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Gear Updates: May 2016

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Here are some updates on different gear that I have been using and testing. As previously mentioned in a few different past articles, instead of waiting until I have 200, 500, 1000, or even 1500+ days of use with a specific piece of gear to write up a detailed review, I would instead post minor updates on the gear in shorter durations, so, here are some gear updates.

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Written by John B. Abela

May 17, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Mountain Laurel Designs – FKT Quilt

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mld_fkt_quilt_snaps

The MLD FKT Quilt does away with velcro at the footbox, and opts for snap buttons to save weight.

Greetings Adventurers!

The Mountain Laurel Designs “FKT Quilt” is a synthetic quilt that is uniquely designed to help fill a niche in the quilt market, with a double layer of insulation on the lower half, and a single layer of insulation on the top half, thereby allowing you to leave at home your insulated leggings and insulated booties, for those colder nights.

I have been using the FKT Quilt since it was released. The idea and concept appealed to me so when it was time to acquire another quilt, something able to be used in warmer weather than the MLD Spirit 28 I have and reviewed, I just had to get one and give it a try. So has the idea/concept worked out for me? What are my thoughts on it?

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Written by John B. Abela

May 4, 2016 at 5:45 am

Suluk46 – Miksa Pot Lifter

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Suluk46 - Miksa Pot Lifter

Suluk46, one of my long time sponsors, has brought to market a very neat, finger size, extremely light weight pot grabber, called the “Miksa Pot Lifter“.

It hits the scale at only 6 grams (0.21 ounces)

To compare this to others on the market:

MSR ‘LiteLifter’: 28 grams (0.98 oz)
Vargo ‘Titanium Pot Lifter’: 23 grams (0.8 oz)
GSI ‘Microgripper’: 14 grams (0.5 oz)

You can purchase this little guy, and a lot of other truly exceptional extremely light weight backpacking products at: http://www.suluk46.com/products.html

Written by John B. Abela

April 29, 2016 at 7:50 pm

[Photos] Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0 & Groove Stereo Waist Belt

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I just got these yesterday, woot!

Below are photos of the 2016, version 3.0, of the most beloved Ultimate Direction PB Vest and the new Groove Stereo double water bottle waist belt.

Loaded them up and went on an eight mile (12.8km) run around my area last night. I have 1000+ miles (1600+km) on my original PB Vest (also shown below, the red colour one) and it is still going strong, but an additional 5 liters of volume on the new version pretty much made me go buy it. It is going to take some getting use to, a few significant changes to it.

I will share additional thoughts in the months ahead after I get some miles on it. As for the Groove Stereo, well, that darn thing I have to say highly impressed me. Cannot lie that the price tag was a sticker shock, as they say, and I was crazy hesitant to buy it, but I really, desperately, wanted to see how it would pair up with the new PB vest, specifically if they would hit each other or not while running down the trail.  Thankfully they do not. But anyway, yeah, that double water bottle waist belt, just in the eight miles I did, impressed me big time. What a sweet method this will be to carry a serious amount of water. My ZPacks multi-pack might have finally meet some real competition!

Anyway, enough yapping, here are some photos for ya. I will likely get a video out on these two new items in the months ahead. I am not a big video guy anymore, but I will try to get something pushed out to my youtube channel, and I will absolutely be sharing more about them on my facebook page.

 

Updates:
March 16, 2016 – Added two additional photos to show soft and hard water bottles inside of the ‘burrito’ pocket.

Written by John B. Abela

April 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Kora ‘Shola 230’ Leggings

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Kora Shola 230 Leggings - 000Greetings Adventurers!

Recently I was able to acquire a pair of Kora ‘Shola 230’ leggings. This will be an on-going article as I use them over the next few hiking seasons.

Kora, a company based out of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, manufacturers base layer garments made from Yak wool, rather than the all so popular sheep wool. The company goes into great detail of the superiority of Yak wool over sheep wool on their Yak Wool Fabric page, it is very much worth checking out.

Statements such as this are enough to get the attention of most folks:

It’s 40% warmer weight for weight, 66% more breathable and is 17% better at transporting water vapour away from the skin. Just like merino, it’s soft and naturally odour-resistant.

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Written by John B. Abela

March 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Questions & Answers, #004

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Questions & Answers

Wow has it really been a week already?

Here are responses to four questions that I have received over this past week. I have had more but want to keep this weeks Q&A short, as my answers will be a bit longer.

Hope they provide some help and insight.

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Written by John B. Abela

January 28, 2016 at 2:31 am

Questions & Answers, #003

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Questions & Answers

I hope some of you enjoy this third Q&A post. Instead of digging into my older emails I am just going to post some questions I have received over the last month, since my last Q&A.

 

slackpackhiker: Hey John, As a brand new backpacker hiking the AT April ’16, I’ve appreciated learning lots from your various posts. I’m very much leaning toward the ZPacks Zip Haul pack, there’s so much to like and I certainly like the clean look, but I’m concerned about carrying damp stuff w/o an external net. What’s the best way to hike with damp items?

When I designed the Front Panel Loader (later renamed “Zip” by ZPacks) it was intentionally designed without a mesh front pocket.

Why? Because it has a dedicated front pocket on the outside of the front panel. The idea of going with a mesh outer pocket went against the design that I was after with the FPL/Zip.

My original desire with the FPL was to be a pocketless backpack. Check out this previous article for more on why.

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Written by John B. Abela

January 21, 2016 at 6:09 pm