Category Archives: Gear Review

Food Review: Mountain House Turkey Casserole

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Water: 1 1/4 Cups Boiling

Cook Time: 9mins

Mountain House

Mountain House was kind enough to send me one of their dinners about to come out for me to test and review. Ill be straight up, I have never been a fan of casserole anything (I didnt have a choice in the meal they sent). However, this meal wasnt that bad.

When I first opened it, it smelled like thankgiving. I peered in, chunks of celery, chicken, stuffing. I was excitited, and as I began stirring I licked the spoon and was ready for it to be done so I could devour it!

When it was ready, I dove in: The taste was good, but what I think threw me off was that the bread pieces had turned to a mush, I guess in a way making it a casserole. It was good, not my favorite. If the beading didnt run to mush I think i would have gone bonkers for it.

Overall: 6/10 – Would eat it again to mix things up, but would’nt be my first or even third pick. Give it a go, especially if you are a casserole lover!

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Merrell Hiking Boots – Gear Review

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Selecting hiking shoes/boots is as sacred to each hiker as his or her own religion. No pair of feet and no pair of shoes are exactly alike, so finding the right match is paramount to making yourself comfortable on the trail. I’ve tried many different companies and styles, and I’ve found Merrell boots have always worked well for me. They’re ready to go straight out of the box with little to no break-in time and you can put a good 500 miles on them before they wear out (once they fall apart I usually glue them back together and take them another 100 just for good measure).  Five years ago a co-worker handed me a pair of Merrel Moabs for $20 and I have been hooked ever since.

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Merrel Moab Ventilator Mid (non-water proof version) 

These boots are optimal for desert hiking.  They’re lightweight at just under 2 lbs., key on those long 10+ mile days where every pound you’re carrying counts.  They’re breathable and dry out quickly when wet, ensuring your feet stay dry even on those hot and humid days (or if you have to cross a creek you weren’t expecting).  They’re very durable and a great value for the cost.  As mentioned, there’s little to no break-in time, so no worries about blisters or fatigue when your buddy calls you up last minute for a hike you just can’t miss.  The only cons are they aren’t waterproof and don’t stand up to cold weather, so you have to plan your hikes accordingly.  I’ve heard that some hikers complain that they can feel the rocks under their feet through their boots.  Towards the end of the shoe’s life they become like slippers, very comfortable but you can indeed feel the terrain beneath your feet. I wouldn’t call it a con as I personally like this feeling, I mean why wouldn’t you?  All things considered, these are great hiking boots for many terrain types and conditions and something I’d recommend for any level hiker whether they are a beginner or seasoned veteran with a lot of miles under their feet.

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Breathable
  • Low cost
  • Durable
  • Dry quickly if wet
  • Low to no break-in time

Cons:

  • Non waterproof
  • Not great in cold temps
  • Some say they can feel rocks on the trail through their soles (I personally like this)

Full disclosure:

Merrell contacted me a few months back looking for a blurb on Buckskin Gulch. I still have no idea how they found me, but I have always been happy with their products. I didn’t think much would come of it, so I shot them a small excerpt and a link to my post on the hike. Just the other day they got back to me saying I was featured in their 40 Extreme Treks site where they highlighted some good tough treks around the world.  Check out the site, they have some great bucket list treks on there and I think I will try and make some a reality.

 

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Hiking Solo – SPOT Tracker

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Gen 3 – SPOT Tracker and my MULE Camelback

I don’t talk about safety a whole lot in my posts, but I do mention that many times I am out on these treks solo. The saying goes “You should never hike alone”. For the most part I totally agree with this philosophy, you should always hike with a partner! In my case, however, it is sometimes hard to find someone willing to go on the types of treks I am interested in (interest, physical capability, suffer capacity, schedule conflicts, you name it). I choose to go against convention and hike alone at times because I have found that if I were to wait on someone else, I’d be at home on the couch, wondering what views, experiences, and adventure I was missing out there on the trail.

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Little worn, but still works awesome!

In those rare occasions that you do find yourself heading out there alone, the next best thing to having a hiking partner is the SPOT tracker. There are many great features to the tracker (I have the Gen3), such as having your family and friends at home track your progress via GPS. You can also send simple pre-setup messages, and the tracker will provide confirmation that the messages have in fact sent.

The most significant feature is of course the safety part with the “Help” and “S.O.S.” buttons. “Help” sends a message to a select few people that you determine that pretty much says “Come get me outta here, I’m not dying, but I’m stuck/ran out of gas/food/etc!”  The “S.O.S” button sends a message to the cavalry to come get you by any means necessary, and they (GEOS) will pick you up anywhere in the world.  Of course it will be a little hard to pick you up if you wind up stranded in say, North Korea, but they work with local rescue and even go as far as contacting the embassy and consulate of the registered owners’ nation of citizenship in efforts to get assistance out to the location.  At any rate, nomatter where you are hiking, hike smart!  A little piece of mind can go a long way to push your treks further and harder to see new things you never could before!

SPOT INFO: http://www.findmespot.com/en/

GEOS Worldwide Search and Rescue: http://www.geosalliance.com/geos-services/worldwide-search-and-rescue/ 

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