The USPS creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom…” may have been close, but they apparently weren’t referring to the Tilley LTM6, otherwise known as the Airflo Hat, when their proposition was adopted. It would have more closely resembled, “Bring on the blinding snow, drenching rain, and scorching heat…”

The USPS creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom…” may have been close, but they apparently weren’t referring to the Tilley LTM6, otherwise known as the Airflo Hat, when their proposition was adopted. It would have more closely resembled, “Bring on the blinding snow, drenching rain, and scorching heat…”

I’ve respectively boasted upon many hats in my day; the Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat (Airflo) has outperformed each and every one!

Image
Cochise Stronghold Hiking

Image
Oak Creek Canyon, Bassett Peak Hiking

Image
Aravaipa Canyon Backpacking

Image
Aravaipa Canyon Backpacking

Handcrafted in Canada, with “persnicketiness”, adds Tilley, of nylon, polyester mesh and polyethylene foam, this hat is designed to perform with outstanding results, or it will be replaced, free of charge! That’s right, if you wear it out you’ll be wearing a new one, on Tilley! Don’t believe me…

Image
The Finest in All the World! Insured Against Loss, Guaranteed for Life

Image
Fine Workmanship and Materials

Image
The Airflo is Easily Reshaped

Image
Crown Pocket Demonstration, and Wind Cord Tucked into Crown

Image
Wind Cord Reshaping Brim for Cool Weather Wearing

Consider Tilley’s warranty and guarantee for a moment. Has any other company ever made such a promise? I’m not aware of one. This is truly an investment that you will enjoy for your entire life! They want you to wear their product until you wear it out, and talk about it, such as my cheerful, unpretentious boast. And, that’s exactly why I’m boasting, because I love this hat and, when or if I wear it out, they’ll replace it, free of charge. That is incredible customer service! Without question, Tilley has virtuously won my loyalty, and it’s because they stand behind a product that performs as stated. How great is that? I’ve put this hat through it’s paces and still, I have a hat that performs today, as it did the day I received it. OK, enough celebration, but before I cease, remember the USPS creed? Tilley’s may just be, “it floats, ties on, repels rain, blocks UV rays, won’t shrink, and comes with a four-page owner’s manual”. If only it could calm a vigilant canine…

How Functional is the Airflo

By far, this is the coolest wearing hat I’ve worn in the desert, and it has respectfully and successfully facilitated many more adventures I otherwise may not have made. Prior to this hat, I was often too hot to venture into the wilderness as temperatures approach 105ºF, regardless of sun protection. Now, I’m cooler, comfortable and able to withstand heat beyond my previous limits. My head and face are fully protected, with unrestricted vision, and the hat easily conforms, with the assistance of wind cord, to allow more air and sunlight circulate about my head, if desired.

The Airflo does not overwhelm, nor stick to my head, wearing quite comfortably without undue restriction. I’m able to wear sunglasses without discomfort, an issue I’ve had with many hats, and the chin straps keep the hat taught, on my head, in high winds. When I desire a temporary reprieve from the hat, I’ll either slide it off my head, allowing the wind cord to hang on around my neck, or I’ll take it off completely, roll it up and stuff it in a pocket. When the Airflow is once again desired, simply unroll, give it a quick stretch/reshape and it’s back on your head, like it never left.

This hat offers the benefit of warmth when it’s cool and refreshing cover when it’s hot. I find it perfectly suitable for all weather conditions, including dry heat and high humidity.

The spacious, velcro-enclosed storage pocket inside the crown is plenty large enough for my modest wallet, including contents, and a spare key.

The Airflo Takes its Fair Share of Abuse

I’ve rolled it, folded it, crinkled it, stuffed it, tossed it, thrown it in the lake to see if it indeed floats (it did), sat on it, travelled with it, slept with it on, chased it, dropped it, loaned it, and washed it, all numerous times, which, by the way, numerous washings, in particular, are highly recommended to prevent considerable damage due to perspiration build-up. The Airflo takes it’s fair share of abuse and begs for more.

Image
A beautiful Day in Bisbee, Arizona

Image
Janice & David, Wilderness of Rocks

Image
Pack-off Break in Aravaipa Canyon

It’s All About Us

The balance between material, workmanship, care, warranty and a pleasant North American company, makes the Airflo a very desirable hat. Once they’ve finished with it, they seem to extend their deepest wishes and offer the public their finest product, to make our journey more enjoyable!

Visit Tilley here… http://www.tilley.com/LTM6-AIRFLO-Nylamtium-Hat.aspx

Airflo Features Include

  • Constructed from 100% supplex nylon and 100% polyester mesh.
  • The fabric is certified to block 98% of harmful UVA/UVB radiation and deliver an ultraviolet factor (UPF) of 50+, the maximum rating given.
  • Although it blocks 98% of UV rays, some rays COULD enter through ¾” mesh.
  • ¾” polyester mesh permits quite a bit of air to circulate in and out of the hat.
  • Hand-sewn using very strong thread; all seams are lock-stitched so they won’t unravel.
  • The brass is from Britain and is the best there is.
  • Dark under-brim to reduce glare from water, sand and pavement.
  • Brim repels and channels water away for improved foul-weather protection.
  • A layer of closed-cell foam in the crown, and in the brim, providing positive buoyancy.
  • Tuck-away, adjustable, fore and aft Wind Cord, for wind protection when needed.
  • After washing, smooth and reshape by hand and set it out to air dry. When the Hat is dry, simply re-stretch it.
  • Will not stretch or shrink.
  • Four-page owners manual.
  • A Hydrofil anti-sweat band, which is wicking, soft and comfortable.
  • Hidden velcro-closure pocket in the crown for concealing valuables.
  • Available in thirteen sizes.
  • And, according to Tilley, “those who wear the Airflo usually have innate good taste, creative minds and uncommon intelligence”.

I Prefer to Wear My Airflo

All the time! In fact, there are very few instances, save the necessity for evaporative cooling, I may not need to wear it?

I wear this hat when I leave my home, just about every time, and I particularly prefer to hike and backpack with the Airflo. In fact, hiking and backpacking without it would be a serious misfortune. Head cover is essential in the wilderness, preventing hyperthermia and exhaustion, and the Airflo will always be THE hat I reach for to accompany me! The Airflo wears well, feels wonderful, functions by circulation air superbly, and considering the abuse this hat has endured, it continues to look fantastic. Shopping, fishing, boating, trail running, fitness walking, riding horses, etc., and for attending any local outdoor or out-of-town event, I love this hat, wear it often, and I’ve received many revering compliments.

Specifics

I received the Airflo as a gift, following many months of whining and pining. You could, too!

The Airflo has been worn in all climates and conditions associated with Arizona, from desert, to grassland, spruce/fir forests, both rural and urban events, and throughout all five southern, Arizona seasons (some, including I, consider monsoon a season of itself in southern, Arizona).

Summary

There’s a good possibility that the Airflo may fly off my head, when wind cord have not been engaged, and down into a canyon, lost forever. In such an event, I’m no longer warranted for loss and will, in fact, rush right out to purchase another Tilley! I have no reason to believe that another hat may serve me better, as much as I have shopped. The Tilley Airflo is, in my humble opinion, the best hat on the planet. I’ve worn the Airflo in desert extremes including heat well above 100ºF, freezing temperatures, and for protection against drenching summer monsoon. I’m more than happy to endorse a product that performs phenomenally! The Tilley Airflo is that hat, a hat for life!

Reach Your Summit!

All photos, copyright, WildDrake!

I have no, nor have I ever had any affiliation with Tilley, now or in the past.

Advertisements

The Injinji Performance Sport PED-Length Toe Sock, Composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra, is about as Functional and Hydrodynamic as a Synthetic Sock can be… Especially so with the Laws of Nature Assisting in the Process…

The Injinji Performance Sport PED-Length Toe Sock, Composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra, is about as Functional and Hydrodynamic as a Synthetic Sock can be… Especially so with the Laws of Nature Assisting in the Process…

Injinji on the Web… http://www.injinji.com/sport/sport-original-weight-ped.html/

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Image

The Injinji® performance sport PED length toesock® (PED) are structurally produced to perform with the utmost respect of functionality and with as little material as possible. These are PED length socks! This means that they are meant to be hidden below the collar of your shoes. The PED’s feature a welt that is about as flat as possible and maintains as much posture as possible. They simply do not want to be seen and are meant to be hidden from sight.

