Tuesday, January 31, 2017

review - altra superior 2

Last weekend I went for a hike on the Florida Trail. A small 4 miles section of the trail was a gravel road and my feet were in pain.

These merrell trail glove shoes were kinda nice. First off they are a size 10.5 and while they fit my foot length the height of my arch meant I did not have enough lace and tightening the laces cause hot-spots. While I wanted a barefoot experience in order to give my heel a break I quickly realized I really want a zero drop.

After some recommendations and internet searching and reading I found these: altra superior 2 (size 11) which I purchased on amazon for $64. I went back to buy a second pair but amazon wanted to charge me $82 for the second pair. In the interim the superior 3 is available and given the pricing and availability I'll wait for the 3 to drop in price.

I noticed a few things. The laces and the body of the shoe fit better. Duh, size 11 vs 10.5. The toe box was also big like the merrell but the insole was squishy almost gel but it was thicker and I expect will be better on that dirt road.

One big surprise are these inserts.  They are meant to be inserted between the shoe and the insole to give a little more rigidity to the sole in order to protect your feet.

they call it a stone guard.

I cannot wait for my next hike.

Monday, January 30, 2017

review sea to summit sil bucket

It's an interesting product and with a little cordage and a rock I should be able to get water to process and staying out of harms way. The bag is small, has a pouch, is seam taped or sealed so its waterproof.... but it cannot stand on the ground. It has to hang.

This small collapsible funnel with a paper coffee filter would be useful in order to get the water into a sawyer squeeze or other. A paper coffee filter could filter the chunks.

The complaint about the stuff sack is that the bucket needs to be folded exactly so that it will fit into the bag. That precision folding will eventually damage the bucket. Lastly the bucket is expensive but the reason I decided to purchase it was because it was light, could hold more water than I would process at once thus allowing for spillage and that it would get me away from the waterhole if need be... think aligators.

Here is the complete water processing kit.

Notice there is a DIY hydration tube specifically for smartwater bottles. Also I carry water tabs too. The purification time is about 4 hours. It's meant for assisting other hikers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

making lunch - multiple sources of fire

There is a consensus that a hiker or camper needs to carry multiple methods to create fire. I cannot agree more strongly. Many months ago I wanted to have a torch lighter as a backup, however, as backups go it was pretty crappy. The lighter failed the soak test and it took weeks for the mechanism to dry out. I would probably prefer to have a zippo but they are not without their own challenges.

I originally purchased the toaks 550ml and it was great. Last week I purchased the toaks 750ml because some of the mountainhouse foods required more than 2 cups of water. But even though it's supposed to be a 750ml there are no such markings. It stops at 550ml. It's crappy but not bad news. Now I can make enough water for lunch and a cups of tea.

I tried to light my esbit fuel according to the instructions I watched (fero rod), however, the small tray that is supposed to hold the esbit was too small to create and contain the esbit dust I needed. Next, I tried some drier lint. Since my workspace made striking the steel difficult I had a few fails. With a larger ball of lint I got it to flame but it would not light the esbit.

Lastly I tried the SOL tinder. The first attempt was pretty bad. It was not until I noticed that the wheel was directional. Once I sorted that out the tinder ignited which n turn ignited the esbit. One downside is that the SOL tinder was never fully consumed and in turn the esbit was not fully consumed. So the stand required some cleaning.

As a side note I was using the extra space in the cookset to hold my coffee and tea set; but as I was getting ready for the boil I realized that there were simply too many loose items and that was going to make cleanup longer. Chances are that if I'm making hot water for a meal then a coffee or tea could be around the corner. So why not keep the food together. And leave the stove stuff to the stove.

One last thing. Today I had the mountainhouse lasagna. It was a 2 serving bag with 240 calories per service. It's impossible to know what the pack weight might be and whether dry or wet weight is meaningful. One thing I did not like was that it was so cheesy that my spoon was covered in the thick sludge. I hate the idea of making more work for myself. Some work is ok but more work is not. I can see an argument whereby the stove is exclusively for coffee or tea and maybe the simplest oatmeal or grits.

natures TV - solo stove and swedish torch

There is nothing special about today except that I watched part of the ABC/Trump interview last night and it only serves to confirm my opinion of trump and what might be in store for Americans and "people of the world".

