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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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Foxelli 10w Solar Charger Review

Solar Charger

It’s no secret that we love the outdoors. It’s also no secret that we like to take pictures & videos in the out doors (hence our Instagram & Facebook pages). What we don’t love is our phones or cameras going dead while we camp. We typically use external batteries to charge our devices while we sleep. If we are going to be out for an extended period of time, we have to being a lot of batteries. This can get heavy. Enter the 10w Solar Charger by Foxelli.

Solar Charger
Folds down small!

We picked up this charger for the sole intention of charging our batteries during the day so we can charge our devices at night while we sleep.  We put this charger through the paces and here’s what our tester reports. 

First, some quick stats:

  • Converts up to 16% of solar energy into power for USB devices
  • Has 2 outputs to charge 2 devices at the same time
  • Puts out 1.85A in total charging power
  • Automatically detects input needed for connected devices
  • Has multiple loops (8) and 2 carabiners for hanging or attaching
  • It is weather resistant & durable
  • Weighs only 1.23lbs so it is hardly noticed in (or on) your pack
  • Open size: 24.6″ x 8.7″ x .6″
  • Folded size: 8.7″ x 6.1″ x 1.2″  

What we liked:

We were really surprised ho light this was. Since it doesn’t have it’s own battery, there isn’t much to weigh this charger down. We also like all the different areas for attaching. Attaching it to a number of backpacks and there were no issues. We found that it charged best when laid out on a log angle for the right sun exposure. Being able to charge 2 separate items is also a plus. That way, we didn’t have to prioritize which device to charge first. The outside of the unit is a canvas material that is fairly easy to clean.

Solar Charger
Charging our phone

How we tested the solar charger:

Like I mentioned earlier, we like to use external batteries to charge our devices while we sleep (aka not using them). We charged 2 different external batteries. On of the batteries has an output of 1000mA and the other, 10,000mA. Both batteries were completely dead when we hooked them to this solar charger. Obviously, how much of a charge there exists, will effect the recharge time, so we started with dead batteries. We hooked both backup batteries to the solar charger at approximately 8:00 AM. We left the charger on a log all day, not bothering to angle it for optimal sun exposure. Each of our batteries has an led indicator to show that is is charging and how full the battery is. The 1000ma battery was fully charged by 1:00 PM!

Solar Charger
2 USB outlets!

Since we were charging 2 separate devices and the solar charger had to split the 1.85A, it probably would have charged even quicker had we only hooked up the 1 device. We unplugged this batter and stored it away for use in the evening. The 10,000mA battery was about 1/2 full by lunch time. At the end of the day, and the sun had gone down, the 10,000ma battery was indicating 75% charged. Keep in mind, that this larger battery will charge a phone about 4 times.

Next we attached the solar charger to a back pack (vertically) and tested only the small battery. We didn’t hook it up until about 10:30 in the morning and since it wasn’t laying flat and getting full sun exposure to the whole unit, took the rest of the day to charge the battery. This smaller battery will charge a phone once per charge, so this was still pretty good.

Solar Charger
Charging the batteries

Finally, we hooked our phone to the solar charger since there is a really good charge indication. We used a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. We laid the charger on a log then plugged in the phone. It is important to note not to put the phone in the pocket of the charger. It will get hot in there & could damage the phone. We just tucked the phone underneath.  Here are the time stats:

 

 

Time Battery          Notes
11:05 5% Plugged phone in
11:45 38%
12:15 65%
12:45 89%
1:15 100% Charged in full!

 

What we would change:

There isn’t a whole lot we would change about this solar charger. It works and it works well!  I’m sure there are people that would want different colors, but we’re good with the basic black. Some may even want a USB cable to be included but with all the different variations, that isn’t really possible. So I guess, we really wouldn’t change a thing.

Conclusion:

This solar charger is a great unit! While we didn’t experience testing it in any weather, it did sustain a fall off the log from high winds. We found by simply connecting our batteries and letting them go all day, we had plenty of power! If you need more power, Foxelli makes a 21w model that puts out 3.5A (link). So far, we have been impressed with the quality of products from Foxelli. We have their hammock, this solar charger, and their trail camera (look for reviews of those items soon).

