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Apeman A60 Action Camera – What You Need to Know

Action Camera

We are new into the action camera world and picked up the Apeman A60 Action Camera to get our feet wet so to speak. We are naturally into camping and all things outdoors as you know which includes canoeing.

It makes me nervous to pull out my phone to take pics and videos while canoeing so I did a little research and came across this little camera. Quick disclaimer: you will need your own Micro SD card (up to 32Mb) in order for this to work. 

What’s in the box?

Apeman A60 Action Camera

When we got the box, the first thing we noticed was how well it was packaged. This camera is packaged nice enough to be given as a gift. I say that because many lower cost action cameras are not packaged nearly as nice as this. Inside the box is a black zippered case that holds the camera, battery, and all the mounts that it comes with. The case is somewhat hard sided, but I doubt shock proof. It has foam padding and cut outs for the various attachments and mounts. 

There are a number of different mounts inside the box. There is the waterproof case, there are 2 flat mounts for helmets or whatever, tripod mounts, bike handlebar or pole mount, and extension pieces which make hinges for various angles, and a housing to use the camera on a mount outside of the waterproof housing, a clip to mount the camera to almost anything. Some of the miscellaneous items included are double stick pads for a couple of the mounts, 4 zip ties, a couple velcro straps, microfiber cloth, and the charging/data cable.  There is also an instruction booklet and extra door for the waterproof housing. 

Here’s the first video I ever shot with this camera to test it out:

What we liked about the camera:

This little camera takes great video and pictures! The battery seems to last most of the day while using it on & off. It takes really good video and pictures. The 170 degree field of view gives a really cool perspective. This camera is also really small. I think that was probably the biggest surprise; just how small it is. Outside any of the housings, this camera measures 2-1/4″ x 1-9/16″x 15/16″ and weighs just 2oz. The accessories aren’t terribly heavy either so You won’t really notice them if you’re hiking with it. The battery life really didn’t disappoint either. 

Action Camera
An example of the picture quality

This camera has a self timer so it shuts off when not in use after either 3, 5, or 10 minutes (you can select one or turn this feature off).

We didn’t get a chance to play with the motion detection recording, but plan to in the near future. Look for an update. There are other features we haven’t played with either (remember, we’re new to this). We plan to really dive into this camera and test out the various cool features soon. 

The camera was super easy to set up and you can both charge the battery and transfer files through the included micro-USB cable. No need to take the micro-SD card out to transfer files and risk dropping/losing the card. Those things are small!

Action Camera
An example of the easy to follow menu
What we would change:

The only thing we would change would be to have more instructions for the various mounts. We already established that we are new to this world and many of the mounts and accessories are not intuitive. Luckily, there are plenty of online videos that explain the different mounting techniques.  All you have to do is search YouTube for “action camera mounting” and be prepared to spend some time watching videos. We also discovered that storing your action camera in the waterproof case for extended periods tends to compress the pads on the door and the camera isn’t as responsive to turning on/off/changing modes. Removing the camera from the waterproof housing when not being used on/in/near the water seemed to fix this issue.  

Accessories we picked up extra:

Handle (floating) – This camera is small. Without a handle of some sorts, it could easily be dropped. Since we really like the waterproof housing feature, a floating handle makes sense. This particular handle has a textured grip and is a good size in out hands. Get yours here

Action Camera

Flexible tripod – Being able to set the camera down for shooting videos for us is essential. This add-on was a much needed one. We liked this particular tripod because it is lightweight, can wrap around things such as branches, and isn’t terribly expensive. Get yours here

Action Camera

There are a TON of accessories available for action cameras. Helmet mounts, handlebar mounts, chest mounts, car dash mounts, the list goes on & on. After we purchased the above accessories, we bought this assortment  which contains items similar to the above & more. 

Conclusion:

When shopping for a decent action camera that takes good videos & pictures while not breaking the bank; this is the perfect camera. We use this camera for filming various product reviews, out with the Scouts in or out of the water, or just filming things around Camp Gear Center headquarters. If you aren’t sure if an action camera is for you, consider whether or not you take pictures or videos around water or not. This was the #1 reason we picked one up and have not been disappointed by this one. 

If you want to get your own Apeman action camera, click here.

 

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.    

