These days it seems like everyone is selling bracelets and other products made of paracord. I have seen them in locations from gas stations to survival stores to women’s boutiques. With all the different places I have seen these bracelets it got me thinking about paracord and if these products are just a fad or if these are a real survival tool?
Paracord is actually short for Parachute Cord and is also known as 550 cord. It is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Paratroopers found that this cord could be used for a variety of tasks and has since evolved into a general purpose utility cord used by the military and civilians.
If you have ever seen paracord you know it has a nylon outer construction made with a high number of interwoven strands that has a relatively smooth texture. The inside, or the guts, is 7 strands made up of 3 strands each. The reason this cord is also known as 550 cord is because the 7 inner cords have a strength of 50lbs each for a total of 350lbs with the outer layer having a total strength of 200lbs for a total minimum breaking strength of 550lbs, aka 550 cord.
Although Paracord was originally used by airborne units, it is now used in a variety of ways. Many military personnel and outdoor enthusiasts use is for attaching equipment to harnesses, tying rucksacks to vehicle racks, creating outdoor shelters, setting traps, etc. Even “the guts” of the string can be removed for a finer string to be used as sewing thread to repair gear or fishing line in a survival situation. So paracord can be used as a survival tool!
However, I have found after much research and browsing that there are a lot of products using “fake” paracord that is strictly for fashion or non-survival use. If you are interested in buying a product or creating your own paracord products that you intend to use in case of a survival situation, you need to be sure you have the real deal. There is a lot of paracord that is being sold these days that is not the same high quality as real 550 cord. Make sure you are looking for the 7 inner stands. If you want a purely fun fashion accessory, you can find paracord in a wide variety of fun colors, some real 550 cord and some not, but what does it matter if it’s real if you don’t have to survive with it.
The paracord that Going Gear sells is an 8 strand 550 paracord. This cord is straight from a US military parachute supplier, where they use the absolute best nylon they can find to make cord on which soldier’s lives literally depend. You may not need to jump out of a plane into enemy territory in the pitch black of the night, but this stuff will still work great for repairing gear, pitching tarps, or any other task where you might need high quality cordage. Please keep in mind that even though this is the best paracord you will find, it is still not meant to support human weight. The weight ratings are for static weight, not you rappelling down the Swiss Alps.
So, now you know about paracord and how to spot the real stuff. Head on over to GoingGear.com, pick up paracord in your favorite color, then check out our paracord project pinterest board for some fashion and survival use inspirations.
Olight’s beloved M3X Triton gets an upgrade, and by golly it sure is pretty.
Many people are familiar with the 800 lumen Olight M3X Trition XM-L LED, and has been one of the more popular flashlights on our site. To make a good thing even better, Olight tweaked a few things to make the Olight M3X XM-L2 throw farther, and have an even brighter beam.
Bumping the outdated XM-L LED to the brand new XM-L2, the M3X Triton bumps its output from 700 all the way up to 1000 ANSI lumens. There is definitely quite the difference between the old and new versions of the light, especially in the beam distance. Granted that the previous Triton model had a fantastic beam projection, the latest version is pushing distances of 580 meters, which can light up a great amount of land/building/sky/etc. This, combined with the larger emitter of the XM-L2 allows an excellent combination of flood and throw, which is rare to find in lights these days.
While this light is brighter and has a better beam projection than the last model, the best part about this new light is the price. With all of these great new features, the one thing that remains the same is the price. The new torch comes with the same price, set up, but a better performance than the 700 lumen version. The only question to ask yourself, is why you haven’t checked out this light for your next choice?
Looking at the selection of AA high-powered flashlights, it is easy to see that there are very few selections that can push the output of the light over the 600 lumen mark, or even hitting a high output without the use of a ton of batteries. Thankfully, the Nitecore EA4 solves this issue with a few good traits.
The most noticeable part of this AA torch, is the output. With its CREE XM-L U2 LED, the EA4 Pioneer has a maximum output of 900 lumens with an even more impressive beam. The range of the beam can reach as far as 283 meters from only using four AA batteries, which makes it a perfect choice for those that want to stick with the convenience and value of AA batteries.
This EA4 series also has a fantastic set up of the user interface, which is similar to the Tiny Monster series. Manageable through the use of a single side switch, a full press of the button allows the user to access the turbo mode, while a half press of the switch allows the user to access the other six modes and cycle through the available choices. In order to access the strobe feature, a simple double click of the switch will engage the 900 lumen strobe, providing an extra measure of security and visibility.
The EA4 series is fairly priced, and also comes in a Neutral White version for those that prefer the ambiance of a pure white.
