Dartmoor gear feedback

As with all my trips, this is a short feedback post on some of the gear I used. I’m going to do a separate post on my Gossamer Gear Mariposa rucksack as I’ve used it for over a year now and it deserves a longer review.

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MLD Duomid

Shelter

MLD Cuben Duomid OookWorks nest:

This was the first time that my cuben Duomid has been subject to heavy rain since I sealed all the stitching around the vent. I’m pleased to say that there were no leaks. However, I have spotted one design flaw. In theory, the vent can be closed by removing the plastic stiffener and sealed with velcro. Unfortunately the velcro on the underside of the hood and the main body of the tent don’t fully match. So, I closed it with a peg. I’m going to do a little mod to cure this inadequacy.

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Pegging the vent

On the Thursday night we had quite strong winds and heavy rain. The extra pegging points on the rear of the tent really came into their own, controlling the movement of the rear panel. They also help to keep the rear wall well away from the inner. The second door tie out was also useful on the last night as it meant I could secure the right hand door panel as shelter against the wind.

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Rear pegging points

The OookWorks nest worked well. My two observations are that the thin Chikara groundsheet can attract condensation inside underneath a sleeping mat and the a mesh hybrid is noticeably cooler that a solid one. These are both functions of the material and design chosen, rather than a criticism of any workmanship, which is first class.

Overall, I think the cuben Duomid is superior to the silnylon version. I like the fact that it retains a taut pitch even in rain. It does “rattle” a bit occasionally in wind, but that’s a minor irritation. I still feel it’s a tent for more sheltered spots rather than a full blown mountain tent. Having said that, I don’t think it would get blown away.

Sleeping

Nemo Zor Short and silk cover:

Last time I was out in Wales, I was seduced by my old Thermarest Neoair short. This time, I wanted to give the Zor a good test. I was a little bit apprehensive about reverting to a self inflating mattress after the comfort of an air bed. However, it was very comfortable. It is obviously harder, but in some ways it is better as it’s more supportive. It’s also more comfortable to sit on when you’re in the tent. I used a MYOG silk cover, which is a cut down sleeping bag liner. This was excellent, providing a more comfortable surface to sleep on and adding some insulation. It also stops the mat and sleeping bag from sliding around.I’m very happy with the combo and will use again.

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Nemo Zor inside MYOG silk sleeping mat cover

Clothes

Rohan Pacific Shirt: I wore this most of the trip and really liked it. It feels like silk but dries very quickly. For hot sweaty weather, it’s very good. It is remarkably odour resistant. That’s not to say that it doesn’t smell at all, but it’s far superior to ant other shirt I’ve worn (Paramo, Mountain Hardwear, Craghoppers). I really should have rinsed it a couple of times, as it dries so quickly, but I was lazy. It also looks rather nice.

Rohan Ultra Longjohns: I like wearing something on my legs for sleeping. These are very light (77g) and thin. They feel like silk and were ideal. They add a modicum of warmth but aren’t sweaty. I like them a lot and they are ideal for summer. In camp I used them under some Montane Featherlite Trousers.

Marmot Driclime Vest: I’m starting to appreciate gilets. They provide a bit of extra warmth and protection from the wind for your torso. This gilet is quite thin and light (187g) and was ideal for summer walking when the wind made it slightly chilly with only a shirt. The Driclime material dissipates sweat very quickly.

Food

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Bla Band Creamy Pasta with Chicken

BlaBand

On the first night I had Bla Band Creamy Pasta with Chicken. While not quite as good as the Skinnarmo’s Pasta Carbonara meal, it was very tasty. I liked it.

Trek’n’Eat

The next two nights I had meals by Trek’n’Eat, a brand I’ve not used before. I had their Beef Casserole with Noodles and Creamy Chicken Pasta with Spinach. Both were very palatable and quite similar in quality to the Bla Band meals I’ve had. The main difference is that they are slightly larger. Be warned though that you should add slightly less water than advertised!

On the last night, I had one of my remaining Fuizion Food meals. These remain the gold standard, but sadly are no longer available.

