Recent Blog Posts

Eureka! Cayuga 30-Degree Rectangular Sleeping Bag

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B001M5TN6O” locale=”us” height=”129″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41B8irPdYpL.jpg” width=”250″]The Eureka! Cayuga 30-Degree Rectangular Sleeping Bag is a nice straight forward option for someone looking for a decent, warm bag with no frills.

One of the cool things about it though is that you can join two of them together to make one big sleeping bag – great for couples doing some temperate to warm weather camping.

It has a nice cotton inner lining which a lot of people prefer the feel of and is 100% polyester filled.

It has a heat rating of 30 degrees (around 0 degrees c).

Pro’s and cons

The Good:

  • A great choice for couples on a car camping trip
  • Cotton lining preferred by many
  • Zipper has a good feature that makes it easy to undo if you get fabric stuck in it

The Bad:

  • Not really the ideal shape for retaining every last drop of warmth
  • Rather bulky

Who should buy this sleeping bag?

This is an ideal choice for car campers who are sleeping in above-zero temperatures and want the option of joining two bags together to make one big one. It is not particularly intended for cold weather camping or for hiking due to it’s size.

All in all, a good “family” sleeping bag.

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Slumberjack Latitude -20 Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B004HTUS8E” locale=”us” height=”250″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41UH4a4FE3L.jpg” width=”96″]The Slumberjack Latitude is a comfortable cold weather sleeping bag that comes at a pretty tasty price. Rated for use between -20 and -29 degrees Celsius and with an offset dual lining to combat cold patches it promises to give you a warm nights’ sleep.

The hood can be adjusted for your comfort with the option to turn it inside out allowing you to choose between a flat and a contoured hood.

At this low price, the lining is of course synthetic and it’s not really a “hiking” sleeping bag due to the relative heaviness of over 6 pounds.

Pro’s and cons

The pros:

  • The Slumberjack Latitude is reasonably affordable at under $100 in most places.
  • The offset lining does work well in helping reduce cold spots from gaps etc.
  • Good reliable construction, well made.

The Cons:

  • Experienced campers will be aware of this, but it should be noted that very few cold weather sleeping bags such as this can keep you warm all by themselves. You will need to layer up on clothing or blankets to take this to a true -20 rating.
  • Too heavy to hike with – should not be considered a hiking sleeping bag.

Should you buy this sleeping bag?

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced cold weather bag for maybe a family camping trip, or a trip where you will have other luxuries such as blankets and extra clothing close by, then this will be the one for you. Depending on the area of the country you live in (or spend most of your time camping in) this will mainly be a winter-only sleeping bag and will be too hot if the temperatures start hitting above zero degrees.

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How to camp with a boat

Next up in our series of specialized camping articles is camping with a boat. Do not think of a large yacht or anything of this sort, camping with a boat is best done with a canoe or a kayak or another small sized vessel that you could fit on top of your car or on a trailer. Boat camping allows you to access seldom discovered territories through canals, waterways and lakes. In this article, we will introduce the basics of boat camping and we hope that we can spark your interest to try it out yourself.

How to choose a boat?

Choosing the right boat is the foundation of a successful boat camping trip, regardless whether it is a rental or a purchase. Do try to rely on the expertise of the store assistant and tell him or her exactly how you plan to use the boat. How many people will sit in it, how much weight do you want it to be able to carry, how long and how wide can it be in order to fit on top of your car or onto your trailer. After you have said your own conditions, the assistant may suggest a few options. Now it is time for you to consider some of the following factors. A shorter boat is better for navigation on narrow and curvaceous rivers while a longer boat is easier to turn with on a larger body of water. Be sure to have life vests available (one for each passenger) along with an extra paddle in case the original one falls into the water. As you gain more and more experience with each trip, you will be able to appreciate the difference of using different boats. For this reason, rental may be a better choice in the beginnings.

How to prepare for using the boat?

A kayak, a canoe and a vessel all have their own special techniques by which it is possible to move and navigate. A kayak for instance will usually require you to use a double-ended paddle, propelling its alternating left and right sides through the water to move forward. A canoe on the other hand is usually stirred by a shorter, single-ended paddle. Most smaller vessels will have a paddle on each side, requiring you to perform a rowing motion. Consider which movement you are most comfortable with. If you plan to start with a big adventure straight away, you may want to hit the gym and have a go at the rowing machine. Some gyms now even have machines that replicate the exercise that paddling a canoe would require you to do. Alternatively, start off with smaller trips so that you can get an appreciation of the difficulty or ease of the movement sequence. Needless to say, never ever go on a boat trip if you do not know how to swim!

