Fly High with Your Own RC Airplane

In the more than 100 years since man has been able to fly, we’ve made several significant advancements.  From the early days of the Wright Brothers making history on Kill Devil Hill in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to the modern international airports that now cover the world, the fascination we have with flight has only grown stronger with time.  Now, we not only use airplanes as modes of transportation, but we also fly remote controlled aircraft and become captains ourselves.  With the holidays fast approaching and the great selection at Harbor Freight Tools, there’s no better time to see what special gifts you can find for your favorite aviation enthusiast.

Harbor Freight offers two radio controlled airplanes that provide tons of fun in the park or backyard.  With the basic version for $39.99, you get an RC airplane that takes flight for up to 20 minutes on a full charge.  Made to withstand rough landings, this sturdy Rechargeable Radio Controlled Airplane comes with replacement propellers so you can make repairs and keep right on flying.  If you want to take your flying fun to the next level, then perhaps the Radio Controlled P51 Mustang Airplane for $99.99 is the better choice for you.  This top-notch RC plane comes pre-built and flies for up to 10 minutes on a full charge.  While you don’t get the flight time of the basic version, you can fly in style with the same design as the famous P51 Mustang!  And don’t forget, no matter which RC airplane you choose, you’ll need to pick up 6 to 8 AA batteries to power the remote control.

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Here’s what customers had to say about the basic version:

“I bought one of these to try my hand at RC airplanes. When flying one time I crashed it many feet up in a tree. That was the end of that, I thought. However, I saw the plane slowly bouncing down to the ground.  I found it a few minutes later drenched in water and up against a grate in the irrigation ditch. I fished it out, took it home and let it dry out overnight. The next morning I powered it up and was amazed that it sprang to life! The engines fired up and it was good to go for many more flights. Practically indestructible.” –Blaine from Utah

“I have enjoyed my plane for a few years now. I just took it out last night after it had been sitting for a COUPLE OF YEARS. Charged the battery, took it out in CALM evening twilight conditions. Had a 10 minute flight. I have flown radio controlled planes for 25 years and this is a hoot. I was surprised it flew after sitting for so long, unused. Great deal for the money.” – Randy from Parts Unknown

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And the P51 Mustang:

“This Mustang flies as good as some of my 4 or 500 buck planes, I would recommend some extra battery packs because you will want to fly it all day!” – Nickthestick from Northville, SD

“Very good plane. Got it and flew it out the box. Amazing speeds and handling. Would recommend to anyone. Nice beginner plane. Medium to slow speeds, and looks beautiful in the air. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – Bry from Mansfield, Tx

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Now, maybe you love airplanes but don’t plan on taking a toy plane outside to fly anytime soon.  Well, that’s okay.  You can still show off your love of aviation with the Balsa Wood Airplane Puzzle!  At just $1.99, this inexpensive puzzle is fun to build and looks great on any desk, shelf, or table once complete.  Also, you can build the airplane as it comes or you can paint the individual pieces for a truly unique work of art.  But whether you choose the puzzle or one of the awesome (exclamation points optional) radio controlled planes, you’ll find them right here at Harbor Freight Tools!

Portable Power for the Perfect Tailgating Party

Are you ready for some football??  It’s that time of year again and for the die-hard football fans out there, tailgating is often taken just as seriously as the outcome of the game.  It’s a time to socialize, grill up some pre-game food, and to show off your tailgating set-up of course.  You certainly don’t want to be left without power when you’re still getting geared up for the game and with the 900 Watts Peak/800 Running Watts, 2 HP Gas Generator from Harbor Freight Tools, you can rest easy while you party hard.

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“Used to provide power for tools and appliances in the motor home at the racetrack. Starts easy and runs up to 9 hours on tank of gas. Bolted this to a platform on the back of the motor home to run refrigerator, electric cooler, and fans on the 6 hour tow to the track. Ran great all the way. Ran for 9 hours on a tank of gas on the trip home, powering the 4 cubic foot fridge, and the electric cooler.” – FV Racer from Plainfield, NH

“Works whenever I need it to. Stays in the shed and always starts second pull. I keep stabilizer in the mix and it is over a year old without any issues. I used it for charging my cell phone, radio, and primarily fish tank life support.” – Chromebody from Maryland

At just $129.99, this little portable generator is a reliable and powerful addition to your tailgating kit.  Power up your mini-fridge, a TV or radio, and maybe a little heater or fan depending on the weather!  But no matter if it’s rain or shine, the 900 Watts Gas Generator is sure to make any pre-game party a little brighter.

