Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Survival Gear

Survival Gear Reviews

Thorfire TK01 AAA Battery Flashlight Review

Thorfire TK01 keychain flashlight

The Thorfire TK01 is a keychain sized flashlight that uses a single AAA battery. Unlike a lot of other keychain flashlights, the Thorfire TK01 is a single output of 85 lumens.

Upon opening the box first impressions were good. The flashlight came with a small keychain ring which slips through a hole in the tailcap, and a couple of extra o-rings. The o-rings are for the tailcap which unscrews, while the bezel does not.

When the Thorfire TK01 housing was opened to insert the AAA battery, the spring typically found in the tailcap had came loose and fell into the battery compartment. It took a little bit, but the spring was finally snapped back into place in the tailcap.

Turning the Thorfire TK01 on and off is as simple as twisting the head. The problem is, the head is very easy to twist. Also, when the head reaches a certain point on the twist, pushing on the head will turn the flashlight on. While carrying the Thorfire TK01 flashlight in my pocket I noticed it turned on several times.

JETBeam KO-01 1080 Lumens Flashight Review

Jetbeam KO-01 Flashlight

This is a review of the JETBeam KO-01 flashlight. First impressions is a hefty feeling light that uses a single 18650 battery. It does not feel cheaply made at all.

Double click the on/off switch and it will activate the strobe. While in strobe, click the on/off and it will go to high. Then hold down the on/off to turn the JETBeam KO-01 flashlight off.

Tailcap is flat so it can be stood upright. Turn it on, stand it upright, and it will help light up a room.

Something I found to be unique, the tailcap accepts quick connect swivels. For the video I took a quick connect off one of my AR-15 rifles, and put it on the light. This means the light can be securely hung anywhere.

External USB port for charging. When charging, there is a blue led under the on/off switch that will glow blue. When finished charging, the led will turn off.

No carry case or belt click are included. To me, the belt clip and carry case are subjective. Some people may use them, while others may not.

Lanyard holes are rather small. However, with the quick connect swivel, do you need lanyard holes?

JETBeam KO-01 Specifications

Keeping Battery Chargers Updated With Modern Technology

Battery charger using a solar panel

A question to the reader, have your battery chargers keep keeping up with modern technology?

In the mid-2000s I started using simple battery chargers for stuff like AAA, AA, C and D batteries. It was easier, cheaper in the long run, and easier on the environment to use rechargeable batteries then to buy new ones.

Just about all of my gear used wither AAA, AA or D batteries.

  • GPS – AA
  • Flashlights – AAA, AA, and D
  • Camera – AA

All that changed when I was contacted through YouTube and asked if I wanted to review some flashlights. As various companies sent me free samples which used 18650 batteries, I realized my old battery chargers were not going to work. The chargers I had would only do AAA, AA, C, D and 9 volt.

I got on Amazon and shopped around for a battery charger which would charge 18650 batteries. It was at that time I realized how badly out of date my charging devices were. I had always used a charger that plugged into a wall outlet. The new chargers were USB compatible. To use with a wall outlet, simply get a 110 volt / usb adapter.

New Battery Chargers

A Lesson In Having Navigational Gear Close At Hand

Evinrude 30 HP outboard motor on the Neches River near Jasper, Texas

While my son and I were fishing on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas, I learned a lesson on having navigational gear close at hand. What happened was, we followed a slough until it came to a main waterway.

There were a couple of issues:

  • The waterway was overgrown with lily pads.
  • There were several connecting paths.
  • We needed a certain path to get back to the boat launch.
  • Using Google Earth I knew we needed to head East.
  • The time was 1:00 pm and shadows were straight down.
  • Neither my backpack, or the boat survival kit had a compass.
  • All I needed was a simple compass to know which direction was East.

My son and I were at an intersection with around five routes we could take. Due to the lily pads the boat had limited mobility. The motor had to be pulled up every few minutes to clean the lily pads off.

What we ended up doing was driving the boat in one direction, then checking Google earth with my phone. Eventually I was put on the correct path and back to the boat launch we went.

Navigational Gear

Collecting Survival Books for a Well Rounded Survivalist Library

Survival books

There is a question in the forum asking about survival books. Since the question is posted in the wilderness survival section of the forum, I guess the question was about wilderness survival books.

