Today is January 29th 2021 and I've been doing a lot of reflecting on why I've let my blog go for so long. I have written very few posts the last few years and have chalked it up to spending more time with my family. Truth is, my time has always been filled with my family. My free-time, my weekends, my evenings are consumed by their presence as that's what I have always prioritized and have chosen to occupy my time with. So the question remains, if I was already spending time with my family, why have I stopped writing? Why did I use my family as the excuse for not continuing my blog.
Truth is, it has all boiled down to passion. When I started the blog, I had no expectations, no influences other than my upbringing, and no objective other than journaling to document the memories I wanted to hold onto. I wrote freely, I expressed my thoughts, concerns, passions, as well as my fears. I was myself and my writing reflected that. Then came the, "stuff"...
The "stuff", as I refer to it, is everything that changed for me once I started to write. The stuff came in the form of physical things such as hunting or fishing gear, food, or other outdoor products. The stuff was also attention from companies, other bloggers, or local outdoorsmen and women. One other type of stuff was a following... Regardless of how small my following has been or is, it has been one thing that has left an impression on me. From likes and follows on social media, or comments on videos or posts. Each token of connection was interpreted as personal and intentional.
The "stuff" has a way of changing a person. The stories I chose to share on my blog before the stuff were authentic, raw, and unadulterated. They were full of feeling and had no purpose other than documentation for my own objectives. When the "stuff" started showing up, there was an unintentional pressure placed on my by myself to meet someone else's needs. I took the "stuff" in stride and ran with my passions while not recognizing the influence the "stuff" was having on myself. Slowly but surely, my writings became less of me and more of "them".
As I analyze my writings over the past few years, I search my post for my personality, passions, or any other inclination that I was the one who wrote those words. Searching those posts brought the same feeling as staring into the dark cloudy night searching desperately for a glimpse of a shining star yet knowing what you're looking for has been covered up by all of the other "stuff" in the sky. Being disappointed in my writings, I no longer felt the passion to write.
As most of us do when we don't feel the connections we once did, I turned to the things in my life that brought me the satisfaction I was searching for. I turned stronger toward my family. Not that I had turned away from them, but more so that I was letting the "stuff" of social media cloud up my skies while complaining that the stars were becoming harder and harder to find. I turned toward the outdoors. Not the outdoor channel, Instagram hunting and fishing pages, or Facebook groups but the unadulterated natural influence of the Idaho wilderness! I hunted to provide for my family and for the pure joy of being in God's canvas surrounded by his creations. The further I got away from the "stuff" of the world and the influences of social media, the closer I became to who I once was. Closer to who I was when I started this blog.
This was a wonderful feeling, yet my new insight and clear sky was easily clouded over when I exited the outdoors and entered the grind of daily life. I had "connections" that pulled me back to the cloudy skies and obligations to companies to promote products or influences readers. My realization had to bring about change if I wanted it to become more than a feeling. I cut ties and used the one excuse that was difficult for people to shame someone about. I told them that I needed to focus on my family and that they needed my attention, while the truth was that I needed my attention. I needed to find myself again.
Now that it has been a few years of putting the blog on hold, I find myself in a better place. Not in the sense that the place I was in was bad or wrong, but I was not being me in my writings. I was letting the "stuff", as I've called it, control what I wrote and how I wrote it. There was always a sliver of "me" in there, but not the full me... not the person I wanted to be. I am glad to say that I am confident that no matter what "stuff" comes in the future, I am in a place where I have my foundation of who I am as a blogger and writer. I will still promote products that I am passionate about and feel would benefit those who read and follow my blog, yet I will not let a company pressure me directly or indirectly to produce a review before I feel I've given the product a thorough review. I won't write a post or review just to get more "stuff" as in the end stuff is just that... just stuff.
