MLD Duomid and OookWorks inner

Weights: Duomid fly 585g, OookWorks inner 571g, pegs (10 titanium, 6 Easton) 143g, backpackinglight.co.uk pole extender 33g. Total: 1,332g.

Given the poor weather forecast, I was a bit apprehensive about taking the Duomid rather than my Scarp. However, overall, it coped with the conditions very well.

Compared with hoop tents, it is a bit trickier to pitch. I peg out three corners loosely, and then insert the centre pole (my Leki Carbon poles with a pole extender). I pull out the fourth corner and adjust accordingly, then I peg the mid-point pull outs. Lastly I peg the panel guys, some with individual pegs, others doubling with the mid-point pull outs.

It’s easy to erect the inner, doubling up the peg points at the rear and using separate pegs at the front. The apex is secured by some Velcro (there is an elastic cord as well). Lastly, half way up the four corner seams there are some elastic pull outs with small cord locks. These are mated with the loops on the inside of the fly. At the base of the groundsheet there is also a Velcro attachment, which is secured around the base of the pole.

Overall, it takes around ten minutes to pitch properly. It’s worth repositioning the pegs to get a taut fly. The Duomid seems to be quite sensitive to the slope of the ground. I was on a slight slope and I needed to play about with the pole height a bit to get the right pitch.

How did it perform? On Wednesday night and early Thursday morning it absolutely lashed down with rain, although it wasn’t too windy. There were a few drips where water wicked through on some of the loops, but it was very minor. A few drips made it on to the inner, but they just rolled off. I had sealed the seams and there were no other issues.

Thursday was characterised by heavy showers and a stiffening, gusty wind. The Duomid responded better to the wind than I had expected. Although it flapped a bit, it wasn’t noisy. I think it will be reasonably stable in all but the most severe winds.

The OookWorks inner was excellent. The workmanship is very good, especially as it was made from scratch. Sean has done a very good job. The bathtub groundsheet is 90gsm PU coated nylon. It is reassuringly robust. The rear corner pull outs are dyneema cord attached top and bottom to the groundsheet. At the front and at the centre at the rear, there are shock cord pullouts.

The main body is yellow ripstop nylon, similar to many lightweight tents. The overall pitch of the inner is about as taut as can be managed on this kind of tent. The ends didn’t dangle in my face or touch the end of my sleeping bag. There is also a decent clearance between fly and inner.

The doors are an inverted “T”, so I can open up the whole front, making the tent very spacious. The top section of the doors is mesh for ventilation. On each side there are two elastic loop and cord lock tie backs for the doors. The rationale for having two is to ensure that the doors could be folded away securely and avoid the problem of excess material dangling or flapping.

I specified two pockets on the back wall, one at either end. This was really handy for storing odds and ends. At the apex there is a hanging loop for a light.

The floor is about the same size as the Scarp. It doesn’t feel quite as big, because three of the panels angle inwards, but the height makes it seem quite spacious. I was concerned that it might flap a bit in the wind, but it is surprisingly flap free. Overall I’m really happy with the design. Between us, I think we’ve come up with a winner. The next project is to produce a lighter inner (at the moment 340g is the estimate).

The combination of the Duomid and the OookWorks inner is a real success. The Duomid has a huge amount of space in the porch to store rucksack and other bits and pieces. There is enough room in the inner to store clothes and any other sensitive items. Sean has some excellent pictures of the setup.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am tempted to get a cuben flysheet. Coupled with a 340g inner, I could reduce the overall weight by nearly 0.5kg. Using the same pegs and pole extender, the total weight would come down to around 860g.

Running out of wind

Despite recent windy weather, especially in Scotland, it appears that average wind speed for the UK has declined. This is related to the position of the jet stream and sun spot activity. The long-term forecast is for this trend to continue. This not exactly positive for the wind farming industry. Will this change policy? Lobbying groups are too entrenched and the subsidy machine is in full swing. Today’s Telegraph.

The weather magnet

I returned from the Lake District this afternoon. The blogpackinglight weather magnet was in good working order. Thursday was a washout, but I was camping at Seathwaite Tarn in a very pleasant spot, so I wasn’t too put out. It did knock the plans for the next day for six, but such is life. Friday night/Saturday morning saw another epic downpour. Two for the price of one! I’ll put together some words and photos over the next few days, although there are likely to be more photos than words. For the gearheads, the Duomid and OookWorks inner worked very well, both in keeping me dry and sheltering me from some moderately strong winds. More later.

Off to see the wizard

I’ve had a busy week, hence the break in posts. However, I should be off to the Lakes for a few days on Tuesday. On trial will be the Duomid and new inner. I’ll also be taking the Montane Minimus jacket. The forecast for Wednesday suggests it might see some action. I will also take my Litespeed with adjustable cuffs, paired with my Patagonia R1 pullover. Apart from that, it will all be familiar stuff.

