Sunday, 24 May 2009

Energizer Headlights

I've been using an Energizer 3 LED headlight for a while now but I've just been looking at the energizer website and there a few other interesting models that may be worth checking out.

The Advanced Pro 7 Led looks interesting, water resistant to IEC 60529 IPX4 standard and with a multi position switch which is better IMO than a single switch to cycle through.

£19.99 seems like a good price.

Energizer Advanced Pro 7 LED, Batterycity. co. uk

Thursday, 21 May 2009

New gear Reviewed, Aku Croda

Boots - Aku Croda

Initial Impression

I’d been looking at the Aku Croda since last year but only recently got a pair. They seemed very comfortable straight from the box but I find I’m pretty tolerant when it comes to footwear. They’re lighter than my Meindl Borneo’s and are Gore-Tex lined although I’m always sceptical about so called waterproof boots. They look quite narrow but I think that’s down to the way the laces run down to the toe like rock shoes. They’re also cut away deeply at the heel which should allow for plenty of flexibility.

In The Field

Comfortable from the start worn with a pair of Salomon long Ski socks. I found they were grippy on most of the wet rocks I came across. I crossed quite a few streams by way of stepping stones and didn’t have any concerns and they offered good grip on the wet gravel path from the Shelter stone up to Loch Etchachan and across a snow filled gully. They were stiff enough to edge across the snow and wet grassy areas and also to kick into the wet icy snow. I did end up with one sock slightly damp at the toe, not sure what happened as I had a pair of ankle gaiters on and water would almost certainly get in at the heel cutaway before it came in over the tongue. To be honest it doesn’t bother me one way or the other, I simply don’t trust boots with waterproof liners and in any case I’m not sure if they did in fact leak.

Money well spent, all day comfort straight from the box, not too heavy for what they are (1411g pair size 9). Waterproof? Who knows, I’ll treat them with Nikwax when/if I clean them.

Footnote ;-)

I used a pair of cheap Trekmates Grasmere ankle gaiters simply to keep crap out of my boots, I’d cut the underfoot straps off but they stayed in place just fine and even though I stepped into about 6” of wet peat my boot stayed dry (strangely enough it was the other foot that felt damp)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

New gear Reviewed, Pacific Outdoor Ether Thermo 6

Sleeping Mat - POE Ether Thermo 6

Initial Impressions

I got the Ether Thermo 6 just after returning from the last trip. It turned out to be a Long rather than regular but as it wasn’t much heavier and they didn’t have any regular in stock I kept it. I’d tried it twice and found it pretty strange compared to a normal self inflating mat, I had the feeling that I would fall off it. You have to inflate it yourself and it takes a fair few blows but it packs nice and small and was comfortable to lie on but didn’t provide much support if I leaned on my elbow on it.

In the Field

The mat is fine as far as sleeping comfort and insulation goes, the weight isn’t excessive and it packs down well however it is an effort to inflate even in the space of the bothy, trying to inflate it under the fly of a tent is too much trouble for my liking. Due to the length it kinks when you’re inflating it which makes it more difficult/awkward. I’m still not keen on the ‘Sleeping on a Log’ sensation and it doesn’t provide the same comfort as a Self Inflate foam mat if you’re leaning on your elbow to cook.


I guess I prefer Self Inflating foam mats even if they don’t pack down as small. I feel they provide a bit more sitting/elbow leaning comfort and only need topping up after they’ve inflated themselves. The mat is good enough and does what it claims, it simply doesn’t suit me.

New gear Reviewed, PHD Minim 500

Sleeping Bag - PHD Minim 500

Initial Impressions

I’d ordered the PHD Minim on the last day of the sale prior to setting off on the last trip. The amount of loft was amazing and even with a Half Zip and stuffed into a Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil roll top the weight was only around 900g. There seemed to be plenty of insulation and the hood looked good so I had high hopes for it, intending to use it as a winter bag and only taking it this time as it was the lightest bag I had even though I expected to be too warm in it. I opted for the Drishell outer and the bag looked the business, it came with a storage stuff sack and a normal stuff sack.

In the Field

I spent both nights in the bothy and I didn’t feel particularily warm. The 1st night I changed into my spare base layer and socks but felt a bit cold around my lower back. This may have been due to the lack of shoulder baffle but as I tend to wrap the bag around my shoulders with the hood up it’s more likely, given that I’m pretty skinny, on the amount of space in the bag as it isn’t particularily close fitting for me. The 2nd night I only changed into my spare socks but ended up sleeping with base layer, trousers, fleece, wind shirt and a Montane Flux and it still took a hot cuppa soup before I could get over to sleep. I’ll assume that my (quite possibly) slightly damp base layer was to blame this time as my feet were toasty in dry socks. Both nights I used a Pacific Outdoors Ether Thermo 6 mat, the 1st night on the wooden bench, the 2nd on the wooden floor.


