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Messages - kgd

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Sorry to hear you had such problems.  I've had my Luna-4 for over a year and really like it.  My dealings and communications with John were not at all like what you experienced.  In fact, I received several follow-up e-mails from him and confirmation of each of my items. I had a lot of questions about the stove jack I had him installed as I didn't yet have a stove.  He provided me good recommendations about it.  Even after I had the tent purchased from him and was ordering a stove, I contacted him back with lots of questions about the pipe height and what would be safe for use with his tent.  Again, he contacted me back with detailed information.

I ordered the Luna-4, pole and inner mesh net in the standard no-seeum.  The tent didn't come seam sealed, but I was told about that.  I recently did it myself after a few drips came through the cone on a really heavy rainstorm.  I should have done it earlier, but was lazy and the silnylon holds up to rain really well on its own.   I found that the 74" pole that I bought was a bit too high to use with the inner mesh tent on its own.  Normally, you suspend it from the tarp rather than the pole.  I also found the pole a touch long for the tarp itself.  It made it taunt, but usually the bottom panels were lifted of the ground somewhat.  I cut the pole about 2" and now I can steak it snug to the ground and also use it stand-alone with the mesh tent as a bug shelter.  There is an adjustment process to setting the stakes in that takes a bit to get used to but if you do adjust them after the trial staking then it becomes much more taunt and wind resistant.

I also bought one of the bug bivvy's.  Nice little piece of no-seeum that fits under a tarp for solo.  Very compact and easy to put up.  I kind of wish I went with the 1.5 width one for more room but I can't fault the item I purchased.  Overall I'm quite satisfied with this tent. 

Winter Camping Photos and Videos / Winter photo compilation
« on: February 25, 2013, 07:07:04 pm »
Every once in awhile, feeling lazy about being cooped up inside, I rummage through my e-photos looking for a themed slide show.  This one is about winter pics and appropriate to  Hope some of you enjoy.

Trip Reports / Re: Back From 5 Days in Algonquin
« on: February 17, 2013, 03:19:16 pm »
Great trip report and gorgeous pictures! Five days alone in the winter is a solid expedition! For coffee - next time just try it cowboy coffee style.  You boil the water, put your coffee in (1 tbls/cup), stir it.  Then just wait a couple of minutes.  As soon as the oil gets extracted from the grounds, the grounds drop to the bottom of the pot.  Sometimes adding a couple ounces of cold water to the pot helps drop the grounds.

BTW - that B&W shot with the hanging tree is absolutely gorgeous, professional grade, worth buying a print - good.

Trip Reports / Re: 2 nights in Upper Peninnsula, MI
« on: February 13, 2013, 08:27:10 am »
Thanks, yes Lonetracker was at the frozen butt hang and you likely saw his modified hammock over at Shug's site.  On the porcupine, they are infinitely more grabable from the bottom but it seems impossible to avoid the odd prick now and then.

Trip Reports / 2 nights in Upper Peninnsula, MI
« on: February 12, 2013, 07:35:43 pm »
Spent two nights in the UP in the Hiawatha Forest meeting up with a local fellow by the avatar of Lonetracker. 

Snow was great, perfect for snowshoeing.  I went down to -20oC on Friday night but warmed up on Sunday to about -4oC and was headed for freezing rain later that night.  We packed out before the fluffy stuff turned to slushy stuff. 

Lonetracker is really adept at tracking and stalking-hunting.  He took a porcupine and we cleaned it and cooked it over the open fire (with a little bacon added for extra flavour).  Tasted quite good, with a little twang of pine to it.  Mostly, we just wandered around stalking deer and snowshow hare, enjoying the stars at night and lots of quality fire time.

I stayed under my tarp but used a new bivvy bag for the first time.  It worked out great.  Yep, the condensation happened, wetting the outside of my Wiggy's bag, but I would just hang the bag and bivvy (inside out) on the ridge line of my tarp for about 30 minutes and then shake off the ice crystals.

