Category Archives: Reviews

An Extremely Rare Equipment Post

I use PowerPro, 10 pound test and 2 pound diameter.

After about a year the line starts to look beat up. It doesn’t seem to affect it’s strength, just looks like hell.

So I pull it all off, turn it around and spool it all back on.

When I was done I decided to give it a test.

I have a 6′ – 8″ medium light, fast action rod that was custom built for me by MC Custom Rods.

The lure I seem to use 90 percent of the time is a Cabela’s 1/16th ounce plain head jig with a 1/0 hook. On this I thread a 3 inch Producto Spring Grub, usually pearl.

I made a few casts and measured it each time. 60 feet on each cast. It takes no real effort on my part to make that cast.

I have no clue if this is good, bad or indifferent, but I like that distance with such a light lure.

Of course, now I have to get out a 1/32 ounce jig and see what I can do with that.

Funny to me anyway, I do things like this all the time. My little obsessive/compulsive tests I run on damn near everything.

I just don’t write about it.

Capsurz® Saved My Hat — A Review

If you spend any amount of time outdoors, there’s a good chance you have a favorite hat. Whether it’s to protect your noggin from sun or rain, or to keep your head a little warm, even if you have a wide selection of hats like I do, you probably reach for the same one every time.

My wife reaches for this one.

Long story there.

There’s also a good chance you’re out enjoying something that requires moving around. A leisurely bike ride, a walk on a breezy day, tooling across a lake in a boat, cruising back roads on a motorcycle or, like me, wandering down a creek or river fishing for a few hours.

There’s also a good chance while out enjoying these activities that one day your favorite hat will launch from on top of your head and disappear over the horizon. A tragedy waiting to happen and it’s only a matter of when that will occur. I know I’d be bummed if my favorite summertime fishing hat suddenly floated out of reach down the river.

This is where a simple little product called Capsurz comes in hand.

The brain child of Mari Baskin and Eric Neumann of Para Designers, Inc., it’s a simple little design of a chin strap that was developed to work with a baseball style cap in order to keep it from flying off your head while enjoying any one of your outdoor activities.

Attach the stainless steel clips to the inside band of your hat. When needed, pull the chin strap tight against your chin to keep your hat from flying off your head. Apparently it’s been tested to work in winds of up to 75 miles per hour. When not needed, simply move the strap up and over the brim of your hat. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

Problem is, I don’t wear baseball style caps. I need wide brimmed hats to keep the sun off my ears and the back of my neck. I was a little skeptical at first whether or not a Capsurz would work for my hat.

Wound up not being a problem. All hats have inside sweat bands and the Capsurz fit perfectly on mine.

The strap, while hanging down, is barely noticeable and even when snugged up tighter, not annoying at all. When I didn’t need the strap, it only took a few seconds to find a spot for it on the band on the outside of my hat.

I think it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my already dashing river fishing look.

I know the fish are impressed.

As for testing Capsurz

In June of 2011, I wrote a three part series called The Summer Solstice Tried to Kill Me. If all you read is the last part, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I went through while trying to avoid having a storm kill me while out on the river. When I got back to my car that day and started tossing my fishing equipment into the car, I was shocked when I reached for the top of my head, fully expecting nothing to be there, and there was my hat with the Capsurz chin strap tucked snugly under my chin.

With the start of the outdoor season for most of us, I highly recommend that you go buy a Capsurz chin strap, now, today.

And in case you haven’t figured out that you were supposed to be clicking on the word Capsurz through this whole review in order to take you to their website so you can buy one, then here’s your last chance…

Capsurz

Disclaimer:


As with all reviews on Waterdog Journal, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Capsurz Cap Saver Accessory Cord free of charge and agreed to provide a review in exchange. Waterdog Journal is not sponsored by or associated with Capsurz and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Dear Cabela’s — Your Wading Boots Suck

In March of 2011, my Cabela’s Guidewear Pro Vibram® Wading Boots that cost me about $100, bit the dust after 2 years of use. I thought I was going to get another year out of them, but they fell apart.

