Rambling Review: K-Pump K200

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Rambling Review: K-pump K200

K-pump K200
K-pump K200

Why:

I picked up my Dave Scadden North Fork Outfitters Madison River pontoon boat last year second hand with the intent of exploring the Colorado River and Arizona’s lakes. As you might expect with an inflatable pontoon, I spend quite a bit of time setting up the pontoons and making sure that they are properly inflated throughout the day. After a bit of research, I picked up a K-Pump K200 and have been really please with it over this past year.

K-pump K200
K-pump K200

First impressions:

The design – The K-pumps are a no-hose design which cuts down on many of the problems that you can run in to with other pumps.  K200 is made of a special ABS material that makes the pump extremely durable. The K200 is a single chamber pump (as is the K100) which makes these pumps great for small inflatable crafts (like the 9′ Scadden) and topping off larger inflatables.

The extras – The K200 comes with a nice stow bag, additional adaptors, and lubricant for maintenance.

The warranty – All K-pumps are covered by a 2 year unlimited warranty.

Made in the USA – The K-pump company is based out of Oregon and is a family owned company. All pumps are made in the USA.

Dimensions – The K200 is around 32″ long and has a diameter of 3″ wide. It has an output of roughly 0.8 Gal ABS pressure.

Price – The K200 retails for right around $89.95, which at first glance seems a bit much for a pump. I will say this, it is worth every penny.

 

K-pump K200
K-pump K200

Field Use:

I’ve been extremely impressed with K-pump K 200. Most of the time, when I’m headed out with my pontoon, one of my buddies will have an electric pump, which is way easier for getting the pontoon inflated to about 75%. From there, I’ll finish putting the frame together and lashing the frame to the pontoons. The K200 is perfect for finishing off the pontoons and inflating them to the correct pressure. Because of the K200 size and slim shape, I always stash it on my pontoon, just in case a buddy or I need it throughout the day.

I have had multiple instances where I have not had access to an electric pump and needed to inflate my pontoons from empty with nothing but the K200. One of those instances was when I floated Lees Ferry. We were backhauled upriver and needed to take all of our gear with us. After we were dropped on the beach, we spent our time arranging gear and assembling our pontoons. The K-pump K200 was more than enough pump to handle filling up my pontoons.

In my opinion, the entire action of filling/topping off your pontoon is a bit easier with the K200. First of all, you are able to stand up. With many of the double action pumps, you end up hunched over. The K200 allows you to stand upright and not bust your back filling your pontoons. The second thing I like about the K200 is the length of the handle/plunger. With each compression you are getting a long, full push of air into your pontoons. Ultimately, this cuts down on the amount of pumps, and gets you on to the water faster.

K-pump does offer a wide array of pumps that meet many different needs. The K200 is a part of the single chamber pumps, but K-pump also makes double chamber pumps like the K40 or K400. These pumps are two stage: a low pressure for shaping your tubes and a high pressure for topping off. If you are looking for something with a bit more output, one of these pumps might be worth looking at.

Probably one of the most striking things about K-pump has nothing to do with the actual pump. After using the pump several times I had a question about the pump and called the customer service number on the website. On the second ring, Jim Kutella, the owner of the company picked up the phone and spent a good 10 minutes talking to me about his products. Jim doesn’t know me from Adam, and I was very impressed with his knowledge and willingness to answer all my questions.  It’s very cool to see a company take customer service seriously.

K-pump K200
K-pump K200

Pros:

Made in the USA

2-year warranty

Rock solid construction

Multiple adapters

Slim/stowable design

Excellent customer service

Cons:

Cost – a bit pricier than the cheap double action pumps, but worth it.

K-pump K200
K-pump K200

Prognosis:  If you are looking for a superior pump for your float tube or pontoon boat, I can’t say enough good things about the K-pump K200. The K200 is a top quality production made here in America and definitely worth every penny.

