Friday, January 19, 2018

Core - 10'x10' Instant Shelter

A brand that is better known for their camping tents, Core Equipment is all about creating products that will enhance outdoor adventures whether they are in the backyard, beach, or mountains. Our research led us to Core Equipment because we saw high demand for their products from our customers and we really wanted to see for ourselves if their canopy tents would hold up when we put them through our vigorous tests. The canopy (like COLEMAN CANOPY ) that held up exceptionally well during our research, better than some of the most expensive canopy tents on the market, was the 10’ x 10’ Instant Shelter Pop-Up Canopy Tent. For this specific instant canopy their engineers committed to a design that was both easy to use and would last through some of the toughest conditions and seasons. This 10’ x 10’ shelter is a straight leg design providing 100 square feet of shade that we found will be a pleasant compliment to any day under the sun.

The one-piece steel frame is durable with solid plastic hinges at the joints to help maintain its structural integrity during above average wind gusts. We’ve had one of these instant shelters set up in the backyard of our testing facility for 3 weeks, which included a few significant storms, and it has held up exceptionally well and is still as steady as it was on day one. One of the best features is the oversized pinch-free buttons on the top canopy locks and the leg adjusters, helping make setup extremely easily and hassle free. Core touts this tent as an ‘instant 2 minute setup’, and we definitely agree with their claim. Quickly slide the top canopy locks into place, then choose between the three leg lock adjustments to choose your canopy height. We found the welded steel feet to be good quality and easily allow the stakes to pass through and keep the tent secure. We also used the tie downs for extra support during our 3 week test, and they work just as we hoped they would. We found one of the best features of this tent to be the canopy material. A proprietary technology unique to Core, the H20 Block technology applied to 150D polyester is one of the best materials we found on a canopy tent because it is so lightweight, yet surprisingly durable. During our testing it repelled water much better than most of the other canopy, even though most other tents had higher denier polyester, which is a true testament to their H20 Block technology. The seams going from the valance to the peak are double sealed for added weather protection so that there is no need to worry about leaks causing water to permeate though these vulnerable points in the fabric. We like the silver colored canopy with the dual vents at the top that allows for additional circulation because it helped keep those underneath cool compared to other darker colored canopies, which seem to radiate with direct sunlight. The vents allow the breeze to pass through the canopy top during windy days and help prevent gusts of wind from blowing the shelter away. The canopy itself is rated 50+ UPF which is the highest UV protection rating for canopies so rest assured on those hot sunny days that your skin is protected.

As with any canopy tent we find the weight to be a very important detail, because it is a large determinant of portability. Weighing in around 43 lbs., this pop up canopy tent is comparable to most in the 10’ x 10’ class. The included carrying case with two web handles and built in wheels make it manageable to transport to beach or campground. We highly recommend this tent for any outdoor adventure.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


What is the Garmin Monterra?

The Monterra is Garmin’s first Android-based recreation GPS. It sits alongside models such as the eTrex Touch 25, sharing the same set of core functions, but the Android operating system means it can be much more readily extended. In fact, Garmin is touting the Monterra as a GPS for more than leisure activities such as hiking, Geocaching, and biking. The company is hoping that the device will deliver on the professional front too, for environmental managers, miners, contractors and even fire rescuers.
Garmin Monterra – Specification and Bundle

If you’ve owned any of Garmin’s previous recreational GPS devices then the first thing you’ll notice about the Monterra is that it’s rather large. The screen has a 4-inch diagonal with a 272 x 480-pixel resolution. It’s pretty weighty at 331g with the supplied lithium-ion battery pack, or an even greater 375g if you use three AA batteries instead. Putting that in perspective, an iPhone 6S weights just 192g.

This is a hefty beast, but it isn’t meant to slip unobtrusively into your sports jacket or trouser pocket as you gad about town. The casing is rugged, and is rated to IPX7 standards, which means it can withstand submersion in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. In other words, this isn’t a diving GPS, but it should be fine if you drop it in a puddle or shallow river, and rain will do it no harm at all.

To this end, the battery cover has a screw-locking mechanism to keep it securely attached and prevent accidental opening. The mini-USB port and headphone mini-jack sit beneath rubber flaps. The screen has a tough covering that seemed pretty impervious during the review, although I didn’t want to put this too seriously to the test in a loan unit.

