The Vault Regulars

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bits and Bob's

Over the winter period we managed to acquire some new items that may or may not add weight enhance our backpacking kit.
We had both equipment and clothing to try out. Clothing will take more than one outing or local plod to do a meaningful review, but equipment either works or it doesn't. So thought i would pass on my findings.

Readers will know that my preferred stove kit is the Caldera Cone with the 12 - 10 stove. I find it so reliable especially when conditions are at there worst. To light the stove i tend to use a fire starter, steel and magnesium alloy bar. But i do take a gas lighter and waterproof matches as well. They weigh so little but can be a God send.

The trouble with meths as against gas is that you need to point the lighter downwards and the popular cigarette lighter flame normally turns upwards or goes out when inverted. Both these issues are solved when i purchased the Coney Lighter.

Coney Lighter.

The Coney is a gas refillable lighter with a rubberised feel. They are also available with a clear tank if you prefer and are also sold/badged with the name Zenga. Cost £4 from Amazon.

Size is 50mm tall and 15mm diameter.
The flame burns as a jet and with some power.
The red slider button is a flame lock or gas lock safety device which should be kept locked when not in use to prevent gas escaping.
It has a spring shut lid and is water resistant.

After it's first outing it proved to be perfect in the wind, lighting the stove each time without any bother.
It's flame can be a little difficult to see in bright conditions with it being a slim jet but you get used to it.
The lid is a proper pain and can get in the way when in inverted position. The image above shows the lid in its maximum open position. It would be better if it opened 180 degrees instead of just 90 degrees.
I tried to make it open wider when i got home but it wasn't possible due to the spring closure. I eventually decided to remove the lid completely which is an easy operation to do.

All in all this is a good lighter and perfect for lighting cold meths/alcohol stoves. This will be staying in the cooking kit. A good buy.

Power pack for iphone.

 Like it or not phones are leaving stand alone GPS devices behind.
Why bother to carry 2 devices.
Phones are faster at locking onto satellites.
Phones are lighter.
You can access all your offline maps from people like the Ordnance Survey, for example.
You can access your digital mapping supplied by the ever growing band of companies.
You can take photographs, video's, live video's for social media and believe it or not you can actually talk to people when you have a signal, send messages and do blogging.
So many Apps now enhance the phone that it's use is without question a benefit.

The problem with phones though is that the battery can run down pretty quickly and with the trend now of not having a replaceable battery we need an alternative for more than one day.

Nobody should rely on electronic equipment 100%. Always have a backup map and compass and know how to use it. I'm quite sure that today's youngsters will be gradually forgetting how to.

There are absolutely lots of power packs for phones on the market but many still rely on a cable to connect the phone to the power. We came across the one above which just allows the phone to slide into place onto a lightening connector. It can stay attached all the time if you so wish.
It adds a further 5500 mAh and on our 3 day trip we used 75% with lots of phone usage as mentioned above.
For something like the TGO Challenge where it is necessary to call HQ every few days and also occasional use as a GPS, i think this would last the whole trip starting from full charge.

Obviously you have the additional weight of 146 grams, but it's a cross we have to bear as lithium ion batteries are not lightweight. Having said that i don't think 146 grams is OTT.
The power pack also has an additional std usb port so that you can charge a separate non Apple related piece of kit. (cable needed)
When on long hikes its worth keeping the phone on Aircraft mode to stop auto backup and auto update from happening.
At £20 we consider this a very good buy.

Piddle pot. (my terminology)

When it's dark, raining and windy and you wake up bursting for a call of nature the last thing you want to do is get out of the tent to pay a call.
Lads can generally find lots of items to piddle into but for the ladies it seems to be a bit more difficult.
The She-Wee came out a few years ago but i have it on good authority that it was poor at best.
I then read about this piece of kit and thought i would get one and give it a try as its so cheap.
It proved so good we got a second one.
It expands and holds 3/4Litre. It has a leakproof secure lid. Suitable to both men and women.
Weight empty, 50grams.
Cost £2.20

Backpacking Tip.

Most of us i guess use dehydrated food when on multi day hikes. Each pouch requiring a different amount of water to rehydrate it. I usually end up doing a bit of guesswork as too how much say 325ml is for example. Then i end up with something that looks like soup or concrete depending how good or bad my guess was.
So we bought a water bottle with capacity markings on the side. I know you may be thinking, "thats obvious", but how many of us actually do have accurate measures for something as important as food on the move.
We bought ours from Sports Direct for £4. (not on the internet). Although it says on the bottle that the measurements are approximate, checking at home has proven them to be accurate.


afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan. As far as I can tell the charger fits the iPhone 7 but not the 6s plus or am I missing something? I can't believe the makers would limit their sales this way but I can only find reference to the 7. If it does fit the 6s plus I'd definitely have one.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson, the 6s and 7 are the same size. The 6s plus is quite a bit bigger, both width and length so this power pack will be too small. I'm sure there will be one for the 6 s plus on Amazon. I will have a look.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson,
I found this one, it's not the same make as the one we have but worth a go for £15 I think.

afootinthehills said...

Thanks Alan. Don't know how I missed that one. I'm now going to need two of them since Lynne has just bought the 6s plus! More stuff to carry but at least it will prove useful I'm sure. Thanks for the post.

AlanR said...

Glad you found it interesting and I'm pleased to pass on the info. I hope they work out ok. The Apple power pack is around £100 so it's a good saving.

Dawn said...

Interesting Alan, the lighter looks a good idea.

AlanR said...

Hi Dawn,
I think its great and because it's refillable it should be reliable. Time will tell of course.

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