Posted tagged ‘SAR’

GSARGear Review: HG Solar Pod

March 12, 2012

This is the High Gear SolarPod.

It is a small 5.5V solar panel with a self-contained 3.7V 650mAh Li-ion battery, designed to charge all kinds of phones and gadgets.

Form: A little, stylish orange-and black panel with a carabiner, it’s quite the looker. It feels just a little bit plasticky, but held up fairly well to several days of travel through mountains and swamps.

Function: Charges fully in about 8 hours of strong sunlight, or 4 hours if plugged into a computers USB port.  It features a carabiner to clip onto the outside of a pack, and doesn’t come off even under rough conditions and use.  It has an LED on the front that indicates whether it is charging or discharging, and a set on the back that indicates how full the battery is.
It works fairly well while riding on the outside of a pack to keep your phone or other device charged, but charging from empty takes quite a while(~8 hours).  It comes with a variety of tips, but also has a USB socket port, meaning that you can use just about any type of charger that plugs into a computer. (Apple 30-pin etc) Speaking of which, the Solar Pod does not charge the iPad and similarly sized tablets. It just doesn’t have that much output.  But for GPSs(GPSes? GPSii?) and phones, it works very well.

Cons:
When the charge is getting low on the device, instead of stopping flow, the Solar Pod keeps trying to charge, and losing power, then attempting to charge again.  This  causes the phone to light up and vibrate every time the charging recommences. The point is that it will run down your battery to a level below that of what your phone originally was.  This can be mitigated by regularly checking on the charging status, but can cause a problem if you forget.

All in all, this is a very good little charger. It probably won’t replace your wall-charger, as it doesn’t hold a huge charge or during cloudy weather,  but for emergency power or topping off, it works very well.

GSARGear Review: Boker Rescom

January 6, 2012

This is the Boker Rescom.

It is a very small, (4.5″ open) light,(2.4oz) simple extrication tool.

Form: The handle is a simple shape, identical to the Subcom lineup. It comes in black and dark red. It has little notches running around the edges and back of the blade for grip, and the handle is covered in a stylish cover of nylon scales. The blade is an angled AUS-8 steel cutter with serrations running the length and ending in a sharp hook. There is a sturdy belt-clip on the back, and a lanyard hole on the tail end of the grip.

Function: The Rescom works very well for its intended purpose: slicing seatbelts. It doesn’t do much else, but it’s small, clips anywhere, and is always handy when you need it. The blade opens very smoothly, the frame-lock is easy to manipulate, and the serrations and hook do their duty without complaint. The thumbstuds are ambidextrous, and the pocket clip is reversible, so you can clip it to a backpack or belt.

Cons: The knife is just a little on the small side, it can be difficult to maintain a grip on and use any force, especially when used with gloves.
In addition, the blade doesn’t feel like it has any kind of coating on it whatsoever, and rusts extremely easily when exposed to sweat, blood or other fluids.

Over all though, this is a great compact tool that stays out of your way until you need it to slice through seatbelts or webbing.

GSARGear Review: Sunwayman M20c

November 21, 2011

 

The Sunwayman M20C R5 is a high-powered, easy-to-use flashlight.
It is powered by two CR123s or a 18650 battery, with excellent output regulation and efficiency.

Use:

The M20c is powered on by your standard tailcap click switch, easy to use with gloves, but is slightly recessed to prevent accidental activation.

The M20c has four light modes with varying runtimes:

280 Lumens (1.5 hours)
50 Lumens (25 hours)
13 Lumens (100 hours)
Strobe mode: 280 Lumens (Untested, due to proctor blindness)

You can cycle through these modes with their unusual “Magnetic Sensor Control” system, a rotating magnetic band near the bezel of the light.

 

The light throws very well, with a smooth beam pattern and decent flood, clearly outlining human figures out past 200 meters.

Dimensions:
Length: 5.24″
Head diameter: 1.26″
Body diameter: 1.0″
Weight: 120g, unloaded

Cons:

My only issue with the light is the smoothness of the handgrip. It can be hard to keep a hold of, especially when covered in blood or oil. This is mitigated somewhat when used with their included tactical ring, but more knurling on the grip would be much appreciated. A flashlight with a tendency to leave your hand can be a major problem in the field.

Other than that, the M20C is an excellent flashlight, and with minor revisions, would be perfectly suited for use in SAR.

 

GSARGear Review: RCP-1 Pro

March 26, 2011


GSAR GEAR Review: Coaxsher RCP-1 Pro
This radio chest harness is without a doubt one of the best on the market.
I’ve been using this Coaxsher RCP-1 Pro for about six months now, and it has really proven itself.   It is an extremely functional and sturdy rig.
Form:
The Pro features the following:
-Adjustable main radio holster
-Adjustable GPS/secondary radio holster
-Wide battery/misc equipment pouch
-Narrow writing tools pouch
-Two quick-access pen loops
-Large ziptop main pouch
-Two smaller organizers inside main pouch
-A small loop for hanging a glowstick on
-Removable Mod-U-Lox flashlight clip
-Several grommets and D-rings for attaching other gear
-Secure square-rig back straps

Function:
The RCP-1 Pro is very sturdy and water-resistant. All the pouches are easy to access, but keep the gear very snug and secure, thanks to some well placed elastic straps. There are small loops at the back for tidying up loose straps or attaching other gear. The front buckles unclip and the rig folds down, held in place by elastic straps, presenting a nice mobile writing platform. I have a picture of the straps unclipped below, but better pic here.

