Crua Outdoors Duo two man tent and Cocoon insert.

Well I’m finally getting around to writing my first tent review. Thought I’d start with one of 5 tents in my quiver, the Crua Duo two man tent. With a bonus review of the Cocoon insert. I was given this tent through an ambassador program with full permission to give feedback to the company good or bad. So here is my honest opinion.

Two person tents are by far my favourite. Small enough to fit in a pack but big enough for a friend. This tent is no exception.

With three camps down, I’ve had a to get to know the layout. So here we go.

She weighs in at 2.2 kgs or 5 lbs and has no problem fitting into a 50L pack with 6 beer (and your camping gear). Some people might unpack their tents separating the material, poles and pegs into different compartments, but I like to keep it all together and haven’t found it makes much difference in space savings. Would love to hear your feedback on your preference.

I’ve found this tent really easy to pack and unpack out of its bag. Setting it up is no different. Once unrolled, setup is super simple with three poles. Two crossing over the top feeding into holes at each of the four corners and a third for the vestibule. All constructed the footprint comes in at 9.8 feet long by 4.9 feet wide. Sleeping area is about 7 feet long leaving plenty of room for gear inside for the average height person. And the un-floored vestibule adding lots more space for footwear and even a dog. Inside the height comes in at 4.1 tall, perfect for sitting and playing cards once the fire has gone out.

The Duo is one of the few tents I’ve seen with no fly. Crua’s claim to fame is their layered tent walls that are water resistant, breath, insulated and keep the light out, so you can sleep better. I won’t get into the tech, but it works and the rain stays out. They have all the deets on their webpage. The part I like most is how dark it is inside. I slept in each morning I’ve camped so far. Not having a fly does have its down side though. There is a lack of screen, so sleeping under the stars is a no go and the small vents have to be just perfect to keep condensation away.

On the outside you have seven guy lines. My first couple camps, these were under used. But once above the Alpine where winds are high, these lines are lifesavers. The Duo didn’t budge in the wind. The pegs might be my favourite part of this tents. Red anodized aluminum alloy that are super tough. No more bent pegs, I hate that.

When it’s crazy cold or crazy hot we also have the Cocoon insert. Think of it as a tent shaped sleeping bag that matches the Duo. This baby is an air frame and weighs about 15lbs. So it’s restrained to car camping. But wow does it keep you warm on a cold night. It also adds comfort and warmth to the ground making it easier to move around on a cold morning. Just remember to open the vents on the outer tent. The Cocoon breathes, making a wet layer between the Cocoon and the Duo making clean up a little more work.

Pros:

Small and light to pack

Easy set up

Spacious for two and gear

Good size vestibule

Lots of long guy lines

Quality pegs

Super water resistant

Lightly insulated

Dark walls for good sleep

No fly

Optional Cocoon insert

Cons:

Not much screen

No fly

Condensation if not set up right

Conclusion:

I love this tent, and sleep great in it. Really happy with the space it takes in my pack and ease of set up. I would strongly suggest it to anyone looking for a quality built tent that would hold up in any weather.

Featured Friends:

Crua Outdoors

Moose Bicycle

Why Cycles

Klick Belt Review

Testing:

Over the last two weeks I have worn this belt to work, hiking, paddle boarding and biking

Pros:

This belt is super sturdy. The two ply really stiffens the belt nicely. The stiffness added a nice surprise when backpacking actually helping to bare the weight of my 70 litre pack off my shoulders. I found the clip to work effortlessly with one hand and never slips throughout the day, something not too many nylon belts can live up to. My pants stayed in place no matter what during work and hiking. I also found it useful to help tie multiple items up in trees when bear proofing camp over night. I only packed a smaller knife to the belt, but while it was there, I didn’t seem to notice. Another nice thing about the stiffness is how it held up when wet, I wouldn’t usually jump in the water with a belt but I had to know. It held it’s shape perfect from wet to dry.

Cons:

The only con for this belt would be that you can’t thread it through pant loops with the male end on. Although I found taking the clip on and off not to be a big deal.

