Katadyn BeFree Upgrade! – Larger Water Bag & Gravity Filter System

Using the Katadyn BeFree Water Filter with a HydraPak Seeker 2L Reservoir and Gravity Filter Tubing Setup.

After my previous review of the Katadyn BeFree water filter, I discovered and acquired a compatible water reservoir bag that would increase my filtering capacity to 2L – the HydraPak Seeker collapsible water bottle (also available in a 3 liter version).  The main challenge with the BeFree filter is finding a water bottle or reservoir with wide mouth 42mm threads, which the HyrdaPak has.

In the video I go over my thoughts and experiences using the Katadyn BeFree in conjunction with the HydraPak Seeker 2L and Sawyer Squeeze 64 oz Pouch as part of a gravity water filter system, as well as a stand alone squeeze style system using just the HydraPak Seeker and BeFree.

System Components Seen in the Video

Katadyn Befree Water Filter With Hydrapak 0.6L Collapsible Flask
Hydrapak Seeker 2L Water Storage Bag, Mammoth Grey (for dirty water)
Sawyer Inline Adapters for Screw On Filters
1/4″ Food Grade Plastic Tubing
Sawyer Squeeze Bag – 64 oz Pouch (for clean water)

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter Review

My thoughts & review of the Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter Bottle – 0.6 Liter for Backpacking & Camping

The Katadyn BeFree is a backpacking water filter with a very small footprint and low overall weight.  In this video I’ll cover all of the bases from the initial unboxing, to specific features, individual item weights, test usage out in the field, pros and cons based on individual backpacking styles, as well as some thoughts of future improvements for the system.

Specs and Features as per the Manufacturer

  • Dimensions (in) 9.05
  • Diameter (in) 2.73 ∅
  • Output (gal) 2.11 quart/min
  • Technology Hollow fiber filter 0.1 micron
  • Weight (kg) (oz) 2.05
  • 0.1 micron water filter removes harmful organisms like bacteria 99.9999% and protozoa like Giardia & Cryptosporidium 99.9%, surpassing EPA standards
  • Collapsible 0.6L hydrapak soft bottle flask packs down small to fit in tight spaces (pant or jacket pockets, purses, cycling jerseys, fly vests.
  • Ez-clean Membrane is simple and easy to clean by simply shaking or swishing the filter to clean debris, no backflushing or extra tools required
  • Filters up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without using chemicals or other devices and • hydrate quickly and easily with the free flow channels fast flow rate
  • Stay clean drink nozzle keeps the mouthpiece clean and sanitary (replaceable with standard plastic water bottle caps)

Update: After further research, it looks like there may indeed be a third party bag that works with the wide mouth threads on the BeFree filter cartridge.  It looks promising, but I have not been able to personally test it’s compatibility.  It’s called the Hydrapak Seeker 2L Water Storage Bag

 

HikingBear Trekking Poles Review

A Review of HikingBear Trekking Poles

In addition to checking out the Hiking Bear poles I also discuss my personal experiences with finding the the right trekking poles for ones individual needs in terms of balancing price, features, quality, etc.  For comparison, I compare to other poles to the HB poles, as well as go over the differences in how to use the trekking poles in terms of locking mechanisms, etc.

Other poles seen in the video
Suisse Gear Trekking Poles – my first budget hiking poles.
Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Z-poles – heavier grade poles for more rugged winter trips, mountaineering trips, etc. (no longer in production?)

Specs for the Hiking Bear Trekking Poles, as per the Manufacturer

Carbon Fiber Shaft for reduced weight with and increased strength vs aluminum
Weight: 8.1 ounces per pole (I confirmed this on my own scale)
3 section collapsible shaft.
Collapsed length: 25.6 inches.
Maximum expanded length: 53.1 inches.
Grip: Ergonomic syncork grip made of soft EVA material with strap, waterproof and anti-slip texture.
Tip options for different terrain: Each pole comes with a pavement and a snow basket to prevent sinking in a variety of hiking terrain, especially muddy basin, snowfield or grassland.

 

Dutchware Double Chameleon Hammock & Spreader Bar System

Hanging Two Hammocks & One tarp on a single set of Trees using the Dutch Chameleon Hammock with Beetle Buckles and Spreader Bar.

Click here to visit the Dutchware Chameleon Kickstarter Page 

For this video, Sara and I will be experimenting with our new double hammock system by Dutchware to hang both of our hammocks side by side without the need to find 3 or even 4 trees in order to set up without having the two hammocks bump into each other.

