Categories
Cooking

Beyond the Beaten Track Flameless Ration Heater

Beyond The Beaten Track

Another of the companies that I met at the Outdoors show was Beyond the Beaten Track.  Their stand showcased a range of wet and dry meals and also a flameless ration heater that really caught my eye, but more on that in a bit.  At the show I tried a lamb hot-pot, from their wet meal range.  I was really impressed, you wouldn’t know that you were eating “camping food” it tasted better than some of my own cooking! and much less effort than home cooking.

As mentioned I was really impressed by the Flameless Ration Heater, this is effectively a plastic sleeve which you insert the whole wet meal pouch into, add a little water (40ml) and it activates the chemicals within the ration heater to heat your meal.  It gets very hot and gives you a piping hot meal within minutes.  I think this is a great alternative to carrying dry rations and a stove, if you’re concerned about weight but want great flavour by removing the stove and carrying this you can afford a little more weight on wet rations.

Flameless Ration Heater

Beyond the Beaten Track sell all their products online with free delivery on orders over £50, they also offer day ration packs, which contain 3 main meals and plenty of drinks and snacks to keep you going for 24 hrs (just check which ones come with a heater / require a stove).

What’s your favourite camping meal?

So that’s the range from Beyond the Beaten Track and their flameless heater, but I want to know what your camping food recommendations are, have you tried the range from Beyond the Beaten Track?  If so what’s your favourite meal of theirs, or do you prepare your own homemade camping meals or snacks?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Categories
Things to do

The Ramblers Association

The Ramblers

When I was at the Outdoors Show it struck me as to how many great Outdoor Associations, charities, clubs and communities existed in the UK, this gave me the inspiration to start a series of articles on ProCamping featuring different associations.  If you have one that is close to your heart go to the about page and drop me an email.

First up is the Ramblers, “Britains Walking Charity”.  The Ramblers give their mission as “to protect the ability of people to enjoy the sense of freedom and benefits that come from being outdoors on foot… that we protect and expand the infrastructure and places people go walking”

The Ramblers campaign to improve and extend access to national trails, and to beat funding cuts to footpaths.  Some of their recent past acheivements have included the One Coast for all campaign which sees the Ramblers campaign for a coastal path around the whole of England, in 2012 they achieved the first step in this with the England Coast Path opening in Weymouth.  The current plans are that by 2017 we’ll be able to walk from Hull to Dorset (the long way round, via Wales).

Joining the Ramblers

Annual individual membership to the Ramblers is currently set at £31, there is a £10 discount if you sign up with annual direct debit.  Joining the Ramblers you are not only supporting their work you also get access to a range of Ramblers benefits…

Benefits of Joining

  • The ability to join one of hundreds of organised walks every weekend.
  • Quarterly issues of Walk Magazine
  • Access to the Ramblers extensive map library
  • A Members Handbook
  • Discretionary discounts from Cotswold Outdoors
  • Holiday offers from HF Holidays
  • Competitive insurance rates with UIA
  • 5% on every booking with cottages4you

Tell us your experiences with The Ramblers!

Are you a member of the Ramblers?  Leave a comment and tell us why, what has been your favourite part of membership, is there a particular group walk or an event you loved?  Let us know!

Categories
Cooking

Grasshopper Foods Hopper Pots

IMG_1052 In my recent visit to the Outdoors Show I stumbled upon the Grasshopper foods stand.  Grasshopper foods create a range of dried soups and porridges which you just add hot water to, at the stand I tried one of their porridge’s, the plain porridge with cane sugar.  If I hadn’t seen them pour boiling water into the pot I would have been convinced that the porridge was made with milk!  It had a creamy texture but not too sweet.

IMG_1053

Their range of porridges includes –

  • Porridge with Cane Sugar
  • Fruity Porridge with Coconut and Date
  • Fruity Porridge with Cinnamon and Raisin

More recently they branched out into soups, with similar “Just add Water” instant cup soups which are 100% natural and free from artificial colours, flavourings or additives.  The special ingredient in their soup is oatmeal.  The oatmeal gives their soups a thicker texture which they say gives it a comforting and homemade feel.

