Badland 12000-lb Winch Review, Installation, Preparation and Safety

12k WINCH OFF ROAD PIC

Wheelin’, muddin’, off-roading, jeeping, four-wheeling. It’s a favorite pastime here in the States, and why not? It’s a heckuva lot of fun and a thrill to explore and experience the rougher side of nature. So, if you’ve got a 4×4, it’s only natural you want a winch. You could very well be boldly going where no man has gone before– and for good reason!– and you’ll need an escape plan.

12K winch on ford

Winches are awesome, powerful mechanisms, but mis-mounted or misused, they can be extremely dangerous. Before you even purchase your off-road winch, you should know how it works, its limitations and how it runs. YouTuber “ghostses” offers an extremely well-covered video on the Badland 12000-lb. Capacity with Auto-Loading Brake (voted “Best Deal in Winching” by Off-Road magazine), and if you walk away uninformed after this, I don’t know what to tell ya.

Some highlights include:

1. Why he went with the 12000-lb. model (00:01:25)

2. Cable layers and winch strength (00:02:25)

3. The components, what they’re for and the manual (00:06:20)

4. The parts of the main winch and motor (00:14:18)

5. Component assembly and installation (00:35:09)

6. Pre-stretching the cable (00:46:10)

7. Other rigging and accessories (00:48:16)

8. Wicked cool demonstrations (00:57:18)

There are a number of extremely important safety tips and pointers throughout this video, so if it’s too long for you, I advise to take it in in “chapters.” Believe me, it’s well worth your while.

There is also a segment where the reviewer opens the housing to re-lube it. THIS WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. As it states in the manual, “The winch’s internal mechanism is permanently lubricated. Do not open the housing.”

Most importantly, of course, go to the Harbor Freight website and read the countless other customer reviews on the Badland 12K winch. You’ll see for yourself why it’s a favorite among off-roaders!

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Their First Tool Set: A Rite of Passage

tool box 21-inch

Last month, a friend of mine in Utah decided to buy his two teenage sons each their first tool kits for Christmas. Armed with a Harbor Freight 25% Off Friends & Family coupon, he went up and down the aisles, thinking about the chores his boys might come across, at least in their early lives, and he tossed the respective tools in the basket. Needless to say, the kids were excited when they opened their presents. They weren’t expecting anything remotely like it and, let’s face it, getting a first tool set is a profound rite of passage– for a boy or a girl.

girl with drill

Kids may appear to be smaller than they actually are…

It made me think about my own daughter, Miss D, who turns 20 this spring. For the first time in her life, she’s living away from home and starting to make her own way. Having a tool kit in the apartment surely would have its uses. So, what are the essentials for a basic first tool set for her? Here’s what I came up with, and what I plan to put together for her:

Cordless Drill

cordless drill 3-8 with flashlight

This may or may not fit in the tool box of choice, but it’s essential for the home, what with all the holes and screws in their future. Cordless, of course, so she can take it anywhere without having to drag an extension cord along. I chose this 3/8″ 18-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver and Flashlight Kit for a number of reasons. 1) She won’t be needing a 1/2″ for the tasks she’ll be doing; 2) It’s got plenty of power; 3) it’s rated at “4 Stars”; 5) It’s under $30 for the set. It’s a lightweight, powerful drill with plenty of torque for around-the-house jobs.

Socket Set

socket set 21 pc 3-8 sae and metric

 

Probably just as much as the drill, I can see Miss D running into tasks that require wrenching. A 3/8″ SAE & Metric High Visibility Socket Set makes good sense because of the ease it’ll give her to tighten and loosen nuts n’ bolts. Coupled with a closed-end wrench to hold the other side, fasteners are no chore at all. This particular set is rated at “5 STARS”, has high-visibility markings so she can locate needed sockets fast, and also costs under $30. Like all Harbor Freight hand tools, this socket set has a lifetime warranty and will probably be in her tool box for the rest of her life.

