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Old 08-22-2012, 03:14 PM
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mattblick mattblick is offline
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Thumbs up Gear talk - Matt's new backcountry toys

I haven't been to the backcountry since June, and have several new toys to bring with me on my next trip in early October.

The first new toy I am excited about is a a new stove. It is a little more heavy and bulky than what I had been using, but I think it is really cool. I finally got my Biolite camp stove in the mail last month. I really hate having to go out and pick up new isobutane canisters before every trip. I refill my lighters with leftover isobutane, but I still have a growing collection of these partial canisters. Sometimes I haul up 3 partial containers because I don't know how much is in each one. The Biolite will allow me to use the small bits of kindling found everywhere in the park for my fuel, and recharge my gps/water purifier/flashlights from the 2Watts@5V extra energy produced by the fire. How cool is that?

The other new toys for this trip include new sleeping arrangements. I will be sleeping in a hammock in the backcountry for the first time on this trip. The equipment will include a DD brand hammock. I upgraded the suspension to whoopie slings and strapworks' seatbelt polyester simple sling tree straps. I have a BIAS Buginator net, and a DD 9'x9' tarp to protect me from the elements. Needless to say I am very excited.

Have any of you picked up some new gear lately? The outdoor retailer show was just a couple weeks back, so perhaps you have your eyes on something?

-Matt-
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:57 PM
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Grannyknot Grannyknot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattblick View Post
.... I finally got my Biolite camp stove in the mail last month.......
-Matt-
Can't wait to hear your review of the biolite stove. This thing has had my interest for a couple of years now, but I have been afraid it was a little too gimmick-ey.....plus I was worried about the ability to start a fire inside it with the rainforest tinder we commonly find in the smokies.

Please do post a review after you use it. It would come in really handy for charging a gps.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:03 PM
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David Knapp David Knapp is offline
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I wish I wouldn't have read this.....now I want a new toy. Oh well, I needed something else to spend my money on I guess. I'll be looking forward to a review of that stove as well. It looks like something I would be very interested in.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:10 PM
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mattblick mattblick is offline
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Originally Posted by Grannyknot View Post
Can't wait to hear your review of the biolite stove. This thing has had my interest for a couple of years now, but I have been afraid it was a little too gimmick-ey.....plus I was worried about the ability to start a fire inside it with the rainforest tinder we commonly find in the smokies.

Please do post a review after you use it. It would come in really handy for charging a gps.
I was a pre-order customer but for some reason they didn't get it shipped out with the other pre-orders. Mine got shipped in the first batch of orders from the new web site.

I'll be sure to post a review - the trip is about 7 weeks away still, but I started thinking about it and getting excited when my PTO request got approved.

I can already say its build quality seems sturdy and well thought out. The way the heat pipe and fan assembly attaches to the stove portion is particularly clever. One of the folding legs locks over a tab on the fan assembly into place when you fold the leg out, so you don't need to worry about it coming detached. I was worried about this at first, I pictured flimsy hooks or keyhole style attachments.

I think the rainforest tinder could be an issue, and will plan on bringing some assistance for each trip. I plan on packing the compressed wood & wax fire starters the first trip; biollite supplied some of these with the stove. You are allowed to use "solid biomass" but are not supposed to use liquid accelerants or gels; I suspect the hot cubes like Wetfire and Esbit will be out along with sterno, and vaseline cotton balls. But the old classics such as dryer lint and wax or wax soaked cardboard applicator tampons cut into small pieces will be perfect.

-Matt-
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:03 PM
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ifish4wildtrout ifish4wildtrout is online now
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I am also interested in a report on the stove. I love my little stove, but i do hate carrying fuel cans. Like you said, I carry one that's not full and not sure how much fuel is left, so I take another just in case...
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:14 PM
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benintenn benintenn is offline
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I wish I could try out hammock camping before I commit to buying one. I do love my Hubba Hubba but sleeping in a hammock does intrigue me.

That stove sounds pretty cool. Can't wait to hear how it performs.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifish4wildtrout View Post
I am also interested in a report on the stove. I love my little stove, but i do hate carrying fuel cans. Like you said, I carry one that's not full and not sure how much fuel is left, so I take another just in case...
It's really easy to weigh you fuel can and estimate how much fuel you have left. That stove looks more like a gimmic to me. The fact that it's over 2 pounds kind of kills the weight saving of carrying fuel, plus if he is carrying wax sticks on top of that.

My whole kitchen set-up weighs less than half and looks like it is much better set up for the conditions to the Smokies.

Caldera cone 1.5 oz
Small lighter - .4 oz
Fire starter stick - .4 oz
Salt & pepper shaker .6 oz
Bottle of oil 1 oz
12-10 alcohol stove - .5 oz
Pot holder 1.2 oz
Small towel - .3 oz
AGG 3 cup alum pot 2.5 oz
Lid 1.3 oz
Insulated Ziploc cup 2.5 oz
Insulation for pot - .8 oz
Stuff sack - .5 oz
Lexan fork & spoon - .7 oz
14.2 oz 0.888 pounds
Plus the 4.9 ounces of alcohol


Even when you look at my gas can set-up (when you need to simmer, fry, not just boil water, I believe the whole set up comes in at under 2 pounds)

Amazon had a I-phone charger for $6 including shipping that can fully charge phone 2-3 timesand only weighs 3-4 ounces.

