Posts Tagged eco-friendly
I’ve been known to carry a flask along now and then, so I was glad to give this new one from Stanley a whirl after I saw it at their Outdoor Retailer Show booth. Besides it being useful and cool, it’s made of very tough plastic, so I wasn’t worried about it getting dented along the way.
The eCycle in the name makes you feel like you’re doing some good in the world as you drink to Mother Earth. It’s made from recycled food packaging (up to 25% post-consumer) and if the thing gets too beat up to use anymore (or you drop it under a moving vehicle while waving your arms around telling that great story), you can toss it in any recycling bin that accepts #5 plastic. See more details on that at the Stanley eCycle page.
What else makes this seven-ounce Stanley flask different is how you get into it. There’s the normal screw-off circular lid for pouring or swilling, but then there’s another opening too. The whole rectangular top of the container will flip open, allowing you a bigger space in which to pour ingredients for a cocktail to go. Or to just get the thing clean when you want to go from Bourbon to Vodka—never an easy thing in the ones where you just have to keep filling and rinsing. It’s dishwasher safe—how cool is that!
The main drawback of this is…it’s still hard to find. It supposedly came out in July, but retail orders must have been light because only a few of the usual spots you’d shop for Stanley mugs and bottles seem to have it.
The eCycle flask comes in green or blue and sells for $20. I’m guessing I’ll lose this before it even comes close to wearing out. It’s well-designed and very rugged. Pick up one for your camping friend who drinks or your favorite lush who travels. Check a local retail store, L.L. Bean, or add it to the cart at Amazon.
Autumn is here, and it will be ski and winter travel season in no time. I’ve already worn my ColdPruf base layers on more than one occasion here in Oregon, and will be packing them when I head north to Alberta, Canada next week.
ColdPruf offers multiple product lines, rating them from cold to extreme cold and low activity to high activity. I appreciate that each line falls somewhere on this scale, so you can easily identify which base layer you’ll need based on what you plan to use it for. I tried out their women’s crew and pant in both their Performance and Eco Pro-Tek lines.
Both are rated for ‘very cold’ (the middle option on the cold scale) and ‘high activity’ (the top option on the activity scale). Both tops are long-sleeved crews, and both pants feature an elastic waist and fitted legs, but the main similarities end there.
Performance women’s crew and pant:
The women’s crew features flat seams, a tag-less back, and hemmed cuffs, all great for high activity. Both the crew and the pant are made of 96% performance polyester and 4% spandex, for a nice stretch when exercising, skiing, hiking, or sitting. You get antimicrobial odor-control and great moisture management and evaporation (in plain language, this means you won’t feel chilled or wet when you sweat). The crew is lightweight and thin, making it an ideal layering piece that won’t add bulk. The performance pant offers the same single-layer engineering and flat seams, and adds a comfort waistband that really is just that. Both are a close fit with plenty of give.
Eco Pro-Tek women’s crew and pant:
The Eco crew offers a more flattering cut, with a lower neckline and nice accents to add some color. Both the crew and pant in this line are made of 100% Repreve recycled performance polyester with a mini waffle weave, and are extremely soft. After wearing a lot of synthetic base layer materials, this one is surprisingly comfortable. However, due to the lack of spandex, there is very little give in the Eco line, especially in the pant. I found that while I prefer them for casual wear or travel, I need a base layer with more flexibility while hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing.
The Eco offerings feature the flat seams that are attractive in the performance line, and are also tag- less. You get the same antimicrobial odor-blocking technology. Also like its Performance cousin, the Pro-Tek is single layer. (By the way, this seems to be the main difference between the performance/casual lines and the extreme performance lines at ColdPruf: single vs double layer.)
Pick up either the Eco Pro-Tek or Performance in both men’s and women’s versions, or outfit youth in ColdPruf’s Base or Enthusiast line. I wish they made the Eco line in youth sizes, because my tween son has taken to wearing my Eco Pro-Tek pants, simply due to their softness. For kids who don’t like ‘scratchy’ base layers, this is the solution.
The price is right: ColdPruf’s Performance crew is only $19.99 on Amazon and the Eco Pro-Tek is only $18.36. Pants are approximately the same cost. ColdPruf layers can also be found on Backcountry and Sunny Sports.
This LuminAID lamp ticks off a lot of boxes that make us happy on this travel gear blog: eco-friendly, practical, inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to pack. On top of all that, the company is doing some good in the world as well.
Yes, I’m doing two reviews this week of things that pack down small and then expand at your destination. This time it’s a cool little lantern that stows away in the size you see below—basically a solar panel and a battery—then inflates to be a useful lantern. And as you might have gathered from the top photo, it floats!
This inflatable lantern only weighs three ounces (85 grams), so it’s not going to be much trouble to pack, even for an ultralight backcountry camping trip. When you’re ready to use it, a few puffs of air blows it up and you’ve got a 20- or 30-lumens lamp with a nice soft glow. There’s a flap on top for hanging, so my daughter hung it from a hook on her bunk bed when we were unpacking in a new house and it was bright enough to read by.
