As our bug out and EDC kits gain electronics including GPS receivers, cell phones, and radios, there is an ever growing need for better protective cases that will give our battery-powered friends the best chance of survival when things get rough. And GizzMoVest is here to help. GizzMoVest is an American company that specializes in making some of the best GPS cases on this planet by using proprietary techniques and materials. Compared to other GPS case designs, GizzMoVest has taken a unique approach where the case opens up like a clam shell with a hinge on one end and a cinch point on the other.
A heavy cord stitches the two halves tightly together as well as serving as a lanyard. The simple but effective design quickly and securely contains the GPS within a cocoon of high-tech materials, and nobody will live long enough to wear out the hinge.
The hybrid compression moulded cases are a surprising and welcome mix of material technology beginning with ethylene-based composites. The GizzMoVest uses a coated textile exterior, a high density polyethylene plastic core, and a soft knit interior to embrace the GPS unit. In many ways, the complexity of the GizzMoVest reminds me of high-end knife handles. To the casual observer, a case is a case and a handle is a handle. But to the power user of either GPS or blade, the interface with the human hand and it’s accompanying durability especially when it inadvertently leaves the hand is the difference between high performance and simple good looks. But as usual, the highest performers do often look the best in the presence of the competition. And franky the GizzMoVest in hand just feels like a serious case with pleasantly grippy texture. You will enjoy holding it.
Until recently I had a regular GPS case that was little more than a thin plastic shield that covered most of the receiver and stayed in place by a small patch of velcro. It served me well regarding scratches and mild rain coverage, but it protected the GPS from bumps no more that putting the GPS receiver in a Ziploc® bag (something I do quite often with everything from handguns to iPads). Its shocking to think that for only about five bucks more I could have had the best GPS case in the world! Garmin GPSs are already rated to ignore water outside of long term or deep submersion, but the hard knocks of life in the field are what usually pounds the coffin nails into a GPS unit.
The Shiny Details
The GizzMoVest GPS case come with an installed stainless steel belt clip that will easily accommodate belts up to 1.5 inches thick. It works fine, and in fact holds better than the aftermarket Garmin belt clips I bought for my GPSs at ten bucks a pop. The downside of the clip is that it’s a bit of a challenge to remove should you want to. The Garmin belt clip snaps onto the GPS spine in a second, and pops off just as fast. But to remove the steel clip from the GizzMoVest takes a penny or other way to pry up the clip’s catch on the inside of the case before sliding the clip off. I was glad to know how to do it, but as of yet, I have no practical reason to remove it even though it is quite easy to do now.
Also Read: Death By GPS
GizzMoVest also produces a RAM mounting ball that anchors to the belt clip. So in one fell swoop, you can swap your GizzMoVested GPS from denim to dashboard in seconds.
Flies like a Brick
I sure could have used a GizzMoVest when on an adventure in Switzerland. While on a mountain run in sight of the famous North Face of the Eiger, I watched my GPS leave my hand and go off on its own exploration down a rocky slope. I just wanted to set a waypoint for when the weather turned worse and visibility dropped. The front end of the GPS receiver was a little rough, but the missing back cover and batteries were the real problem. After a little searching around I was back in business, but that was luck, not skill.
Another time while on a mountain bike ride I paused to retrieve a GPS from my pack. Rather than do the smart thing and remain on two feet until my GPS had connected to the motherships and then enter my waypoint, instead I decided to continue riding while my GPS warmed up. With the receiver pinched between finger and thumb and my palm on the handlebar, I watched the single track get a little more single and a little less track. Gripping the handlebar with half a hand is one of those things you know is wrong but you do it anyway. So with my right hand firmly on the bar, and my left hand only half paying attention to the bike, I proved that knowing exactly what bad thing is about to happen in no way prevents it from happening. One particular bump sent the handlebar up into the bottom of the GPS punching it skyward like a cork from a bottle. The GPS failed to achieve orbit and instead fell to earth.
