Review of the Sea to Summit Tek Towel.
We use a lot of gear, so much so that our storage room is nicknamed “The REI.” Some of the gear holds up, some of it heads for the trash heap. This is where we tell you about the winners and the losers.
If we are are affiliated with a retailer that sells a product we like, you will see a purchase link at the bottom of the review. We only provide purchase links for things that we have used ourselves, and that have proven their worth in the field.
Review of the Ratio 15 and Heratio 15 sleeping bags by Mountain Hardwear.
Review of the North Face Men’s Dryzzle Rain Jacket.
Review of the Ti-Mini Solo Combo titanium cookset by Snow Peak
We purchased this folding solar panel in 2011, before an extended trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, and Spain. We acquired it as part of a portable power solution for cameras, a laptop computer, and our iPhones. It worked well. (The panel is the folded-up, big, black thing in the upper center of the photograph.) After that trip, we used it […]
This is a big and heavy tent, suitable for car/truck camping, and car/truck camping only. And that is the purpose for which we bought it. The tent is 168 square foot in size, and almost 39 pounds in weight. The interior can be divided into two rooms, each with its own entrance, using a detachable fabric wall. It is double-walled, […]
We have now used this stove for three weeks of cumulative truck camping in the Sierras. We purchased the stove because it offered the use of both Coleman fuel and unleaded gasoline. We have found multi-fuel capability to be important, with gasoline a readily available fuel in all countries we have visited. Stoves built to only use one fuel are […]
We bought this because we were tired of freezing apart when truck camping, and it has fixed the problem. We were using Mountain Hardware Ultralamina 45 sleeping bags – one each – that we had used on the Bibbulman Track in Australia, and in the Sequoia National Forest. But those bags fell short of advertised warmth, even when assisted by […]
We bought one of these for truck camping, thinking that if it worked, it would beat washing things by hand. This is the hand-cranked clothes washer that was once pushed heavily in television adds. You simply add water and some detergent to the clothes, turn the drum a few times, and the dirt is flushed from the laundry — that […]
We purchased a folding kayak in the Summer of 2012, after two years of thinking about it and several months of research. Our choice of boat was based upon four criteria. First, it had to be a two-person boat. Next, it had to be expedition-capable, meaning it had to have a large load capacity, be of solid construction, and lend […]
We had grown tired of blowing up our NeoAir sleeping mattresses by mouth. We had hyper-ventilated. We had become dizzy. We had fallen down. So, for about US $30, we decided to give the NeoAir Pump Sack a try. Bottom line up front: The NeoAir Pump Sack is better than hyper-ventilation. The sack is just that — a sack. At […]
We acquired two of these bags for our Long Haul Folding Kayaks Mark II Quattro kayak: the 35 Liter Long bag and the 35 Liter Wide bag. The “long” bag fits perfectly into the bow of the boat, and the “wide” bag fits perfectly into the stern. We have used them on a three-week kayaking trip through the Bahamas’ Exuma […]
The Uniden MHS75 does what it is advertised to do. It communicates effectively on VHF channels. It is waterproof. We used the radio on a three-week kayak trip through the Bahamas’ Exuma Cays. It was stored in a non-waterproof bag inside the kayak, and was soaked-to-moist the entire time. When we turned it on, it came on. It did not […]
We acquired six of these 10 liter bags for our three-week kayak expedition through the Exuma Cays of the Bahamas. The purchase followed lots and lots of research and anguish, including a poor purchase of some Swedish military water bags that made the water taste like crap. Unlike the Swedish bags, the MSR bags imparted no taste at all to […]
A one-year trip through multiple countries — many of them third-world — takes a well-conceived medical plan. Our plan consisted of a medical kit, pre-trip vaccinations, and medical insurance. The Medical Kit We used an Adventure Medical Kits “Fundamentals” pre-made kit as the starting point. I don’t think we’d do that again, as much of what was in the […]
Now, this is a great camping pillow! When packed, it fits into a tiny little sack, and weighs almost nothing. Unpacked and inflated, it’s big and comfortable. And it’s very easy to inflate and deflate. If you have one of those squishy-material camping pillows, throw it out or give it to the dog. Then get yourself an EXPED. […]