Like most solar panel devices of any kind, you need a few hours of direct sunlight to fully charge the battery, six to eight hours if you really want to be sure. But this LuminAID is very efficient after it is charged. We’ve used it at least 12 hours without having to charge it again. The company says it should go for at least 10 hours on high, more like 15 hours on the low setting. There’s just one button to take you from low to high to off.
There’s very little leakage of power with this lantern either: you can store it for months and it’ll still light up. So besides the obvious travel and camping applications (light up your tent or light up a cheap hotel room that has just one dim bulb), this is a good emergency lantern for your car or home. It’ll last for many years if you use it regularly, who knows how long if you don’t.
You can buy one for yourself at Amazon or the LuminAID site, but if you want to do something good for someone who wasn’t born in as lucky a place as you, spend a bit more. If you plop down $28 instead, one lantern will come to you, one will go to someone in a village without electricity. They’ve been handing these out in places like Ethiopia, Laos, and Haiti. See the details here.
We’ve reviewed quite a few portable travel speakers on this gear blog, but this Goal Zero Rock Out speaker has got to be the best one we’ve tried that costs $30 or less.
Seriously, for that amount I expect to get some tinny speaker with no bass, powered by AA or AAA batteries I have to keep recharging in a separate charger. I don’t expect to find a speaker that really deserves the name “Rock Out,” one you can crank up to 11 with no distortion and have bass lines that pump instead of ones that go hide in the closet.
The secret is a wooden sound box built into the design that acts as a bass booster, eliminating the need for what most portable speakers naturally lack: a big speaker with a big magnet.
Being that it’s from Goal Zero, this speaker is rechargeable, of course. Ideally you’re charging it with one of their solar panels like the Guide 10 Adventure Kit I reviewed a while back. The built-in lithium battery will fully charge in a few hours in the sun and then it’ll crank your music out for ages after that. If you don’t have a solar charger though, any USB port or wall adapter will work.
It’s advertised as lasting 20 hours in normal use, which is impressive. Half a workweek’s worth of tunes! I got through hundreds of songs on my phone before it ran out of juice the first time, about the same the second time with an iPod Touch. For me that came out to more than a week before needing a recharge. On a camping trip or weekend getaway, you’d be good to go for the duration.
The controls are dead simple, so just charge it up, turn it on, plug it in to the headphone jack. Nothing to figure out from an instruction manual.
If you’re traveling with anyone else who has one of these, you can daisy chain them together to spread out the sound. The rugged design is shock-resistant and should hold up to whatever a traveler throws at it. The controls are inside the zippered closed part—no turning it on by mistake and no switches exposed to the elements. There’s a set of stretchy cords on one side that will hold your music player, plus a carrying strap that doubles as a hanging hook.
As you can see from the photo at the top, the Goal Zero Rock Out Speaker comes in multiple colors. It’s a mere 30 bucks – a terrific value.
Taking the best elements of their popular Airflow hat and using recycled fibers to mix up the look, this Tilley TMH5 Mash-up Hat stands out from the sea of other sun hats you’ll see in your travels.
We’re big fans of the Tilley brand here, joining half the traveling Canadian populace in singing its praises. We liked the Airflow so much that two of use reviewed it here (the organic cotton version) and here. I’ve also checked out a few others on trips to sunny places, including the Plaid Hat.
This mash-up hat really hits our eco-friendly buttons though because it’s made from materials that normally would just go in a landfill. Leftovers from the hemp and organic cotton piles are getting reused to make new hats that look pretty darn cool. And each one’s as unique as a snowflake.
Naturally you get high sun protection—the main reason I’m wearing one of these around Mexico right now—and if you get drizzled on like I did the water will bead up and run off unless it turns into a deluge. If the wind starts blowing really hard, it’s got removable string bands to tie under your chin. They’re reflective even if you need to be seen at night. Wearing a hat…
This TMH5 hat has a great mesh ventilation band along the top that lets the breeze flow through a bit and gives the heat coming off your noggin somewhere to go. It also comes with a little pocket in the top on the inside, like most Tilley hats, so you can stash a little cash there for emergencies or a trip to the nudist camp. (Seriously they’re a big hit with the clothing optional crowd.)
I usually subject the items I’m reviewing to all kinds of abuse to see how well they hold up and my years-old Airflow hat is not exactly looking like it did when it came out of the package. I haven’t had the heart to cram this one into my suitcase yet because it looks so pretty. It’s machine washable though, so once it gets too dirty or sweaty I’ll stop treating it with kid gloves. After all, Tilly hats come with a lifetime warranty—something unheard of from most other travel hat brands. They’ll even send you a little certificate showing you’ve managed to wear one out.
Get the Tilley Mash-up Hat in the TMH5 version at their stores in Canada or at the Tilley site —so far this new one hasn’t shown up anywhere else stateside. They also make a version with a wider brim if you want more protection.