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Showing posts from October, 2016

My waterproof pack and contents are still light enough

There is an advantage to having a waterproof pack so long as there are pockets and tie downs. There is also an advantage to having an extremely light pack like a ZPack Zero (4oz) and even though everything fits inside but with proper organization you probably won't notice the missing pockets.
Packs are one of the BIG-3 items you carry. One recurring recommendation is to have a trash compactor bag as a pack liner. This is meant for non-waterproof bags where the contents might get wet. For example you might stuff your wet tarp at the bottom of the pack and then put your dry clothes inside the pack liner.

My Yukon El Capitan has arrived after being repaired and I filled it with an UltraLight set of gear. This kit assumes that my clothes will be sufficient to keep  me warm at night. As I recently reported that's not likely to be the case. I should have included my SOL bivy and the kit would be complete except that once you use the bivy it's next to impossible to put back in th…

almost car camping - things learned

I went camping with my kids this past weekend and I decided to take the opportunity to test some gear that I knew I was going to depend on when hiking in the everglades. One particular concern was the temperature swings. As such we were expecting the temps to be 80F during the day and 50F during the night. And it was.

And so we discovered a few things:

princess sleeping bags are not rated for 50FMy Stansport sleeping bag with a 50F rating is notSea to Summit Reactor sleeping bag liner is of no use outside a sleeping bagdoubling and tripling sleeping bag liners does not helpSleeping bag liner sheets do not helpFleece sleeping blankets are greatremember wool socks next timecoleman self inflating sleeping pad is OK for car camping but that's itKlymit pads are no fun to pack away when trying to break camp quicklythere is something to be said about leaving stuff sacks at homemy Klymit inflatable was not that comfortable and it moved a lot as I tried to position myselfthe Sea to Summit c…

As golang considers version 2.0 I'm considering something else

As the golang considers version 2.0 I'm starting to wonder if it's time to leave. Golang has been around for 4 years and I have made a decent living using golang for all my server/framework projects. However, for two major reasons it might be time to start something new.

First of all many developers that were once java joined the golang ranks. This was not a bad thing but they brought their bad habits with them; for instance generics; which has been a contested feature currently omitted from the language. Second, in the last two years I have had tremendous success with my own DSL and there was something valuable to learn from the TH1 project.

Here is my first shortlist of languages under consideration:

th1 - from the origins page this seems like a good strategy. I don't particularly want to write scripted code but th1 makes the cae for forking a lightweight scripting language, code generation, embedded runner.tcl - there is still an active tcl community and activestate is s…

management by dungeon master

I've read a number of books on management; herding cats and management by baseball come to mind but neither speak to my personal experience in management at different levels.

When I was younger I played traditional pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons. I played for many years and many variations of the game. Many times I was a player and others I was the dungeon-master. All of that fun came to an end when I was about 35 (and still playing geek games).
I read an article on the subject of "being a better DM". The conclusion of the article was basically this. Good Dungeon Masters cheat to keep the players interested, engaged and to direct the players in the direction of the story line.  When you think most dungeons are random they are to an extent. Either you keep battling random monsters until you find your way or you die.
And so looking back at herding cats and management by baseball and debugging the development process... while sometimes you fire the rockstar for the sake…

multipurpose reflectix asian field hat

I do not know what the real name for this design is but I can remember seeing them in various Hollywood films like James Bond and Rambo. Not withstanding I say a hiker on TeamZPacks wearing one but I thought I could improve the design a little although I have no idea if I'll fry my brain or not.

In the following picture the hat is now a funnel or a rain catcher. With some accessories I can filter water into my dirty bottle or catch normal rain. With drip coffee and a filter I could also make a cup of java.

Opening the velcro it could make a nice pad for a puppy.

Folding it in half or quarters it could be a kneeling pad or butt pad.

Also in quarters it makes a nice DUAL rehydration cozy

And lastly it offers [a] rain protection [b] sun protection [c] larger circumference for a bug net [d] bugging from the NSA (kidding)

SuperUltraLight Hiking - under 5 pounds

I'm reading the book Ultralight Backpacking Tips and I'm at a section that is discussing SUL or SuperUltraLight hiking. As I'm reviewing the contents of the demonstration pack I'm exhausted thinking about it. My lightest pack is about 400g and his about 130g. What is further amazing to me is that I have a waterproof stuff sack that could do the trick. I suppose if I had two of these sacks and some rope I could make a yukon pack and call it a day. Also there is the Seatosummit nano tarp ponch and it weighs only 8oz. The author describes a 7oz tarp including stakes and cord, however, this is possible with the lightest Cuben fiber tarp from ZPacks the weight will be closer to 5oz. (I hate to think he was exaggerating but the weight difference between my coolmax liner and a proper camping quilt is only 7oz.)

