The Vault Regulars

Monday, May 30, 2011

Walk around Gosforth



Sent from my HTC

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saucony Hattori lightweight shoe

I have been using crocs as my second shoe for backpacking or for river crossing. It's also nice to put the feet into something lighter and comfy at the end of a walk, when you get the tent up.
But the trouble with crocs is that they are quite difficult to compress, they take up a lot of rucksack space or they take up valuable pocket space on the exterior of the rucksack and crocs are a bit last year.

I recently took the plunge and bought a pair of Inov-8 190 sandals which are very comfy, compress well and as the number suggests they weigh 190gr.
I find them so much better than the crocs and are great for wearing around the house as well as on backpacking trips.

Then i recently saw these running shoes from Saucony and found that they only weigh 125gr. so you can imagine what i thought having just paid out for the Inov-8's.
They are also ideal for river crossings and any water based pursuits.


So if you are looking for a lightweight camp shoe or for canoeing maybe, then these may be just what you are looking for. They come in a variety of colours and men and women's design.
For further spec info follow the link HERE

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tarptent Moment major modifications

The Tarptent Moment in original guise.
The Tarptent Moment is a very good one man lightweight tent as i have posted before here. The weight of it is 0.85kg.
Having used it on it’s inaugural outing to the Scottish Borders i was made aware of a number of issues that i didn’t like and that would have to be put right.
The roof air vents would not stay open so this was resolved with a plastic stay.
There is a little more info on the stay here if anybody wants to make the support.
One of the ties holding the groundsheet had come away from its retainer so this needed to be sewn back and i glued it too to stop it happening again.
The 6” pegs/stakes were replaced with 8” ones so that they would cope with soft ground better.
2 guy lines were fitted to the main hoop pole sleeve. The ribbon was existing but not the cord or 2 extra pegs.
The zippers were quite small and these i put on extension cords so that finding them and operating them would be easier.
The inner door and outer door retainers were just elastic and had to be tied to retain the rolled up doors. I found these were poor and loosened off, especially in the wind.
I looped one side of the elastic and added a sliding cord grip to the other.
For me though the biggest and the main problem i found was the inner door. It was so restrictive and didn’t allow full use of the highest part of the tent. It also made getting hold of gear from under the porch problematic. So it had to be changed.
The original doorway.
I looked at doing the job myself but with no sewing skills at all and even worse, no machine i thought i had better look for help.
The help came from Robin, aka blogpackinglight. He put me onto Sean at Oookworks in Cumbria.
Strange name, which i will come to later.
I emailed Sean, showing him what i wanted and he suggested taking out the whole door and replacing it with a new mesh doorway incorporating an inverted “T” shaped zip.

With the Moment being single skin, the mesh is hemmed and stiched to the outer so i had doubts that it could be removed but i sent the tent off and waited to hear from Sean after he had chance to look at it in the flesh.
He said it could be done.
I waited eagerly for it’s return and when it happened it was immediately pitched in the garden. It was raining but what the heck i had to see it.

It’s absolutely fantastic. Sean picked the stitching from the mesh leaving the hem in place on the outer and replaced the whole door with a grey mesh instead of the original black.
The grey mesh believe it or not makes the inside so much lighter and makes looking out of the tent more pleasant.
The inverted “T” zip is the same spec as the original, 5mm YKK nylon.

Once the doors are open the Moment now looks cavernous. I can now sit sideways and have full access to the porch. It makes cooking so much easier. It makes getting in and out so much easier.
On wet days you can have the inner doors rolled back giving you more room to move around and on bug free nights you can leave the doors rolled up.

It is just fantastic now so thank you Sean for a wonderful job done and thank you Robin for putting me onto Sean.
The name Oookworks i am told was derived from the Terry Pratchet book where the Librarian at the Unseen University is an Orang Utan, who was once a wizard but now prefers being Simian and just says Ook.
Sean has added an extra O to the Oookworks name and says that it seemed a good idea at the time or maybe a few beers were involved. Anyway thats the story of the strange name.

Here are some pictures of the new doorway.



 How much better does the above photograph look in comparison to the original. Photo1.






So for the additional weight of a metre of zip the advantages far outweigh the penalty in my view. And now makes the Moment perfect or should it be magic. 

