Morsel Spork Review

Morsel Spork sent me the mini and XL versions of their product and boy was I impressed!

One thing that I have learned from reviewing outdoor gear is that there are many great products on the market. However, I have also realized that there are some products that really stand out and provide enormous value to the consumer.

Meet Morsel Spork.

Morsel Spork is a satisfying eating instrument. Literally (I never thought I would be so positive and excited about a spork). I tested both the mini and XL versions with various types of foods while on a photography shoot for this review.

USE:

⛺️ Fork it. Spoon it. Scrape it. That’s the Morsel Spork tagline and it just about sums it up! Take Morsel Spork with you for any meal while camping, backpacking, picnicking or eating lunch while on the job.

PRICE:

$12.95 for mini, XL and XL spoon versions.

$25.90 for combo packs

Available in blue, red, green, midnight and grey

MY REVIEW:

My overall experience with Morsel Spork was out of this world. As I used this product, I was reminded of how my father-in-law scrapes every last bit of sauce from his spaghetti bowl using a piece of bread. I was always impressed by this skill but could never achieve the level of cleanliness that he could. He made me feel like the bowl could go right back on the shelf for the next meal without needing a trip to the dishwasher. With Morsel Spork, I now have a fighting chance.

The first thing I noticed about Morsel Spork was the unique rubbery edge that hugs the entire outer edge of the spoon’s surface and extends most of the way down the handle. It has a grippy feel and acts like a spatula, scraping those last little bits of food from a bowl. I was impressed how well I could scrape up all of the yogurt out of a popular yogurt manufacturer’s container.

The shape of the spoon on Morsel Spork is also very unique. The designer thought of everything, incorporating every angle that you could possibly encounter when spooning or scraping food. It helps the user get into tight corners, while also enabling clean scraping on lip edges, flat edges and odd shapes.

The spoon has a feel like no other when eating from it. The rubber is soft to the touch and both the concave and convex sides of the spoon are comfortable in the mouth. The concave side holds just the right amount of food, delivering the perfect bite.

The fork side gives you a pretty standard feel that a normal fork has. However, you can use the rough edges of the fork to also cut some stubborn food items while out on the trail.

To set your mind at ease regarding cleaning, Morsel Spork is dishwasher and boiling water safe as well as BPA free.

Here’s a quick list of features listed on the Morsel Spork website:

  • Made in the USA
  • Designed to last a lifetime
  • For both right and left handers
  • Constructed of hard and polypropylene plastics with FDA food safe elastomer
  • Resists scratching, staining and tearing
  • 5-in-1 design – spoon, fork, scrape, cut and stir

PRO TIP:

When eating with the spoon, you will feel a sort-of exit point on the straight edge side. If you rotate the handle toward your cheek while eating, it gives your bite the perfect finish. It seemed strange to write that but I’m that excited about getting you to try a Morsel Spork. You won’t believe how great it truly is until you give it a try.

RATING:

👍 Genius design that solves an old spork problem and enhances the user experience.

👎 I have nothing constructive to add here. This is a brilliant product!

SPECS:

  • Length: 10.5 Inches or 265mm
  • Weight: 0.8 Ounces or about 23 Grams

The Morsel Spork. Take it on your next backpacking trip or use it over lunch at work. The choice is yours, but you just might want to incorporate this product into your everyday life! Head on over to their site now and check ’em out.

➳ Morsel Spork provided equipment and associated materials for this review. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.

LIFEACTÍV Power Pack Review

A big shout out to LifeProof for allowing me to capture some photographs and write a review for this device. I am now a LifeProof Ambassador so expect to see more reviews on LifeProof products in the future!

I have never been a fan of taking additional power packs with me on my adventures, until now. Most of them are bulky or add too much weight to my backpack. Add that to a pack full of camera gear and you have a recipe for back problems. However, I am impressed with the lightweight, waterproof and rugged design of this one and I know it will become an every day piece of equipment in my backpack.

The LIFEACTÍV Power Pack can literally become a lifesaver in the backcountry by giving your devices an extra charge or four to keep them running on short trips. Most likely, you won’t have cellular signal, but think about how this device can charge your GPS or avalanche transceiver and you will see the value right away.

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USE:

Day hikes, overnight backcountry sleepovers and generally anytime you need a few additional battery charges for your mobile devices.

PRICE:

$79.99 Black with options for purchasing additional cables to compliment the device

MY REVIEW:

My overall experience with this product was a good one. I put it to the test in the great outdoors and in my photography studio.

