Benjamin David

Benjamin David is an avid outdoorsman with a wide range of experience hunting and fishing. He brings his knowledge and wisdom from hunting in a variety of environments, to Sportsman's Magazine, and is a major contributor of content. Leave Ben a comment or question, and he'll do his best to reply.

STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses

| August 2, 2021
STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Material | Frame - Memory Nylon | Lens - Polycarbonate
Frame Color | Black
Lens Color | Red, Anti-Reflective, RAZR Technology
Light transmission | ?%
UV Protection | 100% UV Protection
Polarized | Yes
Ratings | Ballistic ANSI Z87.1 Certified
Features | 110° hinge system, Adjustable Nose Pad
Size | Medium/Large
Country of Origin | Tawian
Warranty | 60 Day Trial w/Risk-Free Returns | Damage/Scratched lenses within 1 year | Limited Lifetime against defect
Price | $76.00

In the interest of full disclosure, we requested a pair of STNGR Alpines to use for a gear review. We also remain objective, whether we buy a product, receive a product, or acquire a product at a discount. Opinions are our own.

In a world dominated by overpriced, underwhelming, or just questionable eyewear, it’s hard to find polarized ballistic eyewear for a reasonable price; enter the STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic sunglasses, and Ridge Ballistic Sunglasses. STNGR USA is filling a void by offering polarized ballistic eyewear that looks good, unquestionably protects eyes, and does not come with a fashion brand price tag.

First Impressions

STNGR USA manufactures some slick M-Lok AR15 handguards, M-Lok accessories, and their proprietary AXIOM Red Dot Sight, in addition to ballistic eyewear. Their product focus clearly seems to be performance and quality at budget-friendly price points. As a direct-to-consumer business, there is no middle man to mark up prices, passing savings and value on to the consumer, although their eyewear and some M-Lok accessories are available on amazon.com. We’ve been looking forward to trying the STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic sunglasses but weren’t sure what to expect from a pair of polarized, ANSI-rated, ballistic sunglasses, with a price point under 100 bucks.

Straight out of the box, we were pleasantly surprised with the Alpine Ballistic sunglasses. They have the look and feel of many contemporary designer glasses, but with a slightly sportier wrap-around shape. Like many eyewear manufacturers, STNGR USA ships in nicely branded packaging that includes a hard case, soft case, microfiber lens cloth, and a sticker.

In The Field

The clarity of STNGR USA’s RAZR lenses is really impressive. The intense red mirror finish is perfectly even across the entire lens, there is no gradient in the lens coating whatsoever. You would think that there would be a significant loss of light transmission or a severe red tint to everything that you see, given the intense red mirror finish, but there is no unnatural coloration at all.

There is also very little loss of light through the lenses, and optical clarity remains both even and crystal clear. We specifically chose red mirror lenses for the range, alpine and upland hunting, but STNGR offers blue, grey, and green lenses across both the Alpine and Ridge models if you prefer those colors. The lenses are also replaceable. Being people who actually use gear, affordable replacement lenses is a massive bonus in our eyes. You can buy replacement lenses direct from STNGR if they do get damaged, or maybe you just decide you prefer a blue mirror finish instead of a red one.

STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Fit

The STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses fit well on a variety of face and nose shapes; perfect or imperfect.

Beyond great optical clarity and performance, the STNGR USA Alpines also deliver on comfort and fit. We took the Alpines to the range to use with a variety of firearms and optics. We also had different members of our gear team try them on and use them. For smaller and narrower faces, the Alpine Ballistic sunglasses fit very well. On bigger or wider faces, the glasses, albeit advertised as medium/large are a little small. It should be reiterated that STNGR does make the Ridge Ballistic Sunglasses for larger faces, so there are great ballistic eyewear options for just about anyone.

The Alpines also have an adjustable rubber nose piece for better comfort and fit. The adjustability makes them perfect for those who may not have a perfectly symmetrical nose, are not the progeny of Adonis, or those with noses that may have some character from a fracture or two; like the gear tester and model for the photos in this gear review. Other comparable protective sunglasses lack this feature, use symmetrical flanges on the frame that rest on the bridge of the nose, and offer no adjustability. The anti-slip rubber temples also keep lenses snug on your face, even when shooting firearms with more intense recoil. You may eventually lose your hat, but your eye protection will stay in place.

STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses Nose Piece

The adjustable rubber nose piece on the STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses increases comfort and fits a variety of nose shapes.

The combination of optical clarity, great light transmission, comfort, and fit, let you forget you are wearing them while operating a variety of firearms. We had no issue using a Bushnell TRS 25 red dot sight, a variety of scopes, and the fiber optic front sights on a couple of shotguns, while wearing the Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses.

When shooting, it really feels like they just aren’t there. The glare reduction makes it faster to acquire targets when the sun is low in the sky. And the security of an ANSI 87.1 impact rating gives you confidence that your eyes are protected from debris, ricocheting bullet fragments, and bouncing steel shot. Whether it feels like an active improvement to your shooting, or you just benefit from comfort, glare reduction, and optical clarity, the STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic sunglasses will probably help your shooting.

We are really looking forward to using these on high country hunts, and even more excited to use these waterfowl hunting this season. Anybody who duck hunts knows how difficult it can be to target a duck ripping in front of the sun. The Alpine’s will not make you a better shot, but a bad glare will be one less excuse when you miss.

Conclusion

Compared to similar ballistic eyewear, STNGR USA Alpines offer a more comfortable fit, adjustable anti-slip rubberized nose piece, anti-slip rubber temple parts, replaceable lenses, a higher ANSI safety rating, a better overall feel, better color clarity, and a more affordable price point. We looked at similarly priced and similarly featured products when we evaluated the Alpines, and for anything under 120 dollars, we think you’d be hard-pressed to find better performance.

The bottom line is, if you want a high-performance pair of polarized sunglasses, rated to protect your eyes from impact as well as UV, and don’t want to pay the markup associated with designer eyewear brands, then give STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic sunglasses a try. If you have a wider face or head, check out their Ridge Ballistic Sunglasses for a better fit.

Too good to be true? We don’t think so, but you don’t just have to take our word for it. Gun News Daily called them “the Best Shooting Glasses for the Money”, GAT Daily likes them, PEW PEW Tactical said “they might be my favorite ones yet”, and MrGunsngear shot the shit out of them with a 12 gauge! STNGR USA ballistic eyewear has a lot of accolades, from a lot of reputable folks, it isn’t just us.

STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses Range Ready

Ready to hit the range with the STNGR USA Alpine Ballistic Sunglasses and some fresh freedom seeds.

Buy Them on Amazon

STNGR USA Alpine Sunglasses Poolside

The STNGR USA Alpine Sunglasses are just as at home at the range, as they are poolside.

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Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP

| July 3, 2021
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Reticle | EBR-2C MOA
Objective Lens Diameter | 50mm
Magnification | 6-24
Magnification Range | 4x
MOA Adjustment | .25 MOA
Eye Relief | 3.9 Inches
Focal Plane | First Focal Plane
Tube Size | 30mm
Length | 14.28 inches
Turrets | Exposed Weight
Illumination | NA
Mount | None. Requires Scope Rings
Battery | NA
Battery Life | NA
Waterproof | Waterproof, Fog Proof, Nitrogen Purged
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | Unlimited, Unconditional, Lifetime
Includes | Rubber Bikini Lens Cover, Microfiber Lens Cloth
MSRP | $499
Price | $399

We’ve tested and used a lot of second focal plane scopes at Sportsman’s Magazine, but as first focal plane scopes become more available at more affordable prices, we decided to give the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP scope a try.

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP, with an MSRP of $499, and a street price of $399, is sort of like the more affordable little brother to the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56. The Strike Eagle has an MSRP of about $799 and a street price of about $699. That makes the Diamondback about $300 dollars cheaper than the Strike Eagle. The price point makes the Diamondback a more budget-friendly option and a good first foray into long-distance shooting with a first focal plane.

Initial Thoughts

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP is a big scope. It is built around a 30mm tube, instead of an inch tube, and while that is only about half a centimeter larger in diameter, it adds some significant girth to the scope. So does the 50mm objective lens. The Diamondback Tactical is over 14.25 inches and almost 27 ounces. Compared to more traditional hunting scopes with 4-12 magnification, a 40 mm objective lens, the Vortex Diamondback 4-12X40 SFP scope is a perfect example, the weight of that scopes falls somewhere around 14.5 ounces with a scope length of about 13 inches.

