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Showing posts from September, 2018

More Cost vs Weight

Six Moon Designs... 26 oz and $200 for a 1P tent. You can decide if the weight of the pole is included in the weight ... I think it should but weights vary.

The is a small 1P tent offered by Amazon it weighs just over 4 lbs but costs $50

Here's the odd man out... a 2P tent costs $52 on Amazon and weighs JUST under 3 lbs.

This Andake costs $107 at 1.7 lbs which is pretty close to the Six Moon Designs at half the price and will ship for free from Aamzon.

And this pyramid tent weighs 2 lbs and costs $119.

And this one is nice too as a 1P at 2.5 lbs and $44

The moral of the story... decide how much you want the tent to weigh and then how much you want to pay. You'll fond something on Amazon that can be there in a reasonable time... make sure it's already in the US because if you have to wait for US customs it might take a while.

There is nothing wrong with any of these tents but I prefer a tarp and a bugnet or bivy. I like to look around and see what's going on. My tarp+b…

SUL but amazingly strong

Hummingbird currently makes 3 hammocks. The single, the single plus and the double. While the philosophy, manufacturing, and specifications are amazing although I'm not sure why... They claim the Single has a capacity of 300, plus has 350 and the double has 400. I'm assuming that the materials are all the same but that the size of the hammock is longer and wider. Assuming that the buckle at either end and the stitching is the same then it must be the distribution of the weight to the fabric that eventually concentrates at the buckle. That was easy.

While I had not thought about it, when I was hanging my hammock with 770 and 850 paracord, I always thought the tension on the straps was equal to the weight in the tarp divided by 2. Meaning a 300 lb person would only be putting 150 lbs of tension against each strap.

From this video I seem to be wrong.

At a 30 degree angle the full weight of the person is on [each] line and at 5 degrees it's over 1100 lbs. That's crazy!


camping with lite light

A few months ago I purchased by first UCO lantern. I thought it was going to be a novel way to light my camp. I experimented with the lantern and shortly after putting the candle out I tried to close the lantern.

That's when I discovered that heat rises and before I could stop myself I burned my hand on the heat shield wind break. It took nearly a month for my skin to heal.

In June 2018 I went on a hike to Carpenter Camp in the Everglades. I brought the candle with me and after 9 hours the candle was finished. Additionally,  I brought a number of string LED lights as either a ridgeline lite or maybe a guyline light as I'm always tripping. The cordage I brought that night was grey and not very reflective so the LEDs were used on the cordage.

I broke my first UCO and decided it replace it. I also purchased some citronella replacements. A few days ago I setup my tarp in a wedge configuration and was getting comfortable with the idea of using the candle as sort of a camp light. Bu…

JZ overnight pack

I've been saying that SUL/UL means spending money or going without. For example a 40L G4Free pack can cost $20 and a sub-pound Palante pack can cost well over $200. While I'm a fan of lightweight gear I also like practicality, functionality, and cost savings. The idea of calling Amazon and having my order fulfilled in 2 days instead of waiting 5-11 weeks is precious. For example my Yama 8.5x8.5 is scheduled for 11 weeks and my Borah 7x9 for 5 weeks.

Another great example. BearPaw Wilderness Designs makes a 8x10 flat tarp with a 1-2 week delivery time and weight 15oz. Paria Offers the same tarp for $80, weights 15oz, and ships from amazon with Prime.

So when I listen to JZ talk about an upcoming hike and his gear:

packsleeping bagsleeping pad2 days food - barsgallon waterthick wool socksthin wool jacketthin sockssunscreenlens cleaning wipre2x batteries for cameracameratoothbrush and toothpasteflosszebralightsmall scissorshand sanitiser2x 750ml smartwater bottles No shelter or ra…

rocket stove fail

Here is a set of action shots as I was experimenting with a rocket stove. My goal is to have 9 rocket stoves surrounding the main bonfire but I'm hoping for a descent flame. I drilled a 1 inch hole about 4-5 inches deep and then a 1 inch hole from the side. I poured some swissgel in the hole and ignited it.

I got a 3-4 inch initial flame but it really did not last.

I sispect that because I used a 1 inch bit the walls were smooth and just didn't have the volume to generate a real flame. The gel did not really help either because the gel suspended the heat away from the wood until it would ignite.

I even tried a puddle of fuel on some tinder in order to light the side of the log and it too failed. I even tried to dribbed get along the side and that went out too.

Eventually I opened the hole a little and things got just a little better.

 I tried another puddle of gel under the log but that was really slow.

I leaned some bark over the gel and it ignited but the log seemed to fail.

