Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
Camping Equipment Camping equipment - tents, stuff at camp, etc.

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post #1 of 124 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

FYI, besides this and the cloned thread on three other forums I frequent, I recently made a camping gear review blog which goes into more detail on a few things.
It can be found here.

http://backcountry-camping-gear-reviews.blogspot.com/

I have been buying tons of new camping equipment this season as seen by this thread.

Most of the gear I have picked up from Cabela’s.
Most of my old camping gear was from my tent trailer days, and simply to big to transport in the FJ Cruiser.

Here are the reviews:



Pett toilet system

I like it, well half way
The privacy tent deploys and sets up in a minute.
No poles to attach, they are already sleeved into the tent fabric.
However taking down the tent is a major PITA.
And it is to small to use as a shower tent.
I will be looking at a much bigger double duty crapper/shower tent for my next outing, and leave this one at home.

Now to the crapper.
Very stable, unless you lean to the side to wipe, as it has three legs, and not four.
Standard size seat, so it is fairly comfortable
The bag system that Pett uses are pretty cool.
When done, simply zip up the bag (two used) and toss it into your garbage bag you have in camp, or toss the bag in a trash receptacle if one is close by.

One bad thing about the tent, the guylines they give you for extra hold down in a wind (the four corners also stake down) are slippery, and they slide on the plastic rope things that are suppose to keep the rope taut with the stake.
In other words, the guylines are useless.
You can replace them though.

I give it two thumbs up, the toilet that is, and not the tent

Pros:
* The shelter is very easy to setup.
* The toilet is comfortable to sit on.
* The Wagg Bags make it easy to get rid of your waste.

Cons:
* The shelter is a PITA to take down and put away.
It should become easier over time I would think.
To small to really shower in, will be looking for a much bigger one.





Cabela’s Picnic Table

One person can set the whole table up in just a few minutes.
It deploys very fast, and is just as easy to take down for packing.

It is amazing that such a small package expands to a dining table big enough to seat four.
A little cramped with four, but it can be done.
It is very stable too.
I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* The table is a lot more comfortable than I thought it would be.
* Takes up very little room in the rig when folded down.

Cons:
* Can not really think of any, as this little table rocks the woods.





Cabela’s Instant Cooking Station

Once setup you have three surfaces to use.
I used the middle one for the propane stove.
I am using one of the other sides for the wash basin, and the other side for the disk drying rack.

Below the middle shelf I have two of the Sterilite drawers stacked together.
The upper one holds my silverware and cooking utensils, and the bottom one holds the pots and pans and other miscellaneous stuff.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Kitchen takes up little space in the rig.
* Sets up extremely fast/

Cons:
* Can not think of anything.



Tech tip:
The paper towels were unraveling from the wind.
Take your last sheet and poke a hole in it, and stick it through the rod to keep it from doing that.



Sterilite 2101 Drawers for Cabela’s Kitchen

See above statements.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Stackable drawers does not get any easier than this.
They do the job, and are inexpensive.

Cons:
* Can not think of any.

Cutter Advanced Sport Insect Repellent

Mosquitoes and black flies love to dine on me when out in the woods.
I use to use 100% DEET, but that stuff is nasty for plastics and nylon.
Never again will I use that stuff.
I used it a lot in the 80s and 90s.

I read up on Cutter Advanced stuff, as they use no DEET in it, they use another ingredient called Picaridin.
The ARMY is even experimenting with the stuff as an alternative to DEET.

Once applied, it kept the mosquitoes away from me 100%.
however a few small black flies would still land on me, but not for to long.

Overall I was impressed with the stuff very much.
And it does not leave your skin greasy like DEET products do.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Very effective in keeping the nasty bugs at bay.
* Does not leave your skin greasy like DEET does, and will not harm plastics, nylon clothing, sleeping bags.

Cons:
* A few black flies landed on me and circled me for dinner, wish it would keep them away completely.





http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-220B722T-Stand-Lantern-Multi-purpose/dp/B0009PUQ9G/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1207093403&sr=8-2

Another cool item.
I have owned a Firefly lantern stand (Google that item) since the early ‘90s.
It is a pain to setup.
The Coleman lantern stand however sets up very fast like a camera tripod.
It is adjustable up to around seven feet high, and has a flip out holder to hold your lantern.
It also comes with stakes to help hold it steady.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Sets up in seconds, much faster than my old Firefly stand.
* It looks cool, very cool.

