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  • #3740185
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Since I have wacko knees from motorcycle racing crashes, I need to stride normally on flat trails, swinging my arms the way humans evolved to walk balanced / with the most efficiency / and max safety. I need poles when going downhill, nowhere else. I don’t want to propel myself with my arms and shoulders since they too are missing a few ligaments. That technique is for skiers. Walking is a job for your legs.

    Most hikers use bendy telescoping hiking poles that fail a lot… joints fail to hold, or the tubing bends and breaks. For such an important hiking tool, you deserve better. The three major design challenges for a great hiking pole are: #1 – a way to deliver immediate length changes while hiking fast on up-and-down trails, #2 – a way to pack the thing into a small space (like inside a carryon), and (3) reliability, so you have zero worryies about your pole breaking or collapsing. If you have no need for #2 (packs small) then the classic wood hiking staff is still a great tool because it does deliver on #3 and #1. But a pair of the popular telescoping poles fails to deliver on both #1 and #3 – a dual shortcoming. You can’t change the length while striding along, and they break or the joints fail at high rates. The  carbon neoTrekk BigStik delivers on #1 and #2 and #3. It is so reliable and functional that your hiking brain soon learns how to move faster and have no worries. And the BigStik is a lot lighter than the classic wood hiking staff.

    #3631556
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    I learned an interesting pack weight metric when I was a Boy Scout leader and we started a backpacking Patrol. I was designing my new backpack and needed real world testing. So I made eight packs and filled them with all the gear…. sleeping bags, tent, stove, etc. We did a hike most every weekend. Usually 4 hours in/camp overnight/4 hours out. It became clear that if the pack weight was 30 lbs or less even the little guys (80-90lbs) had no problem. But add 5-10 lbs and they started fussing a LOT. Even the adult size teens fussed at 40lbs. I think 30lbs is a magic number for a human to carry weight with zero stress. Probably because of evolution… once a kid grows up to weigh over 30 lbs (~3 years old), no more getting carried by Mom or Dad. The kid can walk fine by himself and fast enough to keep up.

    #3602976
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Good analysis. The total weight and the center of gravity are both important. But when your knees are trashed from motocross racing, what matters is the total weight pushing down on those abused meniscus. Seems like most customers of mine have some part of their body that is defective… spine, hip, knee, shoulder, etc. If you are a fit 22 year old hiker, you can do things like run down the trail with a 40lb pack. Soldiers carry a 100lbs. Ultralight backpacking helps those of us who strive to do more with a body that is doing less.

    #3602861
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Being old, I started backpacking using cheap WWII surplus gear bought at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. It was heavy, but I was young, so no matter. Hike the Grand Canyon with a 65lb pack… no problem. That made my hiking muscles stronger for the rest of my life.

    To me, ultralight backpacking was a movement that taught hikers 1) there is lighter gear out there than the army/hunting stuff you are using, and 2) you do not need all the comforts of home while camping. “But I must read my favorite Bible every night”… buy a tiny Bible. “But I can’t sleep without my favorite pillow”… sleep with the tiny camp pillow at home until you adjust. “But I love pan fried fish”… start eating dehydrated food at home to adjust. “But I can’t wear dirty sweaty clothes”… just do it!

    The only real silliness I saw, and still see, in the Ultralight Backpacking theater is ‘Base Weight’. The only weight that matters is what the pack on your back weighs as you set out down the trail. Claiming a new low in ‘base weight’ is purely a technical boasting contest with no real world usefulness.

    Say you and your clothes weigh 180lbs and your pack weighs 45lbs. That is 225lbs your legs must move along the trail. If you reduce your ‘Base Weigh’ to 8 lbs from 10 lbs last trip, then you have reduced your trail weight by 0.8 percent! Wow! Your legs are sure gonna feel so much better.