By modern smartphone standards, the screen resolution is pretty mediocre, and might limit the mainstream Android applications that can be run. But it’s also a fair bit higher than what you’ll find on many handheld GPS devices. The visibility of this screen in bright sunlight is pretty decent, so long as you avoid bright reflections on the shiny surface of the screen protection. In fact, it’s notably better than earlier Garmin handheld GPS devices I’ve tested.

Inside the Monterra is a 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 dual-core processor, with an Imagine Technologies PowerVR SGX 540 GPU. There’s only 663MB of RAM, which again seems a little paltry compared to the 2GB in premium smartphones nowadays, but I didn’t notice any memory-related issues during testing. For location acquisition, both GPS and GLONASS are supported, plus the terrestrial WAAS and EGNOS systems that allow for faster position locks and greater accuracy.

A 2,000mAh lithium-ion battery is included in the box, which Garmin claims will provide up to 16 hours of usage. But the unit can also be powered by three AA batteries, so you can carry some with you when on treks that go beyond the life of the rechargeable unit. A set of AA batteries should give you a longer 22 hours endurance, too. Aside from the USB-based charger and some screen protectors, no other hardware is included in the box.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


The XDURO Trekking RX is Haibike at its best. Originally known for producing powerful and sturdy off-road electric bikes like the AMT PRO, this bike is a pioneer in the touring and commuting category. You get nearly every accessory needed to deal with cargo transport, nighttime riding and damp weather conditions. There’s even a little hand-pump attached to the rear rack and dealing with flats is a breez on this and other centerdrive ebikes because the wheels are just like a normal bicycle. At $4K this bike is priced in line with other high end touring systems and the four frame sizes offered make for a better fit (something that has traditionally been harder to come by in the electric bicycle world). With incredible range, climbing ability and support provided by Currie Technologies in the US this is an impressive product.
Powering the HAIBIKE TREKKING RX is the Gen2 Bosch centerdrive motor now offering 350 watts of power. It keeps motor weight low and center on the bike frame (right where you want it for balance) and leverages 29 speeds for the most efficient electric drive of all ebikes in the Haibike range at this time. The rear hub is a Sram Dual Drive with three internal gears and there’s a nine speed cassette next to it that uses a regular bicycle chain. One of the neat things about this and other mid-drive ebikes is that maintenance and service on the wheels is handle just like a regular bike. The motor is smart enough to sense when you’re switching gears and that means you won’t experience as much wear or mashing on the chain and cassette. While the motor is a bit louder than some gearless hub designs (producing a soft high pitched whine shown in the video review) it’s not as loud as some and depending on the surroundings and riding terrain it’s not something that bothered me.
The battery pack used with this system is a 36 volt 11 amp hour Lithium-ion configuration that’s light weight and long lasting. It’s removable for easy charging or multiple pack use on those long distance rides. Even though the official specs say 25 to 35 miles my experience is that it can go much further. By leveraging the gears on this bike and always using pedal assist (there’s no throttle mode) you get excellent range. The battery has a nice LED indicator on the side that displays battery level even without turning the bike on which is nice. The pack is low and center, just like the motor, but does take up the space where a bottle cage might have otherwise mounted. I feel like they could have added bosses to the seat tube for a cage mount but it’s not the end of the world. There are some cool handlebar bottle bags, pannier bags and CamelBak solutions that can work here.
I like the Bosch display unit and extended button panel used on the Trekking. You get a large, backlit screen that shows speed, distance and assist level but don’t have to take your hand off the grip to interact with it. On the left bar there’s a small plastic button pad with up, down and info selectors. The other neat thing about the display is that you can either lock it to the mount with a set screw or remove the screw and take the panel with you (to prevent tampering and vandalism). I’m a fan of taking it with me during work commute trips where the bike will be left in a garage or public place. It’s nice that they give you the choice here though I’ve heard that removing screens too often can allow for dirt and debris to build up and weaken the electronic connection… just clean it every once in a while ;)
The Trekking RX is an electric bike capable of going the distance, hauling gear and staying comfortable with fenders, lights and suspension. The front fork offers lockout and 63mm of travel but doesn’t add much weight to the overall system. This bike weighs in at ~51 pounds which is average for ebikes but impressive here considering all of the options and accessories. It’s like an electric bike for non-ebikers who love riding but might be struggling with hills or longer distances. As with the eMountain Bike niche that Haibike first introduced and now dominates, this is another space that I feel is on the verge of adoption. The Trekking wold make an excellent touring bike, commuter or light trail bike. It has efficient tires, a unique frame with sloping top-tube for easier standing and hydraulic disc brakes that keep your hands from getting tired but provide plenty of stopping power even with a full load.


