Free 2-Day Shipping on Orders Over $50
Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on October 30, 2017

4 5

... but it appears that backcountry no longer carries it.

INITIAL THOUGHTS
The problem with tents is that the sharply loping sides rob you of head and footroom. A 7' tent is 7' floor but after putting a couple inches of airpad in, your head is inches higher than the floor so that 7' turns into 5'6" sleeping room.
Thus I liked the straight sides of the Marmot and wanted the Limelight-2 as that is comfortable for a single person and ok for two. For some reason I got the Tungsten over the Limelight (probably that $50) as the sizes are comparable. The Limelight is an inch higher and has an extra square-foot of floorspace which comes down to maybe 3' extra footroom in the Limelight. For a Kayaker, the extra 5 ounces of the Limelight are irrelevant and both tents pack the same. The Limelight has bigger doors which is a plus but....
I bought the tent from Backcountry and it arrived a few days later! WOW!!!

I set it in the living room and the tent set up easily. IMPORTANT NOTE: one side of the tent has a small orange tab on the tent-pole flaps. Those are the loops into which you put the tips of your poles. The rainfly has, on one side tiny orange flaps. Match these so orange fly matches orange tent. I asked the woman at REI why and she did not know but if you mismatch them, the door in the fly will NOT match the door in the tent. So match these orange tabs and the doors will open the same way.

I liked how there was nylon over the head area but the rest of the tent was net. This allows for some star-gazing in good weather with just enough privacy or shade over your head.
I liked that crossbar as it opens headroom and that is more comfortable.

Packing: I am a kayaker so space is more valuable that is weight. I can slide the poles and hammer between my seat and kayak, the stakes in my deck-bag and squish the tent between bulkhead and foot-pegs so it packs well in my kayak. I like the idea of beaching and having my tent handy as the first thing I unpack and set-up. THEN I unload the rest of my gear and the Tungsten fits in my cockpit easily and safely as the footpegs hold it in place against the bulkhead. Other paddlers shove their tent far into the bow and the fly/footprint far into the stern to balance the boat, but these people have to totally unload their kayak to get to the tent. My way gives me a place to store my gear as I unload which is a plus if it is raining when you beach.

MINUS: the footprint is too small. It is also difficult to mount on the tent pole unless you put the footprint on first which I dislike doing.
I like a floor in my vestibule so I ruined the return on the tent by modifying the footprint. I had another footprint from an old ruined tent so I sewed that to the main-vestibule side of the footprint, set the tent and fly up and traced the vestibule. Then I cut and hemmed the new flap, added a stake-loop and used the remainder of the old footprint for the back vestibule.
Some people ask "why" but it keeps my gear cleaner and keeps the inside of the tent cleaner as I leave my dirt on the modified footprint and not in the tent.
There is supposed to be an attic with the tent but I never found mine. I only use the attic for a light and with the light-diffuser flap over the head, I will not miss the attic. It gets in the way when I kneel anyway.

PLUS: The high sides that add to floor space!!! I can go almost to the edge of the floor and still NOT have my head poking into the fabric! More than anything else, this is why people buy the Marmot!

I gave this 4 stars because I only tested it in the living room. Next week I will take it on a week-long kayak trip down the Colorado River and will give a better review when I return.

(0)

 

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on December 20, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

First of all, if you are an ultra-light camper, this is not the stove for you. Go for the Optimus Crux! But for the rest of us, this mid-sized marvel will get the job done.
Yes it is bulky with the fuel canister attached to a long hose but that makes it safe as the stove is lower to the ground and there is an aluminum windscreen between the flame and the fuel.
I am a kayaker so weight is not an issue so I look for dependability which this stove is!
I haul a JetBoil and the MSR Whisperlight in case one fails but I often find that I am setting my Jetboil for hot water and my Whisperlight for actual cooking.
I have the canister version but Harry uses the liquid fuel version and although that initial flare-up on the Liquid Fuel version is scary, you soon get use to it and learn how to keep it down.

There is no real difference between the two other than a bit of cosmetic changes as bot stoves, no matter which fuel you burn, work well and just cannot be beat.

So eat the weight and bulk and have a good stove.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on July 1, 2016

3 5

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

Everyone likes peanut butter toast occasionally. Well, normal guys and kids like peanut butter toast, I don't know about the rest of you.
The problem has always been, how to toast the bread without burning it to a cinder. This is a big step towards that goal.
Essentially, you set the toaster on a campfire or camp-stove, set the bread on the racks and wait.
After using this I can tell you one thing.... Watch the bread!
You need to keep an eye on the bread and keep flipping and rotating it to get an even toast. If you walk away for even a moment, the bottom inside will burn and char.
Still, with the MSR toaster being the only competition, this device will do the job.

Oh yes, do a test burn first to burn off all that oil or whatever they cover the toaster with to protect it. Mine caught on fire the first time but when it burned off, it was fine.

While you are at it, PB2 makes a powdered peanut butter in plain and chocolate which is actually quite tasty. This prevents the problem of hauling a 1# jar in and out of the Wild.

