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The Sleep In Shade Wall

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The Sleep In Shade Wall for Dome Tents: Made for summer camping & festivals! Keeps you cooler and drier in the morning. Easily attaches directly to your tent, like a rain fly. A custom shaped, heat reflective sun-shade. Designed to block the morning sun with no extra poles, ropes, or stakes. The Sleep In Shade Wall weighs less than a pound and easily attaches to your tent with adjustable straps. The Sleep In Shade Wall is guaranteed to upgrade your camping experience! The rounded shape and adjustable straps allow it to fit on almost any dome style tent. 4, 5 or 6 sides? No problem! And if you don’t like the shiny “space blanket” look, just put it under your rain fly, it still works great!

Heart Warming Camper Heater Solutions

Mr HeaterI’m one step closer to having my Dream Camper Rig, but I have a long way to go. I now own a Ford Econoline van from 1987, complete with a 4×4 conversion. As far as camping goes, the inside is bare metal and that doesn’t hold up well in the winter. One of my first tasks is to find a heating solution. While you can find 12 volt heaters, they’ll destroy your battery in no time. For efficient heating in remote locations, natural gas is the way to go. So far, my research has yielded two approaches for gas heat.

The first is radiant heat. The most highly recommended solution I’ve seen for radiant heat is the Mr Heater model for around $100. This is a quick and easy approach to get heat in your camper or tent on the quick. Additionally, it’s a portable solution so you can use it for different tasks. You can use store bought canisters or run a hose to a larger fuel supply. Additionally, you can pick up an adapter to refill those store bought tanks. Safety features include auto shutoff if the heater falls over or if too much CO2 is detected in the air – making this a relatively safe heater.

Mr Heater comes with some draw backs. Even with the safety features, you have an extremely hot exposed surface that creates a certain level of risk. It would probably be best if you don’t fall asleep while the heater is on. Additionally, you have to have a good place to put Mr Heater. Even though the design is very compact, it takes up a fair amount of space.

HeatSourceAs an alternative to radiant heat, a safer solution is a forced air furnace. Adventure Trailer’s Heatsource is an excellent looking solution. So far, this is the smallest and most efficient solution I’ve found. I’ve read that the typical furnace only reaches 60% efficiency; however, AT claims a delightful 90+%! Even better, with thermostat controls, you can leave your heater running all night long while you catch your Zs.

This convenience comes at a price that’s uncomfortably close to a grand. While the smallest model is $750, you still have to factor in your fuel source. The other minor draw back is the lack of Mr Heater’s portability. You won’t be able to carry this heater into your tent or garage Depending on your needs, this might not matter.

Binoculars That Are Worth a Second Look

I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of binoculars. You know, the perfect pair that will let me zoom in on a fast-moving bird, take in panoramic landscapes, and not weigh a ton. Turns out, there’s no such thing as the perfect pair of binoculars. As with everything else in life, choosing binoculars is an exercise in trade-offs, balancing quality, size, price, and durability. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but here are the ones that have really captured my attention so far.

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This Pentax 8×21 UCF R is a standard, inexpensive pocket binocular that should meet most needs. And at only 7.1 ounzes, it will certainly be easy to carry around.
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Here’s another pair of compact binoculars that would be good for carrying into the great outdoors: the Tasco Essentials 8×21 Binocular. It’s even a little more lightweight than the first one, weighing in at just 6.5 ounces.

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If you’re looking for the ultimate option in terms of portability, the Sun Company 5 in 1 Pocket Binocular is great, because it folds down flat and weighs just 2.3 ounces. In addition to being a pair of binoculars, it is also has an LED light, a magnifying glass, a luminous compass, and a mirror. But with all that multi-tasking, I have to wonder whether it will really perform as well as more traditional binoculars.

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If size, weight, and price were no obstacle, then I’d jump at the chance to buy the ATN Phantom IR Thermal Vision Binocular Thermal Vision Binocular. Of course, at more than $20,000, this is a bit beyond my budget. But just think of all the things you could see and do with this kind of night-vision capability!

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And here’s another one that caught my eye: the ATN Night Shadow-3 Gen 3 5x Magnification, Night Vision Binocular. At “only” $3,000, it seems like a bargain compared to the last one, and it has a cool proximity sensor that turns the night vision on automatically.

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Last but not least, check out the Brunton Echo Pocket Scope Monocular. This is a great tool for espionage, just 3.25″ x 1.25″ and 1.8 ounces.

A Tent, Jacket, and a Bag All in One

If you’ve ever marveled at how snails, turtles, and various marine species carry their homes on their back in a compact shell, then you’ll definitely appreciate this latest invention in self-sufficiency.

 

A young designer named Justin Gargasz recently unveiled the Vessel, which is a beautiful, creative, and innovative tent, jacket, and bag all in one.

 

First and foremost, the Vessel serves as a medium-weight jacket to protect you from the elements on a cool or wet day. The jacket is reversible, so you instantly have a jacket in two colors for those who are more fashion-conscious in their outdoor adventures. As the weather heats up, you can easily convert the jacket into a sling bag where the arms tie around your body so that you can keep your hands free.

