Overland News of the Week

Mac’s Tie Downs Monkey Face

Mac’s Tie Downs’ latest offering is a nifty little device called the Monkey Face, designed to make securing cargo even simpler for folks with stake pockets. The .375-inch laser-cut steel tie-down interface is welded to a .1875-inch square steel tube (which secures in stake pockets with an included linchpin), and both are powder-coated with a 10,000-pound minimum breaking strength. The Monkey Face’s various connection points will accept a variety of Mac’s Tie Down end fittings, including the flat-snap hook, twisted-snap hook, s-hook, and flat hook. The Monkey Face can also be combined with a Mac’s low-profile lashing winch, allowing you to easily secure and tension cargo with 2-inch webbing. Made in Idaho, USA.

$45 | Mac’s Tie Downs

 

Patagonia R1 Air Zip-neck

Being a leader in the world of technical outdoor garments while prioritizing sustainable product development and production is no small task, but Patagonia has proven that it’s possible. And one of their newest technical mid-layers, the R1 Air Zip-neck, promises lightweight, breathable insulation made from 100-percent recycled polyester fibers. Why polyester? Well, it’s stretchy and keeps you warm even when it gets wet. Polyester is also quick-drying and an excellent textile for high-output outdoor activities like climbing, trail running, or skiing. The R1 Air has a zig-zag texture that aims to trap warmth against the body while allowing sweat to escape. And in the typical Patagonia fashion of closing the loop on sustainable production, you can bring your worn-out R1 Air into a local store when it’s time to retire it, and the Common Threads program will utilize it to make the next generation of synthetic garments.

$119 | Patagonia

 

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen in Bronze

I’m a sucker for products that will last a lifetime, and the Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen fits the bill nicely. Offered in Copper, Bronze, Titanium, and Zirconium and made in the great state of Texas, these writing implements can literally replace 1,000s of disposable plastic pens. The unique bolt-action deployment promises to be satisfyingly smooth and addicting for anyone who appreciates refined machining. And a lifetime warranty on the pen means it’s an investment that will always be there when you need it.

$99+ | Tactile Turn

 

Snow Peak Field Coffee Master

Yup, another coffee gadget. But here’s why I think the Snow Peak Field Coffee Master stands out: versatility. Whereas many camp coffee gadgets have one specific use, the Coffee Master can brew in two different styles—as a percolator or pour over. You can even remove the internal dripper and simply use the kettle to boil water. The kettle is made from stainless steel, brass, and glass and can brew up to 32 ounces of coffee, which should be enough for at least two people.

$160 | Snow Peak

 

Altered Company Dual Flow Pro Faucet Nozzle

Did you know that according to the EPA, the average American uses 88 gallons of water per day? Two of the activities that are responsible for the large number are bathing and washing dishes. When you are traveling full time, it’s easy to cut down the frequency that you bathe, but it’s not the same story for washing your dishes. One great method for reducing the water needed to wash dishes is to use a hand-held spray bottle instead of running the tap, but this introduces some challenges. Here’s a better solution: the Altered Flow Pro faucet nozzle reduces the water flow from your tap by up to 98 percent. It does this by atomizing the water flowing from your faucet and producing what amounts to a pressurized mist. It is easy to install, but you’ll need to make sure that your faucet can achieve 3 bar (43.5 psi) for the nozzle to work properly. It also has a “spray” mode that allows you to fill water bottles more efficiently or for tasks requiring a higher amount of water output.

$45 | Altered Company

 

USWE Sports Hajker PRO 30

USWE Sports has been designing “ no bounce” packs since 2007. While they may look a little unconventional, the four-point suspension harness they have developed is less like a backpack and more like a trail running vest, utilizing elasticized webbing for a snug and flexible fit. The Hajker PRO 30 is their lightweight winter-sports-specific model which has a fully waterproof roll-top design. Features abound, including a removable dry-bag liner, large hip-belt pockets, a removable insulated hydration bladder compartment, a removable helmet keeper, ice ax attachment points, and more. The waist belt is removable to make the pack even lighter or for use as a minimal stand-alone trail running or skiing belt to store snacks or small items like keys and gloves.

$300 | USWE Sports

 

Slab Outdoors Slab 1.0 Folding Cutting Board

Slab Outdoors describes their Slab 1.0 cutting board as the “outdoor’s toughest portable cutting surface.” This folding food prep surface measures 12 inches by 12 inches folded but doubles to provide 24 inches by 12 inches of cutting surface when opened. Made from HDPE and weighing in at 4 pounds, a portable cutting board with this much real estate is an excellent addition to any camp kitchen.

$40 | Slab Outdoors

 

HydraPak – Expedition 8-liter water storage

Previously reviewed in depth on ExPo (article here), the HydraPak Expedition 8-liter water storage container is a flexible, collapsable solution for hauling water in the backcountry. The 63mm cap is a somewhat standardized size that will accept a variety of aftermarket water filters for purifying water from backcountry sources. Lashing points make it easy to secure or hang in camp for easy access or non-drinking related tasks like showering (with attachment) or washing up. Perhaps the most valuable quality of this piece of gear is its ability to collapse when empty, saving valuable space inside a backpack.

$60 | HydraPak

 

Power Practical Luminoodle

Lighting up camp at night can be accomplished with much simpler and affordable options than aftermarket area and spotlights for your rig—for instance, the Luminoodle. Okay, the name is a bit silly, but this IPX67 waterproof rated strip of LED lights is pretty clever and practical. It has built-in magnets that let you very quickly and easily attach it to metal surfaces, and it is powered by a standard 5V USB battery bank. The 10-foot-long version produces 360 lumens, more than enough to light up your camp kitchen or for reading in your tent. The included stuff sack is made from a translucent white fabric that can effectively function as a lantern when the LED strip is stowed inside it. The Luminoodle also comes with “universal ties,” which let you attach it to almost anything.

$20+ | Power Practical

 

Looking for more gear? Check out our previous Overland News of the Week article here.

 

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When he's not publishing campervan content or gear reviews on ExPo, Matt Swartz is honing his paragliding skills, hiking a 14er, or exploring the backroads of Colorado. His love of travel has seen him bike across the United States, as well as explore more exotic destinations like the Amazon basin and Patagonia. Matt spent three years living in a 1964 RV with his partner, Amanda. He's worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and his photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.