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Small but Strong: The Lever Gear Toolcard Review

PureOutside - Thu, 10/27/2016 - 21:35

Lighter and lighter is the game these days. How light can we go and still pack more and more stuff into each thing. Tools like the Leatherman are popular with outdoorsy types because they can do so much. You can do 20 things with one tool. And why stop at 20 things in a multi-tool or even 30? The Lever Gear Toolcard has 40 different tools built in.

It’s hard to explain exactly all the things the Toolcards can do. It looks like they count all the different sizes of wrench each as it’s own tool. Which makes sense if you would have to buy one of each of those size wrenches.


If you’re wondering what some of these things actually do or how you’d use them, check out this quick intro video. I looked at some of the functions when I first saw it and said, “That’s not going to work.”

I totally ate my words when I started testing. This thing does everything it says it can do. Manual can openers are hard to do right. They hurt your hands, take forever to open the can and create a jagged mess of the can. Read on for my can experience with the Toolcard.

What can it do?

The Lever Gear Toolcard is pretty impressive in all the things it can do. It’s sometimes awkward or uncomfortable like opening a can but you don’t buy one of these because it’s luxurious and perfect to use for the task. You’d get a nice wrench set or a electric can-opener. This is for when you don’t have any other tools and you’re stuck on the trail or the side of the road.

Tightening gear

So far I’ve used mine the most tightening things that are loose on the go. I’m out riding or fiddling with my camera tripod and something is loose. I don’t have any tools and I’m not going to be home for a while. As long as I’ve got my wallet, I’ll have the Toolcard and it can usually help.

1/4” Hex Bits

You have to figure out a way to hold the Toolcard and hold the hex bit at the same time but it works great if you just have the bits. Nice and light to carry the bits and the Toolcard.

Can opener

The salmon can I cut open had a thick top on it so it was really tough to start but once I got it rolling, it peeled the can open pretty quick. The edges press into your hand a bit when pushing hard but not like some of the other knife-edged tool cards.

Cord Cutter

I was surprised how fast this little thing can cut through 4mm and 5mm cord. I’m sure it can do larger but those were the only ones I had around. It ripped through them quickly. I thought I was going to be sawing for a while.

Bottle Opener

Pretty fast way to open a bottle. It’s really just a matter of how fast you can get it out of your wallet.


I’m using the screwdrivers the most with photography gear. Tightening tripod screws and attaching cameras to the plates sometimes requires a coin or key to tighten. Easy with the large flathead screwdriver.

Money Clip

The big clip that comes with the Toolcard is a money clip. I’ve never used a money clip so that won’t be used but it could easily double as a belt clip if you wanted to keep it there.


There’s a lot going for this little multi-tool. Definitely more pros than cons.

Tons of functions

Having 40 different functions on there makes it a huge value when you buy it and only having to carry one thing in your pocket is a big weight savings. I’m still surprised it fits in my wallet and I can’t even tell it’s there.

Easy to use

No moving parts. Just a solid metal card. I did have to check out the video to see exactly what to do to open a can with it. I don’t tend to open cans with an opener like that.

Solid construction

While staying nice and light, the Toolcard is very strong. While pulling hard to it tightening bolts, there wasn’t much flex at all.

Nice look

The etching on it is quite pretty. There aren’t any sharp edges. They’ve done a good job finishing it.

Easy to take off money clip

I had no use for a money clip so the first thing I did was take it off. I had to see the instructions (I read the manual!) to see how to take it off and it was kind of a “duh” moment. It’s really easy.

TSA compliant

Take it with you on the plane and “fix things on the plane” as they say.

Can have them engraved

I will be getting some of these engraved soon. It’s a perfect useful gift idea.

ConsUncomfortable in some grips

Starting the can opening was a bit uncomfortable because of the pressure involved but cord cutting and using the screwdrivers is easy and comfortable.

Confusing to take off money clip

Confusing but actually easy. A quick look at the manual or video they have on their site and you’ll be pro.

Small and easy to lose

I feel like I’m going to lose it. I don’t want it to be any bigger because it won’t fit so nicely into my wallet. At the same time it’s so small, I’m totally going to leave it somewhere.


So, good or bad? Buy it or not?

I’m pretty stoked on this little Toolcard. It’s going to be in my wallet all the time now. My wife is already asking me for it to do things. I just have to remember not to lose it.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Toolcard for free from Lever Gear as coordinated by Deep Creek PR, an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company, in consideration for review publication.



The post Small but Strong: The Lever Gear Toolcard Review appeared first on The PureOutside Blog.

Categories: Hiking

Getting Help in the Backcountry: Satellite Communication (Part 1)

PureOutside - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 07:00

With all the technology out there these days, it’s almost impossible to go somewhere you don’t have some sort of connection to the outside world.

That connection is nice when you need help. If you’re by yourself or out of cell range and something happens you can get help.

But what’s the best way to do that? Should you get a personal locator beacon? A satellite messenger? Would a GPS help?

This post is the start of a series where we’ll go through each of the emergency communication devices around today and look at their differences, some pros and cons. Each has different features and different prices. You’ll want to know about each before spending hundreds of dollars to buy one.

This would have made a massive article so it’s split up into 4 you can read whenever you want. The other articles are listed at the bottom.

First off we need to sort out some terminology. You’ll see a ton of acronyms readying about this stuff. It can get confusing. Here are the main ones we’ll be using here.