According to Injinji, These Socks Have a “Five Toe Fit System” with Benefits Including

  • Anatomical five-toe design properly aligns toes (natural toe splay)
  • Seamless, five-toe-sleeve with anti-friction interface
  • Elastic dual welt band with increased compression that holds sock in place
  • Superior moisture management
  • Prevents blisters and promotes proper posture & balance
  • True L/R anatomical secure fit
  • Toe mobility, which allows stronger, healthier feet
  • Reinforced heel and toes to increase durability
  • Better gripping and balance inside shoe
  • Designed to support arch

Fabric/Composition

Injinji combines a mixture of 75% Coolmax® performance polyester, 20% Nylon and 5% Lycra®, a conglomerate of synthetics, to produce the PED, designed for the sole (no pun intended) purpose of seizing perspiration from the surface of your feet, to the exterior of the sock, where your perspiration is exPEDiently precipitated, keeping your feet cool and dry in the warmer months, warm and dry in the cooler months.

The PED is an integral part of my footwear system, and one I’d soon not go without. I’ve been wearing Vibram FiveFinger (VFF) footwear, when I wear footwear, 100% of the time since April 2013, and the PED’s have been worn along with them, each and every time. Considerable discernment has been initiated, over the years, for a sock that would function better for me than the next. With all due respect to the VFF’s, these socks are a perfect functional companion. And, with all due respect to the brand of sock, Injinji, which I’ve been wearing for many years, I probably would not have purchased the VFF’s if Injinji’s PED toe socks didn’t exist. Prior to the VFF’s, I wore a fairly strong hiker, a Kayland hiking boot to assist me in my adventures with not a single blister, in 6 years, credited entirely to Injinji brand toe socks! Prior to toe socks, in general, I suffered enough blisters to dramatically consider a change that would once and for all make a difference, including comfort and function!

Structure, Fit and Performance

Coolmax structural properties, that is, the architectural integrity of the fiber, contains channels, micro-channels that are specially designed to extract, transport , displace and disperse your perspiration over a wide surface area, wicking perspiration while at the same time positioning the perspiration to expeditiously and precipitously expunge perspiration from the surface of your foot. This process continues efficaciously throughout the use of the product, every moment, during performance, while in use, repeating the entire process cyclically, allowing the wearer to, essentially, perform more efficiently, functionally, and comfortably, during exertion and whenever your feet require moisture control.

These PED’s hug my feet! With a very low profile and superior fit, accredited to the seamless design, these toe socks, literally, fit beyond expectation. Once they’re on, they fit me perfectly, like a glove, so to speak, with no shifting. Right out of the package, I never thought they would, just looking at them. There is no loose sock to be found nor is there excess anything. And, because they fit each toe so well, seamlessly, there’s practically zero chance of sock movement, migration and chafing that would otherwise cause blisters. In addition to being a low-profile sock, structurally these fit below or at the crest of my VFF’s, and they are a thinner sock so there’s no bulk to control or behave badly. If these socks have, at all, broken down, after all these months/years, that is, the individual fibers losing their ability to perform as expected, I have not noticed. I continue to use the same PED’s I have since their addition to my sock line-up in April 2013, in conjunction with my VFF’s, with no noticeable wear or damage, with the exception of a small insignificant hole in one single pair. I rotate, the best I can, the same three pair that were originally ordered along with my VFF’s. Quite honestly, there doesn’t seem to be much complexity to this sock, and looks are very deceiving. They are indeed thin in nature but seem to perform as if passion was guiding their way.

Image

Image

Image

Performance and Temperature Regulation

Why, you ask, if the body’s cooling mechanism is the process of perspiration, do we need a product to transport the perspiration from our body? Wouldn’t the benefit be the perspiration and cooling effect of the resulting solute(water and constituent molecules)? Great question! By transporting accumulated solute, water, sodium and other minerals, from the body, the Coolmax fabric is effectively relieving the body from an over-accumulation of solute that may lead to decreased performance, and particularly, comfort. Coolmax transports solute by-products from the skin, assists in the evaporation of water while, unfortunately but unavoidably, decreasing in performance, over time, due to build-up or accumulation of solute residue. This accumulated, abandoned residue is also the odor we smell as a result of prolonged period of wear, due in part to this accumulated residual residue once part of the solute, additional solute and, while in use, generated body heat, and added organic material kicked up while in motion. Let’s olfactive further into this…

What’s that Ungrateful Smell?

Coolmax, like polypropylene and other natural and synthetic fibers will absorb your perspiration. Once the water is precipitously expunged and evaporated from synthetic performance fabrics you’re left with nothing but, as stated above, solute residue clinging to the garment, in this case, a sock. This resulting build-up of solute residue with the addition of more solute causes odor! Natural fibers, on the other hand, tend to retain more water, significantly diluting or dissolving the solute, preventing as much odor, in my opinion. Natural fibers are, however, by nature, more odoriferous to begin with, but their ability to retain solute is greater, causing dilution. Odor is essentially unavoidable, however, there is a bit more odor with synthetic fibers than natural, I have experienced. The good news is that I find synthetic fibered clothing to clean well, perform well for the entire length of it’s lifespan and, for that matter, survive, in tact, for many many years more than its natural fiber counterpart. The PED is no exception. The only way to avoid a savory synthetic fabric is to wash it! Thus, for example, if I’m on an extended backpacking trek, I may bring two sets of PED’s. I’ll quickly wash a pair and hang them on my pack to dry while wearing the fresh pair. Also, when you’re experiencing a soaking rainfall, a synthetic fiber performs considerably better, overall, greatly liberating the garment of excess water, far more efficiently than a natural fiber, and synthetics dry dramatically faster.

Following a single day of use, my sport PED’s seem to take on a life of their own, more closely resembling a rigid plank than the tiny ball of synthetics that was pulled from the washer and dryer. This, once again, is the residue that has accumulated in the material that cannot escape or precipitate, unless washed, asap. If worn continuously, without washing the accumulated material from the garment, the sock’s structural integrity may begin a process of severe disenchantment, inducing a conditional form of back flow that you may find closely resembling a concrete pad rather than a sock that is a PED. All of us may have experienced this a time or two, of course you have. I know I have, following a few long-distance endurance events and all-day exPEDitions.

More (or Less, Briefly, Off the Subject) on Accumulated Organic Material

Incidentally, to sway slightly from the immediate subject, this is also why we should indeed protect our footwear, and for that matter, our clothing and gear from destruction by utilizing a protective barrier from harmfully grinding organic material that may either induce damage or cause complete breakdown of performance. For the same reason we wear a synthetic sock to protect our feet and shoes, we also need to protect our clothing fibers from incidental damage by utilizing a sit pad such as when we’re resting on the trail, please click link, https://wilddrake.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/therm-a-rests-z-seat-should-be-standard-equipment-in-your-pack-functional-as-a-protective-seat-while-resting-it-may-also-be-useful-for-several-other-innovative-means-while-on-the-trail/, and gear, such as our tent floor by incorporating a ground sheet resting directly on the ground taking the brunt of punishment rather than our expensive tent floor. Respectively, a sit pad will protect and prevent dirt from damaging the fibers of your hiking pants, and a ground sheet to protect and prevent dirt from damaging the fibers of your tent floor. In all instances, preventative measures are always an inexpensive alternative to complacent behavior and avoidably, necessary replacement! Which is why I always wear the PED’s with my VFF’s, and I’ve been asked why a number of times. I care enough to protect my gear, protect my VFF’s from over-exposure. The act of conserving may just be the ultimate in function!

