Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Outdoor Products Water Bottle Sleeve

Last month, I bought the large neoprene insulated water bottle sleeve designed to fit most 750 ml bottles, item #1161 OP, by Outdoor Products for US$3.00 at Wal-Mart's sports department. The measurements are 7.75" x 3.125" (19.6 cm x 7.9 cm). The available colors I saw were black, red, blue, and orange.

Since a carabiner clip and a webbed carrying strap are included, I don't need the Brita Bottle's carrying loop anymore and removed it. Because the sleeve is tall enough to reach the lower edge of the Bottle's cap, I don't have to be as careful when capping my Bottle after refilling it because the sleeve catches any drops and absorbs them just like it absorbs condensation produced by the ice I put in the Bottle.

When inserting my Bottle into the sleeve, I align the mark I put on one of the seams of the Bottle with the stylish, diamond-shaped silver logo on the front so I may get as much water as possible before having to refill it.


It works well and I'd buy it again. In fact, I did buy another in a different color to rotate them from day to day so one may air dry while I use the other figuring nearly constant moisture on the inside of the sleeve from the condensation and drips would create an environment for breeding things I rather not think about. Those wanting to be able to visually monitor their water level may want to buy the smaller size, instead.

However, with the scorching temperatures this summer, yesterday being the 55th day the high temperature has been over 100°F, last week I went back to using my 17 oz. (.5 L) stainless steel Aladdin thermal bottle simply because ice lasts longer in it. The bottle sleeve fits it, too, better than all the other insulated carriers I've tried on it. Whoo-hoo!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too Hot







Saturday, July 16, 2011

Evaporated Milk +

The advantage of evaporated milk, whether powdered or canned, is it doesn't have to be refrigerated making it ideal for hikers, campers, boaters, travelers, and preparedness.

The disadvantage is it doesn't taste as good as fresh milk prompting me to buy expensive box milk that doesn't need refrigeration.

Trying out a tip I read in "Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail" by Roland Mueser © 1998 Ragged Mountain Press, I added a couple of spoonfuls of non-dairy creamer to my cup of evaporated milk, stirred well, and gingerly tasted it.

It was great! Whoo-hoo!

[Updated 12/1/2011 - If I use non-fat, non-dairy creamer, it's even better to add a couple of spoonfuls of "Original" Carnation Malted Milk.]

Saturday, July 9, 2011

DIY Poncho Improvement: Side Ties

What I used:

-- a Cascade II backpacker poncho,
-- (1) 36" shoelace,
-- (4) eyelets from a 5/16" (8mm) eyelet kit by Prym Creative, part #14015, US$2.97 at Wal-Mart,
-- a hammer,
-- a measuring tape,
-- the scissors on my SAK Classic,
-- disposable lighter.

Contemplating for what else I might use the eyelets mentioned in my last post, it suddenly dawned on me that they're perfect for keeping my poncho from flapping in the wind. As mentioned in a previous post reviewing the Cascade II poncho, I stitched a few heavy-duty Velcro coin sets in mine. Since then, high winds once separated them during a storm. Sure, it was such bad weather I wondered why I wasn't safely indoors, but considering I was already out, there was no reason for me to get wet if it could be avoided.

Following the rule of "measure twice, cut once," I put eyelets in my poncho near the knees, left and right sides, front and back. The cutting part of the eyelet tool didn't cut as well as the enclosed instructions portrayed or maybe I didn't hit as hard with my hammer as I should have. I used the wonderfully sharp scissors of my Swiss Army knife Classic model to complete the holes.

Finishing the rest of the eyelet installations was easy.

Next came deciding what to use as ties and what type of knots would be best.

Settling on a 36" shoelace leftover from a pair bought to make a fore-and-aft cord for a hat, I cut it into fourths and sealed the cut edges with a lighter to prevent fraying.

After tying a double overhand knot on one end, I threaded each piece of shoelace through an eyelet ensuring the knot stopped it from going all the way through.

After each quarter-shoelace was in an eyelet, I tied another double overhand knot in the opposite end to prevent it from slipping out of the eyelet.

Finally, I tied the pair of front and back quarter-shoelaces together on the left side using a slipped reef knot to make it easy to untie if necessary, then repeated with the pair on the right side.

If I didn't pull the poncho on over my head from the bottom like a T-shirt, if I ducked into it from an open side, for example, I'd have to leave the tie(s) undone until after I had the poncho on. Either way is possible since this modification provides the options of tying before it's put on, tying after it's put on, or leaving it untied altogether.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I've been thinking about my soft-sided travel pack which has an easy-access zipper to the main compartment that can't be locked.

Since there might be times I need to check the bag during a domestic flight, foreign train stations usually won't allow baggage in their baggage-hold rooms if they can't be locked, and considering those Pacsafe wire nets are so darn heavy and might even lead a thief to believe there's something inside worth stealing, I've been thinking about putting grommets into my bag in a place convenient to insert a lock through them and the zipper pull.

Wal-Mart's sewing notions section has a Prym Creative eyelet kit for US$2.97 that should work, part #14015, the bar code on the back is #72879 25061. Maybe I'll put more in to lock the zippers on the outside pockets while I'm at it.

The discouraging thing is that suitcase locks are meant only to keep bags from opening accidentally during transit which could also be accomplished by safety pins or cable ties. While locks will also keep an honest person honest by discouraging crimes of opportunity, anyone determined to get into a bag won't be deterred.