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Best Freeze Dried Food in 2020 – Reviewed

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You never know when an emergency might happen and if you are backpacking, having an ample supply of freeze-dried food is an important back up that protects you from the unknown. Even if you are using it for storage, there are some great-tasting, convenient, and nutritious freeze-dried food products available.

The best way of ensuring you aren’t disappointed when it comes to preparing and tasting them is by ensuring you have bought a quality product. This is why we have compiled our list of the best freeze-dried food on the market and they have something different to offer from long shelf life to plenty of tasting options. Whichever you choose, they won’t let you down when you need them the most.

Quick Summary of the Best Freeze Dried Food

Editor’s Choice: Mountain House Essential Bucket

This is one of the most popular freeze-dried food buckets available and has everything you need to survive the most hostile of conditions. They are easy to use and each meal can be made within 10 minutes, all you need to do is pour hot water into the convenient pouches which also means there is no clean up after. They are well-suited to camping trips and you get 32 servings in the well-packed bucket with three flavors that include rice chicken, chili mac with beef, and spaghetti with meat sauce.

They come with a 30-year taste guarantee although it might be difficult to keep that handy in a few decades it is good to know they are made to last. The downside is that you need a fair amount of water for all the pouches combined and Mountain House advises that this should keep a person going for 3.5 days.

What we liked about it
  • 3 different meal types included
  • 30-year taste guarantee
  • Great taste

Best Value: Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply

Another reputable company in the world of freeze-dried food gives you a massive 30-day supply to keep you going. With a shelf life if around 25 years they are great to keep for emergencies but the convenience of being able to prepare them within minutes is what makes them perfect for hiking trips. It comes with a 30-day meal planner so you can work out how to stretch the supply across a month and all meals only need water.

There is a good variety included with the likes of maple oatmeal for breakfast that gives you slow-release energy and creamy chicken rice, mac and cheese, instant potatoes and chicken-flavored soup to name just a few of the meals. The bucket itself is quite heavy but the packets are easy to chuck into a camping bag.

What we liked about it
  • Includes 30-day meal planner
  • Great value with lots of variety
  • 25-year shelf life

Best Snack: Brothers-ALL-Natural Fruit Crisps

For a freeze-dried snack, these fruit crisps are perfect for bulking a bag and eating on the go for an extra energy boost between meals. They are one of the most popular freeze-dried foods going so it is no surprise that many survivalists and backpackers keep them handy.

You get 24 bags in this pack including fuji apple, Asian pear, bananas, and strawberries to keep you going. 100% freeze dried and non-GMO you’re only getting fruit, no preservatives, additives, or dyes included they offer you a good value way of adding some much-needed nutrition to meals that can be heavy on the protein and carb side but lacking in vitamins.

What we liked about it
  • Non-GMO and free from preservatives
  • Good variety and value
  • Convenient and pack down small

Best Variety: Legacy Emergency Food Ultimate Sample Pack

Made in the USA, this convenient food pack has enough to keep you going on a weekend of camping and a decent variety of meals so you don’t get bored. We like that it includes coffee and snacks and is one of the best value products considering the reasonable price.

The portion sizes tend to be more generous than most and everything is 100% GMO-free. You get 4 breakfasts and 15 lunch/dinner packets as well as 6 sides so there is plenty for a couple to get by on. There is plenty to choose from depending on which bucket you go for but you only need to add water to the likes of refried beans, pancake batter mix, Italian pasta with Mariana sauce, enchilada beans and rice and plenty more.

What we liked about it
  • Good variety
  • Includes coffee and snacks
  • Generous portions
  • 100% GMO-free

Best Tasting: Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai

If you don’t want a freeze-dried food pack and want to tailor your meals for your trip then Backpacker’s Pantry has some great tasting meals available. In their Pad Thai, you get the chance to eat a hearty meal that contains 20g of protein and 460 calories to keep you going when the trail starts to get tough.

You only need water to prepare the meal and you can top it with crunchy peanuts for a meal made with quality ingredients. Gluten-free and non-GMO it is a favorite of many backpackers and has an 84-month shelf life. It’s not the cheapest but you do get a better taste and quality of ingredients compared to other brands.

What we liked about it
  • Contains 20g of protein
  • Quality ingredients
  • 84 month shelf life

Freeze Dried Food Guide

At the end of a long day hiking the last thing you want to do is have to spend time preparing a meal. Making a fire is hard enough and even if it is warm enough that you can concentrate on eating, you need to replenish those lost calories with ease.

This is why a lot of survivalists and hikers like to make sure they have freeze-dried food in their camping bag. The best freeze-dried food requires little prep and has a good amount of nutrition but it can be hard to tell which are the better products. To help clear a few things up, we have created the following guide.

What To Look For In Freeze-Dried Food

Nutrition

If you have been walking all day then you will have burnt off a fair amount of calories. In order to wake up tomorrow and be ready to clock up the miles again, you need to refuel. The best freeze-dried food has a good amount of calories to support the average intake of 2,000 kcal a day and plenty of protein to help those aching muscles.

Variety

This will depend on what product you go for but if you buy a multi-pack or a bucket style supply of freeze-dried food then you will want to get one with a good variety. No one wants to eat oatmeal 3 times. a day for a week and even classics such as mac n cheese can get a little tiresome when eaten every day.

The better products come with a variety of meals and although you’ll end up liking some more than others, it is good to be able to mix things up in terms of flavor and nutrition. Variety packs also give you options for different meals so you can get your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks sorted with one purchase.

Taste

There is little point in buying freeze-dried food if you can barely stand the taste or smell once you pour hot water into the pouch. Make sure the brand you are buying has a reputation for making quality food that tastes great. Reviews are often a good gauge so if it has enough backing from people who have used it then it’s a good sign.

Value

The higher the quality of ingredients the more money you might find yourself paying but this doesn’t always have to mean you get bad value. You can pick up multipacks that save you money and some brands even provide snacks as a bonus.

Long Shelf Life

This might not be high on your list of priorities unless you are using freeze-dried food for emergencies but if that is the case then there are plenty of quality freeze-dried foods with a shelf life well over 20 years.

Convenience

The whole point of using freeze-dried food when camping is that it keeps mealtime simple. This is usually by requiring minimal prep in the form of pouring hot water into a pouch that you can eat out of. Because of this, clean up is also easy and you only have to wash the spoon or fork.

How Good Is Freeze Dried Food?

If the end goal is to keep your calorie intake up when in the wilderness or on a long hike then freeze-dried food is great because it doesn’t spoil at the same rate as other foods.

However, there are a few important things to know when it comes to nutrition. Because of the demands on your body of traveling long distanced day in day out, the freeze-dried food you choose needs to give you a decent balance of nutrition. Everything from carbs to proteins and minerals needs to be in ample supply.

There might be a lot of sodium in freeze-dried food because this helps to preserve the food for longer. Because of this, you will need a good amount of water to prep the food and to stay hydrated. If you have any sodium related restrictions as part of your diet or health advice from your Doctor then it is best to consult an expert before you eat several freeze-dried foods in a row.

Do Freeze-Dry Foods Contain Preservatives?

This is one of the benefits of using them because most products do not need to use preservatives. Their method of preserving them comes fro the freeze-drying process that sucks most of the moisture out of the food, allowing them to last a long time.

In most cases, freeze-dried foods are either free-from preservatives or contain a minimal amount.

Do Freeze-Dried Foods Expire?

Although they are made to be long-lasting they do have a used by date. Most of the time this is several years from the time of production but be careful when making a purchase. Some products last around 20 years but if you are getting a product that was made 12 years ago they won’t last as long as you might think.

Who Uses Freeze Dried Food?

They are a number of people who use them from astronauts to survival experts and anyone in between. Popular with campers they are great for long hikes in the wilderness as the sealed packs do not attract animals as long as you don’t leave the used packaging lying around.

Does Freeze-Dried Food Taste Good?

Although a lot of this is down to personal opinion, many people say they would use certain recipes at-home for mealtime. There are many brands known for creating great-tasting freeze-dried food and you can get all sorts of meals that range from Pad Thai to chicken rice dishes.

Why Does Freeze-Dried Food Cost More?

Because of the freeze-drying process. This can be expensive for manufacturers to do as it requires specialist equipment and the process itself can be time-consuming. Because of this, it can take a while for companies to make and package the food, and as they say, time is money.

Conclusion

Whether you are stocking up for an emergency or planning your next adventure, freeze-dried food can taste great and lasts a long time. It is always a good idea to pack a few freeze-dried snacks to give yourself more energy whilst on the move and if you use freeze-dried fruit you can get some valuable nutrients into your system.

Best Monoculars in 2020 – Reviewed

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When you need powerful magnification fast, a monocular can bring you closer to a bird or deer, depending on what you are using it for. The best products are made from robust materials to withstand the conditions of the great outdoors but they need to offer you more than just a strong build.

It can be hard to tell which brands are worth considering, especially with so many products promising you crystal clear magnification. Also, if you aren’t aware of what makes a great product so good and a cheap product one to avoid you might end up wasting money on a monocular that you barely use. To make sure you get the most out of your hike, hunt, or bird spotting experience we have outlined the very best monoculars available. Each of them offers unique features and there is something for every budget.

Quick Summary of the Best Monoculars

Editor’s Choice: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular

In the world of monoculars, this is the ultimate product that anyone can benefit from using. You get impressive 10 x magnification which is crystal clear, bringing a 42mm objective into the mix with their reputable brand name. Although it weighs a bit more than a lot of the more compact monoculars, this is part of the reason it is so popular as it adds to its sturdiness.

They are both waterproof and fog proof and feature fully multi-coated optics to ensure you are getting high-quality materials for a clear picture with bright colors through the ED glass. The twist-up eyecups add to the comfort and are great for anyone who wears glasses. A lot of people comment that the focus is easy to navigate and works fast so you can keep that bird in your sights

What we liked about it
  • Fully multi-coated glass is high-quality
  • 10 x magnification
  • Clear and bright viewing
  • Twist-up eyecups for added comfort

Best Close Range: Vortex Optics Solo Monocular 8×36

With a mix of value and performance, Vortex steps up to fill a void that means anyone can get their hands on a quality monocular. Although the magnification isn’t quite as impressive as other products, a lot of people will find that 8 x is more than enough for their needs. Combine this with the 36 mm lens and its ability to work well at close range of around 16.4 ft, it is a neat product, to say the least.