I had some leftover birch from last year when I was testing my knives, axes, feathersticks and firemaking. And so I decided to make a fire this morning and watch some TV.

The wood is birch so I use the bark as tinder. I also used some dryer lint to get the initial spark from my fero rod (light my fire + mora) I also created some feathers in the center of the stove as well as generally roughed the center.

The spark caught right away and I dropped the lint into the center of the torch. I suppose I could have lit the lint on top of the torch instead of the concrete. That way, once lit, I could have knocked the flaming lint into the center with the knife instead of risking a possible burn.

The torch did not take long to flame. Also the gasification function of the solo stove also helped too.

Gotta love "natures TV".

One downside is that I noticed that the torch is started to fall apart. At least one segment of the torch broke and fell out of the stove... minutes later a second. It is a good thing that I'm burning this wood on my concrete deck and not in the dry woods or everglades. And then there is a 3rd.

By now the gasification is in FULL swing. This must be causing the wood to burn faster closer to the ports. So far I have been able to use my mora to stab the pieces that fall out and put them back in the stove without damage to the knive or burning myself.

This should serve as a reminder to constantly watch your fire.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

review - platypus 1L meta bottle

Here is my 1L Platypus Meta bottle. It cost about $30 for the first bottle and then I located a $25 bottle on Amazon. I had been struggling between using a mini sawyer, smartwater bottles and hydration bags. My friend has a Camelbak that has a side door making it simple to see the remaining volume. Mine was not as well designed in that respect and required taking the bag apart to check the levels. Of course I forgot th mission....
Any time I'm near water I promise to check my levels and make more if I need it.
This weekend it was more of the same with this bottle. Frankly I missed the instant access of the hydration bag and even thought my meta bottle was on the top of the pack I hated stopping to drink.

The filter is slightly offset. Presumably so that the filter doors dip lower into the water.

Notice there is a white filter inside the clean end with a smaller opening just below it.

This is the dirty end of the filter. It's one of 4 inputs to the filter. Once the water level is below about 50% the remaining 2 ports allow water into the filter and seem to effect the water flow.

Here is one of the side ports. There is an identical set on the exact opposite side.

Here is a better view of the clean side. I call your attention to the opening below the filter. And in the next image there is a structure (one way valve) just below the secondary filter ports. This structure is a one-way valve that lets you blow air into the bottle making it easier to squeeze the over pressurized bottle giving some mechanical advantage to generate more water.

I just watched a video where the presenter was demonstrating how to determine if a sawyer mini was damaged. It had to do with running water through the filter and then trying to blow air through the filter. If the filter allowed air to pass then the filter was damaged.

Not all of the water was processed. There is about 8 ounces left at the bottom. There is no foreseeable way to empty the bottle.

The sawyer team is particular about squeezing water from the dirty bag through the filter to the clean container at an angle to prevent cross contamination. In one of my practice runs with tap water I noticed that the main seal was leaking. That means testing the seal before drinking. Furthermore since the clean side of the filter is only protected by the screw cap it is possible that the cap might hide contaminated water. While the container can hold dirty water and there must be a belief that the last little bit contains sediment that it's better to discard instead of drink. Lastly there is that small one-way port. Like all of the other single points of failure this is the strangest. If that port is in contact with the dirty water then there is a chance that some capillary action will draw dirty water or bugs into the mouth piece bypassing the filter altogether. (remember to use drops in addition to the filter)

I have reached out to Platypus customer service and have not received a response. I would not recommend this bottle for hiking especially long hikes. Stick with the sawyer.

do sawyer squeeze dirty bags really break?

