GSI Outdoors: Java Mill Review

From Living Overland


Our Thoughts:
A good cup of freshly-brewed coffee is becoming something I get excited about; it is what propels me out of bed on those cold mornings in camp.  Morning coffee has become somewhat of a ritual; grinding the beans, heating up the water, brewing, and enjoying the coffee as I gaze over whatever vista we happened to be camped next to.  In year’s past we used GSI Outdoors’ Java Grind, which was awkward to hold and even more awkward to use.  In short it was rubbish.

GSI Outdoors went back to the drawing board, after talking with their end-users, and at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market announced they had designed a new coffee grinder.  The Java Mill, which incorporates a fully-adjustable ceramic burr grinder was to replace their old design.  Things were looking very positive and I even noted in my OR Show coverage that, while we were only able to handle the prototype, the ergonomics had improved significantly and I was excited to bet my hands on one.

_BAJ8864So how did they do?  I have to hand it to the folks at GSI Outdoors, they stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park.  There is a level of detail here that you do not see designs from other outdoor equipment companies.  These guys use the equipment that they design and manufacturer and you can see this played itself out in the Java Mill design.  Not only did they incorporate a easy to operate burr grinder, to produce the best grind I have seen in a camping coffee grinder, but they also thought about the Java Mill’s longevity and incorporated an over-sized ball bearing to limit the stresses placed on the ceramic components.

79486_a4_fWhile they could have easily stopped there and said, ‘That is good enough,’ they continued pushing the design, and in true GSI Outdoors fashion, looked at ways to nest the Java Mill into their other products for storage.  This is where I really like what they have done.  They were able to reduce the Java Mill into five key components that can be disassembled and rearranged so as to be able to fit inside of the Commuter Java Press.  How brilliant is that?!  We already had space allocated in our 4Runner’s kitchen drawers for our Commuter Java Presses, and now we could include the Java Mill without taking up any additional space!

There is one thing I would like to see added to the Java Mill and that would be measurement graduations on the lower grind cup.  I know this is just being nit-picky, but I am a firm believer in having measurement graduations on everything that could hold food.  It would be nice to know, by measurement and not guessing, how much coffee bean you have ground.


I have always been a fan of the equipment GSI Outdoors produces, and the Java Mill is no exception!  The grinding mechanism is over-designed (a good thing in my book!), easy to operate, stores well with our Commuter Java Presses, and easy to operate.  I know I said ‘easy to operate’ twice, but it really is.  Not only is it a vast improvement over their old Java Grind, it is an improvement over any other camping coffee grinder I have seen on the market.  I would, with out reservation, recommend the Java Mill to anyone looking for a coffee grinder to add to their camp cooking gear collection.  Don’t take my word for it though, track me down at one of our upcoming events or cooking classes to find out for your self!


  • Weight: 9.3 oz.
  • Dimensions: 2.50″ x 2.00″ x 6.30″
  • Material: Co-polyester, Ceramic
  • Grinder Mechanism: Burr
  • Price: $29.95

Junk in the Trunk: Yakima Skybox 18 Carbonite

Room for all your gear, and then some


The Yakima Skybox will hold skis up to 215 centimeters, if you still like them long and skinny. PHOTO: Jakob Schiller

The Yakima Skybox will hold skis up to 215 centimeters, if you still like them long and skinny. PHOTO: Jakob Schiller


I drive a double cab Toyota Tacoma with a camper shell so there’s lots of space. But my wife and I also have a dog, a kid, a jogging stroller, and a ton of our own gear, so you’d be surprised just how fast the back get’s cluttered up when we head out for a weekend trip.

To try and organize the chaos and make sure I can see out the rearview mirror, I’ve been using Yakima’s Skybox 18 Carbonite cargo box. In the winter it works great for carrying and organizing skis: It will hold anything up to 215 centimeters long (remember those days?) and easily caries four or five pairs with tons of leftover room for boots and poles. In the summer, it will hold your camping gear plus plenty of beer.

Unlike some older roof racks, which require an annoying amount of assembly, the Skybox 18 Carbonite comes out of the box ready to go thanks to four simple pre-installed mounting clamps. Adjust the sliding clamps so they’re lined up with your roof bars and then lock them around the bars by flipping latches inside the box; 10 minutes and you’re done. The pre-installed clamps fit Yakima’s round bars of course, but are compatible with square, aerodynamic, and factory bars as well.