Wrench Set

wrench set SAE 9 pc

I normally like using a ratchet, but when you run into a situation where it doesn’t fit, you need wrenches as a backup. Also, as I mentioned, I think closed-end wrench sets make great companions to socket sets when tightening or loosening bolts. So I’m tossing a 9-Pc SAE Wrench Set and a 9-Pc. Metric Wrench Set— together under $20– into her tool set.

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench set

There are those who argue that if you have these, you don’t need the other wrenches. I don’t belong to that camp. You miss out on the advantageous grip of the closed end and I just like the grip of a stationary wrench more. On the other hand, if none of your sized wrenches fit, these make for mighty fine pinch hitters. I’m giving Miss D this Pittsburgh Adjustable Wrench Set of 4— it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. And I’ll tell her how, when you’re using an adjustable wrench, the movable jaw is located on the side towards which the rotation is being performed. This reduces the chance of backlash. At under $15, this does the trick.

Screwdrivers

screwdriver set 8 pc

 

Although Phillips screws have pretty much replaced slotted screws in the fastener world, 20-somethings planning on dwelling in apartments will inevitably come across older domains with slots, so it’s no biggie to get a 8-Pc. Combo Screwdriver Set, especially with comfortably soft handles and magnetized tips at under $10! The flatheads can also be improvised for other uses like light prying, scraping and nudging.

Claw Hammer

claw hammer blog

Back in the day, the Old Man used to hammer pretty much everything, not just nails. A good, solid 16-oz. Hammer with Fiberglass Handle is all she’ll need to hang her picture frames, Jamaican masks and balcony lights. And at under $5, it’s a no-brainer to throw this in the kit.

Tape Measure

tape measure 25 ft

Whether she’s spacing pictures on a wall, measuring space for a futon or cutting fabric to cover it, a dependable 25′ Retractable Steel Measuring Tape is a must. Carpenter’s marks every 16″ will also help her locate studs and the thumb lock holds measurements in place when she needs it. At under $5, it’ll pay for itself over and over again.

Locking Pliers

locking pliers set of 3

Thinking about how Miss D will often be alone at home while working on projects, I thought she could probably use some locking pliers. They come in handy when you need an extra hand, but only have your own two paws to work with. Extremely versatile, they can be used as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet or a clamp. I chose this set of 3 Curved Jaw Locking Pliers  ’cause they pretty much cover any size job she’ll be facing, and they come with soft rubberized handles which will make it easier to wrench loose the more stubborn nuts n’ bolts. Under $10.00 and also covered with Harbor Freight’s lifetime warranty.

Needle Nose Pliers

needle nose pliers

My daughter likes to work on crafty projects from time to time, which sometimes entails tiny manipulating tasks. Also, there’ll be the occasional task where she has to work in smaller cavities. That said, I thought it would be a good idea to throw these 5-3/4″ Needle Nose Pliers in the tool box for good measure. They’ll also be good for whenever she needs to strip and cut wire (in my day it would have been stereo speaker wire), etc. At only $2, I couldn’t even get a Quarter Pounder for that.

I’m sure I’ll be adding other things as I think of them down the road. Depending on your kids’ interests, talents, vocations or lifestyle, you’ll probably want to deviate from this list a bit. Where you want to follow my lead is to head on over to your local Harbor Freight Tools to gather your tool set. The quality and prices are great, and you can’t beat the warranty on the hand tools! Make sure you visit HarborFreight.com first to grab your coupons.

33 Awesome DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

merry christmas DIY

Buying any well-thought item from a store will certainly make guy or gal’s Christmas, but nothing says “wow” like the gift someone makes for you. For some reason, knowing they spent their time crafting something just for you is especially awesome. Plus, if you’re comfortable working with your hands, the homemade gifts can be made very inexpensively and help you cross several names off your list with just one project.

