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Product Reviews

I have a lot of equipment I use regularly during my various adventures. As I use them, I get a feel for how well they work, how well they fit my need, and ultimately whether it was worth owning. On the page you will find my 5-star ranking for each of the following categories.
Quality - Does it hold up to expectations?
Usefulness - Does it function as intended?
Cost - How bad did it hurt to buy?
Overall - My complete opinionated rank on how I feel about it.
(More or less, the "would I buy it again" ranking.)
My hope is that you will find some value in my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the equipment I use and can use it to steer yourself to the same or better purchases! Happy Trails!

VMI Offroad Explorer

VMI Offroad Explorer

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

Despite the price, everything else about this trailer meets or exceeds my expectations and likely will for years to come! The interior light could have been better but with other options very easily put into place, it's a non-issue to me

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Yakima MegaWarrior

  • Quality - 3 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 3 stars​

  • Overall - 3 stars​

There are two pieces at play here. The basket and the bed mounts. Neither of these two products meet my expectations in full. I have had the bed mounts already break due to the use of inferior pot metal in the construction of the clamps and the MegaWarrior basket is losing its finish and showing signs of rust. All of this within the first years of ownership. It definitely does hold high marks in utility though which does help even out my feelings.

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Rain-X Soft Carrier

  • Quality - 4 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 4 stars​

The issue I have with quality is that within the first year of ownership, the zipper tabs broke off. They were cheap zippers for sure and I knew they were going to give out so I tied paracord to the base of the zipper for that inevitable moment. The other issue is that it filled with water during a heavy rain. Mind you, I was parked during this rain rather than driving with moving air pushing the water off giving the rain opportunity to pool and seep through. I do believe the manufacturer says this can happen. Still, with a name like RainX you would expect more. Overall, it has a reasonable cost and does perform well.

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The Coleman Dark Room 6 Person With Screen Room

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 4 stars​

Having a screened porch is a brilliant idea... until it rains. But then you have your own private screened in pool! That's probably my only complaint with this tent. It's a great size, easy to setup, and like most Coleman products, I have no complaints about the quality as long as you care for it.

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Kelty Trail Ridge 2

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

So I gave the Kelty a higher overall score than the Coleman tent. Why is that? Metal tent poles. Sure, they can bend and break all the same but to me they feel much more sturdy than the fiberglass poles used by other tent manufacturers like Coleman. I will say I have had those poles wear out yet the metal ones have not.

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GardenLine Popup Screened Canopy

The Best Room in the Backyard

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

If you have ever been to Aldi before, you know about the "weird stuff" aisle. Never be afraid to walk the weird stuff aisle. You never know what you might find! I can't complain about this screened canopy! Not many come with screened walls so that was an instant plus and on top of that, it's Aldi cheap in price!

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Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 3 stars​

  • Overall - 4 stars​

Maybe I don't know everything about pricing out products... What I do know is that this would not be in my collection if not for sales and gift cards. There are certainly cheaper options and, had I done the homework, I would probably have those instead. A standard hammock and separate bug net would be preferred as I later bought a standard hammock without the net so I could lay out without the net. I felt laying on it could cause it to rip or tear and being inside the net reduces airflow quite a bit. Anyway, that's my thoughts!

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Ozark Trails Collapsible Hammock Stand

  • Quality - 4 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

It does feel questionably solid, like you want to put your faith it in for a good night sleep but aren't sure whether it could actually do it. Well, it has done it for me a few times now and I have not yet dropped on the ground in the middle of the night so there's that fact! It's made small to be more portable and even so, it's still got size and weight to it. All that and it's still worth it because without it, I may never have two trees in the exact right place when I need them.

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Coleman Dual Fuel Lantern

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

It does exactly what a lantern should do, bring light to the darkness! The real benefit of this lantern is its ability to use either camp gas or gasoline. As camp gas tends to run on the expensive side, I tend to use gasoline for its cost and that I don't have to store the extra fuel when I'm done, just pour it in my vehicle and go!

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Coleman Dual Fuel Stove

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

I think my only complaint with this stove is that it does too good of a job sometimes. It's more like a jet engine that way. The real benefit of this stove is its ability to use either camp gas or gasoline. As camp gas tends to run on the expensive side, I tend to use gasoline for its cost and that I don't have to store the extra fuel when I'm done, just pour it in my vehicle and go!

