Tools

Why I Chose It

The large propane tank and hose from my stove work perfectly with this heater.  The only thing I needed to buy was a filter for the fuel line.

It was on sale at Walmart because I bought it in the middle of summer in Florida.  The manual estimates a 96 hour run time off a 20 lb propane tank.  It’s indoors safe so no problem using it inside of a tent.

Thoughts After Using

This was another vital piece of equipment and in my top 5 of must haves.  I only ran it in short bursts indoors and never continuously over night due to concerns about fumes and fire.

I also never felt the need to turn it up past the low setting as this did a fine job of warming my tent space for the temps I encountered.

Why I Chose It

This model can run off regular batteries or the rechargeable batteries through the included USB cable.  I”m going to be constantly charging other electronics so this option appealed to me.

It has all the features I was looking for:  high power mode, low power mode, red night-vision mode, and flashing strobe function.  The price was very reasonable at around $35 and Black Diamond is known to make quality products.

Thoughts After Using

I think I used this almost everyday to find my way to the tent or digging around in the trunk or other side missions at night.

The lantern I mostly just left hanging from the Alcove or from the inside of the tent.   For me the USB charging worked out great since I was always charging one piece of electronics or another.  While the high and low modes were adequate I thought the night-vision mode was a tad weak.

Why I Chose It

This also has high, low, red, and SOS modes like the headlamp.  Low light mode is advertised to run for 295 hours on three D cell batteries.

I plan to use the headlamp mostly for hiking since reports say batteries only last 8 hours or so, and then use the lantern when camped somewhere for a while.  It also claims to be highly water resistant in case I get caught in a downpour.

Thoughts After Using

Super impressed with this lantern.  It was nice to have multiple light sources – one to wear for small excursions and another one to leave at camp to find my way back easier.

The 295 hour claim was pretty spot on.  I didn’t require any higher than low light mode the vast majority of the time.  The first time I changed the batteries was after a couple months and that was also the only time.

Why I Chose It

I’ve never used walking sticks before, but people say they have several advantages like helping distribute pack weight into the arms, testing stream depth, and defending against wildlife among others.

These can sometimes be found at Costco for $39.99.  There are two versions of this model one with quick lock and another with twist locking.  The quick lock is supposed to be a more secure in preventing inadvertent pole collapse.

Thoughts After Using

Only used these on my first hike up to Sky Pond in RMNP.  They weren’t a necessity, but I did feel they made the trip more enjoyable.

All my other hikes I threw them into my day pack, but never actually took them out for use.  There were some small problems with the locking mechanism when I first started learning to use them, however I think that was user error and no fault of the product.

Why I Chose It

This was not a camping and hiking specific purchase.  I actually picked it up at Costco several years ago for a very reasonable price and ended up using it constantly.

It was especially useful when I was building and repairing golf clubs, so I hope it will continue it’s usefulness out in nature.  All the standard multi tool functions – pliers, scissors, knife, can opener, screw driver

Thoughts After Using

I’m a little sad because I no longer have this item and I used it almost every day while camping.  At home I don’t use it nearly that often.

Of course I lost it while trying to do a favor for someone and running to the airport at the last minute (and still missing the flight) – so TSA now owns it because I didn’t have the $15 they wanted in postage to mail it to myself.  Going to have to save up for another.

Why I Chose It

These carbiners are not rated for climbing.  I was just looking for something affordable to attach things to my pack like trowel, sandals, camera gear and other things.

I’m sure they’ll also get used around camp for various things.  I like the fact that they have a screw lock because I would hate to lose something miles out into the wilderness.

Thoughts After Using

I just have these hanging from my various bags and backpacks.  I know I had my trowel hanging off of one and some other messy items I didn’t want inside the bag like wet/dirty sandals.

Didn’t actually use these around camp though.  I did buy a separate smaller carbiner from Walmart to repair the Windwalls on the Alcove that got damaged in a couple places.

Why I Chose It

This was another thing I purchased years ago along with the Leatherman multi-tool.  I know most people have compass apps installed on their phones, but it’s nice to have a backup.

Just a basic model with tool-less declination compensation.  It also comes with instructions on how to use it and there’s videos on Youtube if you want to learn to read topographic maps.

