Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gear Review: Kengadget Selfie Stick

Kengadget Selfie Stick:  A Gear Review on my First Selfie Stick

The Background

As hard as I tried, I really couldn’t find any information about Kengadget.  You can check out the Kengadget website here (not to be confused with KensGadgets).  Overall, the site is pretty barren, but the most important page is the warranty registration page.  What comes in the box: 1 41-inch Bluetooth selfie stick, 1 anti-shake orange rubber pad, 1 wide angle lens, 1 charger, 1 lens cover, and 1 lens bag.

you get everything you see here
What comes in the box: you get everything you see here


The whole point of the selfie stick is to take pictures of yourself and friends with ease.  The design is a lightweight, extendable pole that allows the user to take a picture from up to 41-inches away.  This is done with a push of the button at the base of the pole by syncing the selfie stick and phone using Bluetooth. 

How I Selfie

While I am not exactly sure how to add the Kengadget Selfie Stick into my adventures, I do know it has made the selfies I have taken much easier.  Furthermore, I have been told that more pictures of BeeGee and me at cool places would make each post even better.  So, I plan to take more pictures of us in the future.  For less serious purposes, I like to take a bunch of selfies and then text them all to
Linda or Jack.  That’s what I call a selfie bomb. 

Its neat but purposeless to me
Testing out the wide-angle lens. What do I use this for?


My Kengadget Selfie Stick has performed exceptionally well since I began using it almost a month ago.  To test out its durability, I took it out for 2 days of paintball play during the Texas Triple Threat at Petty Paintball and a quick hike to McKinney Falls State Park.  The Bluetooth aspect made taking photos a lot easier as any picture is just a button click away.

but she hates posing
Trying to get a selfie with BeeGee, but she hates posing

During the paintball play, I ran around with the selfie stick in my pocket a majority of the time, including running the woods and flopping on the ground.  The stick held up to the abuse and I gave it no special treatment.  In addition, I was able to set the selfie stick up quickly, take a picture, and put it away relatively quickly.  This allowed me to take a good selfie and then continue playing paintball with no issues.  Finally, I have an S6 with Mophie Case, which means my phone is large and thick.  Yet, the selfie stick had no issue accommodating my beefy phone.  While my phone did fit a little awkward and would put a slight bend in the stick when fully extended, there was no decreased performance. 

Selfie Time at Texas Triple Threat!
Jack and I taking a selfie at Petty Paintball

On my hike at McKinney Falls, I was moving at a quick pace, trying to keep up with BeeGee through wooded areas, climbing rocks, and jumping down rocks.  All with my selfie stick in my pocket, which had no issues with durability.  Furthermore, the selfie stick allowed me to take stable pictures even with BeeGee tugging on her leash.  Finally, the Bluetooth is incredibly fast, which is a necessity when taking selfies with BeeGee because she never holds still for long when we could be adventuring.

Just hold still a second longer!
Working with BeeGee to take a selfie at Mckinney Falls State Park


Through using the Kengadget Selfie Stick, I found a few issues, but none were anywhere close to being deal breakers.  My biggest issue is with the instructions, which were pretty much worthless.  The instructions are short, don’t provide any detail in putting the stick together, and the Bluetooth pairing information is incorrect.  The name of the stick in the instructions is different from what my phone paired with.  Thankfully, putting the selfie stick together and pairing are relatively easy with no instructions being needed.  The second issue is with the black gripper pad at the base of the selfie stick.  The rubber pad has a tendency to slip and spin around.  This makes it hard to find the shutter button, but it’s just as easy to re-adjust the gripping pad.  While this isn’t a huge issue, it can easily become an annoyance.  The final issue is with the screw that connects the selfie pole to the phone holder.  I could not tighten the screw enough to ensure the 2 pieces stayed tight between photos.  Once again, this was an annoyance and not a deal breaker.  I just got in the habit of tightening the screw before I set up everything to take my next selfie.      

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think the Kengadget Selfie Stick is a solid piece of equipment.  Setting the stick up and using it was a breeze, and the benefits completely outweigh the issues.  While I didn’t talk about it in the review, the set also included a wide-angle lens.  As neat as the lens was, I don’t see a good use for it and wouldn’t base your purchase on the lens extra.  However, if you are looking for a selfie stick, I would highly suggest that this selfie stick makes it into the final running.

Let us know your thoughts on the Kengadget Selfie Stick or your favorite method to take selfies.  Also, Make sure to keep up to date on all our adventures by following us on Facebook.

