Fed up with straps dangling all over the place? Here’s a simple solution copied from my Exped Thunder pack. Most of the straps on the Thunder have Velcro keepers.
Any excess strap is rolled up and secured by a Velcro keeper sewn on the end of each strap.
The sleeping pad straps on the base of my Osprey Talon 44 are particularly annoying and dangle down. The solution was to mimic the Exped Thunder keepers.It’s really simple to do. I hand sewed them. It’s worth using a thimble as it’s tough to push the needle through the Velcro. It only needs a few stitches to keep in place as there’s no strain on it. Simple, but effective.
I copied this idea from my Osprey rucksack raincover for my smaller Exped raincover. It only took a few minutes to do with some grosgrain, a glove hook, a side release line lok and some shock cord. It works really well to make the raincover fit better and makes it secure against flying off in a strong wind. Simples.
Yet another tweak on the ULA Ohm. Two removable shock cord top straps. Very easy to do, I used two side release cord locks and two glove hooks with some shock cord. The trouble with a single webbing strap is that anything attached is a bit unstable. The shock cord stabilises a tent or stuff sack. They are removable if they are not needed. I’m looking forward to using my modified Ohm. Unfortunately, there won’t be an opportunity until the end of June.
I decided that I’d like the back panel of my ULA Ohm to be a little more structured and less flexible. The obvious thing to do was to add a sheet of HDPE to the foam sheet (a cut down Karrimat) that I was using. I ordered some 500mm x 250mm HDPE sheets from Direct Plastics. The sheets are so cheap I ordered 3 x 1mm and 3 x 1.5mm sheets, in case I want to use the HDPE for any other projects.
The sheets are almost exactly the correct shape. I had to cut the top corners off, which was easily done with a pair of sharp scissors. I used the 1.5mm thickness sheet as I felt it gave a little more rigidity and attached it to the foam pad with some duct tape. The weight is about 160g (HDPE sheet).
I’m pleased with the outcome. The back panel no longer bulges when you pack the sack and I can guarantee that no objects will jab me in the back. I’m pretty pleased with it. I think it will make the pack more comfortable, together with my hip belt mod. I had been thinking about getting an old style Gossamer Gear Gorilla pack (if I could find one), but I’m not sure I’ll bother as the Ohm is basically the same but with better quality materials.
I enjoyed using my Bushbuddy Ultra stove. To be effective, it benefits from a decent windshield. I used a sturdy aluminium one, which worked well but weighs around 200g.
Using some reflective radiator insulator and foil tape, I knocked up a similar sized windshield that is much lighter and weighs only 46g. I’ve lined the inner surface with foil tape to give some protection against stray flames.
To stabilise it, I’ve used three of the lightweight (and useless) toothpick tent pegs that came with my F10 Nitro Lite. Having such a lightweight screen makes the Bushbuddy a much more attractive option, especially combined with a Speedster meths stove as backup.
Twist-lock trekking poles have a nasty habit of jamming. The slippery shaft of the pole can make it difficult to get a firm grip to unlock them, especially if they are wet. Here’s an easy way to overcome that problem.
Cut two rectangles from some rug anti-slip underlay (available from places like Dunelm) or from a car boot anti-slip mat (from places like Halfords). In the picture, the rug underlay is white, the boot anti slip mat is grey. Wrap one piece around each section and twist. They give a far better grip than using bare hands. Weight? Rug underlay 2g, boot mat 7g. The rug underlay is now in my repair kit. Of course, you could use flick lock poles, but they are heavier.
A broken trekking pole is usually an inconvenience rather than a disaster. However, if you are using your trekking poles to support your shelter (e.g. a Trailstar or Duomid), then a broken pole becomes a critical problem.
Now, I’ve never broken a pole, but there’s always a first time. After a short conflab on Twitter, Nigel gave me the idea of making a pole splint from some polypropylene pipe. So, today I nipped down to Homebase and bought some 22mm overflow piping. I cut a 15cm section and voilà, an almost perfect trekking pole splint, weight 12g.
