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Outdoor Gear Reviews, Tips & Adventure Stories to Inspire an Outdoor Life

Month: July 2023

On Top of the World: 6 Mountain Climbing Movies That Will Leave You Breathless

Mountain climbing movies have a unique ability to transport us to breathtaking heights, immersing us in the world of daring adventurers as they conquer monumental peaks. These films capture the indomitable human spirit, pushing the boundaries of physical and mental endurance in the face of treacherous terrain. From the safety of our seats, we can experience the thrill, danger, and triumph of mountaineering without ever leaving home.

In this article, we embark on a cinematic journey through six gripping mountain climbing movies that will leave viewers breathless and inspired. Each movie explores the challenges and triumphs of climbers, taking us on an adrenaline-fueled ride as they scale majestic summits and confront their deepest fears. These films not only showcase stunning visuals of awe-inspiring landscapes but also delve into the human psyche, revealing the resilience, determination, and vulnerability of those who dare to conquer nature’s greatest heights.

From nail-biting suspense to heartwarming camaraderie, these mountain climbing movies offer a captivating blend of adventure, emotion, and spectacle. Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or an armchair adventurer, these movies will leave an indelible mark on your soul and ignite the dormant spark of wanderlust within.

Join us as we delve into the world of mountain climbing movies, where ordinary people become extraordinary heroes, and where the pursuit of a summit becomes a metaphor for the triumph of the human spirit. Get ready to be transported to the edge of precipitous cliffs, feel the biting cold of thin air, and witness the raw power of nature. These six mountain climbing movies are a testament to the indescribable beauty and harrowing challenges of the world’s tallest peaks, reminding us that sometimes, the most incredible journeys are those that take us to the top of the world.

So strap on your metaphorical climbing gear, fasten your seatbelts, and prepare for an exhilarating cinematic adventure as we explore these six mountain climbing movies that will undoubtedly leave you breathless.


Everest movie poster“Everest” is an epic and gripping hiking movie that chronicles the real-life tragedy that unfolded on Mount Everest in 1996. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the film brings the harrowing story to life, depicting the awe-inspiring beauty, the unforgiving challenges, and the indomitable human spirit that characterize the world’s highest peak.

The movie introduces us to a diverse group of climbers from different parts of the world, each with their own motivations and aspirations to conquer Mount Everest. As they embark on their journey, the film takes viewers on a visually stunning adventure, showcasing the breathtaking landscapes, towering peaks, and treacherous conditions that define the Everest experience.

“Everest” depicts the physical and mental challenges faced by the climbers as they ascend to the summit. It captures the harsh realities of high-altitude mountaineering, including extreme weather conditions, oxygen deprivation, and the ever-present risks of avalanches and crevasses. Through meticulous attention to detail, the film immerses viewers in the treacherous environment and the grueling struggle for survival.

The movie delves into the personal stories and relationships of the climbers, highlighting their camaraderie, determination, and sacrifices. It explores the psychological toll of pushing oneself to the limits and the difficult choices that must be made in life-or-death situations. The film’s powerful performances and emotional depth allow viewers to connect with the characters and feel the weight of their extraordinary circumstances.

“Everest” also examines the ethical dilemmas that arise in extreme mountaineering. It raises questions about the commercialization of Everest and the potential risks associated with crowded climbing seasons. The film prompts viewers to reflect on the balance between personal ambitions and the safety of oneself and others in extreme environments.

Beyond the individual narratives, “Everest” pays homage to the mountain itself, portraying Mount Everest as a force of nature that demands both respect and humility. The film captures the beauty and majesty of the mountain, serving as a reminder of the awe-inspiring power of nature and the human desire to conquer and explore it.

In summary, “Everest” is a riveting hiking movie that immerses viewers in the heart-pounding drama and extraordinary challenges of climbing Mount Everest. It showcases the physical and emotional struggles faced by climbers and explores the complex dynamics of human relationships in extreme conditions. The film prompts contemplation about the ethics of mountaineering and emphasizes the need for reverence and caution in the face of nature’s grandeur.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Everest” depicts the real-life tragedy that unfolded on Mount Everest in 1996.
  • The film captures the awe-inspiring beauty and unforgiving challenges of climbing the world’s highest peak.
  • It explores the personal stories, relationships, and sacrifices of the climbers.
  • “Everest” raises ethical questions about the commercialization and risks of extreme mountaineering.
  • The movie serves as a reminder of the power of nature and the need for caution and respect in the face of the world’s tallest mountain.

Rent or Buy “Everest” via Prime Video

Free Solo

Free Solo movie posterThe second pick in our mountain climbing movies list is “Free Solo”. “Free Solo” is an awe-inspiring and adrenaline-pumping hiking movie that documents the incredible journey of rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to free solo El Capitan, a 3,000-foot granite wall in Yosemite National Park. Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, the film provides a captivating and intimate look into Honnold’s fearless pursuit of the seemingly impossible.

The movie introduces viewers to Alex Honnold, a legendary free solo climber known for his extraordinary abilities and his willingness to tackle unimaginable challenges without the use of ropes or safety equipment. As the film unfolds, it follows Honnold’s meticulous preparations and training for his historic ascent of El Capitan, a feat that has never been accomplished before.

“Free Solo” offers a gripping and heart-stopping portrayal of Honnold’s journey. The film captures the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park and the sheer magnitude of El Capitan, while also showcasing the intense physical and mental demands of free solo climbing. Through stunning cinematography and intimate storytelling, viewers are placed right alongside Honnold as he navigates the intricate movements and high-stakes risks of his chosen path.

The documentary explores not only the physical aspect of free solo climbing but also the psychological and emotional toll it takes on Honnold. It delves into his motivations, fears, and the constant battle between his passion for mountain climbing and the inherent dangers involved. The film raises questions about the pursuit of one’s dreams and the boundaries of human achievement.