Thoughts After Using

Haven’t needed to use this yet either.  I don’t imagine I’ll be needing it while I’m at camp or in my car so I’ve just stored it in one of the pockets of my Osprey Atmos.

Why I Chose It

There are cheaper saws available like the Fiskars at Walmart.   I’m not going to be bringing a hatchet so I wanted my saw to be reliable.

This saw cuts on both push and pull of the stroke unlike cheaper models that only cut when pulling.  I think it is also made by Mora who make excellent knives and the blade is replaceable.

Thoughts After Using

I must be doing something wrong with firewood because no matter how much I collected it was never enough.

This saw did an incredible job though.  Of course Murphy’s Law kicked in too, and when I finally did have a big pile, I was on to the next campsite or it rained.  I even lent this to some fellow campers who ran into the same problems.

Why I Chose It

There’s 3 main manufacturers in the bear mace market, UDAP, Frontiersman, and Counter Assault.  They all seem to have very similar specifications.

The UDAP has the fastest empty velocity of the three I think at 7 seconds.  All 3 will probably do the job equally well.  I found the UDAP on sale with included hip holster and it doesn’t expire until 2021.

Thoughts After Using

Luckily, I didn’t need to use this.  One of my first stops was Meriwether Lewis Campground in TN, and I did feel like there was some type of medium size animal that was stalking around my tent.

Whatever it was didn’t stay long.  The rest of the trip was surprisingly free from rodents and pests too.  Never had problems with food stashes getting raided or holes chewed in containers or car wiring.

Why I Chose It

The other popular option for biodegradable soap seems to be Dr. Bronner’s.  Dr. Bronner’s comes in several different scents like peppermint, citrus and others.

I chose the Campsuds because it’s unscented or very lightly scented and a little seems to go along ways.  It can clean dishes, hair, clothes and anything else.  Campsuds was also a little less expensive.

Thoughts After Using

This was a 16 oz bottle and I still have a third of it left.  So, I used around 10 oz over the course of 3 months.  Really good deal at only around $1 an oz.

It’s super concentrated, and I washed everything with it – myself, clothes, dishes, equipment.  I did have regular detergent from Costco when I went to the laundromat – you can get online, but it’s much cheaper in store.

Why I Chose It

A disaster radio I also purchased a while ago.  I haven’t used it yet, but there are several features that made me buy it.

There are multiple ways to power it:  AC adapter, solar panel, 3 AA batteries or the hand crank to charge the included Ni-MH battery pack.  I picks up AM, FM, shortwave and NOAA weather stations.  It’s also fairly compact and nice price point.

Thoughts After Using

I didn’t actually end up listening to much radio at all whether in camp or driving in the car between sites.

Some places, the night time wildlife was so loud I couldn’t have even if I wanted to.  I recorded and put some of these sounds into the Chattahoochie video if you want to listen.  Mark Twain National Forest in MO also had some really loud birds.

Why I Chose It

Basic trowel for going to the bathroom outdoors.  Online prices were a few dollars for this model or the popular Coghlan’s, but I found this one for $0.82 at Walmart B&M.

Pretty self explanatory, but if you’d like to do further reading Kathleen Meyer has written a humorous book titled How to Shit in the Woods.

Thoughts After Using

Good build quality for less than $1.  No problems digging holes deep enough.

Most of the campsites in and around Utah and some places of the desert in AZ were pack in and pack out everything though because the ground was too hard to bury much.

Why I Chose It

Permethrin is what the Army coats fatigues in for broad insect control in woods and jungles.  Sawyers sells a 24 oz bottle for $22.

This seemed pricey to me so I looked into DIY.  I found this concentrated bottle for the same $22 price, but diluted properly this bottle should yield over a hundred 24 oz bottles. You will need to retreat clothing every 6 weeks or so though.

Thoughts After Using

I didn’t actually end up using this.  My plan was to see how it went and how bad the bugs were and then if necessary I would treat my clothes.

The reason I did it that way was I didn’t want to expose myself or other wildlife to strong chemicals if I didn’t have to.  For the most part the bugs left me alone and so I did the same in return.