The range of soups come in three flavours –

  • Herby Soup with Tomato & Basil
  • Creamy Soup with Mushroom & Chive
  • Spicy Soup with Lentil & Coconut

What we were really excited by though was their hopper pots, like a grasshopper these pots hop!  The Hopper Pot contains the same amount of soup or porridge as the full-sized pots but they are vacuum packed in a “Hopper Pot”, the pot reminds me of a bendy straw, when you buy it it is just 4.5cm high, but when you open the vacuum seal it hops up to 7.6cm, giving you plenty of space to add water.

The Vacuum sealed Grasshopper Porridge
The Vacuum sealed Grasshopper Porridge

I think these hopper pots would be perfect for anyone considering outdoor activities, if you’re hiking you can throw one in your rucksack alongside a lightweight stove and you won’t need your heavy pots and pans.  Alternatively if like me you hate washing up or have a timeline to keep too you can just add water, eat and recycle.  I remember back to when I was camping for the Tour of Pembrokeshire cycle event last year, it was a real hassle to get up and cook porridge on the stove and clean up and head off quickly to the event.  I think if I had a Grasshopper pot next year I could just boil some water in my Jetboil eat and then be straight on my way!

Once opened the Grasshopper Porridge pot expands
Once opened the Grasshopper Porridge pot expands

Grasshopper Foods have a store locator on their website, it looks like most Waitrose branches stock them, or they sell them online in cases of six

Have you tried the Grasshopper Pots or want to?  Let us know how you found them and where you used them, anyone up mountains or have other uses for them?

The Porridge pot at full height
The Porridge pot at full height
And in the time it takes to boil water a tasty pot of porridge
And in the time it takes to boil water a tasty pot of porridge

Categories
Cooking

Lifeventure Titanium Mug

Lifeventure Titanium Mug

If like us you can’t function without a proper brew, but want a lightweight but strong mug for backpacking we have just the cuppa for you.  The Lifeventure Titanium mug is a solid titanium design.  Manufactured out of titanium makes the mug extremely lightweight at just 54g.  Holding 450ml of water, or tea!  This is a good camping sized mug, (you don’t want one too big or out in the elements your tea will just get cold!

Additionally the handle folds giving you that all important extra storage space.  The mug is on the Duke of Edinburgh recommended kit list.

Categories
Activity Essentials

Asolo Natural Shape Boots

Asolo Natural Shape Boots

The Asolo Natural Shape Boot range is a new range from Asolo.  The boots combine lightweight materials and take innovation from the Vibram barefoot movement to make you feel connected with the terrain.    The Natural Shape concept represents form-fitting, flexible footwear which allows your feet to feel free: to feel as close as possible to not wearing boots at all, while still adding grip, protection, and a degree of support.

Asolo Recommend Natural Shape for

  • Supreme comfort
    Enjoy support in all the right places with a new moulded footbed that is anatomically shaped to mirror the foot.
  • A superior fit
    Asolo’s new shape cradles your foot for even more stability, while allowing a natural flex and rolling motion in every step.
  • Optimal weight
    Lighter materials mean that every stride is a glide

The below video from Asolo shows Asolo Natural Shape Boots in use out in the great outdoors.

The boot pictured above are the Asolo Mens Creek GTX boots, these are a 2 – 3 season boot.  The base of the boot is a lugged Vibram sole which mimics the shape of the foot, curved and contoured to allow a natural, unencumbered rolling motion as you walk, but still providing excellent
grip.  The rest of the boot has a GORE-TEX lined suede and fabric uppers formed into a shape which allows a fluid, comfortable fit.

Categories
Activity Essentials

Strava – Tracking and Competition for cyclists and runners

Strava

If you’re a cyclist or a runner you have to check out Strava.com.  Cycling the same route to work, or same exercise routes can get pretty boring but with Strava you can upload your run and ride information to the web, compare your performance to other rides, or to other riders.

What do you need?