This was a sponsored product review. One Kengadget Selfie Stick was provided by Kengadget for review.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Outdoor Movie Review: A Walk in the Woods

Outdoor Movie Review: A Walk in the Woods

Director: Ken Kwapis
Based on the book by: Bill Bryson

Early this week, Jarrett was extremely enthusiastic about going to the movies.  It seemed strange to me that he was excited about going, given how he considers movie theaters to generally be a waste of money.  I responded enthusiastically though, eager to get a chance at a movie date we hadn’t been on in a while. 

the movie adaptation of A Walk in the Woods
The Cinematic Poster for A Walk in the Woods

On the way to the movies, Jarrett explained to me that A Walk in the Woods was about the wilderness and he was excited about the movie because of the panoramic views of the Appalachian trails.   When we entered the theater, only three other couples were there.  We should have taken that as a sign that this movie was not going to be as entertaining as we hoped it would be, but we didn’t. 

The Good: 

The movie is inspirational, and at times very funny. It stars Robert Redford as Bill Bryson, a famous travel writer, and Nick Nolte as Stephen Katz, Bryson’s former frenemy and a recovering alcoholic.  In the movie, both are past their sixties when they set out to hike the entire Appalachian trails.  As someone already dealing with arthritis, the thought of this premise made my hips and knees hurt, but I have to say that many of the scenes from this movie inspired me to make another effort to get out there and explore the beauty of nature once again. I mean, if men who are forty years older than me are willing to make an effort to walk the Appalachian trails, what’s stopping many of us young people, with or without chronic illnesses, from attempting to go out and explore the world?

As for the comedy, I enjoyed that it felt very natural.  I could see the people and the situations presented as actual people and situations we all encounter at some point in our lives.  I guess this makes sense, considering the book is based on actual events that occurred to travel writer Bill Bryson, but in any case, it makes the movie very relatable to people of all generations.

The Bad: 

The movie made me question whether it was worth the price of movie tickets.  It felt like a low-cost production at times, particularly in the scenes where the viewer is supposed to see great sights in the background, but instead  sees a very obviously painted backdrop.  For a movie about the outdoors, you’d think it would have invested more in its scenes of nature.  I also did not feel like Redford and Nolte had chemistry as old frenemies.  Maybe that was intended, but it made me feel like I was watching two inexperienced actors in a telenovela than two of the world’s greatest actors in a movie. 

Final Verdict: 

 You’d be better off waiting for the movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or any other movie-streaming or rental service, maybe even a television broadcast. It’s good for a nice relaxing day-time movie watching.  


Let us know your thoughts on the movie A Walk in the Woods or your favorite movie about the Appalachian Trail. Also, Make sure to keep up to date on all our adventures by following us on Facebook.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Food Review: Nile Valley Hibiscus Tea

My First Experience Hiking with Tea

After a long days hike in cold weather, there is nothing like setting up camp and having a warm beverage to heat yourself up. Normally, I like some sweet coffee because I am a caffeine fiend, but on our trip to Pedernales Falls, I decided to use hibiscus tea as my go to warm beverage for our adventure.   

Ready to be Served
Nile Valley's Tea Ready to be Served

Nile Valley Herbs Background

Not only can tea be a delicious drink, but Nile Valley Herbs also supports a good cause through The Mother Maryam Foundation.  The foundation has supported many projects in the Northern Province of Sudan. Nile Valley has regular hibiscus or mint hibiscus. So, for every purchase a portion is donated to help those in Sudan.

Nile Valley Helps to support this clinic in Sudan
Nile Valley Helps to support this clinic in Sudan

On the Trail

I have never had any hibiscus tea before this, so the taste was definitely a shock.  It took a little while to acquire a taste for hibiscus (I began by drinking it at home to get a feel for hibiscus tea before diving in on the trail). I still think the tea has a tart taste, but it’s nothing against this specific brand. After a long day walking around, I was looking forward to trying out the hibiscus tea again.  The sun had gone down and I was starting to get chilled, so I decided it was time for an evening beverage.  I boiled some water and made enough tea for Jack and me.  Jack turned the offer of tea down.  I definitely felt much warmer and felt prepped for bed.  The next morning, I was ready for another warm drink to get me going for another long day and hibiscus tea hit the spot.  I followed the same routine on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Drinking my Hibiscus Tea on a cold night
Drinking my Hibiscus Tea on a cold night

What I like

I have had a few more brands of hibiscus tea since first trying Nile Valley’s tea, and it has had the best taste so far.  Also, it’s great that Nile Valley Herbs is formed around a nonprofit and is out there helping people.  Overall, the product is easy to carry, lightweight, and super easy to make.  Plus, it provides a few options, a warm or cool beverage depending on the weather.  Furthermore, hibiscus tea can be cold brewed, so just throw it in a water bottle during the day or your cup when you get off the trail.  Finally, it has no caffeine, which makes it a great bedtime drink, especially for those that are caffeine sensitive.    

