I don’t know who Big Agnes is or was, but the highest peak around Steamboat Springs, Colorado is named after her, and so is a great outdoor gear company.  At my AARP age I still like to camp out in the backcountry, but I must admit, I certainly like all the creature comforts I can muster when bivouacking in a gully in the hills with my only company a Great Grey Owl, watching me with interest, hoping I would shake out a red squirrel out of the bag.

Big Agnes’ Sleeping Giant Memory Foam Pillow allows for two options: Sleeping with or without the inflatable air chamber (not self-inflating) built into the pillow  The 16” x 12” pillow fits easily  inside the perma pillow pocket. The durable 700 nylon rip-stop top and bottom cover is easy to clean, as is the stuff sack, and the whole shebang only weight 7 ounces. Great Agnes was a respectable money back guarantee policy.  Opt for the deluxe model pillow.


Big Agnes Teen Boys Haybro 15 Degree Sleeping Bag

Click the bag.

In my neck of the woods, I only camp out during the hot summers and golden falls and then I bug out when the snow flies, so consequently the Big Agnes Haybro sleeping bag is perfect for my clime with a rating at 15 degree F/ or 8 Celsius. There is also a Little Agnes Series line of bags for teens. The back pouch is a unique design that allows you to slip you sleep pad in so you never side off the pad, important when sleeping on nylon tent floors.  But the kangaroo pouch still allows freedom of limb movement. The pad sleeve has an adjustable strap and will hold any wide rectangular or mummy shape pad.  I really liked the idea of both a stuff sack and a large cotton bag to story the Haybro.  The bigger sack I use when the bag is stored for camper use and the stuff sack is used when backpacking.  And even more unique is the pillow pocket sewn into the bag for inserting my Giant Memory Foam Pillow. There are interior fabric loops for sleeping bag liners and there is a no draft wedge that insulates the connections between the bag and the pad.  Finally it took someone like Big Agnes to come up with this combo design.  I can’t tell you how many ways I used to try to close a pneumonia hole with other bags. Also serving night patrol duty is the no draft collar seals for the neck and the no-draft zipper tube along the entire length of the bag.

The bag’s shell is nylon rip-stop micro-fiber that repels water as is the pad sleeve.  The liner is soft, down proof nylon with a stain resistant finish; the pad sleeve is rip-stop nylon that is water repellant.  The insulation is high quality goose down while the rest of the bag is polyester; weight 39 oz.


Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad

Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad

The Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad's lightweight, packable, and durable design makes it ideal for three-season use in just about any terrain imaginable. X-Static synthetic insulation keeps you comfy down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ripstop outer fabric resists damage for seasons of use.



Big Agnes, Inc.
P.O. Box 773022
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
877/554-8975
info@bigagnes.com
www.bigagnes.com

The rectangular insulated Q-core non self-inflating sleeping pad is ample in girth and length at 20”x 72” x 3.5” (before inflation). The three season pad feature 10% X-static synthetic insulation with natural silver filament that increases thermodynamic, anti-microbial, and anti-odor properties and 90% Polyester Fiber Fill. Big Agnes has a new alternating I-beam construction woven into the pad that gives it a smooth finish feel.   The top and bottom are durable and light-weight rip-stop nylon with an internal polyurethane coating.  If you are a winter camper, go for the closed cell foam option pad.  The pad includes a stuff sack and a repair kit, and Big Agnes also has an excellent warranty on all its products.




Slatgrills

As an aging gear head I am always excited about light weight outdoor products such as the unique titanium Slatgrill from SlatGrills (www.slatgrills.com), weighing in at about one pound. I really like the design of the bag too, because with the belt sleeve I can carry the entire forest green cordura pouch and metal assemblage to a backcountry picnic spot near my favorite icy swimming hole without slapping on an entire backpack, and we all know how cumbersome a traditional rectangle grill is.




Backcountry grilling made simple with Slatgrills.


Smokey the Bear was born the same year I was, as an icon to the U.S. National Forest Service, and under new rules no open fires are allowed in the summer woods except in campgrounds, so now I always use my Optimus Stove in the backcountry, but I can’t explain in decent words how many meals I spilled either by carelessness or in windy conditions. 




