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Showing posts from March, 2017

the packs look nothing like what I bought

In my previous post I was talking round about sales, marketing and manufacturing of packs and what I might want next... looking closely at the Kumo and Murmur.

Here are some other packs that I saw, liked and purchased.

I liked this pack because it was the largest in the Camelbak line of packs, it had one deep pocket and was 22L gross and 19 net capacity. One serious downside is that the bladder is not modern and there is no disconnect or drain.

The Kompressor Plus is a 20L pack. Unlike the Camelbak above this Marmot is down to 18L when I add the 2L water bladder. Although there is a water drain. One interesting comparison with the Camelbak is the location of the frame pad. If you use a bladder with the marmot the bladder is separated from your body by a piece of fabric where the Camelbak frame is between you and the bladder.
The Klymit Stash 18 is just small. And while there is room for a bladder it means having to leave some gear behind. In the previous post I slimmed down to one nig…

the cost of a backpack

For some ridiculous reason I have been collecting daypacks like they are a substitute for a good ultralight pack in both capacity and cost. The one 45L pack I own is just not functional beyond being waterproof. And then at the bottom of the pricing scale there seem to be a number of shared manufacturers. The other thing I have determined is that the cost seems to be a product of it's volume, prestige, materials and to some extent features. Some of which seems counter intuitive.

One material I would like to exploit is Tyvek, however, the only backpacks I have been able to find are DIY. And while I like the cost savings I do not own a sewing machine and by the time I would develop the skills to make a half decent pack I might as well have bought one. Anything with Cuben Fiber or Dyneema is going to be a premium. While it is lightweight it is less durable. Then there are the sil-nylon and other nylons. Many are fine, however, a recent experience saw a decorative coral rock pull indiv…

where are my trekking poles?

I left my trekking poles at the trailhead of the north entrance at MM63 on the I-75... after I made the turnaround it was about an hour later when I was back at the spot where I set them down to update the sign-in sheet. And apparently some asshole decided that they were abandoned on purpose.

I was about to order new poles but I started wondering... was it really worth it? This was my second pair of poles this year. The first set were damaged when I wiped out hiking the Robert's trail in December. Pokes in that section of the everglades makes sense since because your walking in ankle to knee deep water and it can be easy to lose your balance; and falling can be BAD.
Since I have been hiking the dry north side of I-75 I really have not needed my poles and in fact they have been a bother more than a help; other than I needed it for my tent. So while I was considering replacement poles I decided to just make my own tent poles. I bought the 2 complete sets of parts from (1) from dutch…

RUCAS vs Toaks Siphon

Here are some experiments. First I started comparing the RUCAS and the siphon stoves,

The RUCAS is a much bigger stove than the toaks. Both in height and diameter.

The RUCAS is made from aluminium and the siphon from titanium. After the same burn the RUCAS was hot to the touch MUCH longer than the siphon. The RUCAS ignited immediately with my regular size bic and the siphon required multiple tries. I tried my SOL sparker and it worked first time.

In a separate experiment I tried my SOL sparker on the SOL fire cube (12 min at 1300 F), esbit and some drier lint. The lint took the spark on the first go. The SOL cube took a while as it needs a strong spark and the esbit never worked. I do not have an explanation as it seems to be partially based on a chemical reaction. It's interesting to note that the SOL has a distinctive flame and the esbit does not.

In a third experiment I was finally able to get an esbit started with a fero rod. It took a lot of effort and plenty of crushed esbi…

WARNING about hiker food videos

I have been watching a number of hiker videos that discuss food, quantity, calories, supplements etc and most of them are, simply put, DANGEROUS. Whether you are hiking the PCT, CDT, AT, FT, Sea2Sea you need to know a lot more than what is in the guide books and you better start reading, watching, and testing before you head out onto the trail.

I received my copy of Andrew Skurka's Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide; 2nd Ed. and there is a section on food. He confirms my calculation of about 1 pound per 1000 calories only he prefers ounces; and we are pretty close. Where we differ is that he recommends carrying between 2250 and 2750 calories per day without consideration for the amount of energy burned on the trail or that you WILL be running a deficit. Ge simply says that his number is a good number.

