Primus TrailBreak EX Vacuum Bottle Review
I’m going to start my three gadget reviews off with the Primus TrailBreak EX Vacuum Bottle it’s a chunky, rough and rugged expedition bottle. There are a couple different sizes – 0.75L or 1L. I opted for the 0.75L option as when teamed up with a 1L bottle of water (I love the classic Nagline bottle) you’ve got a great supply of drink for a day out on the mountains.
As the TrailBreak EX vacuum insulated bottle is made from stainless steel of a high grade, it makes it very strong and durable. To add to this even further, it has a thick silicone sleeve which not only improves grip but also prevents freezing cold fingers from touching cold steel in very wintery conditions. It also offers extra protection to the bottle and will stop it getting scratched, scuffed and dented from bumps.
A really nice touch is that the TrailBreak EX comes with two different stoppers. One functions as a regular stopper and will keep your drink at the maximum temperature for longer. What is special is that it also comes with a ‘Click Close stopper’. This stopper makes it possible to drink straight from the bottle which is a godsend. I much prefer doing this to pouring it into the cup as I’ve found that my tea will stay a lot hotter for a lot longer.
If you are a traditionalist though and love a cup, then you are in luck as the Primus cup is made from double-walled stainless steel, which does keep your beverage hotter than a regular cup would. Furthermore, it acts as extra protection for the stopper.
At 631 grams, the Primus TrailBreak EX is not the lightest so would not suit all climbers and ultra-lightweight walkers. Saying this, it would be perfect to take with you on a more laid back day bouldering or hiking and would be perfect for many different activities.
I’ve been really impressed with the overall quality, especially the strength of the materials. My favourite feature is the Click Close stopper which is an absolute dream to drink from.
Helix Backcountry Rechargeable Lantern Review
I’m now going review one of my favourite new camping gadgets – the Helix Backcountry Rechargeable Lantern by Princeton (stockists here). This is an awesome little creature comfort that you can take with you anywhere. This is a super lightweight lantern which, despite being just 155 grams, puts out a bright 360 degree beam of light which shines over a wide area. If you wiggle your mouse over the image below you will see it go from it’s expanded size back down to its easily transported shape.
The Helix Backcountry is controlled in a way that I’ve not seen before on a torch or lantern; it has a surface which is free of buttons – you simply swipe a little panel to navigate through different options. In full power, you get 150 lumens of bright white light, for a lower light you can also select a slightly dimmer 30 lumens light. What is awesome is that this dimmable light will work for 22 hours and isn’t much less bright. Again, hover over my photograph below to change the lantern from 150 to 30 lumens!
Another lighting option is the dimmable red light mode which is great for low profile use. I used this a couple times whilst camping when I woke up in the night and didn’t want to wake Vicky. A top feature that I’m yet to mention is the fact that this Helix Backcountry Rechargeable adds a rechargeable battery to Princeton Tec’s smallest Helix Lantern. This lithium battery has a micro-USB port on the bottom of it which allows for easy recharging. I love this as I get really fed up trying to track down AAA or AA batteries!
Finally, I think the design of the four legs is a stroke of genius. Each of the folding legs allow the expanding globe to shine over a wide area with added height. Further to this, each leg has a built in hook to allow the Helix to hang from it. This works brilliantly with things like rope, hooks or nails and perfect to hang from tents when camping. You can remove the globe to use the lantern as a more precise spotlight. As each leg is adjustable you can point this exactly where you would like.
Another feature that I’ve never read about but noticed is that the dome itself seems to be slightly ‘glow in the dark’. I found this useful when going to sleep as it allowed me to locate the lantern in the dark. I love this lantern; it’s highly portable, incredibly well designed and a great little, lightweight camping accessory.
Forestia Self-Heating Meals Review
It’s rare to find a really new and smart idea in the outdoor food market. Almost all camping and outdoor shops still sell Kendal Mint Cake on the counter and there hasn’t been a really big development for some time. This is why I think that the Self-Heating Meal by Forestia is one of the best new ideas that we’ve had in some while.
I chose the chicken madras with long grain and wild rice self-heating meal as it sounded delicious. It was described as having a mild madras curry with tender chicken and a mix of selected long grain & wild rice. I’m not much of a rice aficionado but it was very tasty and I was impressed at how good the chicken tasted. The meal pouch weights in at 350 grams which is obviously heavier than a dehydrated meal, but then with dehydrated meals you need to carry additional water.
So the really innovative part of Forestia’s meals is the option to include a self-heating system. These turn your meal pouch into hot, tasty meal without the need to light a fire or carry a camping stove. The way they work is pretty simple and takes just 12 minutes from start to finish. Which if you were to compare it to getting out a stove, setting it up, boiling water and then packing it away – is pretty comparable. First, you read the instructions and tear along the top of the plastic pouch.
After this, you pour water into the pouch up to a designated line. This does mean that you do have to carry water with you, but no doubt you will be already if you’re outdoors and doing something active. It also doesn’t require much water.
In the pouch there is a square packet (it looks like a large, white, square teabag). In here there are special salts that react with the water and create heat. With the water inside the pouch you now fold the top and lay it down flat. Within a minute the pouch will fill with steam which will start to pour from the folded tear. You leave it doing this for 12 minutes and then carefully remove – it will be very hot! You can now enjoy a piping hot meal and you haven’t had to take a stove, fuel or cookery equipment with you!