The Worst-Smelling Towns In America

Last week, I was in Eureka, California, for a couple of days with my parents and brother’s family. Despite the cute, historic downtown and an epic feast at the renown Samoa Cookhouse, our overwhelming impression of this coastal city is that it should be renamed “Eureeka,” because it stinks – literally.

The stench of … bait fish? Fish meal or perhaps cat food processing enveloped our hotel, and that’s just not an aroma that stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. It was like living in a bucket of chum.

My niece and nephew, 12 and 16, respectively, suggested I write a piece for Gadling on the stankiest places in America, and I’m more than happy to oblige. In addition to personal picks, my fellow Gadsters were only too happy to (cow) chip in.

Coalinga, California
Anyone who’s driven I-5 past the famous cattle stockyards knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Yellowstone National Park, and Thermopolis, Wyoming
These two famous attractions may stink of sulfur, but they’re worth putting up with the fumes.

Pago Pago, American Samoa
Think giant fish cannery.Chinatowns, everywhere
Special mention goes to NYC on a breezeless summer’s day.

Greeley, Colorado
Let’s just say that being the home of one of America’s largest beef abattoirs has far-reaching consequences if the wind is right, which it usually is.

Gilroy, California
Depending upon your feelings about garlic, the nation’s largest producer of the stuff is heaven or hell (personally, I choose the former).

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Its unofficial nickname is “The City of Five Smells,” due to the grain processing plants located there. Like roasting coffee, not always an olfactory pleasure.

Gary, Indiana
According to one Gadling contributor, this city famously smells like, “coke (a coal by-product), steel, and sadness.” Apologies to residents of Gary but this one came up more than once.

Got any picks of your own? We’d love to hear your votes for America’s smelliest town!

[Photo credits: cattle, Flickr user St0rmz; fish, Flickr user amandamandy]

Gadling Gear Review: Eureka Warrior 230 IR Lantern

One of the great things about spring camping is that the warm days are perfect for being outside and the cool nights make for wonderful sleeping. There are few things better in life than hiking all day with friends only to return to the campsite to cook a wonderful meal and curl up in a warm sleeping bag with a good book. However, once you get comfortable in that sleeping bag, you don’t want to get out. Invariably, someone has to draw the short straw to see whose job it is to turn out the lights at the end of the night. Fortunately, Eureka has created the Warrior 230 IR lantern to prevent just those kinds of disputes from ever happening.

Anyone who camps regularly knows the value of good lighting while sitting around the campsite or in a tent at night. The natural darkness of the wilderness can be impenetrable at times and a good lantern is a must for those outings. The Warrior 230 IR emits plenty of light (230 lumens!), has great battery life and can illuminate a wide area, all of which makes it a perfect choice for family camping trips. But those are all features that you would expect out of just about any lantern you choose. What sets Eureka’s offering apart from the crowd is its remote control.

Yep! You read that right. This lantern includes an infrared remote control that allows campers to turn the light off and on from up to 25 feet away. This is a fantastic option for those times when you are snugly tucked away in your sleeping bag and just don’t want to climb out to shut off the light. The remote also allows you to dim the lantern from a distance. The LED lamp on the Warrior 230 can be adjusted to shine at any brightness level between 10% and 100% of its total rating, which makes it versatile enough to be used in just about any situation around the campsite. As if that wasn’t enough, the remote also includes its own built in LED light, making it act like a tiny flashlight, while an integrated carabineer ensures that it always stays close at hand.Powered by three D-cell batteries, the lantern has an impressive battery life. Eureka says that it can run for 48 hours straight on its highest setting and I’m inclined to believe them. While testing the Warrior 230 under typical circumstances, I never needed to replace the batteries. That includes using it on its highest and lowest brightness settings and a range of illumination levels in between.

Solid and rugged, Eureka built the Warrior 230 to withstand the rigors of camping and the outdoors. Not only is it water resistant, but also its plastic housing is largely encased in rubber, which helps to protect it from normal abuse around the campsite. Surprisingly small and lightweight, the lantern tips the scales at just 1.9 pounds with batteries. That means that it is light enough for children to comfortably carry around with them and the small, rubberized handle seems built to accommodate smaller hands. The lantern stands less than eight inches in height, which means it is compact and easy to pack as well.

Trekkers and backpackers will likely find the Warrior 230 a bit too heavy and bulky for their needs, and a good headlamp remains the best option for those types of travelers. But most campers will love having this lamp at their disposal. It is bright enough for working around the camp in the evening and can be turned down low enough to not disturb others when it is time for bed. The included hooks make it a breeze to hang either inside a tent or outside on a branch, and the choice of LED light makes it a much safer option than a gas lantern when used around children.

