Desert Rat Reviews – Soft Science Flip Flops?!?!
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So, admittedly this is a first for me. I don’t wear flip flops. Never have. Well, at least the kind with the thong thingy that goes between your toes. I can’t stand that sucker wedged between my toes. That being said when I get a Press Kit stating they are the “most comfortable flip flops you’ll ever wear” (and they come in camo!) – how could I resist??

I really need to thank Lauren Holzman from Mint Publicity, along with the good folks at SoftScience.com for sending me a pair to try out.

So, I received these shoes, and I really kind of ran them through the gauntlet. I had coworkers try them on. I had my teenage daughter walk around in them. They provide support in such a way that is hard to describe, even for a writer. They are firm, but squishy. They are supportive, but soft like pillows. I asked my daughter to describe them and she was stumped too – “It’s like they are crazy soft, but as soon as you put weight on them, they are firm”, she quipped. Maybe SoftScience said it best – “These new flip-flops are like standing on millions of microscopic pillows
which cushion every step, while providing the appropriate level of arch and
heel support to help reduce heel, knee and back pain.”

Granted, I had to schlep around the house in them for a week or so, in order to get used to that confounded thing stuck between my toes – but they felt amazing out of the box, and now are my go-to footwear around the house, and around the neighborhood. Once I was used to them, I walked the dog a couple of times in them to make sure they could stand a longer journey than the triangular route between the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen….

Excuse my pasty white, ugly feet but here’s the deal – I wasn’t going to hire a foot model or get a pedicure for my review. So there you have it!

These shoes are well made, and sturdy. They have a great, non-slip tread which would certainly be great on wet docks and boat decks. They have a raised, bumpy surface under your foot which keeps your sole cozy. I admit it, I’m sold. Not only am I wearing flip flops with that thing, but I enjoy wearing them. Not only do I enjoy wearing them, I recommend them! SoftScience.com has a great variety of men’s and women’s shoes and are 100% guaranteed.

Follow SoftScience on Facebook

More info from their Press Release:

Designed by lifelong sailors previously with Crocs®, Sperry® and Reebok®, the flip-flop will be available for boating enthusiasts to experience first at the Miami International Boat Show, February 11-15, 2016.

Slip-resistant and non-marking outsoles are key elements built into the Skiff Canvas, an innovative flip-flop that provides supreme all-day comfort. Constructed from proprietary Trileon™ technology, these new sandals are like standing on millions of microscopic pillows, cushioning every step.

“We believe the Skiff is the most comfortable, supportive flip-flop people will ever wear,” said John Duerden, SoftScience chairman and CEO. “We created a shoe that is lightweight and superbly cushioned – ideal for fellow boaters in and around the water.”

The Skiff Canvas features optimal arch and heel support to absorb the shock of a hull pounding the waves, engine vibration, a rocky coastline or the impact of a full day walking on a hard sidewalk. They have durable toe posts and straps for secure wear and are available in bold brights, soft neutrals and Mossy Oak Treestand®, all in natural canvas.

Reviewing the GoTenna
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I’d really like to thank Maggie Philbin from VSC for reaching out to me and asking me to review the GoTenna – an antenna system that works with your smart phone to let you communicate off-grid, when there is no cell phone service. From their How It Works page: goTenna is a cognitive digital radio combined with an app that generates its own signal and automatically coordinates with other units within range. It does all the heavy-lifting, so you can chat 1-to-1, with a group, or even broadcast openly to anyone nearby.

I was trying to coordinate delivery of the units for a javelina hunt that a friend and I had planned but we had some challenges with timing and schedule. Not to be discouraged, I enlisted the help of my co-worker Amy and tested the units in a complex urban environment, instead of craggy canyons in southern Arizona.

The units come nicely packaged with suitable instructions. You have to download the goTenna app for your phone, and it is the app that really tells you the instructions. The app works nicely and instructions were clear, even for a non-techie person like myself.

Amy had one glitch where a message telling her the firmware needed updating wouldn’t clear from the screen in spite of lots of tapping “ok” and even resetting her phone. It worked out OK though as it was updating in the background and the message window cleared once it was finished.

You use these units to communicate via text message, and they can also provide offline maps. Amy and I wandered all over our 28 acre campus and were able to communicate the whole time, even in buildings. At one point, I was on the bottom floor of a parking structure and she was on the 8th floor, and they still worked. This type of environment gives me great confidence they would work in most outdoor environments, very well. Tall buildings in downtown Phoenix didn’t phase the goTennas in the least.

There are a ton of uses for these, and they provide a great peace of mind for wilderness communication, or urban communication when cell service fails. Think natural disasters; think hiking out of cell range; think hunting in rough terrain. They are easy to set up and use. They aren’t bulky. They are well designed and sturdily built. A pair of them will run you about $200 which I think is well worth the money. The offline map feature is valuable as well, and the App is free to download. The offline map also enables you to communicate your location.

