Several years or determination, website plans and whatnot

For the last few years, my plans have been turned upside down repeatedly. As my about page explains. Finally things are going according to plan and buying lots of hiking and camping equipment has hit me in the face, I’m finally going to be doing this! I think 2018 will potentially be the best year of my life :).

Before I travel to Canada, I’d like to neaten my website up a bit. I should really put more effort into my reviews too! I’m one of these people who will either spend hours on a minute detail or rush something altogether.

My plan for the website while I am travelling is to post a few photographs with a short bit of information attached and details of how the hike went for that week. My long term plan is to provide a lot of information about hiking the Great Divide Trail in general. There is tonnes and tonnes of advice for the Pacific Crest Trail, but only about 30 people each year hike the Great Divide Trail. It’s also a bit confusing because there’s a bike route with the same name; it’s not the same hike though–it’s much longer and is in America. This aids to the fun of things too because it’s going to be a completely unexpected experience.

At the moment, the current style of my site isn’t too suitable for blog photos with photographs attached as the front page only shows a part of the title. What I might do is put each week/day under the travel section and separate it from my blog posts. It’ll be cleaner that way and if I change website themes, it won’t upset anything too much :). I’ll give it some thought :).

I’m still waiting for a lot of items to arrive, but I’ll take a photograph of them when they do!


Hiking gear for the Great Divide Trail in Canada

This week, I’ve bought a lot of stuff. I’ve kind of spent way more than I planned, I guess I got sick of planning and things going wrong so this time I kind of impulse bought some stuff.

ZPacks Sleeping bag and Altaplex tent in the stronger material. I got a load of bags and stuff with them. I haven’t ordered a backpack yet… I’ll probably get the GG Mariposa 60.

Lots of shoes… I bought Sportiva Bushido and Salomon shoes in a bunch of different sizes. I’ll be sending them back and only keeping the pair that fits.

A kestrel titanium knife; it’s 15 grams. Expensive, but I won’t be cooking and it could be pretty useful :).

For clothing, I’m looking at buying a Montbell Storm Cruiser. Everyone talks about the Montbell Torrent Flier but the Storm Cruiser is actually only slightly heavier, it has pit zips and all that fancy stuff. My complaint here is that I’ll pay 20% VAT (Switzerland isn’t in the EU) and I’ll also get a nasty bill for VAT and customs when my zpacks stuff arrives. I’m stretching it a bit thin with my money but I’m confident I can spend a few months in Canada at least.

For a puffer jacket, I was thinking about Montbell but they are awfully expensive. I’m wanting to keep things lightweight to offset my camera equipment.

There’s not that many people who attempt to hike the GDT and there’s really not many gear lists to go off. I was thinking about taking a merino wool jumper and also merino wool tights to go underneath my trousers (pants.)

When I’ve bought everything, I will update my gear list and include what I spent and whatnot. Despite Montbell being a European company, it’s REALLY hard to get their items here. There’s no real equivalent to ZPacks either and it’s a nightmare when the GBP is so low in value. I think us English people just have to suck it up :).

Camera bags for the Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII or the Sony a9

I’m considering buying a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens and I’m looking at a small bag to be used with my Sony a7rII and my hiking backpack i.e. I’ll have a little side bag.

I originally planned for the PCT and would be bringing a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens or a Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens; therefore, my Lowepro Toploader 45 AW II would work perfectly. Unfortunately, judging from the measurements, the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens won’t quite fit! I’m probably going to get a Lowepro Toploader 50 AW II as it’s slightly bigger but not too big.

Anyway, after re-reading my camera bag photography reviews (12 and 3), I’ve decided I definitely need to re-write them. I’m awfully lazy when it comes to writing reviews but it makes me look a bit stupid / like a slob, haha. I can’t promise when I will get around to re-writing them as I have hurt my arm and it’s a bit painful to type. I will try sometime in the future.

I’ve also bought another bag since then as well, a Crumpler Muli 7500, which I also highly recommend. When I get the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens, I will see which bags it fits in and let you know if it works in this too.

Knives for long distance hiking trails

Using this blog section of my site, I tend to ramble a bit and there’s a bit of uncertainty with my posts.

I’ve been researching knives for my travels in Canada next year, and travel in general. Buying a huge 1kg knife is obviously a big no-no for travel as it’s unnecessary weight. However, I’ve found a few different companies that sell extremely lightweight knives.

The first one I think is important is something like a Swiss army (I’ve never actually fought off anyone from the Swiss army, do they really run around with these little knives? Stabbing people like ninjas?) style penknife. For that, I’ve found a Victorinox Classic SD but the Victorinox NailClip 580 is also interesting as it can clip nails. I have read various reviews and many criticise the scissor design on the latter.

On a more interesting note, single blade skeleton knives are expensive, hard to find (in Europe at least) but they are incredibly lightweight.

There’s a few companies that sell these. Kestrel knives look particularly good but there’s also a knife called the Genesis 2. It’s available on amazon for people in the USA and it’s worth a look.

The Titanium skeleton EDC Knife by Kestrel Knives is even more expensive, but it weighs 15 grams. In my opinion, the Short Skeleton Ovis Hunter made by Kestrel Knives has a nicer shape, but it’s slightly heavier…

It’s definitely something to consider if you’re looking for an additional knife without carrying too much extra weight.

In my opinion, a knife like this is not just useful for the Great Divide Trail (or the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Te Araroa, etc.) but it’s pretty handy for macro photography if you need to cut plants and stuff. I will not be buying these as self defence weapons, so hopefully they won’t get stuck in customs.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Windows file share speed increase

One complaint I have of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (and all the Samsung Galaxy phones I know of) is that sharing files from a windows machine to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone via SMB is incredibly slow. I suspect it’s because this method doesn’t make the phone exit power save, but I can’t be sure. It’s something I’ve written about before and I’ve only just now thought of an obvious solution.

If you share a folder to a linux machine, you can then connect to that machine. If you don’t have a linux machine, you can either run virtualisation software and install CentOS or Debian (it’s completely free) or buy a Raspberry Pi 3 B (you could technically do it with a Raspberry Pi Zero W as well.)

I’m a bit tired now, but this idea suddenly came to me and I will write about this further tomorrow at the previous page I’ve made. The idea is you can then connect to the intermediary box using the phone, and then browse to the network file share–it’s sort of like accessing a share within a share.

It’s arguably convoluted but it’s also arguably more secure because you can use an SSH key and disable passwords altogether. On the windows machine, you can limit the network share to the IP address of the Raspberry Pi 3 B (or virtual computer) and then the only theoretical way of accessing the file is from an SFTP share.