Publisher’s Gear Guide
Nov 23, 2021 at 9:00 am #3733032
Companion forum thread to: 2021 Publisher’s Gear Guide
Backpacking Light owner, founder, and publisher Ryan Jordan’s commentary on the hiking, camping, and backpacking gear he’s been using this year.Nov 23, 2021 at 1:59 pm #3733061
What size zipper is on that Locus Gear Khufu DCF-B? I remember being interested in those at some point but then was under the impression that they use #3 coil. Is it #3 or #5 these days?Nov 23, 2021 at 3:32 pm #3733071nunatakBPL Member
#3 AquaGuard on mine. Yes, I know… But still working.
I do not use that shelter often on the Plateau, where a #5 slider needs replacement every few seasons.Nov 23, 2021 at 7:05 pm #3733087
Ah, oh well. Looking to replace my old DCF Duomid soonish (probably 6 slider replacements on that thing over the years), but maybe I should just follow your lead and quit using such shelters on the PlateauNov 24, 2021 at 10:59 am #3733126Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Are the rbhdesigns Vapor Mitt https://www.rbhdesigns.com/collections/gloves/products/ultralight-mitt a piece of gear that you still use OR did they “fall out” of your favor?Nov 24, 2021 at 9:02 pm #3733173
Ben: mine has a #3 zip also. No issues so far. I don’t use it in the desert (much) though.
Ken: I retired the (too-light) Featherlite Mitts (BPL version) long ago, but Stephanie and Chase both still use and have theirs, and love them. I’m back to the Ultralight Vapor Mitts (silnylon body, leather palm), and they’ve withstood several seasons of c-c-c-cold winter use (backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, ice climbing). Still a fan. But I’m a fan of a lot of gear that necessarily had to be cut from this year’s gear guide.Nov 28, 2021 at 11:12 am #3733356Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
Ryan….Does your Senchi Designs Wren Hoodie fit per your body sizing and do you have any things you would have changed after receive the hoodie?Nov 28, 2021 at 5:05 pm #3733379
Hi Ken, yep, I liked the sizing, it’s slim. Long enough so I can tuck it in, slim because I like to wear it as a base layer. It’s stretchy so not confining like slim athletic base layers like the under armour skin tight stuff. I’m normally a medium and sized up to a large, which I normally do for athletic-fit apparel.Dec 1, 2021 at 10:26 am #3733598
Ryan, any particular reason to pick the Khufu over the Duomid? Or over the Middus 2P? Or whatever else is similarDec 3, 2021 at 10:55 am #3733802Paul bayneBPL Member
Do you think the Proton FL is roughly equivalent to the Patagonia Nano Air Light Hybrid Hoody? Those were super popular but discontinued and it is really hard to find any in good shape. Mine is shredded from constant use and I am looking for a replacement.Dec 3, 2021 at 10:38 pm #3733904
@benkilbourne: yes – I think MLD’s silnylon shelters are solid grade A – but silnylon has some forgiveness to it because of stretch. Their DCF shelters just don’t quite have the minimal cut-and-sew tolerance that’s required for that “perfect pitch”. As you know, DCF doesn’t stretch (much), so building a DCF shelter is a pretty precise art. Right now, in the US at least, I think only Tarptent has this down for any sort of full-perimeter design. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dirigo and Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 and Ultamid 2 are also quite good. Locus Gear is an A for cut-and-sew, but obviously not a US brand. I’d give MLD a B or B+. They’re close. But still a little wrinkly. It may be because of cut and sew, but I also think they probably don’t reject as much fabric as they should, because there are a lot of fabric defects in DCF manufacturing.Dec 3, 2021 at 10:41 pm #3733905
@keyschool (Paul) – No. The Patagonia Nano-Air Light is both warmer and less breathable to me than the Arc’teryx Proton FL at high exertion levels, by quite a bit. I almost never wear the Nano-Air Light anymore. Right now, here in the mountains of Northern Colorado in December, the Proton FL is on me almost every day, whether hiking or in town. My base layer is usually a short sleeve Brynje mesh or merino wool. When it’s really windy or snowy, I’m wearing a Patagonia Houdini Air Hoody over it.Dec 4, 2021 at 9:17 am #3733929
Ryan, my Duomid has definitely developed a saggy hem and it’s no longer really a rectangle at the base. I wouldn’t say it started out that way though. Do you think this stretch is due to imprecise construction or choosing imperfect fabric, or does this even happen on your Khufu? I’ve attributed it just to heavy use, but wondering if other dcf pyramids don’t get a floppy hem.Dec 5, 2021 at 10:30 am #3733998
Ben, that sounds like the classic sort of fabric creep that plagued early DCF, and still plagues some DCF panels that have more heterogeneous distributions of fibers or low fiber density. It’s also an issue in orientation of the DCF panel to account for its bias. If stresses are distributed at a diagonal to the fiber orientation, the fabric creeps pretty bad. My first generation Khufu experienced this a little, but my (now 7-years old) Khufu DCF-B has had no issues. It’s now 9 years old and is still in great shape.Dec 5, 2021 at 12:06 pm #3734010
Interesting. Hard to imagine how the bias could be anything other than fibers parallel with and perpendicular to the edge hems right? Aren’t all DCF shelters the same in the regard? So that would leave us with low fiber density. Back to what you said before about using pieces that should be thrown away? Seems like we need to get Ron Bell in here to defend his DCF construction.Jan 5, 2022 at 8:19 pm #3736217Cody BartzBPL Member
Thank you very much Ryan for this informative read!Jan 7, 2022 at 12:33 pm #3736403Ron Bell / MLDBPL Member
Not debating any individual perceptions above, just adding some points on DCF shelter and Pyramid Panel Design.
