Archive for the 'Evaluations: Hiking & Camping Gear' Category

Oct 24 2013

Once More Into the Breeches: Bringing Knickers Back

Once More Into the Breeches

With the exception of the models hired by the hour to pose for catalog photos, few canoeists or kayakers care how they look. We care about what we wear, of course. In a hard chance, the right clothes can even make the difference between life and death, and enforcing this survival dress code is one of the many burdens borne by the brave folks who lead group outings, particularly when their charges are comparative novices. But most old hands don’t give much thought to appearances.

Which is why many paddlers look as if they’re off to a fancy‑dress ball with a thrift shop theme, at least during the more temperate seasons. Baggy shorts of the sort once worn by Chindits, cable‑knit sweaters that might well have seen service during the Cod Wars, even the odd kilt… Any and all of these can be seen somewhere on a wild river. Yet there’s one traditional garment that’s conspicuous by its absence: Breeches… Read more…

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Oct 05 2013

Trekkers Take a Licking and Keep On Kicking

These Boots are Made for Walking

Some years back I retired my last pair of rubber wellies. And what took their place? A pair of NEOS Trekker overshoes. I made the change with considerable reluctance. In fact, it was Hobson’s choice. The inexpensive L.L. Bean Wellies that were a mainstay of my backcountry wardrobe simply disappeared from the catalog. In the stead, L.L. Bean offered only pricier branded boots, many of which offered “improvements” that I didn’t need, like insulation and camouflage color schemes. Moreover, I was — and still am — reluctant to spend a hundred bucks or more on a pair of boots that probably wouldn’t see me through more than a couple of seasons.

The upshot? If I wanted rubber wellies I’d have to take what was offered and pay the price. Hobson’s choice, like I said. Take it or leave it. So I left it, opting instead to buy a pac in a poke: a pair of NEOS Trekkers. They cost more than my old L.L. Bean Wellies, but less than the Wellies’ branded counterparts, and while I had doubts that any pair of fabric boots would stay waterproof through even a single season, I decided I’d give the Trekkers a fair try. And I did — for going on four years now. With this result: Two thumbs up!… Read more…

May 21 2013

The Think Tank Glass Taxi: A Camera Bag for All Reasons
A Review by Pat McKay

If you’re a “serious” photographer, you’ll probably pick up lenses like a gun dog picks up ticks. And you’ll likely find yourself taking them everywhere you go, too. Which is where camera bags come in. Lenses — and here my “tick” simile breaks down — are fragile things, easily put out of action by vibration, dust, or moisture.

So your camera bag is your (and your lenses’) first line of defense. To be honest, I’ve never had one I was entirely happy with. But TNO Contributing Photographer Pat McKay may now have found The Answer. Let’s let him tell the story:

I needed a good bag to carry [a new] lens around and settled on the Glass Taxi. It's proven to be a great camera bag. (I'm a big fan of Think Tank products. I own three of their bags.)

There are a lot of things to like about the Glass Taxi. First of all, it can be configured in any number of different ways depending upon what you want to bring with you. Second, it's very comfortable to wear even if you carry a lot of weight. And third, it doesn't scream camera bag when you're walking around or on your bike. It looks more like a daypack or hydration pack.

Currently I have the bag configured to carry the DSLR and the new telephoto with hood attached, along with several other zoom and prime lenses, as well as a flash. The bag handles all this with aplomb.

Pat’s glowing endorsement doesn’t leave much room for doubt, does it? But let’s take a closer look at some of the fine points:

Pat McKay Glass Taxi Camera Bag

The bike is Pat’s Long Haul Trucker, and he occasionally wears the Glass Taxi as a backpack on short rides. Mostly, though, he carries it when afoot in the field. Not that it wouldn’t look good on the boulevard, too. Check this out:

Pat McKay Glass Taxi Camera Bag

Of course, a pretty face isn’t everything. A backpack is only as good as its harness, after all. And here, too, the Glass Taxi comes up trumps:

Pat McKay Glass Taxi Camera Bag

Nor do the appointments disappoint:

Pat McKay Glass Taxi Camera Bag

The padded partitions can be reconfigured to accommodate just about any lens inventory, and there’s also a handy mesh pocket inside the flap to hold those essential bits and bobs that would otherwise get lost in the dark corners.

Bottom line? The Glass Taxi is ready and willing to take you (and your camera kit) almost anywhere you’d want to go, swiftly and with style. Thanks for the heads-up, Pat!


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