Bottom Line:

I recommend this belt to any adventurer, survivalist or wearer of fine fashions. It does it’s job flat and looks good doing it. Plus it’s nice to know you have some tough webbing and a good clip when you need to get creative in sticky situations

Why Cycles S7 Review

In the spirit of trying new things constantly, I figured I’d try my hand at a gear review. And what better place to start than my Supple Seven. Last fall through Instagram I started a conversation with Adam from Why Cycles. I couldn’t help but admire the welds and lines of their new titanium frames. After some small talk back and fourth, I jokingly asked if they needed a Canadian ambassador. Full disclosure, I am not a hardcore mountain biker, I do not race and I don’t follow the latest and greatest bike gear (…yet). Surprisingly enough, Adam gave it some thought. What I could offer him was average joe status, biking a lot with a large following of outdoor enthusiasts and coffee drinkers, a perfect mix for the biking world. “Let’s do something different” said Adam, which I have learned is part of Why Cycles mantra. 

I’m going to try to do this review justice by letting you know what I have. There are other options available, you can do some comparisons on the Why Cycles page.  I won’t get into negatives because quite frankly, I haven’t found any other than my personal learning curve and skill level. So here it is. 

Why Cycles is made up of true adventure bikers and this shows in every detail of their bikes. The S7 comes shipped in an Evoc bike bag instead of a traditional cardboard bag. Out of the bag the Supple Seven frame is a work of art. Polished Titanium looks and feels brilliant. The welds are seamless and smooth. You can tell instantly that every tube line has been shaped and bent for maximum flex and stiffness where needed. There is no paint and only minimal brand ingraving as to not take away from the beauty of the frame. 

I ordered the SRAM GX1 Kit with a couple slight changes. The Ergon GE1 grips came in red as to match up with the red mount screws. The black Ergon SMA3 seat, matched up against the Rockshox Reverb post, Pike RCT3 fork, Velocity Dually rims and the big 27.5+ Maxxis Rekon tires. RaceFace rounds out the rest of the goodies. Put together this bike is so badass. 

I had a long wait to ride dirt as I received this bike during the Christmas season. But it didn’t stop me from riding. I put it to the test New Year’s Day by riding 30 km on the worlds longest whiteway. The cold weather was perfect for traction on the ice and the snow drifts were super fun for testing balance and maneuverability. Lesson learned that day, lock out your shock when the temp goes under -20°C and bring a pump as air shrinks in the tires. Once through my cold weather learning curve I took the S7 to the cross country ski trails. The plus size tires really excelled in the hard packed groomed trails and rarely broke through. Hitting 45km/hr on snow was super fun but pretty hard to truly read a bike to its full potential. 

As the spring sprung, I took to the logging roads in the backcountry. Still with my shock locked out I was able to run some long distance rides. The Supple Seven truly took to its name. This frame along with the plus size tires is truly Supple over the potholes and washboard on the back roads. And the geometry sets you up for a comfortable position for longer rides. I used to get sleepy hands when riding for more than 30 minutes but so far so good, could be the Ergon grips could be the frame soaking up vibrations, either way, my hands are happy. The GX1 gearing sounds great and solid as it clicks through gears solidly and pings through the ti frame. Adam did a great job tuning before it was shipped. 

The trails are drying up now and the single track is laced with sweet golden dirt. Finally I get to really test this bike out. Starting with the climb side of my favourite backyard route in Grizzly Ridge, I noticed that the S7’s geometry and plus size tires help climbs I found difficult last year seam much easier than my old ride. And the 1 x 11 GX1 is quick to change gears in the transitions. Heading into the the flowy narrow sections the bike is able to angle hard with the seat dropped thanks to the Rockshox Reverb. For a hard tail the ride is surprisingly stable with the combo of the Rockshox Pike RCT3 and the suppleness of the Ti frame. 


