Great pack though it is, the Lightwave Ultrahike 60 lacks a mesh stash pocket on the front. A while ago I bought an Exped Flash Pack Pocket. I haven’t used it because I wasn’t that happy with the attachment system. Unadjustable elastic with open hooks is a bit Heath Robinson for my liking. Initially I used some glove hooks instead of the open hooks. However, I’ve come up with a better solution using side release linelocs.
Here’s the pocket in position. As you can see, it fits the Ultrahike nicely.
At the top, in the centre, I’ve used a small carabiner which is hooked on to a grosgrain loop (one that I sewed earlier for a shock cord attachment that goes over the top of the snowlock). This stops the pocket slipping down and makes it easier to put gear into.
At the top, on the sides, I’ve used a combination of a glove hook, which attaches to a loop on the pack, and a side release lineloc for quick release and adjustment.
At the base there’s no convenient loop, so I sewed a grosgrain loop on the hip belt stabiliser with a side release lineloc. This system has two advantages over the original elastic and hook system.
Firstly, the linelocs are adjustable, so the pocket is more secure and can be fine tuned for different loads. Secondly the side release linelocs can also be more quickly and easily released and re-engaged.
One of the nice things about the Flash Pack Pocket is that it can be reversed. On one side it is mesh, better for drying. On the other side, it is solid, better for rainy weather. With this system it is very quick to flip around much easier to re-engage securely.
I’m very happy with the way this has worked out. Anyone with a modicum of sewing skill could copy this if they wanted to.
I visited my mum today. She is an ace seamstress and I persuaded her to replace the webbing on the shoulder straps of my Gossamer Gear Mariposa. Sometimes the webbing has slipped under tension, so I replaced it with a coarser weave webbing, which shouldn’t slip. Very pleased with mum’s sewing. Took about five minutes.
My Western Mountaineering Ultralite is a great sleeping bag but it has one design flaw. When the zip is fully closed, the draught baffle doesn’t fully cover the zip puller. Consequently, if you’re lying on your side, sometimes you get a cold zip puller dangling on your cheek. To prevent this, I’ve added a short fleece zip guard. Not the neatest bit of sewing, but hopefully it will work.
This is an issue on most of the sleeping bags I’ve owned. On the WM Highlite, I’ve added a zip baffle. On my Alpkit Pipedream and Cumulus Quantum, I added a snap closure. Yet again, you wonder whether gear is tested properly for these little irritations.
I’ve found the ULA Ohm a bit sweaty in the lower back region, so I thought I’d add a lumbar pad.
It was really easy to make. I cut an oblong from a Gossamer Gear closed cell foam pad. Added some shock cord loops at either end, secured with some duct tape.
I covered it in some open weave material which I had kicking around from another project.
The shock cord fits behind the Ohm pockets and stays in place well. Hey presto! A lumbar pad. Along with the hip belt and frame sheet mods, I’m rather pleased with the Ohm and will be using it this summer.
The garden was dry by lunch time, so I pitched the F10 Nitro Lite 200 to see if my inner tent vent cover works. Looks good to me! I’m very happy with it.
The F10 Nitro Lite 200 is a good tent but it has a few design flaws. I’ve addressed these with a number of mods, a summary of which you can find here. The last remaining feature to be modified is the mesh vent at the rear of the inner tent.
There are two reasons for wanting to have a removable cover for the vent. Firstly, there is a possibility (admittedly remote) that rain or spin drift might get blown through the vent in the flysheet and through the mesh vent on the inner. Secondly, in cold windy conditions, it would be handy to be able to cut the draught from the vent to make the inner warmer.
As it was (still) raining today, I decided to have a tent modding session and make a vent cover for the inner mesh vent. I had a spare piece of lightweight nylon fabric, which I cut to the shape of the vent, but oversized. I didn’t bother to hem it.
Next I added snap fasteners around the edge of the mesh vent. This was quite fiddly as I had to reach inside the inner. I used some clothes pegs to gather the material.
Next I added the the snap fasteners to the vent cover. I did the first two with black thread, before remembering I had some orange thread. I couldn’t be bothered to unpick my work, so I left them alone. No one is going to see the vent cover anyway. I used the orange thread for the remaining fasteners to make it look neater (!)
I’m quite pleased with it. I’ve not been able to pitch the tent today as the ground is wet, but I’ll try it out tomorrow if the ground has dried out.
I now feel confident that the Nitro Lite 200 is fully primed against the elements and that there are now no areas of vulnerability. All in all, quite a satisfying afternoon of work.
Last year, on Dartmoor, I discovered that the vent on my MLD Cuben Duomid doesn’t close properly because the Velcro on the hood doesn’t line up properly. On that occasion, I used a clothes peg to shut it.
Since then, I’ve been thinking of a more permanent solution using either some Velcro or some snap closures.
I decided the neatest solution was to sew a strip of Velcro on the grosgrain strip that links the zip to the crown of the shelter (shown above).
This now mates properly with the Velcro on the vent hood (shown above).
The vent hood now closes securely (after removing the plastic hood stay) , preventing any wind blown rain from getting inside the shelter.