Cool Ideas for Shade in the Summer

With the summer months come higher temperatures and, humid or not, it can be hard to enjoy spending time outdoors when the heat turns up and the sun is right overhead.  Also, if you plan on having a BBQ, a family gathering, or anything outdoors, you want to make sure that your guests have some shade to escape to when it gets too hot.  It’s times like these that a canopy from Harbor Freight Tools can be a life saver!

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For instant shade pretty much anywhere, nothing beats the portability and convenience of a Pop-Up Canopy.  Canopies are easy to place and provide cool places to relax or to keep food during an event.  They also make setting up a yard sale or bake sale easier than ever!  And the best part is that they can be taken down just as quickly too. Then just store them away until they’re needed again.  The pop-up canopies are available in white, blue and green covers that resist moisture and fungus to stay durable and sturdy.  But, in the words of Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow, “you don’t have to take my word for it.”

“Bought this in store last year for tailgating, and have used it many, many times since. I’ve left it up in my backyard for a few weeks, and it stayed put with appropriate anchoring through some light wind and inclement weather. It folds down and fits in the storage bag, which has wheels, very easily with two people.” – TheGremlyn from San Diego, Ca

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Or, if you want to get fancy, check out the Quick Clamp Canopy.  If you have a picnic table up to 10 feet long, you can make a simple upgrade just by attaching this innovative canopy to it!  And as the sun moves, you can tilt the canopy to the perfect position so you’ve always got it made in the shade.   Coming in at $99.99, it’s an easy and affordable addition to your picnic table that will provide countless days of pleasant shade on those sunny days.

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While you’re at it, you might want to pick up some canopy related accessories.  There are a few anchor options like the Earth Anchor Canopy Set for $18.99 or the Easy Hook Anchor Canopy Set for $19.99.  Another helpful item to consider is the Canopy Rolling Storage Bag for just $34.99.  This is especially useful for anyone using their canopy at multiple locations but is also just a great place to store your canopy when it’s not in use.  And, with three conveniently-placed wheels, you’ll save a little extra work by not having to lug the canopy all over the place.

The 10’ x 10 ft. canopies run between $69.99 and $219.99 so there’s something to fit any budget.  And for larger get togethers or events, the 10’ x 20 ft’ pop-up canopy is $299.99, and that’s for 200 square feet of coverage!  You’ll want to have lots of memories from the summer but don’t let a sunburn be one of them!  Pick up a Harbor Freight Pop-Up Canopy and keep cool and covered during any time of the year.

Revolutionary Cure for the Summertime Blues

Well, it’s summertime!  And that means no school and too much time spent on Facebook.  Why not beat the boredom (and the heat) with something fun from Harbor Freight Tools?  Yeah, I know, everyone knows they sell tools and all that stuff, but they offer plenty of recreational products as well!  Whether you’re a kid at heart or looking to add something onto your order for the little tyke in your life, then you’ve come to the right place.

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One thing that is a surefire cure for the boredom blues is the Remote Control Stunt Car.  With this awesome little car, you can not only drive it around and speed through self-made obstacles like the A-Team crashing through walls during a daring escape, you can also perform crazy 360 turns, backflips, and spins!  Plus, the colorful blue and pink LEDs in the wheels make the car easily visible at night so you can impress your friends (or just entertain yourself) well into the evening.  And guess what, our customers love it too.  Don’t believe me?

“Bought this because it was only $7.99 and it has been the most used toy the kids have! The flashing tires and awesome tricks are well worth the money!” – Dave from Kokomo, IN

“A student of mine brought this in for Show and Tell. Instantly I knew I had to buy one for my husband. It arrived quickly and we have both enjoyed playing with it. Our dogs and cats love it, too.” – teacher from Sheridan, OR

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Or, if you’re looking for something a little less reliant on solid ground for operation, there’s the equally amazing Venom Ozone Remote Controlled Helicopter.  You can launch this sucker into the sky at home, the park, or pretty much anywhere with enough open space to handle your incredible flying skills.  Whether you’re an expert helicopter pilot or a newbie taking off for the first time, this fun toy is easy to fly for pros and beginners both.  The design is both lightweight and durable so a few awkward landings won’t take it out of commission.  And at just $55, this remote controlled helicopter has helped lots of happy customers fight through boredom.