Part of owning a bike like this isn’t just about how sweet the ride is but the looks it gets when you ride into a group of friends. I love hearing the comments “that ride is beautiful” and “that bike is a work of art, check out those lines” I wouldn’t recommend this bike based on the the rideability or the comments.  What makes me want to reccomend it is the fact that every time I go to my backyard shop and see it or even when it crosses my mind, I want to ride like I never have before. And that’s not a feeling I’ve ever had with other bikes. 

I’m sure I missed a few things here, feel free to ask questions, I’d be glad to answer. If you ever see the Why Cycles demo tent, go take a spin and let me know what you think. 

Featured Friends

Why Cycles
Widefoot Design
The Kootenay Life
Forever Outside
Kicking Horse Coffee

Addiction, Training and Packing

As you guys already may know I’m making a transition from being a ski bum to becoming a dirt bag…Aka skier to mountain biker. I just started taking xc biking seriously (well, serious enough to want to do it everyday of my life) in the the fall of 2016. My skills are shotty, my lingo is lame and clipless peddles are kicking my ass. Yet I want to go harder and farther every ride. Addiction has set in. 

Spring is here now and I’m stoked to get out on some group rides for some peer pressure to push my limits. Up till now, I’ve ridden by myself to get some skills and cardio under my belt. I’ve had a couple friends to help push me past my limits. Now it’s time to see if I can cut it with the groups. Choosing a group tends to be more difficult than it seems. You have the folks that love uptrack and downhill, the xc racers and the almost but not quite organized groups that often get lost. I personally like to get lost, but want to be challenged. So that leaves me with the fourth group. The bikepackers. 


Bikepacking has been on my radar for a while now. It combines my favourite things, long distance travel in the mountains, camping and coffee breaks. I have the camping and coffee breaks down to a T. Now the cardio training starts. Facing my fears, I had my first 50km ride home from work the other day, doing my best to keep on trails and dirt roads. What I learned from that ride was that wind is not your friend and snacks are invaluable. Yesterday I thought hill training would be good. The uptrack on Mt. Swansea was in great condition and I quickly learned that Clipless peddles suck at slow speeds and switch backs. Climbing in the rain, that quickly turned to snow was a great view and an amazing feeling. 

Every ride seems to fuel my fire. We are starting to plan our first overnight pack trip for end of May. Training is going to be key to make it a success, failure is not an option on back roads with no cell service. I’m looking forward to the reward of backcountry lakes and whisky by the campfire. Fitting it in with 8-10 hour work days and a family can be cumbersome but like I tell my wife, my hobbies could be worse and much more unhealthy. 


Now I just have to start planning bike bags, a bivy sac and a light weight tarp. Yay gear!

Featured Freinds:

The bike: Why Cycles
The peddles: Crank Brothers
The bottle cage:Wide Foot Design
The socks: Exotic Fibers of Canada
Metal Aeropress Filter: Altura For Aeropress
Stickers and gear: Forever Outside
The coffee: Kicking Horse Coffee
There are other products I’m not involved with so feel free to ask about them. I love gear and love to help recommend what I have tested. 

Caffeine: Light vs. Dark 

  Well, my bike is in for a lube, ski season is just about over and the hiking trails need time to dry up. So here I am stuck inside my mind, wondering why cafes don’t educate their customers more (with facts and not B.S.). How many of you out there are sure if there is more caffeine in light coffee vs. dark or vice versa. Well you’re not alone, it’s a question (or in some cases a fact, depending on who I am talking to) that many people approach me about. So let’s get to the facts so that we can put this myth to bed once and for all. 


  Breaking down your standard cup of coffee. (borrowing some facts from Kicking Horse Coffee) One cup contains 98.6% of water. The remaining 1.4% is dissolved coffee solids. Now here is the kicker, only 1.2% of that 1.4% is caffeine. At 0.017% of your cup being caffeine, any differences would be intangible. But let’s dig deeper anyway. 