  • Light weight frame and components, well balanced drive system (motor and battery low and center)
  • Includes integrated front and rear LED lights with custom matching design that look awesome
  • Rear rack is sturdy and functional with standard gauge tubing and included tire pump for easy flat repairs
  • Bosch drive system is efficient, smooth and powerful with removable battery for convenient charging
  • Stiff cranks, decent pedals, rigid frame for good power transfer when riding
  • Impressive 9 speed cassette with three speed internal hub for 29 pedaling speeds! Excellent for touring or commuting
  • Great customer support and warranty from Currie Technologies in the US (part of Accell Group which owns Haibike)
  • Four frame sizes so the bike will fit and feel great over long distances (48cm, 52cm, 56cm, 60cm)
  • Centerdrive design makes wheel repairs much easier than hub motors which have extra cables and add weight to the wheel


  • The battery pack takes up the space where a water bottle cage might otherwise mount
  • Externalized battery and larger bottom bracket make it obvious that this is an electric bike “less stealth”
  • No throttle mode, this bike only uses pedal assist (like all Bosch powered systems)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The New Garmin GPSMAP® 276Cx

When Garmin introduced the original GARMIN GPS 276C in 2004 it was arguably the beginning of the GPS-era for Dual Sport and Adventure Riding Motorcyclists. The 276C-series appealed to us because it had the basic features we wanted - rugged, battery or hardwired power without compromising its waterproof and dustproof features, a reasonably high resolution color display, support for Waypoints, Routes & Tracks and above all, a glass display and button controls - no touchscreen.

Over the years the GPSMAP® 276C-series were among Garmins best selling consumer devices around the world. They still bring amazingly high prices on auction sites, like e-Bay, even in their discontinued-afterlife. Although Garmin has created several zūmo® and handheld devices targeted for the Motorcycle community, the discontinuance of the GPSMAP® 276C-series left a hole in the product line for many Motorcyclists which had not been filled - until now!

The newly introduced GPSMAP® 276Cx All-terrain GPS Navigator is targeting Marine and Automotive (terrestrial) use - just like its predecessors.

Although the new GPSMAP® 276Cx has similar features, this is not a dusted-off 276C. Completely new hardware and software make this device familiar, yet all new: GNSS (GPS+GLONASS), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT+, expandable industry standard micro-SD Card storage and a brilliant non-touchscreen display. There are audible Tone Alerts but no external speaker in the unit.

The GPSMAP® 276Cx has two System Usage Modes, Automotive and Marine. These are basically profiles to manage the settings and present appropriate navigation features and functions between these two primary uses. I won't spend any time discussing the Marine Mode or it features since most Motorcycles/ATVs/Snowmobiles don't float.

This time around the "Automotive" mode really means terrestrial since the Routing options includes all of the current Garmin Activity types from Walking to Mountaineering and Cycling to ATV/Off Road Driving. At 426g(15oz), I think this device might be a bit on the heavy side for use in some of the supported Routing Activities - like Hiking and Cycling - but who am I to judge.

The 5-inch (800x480 pixels), very bright, back-lit display is one of the best sunlight-readable displays yet to come from Garmin. It has the same buttons-on-the-right layout and functions as its predecessors. And yes, buttons-on-the-right is not exactly Moto-friendly placement - keep in mind, just like its predecessors, this device wasn't designed just for Motorcyclists.

For those who have only used a Garmin nüvi®, zūmo® or current handheld device, you'll have a small learning curve with the Menu structure but this certainly isn't the most complex User Interface among Garmin devices. The GPSMAP® 276Cx Owners Manual will give you a reasonable start up the learning curve - although, like other Garmin consumer device Owners Manuals it only covers the basic operations of the device.

If you use a Garmin Montana or Monterra you'll be happy to know, or maybe not, that the GPSMAP® 276Cx uses the same Garmin AMPS Rugged Mount - and, if you use a wired-headset, the 276Cx can be setup to pass Audio Out through the cable in the mount harness. The same battery compartment design used by the Montana/Monterra has been incorporated here as well which allows the use of three AA Alkaline, NiMH or Lithium batteries in place of the standard 'brick' Lithium battery. The standard Lithium battery has a huge 5000mAh capacity and Garmin says you can get up to 15hrs from this battery. I think if you used the Battery Saver mode and allowed the display backlight to time-out after short peaks at the screen, it would easily last that long.

