Let's Test It!

June 15, 2015 0 Comments

It’s important to us at ScoutTech to test the gear that we bring into the store. Last weekend, I had the chance to test out a few different pieces on a family bike tour in South Western Ontario.The weather was warm, not hot- dipping under 10 degrees during the night.

Here’s what was tested:

Here’s how it fared:

Osprey Verve (Viper for men):

I’ve tried a few different bladder and hydration pack combinations, and this one is my favorite by far for a few key reasons.

The hose zips into the shoulder strap.One of the most irritating things about hydration packs is threading and unthreading the hose with bite valve through the pack every time you fill or clean it.Not here- this bladder is a cinch to remove as it zips easily into a sleeve on the shoulder strap.

The locking bite valve is easy to use and prevents water from dripping out when you’re not expecting it.

The rigidity of the back of the bladder and the handle makes the bladder easy to fill.

The only drawback for me was drying the bladder at the end of the trip- unlike the Platypus Big Zip, it’s more difficult to wipe the inside dry or air dry it before storing because of its round opening.

Marmot Nanowave 45:

I was skeptical of this bag, as it is so small and light. I chose it because of its size; space is at a premium in bike panniers.The first night went down just below the 10 C mark. I slept in thermals and I wouldn’t say that it was toasty - I definitely used the hood and cinched the whole thing up around my face- but I was not cold.

I really appreciated the little things, glow in the dark zipper pulls and the differentiated cinch cords.The cinch cords for the hood and across the body have a different shape and are independent, which makes it much easier to distinguish between them and gives you the option to just tighten the hood, or just across your body.

If you are the broad shouldered or claustrophobic, I recommend climbing into this bag to test it out before you decide to bring it home.I am 5’10 and found this bag to be like a true cocoon.While the bag says ‘fits up to 6’0’, I was right at the end when using the hood. If you’re taller than me, I’d go for the LONG version.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core:

This mat is super comfy and warm. I love the size and weight that it packs down to.The material is quiet to sleep on and the slightly larger baffles on the edges of the mat kept me cradled nicely.

If you’re a side sleeper like me, I found the lengthwise baffles comfy to sleep on as I could nestle my shoulder between them.

The biggest drawback for me was the time it took to inflate this baby, which I should mention was done with my breath. If I was considering purchasing this mat, I would also be looking for a Big Agnes mat pump, to save on time and breathlessness.

ThermaRest NeoAir Trekker:

Again, another super comfy mattress to sleep on that packs up small and light. I slept one night on each mattress to get a chance to compare them.

This one (while do also have to blow into it, or use the ThermaRest tap pump or pumpbag) didn’t take nearly as long to inflate as the Big Agnes mattress.

Side sleeping was slightly less comfortable as the baffles go across the mattress and not lengthwise. I also found it to be a little “crunchier” sounding to sleep on. Not a huge deal by any stretch, but it was noisier to move around on.


Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals:

Here I enlisted the help of my 3 taste testing travel buddies- aged 6, 8 and 38.


Beef Stroganoff-

  • Seemed more watery than it should even with the correct amount of water
  • Looked pretty bland to eat- no colorful veggie chunks
  • Smelled appetizing
  • Texture was good- noodles were soft and beef and mushrooms tender
  • Taste was predominantly of the mushrooms with a bit of the beef taste.
  • Two of four taste testers preferred this meal, one found it inedible (although she hates mushrooms), and one was neutral.
  • I would buy this one again.

Chicken Teriyaki-

  • Seemed a little more watery than it should
  • Looked interesting to eat- dried veggies and seasonings. colorful
  • Smelled appetizing
  • Texture was okay- the rice was a little bit mushy
  • Taste was mostly the spices- we couldn’t taste the veggies or the chicken. It was pretty salty and left a strange aftertaste
  • Two of four taste testers preferred this meal, and two found it too salty and inedible.
  • I wouldn’t buy this one again

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first addition of LET’S TEST IT!

Stay tuned for more ScoutTech gear reviews- or share your own reviews with us on our webpage.

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