The Yakima Skybox comes out of the box and on top of your truck in 10 minutes. PHOTO: Jakob Schiller

The Yakima Skybox comes out of the box and on top of your truck in 10 minutes. PHOTO: Jakob Schiller


Totally empty, the box weighs 52 pounds. It’s a little cumbersome to handle, but I’m able to get it up on top of my truck by myself no problem. In terms of design, the box is built to reduce drag and I’ve never heard any crazy wind noise while cruising on the freeway. You’ll see a reduction in gas mileage, but nothing drastic.

The box conveniently opens from both sides and Yakima designed it so you can’t lock the key inside (it won’t shut and lock without the key). The durable plastic should hold up to years of freezing temps, brutal sun, or anyone trying to mess with your gear.

If you need more room for some reason, Yakima also offers a gargantuan 21-cubic-foot version. Eighteen is plenty for us right now, but we’ll probably have a second kid, so you never know.


Power Practical: Lithium 4400


Skip that bulky flashlight and extra battery pack

Kill two birds with one stone with a sleek product that does both! Power Practical’s Lithium 4400 battery pack not only has enough power to charge your smartphone 2-3 times, it also comes with a built-in 4 LED lantern that will light up the night.


The Lithium 4400 Battery Pack is small, lightweight, with an ergonomic design that makes it easy to slip into any bag or pocket. Pick one up today and streamline your charging plans for this weekend. Click here to find a dealer near you.





BMC Racing Powered by PowerBar


PowerBar® is proud to fuel the BMC Racing Team as their official sports nutrition supplier through 2016. Watch BMC’s top riders try the NEW PowerBar® Performance Energy Wafer Bar and explain why they love using PowerBar products in training and competition.

Peak Design: What is Slide?

What Makes Slide So Great?

Slide is a camera strap, but one that’s different from every other camera strap out there. Slide is more than just a neck strap, sling strap or shoulder strap. Slide is a new kind of camera strap that incorporates everything we love about existing straps, as well as feedback from thousands of photographers worldwide. In a nutshell, we think Slide is the most thoughtfully designed camera strap ever created.

  • Wearable as a sling strap, shoulder strap or neck strap.
  • Quick connecting with one hand, using our patent-pending Anchor Link™ connection system.
  • Smooth on one side and grippy on the other, and instantly reversible depending on your preference.
  • Comfortable even with the heaviest of pro cameras.
  • Made of tubular seatbelt-style webbing with padding on the inside for less bulk and a clean, classic look.
  • Compatible with ARCA-type tripod heads, so you can place your camera in the tripod without unscrewing anything.
  • Quickly customizable and adjustable. It can attach to multiple places on your camera and quickly cinch to fit your body type or activity.
  • More than strong enough to hold any pro camera/lens/accessory combo


Peak Design: What is Clutch?


Why Does Clutch Take the Cake?

Clutch™ is the only quick-connecting, quick-adjusting camera hand strap ever made. Clutch gives you security when you need it, but also allows instant access to your camera’s controls. With materials and hardware inspired by high end climbing gear, Clutch’s simple, rugged design can only be described as “dead sexy.”

  • Quick connecting with one hand, so you can add or remove it as needed.
  • Quick adjusting, so you can tighten it when you need extra security and loosen it when you need to access your camera’s controls.
  • Low profile and unobtrusive compared to other camera hand straps on the market.
  • Made from premium materials and custom hardware inspired by high-end climbing gear.
  • Designed to work with or without battery grips, and strong enough to hold any pro camera/lens/accessory combo.



GoPro: Sportsman Mount

Sportsman Mount

Mount your GoPro to guns, fishing rods and bows. This versatile mount is compatible with most shotguns1, rifles, revolvers, airsoft, paintball and pellet guns, and fits bow components and fishing rod grips with a diameter of 0.3” to 0.9” (10mm to 25mm). You can mount one or two cameras front-facing and/or rear-facing to capture immersive footage from a variety of angles and perspectives. A non-reflective, matte black finish ensures low visibility.

  • Fits 0.3″ to 0.9″ (10mm to 25mm) diameter gun barrels, fishing rod grips and bow components
  • Compatible with most shotguns1, rifles, revolvers, airsoft, paintball and pellet guns
  • Mount one or two cameras to capture footage looking forward, backwards or both directions simultaneously
  • When used with a gun or fishing rod, camera(s) can be mounted below or to the side of the barrel or rod
  • Non-reflective, matte black finish ensures low visibility

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