Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Product Review: currexSole RunPro Medium insoles

Taking care of and listening to your feet will allow you the opportunity to truly enjoy that run or hike in the mountains. Trust me, if your feet don't feel good you will not enjoy your time as much. Recently, Insoles and Beyond contacted me and asked if Brett and I would each be interested in trying out a pair. Having never heard of them, I did my research. People raved about how good their feet felt after running, and with Brett and I readying ourselves for hunting season we opted to each test out a pair of the currexSole RunPro Medium insoles

As a runner and a bowhunter, I am on my feet plenty. My running shoes are nearly three years old and while I know I should get a new pair, I opted for a pair of the currexSole RunPro Med to use in my old shoes. These should provide excellent foot support and cushion for running.

The first order of business was to remove my old insoles in order to trace the outline on the new insoles for a precise fit. My old insoles were nearly non-existent and I can't believe I waited this long to replace them. After tracing the outline and trimming them with a pair of scissors I was in business. They fit perfectly and my feet were very happy! 

My heels were hurting really bad with my previous insoles and now they hurt very little. I will say that you should really pay attention to the arch of your foot. I thought mine had a slight arch, but I guess I am somewhere in between and low and flat footed insole. Either way, they were in my running shoes and I needed to field test them. 

To start each work day, I normally run 3-5 miles. This gets my body amped up for the day, but prior to using the currexSole RunPro Medium insoles my feet and legs hurt a lot more from jarring against the pavement. I noticed an immediate difference and was able to use more of my heel when running. In turn, my hamstrings were sore for a week! Best prepare yourself to use muscles you haven't used in a while.

I also had them in my shoes when I went hiking. Brett and I hit up a local route of around six miles and we pushed hard. We kept mentioning how good our feet felt and how we needed to get some more for our other shoes.

The insoles were always comfortable and never bunched up. They almost seem to grip the bottom inside of your shoe as you run. 

These are a great insole if you run/jog for exercise or are training for a long distance run. I am using them in my running shoes and have to say they make a world of difference. At $49.95 I think the price is a bit high, but you get what you pay for. I want to see how long they actually last before I make that final determination. 

Brett had this to say about the currexSole RunPro Medium insoles. 

As the New Year just passed, I set a goal to start living healthier by exercising and eating better. I picked up a new pair of running shoes and they felt great. I walked and jogged about 20 miles or so before getting my new insoles. At this point my shoes felt great or so I thought. My feet would have a slight tingle after a 5 mile plus jog. I went to the Insoles and Beyond website and picked the currexSole RunPro Medium Arch support. They were shipped out and at my house in what seemed like record time. 

When I pulled the insoles out of the package, I gave them my little one, two, three, bend, flex and twist test. The insoles felt great in my hands and passed my test. At this point I was excited and could not wait to get them in my shoes. I went and gathered my supplies of scissors, a sharpie and flat piece of cardboard for a flat surface to trace my current insoles onto the new ones. Once I pulled out my old insoles I noticed they were the exact size as the new insoles. I wear a size 12 and the new insoles fit perfectly in my shoes. 

At first never having an arch support before the insoles felt different but it was not uncomfortable. After my first jog around the block I was sold. My shoes were comfortable before, now they are extremely comfortable. After logging about 25 miles so far I can say I am very happy and my feet are very happy to be out pounding the pavement. I don’t notice the arch support at all and love the extra support under my feet for the hard asphalt. Also, [there is no tingle in my feet] when I get back home. It makes me just want to keep going down the trail. I will be getting a few more pairs for my gym shoes to my hunting boots.

Thanks you for the chance to try such a great product.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hunter vs. Pruning Shears: A Lesson in Safety and First-Aid

Thick, hanging vines were everywhere making passing virtually impossible. Unfortunately, there was no other way around it. Chris and I began cutting the vines, breaking dead branches, and blazing a path. We were on a mission to hang some trail cameras and vines were not going to stand in our way.

Fifteen feet into the trail blazing, I made a very careless and painful mistake. I grabbed three vines, which were clinging to the forest floor, lifted them up and with a great deal of force cut into them...along with my index finger. The intense pain was quickly followed up with blood dripping all over the forest floor. Immediately, I knew I'd be making a trip to the ER later, but right now I needed to stop the bleeding. 

