Monday, February 19, 2018

Old but Awesome - Arc’teryx Covert Collar Zip Sweater – Review

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Today Luke is reviewing the Arc’teryx Covert Collar Zip Sweater; a very thick and warm sweater which is still easy to find today and is often times very inexpensive.  This is one of those products which I receive a lot of questions about.

Link : Your best bet is to find one of these used on eBay as they have been discontinued some years back.  Note : There is a modern Covert jacket which features a full zip which costs $200

 Price :  When these were being offered these would sell for around the $160 range but since they can only be purchased used you will find them on eBay for around $60 - $80.  At times you will see an auction listing for as low as $8 like I did at the time of filming.

I purchased mine back in 2015 for $40 and let me tell you, this is one heck of a nice sweater.

Features ¼ collar zip and is one of the thickest fleece jackets that I have ever seen.  It is what I would refer to as a heavy weight fleece sweater.

Looks like Wool
Made from Polartec® Thermal Pro – 100% polyester
Keeps you warm, dry by wicking away moisture, very breathable.
Features a small stretch-woven laminate sleeve pocket with welt-closure zipper

Pros :

Misty drizzle deep in the back country, too cold for light base layer but too warm and pushing it too hard (timed ride pick up) for the windstopper or rain jacket. Got damp but stayed warm and still pleanty breathable enough to let heat out. Water seemed to collect mostly in cuffs and shirt bottom for easy ringing excess water. This was a full day of pushing too. Was very impressed and was one of those days you're glad you paid the extra cash!

It is made out of a fleece knit where the fabric resembles a traditional knit sweater more that a traditional fleece pull-over. It seems far more warm than any of my other fleece pull-overs.

I love the color of this sweater; it’s not bright or flamboyant; it almost has a tactical feel to it and I think that is why I get so many messages about it.  Over the years, I can’t even count how many times I have been asked about it.

Great as a layering piece

Flattering fit

For hiking, backpacking, sky, going to town, etc, this is an awesome sweater!

Cons :

The sizing for this seems small in my opinion and that may be because it is form fitting but this is a medium and it fits like a small.

Even used the price tag is high but for this level of thickness and warmth it is worth it.

They are short in the torso length so keep that in mind

Not wind resistant…but it’s as sweater….I say this because if I didn’t mention it I would hear about it later from that one viewer; “You didn’t say that it wouldn’t block the wind.”

Very small collar; it isn’t going to block much.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

That is Going In My Office! - Viewer Mail #40

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It's mail time again and as always I are honored and thankful!
That is definitely going in my Office!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cheap Gear Challenge #1 - Overnight Adventure - There Will Be Problems

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This is the first episode of the Cheap Gear Challenge!
This is an overnight adventure which features a strong focus on budget gear...
there will be failures....

Enjoy!  More adventures on the way.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Is this Innovation? - Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor - Review

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Today Luke is reviewing the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor;
a lightweight pack which is truly different from other products out on the market!

Let the honest review begin now!


Link :


Expandable 40-60L volume (volume varies between sizes)
Ultralight weight design
2 torso sizes (non-adjustable)
4 hip belt sizes
U-shaped top access zipper
Zippered stash pocket on lid
Removable reservoir sleeve
Shoulder strap water bottle pocket
Stretch mesh side water bottle pockets
Two hip belt pockets
Compression straps
Ice axe/trekking pole loop

Suspension Features

Lightweight "Y-FLEX" suspension
EVA foam hip belt and shoulder straps
Raised lumbar and scapula pads (EVA foam)
Load lifter straps
Hip belt stabilizer straps
Adjustable hip belt

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Awesome or Gimmick? - Dragon Heatwear Wyvern Womens Heated Jacket

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Today Susan is reviewing a Heated Jacket from Dragon Heatwear.

Will it be awesome or will she find this to be a gimmick.

Honest review is coming up now!

Link :


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Explorers - Day Hike Adventure with Photos and Stories

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Hitting the Trails....