When I received my first Sawyer Mini filter I threw away the bag thinking that I was going to use a smartwater bottle exclusively. Since then I have not actually needed to filter water although there were times that I should have. The very last time I should have processed water the source was deemed less desirable and so I just finished the last half mile dry as a bone.

During that last hike I had been using a Platypus Meta bottle only to discover it had many faults and places where there were points of failure. [a] did not filter 100% of the contents, not even close [b] the main seal leaked depending [c] the main casket nearly came off/damaged on first use [d] too much potential to cross contaminate. So I decided to go back and try the sawyer again.

First of all the sawyer mini would allow me to fill my Platypus 2L bag after removing the mouth piece. But then I needed to collect water and filter it. I started with my smartwater bottle. I quickly discovered that I could squeeze it but that I would have to release some pressure and reform the bottle for subsequent squeezes. When I released the bottle there was a slight squirt of dirty water onto my hands and surrounding so there was a chance for cross contamination. Also every time the seal with the dirty side is opened there is a chance it won't be closed properly. It was not a happy place.

I went back and watched some sawyer demo videos and I'm going back to the bag. This time I'm getting a 64oz bag. This way I can sit next to the source. Fill the bag and then go some place safe to process the water. I might fill one or two bottles as needed or just the one and keep the dirty water. Plenty of choices. The plan is to have a second 64oz bag in case it breaks as has been reported. And a gatorade or smartwater bottle for collection. (undecided about the clean water container).


  • mini sawyer filter
  • 2+ squeezable bags
  • dirty water collection container
  • small funnel
  • paper coffee filters
PS: with a tub or pot you can collect rainwater or consider the lay of your tarp to collect the rainwater into a bottle.

Monday, January 23, 2017

mini review - merrell trail glove, platypus meta bottle, calories

The prevailing thinking for ultralight hikers is that every ounce you save on your feet is 5 pounds in your pack. And barefoot runners have the opinion that barefoot or barefoot shoes give the runner better warning to foot and ankle danger that hiking boots and traditional running shoes would mask until it was too late. Both might be true or false, however, I can report that depending on the road or trail surface barefoot can be painful.

In my case the trail was clear of most debris and soft.... until we got to the section of trail meant for cars. There were pebbles of coral rock everywhere but not enough to be level and distribute my weight evenly. Either a more rigid sole or gel insole would have been happier for my feel but I do not know if that would have invalidated the benefits described. But it is time for new shoes or insoles.

the zero drop heal of the barefoot shoe has helped my plantars fasciitis.

I purchase 2 Platypus Meta bottles(with filter) for about $25 each. They were meant to solve a technical problem of day hiking on the Florida Trail. First of all I did not want to carry a days worth of water. I wanted to carry 1L and that was it; with the plan to make more as I hiked. At the last minute I decided to carry two bottles and drink a 3rd en-route to the trail.

I filled the two bottles with filtered tap water before getting to the trail. Needless to say...

  • even though the bottle was meant to filter water it's so much heavier than a plain smartwater bottle.
  • the main seal is weak in that the first time I used it the bottle leaked and if I had been drinking processed water I might have been contaminated
  • the main seal is a single point of failure that could ruin your day
  • in retrospect the design of the bottle and filter suggests that the filter must be fully submerged to get the flow rates described in the product info. Once you get to the halfway point the filter is not submerged and the air in the bottle compresses more easily than a full bottle so processing water is slow and painful.

I was watching the wheel last night and one contestant was said to be sweating 1qt of water for every hour searching for water. Depending on the environment you might not be aware how much water you're expiring so always drink plenty of water.

By the time we left the trail we had walked 13 miles over 4.5 hours. That means that I should have consumed 2000 calories just to offset the hike when in fact I only ate about 500. And by the time the hike was over I was out of water (0.5 miles from the trailhead). The last 2 miles was hard. The temperature on the trail was in the mid to high 80s (F). Calorie and water shortage. (I had 1L in a cooler in the car so that made up some of the difference.)

what is lacking here is some trail discipline. during the hike we talked about hiking the AT and training for it. This was a good start especially for a summer 2017 section hike but what was missing from this loop was some technical discipline. One thing for certain is that we were never in danger. The main trail had an accessible canal with plenty of water. Although this canal was less desirable as a water source it was not unreasonable. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

hiking calories and food sources

I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist. I did some reading and asked Google some questions. Your experience might be different and there is every hope that I'm wrong because it already contradicts some facts I held to be true.

