Mail Call – Winter Camping Glove Strategy, Camp Saw Options & Astro Photography

Topical discussion on various Backpacking, Camping, Hiking & Travel topics.

Topics Discussed / Links to Items Seen on this Episode

  • Hiking the Florida Trail?
  • White Water Rafting Trips?
  • My previous canoe camping trip experience.
  • Some fresh threads from Lucid Skis up in Maine
  • Thoughts on winter gloves for camping and backpacking trips.
  • Sealskinz Ultra Grip water proof gloves
  • Camera that Sara used for the northern lights pics in our recent Iceland video.
  • Panasonic GM1 Camera (no longer in production, I scored Sara’s on Ebay)
  • Venus Laowa 7.5mm F2.0 ultra wide angle lens.
  • Mittens / Overmits for camping.
  • Discussion on camping saws for backpacking trips.
  • Canadian Shield Pocket Chainsaw recommended by viewer
  • Coleman Folding Saw
  • Finding Flight Deals
  • How we came about going to Iceland (twice)
  • A huge thank you to Dwayne for the Xmas gift box.
  • How to make easy and amazing trail pizza, with packable ingredients.
  • MSR Flex Skillet for ultralight backpacking camp cooking.
  • There’s noting like a post-hike burger.
  • I need to do a solo winter backpacking trip somewhere within drving distance of the Mid-Atlantic. Any suggestions?

Mail Call – New Sawyer Select Water Filter & Outdoor Vitals MummyPod Hammock Sleep System

In this episode of Sintax77’s Mail Call, I check out the new Sawyer Select foam water filter, and a hammock camping sleep system by Outdoor Vitals called the StormLoft Mummy Pod, along with their netless hammock system with whoopie slings.

I also open some viewer mail and discuss Permethrin vs Picaridin vs Deet for tick and mosquito treatment of backpacking and camping gear.

Links and Info for the Sawyer Select Water Filtration System

  • Official Sawyer Select Filters Webpage Link
  • The three Select systems reduce chemicals down to 0.5 parts per billion (up to 40 times lower than the EPA’s maximum recommended level) and reduce pesticides down to 0.01 parts per billion (400 times lower than the EPA’s maximum).
  • The Select S2 and Select S3 models go even further, purifying contaminated water from suspect sources.
  • Select S2 filters out 99.99% of viruses.
  • Select S3 filters out 99.99% of viruses and reduces heavy metals such as copper, arsenic, and mercury down to 0.5 parts per billion (up to 260 times lower than the EPA’s maximum).
  • Weight: 9.25 oz total for bottle with foam filter and hollow fiber membrane filter attachment.

Links and Manufacturer’s specs for the Outdoor Vitals 15° StormLOFT Down Mummy Pod

  • Official SormLOFT MummyPod Webpage Link
  • Easily switches from use as a mummy sleeping bag to a pod system to fully insulate a hammock!
  • Patented footbox allows hammock to run straight out of the bottom of the bag and seal, or zip it up for use on the ground and insulating baffles keep your feet warm!
  • Redesigned shoulder baffles seal cold air out and add additional comfort!
  • StormLOFT™ 800 fill power hydrophobic down provides premium performance in both loft, warmth and dealing with adverse weather conditions!
  • NEW YKK Anti Snag Zipper makes it virtually impossible to damage your sleeping bag while zipping it up. It also provides easier zipper flow making it a breeze to get in and out!
  • Vertical baffles keep the down locked into place both on the hammock and on the ground.
  • Included suspension system keeps the bag from sagging or moving when using it on the hammock
  • Extra shoulder room (grid) keep the bag extremely comfortable and roomy.
  • Outdoor Vitals Lifetime Warranty: Here at Outdoor Vitals we believe in standing behind the craftsmanship and quality of our products. Anything that was our fault, we fix so you can feel confident that you’re getting exactly what you paid for!

Links and Manufacturer’s specs for the Outdoor Vitals Ultralight Solo Hammock

  • Official Outdoor Vitals Ultralight Solo Hammock Webpage
  • Weight: 14 oz (finished model may be 13 oz)
  • Hammock & Carabiners: 9.5 oz (finished model may be 8.5 oz)
  • Suspension System: 4.5 oz
  • Unfolded size: 9′ x 4′
  • Compact size: 7″ x 4.5″
  • 7/64 inch dyneema™ whoopie sling
  • 1 inch thick by 6 foot long double looped polyester tree strap
  • 40D ripstop nylon fabric
  • Triple stitched
  • Wire gate high grade aluminum carabiner
  • Rated to 300 lbs when used properly

Olight HS2 Headlamp for Running & Hiking – Review

A Review of the Olight HS2 Headlamp for Running & Hiking.

In this gear video I go over my personal experiences with using the Olight HS2 rechargeable headlamp system, specs, features, and operational procedures to access the Olight H2R Nova’s light modes and charging functions. As a backpacker more so than a runner, I also go over my thoughts and experiences with using this as a running headlamp vs a hiking and camping headlamp.

HS2 Specs, as per the Manufacturer

  • Beam Distance Max: 279 feet / 85 meters
  • Max Performance (lumens): 400
  • Charge type: Micro-USB
  • Compatible Batteries: Customized LiPo Battery
  • Light Intensity (candela): 1,800
  • Light Form: Wide/broad hotspot. Perfect for up close illumination.
  • Lens / Reflector Type: TIR bead lens (wide/broad beam)
  • Mode Operation: Side Switch
  • Size Factor: Small size (Car key / Zippo Lighter)
  • Series: Series H (Headlamps, Multitasking)

Unique Characteristics

  • Can be powered directly from any USB power source – never run out of battery.
  • Dual LED system for long range and up-close wide illumination.
  • Audible beep at 10% battery capacity to alert the user to charge.
  • Compact and lightweight at only 4 ounces.