“Free Solo” goes beyond Honnold’s personal journey; it highlights the collaborative efforts and support of a dedicated team of filmmakers, fellow climbers, and friends who document and assist him along the way. The film underscores the importance of teamwork, trust, and preparation when attempting audacious and high-risk endeavors.

Moreover, “Free Solo” encourages reflection on the delicate balance between pushing boundaries and the responsibility of one’s actions. It prompts viewers to contemplate the line between fearless ambition and recklessness, as well as the impact that extreme sports can have on the mental health and relationships of those involved.

In summary, “Free Solo” is a captivating and nerve-wracking hiking movie that offers a front-row seat to Alex Honnold’s extraordinary quest to free solo El Capitan. It combines breathtaking cinematography, intimate storytelling, and thought-provoking themes to inspire awe and admiration for the limits of human achievement. The film serves as a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the unwavering pursuit of one’s dreams.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Free Solo” documents Alex Honnold’s historic attempt to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
  • The film captures the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and the intense physical and mental demands of free solo climbing.
  • It explores Honnold’s motivations, fears, and the psychological toll of his pursuit.
  • “Free Solo” highlights the importance of teamwork and support in high-risk endeavors.
  • The movie prompts reflection on the balance between ambition and responsibility and raises questions about the impact of extreme sports on mental health and relationships.

Rent or Buy “Free Solo” via Prime Video

Touching the Void

Touching The Void movie poster“Touching the Void” is a gripping and emotionally charged mountain climbing movie that recounts the harrowing true story of two mountaineers and their fight for survival in the unforgiving Peruvian Andes. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film takes viewers on a heart-stopping journey of endurance, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit.

The movie introduces viewers to Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, two experienced climbers attempting to conquer the unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande. However, their expedition takes a tragic turn when Simpson suffers a devastating fall, leaving him with a broken leg and stranded in a treacherous crevasse. “Touching the Void” follows their extraordinary tale of survival against all odds.

The film captures the sheer physical and mental challenges faced by Simpson and Yates. It vividly portrays the isolation, bone-chilling cold, and relentless snowstorms that they encounter in the high-altitude environment. Through powerful storytelling and immersive cinematography, viewers are transported to the precarious edge where life and death hang in the balance.

“Touching the Void” delves into the intense psychological struggle of both climbers. It explores Simpson’s determination to stay alive despite overwhelming pain and hopelessness, as well as Yates’ guilt-ridden decision to cut the rope that connected them. The film poses profound questions about the lengths one would go to survive and the moral dilemmas faced in life-or-death situations.

The documentary also emphasizes the unbreakable bond between climbers and the inherent risks they face in pursuit of their passion. It showcases the deep trust and reliance between Simpson and Yates, as well as their unwavering loyalty and sacrifice for each other. “Touching the Void” pays homage to the unique camaraderie and spirit of mountaineering.

Moreover, “Touching the Void” offers breathtaking visuals of the Peruvian Andes, capturing the awe-inspiring beauty and brutal majesty of the mountains. It highlights the raw power and unpredictable nature of the natural world, serving as a stark reminder of the insignificance of human beings in the face of such forces.

In summary, “Touching the Void” is a riveting climbing movie that immerses viewers in the true story of survival, endurance, and the unbreakable human spirit. It captures the physical and psychological challenges faced by Simpson and Yates, and it prompts viewers to reflect on the fragility of life and the remarkable resilience that can emerge from the depths of despair.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Touching the Void” recounts the true story of two climbers and their fight for survival in the Peruvian Andes.
  • The film captures the physical challenges and extreme conditions encountered in the high-altitude environment.
  • It explores the intense psychological struggle and moral dilemmas faced by the climbers.
  • “Touching the Void” emphasizes the bond between climbers and the sacrifices made for each other.
  • The documentary showcases the breathtaking beauty and unpredictable nature of the mountains.
  • It inspires viewers to contemplate the limits of human endurance and the strength of the human spirit.

Rent or Buy “Touching the Void” via Prime Video

A Lonely Place to Die

A Lonely Place to Die movie poster“A Lonely Place to Die” is a thrilling and suspenseful hiking movie that takes viewers on a heart-pounding adventure in the rugged Scottish Highlands. Directed by Julian Gilbey, the film follows a group of mountaineers who stumble upon a chilling discovery while embarking on a remote hiking expedition. It delves into the depths of human nature, survival instincts, and the relentless pursuit of justice.

The movie introduces viewers to a group of experienced climbers who set out to conquer the challenging peaks of the Scottish Highlands. However, their adventure takes an unexpected turn when they discover a young girl trapped underground in a hidden chamber. As they race against time to rescue her, they become entangled in a dangerous web of kidnappers, betrayal, and a desperate fight for survival.

“A Lonely Place to Die” skillfully builds tension and suspense as the mountaineers navigate treacherous terrains, face unpredictable weather conditions, and encounter ruthless adversaries. The film captures the raw beauty and harshness of the Scottish wilderness, immersing viewers in the rugged landscapes that mirror the characters’ perilous journey.

The documentary explores the themes of trust, loyalty, and the lengths people are willing to go to protect the innocent. It examines the moral dilemmas faced by the mountaineers as they grapple with the choice between self-preservation and risking their lives to save a stranger. “A Lonely Place to Die” raises questions about the essence of humanity and the blurred boundaries between heroes and villains in extreme circumstances.

Moreover, “A Lonely Place to Die” highlights the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit in the face of adversity. The mountaineers must rely on their physical strength, mental fortitude, and strategic thinking to outwit their pursuers and survive the unforgiving wilderness. The film showcases the indomitable will to live and the capacity for ordinary individuals to rise above extraordinary challenges.