Now this is important. For my readers, if you want to buy a set enter the code “outdoorhub” when you checkout and you’ll save $15. This offer is only good until 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, April 2nd.

Don’t take my word for it. If you go to their store page, you can read a ton of impressive testimonials.

Have questions? You can visit their FAQ page here: goTenna Questions?

Xpedition Bows – Striving To Be Different
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Hopefully you read my Part One Posting about Xpedition Archery

I wanted to thank Blake Davis, the National Sales Manager for Xpedition Archery for taking some more time out of his busy schedule to help us learn more about Xpedition!

1. Who is Xpedition Archery?

Xpedition is a small group of dedicated archery enthusiasts who are leveraging the core competency of a parent company to provide only the best bows possible, regardless of price.

2. Why bows? This is a tough, highly competitive market..

True, but by limiting our exposure to the high end products, it is much easier to stay focused on one thing, that is Quality. Quality builds brands. It also plays well to our manufacturing skills, our engineering capability, and the infrastructure that is already in place on the Applied side. We utilize that capability and their excess capacity to our advantage , instead of having to carry that investment relying on archery alone.

3. What do you feel sets Xpedition apart from other bow manufacturers?

See above. The truth is, every bow is hand built to the specifications of the dealer or consumer who orders it. The cams are laser aligned for optimal tracking through the entire draw cycle. The limbs are hand selected and matched for consistency, quality, deflection, and then shimmed to perfectly maintain cam alignment. Every component is assembled to stringent tolerances. The draw length is set to a measured ATA specification. Peak draw weight is verified. The draw force curve is optimized for a smooth draw and the peak performance that Xpedition bows were designed to deliver and after all of these steps are verified, the bows is tested on a chronograph to make sure the customer gets everything they paid for.

Read our Mission statement. No BS.


4. If a person hasn’t heard of your company before – what is it you want them to know about Xpedition?

All too often, we have seen companies built when passion is developed with capital and one of the two (passion or money) gives out, and the dealer and consumer are left in the lurch. Many times they are not manufacturing entities as well, inevitably they are at the mercy of their suppliers and have a more difficult time controlling quality and cash flow. When I was hired, it was made very clear that there was no reason that we could not be profitable with all of the advantages we had by having the Applied strengths. Xpedition was not created as a sideline, or because someone wanted an attachment to their favorite pastime alone. Xpedition is a profitable entity because we have a great business model built to deliver stability and superior products.

5. What has been the biggest challenge in going to market?

The market has too much product. The industry as a whole has built itself up to where it HAS to function at a certain level. It has conditioned the consumer to bargain shop left over inventory and they still want the market to absorb what they need , even when the market will not sell through that amount. It creates a much slower transition of the dealer base to products like ours. Every manufacturer is dealing with this and it will not bode well for many of them. They will have to rethink their strategy or risk having a year where their sales fluctuate beyond their ability to sustain. It will happen unless the retail market gets stronger.

6. What is your favorite thing to hunt?

I have always said if I was FORCED to choose one animal, it would be Elk. As an “Easterner”, I grew up dreaming of an Elk hunt. The animals themselves are amazing. The diversity of habitats and hunting methods forces you to think and hunt. The challenge of the animal is also a bonus, there are no easy Elk hunts.

7. What is the dream hunt still on your bucket list?

Dream Hunt…..Moose and Mountain Caribou. Mountain Goat is another…..but neither is in the near future. LOL.

Want to learn more about Xpedition?

You can view their 2016 line up here 2016 Bows

You can find a Dealer here: Find an Xpedition Dealer

Xpedition FAQ’s here: Xpedition FAQs

Thanks again to Blake for taking the time out to talk about Xpedition. Look for some more projects with them coming up in the future!

It’s Here! ISE Arrives in Scottsdale! March 10 – 13
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ISE Scottsdale Info Page: Scottsdale Show Page

From ISE: We’ve moved the 16th annual International Sportsmen Exposition across town to WestWorld of Scottsdale. And more than doubled its size! Now two full buildings—one for the Arizona Boat Show, and one for the Sportsman Expo, plus vast outside space. More than 100 new exhibitors–300+ in all. The Valley’s only boat show will spotlight more than 15 dealers, 40 brands and more than 120 boats, plus marinas and marine accessories companies. There’s also a giant, new Wakeboard Rail Jam Pond and pro demos every day.