Rather than addressing just wilderness survival books, let’s talk about survival books in general and developing a well rounded survivalist library.

My favorite books are non-fiction history books. Also, I have a collection of modern survival / prepping books from various authors.

I usually pick a topic, such as the black death, or medieval history, buy several books from Amazon, read them, then pick another topic.

Last Three Books I Read

  • Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell.
  • The Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Papgianni and Michael Morse.
  • Technology in the Ancient World by Henry Hodges.

Using A Pocket Compass While Hiking With The Dogs

Dogs on a hiking trip

Awhile back we talked about a 50 cent pocket compass I ordered off Ebay. Rather than buying the compass from an online store, just go straight to the source and cut out the middle man.

Paracord zipper pulls were added to my packs, and then the compass was attached to the paracord. Is the pocket compass a primary land navigation aid? Of course not. The pocket compass is used in conjunction with other navigation aids.

For example, while on a recent hiking trip with the dogs we stopped next to a nice pool of water to take a break. While the dogs were playing, I looked at the pocket compass to make sure we were headed in the right direction.

I know the area and there was no way we could have become lost. A pipeline passes through the forest just a few hundred yards from where the dogs and I stopped. Then there is a dirt road that bisects the pipeline. No matter which way we headed, we would hit either the road or the pipeline, as long as we traveled in a straight line.

Using a Pocket Compass

Survival Gear Bundle Contest Coming Soon

Click notification icon

For those of you who follow my YouTube channel know, I am working on putting together a backpack bundle with various gear to give away through a contest.

Please subscribe to the SurvivalistBoards YouTube Channel.

Also, please click the notification icon so you get notified when I upload a video. This way you stay notified of new videos.

The goal I am looking for:

  • Backpack
  • Knife
  • Compass
  • Fire starter

Total package would cost around $20.

The items will be bundled and given away either on the Survivalist Forum, or here on my blog, SurvivalBoards.

I am currently in the process of doing reviews looking for items to add to the contest.

Contest Items

What To Expect From A 31 Cent Compass

cheap compass

After digging through Ebay I was able to find a 31 cent compass. The pictures looked rather neat. The compass was in a plastic housing which had a cord attached to it. To get the price down 31 cent, I ordered 40 of them.

What would these be used for? A backup compass and nothing more. Just something that can be attached outside the pack so someone can get a quick reference.

Why look at a 31 cent compass? Part of my videos for 2018 are doing reviews of low cost survival gear. I wanted to start with compasses, just because. The first video and article was about a 50 cent compass.

As I was pulling the compasses out of the package, some of compasses fell out of the plastic housing.

Some of them do not point north. Most will point north. Out of 40 of them, just a couple did not point north. Some of them, the compass has to be perfectly flat to rotate. Someone may say, “So what, a compass has to be flat to work.” The compass has to be almost perfectly flat to work. It seemed that any kind of imbalance and the compass would not work.

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Review

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Review

Review of the Mountain House breakfast skillet freeze dried pouch. While working around the farm, and new fence line cleared out, I decided to have a Mountain House breakfast skillet for lunch.

For whatever reason, Mountain House freeze dried pouches have always come across as bland, very bland. There seems to be very little flavor was added at the factory. Maybe this was so people can add the spices they want?

I wish Mountain House would treat the sodium content like they do the flavoring, and leave some out. Why leave something as simple as black pepper out, but have an excessive amount of sodium?

Let’s move onto the review.

Nutrition Information

Stockpiling Mountain House Freeze Dried Pouches

Mountain House freeze dried pouches

A question to the reader, “Are you stockpiling Mountain House freeze dried pouches?” Let’s be honest, there are a number of reasons that can be debated for and against stockpiling Mountain House freeze dried pouches.

One of my main issues with the pouches is the sodium content. When I eat a meal, a few minutes later I can feel the sodium hitting my system. Sometimes the sodium is so bad I feel sick all over.

Some people may say Mountain House freeze dried pouches are too expensive, and they are. There is no denying the freeze dried pouches cost a pretty penny.

Let’s talk about sodium content first. A couple of pouches were picked from my personal stockpile so we could look at the sodium content.

