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An Epic Review of the Dyson V6 Trigger: A Supercharged Handheld Bagless Vacuum

The Backstory

We have two really cute cats, Percy and Portia. Unfortunately, I’m mildly allergic to them (although I’m dangerously allergic to trees and grass, a problem I developed after my first Iraq deployment… something about the trees at Fort Bragg). My doctor told me to get rid of the cats, but they’re definitely part of the family and there’s no way I could ever give them up.

You can follow these two cats on Instagram
You can follow these two cats on Instagram

So I decided to place several more portable air filters in the house, increase the filtration in our A/C system, start immunotherapy for all of my allergies, and buy a serious vacuum to help reduce the amount of cat dander floating around. We’ve had some not-very-effective vacuums before, even from well-known brands like Daredevil, so I wanted to do my homework and avoid repeating those experiences. How did my vacuum search go?



Guest Review: Tom’s Experience with the DJI Phantom 4, one of the best drones on the market

NOTE: this is a special guest post from friend of BwF Tom Hickey. Tom recently bought a DJI Phantom 4 and wanted to let everyone know about his experience with this really cool drone. If you’re interested in guest posting, shoot us an email @

My Journey to Getting a Phantom 4

By: Tom Hickey

My friend and avid outdoor adventurer Supriya told me I should get a drone. I told her it was ridiculously expensive. My wife told me that drones were exciting and that we should get one. I told her we didn’t need one- no one needs a drone. Apparently both these people know me better than I know myself because I ended up buying a Phantom 4 from DJI. How did my experience go? Read on to find out!



Music and Alexa on the Go: An Amazon Tap Review

Reviewing the Amazon Tap: Another Piece of Amazon Hardware

Amazon continues to build out its surprisingly successful hardware line. From with the Amazon Echo, which we previously reviewed, to the very successful (to the point of selling out) Amazon Echo Dot (which I wasn’t able to get in time), Amazon recently produced their own UE Boom– inspired speaker, the Amazon Tap. Regular readers know I really like the convenience of having speakers in conveniently placed areas around the house. The Tap basically replicates the Echo’s abilities in a package that you can literally take with you. So I took the plunge for the speaker (it seemed a bit expensive at its regular price of $129) when the price dropped down to $69 ($50 Prime Day deal and $10 off any item you order off of Echo). All it took was saying to Alexa: “Alexa, order an Amazon Tap” and two days later it was in my hands! So how did my two month road test go? Was it worth it?


Childhood Cereals

Top 5 Childhood Cereals

Once a year I get an intense craving for cereal and we’re not talking about the healthy kind. When I crave cereal it’s for the really brightly colored, artificially flavored, super sweet kind. Well the craving came around again this year and instead of getting one box, I decided to take a walk down memory lane and buy 5 of my favorite childhood cereals. Let’s see if they’re still as good as I remember.


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America the Beautiful Pass: Your Ticket to the National Parks is the Greatest Value in America

A Pass to See America’s Greatest Natural Treasures


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. America’s 59 National Parks (called America’s Best Idea by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns) are located in 27 different states. Some of the scenes in these parks are so iconic that they can be found on state license plates (for example, Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is on Utah’s). Chances are, you live near a National Park. You may even go frequently. While the parks themselves are an undoubtedly great value, the $20-25 entrance fees can really add up.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve had the great fortune of being able to visit many parks. Right before my first overseas deployment, I was fortunate enough to visit the Grand Canyon and Badlands National Parks. For a good friend’s bachelor party, we hiked Angel’s Landing in Zion. After my second deployment to Iraq, my wife and I went to Acadia. The landscapes in all of these places are just astounding. With so much noise intrusion and pollution in our everyday lives, the golden silence just a mile from the trailhead is priceless.

I had heard of a mythical thing called an annual pass that would allow you access to these parks a few years ago. I never had the presence of mind to buy one (our trips to the parks were intermittent and we would always forget about it until we got back) and so I made it a point to research the pass before our most recent vacation this year. I discovered that for just $80, you can get a pass that will allow you unlimited entrance into the whole range of National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges. Per the National Park Service:

“A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.”

