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NLX Gear Review 2011
No Limit Expeditions | by James Brown
May 24, 2011

Gear Review 2011

Hear at No Limit we have the opportunity to test a lot of gear. Each item reviewed has been put to the test in the field and must hold up to the constant demands of a overland expedition. We appreciate quality products that actually do what they should and hope these recommendations make your choices a little easier when choosing the gear thats right for you.



Triple Aught Design

Fast Pack Light Speed
(Click for details)
The Fast Pack Light Speed – Book-bag?, rucksack?, backpack?, call it what you will but the Fast Pack Light-Speed is in a class all it’s own.
I’ve been searching for a great bag for a long time. Now, I've found a perfect one. As with all the Triple Aught Design items we have tested the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Fast Pack is build quality. I’m one of those people that like things to have a quality feel & look. The buckles should have a nice “click” when you close them, zippers should have firmness about them that let’s you know these aren't going to break. This bag immediately checked all the boxes. The nylon material looks & feels tough, the zippers are inset, the seams are all reinforced in the key areas. I like that it looks & feels as tough and functional as it actually is. The design for mobility of your arms is perfect. Everything is adjustable for bulk and comfort. Each and every piece was well thought out and serves it’s purpose. I love the storage pouch on the outside for a jacket or water bottle and the inside is even set up to hold a water bladder. The padding on the back and straps makes it the most comfortable pack I’ve carried. Although it looks small compared to other packs, looks can be deceiving. I used this pack to hold everything I needed for a 10 day expedition. I mounted my OP1 pouch to the outside and never felt the need for more space. If you were to add additional pouches the possibilities are endless.  The only down side is I now feel the need to buy all those cool patches to put on it...and I need one in green.


 

 

Warbonnet Outdoors

Black Bird 1.7 Hammock
(Click for details)
The jungle can be unfriendly to campers. Places to pitch a tent can be hard to find, and the ground is always uneven and often soaking. Then there are the bugs; lots of them. Bugs that will come out of the least expected places and find their way into your gear or onto your body for a meal. Add to that the distinct likelihood of rain, and sane people can be pardoned for calling crazy any attempt to camp. But what if there was a piece of gear that could bring sanity to nights in the remote rainforest? There is, the hammock. Not the rope hammock you find in palapas all over Mexico, but full on camping hammocks.
We use an offering from Warbonnet Outdoors, the Blackbird camping hammock. It has integrated mosquito mesh, a double floor for using a pad and the option of several tarps for rain protection. The hammock is designed so that when set-up properly you sleep at a diagonal to the ridge-line on an almost flat surface. The hammock can be rigged between trees, between vehicles, under palapas and offers bug-free sleeping well off the ground. With the addition of the super-adjustable whoopie slings as rigging points, the hammock becomes a versatile and extremely light camping solution. Perfect for the jungle. Warbonnet is based in Fort Collins Colorado and makes all their hammocks there.


 

 


 

Eezi - Awn 1400

Roof Top Tent (Click for details)

If your choosing to get off the ground and go the roof top tent route you will quickly notice there are tons of choices. I've spent plenty of time in roof top tents over the years. My wife and I lived in one day in & day out for almost a year and at NLX we use them everyday. Like everything there are good points & bad and quality can vary from one manufacturer to the next. Equipt Expedition Outfitters started importing Eezi - Awn tents because they believe they are the best .  After  spending time in this one, I must agree. The construction of the tent is of the highest quality. What stands out to me are the materials.  The canvas, zippers, fasteners and the flooring are heavy duty and made to last. The ladder system also seems much heavier duty than the models of the past and simpler to use. The sliding, locking pins have made a simple easy to use system even easier. Everything about this tent screams quality. If I were to buy one tent that would do the overland miles of a lifetime, this is it.


 

 


Alu-Box

Aluminum Storage Case
(Click for details)
The moment people started traveling overland they have been in search of the perfect storage solutions. After some searching you start to feel a bit like Goldilocks. “This ones too small, this ones too big, it doesn’t close right, it’s too heavy”. NLX has tried several different options and we haven’t been fully happy with any of them. Recently Equipt Expedition Outfittersturned us on to the Alu-Box. Aluminum cases have been around forever but most are hard to come by and very expensive. After using the Alubox I feel like it has filled a much needed section of the market. Good quality, lightweight, water tight, durable and available in any size you could possibly need. Angela loves the fact that even fully loaded she can still lift them and load the truck. They work great for kitchen & food storage, gear, inside the vehicle or on the roof they are a great solution.
I have seen other reviews that mention things like the rivets not being perfect etc.. I drive aDefender, I don’t care about seeing rivets or minor imperfections, I want it to perform and be a good value. Remember the Alu-Box doesn’t cost $500 like other aluminum cases. At the end of the day it’s a box, you load it & unload it, you put your stuff in it, you don’t stare at it.
NLX is in the process of reorganizing our storage solutions for our vehicles and I see a wide range of Alu-Box’s in our future!


 

 

Snow Peak

Recta Shelter (Click for details)
When you spend most of your time camping in the tropics shelter becomes a very big deal. You need a place to escape the sun, dry out from the rain and enjoy that well deserved meal at the end of the day. The main thing NLX looks for in this type of product is ease of assembly & breakdown. When your at the end of a long day of  travel and the rain is starting, you want easy! Snow Peak is known for quality and the Recta Shelter lives up to that standard. It goes up in 5min and breaks down in less, it's simple, well thought out and very well constructed. Extend the tarp, prop up the middle & side poles, guy them out and your done. In rain and high winds it is sturdy and holds it's ground. Once taken down it packs away in a small size duffel that is easy to store and perfect for Overland travel.  Thanks to Overland Gourmet for introducing us to this great product.


 

 

Volcano or Kelly Kettle (Click for details)

At NLX we take tea breaks very seriously. When we are on the track in the middle of the jungle and tell everyone it's time for tea they always think were joking. I decided to include this classic piece of kit because whenever we use it on expeditions our clients fall in love with it and most of them have never heard of it.  The basic function is to boil water - you build a fire in the base – fill the chamber with water and presto your drinking tea in no time. I know the world has now been blessed with jet boils and such but when traveling abroad gas cylinders are often not an option and expensive. The best pieces of kit are simple and durable. The Kelly Kettle will last forever, fueling it is free and that cup of tea in the middle of nowhere will taste fantastic!


NLX encourages you to check out more great products from these companies.

 







 


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