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Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
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  • #1543703
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I ordered mine a half size up to 11 and they are just right. I have a wide foot and am not comfy in medium widths. The extra half made these fit very well, if a teeny bit long.

    #1532923
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I've only worn these on a couple of three-mile hikes around the neighborhood so far. The limited experience so far is very good. I even leak-tested them in a big rain puddle with no problems. I found that by ordering a half-size up, I got a good fit for my E-width foot just like the previous reviewer. As these are constructed much like my 380 trail shoes, I expect similar outstanding results when I do get them out on the trail – over Thanksgiving in Big Bend completely off trail. I will most likely make these my normal selection for all my hiking trips, given that they do well in Big Bend. Having the higher top with the extra support and water-wading capability over the low top 380's at a 10-gram penalty – well, yeah.

    Ordered from Zombie Runner.

    #1531987
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    These are comfy and smell much less bad than anything else. I typically will wear the same stuff five days in a row with (at least to me, anyway) few odor problems. You can't do that with any synthetics, no matter how treated – they smell to high heaven.

    I'm wearing a gray smartwool tee in the photo and always have a long=sleeve tee to put on over it as the next layer. Zip crew necks are great.

    #1530841
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    These things are heavy-duty; good enough to help me make it through an afternoon's walking to dinner after a moderate lunch stop. They taste pretty decent; the 30-grams protein dulce de leche flavor is better than the somewhat gritty peanut butter.

    #1527337
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    Apparently as of this evening, Tinny's website has been hacked and is down. Anyone else heard about this?

    #1512572
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I have used these in combination with my new MLD DuoMid for six nights now. Aside from being wrinkled up, you can't tell that they have been used. Light, compact to pack, tough and strong. What's not to like? I carry both sheets to use in my DuoMid to be able to take best advantage of all the floor room. A winning combination.

    #1512570
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I've tried Montrail Hardrocks and a Garmont model – not sure which one, but a couple of years old and from REI – and both seem to allow my feet to get really sore by the end of a long day. Not so the 318s. While worn only on one trip so far, they did great, keeping my tootsies non-sore for four days. I have not put them through very wet conditions yet, though. One very positive thing is the traction – they stick like glue to any surface. A complaint: no wide sizes so I have to order up a half size, making the fit suboptimal.

    #1511095
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    While the DuoMid comes with an extension, I made my own a little longer – 8 inches IIRC – and moved the small plastic cap from the provided extender to my new one. I ordered some aluminum tubing and cut it to length with a plumber's tubing cutter and cleaned up all the edges with a chainsaw (small round) file. This gives me more options as I can set my pole length to either batten down or raise the sides for full ventilation.

    Do make certain that you remove all the roughness from the tube so that no damage is done to fabric. I just store mine with stakes in the provided DuoMid stuff sack.

    This setup allows me to offset the pole a good bit, I prefer mine to be offset towrds the door, put all equipment inside near the door as it is easier to get at from outside, and sleep slightly diagonally across the rear. Tons o' room inside; one of the main reasons I bought this thing.

    #1505677
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I bought the Platy version. It lasted three liters and would not backwash. A waste of money. I'm going to try out a Frontier Pro + Cl tabs on my next trip. The ultimate filter is my MSR ceramic cartridge. Forget the name, but it will filter pondwater with no trouble. You may have to clean it often with really dirty water, but it is easily done in the field. I will always hump this thing – all 16 oz or so of it – to areas where the water is bad/stagnant such as Mesa Anguilla in Big Bend. And it improves the taste of the water out of the tap at home.

    #1505674
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    All four sides of my recently-purchased DuoMid have mid-height tieouts.

    #1500409
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    That's why I bought it instead of a tarp. Still about a pound, not ultra-lightweight as a tarp might be, but totally enclosed to keep rain and wind off.

    #1497126
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    All I can say is Wow! Very nice construction quality; nice compromise on features and weight. A basic four-stake setup right out of the box the first time took 60 seconds. In terms of room, it is a palace as compared to my Rainbow I. And it stakes tight to the ground for pretty wind-proof setup if it is really nasty out. The doorway is usable even with the bottom buckle in place, serving to help keep weather off your gear inside. It is my first floorless shelter and this will take a little adjustment on my part. I have added the Gossamer Gear ground sheets to my kit and will most likely take both with me. Memorial Day weekend is the White Mountain Wilderness in southern New Mexico – provided that the flu doesn't get us all first.

    #1462586
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    Once after a really stressful, tiring day, I set mine up freestanding on what was a really rocky, last resort site. Just too tired to pound in the pegs into that hard place. It was stormy that night and really windy and so I piled pretty heavy rocks along the lengths of my poles. It stayed in place handily. I did not even stake out the sides/vestibule.

