Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Fannying about

I spend a fair about of time fannying about with my gear. It's a replacement for time spent on the hill, in a way. It's also part of the reason for things like my obsession with not using stuff sacks. The main thing I've done is to pack and repack my pack, finding the optimum configuration for ease and comfort. I find it frustrating when people take ages to pack their bag the night before a trip but it's just because I know exactly what's going in and where. What I should have done more of is pitch and re-pitch my tarp, but, having a bit of spare time I spent a bit of time fannying around with that.
I wanted to see if short guys at the back of the tarp would help the space in the half pyramid- turns out it helps with tautness and protection as well. I've always tried to pitch things as close to the ground as possible, but the bivvy should help with wind proofing and I'll look for more sheltered spots anyway. The two sides seem to give more protection at the front and there's more depth for sitting.

The next thing I had a go with was a micro tarp I made a few years back. It was when I had strarted trying to reduce weight and had read Ron Turnbull's Book of the Bivvy. The trouble was, I was going from a full two person tent and it was a jump too far for me at the time. I had an army surplus bivvy that weighed over a kilogram and when I saw the Gelert solo tent in a sale, I swapped immediately- the weight was pretty similar. Steph's cousin is in the (un?) fortunate position of having to replace all his camping gear from scratch. Interestingly he's at about the same point as I was when I started to lighten up- all his old gear was a mixture of budget stuff and gear bought for other purposes (massive skiing down jacket etc). That equals serious weight. He's expressed an interest in a tarp and bivvy combo and I have an Alpkit Hunka I didn't really need any more. The tarp is PU coated nylon with paracord guy loops and line but it still only weighs 160g. Pitching with only four pegs, it gives an overall weight of about 600g which is pretty good. Ironically, now I've said he can have this stuff, I've set it up and it looks pretty inviting. I'm also passing on a Golite Dawn and he's thinking about getting a Rab Photon jacket. I've never preached to him about weight, but he's hefted my bag a few times on different trips. It'll be interesting to see the path he travels as he buys his stuff. I'll do an update on his gear on the next trip we go on.


The Dude Abides said...

This is really timely as I've been giving serious consideration to tarping this last week or so. Is that an MLD tarp in the first photo?

My issue is that I want an all in solution - so stable tarp with ultralight bivvy for 500g or under and can't decide if I need to introduce bug netting.

minimalgear said...

It's the MLD poncho tarp- all 110grams of it. Actually, that's not true because you need to add guys to it, but it sounds good ;) I'm still not 100% sure I really love tarping yet, but it's fun to play around with. Martyn still really wants the security of his tent, but I don't still have that feeling, so I've moved on from there I suppose. The bivvy I use is the Titanium Goat ptarmigan with zip up bug window in it- 190g for the whole thing- $90 plus postage (and customs if you get stung).Theres pictures on the blog somewhere. Morph over at Team IO has got excellently priced tarps in cuben- you should easily get yourself well under the 500g. It'll probably cost you as much as a new reasonably priced tent though...