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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m a super cold sleeper, so I went as warm as I could. I also wanted a bag that could open like a blanket. I went overboard. This thing is hot. You can see it here.
Update: this bag is stupid hot. I only ever use it opened up.
So this is my what, third Gregory pack? Really, I love them.
I bought the 2019 Radial 34, but returned it before I left the store. It was just much thinner than I expected and the wire rim didn’t click with me. I couldn’t really understand it. It got a lot of love online, but didn’t click for me, certainly not at $170.
The MiWok 12 and 24 were on sale for 50% off, so I took a chance. I’m glad I did. It’s light, yea thin, doesn’t feel super substantial, but feels sturdy enough for my two laptops, some gym clothes, and bag gloves.
I haven’t gotten to use it much yet, but still, I’m very happy with it.
- prevents a sweaty back
- good for walking to work
- ok for biking to work
- ok for airline travel
- normally will hold one laptop and one large tablet
- sometimes will hold two laptops and two tablets
- on flights will hold four laptops, three tablets, two kindles, and lots of wires
So far, only Osprey has a mesh panel to keep the back cool.
All the models I’m considering have a 25-ish and 35-ish size option. The larger size compresses down to the smaller one so there is little advantage in the smaller one considering when I do pack a jacket, it takes a lot of space.
- Radial 34 (2019)
- Radial 34 (2018)
|Radial 34 (2019)||Hopefully fixed kickstand digging into back||$50 more expensive|
|Radial 34 (2018)||$50 cheaper||
|Escapist||Non removable waist strap|
Update: found my backpack. See next post.