Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gear Notes - Hydrolink Filter Adapter, Sea to Summit AlphaLight Long Spoon, Pelican Mini Flasher, GSI Flasks, Jet Scream Whistle, Panasonic DMC-TS2

Following the precedent of a previous Gear Notes post, below I offer up thoughts on more outdoor gear that I've accumulated. Each image, when clicked, leads to an enlarged photo.

Camelbak HydroLink Filter Adapter Kit

At REI recently, I came across this handy gadget, the Camelback HydroLink Filter Adapter kit which allows for a retrofit any Camelback hydration system. With this set-up, the bite valve becomes easily detachable, and the kit includes an adapter for a water filtration system. Thus, I can now hook up my MSR MiniWorks filter directly to any Camelbak reservoir with the connector and pump filtered water directly inside. This rig eliminates the need to open the reservoir at the top and lessens chances of water spillage and/or contamination.

Sea to Summit AlphaLight Long Spoon

If you've ever eaten any freeze-dried dinners in the aluminum pouches (my favorite brand is Mountain House), then you know that most cutlery is too short to reach the bottom without cramming your hand partially into the pouch. Enter the Sea to Summit AlphaLight Long Spoon. Over 8" long, the spoon gives a backpacker the reach to snag that last little morsel without getting sticky hands. Even better, as the name attests, the spoon is light at only .4 ounces (12 grams) because it's made out of an annodized aircraft aluminum alloy called 7075-T6. No fancy metallugical descriptions are really necessary though. It's a spoon. It's long. It works.

Pelican 2130 LED Mini Flasher

Not that long ago, I read about a Georgia kayak fisherman whose vessel was overrun by a bass boat motoring out of a cove. The kayak fisherman barely managed to abandon ship and get clear of danger, and his kayak was mangled by the bass boat's prop. The lesson here? Carry a bazooka on the starboard side of your 'yak, and be prepared to use it. However, if you don't possess the necessary Terminator strain, you might be well advised to think about visibility on the water. Lots of bright, LED running lights are on the market, but I recently purchased a small flasher that can increase visibility even further. The Pelican 2130 Mini Flasher clips to a hat or PFD and emits a steady red flash that Pelican claims can be seen half-a-mile away. Two coin-cell batteries last 100 hours, and the light is sealed and submersible, making it a durable and valuable addition on the water.

GSI Flasks

After a hard day of hiking, a snort of bourbon or Scotch around the campfire is one way of easing tired muscles and facilitating a good night's sleep. For a long time now, I've thought about purchasing one of the flasks made by Nalgene, but I recently discovered that GSI also makes a quality plastic flask in two different sizes: a ten-ounce hip version and a longer eighteen-ounce version. Both are made of BPA-free resin and have a shot cap; moreover, they feature a non-slip insert over a thick-walled, clear body. These flasks are far and away better than the cheapies we used in college, even though the GSI versions are comparably priced.

Ultimate Survival Technologies JetScream Whistle

With a nod to my Irish heritage, I've taken up the tin whistle, aka the penny whistle, and have even managed to learn a dozen or more tunes. What does this have to do with the JetScream? Well, not much really. But tin whistle afficionados often refer jokingly to WhOA, or Whistle Obsessive Acquisition disorder, and apparently, I have the same disorder when it comes to survival whistles. One need only look at this page in order to be convinced. In my defense, however, I bought the Ultimate Survival Technologies JetScream because I needed to spend a few more dollars to get free shipping on an order. It is a good whistle though—compact and sleak and at 122 decibels, one of the loudest on the market. Its pealess design prevent clogging, and it fills an important slot in the oft-invoked "necessities" of outdoor survival.

Panasonic DMC-TS2 Digital Camera

I still have the iPhone 3G. What I'm trying to say is that I'm not one of those folks who camps overnight to get the latest and greatest electronic gadgetry as soon as it's out. I like quality electronics, but I tend to keep them as long as I can and get my money's worth. As such, I'm reporting here on a camera that is a generation old. The Panasonic DMC-TS2 has recently been superceded by the TS3. That means two things. One, if you must have the latest and greatest, you can stop reading. Two, if you don't mind an older model, you can get a really good deal nowadays on the TS2. I've had the camera about a year now, and I've been nothing but pleased. Its 14.1 megapixel resolution, Leica glass, and AVCHD movie capability allow for sharp pictures and videos. I also appreciate its crazy fast start-up time, a feature that allows you to get a picture quickly if the power is off. Even better, the camera is a tank. It is dustproof, waterproof to 33 feet, dropproof up to two meters, and freezeproof to -10 degrees Celsius—all features that make it an exceptional camera for outdoor activities. I must admit I'm intrigued by the GPS features on the brand new TS3, but for now, I'm going to stick with my current camera and wait for the reviews.

No comments: