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Gear, gear, and more gear! (September edition)
posted by John : September 1, 2017
Once again, welcome to the wacky world of gear reviews. It's the good, the bad, and the what-the-heck? We have a few winners and a few losers this month.

And just like usual, I received most of this gear for free. This post also includes links to purchase gear through various affiliates. If you buy there I'll get a commission, but it won't cost you anything.

One Tribe Apparel Women's Harem Pants

Good news. It wasn't me in the Harem Pants, but I must admit they did look comfy. Lillian has lived in them at home and in the mountains. And for each item sold One Tribe Apparel donates $1 to the Elephant Nature Park. They're made from 100% bamboo rayon and hand stitched by crafts women in Thailand paid above market wages. Seems like a good deal to me.

Swampbutt underwear

Bad news. It was me in the Swampbutt underwear. On the upside, they didn't stink even after long days on the trail with a heavy load and they were comfortable. On the downside, they didn't hold up. After three days the seams were coming undone. Bummer. They have a great name.

Confadent Oral Technology

So you're in the mountains and you forgot your toothbrush and toothpaste. (Or maybe you thought that extra two ounces was too much weight.) No worries! Chew a bit of Confadent gum and you'll feel just like you brushed. I used it on a couple of my three day trips with the littles this summer and we stayed fresh-mouthed. I don't think I'd give up a toothbrush for too much longer, though. Too bad. It's really tasty.

Bullfrog Mosquito Coast Sunscreen and DEET-free Insect Repellent

Speaking of saving weight, how about combining two things you absolutely need? You know, like socks and toilet paper or a hat and your bowl. Hmm... those don't work, but sunscreen and insect repellent do. Combos don't always equal the sum of their parts, but in this case they do. The sunscreen was a solid SPF 30 and the insect repellent, in spite of being DEET-free, kept the bugs away. It comes in both continuous spray and pump spray bottles. 4.7 ounces was plenty for two of us for six days even when there was no shade to be found.

Gaia GPS

Since mobile phones's GPS systems became comprable to standalone units I've used apps to track my trips. When my previous app became unsupported I transitioned to Gaia GPS. The app (available on iOS and Android) can download maps and satellite imagery for offline use in the backcountry, but where it really shines is on the web site. Tracking on phones is handy on the go, but when it comes to planning a trip it's much easier on a full computer. You can use it for free, but to get the most out of it buy the $10/year membership.

Do you have something you want to see in our next review? Drop me a note at

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