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Sam's Passions

Camping

Sam's Bio

seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote an answer about on February 10, 2013

The only problem is that this (and nearly all) filters are not effective against waterborne viruses, which may be of concern in untreated water in undeveloped countries. It would be a great first step, but you are probably well-advised to treat the water for viruses as well, after its been through the MiniWorks. A UV treatment or some sodium chloride drops/tablets would get you really in the clear.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote a review of on June 14, 2012

4 5

This has been a very handy unit thus far. Charge it up before you go, toss it in your pack, and if you need some extra juice for your gadgets it'll be ready and willing. Ability to strap it on to the top of a pack is key, and in my mind sets it apart from the competition. My Restore reliably holds a full charge for weeks and feels very durable. I now pack only USB-rechargeable gadgets knowing I won't need extra batteries and can rely on the Restore to keep them going.

Don't think, however, that two little solar panels like this will keep you super-juiced all the time. I always charge mine at home and use solar just to supplement while I'm out and about. I take a 3GS iPhone into the backcountry as GPS / nerd toy, and after 4-5 hours of direct sunlight the Restore will only boost the 3GS by 10-20%. Fully charge it at home, on the other hand, and it will deliver 1.75 full charges to the iPhone (w/o solar exposure). So don't take it into the backcountry empty if you intend to rely on its power. Small solar panels like this will take days of full sunlight to fully charge the Restore, but will help extend its ability an awfully long time if you charge it at home first. (And never, ever rely solely on electronics! Always take a paper map too, just in case...)

I'm also a bit disappointed in the durability of the plastic covering the solar panels -- hence 4 stars instead of 5. I've had my Restore for all of three months, have only taken it on a half-dozen trips, and it was never dropped or saw any nasty conditions or abuse. And yet, some major scratches have already formed on the plastic over both panels. Luckily the scratches aren't directly over the solar panels -- yet -- and now that I know I'm careful to wipe off debris before I fold them onto each other. I'll probably take a little piece of felt or something along in the future that can sandwich between the panels and keep them safe, but a little rubber molding around them to keep them slightly elevated from each other would clearly have gone a long way. So, Brunton, for your next revision, figure out a way to keep that soft plastic from rubbing against itself -- it's too scratch-prone!

Overall, though, I'm very happy with this little device.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote an answer about on June 1, 2011

My Losi 3P got a tiny, tiny bit wet once (well, more like damp) on the non-door sides during a heavy rain and wind storm. But for the most part it's stayed bone dry inside -- only during that once crazy storm did it show signs of getting wet, and as soon as the wind subsided a bit it dried right out. I was never worried.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote an answer about on May 31, 2011

I would suggest you check out a UV sterilizer instead. Since the tap water in foreign cities will at least be free of particulates, a filter is overkill. You just need to kill off those foreign bugs that your system isn't used to -- and a UV setup, like a SteriPen, is perfect for just that.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote a review of on May 31, 2011

5 5

Just to second all the great reviews, I love my Optimus Crux. I suspect I have one of the older versions with a little wobble in the burner but great flame control, and I'm opting to keep it. The wobbling is a minor annoyance, but once you're aware of it you shouldn't have any problems.

Tiny, powerful -- what more could you ask for? It fits best on the 4oz fuel canisters -- the 8oz canisters stretch the elastic on the case a bit too much, and the case swamps over the sides of the smaller canisters. But they all still fit together in one way or another, and with a little ingenuity your entire mess kit will fit inside one pot with this stove in your arsenal. I've taken it on numerous backcountry outings, and it now comes highly recommended by me.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote a review of on May 31, 2011

4 5

My SteriPen Classic has been, overall, a pretty handy little device. Remember that it is only for certain circumstances -- it's not good for treating water that's not already fairly clear or may contain other contaminants like pollution, pesticides/fertilizers used in agriculture, and so on. So think about the water at your destination before you take the plunge.