GPS: Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System means the system of satellites that we use with the maps on our phones, in our cars and units when we go hike. The GPS unit sends a signal up to the satellites which they use to figure out our position on the planet. Most people just say GPS when talking about the small devices we use for it.

SM: Satellite Messenger
These are the Spots and InReach’s that can send some type of message over satellite.

PLB: Personal Locator Beacon. No messaging. Only used for emergencies.

Sat phone: A phone that uses satellites to text and call.

Those are the big ones. I’ll be putting together a glossary with all this stuff and more soon.

Now we know what we’re talking about when see all those letters. Now what do those things actually do?

The Similarities

Each device has separate features but they do have something in common. They use satellites. They send signals up into space and use that for navigation or messaging or both. Because satellites cover nearly the entire planet, they’re useful to us. We need a way to communicate when we don’t have cell signal.

That’s about it for the similarities. The differences are the important things to us.

So what are those differences?

The Differences

These costs will be in Canadian dollars.

GPSSPOTInReachPLBSat PhoneMain usesNavigation1-way messaging2-way messaging1 way beaconVoice and textCost$100-$1000$150 + $150/year$360 + $240-$900/year$250-$1000$500 + $600-$2400/yearCoverageGlobalMost of the globeGlobalGlobalDepends on networkNetworkGPS/GlonassGlobalStarIridiumGlobalGlobalStar/Iridium

Each of these deserves an article to dig into the details. Here’s the order we’ll look at these. They’ll get linked after they’re published.

  1. Intro (this article)
  2. GPS: Can they get you rescued? (coming soon)
  3. Spot vs InReach (coming soon)
  4. PLBs and Sat Phones (coming soon)

We’ll get started with looking at GPS in the next article.


The post Getting Help in the Backcountry: Satellite Communication (Part 1) appeared first on The PureOutside Blog.

Categories: Hiking

Review: Paleo Meals To Go

PureOutside - Tue, 09/13/2016 - 09:30

I tell friends and family that I eat mostly dehydrated meals on multi-day hikes and they look at me like I’m from another planet.

“You actually eat that stuff?”

Yup. And it’s not that bad. Modern dehydrated food is pretty good compared to what most people are thinking of.

But there are a few problems

The problems with most dehydrated food

Most bag meals available right now are not gluten-free, are full of preservatives and sure aren’t paleo. If your diet falls into any of those categories or you just want something you can take hiking that isn’t packed full of chemicals, you’re out of luck.

There are a few options that are gluten-free but they still tend to have a long list of ingredients I can’t pronounce.

Trying to eat Paleo or at least just whole foods most of the time is a pain. Going for a multi-day hike is either an experiment with food to see how long they last in a backpack or sacrificing my guts and eating some the standard preservative-filled bag meal.

Now you can eat paleo on the go

Paleo isn’t the easiest thing to do on the go. It relies on fresh whole foods being available. A lot of those need to be refrigerated. I haven’t seen a portable fridge along any hiking trails yet so we’re stuck eating less fresh that we’d like.

Paleo Meals To Go is changing that. Ty Soukup founded the new company to make paleo meals easy to take with you and not sacrifice your diet or your guts.

I’m pretty stoked these are available now. Every road or backpacking trip so far has been a reason to put Paleo on pause while we figure out food on the go. Now we’ve got an easy option to pull out when there’s nothing else. They also make good breakfasts as well.

Few ingredients

One look at the back of the bags and you can see that it’s just freeze-dried whole food.

Mountain Beef Stew is just cooked beef (beef, salt), carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, spices (spices, granulated garlic), sea salt.

Summit Savour Chicken is cooked chicken, broccoli, spinach, spice blend (spices, granulated onion, granulated garlic), onions, mushrooms, green bell peppers, sea salt.

Palisade Pineapple Mango is coconut, flaxseed meal, almond flour, walnuts, pecans, bananas, coconut sugar, pineapple, mango, ground vanilla beans, sea salt.

That’s it. There’s nothing other than those things in those bags. Just real food.

Easy to make

Some bag meals are a fine science of how much water to add. They tell you exactly how much to add but sometimes it’s too much and you end up with soup. Sometimes it’s too little and you get to eat hard rice pellets.

Paleo Meals give you a range to add between 1 1/4 and 1 3/4 cups of water. I split it and added 1 1/2. Everything I’ve tried so far has been perfect. No soup. No pellets.

Paleo Meals Tips

A few things to remember when eating Paleo Meals To Go.

Remove the oxygen absorber. They tell you in the instructions to remove this but I always forget. All bag meals have this. It would be nice if they could velcro it near the opening so it’s easy to find.

They don’t last as long as other preservative-filled, foil packed bag food. All the packages I got had about a year and a half until their best before dates. I haven’t looked at all other bag meals and their dates but some I had recently were 5 years out. I’ll certainly trade real food for shorter best before dates for backpacking. For emergency kits you might want something that lasts longer.

There are only cup measurements on the back so make sure you know how much that is with your gear. I only had ounces and millilitres on my pot and nalgene bottle. It would have been easy if I had known there was 8 ounces to a cup but I never use cups! Metric in Canada eh.

Exciting things to come

Sounds like Paleo Meals To Go have some exciting things to come for healthy dehydrated foods. I’ll be sharing as soon as I know more.

See more tasty food at Paleo Meals To Go.

Pics of more of the packs I got. A few already eaten!





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the meals for free from Paleo Meals To Go as coordinated by Deep Creek PR, an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company, in consideration for review publication.

The post Review: Paleo Meals To Go appeared first on The PureOutside Blog.

Categories: Hiking