Over the years of camping and hiking I believe I've accumulated enough stuff to not need any major purchases for future camping trips, however I'm always on the lookout for lighter, better and different options.
One problem I face while in the wilderness is charging gadgets. Some friends think gadgets should be left at home while others have solar chargers. Another friend carries a small radio for weather or perhaps a little music. Every couple of months, I get a 20% off coupon for REI.com and have let it slide in the past. This time, I think I'm going to purchase the Eton Scorpion Multipurpose radio. There are times when I think that this device could be very handy indeed. Featuring a WX band and FM radio, a flashlight, solar charger, hand crank charger and an internal battery this gadget seems to do it all, but there is more. It also has a USB port which is capable of charging phones and other devices. This could be a great way to charge batteries for my camera and keep my phone topped up in emergencies.
It is rated pretty low, but I've yet to find an affordable solar charger that everyone seems to like, there are always the few that expect them to be flawless, which just isn't the case. Weighing in at 10oz, its not exactly light, but its about the same as many other solar chargers with battery combinations and you get the bonus of a hand crank. If all else fails, it is also a bottle opener. If and when I purchase it, I'll be sure to review it right here on Ridgeline Review!
Working with Open Source software and re-purposed equipment, Daniel Freschl created BOSAVI LLC to create (amongst other products) a headlamp designed to be charged almost anywhere by a variety of different means. Tired of the frustration and waste of constantly replacing AAA batteries in the headlamps he and his friends (and everyone else) were using, an idea began to develop.
From the BOSAVI site:
In 2010 Dan Freschl, his wife Christina and 30 of their closest friends met in Joshua Tree National Park for a week of climbing and adventure. On that first night as the sun fell in the desert and the darkness enveloped them, they realized that amongst the 30 of them, not a single person had fresh batteries in their headlamps. Without enough battery power to provide adequate light to set up camp they ended up huddling together combining their dying lights to assemble tents, make food, and plan the next day. It was at this moment that they decided that the world needed a light source that could be recharged even in the middle of the desert, the mountains, or anywhere, without the need of disposable batteries.
Prior to founding Bosavi, Dan was an engineer with a Bay Area start-up trying to develop a solid-state lithium foil battery. This battery is still under development and has the potential to be the safest most energy-dense battery solution in the world. Dan has also worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories in battery research. Before moving to Berkeley, Dan worked for Boston Scientific developing batteries for pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators.
Instead of disposable batteries, the Bosavi has a built-in lithium polymer battery that sits inside a machined aluminum heat-sink that doubles as a reflector for the light. Its beam comes from a 110-lumenLED, which is bright enough for use while hiking or rolling in a city on a bike at night.
For more information about this and other projects BOSAVI is currently working on, check out their official page HERE, and to contribute to the project and maybe score a Bosavi headlamp and other cool swag while investing in this new, groundbreaking business venture, head on over to their Kickstarter page HERE.
Inspired by founder Gary Erickson’s early Italian rides and adventures, Clif Bar’s new Panforte flavor celebrates the brand’s 20th anniversary. The recipe is said to come from “a traditional 800-year-old Italian recipe”. Called “Gary’s Panforte,” the limited edition flavor goes on sale this month.
From Gear Junkie:
As the name says, the bar is based off the traditional Italian dessert panforte, which is a type of fruit and nut cake. The word breaks down to “pan” (bread) and “forte”(strong). The resulting “strong bread” is a dense and spicy-sweet concoction, calorie-rich and not too unlike modern energy bars today.
Like all Clif bars, the Panforte has many organic ingredients, fruit bits and nuts. There are no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Clif will sell the bars for $1.39 online and via its nationwide retailer network.
Looks Molto delizioso! I'll have to look out for it.
For you fellow bike enthusiasts out there looking for something a little different, I present to you the World Traveller B17 from Brooks, a hand-made leather saddle featuring a motif by Frank Patterson, artist and illustrator of the Brooks catalogues of the 1920's.
From Gear Junkie:
Its full name, the 2012 World Traveller B17 Limited Edition, pays honor to Brooks’ relationship with the WCR Grand Tour, a competitive bike race that this year kicked off in February where cyclists attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
The company says the new saddle, which costs a hefty €250, was dreamt up to “celebrate covering long distances by bike.” The 1920’s image, stamped into the leather, shows a heavily-laden cyclist pedaling across the globe.
Under the leather top you’ll find chromed-copper steel rails and frame. And in true Brooks fashion, it’s all held together with hammered copper rivets. Like all Brooks saddles, the hard leather conforms to your anatomy over time, resulting in a custom fit.
But you don’t need to sign up for the WCR to buy it. The B17 is built for riding long distances anywhere, from your home town to a 25,000+ mile trip around Earth.
This saddle celebrates our deep historical associations with the sporting heroes of the previous London Olympiad, as well as our rich relationship with devotees of Long Distance Touring, during the inaugural WCR Grand Tour, a competitive circumnavigation of the Earth by bicycle.
All saddles have been made using Brooks Select organic leather tops, fixed to a chromed copper steel frame and finished with hand hammered copper rivets.
The B17 Select World Traveller is available at chosen Brooks Dealers Of Excellence from May, and production of the Brooks B17 Select World Traveller has been capped at 2012 pieces.
