Survival Gear Review: Leupold LTO Tracker Thermal Imager

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1_Featured_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_truck_engine

2_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_bird_in_treeAlternate universes live just outside the wavelengths of light we can see with our eyes. Doctors use X-rays, astronomers use radio waves, and the more prepared folks can use infrared. IR, or infrared, comes in two flavors, reflected and emitted. Gen 1 night vision uses reflected infrared light to supplement any ambient light. By using an IR emitter or IR flashlight, a scene can be lit up when viewed with night vision optics, yet remain completely dark and invisible to the naked eye.

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com

Thermal, on the other hand, uses a special camera to view the heat signature of objects, people, and animals. Those new to Thermal Optics or TO, are in for a surprise. Thermal imaging is like magic when needing to see inside, through, or across the wide open. And now Leupold has put a durable, versatile, and powerful thermal imager onto the market and into the hands of hunters, preparers, and anyone who wants or needs visual superpowers.

Thermal Dynomite

3_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_battery_housingThe Leupold LTO offers a six viewing choices, and a 1x-6x zoom. The LTO runs for 10 hours on a single CR123 battery, and is built like a tank. At a hair over five and a half inches, and a dense 10 ounces, the LTO (presumably Leupold Thermal Optic) is precision machined out of aluminium and has that rock solid Leupold scope feel. The uses for the Leupold LTO are infinite, and range from those anticipated and necessary tasks such as tracking injured game, or peering through brush for critters or people. And I do mean “peering through”. The Leupold LTO can see beyond and through brush that blocks normal vision, and it makes no difference if it’s full daylight or the pitch blackness of night.

Instead of a photograph, a thermal camera creates a thermogram by focusing the emitted infrared light (think heat or temperature) of objects in the field of view, and then digitally processes them. The end result is a image you can see on a monitor or display that converted the invisible (to us) temperature differences in the scene into a set of shapes and colors that we can see and understand. The set of options in the Leupold LTO’s color pallet provide various ways to interpret the heat signatures of objects. Some pallets work better than others with specific subjects.

A fun idea to consider is that rattlesnakes and other animals that use infrared information in their hunting could be viewing the world the same way you might with the Leupold LTO. It doesn’t take an excessive amount of mental gymnastics to imagine seeing temperature, and it certainly didn’t escape Hollywood with such movies as Predator. And whether or not a layer of mud would be enough to hide Arnold from the Predator’s thermal imaging is a discussion for later.

4_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_case_closedThe Leupold LTO is ripe for a good padded case. I don’t know if Leupold has plans for one, but I found a Nitecore flashlight case to be on the right track. It holds the Leupold LTO in a way that it can be used while in the case, as well as being able to wear the Leupold LTO around my neck or belt, and deploy instantly and as necessary. The case uses a Velcro closure flap that covers the eyepiece, but also allows the thermal camera on the opposite side open for business like an old-school holster. If I were Leupold, I would consider a single Fastex buckle cover system that in one-buckle release flips open the two end covers and frees the optics for viewing. Given the hard-use environments that this Leupold LTO will thrive in, and the potential life-and-death situations that the Leupold LTO could find itself in, a dedicated padded case might be more than a good idea.

Now You See It

In the field, the Leupold LTO is nothing short of amazing. The Leupold LTO is simple to use. Hold down the on-button for a few seconds and the Leupold LTO springs to life. The LTO remembers its last thermal color setting, and fires up at 1x. The Leupold LTO can zoom to a higher digital magnification either by steps when clicking the zoom button, or holding the zoom button down and zipping up in magnification level at tiny increments from one to six then dropping back to one again in an infinite circle.

5_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_green_forestAn odd feature that asks more questions than it answers is that when the on/off buttons is toggled, a set of crosshairs appears. Since the Leupold LTO is not recommended for mounting on a rifle even though it’s an obvious one-inch tube that would have not trouble mating with conventional optics mounts. The crosshairs are a helpful addition if you have the Leupold LTO in a tripod mount, or other fixed container, but unlike the FLIR Thermal Optic Cameras, placing the crosshairs on a target does not provide any specific imaging info. However, there is something known as software creep where extra coded and features appear on something not yet designed for the capability of the code. So if I had to guess, it’s only a matter of time before the hardware is durable enough to sit in front of a red dot like the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro giving the shooter a $10,000 experience through a $800 (street price) thermal optic.

And Why?

Here are dozen uses for the Leupold LTO that will make a difference when it matters.