As of recently, it seems that this is the season of the flashlight companies to release their biggest and baddest flashlights. With Nitecore unveiling its TM26 Quad Ray and MH40, JETBeam releasing the DDR30, and Blackshadow (the underdog that is rising quickly in the ranks) producing the Terminator, it was only natural for the boys and girls of Fenix to show of their new powerhouse: the TK75.
Hosting three CREE XM-L U2 LED’s in the deep reflector, this light can push up to 2600 ANSI lumens. Using the deep reflector for the three XM-L’s allows the beam of the light to be more concentrated than others, which helps boost the throw distance of the light, while maintaining a fantastic flood beam as well.
The interface of the TK75 is perfectly tuned for any flashlight user with the two button layout on the side of the light. The first button is used to turn the light on and off, while the second button allows the user to quickly access the other modes on the light, leaving out the annoyance of twisting the head, or trying to access secret features from a one button switch.
One thing that definitely gives this light a competitive advantage over the other lights is the optional battery extender. Attaching the extender to the light will not only give the user a good defense mechanism (kidding), but will also increase the run time, which is incredibly helpful for long periods of use.
The third installment of Nitecore’s infamous (at least to us flashlight fanatics) Tiny Monster line is the latest and definitely the greatest piece of technology has been released, and this light – known as the Nitecore TM26 - is a remarkable torch. Using four CREE XM-L U2 LED’s, the Tiny Monster Quad Ray boasts an incredible 3500 ANSI lumens that has a fantastic flood with a substantial amount of throw.
There are a couple of features that make this light stand out from its competition: the built-in charging port makes it easier to manage the 18650′s in the light without having to purchase an external charger, or going through the hassle of constantly taking the batteries out of the light to charge them. However, the most unique feature on this torch is actually its LED display. That’s right, there is a small LED display on the head of the light that displays the lumen output per mode, the remaining voltage per batteries, the charging capacity of the batteries, and also shows the temperature ratings as well.
For such a small light to have this much power and the unique characteristics, this Nitecore TM26 stands among the rest with its advanced LED display and incredible output.
Just about everyone makes at least one new year resolution. I am famous for making resolutions and not keeping them. But this year I have made a resolution that is so easy all of you can do it. Create new adventures! This year I want to challenge everyone to spend more time outside trying new things and visiting new places.
In 2013, I am going to spend more time away from the hustle of everyday life and create new adventures outside. For me, a good hike can cure the body and soul. There are not many things that are more calming and peaceful than a hike on a secluded trail.
So this year, my new adventures will focus on visiting new parks and trails I have never been to before. As you start developing your own new adventures here are some of my tips for any beginner hiker:
Wear the correct clothing. There is nothing worse than getting half way through a hike and realize you are getting a blister from your shoes or you jacket is not keeping your warm
Know your physical limitations. Start slow and short and increase your mileage as you get more active.
Tell someone where you are headed. Even if you are going out for a short trip, someone should know which trail you’re on. Consider taking a partner if you’re headed somewhere more isolated.
Don’t start a hike late in the day. Always allow yourself more time to finish a trail than you actually think it will take.
Bring the right equipment. This goes along with the correct clothing. Having the right gear with you can turn a life or death circumstance into a manageable situation. Some basic gear you should have is:
Basic medical kit
Make sure you bring a map. Most state and national parks will have a map of all the trails that you can pick up for free. Some trails will not be marked as well you anticipate and a map will be critical for finding your way.
Do a little research before you head out. Know the terrain and environment before you get to the trail head. By doing your research you will also know what you should wear and what you should pack. Do you need a rain jacket and water proof shoes or should you leave the jacket at home because the temperature will be scorching hot?
Don’t feed the animals. You may think it’s fine to feed the animals, but remember these are not your neighborhood cats and dogs, these are wild animals. Have you ever tried to give an eager dog a treat and it accidentally got your finger? Wild animals are no different. And wild animals are more likely to carry diseases that can be carried to humans.
Stay on the path. The paths were created for a reason, to keep people on safe terrain. Don’t become to adventures and try to blaze your own trail. Some parks can actually enforce fines if they find you outside of a designated trail.
Respect the trails. Follow the rules and guidelines provided by the park you are visiting. Don’t litter, don’t remove other natural items or be overly noisy when hiking. Use this time to enjoy your surroundings, letting Mother Nature speak to your senses and spirit.
For anyone that has ever purchased a light on our site, you’ve probably noticed the long list of filters that let you choose the characteristics of the LED by type or by the Color Rendering Index (CRI). With the selection that we carry in store, it can become quite cumbersome to keep track with the specific functions and characteristics of each LED and it’s output; which is why this guide has been designed to inform those on all of the modern and most popular light emitting diodes on the market, and some recommendations for lights that use the specific LED or CRI.
