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.

Further research regarding the Great Divide Trail

I’ve found a few new bits of information regarding the Great Divide Trail compared to the Pacific Crest Trail.

Shoes can pretty much be the same :). Sleeping bag can be -7c with an air matress but -12c is superior (I will probably buy a -15c.)

Solar panels are not recommended due to cloud cover (that’s unfortunate.) I might see what other types of energy I can find…

I really wish I could afford the Sony a7rIII, haha.

Places to hike in different parts of Canada

I’ve been researching different places to hike when I visit Canada next year, and a few great suggestions have been given to me which I’m really grateful for.

It seems the most popular provinces are BC, Alberta and Ontario.

  • The Great Divide Trail (700miles / 1125km)
  • West Coast trail on Vancouver island in BC (75km)
  • Bruce Trail in Ontario (900km long with additional 400km+ side trails)
  • The Trans Canada Trail aka The Great Trail is a long trail but many parts are not as scenic for hiking

The Great Divide Trail is the one I’m most interested in, and I should be able to hike additional trails either before or after it as 700 miles isn’t quite long enough for what I’d like to do (I’d like to travel for about 5-6 months.)

I’m going to do some calculations for travel costs, and I also need to send a letter to the US Embassy. If I can visit California for a couple of weeks without a Visa, I can consider the John Muir Trail. I’m going to try and limit my travel to as few countries as possible, but I’m tempted by a few places.



The Great Trail in Canada, photography and hiking equipment

I’m expecting to leave around April-May to hike some of the Great Trail in Canada. It’s a 15,000 mile long trail so obviously I won’t be doing all of it, but I would like to hike at least 1/10th of it.

I’m going to try visit the more sunny and scenic places first. After googling for a long time, there really doesn’t seem to be much documentation on it compared to the Pacific Crest Trail. The official “The Great Trail” website is useful in regards to the trail’s exact coordinates but there’s no information on what hiking equipment to bring.

It seems that the best way to research the hike is to break it up into small (smaller?) pieces. So for example if you’re interested in hiking around BC, find the section that passes through BC and similar hikes in that area, and then google the equipment required for those hikes. It still seems like a lot of guestimation, but I’m just glad I can go somewhere :). In all honesty, equipment virtually identical to the middle-latter parts of the Pacific Crest Trail might be suitable for a lot of Canadian hiking.

In regards to photography equipment. I’m a bit lost at sea. I’m thinking of bringing my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens, but I’m really not sure. I’m still considering the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens as well, instead of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master.

When hiking in Canada, it seems you could bring 100kg of equipment and still not have enough! There’s so much to photograph, from wide-angle landscapes to 600mm shots of bears. However, a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens would really have me covered for 99% of my landscape needs.

Back from holiday, thoughts and photographs

My holiday was nice. I stayed around the western boarder of England, just next to Wales. It’s allowed me to chill out and think about what I’m going to do this year and next–the last few months have been stressful to say the least. I’ve had time to think about my travel plans for next year some more, and I’m slightly over the disappointment of my US Visa being declined, although I’ll never come to terms with how unfair it is but it doesn’t have to prevent me from going to a nice, more accepting country i.e. Canada :).

Here’s a few photographs I took. I haven’t edited many; I have hundreds to go through. The chicken shot is composed really poorly, I know, I know, haha. However, I thought he looked cute in that position, and I only had half a second to get the shot :D.

I used a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens and a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens for these shots. I have been thinking I would like something wider and something longer, but I’m not 100% sure what I’ll get yet. a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 FE lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens would be really nice, albeit out of budget.

I’ll probably start writing more about my travels on the travel section of my site, so I’ll keep this post short for now. I just wanted to share a few pictures.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should arrive this monday. I would have liked it on holiday, so I could edit photographs and post in the evenings (I had good internet there, haha) but I’ll try it out soon enough and report my findings.

UK Holiday and some thoughts about lenses

I’m going to be gone for a week or so, as I’m going on holiday. I’ll mostly be staying in England but I will briefly visit Wales as well. I’ll be doing a bit of hiking despite what the people at the US Embassy think, I do actually like to walk places lol and photography.

When I return home, I should have my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and I’ll work on doing a review for that. I’ll be reviewing it as a portable backup solution and a device to benefit travel photographers, rather than the stereotypical type of review (there’s plenty like that that’re far better than anything I could create; I suggest you check out Krystal Key on YouTube and Flossy Carter.)

A telephoto lens for Canada

I’ve also been looking at more photographs of Canada and it’s really pretty! I need to give lens consideration some serious thought. For my planned Pacific Crest Trail 2018 hike, I thought taking a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 or a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.8 lens would be enough. Weight’s a serious problem for a hike like that.

However, as I’ll be going to Canada and will likely not have to stress about hiking speed quite as much, I definitely feel I should concentrate a bit more on photography and I’m considering all options really.

The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is overpriced (in my opinion), it’s relatively lightweight and it’s a fairly good focal length. If it was a macro lens as well, this lens would be a no-brainer for me.

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens is beautiful by all accounts, but it’s big and expensive.

The Sony 100-400 f/4.6 to f/5.6 GM lens is lightweight for its focal length but it’s still a heavy lens in its own right. This lens could be incredibly useful for wildlife photography, including bears and wolves.

The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens is a great standard zoom, it will allow me to take flower shots, landscape shots and various things. Combine this with my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and I’d have myself a decent kit, with the exception of being able to take wildlife shots (I mean, you can, but it’s not an ideal focal length.) It’s expensive and heavy but I think it’s priced about where it should be.

I’m considering bringing a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens, a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens, but perhaps 135mm isn’t long enough. It’s a really hard judgement to make. I really want a telephoto zoom, but the weight of one might prove to be too much. At about 600 grams, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is considerably lighter than all the other longer focal length lenses, and 21mm is incredibly versatile for landscape shots. Plus I’ll be able to use my phone’s cameras a bit; its quality isn’t as good obviously but it will still have its place in my bag.

In truth, the prices of all these lenses stretch my budget beyond what I’m comfortable with, but I really don’t think 21mm to 50mm is long enough. I manually approve all comments, so if something doesn’t appear, please wait a week until I’m back.