The Garmin AMPS Rugged Mount has a security screw on top to make sure the device doesn't pop out. I never had a problem with my Montana or Monterra but the GPSMAP® 276Cx is considerably heavier so I would recommend using it - especially if you are traveling off-road. Hopefully, Touratech-USA will provide a locking mount for this model.

One of the big shortcomings of the old Chartplotters was limited storage - both internal and removable. The new GPSMAP® 276Cx has 6GB of internal storage available to the user - not bad! But, just like the M&Ms (that's Montana & Monterra), underneath that huge Lithium battery is a micro-SD Card holder. Garmin says they officially support storage sizes up to 32GB SDHC but the GPSMAP® 276Cx had no problem reading the 8GB of Maps from my 128GB SanDisk Ultra SDXC card! The only downside to all of that storage, the user cannot chose where to save data when using the device. Currently, any Saved data will be saved to Internal Storage - not the SD Card.
All Garmin consumer GPS devices have a power-up page that isn't the Map page and the GPSMAP® 276Cx is no exception. In keeping with its predecessors, the first page you'll see is what Garmin calls the Main Menu. I personally wouldn't have chosen the GPS Satellite page as my Main Menu but it certainly is the first page in this menu structure. As one of my many feature requests, I'd like to be able to choose the Map as my Power On page!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Solution for Gutters Draining on Sidewalks, Patios and Drives

sidewalk repair Manhattan NY, patios, and driveways pose specific problems for gutter drainage. Many times the roof design of the house asks a downspout in an inconvenient location. In colder climates water from gutters draining onto sidewalk repair contractors in Manhattan New York, entranceway could be harmful as the water tends to freeze making a slip-and-fall hazard. Draining the water into a flower bed between the house and the walk is not an option because the concrete or brick pavers will act like a dam, holding water against the basement walls and resulting in wet and leaking basements. sidewalk repair Manhattan was made to carry rainwater away from down spouts securely and discreetly across the sidewalk repair contractor Manhattan, patio or driveway.
Manhattan sidewalk repair

Think about your rain gutters as a total "system". Start by ensuring the gutters are clean. You don't want me to remind you that cleaning gutters twice a year is a must. The spring cleaning, following the seeds and helicopters, come right down, is the most essential. Many seeds float and immediately make their way into the downspout at which it'll become clogged in no time. The spring cleaning, after the insecticides and seeds come down, is the most important.

Three to four-foot extensions are needed in the base of the downspout. The decrease elbow should be about sixteen inches above the ground to ensure decent slope for drainage. The floor or grade around the house has to allow water to drain away from your base. Rain barrels can also be used to capture and store rainwater. There is a fitting in the bottom of the rain barrel, therefore, a typical garden hose could be attached letting you use the water as needed on your flower or vegetable gardens.

Now you can take on the job of draining rainwater under and away form regions where there is pedestrian or automobile traffic all around your residence. "Manhattan sidewalk repair" come in several premade styles and sizes. The very economical Manhattan sidewalk repair is a difficult polypropylene trough and grate and is suitable for many pedestrian applications. Heavier duty Manhattan sidewalk repair with of polymer concrete trough along with a metal grate cover that is installed across the walk or driveway will give a flush, safe surface to walk or drive on.

Do not use irrigation or pipe tubing because these will eventually become clogged and there is no way to clean them. Animals such as rats will use them for a house. The metal grate on a Manhattan sidewalk repair may be lifted for cleaning and because of it receptive to light and air rodents will find it an unpleasant place to make a house.

If you're working with an existing pavement or patio it will require any concrete or paver block cutting. The heavy power tools needed to make accurate and clean cuts are available at your local tool and equipment rental store. Be certain that you have sufficient slope on the Manhattan sidewalk repair so that the water will drain properly under the DOT sidewalk violation Manhattan. A French drain or a rain garden may also be required on the other side of the walk also.