To use Strava you need a GPS device that you can use to record your run or ride.  This could be your smartphone (Android or Apple) for which free apps are available.  Or if you have one a Garmin cycle / run computer, which can track more information such as heart rate.

What does Strava do?

Ride / Run Tracking –

At the most basic level Strava will track your ride or run.  For each activity you get a page with detailed stats, A map of your route, a graph showing elevation profile vs power and speed, and lap tracking (my Garmin registers a lap each mile).  Everytime you go out on the same route you can start to compare your times and see your improvement week by week.

 Competing with Friends –

Tracking yourself is just the start of Strava, where it really comes into its own is its comparison features.  When you look at any other users profile you can quickly see a comparison of the miles, time and elevation that you have each ridden that month, year, or all time.

Segments

So far the above sounds fairly average like any other cycle or run tracker, but Segments is what sets it apart from the rest!  If there is part of a route you like to do regularly, you can set this as a segment, usually this would be a hill climb, but users have set up segments for their whole route, or for a flat sprint.  For this segment you can then see the times of everyone using Strava who has ever ridden it.  There are already many segments on Strava so generally on any ride you will go through one or two, and once you review your ride online you can see a leaderboard for each segment comparing yourself to everyone, friends (people you follow), Men / Women, Age group or weight.  Though be warned some professional runners and cyclists use Strava so it can be tough to make it to King or Queen of the Mountain!

Free or Paid

You get a lot for nothing with Strava, all of the basic features are available for free so I would suggest start off with the free version, see how you get on and if you enjoy it upgrade.  The paid features are

  • Weekly Progress Goals – Set yourself a weekly target mileage to motivate you each week
  • Leaderboard filtering by Age and weight – If you’re fed up of always being beaten by a younger cyclist, this gives you the ability to filter the leader boards by age or weight and see you’re performance against similar users
  • Heart Rate and Suffer Score – With Premium you can set up advanced heart zones to calculate a suffer score, this attempts to quantify how hard exercise is, ride harder or longer for a higher suffer score.
  • Pace and Power Analysis – Compare activity on a regular statement to discover your strengths and weaknesses
  • Export GPX files – If you see a great route that a friend or other Strava users has completed, download it to your GPS device as a GPX file.

Conclusion

Strava is NOT for ride planning, you can’t create custom routes, but it is fantastic for post ride analysis and for motivation.  Use Strava for free to track your rides, compare your performance and become King of the Mountain!

Categories
Activity Essentials

First Aid Kits

 

Whether you’re out camping, on a mountain expedition, or just on a Sunday ramble, as the Scouts say Be Prepared!  A key part of your preparation should be carrying a first aid kit.  You don’t want to use it and hopefully you won’t need to but having one to hand can make the essential difference.

Lifesystems are a brand who understand outdoor adventuring, your choice of activity will greatly affect the most likely illnesses, ailments and injuries you may sustain.  This is why Lifesystems have produces First Aid Kits specialised to an activity.  Their range includes Trek, Adventurer, Camping, Mountain Leader and more.

Carrying a first aid kit is only the first part though.  Below are 3 outdoor first aid kits from Lifesystems.  Before you go out with one though make sure you know what it contains and how to use it!  If you need to carry a pocket first aid guide too.

Trek-First-Aid-Kit

Trek –

The Trek First Aid Kit is recommended Duke of Edinburgh’s kit.  It’s described as the perfect size for most daily activities and ideal for dealing with small accidents. The kit provides essential first aid items for treating cuts, grazes, blisters and other minor injuries.  Weighing 240 grams, it comes in a pack with a belt loop so you can have it easily accessible rather than stuck at the bottom of a rucksack.  The kit contains 23 items –

General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     6 x Safety Pins

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets

Bandages

  •     1 x White Open Woven bandage 7.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     5 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     4 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     2 Pairs Vinyl Gloves

Dressings

  •     1 x Low Adherent Dressing 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     2 x Blister Plasters

