Billy Brown's Blog


Nemo's Morpho AR: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

Looks like Nemo has broken new ground with the Morpho AR 3-season tent. With the Morpho AR, they've done away with a central aspect of traditional tents, eschewing traditional tentpoles for "airbeams", an inflatable, highly durable alternative. A feat of design, the Morpho AR is lightweight, roomie, and amazingly easy to set up. Forty feet of floor space is kept completely rain-free (no matter how hard the downpour) as well as condensation-free with efficient venting....
read more

Lippi's Selk' Bag: Jammies For Grown-ups

I've always been an active guy-I have a hard time sitting still for very long and sleeping is no different. I roll around, kick, flop onto my stomach, etc.  So imagine how much I enjoy spending nights wrapped up like a miserable burrito in a mummy bag. I've heard that you get used to them, but I've yet to see any abatement to my claustrophobic hell. This is why I love Lippi’s Selk’bag-it was designed...
read more

Brunton Vesta Backpacking Stove-So Easy, a Caveman...

I've been told that I make things much more complicated than they need to be. Essentially, if there are more than two or three steps to something, I will find a way to make it take much longer than it should. When fire is a factor, I usually find a way to inadvertently up the "ka-boom" factor as well. This is why Brunton's Vesta stove is such a great little peice of gear-it's so easy,...
read more

Five Fingers KSO Trek: A Step in the Right Direction

When Vibram released Five Fingers, a series of shoes featuring individual toe sleeves and a thin footbed to provide the feeling and benefits of being barefoot without the exposure, I was elated. The only drawback that I found when I wore my Five Finger KSO's was having to endure the odd looks that came along with wearing shoes with toes. They looked great on the trail, but felt a bit out of place at, say,...
read more

Nathan's Stainless Steel Bottle

I'm pretty picky when it comes to water bottles-I can't stand wide-mouth openings, but straws have a tendency to leak, I need something that'll fit into a cupholder, but I also need something that's tough enough to follow me into the wilderness, and I need something that I can afford. And if it's at all possible, I'd like to walk around with a water bottle without looking like a tool. That said, I've become a...
read more

Zeal Optics' Swap-It Deuce: Water-Friendly Eyewear

I live in a town between two lakes. It also happens to have the Sacramento River running smack dab though the middle of it, so needless to say I've lost more than my share of sunglasses to the water gods over the years. So, apparently, have the people at Zeal Optics, because they've designed a pair of sunglasses that'll take everything that a body of water can dish out. Zeal has taken their passion for...
read more

Lens-Mounted GPS Goggles

A Vancouver company called Recon Instruments is working on a skiing/snowboarding goggle which features a lens-mounted display. With these displays, the company says that the goggles will use an integrated GPS system to project information such as speed, hang time, and vetical drop in real time in a non-obstructive display on the goggle lens itself. In addition, the company touts that the goggles will feature resort maps  for easy navigation and a GPS-enabled friend-tracking feature...
read more

Brooks Range's Rock Shirt: Comfort You Can Afford

Brooks Range's Rock Shirt is a great middle layer for treks into the wild. Made with heavy-duty 12-oz. cotton and polyester, it'll take whatever you throw at it. It's a bit heavy for people who are counting ounces, but if you want a comfortable shirt that can take a beating, the Rock Shirt is a godsend. It's sueded inner layer really softens it up and makes it feel as comfortable as that old sweatshirt from...
read more

The Gerber Gator Gets a Grip

Handle? Check. Sharp edge? Check. I thought that was pretty much if for innovation when it came to knives, until I checked out Gerber's Gator Knife. Nothing spells trouble like fumbling with a knife in wet, slippery conditions-it's a great way to lose a digit. Fortunately, the Gator's handle is as weatheproof as it's namesake. The thermoplastic grip feels great in dry weather and won't slip when the weather gets foul. They go for about...
read more

Beardhead-Facial Warmth For the Beard-Challenged

The image of the intrepid explorer making his way across an icy tundra with a frozen beard is an iconic ideal in the minds of many outdoor enthusaists. Unfortunately, a good percentage of us just can't muster the facial hair to live up to that image. If you can't make your own face warmer, Beard Head has thoughtfully brought the warmth and inherent badass-ness of a full beard to even the most smooth-cheeked outdoorsman (or...
read more

fblike = '' $$("body")[0].insert({top: fblike});