The movie also draws attention to the environmental beauty and vulnerability of the Scottish Highlands. It portrays the breathtaking landscapes, from towering cliffs to vast expanses of untouched wilderness. “A Lonely Place to Die” serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and respecting these natural habitats for future generations to explore and enjoy.

In summary, “A Lonely Place to Die” is an exhilarating hiking movie that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. It explores the depths of human nature, the fight for survival, and the moral complexities faced in extreme situations. The film reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and the fragile beauty of our natural world.

Key Takeaways:

  • “A Lonely Place to Die” follows a group of mountaineers who stumble upon a chilling discovery during a remote hiking expedition.
  • The film captures the tension, suspense, and danger as the characters navigate treacherous terrains.
  • It examines moral dilemmas, trust, and the essence of humanity in extreme circumstances.
  • “A Lonely Place to Die” highlights the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit.
  • The movie showcases the environmental beauty and vulnerability of the Scottish Highlands.
  • It prompts viewers to reflect on the importance of preserving and respecting natural habitats.

Buy “A Lonely Place to Die” via Prime Video

180° South

180 degrees south movie poster“180°South” is a captivating and inspiring hiking movie that combines adventure, environmental activism, and self-discovery. Directed by Chris Malloy, the film follows the journey of adventurer and environmentalist Jeff Johnson as he retraces the iconic 1968 road trip of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, to Patagonia. It weaves together breathtaking landscapes, introspective moments, and thought-provoking conversations about the importance of conservation and the pursuit of a meaningful life.

The movie introduces viewers to Jeff Johnson, a young man seeking purpose and connection with the natural world. Inspired by the pioneering spirit of Chouinard and Tompkins, founders of Patagonia and The North Face respectively, Johnson embarks on a soul-stirring journey from California to Patagonia. Along the way, he encounters fellow adventurers, locals, and environmental activists who share their wisdom and perspectives.

“180 Degrees South” immerses viewers in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, showcasing stunning landscapes from the towering peaks of Patagonia to the untouched wilderness of the South Pacific islands. Through breathtaking cinematography, the film captures the grandeur and fragility of these natural environments, igniting a sense of wonder and reverence for the world around us.

The documentary explores themes of conservation, sustainability, and the impact of human activities on the planet. It highlights the importance of preserving our natural heritage for future generations and underscores the responsibility we all share in protecting the Earth. “180 Degrees South” serves as a call to action, inspiring viewers to take steps towards creating positive change in their own lives and in the world.

The film also delves into personal introspection and the pursuit of a meaningful life. As Johnson grapples with his own motivations and desires, he engages in thought-provoking conversations with environmentalists, surfers, and indigenous communities. These encounters lead him to question his own values and ignite a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of nature, adventure, and the human spirit.

Moreover, “180 Degrees South” celebrates the spirit of adventure and the transformative power of embracing the unknown. It invites viewers to step out of their comfort zones, challenge themselves, and embark on their own journeys of self-discovery and exploration. The film encourages individuals to seek a life that is aligned with their passions, values, and a deep appreciation for the natural world.

In summary, “180 Degrees South” is an awe-inspiring hiking movie that combines adventure, environmental activism, and personal introspection. It captures the beauty of nature, explores the importance of conservation, and ignites a sense of purpose and connection with the world around us. The film serves as a reminder that every individual has the power to make a positive impact and create a life of adventure and meaning.

Key Takeaways:

  • “180 Degrees South” follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the road trip of his heroes to Patagonia.
  • The film showcases the stunning landscapes and inspires reverence for nature.
  • It explores themes of conservation, sustainability, and the responsibility we have towards the planet.
  • “180 Degrees South” delves into personal introspection and the pursuit of a meaningful life.
  • The documentary celebrates the spirit of adventure and encourages viewers to step out of their comfort zones.
  • It serves as a call to action, inspiring individuals to make positive change in their own lives and in the world.

Rent or Buy “180 Degrees South” via Prime Video

14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible

14 Peaks movie posterThe final film on our list of mountain climbing movies is “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible.” “14 Peaks” is an awe-inspiring mountain climbing documentary that chronicles the remarkable journey of Nirmal “Nims” Purja, a former Gurkha soldier, as he sets out to conquer the world’s 14 highest mountains in a record-breaking time. Directed by Torquil Jones, the film captures the physical and mental challenges, triumphs, and sheer determination of Nims and his team as they push the boundaries of human endurance and achieve the seemingly impossible.

The movie introduces viewers to Nims Purja, a man with a passion for mountaineering and a relentless pursuit of breaking boundaries. Inspired by a desire to challenge himself and rewrite mountaineering history, Nims embarks on a mission to climb all 14 of the world’s highest peaks, known as the Eight-Thousanders, in just seven months. His audacious goal not only requires immense physical stamina but also demands meticulous planning, strategic decision-making, and unwavering resilience.

“14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” takes viewers on a thrilling and emotional journey as Nims and his team navigate treacherous terrains, extreme weather conditions, and altitude sickness. The film showcases the breathtaking beauty of the mountains, capturing the grandeur and majesty of these awe-inspiring landscapes. It immerses viewers in the intensity and exhilaration of high-altitude mountaineering.

Beyond the physical feats, the documentary delves into the mindset and psychology of Nims and his team. It explores the mental fortitude, discipline, and unwavering determination required to overcome the immense challenges they face. The film shines a light on the sacrifices, risks, and emotional toll that such endeavors can take, as well as the resilience and camaraderie that sustain them throughout their journey.

“14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” is not just a story of individual achievement but also a celebration of teamwork, collaboration, and the spirit of human solidarity. Nims and his team come from different nationalities, backgrounds, and mountaineering experiences, yet they unite with a common purpose. The film highlights the power of teamwork and the strength that comes from supporting and relying on one another.

