Gear Talk

REI Chrysalis UL 1-person Tent

REI Chrysalis UL Tent 

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Here is my review of the REI Chrysalis UL (ultralight) 1-person Tent


 - Very lightweight as compared to my previous Apexus Tadpole Tent. Packaged weight is around 1.58 kilograms but when I checked the actual weight of the flysheet and tent itself it was ony 900 grams!!! With the pole it was around 1 kilo and with the pegs around 1.2 kilos!!!
 - Easy to setup by yourself even in windy situations
 - Very good rain protection.
 - Nice shape and proves to be sturdy
 - 2 people can stay inside and sleep well!!! Yep it does but your gear will stay in the vestibule.
 - Love the pole design and material. Its tough and sturdy


 - Small vestibule
 - Questionable tent material strength. I really avoid scraping it and surely if I pitch this tent in a place with sharp things (thorns, sharp stones, etc.) then goodbye tent.
 - Cannot place it in prolonged hot spaces as the waterproofing will eventually degrade.

Overall I rate this tent 4 out-of 5 stars. I like it because it complements my plan to go light during treks. I miss my old tadpole tent's huge space but it was really heavy as compared to this one. My previous tadpole was also made from ultra-tough and rigid materials but again that made it very heavy. REI used lightweight meterials to achieve the UL mark and this meant that I need to take care of it a bit more since a tiny scrape or scratch on the tent body and flysheet will really effect it's durability. I also make sure that I pack it away from sharp objects since a puncture is not welcome when I want to be kept dry during wet treks.

I already used this tent in SMB Major climbs (Mount Apo, Mount Ugu and Mount Amuyao) and several mid-level and minor climbs and camping trips and it has never bogged-down on me.

Will I recommend this tent? Yes, but REI has stopped production of this tent and replaced it with the Quarter Dome T1 UL tent which is a tad lighter.

You may consider the following tents if you want to go "LIGHT"! :

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter

katadyn pocket

This water filtration system is a tank. It is tough and rugged which is very well-suited for mountaineering and trekking. I brought this filter when we climbed Mt. Apo and it served me and my buddies well. Sir Leo and I gathered water at the mountain lake and we drank it. So far we are alive :D

I got this unit (mine is color blue) from a friend who seldom used it and I was lucky to be the one to have it.  I was focused in buying the MSR filter but when I looked at reviews the Katadyn filter topped the MSR filter in terms of durability and usefulness.

The first time, I tested it using ordinary tap water (our tap water in Bacoor Cavite is not potable) and drank the filtered water. I was really nervous as my stomach is really sensitive to water impurities and oftentimes I get stomach pains. To my surprise I did not get any stomach pains at all (or worse LBM hehehe). The water was clear and clean. I knew then the filter was doing what its supposed to do.

Durability and usefulness are on TOP of the requirements (lightweight is another thing) when I look at mountaineering gears, and Katadyn Pocket is on TOP of the list. You wont worry if it gets bumped at or accidentally, you drop it during a climb or trek. The solid Aluminum and plastic construction is really really tough!!! Try to break it and you will fail hehehe. I won't hesitate to bring it during long treks and major climbs specially if carrying a lot of water is impossible.

For more info visit Katadyn's website

I rate this product 5-out-of-5 stars :)

Casio Pro-Trek Triple Sensor Titanium Watch PRG-90T

User Rating: / 1

Casio Protrek PRG-90T

CASIO PROTREK PRG-90T in action during our Mount Napulauan Climb


Digital : Hour, minutes, seconds, month, date, day
Water Resistant : 100 Meter 10 Bar
Case diameter : 48.9 x 14.4 mm
Three Fold Clasp With Push Button Release
Scratch Resistant Mineral Glass
Auto Electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow
Duplex LC Display
Digital Compass
Graphic direction pointer
Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
Measuring range: -700 to 10,000 m
Measuring unit: 5 m (20 ft.)
Atmospheric pressure tendency graph
Atmospheric pressure differential graphic
Display range: -10 to 60° C (14 to 140° F )
Display unit: 0.1° C (0.2° F )
World Time (29 Time Zones, 30 Cities)
1/100 Sec Stopwatch : 9:59'59.99''
Measuring mode: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
Countdown timer : 1 Sec to 60 minutes
5 Daily alarm
Hourly time signal
Battery power indicator
Power save function
Auto-calendar (to year 2099)
12/24-hour formats
Accuracy: ± 15 Seconds per Month
Solar Powered
Appro Battery Life: 6 months on Rechargeable
Module 3057
Weight : 118g


I've been using this watch for over 2 years now and it has impressed me very much. There are a wealth of features (some of them I haven't tried yet) but the most important features I have used in the field are the compass, barometric pressure, altimeter and the tough solar wherein the watch automatically charges it's batteries when it is exposed to light. No need to change batteries for the next several years!!!

This watch is tough!!! Mine already has several scratches, a testament to the several climbs I've done with it (which includes slippery trails, rainy, humid, hot and windy weather). The titanium construction is great, if not the best. It has withstood climbs with heavy rains, winds and slippery trails. I have friends who use other brand watches with rubber construction but they ended up putting their watches in their cabinets as the rubber did not last long.

I would highly recommend this watch to anyone who wants to have a multi-function mountaineering watch.

Personally I give it a 5-out-of-5 stars!!!


Platypus Big Zip SL

User Rating: / 1

Big Zip SL 3.0 

I like this bladder. The materials used are excellent. The bladder itself is made of anti-microbial material which prevents slime build-up and ensures fresh water taste all the time. The price is kinda steep here in the Philippines (around Php 2500.00 ++) but I bought mine in Canada for CAD 27.00 (roughly Php 1200.00). I really am pleased with the auto-shutoff valve when removing the hose from the bladder which makes removal of the whole system from my backpack a breeze.

Features of this product can be found in under handsfree hydration.

SMB Rating = 9 of 10 stars 


TNF TKA-100 Fleece


This performance thermal wear is superb. I like the material used.

TKA 100 Weight Fleece
A lightweight high-performance microfiber fleece with a luxurious finish. TKA microfleece provides lightweight warmth next to the skin, or in a layering system. This 100% polyester fabric is engineered to be both durable and resistant to pilling. It offers warmth when wet, launders well and packs easily.


  • Soft, thermally-efficient TKA 100 fleece
  • Quick drying
  • Lightweight
  • Brushed face for a soft handfeel
  • Fabric resists pilling, fading, and maintains shape
  • Deep zip-front neck

I used this when we climbed Pulag (Akiki) and it was efficient in keeping me warm without the need of a jacket (but you still need a waterproof jacket as your shell since this fleece get's wet easily). I bought this at Olympic Village for PhP900 (70% off sale) and it was a bargain!!!

Visit the TNF website for more info:

SMB Rating = 9 out of 10 stars
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