If you have a weak stomach or hate the sight of blood turn away now!
(L) Blurry photo due to high amount of adrenaline. (R) Fully wrapped and bleeding stopped.

My first-aid kit is in the same place of every Badlands pack I carry - the bottom, so I can unzip the easy access panel on the back support and dig it out right away. This was one of the times I would be very grateful for planning where it was stashed. With blood staining my 2200, I dug out the kit, unzipped it and pulled out the gauze. Wrapping half the small roll tightly around the laceration, I cut the remaining and then unzipped the small back pocket. On top is where I always keep a roll of medical tape. Four times around my finger was enough and the bleeding had stopped, but the throbbing had just begun.

Most people probably would have packed it in and headed to a hospital, but I knew I had plenty of time to get stitched up. The bleeding had stopped and we had cameras to hang. I knew I'd need a tetanus shot, but that could wait. Then, after getting bandaged up, Chris and I realized while our trail was good, but the area was not. We needed to move about a hundred yards from our location. So we packed up and beat feet to the new spot.

This time I let Chris do most of the cutting. We located two trees that would be ideal for setting up the trail cameras. As if I hadn't lost enough blood, the 'pterodactyl' mosquitoes, as Chris calls them, began their assault, Thank goodness for my ThermaCELL! In a few minutes we had the cameras up, tested them, and then started working our way back to the car.

After making the hour drive back home, I started unloading the car just as my wife was headed out. The explanation of my need to go to urgent care was a shock to her. I am normally very careful, but this time it was different. Figuring I would be in the emergency room for four hours or more, I did what any reasonable guy would do. I took a shower! I cleaned up and decided I should see if the cut indeed warrant a trip to the ER. As soon as the gauze was off, I saw the wound and the sink turned crimson.  A new bandage applied, I called my wife to let her know I was headed to see a doctor. Before I left the house, I grabbed my new issue of Elk Hunter magazine to read in the lobby. May as well have some good reading material!

Gruesome view of what sharp pruning shears can do to a finger.

Allow me to commend the Los Alamitos Hospital ER staff on being the best ER staff I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. I have been in ERs before, for more than my share of stitches due to rugby mishaps and this visit was a gem. I waited less than ten minutes before I was able to see a nurse. Right after that, I met my other nurse, Mike. Mike was a super great nurse and took notice of my choice in magazine asking if I was a bowhunter. Had some great conversation and he thought my laceration was pretty gnarly. The doctor came in fully expecting to suture it, and honestly, that's what I figured on. She looked me in the eye and said she was very impressed with my first-aid skills. Not only had I stopped the bleeding, but I had closed the wound well. They irrigated it, bandaged me up and sent me on my way. Total ER time was around an hour and a half. That is a personal record for sure!

So what did I do wrong? First thing is I should have been wearing my leather work gloves. Second, I rushed and it cost me. The lesson in all of this is this? Have a first-aid kit on every trip to the woods, even if it is just to hang trail cameras. Know what is in the kit, too. I'll be hurting for a few days, but the lesson has been learned. All I can say is we had better catch a few animals on those trail cameras in the next two weeks!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Celebrating 4 years of The SoCal Bowhunter!

Today marks the fourth anniversary of The SoCal Bowhunter blog and what a ride it has been! I want to say thank you to all of you who read, comment, and inspire me to do what I do. Also, to those companies who have sponsored me, supported me, or just answered questions when I needed them, thank you. 

My writing and hunting have improved, and I have a great circle of hunting friends from all over. That being said, this blog is still here to do what it was started for - to share my adventures, to help those who need it, and to share my thoughts on gear I have tested. I pray for many more years of awesome adventures to share!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Product Review: Klymit Inertia XL Camping Pad

Sleeping on the hard ground when you are twenty years old is just another day, but as you get older, you learn to appreciate the comforts of padding and better technology to allow for a great night of sleep. Over the past couple decades, I have used everything from a thin sleeping pad, to a thick foam one, and finally moved on to the Klymit Inertia XL camping pad. I am going review the benefits of utilizing this high quality gear when camping to allow for a great night of sleep and no more grumpy mornings.

