27 Jul 2012

Sleep Pad

Following on from my previous post re air mattress research, I have really "zoned in" on Thermarest Neo XLite.

I currently use Kooka Bay (186g) but this guy has disappeared off the planet. Pity, he was on to a good thing! If I was (or had to) replace I would go for the small Neo Xlite - $US129.

It's 119cm long, 51cm wide and 6,5cm deep. It weighs in at 230g.

I like the internal reflective lining giving it a good r factor for an air mat at 3.2.

Check it out at http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/mattresses/fast-and-light/neoair-xlite/product

Or see later post at http://lightweighttramping.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/exciting-week-i-picked-up-joe-and.html

22 Jul 2012

Zpacks Tarp

Several people have asked my advice on shelters. I love the Zpack tarps. However, there are personal decisions to be made here. Do you want the tarp to pair with a bivy bag (suggest MLD Superlight with full bug net head, or Sixmoons Metro). Or if in a bug infested environment and you want some more internal room, will you go for the full internal bug net?

Maybe the tarp with the full sewn in screen floor in combo with the Zpacks cuben ground sheet will do? Go to www.zpacks.com to check out options.

Here are some quick prices and weights that may help - my head was buzzing putting this together, so open to errors & omissions!

Solo Tarp                          weight            cost

With full mesh screen         304g               $US360                        
Requires Ground Sheet         77g               $US95
Total                                 381g              $US455
Just solo tarp                     119g               $US195
Teamed with bivy bag         190g               $US169
Total                                 309g              $US364 

Sub Bivy 4 internal bug
net includes ground floor      215g              $US175 (See photo in the header of this blog)

Solo Plus

With full mesh screen        349g               $US395
Requires Ground Sheet        94g               $US105
Total                               443g               $US500
Just solo plus tarp             184g               $US285
Teamed with bivy bag       190g               $US169
Total                               374g               $US454 

Sub bivy 4 internal bug
net includes ground floor    250g              $US199 (See photo in header of blog - this is a solo)

So as you can see, it's all about personal preference, season, bugs and terrain.

5 Jul 2012

Waterproof-Breathable Jackets

 My tramping friend, Pieter Holl has asked my advice on some light weight rain gear. I am experimenting here trying to link him and all my subscribers to my Backpackinglight blog article on lightweight rain gear - fingers crossed it works! Check out link below- Looks like the Haglofs Ozo wins the day, but they no longer produce it and my favourite, the Zpacks Cuben was not tested.

Ultralight Waterproof-Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report @ Backpacking Light

1 Jul 2012

Camp Shoes

Most lightweight American hikers do not carry "camp" shoes. In NZ we have a very good hut system and if I am not going to be staying in huts, I will probably not bother about camp shoes. This cuts 177grams off my weight (Teva Jandles as pictured). I would still take a second pair of socks.

However, it's bliss to roll into a hut late in the afternoon and shed the hiking shoes and wet socks and slip into something dry and warm. Over the years I have used Injinji toe socks coupled with Teva Jandles (thongs). The big draw back has been the 5 toes. After a big day, particularly if we have been doing a lot of river bashing, it's hard to get 5 damp toes into the sock. Enter Hideo, my Japanese tramping friend. He uses toe socks that isolate only the big toe but not the rest. Bingo, problem solved.

Note: This set up is not good if you have to go outside in wet grass or boulder hop near a river when bathing. - socks become soaked, but an ideal and comfortable solution around the hut.  

The socks are about 70% merino and weigh 79grams - checkout Defeet.com