Andy Howell R.I.P.

Well known TGO Challenger and blogger, Andy Howell has died after a short illness https://www.birminghamworld.uk/news/birmingham-politics-tributes-paid-to-former-deputy-leader-of-birmingham-city-council-who-has-died-3412857 Sad news indeed. I met Andy and his wife Kate on my 2014 TGO Challenge when I stopped at a shooting hut above the Red Bothy in the Monadhliath where they shared their jelly babies with me. Fond memories. The TGO Challenge Facebook page has many tributes to Andy. R.I.P.

Mariposa rucksack – Frankenpack edition

WordPress managed to delete my original post on this, so I’ll try to recreate it. As followers of my blog will be aware, I’ve made some changes to my old Gossamer Gear Mariposa. The front pocket mesh ripped on my 2017 TGO Challenge. A friend kindly replaced it with a solid one and at the same time replaced the old shoulder straps with new ones.

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Over The Top closure. I preferred the drawstring and Y strap closure of the original Mariposa. I persuaded another friend to remove the OTT closure and replace it. I’m very pleased with the result.

It makes the rucksack easier to pack and more flexible with different loads. It gives a little more volume too, which is helpful for longer trips.

The top closure has a Y strap but it is also possible to use a single strap which is useful for smaller loads. I also added a karabiner to further cinch down the load if required.

I’ve also changed the backpad from some tent underlay (from Needlesports) to an evazote mat from Ultralight Outdoors Gear. I’ve saved a bit of weight, 66g vs 120g.

I’m not sure if I’ve blogged this before but I put a bit of fleece (from a dog bed!) in the lumber area which makes it more comfortable in warmer conditions. If it’s raining I usually remove it to stop it getting wet.

Some time ago I also swapped the original hipbelt for the latest version, which is much better.

So there you have it, the Mariposa Frankenpack, my almost perfect rucksack. The only further improvement would be replacing the gridstop fabric with X-Pac. Now if I could persuade someone to do that…

Around Haweswater

Last week I managed to get away for a three night trip around the southern end of Haweswater. After parking the car, I headed up the Old Corpse Road to camp near Brown Howe. The next day I climbed Selside Pike and continued to Branstree, then to Harter Fell and down to Small Water to camp. The following day I climbed back up the ridge to Mardale Ill Bell and High Street. From there I followed the ridge to High Raise where I had lunch. It was then an easy walk down to Low Raise and Measand Beck to a lovely camp spot. The next day I followed the western shore of Haweswater back to the car park. Here’s a slide show of my trip:

Tarptent Notch Gear Loft

There’s not a lot of storage space in the inner tent in a TT Notch (plenty in the porches) so I used a bit of lateral thinking. I spotted a triangular gear loft from Big Agnes and thought I might be able to adapt it for the Notch ( https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.c…-tent-accessories-c315/tent-gear-lofts-p13534 )

It fits rather well!

I had to sew a grosgrain loop at the end on the inner tent. I extended two cords to the pole apex glove hooks on the inner. Because the inner ends are secured to the pitchlok apex by elastic you wouldn’t want to put anything too heavy in the gear loft as it would drag the inner down a bit, but it will be handy for lighter items that you don’t want to store on the floor. It doesn’t impede the door either.

Tent pocket

Many lightweight tents either lack pockets or have unsuitable ones. There appear to be no easily available after market ones. I was looking for one for my Tramplite and came across the Montbell UL Paper Pouch, At 6g it’s very light. The grosgrain loops at either end of the zip means that it’s easily attached to an inner tent with safety pins. Using safety pins means minimal damage and flexibility in moving it around. Quite a neat solution, although not cheap!

Hood keeper

Hoods that flap around in the wind can be annoying. It’s surprising how many hooded jackets don’t have some kind of provision to roll them away securely. My Marmot Ether DriClime Hoodie is a case in point. I got fed up with rolling the hood up and tucking it away so I made a simple “keeper” from a piece of webbing and some kamsnaps.

Genius! One end secures around the hanging loop and the other to a kamsnap I put on the jacket. No more flapping hood! Hopefully the pictures below show how it’s done. It would be easy to do on other jackets, although you do need a kamsnaps tool.

another backpacking blog