Frame: Copper Plated
Over on the Best Made Projects blog, a division of Best Made Company (makers of high grade, quality outdoor gear made in the USA), Eli Romer, the Quality Control Coordinator at Danner Boots (some of the finest boots crafted today, made of the finest materials, and again made right here in the USA) has created a list of 7 tips to keep the boots you carefully selected and spent your hard-earned dollars on in the best possible shape. Anyone can wear a pair of boots out, but with a little bit of care and maintenance, you'll have a pair to hand down to the next generation outdoorsman one day.
Lightweight backpacking has become very popular in the recent years. One of the big three items to help get your pack weight down is shelter. Of course, for those that are hardcore super ultra light gram-counting weight weenies tents are not an option, but here are 5 tents under 5lbs that you won't have to spend big bucks on.
Eureka Pinnacle Pass 2XTA
I personally own the Pinnacle Pass 2XTA Tent 2-Person 3-Season tent. I really like this tent, it has held up very well and has some very competitive specifications for the price. The Pinnacle Pass comes in two models, the 2XTA being the lighter model mostly due to the lightweight aluminum poles and pegs. It has two doors measures 89" x 59" internally, just shy of 5ft wide which makes it 35sqaure feet and offers 13.4sq ft of vestibule space. Weight: 4lb 11oz (2125g) Packs down to 6 x 18.5in. I paid $110 including shipping. Look out for a full review soon!
REI Camp Dome 2 Tent
The Camp Dome 2 is the cheapest in this list at $99 and is a classic. Just read some of the reviews on REI.com and find out why. It is 1oz under the 5lb limit offers 31.5 sqft of living space but zero vestibule space. It packs to 7" x 23" which is rather large but still for the price, it is hard to beat.
Kelty offers the Trail Ridge 2, that fits the bill for this post. It is MSRP of $170 it will hold up well and would be a good investment. It is 4lbs 15oz, 1oz under the limit but offers 32sqft of internal space and 8.5sqft of vestibule space. At 87" x 54" it's not quite as big as the Pinnacle Pass but is considered by some to be a more reputable brand. It only has one door.
Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3 Tent
Ok, so I lied, well sort of, there is really six tents but this one comes in two models. The drifter 3 is only 3Oz over and worthy of a mention. The Mountain Hardware Drifer 3 Tent sleeps 3 and, when you have 3 people rooming with you, you can split up the weight by giving one person the poles, another the fly and the base. I'd opt to carry the rain fly, that way if you get separated you'll still have some shelter. It has 40 square feet with 10 of vestibule space. At $235 it is not bad for a 3 person lightweight tent. Packed size: 7 x 26 inches. It also comes in the Drifter 2 model that you guessed it, sleeps 2. You'll save about $40 and 8oz making it under our limit of 5lbs at 4lbs 11oz although it packs down to the same size.
NEMO Espiri 3
The Nemo Espiri 3 tops the scale for price, but man what a tent. I've always liked the way they look, kind of like an alien spaceship with their front window. At 4 lbs. 8 oz it is light for a 3 person, plus as mentioned before you can split it up. It has 38 square feet of floor space and 15 sqft of vestibule space. It packs down really small for a 3 person to only: 5.5 x 20 inches, way smaller than the mountain hardwear but it comes at a price. The list price is $370, making it not work with the affordable part but if you pick it up as of this posting you can get it for $240 making it a better buy than the Drifter 3.
And there you have it, it's pretty obvious which one I'd pick out of them and I'm happy with my choice, however I'm sure I'd be happy with any of these except for the Drifter 3, I think I'd rather have the NEMO if I needed the space for 3.
Browsing around the Gizmag website, I happened upon an article about the Bison Flint and Steel Survival Bracelet. Unlike other paracord bracelets, this one offers a few special additions. From Gizmag:
For the average paracord bracelet, "survival" might be a bit of hyperbole - the paracord will probably be used for simple tasks like replacing a broken bootlace or guying your tent as opposed to life-lining your dangling hide off a 2,000-foot cliff. It's more of a utilitarian bracelet than a survival bracelet.
The Flint and Steel, on the other hand, brings a little bit more legitimate survival cred to your arm. Not only do you get the 15 to 17 feet (4.6 to 5.2 m) of 550-test paracord, the bracelet includes a one-inch (2.5 cm), stainless steel eye knife buried inside the woven paracord. The knife won't exactly take the place of a full blade, but it will work in conjunction with the flint clasp to start a fire. It should also be ample for small cutting tasks like slicing through the paracord or duct tape.
Funny I should make a post about the future of adventure gear with an article from the past (2009), but when I came across news, even old news, of the Orange Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent, I thought it was too cool to pass up.
From the original article:
Orange today revealed their vision for the tent of the future. Utilising cutting edge eco-energy technology, the Orange Solar Concept Tent will allow campers to keep in touch and power their essential camping gadgets.
The Concept Tent has been designed in association with American product design consultancy Kaleidoscope and builds on learnings from the original Orange Solar Tent that was trialled at Glastonbury in 2003, as well as 2004’s Orange Text Me Home Dome. Having worked closely with Glastonbury for the last eleven years, Orange know the importance of keeping in contact with friends while onsite and undertook this concept project to look at how the festival goers communication and power supply needs might be met in the future.
I've slept on many sleeping pads and used to take a USGI foam sleeping pad backpacking until one day at my local REI attic sale I came across a used
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Pad. I couldn't resist, since then I've taken it on many backpacking trips and have a few things to say about it.