Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2016

hammock suspension systems

I am far from being an expert hammock or hammock suspension person, however, I slept at a Holiday Inn last night... Actually I'm not qualified and I'm not trying to substitute my wisdom for yours I'm just calling it like I see it.

I have a number of hammock suspension systems to evaluate and I'm not expecting to break new ground as this sort of thing has been researched and written about to death. My hypothesis is that any simple gathered end hammock can be suspended by a plain webbing or cordage (properly rated of course). And with enough practice the number of fine adjustments should be minimal.

I have a number of suspension systems:

ENO Atlas StrapsENO HeliosWhoopie Sling with Soft Shackleplain webbingplain para-maxplain 550 paracordI'm not going to test the paracord because the para-max is just a stronger version of the same.
The weigh in: Atlas - 180gWhoopie Sling - 20gwebbing - 80gparamax - 100g The weight of the Atlas strap was expected. It's a thicker stra…

things I did not use

My 20 pound pack was a pain in the ass. It was not that bad but could have been better. The reality is that wet weather hiking in the Big Cypress is drastically different than dry weather.

I did not really need to bring food on the trail although a snack would have been OK but I brought too much food.

My sitting pad was a waste. It was too wet to sit.

Rain jacket.  That's up for debate. The skies were clear during the hike but during the drive home the skies opened and I could barely see in front. Had I been caught in this deluge I would have pitched my tarp. I need a smaller hammock to reduce weight and I need to replace the straps with something lighter or even cordage.

I did not make any water. Neither of the other guys brought a filter. Just 2L each.

Sunscreen and mosquito repellent were #1 and 2 on the list of things I needed. The bugs were huge and I'm glade I doused my clothes in permethrin.

I lost my sunglasses very early in the hike. I need a better plan because I can…

Olicamp 4 season fuel - what is net weight

I've been wondering a few things about my Olicamp ION stove and fuel.

The description on Amazon said that the fuel was 100g and the can indicates Net Weight 100g. When I was talking to customer service at Olicamp they indicated that I can expect to boil 44 cups of water at 5000ft [2 cups at a time].

A little math and a few facts ...

The gross weight of a 100g can is between 200 and 220g. The gross weight after boiling 2 cups of water, at sea level, is 200g. That means I used between 10 and 20g of fuel for the first 2 cup boil. Let's say that I was new to the mechanics of the system and I also allowed some gas to escape before starting or there was some latency between opening the fuel valve, ignition and placing the container on the stove.

100g of fuel, 10g per 2 cup boil, that means 10-2cup boils and not the 22-2cup that customer service described.

it's a half day hike stupid

And then the theme song to Gilligan's Island plays in my head.
... three hour tour. instead of starting with my 21 pound dry pack I'm going to change my plan. Here is my inventory:

the clothes on my back including convertible long pants and synthetic long sleeve shirt. I'll carry spare socks and a short sleeve in my pack in case I'm uncomfortable. Since we are hiking in the everglades I'll use my synthetic tactical boots circa 20 years - convert to snacks only, nuts, M&Ms, no cooking and no cook kit.rain jacket instead of poncho just because it's a day hike and I don't really care much about the pack. I just want to be a little comfortable. The first might make that nicer. (as a test I'm sitting at my desk with the jacket and t-shirt on. The house is at 77F and I can feel my temp rising. I'm assuming that the jacket would conduct the heat better instead of insulating me if it were raining. But I feel better in the jacket than a poncho.I …

Big Cypress Day Hike Sunday

I've mentioned it so I'll say it again. Sunday I'm going on a day hike in the Florida Everglades. Initially I was going super-ultralight but then it occurred to me, and later confirmed, that I should take a hammock. Given that the ground should be knee deep or higher and any high ground should be saturated given the amount of rain. While the pack is still considered ultralight it's not as light as it was yesterday.

Everything in the 3's and C's is covered. So I'm feeling safe and ready. I also practiced setting up my hammock and it's ok but not perfect but that might be my bass.

where did the 21.5 pounds come from?

My new waterproof pack arrived yesterday and I decided to load it up this morning and see what the weight was. You cannot imagine my disappointment when I read the display: 21.5 pounds.