Things To Keep In Mind:
Not All Lumen Ratings Are Equal: Check to make sure which lumen rating system the box is using. ANSI tends to be the truest rating, since it measures the light’s beam at three meters out for three minutes. Some companies try to use the OTF (Out The Front) and LED ratings to make them more appealing, but it only hurts you if you don’t check for the ratings first.
Find The Right Use: Finding the proper LED for the specific tasks is crucial. Make sure to take into account what you will be using the light for mostly. Larger LED’s have better flood, and smaller LED’s tend to have better throw. Also, if you only need a light with a high and low mode, then it is not important for you to get the brightest light with the most modes.
Check The Kelvin Rating: The Kelvin rating is measuring the color temperature of the LED, ranging from cool white to High CRI. Keep in mind that the warmer the tint, the weaker the beam will be for the light. If you don’t have a preference in beam color, and want the brightest output, stick with cool white. Photographers tend to choose neutral white or high CRI for its color balance, and makes a great tool to manipulate foreground and background lighting.
Read The Instructions/Maintain The Batteries: This is possibly the most important step of the flashlight process. Read ALL of the provided instructions and information to make sure your light has all the modes that you require, and can run specific battery types. The most common issue with this is the use of RCR123 batteries in lights that cannot run rechargeables. If a light that cannot use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is being powered by said batteries, it is most likely that the light will overheat, and can ruin the light. If you are using AA Alkaline batteries, make sure they are not left in the light for an elongated period of time, or the batteries will corrode inside the light, and make it inoperable. Flashlight companies will not cover these issues under their warranty services.
XP-G R5: One of three XP-G LED modules that are manufactured by CREE, Inc., the XP-G is a small diameter diode that is used mostly in everyday carry (EDC) lights, or for long distance illumination. On an EDC light, the R5′s size allows the beam of the light to have a better throw with a smaller amount of flood. On lights that have a large, deep reflector, the beam is incredibly focused with a well-defined hot spot and can illuminate long distance targets even better than an EDC light. This LED has a lifespan around 50,000 hours and (on some lights) has a maximum output of 650 lumens.
(Examples: Nitecore EA1/EA2/EC1/EC2, Zebralight SC51)
XP-G S2: The sequel to the R5, the XP-G S2 LED has the same properties and characteristics of the R5, but it is slightly brighter and more efficient with battery consumption than its counterpart. This diode is manufactured by the CREE corporation as well, and can be found in a few special edition lights, and Fenix recently converted most of their EDC line to the S2 LED from the R5.
(Examples: Fenix LD and PD series, Niteye TS20, Armytek Predator, Armytek Viking S)
XP-G2: The latest and greatest XP-G diode from CREE, the G2 LED has been a huge success for small torches by being able to increase the lumen output by 20% while keeping the battery consumption consistent. By doing so, the smaller lights (especially those that are only powered with one battery cell) can produce even more light, which makes them that much more appealing. Foursevens was the first company that we carry to use the new G2, and thus far EagleTac has used it in their D series lights. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the flashlight market was using this diode by the end of 2013.
(Examples: Foursevens Quark Pro and Tactical Series, EagleTac D series, Olight M20s-G2)
XM-L T6: One of the brightest LED’s that can be found in most weapon lights and heavy-duty lights, the XM-L T6 can produce an incredible amount of lumens, and is even more impressive when they are used in a cluster. The XM-L LED is a perfect choice for those that are looking for a fair amount of flood, as the size of the LED produces a larger hotspot which is better for illuminating a larger area (flood). There have been some complaints regarding the tint of the beam having a greenish hue, but it does vary from light to light and will not affect the performance in any way.
(Examples: Sunwayman V20A, Blackshadow Queen, Blackshadow Rook)
XM-L U2: The newer and brighter version of the T6, CREE’s XM-L U2 (Bono not included) is a more efficient LED by allowing a longer runtime and 7% lumen output increase. For those that found the T6 LED’s to be a bit cumbersome with the greenish tint, the U2′s tend to be much closer to the cool white, and rarely have any green coloring in the beam.
(Examples: EagleTac T20C2 XM-L U2, EagleTac G25C2, Sunwayman V11R, Fenix TK35, NiteCore EC25)
SST-90: Meant for larger lights, the Luminus SST-90 is an incredibly large LED that boasts an incredulous amount of power. This diode has been designed specifically for professionals that require a lot of light for a long amount of time. The max output for these LED’s can reach lumen ratings of 2,100, but they come at a price.