“I spent 179.99 on a “hobby grade” Blade CX2 model and broke it in two minutes! I spent $45 (with 20% off) on this Harbor Freight heli and have been playing with it all day!! It’s a blast to use!” – Jon Boy from Buffalo, NY

“The store cashier told me about some complaints, about difficult to fly, but I’ve found that with sleight movement of controls and patience, it works good.  Excellent toy for the price. I fly (and crash) in the house and I find it to be extremely durable. My son in law and I are going to buy one more each.” – Rick

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I know what you’re thinking.  No, really, I do.  You’re thinking, “So, to not be bored, I have to go outside??”  Well, not necessarily.  For the more cerebral of you out there, you can pick up a balsa wood 3-D puzzle for just $1.29.  You read that right.  Less than two bucks!!  So they’re easy items to tack on to any order.  Choose from the insect (one of six balsa wood designs are shipped randomly), T-Rex, or airplane puzzle and have tons of fun putting it together.  And on top of that, you can color the wood to fit your own unique style.  Or, if those puzzles are a little too simple for you, check out the 3-D White House Puzzle for just $7.99.  This 102 piece puzzle comes in full color and kids of all ages will delight in the creation of our nation’s capital.

image_3643I’m sensing another issue.  You’re thinking… “But what about my friends??  I’m just one person and all my friends are bored too!”  Well then, does Harbor Freight have the perfect thing for you! How about a complete Bingo Game Set for $7.99?  It’s got everything you need!  75 numbered balls, 18 reusable Bingo cards, and even one of those little metal ball selectors.  I’m telling you, this thing is great.  Play at home or take it to work, school, a family get together or pretty much anywhere!

So, there you have it.  There’s no excuse for boredom this summer with a quick visit to Harbor Freight Tools!  Whether you’re indoors or out, there’s always something to pass the time from remote controlled vehicles to puzzles and games.  So pick out which one appeals to you the most or, if you really want to cover your bases, I suggest picking up one of each!

How To Turn a Harbor Freight Trailer Into a Kayak/Camping Trailer

I’ve showcased customer Harbor Freight Tools kayak trailer mods in the past, but this article cannot be ignored– a step-by-step pictorial of how to turn a Haul-Master 870 Lb. Capacity 40″ X 49″ Utility Trailer into a full-functional 3-kayak-plus-camping-gear trailer!

Recently, an author bearing the moniker “Frkzila” posted an article on Instructables.com, aptly titled, “How To Turn a Harbor Freight Trailer Into a Kayak/Camping Trailer.”  Brilliant! The writer starts out:

“This is my first instructable, but I have posted this on some kayak forums with positive feedback. I wanted a trailer I could haul our three kayaks on and our camping gear, but all the trailers I found for purchase were $1,000 plus. Here is how I built mine for $363. I started with the Harbor Freight Kit and turned in into exactly what I needed.”

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He starts out, of course, with the trailer– as one reviewer observed, “For the money you can’t beat these little rascals!”– and then collects the following material:

10’ 11-ga 2” square tube
14’-1/8” 2” angle iron
2 @ 6’ pieces of 1.25”od round tube
4′x8′ sheet of 1/2” treated plywood
2 @ 12’-5/4” deck boards
2 @ 8’-5/4” beck boards
4 @ 10’ 2×4′s for bunks
7 @ eye bolts for tie-downs
6’ wire for harness extension
3/4” steel bar that was already bent which he got from a scrap pile

He then proceeds to build an awesome trailer.Kayak Trailer How-To 2

Not to steal thunder from the gentleman’s nicely detailed presentation, I won’t recount each step. Read the article yourself. But let me just say, it’s a great read, especially if you’re looking for ideas to build a trailer of your own.

Referring to the picture on the top of the article, Frkzila concludes:

“Here is the finished product all loaded up, I have three kayaks on here (my daughter’s 6’ sits in the bed) a grill, firewood, tent and other camping stuff loaded.

I am very happy with how this project turned out. I pull it with my 4-cyl Escape and have had it to 70 mph+ on the interstate with no problems. Since it is so lightweight I can hardly feel it behind the car, and I have less invested than most put into converting a jet ski trailer, and everything is new. The only thing I might change is making the bunks movable so I can put 3 full size yaks on top.”