Moreover, “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” serves as an inspiration for viewers to pursue their dreams, overcome challenges, and push the boundaries of what they believe is possible. It encourages individuals to embrace a mindset of resilience, determination, and unwavering belief in their abilities. The film embodies the idea that with passion, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of one’s goals, nothing is truly impossible.

In summary, “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” is a captivating hiking documentary that showcases the extraordinary journey of Nims Purja and his team as they conquer the world’s highest peaks. It captures the physical and mental challenges, the breathtaking landscapes, and the indomitable human spirit. The film serves as an inspiration for viewers to push their own limits, embrace resilience, and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

Key Takeaways:

  • “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” documents Nims Purja’s record-breaking journey to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks in seven months.
  • The film captures the physical and mental challenges, triumphs, and resilience of Nims and his team.
  • It showcases the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and the intensity of high-altitude mountaineering.
  • The documentary explores the mindset, discipline, and unwavering determination required to overcome challenges.
  • It highlights the power of teamwork, collaboration, and the spirit of human solidarity.
  • “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” inspires viewers to pursue their dreams, overcome challenges, and push their limits.
  • The film embodies the idea that with passion, dedication, and belief in oneself, nothing is truly impossible.

Watch “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” on Netflix

The Bottom Line

As we reach the summit of our exploration into the world of mountain climbing movies, we are left with a deep appreciation for the remarkable stories and extraordinary individuals depicted on the screen. These six mountain climbing movies have taken us on a rollercoaster of emotions, from the edge-of-your-seat thrills to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature’s grandeur.

Through the lens of these films, we have witnessed the triumph of the human spirit, the strength of camaraderie, and the resilience in the face of insurmountable challenges. We have come to understand that climbing is not merely a physical feat but a profound metaphor for life’s struggles and the relentless pursuit of personal growth.

These movies have showcased the power of breathtaking cinematography, transporting us to remote corners of the world and allowing us to witness firsthand the allure and dangers of mountaineering. From the jagged peaks of the Himalayas to the icy slopes of the Andes, we have experienced the vastness and unforgiving nature of our planet.

But beyond the adrenaline-fueled scenes and awe-inspiring vistas, these climbing films have left an indelible mark on our hearts. They have taught us the value of perseverance, the importance of teamwork, and the need for self-discovery. They have reminded us that true greatness lies not only in conquering mountains but also in conquering our own fears and limitations.

As we bid farewell to these films, let us carry their spirit with us, igniting our own sense of adventure and determination. Let us seek our own personal summits, whether they be literal or metaphorical, knowing that the journey itself is as significant as the destination.

So, fellow adventurers, let these mountain climbing movies inspire you to embrace challenges, embrace the unknown, and strive for greatness. Let them remind you that we are capable of achieving extraordinary things when we set our sights high and believe in our own abilities.

Thank you for joining us on this cinematic expedition, where we have witnessed the triumphs and tribulations of climbers who dared to defy gravity. May these mountain climbing movies continue to inspire generations to come, encouraging us to reach for the stars and conquer our own mountains, no matter how high they may seem.

Remember, the world is waiting, and the mountains are calling. Embrace the adventure, and may you always find yourself on top of the world.

Looking for even more films to add to your watchlist? Check out our list of the 15 hiking movies you must watch.

Hands-On Review: Trelino® Evo S Composting Toilet

Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet
The Trelino Evo S is as good-looking as it is functional…and it’s amazingly functional.

At Outward Spaces, we’re big on breaking down the barriers that keep people from enjoying the outdoors. When it comes to camping, especially boondocking or back-country camping, one BIG challenge that people face is going to the bathroom when away from typical facilities. Pooping and peeing comfortably while off the grid is possible and in the past, we’ve covered a few ways to make it a reality. As we’re always looking for better ways to “take care of business” while outdoors, we’ve recently run across an innovative and exciting new piece of kit that could revolutionize your bathroom experience.

Trelino logoEnter the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet – a cutting-edge solution that challenges the norm and offers a portable, sustainable, and environmentally responsible approach to human waste disposal while away from the grid. Designed with travelers in mind, the Trelino is a potentially game-changing solution for traveling the planet in RVs, vans, while overlanding, or even while tent camping outside of traditional campgrounds.

Recently, Trelino reached out to us and asked if we would review one of their composting toilets and share our honest opinion with our readers here at Outward Spaces.  We were sent their most portable and lightweight composting toilet, the S model from their Evo series.  With an upcoming camping trip to the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado already in the works, we were excited to bring the Trelino along and put it through its paces.

Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet in Anthracite (Dark Gray)

Trelino® Evo S Lightweight Portable Composting Toilet

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What is a Composting Toilet?

Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet in Anthracite (Dark Gray)
We tested the dark gray version. The Evo S is also available in white.

At its core, the Trelino Evo S is a composting toilet. Composting toilets work by facilitating the natural decomposition of human waste, turning it into nutrient-rich compost that can be safely returned to the earth. By mimicking the natural decomposition process, these toilets eliminate the need for water and sewer plumbing making them perfect for off-grid applications like small cabins, RVs, vans, and camping.

In this comprehensive hands-on review, we’ll delve deep into the world of composting toilets and take an in-depth look at the Trelino Evo S. We’ll explore its features, user experience, technology, maintenance and cleaning, and end with our overall thoughts.

So, join us as we look at how this modern composting toilet brings stacks up against other options for an off-grid bathroom. Whether you’re an off-grid homeowner, a van-lifer, or someone simply looking to poo a bit more smartly in the woods, the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet might just be the portable toilet you’ve been looking for.