Justin's also makes peanut butter in individual packages.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on May 20, 2016

My boat of choice
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have had this boat for years and it is my default kayak. At 12' it is large enough to camp out of for a week, but small enough to get into places a larger kayak cannot reach.
It will not keep up with the 16' sea kayaks but going downriver I managed well. That large stern hatch allows me to pack almost anything I need and the multi-layer hull takes an amazing amount of punishment.
My only complaint was that it had no forward dry-hatch... so I added a bulkhead and hatch cover.
I've taken this everywhere: Pacific Ocean, Colorado River, a dozen lakes and have never had any problem.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on May 20, 2016

I have this and the XT
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This was designed for the Scuba crowd so they were designed to have a diver toss their tank into the well, then do a wet reentry wearing a wetsuit. When the divers offered a suggestion, OK changed the boat to meet their needs.
Then the fishing community found them to be a perfect fishing boat, going where no other boat could go and remaining stable and afloat when others ran for shore.
Basically, these are really tough and strong boats that take a lot of punishment. When on the ocean, I like them as they are easy to reenter which makes them the rental of choice at many marinas. On hot days, that pool of cold water you sit in is refreshing.
But get the older models which are stronger and lower. The newer models are thinner and not as strong, plus they are higher which makes them tippier.
They are slow and won't win any races but they will keep you safe.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on May 10, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share

I recently purchased this kit to pass on as a gift, having thought about it for some time.
My initial thoughts are positive. I keep the folding spatula and 2 folding spoons in my Jetboil Frypan as I prefer those to the Jetboil ones. I have 2 spoons as I drilled drain-holes on one which leads me to the few suggestions.
First, the salt/pepper shaker is almost useless. It is too bulky for it's capacity and can hold enough for maybe one meal. Make a larger and flatter container for these spices.
Second, add a second spoon with drain-holes.
Third, add a stirring spatula or flat spoon(?) .

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 13, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

A glass of cool wine during dinner after a full day paddling your kayak against wind and rain and waves and... is a civilized thing to do.
I used to fill an old water bottle with red wine and take that but there is that trash so I switches to an individual box-wine but that never came in my favorite wine and there is that trash thing again.
Then I was gifted with this and it works and works well!
Directions:
Choose your favorite Red wine. red travels well!
Fill the platypus with an entire bottle. Don't worry, despite the appearance, an entire bottle will fit into this bota.
Freeze! Yes, you can actually freeze red wine.
When you leave, wrap the bota in brown shopping bags and into your cooler.
At your Put-in, shove it on the bottom of the kayak near the water and paddle!
That night, remove bota, fill your lexan wineglass and relax!
If any is left, squeeze the air out and store on the bottom of your kayak until the next evening.
When empty, use your water filter to convert the bota to another water bag.

Platypus has made an almost perfect item, one that carries your wine, keeps it fresh and cool and is strong enough to take punishment.

(1)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 13, 2016

Frypan rocks!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I saw this on sale at REI and passed it by. Then went back, then walked on. Then went back and saw a woman looking at it so I talked, flirted and she took the pan. A bit later the pan was back on the shelf so I got it on a lark.
I am an add-water-eat kind of guy so love the Jetboil but decided to try out the frypan.
First, at 8 inches, it fits through my kayak hatch and rests vertically against my bulkhead saving valuable space.
And with the purchase of the Jetboil MiniMo, I can actually cook. A fried egg and toasted bagel is easy with the Frypan and impossible with any microstove lid/frypan. Plus I can heat last night's leftovers for breakfast.
My only complaint is that Jetboil gives you a protective base cover but no lid.. so I made one from an old ice cream container lid with holes punched as a drain. Plus the 'lid' is another cutting board.
The Frypan and MiniMo are now staples in my kit.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 13, 2016

4 5

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

One nice thing that I DO like is how an x-bowl nests inside the x-pot and an x-mug nests inside the x-bowl so I can carry bowl, cup and pot in one flat bundle that fits through my stern hatch and rests up against my stern bulkhead taking up almost no room.
It's the packing ability of the X-series that is the seller and properly used, and with the complaints addressed, the x-series promises to be seen more and more on the rivers.

(0)

 

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 13, 2016

X-Pot and Jetboil
4 5

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

I am a Jetboil fan even though the thing is a one-trick pony. Then I got the MiniMo and decided to actually try to cook instead of my usual add-hot-water meals and bought the X-pot.
Now I am not a fan of S2S because I feel that they rush their stuff into production without adequate field testing. But the idea is good! A large pot that can collapse to save space and weight. Yes, they have problems that range from the folds tearing to absorbing food stink but that may be Inspector 45 sleeping on the job. Many other complaints are based on the stupidity of the owner who abuses the pot. Yes the lid WILL crack and S2S refuses to make a more durable lid. So I cut a piece of blue-foam sleeping pad to cover the lid during transport and after covering one side of that pad with some reflective tape, I not only have a protective cover but also a trivet!
The MOST important thing is to NEVER put the pot on a stove that has a too large burner! This means no Coleman stoves and no campfires. There is a ring on the bottom that says "no flames past this point". Listen to that advice.
Despite the flaws, the thing packs down small which is what I want and it nests inside my Jetboil Frypan so I can actually cook on my MiniMo.