Wearability

I began wearing Injinji’s, in general, this is pre-PED, in approximately 2008, strictly for blister control (once again, I began wearing the PED length socks in April 2013). They were outstanding in performance and fit my feet well, toes well, and with little movement inside my boot, and they rarely or never caused a blister. They performed far better than every other toe-less sock, without question, and my feet couldn’t be happier, that is until the PED’s arrived in 2013. And, the PED’s are so much better… no shifting, no creasing, and, no complaining (for my part). That’s the best part!

And, according to Coolmax, the reviews were similar to mine. Wearers reported a significant degree of moisture control, performing “much better” than rival counterparts, hence, Coolmax is a “much more desirable” product. And, in regard to Coolmax, I, personally, have been using Coolmax products since its introduction in 1986, including running and cycling apparel, with a fairly good feel for the product. The transition to socks, therefore, seemed natural. I do, however, feel more comfortable in a natural wool product, in my experience, but find the quick-natured performance of the Coolmax products to keep me, as stated earlier, warm and dry during cooler months and cool and dry during the warmer months. That’s a hard act to beat.

Can You Say, “Culture Shock”

So, as you could probably imagine the PED’s aren’t too bad as a daily sock. But, how do they perform on the trail? Well, they perform just as well on the trail as they do everywhere else! In fact, on the trail, their reduced weight helps considerably. I went from a Kayland, over-the-ankle, hiking boot, and wearing a far more substantial, above-the-ankle, Injinji sock, to VFF’s and Injinji PED’s. Can you say culture shock, or is it culture sock? What an amazing difference and transition! I was, prior to VFF’s, a firm believer in supportive over-the-ankle, backpacking boots. Now, I will not hike or backpack, with any other foot wear than the VFF’s/PED combination! They’re that comfortable for me.

And, my PED’s have performed flawlessly, with just one complaint. As form-fitting and as well-constructed as they are, at the collar, they still tend to allow the smallest bit of material in. However, these socks are well below my ankles and this must be fully expected considering the shape of our anatomy below our ankle. I can not expect the collar on the Injinji’s to fully fill these vacancies, it would simply defy all laws of dynamics. Despite this, the PED’s are the best sock I have ever worn, and I’ve experienced no other issues, whatsoever!

In the near future, I do intend on making a trail gaiter, compatible with my VFF’s to avoid all material entering through the cuffs of both the VFF’s and PED’s. This will be a fun, do-it-myself project.

Size

My foot size is a US size 10.5, slender with a high arch! The model PED I wear is Injinji’s “OW”, Original Weight and Moderate Interface. Injinji’s medium size is reported to fit US sizes from 8 – 10.5. The medium fits me well, almost tight, with little or no room left, if my foot were slightly larger. The PED has virtually no wiggle room and, in fact, it’s designed not to. Therefore, I find the sizing chart, accurate! Injinji also claims these socks to be quite supportive, and deservingly so. They are indeed, I must admit, very supportive.

Injinji produces socks in several weights and interfaces. My initial preference was not necessarily the PED and was chosen only to correspond with my VFF’s, which seemed a plausible possible fit, coinciding together. I believe this has been a fantastic choice, to begin with, wearing PED’s with my VFF’s.

In general and specifically, for each and every functionality, I’m overly pleased with my PED’s and fully support this choice of toe sock!! You’ll love them as much as I do!

Climate

Since my initial PED purchase back in April 2013, I’ve worn these PED’s  everyday whether I’m in the house, working, walking about town, hiking and backpacking. The climate in southern, AZ, where I live, is a hot, dry heat during the warmer months, cool and dry during the cooler months. Therefore, as much as my feet may perspire, the climate is assisting in the process of evaporation. PED’s are, therefore, not as much a requirement as they may be in a more temperate, humid environment.

My PED’s have been introduced to temperatures as low as freezing, but no less, and temperatures above 100ºF, never experiencing temperatures greater than 110ºF. During the summer months of Monsoon, my feet get wet and the PED’s assist in the process drying quickly!

I’ve hiked in rain, snow and on ice with no laborious drying-out required. These PED’s really have performed well for me!

Price

$10.00/pair

Summary

Thus, the Injinji Performance Sport PED Toe Sock, composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra has performed well, functioned as expected and wears comfortably. The PED’s have kept my feet dry, prevented blisters and have caused no unexpected issues. They have not broken down, nor have they failed to perform. Following more than 11 months of everyday use, the PED’s will remain on my feet, weather permitting, and will continue to be an integral part of my footwear for many months/years to come.

For your convenience, I’ll continue to submit updates in regard to future experiences.

Reach Your Summit!

This is an independent review of the Injinji Performance Sport PED Toe Sock. I am not at all affiliated with Injinji nor am I affiliated with Coolmax or Lycra, or any associated entity. I paid full retail price as a consumer for this product!

All photos, copyright, Wild Drake!

The “Tied” and True, Bear Discouragement, Food Containment System, the Ursack Spectra 29 (S29) AllWhite, May Very Well Be Your Best Available Option For Your Safety, Food Containment, Food Protection, and Food Safety, as Well as, Ease of Use, Weight and Volume Consideration, While On the Trail…

Ursack Spectra 29 AllWhite Bear Containment and Protection Bag

The “tied” and true, Bear discouragement, food containment system, the Ursack Spectra 29 AllWhite, may very well be your best available option for food containment, food protection, and food safety, as well as, ease of use, weight and volume consideration, while on the trail…

Pros

Trail-Necessary Weight, 242g

Strongly Voluminous, 10.65L, with Little Mass

Compressible & Malleable

Simple to Use, Easy to Pack

Cost, Not Too Bad with a Price Tag of $67.89

Functions Well with LOKSAK’s OPSak bag

Cons

Proprietary system… not all that bad!

For Best Results the Ursack Must Be Combined with LOKSAK’s OPSak bag

If you opt-out of using the LOKSAK OPSak bag you may very well attract vermin

If Optional Aluminum Liner is not used, Food Stands the Risk of Being Crushed

Sharp, Lengthy, Small-Diameter Teeth May Find Their Way Through the Spectra Material

Bag is not IGBC Certified, and Not Approved in Certain Wilderness Areas

Update May 13, 2014…

April 11, 2014… The IGBC test of the S29 passed.

April 18, 2014… “We are still awaiting the official certification letter and number from the IGBC, but can share some of the details. At IGBC insistence, we baited an Ursack S29 AllWhite, knotted it securely and placed it on the ground with no aluminum liner and not tied to a tree. The first two grizzlies went at it for an active 57 minutes. One of the bears was nick-named “The Destroyer,” but neither he nor his sister were able to compromise the Ursack. The Grizzly Wolf and Discovery Center rotates bears in and out at approximately one hour intervals. So the Destroyer went back to his quarters and five, count ’em, five more grizzlies came out to work on the same Ursack. The IGBC testing protocol requires a total of 60 minutes of active bear encounters, so even though we needed just a few minutes more to pass the test, there was no way to get the Ursack out until the five bears finished their shift. Not to worry. Ursack made if for another hour. A total of seven grizzly bears and two hours of active clawing, biting and scratching–yet Ursack survived. After washing the Ursack one could barely (bearly?) tell that it had been attacked.”

More information here… http://www.ursack.com/ursack-update.htm

To date, I continue to enjoy the convenience, security and functionality of the Ursack S29 to keep myself and my food safe, and my S29 has yet to be attacked by any woodland friend!

end May 13, 2014 update. More coming when available.

………………………………………………………………..

No wildlife attacks, to date, and counting…

Whether I’ve suspended this bag from a branch a couple fathoms from the ground, or a bush several feet above the ground, this bag has yet to invite a single visitor, as far as I can tell…

IMG_2706
Finger Rock Saddle, Santa Catalina Range
IMG_0212 copy
Wilderness or Rocks Santa Catalina Range (S29 hung from a tree, in a wash, ~12′ from the ground).

In comparison to a canister style containment system, the Ursack Spectra 29 AllWhite (S29) has performed very well, and far exceeded my volume expectation, an innately, categorically, unpretentious concern, which incidentally is 10.65L (650 cubic inches). The S29 exhibits enough volume, I’ve found, to accommodate a considerable amount of food, for one person, for ~7 days, pushing hard and consciously eating!

