Tag Archives: camping gear reviews

Gear Review: Vitchelo V800 Headlamp

October 2, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Vitchelo V800 headlamp

Vitchelo V800 headlamp

Ultralight Headlamp
Vitchelo V800
$50, 3 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)

On dark nights and early mornings from New Hampshire’s Presidential Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains and New Zealand’s Kepler and Dusky tracks, and other trips, I needed a headlamp that was very light, reliable, versatile, and above all, bright. Vitchelo’s V800 met all of those standards, plus proved itself to be reliable and distinctly simple to use. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp

September 4, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Princeton Tec Sync

Princeton Tec Sync

Ultralight Headlamp
Princeton Tec Sync
$30, 3 oz. (including three AAA batteries)

Hiking down the steep, rocky, frequently slippery trails of Mount Washington in the dark for the final 90 minutes of a 17-mile, 6,000-vertical-foot dayhike over the four summits of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, the last thing I needed was a headlamp that wasn’t bright enough or lost power. With the Sync, those issues weren’t a problem. In fact, its brightest setting threw a broad beam that illuminated the lower Tuckerman Ravine Trail well enough that two teenagers in our party who had forgotten their headlamps could see. Considering also that the Sync is one of the lightest, cheapest, and simplest headlamps on the market today, and it’s hard to find fault with it. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31

August 26, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
Sea to Summit X-Pot

Sea to Summit X-Pot

Collapsible Cook Set
Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31
$105, 1 lb. 6 oz.
Set includes a 2.8L X-Pot with lid, two X-Bowls, two X-Mugs, all collapsible

At Helmet Falls camp on the first night of a four-day, 34-mile, family backpacking trip on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies, a group of backpackers cooking near us looked at my X-Pot set and one asked, “What is that and who makes it?” When I answered him, he responded, “I gotta get one of those. Or I’m going to watch which bear locker you put your food and cooking gear in later and take it.” I was pretty sure he was kidding—but not entirely certain. The collapsible X-Pot cooking set is sure to change the way we think about cooking systems for backpacking, and many backpackers will covet it. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Kelty Dualist 20 Sleeping Bag

July 24, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Kelty Dualist 20

Kelty Dualist 20

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Kelty Dualist 20
$150, 3 lbs. 1 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular and long ($160)

Outfitting yourself with good-quality backpacking gear when you’re on a budget can be a challenge, especially core gear like your pack, boots, tent, and sleeping bag. That’s why I wanted to test out Kelty’s competitively priced Dualist 20 on a weeklong rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River, where I discovered this dual-insulation bag delivers a lot of value for its bargain-basement price. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped SynMat Hyperlite Air Mattress

June 3, 2015  |  In Uncategorized   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped SynMat Hyperlite with Schnozzel Pumpbag UL.

Exped SynMat Hyperlite with Schnozzel Pumpbag UL.

Insulated Air Mattress
Exped SynMat Hyperlite
$169, 14 oz. (medium, including stuff sack)
Medium (72×20.5×2.8 ins., packed size 3.5×7.5 ins.)
Medium wide ($179, 72×25.6×2.8 ins., packed size 4×7.5 ins.)
Long wide ($189, 77.6×25.6×2.8 ins., packed size 4×8 ins.)

How light and compact can an air mattress get and still deliver a comfortable night’s sleep on the ground? Under a pound for a full-length, insulated air mat, I discovered after using the SynMat Hyperlite on backpacking trips on the 34-mile Royal Arch Loop in the Grand Canyon, the 41-mile Timberline Trail around Mount Hood, the 34-mile Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park, and a weekend of camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve. Continue reading →

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