“Father Nature Outdoors” — Integrated Camping Blanket

94268dc14e6e3b19835abe8b7c333aa0_large

Most successful bushcraft is about creative problem solving and sharing of knowledge, resources, and support. I owe a lot of my current level of experience to the generosity of others, and I’d like to encourage everybody to think about how important that is.

I love the outdoors. I love the simplicity, and the isolation, and, of course, the natural setting. But we don’t live isolation on this planet, and the more people that love and respect the outdoors, the more we can all continue to appreciate the woods, whether alone or together.

I recently found out about a Kickstarter campaign by “Father Nature Outdoors” for an Integrated Camping Blanket. It’s a quilt — by all rights a hybrid sleeping bag and blanket — but they seem to be doing it right, with utility, comfort, and price point at a sweet spot if you intend to spend nights in the woods.

I like that they’ve put a priority on the comfort factor — too many new (or non-) outdoors enthusiasts think of it as a spartan, uncomfortable, cramped pastime.

A quilt is quick and easy to pack and deploy, versatile, and comfortable. I haven’t used a dedicated one like this before, mostly because I have far too many sleeping bags already, and the price point has usually been fairly high, but it should be as comfortable as a regular blanket, with technical improvements.

Gear should designed and inspired on the trail, not in a boardroom, and that’s what’s happening here (just check out their blog at fathernatureoutdoors.com). It’s something that should be supported.

I realize I’m sounding either salesy or commune/hippie-like, but I’m not at all affiliated with these guys — last week, I didn’t even know they existed. I just like the cut of their jib.

So I’ll put my money where my mouth is, and become a backer for their new endeavour (hopefully without too much trouble — I’m a Kickstarter newbie).

I encourage you to take a look and consider doing the same — with them, or with any of the many worthy projects on there that support the appreciation and respect for walks in the woods.

More info here: ”Father Nature Outdoors” — Integrated Camping Blanket

As always, do your research: Kickstarter FAQ

New Nomad products on the way

Nomad Clip

 

 

Looking forward to a couple of new products from Nomad, who have made some innovative on-the-go charging connectors.

They have a decidedly more urban focus, as you can see by their recently-announced NomadPlus battery add-on for the Apple wall lump, but the portable power option is definitely useful to many travellers.

NomadPlus

The NomadClip is something to look forward to — it has clean, stylish lines, will add the standard utility that you get from any light-duty carabiner, and the connectors are integrated in such a way that you don’t notice the extra space they take.

It’s not a climbing carabiner, of course, but I don’t think that’s a feature I’d need or care about in this case — I’ll use proper climbing carabiners when needed, thank you.

Stay tuned for a review when it hits the market this fall.

Nomad Clip dimensions

I’ve gone tripping with some of their older products and my Solio charger, which I think is a great combination to bring sustainable personal power with you in the wild.

What I’d really like to see is something with USB power-out, connection cables/ports, AND the ability to recharge itself and other cells, like those in my flashlights (AAAs and RCR123s). All in a compact package that’s light enough for a backcountry trip. Since they both seem like they’re just gaining momentum, either company could enter the market with something like this in the near future.

IMG_20140630_140314

Gear Review — Grand Trunk Hammock

I like camping in hammocks, and sleeping under the canopy of stars and leaves. In early summer, this isn’t possible with an open hammock design in the woods because of the bugs, but during the day, any hammock is just heaven.

I recently conducted a test of the Grand Trunk Single Hammock, and if you’re in the market for something to bring with you this Fourth of July weekend, you can’t go wrong with this simple little number.

Read the full review

Mosquitno Products in packages

Gear Review — Mosquitno Bands and Spotz

Happy (soon-to-come) Canada Day/Fourth of July/First week of summer!

Spring is officially done, and for many people that means that summer fun can begin in earnest. More active, outdoor lifestyles means more weekends at the local park, at the cottage, biking, hiking, and, of course, camping — all of which mean mosquitos.

In the buggy times for the upper USA and Southern Canada, it’s time for me to stay along the lakes, where it’s breezy and bug-free.

You can’t always choose when you’re needed in bug country or season, so you should have a good roster of deterrents, and their relative effectiveness.

Today, I look at the Mosquitno line of products, which include their flagship wristbands (“Bands“), and a secondary product called “Spotz“. Their website seems a little light, but this is a simple, straightforward family-run company, so most people’s questions would be answered in their FAQ, and, of course, reviews like this one!

Read the full review

Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” movie version, with Robert Redford

Not sure how this slipped by me, but yes, it looks like they’re making a movie version of the very entertaining and insightful tale about his adventure on the Appalachian Trail, “A Walk in the Woods”. No relation, of course, to the name of this site. :)

Looks like it will be directed by Ken Kwapis, and will star a pretty awesome cast: Emma Thompson, Robert Redford, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson!), Mary Steenburgen, and Nick Nolte as “Katz”.

Bill Bryson is also the author of “The Lost Continent”, “Neither Here Nor There”, “Notes From a Small Island”, and “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” — arguably novels about travel, but often filled with wit and social commentary.

I’ll keep an eye on this one for sure! Check out the link on IMDB for details and updates!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1178665/

A city-dweller's outdoor travels, gear reviews and field tests, survival tips and tricks, camping and canoeing.