Over the years we’ve written a number of DIY project articles for the purpose of making something for yourself. This time we’re going to take a moment and share some DIY activities you’ll enjoy both making AND giving. Some of them are really easy take little time and are inexpensive to make. Others might challenge your skill set a bit more, as well as your budget. Whatever the case, you’re sure to find one that fits your comfort level.

Recently, the Art of Manliness came out with “33 DIY Gift Ideas For Men,” a compilation of several previous articles that they thought would make a great gift guide. We at Harbor Freight agree, but we’re pretty sure there are some craft-minded women who would also find this interesting, fun and contain at least a few great ideas for the significants in their lives.

field phone

If your hobby is electronics, how’d you like to turn a WWII field phone into a Bluetooth phone?

diy dining table

Or if woodworking is your thing, how about this rustic heirloom-quality dining room table?

altoid tins flavored toothpicks

Or if you’re looking to take care of a bunch of folks in one fell swoop, they offer 22 Altoid can kit ideas or custom-flavored toothpicks!

Those are just a few of the wide-ranging ideas The Art of Manliness offers in its comprehensive DIY Christmas Gift Ideas post. You’re sure to find at least a few that fit your skill set, timetable and budget. If I could anything myself, it would be to choose a project that will be fun and rewarding for you. After all, it’s Christmas, and where’s the joy in a project that’s gonna make you stress n’ sweat? And when you find you need a certain tool or supply to make it happen, swing by Harbor Freight Tools for quality, cost-conscious garage gear.

How To Make a Rustic Party Ice Chest From Wood Pallets

pallet cooler complete

Yup, it’s getting colder and wetter, and DIY warriors are retreating behind closed doors for the winter. The LAST thing you want to do is curl up on the barcalounger and remain in a vegetative state ’til the thaw. How about a fun garage project to keep you engaged, limber and rewarded with a cool, new addition to the yard for when the sun comes back out?

This actually really is a fun project (well… minus the breaking-down-the pallets part, but it’ll keep you warm) and the effort is well worth the pleasure and admiration you’ll get for your labors. So, without further ado… the Vintage Ice Chest!

Cost:

Because most of the materials will be coming from (hopefully) salvaged pallets, the expense should be minimal. If you don’t already have one, you should pick up a 48-qt. cooler.

pallet

Materials:

  • 5 reclaimed pallets
  • Wood glue
  • 1 box 2″ wood nails
  • 1 box 1½” wood nails
  • 2 large hinges
  • 1 qt. polyurethane, non-glossy

circular saw

Tools:

Time:

  1. Finding pallets
  2. Pallet breakdown – 45 minutes per pallet
  3. Assembly – 4 hours approx.
  4. Use cooler – Every shindig, ’til sunup

Once you’ve dismantled your pallets, sort your wood: the heavy 2×3 supports, the 30” wood slats (will vary). There are an average 6 boards per pallet side. Choose the pieces you want to use for the front. As you see here, ink-stamped pieces were chosen. Using pieces of various shape is best to give it that rustic look.

pallet cooler - openpallet cooler - closed

OK, you’re ready for the fun part, putting it together! This is where I pass you on to Instructables.com, and “miamitreasure,” who shows us how to assemble our classic pallet ice chest cooler. Also, check out these other pallet wood projects on Instructables!

 

If you’re missing any tools or supplies for this awesome project, don’t forget to swing by Harbor Freight where you’ll find just what you need at low, low prices!

The $55 DIY Fancy, Functional X Desk

x desk diy

Owning a miter saw brings with it a world of opportunities for DIY home repair, home improvement and building projects that can add so much to your home. Take, for example, a treehouse or playhouse for the rugrats, a new deck for the patio or adding crown molding to the house– all for so much less than if you had someone else doing it. As one becomes comfortable with their miter saw, it soon becomes the most used power tool in their arsenal. 