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Coleman Camp Chair

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

I don't know much about the chair other than it's been with me for a long, long time. My best guess is I've had it from 2002 or before! If that doesn't speak for quality, I'm not sure what does! I don't know what it cost because I didn't have a job to pay for it back then but the cost would have been worth it for sure knowing how well it has held up. Chairs sold today might be more pricey but if built right, again, it's worth it!

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Kelty 2-Person Loveseat

  • Quality - 5 stars

  • Usefulness​ - 5 stars

  • Cost​ - 4 stars

  • Overall - ​5 stars

I am becoming more familiar with Kelty products. From what I can tell, they are serious about quality in all products they sell. For that, I gladly give this chair high marks for quality! Like many things though, the steep cost is my only drawback however, as it seats two people and eliminates the need to carry two chairs, the cost is a bit more manageable.

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Lightspeed Outdoors Privacy Tent

  • Quality - 4 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 4 stars​

This shower house, like pretty much any other sold today, is made out of cheaper plastics. Those cheaper plastics are put in demanding situations sometimes and don't always hold up the best. No exception here, however, if you secure it properly with the tie off strings, it should be fine. I learned the hard way in not using the tie off strings and watched the heavy shower bring the whole tent spiraling to the ground... You live and you learn! Still, a more quality joint would have prevented this.

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Coleman 5 gal. Solar Shower

  • Quality - 4 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

My only quality complaint is the shower head and hose. It's hard to open the shower head when you're wet and soapy and the hose itself can get kinked easily. I plan to replace the hose with a more durable reinforced tube and might even put some kind of grippable tape on the shower head for more ease in opening for water. Other than that, it heats really well and really fast! Just leave it in the sun for just a bit and it's nice and warm!

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Reliant Camping Toilet Lid & Lowe's 5 gal Bucket

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 5 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

If you're ok with doing your business in a bucket, you're probably not going to complain about the seat. Beats hovering over the bucket! 

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Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 3 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

Yep, it's a Yeti. If you've had or have one, you know they're good! The price is pretty steep and maybe not really worth the justification in ice savings but you can be the judge for yourself. 

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Coleman Dual Burner Camp Stove

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

Although I haven't used my own personal stove that often since I got it, I have used this stove before and it is very good. I don't really love how the knobs feel but that's hardly a complaint when it works well. That said, for something that is so simple and hasn't changed design in so long, it does have a bit of a cost to it.

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PiC Solar Insect Lantern Killer

  • Quality - 4 stars

  • Usefulness​ - 5 stars

  • Cost​ - 5 stars

  • Overall​ - 5 stars

I don't think it fair to speak on quality after just one use however, it does make me wonder, as with other products, whether the LEDs will burn out quickly or whether it will stand the test of time. For now though, it's absolutely great to have a bug zapper with a built in LED lantern! When needing relief from the bugs, it zaps them as fast as they fly to it. When needing light in the shelter, it's the perfect area light! It it lasts, I'll certainly bump up the quality but for now, I'll enjoy the bug free zone!

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Hi-Lift

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 4 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

It's a good, honest tool! It lifts, spreads, winches, and more and given its long tested design, it's built to last. Again, like a lot of things, has a higher cost than I'd like but it's still worth the cost when you're out in the middle of no where and need to lift your car or a tree.

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MAXSA Innovations Escaper Buddy

  • Quality - 4 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 3 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

I have used these only a handful of times, only once for myself, and they certainly can be very useful! What I don't like is that the points on top meant for traction are plastic. They do make metal studs you can put in when the plastic studs are inevitably ripped off but who really wants to pay more when the product doesn't hold up? Despite all of this, they really are irreplaceable when it comes to vehicle recovery options.

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Garmin GPSMAP 66sr

  • Quality - 5 stars​

  • Usefulness - 5 stars​

  • Cost - 3 stars​

  • Overall - 5 stars​

I have long carried a handheld GPS with me while hiking. When my long time companion, the eTrex Vista, died, I searched long and hard for its replacement and found the GPSMAP 66sr to my liking! Packed with the features I knew I wanted, it was exactly what I was looking for! The hard to swallow pill was, of course, the steep cost. I will be happy with this device for a long time to come!

Product Reviews - OLD: Our Team
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