I‘m slightly disappointed as I expected the bag to over perform given the time of year, I know that I need about 5 deg more than the rating for a Snugpak bag but didn’t expect to need it on the PHD, clearly I sleep very cold. I’ll certainly be careful to check the dimensions of the next bag I buy, particularily the width as I feel that too much extra space is part of the problem. The Mountain Equipment bags with the elasticated mid section might be worth considering but I’d be reluctant to buy another bag without a shoulder baffle in any case.

New gear Reviewed, Gregory Z55

When I came home after my April trip I decided to upgrade some of my gear before the next trip, the 3 main items were rucksack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat but I’d also changed boots, trousers, waterproof jacket and base layer.

Rucksack - Gregory Z55

Initial Impressions

I choose a Gregory Z55 based on the back system but when I got it I wasn’t too impressed with some of the features. It’s a fairly fussy design in a few areas and I didn’t particularily like the hip belt pockets as they prevented me from adding belt pouches of my own for cameras and so on. As they were mesh that ruled out their use for anything that might need to stay dry. I wasn’t keen on the large front pocket/pouch or the lack of a separate snow lock extension and the lid flap seemed to offer little protection as it didn’t extend far down at the sides. The hip belt design seemed pretty strange as there was a square pad right in the middle which felt as if it kept the hip belt from fitting snugly in the kidney area. The Vango Air Canyon packs from a few years back had a similar style back system but without the pad, the hip belt being a floating type held away from the frame, a better method IMO. One other thing that I hadn’t taken into account was that the curve of the frame made it tricky to pack the tent poles vertically, that isn’t so much due to the pack in my case as it’s more to do with the end struts on the Terra Nova Laser. The bottle/side pockets are a bad design IMO, on the Gregory website it looks like the bottle pockets are short and made from mesh which would make it easy to grab a bottle when wearing the pack, in fact they’re not pockets as such as the mesh part is attached to the grey stretchy material which is in turn part of the front pouch/pocket. The height of the opening makes it impossible to either remove or replace a bottle on the move. In addition the side compression straps cross over the pocket at an angle both trapping anything in the pocket and failing to compress the pack properly if there’s a bottle in the pocket.

Lid really cutaway at the sides (Plastic strap Keepers Added to Keep the straps under Control)

Hipbelt Pad

Pockets and Compression Straps


The only modifications/additions I made to the pack were to unthread the top tension straps and slip a plastic dog clip on each side to enable me to attach a chest pouch/camera pouch and to add some plastic webbing clips to stop the various straps flailing around. I also added a loop of shock cord to the dog clip on the right side to hold the feed tube of my hydration system.

Dog Clip Added to Shoulder Straps

In the Field

I have to say I was surprised by the Z55, it held everything I intended to take with room to spare. It’s always tempting to use the smallest pack possible but while it’s easy to pack gear efficiently at home it’s more difficult when you’re trying to strike camp in the rain so a little extra space is worthwhile IMO. I found it very comfortable with around 15kg, the shoulder straps are thin enough to actually form to your shape (in my case anyway) and while it’s never going to be as stable as a climbing sack with a alloy spar reinforced foam pad it wasn’t a problem for me as I wasn’t scrambling/climbing. I don’t use a rain cover but my Duvet jacket was stored in a basic nylon stuff sack at the front of the pack and stayed dry. I found the hip belt pockets useful for sweets/snacks (right side) and other odds and ends (Left Side) I used a small CCS 2 pocket pouch to carry my CardCam and Compact camera, it sat horizontally on the left shoulder strap with the strap D ring clipped to the dog clip I’d fitted to the top tension strap.

CCS Pouch attached to Shoulder strap and secured by Attaching to Dog Clip


I’ll probably keep using the Z55, the design isn’t perfect but it’s comfortable and that’s probably more important. It’s not unreasonably heavy at 1575g but it still feels tough enough to take a bit of abuse. Considering I only paid £70 in the Cotswold sale so I’m happy enough.

More Laser Mods

Laser Tarp?