 

 

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Hiking Essentials

hiking essential

It is no secret, that we love the outdoors. We love camping, hiking, backpacking, pretty much anything to do with the outdoors. When we hike, there is a list of 10 hiking essentials then we always carry with us on every hike. Below is a list of the items we always carry with us and the reasons why.

hiking essentials

1. Water. Camp Gear Center’s world headquarters are tucked into the mountains of Northern Arizona. Even though we are in the mountains it is still pretty much a desert climate. Water is the most important thing we bring with us on every single hike. The amount of water you carry is dependent on how much you drink, and how much you sweat. We like to carry at least 32 oz of water sometimes 64oz depending on the time of year, the length of the hike, and who we are hiking with. There have been times where people hiking with us are not quite as prepared and run out of water and it is always nice to be able to help them out. We also recommend a shatterproof bottle such as a Nalgene or equivalent so if you happen to drop your water bottle it doesn’t break and you lose your water. It sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised just how uncommon common sense is.

Hiking essentials

2. First aid kit. As a scoutmaster, I like to live by the Boy Scout motto of be prepared. Although I haven’t had need to use my first aid kit, knowing that I have one and that if there was an emergency, I could either help or have somebody help me with my first aid kit. Besides being prepared, there was one incident that led me to always throw my first aid kit in my backpack. I was out hiking and there was a older couple that was coming towards me on the trail, and the gentleman had his hand in the air as if he were asking a question. I noticed he had blood running down his hand and his arm. He turned out to be okay, but had I had my first aid kit I could have helped bandage him up and help stop the bleeding. It turns out he was poked by one of the yucca plants which are quite common in Arizona that have “leaves” that are literally needle sharp. Ever since that incident, we always carry a first aid kit. This is the kit we carry. (click link)

hiking essentials

3. GPS. For Christmas last year, my wife got me the Garmin etrex 20x GPS unit. I absolutely love this little thing it has a decent size screen that can show you the trails and when you start your hike it actually keeps track of the trail you Heights. There have been many times where I got off the trail, and I pulled out the GPS to find out where the trail was and how I can navigate back to it. I will put a link to the video I made on why I love this little GPS unit here. That way you can check out the video and not have to read all about why I love my GPS.

hiking essentials

4. Survival blanket. We are a scouting family, and the Scout motto is being prepared. A survival blanket for us is a necessary item to carry for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is if you get stranded someplace and need to stay warm, a survival blanket which is usually a reflective material, will help reflect up to 90% of your body heat back to you and keep you warm. Another good use, is if you are in a warmer climate comma and you get stranded the survival blanket can be strung up to create much-needed shade. Survival blankets do not weigh very much and they compress down fairly small so they are not that cumbersome to keep in your pack. We have yet to need to use this, but it is reassuring knowing that it is there.

5. Signal mirror. Another small, lightweight useful item is a signal mirror. It is fairly obvious what this is used for. If you get stranded someplace and need to signal for help a signal mirror will do the task. A fun fact, a computer hard drive usually has up to 4 very reflective discs inside and can be used for a signal mirror. That is what we carry with us. They are super reflective and conveniently have a hole in the middle so you can aim where you want the signal to go. Again, this is another item that we have not used while hiking but it is good to know that it is there should we need it.

Hiking Essentials

6. Multi tool. A good multi-tool is essential to carry with you for numerous reasons. The one we carry, is the Leatherman skeletool. Which has a knife, pliers, bottle opener, and a number of screwdrivers. We have never had the need to turn a screw while out hiking comma but the knife, pliers, and of course the bottle opener have all been used. You will probably want to pick the right multi-tool for you based on the various things that they have. We just happen to have one of these skeletools and throw it in the pack.

7. Snacks. We always throw in a handful of our favorite cliff bars or trail mix packs when we are hiking. Depending on the length of the hike, you may want to carry more food than just some granola bars and trail mix, but for short hikes that’s usually what we carry. You never know when you need the extra boost of energy to help get up that mountain, or back to base camp. Also, if you do happen to get stranded and need to use your reflective blanket and or signal mirror, you are able to eat something to help sustain you while waiting for help to arrive.

Hiking Essentials

8. Fire starter. Again, something we have not had to use while we are hiking,  but always carry just in case we get stranded. While a signal mirror is a good signaling device to use, a small fire putting out a lot of smoke can work even better. If you happen to get stranded on a cloudy day a signal mirror won’t do much good, but a fire can be seen even on the cloudiest days. It is important to stress fire safety when building a signal fire, or even just a fire to keep yourself warm if you get stranded. Make sure that you clear the area around the fire as not to set things on fire that you don’t intend to burn. We typically carry a small metal tin that contains a flint and steel and cotton balls to start a fire as well as a lighter. Sometimes, the lighter either doesn’t have butane in it or decides it doesn’t want to work so we have the flint and steel with cotton balls as a backup which works really well.

hiking essentials

9. Rain poncho. Since we are based in northern Arizona comma the weather can change pretty quickly. Especially during the summer time. It could be sunny in the morning and raining buckets in the afternoon. We always carry a rain poncho with us in our pack. Like the emergency blanket, a inexpensive rain poncho is lightweight, folds up small, and is barely even noticeable in your pack. If the weather does happen to change quickly, we are prepared for it by having our Poncho with us. This is one of the items that we have used on occasion. And been very thankful that we had it. No need to spend a lot of money on a rain poncho you can pick them up in most stores for less than a dollar and trying to refold them while somewhat cumbersome, it can be done but these are usually a one-time use item.

