Therm-A-Rest - NeoAir Trekker - Air Mattress

MATTRESS SPECS

REGULAR SIZE (LARGE & LARGE TORSO ALSO AVAILABLE)

  • Color - Pistachio
  • R-Value - 3.0
  • Weight - 1lbs 2oz / 510g
  • Width - 20 in / 51cm
  • Length - 72 in / 183 cm
  • Thickness - 2.5 in / 6.3 cm
  • Packed Dimension - 9 x 4.5 / 23 x 11
  • Top Fabric Type - 50d Polyester
  • Bottom Fabric Type - 70d Aluminized Nylon
  • Core - Nylon

Noah and I used to pride ourselves on our ability to sleep on just about any surface the floor of a forest had to offer. As we get older our views have slightly changed. It may very well have something to do with our trips being more strenuous and us requiring a good nights sleep in order to function the next day. We have both caved and purchased backpacker-style air mattresses. I say backpacker in the sense that it is ultralight and small to pack in our bags. Since making the switch we have both been very happy with the resulting nights rest. I have included a video below which highlights my review of the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Trekker. 

Becker BK-10 Fixed Blade Knife

Knife Specs: Becker Crewman (BK10)

  • Weight: 0.75 lb
  • Blade Type: Fixed Blade
  • Measurements: Blade length 5.5"; Overall length 11"
  • Steel: 1095 Cro-Van
  • Blade Thickness: 0.188
  • Edge Angles: 20 Degrees
  • Price: $120

What I like about the knife

I originally purchased this knife looking to get something a little more robust for my camping trips. I have always used cheap folding knives which still do the trick in a lot of circumstances, but I wanted something a little more durable in the case that I ever required it. I planned to use this knife for the typical things I had used knives for in the past. Cutting food, rope, fishing line, whittling wood, and anything else that comes up around the site. I must say that I didn't intend to use this knife to replace my axe in processing wood, but it wasn't until I started doing that, that I finally saw the true value in this knife. Not only is it great for the typical uses of a knife, but in addition I can now leave my axe behind and rely on a folding saw and this knife. I won't start saying that it is easier to cut through wood in comparison to an axe, but it is a lot lighter, and really isn't that much more effort to get through most of the wood you need on your trips. It has held its edge for the entire summer and has taken its fair share of bumps and scrapes on rocks while processing wood. This is a perfect example of the durability this blade steel has. All in all I have been very happy with my purchase and would recommend a similar purchase for those looking to pack light and efficient.

What I don't like about the knife

Now that I have been using this knife for processing wood, I find that I wish I had purchased the knife with a slightly larger blade length. The Becker BK7 has a 7" blade which would allow you to get though slightly larger logs. Even though I really haven't run into any issues with this so far it is something I would caution anyone else looking to make the purchase. The only other thing I would mention is that there is a decent weight to the knife. While this hasn't bothered me, there may be others who want to consider this before purchasing it. 

Sven Saw

SvenSaw.png

Saw Specs:

Blade- 21” Swedish Carbon Steel
Frame- Aluminum
Compaction: 24" x 1 3/4" x 5/8"
Weight: 400 g (0.9 lbs)

Something that we always stress about in our blogs is the idea of efficient packing. We are constantly revamping our packing style in order to make our gear as lightweight and efficient as possible. One of these aspects that is essential to a proper camping trip is the right wood processing gear. There’s a debate on what to bring when it comes to a saw, axe or both…we’ll save that for another blog but out of everything I think the saw is one of most crucial tools when it comes to wood processing.

Over the years we found trust in our mini 10.00 pocket saws. They can cut through 4” pieces of wood and could maybe get you through a season before having to sharpen or replace them. The only appealing aspects of these were that they were cheap, overly lightweight and small.

This season we decided it was time for an upgrade to something a little more durable. We wanted a tool that could saw through larger pieces of wood, be less cumbersome, and still be light weight and compact enough to bring along on longer expeditions. What we ended up settling on was the 21” Sven Saw.  Over the season we’ve put this saw to the test and have summarized its attributes. 

Abilities:

The Sven Saw is made up of three main components that pack nicely into each other. The total set-up time takes less than a minute and requires one wing-nut to tighten the blade.

For being aluminum the unit holds up very well and there have been no times where I feel that the performance is compromised by the material. The triangular design also allows for powerful strokes as well as a sturdy frame.

Sawing is far less taxing than using the other foldable saw and only requires limited effort. The teeth in the blade have deep grooves which allow for deep cuts with every stroke. A 6” log can be cut in less than a minute. Over the course of the season the blades have remained sharp and I have not seen any decrease in performance.

Disadvantages:

The 24” length of the folded up saw can cause some packing issues. If you don’t consider your packing arrangement you may have some challenges with where to stash it. If the 21” is too long for your needs, there are also 15” blade options. With the smaller blade length, you will not be getting the same power that you would from the longer 21". So keep in mind what your objectives are with your saw before purchasing a specific length.

Blade replacements are something that will have to be done on occasion. As far as I'm aware, you cannot replace the Sven blades with another brand's blade. The Sven blades have a metal eyelet attached which is necessary for the blade to be fixed to the frame. That being said, I have not had any issues with these blades, though it would be nice knowing that I could change out the blades with another brand if I wanted to.

Overall Impression:

Overall this is very respectable option when considering a saw for the backcountry. The aluminum makes the unit lightweight, the frame is a simple triangular design which is very sturdy, and the blade’s carbon steel and teeth grooves allow for a powerful stroke. This has become a staple item on all our camping trips and I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a reliable saw.

GSI Java Drip & Java Press

What’s a camping trip without good coffee? Maybe it’s the sunrise you watch, the cliff you hike, or the fire you sit by with a coffee, but whatever it is, its likely one of your favourite parts to camping.

On the longer trips where weight plays an essential role, many people feel the need to go with an instant coffee, as it doesn’t require any additional equipment. I for one am not willing to give up a good morning coffee for the very little weight and size it takes up.

GSI Java Drip:

This was the first system we had purchased. Size is great for 2 people and the filter fits inside the container for compact storage. As it is a drip system it requires someone to constantly be sitting nearby to pour more water onto it which is why we looked for a new system. We try to be as efficient as possible in the morning so we can get on the water faster. Having someone required to sit next to the Java Drip means that they can't be packing up the tent or anything else until it is done. It also requires you to keep filters dry and rip free for the duration of the trip. Overall an effective system as long as you are not on a schedule

GSI Java Press

Very portable size and the system fits all together inside the container. Again great for 2 people to get a full cup of coffee and doesn’t require the need to have someone pour water on it bit by bit. Once water is boiled you just need one quick pour into the container and a press of the coffee beans before you pour. No filters required as the press has a built in filter. There were only a few times that we ended up getting a coffee ground in our coffee but the coffee that this makes is amazing. For those yet to explore the french press world of coffee, your missing out!