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Baofeng Tech is a Chinese company that produces a wide range of radios that operate in the Amateur Radio Frequency ranges.   The radios imported by Baofeng and other distributors into the U. S.

Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP: What Has Changed?

Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP: What Has Changed?Baofeng Tech is a Chinese company that produces a wide range of radios that operate in the Amateur Radio Frequency ranges.  The radios imported by Baofeng and other distributors into the U. S. have become wildly popular in the emergency preparedness world because of the price.  These are some of the least expensive full power handheld radios on the market that will operate across the spectrum. In many instances, the Baofeng handheld radio prices are half or less of a comparable model from Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu.  For budget-minded individuals who want a means of emergency communication, the price alone makes these radios attractive. In this article, we will look into a head-to-head comparison of the Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP. Let’s get to it! Quick Navigation Baofeng UV-5R – The Radio That Started It All for Baofeng Baofeng UV-5RE – The Latest and the Greatest in the 5R line What Users Like about the UV-5RE What Users Don’t Like About the UV-5RE Baofeng’s Newest Entry – the Baofeng BF-F8HP Users of the Baofeng BF-F8HP – Pros Users of the Baofeng Bf-F8HP – Cons Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP – How Do These Two Radios Compare? My Experiences – The Boafeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP Licensing – The Big Roadblock for Some People Last Minute Update (as of August 2020) Getting on the Air Baofeng UV-5R – "The Radio That" Started It All for Baofeng Baofeng had other radios in its lineup before the UV-5R came to the market.  They had enjoyed limited success with these smaller, less powerful radios, but with the introduction of the UV-5R, the US market opened like flood gates. I became aware of the smaller products offered by Baofeng when I had my retail store operating.  At the time, I was not a licensed amateur radio operator, but I ordered several of the smaller Baofeng radios to test.  It wasn’t long after that when the original UV-5R became available, and I ordered several of these as well directly from the factory in China. Field emergency communications were a hot topic among preppers and other outdoorsmen at the time and the Baofeng UV-5R seemed to fit the requirements for many of these communications needs.  Over the next few months, I took and passed my technician license exam and became a licensed HAM radio operator Since that time, the Baofeng UV-5R has gone through several upgrades and versions changes.  The latest iteration of the UV-5R line is the UV-5RE. Baofeng UV-5RE – The Latest and the Greatest in the 5R line There are a couple of caveats to buying a Baofeng UV-5RE online or even at a swap meet or gun show.  There are a lot of counterfeits on the market and you want to get a bona fide Baofeng product.  The main reason is to ensure that the radio you get is certified by the FCC to be Part 93 compliant. The UV-5R is a versatile little radio with many features and a wide array of capabilities, provided you can fathom the programming instructions or are computer savvy enough to use one of the available radio programming software that is available online.  Yes, you do have to program these radios to make them useful. As far as features go, the UV-5R boasts an impressive list for a radio that is often available with many accessories for under $50. Frequency Range – 136-174/400 – 479.995 MHz These frequencies cover the range of the Amateur VHF and UHF bands. High definition LED display in two available colors Upgraded frame material for longer life and more durability High/low power settings permitting either 4 watts or 1 watt transmit power Commercial FM radio receiver built-in 1500mAh battery Keypad lock Dual Display with Dual-band watch 128 memory slots Vox, DCS/CTCS encode support Built-in flashlight SMA Female antenna connection I could get more technical about the details of the radio receiver and the transmitter, but those details are a bit beyond the scope and intent of this article.  Suffice it to say that the UV5R is a fully capable handheld radio with all the latest technological advances built into the electronics and the firmware that controls everything. "What Users Like" about the UV-5RE The price is excellent for a radio with these kinds of features Great reception for such a small radio Programming with the computer interface cable and software is easy and quick Great battery life Solid and well-built feel to the radio.  Doesn’t feel like a cheap big box store walky-talky No lack of aftermarket accessories and upgrades to make a great little radio even better "What Users Don’t" Like About the UV-5RE The quality control is a little sketchy. Use a reliable dealer and watch for counterfeits Requires a license if you want to do more than just listen Hard to program manually.  You must buy the programming cable separate The manuals provided poorly written and are hard to understand Overall, the customer satisfaction ratings on the UV-5R are high, and most users find this radio fills their needs at an unbeatable price. BaoFeng UV-5R Plus Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio... Frequency Range: 136-174/400-480 MHz. FM Radio; Power output : 4 /1 watts; 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS. Comes with metallic rugged shell, more durable than previous UV-5R and UV-5RA. Cool and perfect for... See Price on Amazon Last update on 2020-08-14 at 03:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API "Baofeng’s Newest Entry" – the Baofeng BF-F8HP The newest entry into the Baofeng handheld radio group is the Baofeng BF-F8HP. Some advertisements for this radio tout it as the 3 rd Generation update of the UV-5R.  The BF-F8HP uses the same underlying technology as the UV-5R but offers more power, a new firmware edition, and a hardened case. The BF-F8HP also features a new and more powerful battery to match the upgraded output power.  All these upgrades and additions make the BF-F8HP a bit more expensive than a UV-5R.  Baofeng advertises that the BF-F8HP was designed in the US to specifically meet the requirements of Part 93 of the FCC regulations to ensure that users can operate safely and legally. Feature-wise, Baofeng hasn’t left anything out of the list. 2000mAh, 7.4v Li-ion battery pack Frequency range – 65-1008Hz (FM receive only), 136-174MHz and 400-520MHz High gain 7” flexible antenna Semi-duplex operation Three output power levels – 1w/4w/8w Fully backward compatible with all UV-5R accessories Tri-color LED display 128 memory slots Vox, DCS/CTCS encode support Built-in flashlight SMA Female antenna connection In the radio world, more output power means more distance.  The advantage of more power is especially true when talking about the UHF and VHF bands.  If you need more distance or you face challenges to using a handheld radio such as large buildings, terrain variations, or other interference issues, the additional power of the Baofeng BF-F8HP can justify the small difference in price. Users of the Baofeng BF-F8HP – Pros The extra power is well worth the extra price. Works well and hits repeaters up to 15 miles away from my house The multiple power settings are great for saving batteries Programming is easy with the accessory cable and software This radio feels solid and well built For a serious ham, this radio has all the features expected on a radio costing twice as much Users of the Baofeng Bf-F8HP – Cons Quality control seems to be an issue with Baofeng The SMA antenna connector is reversed from most other handheld radios There Is no way to copy a VFO to memory. The buttons on the keyboard are small and not easy for anyone with large hands to manipulate. In general, customers seem to be delighted with their choice of the Baofeng BF-F8HP.  The comments rate high on the customer satisfaction side.  The lack of an included programming cable seems to be the chief complaint even among those giving this radio high marks. Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP – How Do These "Two Radios Compare" ? Baofeng UV-5R Baofeng BF-F8HP Frequencies 136 – 174 MHz400 – 479 MHz65 – 108 MHz (Rcv Only) 136 – 174 MHz400 – 520 MHz65 – 108 MHz (Rcv only) Power (output) 1w/4w 1w/4w/8w Display 2 Color LED 3 Color LED Dual-Band Yes Yes Battery 1500mAh 2000mAh Memory 128 128 Included Radio, Antenna, Li-Ion battery, Desk charger, Belt clip, Wrist strap, User manual Radio, Li-ion battery, Antenna, Desk Charger, Belt Clip, Wrist strap, User Manual Feature-wise, the UV-5R and the BF-F8HP are almost identical.  The fact that the BF-F8HP is considered the 3 rd generation of the UV-5R explains a lot of this.  The significant differences between these two handheld radios ais in the power-output and then firmware that drives the radio functions. Almost all of the aftermarket accessories available for the UV-5R will work with the BF-F8HP radios, so if you are upgrading an existing radio to the newer model, you won’t’ have to stand the expense of replacing all of your accessories.   The differences in these two radios include: Output power – The UV-5R is limited to 4 watts output while the BF-F8HP can transmit 8 watts Supplied Battery size – The Bf-F8HP comes with a 2000mAh li-ion battery pack as opposed to the UV-5R’s smaller 1500 mAh battery pack Firmware – The Bf-F8HP includes the newest firmware available from Baofeng.  This firmware is designed to take advantage of the upgraded power of the BF0F8HP and will not be an available upgrade to the UV-5R radio. My Experiences – The Boafeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP I have several of both models in my collection. A couple of my UV-5Rs date back more than five years, and I have never upgraded the firmware or done anything to them except adding some new batteries as the older battery packs began to age. I have had the older Baofeng UV-5R’s die for no apparent reason.  They just quit working.  It happens, especially with handheld radios that go outdoors in some harsh weather or ride around in the console of a truck on a construction job.  The great thing about the Baofeng radios is that I don’t fret too much over the loss because the investment was not that much. I like the Baofeng radios.  I think they are an excellent investment for the price, especially if you intend to use them only in emergencies. I keep a UV-5R in all my go-bags, get home bags, and three-day evacuation bags.   I tape a small card to the back of the battery with instructions on how to use the radio and what channels to monitor for emergency broadcasts. The built-in ability to monitor commercial FM broadcasts is an essential feature that makes the BaoFeng radios stand out for me.  In an emergency such as a hurricane or tornado, FM radio will be the preferred method for emergency agencies to communicate updates and information.  This feature means I don’t have to carry or worry about a separate radio to hear these broadcasts. As I begin to replace my older UV-5R’s, I will be choosing the new BF-F8HP for the simple reason that more power is just a good thing in my book.   More reach in an emergency communications situation means a better chance of being heard.  I wholeheartedly recommend everyone, whether you are a licensed amateur radio operator or not, to have a couple of these BaoFeng BF-F8HP radios in your kit. Licensing – The Big Roadblock for Some People Yes, if you operate on any of the Amateur Radio bands using a Baofeng radio, you are required to have at least a Technicians License issued by the Federal Communications Commission.  Now, it isn’t illegal to buy, own or listen to a radio that operates in these frequencies.  You can buy and listen to anyone operating on these frequencies but don’t push the TALK button and start transmitting. Many people are under the misconception that they can buy a Baofeng and program the MURS, GMRS, or FRS frequencies and begin transmitting immediately.  Not so.   All these frequencies require a license issued by the FCC.  You don’t want to inadvertently end up with an FCC enforcement agent knocking on your front door because you used your handheld radio to talk to your wife from your workshop across the yard. For more information about FCC licensing, you should visit this website .  The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has all the information on how to study for a test and get licenses, including practice tests with the actual questions used on the FCC licensing exam. "Last Minute Update" (as of August 2020) Just as I was closing out this article, I noticed on the Baofeng Tech website a small and hardly noticeable line in their product chart.  I am not sure of the publish date of the Baofeng Tech website.  The chart now lists the Baofeng UV-5R with other discontinued radio models. Checking around the internet, I found that the Baofeng UV-5R is still widely available from other sellers.  I cannot ascertain how long these stocks will last, but if you want a Baofeng UV-5R, it might be wise to shop sooner than later. I still recommend that you spend a little more and buy the newer Baofeng BF-F8HP.  I don’t think you will be disappointed, and the added features will certainly enhance the use of the radio. Getting on the Air No matter which radio you choose, I hope that this article has provided some understanding of the options and differences in the Baofeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP radios. Don’t forget that to transmit on either of these radios, licensing is required.  If you have questions, comments, or other experiences, please share them in the comments below.