Hiking Essentials

10. Backpack.  so we’ve got all these essential items that we carry with us on our hikes, but how do we carry it? We use a smallish tactical style backpack that has four separate Pockets or compartments to hold our gear. Any backpack will do, we happen to like this particular pack because of some of the additional features that it has. It has the Molle connectors so you can attach things to the outside of the pack, it has the room inside in the ability to put a hydration bladder in, the straps are fairly well padded and quite a adjustable. It does come with a waist strap which we don’t use as a waist wrap, but we do have it rolled up inside. They come in many colors and additional sizes, but this one seems to work the best for us to carry our essential gear. It also has a larger storage compartment for items that mean we may want to discard, such as a light jacket that we may be wearing, or extra storage for any other items we want to carry with us. This is the pack we carry.

You may decide to carry more or less, that is entirely up to you. This is the list of things we always carry. Usually, we carry more than just this, but this is the list of items always in our pack. What do you always carry on your hikes? Leave us a comment below.

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Garmin etrex 20x Video Review

Here is a quick video review of the Garmin etrex 20x GPS unit. We point out a few of the features we love and you probably will too!

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Moon Lence Backcpacking / Camping Chair Review

A video review of the ultralight Moon Lence backpacking / camping chair. We love this chair! it’s lightweight & easy to set up. Get yours here. 

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Fall Camping

Fall Camping

Fall camping is the perfect outdoor activity! It is certainly our favorite time of the year to camp! The days are cooler, the leaves are beginning to change color, and the crowds begin to thin. The skills you use when camping in the fall are the same as in the fall, but there are a couple things to consider as the season changes at your campsite.

Fall Camping
Grand Canyon – North Rim

Tips to make your fall camping trip successful

Fall weather can be unpredictable so you should research the average temperature in the area you plan to visit and then pack for your trip accordingly.  Here are some other simple tips for making your fall camping trip a success:

  • Adjust your schedule. Night comes earlier in the fall than the summer. You may need to set up your campsite earlier in the day than you are used to – unless you don’t mind setting up your tent in the dark! 
  • Don’t forget to bring a sleeping pad. During the summer you can get away with sleeping on the ground but as the outside temperatures start to cool, the ground will get harder and colder – you’ll be glad to have a sleeping pad on chilly fall nights! A sleeping pad will insulate you against the cold ground. You will sleep warmer and much more comfortably too!
  • Have a plan for keeping warm in case it gets cold – Depending on where you camp, fall weather can turn on a dime and you never know when you might get stuck in the rain. Make sure to pack a rain-proof tent with a full fly and pack layers of clothing so you can add or subtract layers with changing temperatures. Always bring rain gear or a poncho in case the weather turns wet.
  • Bring plenty of lighting. Because night comes earlier in the fall, you may need to rely more on flashlights, lanterns or headlamps in the fall than you would in the summer. You don’t want to be stumbling around your campsite in the dark! If your light requires batteries, bring extra. Our Scoutmaster used to say “if you have one, you have none; if you have two, you have one”. (always have a back up!) Shop ours here!
  • Have a plan for bad weather days. Fall weather can be unpredictable and can sometimes change quickly. Have a plan if you’re stuck in your tent all day with bad weather. Napping is a favorite, but travel-sized board games, books, cards, and other simple ways to keep busy are always good. (we used to bring coloring books, paper, & crayons for the kids).
Beef stew
  • Bring plenty of hearty food. Not only will you be exerting a lot of energy while hiking and doing other outdoor activities, but your body will burn extra calories to keep your body warm during the colder days and nights. Make sure to start your day with a hearty breakfast and refuel every few hours. Eating a hearty dinner will also help keep you warm at night. We make stews, chilis, and other meals that fill you up and help keep you warm at night.

Fall can be an awesome time of year for a camping. The temperatures are more tolerable than they are in summer depending on where you camp.  Besides that, you get to enjoy the beauty of color-changing leaves as well as the crisp air. If you are planning a camping trip for this fall, keep some of the above tips in mind to make your trip a success.

