Thursday, December 16, 2004

Gear Talk


I almost forgot to discuss the hiking gear I was testing out on this last camping trip. As I gather up the gear needed for use on the Appalachian Trail, I'm trying to get it all tested first before I get out there and things fail.

First item on the list was the Coleman Sleeping bag Compression bag. The idea behind this item is to take that large, warm sleeping back and compress it down to a managable size for carrying on a backpack. So, I roll up my sleeping bag and begin to cram it into what seems like a nylon bag that is a bit too small. After a few minutes of stuffing, I fit it in! Now all I had to do was wrap the 3 nylon straps around it to finalize the compression. This is where this product turns to crap. As I lace each strap thru its buckle and pull, I hear a snapping sound and a small piece of plastic goes flying into the air. The PLASTIC buckle isnt nearly strong enough to withstand the force of the straps once tightened. So I ended up using an old fashion half knot to keep things snug. It worked, but not like advertised. I give this item a 5/10. I expected better quality from Coleman camping gear.

Second item were these little white cubes that are advertised to either power heat to a one burner stove, or to help start camp fires. They are about $5 for 12 per box. They claim the cubes will burn at 1400 Degrees F. for 15 minutes. I didnt have the one burner stove so I just wanted to use them to help start our fires. When we had our firewood gathered and stacked correctly in the Tee Pee style, I inserted the small white cube into the base of our wood and lit it. Not only did it burn easily, but it quickly lit our campfire! It was just about the easiest campfire ive delt with in a while. Product rating, 10/10! I'll be carrying these on many future campouts.

Both products tested on this trip were useful. But only one really excelled. Try them out yourself when camping. The compression bag was helpful and keeping a large sleeping bag managable. But the plastic buckles were a disapointment. The fire cubes were great though!
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