I did a pretty good job of documenting that and the purchase of another pair of wading boots, the Cabela’s Ultralight 2 Lug Wading Boots that cost $70. I documented it all because the first purchase of those boots was a failure. This is how the ad reads for the Ultralight 2 boots. I thought I was getting a pretty good pair of boots.

We’ve upgraded our Ultralight wa­ding boots with high-grade components to make them more versatile and more durable than ever. The nylon/synthetic upper is built on a top-notch last with a base that accommodates a wide variety of foot widths. Molded EVA midsole increases cushioning and support. Rugged upper sports the added scuff and abrasion resistance of our Wade Guard™ on the toes and heels. Double and triple stitching in high-stress areas reinforces durability. Screw the included studs into the rubber cavities for extra traction on slippery rocks. Side mesh panels let water drain, while keeping out sediment. Padded tongue for maximum comfort and minimal weight. Imported.

So we’ll start from there…

I sent the initially failed Ultralight 2 boots back to Cabela’s on April 18, 2011. Cabela’s always includes a Pre-Paid Return Label in case your purchase needs to be returned for any reason. This is what they look like:

This is not what I had. I had a totally useless packing slip and had to pay $13 in order to ship the defective boots back to Cabela’s.

I assumed within two weeks I would have a new pair of boots in my hands. Exactly one month later they arrived. I distinctly remember mentioning in the letter I sent along when I returned the first pair of boots that they should consider doing a quality check to make sure all the eyelets were in place and the inside soles were glued in.

The tape seal on the box when it arrived showed that they ignored my suggestion.

I checked each boot as I removed them from the box. All the eyelets were in place and they looked pretty good.

I reached inside to check on the inside soles. Sure enough, they weren’t glued in.

I glued the soles in with some AquaSeal and they’ve held up just fine.

In 2011 I got out wading about 75 times. By the end of the year the boots were looking pretty beat up. So far for 2012 I’ve got out about a half dozen times. The boots look like they’re about to fall apart.

Which is a shame. I like the way these boots fit and feel. The long hikes I take to get to water have been made easier as they live up to the Ultralight part of their name. The soles have held up pretty well too.

It’s too bad they couldn’t make the rest of the boot so durable. If they fall apart beyond being able to be worn, budget is such at the moment that they can’t be replaced.

Around 5 years ago I had $150 to spend on a pair of Simms® Headwaters™ Wading Boots. I still have them stored away on a shelf in the garage, my daughter uses them for the rare times she gets out on a river with me.

They look like they’ve been run through a meat grinder and the nubs on the soles are almost worn flat, but the structure is sound and I can wear them if I have nothing else. If I need to, I can put them back into use. For those that are wondering, this is how they looked after two years.

It must be me and how I go wading. I can’t think of anyone I know that goes through a pair of boots in one or two seasons. A friend finally replaced a pair recently after having them for 11 years. Granted, he doesn’t fish as much as I do, but still.

Things could be worse I guess. I once gave Hodgman boots a try. In four months the soles were worn smooth and the boots fell apart.

So, when Cabela’s says in the marketing material for their Ultralight 2 Lug Wading Boots

We’ve upgraded our Ultralight wa­ding boots with high-grade components to make them more versatile and more durable than ever.

I have one question…

Compared to what?

Bogs – Mens Ultra High Boots Review

It seems that whenever I’m in need of something, in this case a good pair of winter boots, Outdoor Blogger Network has a gear review opportunity for exactly what I need. It happened last year with a badly needed pair of gloves, and now along comes a pair of Mens Ultra High Boots from Bogs.

Technical details:

The Bogs® Ultra High 15” boot was originally designed to help dairy farmers stay safe and comfy on slippery indoor and outdoor cement surfaces. Easy-on pull handles, durable hand-lasted rubber over 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech insulation. An internal midsole with rubber sponge for extra cushioning and warmth. Aegis anti-microbial odor protection insole. Comfort-rated from temperate to -40°F. You don’t have to milk cows for a living to appreciate the every day comfort and durability of this boot.