Cons:
* Can not think of anything to report.

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Last edited by Corey; 08-16-2008 at 09:04 AM.
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post #2 of 124 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Part II

Cabela’s 12 LED Lantern with Remote

The remote is cool if you want to climb into bed then hit the remote to turn the lantern off.
However this really does not put out sufficient light to read with unless you have it right next to you.

But if you have to wake up in the middle of the night due to a full bladder and have to relieve yourself, it provides enough light to see to get out of your bedding/sleeping bag and exit your tent to find your bush or portapotty.

Can not really give this two thumbs up either, but it works OK in an enclosed area such as a tent.

Pros:
* Compact
* Remote control is very cool.
* Lit up the inside of my roof top tent pretty good.

Cons:
* Not enough light output to read by for this old mans eyes.

Sorry, I forgot to snag a picture of it up in the roof top tent.
Here is a picture I found with Google though.

Maggiolina AirLand Roof Top Tent (my penthouse)

This root top tent rocks!
I slept nine hours almost both night in it.
Way more sleep than I get at home.
The nice thing about the AirLand is it sets up much like a tent trailer does by inserting a crank to deploy the roof.

Simply undo three latches on the roof, insert the crank handle, and crank it up.
The whole tent is setup in less than one minute.
After the roof is raised, you reach inside and pull out the adjustable aluminum ladder.
Set the ladder up against the tent with the hooks on the top, and you are all set to climb inside for a good nights sleep on the 3.1” mattress, or for a quick nap.

All the bedding is already setup if you packed it away that way.
I have the medium size AirLand, and it takes full sheets.
I am using fitted flannel sheets.
The down comforter is a twin size.
The brand I got is cut larger than most comforters, so even a twin is a little big, but it works out very well.
It came with three pillows too, and with the sheets and comforter setup, you would swear you were at home in your bed instead of out camping.
It is extremely comfortable.

Mine is mounted to four Yakima crossbars on my FJ Cruisers roof rack, and it is very stable.

Also since you are up in the air, you do not have to worry about tracking dirt or water into your tent.
Your sleeping quarters stay a lot cleaner than if in a tent on the ground.

These same tents are used around the world on expeditions, and they do very well in rain and windy situations.

While some campers next to me were cold when they got up, I was toasty.
I slept in my undies, and was not cold at all.
I did touch the comforter top a few times early in the morning, and it was very cold.
It gets cold early in the morning before the sun comes up at Mt. Rainier.
However, I was toasty under the covers.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Hard shell design with insulated roof.
* 12v light inside.
* Cranks up like a tent trailer, see a video I made setting it up at my home.
YouTube - Setting up the Maggiolina roof top tent
* Tent material is pretty much water proof from reading other reviews online.
* Very comfortable.
* Having all the bedding setup is so cool.
* If you like to gab a lot with other campers, surprise, you are in for showing many what the tent is all about.

Cons:
* The price may scare a few off, but like most fine things in life, you get what you pay for with this AutoHome tent.
* I was constantly bugged my whole trip by curious campers.
They would drive by my site, even walk by, and everyone just had to ask me what it was, and how did I like it.
Being the good camping ambassador that I am, I obliged and answered all of their questions, I even let some go up the ladder to take a peak inside.
Be prepared if you get one and are in a public campground, you will draw lots of attention.







Camping Lab Awning

Owner Fernando hand crafted me some custom mounts to mount the awning to my Yakima crossbars.
The awning is setup on the drivers side of my roof rack.
The awning is very easy to setup, and once deployed gives you a nice area to sit under to get out of the sun or the rain.

It sprinkled my first night up at Mt. Rainier, so I ducked under the awning for awhile in my camp chair.
I am glad I had the awning.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Fairly easy to setup by oneself.
* Seems stable in the wind when staked out with the included guylines and stakes.
* Offers a substantial amount of shade and relief from the sun at the elevation I encountered up at Mt. Rainier at the White River campground.

Cons:
* A little hard to take down with one person.
Take down is easier with two.





Zodi Hotman Extreme S/C Shower

Nothing like getting a warm/hot shower in camp when all you have nearby is a cold river/creek/stream to bathe in.
Been there done that many a time.

The water pressure is not great of course like a home shower, but it helps get the dirt off of you.
I have read that some replace the simple on/off head on it with a kitchen sprayer.
I may end up trying that.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Compact little unit.
* Easy to operate.