Planning

By planning, we mean specifically considering the various steps of the camping trip. How long is the river you plan to travel on? How strong is the current? How wide or narrow can the canals get? Will you be able to stop somewhere even if you do not reach your target campsite? Please consider these details very carefully, as there will be little chance for you to do research once you are out in nature. From then on, you will just have to rely on your own good judgment, and hopefully the plan, which you have made in advance.

Preparation

Preparation makes for the perfect camping trip, and a boat camping trip is no different! Think of the fact that you will be sitting for hours in a boat. What would you want to have in there with you? Our personal suggestion of a list of must have items can be seen below:

  • Waterproof cushions to sit on
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Insect repellent
  • Rain coat
  • First aid kit
  • A whistle / horn
  • A small bucket / bailer
  • A large sponge

Now…it is unlikely that the first couple of items need any explaining. Maybe, you are a little more puzzled about the last three. Having a whistle is a good idea in order to have something at hand that you can use to alert other water vehicles about your presence. This is something that several states require by law (please do check the laws for water navigation in the state you plan to visit). The bucket or, using boating terminology, a bailer will be handy to scoop out some of the water that fill fall into the body of the boat while you pedal. And water will fall inside. The sponge is great to dry up the small puddles of water that you can no longer scoop up.

Consider that an accident can always occur and the boat may capsize. If possible, leave the smartphones, laptops, tablets and other valuable gadgets where they belong as far as camping is concerned: at home. This will allow you to be able to focus on enjoying yourself without having to worry about losing a valuable personal possession.

What to do on a boat camping trip?

First of all, enjoy the fact that you can get away from civilization and just enjoy having a peace of mind in the middle of a large, beautiful lake. If you are confident about your boating skills or if you own a waterproof camera, take the opportunity to snap some shots from an unusual perspective. Usually, people make photos of a lake, from the edge. Be the one who makes pictures of the edge…from the middle.

Perhaps, using a boat, you can have access to land such as a tiny island that you could not have otherwise visited. Minding the local flora and fauna at all times, you may take this special opportunity to discover this unchartered territory. However, keep in mind that unchartered territories often hold unexpected surprises, so be very careful, especially if the ground is covered by thick and high grass. You can never know where a marsh, quicksand or an intimidated animal may hide!

Games, musical instruments, good food, plenty of drinkable water and a set of clothes for all climate conditions should allow you to enjoy the trip tremendously.

When it comes to setting up camp, consider that since you will be traveling with a small, light boat, there should be no reason why you could not take it out of the water for the night. Turn it upside down to let all the water drip out. A dry interior will be much better to sit in the next morning than a clammy one.

Summary

We sincerely hope that we could whet your appetite for some exciting boat camping. It is an adventure every camper should try out one day, as it allows access to areas that may otherwise be hard to get to. These will tend to be less impacted by humans and thus you may have an opportunity to discover a little piece of intact paradise!

We are interested in your input. Have you ever gone boat camping? Do you have some tips, fun stories, anecdotes or questions? Share them with us in the comment box below!

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Sawyer Complete Dual Bag Water Treatment System

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0078ZMHGK” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Tm23LBe5L._SL160_.jpg” width=”106″]Using the power of gravity, this top-notch water treatment system from Sawyer is at your service, providing drinking quality water wherever you may be. Read on to find out more about its features!

Features

The striking, dual-bag design is probably the first thing that you will notice about this water filter. The color-coded bags have their own functions, which we will now explain briefly. The grey bag is to be filled with the water that is to be filtered. As soon as the grey bag is hung up anywhere, the water will begin flowing through the tube attached to it. The filter is situated directly at the end of the tube, connected to the blue reservoir. As you may have guessed, the filtered water is then collected in the blue bag.

The blue bag can be used as a container for the filtered water. You can use it as a jug to distribute clean water into several bottles, or put it in your backpack and suck out water through a little tube as you go. In fact, if you have a backpack that is big enough, you may even find that you can filter the water while you hike. At any case, do not worry about having to stop for too long. The system will filter 2 liters of water in just 1.5 minutes!

