Monday 4 September 2023

Older not wiser

 It's been quite a while. Ten years ago was when my second son was born and while we've been on a few trips, I kind of lost the urge to write about it. 

Though Those trips were far from ultralight, they relied heavily on my ultralight gear. I'd carry for my younger son as well as some of the gear for my older if it didn't fit in his bag. Everything would go in a golite pinnacle and we'd sleep in the hogback. Invariably the trips would require compromise for distance and location. The hogback didn't do well in exposed windy situations. The whole ultralight buzz also seemed to have died off a bit in the community as people started to add weight back in and the gear became more mainstream. I didn't really feel fired up in the same way moved on to running and left off the blog.

Things have changed though. My eldest has done his DofE and got really into camping and we did a lot of good stuff around reducing his base weight for his trips. He actually used a Six moons lunar solo on those trips. Martyn who used to be my hiking partner moved to Brazil a good few years back. He's left all his gear and it's been in my loft for ages. He's said my eldest can use it now, so he's inherited the best part of a grand's worth of gear. It's been fun looking through and getting together a dialled in kit list.

Finally, my youngest is now old enough to really get some distance under his belt. It all culminated in a recent trip to the Lakes-our first proper ultralight trip. My eldest was keen to film it and I said I'd put together a trip report


Tuesday 29 August 2023

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Back from the hills

The trip went well, the weather changed after the first night and stayed good, kit was spot on, Rhinogs behaved as expected. Here's a photo to wet your whistle...

Thursday 4 October 2012

Bag packed

I've gone with the Gatewood cape and the Enlightened quilt. Pack with food but not water is around the 3.5kg mark. The weather looks pretty reasonable and hopefully we should miss the worst of the precipitation which is Friday evening so no extra waterproofs. My bag's propped up against my new gear closet- more on that later.

Monday 1 October 2012

Off to the Rhinogs

At the weekend I'm making a return to the Rhinogs with Martyn. It's the first trip I've been on for  quite a while, so there's plenty of kit decisions to make. The weather looks to be changeable and I do'nt feel quite as brave as I have done in the past when I was a little more gung ho. I think probably the poncho tarp is out, but I do want to use the Gatewood cape. If it's really windy i should really take the trailstar. The real question is whether to take waterproofs too- I have gone with the Gatewoodonly for at a similar time of year. Then there's the quilt question. I have the bpl 750 quilt but it weighs twice as much as my enlightened quilt. I can supplement the warmth of the enlightened quilt with extra down clothing, but maybe I should go with a synthetic in case it's really damp. I'm definitely taking my honey stove. I've had a good go with it on the family holiday as a beach cooker and it's good fun. I am taking a bag of twigs though as I'mnot sure of the dryness of any wood I find, which cancels out a lot of the fuel weight savings. Plus I'm taking a meths stove as a backup. Whatever happens I'll shoot some video and make a post when I get back.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Back again

I'll try to get something up soon-promise. I've got new gear, trip reports and ideas to post, it's been incedibly busy though. Here's a pic to be getting on with.

Thursday 23 June 2011

The sh*tting trowel

Wild camping is made up of a series of activities that either make or break your enjoyment of the trip. One of my first trips was a cycling trip around the Ring of Kerry (No sniggering at the back!). That's where I was introduced to the fine art of taking a dump in the great outdoors. An activity akin to that other bastion of a good trip- wild swimming, and so the label, 'wild shitting' was born. A stout saxon label that described it perfectly. On that trip, we used our spoons to dig the hole, the ultimate ultralight implement, but so enjoyable was the activity, I soon upgraded to a real trowel. So of course, what to call it but a shitting trowel. (The companions to the shitting trowel were my piss sandals, used for midnight calls of nature). I'm not the only person to find it a peaceful and contemplative activity. 'Made in England by gentlemen' detailed a trip up the CDT where the author took a photo of every 'poo view' for the entire 6 months.
My first trowel was a good old folding mini entrenchment tool. It dug nicely, cut through heather roots well and had a nice big blade. The handle was always stable but I was a bit nervous of it folding back. It also weighed 150grams. When I began to lighten up I traded it in for a plastic B&Q garden trowel which I bought as a pack of three for a pound. I took the slimmer trowel, reduced the width even further, shortened the handle and drilled holes in it to reduce the weight to a much more acceptable 50 grams, the same ballpark as the legendary orange coghlans trowel.
This was still pretty heavy, however. A snow stake weighs 25 grams and is certainly usable as a trowel. There are tradeoffs here, however. The width of the blade is not so efficient as it's so narrow. It's not so comfortable in the hand and I tend stab a hole in the ground rather than scoop. The rounded end is no good for cutting through heather roots. It does, however double as a tent peg, especially for high tension guys such as the main guy on the Gatewood.
Then I saw the Rob Kelly potty trowel (Americans are much more polite than us Brits about bodily functions it seems). For 10 grams, you can get a fully functioning trowel with a nice wide blade. I splashed out and in a couple of weeks it was here. Stright away I was out to dig a hole in my lawn. It feels nice in the hand despite the thin nature of the titanium. You can use it like a normal trowel and it scoops well. It is certainly very strong, amazingly so for the weight. The main downside of it is that the extremely short nature of it makes it much more difficult to get to the bottom of the required 6 inch hole. Rob also does a 'Big dig' which is bigger and comes in at around 25 grams. I think as a trowel, that it's probably better to get that size. On the other hand, I generally only use the trowel for 5 minutes in a weekend, but I carry it for hours. A little faff doesn't bother me, it's still a step up from the snow stake and much cooler to own!

Which is my best trowel? The B&Q, without a doubt- comfortable, useful, efficient but 5X the weight of the potty trowel.

P.S- apologies for the frequent use of the word 'shit', but I'll leave you with a quote from an American (Stephen King I think?)
"If he stepped in Sh*t, then write that. 'He stepped in sh*t.' don't work around it. but also don't make a habit of overusing it." (Although I suspect I may be guilty of the latter!)