These are my personal favorites: impressive field performances & quality materials…
GSI OUTDOORS “MICRO TABLE”
The GSI Micro Table features shock cords and folding legs for a steady surface for cooking at a campfire or handy work platform on the deck of kayak. It also provides a low-level table for inside your tent as well.
DETAILS: Constructed of flame and heat resistant anodized aluminum and designed to hold 20 lb. The table unfolds and locks forming a 15.5” x 11.25” platform. The unit weighs under 2 pounds and collapses down to 15.5” x 2.375 x 3.25” )
MICROLITE 500 FLIP LOCKING, FLIP-TOP VACUUM BOTTLE
Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle by GSIOutdoors – I filled it with boiling water, put it outside at -3F; after three hours it was still hot enough to blister the roof of my mouth. That’s heat retention at its best!
DETAILS: Vacuum-insulated bottle provides 8 hrs. heat and 16 hrs. cold retention; 1/3rd lighter than traditional designs; Weight- 7.9 oz.; thin, 2mm walls; 18/8 stainless steel, Push-button, flip top cap locks closed for transport-locks open for easy drinking.
GSI’s DUKJUG OFFERS PRACTICAL WATER BOTTLE COMPONENTS –
Yet another great, reliable product from GSI Outdoors is their 100% BPA-free, and recyclable poly-propylene plastic water bottle that doesn’t retain odors or tastes. The Dukjug holds 32-fluid ounces of liquid while offering a few special and very useful features: it has a recessed section of the cylinder that allows the user to wrap a few feet of duct tape around the bottle for handy emergency use…and doubles as a bit of protection to bare fingers in cold weather. A firm grip and additional insulation is also provided by a movable silicone mesh collar grip around the bottle, too.
A cam-designed lid provides easy leverage for the cap, even when wearing gloves, and the flexible straw that folds away under the cap makes sipping easy, too.
BIGFOOT TRIPLE INSULATED STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE –
Another great thermal bottle that keeps liquids hot for a very long time! The strainer cap insert holds back ice, tea leaves and such when drinking or pour. The narrow spout coupled with the wide-mouth opening makes it an all purpose beverage/food vessel.
DETAILS: 45 oz/ 1.3 liter -TriMax® triple insulation technology, vacuum insulate; tested to keep liquids cold 36 hours/hot up to 8 hours; dual use leak proof top wide opening/easy filling and small opening/easy drinking; interchangeable tops available; 18/8 premium stainless steel; no BPA, no phthalates, no liners; dual use top – interchangeable with flip spout lid; sturdy carrying strap; never sweats; recyclable.
LOWFAT “MILK MAN” –
Made by Marron Foods’ this is the BEST POWERED MILK EVER! In all my years of backcountry camping, it has been a cold glass of milk that I’ve craved throughout the adventure – and a nearly insurmountable challenge to find a palatable sip of moo juice in powder form. Well, I’m here to confess, Marron Food’s “Low Fat Milkman with the kiss of cream.” is everything all other dry milk products aren’t and more! The secret is the cream added back into the dry formula – creating a much tastier milk.
DETAILS: Milkman® contains 5 percent milk fat before adding water, which reduces it to 1/2 percent milk fat once mixed. 3.44-ounce packets of mix are proportioned to be mixed with one quart of water; then served chilled for best taste.
MPOWERD’S LUCI OUTDOOR-INFLATABLE SONAR LANTERN
It’s basically a blow-up, sun-powered, waterproof utility light that can be used by a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts – anywhere a soft and reliable light may come in handy. It’s a quick charge and can be stowed with the solar panels exposed for constant re-powering throughout your trek. Even when compressed it can be attached to your kayak deck and used as a running light. It’s a bright, diffused glow that provides ample light around camp or in your tent.
DETAILS: Weight: 4 ounces; diameter: 5”; standing fully inflated at 4.5” tall; Ten LED
lights = 65 lumens of light covering a ten square foot area. Solar panels- 8 hours at full charge; up to 12 on the lowest (bright) setting. ON/OFF button is bull’s eyed in center of the solar panel side (opposite the inflation nozzle side). Completely waterproof (and it floats); it can be stowed on the deck of a kayak solar panel side up thereby keeping it charged and serving as a deck running light when turned on.
Here are a few examples where you can put an umbrella to use around camp:
- Answering Mother Nature’s call, in the rain – it’s nice to carry that little domed canopy over your head while you squat on one of those exposed and unsheltered primitive campsite pit toilet thrones;
- Providing a small zone of dryness while you’re bent over trying to get a fire going in the rain;
- Creating a wind-break for your camp stove;
- Add-on canopy attached to your pack or walking stick;
- Camera/tripod ‘roof’ to protect/shade your camera gear;
- and, of course, umbrellas aren’t just for wet weather – it’s a good shade provider, too!
I’ve usually just thrown in a huge, full size “golf” umbrella when I go camping. But they are cumbersome, and while they provide a broad circle of coverage, they can be quite heavy and they typically don’t break down into a smaller package.
That’s where a backpacker/camp umbrella comes in handy. Smaller in size and capable of collapsing down via folding canopies and telescoping handles, they function well and they will fit in a jacket or backpack pocket!
Two practical examples of a good camp umbrella are SeaToSummit’s Siliconized Nylon Trekking Umbrella (covered in super lightweight waterproof 30D Siliconized Cordura®. Measuring 38” in diameter, weighs only 8.5 ounces and its sturdy frameworks collapses down to 9.5”) and the Travelling Light umbrella (about 30” in diameter and weighs a mere 5.3 ounces). Stowed in a glove box, duffle pocket or even a tackle box, these small umbrellas could make a rainy camping experience much more bearable.
An Excellent Lightweight Grill – The design provides all the cooking platform capabilities of a full-size grill (and even a kitchen range) without the bulk or bother.
It’s a simple concept: insert grill slats into slots across the top of opposing panels that interlock to form a square box that is either placed over an open fire or around a liquid/gas fuel heat source. Cook your food (fillets, patties, soups, stews, whatever) over coals or a gas flame and then when you are finished, take it all apart and put it into its bombproof pouch. It can then slide back down into the thinnest of spaces in your pack, your glove box, under a deck bungee on your kayak even.
Slatgrills are USA-made and are offered in four choices of material: carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum or titanium. Be advised, as the weight goes down, the price goes up ($89-$199). With value in function and weight, they are well worth the investment.
Specially-designed corner slats enable you to lock two panels side-by-side to double the cooking area using two grills or by serving as supports, to place one unit on top of the other (to accommodate a taller stove or to distance the cooking surface from the heat source).
Other accessories include two lengths of chain so you can “sky crane” the grill up away from the fire; a fire pan and fire cloth to help practice “Leave No Trace” fire making and, of course, the tough pouch to stow this incredibly handy grill.
Clean up was especially easy since each slat is an independent piece. You can use as many as you need to support heavy cookware or spaced as needed to make a grilling rack — all dependent upon the size of your food portion or pot size and weight.