Monday, July 30, 2007

Review : Palm TX

Well I was skeptical when I was looking at PDA's. Would I really use one? Is it worth it? How will the wifi work? Will it be any help with backpacking and photography? Well here's what I found out. Like any new tech gadget it get's used a ton when you first get it. When it finally works in to you is when you truly see if you need it. I find myself pulling it out of my bag from time to time. Putting in dates and notes that I might want to keep for a long time. So truth is yea..I'm using it. The calender function is nice. It's all ready saved me from messing up a work schedule and missing a shift. The to-do list is nice and annoying enough that you want to get things done. The microsoft app's are awesome. To do a spread sheet while sitting in the car, waiting for kids to get out of a movie is awesome. I started a MSdoc while out camping with the kids in the mountains. So it's nice. I like using it. The wifi is pretty short ranged and the browser is well...odd unless your looking at a mobile version of a website. Still it does work in a pinch. I can pull emails from my Gmail account with no problems. Only problem is it pulls...every email I have in my account. Small problem I haven't found a way around.

So...if your tech friendly, need a little organization, take a look at one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Do you think your Gear is art?

I've been thinking about making some custom racks to hold my backpacking stuff. Not just a rack for the closet but one that would be welcome and add something to the room. Well that got me thinking about how I consider my hobbies and gear as art. I've always saw my Mtn.Bikes as art. There is a wood stand that holds two mountain bikes, I've always liked the idea of my bikes in the front room. My paintball markers, I've always wanted wall mounts for. Now I want to frame my backpacking gear in specially made pods of different themes. First theme for my backpack "pod" will be a viking theme with viking dragon's on the top and bottom. I also want to do a sleeping bag decompressor(IE hanging rack) out of a Torii. As of late a friend of mine and I have been dump diving. What I mean by dump diving is we go to the local dump and search around in the Construction and development landfill. You wouldn't believe the good wood people throw away. Another good source for getting some hard woods are pallets. There a pain to get apart but, you can find elm, and oak all over.

Review : Mountain House Spaghetti

I was very skeptical when I bought this freeze dried meal. I bough it mainly for my daughter cause I knew it was something she'd eat. We had just sat down after a hard day of hiking. The kids had done really well. They were both very hungry and tired. This meal literally disappeared when I put it in front of my daughter. It looked alot like Spaghetti in a can, BUT it didn't taste anything like that. I can see why they sell this in a large can. We could have eaten a few more servings. It's not that the servings were small, we were just that hungry. Three thumbs up for the Mountain House Spaghetti!

Review : XPG Ridgelight XST

Well where to start. I had heard a few things about this tent. I had heard that it had a tendency to sweat and leak a little water thru the vestibule. For this review I took it backpacking with two of my children. I figured it would fit us all and it's only a pound plus a little heavier then my single person ultralight. It's a little more bulky, but thats to be expected when stepping up from a single person to a three person. Set up was more then easy. My daughter could set up this tent by herself in less then five minutes. Lay out the tent, extend and attach pole structure, set stakes and your done. I was very impressed on how quickly this went up. I could see that in heavy wind or bad weather it would be much easier then a multi-pole design. With the joined pole design it made set up very fast because there was no threading of poles thru the tent. Set the pole exo-skeleton over the limp tent and attach. I'm not sure of the long term durability of the design but it stood up very well in the wind we had both nights we used it. There's a lot of adjustment for taking up slack in tie downs. Which I did in the middle of the second night. The wind was whipping the tent a bit so I tightened it up to lesson that some. It worked. For myself and two kids we were able to fit all three of us and our packs inside. With three adults that would have been very tight, but doable. We set up the tent both nights so that the doors faced the direction of the wind. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not. The tent's large door vents kept everything very well ventilated. If I could do it again I'd set the tent up so that a end faced the wind so we didn't get as much thru draft in the night. While it would have been welcome if it was warmer it wasn't that warm at night so the draft wasn't needed or appreciated. The zippers all worked well and the layout was very good. I am pretty impressed with this little tent. I'm not sure who this tent is made for. It's not really a four season backpacking tent. Too much ventilation and with no way to shut down the draft thru the tent it wouldn't be a winter tent at all. It did stand up very well in the wind. I'm not sure if it worked any better then a ultralight three person tent would have. Still I like the tent so far and am looking forward to more outings with it.