Thursday, 22 July 2010

Heel lock,wet feet and the other 63 grams

I've been wavering on non-waterproof shoes for ages. My mind loves the idea of just wandering fancy free without worrying about river crossings or wet feet. The simple fact is I don't like wet feet. That doesn't stop me thinking: A) I'll get used to it or B) When I tried it and didn't like it it was October and it wasn't a fair test. As a result, I've recently bought two pairs of trainers recently and returned them both. There was nothing wrong with either of them. The first was a pair of New Balance runnig shoes. Americans thinks a a lot of NB shes, and they were very nice. They weighed 250g a shoe compared to the 383 for my hedgehogs, the lacing really reduced heel lift and they were very meshy. Except they were a very snug fit on the toes. Next I bought some NF momentum shoes. Also vey nice. You can feel the airflow through them, which is what you want as opposed to WPB shoes. I took them home, walked around a while, admired my feet in the mirror. I decided to do a bit more research and having read a few other people's experiences, mainly this post on Blogpacking light I do have a strong feeling that I would end up going back to the hedgehogs. And I rarely cross rivers, to be honest. The shoes went back. Goretex gives you damp feet, but my experience is that having no lining gives you soaking feet. I think my main problem is that I haven't bought any new camping gear for a while.....I have got my eye on a Trailstar....In the absence of any retail relief I had a look at some new techniques to try.
Heel lock lacing really works. My hogs feel a lot less like they'll get lost in a bog now.
I have spent some money albeit a modest £3.95. This ricco battery charger weighs 63g with a battery. That brings the weight of my MP3 up to the 100g mark, nearly as much as my shelter and rain gear combined!!!(Using my cuben poncho with no guys or pegs- I know ultralight weight cheating!) Theres an alternative choice over at blogpacking light.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Coffee taste test

It's a super busy time of year for me. So while I've been drinking coffee by the gallon, I haven't had much time for blogging. I managed to do the taste test last Saturday but no photos- what a bloser.
Up for the test was my usual , a premium instant I guess you'd call it, Carte Noir. I generally think this is one of the better instants so I was interested in how it stood up to the others. There's been a fair bit of interest in Nescafe instant espresso so I had some of that, a cafetiere of Douwe Egberts Italian blend and of course the Via. I made all the coffees up according to their instructions, stuck a label on the bottom of the cup and got my mother in law to mix them up for me so I didn't know which was which. Then I tasted them all a few times, cleansing my mouth with water in between. Not the most scientific test ever but it gave me the results I needed.
What was interesting was how well the instants did compared to the ground. None of them was horrific when compared to the cafetiere cup. The significant difference was in the amount of flavour and aroma. Whether this would have become more obvious with the addition of milk I don't know. I didn't do it so I'll never know.
I did pair together the Via and the ground coffee. The two traditional instants had similar characteristics. The worst was the instant espresso. A nasty bitter aftertaste was the main problem. When you add the water, it fizzes slightly to create a crema-I don't know what they've added to make that happen but I don't trust it! The Carte Noir was suprisingly good. A definite coffee flavour but very little aroma. In my notes, I wrote 'a very light flavour when compared to the others'. Perfectly drinkable though. Next in the order was the Via. It had a taste which bore the greatest similarity to the ground. Again, however, it had a nasty aftertaste. In the end, I preferred the Carte Noir, despite the fact that it had less of a punch. Good news for my wallet! The ground coffee was identifiable and best, but not by as great a margin as I thought it would be. Don't take my word for it though, i'm not a massive coffee buff! In future, I'll continue to take the Carte Noir.