Camping First Aid Kit

Camping First Aid Kit

The Camping first aid kit is a larger kit (also recommended for Duke of Edinburgh) and is designed for dealing with accidents that can happen when you are under canvas. The kit contains items for treating and preventing infection in burns, cuts, grazes, blisters and other minor injuries.  The kit weigh’s 452 grams and contains 40 items
General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     6 x Safety Pins
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     2 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
  •     1 x Spot Check Thermometer

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets

Bandages

  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm
  •     1 x Open Woven Bandage 7.5cm x 5m

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     6 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 1.25cm x 5m
  •     5 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)
  •     1 x Strapping Tape 2.5cm x 2m
  •     2 x Sterile Eye Wash (20ml each)

Dressings

  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
  •     1 x Low Adherent Dressing 10 x 10cm
  •     1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
  •     3 x Wound Closure Strips
  •     1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing

Mountain-Leader-First-Aid-Kit

Mountain Leader First Aid Kit

The Mountain Leader First Aid Kit provides the equipment needed to care for a large group of between 1 and 14 persons. This kit is also used by survival training schools in the UK. It has been designed with the help of expedition doctor Hugh Montgomery and members of the British Special Forces medical team.  The Kit is much fuller ranged than the others with 64 items and weighs 930 grams
General

  •     1 x Primary Care Leaflet
  •     1 x Tweezers
  •     6 x Safety Pins
  •     1 x Scissors (5.5cm Blade)
  •     4 Pairs Vinyl Gloves
  •     1 x Shears (6cm Blade)
  •     1 x Glo Stick
  •     1 x Resuscitation Face shield
  •     1 x Spot Check Thermometer

Medication

  •     16 x Paracetamol Tablets
  •     16 x Ibuprofen Tablets

Bandages

  •     2 x Open Woven Bandages 7.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Crepe Bandage 7.5cm x 4.5m
  •     1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm

Preparations, Disposables & Tapes

  •     10 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes
  •     1 x Micropore Tape 2.5cm x 5m
  •     1 x Zinc Oxide Tape 2.5cm x 2m
  •     1 x Duct Tape 2m Roll
  •     10 x 4-Ply Gauze Swabs 5 x 5cm
  •     3 x Burn Gel Sachets (3.5g)

Dressings

  •     1 x Pack of Assorted Plasters
  •     1 x Medium Wound Dressing 12 x 12cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 5 x 5cm
  •     2 x Low Adherent Dressings 10 x 10cm
  •     1 x Small Plaster Fabric Strip 4cm x 1m
  •     1 x Large Plaster Fabric Strip 7.5cm x 1m
  •     6 x Wound Closure Strips
  •     1 x Small Eyepad Wound Dressing
  •     2 x Blister Plasters

 

Categories
Books & Guides

John Craven’s Countryfile Handbook

Countryfile Handbook

 

Part of our Sunday evening ritual is Countryfile, a last glance of the great outdoors and some ideas for new adventures before returning to the 9-5 grind on a Monday.  John Craven is part of that routine, a bit of a Countryfile legend having joined the program in 1989 and still regularly featuring in a “John Craven investigates” feature.

In those 24 years on the program he has covered the country and all aspects of it.  Now he wants to share it and he has distilled all his knowledge and wisdom into “The Countryfile Handbook“.  This book is described as an invaluable resource for those who live in the countryside or want to know more about it.

The Handbook is neatly broken up into the different types of land with sections on Villages, Markets Towns, Fields and Farming, Upland, Lowland, Woodland, Waterways and the coastline, it covers everything!

As well as the types of land it covers useful countryside must knows including

  • How to tell the difference between the swallow, martin and swift;
  • How to learn the various sheepdog calls;
  • The do’s and don’t’s of foraging;
  • How lichen can help tell us how clean the air is;

and essays on countryside priorities –

  • Why hedgerows are important;
  • Saving British meadows;
  • Reintroducing beavers;

Alongside the more serious parts to the countryside the handbook gives you a host of fun and entertaining facts which you can pull out at the perfect moment of a camping trip and impress your friends with.  Facts and stats such as: Did you know an acre is the space needed to park 200 cars; 10 things to do with a stinging nettle; and what to do if you see a sheep on its back.

