15 Dec 2012

Wild Country Headlamp

Bugger - I can't find my fabulous Fennix L20 headlamp.

I had it on my last trip and as I start packing for the Xmas tramp into Fiordland it is nowhere to be seen. I am pissed off as this lamp was perfect. Too late to get one shipped in. But as one door closes another one opens.

I was driving past the local FCO store and popped in on the off chance they may have a lightweight headlamp, I wasn't that confident. Bingo, found one.

Called Wild Country, probably a house brand, it takes one AAA battery and weighs in at 36gms (Fennix was 30gms). Here's a couple of pictures.


8 Dec 2012

Rain Shorts

I have never been one for rain paints.

I hate hiking with fabric over my knees and around my legs. I can never understand why Americans hike in long trousers. We do a lot more bush bashing in NZ and I hardly ever see a Kiwi in longs. Besides, longs in rain are a real hassle. I wear an older version of Macpac Cross Terrain shorts - thicker fabric and find they don't "sag" when wet, they also dry fast.

However, as I only have one pair of undies (wearing) I don't like to get them too wet whilst hiking (chafe and uncomfort around the family jewels). My underwear are Icebreaker Merinos and work well in that department - no stink, but they take longer to dry.

So if I am starting out the day in rain, I revert to my cuben rain shorts over my undies. Or if it turn nasty during the day I can slip them over my shorts - usually only if driving rain on the tops.

I asked Joe Valesko at Zpacks to customise their cuben longs for me into shorts. Here are a couple of pictures. I also took a shot to show the drawstring close and the use of cuben tape to waterproof seam.


Re Packing Your Food

I am preparing for our annual ATC Xmas trip. This year we are heading for Fiordland on the SW corner of the South Island of NZ. This area is infamous for rain and sand flies. I can't wait :-)

Anyhow, I am a big fan of Backcountry Cuisine freeze dried food. It's tasty and light. You use less gas as all you are doing is boiling water. However, this food is designed to be used as "cook in the bag" - rip open the pack and pour in a cup of boiling water, re-seal and sit for 10 mins.

These bags are foil and as such add unnecessary weight. Some may argue you don't have to carry a bowl. But you still have to have a hot drinking receptacle, in my case, one serves both purposes. I use a Ti Jetboil so don't carry a bowl, billy or cup.

Whilst I was re-packing my food today I decided to check out the weight gains.

Here's the scoop...

We are out for 8 days. I use Backcountry breakfasts, Dinners and desserts, that's 3 packages each day, 24 in total.

I weighed the 24 empty Backcountry Cuisine packs in at 445 grams

Before packing, I weighed the 24 18x17 zip lock plastic bags at 86 grams.

As you can see a 359 gram weight reduction, pretty substantial in my book.

Plus, what you pack in you must pack out so this make the weight gain even more beneficial as you have to carry that packaged weight for the entire trip.  

Another feature of re-packing is space saving. My supply of BC food filled a large cardboard box. After re-packing my food fits into a nice mouse and waterproof Zpacks cuben fiber stuff sack.

I might add I do the same for my soup and daytime food (I eat every 2 hours). I tip all my cup-a-soup packets into one zip bag. I also unpack all my Em Cookies, jerky and dried fruit and split these into two zip lock bag - one bag the first part of trip, the other for the balance.            

6 Dec 2012

Joe and Sheryl have "left the building".

It was a joy to host these two American hikers, owners of Zpacks - ultralight gear manufactures who are walking NZ's longest trail - Te Araroa. They left Cape Reinga three weeks ago and arrived here in Auckland
two nights ago.

The trail goes right past our house so they once again dropped in for a welcomed hot shower, bed and "real" food.

They expect to arrive at the Bluff around the 2nd week of March 2013.

Here are a couple of photos taken outside our house on Milford Beach as they hit the trail heading South.