03/26/20

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 PD Review

Have you been like me and are always running out of juice on your devices? Do you do some of your work mobile away from an outlet wanting to have freedom of setting up mobile office at your favorite park or want to do some work in the mountains? Portable battery banks are all the rage these days mainly to keep small devices charged and have been around for a couple of years, but there hasn’t been too many options power hungry devices like laptops and large laptops. But more and more options are become available its hard to discern which ones are better then others. I got the 100 Sherpa PD recently after going through the features I’ll tell you why I like it as my choice for my favorite portable battery bank. 

Features

  • Airline approved, travel ready
    Lightweight, sleek design fits easily into packs, bags, and camera cases. Ideal for travel where space is limited.
  • Ditch the cables if you can
    Charge your Qi-compatible phone from the integrated Qi charging pad for an entirely wireless experience.
  • Charge quickly on the move
    Fast-charging Power Delivery gives you more power in less time. Charge USB-C laptops, phones, and tablets using the 60W USB-C Power Delivery port. 
  • No device left behind
    Two 2.4A USB ports are useful for devices with proprietary charging, such as fitness trackers, gps devices, and micro/lightning phones.

Ways to Charge 

  • Recharge from the sun by connecting a compatible solar panel. Charge time is dependent on the size of the solar panel. The Nomad 28 Plus will fully recharge the Sherpa 100PD in about 6-14 hours. NOTE: Sherpa 100PD can only be solar charged using the USB port on the Goal Zero Nomad solar panels.
  • Use included cables to recharge from a USB source in 8 – 10 hours. Fully recharges from the wall in about 3 hours using a 45 Watt USB-C Charger(not included).

What it can charge

  • POV Camera 18 Recharges
  • Smartphone 8 Recharges
  • Tablet 4 Recharges
  • USB-C Laptop 2 Recharges

Personal Experience 

I have used the Sherpa 100 PD for about a month now and have really liked it. I Mainly use it to charge my phone after a long day at the office while I am out and about running around towns. I also use it to charge my camera batteries when I am on trips.  I have also ran a usb fan all night on a trip and charge my phone and apple watch. While doing that it only went down to 50 ish percent so I was very pleased with it. I have also used it to charge my iPad and MacBook Pro. I can get about one extra charge out my MacBook Pro 15 in if you have a smaller laptop you might be able to get more charges. You don’t necessarily need a usb-c powered laptop I have an older MacBook Pro and  was able to find a Magsafe to USB-C cord on amazon. 

It has most of the ports any one would need one PD USB-C and Two USB A 2.4 A ports are all any one really needs and when you add the Qi charge pad its just killer. If you really want you can use all of these ports at once if you need to charge everything at once which is nice. I mainly use one port at a time and maybe the Qi at the same time. 

When I first got it I ran it down to zero to see how long it would take to charge from the provided USB C to USB A Cable and it took forever it really does take about 8 hours. If you are going to charge this way make sure to use your most powerful wall adapter not a small 1.0 Ah one you want something like 2.1 or 2.4 ah it will say on the adapter how powerful it is. Later I got a 45 W PD USB C wall adapter off amazon for like $9 and that charges it in about nine hours and I have really liked that. 

Likes 

  • Many charging options
  • Built quality, really nice aluminum not cheap plastic like some other power banks
  • Travel friendly can easily carry on with you at the airport, small enough to slip in a big pocket or easily in a purse or backpack
  • The included USB C cable is pretty nice
  • USB to 6mm adapter available for light a life lanterns and other GZ accessories 

Dislikes

  • Does not come with the higher power wall adapter 
  • At this time only able to charge from USB A on the solar panels so you can’t get the full potential of panel. 
  • Doesn’t come with a sleeve/case 
  • A little more on the pricy side but you get what you pay for

Overall I have had a really good experience with this so far. I recommend it any one who travels a lot, works mobile, or needs peace of mind with a backup power solution.  I recommend getting the 45 W wall adapter to charge though for sure. I hope that Goal Zero will come out with a USB C to 8mm adapter to allow for better performance for charging from their solar panels soon. 

Purchase on amazon and help us out by using this link here Retails for $199 right now

Heres the link for the 45 W wall adapter link

12/20/16

Camp Maid Charcoal Chimney (First Impressions)

Recently I acquired this new folding Charcoal Chimney.  It is the first of its kind, its very surprising that no one has made a folding chimney before. It fits in a standard 12 inch dutch oven and is very compact in comparison to its counter parts. I am going to go over the features then the experience I’ve had so far.