 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  The K-pump K200 was bought with my own hard earned cash and probably one of the best purchases I made for my pontoon boat. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

First time for everything

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Arizona Dove Country
Arizona Dove Country

Over Christmas, some of my family came into town from the east coast which always makes for an enjoyable holiday. In planning out the time that they would be here, my youngest brother, Nick, and I planned to get out for a morning of bird hunting. Although Nick is an avid climber and likes to camp, he hasn’t had much experience hunting. So my goal was to get him into some dove or quail and show him why I was so passionate.

After shooting clays for a while, it was blatantly obvious that Nick was a natural with a shotgun and moving targets, so we moved to a spot that I know dove like to use as a corridor. Although it was a bit later in the morning than ideal, we found a few birds still moving, and Nick made a great shot to bring his first bird to the game bag.

We spent the evening grilling the few dove that we’d taken that morning along with some quail that I had saved from an earlier hunt. The whole family enjoyed the success of our hunt and the day was the perfect punctuation on our time together.

Dove Hunting
Dove Hunting
Dove Hunting
First bird
Arizona Dove Hunting
Grilling up some dove
Baked Quail
Some baked quail too

 

 

Rambling Review: Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens

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Rambling Review: Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens

Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens

Why: While traveling this summer, I used my iPhone as my primary camera, but I couldn’t always get great detail shots or get decent perspective on wide angled shots. On a recent trip to Arizona, however, to hike a small canyon north of Phoenix, I was able to capture detail and perspective by using the Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens

First impressions:

The Lenses - I didn’t quite understand the lens system at first, as there is a single piece with two macro lenses on either side, a 10x and 15x. You can also attach either a fisheye or wide-angle lens to the macro bases. Once I got over the initial confusion, I was able to get the lens I needed fairly quickly.

The Case - The clear case that comes with the lenses turns your phone into more of a camera, adding two tripod attachments for both portrait and landscape. The top of the case, around the iPhone’s camera, flips open to allow the lens to slide on. This flipped piece then acts like an extended shutter button, clicking down on the iPhone’s volume button to snap a photo.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro

Field Use:

With a day-long hike ahead of us, I packed the lenses up in the small bag that comes with the kit. I opted to not use the case, as I worried about dropping my phone and the case not really protecting my phone well enough. I popped the case into my backpack just in case and carried the small bag with the lenses in my pocket.

Throughout the morning, I pulled the lenses out at various points to capture fauna and vistas, and I eventually got sick of pulling my own case off my phone to slide the lenses on. So I finally opted for using the case that came with the kit, as it has a space cut out for sliding the lenses on and off. This ended up being a huge win, and I never ended up dropping the phone to test it’s durability. Switching the case, though, made it much easier to pull out the camera and quickly take pictures, a circumstance that led me to take way more pictures throughout the afternoon of our hike.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
Landscape with no lens
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Wide Angle
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Wide Angle
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
Petroglyph with no lens
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Macro
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Fisheye
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens Fisheye

Pros:

- Wonderful macro shots

- Case turns an iPhone into a functional camera

- Lenses fit into your pocket

Cons:

- Macro only worked within a very specific range (no focus)

- I never found a use for the fisheye lens.

 

Prognosis:  If you are looking for an easy and effective way to get more out of your smartphone camera, the Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens is well worth checking out.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens in action

 

This Rambling Review was written by my brother Joel Smith who is an avid climber, hiker, and lover of nature. When not in the great outdoors, Joel can be found with his nose in a book. He chronicles his thoughts and passion for literature at JSumnerSmith.com.

 

 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are the honest opinion of the field testers. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  TheOlloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens was provided by Olloclip for the purpose of this review. Arizona Wanderings’ independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

 

 

Arizona Quail Hunting – The Arizona Quail Slam

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Mearns Quail Habitat
Mearns Quail Country

The dog went on point, and as I eased into position, a Mearns quail flushed in front of me. The bottom barrel barked and the bird folded to the ground as another Mearns quail burst out of the grass to my left. Before I knew it, I was swinging on the flying quail and the top barrel toppled the second bird. The rest of the covey fanned out in the tall grass ahead of us, and as quickly as it started, everything became very still and quiet. I walked over and picked up my first feathered trophy while the pup came trotting up with the other one gently cradled in his mouth.

