Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sleeping bear

Sleeping bear (well that’s me after a long uncomfortable night)

Well after a few un-comfey nights in a bivi bag I’ve purchased and new sleep pad to replace my Military issue Multimat 3/4 
The new mat is a  Klymit Static V ( un-insulated) and for a lightweight sleep mat the price was great (£56) EBay. 
Before I decided to get the mat I viewed some reviews on YouTube, most were done in the US so will have to see how it works out in the UK cooler climate.
The mat is 6.35cm thick when inflated and comes with a repair kit for those inevitable events when we get careless and puncture the mat. I have never popped my Multimat ¾ but that seems to be made of a more robust fabric.
The mat details are

More Information
Price £56 (eBay seller) Ebay seller
Weight 18.1 oz. / 514 g
Dimensions        72" x 23" x 2.5" / 183 cm x 59 cm x 6.5 cm
R-Value                1.3
Inflation               10-15 Breaths (depends on your lungs)
Pack Size              3" x 8" / 7.62 cm x 20.3 cm
Fabric    75D Polyester

Warranty             Limited Lifetime

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Well the verdict is out on my cheap purchase Highlander Blackthorn One tent. Had night out with it so picked a night expect harsh weather and wasn’t disappointed, 40mph wind plus driving rain and although I had my doubts about the fiberglass poles the tent survived and will see another day though it needs a few mods.
1St mod is to add extra tie outs of the longest section to the tent sides as without them it flaps around really bad in strong gusts letting cold and damp air rushing into the tent, which inner is constructed from midge net (keeps the weight down).
I found it manageable even though at 6 ft. it’s a tight fit, I managed to get my Osprey 58 Kestrel pack in to use as a pillow and could with a push get my legs straight even though it wasn’t the most comfortable position, so ended up sleeping on my side with leg slightly bent
2nd mod I may even add extra guy points to the sides of the tent to ease the flappy effect in strong winds.
I had no leeks in the outer and the groundsheet worked fine, I have now changed the pegs from those steel skewers provided to some aluminium y pegs so the will save some weight packed.
I may even consider adding some seem seal along the stitched seams on the top of the tent while adding the extra guy out points (need to be sealed too).
Over all for a ten costing £35 online with free post and only 1.5 kilos packed (maybe less with new pegs)  it’s great, and as I got the MTP copy Camo version it’s hard to see from a distance so brill for wild camping. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Cheapo tent .. very supprised

Well had to pull the belt in a little for an upcoming walk for a charity, so purchased a Tent (1man) as the tent I was going to buy had sold out at the price I was willing to pay.
So no Vango zephos one
and on to a Highlander Blackthorn in MTP style camo, which I picked so camping would be a little less noticeable on the walk as it's a well trodden path and I hate campsites
I will write a review as to how it works out once I had a day or two in wet weather with it.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Camera times

Well after a little soul searching I've ordered a new compact camera, as I think my old and battered Sony DSC-H10 has seen its last days now, and I'm not to keen on carrying my Nikon D300 and the lenses I like ( Tameron 150-600 & Tokina 16-50) plus assorted gear that travels with em.
I'm off on a bit of a walk soon and would really like to document the walk better so new camera time it is.
The old Sony H10 has been a very good camera and has had good long life (it still works fine) but I loaned it out once and it came back with a small scratch on the front element of the lens :(
It still produces nice Photos but I feel its getting a bit long in the tooth and its weight compared to newer compacts is a bit heavy.
So the new replacement camera is - a Sony DSC WX220, it ticks all the boxes for me regarding a bit of video for youtube and nice quality photos for my collection and bloging.

Compression Sack

I've just made a simple compression sack to hold my Buffalo Special 6 shirt, I found without being compressed it was a little bulky and as I do intend t take it when I walk Hadrian's wall in around April-May 2017.
I made the sack from some 2oz Nylon PU coated in olive green, I simply rolled up the shirt to get an idea about the size of the thing and worked a pattern out from the measurements.

I used some odds of para-cord (550) for the loops for compression straps again made from a piece of 550 cord, All the sticking was done in V69 thread( which I must say I've got way to much of).  Also on the machine table is a new chest bag design to fit my Kestrel 58 pack, I had already made one but it was in MTP type camo to be used as a stand alone piece of kit, This one is specifically for the Kestrel Pack

I love sewing on my Toyota LS2-AD150 industrial machine although when I purchased it it was a very different beast to work on, I tried and tried to get used to the bloody clutch motor way of sewing but for the stuff I like to make I needed a slow single stitch at a time accuracy.
In order to get the speed I needed I had to swap out the original (new) clutch motor and replace with a servo motor, this allow's the precision I require. sewing is a pleasure now.

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Well I was going to make my own tent (single skin) for use with two walk poles, but for the sake of simplicity I've decided to go and purchase a wild country zephyros 1.
I have designed my own tent and truly cant make up my mind on what type, I have been thinking alone the lines of a tepee type but also a two pole ridge style tent. I have some very nice olive green PU Nylon (2oz) and I own a very good industrial machine, I have stack loads of V69 bonded thread so a may still get it made up before my walk.
 Version 2 

Version idea 1

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Well As i was unhappy with my Mil Surplus MILLET backpack (french army), it;'s not a Millet's UK bag .
I've had my eye on a new Osprey pack, Maybe a Kestrel 68. So when I was on eBay as you do I saw a Kestrel 58 pack in as new condition for £50 I jumped in and purchased it. I think it must be an older as 2012 model as its the black and grey version.
Also invested in some Alpkit Mytistax pots as my main set for Backpacking, as my Coleman expedition set of alloy pans are used on wood fires or my small wood gas stove all the time and as such have quite a bit of wood soot on them.
I am still trying to decide if I should use Meths or Gas while walking Hadrian's wall, my home made alcohol stove works really good but I'm a little worried I won't be able to resupply fuel if I run out, where as gas canisters should be available on route.

Beginning the idea

Beginning the idea

Well after a sudden rush of blood to my head I’ve decided to commit to walk Hadrian’s Wall from west to east, And considering I am what you would call a little unfit I think I have a bit of an uphill battle to get my fitness levels to the required state ready to walk in end April 2017 or beginning of May same year.
I have made a few new purchases to enable me to get my pack weight down from the Bush crafting weight (F~cking heavy) to a nice manageable 15 kilos (hope).

I may also try to do a couple of You Tube Vids (camera shy) regarding my setup and load as well as photos and videos from the walk itself. Sort of diary.
I had the idea to walk Hadrian's wall as an option instead of walking my local LDP the Cleveland Way, as I felt if I'm half way round the Cleveland way I could jib out with small excuses as the path passes withing 100 meters of a family members home :( ... so Hadrian's wall it is.
I have Asked my son (Liam) if he Fancy's having a got at the walk with me but sometimes his motivation drifts so I'm planning it as a solo walk ( maybe even with my Dog Milo).
Will post more when I make a decision about taking my dog, as the opinion from some of the walking forums that Hadrian's wall walk is any but doggy friendly, I also need to work out and idea on him carrying a little of his food and water.