The heart and soul of this treatment system is of course the filter itself. Thanks to the hollow membrane that constitutes the filter, more contaminants are removed than what the NSF and the EPA requires. In fact, the filter makes it practically impossible for microns the size of bacteria to pass through, with a 99.99% success rate. You can even upgrade the filter for an even finer one, which is able to sift out viruses as well (viruses are significantly smaller in size than bacteria)

The manufacturer is so confident in the quality of its product that it offers a million gallon guarantee on the filter.

The Good:

  • Easy to use
  • Some users even filtered in less than 1.5 minutes
  • Light-weight and perfect for a hiking trip
  • Uses gravity, so no need to pump

The Bad:

  • Does not filter out viruses (unless you purchase a separate filter)
  • No tripod is supplied, this can make setting up in certain locations close to impossible
  • Some customers complained about leakages, so take care before putting it in your backpack, all filled up

Who Should Buy This Water Filter?

This product is ideal for smaller groups of campers, hikers or other outdoors adventurers who either wish to filter water on the go or while stopping for a rest, without having to waste energy on pumping water.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B0078ZMHGK” locale=”us”]Summary

Customers on the whole have been very satisfied with the product. The gravity powered design, the intelligent color-coding, the manufacturers generous guarantee and the overall ease of use make this a very compelling buy.

To read more about the product or to see some further customer reviews, please click on the links in the box above.

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Katadyn Base Camp Water Filter

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0007U0148″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/317M2S54D9L._SL160_.jpg” width=”45″]Would you like to be able to filter large volumes of water at one go? Are you not into the tiresome process of manual pumping? This water filter that uses the natural force of gravity may just be what you need. Read on to find out more!

Features

The design of this water filter allows you to filter up to 2.5 gallons of water in just a quarter of an hour. Simply fill the sack with water from any source and let gravity and the field-cleanable Hiker PRO filter cartridge take care of the rest. It will function like your own little water tower, with no extra manual or mechanical labor required to extract the filtered water. One cartridge can filter more than 200 gallons of water before needing replacement.

The water filter is an effective glass fiber construction that catches even microscopic contaminants from the water. Around the core, a mesh-screen filter protector holds up the larger bits of contaminants. Due to the nature of the filter, expect to have to clean the mesh-screen regularly; otherwise gravity will not be strong enough to pull the water through a blocked filter.

The package for this product will include all parts of the actual filter: the bag, cartridge, lock ring, hose and valve, along with an instruction manual, a sponge and some silicone lubricant. Please note that no tripod stand or other support mechanism will be included. However, the top hoop that is formed two durable straps connected with a buckle ensure that you can hang this water filter from pretty much anywhere, making it a very practical tool. As a plus, though the device seems to have many parts to it, the overall weight is quite light; ideal for backpacking.

Setting up is easy thanks to the well-illustrated and no-nonsense user manual. The included silicone lubricant is surprisingly helpful when connecting the rubber parts. There are even some useful tips included that will help extend the life of the water filter. One thing to make note of when using this device is that as you will it with water, the bag becomes heavy! If you consider that the bag can hold around 2.5 gallons of water at one go, it can weigh around 20lb! While there is no pumping required, make sure you are fit to hold or carry this weight, or maybe go for a little less and refill more often.

The Good:

  • Good user instructions complemented with illustrations for easier use
  • An overall reasonable design with an intelligent choice of color (it is easy to spot the blue sack against almost any backdrop)
  • Great for filtering large volumes of water in camp (or while stationary)
  • The product is quite durable and will surely last a long time

The Bad:

  • Not ideal for filtering water for a small number of people or while on the move
  • No tripod is supplied, this can make setting up in certain locations close to impossible
  • While no pumping is required, the filtration process is quite slow
  • There is no information given by the manufacturer on what this product does or does not filter from the water

Who Should Buy This Water Filter?

This is a perfect product for larger groups of people who will require a soundly working water filter once they set up camp. Hikers, bikers, boaters but even RV campers can use this water filter, but it cannot be stressed enough times that it is required for the group to be stationary for at least 15 minutes until the water filter can work its magic; it cannot be used on the road.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B0007U0148″ locale=”us”]Summary

A product with great customer satisfaction ratings and a functional design, the Base Camp Water Filter is definitely a recommended device for those who are after some clean, drinking-quality water anywhere they may be.

To read more about the product or to see some further customer reviews, please click on the links in the box above.

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