    #3569807
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    I think a standard hiking pole looks like a spear to the TSA. I have taken my hiking pole, the neoTrekk BigStik, onto many flights. It has no pointy end and looks kinda like a cane. So put a rubber crutch tip on it, limp a little. look handicapped… and you get onboard OK. Have not tried using two poles…. one is just right for me when backpacking. Then I can swat mosquitoes or pick my nose with the free arm.

    #3567568
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Sometimes a great review or discussion descends into confusing trivia that is of no practical use to any anyone. The forces involved in using a hiking pole are not worth discussing or evaluating. (Kinda like discussing the forces involved in blowing up your air pad, or steering your car.) So many other hiking pole technical and emotional issues are way more relevant to personal satisfaction and a successful trek… like stiffness, or noises, or fashionable style, or colors, or price, or future parts availability, or made in China, or self-defense, or snake wrangling, or tip mileage, or moldy grips, or strap stiffness, or water trapped inside,  And one day soon, which pole will work best on Mars?

    #3565450
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    James, a good system you developed. Try using a prussic knot for your cord strap. Slides up and down easily and locks instantly in place under load.

    #3565360
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Great review with lots of details. If you have decided to use a ‘mainstream’ hiking pole, then you can make the right decision after reading this review. Other types of sticks for hiking are mentioned but not reviewed… and I think lots of hikers would discover a much better trail experience using a ‘non-standard’ hiking pole. Every pole listed has one scary problem… they break very easily at that uh-oh moment you are praying that pole will keep you from crashing down.  After that happened to me ten years ago, I designed my BigStik pole using fat carbon tubing that is very very hard to break. Walking knarly trails with a hiking stick you totally trust does change your entire hiking experience. No fear. You go faster and you relax.

    #2223225
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    For many years I flew to demos with folding travel cart with a backpack hooked on. But when you put the pack on your back, that 5lb cart is sticking out on the back of the pack and whacks people. So then I bought a normal wheelie bag with the telescoping handle and added shoulder straps. It was OK in small airports, but Dallas connections hurt so I added a waist belt. And that made it not fit in the size check bin.

    #2223220
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Victor, You describe a travel style that is precisely what I was targeting when I was designing the MetroWild pack. Being not young anymore, I want to easily alternate wheeled bag and backpack. But I did not want a weight penalty. The airlines are getting so picky about size and weight that flying now has a lot in common with ultralight backpacking. I am wondering when they are going to start weighing each customer and charge extra for anyone over 200lbs?

    #2206933
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Same things I'm sure. Do a test on your lawn. I have had a bag sitting with cat food in it for two weeks for my latest test. The coons, armadillos, squirrels, cats, dogs and on big Mockingbird have not even notice. I put one bag out last year with one pin prick it it and it was not touched. I put a bag out with a cut about 1/8 inch long and a racoon got all the food the first night, leaving only muddy footprints.

    #2206931
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    They have a good ziplock closure without that slider (those leak). I have opened/closed one bag hundreds of times. Just pull apart and slide your fingers over to close.

    They are about twice as stiff as normal freezer bags and are easy to fold. But you do not want to fold them sharp and do not let them rub all day on your pack or other gear. I put the Smell-Block bag inside a normal kitchen zipbag to protect the coatings. Then they can bounce around all day inside your bear canister. If you use two Smell-Block bags, one inside the other, you have super reliable smell blocking that works even if one bag had an unseen cactus puncture.

    #2206796
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    a. Probably 4lbs of water each.
    b. The clothes will be 5lbs if you are not careful. Bring no extra clothes.
    c. Gotta include the weight of your backpack, say 5lbs
    d. Raingear? say 3lbs
    e. water filter? say 1lb (each should carry)
    f. first aid kit say 1lb (each should carry)
    g. two little flashlights (too light to matter)
    h. maps/guidebooks? maybe 1lb

    So that adds 20lbs.

