Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Stove Speed #1 - Pocket Rocket 2 VS BRS 3000T - VERSUS!





Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR



Today Luke begins his search for the fastest backpacking stove on the market!  This is VERSUS and to start off with this series, we have the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 vs BRS 3000T.



Which shall be the winner and move on to face the others?


Monday, February 26, 2018

What Do You Need? - Optimus Elektra FE Cook System Review



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Today Luke is reviewing the Optimus Elektra FE Cook System!

....

Link : https://www.optimusstoves.com/us/us/16999-8019748-optimus-elektra-fe

Price : Retail is $100 but you will find this for a bit lower here and there.

Weight :

Entire Kit : 1lbs 1oz and that is without a can of fuel.
Pot with Top : 9.7 oz
Stove with storage bag : 2.9oz
Wind Screen : 3oz
Sponge : .4oz
Piezo ignitor : .7oz
Aluminum

The Elektra FE Cook System is a fuel-efficient, high-performance wonder – you get a 28% faster boil time at a 20% fuel savings. (Small print: faster compared to a normal pot with no lid or windscreen.). The lightweight system that fits snugly in your pack includes the Crux Lite stove, a heat exchange pot with lid and a new non-stick coating, clip-on windscreen, our practical BOB cleanup sponge and a handheld Piezo ignitor. I’ll take your “fast” and raise you one: In just over 2 minutes, you have boil and soup’s on!

Fuel Type
LPG gas canisters
Boil Time
2.3 min/1L
Burn Time
[max output] 90min
Heat Output
3000W
Piezo Ignition
yes
Includes crux lite stove, heat exchange pot, lid, grill pan, piezo igniter, windshield

…..

·       A lightweight, fast-cooking backpacking stove
-        Not the lightest or the Fastest .  You will see some describe this set as ultralight but that isn’t accurate.  In fact, as a kit it is heavy compared to titanium offerings…which are much lighter and more expensive.
·       Boils a liter of water in under 2.5 minutes – I found it to be around 3 minutes with my testing.
·       Windshield makes cook times faster
·       Piezo ignition lights stove without lighter or matches
·       Lid doubles as fry pan for added versatility

The lightweight Crux Lite stove features Heat Exchange Technology and 10,200 BTU of heat output for fast and effortless boiling.

Review :

I tend to go more minimal with a focus on light and fast backpacking but as a whole this is a great kit.  This is a great kit which is only missing a few items such as a spork and so on.

It’s a nice setup for the price

The medium size fuel canister, the stove burner head (in its own transport bag), and the Piezo lighter all fit inside the pot system with room to spare. Also included is a drawstring closure mesh bag that encases the whole system. This makes for easy transport and setup. The Optimus "system" fully meets my needs.

would highly recommend for all conditions except extreme cold and altitude since the fuel used does not work well in those conditions.

The nonstick surface is especially nice if you are cooking while out on your adventure. The "frypan" top makes great egg pucks for sandwich thins. It will do a nice sausage patty too, but you are gonna have to cut up the bacon slices.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Four Season Excellence - Sierra Designs Convert 2 - Review



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/theoutdoorgearreview/

It is time to review the Sierra Designs 4 Season Convert 2 tent.  I've put the time into this product so you don't have to and here are my thoughts!



Link :  https://sierradesigns.com/convert2/

Weight :
Minimum Trail Weight
4 lbs. 9 oz.
Packaged Weight
5 lbs. 2 oz.

Price : $499 retail.  This may sound high but for a 4 season tent, it isn’t.  There is a 3 person version available.

Setup : The setup for this tent isn’t all that quick and that’s pretty common for most true 4 season tents.  Tents which can handle the elements typically take more time to setup and to anchor it down.  This isn’t a con so much as a common trait to such tents.  There are some 4 season tents which are much quicker to setup but there are always going to be trade offs.  Always!

It’s an easy process but it is one that takes time

Experiences :

I have almost a week of cumulative time spent in this week which involved steady rain for over 10 hours without a single leak.  It has endured strong winds up to 40mph and snow.

Temp ranges have been from roughly 35f to 10f.

This tent has handled everything that I have put it into with ease and the most impressive aspect has been the handling of wind!  This tent is rock solid and I mean that, ROCK SOLID.  It has easily handled a winter storm with winds up to mph and never did I feel uneasy.

It handles the snow with ease.  Winds with ease.  Rain so far with my testing with ease.