5 Best Places to Buy Ammo Online [2020]

5 Best Places to Buy Ammo Online [2020]

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s So many online ammo websites, right? Find out the best places to buy ammunition online from our own positive experiences and fails. .357 Magnum, anyone? (I’ll answer for you: yes, please!) We’ll also cover recommended brands, types of bullets to buy, what is a “good” price, and unfortunately…restrictions based on your state. Different Bullet Tips (L TO R: FMJ, Soft, Open, Ballistic) *August Update* Unrest across the nation has depleted ammo stocks (that were already mostly gone from COVID). Here’s some that are coming in and out of stock. 5.56/.223 American Eagle 5.56 55 gr XM193 GECO 5.56 55gr PMC X-TAC 5.56 62gr LAP Lake City 5.56 62 gr XM855 “Green Tip” PMC Bronze .223 55 gr Federal .223 55gr Soft Point 9mm Prvi Partizan 9mm 124gr American Eagle 9mm 115/124gr PMC Bronze 9mm 115gr Blazer Brass 9mm 115 gr Winchester 9mm 124gr Check out our Deals Section where we put up ammo that we do find (while it lasts)! Why "Buy Ammo Online" ? A survey of gun owners conducted by the NSSF found that 53% of gun owners bought ammo online and that 86% of those cited lower prices and quantity discounts . Lots of Ammo I’ve only bought ammo a couple of times at gun stores or the range because I forgot to bring my online bought ammo. But every time I go, it’s not surprising to see prices 50% higher than what you’ll find online…even after factoring in shipping! I’d like to also add in variety and tax savings . Without the restraint of a physical location, online sellers can have tons of selection. Some guns just like different ammo better than others.  I like to order a couple of types to see what shoots best in a new gun, and then later put in a bulk order.  Plus, our suggestions will likely be out of state for you…so no sales tax ! And now unfortunately…a lot of big box retailers are caving to anti-gun pressure and no longer selling ammo/guns. Still with me? Now onto the good stuff! Best Places to Buy Ammo Online 1. Palmetto State Armory (PSA) My go-to online place for buying BULK ammo is "Palmetto State Armory" . They will usually be one of the best prices for cases (1000) rounds of popular calibers…like .223/5.56, 9mm, and .45 ACP. Green Tip 5.56 XM855 Penetrator Rounds And sometimes you’ll even find free shipping for cases…otherwise it may be about $20-30 bucks. Their shipping used to be excruciating slow about ~5 years ago, but now with their in-house firearms selling like hotcakes…they’ve got their ammo shipping down as well. AR-15 Ammo (.223/5.56) 9mm Ammo All Ammo Daily Deals Speaking of their firearms…they get my stamp of approval for the best entry-level AR-15. See all our reviews of their guns. PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde What’s your take on PSA for ammo and guns? Readers' Ratings 4.79/5 (2019) Your Rating? 2. LuckyGunner Lucky Gunner My go-to place to buy ammo online is Lucky Gunner for their selection, real-time inventory, and fast shipping, and shipping estimator.  I’ve been a customer of theirs for over 6 years. XM193 Rounds I find a lot of other retailers skimp in website tech or their shipping departments.  There have been too many times where the following has happened: I find a great price, order, my credit card is charged, and then I get an email a couple days later that they are out of stock.  Now I can either wait for a backorder or get a refund which ties up my credit card for a week. I order and it takes a week or two to ship out my order. I try to see my shipping costs and I have to create a login and enter all my details first. LuckyGunner is great since they take care of the three problems above.  You get to see their live inventory next to each product, they have a 110% guarantee that your stuff will be shipped the next business day, and you can easily calculate shipping without creating a login. 3. Brownells Brownells is where I get most of my specialty tools and gun parts.  They also have unparalleled customer service, reasonable shipping, and some good ammo deals. They are caught up in all the website technology which I love, so you can add all the ammo to your cart, input your zip code, and see the shipping.  Makes it much easier to compare across websites. They stand behind their products and I’ve found it really easy to return stuff.  However, I’m pretty sure you can’t return ammo for safety reasons.  But for parts and tools, they are the best! 4. Cabela’s Hunters and fishermen know and love their local Cabela’s and since their acquisition by Bass Pro, Cabela’s ammo prices have dropped even further! Best of all, they almost always have the best hunting ammo you can find in almost every caliber you can think of. Don’t forget to look at the Cabela’s branded gear also, everything from optics to rifle bags to jackets can be found with their brand name on it and so far I’ve never been disappointed with the quality or price! 5. Sportsman’s Guide From power tools to guns and ammo, Sportsman’s Guide has almost everything under their roof – kind of like a Cabela’s and Harbor freight mixed into one! While their standard deals are good, their deals with a Sportsmen’s Guide membership are even better! 10% off of gear and 5% off of guns and ammo, those savings can add up huge in a year of shooting! Other Suggestions These didn’t make our regular list but desperate times call for desperate measures and they might have some stuff left… Sportsman’s Warehouse Kentucky Gun Company Rainier Arms Cheaper Than Dirt (Extreme Price Gouging) Recommended Ammo Brands These are just my recommended ammo brands based on price, availability, and what worked in my guns.  I shoot a decent amount so I usually go for the budget brands.  I haven’t had a problem with any of the below. Popular Pistol Calibers PMC : Cheap and plentiful rounds that I have used in almost all my calibers.  Made in South Korea. Federal/American Eagle : Also cheap and plentiful rounds made in the USA.  I use them interchangeably but word on the street is that AE is Federal’s line that is sold online and in gunshops.  Federal Champion is their budget line usually found at Walmart. Blazer : Another budget brand that sometimes seems too good to be true.  Be aware that the super cheap one might be aluminum cased instead of regular brass.  I’ve never tried aluminum casings in pistols since I wanted to keep my brass for eventual reloading, but my buddies and I have had no problems in handguns running Blazer Brass. Tula : My go-to AK round brand.  Super cheap with polymer coated steel cases.  Who cares…it’s an AK! Lake City : While US government-owned, Lake City also sells surplus ammo and brass through a lot of vendors. They also sell parts and supplies to other brands so it’s not uncommon to find ammo from Federal with brass or bullets made by Lake City. All of it is quality stuff! Others : I’ve also had good success with Sellier & Bellot, and Fiocchi, but they are normally a little higher in price.  And if in doubt, just google the brand and caliber to see if there’s any complains in online gun forums. Recommended Ammo for Common Calibers A quick overview of the different calibers and types of bullets out there so you’ll know all the useful acronyms such as FMJ for full metal jacket or JHP for jacket hollow point. More Popular Ammo Brands We’ll also have some suggestions for choosing a self-defense gun as well. Common Rifle Calibers Even though we go through 18 calibers in the article above, you’ll probably only see/need a handful of the most common ones.  So we’ll start with those first. 223/5.56 Ammo Daniel Defense AR-15 The round of the super popular AR-15. Haven’t gotten one yet?  Check out our Definitive Guide to the AR-15 . You can shoot .223 ammo in a 5.56 barrel, but since 5.56 may have higher pressures, you should not shoot them in a .223 barrel. Popular 5.56 and .223 Ammo I always get my barrels in 5.56 so there is no problem.  