    #2206779
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    I have made some gear from cuben fabric and I have seen several shelters after a month on the PCT. My conclusion is that cuben cannot be sewn or bonded. Since the seams are usually the high stress points, the little fibers will pull apart and the product falls apart. Cuben fabric is not woven. Weaving adds a lot of durability and strength. But it makes the fabric stretchy and sailors hate that. Cuben was developed for racing sails to have zero stretch and short lifetimes, often just one race. A few thousand little flexes like the wind on a tent, and all those random fibers come un-bonded. Normal seam sewing does not work at all because the stuff is so slippery, even using sailmakers seam tape does not stop the seams from slipping and pulling apart. The very strong flat-felled seam does not work either. I have some photos of failed seams if you are interested.

    #2206302
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    I have another suggestion. I use static-shielding zip bags that block all smells so you can set the canister near you with no danger. They are sold at Uline.com for packaging circuit boards. The plastic is coated with a thin layer of metal so no smells get thru. They look reflective silvery, not the pink ones. I have tested them with the local racoons on my porch. I set out a normal ziplok bag with catfood inside and a static-shielding bag with cat food inside. The rip open the normal bag and ignore the static-shielding bag. One time there was a muddy fooprint on the static bag but it was still sealed.

    You can use several small anti-static bags inside your bear canister or one big one that you put the entire canister inside. You do have to be careful and not smear food smells on the outside of the bags. And you have to change out the bags frequently because you will scratch and scrape them which will let smells seep out. Another benefit is that oxygen and moisture do not leak thru. I have had Oreos last 9 months inside one of those bags and still be crunchy.

    #1991251
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    How come the video panel tells me… "Sorry, The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain. This is a Vimeo Plus feature."

    Both episodes say this.

    #1975022
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Roleigh,

    I just remembered I also had Oscar test military MREs. They are packaged in thick aluminum foil/plastic bags. Oscar the Raccoon just walked all over them… oblivious to the delicacies inside. You can burn up the empty MRE bags with a little bit of aluminum foil remaining that you can carry out. If you carry only MREs no animals will bother your camp site… all they will smell is your stinky human body. Bear canisters are only a physical barrier… I do not like putting my food far away from my tent… kinda risky if far from home. My son recently did 1,300 miles on the PCT and used a Bear Vault where required… but he kept all smellables in anti-static bags inside the Bear Vault near his bivy.

    Years ago I made some food cans out of metal paint cans and did lots of testing. I watched two bears walk by my tent up in the mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch. They ignored the two full food cans sitting there…. I painted them camo so they looked like tree stumps. Nothing leaks out of a good old fashioned metal paint can unless the lid seal gets dented or rusty. Last year I opened a virgin 35 year DuPont Lucite paint can left over from when I first painted my house. The paint was totally fine. The design of the classic metal pry-off paint can lid is amazing… so simple but delivers a totally hermetic seal. Same with food tin cans. Keep them dry and the beans inside will last a hundred years or more. Because nothing goes in or out thru steel.

    Keeping food residue off the outside of your camping food container is very important. I wipe them down with hand sanitizer or stove fuel (alcohol).

    #1974900
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    I expected that result. I bought a pack of those bags 6 years ago. After working at Dow Chemical for a while, I was under the opinion that no thin plastic polymer will block the passage of aromatic hydrocarbons for long. Only metal does. I did a raccoon test on my porch using the aluminum coated anti-static bags sold for storing circuit boards. See them at uline.com, they are much cheaper and come in lots of sizes. They also totally block moisture and do a good job on blocking oxygen. I have stored crackers in an antistatic bag for two years and they were not stale.

    I carefully put cat food inside the anti-static bag and made sure nothing touched the outside. I zipped it up good and laid the bag on the porch. Oscar the Raccoon had been eating the cat food from the bowl for a few weeks. With no food in the bowl that night, I checked the next morning. I saw muddy paw prints on the anti-static bag, but he did not chew on it at all. That told me that no bear will smell it either. But one caveat, after using an aluminum coated bag a few times the aluminum coating will get scrapes or maybe tiny holes. I wrinkled a bag all over for a few minutes and dragged it over my gravel driveway a few feet. Repeating the same Oscar test, he ripped open the bag and ate all the food. There were no holes when I did a water test. So put your anti-static bag inside another bigger one when you use it; making two layers, treat it gently and it will last a long time with no odor leaks

    #1339474
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    The true ultralight gal definitely leaves that bra at home and walks proudly down the trail.

