GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker

GSI UL Coffee Filter + Montbell Double Wall Ti Cup
GSI UL Coffee Filter + Montbell Double Wall Ti Cup

Been hesitant to write about something as common and possibly inconsequential as a method of making coffee while out on the trail…

So why write one?

Meh, do not really know. Perhaps this GSI UL Coffee Filter has just impressed me enough to spend the thirty minutes writing this up.

I use to drink Starbucks Via both on the trail and at home. I would buy the 50-count House Blend off amazon. But I eventually got to the point where it was just not all that pleasurable.  Every Christmas I still buy a few boxes of the Christmas blend but that seems to be it these days.

I am not some kind of coffee connoisseur but I sure do love the flavor of a couple of brands of coffee. The first is Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry (amazon) and the second is New Mexico Piñon Coffee ‘Dark Piñon’ (amazon).

I have bought a number of different drip filters for hiking with, including a Finum Gold Filter that I used for about four years. When it finally gave out I was going to buy another one, but the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip (amazon) caught my eye. Continue reading “GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker”

MSR WindBurner Stove System

The MSR WindBurner. A WindProof Stove System
The MSR WindBurner – An Amazingly Windproof Stove System!

Greetings Adventurers!

The MSR WindBurner is quickly becoming one of my favorite stoves systems. In a market that is continuing to get more and more myopic by companies flooding the market with nearly identical products, it has been a refreshing change to see MSR actually try to solve some problems and not just put to market something that is the same’ol’same’ol that everybody else is spewing out.

I remember when the MSR WindBurner was first announced and the internet was being flooded by hikers complaining about the weight of the system – comparing it to xyz-other brands, without even stopping to consider some of the advantages of that extra bit of weight – but, that is just typical hiker hyperbull and ignorant attacking that seems to be all too common these days by hikers, I suppose. It was a shame that those folks focused so much on the weight, yet utterly failed to stop and really take a look at the design.

Yes, when it comes to talking about gear, the purpose of the website has always been to focus on some of the lightest of the lightest weight gear out there. But as my readers well know, I have on many occasions been a hiker that is willing to stand up and say that sometimes adding weight in order to get a better performance, experience, durability, and quality of life while out on the long trail, is a perfectly acceptable decision.

Over the course of this article, and future articles on the MSR WindBurner, I am going to be clear and honest about exactly how I think the MSR WindBurner is when it comes to that statement.

While the MSR WindBurner is a tad bit heavier than most other all-in-one systems on the market – and this really is key to understanding why the MSR WindBurner deserves some serious consideration — MSR put some serious thinking into solving problems.

Continue reading “MSR WindBurner Stove System”

ZPacks Arc Haul Zip

ZPacks Arc Haul Zip + ZPacks Duplex

The ZPacks Arc Haul Zip, the latest backpack to be released by ZPacks, is a full featured backpack for those looking for the ability to carry a heavier load than the ZPacks Arc Zip.

If you are not familiar with the “Zip” backpack from ZPacks, I recommend reading my ZPacks Arc Zip review of this great front panel loader, it will go into detail of all of the features of the Zip, along with some of the history of the three years I spent developing the Zip, now being manufactured by ZPacks.

The “Haul” came about, as I understand it, as a result of ZPacks getting a lot of feedback from long distance hikers about the desire to carry heavier loads (thus the name “Haul”) for those longer stretches between resupply towns. The Haul increased the load capability of the standard Arc Zip from 30 lbs (14 kg) up to 40 lbs (18 kg).

It accomplished this through a number of ways:

Continue reading “ZPacks Arc Haul Zip”

Lawson Outdoor Equipment, “Reflective Glowire”

A shelter with the Lawson Glowire.
A shelter with the Lawson Glowire.

I have been using the Lawson Outdoor Equipment “Lawson Outdoor Equipment “Reflective Glowire” for two years and I recently ordered an additional 50′ hank for a new shelter, and thought I would take a brief moment to share how much I enjoy this cordage.

There is not a whole lot to say about cordage – well, there might be, but I am not a huge cordage fan kind of guy so for me there is not – but here are my thoughts on this stuff.

On the scale, it comes in at 52 grams (1.8 ounces) per ~50 feet (16.6 yards) of this cordage.

I have ordered it three times now, twice from zpacks and one directly from Lawson and each time it has been right at the 52 grams mark.