If anybody with a Tarptent Moment or any other tent or piece of outdoor gear would like the same or similar modifications done then Sean at Oookworks, see website here would only be too pleased to carry out your requirements. I can recommend him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Water Filter, The Sawyer Squeeze.

Another new lightweight water filter hits the outdoor scene. How long will it be before we can buy it here in the UK i wonder.
But lets be honest, US$50 cost, at todays exchange rate =  (£30.50p), plus shipping and customs duty will not break the bank too much if you are desperate for a filter that cleans down to 0.1microns and weighs 85 gr. (that’s less the bag or your own bottle).


SP132 - SP132-Sawyer PointOne Squeeze Water Filter System
Info from the company website below.

The NEW Sawyer Squeeze Filter is the lightest and most versatile filtration system on the market. With a total field weight of 3ounces, it is extremely lightweight and packable. Fill up the included 2 liter pouch at a lake, stream or river, screw the filter directly onto the pouch and
1) Squeeze the bag and filter water into your water bottle or container of choice.
2) Drink directly from the filter which has a built in push pull cap for on/off functions.
3) Attach the filter onto most threaded water bottles including 2 liter bottles.  
The Squeeze filter is perfect for traveling abroad where tap and bottle water cannot be trusted.

 I won’t be changing my Super Delios filter for a while yet but for those looking for a new filter right now may find this article of interest.
I’m sure a UK blog review of one of these will be following somewhere.  



Monday, May 9, 2011

Tarp Tent Moment Mods

Well today i posted off my new Tarptent Moment to have a new inner doorway fitted. On the last Moment outing i was not happy with the existing doorway and it just had to be changed.
Fortunately, Robin who’s blog is aptly named blogpackinglight came to the rescue and put me onto Sean at Oookworks who has kindly taken on the task.

If you are thinking like me that you want some changes made to your existing kit then it’s worth giving Oookworks a call or sending an email via the contact us section of the website.

I can’t wait to get it back and when i do i will be posting the changes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chally Gear? Maybe

At the end of a long day on the Challenge wouldn't it be just the ticket to relax in a comfy chair. No, not the Monty Python Comfy Chair but this one you hope your walking partner has remembered to bring with him/her. Weight 2.6k

Just saw this and thought i would share the laugh with you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

TGO Challenge 2011

Best wishes from Sheila and I to everybody who is taking part in the crossing of beautiful Scotland in a few days time on the Rab TGO Challenge 2011.
We hope your adventures will embrace some good weather and of course some good company and beers.

Good luck especially to Alan Sloman and friends who will also be protesting on behalf of all outdoor people by walking a coffin into the Monadliath Mountains where a devastating wind farm is to be built and will destroy an absolutely fantastic wild place.

We also look forward to the many posts and photographs that will entertain us in due course.
All the best everyone and good luck.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tarptent Moment. 1st trip.

Tarptent Moment pitched in Peebles, Scotland, UK.
The first outing for my new Tarptent Moment from Henry Shires in the USA, was a 3 nighter in the Scottish Borders.
The first night was a flat pitch on a camp site, second night was a wild high pitch in the hills and the 3rd night was wild low pitch at the side of a loch.

Pitching the moment is a pleasure. It’s one piece construction means that there is no faffing about clipping up the inner or throwing on the outer when it’s a poor weather day.
It’s just a matter of locating the single hoop pole, pegging out one end, walking to the other end, tensioning the tent and pegging out the 2nd peg.
If its raining hard, you can get inside at this time and leave final adjustments until the rain has eased. But saying that, the final adjustments come down to 4 pull cords to set the positions of the fixed end A poles.
All in all about a minute.

The tent is supplied with 2 x125mm pegs. In my opinion these are too short, i replaced them with the 200mm pegs i received with my Scarp 2 tent. 
With the ground in Scotland or anywhere else wild for that matter, being of unpredictable firmness,  i think the 200mm pegs cover all possibilities.

On the hoop pole sleeve there are also 2 extra guy rope loops but no rope or pegs are supplied for this. Again i have added 2 guy ropes and 2 extra 200mm pegs.