Sodium Content

Sawyer PointONE As A Gravity Filter

Sawyer PointONE gravity filter

The Sawyer PointONE is my new favorite water filter. Depending on water conditions, it can filter up to one millions gallons, and the flow rate beats the Sawyer Mini water filter hands down.

However wonderful the Sawyer PointONE water filter is, the user still has to either fill up a bag or water bottle, then attach the bag or bottle to the filter. Filling a water bottle with a small opening can be a pain, and sometimes an act in frustration. Rather than using the bag that was included with the Sawyer PointONE water filter, I bought a two liter platypus bag. One end of the platypus bag opens, and water is simply scooped up from the water source.

Think of the platypus bag as large heavy duty ziplock bag with a hose attachment. The bag can then be hung from a tree limb, or from the side of a tree. From there a plastic hose is attached, with the Sawyer PointONE water filter inline between the platypus bag and the water bottle.

Sawyer PointONE Specifications

How Good Does A LifeStraw Work?

LifeStraw Water Filter

Surely everyone has heard of a LifeStraw? It is a simple tube that is a water filter. Place the inlet into the water, then suck the water through the tube. Seems simple enough right? Almost too good to be true?

If something seems to god to be true it usually is, except for the LifeStraw.

Back in March of 2017 I decided to take the plunge and ordered a LifeStraw from Amazon. In April I took the LifeStraw on a hiking trip and gave it a test run.

First impressions were very good. It was just like pulling water through a straw. The water took a few seconds to get through the filter, but when it did, the flow was excellent.

LifeStraw Specifications

Watch:ThruNite Neutron 2C Flashlight Review

ThruNite Neutron 2C

The ThruNite Neutron flashlight is probably the most flexible flashlight in my collection. Not flexible as being able to bend, but flexible as in offering the greatest number of lumen options.

Unlike other flashlights on the market, the ThruNite Neutron flashlight, does not have preset brightness settings. Holding the on/off button fades, or increases the brightness. This allows the user to adjust the ThruNite Neutron to exactly the lumens needed for a certain job.

Specifications

From the ThruNite Neutron Amazon store page.

  • Item Weight: 3.04 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 1 inches
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Type of Bulb: led
  • Included Components: Holster, Spare O-rings, Lanyard, Pocket Clip, 18650 3400mAh Battery, USB Charging Cord
  • Batteries Included: Yes
  • Batteries Required: Yes

Video Review: Jaxman M8 Flashlight

Jaxman M8 Review

The Jaxman M8 is a handheld flashlight that uses a single 18650 battery. Like a lot of flashlights of this style, the on/off button is located in the tailcap. Push the on/off button to turn the flashlight in, then gently press the button to cycle through the brightness settings.

After using the Jaxman M8 flashlight for several months, it has become on my my favorite “go to” flashlights.

Description From Amazon:

  • XPL Hi LED/Max 700LM/Max 150 meters
  • Battery anti-reverse protection,low voltage slow flashing,over discharge protection
  • High: 700 lumens
  • Medium: 275 lumens
  • Low: 40 lumens
  • A small and far shoot flashlight!Powered by 1 x18650 rechargeable flat top (65mm Length) Battery(NOT INCLUDED),Max. 4.2V
  • Suitable for Camping, hiking, Hunting,Cycling, Fishing, Auto Emergencies, and Home Repair

Lanyard is included with the Jaxman M8 flashlight.

Beretta APX: Biggest Disappointment of SHOW Show 2018

Beretta APX at SHOT Show 2018

SHOT Show 2018 was an amazing event. Estimates put around 60,000 people attending the show. I arrived on Sunday, January 21st, and flew back home on Thursday, January 25th. Monday was Industry Day at the Range, then Tuesday and Wednesday were spent attending SHOT Show.

Read about my trip to SHOT Show here – Trip To The 2018 SHOT Show.

Out of everything I saw, looked at, held, shot, took pictures of, observed… etc, the biggest letdown was the Beretta APX.

While handling and shooting the APX during Industry Day at the Range, the handgun felt cheap. From a distance of 25 yards the APX seemed to hitting in a circle, and was not very accurate. No other handgun I shot that day (dozens of them), had that issue.

The biggest letdown of the Beretta APX came when I was talking to a company representative.

Disconnect Between Beretta And The Consumer

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