Ammo is around 25-40 cents each at the most standard 55 gr bullet. You’ll also see some designations of XM and M followed by 193 or 855 for Federal & American Eagle. XM means it was rejected from military use for some reason but still meets commercial specifications.  M means it meets mil-spec.  193 means it is a 55 gr FMJ-BT (boat tail) while 855 is 62 gr FMJ-BT with a steel penetrator for added penetration against hardened targets. M855 Cutaway, Bearingarms.com We cover everything in even more detail in Best AR-15 Ammo for Self-Defense & Range .  But here are some of our picks. Our favorite XM193 and XM855 ammo! Best 5.56 XM193 55 gr American Eagle XM193 55 gr 419 at Palmetto State Armory Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 419 at Palmetto State Armory Compare prices (3 found) Palmetto State Armory (See Price) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing Best 5.56 XM855 (Green Tip) American Eagle XM855 62 gr 399 at Palmetto State Armory Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 399 at Palmetto State Armory Compare prices (3 found) Palmetto State Armory (See Price) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing And our favorite range plinking round goes to PMC Bronze since the brass is great for reloading and it’s a little softer shooting than the others (perfect for competition). PMC Bronze .223 55 gr 9.99 at Palmetto State Armory Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 9.99 at Writing View Details Compare prices (3 found) "Writing View Details" (See Price) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing If you don’t care about reloading…Wolf Gold is the best bang-for-the-buck .223 ammo. Best .223 Bang-for-the-Buck Wolf Gold .223 55 gr 7.40 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 7.40 at Lucky Gunner Compare prices (2 found) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing 9mm Ammo 9mm 147 Federal Hydrashok HST I’ve shot over 5,000 rounds of 9mm before I started reloading for competitions.  Price is around 25 cents a round.  I prefer 124 gr instead of 115 gr which seems snappier in recoil, but I recommend trying out both to see which one you like better. 9mm (115gr vs 124gr vs 147gr) I also recommend sticking with brass cartridges instead of cheaper aluminum/steel. We cover everything in Best 9mm Ammo for Self-Defense & Range .  But here’s a couple of our favorites… Popular 9mm Ammo For general purpose self-defense…we like the 124 gr Federal HST. Best 9mm Self-Defense (124 gr) Federal HST 9mm 124 gr 25.75 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 25.75 at Lucky Gunner Compare prices (2 found) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing And for those who like heavier bullets… Best 9mm Self-Defense (147 gr) Federal HST 9mm 147 gr 22 at Writing View Details Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 22 at Writing View Details Compare prices (3 found) Writing View Details (See Price) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Brownells (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing .45 ACP Ammo .45 ACP Ball vs Hollowpoint I’ve shot over 2,500 rounds of 45 ACP and also go with my standard budget list of manufacturers.  Price is around 40-50 cents a round.  There’s not too much variation in weight so I stick with the standard 230 gr. The extensive list is at Best .45 ACP Ammo for Home Defense &; Target Practice but here’s our two main picks. Popular .45 ACP Ammo For self-defense, the HST passed the FBI ballistics gelatin test with flying colors…dominating in penetration and expansion. Best .45 ACP Self-Defense Federal .45 ACP 230 gr HST 28 at Brownells Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 28 at Brownells Compare prices (2 found) Brownells (See Price) Lucky Gunner (See Price) Prices accurate at time of writing .22LR Ammo Reasonably priced 22LR ammo is getting easier to find at <8 cents a round. .22LR (CCI vs Winchester vs Super Colibri) So what is out there (and in stock) is much more expensive.   We’ve compiled an extensive list in Best .22 LR Ammo for Accuracy, Plinking, & Hunting . Popular .22LR Ammo But…the CCI at 40 gr is my go-to for 22LR in my Ruger 10/22. CCI – 40 gr (Likely in stock but expensive) Federal Automatch Target – 325 Rounds – 40 gr Sellier & Bellot – 500 Rounds – 38 gr 7.62×39 Ammo Assorted 7.62×39 (FMJ, Open, Soft, FMJ) The good ole AK-47 rounds.  My rule is to go with ammo from countries that used the AK but to watch out for corrosive ammunition (which is pretty good shooting stuff, you just need to put more effort in cleaning afterward). You also need to check with your shooting range rules to see if they allow magnetic (bi-metal) or non-brass ammunition such as Wolf/Tula. Popular 7.62×39 Ammo If they don’t, you will have to go with more expensive brands or corrosive ammunition.  The general weight is around 122 gr and costs from 25-35 cents each.  Brass cartridges will be more. Tula – Assorted – 122 gr FMJ (Magnetic + Steel, my favorite if the range doesn’t care) Wolf – Assorted – 123gr FMJ (Magnetic + Steel, WPA Polyformance is the cheapest) PMC – 20 Rounds – 123 gr FMJ (Non-Magnetic + Brass, if the range cares) 7.62×39 Self Defense Ammo Sellier & Bellot – 20 Rounds – 123 gr SP Hornady SST – 50 Rounds – 123 gr SST .308/7.62x51mm Ammo Assorted 7.62x51mm (MEN 147gr, PPU 165gr, PPU 180gr, Gold Medal 168gr Another of those rounds that are almost identical but with some differences in pressure and dimensions.  Unless you really know what you are doing, keep to using the round intended for your rifle. Popular .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm Ammo Since most 308/7.62x51mm ammo will be in long-range (sniper) rifles, we’ll also include some Match ammo. Most commercial ammo will be around 147 gr and around 60-70 cents each while match ammo is around 168 gr and $1.50 a round.  I went almost straight into reloading to get the max accuracy out of my guns so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. All .308/7.62 ammo ( Lucky , Brownells ). .308 Ammo PMC – 20 Rounds – 147 gr FMJ-BT (Shot my first hundred with this) Fiocchi – 20 Rounds – 150 gr FMJ-BT Federal Match King – 20 Rounds – 168 HP-BT (For precision shooting) 7.62x51mm Ammo Federal – 20 Rounds – 149 gr FMJ XM80C Federal – 20 Rounds – 168 gr Open Tip Match (For precision shooting) 308/7.62x51mm Self Defense Federal Power Shok – 20 Rounds – 150 gr SP Hornady TAP – 20 Rounds – 168 gr Shotgun Ammo 12ga Shotgun Shells, Opened (L to R: Bird, Buck, Slug) The shotgun is unique since there are so many different types of ammunition. We’ll cover basic target birdshot (#8-#9 is great for clay shooting), buckshot, and slugs.  Remember for birdshot, the larger the #, the smaller the pellets.  And that 00 (double-aught) buckshot is great for self-defense while slugs are one solid piece of lead. Popular 12ga Shotgun Ammo 2-3/4″ refers to the length of the shell which will fit almost all 12ga shotguns.  The problem arises from 3″ magnum shells. Prices will vary from 25 cents for target shots to around 50 cents – $1 for buckshot and slugs.  I’ve shot tons of Fiocchi and Estate birdshot, and love the Winchester Military Buckshot. Winchester 12ga 00 Buckshot Check out the full list at Best Shotgun Ammo for "Home Defense &" ; Range Shooting .  But here’s some of our picks: Birdshot Fiocchi – 25 Rounds – #8 2-3/4″ (What I’ve shot the most) Estate – 25 Rounds – #8 2-3/4″ (Cheapest option) Buckshot Winchester Military – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ 00 Buckshot (Gold standard) Slugs Federal – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ Rifled Slug Winchester – 5 Rounds – 2-3/ "4″ Rifled Slug" Fiocchi – 10 Rounds – 2-3/4″ Slug (Low Recoil) Self-Defense Shotgun Rounds Hornady – 10 Rounds – 2-3/4″ 00 Buckshot Critical Defense Federal – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ 00 Buckshot Vital-Shok (What I prefer) Want to see more of our favorite ammo, guns, and gear?  Check out Editor’s Picks .

Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

Survival Gear Review: Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Knife

It seems that everyone’s favorite piece of gear to carry and discuss are knives . With the variety of styles, shapes, sizes and the jobs they can perform, it is easy to see why they are a favorite piece of gear. When it comes to folding knives, I am very particular and will not carry an old pocket knife . I have seen a lot of guys carry those five to ten dollar knives that are piled in a box on a gas station or sporting goods counter top.  Those guys always love to show off that new, shiny, cool looking knife . Of course within a week or two, the blade locking mechanism has broken, the edge of the blade is as dull as a butter knife and some of the screws or rivets are falling out. Those guys might as well have thrown their money into the garbage can because that is where their cool new knife ended up anyway.  For most of my life I carried a Schrade Old Timer , Swiss Army knife , or a Gerber Paraframe . All three of these knives held up well, never broke, kept an edge and paid for themselves time and time again.  The only down fall of folders, is that they generally don’t stand up to the activities I would use a fixed blade for.  I know that I should not expect that kind of strength and durability from a folding knife as it is a completely different from a fixed blade.  However, I always wanted that out of a folding knife, and I think I have finally found a folding knife that will perform as closely to a fixed-blade knife as possible. Also Read: Fallkniven Jarl Knife Review Over the years I have owned a few fixed, full-tang knives from Cold Steel and have always been very happy with their products and their prices. So, a few years ago I decided to purchase a folder from them and I decided on buying the Pocket Bushman . It is probably one of the plainest looking knives you can buy, but boy is this knife a BEAST! The blade measure in at 4 ½” inches long with an overall length of 10 ¼”! All the reviews said that this knife was big and it did look big in the photos, but I really didn’t appreciate how big It was until I was holding it in my hands. It felt more like a fixed blade knife than a folding pocket knife . Unlike other pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman does not whiz open with a flick of your thumb. It is rather slow and you need both hands to properly open it and shut it. When closing the knife you have to be extremely careful.  The knife has a rocker lock which is tough as nails but it is a bit different to close than other folders.  In order to close the knife safely and properly you need to place one hand on the spine of the blade and the other hand needs to pull the paracord lanyard at the bottom of the handle.  The first time I tried this it was a bit awkward and I almost cut myself. After opening and shutting it a few times the motions became very natural. The handle has a very large and deep groove for your index finger.  This helps in keeping your hand from slipping forward to the blade when working with the knife.  The handle is probably the only downfall I can find with this knife.  While I like the smooth steel finish, it makes it a bit tough to use the knife if your hands are wet.  It would have been nice to see some kind of textured finished on the handle.  However, there have only been a few times that I have tried to use this knife in wet conditions and most of the time when I am using this knife I am wearing gloves, which I highly recommend. While this is a folder and it fits well in my pocket, I love that it can handle the big jobs as well.  I have used it for making tinder, cutting cardboard, tape, ropes, tie downs, zip ties, carpet, to baton wood, gutted fish, and even split small logs.  I still remember the first time I showed it off at work. The guys thought I had wasted my money on some big knife just to be a show off.  While they were chuckling I bent down and picked up a broken piece of wood from a pallet.  I then commenced beating the back of the blade into a very tall, thick stack of cardboard. Once I got halfway down the stack I turned to a pallet that was leaning against a nearby shelf. Also Read: Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife Review The Pocket Bushman easily took chunks out of the pallet and after a few minutes it came out the other side of the board.  I turned around to the guys, showed them there was no damage to the knife and no wiggle in the blade, folded it up, placed it in my pocket and walked away.  A few years have passed and I have used this knife so much, yet there is still no movement between the blade and handle, and it still sharpens very easily.  I have added paracord to the loop hole in the lock release slide at the bottom of the handle.  This is by far, hands down, the best folder I have ever purchased and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new tool.  I believe, when I bought this knife it was forty dollars.  I checked out the knife out on Amazon the other day and it was listed for fifty nine dollars.  I have been thinking about getting another one and I would not think twice about paying that price for this knife. If anyone else has used this knife I would love to hear about your experience with it. Photos By: Turetsky Dan P Matt Coz Other interesting articles: Benchmade Adamas Knife Review for 2020: Survival Gear Hands-On Cold Steel Bushman Review: Hands-On Review Cold Steel SRK Review for 2020: Is This A Good Survival Knife? Survival Gear Review: Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife

