This past weekend I got to experience testing out my first ever front pack. The pack that I was able to test was a RIBZ Front Pack. Before I get into the review let me take a brief moment to explain what a front pack is.
A front pack is a bag or pack that allows for easy access to important equipment from the persons waist or chest. These have become very popular in Europe however they are quite new to the outdoors in America. The front pack not only provides ease of access to your essential gear but it also provides a counter weight if worn with a backpack.
The RIBZ Front Pack uses a unique harness system to allow for the weight distribution allowing the pack to be comfortable as a stand alone or used in addition to any backpack. It also allows for the weight in the RIBZ Front Pack to be distributed comfortably and even. One thing about the RIBZ Front Pack is that the harness system can not be removed to be used with a backpack. (more…)
The Haeleum clothing line is a technical line of clothing that provides the wearer with UV protection, fast drying material, and insect protection. The shirt that was provided to me is made of 100% Natural Stretch DrýTru Polyester 50 UPF Sun Protection and the Insect Shield technology lasts through 70 washings.
What is Insect Shield?
Insect Shield® products provide long-lasting, effective and convenient personal insect protection. The durable protection provided by Insect Shield apparel and gear is the result of years of research and testing. In July 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted registration of Insect Shield Insect Repellent Apparel—the first-ever, EPA-registered insect-repellent clothing. The EPA has granted Insect Shield extended durability claims for its apparel registration, through 70 washings. Insect Shield apparel and gear products combine the patent-pending Insect Shield process with a proprietary formulation of the insect repellent permethrin—resulting in effective, odorless insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of a garment.
What I thought of the shirt.
My first impression is that it did what was advertised. It was light weight, comfortable and dried quickly. I honestly can not disprove that it protected me against UV rays or bugs. I typically lather on the sunscreen and bug protection before my hikes and apply several times throughout depending on the length and how much I sweat. On the other hand you would not find me placed in a box full of bugs to test it either. I was only able to test it a few times before winter hit and all the bugs died off so I do not feel I was able to fully test the product to provide a realistic opinion on its durability as well as its bug protection.
Full Disclosure: The Haeleum shirt used in this review was provided to me by Haeleum at no charge however this did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.
The Innate Mentor Organizer and Storage sacs are a staple of my gear organization and packing. They are made out of a very light weight 30 denier fabric with double sided water proof treatments. What makes them special is the way the fabric is welded together. That is right I said welded. They use a system called Stitchless radio frequency that binds the layers and removes the need for seam tape like many of the competitors’ use. One thing to note is that these are weather proof but they are not intended to be submerged in water. (more…)
The Royal Robbins Zip N’ Go Pants were another on sale item that have been one of my best clothing purchases to date. Light weight quick drying zip off pants that I have put through pretty much every test I cant think of excluding hiking for 2184 miles. (more…)
Earlier this morning you might have seen the review of a great new pair of boots called the Sierra Trek WP by Hi-Tec read the review here.
Want to win a pair of these awesome kicks? Simply enter by using the widget below. A winner will be drawn on June 25th 2012. The winner will be notified by email on how to claim their prize. If a winner does not claim their price within 7 days of receiving the email a new winner will be chosen.
I have had the opportunity to test out a brand new boot by Hi-Tec called the Sierra Trek WP. These boots are classified as light hiking. I choose to wear the boots for several days around town, at work, playing with the dogs in the yard to break them in a little before hitting the trail. Once they were broken in a little bit. Since this boot is considered to be a light hiking boot I grabbed one of my day packs filled it full of about 20 pounds of camping gear and hit the trails. A very sturdy boot that breathes very easily. (more…)
Right out of the box
The Klymit Inertia X Frame is a ultra-lite compact sleeping pad created to allow for easy packing and focusing on weight. In order to reduce weight the Klymit company has used a technique called body mapping to help cut out all the unneeded material.
The Inertia X Frame weighs 9.1 ounces without the pump and 10.1 ounces with the hand pump. When packed the pad is slightly larger than a soda can. It is very easy to slip pretty much anywhere in the pack and does not require you to lash your huge bedroll to the outside of your pack like in the old days.
At 9.1 ounces the Inertia X Frame is the world’s lightest, most compact, and most technically advanced camping pad available. Designed with body mapping technology it gives you support and comfort where you need it and not where you don’t. – Klymit
I have been able to use the Inertia X Frame several times now and find it to be quite comfortable. The only real complaint is that due to my vertically challenged stature I found that my feet would end up falling off the foot section of the pad and down into one of the holes. Not a huge problem and quite honestly it really did not bother me to0 much. It does take some time to get used to rolling it up. It does not always want to play nice going back into the provided ditty bag.
One of the extra items that comes with the sleeping pad is a small light weight air pump that will allow you to inflate the pad to just the right firmness.
Pump attached to the sleeping pad
Overall I find this to be a really nice sleeping pad and will be a nice replacement for my old Therm-a-rest that when rolled up was double the size and weighed nearly double.
This sleeping pad retails for $99.99. If you would like to learn more about the Klymit Inertia X Frame head on over to the Klymit website.
Disclaimer: I purchased these with my own money and the views expressed in this review are mine.
For Philmont and the Appalachian Trail (AT) I have chosen to use the ALPS Mountaineering Clearwater sleeping bag. The decision came mostly because I found it for a really great price.
The ALPS Mountaineering Clearwater sleeping bag is a synthetic bag that is rated at 35 degrees, 21 ounces of fill weight, and weighs in at 2 pounds 11 ounces. Its warm and works great. My only negative comment is that I am roughly 5’6″ tall and my feet hit the bottom of the bag. So those of you who are taller might want to get the “long” bag. This sleeping bag retails for $90 for the regular and $100 for tall. For the price its a great buy no matter what your camping situation calls for.
I have taken it on several practice hikes and I have never had any issues with getting cold at night. It packs down into a nice compact little ball with the provided compression bag. Only concern with the compression bag is that the one that comes with is not water proof. It does however appear water resistant. I have not tested it however. I do plan on getting a waterproof lighter weight compression bag for my trips however.
Here is what ALPS Mountaineering has to say about the Clearwater sleeping bag.
The Clearwater series sleeping bags are made with MicroX+ insulation. MicroX+ Insulation consists of multiple denier staple-length fibers that have a siliconized finish for maximum insulation, loft, and compactness. It is an ultra lightweight insulation that has a tremendous weight-to-warmth ratio. The Clearwater uses a 2-layer offset construction, sometimes called a “bag within a bag.” The contoured hood and mummy shape helps seal up your warmth and keep you warmer. The Clearwater is a great backpacking sleeping bag to take along on your hikes that won’t take up all the space in your pack or weigh you down.
To find out more information about this sleeping back visit the ALPS Mountaineering website.