You get a lot of grip from the rubber armor on the outside so it won’t fall from your grasp even when the weather turns and since it is nitrogen purged, it is both fog proof and waterproof meaning it can be snowing or scorching and it won’t affect its performance.

What we liked about it
  • Works well at close range
  • Nitrgoen purged so it is fog proof
  • Very grippy outer

Best Affordable: ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Monocular

An affordable monocular that despite its limitations is a monocular that is worth considering. It has a wide view but only 6 x magnification. for some outdoor pursuits, this is plenty but for the serious hunter, this might be restrictive. Still, you can get a good grip of it thanks to the quality outer and in the retractable eyecups, they are one of the more comfortable for anyone who wears glasses.

The all-glass lens is multi-coated so it still provides a clear view which is probably why they are popular with those who are sitting at the back of a concert or the casual bird-watcher. Another plus point is the added extras you get that includes a sturdy carry pouch, a strap to wear the monocular around your neck and a cleaning cloth.

What we liked about it
  • Grippy outer is easy to hold
  • Compact design
  • Retractable eyecups

Best Compact: Celestron Nature 10×25 Monocular

With 10 x magnification you know it is going to be fun to use as it gives you plenty of scope and a 25mm lens that makes it so compact. Both waterproof and fog proof it stands up to the rigors of bad weather and Celestron includes a limited lifetime warranty that is still good to see. Y

ou get a clear view through the multi-coated lens and a focus dial that can be operated with one hand. It is one of the more modern-looking monoculars and should please most tastes aesthetically. Arguably the best pocket-sized monocular it fits into a small space with ease so you can take it on a hike if you want to get a good view of your route in the distance.

What we liked about it
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • 10 x magnification
  • Impressive design
  • Compact

Best With Smartphone Holder: Gosky Titan High-Power Prism Monocular and Quick Smartphone Holder

Despite having some added features and extras this remains one of the more affordable monoculars on our list. Still, this is only impressive because it is still a high-spec product that gives you 12 x magnification, more than most. What attracts a lot of people is the smartphone holder that is easy to attach. Once it is on it allows the user to take photos and videos of their close-ups to capture the memory.

The objective lens of 50mm is big although it doesn’t give you the clarity of some of the others, images are generally pretty bright. It is one of the heavier monoculars as it weighs 13.9 oz and feels a little chunky in your hand but a lot of people prefer something a little bigger as it feels sturdier. To top it off, it is waterproof and comes with a handful of accessories such as carry bag, lens cover, straps, and more.

What we liked about it
  • 12 x magnification
  • Includes smartphone holder to take images and videos
  • Waterproof

Monocular Guide

For some people, the convenience of a monocular means it can go anywhere with them, fitting easily in a side pocket of a bag or even in their trouser pockets. Because of this, they have become one of the must-have accessories for bird watchers and hunters who prefer to save space and travel light.

If you don’t already own one or lack the knowledge of those in the know then it can be hard to tell which ones are worth buying. This is why we have cleared a few things up in our buyer’s guide so this purchase becomes a simple one.

What To Look For In A Monocular

Magnification

It isn’t always a case of the greater the magnification the better as you still need a clear image when looking through the lens but there is a balance. If you can find a product that gives you 8 x magnification or above then you have the basis of a good monocular. This means you are able to get a close look of a deer or bird without being so near that your breathing causes it to scarper.

If your budget allows you to buy a monocular with 10 x magnification then this is often a good place to start.

Lens Diameter

Because it affects the amount of light that gets through and gives you a brighter image you want to get a lens that gives you a wider view. It still needs to have a quality lens but starting with the size, they are commonly found within the 20 – 50mm mark. Anything up to 36mm should still be portable and fit into most convenient pockets without an issue.

Size

This leads on from the diameter of the lens because typically the body will be more compact with a smaller lens. Whatever product you like the look of making sure it is going to be easy to store when you’re en route to a favorite bird spotting position or can go around your neck without weighing you down.

Some of the heavier brands weigh closer to 14 oz which should still be easily manageable for most.

Coated Lens

We’ll go into more detail on this a little later but it is one of the most important considerations as the type of coated lens you buy will say a lot about the quality of the product. When there isn’t as much light available they can help to brighten what you see. The best available is a fully multi-coated lens although you should expect to pay more for them.

There is still good value to be had and a lot of quality in the multi-coated lenses as well.

Adjustable Eyecups

Because even if you don’t wear glasses, you might want to wear sunglasses with a pair of monoculars on a sunny day, adjustable eyecups ensure they are still comfortable to wear. Most reputable brands give you this allowing you to get a better view.

Warranty

This will be more important if you’re buying one of the high-end monoculars and you’re less likely to get much in the way of a warranty with the more affordable options. If you can find a product with a warranty then it is a bonus and can protect your purchase.

Some come with a lifetime warranty which means it should be the only monocular you ever own.

Weatherproof

Because you never know when the clouds are going to open up it is important to buy a waterproof monocular that is robust enough to work in adverse conditions. Some come with IP ratings that go into more detail as to how waterproof it is.

It’s important to make sure that the product you buy is sealed well because if any water gets inside, the monocular can be pretty useless as the image will forever be affected.

Extras

Everyone likes to get as much as they can from a purchase and getting added accessories with your monocular can mean you are getting good value. Of course, this is only possible if the extras are high-quality and can come in the form of a padded case, a lanyard, lens cleaner, and even as you will have seen with some products, a smartphone mounting kit.

Monoculars Vs Binoculars

If you are considering both then you need to think about your needs. Are you going on a long trip where space is in short supply or do you need to keep your bag light?

Anything that centers around convenience will mean a monocular is a product well-suited to your needs. Even if you want a lot of magnification, there are plenty of monoculars that stand up well when compared to a lot of binoculars.

If you need to use them for an extended amount of time then binoculars can be more comfortable but if your budget is a little more restrictive, then it is better to buy a high-quality monocular than a sub-par binocular and monoculars tend to be more affordable.

What Is The Best Lens Coating For Monoculars?

In terms of the highest quality then a fully multi-coated lens is going to absorb light to a higher spec which allows for increased visibility and a crisper image. Expect to have to pay more but a lot of people consider this to be worth it because of the clarity.

Otherwise, you will often find monoculars with multi-coated lenses and whilst they are not as desirable as the former they are still a great option, more affordable but will give you better quality than other budget lens coatings.

Can You Get Nightvision Monoculars?

There are some products on the market that give you the ability to see at night but they are often closer to $1,000 for a pair worth buying. They are fun to use and give you the ability to see different breeds at night but the cheaper pairs will result in a wasted trip.

What Is The Best Monocular?

Of course, not everyone will agree on the single best monocular for everyone as your budget will determine the spec you can afford. However, there is no denying the all-round value and performance of our top pick, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Monocular. It offers a mix of 10 x magnification and fully multi-coated glass.

Then there are the twist-up eyecups for added comfort and the fact that they are pretty compact making Bushnells Legend monocular a product that only enhances their reputation. If this is stretching your budget, then there are plenty of great options for under $100.

Best Fire Starters in 2020 – Reviewed

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Any survival kit needs to have a fire starter, it is one of the most important items you will take on a hike. When the night is drawing closer and you want to set up camp, being able to make a fire quickly and conveniently is a massive relief. Thankfully, there are plenty of neat products that are compact enough to throw in your bag when you go for a hike and when you buy a quality product, it can make a big difference.

Not only do some come with added extras to make life even easier but the best fire starters are reliable enough to work every time. To help you find one that won’t let you down, we have created a list of the best fire starters on the market.

Quick Summary of the Best Fire Starters

Editor’s Choice: Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL Ferrocerium Fire Starter

For those in the know, the Exotac nanoSTRIKER is one of the most reputable products and a popular one. This is partly down to the convenience of being able to attach it to your keys or store it in your pocket but also because the replaceable fire rod can reach temperatures of 5,500 degrees F when you’re pointing the sparks at the kindling. What also impresses is that the 1/4 inch ferrocerium rod works well even when it is wet and gives you up to 3,000 fire-starting strikes which will last you for many fires.

It is collapsible and easy to assemble to make a quickfire striking against the tungsten carbide, working best with dry grass, dry leaves, clothing lint, and other materials with a larger surface area. In the 6061 aluminum build it is one of the sturdiest fire starters and able to withstand more punishment than most.

What we liked about it
  • Easy to use and reliable
  • Waterproof
  • Provides up to 3,000 strikes
  • Compact and made from quality materials

Best In Damp Conditions: Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife Fixed Blade Knife

For an all in one fire starting kit, this includes the useful fixed blade knife that has an anti-slip rubber handle. It is the unpolished spine of the blade that makes for an excellent fire starter as the square edge creates reliable sparks when you run the fire starter along its surface.

This twist locks into the handle to keep everything together and the fire starter itself is made from magnesium alloy to create sparks of 5,400 degrees F and is fine for around 3,000 strikes. It works in both wet and dry conditions and comes with both a belt clip and a 1-year warranty. The convenience of being able to use a quality knife that stays sharp for a long time, saving you space in your bag.

What we liked about it
  • Includes stainless steel blade
  • Fine for up to 3,000 strikes
  • Works when wet

Best Kit: Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter [31-000699]

From the man who knows everything there is to know about survival comes Gerber’s Bear Grylls Fire Starter. As you might expect, it is reliable and is made up of a ferrocerium rod with a metal striker that when combined, can quickly start a fire using the included tinder that can be stored in the waterproof compartment.

There is a lanyard that makes it easy to transport between camps and it even comes with an emergency whistle as well as a pocket survival guide and land to air rescue instructions with SOS. The device might be compact but the handles are bulky enough for you to maintain a firm grip when striking.

What we liked about it
  • Includes tinder and a waterproof compartment
  • Easy to strike
  • Lanyard makes it easy to keep at the ready
  • Includes emergency whistle

Best Long Lasting Flame: Zippo Emergency Fire Kit

Zippo lives to ignite a fire, whether that is whilst using one of their lighters to light a cigarette or this emergency fire kit. Although the design is a little bulkier than others on our list, it creates a longer-lasting flame when used with any of the 5 included cotton spark tinders that are coated in paraffin.