To conclude, my heart leads me to ask myself which "stuff" is in our lives that distract us from the things that bring us closer to who we really are. What are our purposes and passions that we wish to aspire to. If you change to be a better version of yourself than the change is more of a conversion to our convictions rather than an adaptation to our surroundings. The inward reflection rather than the outward influences is what should bring the changes in our future. Both will have an influence on our decisions, as they should, while the bigger picture is being true to ourselves and who we are.
Lets be honest.... All I have to say is jerky and I have your attention! Who doesn't love some good beef jerky! Jerky is one of the oldest snack foods there is, yet it's still a staple for so many of us!
As much as we all love jerky, I'll be the first to admit that not all brands and flavors are created equal. There is an art to making jerky that tastes great as well as has the right texture! To much of just one seasoning, flavor, or just a few minutes to much or to shy in the smoker and the whole batch of jerky is ruined.
I often make my own jerky, but after all that work, I pull the meat off the smoker to realize how little jerky I have for all my hard work! Don't get me wrong, I love making my own jerky but I can consume a whole batch of jerky in a few hours if I don't watch myself! (Fat person problems)
I recently had the opportunity to review a brand of jerky that is quite popular in South Eastern Idaho as well as many other areas! Glenwood Snacks is located here in St. Anthony Idaho! I have had Glenwood jerky for years, but I have not tried all their different flavors of jerky so I was pretty excited for this review. The flavors I was able to taste were: Original, Peppered, Teriyaki, Smoke Pit, Sweet and Spicy, and 7 Alarm.
One thing I like about Glenwood Jerky is that they are gluten free, no added nitrates, and no added MSG's. I know this may not be important to all of you, but my family is big on overall gut health as well as my family suffers from Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. My son who is 5 has Celiac Disease, while my wife and daughter have an intolerance to gluten. Finding great tasting jerky that is clean and healthy is harder than it should be. Which brings me to my next point!
Jerky does not need 100 ingredient! I LOVE that Glenwood jerky is not full of 100 different ingredients, chemicals, or perspectives. The taste you get from Glenwood is from ingredients you can pronounce and recognize. There is no guessing on what you're eating and putting into your body.
The video I am sharing is a video of my initial reaction and taste test of each flavor while I'll give a brief description of each one below.
I recruited some help in this review by having my family and a few of my coworkers taste test all of the different flavors of jerky, and then I had them rank them from their favorite to their least favorite. These are the results I got back when I combined all of the feedback from the 10 different people.
1. Smoke Pit
5. Sweet and Spicy
6. 7 Alarm
Now here is my brief on each different flavor in the order they were ranked by this review.
Smoke Pit - Hardy, smokey, with a touch of sweetness. I love the smoke flavor and tenderness of this flavor! The ingredients include molasses, tomato paste, brown sugar, honey, and apple juice. I have to say the way have blended these different flavors where you don't taste to much of one thing or not enough of another is a perfect combination. It's a great southern taste of smoky goodness!
Peppered - This flavor is another solid staple jerky flavor that Glenwood does a great job with. Perfect balance of pepper where you don't feel like they emptied a while bottle of black pepper into each bag of jerky, yet enough peppery flavor that it set's it apart from the original flavored jerky. The Peppered and Smoke Pit were tied until the last person gave me their results which put the Smoke Pit just one score above the Peppered.
Teriyaki - The perfect balance of sweet and salty teriyaki flavor. This one was great, I could taste the brown sugar immediately, while the salty teriyaki flavor had a constant presence. When I had my family and coworkers taste these flavors, the Teriyaki had mixed results. I had a few people who said they normally love teriyaki who said they didn't care for this one as much, while others who actually picked it as their number 1 choice!.
Original - Honestly you can't beat the taste of good ole' Original Jerky. It resonates with you and is such a comfort food. The Original flavor has a touch of sweetness, smoke flavor, and spices.
Sweet and Spicy - I had mixed feelings about this one as I thought it was sweeter than it was spicy. I almost felt like it was a bit of a mix between the teriyaki and the peppered. I personally would have liked a bit more spice with it, but I also had a few other people who said they loved it just the way it was. Those who liked spicy food tended to say it needed more of a kick while those who were indifferent about spicy food said it was just enough of a kick to make things interesting.