The not so Good

While I have nothing negative to say specifically about Nile Valley Herbs, hibiscus tea isn’t my cup of tea (sweet pun).  I am just not use to the taste and prefer coffee or regular tea.  Additionally, As I now know, hibiscus tea has no caffeine, which means it’s no good as a breakfast drink for me.

If you love hibiscus tea or any other tea let us know or tell us all about your favorite campfire beverage. Also, Make sure to keep up to date on all our adventures by following us on Facebook.

This was a sponsored product review. One box of hibiscus tea was provided by Nile Valley Herbs for review.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Trip Report: Playing at Petty’s Paintball

Jack’s Corner: Playing some Paintball

One of Jarrett and my favorite things to do is going out for a day of paintball. Our favorite place to play at is Petty’s Paintball. Petty’s is a small family owned field located between Lockhart and Bastrop just south of Austin, TX. Both of us have been playing paintball for many years, but I’ve been playing longer than Jarrett. However, we both love the sport and play whenever we get a chance.

The Details

Location: 550 Bateman Rd, Red Rock, TX 78662
Hours: Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
Price: general admission 12.00, paintballs 45.00 for 2000, rental package 20.00

The Big Games

One nice thing about Petty's Paintballs is that they host large games called scenarios. Scenarios are continuous games that are played for multiple hours generally in some sort of wooded area. Jarrett and I are planning to go to a 26-hour scenario hosted by Petty’s and Viper who is another scenario organizer. BeeGee might make a guest appearance, but she won’t be playing because the noise spooks her. The upcoming scenario has three forts with an army of about one hundred people per team on twenty-six acres of wooded awesomeness. Petty’s also does shorter big games all year round that are generally six to eight hours long.

Old and New Friends

Jarrett and I went out to see some old friends and to start prepping our equipment so it will be up and running for the big game. Plus, it’s always fun to get in some play. Jarrett built a rocket launcher many years back so we could go ham on the opposite team in the scenario games. The launcher was in pretty rough shape since it’s been at least five years since anyone has touched the thing. Luckily, we got it working with the help of a master genius Mr. Petty. Once that happened, I got the great idea to build another rocket launcher, just ten times better than the old one. After tinkering with the launcher for a bit, 3 guys showed up to play that morning. They ended up being really awesome and super fun to play with. We had not had that much fun playing in a long time. Because there were only five of us, it made the teams a little lopsided. Thankfully, they were cool with letting Jarrett and I play together because we hadn’t played together in such a long time. Jarrett and I were worried somewhat about playing with them because we are pretty OG and veterans of the sport, while they had only played a handful of times. It didn’t help that they were using rental gear, but it all turned out ok and everyone had fun at the end of the day.

We started the day playing on the speedball fields first. Speedball fields are small fields with walls or as we like to call them bunkers, which are equally spaced and mirrored on both side to make the field as fair as possible. We played quite a few games on a few different fields. Plus we switched up teams here and there. After an hour or so of play, we decided to take a break because the heat was so bad and some of us needed air and paint. While in the staging area, Jarrett and I asked the guys if they wanted to go and play some woods ball, which is what it sounds like. Paintball in the woods is just running around in the woods and sometimes bunkers are randomly thrown about. This is where Jarrett is most at home sneaking around like a tiger waiting for the right moment to go ham on his opponents. Unfortunately, I fell victim to him a few times and was unable to handle it. We decided to take another little break because of the heat. Plus one of the guys liked running around wild like and sounded like he was going to die. While on our time out, Jarrett had a Godzilla-sized spider hanging out on his leg so I attempted to shoot it off. I got the spider but clipped Jarrett in the leg making him a little upset. We had so much fun with these guys and they ended up being solid sports so we decided to invite them to come play with us in the Viper game on September 12th to the 13th.