Hats off to you, my good man! Nicely done.

You can find all of Haul-Master’s high-rated utility trailers at your local Harbor Freight Tools or at www.harborfreight.com, affordably priced every day!

Light Up Your Life with the 5 LED Magnetized Head Lamp

These days it can often be difficult to find the time to read.  Even though there are more options than ever with e-readers and books on your Smart Phone, nothing replaces a real, traditional book that you can hold in your hands.  Of course, when it comes to reading physical books, many people read right before bed which can be a strain on the eyes if you don’t have proper lighting.  But with the Five LED Magnetic Head Lamp from Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll have all the clean, clear light you’ll need to knock a chapter or two out before hitting the sack!

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While the Head Lamp is the perfect accessory for celebrating National Literacy Day, it’s also a great tool for much, much more.  This handy illumination tool lets you work in dark or dimly lit areas, lights your way during a late night stroll, or helps visibility while hunting for wood when camping.  And best of all, it keeps your hands free.  Whether you’re working under the hood or holding a book comfortably in bed, the Head Lamp is a tool that does exactly what you need it to do.  And with the comfortable head strap, don’t be surprised if you even forget you’re wearing it.

The Lamp is designed with five bright white LEDs that provide ultimate illumination and the 45 degree angle wide beam covers a wide area.  And nothing is more important than a wide, clear field of view when you need it.

You might also be wondering where the “magnetic” feature comes in.  Well, this head lamp doesn’t have to stay on your head!  The lamp features a magnetized base that allows you to disconnect it from the strap and stick it on any metal surface.  Stick it under the hood of your car, the top of your toolbox or practically anywhere that will help you shed some light on the task at hand.  The head lamp is designed to provide the light you need just about anywhere.  Of course you don’t have to take my word for it.  Here’s what customers have to say:

“This is a great light. I have had it for a couple years and use it anytime I need a flashlight. It is pretty bright. I took it camping last weekend and it easily lit up an area at least 25 feet away.” — Mikey

“I can easily see my dog at night when she’s wearing this and it perfectly lights up where ever she points her nose.  Just put it on her neck upside down compared to how you’d wear it.” –Aloysius

“To sum it up, the LED headlamp is a terrific item. No more dropped flashlights. Both hands are free to work and hold onto tools, or, for safety, grab something to avoid a fall.” –Chris

Never be left in the dark again!  The Five LED Magnetic Head Lamp is just the ticket for keeping your work space or book well-lit while keeping your hands free.  And at just $4.99, it won’t put a damper on your budget either.

Greetings from the World Saunterer

Nature has a sly way of letting you know which of the animals on the planet are the coolest. Think of the cheetah, the lion, the elephant, the moose, the grizzly bear, the shark and the Burmese python What is it that they all have in common? They saunter. Moving along with a confident grace that mice, meerkats, peacocks, goldfish and chihuahuas can only dream of. Sauntering is a statement: it says, “I own the moment. I’m chill. I should have my own theme music.” On the other hand, sauntering also says you’re resonant with the world, one with the universe, comfortable in your own skin.

As humans, we each have to learn the saunter that comes so easily to those magnificent creatures. And today is the perfect opportunity to work on it, because–  coincidentally <ahem>– it’s World Sauntering Day!  Renowned in its anonymity, the purpose of World Sauntering Day is to remind us to take it easy, Jack… smell the roses… slow down and enjoy life as opposed to barreling through it. Harbor Freight Tools can help!

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Nothing makes the most out of sauntering like the reassuring heft of a 9-Function Metal Detector in your hand while you’re doing it! Onlookers will envy your utter lack of self-consciousness as you saunter and hunt for untold riches. This metal detector easily finds coins and other valuables hidden in beaches, parks, under bleachers and boardwalks, in campsites, old battlefields, the woods, vacant lots  or in your own backyard! It gives different tones to indicate specific metal types, and can be used under shallow water to find submerged pieces! You can also plug in headphones so you can block out any outside noise.