On the first night we had a light breeze and for an hour or more it rained fairly heavily during the night. No problems encountered with seam leakage. The tent has masses of ventilation, from the ends which both fully open to the complete surround of the bathtub groundsheet to the mesh side walls of the inner and the 2 vents on the top of the flysheet.
In the morning there was some condensation on the inner face of the fly as expected. I purchased the additional roof liner and it will be staying fixed as part of the tent. 

The 2nd night was a flat calm night and pitching the tent on some very uneven tussock grass i was glad i changed the peg length for longer ones.

 The skies were very clear and the temperatures dropped quite considerably from what we had walked in during the day.  I thought there might be a frost but the temperature held just above freezing.
My sleeping bag is rated at -3 ℃, but i was cold, not from the ground but from the air temperature. 
With having so much venting it’s difficult to get the temperature in the inner warmed up. I closed the end vents hoping this would help but i didn’t notice any change.
I ended up putting on my light down jacket and spare socks to get warm. This worked and i dropped off to sleep.
In the morning i noticed that the roof vents were closed. I had also noticed this the previous night but put it down to the heavy rain.  Obviously it’s not the rain or the wind that closed them. They just don’t stay open too well even with the inner clips joined as the instructions show.

Coming home i made my answer to this problem.


I made 2 x Z shaped supports which attach to the existing velcro on the flysheet and keep the vents in the open position. The ones shown here are slightly wider than the ones i ended up with. These are 25mm wide and i ended up with 12mm wide. Extra weight 3gr. 
They can be removed for packing up the tent and they also fit my Scarp 2.
Amendment added August 2011
Having made the first supports and proved that the design worked, i went and made a second pair.
The upright is 50mm long and 12 mm wide with a top and bottom attaching leg 20 mm long.
I used self adhesive velcro attached to the legs which holds it upright in the vent.
End of amendment.

There was plenty of condensation on the inside but again the additional roof had kept the dripping from getting on the down sleeping bag. 
There was also the odd condensation run off onto the mesh surrounding the groundsheet but it wasn’t detrimental.
The others had commented on it being a cold night too and there was plenty of condensation being wiped off the other tents. So i can’t say that the Moment is any worse for only having a single wall.

One thing that was noticeable on this rough ground was that the A frames at the ends of the tent wouldn’t stay wide, ie at there maximum width, and tensioning them to make the fly taught only made the situation worse. 
I am going to take with me 4 very light titanium stakes to see if this solves the issue next time. (or i might think up something completely different).


The 3rd night was a similar sort of night to the 2nd, although it didn’t get quite as cold. Probably because we were lower down, but the issues were basically the same.

The previous 2 nights i had also become frustrated with the inner mesh door opening.

It’s just completely wrong. 
The shape of the inner doorway is an Isosceles triangle. The base being longer than the 2 sides. 
The opening of the mesh doorway starts at the apex, falls vertical from this point and then goes to one lower corner. (As above photo.) The trouble is that it only utilises half of the maximum head height opening space.
When you have gear in the porch area or you are cooking/eating and sat facing the opening, half of the opening you want and need is covered by the mesh.
Unless you are left handed this is a real issue. It’s hard to reach into the porch and to move your body in and out of the doorway you need to be a bit of a contortionist.

The annoying thing is that cheaper similar shaped tents such as the Coleman Libra (below in green ) and the Jamet Granite  4000 (below in red.) have got it right.

I am going to find out if i can get the mesh door modified as i think it should be.

The size and shape of the bathtub groundsheet is excellent and i applied quite a bit of silicon to the surface to stop sliding around. This worked a treat.
I also purchased with the tent a groundsheet protector made from Tyvec. Having used it on one of the nights i can honestly say it will not be seeing daylight again. 
It’s noisy, not particularly lightweight and a bit of a disappointment all in all. 
Laura, who’s blog is here, was camping with the Hubba, that had a very nice groundsheet protector and i will be investigating these footprints to see if i can utilise one of them in the future.

The tent also has a separate crossing pole for use in snow or high wind situations. I took it on this trip but never used it.
All in the tent weights just under 1kilo with the extra’s and is an ideal one man tent even though it’s not perfect in my opinion. 
Hope this review helps. 





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