Monday, June 24, 2019

Best Selling Backpacking Tent on Amazon - ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1 Review

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This is the Best Selling Backpacking Tent on Amazon and here is my review of the ALPS Mountaineering Lynx 1....

it's not for everyone....

Link : 

Weight : 4 lbs. 4 oz

Price : At the time of filming; $115 for the Blue / Green and $55 for the Clay /Rust. I paid $79 when I purchased this tent

Colors : There are two colors of this tent; blue / green and the clay / rust.

Measurements : 2'8 x 7'6, Center Height: 36",

There is a Lynx 2, 3, 4 person version available.

Design : Freestanding that really isn’t freestanding and I will explain this in a bit.

This tent is an oddity of sorts as Alps Mountaineering describes the Lynx in the following way;

What's especially nice about the Lynx is that the walls are mostly mesh, which helps increase ventilation.

While the walls are of a higher percentage of mesh, this is by far not their most ventilated tent and in fact, for summer use I feel that there are better tent options out there when you are counting on air flow to keep you comfortable.  In my opinion, this is more of a 3+ season tent and what I mean is this; this tent has more in common with a double wall, 4 season tent than a meshy 3 season tent and I see it being the best of fits in the fall, winter and spring use as the polyester material holds in more heat and blocks more wind than the average 3 meshy 3 season tent.

To me, this tent seems confused; it’s part 3+ season and 3 season but it isn’t a matter of neither area. Too much polyester paneling for summer and not enough of it for holding in a lot of heat in the colder months thanks to the mesh which is present.

Since AM has other tents which are a better fit for warm weather/summer use, I would like to see them leave a majority of the mesh behind for this tent and make it a fanstastic 3+ season.

Pros :

Excellent quality for the money.

Tall; allows for sitting up as long as you are under 5’

Waterproof; I’ve had no issues with leaking.

Rain fly covers the entire tent.

I don’t mind the rust color tent.

Simple setup and break down

Cons :

Size : for an average size individual, this was fine but for tall and wide individuals, you may not like what you find with this tent.  I had a buddy of mine hop in this tent who is 6’; he could lay flat but he couldn’t sit up straight.

I dislike the blue green version of this tent; not my tastes at all.

Narrow – might be a problem for larger individuals

Tall- this is a pro and a con because of the height, you have to stake it out as it will blow away in a slight breeze unless it is anchored down.  During mild winds, this tent is so tall that the force of the wind pushing on it began to pull the tent stakes out of the ground.

Velcro pole straps are extremely long and because of that they don’t do a very good job of securing the fly to the pole.

The good news is that the fly hugs the body of the tent closely so that isn’t be much of an issue when it comes to it being locked into place other than it being annoying to attach; that is why I generally don’t worry about attaching them.

Because the fly hugs the body of the tent so tightly, air flow is restricted to main the door.

Limited ventilation and air flow which means condensation is possible

Can be a very hot tent to sleep in and will require a good breeze blowing through the door to feel it.


Summary :

This is a good quality budget tent that for myself is one that I would only consider using for cooler nights out on the trail and that’s because of the design.  On the hotter windless nights, it has been HOT in this tent and at times, I have been miserable in this tent especially when it warm out and it is raining so the door is zipped shut.  Uncomfortable for sure. If you need a budget tent which offers excellent ventilation, take a look at the Zephyr.

AM continues to be one of those companies who in general makes good quality, budget gear which I have no problem recommending as I haven’t had any failures yet.  The material choices with this tent and some of their others is questionable but maybe mesh is more expensive than the fabric.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Apple Orchard Falls - Hiking Adventure

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This is part 2 of a 3 part Day Hiking Series where Susie and I adventure deep into the mountains of VA.

In this episode, we are exploring the Apple Orchard Falls which turned out to be absolutely beautiful!  We also encountered a Thru-Hiker who shared some of his experiences in the bad parts of Roanoke.

Next week is part 3 in which every single thing that could go wrong did go wrong!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Worth $45? - Toaks Titanium Wood Stove Review

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Recently I reviewed the Canway Camping Stove and today I have the Toaks Titanium Wood Stove which is double the price.  Is it worth it?

Find out now!

Link :

Price : $45 at the time of Filming on Amazon -

Material: Pure Titanium (Grade 1 or 2)

Weight: 5.4oz / 151gr.

Dimensions: When packed: 3 3/4" (94mm) (Dia) x 3 3/4" (94mm) (H) When assembled: 3 3/4" (94mm) (Dia) x 7 1/4" (183mm) (H)

Origin : Designed by TOAKS in California, made in China.

Notes :

There are two version of this stove, the small and the large and Toaks does a terrible job of distinguishing them on Amazon.  In fact, at the time of filming, they have the exact same Amazon Title with the only obvious difference being price.  So if you go out to buy this stove, know that there are two versions.

When it is packed, it can nest inside TOAKS Titanium 750mml pot.

It comes with a nylon sack bag.

Tips :

Once assembled, fill the stove with wood up to the halfway point of the top can. When filling the stove with wood, put bigger pieces of wood on the bottom and smaller stuff on the top, but don’t over fill it by putting as much wood in it as will fit. You want to preserve good airflow through the stove.

If you materials needs a little assistance due to moisture, use a cotton ball and Vaseline to get it going.  Light from the top

This is a gasifier stove and when it comes to such products, there many out on the market including the most popular which would be the solo stove.

Pros :

Very good construction


Compact - Does fit inside of the Toaks 750ML pot and larger sizes but if you do so, your pot will get dirty- it is a wood burning stove afterall.

Easy to setup

Easy to ignite with proper prep.

Fun to use

Can boil 2 cups of water in around 7 minutes; of course your mileage will vary depending on the condition of the materials used in your stove.

Efficient – How efficient of course depends on the materials which you are using. – will burn to ash

Like just about everything in life, this stove isn’t right for all conditions and locations; keep that in mind.


Cons :

Non-intuitive assembly – everyone who I have shown this to has taken time to figure out.

Very tall and eventually you may knock it over; that would be an easy thing to do.

Requires more attention to be paid than with other types of stoves.

Can be a bit unstable if not on completely flat ground.  If that is the case, you can use thin sticks or even tent stakes to hold the pot down so that it is tippsy.

While it is compact there are much, much smaller stoves out on the market

Like all wood burning stoves, it will take a bit of time to master it

Simmering isn’t a strong point for this stove as it burns hot and fast due to the design.

The rectangular hole in the top can is very small, so you can only feed the stove with annoyingly small pieces of wood unless you remove the pot and feed it from the top

Biggest complaint : Not windproof; if in gusty conditions the wind will push the flames and heat out of the size of the top section.  You will need a wind screen in some situations

Could become a lot of work if you were doing a lot of cooking/boiling.

Summary :

Is this the best wood burning stove ever; in my opinion no but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like it because I do.  It’s light, has an interesting design, is fun to use and is compact.

Monday, June 17, 2019

What is in This Package? - Viewer Mail Episode #61

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Whoa everyone, thank you all so much for being so generous to not only me but to lovely Susie as well!

It is Viewer Mail time and we are forever thankful for all of the kindness which has been shared!