What is in the kit?
January 21, 2016
When you first see the title, you probably think I am going to go into a long boring discussion about what comes in a first aid kit. The title was actually a question for you to determine if you have ever looked inside your kit. Most people today (I am also guilty) will go out and purchase a first aid kit and never open it. They throw the thing in their pack and off to the trail they go. They have a false sense of security knowing the kit is in their pack and they feel safer for it being there. I am writing this because I went to my first aid kit to retrieve the burn cream for my wife, who had burned her finger, and I realized that there was no burn cream in my kit. This prompted me to take the kit out and look through it; instead of multifunctional items that could save my life, I mostly found a bunch of bandages and not much else. At that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have discovered this now and not 8 miles back on the trail suffering from a serious laceration somewhere. This got me to thinking how many of us who might be looked upon as a make-believe doctor on the trail, have never actually taken out our first aid kits and practiced with them. I’m guilty of this myself: having spent hours playing, preparing and practicing with everything else, I have never practiced with the one thing that could save my life.
Cleaning Your Camping Pots
Just a little food for thought. The next time you are out on your adventure and you need to clean your favorite pot, try using dirt. I know it might sound crazy, but it actually works very well. Don’t try it on non stick cookware, but for any other material it works great. I usually use dirt, rinse and dry.
Water Bottle vs. Hydration Bladder
January 20, 2016
When I go on a short or long hikes I always bring my small pack with my hydration bladder to make sure I have plenty of hydration. When I go on an overnight trip or longer I choose to take bottles and a filter for two reasons. First, the bladder creates a weird shape to try and work around when trying to pack the pack. Second, I can use the water bottle at night as a source of warmth if needed. I always carry 2 X 32 oz. Wide Mouth Nalgene Bottles. One attached to my backpack shoulder strap and one packed away in my pack full of water. I also carry my MSR Mini Works EX filter along with a 2 liter MSR Hydromedary that I use at camp. What I like to do is fill my pot with water that I have filtered at bedtime, boil the water and place it back in the bottle that emptied on the hike that day. Place that bottle in my sleeping bag at my feet and it will provide warmth for hours while I sleep. The next morning I have cooled drinking water literally at my feet.
MSR MiniWorks EX
Nalgene Wide Mouth
Optimus Weekend HE Cook System w/ Windscreen
January 18, 2016
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.
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.
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.