I always carry some duct tape, so both ends can be easily secured. It should be good enough as a temporary repair. When I was looking at pipes, I found that overflow pipes were lighter than ordinary polypropylene plumbing pipes and a lot cheaper. From now on, I shall be carrying one in my repair kit.
You only find out the weaknesses of gear when the conditions get extreme. Last year, camping below Scafell, I encountered strong gusty winds overnight. The Scarp relies on the four corners being securely pegged to retain its shape and puts a lot of strain on these points. One of the guys slipped through the linelok, which lead to one corner of the tent coming half collapsing. It wasn’t a disaster and was soon rectified. However, it alerted me to the possibility that the combination of 2mm deyneema cord and lineloks was not always totally secure.
Last week there was an exchange on Twitter suggesting that the cord that Mountain Laurel Designs supply with their shelters never slips (which I think is 2.5mm, but I can’t find specs anywhere). I’ve not guyed my Duomids with the supplied cord, so I have some surplus. I will guy the corner pegging points of the Duomids with the MLD cord, but I decided that I’d experiment first with re-guying my Scarp.
You can see the results in the pictures above and below. I decided to revert to the normal Scarp guy configuration, partly because it saves a bit of cord and partly because I think the modified system is overcomplicated, even though it does save two pegs. 2.5mm cord is awkward to thread through the lineloks, so a bit of patience is required. It also requires larger size lineloks for the side guys. Fortunately I had a couple spare from another tent.
It is impossible to thread 2.5mm cord through the retaining eyelets for the crossing poles, so these need to have their own cord. I retained the original 2mm cord for these as they don’t take much strain. It also means that the 2.5mm guys need to be tied off at ground level, to leave the linelok free for the crossing pole retainer. The fact that the guy can only be adjusted through the top linelok is not an issue.
I’ve also utilised some plastic sail rings on the corner guys for the pegs, which makes pegging and adjustment a lot smoother. The mod probably adds about 20g to the overall weight, but the issue of slippage is, hopefully, a thing of the past.
Fancy making an A frame out of your trekking poles? Well it’s dead simple using some 15mm polythene plumbing pipe and a right angle join from your local DIY store. The picture above is self-explanatory. The length from the apex of the bend to bottom of the pipe is 15cm. With the overlap on the trekking pole, that gives an extra 10cm of length. The total distance from handle to apex is 140cm. In this example I’ve made it into an equilateral triangle, with the base also 140cm. The vertical height of the of the arch is 120cm.
I secured the base of the triangle with a bit of cord and cord locks (cord locks not shown in photos as I added them later). The base length can be varied as the poly pipe has a certain amount of flexibility. This flexibility limits how long the poly A frame can be. 25cm is probably the limit. Weight is just over 50g. The end of the pipe fits very snugly over the tip of a trekking pole, in this case Leki carbon fibre poles. It’s not long enough to use on a Duomid, but should work on a Solomid or something like a Gram-counter Gear LiteHouse or a Saunders Jetpacker.
You may remember, earlier in the year, the pole for my Scarp developed a small stress fracture (picture far left). I swapped the pole sections around so that it was at the end of the pole and wasn’t so vulnerable to failure. However, I have some spare DAC Featherlite poles left from my late lamented Marmot Thor. The other day I got round to cutting one down to fit the Scarp. It’s extremely easy to do with a small hacksaw and a file (to smooth the edges).
The remaining pictures show the result. The original Scarp pole is an Easton pole and the DAC pole has the red rubber band in the far right picture. Strangely, the DAC pole is slightly thicker, but is virtually the same weight. It also folds down into a shorter length. I’ve not tried it on the Scarp yet, but have no reason to believe that it won’t work. There were some comments recently on another Scarp pole failure on OM. I suspect the DAC pole will be more sturdy than the one supplied.