Susan and I head into VA to do some exploring and found some great trails!  Enjoy the adventure as we go from trail to trail, tell stories and share some of the photos which Luke took.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hot or Not - UCO Sweetfire Strikable Fire Starter - Review

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Fire from Sugar?
7 Minute Match?
Hot or Not?
Find out Now.

This is the review of the UCO Sweetfire Strikable Fire Starter.


UCO Link :

Amazon Link :

Price on Amazon : $7.30
Price on UCO : $5.99
Weight Per Package : 4.7oz
Weight per Match : .2 of an oz
5 tenders are 1oz

Tip : Light and then hold at a downward angel to light the others sides

The Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter is not only sweet for your gear collection, it's sweet for the planet. Made from a sugarcane by-product called bagasse, this key ingredient is already used around the world as a renewable biofuel. Each of these match points (there are 20 per box) is infused with vegetable wax to allow for up to 7 minutes of burn time per each point. There's also no need to bring matches to light the Sweetfire as each match point has a strikeable tip that can conveniently be used with the striker on the box.

It’s not a match but rather a strikeable fire starter and therefore bridges functions between a match and a compressed fiber fire starter

Pros :

  • Small form factor
  • In the right conditions they can burn for a long time.
  • Can carry many without much added weight
  • No strong odor like some similar products
  • Easy start for a fire or wood stove (good weather)
  • Long burn time – UCO claims 7 minutes and I have gotten up to 10 with my testing.  When pushing passed the 6 minute or so mark the flame isn’t very hot or effective.
  • Burns when wet and in rain/snow
  • Environmentally sustainable product
  • Can be lit with a ferro rod if you take the time to scrap some of the fuel into a pile.
  • Can be lit with a lighter

Cons :

  •  Strike point is not waterproof and will get gummy if damp enough.
  •  Match will absorb water if exposed and will fall apart…but can still be lighted with a lighter
  •   No windproof – will need shelter in the wind
  •  Not strike-anywhere
  • Cost/unit higher than alternatives

Uses :

For calm weather and for wood stoves, these are awesome. You could wake in the morning, grab one of these, throw it in your stove, put some wood on it and go brush your teeth, use the bathroom, then come back and your water is boiling.

These are great in good weather, not the best in rough conditions.

Recommendation :

Make the striking point storm proof as this would make the product much more usable

Great for perfect weather conditions.

Car camping


Situations where you can do a better job at keeping them dry

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Not So Quick - How To Setup the Sierra Designs Convert 2

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Being able to see how easy a tent can be pitched is very important to the purchasing process.  With that in mind, here is how to setup the Sierra Designs 4 Season Convert 2 tent.


Link : Link :

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Warm, Lightweight, Less Expensive, Excellent Quality - UGQ Bandit Top Quilt

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Today Luke is reviewing the UGQ Bandit Top Quilt!

Light, Warm and Less Expensive than other companies!


Link :

Weight : 1lbs 13oz on my scale

Price : As Shipped $297.95.  Can be customized for each user.

When it comes to price, this is afford for a custom made quilt. I have other quilts which are for less harsh temps that cost almost double the price of this one here. Very competitive!

All BANDIT Quilts include a 40d Silpoly Stuff Sack and our Pad Attachment System (Single Strap).

With a custom order like this, there is going to be a wait time which is common across all companies like this one.  At the time of filming, wait times were running 9 – 10 weeks!  Again this is very common with smaller companies who are offering custom products.

The loft on this quilt is amazing!

Awesome for backpacking, camping and hammock use

When compared to other companies; similarly speced quilts would run;

Zpacks : Around the $360 price range

Enlightened : $300

Katabatic Gear  : $460

Without a doubt I would recommend this company and their products as I am more than thrilled with what I have received here.  Absolutely awesome in terms of quality and construction.  Very fair pricing which puts most of their competitors to shame.  Very well thoughtout and very customizable in terms of your order.