additives or preservatives. They also dehydrate the meals rather than freeze drying them. The four different meals are all gluten-free with vegetarian and pescatarian options, and are sold in single serving sizes and two serving sizes (unlike some of their competitors). I tried the Thai Curry option at the show, loved it, and am looking forward to taking some of these with me on my next adventure!

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  4. Arbor Snowboards - With many options to consider when looking at snowboards, none compare to the beauty of the boards from Arbor. With natural woodgrain decks, Arbor Snowboards are a work of art. Seriously though, you'll want to hang these boards on your wall when you’re not using them to plow through the freshy pow-pow in the backcountry. The Abacus model, in particular, stood out to me as being one of the best crafted split boards that I've seen.

    Topo-Designs.jpg
  5. Topo Designs - Functional and aesthetically pleasing is the best way to describe the packs and apparel from Topo Designs. In particular, I really liked the durable materials used, variety of colors, and simple design of the packs that Topo offers. If you're looking for pack that will last you a lifetime, while still being stylish, then check out the packs from Topo Designs.


  6. GlowStreak LED Ball by Nite Ize - It’s true. I love our new LED ball, the GlowStreak! The GlowStreak is a motion activated LED ball with auto-shut off feature that will keep you and your pooch playing outside long into the night. GlowStreak.jpgAnd, unlike its predecessor the MeteorLight, the GlowStreak is not only easier to turn on but also features a threaded plug that completely seals the ball making it waterproof (it floats too!).

    One feature that I found particularly helpful about the ball during the show was the rugged, durable material that the ball is made of. The material is strong enough to stand-up to any abuse from your dog, but also worked great for rolling out the knots in my leg and back muscles (using trigger point techniques) when I was back in my hotel room after the long days of standing on my feet at the show.



While I couldn’t cover everything that I saw during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show in this short post, I’d love to hear what new products are catching your eye. If you discovered something that was released at the OR Winter Show, and that you thought was noteworthy, then please share it with us in the comments below. We love learning more about our supporter’s interests.


*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. I was not compensated in any way for this review, and have used images provided by the retailers to help compile this review. You should also know that my personal interests skew towards backpacking, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. These are the types of outdoor products that I focused on in this review, and as a result I may have missed something that you may have found exceptionally “cool” or innovative at the OR Winter Show.

Topics: Tradeshows, Outdoor Retailer Show, New Products

Five Nite Ize Tricks That Will Get You More Treats This Halloween

Posted by MJ Smoot on Oct 15, 2015 1:47:45 PM

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year because it's one the few times when both young and old get dressed up in silly, or scary, costumes for a night of fun and celebration with their peers. Some people take the holiday to the extreme by creating haunted houses in their garages or dressing up in costumes that cost hundreds of dollars, while others, like me, look for ways to add a little extra flare without breaking the bank.

If you're like me, and want to add a little extra bling to your Halloween without spending an arm and a leg on something that you'll only use once a year, then keep reading to learn 5 Nite Ize tricks that will help you stand out in the pumpkin patch this year.


1. Illuminate your costume - Whether or not your costume requires a lighting element, the simple addition of an LED can really make you standout from the crowd at this year's Halloween party. Costumes like Iron Man, for example, benefit greatly by the addition of a few TwistLits worn on your hands or from a SpotLit necklace to illuminate the "arc reactor" in Iron Man's chest.


2. Use a SpotLit to light-up your pumpkin - Using a SpotLit in your jack-o-lantern is a great way to safely light your pumpkin this year. Not only will the long battery life of 20 hours be enough to light your pumpkin all night long, you can also put the SpotLit into flash mode to add the effect of a strobe light to the pumpkin.

Even better, unlike a traditional candle, there's a variety of colors to choose from. Choose a white SpotLit for that traditional pumpkin look, red LED for a spookier effect, or go with the blue or green LED SpotLit for a look that is more fun and inviting. Want to get even crazier? Pick up a Disc-O colored SpotLit and have the only color-changing pumpkins on the block.

Pumpkins.jpg


3. Gear Tie-ify - Let's face it, with countless ways of using a Gear Tie they are a must have in your Halloween kit this year. Whether you're a Do-It-Yourself costume maker or master decorator, having a few reusable rubber twist ties around the house is always a good idea.  You can use them to add structure to a costume, to join pieces of a costume together (e.g. when creating extra arms in a spider outfit), or to hang/mount/secure your Halloween decorations.

4. Pets need flare too - If you have a furry friend in your house, and a few kiddos too, then taking your pet trick-or-treating with you is a great way to include them in the festivities. But don't just bring them along for the walk, include them in the celebration with the simple addition of a SpotLit or PetLit LED to their collar, or go all out with by lighting them up with a Nite Dawg LED Collar, or the new NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace.

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5. Be "that house" on the block - You know the one I'm talking about. Every neighborhood has one, it's "that house" that gives out the full-size candy bars every year to the local kids. Well, just think how cool your house would be if you gave away a SpotLit, SlapLit, or BugLit to your closest neighbors.  Now, I realize that this might not be the least expensive way to win over the neighborhood hoodlums, but I am willing to bet that if you did giveaway some Nite Ize swag that your house would be put on the "don't teepee" list.

If you have any other creative ideas involving one of our products then we'd love to learn more about it by reading your comments below. And, who knows? We might even feature your idea in one of our upcoming blog posts, and send you a Nite Ize goodie bag for your suggestion.

Be seen and be safe this Halloween!

Topics: Visibility and Safety

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