Joe had a nifty go-lite tent, single pole setup.  Really light and quite nice.  I jealous but understand these things can't be had any longer.

Lonetracker was winter hammocking it.  He has a homemade hammock with some really neat innovations.  Instead of an underquilt, he constructed these tube pockets that run horizontal the width of the hammock.  He then made a series of down filled tubes, like stuffed socks that pack down to nothing and can be inserted into the baffle/pockets. This system always keeps his insulation in place.  I always thought winter hammock camping was more bother than it is worth, but his system really changed my mind.  Sorry - no pics of his set up.

Some long exposures at night


Saws, Axes, Knives, Cutting Tools / Re: Condor Knives
« on: February 07, 2013, 06:25:06 pm »
They are really known for their machetes.  I have an 18" latin and 12" bolo that I love to death.  The bolo has become a favorite for replacing an axe on those trips where I know I'll need to split a little bit of wood, but don't really want to take an axe along.

Other Winter Camping Gear / Re: Winter Sleeping pad of choice
« on: February 03, 2013, 11:33:52 am »
I also use an Exped Downmat-7.  Its fully sufficient for use on its own in terms of insulation value, very comfortable and packs nice and small.  However, the expeds are a tad delicate and subject to puncture, a bit more so than thermarests. 

I put a hole in mine last winter and had to repair it on site.  They do give you a repair kit, but the kit indicates the glue provided needs 24h to set (not good on camping).  At least the hole was easy to find because a couple of feathers pushed out where it was.  It tied duct tape in the night and that didn't work.  Luckily, I had one of the thermarest hot-glue kits with me.  These are hard resins that you soften up by boiling it in water for 5 minutes and then apply to the hole.  It sets immediately, but doesn't look pretty, but it worked.  When I finished my trip I wanted to repair it right and I had to cut out the glue set and then patched with a bigger patch and seal-all.

Anyhow, with extra care these are good bags and if you are dilagent with a ground tarp and keep sharps away from them you should be fine.  Even better I think if you keep your pad inside a bivvy (which I intend to do from now on).  I'd always keep a repair kit though and the hard glue sets seem about the best in winter.  Closed cell pad would be a good back-up if you are one of those folks who likes to have a back-up of everything, but I do think there are other (natural) and clothing options available if push comes to shove to give yourself some insulation if you need to and  I keep a couple square closed cells lining my sled for use as seats and kneel pads that could be put into play if need be.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: Winter Camping To Do List...
« on: February 03, 2013, 10:00:57 am »
LOL, you guys have all that time apart from dragging wood, cutting wood, splitting wood and melting snow :) :) :)  Just kidding, but usually I find the first day pretty much dedicated to making camp and finding wood before the sun starts to go down....Next day is usually focused on exploring the area, working on some photography, playing with firecraft/edible foraging or just working on some skills development of some type.  Animal tracks are particularly enjoyable in the snow as you can really try and deduce behavior and figure out that the wildlife sometimes do spectacularly silly things.

Winter Camping Clothing / Re: Winter sun glasses/goggles
« on: January 31, 2013, 09:43:02 pm »
Fog problems seem to be a function of head gear and wear your breath ends up.  I have a pair of ski goggles that I like to take from time to time.  They do good and keep the face worm, but I have to keep the hat from overlapping them otherwise they tend to fog.  Once fogged, that foggy stuff freezes to the lens and its a bitch to get them clean enough to use.   On sun glasses.  Good luck, but again seems to largely depend on how you arrange your head gear/face gear and whether it directs your breath towards the lens.  I don't think anti-fog lenses actually do anything, its just a way to market hardware.

Tents and Shelters / Re: AquaQuest UL Bivy - Unboxing
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:54:14 pm »
Great Info thanks Hoop!

Tents and Shelters / Re: AquaQuest UL Bivy - Unboxing
« on: January 30, 2013, 06:05:55 pm »
I bought the same Bivy form them last year. Easy to deal with. I only used mine once and it was marginal temps. The inside was covered with moisture meaning my bag was damp mostly on the outside. I thought it was supposed to breath. I'll see if I can get to use it again this year.


