Survival Straps are custom made for your wrist size and are available for watches, bracelets, emblems and a variety of smartwatches. (Handout/TNS)

Fashionable watch straps support U.S. troops

I get asked all the time by tech companies, how do they get their product in my column? It’s pretty simple formula: it has to be new, cool, different, and useful.

Which brings me to the new Survival Straps watchband for the Apple watch. Obviously, bands are a dime a dozen for the smartwatch, but for some reason this one caught my attention instantly.

The versatile band connected perfectly to my 42 mm Apple watch. All you do is connect it to the watch like any other band by pressing the links on the bottom to release the existing band and swap in the new strap.

According to Survival Straps, the handmade, durable band is made with authentic military spec 550# paracord with an attractive and unique stainless-steel anchor shackle closure system. There are over 45 paracord colors available to mix, match, and design your band to match your taste, resulting in thousands of color combinations.

The Survival Strap I’ve been testing and wearing was pretty stiff at first but after a few days, it shaped to my wrist and fits perfectly. The closure takes a little getting used to, but after a few tries I really like it, and it’s by far the most secure closure I’ve seen.

Straps are custom made for your wrist size and are available for watches, bracelets, emblems and a variety of smartwatches. The Apple watch band I tried sells for $49.99, Samsung Gear S3 and Fitbit Paracord straps are also $49.99. Prices vary for others.

Survival Straps is a mom and pop company based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and produces 100 percent USA made products. They also support the nation’s first responders, wounded veterans, and active military with over $1 million of donations.


Thermacell’s new Backpacker mosquito repeller is a lightweight, portable (3.8-by-1.9-by-2.6-inches) solution for keeping your immediate area free of the annoying bugs.

The 4 ounce gas powered canister device is odorless and flameless and is good for up to 90 hours of bug protection before a refill is needed. The contents of the gas is a pressurized self-sealing butane and propane fuel mix, which slowly heats up the mat, and releases the repellent chemical in the air.

Each mat contains Allethrin, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers.

A water-resistant nylon carrying pouch is included with the Backpacker along with 3 mosquito mats. The Backpacker sells for $35.91. 8-ounce gas fuel $17.99 and 6 Repellent Mats for up to 24 hours of use is $19.99.

Thermacell has also launched the new MR450 handheld repeller ($34.99).

The odorless and silent bug killer is designed with a rubber armored finish and an ergonomic design. The rubber grip layer also helps keep the unit quiet.

A butane cartridge with no open flame will last for about 12 hours before a replacement is needed. It also has a long lasting and replaceable CR2032 battery inside.

The MR450 has a built-in protective indicator light so you know it is at the right temperature and ready to keep your area mosquito free.

The MR450 includes a singe butane cartridge, 3 mosquito mats, a CR2032 battery and a belt clip. A replacement kit of 4 butane cartridges and 12 repellant mats for 48 hours of repellency is $20.99.


Griffin’s new reserve power bank lineup includes a portable 9,000 mAh of power ($29.99), which can easily fit in your pocket.

It will give most smartphones three full charges from the rechargeable battery.

The full reserve power bank lineup also includes a 2,600 ($19.99), 5,200 ($24.99) and the powerful 18,200 mAh ($44.99) battery. The 18,200 mAh will charge a smartphone up to nine times and a tablet up to two and a half times.

According to Griffin, each battery is “designed with safety-certified Lithium-Ion batteries and are secured inside of a drop-tested polycarbonate shell.” The batteries also have an LED power indicator so you know if a charge is needed.


Contact Gregg Ellman at Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.

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