Black Diamond Storm Review

Comfort: (4.5 / 5)

Weight: (4.5 / 5)
Brightness: (4.5 / 5)
Light Projection: (4 / 5)
Battery Consumption: (3.5 / 5)
Overall: (4.2 / 5)

Axiom Surf has tested a lot of different headlamps and this one beats them in comfort, brightness and durability.

Tested In: Eastern Sierras CA and Sedona AZ

Duration of Test: 11 days

 

Review

The Pro: The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Black provides great lighting at 350 lumen, has great seals to keep dust or water out and functions real easy with just a push button. The controls to turn it on and off is well thought out because you don’t have to cycle through all the different options available on the light. You set one option and you turn it off and on. We tested using this light on the low mode which uses the front center light while the high beam utilizes both the front and one of the side lights. The light beams spread wide enough so there is always proper lighting where ever you look. Also, one of the side light is designated to change red, blue or green for signaling others.

The Con: This headlamp is a little on the pricey side at $50, we believe you won’t need any other light for a real long time. You get what you pay for. Axiom Surf did wish there was an option for a rechargeable lithium battery so users don’t have to buy batteries but, you can have a rechargeable option.

Overall: Axiom Surf would highly recommend this product to anyone. You can see in the photos the backing is perforated to let air in and out to reduce heat and increase comfortability. The headlamp is light even with 4 AAA batteries and on low mode lasts for hours no problem. If you’re in the market for a headlamp buy one below.

RTIC SoftPak 20 Review

Holds Ice: (3.7 / 5)

Weight: (4.2 / 5)
Usability: (3.9 / 5)
Overall: (3.9 / 5)

The portable RTIC 20 Soft Pack has great insulation and will last you days without having to refilling your ice.

Tested In: Eastern Sierras and Day Beach Trips

Insulation Thickness: About 2 inches

 

Review

The Pro: Axiom Surf has knocked this thing around and have push pull stuffed it into many places in our vehicles. The seal around the zipper didn’t leak one bit. We take this everywhere with us now. Recently, tested this 7 straight days in the Eastern Sierras and I did have to buy ice a couple of times. Granted the weather got up to 100 degrees in some of the cities and lakes there. The cooler stayed mainly in the truck bed and with the shoulder straps carried it around to some of the lakes. You can tell this is a high quality cooler from the insulation to the zipper.

The Con: The only draw back we saw was the zipper being a little tight to zip so RTIC gives everyone lubricant to loosen up the zipper and the pockets in the front back being a little small. As far as the lube, we’ve applied it a couple of times now and it has broken in. This zipper is built like this so there won’t be any leaks which is understandable.

Overall: There are a lot of coolers out there and expensive ones too. This one is on the pricier end but, not as expensive as some of the other brands you see out there. Axiom Surf think for the price you spend on this it’s a fair price for the quality you get in this soft cooler. We don’t know if it’s the insulation or the beefy design but, this Softpak is pretty durable for being a soft cooler. Make sure to approximate the size of the cooler and see what you intend to use this cooler for as this one maxes out at 20 can drinks.

Therma Cell Mosquito Repellent Review

 

Weight: (4.2 / 5)

Usability: (3.6 / 5)
Repellent of Mosquitos: (3.9 / 5)
Overall: (3.9 / 5)

The Thermacell MR-LJ Portable Mosquito Repeller offers consumers a 15 by 15 radius area of a free pest zone.

Tested In: Eastern Sierras

Duration of Test: 7 days

 

Review

The Pro:I tested this in the sierras and it works well. The areas tested were around lakes and streams where mosquitos are known to be around. It’s light weight and small enough to place in a pocket or carry on your backpack. The back shows the butane cartridge so you can see if you’re low on fuel.

The Con: It does take a few minutes to turn on because it burns butane and heats up the metal pad to expose the fuses of the pollen. The repellent is in full action when the top piece is lit orange. I really wish it would come with a small piece of velcro on the back to strap to my bag.

Overall:All in all this unit does the job for mosquitos. There were other bugs around when using this unit so this is specifically for mosquitos. The camo pattern helps if you’re out hunting and the light weight makes it real easy to carry on your pack.


Geigerrig Hydration Bladder Review

Weight: (4.5 / 5)
Usability: (3.8 / 5)
Leak Proof: (4.2 / 5)
Overall: (4.1 / 5)

After testing multiple bladder packs, the Geigerrig Pressurized Hydration Engine and Reservoir – 2 Liter, 100 Ounce is the one you must own as it is easy to clean and use.