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It’s uncanny when you lose something outdoors– a necklace, a tool, a screw– how easily it can blend in with its surroundings, leaving you frantic. This affordable, powerful metal detector from Harbor Freight will help you find your lost items quickly. One customer had this to say:

“I have a 40 acre hobby farm and I seem to be always losing tools and things when I’m out working. Grass does an amazing job of hiding things. I thought about buying a metal detector to help me find my stuff, but the good ones seemed too expensive. I found this detector on sale one day and after reading the good reviews, I decided to give it a chance. I decided that my first search would be for a couple $35 plow skid plates that I lost during the winter. I had searched the ditch beside my 1/3 mile long driveway several times and never found them with my eyes and feet. On my first day out with the new metal detector, I found a 25 ft binding chain with clevis hooks in the first 5 minutes. I never lost a chain like that, but it’s value alone paid for the detector. I then continued my search and found one of my skid plates. It blended right in with the dirt and rocks. I never would have found it without the detector. At that point, I was satisfied that I made all my money back and I quit for the day. The next day, I went back out to look for my other skid plate and I found it in about 15 minutes. I again would not have found it without the detector. I’m very happy with the purchase and I’m sure this will continue to save me time and money.” Lost & Found – South Range, WI

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For both the beginner and seasoned detectorist, this 9-function metal detector works great. Putting it together is easy and playing with it is even more fun. Its high-quality coil delivers a very strong sensitivity (I recommend you start out with a middle setting and adjust accordingly as you go). Its pinpoint is excellent and the depth can go up to 8″ on small targets, and over 1-foot on large objects, depending on the size. It also features an arm support that allows you to carry and operate the detector for long spells comfortably.

Its functions include:

  • Sensitivity adjuster
  • Metal type discriminator
  • All-metal indicator
  • Tone adjuster
  • Volume control
  • Target locator
  • Low battery indicator
  • Auto ground balance
  • Mode selector

Leaving best for last, the 9-Function Metal Detector at Harbor Freight is incredibly priced at only $45.99 (add your 20% Off coupon, and it comes in at less than $37)! So take advantage of World Sauntering Day and saunter yourself over to your local Harbor Freight Tools– or go to www.harborfreight.com– and start this fun and relaxing hobby of metal detector sauntering today!

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Go Fish with the Portable Fish Finder!

Remember going fishing as a kid?  For me, it was a lot of sitting and waiting, hoping to see the little bobber dip under the water for a split second to indicate there was a fish on the line.  And that can get tiresome.  Of course, when you’re fishing with a friend or family member, actually catching something isn’t as important as just enjoying the company.  But sometimes you just want to be able to find some fish without sitting around for four hours and tossing your line out with no real idea where those fish might be.  Well, now you can take the guesswork out of fishing with the Portable Fish Finder from Harbor Freight Tools!

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For $44.99 and with 4 AA batteries, you can save yourself hours of time by simply placing the transducer into the water and using it from the boat, dock, or practically anywhere you’d be fishing from. The fish finder detects fish within a 90 foot range to help you know where to cast your line, lets you know how deep the fish is and also indicates the size of the fish.  This makes fishing so easy, it’s practically cheating!  Of course, using this fish finder in a professional competition probably wouldn’t be allowed, but for the purposes of fishing for fun, this tool is a huge help.

Plus, there are all kinds of bells and whistles on the fish finder aside from the basics.  Fishing in the dark is no problem with the included backlight function for the LED display.  And the screen can be adjusted for the most comfortable viewing angle, allowing you to keep your hands free so you’re ready to reel in your catch.  If you’re on a moving boat, the Landscape Detector will update automatically to let you know if the lake bottom is rough, normal, or smooth.

You might be wondering what other conditions the fish finder works in.  Well, according to one reviewer, this tool is highly versatile!  “I was not sure how this fish finder would work for ice fishing.  I went out today and the depth function works great. I marked a large fish on the bottom and caught a nice Walleye.  It worked really great for the price and it is small and compact.”

Another customer had this to say: “We tossed the transducer over the side of the boat while docked. When the screen showed fish, we dropped our lines and pulled them in. Our record for this season is 22 fish in 1 1/2 hours.  Our dock area is usually 9 to 12 feet deep. The position of the fish shows how far down to drop the line. Great little fishing helper.”

This is a great tool for the average fisherman or for anyone who wants to save time while out on the lake.  It pretty much does everything except catch the fish for you!  And with a compact size, it fits right in your tacklebox with the rest of your fishing gear.  Just be sure to keep it in a dry area when not in use. If taken care of properly, this handy tool will last you for quite a while.

Get On Your Bikes and Ride!