FACT: All you need is 1 1/2 pounds of food per day.

REALITY: it DEPENDS on how many calories you need in a day. The smart money seems to say that you need 1200 calories to sit on the could all day and you need 400 calories per hour of hiking (difficulty not withstanding). Therefore in a 10 hour hiking day one need 5200 calories and 12 hour day needs 6000 calories.

FACT: 6000 calories weights 3 pounds

REALITY: That is amazingly FALSE. The person making this claim showed a variety of protein and carbohydrate sources but it was not obvious where the calorie density came from. Sugar is a compact carb, however, there are 15 calories per packet and to get to 1500 calories you would need to consume 100 packets. On the protein side there are animal and vegetable proteins.

1 pound chicken is 1088 calories
1 pound beef is 1136 calories
1 pound pork is 1104 calories
1 pound bison is 496 calories

Continuing, I weighed some food I thought I would take on the trail. Each contains between 1000 and 1200 calories. packaging counts for something but I am not shaving fractions here. It's close enough.

just over 1000 calories

6 servings at 180 calories each = 1080 calories

6 servings at 180 calories each = 1080 calories

And now comes the big reveal:

just under 1 pound

just over a pound

just over a pound

And for comparison
560 calories for a package of 4 and I think you have to drink the water too
PS: a three serving package of mountainhouse mac n cheese is about 900 calories. It's dense and a favorite of hikers.

While this is not exhaustive research it's probably the same choices most hikers make when faced with a town/grocery visit. There is only so much mac one can eat. Furthermore there is a trade off in that you need to carry extra water to hydrate the meal so it's likely to have the same proportions.

conclusion.... 6000 calories weighs 6 pounds. 5 days on the trail means 30 pounds of food.

The reality? Most hikers are unintentionally looking at the rule of 3s running a deficit during the hike and make up for it on a town day. Not only does 6000 calories weigh a lot it also has volume.

Yet another comparison

And how much does it weigh? Almost a pound.

UPDATE I found something interesting... 780 calories and under half a pound.

Friday, January 20, 2017

review Marmot Kompressor Plus - not so good

Here is my list of stuff:

  • 1L SmartWater
  • 1L water filtering bottle
  • 1 pkg mashed potatoes
  • Fleece Sweater
  • poncho
  • hammock
  • pretzels
  • protein bar
  • 2 pkts peanut butter
  • 2 pkgs GU
  • spoon
  • headlamp
  • compass
  • microtowel
  • hard candy
  • tarp
  • cordage and bits
  • bivy
  • first aid kit
  • water kit
  • stove and cup

my stuff

Here is yesterday's pack, a Klymit Stash 18. Everything fits. Kinda snug. Only the main compartment and the one pocket. Just the drawstring at the top... and it's black. There is a good chance that the contents of the pack is going to be warmed and since the water is inside it's going to be warm too. In my last experience with a hydration bag I found the contents of the straw to be warm.

Today's pack is a Marmot Kompressor Plus #24940. Everything fits and there is plenty of room for a lot more gear. Since it's the same gear as the Klymit and it weighed in at 10lbs this pack is the same and the manufacturer suggests the limit is 20lbs but after wearing it around the house the Marmot has serious limitations.

  1. The platypus meta bottle is made of a silicon and sticks on the side pocket. It's hard to get in and hard to get out. I tried putting it in a ziplock bag and it was easier but only barely because the pocket was not actually deep enough.
  2. I had a similar challenge with my 1L Smartwater bottle. Except here the bottle is slippery and tall. The higher center of gravity allowed the bottle to flip flop.
  3. The front and hood pockets were nice for snacks and urgent use gear like compass and poncho.
  4. I need to complain about the straps again.
Well, after some gear adjustment I was able to get the base weight under 5lbs and the compression straps are functioning better. Also the pack feel better and the sternum strap is also comfortable. And I managed to get the bottles in the side pockets. But without contents to give it structure it's floppy and not very functional.