Cleaning for me is easier than with some people who complain that the inside markings to designate capacity levels require extra scrubbing to clean. Duh! It's the Wild! Deal! I just set the pot on the ground and my dog cleans the thing well, leaving me to wash dog-spit off the thing. Women think that is gross but it works and really, I've changed diapers which is far worse than rinsing a pot in soapy water.
To most people who dislike the X-Pot, I suggest that you read the directions! It will save you a lot of aggravation.

But for me, the MiniMo, frypan and X-pot are now a staple for my kayak camping.

(1)

 

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

3 5

I bought this to replace my wine glass that had a removable stem. I wanted more stability on rough ground.
To that end, this works and works well. Having the bell closer to the ground prevents a lot of spills.
My problem was that I dislike the feel of the steel as I am drinking so I switched to the Lexan stemless glass with which I am very happy.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

I like it & worth the bulk.
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this on a lark because being a paddler, weight isn't really a concern but keeping my food out of the dirt is.
With 2 heights, it works well and when my stove and plate are on the table, they remain clean and my dog knows to stay away. Anything on the ground is fair game in their mind.
My problems was that the aluminum top was slick so things slid off so I fixed that by using painter's tape on the slates then I got a cheap plastic mat that I cut to size to set onto the table. This mat rolls around the table to help protect it when packed and adds enough friction to keep my stuff ON the table even when it is at an angle.
Plus, while everyone else has their food and stove and plates on the ground and are trying to chop meats on a plate without getting the meat dirty, I am doing so on a table and after setting a table with my plate, flatware and wine glass, I feel civilized.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

5 5

I bought the Goal Zero (and added accessories over the years) to charge my B&N Nook after talking to their tech support. What I found was that if I set the panel on my kayak deck or tent to charge my Nook, it only did 50% or so over the day. BUT, if I bought two battery packs, I could charge one pack in the am, one in thee afternoon then plug the pack into my Nook when I went to bed. At my 2am pee break, switch battery packs.
I don't think that I have ever used the batteries for my flashlights or phone even on week-long trips. But I charge my Nook always.
FYI, I did find that the solar flashlight was great, but not waterproof. I would recommend getting the AA and AAA battery packs and I find that 2 AA packs are necessary but only 1 AAA as most of my gear takes AA.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

5 5

I bought the Goal Zero (and added accessories over the years) to charge my B&N Nook after talking to their tech support. What I found was that if I set the panel on my deck or tent to charge my Nook, it only did 50% or so over the day. BUT, if I bought two battery packs, I could charge one pack in the am, one in thee afternoon then plug the pack into my Nook when I went to bed. At my 2am pee break, switch battery packs.
I don't think that I have ever used the batteries for my flashlights or phone even on week-long trips. But I charge my Nook always.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

takes a bit of thought
4 5

I bought the filter and found that air in the feed line can block the water-flow until the air is pushed past. So I let the dirty water flow from the tube before I connect it to the filter.
A few things to remember:
1- it is fragile so do not drop it or the tubes may break.
2- it is fragile so do not freeze it or the tubes may break.
3- any air in the feed line will jam the filter until the air passes.
4- the thing has a tiny filter! So be a fanatic about prefiltering your water to prevent clogging.
5- when done, reverse the bags to back-flush the filter a bit.
6- occasionally, backflush the filter with a liter of clean water to unclog the filter parts.
7- the higher the dirty water, the better it works.
8- a sharpie is your friend. Write "Dirty" and "clean" on the proper hoses and bags so you don't get them mixed up and highlite the flow arrow with your sharpie.

I like to use the thing when I am at a base-camp. I set it up, go do something and refill the dirty water bag every 10 minutes or so.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnsonwrote a review of on April 6, 2016

4 5

I own three of these, my first one being when they called it the "PUR".
I've used it dozens of times with only one problem, I snapped off the input tube one trip but was able to do a field jig and save the weekend. When I contacted Katadyn AND admitted that it was my fault, they sent me a replacement case for free!
I DID modify it a bit by using my sharpie to write "dirty" and 'Clean" on the proper hoses to avoid mixing them up and by writing "IN" and "OUT" on the filter for the same reason. A nice thing is when Katadyn changed the filters so that the Hiker and Hiker-Pro now take the same filter.
I AM a fanatic about pre-filtering my intake and most bad reviews read "it got clogged when I tried to filter mud" but the world is filled with stupid people.
My ONLY complaint is that the filter unit costs $40 so I strive to extend the life by my fanatical pre-filtering regime.
I also buy extra filter cartridges whenever they are on sale so I always have one on hand.
I love the filter and I love the customer service. And I like how that little spurt on the Nalgene adaptor tells me that my bottle is filled.

(0)

 

0 Comments