Thursday, July 26, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

treating water using a tiny MIX bottle (video)

This is an advanced technique, so it requires a long and detailed video.

For more info, read tip number 106, How I treat AQUAMIRA. I advocate a system that doesn't quite match what is recommended on the packaging. The advantage is a profound time savings and an increased efficiency on the trail.

3cc plastic bottle, wheighs 2 grams

I am constantly asked where I get those little bottles.

My reply, I get 'em HERE.

You can purchase these dinky little bottles on-line. If you do make an order, get more than you think you’ll need because the shipping will cost more than the bottles. Your camping pals will be envious, and at 21 cents each, you can happily give them away.

Monday, July 16, 2012

nice review

Somebody goin' by the name B.A. just added a really nice review to the Amazon page.

Just get it. Worth every penny.
I wanted to get back into backpacking again but a low back problem was keeping from carrying the weight of my old gear. The information in this book (and Ladigan's book "Lighten Up!") changed my mindset about gear and pack weight entirely.
My friend still carries about 45 lbs of gear for our weekend trips. When he lifted my pack during our last trip he said, "You've gotta be kiddin me!" I just smiled and told him to get the books.

That someone with a 45 pound pack sounds like a graduate of a certain outdoor school. If they had lifted that pack and said "No, this is impossible, I won't allow this into my brain," I would suspect that they're employed at an executive level at that same school.

Just so you know, a 45 pound backpack is considered remarkably light at that school.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

the rain skirt

instructional illustration, click on art for a HI-rez view


Audio instructions for making your own rain skirt. 
About 10 minutes long.

This is an ridiculously easy thing to make yourself. Gravity goes straight down, so my legs get protected (mostly) from the falling rain by this very fashionable item. And plenty of breathability. This is a very easy make-it-yourself item, and the results are functional and stylish. I’ve made a series of these (and learned a lot from my nerdy R&D) and none weigh more than 2 oz!  The easiest way to create a lightweight pair of rain pants involves using Dri-Ducks, Frogg Toggs or TYVEC pants. These are all easy to find on-line and they're SUPER cheap!

Step 1:
Using scissors, cut the legs off at around knee height.

Step 2:
Cut the the entire inseam so that they are no longer pants - it's a skirt! The seams wont fray, so there is no need to sew anything. But (sometimes) I'll just use tiny little tabs of masking tape (yes, just that thin tan stuff) on the ends of each seam to keep the panels from separating.

The whole trimming and taping process should take less than 2 minutes. The weight should be UNDER 2 OUNCES! The rain skirt is dorky and laughably ugly, but it really works to keep your legs dry when hiking in the rain. The skirt is wonderfully breathable because it's open at the bottom. If I need to sit on soggy ground, I whip out my trust rain skirt for a little more comfort.

TYVEC pants:
These are as ugly as they are cheap (linked HERE). Somewhere around three bucks a pair. The shipping is more than the product so I will buy a handful, and I've been giving them out (as rain skirts). It's easier for me to hand someone something than to listen to them whine about how they can't get it together to do it themselves.

DRU-DUCKS and FROGG-TOGGS both make pretty much the exact same rain suit. So much so, that I think they ARE the same suit. Usually priced between $14 to $24 on-line.

The Jackets:
The rain jackets are the best think I've ever used. The weight should be right around, or slightly under, 7 ounces! These babies are amazingly breathable and fully waterproof. But they are ridiculously ugly and not very durable. I've patched my torn rain with plain ol' masking tape, and those repairs have lasted (just fine!) for over 6 years! I get an XXL size to fit over everything, I'm 6' 1" and I need the arm length.

My advice: Do not take this jacket to the jungles of Borneo and hike thru thorns! But, hike on trail and enjoy. Hike off-trail and be careful.

The Pants:
The ankles will shred if you walk off-trail for three steps. Better to turn these into a rain skirt.

BONUS! The rain skirt will leave you with the leftover leg part you cut off. These can be made into really tidy water proof stuff sacks! This involves tape and scissors, no sewing required.

Swanky super-model with a full ensemble of Dri-Ducks jacket and Rain-Skirt on a runway in Yellowstone, freshly adorned with hail!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Walker's pure butter shortbread

integral to my Scottish heritage

These babies are a whopping 150 calories per ounce, so you carry something calorie dense with minimal volume in the pack. Only 4 ingredients; wheat flour, butter, sugar and salt. An ultralight backpackers dream food.