Friday, June 28, 2019

Everything Goes Wrong - Day Hike Adventure

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There are moments where nothing seems to go the way that you plan and that is especially true on the trail but that doesn't mean that it isn't fun! :D

Our recent hiking adventure series comes to an end with everything going wrong!  Join us for a Cluster #@$* of a good time on the Appalachian trail!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Modular Sleep System Molle II Sleep System Carrier

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Want to Attach the Modular Sleep System to any backpack?  This is the Molle II Sleep System Carrier and it makes that possible!

Link : eBay and just about any military surplus provider; they are very common.

Price : Around $25 is very common

Weight : 1.4lbs

NSN : 8465-01-465-2124

Measurements : 15” x10” x 9" Approx. 1500 Cubic Inches (25.5L)

Materials : water-resistant Cordura nylon

Made by SDS

Versions : Can be found in multiple camo patterns including woodland which you see here.

Compatible : Works with the MOLLE II system as well as other military packs such as the Alice pack.

Features D-Rings so you can attached a shoulder strap to if you desire to carry it.

Was designed to fit the MSS; You will have to compress the hell out of it but it will in fact fit.

I see online that the term Molle II seems to confused people as they think that this means that it is Molle/pals compatible which it is not.  It was designed to fit with the Molle II rucksack.

Wht I like about this is that you can strap this to just about anything with a little ingenuity.  Molle II, Alice, ILBE, Eberlestock pack and so on.  Something to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work.  I’ve seen some rig up their packs so that they have two of these attached for when there is a need to carry large amounts of gear.

Big enough for just about anything; large sleep systems or even combination of shelter and sleep system.  Hammock and sleeping bag, tent and bag, tarp and bag

I often hear complaints when it comes to attaching these to backpacks because you have to remove the buckles; that is par for the course so if you wish to use this system, you will likely have to do remove the buckles, feed the strap and then reattach.  It’s not that big of a deal.

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!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Hidden Gem - FallingWater Cascades - Day Hike Adventure

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This is part 1 of a 3 part Day Hiking Series where Susie and I adventure deep into the mountains of VA.
For this episode it features a Hidden Gem which we discovered with the FallingWater Cascades!
The Series ends with an adventure where just about everything goes wrong.....still fun though!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Combat Field Pack - CFP-90 Military Backpack Monster

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This is the military backpack which often goes forgotten by military surplus fans and today it is time to discuss it!

Large!  Heavy!  Copied!  Capable!

This is the CFP-90 Rucksack – (Combat Field Pack M-1990)!

Link : eBay or Military Surplus Provider
Price : Used can be found for $50.  New for around $150 with patrol pack
Weight : 8lbs without the patrol pack
Size : Huge Pack with 6,800 (110 liters)cubic inches of storage space
Material : Nylon Cordura ·

NSN : 8465-01-286-5356

Camo : These only come in woodland camo from what I understand; if you see one in a different pattern it is likely a knock off.

Versions : Other militaries have updated designs of this pack such as the Indian army which features Molle all over the pack.

It should be mentioned that prototypes of these packs popup everyone once in a while including those which are OD and brown in color.

Measurements :
the main upper compartment is 20” x 14” x 8”

the lower is 10.5” x 14” x 10.5”

if the false bottom is opened the entire main compartment will measure 31” x 14” x 8”.

The one large right pocket measures 18” x 6” x 3.5” and the two smaller left pockets each measure at 9.5” x 6” x 3.5”.

History : The design of this pack came from a WWII USMC Jungle ruck and was released in the late 80's and was later discontinued at some point in the late 2000's with the last of these being made around 2008.

I have heard over the years that early versions of this pack were made by Low Alpine and all of them are known for having various problems especially with the frame and breakage.   From what I have read, these were normally used by Recon, Rangers and Special Forces and that the Army decided that they were simply too big and bulky for regular use.

During the course of the CFP-90, the problems associated with the first versions were not correctly solved and some problems still passed on to the second models.

Pros :

Huge excellent
abrasion resistance and water repellency
Adjustable harness
Can easily haul over 70lbs

Bulletproof – Don’t let this term confuse you; every once in a while I’ll see some comment in regards to this term and for some reason there are some people who don’t understand it.  It means strong, not literally bulletproof.

Excellent value for the money

Cons :


The biggest complaint I've heard about the genuine ones is the plastic piece that attaches to the sliding adjustment for shoulder strap height has been known to break.

There are known quality issues no matter the version

Monday, June 10, 2019

Teton Sports Responds about the AmazonBasic 55L Backpack

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Being Agenda free means that I can hold companies accountable for what they say and do...or don't say and in this episode of Companies Respond, I have an interesting story to tell about Teton Sports.

Can I continue to support them and make their recommendation to others?

Friday, June 7, 2019

That's a Knife! - Maxwell Edition 2 - Viewer Mail Episode #60

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This is the second episode of the Maxwell Edition of Viewer Mail!
Maxwell, I can't thank you enough for all that you have done.
I hope that you all are ready to see some Military Surplus!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What the Heck is a Mini Alice Pack?

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What happens when you take a famous piece of military surplus (Alice Pack) and shrink it down to a mini size?

Nothing good!