We purchased two of these pads after trying out Therm-a-Rest ProLite pads. We wanted more comfort (the ProLite is a little on the thin side), so we upgraded to the NeoAir. The NeoAir looks and feels much like an inflatable pool cushion. It is just about as thick, so you don’t feel rocks and roots; and you have to blow […]
We wanted new sleeping bags for a multi-country trip, during which we planned to do some hiking and camping. We expected to never go anywhere that would drop below 50-degrees Fahrenheit, so our selection criteria was: a 45-degree bag, super light, and compression into as small a stuff sack as possible. It also had to be a synthetic material, as […]
This piece of equipment is a huge winner. It is not just a shower. We have also used it as a water bucket (for drinking water filtration and putting out fires) and as a wash basin for our clothes. It folds up into a very compact case, and weighs almost nothing. As a sun shower, it doesn’t warm water very […]
We purchased this tent in pursuit of the lightest two-person, double-walled, packs-away-into-the-smallest-space tent available. The Fly Creek had a top rating from Backpacker Magazine, and the specifications were the best for our criteria. So, we forked over the almost-$400 it cost to get one of these things. The specifications for the tent are a packed weight of 2 pounds and […]
We travel with a large one of these compression bags in each of our packs. They are huge; but, of course, they cinch down to a smaller size if we don’t have much to put in them. We primarily use them for clothing. The bags have successfully kept our clothes dry throughout our travels, and have created more space in […]
Before getting the Pocket filter, we used a Katadyn Hiker Pro during hikes in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park and Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. It performed as advertised. So, why the switch to the heavier and much more expensive Pocket filter? It’s all about the math for a year-long trip. The Pocket weighs twice as much as the Hiker Pro, […]
For this one-year trip, we had to be able to access electricity in multiple countries, in both 120 and 220 volt, and off-the-grid when no wall or generator power was available. And we had to be able to provide power to the following items: – The Canon LP-E6 batteries that power Jen’s camera. – The battery that powers my Canon […]
We purchased two of these packs before we headed overseas. We needed something that could hold a lot of gear when we needed a daypack, yet was light and small enough to be stuffed into our main packs when not needed. This seemed to fit the bill. Over the last three months, we have used the packs to carry camera […]
Both Jen and I are traveling with Chocos as our only footwear. We have been walking around in them – with and without packs on our backs, on pavement and through mud – for about a month and a half now. The Z2 model has a toe loop that fits over the big toe. I machinated quite a while before […]
I purchased this ND filter by Polaroid because it was half the cost of other brands… $54.00 vs. $150.00. Well, I guess you get what you pay for. OK, it’s my fault for not testing the filter before we hit the road, but the thing is a POS. When I went to use the filter for the first time, I […]
This was a last minute buy before departing the States. Thankfully, Jen remembered to get one of these. It has saved our bacon in hotel room after hotel room, as things that fly and bite run amok indoors and outdoors as soon as the sun goes down here in Thailand. We would have been sucked dry long ago without it. […]
This lighter was purchased for next to nothing in Costa Rica. Then it travelled to San Francisco, and from there to Hawaii. It lit many a things. Now it is dead. In a life that spanned sixteen months, it did many a thing, and brought many a pleasure. Now it is dead. We mourn the loss of our friend and […]
The Therm-A-Rest ProLite Sleeping Pad is another piece of gear Jen and I used in Costa Rica and the NaPali Coast of Kauai. I guess I rank this item as OK. It packs small and light, which is great. It reduces heat loss into the ground, also great. But it ain’t so cushiony, so my bony behind and elbows and […]
Jen used the Deva 60 on a backpacking trip along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. It’s a well-made pack, and comes with an impressive set of reviews. This includes a top rating from Backpacker magazine. But, there is just one problem… You see, Jen is 5’4″ and 108 pounds, with a 24 inch waist. So, she is on the small […]