Thursday, November 23, 2017

From the WTF was I thinking folder

Ultralight ounce counters are out of their minds. They spend many multiples more on gear and consumables just to get the title "Ultralight" when there is clearly a spot on the curve between light weight and cost. Keep in mind I'm not suggesting carrying a full roll of Gorilla tape or 750ml of Campsoap... it's really about knowing what you plan to do and what a practical resupply looks like.

For example, repackaging a pump bottle of hand sanitizer is a waste because at the first resupply you'll have to buy what they are selling. The last thing you ant to do is buy in bulk and then discard 75% of the bottle because it won't fit in your package.

I thought this packaging was going to be a good idea. The smallest bottle in the front is Neosporin. WTF was I thinking? I've been using it daily and having access to the tube would make more sense. I've repackaged some soap, shampoo, and bug spray. Only the shampoo made sense because I packaged it for my daughters and we never used it since it was only a weekend.

I bought in bulk... but it's only meaningful for long weekends not a thru hike.

I have collections of bottles that I'll never use. What a waste... besides the shampoo, campsoap... and denatured alcohol.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

DIY Just a couple of tarp things

I really like my 2GoSystems Reflex 100 but depending on what I'm doing my snugpak 9x5.5' packs smaller and weights less. The only problem, except for Snugpak's customer service and product support, is that the tarp is missing a few tie outs. Since I do not have a sewing machine I'm pretty much stuck with my own whits.

simple clip from Dutchware
The toggle forces the jaw together applying pressure to the target between the jaws. My Snugpak nylon tarp is too thin on it's own so I used SilNet glue to stick a small patch of webbing to the tarp in the place where a tieout should have been. The glue has been left to cure using the clip as a vice. Now I'm ready to pitch it and see what happens.

SilNet glue to hold the webbing on one side

One problem with my tarp setup, overall, is that when I deploy my SeaToSummit Bugnet there is nothing to hang the net from unless I deploy a ridgeline and sometimes that is just not practical. One recommendation was to use a circular velcro tab and then create a loop from some velcro wire ties. Depending on the adhesive on the dots this could be a cool setup since the bugnet is under 3oz.

small hook and loop
My last project is just an experiment because I do not have a sewing machine. Using some lineloks and some SilNet glue I applied to the webbing and folded it back on itself. Then I used a number of clips to apply pressure and hopefully the glue will seep into the webbing. This setup will let me use two lines per ridge pole.

3-6 hours to dry.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2GoSystems Reflect 100

The reflect 100 is effectively a 10x10' tarp made of 20d nylon with a reflective silver coating on one side and green on the other. It's currently 85F in November 2017 and being under the tarp things feel cooler than my other nylon tent.

Notice that the amount of light that passes through the yellow tarp is considerable even though it's the same material, same time of year.
The weight and compressed volume of the Reflect 100 is just slightly more than the Bear Paw Wilderness Designs which is to be expected, however, the benefit of the reflected material is clear. I've compared the workmanship and the Reflect is a winner. in all regards. 2Go used tape instead of silicon glue... when my BPWD tarp arrived the sealant stuck to everything potentially compromising the seal.

My kids have a soccer game tomorrow at 1p and I'm planning to bring the tarp to give them shelter from the Florida sun.

UPDATE: it was recommended that I put the silver side up in order to maximize the reflection. Also the green side will absorb some amount of heat.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cordage for your tarp or tent

One of the required items in the "Five C's" is "cordage" but other than a passing recommendation to use 550 paracord that's about where the recommendation stops. In recent weeks I had been testing 550 and 750 paracord, string, bankline, zing-it or catzeye.

I'll start with some of my troubles here.
  • zing-it or catzeye is strong but just too slippery to use with prusik knots
  • bankline is terrible as a ridgeline because it stretches and the goop stains everything
  • string does not handle water well and breaks easy
  • by the time you put that sort of tension on a 750 knot the fibers melt making it difficult to untie
  • 550 is about 4mm in diameter and for all that weight and volume it's normal uses are limited; granted the diameter makes it easy to handle and it is strong... but you're not putting 550 pounds of pressure on a guy line.
not included in the list is "Reflx; reflective guylines" from litesmith. It comes in 3 diameters including 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 2.3mm. I now have 100ft of all three sizes.

you have to look closely to see the size differences here as their distance from the lens varies enough to distort the relative sizes.

the real size differences
What is great about this line is that it works well, is strong and holds a knot. 100ft of each of different sizes do not take much volume, they are strong, and highly reflective. Just look at the next picture.

1.1mm Reflx - the reflection of light makes it appear thicker than it actually is.
The only complaint that I might have with the 1.1mm line is that undoing a knot is painful or just difficult. I decided to use line-lok adjusters and they worked better than I expected... that and I also moved the stakes for more macro adjustments.

I still like paracord, however, 80, 120, 275 are probably better for my needs. As for Reflx... I'm not trying to be stealthy so glow in the dark packs and cordage are OK with me.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lean to setup

I have a 9 1/2' x 9 1/2' tarp from Bear Paw Wilderness Designs and I have a similar size reflective tarp from  2Go Systems. I would hope to use the reflective tarp at my daughters' soccer game when the sun is high in the sky and hot. One thing that always seems to throw me for a loop is the setup method. There are clearly a number of ways to do this properly for quick installation... So I decided to knock one out and see what happens.

lean to
In the picture above this is a the simple lean to setup. The tarp is a Snugpak (Stasha under $40 and under 1 pound) tarp approximately 8' x 5 1/2'. In this configuration the tent is just a few inches under 3' high. Luckily given the position of the sun I'm getting maximum protection from the sun.

One of the configurations talks about using the working end of the trucker's hitch in order to secure one end of the ridgeline. I decided against that because the ground was uneven at that side of the ridgeline and if I swapped sides the other was too small. Notice I used a stake as a toggle.

instant release bowline 
Here I used a stake to secure the bowline so that I did not need to pull the line through and that I could leave the ridgeline secured to the tarp.

truckers hitch
This is the trucker's hitch side of the ridgeline. The bankline is so slippery that I had to secure it with a double half hitch. Also I did not leave a long enough working end.

side view
The side view... many preppers talk about a 50' ridgeline. The distance here from end to end is 13 paces or about 39'. Given the span I would say that 50' is a good amount. In fact it's probably perfect if it's just secured away instead of pre-cutting. Then if and when you need it you can just take what you need.

I have SGT Knots Bankline in both #18 and #36. I think I used the #36 here. It worked. It stretched quite a bit. It stinks on my hands as it is coated in oil/tar. The knots can slip.

add some structure
I decided to use a die from a kids game to create a tie out. As I pulled the tie out the tarp started to sag. So I adjusted the tarp and then the tie out sagged. I repeated this a few times until I gave up. I think the answer here is a stick or hiking stick. Or, as I generally fear I need some better cordage.

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 ...