We’re just guessing here, but we think July might be the month where Colorful Colorado got its name. The wildflowers in the Rockies look amazing and we’re working hard to see as many as possible. We’ve finally got our hiking legs back for the season and our lungs have forgiven us for making them work so hard at high altitude. The snow is gone for the most part, and the highest reaches of Colorado’s crags look like a scene out of The Sounds of Music. Now that summer is in full swing, it only seems fitting for another round of Gear On The Go!
If we’re going to put something in our van we usually want it to serve more than one purpose. The Sitka LED Lantern is the perfect lantern for cooking and getting work done in the van or at our campsite. Instead of installing permanent lighting in our van, we decided to use lighting that we could use inside and outside of the van in case we wanted to get some work done under the stars.
It’s no secret that Colorado is under strict fire-bans almost statewide. That has caused us to get a little creative with our camp lighting. The Sitka+ LED Lantern from UCO has become one of our car-camping staples. When we’re camping with friends it’s nice to have a bright, fire ban-safe lantern that will extend above our heads, leaving us with enough light to play some cards or make food without blinding everyone around. The Sitka+ is 500 lumens and comes outfitted with an extendable arm that extends the height of the lanterns from 12 1/2 inches up to 26 inches. This helps create four times the amount of usable light. Like most of the UCO line of lanterns, the Sitka+ features an infinity dial with a real wood inlay that allows for easy fine tuning of the light. Turn the dial to the right and the Sitka+ enters Northern Lights Mode and will cycle through the ROYGBIV colors when you’re in the mood to party. The Sitka+ also comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and features a USB power output that will allow you to charge your phone or other gadgets.
Mountain House has been in the business of freeze dried foods for a long time. They have been perfecting and neatly packaging some of our favorite meals such as Italian Pepper Steak, Chicken Fajitas, Ice Cream Sandwiches and more since 1969. After a long day in the mountains, you need to refuel your body with tasty and nutritious food. For that, we call upon the delicious Pasta Primavera!
This hearty vegetarian dish can be whipped up in minutes like all of the Mountain House products. It consists of spiral macaroni, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and zucchini with a parmesan cheese sauce. We like how fresh this meal tastes and how filling it is. The noodles re-constitute perfectly and really hit the spot when we need the carbs.
Mountain House offers their meals in several different sizing options but we wanted to highlight the #10 can. These cans come with 10-11 servings of your favorite meal. They are perfect for group camping trips, in case of an emergency or loss of power. Sometimes we make them when our friends are too lazy for take-out. You simply add hot water to the can just like you do with the pouches, wait a few minutes and you have pasta that tastes homemade before you know it. The #10 cans have a shelf life of 30 years, making these the ultimate choice for emergency preparation.
In a way, using these trekking poles is like driving a sports car. They are sleek, comfortable and very strong. These are the lightest and most comfortable poles that we have used to date. LEKI was founded in 1948 and has been on the cutting edge to ski and trekking pole technology ever since.
These poles are made out of 100 percent carbon, making them some of the lightest and strongest poles on the market. Perfect for climbing, trail running or small tours – these “Z” style folding poles pack down and expand in a second and are easy to stash in a crowded van or gear closet. Weighing just eight ounces per pole, these are perfect for the ultralight hikers out there. Everything about using these poles is a breeze. One-button will collapse the poles in the blink of an eye. Simply extend the top shaft of the Micro Vario Carbon to extend the pole and lock it back into place. At just 15 inches long when collapsed, they fit perfectly into our gear drawers and are great for taking on a plane. If you have ever used poles while hiking then you know that straps play a huge role in overall comfort. The LEKI Skin Straps used on the Micro Vario will allow you to forget that the straps are even there. They’re THAT comfortable. The straps are also easy to adjust and lock into place. We’ve used these poles on some fairly aggressive scrambles and they have held up without any problems. These poles have a 20 cm adjustment range, so they’ll fit almost everybody. LEKI also sells a woman’s version of this pole that is slightly smaller and lighter in weight.