Gear Test

mfllood3800

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So, Like many on here my off season is experimenting with new gear items to see what I may want to try and what works vs what didn't work to well.
Maybe some others could share what they discovered?

I've been testing battery power sources, head lamps, folding saws, camp axe, foods, and a few others.


I got some fire starter "Esbit" tablets to compare to my trioxane.
Amazon.com : Esbit 1300-Degree Smokeless Solid Fuel Tablets for Backpacking, Camping, Emergency Prep, and Hobby, 4-gram, 20-pieces : Camping Stove Replacement Fuel : Sports & Outdoors

Amazon.com : 5 Boxes - 15 Large Bars - Military Trioxane Compressed Ration Heating Fuel Tabs : Other Products : Everything Else



Here is my findings that may help others:

+
The esbit is a bit cheaper and a little lighter than trioxane
It works well and burns for a good amount of time.
The tablets are pre indented to break off in good size squares

-
they don't don't burn as hot as trioxane- yellow flame vs blue
they didn't last as long
wind extinguishes them easier
took longer flame to ignite it

Based on this I will stick with the trioxane.
Though the esbit will no doubt work well in many scenarios, the trioxane appears to be a faster starter, hotter, wind resistant fire starter.
 
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robby denning

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Subscribed! I'm not ready to post yet but I'm working on some Braken Wear and SIG Zulu5 binoculars and Vortex Lite Hunter 2.5x10 Razor


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NDGuy

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ND
Good thread, subscribed.

I bought both the Mystery Ranch Pintler and Metcalf a few weeks ago and really worked them both out before taking back the Pintler today.

I liked how both packs carried a similar load (30-40lbs). I went hiking a few miles in river bottom woods, treadmills, concrete, and CRP fields (that's the best I can get in ND lol).

Metcalf won out due to more versatility and space. If I was 100% sure I was not going to do any sort of bivy hunt or 5+ day trip I would have maybe gone with the Pintler. I also called MR and they told me that they will be having at least two packs you can buy separately from the frame staring next spring. The Pintler and a pack called "The Mule" that is a bit smaller and different design than the Pintler.

Also I really like the new Desolve camo, seems like a versatile pattern. Can't wait to try them out in the field this fall.

To summarize:

Metcalf

Pros:
-The space really feels never ending with this pack due to the sizable lid that comes with it, as well as how well it expands out with the single bag cinch design.
-I also love the side zipper that you can start from the bottom of the pack to pull out anything you need.
-While the pack can be loaded completely full, it never felt bulky and due to the compression straps, I never weight shifting.
-Feels well made and the design and stitching was flawless (impressed since they are made in the Philippines now)

Cons:
-While all the buckles are useful for adding additional storage and keeping the pack secure, it might turn people off who like things neat and simple.

Let me know if you have any questions about the two packs.


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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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Another item I wanted was a tool to cut wood for my stove. Its an 18" LO stove so the material can only be so long.
Heading into Idaho for the first time, I have no idea what the areas I have chosen will produce for good sized branches, though I expect a ton of downfall in areas.
I back pack in so weight is always an issue in my gear choices. If Robby wont haul me in on his steeds none of that would matter....
lol


My first choice was a light weight back packers axe from Amazon:
Amazon.com : Ultra Lightweight Camping Micro Axe Hatchet Green Paracord Wrapped Handle : Sports & Outdoors
This axe was like $12

Pros: none, cool novelty item but that's it

cons: too light, too narrow- wont split and doesn't hammer thru either due to its narrow girth


I ended up getting a foldable saw that is killer:
Amazon.com : Sven Saw 15" Blade : Camping Saws : Sports & Outdoors

Sven 15" saw
They have a larger one but didn't need it for my use

pros: super fast, packable, cuts bigger than I need, and not just an "emergency type" saw- it will work all day every day

Cons: a bit heavy to be honest, not overly, but to have the durability it needed to be strong.
I also feel it is a bit pricey at $33

It will be in my pack for sure
 
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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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Next item:
My portable battery power source for charging phone, camera, lights

Amazon.com: Portable Charger RAVPower 26800mAh Total 5.5A Output, with 2.4A Wall Charger, 3-USB Port, 2A Input, iSmart 2.0 Technology External Battery Pack Power Bank for Smartphones, Tablets (Black): Cell Phones & Accessories
RavPower
I got this cause at 1 lb and the largets decent pack I could find- at $60 made it a no brainer for me

pros-
At almost 27000 mah and only a pound and $60- it sold itself to me
I'm getting 2-3 Droid phone charges at each 25% of this pack
That's roughly 8 - 12 charges on my phone
Being a lipo and not Nimh, it will run like this with o drop off until it is spent where as a Nimh type always looses power through out the entire cycle

has 3 usb ports at various out put ranges and charges a near dead galazy 7 in about 30 minutes (in airplane mode)
Can charge 3 devices at once

Cons- haven't found one yet other than no led flash lite like on most packs

To go along with this post:
I also purchased 3 other smaller packs, 2 which are for carrying on me when I am away from spike camp, and one is for tent light, go pro and Fenix head lamp (has built in charge port) review coming on this later
These 2 are 2750 Mah, super light and can charge my phone once ( good for emergency needs while away from camp)

The other is a 6000 mah "case logix". I got all of these smaller ones localy from a shopko.