The S29, purchased early April 2012, was indeed acquired based entirely on two factors… First, and specifically, Bear, particularly, but all fauna in general, population and their investigating curiosity have reportedly been getting quite comfortable with campers in Arizona. Of course, though, why else would you purchase one? In fact, I’ve spent many nights listening to wildlife rummage and/or sprint by the tent at night prompting this necessary safety assurance purchase. Second, and this one is personal, I needed an additional prop for exercising while on the trail and the Ursack is a good fit.

Propositioned with the decision that I must now research and purchase a bear-proof food protection and containment system, the S29 kept rising to the top of my analytical discussion and benefit spreadsheet. These were my concerns… and, for further analyzation, “bear” with me while I discuss each of these criterion in greater detail…

  • Volume Control and Capacity for ~7 days… check
    • Sporting a volume greater than 10L, I felt the S29 would serve me well for better than ~97% of my backpacking expeditions. Even on a thru-hike, I may be able to compensate with hermetically sealed packaged goods, before they’ve been opened, by storing them in my pack overnight. This allow’s me to use the S29 for hanging food that has only been opened and in danger of attracting wildlife. By these means, I may be able to thru-hike consistently and conservatively using nothing but the substantial volume of the S29 and whatever available space I have in balance, in my pack.
  • Soft-Sided, Malleable S29 vs. Leading Rigid Brand Containment… check
    • The S29 can be stuffed, rolled, compressed, dropped, washed and converted into anything else (if need be, to your imagination). Try doing all that with a rigid canister.
  • Closure Comfort and Security… check
    • “Tied” and true! Tied well, and to a tree, a bear may submit to defeat before he makes a meal of your meal. Who knows where your can of food, if utilizing a rigid container, may be after the bear is done playing with it (may I suggest GPS).
    • The Included LOKSAK OPSak Odor-Proof bag (further discussed below) closes tightly and securely with care. I have yet to have a problem with Ravens or rodents damaging this system, or for that matter, even discovering/recognizing it as a source of potential food.
  • Ease of Use… check
    • The S29 is easy to carry, adds relatively little bulk, concedes forgiveness inside your pack in consideration of other gear, lightweight enough at 207g, molds to the volume of food within it and compresses and/or molds in any position you need it when not in use, is not at all easily damaged, and the knotting/securing procedure is… easy! Ursack makes it even easier, offering knotting guides and instructions on their website. And, I really like this… you may purchase the S29, online, directly from Ursack without going through a retailer (however, you’ll probably not get a sale price)… easy!
  • Weight vs. Volume vs. Compression vs. Malleability… check
    • In lieu of all benefits discussed above, highlighting is necessary without repeating.
  • Ease of Carry… check
    • Compared to a rigid containment container, the S29 may be you best option considering all cited benefits.
  • Strength/Weight Ratio… check
    • Ursack uses a Spectra material to create the S29. Spectra, similar to Dyneema, is a thermoplastic polyethylene, specifically, an ultra high-molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), also known as high-performance polyethylene (HPPE) and high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE), which evidently claims to boast the highest strength-to-weight ratio, 8 to 15 times higher than steel, than any other thermoplastic. Has anyone informed their resident wildlife of this unbeatable fabric?
    • The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) is currently testing this theory at the time I’m posting this review… so, keep yourselves informed. Ursack has a news link on their site (link below).
  • Damage Control… check
    • How easy is it for vermin to make a meal of your meal? Not likely, considering the information offered above.
  • IGBC Approved… negative
    • According to Ursack, the IGBC is currently re-evaluating the S29 due to previous ambiguous information, and may be releasing their findings as early as April 2014.
  • Approved for Additional Use or Actions… check
    • Yes, although this one is personal. I use the bag as a fitness training tool while out on the trail and it works perfectly for me! I carry three gallon size ziploc bags, fill them with sand or stones, place them in the S29 and I’m ready to go. I’ve noted no profound damage, whatsoever, from using the S29 in my fitness routine.
  • Options… check
    • The S29 features the LOKSAK OPSak Odor-Proof bag, a 35g, 12.25″ x 20.75″ odor barrier bag, locking similar to a Ziploc, that LOKSAK claims is 17,000 times more odor resistant than HDPE and, is 100% water and air tight (when correctly closed, LOKSAK adds), preventing curious olfactories from discovering your stash. A 3-pack from Ursack sells for $13.99. One OPSak bag, not a 3-pack, is included with the sale of the S29.
    • Purchased separately, I love that fact that if I needed further critter protection I can purchase Ursack’s aluminum liner, a 306g addition, also adding some degree of crush resistance to the S29.

Prior to my S29 purchase, I foolishly kept my, although packaged well, food inside my tent. Finally, after hearing too many stories of bears attacking tents, I knew a containment system was next in line for gear necessity. In fact, I had the oh-so-foolish attitude that if I package it well enough it won’t attract wildlife. Once again, I have never experienced any problems regarding wildlife and food, but further risk was not my best option, nor was this a position I decided to chance. Besides, our primary objective is to explore our wonderful woodlands, deserts, waterways, flora and fauna, and without capriciously becoming a victim, an attitude that will eventually fail if well exploited.

The S29 is a system, a good system! I have not employed the use of Ursack’s aluminum liner and have not needed to. If I’m heading into wilderness that may require or suggest a need to do so, or the IGBC reports otherwise, I may or may not make the purchase, considering my particular experience, and further discussion and contemplation. With that said, you could heed any safety warning and dependably warrant, if geographically permissible, an OPSak with your S29, and I truly believe it would behoove you to do so, if at all you’ve decided the Ursack is a good choice, but ziploc’s are efficient enough. I have, fortuitously, not recognized any sign of attack upon the S29 and believe it may be because of the performance of the OPSak; I have moved to completely trust LOKSAK Sak’s! Ursack has indeed produced quite a significant food containment, protection and safety system and I’m proud to carry it! As an added bonus, Ursack is “1% for the planet”!

Finally, the Ursack, made in the USA of Spectra “bullet-proof” fabric, and a clear, considerable alternative to rigid containment, remains, to this day, a choice I would not hesitate to competitively conceive again.

Colossal Cave Mt. Park. First Night During a Four Day Section-Backpacking Adventure on the Arizona Trail (AZT).
Rincon Mt. Range, Quilter Trail. Second Night on the AZT. Rincon Peak in the Background.
Ursack S29 AllWhite; Resting on the S29 is the 650ml Capacity Vargo Ti Water bottle with Ti Lid (http://wilddrake.com/2014/02/08/one-bottle-to-rule-them-all/).
Ursack… “Don’t keep food in your tent, store food near your tent or cook where you camp. If you do, you’ll have company.”
OPSak Odor Barrier Bag – Incorporated to be Used, as a Team, in Conjunction with the S29.
Dimensionally, the S29 is 13″ x 8″, with a Capacity of ~650 Cubic Inches. It Will Fold Down to This Impressive Size, However, Folding the S29 in This Manner May Damage the OPSak inside. I Recommend Folding Only Once In-Half with the OPSak Inside.
S29 Exhibiting Their Optional Aluminum Liner. Photo Courtesy, Ursack! I Do Not Personally Use the Aluminum Liner!

Reach Your Summit!

A Few Important Links from Ursack

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-catalog.htm

http://www.ursack.com/product8.html

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-faq.htm

Interesting News and Updates You May Wish to Consider Before Purchasing

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-update.htm

S29 Recommended Closure Knot and Hanging Technique

http://www.ursack.com/ursack-knots.htm

http://www.ursack.com/proper-hang.htm

Ursack recommends a figure 8 knot around a branch because it is easy to untie even after S29 has been pulled on by a 500 pound bear. At this time, I am unsure of the exact tensile strength of the rope, however, I’m sure it yields the maximum strength-to-weight ratio, and most likely in the thousands of lbs. range. I’ll bet the rope withstands a Bear far sooner than the damage a Bear may cause the branch I’ve tied it to. The rope is easily replaceable if needed!

