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Thread: Hiking gear

  1. #61
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    Just went on a 2 night backpacking trip, and got to fully test some more gear.

    The D.light solar led lantern is a fantastic piece of equipment.


    Amazon.com: D.light Kiran Solar LED Lantern: Everything Else

    It was developed through Stanford as a part of an effort to deliver super affordable alternative technologies to poor countries, such as artificial light. This super handy solar lantern provides 8 hours of light on about 8 hours of charging, and is very bright for the size of the led bulb. It's plenty of light to see around camp or for a small room. It weight next to nothing, but is pretty durable. It charges very efficiently from what I can tell, and I will be taking it with me on every camping/backpacking trip from now on instead of a flashlight (the bottom of the lantern focuses the light into a beam too).

    I've also found a collapsible water container to be indispensably useful, like the 5 gallon ones they sell at walmart. I do believe it is prone to leaking small amounts of water, and I'm pretty sure it's from the opening, and not the container itself. However, I don't have confidence in how long the plastic will remain hole free, though it is very good in pliability and compactibility.

    The kukri: it's an awesome chopper for live wood, not enough for dry dead wood though, at least not the kinds I found locally. It's also a really good hammer, particularly for driving tent stakes into the ground.

    Survival blanket: I found this to be rather useful for retaining heat in my hammock. Hammocks have a known issue of allowing the surrounding air to rapidly sap heat away from your body by directly contacting the hammock (conduction). I found it doesn't really matter how many layers I have on, the compression still allows for heat to be conducted away from my body through the hammock, even when a "space technology" emergency blanket is placed in between. So, I improvised an alternative solution by attaching the blanket to the bottom of the hammock on the outside, thereby allowing body heat to be reflected back and helping to block wind/air flow without the body coming into direct contact with it.

    It actually worked, and would work a lot better after tweaking it to properly fit the design of the hammock. The asymetrical shape and the bottom entry make fitting it to the bottom problematic, and so I ended up having only about 2/3 of the bottom covered. Lo and behold, that night my upper body was actually WARM, while my feet/legs (not getting the emergency blanket treatment) were just as frozen as the night before. I was impressed by how such a small adjustment with such a measly piece of equipment made such a big difference. I was using a $7 space age blanket from Sport's Authority, supposedly better than cheap walmart versions, reporting to reflect back 90% of bodyheat.


  2. #62
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    I must also add another handy item to the list that is remarkably useful whether you're out in the middle of nowhere or traveling on an airplane. One of those I-go AA battery chargers for cell phones work beautifully to keep your cell phone charged/recharged for whenever you need it. I would NEVER leave on a camping trip without this, should I need my phone during an emergency, especially considering its feeble battery power.

    Amazon.com: iGo powerXtender Universal Battery Operated Charger:…

    And having some portable power is nothing without the right kind of batteries. Let me say this: normal energizer batteries SUCK. In fact, just about every battery on those store shelves SUCK. ESPECIALLY the rechargeable batteries they try to sell consumers which drain power just sitting in their packages and have a very limited number of recharges, and an overall inefficient use of power. So, i did some research on good rechargeable batteries that will be reliable for the long term, and serve as the only batteries I'll ever need.

    Well for $12 online, I discovered the "Sanyo Eneloop" rechargable NImh batteries. These babies work WONDERS. You can check out the numbers/ratings on these things, but they outperform any other store bought rechargeable battery by miles and miles. I've used them continuously for over a month now, and they perform better than any other AA battery I've seen. One pair can charge my phone at least 3 times over, compared to the less than 2 charges I usually get from store batteries which have higher rated energy capacity, but less efficiency than the Eneloop batteries. When running my camera, the thing never even reaches half power. I honestly think everyone should by a pack of these things and save themselves A LOT of money. Only $12 or so for a pack of 4 from Ebay or Amazon.

    Review: Testing Sanyo's Eneloop Low Self-Discharge Rechargeable Battery

    The Best Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers Of 2010 >> MetaEfficient Reviews

  3. #63
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    I'm happy with taking only an LED headlamp. Fire is also a nice campsite light because it weighs nothing and gives off light closer to the red spectrum, which affects the ability to see in dim lighting less.

    Another collapsible water container option is the Nalgene Cantene which holds around 3.5 liters of water. The wide mouth is good for cold weather conditions because it won't freeze shut as easily, and it's easier to fill with snow if you're melting it with body heat.

    Chopping anything more than around 4-6 inch diameter wood is best not done at all. The best tool is a saw, but even that can be hard work with harder woods like maple and oak. Soft woods (any coniferous tree) are easy to crosscut with a saw, and not too hard to chop in half with an ax with at least a forearm-length handle. Axes with longer handles are safer and more efficient. Axes work best for limbing trees and splitting wood. I rarely carry a saw or anything to chop with though, other than a small fixed-blade knife which can be used with a baton (large sturdy piece of wood with the weight of an axe striking the back of the knife) to chop or split smaller diameter wood.