Best AR-15 Lower Vise Blocks 2020 Top Picks Reviewed

Best AR-15 Lower Vise Blocks  2020 Top Picks Reviewed

Are you looking for the best AR-15 lower vise block? If so, you’re not alone. There are probably a handful of AR-15 owners like you looking for the same thing. But which lower vise block will be best for you in the long term? That’s the question we’ll be answering today. Since you’re currently looking for a lower vise block, we decided to give you a good head start by hand-picking five of the best on the market. We’ve chosen these based on a few factors you may consider the determining factor in your final purchasing decision. Prior to unveiling the list, we’ll be taking a look at what an AR-15 lower vise block does and how you can choose one for your own. At a Glance: Our Top Picks for AR15 Lower Vise Blocks OUR TOP PICK: Real Avid Smart-Fit Vise Block Magpul BEV Block – AR-15/M4 BEST BUDGET OPTION: Real Avid Master Bench Block Comparison of the Best AR-15 "Lower Vise Block" s IMAGE PRODUCT Our Top Pick "Real Avid Smart" - "Fit Vise Block" Includes a Pivot Lock Adjustment Handle for Easy Adjustments Fits .223 and 5.56 NATO Chambered Rifles. View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews Magpul BEV Block – AR-15/M4 Supports Many AR-15 and M4 Upper and Lower Receivers Support Shank Made From Steel for Excellent Support and Security Made From High-Quality Steel and Polymer for All-Around Durability "View Latest Price" → "Read Customer Reviews" Best Budget Option "Real Avid Master" Bench Block Overmolded for a Better, No-Slip Grip Magnets Included to Hold Your Pins and Springs in Place Holds All Your Key AR-15 Parts While You’re Repairing or Maintaining Your Rifle View Latest PriceRead Customer Reviews What is a Lower Vise Block and What Are They Used For? A lower vise block is used when you are looking to make necessary repairs or installations on your AR-15 rifle. It is a heavy-duty block designed to firmly hold your rifle in place while preventing the rifle from getting crushed, twisted, or damaged in some other way. It is also guaranteed not to leave any scratches on your rifle in the areas where it’s held in place. How to Choose a Lower Vise Block As you’re choosing a lower vise block, you should consider a few aspects that will determine your final purchasing decision. These are the same aspects we’ve considered while finding a vise block to add to our list of reviews. The only difference is, you’ll need to choose one. With that said, here’s what we recommend you look for as your search progresses: Price If you’re a budget shopper, you’ll probably hold the price tag to higher importance. The cost should not be the only reason you choose a lower vise block, though. You should pay attention to the overall quality and function of the lower vise block. This way, you can determine if it’s excellent in quality or if it’s a cheap, low-quality model. Material The overall quality will depend on the kind of materials being used. Most materials that manufacturers use for these lower vise grips will be either aluminum, steel, or polymer. While they’re best known for being durable and impervious to damage, they also are the best materials to use when you want to protect your lower receiver from any scratches, scuffs, abrasions, or other types of damage. Adjustments Lefty loosey and righty tighty. Those are the words that are stuck in our heads when adjusting our vises. The question you need to ask is: how easy can it be to achieve a secure grip? Find a vise block that will allow for smooth and easy adjustments. At the same time, you’ll need to make sure that while the vise is tight enough, it won’t be able to crush or seriously damage your AR-15 rifle. Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Lower Vise Blocks These are our recommendations for the best AR-15 lower vise blocks: ​Real Avid Smart-Fit Vise Block Magpul BEV Block – AR-15/M4 Real Avid Master Bench Block Review of the Best AR-15 Lower Vise Blocks Below is a list of five of the best AR-15 lower vise blocks. Your mission is to find the vise block that will best fit your personal needs and wants. At the same time, you’ll need to consider whether or not the lower vise block you’re looking at might be worth the long-term use. So it’s important to look through each of these vise blocks carefully so you know what’s included and what to expect. With that in mind, let’s kick off our list by unveiling our “best overall” AR-15 lower vise block: Best Overall: Real Avid S​​mart-Fit Vise Block CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Very Easy to Use Eliminates the Use of Shims Tightens Up Nicely Without Crushing or Damaging the Rifle. Cons None First on the docket, we’ll be taking a look at the Real Avid Smart-Fit Vise Block. If you’re looking for a great vise block you can use for the purpose of making routine maintenance to your AR-15 rifle or if you just want something to hold it still while you’re installing an accessory or two, this might be what you need. This vise is designed to handle 5.56 NATO or .223 caliber AR-15 rifles. It will hold the rifle in place so you can easily access the underside for easier cleaning. Plus, rotating the vise in order to tighten the rifle in place will be a breeze. If you’re looking for a vise that will be easy to use and won’t be a challenge to make a few adjustments, the Smart-Fit Vise Block might be exactly what you’ll need. It is, in our opinion, the best of the best in terms of lower vise blocks for AR-15 rifles. You’d be crazy to pass up on the opportunity to give this a further look if this further piques your interest. Bottom Line This lower vise block has proven itself worthy of the “best overall” honor. This is easy to use and to make adjustments if things seem a little off. And you can hold the rifle in nice and tight while you’re maintaining or making repairs to your rifle. If you love your rifle, it’s always a great idea to take care of it. And if you take care of your rifle often, a great vise block like the Real Avid Smart-Fit is something you might rely on. Runner-up: Magpul BEV Block – AR-15/M4 CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Easy to Use and Adjust Holds Your Rifle Securely in Place. No Wiggle or Wobbling Super Durable Materials Do a Great Job Protecting Your Rifle From Potential Damage Cons One Reviewer Complained it Doesn’t Lock onto the Lower Mag Well One User Said the Upper Receiver is Slightly Loose, Even When the Rifle is Securely in Place Now, we’ll be turning out attention to the Magpul BEV Block AR-15/M4. If you want a more secure hold like nothing else, the Magpul BEV Block might be something you’ll want to consider giving a closer look. If you have a forged or billet upper receiver, this vise block will easily be able to support it. And it will hold it in place without inflicting any kind of damage. This is made from a combination of steel and polymer and it is quite hard to damage. It will also do a great job making sure your rifle stays in place while you work on it. The polymer end of the block is designed to protect your aluminum receivers from scratches, scrapes, and other kinds of abrasions while it’s safe and secure in its place. Also included is the O-ring and support pin to ensure that your rifle stays in place and doesn’t wobble or wiggle around while you clean or maintain it. If you want the best vise in terms of quality, then you’ve got it. That’s because every Magpul BEV Block is made in the United States of America and follows strict quality guidelines to ensure your vise block is not some cheap, easy to break kind of unit. If you want something that is built for the long-term, this is the product you’ll want for your AR-15 rifle. Bottom Line Magpul has long been considered one of the most reliable brands on the market. One of their signature habits is manufacturing their accessories with a high-quality polymer. Their aim is to provide you with a long-term option so it will last you years, maybe decades. This vise block is no exception. It delivers the same kind of performance you’d expect from anything else from Magpul. Super durable and reliable, this might be worth the investment if these are the two things you want to get out of a lower vise block. 3. Real Avid Master Bench Block CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros Makes Assembling and Disassembling Worry-Free Fits Large Enough Parts Like Gas Blocks Without Any Issues of Cluttering Great to Have While You Need Something to Keep Your Parts Close By While Building an AR-15 Cons None For our next product, we’ll be returning to the Real Avid Master brand. Here, we’ll be taking a look at their AR-15 bench block. If you’re looking for a bench block that will hold all of your key parts together and will allow for easy removal of springs, pins, and everything in between, this might be worth a closer look. This has an over-molded outer grip that will prevent it from slipping out of your hands or off the bench it’s tacked onto. This also has magnets so it can easily grab and store the pins that hold your rifle parts together all in one place. Never again will you have to worry about losing all of your pins and springs as you’re disassembling your rifle. Plus, the search game will be a thing of the past. This is great to have while your rifle is currently locked in a vise. If you worry about losing parts like the small pins and springs, you’ll have a place to put them. This bench block will also fit other parts like gas blocks, trigger assemblies, and all the other necessary parts you don’t want to lose while you’re repairing or cleaning your rifle. Bottom Line No assembly or disassembly would be complete without having a bench block handy. All you need to do is place each part in the box for safe storage. That way, you know where they are when the time comes to replace them for re-assembly. No more will you have to worry about setting them off to the side or accidentally misplacing them, especially when you’re dealing with small parts like pins and springs. If you’re getting a vise block like the ones up above and need something to hold your parts during the cleaning process, the Real Avid Master Bench Block is definitely worth having. 4. Action Block & Lower Vise Block Set CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros A Great Vise Block for the Price it's Going for Fits Nice and Tight With Most Rifles and Receivers Keeps the Rifle in Place and Doesn’t Wobble During Maintenance Cons Might Be a Little Too Big to Accept Different Tolerances Some Filing or Sanding Might Be Needed Prior to Initial Use "One Reviewer Complained" His AR-15 Lower Receiver Had a Hard Time Staying in Place If you’re looking for a lower vise block that is affordable for most budgets, then you’ll love what we’ve chosen for you. This is the Brownells’ Action Block and Lower Vise Block Set. The vise block is designed to hold your AR-15 and M16 rifles in place without risking any further damage. This means it will make for easy maintenance or installation (assuming you’re installing a new accessory). The blocks are made from high-quality urethane that allows you all kinds of grip-like force, but won’t be able to crush your lower receiver. The last thing you want to do is deal with a vise block that will break something that might eventually cost you a lot of money for a replacement. The vise will be tight enough to ensure that your rifle is nice and secure while you’re cleaning, repairing, or installing an additional accessory. You can be sure you won’t get any kind of wiggling or wobbling. This will easily lock to your magazine port and stay in place until you’re finished. If you’re looking for an excellent lower vise block without breaking the bank, there’s a good chance you may want to consider the "Brownells’ Action Block" and Lower Vise Block. You get a good grip and the ability to work on your rifle while it stays nice and secure, making your work just a little easier. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a super durable lower vise block that will do its job and won’t drain your bank account, the Brownells’ brand lower vise block could just be the one you might want. Aside from being quite affordable, it definitely does a good job holding your rifle in place. Especially if you’re just taking a few minutes of your time installing something like an optic or a muzzle brake. If you were looking for something flimsy and cheap, you won’t find it with this vise block. 5. Present Arms Inc - AR-15 Lower Receiver Repair Block CHECK LATEST PRICE Pros No Scratches or Damage Left Behind Can Work Well With Buffer Tube Blocks Holds the Lower Receiver Nice and Secure Cons May Be a Little Pricey for Most Budget Shoppers May Need to Purchase the Alignment Block if You Intend to Use it for Better Results Last, but not least, we’ll be taking a look at the Present Arms AR-15 Lower "Receiver Repair Block" . This is made from high-quality polymer. Not only is it durable, but it will do an excellent job providing overall support for your AR-15 rifle’s lower receiver. If you want to hold it in place for sure, you can use the receiver’s takedown and pivot pins. Once secure, you can maintain, clean, or if necessary, make some installments on any parts so you can make your AR-15 receiver more reliable. Nothing makes your AR-15 rifle run more smoothly than a much-needed upgrade, whatever that might be. This is the vise block you can use if you want to secure your rifle in either the regular upright position or in an inverted position. Either way, you can use this vise while you’re assembling or disassembling the rifle itself. This product will be more effective if you’re using the alignment block from the same brand. If you’re looking for a vise block you can rely on while providing whatever maintenance you can on your rifle’s lower receiver, look no further than this vise block provided by the Present Arms brand. Bottom Line If you’re looking for a vise block solely for the lower receiver of your rifle, then you’re probably going to want something like the Present Arms. This is best used for upgrading or repairing the parts on your lower end, like your trigger assembly. Maybe your trigger pull is a little too heavy and wants to upgrade it to something lighter. Or maybe you just want to clean it up. This will keep the lower receiver secure as you are cleaning out all the dust, dirt, and residue so it stays fully functional and free from any malfunctions. How to Use a Lower Vise Blocks Using a vise block can be a challenge if you have no clue on how to use it. But if you follow the simple instructions below, you’ll be able to use one like a pro in no time. Here’s what you need to do: As always, safety first. Check to see if you are free and clear from any live rounds. The magazine well should be empty, as well as the chamber. Once you’re clear, disassemble. Take the lower receiver and using the mag well, slide it through the lower vise block. You have the option of sliding it in either the inverted or upright position. Disassemble any parts that may be still assembled in the lower receiver itself. Or if you’re using it to clean the lower receiver, use any cloths, oils, or solvents that you use and clean thoroughly. Once finished, reassemble everything and double check that all parts are secure. Conclusion If you’re looking for the best AR-15 lower vise block, your search might end here. Once you have chosen one of the products listed above, be sure to do some further research before making your final decision. Get a good idea of what people are saying and determine whether or not if it will be best for your own AR-15 rifle. At some point, you’ll need to clean, maintain, or even make some additional installations to it. So why not find a good lower vise block that will help you get the job done?