The LOKSAK OPSak Odor-Proof Barrier Bag is an Integral Component of the Ursack

http://www.loksak.com/products/opsak

OPSak Specifications

  • Certified waterproof to 60 meters / 200 feet
  • Tested and approved by Scuba Schools International (SSI)
  • Safe. Our medical grade film is FDA approved
  • Temperature rated -40F to 170F
  • Ecologically smart. Highly reusable and 100% made of recyclable Polyethylene.

http://www.loksak.com/about-loksak/performance-test-certifications

http://www.loksak.com/pdf/MarketingSheets_2013%5Benglish%5D.pdf

Interesting Facts

Spectra 29 (S29) contains 29 yarns per inch!

LOKSAK claims food may be rehydrated, using boiling water, in the OPSak bag, however, they also state the bags cannot withstand temperatures above 170º… thus, I phoned LOKSAK customer service… LOKSAK informed me the inside temperatures of the 5ml OPSak bag will, indeed, handle temperatures of 212º for rehydrating food. Of course the temperature begins to drop rapidly following initial introduction of boiling water to food. They also informed me that it is the exterior layer of the 5ml, five thousandths of an inch, OPSak bag that cannot handle temperatures above 170º. In regard to the exact type of polyethylene film, when asked, LOKSAK customer service had, no idea, he “didn’t know”! Now, 5ml would imply a measure of length so I’m not positively sure if he meant there are 5 layers, or the bag is in fact 5ml, considering his answer regarding the “outer layer”. In any case, the bag is meant to and has been tested to boiling temperatures. Whether it is safe to do so, avoiding chemical leaching, at this time, I don’t know either, considering his answer. I’m not holding this against Ursack, as it is LOKSAK customer service that I spoke to. I, unequivocally, will never be rehydrating food in any polyethylene bag, for safety reasons, unless I have no other choice!

Ziploc bags, if you’re still considering using these because they’re cheaper than the OPSak, and they indeed are, are composed of a mixture of low-density and linear-low-density polyethylene (LDPE), plastic grade/recycle code 4. The OPSak, according to LOKSAK, can be used to rehydrate food with boiling water. I would NEVER do this with a Ziploc! Not only are Ziploc’s not designed to withstand boiling temperature but you will emphatically run the risk of harmful chemicals leaching into your food.

Significant Analytical Data:

1 cubic inch = 16.38ml

1 ounce ≈ 28g

650 cubic inches = 2.4gal (dry) = 2.8gal (liquid) = 10.65L = 360oz

 

Purchased April 2, 2012 for  $67.89 + shipping! I’ve utilized the Ursack only in the State of Arizona at temperatures ranging between freezing and the high 80’s, ºF; and elevations ranging from ~2500′ through 9000″.

 

All photos, with exception of one noted, copyright WildDrake!

 

This is an Independent Gear Review of the Ursack S29 AllWhite. I paid full retail price for this product as a consumer and, I am not affiliated, whatsoever, with Ursack, LOKSAK or Ziploc, or affiliates!

With more thought than I ever imagined, I cast my Katadyn Pocket’s intake hose into the most vile, disgusting, putrescent, foulness I could possibly imagine…

With more thought than I ever imagined, I cast my Katadyn Pocket’s intake hose into the most vile, disgusting, putrescent, foulness I could possibly imagine

Pros

  • Filters microorganisms larger than 0.2µ
  • Silver impregnated ceramic element is effective against bacteria and protozoa
  • Filter reportedly filters up to 50,000L; 13,000gal
  • 20 year warranty period
  • Cost… Priceless!

Cons

  • Filter and “trail-necessary” equipment weighs 590g; 21oz
  • Carrying Case, if carried and I do, weighs 73g
  • Fairly large with dimensions of (cm): 24 x 6; (in): 10 x 2.4
  • Price… but well worth every penny!

Water: a transparent, tasteless, odorless liquid!? Hmmm, think again. I, once, with little choice, filtered water from an abandoned cow trough full of the most nauseating putrescence I’ve ever encountered, the only possible water source available!

With more thought than I ever imagined, I cast my Katadyn Pocket intake hose into the most vile, disgusting, putrescent, foulness I could possibly imagine. A horrid faction of life defying blight (in retrospect, it may not have been that bad, but at that time…). There was no way I’d find anything more, here, than imagination. Imagination, however, is what I found! Water! Clean, refreshing, unsurmountable life-giving water!

That was, in all due respect, not the most unfavorable scenario, involving water or lack thereof, I’ve ever been in. Fortunately, for me, that time, my Katadyn Pocket performed flawlessly. The worst scenario, by far, has been the few occasions I’ve not been able to find water, at all. The Katadyn Pocket, at this point, becomes an outrageous burden considering it’s lofty packed weight of 590g, which includes my 40g personal hydration accessory kit (pictured below) that always accompanies my filter. There have also been many instances I have decided to abandon my Katadyn Pocket at home, regarding the terrain and the lack of known springs, thinking I’d never find water. Most times, I was correct. There were a couple times it could have been an unwavering benefit.

Now, considering the numerous filtering, detoxifying, disinfecting and purifying systems on the market, a water filter may be the most likely, yet cumbersome of them all. First of all, not all filters are created equal. All of them filter using various standards of capability. The Katadyn Pocket claims to be among the best, filtering all microorganisms larger than 0.2 microns (µ) and, for a warranty period of 20 years. The Pocket is Katadyn’s most “rugged” filter and the only one in their line-up embracing a 20 year warranty.

Prior to purchasing this filter, I read a multitude of reviews of as many filter brands as I needed to read; the Pocket received raved reviews! Thus, the Pocket’s reputation has remarkably preceded it. This purchase was indeed, all things considered, an investment!

February 2010; beginning a backpacking trek in southern AZ, my pack contents included the Pocket, a 6L water bladder and a 1L water bottle. I began, heading up the trail towards a seasonal creek, 6 miles from the trailhead that I knew would contain water. Here, I expected to use my Pocket to filter 6L of water for the balance of the hiking day, until I arrived at camp, an additional 6 miles ahead, which would have been an overall elevation gain of approximately 6500′ and 12 miles for the day. The creek had indeed contained water. I remember thinking, “thank goodness”, due to the fact that I hiked the first 6 miles carrying only ~1L of water, there was the chance the creek would be dry. Since I knew there would be a very good chance of finding water in this creek, following a rainfall, I decided to keep my overall pack weight as light as possible, only sipping water throughout these first 6 miles. Once I arrived at the creek, I swallowed my last drop of water, knowing the balance of my trip would now be well hydrated. I had arrived, however, very thirsty. ~1L proved to be too little water for these first 6 miles. No big deal. I figured I would filter ~7L of water, plus whatever it was I would consume at that moment, rest a half-hour and continue on to camp. I still had most of this glorious day ahead of me; beginning my trek before daybreak. Anticipating, and looking forward to an amazing day, I cast my intake line into the creek, pumped and nothing… my Pocket would not work. For the better part of an hour I sat there disassembling, cleaning, assembling and repeating this process numerous times and, nothing. I was then, mentally exhausted and physically beyond thirsty. With no water I knew what I had to do… head back down the mountain and unfortunately cut my trek short. I, very unfortunately, carried no other water purification method to fall back on.

Katadyn’s warranty proved its worth… Upon returning home and speaking with the retailer, they asked me to send the entire unit in and they’ll take care of it. Quickly, I had another arrive in the mail. I have had no issues, whatsoever, with this new filter. I have originally owned and operated my Pocket filter since October 2008. Another warranty success story!

In lieu of above story, I would like to share my impressions of what I, retrospectively, could have done, and in recognition of this disaster, what I currently do to prevent this unfortunate incident from ever happening again. In order to minimize as much risk as possible, I conscientiously and proportionately clean the filter and pre-filter while on the trail, depending on the quality of the water (I’ve filtered from both clear and slovenly water). I also test, clean and dry the filter prior to and following each trek. In addition, I now carry a few packages of Katadyn’s Micropur purification tablets if the filter should fail to perform anytime in the future. I’m also considering a UV source of purifying, however, I have not secured a positive thought on one, at this time. [I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences, if you own and have extensive experience with one].

