Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gone Backpacking....& Other Odds and Ends

Probably of little surprise to many of you who read my blog, and thanks for that, I am currently backpacking on the Appalachian Trail and making every attempt to practice what I preach. I should be back and blogging again the first week of May or perhaps shortly before. Thanks very much for your willingness to sort through my rants and for your frequent e-mails and participation in our hobby. I hope you too can find the time and ability to take a trip very soon to experience the fantastic wonder and beauty available to each of us. In case you've never had the chance to visit the Appalachian Trail, I attached some pictures of common scenes in central Virginia. Hopefully I'll have better pictures on my return.
I also wanted to mention a couple odds and ends merely to keep content alive. First, I wanted to mention BACKPACKER magazine as I've thrown some discontent their way in the past for their total avoidance of the lightweight backpacking cottage industry. On page 59 of their most recent magazine, BACKPACKER mentioned Gossamer Gear, ULA-Equipment, Z-Packs, Granite Gear, Six Moon Designs, Mountain Laurel Designs, and even the description of SylNylon and Cuben Fiber. In a section regarding how to stay in shape, lightweight long-distance hiking legend Andrew Skurka was mentioned. Although these were only brief mentions, it shows a growing resspect for the lightweight backpacking movement. I can only hope BACKPACKER will continue to grow in their acknowledgement of the lightweight backpacking industry which will serve to benefit those of us who have lugged packs for more than a few hours and appreciate the benefits and utility of lightweight gear. So, giving praise where it is due, good work BACKPACKER.
Also, I wanted to mention that Six Moon Designs is coming out with an ultralight shelter for taller folks. It will be different from their Lunar Solo design, but will be made of similar materials. I believe the plan is to release it near the end of summer. Personally, Six Moon Designs holds a special place in my backpacking hobby as I use their Lunar Duo from time to time and really like it. As a matter of being a gear geek, I had intended on purchasing a lighter tent and decided on either their Refuge or Refuge X (Cuben version) as discussed in a previous blog when offerings from Gossamer Gear and Tarp Tent simply weren't big enough. Depending on the new tent, I may reconsider.
Lastly, and only some of you may find this interesting, but I decided to use a water purification method I haven't tried before on my section hike after noting Virginia has received quite a bit of rain lately and there will be more to come during the hike. The rain will stir up ground sources and water will be murky or otherwise in the nasty category. Because I only use chemical purification (in the form of tablet this time and not liquid), I really have no means to sort out the gunk. In the past I used a nylon bag which I purchased from Walmat which worked really well. I found it in their wedding supply section and it is a very small bag with tightly woven nylon which I figured I could use to sort out any unwanted water gunk. Thinking that this bag wouldn't be enough, I decided to put a heavy piece of felt between the bag layers. The intent is to put the side of the bag on top of my water container and use a rubberband to cinch it all down. Thereby the water would need to go through two layers of nylon and a thick layer of felt before getting into my bottle and then of course the water in the container would be treated with chemicals. I have no means of verifying the scientic results, but I'd really like to see how effective this method is without the chemical treatment as this arrangement is very similar to what is inside many pump-style filters. The best part, it weighs nearly nothing.
With that, I'm off to go hiking. I hope all is well with everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

Best wishes.

1 comment:

Philip Werner said...

Having just come back from an AT section hike myself, I hope you have a great trip and eagerly await your next post. -Philip