The Vault Regulars

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A walk in the park

Yesterday turned out a better day weather wise than had been forecast. I kept looking out expecting rain but it just kept getting brighter.
Having a couple of hours to spare i decided to go for a walk into my local park. Tandle hill country park.

It's a nice place to stroll through, with many deciduous trees, mostly Beech and the ground is a mixture of sand and peat. There are fixed walks along tarmac paths which end up at the needle monument to the war dead of Royton. Good views can be had across to the Roaches, Winter Hill, Blackstone edge, Jodrell bank, Derbyshire and more.
Or, you can do as i do and that is just to wander through the trees and grasses on no paths at all.

At weekends and Bank Holidays there is a small cafe open and it's very good.
Here are some photo's i took.

I think this is Field Penny Cress.

On my up to the park i came across this big lad who wasn't too happy to be photographed.
And then further up the lane i came across the Phantom Raspberry pickers.
A fallen Beech
Did he just move?
Speckled Wood butterfly
Puff balls
A furry monster
The Fly Agaric
The war Memorial to the Men of Royton.

Some of the fungi photo's have no descriptions. That is not a mistake, it's because i don't know what they are called. Any help appreciated as always.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Delios Peaty water test.

The question had been raised "would the Super Delios water filter clear Kinder peat colouring".
So yesterday we went up to Blackstone edge and i collected some peaty water for the test.
Test sample of Peaty coloured water which also contained quite a lot of solids too.

Squeezing the water through the Super Delios filter.

As you can see from the above photo, the filter does remove the peat colouring from the water.

Here is the final result. Perfectly clear drinkable water.
And to prove that we didn't cheat we had an independent adjudicator to watch the testing, well it's our friend Tina from Seathwaite in the Lake District actually. 
Then she kindly acted as guinea pig and drank the water. 

Hope that answers the question.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hydration and a new filter bottle.

As we all know hydration is a major issue to Hikers and backpackers everywhere.
 It's always on the mind of backpackers as to where to find a good supply of clean drinking water for evening meals and brewing up.
Boiling the water kills pretty much everything, but you don't always have the time or the inclination to boil water just for a drink on route.

Since i started hiking i have never been overly concerned about drinking directly from streams in the hills.
I have never suffered any bouts of illness.
Over the last couple of years though my attitude has completely changed and i regard most streams/becks etc as potential hazards.
You just never know what's died in it further up stream or what contaminants have found there way into the water course.

I like many others, bought the Travel tap from Backpacking Light UK to give us some piece of mind.
I was so pleased with the results we got from this filter. Then on one adventure i noticed that it was dripping from the  outlet.
I had a check of all the fittings and all seemed well except that the O ring was a bit worse for wear. I thought that this might be the problem.
I contacted Bob at BPL and explained. He kindly passed me on to manufacturers at drinkSafe systems.
I explained the problem and they sent me 2 new O rings.
I fitted the new O ring and at first i thought the problem had been resolved as it didn't leak but then on the 2nd fill it did leak.
I unscrewed the filter to check its position and when i re fitted the filter the thread broke off from the body.

After paying £35 for this kit i must admit to being a little upset. Who wouldn't be.

When you have a good look at the area where the threads finish and the body begins there is very little material here for such a heavy component, especially with the hole running through the centre of it as well. And a component that can get tossed around in the rucksack.

I decided not to replace it with another, but to have a look on the internet and see if i could find a different one and i did.

It's called the Super Delios. I ordered one which cost me £29.99 + P & P £2.80 and it arrived the very next day. They contacted us via email within 10 minutes, saying it had been shipped. You cannot ask for better than that.

So do i think it's a better buy than the travel tap? Well i do actually. And here's why.

First the cost. Its £5 cheaper.
The filter itself is 0.2 microns so no difference there.
The weight.
Travel tap including cool bag. 267 grams

Super Delios including protective bag which isn't a cool bag i must say. 72 grams. A saving of 195 grams

 Also the filter assembly locates on the outside of the bottle rather than taking up room within the bottle. and there are not protruding threads to damage or in my case, to break off.

When you have just an empty bottle the Delios bottle will collapse whereas the Travel tap retains it's bulk.
The collapsable Super Delios.

The bulky travel tap.

The capacity of the travel tap is 500ml or 650ml depending on which bottle you have whereas the Delios is only 350ml.
But for me this is what clinches it. The Delios filter will fit onto all Platypus bags or bottles so the capacity however large or small is your choice.