This 6000 mah will be used for things other than my phone.
If you're wondering, my GPS is AA and I'm just bring a couple extra sets for it.
 
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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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I also switched from a roll up sleeping pad to an air up pad- I just couldn't stand the sleepless nights any longer. Was fine when I was lighter and younger but those days as well as those pads are gone.

I decided to try something other than thermarest and the like, so I got a Klymit
Amazon.com : Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad, Grey : Sports & Outdoors

At $85 this seemed like a great matteress.
It claims to only need 20 breaths, took me more and I am not a smoker, and only at 6000'.

Pros- wider than most, and good length, they also offer more sizes
thickness is great, price was awesome, packs nice and small for a blow up.
I am 5-8 and a modest 190 lbs and I am comfy while laying in my house ( I didn't have it for my last camping trip a month ago.
Comes with patch kit and its own sack

cons: a bit heavy, not too bad though, but all I ever used was a closed cell foam type, this does take a bit to air it up, more like 25-30 breaths on this larger one.

will see how it handles ground debris, and all night pressure in holding air. Reviews were pretty good when I bought it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 with 320+ reviews

I just rolled this up in the sleeping bag and then compressed both.
 

406

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Nov 28, 2016
Messages
445
I also switched from a roll up sleeping pad to an air up pad- I just couldn't stand the sleepless nights any longer. Was fine when I was lighter and younger but those days as well as those pads are gone.

I decided to try something other than thermarest and the like, so I got a Klymit
Amazon.com : Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad, Grey : Sports & Outdoors

At $85 this seemed like a great matteress.
It claims to only need 20 breaths, took me more and I am not a smoker, and only at 6000'.

Pros- wider than most, and good length, they also offer more sizes
thickness is great, price was awesome, packs nice and small for a blow up.
I am 5-8 and a modest 190 lbs and I am comfy while laying in my house ( I didn't have it for my last camping trip a month ago.
Comes with patch kit and its own sack

cons: a bit heavy, not too bad though, but all I ever used was a closed cell foam type, this does take a bit to air it up, more like 25-30 breaths on this larger one.

will see how it handles ground debris, and all night pressure in holding air. Reviews were pretty good when I bought it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 with 320+ reviews

I just rolled this up in the sleeping bag and then compressed both.
Just saw that pad online at Costco for $59, for anyone wanting to pick one up.

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Dameon

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Mar 30, 2016
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St. Louis, MO
I use the regular Klymit insulated static V and it does everything it claims to do. My previous reviews were not really exciting because I previously came from using old GI issue canvas down bags and I never used a pad before. Now that I have used other pads, I can say that it is indeed pretty darn good. My static V never lost air overnight and stayed inflated through 60 degree days and below freezing nights for days. My pad filled with 15 breaths. Because it is not very thick, you will bottom out when you sit on it or first lay down, but once you are laid out, it is comfy and the design does seem to keep you centered on the pad. Deflating it fully is a chore, but that is true for pretty much any inflatable pad.

I also have the matching inflatable Klymit pillow. That thing is pretty nice. It takes about 5 breaths to fill to max (less than 30 seconds) and the design keeps your head centered. That said, it does move and has a tendency to slip around when you toss and turn, so I recommend putting it in the head of your mummy bag if you use one. It deflates very easily and folds up and fits in your pocket. I bought another one to test out as a glassing pad for my next hunting trip next year and for my son to use for scout campouts this year. I don't think it will handle rocks and sharp debris very well, but I wouldn't want to sit on that kind of stuff for hours anyway.

I also switched from a roll up sleeping pad to an air up pad- I just couldn't stand the sleepless nights any longer. Was fine when I was lighter and younger but those days as well as those pads are gone.

I decided to try something other than thermarest and the like, so I got a Klymit
Amazon.com : Klymit Static V Luxe Sleeping Pad, Grey : Sports & Outdoors

At $85 this seemed like a great matteress.
It claims to only need 20 breaths, took me more and I am not a smoker, and only at 6000'.

Pros- wider than most, and good length, they also offer more sizes
thickness is great, price was awesome, packs nice and small for a blow up.
I am 5-8 and a modest 190 lbs and I am comfy while laying in my house ( I didn't have it for my last camping trip a month ago.
Comes with patch kit and its own sack

cons: a bit heavy, not too bad though, but all I ever used was a closed cell foam type, this does take a bit to air it up, more like 25-30 breaths on this larger one.

will see how it handles ground debris, and all night pressure in holding air. Reviews were pretty good when I bought it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 with 320+ reviews

I just rolled this up in the sleeping bag and then compressed both.
 
