Thursday, February 28, 2019

In a Box

Assembling a s*** ton of applications from any number of 3td party vendors into a single domain under  single signon is seriously complicated. I suppose it could be possible to curate a number of friendly apps but that part is unknowable.

Sure it's easy enough to put an HAproxy in front of traefik and sprinkle in some SSL and some sort of basic or other authorization, however, many apps have their own authentication... gitlab, mattermost(although there is a plugin for gitlab), wordpress, and something you might build.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Klymit blanket or Sea to Summit Reactor Fleece Liner

It's an interesting choice because each has it's PROs and CONs.

  • uncompressed the Klymit is bigger
  • compressed about equal volume
  • Klymit is a blanket with snaps, foot box, and hand boxes.
  • STS is a sleeping bag liner with a 1/3rd zip and a shock corded hood
  • STS is mummy style with a little stretch
  • Klymit weighs 1.5lbs and the STS weighs half
Getting in/out of a sleeping bag or a liner, in a hammock, is a serious challenge to be offset with the blanket falling to the wet or dirty ground.

In a tarp+bugnet sock the Klymit adds distance between you and the bugs but it's easy to be exposed. Where the STS can be chemically treated to ward off bugs and will stay put.

tough call.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Who's watching?

This week it was reported that @Google had manufactured a microphone in their @Nest alarm system without saying anything. It's being described as a secret microphone. Regardless that this device seems to function as a Google Home it is pretty sneaky that Google would not identify the feature or even as a "future enhancement" It seems that it was always intended so why not say something.
This reminds me of a new report in the 90's where it was described that desktop manufacturers were installing microphones on motherboards and that big brother was was listening. That does not seem too far fetched anymore.
We seem to be at an intersection between fiction and reality.

[1] Keep in mind Camp X and that the first spy training manuals were written by book authors or which Ian Fleming is reported be one such author.

[2] If faced with the green and red pill which one would you take? The Matrix reality may not be that fantasy but it may be relative.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

big 3 under 5 pounds

While I like my bivy when my tarp is in leanto mode the fabric offers protection from bugs and rain. But in reality unless you're in sleeping bag weather any precipitation is going to disrupt your sleep as the bivy is thin. Also, it's impossible to regulate your temperature and not expose yourself. Jupiterhikes makes the recommendation that an umbrella and budnet sock would do the trick. And it does. The umbrella is a nice addition to the tarp. Lastly there is a nice combination of hammock and ground shelter. Without spending too much my pack, shelter, and sleep systems weigh less than 5 pounds.

The bugnet is from outdoor vitals. It's wide at one end and small at the other. It comes with a shockcord ridgeline which is not necessary in ground mode. It weights about 5oz and costs $34. In hammock vocabulary a sock is actually a cone shaped fabric with a cinch on each end. Crawl into your hammock and pull the sock up as if you were the foot only bigger. The OV model uses two different noseeum mesh. The Dutchware version is half noseeum and half 10D. Costs $57+ and weighs 8oz. The difference seems to be the weight of the mesh. So now the decision seems to be whether or not to go with the dual mesh or half mesh half coated 10D. I like the DW sock because it offers additional rain protection when under a tarp.

Watching Jupiter's video

He makes some great points and then there is the same mistake I make every time... [1] keep your item count down [2] buy what you need or want the first time it's much cheaper than owning duplicates. [3] make your selection based on the type of hike you want to have.

Friday, February 15, 2019

STS hammock day 2 - where did the water come from

A few weeks ago I got out of my hammock and there was a pool of water under the inflatable pad and I had no idea what the source of the water was. This morning I popped my head out to see th current situation:

Lots of sag. I determined that the tarp was resting on the hammock's ridgeline.

The tarp's shape was off due to the weight of the water and needed to be tightened. Dew was everywhere.

Even under the tarp. In this case because the tarp was resting on the ridgeline the contact caused the moisture to drip into the hammock.

The bugnet was also drenched.

The hammock and pad were also wet. This was probably because of the dew and condensation.  There was just no escaping it. This is just the small crap nobody ever mentions. So there is something to be said for checking the setup before actually falling asleep. The dew would not be a problem if it just rolled off the tarp but the contact caused it's own problem. I wonder if there is a different performance with the STS UL hammock since it's a mesh and not a fabric?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

STS Hammock Tarp

The Sea To Summit - 5 sided hammock tarp has an 11' ridgeline. The shape of the tarp provides maximum wind protection from one direction(two corners) and reasonable general protection from the other(single corner). The angle and the shape of the hammock are complemented.

Living in Florida and spending my hiking days on the Florida Trail there are places where there are no trees or no safe trees so ground camping is the only option.
One nice thing about hammocks in the swamps is that you can get out of the water if you can find a pair of trees.
And then there are those camps where there are no trees. So try this:

There is plenty of space under the tarp; room for 1-3 to sleep.

