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XShot Pro Review

PureOutside - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 07:00

 

Since getting a GoPro 2 years ago, I’ve wanted a good camera pole (also called selfie sticks, but camera pole sounds way better) to go with it.

They let you capture unique angles with your camera, film yourself on your adventure and stick your camera in places you don’t really want your own limbs and digits to be.

I got my grubby little hands on an XShot Pro camera pole to test it out with my GoPro 3. I wanted a better way to use the GoPro hiking, ski touring, kayaking and sailing. The head and chest mounts are great but a small handle ended up being the most versatile. I do also have the GoPole Grenade handle, but it doesn’t extend. You are stuck with your arm. I don’t have any go go gadget attachments so that doesn’t get me very far.

The XShot Pro camera pole, is one of many poles and accessories for GoPros and small cameras from XShot. There’s a handle on one end and you attach a small camera to the other end. Some of them can hold larger cameras but usually it’s just the smaller ones. Heavy cameras on the end of long sticks are hard to keep steady.

What is the XShot Pro like?

Features

18cm to 81cm (7” to 32”)

The XShot Pro is pretty small to begin with at 18 cm (7 inches). I often use it folded down just as a handle. It’s nice and compact. When you want to use it, pull the pole out to 81 cm (32 inches) and you’re ready to roll.

Anodized Aluminium 360 degree ball head mount

A strong metal ball head mount let’s you take pictures at any angle. You have to mount the camera where you want it but it stays there. Unscrew, adjust, tighten and it’s in the new position ready to go. The mount, ball and screws are all anodized aluminum so they’ll last a while. With any of the plastic GoPro mounts, you can see the plastic flex when you’re tighten the screws. Doesn’t inspire too much confidence.

Heavy duty grip

The first thing I noticed when picked up the XShot Pro was how heavy duty it felt. All those metal pieces add up. The pole is just under 200 grams or 7 ounces. It certainly doesn’t feel like flimsy plastic though. It feels like it’s going to be tossed around in the wilderness and come back for more.

1/4” tripod mount in the bottom

Female threads for a 1/4” screw are on the bottom. Screw a tripod into the bottom if you have one. XShot sells a little one that folds up. Or just keep the lanyard screwed into the bottom. I’ve added a split-ring and carabiner to mine so it’s easy to attach to a backpack strap.

Portable Monopod in low light

You might not have a tripod with you but a monopod will still help. You can use the Pro as a monopod when you don’t have anything else.

Multiple Mounts

Pull off the GoPro mount and attach a generic camera mount.

Pros

Here’s the quick list of things I like about the XShot Pro.

  • Beefy constructions
  • Easy to use
  • Small
  • Lightweight for strong construction
  • Strong attachments
  • Multiple mounts

Beefy construction

The XShot Pro feels strong. The poles obviously have to have some strength to hold up a camera but I thought they would be a bunch of plastic parts. It’s only 200 grams (7 ounces) but it feels sturdy when you pick it up. The mounts and boom are metal and the handle is thick rubber. Only the attachment to the lanyard on the bottom is plastic (which might be an important part if it slips out of your hand during a fall or jump).

Easy to Use

There’s not much to using the XShot Pro. Attach the camera, extend the boom, turn on the camera and go. There are two adjustments on the GoPro mount that let you adjust where you want the camera pointed. One holds the GoPro in place. Loosen this and you can rotate the GoPro front to back. Another is for the ball mount. Loosen this and you can rotate 360 degrees, and tilt any direction you want. There are also 2 slots in the side of the mount so you can tilt the camera even more. I use these to point the pole down to the ground with the camera tilted up and get some neat shots inches from the dirt.

Small

Most of the poles out these day are big and strong or small and floppy. The XShot Pro handles both nicely, being only 7 inches long and strong enough to hold a 1.25 pound camera. I’ve been on enough trips to know that if I don’t have my camera easily accessible, I don’t use it. I may as well not bring it if it’s stuck at the bottom of my bag. The small size means I can clip it to the front of my pack and grab it whenever I want.

Lightweight for how strong it is

You can hold a 1.25 pound camera on the end of the pole and it will be fine and it only weighs 7 ounces.

Strong attachments

The thick aluminum mounts are strong. I worry with plastic camera mounts that they’ll snap, especially in the cold. It’s hard to trust something when it’s flexing and moving as you screw the camera on.

Multiple Mounts

The Pro comes with multiple mounts, one for GoPro and one for other cameras. The generic tripod mount will screw into the bottom of any camera with the 1/4” threads. If you are going to be switching back and forth between a GoPro and a regular camera it might be easier just to use the regular camera mount and get a tripod mount for your GoPro. Then they all attach straight to the tripod screw and you aren’t having to change the mount on the XShot, which requires a small allen key.

