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.

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.

12/25/15

Osprey Viva 50 L Womens Backpack

osprey viva

Written By Cinimin

INTRO

The Osprey Viva is a women’s lightweight backpacking pack that will store 50 liters for a comfortable overnight or week long trip. This pack allows for a wide range of adjustability

Dimensions: 33’’ x 13’’ x 11’’

Gear Capacity: 50 Liter

Weight: 3lbs 8oz

Fits Torso: 14-19 inches

Fits Waist/hips: 26-42 inches

Materials: Ripstop nylon, polyester, mesh

 

Notable Features:

  • Hipbelt Pockets
  • Adjustable Hipbelt and Hipbelt Padding
  • Adjustable Torso
  • Hydration Pocket
  • Ice Axe Loops
  • Side Compression Straps
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment
  • Sleeping Pad Straps
  • Trekking Pole Storage
  • Stretch Mesh front and Side Pockets
  • Top Pocket

 

Personal Experience

I recently took this pack on a forty mile trek through Paria Canyon outside of Kanab, UT. I’ve been traveling with a Camp Trails pack I took from my parent’s 90’s gear shed for the past ten years of my life and found this pack to be absolutely glorious! I didn’t know a pack could fit so comfortably. Although this pack is only a 50 liter, I felt that I was able to pack all that I wanted and the group weight was distributed evenly throughout my crew. Below is an image of all our packs lined up in a row, mine is the one furthest to the left and although it may not look it, it is the smallest pack by 15 liters.

osprey packs

Likes

I like the hydration sleeve that is found on the outside of the pack that allows for quick and easy access, and the separate compartment and gromit hole found in the bottom of the compartment keeps your gear dry if your hydration pack were to have a small leak or to sweat. I also appreciate how comfortable and easy this pack is to fit, with plenty of gear loops, pockets and compression straps.

 

Dislikes

The mesh is really nice to be able to access gear on the outside of your pack but with only one or two trips out of my pack, I can already see the wear that’s occurring. If you brushed against trees or rock the fabric would be trashed in one outing. I’d really prefer more durable side and front pockets, even if it means adding more weight. Along with more durable pockets, what I really wish this pack had was a detachable top pocket that you can wear as a fanny pack for day trips. If I were to purchase another backpack I would look for something a little larger with the top pocket feature, pockets that will withstand time, and one that comes with it’s own raincover. 

Overall this is great pack on their entry level equipment that they’ve been adding.

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 

12/10/12

Osprey Aura 65 Pack Women’s Large

This is the second women’s specific piece of gear we have reviewed at readaboutgear.com, I hope it sure is informative.  This time around Bethany took out the Osprey Aura 65 pack which has just received a facelift for 2012.  She used it well she took it on a six day trip on the San Rafel Swell in Utah.  First I’ll go over the key features of this pack and then we’ll go in to her review.

Osprey Aura 65 pic 1

Key Features

  • Airspeed Suspension
  • Torso Adjustable Interchangeable Shoulder Harness
  • Adjustable Fit on the Fly Hipbelt
  • Zippered Fabric Hipbelt Pockets
  • Side Stretch Mesh Pockets
  • Front Stretch Woven Pocket
  • Intergraded Hydration Compatibility
  • Stow-on-the-Go Trekking Pole Attachment System
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment (65 L)
  • Comes in to Volumes 65 L or 50 L

Review By Bethany Rennaker

I liked the look of the pack when I pulled it from the box. Green is totally my color. Then I stuffed it full of anything that would weigh it down to do some training for a 6-day, 50 mile trip. So, my first impression of the Osprey Aura 65 is that the “Fit on the Fly” waist belt was perfect for a large girl like me. The belt extends to fit large body types so comfortably that I felt confident that I wouldn’t experience any problems with it. And I didn’t. I really felt the benefit of the well-fitted hip belt. The weight was distributed to my hips and yet there was no discomfort in my hips. This was the first impression of the Aura 65.

On the 6-day trip I took, I found the pack proved just as impressive. The space that I needed for this trip was provided in the bag. The pockets were great and there is some stretch in the outside pocket that expanded to fit those last items I would stuff in the bag. Again, the fit was great and the weight of the bag was kept to the waist and off of the shoulders. I also felt the benefit of the sculpted, mesh backing that kept my back nice and dry.

There were two things that I would have enjoyed the Aura 65 to have included. The top of the pack is not a removable hip pack and I like that feature in other Osprey bags. Also, the side pockets were not elastic tops and that made it tough to get my water bottles in the pocket some times.

All in all, I really enjoy my Osprey Aura 65 because it fits great and provides a fantastic amount of space.

12/9/12

Gear Trader: local way to buy/sell your gear

I recently found this totally awesome site for selling/buying pre-owned outdoor gear called Geartrader.com. Wanting to learn more about the site, I emailed the website manager and voila his reply:

“Essentially we provide a platform for people to sell their outdoor gear and buy new and used outdoor gear.  It’s a marketplace for outdoor gear.

