Trail Shoes & UK Bog – A cautionary tale

After retiring from the Cambrian Way last week with foot problems, it may be useful just to mention what the problem was.

I’ve always been rather hesitant to use Trail Shoes for anything but typical summer conditions or trips of a couple of nights at most, in fact this was the first time I’ve used them for a longer backpacking trip.

My 11 days and 237 miles through the Welsh hills in almost incessantly wet weather and boggy ground conditions have convinced me more than ever that Trail Shoes are just not suited to prolonged treks where the ground could be consistently wet and boggy for days on end. At least not for me. Continue reading

‘Y’ Pegs for Softies

 

MSR Groundhogs, or any decent alloy ‘Y’ peg for that matter, are my peg of choice for most situations. But unless you’ve developed calluses like old boot leather on the palms of your hands, they’re also about the most painful to tease into hard ground if a sizeable rock’s not at hand. Continue reading

Budget Down Booties

For a bit of luxurious warmth in your tent or bivi at night, you can’t do better than a pair of down booties. And if you don’t want to fork out a small fortune for something you might wear once in a blue moon, these budget booties would be worth a look. Continue reading

15g Coffee Filter

Being a Yorkshire man to the bone I generally have nothing but tea flowing through my veins. For most walks my standard pack includes four Yorkshire tea bags for every day.

Lately though I’ve discovered the joy of sitting outside at my evenings Wildcamp drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee. And as much as I normally prefer tea, I have to say that fresh coffee just rounds a day in the hills off perfectly.

So I’ve been on the look out for a cheap lightweight coffee filter.

I spotted the ‘MSR Mugmate’ on Amazon which looked perfect, but baulked at paying £16 for a piece of plastic and gauze. But a quick search revealed that identical unbranded filters sell for less than £6. so I ordered something called the Finum Brewing Basket.

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It’s really intended for brewing with loose tea, but works perfectly with ground coffee. It also fits perfectly inside my Alpkit titanium mug, bridged across the opening and holding the bottom of the filter just off the bottom of the mug.

Basically it’s just a plastic frame holding a fine stainless steel mesh basket. Holds back the coffee grounds very well, and easily washed in the dish washer at the end of a trip. It also comes with a lid which doubles as a drip tray once you remove it from your mug.

At only 15 grams, and for less than £6 including postage, it’s now a standard item in my pack.

And as for MSR……well they can keep their logo if it’s going to cost me an extra £10 for the privilege.

Fire Maple FMS-117T stove : Gear Failure

Fire Maple 117T titanium stove

Fire Maple 117T titanium stove

The Fire Maple 117T remote canister stove has been my main stove for the past couple of years and overall I’ve been extremely pleased with it’s performance. Recently however part of the remote valve has become detached rendering the whole stove unusable. In the absence of spare parts it may now be destined for the bin. Continue reading

The Cuben Crisis – MLD Duomid Pole Mk2

Camped on top of Whernside

Camped on top of Whernside

A month or so ago I posted about a new pole set up my MLD Duomid. This used a length of carbon fibre pole to join a new pair of trekking poles I’d bought (Fizan Broad Peak). It was a neat solution and very light.

After a couple of nights recently in extremely high winds, I’ve been forced to go back to the drawing board and look again for a solution. And it’s forced me to think about one of the major short-comings of Cuben fibre as a tent material. It just doesn’t ‘give’. Continue reading

TGO Challenge 2015 : Gear – used & bruised

Taking a break on Carn Mairg

Taking a break on Carn Mairg

Overall I think I pretty much got my kit right for this yeas TGO Challenge. Most things worked pretty well, not many went unused, and I can’t think of anything I forgot.

Anyway here’s a quick summary of how I got on with some of the gear I took. I’m only going to comment on items I’ve started using this year, or one’s which excelled or expired. Continue reading