I kinda wish I had purchased the Klymit yellow.

shelter review - tactical bivy selection

My shelter systems include tents and hammocks. By weight an volume these systems are about equal. The tent is 23oz from Six Moon Designs. The hammock and straps, bug net, tarp are from yukon outfitters, sea to summit, and SOL.

As anyone who reads this blog knows I do not believe in the notion of "survival" as it means that you might lose, however, I do carry a complete shelter system with me. I carry a shelter not because I'm expecting to spend the night but because a hammock and tarp offer comfort from the Florida sun and rain as well as getting my feet out of the water. It's also a chance to practice setting up camp and getting used to carrying gear.

Several months ago I decided that a bivy and tarp was a good compromise between a tent and a hammock. I bought a snugpack jungle bag and it's matching tarp. I was pretty disappointed with both. The bivy itself is heavy and voluminous. And the tarp did not match the picture which snugpack has yet to correct.

jungle bag - 32oz and 30in wide at the shoulders (65cu in)

This morning YouTube recommended some sierra designs videos; one of which was the UFO tent and another was their backcountry bivy. What I like about this design is that there is a series of flaps making the tarp optional too; although it's not for the claustrophobic. Also the bright color os

backcountry bivy - 14oz and 36in wide at the shoulders (47cu in)

I do not know what happened but as I was flipflopping pages I linked to ZPacks. Their bivy is a fraction of the weight of the jungle bag but does not have the flaps of the backcountry. There is a nice touch as there is a loop that can be attached to a tree or pole to keep the bugnet off your face. ZPacks tarps are stupid expensive.

Splash Bivy - 7.4oz and 35" wide at the shoulders (47cu in ... I think this is wrong; should be much smaller)

There is the 2gosystems trifecta bivy which is more of a blanket/sleeping bag hybrid than a bivy. The trifecta offers no bugnet or enclosure. Just some good waterproofing and thermal reflection. I like that it can be used for either a blanket or shelter but if you're already carrying a tarp, then why worry about multiple uses.

trifecta - 15oz and 35in wide (54cu in)

Lastly there is the SOL bivy. SOL offers a number of bivy solutions; they differ in size, material and function. Similar to the trifecta they are not full featured bivy in that they do not provide bugnets etc. However they provide plenty of heat reflection. and you'll have to deal with condensation. Each of these compact to about the size of a soda can. The thermal bivy and trifecta are close in material not in weight and function; it's a tradeoff. One serious complaint is that it's a pain in the ass to put back into the stuff sack and even though many people talk about this being an every day carry; in practice you gotta be pragmatic like using a 1 gallon ziplock or an external stretch pocket until it's time to put it on the shelf.

emergency bivy - 4oz at 36in wide
emergency bivy XL - 6oz ar 60in wide
thermal bivy - 9oz at 36in wide
escape bivy lite - 5oz at 32in wide
escape bivy - 8ox and 31in wide

The MLD cuben fiber bivy has promise but it is not standalone like the others and requires poles and probably a tarp. Their other products are just stupid expensive so this is here as another alternative to a proper bivy.

mld bug bivy - 5oz at 27in (nothing but net)

One thing I like about tents/bivy over hammocks is that while they can be less comfortable sleeping on the ground you are less likely to experience a failure that will end in injury.

The last thing to take into consideration is the cost.

