Barefoot Jake: Hike Olympic Mountains : Reviews
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Review: Gossamer Gear Gorilla 2014

A review of the 2014 Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack.  I tested this pack on the Olympic Peninsula during three and four season conditions.  During my tested I carried loads much higher than the manufactures suggested weight comfortably.

The Gorilla can be used by a minimalist hiker on backpacking trips ranging from 3 - 7 days.  Unofficially certified for the weekend warrior.  This backpack can also be used for day adventures in winter; when a hiker needs more spaces.

This backpacks best strong point is its functional water bottle pockets. A hiker can access water or snacks from either side, without removing the backpack. Secondly it has a large stretch mesh pocket on the rear of the pack; allowing a backpacker to store small things or a wet tent fly. This is an important feature when living in the pacific northwest.

gossamer gear gorilla
Gossamer Gear Gorilla in the Olympic Mountains

Review: Toaks Wood Burning Stove

A camping review of the Toaks Titanium Wood Burning Stove.  This system uses little pieces of wood as a fuel source to heat the stove.  It may be a popular option for lightweight backpacking solo or with a partner.

I paired it with the Toaks Titanium 1600ml Pot to use it as a complete cooking system.  The beautiful thing is you can collapse the whole thing into itself; inside the pot.  Also, a hiker rarely need to carry liquid fuel; since it burns on wood.   This will save you weight and space on long trips.

 Burning the stove for an extended period lets you create a reserve of coals on the bottom of the reservoir.  I do this with the large pot to cook real food!

Comparing to other wood burning systems I used in the past, the Toaks version impressed me the most.  I believe it to have something to do with the height of the burn chamber.  Boy, this sucker can put out some flame without anything on top, then add the pot and it puts all the heat to the right places. The design does not allow too much flame to escape around the outside of the pot; this maximizes heat efficiency.

toaks wood stove review
Toaks Titanium Wood Burning Stove

Review: Bobcat Kovea Stove

The Flat Cat Gear Bobcat Kovea backpacking stove is a system for the used to boil water or cook real food in the woods.  This stove has a handful of parts, but is simple to set up in the backcountry.  I found it to be very efficient during my four season testing in the very wet Pacific Northwest.

This system can be used with esbit, alcohol or canister as a fuel source.  I purchased it for the convince use with a fuel canister.  Bad winter weather or traveling with a partner, its nice just to flip a switch.   I was surprised how efficient it was in the long term.

My stove system was used on a ten day walk across Olympic National Park this last summer. We had two hot meals a day and still had plenty of fuel left at the end of the trip.

Bobcat Kovea Stove Review
Kovea Spider Canister Stove - striker - Bobcat floor and windscreen - Evernew 1.3 liter titanium pot

Review: Sea to Summit Mosquito Pyramid Net

The Sea to Summit Nano Mosquito net is a pyramid shaped bug shelter for camping.  The Single size was tested; meaning it only has enough room for one hiker.  It is very minimal having four walls and no floor, so its perfect for the ultralight backpacker or anyone looking to shave weight off of their back.

All you need is a trekking pole or branch to elevate.  Then use four rocks, sticks or tent stakes to construct the length and width of the shelter.

I decided to add it to my kit, to help keep the mosquitos away from my face at night. The netting will not keep very small bugs out.  It fits perfectly under all my ultralight tarps and pyramid shelters.  The only variable is extending or contracting the height by anchor cord.

I have used this protection in peak bug season in the Olympic Mountains.  There were times I was very grateful to have this piece of kit.

Sea to Summit Mosquito Net Review
Sea to Summit Mosquito Net - Pitching instructions on stuff sack (my hand size is Large)

Trail Review: Gossamer Gear Kumo 2015

The Gossamer Gear Kumo Superlight is an extremely versatile pack offering the hiker the option to use it for several types of backcountry adventures. The Kumo volume is such that it can be used for minimalist backpacking, mountaineering, day hiking and even thru-hiking for the veteran long trail hiker. Unofficially certified by me as possibly the most functional multipurpose backpack you can buy.
The Kumo's biggest strong point is its functional water bottle pocket. A hiker can grab the water or snacks from the right or left, without removing the pack or need a partners help. Secondly Gossamer Gear's stretch mesh pocket on the rear of the pack; allowing a backpacker to store small items or wet gear. This is a key feature when living somewhere with a wet climate.

2015 Gossamer Gear Kumo
Winter backpacking the Olympic subalpine - credit Jesse O.

Review: Gossamer Gear Type 2

The Gossamer Gear Type 2 is a multi-use backpack.  It is constructed from the new Robic fabric and features air mesh shoulder straps.  Designed for the weekend warrior or may even be used as a lifestyle pack.

