Best Duffel Bag – The North Face Base Camp Duffel

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag

I recently purchased a North Face Camp Duffel Bag (Large) and absolutely love it.

Key Features:

  • Solid D-shaped zippered opening allows easy access to main compartment
  • Includes shoulder straps so that you can carry the bag as a backpack
  • Most of the bag is made out of durable water resistent denier polyester


  • Our rating: 
  • Very durable and water resistent
  • Simple and lots of room for your gear

Where to buy?

Best Day Hiking Backpack – Osprey Manta 25

Osprey Manta 25
Osprey Manta 25

Are you looking for a day hiking backpack? In my opinion, the best backpack for day hikes is the Osprey Manta 25 – hands down! I took this backpack on multiple day hikes and I absolutely love it. It is very durable, light and really comfortable to wear.

The Osprey Manta 25 is slim & long and fits snug onto your back, so that your arms are not scrubbing against it while hiking. This also makes it a great backpack for trail running.

My back tends to start sweating quickly and the Osprey AirSpeed suspension offers a great amount of ventilation between the pack and your back.

Check out another great review of the Osprey Manta 25 at

Key Features:

  • Packing Volume: 25 Liters / 1,300 cu.
  • Weight: 11 oz. (empty)
  • Pack includes a 3 liter Nalgene Hydration Reservoir with a 180° on-off pivot bite valve
  • Integrated rain cover and pole stowing system
  • Magnetic sternum strap buckle
  • Elastic stretch woven front pocket
  • Light alloy frame suspension
  • Tensioned breathable mesh fabric provides superb airflow through back contact zone.
  • Side crescents for side ventilation


  • Our Rating:
  • Light-weight, comfortable and very durable
  • Price range: $120 – $139

Where to buy?

Backpacking Boots – Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX

Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX
Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX

I recently purchased a pair of Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX hiking boots at our local outdoor store, Real Cheap Sports in Ventura, CA.

I tested them on a hike to Inspiration Point in Santa Barbara, CA. It rained quite a bit the week prior and the terrain was slippery and muddy. The boots offered great traction on the wet ground.

My ankles tend to get tired quickly and the slightly raised boot offers great support.

One of my considerations for purchasing the Salomon hiking boots was that I could wear the in the snow (water protection), but also during the summer (light weight).

Unfortunately after using the boot on several hikes, I don’t find it very comfortable. On multiple occasions, the boot gave me some severe blisters and that’s why I cannot recommend it.

Key Features:

  • Water resistant. Full GORE-TEX® construction to keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Weight: 16 oz.
  • Gusseted tongue to keep debris out.
  • Heel foam for cushioning.
  • Protective rubber toe cap with mud guard.
  • Molded EVA midsole provides cushioning and support.
  • 3D Advanced Chassis™ construction provides maximum stability and protection over harsh terrain.
  • Ortholite® sockliner cushions, is breathable, and is anti-odor/anti-microbial.
  • Contagrip® rubber outsole is a mix between density, compounds, and geometry in order to optimize grip and durability.


  • Our Rating:
  • Lightweight (16 oz.) and water resistant
  • Price range: $102.98 – $150

Where to buy?

The Ultimate Outdoor Vehicle

Last week, I bought a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon Weekender Edition for our endless outdoor adventures to come. She seems to be in mechanically sound condition, but needs some good interior and exterior scrubbing before we take her on our first trip. We named the young lady “Tootsie Roll”.

The Volkswagen Vanagon is the ultimate outdoor vehicle, because it does not cost much to pick one up, that means you have more money to actually go places, and it has enough room to comfortably sleep in plus it stores all your outdoor adventure gear. It also is not very difficult to repair it yourself. There are multiple websites that list all kinds of tutorials on how to repair almost everything on that vehicle.

And a Vanagon just looks awesome!

Best Outdoor Camera – Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2

I recently bought the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2. I have tested the camera now on multiple hikes, scuba diving in Bali and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain. And so far I am very satisfied with my purchase.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 is shock proof, water proof, dust proof and freeze proof. On my trip to Bali, I took a bunch of pictures under water and the camera truly was water proof and fully functional after being under water for a long time.

The size of the camera is also great. It is just slightly larger than other non-rugged digital cameras currently on the market. I really enjoy the multiple modes one can select. From a fully automatic mode, to film grain to completely manual.

Key Features:

  • LEICA DC 28mm Wide-angle Lens
  • 4.6x Optical Zoom / 6x Intelligent Zoom / 9.8x Extra Optical Zoom
  • Shockproof, Waterproof, Freezeproof and Dustproof Protections
  • 14.1-megapixel High-resolution CCD
  • Beach and Surf Mode / Snow Mode / Sports Mode
  • Sonic Speed AF
  • Intelligent Resolution Technology
  • High Image Quality in High-sensitivity Shooting
  • Extended Battery Life – Approx. 360 Shots on a Single Battery Charge
  • MEGA Burst Consecutive Shooting in Full Resolution
  • HD Movie in AVCHD Lite
  • LED Light
  • High Quality Sound
  • Wind Cut
  • Zoom in Motion Picture
  • iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode for Movie
  • VIERA Link / HDMI Compatibility
  • POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) – Shake Detection
  • Face Detection AF/AE with Face Recognition
  • Digital Red-eye Correction (Red-eye Removal)
  • AF Tracking – Subject Detection
  • Intelligent ISO Control – Motion Detection
  • Intelligent Exposure – Light Detection
  • Auto Backlight Compensation
  • Large, 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot High-resolution LCD
  • Wide-viewing Angle / Intelligent LCD
  • High Dynamic Mode / High-speed Burst Mode (Still Images) / Panorama Assist
  • Mode (Still Images)
  • Macro Zoom
  • PictBridge Compatible – Direct Print Function


  • Our Rating:
  • Shockproof, Waterproof, Freezeproof and Dustproof Protections and yet a small and elegant design
  • Price range: $260.95 – $500.00

Where to buy?