They burn for up to 5 minutes which makes it a lot easier to start a fire and the water-resistant storage keeps everything dry including the flint spark wheel. You can attach it to a lanyard to make sure it is always at the ready and a lot of people find that the sparks are reliable.

What we liked about it
  • Reputable brand
  • Included tinders burn for up to 5 minutes
  • Water resistant storage

Best Matches: UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case

For something a little different, these 25 stormproof matches can help to get you out of a difficult spot and make a fire in no time. They come with a waterproof case and three strikers to get the match ignited. They burn for around 15 seconds each and can relight after being submerged in water so they are about as robust as you can hope a match will be.

The case itself floats and the striker can be fixed to the side for a firm surface and is easy to replace. Even a firm wind or constant downpour won’t put them out once lit so when the conditions are fierce, they are a great option to have in your bag.

What we liked about it
  • Each match burns in adverse weather for up to 15 seconds
  • Good value
  • Includes waterproof case

Best Value: UST BlastMatch Fire Starter with One-Handed Operation

It might not look like much more than a USB stick but this convenient fire starter can be used with one hand, making it easy for you to hold the dry glass or tinder. Using a flint based system it makes it easy for the user to point the sparks in the right direction and has a comfortable handle with a safety button to make sure you don’t start creating any of the red hot sparks when you don’t want to.

It managed to create 3x the heat of ordinary matches and can be used in adverse weather including rainy conditions. You can rotate the flint bar 360 degrees to make sure it wears evenly and it will be fine for around 4,000 strikes.

What we liked about it
  • Easy to direct the sparks
  • Includes a safety button
  • Works for up to 4,000 strikes

Fire Starter Guide

When it comes to making a fire you either need to do it quickly when the light is dying or you need to know the product you use is reliable enough to work in a good time. The better products are known for creating a lot of scorching hot sparks and when you get your hands on a quality fire starter it makes life easier.

Because of the importance of a fire starter, it is the sort of purchase that you cannot take any risks with. This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide, to make sure you end up with a product that will help to get the flames burning, and fast.

What To Look For In A Fire Starter

Storage For Tinder

Although you can find your way of making use of the sparks that your fire starter creates, having tinder to hand can make lightning the fire a lot quicker. If there is dry grass, leaves or any other useful resources around then great, but if you have a place to store tinder in your fire starter then even better. That way, it doesn’t matter what the surroundings offer, you can stay warm.

Easy Grip

Although you want the materials to be reliable, the grip on the fire starter also needs to be comfortable enough so it doesn’t slip as you strike. The device will need to be compact but thick enough for you to maintain a good grip and if it is made from rubber or has grooves to keep your grasp true then even better.

Convenient Weight and Size

The whole point of using a fire starter is convenient as when you’re hiking or camping, space in your bag can be minimal. Not only that, but you don’t want the thing to weigh you down – lugging a tent and everything else is hard enough as it is. The best fire starters are those that can fit into your pocket and won’t weigh you down.

With plenty of products shaped like a pen or a USB stick, they are easy to transport between camps.

Ease of Use

There is no point in buying a fire starter that requires a long list of instructions to get to grips with. Sometimes, you need to build a fire ASAP and when this is the case you will need a fire starter that is easy to use. Thankfully, most products follow the simple strike to spark method and need very little explaining although it is a good idea to know how to use them around tinder before you need to make a fire from scratch and it matters.

Waterproof

You don’t have to be crossing a river for there to be enough water to ruin a cheaply made fire starter. Even a bit of rain can make the sub-par products unusable. This is why it is best to opt for a product that is fine when the weather is not and there are plenty of great fire starters that work even when they are wet.

Some products come in a waterproof container or casing to make sure that any tinder is kept dry and some even float.

Longevity

Some products are built to last a long time such as ferrocenium rods that are fine for 1,000’s of strikes. Others are not as durable or long-lasting such as stormproof matches that are limited to how many you have left.

Different Types of Fire Starters

We’ve taken a look at some of the most common types of fire starters in our overview of the best products but here is a closer look.

Ferrocerium Rod Strikers

Otherwise known as flint and steel, these rod strikers make up a large part of the fire starter market and are easy to use. They work in both wet and dry conditions making them ideal for camping although it is always a good idea to practice before using them for the first time.

Matches

We all know about matches, they represent one of the cheapest ways of starting a fire but they aren’t all made the same. Regular matches can blow out easily which is why it is a good idea to buy stormproof matches as they work even when they have been submerged in water.

Lighter

Much like matches, they need no introduction but out of all the fire starting methods they can be the most temperamental. They don’t work when wet and can run out of gas but are affordable and lightweight.

Fire Piston

These are a little bulkier so aren’t as convenient as the other types of fire starters but in terms of generating a flame, they are worth considering. They work by lighting a char cloth but can be a little tricky compared to other methods.

How To Use A Fire Starter

The exact method will depend on the type of fire starter you use but some basic steps are easy to follow.

First of all, prepare the fire by finding a suitable spot that is close to a source of fuel but out of the way of an area that can cause the fire to spread. Also, you will want some protection from the wind.

Then, clear the ground of debris and collect the materials to start the fire but also keep it going. You won’t only need small and large dry wood, but also dry leaves and grass and small twigs.

Now it is time to use the fire starter but let’s assume you are using flint and steel. Strike the flint over the tinder or dry grass directing it where you want it to go. This will either create an instant flame or start to smoke. If the latter happens, blow gently to try and encourage a flame to develop.

Now you will need to maintain the fire once the flames grow, use larger branches but not so big that they suffocate the flames.

Before you leave the area, make sure to put out the fire properly, using water to be certain that it cannot spread.

Best Swiss Army Knives in 2020 – Reviewed

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Although they are one of the most fun tools to have on you in case of an emergency, the best swiss army knives are built a little different. You need more than a tiny pair of scissors and a corkscrew to call it a useful tool and there are plenty of excellent options for use in a variety of situations.

Since they first came into use in the 1880’s they have come a long way and are found in many forms. You might consider how compact you want the product to be and how robust each tool needs to be. These are just a couple of the considerations and it can be a bit of a minefield out there. This is why we have created our list of the best swiss army knives, to make sure this is a fun but effective purchase.

Quick Summary of the Best Swiss Army Knives

Editor’s Choice: Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife

As close to a traditional swiss army knife as you could hope for but also a very effective product. Victorinox knows how to make a quality product here and this is the best going. Not only can you buy this classic in a variety of colors but the tool selection is ideal for everyday use.

There is a 1.25″ blade, a screwdriver on the end of a nail file, tiny scissors, tweezers, a toothpick, and tweezers. All this and a keyring to make sure you always have it on you so you can put it to good use all the time. Made in Switzerland (as you’d hope it would be), the quality materials in the stainless steel construction ensure it will last a long time and it fits comfortably in your pocket and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

What we liked about it
  • Has 7 robust tools
  • Made from quality stainless steel with a polished ABS casing
  • Made in Switzerland by a reputable brand
  • Lifetime guarantee

Best For Camping: Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, Huntsman Pocket Knife

The huntsman might be one of the most impressive tools around let alone one of the best swiss army knives you can buy. With 15 different functions, there is everything you might need for a camping trip including a bottle opener with a screwdriver, 2.45″ blade, a mini wood saw, and a whole lot of other neat tools.

Made of stainless steel with polished ABS outer it looks great and would make a great addition to the tool kit of any fisherman, hunter, camping enthusiast and beyond. It still manages to be compact enough to fit on your keyring and because it is made by Victorinox, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

What we liked about it
  • 15 different functions
  • Large 2.45″ blade
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Lifetime guarantee

Best Multi-Function: Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool, EvoGrip Pocket Knife

Be careful, one look at the EvoGrup Pocket Knife and you might fall in love It’s hard to talk about every function. This is because there are 21 so there is a 2.5″ locking blade, a magnifier, compass, nail file, corkscrew, pliers, and a lot more to put to use.

The polished ABS outer has rubber parts for extra grip and the functions are all made from stainless steel and are built to last. Of course, everything is protected by a lifetime guarantee and although it weighs 7.8 oz, this isn’t the heaviest swiss army knife going and fits conveniently into your pocket and easily in a bag to make sure you don’t forget it on a hunt or camping trip.

What we liked about it
  • 21 impressive functions
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Rubber grip on the outer

Best Design: Victorinox Swiss Army Executive Pocket Knife (Black)

The handsome blade design of the Executive Pocket Knife gives it a professional look and it manages to pack in 10 functions. These vary from a pair of blades (choose from large or small depending on the intended use) and scissors to an orange peeler to make this a unique swiss army knife.

The implements are all made from reliable stainless steel and the whole product is protected by Victorinox’s lifetime guarantee. This means you can use each function with confidence so this sturdy tool can be put through its paces. It boasts the looks to make it stand out and the useability to make sure you get a lot out of it, this is a swiss army knife that anyone can appreciate.

What we liked about it
  • 10 functions
  • Features an orange peeler
  • Slick design
  • Lifetime guarantee

Also Consider (Best Design): Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer Pocket Knife, Silver Alox

The slick design of this impressive swiss army knife makes it a favorite among many with its Alox scale design that makes it both grippy and eye-catching. This is one of the more compact products that is great for camping or everyday tasks as it has 8 useful functions.

These include a bottle opener, a can opener, a durable knife, wire stripper, and others. Each one is made from stainless steel and weighs just 2.5 oz. Lockable and compact, it has the same sturdy feel as Victorinox’s other swiss army knives and can be put to task for a variety of uses that go beyond the ones you expect. Some people use it to drill holes in lumber whilst others have used it to turn screws so whatever you need it for, the Pioneer can be used for the unexpected as well.

What we liked about it
  • Weighs 2.5 oz
  • Has 8 functions
  • Alox scale design looks great

Best For Fishing: Victorinox Swiss Army RangerGrip Boatsman Multi-Tool Pocket Knife

So obviously, this is no ordinary swiss army knife as the impressive array of functions will show you. Within the 19 tools, you can use the 3.9″ one-handed lock-blade with serrated edges and needle nose pliers, marlinspike, corkscrew, bottle opener, and beyond.

