Red Baron

Red Baron

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Red Baron

Red Baron wrote a review of on August 19, 2010

5 5

I had a Sweetwater Microfilter for backpacking for years and then needed to buy a camp-size filter for our summer camps and found this one. It's GREAT! I've had it for more than 2 years and no problems. The crazy thing is, that it's only about 1 oz. more than my backpacking filter, but requires no effort, is a lot faster, and can filter 4 liters of water in no time flat (and no standing over a small stream sweating and pumping!).

I like Jeff's suggestion below to remove the clean water bag entirely and to shorten the output tube - it saves weight and works well. Unlike my Sweetwater, this baby hasn't ever clogged and my favorite part is that it's totally hands-free - no pumping ever! I really like the valve system which you can close/open with a thumb to turn off/on the water flow on the clean side. I always hang the "dirty" bag on a tree (like in Jeff's pictures) and then just use the valve to control the water flow.

Originally, I was concerned about the plastic holding up, but after 2 years of heavy use in varied environments, I find that it's a lot tougher than it looks in the pictures. I've had no leaks, rips, or any problems despite some extreme conditions... I also like that the bags are clear, allowing you to see the water inside, rather than the opaque bag of the MSR Autoflow Gravity filter. I just prefer to see any potential problems rather than wonder why something is going wrong!

As for effectiveness, I do not live in the US or Western Europe and have never gotten sick from this filter. One of my friends from the UK actually asked if she could filter our in-country bottled spring water through it b/c the Platypus filtered water tasted so much better!

If you're looking for a light-weight, easy-to-use, effortless, long-lasting filter with a life-time warranty - this is a really sweet deal!

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Red Baron

Red Baron wrote a review of on August 19, 2010

5 5

I used a few basic foam pads, a Ridge-rest, and then several different self-inflating Therm-a-rests for years of backpacking and camping, and never had a comfortable nights' sleep on any of them (call me the Princess and the Pea).

So, about 7-8 years ago, I bought the BA Air Core Sleeping Pad - Mummy and find it to be the most comfortable pad I've ever tried (I haven't tried the Term-a-rest Neolite yet). It's held up well to all kinds of abuse over the years I've owned it.

I'm 5'8" 145-150 lbs, and as a side sleeper, I find it to be very, very comfortable. The key is to fully inflate it, then lie on it and deflate it a little until it feels just right. Fully inflated is too firm for me, but let some air out and it's more comfortable than my regular mattress. It's also roomy enough that I never feel like I'm falling off (but that could be from years of practice sleeping in high hanging bunk-beds where a fall would be fatal and one must know exactly where one's body is in relation to the bed at all times).

It does take some time to blow up (but less than a pool mattress - I've tried those too, but this is far more comfortable, packs a lot smaller, and is way more durable). And even on cold nights, I never had it deflate.

As for packed size, I can fit it *into* a Nalgene bottle, no problem. I fold it into 4ths lengthwise before rolling it... So, I think the key to making it small is knowing how to fold/roll it - experiment to find what works best for you.

This summer, it developed a slow leak at my last camp and I had to re-inflate it in the middle of each night. :( Hopefully, I can find the leak and patch it - if not, it's supposed to have a life-time warranty! My guess is that it may be from storage (I leave it loosely rolled up in its stuff sack) or just old age... But that said, it's lasted longer than my best light-weight Therm-a-rest (which popped from a cinder and wasn't repairable).

As for the cold, it definitely does NOT insulate well. But that makes sense - it's an AIR mattress for crying out loud! It doesn't have any kind of coating to reflect body heat back or keep out ground temps. The solution for me is to either use a space blanket or a cheap foam pad under it for fall/winter camping (which also help to keep it from sliding around on the ground).

A weight-saving option would be the BA Clearview Air Pad - Mummy (http://www.backcountry.com/outdoorgear/Big-Agnes-Clearview-Air-Pad-Mummy/BAG0129M.html), but the polyurethane is probably not as durable as the 70 denier nylon laminate of the BA Air Core Sleeping Pad - Mummy.

Overall, I think it's the best bang for the buck for a comfortable sleeping pad (and lighter than most at less than 19 oz. for the regular size).

If you don't want to shell out 3xs the moolah for the Therm-a-rest Neolite and can spare the extra 5 oz. or are worried about the durability of the BA Clearview Air Pad, then this is a super sleeping pad to buy - your aching back will thank you!

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Red Baron

Red Baron wrote a review of on March 9, 2009

3 5

I've had this harness for about 5 years and use it mostly for rapelling and ropes courses in youth camps. It is not very comfortable for long periods of time (e.g., on belay) because it isn't padded. I also find that it is difficult to get the waist tight enough when using it in groups on multiple people b/c it doesn't use a traditional buckle system (it's backwards). However, that said it's a good all-around group harness and is fully adjustable. One thing that is really great is the belay loop - it's not dependant on the user's rise (which is a problem in groups with tall or heavier people).

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Red Baron

Red Baron wrote a review of on March 9, 2009

4 5

I've used this harness for about 8 years, for everything from search & rescue to rapelling to climbing to ropes courses. It is really adjustable and I use it for groups and it fits most people (from youth to larger adults). The only downside is lack of padding (so it is not super-comfortable for long use) and the rise not being adjustable (which means group use is more limited). However, it is durable, simple to use, and light-weight. If you're looking for a no-frills, easily adjustable harness, this is a great one!

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