Further reading Andrew talked about pre-hike loading of fat and protein. There are some interesting calculations when it comes to measuring the distance to be traveled and calories need…

review: toaks siphon titanium stove

It's one sweet stove. First of all it's about the same size as a fancy fiest stove but made out of titanium with smaller jets. In my first burn I used 1oz of denatured alcohol and brought 16oz of water to a boil before the alcohol ran out. According to other reviews the store is supposed to be very efficient.

I'm not sure about the construction but I need to check the bloom in a location with NO wind just to verify, however, I have a call into toaks in order to determine if this is a manufacturing problem.

getting in and and out of your tent

Last weekend I was in the Florida Keys primitive camping with my daughters. We have a nice and inexpensive 4P Alps Mountaineering tent, however, it was not without it's difficulties.

The ground that the tent was resting on was compressed coral rock. [a] than means it's sharp [b] and it's somewhat loose so it get's everywhere. My 5 & 6 year old do not know how to keep a tent clean.

As you can see in the picture there is a small grey square in the doorway. This is a Thermarest sitpad that I thought I would use as a doormat. That was a bad idea because it was not working the way I'd hoped. [i] the sand stuck to it [ii] once you took off your shoes the sand got on their feet. [iii] the coating on both sides of the pad became abrased.

One immediate challenge was that because I was using a torso length inflated mattress and I slept between the girls once we entered the tent the ground was rock hard and so it would have been nice to have a sitpad which we were using f…

The case for a disposable or dispensable hiking kit

I have achieved a level of super pack envy or hiking frustration I'm not sure which. Take a look at these packs.

Both of these packs are considered day packs. They are made from lite material and yet are fairly inexpensive. Under $50. After just a few uses they have started to develop hot spots. The Marmot was leaned against a slab of coral rock and it started to SHRED the material. The G4Free is constructed from a stronger nylon material, however, like some nylon webbing the ends where things are sewn SHRED easily. And there are a few places where there are hotspots.

I suppose I'm about to contradict my own hypothesis... Considering the "ratio" between a SOL bivy and a military or OR bivy is there a backpack in the SOL variety? First of all It would be interesting to know if someone had hiked the AT, FT, CDT or PCT with nothing but an SOL shelter, blanket and bivy. All I know is that it was in the 60s on Fri and in the high 80s last night. I was just getting acclima…

making sense of it all - hiking gear

I've been organizing my hiking gear and making some progress. I have decided to categorize my stuff into 3 groups. Active, Inactive, and Junk. While I feel bad about the wasted money in the Junk pile I need to find some AT/FT sort of way to give it away.

The definition of "active" is the gear I would throw into a pack and got for a hike. There should be sufficient calories to complete a section hike. This pile is somewhat active and somewhat inactive and some of it is basic supplies that should be considered inactive.

Of note: my two sea to summit sleeping bag liners are now in the junk pile. And the 2gosystems bivy and two silk liners has been moved from the junk to active buckets.

spork you - camping utensils

I have a number of camping utensils and sadly most are a pain in the ass.

My first spoon was the long Toaks titanium spoon. It's nice and long. Perfect for mountainhouse due to it's long handle. But I have my complaints. [a] I can never find it. It does not fit in any of my stove kits and with the number of food bags and backpacks I never know which one it's in. [b] the shape of the handle that makes it ridged captures food making it slightly tough to clean [c] being Ti; if the food is hot the heat will transfer to the spoon and burn your lips or tongue.

Next I bought the Light My Fire 4-pack. They are just not long enough for mountainhouse and the serrated edge on the fork side is supposed to cut but it's useless. The surface is slightle textured which might or could trap dirt or food.

Next I bought a "simple spoon/fork" (don't remember the manufacturer). The spoon and fork have grooves so they slide together. Both for storage and for general use. Compar…