General update and some ideas I have in mind

I’m not a very superstitious person and I’m certainly not religious, but I worry that if I say how excellent something is or I talk about my plans too much, something bad will happen, haha.

After my Canadian eTA was approved, I’ve been feeling quite a bit of positivism. I’ve decided that I’m definitely going to apply for a US Visa again, probably late August 2017. I don’t think anyone really understands how badly I still want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail :).

I’ve bought a few gadgets over the last few years that I can bring, and recently I bought a Garmin Fenix 5x which I’ve written a bit about in earlier posts. So far, my experiences have been very good. There are some bugs with the Garmin Fenix 5x 2.40 firmware and a firmware update should hopefully fix them. I notice that when I pause a “walk” and click “resume later” and then resume the “walk” later on, there’s often errors with the latter part of the activity. I am hoping this is just a software issue and not a hardware problem with my Garmin Fenix 5x. A certain amount of bugs are to be expected with new products (especially from this company) but so far, I’ve been quite impressed with it.

I’ve thought “how useful are maps on such a small device” and thought about the practicality of it when the honeymoon phase is over, but they are honestly quite useful. It’s better than having to forage in a backpack for your phone, and the screen is big enough to see most of the important stuff around you. I will probably buy a Garmin Tempe to strap to my backpack, in the near future.

Apparently Samsung are going to be releasing a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone today. I might wait until the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as I’d really like a phone with a pen, but it still sounds like a powerhouse phone. It’ll be the only phone currently on the market with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, water resistance, USB 3.1 (useful for backing up data) and Samsung’s iris scanning technology is really quite impressive.

Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles and Garmin Fenix 5x Update

My Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralite Trekking Poles have arrived, and these things are extremely lightweight and comfortable. I am 6ft3 and was a bit concerned about finding trekking poles of adequate height for myself and of adequate height for a ZPacks Altaplex tent.

I’ve provided a link above to eBay from the seller I bought them from. They do have some scratches and mud underneath (so clearly a customer has used them outside for a moment) but the handles aren’t worn. I am inclined to believe these are demo models that’ve been opened a few times. Normally I’m fussy about this kind of thing but hiking poles get a lot of use so I’m not too concerned.

I have been told that my Garmin Fenix 5x is going to be dispatched either this week or next. I will write a Komperdell Vario 4 Ultralike Trekking Poles review page and a Garmin Fenix 5x review page at some point. I’m not 100% sure when, but it will happen. If you have any questions you’d like to ask about either of these, leave a comment below.

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.