Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles Ordered

I have just ordered a pair of Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking poles from eBay. The speciality with these is that they can used to prop up a ZPacks Altaplex tent, without the need for a carbon fibre extension tube.

I highly suggest checking them out if you live in Europe. At the moment, although I live in the UK they’re cheaper than buying them from the UK as they’re so discounted. They are display models but that shouldn’t be a concern. The manufacturer will still honour the three year warranty.

I’ll post some photos and write a review when I receive mine. I’ve spoken to the company that manufactures them and they’re very friendly and highly helpful. There are several versions of these poles available, these are the newest with the metal bottom section and a metal clasp. The rest is mostly carbon fibre which is nice.

If you’re interested in ultra light hiking but you want to take a pair of hiking poles, I do believe the Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking poles tick all the right boxes :).

In the UK, Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles retail for about £190 right now. These are roughly £130 including postage.

Garmin Fenix 5x free maps, OpenStreetMap and GPX files

I’ve been doing a bit of googling regarding the Garmin Fenix 5x and the maps it’s capable of displaying. I’ve discovered that the freely available OpenStreetMap’s are generally better (if the internet is to be believed; they wouldn’t lie to me) than the paid for Garmin maps and these will work fine with the Garmin Fenix 5x.

After further digging around, I’ve discovered a way to upload a GPX file and overlay it on an OpenStreetMap. Not only that, but I can upload multiple files and display multiple tracks on the one map:

At the moment, this process is slow because I have to type in the names and directories of each file. I’m sure I could code something to help automate this process, nonetheless it’s pretty cool. GPX files can get quite large and displaying 100 tracks on one map might use a lot of data, but organising the maps shouldn’t be a problem. For example, I could create a page “London” and only upload hikes in London.

The Great Trail Canada vs The Pacific Crest Trail America

The Great Trail is Canada’s longest trail and while the Pacific Crest Trail isn’t America’s longest trail, it is definitely one of the most epic. In my opinion, it is the perfect long distance hike combining everything someone could want.

As mentioned in a previous post, I aim to hike in Canada for a while and hopefully one day I will be able to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I may try again for a US Visa to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 and use my Canadian Visa as a backup. Hiking in Canada will let me achieve a few things I want to achieve with the added benefit of being able to prove myself to the US Embassy at a later date. If you know anything about US Visas, I would appreciate any help I can get… My heart’s always been set on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail but I cannot delay travelling much more.

The Great Trail in Canada is ginormous at 13,359.5 miles long (that’s not a typing error) and obviously I won’t be hiking the whole thing but I do want to spend several months in the country.

The Pacific Crest Trail in America is also lengthy at 2650+ miles long but there are a LOT of websites and blogs online about it; there’s plenty of user experiences and there’s plenty of places to find information not only about the hike itself but the equipment required for the hike.

Unfortunately, there is not as much information about the Great Trail in Canada and I don’t know much about Canada in general. I’ve always had a keen interest in America, ever since I was about 14 years old. Consequently I’m at a disadvantage.

Ideally I’d like to hike in the sunnier parts of Canada but for photography purposes, I’d like it to be in a scenic area too. The Te Araroa in New Zealand is also a long hike at 1,864 miles long but but I hear it doesn’t pass through the most scenic parts of New Zealand and that’s why I’m not as interested in it.

The Pacific Crest Trail in America has a bit of everything, but perhaps the Great Trail does too. It could be even better than the Pacific Crest Trail, I simply don’t know enough about it yet. If by chance any Canadians are reading this and they could recommend a starting point, I would be really grateful. If mountain lions or wolves are located in that area, all the better! I want to be truly terrified at least once.

I will continue to Google and see what information I can find :).

Garmin Fenix 5x Ordered & Review

I am excited as I just ordered the Garmin Fenix 5X. I love the Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire model and it’s been absolutely great for photography–to geotag photographs using GPX files exported from .FIT files. The Garmin Fenix 5x has a mapping facility, better battery life, a heart rate monitor and a few more features I’d quite like.

When I get the watch, I will use it for a while and then make a Garmin Fenix 5X review page. Most Garmin Fenix 5x reviews will probably focus on the fitness side of things, which I will do up to a point but I have not noticed many sites that focus on using smartwatches for GPS tagging. I believe many Sony a7rII owners would like it to geotag photographs, and even if the Sony a7rIII has a GPS feature built in, I suspect using a watch will be better as it doesn’t drain much battery life and it’s quick to find a signal. Speaking of the Sony a7rIII, I’m not sure when that will get announced. Either way, I won’t be buying it as I can’t afford one at the moment.

My original Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire review will stay up but the new one will hopefully be much better :). I am not the best at writing reviews but I am honest, I have no ties to Garmin and I am usually quite good at finding bugs and whatnot. I know that a lot of people who were interested in the Garmin Epix will be interested in the Garmin Fenix 5X but they may be concerned the Garmin Fenix 5X has many bugs.

Unfortunately I don’t have a compatible phone yet. I am waiting for for Samsung Galaxy Note 8 but I must say I am quite interested in the Samsung Galaxy s8 too. The phone will be the last of my electronic purchases for a while as I want to save my money for travelling and obviously camping/hiking equipment.

If anyone knows where I can get free maps for the Garmin Fenix 5x, please let me know. I need to download a bunch of Canadian maps. I will also download some additional UK maps to try out. I cannot justify paying Garmin’s prices for their maps as they are quite expensive.

Canadian Visa Approved — Yay

After my American Visa was declined, I couldn’t shake this desire I have to travel.

Sure there’s nothing quite like the Pacific Crest Trail, especially Yosemite (in my opinion at least) but Canada and New Zealand both have pretty amazing scenery. So I decided to apply for a Visa for each country. For the Canadian Visa (technically it’s called an eTA or Electronic Travel Authorisation but it’s a similar thing), I was completely honest and I stated I had been denied an American Visa. I wrote a letter explaining that I felt the process was quite unfair–the woman who interviewed me seemed bad at her job. To my surprise, my Canadian Visa application was approved today. I am really pleased :).  Continue reading “Canadian Visa Approved — Yay”