My immediate impression, upon pondering the scope of my respondent actions, are efficacious enough, I feel, to feature

  • Proportionately clean your filter following each use… If the water is conspicuously filthy, your filter may need a thorough cleaning immediately following use, whereas, if the water seemed rather unadulterated your filter may only need a light cleaning.
  • Test, clean and dry your filter prior to and following each trek.
  • Bring a backup… I carry Katadyn’s Micropur water purifier tablets. Whatever brand you choose to carry, these tablets could be a life-saver. Be aware of their expiration date!  Mine reads, 05/2014 visibly (without opening package) on the instruction sheet and 0514 on the foil packages. I’ll need to replace mine soon.
  • You may choose a number of ways to supplement your filter or personal method of filtering water. Whatever your primary method may be, strategize a back-up plan. I have read many reviews and discussions in regard to the efficacy of all sorts of equipment, whether it be, micro-filters, tablets, UV, boiling, filtering, etc.; your plan is your plan. Before you head out… Have a plan, make sure it performs well for you, test it immediately before heading out, carry extra supplies and/or batteries if need be, check expiration dates, then, once all is well, relax and go have a wonderful time!
  • Carry and store your equipment with the utmost of care. Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you!
  • Most imperatively, know your equipment and its capability. If you’ve tested your equipment, you’ve probably read the manual and you’re probably aware of how it performs under controlled circumstances. The wilderness is not a controlled environment! Be prepared for the worst! Consider your next outing and perform every precautionary step to alleviate any problem you may conceivably have. The more you know what you’re getting in to, or heading in to, the safer and more prepared you will be.

Earlier, I mentioned a pre-filter. The Pocket’s pre-filter construction builds upon a small, screened pre-filter, enveloped, embellished by an ornate hollowed, porous ball (strainer), guised as a weight, each development performing together to prevent larger material from entering the pre-filter; preventing larger material from entering the filter. The pre-filter is designed to filter microorganisms no larger than 130µ. I generally take precautionary measures to go a step further to prevent larger material from clogging the pre-filter by one of two methods. Katadyn, along with most manufacturers and end-users suggest a paper coffee filter held on by a rubber or hair band (hair bands last longer!). I’ve tried using a coffee filter many times with reasonable success. I prefer to use a small piece of reusable women’s stockings (tights), even cheese cloth to pre filter. For that matter, I’ve even experimented with tights to pre-filter water before pre-filtering. In other words, I’ve collected water and drained it through the tights before placing the pre-filter into the water. The water initially contained quite a bit of plant growth and I did not want this material clogging up the pre-filter. Regardless of the method or device I use to prevent the pre-filter from clogging, I always need to constantly clean, replace and/or reposition this pre-filtering (coffee filter, tights) precautionary measure.

Now that were on the subject of pre-filtering, I’d also like to share an experience with you that I tried years ago. I read that a non-lubricated condom works well for carrying water and it indeed does. I didn’t need to carry water but thought I’d give it a try to see how well this system would work, if needed. Surprisingly, a condom will accommodate quite a bit of water, a couple liters. Thus, I always carry a “non-lubricated” condom in the event that I’ve exhausted, or in the event of loss, all other methods of carrying or pre-filtering water. I honestly don’t believe I’ll ever use it but I keep it as part of my hydration kit as a back-up. I imagine using it in conjunction with the tights, scooping up water and running it through the tights into a bottle to prepare, as close to possible, sediment-free pre-filtering. Incidentally, once the contents of the bottle is filtered a tablet or UV form of purification would come in handy. Both the condom and tights, together, weigh only a few grams, grams I feel are essential and a must-have, in any event, in my personal hydration kit.

The Katadyn Pocket arrives as a kit. The kit contains the filter, pre-filter, intake and outtake hoses, quick fill hydration adapter, a manual, cleaning supplies, a tube of silicone to grease, additional o-rings, and bottle clips (that I do not use and, thus, have no idea where they are).

Image

Katadyn Pocket with exterior shroud, filter (inside), intake hose (output hose not installed), strainer/pre-filter apparatus and adjustable float; photo courtesy, Katadyn!

Image

One-half (male end) of the Quick-Fill hydration adapter attaches to the output hose on the filter, or the portion of my drink tube containing the bite valve.

Image

The female (blue component) end of the Quick-Fill hydration adapter kit, attached to my water bladder drink tube, accepts the male-end of the adapter, which is attached to the water filter.

Image

My Bite Valve/Quick-Fill (male end) hydration adapter kit attached to a very small portion of silicone tubing.

I use Katadyn’s Quick-Fill hydration adapter on a regular basis! Each time I filter water, I’ll filter directly into my water bladder, still contained inside my pack via the Quick-Fill hydration adapter, and/or directly into my water bottle. Despite the fact that I always use a convenient hydration bladder system for water containment and consumption, I always carry one water bottle. I find a water bottle extremely beneficial, and if you’ve seen an earlier review I’ve posted, review is here… http://www.trailspace.com/gear/vargo/titanium-water-bottle/review/30549/, you know how much I appreciate having a water bottle with me.

Katadyn’s Quick-Fill Hydration Adapter Kit

http://shop.katadyn.com/product/153549/8014399/_/Quick_Fill_Hydration_Adaptor_Kit

Before we go any further, this may be a good time to post additional personal photos of my Pocket, features and accessories

Image

Katadyn Pocket Filters, hoses and carry case.

Image

“Important Field Tips” nylon label sewn in carry case makes this case quite valuable on the trail… incidentally it weighs 73g (2.5oz).

I’m considering cutting the label from this case and employing a lighter case for storage and transport, possibly using a cuben fiber case?

Image

Via the Quick-Fill adapter kit, I’m ready to filter water directly into my hydration bladder containment system without having to remove the bladder from my pack.

Note: Be sure to loosen pack tensioning straps and/or leave enough room in your pack for expansion inside bladder/pack.

Image

My hydration accessory kit, including precautionary, emergency and necessary tools.

(Note: The pico-sized o-ring found it’s way in but I have no idea where, why and what it came from. So, there it remains, in case I figure it out.)

Pictured above, clockwise beginning top left

  • Two pairs of tights, one khaki the second black, used to pre-filter water. As stated above, I wrap, tighter the better, these around the pre-filter as an alternative to using a coffee filter. I carry two in the event that one becomes too dirty or damaged. I find the use of coffee filters and tights both very difficult to draw water through, but when you’re facing especially mucky water these are your better options than taking a chance of thoroughly clogging your filters.
    • The two tights have additional uses! They may be used as an emergency liner hat, socks or gloves in the event unexpected freezing temperatures set in, which is also why I carry two. They may also be used as a tourniquet in such an emergency or as a compress to prevent the flow of blood.
  • Coffee Filters. The larger coffee filters, 12-cup size, will work best! I carry two filters for every day I expect to be on the trail… i.e., 3 days/6 filters.
  • Hair Tie. These work more efficiently and have a longer life-span than a regular rubber band.
  • Non-lubricated Condom. Be sure it’s the non-lubricated type.
  • Katadyn’s Micropur water purifier tablets. These compliment my Pocket as my back-up plan.
  • Abrasive Pad. Used to clean the ceramic filter. The pad pictured is new; I cut these in half, or quarter, for on-trail use.
  • Bite Valve. I’ve lost bite valves while on the trail. I, now, carry at least one extra.
  • O-Rings. I do not remember how many rings initially came with the filter, however, I carry these three with me at all times, and replenish from the local hardware store.
  • 3g Silicone lubricant for lubricating O-rings and filter maintenance.
  • Male end of Quick-Fill hydration adapter. Yet another piece of gear I carry as a precautionary measure (female-end, mate, is already attached to gear).