Cons:
* Could use more water pressure, but then I am use to being a water hog at home when taking a shower with the water pressure on at a good pace.



Battery powered water drinking pump from Jacks Toolshed

I saw this pump mentioned on Expedition Portals forum by member SOCALFJ.
Battery Operated Water Pump - Expedition Portal Forums

This pump fits into the water cooler bottles like you have at the office or at home.
I find it kind of a drag to fill up jugs at home from my Pur water faucet filter in the kitchen.
I do stock my ARB fridge with the 12 oz water bottles you buy at the grocery store, but those would go to quick when you want fresh water for cooking or just a cool quick drink of filtered water.

You can get the five or three gallon water bottles at some supermarkets, and also fill them there with filtered water.

Set a bottle on your picnic table, insert the pump, and you have fresh water for a weekend of camping at the touch of a button.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* Easier than a hand pump that can be had for these bottles.
* Other campers are intrigued by it, and ask for more information.

Cons:
* Mine did not screw onto the five gallon water bottle like it should.
Perhaps the bottle is not threaded correctly, I do not know.
It still worked just fine though.



ARB Fridge/Freezer

Very cool, no pun intended.
I have taken this on outings to Greenwater and served up frozen ice cream bars to the group.
Nothing like having your food at the right temperature just like your home refrigerator.

Virtually silent this piece of fine workmanship is outback proven around the whole globe.
Once you use one of these things, you will wonder why you put up with the mess of using ice for years.

You can buy an add on for this called the “Two Zone” which replaces the lid on it with another compartment.
So you can use one for refrigeration, and one for a freezer.

I highly recommend one of these for your next camping/expedition trip.

I give it two thumbs up

Pros:
* No more soggy food!
* Room for plenty of food, and you do not have to shift the food around a block of ice.
* Can be used as a freezer too, but not at the same time when in refrigeration mode.
* Draws little power (extremely energy efficient) from the vehicles battery, as you can go close to five days on a healthy battery.
* Temp gauge included to keep an eye on the temperature.
* High tech to keep your perishable food fresh for days.

Cons:
* Temperature gauge is in Celsius, no option to set it to Fahrenheit.



Foxhill Oven

Not a new item for me, I have had this oven since 1991 or so.
Back before I was introduced to the Internet, I think I saw the ad for this hot little item in Trailer Life magazine or some camping magazine.
I put up a review on this several years ago on YotaTech.
It works as advertised.
Set it on top of your camping stove, and watch the temp gauge go up.
Level off your flame when you get to the desired temp setting, and cook away.

Anything you can cook at home in an oven you can cook in the Foxhill oven, within reason.
It contains a non stick baking pan, so the volume of what you can cram into it will be limited.

They also now offer a dual pan oven, so that offers you twice the baking capacity of the one I have.

I use mine to cook up my Morningstar sausage, and Boca chicken patties for dinner.
You can also use it to heat up French bread.
I am sure you will find this oven very handy around the campsite on your next outing.

Pros:
* You can bake, warm up leftovers, and do much more with this oven.
* Has a built in temp gauge on the front so you can time how long to cook your grub.

Cons:
* I can not think of any.
I have had this oven since the early 90s, and have been very happy with it.



I hope these reviews can be of help to you if you are thinking if getting new camping/expedition gear soon.

Here is a link to my vacation at Mt. Rainier where I did these reviews:
https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...l-park-wa.html
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post #3 of 124 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:33 PM
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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

nice write up but I must say this is much to fancy for camping!!! what happened to taking a *&%$ behind a tree?

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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Thanks a lot Corey!!!

Good reviews and good idea!

I wish Cabelas will open a store up here (Canada).

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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Quote:
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Thanks a lot Corey!!!

Good reviews and good idea!

I wish Cabelas will open a store up here (Canada).
Cabela's bought out SIR Outdoor Supply, and they've converted the main branch in Winnipeg into a Cabela's. Although the store here is not as huge nor as extensive as the US branches, I'm sure Cabela's will expand out to you sometime.
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post #6 of 124 (permalink) Old 08-14-2008, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Quote:
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nice write up but I must say this is much to fancy for camping!!! what happened to taking a *&%$ behind a tree?
For starters, that is illegal.
They have public restrooms there at the campgrounds, it is illegal to crap in the bush.