There are many lighweight alternatives that while they don't have a fan or charger if you really want to use wood to cook

I hope you like you new toy

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Old 08-23-2012, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benintenn View Post
I wish I could try out hammock camping before I commit to buying one. I do love my Hubba Hubba but sleeping in a hammock does intrigue me.

That stove sounds pretty cool. Can't wait to hear how it performs.
Hey Benintenn - that Hubba Hubba is a really nice tent! I used a BA Lynx Pass last year and earlier this year, but the possible extra comfort of a hammock really called to me.

A relatively cheap ($25) yet quite comfortable way to try sleeping in one would be a hammock that is sold (of all places) at Wal Mart. If it agrees with you, this hammock really could stand up to backpacking use with the suspension eventually swapped out. If sleeping in it does not agree with you, you'll have an easy to set up hammock for backyard barbeques and car camping. Folks at hammock forums praised it so much that I picked one up out of curiosity. Three people took long naps in it at a family gathering after The Flying Pig marathon.

The Wal Mart hammock had a person (my wife's cousin) sleep in it overnight along Craig Creek, Virginia back in May. I brought it along in case anyone in the group was curious about it. I slept in my DD hammock for my first overnight front country hammock sleeping experience, and the 2 nights after that. Each night I slept wonderfully. I wasn't comfortable bringing a hammock backpacking until I had given it a try elsewhere first. Have you ever been camping/backpacking in a large group and found yourself unable to sleep if the rest of the group hasn't stopped partying for the night? Each night I tucked in early so I could get up early to fish. Each night I fell asleep quickly and got teased the next morning about the volume of my snoring..

So if your curious, try an inexpensive one out, even in the front country. I think amazon has a sub $20 grand trunk one as well, but I am not sure if it comes with any suspension at all. If/when you do try it out, the first important thing to consider ahead of time is that when sleeping in a hammock convective heat loss out of the bottom is a big issue. Bottom insulation is of equal or greater importance than the top insulation when you are in your tent. Your sleeping bag counts on loft for warmth, and in a hammock will be compressed in areas it is not when on the ground. A closed cell foam mat/exercise mat or a partially inflated camp pad under you will work well. There are too many options and considerations to go into here, but two great resources to read are www.hammockforums.net and a recently published book entitled "the ultimate hang", only four bucks in the Kindle edition.. Before investing any more than $25 or so dollars on hammock equipment, I would strongly advise reading about all the various components that go into a setup. One example of a difficulty/mistake made by countless people trying hammocks out is the fault of manufacturers: most of the tree straps sold retail by the known brands such as ENO, Grand Trunk, Hammock Bliss, etc are made of nylon. These tree straps stretch under load and you will find yourself on the ground needing to adjust your suspension in the middle of the night. They also cost about double what a good set of non-stretch polyester or polypropylene straps will run you if you shop at the right place. Then there are decisions like whether you want to save weight by using knots and hitches at connection points or have the simplicity of a hardware solution like climber grade carabiners, descender rings, dutch clips, etc.

By all means feel free to ask me any specific questions you may have..
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:51 AM
RFork RFork is offline
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I use a Bushbuddy Ultra, and I love it. Fantastic stove. It is a bit heavier than an alcohol stove on short trips, but I enjoy not having to go buy denatured alcohol for it.

Matt-
What type of insulation are you using for the hammock?
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:09 AM
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I use a Bushbuddy Ultra, and I love it. Fantastic stove. It is a bit heavier than an alcohol stove on short trips, but I enjoy not having to go buy denatured alcohol for it.

Matt-
What type of insulation are you using for the hammock?
On my frontcountry experience, for bottom insulation, I used Gossamer Gear's 1/4" Evazote Foam pad. My DD hammock is double layer so the pad inserted between the layers and at 39" wide was easy to stay on top of. For top insulation I used a GoLite RS 1+ quilt, which has been my "summer bag" for several seasons. Combined, the pad and quilt weigh in at 2 lbs, 5 ounces. This certainly isn't ultralight by today's standards, but my first thermarest alone weighed more. It actually made it down to 41 the 3rd night and I stayed quite warm.

For the October trip, depending on forecast I might bring a MH Ultralamina 32 bag instead of the quilt for a bit more warmth at the expense of 6 ounces.

If after several seasons I still really like the hammock camping thing, I will probably switch to an underquilt. UQs are often sized to the specific hammock though, and the double layer hammock body is no longer is necessary to hold the insulation in place. I will probably replace my hammock before getting an underquilt for that reason..

-Matt-
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