Monthly Archives: October 2014

Mercedes Benz Gets Creative With Instagram

Since becoming a Mercedes Benz owner in January, I’ve been so impressed with the way they use social media to make their customers feel appreciated. Mercedes Benz continually thanks their fans who are social with them online. I’ve received a jacket, key cover, beach towel and my favorite was a cup of coffee! 

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But it’s how Mercedes uses Instagram that has recently blown me away! Check it out at Parachute Media here: Mercedes Benz Gets Creative With Instagram.

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Gear Review: JetBoil Flash Cooking System

Mid October last year, I backpacked through the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in Colorado and one of my buddies had the JetBoil Flash Cooking System. I loved it so much I decided to buy one of my own.

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The experience I had on my own did not match the same experience I had last year with my buddies. After the first use, the push button igniter that sparks the flame failed. I need to add that the temperature was in the mid 60’s so that was not the issue. The SOL Advanced Cooking System works best in temperatures down to 20F. You basically have 3 options if this happens: 1. There are tons of forums (just google it) with user tricks on getting the lighting mechanism to work properly. 2. Just use a Bic lighter. That’s what I ended up doing and I’ve all but accepted this will be the norm. 3. Take it back to REI and they’ll exchange it.

The smallest JetBoil fuel tank, JetPower Fuel 100, should suffice for a weekend backpacking trip for 1-2 people. I primarily used mine for coffee. I just buy the Starbucks powder packages and pour directly into my mug. You can buy JetBoil’s Java Kit but honestly, it’s just extra stuff to manage. The coffee packets and hot water work just fine.

There is a color change heat indicator on the side of the canister but I really didn’t pay attention to it. Plus, it gets pretty hot so I wouldn’t touch it initially after your water is boiled.

There’s other accessories like a pot/pan support that might come in handy. I don’t know if that feature also fits down into the JetBoil Flash Cooking System. For an extra $15, it might be worth it if you want to eat something other than packaged backcountry food.

Positives

  • Boils water super fast
  • Very packable
  • Decent weight
  • Price point
  • Optional accessories

Negatives

  • Push bottom igniter is not reliable
  • Color change heat indicator can get very hot
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Camping With Dogs: Kelty Gunnison 3.2 Tent

This past weekend I took the Kelty Gunnison 3.2 tent for a test drive at Cheoah Point Campground in North Carolina. I needed a larger 3 person tent to account for a girlfriend and 2 medium to large sized dogs. Of the 3 person tents I researched, the Kelty Gunnison 3.2 held the most value for me. I wanted a cost effective tent that was packable enough to backpack and would fit 2 adults (under 6 feet) and 2 dogs comfortably. IMG_9011

Here’s the specs of the Kelty Gunnison 3.2 Tent

  • Seasons: 3
  • Number of doors: 2
  • Number of vestibules: 2
  • Capacity: 3
  • Number of poles: 2 Hubbed

Dimensions:

  • Minimum weight: 6 lbs / 2.72 kg
  • Packaged weight: 7 lbs 4 oz / 3.29 kg
  • Floor area: 48.5 ft2 / 4.51 m2
  • Vestibule area: 12 ft2 + 12 ft2 / 1.2 m+ 1.2 m2
  • Length: 93 in / 236 cm
  • Width: 75 in / 191 cm
  • Height: 46 in / 117 cm
  • Packed diameter: 8 in / 20 cm
  • Packed Length: 22 in / 56 cmIMG_9199

We were able to sleep side by side, length wise on Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Pads with plenty of room for the dogs. Basically, we got half of the tent and the dogs got the other half of the tent. Any dog owner can attest to a dog’s “needs” coming first!

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The temperature at night dropped to the high 30’s to low 40’s with wind gusts coming off the lake at close to 40 mph. The rain fly added excellent protection from the high winds and the Kelty Cosmic 41 degree bags kept everyone toasty warm. My girlfriend, who gets cold easily, felt the same way. My favorite part of the tent was having two vestibules. Bringing dogs on a camping trip adds a different element to strategic tent management. Two vestibules allows humans to enter and exit on one side and dogs on the other side. The last thing you want is your precious pup to get excited just before going to bed and puncture a hole in your sleeping pad, leaving you to tossing and turning on rocks and acorns all night. My second favorite part was the overhang attachment to the center of the tent. It made placing important items like a head lamp and Garmin easy to reach.

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Camping with dogs can be a blast and really easy if you have the right gear. The Kelty Gunnison 3.2 tent was the perfect combination of price, size and space for either car camping or backpacking with our two dogs.

Get outside!

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