Tag Archives: Gear

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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.

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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!

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ribz-in-the-wild

Gear Review: Ribz Front Pack — Land

Ribz Front Pack

It was 28°C (83°F), and the humidity was up. My back had been a little bit off of true for the last year (sneeze-and-your-knees-might-give-out sort of pain), and while I had been looking forward to a nice wilderness hike, I dreaded the consequences should my health and fitness not meet my needs on the trail. By past standards, it was a relatively easy hike of less than ten kilometres (6.2 miles) a day, but it would be my first real exertion since my previous trip, in November. With my back and the broken terrain in mind, I packed quite lightly, and was looking forward to testing a new piece of kit that seemed quite appropriate — the Ribz Front Pack from Ribzwear.

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Happy Trails

I occasionally wonder if I talk too much about the woods. I probably do, but that doesn’t deter me in the least. It warms my heart to see evidence of that sort of passion elsewhere, too, and makes me feel less like a deviant.

I’d like to share a recent example of just this type of thing.

I have two friends that have recently become backcountry hiking partners. They’ve both taken quite readily to the outdoors, and are as passionate as I am when it comes to hiking and canoeing and, if it can be believed, gear. One of them recently got married, and the other was a groomsman at his wedding.

I submit, for your pleasure and perusal, his wedding toast:

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New Ray Mears pack on the horizon?

Looks like there’s a new pack in the works [update: The pack is now available for purchase. If you know of anybody who has tried it out, please don't hesitate to add your thoughts to the comments below]. It may be a bit on the pricy side, but some might not mind paying that much for a pack, if it delivers on its promise, and can last them a lifetime. I expect no less from any quality tool, and a pack is just as crucial a tool for your comfort, organization, and mobility in the woods.

Whether it lives up to the hype remains to be seen, since past Ray Mears products have seemed a tad silly (like the ~$50 luggage tag, or the ~$100 belt). I don’t doubt that the products are good quality, but the premium pricing seems to bank only on the celebrity name association, while not bringing any extra value to the table.

By the description of this pack, however, there seems to be promise. I’d be very interested to see this pack in action.

Details:

  • Total volume: 90 litres
  • Volume of main compartment: 58 litres
  • Volume of side pockets: 10 litres each
  • Weight: 1.8 kg
  • Fabric: Waterproof 1,000 denier Cordura Nylon
  • Colour: Olive Drab
  • A bespoke item, produced in small numbers
  • Designed by Ray Mears
  • Exclusive to Woodlore
  • Made in Great Britain

Features:

  • Large main compartment with PU Nylon snow valance and drawcord closure
  • Spacious lid with elastic trim and buckle closures
  • 2 x fixed side pockets with buckle closures
  • External front pocket with lockable zip closure
  • External, slim-profile pocket on lid with lockable zip closure
  • Concealed, slim-profile pocket on underside of lid with zip closure
  • Drain holes fitted in the main compartment and side pockets
  • Heavy-duty YKK zips used throughout
  • Contoured and padded shoulder straps with adjustable top-tension buckles
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • Adjustable, heavy-duty waist strap with extended padding on hip area
  • Lightweight internal metal frame, housed in fabric sleeves
  • Breathable and padded mesh-lined back panel, for improved comfort and air flow
  • Sturdy grab handle
  • 2 x full-length internal storage sleeves on back lining, perfect for SAM splints (not included)
  • Velcro loops for tidying away excess shoulder strap webbing
  • Embroidered Ray Mears Bushcraft logo on front pocket

 

See the full product page and details on the official Ray Mears site.