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The Best Midlife Crisis We Could Think Of

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Gear Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Want to know about the gear we use? It’s all right here.

How Many Hammocks Are Enough?

Like many things the answer is always X+1 with X being the number you currently own but a number that can change over time. Some people have too many hockey cards while others have too many Funko Pops. We probably have too many hammocks. But the formula is right there in the first line, so… yeah. NMBL and I each bought another hammock.

Of course we want to try them out before heading off on our next trip. It would be irresponsible if we didn’t. That meant us walking down to our local park to co-opt a few trees and get a feel for our new hanging beds. Overall we’re both happy with the new purchases. We’ve been a few years with some go-to hammocks so it is time to be in new beds as wear and tear take slowly their toll on the old ones. Still, the old ones are serviceable. Did we need to? Not necessarily. However we both had something in the back of our minds that help us justify the purchases. Bug nets.

I’ve been using the ENO Double Nest almost exclusively since day one of us hammocking. NMBL has used the ENO as well as the Dutchware Half-Wit (my dalliance outside of ENO). Both hammocks have been good. The ENO’s solution to bugs, however, is an unwieldy external bug net that you have to slip over your completed sleep system. It’s a pain in the neck to get in and out of, it limits your diagonal lay, and it interferes with my belly sling. All of these things make it a pain to deploy and use. This is not good when you’re in a heavy mosquito or black fly situation like we were on the tail end of our last trip.

NMBL had her issues with the Half-Wit at the same time. Yes, it has an integrated bug net but only for your top half. It was hot as heck camping beside Lillooet Lake so sleeping without a top-quilt was nice… except she was getting eaten alive from the waist down if she kicked off her covers. It made for a restless sleep for her. That’s never good when you have a day of riding ahead of you. So, what to do?

It was time for us to get into the world of integrated bug nets. NMBL was the first to pull the trigger with a purchase of the aptly named Hammock Gear Bug Net Hammock. It’s a well put together hammock with some nice finishing. For $130US you get an 11′ long symmetrical gathered-end hammock with an integrated bug net that can be unzipped and stored in one end when the bugs aren’t as buggy. It’s got under quilt hooks to keep you insulation in place, easy to grab zipper pulls, a simple stuff sack, integrated ridge line, and continuous loop ends with carabiners on each end. NMBL opted for some extra storage with mesh peak-pockets for either end. It’s 58″ wide, quadruple stitched, and uses a hexagonal ripstop nylon fabric. All in all it’s a solid hammock and during our test hang she was quite comfortable.

DES in NMBL’s new Hammock Gear Bug Net hammock

I waited a bit longer to dig around and figure out what I wanted. Turns out I’m a bit more minimalist. My choice was the Warbonnet Eldorado asymmetrical bug net integrated hammock with triangulated tie-outs on one side that keep the bug net off your face at night. It’s a simple approach to hammocking being a gathered end asym with nothing more than a stuff sack, integrated ridge line, and continuous loops at either end. I supplied my own ‘biners and at $125US it’s overall a great hammock at a good price. It’s fabric is a “traditional rip stop weave with a bias-directional diamond grid to create a fabric that has an incredibly comfortable cotton-like texture” according to the website. I’ll be darned if they aren’t right about that! The bug net is fully removable on the Eldorado giving you the option to better see the stars on bug-less nights. My only real niggle is the fact they don’t put in a nice zipper pull making zipping up the bug net a bit fiddly from the inside. I’ll add a couple myself but it just seems like an oversight. That aside, I’m happy with my 11′ long x 62″ wide Warbonnet. These guys are considered one of the big players in the hammock world and the Eldorado’s affordable elegance shows why.

NMBL in DES’ new Warbonnet Eldorado hammock

We’re heading out to go camping near Tahsis on Vancouver Island very soon so we will both have a better idea of how we like the hammocks after a few nights sleep. With that in mind we’re both looking forward to trying them out! I’ll report back when we get home.

DES out.

Hey all, we’ve got a new camping gear review up for the Pocket Bellows. If a part of your camping experience requires a camp fire then you need to look at this nifty little piece of kit. Forget the accelerants. They’re dangerous and cumbersome. The Pocket Bellows takes up very little space and is very effective.

Our usual FYI applies: we do not get paid to do reviews nor do we get free product (with one notable exception). We review gear that we buy on our own and use during our travels. That’s it.

DES out.

Here we go, another review! NMBL and I were given a couple of these Hang Time Hooks to try out on our trips this summer. Now that they have been on the road with us for a while we feel we can give them an honest review. Check out the review and chime in with your thoughts and questions.