Open Carry: Self Defense Option or Public Nuance?

There are many ways in which someone may carry a firearm, but, arguably, the first decision that must be made is whether to carry open or concealed. For some, there isn’t an option. In Texas, for example, it is illegal to open carry, regardless of whether or not one possesses a permit to legally concealed carry. However, in Wisconsin, open carry was legal well before the state granted its residents the right to carry a concealed firearm. As with all varieties of carry methods, there are associated benefits and drawbacks to carrying either open carry or concealed carry. This article will briefly introduce the key arguments in favor of and against open carry (the merits and risks of concealed carry will be the topic of a followup post). Open Carry Advantages As the method’s name suggests, open carry allows for the carrier to wear their carry piece visibly. The most popular means of open carry is via waist holster (often outside-the-waistband/OWB rather than IWB). Keeping one’s carry pistol open on one’s hip makes it easily accessible in a self defense situation. There are no cover garments to move out of the way, and there is no need to design the holster in such a way that it lies flat against the body. However, the faster draw isn’t the only argument that some make in defense of carrying open. Some choose to carry open for the psychological factors of being visibly armed. There are some who choose to openly carry their firearm as a preemptive show of force to dissuade would-be attackers from victimizing the open-carrier. The idea here is that an armed individual presents a more challenging target than someone who is unarmed. However, the psychological implications of open carry are not always helpful. Disadvantages Earlier, I mentioned that it was legal in Wisconsin to open carry many years before concealed carry was legalized. Although this is true, open carry was still liable to get someone in trouble; someone who is legally open carrying can still be arrested for “disorderly conduct,” or “disturbing the peace.” There also exists the argument that those who open carry are making their self defense tools more easily accessible to others. To emphasize this point, there are some individuals who attempt to contact another’s open carried pistol without the carrier themselves noticing. This exercise suggests that there may be some who open carry who are not completely aware of their surroundings to a degree that may put possession of their self defense firearm in jeopardy. Open carry, by its very nature, also removes the element of surprise that someone is carrying a firearm. This is a distinct disadvantage under the circumstance that a victim is surprised and overwhelmed by an attacker (or group of attackers) who then takes measures to impede, or outright prevent the victim’s access to their self defense tool. Final Thoughts Not being encumbered by cover garments, or hampered by holsters designed more for their ability to conceal than for their ergonomics of efficient use allows open carriers to access their self defense firearms quicker than many concealed carry options. However, because there are individuals who are unsettled by the sight of openly armed individuals, the presence of a firearm may be as likely to cause someone to call the cops on a law-abiding open carrier as it is to dissuade a potential attacker. There is also the argument that an openly carried firearm may be easier for others to access (and therefore disarm the open carrier). Are the benefits worth the risks? The answer may vary depending where you’ll be, what people will be around you, and whether or not you’re all right with others knowing that you have a firearm on your person. What’s your preference?