Although it weighs over 9 oz, this is a swiss army knife that is intended for a bit of punishment and is ideal for anyone fishing or camping and can be used for a multitude of tasks that include making nets, removing shackles, and a lot more. It isn’t your typical EDC blade, nor is it cheap but for anyone who needs a level of convenience when out on that boat, it’s going to be put to good use.

What we liked about it
  • 19 excellent functions
  • Ideal for fishing and camping
  • Lifetime guarantee

Swiss Army Knife Guide

You never know when you are without a bottle opener or a compact and convenient knife to complete a small. If you are a hunter or enjoying a camping trip it can be useful to have a handful of miniature tools in the palm of your hand. Depending on your intended use, a swiss army knife can be used to saw small pieces of wood or peel an orange.

Not only do they make an impressive gift but there is something for everyone from the fisherman, businessman, to anyone who likes to spend a lot of time outdoors. To make sure you find the perfect one for you, we have detailed some of the must-know traits for choosing the right swiss army knife.

What To Look For In A Swiss Army Knife

Functions

These are what a swiss army knife is known for so you get to take your pick. For most needs, a simple small pair of scissors, a knife, and a bottle opener are high on the list and everything else is a bonus. However, if you are a hunter then you might like a bigger knife and a fisherman might enjoy a pair of pliers.

This will all depend on what you fancy and you’ll find that there are a few surprises with some swiss army knives.

Size

A lot of your decision will depend on how big you want your swiss army knife to be. Some are so compact they fit onto your keys without weighing your pocket down then some are better placed in the pocket of your camping bag or tackle box. The more features you want your swiss army knife to offer the bigger it is going to so make sure you can still carry it in comfort.

Grip

The ABS construction of Victorinox’s swiss army knives is usually very sturdy and has a decent amount of grip but the heavy-duty products will often feature a larger body and some even have rubber grips. This makes using a bigger saw that bit easier and allows you to get the most out of the more expensive products.

Style

With so many colors and designs to choose from you can pick a swiss army knife to suit your taste before you even consider the functions. A lot of people go with their favorite color whilst others might want a limited edition release. You can get your hands on a camo design swiss army knife, one with a wooden body, and even those with a fish print on the front.

Weight

The swiss army knife you choose is going to fit pretty much anywhere but the more functions it has, the heavier it is likely to be. This isn’t always the case and there are plenty of great swiss army knives with well over 10 functions that can still be carried in comfort. The heavy-duty swiss army knives might weigh over 9 oz so make sure it isn’t too big and heavy for how you want to carry it.

Lifetime Guarantee

When you buy a Victorinox swiss army knife, a lifetime guarantee comes as standard. This is great as although their stainless steel functions are known for being robust and built to last, there are always exceptions. A lifetime guarantee ensures that when you buy a swiss army knife, it lasts forever.

Typical Swiss Army Knife Tools

Each product will differ and some products can hold well over 50 instruments giving you loads of functions to choose from. We’re going to take a quick look at some of the most common.

Blade – As the name suggests, a swiss army knife should come with a blade and some products give you two. This allows you to choose from different sized blades. You’ll often find that the bigger the product, the larger the blade is going to be.

Scissors – They might be small but they are always sharp and are great for everything from cutting paper to fishing line. Not every swiss army knife has scissors as some switch them for pliers so make sure you get this neat tool if you need it.

Corkscrew – A camping trip can be made better with a glass of wine and sometimes when you’re out you don’t have one available, a swiss army knife with a corkscrew means you are never found wanting.

Bottle Opener – The same need as the corkscrew, to take the top off a cool beer where you have walked miles before sitting down might be one of the most used functions.

Can Opener – One of the original tools, a lot of campers will want to ensure they have a can opener at the ready so you can heat the contents over that fire.

Screwdriver – This is usually found at the tip of another tool adding an extra function and one that is great around the house.

Saw – Not every swiss army knife is going to give you a saw but for a camper or hunter, it can be one of the most used tools that you find yourself very grateful for.

Are Swiss Army Knives Legal?

The laws vary depending on the state you find yourself in and from country to country so check with local law to make sure you are on the right side of it. Carrying a swiss army knife across a state border might not be a clever idea until you know that it is fine to do so and a lot of people adhere to the three-finger rule where a knife can be sized at three-fingers or below.

Again though, this can vary and if you live outside the USA the law might vary depending on your age.

What Is The Best Swiss Army Knife Brand?

You might be able to tell from our list of the best products but there is no better brand than Victorinox. They have history on their side having been in business for a long time and offer a wide range of products that are known for their quality.

Best Lock Pick Set in 2020 – Reviewed

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It doesn’t matter what your budget is, having a reliable lock pick set to hand can help you get yourself out of a tricky situation. The small amount of money you will pay for a reliable product will save you money on a locksmith or costly repairs after you have to force your way into your own home, outbuilding, or even vehicle.

The problem is, there are a lot of low-quality products on the market so just when you think you have a quick solution to being locked out, the lock pick set you bought lets you down. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, and to give you the confidence to remedy losing your key, we have created a list of the best lock pick sets available.

Quick Summary of the Best Lock Pick Set

Editor’s Choice: HORUSDY 6pc Pick Set & Hook Set

This extra-long lock pick set comes as a pack of six and although there are companies that give you more, it is the quality that shines through. They are easy to use in an intricate situation and even if you have oily hands they will hold well thanks to the cushioned grippy end and you have everything a beginner might need.

This includes a hook-pick, 90-degree angle pick, 45-degree pick, angle hook-pick, double angle pick, and a complex pick. They measure 9-3/4 inches and are made from quality materials including polished, high carbon, heat-treated steel. You can use them to get a broken key out of a lock as well as a multitude of DIY tasks such as removing small fuses.

What we liked about it
  • Great for beginners
  • Quality high carbon, heat-treated steel
  • Grippy handles

Best Premium: SouthOrd PXS-14 Lock Set with Case

SouthOrd is somewhat of a big deal in the world of lock pick sets and with this quality pack of 14 pieces, you’ll soon see why. It comprises of 10 picks that are made from stainless steel and 4 wrenches so you have more than enough to get into a variety of locks.

The case is made from genuine leather which gives you a sense of the quality they are offering. This is only strengthened further by the rubber grips that give you more stability than a lot of the competition. Made in the USA, they are one of the most popular lock pick sets because of the build and the number of options you get. There are half diamonds, hooks, and everything else you might expect to make the higher price tag worth it.

What we liked about it
  • Stainless steel lock pick set
  • Rubber grips are easy to hold
  • Quality genuine leather case included
  • 14 piece set

Best Tweezer Style: Mudder 9 Pieces Anti-static ESD Tweezers Kit

These neat tweezer-style picks come with a convenient storage bag so you can keep every intricate piece in one place. With plenty of angles to choose from and variable thickness in each tool, you can use them to pick locks and in the 9 pieces, you get more options than a lot of other products.

There is an ESD coating on the picks to resist static when working with electronics and are made from stainless steel. The points allow for some precise picking but the grips are a little slippery if you have oily hands. You can use them for picking locks or other tasks and considering the price you are getting good value.

What we liked about it
  • 9 different picks to choose from
  • Made from stainless steel
  • Good value

Best With Practice Lock: PXiang Lock – 17 Set

For everything you need to learn the tricks of the trade, here is a 17 piece stainless steel set that comes with a transparent lock. The pen design makes it easy to change the tip so you get to choose from any of the 17 convenient heads that twist into place via the screw and feel sturdy when inserted.

The tool case can withstand a fair few knocks and feels sturdy enough to protect the contents. You can work on loads of different locks once you have practiced on the one that is included because there are so many changeable tips to choose from. For the price, it is hard to argue against the value, especially if you are a beginner.

What we liked about it
  • Lots of lock picking options
  • Includes a practice lock
  • Comes with a carry case

Best Large Set: ToolKit Set Lock 24 PCS Emergency Pack

This makes up our list of the best lock pick sets and gives you more options with its 24 pieces. The portable bag makes it easy to keep all the pieces on you in case of an emergency and can be stored anywhere with ease. Because it comes with so many pieces you can use them to get out of a variety of inconvenient situations and for the beginner, there is even a transparent lock to practice on.

A lot of people buy them as a gift for someone who wants to start lock picking as a hobby, probably because it is well presented and the grooves on the handles make them easy to use.

What we liked about it
  • Includes a transparent lock for practicing
  • Lots of options in the 24 piece set
  • Portable bag

Lock Pick Set Guide

You never have a lock pick set around the moment you need it the most so it is always prudent to be prepared. It can be hard to tell a good set from a low-quality product so it is important to do your research before buying. There is more to a decent product that the quality of the materials, although this helps you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job so you can’t get you or a friend out of a tricky situation.

Some people like to use them to practice picking locks as a hobby whilst others like to be prepared. Whatever your need, the following buyer’s guide helps to make sure you end up with a product that will work.

What To Look For In A Lock Pick Set

Variety

Although it is better to have a high-quality 4 piece lock pick set than a flimsy 24 piece pack there is something to be said for getting enough variety. You might be considering these products for your current needs but you never know the different types and sizes of locks you will be attempting to use them on in the future. Before too long, you’ll find a need for hooks, half-diamonds, rakes, and wrenches so make sure you have everything you need.

The more variety you get the greater the number of options in terms of angles and width.

Materials

Although you might be a beginner, you still want your lock pick set to last a while. Look for something that is made from a sturdy yet reasonably priced material such as stainless steel if you don’t want to spend a lot. Alternatively, you might want to spend a little more on a slightly higher spec such as high-carbon heat-treated steel.

Included Pouch

Because lock pick sets are often made up of intricate parts and small tools you need somewhere to keep them. A sturdy pouch will house everything and protect the person carry it from any sharp ends and edges. The more reputable brands might include a genuine leather pouch to add to the quality.

Practice Locks

Don’t expect every lock pick set to come with practice locks but a beginner should look for these as an essential part of a set. In most cases, you’ll either get one or two and they are usually transparent so a beginner can get used to the ins and outs of a lock.

The Right Width

It is best to get a set that comes with more picks so you can choose the right width but otherwise, the thinner products are often better. This means there is more likely to be room inside the keyway for you to twist and prod.

Good Grip

Because some keys can get a little slippery it is not uncommon for you to get oil on your hands. This and even a little sweat can cause you to lose grip unless the lock pick set you buy has it covered. The better products might have grooves or have a rubber handle to make sure you can get a good grip for turning the picks in the lock.