This pack contains everything for an overnight and so a few things were left out.

I did not pack any spare clothes, spare cordage, rain jacket (poncho was sufficient). I will have to add the spoon and trekking poles(not pictured) back in.

Opening the pack

Shelter - tent(750g), footprint(150g), butt pad(50g), mattress(350g), pillow(50g), poncho(300g), bivy(450g), hat, sunglasses, schmog, gloves(300g)
water - 2x 1L(1100g each), water filter and purification(350g)
cook kit(650g) - 3.5oz IsoPro, ION stove, Stanley pot and 1 cup
waste(50g) - ziploc, trowel

**weighed on an analog kitchen scale and rounded to the nearest 50g.

I included hand sanitizer in my kit because I do not want to transfer germs from my hands to the finished water. It might be a good idea …

just add water poop wipes

I just received my Coleman waterproof match containers and Wysi Wipe tablets. The reviewers said that I could put the tabs in the tubes and they would stay safe and dry. They fit but just barely.

Just a few of my observations: the containers came with matches and I did not expect that. There is a striker on the bottom and a 1in square striker pad inside the tubeThe fit is loose but not so loose that a little humidity or water could spoil the batch or make removing the next tab impossibleThe containers are a softer plastic, probably better, than I remember. Also the threads seem smaller and the gasket is harder given the capacity of one of these tubes, it's weight, and the possibility that the tube would jam, especially when I gotta go. I think it might make a fine backup but in the meantime I'll get two snacksize ziplocs.

The importance of research

As a programmer with well over 40,000 hours I've learned a few things about continuing education and R&D. Through education I learn new ways to express my assignments so that my successors might benefit. Also removing complexity makes it easier to read and more reliable in execution. And importantly, the ideas could be converted to some new toolchain. On the other hand R&D directs the mind toward innovation which creates new opportunities or identifies false paths or high risks so that decisions can be made.

I hate to admit it but I've made some mistakes with respect to hiking gear selection. At first I thought I was just into bushcraft and that started me thinking about survival and then I shifted to distance hiking. All the while asking and executing on the wrong ideas.

In the beginning I did not know that Mora and Morakniv was the same company and I while I had been to Mora on vacation many years ago I had not connected all the dots. My experience with the website a…

Mr Bumpy Lives

I do not know what made me think of it ... I was in the garage just looking around and I did not see anything in particular. Maybe I was thinking of simpler times...

I was late to the dot-com thing... and I was late to the unix thing... and I was late to the silicon valley thing.

The startup I worked for could not decide who it's customer was and how it was going to make money. It took a great deal of time for them to figure it out and in the end we could have done much better but the chasm between senior management and the people who got them there grew.

I had no management training and I never had a mentor. I learned by watching my manager and by treating others as I wanted to be treated. I also interviewed a lot. I stumbled upon the Silicon Valley method of stupid question interviewing after visiting Amazon about 25 years ago.

While I was an OS/2 user and like the early Macs; OS/2 was long since dead and the Mac was still too expensive. I was just starting to get into Solaris a…

heavyweight hiking combustion kit

Here is my trail combustion kit.

lighter - primary but limited to weather conditions and fuelfero rod - the best possible backup but keep it out of the salt water; could also mean brackish waterhand sanitizer and cotton balls - the cotton balls can be a backup from the first aid kit. May soak them in vaseline but then that's a single use.commercial fatwood - victorinox farmer (with saw) - saw is effective for cutting small branchesvictorinox hunter pro - needed for splitting wood as the farmer is not effective there and I did not wat to bring a proper bushcraft knifetwine - not pictured here but can be soaked in hand sanitizer or on it's own as tinder

I'm going to trim this down when I figure out what works best in the Florida conditions during my shakedown.

UPDATE: after watching this video I might just leave this stuff at home. Other than the pure enjoyment of a nice campfire, respite from the bugs, and the calming crackle; it's just not worth the risk ... and living …

Summer overnight pack 10.5 pounds

Here is my first overnight bag. I still have some redundancy and that's because neither the kit nor myself have been tested. This first shakedown, which I have been promising myself, should happen soon. I'd prefer it not to be in bad weather but all things being equal why not.

