As a family we love to spend time outdoors- hiking, camping and skiing. Although I usually shop for big items of outdoor equipment in places like REI where I can be sure of the quality, for smaller items purchasing on Amazon can be a great way to save money. Here are mini-reviews of 3 inexpensive items I have recently tested that are available from Amazon.com.
Fnova Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
This is available in 21oz and 35oz sizes and is a double walled stainless steel bottle. I tested the 35oz. In the winter we love to ski and I was looking for something to keep water hot so that at the end of a days skiing I could make hot chocolate and coffee drinks for the family before heading home. This works great for that purpose. I can fill it with boiling water at 8am and at 4pm when we get off the slopes it is the perfect temperature for hot chocolate or coffee. I make my coffee using Starbucks Via instant coffee plus Peak full-fat milk powder which gives a rich creamy taste without cooling it down by adding liquid creamer. The bottle comes with 3 lids- a metal and bamboo stopper (which is my favorite), a black plastic stopper (which I think is most insulating) and a flip-top with straw. For making drinks for the whole family the 32oz is a great size, if I was using it just for myself I’d go for the smaller 21oz version. I tested it alongside a traditional glass- lined vacuum flask and it kept the water as warm or slightly warmer than the traditional flask and is much more durable.
BYB COB LED Camping Lantern
We love to go camping and have an array of different camping lanterns for car camping trips. This is much smaller and lighter than most of our lanterns so I wasn’t sure it would really compare brightness wise, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Just after I received the lantern I had the perfect opportunity to test it as we had a 6 hour power outage on Christmas Eve! It performed really well and it has a nice bright light. When not in use the light slides into the base so it is protected and compact, you can also slide it partly shut if you want to decrease the brightness.
In the closed position it is approximately 5 inches tall and 3 /2 inches diameter. When you slide it open it automatically switches on, and switches off when you close it- no fiddling with switches. It runs on 3AA Batteries which are easy to find and contribute to the whole lantern being much lighter than a traditional lantern powered by D or C cells. My only complaint is the LED lights are very bright, and can be uncomfortable on your eyes if you look directly at the lantern- it would be nice if the clear plastic surrounding the light was frosted to decrease the glare. I love how much smaller and lighter it is than traditional camping lanterns and I will definitely be adding it to our camping box.
BYB C8 CREE T6 LED Rechargeable Flashlight
This LED Flashlight from BYB comes with a 2200mA Lithium ion rechargeable battery and wall charger. It is a very bright rechargeable flashlight and appears sturdy and well made. It has 5 different lighting modes which are accessed via pressing a button on the end of the lamp. The beam is great- it has a central very bright spot with a larger halo of light around it that is less bright. On a dark, stormy night I was able to easily illuminate a fence, trees and shed along the edge of my garden approximately 100 feet away. I love this flashlight to use around the house and garden but I am a little hesitant to use it on a long camping trip as there is no indicator as to how much power is left in the battery and as the rechargeable isn’t a “standard size” you can’t take along AAs or AAAs as a backup. Pros: bright beam, appears sturdy, rechargeable, 5 modes. Cons: to ability to change focus of beam, no indicator of how much power is left in battery.
NOTE: Products were supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).