I have personally tested this day pack in the Olympic Mountains - in the form of hiking, cycling, backcountry fishing, urban hiking and even as a photography bag.  It performed well on all aspects.  I was impressed on how comfortable the shoulder stapes are.  The two external water bottle pockets also fit my function needs.

This pack can also be used everyday as a lifestyle kit.  My laptop and tablet fit nice-n-cozy inside the hydration sleeve.  The main compartment has enough volume and space for extra layers; much needed while living in the Pacific Northwest!

Gossamer Gear Type 2 Review

Bedrock Sandals Gabbro Review

Hiking review of the Bedrock Sandals Gabbro 2.0.  Field tested around the Olympic Peninsula in muddy autumn conditions.  I've been a fan of Bedrock Sandals so I was excited to try out their new Gabbro 2.0 model.

Bedrock Sandals Gabbro Review

Review: Gossamer Gear Air Beam Sleeper

The Gossamer Gear Air Beam Sleeper (3/4 regular) is the perfect solution for lightweight backpacking.  Giving the ability to shave a few ounces off your back; without giving up a comfortable night's sleep.  This is especially nice for trips where you could be faced with sleeping on various terrain types.  It has helped me sleep soundly on everything from razor-sharp scree to river gravel bars in the Olympic Mountains.

Gossamer Gear air beam sleeper review

Photo Review: Gossamer Gear Mariposa

Reviewing the 2014 model of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa. Field tested in the Olympic Mountains, where I carried above manufacture suggested loads. In this review I look at Robic fabric, overall weight, pockets and durability of this lightweight backpacking piece of gear.

2014 Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack - 2014 Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains

Golite Chrome Dome - Mechanical Issue

Golite Chrome Dome Review
I own 2 Golite Chrome Domes.  Both have failed at the same point.  Has this happened to you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Read my original review

Review: Gossamer Gear Q-Twinn Tarp

Editors Note:  I asked David W. to write a review for his Gossamer Gear Q-Twinn Tarp.  David has been a backpacking partner of mine on several trips in Olympic this season.  The following review are his words.

Gossamer Gear Tarp
Gossamer Gear Q-Twinn Tarp on the North Olympic Coast

Review: Locus Gear Khafra Sil

  Testing the Locus Gear Khafra in the Queets Rainforest.  I wanted to try the Khafra for some time now in the Olympic Mountains.  Locus Gear sets itself apart from the other cottage companies with their attention to detail and craftsmanship.  I was very excited to take it out for a few nights in the Olympic National Park during spring conditions.

  I like to go out in four season weather, so need with a large shelter for these specific conditions.  Wanting to be ability to have a ton of head room to act as a storm buffer.  Spending hours pinned down in a storm has led to a bit of claustrophobia in a smaller shelter during winter.  This upgrade has not really given my backpack a weight or space penitently.  The amount of livable space has almost tripped.  To me, that makes the extra weight worth it in bad weather.

  I will also be using the Khafra for family type trips.  The extra space and will be appreciated by my backpacking partner I'm sure.  Look forward to taking it out on more adventures; when they demand a large shelter.

Locus Gear Khafra
Locus Gear Khafra at the Old Anderson Homestead - Queets Rainforest

Review: Joby Smartphone Tripod

  The Joby GripTight Micro Stand is a small tripod for smartphones.  The stand simply attaches to your favorite device.  This gives you the ability to shoot quality photos and video using your phone.  A perfect lightweight option for your next adventure.

  I wanted a tripod for my smartphone for some time.  It is very easy to ruin a photo with movement of the hand while capturing.  This would also allow for shake free video and self-timer options.

  The Joby GripTight Micro Stand has several use options.  The user has the option of using the grip portion on any standard tripod.  You can also use the stand with any small Point-and-Shoot camera that has standard tripod threads.   Out of the box you are ready to shoot as a pair as shown.

  Life is an adventure!  This tripod has not left my possession since making the purchase.  I use it for Instagram photos and video; capturing life's daily inspirations.

Joby Griptight Micro Stand Review
One of the variations to store the Joby GripTight Micro Stand for smartphones

Gossamer Gear Hipster Review

Update: Oct. 2014 - I used the Hipster everyday since getting it. Its a part of my lifestyle now.
  The Gossamer Gear Hipster is a pack that fits around your waist.  The Hipster is the perfect option for a minimalist in the city or on the trial.  I picked up this pack for use while urban hiking.  Often not wearing pants with extra pockets, the Hipster is a wonderful solution on bringing a basic items on your adventure.

  The Hipster can also be used on the trail for a hiker that uses or does not use a backpack with a hip belt.  It has minimal capacity to carry a point-and shoot-camera and snacks.  I see it as a option for a fisherman or backcountry day hiker that likes to set up a base-camp and go on a micro adventure for the day.