It was tough to imagine my day starting any better. A double on Mearns quail and there was still plenty of daylight.

We spent the rest of the morning working different canyons and found a couple other coveys. It was a great morning with some excellent dog work and great scenery. At lunch we decided to call it a day on Mearns. Even though the limit is currently 8 birds, it just never seems like a great idea to take that many from such a small and heavily hunted population.

We cleaned our prizes after lunch and put them on ice. After a bit of discussion, we decided to head to a different area and see if we could scare up some Scaled quail. We had walked for a good ways and the sun was sinking lower in the sky. We talked about turning back, but decided to push a bit further. We couldn’t have walked another 40 yards, when a large covey of quail flushed. Shouldering the Winchester, I felt it slam into my shoulder, and one lone bird fell from the group. The waist high grass made finding the bird difficult, and if it hadn’t been for the dog and his nose I could not have recovered it. I couldn’t believe my good fortune as the Brittany pup dropped a beautiful Scaled quail at my feet. It was my first Scaled quail and one that I would not soon forget.

So there I was, with a Mearns quail and a Scaled quail in the cooler for the day. All I needed to complete the Arizona Quail Slam was a Gambel’s quail. I had tried to complete the quail slam before but had fell short by one bird. I knew there were Gambel’s back across the road in a wash, but the sun was almost behind the hills, and I had roughly an hour of shooting light left. My buddies stayed to try and scratch out a Scaled quail, so I started walking towards where I know I had gotten into Gambel’s quail before.

I walked for about 45 minutes and hadn’t moved a bird, let alone heard anything. With about a mile still back to the truck, I turned my steps towards the vehicle and only walked about 20 yards when I heard the haunting call of a Gambels quail.  I moved in quickly and flushed a large covey. I lined out a single bird and dropped it in a large pile of cactus. After a few moments of searching, I was holding my lone Gambel’s male and the final bird for my Arizona Quail Slam taken in a single day.

In closing, Mearns quail receive a ton of pressure in their short season here in Arizona from in-state and out-of-state hunters. If you are heading out after Mearns, consider limiting your harvest to one or two birds per covey. It’s also worth noting that the 8 Mearns limit is pretty generous, and I’ve talked to many hard-core Mearns hunters who think it’s too generous. If you’re going to be bird hunting in Mearns country, consider hunting Mearns in the morning and moving on to Scaled or Gambel’s quail in the afternoon, in order to give those Mearns a break. At the end of the day, we have some great opportunities to quail hunt in Arizona, enjoy it.

A big thanks to my buddy Kyle who writes over at Sleep When You’re Dead and Landon for photos and dogwork. Always great hunting with you guys.

Mearns Double
First shots of the day result in a double
Hiking Hills
Hiking Hills
Mearns Quail
Mearns Quail
Talking birds
Talking birds
Chase Man
Chase
Scaled Quail Country
Scaled Quail Country
Scaled Quail Country
Scaled Quail Country
Scaled Quail and Gambel's Quail
Scaled and Gambel’s finish up the Arizona Quail Slam

Preseason prep: Flinging and Fletching Arrows

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The fixings
Ingredients

With archery javelina and deer season around the corner, I’ve been shooting the recurve even more than usual. I always enjoy fletching arrows in preparation for the new season as well as putting a new edge on the broadheads. These simple tasks paired with flinging as many arrows into the target each day puts me in a great state of mind and is one of the reasons why I love shooting a recurve.

Right wing helical
Right wing helical
At the jig
The jig
Fox Breed / Thunderhorn quiver
Always on the back of the couch for a quick session
Flinging Arrows
Flinging Arrows

Fly Fishing Arizona – High Country Lake

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The Lake
Fly fishing Arizona – High country lake

My buddy Jason and I were able to get out for a cold and windy day on one of the high country lakes. We had heard rumors of some big holdover brown trout and figured we would go and see what the lake had to offer. The lake fished well for the recently stocked brown trout and we caught fish in the morning and evening on sinking lines and streamers. None of the big boys came out to play.

