Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Thinking out loud

Obviously the main point of our little adventure last week was to iron out a few issues and test some of our kit.

Mostly, I think the kit did well, but I have found myself doing a little thinking…

There are one or two things I’d like to improve. I’m not interested in doing major modifications, just perhaps finding a way around things.

My tent. I love it! But I will have to carry a lightweight but very absorbent cloth to dry any condensation I might get on the inner and perhaps the outer too if necessary. I find the tent bag too long and thin. It makes packing it into my rucksack more awkward, so I’m looking at all my tent bags (I have a few…) and stuff sacks to find something that suits better. It needs to be short and fat (Don’t!) so I can flatten it more easily in the back of my pack. I might even have to make one, but I think I’ve got some bits and pieces that will do.

Gayle mentioned that she has found herself pitching a Laser the wrong way into the wind, despite having taken great care not to do so! So, I have attached a small bit of cord to the tail end of my tent in an attempt to make this easier. We’ll see.

I also wondered, if I’d had to separate outer from inner in order to keep the inner dry, if I could then pitch the outer first and reattach the inner, instead of having to fiddle to reattach it before pitching, if the weather is inclement. Well, I tried that out this morning in the garden, albeit in a rather controlled environment. The answer appears to be yes, perfectly possible. Joy!

I’m also rethinking my sleeping mat. It should have been my Synmat 7UL, but now I’m taking my Laser and not the Voyager Superlight, I have a bit of an issue. I can’t get hold of an Exped Mini Pump in time and if the weather is normal (!) I have to lie on my back and blow the mat up on top of me and then turn us both over. It’s tricky and giggly, okay when with a friend but not so good if your camping companions are strangers! Add to that I don’t like to sit on it (in the Superlight I would have sat next to it) and the fact that I like a full length thin mat underneath it to protect it, in total my Thermarest and small sit mat are a lighter and tougher combination.

I think that’s it. For now…

20 comments:

blogpackinglight said...

Have you seen the mods I made to my Laser Comp? http://blogpackinglight.wordpress.com/laser-comp-mods/ None are difficult.

On still nights, lifting the ends helps.

I used to use a microfibre cloth to mop down the inside of the fly each morning. Just unhook the inner tent to get better access and re-hook to pack.

Do you remove the end struts to pack? If not, it's an easy way to reduce the pack length of the tent. Stow the struts with the tent poles. They're a similar length.

To check wind direction, pick up a handful of grass and throw it in the air or take a ribbon and hold it up for a few seconds.

Louise said...

Hi
Yes I have looked at your mods, I've tried the door mod, to take the strain when shutting the zip, which works okay. I don't normally get warm enough to produce condensation, I think that using my hand warmers as a hot water bottle made the difference! If I have time I'll have a look at that too, but I'm stupid busy between now and leaving. We'll see.

I do remove the strutts as I didn't like the idea of them poking against the fabric as I stuff it into the bag, but I still find it produces a long, cylindrical shape and I'd prefer something wider and flatter. I'm working on it...
Thank you.

Alan R said...

Choice of tents now eh. How times change.
What about getting a shnozzel pump bag if you can't get hold of a mini pump. It only weighs about 20gr.and you can use it as a pillow bag too.

blogpackinglight said...

The other thing that cuts down condensation is to use a porch groundsheet. A piece of polythene sheeting will do, although I have a bespoke one :-)

Louise said...

I had looked at those, but it would be impossible to use inside the tent in foul weather, I would have thought! I think I'm okay with the Thermarest :-)

Louise said...

Worth considering :-)

Gordon Green said...

Hi Louise,

The idea of separating the inner sounds good, but, if it's hoolie-ing and cats and dogs, is it going to keep dry while you are trying to attach the inner and outer whilst wearing your wet waterproofs?

Anyway, the weather will be sublime from next Friday for two minutes!

Have a good one.

See you en-route or in Montrose.

Alan Sloman said...

I'm with Gordon.

I wouldn't faff about separating the two. Once pitched it will dry out incredibly quickly, even pitched as "tent soup" and in the rain. A "J-cloth" wipe over the inside of the inner (all round) does the trick.

Of the two tents I would take the Voyager (with the comfort of the Synmat as well) - much more room, more comfort and more stability.

Louise said...

I did wonder, but I can seperate the inner and pack it whilst still in the pitched outer, then drop and stuff the outer into the outer pocket of my by then fully packed pack. In theory.
In practice I may not give a whatsit!!

The weather is going to be fabulous this year...

See you somewhere!

Louise said...

Tent souo dries out? Really?

I really had intended the Voyager, before I got my new. I'm just not prepared to carry an extra 700g of tent at the expense of an extra couple of layers and hand warmers (although I would love the space...:-( )

Louise said...

Soup!

Louise said...

New tent!! Damn mobile keyboards.

Gayle said...

Well let me just throw my opinion in to counter Alan's:

If it was me, I'd take the Laser Comp! It's an absolutely huge tent for a 5'5" woman who's used to sharing a Voyager.

I would, however, in that situation, steal your idea of a bit of string on the tail end (and for Robin's benefit: the issue wasn't working out which way the wind was blowing. The problem was that even having checked twice which way the door was facing, I still managed to pitch the tent the wrong way wrong, such that I had the doorway into the wind. I'd managed such a fine job of pitching it too!).

Alan R said...

You can use the pump bag in a TT Moment so I am sure you would be fine in any other tent. The UL 7 is so comfy.

Louise said...

Ahhhh!!!! How thick am I? I'd wondered what the chucking of grass in the air was all about! Sorry Gayle, my Gear Guru Extraordinaire, I hadn't intended to imply you couldn't ascertain wind direction, but pleased to have made a useful suggestion. I'm with on the size of the Laser being more than adequate. Sorted.

Louise said...

It is soooo comfy! I know. I'm still pondering that one, but not the bag thing, not for me. Not even to use as a pillow aswell, too creaky, I have a pillow option, ultra lightweight too.

Stan Appleton said...

Like Robin, I wrongly thought the ribbon was to determine the way the wind was blowing. But what a simple idea to tell the leeward and windward ends of your tent - I'll put something on my Scarp tomorrow (a Yorkshire pennant maybe!)as I've had the same problem a couple of times with the tent 180 degrees out from how I wanted it. You don't notice until you come to open the doors and the gale hammers into the porch and by then it's a faff to turn it round.

Louise said...

Hey Stan! Lovely to hear from you. Robin fooled me for a while, I didn't see what he was getting at. It's not like me to have a useful idea, I'm quite chuffed!

Are you packed yet? Hopefully I'll bump into you and Emma somewhere along the way, see you there!

Stan Appleton said...

Hi Louise, let's say 'provisionally' packed as I might switch to a warmer sleeping bag or add a liner when I get a closer feel for the Challenge weather.
We're going from Strathcarron so may see you on the Plockton train if you're on the 13.34 from IV. Otherwise, have a good one - third time lucky with the weather for us all ?

Louise said...

Damn! Think I'm on the earlier train :-( but hopefully see you somewhere. Lovely start! And yes, I think it's Our Turn for some decent weather (long term forecast is currently suggesting average temps if not slightly warmer, patchy rain at times, not overly windy...)
Say hi to Emma for me!