Saturday, October 6, 2012


MSR Pocket Rocket Camping Stove

Product Specs:
* Weighs only 3 ounces!
* Glove-friendly controls allows for precise flame adjustment and stability
* micro-burner, tri-sectional clip protects flame in light wind gusts
* Boils 1 liter of water in less than 3.5 minutes.
* Uses clean burning MSR IsoPro premium fuel

I purchased this stove after doing extensive research and seeking out the advice of other experienced hikers.  At only 39.99, the price certainly fit within my budget.  While it might not cost much, the Pocket Rocket stove has delivered and then some!  I cannot say enough about how quickly it boils water, which truly means a lot after a long day on the trail when a simple cup of coffee is just what the doc ordered!  The stove stows away in it's own hard plastic carrying case and is an easy item to pack without worrying about added weight.  The fuel canisters are lightweight as well and seem to last forever. 

The first time I used my Pocket Rocket on Springer Mountain, I appeared to have issues with the fuel cans.  The stove would light but promptly go out.  This happened even after changing the fuel cans, which is why I assumed that's where the problem was.  After holding the can in my hands for a few moments, the stove lit and we never had any other issue.  We relied heavily on our Pocket Rocket during our most recent trek from Springer Mountain to Neel's Gap September 18th - 21st, 2012 and had absolutely no issues whatsoever.  It performed like a champ!  I do recommend purchasing the optional three-pronged stand for added stability especially on rocky ground like we were on.

Overall, if I had to rate this piece of equipment, I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars and would highly suggest it to anyone looking for a lightweight, yet powerful, camping stove!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I purchased my pair of Leki Corklite Trekking Poles in early 2012 in preparation for what was then a multi-day hike on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.  I chose this particular brand after doing my own research and also speaking with people whom I consider "authorities" on such issues.  Still...I'm always a bit skeptical until I try something for myself and I can honestly say that I've come to view my poles as one of the most valuable pieces of gear I own!


* Carbide flex tips dig into ice and hold up to rocky surfaces without causing pole chatter.

* Performance basket aids on soft ground

* Revolutionary SpeedLock system is up to 10x stronger.


* Aergon Cor-Tec grip gives the natural feel of cork in an ergonomic shape to help minimize fatigue.

I will personally give credit to my poles for saving me numerous times from falling when stepping out onto slippery rocks/wet ground.  I didn't think I'd find them very useful here at home in Florida on flat ground, but I was proven wrong.  As a test run, I took them with me on a 22 mile overnight hike down at Myakka River and found them to be invaluable to me in terms of helping carry the weight as well as insuring my balance across the hog-damaged forest terrain where roots and holes were always a potential stumbling block.  My most recent hike was a 32 mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain to Neel's Gap.  For me, this was the true test of the pole's strength and usefulness.  Trust me when I say I relied on them heavily to help me haul my 35 pound pack (and my tired self) up over the mountainous terrain and down the other side.  Without my poles, I am relatively sure my knees would not have withstood the often rocky mountain descents.  I want to also give a shout-out to the SpeedLock system.  I have not once had to deal with my poles unexpectedly retracting on me.  Once adjusted and locked into place, unless I've actually retracted them for transport, they have stayed right where I wanted them to!  Might seem like a minor thing, but I can vouch for the fact that when you're already hot and tired with many more miles to go, the last thing you want to have to do is stop and re-set your pole height....or fall when you step out with one only to have it retract on you.  I feel this is an amazing feature!

There are undoubtedly those out there who will argue that trekking poles are for sissies and that "real" hikers don't need to bother with them.  Do yourself a HUGE favor and don't listen to their nonsense!  You will be very glad you didn't when you finally roll into your camp/destination each night!

Happy hiking everyone!