Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gear Review: Mountainsmith K9 Backbowl

We've been doing a lot of low key outings lately and Mountainsmith's K9 Backbowl, sent to us by Backcountry K-9, has been accompanying us for testing.  

It's a pretty neat idea: a flat square of material - tough nylon exterior and waterproof PEVA lining - that folds as many ways as you would ever need to be a handy that serves as a versatile, on-the-go bowl.  

We have used collapsible bowls for years; they're easy to pop up, squish down, and they take a beating.  The Backbowl has one up on these: it's compact.  I can fit it anywhere - Ty's streamline Single Trak, my cargo pant pocket, or the side pocket of my pack. (Which also eliminates the damp, drool-covered bowl in my pack dilemma.)

Never again do I need to take my pack off, undo the clips, find the stuff sack, fetch the bowl, then reverse order solely to offer the dogs a drink (that they'll likely refuse anyway).  A little melodramatic but, seriously, how many of us bemoan a simple task because we just don't want to expend the effort to take off our pack?!  Now I just reach around and snag the water bottle and Backbowl, no pack removal involved. 

We've been using the Backbowl as much as we can to replicate extended use.  I had to wonder how durable such a lightweight liner could be - will it stand up to all the rolling and folding it is bound to endure or will it wear along the creases?  As we hiked, my husband folded and unfolded it, over and over, treating it like origami paper.  It continued to look (and function) brand new.  I suppose that would be considered breaking it in.  Over the long weekend, we knocked a couple four thousand footers off Linda and Nate's list and that poor Backbowl was crammed, jammed, and squished unceremoniously into the side pocket enough times to prove its durability. 

There are some miscellaneous reasons I'm impressed with this bowl as well.  The base is broader than the walls are tall, making for a great communal bowl.  It's lighter than the silicone bowls we have been using and I really need to trim weight off my pack!  Its lack of rigidity means I can balance it nearly anywhere without it tipping over.  Finally, when laid out, it dries quickly.  All-in-all it's a very handy bowl to have in the pack or car.  

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