• 100% Waterproof
• Durable hand-lasted rubber and a four way stretch inner bootie
• Constructed with 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech
• Easy-on pull handles
• Internal midsole with rubber sponge delivers extra cushion and warmth
• Non-slip and non-marking outsole
• Aegis anti-microbial odor protection insole
• Comfort rated from temperate to -40°F
• Height: 15”
• Circumference at calf 17″
• Weight 4lbs per pair
• Available in sizes 7-14
• 100% satisfaction guaranteed

These boots retail for $120.

Putting Them Through the Tests

When the boots arrived and I opened the box, the boots were wrapped in the obligatory tissue paper. On the tissue paper were what appeared to be oil stains. I thought that was a little odd, but when I lifted the boots from the box I could feel a slight coating of oil on the neoprene and rubber of the boots.

I was liking this already. The oiling of boots is pretty common with leather, but I’ve never seen rubber coated this way.

Of course I had to try them on immediately. The handles on each side of the boots made it ridiculously easy to slide the boots onto my feet. The boots fit not only my feet perfectly, but also hugged my calves comfortably. It was nice to not have to lace through five or more eyes and constantly adjust the pressure on my leg.

There was a problem though. The boots were comfort rated to -40°F and it was 60 degrees outside. I was still wearing mocs and sneakers out there. Putting these boots through some tests for the extremes they could take would have to wait.

It figures we would have one of the mildest late falls we’ve had in years, but finally the first week of December brought some changes. We had a bit of snow and day time temperatures were staying in the low 20s. Everything was starting to freeze up. It was time for some testing.

I intentionally wore the same type of socks I wear on a daily basis. I wanted to see if the boots and the thinner socks would keep my feet warm enough.

First was the driving test.

The boots are pretty light weight and very flexible. The ankles bent unnoticeably and maneuvering back and forth from gas to brake pedal was a breeze. I could feel what I was doing and not once did the weight of the boots cause me to step too hard on either pedal.

Next was the easy terrain hike.

I normally don’t tuck my pants into boots, I don’t like the way it feels, but I knew I would be walking around in water eventually and I wanted to see how it felt on the half mile walk to the stream.

The hike I chose to do was through a relatively hilly, by Illinois standards, forest preserve near my house. I started out on an asphalt road that had some patches of snow and ice. Of course I walked all over both of these, sliding my feet and jumping up and down just to see what would happen. No matter how good the soles are on any boot, ice is always slippery and it was this time. But I did notice I could control the slipping better.

The road then turns to gravel and rock and in this case, frozen and unfrozen stretches of mud.

I stomped and tromped through all of it and not once did I feel unbalanced. On the rock and gravel, their seems to be enough padding in the soles of the boots to make all the rock and gravel unnoticeable.

Next was the water test.

The little stream I like to play around in had a thin layer of ice covering the slower sections.

Water on ice makes ice that much slicker so I was careful getting into the little stream.

But once my feet were on the stream bottom, it was pretty easy walking.

I walked quite a bit in the stream and never once lost my footing. The steep, short banks were a combination of mud, frozen mud, a thin layer of snow and leaves. I climbed in and out of the stream a few times to see how the boots would grip this normally slick combination and not once did my feet slide out from under me. I also got into water that came to just below the handle holes and stood there for a few minutes. I never felt the cold of the water.

Next was a rougher terrain test.

I was a good half mile from my car and rather than take the road again I went straight through the woods.

For this part of the hike I took my pants out of the boots. My socks didn’t make it past the 15 inch height of the boot. Sometimes even with taller socks or long johns, the edge of your boots will cut into your leg. The edge of these boots are so soft that even though I could feel the edge on my leg, it didn’t bother me at all. I expected the edge of the boot to rub my leg a little raw and that never happened.

I had to go up a good sized hill that was pretty well covered with leaves, tree limbs and brush.

Footing is never secure on terrain like this. I purposely stepped on logs and branches that I would normally step over. Even though the boots are light and flexible, they gave my ankles more than enough support.

When I got home and it was time to take the boots off, the usual dilemma occurred, how to do that. Imagine the boots being covered in mud, ice and snow. Nobody wants to grab anywhere near the bottom of a boot and try to yank the things off. Bogs solved that problem with a very simple solution. A little nub just above the heel. We all know what it’s like to try to pull off boots with the opposite foot pressing down on or near the heel somewhere. Bogs simplified the process for us.