Plasma Lighter in my kit

I recently purchased a plasma lighter for my kit. I thought I made a good selection as there are a wide variety of lighters from simple coils, zippo looking plasma, and other formats. Without giving too much away this was what I did:

This is the head of the lighter.

When power is applied there is what looks like a continuous spark. This can be used to light a candle or a campfire.

The neck of the lighter has some reach that I hope will prevent my fingers from getting burned.

It also folds up and has a "safety" to reduce pack size and prevent unintended ignition. I should mention that the safety does not work well. If this were a traditional lighter I'd be concerned about fuel leakage.

Not pictured here is a USB port for recharging the device. There was a mention on one of the descriptions about the number of lights per charge. But I'm not sure that really matters. (see the conclusion)

Yesterday I managed to light some fire gel but I had to get the plasma stream very …

The world's richest man

Jeff Bezos is reported to be the richest man in the world earning something like $250M per day. But I have some questions:

Does "per day" mean 7 days a week or just Monday thru Friday?What fraction of his income comes from AWS?What fraction of his income comes from the Amazon store? But what I really want to know is what portion of his income is from consumers in the US? If you want to point your finger at a welfare recipient look no further.


Flack posted the question:
I am getting pretty sick of the little *******s. I am in Florida and they are a year-round problem--to the point of making hanging sometimes very unpleasant. I am moving towards a DIY hammock adn have been using a full enclosure net. The problem is where elbows, shoulders, back of hands etc rest against the hammock cloth and press outward against the net. Big mosquitoes have no real trouble getting through that. On a bad night you just lie there like Gulliver afraid to move one way or another. What I want to know is if anyone has any real experience with this and can say if silnylon will in fact block a mosquitoe's stinger? Maybe heavier than 1.1 oz? what is the collective wisdom on this? This is also my experience and it sucks. There are two things one can do:

spray the hammock, bugnet, tarp with permethrinwhile I like hammocks like the Dutchware Chameleon nothing beats a proper mosquito net that wraps 360 deg. I like the Dutchware sock but there are ple…

Keto and Hellmann's Mayo?

I'm far from an expert on things KETO or even a dietitian but when I buy Avocado Mayo I expect than and not other things. I always thought that mayo was a egg whites and oil emulsified with a little salt. Now Hellman's is flavoring their mayo.

Strangely Helleman's decided to add Soybean Oil and Sugar. Both cause an insulin response. Sugar is the crack of the food industry... WTF Hellman's?

BTW Hellman's is kinda sketchy as they made it hard to find and copy/paste the ingredients and nutritional information.

the wedge

My 10x10' 2GoSystems tarp with reflective coating configured in a wedge for the first time.

There is a lot of room under this tarp.  Thank you Dave Canterbury for the inspiration.

Tent camping checklist

This is the essential gear needed for tent camping:
tent sized for the number of occupants Commonly required gear: knifeflashlightfirst aidwater filter kitwaterfoodbear bag or canisterphonecompass and maphatrain gear Optional: depending on the weather some sort of insulation from the bottom; usually an under quilt but a pad or mattress could be useful if there are no treesand some sort of blanketchange of sockscook kit including pot, fuel, stovespoon depending on the foodstakes unless you make your own or use rocksGPSinsect spraysunscreensun umbrellagroundsheet It's time for a hike

Bivy camping checklist

This is the essential gear needed for bivy camping:
tarp with cordagebivy treated with permethrin Commonly required gear: knifeflashlightfirst aidwater filter kitwaterfoodbear bag or canisterphonecompass and maphatrain gear Optional:
tent poles or trekking polesdepending on the weather some sort of insulation from the bottom; usually an under quilt but a pad or mattress could be useful if there are no treesand some sort of blanketchange of sockscook kit including pot, fuel, stovespoon depending on the foodstakes unless you make your own or use rocksGPSinsect spraysunscreensun umbrella It's time for a hike

Hammock camping checklist

This is the essential gear needed for hammock camping:

hammockstrapsoptional extension strapstarp with cordagebugnet treated with permethrin Commonly required gear: knifeflashlightfirst aidwater filter kitwaterfoodbear bag or canisterphonecompass and maphatrain gear Optional:
depending on the weather some sort of insulation from the bottom; usually an under quilt but a pad or mattress could be useful if there are no treesand some sort of blanketchange of sockscook kit including pot, fuel, stovespoon depending on the foodstakes unless you make your own or use rocksGPSinsect spraysunscreensun umbrella It's time for a hike

Lighten up dude

I posted the following question on facebook:
HAMMOCK hikers... With a little extra cash I'm able to get my hammock, tarp, straps, stakes under 1 lb and under $200. But so many of those hammock companies are selling mattresses, pods or under quilts for insulation and additional comfort but I take exception to the weight, volume and cost for even the coldest Florida months.
When you hammock camp what do you bring?
What I received was a mixed bag but while I was expecting to hear from some ounce counters they were silent. What has me perplexed is whether or not the respondents were hikers or campers. And there is clearly a difference when you have to carry all that gear with you. After a recent overnight hike with my 17 lb pack it took 3 days for my shoulders to recover; and this was my summer pack. (3.5 lb water, 2 lb food, the rest was shelter, sleeping kit, water filter, and some misc first aid and fire.)