Beyond size, the build quality is obviously solid, and what you’d expect from Vortex. While Vortex does manufacture the Diamondback Tactical in China, they also have an incredible warranty and stand behind their products, so you are pretty much guaranteed to get a great scope, at a great price. Not just a crappy Chinese clone, of an actual decent scope.

Inspecting the scope, the finish looked great, the turrets all seemed to have good tactile and audible adjustments, the glass was bright and clear, the magnification ring was tight but smooth, and the etched reticle looked clean and crisp. Again, at least upon first inspection, it was all the hallmarks of a Vortex scope. Great value for money.

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP magnification ring.

Field Tests

So yeah, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP is a pretty big optic for those used to older more traditionally sized scopes, especially when you add on the extra 3 or so inches of sunshade. Considering the size and weight, it’s easy to question whether or not the large objective lens and magnification range are really worth humping the extra size and weight into the backcountry.

Of course, like all scope reviews, we mounted the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP to a capable rifle and took it to the range to sight in. At the range, the light transmission, sharpness, and brightness of the optic were really good. Whether or not it was the low dispersion glass, the multi-coatings Vortex uses, or the combination thereof, the optical performance was more than satisfactory.

We did mount the scope using Warne Maxima 30mm quick detach rings that we already had, and with the lower height, notched a gap for the from sight in the included sunshade. We made sure there was zero contact, and made sure not to overdo the clearance. Besides not having to buy new rings, the scope, can be quickly removed, and the 270 can function as a great close-range bear or deer rifle using the built-in iron sights.

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP Turrets

Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP parallax adjustment, elevation, and windage turrets.

The notch in the sunshade had no negligible impact on glare, light transmission or clarity in the field. We also had no issues with parallax whatsoever and only made the most minor adjustments with the parallax side adjustment dial. For sighting in, we shot 140 grain solid copper handloads 3100 feet per second, at a 100 yard target, and shot off of a bipod. Sighting took 11 rounds, with adjustments to the turrets between almost every shot. The turrets were tactile, didn’t have any play, and made a solid audible click for every 1/4 MOA adjustment made.

Without patiently waiting for the barrel of the CZ carbine length rifle to cool, as we should have, we then shot 3 more rounds to produce a sub MOA group. Although we will have to make a correction for the point of impact, so it perfectly matches our point of aim, we were pleased, and look forward to taking the scope to the task at much longer distances once fully dialed.

The 24 times zoom is big when compared to a more common 4-12 times zoom. It takes some getting used to if you aren’t already shooting other firearms with that great of a magnification. Every movement is obvious, and you become more mindful of the slightest movement, especially any tensing or pulling. That type of feedback can only better one’s shooting abilities with any scope.

Conclusion

The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP does fall at the intersection of performance and value. Although it’s probably more at home helping hunters take big game at greater distances, its performance is good enough to make it an entry-level scope for precision rifle shooting. This supposed to be an objective gear review, and as such, we did have some criticisms worth sharing.

The included bikini cover is okay without the sunshade, but you will end up wanting to invest in good flip-up lens caps, which will add an additional 30 to 50 dollars, depending on the brand. The magnification ring could benefit from a throw lever for faster, easier, more leveraged magnification adjustments. From a hunter’s perspective, covered turrets would have been nicer than exposed ones. The shooter will have to check that turrets did not get banged around, accidentally adjusted in the field, and are all set back to zero before a shot. Lastly, while they are typically much more expensive, other scopes seem to achieve the same performance in a smaller lighter format.

It’s hard to compare it to other scopes, without referencing more expensive scopes, like other tiers of Vortex offerings, or scopes built on an even larger 34mm tube. The Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP delivers performance that could potentially give buyers of more expensive scopes some buyers remorse, and it is really impressive Vortex is able to produce the level of quality and performance at such a budget-friendly price point. If your optics budget doesn’t exceed seven hundred dollars, but you want a big FFP optic, the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 deserves your consideration. If you are able to spend just a little more, then the Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56 might be worth looking into.

All-in-all the Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 FFP scope is a great scope, even with a few very minor shortcomings, it’s well worth a street price of $399. We will also be following up this review with additional shooting, really exploring Vortex’s EBR-2C MOA reticle at longer distances. So keep an eye out for that. As always, leave us a comment or question, and we’ll try to follow up as fast as we can.

