24 May 2013

Cuben Fiber Rain Jacket

At last weeks Tramping Club meet many members asked about my Zpacks Rain Jacket. For those members and my blog subscribers, once again John Abela answers all your question in this very good article.


23 May 2013

Dried Food Packaging

Following on from my last post my paper bags have arrived. Pretty impressive.

100% unbleached greaseproof paper
Totally Chlorine free (TCF)
Made from Scandinavian spruce trees
Natural barrier - not chemically treated
No petroleum products

The size is 19cm (7 1/2") x 16.2cm (6 3/8") x 5.7cm (2 1/4")

I did a weight comparison. 20 paper bags weigh 97g - verses 83g for the same sized zip lock bags I use.

However, the plastic bags must be carried out and the paper ones burnt as I go. Plus environmentally friendly.

Here's the link for NZ purchases 

Box opened ready for use
Here are a couple of pictures:

Gives you an idea of size

Note the greaseproof look

19 May 2013

Re-packing Your Food

I use Backcountry freeze dried food. I repackage their food into small zip lock bags as their packaging is in heavy foil. I have done a calculation on weight savings and on a 10 day trip this dispensed with 450g of weight.

Last week I was at our Tramping Club's monthly meeting - the theme was lightweight gear. Several members "exposed" their pack and pack items.

The best tip I picked up that night was from Hideo who said he does the same, but repackages into paper bags. Even lighter but more environmentally friendly as he doesn't have to "pack in pack out" - he just burns the packaging as he goes! Another simple idea.

No sweat about bags breaking or splitting if damp as they all go into the waterproof/mouse proof Zpacks cuben fiber Blast Food Bag

Thanks Hideo   

Re-designed Hip Belt Pack Pockets

During my stint as a "trail angel" for Joe Valesko from Zpacks (he and his wife hiked the length of NZ recentlyon the TA Trail) I mentioned his hip belt pockets, whilst having waterproof zippers, still leaked.

During his trail hike experiencing NZ weather, he agreed. Joe's theory was the water was entering from the top sewing seam of the zipper. On returning to the US, Joe tinkered with some new designs. He came up with a simple solution that works well.

Not only are these new pockets waterproof (Joe tested them in the shower!), but much easier to use. I always found the zippers a bug to open and close as they sat on a horizontal plane.

These are not on his website yet, but if you are interested, I am sure Joe will make these for you. To explain - these are like a tube with an elastic opening, much like side pack pockets. To close, you just fold over and clip shut.

Here are a couple of pictures.

Pocket open
Pocket closed

18 May 2013

Pack Liners

I remember the days when we used those huge yellow pack liners in our 2.5kg Macpacs. Many a hiker I see on the trail still uses these weighty items. For those of you who have gained significant weight loss through lightening your major items like tent, shoes, sleeping bag, pack and cooking gear, now is the time to concentrate on shaving off the grams on the "bits and bobs".

If you have a reasonably waterproof pack - like my Zpacks Arc Blast (seam taped cuben fiber) and use a waterproof pack liner there is no need to use stuff sacks for sleeping bag, tarps, insulated jacket. I see may a hiker fixated into this practice. Most of these stuff sacks are a heavy grade silnylon.

I save valuable grams (and space) by stuffing all the above items into my cuben fiber pack liner  loosely. This also decreases pack volume used as there are no gaps. I use a Zpacks cuben fiber pack liner with valcroe roll top - it's about 15g, but comes at a price - $US16.95

For the budget conscience, have a look at LiteTrail NyloBarrier Packliners. Made from a plastic film that is much more durable than common packliner material, 50% thinner and 35% lighter. Designed to fit a wide variety of backpacks, NyloBarrier packliners provide plenty of room for most lightweight gear kits.

You can purchase these HERE