Included Information

Anyone who buys their first lock pick set will tell you that they aren’t exactly the easiest tools to use without instruction. A lot of guesswork will involve prodding at the lock without making any progress until you either give up or damage the thing.

The best products give you information on how to use them, especially if they come as part of a set with a practice lock.

Most Common Types of Lock Picks

Rakes – One of the most common lock pick tools they are shaped with grooves that are reminiscent of rakes and are good for those who are getting started. Push it into the keyhole and turn, trying different sizes if the first doesn’t fit.

Hook – It might look simple in design, and wouldn’t be out of place next to a dentist’s chair but a hook pick is one of the most versatile you will own. You might be able to pick a lock using a hook but for picking a single pin use a smaller, thinner hook if possible.

Half-Diamond – With a triangular tip you’ll find that the smaller version will be the one you use the most. With the right amount of tension, you can use the tip to prod and move pins

How To Choose A Lock Pick Set

This will all be down to your level of experience. If you are just starting then a set that includes a transparent lock can be of great benefit. This allows you to play with the anatomy of the lock, get used to using wrenches and learn how to pick a lock properly.

The more advanced lock picker will opt for the tools and are likely to go for something made a little sturdier.

Should I Practice Lock Picking With My Locks?

No. This is never a good idea, especially when you don’t fully know what you are doing. Not only will you find it difficult to put back together again when you aren’t sure how, but you can also cause damage that would require an expert to fix.

So, never get to grips with lock picking on your the doors of your home or car.

Why Do You Need A Lock Pick Set?

Aside from using them as part of a new hobby, a lock pick set can come in handy when you are locked out of your home or car. A lot of people are amazed at how easy it is to get into some locks and once you get used to how lock picking works you’ll find it takes just a few simple steps to get into the next one.

Where Should My Lock Pick Set Come From?

If you live in the USA, it is best to buy a product that is made there too. There are many different types of locks around the world so choosing one that is made closer to home is going to give you a better sense of how to unlock the next lock and use all the right tools at your disposal.

Best Deer Attractants in 2020 – Reviewed

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If you can lure a buck into your path then you can save yourself hours of waiting and the best deer attractants have been proven to work time and again. As with any hunting assistant, there are many products out there that say they sare the best deer attractant which is why we have selected our list of the top products.

The following aids are easy to use, are very effective and will have deer licking stumps near your desired neck of the woods and encourage them to come back for more. To save you time on trying to separate the good from the bad, our following top deer attractant list will help move bucks young and old into the open.

Quick Summary of the Best Deer Attractants

Editor’s Choice: Evolved Habitats Stump Licker

From one of the most reputable brands when it comes to deer attractants comes this effective stump licker. As the name suggests it is designed for use by pouring over logs and stumps and in the specially designed formula that consists of molasses and minerals, you’ll find that it reacts with moisture to sweat and produce an enticing aroma.

They advise that you get the best results when you pour it over a rotting stump which is great as it also encourages the deer to destroy the stump. Deer will keep returning to the area and stay a while thanks to this nutritious and sweet-smelling deer attractant.

What we liked about it
  • Encourages deer to destroy stumps
  • Combined with moisture to create a sweet aroma
  • Large container is good value
  • Easy to use

Best Fast Working: Whitetail Institute 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin Deer Mineral Supplement

When looking for a deer attractant, the formula needs to be almost irresistible to bucks but this has the bonus of being nutritional. It is full of vitamins A, D, & E, and minerals that help to ensure a deer has a boost of the things that promote antler growth and healthy pregnancy. It is also full of an attractive scent that is appealing to roaming bucks and flavor enhancers to ensure they spend more time wherever you lay it.

The product is designed for use within ground sites and is easy to use – Whitetail Institute advises mixing it into the soil using a rake to mix it up. A lot of people who have used say that deer seem to love it and when you read the carefully tailored formula that has deer lapping it all up within a day, it’s easy to see why.

What we liked about it
  • Contains attracting scent and flavoring
  • Easy to use
  • Works within 24 hours

Best Affordable: Antler King Honey Hole Mix

Antler King says that to get the most out of this product you should plant this mix in late summer so expect fall to be productive when it comes to spotting deer. It plants 1/2 acre which means this small bag packs a bit of a bang and gives you a combination of 5 different varieties of turnip and rape to attract prize bucks to your desired spot.

The vegetation it produces is bountiful so it will take a while for the deer to hoover it up. It is tolerant of the cold so it provides an effective way of getting a buck exactly where you want it.

What we liked about it
  • Plants over a large area
  • Grows fast
  • Easy to establish

Best Cold Resistant: Whitetail Institute Imperial Tall Tine Tubers Food Plot Seed

This quality deer attractant works in two ways to get a whitetail to come to you. The foliage grows above ground but then there are also the tubers underneath that keep them where you want them. What makes it even more impressive is that it is cold and drought resistant so it is a great source of nutrients for a deer when the cold months make food sources harder to find. It has been designed for use in late fall and winter for this very reason.

The tall tine turnip grows extremely fast making it one of the easiest deer attractants to use and one that you won’t be waiting around for it to work.

What we liked about it
  • Grows extremly fast
  • Ideal for colder months
  • Cold and drought resistant

Best Web: HME Scent Web

There’s nothing like a bit of she-heat to attract a deer. The best thing about using their spray method is that it allows the hunter to stay away from the area so their scent isn’t combined with the formula. It can shoot a web up to 15 feet so you can stay well clear and the scented allure can be up to 300 times stronger than a lot of the competition.

There is no maintenance or labor involved when using it and a lot of the comments of people using it say it has attracted deer faster than the other methods they have tried. The attractive smell remains until the web dries which can take up to 5 days and the container houses around 300 feet of web so it can be used to freshen the scrape time and again.

What we liked about it
  • Shoots a web up to 15 ft so you don’t have to go near
  • Powerful formula
  • Lasts up to 5 days

Best Acorn: Wildgame Innovations Acorn Rage

This deer attractant is one of the best ways of both alluring and giving deer an excellent source of nutrition. Because it is ready to use right out the bag, the low maintenance is popular and although they are not scented or flavored, just the real acorn taste that is a favorite among whitetails.

They can be placed on the ground so the crushed acorns can be easily picked up by a big buck and are mixed with roasted soybean meal which is a combination that is as alluring as you can hope for when it comes to a deer attractant. You need to do your research on the laws in your state as some advice that this is a bait and is illegal. However, if it is fine to use where you are then you get to reap the benefits of an easy to use and effective deer attractant.

What we liked about it
  • Nutritious and attracting
  • No mixing required

Deer Attractant Guide

It takes more than a bit of rotten fruit or syrup to attract a deer (and a lot of people have tried and failed when it comes to a home recipe). To make sure you have the most effective method possible, you need to use a reliable deer attractant. The better products are made by companies that have a proven track record but what makes a great formula?

There is more to it than having a bucket load of seeds to throw in the ground and hope for the best which is why we have created the following guide. It is designed to help you make an informed decision so that huge buck goes exactly where you want it to.

What To Look For In A Deer Attractant

Sweet Scent

The better products will ensure the deer can smell the attractant from a fair distance giving you more of a chance of luring a big buck into your path. A lot of the time this will be when the attractant combines with moisture although there are different types that might be better for this.

Fast Growing

For the food plot attractants, you need to find a product that is going to grow fast or you will be waiting for a while before you get to reap the benefits. Choose the right product that will grow in the season you need it to and you will find the deer will be returning to the site again and again.

Good Vegetation

There is little point in purchasing a deer attractant that only gives you sparse sprouting. The better products will give you plenty of vegetation which will take the deer longer to consume and give you a better chance of being there to get him in your sight.

Weather Tolerant

This is a problem with certain types of vegetation as a lot of them just won’t grow unless it is under perfect conditions. This can be problematic and could leave you waiting for a growth that doesn’t happen this season. The better products will tell you that theirs is cold tolerant and will still grow in harsh conditions.

Health Enhancers

You want the deer to benefit from consuming your deer attractant of choice and there are plenty of options that give them a nutritious snack. Some are great for antler health whilst others are full of vitamins such as A, D, & E to ensure the deer are getting minerals and nutrients that can be hard for them to gain otherwise.

The Right Attractant

There are certain deer attractants that are tailored to different breeds. Make sure the product you go for is right for the type of deer you get in your area.

Perfect Deer Attractant Location

There are certain places that are better suited to attracting deer than others and whilst these nervous animals can be reluctant to come into plain sight, a quality deer attractant will be too delicious to resist.

A great location for planting a food crop is a good distance from trees as there is some digging to do so stay clear from roots. In order to grow, it will also need a lot of sunlight so make sure it gets enough.

As always you need to make sure you consider the direction of the wind and the location of the deer before planting.

Different Types of Deer Attractant

Scent Attractant

These come in a spray form and either replicate the scent of a female or use pheromones to ensure it is the real deal. They work well when combined with a food source or can be sprayed into the air to allow the deer to pick up the scent in the area and come closer. Read the instructions to make sure you are using a particular brand in the right way.

Food Plot

Aas the name suggests this works by planting seeds in the ground and the better products will ensure that both the roots and anything growing above ground will entice the deer. They are one of the more common options but do require a level of patience and you need to make sure you are planting them at the right time of year.

Liquid Attractant

A mix of liquid minerals can be easily applied to a rotting stump to give your site a chance of being inundated with deer. Not only does this help to keep them in the area for longer but they will keep coming back and you can reapply all year round.

Powder Attractant

These usually consist of a mix of acorns or another popular food source and are often covered over to encourage the buck to dig it up. They can be applied directly onto the ground but whatever approach you take the scent will attract the deer and it is not unusual for them to revisit the area again.

Deer Attractant Legality

You will need to check the legality of using a deer attractant in your area. Some states prohibit the use of bait whilst others are fine with it.

Before you decide on a brand and try to use it to your advantage make sure you are staying on the right side of the law. Also, remember to check on the hunting law of the location you plan to use a deer attractant as some have different laws and rules to follow.

