Thinksport Bottle review

This is the last bottle you’ll ever need. I have the 750ml size and I use it at work, at the park, traveling, in class; pretty much any situation you can think of.

If you need/want a water bottle you need to get this one and here’s why:

1)  It has a small screen that is useful in keeping tea leaves, ice, etc. inside the bottle when you drink from it.

2)  Two tops. Smaller top opening and the bigger opening that gives you access to the screen.

3)  Changeable parts. The screen and screw-on tops can be ordered separately and are the same size for both the 750ml and 500ml size bottles.

4)  The  insulation is impressive. I’ve left my bottle with ice in it inside my car during a hot Texas summer and came back hours later to drink from it and still hear the ice clanking around. Similarly, I’ve filled the bottle with hot tea that I expected would cool down to a drinkable temperature after a few minutes, only to almost burn my tongue multiple times trying to sip it until it was actually cool enough to drink 4 hours later.

5)  This bottle is tough. Mine has taken a beating. It once fell off the 3rd level of a bunk bed onto a concrete floor. My 50lb (25kg) backpack fell on top of it and although it did sustain battle damage in the form of a 2 or 3in dent it has never affected its usability.

6)  It’s only about $20.

This water bottle has been with me through a lot. When it finally kicks the bucket, which I expect won’t be anytime soon, I’m going to grab the same exact one.

-Special thanks to Neeta for getting me this bottle as a present. Great gift!

Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack Review

In 2010 I was looking for a good traveling pack, and after some research I settled on the Eberlestock Halftrack backpack. It’s more of a hunting pack, and although not specifically for ‘backpacking’, it inadvertently has a lot of features that make it perfect for backpacking.

Pros:

  • Front opening– Most packs are top opening, which can get annoying when you need something at the bottom of your bag. It’s also equally annoying to try to arrange how you pack your bag based on keeping things you use often towards the top. This pack opens from the front which definitely cuts the time you spend digging around your backpack by a lot.
  • Size – With the nice-sized side pockets this pack is made to be wider and shorter than most packs. This is good because it matches nicely with the width of my shoulders and doesn’t go higher than my head. Great for a short person like me. Also, it fits well in most airplane overhead compartments so you don’t have to check it.
  • Space– It holds 55L. In my opinion any more than that makes for a really big bag and any less space and it becomes a little tougher to fit what you need in it unless you’re savvy to the minimalist thing.
  • Pockets– This pack has a good amount of extra pockets, two long ones on either side, a top pouch, a bunch of small pockets inside the main compartment, and many loops that you can clip things to with a carabiner. Enough to organize things but not too many to make you forget where you put what.
  • Rain poncho cover– Most decent travel packs have one which is good to keep your pack dry and to keep in from getting dirty when you have to put it under a bus or belly of a plane.
  • Quality shoulder straps and back padding– enough said
Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack packed
Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cons:

  • Rigidity– The bag is not expandable at all, it says it is 55L and that’s all you’re gonna get. Expandable packs come in handy for many reasons and this pack is just not made that way.
  • Weight– It’s about 6 lbs, not much but it does feel bulky and is definitely a little heavier than most packs. However, you get buff from carrying it so this could go in the pros list too.
  • Detachable compartments– It doesn’t have any, and while not a major drawback I have found a detachable pack of some sort to be useful when manipulating the overall size of the bag to fit it in tight places.
  • Price– it’s about $220, I think I found mine for more like $159 but I remember having to shop around online for a long time to find that deal. $159 isn’t a whole lot for a quality backpack but $220 feels a little steep to me.
  • Zipper security– Or lack of it. If you want to lock up your pack with one of those little TSA approved combo locks you have to lock it through the cords attached to the metal zipper instead of through the metal itself, which means if someone wanted to jack your stuff they would just have to cut the cords with scissors. If you replace the cord with something sturdy like metal hoops (which I plan to do), you can line up the zipper for the main compartment and the top compartment and lock it all with one lock.
Me wearing the Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack
Me wearing the Eberlestock Halftrack Backpack

Eagles Nest Outfitters SingleNest Travel Hammock Review

This is one of the best pieces or gear I ever bought. I’ve used it countless times on the beach, at the park, and I’m hoping to use it soon for camping instead of a tent. It’s light (about 1.5lbs if I had to guess), as small as a grapefruit when packed up, and costs under $50 bucks on Amazon. More importantly that the specs is how badass this thing really is. It’s a great to lie in it and read, draw, nap, or basically anything relaxing.

The thing I’m trying to figure out is what to hold it up with. I used a couple Carabiners, and some cam buckle straps used for tying down heavy objects in trucks. They work extremely because they’re so easily adjustable but are heavy, I would guesstimate about 3lbs/1.5kg each, which weighs down my backpack more than I’d like… Let me know if you find anything that is cheap, simple, lightweight, and most importantly, easily adjustable to hold up a hammock.

Update: I got rid of the heavy Cam buckle straps and bought an Amazonas Microrope for holding up the hammock. It’s not as easily adjustable as the buckle straps were but the ropes fit in the hammock bag and weight less than a pound which freed up a lot of space in my pack and they won’t weight down the pack so much. I bought it at Academy Sports but I’ve seen it on Amazon also, only for about $15 bucks.