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  • Rapidly heats charcoal for immediate outdoor cookingNo matter what kind of BBQ you use, charcoal takes too long to get hot. The Charcoal Chimney’s unique air funnel design sucks up air, which is equally effective in strong windy environments allowing you to heat charcoal anywhere outdoors. The airflow creates a quick surge of powerful hot flames contained safely in the device, allowing you to start cooking much quicker. 
  • PortableThe highly efficient design is a single lightweight piece that easily opens and snaps into place, and folds down to store inside your 12” Dutch oven. This is especially important for reducing the amount of gear you have to pack for outdoor cooking.
  • VersatileThe Charcoal Chimney can be used with any BBQ or grill, and it especially compliments the CampMaid Complete Outdoor Cooking System tools.
  • Heats 40 Charcoal BriquettesWhile the Charcoal Chimney is compact and portable, it still heats up to 40 charcoal briquettes.
  • Heat-safe HandleMany outdoor cooking products can be dangerous and cause burns so the heat-safe handle helps protect while being easy to hold, handle and manage – ultimately reducing the risk of injury around flames.
  • Cools down fastThe Charcoal Chimney cools down quickly after use allowing you to pack and store quickly

This was really easy to use. It is super portable and really well designed. I really liked the integration of the charcoal holder, this allowed it not to get any mess on the charcoal ash everywhere. Its really easy to unfold and use. This size is really great for cooking with one dutch oven, if your cooking with a few and you’re wanting to get lots of charcoals ready this might not be the best for you. But if you are looking for portability then this is a great choice.

This is being rolled out in a kickstarter campaign check it out at this link

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2081385079/campmaid-charcoal-chimney-quickest-way-to-get-bbq?ref=nav_search

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12/11/16

MSR WindPro II Remote Canister Stove

I Recently acquired the WindPro II. A long, long time ago I use to have the original WindPro and used it a lot. But more recently I have been using my MSR Pocket Rocket for backpacking trips and my main stove. I had been missing the wider stability and the more control this stove has.

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MSR_WindProII_PR

  • Inverted Liquid-Feed: Increased cold-weather and low-fuel performance with more consistent output across all fuel levels.
  • Efficient: Remote burner allows the use of a windscreen for maximum efficiency.
  • Lightweight & Compact: Weighs just 6.6 oz.; fits in a one-liter pot.
  • Versatile: Supports pots up to 10″ in diameter; compatible with bake ovens.
  • Includes: Windscreen, heat reflector, canister stand, instructions, and stuff sack.

Taken from the MSR Website

“The WindPro II camp stove combines the stability and wind protection of a remote-burner design with the convenience of canister fuel. Unlike other canister stoves the WindPro II is capable of running on liquid-feed direct from the canister. This added versatility lets you run the stove in traditional upright mode for optimal efficiency and flame control or, with a simple twist, invert the canister on the included stand to deliver liquid gas directly to the burner. This advantage allows greatly improved cold-weather and low-fuel performance, and boosts stove output significantly anytime speed really counts.”

I took this on a couple recent trips including Zion and Bryce Canyon. This thing worked like a champ. I cooked some chicken breast on it with some white sauce and pasta, I also cooked eggs, sausage, and even boiled water on it. This thing is really versatile. I was able to use a medium frying pan on in with the pot stands easily, there was no way I could cook eggs on my Pocket Rocket but because i can turn down the heat I was able to cook with ease. This stove fits really easily in my GSI Bugaboo Messkit it would fit it anything similar easily.

Back when I had the original WindPro I would invert the canister in winter and other cold weather its so nice that they added the feature of the stand and swivel. I have yet to try it in cold weather yet but I know it will perform.

Pros

  • Wide Pot Stands Supports Pots up to 10″ in diameter and bake ovens
  • Remote Canister (allowing for the use of heat shield and wind screen)
  • Light Weight 6.6 oz
  • Liquid Feed Mode for cold weather and high altitude
  • Great Range of Flame Control (a nice simmer-a jet speed boil)
  •  Uses canister fuel so no priming required
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Not as compact as other Canister Stoves like the Pocket Rocket or Micro Rocket
  • Not the least expensive stove on the market ($99.95)
  • uses canister fuel (widely available in USA but if traveling outside not as much)

Overall I totally recommend this stove if you are looking for something to do some more gourmet cooking while backpacking or even camping, if you are looking to just boil water this stove isn’t for you I would recommend the Pocket Rocket, Micro Rocket, or the Wind Burner. If you are looking to travel out of the US I would recommend the Wisperlite Universal.