What Is The Best Deer Attractant

Although the different types of deer attractant might work better depending on the conditions and area you intend to use it, there is no denying the quality of some products. The best deer attractant we have come across is Evolved Habitats Stump Licker. Because it is easy to use it is ideal for both beginners and experienced hunters and it reacts with moisture to produce a sweet aroma that deer love.

So many people swear by it that they must be doing something right. Even if you use another type of deer attractant, this brand is great for sweetening the enticing scent of a food plot or powder attractant.

Best Gun Oils in 2020 – Reviewed

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Whether you are new to firearm ownership or are an experienced enthusiast, you need to take proper care of your weapons. The best gun oils are essential to prolonging the lifespan and optimizing the performance of your gun. With so many gun oils on the market, it can be hard to tell which brands are worth looking at as some of the less reputable products can mean your gun fails you at the crucial moment.

To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you and end up taking proper care of your firearm, we have compiled a list of the best gun oils available. Each one makes lubricating and cleaning your weapon easy and ensures it works as it should.

Quick Summary of the Best Gun Oils

Editor’s Choice: HOPPE’S Gun Cleaning Solvent

Any brand that calls itself the gun cleaning people catches your attention when looking for the best gun oil and in Hoppe’s gun cleaning solvent we’ve found it. The childproof cap keeps kids out so you can safely store it on a shelf in your garage and it will never gum or harden when you’ve applied it.

Since 1903 Hoppe’s has been making reputable products and they’ve applied their expertise to ensure this 16 oz bottle works well to clean and lubricate any type of firearm so if you own an AK-47, revolver, or anything else, this is fine to use on all. Once you have cleaned your weapon you have the confidence to know it is protected from any future damage when treated with this gun oil. It removed carbon and copper and has a pleasant scent.

What we liked about it
  • Works on any firearm
  • Good value in the 16 oz bottle
  • Childproof cap
  • Pleasant scent

Best Spray: Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil, Aerosol spray, 6 oz

Although this is not strictly a gun oil it is a universal product that can be put to a variety of uses. This means you can use it to lubricate and clean your firearm but also put it to work on several tasks around the house. It lubricates all the important parts to reduce friction that can lead to wear and tear and makes it easy to clean your weapon.

What impresses a lot of people is that it is biodegradable so you know it isn’t going to be harsh on the skin or the environment. In the 6 oz aerosol can you’ll find that it is easy to apply although other brands can give you a little more value for money. Because of the slightly alkaline formula it protects your weapon from sweat and is made with non-toxic ingredients to ensure it is safe to use around the house.

What we liked about it
  • Biodegradeable and safe to use
  • Can be used for various tasks
  • Protects and lubricates
  • Non-toxic

Best Long Lasting: Break-Free CLP-4 Cleaner Lubricant Preservative Squeeze Bottle (4 -Fluid Ounce)

Most people find this squeeze bottle easy to use but something that everyone can agree on is that this is one of the best gun oils on the market. It gets into all the tiny crevices and corners to remove dirt and lubricate the intricate parts of a firearm to ensure it is well oiled. It stays on the metal parts for a long time so there is less friction and it inhibits corrosion and protects metal from moisture which can lead to rust.

Even in extreme conditions, it won’t dry up or and ensures your weapons are in top conditions for months at a time. This means it can withstand salt air, humidity, dust, cold, and heat without an issue and even works after being immersed in saltwater.

What we liked about it
  • Gets into all the tiny corners of a weapon to spread the protection
  • Works in extreme conditions
  • Lasts a long time

Also Consider (Best Spray): CLP by Sage & Braker Gun Cleaning Formula

For a thorough clean and a gun oil that gets into the small spaces for a deep clean, this is a product worth paying attention to. You get protection against copper fouling, carbon cleaning, and removing dirt and debris that may have been building up for some time.

The non-toxic formula comes in a liquid spray form that makes it easy to distribute over a wide surface and protects against corrosion and rust. It protects all the moving parts from friction and doesn’t have a strong or harsh scent. There is a greater heat dissipation when you shoot which allows it to work at a cooler temperature and each 4 oz product is made in the USA.

What we liked about it
  • The liquid spray makes it easy to apply
  • Excellent protection
  • Removes dirt and debris

Best Value: HOPPE’S No. 9 Synthetic Blend Lubricating Oil, 2.25-Ounce

Sometimes you have to pay a little extra for added quality but it is worth it when you consider this is tailored for firearms old and new. Known for being a high-quality gun oil it can also be used on specialist equipment such as fishing reels to prolong their lifespan and ensure they work as you expect.

You get added protection from the elements and in particular, water as the corrosion protection lasts in a range of temperatures. The migrating formula ensures it gets into the small places that need a little oil to stop friction from damaging the firearm and works well on any type of gun.

What we liked about it
  • Famous brand
  • Gets into all the small areas of a firearm
  • Protects against corrosion

Best Affordable: Prom Hoppe’s M-Pro 7 LPX Gun Oil, 4 Ounce Bottle

The 4 oz bottle gives you enough of specialist gun oil that is designed to protect your weapon from dust thanks to the film that it leaves that won’t evaporate. This is one of the best gun oils for anyone who is looking to store their weapon for a prolonged period and wants to ensure it still operates to a high standard when you use it again.

This is one of those all-round formulas that work to protect, clean, and lubricate a firearm. Developed for military firearms, it is a brand name that the well acquainted will be more than familiar with so expect a brand that you can trust to treat your firearm to a thorough clean.

What we liked about it
  • Still present after hundreds of rounds
  • Protects, cleans, and lubricates firearms

Gun Oil Guide

We all like our car to run smoothly and unless you take proper care of it, you’re going to be faced with costly repairs pretty soon. The same goes for a firearm. If you neglect it, you’ll find that it doesn’t work the way it should and shows signs of rust and corrosion when it should be working the same way it did when you first used it.

The best gun oils are simple to use but work hard to protect, lubricate, and clean your firearm. This isn’t always easy to find, with so many products flooding the market so to make this decision easier, we have created the following guide.

What To Look For In Gun Oil

Non-Toxic Formula

Because you’re going to be using it in your garage or around the house, you want to make sure the gun oil you choose is not going to be toxic for you and those around you. There is no guarantee that it will stay away from your skin when applying and you are going to have to come into contact with it when using the firearm so make sure it is non-toxic.

Long-Lasting

You might be looking for a gun oil you can use to clean and protect your weapon before putting it in storage for a while. You need to know that even after a couple of months, the gun is going to be reliable when you pull the trigger. The better products will boast of their long-lasting formula which is always a good sign.

Rust Prevention

Anyone who lives coastal will appreciate the need for a gun oil that protects a weapon against salty air and water. The same goes for anyone who has older weapons but it is always prudent for a gun owner to buy a product that prologues the lifespan of their weapon. Look out for additives used to protect a firearm against rust.

Temperature Resistant

The seasons can be a pain for a gun owner and someone who plans on using their firearm in the cold will want a gun oil that still works when the temperature drops. There are plenty of products that protect a variety of guns at extreme temperatures so if you live in such a climate, be sure to check for this.

Adequate Migration

As the name suggests, the gun oil you choose needs to be able to move around the surface of your firearm and have a low velocity so it can reach the smaller, intricate parts without an issue.

Why Do You Need To Use Gun Oil?

Without a quality gun oil, your weapon is only going to last so long before it starts to show signs of wear. Not only does it get into the small crevices of a gun to protect all the working parts from corrosion and rust but it ensures that there is less friction and prolongs the lifespan of your weapon. The gun oil works as a barrier, ensuring the working parts move smoothly over one another and without it, the parts can grind over one another which will negatively impact the gun.

Because a lot of gun oils work to clean the firearm you get to use a weapon that looks great and is taken care of so it works to the high standards you expect.

Does Gun Oil Contain Additives?

Each product has a unique formula and depending on the brand you use, you should expect certain additives. These work to make the oil a little thicker which means it stays on the firearm for longer.

Some will be made with anti-corrosive ingredients to ensure it protects the metal against rust and corrosion whilst others will contain detergents that help to clean.

Do I Need To Take My Gun Apart When Using Gun Oil?

The short answer is, yes! To give your firearm a proper clean, the gun oil needs to come into contact with the parts you cannot see when it is fully assembled. To make sure there is less friction, the working parts need to be well oiled and cleaned properly.

All the debris, dust and any build-up will need to be rubbed off as a gun oil can only do so much in terms of cleaning on its own.

Thinking of it like giving your firearm a service once in a while.

Does Gun Oil Fix Current Wear And Tear?

There is nothing gun oil can do to reverse any wear and tear that is already present but it can help to prevent it from getting worse.

If you have been using your firearms without regularly applying gun oil then it will likely be showing the effects of poor lubrication and protection making it easy to see why they need such upkeep.

Do I Need A Miracle Gun Oil?

There are plenty of products claiming to be a miracle gun oil but beware of any gimmicks. Gun oil has been used for hundreds of years for a reason and although times have changed, there is little benefit to be had by using a miracle gun oil over a traditional formula.

The additives used might be of benefit to your firearm but if you are tempted to buy one, make sure it is right for your intended use first.

How Often Should I Use Gun Oil?

The guidelines will vary from brand to brand but you should expect to be able to leave it for several hundreds of rounds between giving your firearm a proper clean with gun oil. A lot will depend on the type of firearm as you might need to re-oil a pistol more frequently than other weapons.

A firearm that has been stored for several months might still be fine to use but check with the recommended usage and guidelines of the brand you are using to be on the safe side.

Best Compact Binoculars in 2020 – Reviewed

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When it comes to scanning the field during a hunt or just spotting some birds on the other side of the water, a heavy pair of binoculars can weigh you down. Anyone who is camping during their trip will know how important it is to shed some of the weight of your bag and one way to do this is with compact binoculars.

Just because they are smaller in size doesn’t mean you have to compromise on some of the key features such as zoom and clarity. Compact binoculars can be just as good as their larger counterparts and to help you find the perfect pair we have created our list of the best on the market.

Quick Summary of the Best Compact Binoculars

Editor’s Choice: Steiner Tactical 10×28 Binoculars

From one of the best brands in binoculars comes one of the best compact binoculars available. We rate them highly and we’re not alone. A lot of people comment on how durable they are, making them great for withstanding the knocks and occasional bumps that can happen when you’re in the great outdoors.