    Good idea with using the survival blanket. Filling it with dead leaves or pine needles would provide significantly more insulation and warmth. A tarp or poncho would work well for this too. If they're wet, buggy, or dirty, you could put them into trash bags first. This also works as a sleeping bag replacement, except that the trash bags don't ventilate and accumulate condensation. Blue foam pads work, but become sticky and sweaty. The ultimate in comfortable hammock insulation is an underquilt, which is essentially what you create when you fill the undercover with leaves.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    I'm happy with taking only an LED headlamp. Fire is also a nice campsite light because it weighs nothing and gives off light closer to the red spectrum, which affects the ability to see in dim lighting less.

    Another collapsible water container option is the Nalgene Cantene which holds around 3.5 liters of water. The wide mouth is good for cold weather conditions because it won't freeze shut as easily, and it's easier to fill with snow if you're melting it with body heat.

    Chopping anything more than around 4-6 inch diameter wood is best not done at all. The best tool is a saw, but even that can be hard work with harder woods like maple and oak. Soft woods (any coniferous tree) are easy to crosscut with a saw, and not too hard to chop in half with an ax with at least a forearm-length handle. Axes with longer handles are safer and more efficient. Axes work best for limbing trees and splitting wood. I rarely carry a saw or anything to chop with though, other than a small fixed-blade knife which can be used with a baton (large sturdy piece of wood with the weight of an axe striking the back of the knife) to chop or split smaller diameter wood.
    I agree about the axe. Like with that tree you see in the hammock pic, I could probably take it down with the kukri I have, though it'd surely take some time. But it doesn't have the weight and leverage of an axe to handle large, dry, hardened woods with any ease. Indeed for those, it'd be best to use a saw anyway. Plus, when you're actually living in the woods, you'd more likely be working with living wood/trees anyway rather than fallen dried out stuff. I just wasn't going to do any heavy testing on anything living since I didn't need to (and it's probably illegal or something). But when i find a need... bye bye trees .


    Good idea with using the survival blanket. Filling it with dead leaves or pine needles would provide significantly more insulation and warmth. A tarp or poncho would work well for this too. If they're wet, buggy, or dirty, you could put them into trash bags first. This also works as a sleeping bag replacement, except that the trash bags don't ventilate and accumulate condensation. Blue foam pads work, but become sticky and sweaty. The ultimate in comfortable hammock insulation is an underquilt, which is essentially what you create when you fill the undercover with leaves.
    Great suggestions there. I'd carry an underquilt or sleeping pad, but they're too bulky for the load I already carry when backpacking. I want to make the emergency blanket thing work since it's weightless and takes up almost no room when folded. Plus, as you mentioned, I can probably fill it with leaves to really increase the insulation. I was going to try that trick within the hammock itself last time I went up there, but really didn't want to deal with packing in all the dirt and bugs with it :/. Packing that into the e.blanket under the hammock would be the perfect alternative. Can't wait to try it out!

  5. #65
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Default Hammock undercover leaf insulation and ticks

    One thing I just thought of is that if you fill the undercover with leaves, you might want to give the outside of your hammock a treatment of permethrin insecticide to keep ticks and other less annoying bugs from crawling into the hammock. Repel Permanone is the only brand I know of. One treatment might last all year if you never wash the hammock.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    One thing I just thought of is that if you fill the undercover with leaves, you might want to give the outside of your hammock a treatment of permethrin insecticide to keep ticks and other less annoying bugs from crawling into the hammock. Repel Permanone is the only brand I know of. One treatment might last all year if you never wash the hammock.
    Lol, good point. I already have the hammock ropes and hammock opening treated with permethrin as a barrier defense, with some spray from REI. I think I'll be adding an inflatable sleeping pad to my gear as well though.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Lol, good point. I already have the hammock ropes and hammock opening treated with permethrin as a barrier defense, with some spray from REI. I think I'll be adding an inflatable sleeping pad to my gear as well though.
    If you're adding an inflatable pad for warmth only, a closed cell foam (CCF) pad is probably a better weight-wise. An $8 stiff blue pad from Walmart will work, but I like the torso-length Ridgerest ($20?) because the ridges hold sweat away. I do find a hammock most comfortable with an inflatable pad. An insulated one will do (uninsulated ones are only good down to around 60F or so), but the warmest are Exped Downmats ($100+). You'd probably want the wide 25" one for a hammock. You could also probably get a down underquilt for around that price if you don't care about not being able to use it as a ground pad.