We were planning to visit several parks during our 2016 road trip and so I went online to the USGS website and purchased the pass. Five business days later I had it in my hands. So how did my trip go? And was the pass worth it?


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Anker Premium Stereo Bluetooth Speaker Review: Big Sound for a Small Price

Sound Envy

About a year ago I was on an overseas beach vacation with the other BuysWithFriends guys. One of the guys brought a bluetooth speaker system. It just so happened that it led me to the opportunity to listen to sweet, melodious tunes pumped out of a Bose SoundLink mini bluetooth speaker.  I was instantly impressed but knew that along with Bose’s impressive reputation for quality was also an impressive reputation for priciness. When I came home, I thought about beefing up our in-home sound capability. I was already benefiting from better sound on the road with an Anker portable speaker. This led me to do some more research and I ultimately settled on an Anker Premium Stereo Bluetooth Speaker for our living room. How did it go?


Fire TV Stick Box

Amazon Fire TV Stick: Better than Chromecast and Apple TV?

I went away to the Catskills with some friends this past weekend. While I was eager to explore the outdoors and enjoy a break from city living, I also knew that a new episode of Game of Thrones would air on Sunday night. I didn’t want to stream it on my iPhone or laptop. I wanted to enjoy it on a TV. I knew the AirBnB we were staying at would have a TV, but there was no mention of a streaming device with HBO Now.

While I own an older Apple TV and Google Chromecast, I decided to buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick. For $39.99 (for the standard non-voice remote), it seemed worthwhile not having to deal with unplugging them and untangling them from the mess of wires behind my TV. Also, I wasn’t sure Chromecast would reliably stream HBO Now. I was also interested in getting a device that would let me stream Amazon Video without using my laptop. So how did it go?


Next to a Macbook Air for size

Anker Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker: The Best Sound Bang for the Buck

The Sound Revolution

I never used to care about sound. Despite my musical upbringing and pop music obsession, for the last five years I’ve endured the tinny sound of my Macbook Air (and now Macbook Pro).For anyone that lives in a city and has to have Netflix compete with sirens, you know that good solid sound is prized. About eight months ago I decided that I’d give one of these fancy Bluetooth speakers a try. I didn’t want to lug something around that was too big and didn’t want to spend close to $200 for a system like Beats. So my criteria was set: something portable, with decent durability for travel circumstances, good battery life, and decent sound. After doing a ton of review of the reviews (there seem to be more bluetooth speakers out there than grains of sand on earth) I decided to get an Anker Portable Wireless Speaker for about $35. So what I do think of it after using it for the last half year plus? Read on to find out!



Leatherman Tread Review: 29 tools but will you actually use any of them?


29-tools on your wrist

When I first heard about the Leatherman Tread, I was super excited. TSA-compliant multi-tool that I can wear on my wrist? Say no more. I’m a gear nut and this seemed right up my alley. Even after reading some not-so-flattering Leatherman Tread Reviews I was still convinced that buying one would be the right move.

My reaction to the Leatherman Tread announcement
My reaction to the Leatherman Tread announcement

So it has been three months since I got the Tread. Was it worth it?



An epic review of the BauBax Jacket, one of the most backed (and delayed) Kickstarter projects ever

Well, I finally received my BauBax Jacket. I purchased two BauBax Sweatshirts in July 2015 for $229 total and received them about three weeks ago. I waited an extra six months beyond the advertised estimated delivery date which is likely better than many other backers who have yet to receive their jacket or only just now received it. The delays started generating news stories in late December and backers have grown increasingly frustrated, likely caused by hearing news about two other highly backed projects that ran into problems, the Zano Drone and the Coolest Cooler.

I wore my BauBax jacket for three weeks straight to get a good idea of how it would hold up to the intensity of travel and also to test the usefulness of the fifteen much touted features. During the test period, the temperature ranged from 45-80 degrees F. On the 80 degree day, the sweatshirt was very uncomfortable (great for outdoor wear in 45-65 degree weather). So how did the rest of my experience go? Read on to find out!