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.

12/26/12

Family Camping: Where to start when camping with kids: 5 easy tips

Family camping can be a daunting task. Have no fear readaboutgear.com will give tips, tricks, and advice.

Where to start when camping with kids:

Tip #1 Make a check list of necessities for children ie baby bottle, pacifier, favorite blanket/animal, pjs, piggyback rider, diapers, wipes, sanitizer, blanket to swaddle child to sleep, etc.

Tip #2 While packing, ask older children to help pack younger sibling’s items.

Tip #3 While packing, explain where you are going camping, how long it will take to get there, how long you’ll stay, where you’ll need help (Kids love to help!), meals you’ll cook together, and potential hikes or trails you may do together.  Kids love helping, and they’ll get excited to share in the responsibilities of cooking and potential hikes or trails you’ll enjoy together.  Preparing the kids for what will occur on the trip is just as good as being on the trip.

Tip #4 Ask the kids some of their favorite games, so you can play them on the way to your camping destination.  If they don’t have any favorite games, let me suggest a few: the gratitude game, the letter game, the numbers game, 20 questions, I spy, I love game, slug bug game.  Are you familiar with these games?  If not, they’re easy to play: “The gratitude game” is each person in the car says “I am grateful for (then fills in the blank), and each person in the car has a turn to fill in the blank.  “The letter game” is finding all of the letters of the alphabet on the road, license plates, billboards, signs, etc. starting from A to Z in sequential order until you hit Z and when one person sees the letter, he/she calls the letter out and the location.  “The numbers game” is finding numbers starting with 0-100 and when one person sees the number, he/she calls the number out and the location.

Tip #5 Bring snacks and water for the car and for the actual camping trip.
Here are a couple of great snacks from our friends at CLIF Bar.
CLIF Kids Zfruit- organic fruit snack, a gluten-free option, equal to one serving of fruit
CLIF Kids Zbar- organic snack bar, 8-11 grams of whole grains, contains 12 essential vitamins and minerals

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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