Gear spew

By my standards I’ve been rolling gear this year. Some of it has been/is really good, if not especially compelling. Below are some review notes, updates, and MYOG stuff. Feel free to ask for details.

Astral Nova PFD: On its way back to REI.  After the Middle Fork trip I found it on sale and thought it might be better in some undefined way than the simple modified Stolquist I’ve been using.   Nope, it rides up like mad in the packraft, and the stiff foam is hard to pack.  Fail.

Haglofs Ozo Anorak: Still my favorite rain coat ever.  The hood and thumb loops rule, and it’s been durable and bombproof.  The only flaw is the too short flap over the pocket zip, in sustained rain the pocket collects water.  So I cut the pocket off.  Now it’s exactly 7 oz.

Thermarest Prolite XS: I’ve been a ridgerest fan for years, but those designated campsites in Glacier are really hard.  I’m not fan of bouncy pads like the Neoair or Big Agnes, but this little guy works great, inflated to max pressure.  Fits under a packraft seat perfectly.  Very tough, I’ve used it straight on the ground more often than not, and no issues.

MYOG .7 oz spinnaker tarp: 80″ by 90″, bonded reinforcements on all corners, midpoints, and two along the ridgeline.  Inside hang points under the ridgeline tieouts.  Some very ugly sewing was involved, but it turned out nicely anyway.  10 oz seam sealed, with lots of guylines, and in the stuffsack I made.

22 gram Baladeo knife: Perfect for everyday carry and backpacking.  Big enough to clean a big fish, sharp enough to do most anything.  I have not verified the weight, but it’s darn light.

Thorofare shirt: Bought a medium in nice brown from the BPL forums.  Nice detailing and cut, makes other quick dry fabrics seem like cotton.

BPL Firelite 900 pot (2011): Best pot ever for 1 person.

The Space Jam: It’s nice to have a pack which fits perfectly.  Lengthening the torso made all the difference in the world with this one.  I noticed the hipbelt didn’t wrap so well, and took about 3/4″ out of the top of each side.  Much better now.

Old Avid brake levers: Wonderful brake levers, great feel.  Broken through no fault of their own in a wreck this weekend.  Yes they were loose enough to move, sideways/up force was no match.  Doubly sad as they were a gift from Brendan, and thus had extra special mojo.  The monkey now has nice blue lever on the left/front, mundane FR5 on the right/rear.  Works fine.

Alpacka stock seat: Fail.  Got a hole in it on Sunday, which was not a design fail (gravel in boat), though the bottom fabric could be burlier.  Fail is that my butt is not shaped like a horseshoe, and my legs fall asleep.  I want another ~inch of height, less backrest, and a solid seat area.

MYOG frame bag: Simple, single compartment left zip.  VX-21 sides, ballistics cordura edges, yoga mat sewn to pad downtube and seattube sections.  Gap at back of TT is for ease of portaging bike and fitting a ulock.  Simple, effective.  Get one.

Rampage and Purgatory tires (shown above): New mtb tires are exciting.  The Ramp has been the go-to for the past two years, the Purg is new, but seems to be very good.  Now that I don’t care about going fast anymore I just want traction, and lots of it.  These deliver in the wet or dry.

Paul Thumbie mount:  Indexing sucks!  I’ve been using this Shimano barcon on a crappy DIY mount for years.  The Paul is so much better, smoooth easy shifting.  Shoulda got it years ago.

Werner Shuna:  Holy shit.  Best gear of the year.  I no longer use energy paddling the paddle, only for paddling the water.  Enhances boating fun significantly.

MYOG bivvy:  I cut the top section off my Montbell and replaced that panel with some Pertex Quantum.  Only used is once, and had lots of moisture on the top of my quilt inside it.  Jury still out.

That’s it.  Anyone with a better idea for a packraft seat, share it!

12 thoughts on “Gear spew

  1. “anyone for a better packraft seat share it”

    Minicell foam

  2. Packraft seat:
    Take a roll top dry sack and insert a blown up 2L Platy bottle.
    Strap through roll top & around back of seat/bottom of the U shape.
    Place in the center of the U/open section of the seat.
    Voila! This keeps my legs from falling asleep, no matter how long I’m on it.

    Putting in an Alpacka Explorer seat would be better, though.

    Nice job on the frame bag.

    1. Explorer seat is designed to supplement the standard seat, right? Might provide some nice redundancy. The drybag is a good idea, too.

      Roman, a piece of foam under and/or over the seat? Or a bunch of foam (say a full rolled ridgerest) instead of the seat?

  3. Gotta get me some of those thumbies!

  4. Try a Bontrager FR3. My favorite traction/durability tire displacing both the Purg and Rampage.

    1. Will do. The Ramp is getting a bit thin.

  5. Thanks for the short overview Dave.
    Also using the Baladeo 22 everyday. It is the perfect knife for trips but it almost a bit too small for my big hands.

    I’m also looking for the Werner Shuna. Hope I can test it in the next time, because I’m not satiesfied with my Manta Ray Explorer.

  6. About the thermarest: try out or test/review the Peak Oyl pads sometime – I love mine and they’re from a Bozeman Co….

  7. What can you tell us about the spinnaker tarp? I’m looking to build one myself.

    1. The material was old BPL stock which I bought from GooseFeet, unfortunately they’re out of it.

      I triple rolled and then double stitched the ridge line, which was the hardest part. I then laid it out in the yard and glued reinforcement patches on with undilluted silnet (triangles for the tie outs, circles, for the ridgeline ones). Once this dried I triple rolled and sewed the edges, box stitched the tie outs, then set it back up and seam sealed everything. The ridgeline stitching is pretty ugly but everything ended up straight and its gone through rain storms and moderate snow in good style. The fabric is loud in the hand, but with a tight pitch it’s dead quiet.

      The lack of stretch when wet is really nice.

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