The Vault Regulars

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A passing interest worth sharing.

While i was consoling myself at the failure of the Montane Minimus Mountain jacket, i searched the web to see what other folk had been saying. During that endeavour i came across what i considered to be a very interesting piece on a Gear review site called Blister.
I had not come across this before but having read quite a few pieces within it i thought it was put together rather well and the reviews were excellent.

It must have quite a widespread audience because it covers Mountain Biking, Skiing as well as Hiking and all the ancillary components thereof.

Anyway just as a taster for any other outdoors people who may be interested. I will let you make your own mind up with this piece Here.
(Outerware 101 is also interesting and worth looking at.)

And if you like it you may wish to explore it more. It certainly gave me something to think about because it is quite hard to keep up with all the new fabrics and coatings from so many manufacturers. Or if not, then there is nothing lost except a bit of time.

Just thought i would share the info.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rain and more rain

Today i felt the pull of the outdoors. I needed some fresh air. It was bucketing down but i got out there. Low cloud, grey and eiriely quiet. Not many people about in fact i only saw 1 fell runner the whole time.
We exchanged greetings. He had his head down and i had my hood up and we passed quickly.
No views today.
A few shots of fungi and that was about it.

Sent from Samsung Mobile


Test only.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MYOG toilet trowel. Simple, cheap and effective.

Quite often when i’m walking locally i come across mountain bike rear mudguards that have snapped off at the bolt boss. I see many of these, so who ever designed them didn’t do a very good job. Another "unfit for purpose" piece of kit.

But on the other hand i thought it such a shame that this lightweight, tough, rigid plastic was going to waste. I think i am right in saying it's made from the same material as car bumpers which is Polypropylene.
I had an idea that i could make a backpackers toilet trowel from it and maybe a few other things.

It was so simple i don’t know why i hadn’t thought of it earlier. Anyone can make a trowel. Yes anyone.

  • First of all it’s cross section is an ideal curve.
  • Its very strong with little deflection.
  • The spine doesn’t bend due to a reinforcing flat section on the inside.
  • Only tools needed are a tape measure, hacksaw, file and a drill with 8mm drill bit.
In the past i have used another homemade trowel, made from 50mm diameter domestic waste pipe and it worked fairly well but one of the problems i had with it was the initial dig. As luck would have it, most of the areas i seem to pick are heather covered or branch infested. Breaking through tiny root systems can be quite difficult and time consuming. Sometimes time is at a premium isn’t it.

 Instead of shaping a “recognisable” trowel handle i decided to cut a V shape that will penetrate the ground easier than the normal curved end.
Once the ground is broken up i use the scoop end to create the hole and repeat as required.

I found the broad end of the mudguard had a reinforcing bead of around 3mm thick running along its edge. I removed this with a file to create a sharper edge.

Then i drilled a hole in the trowel so that i could attach it to a small carabiner in my rucksack top pocket.

(The image below shows 2 holes. I drilled the one nearest the end first but found the middle area was best suited to my rucksack pocket and so drilled a second hole.)

Toilet trowel
 Dimension 200mm long
 Trowel curve and edge bead. 
(Trowel resting against a tape measure to enable the edge and curve to be viewed).

Weight is 25grams. I could make it lighter by adding a series of holes but i’m happy with the 25 grams.
It would also make quite a handy tent stake for the snow, the holes used for guy line attachment.

Find it Here