Category: Review


2021 Week 31 – Bug Off

brown and black mosquito on green stem macro photography

The last 4 posts were a recap of my week-long trip to OH, PA & NY to visit the Allegheny National Forest. With the daily rain, and summer temps, the mosquitos were out and looking for blood but I brought a solution to that…

After seeing ads and reviews over the past year I decided to pickup a Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller prior to the trip. This device comes in many different models and is powered by battery or Butane/Propane canister. I chose the latter as I use that fuel for cooking while camping.

The Thermacell uses heat from a tiny gas powered flame to heat a small pad containing a repellant solution. They claim a 15′ “zone of protection” and I think that’s pretty accurate. I noticed an immediate improvement as soon as I fired up the repeller and set it on the table next to where I was hanging out. It was especially useful under the tarp where I was spending a lot of time during the rain showers. It’s not going to work as well of there’s a lot of wind, but the bugs are usually not a problem when it’s windy.

The pads last for approximately 4-hours and cost around $2 each (cheaper in bulk). There is a very slight sweet smell but it’s not off-putting and a lot better than some of the other scented candles that don’t work very well. This being the backpacking model it’s quite small and portable. If you have a larger space to cover they make bigger units for that.

If you’re looking for something to help keep the bugs at bay while enjoying the outdoors check out the Thermacell line of products and see if they’ll work for you.

And finally… Our friend Rick (The Tenderloin Connoisseur) has a new Podcast that drops each Monday to help start your week off right. Check it out here!

2021 Week 24 – What’s That Noise?

yellow flag on boat

That’s what I said when the 17-Year Cicada Brood hatched last week in the tree line next to my house. It’s louder than I remember but luckily goes quiet at night so we can still sleep with the windows open. On the other hand it’s becoming impossible to keep the car clean!

As I prepare for a couple of big road trips this summer I broke out the Garmin InReach Mini so I could get it updated and re-activated. This little thing is amazing and offers some piece of mind when your travels take you to areas with little, or no, cell coverage. The InReach Mini fits in the palm of your hand and offers Two-Way Messaging, Interactive SOS Alerts, & Location Sharing using the GEOS Satellite network. You can also track your routes and mark positions such as Points of Interest, and campsites/trail heads.

The companion Garmin Earthmate app uses your phone as a GPS display and messaging tool. It connects to the InReach Mini via Bluetooth and allows you to use the keyboard and screen of the mobile phone to send/receive/read messages. Monthly cost is around $35 and you can enable/disable it at will so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it. I highly recommend something like this for peace of mind for both yourself and those that want to make sure you’re OK on your adventures.

And finally, as a HUGE fan of Top Gear (the original one, not the spinoffs) and the Grand Tour, I was happy to see Jeremy Clarkson hosting a new show on Amazon Prime Video. But this one has a twist. He’s now a farmer! He purchased a 1000 acre plot of land a while ago (probably with thoughts of retiring there) and he’s been put in a position where he’s going to try & farm it himself. Well if you know anything about the Top Gear guys, you have an idea where this might be headed…

2021 Week 23 – Wool T-Shirts?

herd of sheep grazing on field

Like him or not Guy Fiedi’s Diners Drive-ins and Drives has done a lot to help mom and pop shops all over the country. I try & keep track of the interesting ones I see when I watch the show but after 30+ seasons it’s impossible. An upcoming trip made me search for it and I was happy I found a Map of all the restaurants covered in the show. There are other lists out there. In fact Food Network has one but its not nearly as organized as the one above.

I’m a gear head when it comes to the outdoors and a fan of Marino Wool socks that keep my feet dry and comfortable. A recent gear guide (I forget which one) was promoting Marino Wool T-Shirts and I decided to get one and try it out. Made from a lightweight merino wool blend that wicks sweat and dries quickly the Icebreaker T-Shirt is super comfortable and works as advertised. I plan on adding a few more to my closet this year.

And finally, this YouTube couple got an amazing behind the scenes tour of the Indy 500, it’s a great watch!

2021 Week 22 – Camping Do Over

focus photography of a ignited firewood

May last camping trip was a wash out so I decided to try it again last weekend. This time there was no rain but the temps were a lot higher. I decided to take a different route, bypassing the I-69 construction, and wound my way south through Jasper and Ferdinand, Indiana

Ferdinand has a monastery similar to the one down the road in St Meinrad. But this one has a brewery and food! I stopped in for a late lunch of Pizza and Beer. While not they best pizza I’ve ever had it hit the spot, especially with the Sister Betty Blonde Ale I washed it down with.

After lunch I decided to finish out my last 9-holes of Disc Golf at St Meinrad. I expected to see a lot more people on the course being a Saturday but was pleasantly supersized the crowd was more like a week day. There was no need to rush and I was able to enjoy a nice round.

The Indian-Celina Lake Campground I like to test equipment at is just inside the Central time zone. In fact it’s so close my electronic devices (and car) will constantly switch back and fourth between time zones. I’ve started wearing an analog watch (Citizen ProMaster Diver with EcoDrive) to make sure I know the actual time. The Citizen is a great watch that uses the sun to keep itself charged. It also keeps amazingly accurate time. I think I’ve only corrected it twice the entire time I’ve owned it. This thing is built like a tank and it’s a nice change from the Apple Watch I wear during the week.

Another item I tested out last weekend was an Exped MegaMat sleeping pad. I bought the MegaMat last October but had yet to take it out to try it in the real world. It’s been great to lounge around on in the house over the winter but it really shines outside in a tent. The MegaMat comes in several sizes and I opted for the XL (extra long) version since I like to stretch out.

One really nice feature about the MegaMat is it self inflates. After you unroll and open the main valve it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to about 95% of where I like it. I can then take the manual pump that’s included to top it off and make it perfect.

This sleeping pad is thick and a little bulky so it’s only really good for car camping or a very short hike to the campsite. It feels like a memory foam bed when you’re laying on it and if you’re a side sleeper you’ll be happy to know it’s supportive enough to keep your hip from digging into the ground. It was worth every penny and I would not hesitate to purchase it again.

I have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I’m gearing up for a trip to the Allegheny National Forrest this summer. So look forward to more trip reports and gear reviews throughout the year.

2021 Week 18 – Outdoor Activities

It’s getting close to camping season! The parks are starting to open back up and reservations are becoming available. I’m hoping to hit my southern Indiana favorite Indian Celina North Face Campground soon to shake down some new gear. It’s not a fancy campground but it’s clean and usually really quiet. I also discovered a Disc Golf course at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey 25-minutes away from camp so that’s going to be a must-visit.

Also this week I give you the “Porks & Rec” Tenderloin sandwich at Big Lug Canteen in Nora. Recommended by my good friend Rick from The Tenderloin Guy. Dressed with all my favorites, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, Mayo & Mustard. Served with a side of herbed mayo that was excellent on the waffle fries I ordered as my side.

Keeping this post a little short because it’s already past due to be published. Look for more pics and reviews in the coming weeks!

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