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Coveting my ride, aren’t you? It’s been with me since ’72, and I still get looks… especially when I do my wicked jumps and wheelies. That’s right, kid, the classics never die.

It’s National Bike Week! Which means… what? It’s time to kick a stand! Get out on the open road, weave around and startle pedestrians, water pistol chasing dogs, you know… good times! So, get your home “bike-friendly” with some  cool deals from Harbor Freight Tools:

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First, the bike’s been sitting there for a long time, the tires are probably low. Forget those ripoff artist gas station bozos who want to charge a buck for some air– air!–here’s a great, little compressor that’ll keep you on the road: The Pittsburgh Automotive 12 Volt, 100 PSI High Volume Air Compressor. You’ll get all the air you need when you need it with this little, high-volume compressor. It’ll fully inflate your bike tires quickly– as well as ATV, mower rider, motorcycle and car– and its lightweight, portable design and handy carry bag make it easy to use at home or store in your vehicle. Features include rubber feet for less vibration, a gearless direct drive for reduced noise, and a cast alloy air pump casing with cooling fins. For only $25.99, you can afford to salute the gas station any way you’d like as you coast by.


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When in pursuit of distant bike paths (where nobody knows you– who picked out those bike shorts, anyway?), you’ll need a sturdy, reliable bike rack. Harbor Freight’s got a worthy one, a Two-Bike Rack That you Mount to Your Hitch. This type is really the ideal way to get your bike around with ease and safety. This rack includes thermoplastic bike holders with four hook-and-loop straps, and a pinch hitch pin to keep your bikes safe and not bouncing and swaying around like Jack Sparrow in a sword fight. Also, the handy swing-down feature gives hassle-free access to any rear hatch or tailgate. The bike rack will fit both 1-1/4″ and 2″ hitch mount receivers. Just $39.99 at Harbor Freight.

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One of the first rules of the road you learn is that the streets are full of boneheads. Which means, it pays to be extra careful and make sure everybody knows you’re there. Be smart and pick up a couple of Red LED Bicycle Taillights for you and your riding companion. This taillight’s got FOUR attention-getting LEDs for high visibility on those crazy roads. The compact light also has three different flashing modes and can adjust up and down 160 degrees. It’s spray resistant and includes two AAA batteries. At $4.99 a pop, I can’t believe I’m still here pitching you.

At the end of the day, when it’s time to stable your stallion, don’t just lean it against the wall– put it away proper, out of the way of clumsy, stumbling feet. Harbor Freight’s got a couple of solutions for that, too:

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 Probably the best return for $8.99 you’ll ever spend on your bike is on the innovative Bicycle Lift at HFT. Using a unique pulley-locking mechanism, the bicycle lift quickly hoists your bike for easy storage, giving you extra space in your garage, apartment or dorm. Mounting hardware and a 46 ft. nylon rope are included, and setting this thing up couldn’t be easier. Perfect for saving your bike from scratches!

bike tree

 Or, if you’ve got a sizable brood to accommodate, check out the nifty Cycle Tree Compact Bike Storage. You can store up to six bikes in only four feet of space! The cycle tree is made of durable, yet lightweight, steel construction and rides on swivel casters for easy maneuverability around the garage. This is the perfect bike storage for every member of the family without taking up a lot space in your garage!  On sale for $39.99 at Harbor Freight.

And don’t forget  to clip your Harbor Freight Tools 20% Off Coupon, where the ridiculous savings get really absurd!

In the meantime, have a great National Bike Week. Have fun, ride smart, be safe… and don’t forget the water pistols!

Annabel on the Rocks

I was 17 when I bought my first 4-wheeler– a ’73 Toyota 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.

Now that I’m older and wiser (mostly from getting my fingers burned a lot), I know that a winch is the first thing you want to get your 4-wheeler– long before any of the other jeep 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:

 

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

A popular choice among owners of small Wrangler-size four-wheelers, boat owners and race car drivers looking for something to pull the racers off their trailers. Never get stuck in a tight spot with this off-road electric winch. Great for pulling out a stuck vehicle up to 6,000 lbs. The winch features a three-stage planetary gear system for a fast line speed, a series wound motor that stays cool during longer winch pulls and an automatic load-holding brake for maximum safety. Made of aircraft grade wire rope, this electric winch will pull up to 6,000 lbs to get you over rough terrain, recover your vehicle or even load your boat!

“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

 

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

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.