1: Every major DCF pyramid maker (mld, zpacks, hyperlight, locus, etc.) orients the DCF weave the same – 90/180 along the weave across the bottom and vertical to the peak for the least stretch or creep over time. No curves across the bottom edge. Nothing else makes sense for large Mid sides. Yes, some non-pyramid style DCF tent orient some smaller panels a bit off the 90/180, but not often or by much.
2: The curves along the diagonals may be very slightly different between companies but that does not change the bottom edges tightness.
3: MLD uses a full 1″ bonding on those four main diagonally curved seams and then adds a 3/4″ overtape of DCF backed tape oriented/cut along the DCF weave to limit any stretch along the diagonal. That’s as good as it gets and is far better than a sewn seam with a regular type hot seam seal only tape that can stretch and certainly far better than a bonded only seam without any stretch limiting overtape.
Some general DCF Notes.
1: DCF can and eventually will stretch along the 90/180. It’s usually small and a result of:
1: Age – Over time repeated use, stuffing, staking, wind stress, etc. can stretch it a bit. It does not take much stretch of DCF to show a bit along that edge, but not really a functional problem unless its really bad. More likely the shelter will reach the end of its service life before the stretch is the biggest issue.
2: Heat – Heat can soften the DCF mylar and permit stretch in any direction. A DCF shelter left pitched in the hot sun, especially the parts near hot ground can get quite warm. DCF and higher than regular hot summer air ambient heat don’t mix too well.
3 Stress – Either from pitching it overly tight and leaving it pitched for a long time or just the total number of pitches over many many days of use. It will wear out some day
4: DCF life span is about 50% of a high quality Silnylon. About 200 days for .75/.8 style well-built DCF shelter VS 400+ for silnylon if taken care of, stored well and not stressed / over heated.
5: We find that DCF .75/.8 fabric reject is very very low now vs 5 or 10yrs ago. The .5 version is more.Jan 12, 2022 at 5:39 pm #3736775
Ron, Thanks for this. Makes sense to me. I have a ton of nights on my Duomid and some really really hard wind-thrashing nights included in that, so I don’t expect the edges to be straight anymore. It checks all those boxes: Six years old, lots of wind, some heat, tons of stress. It may be around 200 nights but it’s a hard 200 so it’s about done. So, given everything said here and considering that the Duomid has a #5 zipper, I don’t see a good reason not to buy another.Jan 12, 2022 at 5:55 pm #3736777JCHBPL Member
I’ll say it again, the MLD .75 Grace Duo tarp I owned was far and away the most meticulously crafted shelter I have ever seen. It should one day be in a museum. It was that magnificent.Jan 13, 2022 at 6:39 am #3736794Ron Bell / MLDBPL Member
All MLD Mids – #8 Zippers Now!Jan 13, 2022 at 8:52 am #3736812
Yes, #8, duh, I knew thatJan 25, 2022 at 3:35 am #3738052Randy CainBPL Member
@bagboyLocale: Fresno, CA
Ryan, curious if you’ve used the Senchi Designs Wren in the summer sun. I hike in the High Sierra and am concerned about being burned through the fabric, considering how thin and porous it is. I sweated it up during a workout, and it dried hella fast afterwards!!! Curious if you or anyone has been sunburned through it? I had good luck last year with a Patagonia Capilene Air Crew Top, but I’m confident the Senchi will definitely dry quicker.Jan 25, 2022 at 7:32 am #3738061Rob PBPL Member
Ryan, do you ever use an inner with your Khufu?
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