Cons

The XShot Pro isn’t perfect. There are a few things I’d fix to make it the perfect pole.

  • Loose ball head second time out
  • Better wrist fastener
  • Allen key to change mounts
  • Can’t go in salt water

Loose ball head screw

The screw into the GoPro mount was coming a bit loose by the end of my second time out. I’m not sure if I was bashing it around more than the first time or it just wasn’t as tight as it could be right from the factory. It would have been nice to last a few trips before having to tighten. I’m not sure how long each tighten will last. It will take some more trips to find that out. It would be annoying if you had to tighten it every trip.

Needs better wrist tightener

The XShot Pro comes with a wrist strap that’s attached to a screw cap on the bottom of the handle. I almost lost mine a few times in the snow skiing but had it attached to my arm. The wrist strap is a bit of a pain to tighten and loosen each time. it takes 2 hands to slide the buckle up and down. I would prefer a buckle on the strap like the GoPole Grenade Handle (which I added in the picture below), that just has a little button to slide it up and down. Quick and and down for easy adjusting. If you are putting it on and off many times on a trip, easy adjustment is better.

Allen key to change mounts

It’s easy to change mounts on the XShot Pro as long as you have the small allen key. You can use any allen key that size but not many people have an allen key tucked away in their adventure bag. If you need to change mounts or tighten the screw, then you need the allen key. It’s a tiny screw so I understand why they did it like that but it would be nicer if it was a more standard screwdriver that I would have on my Leatherman multitool or tip of a knife that I already have with me.

Can’t go in salt water

I haven’t seen anything from XShot to say that you should NOT take the Pro into salt water but most of the stories I’ve read online about it end up badly. One user just cleans it off with fresh water and oils up the boom (not the ball mount!) with WD40 and it’s good to go again. I wouldn’t put it in salt water but you might want to experiment. It would be awesome if they could go in salt water with no problem.

Comparison to 2.0 and Sport

The Pro isn’t the only camera pole XShot has. The 2.0 and Sport are the other closely related poles. Here’s a few specs from them.

Comparison of the XShot 2.0, XShot Pro and XShot Sport:

XShot 2.0XShot ProXShot SportCompact Length23cm (9in)18cm (7in)30cm (11.75in)Extended Length96cm (38in) 81cm (32in)100cm (40in)Weight142g (5oz)200g (7oz)200g (7oz)LanyardIncluded. Tied to
lanyard loop.Included. Attached to
1/4″ thread on bottomIncluded. Tied to
lanyard loopSalt waterValueNot recommendedSalt water resistantTripodOptional, 1/4″ thread
on bottomOptional, 1/4″ thread
on bottomOptional, 1/4″ thread
on bottomMax Camera Weight 700 g (1.5 lbs) 560g (1.25 lbs)1kg (2.2lbs)Phone Holder NoNoYesGoPro MountGoPro version availableYesYesPrice$46.79CDN$89.99CDN–Tips

Here’s a few tips to make using the XShot Pro a little better.

Carabiner

Add a split ring with a carabiner to the lanyard loop at the bottom of the pole and you can easily clip it to your backpack shoulder strap or chest strap.

Store on the front of your pack

Find a spot on your shoulder or chest strap on your backpack that’s easy to access. Having it easily accessible means you’ll use it more. If it’s buried at the bottom of your back, it’s not coming out much. Make it easy to take photos and videos and you’ll take more.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. Well, practice makes it better anyways. I thought I’d just pull out that pole and I’d be skiing all over the place in sweet videos. Nope. It’s a lot harder to keep that thing straight than I thought. It’s not fault of the XShot Pro’s. I just don’t have much experience with skiing with selfie sticks. I’ll get there. Before you get to your epic location, practice around the house, film your animals, take lots of selfie’s in the local park. Figure it out before you get to your dream destination.

Tighten the allen key screw

Tighten the screw that needs the allen key before you leave home. You don’t want to get half way through your adventure and have a loose ball mount that doesn’t stay still. Tighten it before each trip. If you’re going for more than one day and plan to use the pole a lot, take the allen key.

Closing Remarks

I was surprised with how well put together the XShot Pro is put together. I’ve only used it on a few trips so far but because of it’s size and weight, it will be coming on many more trips. So far it’s become the default mount I use with my GoPro. It’s a good short handle for it. And then easily extends to 81cm. Just be careful with it in the salt water and you won’t have to use anything else with your GoPro.

