Tried and trail rated. Good or bad, we put our stuff to the test before we take it to the studio.

Warbonnet Blackbird XLC 1.1 DL review

I’m a big fan of hammocks. A good hammock is your friend in every environment. Most people think hammocks are for jungle trips, not true! I’ve used them in Sweden and Canada for wintercamping, on jungle trips to Borneo & beach holidays. The Blackbird is manufactured by Warbonnet located in the foothills of the Rocky mountains, Evergreen Colorado.

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Red dirt roads in The Land Of Never Never

This trip we headed out to a lesser visited area of Australia, the Northern Territories is the least populated region. Just the way we like it. Cattle-stations, gigantic Mango Tree plantations and a lot of space. it’s also aboriginal country. Our plan was to hire a 4×4 vehicle with a rooftop tent and go camping in national parks. We rented the most reliable and best known expedition vehicle in the world: a 1994 Toyota Landcruiser V8 4500cc. Australia is the most 4×4 friendly country in the world.  Everybody drives a fully equipped off-road vehicle. As the distances between villages can easily be a few 100 kilometers everybody carries at least 2 extra tyres and basic survival equipment.

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Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars review

Binoculars are essential for wildlife observation, as it is nearly impossible to approach wild animals in their habitat without being spotted. Animals often have much better senses than humans and they will hear, smell & see you from miles away. It’s a good idea not to interfere with their natural routines. For example Roe Deer are very sensitive to any human disturbance often leaving their habitat and sometimes abandoning their hidden fawns. That is why forest rangers tell visitors to stay on paths and yell at you when your dog is running loose…

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Room with a view: Nordisk Svalbard 1 si

Nordisk is a Danish tentmaker that has been delivering high end tents for more than 100 years. I was on the lookout for a single person light compact tent that could resist everything the harsh Icelandic nature could throw at it. After a lot of comparisons I opted for the Svalbard with the optional footprint. On paper it should prove ideal for Iceland with a hurricane resistant 40 meter per second wind rating and industry leading water resistance. With an amazingly small pack size and a total weight of only 1,7kg (including everything from pegs to storm lines and even the carrying bag) you can tuck this little tent everywhere.

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Tiger balm goodness.

According to my girlfriend I’m addicted to Tiger balm. When I travel in the tropics, or any hot and bug infested country, this stuff is essential. It’s compact, inexpensive & works well. It has many uses, but I’ll describe what I use it for;

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Outdoor essential No. I

Essentials are things that are very difficult to make or obtain in the wilderniss. You need a container for water as it is the most essential commodity for a human.

Remember this:

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Legend on wheels, the Mercedes G-class.

The Mercedes G-Wagon is assembled by hand in Graz by Puch. Originally ordered as a military vehicle during the seventies by the Shah of Iran, a great shareholder of Mercedes Benz at that time. It has been in non-stop production since 1979. It’s design is the everlasting timeless type and the off-road capabilities are legendary. This car has truly become a cult car worldwide.

It’s a 1984 280GE with the Mercedes  2.8 M110 engine installed, which is known to be one of the most reliable petrol engines around. It’s not controlled by computers or sophisticated electronics, meaning you can work on it yourself and it’s more reliable during overland expeditions.

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Outdoor Cuisine

Here’s my basic personal cooking set when I go on hiking trips. For me this is as perfect as it gets; simple, sturdy & multifunctional. It allows me to cook my meal in 3 different ways.

  • On a campfire
  • On the WILD WOODGAS STOVE which allows me to have a contained fire with very little wood. I love it! It has a very clean, hot & effective combustion producing less carbon monoxide than an open fire. Also, you will never run out of fuel…
  • On a TRANGIA alcohol stove, when you can’t make a woodfire.

The WILD WOODGAS STOVE has a very compact 3-part design.

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Moka Express

In 1933 the Italian economy wasn’t doing much better than today. Coffee crazed Italians were forced to limit their usual trips to the coffee bars because they were running out of money. That’s when Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka Express! A personal stovetop espresso machine provided excellent coffee and looked pretty damned good too! The Italians were sold and now 9 in 10 Italian households own a Moka Express. The iconic object has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the London Design Museum. By 1953 there were so many copies of the Moka Express around that Alfonso commissioned the Italian Artist, Paul Campani, to design a mascot for his beloved coffee maker. L’omino coi baffi or “the mustachioed little man” was born. Today you can find the little man on the side of every genuine Moka Express, and in the back of my overland truck.

little Man

It’s never over in my Rover, but it always starts with a delicious espresso! I even take the thing on board every dive trip to avoid the “put-some-powder-in water” excuse for coffee they usually serve there.

Grazie Alfonso!

Gotta be sharp in the wild!

A knife is by far the most important tool to carry in the wild. However, a dull knife is useless and dangerous. Knifesharpening is an art and an exercise in Zen meditation. Wax on wax off! Take your time and control your breathing. Remember, practice makes perfect…

This is the sharpening set I take with me when I’m out.

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