A Bit of Background

If you live in North America and haven’t heard of Trelino before, it’s probably because they are a German company working diligently to grow their reach into this continent.  While they may be small, there’s a lot to like about Trelino. First, they bring a German sensibility that equally values both engineering and design as they work to solve an important problem – creating a more elegant and efficient portable toilet. Second, they are campers themselves – they understand the challenges of portable toilets firsthand.

Before we delve into the specifics of the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet, let’s take a moment to understand the need for a great composting toilet. When you’re away from traditional facilities for an extended period of time, like when camping, using the bathroom can be challenging. You can dig a hole like our ancestors did, but that’s a lot of work and feels pretty rugged. Chemical toilets work, but the smells they generate combined with the very real threat of that nasty blue liquid leaking aren’t good. Like us, maybe you’re go-to camping toilet is a bucket lined with a garbage bag and a toilet seat on top.  The simple bucket does the job, but between the odors, the flies, and the constant awareness that you are pooping in a 5-gallon bucket, it’s far from perfect.

Composting toilets aren’t new to the market, but most are bulky and expensive.  Most composting toilets on the market land around the $1000 mark and, truthfully, most seem overdesigned.  For example, one of the most popular composting toilets currently on the market, the Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet is 28lbs and looks like it was plucked out of a 50’s Russian submarine. Due to its size and design features, I mostly see the Nature’s Head toilet being utilized for tiny-home or off-grid cabin applications – still leaving a hole for those looking for a good solution while camping or traveling in an RV or van.

Despite these various “solutions”, it’s always felt that there’s something missing in the less-than-sexy portable bathroom department.  A portable toilet solution that combined quality science with excellent design has to be possible. And I have to believe that I’m not alone in wanting more options for campers that are 1) less expensive, 2) simpler, and 3) just work well.  We have high hopes that the Trelino Evo S could hit this sweet spot.

Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet: Smart Simplicity

Upon receiving our Evo S, the first thing we noticed is how light the box was.  The Evo S weighs only 8.6 lbs – making it the most portable and lightweight toilet Trelino makes.

At our request, Trelino sent us the dark gray version for our testing.  We liked the sleek, high-design look of the gray and worried the white version would be more apt to show the dust and dirt that comes along with camping life.  It’s strange to geek out over a portable toilet, but this small cube truly is beautifully designed.

The theme of the Evo S is simplicity – a trait we appreciate in all of our outdoor gear.  Only the recessed side grab handles break up the otherwise smooth exterior of the Evo S.  The lid, an identical extension of the smooth cube profile, lifts easily revealing the dual molded toilet compartments. Even the Trelino branding seems perfect – not too big to distract and just enough to let you know who’s behind this toilet.

Remove the top of the Evo S by lifting the seat and lid and you’ll discover even more simplicity. A small trashcan-like box in the back for solid waste and a bright blue container in the front for liquids. The two containers reveal the Trelino’s primary secret to the perfect portable toilet – separating the liquids from the solids.

How the Evo S Works:

Trelino Portable Camping Toilet in OVS Shower Room
The Evo S setup in our roof rack mounted OVS Shower Room.

Essentially, the Evo S is an extremely well-designed, smartly engineered bucket toilet.  It’s similar in size and weight to a seated bucket toilet, like the Luggable Loo, but it’s more comfortable, smells better, and is much less gross.

The Evo S is comfortable for a few reasons.  First, its molded seat feels good to sit on – even when you need to be there for a while. The plastic structure feels robust without being overbuilt or heavy. Second, using the Evo S reminds you of using a traditional toilet.  When using a bucket toilet, we always feel very aware that we are pooping into a bucket – a feeling we did not get when using the Evo S.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we love using the Evo S because it doesn’t smell awful.

The reason why the Evo S excels in the smell department is because of its ability to separate liquid from solid waste. Beneath the lid, the Evo S has two separate waste containers –  a solid waste container that is lined with a plastic bag and a liquid container with a rubber membrane closure on the top that lets liquid in but keeps smells out.

Inside view of the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet
Under the seat: the two waste containers found in the Evo S

To effectively separate the liquids and the solids, the user only needs to adjust the position on the seat to direct the appropriate type of waste into the correct container.  The Trelino’s seat is molded with two main areas that direct waste to the appropriate container.  In simple terms, sit toward the center or back of the Evo S to poop and sit forward to pee.

To aid in the drying out of solid waste, Trelino recommends sprinkling sawdust, litter, or other organic material into the solid waste container after using the Evo S.  This organic material helps to remove moisture from the solid waster while also providing a pleasant woody or organic smell. In our testing of the Evo S, we used small animal pine bedding which worked great at keeping smells to a minimum.

According to Trelino, most bathroom smells are caused by the solid waste’s inability to dry out. The high ammonia concentration in urine also adds to the smell when not separated from solid waste.  Trelino’s simple solution is to dry out the solids and to “keep a lid” on the liquids – which the included “membrane closure” on the liquids container does well.

When the Evo S is full, remove the lid/seat to access the waste compartments.  The solid waste container is lined with a bag that can be removed and tied up for disposal.  Once the bag has been disclosed of, a new bag is put in its place and a handful of pet bedding gets it ready for use. The liquid container can be picked up via its handle and removed from the Evo S to dump the contents in a convenient and appropriate location.  Once dumped, the liquids contained is placed back in the Evo S, and the seat is placed back on the unit making sure that all separation areas are directed to the appropriate containers.  The whole emptying process is easy, takes just minutes, and is a far cleaner process than most portable toilets we have used in the past.

Features of the Evo S that we love:

Attractive Design – The Trelino Evo S boasts a sleek and compact design, making it an attractive addition to any campsite, RV, or van. Its contemporary aesthetics blend seamlessly with modern interiors, providing a clean and minimalistic look. The Evo series toilet is also available in various models and sizes to accommodate different spatial requirements.