Quality | 4.8/5 |
Size | 4.4/5 |
Weight | 4.4/5 |
Features | 4.8/5 |
Performance | 4.9/5 |
Value | 4.9/5 |
Overall | 4.7/5 |
  • Pros
  • Great Performance
  • Budget Friendly
  • Incredible Value
  • Cons
  • Heavy
  • Large Size
  • Exposed Turrets
  • No Flip Caps
  • No Throw Lever
Vortex Diamondback Tactical Sub MOA Group

The proof is in the pudding. After eleven rounds to sight in the Vortex Diamondback Tactical on a CZ 557 Carbine chambered in 270, the next three rounds we shot produced a sub MOA group.

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5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant

| July 2, 2021
Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Geo7 Camo
Material | 80% Polyester / 20% Cotton
Features | Teflon Coated, Bartacked Stress Points, Gusseted Crotch, Stretch Panels
Pockets | Pockets, Cargo Pockets, Knee Pockets
Closures | Button, Zipper, Blouse Straps, Velcro
Fit | Straight
Country of Origin | India
Warranty | 12 Month Material and Defect
Price | $89.99

The 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants have been on our shortlist of pants to try out since we first noticed 5.11 tactical came out with the Geo7 pattern, created by Veil Camo, exclusively for 5.11 Tactical. It’s an aggressive and well-designed camouflage pattern, that looks well suited to tactical duty, or hunting.

First Impressions

The Geo7 camouflage pattern of the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants is aggressive. Geo7 is like a crazy combination of hydro dip camo paint and a topo map. From the outdoor photos, it’s clear the camo pattern works, and really well. In fact, it works so well, that to see the pants in our gear review photos, we actually had to blur the background focus.

Camouflage, lightweight materials, and the durable construction of the Geo7 Stryke TDU pants are great. The pants offer a stretchable waist and breathable mesh near the hip pockets. The knees are also gusseted with the same stretchable material. Both the waist and seat pockets are lined with a breathable mesh. All the stretchable gussets, combined with reinforced belt loops and major seams, make the TDU pants both comfortable and durable. The double-layered articulated knees are also designed to accept kneepads for tactical duty, and the canted cargo pockets on the thighs are large, with multiple separators for storing tactical gear. The TDU pants also have built-in blousing straps.

In The Field

The pants are true to fit, but clearly designed for thicker thighs, or those that prefer a looser fit on the thighs and lower legs. Although, it’s probably not a complaint most will have, as the fit is typical of many TDU, ACU, or BDU pants. The built-in blousing straps, do help prevent some rubbing and snagging, but so would gaiters.

Thinner more tapered cuts, like that of the 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants, do not rub at the ankle or thighs and do not snag on vegetation. Because of that, they are also quieter and provide for greater stealth while stalking. The fit and design of the Stryke TDU pants make them better suited for individuals with a thicker build, while the Ridge Pants with a more tapered cut, are better for those on the skinnier or thinner side of the spectrum.

Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Rear

It doesn’t matter what angle you look at the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants, they disappear in terrain.

The Geo7 Stryke TDU pants were designed for tactical duty. As such, they have certain features that are presumably great for tactical duty but aren’t super great for hunting in the backcountry or moving quietly through thick brush.

We are specifically referring to the built-in blousing straps. Unless you hike and hunt with tall duty style boots, there isn’t a whole lot of use, or desire for the blousing straps. However, they are easy enough to remove, and considering that the Geo7 Stryke TDU pants were not intended as hunting pants, it’s hard to be too critical of the built-in blousing straps.

Outside of a larger fit and blousing straps, the Geo7 Stryke TDUs are incredible pants. They are maneuverable, comfortable, and provide a good amount of breathability moving through almost any terrain. The pants also seem to strike a good balance between durability and weight, and while you wouldn’t hike the PCT in them, they certainly have a place on backcountry hunts where the trade-off of durability and lighter-weight materials is desirable.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a pair of lightweight, durable camouflage pants for backcountry hunts, tactical features, and aggressive camo, then the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants are a great option. They are perhaps even one of the best options at the price point, for those that don’t desire or require a more tapered cut and don’t mind the built-in blousing straps. The Veil Geo7 camo pattern disappears, and the materials seem like they will hold up well against heavy use. The bottom line is that the Geo7 Stryke TDUs are a good value, and well worth giving a try.

Fit | 4.2/5 |
Durability | 4.4/5 |
Features | 4.9/5 |
Price | 4.2/5 |
Overall | 4.4/5 |
5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Mesh Pockets

Love them or hate them, the 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pants have mesh hip and seat pockets.