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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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Glad to hear this Dameon,
My results are not yet in on the pad. It looked good, reviewed well and was priced right- and I simply wanted a pad wider than 24" most were offering.
Thx for the review
 
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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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Ice Chest- I haven't gotten the one I am eyeing just yet, and am wondering if others (Non Yeti- too much $$$) can maybe share what they got?
I'm looking at Colemans 100 and 120 qt.
Money wise they seem to be great, just don't know if the structure will hold up based on a bunch of mixed reviews of things like handles busting loos. Seems they cool well enough.

I'm doing a 5-7 dayer and need ice in it when I get back to the truck and ice chest.

Heres the ones I am viewing:
Amazon.com : Coleman 100 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors
Amazon.com : Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors

In all reality, I just need it to hold ice and most large coolers that can hold enough ice will usually, by simple capacity design work well.
 
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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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At $14, my camp shoes are a clear winner
Virtually weigh nothing at all, and enclose my feet, allow me to walk around even dark with some protection. River crossings could occur as well in these

Amazon.com | Men's Ultralite Spirit Shoes Black with Tan Size 8-9 | Walking

One of my neatest insignificant purchases, that may turn out to be bigger than expected.

These even somehow massage my feet with their many bumps on inside- kind of cool
 

Davebuech

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Rocky Mountains (SLV) Colorado
Not to sidetrack this thread. yeti's are great but RTIC (IMO) as good and cheaper. Get a 65 or 75 RTIC and a big 120 Coleman. Put your frozen jugs in the 65 RTIC and keep the Coleman for the ready. . One elk no problem, perhaps close to 2 (boned out) depending on size of your elk. The frozen ice jugs/elk meat can be split up between the two when you get to the truck. 5-7 days, no problem, you can definitely get meat on ice at the truck. chi
Ice Chest- I haven't gotten the one I am eyeing just yet, and am wondering if others (Non Yeti- too much $$$) can maybe share what they got?
I'm looking at Colemans 100 and 120 qt.
Money wise they seem to be great, just don't know if the structure will hold up based on a bunch of mixed reviews of things like handles busting loos. Seems they cool well enough.

I'm doing a 5-7 dayer and need ice in it when I get back to the truck and ice chest.

Heres the ones I am viewing:
Amazon.com : Coleman 100 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors
Amazon.com : Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors

In all reality, I just need it to hold ice and most large coolers that can hold enough ice will usually, by simple capacity design work well.
 

SunShine

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Jun 14, 2016
Messages
121
Ice Chest- I haven't gotten the one I am eyeing just yet, and am wondering if others (Non Yeti- too much $$$) can maybe share what they got?
I'm looking at Colemans 100 and 120 qt.
Money wise they seem to be great, just don't know if the structure will hold up based on a bunch of mixed reviews of things like handles busting loos. Seems they cool well enough.

I'm doing a 5-7 dayer and need ice in it when I get back to the truck and ice chest.

Heres the ones I am viewing:
Amazon.com : Coleman 100 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors
Amazon.com : Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler : Sports & Outdoors

In all reality, I just need it to hold ice and most large coolers that can hold enough ice will usually, by simple capacity design work well.



I'm pretty good on ice experience being I hunt year round in sunny hot south Florida.

The best ice retention chest I've encountered for the dollar is the Coleman Xtreme series. Cheap construction handles and hinges but stout on ice retention.

I prefer my RTIC over my Yeti on account of cost. Both comparable in performance. RTIC way cheaper cost.

Read somewhere that the 2017 RTIC are not made as well as the other prior years.

One such item I'm interested in is a small carry soft ice cooler pak. These are great for toting into the woods either on the atv or even to the tree stand for lengthy sits. Soft paks I say are an up and coming item for convenience that will catch on further sooner rather than later.




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mfllood3800

mfllood3800

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Yes most coleman reviews say they keep ice for 5-6 days, simply due to the huge size of the 100 or 120 qt. But the handles are cheap and break even when unloaded. The Yeti and the RTIC and even the Canyon are out of my price range. I would think any 120 qt chest which holds enough ice should by sheer size keep itself cold enough long enough.
I might be cheap, but for $160 I can get 2 120 Qt ice chests that I believe will work for 2 elk, definitely 1.

If I could just go get a RTIC I would, but I need a better spotter first, maybe a more mountaineering boot, and a decent insulated outer.
Would love a Yeti or RTIC- hopefully next year

My purpose for this thread was to maybe highlight decent gear other than the proven and highly popular, saving $$ along the way, while also doing the job efficiently.

My original idea was "What isn't working" but have no desire to be negative and felt this site was better served finding the diamonds in the rough out there

Thanks so much for the input so far
 
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