Gear Reviews

I have been posting gear reviews on Trailspace over the last couple of years. The links below take you to that great site with my reviews as well as others, and a great community of knowledgeable folks who post in the forums. My early reviews are weak at best but are improving steadily. I always have several more in the works and will post additional links as I complete testing.

I try to test gear thoroughly, but within the realm of what I call the “average” backpacker, if there is such a person.  I won’t generally post a review (although there are exceptions) until I have thoroughly used the piece of gear for multiple seasons (unless the gear is winter only etc.) and several trips.  Many of my go-to items were reviewed after years of use.

The tests are my typical trips of 2-5 nights unless otherwise noted – nothing really extreme.  For wear and tear discussions, keep in mind that I treat my gear with respect and clean/store it properly, although often scramble through off-trail areas and put the outer gear through significant abuse including briers and rhododendron thickets.

I have no affiliations with any outdoor gear manufacturers or others in the industry.  Up until Fall 2016, I have purchased all the gear that has been reviewed.  However, at that time I was asked to join Trailspace’s Review Corps of independent volunteer testers, so a few of my reviews since 2016 will be of gear that was provided through them.  This will not influence my reviews, and will be noted up front in each review.

Sawyer Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent   5/5

Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent    4.5/5

Marmot Ether Driclime Jacket    5/5

GSI Outdoors 10 Ounce Flask  4.5/5

ULA Ohm 2.0 Backpack   4.5/5

UCO Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter (Review Corps) 4/5

Vargo Ultimate Fire Starter (Review Corps) 4/5

Good To-Go Thai Curry  4/5

Good To-Go Smoked Three Bean Chili   4.5/5

Bushnell Poweview 12x25mm Folding Binoculars   3.5/5

Packit Gourmet Santa Fe Breakfast Corn Pudding   5/5


Coghlan’s Fire Paste    3.5/5


Amphipod Swift-Clip Cap Light   4/5

REI Trail Chair   4/5

Smartwater Bottles   4.5/5

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book   5/5

Vargo 1.3 L Titanium Pot   4/5

Trail Designs Ultralight Glasses   4/5


Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof Boots   3.5/5


Sea to Summit Delta Insul-mug   3/5


Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent   4/5


NEMO Astro Insulated Lite   4.5/5

Princeton Tec Sync   4/5

REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Pad 2.5/5

A quick review of an item I returned after a couple of nights of testing.

REI Campware Cup   5/5

Feathered Friends Osprey UL30    5/5

Lightheart Gear Solong 6   4/5

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri    5/5

Marmot Sawtooth  4/5

An early review with no photos of my older go-to sleeping bag (for temps between 0 and 20) that I still use on some winter trips.

Gregory Z55 Backpack 4/5

My first review of what is now my second favorite backpack.  I still use it in the winter when the Ohm 2.0 doesn’t quite hold everything.



Backpacking reviews, trips, and random thoughts