There are different configurations similar to a flying diamond or even staking multiple corners. You can even use a treking pole as a center pole for some extra room.

Compare to a 9'x9' tarp there are plenty of options. For the price, weight, materials and quality of manufacturing I think the STS is a better product.

s-biner fail

This was never meant for holding a ridgeline

In reality all these bits and bobs add weight to a UL or SUL pack. So leave them at home.

Yama Mountain Flat Tarp

I ordered or rather I changed my order to an 8.5'x8.5' flat tarp. I never measured it until today and while I'd need to do it again for the exact numbers I give up. It's almost 9'x9'.

It's funny, before I deployed the tarp this morning I thought it was short as I was expecting a 10x10 and frankly had forgotten what I had ordered. So the measurement was weird... and not what I ordered anyway. But better longer/wider than shorter.

On one corner I used some shockcord to manage the tension. The corner material seems to pull evenly:

But in a different corner I did not use shockcord and the material protested:

Also, no one ever tells you where the seam sealer goes... on the inside or the outside. I always thought the inside because that's where BearPaw and Six Moon seemed to put it. In hindsight makes no sense because the water would penetrate the seam on the outside and rest in the seam until it evaporated or damaged the seam.  It took the yama design, with a d-ring on the inside to make this obvious.

ridgeline underside

ridgeline with sealed seams

Yama logo
I like that Yama included either shock cord or loops on each guy out point. It was simple to add a lineloc, shockcord and cordage. The tarp works well with a hammock in either a-frame or diamond. Being 9-feet square it's also reasonable for ground camping.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"embrace the suck" -- Florida rain

It was pouring this morning! What sucked is that the rain changed directions (not visible in the video)

But then as the rain eased up I had to check things out.

#1 - the most important thing... site selection. The ground was soaked. It was nice to be off the ground but the ground sucked. Sure the swamp is wet and so you have to embrace the suck but this means the day starts with a suck. 

#2 - And then it's one thing to have wet feet first thing in the morning... but then there is just being wet from head to toe. The pad and the hammock were soaked. WTF! And so we learn new things. First of all when it rains in Florida the rain turns into a mist that lingers and floats around depending where the breeze takes it until it condenses and falls or collects.

I'm not sure if there was a real lesson learned here except just embrace the suck. Short of building a cabin you're getting wet. If this was a Tiki hut you'd still be getting wet. If you were wearing rain gear you'd still be getting wet.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

poncho tarp

To deploy a poncho tarp without a second piece of rain gear means you have to be committed to getting wet or rain is not that big an obstacle. Once you have the poncho tarp deployed that's all there is.

Second, deploying a poncho tarp means having to attach and detach cordage exposing you to more of the same.

Third, When deployed as a tarp the poncho tarp is smaller giving you less protection. The largest tarps without a seam  is based on the manufacturing process and is currently 6 feet wide. Take some material for the outside seam and you get to about a 5.5 feet. My poncho tarp is just over 4 feet wide.

Lastly, the lightest poncho tarps are fragile as are the lightest rain jackets. So if you damage the poncho you damage both. Where-as if you damaged your poncho you could always wrap yourself in your tarp.


Actually there is plenty of room and the bivy offers some additional rain protection, however, the half pyramid configuration does not get the mosquito netting off my face. One possibility is adding an umbrella to the open side.

 The umbrella by itself did not add sufficient strength to the to hold up the head end of the bivy.

If you look closely at the head end there is a small pole holding up the end... there is also a guy line adding tension/structure. At this point the head end is slightly more exposed on 2 sides. The umbrella can be used to  handle the rain. Also the pole can be replaced with a branch or even a tree or bush.

Not pictured here there is another option. That is some cordage from the the pole to the lower corner at the head end. The with a small loop and an s-biner or other lock would work fine. The umbrella would still offer some protection for the head and the pack.

Even though this configuration is plausible it still has the eggs in one basket challenge.

I added the diagonal guy lines and I was able to get the bivy to blouse nicely, however, it was 5-15F hotter inside the bivy. Also being so low to the ground meant being more uncomfortable. All those aches and pains are amplified.


this bugnet is just like yours $37 at 7.6oz ( or this one $42 at 2.9oz ( spray them with permethrin

Friday, February 8, 2019

drink up

Hikers and gram counters swear by Smartwater bottles. I don't think they are completely wrong because there is something to be said for screwing a filter directly to the bottle. I still get a bit uneasy about the seal between the bottle and the filter. Also that sort of delayed filtering might give you the false confidence to go deeper when you really do not have the resources.