If you’re in the market for a new camping lantern, I highly recommend the Eureka Warrior 230 IR. Its combination of bright light, rugged construction and campsite versatility makes it a winner. The fact that you’ll never have to argue over whose turn it is to get out of their sleeping bag to turn it off is just icing on the cake. With an MSRP of $64.99 this is a very good value for families and car campers alike.

Holiday gift guide for campers

While most campers take the winter off to pursue other outdoor adventures, the holidays are still a great time to spoil the camper in your family with some fresh new gear. And, some of the heartier folks out there camp all year long, so they’ll appreciate gifts that they can play with immediately. Here at Gadling, we’re geeks for camping gear and love to get outside. With the holidays approaching and wish lists being compiled, we’re here to help you treat your favorite campers to some goodies that will keep them safe, comfortable and happy when they venture out into the wilderness. From stocking stuffers to big ticket items, every camper will love these gifts.Eureka Sunrise 9 Tent

Who says you have to rough it when you go camping? This three-season, five-person tent features plenty of pocket space for organizing and storing your gear, a mirror and water bottle holders. Don’t be fooled by the amenities, though. This is a durable tent that can withstand strong winds, wet weather and just about anything else that your environs throw at it. Priced at only $179.26 on Amazon, it’s a steal for a five-person tent.

If you’re looking for something smaller, our own Kraig Becker recommends Eureka’s Apex 2XT tent.

Snow Peak Iron Grill Table Set 3

If you want to turn your car camping trip into a culinary wonderland, upgrade from a simple camping stove to Snow Peak’s full-on camp kitchen setup. It includes a BBQ box for charcoal grilling, a single burner stove, stainless steel inserts for preparing your food and bamboo table extensions for extra space to prep and eat. At 26″ tall, it’s the perfect height for sitting but not too low for when you’re cooking. It conveniently folds up neatly into a canvas storage bag for easy storage at home. It’s pricy ($699.95), but Snow Peak gear is durable, so it will last for years. If you or someone you know camps (or tailgates or just needs a portable cooking space for trips to the park or beach), then this is the ultimate piece of cooking gear.

Snow Peak SnowMiner Headlamp

This is without a doubt the cleverest piece of camping gear that we discovered this year. It’s both a headlamp and a lantern without sacrificing in either category. Sure, you can hang any headlamp from your tent ceiling and call it a lantern, but the SnowMiner allows you to adjust its lens to focus a beam of light (for use as a headlamp) or diffuse the light 180-degrees (to become a lantern). You can adjust the brightness in both modes. The headband even includes a hook so that you can easily hang it in your tent. At $49.95, it’s an affordable and creative gift.

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Need a slightly more hardcore headlamp? The Black Diamond Icon is the brightest of the climbing brand’s line, lights your way, offers red light for better night vision and is powered by three AA batteries. That power allows it to last up to 145 hours and illuminate an area over 300 feet ahead of you. Perfect for finding your camp after dark, whether you’re leading a night hike or simply returning from a trip to the bathroom. Not too shabby for less than $60.

Osprey Waypoint 65

The last thing you want on any camping trip is too many things to carry. Anytime that you can consolidate items and find multiple purposes for your gear, you’re making your life easier. That’s why we love Osprey’s two-in-one travel pack and daypack combo, the Waypoint 65. Pack your clothes and extra layers in the 50L main pack and your gear for daytime activities in the 15L daypack. The packs zip and clip together for easy transport and detach when the time is right. Like most Osprey packs, the Waypoint 65 is gender specific, so the female camper in your life can get a pack made for women. As a bonus, the Waypoint 65 is perfect for travel, as well, so it’s not just for camping. Available in multiple sizes to fit any torso, the Waypoint 65 starts at $231, which is a great deal two packs, one of which works as a piece of luggage.

Gerber Camp Axe

Perfect for cutting firewood or clearing out a campsite, the Gerber Camp Axe is also lightweight enough to carry along with you on long hikes. That’s thanks to a fiberglass handle, which means the axe is durable while only weighing 2.5 pounds. The plastic sheath securely clips over the stainless steel blade, so it’s safe to carry. For under $40, it’s an affordable and powerful piece of hardware.

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Vest

As noted above, we appreciate multipurpose camping gear. That’s why we love this down vest that packs into itself and becomes a microfleece pillow. The vest is perfect for cool mornings and evenings and it folds right into its own pocket to create a perfect, compact camping pillow. It’s also water resistant and wind repellent. It’s a great vest and a portable pillow. Two pieces of gear in one for $129 (and also available for women).

