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Showing posts from February, 2017

making coffee is the trail version of making copies

I decided to make some tea this morning but rather than using my electric kettle I decided to use my Solo Stove. The wood I used was birch that I purchase from the grocery store last month. Initially I tried to use my pocket knife to split the wood but that was unreasonable and I thought I might damage the blade since the birch is considered a hardwood. So I used my 8" Mora and was finished in a few minutes. I have a number of butane lighters in my kit but I like to practice with my SOL fire starters.

One serious disadvantage of this stove is that the stove is only a few inches deep. That means the sticks or wood it uses needs to be short. I suppose pine cones might be useful, however, they have tar in the soot. Hacking the wood to the correct size takes work. As much as I like a nice open flame and the ground does not burn there simply might not be enough deadfall to make a fire without a saw and/or ax.

Boil time for 16oz of water was 5 minutes. You can see from above that I did…

trail hunger and calories

Until I've actually been on the trail I won't know for sure, however, I've been watching Neemor's videos and I'm still questioning whether he carry's enough calories. First he talks about carrying 2 pounds per day and looking at his resupply inventory I see less then 1000 calories per pound. Assuming that's 2000 calories a day that's barely enough. I read you can expect to burn 400 calories per hour on a hike. If you hike 10 hours that's 4000 calories. Then you need an additional 1200 calories for the rest of the day. In one video Neemor said he ate 2 personal pizzas and 2 cheese burgers and fries. Sure it depends on how big they were but still that's a lot of food and he is a small guy.

Lastly, during the wilderness challenge these guys figured that for their lifestyle of hunter/gather they needed about 4000 calories a day, however, even they got to a point where they simply could not eat enough. In retrospect it's not clear if that was bec…

stoves and campfires on the Florida trail

Being a beginner hiker on the Florida trail I have more questions almost every day. The latest questions have to do with cook stoves and campfires. First of all I have confirmed that campfires are permitted almost year round so long as you use a fire ring and most approved campsites have fire rings. There may be exceptions so make sure you check the proper trail guides and web sites.

Stoves, on the other hand, can be tricky. Some state parks do not permit stoves that cannot be turned off. Others do not permit scrounging dead-fall, carrying an ax or saw. And lastly the Florida trail guide makes special mention that isobut and esbit tabs are harder to locate on the trail.

Here are my stoves... and a basic review.

Solo Stove - $69.99 - nice little 9oz wood stove good for one or  two people. Limited to places where this sort of thing is permitted and wood is plentiful and permitted. Also provides sustained warmth on a cold night. The pot is covered in soot. The stove has limited capacity d…

LED bulbs the actual life

You're in the dark because the light bulb in the room has died and you're all out of spares. You head over to the local home or grocery store to get a replacement and you are face with an endless variety of shapes, sizes, wattage, lumens, incandescent, fluorescent, neon, and LED. The interesting thing is the prices are anywhere from $1.00 to $150.00 depending on the product's proximity to the front of the store and whether it is WiFi enabled and has multiple colors.

I do not remember when and if it's still enacted by incandescent bulbs were being taken out of circulation. And at the time of inflection the prices of the alternatives was crazy high. Now as things start to settle I have come to accept the fact that I will convert to LED. But there is one serious issue.

Look closely to the bottom left of the packaging above. "Last 22+ years" and "Lasts 10 years". There are 2 problems with this claim. [a] there is no way to guarantee the lifetime and in…

my shelter before and after

I'm anticipating my next overnight in the everglades. My new gear is 1/3rd smaller than the before and only weights 1/3 of the before.

BEFORE - 24oz and I need to add a groundsheet 2-3oz

AFTER - 8oz

I have a short todo list. The ground sheet needs to be trimmed in order to act as a floating tub for the zpack tent. Also the lines need to be trimmed and installed.

I do have a small criticism of ZPacks the company. They are clearly opinionated about their product and I cannot find fault with that. Watching video of their facility makes me think they are professional. And while I still need to deploy my new arrival there are aspects of the product and their website that lead me to believe that there is still quite a bit of bare knuckles going on. From my vantage it appears that the website is built on one of those microsoft desktop apps instead of a professional store. After finding a bug and in a followup conversation with Joe, the owner, my opinion was confirmed.

review zpacks pocket tarp vs six moon design luna solo

My new pocket tarp arrived a few minutes ago and I really want to set it up. According to the zpacks website it's made from .34 cuben where their normal tents and tarps are made from .54 and .71 or there abouts (from memory). ZPacks also recommends that the pocket tarp is for limited use and day hikes or emergency shelter and not recommended for long or thru hikes. I have not rendered an opinion yet except to say as an emergency shelter I'd prefer a square or rectangle as it provides many more options and does not specifically require a tent pole or trekking pole. In the meantime I've spent about $200 on this tarp and I am of the opinion that I could have made a polycryo at or near the same weight with the same durability and with many more configuration options not to mention a small fraction of the cost. (this cuben is nearly see thru)

you still don't know the meaning of the word SURVIVAL

I don't know how I fell into this video but it was was amazing to watch the series. The best part was the conclusion as part of the weigh-out and sort of states exactly what I had been thinking. While these guys talk about 3300 calories a day I think hikers are more in the 6000 calories a day range. That said it explains the need for zero days in town and gorging on calories and fat calories.

There were many conclusions and I'd like to summarize them, however, these guys did a lot of work and deserve your likes. I hope you enjoy them.

Here is the playlist of 22 videos

review - bear paw wilderness designs

Bear Paw Wilderness Designs LLC is an awesome company with solid products which are flexible enough to customize and some of the features that others would call custom are just features. For example I ordered a net tent but wanted it a little wider (custom) and a left side full zipper (just a standard feature).