Super Delios filter head fitted to 1L Platypus bag.
And also vica versa the Platypus pull top cap fits the Delios collapsable 350ml bottle. Which gives you a simple water bottle option.
There are 2 filter types available one is a squeeze pressure filter and the other is a base camp gravity drip feed. See web site.

I am impressed with this filter system and pleased to have found an alternative. 
Maybe Bob will look at stocking it in the future.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sunday 15th August 2010. Tideswell circular.

A week or two ago, Martin posted a walk on his blog  a walk, or a bimble as he put it, around Tideswell.
Organised by Sue W, bless her.
It had been many moons, too many to count, since last i tramped the gorges of the White Peak area in Derbyshire.
I eventually found my old WP map and on it i had penned in a route which was scarily much like Sue W's.
The scary thing was that i couldn't remember doing it!
Then at the bottom of the map was marked the date i had done the walk, which was August 1990. Almost 20 yrs to the day.
The walk still didn't come to mind so i decided that as Sheila had to work all day saturday, we would do the walk again Sunday, but following the route shown below, copied with kind permission from Martin's blog.

Having found the car park/picnic area located to the south of Tideswell, and we were the first ones there.
We paid our dues and set off down Tideswell dale where we came across a well fed 6 ft long rodent.

We moved on rapidly just in case he felt hungry.
We took a left into Millers Dale which was full of wild life. Moorhens, Coots, Dippers, Mallard, swans and more.
It was very peaceful and a pleasant walk to the road at Cressbrook where you can get tea and coffee if they are open. We were too early.

From the road at Cressbrook we headed North up Cressbrook dale, past the lovely old cottages at Ravensdale.
As the path rises through the trees and then turns east, there are good views up the Dale and across to Tansley Dale.

The path east to Wardlow is easy and marked on the map is a pub. As far as we know this has now gone. We didn't find the pub.
Walking north just passed the church the track turns east through farm land. The path is over gown and full of nettles.  Across the road the route carries on east and crosses the stile in the fence about 150yds ahead left. Then it's north passing Castlegate farm on the left and through to Housley house with it's pretty pond.

Across the A623 follow the B road to Foolow village. The pub was open we we gave it a miss and had lunch sat by the duck pond. The residents approved.
Finding the path west, eventually. It goes between two walls to the left of the pond as you approach it.
The well trod path through fields to Stanley house is a gradual descent and the views south to Peters stone are wonderful. We were so lucky the day was perfect weather.

From the stile at Stanley House we met the owner and found out he had been there 30 yrs and was just about used to the fantastic views.
He pointed out the gap in the wall ahead and the grey Silo in the farmyard at Somerset house farm. This was the route.
However there were cows and bulls in the field and at the wall gap.
Sheila asked if the Bulls were friendly to which he replied that there wasn't a problem as long as we could run through the field in 59 seconds because the bull takes 60!
We laughed and went on our way. There was no problems with the livestock.

We crossed the A623 again and passed the Three Stags head inn. We should have gone in but we didn't.
Next time.
Just across the road from the pub there is a cottage with a 5 bar gate. The route goes through this gate and bears right behind what could be a garage. There is no footpath sign here strangely.
In a few minutes the dale opens up and reveals Peters Stone.
It's a must to go up here.

Come off the stone to the SW and descend steeply to the path which in a few minutes arrives at some stepping stones in a dry river bed. Cross these and over the stile into Tansley Dale.
The day had definitely warmed up and according to my Suunto it was 25 degrees. (it wasn't on my wrist). As we progressed up the dale towards Litton we both found ourselves lacking energy.
As we approach the top of the dale a breeze met us and it was appreciated. We stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the cooling effect before carrying on to Litton.

The route bypasses Litton to the south and progresses west on a green lane where the view is stunning. Masses and masses of parallel walls.
It reminded me of the Black House crofts in the Outer Hebrides. Where each croft has a plot of land, usually narrow but long.
I am sure that this will have been photographed millions of times and my image just doesn't do it justice.

Along the road for a few minutes, there is a stile in the wall on the right where the road takes a sharp left.
Eventually descending to Litton dale past the newly renovated dale house to the main road.
Turning left down the road and left again at the junction brings you back to the car park.

We had had a lovely day, good weather always helps and the scenery was wonderful.
So thank you Martin for sharing this walk and allowing me to copy the map and Sue W for choosing the route.
A bimble to be savoured.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Camping mat.

A few weeks ago i posted that i had been into the outdoor shop in Broughton in Furness and i noticed a sleeping mat by a company called Trang.
Well on our way back from Sheila's mums today we called in again to take a closer look.