Chicago Electric has an excellent 12″ miter saw (#61969) with a number of useful features: double-bevel so you don’t have to flip your work over and reset cutting angles; sliding compound so you can cut larger pieces; laser guide for more accurate cuts. And this best-selling unit can often be found on sale at Harbor Freight at a much lower price than you’ll find elsewhere.

miter saw 12 blog

Recently, this X Desk project caught my eye. Here’s a great example of a doable miter saw project, even for relative newbies who want to spread their wings, for a very approachable price: $55 in materials. I found it on Ana White’s site, a source for so many inspiring DIY projects. She re-posts a plan shared by Whitney from Shanty2Chic, but I chose to reference Ana’s site for its graphics. I also like how folks who follow her example post their creations on her site with all kinds of variations and added ideas.

What You Need

Materials:

5 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×4 @ 8 feet long
2 – 2×12 @ 6 feet long OR 4 – 2×6 @ 6 feet long
2 ½” wood screws for countersinking
2 ½” PH screws

 

Before You Start

  • Take the time to read through the whole article before you start mobilizing.
  • You want to make sure you’ve got a good working area, including a clean, level surface.
  • When you pick out the wood, make sure all the boards are straight.
  • Always pre-drill your holes before attaching the screws.
  • Use glue with finish nails for a strong, solid hold. Wipe excess glue off the bare wood so you can stain it.
  • ALWAYS exercise workshop safety!

Here’s a diagram of the X Table with the dimensions. If this looks like a project you might be interested in pursuing, take a look at Ana White’s plan. It’s extremely detailed and easy to follow– and the graphics are awesome!

Check out Ana’s site for other projects as well, and make sure to visit Harbor Freight Tools for all your tool needs!

Paranormal Activity Gear at Harbor Freight

simpsons paranormal

You may be surprised to hear that Harbor Freight Tools is a favorite “haunt” among paranormal investigators. Strange but true, bonafide ghost chasers stalk our shelves to find many of their tools of the trade. What, you say, could a paranormal investigator possibly want at Harbor Freight? Camo blankets? Variable speed jig saw? Glad you asked. As Armando Nunez, co-founder of the Paranormal Research Organization Of Fayetteville (PROOF) said more than once. “HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS IS YOUR BEST FREIND.” Here are just a few of the items we found among the arsenals of active apparition artisans:

The West Houston Paranormal Society, a dedicated group of otherworldly investigators who hunt and engage the eerily unknown, use the Predator 8750 Watts Max/7000 Watts Rated Portable Generator to power their exploits:

“We are West Houston Paranormal Society and this is our official generator. Running power where we need it in powerless buildings and houses that we investigate. It runs our equipment (cameras, audio, trip sensors, monitors, DVRs, computers, recharging packs, etc) throughout the house, as well as our trailer base command/review center. Fist pull operation, no drain or surges and super quiet…. the last thing we need is a loud generator interfering with our EVPs and video evidence, that is why we chose this one because that was high on our list of NEEDED features.” Caps included.

Why the Predator generator? Could it be it resonates with entities from across the veil? Or, is it the high-quality performance and low prices? Perhaps it’s all of the above… or perhaps it’s something far beyond mere mortal understanding.

The Predator generator isn’t the only Harbor Freight product of choice among paranormal investigators. The Southeastern Paranormal Society, located in Salisbury, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC, and the good folks at IHuntGhosts.com, favor the motion-activated Bunker Hill Security 4-Camera Surveillance DVR when looking into poltergeists and sundry presences. A representative at the SPS commented:

 “I bought this package to do surveillance for our paranormal research group. The cameras perform great in near pitch black conditions. Considering buying another system for our group.”

dvr 8 channel

Everyone who’s seen those paranormal movies knows why this is an important contribution to the investigative process. On the other hand, do you really want to know what’s hovering over you while you’re sleeping?

creepy dummy

Among the most popular Harbor Freight products in spook-seeking circles is the Cen-Tech Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer, which is used in the measuring of ambient air around “cold” and “hot” spots. While so-called “professional” ambient air thermometers cost around $130, Harbor Freight’s is under $40. BOOOOoooOOOOO-yaah!!

ir thermometer 61894 blog

Self-proclaimed “paranormal enthusiast,” Jocelyn S. Mackie, also takes a Pittsburgh Non-Contact Pocket Thermometer with her, for “ambient” temperature gauging.

non contact temp gauge customer

Another cool (as in cold spot) tool for the phantom finder, according to Paranormal Adventure Radio , is the Bunker Hill Motion Detector as “good for basic investigations.” As opposed to über-intense investigations, we suppose, like flying cutlery.

 Other paranormal investigators have testified about the value of a wireless inspection camera ” for “tight spaces” and “a very good idea for a room that has noises coming from it with the door closed.” A ghost hunter who recommended the Cen-Tech Digital Inspection Camera was using his to check out a mausoleum he’d been curious about. We’ve been curious if he’s been seen since.

 Research:Paranormal recommends keeping an RF detector on hand to weed out “false” radio frequency hits on the EMF (electro-magnetic field) detector. That way you can know it’s not a spirit from beyond infringing on your comfort zone, probably just your daughter calling, wondering when you’re going to pick her up. One of the Research:Paranormal followers volunteered that they duct-taped their Bunker Hill Wireless RF Detector to their EMF for prime detection.

wireless RF detector

Finally, as Ghost Journeys advises in its Investigation Guidelines:

“Shop smart – save money. Check… Harbor Freight for mini LED flashlights, batteries and hard cases to tote your equipment.”

The Ghost Hunter Outlet took it one step further and provided a link on their site to our Storehouse 18″x6″x13″ Aluminum Case, admitting,

“We don’t sell cases to protect the gear you buy because Harbor Freight has a great case for about $30.”

aluminum case 69138

So, when it comes to quality tools at incredibly low prices… who you gonna call?

HOW TO BUILD A CUSTOM TOOL BOX FOR YOUR EXTRA CAB PICKUP TRUCK

Extra Cab Tool Box - customer

There’s always a way to build a better mousetrap. Or, in this case, a better tool storage. If you have a pickup with an extra cab, you’re well on your way to getting there.

Trucks are the perfect vehicle for transporting tools and gear, but the storage alternatives, not so much. You can get a tool box for the back, but by so doing, you rob yourself of bed space– and expose yourself to getting robbed. You could throw them in the extra cab, but the run the risk of them getting mixed up, piled on each other and thrown around with every turn.

If you usually don’t have passengers in the back seat, then you’ve got some prime tool real estate just waiting for an apparatus of organization– in other words, a custom-made tool box behind the front seats. First thing, take out the back seats. This is usually pretty easy to do. Then, get the measurements of the extra cab space, from the floor to the top of the back of the front seat,  back of the cab to top of the seat, and then door-to-door. Using these dimensions, cut out a box from 3/4″ plywood.

If you ever need the extra cab for a group trip or you’re ready to sell the truck, you can easily remove the tool storage box and replace the seats, restoring the vehicle to its original condition.

Watch this video from FineHomebuilding for a detailed breakdown on how to design and secure your custom tool storage box for your extra cab.

You can find all the tools you need to make this simple project happen at Harbor Freight Tools!

Annabel on the Rocks– With a Winch

5000 lb winch customer pic

I was 17 when I bought my first 4-wheeler, a ’73 Land Cruiser FJ40. It only had 56K miles on it– all highway– and I taught myself to drive a shift when I drove that beauty home from the seller’s house (killed it at every light). My buddy and I tooled it all over Utah that summer, ’til I finally rolled it at Arches Natl. Park and had to drive it (with a crushed body and intact engine) to a body shop where it rehabilitated for the next month. I loved that ‘Cruiser, and rue the day I got it in my head to sell it. The other thing I regret was never having gotten a winch. We got stuck a few times, and hadn’t it been for the kindness of strangers, we’d still be there.

land cruiser stuck

Now that I’m older and wiser (mostly from getting my fingers burned), I know that a winch is the first thing you want to get your 4-wheeler– long before any of the other off-road bling you’ve got in mind. For a modest investment, it’ll save your bacon from places where other dogs won’t hunt, and pay for itself over and over again.