This is a must have for any camper, hiker, or outdoors person!

If you would like one of these awesome solar chargers, you can purchase one here.

Solar Charger
Instructions are printed right there!

 

Solar Charger

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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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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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Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent Review

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent Review

We were excited to pick up the Luxe Tempo 4 person tent. It arrived well packaged and in a stuff sack as you would expect. The first thing we noticed was that the stuff sack had compression straps and a handle so you could carry it like a duffel bag which is cool.

What’s in the bag:

  • Tent
  • Rain fly
  • 2 main poles
  • 1 pole for rain fly
  • 14 aluminum tent pegs
  • 6 neon guy lines
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent Review
Duffel bag style stuff sack
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
All laid out & ready to set up

We opened up the stuff sack (tent comes out through the top), and pulled out the tent, aluminum poles, pegs, & rain fly which were all bound by a strap. The first thing we noticed was how light the tent material itself was. Another cool thing we liked, was that the instructions were sewn into the top of the stuff sack.

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent Review
Instructions sewn into stuff sack

We laid out the tent and started setting it up. The aluminum poles went together as if they were magnetic (gotta love new elastic!). The poles slip easily int a grommet in each corner crossing at the top. Instead of feeding the poles through a flap, there are clips to hold the sides of the tent to the poles which makes for a much easier set-up. The tent went up very easily and without any issues. We unfolded the rain fly and draped it over the tent. The rain fly clips into each corner and has a strap for adjustments. The rain fly features two vestibules and 2 vents that pop up for increased circulation. After we installed the rain fly, we installed the pole for the fly. In hindsight, we should have done the fly pole first before setting up the rain fly, next time. We staked down the 2 vestibules, popped up the vents and  attached one of the guy lines.

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent Review
All set up

What we lined about the tent:

We really liked the size of this tent. At just under 8′ x 7′, this tent has plenty of room. Add the 2 vestibules into the mix for gear storage and you have more than enough room for everyone. This is sold as a 4-person tent, but 3 people can sleep comfortably. (see my article on tent sizes here) We also really liked the weight of this tent. At 7 pounds, and given it’s compact size when in the stuff sack; it will easily fit into a back pack without too much pain. You could even split up the components between hikers if you were back pack camping to distribute the weight even more. When the rain fly is foo, the whole top of the tent is a fine mesh. Small enough to keep the bugs out, and awesome for star gazing!  We also liked the fact that there are 2 doors! No more climbing over your tent mate and waking them up in the middle of the night. Not only are there 2 doors, but they are HUGE! Most of the wall on the door side is the door itself. In each corner of the tent there is a pocket for your “stuff” (flashlight, glasses, phone, etc) which is really a cool feature. The gear loft at the roof of the tent inside is also cool. We were able to put our headlamps up there and light up the whole tent without accidentally looking at the other person and blinding them.

What we would change:

The only thing we could think of that we would change is the rain fly opening. When you stake down the rain fly at the bottom of the zipper, you have to squeeze through the slit of an opening. We are fairly agile here at Camp Gear Center, so it wasn’t a big deal. We could see it being a point of potential damage to the tent at this area.

Conclusion:

This is a great tent! We didn’t get any rain so we cant attest to the “waterproofness” of it, but if the rest of the construction is any indication, we have no doubts that we would stay dry in this tent. With the amount of ventilation, we also doubt there would be much condensation in cold weather camping either! Below are some additional pics of the features:

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Pop up vents
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Rain fly clips
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Huge doors! (looking out towards the fly)
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
One of the corner “gear pockets”
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Spacious gear loft
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Inside of the pop up vent
Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent
Tent specs on the underside of the stuff sack

Luxe Tempo 4 Person Tent

You can purchase this tent here

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Hammock Camping Tips & Tricks

Hammock

My Boy Scout Unit Commissioner once told me “the best night’s sleep I ever got on a campout was in a hammock”. Naturally this piqued my curiosity so I picked one up for our next campout. Since this was my first time sleeping in a hammock, at least not overnight; I probably didn’t sleep as well as I could have. My only regret is that I didn’t adhere to #5 below. If I had an underquilt or a camp pad, I would have been much warmer and therefore slept better. Besides that, I am hooked.