But let's start at the beginning... I traded a number of pre-sale emails with the Johm. We discussed a number of project ideas and I settled on a minimalist 1 with a standard slope. A week later and my net tent arrived with almost a new car smell.

I tried a number of configurations with a tyvek groundsheet and a number of different rainfly configurations. In the end I made a few discoveries...

polycryo might be better than tyvek for this functionmy groundsheets need to be paired with the other shelter components so that it's idealtyvek and SOL blankets come in different shapes and sizes but they can be heavier than I want
I have a roll of 8'x25' polycryo. A small…

3 F's, 3 S's and 1 W of hiking

I have been going around and around my hiking configuration trying to compartmentalize my gear so it's nice and neat and in the process I discovered a new pattern.

3 F's
3 S's
and 1 W

It's actually not that interesting but when I look at my day hike and overnight hikes I simply need one bag of each type And maybe a second food bag if overnight.

Food - about 1 pound per thousand calories
First Aid - meds, bandaids, tape, cream, water processing tabs
Fire - tinder, knife, lighter, fero rod
Shelter - poncho, tent or tarp, footprint, cordage, stakes
Sleep - mattress or insulation, bivy or sleeping bag, liner, bugnet
Stove - pot, stove, fuel, spoon
Water - 2 liters, water processing (sawyer filter, dirty water bag, scoop, coffee filter, funnel, premixed aquamira)

You might be asking yourself... what about survival man? Well, the only piece of survival gear you really need for a day hike is either a second pair of shoes, a cell phone and/or SOS beacon. All you really need to surviv…

So many choices for sleeping gear - best configuration?

Even though Florida is essentially a 3 season climate year round temperatures can range from 50F to over 100F. It's that 50 degree swing that makes selecting the right configuration just as important.

I think of the sleeping system in three parts. [1] the clothes you are wearing [2] sleeping bag or other container [3] insulation from the ground.

There are several reasons why you need to wear clothes and most of them have to do with survival. There's that dirty word again. But the point is; if you had to abandon your shelter in a hurry you would want to be wearing something. Anything. Also, clothing offers some insulation, wick moisture, some thickness to protect protect you from mosquitoes or things that might bite through the next layer.

Depending on the season there could be a lot of rain so either you'll get rained on or the ground will be saturated. Either way you want to be a little water resistant. But not so much that you wake swimming in a pool of your own sweat. P…

DIY - shelter... how low can you go?

UL and SUL rejoice! Hikers and backpackers alike know that most of the weight in their pack is either the big 3 or food. When determining competitive pack weight people talk about base weight because you never have the same pack weight when you start and when you end. Meaning you eat and poop your food. Some hikers nit pick and talk about the weight of the water container but unless this was an actual competition I'm not going there.

The tyvek referred to in this post is the kite tyvek. It's liter and softer than house tyvek. Kite tyvek is actually used to make kites.

My first tent was an 8 person family tent. It's only use is car camping. My second tent was a 6P with the same use case. My next shelter was a lightweight hammock and after testing all sorts of suspension systems I found out that my local county park did not permit hammock. So I purchased a Six Moon Designs Luna Solo.

The Luna Solo weighs 23oz and is the heaviest of all of my shelters. (not pictured here; I ne…

DIY trekking pole cordage guides

A couple of days ago I saw a professionally made trekking pole cordage guide. I liked it so much that I decided to make my own. My first attempt is here. It took some time and there were a number of failures.

my grommet kit would not cut the webbingsmashing the grommet caused the webbing to stretchwhen I glued the grip-side version I ended up with glue all over my hands. So I decided to try again without the grommets. Unfortunately I still managed to glue my fingers together.
 I like the grip up model because it means I can jam the tip of the pole into the ground giving the structure some stability. (ignore the tape as the glue is not dry yet.) This is a reasonably strong structure but big and heavier than the next.



DIY trekking pole ridgeline accessory

I have setup my shelter with my trekking poles to support the ridgeline but one thing I hate is that it never feels secure (to the pole). No matter how many times I wrap the cordage or the type of knot it's always a challenge. So I did it myself.


gorilla gluetrekking polemalletgrommet kitwebbing (this happens to be tubular; can make it lighter)

The webbing was too strong for the punch in the grommet kit. In the end I needed to use a scissor to make the hole and a stake to hold the hole open while I inserted the grommet. The side strap ended up being about 5 inches and not the 9 that I initially cut.

This contraption makes it easier to move the pole around but harder to get started. (see grip up)

Notice that the side strap keeps the contraption from falling off the pole. The grip up configuration means that toe can be locked into the ground similar to a stake.

Overall the project works, however, it can be made lighter. [a] shorter length [b] single ply [c] one grommet and glu…

DIY groundsheet grommets

I have a bear paw minimalist 1 on order and it should arrive today or tomorrow. What makes it special is the [a] the configurations(see the videos in the link) [b] the weight [c] the net is attached to the SIL tub. Watching the configuration videos I realized that I could turn the minimalist upside down and use the SIL tub as a tarp. The narrator suggested that this was a "survival mode", however, this could actually be a "rain mode".

My concerns, however, is that the bugnet and the SIL are not as robust as my tyvek footprint. And so why not cut one down to size. And while I'm at it add some grommets to get the stakes exactly where I want them. So I dug out a prewashed tyvek footprint, went to Home Depot to get a grommet kit and proceeded to measure, cut and hammer.

Here is what I started with:

roll of gorilla tapemarker4 tent stakesplastic malletgrommet kittape measureprewashed tyvek (from amazon)insect shield 1 person bugnet from sea to summit

I taped the corn…