Archive for January, 2010

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Gear for Summer Activities

January 29th, 2010

Regardless of the fact that many of us are facing a tight budget, the summer season is here and the kids are ready for some boredom-busting activities. But it doesn’t have to break the bank to keep them having fun and active. The best recollections are often created from lots of laughs, creative imaginations, and simple activities. Here are a few fun suggestions for enjoying your summer while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Throw a party with a theme. This is a fun thing to do for people of all ages. Visit your discount party supplier and purchase some themed decorations that feel as laid back and fun as summer. A luau is the most obvious choice. You can buy some grass skirts for the girls and some leis for the boys along with some themed paper plates and cups. Decoration ideas for your table and backyard are limitless at the discount party stores, use your creativity and make it feel like you’ve retreated to a tropical place where tikis fill the land and where no one has a care in the world!

Go camping. You can find some great camping equipment at yard sales or rummage sales. Many people buy tents, stoves, etc. and then only use them once or twice before donating them or having a yard sale. This is a great way to get camping supplies for less. If you prefer new discount camping gear, check out online discounters and buy closeouts for the best deals. You can purchase camping permits at your state parks, lakes, or beaches for great rates. You can even camp in your very own yard! Don’t leave out the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate!

Try putting on the greens. Golfing is one of the best ways for children to practice their hand-eye coordination and develop necessary motor skills. It’s easy to find golf clubs; you can lease it at a local golf course, purchase it online, or buy second-hand. Miniature golf is especially enjoyable for the children because the course is easy to use, has fun themes at each hole, and the putters are small enough for even the youngest kids! The cost is usually pretty fair also.

Visit your local YMCA or community center. Not only do they have water games to keep your family cool on those scorching summer days, but they often have fun crafts, activites, and even tennis courts for the kids. This is another great way to get the kids to stay active while developing their motor coordination. Wilson tennis racquets can be purchased for almost nothing at a yard sale and can bring tons of fun! If you would like a new one, shop on the clearance area of your sports store or even online vendors who have overstocks on sale.

Purchase an above-ground pool. For about $100, you can purchase a stand-alone pool that will surely be a splash with the kids for the entire summer! It can be a great way to bring their friends together in one place while keeping them busy for hours and keeping them cool. Summer is the time to get the best deals on seasonal items, so check online and in your local discount stores for specials on these great items! The best part is that you don’t need a huge yard in order to put one together.

Even with the limitations of a tight budget, you can still make the best out of this year’s summer break! Try these suggestions out and create some more of your own. With some creative juices flowing, you can have a few months of relaxation and good times that will make lasting memories!

By: Frank Stewart

Cycling and Outdoor Accessories Brand Leader Todson Nominated for 2nd Vendor Partner Award From Rei

January 29th, 2010

Todson, the exclusive U.S. importer of OnGuard Locks, a burly and secure brand focused on power sports, and Topeak, high performance bike accessories and based in North Attleboro, Mass., is pleased to announce that Todson has been nominated for a the Vendor Partner from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the national retail co-op giant for outdoor clothing and gear.

Out of REI’s 1,500 vendors, Todson, the top cycling accessories brand in the world, was nominated among 14 others in the 2006 Vendor Partnership Award competition.

Other vendor partner award nominees included Big Agnes, Electra Bicycle Company, Mountain Hardwear, Arc’Teryx, Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., CamelBak Products, LLC, Clif Bar, Inc., Hydro-Photon, Inc., Outdoor Research, Patagonia, SmartWool®, Thule, and Vasque.

The annual awards program, established in 1993, recognizes key vendors for efforts that have built a strategic and successful relationship with REI. The co-op’s three merchandising divisions – camp/travel, action sports and outdoorwear – nominate companies based on several measures, including financial performance, community and industry involvement and product quality, among others. In addition, REI retail employees vote from the slate of nominees to help determine the winners.Other vendor partner award nominees included Arc’Teryx, Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., CamelBak Products, LLC, Clif Bar, Inc., Hydro-Photon, Inc., Outdoor Research, Patagonia, SmartWool®, Thule, Todson and Vasque.

Known for their “industry firsts” which includes the innovative Alien & McGuyver Tool lines, in addition to bike computers, gear boxes, pumps, seats, lights and a plethora of “can’t live without” gadgets, Topeak continues to deliver unique products that will guarantee a good ride. Todson owner OnGuard locks offer sturdy security for bikes, power sports, and everyday use.

According to Neal Todrys, president of Todson, Inc. and importer of Topeak and OnGuard Locks, “We are delighted to be nominated for a second time. Todson continues to design and hone our innovative products to cater to a discerning customer base such as REI members who demand maximum versatility as well as high quality and performance in their outdoor gear. We’re thrilled that Todson has received this terrific recognition as it is well-deserved.”

For more information about REI, visit their website at To learn more about Topeak and OnGuard products or to find a dealer, visit the website at

World Class Sports Accessories

Todson, Inc., the exclusive importer for Topeak for the U.S., is committed to providing the best in sports accessories to consumers around the globe. Over the past 16 years, Topeak has risen to become the top cycling accessories brand in the world.