A brick or concrete paver contractor may additionally install Manhattan sidewalk repair but as always, make sure your contractor is licensed and insured.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What Makes It Great - Sidewalk Sale

For more than 50 years, Downtown Lawrence retailers have been filling the sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York around the third Thursday of July with unbelievable deals that the likes of which you only find for the annual sidewalk repair contractor Bronx sale. Yes, even the weather is generally brutally hot, but that does not block the bargain hunters from going downtown to tromp up and down Mass Street scooping up the products.

For most shoppers, the annual sidewalk repair Bronx NY in Downtown Lawrence is as big a day as Black Friday. Thousands of ancient birds are lined up and ready for the opening rounds at 6:00 a.m. It is not unusual for sales personnel to spend Wednesday night and Thursday morning prepping for the purchase so they can hoist the makeshift awnings and start bringing out merchandise at 5:00 a.m.

For many, it's a party atmosphere and a bit of a friendly rivalry to see that store will get the bragging rights for those that had been ready the oldest. It never ceases to amaze me just how a lot of people will come out early to receive the best prices in Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, and the Gap. These shops have been amassing sale merchandise from toddler shops across the country to make the most of the throngs of shoppers that appear for this function. I have observed lines for finishing purchases that stretch 50 yards down the Bronx sidewalk repair.
sidewalk repair contractors in bronx new york

Packs of teenage girls and college coeds swarm the racks up and down the street and Lord help the woman who grabs that last size two skirt that is discounted by 75\%. It's every woman for herself on sidewalk repair Bronx day. I've seen lifelong friendships crumble before your eyes two buddies grab exactly the same skirt.

For retailers, the annual DOT sidewalk violation Bronx is a time to clear out the inventory rooms in preparation for receiving vacation product. For shoppers, it is a fantastic method to get a head start a return to school shopping. And for your City, it's a great way to increase revenue tax collections throughout the tired summer months when many KU students have gone home for the summer.

The sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York is also an excellent time for many non-profit and service organizations to achieve a large audience. You may purchase your raffle tickets to win the yearly "Casa for CASA" playhouse or cease from the Lawrence Humane Society stall to create a donation or purchase a t-shirt.

You could also join the World Company's tweetup and tweet friends and family with the latest bargain. You can make the DOT sidewalk violation Bronx one of those trending issues on Twitter.

When you haven't experienced the sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York deal, plan to come on Thursday, July 21st. You do not even have to shop. There's great entertainment just watching people browsing for bargains, catching up with old friends or just watching the world go by

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Portable Solar Power Systems Review

Why Buy a Solar Power System?

You can use portable solar power systems for a variety of reasons, from emergency kits you can keep at home to smaller, lightweight kits that you can take miles away from the nearest wall plug. Solar power systems provide convenient energy that is clean and renewable. As long as you have sun, you have power. The lower wattage panels, such as Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel can keep your cell phone or laptop charged, while the larger emergency kits, like the Goal Zero Yeti or Renogy's Solar Suitcase, will keep the lights on or even power the inside of your recreational vehicle.
Portable Solar Power Systems: What to Look For

Remember, portable doesn’t always mean it is small enough to put in your pocket or backpack. In fact, many kits that advertise as portable are heavy briefcases or even blocks that roll on wheels. Choosing the right solar power kit depends on your required wattage, adaptors and accessories you need, and how much you’re looking to carry.


What are you going to be charging and how much power do you need? Prices will vary, and the wattage of the portable solar power system could be as low as 4 watts to as high as 1,500 watts. Don't buy lower wattage systems just to save money though. The lower the wattage, the longer it takes to charge. If you’re in need of power during an emergency, you can’t put a price on your peace of mind.


When looking at different units, pay close attention to how and where the power is stored. If you buy a solar power system to charge electronic devices, you might also need to purchase separate accessories such as USB plugs or wall-style sockets. Some systems are so basic that the only way to save solar energy is by using alligator clips and an external battery.

Weight & Compactness

This is the true value of your solar power system, and whether or not it truly is portable. You should pay close attention to the weight, especially if you’re considering a system for a road trip or a long-distance hike. A 15-pound solar panel adds a lot of weight when backpacking. If it’s a larger system for staying off the grid, you won't mind the weight if you keep the solar power unit in a cabin or RV. Consider how small it is and if it's easy to store.

A portable solar power system is the grown-up version of building a fort. With the right portable solar power system, you are only limited by your imagination. A fully charged system could allow you to write on your laptop under the stars or keep food fresh without lugging around ice. The right solar power kit allows you to stay plugged in without the leash of the grid.