7 Alarm - If you love spicy food, this one is for you! Out of the 10 people who helped me taste these different flavors, I had 2 people rank it as their top pick, while the other 8 put it either their second to last, or their very least favorite. It was an either you loved it or you didn't type of a thing :) I myself loved it! I didn't put it as my top pick myself, but I felt it was a great flavor while also spicy enough to REALLY get your attention. Some of the ingredients include Jalapeño, Habanero, Ghost Pepper, Carolina Reaper, and Scorpion Pepper!!! If you don't like spicy food, we won't hold it against you if you don't want to try this one. If you do love spicy food, you may have just found your new favorite snack food!
Now to the fun part! Who doesn't want free jerky!!! I'm doing a giveaway for 3 packs of Glenwood Jerky! The winner will be randomly selected and I'll send them three packs of Glenwood Jerky! Just follow the link below to get entered! Also PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND REVIEW! The more traffic we get, the more giveaways we can do! If you help us out, then we can do more fun reviews and giveaways such as this! So please share on social media as well as tell your family and friends! Thank you all for the support!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
As well as my giveaway I also have a discount to offer all of my followers. You can get .50 off a 16 ounce bag of jerky. You can either click the Glenwood logo on the side bar on my blog post to take you to the website or go to: glenwoodsnacks.com/idaho-pursuit-store then use the password IDPUR50 to get into the storefront which will automatically give you the discount pricing.
As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion. Glenwood provided me with these flavors of jerky in exchange for a product review. I have purchased the Glenwood Jerky which is offered as the giveaway/prize for this post. I am not sponsored by or affiliated with Glenwood Jerky other than this simple request of a review. Glenwood did not give me any instructions or guidance on how to review the products so everything written on this post is based on my personal experience and opinion.
If you've been following me on social media at all, you may have seen that I have been trying out the backpacks from Rokman Gear for a while now. If you haven't heard of Rokman yet, or seen how their packs work, let me just say you're in for a treat! I'll post some of their videos as well, as they're better quality than my videos.
The first time I used the Rokman Pack was on a four-day backpacking trip. I took the pack without having a complete explanation on all the features, and took a blind approach to hopefully give it an honest review. Jumping ahead with my take on the pack system--I was blown away with comfort, and grateful for the functionality and quality of the gear! Within an hour of starting our hike, we were met with a rain storm that soaked my hiking partners gear. My gear, however, was completely dry. That night, I didn't want to cram all my gear in my small backpacking tent with me. It rained some more as the Rokman Pack sat outside my tent, but I wasn't worried because I was confident that the pack was protecting everything. Aside from keeping my gear safe, the pack was easy to use and I have yet to find anything else that is as comfortable!
Here are more valuable features of the Rokman Pack:
Core Flex Harness
The Core Flex Harness is the foundation of the whole system for Rokman. It is made with a carbon fiber core, which flexes with your body, preventing resistance and allowing some forgiveness when your pack isn't loaded completely evenly. Let's be honest, there are many times we are able to load our gear perfectly so it rides nicely on our back before going in to an area or on a hunt--but on that journey, we are in and out of our bag and stuff gets moved around, and then it rides unevenly. Even when loading harvested animals, it is never evenly balanced. I love the fact that the Core Flex Harness allows for this forgiveness, while also providing a SOLID and comfortable base to their system!
The Core Flex Harness is fully adjustable to fit practically anyone's torso length and girth. Adjusting the harness is as simple as releasing a tension strap, moving the buckles to the right spot, and then tightening the tension strap. This can all be done in 10-15 seconds. The first time I used any of the Rokman Packs, the main thing I noticed was the amount of padding in the shoulder straps and lumbar support/waist strap. Aside from the awesome fact that these packs are water proof, I have yet to find a pack that is this comfortable. The Rokman Pack is by far the absolute most comfortable pack I have ever worn. It doesn't matter if I have the pack loaded with a few items for a quick day trip or loaded heavier than I would need for a two-week long backpacking trip; the pack is extremely satisfying, and adjusts to fit my body perfectly!
