Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Corey

OverCamping Specialist
So where is the new reviews?

Missed camping last year due to severe arthritis in the right knee from an old ski injury that happened in '93 or so.
Missed a week of work Mothers Day of last year, could hardly walk.
Had to get a series of five shots one week apart for the past year twice, and that has helped lube the knee joint.
Some stuff made from the comb of a rooster.

Leg is doing better, but still flares up a bit at times, but nothing like last year.
I have Thursday and Friday off after the 4th of July, so I am hoping to get out then, or for sure the second week of August for my planned yearly vacation.

Gotta lot of new gear over the past year to test out and review.
Will be camping up at Greenwater more than likely if anyone local wants to come up.
 

Mudrunner

Adventurer
When I was in the Scouts we had Chuck Boxes or Patrol Boxes (which ever works) that were made of wood and stored all of the cooking and cleaning gear. Ours were maybe about an inch on each side of a standard Coleman stove and held the empty 5 gallon rectangle jug for water as well. They were very nice since we had 6 on any given trip and they never took up much room. Just some thoughts on something to make your self if so inclined.

This is an awesome thread btw it is always nice to see what people are using and what is working well.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Jetboil

Jetboil Stove

The reason I bought this stove was to have a compact way of feeding myself when I'm traveling solo. This happens often and having the ability to leave the big kitchen stuff at home is very nice.

I went with the Jetboil flash system. The real nice benefit is having everything all in one container. Of course I opted to buy some large fuel canisters that cannot fit in the cup. For car camping, this is fine, and saves a bit of money. One can is like, 2x as large as the smallest one yet only a buck more.

During cooking, I found lighting and getting going to be very easy. It is very stable for what it is and does live up to its name. It does boil VERY fast. Also with the flash, you have an adjustment knob. You can throttle it some, but you gotta be very careful. Simmering is an issue.

First thing I did was boil a couple cups of water for coffee. It does this extremely well and there are indents inside the cup for measuring. Then I made a pack of noodles (Basically, I ate all my snacks the previous night instead of making dinner so I made dinner for breakfast, I knew it was going to be an all-out kinda day). It was actually super easy to do once I got the simmer going. The lid was nice as it kept everything inside.

Clean up was boiling some water inside of it and everything that didn't go to the tum tum was dumped out. Wipe out with paper towel. Done. Let it cool and pack it up.

Overall, breakfast was wrapped up in about 45 minutes. This is coffee, the noodles, drinking coffee, eating the noodles, clean up, and packing away. This is great since in the morning, I like to get going and get on the trail by like, 8 or 9 at the latest.

Time wise it would be a lot quicker if I had stuck to my instant grits like the original plan. But instead I ate junk food for four hours on the drive up. I was full, so no reason to eat more.

Overall, it is a great, small, handy system, especially for solo travel. It keeps your meals simple and easy. Now you can fit your weekend food requirements into a shoebox instead of carrying a stove that is 3x the size of a shoebox. If you plan on traveling solo by wheeled vehicle or by foot, heavily consider this system. It is compact and light. Really hard to not win with this. From now on this is pretty much my go-to stove. Also will be handy to throw in the back of the car if the weather turns foul and I'm concerned about getting stuck somewhere (during my commute, getting stuck on the highway in a giant traffic jam very well could happen). Heck for day trips and you just want something nice for lunch, bust it out.

Seriously, just a bag of noodles and a can/pack of pre-made chicken/similar meats. It isn't the "overland gourmet we-gotta-bring-in-an-entire-kitchen-and-cook-for-three-hours" but typically when I'm out in the woods, everything tastes good and I enjoy having only one cup and one spoon to clean afterwards. For some, this might not be acceptable. However I'm sure ya'll can figure out how to spice it to acceptance or go a different route ingredient wise.

There is an adapter to use a regular pan on it. Haven't fooled around with it. Doesn't look nearly as stable but might be good for a pan cooking.

If I was traveling with a few people, I could see it being useful for coffee first thing in the morning. Seriously, 5 minutes, coffee is ready. They do make a french press thingie for it but I used the tea-bag-looking-thingies instead. A lot easier and less clean up. Great also if you've gotta immediately re-use it. For more than one person, it could be an issue. It just doesn't have the capacity.

Pros:
* Compact
* Quick Boiling
* Easy to use
* Extremely handy
* Stable

Cons:
* 2 cup capacity
* Stupid canisters are expensive
* Other items to go with said jetboil are expensive as well

Don't have any photos but can add some later.
 

Corey

OverCamping Specialist
Will have fresh reviews up early summer of 2014 hopefully, been too lax to record anything or take pics.
Have gotten lots of new gear, retired older bulky gear.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Swiss Army Volcano Stove

I saw these and was like, why not :D

These can be had on cheaper than dirt or sportsmans guide. A couple years ago the average price was $10.

Overall, it is a super basic wood burning stove. It is lightweight and out of the box, comes with almost everything you need. It comes with a stove, a cup, and a water bottle. The cup fits on the stove.

We took it out for a test and this stove is actually a lot of fun. We lit it up and we were laughing the entire time. Hilarious! Once the fire died down, then we put 2 cups of water in the cup (pretty much its capacity). I timed it, took about 7 minutes to boil without any covering over the cup. Not bad!! I basically found a little branch on the ground and some leaves. Stuck it in there and we were off!

It is kinda unstable so definitely be careful. I read somewhere that you can take a couple of tent stakes and secure it. Good idea.

Another downside is it creates ash very quickly from burning twigs and whatnot. So you end up with a bunch of ash in the bottom and they'll even block the lower air holes. So you gotta maintain this.