The first impression that this device gave me was one of durability. The case is fully enclosed and waterproof up to 6.6 feet for one hour. It has a rugged finish and a stylish look. It also feels good in the hand and doesn’t slip.

The front of the battery pack has a single button with 4 LEDs that displays its status. Four solid LEDs means that the pack is charging a device. When not charging, press the button once to see how much battery charge is left in 25% increments. Press and hold the button down and the white LEDs on the front edge will illuminate and serve as a flashlight. Press again and it will turn on the red LEDs which are great for night camping and photography. There’s also a blink mode in case you get into trouble and need to get someone’s attention for help.

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When charging my iPhone 6s with the device, I was able to get 4 full charges out of the battery pack. Each time took three hours to get my phone charged at 100% without using either device during that time. This seemed like a long period of time to me and my one wish is that it charge faster 🙏

Do you need to calculate how many charges you will get out of a battery pack like this? The number of charges does depend on the device you are charging and its draw, how much you use the white and red flashlights and how long it sits between charges. However, a good rule of thumb is to divide the mAh of the power bank by the number of mAh of your target device battery. This will give you a pretty good idea on how many charges you will get out of the battery pack. To find the mAh of your target device battery, head on over to the device manufacturer’s website and look at the specs online. It will be listed there for you.

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PRO TIP:

Turn on the red LED and set this device in your bag during night time photography preparations. It will make it very easy to find things in your bag and will not interfere with your photographs!

RATING:

👍 Waterproof, lightweight for a battery pack, sleek LifeProof case design, red LEDs are a plus and charging indicators are a great value add.

👎 No integrated solar charging available. This would be a nice feature for backcountry users.

SPECS:

  • Dimensions:  6.72″ x 2.96″ x .70″ / 170.8 mm x 75.1 mm x 17.74 mm
  • Weight:  8.8 oz / 250 g
  • Power:  10,000 mAh battery
  • Energy Saving:  auto-stop charge technology
  • Quick Charge: rapid recharge saves on socket time
  • Survives Depth:  6.6 feet / 2 meters underwater for 1 hour – Charge port door must be closed
  • Drop Height:  4 feet / 1.2 meters

The LIFEACTÍV Power Pack. I recommend you take one on your next outdoor adventure and extend the life of your devices on the trail!

➳ LifeProof provided equipment and associated materials for this review.

Patagonia Lightweight Capilene® Baselayer Review

Patagonia Lightweight Capilene® Baselayer

I recently had the opportunity to try out a lightweight Capilene baselayer from Patagonia and it changed the way I think about my wardrobe. 

Since living in China, my family and I have often had many discussions about how we can simplify life and live with more of a minimalist mindset. What does this have to do with a baselayer you ask? A Lot! Read on… 

The Patagonia Lightweight Capilene® Baselayer is one of the most important articles of clothing when it comes to a layering system. If you don’t know how to layer clothing for your next adventure and wonder why it is so important, stay tuned for my up and coming blog post on the subject.

USE:

Perfect for just about any warm weather, outdoor activity to keep you cool and dry. However, it is also an important next-to-the-skin layer in cooler weather. 

PRICE:

$39.00 and eight different colors to choose from.

MY REVIEW:

My overall experience with this product was a good one. I put it to the test exercising outdoors and layering under a flannel during a day in the office. 

I also put it to the test in my closet. Once I realized that it takes up less space than the average T-shirt, weighs less and can be worn under just about any Fall/Winter top, I was hooked on a new idea. In minimalist fashion, I asked myself, “why do I need thirty cotton T-shirts? Can I narrow it down to seven (one for each day of the week) and not only wear it as a T-shirt in the Spring/Summer by itself, but also wear it as an under shirt in the Fall/Winter. I was pretty stoked by the idea of cutting down the amount of clothing I have in my closet and that’s how the minimalist mindset fits into this story.

When I first put the baselayer on, it felt soft on my skin and was light as a feather. I could also tell how the material would keep me cool in warmer weather. It almost felt like I had a superhero costume on so maybe it will also improve my athletic performance? 🙏

While exercising outdoors, I noticed that the material wicked sweat away like a windshield wiper does rain off of a windshield. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was very efficient in keeping my body dry.  This becomes very important when wearing it as a first layer under a mid and top layer in the Winter because if your body is not dry, you will get cold from that sweat on your skin.

Wearing the baselayer under a flannel was extremely comfortable too. Sometimes flannels can be a little bulky with a T-shirt underneath, so having that thin, soft layer made all the difference. It didn’t bunch up in the sleeves and didn’t catch on the fabric next to it.

