Gear

Our reviews and experiences of using our hiking, backpacking and camping gear.

C’mon Baby Light My Fire (or, How Do You Light Yours?)

Just to manage expectations – if you want detailed instructions on how to make and light a campfire mosey on over to YouTube – there are hundreds of videos that’ll give you ideas. Here I’m just going to chat about fire lighters, share some fire making tips, and mention the tools we use when car […]

More >

Gear Review: Leatherman Skeletool CX

My new everyday carry knife / multi tool. It weighs less than my Milwaukee Fastback or Swiss Navy knife. It has a carabiner and pocket clip – which was a must have for me. The tools include pliers, side cutters, screwdriver (Phillips and flat bits) and, of course, a bottle opener. The only tools I […]

More >

Gear Review: Cooking System: 2016 – To date

Photograph of a Trangia stove fitted into a lightweight aluminium pot stand

In 2016 we took a serious look at why we weren’t getting out backpacking as much as we’d like. Work was one of the major obstacles, but we also identified several gear issues that caused problems. One of those ‘pinch points’ was our cooking system. We wanted something lighter, smaller and simpler. I love both […]

More >

A short hike and some hammock gear testing

The weather this weekend has been wonderful (especially considering it is still February). However, we’ve not had a chance to get away backpacking as we had commitments in town on Saturday. Today we went on a short hike at Busiek, hiking a little over three miles with around 700ft of elevation climbed.  Remaining true to our recent experiences, […]

More >

Hiking and Backpacking Emergency Kit

Photograph of the contents of a hiking emergency kit

The trails of the Ozarks are very rugged, fairly remote and access for any rescue party will be difficult. Our worst case scenario is that one of us will suffer a fall and become incapacitated.

If the worst happens we assume that there will be no cell phone service, and that any rescue attempt will likely take a day or more. So even on a short day hike our emergency kit is designed to enable us to survive overnight in the wilderness.

More >

The 2012 Ascend FS10 and Ascend D10 Kayaks compared

Top and side views of the Ascend D10 & FS10 sit in Kayaks. Images: Bass Pro.

In 2012 Bass Pro updated the Ascend FS10 and Ascend D10 sit-in kayak models. Previously the hulls were to all intents and purposes identical. The new Ascend FS10 hull retains the same shape. The new Ascend D10 is a completely different boat, which means the previous D10 model reviews cannot be relied upon.

More >

Selecting a sleeping bag (and what else will I need?)

The scenery from our Mutha Hubba tent by Loch Bad a'Ghaill, Scotland

We began car camping with cheap Walmart sleeping bags. When we started backpacking we needed lighter more compressible sleeping bags. Our first choice of bag was a failure, three years later, we have two sleeping bags each for year round camping and backpacking. Here are our tips on buying a sleeping bag, and what else you’ll need to get for a comfortable nights sleep in the wild.

More >

Hiking Huaraches – My hiking ‘boots’

A muddy foot in a pair of home-made hiking huaraches

If one thing is likely to start a passionate gear discussion, it’s hiking and backpacking footwear. I’m in a minority on this subject and I know it. Why? If you look closely at any of our backpacking or hiking pictures, you’ll see I’m almost always apparently barefoot…

More >

Do you need hiking poles?

When we first started hiking the question soon arose, “Do we need hiking poles?” (also known as trekking poles). We thought that they were pretentious accessories only used by the sort of people who like to buy every latest gadget and bit of gear to look the part. I just could not see the need for them.

More >

Our Gear: MSR Dromedary and MSR Sweetwater

I am a microbiologist by training and therefore have a healthy respect for getting horrendously sick from the water. We hike in the Ozarks and that means pretty much everywhere you go there are houses on septic tanks upstream from where you are. We have livestock that drink from streams. As we do not live […]

More >

Gear Review: Montbell Super Spiral Sleeping Bags

Photograph of Gary Allman snuggled up in a Montbell Super Spiral Down Hugger sleeping bag.

We’ve bought our Mont·Bell Super Spiral Sleeping Bags back in 2010. They were expensive, but it’s a purchase we’ve never regretted, and we’d buy them again. We wanted bags that would keep us warm three season camping and backpacking and that were warm enough for the occasional trip out in winter. These bags have exceeded […]

More >

Gear Review: Coleman Exponent Multi Fuel Stove

Picture of bacon sizzling on top of a Coleman Exponent stove

We’ve owned our Coleman Exponent Multi Fuel Stove since 2010, and it’s our go-to stove for car camping and backpacking. In this review we explain why we purchased it – not all the reasons were logical, how it’s worked out for us, and we give some hints for using it while camping and backpacking.

More >

Gear Review: MSR Mutha Hubba tent

Mutha Hubba tent camped by the River Etive in Glen Etive scotland

We spent a long time researching and looking at tents. Each time we thought we’d found the one we wanted we saw another we liked even more. A three season tent was essential for spring and fall camping, some useable vestibule space that would double as a wind break for cooking was also high on […]

More >