Inertia XL specs:
  • Weight: 16.8 oz, 476 g
  • Dimensions: 77" x 25" x 1.5", 2 m x 0.64 m x 3.81cm
  • Type: Inflatable Sleeping Pad
  • R-Value: Loft Pockets
  • Packed Size: 4" x 9", 101mm x 228 mm
  • Includes: Dry Air Pump, Stuff Sack, Patch Kit
  • Fabric: 75D Polyester
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime

When I was younger, I could sleep on the ground or the floor of an apartment and it wouldn’t faze me a bit. It could be that I was much heavier and had extra padding myself, or due to the fact that I was apathetic. Either way, camping pads were not something I often thought about packing when I went camping. As we grew older and wiser, foam pads were introduced to out camp kits and we were grateful.

Foam pads aside, nothing prepared me for the first time I would use a Klymit Inertia XL air mattress. Can you say heavenly goodness for my back? I mean this was serious business that I never imagined could be used for camping. Sure, I had my doubts and thought an air mattress would be too thin, or pop, or be awkward. I was wrong. Sleeping on a camp air mattress was bliss. You just unroll and blow it up. When you do unroll it, try to retain some ida of how it was originally packed. It will come in handy when you repack it. Blowing it up took less than 30 seconds (if you use lung power vs. the pump they provide) and it fit in every tent I tried. I am 5' 9" tall and I had comfort from head-to-toe. Plus, the Intertia XL fit inside my Teton Sports Outfitter XXL tent like it was made for it.

The technology is sound, well thought out, and designed for hikers and campers who want a lightweight camp pad that takes up less room than a JetBoil. I even used mine on the floor of my little girls’ room when she had a hard time sleeping. I slept on the floor, next to her bed, with the Inertia XL under me. We both slept soundly. I have used the Inertia XL in Colorado, in my backyard, and on the floor of my house. It packs very well, is super lightweight, the shell is very durable, and is THE most comfortable thing I have slept on next to my bed.

The Klymit Inertia XL is very easy to repack, too. You let the air out, fold it back up the way you unfolded it, roll it and slide it back into the bag. No more fighting a foam pad or having to have extra bulk on the outside of the pack. 

Now, should something happen in the backcountry, like say a small puncture on a rock, there is a patch kit in each bag that will be more than adequate.

Before you head out into the backcountry or the backyard, prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Pick up a Klymit Inertia XL air mattress because it will be needed for sleeping well on the hard ground. I honestly don’t think I could take it if I had a seven day hunt planned without using one. They retail for $129.95, so they are not cheap, but they are well worth the money in my book. Two years ago I wouldn't have even considered it, but I would gladly pay that knowing what I know now. A good night’s sleep will give your body a chance at some solid rest. You’ll thank me for this later.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Inspirational Joe Rogan Experience Podcast with Cameron Hanes

In case you have been under a rock, or not on Facebook in the last week, Cam Hanes was an invited guest on the Joe Rogan Experience this past Friday. Not only was it some great insight into why Cam does what he does, Joe does a great job of keeping the energy up while sharing his experiences. The podcast itself is nearly three hours (that's right, 3), but it is totally worth listening to. There is some language that might offend some (not this guy, but some of you), so keep the earmuffs nearby.

The podcast was the #3 most downloaded podcast in the world on Sunday and I can understand why. I've met Cam on a couple occasions (never had the privilege of meeting Joe, but we will just have to make that happen) and I learned quite a bit about his process, why he does what he does, and his drive. I also learned a great deal about Joe and why he hunts, his mental awareness, and who he is. Plus, the phone call from Steven Rinella is hilarious, too. Nice little plug at the end for Archery Outpost in Los Alamitos, which just happens to be the pro shop I use to do all the work on my bows.

I hope you guys take the time to listen to what each gentleman has to say and keep an open mind. You don't have to agree with everything Cam or Joe say, but it IS worth listening to.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Badlands Celebrates 20 Years of Innovation and Performance

Congratulations to Badlands for making it 20 years! Love my Badlands gear and I am proud to be a member of the team. Way to go!

West Jordan, UT – Badlands Gear is celebrating a milestone that few companies experience by hitting 20 years in the industry in 2014. Two decades of experience have transformed Badlands into an industry leader in not only pack technology but also apparel and hunting accessories.

