Category Archives: Reviews and Tests

AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt

I have added a new piece of equipment to my kit in an attempt to make my backpack lighter and to provide flexible sleeping options. The AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt is a very reasonably priced lightweight down quilt, it has a 650+ white goose down fill and weighs just 460 grams.

I took the Alpkit Cloud Cover on a recent woodland hammock camp where the temperature dropped to 20160221_150609[2]0c/32f and while the quilt is not warm enough just to use on it’s own I inserted the quilt inside my lightweight three season sleeping bag and was very warm all night.

My plan is to use the quilt as a liner for my three season bag in the winter and colder nights and then use either the three season bag or quilt on its own on warmer nights. The quilts is suitable for hammock and ground camping and can be clipped together with attached plastic poppers to turn it into a sleeping bag. In the bag configuration I found that I had to leave the top poppers open as it was quite tight when they were all closed. The dimensions of the Cloud Cover are:

  • Length: 185 cm
  • Width top: 133 cm
  • Width bottom: 94 cm

The Cloud Cover also has chord at the top and bottom so either can be synced up to ladadream_456_456autoprovide additional warmth. The quilt material is very soft and comfortable against the skin, in fact the material is very fine.  The quilt has enough width to tuck the sides under to prevent drafts. I would say that if you are over six feet tall that the quilt would probably not be long enough, but it is just right for me at 5’11.

cloud-cover-stuff-sack_1200_801autoI was able to pack the quilt and my sleeping bag in the sleeping bags bag which meant that I didn’t have any additional space taken up by the quilt. I would only do this while traveling as they are both down and need to be left to loft while not in the backpack.

The AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt does not come with a lofting bag so you will either need to make one or store it with another down sleeping bag.

I really enjoyed using the AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt and look forward to trying it again soon.

 

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Thrunite TN12

When you are off the beaten track, either camping of backpacking is is important to have a good flashlight. What I mean by a good flashlight is, one that is robust, waterproof and has several different settings. I have had a number of good flashlight over the years but I decided to invest in some newer technology.

Flashlights have come a long way in the last few years, they have moved away from the traditional bulb and now use L E D (light emitting diode) technology. What this means is that they a much more reliable and a LOT brighter.

THRUNITE TN12

The flashlight I decided to purchase was the ThruNite TN12, it has all the features I had been looking for and was a very reasonable price compared to competitive flashlights. The Thrunite TN12 uses one 18650 battery which provides the flashlight with a lot of power, the flashlight can produce 1050 lumens on the highest setting, which is very impressive for such a small flashlight

The Thrunite TN12 is also ideal for Survival and Search and Rescue as it can throw it’s beam for quite a long distance while also providing a good amount wide spill. The flashlight also has a strobe mode which could come in very handy in emergency situations.

Thrunite TN12 Specifications:

  • Uses one 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123A batteries (not included)
  • Max output: 1050 lumens
  • Reverse polarity protection design to protect from improper battery installation
  • Five versatile modes available: 1050 lm (90min) 800 lm (1.5hour) 280 lm (5hours) 20 lm (74 hours) 0.3 lm (1585 hours)
  • Aircraft-grade aluminium body
  • Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
  • Smooth reflector gives perfect beam and throw
  • Dimension: 143mm (Length) x 25.4mm (Diameter)
  • Weight: 82g (without battery)
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Zebralight H600FW Outdoor Charging System

When you are out camping it’s always a good idea to take a torch or headlamp, my preferred headlamp is the Zebralight H600FW. This particular headlamp has many impressive features including it’s strong alloy construction, it’s water resistance and most importantly it’s performance. The Zeebralight H600FW produces nearly 1000 lumens on full power and can last for months on the lower power setting on one battery. Having said that I believe it is necessary and economical to have a way of charging the expensive 18650 batteries while away from home. For this purpose I chose a power pack and a USB charger…

This charging system works very well and has been used several times in the field. It also proved a very flexible solution as the power pack can also be used to charge a mobile phone or any other electrical device that has a USB connector. I bought the power pack from AliExpress and it cost around £11 including shipping.

Next year I am planning to extend this system by adding a portable solar charger. This will greatly enhance the flexibility of the charging system especially for longer trips. Solar energy technology is advancing very quickly so hopefully a nice powerful compact unit will be available. I will research this further over the winter.

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BRS 3000T Titanium Camping Stove

Like a lot of people these days, I was getting tired of carrying around a big heavy backpack when I go out for a hike or on a camping trip. I decided it was time to try some Ultralight Backpacking, but little did I know that it was going to cost me a small fortune to replace all of my camping equipment with lightweight options. I upgraded my cooking pot to an ultralight titanium  MiTi mug from Alpkit and then I started looking for a lightweight stove. I was delighted to find a small stove that weighed just 26 grams, it was the BRS 3000T

After giving the BRs3000T a boil test, I was very surprised how powerful this little stove was. I also discovered that I could get a small canister of gas plus the stove itself into the MiTi mug, there was even some room for some coffee sachets. The stove folds down into a very small package and it comes in a little bag. The most impressive aspect of this little stove it the price, it cost me £12 from ebay. My cook system is now a very compact and lightweight package and I always have it in the side pocket of my backpack when I head out for an adventure.

 

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Sawyer Mini Water Filter

solar mini water filter

Solar mini Water Filter

I went out and found the smelliest stretch of water I could find to try out the Sawyer Mini water filter. The water really did smell quite bad and I would not recommend that anyone go out and do this. I found the squeeze bottle to be quite difficult to fill due ti it’s narrow neck, especially in stagnant water. I eventually used my mug to scoop up the foul smelling water. Once the water was in the flexible Sawyer squeeze bottle it was very easy to attach to the filter and squeeze it through in to my clean bottle. I tentatively raised my clean bottle to my lips and had a sip…

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

and spat it out, I wanted to see if there was any nasty taste in the filtered water but there wasn’t. The filter had done it’s job and done it well. I took a mouthful and this time swallowed the water, it was clean water. The Sawyer Mini is a great addition to your pack if you are planning to go out for long hikes or camping where there is running water, it is very light weight at only 2oz and is easy to pack. Another great feature of the Sawyer mini water filter is that the screw filling is the same as a standard two liter drinks bottle, so if the provided bottle splits you can still use the filter.  All taken into consideration it is a fantastic little filter at a very reasonable price.

Sawyer Mini Water Filter Specifications

Filter Material: Hollow Fiber
Removes: Bacteria, Protozoa, E. Coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerea, Salmonella Typhi
Cartridge Life: up to 100,000 gallons
Weight: 2 oz
Product #: Blue [SP128],   Black [SP105], Green [SP101] Pink [SP 102], Orange [SP103], 4-Pack [SP124]
MADE IN THE U.S.A.

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