One of the things that I don't like about the Laser is the fact that the inner is fixed. I find that trying to re-insert the end struts and get all the vent cords etc untangled makes pitching awkward. In addition and probably worse is the fact that the inner gets soaked if you need to pack the tent wet. There are a few things that prevent the inner being removed, the vent cords for one, but I think I've managed to sort the problem and gain an additional side benefit.

I removed the vent cords completely which allowed me to detach the inner, however with the inner removed there's no support for the end struts. What I did was make a webbing tape that runs the full length of the tent and that replicates the function of the inner with regard to supporting the end struts and pegging down the fly. I've just made a prototype so far so I'll need to order some suitable webbing.

Using 25mm webbing for the tape the 1st thing I did was measure the distance between the strut pockets on the inner tent tapes, I folded the webbing and sewed it up to form a vertical pocket at each end. The tape extends under the fly in the same way as the original tapes but I sewed a D ring as a pegging point (Permits the use of Y or V pegs as well as Skewers) and incorporated a Dog Clip and ladderlock. The fly end shockcord hooks to the dog clip and can be tensioned via the ladder lock. I can keep the fly shockcord attached to the dog clip so that the strut is raised into position when the tape is pegged out. You can see a split ring in the pics where the new longitudinal tape crosses the pole tape, this won't be on the final version, it's there simply as I didn't have webbing long enough. The longitudinal tape still needs attached to the cross tape to keep everything in line but I'll use a velcro loop on the final version.

I added a glove hook to the fly end shockcord at each end which allows me to hike up the fly for venting by clipping it to the now redundant vent cord rings attached to the inside of the fly. Obviously if you need to un-vent the fly due to a change in wind direction then you've got to go out to do so.

The tape complete weighs 94g wet (it was raining when I made it) I could offset this by cutting the original tapes off the inner tent but I'll keep them on in case I ever want to sell the tent.

It seems to work okay, I can now keep the inner separate from a wet fly for packing, hopefully be able to get the fly up and tensioned off more easily and also use the fly on it's own as a semi-tarp if I want.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Laser, not quite what I want but close enough to keep me working on it, I really think this has cracked it for me, can't wait to try it out for real.

End tape with D ring pegging point, ladder lock tensioner and Dog Clip (Fly shockcord unhooked)

Fly Tensioned, Fly shockcord hooked to Dog Clip

Layout from Inside, Logitudinal Tape crossing Pole Tape (Split Ring Temporary)

Fly Hiked Up for Venting

Viewed from Inside, The Fly Shockcord is simply Tied to the Strut here, I've now added a Glove Hook to clip the fly up to the Redundant Vent Cord Ring.

Pegged and tensioned Off.

I only need a way to connect the inner to the tape at the pointed ends, the tape on the original version pulls the inner out at this point. It isn't strictly nescessary as the inner still attaches at the corners to the fly shockcord loops. (I'd previously added glove hooks and an extra 2mm dia shockcord loop to each of the corner tie-outs to make it easier to attach/detach the inner)

Laser/Phreeranger Hydrostatic Head, Update

I've had some e-mail discussion with one of the guys at Terra Nova regarding the Laser/Phreeranger. Opinions vary (obviously) but it was pointed out to me that the Phreeranger rather than having a higher Hydrostatic head figure is actually much lower. I'd mistakenly claimed that the figures were 8000mm/4000mm Phreeranger/Laser respectively, in fact it's 80cm (800mm) not 8000mm which puts the Laser well ahead.

Apologies for that.

I still think the Phreeranger is a better design though :-)

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Return to the Cairngorms

After my last trip which was a bit of a disaster I'd been looking forward to going back. The weather at the start of the week had been brilliant but by the time I was set to go the forecast was looking less promising with low cloud and high winds and an area of low pressure settling over the UK. My gear was sorted and remained pretty much as it was in my Sorted post with one or two additions/omissions.

The drive up to Braemar was blessed with pleasant weather even if it was a little hot in the car. Things started to fall apart as soon as I arrived in Braemar, I tried to phone home only to discover that my phone battery was almost dead. I quick run around the shops ended at the filling station and one car charger added and £8 lighter the phone problem was sorted. I had to hang around until 4.00pm before I managed to make contact and then set off towards Derry Lodge.