Thanks.  As I understand it, there really is no such thing as a breathable bivy.  The 'breathable label' is a marketing gimmick.  Other brands, like Wiggy's just use polyurethane lined nylon and make no claims about breathability.  I'm told they work about the same.

In cold temps, the condensation freezes when it encounters a cold surface which is usually the outer surface of your bag or the inner part of the bivvy.  You then shake it out in the morning and the moisture doesn't really impact your bags insulation.  The U.S. army gortex ones do the exact same thing.  I see the best use of a bivy system in deep cold or under conditions that can include warm conditions but with torrential rainfall (angled rain etc) where keeping yourself somewhat dry by tarp is very difficult or impossible.  You'll get moist from your own sweat in the bivy in these circumstances, but you won't wet out your sleep system like penetrating rain will. 

Sleds and Toboggans / Re: Pelican Sled?
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:34:40 pm »
I use one just like this (also made by Pelican)

Works great with a 60 L dry bag plus 20L dry sack.  As long as you keep the weight distribution even, its not too tippy.  Tracks fine in snow show trails.

General Winter Camping Discussion / Re: So what do you do for a living...
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:27:31 pm »
I'm a Professor with the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor (about as far south in Canoodia as you can get).  I teach in undergrad courses Biology (ecology, field biology and pollution ecology) and do research on Great Lakes and Large Lakes/Marine systems internationally.  I'll be off to China for 3 mo in fall 2013 working on the Three Gorges Reservoir as part of my  sabbatical. 

There's a good chance I've encountered BioGuide at some point at one of the local conferences in the past little bit.  Nice to see a bunch of biologists and forestry folks about and of course the diversity of other occupations out there.

Tents and Shelters / AquaQuest UL Bivy - Unboxing
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:14:47 pm »
Okay, I know folks hate 'unboxing' videos and threads (well I do).   But.....Largely on Hoop's advice last year, I decided to buy a bivy sack to pair up with my sleeping bag/tarp combo that I usually do in winter.  I decided to try out a brand called AquaQuest which has a very economical model which is XL in size.  I need a large bivy both for the high loft of my Wiggy's UltimaThule bag and also because my bag is the X-wide model. 

Ordered it from  The Bivy was really economical - $49.95 with free postage (I also bought a spare silnylon 7x10' tarp for $65).  Its cheaper then the US Army surplus Gortex ones that run $90 used in the surplus stores and quite a bit lighter and smaller in packing size.  I've seen the military ones a number of times as my buddy uses one.  I figured if it wasn't big enough, I'd find another use for it.  Fortunately, it fits my bag and downmat-7 very well.  Haven't tried it in the bush yet, but I thought I'd post this in case somebody is looking for a simple, light bivy this might be just the ticket.  Build quality is generally good except the zippers are a bit on the small side and I know that I will have to be careful with them.

I'm scheduled for a Upper Penninsula camping trip in Michigan on Feb 8 and will be field testing it there.  Will report back after its been used a bit.

Video is attached.

Tents and Shelters / Re: Under a Tarp
« on: January 30, 2013, 05:04:45 pm »
I prefer tarp camping myself.  Substituting a tarp for a tent definitely saves weight and pack volume, especially if you are using one of the little silnylon ones.  I just purchased a spare 7 x 10' silnylon tarp from aquaquest for $65, identical to my MEC one and these things are just ultra handy to have and just so versatile to set up under different configurations.   

Even with the small amount of snow you showed on the ground in your picture, I'd still be tempted to bring a kids sled. I use a pelican plastic sled bought for $17 at Homehardware.  Drilled a bunch of holes along the side lip and rigged paracord loops for tie downs.  The sled holds a 60L dry bag and 20L dry sack nicely.  Just have to keep that weight distributed evenly to keep it from side tipping when its going downhill.  Anyhow, hauling the kids sled is so effortless compared to a pack that I've sort taken to it, even when my gear is down to back pack size.  Its not even all that bad to drag over the odd bare patches.

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