Retails for 99.95 and you can find it at most high quality sporting good stores.

12/4/15

Camelbak Forge Premium Travel Mug 16 OZ

A few months ago I got this cool new mug from Camelbak. I had been looking for a nice insulated travel mug to bring with me to school or work. This thing did just the trick. In this post I’ll go over the features of the mug and my experience with it.

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Here is a quick video from Camelbak that goes over the Forge.

Features

  • One-handed self-sealing lever
  • Leak-proof closur
  • Lock-open button for frequent sipping
  • Arms flip up for easy cleaning
  • Vacuum insulation stays hot 4+ hours
  • Impact cap
  • CamelBak® Got Your Bak™ Guarantee: If we built it, we’ll Bak it™ with our lifetime guarantee.

Camelbak_Forge-1

I have been using this mug for a couple months now and I really like it. There are a few main features, which has made this my favorite mug, the one-handed self-sealing lever, easy to clean, the auto lock feature, and the vacuum insulation.

The one-handed self-sealing lever is one of these mugs greatest features. It just allows the mug to be carried with such ease. I can just carry the mug in one finger or have it hanging by a carabineer or something attached to your back. You don’t have to worry about it leaking either; it has a really nice leak proof seal.

The mug is super easy to clean. When you take the top off and press the button the arm flips up and you can easily access every thing you want to clean. You can also just throw the lid in the dishwasher. It’s recommended that you hand wash the main part.

I don’t know about you, but I am a clumsy person always knocking my stuff all over the place so having an auto-locking lid is really nice to stop spills. If you want to vent your beverage it has a lock open feature too.

The Vacuum insulation is really nice. Camelbak says it will keep your beverages hot for up to four hours. I usually have my first mug of coffee or tea gone within an hour but with the travel time to school or work it has always been kept really hot and while drinking it has stayed hot.

Overall I would really recommend this mug to anyone that is looking for a new travel mug, it’s a great color the green one, keeps your beverages really hot, and its just easy to take care off.

Purchase at REI, Backcountry, or Campsaver  (Least Expensive at the time this was written)

12/28/14

Patagoina Ultralight Down Hoody First Impressions

I have been wanting to test out a down jacket for a while now, and got this awesome one from Patagonia. Here is a video on my experience with the jacket.

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There are three main things I really like about this jacket, the weight/size , comfortably, and the DWR coating. I’ll go over these after I go over all the features.

Features

  • The toughest, lightest-weight shell fabric patagonia has ever used for down garments; with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
  • 800-fill-power premium European goose down for low-bulk warmth
  • Variegated channel construction stabilizes insulation and allows the use of less down, creating an elegant, low-profile garment
  • Low-profile adjustable hood seals in warmth
  • Two zippered handwarmer pockets; one zippered chest pocket
  • Drawcord hem seals out cold and spindrift; self-fabric stuffsack
  • Insulated with Traceable Down (non-live-plucked, non-force-fed)
  • Shell and lining: 0.8-oz 10-denier 100% nylon ripstop, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 800-fill-power premium European goose down
  • 263 g (9.3 oz)

Lets talk about the weight first. This jacket is CRAZY LIGHTWEIGHT. It comes in at 9.3 oz. They accomplish this a couple of ways, with the super light weight shell and fabric liner, the high quality 800 fill down, and the channel design allows for less use of down but doesn’t sacrifice warmth.  The design of the jacket allows it to be compressed and packed in to a super small space.

This jacket is one of the most comfortable jackets I have worn.  Because it is crazy lightweight you don’t even remember you are wearing anything.  It breathes really easy.  It is also super soft too. I have been wearing like almost full time since i got it. I wear all around town and in the field.

The DWR coating on this jacket is great. Last week I was geocaching in light rain and wind, this jacket preformed super great.  The down didn’t get wet and I was warm. I was hiking around in the wind a light breeze the other day also and it blocked it. Paired with a shell like the Patagonia Piolet this will block out all the wind and snow you want.

I will test this jacket after more use and do a more in-depth review after a while.

Purchase this jacket right from Patagonia