I am coming to the conclusion that pasta (or noodles) is the best option for freeze dry meals. Rice is OK but can be crunchy. Potato based meals tend to end up being a rather unappetising gloop.

Any questions on gear, please leave a comment 🙂

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23 thoughts on “Dartmoor gear feedback”

  1. Hi Robin – you’ve come to the right conclusion about food – DIY. Start with pasta, noodles or rice and add all sorts of things for great meals, such as tuna, chorizo, good quality stock cubes, sardines, dried veg., squeezy cheese etc. For the first few days you can carry fresh as it will last fine, especially cured meats, smoked fish etc.

    You’ll need to experiment, but you won’t go back to the dehydrated (and very expensive) products you’ve used to date. To solve the crunchy rice problem, a bit of planning is needed – bring to the boil then wrap the pan in a cosy (I use a fleece or buff) and leave for 30-40 minutes, stir every 10 mins or so. No good if you’re in a rush, but you can sacrifice a bit of fuel and simmer for longer if necessary, or only use rice on the evenings you have time.

    I had 6 challengers salivating in Luib-Chonnal bothy on TGOC 2012 when frying off some chorizo and onion before adding noodles!

    Andy

  2. Good info, Robin. Re the Zor: I used to use the Prolite Thermarest (I still have it). The self-inflating thing was good at night. But the downside was how hard it was to deflate it completely in the morning. I had to roll it and unroll it several times, pressing it hard with my wrists, before it got down to a manageable size. Not much fun first thing in the morning! And it took a fair bit of time. What I like about the NeoAir family is that they all deflate very easily. Makes morning chores a pleasure.
    So the question is: what’s the Zor like in that respect??
    Cheers!

    1. I found the Zor easy to deflate and it compresses small, perhaps because it has both vertical and horizontal cores.

  3. My alternative to rice is couscous. I add some herbs, spices, dehydrated onion, oil (if I have it) and boiling water. Put the lid on and its ready in 10 mins. No cosy required.

  4. Usefull info, Robin. Thankyou.
    As you know I am interested in the Solomid.With regard to the inner , do you set it
    up with each pitch or leave it insitu?. I imagine you would keep it separate so it
    avoids any contact with the outer,thus keeping it reasonably dry. I shall , all being
    well, be asking Sean to make me an inner.I’m keen to save weight and wondering
    if a mainly cuben bathtub and say 80% cuben inner with some mesh at top for
    ventilation would work. Just wondering if the cuben could take the wear and tear as
    a floor piece. I will be using it in winter as well so keen to preserve some warmth
    and reduce drafts.I may also order a perimiter net which may help in this respect
    and keep midges at bay in Scotland/summer.

    1. Just to clarify, I have a Duomid not a Solomid. The nest is completely separate. I attach it after erecting the Duomid and take it down first. My understanding is that cuben is not ideal for a groundsheet as it is easy to puncture.

  5. I notice that you pitched pretty close to some thick bracken. Don’t you have ticks down in Dartmoor? Do that in Scotland and you’ll find your shelter covered in little nymphs…!

    1. Never had a problem with ticks, perhaps because there are no deer. Thanks for the tip about Scotland. Will avoid bracken.

  6. I’ve noticed that the vent on my nylon duomid is also a mismatch when trying to close it fully. It doesn’t stay shut. A mod will be made here too. So it looks like MLD are not perfect after all and they must use the same pattern for both materials.

  7. Yeah, One of the reasons I sold my solomid cos the vent was a bit rubbish. I had an email discussion with Ron about it, where he tried to offer the standard advice, but he wasn’t really interested in the fact that the outer cowl was just too darn short vertically to ever match up with the inner velcro and fully close the vent. I didn’t trust it not to let heavy rain blow in in a significant amount. Got a Trailstar. Having used it, it’s a great versatile piece of gear but not as long across as I expected. With the sloping sides, At 6′ tall I think I’d be hard pushed to fit happily in a sideways inner like yours as well without eating fabric and getting damp feet!.( I made my own inner for the Golite Hex3 so have a reasonable idea of what’s needed.)

    1. Other tall people have suggested the same. Luckily it’s not an issue for me.

      I’m going to do a tweak to solve the vent problem.

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