Comfort in the backcountry

Why doesn't everyone travel via backpacks and hiking boots? It's the most down to Earth (yuk, yuk, yuk) way of getting around, and you're privy to some of the most spectacular, remote, untouched lands in the world. The best medication for nearly any social ailment is a jaunt in the woods. Doctors are actually prescribing outdoor excursions!

So what is it that keeps people from enjoying the backcountry? Comfort. The idea of being far away, secluded, and within nature is almost always thought of in a positive manner. However, what if you could bring comfort with you?

The level of comfort depends on the type of camping you'll be enjoying. If you are trekking 15 miles to get into a truly undisclosed location, then the comfort will be more relative than if you park your car on a dirt road in a national forest (were allowed, naturally). Regardless of the type of camping, the area where comfort is enjoyed is at camp. Your tent, sleeping bag, and pad are the three biggest areas which can make or break a trip.  

NEMO Equipment has been a long time favorite tent manufacturer. In the past few years they've expanded into the complete sleeping system. The tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag (even a pillow!). Their materials and construction are impeccable, and their attention to detail is unmatched.  I was lucky enough to product test their Nocturne sleeping bag before it went into production, and the prototype was amazing. With the adjustments they made to their production model, the bag is unmatched. 

Their sleeping pads are so comfortable, on a 6-month trek I rarely missed my bed. They have a size for everyone and every type of camping. Get the 3/4 length Astro Lite for lightweight pursuits and the insulated XL Cosmo where weight is not a concern. A happy night of sleep is an enjoyable outdoor experience. Make sure to have the equipment worthy of your journey!



 Picture is the NEMO Alti Storm 3P Tent, Insulated Cosmo XL sleeping pad, Nocturne prototype sleeping bag, and Fillo camp pillow

Picture is the NEMO Alti Storm 3P Tent, Insulated Cosmo XL sleeping pad, Nocturne prototype sleeping bag, and Fillo camp pillow

Computer Protection

While the outdoors gives us the opportunity to escape civilization, reflect on ones self and take a breath of crisp, clean, fresh air, technology is becoming more and more prevalent in active pursuits. Equipment is advancing into smaller packages, more durable structures and more robust features. However, they are still pricey. Protecting these investments is crucial. 

There is one name synonymous with outdoor protection. Pelican. The durable, rugged, drop proof, waterproof, life proof cases made by Pelican are the real deal. From big to small, they will keep your goods protected wherever you bring them. These USA made products are undoubtably the most durable cases out there. IF they every break, for whatever reason (tank rolling over it, thrown into a ravaging pool of hungry sharks, or whatever else you can think of) the company offers a full lifetime warranty. Your investment protecting tool is also an investment worthy of every cent. 

 Pelican 1490 with custom insert

Pelican 1490 with custom insert


My personal computer case (1490) is outfitted with a custom made interior which has a padded tray to hold my computer, mouse and phone. With a small paracord string poking out, it allows me to pull the tray up to unearth the satellite phone, external hard drive, power cords, flashlight pen and misc. items which I need to carry on a regular basis. 

These cases are ready to protect. Carry them, carry security. 

DeLorme InReach SE


In a follow-up to our previous post about Satellite Phones, today we dive into the DeLorme InReach SE, their newest model of emergency locator beacons (if you can even call it that).  

Just like it's competitor, SPOT, the InReach allows for a single button to be pushed in the event of an emergency. With its Iridium network, this device will work nearly everywhere in the world -- so long as it is above ground/water at least. It supports tracking, and adding points of interests, and you can even have free preset messages sent to whomever you decide to program. However, that is just the start of its robust features. 

One of the most powerful features of this device is its ability to connect with an iPhone or iPad. Not only are you able to select messages to be sent, you are able to send 160-character messages to anyone, anywhere. While it does cost per message (both outgoing and incoming) this allows you to contact anyone giving important updates. While these messages don't require an iPad or iPhone, it sure is easier to type using those devices. While the device is connected, you're able to get topographic maps with your exact location, tracks, and waypoints anywhere in the world. The maps are even free! Before your journey, you simply connect your device, and then zoom into the general area where you will be visiting. The app then prompts you to download those maps, allowing accurate information and visual representation of your location without the need for wifi or cellular service. Essentially, the InReach SE is not only an emergency beacon, but a full-fledged GPS unit. 


Due to the fact that the device connects to your phone or tablet via bluetooth, it allows for the ability to stash the device in an area with a clear view of the sky, allowing you to connect to it from the comforts of a vehicle or building. Satellite reception is often difficult to acquire from within a structure, thus allowing more adaptability by using the InReach SE. 

The screen (the S in SE) allows for you to send and receive custom messages and relay vital information even if batteries on other devices fail. I used the InReach everyday for 15 days, tracking my location every 10-minutes for 4-8 hour periods and the batteries lasted nearly 5 days. That is a reliable battery life. The one downside is the battery is built-in, which means you can't stock up on AA's to maintain battery life. Just make sure you have your mini-usb battery backup, and this little guy can take you anywhere.


Satellite Phone Technology

With the creation of the SPOT emergency beacon, people have been going deeper into the forest, higher up the mountain, and further out of sight. As emergency rescues and more intense searches are happening with a higher frequency, the need to relay information and not just a "send the cavalry! I NEED HELP!" button is becoming more apparent. With devices such as the DeLorme inReach, you are now able to communicate the actual issue and get updates on ETA's. So, if you break a toe-nail, emergency services won't bill you hundreds of thousands of dollars to get picked up (probably because they will tell you to suck it up and walk out of there). However, if your friend is suffering from hypothermia, they know the tools they need to bring to save their life. 

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