I've intentionally left out my consumables except I accidentally left the fuel in my cook kit. I have 2 pieces of reflectix. One is my camp sitting and kneeling pad. The baby powder will likely be left behind, however recently, it was a real benefit wen I took the kids to the beach. Applying the baby powder to my sand covered kids allowed me to de-sand them before getting into the car. Also, I'll probably be wearing the hat and so I do not count things I'll be wearing. And so I will not weigh my trekking poles either.

The pack is comfortable and balanced. Two 1L smartwater bottles won't be too bad. And with any luck the hike will begin soon.

The pack looks smaller than it actually is alth…

The problem with patch Tuesday

I'm not sure what or went the origin of Patch Tuesday came about but the where is unmistakable. Microsoft. It's not a bad thing to patch a kernel or a whole OS this way, however, scheduling and actually deploying can be a challenge for most operations. By comparison CoreOS does not rely on the customer to perform the patch. CoreOS performs the patch, releases a new version of the OS, and pushes an update to the customer hardware which then installs the update in an A/B fashion.

** at about 18:00 the speaker makes the comment; if you think you are going to cherry-pick the patches you are [mistaken or maybe a fool].

** earlier in the presentation he talks about the "contract" the Linux Kernel has with it's users.

So my point... [a] Apple distributes patches periodically. Their quality is typically pretty good but the patches are certainly not weekly. Given the Linux mantra I might feel differently about this now. But it's an all or nothing proposition. [b] Micr…

doing more with less or just doing with less

Reading the book "Living with a SEAL" I took away the notion of doing with less. It was an indirect observation as the SEAL did a lot with a lot less. And as I transitioned from wannabe bushcrafter/Survivalist to wannabe backpacker to wannabe hiker and now lightweight or ultralight hiker I see that there is something to be said for going light as a metaphor for life.
I'm not going all new age; it's just as I look around my desk I see no less than 10 WiFi routers that are so inferior I will never use them again even if the current router completely malfunctions. And I should throw them away as soon as possible... I will feel better for it. getting back on track; just this morning I was setting up my Luna Solo for the first time. It went as expected and I almost got things going the way I wanted. I had packed up and was putting the tent and accessories back in my pack when I tried to stuff my Tyvek footprint in the sleeve reserved for a hydration system and which was b…

size matters when it comes to stoves

My RUCAS stove cost $20 and the Olicamp ION+cup stove combo cost $55. If you're not interested in reading then just buy the ION. Once you are on the trail you can always buy a can of tuna and some denatured alcohol and make an alcohol stove. There are a number of advantages to the RUCAS but a number of serious failures. Tuna or soda stoves might have been better in the long run.

Right away I was blown away by the size. The actual stove is time and the cup is a light aluminium. I should include a screen and top but they are not necessary.

I've heard hikers talk about lightening their load by carrying half full canisters. I suppose you can save a little that way. You can also carry a 4oz canister instead of an 8oz. Also the ION is very small. So small that one should be very careful with the windscreen. As I experienced with the screen and the RUCAS.

The base of the 4oz can is wider than the RUCAS and so are the extended arms of the ION. The only potential challenge is that it i…

dual purpose ground sleeping

I want to be able to bring my hammock and ground sleeping systems. And while I've said test all systems I had a glamorous notion that my Youkon Outfitters reainfly was going to work. I did some measurements and determined that the sides of the diamond shaped tarp are just over 7'. This is good news as I am almost 6' and depending on how big I make the foot box and the direction of the wind/rain I should be able to stay try.


My trekking pole have not arrived yet so I hacked up some sticks and tried to make my poles. It worked fine, mostly.

The problem is that it simply had no loft. Either I have to tie a line to the center and hang from a tree; in a pyramid shape or I need to add a pole to the foot end and close up the middle a little. Even if I raised the foot a little I'd need to get considerable tension on the ridgeline to keep it from sagging. In this location, however, the dirt is not very compact and not very deep. The coral layer under the sod is rock hard.