The weather was really nice, blue skies, sunshine and just a slight breeze. I wanted to get up to Loch Etchachan so decided to head up to the Hutchison hut and pitch up. It started to get a bit colder as I came up to the fork in the path and was definitely getting chilly at the hut, by this stage it was 7.30 - 8.00pm. I spotted out a couple of likely pitches but the bothy was empty and as I'd never stayed in a bothy before the temptation was too much. I didn't unpack too much at first, half expecting a group of TGO'ers to arrive in which case I'd have moved out and let them have the extra space. I made something to eat and by 9.00pm decided to settle in for the night. A weird thing happened though, I kept thinking I heard voices, not close by but as if they were being carried on the wind from some distance, as it turned out it was the soles of my boots on the wooden floor boards (I think).

I decided that if the weather forecast was correct, rather than sticking to my plan of going straight up to Loch Etchachan next morning with the intention of making Beinn Mheadhoin and Derry Cairngorm before aiming to pitch up again at Lochan Uaine I'd go back down to Glen Derry and head up the Larig an Laoigh to the Fords of Avon and then up Loch Avon to the Shelter Stone before going up to the saddle to Loch Etchachan. I figured that if the cloud base was low and the weather turned nasty I could drop back to the Hutchinson hut but if the weather was reasonable I could still make Bein Mheadhoin/Derry Cairngorm and ultimately Lochan Uaine. Fed watered and with plans laid I settled down for what turned out to be a comfortable night.

I awoke at about 7.00am on Friday morning but was lazy and stayed put for another hour or so. At that stage the conditions weren't too bad with a bit of sunshine coming through the bothy window. I leisurely breakfast and a bit of footering around saw me ready to leave at 10.00am but by now the conditions were definitely looking less promising.

There was a stiff breeze with just light showers on the way back down to the Larig an Laoigh but by the time I reached the high point and could see Dubh Lochan the rain was pretty persistent.

I was a stones throw from the Fords of Avon refuge when a walker dashed out to collect water, crossing over with care I discovered 3 (AFAIK) TGO'ers sheltering in the refuge for a cuppa, sheltering is a fairly loose description as the rain was blowing straight in the refuge door. I stopped briefly, wished them well and turned for Loch Avon.

The 1st part was a bit nasty, the path as far as I could tell alternated between grass, boulders and peaty bogs but I was soon at the high point looking up Loch Avon towards Coire Dhomain and Feith Buidhe. The walk up the shores of Loch Avon was pleasant enough, wind and rain weren't a problem as they were coming from behind so I kept my jacket open. I'd stopped about halfway along the Loch when a really big gust hit and lifted a plume of spray which was carried almost the length of the Loch, of course it didn't happen again after I got the camera out. I soon arrived at the end of the loch and figured it was about time to get a hot drink.

I initially stopped right on the Loch shore but decided to over the high ground and look for shelter on the other side. It looks like a great place to camp in better weather but at the time every potential pitch looked like it could easily end up under a couple of inches of water. I tried looking for the Shelter Stone but ended up settling for a shelter stone which offered complete protection from wind and rain. I soon had the meths burner fired up and a cuppa-soup followed by biscuits and coffee hit the spot.

Of course the problem with finding such a pleasant spot is that the prospect of having to leave and head up into less visibility, higher winds and more rain isn't too encouraging. I always find it takes a good 10 minutes to loosen up after a stop but it didn't take (too) long to reach the saddle.

The visibility was down to 10m at times and never improved much above 15m so after passing the small un-named lochan north of Loch Etchachan I switched on the GPS, checked my position and typed in the coordinates for the Loch Etchachan outflow. There were a few places where there was no wind whatsoever and yet I recorded 25mph+ winds only a few yards away. When I reached the outflow the wind was really blasting up between Creagan a Choire Etchachan and Stob Coire Etchachan, hitting over 35mph and with visibility down to 10m or less. I crossed the outflow to take the track down the south side of the burn and in a brief clearing saw the Hutchison hut.

At this stage I hadn't really decided what my next move was going to be, clearly the weather was deteriorating quicker than the forecast had predicted (The most up to date forecast I had was from Wednesday at 16.00) so I decided to stop at the bothy and sort myself out.

I was pretty surprised to find there was already an occupant but we started talking and both decided that we might as well stay in the bothy. Louis had come in from Coylumbridge via the Larig Ghru, Lurcher's and the plateau leading to Ben MacDui but had descended and found the Hutchison hut. Friday night was a wild one, what had looked like potential pitches outside the bothy earlier had turned into feeders for the burn. Louis was intending walking out to Braemar the next morning to meet relatives who were on the TGO and as I hadn't been able to contact anyone at home I decided to walk out with him although at this stage I didn't really know what my next move would be. It was a wild night with the wind hitting the bothy side on and sounding like it might blow the windows in but I fell asleep around 10.00pm wakening once around 4.00 and eventually surfacing at about 7.30 as we'd planned to leave at around 8.30.