The water bottle is pretty useless. That said, it is about the same size as a Sig 1 liter bottle so you can replace it with one of those. Also you can boil water with it if the cup doesn't suit your fancy. I keep these in my refrigerator full of water. So when I want cold water, I have it handy. But yeah, that cork really doesn't seal well.

The cup is mighty small. 2 cups of boiling water is all you are gonna get out of it.

If you do some googling, there are all kinds of modifications you can do to this thing. Its nearly infinite. So if you love tinkering with something and customizing it, this stove is a great little guy to start off with. Seriously, hundreds of youtube videos and pages dedicated to this stove and modifications you can do to it. I just saw one were a guy put pot supports on it and now you can put a normal people pot/pan on it.

The swiss sternos apparently fit in it. Don't think American sternos will. Of course you can put alcohol in the bottom or whatever you'd like.

I keep this in my emergency kit. Figure its better than nothing and with the ability to use little twigs and crap like that, your fuel source is fairly available. Using this to boil some water and make a little bit of hot food from dry food in my kit isn't all that bad! Also being able to boil and sterilize water is huge, despite being time consuming. Still, better than nothing.

Pros:
* Cheap
* Fun!!!
* Can customize to the end of time
* Compact and Light
* Your fuel source is plentiful unless you are stuck on a giant parking lot/concrete slab with nothing around you...or if it rains
* Can modify it for other fuel sources

Cons:
* Stability is an issue
* Cup is small
* Minimal cooking capacity, really. Good for one person...MAYBE 2 if the other guy isn't needy
* Soot builds up and in general, the entire thing gets nasty after use (plastic bags bring the win here)
* Have to continually remove ash from the base

What you Get:

IMG_0302.jpg

In Action:

155491_798510835848_8358545_n.jpg
 

mcskibadee1

Adventurer
Hey, Just wanted to post a great experience with Thermarest. I have been using a neo air trekker for the past 4 years or so. I would say that I have slept on it maybe 100 times and I am 6'4'' 320 pounds. For anyone that knows these mattresses they are very lightweight and blow up about 2.5'' thick. They blow up a bit slow but pack small and are super comfy albeit very loud when you are tossing and turning.

I went this route because I bike toured a decent bit so I purchased everything as small and lightweight as possible. On the last trip the interior started to delaminate a little bit and I got bulges in the head area but was still completely useable. My brother was using an REI bag that has maybe been slept on 5 times and it was leaking air.

I sent in my bag to thermarest for a warranty repair and they actually sent my a brand new mattress. I was waffling on their cot but after such a great experience I will be ordering that cot. I love letting people know about good experiences as well as the bad and I will definitely be supporting this company.
 

Corey

OverCamping Specialist
You might want to post this in a separate thread so it is easier for folk's to find.
This is kind of a documented thread on gear I review.
 
Swiss Army Volcano Stove

I saw these and was like, why not :D

These can be had on cheaper than dirt or sportsmans guide. A couple years ago the average price was $10.

Overall, it is a super basic wood burning stove. It is lightweight and out of the box, comes with almost everything you need. It comes with a stove, a cup, and a water bottle. The cup fits on the stove.

We took it out for a test and this stove is actually a lot of fun. We lit it up and we were laughing the entire time. Hilarious! Once the fire died down, then we put 2 cups of water in the cup (pretty much its capacity). I timed it, took about 7 minutes to boil without any covering over the cup. Not bad!! I basically found a little branch on the ground and some leaves. Stuck it in there and we were off!

It is kinda unstable so definitely be careful. I read somewhere that you can take a couple of tent stakes and secure it. Good idea.

Another downside is it creates ash very quickly from burning twigs and whatnot. So you end up with a bunch of ash in the bottom and they'll even block the lower air holes. So you gotta maintain this.

The water bottle is pretty useless. That said, it is about the same size as a Sig 1 liter bottle so you can replace it with one of those. Also you can boil water with it if the cup doesn't suit your fancy. I keep these in my refrigerator full of water. So when I want cold water, I have it handy. But yeah, that cork really doesn't seal well.

The cup is mighty small. 2 cups of boiling water is all you are gonna get out of it.

If you do some googling, there are all kinds of modifications you can do to this thing. Its nearly infinite. So if you love tinkering with something and customizing it, this stove is a great little guy to start off with. Seriously, hundreds of youtube videos and pages dedicated to this stove and modifications you can do to it. I just saw one were a guy put pot supports on it and now you can put a normal people pot/pan on it.

The swiss sternos apparently fit in it. Don't think American sternos will. Of course you can put alcohol in the bottom or whatever you'd like.

I keep this in my emergency kit. Figure its better than nothing and with the ability to use little twigs and crap like that, your fuel source is fairly available. Using this to boil some water and make a little bit of hot food from dry food in my kit isn't all that bad! Also being able to boil and sterilize water is huge, despite being time consuming. Still, better than nothing.

Pros:
* Cheap
* Fun!!!
* Can customize to the end of time
* Compact and Light
* Your fuel source is plentiful unless you are stuck on a giant parking lot/concrete slab with nothing around you...or if it rains
* Can modify it for other fuel sources

Cons:
* Stability is an issue
* Cup is small
* Minimal cooking capacity, really. Good for one person...MAYBE 2 if the other guy isn't needy
* Soot builds up and in general, the entire thing gets nasty after use (plastic bags bring the win here)
* Have to continually remove ash from the base

What you Get:

View attachment 193178

In Action:

View attachment 193179
I have one of those, and I agree with everything you said. Pretty cool stove and lightweight.
 
Top