The first question to address would be, what weight capacity winch should you get? It’s said the rule of thumb is, you take the gross weight of your vehicle, add in the modded bumpers, suspension, tires, etc., and times that number by 1.5. So, for example, if your total weight comes out to be 5,000 lb., the winch should have a (x 1.5 =) 7,500 lb. capacity. If you try to go lower– ’cause, say, a 3,000 lb. winch is on sale– you run the risk of disaster in a ravine. If you go a lot more, like 12,000 lb., you’ll be OK, but it’s kind of overkill– unless, of course, you want to be able to help heavy metal in distress. In that case, my brother, go for it and there will be blessings in store for you in Off-Road Heaven.

Harbor Freight’s Badland winches are legendary pullers– in the dirt, mud, snow, rocks, etc– and are consistently thrown high praise in four-wheeler forums, magazines and customer reviews. I was getting ready to write this article when I came across the story of Annabel, a late-40’s CJ2A that got stuck in the rocks while trying to back down a steep, rocky dugway. The owner, Carl, had taken Annabel up the hill, but then decided he wanted to get it on video, so he backed her back down. He ran into a rock and dirt wall, the driver’s side rear tire went flat, and he was wedged there– he couldn’t go up or down. As luck would have it, he had a Badlands 5,000 lb. winch:


As Carl later posted:

“I am a firm believer in my 5000 lb winch. It has twice pulled me out of a steep sandy bank by it’s self besides this dugway. That’s three hard pulls with the winch doing the pulling for at least the length of the Jeep each time. None of these were easy pulls but once the winch got the Jeep moving it lightened up on the load.”

Badlands off-road electric winches are rugged, dependable and give some of the biggest bangs for the buck. Check out these models:

5000 lb winch

The Annabel Special! We already know how it does with small jeeps, but this lightweight dynamo’s also got plenty of power to assist in ATV recovery, traversing rough terrain or loading a boat. Customers also like it for pulling small trees when clearing an area. Reliable and safe, it comes with a remote switch with a 12 ft. lead, making it easy to use even when you’re alone! Features include a three-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, aircraft grade wire rope and a permanent magnet motor that draws less current, making it perfect for ATV use. As one customer shared:
“Works great, have used this winch for almost a year now. Installed it on my Yamaha Rhino and use it to pull trees down and once because I got stuck in a swamp. Now I use it to lift and lower my snow plow….for the money I’d highly recommend (it).”  Fletch – Green Bay, WI

“I have a 6000 on my Samuri and was able to pull a full size ford truck out that was sunk to the doors this has been a great investment has never left me high or dry.”  Lil K – UT

The awesome “go-to” choice for pretty much all off-roaders, rock-crawlers, mud-boggers and sand-suckers. Get over and through the tough terrain with this musclebound electric winch. With a 9000 lb. towing capacity and an automatic load-holding brake for safety, this electric winch is excellent for the 4-wheeling novice and expert alike. A 12-foot lead remote switch makes this winch easy to use even when you’re traveling alone. And the testimonies say it all:

“I honestly believe that my push bars and frame of the truck would rip apart before the winch gave out. LOL. Pulled my 5000-lb truck UP a 40 degree incline, with brakes locked and a bed full of firewood. I say it will do anything I would EVER need it to do… Very happy with my 9000. Now the 12,000-lb winch, and using a double line, is used for what? Bulldozers?”  1997 Silverado 350 Extended Cab – Concord, NC

“Searched a lot of places for a winch before buying this one. I put it on my ’78 Ford F-250 “highboy” with 39-inch boggers. I have pulled out multiple vehicles stuck in the mud, and even a tree from out of the creek that a 3020 John Deere tractor could not. Couldn’t be happier, in fact i just bought a second one.”  TheWiseGuy – Gallipolis, OH

