Friday, 13 February 2015

All the Gear...

At Christmas I had a little kindle binge on a few adventure related books, including a few involving polar expeditions.  That coupled with watching Richard Parks attempt at breaking a world record in Antarctica got me thinking, if I landed in Antarctica tomorrow, could I mount an expedition?

Well the quick and easy answer is no!  But could I mount a half arsed trek without dying in the first week? 

Putting aside the small matters of actual training, physical conditioning and having any idea of what I am doing, could I raid the kit cupboard and come up with the gear to do the job?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Looking back to push forward

This year’s plans are pretty conservative by my recent holidays, I really need a year to put a few things in place (financially, physically, etc), but at the same time I don’t want to stay still.  The major plan/event with be my return to the JMT in 2016.  It’s unfinished business.

The gear I used last year was pretty much as good as I could get it, and it performed brilliantly.  I can’t see too many changes next year, aside from a few minor tweaks, getting the right colours for the season and something shiny, always something shiny.  I also intend to take my good camera (and the associated bits) instead of the trusty point and shoot.  This will make things heavier of course, but with some planning it manageable and worth the effort for such an adventure.

Food is something I didn’t look to hard at last year, weight and calories were pretty much my only concerns, balanced with taste (if you can’t face eating it then there is no point in taking it).  I paid little attention to protein, carbs, sugars, and all that important ‘stuff’.  Whilst I had around 3000 calories a day (probably burning in the region of 5000), I had rushes, slumps and crashes in energy.  I also doubt I had my carbs and electrolytes at the right levels considering the weather.  All things I will have to learn better. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Powermonkey Explorer 2 – First look

Power – 6000mAh
Weight – 292g (my scales), 300g with ‘out’ adaptor, 307g with ‘in’ and out’ adaptor. 

This thing is built like a tank.  Press promo’s show someone driving a Land Rover over the top of it, and I can believe it!  It looks solid and it feels solid.  It does however weigh a solid 392 grams.

I currently own a few power packs, my current fave is the Lepow moonstone 6000mAh, which I used recently in the USA (I have others from Anker and TeckNet).  I use them on multiday trips, camping and festivals. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Quick review - inReach SE

The inReach SE is a two way communicator and tracker.  It uses the Iridium satellite network (alongside GPS) to send text messages to either email addresses or a mobile number.  It can be used on its own, but I mainly used mine synced via Bluetooth to my iPhone.

The inReach SE in it's normal position...
The inReach can also be used as a tracker and can be set up to send a tracking ‘ping’ every ten minutes.  This then appears on the inReach mapshare and shows friends and family just where I am (and how slow I was going!). 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Quick review - zPacks Solplex

The zPacks Solplex is a single walled lightweight shelter designed and made in the USA.  I have spent 16 nights so far in mine, so this is more of an initial review rather than a long term review.  I took this shelter straight out on my trip, no practice, no checking, I DO NOT recommend this for any piece of gear and it is rather foolhardy.

The shelter is quick and easy to erect.  I bought carbon poles from zPacks rather than use my trekking poles, this was partly due to knowing that I had no time to test and practice getting the heights correct.  It took some of the guesswork out.