The one pound platinum Slatgrill.

Because the Slatgrill breaks down into individual pieces, and only takes seconds to reassemble, the cooking area is solid and stable.  Although not as big as a fire pit, it is the right size for me to heat up the trail grub. 

The curved enclosure on one end allows easy access to the fire source, be it wood, candle, sterno, charcoal, Optimus stove, or hey, set the whole thing right into your kettle shaped fire pit, Slat Grill is better than that old wobbly grate.  The lifting chain allows for its easy removal from any heat source. The platinum version is by far the best piece of portable and versatile equipment in my ruck sack now.

Slatgrills just came out in time for summer with a second new grill (the Base Camp), which is a heavy-duty carbon steel version (36x24x8) perfect for the backyard, cabin, or ranch. This model is made of ¼ inch thick carbon steel and can double as a fire pit and includes an optional table that elevates the assembly for easy Dutch oven and cast iron cooking. The grill weighs in at 75 lbs. and collapses and packs flat to stow in your truck or SUV for your next base camp trip.  Obviously this is a party grill – ha ha!




The new Base Camp Slatgrill.


The original Slatgrill (the Trail) is made of hard-anodized aluminum and stainless steel and works well with multiple fuel sources. The grill weighs just less than 4 lbs. and folds flat, making it ideal for camping, fishing, hiking, or just about anything. The next time I am taking one on a fishing tournament excursion, after checking out FishShootOuts at www.fishshootouts.net  

Founder Chris Weyandt, took an MIT-designed digital fabricating class (Fab Lab) at Century College in Minneapolis, Minnesota and he devised the Slatgrill multi-fuel system wherein interlocking notched grill/stove component parts easily disassemble for easy packing and cleaning. Since then Weyandt’s life has changed dramatically. In addition to teaching English classes at Century College, he’s managing a growing business and marketing Slatgrills to buyers worldwide.

In the short time Slatgrills has been around, key industry players have taken notice. Slatgrills won Canoe & Kayak Magazine’s Best In Show at the 2012 Canoecopia show in Madison, Wisconsin, and it was listed on Duluth Pack under “Hot New Product for 2012”, and now I can happily report it wins our own Cabinweb www.cabinweb.com best product of the year award for the titanium version. For pricing visit their site at www.slatgrills.com



Luxury Backpackers

My youth hostels stays are long ago in the past, and I will never be a crash-padder, so when I receive a copy of the Global Adventures in Style, from Luxury Backpackers guide books (www.luxurybackpackers.com) I was certainly thrilled.




Backpack with Luxury Backpackers.

The two authors, Jill and Carlo hit a sophisticated nerve.  The book highlights only eight countries at once and the color coded  tabs on the page edges alert me to which country I am arm-chair visiting.  I immediately thumbed to the Yucatan peninsula Mexico section because I spent many a night in beach hammaca cabanas along the long coastline before Cancun was even conceived and I have not been back since it turned into the Mexican Miami Beach.

I wanted to read about cool places away from the mainstream, and this guide certainly delivers. The authors describe in briefs a few accommodations priced from modest to break out the platinum card places, from the authentic family run hotels near the archaeological zones of Chichen Itza and Tulum, to swank beach and spa digs.  They also touch on three different dining establishments that are at compass opposites, from the traditional of Italian.   The philosophy of Luxury Backpackers is finding a balance between natural surroundings you can hike or backpack in or to, coupled with a fabulous stay with a comfortable bed and hot food you don’t have cook yourself.  This is definitely my type of camping and backpacking.  After the first guide the authors expanded out to Set-Jetting in style.  I haven’t delved into the exquisite photography and easy to read pages on that tome, I am busy getting ideas for my return to the Yucatan after nearly 40 years.

Their first foray into adventure writing includes sections packed with current information about the Yucatan, colorful maps, and most importantly, a mix of adventure outings hand-picked from experience.  Other countries cover in the first edition include: Costa Rica, Belize, New Zealand, China, Thailand, Italy, and the USA.  Other books are planned for Safaris in Style, Honeymoons in Style, and Eco-travel in Style.  At only 16 English pounds, the books are a rare find at a reasonable price.

