Massdrop Sort of interesting ‘group buy’ site that offers discounts that can be lower than you can get anywhere else. You do have to create an account to see the prices because they can be under the minimum allowed advertising amount so they can’t be indexed on the web. Have a variety of areas: Ultralight backpacking gear, quilting, photography, audio, tech, etc. Thus far I’ve only pulled the trigger on one item, but I’m also trying to not buy as much stuff, your milage may vary.


“What we do best or most perfectly is what we have most thoroughly learned by the longest practice, and at length it falls from us without our notice, as a leaf from a tree.”
Henry David Thoreau

2015-12-11 Borah Gear Snowyside 2 event bivy

I recently got a bivy sack from Borah Gear, the snowyside 2. It has eVent top fabric, waterproof floor and weights 12.9oz. I tried it out last night on my deck and it worked great. Not the most challenging of conditions given how warm it was, but still. Low of maybe 51 with 92% humidity when I woke up this morning. Slept with it open as there were no rain or bugs. There was a tiny bit of condensation on the flooring material on part of sides but that was it. Just a slight bit of damp if you ran your fingers along it and I was sleeping in a very overly insulated bag for the temperature (golite z10.) It fit my long cushy air mattress with no problems, as well as myself, with a little extra room in the top. This is the first bivy I’ve used so I don’t have anything to compare it to but I’ve certainly read enough horror stories about bivys and water to be optimistic about the snowyside 2 so far.

A bit foggy. :)


2015-12-03 Down Hats

Down hats, they are toasty warm, ball up into a tiny package, and weigh little! But which to get?! makes what appears to be the top of the line hats, but at $70- $90 dollars I was not able to get one. The are .75 – 1 oz in weight, look good, have very high quality down in them, made in the US. But couldn’t justify the cost.

I did end up trying two cheaper options. The Outdoor Research Transcendent Beanie ($31.50) and the Columbia Flash Forward Packable Down Hat ($26.25)

The Outdoor Research hat is supposed to be just over 1 oz, but I did not weigh it myself as I didn’t want to take the tags off given fit issues. The large was too big for me, pulled down all the way it covered my eyes as well as my ears. The elastic they use on the back quarter is thin and can bother people based on amazon reviews, but in my brief testing it wasn’t an issue for me. I could have still used it, just pushed up a bit, but there would have been space at the top which seemed kind of a waste and gives it kind of an odd look.

The Columbia is about 2oz and is the heaviest of the bunch, the interior has a sweat wicking band and one of the 4 panels bottom edge is elastic so it has some wiggle room. The large fit me perfectly with no additional space on top, fully pulled down just completely covers my ears. 800 fill power down and ‘omni-shield’ water resist coating.

2014-07-03 Hoover Wilderness and Yosemite

Early July Gina and I did a 50 mile loop out of Hoover Wilderness into Yosemite and back. Twin lakes -> Peeler Lake -> Benson Lake -> Matterhorn Canyon Junction (more or less) -> Crown Lake -> out. Was a fantastic trip, though we both agreed it was more strenuous than our ideal. Incredibly scenic wonders around every corner. I think our sweet spot is hitting camp an hour or two after lunch so there is time to do more local exploration, vs the macro exploration of putting on the miles. Not that we had any problems, it was just quite tiring with all the elevation change. I have some GPS tracks for a few days somewhere on my phone but the up down of the trail plus general elevation changes was pretty big. Trekking poles were a big win!

For photos, here is a short ‘best of':

2014 07 - Hoover Wilderness, Yosemite, 50 miles