Optimus HE Weekend Cook System

Optimus Weekend HE Cook System w/ Windscreen

January 18, 2016

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  • Overview

Optimus Crux HE Weekend Cook System

This is a review of the Crux HE Cook System that I have personally owned and put to the test against many other name brand stoves and also have put to the test against some pretty tough elements. I do a great deal of Hiking/Camping in the south and although we do not see the single digit temperatures that are experienced in the north, we do get some pretty wet, windy and sometimes cold days. These kind of damp conditions can sometimes make for a difficult cooking experience. So I posted this blog to list the good and bad I have encountered with this stove.

Below is a list of everything that I used in my review video and the weight of each item.

  • Pan/Lid – 2.6 oz
  • Pot – 7.3 oz
  • Stove – 3.1 oz
  • Windscreen – 3.2 oz
  • Storage Bag – 0.6 oz
  • Fuel Cradle – 0.7 oz

I did not however factor in the fuel because of the variety of sizes that can be purchased.

  • Links

Here is the link to the video I did using the stove inside of my garage and outside in 15 to 20 mph gusts to show the efficiency of the stove.

  • My Thoughts

This stove has been a great asset to my pack. I have used this stove several times in varying conditions from high lake winds to extreme cold weather. For the weekender looking to boil water to make it potable or for a dehydrated meal this is a great stove. One thing I liked about this stove over similar stoves like the MSR Pocket Rocket is the fact that the stove burner was a little bigger so you got a more even burn. The downside to this is if you crank the stove up you can waste fuel if you are not careful. This stove can produce over 10,000 BTU, which is not controlled can waste fuel. When you couple it with the 0.95 litter pot with the integrated Heat Exchanger (HE), the stove will (in my opinion) out perform any stove on the market. I was able to bring 2 cups of cold water to a boil in exactly 1 minute 28 seconds with this stove and only utilizing 7 grams of fuel. The lid/frying pan works great for me as a lid or a bowl to eat out of. I never quite understood what you could fry in it as small as it was, but it works great for a bowl. One downside that this stove has is the ability to bring it down to a simmer. This seems to be a problem with most of these canister stoves but with practice it can be managed. As far as cooking in the pot goes, 1 pack of Knor Fettuccine Alfredo, 2 table spoons powdered milk and 2 cups of water and I had a delicious Fettuccine Alfredo dinner in about 7 minutes. I have tried several different stoves over the years and always seem to come back to this stove. I have used Pocket Rocket, Snow Peak, Jet Boil, Chinese Knock Off, Primus Eta Lite (Second Favorite) but I always come back to this one. I believe this one is my favorite pick because it just big enough to do more then just boil water, but it is just small enough that you do not feel like you are carrying the kitchen with you. I would highly recommend this kit for anyone looking for a good quality stove.

Hammock Camping on a Budget

Get Out!

So you want to give hammock camping a try but you don’t want to shell out a lot of cash to do it. Or…maybe you’ve spent a night or two in a hammock and you know you like it but you just don’t have the bucks to shell out for the latest gear to keep you warm, comfy and off the ground. Unfortunately, hammock camping, like most obsess…errrr…addict…ummm, no…hobbies, yeah, that’s it, hobbies, can be rather expensive. A starter hammock without a built-in bug net will typically cost $45 to $65. Add another $25 to $40 for suspension. A silnylon tarp, ridgeline, tie-outs and stakes will set one back at least $100 and warm weather top and underquilts, can be upwards of $300 combined. Live in an area with lots of skeeters, no-see-ums or vampires? You may also want a bug net…there goes another $50 or more.

One could easily…

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Flat Creek Hike

Flat Creek Public Fishing Area (PFA)
Perry, Georgia
Saturday, January 16, 2016

I have been hiking Flat Creek PFA for many years now and I can honestly say out of all the places I have hiked, it always provides surprises. This hike started like all of the rest, I crossed the open fields to get to the road that enters the woods, then I made my way to the old cypress flat pond deep in the forest.

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Once there I stopped, hung my Hammock and then waited to see if I might see any wildlife moving along the edges. Being pretty uneventful I decided to pack up and move on, as I was walking to a different section I stopped to notice something unusual in the road. It looked like a dog had been scratching at the ground and it looked fresh. At that moment I heard the woods come alive around me and when I looked up, I was staring at a pack of coyotes. I had never been that close to a pack before, I could have literally brushed one with my hand as he sped by me to take retreat. I counted six in the middle of the commotion and got no pictures before they had vanished as fast as they appeared. After taking a moment to take it all in I moved on to next stop. I got to back of the lake and took a few pictures and then found the place where they had been bedding quite often.