    Whether this was really easier or not is a different question, but I was extremely done for the day at the time.

    OTOH, I have always set it up with stakes otherwise.

    #1461747
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I have the winter weight version of this quilt in the large size. It is more than long enough for me at 5' 11' and I could even scrunch my head underneath if needed.

    I have used the quilt for three nights only so far. The temps were from 45-38. I was toasty warm at 38 and too warm at 45.

    Very well made with light but good quality fasteners.

    The temp ratings that Ron state appear to me to be right on. I would pick the lowest weight quilt I really needed – and base the choice of weight on Ron's guide on the web site. I got the heaviest weight because I really like being extra warm.

    I found that as the temp drops, the straps need to be tightened – as intended – to seal the quilt underneath. I was sleeping in high winds in my Tarptent Rainbow which vents really well around the bottom – maybe too much so in such winds. The quilt dealt with these conditions very well by tightening the straps.

    The design of the top which snaps around the back of the neck and has light elastic cord to tighten the neck works really well.

    It is a MUST to have good head insulation such as a BMW UL 60 balaclava to go with this. The two work very well together.

    It did take Ron a long time to deliver my quilt, but he did so prior to my stated need date for my Thanksgiving trip to Big Bend.

    As to be expected for synthetics, compressibility is an issue – although when placed in a Sea-to-Summit event bag – size large – and compressed forcefully, it would fit inside the sleeping bag compartment of my pack. In order to not abuse the insulation more than necessary, I minimally compressed it and carried it strapped outside. This will continue to be my practice except when bushwhacking Big Bend where I would crank it down to fit inside my pack for protection against the hostile plant life. While compressing the quilt so much is not good for the insulation loft, the good thing is that it _will_ compress this much when really needed.

    The disadvantage of the volume of the quilt is more than met by the fact that it can still be effective when wet. Ray-Way for the win.

    The quilt appears to me to have a very good weight-to-warmth factor.

    Outstanding gear.

    #1461734
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I used this balaclava with my MLD XP quilt at about 38 degrees overnight. It is highly effective in this role. Amazingly warm for the weight. The fabric is soft and comfortable. I tried wearing it while I prepared breakfast and broke camp but had to take it off because I was getting overheated with this minimal exertion.

    The big downer to it is the obstruction of peripheral vision, making it less than useful for those who might otherwise use it for very cold weather hiking.

    Since my main use is to keep me warm while sleeping, I still give it a 4 as it is very good for this use.

    #1461728
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    As a down-adverse Ray-Way advocate, I find this jacket to be compressible, warm, and light – all it claims to be. I wore this jacket in _very_ brisk winds in Big Bend over Thanksgiving in temps of about 38 degrees. It kept me toasty warm and with no thoughts of adding my vest underneath which I never used on this trip.

    I found the ability to close off all the openings – neck, sleeves, and waist – to work well and effectively to keep the wind out. I did note that the jacket is not completely windproof in the high gusts that I experienced, but consider this a tradeoff towards being of lighter weight.

    Below about freezing, I would recommend a vest underneath, taking the comfort level to perhaps the low twenties – but this is speculation as I refuse to intentionally expose myself to such low temps. :-)

    The zipper pockets are warm and large enough to carry gloves, balaclavas, etc with no problem.

    I had no opportunity to test the DWR treatment on this trip, thank goodness.

    All said, this is a good choice for the lightweight synthetic backpacker in moderately cold weather. It appears to make the best tradeoffs between performance, cost, and weight. It is not designed for use in heavy winter storm conditions where a heavy bombproof parka would be the gear of choice.

    #1460686
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I have carried 30-32 lbs comfortably in my Pinnacle pack a couple of times with no trouble at all. The lack of frame does not seem to be a problem to me.

    I would not temp fate by trying any more.

    As I improve my gear selection for milder weather, my weight is dropping off, and I should be down to about 25 lbs for next summer's trips. I refuse to sleep on a foam pad. :-)

    #1457232
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    Last thanksgiving at Big Bend it was 40 degrees and raining most of the day. Unusual for Big Bend to get an all-day rain. That's why I did not have a true rain jacket with me. I had on a silk base top, a long-sleeve North Face nylon top, and the Dri Clime. I was fine while moving. But at lunch, we set under a rock overhang, out of the rain and boy, did I start to get cold. The only other layer I had was a down vest – not a good addition to completely wet clothes. A truly miserable day.

    Even with a rain jacket, after all day in it, you are going to be wet. I do believe that the Dri-Clime performed very well for me and that I might not have really been more comfy with a rain jacket.

    You will wet through. But you can stay warm with it.

