Gear Lust: Waterproof Cameras

A few weeks back my iPhone met an untimely demise by way of rusty innards (not to be confused with trombones). One too many trips to the beach and sweaty sparring sessions had taken it’s toll and the Apple ‘Genius’ said he’d never seen anything like it. Meh.

Since then I’ve camped at the beach a few times as well as took a 9 day roadtrip that included a few flyfishing stops that would have been great to have a camera at, but I wasn’t about to lug my 7D with me around the river or on the yak, and didn’t want to kill another phone so soon. Outside of GoPros I didn’t realize how many options there were these days til at Stankdolla** a few other kayakers rolled up with a variety of waterproof digital cameras. I was definitely jealous and am definitely think this category of camera is the perfect complement to my summer plans. Eyes open and in-market.

Overall it looks like the category as a whole as exchanged the toyish look of former waterproof/rugged electronic equipment (remember the yellow Sony Walkmans?) for a more rugged/metallic look. I know nothing about what’s good/bad in this category and assume it’s a lot like the rest of the handheld digicams – cram as many megapixels into the smallest case possible and throw in a bunch of dumb dumb featuresoverall image quality be damned! – so just posting a few I saw that caught my eye during my 10 minutes of internet window shopping.

**Made up name to protect the location

Gear Lust: BioLite Camp Stove

So the reality of it is unlike some people *cough cough Adam* I don’t want to be facebotexweeting while playing in the outdoors and thus this ISN’T up my alley (OK, I lie, I’d rock the shit out of this for camera battery charging on long trips). HOWEVER, I really dig the outside the box thinking and execution the guys at Biolite have got going on – and it has massive implications for lesser developed countries should they realize some economies of scale. I question the claims of 4.5 minute boil time for 1L of water though….

BioLite CampStove Demo & Story from BioLite on Vimeo.

Gear Lust: Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 2

Going to add ‘Gear Lust’ as a semi-regular feature. Basically my gear closet is fairly complete and I don’t find myself needing anything but definitely find myself frequently wanting new gear. As the needs vs. wants vs. budget graph isn’t at the point it used to be I’ll just use it to highlight some new/interesting gear that the rest of you may find cool as well.

For the inaugural post I’m highlighting one of those items that feels like it wouldn’t have existed a few years back as gear felt like it was (past tense?  hmm…) going through the same uber$$ UL craze mountain biking did in ~92 (with less anodization and drilling), and I’m certainly not that guy that is going out hiking in a skirt kilt and bringing a quilt that doubles as a sleeping bag that doubles as a water filter that doubles as toilet paper.  It also wouldn’t have been on my radar as  a two person tent pushing 10 pounds would have still struck my non-UL but not World’s Strongest Man self as ridiculous.  However, as our yellow lab has been starting to show her age I’m not really comfortable bringing her on long backpacking trips anymore (especially as she usually carried her own food and toys) and find myself doing far more car camping trips, leading me to this post.

 

Nylon party cabin

 

The Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 2 is a two man tent with a twist.  It’s obviously not for the ultralight crowd but fills that niche between a smaller, space compromised backpacking tent and one of those massive beast mode/I’m a breeder with five kids car camping McMansions.  Given the past few weekends my trips have been in typical late spring/early summer PNW weather – sunny one moment, wet the next – this tent looks like the bee’s knees with it’s vestibule that could double as a poker room.

The Wyoming Trail 2 seems well thought out, with decent sleeping space plus dual entrances AND a smaller vestibule in back

 

Wyoming Trail 2’s fire escape

 

Nice dims

 

Best of all, and what caught my attention in the first place, is the massive vestibule.  Stash your bikes away from prying eyes, keep your coolers out of direct sunlight, or setup a small table and drink some beers and play chess while waiting for the weather to change.

 

Midgets can do jumping jacks in the vestibule

 

Overall I like it, and it looks like an ideal roadtripping tent (would it be unethical for me to buy one before my upcoming trip and bring it back after?).  If I were in the market the only thing that I’d see as a downside is it may be a bit small for 2 + a space hogging yellow lab, but otherwise looks like it’d make a great addition to a gear whore’s closet.