  1. When things go bump in the night. While night vision might be a go-to solution, but when the “bump” is hiding, thermal imaging may be able to see through the concealment. Remember when the Boston Marathon Bomber was found hiding in a sailboat? It was thermal imaging that give away his position.
  2. Locating dangerous heat sources, fires, and overheated electrical components.
  3. Finding people and animals in thick smoke.
  4. Identifying recently driven vehicles.
  5. Detecting heat leaks in your home or camp.
  6. Comparing body temperatures, fevers, and injury hot spots.
  7. Looking back in time to where someone or some animal might have been hiding.
  8. Looking through walls for hidden compartments and doors.
  9. Looking through clothes for the outline of a concealed weapon.
  10. Stalking game while hunting, especially when animals are bedded down.
  11. Tracking an injured animal or person by following the thermal signature of the blood trail.
  12. Identifying the living from the dead.

The Leupold LTO has six different viewing modes or color palettes as Leupold calls them: Red, Green, White-hot, Black-hot, Black-highlight, and White-highlight. Its field of view is about 21 degrees and it has a 6x continuous digital zoom. There is no focus on the Leupold LTO, nor is there a need for one.

Behind the Curtain

The single CR123 battery provides about 10 hours of continuous use, or 20 minutes per day for a month. To access the battery compartment, a knurled ring in the center of the Leupold LTO is spun unscrewing the two halves of the unit. A flexible circuit spans the gap and access to a battery pocket.

6_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_with_fireplaceThe operating temperature for the Leupold LTO is from -4 F to 140F, and it has a range of 600 yards according to Leupold, but I’m not sure what limits it. Likely it is that the resolution of the screen won’t provide much useful information about objects far away because the tiny screen is only 240 by 204 pixels. For reference, an Apple Watch is 312 by 390 pixels and an iPhone 7 screen is 1334 by 740 pixels. So out at a hundred yards, a human is only a few pixels wide and a few more than that tall on the LTO screen.  Another technical consideration when presenting imagery on a screen is the refresh rate or frame rate. The  Leupold LTO runs at 30hz. The human eye can detect the pauses in video if the frame rate drops below 20. So at 30, the Leupold LTO produces an image that mimics real world movement without jerks or jumps.

As mentioned, the aluminium shell is wonderfully strong, but the housing is also water resistant to IP67 standards which in English means IP=Ingress Protection, 6=total dust protection on a scale of 0-6, and the 7= “waterproof” to water immersion up to one meter. The IP67 is also the same rating of the iPhone 7.

The Magic Golden Ring

7_Leupold_LTO_Tracker_thermal_imager_in_handAs a Leupold Gold Ring product, Leupold will stand behind the  Leupold LTO with its excellent warranty for up to five years on the electronics. And frankly I’m not sure what else would need service except for the electronics.  I know there will be blowback when suggesting battery powered devices for survival situations. Of course the electronics can break and the batteries can die, but if it doesn’t and they don’t you have some incredible superpowers in the meantime. And the way I look at it is that many survival situations are short term and you can use all the help you can get. But if things really go bad, possibly for a long time, the first few hours, days or weeks are a critical time where you need as many superpowers as you can get. The  Leupold LTO really will give you superpowers.

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Avoid being tracked be the tracker!

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Avoid being tracked be the tracker Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! For a moment, imagine the worst case scenarios. Economic collapse, EMP, war, food shortages, and martial law. The government is now seizing “assets” via executive orders. Only now it’s understood that those assets may include you and your family. … Continue reading Avoid being tracked be the tracker!

The post Avoid being tracked be the tracker! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

6 Mind-Blowing Tactical Products

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From the site Life’d which say’s “Guys like gadgets, whether for fun or for self-preservation. And when tech combines with tactical, it’s just cool. These days, with natural disasters seemingly on the rise and the threat of worldwide terrorism growing, keeping tactical gadgets handy is more than cool. It might be a necessary precaution. What do you carry now? Will it help you in state of emergency? Here are six tactical gadgets engineered for guys who want to be prepared for every day…and for when the pressure is on.”

1. Shadowhawk X800 Tactical Flashlight



If Jason Bourne could pick his flashlight, this would be it. It packs military-grade LED technology into an aircraft-grade-aluminum-skinned cylinder. And it throws an astounding amount of light. You might be thinking that you already have a flashlight. But do the U.S. Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard use the kind of flashlight you have? The Shadowhawk X800 can illuminate a field or blanket a work area with 800 lumens of glorious light. It can also blind an attacker. Don’t let its light weight trick you into thinking it’s not durable. Throw it, drive over it—it’ll still work. Drop it in six feet of water—it’ll still work. This tough gadget is also versatile. It comes with a strobe setting if you are stranded and need to signal for help, and you can zoom and focus its LED beam to see far, far away. The 3 AAA batteries give it 1,000 hours of life. That makes it ideal for reliable, abundant light during a prolonged natural disaster or emergency…and for lots of everyday uses. This is standard gear if you want to be prepared.