5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU Pant Cargo Pocket

The 5.11 Tactical Geo7 Stryke TDU pants cargo pockets have convenient pouches for separating and organizing gear.

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5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants

| June 29, 2021
5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants Out Fishing
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Ranger Green(Tested)
Material | 67% Polyester, 33% Spandex
Features | Light Weight, Slim Fit, Stretch, Articulated Knees
Pockets | 6
Country of Origin | India
Warranty | 12 Month Material and Defect
Price | 79.99

The 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants are not like anything else we’ve seen from 5.11 Tactical. Many 5.11 distributors carry the 5.11 Stryke, or Stryke TDU pants in waist sizes 30 and up, and typically nothing smaller. It’s been our common misconception that they simply do not tailor pants for waist sizes under 30 inches. While the fit of many 5.11 tactical pants, including the Stryke and Stryke TDU are great for individuals with a 30 inch waist or larger, with larger thighs, the Ridge Pants address a demand for thinner tapers, and an overall less baggy fit.

First Impressions

The 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants are visibly very different from many of their other offerings, and are clearly a thinner, more slim fitting, pair of pants. The material is lightweight, stretchy, durable for the weight, and well made. Stitching is also solid, with reinforcement in all the high stress areas you’d want to have reinforcement.

The Ranger Green color of the Ridge Pants we tested, is a darker almost slate-ish green, and will do well on high country hunts, where more aggressive camo may not be necessary, but also just looks good worn casually. The many pockets are discrete, do not add any bulk, and don’t draw unnecessary attention for being overly tactical. They could easily be mistaken for lightweight climbing pants, and are probably equally at home on the rocks, as they are hunting the backcountry.

The slim fit of the 5.11 Ridge Pants is excellent for thinner, smaller athletic builds who do not have large thighs. They fit perfectly, with one minor exception. The color we selected, was either sold out of, or does not offer, a length of 32 inches, which would have been ideal, so we tested an overly long 34 inch pair.

5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants Thigh Lower Leg Fit

5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants have a nice taper that fits butt, thighs, and lower legs very well.

In The Field

Stretch, a slim fit, and a healthy tapering cut, make the 5.11 Ridge Pants an excellent choice for backpacking and hunting. There is no extra material to rub and make noise, and the ankles are not baggy, so they don’t snag or catch on plant life as you cover terrain.

We subjected the 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants to rain, blood, sage brush, pine branches, bushwhacking, and scrambling alpine talus and granite rock bands. They’ve endured multiple outings and a lot of mileage in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra. We also machine washed and dried the pants on standard washer machine settings about a dozen times.

The Ridge Pants have held up so far, showing very little wear in areas that have seen abrasive granite, and heavy brush. The pockets are ample, and remain comfortable even when full. The thigh pockets zip closed, maintain a low profile, and even have convenient separating pouches for smaller items like a folding knife or lighter. The pants also never stretched out during washing or use, do not sag, and did not require the use of a belt.

Conclusion

The 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants are a game changer for smaller individuals looking for tactical, or hunting pants that actually fit. While we have some minor concerns about how well the fabric on the pants will hold up after some extreme use during this year’s backcountry hunts, wear can be expected, and seems like a totally acceptable trade off for comfort, in a lightweight and breathable pair of pants that fit well. Only time will tell how durable the lightweight pant materials are. If we hit some sort of milestone, or see wear where there shouldn’t be any, we’ll keep you updated.

The bottom line is that the 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants are an awesome pair of pants, providing plenty of pockets, a slim fit that is perfect for smaller or thinner athletic builds, they perform well, and look good. The price point of the Ridge Pants may be a bit high compared to offerings from other companies, like LA Police Gear and others, but you get what you pay for, and the 5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants are superior tactical pants that fit way better than the pants offered by other companies. If you spend any time in the backcountry, and have a 28ish waist, you’ll love these pants.

