Monthly Archives: July 2011
A week before the deadline and the Ultralight A to Z video series is fully funded! For those of you who aren’t aware, Hendrik Morkel writes Hiking in Finland, a really amazing and informative blog. He is really knowledgeable and great at sharing his ideas and tricks, most of which are being featured in his upcoming video series which will be offered for free on Vimeo and Youtube hopfully soon. You can still help fund the project on Kickstarter.
Okay so this is my first video for the blog. As you might be able to tell, I still haven’t got the courage to talk on the video but I’m working up to that. 🙂 This is a basic demonstration of how the Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter works. I know it’s not a UL system at all, even though it is the lightest traditional type filter I could find, but Richard drinks so much water in a day that even Aqua Mira Drops are just impractical. What we love about it and what this video shows is just how fast and effortless it is to use. Of course this is with clean tap water but if that’s how fast it is with good water it should work decently for murky water. The other great thing is how well and easy it works with all of our Platy Soft Bottles. It really is a nice filter and it fits what we need perfectly.
I’ve been going over my dream gear lists and tweaking all my choices and making sure I had everything just the way I wanted and I got to thinking about the reasons why I love a Quilt for my Sleep System. So here are my top 5 reasons I love a quilt!
1. Low Weight: You just can’t get a full mummy sleeping bag at the low weights that a quilt can offer. You don’t use the bottom of the sleeping bag so why take it? Since your body smashes the insulation underneath you beyond the point of usefulness there is no point in carrying twice the insulation you need or use.
2. Customization: Even if you’re not handy at sewing you can always find someone who would be willing to make a custom quilt, giving you exactly the features you want and none of the features you don’t. Also this usually means you can get it in a custom size. Which for someone who is significantly shorter (or taller) than the norm, like me, you could get your weight down even further by cutting out extra material you’re not using anyway.
4. Better temperature control: It does take some practice to get your system to the point where you can confidently take it out and get it right every time, but with a little planning and the right equipment for you you can get a whole new level of usefulness out of your system without having to buy two or three separate bags for backpacking. By using the insulation you’re already wearing on your body to bolster a quilt’s temperature rating you can get a bag to be good much lower than it would be by itself without carrying anything extra.
5. Great for Side Sleepers: This is probably my favorite reason of all. I’m not just a side sleeper who can’t fall asleep on my back at all, I’m also a wiggler. I can sleep in any position and wiggle all I like in a quilt and I’m much less likely to end up waking up cold or tied into a knot, and woke up cold or from a claustrophobic fit. Also it’s lots easier to stay on a sleeping pad when you don’t have a slick sleeping bag in between.
And those are the top 5 reasons I love a quilt! What’s yours?
I’ve been sick for most of the week and have spent my time stuck indoors as any good gear-head, researching new gear and clothing. The most interesting thing I’ve found so far I felt deserved a post. It came from the most unlikely place, The North Face. It’s not the place I usually look for ultralight gear and frankly I don’t usually look for gear at all since their pricing is usually not worth it. But I’m sick and bored so I was poking around places I wouldn’t normally and I’m pretty glad I did because I found The North Face Verto Jacket. It is a wind jacket made from 7 Denier Pertex Quantum— 100% nylon micro-ripstop nylon much like the outer shell of Mont Bell’s Ex Light Down Jacket and the Men’s Jacket is reported at 3.2 oz and the Women’s is at 2.4oz. These are weights that are pretty impressive for a major company especially North Face, which is not really known for breaking edge gear.
I was skeptical of the durability of the fabric as a shell under pack straps especially since Mont Bell warns buyers of their Ex Light Jacket about sharp objects, high abrasion situations, or the occasional campfire spark being able to rip the 7 Denier fabric used in that jacket. The issue here is, I’m not really sure what Mont Bell thinks is a high abrasion situation and since I could not find any backpacking reviews on the TNF Verto Jacket I did the next best thing. I checked all the backpacking reviews I could find on the Mont Bell Ex Light Jacket. Since the fabric is close, I suppose it’s the best that can be done, for now. anyway as I understand it, 7 Denier fabric is indeed sturdy enough to withstand the type of rubbing from backpack shoulder straps that is common for ultra-lighters. I’m not sure if I’d test it with a 50lb pack especially since I haven’t laid hands on the jacket, but I feel confident it should hold up to 30lbs or less. Of course if I ever wear a 50lb pack I’d just jump off a cliff, so the sturdiness of the jacket wouldn’t matter anyway. I’d love to hear what other ultra-lighters think about this piece and I can’t wait to get my hands on it at some point.
We recently got given a packet of Better Oats Oat Revolution Instant Oatmeal through Angel Food and I thought I’d compare to Quaker for backpacking. First off, they both weight the same according to my scale at 1.25oz per packet. Since this was true I assumed that the calories would also be the same. Not true, the Better Oats has 160 calories to Quakers 100 calories and the Better oats package doubles as a water measuring cup with a line that say, fill water to here. The fact that the Better Oats has more calories per ounce should be enough to make them superior for backpacking but they do one better, all of the fruit flavors have real dehydrated fruit in them! This does mean that it takes a tad more water to rehydrate the fruit bits but the added nutritional value, flavor, and calories with no added weight really makes the Better Oats Oat Revolution Oatmeal a no brainer! I personally like to add some syrup over the whole thing for added sweetness and a low weight calorie boost.