UrbanMan’s Comment: I prefer the AA flashlights as they run longer than the powerful flashlight that use DL123 or the commonly called 3v surefire batteries. Plus AA rechargeable batteries that can be recharged with a solar panel are common place.

2. TrackR Bravo

When you attach this coin-size, James Bond-style tracking device to an item, you have a 20,000-times chance of getting it back if you lose it. The accompanying app enlists the help of network TrackR users to locate your lost bag, bike or dog. Last count, there were over 20,000 strong in their Crowd GPS. Of course, you will probably be able to get your wallet or whatever back on your own. The TrackR app will display how far you are from the keys or case you dropped, and it will sound the alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location. If you realize you left your bag after you travel to another location, all other TrackR users in the network are notified, and when one passes your missing article, you’ll get an update sent to your phone. What if you can’t find your phone? Use TrackR to ring it, even if it’s on silent mode, and you’ll find your phone fast. TrackR helps you keep your stuff…especially if you’re a chronic (keys/wallet/bike/car/bag) misplacer.

UrbanMan’s Comment: This sounds useful, but if the internet is down such as in a collapse of the nation, you’ll have just a useless little device.

3. Shadow X Dual Beam Lighter



This is the baddest lighter on the market since ZIPPO set the bar for badass lighters. It is engineered to make you look cool, and cool you will be wherever you break it out: bar, ball game, backpacking, hunting. In fact, it might be worth becoming a smoker just to use the lighter. (Don’t actually start smoking just to use the lighter.) Forget harmful butane, because that’s not its fuel. Pay no mind to rain because water does not affect it. Don’t worry about blocking the wind, because there is no flame to protect. Get that? There. Is. No. Flame. Just an electric current forming a hot X that ignites anything in its crosshairs. Tactical, practical and flat out cool. You recharge it via a USB and you ignite it by pressing a button. Keep it in your pocket for those times you need fire and want to look cool. Real cool.

UrbanMan’s Comment: Hey, I’m always us for a new fire starter, but it needs to have replaceable batteries. If re-chargeable then a solar panel and cigarette plug adapter; will likely be needed.

4. Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser




Another great gadget to have. It’s fun, it’s useful, and it could save your life. Simply speaking, it can help you point to that thing way over there, even half a mile away. Speaking from a safety standpoint, a blast of this beam of light can blind a person. Not recommended for use on friends, but on a would-be attacker or an intruder into your home, your Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser lets you get all Star Wars on him. ZAP, and he’s on the ground or holding his eyes, letting you go to work on him or just get away. It’s also good in the woods if you ever lose your way. The powerful beam will point Search and Rescue to your exact origin. And on nights when you’re not walking the streets or wandering in the woods, your dog will get a kick out of chasing the laser point on the living room floor.

UrbanMan’s Comment: This is a visible laser. A laser is useful for pointing out positions however a visible laser can also point out your position! Remember the old adage about tracer ammunition,….it works both ways.

5. TL900 LED Headlamp



This Tactical Headlamp is survival gear at its best. It blasts a massive 1000 lumen beam, enough to light a field, an emergency work area or a basement. With five settings, you can focus the beam to pinpoint targets at a distance of 500 meters! (That’s over 1640 feet…or 546 yards.) The design is the result of multiple attempts at perfection. It seems these guys have nailed it with a 90° pivoting spotlight and a completely water-resistant head unit. The beauty of this equipment, though, and what it makes it a top-tier tactical tool, is the hands-free capabilities it gives you. You never know into what situation you might be forced to work or search in the dark, and being able to freely use both hands could be the difference between success and failure…even in mundane use when there’s no pressure.

UrbanMan’s Comment: Head lamps are useful, red and white lights specifically, but how about some battery info?

6. Garmin Tactix GPS Watch




This watch will not only make you look good, it will let you know when’s a good time to pull the chute. Even if you’re not a skydiver, the Garmin Tactix is gold for any guy who likes to go for a hike or to just explore the unbeaten path once in awhile. You can rely on Garmin’s GPS to get you home if things go awry. There’s even a TracBack feature. If you think you might lose your way, this is like virtual breadcrumbs, guiding you back to your origin along the path which you came. The design of the watch is not only sleek, but functional. The scratch-resistant lens is curved so there’s no reflection preventing you from reading the display. Even with night vision on, you can read the display which gives you real-time information about your surroundings including barometric and compass readings. It won’t, however, tell you when the boss is walking by your cubicle.


UrbanMan’s Comment: I don’t like GPS’s. We have become a nation of people not comfortable with a map and compass. The watch feature is good for synchronizing times, etc., but a $20 timex will work for this.

[source:http://www.lifed.com/6-mind-blowing-tactical-products-every-guy-needs/source/yahoo#utm_medium=referral&utm_source=yahoo&utm_campaign=Y6TacticalGear7-Ad2]