  When it comes to roasting coffee light roasted spends less time in the roaster and is finished at a lower degree. Leaving the beans denser and smaller in size. Darker roasts will continue to roast while growing in size and loosing more mass though VOC and oil loss. Both roasts will loose approximately 90% of their water content. Yet caffeine is uber stable while roasting, allowing you to get your kick no matter what the degree of darkness. But what does this mean in the light vs. dark argument?
  All of this adds up to how you brew your coffee. More specifically, how you measure it. If you measure by volume (scoop) you will have more caffeine in your light roast due to more dense (smaller) beans fitting in your scoop. If you measure by weight, you will have no difference in caffeine. Make sense?
  If you still want to argue that light or dark coffee bothers you more than the other, I suggest you look at your brewer, brew time or maybe just switching to tea. Otherwise, educate your friends and especially your coffee shops that are misinformed and let’s put this puppy to rest. 

Coffee, wetlands and it’s connection to you. 


  There are not to many occasions where an individual can make an impact on the world but the folks living around the Columbia Wetlands do it every day with out thinking about it. These 15,070 hectare wetlands are vital to the health and wellness of the people, animals and landscape downstream the the largest river feeding the Pacific Ocean, the great Columbia. Resting between British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountain Range, the wetlands are home to 216 diverse animal species including wolves, grizzly bears, cougars, kokanee and moose. 
  But that’s not all, the Columbia wetlands are also home to migrating songbirds that are a huge connection to the South and central Americas. These birds are currently loosing migratory homes all along North America due to population growth and construction. Being a coffee roaster and enthusiast, the song birds truly bring the connection together. Have these birds been to the farms where we buy coffee from. Did they maybe assist in planting crops. Pretty cool if you ask me. Walking the trails, you won’t just see and hear song birds. Looking up will showcase bald headed eagles playing in the wind or keeping fish from osprey or ravens. Looking down to the water you will see ducks, geese, swan and blue herring. If you are a bird watcher, you will be in heaven. Keep an eye out for Wings Over The Rockies tours. 


  With the help of locals, Wildsight and government a 180km stretch is now protected under the BC wildlife act. In June 2005 its was declared a wet land of international importance. There is amazing work being done to preserve pristine areas as well as clean up old historic dump sites. You will even on occasion see locals cross country skiing old tires out of ravines. The protection of these wetlands breeds thought process around impact to others and developments with environmental impacts are not taken lightly in this valley, case in point Jumbo Ski Resort


  I’m very proud to call this my home and have access to such wildlife and terrain diversity. It’s a very cool feeling to be connected to the Americas in such a wild way. If you have a chance put this living wonder on your bucket list, come for a visit and please leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories and photos…unless you stumble on an old tire:) If you would like to further this connection and impact, a great way to do it is through coffee. Out of all the certifications you might see on your coffee bags, the most important ones might be bird friendly or habitat supporting. Choose one that drives a connection in you and fly with it. 

Featured friends:

Kicking Horse Coffee
The Kootenay Life
Venn Coffee
Why Cycles
Wildsight

Stop and smell the coffee. 

  Slowing down is not an easy thing to do these days. Many of us are hard wired to be over achievers, especially with smartphones strapped to our hands. Work, family, sports, dinners…It’s pretty easy to forget to look up and enjoy the small things in life. 
  Enter adventure coffee. I didn’t know this actually existed until a year ago even though it’s been part of my morning camp routine. The goal here is to get out to a beautiful setting with some great coffee and brew it on location. It can be as simple as a pre-ground pour over or as complicated as bringing a small stove to boil water, a grinder and a moka pot. No matter the complexity, the outcome is amazing. You just stopped what you where doing. Walking, hiking, biking, skiing…you name it, options are endless. 
  Doing this can allow you to look up, enjoy that sunset or great friendship that needed some attention. It’s also a good reason to catch your breath and refuel for the next leg in your adventure or take some pictures of the journey.  
  Caffeine balanced with good water intake is a great source of energy and alertness. Also, 20 minutes of being outside per day can enhance thinking power, boost positive energy and expand working memory. If coffee outside can do all of that, I’m in. 

Featured friends: Kicking Horse CoffeeWhy CyclesForever Outside