Kelty LumaPivot Lantern
It’s multi-directional. It’s powerful (110 lumens). It lasts up to 12 hours. It’s the perfect lantern for lighting up your entire camp while cooking dinner. And, at less than one pound, you’ll barely know it’s there when you pack it up with your gear. That’s a lot of positives for only $39.99.

Big Agnes Yampa Sleeping Bag

This 650 down fill bag will keep you toasty until the temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a great three-season bag with a built-in pad sleeve so that you never have to worry about rolling off of your sleeping pad. It comes in regular (72″ long) and long (78″ long), so it will fit most any camper. When stuffed into its compression sack, it can pack down to a 7.5″x6″, easy-to-carry bundle. Starting at $159, it’s a terrific sleeping bag for a great price.

Pizza Sleeping Bag

Who says that all of your camping gear needs to be utilitarian? Each one of these delicious sleeping bags is handmade by the artist and requires a $100 deposit. The vegetable pillows will have you sleeping comfortably, as will the satin lining. Worth $300? We think so! But only five feet long? We prefer an extra large pizza, and possibly a meat lovers. It requires some time to make, so you might need to arrange for a rush order in order to get it in time for Christmas.

Gadling gear review: Eureka Apex 2XT tent

The summer camping trip has become a tradition for many outdoor enthusiasts, who use the long days and warm nights as an excuse to escape the stressful trappings of modern life, even if just for a little while. As is typical with most outdoor pursuits, the gear that is used can mean the difference between a great experience and a horrible one. This is especially true when it comes to camping, where something as simple as a tent can make or break the experience.

Whether you’re heading out on a weeks long expedition in the Himalaya or an overnight in a local campground, your tent is one of the most important pieces of gear that you can take with you. It is your mobile cabin, the headquarters for your expedition, and shelter from inclement weather. This is just as true in the summer, when the warm weather can be just as uncomfortable as an arctic snowstorm.

Fortunately, there are some excellent tents designed specifically for summer outings. Take for example the Eureka Apex 2XT, which seems to have been designed from the ground up for warm weather adventures. The tent, which sleeps two very comfortably, features two side openings to allow easy access to the interior. Those same side openings are covered in mesh panels, which allow fresh air in and provide plenty of ventilation, while keeping insects out – two very important factors for staying comfortable on any summer camp out. You’ll appreciate how cool this tent stays on all but the warmest of nights.The Apex is an excellent tent for beginner and experienced campers alike. It is incredibly easy to set-up, even the first time you attempt it, and it takes just minutes to have your shelter in place. It is a free standing tent, meaning it doesn’t need to be staked down, and it uses a frame consisting of just two fiberglass poles. The included rain fly adds extra protection from wet weather and provides a sheltered entry point that allows campers to keep their boots, and other gear dry, when entering the main chamber of the tent itself. The simplicity of the tent’s construction is much appreciated after a long day of hiking or when you’re rushing to build it ahead of an incoming storm.

Inside, the tent is spacious and comfortable. As mentioned, it can easily sleep two adults, and possibly a small child as well. There is plenty of room for gear, and there are even built in gear lofts and side pockets for storing items that you want to keep close at hand. The floor incorporates a “bathtub” design, which is add protection against heavy rains or standing water on the ground as well, which is an added benefit for sudden summer storms. The end result is a shelter that will make you feel safe, comfortable, and secure at your campsite, whether its located in your back yard or in your favorite national park.

All in all, the Apex 2XT is a great choice for campers, although buyers will want to keep a couple of caveats in mind. First, weighing in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces it is a bit on the heavy side, making it a less than perfect choice for backpacking. The tent is better suited for car camping or those who will be hiking to their camp site and staying in one place for awhile. If you’re going to be hiking the Appalachian Trail however, you’ll want to look for something that takes up less room in your pack and won’t weight you down nearly as much. You’ll find similar tents that weigh less, but generally cost more, from other manufacturers.

The other thing to consider with this tent is that because it’s designed for warm weather activities, it can become quite cool on nights when the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The features that make the Apex such a good option for warmer weather can be a detriment when it starts to get cool. A warmer sleeping bag can extend the usefulness of the tent, but it is best suited for camping between late-spring and early-fall.

Those factors aside however, the Apex 2XT is a well built, durable option for summer camping. It is the perfect example of Eureka knowing its market well and providing a tent that fits some very specific needs. If you’re looking for an affordable, versatile option for your warm weather adventures, this tent will definitely serve you well. With an MSRP of $130, you can grab one now and get plenty of use out of it this summer and for many summers to come.