I am concerned about the rear vent and whether or not wind driven rain could enter through the zipper.  Based on other Sierra Designs tents which I have tested, I would say that it would likely leak but that would be a very rare occurrence and would be a very specific failure which wouldn’t be likely.

Very durable so far with my testing.

Lots of living space – good for two people.  Palace for one.

Vestibule offers you a lot of space for cooking and gear.  For tall people it be hard to hunker in but it is completely useable.

Ventilation is excellent and even with camping out in 10+ hours of rain I didn’t have any issues with moisture build up.

Mesh door and vent which not all 4 season tents have

Very compressible

Great storage sack

Color : Love it or hate it, this is what you get with a sierra design product.  I often refer to their color schemes as tele tubby colors.  I don’t hate it but I do wish they would go with dark earth tones as that would open up their products to a new market of individuals.  I see the comments on their products in my video and the most common complaint are the colors.

Not the smallest of tents; will need some space to setup

Pros:
Mesh increases versatility
Strong waterproof DriZone material
Ventilation
Jake's corners and internal guylines(optional) increase tents strength in high winds
Adequately sized for two people and gear
Lightweight and compact in fastpack mode
Price
This tent comes in component parts. Because the vestibule zips off, you can better divide up the weight of the tent / poles between two carriers.
Once sealed up, will hold in some heat!

Cons:

Cheap tent stakes included
Non-Reflective Guy Lines

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Best Backpacking Pillow Ever? - Snugpak Basecamp OPS Air Pillow



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Like Beautiful Pictures? Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/theoutdoorgearreview/

Today Luke is reviewing the Snugpak Basecamp OPS Air Pillow!



Link : http://www.proforceequipment.com/product-details.php?id=572&catid=24

Weight : 85g to 2.9oz

Price : Retail is $19 / strangely on Amazon at the time of filming, there was one company who is selling this pillow….for $73.44 plus $4.49

Colors : Olive Coyote and Navy Blue

The Snugpak Basecamp Air Pillow inflates just right, whether you like a hard pillow or one with some movement/flexibility., you decide how you want it. This one is tough, high quality and durable. When not in use it can be easily deflated and stored. Light and compact, it comes with its own stuff sack and repair kit.

SIZE 18 x 10 x 3in | 45 x 25 x 8cm
PACK SIZE 4 x 5in | 10 x 13cm
WEIGHT 3oz (85g)
FABRIC 30D Stretch Fabric/TPU Coating

Review :

Very nice product. Good quality

Lightweight

Nice storage stuff sack

Pillow materials are soft and comfortable; pleasant to have against your face and skin.  A lot of pillows on the market are not very comfortable and will require you to wrap them in different material

Good solid Valve. Not Cheap or flimsy like some.



Easy to inflate..

Easy to release the air and fold it.



Stuff sack is perfectly sized.



When inflated, it is incredibly soft; not hard or harsh when laying upon it.



This is not a super thick pillow; about 3 inches when inflated.

Pro Tip : If you need more thickness, release some of the air and then fold the pillow in half; perfect solution!



Oddity 1 : When inflating your pad, it is incredible loud!. It sounds like a jet engine!. Not a con, just worth mentioning.



Oddity 2 : Pad is supposed to come with a repair kit. Mine review model didn’t have one and I’m not sure if that is because it is a T&E model or it was a mistake.



To Sum It Up :

This has to be one of my favorite pillows; it’s perfect for backpacking and camping.

Great in a tent.

Great in a hammock.


Monday, February 19, 2018

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/theoutdoorgearreview/

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

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




Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

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 : https://sierradesigns.com/flex-capacitor/

Features

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

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 : https://dragonheatwear.com/collections/womens/products/wyvern-womens-heated-jacket

...




Thursday, February 8, 2018

Explorers - Day Hike Adventure with Photos and Stories



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Explorers....
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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

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 : https://www.ucogear.com/sweetfire-strikeable-fire-starter-mt--sfp

Amazon Link : https://www.amazon.com/UCO-SweetFire-Strikeable-Firestarter-Piece/dp/B01L2V5E6A

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

Hunting

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/theoutdoorgearreview/

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 :  https://sierradesigns.com/convert2/


Thursday, February 1, 2018

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



Support TOGR with Patreon : https://www.patreon.com/TOGR

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/theoutdoorgearreview

Today Luke is reviewing the UGQ Bandit Top Quilt!

Light, Warm and Less Expensive than other companies!

….

Link : https://ugqoutdoor.com/top-quilts/bandit/

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.