Lighting Levels

  • Dual Beam High: 400 lumens , 2 hours 12 minutes
  • Dual Beam Low: 100 lumens , 9 hours
  • Single Beam High (wide or spot): 200 lumens , 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Single Beam Low (wide or spot): 50 lumens , 18 hours
  • Moon 1 lumens Cool White / 1 lumens – Neutral White – 45 days
  • Strobe: No
  • SOS / BEACON: Yes

Technical Characteristics

  • Waterproof: IPX4
  • Weight: 4.06 oz , 115 grams
  • Length: 24mm / 0.94 in
  • Head Diameter:  23mm / 0.91 in
  • Body Diameter: 45mm / 1.77 in
  • LED: Cree XH-G2
  • Use: EDC, car, camping, fishing, household, general use, fishing, climbing, cave exploration, outdoor activities, house activitie

Package Contents

  • Flashlight Olight HS2 x 1
  • Rechargeable  2000mAh 3.7V Lipo x 1
  • head strap x 1
  • Pouch x 1
  • Replacement Cable Clip x 2
  • 1.5-meter Micro-USB Cable
  • instruction manual x 1

Other items Seen / Discussed in the Video

An Eco Friendly Camping Stove? – Enki Wild+ Stove Review

A Review and Demonstration of the Enki Wild Portable Pyrolytic Stove System.

Specs and Features, as per the Manufacturer

Enki Wild Stove:

  • Battery Life 50 Hours ( With One Charge )
  • Weight 1.3 Kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Power 2.5 KW
  • Chamber Max capacity ~ 0.2 Kg (.44 lbs)
  • Power Supply 5V USB
  • Fuel Any Biomass

Enki Wild+ Stove

  • Weight 2.7 Kg (5.95 lbs)
  • Power 8.5 KW
  • Power Supply 5V USB
  • Fuel Any Biomass
  • Chamber Max capacity ~ 0.9 Kg (2 lbs)

Overview (Quoted from the Manufacturer)

  • “Enki Stove Wild is a outdoor camp stove, designed to run with every kind of biomass, avoiding the transportation of gas tanks or charcoal, everywhere and without smoke.”
  • “Enki Stove Wild is a portable pyrolytic stove. Our stove transforms the fuel into gas instead of burning it directly. Through this particular process, you can have a clean, stable and smokeless flame.”

Enki’s Official Website for the Wild stove line

Other gear seen in the video: Aukey 30,000mAh USB Power Bank, AllPowers 21W Solar ChargerSOG FastHawk Tactical Tomahawk

 

MSR Flex Skillet Review …and other thoughts on choosing a Camp Skillet

A review of the MSR Flex Skillet camping fry pan, as well as a discussion of other camp skillet options for comparison.

The MSR Flex Skillet is a light weight, easy to pack frying pan aimed at weight conscious hikers who wish to do some some more advanced cooking on their backpacking and camping trips.  And by “more advanced”, I mean more than just boiling water for a dehydrated meal.  Because some of us, myself included, think anything more than boiling water on a 3 oz stove is going full back country gourmet.

If that sounds like you, then you may be interested in the MSR Flex Skillet, or maybe even it’s little brother, the MSR Quick Skillet, which we’ll also touch on a bit in the video.  If your a more hearty backpacker looking to do some heavier duty cooking on perhaps a canoe or car camping trip, then the MSR Flex Skillet may be a tad more minimalist than you need.  Towards the second have of the video I’ll also go over some heavier duty alternatives (as the MSR Alpine Fry Pan), as well as some more inexpensive options, depending on your expected usage and needs.

Below are the Flex Skillet’s Specs and details, according to the manufacturer.  *As discussed in the video, I did find some discrepancies with MSR’s official specs.

Manufacturer’s Specs and Details

Weight 7 oz / 199 g
Height 2.5 in / 6.35 cm
Diameter 9 in / 22.86 cm

Easy Clean-Up: Scratch-resistant, hard-anodized nonstick aluminum.
Versatile: Nests with MSR® Flex 3 and MSR® Flex 4 Cook Systems and Pot Sets.
Includes: 1 Talon™ pot handle.

Pocket Chainsaw Review – Lightweight Backpacking and Camping Saw

A Review of the Pocket Chainsaw – a Packable, Lightweight Backpacking or Camping Saw 

As discussed in the video this is not a brand specific review, but rather an overview and discussion on pocket chainsaws in general. There are many different manufacturers out there making camping and survival saws with this general design, so if this design meets your usage needs, it’s probably best to just find the best value one available to you. As you can see, it’s basically just a length of chainsaw blade with nylon handles attached at each end.Of course there are minor variables to keep in mind, such as specially designed blades, alternative handle shapes, and chain lengths.

The specific model seen in the video is a Chainmate 24-Inch Survival Pocket Chain Saw With Pouch style= (model CM-24SSP), but any brand with similar features should be just fine. It’s pretty much your standard pocket chainsaw in terms of quality and features, so I think it makes for an decent baseline for reviewing this type of saw.