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Camping Hacks

hack  n \hak\ :

The dictionary describes a hack as “a strategy or technique for managing one’s time or activities more efficiently”. As with everything in life, there is always a “hack” to make things easier. Below are some of our favorite camping hacks. Have you tried any of these? Have any hacks to add? Comment below and share!

Fill your Nalgene with warm water and put it at the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep your feet warm

Strap your headlamp to your translucent water bottle with the light shining inward for a makeshift lantern. A translucent bottle works best!

Making pancakes? Make your mix ahead of time and store in an old ketchup squeeze bottle.

Camping Hacks

Freeze gallon jugs of water and put them in your cooler as an ice block. When it melts, you have water!

Camping Hacks

Keep tomorrows clothes in the bottom of your sleeping bag at night. The clothes will be warmer to put on in the morning and your feet will stay warmer too.

Use microfiber towels. They dry fast and are lightweight.

Camping Hacks

Backpack not waterproof? Use a trash bag as a liner to keep your gear dry.

Camping Hacks

An old coffee can, can make a great TP holder.

Camping Hacks

Wrap a layer of duct tape around your water bottle, just in case.

Keep a pair of dry, clean socks in your sleeping bag that are only for sleeping in. Your feet will thank you and you will be warmer too.

Camping Hacks

Keep the old silica gel packs that come in, well, everything and keep one in your mess kit. It will absorb any moisture and prevent rust.

Forget your pillow? Stuff some clean clothes into your sleeping bag stuff sack for a good replacement pillow.

Camping Hacks

Make toothpaste dots. If you are worried about weight, pus toothpaste in dots on a wax paper, let dry, sprinkle with baking soda and you have “single serving” toothpaste at the ready.

Camping Hacks

Put some dryer lint or cotton balls into an old Altoids tin with a metal match for a handy fire starting kit.

Camping Hacks

Stuff a shirt or newspaper in wet shoes with the insole removed for a quicker dry.

Forget your plate? Have you ever eaten out of a frisbee? It works as a great plate (& you can play with it too!)

Camping Hacks

Hand sanitizer can be a great fire starter!

Make tick deterrent.

Camping Hacks

Dryer lint and cotton balls make great fire starters. You can also dip cotton pads in wax for a great fire starter.

Cooking directly on coals in foil pouches? Wrap meat in cabbage to keep it from burning.

Old birthday candles can also be used as a fire starter.

Camping Hacks

A 5 gallon bucket with a toilet lid make a good alternative (don’t forget the bag to go inside).

Those plastic bread tags can be re-purposed as clothespins.

If you lose a grommet in your tarp, twist a rock or small stick into the corner for an anchor point.

Camping Hacks

Doritos actually make great kindling to start a fire.

An old candle rubbed on a zipper will help it work smoothly.

Seal spices into old drinking straws for a small spice rack on the trail. Tic Tac boxes work well too!

Camping Hacks

Add a bundle of sage to the campfire to keep mosquitoes away.

Camping Hacks

Pack a mini first aid kit into an old Altoids tin.

Camping Hacks

Use tennis balls in the dryer with your sleeping bag to maintain the loft.

Do you have any hacks to add? Please leave them in the comments section below.

 

 

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How to Get a Longer Life Out of Your Tent

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent

For many campers, the most important piece of equipment is their tent. Tents can range anywhere from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars. The best way to make that money stretch is caring for your equipment. If you take care of your equipment and treat it right, there’s no reason your tent cant last a decade or even more!

1. Here comes the pitch….

When you pitch your tent, be sure to make sure any sharp objects aren’t going to be underneath you. Not only can this be uncomfortable, but those sharp objects can poke a hole in the floor. This is a great argument for a ground cloth. In the past, I have preached that you don’t really need a ground cloth; and while that may be true, a ground cloth can add an extra layer of protection to the floor of your tent.

When you put your poles together, don’t snap them into place, but put the poles together section by section. Snapping them can cause fiberglass poles to splinter and while not an end-all, creates more work to have to repair the pole.

If you tent is pitched out in the open with no shade, leave your rain fly on. The sun’s UV rays can break down the ten’s walls and the rain fly with it’s waterproofing, will offer more protection.

Coleman Hooligan Tent 8' x 6', 2 Person

2. Keep it clean

After each campout, clean out your tent. Be sure to get all the leaves, sticks, twigs, pine cones, etc out of there.  Also if there are extra dirty spots, spot clean them with simple soap & water. Don’t use stain sticks dishwashing liguid, or bleach. These can break down the material of your tent. To minimize the amount of debris, I actually take off my shoes and leave them outside under the fly, or bring them in if it’s going to rain or snow.