Amazon reviewer rate John Craven’s Countryfile handbook at 4.2 out of 5 stars (it lost a star due to Amazons delivery service!  Not sure that’s fair!) with review snippets including –

It is a book to treasure, to leave lying around for others to read and to pick up and delve in at any page.

It does make an interesting read but could really do with being in a larger print format and colour pictures to make it a good coffee table book.

A good, interesting read for those of us interested in whats what out there.

So don’t make Countryfile just a Sunday treat enjoy the Handbook throughout the week!

Categories
Books & Guides

Do I need a GPS if I have a smartphone?

Phones v GPS

Recently I wrote a post about the new Garmin Edge cycling GPS, and this got me thinking, whether I am a hiker, cyclist, runner or even just for navigating to the campsite in the car do I really need a GPS if I have a smartphone?  Whether you have an iPhone or an Android there are a whole host of mapping and fitness apps that you can use on them.  Some popular apps that I have experience of are Strava and Endomondo for cycling or running, and there are many hiking maps out there.

So do you need a dedicated GPS or can you make do with your Smartphone?

First the Pros of a dedicated GPS and cons of a Smartphone

Built for the outdoors – Generally speaking dedicated outdoor GPS’ are of a rugged design, you can get them wet and they don’t mind being dropped (a little!)

Mountable – A dedicated GPS unit is built for a specific purpose and is good at it, as it’s built for a purpose it is easily mountable, whether that means it mounts on a bikes handle bars, has a wrist strap it’s much easier to carry than a phone.  Sure a phone can be mounted but in my experience as the phone has no mounting point you need a large case which is bulky, perhaps heavy and possibly not so easy to use the buttons or see the screen.  Even if a phone isn’t in a case if you’re trying to swipe a touch screen while wearing your winter cycling gloves its unlikely to work.

Reliable – Not such a strong factor, but I’ve recorded rides before on my phone and realised that the GPS wasn’t turned on, or a call or email interrupted and overloaded the phone.  So having a dedicated device means although it only does one thing, it does it very well.

Battery efficiency, Dedicated GPS devices can be very efficient, a phone screen can drain the battery, particularly if you want to leave it on all the time to refer to while you’re riding or running, but a dedicated GPS often just has a black and green crystal screen and built with battery life in mind.

Accessories – Todays Smartphones can be paired with many external devices so this factor may be less relevant but if you want a heart rate monitor, Cadence or power output you will have less choice of devices and apps which will use these on a smartphone, while they often come as standard with many Smartphones.

Accuracy – Smartphones are getting a lot more accurate than in the past but generally speaking a dedicated GPS unit should be more accurate than a Smartphone, that said there is only likely to be a few meters difference – This may though be the difference that makes finding a Geocache or a turning on the trail.

Cons of a GPS and Pros of a Smartphone

Price – This is going to be the number one consideration factor for most people, you already have a smartphone with a pretty decent GPS so do you really want to spend between £100 and £400 on a dedicated GPS.  At the end of the day they record the same data.

Up to Date – If you want a GPS with mapping (perhaps for car journeys or cycle routing) a Smartphone will always be up to date.  Either google maps, which is free or most smartphone apps will be fairly cheap to update their mapping.  Dedicated GPS Units on the other hand broadly speaking are more expensive to update the map and potentially release updates less regularly.

Difficult to change your route / find out local information – If you’ve a dedicated GPS unit often its easiest to plan a route at home on the internet and import it to your device via a GPX file.  Once your out on the trail / road / ride it can be hard to change this, lower end sports GPS’ don’t have mapping.  If you have a smartphone though you can not only sweep and pan round a map looking for other routes, or even google a bike repair shop, local camping grounds or a cafe for a bite to eat.

So which wins?

I think I might be a bit of a fence sitter here, Dedicated GPS Units are Reliable, Rugged, Better Battery life and built for purpose.  While a Smartphone is versatile, you most likely already have one so low cost and have up to date maps.