Katadyn (Endurance Series) Pocket

http://www.katadyn.com/deen/katadyn-products/products/katadynshopconnect/katadyn-wasserfilter-endurance-series-produkte/katadyn-pocket/

http://shop.katadyn.com/product/153548/8013618/_/Katadyn_Pocket

Katadyn Pocket Fact Sheet

http://katadynch.vs31.snowflakehosting.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/katadyn_products/Downloads/Factsheet_Pocket_EN.pdf

Katadyn Pocket Manual

http://katadynch.vs31.snowflakehosting.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/katadyn_products/Downloads/Manual_Katadyn_PocketUSA.pdf

Katadyn Pocket Specifications

  • Capacity: 50,000L ; 13,000gal
  • Dimensions (cm): 24 x 6; (in): 10 x 2.4
  • Output (L): ~1L/min; (gal): ~ 1 quart/min (I personally find this to be accurate)
  • Technology: Pre-filter: 130µ; Filter: 0.2µ ceramic depth filter (cleanable)
  • Weight: 550g; 20oz.

The Katadyn Pocket micro-filter meets industry standards for reduction of bacteria (99.9999% Klebsiella terrigena) and protozoan cysts (99.9% Giardia and Cryptosporidium).

Katadyn Ceramic filters have a micro porous structure with impregnated silver which delays the growth of bacteria. The pore size of Katadyn ceramic filters is 0.2 micron (0.0002 mm). Bacteria range in size from 0.2  to 5 micron and like protozoa (1 – 15 micron), are efficiently filtered out. Ceramic filters can be mechanically regenerated and the filter capacity is measurable.

Quality of Water, Ceramic Capacity and Pocket Replacement Cartridge

Ceramic capacity depends on water quality. The dirtier the water the more often you will have to clean the element. This reduces the capacity of approx. 50,000L (13,000gal). The quality of your filtered water makes a difference… Katadyn initially filters micro organisms larger than 130µ, ultimately filtering all organisms larger than 0.2µ. This means that the quality of the water you’ve filtered will be competently potable and delicious.

The Katadyn Pocket arrives with a Measuring Gauge

Image

Measuring Gauge (blue), photo courtesy, Katadyn!

Simple, If the gap of the measuring gauge fits over the ceramic it is time to replace the filter element! A replacement element, however, is not this simple, regarding price (continue reading), although the performance and 20-year warranty may better ease your mind.

Note: Use your better judgement when measuring. I have not had an issue with mine, but considering the gauge is made of plastic and may deform, be careful how you measure. Also, if you have used your filter extensively then you know when it needs to be replaced.

Inspecting the ceramic for cracks while cleaning is an important preliminary step prior to each use, for example, dropped filters or exposure to freezing temperatures may, according to the manufacturer, damage the ceramic filter. If the filter element contains cracks it will no longer protect you from microorganisms and must be replaced! A new filter is a pricey $200.00.

Katadyn Pocket Replacement Element… and if you’re at all inclined to carry a back-up filter, she alone weighs ~288g (my filter weighed following several years of use)…

http://shop.katadyn.com/product/153549/8013619/_/Katadyn_Pocket_Replacement_Element_Ceramic

100_1399

Katadyn Pocket Replacement Ceramic Element Filter.

Katadyn Pocket, Limited Warranty Information

The Pocket is Katadyn’s most rugged filter and comes with a lifetime warranty from the date of purchase against defects in materials and workmanship… manufacturers statement… “Should your Katadyn Pocket prove defective within that period from the date of purchase, return it to the Katadyn retailer from whom it was purchased. Katadyn, at its discretion, will replace or repair the damaged item. Please retain your purchase receipt as proof of date purchased.”

According to Katadyn, Professionals trust the Pocket‘s longevity and the filter is ideal for 1-4 persons while trekking, on journeys and on expeditions. This would equate to 12,500L of filtered water for 4 persons… that’s a lot of life-giving water! On average, an adult living in a temperate environment, according to experts, should consume approximately 3L of water/day. If 3L of water were consumed per day, over the course of 20 years… 3L water/day x 365 days/year x 20 years =  21,900L water consumed. That’s roughly 57% of the 20 year warranty period, meaning, you can essentially use Katadyn’s Pocket filter, comfortably, everyday, for well over 10 years! Not too bad!

For Pocket Maintenance and Replacement Parts, visit Katadyn for their Small Parts Kit

http://shop.katadyn.com/product/153549/20648/_/Pocket_Filter_Small_Parts_KitImage

Katadyn Pocket Filter Small Parts Kit; photo courtesy, Katadyn!

Here’s a Neat Feature and an Available Option… Bottle Adapter with Activated Carbon… I do not use this but believe it’s a nice option…

http://shop.katadyn.com/product/153549/8013450/_/Bottle_Adapter_with_Activated_Carbon

Image

Bottle Adapter with Activated Carbon; photo courtesy, Katadyn!

Ultimately, I’ve been very pleased with the Katadyn Pocket’s performance, with the exception of weight. Despite these 663g (filter, supplies and case), I plan on always hauling the Pocket with me on each and every trek. I’ve used the Pocket for close to each and every backpacking trek, primarily in the southern, AZ area, I’ve been on and, with the one exception, it has performed flawlessly! I would estimate the number of liters produced from the second filter, I received in 2010, at ~ 300L.

I most likely would have used the filter more often if it wasn’t for the fact that I, now, always begin my adventure’s with a full complement of water, regardless of the size of the hydration bladder (6L or 10L for backpacking; 6L for hiking) I entertain for each trip.

The Pocket has proved itself to be a most valuable component and it will indeed remain a part of my comprehensive backpacking / hiking gear for many years to come.

Reach Your Summit!

All photo’s, with the exception of those courtesy of Katadyn, copyright, David Drake!

This is an independent gear review! I am not affiliated with Katadyn or any other manufacturing, retail or business entity associated with Katadyn.

Independent Review of Fiskars Loop Handle Bypass Pruner with Carabiner Clip by David Drake

Fiskars Loop Handle Bypass Pruner with Carabiner Clip, item: 9111

Image

Purchased April 7, 2012, for $13.99

An inordinate item on its own; incorporated with my gear, this pruner has permanently become a significant part of my comprehensive backpacking inventory.

Clipped to my hip-belt tensioning strap, conveniently accessible, I’ve developed a routine of pruning overgrown flora from the trail as I hike. This may be especially relieving in the desert, my stumbling battle field, as the majority of overgrown flora has one desire, and that is to prick, prod, poke and otherwise substantially annoy me, throughout my day. These particular flora specimens happen to be the most common, amassed mundane of the bunch. I live in the desert by choice and love every bit of it. The flora here is indeed amazing and, much of it, I wouldn’t ever consider pruning. With that said, however, throughout the years, hiking the Sonoran desert, the local less-than-benevolent flora has provoked me more than I can tell you… I’m now fighting back, and have been since April 2012!

Here are the stats, in italics, straight from the manufacturer…

Description

Carabiner clip attaches to belt loop for easy access. Corrosion resistant, non-stick blade coating reduces friction to make cutting easier. Just like scissors, the lower loop handle provides the perfect balance of comfort and control. FiberComp® handle – reinforced fiberglass composite provides strength and durability while reducing weight. Right or left-handed use. 1.59 cm (5/8 in) cutting capacity.

Features

  • Carabiner clip attaches to belt loop for easy access
  • Loop handle design prevents slipping and protects fingers
  • Sharp, precision-ground blade edge
  • Fully hardened blade holds sharp edge longer
  • Corrosion resistant, non-stick blade coating reduces friction to make cutting easier
  • FiberComp® handle – reinforced fiberglass composite materials provide strength and durability
  • Right or left-handed use
  • Bypass blade – for clean cuts of green, living growth
  • Easy-opening thumb lock
  • Cutting capacity – 1.59 cm (5/8 in)
  • Lifetime warranty

Image

On average, I have returned home from a hike thoroughly pricked, prodded, poked and transpierced, and extensively transposed from the preened manner in which I began. I also have a tendency to trek off-trail, which translates to… I don’t stand a chance of returning home without donating some part of my anatomy (special mention: as a rule, I generally do not prune when off-trail. I search for an easier passage if possible).