We found out that the company is called Trango World but it used to be called Artiach. They are not well known in the UK but are big in Spain and other parts of europe.
They had a few mats in stock of varying sizes and weights but one in particular called the Skin Micro Lite caught our eye.
The mat size is 1.2m long x 0.5m wide x .03m thick.
The mat is the self inflating type and it actually works. Unscrew the nozzle and it starts to inflate and with just 3 mouthfuls of air it was fully inflated.
The outer material feels good, not dissimilar to lightweight groundsheet material, it's called Artistretch.
The good thing is, it "sticks" to the groundsheet and it also resists the sleeping bag sliding.
This is excellent because we are always falling off the Neo air and sliding about.

This mat is the lightest that Trangoworld make and it weighs 370 grams. It's heavier than the Neo air but most mats are.
The thermal value is 3.4

When it's rolled up i was surprised to find just how small it was. I expected it to be quite large with the interior being foam filled. But as you can see from the photo's below it's acceptable. The shoe is a UK size 8.

The best thing of all was the price. The RRP is £25! Fantastic value for money.
And because it was the last one in the shop before the new stock we got it for £22.

So when we have given it a try out, i think Sheila will be parting company with her Neo Air which she dislikes. Any takers please form an orderly queue.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Esbit test

I had done some Esbit boil tests before this post but i thought i would do a quick test using the new Evernew 600 pan.
I used one Web-tex tablet that weighed 8gr.
The 400ml of water just reached boiling as the fuel finished.
It took 10 minutes to boil, so quite a bit slower than the meths stoves.
The day is quite a blustery one, so typical fell weather for the test. 

As you can see above the tablet is no more. 

If you wanted to make a dehydrated meal and a brew then another 1/2 tablet would be needed to boil 500ml of water.. Therefore, a 12gr tablet per person per meal would be needed with some to spare.

Stove/Pan tests

Following on from my tests with the Gram Weenie stove on Monday 26th July.

I decided, against my better judgement to splash out and buy a Titanium pan. I say against my better judgement because they are so expensive and it's only for boiling water.
However if i was going to satisfy my curiosity on performance i had to have one.

After much searching i decided on the Evernew 600 from Backpacking light. No sooner had i placed the order when it arrived. So thanks to them for a speedy service.

On the weight front, my current Aluminium pan and lid weighs 140gr. The new pan and lid weighs 110gr.

I also decided that i was going to make a cone windshield which hopefully would improve heat transfer and therefore save time and fuel.

The shield.
Having now purchased the material which started life as a backing tray. I started to work out the sizes required and to make the template using the formula for the frustum.
Then i made a paper template and set about cutting the basic shape.

Once thats done its just a matter of putting some slots in to aid combustion and to decide on how best to join the ends together.
I decided after much experimentation to make a double grooved seam lock joint. With material so thin it's quite an easy joint to make and it's a secure lock which requires no separate pieces to loose in the field.
Now to test out the options with the new pan.
I used the Gram Weenie and my own make of Aluminium bottle stove, both which require the pan to sit on top of the stove to "Pressurize" it. I had to make separate bases for the stoves so that i could test them using the same windshield as the stove heights are different.

I was a little surprised to find that with both stoves there was an adverse effect.
It took longer to boil the 430 ml.
I new that titanium was not as good as aluminium for heat transfer but i wondered if the cone was lacking oxygen.
I put another 3 slots in the shield and tried again. Results were better but not as good as the tests done in July with the straight "open" shield.
I was disappointed to say the least that the results didn't improve performance.

I then tried my old Trangia burner with the set up and i got an improvement over previous trials.
The trangia is not a pressurized burner.
In previous tests i got it to boil 430ml of water in 6.00 mins. With the new set up it boiled it in 5 mins 15 seconds. A fair improvement and i was pleased that my endeavours were not in vain.

I can only assume that the pressurised burners require a lot more oxygen to combust efficiently than an open burner.
So armed with the results this photo shows the set up i will be using in colder months.
The weights.
Shield 27 grams.
The pan and lid 110grams
Burner 60grams
Base 3 grams.
Total 200 grams.

I then realised i could save 30 grams by deleting the original pan lid and make one from foil.
Final weight 170grams.

The shield can either be rolled up and packed or as i prefer it, can be left fully open and slid down the back of my sack where the water bladder goes. (I never use bladders so its an empty space in the sack.)

Well i have had fun making this and trying out different scenarios, and i am pleased that i found some improvements both in performance and weight saving. So it was a worthwhile exercise.

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