  8. #68
    Buddhist Misanthrope Samvega's Avatar
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    I can't stress enough about not going cheep on gear! If you need to buy used do so but that pack you have as an example is not the way to go, trust me here Risen! If you check Steep and Cheep, REI deal of the day and so on you can get some pretty amazing deals you just have to watch out for them, Sierratradingpost too, sign up with them.

    I am an EXTREMELY thrifty guy the only exception being my gear, it just isn't worth it and you will see what I mean if you start buying high quality stuff. Even my baselayers are wool and I won't spend more than $20 on a pair of pants (except as you see below which are well worth it) or $5 on a shirt.

    Anyway, here is what I use.

    Backpack:

    $270 - Granite Gear Nimbus

    or

    $90 REI Lookout 40

    Footwear:

    $449 - Meindl Hiking boots

    or

    $125 - Scarpa Quest Approach Shoes

    Jacket:

    $200 -Mountain Hardware Alchemy Softshell

    Hiking/Climbing Pants:

    $70 - Prana Zion

    Knife:

    $100 - Sog Seal Pup

    Flashlight:

    $195 - SureFire L2

    Gun:

    $650 - Walther TPH .22LR

    I also carry the following:

    Suture kit
    Ace wrap
    Flint
    Lighter
    Small ouch of dryer lint
    First aid kit
    Epi-pen
    Nail Clippers
    Tweezers
    Toolman
    Trash bag
    Headlamp
    Red LED emergency lights x2
    27 ounce stainless water bottles x2 (I climb a lot and plastic gets banged up, my pack will hold a bladder but I don't like them)

    Optional depending on what I'm doing:

    Two-way radios
    GPS
    Spare batteries

  9. #69
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    I disagree. I think you can do well to get the best quality for the least price. Sometimes, for some gear, you'll be fine cutting corners. For other stuff, you want the best quality you can afford. I'm quite pleased with the design of my $70 walmart backpack, and it has some great advanced features in it that make it as good and functional as any $200 pack. More expensive packs may have better internal frame and back design, but as long as what you have is comfortable, you're good. I might upgrade in the future though if i feel the need.

    My $120 top of the line waterproof columbia hiking boots were awesome and stylish, but too godamn small at even a size 14 x_x. I just put in an order for these to replace them after trying out another shoe from the same brand at a local store (the Salomon Quest 4d):

    Video Product Description!

    Salomon Mission GTX® Autobahn/Dark Clay-X/Black - Zappos.com Free Shipping BOTH Ways

    I' selling the black columbia pole creek boots right now for like $50 if interested.

    Then I plan on getting a rain jacket, the marmot precip:

    PreCip Jacket | Marmot Clothing and Equipment

    And a good wool baselayer soon, probably the LL Bean Cresta:
    Cresta Wool Midweight Base Layer, Crew: T-Shirts at L.L.Bean

    I could use some good suggestions for a light backpacking tent and a light sleeping pad, (don't need a full length one either). I'm thinking of getting the Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 and the POE Peak Oyl sleeping pad. I just wish trees existed everywhere so I could use my beloved hammock at all times.

    Big Agnes : Superlight : Seedhouse SL2

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samvega View Post
    I can't stress enough about not going cheep on gear! If you need to buy used do so but that pack you have as an example is not the way to go, trust me here Risen! If you check Steep and Cheep, REI deal of the day and so on you can get some pretty amazing deals you just have to watch out for them, Sierratradingpost too, sign up with them.

    I am an EXTREMELY thrifty guy the only exception being my gear, it just isn't worth it and you will see what I mean if you start buying high quality stuff. Even my baselayers are wool and I won't spend more than $20 on a pair of pants (except as you see below which are well worth it) or $5 on a shirt.

    Anyway, here is what I use.

    Backpack:

    $270 - Granite Gear Nimbus

    or

    $90 REI Lookout 40

    Footwear:

    $449 - Meindl Hiking boots

    or

    $125 - Scarpa Quest Approach Shoes

    Jacket:

    $200 -Mountain Hardware Alchemy Softshell

    Hiking/Climbing Pants:

    $70 - Prana Zion

    Knife:

    $100 - Sog Seal Pup

    Flashlight:

    $195 - SureFire L2

    Gun:

    $650 - Walther TPH .22LR

    I also carry the following:

    Suture kit
    Ace wrap
    Flint
    Lighter
    Small ouch of dryer lint
    First aid kit
    Epi-pen
    Nail Clippers
    Tweezers
    Toolman
    Trash bag
    Headlamp
    Red LED emergency lights x2
    27 ounce stainless water bottles x2 (I climb a lot and plastic gets banged up, my pack will hold a bladder but I don't like them)

    Optional depending on what I'm doing:

    Two-way radios
    GPS
    Spare batteries
    Jesus...you can climb a number of consecutive 8-thousander (I mean in meters) with all this gear
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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