Saturday, 25 October 2008
For a while now I had been considering the Golite TiPi offerings, firstly the hex and then the Shangri La 3. Finally got around to purchasing a Sage Green Shangri La 3 the first observation when it was erected is that there is a lot of space inside, in actuality there just about 6 square meters of floor space. However, its size is also its disadvantage the Shangri La is a ground area hungry shelter and requires a site that is at least 3 metres by 3 metres and preferably one that is 4 x 4 metre site. For this reason the shelter had limited use on my recent trip along the Ås till Åsleden. Notwithstanding its area hunger the shelter is undoubtedly the ideal shelter should you be looking for extra space.
As for the pole, I always thought that the hiking poles were the way to go. I use Pacer Poles and Neil Johnstone at BPL USA provided the way to go.
For a ground sheet I use a Gossamer Gear Polycro sheet that has been modified for the shelter.
So the weights are
Shelter (no pegs, ropes etc) 705 gm
Pole (extra section) 36 gm
Groundsheet 110 gm
Total weight, not including stakes 851 gm, lighter than my beloved Integral Designs Uni Shelter.
This shelter will be my preferred winter shelter because of its space and its sturdiness in adverse weather, though I agree with Chris Townsend, a double ended zip in the door would make this the perfect shelter.
Friday, 24 October 2008
As winter approaches in the north the nights get longer and more time is spent in a shelter or tent. Usually I carry a book with me but I find that reading by torch light far from ideal. In the past I have carried my iPod Nano and listened to music. On this occasion I decided to take some of the Podcasts from Outdoors Station to listen to, as I have always found it difficult to concentrate on them at home. The first podcast I listened to was the Cape Wraith Trail. Listening to the story was relaxing with the sounds of the skylark, the sea as well as the background music interspersed throughout the episodes. Given that the nano battery life is pretty good these days it is apparent that listening to podcast at the end of a day on the trail with a long night to come allows the walker to unwind and consider the following days plans. Furthermore, the information included within the podcast provides ideas for the next trip whether it be in relation to gear or location. I now need to find more podcasts of similar content for my next trip.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
On a recent trip along the Ås till Åsleden I carried both the Aquagear Water Filter and the Aquamira Frontier Pro Filter. Why? Well it seemed like an ideal opportunity to compare these filters when hiking on lowland trails where the water is more likely to be affected by chemicals than bugs.
Some basic facts
The Aquagear is a bottle and filtration system weighing 160 gm (when the filter is wet), the bottle, according to the label holds 18 fl. ozs. but delivers a little less than 500 ml. I use the bottle along with a 500 ml Platypus bottle. Thereby carrying not more than 1 litre (1 kg) of water at any time. The amount of water carried depends on the location and one day on the Ås till Åsleden I crossed very few streams and consequently had very little water left at the end of the day.
The Aquamira Frontier Pro is a filtration system and weighs 68 gm with wet filter, an added 1 litre Platypus would take the weight to about 95 gm, a weight saving on the Aquagear.
The primary differences between the 2 systems apart from their physical weight are;
(i) Aquagear has a filter pore size of 2 microns, whilst the Aquamira has filter pore size of 3 microns.
(ii) The Aquamira has a Pre filter of porous plastic micro filter, the Aquagear has a mesh filter for removing large particles such as leaves.
When I arrived at the campsite on the second night on the Ås till Åsleden I found that the well was almost dry and required a lot of pumping to get water up from the bottom of the well to fill the Platypus bottles, but I also noticed that the water was very red probably from rust so I immediately seized the opportunity to test out both filters. Very quickly the Frontier Pro stopped flowing, the pre filter had “clogged” with the very fine rust sediment however, the Aquagear continued to flow albeit slowly. Both filters did provide crystal clear water the Aquagear required less effort and time to provide sufficient for the evening and the following morning. Admittedly if I had more pre filters for the Frontier Pro then I would have had sufficient clean water but I would probably have “clogged” up these as well. To me though the final test came the next day when I had access to crystal clear water.
With a couple of rinses I was able to remove most of the colour from the water in the Aquagear bottle whilst cleaning the pre filter of the Frontier Pro was less successful, but it did improve the flow rate.
In summary, could I have done things differently, possibly but it is apparent to me that whilst both options may filter out most of the stuff in the water, it is my opinion that the Aquagear provides not only the filtration capacity (within the prescribed limits) but also allows for field cleaning which does not require me carrying extra pre filters when the first one is no longer useable.
From now on I will be carrying the Aquagear and if necessary Aquamira tablets for use when I am concerned about the real nasties which are not removed by either filter.
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Just back from 5 days on the Ås till Åsleden in Skåne, Sweden. The Ås till Åsleden (Ridge to Ridge Trail) is part of the 1000 km long Skåneleden trail system which celebrates its 30 year anniversary this year. It was a great trip, but I must remember to check the hunting calendar next time, as my first day out coincided with the first day of Moose hunting season.
There will be more to come in the following days including reports on some gear including "How to entertain yourself on long dark nights", "My experiences with 2 water filtration systems", "Golite Shangri-La 3 first thoughts" and "Cooking with a small pot"