Fit | 4.9/5 |
Durability | 4.5/5 |
Features | 4.8/5 |
Price | 4.2/5 |
Overall | 4.6/5 |
5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants Backside

5.11 Tactical Ridge Pants hug your bottom comfortably, and even fit the bow legged.

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WYNEX Molle Pouch Sling Bag 4L

| June 26, 2021
WYNEX Molle Pouch Sling Bag Attached
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Dimensions | 14 x 4 x 6 inches
Material | 600D nylon
Closure Type | 2 Way Zipper
Capacity | 4 Liter
Color | Khaki
Features | 2 Way Zipper
Quantity | 2
Warranty | 90 Day Money Back Guarantee
Country of Origin | China
Price | $23.99

After researching large volume Molle pouches, we decided to buy a 2 pack of WYNEX Molle Pouch Sling Bags and give them a try. The volume is what really enticed us to give them a try, as they each add an additional 4 liters of capacity to a Molle/Pals compatible pack, and we were interested in increasing the carrying capacity of a hunting pack. The dual purpose use as a standalone sling bag was somewhat interesting as well, but not the main factor for our purchase.

First impressions

The WYNEX Molle Pouches are made of 600D nylon, all the stitching is single stitch with a heavyweight thread, they are straight, and cleanly done. The attachment slings, and additional Molle webbing are all bar-tacked for strength. Overall the materials are durable, manufacturing quality is good, and there are only a few places that heavier stitching could add more durability to the pouch.

The size is just right to add about 4 liters of storage capacity to any Molle compatible pack, and the affordable two pack of WYNEX Molle Pouches adds 8 liters of additional storage to a backpack. For reference, each pouch is about the height and length of a cinder block, but about half the depth.

In The Field

We attached a WYNEX Molle Pouch to each side of an Eberlestock G1 Little Brother. Molle straps all over the pack make it easy to attach and secure the pouches . The attachment slings use a button snap closure, and keep the pouch securely attached to the pack, without any play.

Additionally, the WYNEX Molle Pouch's one inch compression webbing with buckles were a fit for the Eberlestock’s buckle system, making it possible to use the buckles to add additional security. The only drawback to utilizing the buckles in this way, is that it faces the zipper toward the backpacker, so they end up facing the dirt when the pack is on the ground. Whether it’s worth the attachment ‘security’ or not is subjective. We think the pouches, when fully loaded, don’t really need that extra support. The compression webbing on the pouches, also just seems somewhat unnecessary.

Each WYNEX Molle Pouch utilizes two zippers, but they don’t travel down the sides at all, making it slightly more difficult to access gear, than a design that would allow the pouch to open more like a book, rather than a purse.

When unattached from a backpack, the WYNEX Molle Pouch functions independently as a sling bag, or shoulder bag, with an included shoulder sling. The shoulder sling attaches to 2 nylon D rings, and adjusts from 26 inches to 49 inches. Standalone, the sling bag makes a great fishing equipment bag, camera equipment bag, or a replacement for a waist pack.

WYNEX Molle Pouch Sling Bag Space

The WYNEX Molle pouch used as a sling bag, provides quick access to gear.

Three 4 inch by 4 inch pockets, with hook and loop closures, line the inside of one side of the pouch, helping secure small items like a wallet, keys, ID, lighters, hearing protection, or a small folding knife. We recently reviewed smaller EDC Molle pouches, and similar to those pouches, the WYNEX pouch materials have a more greenish tinge than some might prefer. However, the color fits in just fine with combinations of khaki, coyote tan, olive drab, or other common pack colors, and shouldn’t hinder any sort of backcountry hunting performance.

Functionally, the WYNEX Molle Pouches did exactly what we had hoped. They provide the capacity we wanted, are easy to use, durable, affordable, and outside of a greenish tinge, aesthetically good. The pouches even include two rows of non-mil-spec hook and loop webbing on the front, for attaching other Molle/Pals compatible gear, or the American flag patches included with the purchase.

Conclusion

The WYNEX Molle Pouch Sling Bags are affordable, have a large volume, are durable, and have a great dual purpose design. The price point is pretty much unbeatable in terms of a pouch volume to price ratio, and the low price of $23.99 for a two pack means buying and trying the pouches for yourself is pretty low risk. We will use the WYNEX Molle Pouch sling bags on backcountry hunting trips, and will also use them as sling bags for short walk-in fishing locations. We think they are great value, and can confidently recommend that you give them a try.

Durability | 4.4/5 |
Features | 4.2/5 |
Price | 5/5 |
Overall | 4.5/5 |
WYNEX Sling Bag

The WYNEX Molle pouch used as a sling bag is about as wide as a torso, and a great shoulder bag. Although, the compression webbing might not be necessary.