This is how it works if you want to sell some gear.
1. Take a few photos of your gear
2. Goto www.geartrade.com/sell
3. Upload the photos and complete the listing process
4. When your item sells we send you an email with shipping instructions.

Once you ship the item and enter a tracking number we mail you a check in 9 days. We handle all the customer service and payment processing so you don’t have to pay paypal fees or processing fees. We also do not charge image or listing fees like ebay. We charge a flat rate of 12% only after the item is sold.  If you don’t sell your gear, we do not charge you.”

Sounds like a good system?  Best part?  Made in the USA, that’s right Geartrader.com is operated right here in the USA so we support the local economy all while buying and selling gear.  Love that.

Click here to check them out. Geartrader.com  Best part two?  To set up an account is free.  Can’t beat that.  We love good deals and to pass them to onto you.  So we even gave them a little space on our site.  Happy Gear Trading!

Buy or sell your gear

12/9/11

Choosing a Winter Sleeping Bag

Sometimes it may be overwhelming to choose a sleeping bag.  In this article we will go the things to consider when choosing a sleeping bag such as, temperature rating, the insulation material, and the weight.

Temperature Rating

In the past the temperature rating of the sleeping bag was that you would survive at the given temperature rating but not necessarily be comfortable for example if you had a 0° rated bag you maybe be nice and toasty at like 15° and warmer but might feel cold after the temp drops.  Now in high quality bags there is a new standard called the EN Temperature Rating.  This new standard is great because it allows for the same testing of comfort ratings to be across the boards, for example and Marmot 0° bag is going to be tested with the same methods of a Mountain Hardware 0° bag.  The EN Rating is explained as so,

EN Comfort Rating (for Women): The lowest outside air temperature at which a standard woman can sleep comfortably in this bag.

EN Lower Limit Rating (for Men): The lowest outside air temperature at which a standard man can sleep comfortably in this bag.

Remember these ratings are based on the person wearing one layer of clothing, hat, and a sleeping pad.

Now let’s address the temperature rating that you will need.  This is fairly simple, just choose a bag with the lowest temperature rating that you think you are going to encounter.  If you live in Southern California and don’t ever plan on venturing into the cold there is really no point to buy a -20° sleeping bag now is there, but on the opposite end if you live in Northern Montana and so venturing in the cold a lot a 20° bag is not going to cut it for you is it. I live in Utah and go winter camping at least a few times a year, right now I have a 0° bag and that usually works well most of the time.  There are just a few times on super cold nights I have wished I had a warmer bag though.  Another thing to consider is if you are an average sleeper or do you sleep warm or cold?  If you sleep cold then you will want to consider getting a lower temperature rated bag.

Here are some factors that can affect your overall warmth

  • Sleeping Pad- a sleeping pad helps you insulate the bottom of the bag from the ground, some sleeping bags have less insulation on the bottom because of this
  • Tent- using a tent can keep a trapped layer of air around you and warm the temp up to 10°
  • Gender- often women sleep colder then men
  • Clothing- what you wear in your sleeping bag can affect your temperature, make sure to wear clean base layers and new socks to sleep.
  • Hydration- how hydrated you are when you go to sleep can affect your temperature

 

Down or Synthetic

There are two types of insulation for sleeping bags, down or synthetic fibers. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Down provides superior warmth, compresses better, and is incredibly durable.  A down bag will be more expensive upfront but will last longer in the long run. Down bags are often lighter then synthetics. However you will want to avoid down if you are camping a wet, damp, or rainy trips, because as soon as it gets wet it loses its warmth.

Synthetic provides excellent price value, and preform well in all climates dry or wet. Synthetic bags however are heavier then down. Choose synthetics if you know there is a possibility of getting wet or want the best bang for your buck.  Synthetics however will never match the warmth or comfort of down.

In my experience down was the warmest and most comfortable but you will pay a price for it.

Weight

As technology has evolved the weight of sleeping bags has greatly decreased.  When choosing a sleeping bag it is good to consider the weight of it.  First of we need to look at you intended use.  Are you just going car camping or are you going to be backpacking.  If you are car camping you don’t really have to worry about weight, but if you are backpacking you for sure don’t want to take a giant 6 lb. sleeping bag.  The lighter weight sleeping bags are going to have a larger price tag on it though.  As I addressed before down is lighter then synthetics.  One thing you want to consider though is do you want to sacrifice a few ounces for comfort and warmth, I wouldn’t that’s up to you.

Here are some tips to keep you warmer in the cold winter nights

  • Throw a water bottle with hot water in the bottom of your bag, put a sock around it to keep it from burning you.
  • Drink a warm beverage before you got to sleep
  • Invest in a liner a fleece liner can raise the temp rating up to 15°

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