Core Flex Harness - weight: 3.1 lbs.
You can also clip the Rokman Bino Case right to the shoulder straps of the Core Flex Harness! No more sweat patch on your back from another set of straps when you run the whole system! I'll actually make a separate review of the Bino Case and Harness as to not make this review longer than needed.
Attaching a Bag or Pack Frame
Once you have the Core Flex Harness adjusted perfectly for your body, attaching any of the Rokman bags is super simple. Each bag or pack frame has two DuraFlex pockets which slide into two hooks on the bottom of the Core Flex Harness. Then, each pack has a metal stud at the top, which you insert through a hole in the shoulder harness and push in a load pin to secure the bag. Once the bag is attached to the Core Flex Harness, you just have two clips on each side that help dispense the load weight evenly and provide support. Now that the bag or pack frame is on, you have 7 points of contact securing the bag to the Core Flex Harness.
The Basecamp 5000 on the pack frame
The backpacks that Rokman makes are extremely durable. They're made out of 100% TPU bonded 420D High Tenacity Nylon core fabric and 100% waterproof RF welded seams. Those are some fancy names to pretty much say it’s made out waterproof material that is extremely durable! I expected the bags to feel rubbery, but that was not the case when I got my hands on them. They are not your typical canvas material that many packs are made out of--while at the same time they don't feel a lot different. The material is a little bit louder than a normal pack, but when it is loaded with gear and strapped down, I hardly noticed this at all. I will say, one thing I noticed is that the material does not have any give, so in those situations where you like to squeeze one more item in your bag, it is a little more difficult with the Rokman bags. Rokman combated this by making their packs with the ability to attach other packs or bags to add additional space/storage capacity very easily! Also, the reason the material doesn’t have any give is because they are fully water proof! You can literally throw this bag, full of gear, into the river or lake and it will float. The side pockets are water resistant and are designed to not allow water in unless completely submerged in water for extended periods of time. It is made to survive through extreme conditions.
Rokman makes three sizes of backpacks as well as a pair of Side Kick Bags that can be attached to any of their packs or pack frame. Rokman also makes a gun scabbard that attaches to the back any of the bags or pack frame. The sizes of the Rokman backpacks are as follows:
I have used the Basecamp 5000 and the Pinnacle 2500.
All of Rokman's packs, including their pack frame, have a built in Load Strap that is florescent orange. The Load Strap is located on the bottom of every bag and is sewn in, then attached to side and top buckles to secure loads. They built this into every pack with the intention of allowing you to carry in or carry out any item that you are unable to put inside of your bag. They also built this Load Strap with a "nose hole" which allows your to securely attach the head of any animal you harvest in a secure and safe way.
Another feature that I love about Rokman is that I can use all three of these bags or the pack frame separately or at the same time on the same shoulder straps/Core Flex Harness! Once you own the foundation of the system, you can get another size of pack and switch it, depending on what adventure you're going on. "Piggybacking" the backpacks effectively onto one another is a feature I have yet to find on another pack system.
Basecamp 5000 keeping all my gear dry after a rain storm
Carbon Fiber Pack Frame
I want to touch on the Carbon Fiber Pack Frame. The pack frame is made out of carbon fiber, which makes it extremely durable and strong. It is also designed to match the contour of your back rather than having a stiff/straight design that is contrary to the human body. The load capacity of the frame is 250 lbs., but it only weights 3.10 lbs! Just like all of the Rokman Packs, the pack frame can be attached directly to the Core Flex Harness. The top of the pack frame can be removed if you wish to have a smaller profile pack frame. This is great if you wish to run the Side Kick bags on your pack frame to go in super light.
You can see my sleeping bag (in the white trash bag)
between the pack frame and the Basecamp 5000.