We eventually set off at 9.00 and with Louis setting the pace made a quick dash to Derry Lodge. I had toyed with the idea of stopping off at Derry Lodge to asses the situation and even considered going over to the west coast to either Fort William or Glencoe but by the time we reached Derry Lodge and with little sign of an improvement in the weather I decided to walk out with Louis to the Linn of Dee. Louis was intending to walk into Braemar to get the bus home and declined my offer of a lift. I drove out to Braemar phoned home and pretty much decided to bug out and try for an earlier sailing back home. As it turned out all the sailings from Troon had been cancelled so I had to transfer to Cairnryan and drive down for check-in before the 8.00pm sailing.

I find that once I've made a decision to bug out then it has to be ASAP, of course an hour after arriving home I'm thinking I should have stayed. Part of the problem this time was that I hadn't been able to contact those at home, the low cloud meant I couldn't or wouldn't attempt to get high enough to get reception (previously I'd only managed from Carn a Mhaim) and attempting to do so meant walking out to the Linn of Dee at which point I wasn't enthusiastic about walking back back in to Derry Lodge. I didn't even get to use the tent this time which is pretty annoying so it looks like I'll have to go back again, 3rd time lucky hopefully.

I had some new gear to try this time and before setting off I'd formed a few opinions on what would work for me and what wouldn't, as it turned out there were a few surprises but I'll deal with that later.

All thing considered it wasn't too bad, with the benefit of hindsight I should have stuck it out even if it meant sitting around at Derry Lodge for a day. The lack of a reliable form of communication is an issue for me and I'm thinking that maybe a Spot Tracker would help, something to look into anyway.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Evolution of Light

Up until recently my choice of tent light was a 'Luxeon' Camping lantern bought from Lidl, I've seen these available with a variety of brand names including Silverpoint (The logo on mine is the same as on a Silverpoint) Now while the light was fine for family camping in a 3 man tent I found a couple of problems when I used it in a solo tent, first the led is pretty bright and as it's hung from the inner tent it's quite close to eye level and is a bit like being flashed by a camera, the other problem is that as it's a lantern style it creates it's own shadow, an eclipse effect which reduced the amount of light in the very place where I needed light, at floor level. In addition it's pretty heavy at 205g and unlike my headtorch which uses AAA batteries the lantern used AA's.

My next tent light was found by accident in Dunelm Mill fabric shop, an Osram Dot-it 3 Led light. These can be found in a variety of places i more than one version. Mine is the Osram Dot-it Dimmer which unlike the standard model can be used with 1,2 or 3 LED's switched on. After a bit of messing around I ended up drilling 2 holes on the edge and threading a piece of 1.5mm guyline through it to allow me to hang it from a loop on the inner tent. This little lamp works really well, the LED's are barely visible as they're almost recessed and as they point straight down there's no shadow. It cost about £5 and weighs 56g with 3 x AAA lithium batteries. The only problem, and it's a minor one is that as you simply press the 'glass' to switch it on you need to reverse one of the batteries before packing it to avoid it being switched on accidently.

Finally I was pointed in the direction of the Silverpoint Mini Lantern which I bought from Original Outdoors Gear , £4.99 and free postage if you opt for 2nd Class. I ordered it on Sunday night and it arrived on Tuesday. The Mini Lantern uses 2 x CR2032 button cells and provides light for up to 25hrs. According to the information on the packaging it switches off automatically afer 2 hours. It's really small and only weighs 32g but unfortunately it suffers from the same problems as the Luxeon (Silverpoint) Lantern in that it's blinding to look at and it creates a shadow, much worse than the bigger model in fact. The problem with the lantern style is that light can't be directed downwards through the base so what I came up with was to cut off the top of the lantern at the hanging loop (junior hacksaw), remove the top ribbed reflector and hang the lamp upside down allowing the light to be directed downwards. This solved the shadow problem and by wrapping a piece of masking tape around the 'globe' avoided the problem of being blinded by the LED. I needed a method of suspending the light so I drilled 2 holes through the battery compartment screw cap and threaded a piece of 1.5mm guyline throught the holes, as there wasn't enough room for knots on the guyline I simply melted the ends of the guyline and flattened them into nail head shapes to prevent the cord pulling through. The Lantern now works much better, directing the light where I need it, the LED no longer blinds me and to top it all it now only weighs 20g. I could reduce this by shortening the 'globe' to half its current length.

