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Reliable, sturdy gear makes outdoor encounters more enjoyable. Buying “cheap” often results in Rube Goldberg repairs or costly replacements of discount gear and devices.

Despite the late arrival of spring, we got to field test two well-known product models – one established and one new – and both proved worthy of the price tag while afield.

Most viewers of outdoors TV have seen Jim Shockey roll a Yeti cooler down a rocky hillside. We did not conduct that field test. Instead, we loaded a Yeti Tundra 65 14.3-cubic foot cooler and two other nationally known coolers with two half-gallon frozen jugs of ice.

For decades we have gone on fly-in and pack-in fishing trips on 4-day or 7-day outings. Without packing in dry ice, the coolers would melt down the ice bottles by day three or four no matter the weather. Our yardstick was sliced beef. Not only our gang, but others before our fly-in stays, often discarded beef days into the stay.

We have yet to test meat quality, but after a week of mixed temperatures outside, the other two coolers retained some cool but both ice jugs became water bottles. Jugs inside the Yeti showed some melting but retained a core of ice and cold temperatures inside the cooler.

We will be taking this Yeti cooler on a weeklong Quebec fishing trip later this month to check out how it retains ice, possibly dry ice and stored foods. The ice test showed this Yeti could keep its cool far longer than all less expensive brands. Check out this and other Yeti models at yeticoolers.com.

How many “fishing pliers” are rusting away in a bucket or tackle box in the boat or stored on shore? One problem is the fold-out features become frustrating when hands are coated with water and fish slime.

Buck, the knifemakers best known for their hunting knives and now a nice line of American made fishing knives, has introduced a device called Splizzors, which does all kinds of pliers chores as well as scissors functions.

The only hinged part of a Splizzors is the handle, which contains a bottle opener and two crimping slots. Best of all, this device will cut any brand of modern mono, braided or composite line on the market.

The jaws function as hook removers, conventional pliers grips, and any other job at which anglers need a good hold on things.

The stainless frame is solid; the grip configures around a thumb on one side and around fingers in the other, which makes gripping easier and solid. The cutting blades are replaceable and a heavy-duty carrying sheath will have a Splizzors well worth its price years from now when other cutter/pliers tools have been shelved.

Check out them and other Buck products at buckknives.com.

email: odrswill@gmail.com.