Normally when I fish our streams here in Arizona, I practice catch and release, as many of the streams rely on natural reproduction to maintain their population. Stocked fish in a non reproducing lake is another story. With family coming in for the holidays, it’s nice to have a limit of fish to share. The great thing about fly fishing Arizona is that we do have year round opportunities here in this state.

Dave Scadden Pontoon
Dave Scadden Pontoon
Jason Hooked up
Jason hooked up on a nice fish
Stockers for the freezer
Stockers for the freezer

 

Rambling Review – Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

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Rambling Review – Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line
Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

Why:

I’ve been able to fish for a long time without a sink tip, and I have gotten away with adding lots of weight to my flies when I needed to get them deep. For fishing deep rivers and bottomless lakes, there is often a better tool for the job than a floating line, and in this case, the Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line has filled a much needed gap in my fly line selection.

Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line
Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

First impressions:

The Sink Rate - A Type 3 sinking line offers a middle of the road sink rate at 3″ per second, compared to an intermediate line that sinks around 1.5″ per second or a type 6 that sinks at 6″ per second.

The Sink Tip and Floating Line - The Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line, as the name implies, has a 10′ sink tip while the running line is a floating line. The floating running line can make a big difference when mending line on a river.

 

Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line
Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

Field Use:

The Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line has found it’s way into my line repertoire for two specific scenarios. The first reason is for big river streamer fishing. Often times when fishing bigger rivers, those bigger fish are holding deep waiting for bigger meals to swim by. I like to rig a short and stout leader to the sink tip and tie on a heavy streamer pattern followed by small leach pattern. Casting your flies across the current followed by a couple of big mends, allows your line to sink putting your flies at the perfect depth to tempt the deeper holding fish. Then, I strip the flies back across the current and wait for the big one to come out of the depths. This sink tip/streamer set up is a great way to mix up your offerings to fish, and can add a whole new dynamic to big river fishing.

Streamer Brown
A Colorado brown trout falling to the sink tip/streamer setup

The second one is deeper lake fishing. I have a Cortland intermediate line that excels when fish are holding in the 0-10′ depth. Some of our lakes are quite a bit deeper in Arizona, and at certain times of  the year, fish are holding 10′ and deeper. I have found that the Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip is ideal for presenting flies in these deeper lakes. My favorite fly setup is a heavy crayfish pattern followed by a Simi-Seal leech. Slow-stripping these flies along the bottoms of a dark Arizona lake can be very productive.

Casting a sink tip is always a bit of a challenge. The heavier front end of the line loads the rod differently than a regular weight forward line, and when you add in a couple of heavier flies, the casting stroke takes a bit of getting used to. I have found that proper control of the running line is very important when shooting line. If I’m not making a concerted effort to keep my line neat, I’m going to wind up with a nice big rats nest when casting.

So far, I’ve been fishing this line for around a year or so. I always make sure to clean it when I get home in soap and water as well as wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. The line shows little to no wear and I’ve been very pleased with how well it has held up.

Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line
the Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip flexing the 6wt BVK

Pros:

Excellent big river streamer line

Floating line for easy mending

Durable

Reasonable price

Cons:

As with all sink tips, it takes a bit to get the casting stroke.

Running line can tangle if you’re not careful

Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line
Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line

Prognosis:  The Cortland 444 Classic Sink Tip 10’ Type 3 line is an excellent choice if you are looking to add a Type 3 sink tip to your fly line repertoire. 

 

 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  The Cortland 44 Clasic Sink Tip was provided by Cortland for the purpose of this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Arizona Quail Hunting – The Lone Bird

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Quail
Lone Gambel’s

Hunting birds in the desert has a way of clearing my head. It had been a long morning of hiking hills and busting brush. We had moved a couple coveys, but my vest was still empty. We were making a loop back to the truck when birds busted in front of us. One bird peeled off, and I took off in the general direction. As I crested the ridge, she flushed and gave me a glorious crossing shot. The first barrel missed, but when the second one barked the bird folded to the ground.

One thing is for sure, all that hard work made that one lone quail the tastiest bird I’ve had in a while.