  Let's take a look at this little multi-use pack.

gossamer gear hipster review
Gossamer Gear Hipster with my urban kit

Beyond our Boundaries ep. 8 - Review

First Crossing
  In this episode the Tougas family detail some thoughts from the trail.  These stories are told while walking the 2,181 mile long national scenic foot path called the Appalachian Trail. In this episode the family crosses the Georgia/North Carolina boarder.  This is the most interesting video to date; I really enjoyed it.  The whole family opens up on their own personal trials and tribulations of hiking a long distance trail.  I found it to be truly honest.

  Come along as they share this adventure through video.

Beyond our Boundaries
Beyond our Boundaries:  First Crossing

Bedrock Sandals Syncline Hiking Review

  The Bedrock Sandals Syncline are the newest thing to protect your feet on the trail. These sandals are not a new product in the world of minimalist footwear, but the featured two piece toe-corded strap option is. The Syncline also feature a seamless feel lacing system. This sandal set a whole new standard in the ultralight footwear category.

Bedrock Sandals
Ultralight hiking with the Bedrock Sandals Syncline with Corded Toe-Strap option

FireFly Ultralight Wood Stove Review

  Lets take a look at the Firefly Wood Stove.  This stove is small, but it packs a powerful punch.  You can fit it in your pocket, because the Firefly stores flat.  Set up is 'simple as pie' to start cooking.  Slide 4 walls together and you are ready to go.

  I am a fan of wood because how it leave you smelling in the backcountry.  Nothing says sexy like clothing smelling like a campfire.  Wood also opens up a lot more options for cooking in the backcountry.  The user can actually make real food, not just using the stove to boil water.

  Wood is a fun fuel source when used responsibly.  Always check with local regulations and fire dangers before using a open flame stove.    

FireFly Ultralight Titanium Wood Stove
FireFly Ultralight Titanium Collapsible Wood Stove - using Evernew 900ml Pot

Beyond our Boundaries ep. 7 - Review

Rain and Resupply
  In this episode the Tougas family tell us tales from the trail. These stories are told while walking the 2,181 mile long national scenic foot path called the Appalachian Trail.  Listen in as trail stories are told, even brief status updates of each hiker.   The family experiences their first major rain event on the trail; as one of the tents fail to handle all the precipitation that fell overnight.  Come along as they share this adventure through video.

Beyond our Boundaries episode 7
Beyond our Boundaries episode 7

Trail Review: Injinji NuWool Toesock

  Purchased a pair of Injinji Outdoor Original Weight Nuwool Toesocks a few weeks ago.  Using these socks in very wet conditions in conjunction with my Luna Sandals.  Providing a protective barrier from the webbing.  Have issues with the laces being abrasive against my skin while soft under heavy saturation.  

  I found this a solution to the foot sliding on the footbed under the conditions of heavy rain and snow travel.  A common issue to wearing sandals through a wet environment, is compromised traction from the skin to points of contact on the footwear.  This is especially noticeable in mud.  The Injinji Nuwool Toesock solves this problem.

  Durability is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about wearing a sock in the open.  I experienced a issue with the sock getting a hole, but not where I expected.  A pencil eraser size hole showed up on the mid foot strike point on the foot.  Made no sense to me.  A barefoot sock without a reinforced forefoot pad?  This is the natural point of contact with a proper stride.  Why would this area be the first to fail?

Update: I've also tested the Lightweight, Original and the Midweight hits the sweet spot.

Injinji Nuwool Toesock Review
Injinji Nuwool Toesock - Outdoor - Original Weight - Micro Length

Petzl Tikka XP 2 - New Backpacking Gear Purchase

  Recently purchased the Petzl Tikka XP 2 Headlamp to use on upcoming adventures on the Olympic Peninsula.   My last torch broke; making it unusable in the backcountry.  This is a real problem this time of year, when there is so many hours of darkness outdoors.  The search for a new piece of gear began, upon returning home from the last backpacking trip.

  I briefly did some online research, but quickly became discouraged.  So I reached out to my readers using the social media channel Facebook; asking what was working out for other hikers.  This would save racking my brain for hours trying to come up with a solution.

  Reliability for my readers is a good enough reason for making the purchase.  Having the best group of hikers that follow my blog.  Knew I could count on them for a honest opinion on what really works.

 I don't need all the bells and whistles for a device.  Wanting only a reliable source of light.  When I push the power on button, all I want is for the night to be illuminated.  Simple as that.

Petzl Tikka XP 2 review
Petzl Tikka XP 2

Basic Stats
-  Petzl no longer makes this product
-  3.1 oz with 3 AAA batteries
-  3 light modes, 1 of which is flashing
-  2 red light modes
-  80 lumens on max output setting
-  190 hours estimated on low output setting

Do you use a Petzl Tikka XP 2?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer:  This piece of gear was purchased with funds donated to this site by its readership and was under no obligation to this basic review.