Hammock Tips
Kids love hammocks too!

Hammocks are super easy to set up and if you get the right straps, you don’t even have to be able to tie any knots. They are also the ultimate in Leave No Trace, when hung properly you leave zero impact on the campsite. I now take my hammock on every campout just in case there’s an opportunity to use it.

 

We have compiled some tips and tricks to make your next hammock campout even more comfortable.

  1. Hang your hammock with a good sag.  Too many people try to string up their hammock tightly between two anchor points. Heck, I even used to. Stringing too tightly between anchors causes a cocoon effect and put pressure on your shoulders and back. Putting a good sag in your hammock lowers the center of gravity making it more stable and harder to fall out of. You want to have your hammock look like a smile. For the techies, a 30 degree angle at each end will be the most comfortable.

2. Lay on the diagonal.  This is actually how hammocks were designed to work. Once you have your “good sag”, laying across the diagonal is very comfortable. If you start to feel some pressure behind your knees laying like this, use a small pillow under them and sleep like a baby!

3. Raise your feet slightly higher. Sometimes your body can slide to the middle of the hammock and be uncomfortable. Raising your feet 8″ – 10″ will keep your torso from sliding into the middle and be more comfortable.

4. Keep the bugs at bay. Some “jungle hammocks” come with a built in bug net. If yours doesn’t, it is an inexpensive addition to help keep the bugs outside where they should be.

5. Use a sleeping pad or under quilt. Sleeping pads aren’t just for sleeping on the ground comfortably. They also keep you warmer by insulating you from the cold ground. Many people think all you need to stay warm in a hammock is a sleeping bag. When you lay on the sleeping bag in your hammock, you compress the filling which is what helps insulate you. Sure, you will be warmer than if you had nothing, but a sleeping pad or under quilt will be much warmer.

Hammock Drip Line

6. Use a drip line. A simple drip line on your suspension system (see above) can help keep you dry. Water can seep down the suspension line and right onto you. Be sure to place this drip line under your tarp for the best effect.  You can make a drip line with a small piece of para cord on the suspension.

7. Fold in the edge for a more comfortable chair.  Sitting in a hammock is like sitting in a big comfy seat. If you don’t wan the circulation cut off at your knees, fold the edge in and sit on the nice flat area.

8. Check local regulations. There are some local areas that do not allow hammock use. This usually has to do with the potential damage to trees (See # 9).

Hammock Webbing

9. Use webbing straps. Webbing straps are designed to evenly distribute the weight when anchored to a tree. Webbing straps won’t cut into a tree the same way rope will. These straps also make hanging your hammock a breeze. No knots to tie, just loop the webbing around a tree and hang!

10. Hang your floor mat. If you use a mat on the ground. Hang it up when not in use like when you’re out hiking or sitting around the campfire. There is less impact to the environment this way.

11. Be an advocate. Campers are great people. We certainly didn’t just magically come into all this camping knowledge, we were taught. Help others. Guide them, be friendly about it and people will usually accept the help. Share this site with them, we are happy to help others too!

12. Use a sleeping bag. When you’re hanging in your hammock and the breeze starts to blow, it can cool you off quickly. What I like to do is have a camp pad or underquilt in the hammock and use the sleeping bag as a comforter. I unzip my bag about 3/4 down and stick my feet inside and cover myself with the rest of the unzipped bag. This will help keep you warmer at night.

Hammock safety

As fun as camping in a hammock is, there are some things to consider to stay safe.

  1. Don’t hang your hammock over 3 feet off the ground to prevent dangerous falls.
  2. Hanging over sharp objects or water is never a good idea.
  3. Don’t stack hammocks (where multiple hammocks are stacked vertically).
  4. Don’t keep food in your hammock, just like a tent.
  5. Inspect your anchor points and look for dead limbs above or anything that can fall on you.

Shop our offering of hammocks here

What other tips & suggestions do you have? Please leave a comment below. Also be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.