    #1339473
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    All the ‘cotton kills’ stuff is based on hiking in cold weather. 98% of hiking miles are done in warm weather.

    I use 50/50 nylon/cotton clothes with long pants and long sleeve shirts for hot weather hiking. They get wet from my sweat (or pouring water all over me) and the water evaporates and cools the air between the fabric and my skin. Much like a personal ‘evaporative cooler’ as used in desert houses.

    When I stop hiking (and sweating), even in humid Texas, my clothes are dry in less than an hour.

    Cotton seems to resist getting stinky where synthetics can get real rank real fast. I did a 10 day hike in the same clothes, never washed them. I asked a person back in camp what I smelled like… they said ‘wet grass’.

    #1339471
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    The aluminum is thickwall Easton 7075-T9 and can be threaded if you find a tap of the right diameter. But I just set my camera on the top of the TrailStik, press it down and click the shutter. It is just the right height for a person 6′ tall.

    I carry just one TrailStik to leave one hand free, but many TrailStik users use a pair. On a recent hike down the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon, I borrowed my son’s Stik and, with two TrailStiks, I was actually swinging down over those tall steps (some are 18″ tall), not using my knees at all. Plant both Stiks down below the step and put max weight on both straps and kinda swing out and land on both feet. I weight 180 plus 25 for gear. On flat spots I just carry them horizontally.

    #1339403
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    The entire TrailStik is hollow, so the bottom has a hole in the center that you can use to attach a pad for mud or snow if you are clever. My observation was 99% of hiking miles were on hard ground and those baskets catch on rocks, branches, etc and are really a bother that 99% of the time. And they add an ounce of weight. During a recent hike in the Grand Canyon there was a section of swampy ground on the North Kaibab Trail. But there were still some rocks and hard spots to use… since the hardened aluminum tip is very sticky on wet rocks you can get pretty bold with your pole plantings and trust it to hold.

    #1336567
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    The thing about carrying 4 gallons of water is that the pack gets a lot lighter each morning you put it on. So the 45 lbs is there for only a day. If your pack is hurting a bit the first day, it will probably be OK the second day.

    I did a 3 day hike with my LuxuryLite pack two months ago and my filter broke a mile from the trailhead. I hiked back, drove to a store and bought 20 of those 16 oz water bottles. I attached a fourth Cylinder and also crammed them into spaces in the other three cylinders. The pack weighed about 45 lbs including the water in the Front Pack. It was nice hiking and never having to think about which mudhole or murky creek to get water from.

    The LuxuryLite pack frame will carry a lot. I have a test rig now with 220 lbs of weights sitting on the frame for a week now, nothing breaks or bends. The only limit on the pack’s carrying capacity is your body’s comfort. You cannot have any bumps around the waist where the waist band presses. (With 45 lbs, I can notice wrinkles in my shirt, belt loops are a big no-no.) The waist band feels best with no clothing at all under it, pants down low and no shirt. I have a flight suit that works real good under the waist belt… but gets some funny looks.

    #1335885
    Bruce Warren
    BPL Member

    @aimee-2

    Doug,

    I can’t find your email address. I have made many changes to the LuxuryLite Pack since you got yours last year and want to give you an update… new frame geometry to fit as carryon luggage, better shoulder straps, thinner, more compliant waist belt with hip cutouts to fit gals much better, clear map pocket on front pack, the waist belt doesn’t flop down and is sideways adjustable for unbalance loads, and even lighter weight!

    Email me at info @ luxurylite.com

    –Bruce Warren

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