Jungle bag - $50 at 32oz
Backcountry - $150 at 14oz
ZPacks - $240 at 7oz
Trifecta - $63
emergency bivy - $17
emergency bivy XL - $23
thermal bivy - $30
escape bivy lite - $40
escape bivy - $60
MLD bug bivy (Cuben) - $175

For the price of the ZPacks bivy I have purchased a number of the SOL bivys, SOL blankets and tarps, the trifecta. For the moment I think I'll take my own advice and embrace the rain... and now the bugs. I could always add my sea to summit bugnet and liners.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

review klymit 18 backpack

In a recent post I write about 1-day and 2-day load out. The 18L pack I was testing with was from Klymit. The pack is available from Amazon and at a pretty good price, however, there are some things you need to know.

First, there is only one pocket on the back; and it's a small pocket. I managed to fit a few essential items. Spoon, 4 packets of GU, micro towel, compass and whistle. When on the trail there should be room for my keys(no hook) and wallet.

Therefore the first deficiency is the lack of side mesh pockets for carrying water. To be fair the back is hydration bag capable but my position is that hydration bags are a risk. Next, the presenter suggests that the pack can hold 20lbs of gear. That might be possible based on the materials, straps, and construction; however at 9.4lbs the pack was just barely comfortable. And so the next issue is that in the demo the stash rode high on the shoulders, however, most professionals recommend low on the hips without bouncing. Lastly, the narrator indicated that the pad could be removed and used as a seating pad or pillow. I imagine that is true, however, as I was fiddling with the air-frame it seems that I would have to dump the contents of the pack in order restore the air-frame. There is no mention of weight capacity and since it is essentially an air mattress there is no mention of a ground sheet which would be a good idea if you have to dump the contents.

And a few last minute nits:

  • there is a draw string at the top but the pack does not have a hood. While it might be water resistant the gathered material still leaves room for rain
  • the air-frame is cool on my back
  • the chest straps are pesky and there is no whistle.
  • I bought the black but I think I would have preferred the yellow. There is something to be said for being able to see inside the pack even though it's small enough to limit the number of items. Black absorbs heat and is less visible
  • I decided to leave out my Thermarest sitting pad and and add a footprint. I have considered using my Thermarest instead of the mattress.
  • I had to change my loading strategy. Instead of least used first I went with heaviest first.

It's not a bad pack I just don't like it enough to buy the yellow.

deciding between a 1-day and 2-day pack

At the risk of repeating myself I do not believe in the notion of "Survival Gear" as it pertains to the Florida Trail or any well traveled path with one exception.
Survival gear means there is a better than 50% chance you and your companions are going to perish and that what you need to carry is meant to extend your chances of rescue. The rule of 3s will tell you about you and the rule of Cs will tell you about stuff. SEAL training will tell you that you can take a lot of punishment... That said there is only one true piece of survival gear that offsets the rest. SPOT.
 That might seem a little black or white but it's harsh reality and of course there are some nice benefits especially while hiking in the Florida Everglades.

1-Day Pack (under 7lbs)
  • 18L or smaller pack
  • 1L clean, 1L dirty water bottles
  • water processing kit
  • 1P first aid kit
  • Rain gear
  • food (1lb per day or 1200 calories + 400 per hour)
2-Day Pack (under 10lbs)
  • 18L to 25L pack
  • 1-Day contents
  • extra food
  • optional stove for a warm meal
  • shelter (could be hammock or tent depending on location)
NOTE there are still some exceptions that depend on location. For example whenever I hike Robert's Lake I plan to bring a second pair of shoes. This is not about survival but safety as you could walk out barefoot but it's just no fun.

Hiking in the everglades I carry what I call a 1-Day Plus pack. It's essentially the 1-Day pack with the stove and shelter. The stove is all about making a coffee or mashed potatoes. The shelter is mostly about having some place to sit when the trail is under water; and since the hammock does not have a drain hole I need the rainfly/emergency blanket to keep the rain off. Lastly, the shelter kit includes an "emergency" (see above) bivy. It serves no purpose because I'm not going to b caught in a situation that requires it... it simply makes me feel good and at 4oz I'm OK with that.

Monday, January 16, 2017

pre filtering with platypus meta bottle

Here is the bottle:

This model is 1L and there is a 750ml version. It's not clear what the difference is other than the obvious volume... is the head the same and a different silicon section.

