It’s our February gear round up, and we have an assortment of overland gear that either packs up small or helps handle the packing. We asked Mercedes Lilienthal to give us her review on items that promise to deliver both high quality and size efficiency. Read on for this months review!
Gear reviews and photos by Mercedes Lilienthal
Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Camp Table
Gone are the days where you hold your dinner in a camp chair with a clumsy plate and utensils. Days of eating dirt in your food can disappear, because you had no proper kitchen or eating area for meal prep. Big Agnes’ Soul Kitchen Camp Table may just be your new eating essential.
The Soul Kitchen Camp Table provides you a sturdy eating solution—whether on the go, or even at home. This foldable and packable table provided me a generous tabletop surface that held up well to whatever I put on it (which included much more than plates full of food).
Big Agnes was a company born close to 20 years ago; they wanted to create quality outdoor gear that helped adventure enthusiasts “chase their dreams”. The Soul Kitchen Camp table is a welcome new addition to their durable goods arsenal: it’s easy to set up, a cinch to pack away, and can hold up to 90 pounds of weight.
This table has shock-cord architecture that’s simple to use, as well as a zippered bag that’s big enough to quickly stow away when not needed. Big Agnes uses an aircraft aluminum pole base that can take a beating, as well as a waterproof UTS coating on their fabric top—enhancing water repellency and adding tear strength.
Although the table has a metal leg construction, its plastic clips up top may be a point of weakness, I wonder if an accidental step on it when collapsed or stowing heavy gear on top of it when in its bag may lead to them crushing. That set aside, I was impressed with Big Agnes’ new Soul Kitchen Camp Table and it’s definitely one to consider. Price: $129.95.
Helinox Chair One
What’s better than sitting at your camp table eating your food and drinking a great beer than having a comfortable chair to sit in? Helinox’s Chair One boasts a sturdy and enveloping chair for outdoor lovers. The Chair One is Helinox’s original, award-winning chair—and for good reason.
Its construction is superior to many others (who appear to knock off their design and sell them cheaper). Ask me how I know. I’ve bought them: the chairs are flimsy, the fabric is cheaper, and they’re not as well made. I returned them in search of better quality wares.
Helinox’s Chair One weighs a mere 2.1 lbs., is compact (measuring in at only 4 x 4 x 14 inches in its supplied case), and can hold a whopping 320 pounds. This one-seater is quick to set up (although stretching the fabric to meet its pole ends takes some strength when new), and is weather and UV resistant.
This low-riding seat has a single-shock and cored-pole structure and is backed by a five-year warranty. How many chair companies out there boast that kind of warranty? While the price is more than your average camp chair, this quality and comfortable seat will last you for years to come. Price: $100.00.
Cotopaxi Del Dia Tarak
Gear storage doesn’t have to be stuffy or mundane. It doesn’t have to be monochrome in color or boring, either. Utah-based Cotopaxi is anything but lackluster. Cotopaxi is a company that is focused on inventive and well-made colorful merchandise to support poverty alleviation throughout the world. They support people through enablement and education. “Do good,” they say. Cotopaxi does their part to make an impact for those who are struggling.
Cotopaxi sells several types of backpacks, bags, duffels, and clothing. Their Del Dia line, in particular, uses fabric remnants or excess material to make different and unique items. The Del Dia line is constructed in the Philippines; with each one being distinctive. Mismatched clasps, straps, fabrics— even different-colored zippers are used together. No two Del Dia bag are the same.
This line offers a colorful solution to house your gear, and gives you an opportunity to make a unique statement, too. You can choose how colorful or un-matched you want to be. Each Del Dia bag is made with careful consideration to its craft, looks, and funky style.
The Del Dia Tarak 20l backpack is a great backpack for day-long jaunts or weekend warrior adventure trips. Hiking? Camping? Climbing? No problem. The Del Dia Tarak pack boasts low-profile shoulder straps with adjustable compression and lash points. This backpack also includes a zippered front pocket, top lid, and removable waist belt.
Each Del Dia Tarak is meticulously created. I am a stickler for well-made products so I notice when things are hap-hazard. This backpack is nothing but carefully crafted. The attention to detail is flawless. Even mismatched zippers and clasps sing in harmony—they fit together like a glove.
The Del Dia Tarak’s interior quality is also solid. Accoutrements like an inside zippered pouch, pockets, and sleeve to hold a hydration receptacle was featured. Although this backpack is narrow (it’s made in a tubular fashion) it does allow for some enlargement as you stuff your attire inside. Loosen the exterior crisscross straps on the front of the pack and it will give you more room.
This backpack adequately allows for a multi-night adventure, but it’s a bit cumbersome to pull all your contents out in order to get to your stash at the bottom of the pack. Side vertical zippers running the length of the pack (one on each side) would make this a stellar product. It would make for easily accessible interior contents.
Cotopaxi’s Del Dia Tarak backpack is a distinctive backpack that is made with high-quality fabrics and construction. It’s crazy colorful. Bonus: them helping those in need, too. Price: $90.00.