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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613

Live in CT, love camping in BWCA, Northern reaches of the Northeast, pretty much anywhere on water.

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Melissa's Passions

Backpacking
Camping
Mountain Biking
Paddling

Melissa's Bio

I'm a young professor and love to get outdoors to blow off steam, exercise my body (rather than just my mind as I do every day), and just relax. So I'm always looking for fun new outdoor opportunities and adventures, whether camping, hiking, kayaking, rockclimbing, fishing, whatever. As long as I'm outdoors, I'm in my "happy place."

HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on August 11, 2011

4 5

I waited a long time to buy this item. I did a lot of research and I waited until it went on sale. And I couldn't be happier with it. I've used it a few times camping in weather ranging from about 40 to 65 degrees at night and it's been perfect in this wide range of temperatures. One of the things I like best about the bag (in addition to the fuzzy hand pouch on the inside) is that the bag unzips from the bottom as well. This allows you to get some ventilation on warmer nights without having to unzip and come out of the bad altogether. It packs down pretty small and the only reason I didn't get this five stars is because it it really hard to get into the stuff sack all the way. I'm not sure how this can be fixed but it's the one thing I do not look forward to when it comes to using this - getting it back in the bag. But, overall, super comfortable - warm when it needs to be, cooler when it doesnt, very soft, no bunching of fabric, lots of loops to connect it to a mattress pad so you don't move around, zippers work easily, the hood is comfortable, and it's pretty light weight-wise.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on April 8, 2011

5 5

As a woman, I was a bit worried this wouldn't be comfortable so I went to a local outfitter and tried the small one on with a 20lb sack. It seemed great and after nearly a year, and as so many others seem to agree, this is an excellent pack. I have used this for everything from solo camping trips of 3-4 days (with just this and a small foodbag), week long trips to Europe and 2 month long trips to Africa and it has worked great for all of them. You can actually fit a TON in this pack. According to the gate agent, I have gotten approximately 50lbs in this and it still carried comfortably, and fit in the plane's overhead compartment. Usually when I travel there is a lot of public transit, buses, waiting, and walking and this pack has remained comfortable for all of them. There are great, deep external side pockets, as well as one in the front where you can stash snacks, your ziplock bag of toiletries or a book. For shorter trips the compression straps allow this to become a much smaller profile pack making it extremely versatile. I have yet to use it but I really appreciate that this pack comes with a rain cover. The side pockets in the hipbelt are big enough to hold two granola bars, so bigger and more useful than some other packs.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on April 8, 2011

5 5

This is great for everything from work to errands to hiking day trips. I am fairly short (5'0") and have never had a pack fit so perfect and be so comfortable.But a friend, who is nearly a foot taller than me, tried it on, adjusted the straps and also loved it. So it seems pretty versatile. Very light. Lots of compartments and pockets too. I also like that with the compression straps it doesn't seem to jut out behind me the way other packs (also with straps) do.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on April 7, 2011

5 5

These shoes are amazing. When I first took them out of the box, they seemed way too light to be waterproof. But they are. They are super comfortable, very breatheable and yet great in all kinds of winter weather. I wound up wearing these doing everything from traversing slippery cobblestone streets in Europe to digging my car out of feet of snow and slush in this year's horrible Northeast winter. But they've transitioned to the spring weather too. My feet are able to breathe during hiking trips. They've been great through everything. I also find them a bit more stylish than the very chunky hiking boots of other companies, these are more sporty and can easily be paired with jeans and a T or sweater. I wound up getting rid of all my other hiking shoes I'd been holding onto after getting my second pair of Siren Sports.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on June 16, 2010

2 5

I have never been more disappointed with a pair of shoes. I loved the tread, I loved their light weight, and I'm not gonna lie, I loved the colors. Unfortunately, from the second I put them on, I realized what others had mentioned - the arch was too far back and too high (note that I have worn Nike's for 15+ years, which are known for high arches, and never had a problem). They were SO uncomfortable. I even tried taking out the Montrail insoles and replacing them with a pair from a favorite pair of Nike's. It helped a little but not nearly enough and after about ten minutes of walking around in my apartment, my feet were in serious pain. Actually two hours after taking them off, I'm still in some pain. I had to return them.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on October 28, 2008

5 5

Although I don't use them, contrary to the specs on the page, it actually does have gear loops that drop down from a velcroed pouch on the bottom of the pack (I literally just found these after owning the bag for over a year) as well as ice ax loops that come out of the bag from hidden spots near the top of the front pocket. Impressive design.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on October 28, 2008

5 5

I used this bag to backpack across Europe for 3 weeks. It was absolutely amazing. It was just big enough to fit everything and just small enough to fit in plane's overhead compartments so that I could carry it on and not risk being luggageless. The trip was during the summer and even in hot places (i.e. Rome in August), the design of the mesh back allowed for airflow and an unsweaty back. It was also really comfortable. I am five feet tall and about 110 pounds and, even though it wasnt a female-specific pack, it fit the contours of my body very well. A number of inside pockets allow for safekeeping and the outside mesh pockets, top pockets and pockets on the waistband allow for plenty of room to store necessities for quick access. Since the Europe trip, I have taken this bag everywhere - camping, hiking, business trips, you name it. It is literally my favorite pack I have ever owned.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on October 28, 2008

