Archive for March, 2009

I love my Possumdown gear.  Gloves, socks, vest and sweater.  Second best warmth to weight ratio on the planet.  Goose down is first.  This fabric is a merino wool blend.  But it does actually use possum fur and is made in New Zealand using NZ possums.  The link I published for the sweater is no longer img_4387working so I tracked down another place to buy one.  Try here or here.  Considering the exchange rate it comes to about $165 US including shipping.  Since it’s so hard to find and cheaper by about $25 than when I last checked, I’ll be buying another.  possumdowngloves

BPL continues to carry the gloves and socks, although they’re back-ordered.  The Shop New Zealand website linked above has gloves and many other Possumdown options available.

Try the gloves if you don’t want to commit to the sweater without seeing the fabric.  Everyone seems to love these gloves.  Very soft and fluffy.

The breath-ability factor makes the sweater a nice layer for active use.


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I’ll be giving a free presentation on lightweight backpacking at Northwest Nature Shop, 154 Oak St., in Ashland Oregon on Thursday April 2 from 6:30-8:30 PM.  All are welcome from day hikers to experienced backpackers.101_0135

Hope to see you there!

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Another day hike; a little higher this time, but these light weight shoes handled it with ease.  Even when we had to cross an occasional snow drift.

Although I don’t think they are waterproof, they’re water-resistant and at 13 oz. per pair these Hardrocks rock.  

PS  They also come in a Goretex mid version, which of course are waterproof.


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Jayna has wide feet.  But not so very long.  Hard to fit.  And fit is the single most important thing in hiking footwear. img_5152a1 No matter how light it is, if it doesn’t fit properly forget it.  New Balance is known for providing wide sizes and this boot is no exception.  Shown here in a 7.5 4E, the MO1500-GT gets it’s first trail outing.  It fit fine right out of the box.  Goretex provides semi-breathable waterproofness and the Monogusset tongue is new to me.  This tongue is connected on one side all the way to the top of the boot.  This keeps in in place much better than conventional tongue design.  How do they keep thinking of new things for these basic features? 

Reasonably light weight at 23 oz each they will see some duty under a backpack this summer.  img_5149

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After posting  a review for the Hyperflow earlier this year I received more information from MSR regarding the problems I encountered.  It seems they had hyperflow_xlsome faulty elements in a few of their early filters.  Here’s the full text of my first review and the comment MSR posted.                         

In addition to this they have sent me a new filter to try.  Nice customer service!  Today I took it out on the trail for the first time; a day hike just west of Galice, Oregon. 

It does put out some serious volume: 3 liters/minute, nearly 3 times my other filters.  I back flushed it per instructions and re-assembled it for water pumping duty again.  It worked flawlessly.  And the size and weight are exceptional.  Although it needs more testing, my preliminary trial was a resounding success.

So next it goes on a backpacking trip.  I’ll be taking a maintenance kit with small replacement parts for insurance.  Stay tuned.

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img_5106Been wanting to try out these used ultra light poles on the trail ever since I bought them from an online forum.  At 6 oz for the pair they are way lighter than my current favorites, REI’s Peak UL Shocklight, 14.5 oz a pair.img_5092

So here they are on the Mule Mountain trail.  Those are hair bands from Fred Meyer I attached to the small loops on the handles.  I put them around my wrists so I can use my hands without dropping the poles.  These worked pretty good, but sometimes they got caught on the buckbrush where it encrouched on the trail. 

I liked the poles lightness, but missed the traditional strap from my old ones.  With the GG poles I had to actually grip the handle.  With most poles the straps are attached at the top of the grip and loop around your wrist in a way that puts the pressure on your hand so you don’t have to actually grip the pole.  See illustration:art-6-21

So, in this case, heavier is better for me.  If I could attach a strap to the GG poles at the top of the grip, I would prefer them.  Until that happens I’ll stick with my REI UL Shocklights.  Here’s a couple more photos from the hike yesterday.  img_5095


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