The thing was knocked unconscious, but I was happy the screen wasn’t broken. Punching the On button, I was greeted with the usual legalese that precedes the home screen. It’s just the home screen never came home. It was lost somewhere inside the electronics of the receiver. I tried several times with none of that Swiss luck I was hoping for. After finishing my moment of grieving and a brief but poignant eulogy filled with four letter words, I stuffed the GPS back in my pack hoping to perform surgery on it later. Unfortunately the patient died, along with all my waypoints from my favorite haunts. The last time I saw that little yellow GPS was in the bottom of the trash can in my shop.
Proof They Care
The fit of the GizzMoVest has been engineered with precision. In fact the GizzMoVest fits my GPSs better than any Garmin case fits my Garmin GPS. Frankly, once you cinch up your GizzMoVest around your GPS, you will reach a higher level of appreciation for case precision. No doubt that for the rest of your life you will forever compare the GizzMoVest case to every other case design and you’ll feel let down when it doesn’t stack up. GizzMoVest is a true testament for what is possible when American minds rally around an idea they can believe in, and produce a product that truly embraces the spirit of this country. Knowing about the history of the GizzMoVest company and my fellow Americans behind their world class cases literally makes me proud to carry it. I know it sounds sappy, but when we prepare for the worst as survivalists, the true measure of insight and intelligence is to avoid the collapse in the first place. And supporting American companies on American soil that produce American goods with American materials through American muscle makes it your patriotic duty to encase your GPS in a GizzMoVest. Carry on.
The corners of a device are often the place of most breakage. Not that the earth’s gravity has any particular affinity for corners, it’s just that corners concentrate force of impact onto a smaller surface are thus amplifying the resulting forces. So the GizzMoVest case fed steroids to it’s case corners causing all impact forces to be distributed over a much larger area. Although the screen is not covered (actually something I like due to the increased resolution and clarity of an unencumbered screen), there is a still a significant rim of padding tightly containing the screen. Sure, a well-placed impact could ruin your GPS’s day, but that is actually a rare thing in the world of dropping devices.
Also Read: Bug Out GPS Maps
As far as the case opening, that too would require a significant amount of bad luck. In fact, if you are worried about it and don’t trust the included pair of cord locks, you can just tie a knot in the lanyard at the case-end so there is no way outside an act of God that your GPS will free itself from its padded prison.
Big is Relative
Forces are physics, and physics is math, and math doesn’t lie. Therefore, in order to provide the GPS proper impact coverage, there must be a real and significant degree of compressible material to dissipate the force over your unit’s area. Therefore, the GizzMoVest does add bulk to your device in the form of “crush zones.” However, there is another way to consider this situation and that is in the form of how you really carried your GPS prior to using a GizzMoVest. For most, that was either a thin case that caused you to carry your GPS inside your pack. Or you might have actually put your thin-cased GPS into another padded case for transport. In both these alternate situations, the GPS was not readily available due to it’s protective custody, and the actual case was really your pack or a secondary case. So in both cases, the actual cases were larger than the GizzMoVest cases, and neither other case provided both the instant access and massive protection of the GizzMoVest case.
What’s in a Name
On a lighter note, I know you’ve been wondering about the name GizzMoVest. Well, it is a both a combination and an alliteration. GizzMO is both short for gizmo as in an electronic device like a GPS, and also the nickname MO for Steve Molina, the president and co-founder of the company. And the Vest part is a nod to wrapping something in a protective case or vest like bullet-proof vest or flack vest. Also the name was 100% available online producing zero results when first searched for five years ago. I got 39,100 Google hits for GizzMoVest just a second ago. That’s success by any measure.
Also Read: Navigating with a GPS & Compass
Finally, there is the warranty. The way a company stands behind its products is the surest sign of their belief and commitment to the user and their experience with the product. GizzMoVest makes no bones about their policy. And I quote…
Warranty & Return Policy:
You don’t like the way it functions? – Return it within 90 days.
You don’t like the way it looks? – Return it within 90 days.
Your buddy knocked it into the campfire last night? – Return what’s left for a 1-time replacement or full purchase price refund up to 90 days after purchase.
Beyond that our Warranty is 3 years on defects in workmanship or materials.
One last thing. Even though it would appear that the GizzMoVest would make your GPS float, I am assured by the company that buoyancy is not on the GizzMoVest’s resume. Which is also why I didn’t compare the GizzMoVest to a life vest. Around water I suggest you use the lanyard and clip.
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