This is the Mini Alice Pack....

Weight of Entire System : 3lbs 11oz Approx.

Cost of Entire System : $113 before shipping fees

Pack Link :

Frame :


Pack :

Price : $60

The Small Nylon Alice Pack at Army Surplus World is a great, durable pack for recreational use. The Small Nylon Alice Pack is ready to transport your gear safely, time and time again. G.I. Style Mini Alice Pack features shoulder straps, 3 outside pockets and measures 14 1/2" x 12" x 7". ALICE stands for All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment system and was adopted by the United States Army in the 1960's to help soldiers carry large heavy packs.

It too me forever to figure this out as there are no markings on the pack itself but hidden away on the Army Surplus World Web Site it says that it is made by Rothco and Fox Outdoor.  If you are interested in this pack, make sure to pay attention as Rotcho has a canvas version which will not fit on the frame.

This is referred to as the Rothco G.I. Style Mini Alice Pack

Features According to Manufacture :

• Constructed of durable P.U. coated polyester

• Large main compartment under storm flap

• Hidden map pocket under flap with hook & loop closure

• 3 outside pockets with compression buckles & 2-snap closure

• Wrap around compression straps over storm flap

• Adjustable padded shoulder straps

• 14 1/2" x 12" x 7"

• 600 Denier Polyester

No waist belt unless used with a frame

Frame :


Price : $53

The 5ive Star Gear® GI Spec LC-II ALICE Pack Frame is designed as a mount for either the medium field pack or the large field pack. This frame comes complete with everything you need for comfort to carry large loads with no problem, including shoulder straps and kidney pad. Item is compatible with the 5ive Star Gear® GI Spec LC-II ALICE Pack.;

Features According to Manufacture : 

Heavy duty construction

Complete frames include all straps kidney and shoulder pads



Summary :

A viewer sent me this pack and for that kindness I am incredibly thankful.

At first, I was highly confused by this; I’ve used medium and large Alice packs but I’ve never seen a small and there is a reason for that; it’s terrible!

As far as a review goes; I wouldn’t purchase this pack and I certainly wouldn’t use it with a frame.  Yes it looks cool and initially I thought that it was really, really awesome but as I begun using it the more it became clear that this simply isn’t a realistic backpack.

At this size, it is too small; so small and so limited that it is virtually impossible to use unless you are carrying only a few items.  I was going to use it with my latest overnight adventure which was a survival trip and I had virtually nothing with me with the exception of a small emergency shelter and some minor camera gear and it simply wouldn’t work.

Look awesome but isn’t useable.

The outside pockets are very small.

You can remove the frame and that will increase the storage of the bag but will decrease the overall comfort as the pack will become more round shaped and won’t fit flatly on the back.

If you like the Alice pack, go with the Medium one; don’t get this one.

Good for school? Maybe if you are carrying a few books….maybe.

Something else to keep in mind is that that Gi Style of packs, copy cats in other words have a strong reputation for failure; it’s a simple fact and if you go out and buy one of these, be ready to treat it gently and to have problems.  This pack is made out of polyester, not nylon.  Polyester isn’t the best of materials for backpacks.

More of a novelty in my opinion and for the pack itself, it is very expensive.  I wouldn’t recommend buying this; take your money and buy something else. Buy a medium alice with frame for $55 and call it a day.

Frame looks to be very well made and I don’t personally see any issues with it.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Worth $20? - Canway Wood Burning Stove - Review

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Looking for a good quality wood burning stove that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?  This is the Canway Camping Stove!

Link :

Price : $20 on Amazon at the time of filming

Weight : stove - 1lb 1.8oz Bag - .6oz

It is time for another gasifer stove review and today we have the Canway Camping Stove.

First off, I love stoves like this as I have always been interested in the design; this one was sent by a viewer to review and I happily accepted the challenge.

Longest title every; Canway Camping Stove, Wood Stove/Backpacking Stove,Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Stove Nylon Carry Bag Outdoor Backpacking Hiking Traveling Picnic BBQ


Pros :

Easy setup.
Very good quality – no flex at all- impressive for $20

With good materials, it takes roughly 3 minutes for the gasification process to start and the stove is ready to go.

Wind resistant.

Thanks to the size, it can burn for a very long time and it is easier to simmer with than some wood stoves.

Coals will stay hot very a very long time

Legs have been sturdy so far with no bending or flexing.

Good quality mesh bag.

Centralized flame

Cons :


Legs are stiff to move which I actually like but time will tell if they become very hard to move which I can see happening.

Smokey until it gets going; it’s a wood stove….so I’m taking this off of the con list.  If you don’t like soot and smoke, don’t use a wood stove!

General cons to wood stoves like this;

Cons - this takes longer overall than my Optimus. I enjoy the ritual of building the fire and tending it, but if you’re with impatient people or needing to get on the trail quickly this may not be for you. And you also have to wait for the stove to cool after use.

- I may not be able to use this in the parks if a burn ban is in effect

- it does get soot on your pots

- you have to tend the fire and keep it fed and hot

Summary :

For the money, there isn’t much to complain about; hey, it’s only $20!

Want to improve the design; drimmeling some of this material would make feeding slightly easier