Final thoughts

We invite everyone to come and play with us. Everyone is welcome with the BeeGee crew. If you are not able to make it to the viper game, we will be doing a post about it so you won’t miss out on any of the action.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Food Review: Tactical Bacon in a Can

My First Taste of Bacon from a Can

On a previous hike to Pedernales Falls State Park, I brought along some CMMG Tactical bacon in a can. Tactical bacon is fully cooked bacon with added smoke flavor that is conveniently placed in a, you guessed it, can. It is manufactured by CMMG, which is a company that builds and sells firearms. The can has about fifty thin slices of bacon in it and weighs around 9oz. The product has a long shelf life, lasting around 10 years. Canned bacon is great for camping in the great outdoors, the zombie apocalypse, or just around the house because you love bacon just as much as BeeGee and I do.

Bacon in a can!
CMMG's tactical bacon in a can

I ended up buying the tactical bacon because I love bacon and I wanted to take some backpacking to see if it was completely awesome or just regular awesome. The weight was great for me at only 9 oz., but some might find this too heavy for just a portion of a meal. However, 9 oz. gets you around fifty slices of bacon, which could easily feed a family of four. The size was all right it is about three inches by four inches, which is not the best size for you pack but I was able to make do.


You can’t get a much better tasting treat in a can. I mean come on, it's bacon in a can. It makes what I would call a blissful day in adventure paradise. On the down side, there was a white grease that had an odd flavor, but all in all its bacon, which means it is yummy just like all bacon is. I also think the white grease wouldn’t be an issue or in warmer temperatures. Plus it didn’t help that we ate the bacon without heating it.

Me chowing down on some bacon!
Me chowing down on some bacon!

Delivery system

It turns out, getting to the bacon was very difficult without a can opener. I always carry my trust P38 can opener with me, but I’m really bad at using it. So, it ended up taking me about fifteen minutes to finally get to my bacon. I really wish CMMG would incorporate a pull-tab on the lid for much easier opening. It would also be nice if CMMG made different sized cans, so I could have taken a can that served 2 people instead of 4.

The bacon is unwrapped and ready to eat
The bacon is unwrapped and ready to eat

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think CMMG makes a good product, but with a big con. The price of a single can tactical bacon is 19.99, which is an okay price for the novelty. However, this is much too expensive for practical and frequent adventure use. The poor delivery system is my biggest problem with the product. While, It doesn’t kill me to use a can opener but it wouldn't hurt to put a pull tab on the lid. All in all, I would give it four stars only because there are cheaper products that are very similar with the pull tab delivery system.

If you've ever had Tactical Bacon, let me know your thoughts or where to find the best hiking bacon?  Make sure to keep up to date on all our adventures by following us on Facebook.

Jack Morgan
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trip Report: Purgatory Creek Trails

Riding the Purgatory Creek Trails

Well I’ve been busy and I always mean to get back to blogging but end up too busy with life.  As the weather cools, I plan to get back out adventuring and return to blogging.  Another exciting note (which I completely forgot about), Adventures With BeeGee is now over a year old! Now it’s time for our latest bike trip report to Purgatory Creek. On July 19th Jack and I headed out for a ride after a long time without a trip.

Trailhead for Prospect Park
Purgatory Creek Natural Area Trailhead

The Background

Location: 1414 Prospect St, San Marcos, TX 78666
Admission: Free
Elevation: 600 to 750 ft
Weather: Sunny, Hot, 98F
Difficulty: intermediate

Check out the map before you head out
Information Booths at the Start of the Trail

The area is 570 acres and close to downtown San Marcos and make sure to have a look at the Purgatory Creek Map before you head out.  Furthermore, the Purgatory Creek Natural Area is broken up into three sections Prospect Park, Upper Purgatory, and Lower Purgatory.  There are various types of terrain in the area, but the most frequent is cedar (juniper) trees and limestone covered trails. Finally, the area is open to bikers and hikers alike, but has some areas only for hiking.

stone art in the distance
The scenery from the dam, lots of stone art down below

Starting Out

After unloading and getting geared up, we took off from the Prospect Park trailhead only to have Jack puncture his tire by hitting sharp limestone 50 yards into the ride.  After what seemed like an hour-long tube change in the hot sun, we headed off in search of adventure. We headed down Virgil’s Trail, which had some rough limestone at the top of a hill. But, as we traveled down, the trail became mostly flat and took us through an area of tall grass.  I was not a fan of the tall grass area, but it was the only way to get to the other trails.
Jack checking out the damage to his tire
Jack checking out the damage to his tire

After that, we just fumbled along for the next few miles not sticking to a single trail and using trail crossovers in a choose your own adventure session.  This led us under the Wonder World Rd overpass.  We then headed over to the dam and checked that out for a bit.  Then we road by what is called “The Pit” before finally making it to the Hunter Rd trailhead. 