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Tacticool EDC Molle Pouches

| June 23, 2021
Tacticool EDC Molle Pouch Zipper
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Dimensions | 4.9 x 2.2 x 8.7 inches
Material | 600D nylon
Closure Type | 2 Way Zipper
Capacity | ~ 1 Liter
Color | Khaki
Features | Internal Pockets, Waterproof, 2 D rings, Drain Hole, Double Zipper
Quantity | 2
Warranty | Lifetime
Country of Origin | China
Price | $13.95

We decided to try Tacticool EDC Molle Pouches after spending some time looking for a durable, affordable, liter sized Molle pouch, to carry first aid gear and small items into the backcountry.

First Impressions

The Tacticool EDC Molle Pouches are made from heavy 600D nylon, and are put together very well. Zippers and closures look durable, and all the stitching is straight and strong. There are very few places where more stitching would, or even could, increase the product durability, all in all everything looks well made.

The EDC Molle Pouch color looks good on its own, but a green coloration is obvious in some of the materials, and contrasts with Eberlestock’s truer coyote brown color. Although its not an issue for backcountry hunts, the excessively fussy gear snobs might not be satisfied with the greenish tinge.

Tacticool EDC Molle Pouch Drain

Tacticool EDC Molle Pouch fits snugly to a Molle/Pals Panel, and has a drain hole.

In The Field

As one would expect from a Molle accessory pouch, the EDC Molle Pouches easily attach to any Molle/Pals equipped packs and panels. The button snaps on the two attachment slings hold the pouch securely onto packs, without any play.

We’ve carried just about every small item that can fit, in the Tacticool EDC Molle Pouches, and can affirm they are both durable, and work well for a wide variety of needs. While purely preferential, it would have been nice if the internal pocket/pouches varied a tiny bit in size, to secure tiny items like a BIC lighter, or Leatherman multitool. It would also have been nice to have a pen or pencil strap, but that is also highly preferential and doesn’t hinder the way the pouch performs in the field.

Conclusion

Tacticool EDC Molle Pouches are incredible value for money and an excellent pouch for small items. At the very budget friendly price of $13.95, you get 2, durable, well made pouches, that work as you would expect. Our only criticism of the pouches is the slight green tinge to the materials, but if you aren’t overly obsessed with perfectly matching equipment colors, it is pretty easy to look past, especially at the price, and the color doesn’t hinder any durability or performance.

Durability | 4.7/5 |
Features | 4.4/5 |
Price | 5/5 |
Overall | 4.7/5 |
Tacticool EDC Molle Pouch Pockets

Tacticool EDC Molle Pouch has dual internal pockets, to help organize small gear.

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Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack

| May 31, 2021
Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack Packed
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Size | XL
Dimensions | 20.25 L x 8.75 D inches
Color | Desert Tan
Country of Origin | UK
Warranty | Limited 12 Month
Price | $24.95

We gave the XL Snugpak compression stuff sack a try, in an attempt to slim down a large synthetic OF degree North Face sleeping bag, and reclaim pack space.

Our first impressions of the Snugpak compression stuff sack were very positive. The lightweight nylon material looked durable for the weight, and the included webbing looked typical for the industry. The stitching looked satisfactory, but could probably benefit from more reinforcing stitch patterns.

Opening a pack and flashing bright colors, or securing a brightly colored sack onto the outside of your pack is a sure way to ruin your stealthiness in the field. The desert tan color was a fairly light shade of brown, and a great choice for backcountry hunting or tactical operations.

The North Face Eco Trail Synthetic 0F sleeping bag we used to test the Snugpak compression stuff sack, is a bulky sleeping bag that doesn’t compress very much. It’s not a backpacking option for most, given its bulkiness, but being able to compress the bag at least 30% would significantly increase the usable space inside a large pack, or make it more viable to attach to the outside.

We stuffed the North Face sleeping bag into the stuff sack, closed the drawstring, and started to pull the 1 inch compression straps evenly. The sleeping bag ultimately compressed to about about one two thirds of the XL stuff sacks uncompressed size.

The XL Snugpak compression stuff sack exceeded our compression expectations, providing more compression than we had expected on a bulky synthetic bag. The extra large size is ideal for large bags, and the desert tan color makes it a great choice for backpack hunting.

