Often I notice or work with an item that also captures my attention that it might also be used for backpacking even though thats not it's intended use. One such example is the Finis Skin Sock. I purchased these to use with my new bodysurfing fins that were slightly too large and I needed to wear something to give my foot more volume and protection. For the beach they also proved handy walking around in the sand to protect my feet from beach tar and at the public shower because, well...it's a public shower.
I decided to bring them on my last backpacking trip to also wear around camp but they have no sole so protection was minimal. What I discovered was the fine nylon and lycra weave were excellent in repelling campground duff from sticking to the material and what did stick was easily and cleanly brushed away. Because of that and the comfortable loose fit, I decided to also sleep in them instead of socks so when I got up in the middle of the night for some "star gazing" I could quickly and cleanly slip back into the sleeping bag without bringing in a bunch of dirt.
Backpacking is a dirty business so sometimes its the little things that aid in cleanliness that can make a big difference in comfort and wellbeing. Since they are lighter than a pair of socks, I think these are going to stay in my kit and become a part of my sleep gear.
Monday, October 8, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
Within many Wilderness areas of the west, it's still unofficially safe to drink water directly from the stream, spring, or lake and one way to save on pack weight is to not carry water and sip as you go. These are cups that I have used in the past and continue to use on many of my trips. The "Unkown" is certainly recognizable by all and is also available in stainless steel. I lost the cap which could also be used to sip water from. I only included cups that could fit into the pocket, but I should also mention the Sierra Cup since it to can be used to sip water from the source and will hook onto a belt for easy access. They come in 1 cup and 2 cup sizes and traditionally made of stainless steel. Mine is from Japan, 2 cup capacity and made of titanium and will also fit on my stove to cook with.
On long dry stretches when water has to be rationed, the pocket cup is the perfect tool to measure out water so that your supply will last the entire dry stretch. Without pouring and measuring, it's too easy to gulp water and drink it all early on.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
I am not fond of inflating air pads by blowing directly into them, so improvised a PVC fitting to mate an Exped Snozzle with a Big Agnes Axl air pad.
The male fitting on the snozzle is 1/2 inch and the female valve is 3/4 so I am using a 1/2 x 3/4 PVC bushing to make the reduction. The only modification was to wrap the bushing with electrical tape to get a better seal into the Axl pad.
By using this system, I will reduce the amount of moisture from my lungs into the pad and save myself from the dizzy feeling of hyperventilating at altitude.
|PVC bushing 1/2 x 3/4|
|Wrapped with electrical tape for a better seal into the air pad.|
|The 1/2 " Snozzle fitting fits perfectly into the bushing.|
|With help from the electrical tape to give the PVC fitting a slightly larger diameter, an air tight seal is accomplished so the Snozzle can transfer air into the air pad.|
Saturday, February 24, 2018
|The pad, out of the box, in a stuff sack compared in size with a Nalgene bottle (full of fresh squeezed OJ!)|
|My pad came with 2 patch kits that included a spare valve flap. The patches already have adhesive so no need for a tube of glue that always seems to go hard after only one use.|
The Axl fully inflated. I didn't count the breaths, but I did feel mildly high form hyperventilating. Twenty breaths maybe? BA hypes the antimicrobiotic properties but I wonder about the constantly adding water into the pad.
|A close up of the head end of the pad with the valve.|
Another close up of the valve. To let the air out, press on the inner flap and squeeze the pad at the same time. It's somewhat awkward, but the air does evacuate quickly.
|I was able to deflate the pad then simply stuff it back into the stuff sack without folding or rolling.|
The Axl has no insulation so the official use designation is for warm weather use. My plan is to pair it with a small Z Pad so that I have some redundancy with sleep insulation. If the air pad has a major failure, I will still have ground insulation with the Z pad.
The Axl weighs in at 10 ounces with the stuff sack and the Z pad, 11 ounces.
Monday, January 15, 2018
WILDO COLLASPABLE CUPS
I have been watching the tastefully done wilderness travels of Erik Normark and kept noticing the cup he drinks his coffee from. That's because he drinks a lot of coffee in the wilderness and he does it cowboy style direct from the Trangia teapot.
Cups and bowls are one of those items that can be purchased at a reasonable price and experience the thrill of getting new gear without breaking the bank so I decided to do some research and find the cup he uses and thanks to the web, it was not hard to find. It's readily available in small and large, so I purchased both sizes.
The manufacturer is a Swedish company named Wildo and the formal name is the Fold-A Cup. The design has even won some awards and as the name implies, it does indeed collapse and the small one will comfortably fit in your front pocket.
The small will also nest securely inside the large if I decide to bring both.
On my trips I use the round silicone bowls, but the Fold-A Cup is lighter and probably takes less room in the pack so I look forward to switching those out and enjoy my next wilderness cup of java in a Fold-A Cup.
The large holds 20 ounces so will easily double as an eat out of bowl.
The small is more expresso size but great for sips of water from the creek because it does easily fit inside a pocket.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
My new camp shoe, the Birkenstock EVA Arizona. Size 45 metric or 12.5 in US Sizing. Even thought I wear trail runners, I like changing shoes at he end of the day, a luxury I cannot do without. If my trail shoes get wet from a creek crossing or fishing, they will not be dry until the next day and I value complete dryness in camp, even my feet. These slip on and off easily in the middle of the night and give good protection to the bottom of my very sensitive feet from sticks and stones, I could even hike in them if I had to. They are bulkier than I would like but lighter by a few ounces than my current Patagonia Advocates that I have had for several years now and refuse to wear out.