Nasty looking water below
Overlooking "The Pit"

Dante’s and Paraiso Trails

From there we jumped on Dante’s Trail, which is the longest trail in the park. Where we started, the trail was pretty smooth with nothing to serious; however, there are multiple sections on this trail, which are intermediate or advanced.  Most of the trail wasn’t an issue heading down hill, but the uphill stretches over all the limestone was brutal.  We ended up doing a lot more walking of sections than I would have liked and because of the heat quite a few rest breaks.  

technical riding ahead
Section of limestone trail

We eventually made it to Paraiso Trail, which forms a loop with Dante’s at the end of the park. Paraiso turned out to be similar to Dante’s, with lots of brutal limestone riding and hills. The ending of the Paraiso ended up being pretty intense with a long, steep downhill over loose rock.  It was just enough to keep you on your toes without being way too difficult. 

Easy riding down, tough riding up
A long stretch of rocky riding on Dante's Trail

We finally linked back up with Dante’s and began our exhausted ride back to the car, but we took one final rest at Grandma’s Oak before heading out. Thankfully, Jack knew where some 4x4 trail that paralleled Dante’s and we were able to ride something a little smoother for a ways back to the car.

A big old oak tree
Checking out Grandma's tree

Final Thoughts

I was glad to get back out there on a ride finally, but Purgatory Creek ended up being a pretty tough ride on an extremely hot day.  I don’t know that I will ever go back because all the trails are pretty similar with the only challenge being limestone.  However, there are multiple groups that are actively working to increase and upgrade the trails.  If you live in the area, get out there and ride it, but I wouldn’t travel too far.

If you've ever been out to Purgatory Creek Natural Area, let me know your thoughts are and where to find the best ride?  As we get back into the swing of things, keep up to date on all our adventures and post by following us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Recipe: Backpacking Pancakes

Easy Backpacking Pancakes

I have been on the lookout for new recipes to try on our trips.  One of these recipes was for easy pancakes, which I tried during our trip to Pedernales Falls State Park.  I usually just eat instant oatmeal for breakfast, but I decided there might be something even better out there.

Tasted and approved at Pedernales Falls State Park
A finished backpacking pancake.  Tasted and approved

Original Ingredients

  • 1 cup biscuit mix
  • 1 Tbsp. dry milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. margarine squeeze
Serves: Approximately 6

Our Ingredients

  • 1 cup biscuit mix
  • 1 Tbsp. dry milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp. butter or 1 Tbsp. ghee
Serves: Approximately 6

At Home

Before heading out, mix all of the dry ingredients into a quart size zip lock bag (a larger size bag might not be a bad idea either). Then mix everything in the bag well by squeezing and mashing.
Original dry ingredients:  biscuit mix, dry milk, and sugar.
Our dry ingredients:  biscuit mix, dry milk, and protein powder.

Pancake mix and butter packed and ready to hit the trail
Pancake mix and butter packed and ready to hit the trail

On the Trail

When preparing your mix for breakfast, start by adding ghee, margarine, or melted butter to the zip lock bag.  Next, add warm water.  Warm water will make blending your mix easier.  Then squish your bag until you remove any visible clumps or lumps.  If there are still clumps, add water as needed to get consistent mix.

finished backpacking pancake mixed
Backpacking pancakes all mixed up and ready to be cooked

Once mixed, you can either just pour the pancake mix into your pan or cut a corner of the bag and squeeze the mix out.  Cook until the side down becomes golden brown or about 1 minute in a hot pan.  Then flip your pancake and cook until golden brown or around another minute.

Final Thoughts

I ended up not using sugar because the biscuit mix already quite a bit already.  Plus, I felt like the protein mix would add sweetness if it was needed and would keep me fuller longer.  Moreover, I am not sure this would actually feed 6 people without anything else (like bacon), more likely 3 to 4 people.  Furthermore, I always carry 1.5 ounces of honey for sweetening oatmeal or coffee.  Honey works great for pancakes, which reduces the need to add another item, syrup.  Finally, the pancake mix takes up a surprisingly large amount of room when compared to other foods.   Without reducing it down to 1 to 2 person serving size, I don’t think it’s a very good backpacking recipe.

If you've ever made pancakes on the trail, what was your method and mix?  Keep up to date on all our adventures and post by following us on Facebook.

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