I just read back through the thread and see that it's time for an update as well.
MEC's "Rock Solid Guarantee" came through for me when my wife and I were blown off of the beach at La Bloque thus shredding a bit of the tent and snapping two poles. Replacement pole sections, silly string, new ends all for free. Plus some dubious looks when they were told we did in fact survive the gale - though we haven't found my thermarest. It was doing mach 3 south the last time I saw it. Anyway, they were willing to replace it for me had repairs been ineffective but luckily, or unluckily I guess, we got it fixed.
We are going to replace the old Elbow Room eventually because my wife and I are both 5'10" tall and it's a pain in the arse for the two of us to try to occupy that space when getting in or out. I am certain we'll either see another MSR (Hubba Hubba me likey) or go with one of the MEC products. To be honest, in retrospect, the Elbow Room tent really was only good for one and I am glad they have discontinued it.
After helping to write a canoe booklet on inland canoe routes of Nova Scotia, the project manager awarded all of us with Redtail Paddles
. I had used his the weekend before during a midnight paddle around Keji and was thoroughly impressed. I have always been a die hard Canadian Tire "Field and Stream" type and the aforementioned booklet pays homage to the one I snapped about ten minutes into our trek - but the Redtail has me in love. My busy also gave me a decorated one as a wedding present...which will have me feeling guilty if I ever allow my wife to get it wet!
I bought a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer and have been having a blast making jerky for treks as well as freezing some meals then sealing them for trail use. I have gone mostly away from anything freeze dried because my wife isn't a huge fan of them and it's pointless packing two separate meal sets. Plus the stuff you make yourself is better for you, and cheaper by far. There are a few recipes that we use almost exclusively due to the ease of freezability and re-heatability, which is probably the most important thing to consider.
I have also changed out water footwear to Keen Newport's
which are great but do need some design changes (and I have seen that they are afoot) due to the stitching around the heel strap blowing out. No matter the problems, these shoes are far superior to the old Merrell's I had and I have actually been avoiding anything put out by them of late.
Light trail wear sees me sporting the Keen Targhee II's
which have, so far, been the best light shoes I have ever owned, and I have owned several others like Columbia, Solomon, North Face, Merrell, Asolo and Garmont (although if I ever see the right pair of Garmonts at the right time again I would buy them). Wit the Keens I have had to apply some crazy glue to a couple of parts of the soles due to them separating but I do wear these as everyday shoes and they are over a year old. The soles have worn well despite not being Vibram (which I would prefer) an the only negative I could offer is that mine do not seem to wear well with a thinner sock which will allow heel movement. It's caused a little hole in each of the heels but nothing major, just the inner liner.
Here's a link to the booklet we wrote. 10 authors, 17 routes. Mine was the Tangier Grand - read all a bout it, that'll save me clacking it out for you here! For those in the NS area, we are planning more projects for the future...just no idea what they will be as we are still processing feedback from this one.
Online "magazine" version: http://issuu.com/pollutiondesign/docs/nova_scotia_canoe_routes_
PDF Version: http://www.ckns.ca/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=36&Itemid=59
Click on "NS Canoe Route Book"
The booklet is free for distribution so feel free to share! Any feedback please hit the email listed in the booklet or hit me here.