Category Archives: Gear Reviews

Expeditions and road trips

It’s quite an interesting thing, how easily we are sold the romantic ideas shown to us in magazines, websites and videos. Well, how easily I’m sold on it, I can’t speak for you all.

Reading or seeing a story that makes me want something or to go somewhere is ok, but it also is not so good as well. I often try and take a look at my “needs” from a different angle in an attempt to keep myself grounded. It’s just too easy to justify the expensive gear and vehicles and whatever else if I don’t. Do I really need a rock buggy for the extreme rock crawling trails? Nope! Do I really need a new 4runner with ARB everything and a roof top tent? Nope. How about a tricked out Baja truck? Not any time soon.

So where am I going with this? I’d like to throw out my opinion for the world to ponder. I think that it’s great to go off and do things, and it’s great to grow as an adventurer. The best advice that I have been given, and that I always pass along is this. Start out with a stock rig. Buy what you like, can afford and what is readily available. Then take it out and DO THINGS in it, go places you enjoy, push the limits. When you know what the limitations are, you know where to modify. Buy as needed, not as wanted.

Buying junk solely on the advertising or the “keeping up with the jones'” is silliness. Learning from experience while gaining experience is where it’s at.

Sure, we all want to call our adventures “expeditions” or “ultimate adventures” but in reality most of us are actually just on road trips and camping trips. Embrace it. It’s ok.

Mounting tools in an open SUV

Mounting tools to keep them from flying around can be quite a task. We don’t often think of how to stow the things we bring, but we aught to.

Quick Fist has been around a while, and they are proven to work. Many fire departments and overlanders have them on their vehicles these days.

Kit contents include several sizes to use on various goodies in your vehicle. One pair for a mag lite sized object, two pairs for shovels or axes and one pair for a fire extinguisher or CO2 tank.

As I get more items mounted in will show you, but for now my max axe is hanging out real nice back there.

Camera ramblings

Conversation last night turned to cameras, one of my favorite subjects of course, and some great things came up that I thought I would talk about here a little bit.

The first subject to come up was the Fuji X-pro 1 camera that’s been out for a little while now. This camera is a significant player in my mind for a few reasons. The first notable thing about this camera is that it’s a rangefinder, so considering there’s really nothing else on the market like it, and rangefinder cameras were very popular a few years back and many folks still enjoy them now it’s got a good market. The viewfinder is an incredibly cool system that can switch back and forth between a rangefinder that works with Fuji’s prime lenses, or an electronic viewfinder. While the camera doesn’t have the largest sensor, it’s an APS-C at 16.1 megapixels, it looks to be a very well built system capable of delivering high quality prints. With something like 10 quality lenses in the Fuji line up this is a promising camera system that I promise to write more about in the future.

The other subject that came up in our camera discussion was sensor sizes and how much it matters. After my little experiment with micro four thirds cameras and all of the other research that I’ve done, I just can’t see buying anything smaller than APS-C sized sensored cameras again. The crop factor is just too limiting, losing two full stops is just not acceptable in my opinion. If I can find a way to only ever buy full frame bodies and no lens slower than f4 ever again, I’d be a happy man.

General Grabber AT2 tire review

The General Grabber AT2 All-terrain tire.

I recently picked up a set of the new General Grabber AT2 tires and I thought I would talk about them a little bit. General’s website says that they are “Tough all-terrain tire designed with an aggressive, self-cleaning tread pattern that provides off-road traction, durability and impressive paved road performance.” All of that, I would agree with, but lets talk about what else these tires have going for them.

The AT2’s are a nice all-terrain tread pattern, which means that they wear better and are quieter on the road than mud terrain tires, but in my experience they handle every offroad situation but mud as well or better than any mud-terrain style tire I’ve tried. Dirt, rocks, sand, and snow are right where this tire excels. The tread pattern grips well and leaves me feeling confident that I have traction when I’m on dirt tracks or in the snow. Since this is a smaller tire, on a stock hieght vehicle, I can’t say that these are a supreme rock crawling tire, but my experiences with them on rocky uneven trails recently showed that they grip very well, and are capable of anything that my stock rig can dish out.

The Grabber AT2's excelled on fire roads and rocky trails.

In the snow last winter I had several chances to test the tires abilities, and was never even a little let down. They were actually the best tread pattern that I’ve ever used on the snowy highways and roads around my house, and since they are snowflake approved and studdable I would guess that these would make a great winter tire for folks like me that live in the snow country. All of those traction edges and siping really do grab good in the snow.

Some offroad tires are loud and difficult to balance, but not the AT2’s. They balanced on my rims with almost no weight and road noise is considerably better than other all terrain tires I’ve owned in the past.

General Tire has built a quality product with the Grabber AT2 tires, not only do I recommend them, but they get the best value award as well. A high quality tire that will go almost anywhere, for a decent price is what makes this tire great. I highly recommend them for anyone looking for an all terrain tire on a street driven 4×4 that sees light to moderate off road terrain.