In addition to Topeak cycling accessories, Todson is the distributor of renowned OnGuard line, the toughest line of power sport, bike and gear security products in the world. The OnGuard line is available only through authorized dealers. Recognized for their legendary anti-drill and pick-proof M-Cylinder mechanism and flat key lock system, OnGuard’s locks, whether key or combination lock, are tested, approved and certified to guard bikes or power sport vehicles the world over. OnGuard is the leading lock brand in Europe, in particular, Amsterdam, the bike theft capital of the world.

Todson has successfully marketed recreational goods for more than 50 years. Now in its third generation of family ownership, Todson specializes in strategic sales and marketing, distribution, brand management and e-commerce. For more information about Topeak cycling accessories and OnGuard Locks, visit or contact Todson at (800) 213-4561. The company is located at 73 N. Washington Street, N. Attleboro, Mass.

By: Steve Dubin

A History of Paint Ball Gear Sites

January 28th, 2010

Modern Paint Ball guns were a natural progression from a ‘Ping Pong Gun’ that was used by many young ‘Warriors’ in the 1950’s. This ‘Toy’ would fire Ping Pong balls under air pressure. A hit wasn’t as painful as a modern unprotected ‘Paintball’ hit, because of the deceleration of the very light projectile.

Then the Daisy Manufacturing Company of ‘BB Gun’ fame came up with the first Paint Ball Gun. The first Paint Ball gun was invented (1970) and patented by a Daisy Employee, James Hale (U.S. patent 3,788, 298 issued on January 29, 1974.) with the original intent of use by the Forest Service and ranchers marking trees for harvest and cattle for selection. The first gun actually designed for playing Paintball was the Splatmaster invented by Robert G Shepherd. This U.S. patent number 4,531,503 was issued to Shepherd on July 30, 1985.

The Forestry version (Nel-spot 007 pistols) was used in a game of ‘Capture the Flag’ in 1981, boys will be boys. By 1982 some of the entrepreneurial players from that ‘Capture the Flag’ game, started National Survival Games (NSG) and opening paint ball fields. Charles Gaines, founded NSG. PMI (Pursuit Marketing Inc.) was founded for the distribution and marketing of Paint Ball products and paint ball gear sites. Caleb Strong opened the first outdoor paintball gear site in 1982 in upstate New York. Being in upstate New York, Caleb also opened the first indoor paintball gear site in Buffalo in 1984.

The early marketing of the new sport included articles written by quite a few of those early players and published in Sports Illustrated and other sports genre.

Once established it was only natural to set up a Championship Contest. This was done in 1983 at a paint ball gear site with a purse of $14,000 cash. The sport also went international in 1983 with the opening of an outdoor paintball gear site in Toronto.

More International Venues were added beginning with Australia in 1984, France and Denmark in 1991 with the rest of Europe soon to follow. An indoor paintball gear site was erected in England by 1985.

I’m sure quite a few Wives, Mothers and anyone who does their own laundry are grateful to George A. Skogg who in 1987 patented a “washable marking fluid formulation for soft gelatin capsules” – a Paintball bullet recipe (U.S. patent 4,634,606 granted January 6, 1987.) The fluid when packaged in a soft gelatin capsule produced projectiles that were more accurate and stable and made bright, highly visible marks that could be easily washed out with water and/or detergent and were ideally suitable for use in the sports and games exercises. Skogg worked for the Nelson Paint Company and this patent became the Nelson recipe for Paintballs.


In 1988 The IPPA (International Paintball Players Association) was founded. This is a non-profit association dedicated to the education, growth and safety of the sport of paintball. During the period 1992-1993 NPPL (National Professional Paintball League ) was founded and the NPPL Pro-Am Series began with paint ball gear site tournaments set up in Reno, New York, Boston, and other cities around the U.S..

It was inevitable that television would become involved. How could it ‘NOT’ be included. In 1993 ESPN aired it’s filming of the NPPL ‘DC Cup’ from Bowie, Maryland, organized by the PCRI (Paintball Ratings and Competitions International). As interest expanded in 1996 ESPN aired the ESPN World Championships of Paintball from Orlando, Florida.

And of course the Internet would become a venue. In 1994 Warpig introduced the first internet paintball gear site.

The game has exploded into a multimillion-dollar sport with amateur and professional tournaments across the United States and Europe. Paintball Gear Sites are opening every day now, all over the world. Cash purses and prizes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars are involved. Daisy (manufacturer of pellets, B.B.s and air guns), Crossman (manufacturer of airguns), Scott USA (manufacturer of ski poles and goggles) and JT USA (manufacturer of motocross safety equipment) are just a few of the companies that have expanded into paintball paraphernalia and equipment. Sponsors of modern tournaments include companies such as Budweiser and Pepsi-Cola and who know’s what’s next. (Toy’s r Us, Ruger).

Copyright © 2006 C. R. Ellsworth

By: C R Ellsworth