Labels

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vargo Tiad XE alcohol stove

Rating: 
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Don't remember for sure. Less than $30/35 perhaps.

Summary

This stove works as advertised. It'll heat enough water for your meal and a hot drink. But there are issues.

Pros

Reasonbly light, but there are lighter stovesDuel fuel designBeing titanium it's strongBurns fairly hot

Cons

Big pain to fill/refillOdd sized stand for my particular pot

I've used this stove perhaps 40 times in the past year or so. And while it's not a bad stove, it's not a great one either. My biggest issue is filling and refilling the stove. The fuel "capsule" cap is removed from the stand and taken apart. Filled to approximately 1oz and the cap replaced. Every freaking time.

Other alcohol stoves that have an open top are much easier to cook longer because of the easier refilling procedures. Ultimately, that's the main reason I choose to replace the stove with another alcohol stove. That review will come later when I've used it a few more times.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jordan Hot Springs June 2014

This was my second trip to Jordan Hot Springs. The last time was in 2010. This is a fantastic area to backpack into. We went in from the TJ Corral trailhead up the Little Bear Trail to the Middle Fork of the Gila River. This route to Jordan Hot Springs begins with 750 foot climb over two miles (give or take) climb before topping out. From there we begin a gentle decent into Little Bear Canyon. This is one my favorite sections on the entire hike. Towards the end of Little Bear Trail the canyon narrows rapidly and becomes a slot canyon with a spring that feeds the Gila.

We got to the Middle Fork of the Gila about 9:30am and we took a short rest before pushing off for the hot springs upstream to our campsite and lunch. From here on in, it's a water hike. You will get your feet wet. This is where the trip differs from the last time. Sometime in the last couple of years a massive flood came down the canyon and washed out most of the established trail. So it was walking on the rocks and sand for the next two miles. Kind of a pain to tell the truth of it. I don't know about you but sand is the worst. Next is steep climbs. Ugh. But I digress, back to the trip itself.

Once we reached the hot springs we found the east side of the canyon to have had a lot of camping spots at the lower end washed out. Being higher up the side of the hill, the hot pool is basically unchanged since my last trip. The west side of the canyon was basically unchanged since my last trip. Which is good considering that most of the camping sites are here. For the rest of Saturday most of us alternated between the pool and napping. A very pleasant afternoon indeed.

We were up and breaking camp fairly early as we had a five and half hour hike ahead of us and then. An additional six plus hour drive home that afternoon/evening. Hiking out we backtracked the two miles we walked upstream the day before to the junction with the Little Bear Canyon trail. The difference here we continue downstream instead of going back up Little Bear. The remaining six or seven miles trail down stream on the Middle Fork of the Gila was washed out or covered with sand making the walk out a quite a bit more work. Honestly, taking my time and carefully placing my feet on the rocks was a lot easier than the frigging sand. Other than that, it's just as beautiful as before. Glad
I went and I look forward to other trips on other routes into the Gila Wilderness.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Haunted Canyon

Setting up my hammock after backpacking into Haunted Canyon this past weekend. But, what I was thinking about? Would that Mountain Lion I spotted two miles back up the trail while hiking in, come into camp during the night.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Merrell Mykos Water Shoes

I recently purchased a pair of Merrell Mykos Water Shoes for backpacking trips that involves a lot of water hiking or water crossings. This pair of shoes is the imediate predecessor to the current Merrell water hiking shoes the ( citation needed ). As far as I can tell the main difference between the two is some extra material just behind the the toe guard on either side of the shoes and an improved heel band for keeping the heel from slipping. The sole is identical on both shoes.

I'm doing a three day trip into Aravaipa Canyon soon and I'll update this post soon after.

Update:

These shoes worked very well hiking in Aravaipa canyon. They drained well, and supported my feet very well walking on and through dock gardens. I recommend these shoes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Dutch Ware Dutch Buckle

I received my Dutch Ware hammock suspension Dutch Buckle today and of course the first thing I did was inspect and install them on my hammock suspension. My first impressions are a mixed bag. While the buckles are totally functional and no doubt will do what they're supposed to do. However, they are a little rough from a production standpoint. They look more like a prototype than a production product. Not a big deal but just something I noted. I'll be going out next week for a camp out and I'll post photos and a quick follow-up then.

Update: just got back from a four day three night camping trip using the new Dutch Buckles on my hammock setup. All in all I liked the buckles. They make it a lot easier to adjust the whoopie slings along the tree webbing to center the hammock when one tree is much larger than the other. Of courses the the main use, hanging the whoopie slung off the buckles is incredibly easy. Good product.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Warbonnet Traveler DL Hammock

I received my Warbonnet Traveler 1.1 DL Hammock (hereafter the hammock or traveler) and the hammock sock (more on the sock in another post) a few weeks ago. First thing I did was to weigh it and compare it to Warbonnet published weight of 19.5oz. Good news, my Traveler 1.1 DL was only 18oz! Next, I inspected the hammock and with exception of some wobbly seams here and there, the workmanship is excellent.

Of course the next thing was to hang the hammock. The first thing I noticed was how much better this hammock is to sit on/in camp chair wise. My other hammock is an ENO Double Nest and between the traveler being a double layer and made from ripstop nylon it makes for a lot less stretch in the hammock when seated.

I hung it with its structural ridgeline at the proper tension and spent the night. Interestingly the hammock was too taught. It actually felt hard, not uncomfortable but not nearly as comfortable as the next night. The following night I hung it with a deeper sag (the ridgeline was just a bit slack) and that was a fantastic nights sleep. Almost perfection, the flattest lay ever. Side sleeping was awesome. I may have to consider shortening the ridgeline for future (I like the ridgeline for hanging stuff) trips. I'm taking the hammock out this weekend and will update this post soon.

UPDATE: I took the hammock out for a two night trip this past weekend and used both the hammock and the hammock sock. I wanted to see how warm the bottom of my hammock stayed with minimal hammock inulation. It did a remarkable job of creating a dead air space under the hammock even with the top portion of the sock open. The traveler was just as comfortable as at home and a bit easier to hang than the eno because it a tad smaller. Definitely worth my investment in these two pieces of equipment.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gerber Epic Sheath Knife (first impressions)

When hiking and backpacking I always carry a multi-tool. However when you just need to quickly cut some cord or spread peanut butter on a bagel a small sheath knife is much quicker and convenient. Which is why I recently purchased the Gerber Epic. On first inspection it appears to be made well for the money. MSRP is $55. However you can buy it all day long for less than $30. It's a small knife with the blade being just under 3.5 inches and the overall length of about 7.25 inches. That ratio makes the knife heavy at the handle, more on that a little later.

The sheath is made from (I think glass impregnated) plastic. It's designed with a positive locking function to the knife. You will probably have to hold the sheath from moving when pushing the knife hard enough to "lock". This is likely an ideal knife if you're kayaking or rafting as it won't get water logged like leather or cloth and there is a drain hole at the tip. The size, weight sheath make this ideal for hanging the knife upside down from a PFD or neck lanyard. It's not ideal for wearing at the hip unless it's on a heavy thick belt that will stand up to the pressure to push into he sheath until it locks into place. Also, because the knife is handle heavy it will flop around on your hip belt unless its a thick belt. I personally will put it on my pack strap or hang it from a lanyard around my neck. Will try both and see what works best for me.

Out of the box the knife wasn't dull but not particularly sharp either. I did sharpen and hone it to a much keener edge. You will likely want a sharper blade as well. I'm going out this weekend and will update this post soon.