So how bright is it? well it concentrates the light better than the much larger 3 x AA lantern which is probably better in a solo tent, is 185g lighter and about £20 cheaper, no contest in my opinion.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Phreeranger pt2

I picked up another Phreeranger a few days ago, cheap and a newer model than my other one as this one has a taped fly and the inner has a full mesh door in addition to the plain door. I was pretty sure my original EB model had a full mesh door and this confirms it. Unfortunately the fly sheet on this one has seen better days as the tape is coming off in places, it also looks as though someone has attempted to re-seal the seams with silicone. That aside I now have a nicer inner tent but the groundsheet doesn't seem any better than the other one. I might be tempted to ask Scottish Mountain gear about replacing the ground sheet, that would cost around £50 going by the prices on the website, alternatively I'll just use a footprint.

I'm not sure what to do about the fly taping, I left it pitched up over night in the rain and the inner was still dry in the morning but it would be better sorted. I tried sticking it back using an iron but it looks like the tape has come away with the pu coating attached. The fly has lost any water repellancy that it had but I'd simply treat it with Grangers Fabsil. I'm not sure what to do about the seam tape, I could leave it as it is, try to replace it completely, seal over it with silicone sealant, something like McNett Sil-Nett or simply remove it and seal the seams with silicone. I assume any work on the seams needs to be attempted before treating the fly with Fabsil. One other option is to do nothing at this stage and use the other un-taped fly for the time being.

I'm seriously considering updating the Phreeranger and using it rather than the Laser. Some things I'd considered were;

1. Replacing all the guys with 1.5mm Dyneema
2. Making up a new peg set split 50/50 between Camcleat Y and the heavier of the ti skewers from Terra Nova (Voyager type)
3. Replacing the poles with DAC poles, (not sure if this is even possible let alone practical)

It might seem crazy to spend so much on what is basically a 20+ y/o tent with an unknown history of use/abuse but the reality is that I've been through an F10 (Vango) Nitro 100, TN Voyager standard (returned) and now the Laser and I still much prefer the Phreeranger. Ultimately I'd like to try to make a new fly but there's a world of difference between sewing up a few stuff sacks or replacing a rucksack strap and sewing up a fly. That said my wife's a qualified seamstress (not in tentmaking I'll grant you) so it isn't beyond the realms of possibility. Maybe a winter project? you never know.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


This time next week I should be at the Linn of Dee. After the last trip and suffering with a too heavy pack I've been working away at getting it down from 19-20kg to something a bit more manageable. I'm pleased with how it's worked out, weighed my pack this morning at the local Post Office and it's just a shade under 12kg including 4 days food and camera gear. To be honest I'd never have got close to 12kg if I hadn't bought a new pack, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, well thats not strictly true, I could have used my summer weight bag and Alpkit Wee Airic and the weight would be about the same as it is now, the difference is that the bag and mat I'm using should be much warmer. I saved about 2.5kg over the gear from last time through replacing my old pack/bag/mat, the rest of the weight saving came from;

a. cutting down on gear (still got enough to be comfortable though)

b. Getting my camera gear weight down thanks to MSO.

I'd been using a DSLR and we had an old Olympus C5050z that we shared, that has now been replaced with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 which is strictly speaking my wifes but I get to use it 1st as she doesn't go away until July. I tried to convince her that what she really needed was a Panasonic DMC-LX3 but unfortunately she can read me like a book. The FX150 weighs in at 190g including card & battery, the E-3 with lens/card/battery weighed 1420g, adding spare cards/batteries/pouch etc took that up to 1894g.

Last trip was my 1st time out with the TN Laser, this may be it's last. I was pretty close to taking the old Phreeranger as the lack of grief compared to the Laser is well worth the extra 200g but I need to give the Laser another chance. I still might change my mind though.

This time it's a 1st real run out for the Gregory Z55, PHD Minim 500, POE Ether Thermo 6 and a Montane Venture so I'll see how it goes. Hydration wise I'm using the the new Eliminator which I know will work, my cooking set up is the same as before so no problems there. One other thing that'll be new to me, Trekmates Bamboo Base Layer. I'm always intrigued by alternatives, I've tried synthetic (who hasn't?) and Merino (worked really well) but you have to keep looking at what else is out there.

Wet Gear, 998g

Laser, 1710g

Food Pack, 1 day, 500g approx

Cooking System, 546g. Fuel 350ml 324g

1st Aid and Misc, 270g