Friday, August 21, 2009


It is time to talk about gear. I used most everything I had and can easily see conditions having come up that would have caused me to use what I did not. At the start of the trip my pack wieghed, including my camera bag and about 1.3 liters of water, 27 pounds. That placed me squarely in the middle of our group vis-a-vis pack weight. Adam had a comparable weight but definitely had more water: Konrad had perhaps 3 pounds less and started with about a half liter of water (he and Andy routinely carried that little as Andy really knew how water rich the area was): Matt started at 32 pounds with two liters of water: Andy had 38 pounds and was carrying extra everything so he could keep Konrad's load light. For the five nights we had planned each of us contributed a single group dinner. I know Andy carried considerable extra food. I carried my usual extra day's worth of food and assume Adam and Matt did too. We also had an abondance of canister fuel. Something like 3 big canisters and a small one. I had a big one and little one. Way more fuel than we needed. I never touched the big one and the little one had plenty left. I don't know how exhausted the other canisters were. I had fully planned to have more hot meals for breakfast and hot tea. Had it been colder I would have. As It ended up I came home with two hot breakfast left and all my teabags. Were I doing this trip alone one large canister would likely be more than enough.

 Could I have used my Gossamer Gear Maraposa? Sure, though I think it would have been less comfortable than the McHale Speed Bump as it has had a tendency to slip on my shoulders. I'd have shed 2 pounds going with the Maraposa but the extra comfort was worth it (I'll have to give the Marsposa another go sometime though).

 The Miuntain Laurel Designs Trailstar worked quite well. It is spacious beyond compare for one hiker and no doubt a true gram weenie would balk at the trail weight of 25 ounces for shelter, stakes, lines, and 6x3' Tyvek floor. I don't think I'll ever set it up as fast as MLD claims it can be done. I know I have to work on getting a tight pitch. All that room meant I could be a bit less picky about site selection. Andy had to carefully site his Tarptent Squall so he and Konrad wouldn't slide all over the tent floor. I'd take this shelter again.

 I think the coldest it ever got was mid to upper 30s. We had frost at Guirar Lake but only just a hint of it. My Golite Ultra 20 Quilt was more than enough. My Integral Designs Hot Socks kept my feet comfy. I never used the down balaclava funding my Possumdown Bernie sufficient the one time I used it at Guitar Lake camped cowbow style under the stars.

 As for clothing it worked out just fine. Longsleeve Thorofare Shirt did fine service keeping the wind off and I didn't feel the lack of a more traditional windshirt like Anfy's Montane Featherlite (I've one of those too but it doesn't fit as well as the Thorofare). Nothing special about my other clothing. The Keen sandals were a definite hit though. The sandals worked very well especially when fording streams. As astute readers know I've a knack for not managing to cross streams without getting wet. The sandals let the water in and out and given the wonderfully dry climate things dried off quite quickly. While I don't think i'd wear the Keens on a trip on root and rock laden trails of the Midwest or East Coast on the less cluttered trails of the High Sierras they're keepers: at least when the weather is warm.

 Food. Nothing special here. The buritos from Packit Gourmet were OK. My cheese and dry hot saussage were a good thing. The scones, as reported didn't work but that's because of my failure. I think Andy's beef and bean chili was a clear leader in our meals. If you're willing to put the time in for the home prep and time on trail to rehydrate ingedienrs you can do very well by your digestive needs. Just remember to bring a pot scrubber, a piece of onion bag works well, to clean your pot.

 On the electronics front you have seen some of those results already. Everything you have seen and heard here has come from the iPhone 3GS. I recharged using the PowerMonkey. I didn't really use the solar cells to recharge the batterypack. I should have run tests. I know it works and works very slowly just not exactly how slowly. I also had my Samson Zoom H2 audio recorder which I very much like except for one thing: the on/off switch. Twice the switch ended up in the "on" position and my batteries drained away twice. Very annoying and it means I have much less high quality audio than I'd like. My aging Canon point-and-shoot 710IS worked as well as I could hope. Nothing special there. Finally, I had the Garmin Colorado 400t which we used to check we hadn't missed the turn for Big Arroyo Junction. I still think the display is lousy and signal acquisition times are woefully slow.

  ** Ken **

 Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Ken Knight's posterous

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