5000 lb winch

When heading out with the buds for an off-road excursion, the wise man will gear up according to the credo, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”  That said, the Badlands 12000-lb. electric winch brings a whole new meaning to, “If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” This is the Godzilla of the bunch, the one that can take on most any mishap and chore thrown at it. Rescue a vehicle, haul timber or load a boat with this powerful winch. The series-wound motor stays cool while the 3-stage planetary gear system provides fast line speed. Featuring an automatic load-holding brake for safety, this electric winch is a must-have for ANY off-road adventure! Just ask the guys who know:

“Installed the night before an off-road trip, got the Jeep stuck going uphill with the engine not able to run and it pulled the Jeep uphill like it wasn’t even there. Fixed a loose wire on the distributor and the Jeep started like the battery had not bothered at all. Easy to install, I did it in less than an hour. Tough, reliable product. I would definitely recommend to a friend and buy again! No need to spend $1200 on a Warn for a weekend warrior toy with this winch around!”  DocMicro – USA

“This winch is amazing… I pulled a car sideways– not forward or backward– but sideways, without my truck running to juice my battery, and it did it without a hiccup. Strong winch and def worth the money… If you’re looking for a winch, this is the one.”  Toyota Mud Dog – The Plains, OH

For the lighter rigs, they also have 2,500 and 3,500 lb. capacity winches. So when you’re ready to put a winch on your 4x– or replace your old one– check out the rough, tough line of affordable Badlands winches at Harbor Freight. No doubt, they’ll make a believer out of you, too.

HFT’s Your Halloween Costume Gear Headquarters

halloween harbor freight oct-2014

If you’ve haunted the aisles at Harbor Freight, you know they’ve got all kinds of great stuff for the garage. But, just for a minute, imagine how a lot of that can translate to Halloween costume gear, props and decor. Here are a few ideas for you to take with you the next time you swing by one of the stores.

Leather Welding Apron

leather welders apronWhether you’re Leatherface (the original) or a Keeper of the Pit of Despair, this Split Leather Welding Apron is a nice, low-cost touch to your infernal ensemble. At just $9.99, the rugged leather apron is double-stitched, adjustable for comfort, and comes with four pockets to store your devices of death… or Fun Size Snickers! As my yuppie zombie neighbor would say, “It’s a no-brainer!” Incidentally, the Leather Welding Gloves, at $4.99, coordinate fabulously.welding gloves

Industrial Face Masks

dual filter respiratorNothing is as unsettling as being confronted by someone wearing a respirator. Especially when they say stuff like, “I AM the League of Shadows!” or “Are you going to eat your steak fat?” Needless to say, they are cool apparatus to have as part of your nefarious costume. This Gerson Dual-Cartridge Respirator gives off a menacing look that’s sure to push the envelope on your malevolence, and will certainly come in handy if the party hostess burns the bacon-wrapped dates. And at only $15.99, it’s a far cry less expensive than that Groot mask you’ve been eyeing.neoprene dust maskAnother way to go is the Neoprene Dust Mask. Throw on a pair of black tint wraparound Oakleys and a Motley Crue wig with this bad boy and call yourself an interplanetary blue ninja assasin. Or Bane’s cousin… Blaine. Or throw on a half helmet and be an off-road zombie. What I’m trying to say is, this looks badass enough for a number of costume ideas, and for only $24.99, it’s a great accessory to keep in the costume drawer for future incarnations.

Goggles

welding gogglesVictor Frankenstein would be thunderstruck jealous. These steampunk Welders Goggles come with both permanent  and flip-front darkening lenses, and an elastic band to secure comfortably to your melon. They’d also go great with any of the aforementioned items to add that Tim Burton-esque touch to your getup.  You don’t even have to wait for Halloween to wear them., they’re so swank. And for just $6.29?? I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.

