Montbell ‘Sun Block Umbrella’

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montbell-sun-block-umbrellaHello Adventurers!

Here is a quick video on the Montbell ‘Sun Block Umbrella’ which has been a really nice umbrella to use.

It is, for all intents and purposes, a baby chromedome. The weight is not all that different from the chromedome (47 grams / 1.66 oz lighter) but the overall pack volume, or stored length (for when you are not using it) that it offers is a massive savings!

If you are like me and pack volume is precious, it just makes sense going with this little umbrella over the chromedome.


mine weighs: 178 g (6.29 oz)
folded length: 25cm (8.9 in)
full length: 53cm (20.9 in)
diameter: 98cm (38.6 in)

The video quality did not come out very well but I did not feel like reshooting it all, but the important stuff is covered in the video.

You can buy this little guy directly from the montbell website and it is priced at $45.00

Thanks for reading,
+John Abela

As of the time of this being published I am a sponsored hiker of Montbell. I purchased my sun block umbrella as I do with ~99% of my gear. This article was originally published on my patreon page, if you feel like having early access to my article and sharing a dollar a month to help the cause, please consider becoming a patron!

Written by John B. Abela

December 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Interview: TarpTent

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Henry Shires, owner of TarpTent, based out of Nevada City, California (population ~3,000) and one of the original outdoor cottage companies.

Let us just jump right into this interview!

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Written by John B. Abela

December 4, 2016 at 1:00 am

Posted in Interviews

Interview: Six Moon Designs

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ron ‘Fallingwater’ Moak, owner of Six Moon Designs, based out of Beaverton, Oregon (population ~90,000) and one of the original outdoor cottage companies.

Ron started Six Moon Designs back in 2002 with TarpTent and Nunatak being two of the few start-ups that are still around and older than Six Moon Designs. And while not the first to introduce shelters made of cuben fiber (as it was called at the time) Six Moon Designs was producing DCF shelters back in the 2008 era. Eight years later, now in 2016, many are wondering if they have finally thrown in the towel on this fabric, but more on that below.

Six Moon Designs has been a company that maintains a very narrow focus on a few products, with little energy spent on trying to come up with the next big thing, and instead focusing their efforts on constantly trying to refine their current products. In an age when most cottage companies fly with the times and are constantly putting efforts into new products that oft do not make it more than one or two generation cycles, Six Moon Designs has constantly stood by the business model of putting years of effort into a new product to make sure it is great and stands the test of time.

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Written by John B. Abela

November 26, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Interviews

Interview: Enlightened Equipment

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Tim Marshall, owner of Enlightened Equipment, based out of Winona, Minnesota (population 27,000), which has been a rising company within the ultralight outdoor industry for the last few years. The amount of times I have gone “wow” while conversing with Tim is likely more than any other interview I have ever done.

What I thought was a rather small time operation is actually a fairly large scale company.

Why not just move right into the interview and let Tim share some insights into the industry, his company, product development, and all that good stuff.

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Written by John B. Abela

November 22, 2016 at 6:08 am

2 Favorite Items From My Sponsors!

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Greetings Adventurers!

It seems it is time for the hiking blogosphere to start posting their “Christmas Lists” – I have already seen three or four just in the last week.

I had an article about 95% of the way written, and decided to delete it and do something different. The idea pop’ed into my brain to write up ‘my favorite piece of gear from my sponsors‘, but the more I thought about that, the more I realized I just could not decide on a single piece of gear from a couple of my sponsors. For instance, I have over 2000 days of use with the Montbell Dynamo Wind Pants and my absolute love for the Montbell U.L. Thermawrap Jacket would make it impossible for me to pick between the two. (opps, guess I just gave away that companies two favorites, doh!). The same could be said of companies like Six Moon Designs and ZPacks. So I figured the only way I could make this happen is if I picked two pieces of gear from each company that sponsors me!

So, here we go, in alphabetical order!

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Written by John B. Abela

November 19, 2016 at 7:14 am

Questions & Answers: #005

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Questions & Answers

It has been far too long since I have published another article within my Questions & Answers series of articles, and I have a backlog of questions to answer, so time to get back to answer them!

This is going to be a long article… probably too long… but I wanted to get the vast majority of the questions I have been asked into one big post instead of a bunch of little posts/articles.

Also, it might get a bit… uhhh… irascible along the way, and downright waspish towards the end. I make no excuse, nor apologies, for this – I am saying what I feel and think about the given topics. I have that right. You do too, just do it on your own website, as I will not approve any censorious comments. And, as always, do not expect me to defend myself nor anything I have said – such things I do not do. I say what I have to say, and that is all I have to say about it. Attempting to defend one self just leads to further captious activities.

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Written by John B. Abela

November 15, 2016 at 5:39 am

Black Rock Gear ‘Synthetic Beanies’ – 15% Off Coupon

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Greetings Adventurers!

As most of you hopefully know, Black Rock Gear, the makers of the most beloved beanie in the outdoor industry, and a sponsor of mine, has been working on creating a non animal down, synthetic, version of their beanie for the last year.

With Christmas fast approaching I have worked with Black Rock Gear to be able to get a 15% off coupon that I can share with all of you.

The coupon is only applicable for the synthetic beanie and will expire on Tuesday, November 8th.

Black Rock Gear is offering free USA Domestic Shipping, and only $10 for International shipping.


On the checkout page, enter the coupon code ‘nogoose15’ for your 15% off!


Written by John B. Abela

November 4, 2016 at 4:50 am

Posted in Gear Announcements

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