Archives for June 2008

Leatherman Tools and Kleenex

“Leatherman” tools are an all in one tool that has pliers, knife and screwdrivers in one compact collapsible tool. These tools are very handy for camping as it saves space and the headache of trying to find these items separately. When looking at buying a multi-tool you should know that “Leatherman” is like “Kleenex” in so much as the name is concerned. That is, just like Kleenex is what many people call tissues when it is really a name brand of tissues. The Leatherman brand has become synonymous with multi-tools. So buyers beware. There are other multi-tool manufacturers that are good but there are also some brand knock-off pieces of junk. In this case it is often you get what you pay for. The low quality knock-offs use cheap steel that don’t hold an edge so your knife blades are always dull and some of these tools handles will bend under stress. You should get “hands-on” with this purchase to make sure you like the way the tool functions and its features, for example the first generation “Gerber” multi-tool would pinch the users palm as you squeezed the pliers. I am not saying you need to buy a Leatherman brand tool. There are many other companies that make great multi-tools but avoid the cheaply make tools.

 

What you need to know to buy a great tent!

This post is for those folks who are going to use their tent five or more times a year. Scouts buying personal gear, this is for you. Assess your needs.tents How many people is the tent going to sleep? In what kind of weather conditions will I be using this tent? Will I be carrying the tent and how far? I am going to say we are buying a two-man tent for camping and some short backpacking trips in the south. In this case we are looking at 3-season tents that will sleep two persons. The quality we are looking for in this case is good to very good but not the very top of the line as it is excessive for the situation and we will need to save what money we can to buy a sleeping bag in a later post. Look at the tent poles, the fiberglass pole tents are heavy and they break and wear out fast. This is also an indicator of the overall quality level of the tent. We want to avoid the fiberglass pole tents. The aluminum pole tents are the minimum. There are levels here as well such as the manufacturer of the aluminum pole, like Easton Company is the best aluminum pole maker and the cost is a little higher. The construction of the tent is important. Bathtub construction is where the floor seam is situated like a tub so that the floor seam is not on the ground but instead is lifted up to the side of the tent thus affording it protection from the elements. Full coverage rain-fly is where the rain-fly covers almost all the way down to the ground, overlapping the bathtub floor sea. This insures the occupants of the tent stay dry. The rain-fly should cover the door to the ground as well, not just over it. The tent stitching should be a lap-felled stitch and well finished with no unfinished edges to unravel. When the tent is pitched the fabric should be taut and smooth. Some tents use clips to attach the poles to the tent and others use fabric sleeves, there are debates about the differences but in 3-season tents these are unimportant and shouldn’t figure into the decision. Some tents have a vestibule, which is nice for storing your boots and gear out of the weather, but it is an absolute necessity. Name brand is not the most important but I do recommend you go with a recognized manufacturer. Now here is my opinion on brands, the manufactures that are makers of all things outdoor are not the best gear manufacturers usually. I am going to ruffle feathers here. For example, Colman Company, they make great general camping stuff but their tents usually lack the quality you are looking for in this case. Follow the above guidelines, and remember these are just guidelines. If you are not sure and want an opinion, leave me a comment and I will give you my two cents. Happy tent hunting!

Quality Is #1

Quality is important but it needs to be weighed against needs and cost. If you are going to buy outdoor equipment you should look at your needs and determine what cost and quality range you should buy. I would not recommend a $500 tent to a family that goes camping at the local state park one or two times a year. The other side of this equation is recommending a low quality tent to someone who will go camping one to two times a month. There is a balance of cost and need for quality. The next several posts will be about quality of specific gear and what the minimum I would recommend for avid users as opposed to novices.

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