I think that the items make perfect sense, however, there are challenges in the individual weights and I might be able to go lower in some cases.

Pack - My pack is hea…

Ultralight camping - sleep system

In the hiking and camping world everything is a system or a kit. It feels awkward to use the glossary but at least we are all talking about the same thing. And I'm glad I did not coin the term or I might be postal by now.

Reading the first few points in this ultralight camping book I decided to go back over my pack. While I returned my Yukon Outfitters El Capitan for a sternum strap repair I decided to put my latest day hike system in my 400g haversack. Needless to say it felt heavy.

Here are the weights of my hammock gear(approx weight):

friendly swede bugnet (meant for ground camping and can be clipped but no zipper) - 150gYukon outfitter bug net - 320gseatosummit bug net - 82gseatosummit coolmax adapter w/insect shield - 280gseatosummit thermolite extreme - 14 oz/399gfriendly swede sheet - 250gother liner - 250gYukon fly and lines - 480g2goSystems poncho - 320gYukon featherlight and webbing cinch - 680gYukon V1 and webbing loops - 570g2goSystems Bivy - 480gheadnet - 30g I have n…

more about hammock suspension systems

Many fine bushcraft experts suggest NOT using 550 paracord for hammock suspension. Many believe that while it's strong enough on it's own there is simply too much stretch.

I tried paramax 1000 by itself and had a number of problems. It would have been a convenient solution but the knot on the tree side fused with the working end and took effort to remove. The rope stretched and was near impossible to get a consistent lay. Finally I added tubular webbing to protect the tree and that just made it bulky. One other attempt included doubling the cord and while that distributed the stretch it was heavier and bulkier. All that was important as I was planning to hammock over water in the everglades.

Good for guy lines but not much else. Black hard to see. Very think, and strong, could easily cut flesh.

Whoopie sling and soft shackle is just plain complicated and still requires something to go around the tree. All this joinery can be risky. The reflective material was chintzy.

I tried…

parsing the difference

"I am Sorry" is not the same as "I apologize" "I am sorry for what I said" is not the same as "I am sorry if what I said hurt you" "I should not have said that" is not the same as "I regret someone recorded that" I played Dungeon and Dragons (D&D), also referred to as PNP - paper and pencil, from age 12 to about 35. While the game was fun to play and a distraction from every day stress and boredom it was fun to read the references and find new loopholes that would extend or improve the virtual life of my character. On one ocassion I went to a local convention and I played a different kind of PNP and what struct me was that the dungeon master was completely transparent and while that made for a more difficult gameplay it was fast, fun and virtually deadly. Then one day I read an article in one of the D&D magazines. Essentially the article said that the game was rigged and that dungeon masters were meant to cheat in or…

Home made hydration system

For not particular reason I'm not a fan of "the hydration pack". First of all they are expensive relative to the smartwater bottle. Second they are not as ubiquitous as the smartwater bottle And third but not last the bottle works great with most water filters. And let's not forget the first purchase includes water for free.
And so I implemented a DIY smartwater hydration project. I particularly like this project because my Yukon Outfitters El Capitan pack has deep web pockets, 
Step 1: buy a smartwater 1L and .8L bottles

Notice that not all the water bottles have the spout. The spout is required for this project but not in general. This project is only part of my water system which includes my sawyer filter. An original spout or syringe is required to flush the filter

Step 2: remove the spout from the bottle.

Step 3: the original opening is not actually wide enough for the tube so hollow it out just a little.

Step 4: remove the lid from the spout

Step 5: measure the tube…

carabiners or knots - tech in camping

I have at least on hammock that included a carabiner in the setup and since then I have been trying to get rid of it. I have tried a number of webbing, whoopie sling and paracord solutions. My current plan is 1000lb paracord with tubular webbing to protect the section that wraps the tree. The hammock happens to use webbing on the gathered end and any of the solutions would work fine. And so I am stuck between efficiency, reliability, weight and practicality.

biners of any type are mechanical and subject to failure. Many have been successful but I'd rather rely on the knot. Besides the biner does not pack well and the cord or web doeswhoopie slings are complicated and difficult to field replace especially if the setup is biased to whoopie. (complicates the gathered end. In a moment of weakness I decided to look for a biner that could be used to make my paracord setup as easy to adjust as a whoopie sling. I found the camjam.

It does not look scary yet there are more moving parts than…