The prism design on the roof allows them to fold easily and become even more compact and on top of this, they are lightweight compared to a lot of the competition. The Steiner brand is used by a variety of militaries which is why it is no surprise that you’re getting fog-proof vision that can withstand extreme colds and heat. For something so small, the 10 x zoom capability is impressive and provides some of the clearest image quality around.

What we liked about it
  • 10 x magnification
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Excellent clarity
  • Reputable brand

Best Budget : Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8×32 Binocular (Green)

It is hard to find a better pair of compact binoculars for the price and consider they are regularly priced under $100 if you can find them, a lot of people will tell you to just buy them. The optics are fully coated and with 8 x magnification and 32mm objective lens, they are also capable of focusing at 6.5ft for a clear close-up.

Anyone getting started in birding or hunting will appreciate the clarity and even those who are experienced can pick up a pair if they’re on a budget. The polycarbonate housing is rubber-coated to ensure it is waterproof and fog proof and the twisting eyecups make sure that anyone can wear them comfortably. Amazingly, it includes everything you need to get going including lens covers, a sturdy carry case, neck strap, and more.

What we liked about it
  • 8 x magnification
  • Great value
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Includes lens covers, carry case, strap, and more

Best For Birdspotting: Nikon 16000 PROSTAFF 7S 8×30 Inches Compact Binocular (Black)

From the reputable camera brand comes an impressive compact binocular in terms of both value and functionality. The fully multilayer-coated lenses offer you vibrant colors to complement the clarity that comes from the coated roof prisms.

With turn and slide rubber eyecups Nikon make it easy for anyone wearing glasses to get the most out of them and the rubber armor to the side of the body ensures you get a reliable grip even in wet conditions. Giving you 8 x 30 magnification, others can be used a little further away but few that can match Nikon’s clarity. Nitrogen filled and with an O-ring to protect everything inside they are water and fog proof and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

What we liked about it
  • Easy to grip even in wet conditions
  • Excellent colors and clarity
  • Water and fog proof

Best For Extreme Temperatures: Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Compact Pocket Grey-Black Binocular

There are plenty of reputable brand features in our list of the best compact binoculars and Zeiss ensures they don’t stop either. With an objective lens of 32mm and 8 x magnification capability, you can get up close to the bird you are trying to scope with some impressive clarity.

They weigh just 10.9 oz which is super light, especially when you consider that there are plenty of monoculars out there that weigh more. The lenses are multi-coated and are great for repelling water and fog to keep your vision clear whatever the weather tries to do. At 1,000m you get a field of view of 119m and a waterproof body that can withstand extreme temperatures from -4 degrees F to 145 degrees F.

What we liked about it
  • Fold up incredibly small
  • Weighs just 10.9 oz
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • 8 x magnification

Best Lightweight: Carson 3D Series High Definition Waterproof Binoculars with ED Glass

For some great contrast and resolution, these are a great option. With ED glass you get a truly sharp image and 8 x magnification and an objective lens diameter of 32 mm they are good value even at the price. You might expect a few extras considering they aren’t the cheapest but you do get a sturdy carry case and neck strap. There is also a shoulder harness and lens covers so you do get everything you need.

In terms of the compact binoculars themselves, they are coated with textured armor to make them grippy and feature fully multi-coated lenses giving you a high-quality image. Expect a field of view of 392 ft at 1,000 yards and adjustable eye relief. Weighing just 1.2 lbs they won’t slow you down, nor will they let you down.

What we liked about it
  • 8 x magnification
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Weigh just 1.2 lbs

Best Value: Leupold BX-1 McKenzie Binocular

With one of the longest ranges, the Leupold BX-1 gives you 10x magnification and fold up small enough to fit in your pocket. Although they measure at 8 inches long there is still enough quality inside to give you a clear image when looking through the fully multi-coated lenses that give you excellent color fidelity and clarity.

The back 4 prisms offer minimal edge distortion and add to the crisp look of the image. The twist-up eyecups make them some of the most comfortable compact binoculars for extended viewing and the focus system is easy to navigate. Sturdily designed they are lightweight but still feel solid and are 100% water and fog proof.

What we liked about it
  • 10 x magnification
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Minimal distortion for a clear image

Compact Binoculars Guide

When you are hiking or just like to enjoy the great outdoors from time to time, a pair of compact binoculars can add to improve your time when you’re out and about. For those who like to hunt or enjoy bird spotting, they are considered an essential tool that is better for longer walks because of their size and weight.

The best compact binoculars not only last a long time but give you incredible clarity no matter what the magnification. This is only possible when you know what to expect from a decent pair which is why we have created the following guide.

What To Look For In Compact Binoculars

Size

Of course, the word compact means they aren’t going to be overly bulky but a lot of people like a product they can comfortably fit in their pocket and who can blame them. This also affects the weight of the compact binoculars so look for a product that isn’t going to weigh you down and one you can carry on a long hike.

Optical Quality

There are some excellent options for you out there and all of the best compact binoculars will excel when it comes to optical quality. Don’t settle for anything less than a multi-coated lens as they are known for their quality but better still, a fully multi-coated lens will be even better.

These ensure more light gets through and reduces reflections to improve the clarity and color you see which makes it one of the most important traits of a quality product.

Magnification

A compact binocular might be small in appearance but as the products we have reviewed have shown, they can also pack a punch in terms of magnification. A full-size binocular might give you more but you still shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than 8 x magnification.

Grippy Body

You never know when the weather might turn but even on a hot day, a sweaty palm can be cause for concern. To ensure you don’t drop your compact binoculars at a crucial moment it should have a tough yet grippy material such as rubber or grooves to stop it from slipping.

Weatherproofing

The heavens can open and your compact binoculars should still be able to work just fine after being drenched. This is especially important when you invest in a more expensive model but being waterproof and fog proof is expected of the better brands. A cheaper product might give you impressive magnification but do not have the durability to withstand adverse weather or a bit of dirt.

These are to be avoided unless you plan on using them sparingly.

Accessories

This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you but it is always good to buy a quality pair of compact binoculars that come with everything you need. This can be in the form of a sturdy carry case and a lanyard but there are plenty of reputable brands that even give you shoulder straps and lens covers as well.

Value

This is subjective as what might seem like good value to you might not to someone with a bigger or smaller budget so the first thing you should do is consider compact binoculars within your budget and try and find the highest quality available.

Value can come in the form of a durable product that lasts a long time or extra magnification that you might not expect within a certain price range. You can also find products that come with a warranty to ensure your purchase is protected.

Compact Binoculars Vs Monoculars

These are the two types of magnification that are most popular for hikes and hunting when you need to keep an eye on something fast. The benefits of both make them handy so a lot will be down to personal choice but consider the following.

Monoculars are lighter and can fit into your pocket a lot easier but they do not always give you as much of a view or depth of field. It also leaves less room for error so if an animal or bird is on the move a monocular can make it difficult to track. Then there is the quality, you can get great clarity in both and a lot of the time they are both waterproof and fog proof.

If this was between a monocular and a pair of binoculars you would have to say that monocular wins when it comes to portability but this isn’t as much of an advantage compared to compact binoculars.

Monoculars are better for spotting something fast but when you want to sit and watch then compact binoculars give you more.

Compact Binoculars and Fog Proof Gas

One of the major benefits of better products is their ability to ensure the lenses do not fog and this can be done in one of two ways.

First of all, a coating can be applied and because this is the cheaper option for a manufacturer, it is less reliable. The better quality products will use a fog proof inert gas inside to seal it from within. The only way this can fail is if air gets inside.

Popular Glass Types in Compact Binoculars

With a major impact on quality and performance, keep an eye out for the type of glass used in the compact binoculars you are considering.

BK7  – A popular type of glass used in binoculars because it is affordable and still has the quality to ensure optimal light transmittance.

BAK4 – This tends to be found on pricier products as it costs more to produce but you should expect an all-round better quality glass that is good in a variety of light conditions.

ED Glass – This is glass that has been developed by Nikon hence why it might sound familiar that reduces distortion around the edges in a way that another glass is not able to replicate.

Fog proof – We’ve covered this briefly but by replacing the oxygen inside with inert gas it allows the compact binoculars to remain fog proof.

Best Food Dehydrators in 2020 – Reviewed

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Although many people have been using them for years, food dehydrators seem to be in vogue at the moment. The benefits are plentiful and through dehydrating your food you can preserve the likes of fruit for a long time and still get a lot of the benefits. A quality food dehydrator makes sure that food is still 100% natural and allows you to buy the likes of fruit in bulk, great for when they are in season.

The better products should be easy to use and make storing foods simple but not every product is as good as it sounds. This is why we have created our list of the best food dehydrators. Although they vary in size and features, each product on our list has something to offer.

Quick Summary of the Best Food Dehydrators

Editor’s Choice: NESCO FD-75A, Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, Gray

This is easily one of the most popular food dehydrators on the market and features a powerful fan at the top to give you 600 watts of power for drying a variety of foods. You get 5 trays included in your purchase although you can buy more separately and it can hold up to 12 and because of the adjustable thermostat, you can preserve food at their optimal temperatures (it ranges from 95 – 160 degrees F).

It blocks harmful lights that can damage the nutrients and benefits that usually come with dehydrating food and works fast to keep food fresh without mixing flavors when using different foods at the same time. It’s compact and easy to carry thanks to the sturdy handle but doesn’t include a timer.

What we liked about it
  • Can hold up to 12 trays
  • Adjustable thermostat for using with a variety of foods
  • Blocks light that can be harmful to food

Best For Stacking: Nesco FD-1040 Gardenmaster Food dehydrator, White

Another product from Nesco, the gardenmaster is a small yet powerful food dehydrator that offers a wide range of uses. Working with 1,000 watts it has the drying power to offer an even distribution of heat so everything works in harmony inside.

The trays are stackable and you can use up to 20 at a time but you only get 4 to get started with. This seems like more than enough for most households as each BPA-free tray gives you a square ft of space. The adjustable temperature ranges from 90 – 160 degrees F and allows you to make jerky, fruit rolls, and plenty of other dehydrated foods. You can buy it with six trays for a little more but this represents an affordable way of getting your hands on a high-quality product.

