Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Big shout out to Alpkit and BPL

LOLZ! That was my instant reaction to the Alpkit Aireo 120 sleeping mat. Perhaps working in IT with people 10 years younger is rubbing off on me.

Super light (<400g) compact (would fit in a 2L cider bottle) and stealth black. £35. Super fast delivery as usual from the Alpkit staff. Can't wait to try it out.

I ordered a new tarp to replace my MASH poncho for light weight trips as it will weigh less, be more compact and not have a hood in the middle of it! To keep it upright I ordered some Dyneema cord and glow-in-the-dark line-loks from Backpackinglight which arrived today with some jelly babies included! The line is 1.5mm thick, 1.3g/m and will support 11stone (14lbs per stone...work it out!) 15m of it should be plenty for the tarp and the line-loks will make pitching and packing back up a snap. Thanks guys!

So no excuse not to get back out this weekend!

Interesting debate about the "Ride The Divide" movie on Bedrock+Paradox blog...some really experienced riders and interesting folks commenting...and some loud-mouth Brit :)



Sunday, 20 June 2010

What use is a very short ride?

First a quick comment on the Welsh Ride Thing: Super event, great terrain and big thanks to Stewart and Dee for putting it on and the sponsors for the raffle prizes. No thanks to the weather, angry Scotish guys in Bothies (he f**king drove there!) and lack of motivation. On the bright side the car decided to die after I got back home (timing chain, and yes its terminal)

So what can you learn from a short ride? Well having hit the local trails for an overnighter and considering I didn't hit 12miles in all quite a bit. I cycled out of 'nham about 9pm and headed up Leckhampton with the intention of bivvying at a nice spot I had found a few years back...but in the dark in dense woods I came out on the wrong spot and ended up instead in a meadow overlooking Cheltenham and a sunset over the Malvern Hills. Lesson 1: Make sure your feet are lower than your head as this will exacerbate lesson 2: bring a pillow. I always sleep with a big pillow at home and hate with a passion the nasty thin things they give you in hotels. So as well as checking out the ground angle before lying down I will pack a lightweight Alpkit drybag just big enough for my Alpkit Fillet down vest...and it will keep it 100% in the seat pack too.

Lesson 3 is that I always over pack on food. A chilli and tortillas before I left and a big try of Sushi is more than enough. Chocolate milk and jaffa cakes are the breakfast of champions! And I didn't miss my stove (just as well as the wife took both stoves and my Ti mug camping to the 3Counties Show yesterday!) If I was going out for a whole day after a fry-up and strong coffee at the first town would have sorted me out.

I slept pretty well and was warm enough in a 1 season down bag in my bivvi with Merino leggings, hat and long sleeve top. Leggings can be swapped out for leg warmers (dual use) but if it was a really nasty day a clean dry pair is nice to pull on! Lesson 4 placing feet on rucksack makes a huge difference if you only have a 3/4 length pad. I was toying with a full lenght pad (the new Alpkit ones look great and are pretty light and pack small...not bad for 1/2 price of a Thermorest!)

So quite a few important things learnt in a space of a few hours. Its now 08:13 on Sunday and I have already been up for 4 hours and the shops won't open until 10:30....guess I get to relax :)



This post was brought to you thanks to Alpkit, they don't sponsor me but I am getting the feeling that I am sponsoring them! Visit them: Alpkit