That said, if you're looking for an easy way to treat high mountain streams or lakes -- water that's not likely contaminated with other particulates -- then the SteriPen is very, very handy. Mine has been a trooper, reliable and with plenty of battery life. I use those Lithium disposable batteries (my rechargeable ones haven't worked well at all with this unit), and one set (4) has treated several dozen liters of water with no trouble. Carry an extra set (they're very light batteries) and you'll be set for at least several days of constant use.

This would also be an excellent addition to your luggage when traveling to places where the tap water cannot be trusted, though I have not used it for this purpose.

And if you think you'll need to treat anything other than mountain streams, lakes, or foreign tap water, opt for another system. Think of the SteriPen as a sort of modern approach to boiling water -- if you wouldn't want to drink the water after just boiling it, then you won't want to drink it after zapping it with the SteriPen.

This combo set with cap and pre-filter is especially awesome, as it solves both the particulate problem with that little filter and the contaminated threads problem. Screw it on the top of your bottle and it covers all the threads; remove the little pre-filter after filling and the SteriPen fits snugly in its place so the Pen is mounted to the bottle, so to speak, and you don't have to hold it while it does its thing. Makes for a complete and very handy overall system.

Oh, and mine does not take AAA batteries, but rather AA batteries. Not sure why it's listed here as taking AAA, unless they changed the design. Most other SteriPens take those CR123 batteries, which are smaller but can also be harder to find. So, I prefer the AA battery version just in case I need a battery refill from that little backwater gas station -- or, more importantly, when abroad. Good luck finding CR123s in most third-world countries...

I have had one reliability incident with my SteriPen. My hands were just barely wet when I went to replace the batteries (stupid rechargeables, failed me again!!!), so the Pen got a little wet in the battery compartment and, presumably as a result of this, kept giving me a dreaded red light for the rest of that trip. So I packed it away, planning to send it back when I got home. But once I was back to civilization it worked again, so I hung onto it and haven't had a single problem through four other backcountry adventures, usually 3-5 days apiece.

So you do need to be a little careful with your SteriPen, and always bring tablets as a backup. I would also recommend carrying a little packtowel or something else to dry off the unit in case it gets wet. And if it stops working, open it up and let it air out. But that caveat aside, it makes for a fantastic and very, very easy way to make fresh water after hiking through the backcountry. If I'm going high in the mountains where I know the water isn't subject to pesticides or other sources of nasty pollution, I leave my filter at home and just bring the SteriPen (and some tablets, of course). No pumping, very little waiting, and no hot drinking water. Overall, very awesome.

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seventysut922415

seventysut922415 wrote a review of on May 25, 2011

5 5

I've been through a few tents in my backcountry adventures and the Nemo Losi 3P is easily my favorite. Easy to set up and tough as nails (er, well, for a tent), I feel very confident in any kind of weather if I'm sporting my Losi.

I've been in rain, snow, sleet, and high winds in the Losi and never once did it have any problems. Water stays out (save for a wee bit on the non-door edges, which are not totally protected by the rain fly when things get windy) and the dual vestibules are more than large enough for gear -- and even some light cooking if conditions outside are really bad.

And, of course, I've been in fantastic weather in the Losi as well. It ventilates very well and is easy to keep cool (enough). And the mostly mesh sides and roof are great for falling asleep under the stars.

The footprint does add what seems to be quite a bit of bulk, and its attachment method feels flimsy. But I've never had it disconnect from the tent and/or bunch up on me. Some of the clips used to secure the tent to the poles can be hard to get on or off, and I do worry about all the plastic that I'm putting a lot of force on to setup/take down the Losi. So I just try to be on the safe side, slow and careful, when I'm handling the plastic clips and Jake's Feet -- but again, nothing is yet showing any signs of damage.

After living with this tent for two seasons now and taking it through many adventures, I could not be happier. For the weight and space it takes up it gives you an awful lot in return -- a rock-solid, well designed backcountry shelter suitable for any weather. Bring on the storms -- I've got a Nemo Losi!

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