Tag Archives: camping

Out with the old, in with the new. Hey! Bring back the old!

There are few more hotly contested items in the EDC/Outdoors world than packs.  There are the budget/low end packs like The North Face and Jansport and then there are the “Tier One” pack makers.  These include Mystery Ranch, Triple Aught Design, and GoRuck as well as many others.  Sometimes they decide to make changes to time tested designs for whatever reason that don’t quite make much sense.  The newest iteration of the Mystery Ranch Sweet Pea, arguably one of the very best single day packs made, is an shining example of this.I happened to have my hands on an older Sweet Pea (March ’13) and a new Sweet Pea (Jan ’14) and thought it would be a good idea to do a pictorial documentation of the major changes.


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First, the specs straight from MR.

Sweet Pea

VOLUME: 2000 cu-in (33l)
WEIGHT: 3 lbs 9 oz (1.6kg)
DIMENSIONS: 18″x11.5″x8.5″ (46cm x 29cm x 22cm)


The older one is the Green/Grey and the newer one is the black one, for reference.

Change #1 –  They got rid of the Stick-it pocket.  Don’t worry though, they added some PALS webbing at the bottom so you can add your own Stick-it if you want…. for another $59 + shipping + tax.



Change #2 – They got rid of the PALS webbing and the internal bladder hanger.  Why?  It makes no sense.  Those PALS panels are a perfect place to put an admin pouch like the TAD OP1.



Change #3 – They got rid of the pass throughs on the sides.  Now, I’m not a skier, but I have some buddies who live and breath the slopes and I can definitely see why they’d like to mount their skis on the side and snowshoe up the hill.  Getting rid of the pass throughs makes near impossible with this pack.   You can still easily carry a 320z Nalgene in the outer side pocket, however.



The one thing they should have changed but didn’t is that they still use these stupid buckles to attach their chest straps.  They’re way too easy to break when you’re taking them on and off.  It would be much better if they used the replacement style webbing buckles instead of these.



Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying the newest version is all in all a bad pack.  It’s still the same bombproof, Made in the USA quality that Mystery Ranch is known for.  I’m just not quite sure why they made the changes they did.  If I were you, and were in the market for a new pack this size, I’d search out an older model.  They came up on the various forums and eBay from time to time.


Nemo Meta 1P


I have gear ADD. I can never fully commit to a single piece of equipment and am always looking for something better. To this end, I decided I needed a new single person tent for my yearly multi night backpacking trip in the Pasayten Wilderness. The Pasayten is an unforgiving place. It can be the middle of August and start snowing at 7200 – 8000′ or be 75 degrees at night a couple thousand feet lower. Because of this you need a shelter that will protect you and keep you comfortable in all ranges of temps and conditions.

I looked at a few ultra lightweight tent/tarp setups and finally settled on the Nemo Meta 1P. I had contemplated a tarp but there are way too many bugs up high at the lakes to make that feasible. I’d also contemplated a hammock, but when you’re up above the tree line that’s not always an option. I’ve had a few different Nemo products and have loved all of them. Their Astro Air sleeping board is the best inflatable I’ve ever used and the Cosmo with pillow top was even comfortable enough for my 8 month pregnant wife.

The Meta 1P weighs a paltry 1lb 15ozs in your pack. It compresses almost to the size of a Nalgene bottle. The lack of tent specific poles really helps with both packability of the tent and weight savings. I love the use of the trekking pole to support the tent. It makes a tool that I’m already packing with me multi purpose.

The Meta 1P is a breeze to setup. The first time I did it it took me about 10 minutes. After I got it down it took me about 4-5 minutes to get a nice tight tent.

I have two gripes with this tent but they’re minor. First is the condensation. I get that with single wall tents that condensation is going to be a problem but its still annoying. Second is that the ends of the tent, unless you guy them out pretty tightly, sit low enough to the ground that the wall of the tent can be pretty close to your face. This can be easily rectified by getting a real tight line off the loop on the outside of the tent. You can use your second trekking pole or a tree for this.

All in all, this is a great tent and I think it will be with me for quite a while.

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