I’m excited about my new strategy of minimizing the clothes I own and I owe it all to this shirt. I can also see how this piece of clothing will work for me over a wide range of outdoor conditions. I’m ready to get outside and conquer the next adventure!

PRO TIP:

Stuff this lightweight shirt into your backpack. You never know when you might need an extra out on the trails !

RATING:

👍 soft feel, super lightweight, good fit in the shoulders/arms and a stylish Patagonia logo at the bottom

👎 odor control seems like a bit of a marketing gimmick

SPECS:

  • 2.3-oz (80-g) 100% recycled polyester double knit with Polygiene® permanent odor control.
  • Fair Trade Certified™ sewing.
  • Fabric is certified as bluesign® approved
  • Capilene® Lightweight has a smooth face for easy layering and includes Polygiene® permanent odor control
  • Fabric’s open-grid pattern next to skin provides excellent breathability, moisture-wicking and dry time
  • Self-fabric crew at collar with internal neck tape for comfort
  • Locker loop for hang drying
  • Offset shoulder and side seams eliminate chafing under pack straps
  • Full underarm gusset for range of motion and chafe-free comfort
  • Flatlock seams minimize chafing; drop tail for more coverage

The Patagonia Lightweight Capilene® Baselayer. I definitely recommend you try a couple of these on your next outdoor adventure or even more simply as an every day T-shirt!

➳ No sponsors have paid for or provided equipment or material for this review.

How to fix DJI Phantom 4 Pro/Pro Plus firmware update issue

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Did you update your DJI Phantom 4 Pro/Pro Plus firmware thinking that you would reap the benefits of increased stability with your UAV system?

I also made that mistake and it was costly. Here’s the story…

I booked a client session this past week that was a great, 30 acre mountain property about 40 min from my studio. We planned to complete a full TackSharp™ photography session as well as a full drone session while on-site. Little did I know that I would find myself at the end of my time there aborting the drone mission all together.

After a very successful photography session, I immediately became disappointed…

My remote control unit for the aircraft would not display the view from the camera. There was no signal.

I was stuck up in the mountains without a way to complete the client’s drone session! Thanks DJI.

The back story…

The night before, I had upgraded the firmware on the aircraft and the RC to the latest version 01.04.0602. I did this the recommended way on-screen using the sync cable and the upgrade firmware module on the display. After the upgrade, it tested fine and I thought I was ready for the next day. Boy, was I wrong.

The next day, I found myself apologizing to the client and having to reschedule the drone session for a later time. This meant that I would have to drive another 32 miles, spend 4 hours the next day troubleshooting the issue and losing money in the process.

How I fixed it…

After spending an hour and a half online chatting with DJI support, we were getting nowhere fast. I decided to step away from the issue, continue my day and come back to it in the evening. After another couple of hours using their recommended methods of updating, I decided to try rolling the firmware back on the RC.

When searching the DJI website, I found the Phantom 4 Pro+ Remote Controller Firmware v01.02.00.00 published on 2017-06-09. I took the following steps:

  1. Downloaded the file in the link above
  2. Extracted the file to a microSD card
  3. Inserted the microSD card into the RC
  4. Turned the RC on
  5. Went to System Settings > About Devices
  6. A box popped up asking if I wanted to update to v01.02.00.00
  7. After tapping update, the RC updated and restarted
  8. Another box popped up asking if I wanted to update again to another version (I don’t have that number at the time of writing this article)
  9. After tapping update on that message, the RC updated and restarted
  10. I turned on the aircraft at that point and it worked! I had signal and was back in business.

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Lesson learned…

Always check the forums online regarding the firmware update you are trying to install. Even if DJI states that it is ok to use and publishes it on their website it could still be faulty.

If you do decide to update the firmware, always update the aircraft unit using the DJI Assistant software and update the RC unit only by manually downloading the firmware to a microSD card and using the mobile menu system to install from the card. Do not follow the on-screen prompts to use the sync cable. This introduces additional risk that the aircraft and RC unit updates will get out of sync.

If you are flying drones for a living and use them in production environments, spend the extra money up front and buy a backup drone. If I would have had a DJI spark with me as a backup, I could have completed the job at an acceptable quality level for the client.

Although I absolutely love flying DJI drones and feel they are the best on the market today, they really need to improve their production of their firmware to make it more reliable and seamless to install.

A message to DJI

Please just give us one, simple, user-friendly way to update our UAV and RC firmware. Make it as flawless as possible so that we the consumer and professional drone operators don’t have to waste time and money on these types of shenanigans! I hope this helps you improve your products and support.

See ya! I’ve got another 40 minute drive to do.