To sum it all up.

The purpose of testing these boots the way I did was because it mimics a couple of things I like to do best during the winter months, squirrel hunt and explore fishing holes on small creeks. The Bogs Ultra High Boots passed the tests with flying colors. As we get into January the temperatures will come down even more. At that point I’ll slip on a heavier pair of socks and I have no doubt that will be more than enough to keep my feet toasty.

Of course most of the time these boots will be used for much more benign purposes. Strolls through the neighborhood and down the hill to the nearby river, unavoidable shopping trips on severe weather days, and of course those inevitable times when I’ll be spending countless hours of my life moving snow around.

At least I believe I’ll be able to do all those things, the pleasurable and the mundane, with nice warm, dry feet and few, if any, sudden butt landings.

All thanks to Bogs.

Disclaimer:

As with all reviews on Waterdog Journal, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Mens Ultra High Boots from Bogs free of charge and agreed to provide a review in exchange, which I will do again in a heartbeat if asked. Waterdog Journal is not sponsored by or associated with Bogs and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Glacier Glove – Alaska Pro Glove Review

Back at the beginning of December I was trying to figure out what to do about winter gloves when Outdoor Blogger Network offered up the Alaska Pro Glove from Glacier Glove. Deal is, get picked, get the gloves and write a review. Never thought I would actually get the gloves.

Technical details:

The Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Glove is a breathable waterproof glove perfect for cold weather adventures. 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation provide warmth (recommended for cool conditions or for very high activity levels where a lot of body heat is generated); leather palms and index fingers allow for great durability and dexterity.

RealTree Max 4 Pattern
• Waterproof and breathable
• 60 grams of Thinsulate insulation
• Leather palm for grip

These gloves retail for $39.99.

Putting Them Through the Tests

I’ve been told that when I was born, back in those days when men weren’t allowed in delivery rooms, my dad finally spotted me on the other side of the viewing glass and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ, the kids got catchers’ mitts for hands.”

Having lived with these hands all my life, I don’t think of them that way. I’m not a big guy and I don’t think my hands are out of proportion to the rest of me. But they are out of proportion to themselves. My hands are wide enough to require me to wear a Large in gloves. The problem is that my fingers fit comfortably in a Medium. I think they call that a large stout, or large short or something like that. Stubby comes to mind.

As soon as the Alaska Pro Gloves arrived on my door step, I ripped open the box and tried them on. Right off the bat I ran into the same issue I have with all gloves, the fingers are a quarter inch too long. The rest of the glove is a perfect fit. I’ve done some cursory searches on gloves labeled large/short and large/stout and have yet to find what I want. I have a feeling there are others out there with similar hand issues. A slight modification might be worth looking into for a glove manufacturer.

When I read the Thinsulate description recommending 60 grams for cool conditions and high activity levels, I thought that left a lot of room for interpretation. One persons cool is anothers’ cold. I was already thinking about the different weather conditions I was going to have to put these through to see what their limits, and mine I guess, really were.

It’s rare that I buy clothes with a specific purpose in mind. These are gloves, I’ll put them through glove use. Hunting, chopping wood, going for a walk, driving, shoveling snow . . . I put on gloves. These gloves had a nice feel to them, comfortable and not heavy. Very flexible movement, I knew I would be using these for all of the above mentioned purposes and then some.

I waited a good week before starting to test them. I was going squirrel hunting and I wanted them to be in pristine condition when I stepped into the woods.

Sunrise the day of the hunt the temperature was 6 degrees with a wind out of the northwest at around 12 miles per hour. Hoar frost clung to the tall grass along the edge of a large open field I had to walk across to get to the squirrel woods.

Nothing in the literature for the gloves mentioned that they were wind proof and by the time I reached the woods my hands were pretty cold. I could feel the air coming through the gloves. I learned one of their limits.

As soon as I got into the woods the wind died down. I slowly walked along and my hands quickly began to warm. All hunters know that one of the tests of any gloves is whether or not we can feel the cold of gun metal through the palm of the gloves. These did well as I walked and I barely noticed the cold metal.

