Barefoot Jake: Reviews
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Gossamer Gear Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack

Lets take a look at the Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack. This newest addition from Gossamer Gear caters to the minimalist hiker. The new pack includes a frameless design, fixed hipbelt and roll top closure. Sizing hits the sweet spot for a weekend ultralight backpacking trip in the summer months. I really like the sleek design of a roll top closer, and the fixed hipbelt gives the whole pack a stable and secure feel while its riding on your back.

Pilgrim Roll Top Backpack
Hiking with the Gossamer Gear Pilgrim, with overnight camping, fishing and camera gear

Setting Up an Ultralight Tarp Easily

Setting up my C-Twinn ultralight tarp in the rain forest. Camping under a tarp can be the perfect way to experience wilderness. Some of the best sleep I have ever gotten was under a minimal shelter. I feel it has something to do with the amount non-restricted fresh air, that circulates around you; allowing for a more natural sleep.

In contrast to a traditional tent-- with a tarp you have a lot of flexibility to configure and pitch in many styles. With some creativity a camper can leave one side completely open. The height can also be adjusted by elongating the poles, finding longer sticks, or tying off the main ridgelines.

When using a minimal shelter- campsite selection is key to a peaceful night's sleep. When deciding on a place to sleep, I look at variables that may hinder my experience throughout the night. These include wind, game trails, low points where water can gather and tree hazards that may fall from above.

Imagine when it pours that the earth could turn into an inundated sea and you want to be on something that resembles a turtle's back to keep you safe and dry through the night. Find a small hill with a slight grade. The theory is that you want water rolling off your shelter and then away from where you sleep, this will also keep you more warm at night as well; since heat rises and cold sinks.

After a site is selected the next step is to take the tarp out of your backpack. For this pitch I'm going to use 6 V-Stakes. If the ground is soft or there is going to be wind- I will use large rocks and put them on all of the stake points for added security.

rain forest
Step 1:  Go hiking!  Its hard to use camping gear at home. - credit Kim R.

Review: Railriders Hydro-Zip-T

I wore Railriders Hydro-Zip-T while backpacking in the Olympic Mountains.  Long term tested in all conditions; including pacific northwest rain, snow, sun and bugs.  It came in most handy as a town shirt or something I could change into before hitch hiking back to town after a long hike; when my primary shirt had heavy odor.

Railriders Hydro Review
Railriders in the rainforest

Carrying the Gossamer Gear Gorilla

This is my hiker review of the latest version of the Gossamer Gear Gorilla ultralight backpack.  I tested this pack on the Olympic Peninsula during four season conditions.  During my test I carried loads much higher than the manufacturer's suggested weight comfortably. It is a strong pack for carrying moderate volume loads and can definitely handle a lot of weight!

The robic Gorilla can be used by a minimalist hiker on overnight backpacking trips ranging from 3 - 7 days. It has a sweet spot for someone looking to do an average duration trip. Unofficially certified for the weekend warrior, who is looking to get out for 2 nights in the backcountry and get away from the city. Also perfect for much longer trips with the minimalist ultralight backpacker who wants all of their gear to fit in a smaller-than-average, lightweight backpack.

This backpack can also be used for day adventures in winter; when a hiker needs more space. It is good to bring bulky layers of warm clothing, often during the colder months. In winter I love having a higher volume pack for a day adventures.

This backpack's strong point is its functional water bottle pockets. A hiker can access water or snacks from either side, without removing the backpack. It also 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, after a night of heavy rainfall.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla in the Olympic Mountains

Backpacking with the 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

Bobcat Kovea Spider System by Flat Cat Gear

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

Sea to Summit Nano Mosquito Pyramid Net (Solo)

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)

Backpacking with the Gossamer Gear Kumo

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 robic 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.

This pack hits a sweet spot on size for a minimalist hiker than only gonna be in the wilderness for a short period. I would say the 2 - 4 day max range with food and supplies, with no bear canister. For me, the balance between padding and width of the shoulder stapes, make carrying over 20 pounds more tolerable, even not using hipbelt.

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

Gossamer Gear Type 2 Summit Pack

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

Hiking in Bedrock Sandals Gabbro

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

Gossamer Gear Air Beam Inflatable Mattress

The Gossamer Gear Air Beam Inflatable Mattress (3/4 length) 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

Mariposa Lightweight Pack by Gossamer Gear

Hiker review of the latest model of the Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Lightweight Backpack. Field tested in the Olympic Mountains, where I carried above manufacture suggested loads on my back. In this review I look at Robic fabric, overall weight, pockets and durability of this minimalist piece of gear.

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 Q-Twinn Cubin Fiber Tarp

Editors Note:  I asked David W. to write a review for his cuben fiber 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 Andrews 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

The Hipster Hiking Fanny Pack

The Gossamer Gear Hipster is a fanny 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

Bedrock Sandals Syncline 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

Review: Ultralight FireFly Stove

  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

Wearing Injinji NuWool Toe Socks

  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