More info

See the Pro on the XShot website 

Buy on Amazon

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

The post XShot Pro Review appeared first on The PureOutside Blog.

Categories: Hiking

Arrowsmith CPR Trail Trip Report Dec 20, 2015

PureOutside - Mon, 12/21/2015 - 07:00

A Trip Report for a quick hike up the Arrowsmith CPR Trail.

**

I had planned to do a quick ski tour up Mount Becher but my G3 Alpinist skins weren’t in yet at Valhalla Pure. I had ordered them on such short notice so obviously they weren’t at the store yet. I was still disappointed that I could go for the first tour of the season. Time’s a wastin’ to get on that snow! I only get so many days to tour each season so each one is precious. There’s even fewer of them when you have a 2 month old baby at home.

So I had some time, my hiking boots and a need to get outside.

I eventually settled on the Arrowsmith CPR Trail up Mount Cokely for a good lung buster of a hike and to see where the snowline was at.

It’s a bit confusing that it’s called the Arrowsmith CPR Regional Trail when it goes up Mount Cokely but it’s close enough I guess? If you want a massive day hike, go to the top of Arrowsmith using the CPR Trail. Start early!

The snow starts below 400m with plenty in the streams for great waterfalls to take photos of.

 

Della was having a great time in the snow, still having the traction of the dirt.

 

A light dusting on the hills. It snowed for about 45 minutes while we were hiking through the trees.

 

Near 700 metres where we turned around there was a good 30cms in many places.

 

The sun coming up as we headed back down to the car.

 

The little details along the trail that can be so interesting if you stop and have a look.

 

Even though I had originally planned to get out for a short ski tour, I still managed to get outside. There are so many obstacles getting in the way of a good day outside these days but if we put our minds to it, there’s always new places to explore, and a way to get out there.

**

For more stories about trips I’ve done, see the Trip Reports page.

If you want to hike this trail, get directions on the Arrowsmith CPR Trail trail page.

The post Arrowsmith CPR Trail Trip Report Dec 20, 2015 appeared first on The PureOutside Blog.

Categories: Hiking

Why Bring a Tarp on the West Coast Trail?

PureOutside - Thu, 10/22/2015 - 07:00

Why would you want to bring a tarp on the West Coast Trail? It’s a gruelling 75km hike up and down ladders, through mud pits and soft sand. That doesn’t exactly sound like a great place to take extra weight in that already heavy backpack of yours.

It is extra weight, yes. But weight that is very worth it.

Here’s why.

The wet coast, I mean, the west coast of Vancouver Island can be a very wet place. There’s a reason why it’s called a rainforest. There’s plenty of rain to keep the ‘rain’ in rainforest.

When you’re hiking through those conditions, it’s nice to have a dry place to do things. Yes, you can set up a tent and get inside and then try to do everything from that small space. But have you tried to set up a tent in the rain, keeping it dry then getting inside to get dry clothes on and keep everything else dry?

It’s nearly impossible.

If you actually do manage to set up the tent and keep it somewhat dry inside, you have to get in there in your wet gear do tent yoga to change. And keep everything dry. Right.

Or… you can put up a tarp.

These aren’t your standard Canadian Tire special tarps that weight 10 pounds on their own. The tarps I’m talking about are the extra thin, extra light siltarps for backpacking. They don’t weigh much.

When I hiked the West Coast Trail, we’d roll into camp, select our spot and set up the tarp as soon as we could. It was my first big hike with the 10’x12′ MEC Guides tarp and I just thought it would be a good idea to bring. It weighs 792 grams.

After the tarp was set up, we could relax in a dry, protected area of the elements. Each of the tents then can be set up under the tarp out of the rain and then moved to it’s final spot.

If you have a big enough tarp, you can cover parts of the tents for a bit of extra rain protection. If not then it will be out in the rain but by that time, the fly will keep it nice and dry. We never pitched the tents far from the the tarp.

The tarp provides a dry community area to get out of the rain but not be stuck in your tent. The 2 person backpacking tents are getting roomier every year but they’re still not a huge amount of space when you have to change and cook and hang out for extended periods of time. Mountaineers weathering a storm might be fine being stuck in a tiny tent for multiple days but I’d prefer to have as much room as possible. The tarp gives a dry, spacious place to relax.

The tarp does weigh something and take up some space. If you are shaving ounces and just don’t have the space, it’s not absolutely necessary but if you’re looking for some level of comfort and want to get out of the rain on the “Wet Coast Trail” then you just might want to pack a tarp.

Categories: Hiking