Additional benefits of wielding a pruner include the excitement of knowing you’re performing a task that others behind you will most certainly appreciate. Fine human nature is a quality most of us already possess simply for our appreciation of the outdoors. Trail maintenance is generally painless and is synonymous with conduct becoming a fine humanist. Maintaining our trails is indeed a prodigious function and represents a great example for those following in our footsteps.

Unfortunately, this is a single-purpose device, all the same, a safety pruner. The lower functioning flange is edgeless and extrudes beyond the upper cutting blade to prevent injury. And, I find it tremendously easier to grab-n-prune with the pruner than to actuate a chance of injury using a knife. Although, of course, I would agree a knife could be employed, and for additional purposes, there exists a recognizable danger that can be carefully avoided by using this pruner.

The carabiner feature is fabulous for quick-draw pruning then returning home to my hip belt strap. I have, fortunately, been able to avoid and otherwise defend myself quite a bit from overgrown thorn flora that has, in the past, lacerated my clothing and clawed my gear. I find the pruner expressly necessary, as my gear gets lighter, for the simple fact that we’re appreciably backpacking these days equationally and, as our gear becomes more expensive, lighter, and thus more equitable, we need to consciously, increasingly, care for our investment.

For these reasons, if you’re backpacking and hiking in a region of the country that requires some simple trail maintenance, this pruner is an effective way to fundamentally maintain the trail and your equipment.

Bottom line, when the local flora is determined to bite, bite back!

I highly recommend this pruner!

Reach Your Summit!

If you’re interested in Fiskars Loop Handle Bypass Pruner, please visit Fiskars at…

http://www.fiskars.ca/Products/Yard-and-Garden/Pruners/Standard-Pivot/Loop-Handle-Bypass-Pruner-w-Carabiner-Clip

Note: I snapped a couple of photos, one with the pruner on my scale and another with the pruner hanging on my hip belt tensioning strap, where I keep it at all times. When I have the opportunity I’ll snap a photo of the pruner, in use, while I’m in the wilderness and edit my review with the new photos.

This is an independent review! I paid full retail price as a consumer. I am not at all affiliated with Fiskars or any associated entity.

Simple, Effective, Super Lightweight and Powerfully Necessary, the Vargo Titanium Emergency Whistle is a Tremendous Asset and Needs to be a Supplement in Every Outdoor Enthusiasts Pocket.

Simple, Effective, Super Lightweight and Powerfully Necessary, the Vargo Titanium Emergency Whistle is a Tremendous Asset and Needs to be a Supplement in Every Outdoor Enthusiasts Pocket.

Pros

  • Titanium Construction
  • Super lightweight at just 3g
  • One-Piece Pealess Design
  • Reflective Lanyard may come in handy
  • Necessary Gear – No Reason not to Carry One.
  • It retails for just $10.95 – You can’t go wrong!

Cons

  • Don’t own one? That’s your mistake!
 Image

 

Simple, effective, super lightweight and powerfully necessary, the Vargo Titanium Emergency Whistle is a tremendous asset and needs to be a supplement in every outdoor enthusiasts pocket.

There comes a time when we all must realize that we are smaller than the sum of all things. Take, for example, the very unfortunate accident that could have ended dishearteningly worse to Aron Ralston and the basis for the movie, “127 Hours”. I can’t even imagine how brave this young man must have been. With that said, there are a number of mindful measures we must do to make the best of any situation and avoid dispiriting tragedy…

Whether it’s in your clothes pocket, a stuff sack, long-corded around your neck, emergency bag, ditty bag, pack pocket, etc., a whistle, within reach, is an absolute necessity for everyone and anyone on the trail.

Features & Specifications:

• Titanium construction

• 100+ decibel level sound

• Pealess design

• 0.1oz (3g) whistle only; whistle & lanyard weighs 6g

• 2.2″ x 0.3″ (56mm x 8mm)

• 32″ Reflective lanyard

IMG_3910.jpg

This Emergency Whistle is in my pocket at all times! I’ve never had to use it but if I need to it is readily available, within reach, at all times. I do not leave home without it! I trust the titanium construction to last a lifetime and because of the pealess design there are no moving parts to malfunction. This is just one of many safety devices that remains a MUST HAVE every time you hit the trail! Make it a Happy Trails adventure!

Quick note… I purchased two of these, one for myself, one for my girlfriend. The first one arrived with a hairline crack down the entire body of the whistle, the retailer it was purchased from was very apologetic and more than happy to replace it. Be sure yours does not have any defects to ensure proper operation.

Reach Your Summit!

You may find this Emergency Whistle, here…

http://www.vargooutdoors.com/titanium-emergency-whistle.html#.UwpFfP15Nnw

I am not, at all, affiliated with Vargo Outdoors… this has been an independent review!

Therm-a Rest’s Z-Seat should be standard equipment in your pack! Functional as a protective seat while resting, it may also be useful for several other innovative means while on the trail…

Therm-a Rest’s Z-Seat should be standard equipment in your pack! Functional as a protective seat while resting, it may also be useful for several other innovative means while on the trail…

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/seating/seats/z-seat/product

Simply a scaled-down version of Therm-a-rest’s award-winning Z Lite mattress, the Z Seat is light and compact enough to tote on the outside of your pack whenever you need a quick, comfortable rest and pack-off break.

IMG_0843

Why is the Z Seat important? For several specific reasons…

Statistically, the accordion-style Z Seat measures 16″ x 13″ x .75″ (41cm x 33cm x 2 cm), weighs just 2oz (60g) and has an r-value rating of 2.2. That’s quite a bit of comfort on the trail, and here is why it’s so important…

Regardless of how many times you rest, or when you arrive at camp and need a comfortable place to sit, the last thing you want to do is damage or soil your clothing. We pay quite a premium for our hiking and backpacking clothes, why risk damaging or destroying the fabric, stitching or both? In addition, sitting on the ground without protection will only grind dirt and other biological material into the fibers of your clothes, not only damaging the fibers, but creating a cold, wet (if the terrain or object is damp) spot you may soon regret.

In addition, I’ve used my Z Seat for several other applications including…

  • Foot rest. Here’s a link to a previous review, https://wilddrake.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/the-klymit-inertia-x-lite-sleeping-pad-is-a-minimalists-dream-at-173g-for-a-sleeping-pad-but-will-this-inflation-style-pad-provide-a-comfortable-night-sleep/ stating that I incorporated the Z Seat as a foot rest at night. It performed flawlessly for me in this respect and certainly saved me from losing some zzz’s.
  • Stove Windscreen. This application may be difficult for some not to excuse due to the obvious danger, but as a windscreen, cooking with alcohol, kept far enough from the flame, the Z Seat has always pulled through for me when propped between rocks for support.
  • Pack rest. If for whatever reasons I set my pack down without resting, I always do so on the Z Seat and for the same reasons I do not want to damage my clothes. For that matter, especially my pack because my pack is not something I can throw in the clothes washer or replace as inexpensively as a pair of shorts.
  • Gear, of any kind. I’ve used the Z Seat as a gear rest when cooking rather than placing some items in the dirt or on the ground. This keeps my gear cleaner, more accessible, and easy to find if everything I need, at that moment, is located in one place.

IMG_3469

IMG_3483

IMG_3485

DCIM100GOPRO

The idea is that I prefer to find as many functions for any single item as possible and if it’s capable of being useful in more than one application, and I’m able to leave a lesser, single-functional item at home, I’ve essentially accomplished some savings in both overall pack weight and volume, and saved myself some hard-earned cash and frustration having to deal with damaged and/or lost clothing and equipment.

The Therm-a-Rest Z Seat is gear you definitely do not want to do without.

This is an independent gear review, by David Drake, and I am in no way affiliated with Cascade Designs or Therm-a-Rest. I paid full retail price for the Z Seat and having been using this gear for many years.

All photos copyright, David Drake!

Reach Your Summit!