 

But the coolest part of the Vessel is that when you’re ready to retire for the evening, the jacket magically transforms into a cocoon tent just large enough for one person. The body of the tent is mostly opaque, meaning that you can perceive light and hear and smell the great outdoors from within the confines of your cocoon. The door also has a one-inch mesh strip, letting you see what’s happening in the outside world.

 

Naturally, a tent that can be worn as a jacket will never really compete with a full-sized tent that you can carry on the bottom of your pack, but the designer has something else in mind. Although the tent could be used for camping, Justin recommends using it “whenever one feels the need to escape interactions in their present environment.”

 

He continues, “Individuals feel the need to escape interactions in their environment every day. Whether it be interactions with excessive technology or other people, this psychological and physical need to get away is where I began my investigation.”

 

In other words, if you’re traveling through downtown New York and begin to feel overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds, just take off your jacket, convert it into a tent, and you’ll have instant peace and solitude – just kidding, we don’t think that’s really the best use for the Vessel. But we do think you’ll enjoy owning one, considering all the benefits it has to offer for your next backpacking or urbanpacking adventure.

 

Pants or Shorts? Why Choose?

On these unpredictable spring days, when cloudy skies can just as easily turn into warm weather as torrential downpours, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to wear for outdoor activities. Pants can become uncomfortably warm if the weather heats up, but shorts can leave you shivering if those clouds don’t burn off.

 

A good pair of zip-off cargo pants are the ultimate solution, especially when they’re made from a durable, water-resistant fabric. From a distance, they look like regular pants, usually in a beige, khaki, or green color. But look a little closer, and you’ll see a covered horizontal zipper that goes all the way around the thigh. With one quick zip, the leg of the pants separates, leaving you in a fine-looking pair of shorts. And, if the shorts have cargo pockets, the pant legs can be folded up and stored in there if you don’t have room in your pack.

 

Even later in the summer, when the weather is more predictable and you plan to wear shorts, zip-off cargo pants can be a lifesaver if you find yourself traipsing through fields of poison oak or scratchy blackberry vines. Just zip the pant legs back on and protect your skin until it’s safe to zip them back off again.

 

Zip-off cargo pants pack down better than jeans, and they can be much more comfortable. They’re not quite as warm as jeans, but that can be one of their greatest advantages during the hot summer months. This piece of clothing has become a hot commodity in recent years and you can find it in almost all outdoor stores and sporting-goods retailers, as well as traditional department stores and even Wal-Mart.

 

I recommend the Helly Hansen Cargo Zip-Off Pant, because it’s made from a comfortable, breatable, water-repellent fabric and comes in a variety of colors. You can find a great deal on them here.

Carabiner Mugs Are Handy Little Cups

I first spotted a carabiner mug clipped to a stranger’s pack at a social gathering in the woods. When I ran across the same mugs in a hardware store later, I picked one up. You can find them around the internet for less than 8 or 9 bucks. I don’t recall what I paid for mine, but I believe it was even less.

The cup is simply a stainless steel double layer (air inbetween the layers) cup with a carabiner attached to the side. I’ve seen some with the carabiner soldiered on, but mine was attached using two small screws.

I frequently clip my cup to my packs for both urban and primitive trips. I’ve sipped morning coffee from my cup more than once. I also found another extremely useful place for this cup – Burning Man and related gatherings. Oftne times, at these events, folks provide free beverages; however, you’re expected to bring a cup.

The carabiner itself can be pretty useful. If you find yourself needing one more carabiner to clip something to your pack with – just use your cup! It seems like such a simple little solution, and it is… but wow, I’ve found it very useful.

The Guppie and Lil’ Guppie Multi-Tools

I was at one of my favorite gear shop / army surplus stories the other day and I ran across the neatest little multi-tool I’ve seen in a while. Under the glass counter, they had a Guppie and a Lil’ Guppie by Columbia River. Both were amazing, but the Lil’ Guppie (shown in the photo with this post) impressed me the most.

The Lil’ Guppie is under 2oz and is extremely compact. It sports a flathead, phillips, knife, c-wrench, bottle opener, and handy little holes and clips all over it. Guppie, the big brother, has a slightly broader range of tools and sports replaceable driver bits and an led flashlight. Both tools are made of high quality metals and are both strong and lightweight.

Personally, the only reason I didn’t snag one immediately is the c-wrench. I currently have a multi-tool with a c-wrench that I rarely use. Typically, I find pliers to be more universally useful. This is more of a “what do I typically do” concern. As such, if you find yourself handling a lot of nuts, this is an excellent lightweight tool.

Sassy Silk

To kick off our site, Sassy takes us through a tour of the many uses for a sheet of Habotai silk. Make a shirt, backpack, skirt, hoodie, scarf, sling, and more.

PS : We will improve the quality of our audio next time!