Liquid/Solid Waste Separation – The core feature of the Trelino Evo S is how it separates the solid and liquid waste, ensuring efficient decomposition and composting. The solid waste is mixed with composting materials like sawdust or coconut coir, creating an aerobic environment that promotes decomposition and eliminates odors.

By diverting urine away from solid waste, the composting process becomes more effective and manageable. This separation reduces the overall volume of waste that needs to be composted, promoting faster decomposition and enhancing the compost’s quality. Additionally, the lack of liquid in the composting chamber minimizes the risk of unpleasant odors, making the overall experience more pleasant and hygienic.

Waterless Operation – The Trelino Evo S operates entirely without water. This reduction in water consumption not only conserves water but also minimizes the need for plumbing – making the Evo S suitable for off-grid, camping, and RV/van use.

Odor Control: Portable toilets can evoke concerns about potential odors, but the Trelino Evo S addresses this issue through effective odor control mechanisms. The proper balance of composting materials and the ventilation system work together to keep any unpleasant smells at bay, ensuring a pleasant bathroom experience.

Using the Evo S

The true measure of any product’s success lies in the experiences of its users. In the case of the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet, understanding how it performs in real-life scenarios is essential to gauge its practicality and user-friendliness. Let’s hear from individuals who have embraced the Trelino Evo S and gain insights into their firsthand experiences with this eco-friendly composting toilet.

Ease of Use and Installation

Urine container in the Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet
The liquid waste container is bright blue, has a handy handle, and a lid with membrane closure.

One of the key aspects that users often consider is the ease of installation and use. Users will appreciate the Trelino Evo S for its relatively straightforward installation process, especially compared to more complex composting toilets or chemical toilets. The best feature of the Evo S is its simplicity and the clear instructions provided by Trelino will make the setup hassle-free for most people.

When it comes to day-to-day use, the simplicity of the Trelino Evo S wins again. We find it to be intuitive to operate, with straightforward mechanisms for waste diversion and composting material management.

Performance and Odor Control

When the Evo S is used correctly and provided with the right balance of composting materials, it will effectively break down waste into compost over time. Though we didn’t carry our testing through to the full composting process, we’re confident that the Evo S could be used to transform solid waste into usable compost.

What we did test thoroughly was the odor control abilities of the Evo S and we’re happy to report that the Evo S excels in this area.  Having tried most other portable toilet options, we had given up on the hope that smells could be removed from our campsite bathroom.  But as we used the Evo S over our 5-day trip, we were pleasantly surprised to not smell anything each time we used it.  The diversion of liquids away from the solids combined with the pine pet bedding we used left the Evo S with a woodsy odor that made the experience of using it enjoyable.  Using the Trelino reminded us of the pet hamsters we had as a kid – much better than being reminded of a pig farm that we’re used to during our bathroom experience.

Though we used the Evo S outdoors, we’d bet that the smells are so well-controlled that the Evo S could be used in an RV or van without any issues or unpleasant smells.  As with any composting toilet, you may need to experiment both with the type of organic material and the amounts used to achieve the performance you are after.

Environmental Impact and Satisfaction

Using the Trelino Evo S, you can take pride in knowing that you’re using a composting toilet that positively impacts the environment. By significantly reducing water consumption and eliminating the need for sewage plumbing, the Trelino does give you a good feeling about how its use is good for the environment. Simplicity again here is the key.

But you also feel good in other ways while using the Evo S.  Between the molded seat and the lack of smells, this toilet is genuinely comfortable to use.  Using the bathroom while camping is rarely a pleasant or relaxing experience, but it can be with the Evo S. Having the coolest toilet around feels pretty good too.

Trelino Composting Toilet Size Chart
Trelino offers 3 sizes of composting toilets. Choose the size that fits best in your available space.

Maintaining and Cleaning the Trelino Evo S

While off the grid, emptying the Evo S is as simple as taking out the solids back and dumping the liquid container.  But once you’re home, a few simple cleaning steps will keep your Evo S working (and smelling) like new.

To clean and disinfect our Evo S when we got home, we first rinsed all parts of the toilet – taking special care to thoroughly rinse the urine container.  We then mixed up a spray bottle of bleach and water and misted the entire toilet to make sure to kill any bacteria.  We also filled both the solid and liquid containers with our bleach/water kix and allowed them to sit for at least 15 minutes.

When the time was up we emptied all the containers and allowed the Evo S and all of its parts to dry.  Once dry, if smells remain, you can try letting the containers soak with a vinegar/water solution to remove any remaining odors.

The simple parts of the Trelino make cleaning a breeze.  And knowing that your portable toilet is fully clean as you store it away for your next trip is priceless.


The Bottom Line

Trelino Portable Camping Toilet
If a toilet can make camping more enjoyable, it’s this one. It’s stylish, comfortable, and avoids the nasty smells.

The Trelino Evo S is awesome! It’s stylish, comfortable, keeps smells at bay, and truly makes going to the bathroom outdoors an enjoyable experience. It’s simple – simple in design, simple to use, and simple to clean.

At $350, the Evo S is an investment, but we think it’s an investment you won’t regret.  It’s the best off-grid bathroom solution we’ve come across and it’s really not close.  Having a Trelino in your camping arsenal will level up your camping experience with comfort and fresh air.

Going to the bathroom is usually one of the least enjoyable parts of camping.  Between the smells, the feeling of being unsanitary, and just being downright gross, not having a good way to poop and pee while off the grid can keep people from enjoying the outdoors.  But the Trelino will change the minds of prospective campers who don’t want to stray far from traditional toilet facilities.