Blasting Hood

blasting hoodIf the 50’s SciFi Mars Mission motif is what you’re going for– or maybe this year you want to be HazMan– look no further than Harbor Freight’s Abrasive Blasting Hood! This space-odd chapeau offers full head and shoulder coverage with a hard hat inside. It also provides ample air circulation to stay cool, and it has a wide, impact-resistant viewing window for easy navigation of the party or neighborhood. Comes in snazzy red and is priced at a mere $19.99.

Blasting Gloves

rubber blasting glovesOur long Rubber-Coated Blasting Gloves make a great addition to the Steampunk Mad Doctor,  the Misunderstood Texas Butcher, that guy they ditched on Mars (in which case they’d be Blast-OFF Gloves) or maybe the Alien Life Form from Another Planet Whose Sole Intention is “To Serve Man” (props to those who got that reference). It’s industrial strength and is made for easy dexterity of hands and fingers. At $6.99, you might as well get two pair– one for taking over the world and the other for pretending you’re taking over the world while you clean out the septic tank.

Headlamp

swivel headlampAnother nice– and totally monetarily doable– touch for a number of Halloween getups is Harbor Freight’s popular Swivel Headlamp. Buy two and make them robot eyes shining out of a tin foil head. Strap one on your pooch’s noggin and he can be the Bionic Bowzer. Have your toddler wear a toy hard hat with one of the headlamps and– voilà!-– a Minor Miner! The Swivel Headlamp can be adjusted 90 degrees up or down and is lightweight, so it wears comfortably on the head. Only $2.99!

Spooky Ol’ Owl

owl garden scarecrowOriginally created to scare the snot out of birds and other pests from infiltrating the garden, this Great Horned Owl makes a swell prop for Halloween. Hand-painted to resemble a real predatory owl, this fowl creature stands 16″ tall and is built to endure all kinds of weather. Observe the malevolent stare, as if it’s saying, “Look kid, I know you’ve knocked on this door before. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya… punk?” For only $13.99 it’s the best deal you’re going to find for a Halloween decoration of this quality.

Trick or Treating Lights

flashlights - two LED blogIf trick-or-treating is part of the plan this Oct. 31, then it behooves you to keep a couple of these on hand (or claw…depending on the getup). These Mini LED Flashlights are small, they’re bright, and they’ve got easy on-off buttons– perfect for the little monsters. And did I mention cheap? A pair of these lifesavers (and believe me, they will be) can be yours for a paltry $2.99. You’re welcome.

Find these and other drop-dead deals Halloween ideas at Harbor Freight Tools— If you miss out on these savings, it’ll haunt you for the rest of your life!

How Tough is the Storm Cat 900/700 Watt Generator?

What’s the best way to test a product you’re considering to buy? Why, throw it in the deep end, of course (that’s how Dad taught me). Throw everything at it, challenge the HECK out of it– which is exactly what redneckcomputergeak did to the Storm Cat 900 Peak/700 Running Watts, 2-HP (63cc) 2-Cycle Gas Generator (EPA/CARB) from Harbor Freight in a strenuous 16-minute video review. The Storm Cat may be the runt of the Harbor Freight generator litter, but this little dynamo (38 lb.) delivers the robust, reliable power you need when you need it.

900 watt generator testing

Referred to as a “recreational” generator, the Storm Cat is the perfect companion for camping, hunting, tailgating, family reunions, ice fishing, treehouse building, emergency preparedness and countless remote activities where there’s no power’s around. To further illustrate its abilities, though, redneckcomputergeak took it to task “at the job site” with a grinder, impact driver, chop saw (with a 60 hz motor), cement mixer and welder. Now, I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will say if you’re in the market for a small portable generator, and you’re reading this now, it’ll be well worth your while to spend a few minutes more and watch the video.

Chances are, seeing what the Storm Cat is capable of– not to mention the low price!– gives you a few ideas on what you could use it for. And if you’re looking for more wattage to power, say, an RV, appliances or multiple large power tools, check out Harbor Freight’s selection of other gas-powered portable generators, all with great quality and prices.