4 5

I bought this backpack 5 years ago and it's holding up great on multiple trips - mostly camping but also survived a few cross-country road trips and moves. It took me a while to adjust the aluminum frame bars to fit my back correctly but once I did it's made a world of difference. This has been comfortable on mile-long portage hikes in the boundary waters, whether carrying a canoe overhead or gear bags/fishing poles in my hands. The bag is really huge. At first I thought it was too big but now that I'm going camping on my own, I can use it to hold all my gear - tent & tent stakes, sleeping bag & pad, stove, clothes, food, everything. The detachable pack is great for little stuff to keep around the campsite when the bag's in the tent or on dayhikes. There are about a million pockets for everything - mesh ones, soft ones for glasses, zippered ones, you name it. Also, I like that I can access it from the front without opening up the whole top. Dirt comes off easily from the outside and the inside cleans well too (there was a shampoo spill on a cross country trip in the lid). It's not waterproof (but it does seem pretty water resistant - one year it poured on a travel day in the Boundary Waters so lots of portaging and my stuff inside was pretty dry) so the only reason I'm not giving this a 4 is that it would be perfect if it came with a rain cover.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on October 28, 2008

5 5

I love this filter. I've used it for over a year now on half a dozen trips, most of which were 4+ days long, to places where I pumped water from both running streams and rivers and lakes multiple times a day. Still haven't needed to replace the filter. Water tastes great, works quick, easy to use, easy to store, easy to carry, light, doesn't clog. I honestly have no idea what else I could ask for with this.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on September 30, 2008

5 5

I'll admit, I'm a grown-up. I'm a five foot tall 30-year old woman, well-proportioned (not model skinny) and muscular. Not only do I fit into this perfectly (with room at the feet wiggle, and turn over (carefully), but I LOVE this bag. I'm pretty sure the coldest I've been in has been around 40 degrees and I've always been very comfortable. These have been in early Spring in the upper reaches of the U.S. (BWCA in Minnesota and upper reaches of Lake Champlain). In all cases, I've been in just a "regular" (not super fancy/insulated) tent and on islands with lots of breezes. The fabric is breathable (so you don't wake up all sweaty), and I love the small pocket by the head for little items. The bag easily pulls closed without snags and then velcros shut for a comfy and snug (but not too snug) fit. There are also loops at the bottom to attach to your sleeping pad so you don't slide or wiggle all over the tent. And it all fits into a stuff sack that fits in the sleeping bag compartment of my pack with tons of room to shove other stuff around it. Given how much I love this bag, and it's low cost at purchase time, it's unlikely that I'll buy a "grown-up" sleeping bag unless I decide to do some extreme camping.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on September 30, 2008

5 5

I wound up wearing this as weather system Hannah (or maybe it was Ike) blew through the upper reaches of the East Coast. I was on an island in the middle of a lake that straddles the border of Maine and New Hampshire. It was windy and wet and I was SOOO glad that I bought this before the trip. My upper body stayed dry. The pit zips kept me unsweaty, though with them closed, it's breathable but I don't know if it qualifies as "the most breathable" - I'm guessing there's something a touch better. The pockets were big enough to hold small rolls of toilet paper (what a pain going to the latrine that night) and my flashlight. My lower body was wishing that I got the pants. And now that I'm not on an island, I regularly wear this out and about. Oh, I'm usually a petite. I got the extra small and it's a touch big with just a t-shirt on but is nice because I can wear layers underneath it and it fits perfect. Great jacket!

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on August 20, 2008

5 5

This was my first dehydrated food I ever ate camping and really didn't know what to expect but had very low expectations. This surpassed my expectations and remains my favorite MH entree. And every time I make it, it surprises me how good it really tastes. Not just I'm starving good, but good good.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on August 20, 2008

5 5

My friends made fun of me for bringing these - they said there was no way it would taste like real eggs and bacon. Not only is it about as close as you can get, but my friends were drooling as I ate my delicious bacon & eggs and they munched on granola bars with peanut butter. I never go camping without at least one as a morning treat.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on June 19, 2008

5 5

These were great on my most recent trip. Very light weight and easy to dig into the ground. They stay put great too. However, they are a bit difficult to see in the ground as well as lift out when it's time to pack up. Make sure you keep count of how many you have so that you dont leave these behind!

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on June 19, 2008

4 5

Although I had long wanted an old-timey gas lantern, I decided to go with this one after reading all the reviews. And I was not disappointed. I used 4 AA batteries and kept this on for about 12 hours over 2 nights of camping. There was no unwanted fading or dimming. It illuminated a leanto well and a 2-person tent REALLY well. The legs are also very stable. I attached a carabiner to the small loop at the top and could hang it from trees, the leanto, the tent, etc.

My one complaint is that, when held upright, it's not great for seeing in front of you (i.e. for walking into the woods to use a latrine at night). However, this was easily fixed by tilting it kind of like a flashlight and suddenly i could see half the woods.

For it's size, weight, and power, as I said to my camping partner, this is the best $ I have spent in a long time.

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HappyCamper613

HappyCamper613 wrote a review of on March 17, 2008

5 5

I've taken these on camping trips for three years now and I love them! My friends made fun of me at first - thinking that it wouldnt stand up to a week in the Boundary Waters. They had the older, heavier rubber bags for food and gear. By the end of the trip they werent laughing. They held up, were easily collapsible as the food supplies declined, and were super light and flexible. Fabulous!

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