Started in a storage shed over 20 years ago with far more passion for the industry than funds, Badlands began exploring new and innovative ways to engineer gear. After introducing new technology to the pack world and earning several awards from the outdoor industries best publications, Badlands began exploring the possibility of branching out to other areas. Already having established the best load-carrying packs available, the transition to the hunting world was a no-brainer. Badlands quality, durability and innovation were a perfect match for the tough demands of hunters. After a move to an old furniture warehouse and adding new equipment, the Badlands crew resumed the development of the most ground-breaking hunting packs ever created. The rest as they say is history – 20 years deep.

Badlands Founder Bill Crawley noted, “To see a business grow from the ground up is astounding. To see one grow from the ground up and get bigger and better every single year is phenomenal. Our passion shows in everything we create and we’re just glad the industry and those using the gear have noticed that and supported us. We are looking forward to another 20 years of creation for the hunting community.”

Now consisting of over 70 products including packs, apparel and accessories, Badlands continues to expand the lineup while still offering the famous lifetime unconditional warranty.

Coming into its 20th year, Badlands continues to focus on exceptional quality, continuing innovation, unmatched performance and as always the only unconditional lifetime warranty in the industry.


For more information about this product, other products in the Badlands line, or general inquiries, please contact Blake VanTussenbrook at 1.800.386.7839 or blake@vortexoutdoors.com

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shooting the 2013-2014 Compound Bows from Strother Archery

One of my goals for 2014 was to shoot some other bows. Not just one bow, but a few. Over the past few months I have shot a multitude of bows from Strother Archery. I met up with local Strother rep Dave Diekmann over at Field Time Sport and Guns to shoot them again, and also shoot the newly released Vital, which is brand new for 2014.

Overall I think the bows are pretty awesome. I am going to share some brief thoughts on each bow and keep in mind that these are my opinions based on shooting them. I'll share a review with more content on a few of the bows soon. None of the bows I shot had any vibration dampening except for the string stop.

Starting with the 2014 Vital, this bow is fast and you can feel the power when releasing an arrow. The draw is smooth and you can feel the power as it hits the valley. The thing I did not like about the draw was the last 10% seemed to hop a bit into the back wall. If you watch close in the video above, you can see that each time I draw the Vital, it skips just before the back wall. While it is slight, it bothered me. It might be the set up and can probably be adjusted to a degree. I felt no vibration in the grip either. At 32" axle-to-axle and 4 lbs., the bow was very balanced in my hands. I really like the way this bow shoots. I would like to revisit it again and see about that draw cycle.

The Wrath felt very light in my hands and the draw cycle was very smooth. It shoots faster that you would think and would make a great target shooting bow. It has an astounding 8" brace height and is 32" ATA. It shoots really smooth and there was no vibration felt. It was well-balanced in my hands, too.

With speeds up to 335 fps, the Rush XT was fast. No doubt about it. The draw cycle felt smooth on the way back, but was a bit spongy past 50% and into the back wall. I prefer a hard back wall and this bow did not have that. I also felt more vibration in the grip than I did with any of the other bows. Like the other bows, this was also very quiet when shooting. I did notice the slight weight difference, too. The Rush XT may only be 4.25 lbs., but it was noticeable after shooting them over and over.

The Wrath SHO was by far my favorite bow to shoot, next being the Vital. The Wrath SHO has a smooth, but strong draw and a hard back wall. It felt like the compact bow that it is at 30 3/16" ATA, but it offers the same speeds as the Vital. It also weighs the same as the Vital at 4 lbs. Out of all the bows I shot, this felt extremely comfortable in my hands as a bow hunter. I was shooting it with the peep being slightly off, so I had to adjust for that (see video), but I had a blast shooting it.

I did shoot the Moxie once, but we didn't have it fully set up the way we wanted to. Plus, I didn't shoot it as much, so I am leaving my opinions on it out of this post.

Strother Archery has some pretty rad bows. I was impressed with the lineup and thankful to Dave for again taking the time to meet up and allow me to shoot the bows over and over. While Dave may not have been shooting a bow for very long, he's a natural and I truly enjoy when we get together and destroy targets at the range. Have any of you shot Strother bows and what are your thoughts?