When not in use it is recommended that the CLEAN side is covered with the cap provided. It is pretty much assumed that everything is dirty.

In the everglades it may be necessary to prefilter the water because depending on your water source there can and will be large particulates. In this example I'm using a paper coffee filter and my daughter's hear band. This method is untested so I do not know how many uses I would get from a single filter. And then there is the weight and disposal requirements. Leave No Trace.

I suppose I could have fit it a little better but it was a test fit.

Keep in mind this is for those times when there's just too much junk in the water.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

big cypress do not underestimate your water consumption rate

We hiked about 4.5 miles yesterday. When we left the trail my 3L Camelbak had about 8oz water remaining. In retrospect there is a functional challenge with hydration systems and that is not knowing how much is left and what your consumption rate might be. Clearly the 3L required trail discipline.... The weather yesterday was in the 70s (F) and overcast. If the trail had been wet and rainy then I could make drinking water everywhere but in this current climate the trails were dry and the best water sources could be an hour off trail.

Before we started the hike we decided to stop when we reached water or our time-limit. When got to the portion of the trail that was under water we turned around. Since we were both carrying Camelbaks we thought we had enough water.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

business idea : seasonal tiny living

I was just watching a video about a couple who decided to give up living in the city to live in a tiny trailer.

I live in a 4 bedroom house, work from home, kids are in elementary school, and a wife who is a teacher. Our mortgage and escrow is about $2300 a month and while I purchased the house before I was married with kids I see the advantages of tiny living.

First of all, even if you're tiny living on-grid the smaller the place the less stuff you can store and so space is an important trade-off. Depending where you locate your tiny homestead you might have fewer expenses overall. Smaller place less A/C. Let's say you want to upgrade to granite counter tops well surface are equals cost.

Ten years ago I rented a log cabin in North Carolina for a week. I think I paid about $1100 for the week. The cabin slept 17 people but we were only 6 adults. It was a great week and we had a lot of fun. There wasn't much storage and we did not have much stuff. There were a couple of closets that were locked and that was probably where the owners stored their stuff.

Wouldn't is be great to be able to rent a tiny space for a season? Wouldn't it be great to be a tiny house landlord? I think about where we live and our friends and peers... it couldn't happen here as there is no available land here; which would mean leaving our community.

That could go either way.

Monday, January 9, 2017

I got it wrong on survival kits from the factory

A few months ago I was wandering around my imagination in advance of a hike I was going to take in Lake Tahoe.

View of Lake Tahoe from the "Flume Trail".
As I was preparing for the hike I discovered that there were item I could not take on a plane even inside my checked baggage. This included canister fuel for my stove, lighter, and fero rods. So I emailed Yukon Outfitters and suggested that they put together a drop-ship pack that might contain the essentials that someone needs for a hike, representing the best of tools, and that might not otherwise be shipped via AIR.

This morning was not the first time I noticed the Bear Grylls Coast Survival Kit but I just realized I was utterly wrong. I'm not saying I'm wrong because BG's pack is cool and a must have. I'm saying that the idea of a drop-ship survival pack is cool but useless.

First of all no vendor is going to give you a complete pack of all the essentials that you or I are comfortable with or have already worked with. Second, for my trouble, the BG pack sells for $925 retail. That is ridiculous. You wouldn't spend that much if you bought the best gear separately and I seriously doubt that BG tested each of these items personally.

Lastly, depending on the time of year and location you might need different gear. In the summer in Florida you need bug spray, mosquito netting and possibly a SOL emergency blanket or bivy; and you're good to go in 3 seasons. This would not apply in Alaska in the same summer. Winter has a different set of challenges especially getting water and possibly freezing water filters.

So forget about it. There simply is not one-stop drop-ship survival pack.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

kubernetes and/or rancher

I just cannot decide if kubernetes is sufficient or if rancher is a meaningful wrapper.

another bad day for open source

One of the hallmarks of a good open source project is just how complicated it is to install, configure and maintain. Happily gitlab and the ...