This is my basic hammock kit. [a] hammock, [b] straps, [c] bugnet, [d] tarp, …

sharp things

I was 13 years old and pretty independent and adventurous. I was visiting my bio-mom on Vancouver Island in the city of Victoria. While she worked during the day I would go on adventures. I took photos with a film camera and walked to the store to develop and print the film. I stripped a bike down to the bare metal, stripped and painted it and started to putt it back together.

One weekend we decided to visit an island known at the time as Barry's Island. We hopped into the car and rented some snorkel gear, loaded up the canoe, got some provisions and headed out. As memory serves the commute took hours. First we had to drive to the ferry, then drive to the second ferry, and finally drive to the landing where we loaded up the canoe and paddled what seemed like 5 miles to Barry's Island.

It was still pretty early, and as I remember I went off adventuring. I walked the entire perimeter of the Island. I nearly fell in a few times as there were sheer drops from time to time. I survi…

The overnight pack

Looking at the Sea to Summit day pack I'm drawn to reconsider my overnight pack again. What do I really need for an overnight....

The 5 Cs
CutCordageCoverCombustionContainer The Rule of 3's 3 minutes without air3 hours without shelter3 days without water3 weeks without food Since the area I'm talking about is well traveled and limited to about a 12 mile loop not much can go wrong. But again as I consider that my last hike I carried bout 20 lb of stuff in my pack I think I can go lighter... simply put I only used a fraction of what I brought. hammock, straps, bugnet sock, tarp, stakes.poncholighterbug spray, sunscreenextra sockswaterwater filter and dirty water bagbear bag and linesnackstweezers, tape, gauze, Imodium, water treatmentflashlight with fresh batteries I brought and did not use but good to have mosquito netemergency whistlesmall knifetoilet papermisc medssleeping bag liner depending on how wet you areanti bacterial I also brought but did not need: ultralight air matt…

sweet hammock

I'm not sure what I was doing but Amazon made a hammock recommendation that I'm captivated by. The prices and workmanship has greatly improved over the past 18-24 months but after all my recent tribulations this looks like a steal.

Bugnet, hammock, suspension... weighing in at about 13-14oz. Better still the KIT is rated for 350 pounds and the width is just over 5ft. Many other single/solo hammocks are 4ft wide and that's too narrow for an adult to lay diagonally. The hummingbird double is 7ft wide which is unheard of and still only weighs 10.2oz. That's amazing.

By comparison the Sea to Summit costs $170, a difference of $10) and weighs about 32oz. That's double the weight of the hummingbird and there is no hardware lockin.

The hammock critics are in

Here are some hammocks and why I do not like them...

The ENO hammock, straps, and tarp might be bullet proof, however, they are heavy. Probably the heaviest in the bunch. I cut my hammock teeth on this hammock and I should have saved my money. I tried to replace the straps with 770 cordage and other straps but both failed. The tarp does not really fit in the bag.

The one Yukon Outfitters(YO) hammock is lighter than the next but their straps are heavy. I replaced one set of straps with some Dutchware gear which made the lighter hammock a better contender but not by much. The bugnet is heavier than the alternative from Dutchware too. It also barely fits in it's sack. Lastly the diamond shaped tarp is useless for anything else and while not heavy it's not the lightest. YO no longer sells these modes. My guess the materials are too light.

I have 2 complete Outdoor Vitals(OV) hammocks and tarps. The last thing I just noticed as I tried to re-stuff the ENO back in it's sack is t…


Many months ago I built a spreadsheet to comparing about 30 different tarp manufacturers and models. The basic conclusion is that there is an unreasonable premium on some of the superlight materials as well as some brands consider themselves premium and exclusive so they charge extra just because they can.

My new position is that I'd rather pay less, with a little extra weight and/or volume, but I have to be able to replace damaged gear in the time it take Amazon prime to deliver to anywhere in the US. One thing I like about Amazon is that I can order a complete wishlist so I do not have to bring anything with me.

In the last week I have been experimenting with hammocks. Hammocks are no different from any other shelter system in stat there are extremes in prices depending on the materials although some materials have dropped in price.

TARPS - hammock tarps seems to have different shapes. While flat tarps work the other tarps don't always work for others... The Yukon hammock ta…