Our only criticism is that it could have used a heavier denier nylon and a stronger stitch pattern, to make it more durable. Only time will tell if the stitching gives, or tearing starts to occur on the thin material. Like all of our Sportsman’s Magazine gear reviews we will post any relevant updates, as the compression sack gets more use.

Compressibility | 5/5 |
Weight | 5/5 |
Durability | 4.0/5 |
Price | 4.1/5 |
Overall | 4.5/5 |

Pro Tip: Never leave sleeping bags stored in a compressed state for longer than you have to, they will lose their loft, as well as their effectiveness at keeping you warm.

Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack

The Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack in the extra large size.

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Godfather Cocktail

| May 27, 2021
Godfather Cocktail
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Preparation Time

3 minutes

Cooking Time

0

Total Time

3 minutes

Servings

1

The Memorial Day weekend often involves drinking, and if you are enjoying the weekend in the high sierra, then the Godfather Cocktail is a great choice for when the day is winding down, the air starts too cool, and that ice cold beer just feels too cold.

The Sportsman’s Magazine take on the Godfather cocktail consists of only whiskey, Disaronno, and a Luxardo cherry, over ice. It’s obviously alcohol heavy, and has that warming factor, that makes a crisp high sierra evening feel just a tad bit warmer than it actually is.

Ingredients

1 ounce Whiskey
1/2 ounce Disaronno
1 Luxardo cherry

Directions

  1. Place one large ice cube or up to 3 small ice cubes in your favorite whiskey glass.
  2. Measure 1 ounce whiskey of choice
  3. Measure 1/2 ounce Disaronno
  4. Pour whiskey and Disarrono over ice
  5. Add one Luxardo cherry, and a few drops of the Luxardo cherry jar syrup.
  6. Mix lightly
  7. Enjoy

Be responsible, and stay safe this Memorial Day weekend. Also, regardless of your views on the politics of war, let’s not forget the sacrifice and service from all of our armed forces, who have ensured our liberty and security.

God Bless. ‘Murica!

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First Tactical Tactix Waist Belt

| May 22, 2021
First Tactical Tactix Waist Belt
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Length | 61 inches
Waist Belt Pad | 29.5 L x 5.0 H inches
Foam Thickness | 0.50 inches
Material | 500D Nylon with spacer mesh
Padding Material | Closed cell foam construction
Hardware | Duraflex hardware
Size | One size fits most

We picked up a First Tactical Tactix waist belt in an effort to add comfort to an Eberlestock G1 Little Brother, when carrying heavier loads. Eberlestock’s line of hip belts has been out of stock and hard to find, so we decided to roll the dice with a little brand mashup.

While we had measured the waist belt attachment area of the G1 Little Brother pack, and compared it to dimensions of the Tactix waist belt by First Tactical, we were still relieved when everything fit. Read the G1 Little Brother review.

Fortunately, the coyote tan color we chose to purchase a pack, scabbard, and waist belt in, matched pretty well across the two brands. In passing, you’d be hard pressed to really notice much difference at all, but the First Tactical coyote tan is slightly lighter and sandier shade of brown, than Eberlestock’s darker, richer red hue of coyote tan.

In The Field

The First Tactical Tactix waist belt makes an already great pack, even better. The closed cell foam construction provides decent padding, and the fitment is just right for waist sizes down to about 30 inches. A 28 inch waist size would probably require some DIY shortening, or perhaps an additional padding to have wait properly distributed onto hips.

The Tactix waist belt utilizes First Tactical’s patented Lynx™ Laser Cut Platform to provide a plethora of MOLLE/PALS attachment points.

Center Pull Tactix Design

The First Tactical Tactix waist belt fits evenly and comfortably with a center pull design.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a pack waist belt, especially if you don’t think Eberlestock will get more in stock for the 2021 big game season, but need one, or you have a First Tactical pack in need of a waist belt, then a First Tactical Tactix waist belt is for you. With ample MOLLE/PALS attachments, durable 500D nylon, and decent padding, the Tactix belt serves a wide range of either tactical or hunting needs.

The only caveat to recommending the First Tactical Tactix waist belt, is that it won’t fit waists smaller than 30 inches. The one size fits most adjustability, is unlikely to fit properly without modification, on any waist that isn’t at least 29.5 inches, and more realistically, at least 30 inches.

If your waist is 30 inches or larger, we think its a great buy, and good value. Anything under 30 inches, and the waist belt is a hard pass without a heavy duty sewing machine, and some serious sewing skills.

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