(Examples: Olight SR90/SR95, 4Sevens Maelstrom s18, Foursevens MMU-HD)
SBT-90: Besides the spelling, the Luminus SBT-90 has a completely different purpose for its use. Instead of focusing on raw power and flood, the SBT-90 is typically 45-50% weaker in lumen output, but makes up for it in throw. By removing the dome from the LED, the SBT-90 is able to focus the beam into one solid point with very little spill, which has been known to have a range of up to 820 meters (2690 feet). This makes it a great candidate for those that own a large amount of property, and need to be able to light up crops/stock/etc. from long distances. However, while the reduction in output makes this LED weaker compared to the SST-90, the price tends to be higher for lights that use this new LED due to the substantially increased throw of the light. If you wish to have more power, and aren’t really looking for the throw capabilities, it’s best to stay with the SST-90.
(Examples: Olight SR95 UT)
SBT-70: The latest and greatest in ultra-throw technology, the SBT-70 takes the same approach as its predecessor, but has a boost in output and throw. As seen in the new SR95S UT (notice that the Intimidator series adds another letter for every new addition. Pretty snazzy, right?). Believe it or not, the upgraded and improved performance of the LED did not cause an increase in price, and tends to reflect that in the price difference between some of the lights that use the SBT-90 and SBT-70.
(Examples: Olight SR95S UT)
We will keep this document live, so that any new LED’s that are added to the market can be added onto here. There are plenty of other LED’s out there, but these tend to be the most common among flashlight companies. As always, let us know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about our posts.
Winter is coming, and no, I am not referring to the HBO series “The Game of Thrones” either.
Every year, as summer and its warm temperatures make their way towards the southern hemisphere for a few months, we get to experience the frigid winters with shortened days, and excessive holiday music playing over retail store speakers that seems to start earlier and earlier. Along with winter comes the preparation of winter camping, hiking, and for those that are crazy enough to do them: winter kayaking, meaning that there will be plenty of time to spend outdoors in the freezing temperatures. This year, as you’re looking through the catalogs and websites for the perfect insulation layer that will keep you toasty, you may want to take a look at Arc’Teryx’s Atom LT jacket for a couple of reasons.
Right off the bat, Arc’Teryx puts a lot of thought and innovation into their designs, which are tested strenuously by their sponsored athletes, and having one of the largest Research & Development programs in the world that will modify any necessary changes. The Atom LT is no exception to the rule either with its strategically-placed pocket design that allows the user to access the zippers while wearing a pack, eliminating the need to remove the backpack. The athletic fitting of the Atom LT series fits snug on the torso and arms, which-combined with the Coreloft traps body heat and can immediately warm the wearer regardless of when the jacket was initially worn. The close fit also synchronizes with any Arc’Teryx hard shell or rain jacket thanks to the layering technology that has been engineered into their entire line of apparel.There is also a hoody version of the jacket, which does a great job keeping the head and ears toasty in cold and windy conditions.
If you’re looking for a windproof, lightweight, durable jacket that can double over as an insulation layer, the Atom LT or LT hoody is a great place to start looking.
There’s a lot of people that tend to think that the bigger or brighter their flashlight is, that the better it will be. However, a big and bright light won’t be of any use if it is out of power, and being stuck in the dark without a light source can be trouble. That is why it’s always a good idea to have a backup light or a key chain light, just like the Nitecore T2S flashlight.
Powered by a single AAA battery, the Nitecore T2S is not a powerful light, but it is a reliable light. The small body of the T2S allows the user to attach the light to almost any point (key chain, backpack, pocket, etc.) that can be easily accessed if needed be. By using a twist head interface, the light can cycle through three modes: low, medium, and high, allowing the light to keep a small profile and making it easy for anyone to use. The body of the light is constructed out of the same heavy duty aluminum as the other higher end flashlights, and even maintains the IPX-8 waterproof capability, making it a great light for handling almost any element.
In a previous post, I went over the EagleTac D25 flashlight series (D25C, D25A, D25LC2, D25A2), which covered four variations of EagleTac’s well-known pocket lights. The difference between that D25 series and this series lies in the upgraded XM-L LEDs and the new tail switch application. By using a CREE XM-L LED, the D25 series lights are now much brighter than their predecessors, which gives the user a great amount of light in a very small body. The tail switch of the Clicky series moves the focus of changing interface from the twist head to the tail switch, making it much easier to use for first time flashlight users. The stainless steel bezel on the D25 Clicky series has been painted to match the color of the rest of the body, which actually gives the light a better look while still giving the same amount of protection to the lens and emitter. All four lights come standard with the IPX-8 waterproof rating and are constructed out of heavy duty aluminum. All in all, the D25 series is a great choice for those that are looking for a reliable EDC pocket light that is very bright along with an easy-to-use interface.