I had to bust through some pretty dense brush to get to the ravine where the hunt becomes more of a waiting game. You wind up sitting and waiting and waiting and hoping that at some point a squirrel will appear. Their tracks are everywhere, where are they? Sitting still in cold weather can become a real endurance test.

I learned later that the air temperature never went above 19 degrees and my hands felt the cold. The Thinsulate description was correct about cool conditions and activity levels. At least I had learned the low end limits of the gloves.

Over the next couple of weeks I put the gloves through hell, doing all of the things I listed above. They performed flawlessly and as long as I stayed even moderately active my hands stayed pretty warm, even when temperatures dropped below 10 degrees. I was going to put my hands in the river down the hill from my house to test the waterproof claim, but I noticed I had put a few very small holes in the fabric. These probably came from the brush busting I did while squirrel hunting. I was able to test their water proof capabilities on a limited basis by playing in the snow. I never felt moisture through the glove.

I like any clothing that claims to be breathable. There is nothing worse than wearing fabric that gets wet from the inside out. I tested these by doing a fair amount of work in a very short period of time. I shoveled a lot of snow, 6 inches worth, off my walk and fairly large driveway. Then I went and chopped up a bunch of wood, primarily oak. Though I could feel my hands sweating a bit, they never got uncomfortable. When I went in the house I tossed the gloves on the kitchen table to dry. A half hour later I put them on and they were bone dry inside and out. A very nice surprise.

The hunting I did next was for pheasant and rabbit, 3 days worth. All of the days were the same from a temperature standpoint, starting out at 15 degrees and rising to 25. Day one had virtually no wind and a near cloudless sky.

The other 2 days were cloudy with winds out of the northwest ranging from 10 to 15 miles per hour.

You couldn’t tell the difference. The gloves performed the same under both of those conditions. My hands stayed comfortable and dry, I couldn’t feel the cold of the gun metal and I could comfortably grip the gun.

It wasn't till I looked at the photo later that I realized the camo pattern did well at blending into the pheasant habitat.

The only drawback was the extra quarter inch of material on the fingers, especially my trigger finger. I would have to fuss with the tip folding over and getting in the way when I would go to put my finger on the trigger. As with anything, you get used to what you have to do and it ultimately didn’t effect my shooting, but it would be nice to not have to do that small bit of fumbling.

We had a couple of days here in Northern Illinois where the temperatures came up to normal, around 32 degrees. We’ve had an odd cold winter so far. I purposely went out and sat still for 15 or 20 minutes to see how the gloves would behave. Just like they say, they performed well under cool conditions. My hands were fine even though I wasn’t moving around. Between the pheasant hunts and the normal temperatures, I was convinced I had tried all of the gloves limits. As well as my own.

There was only one thing left to do, wash them. To my wife’s dismay, she quickly learned why I dress the way I do. Nothing needs to be separated into different colors and types of clothing. It’s a washing machine, they all go in together. The gloves didn’t come with instructions for washing, a plus in my eyes, so they went in with everything else. Dried along with everything else too.

What I’ve had happen in the past after washing gloves is that the lining and filler in the gloves all start to pull apart. When you put them on again, there are wads of filler all over, or the lining will come out of a finger and wind up in the palm. These came out in perfect shape with no issues whatsoever.

I can highly recommend these gloves. I think any user will have to find their own comfort levels under different conditions, but once that is figured out they should be happy. I was looking through the Glacier Glove website and have found a few other things I may have to get. Fingerless windproof gloves, ideal for spring fishing around northern Illinois. Windproof and warmer hunting gloves, some with much better shooting capabilities. And I’m assuming their Neo Winter Sock is waterproof. Perfect for my otherwise good condition waders with the leaky feet.

On top of producing what appears to be some pretty outstanding products, they’re reasonably priced as well. The Alaska Pro Gloves are worth a try.

Disclaimer:


As with all reviews on Waterdog Journal, the following review is my honest opinion. I received the Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Gloves free of charge and agreed  to provide a review in exchange, which I’ll do again in a heartbeat for other products if asked. Waterdog Journal is not sponsored by or associated with Glacier Glove and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future, but as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.