Pick up an Evo S and you may just fall in love with a toilet as we have.  It’s strange to think that a great camping bathroom can be so important – but those who spend a lot of time outdoors will understand.

Here’s to happier camping for all!

Trelino Evo S Composting Toilet in Anthracite (Dark Gray)

Trelino® Evo S Lightweight Portable Composting Toilet

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Paddling Paradise: Kayaking the Colorado River

Kayaking the Colorado

In the middle of the Arizona desert, just south of the Utah border, lies a paddler’s paradise.  Deep in a sandstone canyon that starts at Lake Powell and ends in the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River twists and turns across the rugged landscape. On the surface, hundreds of feet above the canyon floor, the surrounding desert offers little.  Its unforgiving land parched from a lack of rain.  Despite a few towering red cliff walls that steal a few moments of your imagination, there isn’t much of interest here… at least until you arrive at Lee’s Ferry.

Once at the Colorado River’s edge, the despair of the surrounding landscape fades and something else entirely appears. The abundance of water welcomes your weary, desert-traveling soul just as it has for generations before.  The river brings hope and possibility to an otherwise barren land. Plucked from the depths of Lake Powell, the Colorado runs at a consistent 48 degrees Fahrenheit, providing refuge from the 110+ degree summer air temperatures in the area. Providing 40 million people with water, this marble-colored canyon is the conduit that brings life to the surrounding southwestern states.

But beyond serving as a lifeline to so many in the Southwest, the stretch of the Colorado between Glen Canyon Dam and Lee’s Ferry is a playground for so many others. Each day, both fishermen and paddlers head out on these waters. Anglers try their luck at catching brown and rainbow trout in its cool tailwaters. Paddlers, a balanced mix of kayakers and paddleboarders, line up to be hauled upstream to spend the day drifting back to where they started.

I have fly-fished and camped in this area for years. As an Arizona resident, Lee’s Ferry is one of my favorite trout fisheries. At more than 4 hours away, I don’t get there as much as I wish, but even when I can’t make the drive I dream about the experience here.  Fly fishing in a large, cool river while surrounded by red canyon walls is as good as trout fishing gets in Arizona.

Until recently, I’d never had the chance to experience the river from a kayak or paddleboard.  Decades ago I was invited along on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.  We had started that 7-day trip at this exact spot at Lee’s Ferry, but we headed downstream into the Canyon – something that requires an elusive permit to do. For those who want to experience the river without a permit, the 15-mile stretch of water between the dam and Lee’s Ferry is for you.

Kayaking the Colorado

Kayak Horseshoe Bend rental kayaks
Our rental kayaks for the day

For around $75 per person, one of the backhaul service operators will load you, your kayak or paddleboard, and your gear on a boat and haul you upriver.  Once you arrive at your choice of drop-off spots, you paddle (or float if you prefer) downriver until you return to Lee’s Ferry.  Besides the cool water and the amazing scenery, the beauty of paddling this stretch of the river is that you can customize the trip to your liking.  You can choose to paddle the full 15-mile stretch in a day or do 10 miles in half a day. With a couple of campgrounds on the banks of the river, you can even maximize your time on the river and make your trip into a multi-day excursion.  Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented by the backhaul operators – typically at around $35/day for a single kayak or paddleboard and $55 for a double kayak. Due to a limited number of spots on each backhaul boat, reservations are necessary and should made at least a few weeks in advance if possible.  We booked backhaul service and kayak rentals through Kayak Horseshoe Bend on our recent trip and appreciated their professionalism and knowledge of the river.

Kayaking the Colorado Rover
15-miles of red rock views

After picking up the backhaul boat in Lee’s Ferry, and starting your journey upriver, you’ll need to decide at which point you’d like to be dropped off at.  For a full day of paddling or for an overnight trip with camping, you’re drop-off point will be just below Glen Canyon Dam – a 15-mile trip. For shorter half-day trips, you can choose to be dropped off just upriver from the famous Horseshoe Bend, which is a 10-mile trip back to Lee’s Ferry. For the most part, the entire 15-mile length looks about the same from the water.  Paddling along the river you’ll pass in and out of shadows created by the thousand-foot-tall sheer red canyon walls on either side of you.  Without any rapids along the route, the water is calm for the entire journey, making it perfect for visitors of all ages and skill levels.  While kayaking the Colorado may be a consistent experience from start to finish, it is one of the most beautiful and special places you’ll ever encounter.  There is something magical about this canyon, and while this stretch is overshadowed by its bigger canyon brother downstream, kayaking this stretch of water will leave you with memories that you’ll draw back on for the rest of your life.  It is that special of a place.

Points of Interest:

During the 15-mile trek, there are some points of interest to check out:

Descending Sheep Panel Petroglyph
The Descending Sheep Petroglyph
  1. Glen Canyon Dam (Mile 15) – If you choose to paddle the full 15-mile route from Glen Canyon Dam back to Lee’s Ferry, you’re backhaul boat will drop you just behind the Dam. It’s interesting to be able to see the backside of the concrete dam that created one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the US, Lake Powell.
  2. Petroglyph Beach (Mile 10) – a short hike from the river’s edge leads you to view ancient rock art on the canyon wall.  Archaeologists believe the petroglyphs here are between 3,000 and 6,000 years old and the area contains two elements of rock art representing three separate temporal and cultural periods.
  3. Waterholes Canyon
    Waterholes Canyon
  4. Horseshoe Bend (Mile 9) – While Horseshoe Bend is better experienced from above, it’s pretty cool to be one of the small dots floating downriver making those at the lookout above jealous. More than 2 million people visit Horseshoe Bend each year, but you are one of the view able to experience it from the water.
  5. Waterholes Canyon (Mile 4) – Park your kayak and hike up the Waterhole Canyon to see one of the area’s top slot canyons.  Make sure to leave some time in your schedule to experience this.
  6. Overnight Campsites (throughout) – There are 5 primitive campsites between Glen Canyon Dam and Lee’s Ferry.  Each site offers first-come, first-served campsites with a fire ring and bathrooms. Take your time in the canyon and spend a night or two along your kayaking journey.