Check in with Jetsetters Magazine (www.jetsettersmagazine.com) in the fall when we review Set-Jetting in Style.


Revolve E-Bikes

Back in my days in the Yucatan, there were no cell phones, no ipads, and basically no computers, and we got around the fishing villages on bicycles.  So trade in your e-mail for an e-bike from Revolve Electric Vehicles.

As more and more cities are adding bike lanes to streets, commuting and transportation costs continue to increase and there is that never ending goal to “get healthy, Revolve offers the solution; an electric bike!   Paris, France has a metro e-bike program where you can pick up an e-bike and then drop it off somewhere else in the city, as a nominal fee.  Helsinki, Finland is adding its own e-bike program in 2012.




A Revolve Mountain E-Bike.


Revolve was created as a green company with a commitment to provide environmentally safe products and the least amount of negative impact on the environment.  The company strives to ensure the highest level of quality at reasonable prices to deliver that “going green” is a cost-effective decision that everyone can enjoy. Offering models for the recreational market, commercial users, and eco-friendly scooter market, Revolves’ electric bikes are similar to those whose use has swelled in the last five years in cities all over the world.

Since 2008 Revolve has domestically helped transform the face of transportation as electric bikes become a new way of life. A Revolve electric bike will allow you to reduce your fuel, parking costs, while simultaneously providing you with the joy of riding a bike. Biking can be tiring when trying to get from one end of the city to the other. And what if there is a hill? Those two thoughts that often deter the average person are the exact reason a Revolve electric bike is the perfect solution. Each is comprised of an everyday bike plus a battery-powered electric motor. Although capable of pushing the riders along without their help, electric bikes perform noticeably better when one pedals.  Average inactive people who normally ride at 10 miles per hour can ride at 15 to 20 miles per hour using the same effort or no effort.  They can also expect a traveling range of 25 miles, with a recharge time of several hours.

There are two ways to power electric bikes:  power on demand, activated by a throttle on the handlebar and requires no pedaling, or pedal assist, which takes energy from pedaling alone.  Either source of power provides an immediate, nearly silent push.   When riders release the throttle (or stop pedaling), the motor coasts or "freewheels, like stopping pedaling a regular bike.  Electric bikes use the same standard hand brakes and gearing for controls.  The Revolve Mountain Bike is now offering a trifecta of user’s choice. You can power your bike by the two methods previously mentioned and also manually. Further for those that seek a muscle bike, this same bike comes with a 500 watt motor.

Most people find a 250-watt to 350-watt motor adequate for their needs, although people who ride steep hills may want more power. The bikes offer through-the-gearing power assist—i.e., the force of the motor goes through the bike's gearing system—which provides better hill-climbing and top-end speed than direct drive systems with motors of the same wattage rating.

Revolve bikes range in cost from $900 to $1,400; the cost to recharge them is mere pennies.  The bikes are available at the company store located in Elmsford, New York, online at www.ebikesbyrevolve.com, and at bike stores across the country. All bikes come with a warranty. Revolve Electric Vehicles also sells e-vehicles, e-rickshaws, e-trucks, and e-scooters.  More information can be found at www.ebikesbyrevolve.com or call 212/897-7771.






CloudCrowd

Face it, getting to an events venue in a metro area can be a traffic jam nightmare, so hope on your e-bike from Revolve, but first check out the events in your area the new iphone CrowdCloud app.

Adiant, an innovation leader in digital media, released the free app that blends the social web with communities, giving users instant access to real-time local information for events and venues, including restaurants, merchants, mass transit systems, and other key community focal points.

I certainly needed the app when I was recently lost my way to the right train in the underground labyrinth of a major metro subway.

CrowdCloud delivers dynamic features available to enable users to view local events instantly, including:

Millions of local social media posts filtered to provide the most relevant community information at a glance

An ability to search posts by location with dynamic mapping

The capacity to share photos and information tagged by location

A beacon feature that allows users to temporarily share their location with select friends in real time.

To learn more, visit www.crowdcloud.com

- Feature by Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.