For me a dedicated GPS wins, when I’m cycling it easily mounts on the handle bars and displays my ride data live.  The battery lasts much longer and it can cope with the rain.  But price is a big factor, I bought my GPS before I bought a smartphone.  If I had a smartphone first would I buy a GPS?  Probably not, the data they collect are broadly the same so if you’ve a smartphone and just want something for the occasional walk, run, ride or drive a dedicated GPS probably isn’t worth it.

Finally – and I can’t say this enough, don’t rely on either!  Both are electronic so can break or just run out of batteries, the last thing you want is to be in the middle of nowhere with no idea where you are!  Always carry an Ordnance Survey map or similar.

What’s your view? Do you have a dedicated GPS, or are you thinking of getting one, do you have a Smartphone you use, what apps do you love?  Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Categories
Activity Essentials

The Garmin Edge 510 and 810

Garmin Edge

Garmin have recently launched two new Edge cycling GPS systems.  The Garmin Edge 510 and the Garmin Edge 810.  There is a major difference with these GPS’s to any Garmin have launched before.  The Edge 510 and 810 both can pair with your smartphone to offer real-time online tracking of your ride.

Garmin are the leaders in Cycling GPS’ I own an old Edge 205 which I have put several thousand miles on but I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on an Edge 510 or 810 to try out the new features.

Features

So what do the new Edge’s do?

  • Distance – As you’d expect using GPS technology the Edge system tracks your location to within a couple of feet giving accurate tracking of the distances you have cycled.
  • Speed – Again using GPS (so no wires!) track your current speed, average speed, fastest lap and more.
  • Elevation – Both the 510 and 810 Edge models track your elevation with a barometric pressure sensor.  This is much more accurate than GPS elevation so you’ll be sure how many feet you have climbed up the mountain!
  • Cadence / Heart Rate / Power – Check what comes in the box of the model you are buying both models can be paired with Cadence, heart and power monitors.  Generally Garmin sells these higher end models with a Heart Rate monitor and Cadence, but if you want to track your power you will need to purchase a separate ANT+ device.
  • Maps – This is where the two Edge models differ.  The Garmin Edge 810 has full street mapping capability, you can see on-screen the roads, turnings and even plan a route home on the go.  The Edge 510 does not have any mapping capability.  However you can upload GPX / CRS files to your device which will give you a dotted line route to follow.  I have used this on the old 205 in the past and found it very easy to follow.

The above are the standard features you will have found on Garmin GPS for many years.  So whats new?

New Features

  • Weather –  With the Smartphone connectivity you can get live weather forecasts and alerts as you’re out on your ride.
  • Activity Profiles – Customise data fields and device settings based on cycling activity, such as road, mountain or touring. Allows you to switch profiles with a tap of the screen, so you can get on with your ride quicker.
  • Personal Records – When you complete a ride, Edge 510 and 810 display any new personal records you achieved during that ride. PRs include farthest distance, most ascent gained, fastest 40k and best 20-minute power average.
  • Live Tracking – Let your friends and family follow your ride in real-time.  With Garmin connected to your phone they can see your real-time ride data on your Garmin tracking page.  Perhaps they’ll come out and join you on the ride!
  • Social Media – Aswell as tracking your ride on the Garmin connect site you can share your ride to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.  This means as soon as you finish your ride or race you can add a comment and link your social followers to the full stats of your ride.

Differences between Models

As mentioned above the major difference between these models is Mapping, the 810 has full streetmap style mapping (like you would find on a car Sat Nav) while the 510 doesn’t have this, but it still lets you follow a course with dotted line marking your route.

Other differences include

  • Screen Size – 2.2 inches diagonal for the 510 versus 2.6 inches for the 810
  • Weight – 80g’s for the 510 vs 98g for the 810
  • Battery Life – 20 hours on the 510 and 17 hours on the 810
  • Price – The basis bundles are priced at £249 for the 510 and £379 for the 810

Do you use a cycling GPS out on the road, let us know your thoughts, leave a comment!