You can not pay me to sit on a public toilet, hence why I have had my own for around 25 years.
This new one by PETT is one of the best, no water to put into it, it uses chemicals, and you throw away the bag in the trash afterwards which is approved of up there.

Quote:
mekinac previously said: View Post
Thanks a lot Corey!!!

Good reviews and good idea!

I wish Cabelas will open a store up here (Canada).
Thanks!
I had a great time up there with the stuff.
The only disappointing item was the small PETT tent.
Not big enough to double as a shower hut too.
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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Nice review! You live very well in camp.

I use a combination of old backpacking and car camping gear and don't have near the things you do. I use a couple of backpack stoves (one white gas and one propane, which I use to boil water for old fashioned backpacker food), an old Coleman white gas lantern and just got a new REI backpack tent. I've seen the hot shower device, ARB frig, roof top tent and other items you've reviewed, but have no need for them personally, although I am considering the purchase of a Tentrax or Adventure trailer, which would change all that.

I also have a roll up camp table and a folding sling chair and stool. I seldom use the camp table (opting to use the picnic tables normally available at camp sites), but I do use the chair and stool. I carry 2 gallons of water (in one gallon jugs) for each day I expect to be out and also have a water filter for emergency use. So, we have very little equipment in common, except for the personal waste disposal system and the use of Cutter's Advanced Sport Insect Repellant (which I use on clothes and large skin areas in conjuction w/deet for smaller skin areas). I also carry a yard fogger and bug insecticide, when I go car camping, just in case I need them.

In any event, I like my privacy when I'm taking a dump and, like you, I think the pit toilets at most campsites are just atrocious. So, finding a suitable personal wase disposal system was important to me.

I passed on the PETT system as too expensive and instead bought a cheap 6" privacy tent ($45) that I use w/a cheap folding toilet ($15) and Wag Bags, which are the business end of the PETT system and all you really need. The tent is kind of a pain to set up, but easy to take down. The Wag Bags fit well in the folding toilet seat, just touching the ground when the bag is fitted over the seat. I also bought some air tight bags (intended for food to keep bears away), but they work very well to store filled Wag Bags (no smell escapes from the bag), in case you have no place to dispose of them right away.

I also have the Eco Safe Toilet System that I can use in the privacy tent in conjuction with an odor and waste eliminator called BioMagic that works great when you're out in the woods for an extended period of time or with a group involving higher volumes of waste (up to 5 gallons/50 uses) that need to be disposed of, which I carry in two 20mm ammo cans (the seat goes in one and the waste tank in the other), but I haven't had the "pleasure" of using the Eco System yet. Just bought it in case I "might" need it -- like if I go on a month long expedition.

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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Friggin' awesome post(s)!!!!

I haven't even had a chance to read/digest it all, just wanted to say.

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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Corey,

Thanks for the reviews. They are very informative.

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Re: Camping Gear Reviews, A Ton

Quote:
Swingshiftworker previously said: View Post
Nice review! You live very well in camp.
Thanks, I still have some very old stuff.
Not seen was a very old REI nylon water sack around 2 gallons I think, hanging on a dead tree.
Works great still.
I use to take it backpacking up at Rainier back in the mid 80s.

That propane stove from Sears has the click starter on it, I picked that up around '96 I think after selling my tent trailer in '95.
Sold that due to a layoff back then.
Kids and I took it out about ten times each season from '89 to '94.
Quote:
tibaal89 previously said: View Post
Friggin' awesome post(s)!!!!

I haven't even had a chance to read/digest it all, just wanted to say.
Thanks!
Wish I had taken some shots of the interior of the roof top tent, just so much going on there and people to yak with, I ran out of time to take more pics.

Everyone up there was having a blast with the great sunny weather.
Traditionally WA. states summer sucks until about this week and then it is good until October.
Quote:
Hog Chain previously said: View Post
Corey,

Thanks for the reviews. They are very informative.
Thanks, it was fun testing out the new stuff.

I have gone with bare minimum too since I use to backpack long ago.
Then when I had my two tent trailers I thought that was pretty luxurious.
Not so much as com,pared to a big RV though.

But I do like to have good gear to get me by for a week if I want to stay out that long.
That was my goal to stay up there until Saturday morning, but this sunburn is not feeling so well that I got.
I should have known better, but it fel so good kicking back in the lounger, that dang sun snuck up on me.
And it only took a few minutes to do its damage.
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