Ranking The 10 Best Travel Backpacks of 2020

Traveling light is the ideal way for the digital nomads and adventurers of today to see the world. The right travel backpack gives you a place to safely store all your essentials without having to carry multiple cumbersome bags. An ideal travel backpack keeps all your gear in one easy-to-carry container. Our list of the Best Travel Backpacks includes selections that are specifically designed to be the only bag you’ll need for your travels. After check out our top ten, be sure to read through our comprehensive Buyer’s Guide to learn the most important factors to consider when choosing a new travel backpack. 1. Nomatic Travel Pack Click here for the lowest price on Amazon Ideal for the lightweight business traveler, the Nomatic is a carry-on sized pack with an internal, zippered laptop sleeve to keep your computer safe. The exterior of the pack is made with lightweight and durable Kodra tarpaulin that’s also water-resistant. The pack’s Kiss-lock zippers also function to keep water out and your belongings safe. This pack boasts an internal mesh divider that allows you to keep your everyday-carry items separate from electronics. The pack’s capacity can expand to 30 liters in total and it weighs just 4 pounds when empty. Perhaps best of all, the internal laptop pocket in this pack is TSA-approved ( 1 ), which means you can simply lay the pack flat and pass through TSA checkpoints quickly and efficiently. 2. Teton Sports Scout 3400 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon This internal frame backpack is ideal for travelers taking extended vacations to far-flung regions of the world. It gives you a total of 3400 cubic inches of internal space for clothes, electronics, everyday carry items, and a few fun belongings you’ll want on the road. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly travel packs on our list. The Teton "Sports Scout 3400" offers adaptability to your body type for comfortable carrying over longer distances. It features multi-position torso adjustment, a durable open-cell foam lumbar pad, and molded channels for increased airflow and comfort. Finally, this travel backpack helps you stay organized with a designated sleeping bag compartment, compression straps, and a number of exterior pockets for those items you’ll need at a moment’s notice. 3. Osprey Farpoint 40 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The Osprey Farpoint 40 is ideal for the U.S.-based business traveler or the international jet setter. Its sleek design means it’s fashionable enough to take right into your meetings with you and its functionality makes it the only travel backpack you’ll need, whether you plan to use it in urban or wilderness environments. This travel backpack offers 40 liters of internal storage and boasts total dimensions of 22” H x 14” W x 9” D. The pack comes with two internal compression straps to help secure your belongings and handle loads up to 40 pounds with ease. In addition, the Farpoint features a stowaway back panel that allows you to zip the hipbelt and harness systems away for a slimmer profile when traveling. 4. WITZMAN Canvas Rucksack Click here for the lowest price on Amazon This vintage-style travel backpack is ideal for the traveler that likes to turn a few heads as they walk through the airport. The pack’s exterior is made of premium-quality cotton canvas and polyurethane and the pack offers total dimensions of 13” L x 21” H x 7.5” W. The WITZMAN Canvas Rucksack is a 2-in-1 travel backpack and a duffel bag. It comes with an additional duffel shoulder strap that can be detached and stowed away when not in use. It also boasts two front zipper pockets, a side pocket, and the main pocket with a laptop window that fits 12 to 16-inch computers. Lastly, this backpack’s padded mesh shoulder straps are safely tucked away in a zippered pocket until you need them. 5. Timbuk2 Command Click here for the lowest price on Amazon Designed for the daily commuter in urban environments, the Timbuk2 Command travel backpack meets the needs of the on-the-go business traveler. The pack offers a number of features that makes airport travel easier, accessing vital everyday items more convenient, and keeping all of your belongings organized a breeze. This travel backpack is made of 400-denier nylon faille ( 2 ) with a tricot-lined floating pocket to protect sunglasses or a smartphone. The pack’s internal laptop compartment, which fits laptops up to 15 inches, is fully padded and lined with quilted tricot fabric. Additionally, this travel backpack features a padded front pocket for iPad mini storage, compression straps for storing jackets or yoga mats, and five smaller exterior pockets for organizing items to which you need quick and easy access. 6. Hynes Eagle 40 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The Hynes Eagle 40 will provide just as much value to the daily commuter as it will to the international business traveler. This backpack has been designed to be durable, versatile, and stylish, as well as to carry the exciting potential to enhance any travel experience by making it easier to carry all your essentials in one organized place. This travel backpack is made of water repellent polyester. It offers a capacity of 40 liters in total and comes with dimensions of 20.1” H x 13.4” W x 9.8” D so that it will fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you during air travel. The pack also boasts multiple exterior compression buckle straps to secure your load. Finally, suppressible shoulder straps make this pack convertible from backpack to duffel bag in seconds. 7. Osprey Porter 46 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The Osprey Porter 46 provides travelers with the perfect fit between undersized duffel and an oversized backpacking bag. The pack boasts a total capacity of 46 liters and has dimensions of 23” H x 15” W x 13” D. It is made of nylon construction and does offer D-ring attachments for adding a separate shoulder strap if you desire. This travel backpack features Straightjacket compression with padded wings and a lower panel that works in harmony to secure and protect clothing and gear. It also boasts a protected laptop sleeve in a rear panel that locks for security and easy access when traveling. Finally, this pack’s shoulder harness and hip belt can be stowed away for safe travel through airports, in taxis, and wherever else your travels take you. 8. Kelty Redwing 44 Click here for the lowest price on Amazon This travel backpack has the features to make traveling simpler or to provide excellent value on your next overnight camping trip. For the traveler that values versatility over all else, the Kelty Redwing 44 is an excellent choice. The pack’s combination of versatility and convenience make it the perfect companion for quick getaways. This travel backpack boasts a unique hybrid-loading U-zipper design that makes it both a top loader and a panel loader all at once. It comes with an exterior stash pocket on the front of the pack that’s great for tucking away your passport, maps, and other essential items you need to access quickly. Also, this travel backpack features a hydration sleeve that doubles as a safe storage area for your laptop or tablet. 9. WANDRD PRVKE Click here for the lowest price on Amazon This backpack is meant for the lifestyle or outdoor photographer that needs to handle rugged conditions and keep their gear safe along the way. It offers three friendly points of access to internal contents: side quick camera access, lay-flat clamshell opening, and the adjustable roll-top closure. The best part of the roll top in this pack is that it can be expanded to create an extra five liters of total storage capacity. The WANDRD PRVKE travel backpack contains a laptop sleeve that fits computers up to 15 inches and makes getting through airport security simple. It also comes with a removable, modular camera cube that offers customizable storage for a complete camera kit, including a DLSR and up to 8 lenses. By removing the cube, the pack converts to a fully functional daypack. 