The key pieces of hardware that make this possible are the Dutchware Spreader Bar pole with end pins that lock into the holes on the new Dutchware Beetle Buckles suspension system.  When attached at the head end, the spreader bar will keep the two hammocks at a comfortable distance apart.  For the video, we’ll be using a 36 inch spreader bar pole, shorter poles can be used as well, or you can even cut down your existing poles to shorter lengths.  This can help minimize see-sawing, as well as create opportunities to use narrower tarps,

Speaking of tarps, one of the very attractive points of using this system is the ability to pack just a single tarp to be shared by two hammocks.  However, you’ll have to keep in mind that you’re required space will be a bit wider than usual.  This is especially compounded by non-rectangular tarps, such as those cut in the popular hexagonal shape.  Because tarps of those kind are only at their full length along the middle seam, you may find that you’re hammocks don’t quite fit underneath anymore, due to the tapered sides of the tarp.  My 10’x12 Hennessy Deluxe Hex Tarp is a hexagonal cut and suffered this symptom.  For future trips, I may experiment with a narrower spreader bar, or I may just get a dedicated rectangle shaped tarp for use with this hammock system.

Link to Sara’s Instagram: @SarasGreatAdventures , as mentioned in the video.

 

Dutchware Chameleon Hammock – Up CLOSE detailed look

A close up look at the Dutchware Chameleon dual hammock system.  On kickstarter now.  Field test to follow in part two.

Click here to visit the Dutchware Chameleon Kickstarter Page 

Hammock Length:  11 foot for flatter diagonal lay.
Hammock Width: 58 inches

In the video I’ll give a close up table top look at all of the components of the Chameleon hammock.  The Chameleon is a modular hammock system, allowing customization depending on specific needs such as lay direction, top coverage (bug-net, sold winter over-cover, or netless) and various storage accessories.

The feature that interests me the most though, is this hammock’s ability to be set up with two hammocks connected to the same single set of trees, using an aluminum spreader bar combined with Dutch’s new Beetle Buckle suspension system.  This could come in particularly handy for hammock camping trips with my wife.  Stay tuned for the field review!

Product overview from Dutch

“The Chameleon is a full-featured hammock designed from the ground up. Each of the components that go into the Chameleon have been developed by us to create a versatile and modular light weight hammock that adapts to its environment. Because you can remove and change out components, the Chameleon will be the only hammock you will ever need.”

Link to Shug’s video that I mentioned: A Peek at the Dutchware Chameleon Hammock

Link to Sara’s Instagram: @SarasGreatAdventures , as mentioned in the video.

 

Aukey 30,000mAh Portable Charger Review

A Detailed Review of the Aukey 30,000 mAh USB Battery Bank. 

For this gear review, I’ll go over the specs, operation, and my own personal experience using the Aukey USB charger.  My primary perspective for this charger was from that of a backpacker looking to keep his gear running in the woods on backpacking and hunting trips, but I have also found the AUKEY 30000mAh Portable Charger with USB C Input & Output charger to be quite handy even for just around the house or on outings away from home.

Specs and Features, as per the Manufacturer

  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
    Engineered to refuel devices up to 4x faster than conventional charging. Powered by INOV (Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage) Technology for fine-tuned power output and more optimized charging cycles. Up to 45% more efficient than Quick Charge 2.0 & compatible with a full range of USB connector types, from A to C.
  • Turbo Recharge at 5V 4A
    Simultaneously plug into the micro USB and a USB-C input on the PB-Y3 to recharge the Power Bank in about 8 hours with a combined current of up to 4A. Large Power Bank capacity doesn’t have to mean long wait to recharge.
  • AUKEY EntireProtect
    Advanced circuitry and built in safeguards to protect devices against excessive current, overheating, and over charging.
  • Universal Compatibility
    Designed to work with all popular USB powered devices from iPhones to Android phones, tablets, photography gear, Bluetooth speakers, headphones and more. Whatever USB powered gear you’ve got, we’ve got you covered.
  • 24 Month Warranty 
  • Battery Indicator Light
    Press the power button once to check the remaining battery level. Battery level is indicated by the color of the LED indicator light. green battery indicator light means your Power Bank is charging, when it reaches 100% the light will turn white.
    Red 0 – 30%
    Green 30% – 70%
    White 70% – 100%
  • Technical Specifications
    Capacity: 30000mAh
    Micro-USB Input: 5V 2.4A
    USB C Input / Output: 5V 3A
    Output 1 (Quick Charge 3.0): 3.6V-6.5V/3A, 6.5V-9V/2A, 9V-12V/1.5A
    Output 2 (AiPower): 5V 2.4A
    Dimensions: 5.9” × 3.3” × 1.1”
    Weight: 20.4 oz