Happy new year – more travel equipment

Have a happy new year everyone :).

I’ve been buying more stuff for my trip across Canada. I was so impressed with the La Sportiva Bushido shoes I had (they were the wrong size) that I’ve decided to order a bunch of different models in a bunch of different sizes. It’ll probably cost a bomb returning them which I’m not pleased (I’m being bled dry and I haven’t even walked a mile in Canada yet), but I want to find the perfect shoe for Canada :).

I have also received more camping and hiking equipment, and I will be doing a few modifications to my backpack. I have the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest. I wasn’t sure what size to buy in all honesty… For hiking in England, I’ve always just used whatever is at hand. If I didn’t have enough bag space, I’d literally carry two bags (lol.)

I think I’ve bought the right size though. It can roll up quite small, but for river crossings I can throw all my camera gear in there. I need to find a way to attach a camera bag to the side of the backpack. I’m thinking a simple piece of nylon webbing, some paracord and some creativity will allow me to have my camera at hand.

I plan to put a cuben fibre stuff sack inside of my camera bag, this should aid water resistance but I’ll probably have to pad it with something. When I’ve thought on it a bit more, I’ll start making some stuff, photograph it and show you what I mean :). At the moment, I’m just rambling because I want to get into the habit of updating my site more frequently.

Arcteryx Skyline

Best shirt ever? I really like Arcteryx–their fabrics are awesome. I bought a thermal jacket (synthetic) and I’m in-between a medium and a large (long limbs but I’m slim.) That’s a bit disappointing because the large looks baggy on me, (that’s not arcteryx’s fault per-se; it’s mine for not being fat enough or whatever.) However, the sleaveless acteryx skyline shirt fits really well in a size medium, and the fabric is amaaaaaazing. I’m really fussy about that kind of thing; it’s stretchy like a gym shirt, and it’s really soft but it’s kind of formal looking. I wish I had about ten of them, haha.

Montbell

I decided to go against people’s advice and buy the Montbell Storm Cruiser. It’s slightly heavier than the recommended Montbell Torrent flier. My logic was that I could fold the hood away (as per a YouTube review I saw) and use it in England, as a main sort of jacket. Wrong. They’ve removed the hood hide away thing, so you’re stuck with a hood.

Ironically, it’s much lighter than I thought and it’s perfect for what I want, for hiking. I’m really glad I got this model of jacket, but for slightly different reasons. The zip pockets go above my backpack belt, which was a concern, so I’m pleased about that. Again, I’ll write a review on this stuff but that’s just my initial impression of the Montbell Storm Cruiser jacket.

The Japanese site sells it a lot cheaper, but it’s out of stock and I was unable to find out when it would be in stock. Montbell was slow to respond to emails, said the price difference was “currency fluctuation” (get out of here) and I’m not sure what to make of that… The product is great so I’m pleased but I wasn’t impressed with the customer service.

ZPacks

I bought the biggest and widest ZPacks Sleeping bag, a ZPacks Altaplex tent and a few other things. They were quick to respond, posted the items quickly and they look great. I haven’t tried the tent yet but I have tried the sleeping bag.

One concern was the girth of the bag. I have wide shoulders but as I said, I’m slim. I thought 61 inches would be okay but I went for the 66 inch model, really worrying it’d be way too big. It’s just right for me, I think. I think I am about 50 inches around my chest, and they say to add 8 inches, so 58 inches. Yet for me, I wouldn’t want the smaller 61 inch model. This was pure luck on my part :).

 

 

Great Divide Trail and have a Happy Christmas

Hey everyone,

I probably won’t be writing much here until after Christmas or in the new year but I just wanted to briefly write something. Have a happy Christmas :).

A lot of items have arrived that I ordered to be used on the Great Divide Trail in 2018 :). I’ll be doing a million gear reviews at some point but I may wait until I’ve done the trail before reviewing them. Certain things I can review here. I’m especially impressed with how soft the ZPacks sleeping bag is. I’ve still got to try a few items to check for any manufacturing errors and whatnot, plus I’m not 100% sure about the fit of my backpack yet but hopefully it’s fine.

I’m struggling to find clothes I really like, and shoes are still proving to be difficult to find in my area.

I’ve decided on an Arc’teryx Atom LT as my synthetic jacket. It’s really comfortable! I’m in between a medium and a large size but I think I’ll stick with the large.

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.