    I has a combination of a Outdoor Research fleece beanie and Seattle Sombrero on the noggin. Can't say enough good about either of these. Having them was probably a lifesaver that day.

    The only change that I would have made to my gear would have been to exchange the down vest for a Micro-Puf vest – which I have since done. No more hydrophobic down on the trail for me. I could have worn the MicroPuf with the wet clothes without fear of loosing all its insulation value.

    That night, getting into the down sleeping bag and trying to stay warm was a real issue. _All_ clothes had to come off, the 20-degree North Face bag and down vest went on, and I was still cold. I think that the down was damp in the high humidity and rain and was of limited usefulness.

    The Ray-Way and this experience has convinced me on the down issue. I even have a MLD winter quilt on order that should be in about the end of next week. It is replacing the down sleeping bag for this year's Big Bend extravaganza.

    So, Yes. Use a Dri-Clime but have a plan for the soaked person you will be at the end of the day so as to stay warm.

    #1454555
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    …a friend cut herself pretty badly attempting to pull a y stake. The machined top end has sharp edges. Use a cord loop.

    #1454218
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I stayed in Creed for three days – acclimatizing before a backpacking trip – and found the town to be small, quaint, nice. There's even a really good small outdoors shop.

    But this far after Labor Day, I'd investigate what is still open. I'd recommend the Firehouse as a nice place, if they are renting rooms now.

    Have a look – just make certain that enough places are open to make the trip enjoyable.

    30-Mile Camp and trail head is 45 minutes from Creed.

    #1451692
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I've had two heads come off. They both appeared to have been 'dry-glued' in manufacture. 5-minute epoxy FTW. They would break before the heads came off now. :-)

    Best stakes around for my Rainbow I with the shockcord floor pullouts and delrin ring corner tie-downs.

    I do carry a few simple aluminum pegs with the integral hook on the end for use with cords with tied loops on the ends.

    I did break one driving it with my heel. A rock is much better.

    #1451678
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I went for a large XP quilt with the e-vent top and bottom strips for the condensation in my Rainbow. The more bulletproof nature of the synthetic insulation over down won me over.

    I've been in cold, wet situations where my down bag needed way too much care – perhaps I'm paranoid – but one experience might have been much happier had I known that I could have slid into my bag in damp long underwear without collapsing the insulation. And this was in Big Bend NP of all places – a wet, cold miserable day. It was great! except for the end of the day when I was freezing and trying to get dry enough to get into the down bag. The Ray-Way website finished the job on convincing me.

    I did buy a BMW UL 60 balaclava to go with the quilt.

    #1450857
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I buy the cheap cotton shop towels at WalMart or the Depot. Cut them into sixths as needed. I use regular TP and pack it out. The shop towel section is used as a follow-up to keep things nice and clean. I moisten one piece after I use the current one so that I'm ready for the next interlude. The towels are light and sturdy and work great for me. And they weigh almost nothing. You don't need but just a few pieces. And the dyed cotton towels need to be washed in hot water with bleach ahead of time so that most of the dye is removed – no blue bottom for me – and so that I know that they are clean. Just wash the whole bundle at once. The ones that I don't cut up for trail use can always be used as – you guessed it – shop towels! This is much better than purchased pre-moistened wipes in sturdiness and weight and cost.

    #1445522
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I purchased this last year after spending over an hour in the store making the selection. I believe that I have scored heavily with my selection. Warm and comfortable. The 2/3 length is the trade off of weight to comfort to make. I take a 2' x 2' section of a WalMart blue closed cell foam pad with me to sit on – essentially disposable when it wears too much – and it works perfectly under my calves and feet to fill out the remaining 1/3.

    Mine did develop a small hole; probably a sharp rock. A little silicone sealant smeared over the damage fixed it. So it is maybe not bomb-proof, but at the weight, what could be?

    And I sleep very well on it.

    #1444449
    Harlan Bruce
    Member

    @gbruce

    Locale: DFW MetroPlex

    I have had one of the foam grips to come loose. The plastic underneath is polyethylene or something similar; these plastics take no adhesives that are not expensive commercial special-purpose. So I scuffed the poly with sandpaper thoroughly and used a lot of 5-minute epoxy. This seemed to fix it.

    These things absorb shock very well – they oscillate laterally quite a bit in absorbing the shock just like they should. No springy mechanisms needed here.

    The sections do need to be tightened quite a bit to maintain grip.

    The price is very good; did take a while to ship from the UK to the Dallas area, so plan in advance.

    Now with the single-piece sticks offered here on BPL, the simplicity and lighter weight might win out. Just need to pick a length carefully to work both with me and my Tarptent Rainbow.

    Four trips now with the Alpkits with no complaints except for the handle adhesive failure.

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