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As I left this area I checked my GPS and had gone about three miles when I decided to do another three, so I took the right fork in the trail. It was about ten minutes after making that decision that I almost stepped on the four foot Timer Rattlesnake.

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I guess it being about 58 degrees outside it had crawled out to get some sun. Whatever the case I took that as sign to turn around and head back to the truck and calling it a day. I can honestly say that every time I go here to take a walk or do a good hike, I always come out with a good (or bad) story to tell.

 

Hammock vs. Tent Camping

One of the newest transformations taking place in the world of backpacking and camping is the hammock. The hammock has been around for centuries and has always been thought of as something you would hang by the beach or in your backyard. In the past couple of years people have discovered the advantage of sleeping in a hammock vs. a tent. This idea is so new in the US that it is hard to even find very many vendors in the market of hammock camping, but if you start doing any research you will find tons of people searching for information on the subject. So what exactly is driving this sudden madness to throw everything out that people have spent decades collecting and start over? When you hear the answers, it makes you stop and ask yourself, why didn’t I think of that?

  • Comfort

I would have to say the first and top reason is comfort. Let’s face it: sleeping in a tent can be uncomfortable compared to your bed. When you lie in a hammock, it is like lying on a fluffy cloud. The first time I got in my parachute hammock I almost fell asleep and that was in the backyard just trying it out. Once you master the proper hang and angle you will be sleeping as flat as your mattress at home. If you have ever trekked into the back country and then tried to find flat ground that has no roots or rocks, then you know what a pain it is. In my opinion the hammock will win every time in the category of comfort.

  • Weight

Once again when I factor in my hammock gear vs. my backpacking tent, the hammock wins every time. With my hammock setup (Hennessy Hex Tarp 24 oz, Yukon Outfitters Double 17 oz, Klymit Static V Insulated 21 oz) I am still way below the weight of my tent, which is almost 6 lbs. (Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2). If you are trying to save weight in your pack (and most everyone is in today’s backpacking) then hammock camping is for you.

  • Luxuries

I am going to list all of these next items together. As a general rule of thumb when it comes to bugs: if it does not fly, then you do not have to worry about it in a hammock. This means all you will need is a bug net for your hammock for mosquitoes. NO MORE BUGS CRAWLING ON YOU OR YOUR BED! Most people don’t realize that the bugs that are on your tent or supplies come from the ground and not trees. Since your hammock is attached to the trees, you don’t have to worry about it. Next on my list would be the view. The view from your hammock when you wake up gives you what you went out for in the first place: wilderness. You can pitch your tarp as closed or as open as you would like so you can view everything around you. Next is my absolute favorite: your hammock doubles as a chair, couch, swing……………………. The list goes on and on.

Well there you have it, now go out and buy all new gear. I am not saying that but I suggest you at least give it a try if you love being in the outdoors as much as I do. Well as always thanks for reading and please subscribe to any of my social media feeds if you like this post.

 

 

BearButt Hammocks

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I have just reviewed the new Bear Butt Double Parachute Hammock from Bear Butt and I have to say I love it. It is relatively light weighing in at just about 16 oz and the quality of the the stitching is phenomenal.  If you click on my product review page Product Reviews I will publish all of the details along with a video showing the hammock in use along with the pro’s and con’s. So far I am extremely impressed. You can also see my YouTube video review at YouTube BearButt Review

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s

  1. Cost – You get a ton of bang for your buck here.
  2. Quality – The quality of this product is very impressive when you consider the stitching and materials used for the hammock.
  3. Weight – the weight is also pretty good (about 1 pound) when you take the provided ropes and carabiners  out of the equation.

Con’s

  1. Attachments – This is one thing that most people who use hammocks especially hammock campers change because of weight. If you watched my video review then you would know I prefer WhoopieSlings ( www.whoopieslings.com ) because of the weight and quality.
  2. Size – This is the real uncontrollable Con of the product. At 6′ wide and 9′ long this is to short for the diagonal posistion for someone like me at 6’2″.