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Allison's Passions

Hiking & Camping


Allisonwrote a question about on June 28, 2014

What sleeping bags would this work with?

Currently trying to decide between:
1. Western Mountaineering TerraLite 25-degree down in 6 feet
2. Nemo Nocture 15 or 30 degree Down (Regular).

I'm almost 5'9, 180, and a side sleeper, and sleep warm. I like having one foot out as a temperature regulator.

I'm open to any suggestions sleeping bag and sleeping pad wise, since I'm very unsure about what to pick. I also see the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite and the Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL pads.

I see there's a new one from Big Agnes the Double-Z, which sounds really really nice.

I've also had Big Agnes brand bags recommended to me but nothing jumps out at me at this point.

This will primarily be used in Arizona, and I would like to get a liner for the inside of the bag so I can keep it clean when out in the backcountry.




Allisonwrote a review of on May 26, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This is a review for the Black Diamond Spot (2014 Version).

The difference between the 2013 and the 2014 versions is the lumens (90 v. 130) and the advertised distance of the light (70m v. 75m).

Putting the batteries in it was difficult. The instructions didn't show how to remove the case (it flips up from the bottom). Took 3 people to figure out how to open it (one of which owns many headlamps and stated that it is not like the other headlamps.)

Once you remember the buttons and the click combinations, this head lamp is a breeze to use. I love the fact that if you were previously on red light mode, and you turn the lamp back on, it's still in the mode you last left it in.

Both spot and red light mode have the ability to dim which is a huge plus.

There is a lock mode for this lamp to help prevent it from turning on. I didn't have any issues with this (yet) as others have stated, but try to pack my bag in a way so that it doesn't turn on.


1. When you turn it on for the first time, a light indicator on the side with a gauge and color (green, yellow, red) shows how much battery life you have left.

2. When hanging out at the campsite, it works great as a flashlight for someone coming down the campsite path at a distance.


1. Would have been nice to have instructions on how to take the case off to change the batteries.

2. Maybe I'm just picky, but I felt like the proximity mode did not give enough light in the center.

As I use it more, I'll come back and add more opinions.

So far, I would definitely recommend this head lamp if you can get it on sale!





Allisonwrote a question about on May 14, 2014

Hey Daryl, thanks for the answer!

The other one that I'm looking at is the Nemo Equipment ones - love the "spoon" style ones since that also fits my sleeping style. Just wish Nemo bag had the ability to stick your feet out.

I've been in the Backcountry Bed in the store but the thing that bugged me about it was that it didn't seem like the quilt would stay in place/tucked in during the night (especially on my back and that it would be all pulled forward to my front).

Did you have any issues with drafts getting into the bag or the quilt staying in place during the night?




Allisonwrote a question about on May 12, 2014

Has anybody actually used this on a trip?

I see a lot of questions and videos about how awesome this bag is.

I love the features on this (if there are any other sleeping bags where I can stick my feet out, let me know!)

But what I really want to know...has anybody actually USED it out on the trail?

Also, I was told that you HAVE to have a sleeping pad with this one as the other mummy bags you may not have to have a sleeping pad, but this one definitely requires one for sleeping out on the trail.




Allisonwrote a question about on April 17, 2014

What is the difference between this one and the Marmot Always Summer, other than the degree difference?

I'm 5'9, and I get hot easily while sleeping, especially my feet.

Looking for a sleeping bag that I can use in the deserts of Arizona...maybe up north in the mountains year-round. Thanks!




Allisonwrote a review of on April 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is my first CamelBak pack. I did my research on several different hydration packs, including trying them on in store before settling on this one. Went with a 3L pack because I can add less water if needed. The pack is a bit heavy, but well worth it for the amount of stuff you could potentially carry!

I bought this to take it hiking (3+ hours). No issues. The 3L water pack provides plenty of water for those who hike in the Arizona Desert.

Review is geared towards people who may be new to hydration packs and the Antidote reservoir system.

Hydration System Review

- fits well against my back, good support especially when using the hip belt.

- the reservoir attaches to a handle (baffle) inside the pack, keeping it from sliding down.

- tubing runs through the top and through one of the straps on the pack. I wasn't aware of the clips on the strap but it keeps the tube in place.

- Hidden dryer arms are fantastic. It's confusing to see where they are unless you watch the video. I recommend having something you can hang it on like a towel rack.

- filling the Antidote reservoir was hard, a bit difficult to close especially if you fill it up all the way. Definitely recommend doing it in the sink. (I use RO or purified water, keeps it clean).

- I had trouble the very first time attaching the tube to the reservoir, wouldn't connect all the way and leaked. Second time, I practiced before filling it, no issues.

The NV back panel system with articulated pods - I didn't notice much of a difference between having this on my back or nothing, so it does a good job of ventilating, but back still gets sweaty.

The cargo pockets on the hip belt do not hold an iPhone's easy to take the pack off and swing it around to access it if you need it and put it back on.

Quick note - if you get it with white on it, dirt gets on it quickly. Colors are also true to picture.

Overall, this is well worth it and I am very happy for a first-time hydration pack user!