So I bought 12 of these when they were first released – the event was known as the Jorgy Orgy because they went on sale at 50% off. That was many years ago and they have been fantastic, but heavy. I recommend them if you need them, but if you don’t absolutely need parallel clamps, there are cheaper solutions.
Coleman Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Portable Cooler 70L
For the money, this really can’t be beat. I did a bunch of research and this cooler held food cold for 3.5 days in 80 degree days, whereas the Yeti, at 10x the price, lasted only 4 days. Scientific? No, but close enough. At under $40, you just can’t beat it. Is it large? Yes. It’s useful only for car camping, picnics, having beer cold when everyone is over for a bbq, etc. I sometimes wish I had gotten a 50L because this holds far more food than I care to carry and takes up valuable bed space in the truck. Ah well, I don’t feel like buying another.
Make sure you get the Marine version – the hinges are metal instead of plastic. It should last longer. It’s also white so it doesn’t get bleached by the sun.
Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL
So what do you do when you live half an hour from the beach and can’t stand the sun or sand? You get a beach tent that’s a snap to pop up. It’s actually a great way to pass out on the beach without turning into a sugar cookie. The front flap zippers up to total wind protection as well, so sometimes useful.
So the BearVault 500 is too big for backpacking. It’s just a beast. The smaller sibling popped up on sale during Covid, so I snapped it up. For just two people, it works great, but for car camping, I bring the 500.
I keep getting told if I want to go backcountry camping in Yosemite, I need a bear canister, so I bought one. It stops bears from getting to your food, but it also slows you down. If it’s cold out, you can really bust your fingers trying to open it. There has to be a better way.
Big Agnes 2019 Copper Spur HV UL
This is my first ultra-light tent. Before this, I’ve always gotten something from Alps Mountaineering or similar. About 3x the price, 1/3 the weight, packs small, and totally worth it if you can comfortably swing the price. The tent weighs nothing. Lifting it felt like how lifting a carbon fiber bike felt the first time. I was shocked they could make something this light. So far I’ve only used it on dry nights, so I have no idea how it handles in the rain, but California is in the worst drought in 1200 years, so that’s not so important.
Gregory Zulu 65
I did my Colombia trek with the Zulu 40 and it worked perfectly. The pack is made to stay off your back so sweat doesn’t stick to you, which is great in the jungle. I noticed however that the upper compartment on an airplane can easily fit a 65L pack, and not even long-ways, so why go for smaller? Yes, smaller looks neater, but it’s easy enough to tighten the straps and you have the extra room when you have to carry things for other people… so I upgraded. It’s not my go-to summer pack, but I haven’t used it much yet because I broke my leg and well, Covid.
PR-5000 v2 Power Rack
Due to Covid, working from home, etc, I need to get in shape at home. My solution was to get a power rack and bumper plates to do almost everything I need. So far, it’s amazing. Mine is black, but they don’t have the picture up because it’s currently sold out.
Patagonia Steel Forge Denim Jacket
I got this jacket because it’s 8% Dyneema, so theoretically shouldn’t rip very much. We’ll see. Was a bit stiff for a while, but it’s loosening up. By far the best use is the crazy number of pockets.
Godox Ving V860IIIS
Needed a flash, but didn’t want to spend $600 on one as I don’t use it very often. This seems to work out fine.