3. Seal the seams

Most tents nowadays are factory sealed at the seams. If your tents starts getting older, you may have to re-seal your seams to keep them waterproof. We like the Coleman seam sealer that can be purchased here.  This seam sealer is pretty easy to use with it’s applicator tip. You may have to re waterproof your rain fly as well. If you do, spray some of this on your tent and it will be waterproof again. Be sure to let both of these products dry before packing your tent away!

COPPERHEAD 6×5 DOME TENT

4. Storage

It should go without saying, but never store your tent when it’s wet. Sure, you may have to break camp in a hurry due to a down pour, but as soon as you get home, set it back up and let it dry out completely. Packing a wet tent can cause mildew which is not only unsightly (black spots on the walls), but it can also break down the fabric.

5. Zip it good

All too often, tents get thrown out because the zipper fails. Be careful when zipping & unzipping the door or windows. If you catch the fabric, this can cause a tear in the wall. Since zippers take so much strain (all the tension when the tent is up), be sure to show the zippers some love. You can do this by rubbing an old candle on the teeth of the zipper. This will help keep it lubricated and less likely to snag.

Tent fold

6. It’s all in the fold

When folding your tent to pack it away, try folding it differently. It’s easy to fold it along the same seams as before (heck, the lines are already there for you!). Folding along the same crease each time can make the crease brittle and cause unwanted tears. Try folding your tent different each time. As long as it fits in the bag, you’re good!

 

Your tent is an investment just like a vehicle. If you take care of your vehicle, it will last a long time. Same goes for your tent!

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What is Dispersed Camping?

Dispersed Camping

There are 2 types of camping. Campground camping and dispersed camping.

The dictionary defines dispersed as ‘to separate and move apart in different directions without order or regularity; become scattered. Campgrounds are orderly, and regular. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great campgrounds; but if you’re tired of being right on top of the people you are trying to get away from by going camping, dispersed camping just might be for you. 

Dispersed camping is camping anywhere that’s not a developed campground. There are no services such as toilets, trash removal, picnic tables, or fire rings. You are as out in nature as you can be. There are extra responsibilities to adhere to when dispersed camping. These responsibilities help keep everyone safe and leaves the are for others to enjoy as well.

Some guidelines for dispersed camping:
  1. Use an existing campsite. Camping where others have camped before minimalizes the environmental impact of camping and helps leave the area around the campsite pristine and the reason to go out & camp.
  2. Be prepared. Know before you go what amenities you will need to provide for your outing. No trash service? Be prepared to take your trash with you. No restrooms? Be prepared to dig “cat holes”.
  3. Follow Leave No Trace principles. For more on this, click here.
  4. Pack it in, pack it out! I just got back from a campout where there was trash everywhere. It was sickening the amount of trash that was left behind. We found that all the trash effected our camping experience because we were cleaning up after others instead of enjoying ourselves.
  5. Bring more water than you think you will need. If you’re camping near a creek, consider a water filter. This one works awesome!
  6.  Know where you can & can’t camp. Many states have restrictions such as not camping within 1 mile of a developed campground or not camping within 1/4 mile of a watering hole (camping closer denies wildlife access to the water). If a sign says “no camping” don’t camp there. Most local sporting goods stores have maps and can tell you where you can camp.
  7. Adhere to all fire restrictions. We are located in the Southwest and frequently, the area has fire restrictions due to the dryness of the area. If there are restrictions, listen. If you think you can’t camp without a campfire, try camping without a forest!
  8. Don’t cut live trees for firewood. There is usually plenty of downed & dead firewood around; use that. Besides, live wood doesn’t burn very well and smokes a lot.

Dispersed Camping

What if you gotta go?

As mentioned in # 2 above, dig a cat hole. A properly dug cat hole will allow your waste to biodegrade, won’t disturb other visitors, and animals won’t dig it up. In most locations, 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter will work. In arid or desert locations, dig 4-6 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. 

When digging a cat hole, select an inconspicuous site at least 200 feet (70 steps) from the nearest trail, campsite, or water source, including streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. The best sites have deep organic soil with a dark rich color and good exposure to sunlight to aid in decomposition. Avoid areas with water runoff, particularly above water sources, which might erode your cat hole and carry your waste  into the local water supply. 

Check local regulations on burying toilet paper. Use non perfumed paper, and as my grandfather used to say “you only need a few squares”. Hygiene products (wipes, tampons, etc) should never be buried.

What to dig with? A small trowel works perfectly. They are usually lightweight and sturdy enough to dig the hole size needed. We like this one. 

Bottom line is that if you really want some privacy, dispersed camping is for you. If you prefer the amenities described above, campground camping is best for you. If you participate in dispersed camping, please follow the guidelines above. 

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