Whether you plan on camping for a few days, hitting all of the points of interest, or letting them pass by on your beeline to Lee’s Ferry, it’s important to know that you have options to add to your trip.


A Full Day of Beauty, Fun, and Wonder

When we recently kayaked this route, we chose the tackle the full 15-mile paddle and were dropped just below the dam.  Expecting a quick taxi to our drop-off spot, we were surprised that our boat driver stopped numerous times along the trip upriver to point out wildlife and points of interest.  While the information was appreciated, the stops along the way affected our schedule.  Due to booking late, the earliest backhaul boat we could get our group of 3 on was at 10:45 am.  The slow trip upriver meant that we didn’t get into our kayaks until 12:30 pm – much later than we had expected.

Despite starting our trip later in the day, we headed our trek downriver and quickly found ourselves paddling with our mouths wide open.  The canyon is gorgeous – with countless shades of red, orange, and brown littering the steep canyon walls.  A trip like this is filled with contrasts. The red canyon abruptly meets the green water.  The 100+ degree heat is in opposition to the 50-degree river.  Absolute silence fills the canyon one minute only to be interrupted by the absurdly loud roar of a boat the next.

Kayaking with my Earth Pak dry bag
Kayaking with my Earth Pak dry bag

Kayaking the Colorado River is something we think everyone should try at least once.  This bucket-list item won’t leave you disappointed.  The calm cool waters on the route make the trip both feasible for all ages and tolerable during the brutal summer heat. Paddle on your own terms.  Put your paddle down, sit back, and watch the canyon details pass you by for hours.  Or dig in, raise your heart rate, and race to see who can get to Lee’s ferry first.  No matter how you choose to do this trip, you’ll remember it for years.

We had heard that the last couple of miles “can get old” and that the “canyon kind of all looks the same”, but we took in every minute and each paddle and recognized it as a privilege.  When traveling the Colorado by kayak, you are one of the lucky few to see this part of the world from this perspective – to drink in the rich, red canyons and recognize how special this place is.

What to bring

In anticipation of our trip kayaking the Colorado, we picked up a few helpful items on Amazon that served us well on this trip:

Earth Pak Dry BagDry bag – Being on the water all day, your stuff is bound to get wet.  Keep all of your gear, clothing, and electronics, safe from the water by packing it all in a dry bag.  We had heard good things about the Earth Pak brand and purchased their 10L dry bag and their 35L Backpack dry bag. Both dry bags served us well and kept our stuff protected, but we especially loved the flexibility of the backpack bag.  If you’re gonna pick up a new dry bag, treat yourself to the larger (35L0 backpack version.

Collapsible water bottle – If you’re only going to bring one thing along when kayaking the Colorado, choose water – and lots of it.  In the summer, temperatures in the canyon can reach well over 100 degrees and the sun can be relentless. Kayak Horseshoe Bend recommends bringing at least 1 gallon of water per person in the summer.  Rather than lugging along rigid and heavy water containers for our trip, we picked up more flexible, collapsible water containers to hold all of our water.  Flexible water bottles sit better in the floor of your kayak and when they are empty, can be stowed away easily in your dry bag to save space.  Vapur’s 1L collapsible water bottles worked great as our main water source throughout the day.  We refilled them from a 3L Hydrapak Seeker water storage bag.  We froze all of our water bags before the trip (another huge advantage of collapsible water bottles) giving us cold water throughout the day as the ice melted.

Soft Cooler – Depending on how long you’ll be on the water, you’ll need to pack provisions accordingly.  Kayaking the Colorado is an experience that you should take your time and enjoy, so bringing along some food is important.  No matter what’s on your menu of choice, a soft-sided cooler will sit well in your kayak throughout your trip and keep your food cold.  We like the RTIC Soft Cooler to keep our lunch, snacks, and drinks cold in style.

Lightweight towel – Bringing along a towel is optional, but we highly recommend it.  In 100+ degree heat, you probably won’t need the towel to dry off after getting out of the sub-50 degree water, but a towel will come in handy to cover up from the sun as the day wears on.  We brought along both our Original Towel and Lightweight Towel from Nomadix and didn’t regret it.  Nomadix towels are awesome for a variety of outdoor activities.  They are lightweight, resist sand, and dry fast.  We used them to cover our legs to prevent them from being sunburn.  Splashing a bit of water on the towels also helped us cool down.

Waterproof phone case – Many newer phones are waterproof out of the box, but you’ll appreciate the peace of mind of protecting your phone with a waterproof case while kayaking the Colorado.  Waterproof phone cases are inexpensive and worth every penny on a trip like this.  Our Earth Pak dry bags each came with a phone case, but if you need to get some more, we recommend this 2-pack.

While there are some great products out there that can make kayaking the Colorado easier and more enjoyable, the great news is that you don’t need much more than a kayak or paddleboard to make this trip happen.  No matter how you do it, just do it.

The Bottom Line

Kayaking the Colorado River is an amazing and special experience.  We think it should be on everyone’s bucket list and if you can make it happen, you should.  The gentle flow of the river sends you through up to 15 miles of a canyon that literally becomes the Grand Canyon just downriver.

If you do choose this adventure, the great folks at Kayak Horseshoe Bend will take great care of you, and with a ton of great info on their website – you can begin planning now. Whether to choose to rent a kayak or bring your own, invite some friends and family, pick up some new gear and be ready for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Happy Paddling!