Tested In: Sedona Arizona

Review

The Pro: Axiom Surf has tested many different hydration bladders from camel packs to Dakine. We must say this one stands out as the best one. This hydration pack is really easy to clean, just flip it inside out and throw it into the dishwasher. The material is durable and we love how you can spray water from the bite tube. The spray feature is really handy as we used it to cool us down and serve water to our fury hiking companion. Geigerrig hydration bladders features a mold and mildew resistance material but, we haven’t had it long enough to ensure this point.

The Con: We’ve seen videos online of sliding the water insert clip with ease on or off however, this one is a little harder to accomplish this task. It may take some time to break in. It will take new users a little while to figure out how to spray the water effectively so watch the video below to help you out.

Overall: This is a truly a high tech hydration bladder. Cleaning other hydration bladders are such a pain because you have to use a tube brush of various sizes to clean everything. Geigerrig really thought about the users use on and off trail which is why Axiom Surf recommends this for any type of hike or just to keep water on you at the beach. We hope to try out the filter insert soon for super clean water consumption.


 

Coleman Insta Start Stove Grill Review

Easy to Clean: (2.5 / 5)
Propane Consumption: (4.8 / 5)
Weight: (2.5 / 5)
Durable: (4.4 / 5)
Star Rating: (3.5 / 5)

Fry or grill, this Coleman PerfectFlow Insta Start Grill Stove set will equip you for all your cooking needs while enjoying the great outdoors.

Tested Period: 3 years

Tested: Southern California desert, beaches and national forests

Dimensions: 22 inches long by 17 inches high by 13 inches deep when open

 

Review

The Pro: The Axiom Team has been testing this product for years in many conditions and this stove has done a great job with no issues to date. The burner and grill work fine in no wind conditions but, when the wind did pick up the burners still performed and kept the stove or grill hot enough to cook meals. The blinders on the sides of the stove does a great job of blocking the cross wind. In addition, packing this thing is a snap as it only needs to be collapse and locked with the front clip and packing the grill is a breeze because everything is compact.

The Con: Everything comes apart easily but, cleaning the inside of the grill can be a bit of a drag from all the drippings of the food so bring an extra sponge or towel for cleanup. On another note, screwing the gas hose is easy but, when switching between multiple camp sites and breaking this down every time can get old real fast. Maybe they could of used a flexible hose as the metal one seems a little flimsy.

Overall: Other than the cleanup and the hose, we would high recommend this grill for car camping, van or RV. It would be much to big and heavy to pack in somewhere but, a great stove for base camp.

Thermarest Basecamp Review

 

Comfort: (3.9 / 5)
Weight: (3.8 / 5)
Durable: (3.2 / 5)
Overall: (3.6 / 5)

Sleep better with the Therm-a-Rest Basecamp Self-Inflating Air Mattress, Large – 25 x 77-Inches and recharge from your camp or hiking activities by resting your body properly.

Tester

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 180lbs

Test Period: 3 years across California mountains

Pad Dimensions: Large size – 77 x 25 x 2 inches with 2 inches of thickness

 

Review

The Pro: The Thermarest Basecamp is nicely built and haven’t had any tears or rips in the 3 years of testing. This is a very durable sleeping pad. The valve to inflate is really easy to use and isn’t terrible to blow up by yourself so a pump isn’t needed. The use of the open cell foam provides comfort, durability and reliable for any camp trip. The sleeping pad footprint is great for someone up to 6 feet 4 inches.

The Con: If you’re a side sleeper this wouldn’t be recommended. We found our arms falling asleep after about 2 or 3 hours and rotating to the other side to mitigate the dead arm effect. For the side sleepers, it is recommended to go with a 3 or 4 inch sleeping pad.

Overall: All and all, we would recommend this product to campers who sleep on their back or stomach(depending on weight). It might not be as comfortable for the average person who sleeps on their side so finding a 4 inch pad is probably a better option then the Thermarest Basecamp.

Dizaul Solar Charger Review

Weight: (4 / 5)
Durable: (4.1 / 5)
Solar Panel: (3.8 / 5)
Charge of Devices: (3.8 / 5)
Overall: (3.9 / 5)

This rugged Solar Charger,Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank does the job when you’re out and don’t have a plug for your phone or MP3 player.

Tested In: Eastern Sierras and So Cal Beach Days

Duration of Test: 1 month

 

Review

The Pro: This light weight charger is handy in which it can clip on to your bag for the “on the go” moments and is protected with a rubber casing for damage control. The Dizaul Solar Charger can charge two devices at the same time without any problems and comes with multiple light options. There is a built in light you can use by tapping the power button on twice or you can plug in the light into the USB that comes with the charger. This unit is nice to have when you’re on the go and running low on power for a device and don’t have time to charge your phone or mp3. Available to charge by the sun or micro usb.