There is a flashlight clip included that mounts on the straps. Of all the different lights tested with it I’ve found that it fits Mini-Maglites the best. It’s a little stiff at first, but it holds the light very nicely.

The main pouch is pretty spacious, you can fit two Pelican 1020s side-by side in it, with room to spare. But when the extra space isn’t needed, the rig folds flat against your chest. The rig adjusts to almost any size, and fits securely and comfortably, even with a heavy load.  The rig rides very nicely, you almost forget it’s there, and it allows a nigh-on uninhibited range of motion.

As you can see, this is a seriously high-end radio-rig. Extremely well thought out design and construction, very feature packed and useful. Just about an ideal radio rig for SAR.

GSARGear Review: CRKT Bear Claw ER

February 8, 2011

GSAR GEAR Review: CRKT Bear Claw ER
The CRKT Bear Claw ER  is an outstanding purpose-built rescue knife.
Form:
At 5.75″ long and weighing in at 3.4 oz, this knife is a uniquely designed extrication knife designed to quickly and easily cut through webbing, seat belts, lines or just about anything else in between a rescuer and the victim.

It has great ergonomics. The large finger hole is easy to use even with gloves, and the Hi-Viz orange Zytel grips contours line the blade up perfectly with your hand.

Function:
The polished full-tang stainless steel blade is machined from AUS 4 and holds up against corrosion very well, even with constant exposure to salt water.   The blunt tip keeps the blade from puncturing life preservers or rafts or people, making it excellent for cutting in close to the victim. The serrations are extremely well designed and can easily cut through just about anything with ease.

The black sheath is also manufactured from durable Zytel. There are a lot of mounting options, thanks to several belting slots and lanyard holes, with two points of attachment to screw on the black stainless steel pocket clip.  The sheath is extremely well designed, and the amount of pressure required to release the knife from it is just perfect. It’s stiff enough to where the knife will never come out by accident, but designed to slide smoothly out if you pull it correctly.

All in all, this is a nigh-on perfect knife for SAR, or boating or any other activity requiring a safe, efficient cutting tool.

GSAR GEAR Review: Inova X5

November 11, 2010

X5

GSAR Gear Review: Inova X5 Flashlight

The Inova X5 is a nearly indestructible LED flashlight. The body of the flashlight is machined into a six-sided cylinder from solid aerospace grade aluminum. It is available in either silver or black. The hard anodizing is extremely durable and has no real scratches or blemishes, even after being put through rigorous use and abuse.  The X5 is also water resistant to IPX4 standards and pretty well crushproof, so there are no worries about it getting wet, dropped, or otherwise beaten-up in the field.

The bezel has five separately drilled holes, providing excellent protection to the Nichia CS LEDs recessed inside.
The run time more than makes up for the cost of the batteries themselves. The light has a decent output and throw(56 lumens and 118 feet, respectively).  It’s pretty bright, but it’s not going to replace a searchlight. But what it lacks in power it makes up for in solidness and sheer unbreakability. It makes a great general purpose light. I would say that the lights advertised 1.75 mile signal visibility is true, and even understated. Simulated missing persons were reportedly able to see it blinking on top of a small mountain from 2+ miles away.

Power:

The X5 runs on two CR123A batteries. They’re widely available camera batteries which are fairly expensive($1-$2 apiece), but are much longer lasting and provide more power than AAs.

Inova X5
Use:

The X5 has an interesting interface.  It has three modes:
1. A momentary-on, which is used by pushing the tailcap in.

2. A constant-on, which is reached by twisting the tailcap.

3. Lock-out mode, which is reached by twisting  the tailcap 360° this disables the momentary-on, so you can throw the X5 in a pack or a pouch and not worry about it turning on by itself.

Cons:

One of the things I would’ve liked to see was a removable pocket clip. And although you can use a pouch or a lanyard,  a clip would have really been a nice addition.

 

Overall, after several months of hard use, I can say that this is really a great rugged general purpose SAR flashlight.

 

 

 

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GSARGear Review: M-16 Zytel

September 23, 2010


My CRKT M16 after two years of constant use

GSAR GEAR Review:CRKT M16-12Z

The CRKT M16 is really an impressive knife.
I have carried and used mine for 2 years now and it is still working like new.

Form:

It comes in two colors(black and safety orange), and two blade variations: A straight razor-edge, and a combo edge(M-16-12Z).
The combo edged M-16 comes with a 3 inch, AUS 4, tanto point blade with an inch of serrations near the handle. The handles are made of durable Zytel® over a stainless steel frame.

Function:

Although it is not spring assisted, it is fast and easy to open one handed, utilizing a flipper nub on the back.
It also has an automatic double locking mechanism, which takes a little getting used to at first but once you get the hang of it, it turns out to be quite safe and pleasant to work with.
The serrations on the combo blade are excellent for cutting through cord, webbing, seatbelts, and pretty much anything else you come across. The frame and handle are very well fitted, and the knife feels quite solid and comfortable in your hand.

Cons:

The Teflon® coated steel pocket clip only lasted me about a year before too much use made it loosen and widen the screw holes, but CRKT has a great warranty and is willing to replace the parts for free. Also be aware that the steel frame tends to accumulate surface rust if not oiled periodically and kept in a pocket for extended periods of time in hot, humid, sweaty weather. This is easily fixed with very fine steel wool and some oil.

My CRKT M-16 after two years of constant hard use.

When you pick this knife up you can feel the solid heft to it, but it is not too heavy to carry, even in gym shorts.

Overview:

This is not the shiniest, prettiest or coolest-looking knife around. It is a robust, sharp, hard-use knife that performs well in SAR use or just day-to-day work.

Highly recommended.