Anyway, it's a good and common container. But are there options?

right to left; 1oz, 1.6oz, 4.3oz

I recently purchased Nalgene bottles for my kids when they are at soccer practice. I replaced the WIDE mouth tops with a smaller lid and that's working great. I decided to buy myself a Nalgene too. While their 32oz bottles are wide in diameter this Nalgene is shaped like a military canteen; has a nice opening, stable base, and not going to drop the cap. Granted I can carry three 750ml bottle for the same weight allowance and redundancy but at what point are we overthinking this.

"what's in your ..." backpack?

I'm going lighter and lighter... not by spending gobs of money just making different choices; partly based on the notion that I've already decided to be somewhat uncomfortable. That said this kit has enough to give me some options.

These packs are both made from Cordura and about 24L. On the left is a Sea To Summit with just the main compartment with rolltop and compression loops and string on the back. On the right is a Matador with a rolltop main compartment, sternum strap, 2 stretch side pockets, and a back zippered pocket.

Ideally these are reasonable as a day pack or even a commuter although I'm not sure how well the Cordura will stand up. Given how small they pack down to I could carry the other as a backup. Matador appears to be a US company and their pack is actually lighter and less expensive than the STS.

Overnight kit

I can make this kit smaller and lighter depending on how much I'm willing to suffer but this is the starting point (from left to right):
  • klymit static V junior wrapped around a thermarest sit pad
  • Borah Bivy
  • STS hammock tarp
  • STS mesh hammock XL
  • STS CoolMax Bag liner for those warmer nights and can be replaced with a Reactor Extreme (same size but 25F warmer)
  • mini umbrella
  • STS Silnylon Poncho Tarp
  • med kit
  • STS water bucket, digital thermometer, emergency whistle
  • MSR water filter with prefilter
  • ZPacks carbon fiber stakes
Not pictured: spool of 2mm cordage, water bottle, mini caribiners, lighter, food.

The basic kit comes down to 5-7 pounds. With food and water closer to 10 pounds. I could go with less water but it means doing things differently... camelup as often as possible. I could also go without the hammock or exchange the tarp for a lighter/smaller one or just use the poncho. I could also choose a smaller pad.

Also, it's a good idea to use a ditty bag to hold your bits and bobs. I also purchased a hip belt for those things and it worked great and kept the weight off my pack.

Monday, February 4, 2019

hammock sadness

I did not get to hike this weekend but I did lighten my pack for next time.  But now I have to choose my hammock:

Hummingbird single plus or the sea to summit UL XL. The Hummingbird weighs 0.60 lbs and STS weighs 0.66 lbs (both weights include basic straps and stuff sack) The cost of the STS is just slightly more than the Hummingbird and is slightly less capable. The STS is more of a mesh than fabric.

One thing for sure is that I'm not sure I made a wise color choice. I have two motivations for color choice. [1] I want to be able to see blood just in case that happens [2] I want maximum visibility and contrast to protect me from hunters. But there are other things to consider. Both use proprietary fasteners. The hummingbird straps are thin and do not keep shape it's almost a why bother situation; also they offer longer straps so why not just the one length. But my complaint about the hummingbird is the pack. It's so tight.

Orange Hammock Single plus: $70
Tree Straps Plus: $40
5.5'x'9' Tarp: prices vary from $53(on sale) to $100. The challenge with the on-sale price is color choices. Borah only offers the grey.

No new purchases for the moment. I need to use and break things before buying more.

Friday, February 1, 2019


Homemade Wunderlust made the recommendation that an umbrella is or can be an important piece of kit. The idea being less about the expensive solar reflective umbrellas and more about creating a space to eat or drink in piece.

It offers some shade, yes

It offers some respite from the rain, yes

When combined with a net tent you may be free from bugs, yes

When setting a tarp it can enclose one end or your head, yes

Anyway these two cost very little and seem to offer some reasonable protection. While I purchased them on Amazon they are available at just about any grocery and do not require stakes or the tarp.

Black tarp

I thought a black tarp was going to be a good idea when it's rainy season. This way the tarp had a better chance of drying. On second thought the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

[a] just because it's black does not mean it blocks out the light the way those umbrellas with reflective coating do. Plenty of light gets in.

[b] I do not have any scientific evidence but it seem that the color radiates the heat a little more.

[c] Whether wandering around with a flashlight at night or even during the day a black tarp has an element of stealth on the trail. Personally I'd prefer to be seen and in the case of rescue some sort of contrasted field.

What is great about this tarp is that it's 9x5.5; without a seam; and all but the tips are under the tarp. It's about half the weight of the 10x10 tarps and with as many options and without those crazy cuts and shapes that dictate use. Probably the best part is putting it in the outside pocket when it's wet.

It's not yellow or orange but grey, almost white, feels cooler even though the sun is behind the clouds right now.

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 ...