What we liked about it
  • Plenty of space on each tray and you get 4
  • Can accommodate up to 20 trays
  • Adjustable temperature from 90 – 160 degrees F
  • 1,000 watts of power

Best Value: Samson Brands Dehydrator545 Dehydrator

This is a simple food dehydrator but an effective one. In the roomy six trays, there is plenty of space for fruit, jerky, onions, and whatever else you want to put inside. There are lots of added features including an adjustable timer and easy to use digital controls and another benefit is the automatic shut off that saves on energy bills. Because the trays are easily removed you can use it to dehydrate larger items and it has even been used with flowers.

The trays themselves are made from BPA-free materials and can be seen through the transparent door so you can easily check on the progress of everything inside. With 400 watts of power, it might not be as powerful as some of the other models but it represents good value.

What we liked about it
  • BPA-free trays
  • Adjustable timer and digital controls
  • Quiet operation

Most Powerful Fan: Excalibur 3926TW 9-Tray Electric Food Dehydrator

With a name like Excalibur, you expect their products to be good and this food dehydrator is among the best in the business. It didn’t make it into our top 3 because it is on the expensive side but if you want an elite product then this is worth considering. You get 15 sq ft of space in the 9 trays that come included and with plenty of scope in the adjustable temperature settings that range between 105 to 165 degree F.

There is also a 26-hour timer and comes with a poly screen insert to make sure trays don’t stick to the food. Combining a 7-inch fan with 600 watts of drying power it is sturdily built and can be adjusted so you can make bread or use it to make yogurt.

What we liked about it
  • Large 15 sq ft of space
  • 26 hour timer
  • 600 watts of drying power

Best Affordable: Hamilton Beach 32100A Digital Food Dehydrator

Aside from the eye-catching design of this convenient food dehydrator, it has the features to make it a quality product and worthy of its growing reputation. The clear lid allows you to keep an eye on everything inside and a 48-hour timer gives the ability to choose when it will automatically shut-off to save you money on energy bills.

It gives you plenty of drying options and adjustable temperatures of 100 – 160 degrees F via the continuous airflow, this is what ensures it dries evenly. It comes with 5 stackable trays and a fine mesh sheet that you can use to dry herbs and store them for a long time. Whether you want to use it for making banana chips or fruit rolls it is hard to find a better value product for dehydrating food.

What we liked about it
  • Looks great
  • Adjustable temperatures
  • 48-hour timer

Most Versatile: COSORI Premium Food Dehydrator Machine

It might look more like a portable oven but the sturdy materials give it a bit of stability. It comes with six stainless steel trays among the other accessories that include a fruit roll sheet, a mesh screen, recipe ideas and a manual. The glass front door adds to the quality of the build and makes it easy for you to keep an eye on everything inside.

You can set a timer of up to 48 hours and in 30-minute increments and has a range of adjustable temperatures between 95 – 165 degrees F. With 600 watts of drying power and an auto shut off if it overheats it is a well-built and looks great.

What we liked about it
  • 48 hour timer
  • Comes with a lot of accessories
  • 600 watts of drying power

Food Dehydrator Guide

Anyone who likes their food seasonal will appreciate being able to dehydrate their fruit and veg and if you grow your own then it offers you the chance to keep the goodness locked in and keep the fruits of your labor edible for a long time.

Although there are plenty of products out there offering you plenty of features and drying space it can be hard to tell which ones are worth purchasing. To clear a few of the ins and outs of what makes the best food dehydrators so good, we have created the following guide.

What To Look For In A Food Dehydrator

Drying Space

Before anything else you need to make sure the food dehydrator you have your eye on can keep up with your needs. If you only get a small capacity then you’re going to have to spend time refilling it where a larger product will get everything done in one go.

The greater the drying space the more you can fit in and the less cramped the food will be.

Adjustable Shelves

You want to have enough shelves to dry different foods but they should also be adjustable. This means you can move a few out to preserve bread or make yogurt and it opens up your options. Adjustable shelves can also mean you can add plenty more and stack them on the others. This is only if the brand you are considering is built in such a way but some can accommodate up to 20 shelves at a time.

Power

The more powerful the wattage the faster it can work to dry your food. Most products in the compact range tend to hover around the 600 watts mark although some push 1,000 watts to give you more drying power. The larger the capacity the more power you will want.

Easy To Clean 

Although a food dehydrator is convenient to use, food can leave its mark on the trays when you peel them off. This can be awkward to get off depending on the type of food you are drying. The stickier fruits might be a little stubborn which is why it is good to buy a product with dishwasher-proof trays.

Even Drying

When you use a food dehydrator a lot of its quality will come down to the consistency of its drying. If it uses a reliable fan it shouldn’t find it hard to dry all the food on a large tray. The last thing you want is to open it up after a long cycle only to find the food on the outside is not ready yet.

Adjustable Temperatures

This is important as not all food will dry at the same temperature. A lot of foods such as fruits and vegetables can be dehydrated at around 130 degrees F but the likes of jerky will need higher temperatures of around 155 degrees F. 

Giving yourself enough room to play with should mean you buy a product with adjustable temperatures between 100 – 160 degrees F.

See-Through Door

This isn’t always as important as when you get used to using a food dehydrator you will know how long it takes to dry certain foods but a see-through door allows you to check on the progress whilst the product is working its magic.

Extras

These can be a good way of getting a bit of value from a food dehydrator but even the more affordable products can come with a few extras. These can include extra trays and a digital display and a timer or even something like extra safety features like automatic shut off.

Noise

Not every food dehydrator is going to be whisper quiet when it is in use but consider the fact that some foods take way over half a day to dry. This makes it important to find a product that you won’t hear in another room and one you can leave on overnight if necessary. Some products say they are quiet when the reviews suggest otherwise so be mindful and do your research.

Can A Food Dehydrator Make Jerky?

Although there are plenty of models that do give you this option, not all of them come with the right style tray that makes it easy to make perfect jerky and some even come with a jerky gun.

If this is one of your intended uses then it is best to check with the spec of the product before buying. 

Different Types of Food Dehydrators

There are two main types of food dehydrators for home use and are as follows:

Stacked

As the name suggests the trays stack on top of one another allowing for vertical airflow. The fan will usually be at the base although they are sometimes found at the top of the device. They are often the more affordable option and some products allow you to buy multiple trays to stack although you are limited by the thickness of the tray in this case.

If the trays are not the stackable kind then a lot of models will allow you to remove a couple to dry larger foods.

Slide-in Trays

These tend to look and work like an oven with a fan at the back of the unit and trays that slide in and out. they are easier to adjust and often give you plenty of space to use with larger items. They look impressive, are generally built a little better but also come with a larger price tag.

Why Do People Dehydrate Food?

As we have suggested throughout, there are plenty of benefits to using a food dehydrated and they include the following:

  • It allows you to make seasonal fruit last
  • It preserves the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables
  • Saves on storage space
  • Saves money
  • Reduces food waste
  • Preserves without chemicals

It’s easy to see why they are such a popular option and with everything from yogurt, sauces, jerky, fruit, herbs and beyond being great foods to use, anyone can get good use out of one.

Bell OH-58 Kiowa Helicopter

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The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a military helicopter used in various roles.  This single-engine, single-rotor Kiowa is capable of observation, utility and direct fire support and has been utilized by the US Army since 1969.  Sometimes referred to as ‘Warrior’, the OH-58 is a long-range day and night target acquisition helicopter with multiple armaments with low infrared and acoustic signatures.  Within ten minutes of being disembarked from a C-130, this Warrior can be armed and ready to fight.

Design and Development 

The original OH-58 prototype design submitted to the US Army was rejected in favor of the Hughes and Fairchild-Hiller OH-6 Cayuse.  Bell went back, however, and began redesigning the aircraft.  Their prototype YOH-4A, which became known as the ‘Ugly Duckling’ not only underwent an aesthetic redesign, the cramped quarters and lack of cargo space were also corrected.  Bell redesigned the fuselage and added 16 additional cubic feet for the much needed cargo space.

In 1967, when Hughes failed to meat production demands for the US Army, they reopened the LOH competition.  Bell was able to successfully underbid Hughes and won the contract.  Their redesign was designated the OH-58A, and eventually named Kiowa in honor of the Native American tribe.

Additional Changes to the OH-58

In 1974, despite failure to receive funding from the government to develop a more advanced Aerial Scout Helicopter, the US Army’s current program survived the next five years.  In 1980, the Army decided to modify existing aircraft frameworks to meet their projected needs.  Upgrades were chosen for the OH-58 over the UH-1 due to its smaller size, which made it less detectable.  Further redesign would require a mast-mounted sight to improve the overall performance in reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition missions – all while remaining out of sight.

Within two years of the OH-58Ds first flight on October 6, 1983, the upgraded aircraft was introduced into service.  By 1988, however, shortcomings in its new design were surfacing and the Army was making plans to discontinue the OH-58D.  Instead, however, in response to the $138 million funding received by Congress to support the Army Helicopter Improvement Program, the Secretary of the Army chose to upgrade the OH-58Ds armament.  This decision was based on experience in the Persian Gulf with armed OH-58D helicopters.

The upgraded aircraft became known as the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and production began in May of 1991.  By January of 1992, Bell had received its first contract for retrofitting and converting all the US Army’s remaining OH-58Ds to the new ‘Warrior’ configuration.

Operation History of the ‘Warrior’

In August of 1969, the first OH-58A Kiowa’s arrived in Vietnam; and within 10 days, the first Kiowa was shot down.  In all, an estimated 45 OH-58As were lost in Vietnam.   The OH-58 was also used as an escort for oil tankers in early 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War.   In 1992, the OH-58A was used by the Army National Guard’s role in the War on Drugs.  Currently this program has been expanded to include support of the US Border patrol activities and to support our homeland defense.  Variants of the OH-58 have been involved in recent operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

 

 

Specifications

            OH-58A                                               OH-58D Kiowa Warrior

Crew:              2                                                            2
Speed:             138 miles per hour                            149 miles per hour
Range:             299 miles                                            345 miles

 

OH-58A Armament                                                     OH-58D Armament

1 – M134 7.62mm Minigun (or)                                AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles
1 – M129 40mm Grenade Launcher                         Hydra 70 rockets
M296 (or) M3P .50cal machine gun

 

The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is still being utilized by the United States Army and operates throughout the world in Australia, Austria, Taiwan, Dominican Republic and Saudi Arabia.

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