The Con: Axiom Surf wish they would of used a bigger panel as the charger takes a while to charger by sun but it gets the job done. We’ve comparing this panel to the Goal Zero panel on the Rock Out 2 speaker. We did notice it won’t charge older versions of the ipod shuffle.

Overall: The charger does its job just a little slower than I would like. The lights on the panel is easy to understand with the blue lights conveying the amount of power left and the green light indicating it’s charging. It’s versatile, rugged and light is perfect for going off the grid while needing a little power for small devices.

Goal Zero Rock Out 2 Review

Loudness: (4 / 5)
Sound Quality: (4.3 / 5)
Bass: (2 / 5)
Clarity: (3.9 / 5)
Weight: (3 / 5)
Usability: (4.1 / 5)
Overall: (3.6 / 5)

The Goal Zero Rock Out 2 Solar Rechargeable Speaker is a great light weight speaker and can easily be strapped to your backpack for portability.

Tested In: Eastern Sierras

Duration of Test: 7 days

 

Review

The Pro:The light weight and ruggedness of the speaker makes it easy to pack and store. Axiom Surf only charged it one time within the 7 day period as long as you get the right angle of the sun for the solar charge. We believe Goal Zero is using high grade panels which is why we did’t have to charge very often at all. The inside pockets make it nice to carry various small items like your iPod and cables. The cables attached to the speaker make it really easy to strap to anything from backpacks to hanging it from rope. The highs to mids on the speakers are really clear and great sounding.

The Con:If your looking for a speaker with a lot of bass, Axiom Surf wouldn’t recommend this. It does have a deep bass technology but, the bass is faint. The solar panel on the back of the speaker is easily scatchable so we always kept resting it on the speaker side. Axiom Surf wish the solar panel was able to charge MP3 player instead of charging from the car for completely off grid use.

Overall:This speaker is targeted for consumers looking for a lightweight packable speaker. Because it’s so easy to hang or attach, we often found a good location for the speaker to project the sound. A great speaker for outdoor or camping use in my opinion.


 

Dakine vs VESL Surfboard Strap

Specs

Strap Width: Dakine = 1 3/8 inches and VESL = 1 1/8 inches

Strap Length: Dakine = 12 feet and VESL = 10 Feet

Duration of Test: 2 years for Dakine and 1 year for VESL

Both of these straps utilize the same type of pull to tighten technology but Axiom Surf has found the Dakine straps quality are a little better.

Review

The Pro: The Dakine Baja Tie Down Straps – 12′ – Black and VESL Surf straps are great straps any way you look at it. The technology is really basic and Axiom Surf never had any of these come loose on the highway. These straps are made to hook over roof rack bars so if you’re running factory OEM roof racks you’ll have to find a way to mount them. Rock climbing carabiners can work for the factory rack.

The Con: Since the technology for straps in general have been around for a long time, these have no problems holding. We can tell the VESL straps quality are a little less than that of the Dakine but, for the price of the VESL you really can’t beat it.

Overall: This is a must have surf gear product when you have to strap your board to the top of the vehicle. The Dakine will probably hold a little more wait because the strap is 1 3/8 inch wide so if you’re loading a lot of boards or Stand Up Paddle Boards then, pay the extra money and get the Dakine Baja Straps.

2015 Ripcurl E4 Front Zip Wetsuit Review

Usability: (3 / 5)

Durable: (2.5 / 5)

Warmth: (4.3 / 5)

Stretchy: (4.3 / 5)

Overall: (3.5 / 5)


Specs

Thickness: 3/2 mm

Style: Front Zip

Duration of Test: 2 years

The Rip Curl Men’s E Bomb Chest Zip 3/2 Wetsuit, Large, Black is by far one of the best and comfortable wetsuit Axiom Surf has tested.

Review

The Pro: The 3/2 thickness of this wetsuit keeps warm all year long in southern California. Only after 2 years Axiom Surf notice a little bit of leakage so we’ll end up sending it back to Rip Curl soon for a fix. The stretchy material makes it easy to take the suit on and off. There are suits out there which are such a pain to take off even when it’s not even that thick because they’re too stiff. We’ve also tested the same suit but zipperless and zipperless can be a hassle taking off when you have broad shoulders.

The Con:We’ve tested this suit out for roughly a year and a half to two years and the silicon seals by the crotch is pealing apart and the zipper is tough to zip across the chest. After having RipCurl look at the issues, they deem the suit non-repairable.

Overall: Axiom Surf would definitely recommend this to anyone in the market but, get the front zip. We haven’t tried their back zip but, I do have the E4 zipperless and it’s a bit tight at the neck. The front zip has a pull string you can tighten the front up to your liking which is by the zipper. There is a standard key pocket for your car key in the left leg. A solid suit just wish the seals were better.