The way I used the system was by attaching the pack frame to the shoulder straps, and then strapping the Basecamp 5000 to the pack frame. My sleeping bag carrier ripped, so I put my sleeping bag in between the pack frame and the Basecamp 5000 before strapping everything down tightly (as shown in the picture). This is how I would recommend running the system: Core Flex Harness, pack frame, and then whatever pack you decide to use that trip. If I was in a hunting situation, running the same system, I would be able to extend the bag out and use the load shelf to haul meat or other items while still keeping my bag attached on the outside, protecting the rest of my load.
Now to the luxury feature of the pack frame! I LOVE the fact that I can use this pack frame as a seat. Yes, a seat... The pack frame load shelf has padding in it, which allows you to use it as a seat when glassing or sitting in camp. It's fully adjustable so you can kick back and relax or sit upright while spending hours looking through a spotting scope. The load shelf is also made out of the same waterproof material. Using the load shelf is nice so you don't get wet from sitting on the ground. The padding also allows you to sit longer without your rear end or legs going numb like they would from sitting on hard rock or log.
Carbon Fiber Pack Frame - Weight: 3.10 lbs.
Now comes the fun part. You find some amazing gear and love what it does and how it feels. Now it’s time to pull the trigger. You look at the cash register, back and your wallet, and then back at the cash register... Let's be honest, quality gear is not cheap. The cost for the Rokman gear is on the high end of "average" gear--but at the same time, when considering high-end gear, it is actually on the lower end of the spectrum. I've even heard a few people say that they've spent $600 on a "normal" backpack that doesn't do HALF the stuff the Rokman Packs can do! This is where my wife would chime in and say she would much rather see me pay $600 for a quality pack than buy a new pack every other year because I'm not happy with the one I have.
The lifetime warranty on their gear is also a comfort point. I can rest easy knowing that if there is a defect in the material, I will not be S.O.L. in a year if something fails on me. Also, looking at the Rokman system as a protectant for your other gear is a huge benefit! All of us know how expensive hunting equipment can be. Having a pack that will protect your gear from the elements is a reassuring piece of mind that you don't get with all other packs.
Core Flex Harness - $299 Pinnacle 2500 - $320($619 with harness) Scout 3800 - $349 ($648 with harness) Basecamp 5000 - $369($668 with harness) Carbon Fiber Pack Frame - $420($719.00 with harness) Rokman Extreme Combo Pack: Includes their Core-Flex Harness, Pinnacle 2500, Basecamp 5000, Carbon Fiber Pack Frame, and their Bino Harness - $1499.00
Lifetime Warranty on manufacturers defects
100% Water proof material
Completely Modular System
Fully adjustable to fit you and your load perfectly on each trip
Separate pocket for hydration bladder which is 100% waterproof
Load Strap - Hunters Orange, Nose Hole game strap system to secure any item you wish
Attach your Bino Harness right to shoulder straps
Cost - In defense of Rokman if you were to buy each item separately from any other company, you would be very competitively priced. I don't know of any other gear where you can get this quality, comfort, and functionality for these prices.
Noise - I put this as a con, as I will admit, the material is slightly louder than some other materials, but not enough that I wouldn't use it in any situation.
I would fully recommend Rokman packs to all outdoors men and women who love quality gear. Aside from all the "cool" features, I have yet to find another pack that is this comfortable, regardless of how heavy I pack it. It is hard for me to go back to any other backpack after using a Rokman Pack because of the comfort factor, alone. This is a system that is for all levels of outdoors enthusiasts; from your weekend warriors to your week long back-country hunters, Rokman has a system that fits your adventure. Looking at Rokman as an investment for your gear, as well as for your experience, is something that can't be beat.
Basecamp 5000 with gear floating in my kids' swimming pool
As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion. Rokman did not ask for this review, nor did I receive any compensation for this review. Rokman did not give me any instructions or guidance on how to review the products so everything written on this post is based on my personal experience with the product.