10. Patagonia Black Hole Click here for the lowest price on Amazon The "Patagonia Black Hole" backpack is designed for the traveler that wants a rugged pack that will stand up to being thrown around a bit. This pack is made of 450-denier ripstop polyester that withstands scuffs, scrapes, and miles of rough handling while keeping the internal contents safe and secure. It’s a weather-resistant pack that features a total capacity of 30 liters and a weight of just 2 pounds, 2.7 ounces when empty. This travel backpack’s main zippered compartment comes with a padded sleeve that can hold a hydration reservoir of laptops and tablets up to 15 inches. The pack’s exterior is coated with a TPU laminate for added weatherproofing. Internal features include a mesh pocket with a key keeper and an organizer panel to keep easy track of phone, wallet, and other small everyday items. Buyer’s Guide Gerry Outdoors was the first company to invent a backpack with a zipper way back in 1938. ( 3 ) Before that, school children were largely using bags with straps and backpacks used by hikers and recreationists used other means of securing their contents. Since the 1930s, the size, shape, and functionality of backpacks have exploded exponentially. We’ve put this Buyer’s Guide together to help you learn more about what separates one pack from another. In doing so, we’ve focused on a number of factors about backpack construction that you must consider in the selection of your new travel backpack. Fabrics Denier count is the most widely used term for describing the strength of the fabric used in today’s backpacks. However, the type of fabric utilized in backpack construction is just as important, if not more so, than the thickness of that fabric. In this section, we’ll describe a few of the common fabric types you’ll find in common travel backpacks. Ripstop nylon contains a special, square weave that sets it apart from standard nylon. This weave prevents additional ripping or tearing from occurring after a puncture. It has a very high strength-to-weight ratio and gets that strength from the additional fibers that are sewn into the weave. This type of fabric was first developed as stronger alternative to silk parachutes in World War II. ( 4 ) Cordura® nylon is a popular one that you’ll see in a lot of backpacks today. In fact, Cordura® isn’t its own type of nylon at all. Rather, it is a brand that offers many different types of fabrics. In essence, the Cordura® brand inspects materials from a variety of different mills, picks the ones that are up to their standard, and then puts their ‘Cordura®’ tag on it. They do, however, tend to put that tag on only the highest quality fabrics out there. The other brand name you’ll see attached to nylon is ‘Kodra’, which is essentially the same thing as Cordura®, but it is made in Korea. Polyester is another fabric often used in backpack design. It is made from plastic fibers that tend not to be the best choice for a travel pack. When it comes to travel packs, you’ll often see ‘ripstop polyester’ which, like ripstop nylon, is made with a special weave that makes it much stronger and more durable than standard polyester. While packs that use polyester can be more budget-friendly, they won’t stand up to the heavy abuse that can come with traveling. Canvas can be viewed as one of the original backpack materials, along with leather. Aside from burlap, canvas was the go-to material for all of the early backpacks and cargo bags. Canvas is very thick and sturdy. Historically, canvas was stitched together using cotton, linen, or hemp before being coated in wax for waterproofing. Today’s canvas options are more typically made with nylon and polyester and canvas is much less common than it used to be. That decrease in popularity can be attributed to the fact that canvas is heavier, more easily damaged by abrasion, and less water-resistant than other modern materials. Straps Shoulder straps will be largely responsible for the comfort of your travel backpack. The type of straps that work for you will depend on your unique body type. Even when your pack isn’t completely full, it can be uncomfortable to carry if the straps don’t match your body. For some people thinner straps may be more comfortable than their bulkier counterparts, but typically this is only the case if those straps are also highly padded. There are some packs that offer swivel straps for increased adjustability across varying shoulder widths. This type of strap also makes it much easier to turn the pack around to access its contents when needed. Curved straps (as opposed to straight straps) also tend to work better for women or men with larger chests. Finally, if weight is your primary concern, make sure to look for a pack with load lifters. These are adjusters that are located at the top of the straps where they attach to the body of the backpack. These adjusters give you the ability to change how the pack’s weight sits on your back. In doing so, they make a pack much more adjustable to a wide variety of body types. Zippers Zippers are the most common weak point in packs that claim to be weatherproof or water-resistant. The best type of zipper on the market today is a YKK zipper. They are very strong and come in different weights according to the specific area on the pack where they’ll be applied. ( 5 ) YKK manufactures their zippers in-house, including smelting their own brass and forging their own zipper teeth. Choosing a pack with YKK zippers will help you ensure that you won’t suffer broken zippers while traveling. Top-Loading vs. Panel-Loading Top-loading packs are those that offer one opening (at the top!) for loading and unloading gear. Panel-loading packs offer a larger zippered pocket that allows you to lay the pack flat and have greater access to its contents, almost like a regular suitcase. While top-loading packs are still the preferred variety for long, multi-day treks and other outdoor activities, traveling is so much simpler with a panel-loading pack. It allows you to worry less about the specific order in which you pack your belongings and gives you easy access to that swimsuit buried in your pack when you receive a last-minute invitation to go surfing! Compression Because we’re talking about travel backpacks, versatility is the name of the game. A quality travel backpack can handle a variety of environments and travel experiences while adapting to your needs in each scenario. Compression is one of the ways in which travel backpacks showcase their versatility. Proper compression allows you to hunker the weight of your pack down even when it’s not completely full. This means that things won’t feel like they’re rattling around back there when you’re walking or running to catch a train. Another benefits of compression straps is that they also allow you to secure additional items to the pack’s exterior if it’s already full. Security Features Security is crucial when traveling, especially if you’re constantly exploring new and unfamiliar environments. You should feel comfortable knowing that your belongings are safe and sound when you leave them behind at the hostel for a grocery run, for example. Having a travel backpack with lockable zippers is a great way to ensure your belongings are always safe and secure. RFID blockers are another interesting feature growing in popularity for international travel. These will keep unsavory characters from scanning your passport or other sensitive documents as you pass them by. Some backpack designers have begun incorporating stronger materials to reduce this possibility and to make it harder for thieves to ‘slash-and-grab’ items from your pack. The former is probably the more common occurrence, so if you have to pick one over the other, look for a pack that uses stronger fabrics, such as Cordura®, before you start worrying too much about the world of RFID technology. Frequently Asked Questions There are always a number of logistics to align when traveling, whether it’s for business or personal reasons. In this list of "Frequently Asked Questions" , we’ll answer some of the most common concerns about travel backpacks so that you can turn your attention to the rest of the logistics for your trip. What is the maximum backpack size for carry-on luggage? While we wish there was one standard answer to this question, it’s important to remember that every airline has slightly different rules concerning carry-on size limits ( 6 ). Speaking very generally, the maximum backpack size for carry-on luggage is about 45 liters. The good news about backpacks, when compared with other luggage types, is that the sides are compressible to make squeezing them down to the prescribed dimensions a bit easier. Why travel with a backpack? Backpacks make it so much easier to navigate new environments. Suitcases are much more difficult to store in buses, under seats, and so on and so forth. Suitcases with wheels don’t roll very well on dirt or cobblestone roads, and carrying them over a distance is uncomfortable and tiresome. For today’s adventure and business travelers, a quality backpacks beats all other options. Are any of these backpacks 100% waterproof? While many of these packs are water-resistant or have been thoroughly weatherproofed, you’d be hard pressed to find a travel backpack that is truly 100% waterproof. Many will hold up just fine in a 20-minute tropical downpour (and keep your belongings dry throughout), getting your pack to be 100% waterproof requires buying an external rain cover and putting it on before heading out. What is bluesign® approved fabric? You may see some brands advertise the bluesign® approval. This is a standard that is largely considered to be the strictest in regards to environmental protection, workplace safety, and consumer protection. Seeing a product with this label means that all the materials used in that product have gone through a rigorous testing process and met the criteria and limits of the BSSL restricted substances list ( 7 ). Summary There’s really no limit to how far you can travel with the right pack on your back. The benefits of having just one travel backpack to worry about are numerous, and travelers will surely enjoy the ability to get around easily with all that they need securely on their backs. We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of the top ten travel backpacks and we wish you the best of luck selecting the right pack for your next adventure.

Summary

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