The first order was in orange colour and the last two times have been in black colour. It looks really good on the zpacks camo cuben fiber duplex, and I suppose I could have gone with any colour for my zpacks aluminized cuben fiber duplex, but decided to stick with black, though the lime colour would have probably made an already over the top bright shelter even more comical, maybe I will try that in the future :-D

Continue reading “Lawson Outdoor Equipment, “Reflective Glowire””

ZPacks, Aluminized Duplex

ZPacks Duplex, Aluminized Cuben Fiber
ZPacks Duplex, Aluminized Cuben Fiber

Here is something almost nobody in the world would actually needs – a ZPacks Duplex made from aluminized cuben fiber.

First, I appreciate ZPacks being willing to order this fabric and make a Duplex shelter made with it – it is far outside the level of “custom ultralight gear” that ZPacks lives by. I am truly grateful to them.

This is not a review of this shelter, I have already published an article/review of the ZPacks Duplex, you should head over and read it if you are interested in my thoughts on the shelter itself.

Rather this post is to be a long-term, on-going, documentation of the fabric – and able to share photographs of the shelter as I am able to use it and see cause to take and share photographs.

Continue reading “ZPacks, Aluminized Duplex”

Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts

Myself and Jacob Dinardi, from HikeItLikeIt.Com after the 2014 GGG in Central California.
Myself and Jacob Dinardi, from HikeItLikeIt.Com, after the 2014 GGG in Central California.

The “Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts” are a pair of shorts I have spent a lot of time wearing. When folks ask me what they are I typically respond with “the stupidly expensive ‘Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts’“, because when it comes to a pair of shorts, these truly are over-the-top expensive.

The question I have had to ask myself, having now used them for a couple of seasons is, “were they worth it?

I think the answer to that question is “no“.

I do not think any pair of shorts should have a MSRP of $175 – regardless of how cutting edge they might be.

My favorite pair of shorts, the no-longer-available Golite ‘Mesa Trail 9″ Run Shorts’ cost me $45 directly from GoLite, and I thought that was expensive for a pair of shorts. Then there are the Montbell Dynamo Shorts, which will cost you $69 dollars, and the use of a scissors, and are the lightest pair of shorts I have been able to find (err: make), but still, a lot of money.

When it comes down to it, these shorts are basically compression shorts, with a typical pair of shorts attached onto them so they do not look overtly stupid – because compression shorts, I don’t care who you are, are just not cool looking – it is like wearing fishnet clothing… no matter how good they might perform, you just look dorky.

And really what you are paying for with these S-Lab shorts are that non-dorky look. We know this because there are other compression shorts on the market for 1/3rd the price of these. And hey, some people look really dang good wearing these!

So I suppose if you are wanting a pair of compression shorts and not look, well, dorky, than shelling out the extra money for these shorts might not be something you care about all that much.

Personally, I bought them because I had a bit of extra money and thought I would give them a try – and well, I didn’t want to look like an even bigger dork than I normally do wearing shorts >shrugs<

Continue reading “Salomon S-Lab Exo Twinskin Shorts”

ZPacks Zip Pouches, Two Year Usage Review

ZPacks Zip Pouch
ZPacks Zip Pouch

Update: Please see my 2000+ days update of this article!

I think it was in early 2013 that ZPacks introduced a set of neat little zippered pouches designed to hold things, such as glasses, passports, wallet content, and so forth. I ordered a few and over the last two years have used most of them at one time or another – and have used one of them every day as my primary wallet.

I did not expect for it to become my daily wallet, but over time it just proved to be the perfect size and meet the requirements I obviously wanted, but did not know I wanted, in an enclosed wallet – my first enclosed wallet in my life.

Earlier this year I upgraded to an iPhone 6 Plus and it does not fit into the ZPacks Pouch I have been using – my iPhone 5 did fit – and now, thankfully, ZPacks has released a new zippered pouch called the ‘ZPacks, Phablet Zip Pouch‘ which is suppose to fit an iPhone6+, so I just bought one of those. I just hope that it is big enough as I have a Mophie iPhone 6 Plus Juice Pack attached to my iPhone6+

Ok… seriously, how much can be said about a zippered pouch? Some I suppose could say a lot, but I am not one of them, so, moving on, here are some photos of the pouch I have used for around 800 days, to show how amazingly well it has held up, both out on the trail and at home / around town.

Continue reading “ZPacks Zip Pouches, Two Year Usage Review”