You can check out the review here.

DES out.

With all the smoke in the area NMBL and I are staying home and getting things done. One of those things is to work on reviews of more gear. Here’s another featuring the DutchWare Gear Half-Wit hammock. DutchWare Gear built its reputation on hammock tie-down accessories and making hammocks with the camper/backpacker in mind. As motorcycle hammock campers we’re always looking for good gear that gives us the best chance for success. See if our camping success is improved by the Half-Wit by clicking the link below:

DES & NMBL’s Half-Wit Review

We have a new gear review up n the website. For these last two touring seasons I’ve been using Mosko’s Reckless 80L soft pannier system. In that time I’ve been taking mental notes, and jotting down a few in the background on the website, in preparation for an honest take on the gear. I don’t consider myself a good writer of reviews but I’ll put it out there anyway. First, if people find it helpful then that’s a win right off the bat. Second, the more reviews I write the better review writer I will become. Right?

So here you go: the Mosko Reckless 80L v2.0 review!

DES out.

Not only do we have another review up for you to take a gander at, it’s our first ever guest review. On our last trip we met a couple of Motorcycle Hammock Campers in Nakusp and, after spending time chatting with them around the camp fire, we asked if they would be willing to review some of their gear. Our new friend NG took on the challenge. His review of the Hennessy Hammock, Explorer Deluxe Asym Classic is now a part our Motorcycle Hammock Camping history!

Enjoy the review and let us know what you think. We’re working on a few more at the moment with NMBL having two for the ladies waiting in the wings.

DES out.

From Living Sky to Wild Rose

June 25

And from park to park. We left Saskatchewan Landing this morning after breakfast, coffee, and a brief chat with a fellow camper. She, her daughter, and a friend were heading across the country to New Foundland. She was interested in our hammocks and touring setup. We were interested in her nifty trailer! It was a teardrop that expanded. Made in Quebec. Very cool!

NMBL and I decided to take the Trans Canada again. It’s not as exciting as taking the secondaries but we couldn’t be assured of fuel when needed. So the #1 called and we answered. The ride was easy and uneventful. No tire pieces or gulls hitting us. We moved west at assn easy clip, passing places we had seen in the other direction. A stop in Moose Jaw and Swift Current for gas. A quick wave at Maple Creek as it went by. On to Alberta.

Continue reading “From Living Sky to Wild Rose”

Alberta and Saskatchewan – Catching Up

June 24

It has been a few days since the last post. NMBL and I have ridden from Calgary to Regina in that time and are now heading back west. We’re currently hanging at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park enjoying nice weather and the sound of song birds as we swing in our hammocks beside the Saskatchewan River. It’s a very peaceful place. 

We’re not riding long days. This trip is about being relaxed and fresh each morning plus giving ourselves time in case something unusual happens. This tactic has treated us well. Neither of us is over taxed with a ridiculous amount of riding. We do between 300 and 400 km a day giving ourselves time to enjoy a good breakfast, have lunch, and get to the next spot with time to set up of the afternoon. Unhurried is the best way to tour. We learned that lesson last year.

Continue reading “Alberta and Saskatchewan – Catching Up”

On the Road Again

Willie Nelson has been going through my head the last few days. Darned ear worms. We’re sitting at our campsite near Donald B.C. relaxing for a bit. Saturday we set out on our three week tour through the Canadian Rockies and into the Prairies. The weekend was spent with family in the North Okanagan which always involves good company and good food. We’ll be back to visit them again towards the end of the trip.

Today took us along Hwy 97 north through Enderby and past Mara Lake. The ride was beautiful; I regret not putting the camera on my helmet for that stretch. We rolled on to the interchange with the Trans Canada, making our way east to Revelstoke. We were told about a great little coffee shop there called The Modern CafĂ© so, like the good west coast coffee snobs that we are, we made our way there. The Modern did not disappoint. They serve one of the best Americanos either of us has had! 
From Revelstoke we headed east. Our goal was to get to a place called Donald. NMBL had done some research and found a free B.C. Forrest Service campground called Waitabit Creek. This meant that we weren’t riding for as long as we had for most of our days on the road last year. Spending six or seven hours on a bike is hard work, especially when you go for two weeks straight. This year we decided to shorten our ride time each day. It’s so much better. Today was an enjoyable day of riding, going through the mountains and over the Rogers Pass. The campground was relatively easy to find and we got in at 2pm… that left us plenty of time to set up camp, have dinner, go for a walk, and meet some fellow campers. No stress! We didn’t go pillar to post leaving little time for anything else.

Continue reading “On the Road Again”

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