US housing

Another bit of crossover, but I thought some readers might be interested in this piece on the US housing market. It’s still a long way off normal. The one saving grace in the UK is that there isn’t the overhang of supply. Nonetheless, it’s going to take a decade for the UK market to “normalise” and house prices are likely to decline for some time to come.

You are worth 20p

According to “URLpulse” you are worth 20p each time you visit my blog and my blog is “worth” nearly £3,000. Pull the other one. Oh well, I suppose it’s a bit of fun!

My UK blog ranking is 208,497 and 1,811,084 worldwide. I guess that’s not bad for a minority interest.

Golite Wildwood Longsleeve

I received delivery of a Golite Wildwood Trail longsleeve top this week. What attracted me to this garment was it very light (mine is 100g vs. advertised 102g) and claimed to have a silky feel. I wanted a long-sleeved top to use for sleeping and around camp, that could also double up and be used in the day if necessary. Until now, I’ve tended to use a Berghaus ExStatic longsleeve zip or a Montane Terra longsleeve top (both 165g).

I really like my Rohan Ultra T-shirt (62g) both as a base layer and for sleeping. It’s very light and silky, evaporating sweat quickly. However, I prefer to sleep in a longsleeve top. The Wildwood is very similar in feel to the Ultra,  using a thin polyester fabric with an antimicrobial feature.

Rohan now do a longsleeve version of the Ultra but just in black, so I thought I’d jazz up my wardrobe by going for the Wildwood in red. The material seems slightly thicker than the Ultra, with the exception of the panels under the arms. There’s also a small pocket at the hip on the right hand side.

It feels very comfortable and pleasant to the touch with a slightly odd warm and cool feel to it. I think it will be ideal for sleeping in and to wear around camp. I suspect it will also be effective as a base layer garment if needed. It has a SPF factor of 50. The fit fairly relaxed. The only thing I don’t like about it is being an advertising billboard for Golite. It cost £35.99 from Ultralight Outdoor Gear.

Fantasy TGOC gear list

It’s been interesting looking at the gear lists other bloggers have published for this year’s TGO Challenge. I have provisional clearance from the boss to apply for next year’s Challenge, so I thought I’d have a go a compiling a gear list of what I would take. So here it is:

A base weight of 8.66kg is well above Phil Turner’s total of 5.8kg or Martin Rye’s of 6.7kg. The major contrast is that I like to take some spare clothes, while they appear to be happy with a more Spartan approach. Arguably that accounts for around 2kg. The other area of difference is personal hygiene and first aid, where I have about 4-500g of extra weight. For example, I like to be clean-shaven, so I have a Braun travel shaver, which weighs 129g with batteries (I hate wet shaving!).

This is a fantasy list because the tent doesn’t yet exist! If my experiment with the silnylon Duomid goes well this year, I intend to get a cuben version. I want to get an even lighter inner than the one I’ve already had made by Sean. The target weight is 300g. If this can be achieved, then the fly and inner will weigh around 640g. Add a conservative 160g for pegs and pole extender and I get 800g. I know this is a bit of a cheat, as I’m not including the weight of my trekking poles, but I would be carrying those anyway. According to Chris Townsend’s article in the latest TGO magazine, the Terra Nova Laser Ultra weighs 788g. In effect the cuben Duomid and the Ultra are the same weight. When you consider the size of the Duomid compared with the Ultra, I know which one I prefer!

I’m also tempted by Colin Ibbotson’s Tramplite Skins 2 packs. I’m guessing that the larger silnylon pack will be no more than 400g with a few bells and whistles, so I could knock another 370g off my base weight using one. I could lose another 300g by not taking my Wiggy’s Waders, but I reckon they are a real boon for stream crossings. I really do not like wet feet and it saves getting cold. I could save another 250g by leaving out my Nike Mayfly trainers, but I like to have a change of shoes, especially for a long trip. I would also be loathe not to have some spare clothes so I have something dry to change into, for sleeping and around civilisation. The one area where some weight savings should be achievable is in personal hygiene and first aid. I ought to be able to save 200-300g.

Overall, I might be able to knock the base weight down to under 8kg. With around 3kg of consumables (not including water), that would give a pack weight of 11kg. The trade-off between weight and comfort is rather different for me than true ultra lightweighters, as I do like to have some extra clothes and a bit of comfort. Nevertheless, I think 8kg is not too bad for a two-week walk across Scotland. For walks in England and Wales it could be even lower.

Quick rant

I suppose some justice has been done in the banks paying up for the PPI scandal. Now we have Scottish & Southern being collared for misleading customers (i.e. lying to them) about switching energy suppliers. Quite frankly, consumer protection in this country is a joke. It’s not surprising that no-one trusts the banks or the energy suppliers. They both see customers as a profit opportunity rather than a client with whom they can build a mutually beneficial relationship. What ever happened to honest dealing? I must be getting old.