Gear Review: Sawyer Mini Water Filter

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Water Filter
Trail weight: 2 ozs
Price: $20-25
Link:  Sawyer Mini Water Filter
Pros: Ultralight, Reliable, Compact, 0.1 microns, modular.
Cons: Fragile bags, slow gravity filtration.

Sawyer Mini Filter

Sawyer Mini Filter, Capable of 0.1 Microns.

When Sawyer released the Squeeze Point One Filter (Squeeze), it immediately became a hit.  At 3-4 ozs for 0.1 microns, it was light enough for non-filter users and iodine tablet users to make the switch.  We have been using the Squeeze filter over the past few months and love the weight savings.

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Gear Review: Teton Sports Scout 3400

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Backpacking Backpack
Material: Rip Stop Nylon
Trail weight: 72 oz (4.5 lb)
Price: $60
Link:  Teton Sports Scout 3400
Pros: Extremely durable, inexpensive, integrated rain cover, height adjustable backing, fits in airplane carry on luggage rack (on top)
Cons: Heavy for the size, narrow profile, plastic clips cut


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Gear Review: Tarptent Squall 2

The Squall 2 is a non-free standing two person tent that utilizes one or two hiking poles to pitch.  The tent packs small and has a minimum foot print in your pack.  It has a great space to weight ratio, making it popular with ultralight backpackers.  Please note the photos don’t show the tent complete taut.  It was 95 degrees outside at 9:00 AM in the morning when I was pitching the tent in a few of the photos.

Fly Creek UL2, Tarptent Squall 2, Mountain Hardware Scout

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Tent
Material: Sil-Nylon
Trail weight: 34 oz
Price: $249
Link:  Tarptent Squall 2
Pros: Light, collapsing tub, uses four stakes to pitch, great wind stability, larger than comparable tents, very small pack weight
Cons: Condensation, misting during the rain, difficult to pitch in rocky or hard packed dirt Continue reading

Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3

Fly Creek

Fly Creek UL2 (left) and Fly Creek UL3 (right) at Catalina Island

We used a two person tent with our dog Dakota for a few trips before we realized that the tent was too small for the three of us.  Dakota would have a hard time finding a place to sleep, so much so that she would usually sleep on my head (don’t ask).  We knew we needed a larger tent and we knew we wanted an ultra-light tent that was not much heavier than our Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (FC UL2).  We decided to pick up the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 (FC UL3) in place of our FC UL2 for most of our trips.  At 3 lbs 3 oz trail weight, it was about a pound heavier than the FC UL2, but offered more space and was a true free standing tent (unlike the UL2 model).  To date, we have approximately 20 nights  in the tent in varying conditions (summer, winter, spring).

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Tent
Material: Rip Stop Nylon
Trail weight: 51 oz tent + 7 oz foot print
Price: $449.95 tent, $70 foot print (street price is around $350)
Link:  Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3
Pros: Light, tub expansion, excellent air circulation when guyed out, wide roof, true free standing, fast fly option, seam sealed.
Cons: Price, Sloping door design, extremely thin fabrics, flexing in windy conditions, inner tent pitch before fly.

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Gear Review – REI Ultra Dog Pack

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Dog Pack
Material: Rip Stop Nylon
Trail weight: 18 ozs (small)
Price: $75, on sale for $25
Link:  REI Ultra Dog Pack
Pros: Light, large storage pockets, well balanced and won’t slide off the dog, somewhat water proof.
Cons: Price, weight distribution is important for proper fit, minor chaffing, straps will drag if not tied properly, belly pads move around a lot.



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