There’s lots new at this year’s show including:

NEW: Pro Wakeboarder “Rail Jam” Pond Click here
NEW: Offroad Test Track
NEW: Lowrance Electronics Theater
NEW: Arizona Taxidermy Association wildlife display and State Championship
NEW: Fly-Casting Pond and free lessons from Arizona FlyCasters and Desert Fly Casters
NEW: Eastmans’ Trophy Deer Display
NEW: RMEF Great Elk Tour
Plus

*Outdoor Product Showcase (OPS)–ask Gear Guru Dan Kidder your gear questions and enter to win daily prizes
*3D Pop-Up Archery Range and contest
*Adventure Theater
*Aquarium Demonstration Tank
*Youth Fair Catch-and-Release Ponds, Archery Shoot and Casting Area, hosted by Bass Pro Shops

Click here for the Official Show Program: 2016 ISE Scottsdale Show Program

Click here to see Show Specials: SHOW SPECIALS

SHOW INFO:

Location

WestWorld of Scottsdale
16601 N. Pima Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Hours

Thu 10am – 7pm
Fri 10am – 7pm
Sat 10am – 7pm
Sun 10am – 5pm

Tickets

Adult Admission – $12
Youth under 16 – Free

Please note:

- Pets not allowed.
- No firearms or weapons allowed onsite.
- Scooter rentals available call
1-800-477-0467 for reservations.

Parking

WestWorld parking: $5 per car

How Do You Build A New Camo? Badlands Talks About Approach
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I’d really like to thank Blake VanTussenbrook from Vortex Outdoors for taking some time out to answer questions. I was prompted by the recent Press Release from Badlands, regarding their new camp pattern, “Approach”.

I started thinking, “I wonder how one goes about designing a camo pattern from scratch?” – so I reached out to Blake who quickly provided me with the answers I was looking for…

1.At what point do you decide “Hey, let’s develop our own camo pattern?”

For 20 years now, Badlands has been innovating as far as backpack technology and making the best hunting gear in the world. In the past 5+ years, camouflage has been evolving and changing from your basic stick and limb patterns to more digital and scientifically backed patterns. The shift has been towards really focusing on breaking up form to stay undetected by wild game. As an innovator, we felt it was time for Badlands to step into the camouflage game and have our pattern offering match our innovative designs.

2.Once you decide to develop your own camo, where do you even begin?

Deciding to do it is one thing, pulling it off is another marathon all together. We began the process with research. Talking to hunters who spend hundreds of days in the field, talking to scientists about light, color and vision and also just starting to experiment. We simultaneously started playing with color palettes, shapes and designs we’d never seen before but we knew would break up a silhouette better than anything available. It began with designing a pattern, printing it out, testing it and then basically tweaking it or starting over completely. That was basically our process for over 3 years. Design, test, repeat.

3.Is hard to separate science from visual appeal when it comes to camo?

It is difficult to find the balance between scientific reasoning and visual appeal when designing a camouflage pattern. Obviously the “visual appeal” from the perception of the animal doesn’t matter because ideally they’re not seeing it anyway. However, today’s hunter does indeed look for something visually appealing to their eye when looking at the store display. As hard as we try to ignore how we’re visualizing the pattern as humans, something inside us still wants to like how the pattern looks before giving it a try. That is part of the reason it took us so many years to develop Badlands Approach camouflage – we weren’t pleased with “close enough.” We truly waited and redesigned and started over and over and over until we had that perfect blend of effectiveness and visual appeal.

4.How do you test camo’s effectiveness?

Testing is arduous and tedious, but fun! It’s been an excuse for us to go play in the mountains so what more could we ask for? Basically when we felt we had a pattern worth testing as far as coloration and design, we’d print it out on fabric and take it to the hills. We’d also ship it out to pro-staff members in different areas of the country to test it in different terrains. Depending on the season we’d be able to set the pattern out at both close and extreme distances and basically test how well it was breaking up forms. What we found was that certain versions were great up close but turned into dark blobs at medium to long distance (a common problem with most patterns today). If we noticed that was an issue, we’d immediately scrap it and go back to the drawing board. Approach HAD to work at all distances. As we progressed and made new versions, we began to notice that we were getting close when our eyes were getting confused at all distances and the camo was just blending away. It was when we achieved this layout that created total visual confusion that we were able to just start tweaking our color palette and getting really close to a finished product.

5. Is one pattern enough?

We believe with Badlands Approach that one pattern is truly enough. This pattern WILL break up your form which is the most important thing for a hunter. What we are exploring now are additional color options for the future of Approach. The initial offering is extremely versatile across all types of terrain from rocky mountain sides to Midwest treestands to western sagebrush but that doesn’t mean we aren’t continuing to design, test and repeat. It’s in our blood to innovate with all of our products and now with our original camouflage pattern.

Available Spring/Summer 2016, Badlands Approach will first be offered on several Badlands packs and all-new apparel items. Pricing will vary. Additional information can be found at www.badlandsapproach.com.